Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Gift Ideas: My Favorite Things for Food Lovers

It has been such a great year in food around here! I’ve been exposed to so many new ingredients through California farmers markets. I’ve enjoyed even more cuisines of the world with all of the restaurants around our new home. Networking in the food industry and at food conferences has exposed me to new people and new types of work. I’ve also had the pleasure of reviewing some outstanding new cookbooks over the past few months.

It’s been a good year.

So as we approach the season of gift-giving, I thought I would jump on the gift guide bandwagon and share a list of my favorite things. I figure there are enough of us food lovers out there that one can never have to many gift ideas.

These are a few things I’ve encountered this year that I highly recommend. And if you have any favorites to add to the list, I’d love to hear about them.

Oregon Olive Mill Extra Virgin Olive Oil


I learned of Oregon Olive Mill only a few short weeks ago and I was immediately drawn to the company. It is the only estate olioteca in the Pacific Northwest. This family owned company was started by fourth generation Oregon farmers. A 120 acre olive farm in Oregon? What an unexpected surprise! I received a sample and did a little tasting of my own. This is the kind of oil that your mixed green salads and sliced tomatoes are begging for. My favorite was the Arbequina, a Spanish variety. It’s described as being fruity with hints of green grass, banana and a nice spicy finish.

Trader Joe’s Nut Oils

If you can’t tell yet, it’s been an oil year for me. I’ve been exposed to so many delicious new oils. This variety pack came out for the holidays at Trader Joe’s, so I’m not sure on the availability, but I wanted to share it in case you can find it. These are unrefined nut oils produced in California using French expeller-pressing methods. I haven’t used many nut oils and this 3-pack has been a wonderful introduction. They are so good drizzled on veggies, oatmeal or popcorn.

Navitas Naturals Cacao Goji Power Snacks 

When it comes to food products, I usually only feature those that can be used as ingredients in my recipes, but for these, I make an exception. I was introduced to these cacao goji snacks at the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle. At first, I wasn’t sure how much I liked them, but as I ate more, I got hooked. I’m always on the lookout for something low in sugar and free of soy protein isolate that I can eat before my runs. I eat one or two squares before I head out. They worked so well for me and caused no stomach stress at all.

Homemade Hand Scrubs

This year I’ve been doing a lot of recipe development and food photography for the Daily Squeeze blog and it has been a blast! Some of my posts there have me experimenting with turning my food into beauty products. Something I’ve not done much of before. One of my favorite products so far is this Coconut-Citrus Sugar Scrub. The coconut oil makes your hands so soft and the citrus has such a pleasant aroma. It is a great, easy-to-make gift.

Chef’s Coat

Earlier this year, The Chef’s Emporium sent me this lovely monogrammed chef’s jacket. No, I’m not a chef, but I do a lot of cooking for my work and this has proved to be such a nice tool to have. I’ve found myself at local cooking classes and media events that involve cooking, and it is a plus to have my own jacket instead of using what is provided. This one has the perfect fit with ¾ length sleeves and I love that it is black instead of white. (I tend to be messy in the kitchen.) You can check out more about why I like it in my review on the Chef’s Emporium website.

2013 Cookbooks

So many great cookbooks have come out this year. Below is a list linking to my reviews here on the blog. I would recommend each and every one I’ve had the opportunity to explore. These authors and photographers just keep dishing out amazing food and stunning photos. It’s truly inspiring for the food lover.

Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Stephanie Stiavetti & Garrett McCord
The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey-From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond by Marvin Gapultos
Everyday Thai Cooking, Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes by Katie Chin
I Scream Sandwich by Jennie Schacht
Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer
Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand
Home Made Summer by Yvette van Boven
Bountiful by Diane Cu and Todd Porter

Disclosure: Most of these products were sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about them and received no compensation for doing so. 


emily (a nutritionist eats) said...

I would be happy with any of these gifts! :)

everydaymaven said...

That olive oil is amazing! My favorite is the Koroneiki. Great list and Happy Holidays :)