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Five on Friday: Quirky and Cute Kitchen Tools

Five on Friday: Quirky and Cute Kitchen Tools


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Each Friday, we share five things that are getting buzz around the Cooking Light offices—from what we’re reading around the Web, to what’s hot on Instagram, or even our latest favorite ingredient.I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for a clever gadget. My Pinterest boards are littered with all manner of colorful, silly, and, admittedly, occasionally impractical items. But where’s the fun in life if you can’t choose terrifically quirky kitchen utensils to liven up your cooking?

Here are five of our favorite cool and clever kitchen gadgets from around the web:

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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2) Animal House Monkey Peeler (Boston Warehouse): BW’s Animal House line has so many animal-themed kitchen tools, but we went bananas for this Monkey Peeler. Fun to use, and practical, too!BW is offering 10% off to CL Readers! Use the code COOKCL during checkout.

4) Karate Chopper (GAMA-GO): Feel like a black belt while making a salad with this vibrant green tool (and it gives you another reason to buy fresh heads of lettuce!). Hi-yah!

Any fun kitchen tools out there that you love to use? Tell us in the comments!


The Best Gifts To Give Someone Who Loves Baking

You know it’s been a weird year when so many of us flocked to flour it was sold out for week. Some of us even got a green thumb during our spare time and started rocking sexy face masks.

But one of the best things to come out of these strange times is all the baking that’s being done. Making your own sourdough from scratch was the hottest thing for a second. Decorating your focaccia became a sport in itself. Everyone was even going bananas for banana bread back in April.

You probably have a friend who has gotten really into baking — like “Great British Baking Show”-kind of baking that involves piping, layering and too many crumb coats to count. They probably know a recipe or two for soufflés like the back of their hand.

Now that it’s almost the holiday season, you might be looking to get that friend a gift that’ll celebrate just how good they got at baking this year, so we went ahead and found the perfect presents that every baker kneads.

From the ultimate apron that can do it all (with pockets) to pie crust molds that’ll fill them with joy, these gifts will be icing on the cake for the baker who has everything.


The 50 Best food websites

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

This artisan ice-cream parlour in North London’s Tufnell Park is at the forefront of the trend for properly made ice cream and wonderfully inventive flavours. Drop in for a scoop of salted caramel, damson with sour cream or lemon ripple with meringue, or order an ice cream layer cake or bombe for a special occasion. The cute Ruby Violet van is available to hire for events.

Hella Bitters

Cocktail connoisseurs know that bitters maketh the drink. Hella Bitters is a small company based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which launched via a Kickstarter project in 2011. The two flavours are Citrus and Aromatic, and the recipes on the website show how to use them in cocktails such as Peat’s Old Fashioned and the gin-based Southside, as well as as a marinade for roast chicken and crispy bacon.

Great quality meat from Somerset, including home-reared 28-day hung beef as well as local lamb, pork and chicken around the UK. Choose pre-mixed boxes such as Belly and Brisket, Wings and Ribs, Thrifty Beef or Hungry Student, from £18, or sign up for a regular delivery.

Maltby Street Market

The capital is crammed with food markets these days, but Maltby Street, a cheeky breakaway from the overexposed Borough, is well worth a visit. The collection of small producers include Mirabilia (oleaft.com), a wonderful olive tea from Italy, and Little Bird Gin (littlebirdgin.com), the mellifluous outcome of some friends deciding to create their own London Dry gin.

The Grenada Chocolate Company

A small — but significant — cooperative with strong ideals. It produces award-winning dark chocolate in a small factory in Grenada, where the cocoa growers are making a stand against the exploitation of cocoa producer, and promoting much better standards of chocolate appreciation.

Ole Martin-Hansen smokes his salmon in east London, but the recipe comes from his great-grandfather, the first of four generations of Norwegian salmon smokers, using a special family recipe including juniper and beech wood. Available in some of the best restaurants, and to buy online.

This small, family-owned bakery in the Suffolk village of Orford believes in real bread and slow food, and will turn out anything from a white loaf to a croissant or an Eccles cake. Named BBC Best Food Producer 2012.

