Kowalski's Markets has a full page of tips for making the best-ever mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, from guidelines that 1 pound of potatoes makes about two cups of mashed, to suggesting that cooking potatoes in stock or broth adds an extra layer of flavor. Or this: "Many people believe that a pinch of baking soda mashed with the potatoes will produce carbon dioxide that helps make the potatoes fluffier. (Although some also claim it adds bitterness, so try a very small amount!)" Read more at bit.ly/svWSNo.

Trendy Betty

Betty Crocker's second annual Betty 10: Red Hot Holiday Trends list is out and all we can say is, loosen your belts. At the top: Double desserts such as pie shakes or pumpkin pie cookies. Also, boozy baking (Betty!), neon-bright baked goods, "man cave" cuisine like chicken 'n' waffle sandwiches, skinny cocktails, allergen-friendly food, homemade dog treats, edible crafts and more. Recipes and videos are at www.bettycrocker.com/redhot.

Swede Hollow fundraiser

Swede Hollow Cafe, 725 E. 7th St. in St. Paul, hosts an open house from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22 to raise money for the youth development, food and environmental conservation work being done by the Community Design Center of Minnesota (CDC), also in the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood. CDC interns tend the cafe's gardens in the summer as part of the center's work with sustainable agriculture, cooking and nutrition. All donations will be matched by the café (www. swedehollowcafe.com).

Get in (cookie) shape

Serious cookie season is upon us, which often means shaped cookies. One source for new and different cookie cutters is Ann Clark Ltd., a Vermont company that produces a huge variety of designs. The website also has an extensive file of cookie recipes. Match a recipe and a cookie shape by visiting www.annclark.com.

A white Christmas

Kemps Ice Cream takes the purists' route this holiday season, partnering with Winona-based J.R. Watkins Naturals to offer "Holiday Vanilla," flavored for the first time with Watkins' vanilla extract, made from Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for more than 100 years. The ice cream is in grocery stores for a limited time.