Christmas Ideas For the Cook in Your House

Christmas ideas for the cook in your house

Yikes, can you believe that Christmas is next week?  I feel like we just celebrated Thanksgiving last week, jeez times flies! Anyway, I’m sure there are those of you that are still figuring out what to give that special someone, so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite kitchen gadgets, in case that special someone your shopping for loves to cook, or you’re hoping that they will soon learn to love to cook 😉

Be forewarned, you will hear the word “LOVE” a lot in this post because I’m showing you all my favorite kitchen gadgets that make being a home chef so much easier and fun. These are items that I use all of the time, like pretty much everyday, and to me are kitchen staples!

First off, let me introduce you to my favorite kitchen gadget ever! I absolutely LOVE my Vitamix blender! This blender rocks and I honestly use it at least 2 times a day! I use this blender for EVERYTHING! I use it to puree soups, make homemade peanut and almond butter, whip up fresh nut milks, salad dressings, pureeing grains into flour, as well as to make smoothies and juices (yes, juices, I show you how to make a mean green juice without a juicer, carrot, grape and ginger juice as well as  an awesome beet, carrot, apple and ginger juice. There are so many other things that this blender can do. It’s a kitchen workhorse! When making a smoothie or juice, it puree’s your kale and spinach so fine that you never taste bits of kale or spinach in your smoothies (perfect for when you’re trying to sneak some veggies into your kids or loved ones). Men, if you’re looking to get your wife or girlfriend a special gift, then get her this blender, I guarantee she will love it! I will admit that this blender is a bit pricey, but I’ve had mine for 8 years and it’s totally paid for itself, as it’s one of my most used gadgets, like seriously, my most used and adored kitchen gadget. I mean I’m saving money by not purchasing juices, smoothies, nut milks and salad dressings, because I make them all a home now, thanks to this blender.

Vitamix blender

I also adore my Cuisinart 14-cup food processor. I didn’t use this as much until last year when I started cooking in mass quantities, but now I’m addicted.  I use this for making pestos, cookies, especially my gluten-free healthy cookie bites, and so much more. It rocks!

Cuisinart 14-cup food processor

If you’re deciding between investing in either a vitamix or a large food processor, then I would invest in the vitamix and pick up one of these mini-preps for those smaller jobs. When a job it too small for my blender, I use my mini prep. Honestly my mini prep and blender are a beautiful team. I love the pine-nut dressing that I make with my mini-prep.

I love my cast iron skillets from Lodge. I have a 10-inch and 12-inch pan and I use them both all of the time. I gave up non-stick pans about 10 years back, and these pans make up for any non-stick pan. They cook everything evenly, and I love that I can pan-sear something on the stove and then put it in the oven to finish off. I make so many different things in these pans from chicken parmesan, parmesan crusted pork chops, sausage and arugula pizza, deep-dish pepperoni pizza, one-pan Mexican quinoa wraps to big party cookies. They’re a workhorse of a pan, and the best part is that you can get a 12-inch pan for $22 at Target. This is a pan that everyone needs in their kitchen.

Cast iron skillets

You all know how much I love making popovers. I make popovers at least 2x a week in my house and this Nordic ware Grand popover Pan is the best. It may cost more than the normal popover pan, but it makes the perfect popover and you popovers won’t stick to the pan. The pan is made of cast iron, so it cooks the popovers up evenly. I’ve had mine for 5 years now and I use it at least once a week, if not more, and it’s still looks brand new. If you find yourself making popovers quite often, then I would invest in a good quality popover pan.  By the way, I love you all so much, so I’m going to be giving away one of these popover pans next week,  so stay tuned!