Netherend Farm

If you’re going to treat yourself to butter — and you should — make it count by smearing only the very best on your bread. Netherend Farm in Gloucestershire produces organic butter for many top-end clients (Claridge’s, Dukes Hotel and the Orient Express), but you can also find it in Waitrose, and it’s no more expensive than other branded butter.

Sacred Spirits

There are many gins to choose from, but Sacred, distilled in London by a husband-and-wife team, is my favourite. The botanicals include citrus, juniper, nutmeg, cardamom and even a type of frankincense. Sacred blends a few gins and vodkas, and a vermouth, from around £30, presented in tall and elegant bottles.

Tregothnan Tea

Proudly Britain’s only tea producer — nowhere else quite has the climate — the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall blends 35 varieties thanks to its unusual microclimate, and a visit to the house and estate makes a great day out. Apparently even the Chinese, the world’s largest tea producers, buy from Tregothnan in great quantities.

Fuchsia Dunlop

If you’re not sure about Chinese food, you need to get to know Fuchsia Dunlop, the foremost expert on the cuisine in the western world. Her writing (if you’re not a cook, head first for her memoir Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper) is as tasty as her recipes. Every Grain of Rice sets out to re-educate the British palate’s coarse and generalised appreciation for the subtleties of flavour and texture in Chinese food.

Great British Chefs

The work of many chefs operating at the top of their game in the UK is showcased here, with interviews, features, hundreds of recipes for cooks of all abilities, great ideas for kids and information on seasonal ingredients. There are several accompanying apps and a great shop with cookbooks, fine ingredients and cheffy experiences.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

HFW became a household name thanks to his bucolic tales from the River Cottage, on the Devon-Dorset border, from where he practises and preaches a sustainable way of eating and living, sharing knowledge with a like-minded community of cooks, gardeners, farmers and food lovers. Browse the recipes, visit one of the three River Cottage Canteens, or book a day in the cookery school.

Master of all things Middle Eastern and owner of four eponymous café/restaurants and the fabulous Nopi, Ottolenghi has a recently revamped webstore selling everything you’ll need to do his recipes justice at home. Get the Jerusalem Essentials box (£18.50) of tahini, pine nuts, sumac, za’atar, cardamom and pomegranate molasses to kick you off.

Take a moment to explore Food52 and you’ll find a whole bunch of chefs and their brilliant ideas to lift you out of any eating or cooking rut: José Pizarro’s salt-crusted potatoes with coriander mojo, for example. There are features, recipes and fun contests, brought together with the ethos that cooking and eating well brings families together and makes us healthier and happier.

Modernist Cuisine

Expertise of any kind, particularly the extreme skills on display here, carry costs. The six volumes of the Modernist Cuisine cookbooks will set you back £395, however, so you might prefer to get your fix of how science and experimentation intersect with cooking on this very professional website. The great stories include the science behind mac ’n’ cheese.

The more she sends up her own lascivious nature and penchant for childish and calorific foods, the more we seem to love Nigella. Her site carries video clips, kitchen kit, advice on common queries such as baking know-how, measurements and general household tips, and lots of recipes for time-poor food fans, like instant chocolate mousse and curry in a hurry.

A mobile collective of dedicated, innovative and darn tasty chefs, Kerb brings together the best food outlets on wheels in London’s fast regenerating Kings Cross most weekdays, and will open on a few Saturdays throughout the summer. From handmade chocolates and frozen yoghurt to burgers, pies, dim sum, doughnuts, pintxos and much more, you’ll never get bored of browsing KERB’s growing group of traders.

One of the most exciting chefs working in the UK today, Simon Rogan won acclaim with L’Enclume at Cartmel in the Lakes, which now has two Michelin stars, before wowing London with his tasting menus at Roganic. His latest venture is to reinvigorate The French at Manchester’s Midland Hotel.

Delia Smith

If you want to take yourself or a loved one back to quality basics (and beyond) in the kitchen, you’ll find everything you need on Delia Online. Her online cookery school is full of sensible advice and techniques and clever video tutorials.

