The New England Giftbox from Eat BoutiqueMaggie of the fabulous website Eat Boutique has bundled together an amazing array of New England centric products perfect for holiday giving. All of the items are hand-crafted from artisans who care about authenticity and old-fashioned hospitality.

This unique giftbox holds the following sweet and savory treats:

  • Taza Chocolate Covered Almonds, 8 ounce package
  • Taza Chocolate Covered Nibs, sweet 2 ounce package
  • Lark Fine Foods Salted Rosemary Shortbread, 7.5 ounce package
  • Lark Fine Foods Mighty Gingers, spicy 8.5 ounce package
  • Q’s Nuts Sweet & Sassy Pecans, 5 ounce package
  • Q’s Nuts Key Lime Coconut Ginger Cashews, 3 ounce package
  • Hutchinson’s Candy Famous Fudge, 15 ounce package
  • Silverbrook Farm Pear Ginger Jam, luscious 8 ounce jar

The New England Giftbox offer is very reasonably priced at only $65 per set. However, there is a limited supply so place your order now! I’m positive they will sell out quickly.

More in: Christmas, Food

Peppermint Pig SetI’m a sucker for anything with Victorian roots during the holidays. Which is probably why I try to read A Christmas Carol every year — or at least watch a version, even if it is just the Muppet one. Everyone knows about Christmas Crackers and Wassail but have you ever heard of the Peppermint Pig?

According to legend, this tradition began in Saratoga Springs back in the early 1880s. A pig, revered as a symbol of good health, happiness, and prosperity was made from hard peppermint candy. After a holiday supper it was broken in a cloth bag and the pieces were shared by all in the hopes of good fortune for the coming year.

Doesn’t this sound like an adorable addition to your family’s holiday? I think this pink pig will definitely have to make an appearance at my home this year. We can use all the good luck we can get!

More in: Christmas, Food, Kids

Barefoot Contessa Red Velvet Cupcake Mix One year my mother and I made a homemade Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. After spending the good part of an afternoon creating our cake we finally finished and placed it on the porch to harden the icing. Then we proceeded to get ready to go to my grandmother’s for Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately our cat Lucy chose that exact time to wander in from a day playing in the woods surrounding our house. He (yes, Lucy, was a boy…it’s a long story) was apparently hungry so he started licking our cake with exuberant relish. And that’s just where we found him a short while later. Needless to say his frosted whiskers forever labeled him as a Christmas cake culprit.

Thanks to Ina Garten though you wont have to slave over a hot stove all day to make a special holiday dessert that the whole family will love. Brand new for the season and just waiting to be scooped into paper-lined baking tins is the Barefoot Contessa’s Red Velvet Cupcake Mix. In mere minutes you’ll have piping hot festive cupcakes fresh from the oven. You may want to keep an extra package or two on hand though just in case your favorite furry friend takes a liking to the dessert tray.

More in: Christmas, Food

Thomas Limited Edition Cranberry BagelsThree years ago while shopping for holiday decorations at Target I happened upon a stack of Thomas Cranberry Bagels on an end aisle display. You could smell the fruit through the wrapper! Those bagels were seriously calling my name so of course I had to buy them. I still fondly remember eating my first one for breakfast (with sensible whipped cream cheese — because these are definitely not diet food) almost every day that week, and then I promptly went back to Target and bought two more packages so that I could freeze them. I then continued to eat them throughout the holidays.

Since then I’ve made it a point to stock up on these favorite limited edition breakfast items and I advise you to do the same. Everyone needs all the help they can get on cold Monday mornings and these delicious bagels absolutely do the trick. Thomas also makes Cranberry Toasting Bread and English Muffins if that’s more your breakfast style. But hurry! These wont be on the shelves for long.

More in: Christmas, Food

Amy's Kitchen California Veggie BurgersEveryone has their lazy weeknight meals. For some this involves a drive-thru window and a uniformed attendant inquiring, “If you want fries with that.” Personally, I try to avoid the fastest of fast food and do my best to only indulge in such cravings under extreme circumstance (i.e. long road trips on the highway, being stuck in the airport for hours, and of course killer hangovers).

While I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination, over the years I’ve found that one of my favorite fix-it fast foods are the veggie burgers from Amy’s Kitchen. My personal preference is for the California Veggie Burgers which are made from a well-seasoned blend of grains, organic vegetables, mushrooms, and walnuts. I heat a patty, add a slice of pepper jack cheese and enclose it all on a freshly toasted whole wheat bun. I’ll generally serve this alongside a dish of couscous sprinkled with a little feta, basil, and sliced cherry tomatoes. The whole enterprise probably takes 10 minutes to make and is always satisfying and very tasty.

