Holiday Shopping Finds 2012

Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday. So many ways to spend your well-earned paychecks in the days following Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas.

I thought I’d take a quick glance at some of the quirky foodie finds that you can find out there this year. All of these items were found at a local CVS pharmacy in the metro Boston area so you may not be able to find all of these in your area. I’ve tried linking to online shopping sites that carry the items, if you’re curious.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the foodie gifts…

super pretzel makerThe first item on our wish list is this Super Pretzel maker. Now, you can bring home that soft-baked pretzel taste from the ballpark. You can make five mini soft pretzels and warm up cheese for dipping. It also comes with a recipe book. In the store, it sells for $19.99. Buy online here.

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Product Review: Yonanas

yonanas description flierA few weeks ago, I told you that I was having issues with a stomach bug. Well, it turns out it’s not a stomach bug but some other undiagnosed issue. At the moment, I’m under doctor’s orders not to have any dairy, until further notice. A super-hard task for a Wisconsin girl, who is used to a daily diet that includes a healthy amount of cheese, yogurt and milk. So, I have a few weeks until my first colonoscopy – which will hopefully lend some clues to why I’m not feeling well. The thought right now is that it possibly could be Celiac Disease, or a gluten intolerance. I’ll keep you posted because it will definitely change the tone of this blog if I do end up having some sort of food allergy.

Now, I still have a pretty healthy appetite – and that includes my sweet tooth. For the most part I’ve been really good – I’ve snuck a few pieces of chocolate here and there, as well as some small nibbles of frosting from cupcakes. But, I do miss my frozen yogurt and ice cream, even my morning Kefir smoothie.

So, we decided to buy this as-seen-on-TV gadget called Yonanas, based on a recommendation from my friend Stacey. You simply need to freeze those overripe bananas that you were going to toss in the garbage or bake into banana bread. Then, you can add other frozen fruits, peanut butter and other add-ins for a frozen treat that comes out in the consistency of soft serve ice cream. If you don’t use bananas in the mixture, but just frozen fruit – like strawberries, blueberries, or mangoes – it comes out in a sorbet texture.

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Recipe: Hershey’s Especially Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate layer cake coolingI love dark chocolate. So whenever I get one of those Hershey’s sampler bags with milk chocolate, Special Dark, Mr. Goodbar and Krackle, I always hoard the Special Dark mini-bars. I absolutely adore them!

A few weeks ago, I got myself my first set of 8-inch cake pans at the President’s Day Sale at the nearby Calphalon Outlet Store. I have been searching for the first layer cake recipe to try and when I came across this one by Hershey’s, I knew I had found gold! Now, while the recipe calls for a 9-inch set of pans, I was able to make it work in my smaller set. I just had to carefully level the cakes, once they had cooled, since they had risen so much from the pans.

Now, here’s the rest of the recipe:

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Cooking with the Beatle’s Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine metal lunchboxI found these little treasures at one of the shops in the United Kingdom section of Epcot’s World Showcase. So, if you’re a Beatle fan or just know a foodie in love with the Fab Four, check out these items…

“We all live in a yellow submarine…”

One of the gifts you can find in this British treasure trove is an aluminum Yellow Submarine lunchbox that features artwork from the 1969 animated film of the same name.

Beatle Trivia: Yellow Submarine originally appeared on the Beatle’s 1966 album Revolver, which also featured the single Eleanor Rigby.

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Give the Gift of Cupcake Soap

There’s a new store at the mall that sells some interesting gifts for kids-of-all-ages. As I was perusing the shelves, I noticed this gift for young foodies:

Cupcake SoapDecorate soaps to look just like cupcakes with shiny glitter and bath crystals. I’m not exactly sure what “soap clay” is but there’s no melting involved. It looks like it’s pliable – similar to PlayDoh. The kit comes with enough supplies to make three cupcake soaps.

The store that I was in sold the kit for $19.99 but you could also find it on Amazon for less here.

For those keeping track, there are only 75 days left until Christmas. (Check out the Christmas 2011 Countdown.)

Foodie Road Trip: Yummies Candy and Nuts

Yummie's exterior signA little over an hour’s drive away from Boston is a candy lover’s paradise, located in Kittery, Maine. Yummies Candy and Nuts is packed from floor to ceiling with more than 10,000 pounds of candy on display – from popular treats to bubble gum and nostalgic sweets that will take you on a stroll down memory lane.

Let’s take a look inside, but before we get started on our tour, be forewarned:

Unattended children will be turned into chocolate Continue reading

Foodie Tool: Butter Boy

I was so disappointed when our dishwasher killed my Pampered Chef corn butterer. Waking up in the middle of night to the smell of burning plastic, cottony lungs, and needing to air out your apartment for a day and half can’t be good.

But a girl needs her sweet corn in the summer. Yes, I could just use a knife to slather my ear with butter, but that would be – uh – like sensible.

So, I found this little guy one day while wandering through Bed Bath and Beyond (y’know you need to be careful of that beyond section…)

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