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The 12 Days Of Christmas Tea Gift Set

For the tea lover, may we recommend Adagio Teas’ “12 Days Of Christmas” in tea? On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a most festive and delicious set of teas! The 12 Days of Christmas Gift Set from Adagio Teas: a delicious and jolly selection of tea blends in individual pouches. There’s an assortment of black, green, herbal and rooibos teas, a different variety for each of the 12 Days of Christmas.

The brightly red metal tins are packed into an equally colorful box that will delight the eye as soon as the wrapping comes off. But the merrymaking doesn’t end there!

It’s a gift that keeps on giving. The lovely reusable tins, 3.75″ x 2.25″ x 3/8″, can be lined up to create a holiday scene, or can hang as ornaments, empty or full (photo #2), this year and each year going forward.

The 12 teas in this holiday lineup of teas are White Pear (white tea), Peacan Turtle (rooibos), Lavender Lemon (herbal tea), Candy Cane (black tea), Golden Monkey (black tea), Jasmine Pheonix Pearls (green tea), Blue Mango (herbal tea), Cream (black tea), Cha Cha (herbal tea), Earl Grey Bravo (black tea), Fruit Medley (herbal tea), and Nutcracker (rooibos tea).

Each blend of tea was selected to correspond with its piece of the song—for example, for the first line, “a partridge in a pear tree” song lyric becomes “a partridge in a white pear tea.”

Each tin contains one single-serving pouch of tea.

  • Partridge In A White Pear Tea
  • Two Pecan Turtle Doves
  • Three French Lavender Lemon
  • Four Candy Canes
  • Five Golden Monkey
  • Six Geese A-Laying Jasmine Phoenix Pearls
  • Seven Swans A-Swimming In Blue Mango
  • Eight Maids Cream Tea
  • Nine Ladies Dancing – Cha Cha!
  • Ten Earl Greys A-Leaping
  • Eleven Pipers Piping Fruit Medley
  • Twelve Drummers Nutcracking Rooibos
    It’s a tea-licious gift, for $24.00

    Get your 12 Days Of Christmas Tea at

    Sing along with The 12 Days Of Christmas.

    Sung by The King’s Singers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it’s the most glorious sound and visual treatment of “The 12 Days Of Christmas” on YouTube.


    [1] A delightful gift of teas with 12 reusable tins. After the tea is gone, use them for spices, pins, whatever (all photos © Adagio Teas).

    [2] The recipient can use the tea tins as tree ornaments this year…and each year going forward.

    [3] The tins slide open, each revealing a pouch of fine tea. You’ll find quite a few ways to reuse the tins.





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    Adirondack Blue Potatoes, Adirondack Red Potatoes: Potato Magic!

    [1] They’re called blue, but they’re [obviously] purple (photo © High Mowing Organic Seeds).

    [2] Cooked and ready to eat (photo © Johnny Seeds).

    [3] These red potatoes cook up pink (photo © High Mowing Organic Seeds).

    [4] In the roasting pan, ready to serve (photo courtesy Collegio Ingegneri Ferroviari Italiani).


    Are you a person who likes to change things up, innovate, generate delight, dazzle the kids? Well, here’s a game-changer for Thanksgiving (or any day of the year): blue mashed potatoes. They’re actually purple in color, but we’ll stick with the industry name: Adirondack blue potatoes. Beyond mashed, think blue baked potatoes. Roasted potatoes. Boiled potatoes. Potato salad.

    The large, oblong tubers taste like regular potatoes.

  • They can be more blue-violet or more purple in color, depending on the soil where they’re grown.
  • The flesh is waxy-moist but firm.
  • They hold their color when cooked (the flesh of some blue varieties turns grey after boiling).
  • If you want to serve them whole, their deep eyes create a unique, dimpled look.
  • The blue color is created by the pigment anthocyanidin*, a powerful antioxidant. Anthocyanidin is a rare plant pigment, which is why there are so few blue foods.
    These gorgeous potatoes are striking on the table.

    And there’s also Adirondack Red!

    This beautiful red potato has red flesh, which turns a light shade of pink when boiled. As with Adirondack Blue, it’s excellent for baking, boiling, mashing, roasting, and potato salad.

    The red pigment is betacyanin, another powerful antioxidant that is red-violet and also colors beets, red cabbage, and many other plants. It’s a much more common pigment in the plant kingdom than the blue anthocyanidin and anthocyanin*.
    NOTE: The skins of both Blue and Red are thin, so scrub them gently.

