Tag Archives: baking

A Cuisinart Christmas: Gift ideas for chefs, bakers, coffee lovers and more

Cuisinart released this automatic cold brew coffee maker in March 2017—a great gift for coffee lovers
Photo credit: Cuisinart

If you have last-minute holiday shopping left to do and you have chefs or bakers on your list—or even just people that appreciate good coffee or an excellent toaster!—here are a few gift ideas from Cuisinart. The items cover a range of budgets, too. Some of the products are brand-new, while others are tried and true. Retailers that carry some of these selections include Target, Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Cuisinart has a new automatic cold brew coffee maker that was released in March, which makes cold brew coffee in far less time than manual coffeemakers. Using “unique spin technology,” Cuisinart promises coffee in as little as 25 minutes in a choice of three flavor strengths. Coffee can be refrigerated in the seven-cup glass carafe for up to two weeks. Retail price is $99.95. The recipe section of Cuisinart’s site includes one for “Creamy Cold Brew Coconut Coffee.”

Another new item—also just released in March—is a Cuisinart “PrepExpress” spiralizer. It’s actually described as a 3-in-1 slicer, shredder AND spiralizer, and can make eating healthier much easier. Uses include wide ribbons or crinkle-cut spirals of fresh zucchini and apples, thin or wide butternut squash or beet ‘spaghetti,’ cucumber slices for salads, and thick or thin shreds of veggies for snacks or fajita fillings. Retail price is $69.95.

I have a stainless steel four-slice Cuisinart toaster at home that I highly recommend. I never imagined how much I’d appreciate having the ability to toast three or four bread slices or frozen waffles at once instead of just two. It sure makes the mornings easier when my husband and I are trying to have a quick breakfast and get ourselves to work and our daughter to school on time! Plus, this toaster has customizable settings for each two-slice section (including food type, like waffle/bread/bagel/English muffin, and a shade scale ranging from 1-7). You can do toast on a darker setting on one side, and a waffle to a medium golden brown on the other.

If you’re looking for baking gifts, Cuisinart has several fun products including a non-stick, dishwasher-safe “Mini Bakeware” line with selections ranging from $5.95-$10.95. I like the mini heart pans (set of 4, $9.95), and Pinterest has a lot of recipes using this type of pan. There are also traditional baking pans like an “easy-grip” non-stick 17-inch baking sheet ($23.95) with silicone grip handles or a non-stick 24-cup mini muffin pan ($15.95).

If you want to browse all of the company’s recipes for inspiration around the holidays or any time of year, here’s the site.

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New Leaf’s December classes include raw holiday desserts, sushi, healthy holidays

Learn how to make Chai Pecan Pie & other raw holiday desserts Dec. 13 at New Leaf
Photo credit: Beth Love

New Leaf Community Markets in Santa Cruz has several events this month, including ones to make “healthy holiday eating” easier. Here are some highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306). There is also a holiday macaron class on Dec. 20 but it’s already sold out – if you’re interested in that topic, try to sign up early next year!

Preregistration is required—even for the free class—at newleaf.com/events.


Tuesday, December 12
Healthy Holidays: Special Diets
, 1-2 p.m.
If you get stressed about what to eat or how to stick to your diet during the holidays, help is here! Gain ideas for managing your gluten-free, dairy-free or anti-inflammatory diet stress-free! Enjoy tastes of featured recipes. With Certified Nutrition Consultant Madia Jamgochian. Free.

Wednesday, December 13
Raw Holiday Desserts
, 6–8:30 p.m.
In this hands-on class, attendees will create four different delicious, healthy, plant-based desserts that everyone can enjoy without guilt! Make Raw Beet Treasure Cake, Apricot Walnut Chews with Cardamom, Chai Pecan Pie and Persimmon Cashew Sorbet. “Mature children” welcome to attend with adult. With Chef Beth Love, author of Tastes Like Love cookbook series. $45.

Thursday, December 14
Intro to Sushi Making
, 6–8 p.m.
Join Sushi Chef Carlos Mayorga and learn how to properly assemble your own rolls from scratch and discover your own style! Learn technique, tradition, prep and how to plate your finished masterpieces. Come hungry. $25.


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August cooking classes at New Leaf Community Markets in Westside Santa Cruz

Learn about gluten-free baking with apples at a New Leaf cooking class Photo credit: New Leaf

Learn about gluten-free baking with apples at a New Leaf cooking class
Photo credit: New Leaf

New Leaf Community Markets has a lot of interesting cooking classes coming up this month. In addition, they have a few “tasting events” and nutrition/education lectures; some of these are free. Here are a few highlights; these are all at the Westside Santa Cruz location at 1101 Fair Ave. (831-426-1306).

Preregistration is required at newleaf.com/events.


Tuesday, August 16: All About Apple Gluten-Free Baking
Learn how to utilize gluten-free grains and flours in delicious, gluten-free apple recipes. Nutrition Consultant Stephanie Horning will also teach you how specific ingredients support your health.

Time & Cost: 6–8:30pm, $35 per person/$60 for two.

Thursday, August 18: Summer Pies and Galettes
Nutrition Consultant Madia Jamgochian will teach students how to assemble a pie crust from scratch and create delicious pies and galettes. Teams of 3 will prepare three different fillings: peach, rhubarb and blackberry.

Time & Cost: 6pm–8:30pm, $35 per person/$60 for two.

Monday, August 22: Mushrooms for Mind, Body and Heart
Discover which mushrooms improve immunity, lung function, brain function, athletic performance, the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and the whole body, with Host Defense National Science Educator Gina Rivers Contla.
Time & Cost: 6:30pm–7:30pm, Free (pre-registration required).

