Not sure what to get the little foodie in your life? I’ve got your back.
Below are my favorite, mostly inexpensive, gifts for your friends & family who enjoy cooking as much as you do! Be sure to check back on Friday for my roundup of great gifts to make (or keep for yourself!)
I use a microplane zester for EVERYTHING: ginger, chocolate, citrus, garlic, it’s one incredible tool and a great price!
Yoga Cookie Cutters
Photo: Yummy Yogi
My favorite people love yoga & cookies; these cutters are perfect for those who enjoy either. Use them to make Warrior 2 sandwiches, tree watermelon wedges, triangle pancakes, the possibilities are endless.
Lunch Skins Bags
Photo: Lunch Skins
These might be my favorite gift idea. Cute, reusable lunch and plastic bags. Perfect as sandwich bags, holding trail mix in your purse, or giving goodies in. Free shipping until 12/31/12!
Mortar & Pestle
If your friend loves homemade sauce, pesto, and curry, a granite mortar & pestle is a must. Trust me, taking out the food processor and using an old fashioned mortar & pestle produces the best sauces ever. Plus, you get a bicep workout!
Silpat Baking Mat
Want more cookies? Get this mat! Gone are the days of painfully scraping burnt pieces of cookie off of baking sheets. These mats are non-stick and help to create the perfect baked goods.
Pampered Chef Baking Stone
I use my pampered chef baking stone almost daily. For roasting vegetables, there is nothing better! Cauliflower, potatoes, turnips, Brussels, onions, it ALL tastes better when roasted. Even those who don’t LIKE the vegetables I roast end up eating them when they are prepared this way. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
What are you gifting this year?
It’s that time of year–the holiday season. That means plenty of reuniting, entertaining, and of course, eating. Whether you’re on the road or at party, here are my tips for not overdoing it this year.
- Plan time for exercise: As we all tend to be a bit busier during this time of year, be sure to stick to your regular exercise routine as much as possible. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating.
- Hold the Cocktail: The average adult consumes about 100 calories worth of alcohol daily- enough to pack on 10 lbs. per year! Keep a tally of how many drinks you are consuming at parties. Mixers tend to be the most offensive: egg nog, cocoa, cream, all make the appearance in party punches. Choose champagne, wine, or light beer instead.
- Plant yourself away from the table: Even if you head a party with the best of intentions, standing near the buffet table with test anyone’s willpower. Make a plate and step away. Enjoy your food, and then ask yourself if you are truly hungry for more before getting seconds
- Be Mindful: Dining in a group causes the average person to eat about 44 % more calories than he or she normally would eating alone – so many distractions during eating time usually add up to more eating.
- Pick Favorites: Choose carefully between foods you definitely will eat, those you will sample, and those you will skip. Fill up on low-calorie, nutrient dense foods and enjoy a small sampling of your favorite treats. This way you still enjoy your favorite foods without consequences later. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
- Plate everything before you eat. Even if you go back to the snack table several times, you’ll be more aware of how much your eating if you see it all on a plate.
- Focus on the true meaning of the holidays. Gifts, parties, and the food are backseat items to the true reason of the season, (whatever that means to you). Enjoy time with family and friends and plan gatherings that doesn’t involve food. Meet up to run a 5K for charity, decorate wreaths, make homemade gifts, organize a dog-walking party- what have you been meaning to do but haven’t found time for?
Sweet potatoes, combined with a buttery maple sauce, are one of my favorite side dishes. I could eat these sweet little gems every day and not get tired of them. Sweet potatoes are chock- full of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. With only 100 calories per baked cup, it’s like enjoying dessert with health benefits!
Maple Roasted Sweet-Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance)
- salt/freshly cracked-pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small microwavable bowl, combine butter & maple syrup. Microwave until butter is melted, stir together and add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with chopped sweet potatoes. Arrange potatoes in an even layer in a 9X13″ baking dish.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and golden brown, 45 minutes more.
Leftovers? Toss with cooked quinoa, spinach, and lemon juice!