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GIFT IDEA: Chocolate Advent Calendar With A Playlist

Here’s a way for chocolate lovers to sing their way through December: a chocolate advent calendar with a suggested playlist.

There are 25 days to Christmas, 25 different bonbon* flavors, and 25 different popular holiday songs to sing as you nibble.

This innovative idea is from Delysia Chocolatier.

Pick up a piece of chocolate each day from December 1st through Christmas. Printed on the liner underneath is a song suggestion, with a snippet of the lyrics that inspired the flavor.

There’s also a link to a daily online newsletter revealing the song that inspired the flavor of the day.

The interactive webpage reveals the inspiration behind the day’s flavor, along with interesting song facts and trivia.

Our recommendation: Head to YouTube and sing along as your favorite artists sing the song.

So sing as you nibble: It’s a fun and interactive way to countdown to the holiday season.

No one can be a Grinch with such a tasty and unique holiday gift. (But if it’s a gift, you have to give it by December 1st.)
 
 
GET YOUR ADVENT CALENDAR

Head to DelysiaChocolatier.com.
 
 
> Advent calendar history.

> Chocolate history.
 
________________

*Delysia calls them truffles, we call them bonbons. Here’s the difference.

 

Delysia Chocolate Advent Calendar 2022
[1] The advent calendar in a bright red box (photos © Delysia Chocolatier).

Delysia Chocolate Advent Calendar 2022
[2] Break off a piece every day and .

 

 
 

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Pumpkin Hand Pies With Salted Caramel Glaze, A Snack Or Dessert Recipe

Pumpkin Hand Pies Recipe
[1] It’s the season for pumpkin pie. How about hand pies? No need to slice (photos #1 and #3 © Colavita).

Bowl Of Pumpkin Puree
[2] Be sure you’re using pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling (photo © Good Eggs).

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
[3] When you make a crust with olive oil, always use extra virgin (photo © The Fresh Market | Facebook).

Canister & Spoon Of Dark Brown Sugar
[4] Dark brown sugar has a deeper, richer flavor, due to more molasses content, than light brown sugar (photo © Grafvision | Panther Media).

Koloa Spiced Rum Bottle
[5] A small snifter of spiced rum pairs nicely with a pumpkin pie dessert (photo © Kōloa Rum).

 

Pair these Pumpkin Hand Pies with Salted Caramel Glaze as a snack or dessert with coffee or tea. You can also pair it with a dessert wine, tawny Port, or a snifter or shot glass of spiced rum.
 
 
RECIPE: PUMPKIN HAND PIES WITH SALTED CARAMEL GLAZE

This recipe uses extra virgin olive oil to make the pie crust, instead of another shortening. It was created by Colavita Olive Oil, which has many more recipes to enjoy.

Prep time is 40 utes, and cook time is 30 minutes.
 
Ingredients For 12 Serving

For The Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup ice water, as needed
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  •  
    For The Egg Wash

  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  
    For The Glaze

  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Optional garnish: coarse sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POSITION the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. MAKE the crust. ADD the flour, 1/2 cup olive oil, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil and pulse until the mix resembles a coarse meal. Add the ice water, one teaspoon at a time, pulsing, until large clumps begin to form.

    3. POUR the mixture out onto a clean surface and, with lightly floured hands, form it into a ball. Then flatten it into a 4” x 1/2″ thick rectangle. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts and roll each into a ball. Keep covered until ready to assemble.

    4. MAKE the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée, white and brown sugars, egg, vanilla extract, and spices until well combined. Chill until ready to use.

    Note: Don’t over-whisk the pumpkin mixture as this will incorporate air that could result in the filling puffing up too much when baking.

    5. ROLL OUT each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. Each round should be about 6 inches in diameter. Lightly brush the outer edge of each round with the egg wash. Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture into the center of each round. Fold the dough over the filling, forming a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges of the dough to seal, using a fork, or fold the edges back and create little pleats by pinching.

    6. TRANSFER the hand pies to the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush each with the egg wash, taking care to cover the edges, too. Bake until the dough is golden, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer the hand pies to a wire rack to cool before glazing. Put the baking sheet (or a fresh baking sheet) under the rack. When the pies are cool…

    7. MAKE the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon for about 6-8 minutes, until it begins to caramelize. Stir in the powdered sugar. Remove from the heat. The mixture should be thick but still pourable.

    8. DRIZZLE the glaze over the tops of each pie with a spoon, baster, or piping bag made from a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. The excess glaze will drip off onto the parchment-lined baking pan.

    9. IMMEDIATELY sprinkle a few flakes of salt on top of the glaze.
     
     
    > The history of pie.

    > The history of pumpkin pie.

    > The different types of pie and pastry.

     

     
     

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    GIFT IDEA: Dog Macarons From Bonne et Filou

    If you know a pet with a penchant for Parisian pâtisserie, check out these Dog Macarons from Bonne et Filou.

    Nothing says pet pâtisserie better than macarons, a treat for the most royal of dogs.

    The delicious dog macarons are made from all-natural human-grade ingredients, and unlike human macarons, they are healthy!

