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!
*This post contains affiliate links.

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!

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Cocktails and Mocktails


Caribou | CaliGirlCooking.com

Boy, what a week it has been. We’re still seeking refuge from the SoCal smoke up north, at least for a few more days, and I’m writing this at the eleventh hour so I’m going to keep things short, but I couldn’t let you kick off the second to last weekend before Christmas without the promised roundup of CGC’s Top 15 Cocktails and Mocktails!

So, without further ado….

A Festive Cranberry Clementine Martini is the perfect easy cocktail to whip up all through the month of December!


Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com


Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com


A mug of Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect hot toddy for the holidays.


Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com


Okay, now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite holiday cocktails and mocktails! Leave ’em in the comments below!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing

I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of holiday deliciousness today.

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini stuffing is an easy, tasty holiday side dish that everyone will love!

Because this is quite literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing not only due to its insane flavor, but also because it is sooo easy to make. Yes, your holiday menus are about to change forever.

I’m letting you in on a little secret today, because this stuffing is actually a family recipe that I’ve held near and dear to my heart….until now. I’ve debated sharing it for a while, and after receiving my Dad’s blessing (he’s the mastermind behind it all) I decided there’s no time like 10 days before Thanksgiving to do it!

So, I bet you’re wondering what makes this The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing when it only involves 5 ingredients? Well, let me tell you, those five ingredients are chock full of alllll the flavors and work together so perfectly that you will never regret making this your new go-to stuffing recipe for years to come. We’re talking not only the obvious zucchini (which also, BTW, makes this recipe fairly healthy as far as stuffing recipes go) but also fresh basil and plenty of garlic. Of course we also mix in some breadcrumbs and tie it all together with some high-quality butter. Have I won you over yet?

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing can be stuffed into a bird OR just baked on its own for a completely vegetarian side dish.

What if I told you this stuffing is perfectly safe to eat raw (if you just can’t wait until you bake it off to try it) AND you don’t even have to stuff it into any sort of bird to enjoy it in all its glory? That’s my kind of stuffing.

Now, I know I’m sharing this with you before Thanksgiving just in case you’re looking for that perfect way to dress up your turkey a little bit, but in all honesty my Dad usually whips up this recipe for Christmas Eve. In fact, we usually rotate whatever type of poultry we use (sometimes we do chickens, sometimes Cornish game hens, etc.) but The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing is the one constant on the menu.

The best thing about this Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing? It can even be eaten raw!

For Thanksgiving, my mom has her own special stuffing recipe, but I’m not ready to disclose that one quite yet 😉

As far as making The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing, it’s going to be a snap as long as you have a food processor on hand. (But yes, you can also make it without one.) You can use the grater attachment of your processor to grate the zucchini, and the chopper attachment for the basil, breadcrumbs and garlic.

After you have all of the ingredients prepped, you’ll sauté the zucchini and garlic in butter, then at the last minute stir in the breadcrumbs and basil before dumping everything into a baking dish (or stuffing it into a bird). If you’re using a baking dish, I might recommend one with a lot of surface area so you maximize the crunchy golden topping, but that’s just me.

This is literally The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing and you need to add it to your holiday cooking schedule!

Once you have the stuffing in the oven, it’s very much a “set it and forget it” recipe. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to sit back and relax with family and friends, hopefully with a delicious cocktail in hand. Because isn’t that what the holidays are REALLY all about??

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

This healthy stuffing recipe is incredibly flavorful with just FIVE ingredients. It can be made as a vegetarian side dish or stuffed into a bird!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: family-friendly, holiday, side dish, stuffing, Thanksgiving, vegetables, zucchini
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 4 medium to large zucchini
  • 6 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature you’re cooking your bird at.)

  2. Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a cheese shredder, shred the zucchini. Squeeze out the excess water using a few paper towels and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shredded zucchini and garlic. Sauté until garlic is translucent and fragrant, then turn heat to low.

  4. In a clean food processor fitted with the blade attachment, make your fresh breadcrumbs using whatever type of bread you have on hand. Add fresh basil at the very end just to give it a rough chop.

  5. Stir breadcrumb mixture into zucchini mixture, then transfer into a baking dish, or stuff into your bird. Bake at desired oven temperature for about an hour, or until the surface of the stuffing takes on a nice golden-brown color.