    Thanks go to Walter de Jong, Ken Paddock, and Robert Plaisted, potato-genetics scientists at the Cornell University School of Integrated Plant Science Plant Breeding & Genetics Section. They released Adirondack Blue in 2003 after many years of development and testing. (The potatoes are non-GMO).

    They focus on the genetic improvement of the potato, both by conventional and molecular genetic means. (Note that this does NOT mean genetically modified organisms. These potatoes are Non-GMO.)

    Shortly after Adirondack Blue, they released Adirondack Red, Keuka Gold, and Yukon Gem, all huge successes grown in the Northeast by specialty potato farmers.

    Adirondack and Keuka are both places in the Northeast. The Adirondack Mountains are a range in northeastern Upstate New York, Keuka is one of the major Finger Lakes in New York State.


    *Anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that can lower risks of heart and neurological diseases. But don’t use that as an opportunity to over-indulge! Anthocyanidin and anthocyanin are two types of red-blue plant flavonoids, mostly found in flowers and fruits of higher plants. The main difference between them is that anthocyanin is a water-soluble vacuolar pigment, whereas anthocyanidin is the sugar-free counterpart of anthocyanin [source]. Here’s more about antioxidants.



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    Brownwood Farms Flavored Ketchup For Home & For Food Gifts

    Yes, you can give ketchup as a gift to a foodie or a general ketchup lover. When it’s a “gourmet” ketchup like Brownwood Farms Ketchup, made in three flavors that add more excitement to burgers, fries hot dogs, meatloaf, sandwiches…wherever you use ketchup.

    Want to make your own ketchup? Here’s a recipe.

    You can even make green ketchup and rhubarb ketchup.

    Also check out the “anatomy of ketchup” graphic, below.

    Variations on Brownwood Farms’ classic ketchup recipe include:

  • Bacon Ketchup: Made with real applewood-smoked bacon (without nitrates or nitrites) and a splash of bourbon, for a smoky flavor.
  • Dill Pickle Ketchup: Tart dill pickles and sweet tomato ketchup make a terrific combination. You can still add dill pickles to your burger, hot dog, or sandwich.
  • Kickin’ Ketchup: For those who like some heat in their food, ghost chili powder makes it spicy but not overly hot.
    Given the time of year, we’re giving these as stocking stuffers to friends who will appreciate specialty ketchup.

    Get them at

    Burgers, fries and other fried or breaded food—chicken, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, zucchini fries—are obvious. Meat loaf sandwiches are a given, as are breakfast eggs. Here are ten more everyday condiment uses for ketchup.

  • Baked Beans: Mom topped her baked beans recipe with ketchup and bacon strips before placing the dish in the oven.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Read the labels—most have a ketchup base! Browse homemade BBQ sauce recipes and add your own favorite ingredients.
  • Cocktail Sauce: Mix with horseradish.
  • Dip: Mix ketchup with plain yogurt, or serve it straight with potato chips.
  • Hot Dogs: We grew up with mustard on hot dogs, and discovered well into adult hood that many people use ketchup instead.
  • Meat Loaf Glaze: A favorite topping in American meat loaf recipes: Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of ketchup.
  • Russian Dressing: Combine equal proportions of ketchup and mayonnaise.
  • Steak Sauce: Melt a stick of butter in a sauce pan, add three minced garlic cloves, simmer a bit and stir in a cup of ketchup. Serve hot or room temperature.
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce: Add Thai fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
  • Thousand Island Dressing: Combine ketchup with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish.


    Burger With Mushrooms & Onions
    [1] Whether your burger is plain or fancy, a great ketchup elevates each bite (photos #1 and #4 © Good Eggs).

    [2] We love Brownwood Farms’ three flavored ketchup: Bacon, Dill Pickle and Kickin’ Ketch

    [3] Homemade ketchup is easy to make. Check out this recipe (photo © Danielle Walker | Meals Made Simple).





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    Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing Recipe, Not Just For Thanksgiving

    [1] A delicious vegetarian/vegan stuffing with dried and fresh mushrooms (photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    [2] Fresh cremini mushrooms (also spelled crimini) can be replaced with white button mushrooms (photo ©Christine Siracusa | Weusual | Unsplash).

    [3] These are fresh shiitake mushrooms (photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog).

    [4] These are dried shiitake mushrooms (photo © Umami Information Center).

