For those of you who have been following Figs & Function since last winter, you may remember how much I truly adore the holiday season. I preset my car radio stations to the ones where the DJ says, “Playing all Christmas music…all the time.” Yes, that makes this Jewish girl very happy—go figure! But even stranger is my complete and utter delight with the houses decorated with lights.
It almost makes driving in darkness at 4:30 in the afternoon tolerable.
Though I haven’t yet acquired a taste for eggnog, I do love the holiday gift guides that can be found in almost every magazine, blog, and of course on every morning news program and talk show. And who am I to buck tradition?
So here’s Figs & Function’s Second Annual Gift Guide. (You can also click the archives on the right (December 2011, Let’s Wrap It Up) to see last year’s ideas.
For the Cook/Entertainer/Foodie
The best part about giving cookbooks to a real foodie is that they don’t even have to like any of the recipes. The inspiring photography and food styling that is such big business these days makes these cookbooks a real gift-giving stand out. In fact, I like to leave mine on the coffee table for others to enjoy as well.
These are my new faves.
As you see, I’ve got my gal Ina’s newest cookbook in there. I was lucky enough to meet her in person last week at her cookbook signing. She was awesome!! I was with my friends Missy and Amy, and she looked all three of us in the eyes and told us to “have fun” when we shared with her how much we love her recipes.
So I made her Lobster Mac and Cheese for a cousin’s lunch. It was so yummy. You don’t even need the lobster.
Which brings me to those cool place mats you see under the mac and cheese. I can’t go without giving a shout out to my big sis’s company, My Custom Yoga Mat, (www.mycustomyogamat.com). This year her monogrammed yoga mats were included in the Holiday Gift Guides in People magazine and Vanity Fair magazine. I happen to adore her place mats as well and use them all the time. They’re made out of yoga mat material so they are easy to wipe clean, and come in a ton of fun colors and shapes. You can get them monogrammed or plain.
These are the ones that I ordered, but you can go online and see the other shapes, colors, and fonts available.
For the Health Hero and Those Needing a Little Extra Health
Mr. S and I have been sending Honeybell Oranges as gifts for years. For those of us who live and “winter” in the cold Northeast, a little taste of Florida is a welcome surprise come January. (Note: the juicy, sweet Honeybell oranges don’t arrive until then, but they are so worth the wait.)
Gregory’s Groves at 1-800-Honeybell (1-800-466-3923)
If you’re among the millions of people who purchased a Magic Bullet in the last few years, I have some bad news for you. As with your computers, smart phones, tablets and TVs, you can now get the “better version.” Okay, I really dislike saying that, it seems so mean, but there are lots of benefits to this new version. It’s more of a juicer and nutrient extractor than a mere blender. It also comes with a recipe book that is invaluable. Just look up your “ailment or illness,” and see what to make in your NutriBullet. It’s like having a nutritionist in the box.
It retails for $99, but if you buy it at Bed Bath & Beyond and use your 20% off coupon, you’ll save 20 bucks. Love that!!!
For the Aspiring Art Enthusiast
Artwork produced by a local artist.
I’m not sure if those folks who have the enviable talent of spotting the next great master would agree with this statement, but when buying art purely for pleasure and philanthropic purposes, make sure the piece speaks to your soul. Are you moved by the artwork? Do you feel a connection with the piece or the artist? Does it make you smile, laugh, think, or cry? All are good.
Mr. S Junior, (that would be our son) bought this painting from local Philly artist, Ben Boskoski.
The painting by this young man spoke to our son’s love of his city as well as his own connection with the cerebral nature of Rodin’s, The Thinker.
Though this young artist did not exhibit at Art Basel this year, who knows—maybe one day? But in the meantime, if you are interested in his work, he can be reached at Benboskoski@mail.com (not gmail).
For the Civic-minded Individual or Family
Purchase shares at a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
By buying food from a neighborhood CSA farm, you are not only helping the environment, but also helping your local community and economy. But if that weren’t enough, you are also helping yourself. You are eating nutritious and better-tasting food that is produced sustainably, and the best part is, you get to meet the farmer. You buy shares (paid for up front), which entitle you to a weekly basket of vegetables, fruits and herbs during the growing season. As a member you also have the opportunity (if you’d like) to pick your own fruits and vegetables. How cool is that?
And lucky for us, there’s a new CSA in our town:
Pennypack Farm & Education Center is a non-profit organization that grows organic food and provides education programs about the advantages of local food. They will be restoring farming to 11 acres on the Highlands Mansion & Gardens historical site (www.highlandshistorical.org), providing farm-fresh food to the community as well as donating to local food banks. For more info as well as to purchase shares you can go to www.PennypackFarm.org.
Make a charitable donation in the recipient’s honor.
This is a wonderful way of recognizing others’ personal and special interests. Just make sure the organization is legitimate and its mission aligns with the values of the recipient you are honoring (probably not a good idea to support the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in honor of your vegetarian friend).
So, to my Figs & Function family, may this holiday season bring you blessings of peace and health as you joyfully make your way into the New Year!
Until Next Time,