    They’re available in a dozen flavors:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Cheese
  • Crème Brûlée
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberry
  • Rose
  • Salted Caramel
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    What would your favorite dog prefer?
     
     
    ABOUT BONNE FILOU

    The name of the company, Bonne Filou, was inspired by the tale (tail?) of French King Louis XIV.

    For his favorite pups, Bonne and Filou, Louis created dog heaven at Versailles. Those pups certainly led the royal life.

    It is recorded that Bonne hunted by day and Filou lounged until night, both always sporting their diamond collars (which must have sparkled nicely in the Hall Of Mirrors).

    They slept on satin sheets and had—no surprise—their own personal chef.

    We don’t know if their chef made macarons, but no matter what, the king’s canines had nothing to bark about.
     
     
    GET YOUR DOG MACARONS

    Treat your dog like royalty and get a few boxes.

    Head to BonneFilou.com.

    There’s also a Dog Advent Calendar with 24 treats.

    And mark your calendar for:

  • National Dog Day, March 23rd
  • National Macaron Day, March 20th
  •  
     
    > The history of macarons and the difference between macarons and macaroons.

     

    Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons
    [1] Yum yum, woof woof, dog macarons (all photos © Bonne et Filou).

    Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons
    [2] Get an extra box to share with a friend.

    Dog Macarons With Raspberry Fillling
    [3] A box of raspberry Dog Macarons.

    Dog Advent Calendar
    [4] The Advent Xalendar.

     
    Dog with Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons

     
     

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    GIFT IDEA: Tea Towels With Many Uses In A Tea Towels Subscription

    Tea towels have many uses beyond drying dishes.
    [1] Soft linen tea towels were originally created to dry fine china (photo © Tracey Hocking | Unsplash).

    Tea Towels
    [2] Examples of the designs in the 2022 year’s tea towel collection (photos #2, #4, #4, #5, #6, and #7 © Eat Drink Lucky).

    Dishtowels
    [3] Flowers.

    Dishtowels
    [4] Strawberries.

    Dishtowels
    [5] Birds.

    Tea Towels
    [6] Seashore.

    Tea Towel With Pomegranate Design
    [7] Pomegranates.

     

    We’ve seen many a food-related gift subscription over the years, but this one is different: a subscription to a series of contemporary artist-designed tea towels. For certain queens or kings of the kitchen (and the environmentally conscious), it’s a unique gift.

    This is the third year for this series from Eat Drink Lucky, featuring 12 original designs created by Maine-based artists. They elevate the utilitarian dish towel into works of functional art.

    There’s more about the subscription below, but first: What’s a tea towel?

    A tea towel is a more elegant dish towel.

  • Tea towels are a soft cloth made of linen, cotton, or a blend. The softness enables them to polish or dry delicate items. They usually have an imprinted or woven pattern or design.
  • Dish towels are made from thicker and more absorbent terry cloth.
  • Both are approximately the size of a bathroom hand towel, ranging from 16″ x 28″ to 18″ x 30″.
  •  
    The history of tea towels is below.
     
     
    WAYS TO USE TEA TOWELS

    You can never have too many tea towels. They’re used for much more than drying dishes. For example:

  • Decorate the tabletop.
  • Dry your washed produce, keep greens crisp in the fridge, line the crisper drawer.
  • Line a bread basket or serving tray.
  • Line drawers and shelves in any room of the house.
  • Set out as guest bathroom towels.
  • Stack between plates, pots, and pans to prevent scratches.
  • Use as bibs on spaghetti night, e.g.
  • Use as hot pads or potholders.
  • Use as napkins and placemats.
  • Wrap baked goods, wine bottles, pillar candles, or other small gifts as an “extra gift” instead of paper gift wrap.
  •  
    For Worn Or Stained Towels

    Don’t throw them away—they still have a long life!

  • Buff and polish silver, glassware, and other items.
  • Dust cloths.
  • Mirror/window cleaning.
  • Spot cleaning on clothes, rugs, or upholstery.
  • Shoeshine cloths.
  •  
     
    GET YOUR ARTIST TEA TOWELS

    Bring more color and fun to someone’s kitchen with a tea towel subscription in three, six, and 12-month options. The first monthly tea towel for the 2023 collection will arrive in mid-January.

    Each towel is individually wrapped, accompanied by a note introducing the artist.

    Some recipients buy a subscription for themselves and keep them all, while others keep them on hand as last-minute hostess gifts, birthday gifts, teacher gifts, etc.

    And as previously noted, the gift is environmentally conscious, as tea towels reduce dependence on paper towels.

    Head to Eat-Drink-Lucky.myshopify.com.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF TEA TOWELS

    Dating to 18th-century England, tea towels were originally created to use to insulate teapots, catch drips from the spouts (hence the name), and dry fine china. They were designed to match the rest of the household’s table linen.

    They grew to be utilized not just for these purposes, but in tea ceremonies and rituals, as souvenirs, and as a utilitarian drape to keep breads and cakes fresh.

