What are you going to serve your guests or give as gifts this holiday season? When it’s your turn to entertain, it seems that almost everyone has food issues. Here’s how to eat, entertain & gift your way through the holidays with a little help from Steeped Coffee, Season Brand, Bookers Soul Food Starters, Wildflare Foods, and Smoke n Sanity.
Not Tea, It’s Steeped Coffee:
Do you know someone who likes coffee but doesn’t want to make a full pot or use a machine? Or maybe it’s the person who is really into being totally eco-friendly? Steeped Coffee is the gift for them (or for you). Steeped coffee is a unique way to drink coffee in Single-Serve Compostable coffee bags (like tea). It isn’t instant coffee, it’s the real thing in a variety of varieties: Light, Medium, Dark, Organic French Roast, and Decaf. You can select from 8, 16, or 24 single-serve packs, or monthly gift subscriptions from top specialty roasters.
Our sample had sunrise blend (light roast), California Blend (medium roast), Odyssey Blend (dark Roast), and Breakwater blend (organic French roast) To make steeped coffee you still have to boil 8 oz. of water. Pour it over the coffee bag (in a cup, of course) and dunk for 15-30 seconds. Then leave the bag in the cup and drink in about 5 minutes. When you entertain everyone can get their own cup the way they want it. For gifting these come nicely boxed with a variety of different types of Steeped Coffee. You can also get subscriptions if you love the idea. Steeped Coffee is available at premium supermarkets, luxury hotels, and offices. Visit (www.SteepedCoffee.com). A boxed 8-pack sampler is just $15 on Amazon.
No Need to Book a Table, Just Use Bookers Soul Food Starters:
One of the most memorable meals I have ever experienced was at Sylvia’s Soul Food restaurant in Harlem, New York City. I loved the food, but until now, I never thought of cooking them at Now, I don’t have to book a table, because Chef Claude Booker has created a line of Soul Food Starters that can help you make your own soul food that’s good for the soul too, right at home. The are no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors, or preservatives) His 100% natural flavoring offerings to date include
- Creamy Mac and Cheese (the best-baked mac and cheese ever, and you don’t have to do much except boil water and make the pasta)
- Rich Collard Greens II never made these before but they were so easy with a seasoning packet from Booker Soul Food Starters)
- Sweet Candied Yams (sweet potatoes, butter, and a seasoning packet and you have just two steps will make a side dish that everyone will ooh and ahh over)
- Irresistible Peach Cobbler (and now for dessert! use fresh or frozen peaches and a packet of Bookers Peach Cobbler filling mix. pour into a pie crust and bake
Each starter contains all the seasonings you need to transform basic ingredients into soul-stirring dishes that celebrate the richness of Southern culture. The holidays will soon be here and these soul food starters will make your next gathering more memorable. You don’t even have to scurry around for spices. To make the Soul Good Peach Cobbler, for example, all you need is an 8 oz bag of fresh or frozen peaches and a pre-prepared pie dough, 40 minutes in the oven. This Thanksgiving if it’s your turn to entertain, wow them with Sweet Candied Yams and more from Bookers Soul Food Starters. Visit SoulFoodStarters.com and I saw a four-pack sampler on Amazon for just $15.
Olive You Glad I Mentioned These?
When it’s party time. it’s a blessing to have little nibbles on hand for guests. Wildflare Foods caught my eye because of their delicious stuffed green olives. Our samples included green olives stuffed with garlic, stuffed with orange, lemon, and jalapenos. They are perfect for martinis and snack boards. However, I also just ate them “as-is” for a fantastic treat. They also make a unique house gift or stocking stuffer. You can get these stuffed olives in 10.5 oz bottles or 3.55 oz. bottle. Tip: The jalapeno olives and Shatta hot pepper sauce make a special bloody mary. When it is your turn to entertain, Wildflare foods can make it much easier.
