Gift an Experience This Season

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So it’s already December, the holiday music is playing all over Manhattan and the TV is filled with Holiday Shopping commercials… so it’s THAT TIME.  Whatever it is you are celebrating, the festive date will sneak up on you in minutes and what will you be wrapping up for your loved ones?  I love gifting presents to my friends and family. The feeling that you know them well enough to please them with a gift they didn’t expect is the best.  So, of course, I’m always looking for that GREAT gift and it’s been a while now that I have notice that experience gifts are gaining popularity and I think that’s awesome!

Here are some advantages of experience gifts over products:

EXPERIENCE VS PRODUCT N°1: You don’t expect it.

A watch, a perfume a sweater? Please! Could you be more conventional? An experience as a gift is still very original and people don’t expect it. For sure you’ll get this amazing surprised look on the face of you friend, family or lover.

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EXPERIENCE VS PRODUCT N°2: The choice is infinite.

Ok, that is not a really convincing argument because it’s the same for products. But I have the feeling that you can get so much more creative with an experience! You can find whatever you want, from parachute jumping to surf lessons to salsa dancing to aphrodisiac cooking classes for couples…!

EXPERIENCE VS PRODUCT N°3: You can’t go wrong.

As I said, the choice is infinite and you don’t have to know perfectly the person’s tastes and interests to make the right choice. An original date night will always please your partner, and a great moment with a friend is always fulfilling.

EXPERIENCE VS PRODUCT N°4: You’re actually offering a memory.

You could think that an experience gift only lasts for the time of the activity.  Actually… it creates a memory and a memory is precious and forever! The person you’re gifting an experience to will be thankful for a long time after receiving it.

EXPERIENCE VS PRODUCT N°5: You’ll probably enjoy it too!

Yes! Smart move: the person will invite you for sure, so… that’s a little like a gift to yourself!

We hope you have a happy season shopping for your sweetie- it’s part of the fun!

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Summer Birthdays, Anniversaries, Weddings.  An Appetite For Seduction Sensual Cooking Class is the perfect gift for your loving couple.  Whether that couple includes you or not, a night with us will be remembered forever!  The purchase of a GC costs $240* for the couple.  The couple may then sign up on their own to attend one of our regular group classes.  Our current 2015 classes include Insatiable Italian, From France with Love and Hogs and Kisses.  All group classes are intimate sized groups, the cost includes a 3 course meal, wine, instruction and an apron to borrow.  The class lasts about 4 hours.

Purchase a gift certificate for a group class now →Appetite For Seduction

*Plus NYC tax.

This tradition ensures you 12 months of happiness! Happy New Year’s Eve!

This tradition ensures you 12 months of happiness!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

We hope you all had a wonderful Holiday and are now ready to ring in the New Year!
As the final days of the year pass, I like to take inventory of the year that is ending and make some plans (never resolutions) for the new year.  Joel and I have taken the day off, Grandma is watching Xander, and we are armed with a notebook, pens and big dreams!
First thing we do is talk about and write down all the things we did over the past 365 and then we talk about them and REALLY feel thankful for all those experiences.  Then we each take a piece of paper and go crazy writing down things we want for the next 366 days- 2106 is a leap year!  We’re talking everything- do yoga once a week, go to Tulum in February, do a juice cleanse twice this year, buy a new couch, hire a new employee, meditate 3 times a week, have a weekly date night, spend next Christmas in Mexico- ok my list will go on and on!  Then we share our lists and decide what things are a MUST!  Then we plan out the next 90 Days and schedule in a meeting for the following 90 Days, so that we keep on track and all our dreams come true!
I love doing this because it gives focus to the year and maps out how our dreams will come true.  It also strengthens our bond as a couple because we are both working towards making our dreams come true.
Another reason why I love this activity, is that it makes it very clear as to what my top 12 goals/wishes are for the next year.  This is SUPER important to know BEFORE midnight on the 31st!  As you can see from this video- there is a long tradition of eating one grape for the last 12 seconds of the year and making 12 wishes for the new year.
Take a look and then you too can make this tradition part of your life!
We all wish you a wonderful, fabulous New Year’s Eve celebration and may the next 366 day tour around the sun be filled with love, dreams fulfilled and passion!
Much Love,
Shani & Joel

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This Christmas treat comes from big hearts!

