2018 Holiday Gift Guide for the Foodie in Your Life

The best holiday gift guide for the foodie in your life. There are gifts for every budget and men and women alike. Stay tuned for more gift guides in the coming week!

The ultimate holiday gift guide for any foodie in your life. There's something for every budget and so many Black Friday deals!
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It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is upon us, which means Black Friday is right around the corner and, I don’t know about you, but holiday shopping is already on my mind. I have been getting a lot of questions about some of my favorite products (both in life and in the kitchen) so, in this ultimate shopping season, I thought I’d bring you some gift guides featuring many of my favorite products, many of which are on sale right now (or will be on sale by Friday.)

Today’s gift guide is geared toward the foodie in your life, but I’ve also got a few more gift guides up my sleeve for the coming weeks (heads up, mamas!) Sure, you could wait until Black Friday to scoop up some of these awesome presents, but there are also some great items that could be used as hostess gifts (or just be useful in the kitchen) over the Thanksgiving holiday.

So, without further ado, here is my gift guide for the foodie in your life!

(Gifts are listed as shown in photo clockwise from top left.)

I use this professional KitchenAid stand mixer almost on the daily, and now’s a great time to invest in one with all of the great sales going on!

Call me a coffee snob, but we wouldn’t be able to live without our fresh ground coffee beans every morning. An airtight coffee canister will make such a difference in keeping your beans as fresh as can be!

A cast iron skillet is such an inexpensive yet versatile addition to your kitchen. If you know someone who loves cooking but doesn’t have one of these, get one for them ASAP!

Isn’t this just the cutest little bread box you ever did see? I’d love one for my kitchen counter!

I finally jumped on the Instant Pot train a few months ago and I’m so glad I did! These things are game-changers, especially for busy families that love home-cooked meals.

I’ve been trying to be a lot more conscious about waste these days and I’ve found some great products that have helped me limit the number of plastic bags I’ve been using. These reusable muslin produce bags are the perfect gift for anyone that’s trying to do the same!

If mandolines scare you as much as they do me, this multi-purpose mandoline set is the perfect addition to your kitchen.

If I had any more room for another kitchen device, you can bet I’d be investing in an air fryer. Healthy frying? Right up my alley!

Isn’t this owl spoon rest just the cutest thing you ever did see? The perfect Secret Santa gift!

In keeping with my mission to reduce my usage of plastic bags, I recently invested in some of these Stasher bags and can’t wait to grow my collection! Plus, I love that they can go in the microwave, dishwasher, etc.

My bamboo cutting board is BASICALLY the only cutting board I use in the kitchen. I couldn’t live without it!

The Dutch oven is another kitchen item every foodie needs in his or her kitchen. And there are so many great colors, how can you resist?

My BBQ-loving hubby loves this vacuum sealer I got him a couple of years ago. We can buy all the great, big packs of meat at Costco and keep everything nice and sealed up in the freezer. It’s also great for marinating!

Finally, who can resist a good cheese board? I love that you can write on this AND that it comes with the appropriate knives. Holiday entertaining at its best!

So, what did I miss? Are there any holiday gifts you can’t wait to get for the foodie in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is an easy, showstopper entree for fall dinners or holiday entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

With all of the craziness of the holidays, it’s often easier to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of things than it is to slow down and take time for what this time of year is really about – spending quality time with family and friends. In this season of life where I feel like there are never enough hours in the day, I find myself craving these types of moments more than ever. That’s why, when some of my favorite ladies in the food, wine and entertaining industries decided to get together for a Fall Harvest Feast, I quickly agreed to participate – and brought this Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs as the dinner’s centerpiece. It was almost like Friendsgiving came early and I’m so excited to share all of the details (including this roast chicken recipe!) with you today.

I’m going to make a general assumption here, and that assumption is that many of you feel intimidated about roasting large cuts of meat or whole birds. Am I right? I mean, I was once in the same boat. But I’m a firm believer that practice makes perfect and, let me tell you, I have practiced and practiced roasting chicken and – no brag – have pretty much perfected a super simple recipe for you.

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is an easy, showstopper entree for fall dinners or holiday entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

You may remember that a while back I posted a similar recipe – this Champagne Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – as a great show-stopper for any dinner party (or weeknight meal, for that matter.) Well, this is ALMOST the same recipe, but with a few autumn-inspired tweaks that make it perfect for any gathering you may be hosting in the next couple of months.

And yes, it is so easy. Aside from spending maybe 10 minutes prepping the bird and one flip about 15 minutes into roasting, it’s basically a “set it and forget it” recipe, so you can spend that quality time with all of your loved ones. It also looks quite stunning in its finished form, so if you’re looking for a dinner dish that will add that festive feel to your table, this Red Wine Roast Chicken is it!