    [5] This is the favored brand of recipe developer Hannah Kaminsky. You can find them on Amazon (photo © Sugimoto).

    [6] Use a sourdough loaf or an Italian loaf for the bread cubes (photo © Maison Kayser).

    [7] Use fresh parsley, never dried. Flat or curly: it doesn’t matter (photo © Cava Mediterranean Restaurant).


    We love stuffing. We’d rather have stuffing than the turkey. When the last bit of turkey is gone, we know we’ll have more, sometime soon. But we never get around to making another pan of stuffing (stuffing? dressing? see the difference below).

    Here’s a mushroom stuffing recipe from Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog that everyone will enjoy—including vegetarians and vegans.

    She’s particularly fond of the dried shiitake mushrooms from Sugimoto in Japan (they have a U.S. website and are also on Amazon).

    Shiitakes are Japan’s favorite mushrooms. In certain preparations, dried Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms are a better choice than fresh ones for several reasons. They have much better flavor, enhanced nutritional attributes, and of course, will last a lot longer in your kitchen.

  • By removing the moisture, dried mushrooms are naturally preserved to keep longer, without the need for refrigeration, making them an indispensable pantry staple.
  • Fresh mushrooms must be kept in the fridge for about a week, two at the most, while dried Sugimoto shiitake will keep perfectly at room temperature for at least a year, springing back life as good as new when needed.
  • Long used in eastern medicines as natural supplements, shiitake mushrooms are rich in many vitamins and nutrients. But only when dried can those elements be concentrated and better absorbed. The drying process breaks down proteins into amino acids and transforms ergosterol into vitamin D.
  • The drying process also creates a concentration of tastes and provides glutamate, boosting their umami flavor.
    “Of course,” says Hannah, “most importantly for their culinary value, Sugimoto shiitake mushrooms are incredibly delicious because the drying and rehydrating process produces guanylate, a natural umami enhancer. Guanylate amplifies the umami taste of all foods, making dishes richer, bolder, and simply better.

    “That’s a whole lot to be thankful for right there. It should go without saying that these powerful little mushrooms definitely deserve a place of honor in your stuffing. I’ve got the perfect dish to grace your menu right here.”

    Tangy sourdough and umami mushrooms are the foundation of this hearty, comforting stuffing. Infused with autumnal herbs and nutty browned butter, it’s a side dish you should invite over for Thanksgiving dinner.

    You can also enjoy it any time of the year. There’s nothing seasonal about mushrooms, sourdough, and stuffing.

    The flaxseeds are very high in fiber with a good amount of protein and a charming flavor. They’re also rich in heart-healthy fat. You can omit them if you like

    Prep time is 20 to 30 minutes soaking time for the mushrooms, 15 minutes more for the other ingredients. Cook time is 35 to 45 minutes.

    To make ahead of time, the stuffing may be prepared up until the final baking stage 1 day in advance; cover and chill until ready to bake.

    We tried the recipe with 2-day-old challah instead of sourdough, also delicious. Just make sure you toast it first to get the bread cubes more dry and crisp.

  • 2.15 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked overnight
  • 1 pound sourdough or Italian bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup butter butter (substitute vegan butter as desired)
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups shiitake soaking water and/or mushroom stock
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

    1. SOAK the mushrooms in 3 cups of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms but reserve the liquid. Separate the caps from the stems; slice the caps and finely mince the stems. Set aside.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spread the cubed bread pieces as a single layer on two baking sheets, making sure the cubes don’t overlap. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, until evenly toasted. Set aside and increase the heat to 375°F.

    3. SET a large saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, the butter will begin to foam and sizzle around the edges. Continue stirring, gently but continuously, for about 5 to 8 minutes. The butter will turn golden brown and begin to smell nutty.

    4. ADD the onion, celery, cremini or button mushrooms, shiitake, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and become highly aromatic, 10 to 13 minutes. Add the poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper, cooking for 1 minute longer to incorporate.

    5. TURN off the heat and sprinkle in the flaxseeds, tossing the vegetables to coat. Introduce the toasted bread and stir well to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Transfer to a larger bowl if needed to stir properly.

    6. ADD the vinegar, shiitake soaking water and/or stock if needed, hazelnuts, and parsley. Mix well, making sure everything is thoroughly incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, spreading it out in an even layer.

    7. BAKE for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    It’s simple:

  • Stuffing is cooked inside the bird.
  • Dressing is cooked in a separate pan.
    While the idea of stuffing the bird appeals to many, most experts recommend cooking a separate dressing.

