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Category "Food & Drinks"

Herbs, Spices, Rubs, Sauces | Gift Sets

- - Family, Food & Drinks

Selecting an appropriate gift for a Dirty Santa gift exchange can be tricky since you want something that will be popular with the majority of the people playing. There’s always a sense of pride when it’s your gift everyone keeps “stealing.”

bbq-rub-seasonings-gift-set-thoughtful-gift-ideaYou don’t want to be that person who brings a super lame gift like one-size-fits-all Dust Mop Slippers that supposedly clean your floors as you walk around your house. Trust me. It has happened.

Let me set the stage for this thoughtful gift idea. Everyone needs to eat food so most people cook whether they like to or not, which is why this gift idea works for pretty much everyone!

premium-organic-almond-vanilla-extract-thoughtful-gift-ideaWhen it comes to cooking, the right herbs, spices, rubs, sauces, and extracts can easily turn ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones!

Herbs, spices, rubs, sauces and extracts come in so many flavors and varieties that you can find Gift Sets for all taste buds! I’ve come up with a list to get you started on selecting the right edible gift set to bring to your next Christmas party or family gift exchange.

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Easy Peasy Oreo Popcorn Recipe | Edible Gift

I discovered something at the age of 32. No, it wasn’t the secret of life. But close! Oreo popcorn.

oreo-popcorn-thoughtful-gift-ideaI’ve tried many different flavors of popcorn in my life, but never this. My mother-in-law brought some home from a party she attended, and my life has never been the same since!

I obtained the name of the store that sold this tasty treat because I planned on buying some for my son’s birthday party. Then I thought, “Waaaaaaait a minute. They can’t be that hard to make!”

I was right y’all. All it takes to make them are three ingredients. Easy peasy!

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Teacher Survival Kit | Back to School Gift

Summer = sleeping in, relaxing and hanging out. Back to School = alarms clocks, homework and regular routines.

Making the switch from summer vacation to back to school definitely takes some adjustment for all parties involved – students, parents and teachers. Don’t forget about the teachers!

back to school teacher survival kitMy son is starting Parent’s Day Out again this fall, and I wanted to give his teacher a present to make adjusting to spending all day with a room full of kids just a little bit easier.

I started making my Back to School Teacher Survival Kit by filling it with caffeine and chocolates. Two must-haves for enduring long hours and stress of any kind.

But being the healthy living person I strive to be, I wanted to add some healthier options for the teachers that would still provide them with a good pick-me-up.

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A Going Away Present Anyone Will Love | Best Pizza in Town

When my friend Bose’ told me she was moving to Chicago to start her life anew,  I felt sad for me but excited for her. I also felt proud of her for being so bold and courageous. Moving to a big city by yourself is no small thing.

pizza gift card taped inside pizza box

Click to enlarge

You have to find a new place to live, start a new job and make new friends.

With my going away present to Bose’, I wanted to help her make new friends while experiencing an important part of Chicago’s food culture – Chicago-style deep dish pizzas.

I bought her a gift card to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, a restaurant many people claim makes the best pizza in Chicago, especially if you order The “Lou.”

I thought Bose’ could use the gift card to invite a new friend to lunch or dinner.

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Beers From Around the World Gift Basket

I have to give credit where credit is due. This gift idea came from my husband Kevin. It’s an awesome gift that men will love!

imported beers in plastic tub filled with whole in shell roasted peanutsBuy a selection of beers that are made in different countries from around the world. Stick them in a tub, basket or bucket, then use whole-in-shell peanuts as an edible filling.

If you buy a dozen beers, you can create a tag that says, “Around the World in 12 Beers” to go along with the gift.

Here are the beers from around the world (imported beers) that are commonly found:

Free Puppies with Puppy Chow

For my father-in-law’s 85th birthday, we threw him a surprise celebration and made sure to include something he could share with the other residents at his retirement home when they stopped by to wish him a “Happy Birthday!” So we had Gramps give away “free puppies” with baggies full of puppy chow.

Free-Puppies-with-Puppy-Chow-gift-idea-sunburst-giftsOf course, they were not real puppies and the puppy chow was a snack for his friends. I filled a large basket with various small Stuffed Puppies
and created a sign that said, “Free Puppies.”

Everyone was thrilled to look in the basket and choose a “puppy” to take home. The puppy chow made a wonderful party favor and the experience resulted in a fun way to celebrate someone’s birthday.

This birthday happened several years ago before my blogging days so I don’t have a picture for you but I’m sure you have a pretty good idea.

I have since replicated the puppy chow idea many times for all kinds of occasions. The latest one was for a United Way auction at my office. This time, I paired a stuffed dog with a dog bowl full of puppy chow.

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Heart-Shaped Steaks Make Memorable Valentine’s Day Dinner

This Valentine’s Day I was looking to give my true love a gift that had the WOW factor. I wasn’t looking for romantic or sentimental. I was looking to knock his socks off!

heart-shaped-steak-valentines-day-gift-idea-sunburst-giftsSo I bought him two pounds (hoping he would share!) of prime aged hand-cut ribeye steak from a local meat market – and check this out – asked the butcher to cut it into the shape of a HEART.

A “Sweetheart Steak!”

It looked stunning – all that bright red meat marbled with strands of cream-colored fat and covered in a delicious spice rub.

The perfect hunk of meat for my sexy, hunk of meat.

The heart-shaped steak got the reaction I wanted from my husband Kevin. He was surprised by the shape and impressed by the size. (Men and their preoccupation with size… I swear.)

He had never seen anything like it, and he couldn’t wait to throw it on the grill and eat it. Mission accomplished!

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  – Unknown

Homemade Roasted Pecans | Edible Gifts

I love it when it’s pecan pickin’ time and this year is one of them! Right in the middle of my front yard is a pecan tree, and I’ve collected close to 100 pounds of pecans. I feel so proud – like a farmer who’s had a bountiful harvest. Except I didn’t have to sweat or toil or wear overalls or really do any work at all to make it grow and produce.

Homemade Roasted Pecans Edible Gift Idea But I do have to put in some labor of love when it comes to collecting them, shelling them, and roasting them in the oven. But I enjoy that whole process because at the end I have pounds and pounds of roasted pecans to give as edible gifts!

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Premium Olive Oil and Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board

My boss Holley and I are kindred spirits in that we both looove to cook. We like to tell each other about the new recipes we’ve tried and if any are rock stars we share them. Well, what do most recipes start with?

Extra virgin olive oil. So I thought I’d get her some premium olive oil this year for Christmas, along with some aged balsamic vinegar and a State-Shaped Cutting Board. OKLAHOMA of course! Represent.

Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar With State-shaped Cutting Board Gift Idea for Cooks I visited a store that specializes in premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars and man was my mind buh-lown!  They had their oils and vinegars infused with all sorts of fantastic flavors – chipotle, jalapeno, lavender, espresso, chocolate and on and on. They even had butter infused olive oil. Perfect for drizzling over popcorn. Mmmmm.

It gets better. The store allows you to sample all of their flavors, and they even provide the bread. I was like a kid in a candy store!

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