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Two Unique Gifts To Give This Season

I haven’t done gift guides in several years but this year I came across two unique ideas that I think would make great gifts for the holidays.  One is global while the other one is local.

World Vision is a program that focuses on helping and providing countries and families in need items that would be most beneficial to them.  With donations they work towards providing things like clean water, goats and chickens to families, providing education, and food for kids.  There are many categories that someone can choose from and donate to the cause they feel most passionate about.  There are suggestions for donation amounts with examples of what that would provide to someone.  For example, $100 could provide a goat and two chickens to a family which in turn provides a steady supply of food and milk to that family.

Hand carved spice box

They also feature some handmade gifts that are all fair trade and made by those that World Vision is supporting.  Each gift requires a donation but the shipping is free and this donation benefits those that need it most.  This would be the perfect option if you’d still like to give someone a gift they can use all while donating to a good cause.

I was sent this hand carved cinnamon box as an example of the kinds of gifts available.  It is a box made from cinnamon bark with the Asian symbol for prosperity on it.  It also contains 3oz of Vietnam Cinnamon from the Cassia Tree.  Which is a renewable resource providing jobs for families.  There are other handmade gifts available which I encourage you to check out.

This would made a great gift for someone you care about.  It’s unique and is a gift that provides so much to those in need.

Coffee Registry Delivered Coffee

My next recommendation is closer to home and something local that is perfect for the coffee lover in your life.

The Coffee Registry roasts their own coffee beans and delivers them fresh right to your door!  We’ve been using this service for several months and love it.  Depending on where you live in Fort Collins, you’ll either get coffee delivered twice a month (1st and 3rd Wednesdays) or once a month.  Each delivery is different providing a chance to explore different beans, roasts, and country of origin.  Plus we get to support a local business so it’s a win for everyone.

David, owner of The Coffee Registry, also makes custom pour over stands.  There are several to pick from, this one called Curator, just happens to be my favorite.  It has an awesome steampunk quality to it!

Curator Pour Over Coffee Stand by The Coffee Registry

(Image courtesy of The Coffee Registry)

Each stand is made using American walnut base with brass uprights and a glass Hario V60 pour over brewer.

David is providing Food Embrace readers with a bonus pack of 100 filters if you order a custom stand.  Just mention Food Embrace in the comments when you order one!

Support a local business and provide a unique gift to someone by either signing them up for some coffee delivery or ordering them a custom stand!

With many bloggers providing gifts guides to you this season, I wanted to bring you something a little more unique.  These gifts will definitely bring joy to those on your holiday list!

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post nor do I have an affiliate with either company.

 

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Resolution To The Max

Scott and Andrea shoes

Have you thought about the new year and formulated a plan on how you’re going to take back and take charge of your health?  I know that right now we’re all focused on the holidays, and cookies, and booze.  Don’t worry I am too!  BUT we also need to look ahead at this brand new full year ahead of us and decide on how to address our health.

Scott and I are committed to taking back our health and getting back in shape this year.  We’ve let it slack for too long for lots of reasons.  And now it’s time for us to step up and make time for us to be healthy and active again.  How are we going to do that? With tons of support!

Scott and I will be supporting each other but I’m also part of a group challenge as well that will be doing daily check-ins and using each other as accountability partners.  We will be doing the new Insanity: MAX 30 program  It’s a workout at home program, so no gym involved and no equipment other than yourself.

The basics of the program are that it’s a 30 minute program 5 days a week for 60 days.  The workouts are 30 minutes long and you push yourself to the MAX until you either can’t go any longer or you’re starting to lose good form.  It’s a cardio HIIT style workout and each day you strive to do better than you did the day before.  Even if it’s just one more rep or one more move, the goal is to do better each day.

Scott and I are so into this and I want you to join us!  The only thing that you have to buy is the DVDs, there’s no other equipment involved. A one time purchase for DVDs that you can use over and over again.

My long time blogging friend, Rose, is running the accountability group.  You can read more about the program and the group on her post.

Some folks have started the program already and others are waiting until after the holidays and starting on Jan 5th.  I want you to be a part of our group!  We all have 30 minutes a day that we can dedicate to our health and well being.  WE CAN DO THIS!

If you’re interested in joining our group either comment below or email me: Andrea AT FoodEmbrace.com and I’ll get you connected with our group!  You’ll have the support and motivation that you need to work through this program and complete it.  We will all be supporting and cheering each other on.

Are you with us?  LET’S DO THIS!

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Chilled Mulled Beer

I working on a lot of cocktail recipes for this holiday season so prepare yourself for #BoozeyHoliday! I’ve got three more cocktails in the works after this one!

For the holiday season I wanted to create a beer drink that was festive while still being light to drink and super easy to put together.  No one wants to fuss at holiday parties mixing a bunch of drinks.

