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Healthy Gifts to Give

Though a box of chocolates or batch of cookies might be welcome presents for many a giftee, I prefer to offer my loved ones a respite from sugary treats. All of the following ideas are food-focused, yet healthy. What good-for-you gift ideas are you planning on this year?

Quick and Easy Store-Bought Gifts
Special oils and vinegars: Everyone has olive oil and balsamic in their pantries, but less often do people splurge on avocado oil or walnut oil — or Champagne vinegar. These can make a flavorful addition to salads and other dishes.

A lemon press and zester: Does your giftee love lemons? A microplane zester is a must-have in any kitchen, and metal lemon presses make juicing lemons easy.

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The Gift of Giving

This post was going to be your run-of-the-mill gift guide.  All week, I’d been thinking of things you could get your food-iac friends and family.

And then, I sat down to write it.  I started and erased it three times.

Why was I having such a hard time writing such a simple post?

It might have something to do with a video I watched the other day of people waiting to get into a Victoria’s Secret once it opened on Black Friday.  The crowd brayed and yelled, pushing and elbowing their neighbours even though there was nowhere to go. Their nostrils flared, their eyes wide with a combination of fear and delight; it looked like a mosh pit, or dare I say it: a herd of cattle.  But that wasn’t what got me.

It was the look on the employees’ faces.

They were scared.  And I think it is no exaggeration to say that I think they were actually scared for their lives, because once the doors opened, they knew that flood of people would knock them over, stomp on them, hurt them, yell at them — all in the name of saving a few dollars for a present for someone they ostensibly really care about.

Have we possibly gotten away from the importance of this season, y’all?

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Craving: Holiday Cookies

Christmas Cookie Recipes on Cooking Channel
Gear up for holiday baking with Cooking Channel. Your favorite celebrities, chefs & Food People have opened their kitchens to share their best cookie recipes. From Cookie Monster’s sugar cookies to Kelsey’s Peppermint Meltaways, we’ll keep you baking all season. Visit our All-Star Cookie Swap, then head over to FoodNetwork.com for great takes on holiday baking from Food Network chefs.

I have to admit, I have quite the sweet tooth. And while Thanksgiving had plenty of pies and other fall desserts, it’s Christmas cookies I’ve been craving since early November.

And from your favorite Cooking Channel chefs’ recipes to the sweet treats of all-star celebrities, Cooking Channel has the holiday cookie recipes to keep you baking all season long. Here are the ones I’m adding to my December baking agenda (and you should, too):

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8 Things a Man Should Know About Grilling

Grilled Pork Chops

Perfect for Father’s Day, Esquire magazine’s new cookbook Eat Like a Man is about the skills and the confidence to delight and satisfy yourself and the people you care about, says David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire. We thought that sounded like our kind of cookbook, so we gave it a spin-through.

From the masterpieces (Coca-Cola-Brined Fried Chicken) to the quick and simple (Bread ‘n’ Butter Pickles) this cookbook covers all a man’s cooking needs. Like grilling. If you’re firing up the grill this weekend in honor of Dad, check out these eight tips from the cookbook to get you started.

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Chinese New Year Gifts

Fruit such as kumquats, oranges, pomelo and mandarin orange symbolize happiness, good fortune and good health.

Part of the Chinese New Year tradition is the act of graciously giving and graciously receiving.  I remember making the rounds as a kid in Hong Kong – my parents would present baskets of fruit, a special dish or a bottle of wine; and all the kids got Red Envelopes or “hong bow.” If you’re invited to someone’s house to celebrate Chinese New Year, there are certain gifts that symbolize wonderful things — and then there are the no-no’s.

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