I hate showing up to someone’s house empty-handed, even when the hostess says, “Oh…just bring yourself.” That’s why I always have so much fun scoping out affordable hostess gifts for you all each year. While we can always grab a bottle of wine or fresh flowers, around the holiday season it’s smart to stock up on affordable little gifts for impromptu gift-giving, just so you have them on hand. And I found the perfect thing with the gourmet chocolate covered pretzel rods from Fatty Sundays. You guys? This is like my dream holiday gift stash gift: They’re affordable, they’re not too fussy, and they’re a perfect token for anyone from a hostess...Read More
Those of you who don’t celebrate may not know that before Christmas became the blockbuster that it is today, Chanukkah was a pretty quiet affair. And as hard as Chanukkah tries to keep up (at least in my house where we celebrate both holidays), it’s always a few steps behind Christmas. Until now. The Festival of Lights Chanukkah gift set from Vosges gourmet chocolates is swanky—and delicious—enough to make Chanukkah the winter holiday. At least that’s how eight days of chocolate makes me feel. Like everything that Vosages does, this gift set is beautifully designed. The lucite menorah, which I had the chance...Read More
Web Coolness: The Portlandia cookbook, how to get the most for your old iPhone, and tips for taming after-school clutter
Here’s what we found on the Internet this week. Hope you like them too. We can’t wait to get our hands on the upcoming Portlandia cookbook! (via Laughing Squid) This travel guide for chocolate lovers has us drooling. We can’t believe our friend, fellow blogger and former Cool Mom Picks contributor Rebecca Woolf’s twins have turned three. Her birthday post to them is lovely. 9 questions moms are tired of answering, from our own Nicole Blades. Get the very most money for your old iPhone (as in $200 for an iPhone 4!). How fun are these DIY headboards for kids? A helpful...Read More
Our house contains roughly six million LEGOs, from teeny tiny pieces that can’t be seen until they are rattling inside the vacuum, to giant blocks the size of bricks. And yet, I’m coveting more bricks. At least when they’re chocolate LEGOs created by Japanese artist Akihiro Mizuuchi. Aren’t they amazing? (And probably less painful to step on too. If a little messier.) Not only are they edible, they’re functional. The design of the molds is so precise that Mizuuchi even built little characters out of his chocolate LEGOs, which feature a tiny LEGO on each circular connector — just like the real plastic version. Mizuuchi’s...Read More
Not that I need any excuse to eat chocolate, but I’m not a big candy bar eater. I do like a Justin’s peanut butter cup when I can find one, but usually I stick with the fancy stuff. Halloween not withstanding. But now when I discover an organic candy bar as remarkably exquisite as the new ones from Legit Organics, I must apologize to my thighs in advance. There are actually quite a few reasons to check out the small, family-owned Oregon company’s Word bar, which is comparable to Milky Way; and the ShotCaller which is like an organic version of Snickers, with chocolate-covered peanuts, caramel,...Read More
First it was cupcakes, then Rice Krispies treats and donuts, too. Next up on my approved-dessert-trends roster: whoopie pies. Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to get in on this trend and Batter & Cream, an online specialty whoopie pie bakery, makes it easy with this whoopie pie recipe that Cool Mom Picks has got exclusively for you. And this is no ordinary whoopie pie recipe my friends–this is their Chocolate Stout Ganache Whoopie Pie with Peanuts, which sounds perfect for Father’s Day, don’t you think? Or you know, any day. Chocolate Stout Whoopie Pie with Peanuts (printed with permission) Makes 12-14...Read More
I’m evidently going through an artisanal chocolate phase–though considering it’s been a decade or so, not sure if that’s actually a phase or a way of life. Either way, I love visiting small towns or scouring the web for outstanding local chocolatiers like Laughing Moon in Stowe, Vermont, Chicago’s addictive Ugly Truffles, or my most recent obsession, Fort Meyers’ Norman Love chocolates. Now, I’ve got another to add to the list: Napa Valley’s Kollar Chocolates. While my thighs are saying “no, bad…” my mouth is saying, “yes please. 18 more, just like that one.” These gourmet truffles from chef Chris Kollar may come...Read More
Gourmet chocolate for Mother’s Day that says I love you, provided you don’t eat them all first. (That would say something else entirely.)
