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Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts, and join us tonight at 8pm EST on Twitter for our #HolidayHQ chat.


If Mom is a culinaire, why not surprise her with a gift that's both practical and a bit unique? I found these eight trendy items last month at the International Housewares Association show. Best in show, for sure!

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set contemporary serveware

Nambé Monroe Salt And Pepper Set - $150.00


This salt and pepper set nestles together with
complementary lines and contrasting materials —
a match made in culinary heaven.

Pressed Glass Goblet traditional glassware

Rosanna, Inc. Pressed Glass Goblet - $42.00, set of 4


Doesn't this remind you of Depression glass? These beautiful pieces would even make lovely votive holders.

Curtis Stone Workbench Cutting Board - $299.99

This sturdy chopping block features recessed
areas for mise en place and waste disposal for
a handy all-in-one cook station.

Raj Chef Knife eclectic knives and chopping boards

Raj Chef Knife - $45.00

Cooking is fun with the world's first patterned knife. Groovy!

Corkcicle contemporary barware

Corkcicile Bottle Chiller - $29.95

Insert into a wine bottle and it chills the wine
from the inside! The Corkcicle will maintain the
ideal serving temperature for an already-chilled
white wine for up to an hour.

Scentilizer MIST-WHISTLER, Frosted Glass - $349.95

Banish those lingering kitchen aromas! This product uses fragrant water vapor to reduce the dryness of indoor air. It also has a built-in speaker for pre-programmed music or to connect an iPod.


FFerrone Design Champagne Flute contemporary glassware

FFerrone Design Champagne Flute

This clever line of glassware by FFerone pulls
double duty. Shown here is the champagne flute...
or is it a cordial glass? You decide, with the flip
of the wrist.

Prepara Ice Balls contemporary barware

Prepara Ice Balls - $9.99, pk of 4

This ingenious product makes two-inch round balls of ice. You can fill it with just water or get creative with mint leaves, basil, juice, lemon or lime segments, etc. Large cubes are great for bourbon or whiskey drinks, as they won't melt as fast as regular ice.


  Please take a peek at the rest of the #HolidayHQ posts. So many terrific ideas for Mother's Day!

Housewife Bliss  |  Berry Good Homemade Ice Cream for Mother's Day
Celebrations At Home  | A Mother's Day "Tea"
PaperandPigtails.com  |  Free Printable Cards for Mother's Day
The Partybluprints Blog  |  Mother's Day Tea Party Tips & Recipes
Second City Soiree  | Cool Kitchen Gifts for Mother's Day
SkimbacoLifestyle.comMother's Day Breakfast in Bed
Thoughtfully Simple | Muffins and Mimosas for Mom
Valley & Co. | Effortless Entreating Ideas for Mother's Day

Join us tonight on Twitter at 8pm EST. Follow hashtag #HolidayHQ for more tips AND a chance to win a Hamilton Beach mixer and an ice cream maker!



How to WRAP GIFTS like an EXPERT

I am not the world's most efficient gift wrapper. Oh, I'll admit...my presents look nice when finished, but I almost always end up wasting more paper than I should. I used to carefully watch the ladies at the Marshall Field's wrapping counter, hoping their formidible skill with scissors, tape, and paper would rub off on me but - nothing. I'm always making trims here and there, winding up with a healthy pile of scraps. Not very economical, nor very green.



Someone who's much better at this is Sheryl Oberman, owner and founder of The Stationery Station in Highland Park, on Chicago's North Shore. They're celebrating their 35th anniversary this year (congrats!) and in addition to offering an exceptional invitation and stationery selection, Sheryl and co. are well known for their meticulously wrapped gifts in beautiful, embellished paper. I asked Sheryl if she'd film a quick tutorial on how to beautifully and efficiently wrap presents, and happily, she obliged. Take a look and learn!


Now that you know how to nicely wrap a present, if you're ever in Highland Park (Ravinia starts soon!), stop by The Stationery Station to pick up the perfect paper.


Looking for a hostess gift to put in that beautifully wrapped box? A few suggestions...


Gift box photo credit


WINDOW gardening - grow your own SALAD

You know you should eat leafy greens, which is why you routinely add a bag o' salad to your shopping cart. But really, nothing beats fresh salad greens. Fortunately, growing your own lettuce, spinach or radishes is easy to do, even if you live in a small space. It’s also a great project for children to teach them how plants grow and where food comes from.


Where to plant

To start, you’ll need a bright sunny window. Usually an east or south-facing window will give you the good six or more hours of sun needed for most greens. Think about where your heating vents are placed. Most plants prefer to be away from vents as they blow drying air on their pots, which can dry out tender roots and foliage.


What to plant

Pick out your seeds or transplants. I prefer to grow salad greens from seed as they germinate within about a week and I can get more bang for my buck. As you are choosing types of plants, remember what your family prefers to eat. I like to do a mix of peppery varieties, sweet lettuce and a few with red leaves to add color. Radishes go in a separate pot for easy snacking. Radish greens can add a wonderful zing to salads, too.