Fans of Mexican cooking will know there are few places in the UK to source authentic corn tortillas or the flour for making your own, a tortilla press or a can of tomatillos. You’ll find all these and many branded Mexican foods including snacks, herbs and spices on Mex Grocer.

A great idea and the answer to tricky gift-buying. Demijohn describes itself as a “liquid deli”, and stores a wide selection of oils, vinegars and unusual spirits (red chilli rapeseed oil, bramble vinegar, Seville orange or gooseberry gin) in huge demijohns, ready to be decanted into glass bottles of varying shapes and sizes, according to the order.

A sort of hybrid between a cookbook and an online supermarket (and a very clever one at that), Whisk has collated thousands of recipes and generates a shopping basket for users, showing where to buy the necessary ingredients, with the price and quantities calculated. More efficient and accurate than an old-school shopping list, and more fun.

The Brindisa online shop is a brilliant source of top quality, hard-to-find Spanish ingredients for when you want to sample the best of this increasingly popular cuisine at home. Find chorizo, morcilla, the best ham, Ortiz tuna and anchovies, cheeses, pimenton and saffron, and much more.

Serious home cooks need serious ingredients, which can be difficult to source, especially in small quantities. Enter Sous Chef: the team has everything the adventurous cook could possibly need, whether you’re after a rare Chinese pepper or a Middle Eastern condiment, plus a treasure trove of specialist equipment to prepare and serve your creations, as well as recipes, gift ideas and lots of technical information.

Steenbergs Organic

If you’re after really good quality and ethically sourced spices, seasonings, tea, coffee and other grocery items, Steenbergs will deliver. The husband and wife team is based in North Yorkshire and their commitment to good food is borne out by their success. Their dinky pots look great in your kitchen, too.

Eight Point Nine Workshop Coffee

Coffee snobs with no space at home for a roastery can get involved with the blending process and design their own drink with Eight Point Nine. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of guidance from the experts on what will, might and won’t work.

Virgin Wines

I agree: it is indeed tedious that Virgin feels the need to expand its brand into every available space. However its wine company is really pretty impressive: next-day delivery, interesting wines you’ll be pushed to find elsewhere, and £1 credit for every fiver you spend.

The Rare Tea Company

If you know your Tie Guan Yin from your White Silver Tip, or fancy finding out, have a potter around the pages of this specialist tea company for tea information, gifts, introductory selections and tea subscriptions, once you’ve found a favourite.

Keen to support local shops but don’t quite have the time? Hubbub is a home-delivery service that will traipse round your own high street picking up the freshest veg, meat, fish, coffee, wine, and even a cake from your favourite bakery. Currently serving around 200 London postcodes.

Veggie Num Num

I fell for this very pretty vegetarian blog from Australia while seeking out new ideas for tofu, for which it yielded soy & Szechuan pepper tofu with wasabi pea purée and curried black rice soup with green veggie and silken tofu. Trudy’s healthy comfort food with Asian and Mediterranean influences could convert the most devoted of meat lovers.

A Girl Called Jack

Jack, a single mother from Southend, has turned her challenge to feed herself and her young son into an inspirational blog for foodies on a budget, and has won a book deal for her careful efforts. The blog is packed with tasty, mainly veggie and mostly hearty, meals for well under 50p, such as Moroccan-not-atagine (24p), Mexican chocolate, chilli and black bean soup (25p) and pineapple, carrot and sultana breakfast sunshine buns (6p each).

Former New York Times food editor Regina Schrambling has decades of experience, a keen palate, great wit and operates a strict no-bullshit policy. Given so much of the UK’s food pioneers currently look across the Atlantic for influences and ideas, they may well have read it here first.

The Butty reminds us that a sandwich should not mean two slices of damp bread smeared with an unholy processed filling and served in a plastic package. Great photography, fine ingredients and a little work and imagination: tiger prawns with garlic and thyme on toasted wholewheat, pulled pork and coleslaw in a warm baguette, maple and chilli mackerel with pickled cucumber. Mmmm.

