Hostess Gift Ideas for Holiday Parties
The holiday season is upon us and many of us will receive at least one invitation to a holiday party. When your hostess has gone to so much trouble to organize a Christmas party, you don’t want to arrive empty-handed. Here are some hostess gift ideas for holiday parties.
1) SoapStones Cedar & Saffron Essential Spray, $15, makes a lovely hostess gift. Many people are opting for artificial Christmas trees so this cedar room scent will give a holiday scent to homes and of course it can be used throughout the winter. Purchase online from SoapStones in Huntsville.
2) These wooden utensils hand-carved by Wilfried Elzner of Cobourg are $30 each and make the perfect hostess gift. Find these stylish kitchen utensils at Elzner Originals, Booth C44 at The One of a Kind Christmas Show in Toronto.
3) The Complete Coconut Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury (publisher: Robert Rose) is a great addition to any cook’s library. Cooking with coconut is all the rage due to the fruit’s healing qualities. The Complete Coconut Cookbook features recipes that are made with coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut milk and/or coconut sugar and are gluten free and vegan. The book features 24 colour, full-page photos to accompany recipes, which are easy to follow. You can purchase The Complete Coconut Cookbook from Indigo or Amazon for about $16. See below for an Acorn Squash recipe from the book.
4) These Deer Coasters from Urban Barn, $16, add a stylish statement to holiday decor. Packaged in a set of four, the coasters are made from engineered wood and will be in demand as guests seek additional coasters for their holiday cocktails.
5) Like wine, Extra Virgin Olive Oil varies tremendously in quality depending on the type of olives used and the process followed. Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers the highest nutritional value. According to food journalist Robert Beauchemin, a premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil will have a strong, pungent and bitter taste. Beauchemin advises that premium Extra Virgin Olive Oils start at about $15.
Look for this blue and yellow seal of the Italian Government that indicates premium quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
6) This ‘Noel’ holiday sign from Metro Grocery Stores, $7.99, adds a whimsical touch to Christmas decor. We usually haul out the same decorations every year; your hostess will probably enjoy having a new addition to the Christmas collection. The ‘Noel’ sign looks particularly good on bookshelves or fireplace mantelpieces surrounded by candles and holly.
Acorn Squash with Coconut Chickpea Stuffing
Courtesy of The Complete Coconut Cookbook by Camilla V Saulsbury, 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
This beautiful dish is loaded with protein, antioxidants and incredible flavour.
Makes 4 servings
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Large rimmed baking sheet
2 acorn squash (each about 1 lb), halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tbsp melted virgin coconut oil, divided
Fine sea salt
1 can (14 to 15 oz/398 to 425 mL) chickpeas, drained, rinsed and coarsely mashed
1⁄3 cup dried currants
1⁄2 cup well-stirred coconut milk (full fat)
3 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
3⁄4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1⁄2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly cracked black pepper
Lightly brush cut sides of squash with 1 tbsp coconut oil.
Sprinkle with 1⁄2 tsp salt. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until tender.
In a large skillet, melt the remaining oil over low heat. Add chickpeas, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Add currants and coconut milk; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add spinach, coconut, mint and lemon juice, gently tossing to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill squash cavities with chickpea mixture.
Delicata squash may be used in place of the acorn squash.
If you can only find a 19-oz (540 mL) can of chickpeas, use about three-quarters of the can (about 11⁄2 cups/375 mL drained).
An equal amount of raisins, coarsely chopped, may be used in place of the currants.