Posts tagged ‘gift ideas’

December 13, 2013

A few of our favorite things: The Queen’s online gift guide for the foodie in your life!

by Crystal Cook

Gift Collage

(Gift descriptions, clockwise)

1. Pineapple Beverage Dispenser $68.00: If you grew up in the south like I did, then you know that pineapples are THE symbol of southern hospitality. In fact, my mom had more pineapple decor than any one woman should ever have. This pineapple beverage dispenser from Anthropologie, reminds me of my childhood and is perfect for some sweet tea or lemonade!

2. 10-Piece Glass Bowl Set $39.95: Contain yourself if you can! This 10-piece glass set from Williams Sonoma is my favorite! Simple, beautiful and functional, they’re very useful for preparing your mise en place and for storing in small kitchens.

3. Charles Viancin Silicone Food Storage Lid Covers $7.95–$12.95: Plastic wrap be gone! I am in love with this silicone creation that provides an airtight seal, and works with any smooth-rimmed bowl or pot. Oh and did I mention it is dishwasher, microwave AND oven safe?!

4. Personalized Casserole Dish $54.00: The beauty of the casserole dish is its variety. Not just the ingredients you fill it with, but the shape, size, color or pattern of the dish. Go on, girl, get crazy—express yourself! With so many fun hues, sizes and shapes, even on the busiest of occasions or the dooziest of days, placing your meal in a sunny container can change your entire mood.

5. Dotty Match Potholders $12.00: They’re cute! They’re colorful! They’re comfy! And let’s face it… a girl can never have too many pot holders.

6. Jalapeño Corer $10.95: How many times have you removed the seeds from a jalapeño and then neglected to wash your hands before rubbing your eyes? It burns! Oh, how it burns! Never make that mistake again with this gadget gem!

7. Casserole Carriers $38.00: Made from amazing chevron-printed fabrics, these totes make for easy transport and real down-home appeal. They’re chic and sassy! Want to make one of your own? Check out our latest cookbook or this YouTube video and learn how to craft your own!

8. Scalloped Celebration Cake Stand $24.00–$38.00: You worked hard on that sweet treat, so show it off! From a cake to cupcakes, even a big pile of cookies, every day is a special occasion with these adorable stands.

9. The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook: Mix and Match 100 Casseroles, Salads, Sides, and Desserts & The Casserole Queens Cookbook: Put Some Lovin’ in Your Oven with 100 Easy One-Dish Recipes Come on, you knew these would make our list!

10. Custom Heirloom Silverware Jewelry, starting as low as $30.00: Order custom-made, or ready-to-wear one-of-a-kind pieces, from Elizabeth Lyons Designs this holiday season. These unique silverware-to-jewelry pieces make for a very special holiday gift and are so very culinary chic! (Hence the name!)

Happy shopping!

August 21, 2011

Casserole Queens Cookbook Tour Schedule – Yay! (UPDATED)

by Casserole Queens

Check out our updated book tour schedule!

Some exciting stuff coming up next week: our Aug 23 appearance on The Today Show and our Aug 25 book release party at BookPeople.

We’ll be keeping this schedule up-to-date as more stops are confirmed. Stay tuned. If we’re stopping in your town, please come see us!

May 6, 2011

Inside the Queen’s Studio with Raychel Deppe

by Casserole Queens

The Queens periodically interview someone we find interesting and inspiring. In this installment, we are excited to introduce you to the talented Raychel Deppe As a professional photographer for over 6 years, Raychel has had the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of subjects for an impressive list of clients.  From product shots to headshots, from still life photography to our personal favorite of food and beverage, Raychel creates absolutely stunning work. Maybe it derives from her obvious passion and commitment to her trade.  We were fascinated to learn that she went to culinary school (and risked bodily harm!)  specifically to further educate herself on the food industry for her photographic purposes. Now that is dedication!  

Tell us a little about yourself and why you choose photography as a career.