Smitten Kitchen

As perceived through her blog, Deb Perelman is just so, well, likeable, as well as being funny, talented, and projecting a somewhat laissez faire attitude to her hugely successful blog, now a cookbook, which tells of her adventures in food in her tiny New York kitchen.

The London Foodie

Luiz Hara is a celebrated Italian-Japanese Brazilian chef who long ago made London his home. He traded the nine to five to pursue his love of food, trained at Le Cordon Bleu and set up his much-lauded supper club and this elegantly written blog. It is a mix of recipes, restaurant reviews and notes on his foodie travels. The mix is part of its charm.

This blog was created by Julie from Philadelphia, who went vegan to solve problem skin, which makes it sound incredibly worthy. In fact, it’s an entertaining eye-opener on vegan eating which has developed into a community food and recipe forum, with as many indulgent recipes (German chocolate cake, blueberry oat waffles) as super-healthy ideas (15 bean soup, tahini broccoli salad).

Ms Marmite Lover

Kerstin Rogers, blogger, supper-club chef and cookbook writer, is an old hand at food blogging but her site remains quirky and inventive, her enthusiasm for the new, the retro and the theatre of food spilling over into her great photographs and accounts of cooking and dining adventures. She travels to some cool places too.

Want to eat healthy, yummy food without spending hours preparing it, or sweating it out over 20-odd ingredients? Jules Clancy’s Stone Soup — a website and virtual cookery school — is brimming with recipes with just five ingredients, including harissa steaks with yoghurt sauce, coconut chicken with greens, Spanish rice with chorizo and crispy chilli squid salad.

Royale with Cheese

A brilliant idea, diligently and amusingly executed. The Royale with Cheese bloggers create the ideal food to go with their favourite movies, and explain how it’s done. There is Allison Reynold’s weird lunch from The Breakfast Club, a $5 dollar shake to accompany Pulp Fiction, Alice in Wonderland’s ‘Eat Me’ cake and campfire beans to enjoy with Brokeback Mountain.

Divertimenti

Any cook could easily lose a weekend in Divertimenti. If you’re not in the capital, explore the extensive website instead, which is packed with beautiful and useful kitchen equipment, tableware, specialist tools, books and hard-to-find condiments.

Even though Lakeland sells banana-shaped plastic cases to protect your fruit on your journey to work, it also stocks heaps of sensible and practical storage, serving and cooking products, and usually the best prices you’ll find.

From Aeropress coffee makers to temperature-variable kettles, via the £40 coffee mill and the £16,00 pro espresso grinder, Coffee Hit has the craze for swanky, specialist coffee gear nailed. Stock up and challenge your Antipodean neighbours to a flat white-off.

Baking fanatics can find sugar icing in shades of lavender and daffodil, cake boards for every size and shape of sponge and sprinkles and sugar strands galore at this repository for the cake mad.

Bay Tree Cookware

A very well-considered online kitchen-equipment shop, including a wide selection of the excellent Robert Welch knives and electricals including Magimix, Nespresso and Cuisinart ice cream makers.

Information/campaigning:

Marine Stewardship Council

Is it ok to eat cod? Should I avoid tuna altogether? What’s the deal with prawns these days? The ethical rules of eating from our oceans change with the tides and the EU laws check out the Marine Stewardship Council’s straightforward advice for what’s hot and what’s off the fish menu.

Capital Growth

An inspiring organisation which is maximising the space in London that can be used to grow food for and by the local communities. It opened up 2,012 new plots last year. If you’re interested in growing your own, attend one of the frequent open days or events for advice and training.

Sustainable Restaurant Association

A big idea — which started small and has just gone global — the SRA assesses restaurants for their eco and ethical efforts, so that diners can find out how responsible a favourite eating spot is, and restaurants can trumpet their own achievements.

Hot Dinners

If you’re the sort who likes to beat the critics to the latest restaurant opening and would cross the country on the promise of a truffled scotch egg, chances are the Hot Dinners crew will have got there first, and written it up so that you can plan your next move.

