Kitchen Gear, Product Reviews

Gift Guide- Food & Kitchen

2009 MBR Food & Kitchen Gift Guide

✔= Personally reviewed   ♥= Mom Owned Business

USWMeatIf you’re looking for some great meats for grilling, check out the U.S. Wellness Meats ( line of products.  U.S. Wellness Meats, a farming collective based in Missouri, raises cattle the “old-fashioned” way—no pesticides, steroids or antibiotics and forage fed in rotational grazing patterns that mimic the roaming patterns of American buffalo.  U.S. Wellness Meats has not only been lauded for its flavor, sustainable practices and its humane treatment of its animals, but also for its effects on children with food allergies.  Consumers have repeatedly written to say that their once highly-allergic children can eat U.S. Wellness Meats without triggering their food allergies.  (And with the recent NY Times article detailing the dangers of factory-farmed beef, consumers are no doubt looking for alternatives.)

U.S. Wellness Meats is also a boon to parents concerned about their children’s (and their own) diets.  The meat boasts high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene.  The meat is also preservative and hormone-free, making it the healthier and safer alternative than conventional grain-fed offerings. ✔

I was sent a selection of their meats to try out, and my entire family agrees that it is very tender, and flavorful. We smoked the filet mignon, and grilled the skirt steak for tacos. We also made some great BBQ sandwiches out of the shredded beef. We give U.S. Wellness Meats two thumbs up! Prices vary depending on item, and  they have a large selection of meat and poultry! Check out U.S. Wellness Meats

SpiceStackWe have to add a little bit of flavor to our grilling selection, so what happens when you can’t find your favorite spices?? You go crazy trying to find them, right? YouCopia currently offers two products: The Original SpiceStack, which has received the Cooking Club of America’s Member Tested and Recommended Seal of Approval, and the Super SpiceStack. The Original unit, which sells for $24.95, stores 18 full-size or 36 half-size spice bottles and fits in virtually all kitchen cabinets. It makes a great gift for college graduates, newlyweds, new homeowners or anyone that is just start ing out in the kitchen. The Super SpiceStack, which sells for $34.95 and stores 27 full-size or 54 half-size spice bottles, is a smart, practical solution for people with extensive spice collections. The patented, space-savings design stores spices horizontally in a dark, dry kitchen cabinet where they stay freshest.  The SpiceStack features three drawers that pull out and lower to resting position so that contents are displayed at eye-level for easy selection and return while cooking. Home cooks can fill this modern spice rack with their own collection of store-bought spices based on cooking and taste preferences. Spice bottles can be arranged alphabetically or by frequency of use. All SpiceStack models include 48 pre-printed and 48 blank labels that can be placed on the face of the drawers to easily identify where spices are located.

All SpiceStacks are made in the USA. The line, which is currently sold through catalogs and ecommerce, is now available to retail customers. YouCopia Products, Inc., maker of the SpiceStack, is dedicated to designing and manufacturing ah-ha! home products that help people cope with life’s little problems. For more information or to place an order, visit

baconWant to add flavor of another kind to your dish??? Check out! “Men love receiving our bacon as a gift because it is different, original and isn’t cliché like fancy neckties, wallets or socks.  Look at it like this, what meat eating carnivore wouldn’t get excited about a box of meat in the mail?  You see our niche at Bacon Freak ( has hit men where it counts – their stomachs that is!

We have many interesting items including Bacon Jerky, Pork Cracklins, Bacon Chocolates, Swine & Wine Combinations, Pet Treats, Maple Bacon Pancakes, Bacon Cheese Straws and well the list goes on. Wow I forgot to mention BACON!”  BaconFreak was kind enough to send us a couple of their products to try out, and well, it’s not hard to like when Bacon is one of your favorite foods! Their Bacon is full of flavor, and makes a great snack or garnish to your favorite dish!!! Bacon… It’s not just for breakfast anymore… ✔

PlatedgrilledchickensepiaOnce you’ve got everything seasoned, and you want to know which steak is which, you can use Grill Charms! Grill Charms™ offer an entirely new concept in outdoor entertaining. Grill Charms™ are dime-sized solid stainless steel charms that are placed in food BEFORE grilling.  The serrated stem holds the charm in securely while flipping, moving and grilling food like he normally does. Grill Charm™ your food prior to cooking to distinguish spices and flavors, steak temperatures, or to avoid health or allergy issues. They stay in before, during and after grilling so when dinner comes to the table,  simply look for your Grill Charm, and everyone knows which one is theirs.  There are four fun collections to choose this holiday season.

fieriWhen it’s time to cut and serve everything.. you can try out the cool new knife set from the Food Network’s Chef Guy Fieri. Fieri has teamed up with the two-brother knife-manufacturing team at Ergo Chef to create a new line of outrageously-designed, ergonomic knives that will appeal as much to the professional chef as they will the grill master, the line cook and the everyday home chef.  And though his “Knuckle Sandwich” Series will definitely appeal to the guy’s guy, there’s a good chance his knives will become the favorites of everyone in the kitchen. After using Ergo Chef knives for a year in his own kitchen, Fieri was smitten with the product, but he wanted to create a product that reflected his energy and approach to cooking.  So the Knuckle Sandwich line features an edgy flame/star design inlaid on the handle and etched on the blade, and the meat tenderizer on the grip really makes the Knuckle Sandwich a “knife’s knife.” And besides being the coolest thing to hit kitchens since the icebox, the knife addresses a common ailment afflicting home and professional chefs: the repetitive stress injury resulting from constant cutting and chopping.

Complete details about Fieri’s new Knuckle Sandwich knives are available by visiting

vivaboxWhile enjoying your steak, you have to have the right wine to drink.. Check out Vivabox. Vivabox is an exciting, new product that combines the freedom of choice with the personal touch of a real gift.  It’s two gifts in one – first you receive a tangible gift to sample the theme (wine, food, beauty, spa, BBQ, etc.), and then a second gift that you can custom select! Vivabox bridges the gap between a gift card and a real gift. It’s the perfect gift for the hardest of people to shop for because you’re really letting them choose exactly what they want. With so many different themes to choose from, vivabox is a great fit for men, women and children.

A great box for adults is the Wine box, which is a great way for both moms and dads to relax. This box includes a Wine Spectator book to read and enjoy, an annual subscription to Wine Spectator magazine, and a gift certificate to redeem for 6 bottles of wine. It’s really a unique way to give the gift of wine- to be enjoyed now, and later. This box retails for $145 and can be purchased online at

vignette sodaNot a wine drinker?? Check out Vignette Wine Country Soda, an all natural, non-alcoholic soda made only from the juice of premium wine grapes with an added touch of fizz.  Available in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rosé varieties, Vignette has no added coloring or preservatives and is a wonderful addition to a holiday party, stocking stuffer or small gift for a host.  Vignette can be found at upscale restaurants and gourmet markets such as Dean & Deluca and Bristol Farms as well as online at  The sodas retail for $2.50 – $3.50/bottle.

We’ve had a great dinner, some good drinks, and now… well.. it’s time for dessert… Check out these cool ideas!

Peanut_Choc_ChunkHarvard Sweet Boutique:

Harvard Sweet Boutique is an online gourmet baking company based in Harvard, Massachusetts. Founded by Sue George, in 2007, it has quickly established itself as a premier Internet gift retailer. Their attention to detail extends from the product to the packaging. All baked goods from Harvard Sweet Boutique are made to order in small batches from scratch using all-natural, premium ingredients, and are handsomely packaged in whimsical boxes ideal for giving. No matter what the occasion, Harvard Sweet Boutique masterfully personalizes each order. Harvard Sweet Boutique’s products are available through the Harvard Sweet Boutique web site at, or by telephone at 1(888)5-SWEETS. Custom orders are welcome, and gifts are shipped nationwide.
We were given the opportunity to try her Ginger Molasses Cookies and Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies. They were soft, and delicious, and I am now in love with the Ginger Molasses Cookies. Not good considering I’m starting my 6 week fitness challenge over the holidays! If you’re looking for a sweet treat for someone, definitely check out Harvard Sweet Boutique!

Ginger Molasses Cookies: Dark, rich molasses adds a homey depth to these chewy cookies, while freshly-grated ginger and chunks of candied ginger build layer upon layer of sweet, uplifting, spicy flavor. The textural combination of the sweet, crispy outside with the soft, chewy center will make an instant fan out of just about anybody.  A light dusting of sparkling crystals of sugar imparts an elegance that makes these cookies a top choice for gift-giving. $16 for 8 cookies, plus S&H.

Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies: Rich and delicious, our Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies are finished with a thick layer of melted bittersweet chocolate. $18 for 8 cookies, plus S&H ✔♥

mugcakeMicrowave Mug Cakes

“It’s not gourmet cooking. That’s why I love it. Anyone can make a microwave mug cake.” So says Stacey J. Miller, author of the just-published “101 Recipes for Microwave Mug Cakes: Single-Serving Snacks in Less Than 10 Minutes” (BPT Press, October 2009). Miller didn’t invent the microwave mug cake, she quickly admits. But she may be its biggest fan. She came across the treat when the recipe “went viral” on the Web, and friends from coast to coast emailed her the recipe. She was charmed. “If there’s a quicker, less expensive, simpler, and more foolproof way to get instant gratification in the kitchen, I can’t imagine what it would be,” Miller offers. “Plus, there are no leftovers, which is something that attracted me. I don’t want the temptation” Because she could only find one microwave mug cake online, Miller created 101 more recipes — including a Pizza Microwave Mug Cake recipe — and she’s eager to share them with those who share her disdain for hauling out actual baking equipment and tons of ingredients, or going to the local doughnut shop, every time the need for a snack hits. Sample recipes are also available (you can find one on her website at . Microwave mug cakes are especially popular among parents who enjoy having something creative to do with their kids.

$16.95 Available at ♥

Naumes Fruit Gift 2 (Comice)Looking for a sweet treat that’s good for you too? It’s not only delicious, convenient (available online everywhere in the U.S.), healthy (a nutritious alternative to traditional food gifts), of the highest quality (each fruit is hand-picked on their family-owned farms) and inexpensive (only $29.95, shipping included), it also GIVES TWICE! I’m speaking of a Naumes Gourmet Fruit Gift and, for every gift purchased, the family will match it, pound for pound, with a donation of fresh fruit to food banks that feed hungry families.The first of its kind, it also represents this year’s consumer trend of buying essentials and sending something meaningful while also giving back. A third generation family farm, Laura Naumes is the vice president and the brains behind this program! See below for more details on the product.

These perfectly plump Comice pears are the fresh fruit equivalent of a creamy custard. Their succulent flesh pairs deliciously with strong cheeses. The ideal blend of sunshine, sweet soil, and experienced growing produces our premium Comice pears. We pack our superior Comice fresh pears in a holiday gift box ready to delight your loved ones. Send them this healthy holiday gift and we’ll donate an equal amount of fresh fruit to a local food bank.

A free personalized greeting card accompanies every gift (customize at Checkout). Each box contains 7 – 12 premium pears.  Approximate weight 5lbs.

Your gift gives twice: Each Comice Gift Box you send will be matched pound for pound with the donation of an equal amount of fresh fruit to a food bank.

We were sent a box of their pears, and they are so good! My daughter “stole” one out from under my nose while I wasn’t looking and ate it all instead of her mac & cheese lunch. I was surprised since she hasn’t been very excited about fruit in a while. It’s a healthy treat/gift, and how can you go wrong when they donate an equal amount of your purchase to a local food bank!?!? ✔♥

Ok, so you’re not a chef… there are several tools to help you out with that!

quick-and-healthy-recipes-and-ideas_highQuick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas: For people who say they don’t have

time to cook healthy meals, 3rd Edition

The 20 weeks of easy dinner menus, each with a grocery list, sets this apart from other cookbooks. With over 200 low-fat recipes designed for busy people, this revised edition also includes practical nutrition information as well as time-saving ideas, recommended foods, tips to reduce fat, cholesterol and sodium; quick meals that don’t require a recipe; detailed nutritional analysis and exchanges for each recipe, and conventional and microwave directions. Perfect for anyone who wants to eat healthier but doesn’t have time. Also for anyone trying to control their weight and anyone with heart disease or diabetes.  It is a Benjamin Franklin Award winner and has been recommended in O, The Oprah Magazine.

$18.95 available online and in local bookstores For more information go to:

CookingfortheCluelesslo-resCooking for the Clueless gives self-proclaimed “clueless cooks” the courage and confidence to tackle home cooking. The 2-disc DVD set features Founder and “Clueless Cook” Zuzy Martin Lynch alongside popular chefs, asking all of the questions audiences really want to know. Many of today’s cooking programs are aimed at those with existing cooking skills, teaching shortcuts to create family meals but leaving those with little or no cooking experience in the dark. Cooking for the Clueless covers all the basic information the clueless cook needs to whip up healthy and delicious meals, including knife skills, timing, seasoning, plating and more. The DVD set includes everything from classic recipes (Spaghetti Al Pomodoro) to restaurant quality dishes (Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Fennel, Orange and Watercress) to simple, delicious desserts (Vanilla Sponge Cake).

