Gifts That Give Hope

The holiday season is a scared time of giving and blessings. I hope you are inspired from this offering from Family Features to be a blessing to those less fortunate than us. Have a beautiful holiday season my foodie friends.

Photo credit: Family Features

Hope is a gift on every child’s wish list, especially those in parts of the world ravaged by natural disasters and poverty. Giving hope lets these children know that the world hasn’t forgotten them.

From UNICEF Market products to items available from partners, UNICEF USA is making it possible to give gifts that make a difference and deliver the greatest gift of all: hope.

Goods from around the globe

From jewelry to accessories to home decor, each item purchased through the UNICEF Market benefits programs that provide children with basic necessities such as nutrition, medicine, education, clean water and more. The UNICEF Market, market.unicefusa.org, is a partnership between UNICEF USA and Novica that offers unique items such as multicolored snowman ornaments made in India and an artisan leather tray handmade in Peru.

Inspired giving

Another option is UNICEF Inspired Gifts, which are lifesaving items that can be purchased in honor of a loved one and go directly to help children in need around the world. Examples include hygiene kits, mosquito nets and winter survival packs. Find more options at inspiredgifts.org.

Kid-friendly inspiration

Motivate kids, inspire philanthropy and help save the lives of malnourished children around the world with the Star Wars: Force for Change UNICEF Kid Power Band. Every movement made while wearing the activity band adds up to points that unlock lifesaving nutrition, which is sent to malnourished children around the world. Bands are available at Target or unicefkidpower.org.

Accessories with purpose

This holiday season, ALEX AND ANI is spreading a message of world peace with a jewelry collection that features the iconic peace symbol and benefits UNICEF’s work for children. The World Peace collection includes an online-exclusive sterling silver necklace with Swarovski crystals, a charm bracelet and a trend necklace. In addition, bracelets with a festive-themed snowman, daisy and a mother and child charm also support the cause. Until Aug. 31, 2018, ALEX AND ANI will donate 20 percent of the purchase price of all items sold through its retail stores, authorized retailers and on alexandani.com.

Comfort that keeps on giving

To help children around the world, L’Occitane will donate $4 from each Shea Butter Collection and Shea Butter Deluxe Collection Gift Sets to UNICEF, up to $120,000. The gift sets are available for purchase at boutiques throughout the United States and Canada, and online at usa.loccitane.com.

Giving a gift that inspires hope this holiday season can impact not only the person receiving the gift but also vulnerable children around the world.

Mazing macaroons

Cookie season I salute you.

mac-gift

Mazing Macaroons packaged for gifting giving

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when I dust off my treasured and sometimes secret cookie recipes to bake for the holidays.

Cookies just make the holidays bright.

These sweet treats are the things that memories and traditions are made of. They are objects of enchantment and folk lore when they are baked and shared with generation after generation.

This Christmas my three-year-old grandson Elijah – or “Eli” as I call him – is totally into the holiday season because he’s figured out this time of years gives him a pass to eat all the cookies he wants, or so he thinks.

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My grandson Elijah “Eli” surrounded by the things he loves best – cars

Every year I bake up an assortment of cookies, cakes and treats and package them for gift giving. This year I included a new macaroon recipe I had been developing.

Eli was happy to be my cookie tester. When I pressed the lightly toasted macaroon into his  little hand he said, “Bella (which is what he calls me) they look like snow balls!”

“Well I guess they do. They are called coconut macaroons,” I said.

He took a bite, and then tried to shove the rest of the cookie into his mouth. After he finished the cookie, he raised his hands over his head and said, “These macaroons are mazing Bella!”

Mazing. I like that. I wonder if that’s better than a-mazing?

If you are thinking about making a few baked goods for the holidays, this recipe is simple and you can have these tasty little treats baked up in no time. They are moist, chewy, soft and delicious little mounds with a pop of chocolate. The video below will show you just how easy they are to make. And like Eli says, they are mazing!

Mazing Macaroons

Ingredients
14 ounce package of angel flake sweetened coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white, beaten stiff

Method
Combine together coconut, pecans and mini chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt to coconut mixture. Mix well and make sure the condensed milk is thoroughly blended in the mixture.

Beat egg white in a bowl until stiff, until the texture similar to meringue. Fold beaten egg white into the coconut mixture.

Set oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into densely packed balls. Place each ball on the baking sheet and press them down lightly.

Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven. Cool and store. Makes 20 to 22 macaroons.

 

A thoughtful gift that counts

It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts.

Christmas PresentsThat quote by American author and clergyman Henry Jackson van Dyke was something I grew up hearing, particularly around Christmas time.

It’s not surprising a clergyman would coin such a phase. Perhaps it sprang from the need to help assuage the anxiety, guilty and disappointment people customarily feel with when they can’t afford to buy lavish gifts for their families and friends. This pithy phase not only provided a pass, but gave permission to focus on what’s important when giving a gift: the earnest gesture of thoughtfulness. Continue reading

Carving out a treat betwixt the tricks

pumpkin cropped inspiration medIt’s pumpkin season – applause please.

There’s nothing like sauntering through a pumpkin patch in Los Angeles looking for the perfect pumpkin under sunny skies and 80 degree temperature.

It’s a tough job. But as a native Angeleno, I somehow manage to muscle through it.

Getting my Halloween pumpkin is actually an annual rite of passage into the holiday season. It gets me into that holiday state of mind. This year my pumpkin ranks up there with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. It’s small but meaningful to me. I don’t have small children at home anymore so I don’t need the “great pumpkin.” But I always need a little somethin’ somethin’ to inspire me. Continue reading