The Real Bread Campaign

Do you know that real bread, be it a roll, bagel or bap, a chewy sourdough, crusty baguette, ciabatta or chapatti, contains two ingredients — flour and water — along with, more often than not, yeast and salt? Discover more about real bread (many feeble pretenders bear this same name) here.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


53 Unique Gift Ideas for Women Who Have Everything

Stumped on coming up with the best gift ideas for women who have everything? With birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and the holidays, and other celebrations always on the horizon, we’re here to help you find the best gifts for women in 2021.

Deciding on the best gift ideas for women in your life comes with a lot of anxiety. You want to get your mom the perfect present to say “thank you” for everything she’s done for you, but what sums up a lifetime of thankfulness? You certainly want to impress your sister with a birthday gift that says “sisterhood” more than 𠇏riendship,”ਊnd you’re probably looking for something special to give your best girlfriend at her wedding shower to make her think of you whenever she looks at or uses it. You definitely want an anniversary idea for your wife so special that she’ll be singing your praises for years to come. But what exactly should that present be?

The best gifts for women𠅊s with the best gifts for most people𠅊re the perfect combination of unique and thoughtful. You want to get the women in your life items that feel personal, but they can’t be original to the point of uselessness (save those for Christmas white elephant parties, of course). A kitschy present is great only if the person will truly appreciate the kitschiness. Otherwise, you should focus on gift ideas for women that they’ll really use. (If you value usefulness over all else, gift card ideas are always an option, too.)

Finding the best present for her doesn’t have to be a struggle: We’ve done all the work for you. We’ve rounded up the best holiday and everyday gifts for women of all kinds𠅏rom the amateur hairstylist to the jet-setting traveler and the fashion-forward executive to the playful and young at heart. Whether you’re on a budget or able to spend a little more, whether it’s Mother’s Day, a birthday, an anniversary, retirement, or just a day to do something nice, you will definitely find something just right for your lovely ladies on this list of gift ideas for women.

Here are 2021&aposs best gift ideas for hard-to-shop-for women and unique gifts for women who have everything already.


Dinner party starter recipes

Kick off your meal in style with our chic selection of starters. From soups and salads to scallops and smoked salmon, these elegant dishes are sure to impress.

Smoked salmon with prawns, horseradish cream & lime vinaigrette

This stunning starter can be assembled ahead, then topped with dressed leaves just before serving.

Potted crab

Rustle up Tom Kerridge's crab starter with a hint of smoked paprika for your next dinner party. You can make it ahead, leaving you time to sit down and enjoy

Charred spring onions & romesco

Make this moreish vegetarian dish as an easy starter for a dinner party. You can make it in 20 minutes and the sauce can be prepped ahead of time

Scallops with chorizo & hazelnut picada

Bring a Spanish touch to scallops using smoky chorizo and a picada made with hazelnuts, sherry and rustic bread. A vibrant starter or indulgent summer lunch

Triple cheese & tarragon-stuffed mushrooms

Make this speedy, cheesy veggie treat for a light supper, or starter. It only needs five ingredients and you can have it on the table in 15 minutes

Grilled lobster tails with lemon & herb butter

Treat guests to grilled lobster tails served with a lemon, garlic and parsley butter. They take a little effort, but make an impressive dinner party dish

Watercress & celeriac soup with goat’s cheese croutons

Feed your friends this simple freeze-ahead starter, topped with goat's cheese croutons for added crunch

Charred asparagus, smoked salmon, shrimp & rye crumb

Impress guests with this deceptively simple starter that's packed with the lovely flavours of salmon, shrimp, asparagus and apple. Make it in just 20 minutes

Tomato, burrata & broad bean salad

Chop up tomatoes, toss with salt, top with creamy burrata and slather with a broad bean-flecked salsa verde to make this simple yet super-tasty salad

Ham hock & pistachio roll

If you're looking for a Christmas classic with a twist, this French ham hock and pistachio terrine, transformed into a modern make-ahead starter is for you

