homemade food gifts

Have you started shopping yet? Gifts for the family this year are a little tricky as we’ll be bringing them home on a plane, but I’m already almost done. (My secret is online shopping ;)) In the past, I’ve always given something homemade and I think I’ll have to make a few of the items below, even if they don’t make it back to the midwest with us.

Here are some of my favorite savory (and a few sweet) ideas for homemade food gifts to give to loved ones this year!

Curried Pecans – via me

Salted Maple Caramel Sauce – via me!

Pineapple-Infused Vodka – via me

Rosemary Olive Oil – via Whole Foods

Curried Lentil Soup – via Good Housekeeping 

Tuscan Spice Rub – Eating Well


Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam – via Martha Stewart (my friend Mary Beth gave this to us last year and we LOVED it!)

Hot Mango Chutney – via Tinned Tomatoes

Limoncello – via Hedonia 

Caramel-Almond Popcorn – via Martha Stewart


Olives with Fennel Seeds and Orange – via Martha Stewart

Do you give homemade food gifts? Or, if you are on the receiving end, do you eat them? I just read an article that said most food gifts go to waste – the horror! 

Don’t forget to donate to the Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin!  


asian chicken stew {slow cooker}

I’m not really sure how to describe this dish to you.

It’s definitely Asian, I can tell you that much.

It has curry paste, but it’s not quite a curry.

It has peanut butter, but it’s not quite a peanut sauce.

Along with the fact that it most certainly has an Asian vibe, I can also tell you that it is out of this world. Did I mention that it can be made while you work all day? Or alternatively, while you go watch football at a bar all day, or alternatively, while you go Holiday shopping all day??

Whatever you do while your asian chicken stew is cooking is really up to you. Heck, maybe you’ll be all healthy and workout! But when its finished cooking and you serve up a big bowl over some brown rice, you’ll be a very happy person.

This, I know.


Asian Chicken Stew

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 6 hours

Keywords: slow-cooker soup/stew entree gluten-free high protein chicken Chinese Thai fall winter

Part curry, part coconut, part peanut sauce. Spicy, delicious meal made in the slow cooker.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2-3 cups fresh spinach
  • brown rice


Cut onion and peppers into 1 inch pieces.

Place in the bottom of slow cooker.

Top veggies with chicken.

Mix together sauce – garlic through curry paste and pour over chicken.

Cook on low for about 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

If sauce is not thick enough, remove cover, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes.

With about 20 minutes left of cooking time, stir in peas and spinach.

Taste and add more salt or sriracha to taste.

Serve over brown rice with extra sriracha on the side.

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make a difference

If you are a newer reader, you may not know my background with Haiti.

It’s not extensive, but has been such a huge part of my life since first experience two years ago. It may seem crazy, but the two short weeks I’ve spent in Haiti have completely changed me. (I’d say for the better ;) ) I fell in love with the people of Haiti and I’ve got no doubt that it will continue to remain a big part of my life. (You can read about my trips here.)

One of the reasons why I love this time of year isn’t because of the amazing food, the cheery spirit, decorations or time with family, all of which are wonderful…

It is that we are truly reminded to think of others and think of those who are less fortunate. During the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas we are urged to help those in need. I think that donating time, money and/or energy to those who need it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. It can be as simple as a few dollars, or an afternoon volunteering, but it all helps.

Every year, the wonderful Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian) holds a fundraiser for various organizations and this year we’ve teamed up to raise money for the Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin, which is the group I’ve traveled with in the past. From their site:

Our basic mission is to provide free health care to the people of Thiotte, and the surrounding area. In reality, the smooth execution of a mission like this is only made possible by the extraordinary people who make up the mission trips. In the United States, there is a physician for every 400-500 people. In Thiotte, there are typically only two Cuban medical residents to care for the 25,000 people in the village, and 20,000 others in the surrounding countryside. While these doctors are well respected, they have little access to medications to prescribe, and most people cannot afford to see them.

This holiday season, Holly and I am hoping to help raise $3000 by the end of the year to donate for medical supplies for upcoming mission trips to Haiti in 2012. And if you are so inclined, we would be honored and endlessly grateful if you would help us out.

If you are feeling merry and bright,
click here to donate to Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin!

Or here.

And perhaps here.

You can click here too.

Donations are completely secure and private and start at $10. In our food-obsessed world, that may mean cutting back on buying a new nut butter or two (= $10) at the grocery store, skipping kombucha for a week (= $20) or forgoing a nice dinner for two one weekend (=$40).

We would appreciate any linkbacks you can give on your blog, emails you can send to family + friends as well as any other ways you can encourage others to donate (Tweet! Facebook! Fax! Yodel!). Again, we are hoping for $3000 so we can provide Haiti Medical Mission of Wisconsin with critical funds to help them continue doing their selfless, amazing work.

Thank you all so much.

Love to all!

thankful for…

Being able to give to others, no matter how small. Internet. Lazy days. Spending Thanksgiving with family, even though we’re far away from home. New restaurants. Good friends. Exploring a new city and new neighborhood. Amazing Family. Sun and warmth in November. Happy hours. People I’ve met and oppourtunities I’ve had through blogging. Wedding pictures. Babies. Good food. Health. Workouts. A wonderful husband. Red wine. Comfy sweaters. Good books. A new family. New recipes. Beautiful pictures.