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Food n' FocusApril Aceto is the author of Food n’ Focus, a blog devoted to bringing a variety of cuisines together in one photogenic place. She works in advertising sales by day and behind her camera at night. Her passions for food and photography come from her extensive travel around the country and the world, exploring new cuisine and landscapes. April can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr.

For as long as I can remember my mom has always been the type to put the needs of others before her own. She always is willing to lend an ear or hand when someone is in need and goes out of her way to make someone’s day a little extra special. I like to think this is a quality I received from my mom.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

I think this character trait is what makes my mom really great at hosting and entertaining guests. When I was a child my mom would always throw the best themed birthday parties, paying attention to each and every detail all the way down to the smallest of details. I also like to think this is a trait she passed along to me.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus1. Espresso drinks scream “party” for hot or cold drinks, cocktails and more. The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker ($90, hamiltonbeach.com) is perfect for entertaining. 2. My mom always taught me a sweet smelling home sets the stage for the perfect party, so she’d love this Capri Blue Jar Candle in Volcano ($28, anthropologie.com). 3. My mom would love this Blanc Cake Stand ($30, surlatable.com), because every party needs dessert. 4. We’re from Wisconsin, so cheese served on a Slate Cheese Board ($20, 12” x 12”, crateandbarrel.com) is a requirement at any social gathering. 5. These Apilco Octogonal Porcelain Serving Platters ($60-70, williams-sonoma.com) are perfect for serving appetizers, entrees or desserts. 6. My mom could throw great summer parties on the patio with this book of 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks ($17, worldmarket.com). 7. These Kate Spade Larabee Dot Balloons Wine Glasses in Clear ($50, set of four, katespade.com) would be perfect for cocktail parties. 8. Every hostess needs an apron as cute as this Botanist Knoll Apron in Multi ($28, anthropologie.com).

With Mother’s Day coming up I have been thinking about what the perfect gift would be for the mom that loves to entertain and host, must like my own mom does. Browsing the internet, I came up with a variety of pretty little gifts perfect for hosting any kind of party or event. On the top of the list is the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker. Whether you’re hosting a brunch or serving cocktails at a party, this is the ideal gift for the entertaining mom. More on that later!

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

There are a few key items I think every host should have: a fancy set of wine glasses, beautiful serving platters and a pretty little kitchen apron. The apron should be something that puts you in the mood to cook and also looks cute even if you’re still wearing it when your guests arrive! Hosting to me is such an art. It’s not just about what you’re serving, it’s about how you’re serving it and your guests will notice if you put in the extra effort.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

These Espresso Juleps were inspired by the Kentucky Derby this past weekend but I thought they would be nice to serve at a brunch or as an after-dinner cocktail if you wanted to include a coffee liqueur or vodka. The light flavors of mint and basil in the simple syrup make them the perfect summer sipper. By using the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker, it was really easy to put together two drinks. Since you are serving these drinks chilled, you can easily make enough espresso ahead of a large group party and chill it in a pitcher in the refrigerator.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

If you have a mom that loves to entertain much like my own does, you should consider some of the fun items included on my gift guide. And of course, if you get her the Espresso Maker she can try out these drinks for herself.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus


Espresso Juleps
SERVES: 2

Ingredients
4 shots of espresso, cooled
1 cup whole milk, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
¼ cup torn fresh mint leaves
1 ounce espresso liqueur or vodka (optional)
Ice cubes
Mint and whipped cream to garnish
Instructions
Prepare the simple syrup by heating the sugar, water, mint and basil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar melts. Cool and strain the mint and basil from the sugar syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.
Divide the espresso and milk evenly between two glasses. Stir in 2 tablespoons of simple syrup into each glass. Add in ice cube to fill the glasses and garnish with mint and whipped creaming if desired.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Easy DIY Holiday Gift Sets for Food Lovers and Cooks - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

If your holiday shopping list looks anything like mine, you probably have a few food lovers or enthusiastic cooks to shop for. But what is a good gift for someone who loves to cook? We think themed gift baskets combining your favorite kitchen gear, accessories and snacks make excellent presents for everyone on your list.

Slow cookers are ever popular and can make a cook’s life much easier. Not only is it the perfect time of year for soups and pot roasts, slow cookers come in many different sizes, colors and patterns and have a variety of features. Does your mother-in-law’s kitchen have a gray backsplash or does your neighbor have blue walls? Find a slow cooker to match, and add various cookbooks, dish towels and spices to create a themed gift basket anyone will love.

