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.

One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes

I have a special Valentine’s Day treat for you today!

These easy, festive cupcakes are full of citrus flavor - with a little hit of booze!

These One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes are just what any busy mom or partner needs this week – they’re super easy yet incredibly decadent. The cupcakes are laced with blood orange, orange liqueur and olive oil and topped with a luxurious (and not too sweet) boozy blood orange-cream cheese frosting. Quite honestly, they are my ideal cupcake – with all the fresh citrus flavors and a density that can’t be beat. Plus, there’s the booze. We all know how I’m a big fan of the booze!

When I saw a big bag of blood oranges at my local Trader Joe’s recently, I just had to get them. They are, after all, one of my favorite winter treats. I’ve been loading up on oranges lately to get as much natural Vitamin C into my bod as possible, and the blood oranges arrived at just the right time for me to mix up my routine a bit.

A batch of boozy, citrus-y cupcakes is all you need to surprise your sweetie this Valentine's Day!

I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a vibrantly colored sweet treat with some of these bright red beauties, and just in time for Valentine’s Day! Tell me, do you already have big plans or are you keeping things low key? Are you a fan of celebrating this Hallmark holiday or do you prefer professing your love for your significant other all year round?

Even since before baby was born, the hubs and I have preferred to keep things fairly low key. We’d rather go out to eat at a fancy restaurant on any other night of the year than be forced into some highly overpriced prix fixe menu or crammed into an overly-packed dining establishment. That being said, Chris has a special homemade dinner up his sleeve for us on Wednesday and I plan on pulling out some of these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes for us to enjoy (maybe with some bubbles?)

And speaking of these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes, let’s talk a little bit about how ridiculously easy they are. (Trust me, this mama has no time for involved recipes OR lots of dishwashing these days.)

Really, as long as you can get a hold of a big bunch of blood oranges, you’re in good shape. In fact, I’d venture to guess you already have most of the other ingredients on hand in your refrigerator or pantry already. Once you have all of the ingredients (which, by the way, are easily measured out using only a couple sizes of dry measuring cups and using up just two entire blood oranges – zest and juice), just throw everything into the bowl of your stand mixer and let it do all the work.

These cupcakes feature olive oil, yogurt and tons of citrus flavor from blood oranges.

I also love that you can easily make the cupcakes one day and the frosting the next because, if you’re a mama or busy woman like me, you never know how much time you’ll have to accomplish a task! I made the cupcakes the night before, then whipped up the frosting the next morning…I would also like to point out that I frosted and decorated the cupcakes and subsequently had to refrigerate them for a few hours until I had a chance to photograph them, so these bad boys really do hold up well with a little sit time.

Whether you have a special someone you want to make something for this Valentine’s Day or just want a tasty treat you can whip up with the season’s most colorful citrus, these One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes are for you. The recipe yields a dozen and a half, so you’ll have plenty to share!

These moist, citrus-y and boozy cupcakes are perfect for Valentine's Day or any special occasion.

One-Bowl Boozy Blood Orange Cupcakes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
26 mins
Total Time
46 mins
 

These cupcakes are incredibly moist with a big hit of citrus and a perfectly pink cream cheese frosting - the perfect treat for a special someone!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Calories: 305 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Zest of 2 small blood oranges (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice (should be about 2 small blood oranges)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
For the frosting*:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1 small blood orange
  • Juice of 1 small blood orange
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur (again, I used Grand Marnier)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Few drops of red food coloring, until desired color of frosting has been reached
  • White sanding sugar, for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cupcake tins with paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Combine all cupcake ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix - using the paddle attachment - until combined, about 3 minutes.

  3. Fill cupcake tins ¾ full with batter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 24-26 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

  4. Let cool for 5 minutes in tins, then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

  5. To make the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients (except food coloring) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 

  6. Once all ingredients are combined and creamy, add food coloring and mix until desired color is reached.

  7. Transfer frosting into a piping bag and cut off the tip. Pipe a generous amount of frosting onto each cupcake, but it doesn’t have to be pretty.

