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Give them the gift of nourishment instead! We’ve selected some of our favorite products, books, services, and kitchen tools that spread the spirit of crunchtime – make it real, make it fast. make it real fast food.

real food gifts:

Let’s start with real food itself and consider a gift certificate or subscription to a local CSA service(here’s mine)to give real, organic, local food delivered keeping them nourished for weeks to come.

Fruit baskets provide healthy alternatives to cookie and fruitcakes this time of year. There are the usual suspects who you can count on for gargantuan pears and apples in shipping boxes, but for a really dazzling edible gift, you can’t beat Manhattan Fruitier -pricey no doubt, but a gift this spectacular is always in good taste. Also, you can’t beat the local food supplier or small grocer who oftenprovides gift packaging and delivery services. And for you crafty types, check out this video for making your own fruit basket presented by Martha Stewart and created by Manhattan Fruitier – yeow the perfect pairing.

Or go beyond complex carbs and into proteins with impressive gifts of grass fed or organic turkeys and chickens from Good Earth Farms or sustainable seafood from i love blue sea.

Dark chocolate is a simply too delectable to be good for you and a good company Endangered Species Chocolate out of Indy offers several gift box ideas for their socially responsible chocolates. We’re always nuts about nuts here. Boxed sets of walnuts, almonds, pistachios are gifts for smart people, because we all know that the natural oils in nuts boost thinking. You smart gift giver! Next Gen Foods offers a fineWalnut and Almond sampler for a good price.

Finally, make your own tasty treats with a healthy spin. Try our granola bars or swag bars for this holiday’s homemade gifts.

real food flavor savers:

If you don’t want the real food, give the gifts that make real food tastes better. From herbs they can grow , clip, orpreserve (received this from my sister) or glorious seasonings greetings for when they travel or when they’re ready to step into the big leagues withsalt cellars ,pristine sea salts and a pepper mill gift set fromPenzeys Spices out of Wisconsin.

real food cookbooks:

In this overwhelming category, turn to two real food heros: Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver. Truly any of their books are worthwhile for cooking techniques and real food lessons, but these are two are our favorites and you can find out more about themhere and here.

Two new books from longtime food writers are on our wish lists this year. The first is Laurie David’s book about the importance of family meals. The other, which is a new edition of a previously published book, comes from Mark Bittman, the Minimalist from the New York Times, who offers easy recipes for all foods in biblical proportion. We love our food variety at crunchtime, so Mark’s book offers simple recipes for any food you have on hand.

For more cookbook options, check out the top 25 best selling cookbooks from 2010.

real food experiences:

Some of my favorite gifts have been the many cooking classes I have received over the years. Look in your town to see if there’s a class for cooking basics, knife skills, cooking vegetables, or from a favorite restaurant.

real food products:

We offer you some great stocking stuffers or little gift ideas, which we find essential for cooking real food. These are a few of the tools that get the most use with the best effect in our kitchens.

Don’t get us started on our love for lemons, but this is the single best way to get juice in a pinch. And a 3 in 1vegetable peeler is a new twist this year, but a palm peeler is a must if you peel carrots because you know that the baby carrots in the grocery stores have been beaten down by machines and bleached (scrooge!). Then there’s the zester that will take the zest, not the pith, from citrus which we all know is the part that holds the most flavor; also works as a cheese grater.

Now let’s get to two big ticket items that I would save before my pets if the house was burning down. My life changed when I got this toaster oven. I’m going to remind you here that we are a not-for-profit site with no endorsement or sponsorship deals. It’s just pure product love. This oven is large enough for a pizza and a baking sheet and small enough to preheat in five minutes. It offers every kind of heating options, shy of microwaving (which I don’t love ’cause the food gets cold as fast as it got hot). It is also the alter at which I perform the very spiritual act of roasting.

And then my baby, my Shun Chef’s Knife, that even when it’s as dull as John Boehner’s “will not raise taxes” speech, it still cuts everything with ease. The seven inch is the perfect size to maneuver around a ginger root and big enough to get butch with thick-skinned winter squash and chicken bones. I use it so often it’s nearly attached to my hand like some sort of freak Tim Burton character.

For the record, I would go back into that burning building to save my pets and grab my All Clad saute pan on the way out.

Seasonings Greetings and happy gift giving!


1 Comment

  1. Endangered Species Chocolate says Dec 8th 2010 11:23 am

    Thank you for sharing this exceptional assortment of healthful gifts as we approach holiday gift-buying “crunch time!” We appreciate you shining a spotlight on Endangered Species Chocolate’s Holiday Gift selections. We welcome your readers to visit our site to learn more about our ethically-traded, all-natural and organic chocolate that benefits conservation. Wishing you the merriest of seasons!

    Comfort and Joy,
    Monica Erskine
    Endangered Species Chocolate

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