I’m Raychel: a little extreme but mostly passionate and in love with life. I thrive on inspiration and finding an outlet to transfer and express my creative energy. As a photographer I’m: technically driven, detail oriented, and perhaps a bit obsessive compulsive. I chose photography because it is the most versatile creative profession I found that allows me to work with a variety of people, each with different skill sets and personalities. Working with new clients allows me to remain motivated and creatively challenged on a daily basis!

What is your “recipe” for success?

Find what you love, and make it a career. That way, even the “boring” jobs are enjoyable.

If you weren’t a professional photographer you would be…

A chef and or holistic nutritionist. No questions about it. Food has always been my second passion in life.

Why do you enjoy shooting food? And how it is different than your other gigs (wedding, commercial, etc.)?

I am a commercial photographer who decided to go to cooking school. I moved from New York City to Austin, Texas specifically to go to Texas culinary academy to study the food industry in more depth for photographic purposes. After a tragic experience with a flash fire and 2nd degree burns I decided I had gained all the knowledge I needed from cooking school and it was time for me to apply it to my photography (minus the grease burns of course). I love photographing food because it is a multi-dimensional experience. I love the potential for all 5 senses to participate in the photographic process. The passion for me goes far beyond just the photographs…food is one of those tangible things in life that connects me to every other culture throughout the world.

If a casserole described your personality – what would it be?

Definitely a potpie. Rich pastry exterior, with warm (perhaps a little bit less-refined) traditional gravy center!

Name one photography disaster you’ve had.

Sometimes I think that the photographic disasters are blessings in disguise…. and they usually end up with the best photos. Problems force me to creatively problem solve and that is probably one of the reasons I love photography so much. However, one of my very first official photoshoot as a professional photographer was shot entirely in the wrong format. The feeling I got in the pit of my stomach when I realized this mistake was paralyzing. Luckily, in the end, the images were large enough files that I was able to convert them to the proper format for this publication without a problem. Worst mistake, but this lesson has stayed with me always.

What do you think makes a good food image?

Two key elements make a good food photograph: lighting and styling. Both are essential. You can’t have one without the other.

Are there some foods that you find impossible to photograph?

Foods that have a tendency to melt are the most difficult. Speed is crucial and extra hands are a plus.

Who was your most interesting client?

The most interesting client I have ever worked with thus far is the Quest Syndicate Loft. They are racing pigeon experts that breed, auction, and race pigeons all around the world. Not only is the sport of pigeon racing quite unique, but also the photography that accompanies it is extremely challenging and very specific. How do you pose a pigeon?

If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?

lovin’ it: the Raychel Deppe experience

April 19, 2011

Sandy’s Salsa Situation!

by Sandy Pollock

I love salsa.  I mean I REALLY love salsa.  Not the chunky stuff though — I love the vinegary-smooth burning kind.  If my nose isn’t running and my mouth isn’t on fire when I’m done eating, then it didn’t count.

I recently had to go on a business trip and was away from home for about a month.  I could NOT find my brand of hot sauce anywhere.  I ended up buying and trying over 10 different hot sauces while I was gone and none of them gave me the flavor and burn that I crave from my favorite.

Once I got home, I made a bee line for my grocery store to load up on the spicy red liquid, when much to my horror, I found that MY grocery store, as well as all surrounding stores, have quit selling it!

Panic started to set in.

I wrote to the company that makes the hot sauce and asked them WHY they would deprive me of this thing that brings me so much happiness.  They responded and suggested that I first acquire some sort of life, and then they gave me a list of area grocery stores that might carry it.  I should note that all of the stores they listed are very far way, but I drove to them all.  Of all of the places I visited, I found a single bottle and I bought the crap out of it!

Needless to say I was bummed, but then my main squeeze did the most amazing thing and surprised me with the bestest treat ever!  He ordered an entire case of my beautiful beautiful salsa online.  I LOVE YOU ML!

It’s like Christmas.

So pretty!

Get in my belly!