In the second photo, you can see four of my favorite new spreads for cocktail hour: semi-sun-dried cherry tomato in a 3.05 oz. jar, shakshuka bruschetta Shatta hot pepper sauce, and a small jar of fig preserves (a must on a cheese board). Somehow I left out the creamy hazelnut butter but trust me, you won’t forget the taste when you try it! There are so many different kinds of yummies on the Wildare Foods Website! Whether you’re into sweet, spicy, or savory, these on-petit toasts make a party starter. They even have some great recipes on their website https://www.wildfare.com/Home.aspx
‘Tis the Season (to Entertain):
‘Tis the season for entertaining, and Season Brand(skinless boneless) Sardines and Grilled Mackerel and Cavi-art’s plant-based Black Seaweed pearls belong on your appetizing board. You’ve probably seen these Season products in your local market or gourmet shop. For the holidays, change up your cheese board to a fish board with crackers, mustard, olives, and other spreads. They are not just a healthy option, but great for those who are lactose intolerant or gluten-free. They are also Kosher.
What’s great about these items is that you can keep to entertain impromptu in your pantry for those last-minute visitors and still make an impressive presentation for your guests. Did you know that you get 1,700mg Omega-3 Fatty Acids Per Serving? Your guests will fall in love with tinned fish for cocktail hour!
Caviar is pricey and fragile, but the Caviart black (plant-based) seaweed pearls are shelf-stable and just $11 for 3.5 oz. It is a bit of a headache for the host to provide nibbles everyone can enjoy. But with Caviart you can offer an impressive snack that almost everyone can enjoy. The jar will be ready for you when you need to pull nibbles together quickly. No, it isn’t caviar, but it’s still actually quite impressive and delicious! Visit https://www.seasonproducts.com/ If you have more time to check out the website, there’s a recipe for Caviart with Blinics and Creme.
How to Entertain and Cut the Carbs:
Smoke n Sanity was founded by four friends who liked to camp and eat BBQ. Out of this friendship came Smoke n Sanity, a line of products that offer flavor to those suffering from IBS or who cannot tolerate garlic or onion. These are Low FODMAP certified. This means that Low Foodmap products reduce certain kinds of carbs that can be hard for people to digest. However, it doesn’t mean that people who don’t suffer from these issues can’t enjoy Smoke n Sanity products.
We tried a few of these products: 3 soup bases and 5 shaker bottles of Gluten and MSP-free seasonings. If someone in your family has to limit carbs, you’ll love the soup bases that have just 250 mg of sodium and 0 to 3% carbs depending upon the base. The dairy-free Cream Base has 3% carbs but can also be used for gravies, casseroles, and for cream soup. It has a 60-calorie count. The other two bases (Chicken or Beef) have O carbs and 3 calories per 1/2 tsp. You’ll need more than that to entertain a crowd, but there’s nothing but good stuff in these generously sized 10 oz. jars. The bases all have an amazingly impressive flavor. I used them to make various soups with vegetables, a handful of orzo, and some of the Smoke n Sanity seasonings. I didn’t try this but I like the onion substitute and hope to try it soon. Get the base bundle of all three for ($25). A great gift idea for anyone with IBS and it’s also healthy and safe for everyone in the family.
I don’t have room to go into all the ingredients in each of the 5 seasonings in the Smoke n Sanity World Traveler Bundle ($38). However, each is a tasty way to make any meal (especially when you entertain) more interesting. If you love Pho (who doesn’t?) 1/2 teaspoon to a cup of boiling water makes great Pho broth. The sodium levels in canned soup are always high, but the Smoke n Sanity Seasonings have way less than 200 mg with some in the low 100 range. The other seasonings I tried were Tikka Masala (shake on proteins and veggies), Jerk (great on chicken and fish), Cajun Creole (I like it on popcorn, but also in soups and on veggies), and terrific Teriyaki. The boxed set is an impressive, useful, delicious, and great gift idea.
Tip: Do you sometimes pick up a spice blend and it’s congealed into a blob? Smoke n Sanity suggests keeping open jars of seasonings in the refrigerator to minimize moisture getting into them. Good advice! They have many more seasonings to offer (and recipes too), Visit https://www.snsspices.com/