I can’t believe it’s just over a week until Christmas! I am mostly done my Christmas shopping (it’s usually a slow start for me as I’m usually too occupied by family birthdays in November), but in case you’re not, and in case you have someone who loves to eat, and loves to eat healthfully on your list, check out this gift guide for some sweet ideas:
Spiral Slicer or Julienne Peeler
Spiralizers and “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) have become all the rage this year, as they’re a fun way to get more veggies in. While a full-on spiralizer is more of a big ticket item, a spiral slicer or julienne peeler will do pretty much the same thing and is small enough to slip into a stocking. Food blog Busy in Brooklyn lists the pros and cons of the three tools and has a zoodle recipe to boot! Available at kitchen supply stores and online. (Amazon affiliate link)
I tried these for the first time at the sports nutrition course I recently attended, and I am in love! ? Made in Manitoba, the company sources local hemp hearts and honey for their bars, which are packed with whole food ingredients. Each bar contains 6 grams of fibre and 11 grams of protein. Aside from their awesome nutrition profile and their deliciousness, what I love most about them is that they’re filling! I got two bars from the conference (one Cocoa Hemp Almond and one Peanut Butter Apple) and both times after I had them for a snack, I almost felt too full for my next meal. Available at select retailers and online.
Both my husband and sister are more likely to eat fruit if it’s already been cut up, and so far, I’ve been more than happy to oblige. But instead of the “give a man a fish” approach, perhaps I should take the “teach a man to fish” approach and throw a whole apple with one of these in their lunch bags for Christmas. ? Available at kitchen supply stores and online.(Amazon affiliate link)
This past weekend, my sister and I had fun running around Blue Door tasting different oils, vinegars and oil-and-vinegar combinations to find the perfect gifts for a few of our friends. There are “traditional” infused oils, like garlic and basil, as well as some outlandish ones, like butter or blood orange. Same goes for the vinegars too – there’s the usual aged balsamic or raspberry balsamic, or you can try espresso or cinnamon pear (the latter would go really well on ice cream, I think.) Aside from salads, I love tossing vegetables in a vinaigrette before roasting – the natural sugars in the vinegar really help them brown and caramelize. Blue Door sells six-packs of 60 mL sample-sized bottles which would make perfect stocking stuffers, though I think their 200 mL bottles will fit in a stocking as well. If you are visiting their store, they also sell other fun products that would make great stocking stuffers, like seasoned salts, spices, sauces and snacks. Available in-store and online.
What could be a better gift for friends and family by allowing them to skip a bit of winter driving and fighting the crowds at the grocery store? With a SPUD gift card, your loved ones can have groceries delivered right to their doorstep! SPUD makes an effort to stock mostly organic and local products, and they’ve also put together lots of “kits” and pre-made meals to make eating at home easier. BONUS: If you spend at least $100 on a gift card this holiday season, you get a credit to shop at SPUD, and SPUD also donates hot meals to local charities. If you are already a SPUD member, you can also opt to send your friend a produce box right to their door step. If you’re not, you can sign up using my referral code, CRCAL-TSUVIN, to get $20 off your first order. (I get $20 off too!) Available online only.
If you’ve never been to their shop in Inglewood or their stall at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, goooo! Their selection of spices is dizzying and it’s fun to smell all of the different herbs, spices and blends. Not sure what to get? They have pre-made spice sets available, or you can build your own after flipping through some of the cookbooks they have in-store for inspiration. Their Inglewood location also sells a wide selection of bitters for the cocktail connoisseurs in your life. Available in-store and online.
Truth: I am the worst at drinking enough fluids and I know I tend to drink more when there is some flavouring involved. I can definitely see myself drinking more if I had this cold brew tea bottle to help my sister work through her David’s Tea collection! How it works is that the tea is brewed for several hours in cold water, resulting in a more mildly flavoured tea. There’s a filter in the cap so you can pour the tea out without getting the leaves in your cup. Available at The Naked Leaf and online. (Amazon affiliate link)
OK, this is getting a little slightly-too-big-for-a-stocking, but would make an awesome gift for someone who brings their lunch to work or school but doesn’t have access to a fridge, or does have access but a) there is a history of people stealing food at their office, b) can’t be bothered to walk those extra steps from their desk to the break room, or c) they always show up to work late so don’t have time to put their lunch away before they need to start working! This lunch bag has freezable gel built into the sides of the bag, so what you do is you freeze the bag overnight, and the next day it acts as a cooler and can keep your lunch cold for up to 10 hours. They have a bunch of different sizes available on their website, depending on the size of the person’s appetite. Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Canadian Tire, Staples and other retailers, and online. (Amazon affiliate link)
Big Ticket Items
Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer
This is the gift for the person who likes having a hot lunch, but doesn’t have a microwave at work, or has one that absolutely sucks. My sister-in-law just bought this for herself and she loves it. Basically, you put your lunch in the inner container, put the inner container in the outside container, and tote the whole thing with you to work. At work, you plug it in, turn it on, and your lunch heats up while you’re working away. Because it is double-sealed, there is minimal odour, and you don’t have to worry about taking your food out, stirring it, then putting it back in like you would a microwave. The product description also says it would be good for college dorms that don’t allow hot plates, or for bringing hot foods, like dips, to a party. Smart. Available at select retailers and online. (Amazon affiliate link)
I’d been coveting the Instant Pot ever since The Kitchn wrote a review earlier this year, and was absolutely spoiled rotten when my sister-in-law caught a Black Friday deal on Amazon and bought one each for several family members, including me! For those who are curious about pressure cooking, the Instant Pot is a great introduction, because it is electric, so it doesn’t cook at as high of a pressure, nor does it take up space on your stove top. So far, I’ve made steel cut oats in 3 minutes, and lentils in about 20. The Instant Pot is also unique as there are some presets, helping you take some of the guesswork out of cooking. You can also use it as a rice cooker, or to make yogurt (!) Available online. (Amazon affiliate link)
Japanese knives are known for their strong steel, thin blades and remarkable craftsmanship. When properly sharpened, these knives can cut through tomatoes like soft butter. The place to get Japanese knives in Calgary (and most of Canada, really) is Knifewear. This was one of the first gifts I received from my now-husband and I really love my knife! A great gift for anyone who loves to cook. Knifewear also stocks beautiful chopping blocks, coffee table cookbooks and other high-quality utensils. They don’t have a huge retail space, but there are lots of hidden treasures within! Available in-store and online.
The healthiest foods are the ones that are made from scratch, and even the best cooks need to sharpen their cooking skills! Here is a list of some cooking schools in Calgary:
- ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
- Chinook Learning Services
- The Cookbook Company
- Cuisine et Chateau
- Meez Cuisine & Catering
- PC Cooking School
- SAIT Culinary Campus
- South Health Campus Wellness Kitchen
- Sunterra COMMUNITYtable
Many catering companies will also offer private cooking classes in the comfort of your own kitchen!
Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Blue Door Oil & Vinegar and for SPUD. They were not aware this guide was being written and I have not received additional compensation for including them in the guide. All products included in the guide are based on my opinion and are things I truly love and/or covet!