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Everything you need to know about shipping cookies

I’ve made all the mistakes when it comes to shipping cookies. When my fiancé was working in Afghanistan I would experiment using just about every trick recommended, all so he could enjoy his beloved molasses cookies. I might not do it professionally, but if I can get cookies to arrive safe and delicious through international AND military mail one week later to the Middle East, I feel I’ve earned my street cred. So what wisdom can I impart this holiday season for those looking to send cookies overseas or even just to loved ones the next city over? 1. Don’t pack them up if they’re still even slightly warm. Nope. Don’t do it. Not even if you’re in a rush to make it to the Post Office before it closes. While I can totally relate to this predicament, shipping warm cookies is never a good idea. They will cause a…

5 gifts the ‘crunchy mama’ would totally love

Crunchy. Granola. Earth Mama. These labels aren’t usually insults, rather, they evoke an image of someone who does things a little less conventionally for the health of his or her family. Sometimes people who get labeled as “crunchy” don’t even think of themselves that way! They’re just living their best life. Whether it’s an obsession with organic groceries (and hand creams, and clothes, and diapers, etc.) or a chicken coop in their backyard, they’re down to live life the most wholesome way they know how—and that’s by DIY with many of their own foods right at home. Shopping for someone in the crunchy camp can be difficult if you don’t know their personal rulebook. But you can bet they’ll actually use—and actually appreciate—any one of these great 5 DIY in the kitchen gadgets below. 1. Buttercup Homemade Butter Maker ($12.99) Just add fresh cream to the Buttercup Butter Maker by Chef’n,…

Spreadable Christmas tree-shaped butter sculptures are here for the holidays

The presents are wrapped, the tree is lit, and the cookies are decorated. With all that work behind you, there’s just one thing left to go—the table setting. And what better way to add holiday cheer than with a dish of Christmas tree-shaped butter. Produced by Keller’s Creamery (the makers of the popular turkey-shaped butter), the 4-ounce Christmas tree butter sculpture stands all on its own, with four spreadable evergreen tree branch layers cascading over a sturdy base. The beautiful butter is bound to get your guests’ attention. With the equivalent of about eight tablespoons of butter, there’s plenty for everyone at your holiday bash to spread on their rolls, melt atop their green beans, or add to their cornbread casserole. Looking for a little butter tree of your own? Keller’s Creamery has a store locator with a complete list of locations selling the Christmas butter tree. The website doesn’t…

The most popular Christmas candies by state

American loves candy. That much is clear. And the fanciful, food-filled Christmas season only seems to add to our obsession. Christmas candy sales hit about $1.9 billion last in 2017 and they’re projected to reach a full $2 billion in 2019, according to the National Confectionary Association. Whether it’s chocolate candies decorating baked goods or candy canes dangling on trees (or grossing out your friends), it all adds up. But where you live might persuade your purchasing habits. Candystore.com released an interactive map revealing the results of their candy research: the top three most popular Christmas candies in each state. The online bulk candy distributor calculated more than 32,000 responses nationwide. And you just might be surprised by your state. Source: CandyStore.com. So what’s the most popular candy nationwide? Candy canes, of course. Whether they’re used as decoration, stirring hot chocolate, or crushed up atop cookies, candy canes make an…

How to host a holiday party on a budget

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry! That said, when you’re hosting friends and family for the holidays, your grocery bill can easily double or even triple in no time! All that extra spending can add to the stress of the season, especially if you still have lots of presents to put under the tree. If hosting a holiday party is in your future and you’re worried your budget is more Scrooge than Saint Nick, here are some thrifty tips that can help you save on yuletide expenses without cutting back on that Christmas. Make it a potluck As the host, pick one or two main dish items you can cook (or have catered). Then, give your guests plenty of notice and see if they’re willing to bring some simple hors d’oeuvres, snacks, or cookies. If someone argues that their cooking skills aren’t up to snuff, suggest they…

