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Whether you're looking for inspiration or simply fun, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's Land of Gingerbread delivers. Opening on Friday through Jan. 2, the exhibit features more than 20 gingerbread scenes created by Twin Cities bakers. The arboretum also is hosting the Great Hall of Trees, six evergreens decorated with handcrafted natural ornaments, along with a full schedule of live music, decorated trees, holiday teas and gourmet dinners. For all details on dates and times, visit www.arboretum.umn.edu. More baking inspiration
Sprinkles 'n Grins is the new website from Signature Brands, makers of Betty Crocker and Cake Mate decorating products. The site, www.sprinklesngrins.com, features instructions, recipes, photos and videos to help make more creative baked goods, as well as an online forum for posting recipes and swapping ideas.Help me, Mom. LOL
The website www.food52.com, developed by New York Times food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, now has a texting feature for its help page called foodpickle -- for when you're in a pickle, see? Send a text message with any food or cooking question to 1-803-380-FOOD (3663) and foodpickle will text you when expert, or experienced, advice to your question comes in, enabling anyone with a mobile phone to ask questions from the grocery store or in front of the stove "just like they'd text their moms for cooking advice."Hanukkah for hipsters
Hanukkah falls early this year, Dec. 1 through 9, but last-minute gifts for the foodies in your tribe are still available from the online boutique www.ModernTribe.com. Among the more stylishly hip ideas: a "Got Latkes?" apron, Garden of Eden salt and pepper shakers (an apple and a coiled snake) and a line of "Hanukkah gifts for East-Asian-ophiles and those eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve." Oy, so clever.iGive, uReceive
Here's an idea for space-challenged cooks on your gift list: The iWavecube is a very small portable microwave oven, measuring just one cubic foot and weighing 12 pounds, with a built-in carrying handle. The 600-watt appliance has the usual electronic controls and safety features, and uses a standard outlet. It's being touted for use in "the home, office, dorm room, mancave, boat, camper trailers." It's available online at www.theiwavecube.com and selected Office Depot stores for about $100.