As the holidays approach, we know how essential it is to have the perfect hostess gift. But why settle for the usual flower bouquet or box of chocolates when you can give something truly special and personalized? Personal Wine is a company that will let you do just that.
Ranging from custom labels to etched wine accessories and more, Personal Wine will help you send the perfect message for any occasion. First, choose from a wide range of red, white or sparkling wines. Then pick out a label or engraving with a special message, and you’ll be well on your way to winning Dinner Guest of the Year.
But the holiday cheer doesn’t stop there; now through December 10th, you can enter the promo code RAY15 for a 15% discount off your entire purchase! Now, can gift giving get any better than that?!
If you’ve broken off one too many corks in the necks of wine bottles, a high-speed, push-button, supposedly-error-free electric corkscrew probably sounds appealing. But after testing a variety of models, we’re electing not to go electric (and save up to $30). Here’s why:
They’re space suckers
You have to devote counter space and an outlet to the charging dock. And if you forget to juice it up before party time, you’re right back to corkscrewing by hand. Plus, electric ones are bulky. A manual corkscrew fits in your silverware drawer; one of these guys–as big as 10 inches high and 3 inches wide–needs a permanent home on the countertop docking station or space in a cabinet.
There’s plenty of room for operator error
To uncork a bottle, you line up the electric opener over the cork, then press down while you turn on the motor. To pull the cork out, you switch the power button into reverse. But be warned: If you don’t have a good grip on the bottle or the right amount of pressure on the opener, your wine bottle could start shaking or, worse, spin out of your hands. And, sorry to say, you may not have seen the end of decapitated corks. Misalign the “worm” (the pointy spiral part) and the cork won’t just break, it will become lodged in the device, and to get it out, you’ll have to putt apart the protectice plastic shield. Good luck putting that back together again.
The wine world is going screw-top anyway
(Or at least the wine in our world is! Check out all of these great screw-top sippers.)
By Lambeth Hochwald; Photograph by Levi Brown
Whether you need a pre- or post-Thanksgiving moment of Zen, take advantage of our exclusive spa deals, or go the DIY route with luxe tub treats.
1. The Body Shop Honeymania Moisture Bubble Bath Melt
…creates extra-creamy suds. ($14, thebodyshop.com)
2. Lush’s Enchanter Bomb
…is citrus-spiked and fizzes and froths as it dissolves. ($6.25, lushusa.com)
3. Le Couvent des Minimes Orange Blossom Foaming Bath
…creates sublimely scented bubbles. ($25, usa.lecouventdesminimes.com)
4. Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Bath & Body Oil
…yields silky, sweet-smelling skin. ($20, sephora.com)
5. h2o+ Sea Salt Skin Smoother
…will take care of any rough patches. ($27, h20plus.com)
Sign yourself up for a fab 50-minute Swedish Massage at any Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa between now and December 31, mention “Rachael Ray 13″ when booking, and pay $99 for a service that normally costs $125-ish. (reddoorspas.com)
If you need a megadose of de-stressing, go for Bliss Spa’s 24-Heaven body treatment at a location with a wet room. First comes an oatmeal mask with a heated wrap, then a Vichy shower (you’re hotizontal under a bunch of nozzles) and for the grand finale, a body blam rubdown. The service regularly costs $155, but present this page at checkout to get 20% off between now and December 31. (blissworld.com)
by Abbie Kozolchyk
Petite Pad? Live large anyway with hosting tips form Jenna Mahoney, author of the new Small Apartment Hacks, 101 Ingenious DIY Solutions for Living, Organizing and Entertaining.
1. Turn your ironing board into a buffet.
Throw a pretty, floor-length cloth over that bad boy, push one side against a wall and you’ve got the world’s slimmest serving surface.
2. Use a rolling rack.
You can find cheapies at Target and Kmart and hang a few “starter jackets” to encourage guests to follow suit. (Even better if, as the rack fills up, it hides a workspace or cluttered corner.) Afterward, the rack folds up and slides easily under your bed.
3. Create small centerpieces with serious impact.
Turn juice glasses into vases (almost no surface area required)! The arrangements couldn’t be easier: Snip Gerbera daisies, peonies or other bold flowers just below the blossoms, and add one to three to each glass. P.S. The trick works just as well for mantelpieces.
By Abbie Kozolchyk
Whether you’re out for brunch or enjoying a lazy Sunday at home with friends, the French press has made its way to coffee tables and counters across America. But, is it really worth $20? Read on to see why we say: YES!
