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Holiday Helper


It’s T-9, and there’s still plenty to do—at least for those of us who tend to function best under pressure. And, if you’re like me, there comes a point where you just start throwing things in your cart and figure out who’s getting what later. I mean, if you’re buying what you love, chances are it will be well received. So, having said that, here are a few items that should make your decision making a little easier.

Crunchy Crack

Perfect for a stocking stuffer, Metropolitan Bakery‘s modern incarnations of its whole-grain, tastes-too-good-to-be-good-for-you granola made their retail debut at the spring Fancy Food Show in New York. The new flavors—coffee chocolate chip and pomegranate cinnamon—are packed with flavor (and of course, crunch) and, in the case of the latter, healthy antioxidants. Available at metropolitanbakery.com in 2- and 12-ounce packages for $2.10 and $7.25.

Sweets for Your Sweet

Trust me, the diehard chocolate lover in your life doesn’t want to wait until Valentine’s Day to break out the good chocolate. So dazzle him or her now with an assortment of to-die-for chocolates from The Painted Truffle. Twenty-nine dollars will get you the Grand 15, which appears to be the best deal in the bunch. For stocking stuffers, the Petite Platinum 5 comes with—you guessed it—five assorted truffles tucked into a cute, little tin for $12. If you’ve never tasted these pretty, melt-in-your-mouth and boldly flavored truffles, you’re missing out. Of course, if you’d read my blurb in the “Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs 2009” story, you’d be all the wiser and closer to finishing your holiday shopping. Visit thepaintedtruffle.com.

You Can Drink Wine Before It’s Time

A “smart” stocking stuffer, the BevWizard will come in handy year-round. This nifty invention, dubbed the Wine Smoother, helps soften the flavor of young wines that are typically higher in tannins or oakiness than older, more mature wines. Good-bye to waiting for bottles to “open”—a suffering equal to waiting for a pot of water to boil. I’m not going to try and explain it when the BevWizard website does it very well, but I can say that the few times I’ve tried it, the difference in taste is surprisingly noticeable. There’s also a spirits smoother for your whiskey, bourbon, scotch and cognac-drinking friends. Visit bevwizard.com.

Inspiration for the Cook—and the Soul

The story behind the cookbook Mommy’s Light in the Kitchen is heart wrenching and inspiring—and well worth buying both as a gift and for yourself. The recipes are family-oriented, thoroughly tested, and edited to be as foolproof as possible. It all began with a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer and Jeannine Ginsburg’s desire to leave a legacy of memories for her family that will comfort them after she dies. Ginsburg and her friends spread the word and received more than 200 recipes from around the country, along with notes about why the recipes were meaningful to the senders. Even before the book was complete, over 500 orders had been placed. The cost is $15, which includes shipping. All of the proceeds will benefit the Mommy’s Light Lives On Fund. More books are expected Dec. 16, but if you have any interest at all, you should visit mommyslight.org.

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