Gravadlax with celeriac & fennel salad

A light salmon starter with a crisp salad and honey and mustard dressing. No cooking required, just gravadlax or smoked salmon plus fresh seasonal produce

Salmon, sweet potato & coriander fishcakes with tahini dressing

Fry up some fishcakes for an easy supper on busy weeknights. They're full of nutrients from the omega-3 in the salmon and vitamin C in the sweet potato

Onion & goat’s cheese tarte tatins

Individual tarte Tatin-style bakes with puff pastry, caramelised onions, thyme and ash goat's cheese make a sumptuous vegetarian lunch or dinner party starter

Baked feta with sumac & grapes

A modern dinner party starter that’s great for a budget - salty feta, sweet grapes, tangy sumac and aniseed dill create contrasting yet complementary flavours

Chargrilled mackerel with sweet & sour beetroot

Fresh mackerel is always a winner and grilling gives a deliciously charred quality. Pickled beetroot wedges add an extra tang in this party-perfect, budget-savvy starter

Beetroot & blackberry cured salmon

Curing your own salmon is well worth it for taste and wow-factor. Serve this beetroot and berries version as a starter or on crackers as a canapé


Five on Friday: Quirky and Cute Kitchen Tools - Recipes

Last year at this time, I did not know the fancy planner world existed. In April, someone I know posted a link on facebook to Erin Condren's website and I purchased my first "fancy planner."

I found that if I spent a little more on a planner, I was more apt to use it. If I used an inexpensive planner, it was easier on my conscience to cast it aside after a few weeks and render it useless. With a more expensive planner (but not crazy expensive), I could use it, but I knew I didn't want it to go to waste. Having the fancy planner really worked for me. You can record water intake, meal plans, exercise plans, gift lists, etc. I felt more organized with to-do lists, shopping lists, and more.

Joining facebook groups was probably the wrong thing to do because then I realized how much people decorate their planners with stickers, washi, etc. However, it was getting time consuming - applying washi, relabeling the parts that didn't work, making note page headers, cutting out stickers and more. I needed something that was already beautiful and simple, but with fun extras.

I fell in love aesthetically first. The planner was beautiful, inside and out. The colors are gorgeous, the design is sophisticated. Then I realized it was full of amenities - book lists, movie lists, built in daily spaces for home, health, and meal planning, monthly and yearly goal pages, pockets for storage. I was sold. Here is a walk-through and review of my 2015 Inkwell Press Planner.

My cover (pointed stripe and Katniss Everdeen font)
Cover, Binding, and Engraving
I chose the pointed stripe cover with the Katniss Everdeen font. The cover is like a hard cover book, but has a wipable film over it for the inevitable spill, dirty fingers, and food catastrophe. The coil is my least favorite part. I dislike the color - it's too coppery - and is flaking off in spots. My name is in a beautiful gold foil (the only color they offer). An attached elastic band holds everything in place. Tremendous bonus!

When you first open it up, you find a cute little ruler/bookmark that appeals to my sewing-loving heart.

The paper is extraordinary - thick and lovely!

Planning Pages
There are beautiful monthly planning pages and note pages before each month starts. Bonus! But I forgot to photograph them. Fail!
A month layout looks like this. Lots of writing room!

A weekly layout looks like this in the Flex layout that I chose. There is also a schedule-type layout where you have a list of hours.
I like the flex because, as a SAHM, I don't have a lot of appointments daily, but I do have lots on my to do list that I can write in these spaces! The Erin Condren "Morning, Day, Night" setup never worked for me and I spent a lot of time covering over those categories with my own categories. This is perfect!


Here's a closeup of the week, showing the spaces for meals, health, and home:

I LOVE this feature. With the Erin Condren Planner, I had to get creative to fit all that in, with inserts and stickers and whatnot. Now I can record my cleaning, cooking and exercise (ahem).

In the back, there are lots of extras. Graph paper note pages. My absolute dream come true!!

Pages where you can record books and movies you want to see. There's also pages for travel.

I absolutely think this is the perfect planner. I've researched many different types and this rolls everything together - simplicity, beauty, fun extras, helpful layouts, and more. I'm extremely impressed with the quality of the paper. It is worth every penny! The customer service is super and very personal. They really want you to be happy with your planner at Inkwell Press!
I can't wait to be even MORE organized in 2015!

If you like this planner and want one of your own, following this affiliate link Inkwell Press Planners will get you $10 off your first purchase of $50. Happy Planning!

I purchased this planner on my own. Inkwell Press did not sponsor this. I just really like the planner. :D


20 Best Gifts for 5-Year-Old Boys, According to Kids and Parenting Experts

Including a coding robot, the ultimate fort-building kit and a lot of dinosaurs.

By age 5, kids are off to school, allowing them to explore social and emotional development with friends, engage in deeper cognitive learning and improve their physical development as they are able to handle more complex tasks. They are learning basic math skills, how to properly hold a pencil and how to behave in a classroom.

The experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute regularly test and evaluate toys for kids of all ages. We even bring kid testers into our labs to make sure the latest toys are actually worth buying. With these milestones in mind, our picks for the best toys for 5-year-old boys focus on creative, physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills &mdash and some are even GH Toy Award winners. If you're looking for more suggestions for the rest of the family, check out our list of the winners of Good Housekeeping's 2020 Best Toy Awards before they sell out, as well as our gift guides that include toys for 1-year-olds, toys for 2-year-olds and more.

FYI: Certain items may be shipped later this year due to the pandemic. You can check here for all shipping deadlines to ensure your item arrives in time for the holidays.

These are the best toys and gifts for 5-year-old boys in 2020:


WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY, & ART

[32] Write For Your Local Newspaper

This would give you some local recognition or notoriety, so would be a good tie-in if you were selling agricultural products or services.

[33] Blogging about Gardening

There are a gazillion garden blogs, but there is room for more. Readers enjoy reading garden blogs that are local to them or that are about the particular gardening topics that interest the readers. Could be organic vegetables, could be tomatoes, could be orchids, could be… You get the idea. If I weren’t such a dedicated generalist (ahem, if I weren’t so scattered), this site would be more of a gardening blog, but as it is, you can see my gardening and homesteading category here.

Write about what you do in your garden, with photos. More than most subjects, you need photos of the garden.

How to make money blogging is a huge topic in itself… Since I’m such a fiend for books, that is probably the most common way that I make money, through Amazon.com links. There are lots of other choices too.

[34] Writing Books about Gardening

If you like to write and have a special expertise within gardening, you can write books.

They can be for the Kindle or paperbacks, ideally both. There is a lot of information online about writing and self-publishing books… we haven’t done it for gardening but both Kelly and I have Kindle books and paperbacks up on Amazon.com… we create them in various programs. You can use Word. Then we make PDFs which we upload for the paperbacks and transform to the right format for Kindle ebooks.

So assuming you have a computer or even a good tablet, it doesn’t cost much to write and self-publish a book. Then you will have to learn to promote it, but Amazon.com is good at that for books that show some popularity.

[35] Selling Garden Photos

If you can take good photos, you can explore selling them online. Here is a list of stock photo places to apply to.

[36] Garden Art: Notecards, Paintings, and More

If you are an artist, you may already know about a variety of ways to sell your artwork, such as local places where you live and Etsy and Zazzle, both mentioned above. For art specifically related to gardens and gardening, do some internet research and see if there are websites about gardening that might want to use your artwork for a fee. If you have a website, offer your art for sale from it too.

When Kelly and I sold our home in Mexico after living and gardening there for five years, we happened to sell to an American artist. We paid her for this view from our front porch. It’s in a prominent spot in our living room, and yes, sometimes it does make me homesick for Lake Chapala, which you see in the distance.

So I just transformed part of it a bit for a Pinterest image. Please pin it if you like this article…


14 best healthy, non-alcoholic drinks and mixers that actually taste good

2020 was a year of establishing new routines (for better or worse) and high on that list for many of us was regularly overdoing it on alcohol. Between trying to cope with the stress and anxiety of everything the year brought, looking for a way to mark the end of a work-from-home day, and the sheer boredom of being sequestered within the same four walls with the same few people for months on end, there was no shortage of excuses to kick back with a cold one.

I, like many, found excitement in learning how to be an at-home bartender and solace in a reliable routine of a 5 o'clock cocktail with my partner.

Popular Reviews

As long as you have a healthy relationship with alcohol, doing this is totally fine: "For those who don't have addiction issues, drinking alcohol in moderation can be safe and appropriate," Dr. Abe Malkin, MD, board-certified family medicine and addiction medicine doctor and advisor for alcohol treatment program monument, told Insider.

But the catch here is "in moderation." Drinking every day and/or knocking back upwards of two to three drinks begins to interfere with your body functioning in a healthy manner. So, if it feels like it's time to reign in your drinking habits or cut them out altogether, having a tasty alcohol-free beverage is a great way to make sober nights easier and more exciting.

How mixers and mocktails can help you cut back on booze

Whether you're looking to cut back on how many nights you drink, how many drinks you have a night, or looking to go fully sober, it's helpful to have more in your fridge than just water.

"For many people, we like to have something to hold or do with our hands in a social situation and a drink that helps us relax and enjoy a social situation more," said Marysa Cardwell, RDN, a nutrition therapist, and contributing dietitian to Lose It!.

Since making and consuming alcoholic drinks is an activity in itself, you need something to replace that action and reward. When I first started trying to keep a few nights of my week alcohol-free, I found the biggest roadblock was missing that end-of-day marker or celebratory feeling. On Friday nights, I wanted an activity that declared it was time to relax. Weekly Bachelorette night felt remiss without something to sip while FaceTiming girlfriends.

"There's a perceived social connection and camaraderie that is associated with drinking alcohol-based drinks," said Dr. Malkin. "However, this can be achieved by drinking non-alcoholic drinks as well, as simply the act of sharing a beverage regardless of alcohol content can be a social activity."

And he's right: Once I dove into the world of non-alcoholic celebratory drinks, it shifted how I felt about taking a night or two off from booze. I pivoted my quarantine habit of making fun cocktails to making fun mocktails (which actually became more satisfying to nail because, really, it's a lot harder to make something drinkable without beloved flavors like bourbon).

I even introduced friends who were pregnant or who don't drink for various reasons to my favorites, and now they love having a beer-looking bottle to sip fancy fizzy water out of on Zoom happy hours. It draws less attention to the fact that they don't imbibe.

"Substituting non-alcoholic beverages can be a great way for someone who is sober to participate socially in festivities without slipping up and having an alcoholic drink," Dr. Malkin confirmed.

How I compiled my favorite healthy sober mixers

The following list is comprised of a few separate categories: Non-alcoholic spirits that mimic favorites like gin, whiskey, vodka, and rum (spoiler: almost all are disappointing) pre-bottled zero-alcohol craft cocktails aperitifs and digestifs that can be drunk over ice or used as a mixer in a mocktail (or cocktail) and beverages with adaptogens or botanicals that enhance your headspace in an alternative, natural way via plants and herbs.

It's worth noting that any non-alcoholic spirit may be triggering for recovering alcoholics, and drinks made with adaptogens or nootropics may not be safe if you're pregnant or breastfeeding (and it's smart to consult with a doctor before consuming).

At the end of this guide, I've included insight into how I tested the mixers and mocktails, what to look for in a "healthy" mixer, and input from experts on when drinking becomes unhealthy.

Read on to see the best zero-alcohol spirits, cocktails, and sodas:

Updated on 2/11/2021: Added Jukes 6 and SipClean. Next, we're looking forward to testing Freixenet's new alcohol-free champagne and AMASS Non-Alcoholic Spirit Riverine.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn&rsquot have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment&mdashbecause that&rsquos what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!



Comments:

  1. Mac A'bhiadhtaiche

    Granted, a useful thing



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