Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This year, I want to make each holiday gift really count, as I’m being frugal AND thoughtful. I’ve got to be careful and really teach the bebes about the value of money and the art of selecting the perfect gift for each person.
I’m not doing a great job, as yesterday I gave Andrew $33 to shop for me, Scott, Nathan, Mimi and Papa. His elementary school had a fundraiser where they had an entire set-up of useless gifts that you’d never buy yourself but feel like a cheap-ass if you don’t buy something because the school that is responsible for teaching my child things that I can’t (like math, following directions and assembling !$(*&!% toys) is underfunded. Though honestly, I’d rather write a check for $300 and give that to the school than to spend $300 on useless crap (ugly wrapping paper? too-sweet chocolates? magazine subscriptions that I don’t need?) and only have 10% of that end up going to the school. But I digress.
So Andrew comes home with 6 little gift bags in his backpack and runs to me clutching his $2.80 in change in his other hand. He proudly says to me, “Mama, I picked out perfect presents for everyone!” And then he started stuffing our stockings with the presents.
Hmmm…I couldn’t resist the curiousity and copped a feel (no peeking of course, that’s against the rules…but FONDLING? totally appropriate). The object in my stocking felt suspiciously like a new set of round, bouncy boobs.
Now THAT’S the type of fundraiser I’d totally lay down for.
But then on second thought, $6 might only buy a coupla rubber super bounce balls.
I’ve tested, tasted and played with lots of toys this year, and here are my absolute favorites that would make fantabulous holiday gifts. I’m giving away a bunch of gifts to you – just for commenting – so make sure you enter the random drawing to win:
(I’m sure I’ll be adding more gifts to giveaway in the next few days too)
The Meadow has gorgeous Himalayan Pink Salt Plates and Blocks from Pakistan that are so unique. You can use the glowing pink plate to grill, saute, chill, bake, serve and cure. Instead of salt on food – this is food on salt, and the Himalayan Pink Salt Plate imparts its delicate saltiness onto and into the food. When you’re done, just rinse, dry and store for next time.
Flatiron steaks on a large salt block
I’ve chilled the salt block for a couple of hours in the refrigerator and then used it as a serving platter for carpaccio, cheeses and fresh fruits. Any food that has a bit of moisture will pick up some of the salty goodness!
I’ve also placed the block on the outdoor grill and sauteed wild mushrooms on it – the salt block seasoned my mushrooms perfectly. The plate heats up to 500F and sears the food beautifully. I’ve yet to try steaks, but will be playing with that this weekend.
The prices are very reasonable – I’m eyeing this Sushi Slab for $19.95 and this Salt Grater plus Himalayan Pink Salt Rock for $16.95
Plus, owner Mark Bitterman is awesome – he’s the first person I’ve ever met more passionate about salts than I am! Just a great small business based in Portland, Oregon that I hope you’ll support.
The Meadow is giving away a Himalayan Pink Salt Block (8x4x2 inch)
Okay, time to get off the salt thing and move onto knives. I’ve raved about New West Knifeworks before and just can’t say enough great things about them. They’ve just announced their newest product, the Super Bread Knife – though personally I would have named it Kiss-Yer-Mama-Bread Knife because it’s so pretty you just wanna….eat bread.
If you’re giving a knife away as a present, my Mama told me to tell you that in many cultures, giving away a knife is bad luck. BUT hang on there – it’s not a “gift” if you make the recipient give you a penny back in return. So, just make sure that the recipient pays you a penny, quarter, whatever so that you’re not cursed with whatever knife god you’ll piss off, okay?
From New West Knifeworks, my choice for a gift would be either the above Kiss-Yer-Mama Bread Knife ($129 on sale now!) or the Phoenix Petty knife ($99). The Phoenix is the perfect size for most small kitchen tasks, from vegetables to fruit to cutting open packages (omg, just kidding! I worship my knife!)
I’m giving away a Super Bread Knife!
Palm Beach Prime sent me a box of Kobe Beef Burgers ($27.95) to try and OH MY !(#%*&!(*%!% BURGERLICIOUS BUNS! They win. There is no other reason to buy any other burger than these. You will not have lived a fulfilling life unless you have sunk your drooling teeth into these Kobe Beef Burgers. Yes, my teeth do drool. They also are craving a Kobe Beef Burger right now too.
Palm Beach Prime is giving away a pack of 4 Kobe Beef Burgers (U.S. only)
OOOHLAALAA! Sterling sent me their Ultimate Sampler which included Two 6 oz. Filet Mignons, Two 12 oz. New York Steaks, Two 12 oz. Ribeyes, Two 6 oz. Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops, and one 16 oz. Pork Tenderloin Roast. ($119.00) We’ve tried the Filets and the Ribeyes so far and loved them. The beef comes from the top 12% of all beef and is aged. Their pork is all natural.
Sterling Silver has generously given us an Ultimate Sampler package to give away! (yay beef!)
I met lovely Ederle on Twitter a few weeks ago and was totally smitten with the idea of a candle made of lotion. As the candle burns, the soy bean oil, shea butter, and the fragrant essential oils melt together, and create a warm, inviting pool of body lotion or massage oil that is only 2° above body temperature.
Ederle is a full-time corporate mama – and her dream is to make her Sacred Glo Lotion Candles a thriving business.
I know you’ll just love these lotion candles! In my sexy-hot days B.C. (Before Children) I used to love pouring hot candle wax on my lover. Made a mess, though and then would have to spend the next day scraping the hardened wax off the floors. I know, you used to do that too, right?
Sacred Glo is giving away a Lotion Candle of your choice.
These two together make the best salad dressing. The Mango Champagne Vinegar ($16) comes in a curvy carafe and paired with their award winning Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the combo makes any salad sexy. The olive oil is bright, buttery with a sagey finish.
Global Gardens is giving away their Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Mango Champagne Vinegar combo.
I’ve saved my personal favorite for last – I took some pics of the rugrats in the backyard a few weeks ago and sent them into Canvas R Us. A week later, I got 4 individual wooden framed canvas prints back, and they are now hanging in my family room. It instantly brightened and warmed up the entire home – the smiles and love in these boys faces are priceless.
It’s super simple – all you have to do is upload your photo to their Canvas R Us’ website and choose the size that you want. You can get one single canvas or a collage, like me.
And look at the quality that comes back!
This is my fav pic:
Don’t they look like they NEVER fight over toys or tease each other?
Canvas R Us is giving away a single photo canvas of your choice!
Contest is over! The winners are announced here…