The program was developed by husband/wife team Rick and Zuzy Martin Lynch, who found themselves newly married in a household full of kitchen gadgets, appliances and registry “must-haves” they had no clue how to use. Immersed in a crowd of blenders, peelers, slicers and food processers, the couple left their kitchen tools to collect dust, used the oven for storage, and decided to eat every meal outside of their home. After one year, they felt sluggish and tired from high-fat and sodium-rich restaurant dishes and no longer enjoyed eating at their favorite places. Most of all, they felt it in their wallet – learning that they’d spent a whopping $15,000 on eating out in the past year.

The 2-disc DVD set is available for $24.95 or the “Clueless Friend” special to buy two DVD sets at $19.95 each at Viewers can download the recipes from the website as well as gain access to expert tips to make your kitchen a little less lonely.

How about getting the kids in on some cooking???

handstandThe Handstand Kids Cookbook series are quickly growing in popularity, offering easy-to-learn recipes from various countries around the world along with a language lesson of that country. These cookbooks can be a great way to get kids to help in the kitchen while spending qualiy time with parents and learning about new cultures.

This holiday season we are offering 20% off the price of $28 to all customers that order directly through and use the discount code “HSK20.” The kits can ship worldwide. There are three different kits; Chinese, Italian, and Mexican. Each comes in a different package with a cooking utensil unique to each culture.

About the Handstand Kids Cookbooks

  • Each recipe offers suggestions on how kids can incorporate more veggies and healthy eating. There are vegetarian options for most recipes.
  • Each cookbook kit is uniquely packaged with a cooking accessory: The Handstand Kids Italian Cookbook is packaged in a pizza box with a chef’s hat; The Handstand Kids Mexican Cookbook comes in a tortilla bag with a child-sized oven mitt; and The Handstand Kids Chinese Cookbook is packaged in a take-out box with a set of chopsticks.
  • Each cookbook translates the ingredients and utensils; the Chinese Cookbook introduces basic Mandarin, the Mexican Cookbook teaches Spanish and Italy Cookbook teaches Italian words and phrases.
  • The Chinese Cookbook offers recipes like: The Great Wall of Chicken Lettuce Wraps while learning about the Great Wall of China; Kung Pow! (Kung Pao Tofu), showing the characters doing karate; and Chow Mein Long Life Noodles.
  • Emmy award winner and host of Simply Ming, Chef Ming Tsai, wrote the foreword to the cookbook.
  • Yvette Garfield, author and found of the Handstand Kids Cookbooks, has a law degree and background and worked in international children’s rights.  It is her goal to introduce children to the world through food!
  • Garfield developed the recipes with Shanti Greenspan who has a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales and specializes in children’s cooking classes.


Tie Free Aprons: Our Tie-FreeTM aprons are the only ones in the market that are not just “no tie”, but also allows for shoulder and waist adjustments that kids can put on by themselves.   These were inspired out of a mom’s frustration to enable her then 5 year old daughter to wear an apron without fuss.   These no tie aprons come in two versions, kid (adjustable with backward pull of the straps fastened by D-rings) and toddler (back slider without D-ring). All aprons are custom made, and can even be  personalized! ✔ ♥

Toddler Size 3-5yrs $17.95, Kid Size 6-10yrs $ 19.95  and Adults  $28.50 Available at

We were sent two of the toddler aprons for our girls to check out, and they are truly easy to put on and take off. My girls LOVE helping Daddy in the kitchen, and having aprons for them makes it that much more fun for them, and less laundry for me later on! Such a cute idea! Keeps the kids happier and their clothes cleaner!

Happy cooking!!!

Want to print this and take it shopping with you??? Download here: [download id=”3″]!

**Coming soon: Electronics & Tech!

8 thoughts on “Gift Guide- Food & Kitchen

  1. Thanks for sharing all the good ideas. I love the cool new knife set from the Food Network’s Chef Guy Fieri, to give to my girlfriend, but I don’t know if I can afford the price.

  2. These are all great products. As a meat-eating man, I think has hit the nail on the head. What a great idea.

    And my daughter would have a lot of fun with the Microwave Mug Cakes. I had no idea you could do such a thing!

    Stan Horst

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.