Merry Christmas!  Joel, Xander and I just arrived to Claremont, California a day ago and are really feeling the holiday season now that we are surrounded by family.  Spending this time with my Mom takes me back to when I lived at home and we spent many hours cooking up holiday goodies.  Trust me we have our big project holiday traditions- a pastry recipe handed down from my Grandma, but for a last minute treat- I’m making Candy Cane Heart Bark.
This easy recipe involves turning candy canes into hearts then filling them with melted dark and white chocolate sprinkled with crushed candy canes!  You can then share your hearts with everyone!
They are so easy to make, you will then have plenty of time to wrap presents and chill with your loved ones.
The entire AFS family wants to wish all of you a Merry Christmas!  We are so delighted to have met you and that you are with us in spirit every week.  May this season be filled with love, passion, yummy food and friendship!
Tons of Love to you!
xo
Shani, Joel, Daphne, Kristin, Bonnie, Alice, Salome & Sally

How to make a Spicy Hot Chocolate?

Who is turning into a Holiday Zombie?  Not in a bad way, but just in a way that you are running all over and don’t feel like you can slow down in this crazy city?  For me, the frenzy is really starting to kick in.  Now that I’m a Mom to a child that “gets” Santa, I have this inner pressure to do all the holiday things in the entire city.  WOW that sounds super insane.  The thing is, it’s GREAT for the kiddies, but what about my sweetie?  Pour thing is left to hold our coats and bags as we shop and smile as we meet Santa, friends and co-workers.

So I’m implementing – sexy pj and hot chocolate night!  Wednesday is MY night out, but instead, I’m using my night as date night.  Here’s the game plan: put kid to bed by 8:30, don sexy nighty, turn down the lights, put on some smooth tunes and whip up some yummy spicy hot chocolate.  Since it’s Date Night, I plan to add some Kahlua, but the recipe is the virgin version.

Remember to take a moment this holiday season – or hey I’ve heard that 1 out of 3 get engaged during the holiday season, so this might be the perfect drink for your proposal!  Enjoy your sweetie, just the two of you and some chocolate yumminess.

Ho Ho Ho, just one week to go!

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Gooey and Yummy Baked Brie!

Well, it’s here!  The holiday season!  Yesterday my husband Joel and I, with our son Xander, went to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular!  Holy Moley- WTF was I thinking?  I looked all over the website and it said “Good For All Ages”!  Yeah, not so much.  Since I thought it would be such a  great experience- we went with 2 other couples and both their 2 year olds.  It was a  mess, kids running up and down the aisles, one crying, the other two dancing and screaming- we were THOSE parents.  Anyway, it all ended after burgers with tons of laughs as the 9 of us piled into a Suburban and drove the streets of NYC, with holiday jingles and ice cream sundae high kiddos laughing like crazy!

Well, that is just the BEGINNING of the celebrations, two more weekends to go!  This coming weekend is my NYC family holiday party.  This is an ADULT only event.  So, bring on the booze, the stinky cheese, and pointy toothpicks!  We’re all bringing a little something to share at the table.  I have now mastered the oooooey, gooey, yummy melted brie cheese app.  We created this dish for our Bourbon, Burgers and Bacon Brownies class.  I am sure you and your friends will LOVE it- Brie cheese, bourbon, balsamic, bacon fat (no judgement), nuts and a touch of brown sugar.  It’s the perfect dish to warm people up, pair with wine and bourbon and to get tons of compliments- during our class I overheard:

“This is the BEST warm brie dish I EVER had”

“I cannot stop eating this, it’s so good”

Check out the video to master the recipe and then share the goodness with your NYC family- remember these are the people that you have CHOSEN to be in your family- so treat them well!

Enjoy this time, it really is great to be surrounded by people you love.

Delicious Edible Dreidels – Happy Hanukkah!

We are in Full Blown Holiday Mode!  Thanksgiving just happened last week, we are still making turkey sandwiches with the leftovers.  They lit the tree in Rockefeller Center on the 2nd and Hanukkah begins on the 6th.  As the Holidays fly at us so fast, it may seem hard to even find time to have fun.  But do not fret!  We have some fun times planned for you that taste even better than they are fun!

Did you all know that my name, Shani, is a Jewish name?  Yep- I’ve met a few people from Israel who have my first name as their last name.  I had an extra 20 minutes of screening when I visited Israel back in 2000, they couldn’t understand why I had a Jewish name but wasn’t a Jew.  I can tell you all that I was named after an actress named Shani Wallace who played “Nancy” in the movie “Oliver Twist”.  No idea the inspiration for her name, but that is how mine came about.

Even though I’ve never celebrated Hanukkah, I have celebrated Roshashana and other Jewish celebrations and have loved them!  So let’s share some time together and have some fun with these yummy edible dreidels.

