Food Stuff 

REIN MAKERS — Troy's Camp Ticonderoga Bar & Grill has a dinner package that includes a carriage ride. Starting Dec. 14, the restaurant offers Sunday diners the chance to enjoy a horse-drawn jaunt, with hot cider, of course, before sitting down to dinner at the lavishly decorated restaurant. It's $40 per adult and $20 for children. At 5725 Rochester Rd., Troy. For details, call 248-828-2825.

HEAT AND EAT — Don't want to cook this Christmas? Then call Lazybones Smokehouse BBQ. They're offering a heat-it-yourself meal that serves 6-8, with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green-bean casserole, bundt cake and several pounds of spiral ham. It's $99.99 plus tax, ready to pick up Christmas Eve. At 27475 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 1-866-671-0221.

WHIPLASH? — A green coffee shop with a drive-through? We weren't quite sure what to make of the idea, but that's the business plan at Pekoe & Joe, a coffeehouse and eatery slated to open this month. We can't wait to see what a drive-through stacked with Priuses looks like. See for yourself at 1325 W. Huron St., Waterford; 248-681-5200.

EAT THE PAGE

We're continually trying to hip you to the latest cookbooks from the cutting-edge chefs shaping the latest culinary trends. Lest we overlook the voice of the people, though, here's Better Homes & Gardens. Prizewinning Recipes (Better Homes and Gardens, $29.95). These recipes, created by home cooks over the years (this is the 14th edition), were dubbed best by the long-standing American magazine. And the book lovingly showcases the dishes that won over the magazine's hungry judges.

A TASTY BEVERAGE

For those family gatherings where you want to get numb early yet still maintain an air of festiveness, try a milk punch cocktail. This relative of eggnog is lighter, less sweet and still allows the character of your favorite base booze to shine through. Start with two or three ounces of bourbon, brandy or light rum, add three ounces of whole milk, and finish with one ounce simple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon dark rum or quality vanilla extract. Shake with cracked ice and garnish with the heady holiday scent of fresh grated nutmeg.

IT WORKS

'Tis the season when cooks crank out pastries, cookies and heirloom recipes to entertain friends at seasonal celebrations. Long known for its ergonomic and user-friendly kitchen tools, OXO offers the Good Grips Triple Timer, which lets you to keep track of three creations at once. With differing tones and easy-to-read LCD displays for each dish, you're less likely to overcook or underbake when the holiday kitchen gets really busy. The versatile gizmo also doubles as a clock. Not bad for about $20.

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