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Archive for Giftable

GIFT OF THE DAY: Bacon Curing Kit

What can you get for the bacon lover?

There’s the Bacon Of The Month Club, but that’s $400.

There’s always an assortment of the finest artisanal bacon brands from small producers who craft premium bacon the old-fashioned way: hand-rubbed spices, slow curing methods and real wood smoke.

They can be double or triple the price of supermarket bacon, so it’s a gift most people wouldn’t buy for themselves. Check out some of the best brands, below.

But this year, we’re recommending a DIY Bacon Curing Kit from Urban Accents. Just add a pork belly from the nearest butcher shop, and the recipient can have homemade bacon in just seven days. This DIY kit has everything you need!

Just pick up a five-pound pork belly from your favorite meat counter and put the meat, curing salt, maple sage seasoning (if you like) into the curing bag. Refrigerate for seven days and you’ll be cooking up your own homemade bacon.

The kit is $17.15 at Urban Accents.

A five-pound pork belly is needed to make the bacon. Depending on your area, you can pay about $3.00 to $6.00 a pound. Heritage breeds are pricier.

WHAT ARE THE BEST BACON BRANDS?

According to a review in Food & Wine, you should try, in this order:

  • Vande Rose Farms Artisan Dry Cured Applewood Smoked: well-marbled heritage breed from the Duroc pig.
  • Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon.
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    Bacon Making Kit

    Raw Pork Belly

    [1] Make five pounds of bacon with this DIY kit (photo courtesy Urban Accents). [2] Pork belly not included (photo courtesy Slap Yo Daddy BBQ).

  • D’Artagnan Uncured Applewood Smoked Bacon. The company uses heritage breeds, such as Berkshire, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Tamworth.
  • Tender Belly Dry Cured Maple Bacon: Made with Hampshire pork belly, known for its ideal meat-to-fat ratio, slow-smoked over cherrywood.
  • Applegate Farms Hickory Smoked Uncured Sunday Bacon: nitrate- and nitrite-free.
  •  
    Read the full review for more recommendations.

      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Swedish Gummy Horse Stocking Stuffers

    Gummy Horses

    Swedish Gummy Horses

    Dala Painted Horse

    [1] and [2] Swedish Gummy Horses, the best thing since Swedish fish (photos courtesy Candy People). [3] The painted wood horse that inspired the gummies (photo courtesy Scandinavian Butik).

     

    We love gummy candy. Our entire family does.

    That’s why it’s so easy to give them what they really want: different types of gummies, which, we might add, are pretty inexpensive.

    We found these luscious Dala Horse gummies at Ikea (in the store, but not online). We just put in a big order for more.

    The Dala Horse is inspired by the famed Swedish folk art, Dalahäst (Dala horse), a painted wood horse that originated in the early 1800s in the Dalarna Province of Central Sweden. They are still handmade there.

    At the time, the toy horses crafted in Dala began to be decorated with bright colors and painted flowers. The flower patterned saddle design derived from a Biblical story in which Jonah sat outside the city of Ninevah; the Lord caused a kurbit, or gourd vine, to grow up beside him to protect him from the desert sun.

    The Dala Horse gained worldwide recognition at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City, where a giant version welcomed visitors outside the Swedish Pavilion. The following year, 20,000 Dala horses were produced for shipment to New York.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CANDY?

    Dala Horse gummy candy is imported from Sweden. We like them even more than Swedish Fish.

    In fact, we can’t get enough of the gummy equines. They’re:

  • Pineapple, citrus, and raspberry, in natural colors and flavors.
  • Gluten free, gelatin free, GMO free, HFCS free.
  • Sold in 5.3 ounce bags.
  • Great stocking stuffers: 3 bags are $13.95, 6 bags are $23.95.
  •  
    But we went whole hog (actually, whole horse) and bought the 15-pack for $49.95, $3.33 a bag.

    In addition to holiday tips, we’ll be gifting everyone gummy horses, with a bow tied through the opening at the top.

    Dala Horses are sold at all Ikea and World Market stores (in-store only) and online at Amazon.com (links above).
     
     
    MORE GUMMIES

    Check out the Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears and Worms from Baron Chocolatier. Heaven!

     

     
      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: ButcherBox Grass-Fed Beef

    Butcher Box

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    Butcher Block Steak

    [1] A monthly (or one-time) box arrives, frozen and portion-wrapped. [2] The Steak and Chops Box. The boxes differ somewhat each month depending on what’s best. [3] You have to cook your own meat, but the result is worth it (all photos courtesy ButcherBox).

     

    What do you give loved ones who want to switch to all-natural and organic foods?

    To those who want to start the new year on the Paleo Diet?

    How about parents who only want to feed their children hormone-free, antibiotic-free meats?
     
    WHY GRASS-FED BEEF?

    Founder Mike Salguero, a follower of the Paleo Diet*, was first introduced to 100% grass-fed beef through a local farmer who sold quarter- and half-shares of cattle. Mike was instantly hooked, preferring the more natural taste of grass-fed beef and the many health advantages of grass-fed beef over conventional grain-fed beef.

    He asked himself: “Why isn’t everyone eating this?”

    The reason, he found, is that not everyone has access to grass-fed beef. Even if their market carries it, it is often limited to ground beef. Just 1% of the total beef consumed in the United States is 100% grass-fed.

