Love and Joy Come to You

It's time again for my holiday gift list for foodies, during this most sacred time of the year, when all shopping is permissible and no one can fault you for going overboard!

First up is Oprah's Weight Watchers cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness. I received this as a gift from my friend Melanie this year, and have very much enjoyed its light, yet flavorful recipes for Vietnamese chicken salad, cacao e pepe pasta, and miso glazed cod.

Next up, one of Oprah's suggestions for adding rich flavor to lightened up dishes is Sabatino Truffle Zest, a $15 indulgence that makes a great stocking stuffer, and is head and shoulders above truffle oil at adding the earthy, heady truffle flavor to foods without completely taking over all other flavors like oil does. It's intense and delicious on pastas, eggs, and potatoes, or to enrich a mushroom dish.

Staying on the spice track, you absolutely should buy everyone you know a jar of Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel seasoning blend. This one's even more affordable, just $1.99, and makes everything you sprinkle it on sing with the onion, garlic, sesame and poppy seed goodness of an everything bagel. Basically, buy this for people you want to like you more, because they totally will. I like to brush boring old frozen dinner rolls with a little butter and then sprinkle it on before I bake them, to add zest. Also delicious on an omelet, especially if you're doing a low carb diet thing and are missing your morning bagel.

"But Shelbs!" you're whining, "I need more than stocking stuffers!" Duh, I know. And I got you. Shawn bought me my Philips Air Fryer last year for Christmas, and it has become our favorite appliance. Want chicken wings you can make at home, less greasy than bar food, but more crispy, and with no oil to dispose of or stink to endure? Air fryer. Want actually healthy French fries, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside? Air fryer. Want crunchy empanadas without the guilt? Air fryer! It's bulky, yes, but we use it almost weekly, and deeply love the degree to which it's kept excess oil out of our diets this year, while still delivering crunchy, crispy food to our bellies.

If you get your loved one the air fryer, you might as well go ahead and get a French fry cutter. Believe me, once you taste how great fries are out of this baby, you're going to want to make them all the time, and cutting uniform fries by hand is a pain. We have this heavy duty French fry cutter. It's boss hog. A little unwieldy on the counter-top. I suggest mounting it so you can be a true fry professional in 2018.

For my birthday this year, I received a box of New York State treats from Shawn's family, and this next gift idea was my favorite of the bunch. Hedonist Artisan Chocolates is a Rochester-based business, and its ginger truffle and pistachio truffle were two of the best things I put in my mouth all year. The Chocolatier's Choice box is $34, just about what you planned to spend on your mother-in-law, no?

I met the proprietor of Syracha'Cuse, another New York-based food business, just a few weeks ago at a tasting in Hamilton. He makes hot sauces and mustards with kick, often using beer crafted by fellow NY purveyors. If you need a spicier stocking stuffer for the dude in your life who likes it hot, I bet this guy will have your hook-up. Plus, doesn't it feel good to shop local? (the correct answer to that is yes)

So that's my deal this year, you guys. Really great gifts, one and all. You could do all the foodstuffs together as one basket of goodies, or package the fryer, cutter, and truffle zest as a truffle fry bundle, or even the chocolates and cookbook together as a "Naughty Holiday, Healthy New Year," idea!

No matter which gifts you choose for those you love this year, make sure it has flavor, and remember, gift certificates to locally owned restaurants never spoil. Love and joy to all of you Hungries! Happy Shopping!


  1. I love your style of writing. And the concept of sprinkling "everything" seasoning on my eggs since I'm going low carb. Keep it up!

    Nicole @ www.bentomomentos.wordpress.com

  2. I am always fearful when I make the trek to TJ's (about 30 minutes from me) that they will be sold out of Everything but the Bagel Seasame spice. I add it to my eggs every morning! New follower via Steph Doyle and I can already tell I'm going to like your blog!

  3. I love my Phillips Air Fryer. It will handle a couple dozen chicken nuggets (my two kids weekend go-to lunch), a 2 lb bag of tater tots, frozen fish sticks, and like you fresh cut fries. I have not figured out how to get Sweet Potato fries to the crispy finish as Russets, a work in progress.