  8. Once all cupcakes are topped, use a small butler’s knife or spatula to neatly spread the frosting over the top. Sprinkle white sanding sugar over top.

  9. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

*You will have extra frosting to spread on graham crackers, more cupcakes, a loaf cake, etc.

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Holiday Appetizers

Coming at you today with one final “best of” roundup before Christmas – today we’re talking all about the holiday apps!

Best EVER Winter Vegetable Platte | CaliGirlCooking.com

Before I get too carried away with CGC’s most popular holiday appetizer recipes, I wanted to give you a quick update on our sitch: We’ve been away from our home in SB for a week and a half now, escaping the smoke to save our precious baby girl’s lungs. As I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, things aren’t looking great for our beautiful oceanfront town. Winds have been terrible since early this AM, which when combined with the very dry conditions in our area have made for a massive amount of evacuations in our area. Although our home is not in an evacuation zone yet, we are certainly surround by them and at this point can only keep our fingers crossed that the firefighters get SOME sort of break in the weather ASAP.

A couple of days ago it had been looking like we might be able to come home tomorrow, but now we’re second guessing that and thinking we may be up here in the Bay Area until Christmas. It’s certainly not what we had envisioned for our first holiday with the babe and the pup, but we’re trying to keep our heads up and make the most of this extra time we get to spend with our families. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as best as possible on social media but, in the meantime, let’s all get our mind off of things with some delicious apps. Shall we?

Without further ado, here are my 15 most popular holiday appetizers!

All-Dressed Party Mix | CaliGirlCooking.com

1. ALL-DRESSED PARTY MIX
2. BEST EVER WINTER VEGETABLE PLATTER
3. CREAMY MUSHROOM PATE

A fresh baguette is the perfect accompaniment to this Creamy Mushroom Pate.

4. FIVE INGREDIENT SMOKED SALMON AND CUCUMBER ROLL-UPS
5. PUMPKIN WALNUT PATE
6. BUTTERNUT SQUASH CROSTINI WITH CRISPY PROSCIUTTO AND SAGE

Curry-Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts | CaliGirl Cooking

7. CURRY ROSEMARY ROASTED MIXED NUTS
8. GOAT CHEESE, APRICOT AND PISTACHIO CROSTINI WITH HONEY
9. HOMEMADE ROSEMARY AND OLIVE OIL CRACKERS
10. HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS – TWO WAYS

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers: Two Ways! | CaliGirlCooking.com

11. PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED PEARS WITH CREAMY BLUE CHEESE
12. ROASTED CAULIFLOWER HUMMUS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC
13. BACON WRAPPED STUFFED DATES
14. SPICED ROSEMARY BAR NUTS

Portobello Hummus | CaliGirlCooking.com

15. PORTOBELLO HUMMUS

What are your favorite holiday appetizer recipes? Share them with me in the comments below!

The Best of CaliGirl Cooking: Top 15 Cocktails and Mocktails

TGIF!

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!

1. FESTIVE CRANBERRY CLEMENTINE MARTINI
2. CARIBOU
3. WINTER SPICED VANILLA EGGNOG

Cranberry Ginger Mule | CaliGirlCooking.com

4. CRANBERRY GINGER MULE
5. SPARKLING CITRUS VANILLA PUNCH
6. SPARKLING POMEGRANATE PARTY PUNCH

Sparkling Pomegranate Party Punch | CaliGirlCooking.com

7. ALMOND MILK EGGNOG HOT CHOCOLATE
8. PEAR, POMEGRANATE AND BOURBON PUNCH
9. SPIKED PEAR CIDER

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

10. APPLE CINNAMON “FAUX-MOSA”
11. BOILO (A TWIST ON THE HOT TODDY)
12. FROM-SCRATCH SLOW COOKER SPICED APPLE CIDER
13. WARMING GINGER TEA WHISKEY COCKTAIL
14. BOOZY SPICED HOT APPLE CIDER

Citrus Vanilla Sparkler | CaliGirlCooking.com

15. CITRUS VANILLA SPARKLER

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