    Mike set out to make 100%† grass-fed beef accessible to those who want it. He sought the best farmers; he and the team tasted every month’s supply before buying it.

    He added organic and free-range chicken and humanely raised heritage pork to the product mix, and made it simple to order and receive meat for the month.

    Butcher Box works on a subscription basis: Sign up for the number of months you want. You can cancel at any time, change your box contents, set your schedule (every month, every other, every three months) and so on.

    FOR GIFTS: You can send gift subscriptions or single boxes.
     
    WHAT YOU GET

    The team goes to great length to ensure that you’re wowed with each box you receive. Every cut from every farmer is tasted before ButcherBox buys it. If they don’t love it, you won’t get it.

    ButcherBox won a blind taste test on the Today Show, and gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from own taste test as well.

    ButcherBox offers four different monthly boxes, a balanced assortment of steaks, roasts, and easy-to-cook items like ground beef and tips. It arrives when you specify, portion-wrapped and frozen.

    Each monthly box contains a balanced selection of 3-5 premium cuts, from ribeye to flat iron to short ribs. In addition to the rotating monthly choices, each box includes a premium blend of ground beef.

    Based on the month’s contents, you can choose in advance to add on other options each month: New York strip steak, bacon, roasts, and so on. Its easy to customize your box to your household’s preferences.

    The basic boxes are:

  • All Beef Box
  • Beef & Chicken Box
  • Beef & Pork Box
  • Mixed Box (all 3 meats)
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    All boxes come with curated recipes that you can use to cook the month’s cuts.
     
    WHAT IT COSTS

  • The ButcherBox you select is $129/month. It includes 7-10 pounds of meat—enough for at least 20 individual portions at a 5- to 8-ounce portion size.
  • The meats are less expensive than in stores, and shipping is included to the contiguous 48 states.
  • For individual gift boxes, prices start at $79.
  • The meats are flash frozen and portion-packaged.
  • DELIVERY

    The box is filled with dry ice that’s carefully calculated to keep the contents frozen on your doorstep for up to 24 hours after arrival.

    You receive a tracking number the night your box ships.
     
    CAN’T WAIT TO START YOUR OWN SUBSCRIPTION OR TO SEND BUTCHERBOX AS A GIFT?

    Head to GetButcherBox.com and start to drool!
     
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    *The Paleo Diet emphasizes whole foods and proteins from grass-fed animals, whose meat is considered more flavorful. It is usually lower in fat and calories.

    †Some cattle are 100% grass fed; others are fed with grass until six months before harvesting, when they are switched to grain to fatten them up.

     
      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: French Macaron Kit

    For those who both like to bake cookies and eat French macarons, an inspired gift is Dana’s Bakery Macaron Making Kits.

    One of our favorite macaron makers, Dana’s is known for innovative flavors and seasonal specials.

    The kits are available in three of the most popular flavors:

  • Chocolate Molten
  • Fruity Cereal Macarons
  • Red Velvet Macarons
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    Each kit includes ingredients for 20 two-inch macarons:

  • 2 mix packets
  • 2 piping bags
  • 1 piping tip
  • Recipe for the filling
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    A video provides step-by-step guidance (below).

    Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to buy your own almond flour and make macarons galore in your favorite flavors and colors.

    Each flavor is $24.00, three for $72.00. The baking mat is $18.00.

    You may want to add a silicone baking mat, which the professionals use for “perfect results every time.”

    Check ‘em out at DanasBakery.com.

    If you’re concerned about what it takes to make delicious macarons, watch the video below.

     

    Red Velvet Macaron Kit

    Macaron Mat

    Make your own macarons with this kit and baking mat from Dana’s Bakery.

     

      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Spicy Brownies

    Sea Salt Brownie

    Sea Salt Brownie

    We [heart] spicy Mayan brownies (photos courtesy The Grommet).

     

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery is an artisanal baked goods company that re-imagines classic treats, by adding finishing salts and exotic spices.

    These extras turn the cookies and brownies into decidedly adult fare.

    We love brownies—great ones—and are always on the prowl for what’s different and delicious.

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery makes five brownie flavors. The one that called out to us was the Mayan, “the brownie that bites you back.”

    Seasoned as the original Mayan chocolate was, with cinnamon, and cayenne, it’s topped with Halen Môn (Anglesey), crunchy sea salt flakes.

    In the Mayan and later Aztec cultures, chocolate* was only available to the nobility, wealthy merchants and honored warriors.

    Unleash your inner warrior and try a few.

    Other flavors include:

  • The Brownie, a classic with Halen Môn sea salt
  • The Kona, with espresso and Hawaiian Kona sea salt
  • The OMGCB, with caramel and French sel gris
  • The Nutty One, with peanut butter, and French sel gris
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    ABOUT SALT OF THE EARTH PRODUCTS

    The line is all-natural and certified kosher by OK-D. The chocolate is 100% Fair Trade USA certified chocolate from Guittard.

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery is commited to the environment, from sustainable packaging, to recycling to maximizing eco-friendly power sources such as solar and hydro energy.
     
    GET YOUR BROWNIES

    Three boxes of 2 brownies each (1.6 ounces per brownie) are $15.00 at SaltOfTheEarthBakery.com.

    There are also gift packs of brownies and cookies.
     
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    *For the first few thousand years of its existence, chocolate was a beverage. Solid chocolate was first created in the 19th century, in Europe. Check out the Chocolate Timeline.

     
      

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