    For food safety reasons, stuffing in the cavity of the bird must reach the same 165°F temperature before it is ready to serve. If you have a vegetarian dressing, it’s not an issue.

    (But if you have a dressing made with raw meat or seafood, do make sure it cooks to 160°F.)

    It’s also a heck of a lot easier to make dressing, both in placing it in a pan instead of spooning it into the turkey cavity; and in avoiding the labor of scooping the stuffing out of the bird.

    There may be regional traditions that select one term or the other. We grew up in the northeast, where it was always “stuffing,” no matter whether in the bird or in a casserole dish.

    “Dressing” referred to salad dressing.

    Allow us to use the words interchangeably in the recipe names. The cook decides if it’s going to be stuffing or dressing!

  • Chestnut, Fig & Honey Stuffing
  • Chicken Liver Stuffing
  • Oyster Dressing
  • Panettone Stuffing


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    Les Legendes Bordeaux From Lafite Rothschild: Wonderful, Affordable

    Certainly, everyone who drinks Bordeaux wine knows of Château Lafite Rothschild, the premier cru classe of the Pauillac region of Bordeaux. If they’re lucky enough, they’ve had it more than once. But a bottle of the 2008 vintage, which is ready to drink now, is $995. The 2009 Carruades de Lafite, the winery’s second label, is $359. What’s a wine lover on a budget to do?

    We have a solution below. But first, a bit about the producer.

    Starting out in 1868 with Lafite, today Les Domaines Barons de Rothschild is a large wine group. In Bordeaux, the group owns four additional properties in addition to Lafite and Carruades:

  • Château* Duhart-Milon, in Pauillac
  • Château L’Évangile, in Pomerol
  • Château Rieussec, a Sauternes
    The company also distributes Château Paradis Casseuil in the Entre-deux-Mers region, and Château Odilon in the Haut-Médoc.
    Lafite Rothschild owns wineries in areas beyond Bordeaux. In France, these are typically referred to as domaines. This use of “domaine” is also customary in France’s other famed wine-making region, Burgundy.

    Why chateau versus domaine? Here’s more about it.

    These beyond-Bordeaux wineries of Lafite include:

  • Domaine d’Aussières in Narbonne, a town in the Occitan region of southern France
  • Bodegas Caro, in Argentina
  • Viña Los Vascos, in Chile
    Then there’s Les Légendes, a wine collection we loved at first taste. It has become part of our regular drinking.

    Three decades ago, the Rothschild family was inspired to create a new wine collection, where each wine would be an excellent expression of its appellation.

    The motivation for creating the Les Légends Collection was to ensure that wine lovers everywhere could taste the originality of each Bordeaux appellation at an affordable cost.

    And so, Les Légendes range was born.

    The wines express the freshness and elegance of Bordeaux, and are very affordable—as little as $15 a bottle. An amazingly low cost, yet they’re made with the same care and attention as the Grands Vins of Lafite Rothschild. These are classy wines.

    You don’t need to cellar them: They are ready to drink when they are released (Lafite Rothschild has to be cellared for at least 10 years after release; 15 to 20 years is ideal).

    The red wines use grapes purchased from vineyards neighboring Domaines Lafite Rothschild (Les Légendes Pauillac uses actual grapes from Lafite Rothschild vineyards). The white wine grapes are from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux.

    We were fortunate to taste the red wines in order of complexity. Each wine got better and better—in a lineup where each was excellent (as is the Bordeaux Blanc).
    Les Légends Red Bordeaux Wines

  • Bordeaux Rouge, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot
  • Medoc, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot
  • Pauillac, 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot
  • St. Emilion, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc
    Les Légends White Bordeaux Wine

  • Bordeau Blanc, 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Sémillon
    Your task is to find these beautifully balanced wines—and pop the cork without delay! Here’s a store locator.

    Here’s more about the portfolio.

    We raise a glass to Les Légends!

    *Château is the French term for a country house or castle, and is most commonly used by the wineries of Bordeaux.


    [1] Bordeaux and steak: a classic combination (photo © D&D London).

    [2] Les Légendes Collection: five wonderful wines (photo © Taub Family Selections).

    [3] Les Légendes St. Emilion: a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with anise, plums and blackberries, a savory edge of leather and tar and an earthiness that wine people call forest floor.

    [4] You don’t need a rack of lamb to enjoy these wines, but it’s a beautiful pairing (photos © Now And Zin).



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