I’m a happy Queen.

How about you? What is your favorite salsa?

April 6, 2011


by Sandy Pollock

Michael and I recently took a long, out-of-town weekend trip to Syracuse, New York, to see our friends Kelly and Patrick.  While there, we got to watch the mighty Syracuse Orangemen play some b-ball!  The game was a total blowout and tons of fun.  We stayed at Kelly and Patrick’s adorable house and simply had the best time.

K and P are great hosts, so we wanted to be sure and take a little gift to thank them for what we knew was going to be a fantastic time.

As usual, the first gift option that popped into my booze-focused brain was booze.  I thought about wine (which is always good), but I wanted it to be more special.  Then I remembered that I had given homemade limoncello to my friends for Christmas a while back and it was quite a hit.

Limoncello is the perfect gift for a few reasons.  First, making limoncello requires some forethought.  You can’t just whip it up and serve it in an hour — people will know that love, time, and thought were put into their gift.  Secondly, most people don’t have this delightful liquor on hand and would probably not think to make it for themselves.  Lastly, they will drink the heck out of it and maybe even offer you some!

Here’s how it went down:

Zest 6 to 8 lemons.

You can do this by cutting away the zest with a knife (like I did above) or by using a vegetable peeler which works like a charm.

Keep going…

and going…

I julienned my lemon zest, but that really isn’t necessary, as the lemon rind will later be discarded. I just freaking love a good julienne, plus mama gotta keep up her knife skills.

Place the zest in the bottom of a glass container with a tight lid.  I used a mason jar.

Add the booze!  A 750ml bottle of vodka to be exact.

I love you so much!

Cover the jar and place it in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks, but go for as long as you can.  I know it will be hard.

This is what the mixture will look like after sitting for 2 weeks.  The longer it sits, the more lemony goodness will be infused.

When two weeks (or longer) have passed, then combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a suacepan (will look like picture above at first).

Over medium heat, cook until the sugar has dissolved completely (approx 5 minutes).  Syrup will look like picture above when ready.  Allow syrup to cool.

Strain the lemon vodka through a strainer to remove all the lemon zest.  Discard the zest, but thank it for its service before doing so.

This is what it looks like before adding the simple syrup.  Feel free to start drinking it now.  It’s lemon flavored vodka.  Hell yeah.

Add enough simple syrup to the strained vodka to create a sweet and delightful concoction (I used around 2 cups of simple syrup).  Now this is an important step and it will require quite a bit of taste testing to ensure that the gift is to your liking.  I am sorry.

Find some great cocktail recipes that highlight Limoncello.  Print them on small cards then attach them to the neck of the jar with kitchen twine!

It’s a great gift for great friends!  Thank you Kelly and Patrick!

February 19, 2011

So Wrong? So Right?

by Crystal Cook

From serving as a trusty side-kick to your toaster, to elegant serve ware for your table, who wouldn’t want this amazing vintage toast rack? Chances are you probably already have one, unknowingly re-purposing it for a way to organize mail or bills. Silly rabbit, toast holders are for toast–not post!

But what do you think? Is this toast holder so wrong or so right?

Oh and PS. Ignore that adorable condiment jar the jelly is in…that, my friends, is an entirely different post!

December 14, 2010

For the clumsiest of Queens in your life

by Crystal Cook

I don’t know what they put in this stuff but it’s like a little miracle in every bottle. Trust me, they don’t call me ‘grace’ for a reason—I spill often. This has saved my carpet, my couch, cocktail dresses and many aprons. Pair with a bottle of red wine for a wonderful holiday gift idea!

You can buy you own bottle here:

Wine Away

December 8, 2010

A little something for the smartly dressed Queen

by Crystal Cook

We’d like to think this dress sums us up perfectly: retro-chic with a bit of sassy sleek. It’s also the perfect little number for the fashionista in your life. Make a statement this holiday with a dress that will stand out at any party, or give her a gift she’ll absolutely adore.

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