I started thinking about festive drinks at the holidays and naturally eggnog and mulled wine came to mind.  But mixing those with beer?  Heavy cream and beer just sounds gross.  A hot steaming mug of beer doesn’t sound appealing at all.  The idea of a mulled beer drink intrigued me though and I put my thinking cap on to try to come up with a way to make it work.

It would be served cold and instead of red wine I used unsweetened cranberry juice that I spiced up using spices that are familiar to us this time of year.

And the Chilled Mulled Beer drink was born!

Chilled Mulled Beer

 

Andrea’s Chilled Mulled Beer

For the Mulled Cranberry Juice:

  • 4C Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
  • 1 Orange, quartered
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 1TBSP Whole Cloves

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Then cover and immediately reduce to a low simmer.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and allow to cool for another 30 minutes.  Squeeze the orange quarters into the mixture, then remove.  Strain the cranberry juice into a heat proof container and place in fridge.  Makes 1 quart of mulled cranberry juice.  Allow to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

For the Mulled Beer:

In a glass add 1/2C Mulled Cranberry Juice then add 6oz of Beer.  A pale ale or a lighter brown ale is perfect for this drink.  I used Odell’s 5 Barrel Pale Ale and their seasonal, Isolation ale with this drink and both worked out well.  You want a beer that is light in flavor so I would avoid something really hoppy as that would clash with the cranberry juice.

You can garnish with more star anise or frozen cranberries!  Serve and enjoy!

The cranberry juice can be made ahead of time and will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Store in an air tight glass container.  I used a mason jar.  Feel free to make a huge batch, just remember you’ll have to up the spices a little as well.  Give the cranberry juice a good shake before pouring it out so the spice redistributes.

Perfect for the holidays and something a little different to serve your guests!

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Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

 

This was hands down the best Thanksgiving we had since we moved to Fort Collins.  Our first year here, I was still getting my bearings around where to shop and find local ingredients.  Plus we had only been here a couple of months and I was still learning about our new city along with missing some things from our previous city.  It wasn’t much of a celebration to be honest.

Last year we were in a brand new house with two new dogs and we weren’t sure how they would handle all the new changes that come with the holidays.  This year we are settled, the dogs are settled, and I’ve got my routine figured out and that meant that Thanksgiving was awesome.

Our fridge is small and is pretty much barely functional.  I mean, as a storage unit, it works properly keeping things cold.  I didn’t think there would be room to brine but Scott worked his magic packing skills and was able to fit two huge bowls in the fridge.  For the turkey, I purchased two breasts and two legs from Whole Foods along with two wings.  The wings I used to make turkey stock and I did that using the slow cooker (more on that in another post!).

I bourbon brined the turkey and we had collards, mashed potatoes, and gravy, and cranberry sauce (new recipe!).  Scott also requested some stuffing this year so I made a small dish of that as well.  Everything turned out fantastic and the turkey was even better as leftovers.

The day was relaxing and warm.  So warm I had to open the windows to let some fresh air in to clear out the steam from cooking!  Most of the day was spent in PJs eating, drinking, and hanging out with the pups.

It was glorious and later we had pumpkin pie for dessert.

I could not have asked for a more perfect day.

The Christmas decorations are out and I can’t wait to unplug for a couple of weeks and just hang out.  Definitely my most favorite time of year!

Tell me about your holiday!

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Giveaway: Win Laundry Detergent

Win Laundry Detergent

Workout clothes get stanky.  There’s no getting around that.  Whether you’re hiking, biking, running, or whatever, your clothes are going to smell.  My workout gear gets gross.  I sweat in places that no one wants to talk about.  So my gear after one use smells gross.  I’ve tried so many things to get them clean and nothing has worked.  Even DIY soaps and methods that are guaranteed to get the stank out, do not work.  Oh sure the gear comes out of the laundry OK but there’s still always that faint workout smell in the background.

I’ve been wanting to try Win detergent for ages and I finally got a chance!  Win sent me the detergent to test out and I can share the love!  Win will be giving away detergent to a lucky reader as well!

Win recently came out with a dye free and fragrance free version as well.  They have also revamped their packaging, making the bottles bigger but have not increased the price.  Still the same price but now for almost 50% more detergent for your money.

Personally I prefer the dye and fragrance free version but the original isn’t bad!  The scent isn’t overpowering but pleasant and even perfect for the fellas who want to get their gear clean.

The detergent worked great at getting my workout clothes clean and smelling fresh!

Win Laundry Detergent

 

Do you have stanky workout gear? Of course you do!  Now is your chance to try out some Win!  Lots of ways to enter this giveaway which runs from Today until Sunday.  I will be picking a winner on Sunday so please make sure to use a legit email address so that I can contact you.

Win is also offering up $1 off the purchase of a bottle of detergent with the coupon code WINGIVE1.  Just plop that in during checkout!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was contacted by Win and Sweat Pink to offer this giveaway. I was not compensated for this post.