Belated Christmas Gifts

by Ann Marie Michaels on January 11, 2011

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My new bike

I didn’t get any Christmas gifts this year other than my mom’s homemade Bing cherry preserves and some bay leaves from her garden (thanks, Mom!). Seth and I didn’t exchange gifts, nor did we exchange with our extended family.

I’m not complaining. When you have kids, Christmas is all about them. I can’t tell you how fun it was to watch Katie open her dream dollhouse.

However, I wanted to give myself some Christmas gifts. I have worked very, very hard these past few years to build Real Food Media and it’s finally starting to pay off. So I wanted to reward myself.

Beach Cruiser

I’m so excited about my bike!

I finally went yesterday and bought the bike in the photo above. I’ve been wanting one of these “beach cruisers” for at least five years — ever since I moved to the west side of Los Angeles. Everyone rides these bikes around Venice. It’s especially great to take to the beach, since beach parking can be a hassle. I never had the extra money to splurge on myself — so this is such a treat. I figure, if we’re going to move away from LA, I had better make the most of it while I still can and enjoy the ocean and the sunshine.

Part of this gift I am giving myself is one morning off per week. We moms don’t really get a day off. Weekends are full of errands and shopping and cleaning and taking the kids to playdates. So if you want some time to yourself (which we all need), you have to carve it out for yourself.

After working my butt off for the past two years building Real Food Media (which is down right now – under construction since we’re rebuilding it), working literally 16 hours a day for the first year and a half, I am really ready for a little bit of ME time!

I’m going to take Friday mornings and ride my bike to Venice Beach and read. Eventually I will expand this to one whole day off per week but I’m starting with mornings.

I also got a trailer to go with it, so Katie can ride in the back. I can’t wait to take her for a ride this weekend.

iPhone G4

Finally upgraded my old iPhone. I really wanted the video capability as well as the flash photography. Hey, I need this for my blog — it’s more of a business expense than a gift. But I’ll count it.

Lap Dawg

Oh, how I love my Lap Dawg!

Another tax-deductible blogging tool that I had to have when I saw it on Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Blog.

Now I can blog in comfort on the couch and my legs don’t get hot. If you use a laptop, you’ve gotta get one of these!


I usually buy my books on audio via, but there are times when I like to buy a physical book.

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content. – I listened to this book on audio over the holidays. I had to buy the print version because I want to hold it in my hands.

This book has completely revolutionized my life. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I will be reviewing it soon over on my new blog, Social Media Strategy Blog.

In fact, if I had not read that book, I never would have found the time to get the new blog started. I’ve been planning to start that blog for a YEAR. Yes, a WHOLE YEAR.

I read The 4-Hour Workweek, implemented just ONE thing from that book (only check email twice a day) and I had the blog up and running two days later. It is powerful, people! (And yes, this is another reason I am taking half a day off starting this week!)

Books About Bread Baking

The next three books are all books about bread baking that were recommended to me by Lisa Rose, author of the Real Food Digest blog. She was kind enough to invite me over to Shabbat dinner last week and I got to check out all her cookbooks.

She makes amazing sourdough bread — thanks to these books and a lot of practice. Lisa said these 3 books were the ones that helped her the most.

I’ll be teaching my grains course this year, so I want to make sure I’m an expert at baking bread. (I’ve mastered the basic sourdough as well as pizza dough, waffles and pancakes, but I want to try my hand at various other kinds of sourdough bread).

The Bread Bible

My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method

Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Deep Nutrition

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food – Lisa also recommended this book to me. She said she heard about it on Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness podcast. I ordered the book immediately — it looks absolutely amazing! (Look for the review on my blog in the coming months.)

My Gifts to You

I have lots of big plans for this blog this year.

Monthly Giveaways

First of all, I’m doing monthly giveaways for you guys. If you haven’t yet, go right now and enter to win the Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press — $40 Value. This garlic press is the bomb!

Monthly Book Reviews

In addition to that, I’m going to start doing monthly book reviews. I’ve read a lot of books and I want to share with you the ones I think are worth your time.

Monthly Podcasts

Yes, I’ll still be doing my podcast. I’m aiming for once a month. Unfortunately Blog Talk Radio upped their fees and I really do not like the ads they put on my shows — so I will start producing my own podcasts. You can expect to see podcasts again in a month or two.

