Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart has been designated as a kitchen “must-have” by Better Homes and Gardens (there's more than 750 recipes and 650 variations!). This book is packed with techniques from Southern cooking experts that will fully engage not just seasoned cooks, but newbies as well. The retail price is $45; published by Gibbs Smith.
Mollie Katzen's latest, The Heart of the Plate, focuses on 250 new, fresh and flavorful vegetarian dishes that can be easily customized for your individual needs. “Plate” retails for $34.99 and is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
If you're a chocoholic, there's a world of info that will teach you everything you need to know on baking and cooking with chocolate in Seriously Bitter Sweet by Alice Medrich. This comprehensive guide costs $25.95; published by Artisan.
www.crateandbarrel.com has an absolutely beautiful copper-colored shaker and “shot” glass made out of stainless-steel. The shaker retails for $21.95, while the shot glass costs $9.95.
Serving boards are quite common; but there's one at www.worldmarket.com that's large enough to serve a holiday ham on! You can also serve a roast on it, use it as a big cheese platter, or simply as room décor. Retail price is $39.99.
I've never heard of syrup for coffee before, until a couple of weeks ago. With Dave's Coffee-All Natural Coffee Syrup (in various flavors), this can also drizzled over ice cream,poured and mixed into milk shakes and even cocktails. The cost is $10.95. Check out www.kaufmann-mercantile.com.
At www.fireescapefarms.com, there are a set of 5 x 7-inch greeting cards that feature illustrated recipes, with instructions on the back. The price is $24 for 12.
Sonoma makes a line of artisanal syrup that can be used on pancakes or stirred into beverages (like smoothies, cocktails or lemonade). Retail price is $11.99. Log on to www.sonomasyrup.com for more details and info.
Want to grow a spice garden, right on your windowsill? It's possible with the steel MicroGreens box (including two crops of seeds) for $45. Visit www.sprouthome.com for more info.
Ideas, Tips and Info for Dec. 9-Dec. 15
With Christmas fast approaching, you may already be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Try to relax by sipping a cup (or two) of green tea; it's low in caffeine (caffeine can actually increase anxiety) and high in theanine (an amino acid that induces relaxation).
Still feeling crazed and stressed out? Drink some water (I'm particularly partial to good, cold ice water- (simply a nice big cup or mug filled with water and ice cubes)!
According to a study by the Journal of Nutrition, even mild dehydration can hinder your ability to focus.
Don't like the taste of water? Try eating apples, celery, tomatoes, spinach and soup instead-or in addition to. At least 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from food.
IKEA’s Swedish Food Market offers a wide selection of traditional favorites, like meatballs, salmon, salmon lasagne and other updated classics. And the Market offers recipe cards that inspire you to cook and enjoy these dishes (and more) at home.
Lax means “salmon” in Swedish; from the Middle Ages on, this fish has played a crucial role in Swedish and Scandinavian food culture. It’s enjoyed as an everyday food-and also as a special holiday treat for Christmas, Easter and Midsummer.
For more info, go to www.ikea.com.
Sources: “Reading List” by Maggie Glisan, “the wish list” by John Lonsdale- Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2013, “The Wish List” by Kit Selzer-Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2012, “31 tips for a healthy you” by Camille Noe Pagan-Better Homes and Gardens, Dec. 2013 and the 2014 IKEA catalog