I dare anyone to tell me that Mother’s Day chocolates are cliché, especially if you’re giving the kinds of gourmet chocolate that a mom might not buy for herself every day. (With all due respect to the good folks of Hershey.) I will happily accept any fancy chocolate gifts, anytime, any place. One more option you definitely want to check out: the handmade gourmet chocolates from Norman Love Confections, featuring a new collection made just with moms in mind. – Don’t miss a special limited time offer below – This new-to-me little company was founded by an award-winning pastry...Read More
The only downside to my newfound coffee geekery is that some mornings I just don’t have time to grind, brew, and enjoy the amazing cup of coffee that I need so badly to function. Quick, crappy coffee just won’t do anymore. But the substitute I’ve found is almost as good as the original. Awake Chocolate is a game changer. True story: the day Awake Chocolate sent me a box of samples, I dove right in before reading their adorable packaging. Turns out that amazingly yummy Caramel Chocolate bar is the equivalent of a full cup of coffee. Oops. I...Read More
Lent is over, Easter is here, and while the kids are swimming in jelly beans and Peeps, we think it’s only fair that the adults get a little indulgence of their own. And that’s where the Chocolate Jesus comes in. This is no ordinary chocolate Jesus (should you be accustomed to the ordinary ones). Handcrafted at Bond Street Chocolates in NYC from solid chocolate and covered in gold foil, he’s primed to steal the thunder back from the Easter Bunny in all his delicious, chocolate-y glory. Plus, one would hope he’d be more forgiving of his own calories. You...Read More
As a college student in Boston, I remember the lines around the block for Steve’s Ice Cream, the originator of Heath Bar Crunch and the first place I had ever heard of mix-ins which now…well, what gourmet ice cream brand doesn’t offer them? So when I heard Steve’s Ice Cream is back and now making outrageous flavors in small batches from Brooklyn–all available for delivery no less, with plenty gluten and nut-free, and even dairy-free–I sacrificed myself for you, dear readers, and deigned to give them a try. Just looking at the Steve’s Signature Ice Cream Collection you know you’re in...Read More
As my family’s Petronella Cottontail, I’m here to tell you that grown-ups like Easter treats, too. Gourmet Eater treats, ideall. My kids can keep the Peeps and cheap candy eggs nestled in plastic grass, while I stick with the fancy stuff. I like my chocolate smooth, high quality, and with packaging that makes me feel special and indulged. And if it comes with a birdcage, all the better. So here are some top gourmet Easter treats from our favorite candy makers and chocolatiers. Vosges is one of my all-time favorite chocolate shops. I mean, did you see that Hunger...Read More
In years past, we’ve strongly suggested that you bring chocolate covered matzah as a gift to your seder hosts. Why is this Passover different from all other Passovers? Because this time, I say you keep this Chocolate Buttercrunch Matzah from Undercover Chocolate all for yourself. Selfish? It’s the matzah talking! Just look at this genius Passover treat we spotted at Mouth, all layered with buttery toffee, dark chocolate, and roasted pecans. Can you blame me for wanting it all to myself? I suppose you could buy two boxes, one for you and another for your host. That’s definitely the more generous...Read More
The best boozy desserts for St. Patrick’s Day and beyond, from Creme de Menthe Brownies to a Guinness Milkshake
Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty boozy holiday, at least here in the states. Given that a (small) Skinnygirl margarita can get me buzzed, I’ll probably skip drinking on St. Patrick’s Day and instead opt for one of these 6 of the best boozy desserts. It’s a bold move but, trust me, St. Patrick’s Day recipes never tasted so good. Oh, and they aren’t all totally inappropriate to share with kids. There’s some safe stuff in here for them, too. But if you’re pregnant or abstaining, you might check out our favorite rainbow recipes instead. Either way, hard...Read More
They’re bright green, they’re pretty, and they’re for grown-ups only, which makes these Absinthe Chocolate Cordials the perfect St. Patrick’s Day treat for someone like me. If that mischievous leprechaun’s going to pee green in my potty (you know what I mean), he’d better leave me a little something for my trouble. Those lovely folks at Sugarfina have come up with a unique way to treat yourself on a minor holiday without involving Irish Cream. The chocolate cordials are non-alcoholic but carry the unusual flavor of absinthe, which is herbal and a little like licorice, if you’ve never tasted...Read More
Web Coolness: Last-minute Valentine’s treats, hot marriage tips, and the first rule of Valentine’s day for all men
Every Friday we share some of our favorite links from around the web with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Happy reading! If you’re still scrambling for last-minute Valentine’s Day treats, we have you covered. We’re loving this sweetly unsentimental love song by the Walkmen’s Walter Martin today. Want to keep your long-term relationship hot? Check out Esther Perel’s TED talk. A lot of love for an exceptional teacher. A must-read. Valentine’s tips from 800 of America’s oldest and wisest couples. Valentine’s candy rules to live by from some very smart men at Guy Code. What...Read More
At first I thought that Valentine’s Day on Friday was a good thing. What a fun way to kick off the weekend. But now I’m wondering when exactly I’m supposed to make treats for my kids? I guess I should have thought of that last weekend but, really, a whole week ahead of time? If, like me, you’re going to need to make quick Valentine’s Day magic with hours to spare, these super easy, last-minute Valentine’s Day treat recipes are for you. The 4-ingredient Butterscotch Peanut Butter Marshmallow Hearts (above) from Sweetapolita are so pretty! And with that ingredient...Read More
Super cool last minute Valentine’s gift ideas you can still get delivered in time. Because IOUs aren’t sexy.
Let’s not call us procrastinators. Let’s just say…we’re busy. Because we are. So we get it. if you’re still looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day gift for a special someone, here are a few ideas that go a little further than a hastily scribbled, wrinkled card that was the second to last one left on the shelf. Candygram from Sugarfina I am in love with this Beverly Hills confectionary which isn’t as big on the fancy gourmet truffles as they are on kitchy, playful ways of repackaging childhood favorites as in a Sweetheart Bento Box, a Pucker Up...Read More
While a full school week left until Valentine’s Day may not feel “last minute,” those of us with kids who are busy with after-school activities and homework need to get our crafty selves in gear stat. And these last-minute Valentine gifts to make with the kids should help. Last year we featured 17 DIY Valentine’s Day gifts to make and now we have 17 all new favorites that are all easy enough for kids to do themselves, or with some help from you (which they’ll love anyway). Whether you need to decorate the front door, fun up a Valentine’s Day...Read More
What I want for Valentine’s Day: LOVE! What my kids want for Valentine’s Day: CHOCOLATE! Okay, I want chocolate, too, but I like fancy chocolate. For the kids, I’ll be whipping up one of these super easy, homemade chocolate treats for Valentine’s Day. The pricey stuff may be mine, but the stuff made from the heart is theirs. They always get the better deal. The Chocolate Cherry Candy Cups (above) from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles make me smile. These no-bake treats are festive on the outside, but when you take a bite and realize they are pink inside, your kids will swoon....Read More
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