But enough about my chicken, I want to tell you a little bit about the dinner itself! First off, the location and one other very important component of any harvest dinner – the wine! We were lucky enough to go back to the beautiful Folded Hills, a winery and farmstead about 30 minutes up the coast from Santa Barbara. If you want to learn more about them, I wrote an entire post about it here. Long story short, if you’re looking for friendly faces, delicious wines, the best chocolate chip cookies and cute little farm critters, be sure to plan a stop here the next time you’re cruising the 101.

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is an easy, showstopper entree for fall dinners or holiday entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

And then, of course, I can’t leave out all of the other wonderful ladies who contributed their talents to this gorgeous feast. The table was set and styled by the lovely Viktoriya of Fold Santa Barbara, who makes beautiful linens both for retail and special events.

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is an easy, showstopper entree for fall dinners or holiday entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

My girl Becky from Baking the Goods contributed a Fall Harvest Grazing Board and the tastiest Spiced Up Grape Apple Pie. Be sure to check out her blog for some of the best baking recipes around!

Spiced Up Apple Grape Pie from BakingtheGoods.com is the perfect holiday dessert!
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

Denisse (aka Le Petit Chef Santa Barbara) added a stunning Root Vegetable Gratin that was absolutely devoured. And can you believe blogging isn’t even her full-time gig? When she’s not blogging (or slinging donuts with her husband), Denisse is a private chef in and around SB. Did I mention she’s also extremely well-versed in vegan and other special diet cooking?

This Root Vegetable Gratin from LePetitChefSantaBarbara.com is the perfect autumn side dish for fall entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

Wine pairings and a mouth-watering Roasted Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette were provided by my dear friend Hana-Lee of Wander and Wine. If you’re looking for all things wine- and travel-related, you definitely don’t want to miss out on her blog.

This Acorn Squash Salad with Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette is another perfect side dish for fall entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

Finally, I can’t leave out our very talented photographer, Silas Fallstich (aka Full Frame Fotos). If you live in Santa Barbara (or anywhere nearby), chances are you’ve seen Silas’ work. It’s featured in many of our local publications on a regular basis and we were so grateful to have such talent capturing our lovely day. We have him to thank for all of these gorgeous photos!

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is an easy, showstopper entree for fall dinners or holiday entertaining.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

Sure, we call this “work” – and it is – but it’s days like these that make all of those hours in the kitchen, behind the camera, typing on the computer and with our arms elbow-deep in dirty dishwater completely worth it. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this line of work, it’s that every blogger, entrepreneur or creative truly wants to help and support one another. Forget competition, we’re all in this together. And as we inch closer and closer to the ultimate day of gratitude, I have to say I’m so thankful for each and every one of these folks I’ve met along the way and the support structure we’ve built around one another.

A lovely Harvest Dinner at Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead in Santa Barbara, CA.
Silas Fallstich
www.fullframefotos.us

Here’s to a season of gratitude, thoughtfulness, positivity and support!

Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 

This Red Wine Roast Chicken with Grapes and Herbs is simple to make yet full of flavor. It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday gatherings and showcases some of the season’s best ingredients.

Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken, entertaining, entree, main course, protein
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 287 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 approximately 5-pound whole chicken
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sprigs each fresh rosemary, sage and thyme, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 pound seedless red grapes
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and quartered
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Remove innards from chicken and rinse with cold water. Let drain in a large colander for 2 minutes.

  3. Pat chicken dry and place in roasting pan, breast side down. Pour red wine all over and inside the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Stuff the fresh herbs inside the chicken. 

  5. Place chicken in oven and turn down heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  6. Remove chicken from oven and, using tongs or wooden spoons, flip chicken over so that the breast side is now facing up.

  7. Return to oven and continue cooking until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Start checking the temperature after about an hour and a half. For the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, add shallots and grapes to bottom of roasting pan.

  8. Once meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven. Transfer grapes and shallots to a serving platter first, and then transfer chicken so it sits in the middle of the grapes and shallots. Garnish with additional fresh herbs. Use a carving fork and knife to serve.

Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie with Fresh Herbs

A tasty twist on the classic comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie gets a fall makeover with the addition of pumpkin and the season’s best fresh herbs.

This Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie with Fresh Herbs puts a fall twist on the classic comfort food. It's an easy weeknight meal and kid-friendly!

If there’s one thing that never fails to get me in the mood for fall and the impending holiday season, it’s our annual #virtualpumpkinparty! This is my third consecutive year participating in the virtual get-together and, let me tell you, it’s something worth getting excited about. Our count has now grown to over 60 bloggers and each one of us has a tasty pumpkin recipe (both sweet AND savory) that we’re sharing with you today. You can find the entire list of pumpkin recipes here, but I’ve got to tell you all about what is probably my newest fall comfort food obsession – Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie with Fresh Herbs!

