Are you like me, not done with your holiday shopping yet? I’ve got fun gift ideas for the gluten-free, healthy eating, baking fiends on your list. And I’ve also got a giveaway of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE holiday item. Let’s go shopping…
The one must-have on my holiday list this year is Diane of The WHOLE Gang’s Cookbook Desk Calendar. The calendar has 12 beautifully designed months in a clear case that converts into a stand for your desktop or countertop. Each month features a color photo with an easy recipe on the back, making you look like a food rock star! All of the recipes are gluten- and dairy-free plus easy modifications to make them vegetarian, vegan and paleo are included on every recipe. These recipes fit just about any diet! Each calendar comes with a special code for a super secret web page full of insider information, tips, tools and additional recipes on The WHOLE Gang website. $14.95 (Keep reading…you could win one below!)
My next gift recommendation is a cooking class. Give your loved one a gift certificate to the local culinary school or even better, sign both of you up for a class and go together. I think experiences make really terrific gifts and experiences that involve food? Well, that’s just perfect! If you are in the KC area, check out my classes, classes at A Thyme for Everything and the Culinary Center of Kansas City. In other cities, check with culinary centers and grocers like Whole Foods for options in your area.
I’ve got two book recommendations in my gift guide. The first is Chef Amber Shea’s Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make. When I went gluten-free, I only had a vague idea of what “raw” food was about. I wish I had grasped the concept quicker, as nearly all raw or living foods recipes are gluten-free. Amber’s cookbook is one of my favorites for many reasons, the first of which is an entire chapter of kale chip recipes. I’m completely over the moon with her Italian sausage recipe. Not only is it delicious uncooked, it’s great on a baked pizza. I also like that oven and dehydrator instructions are included, in case you don’t have the time to dehydrate or don’t have the counter space for a dehydrator. Buy this book for yourself and give it as a gift, it’s a must-have.
The second book I recommend is Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Her books have been such a terrific help in my kitchen and have introduced me to many new foods. Her new cookbook is packed full of recipes that are raw, recipes that are cooked, blended, juiced, you name it, it’s in here! If there were one cookbook I would recommend for a person looking to make a switch to healthier eating, this would be it!
Here’s my splurge item for holiday gift-giving. The Calphalon Electric Extra Large Digital Convection Oven rocked my world this year. I started out using this oven for my culinary classes. After using it in classes, several of my students bought their own ovens and started telling me how often they were using them. It heats up super fast and has a bump-out on the back so it can accommodate a good sized pizza. This oven easily replaces a toaster and a toaster oven, bakes cookies and cupcakes perfectly, convects, broils…it simply does it all! One of my culinary students lives in a mixed household where gluten is present in her kitchen and she bought one of these ovens to be hers exclusively. What a terrific way to have wonderful homemade baked goods with less risk of cross-contamination! $199.99.
I highly recommend the Calphalon 5-pc. Nonstick Nonstick Bakeware Set, Gray set to go with this oven. Four of the pieces fit perfectly inside the oven (the baking sheet does not). I use the 6-muffin tin most often. I reduce my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe into 1/3 of the original and bake up six cupcakes in a hurry. Less than 5 minutes for the oven to heat up and 20 minutes later, I’ve got home baked goodness to share! $49.99
GIVEAWAY CLOSED! About that giveaway…Thanks to Diane at The WHOLE Gang, one of you lucky folks will win one of her Cookbook Desk Calendars! Leave a comment below, tell me what your favorite holiday gift recommendation is, and you’ll be entered to win! A winner will be chosen randomly on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 at 9 PM CST. One entry per person please. GIVEAWAY HAS CONCLUDED. The winner is lucky #7! Congratulations, Crystal!
Happy holidays and stress-free shopping to all of you!