The frost is on the proverbial pumpkin and the holidays are almost here. Since it is time to scope out some ideas for your own holiday parties, and for gift-giving, I scoped out a few ideas at a recent Cooking & Entertaining Showcase. I hope to review some of these items in greater detail as we get closer to Christmas, but for now, I’ve picked some of the standouts to suggest to you. If you want to make something by hand, you’re going to have to get into the kitchen! So my first suggestions to upgrade your existing cook wear, or to give to a talented cook as a holiday gift, follows:
Anolon cookware offers a wide range of durable, easy to use and versatile cookware. Anolon collections include beautifully designed pots and pans crafted from hard-anodized aluminum, gleaming stainless steel and highly conductive copper.
Circulon offers high-quality, long-lasting hard-anodized nonstick cookware. Circulon cookware features the brand’s signature TOTAL Food Release system, which in combination with a long-lasting metal-utensil safe nonstick coating, provides a lifetime of healthy cooking and easy cleaning. At the show there were a number of different colors and styles, including the new, Contempo cookware that allows use on induction ranges as well as more traditional electric and gas ranges.
I have enjoyed many a crumb cake and chocolate covered donut, just to name a few, from the famed, Entenmann’s bakery. But now there’s a way for all of us to be “Enternmann’s bakers.” Entenmann’s Bakeware – Euro-Ware, a family owned and operated company based in New York, has entered into a licensing agreement with Entenmann’s Inc. one of the nation’s oldest baking companies, to manufacture, distribute and market a new line of bakeware products bearing the Entenmann’s brand name. I saw many styles of enticing bakeware to inspire you. The pans look durable and easy to use.
USA Pan has been developed by the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial bakeware and has been providing the world’s leading commercial bakeries with the highest quality baking pans for over 50 years. As the name suggests, the bakeware is made not in China or elsewhere, but right here in the good old US of A! Support American business, buy USA pans, and bake up a storm! I had my eye on their square, mini-sized, brownie pan, where every brownie is small enough to eat more than one without guilt!
I admit that I purchased my first Vitamix (over 20 years ago) expecting to grind wheat berries and make my own healthier foods, but my Vitamix has spent most of it’s life blending up the smoothest, most delicious frozen drinks on the planet. No blender will ever come close, because Vitamix blender have dual-rotating blades to pulverize whatever you put in it. The motors are so powerful they will even puree a soup and heat it! Vitamix machines can do the work of 10 kitchen appliances and perform more than 50 different processes – including chopping, blending, grinding, kneading and cooking – without any separate attachments. This is the perfect gift for a newlywed couple, or any discerning cook.
I don’t know a lot about knives, other than it’s best to invest in good quality and keep them sharp. If you do, they will last for a lifetime. For nearly 200 years, Wüsthof knives have been crafted in Solingen, Germany, the cutlery capital of Europe. With a proud tradition that spans 7 generations. I loved the Santoku type chopping knives with colorful handles that apparently are being sold for the holidays with a chopping board (hopefully I can review this for you later on). Ditto the more diverse knife sets. A good set of knives really is a must-have. You can’t go wrong with Wusthof knives.
I love the Ninja because it is a multi-tasking blender/chopper/juicer/dough mixer,etc. There are different sizes and styles of the Ninja. The one that captivated me has a smaller kitchen footprint, and comes with several individual “smoothie” cups that let you blend your smoothie and take it in a travel cup. I am hoping to get a Ninja to try out and review in greater detail since I have never tried one, but it looks either the family sized or smaller sized Ninja would be a great cooking-oriented gift, not to mention a great thing to have on your kitchen shelf, as the holidays arrive.
…and now that you’ve outfitted your kitchen, here are beverage ideas to go along with the food:
If you’re drinking, maybe calories shouldn’t really count, but Jose Cuervo‘s new Authentic Light and Zero Calorie Margarita’s taste like the more caloric variety, and still have fewer than 95 calories per serving. In fact, these pre-mixed margarita mixes have fewer calories per serving than most wines or beers. All you have to do is add a signature of your own, such as berries or other fruit.
Everyone loves tea. It’s great to serve to guests, and of course, if you’re having a tea party! I didn’t realize that Lipton, with over 100 years of experience, Lipton® is one of the world’s great refreshment brands, making a splash with tea-based drinks including leaf tea, infusions, ready-to-drink tea and other refreshing alternatives to soft drinks.
When I tasted Mirassou Pinot Noir, I couldn’t believe the price point hovered around $12.00. It was quite smooth and delicious! Apparently,the Mirassou family has been growing grapes and crafting wines in the sun-drenched hills of California since 1854! Mirassou Winery produces eight premium California wines: Moscato, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. For more information about Mirassou Winery, please visit www.mirassou.com
….and some food-oriented gift ideas:
Olive oil is healthy and delicious. I’ve started using it almost exclusively for cooking, dipping and salads. The California Olive Ranch produces extra virgin olive oil that is harvested and pressed within hours of picking to seal in a fresh, fruity taste. They have olive oils that are light and grassy, to those that are more robust. A gift of gourmet olive oil packed with a home baked (or bought) loaf of crusty bread and a dried dipping sauce, makes a great hostess gift.
I love books that give me ideas about entertaining, and of course, cook books. Parragon Inc. is a global publishing company thta creates and publishes over 2,000 books per year. Parragon also publishes children’s board and picture books, as well as illustrated nonfiction for all age groups, including health, fitness, and military history titled. I’m hoping to review some of their cook books as holiday gift suggestions.
What child or young-at-heart adult can resist a gingerbread house? The Gingerbread Construction Company is a family owned bakery that specializes in hand-decorated gingerbread houses, gourmet muffins, muffin loaves and cookies, using fresh, hand sliced fruit and natural ingredients of the highest quality for all of its award-winning treats, baked fresh in batches throughout the day. I saw themed houses at the cooking & entertaining showcase including some for Halloween and Thanksgiving that would make an adorable table centerpiece. You can also get the houses unadorned, with a kit to make the design, all your own. in convenient packaged easy-to-use products. Each one is gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, and organic, as well as delicious, quick-cooking and healthy.