Do you ever have a meal that you just love to eat but have never taken on the task of making yourself? That’s what Shepherd’s Pie was to me – well, up until a couple of weeks ago. For someone who grew up eating a lot of meat and potatoes, I sure don’t make ‘em a lot these days. But whenever someone would make me this one dish creation that happens to have meat, potatoes and veggies in one, I would be surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It was about time I tried making it myself, but of course not without my own little twist!

And let me tell you, this twist just makes my version of Shepherd’s Pie over-the-top delicious. Not only did I add mashed fresh pumpkin to the potato topping, but I also cubed up some of that same fresh pumpkin and added it to the ground beef and pea filling. Oh, and we can’t forget the fresh herbs – there’s nothing like some fresh sage and thyme to make a dish REALLY feel like fall!

This Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie with Fresh Herbs puts a fall twist on the classic comfort food. It's an easy weeknight meal and kid-friendly!

Now I know you’re already dying to whip up this Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, but let me make the decision even easier for you. This is a TWO-pot meal, folks. You’ll use one large pot to boil the potatoes and pumpkin for your topping, and a cast iron skillet to assemble all the pieces together and broil under the oven for a few minutes. So easy!

Oh, and hey! Where my mamas at? Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie is also a GREAT dish for baby-led weaning and for kids in general! For the little babes, I’d say just be careful with the peas. Either omit them completely or you can pick them out for your littlest ones if you just can’t give them up 😉

Okay friends, I’m going to keep this short and sweet today because, I mean, I have about 60 other pumpkin recipes to try my hand at, but I’ll tell ya – you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t give this Pumpkin Shepherd’s Pie a shot. And be sure YOU also check out all of the other fun recipes for our 2018 #virtualpumpkinparty!

This Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie with Fresh Herbs puts a fall twist on the classic comfort food. It's an easy weeknight meal and kid-friendly!

Easy Double Pumpkin Shepherd's Pie with Fresh Herbs
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A tasty twist on the classic comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie gets a fall makeover with the addition of pumpkin and the season’s best fresh herbs. 

Course: Main Course
Keyword: beef, comfort food, dinner, entree, kid-friendly, main dish, potatoes, pumpkin, weeknight
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 620 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 whole sugar pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes plus ¼ of a second sugar pie pumpkin peeled, seeded and cut into a small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped fresh sage and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/3 cup beef broth or stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once water is boiling, add large pumpkin chunks and potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until pieces can be pierced easily with a fork. Strain out water and let cool slightly while you prepare the filling.

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and small cubed pumpkin and saute until onions are translucent and fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Add beef, brown slightly, and then toss in fresh herbs. 

  3. Add flour, beef stock and frozen peas and stir to combine. Let cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer bright pink.

  4. While beef mixture is cooking, mash your pumpkin and potatoes. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and heavy cream to the pot where the pumpkin and potatoes have been cooling. Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, cream everything together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Once beef mixture is cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Turn off the burner your cast iron skillet has been cooking over and preheat your oven’s broiler (on high.)

  6. Spread the mashed pumpkin and potato mixture evenly over the beef in the cast iron skillet. Top with grated Parmesan and place under the broiler until the top has a lovely golden hue, which can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Just keep a close eye on it as it is under the broiler as things can take a turn towards burnt very easily!

  7. Serve pie by scooping the mixture out into bowls while it’s still warm. 

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

If you’re looking for a simple, healthier snack for fall, these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are for you! In fact not just for you, but for your kids, babies, kids’ friends, neighbors, babysitters…Well, you get the idea. They’re sure to please even the pickiest eaters and, since they’re only sweetened with applesauce, you don’t have to worry when your kids keep on going back for more.

As I mentioned in this Healthy Carrot Cake Pancake Recipe post, we opted to do baby-led weaning with our little one and she has shown no sensitivities to eggs, other dairy, gluten, etc. If your little one HAS shown sensitivities to any of these, obviously use your best judgment. Again, mother always knows best!

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

Since these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are SUPER easy, and since we’re in Texas busy getting ready for my sis-in-law’s wedding tomorrow, I’m going to keep things short and sweet today. I mean, if you know how to stir a spoon and you know how to operate an oven, you’re in pretty good shape.

These muffins also happen to freeze well, so if you have a minute to bake some up this weekend, you’ll have the perfect treat for your whole family for the next week (if you’re lucky.)

These one-bowl Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are super simple to make, freezer-friendly and naturally sweetened. They're both adult and kid-friendly!

Read on for the recipe!

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: after-school, baby-friendly, breakfast, carrot, freezer-friendly, kid-friendly, muffin, naturally sweetened, pumpkin, snack
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup spiralized or grated carrot
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. 

  3. Add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, milk and orange zest and stir until combined. Stir in carrot.