    Upper-class ladies used their needle skills to create beautiful heirlooms to be passed down through the generations. Girls used tea towels to practice embroidery, often gifting friends and family their tea towels stitched with flowers, initials, or other designs.

    During the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution, the tea towel became a more widely available consumer item. Machines could quickly weave designs, and produce them in more affordable cotton (although linen, softer to the touch and twice as strong as cotton, was preferred by those with means).

    Tea towel trivia: Vincent Van Gough painted some still lifes on tea towels, one of which sold for £2.1 million at auction in 2000. Why did he paint tea towels? At times he ran out of canvas and used whatever he could get ahold of [source].

    How about buying yourself a very affordable version of a Van Gogh sunflower on a tea towel?

    In previous centuries, American housewives with limited means would often reuse rough cotton animal feed sacks or flour sacks by cutting them up into dish towels. But they made them attractive by embroidering them, despite the difficulty of pushing a needle through the coarse weave of the sack.

    The 20th Century & Beyond

    Styles change, and by the 20th century, many tea towels were made with striped or checked cloth for a more contemporary, decorative touch.

    But the tradition of hand-decorating tea towels survived in home crafting for self and gifts.

    Then came paper towels.

    Paper towels were first invented in 1879 by the Scott Paper Company for sanitary medical use. In 1931, the company realized that paper towels had huge potential in the home.

    They created a new grocery category with rolls of paper towels manufactured specifically for kitchen use. Even with their higher cost, given the convenience they brought to the average household, paper towels began to replace cloth towels [source].

    In the latter part of the 20th century, paper towels—disposable but bad for the environment—replaced tea towels and dish towels in many homes. (Here’s why paper towels are bad for the environment.)

    But tea towels and dish towels are found in kitchens and homes across the globe.

    And most recently, couples have used them to print creative wedding invitations, or as favors at the reception.

    Thanks to The Radical Tea Towel for a substantial amount of this glimpse of history.

     

     
     

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    Healthier Bread Options For National Bread Month

    November is National Bread Month and we admit: We’d rather have great bread than a steak! We received an email from nutritionist Dietitian Desiree Nielsen about healthier bread options, and we’re passing them on to you.

    Bread often gets a bad rap with fingers pointing to it for empty calories, refined carbs, diet-unfriendly and more.

    Desiree offers some myth busters so you can feel no guilt about enjoying bread in your diet. Disclosure: She partners with Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery, so these tips focus on sprouted grains.

    But sprouted grains are great! Silver Hills sprouted breads were our Top Pick Of The Week earlier this year. We found Silver Hills breads to be much tastier than other brands we tried.

    It’s not just sliced bread. Silver Hills also makes bagels, buns, and tortillas. We just had one of the bagels for breakfast!
     
     
    MYTH: Whole Grain Breads are the Healthiest

    This statement is largely accurate. We know that whole grains are healthy. But what many of us don’t know is that sprouted whole grains are even better, unlocking more nutrition your body can use. Sprouted grains:

  • Have increased microbiome-boosting fiber to aid digestion while keeping you full and satisfied.
  • Offer an anti-inflammatory boost thanks to higher antioxidant activity (300%-470%) due to with flavonoids and other anti-inflammatory nutrients such as vitamin C and manganese.
  • Make minerals more bioavailable, including zinc and selenium which are immune-supportive minerals (and help you to help stay healthy this winter).
  •  
     
    MYTH: All Bread is Vegan

    Beyond the basic flour, water, and salt, many breads contain additional ingredients. These can include fats; sweeteners such as corn syrup, honey, or sugar; eggs; or dairy-based ingredients like butter or whey. Read the labels, and if you want bread that is 100% plant-based, choose brands that are certified vegan.
     
     
    MYTH: Bread Doesn’t Have Protein

    For those looking to up their protein intake, turn to sprouted bread. When grains begin to sprout, vital enzymes are released, breaking down starch stores and digestive inhibitors.

    This is why sprouted grains have lower glycemic index levels as well as increased soluble fiber and protein. Some, like Silver Hills sprouted breads, have 6–7g of protein per slice.

    And by the way, the flavor of sprouted breads are more complex and flavorful than standard white or whole wheat breads.
     
     
    Bread Isn’t Diet Friendly

    Not all carbs are created equal. Eliminating bread carbs across the board means eliminating some great sources of fiber and nutrients.

    Whole sprouted grains have complex carbs. Essential nutrients, like B vitamins and vitamin C, are made more available to the body, giving you a boost of focus, mental alertness, and greater energy to power through your day.

    Are you ready to take a bite?
     
     
    > What are sprouted foods?

    > The history of bread.

    > The different types of bread.
     

     

    Silver Hills Bakery Sprouted Grain Bagels
    [1] The sprouted bagels are a real treat (all photos © Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery).

    Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Bread In A Toaster
    [2] Morning toast will be tastier and better for you.

    Vegan Burgers On Silver Hills Sprouted Hamburger Rolls
    [3] A sprouted roll for your burger is so much more flavorful than typical white bread rolls.

    Meatball Sub On A Sprouted Grain Roll
    [4] Enjoy your meatball sub on a sprouted roll.

     
     
     

     
     
     

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