Pick a container

Crops do best when their roots have plenty of room, so a deeper container is usually best. Be creative! A square of burlap over a colander makes a great salad bowl that can be featured as a centerpiece. Use new potting soil to fill your containers. A soil with slow release fertilizer ensures your plants will have the nutrients they need.


Grow plants, grow!

It's time to plant! Read the directions on the package of seeds for planting depth and spacing. You can crowd your pot if you plan on using the plants as micro-greens. Space out a bit more if you plan to let them mature. Thin out seedlings to provide enough room for roots.

Keep the pot evenly moist, but not sopping wet. As your plants grow, you may choose to use the whole plant or harvest just a few leaves. Pick leaves from the base, leaving a few to keep the plant going. You may also pinch back the first or second set of leaves of leggy lettuce to keep it more compact.


Reaping the rewards

As you harvest your greens, you can keep adding seed to stretch out your crop. Lettuce and spinach are cool-weather crops, so they may bolt or become bitter when temperatures rise. The good news is you can start a fresh batch around Labor Day for fall salads.



Gardening by Heather Prince

Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Heather is on Twitter @FearlessGarden. Read her full bio here.


Add COLOR with BLENKO inspired glassware

The arrival of spring seems to bring a cleansing of our collective color palate (pun intended), and this year seems particularly bright; just look at the neons accenting spring fashion or the tangerines, pinks and teals of this season’s trendiest manicures.

Your home is another playground for spring’s cheerier hues. The sun flooding through my window the other day made my translucent cerulean decanter particularly brilliant. It’s a subtly crackled Blenko piece, oversized (I still wonder how it could actually be functional as a container), and the most arresting blue.

I remember admiring it on its place on the mantle at my grandmother’s home. When she moved to a smaller place and parted with many of her possessions, the decanter became mine. Only later did I realize it was collectible. Honestly, that didn’t make it any more special. It’s the color and shape that I gravitated toward then—and now. Noticing it that day sent me down the rabbit hole of Blenko research, studying the motifs and bold colors produced by the West Virginia-based company now inextricably linked to Mid-Century Modern design.

Blenko is abundant—and hotter than ever—but there are numerous alternatives, both vintage and new, that pack the same punch. Cluster any of these monochromatic glass vessels in a light-filled area and enjoy the extended daylight.



Scour flea markets, eBay and antiques dealers specializing in glass, like Glasshouse, for Blenko decanters, vases and other vessels like the ones pictured above from the Blenko Museum. (Hint: Be on the look-out for the charming owl motif!.)

 The work of Joe Cariati is primed for lush magazine spreads--so editorial, as they say. The various shapes and colorways are quite simply stunning.


Colorful glass need not be expensive. Functional pieces like this Bormioli Rocco Ypsilon glass carafe are inexpensive and offered in a variety of candy colors at Cooking.com.


Michael Ruh creates beautiful glassware like this Lime String Mallet (available at Lille, one of my favorite local stores whose taste I always trust).


Etsy is a great resource for Mid-Century Modern glassware (Blenko or otherwise). I love this sweet vase from vendor The Cottage Cheese.


Elizabeth Lyons Big Jars collection (available at select boutiques and showrooms) captures the vibrancy of the Blenko colors and is offered in groupings like Twilight (shown).


Wedding and party superstore Luna Bazaar is a cheap-chic source for colorful glass bottles like the one shown above. At less than $3 each, large groupings are encouraged.

Unica Home carries the iconic work of Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala, including these truly lucious (and thus predictably spendy) Bolle bottle series for Venini.


CB2, always a reliable standby for affordable accents, offers these Colour glass vases; while simple, they pack a punch.


Also from Unica Home are these Bambu vases by Arcade Glass, featuring a more 21st Century shape and muted palate


Interior Decorating and Design by Christine Sisson
Part of the Second City Soiree Contributor Series. Christine is on Twitter @WordsOnStyle. Read her full bio here.


Three UNIQUE Leftover LAMB Recipes

Last week, I made lamb.

Well, let's back up. I ordered a leg of lamb off of Peapod, sight unseen, and didn't think about how enormous it would be for just my husband and I. (I also successfully boned, butterflied, and trimmed said leg of lamb, but that's material for a different post.) Needless to say, it was a festival of lamb in the Luby household for the following nights.

Maybe you've got some lamb leftover from Easter. If so, try the three recipes I made last week. Each is different enough that you won't feel like you're having lamb...again.


Start with - Yogurt-Mint Marinated Grilled Leg of Lamb (This recipe doesn't call for butterflying the leg, but I did so anyway, and it turned out great)

Leftovers 1 - Lamb Rissoles (These gently fried lamb meatballs are a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II.)

Leftovers 2 - Lamb Curry (I didn't have apples, plus had to substitute chicken stock for beef stock. Both adaptations worked fine.)

Leftovers 3- Lamb salad (Thinly slice the lamb, and sautee in olive oil until carmelized. At the very end, add a dollop of sour cherry jam, and stir until all pieces are coated. Serve on dark leafy greens with chopped roasted beets and grapefruit pieces. Some crumbled feta cheese would be nice, too.)

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