  6. Serve with your holiday meal!

The BEST Five-Ingredient Zucchini Stuffing | CaliGirlCooking.com

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies

These Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies are oat-filled double chocolate cookies dipped in peppermint white chocolate and topped with crushed candy cane pieces.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m bringing you yet another sweet recipe today and I’m not one bit upset about it, and you shouldn’t be either! If you didn’t catch my last post, be sure to pop on over to get the 4-1-1 on how I feel about keeping that balance this time of year.  We’re not going to worry about eating a little more than our fair share of indulgent treats this week because, hey, you only live once! We’ll catch up on the healthy stuff for our in-between meals and at the start of the New Year. But today all we need to worry about are these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies.

And man, do these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies deserve some talking about. This recipe has been a family favorite for at least 15 years now, which is quite the feat for a family that always love trying all the new recipes and flavor combinations that abound every year. They’re my personal favorite, of the five or so cookie flavors my mom makes every year, so I finally got her to share the recipe with me.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

The recipe my mom shared with me is actually for plain ol’ Chocoholic Cookies, which comes from a book in a cooking murder-mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson called “The Main Corpse.” Yes, there are cooking murder-mysteries and yes, my mom and I have actually made quite a few fantastic recipes from them.

But of course, me being who I am, I couldn’t leave the original recipe alone when it came to making these Chocoholic Cookies in my own kitchen. I had to go ahead and make them Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies. And boy, did they turn out amazing! Oat-y, chocolate-y, GIANT cookies dipped in peppermint white chocolate and topped with crushed candy canes? There’s no way you can go wrong.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been making a batch of cookies here and there and popping them in the freezer to have at a moment’s notice for last-minute guests or neighborly gifts. These Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies have definitely been added to the stockpile, although the hubs and I seem to be finding our way into the stash more often than not. We just can’t leave them be! We’ll see how many cookies are left when we actually need them 😉

One thing I really love about these Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies (besides how insanely delicious they are) is how easy they are to make! They’re a simple drop cookie and the dough doesn’t need any time to set up in the freezer or refrigerator. They’re loaded with oats, cocoa powder and chocolate chips, which make every bite a literal party in your mouth. And they’re finished baking in under 15 minutes!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

The hardest part about making this recipe is dipping the cookies in a cloak of peppermint white chocolate after they’re baked and sprinkling on the crushed candy cane pieces. Oh, and then the waiting for the white chocolate to set up….It’s a bit torturous but I have faith in you! They’re totally worth the wait.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Basically, Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies NEED to be added to your annual cookie rotation ASAP. They’ve been a huge hit with every single person who’s tried them, so I don’t think anyone you gift them to will be disappointed. Make them now, stash them in your freezer, and have delicious chocolate-peppermint-y sweetness ready to go at a moment’s notice. So get on it!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
27 mins

Delicious, oat-filled double chocolate cookies dipped in peppermint white chocolate and topped with crushed candy cane pieces.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking, chocolate, cookies, dessert, holiday, kid-friendly, peppermint
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and chocolate chips, set aside.

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and both sugars using the paddle attachment until creamy.

  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. The batter will be very stiff at this point.

  5. Stir the milk and vanilla into the beaten eggs, and then add this to the stiff butter mixture, beating until thoroughly combined. Add the oat and chocolate chip mixture and stir until well-mixed. 

  6. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, drop batter two inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until cooked through. Cool on pan for one minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

  7. Melt the white chocolate with the peppermint extract and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler (or use a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water). Holding a cooled cookie between your thumb and forefinger, dip the edge into the white chocolate to cover the top third of the cookie. Place on a rack over parchment paper and immediately sprinkle on some crushed candy cane pieces (before the white chocolate dries completely.)

  8. Let white chocolate dry completely (this will take an hour or so) and then store in a re-sealable container with pieces of parchment paper in between to keep them from sticking.

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

So freakin’ festive!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Peppermint Chocoholic Cookies | CaliGirlCooking.com

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog

Because just any old eggnog won’t do.

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post is brought to you in partnership with Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

We need our eggnog to be laced with vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and spiked with both bourbon AND cognac. We don’t do normal here, we go big.