  4. Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin tins and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

  5. Cool in muffin tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. 

Maple Apple Old Fashioned: My New Go-To Fall Cocktail

The perfect cocktail for fall, this Maple Apple Old Fashioned is what you’ll want to be drinking all season long. Bourbon, maple syrup and classic apple cider come together in this tasty cocktail that’s ideal enjoyed under warm blankets in front of a crackling fireplace.

This Maple Apple OId Fashioned is a fun fall twist on the classic whiskey cocktail.

If ever there were a way for me to make my entrance back onto the fall cocktail scene, this Maple Apple Old Fashioned would be it.

I’m the first to admit, I’ve been out of the mixology game for quite some time. Sure, I’ve whipped up a simple mixed drink here and there since the little one made her debut last October, but to be honest I rarely sip cocktails these days – my bod just can’t handle the hangovers as well as it used to!

So when I DO drink a cocktail, I want it to be absolutely delicious. And that’s what this Maple Apple Old Fashioned is. Seriously, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out since I’ve been out of practice for so long, but it has now joined the ranks as one of my favorite cocktail creations ever (along with the French 75 and the Twisted Whiskey Kind of Afternoon, of course) and, now that the babe is officially weaned, you can bet I’ll be sipping on these a lot more often over the next few months.

Before I get into the recipe, I have to tell you my reason for being inspired to create a cocktail that involves everyone’s favorite “accoutrement” for buttermilk pancakes and Belgian waffles: maple syrup! You see, I’ve been in Vermont all week for a fun little blogger conference called Blog Brȗlée. I’ve absolutely loved it because it is a small group of health-minded bloggers/registered dietitians with tailored content and wonderful sponsors in a beautiful location. I mean, what more could you ask for?

The Maple Apple Old Fashioned adds your favorite fall flavors to the classic cocktail.

There was a ton of information, bonding and exploring in two short days and now I’ve been exploring a bit on my own until I fly out later this afternoon. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from sweet Raia (and I miss her soooooo much) but the time on my own has been relaxing and inspiring and has left me reinvigorated for both the business and personal side of my life as we jump into this fall season.

And jump into fall we shall! I mean, I sure got into the mood for fall with my trip to Vermont (gah—that foliage though!) But I have to admit that without a trip like that you almost wouldn’t notice that the seasons have changed in our West Coast seaside town of Santa Barbara. I, for one, am determined to break out all the blankets, pillows and candles as soon as I get home (helloooo hygge) even if it’s still 75 degrees out during the day and EVEN if it means I have to make a Maple Apple Old Fashioned to get me in the mood.

If you like Old Fashioneds, this Maple Apple Old Fashioned will be your go-to fall cocktail this season!

Speaking of Maple Apple Old Fashioned’s, I hope you like bourbon, because otherwise you might want to stop reading right here. Yes, bourbon-lovers, this cocktail is for you. If you’re familiar with the Old Fashioned, then you know that there is not much else other than booze in this classic drink. Now, you may wonder why, for such a booze-infused cocktail, I tried to pack both maple and apple in as accompanying flavors, but trust me on this. A little goes a long way to make this the most happening fall cocktail around.

A typical Old Fashioned is made by first muddling straight sugar with bitters, then adding whiskey/bourbon and a slice of orange rind. If you take a look at this Maple Apple Old Fashioned recipe, you’ll see that we basically have all of the similar components, with a few fall-like twists.

We still use the bitters (I mean, how could we not?) but we sub in maple syrup in exchange for the sugar. And rather than infusing the bourbon with orange rind, we add just the slightest bit of apple cider to really give it that “fall” feel.

Maple syrup and spiced apple cider are the perfect additions to this Old Fashioned Cocktail.

It really is a simple recipe, and for the amount of fall flavor it packs, I hope you give it a try. I, for one, am looking forward to mixing up some of these as soon as I get home. I’m sure the hubby will appreciate it after a week of solo parenting!

Maple Apple Old Fashioned
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The perfect cocktail for fall, this Maple Apple Old Fashioned is what you’ll want to be drinking all season long. Bourbon, maple syrup and classic apple cider come together in this tasty cocktail that’s ideal enjoyed under warm blankets in front of a crackling fireplace. 

Course: Drinks
Keyword: apple, bourbon, cocktails, drinks, fall, maple syrup
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 215 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce apple cider, plus a little more for rimming the glass
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2-4 dashes angostura bitters
  • Apple wheels for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the ground cinnamon and sugar. Pour onto a small saucer/dessert plate. Pour some apple cider on a second saucer/dessert plate. (Tip: This cinnamon-sugar combo is PLENTY to rim two to three glasses if you want to up the cocktail recipe.)

  2. Take a rocks glass and dip it first into the apple cider plate and then into the cinnamon-sugar plate. Use a spoon or small ladle to fill the glass with ice and set aside.

  3. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the bourbon, apple cider, syrup and bitters. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or so.

  4. Strain contents of shaker into the prepared glass and garnish with an apple wheel. Enjoy!