Easy DIY Holiday Gift Sets for Food Lovers and Cooks - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Moms, aunts and girlfriends aren’t the only ones who might enjoy a food-themed gift basket. Coffee lovers of all kinds, including dads, husbands and brothers, will love a brand new coffee grinder to prepare their favorite beans for brewing. With easy cleanup and settings for any type of brewer, coffee grinders make excellent gifts for coffee lovers. Just add some flavored syrups, a travel mug or some beans for a gift that’s sure to please.

Easy DIY Holiday Gift Sets for Food Lovers and Cooks - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

It’s the most important meal of the day, but so many people skip breakfast! Make mornings easier by gifting a Breakfast Sandwich Maker in a breakfast-themed basket. Include your favorite breakfast treats, some English muffins, a mini spatula and a perfectly sized storage container for quick and easy breakfasts your friend can prepare in five minutes. More than one person in their home? Consider gifting a Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker so they can make two breakfast sandwiches at once.

View our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide for even more great gift ideas.

Easy DIY Holiday Gift Sets for Food Lovers and Cooks - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Single-serve coffee makers are one of the year’s best-selling kitchen items, as people love the convenience of sidestepping a whole pot. Let your loved ones know they are on Santa’s nice list by providing them with the flexibility of making a single-serve coffee with either fresh grounds or single-serve packs in the FlexBrew Coffee Maker. Add a pretty mug, some seasonal syrups, stirrers and a bow, and you’re all set.

Easy DIY Holiday Gift Sets for Food Lovers and Cooks - from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Who’s the health nut in your family? In mine, it’s my brother. Without fail, his Christmas list includes protein bars, health shake mixes and whatever new contraption will help him succeed in his next triathlon. A great option for these fitness wunderkinds is a Personal Blender. These blenders feature a single-serve jar that doubles as a travel mug, making healthy choices easy for anyone with an active, on-the-go lifestyle.

Share these great gift ideas with your friends on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter – or add them to your own holiday wish list!

It's time for a few weeks of surprise #BreakfastBlitz giveaways! Follow @hamiltonbeach on Twitter, Facebook and everydaygoodthinking.com.

Want a chance to win your own FlexBrew or Breakfast Sandwich Maker? Enter our #BreakfastBlitz contest today.

 



  Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeach

Treat mom to something special this Mother’s Day.

Here are our top picks for gifts that will make mom smile.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachWith a powerful 300 watt motor and the same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers, this 6 Speed Stand Mixer is perfect for the mom who loves to bake cookies (especially if the cookies are for you). Available in black and red.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachCrafty moms know a great iron is paramount to DIY success, so go for the best with this Durathon® Electronic Iron with Retractable Cord featuring amazing steam and a nonstick, scratch-resistant soleplate boasting a 10-year warranty. Looks like you’ll be mom’s favorite for at least that long.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachNothing spoils mom like breakfast in bed. This Belgian Waffle Maker makes golden brown, fluffy Belgian-style waffles and offers total flipping control so you can create restaurant-quality results at home – just add strawberries and whipped cream.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachBring all the boys to mom’s yard and let her relive the best moments from her childhood with this DrinkMaster® Chrome Classic. Look through our great recipes and enjoy a delicious milkshake together this Mother’s Day.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachBusy moms love to drink delicious coffee on the go, and this coffee maker lets them do just that. The FlexBrew® Single-Serve Coffeemaker gives mom the ultimate flexibility to brew freshly ground coffee one day and a single-serve pack the next.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachFood processors are known for pesky twists and locks, but our Stack & Snap™ 10 Cup Food Processor offers easy stack and snap assembly to make chopping, slicing and shredding a breeze for the mom who loves to cook and hates to waste time putting her appliances together.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachHealth-conscious moms love our Big Mouth® Juice Extractor for its extra-wide 3” feed chute and impressive yields.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachMom has a lot of responsibilities, so give her the IntelliTime™ 6 Quart Slow Cooker to give her the adjustable cooking time she needs. If mom’s famous pot roast recipe calls for 8 hours on low, but she’ll be out of the house for 10 hours, the IntelliTime™ will adjust accordingly. This way, her food will be perfectly cooked when she wants to eat rather than when the recipe says.

 

Mother's Day Gift Guide from Everyday Good Thinking @hamiltonbeachThere’s no reason for mom to skip breakfast when she has a Single-Serve Blender. She’ll be making healthy smoothies and taking them with her everywhere – the gym, the grocery store, work or wherever it is your mom goes.



Hamilton Beach Holiday Gift Guide 2013 from Everyday Good Thinking @HamiltonBeach