I’m so excited to share this Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog with you today for multiple reasons.

First, this recipe epitomizes one of the main goals I have for this here blog: To show you, my loyal readers, that any recipe, no matter how seemingly scary, challenging or complicated, is within reach.

In the past, I’ve been completely terrified of making eggnog. Raw eggs, uncooked, in a drink? I’d never been opposed to drinking a version that somebody else made (I suppose I trusted what they were doing?) but I was scared out of my mind to be responsible for people drinking something so loaded with an ingredient that we’ve been told to minimize our ingestion of ever since we were little. But this blog is all about conquering our fears in the kitchen, so with a little push (see below,) I knew this holiday season was the time for me to conquer this fear.

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com

Second, and the source of my little push, is that I’m once again partnering with Sonoma Syrup Co. to bring you some delicious recipes using their products over the next few months. I love these syrups because there are soooo many different flavors, and every single one is made with only the freshest, highest quality ingredients.

The variety of products that Sonoma Syrup Co. has on hand means that there are tons of fun recipes that can be made. I’ve already made these delicious Vanilla-Ginger Doughnuts with Pomegranate Glaze, these refreshing Pineapple Mojito Popsicles, and this tasty CaliGirl’s Chico Cocktail, all using their products. When they approached me about making a homemade eggnog recipe using their Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup, I jumped at the chance, and the challenge!

Last, but definitely not least, I’m so excited to share this Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog recipe with you because it is so darn delicious. All of the trepidation I had about making my own eggnog from scratch completely vanished after I tasted the finished product. It is soooo good.

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com

(And if you’re still worried about the consuming raw eggs thing, I did my research and, according to medical professionals, the hefty amount of alcohol used is supposed to almost completely negate the risk of you getting salmonella. Just be sure to use the freshest eggs possible, preferably ones that are organic.)

So let’s get to the recipe, shall we? The great thing about this Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog is that, although it can be scary to commit to making it, once you commit, it comes together quickly and easily. There’s no cooking involved, just a little bit of chill time in the refrigerator.

I based my recipe off of this detailed lesson from The Kitchn, but of course fancied it up a bit with my addition of Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Vanilla Bean Syrup and all of the different spices.

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com

You start by whisking together the egg yolks, sugar and our fave Vanilla Bean Syrup.

Next we mix in milk, cream, booze and all the spices. Then we chill! For at least one hour.

The finishing touch, right before you’re ready to dig in (or gulp up), is to whip up your egg whites and fold them in. That’s it!!

Seriously, so easy. And I’m pretty sure that Vanilla Bean Syrup is going to be going into every single cocktail or baked good I’ll be making this holiday season.

If you’re ready to jump in and make some Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog for all of your nearest and dearest, be sure to hop on over to Sonoma Syrup Co. and order your syrup today. They’re also offering the Vanilla Bean flavor in their Holiday Entertaining Gift Set right now, which includes their Bittersweet Chocolate Syrup, Sea Salt Caramel Syrup and Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup, YUM! Just be sure to place your order by December 15 to get it in time for Christmas!

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog
Prep Time
25 mins
Refrigerator Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins

This homemade eggnog is flavored with vanilla simple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The perfect drink for the holidays!

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cocktails, drinks, eggnog, holiday, winter
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup cognac
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (Plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. First, separate the eggs. I like to get out two small bowls and separate the eggs by cracking each on the side of one bowl, and dumping the egg out of the shell into my hand over that first bowl, letting the whites slip through my fingers while holding the yolk in my hand. It’s then really easy to dump the whole yolk into the second bowl once the white has all slipped through. Cover the egg whites and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  2. In a large mixing bowl (it’s best to use something non-metal, like ceramic or glass,) whisk together the egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar. Continue whisking for a few minutes, until the mixture has turned a pale yellow color. Whisk in the vanilla syrup.

  3. Next, whisk in the milk, cream, alcohols and spices. Once combined, cover and place in refrigerator for at least one hour. 

  4. Right before you are ready to serve, you’ll want to whip up the egg whites. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (this could take from 5-10 minutes.) Remove the eggnog mixture from the refrigerator and whisk in the whites. Serve immediately, garnishing each glass with more ground nutmeg if desired. 

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog | CaliGirlCooking.com


Chin chin!