Monthly Giveaways on

I’m also going to be giving away an Excalibur Dehydrator. YES! This will be part of the new launch on Real Food Media (again, it’s down right now — because we’re rebuilding it), and I’ll be doing monthly giveaways on the Real Food Media site as well.

I’ll announce it on my blog next month — so make sure you sign up for my Feedburner so you will get the updates:

Enter your email address:

Q & A Series

I’m also starting a new Q & A series on the blog. This will be the way you can get your questions answered. I’ll answer 3-5 questions each week. I’ll announce the first one next week.

Got a question about cooking traditional food? Go ahead and ask below in the comments.

What Did You Guys Get?

What were your favorite Christmas (or Hanukkah) gifts? Did you get anything cool? Share in the comments please!


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Cj Shaffer January 11, 2011 at 6:46 AM

well i like your bike a lot!
i also have the bread bible. A great book and gives nice details about sourdoughs. I have a rye starter in my fridge and made a really great loaf yesterday.
Christmas was slim in this house but we made tons of homemade gifts. Even my 9 year old knitted her sisters a few toys, and I made each of my little ones (4 total, until April when we deliver our 5th) new flannel pjs.
I made myself a gift. A knitting needle holder. Hubby got me some 100% wool sweaters of which i am grateful. We made him a waxed wood hat rack. =)
looking forward to that Dehydrator.
I can totally use this!


Soli @ I Believe in Butter January 11, 2011 at 7:13 AM

One gift I’ve already had a chance to use is the new edition of The Food Substitution Bible. I didn’t have cream for a recipe I made at the end of last year, but was able to substitute just fine! The gift I am still wanting to use and am very excited about is a small loom. This year I intend to do a lot more with fiber crafts.

Deep Nutrition does look good, I saw Lisa’s post about it. Going to wait to buy it since I have a lot of food books to read already but I also want to do more reviews.

Also, I saw you mention the 4 Hour Body on fb, and picked it up from the library yesterday.


cheeseslave January 11, 2011 at 7:42 AM

What great gifts!

I’m excited to read the 4 Hour Body, too!


Soli @ I Believe in Butter January 11, 2011 at 7:22 AM

Oh, I almost forgot! I also got the latest issue of Culture magazine, with the clause that if I enjoyed it I could get a subscription. I am indeed enjoying it!

For those who don’t know it, Culture Magazine is all about cheese.


cheeseslave January 11, 2011 at 7:43 AM

I will have to check out Culture magazine – sounds great!


Soli @ I Believe In Butter January 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM

There’s a recipe in this current issue for a traditional Hungarian cheese which looks really easy to make at home. I don’t have the issue in front of me so I can’t tell you the name, but apparently it’s a big deal to eat in Hungary.

Hm, if I am snowed in tomorrow perhaps I will make a stab at starting it.


Christine January 11, 2011 at 9:09 AM

The best gift I got was a hot air balloon ride with my honey! I’ve been wanting to do this for years. We’ll schedule an evening ride sometime in the spring.

I also got a grinding attachment and pasta roller for my kitchen aid. This way I can grind organs, and make sourdough pasta!


K January 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM

We got a very nice weighted-key keyboard (because we still haven’t gotten a piano after being married 8 years!), that I have been playing every day!

My hubby got some books he wanted, and I got myself some Emile Henry ramekins and Julia Childs’s two book set of How to Master French Cooking.

My little boys got Hexbugs, remote control cars, and a lot of wooden cars/people/parking garage from Plan Toys (they use chemical-free paint). Excellent loot all around!


Susan January 11, 2011 at 10:40 AM

The best gift I got was a new Viking food processor. I’ve used it at least 3-4 times a week since I got it, and I LOVE it!


Jill January 11, 2011 at 11:02 AM

Good for you for treating yourself! :)
I got a Nutrimill grain mill for Christmas. It’s awesome and I can’t wait to start implementing freshly ground grains into my weekly cooking routine.


Kelli January 11, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Your bike is ADORABLE! I have a pink Schwinn beach cruiser myself and I love it! I’m just sad that we live in a rural area so it’s harder to bike to work and the grocery store.

Also, the Lap Dawg is VERY intriguing! This could totally be my imagination, but lately I’ve noticed my ovaries start hurting when I have my laptop on my lap. Have you ever heard of any studies showing that whatever waves are coming out of the computer can affect your internal organs?