3 Easy steps to picking the right bottle of champagne for you

Christmas and New Years are right around the corner meaning one very exciting thing — it’s solidly champagne season. We associate the pop of the cork and those sparkling flutes with fun and celebration. But while you may want to down a glass, or two… or three, over the holidays, sometimes all of those choices at the store can be confusing. If you’ve ever hit the wine store and didn’t know what to buy, or feel like an amateur this time of year in the alcohol department, read on for a beginners guide to shopping for champagne. Remember, whichever you choose, make sure it’s in a dark bottle to help keep light away and preserve the intended flavors of the drink inside, but relax. It’s champagne! And no one should ever take a drink this fun and fizzy too seriously. Also see, Tips to prevent a champagne hangover. Step 1:…

Kale flavored candy canes actually exist, and that’s just the beginning

When it comes to candy canes, there’s usually not a whole lot left to the unknown. Once you peel back the thin, plastic wrapper, you expect you’ll get to enjoy a nice peppermint-flavored candy. But the world seems to have gone a little crazy lately and so too have our trusty red and white striped Christmas treats. Archie McPhee — the maker of candy cane flavors no one would ever ask for — thinks that peppermint is just a little too predictable. From macaroni and cheese, to pizza, and even ham (hamdy canes, of course), the quirky candy company probably has a candy cane for that. For veggie lovers, the green and white striped Kale Candy Cane ($7) offers “The bitter grassiness of your favorite vegetable.” Also, find comfort that “This set of six  Kale Candy Canes gives you all of the flavor of kale with none of the dietary benefits.” The red…

5 clever gifts for the wine or beer lover in your life

You can’t go wrong putting a six-pack or bottle of wine under the tree, but you can also get a lot more creative. From freezable beer glasses to wine glass appetizer plates, here are 5 gifts the wine or beer drinker in your life will love just as much as their favorite brewskis, bubbly, or booze. Silicone Wine Glass Mustache Whiskers ($8.99) Set of 6 Never lose your wine glass again. These fun and whimsical wine charms suction to the outside of your wine glass making it easily identifiable in a crowd. Comes in a set of 6 unique, colorful mustache designs. Wine Chiller ($35.00) When the night calls for BYOB, this insulated stainless steel wine chiller will be MVP. Container holds one full standard-sized bottle of wine (750 ml – 25.36 fl oz). Design holds a lid that doubles as a cup, an easy pour spout, an easy clean design. Toss it…

What’s the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling?

Stop right there! Before you reach for that can opener, make sure you know the difference between pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie filling. Both are super convenient canned pumpkin products that can save you tons of time and effort, but while they may look alike, you definitely don’t want to use one in place of the other. Adding the wrong product to your pumpkin recipe can spell disaster. Here’s why. pumpkin pie filling The wording is pretty straight forward. Pumpkin pie filling (or pumpkin pie mix) works for pies or other super sweet dishes, as it’s already heavily sweetened. It’s convenient if you don’t want to worry about adding your own sweetener or spices (or if you don’t have common pumpkin pie spices available to you). Check out the 6 biggest mistakes you can make when baking pumpkin pie.  pumpkin puree For just about any other recipe, it’s probably pumpkin puree…

This is America’s least favorite Thanksgiving food

Picture this likely scenario: You’re at Thanksgiving dinner, piling your plate high with all the season’s most delicious sides. But between your mile-high heap of mashed potatoes, that seriously large scoop of stuffing, and a gravy-smothered stack of turkey breast slices, you realize there just isn’t room for every side on that plate. So what gives? Well, if you’re like many Americans, there is one dish you can easily pass on. Perhaps not surprisingly, the least-loved Thanksgiving food is canned cranberry sauce. Yup, that gelatinous, wiggly can-shaped side, just doesn’t do it for most people, according to Instacart’s Turkey Day Exposé. Nearly half of Americans (46%) say that canned cranberry sauce is “disgusting.” Maybe it’s the tin-shape that turns people off, as 31% of Americans reported serving their cranberries right out of the can (as opposed to mashing it up). If this is your household, try making cranberry sauce using…