Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Domestic Divas Holiday Gift Guide! 10 Great Gift Suggestions for the 2009 Holiday Season!



 Zingerman's Deluxe Brownie Sampler

It's that glorious time at the end of the year, filled with so many things that make you so joyful yet drive you so crazy at the same time!  To make your last minute holiday shopping a little bit easier, here's my snazzy holiday gift guide!

1) 'Tis the Season... to donate! 

I don't have to tell you times are tough, and ostentatiousness is so 2005, so my number one holiday gift suggestion is to give a donation to a charity in someone else's name!

Not sure what charity to pick?

I'd suggest supporting your local food bank.  Hunger in the U.S. is at an all time high, and it's a great way to give back to your community!  The gift is how good your giftee will feel knowing that less people will go hungry this holiday season because of them. Now that's priceless!

VISIT FEEDING AMERICA TO FIND THE FOOD BANK CLOSEST TO YOU! 

2) More Good Deeds - Menu for Hope Charity Raffle!

Menu for Hope is a food blogger-fueled fundraiser that raffles off items donated by food bloggers to raise money for the World Food Programme's Purchase for Progress, which helps smallholder and low-income farmers supply food to WFP's global operations. For the past three years, they've raised nearly $250 thousand in support of the UN World Food Programme. A $10 donation buys a raffle ticket for any item of your choice.  Raffle tickets make a great holiday gift!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND BUY RAFFLE TICKETS!

3) This Holiday, Do It Yourself!  My Recipe for Chai Hot Chocolate Mix!

Money is tight for a lot of people right now, so buying holiday gifts can be stressful.  Not sure what to do for your coworkers?  Book group?  Neighbors?  Give them the gift of chocolate, in the form of your own homemade hot chocolate mix!  Not only does everyone love a steaming hot mug of chocolaty goodness, but this is an inexpensive and simple way to make something special for the special people in your life.

Here's my recipe for Chai Hot Chocolate Mix:
Makes about 7 1/2 cups 

32 ounces good quality chocolate, chilled and chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/12 tsp ground cardamom

Directions:

Place the chocolate in a food processor.  Pulse until granular.  Add the ginger, nutmeg and cardamom and pulse to combine.  Spoon into ziplock bags.

To make the hot chocolate, pour 1 cup scalded milk into a mug and stir in about 2 to 4 tsp of the mix.  Whisk well and enjoy!

To make Holiday Lattes, combine equal parts coffee and scalded milk.  Add 2 to 4 tsp of the hot chocolate mix.  Whisk well and enjoy!

4) Nothing Says I Love You like Chocolate!  Zingerman's Deluxe Brownie Sampler!

Don't want to bake, but want to give that homemade brownie love?  Check out Zingerman's Deluxe Brownie Sampler!  Not only are the Magic Brownies like heaven on earth, but they'll ship them right to your doorstep. The Deluxe Sampler features two each of the original Magic Brownies with toasted walnuts, caramel Buenos Aires Dulce de Leche, and Pecan Blondies topped with sea salt for $36, while the Ultimate Sampler adds four more: two each of the Orange Almond and Genuinely Ginger Brownies for $60.  The brownies are also available individually for $4.75 per brownie.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ZINGERMAN'S BROWNIE SAMPLERS!

5) The Gift that Keeps On Giving!  Subscription to Food & Wine Magazine!

Magazines can make great, affordable gifts, the kind that keeps on giving all year long.  Of all the foodie magazines out there, Food & Wine has to be my favorite - I love the joint focus on food and wine, and more often than not, I find inspiration in the pages.  And where do you think I first read about Naomi Pomeroy's Beast?  Right now, you can buy a subscription for yourself and get a free 6 month gift subscription for the low price of $19.99!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE!

6) A Cookbook Makes a Stellar Gift, such as Home Cooking With Charlie Trotter!

I know that right now everyone can't stop talking about Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc At Home, but not only is it back-ordered, but there's another top caliber chef who did the at home thing long before Keller did, and that chef is Charlie Trotter.  While I'm a huge fan of his other (more complicated) cookbooks - they made me into the chef I am today - his Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter offers his signature style in a much more user-friendly way.  A great addition to any home cook's library, check out this cookbook!  Only $16.95 from Amazon and promises to ship in time for Christmas!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER HOME COOKING WITH CHARLIE TROTTER!

7) For the Wine Lover in Your Life, Give a Bottle of Tablas Creek!

A bottle of wine makes a great gift or housewarming present, and for the value, this year I recommend giving Tablas Creek!  Not only was their most recent vintage their best ever (click here for my review), but their Cotes De Tablas sells for a measly $25 a bottle ($20 if you're a member) and was rated 93 points by Parker!  Holy Cow!  In addition to the Cotes, my other picks are the 2007 Espirit De Beautcastel for $50 (a whopping 95-97 points Parker) and their Holiday Gift Pack featuring a bottle of the 2007 Espirit De Beaucastel and the 2007 Espirit de Beaucastel Blanc in a beautiful gift box for $90.

CLICK HERE FOR THE TABLAS CREEK ORDER FORM! 

8) It May Taste Sour, But It's a Sweet Gift!  Villa Manodori Organic Balsamic Vinegar!

Villa Manodori makes my favorite organic balsamic vinegar, and I use it in everything from salad dressings, to dessert, to a great honey-balsamic sauce for lamb, to sprinkling over beets before roasting them in the oven with thyme and sea salt!  This is a pantry staple, so why not have a great one?  It sells from Amazon for only $32!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE VILLA MANODORI ORGANIC BALSAMIC VINEGAR!

9) Inspiration Comes in Small Packages - Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea!

This book first came to me as a gift from Shelley B., and it brought so much inspiration and joy into my life that I'm passing it along this season (click here for my review)!  This nonfiction book chronicles Greg Mortenson's quest to build a schools in Pakistan, and now there's even a sequel out.  It shows you how much of a difference one person can make, and you won't be able to put it down.  This book sells for only $7.50 from Amazon!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THREE CUPS OF TEA!

10) For the Adorable Monster in Your Life, Heidi's Homemade Organic Dog Treats!

One last gift suggestion for the furry beast in your life, whether it's a dog, cat or even a horse, Heidi's Homemade has you covered!  The Adorable Monster loves his Peanut Butter Dog Treats (100% certified organic), only $6.50.  They also do adorable gift baskets! 

CLICK HERE TO VISIT HEIDI'S WEBSITE FOR CERTIFIED ORGANIC DOG, CAT AND HORSE TREATS!

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