Charity January 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I was very lucky (spoiled rotten) this year with very thoughtful gifts…
I received a cast iron skillet from my grandfather~ he also included a couple of vintage books from his collection: one is about Japanese garnishes, and one is a meat carving reference; both are books I used for special projects when I was in culinary school.
My sister gave me an amazing new Japanese knife. Well actually, she gave me $0.25 and I purchased the knife from her as it’s supposedly bad luck to receive a knife as a gift. It’s seriously sharp, and super pretty.
My parents gave me a grinder attachment for my stand mixer~ I cannot wait to start making some sausages!
My bf gave me a kitchen island… and assembled it!
As for what I got myself, I picked up Cooking With Italian Grandmothers. It’s amazing! Amazing pictures, amazing stories, amazing recipes.


Andrea January 11, 2011 at 12:44 PM

I’m looking forward to the book reviews!! :)


Heather B. January 11, 2011 at 1:19 PM

I too received great kitchen gifts – a miroplaner, a glass measuring cup, and a new set of pots ans pans – all stainless steel by Emeril! Love that I can cook in only stainless and cast iron.


WordVixen January 11, 2011 at 1:42 PM

My parents bought me a one gallon bucket of Wilderness Family coconut oil. I love my parents (and two tubs of Rapunzel cocoa which is amazing since I’ve never seen it locally)!


cheeseslave January 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Wow what an awesome gift!


Rachael Mae January 11, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Ever since I moved to Utah, (5 years ago) I have wanted a pair of sheepskin boots! Costco had a great deal for them and that was my present! We were blessed to get lots of Christmas cash wich I am saving to get an Excalibur dehydrator! Winning one would be even better! I have been lucky to be able to borrow dehydrators from different people I know but would love to own one! I use it almost weekly and even daily in the summer and fall when produce is abundant! I’m also saving for a new wheat grinder and a food processor. Being a foodie sure can be expensive!
For our sons we bought a huge used wooden train set. They have hardly played with anything else since they got it! And for my husband… well, most men only want one thing!

That 4 hour day book sounds interesting. I only check my email once a day, but I’m just a mom so I don’t need to check it more! But I wonder what other tips there are. Being a foodie takes time too! Thanks for a ll your work to make research and finding recipes easier! I’m so greatful for all the help I get from all you Real Foods bloggers!


Jennifer January 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM

My husband gave me a new computer with Windows 7…I’m updated! :D Well, for now that is since I am sure it will change soon. This is more like a birthday, anniversary, Christmas, school, Valentines…. gift :)

Got a few things from family out of the area, basics like $, pjs, cds, good things.

OH, and I finally got a copy of Nourishing Traditions! I don’t think you can count it for school books or Christmas really, but it was around the same time, so I was reading it while we were driving to my Grandparents for Christmas and while we were there. I love how so many things are explained…clarity for sure! I’ve learned a lot from Jordan Rubin’s books and got to know some of Sally’s recipes in his books, and now I have more! :D


Jennifer January 11, 2011 at 6:55 PM

I forgot to mention an IKEA gift card and a pizza baking/eating set too. Those were fun ones! And the Target one was fun…

Anyways, glad you got a bike! That’s really awesome. Now you can leisurely exercise :D


Annabelle January 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

hi AM, you’re right… christmas is all about the kids. I didn’t “get” much under the tree but I did buy myself a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil. I also bought my husband a new cordless drill, which is more of a present to me.


cheeseslave January 11, 2011 at 7:42 PM

I also bought a 5-gallon bucket of coconut oil. Love it!

So cute that you got your husband a drill and that’s more of a present for you. That’s like when a guy gets his wife a negligee!


cheeseslave January 11, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I love hearing about everyone’s gifts! So fun!


Chara January 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM

For Christmas I had the fun of setting up a new fish tank, complete with 3 fish for our oldest daughter, a donated/refurbished computer for the girls, and a couple of “Cars” cars for the baby (which he will hardly set down). We gave my husband the gift of a trip to visit a really good friend that’s moving and my girls picked out some really warm comfy boots for me! I also got a dutch oven for our anniversary (yes, I asked for it) and kind of count that toward Christmas.


Judy January 12, 2011 at 6:31 AM

My present was a trip to California with my husband. It was so great to get away and take a break!!


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