Monday, December 20, 2010

So, it's the last minute and you're thinking you're done with your shopping.  Then .... all of a sudden you realize that there are folks all around who you'd love to give a little something to.

This year, I am prepared for just such situations.  My friend Julie and I whipped up a double batch of marmalade.  We had enough to make 17 half-pints that we canned and plenty left for both of us to use as jam and as filling for cookies and treats.

We used Ina Garten's easy marmalade recipe from Food Network's site.  Not only is it delicious, but it's really gorgeous. 

If your gift-giving taste runs to the sweet, rather than the slightly tart, you can give cut-out cookies or yummy peppermint chocolates in a festive tin or bag.

Giving the gift of welcoming treats is a great way to share the holiday spirit!

Happy Cooking and Happy Holidays!
Kim and Megan

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We started the holiday season with style (and I mean lots of style!).

The first Thursday after Thanksgiving, about 30 women got together for our second annual craft exchange.  Each participant brought 10 of the same or similar handmade gifts, and she got to take 10 other gifts.  Barter at its best.

Last year when we did this, we had a blast.  There was food and drinks and cool stuff.  This year, it went to a whole new level.  When all of the items were laid out, it looked like an upscale boutique.  See ...

Just off the top of my head, we had earrings, bracelets and necklaces.  We had bubble magnets, scented heating pads, black and white photography.  There were frames and notecards and good things to eat.  There were gorgeous scarves and cute gloves and elegant oil diffusers.  I think my favorite was the ribbon wreath that I got to add a festive note to my door.

For the most part, nobody spent too much (probably under $10/per piece) on their craft, and they came away with gifts (either for themselves or others) that would have cost them much more had they been purchased at the store.  I adored the feeling of community that came from seeing everyone's labors of love.  For that night, the do-it-yourself spirit was raging in Chicago!

We first thought that we'd get maybe four gals together and do a little swap in someone's living room.  The idea took off so quickly, that we went from about 20 crafters last year to 30 this year, and I'm sure there will be even more next year.  It's fun, it saves money, and you come away with unique gifts ... what could be better?  I strongly encourage you to try this out in your community.

If you're looking for some last minute do-it-yourself gift ideas, check out my friend Julie's post at the great website,

Happy Cooking (and Happy Holidays)!
Kim and Megan

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just in time for your holiday shopping, the folks at a new website,, have offered our readers a good deal.  You can get 20% off your purchases until January 1 when you shop at their site by using the code vegan20.  Ecolissa features fashions and accessories that are both eco-friendly and vegan (two ideas I can really get behind!). 

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan