Geek is hoping for Hobbit-related gadgets under the tree
Lil's loving kid-friendly kitchen finds
Buzz is excited for Les Misérables and the season finale of Gossip Girl
Très is reading wedding books and an Olympian's memoir
Fab is shopping for stunning statement pieces for the holidays
Fit's feeling cold-weather workout gear
Bella's wrapping up the year with makeup palettes and spa-inspired candles
Casa is craving holiday decor and cocktail-party essentials
Yum's serving up peppermint treats and a hot new cookbook
Savvy's suggesting ways to plan your expenses for the new year
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We made over 100 beginner recipes this year, but we wanted to showcase our absolute favorites. Whether you're looking for your next go-to spaghetti dish or easy-as-pie dessert, if you're hungry for our best content, then take a look at the top beginner recipes we made in 2012.
Hot chocolate on the stove? Check. Boughs of holly on the staircase? Check. Gifts wrapped under the tree? Check. Looks like we're starting off December with everything checked off our list. Well, just about: there are a few essentials for this month we've forgotten to mention. Take a look at a handful of items we simply can't get enough of right now.
Serious chefs invest in serious knives. You'll discover that a high-quality knife cuts down on your chopping time, is less harsh on your joints, and creates precise, swoon-worthy slices. To avoid buying overpriced junk, here are a few rules you should abide by when purchasing a chef's knife. Ultimately, it's all about your hands and what feels right. Find a local store that carries the knife and practice holding and chopping with it so you're guaranteed to purchase something you love.
High-carbon stainless steel material: Stainless steel won't rust and does not impart metallic flavor or color onto your food. Because high-carbon stainless steel is hard and durable, it retains its sharp edge longer than most and is easy to clean, hone, and sharpen at home.
Heavy-duty construction: Look for knives that are forged from a single piece of steel with a full tang, which means that the steel runs from the blade to the edge of the handle. They offer better balance and are more resilient. Also look for a bolster, the thick steel portion in between the blade and the handle. A wide bolster indicates the thickness of the original piece of steel before it was forged; no sign of a bolster suggests that the knife was simply punched out of a roll of sheet metal.
Pointed tip and curved cutting edge: A standard Western-style chef's knife is eight inches long, has a rounded edge for easy chopping and mincing, and curves to a pointed tip for cutting into squash or for fine cuts.
Weighted, ergonomic handle While most chefs wrap a hand around the bolster of the knife, it's important to choose a handle you find comfortable. Most handles are ergonomically designed, but you might have a shape and material preference. Some are lined with rubber to keep the knife secure in your hand while other handles are made from wood or plastic. The best knives are designed so that the handle and the blade are equally weighted to make chopping a light, easy experience.
For the friend who loves all things vintage, gift her kitchen items with a bold retro look that will make her feel like she stepped into a cooking space from yesteryear. Nothing screams retro like mint green, vinyl disks, and polka dots — and they make up the perfect touches of any classic kitchen gift.
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Jessica Gavin shares a sweet dessert that is perfect for Fall and Winter.
The persimmon honey ginger tart is a simple and elegant dessert for the Winter season! The honey and ginger glaze enhances the natural sweet characteristics of the persimmon, and the custard cream filling provides a nice contrast in texture to the delicate, flaky, and crunchy puff pastry tart shell.