Thursday, August 25: California Wine and Food Pairing
WSET-Certified Kristen Valenza will share how to properly pair different California varietals with local and seasonal farm-fresh cuisine. The class will include several wine and food pairings.

Time & Cost: 6–8pm, $40 per person/$70 for two.

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Celebrate National Peanut Month with sweet recipes

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

One way to celebrate National Peanut Month during March: bake up a treat that includes peanut butter! Of course, there are lots and lots of recipes out there. There are some on the National Peanut Board web site, including a link to a fancy dessert recipe via Bon Appetit: peanut dacquoise with peanut butter mousse. With elements like meringue, be prepared to spend some time and effort.

For those who want a fast, easy recipe, here is a quick one that calls for only five ingredients.  This dish is from the Pillsbury web site. Some of the bakers who tried the recipe shared comments. These include the fact it makes a good after-school snack, it’s easy to do variations, and it also works for any “Elvis-themed” parties since the famous singer reportedly loved peanut butter and  banana sandwiches.


1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet

½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced (1 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon roasted salted sunflower nuts or sesame seeds

1. Separate or cut dough into 4 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal). Cut each rectangle in half; press into 3 1/2-inch squares.
Spoon peanut butter in center of each square; top with 2-3 banana slices. Fold dough over filling; press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg; sprinkle with sunflower nuts.
Bake at 375°F 12 to 16 minutes.

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12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day Six: reissue of vintage vegetarian book


Vegetable Diet, published as part of Andrews McMeel’s American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection

It’s Day Six of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” Today’s prize is a facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1838, entitled “Vegetable Diet: As Sanctioned by Medical Men, and by Experience in All Ages” ($29.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2012). See end of article for how to enter.

This book is the “first book published to advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle (vegan actually)…and we’ve reissued it in a beautiful, cloth-bound hardback,” says Andrews McMeel Publishing’s cookbook publicist Emily Farris. In Vegetable Diet, William A. Alcott, a physician, educator, reformer, and founding member of the American Vegetarian Society, uses letters from medical experts to confirm the superiority of a vegetable diet for supporting health and recovering from disease. Alcott was the author of more than 100 books, and his works are still cited today. Vegetable Diet’s introduction is by Anna Thomas, herself the author of several cookbooks including “The Vegetarian Epicure” and the James Beard award-winning “Love Soup.”

Vegetable Diet is one of three books that Andrews McMeel published in October to launch its historic culinary book series (which includes, but is not limited to, cookbooks). The American Antiquarian Society strives to  “collect, preserve and make available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience.” The AAS cookbook collection has 1,100 volumes, and Andrews McMeel is publishing 100 of these, some in print and others as e-books.

This book would make an interesting holiday gift for any foodies you know (especially history-loving ones), or a gift for yourself. Looking for more book holiday gifts? A couple more to consider from Andrews McMeel: “Bake It in a Cupcake: 50 Treats with a Surprise Inside” by Megan Seling ($24.99, Oct. 2012) with recipes like Cherry Pie Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls” by Judith Fertig ($19.99, Sept. 2012) with 50 recipes including Pumpkin Streusel, Moroccan Rose Petal, and Szechuan Pepper Cinnamon Rolls with a Fresh Ginger Glaze. Or for anyone with a young child at home, I recommend “Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes” by Catherine McCord ($27.50, Sept. 2012, William Morrow Cookbooks). McCord has a popular site, Weelicious.com, and this book includes baby recipes like The Teething Cookie and Sweet Potato-Puree and toddler recipes like Sunflower Seed Brittle, Cheesy Chicken Taquitos, Turkey Pesto Meatballs and Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese.




Reminder — during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

DAY SIX PRIZE – The winner will be mailed a copy of “Vegetable Diet” from The American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection of Andrews McMeel Publishing ($29.99, October 2012).

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Vegetable book contest entry.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page, also including the phrase “Vegetable book contest entry.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Tues. Dec. 18 at 5 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day One: Santa Cruz holiday cookies

Front Street Kitchen in Santa Cruz is a co-op kitchen that offers catering, culinary classes, and more

Front Street Kitchen opened in early 2012 in Santa Cruz, and it is the first participant in the Santa Cruz Foodie/Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway.” That’s right: today is Day One of TWELVE DAYS of food-related giveaways! You can win a great prize (limited to one per person for the duration of this promotion). Keep reading for how to enter contest.


Front Street Kitchen is a co-op kitchen that offers catering, culinary classes, and more. There are three talented local caterers involved, including Andrea Mollenauer (you may recall that during the Thanksgiving season, she shared her cranberry chutney recipe).

On Sunday Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. FSK is holding a community workshop entitled Holiday Cookie Baking. The owners emphasize this will be “more like a holiday community gathering” as opposed to a class. Here is the description:

We will be baking, decorating and exchanging some of the season’s favorite recipes; coffee and hot apple cider will be served. Bake in our well-equipped commercial kitchen with friends and family, take home both finished and ready-to-bake holiday treats for your holiday.

To make it even more fun, there are some optional festive activities:
* Recipe Exchange – bring 10 copies of your favorite holiday cookie recipe to share
* ‘Cutest Apron’ contest – winner takes home a prize!
* Special Holiday packaging ideas – available for purchase. Or bring your own packaging to transport your loot and save on paper waste

The cost is $25 per adult, and $10 per child 14 and under with participating adult (maximum 2 kids per adult for reduced rate). To RSVP, so FSK knows how many goodies to prepare, call (831) 588-4515 or email info@frontstreetkitchen.com. The venue is located at 504A Front Street; for more information see FSK’s web site and Facebook page.




One lucky reader will win FREE ADMISSION to Holiday Cookie Baking.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Holiday Cookie Baking.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page.

Either way, the entry deadline is Thurs. Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening and the winner will be notified via email.

Good luck and happy holidays!