You can be your own barista
A French press uses water that’s at the boiling point (a temperature many electric machines can’t reach), which extracts more flavor from the coffee. Plus, you can customize how light or dark your joe turns out simply by adjusting the time the grounds steep.
You can take it anywhere
Without pesky plugs and not-so-eco-friendly filters in your way, this baby can easily travel with you on a camping trip or to a hotel — or it can sit on your desk so you don’t waste a single second between refills!
It’s not just for coffee!
Use a French press to brew loose leaf tea, make vinaigrettes (let herbs steep in the vinaigrette for a few hours, then plunge to strain) — or even press the lumps out of gravy!
Written by Lambeth Hochwald; Photography by David Lewis Taylor
When Hurricane Sandy crashed into Evette Ríos’ parents’ home, everything was destroyed. For the next few days, her family channeled all of their energy into saving their old photos. Here are her best tricks to rescue and restore photos, in case yours ever fall victim to water.
- Photos separate best when wet, so before they dry, pull them apart slowly and carefully.
- Don’t let them dry faster than you can separate them: Put them into freezer bags, with some air space so the bag doesn’t make contact with the pictures, and freeze them. Defrost once you’re ready to continue separating.
- For the shots you can’t get to before they dry, dampening and warming them with a blow-dryer on medium is a decent emergency measure.
- To prevent future picture panic, invest in a photo and negative scanner (we found a $150 one online). Four thousand images later, we have a digital photo vault. And now we know exactly how much that means.
…Is what my mom said when Patty Smyth—the singer/songwriter aptly known for “Goodbye to You”—attempted to repo our stove.
You see, the coastal Brooklyn house my mom bought in 1976 had long been a second home to Patty, whose stepmother, Cookie, had grown up there. The stove that came with the place was indeed a beauty: the same vintage Chambers model Rach used to have on her set, except ours was powder blue, not yellow.
Every once in a while Patty would swing by the house to see how the stove was doing. Well, to say hi to the family, too, but mostly to make sure her cherished heirloom was still around.
Once, when I was in college, my mom called me and said, “John is here and wants the stove.”
Me: “John who?”
Mom: “Johnny Mac.”
Mom: “Yeah—and I told him over my dead body.”
Yes, she summarily shot down the era’s most famous tennis player—who also happened to be Patty’s husband.
My mother loved that stove. Never mind that we had to light the burners with a match. Or that the oven wasn’t spacious enough to hold a decent turkey (sort of crucial when you host Thanksgiving every year). Or that the merest breeze would kill the pilot light along with the burners, and we’d have to wait at least 30 minutes before turning the gas back on—or risk getting blown off our feet by a gas surge (believe me, I know from personal experience).
Despite all the stove’s shortcomings, her love for it was unflinching, no matter how much her culinary-minded children pleaded for an upgrade. After all, this stove had been her trusty sidekick throughout her adult life. Those burners heated the first meal she made as a homeowner—and the water for my first bottle. That oven helped us celebrate every conceivable family milestone—and achievement, big or small.
But after this 36-year love affair, everything changed in an instant: The night Sandy hit, five feet of water swallowed the stove whole.
You know the rest of this story by now—about the devastation and loss that reached far and wide. And while the household essentials were comparatively minor casualties, my mother couldn’t bear to part with the stove. She often said it had a soul; the prospect of discarding such a beloved being broke her heart.
Now, even after her herculean mold-, rust-, grime- and debris-removal efforts, the poor thing is still “resting” outside while we search for ever more advanced resurrection methods.
In its place sits a shiny new oven big enough to hold a 40-pound turkey—much to her children’s delight. But somehow, mom hasn’t quite gotten used to the idea that knobs alone can fire up burners. No matches required.
Patty did stop by the house after Sandy to make sure we were okay. And of course, to check on the Chambers. She was saddened by its streaks and corroded innards, but relieved it was still there.
I’ve urged my mother to pay it…backward and relinquish the stove to Patty. And you know what? Mom’s almost there. But I have a feeling that “almost” could last for a while.
Written by Chris Jette, Meredith senior marketing manager
You’ll be dying to make the hot new casserole recipes—from green chile chilaquiles to mu shu pork—in our exclusive October issue tear out booklet. But before you hit the kitchen, grab one (or all!) of these great bake-and-serve casserole platters for your table.