Amy’s Kitchen features a unique line of excellent veggie burgers ranging from the spicy Texas burger to the more hearty Quarter Pound version so I’m certain you’ll be able to find a style that suits your tastes and time restraints.

More in: Food

30 Minute Mozzarella & Ricotta KitAfter reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life I fell thoroughly in love with her family’s inspiring year-long adventure in living the locavore lifestyle. In case you aren’t already aware locavores are people who only consume locally grown foods. The entire Kingsolver family worked tirelessly raising various farm animals, tending a large garden, and canning food for the winter month. Their efforts were truly awe inspiring.

One of my favorite takeaways from the novel was the notion that you can make your own cheese at home. I realize this is a no-brainer to most people but honestly I hadn’t really given the notion much thought, however, after reading about the process I became fascinated. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle suggested looking up Ricki Carroll online at the New England Cheese Making Supply Company for at home kits and supplies. While I’ve yet to order a kit for myself I did give one to my grandmother for Christmas last year. This year I’m going to ask Santa to put one under the tree for me. I think making my own homemade mozzarella and ricotta sounds like the perfect way to spend the holiday break from the office, don’t you?

More in: Food

King Arthur Cinnamon Mini Baking ChipsOnce upon a time I found a bag of heaven (aka cinnamon chips) at … well I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I found this beautiful baking treasure at Wal-Mart. Since then I’ve never happened upon these decadent little additions in a single brick and mortar store, but thankfully they are available online. The Gods at King Arthur Flour apparently have them in droves. I can’t wait to stock up and sprinkle them liberally in cookies, scones, and maybe even a muffin or two. If you haven’t tried these before I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. Cinnamon Chips truly dress up baked goods with a unique flavor that we aren’t exposed to very often and are the perfect accompaniment to holiday goodies.

More in: Baking, Food

Phillips Candy House Pumpkin Pie FudgePhillips Candy House is Boston’s oldest chocolatier and this Fall they’ve concocted a decadent dessert of epic proportions. Trust me when I say that their brilliant combination of a hearty melt-in-your mouth slice of pumpkin fudge nestled on a bed of dark chocolate crust is to-die-for. It’s certainly a unique experience to dig into an enormous wedge of spiced fudge with a knife and fork. If I were you I’d order these treats for the Thanksgiving table in lieu of all those more traditional (aka ho-hum) fruit pies. Like all of the other lovely pumpkin products that come out each Fall this fabulous fudge will only be available for a limited time so don’t dawdle or you’ll miss your chance for a killer sugar high.

More in: Food, Thanksgiving

Edy's / Dreyer's Pumpkin Ice CreamI’m not much for pie, unless it’s pumpkin. And then I’m a total freak about it. So when I tell you Edy’s/Dreyer’s Slow Churned Pumpkin ice cream (with 50% less fat and 30% fewer calories than regular ice cream ) might be better than the real thing, it’s serious. Love at first bite, the flavor of this beautiful, orange-hued ice cream was exactly as I imagined; it was like some test kitchen genius mashed up a creamy, richly-spiced slice of pumpkin pie, threw in a generous dollop of whipped cream for good measure, and then transformed it all into a scrumptious, cool concoction. I scream, you scream. This fall, we can all scream for pumpkin pie ice cream … but only for a limited time. When the falling leaves disappear, so does this flavor. Available through November, look for Edy’s/Dreyer’s Slow Churned Pumpkin in your grocer’s frozen dairy case. Note: This ice cream is branded as “Dreyer’s” west of The Rockies and as “Edy’s” east of The Rockies.

More in: Food, Halloween

TCHOPro Organic Fair Trade Baking DropsI’ve been lucky enough to be a beta tester for the TCHO line of delicious chocolate products over the last year. Every few months just the right amount of scrumptious rich chocolate arrives on my doorstep and I get to taste it and make comments before it’s released to the public. In the past I’ve chopped up bars to use in cookies but now you don’t have to with the public release of the TCHOPro Organic Fair Trade Baking Drops. From the TCHO creators:

TCHOPro Organic Fair Trade Baking Drops are a meticulously formulated 66% or 68% cacao blend with TCHO’s characteristic flavor obsession that performs to the highest technical standards. Now available to serious home chefs. TCHO Baking Drops are the exact formulations we developed for food professionals in our TCHOPro line—and are now being used by leading chefs and chocolatiers across the country.

Flavor Notes: Intense chocolatey flavor, mid-tones of berry and a nice caramel finish.

If you decide to try their baking drops for yourself might I suggest a tried and true cookie recipe?

More in: Baking, Food