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Easy and quick Cranberry Sauce – Thanksgiving Hack!

Thanksgiving Hack, Delicious Cranberry Sauce in 2 minutes

Growing up, I loved watching and helping my mom in the kitchen during the holidays. My mom is such amazing cook, everything she cooked seemed so elegant and fabulous! I never even saw cranberry sauce in a can until high school, when I went to my boyfriend house for Thanksgiving: the cranberry sauce was right out of the can, it actually looked like a red jelly can and kinda scared me!  It was definitely not as good as my mother’s.

The holidays always seem to be the occasion when you do your best, but here’s the thing: there is so much to do sometimes you HAVE to draw a line. The idea behind this now that I am an adult, a mother and a wife, being perfect is only for Martha Stewart.  Although I would love to follow in my mother’s perfect foot steps sometimes I just CAN’T.

SOO here is my solution, an easy Thanksgiving HACK: Easy and Quick Cranberry Sauce Recipe.

 

It’s easy, take canned cranberry sauce, add fresh orange segments, orange zest, a pinch of salt and fresh ginger! It’s as easy as ABC!

Please share with us what your favorite Holiday Hack is!

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How To Spice Up Your Pancakes!

The most sensual aroma for men mixed with pancakes! No clue?

It’s Pumpkin Spiced Syrup!

People- it’s Pumpkin Time!  Everywhere I turn there is a Fall treat for me to try that is pumped up with Pumpkin and Pumpkin Spices.  This does NOT come to a surprise to me.  I’ve known for years that the scent of pumpkin spice is the most sensually alluring smell for men.  Yes this is true check out this article with scientific proof! 

So how to choose which pumpkin dish to treat your sweetie to?  Now that it’s cold out, I’m a big fan of lazy Sundays.  Why not lounge around the house in your jammies and enjoy a delicious brunch?  But don’t F&%k it up!  Many, really many, restaurants do!  I see pumpkin pancakes on every menu and not one of them has delivered!  Here’s why- pumpkin has too much liquid to make delicious pancakes.  So don’t fight it.  Instead, get that warm, earthy, sweet and spicy yumness with this fabulous Pumpkin Syrup recipe.  Make up some fluffy, hot plain pancakes and top them with this to die for syrup.  Now we are talking!  So so so good!
How To Make Pumpkin Syrup!

The recipe for Pumpkin Syrup for delicious pancakes

1 cup water

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 butter

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Bring corn syrup, water, brown sugar, and butter to a rolling boil. Whisk pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon into corn syrup mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until flavors blend, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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OMGarlic! – How to peel garlic, 2 different ways

Ever since I’ve been doing our couples cooking classes, not one class has gone by that everyone did not agree that they all LOVED garlic.  It’s so simple, but everyone loves it!  It’s the King of the basics and using the good ol’ basics makes food delicious! Yes, basics are the best. Using super good olive oil, fancy pepper and sea salt instead of Morton’s can make a huge difference.

One of my favorite basics, THE ONE I’ve loved the longest, is GARLIC. We all love it right? I began my garlic love fest back when I was about 3. My mom had a big piece of flank steak in the fridge marinating and pierced all over with big chunks of garlic.  She went to bed and when she checked on it in the morning- all the white garlic chunks were missing.  She clearly had no idea what had happened until she opened my bedroom door and was engulfed in a cloud of garlic haze!  The inquisitive toddler in me, checkout out that big piece of meat, sampled the garlic and decided to eat it all!  She said I smelled like garlic for days!

Garlic is still a fave.  One of my favorite Italian tricks is to make REAL garlic bread – rubbing fresh garlic on the bread makes all the difference. (join our Insatiable Italian Couple Cooking Class to find out yourself)!

Buuuuut let’s be honest, garlic is not the easiest thing to peel, smash and mince. Joel and I are happy to present to you 2 easy ways to peel garlicin seconds!


How to peel garlic – 2 different ways

 

Where to use this garlic then?

Just peeled- rub it on a piece of toasted bread to make an amazing crostini base, add the pieces into your dish that you are roasting (fish, chicken)
Minced- add it in every dish, try and find out where it fits the best – try mixing it with fresh mint and top your grilled zucchini and eggplant.
You have sooo many options!

AND: it’s good for you! Check here the 11 proven health benefits of garlic! (Link: http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic/)

Be sure to tell us which way you prefer garlic and leave a comment below if you too LOVE garlic!

 

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