1. Go retro with a two-tone 1.5 quart family style dish. Corningware Etched Green, $21, target.com
2. Breakfast casseroles, like our booklet’s Hash Brown Bake with Eggs & Smoked Salmon, belong in the morning bird. Revol Happy Cuisine Poultry Dish, $70, bloomingdales.com
3. This heavy duty dish makes casseroles and doubles as a dutch oven for stocks, stews and chili. Calphalon Simply Cast Enamel, $100, wayfair.com
4. Serve up individual portions of our booklet’s Shrimp & Pasta Mini-Bakes in individual-sized (8-oz.) cocottes. Mini Cocotte in Red, $50, fab.com
5. Go classic with Rach’s easy-to-grip 4.25 quart Casseroval, available in 8 colors. Casseroval, $50, rachaelraystore.com
6. This pumpkin doesn’t turn into a carriage—it turns into a delish casserole! Add the single-portion dish to your table for some seasonal fun. Petite Pumpkin Cocotte, $30, lecreuset.com
7. Fill up the crowd with these traditional minis. Available in green, blue, red, orange and white. Omniware 5 oz. Cocottes, $35 for 4 piece set, macys.com
8. Make them quack up with this woodsie serving piece. Also available with a rabbit or chicken top. Apilco Duck Casserole Dish, $120, williams-sonoma.com
9. You’ll be surprised how fast the food disappears from these 12″x8.5″ dishes, buy two to make seconds! Italian Onda Bakers, $30, surlatable.com
Still hungry for more casseroles? Try these recipes:
Categories: Every Day Scoop, Food, Home, Rachael Ray | Tags: Casserole, Casserole Dishes, Casseroles, Dishes, Every Day Scoop, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Hot Dishes, Plates, Rachael Ray, Serving Dishes
If you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen—get out of the house and host a picnic! We’ve got the best gear for a summer day in the park, at the beach or on the lawn—all you have to do is provide the food. Check out our fave products:
1. Forget schlepping around a bulky, boxy basket—this insulated picnic tote holds everything you need and keeps food at the right temp! $42, macys.com
2. Easily carry this large picnic mat to whatever spot you choose—the waterproof bottom means you can lay it wherever you want! Plus, store extra essentials in the hidden pocket. $32 and up, picnicfun.com Special note: 10% of all pink mat purchases will go to breast cancer research.
3. Keep food safe from bugs while you play with these hand-painted food domes. $30 and up for set of three, depending on size, worldmarket.com
4. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! You’d never guess these servers, with intricate rope detailing on the bottoms, are melamine. Available in three colors. $18.50, potterybarn.com
5. Need inspiration? Look no further than Tori Finch’s “A Perfect Day for A Picnic” loaded with tons of decorating and recipe ideas for your outdoor party. $17, amazon.com
6. Don’t forget the wine! This three-bottle-tote ensures the vino keeps flowing all day long! $30, builtny.com
7. These bright, printed melamine plates will survive the trip outside—and impress your company! $4.50 each, westelm.com
Pair your picnic gear with these delish just-for-summer recipes:
- Tasty summer side dishes
- 15 no-cook recipes
- Mediterranean potato salad
- An Orangina cocktail
- Pigs in ponchos
More Picnic Posts:
Here’s to you Dad!
Stumped on gift ideas? We’ve got some quirky, foodie and all-around awesome presents to show your dad just how much you love him this Father’s Day!
1. I mustache you a question! How cool would your old man look in these stache-covered socks? $12.50, fredflare.com
2. Whatever his title may be at work, we promise you he’s most proud of the title “Dad.” So let him brag at the office with a special for-dad-only mug. $14 each, rockscissorpaper.com
3. Guys aren’t all about meat and potatoes, they have a secret sweet tooth too! Fill up his candy drawer with a three piece candy collection, loaded with fruity sour gummies, gummy cola bottles and gourmet gummy papa and baby bears. $16 for set, sugarfina.com
4. Happy hour just got better! With this age-your-own whiskey kit he can pour friends a drink and brag about it. Each kit comes with two 110-proof bottles of un-aged White Dog Whiskey, an aging barrel and two drinking glasses. $150, binnys.com
5. Make a statement! This wood sign (5″x4.5″) let’s him show off just how much you care. $11, paper-source.com
6. If he’s more of a beer guy, try a garden kit that lets him grow his own hops! In this garden dome, he’ll grow wheat, barley and hops (seeds included in the kit) so all he has left to do is brew a pint! $28, overstock.com
7. Here’s a treat he’ll eat right up: Slow-roasted pecans smoked and seasoned with chili powder, thyme, brown sugar, salt and Old Bay for true Southern BBQ flavor. $24, blackberryfarm.com
8. If he’s a grill master that loves to entertain, he—and his guests—will get a kick out of these Claudia Pearson beach-inspired hot dog plates. Surfs up! $16 each, westelm.com
Looking for more Father’s Day ideas?