Popover pan

We make popcorn on a daily basis in my house, as my kids LOVE popcorn. I make a batch at the beginning of each week for Zoe to take with her to school each day for snack. We also always make a batch of popcorn for family movie night, pairing it with some M&M’s to make it extra yummy. Zoe’s friends have told me that I make the BEST popcorn. I really don’t think it’s me, but this popcorn popper from Whirley-Pop. Popping your own popcorn is so much healthier (we use unrefined coconut oil) than the bagged microwave stuff, and it tastes better too. If you have kids, they will love turning the handle and making up a batch of popcorn. I’ve had my popcorn popper for 7 years, so it really holds up well.

Popcorn maker

Santa brought me my green dutch oven 2 years ago, and it’s been one of my favorite pans ever since. I use this dutch oven for everything from making soups and sauces to steel-cut oats. It has superior heat distribution and can go from stove top to the oven, plus the vibrant colors make it fun to cook in.

Dutch overs

Let’s move onto some stocking stuffers ideas for the cook in your house.

Lifefactory water bottles. I LOVE, LOVE these glass water bottles and will not use anything else. The bottle and BPA free caps can be washed in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. I feel totally safe drinking my water and beverages from these bottles, as they’re made of glass, so there’s no leaching or metallic taste, and your beverage actually tastes like it’s supposed to. We have all 3 sizes in the house. We love and use the 22oz bottle the most, as we like to drink our water. I keep a bottle in my car at all times for keeping hydrated on-the-go. My kids take the 16oz bottles to school, and Eli use’s the 9oz bottle in his lunchbox. These bottles make a perfect gift for a loved one, teacher or co-worker! I also love this company because they are locally based in Sausalito! Go Marin!!

Lifefactory water bottles

Marin Mama confession here, I’m going to publicly admit that I have 8 sets of measuring spoons and 6 sets of measuring cups, and I use them all the time. I mean we all have 12 forks, spoons and knives, so why not have a few sets of measuring cups and spoons. I bake and cook a lot, so it’s so nice to be able to just put each spoon or cup in the dishwasher after each use, rather than having to clean and dry each one every time you need a clean one. What a hassle! This is just a little something that makes my life a bit easier. Everyone could use another set of measuring spoons or cups, so why not toss either into their stocking!

Measuring cups

Smaller sized spatulas are a must in my kitchen. I use these when I’m scooping out nut butters, honey or just about anything that you need a small spatula for. I actually use these way more than my regular sized spatulas!  They’re a kitchen must!

Small size spatulas

I love my lemon juicer and I use it at least twice a day, as I’m always squeezing up a lemon for either a kale salad, salad dressing, or my morning lemon water. I also use it to squeeze up limes, so you don’t really need 2 separate juicers, as you can use this one for both jobs.

Lemon juicer

I love my microplane zester and I use it all the time to zest lemons, limes and ginger. It’s awesome!

Microplane zester

This garlic press from OXO is one of my other most used gadgets. When a recipe calls for minced garlic on my blog, this is the device I use. I use it at least once a day, as I put garlic in just about everything.

Garlic press

If you’re looking for a great kitchen chef’s knife, then look no further!  I adore my chef’s knife from Global. It’s super light and gets the job done! This knife is the bomb and I use it for EVERYTHING from chopping carrots and onions, to thinly slicing kale and cutting up squash. It’s really the only knife I use.

Chef's knife

Another item that I have a few to many of, are glass measuring cups. These pyrex measuring cups are the best for measuring liquid ingredients. I have three of the 1-cup measuring cups and one of the 4 and 2 cup. I use these all the time, really as much as my dry measuring cups. Glass is the way to go as it can be put in the dishwasher, microwave and it can hold hot liquids.

Pyrex measuring cups

I love these oven mitts from cuisinart. They make grabbing a hot pan or tray out of the oven super easy, and they slide over you hand and high up your arm so you never have to worry about burning your hand or arm, especially when using a cast iron skillet. I just can’t say enough about them, they rock!

Green oven mitts

For drying dishes, hands or wiping up messes, flour sack towels are a MUST in my house and you can’t have too  many of them! They can be bleached for easy clean up, and they’re a workhorse of a towel, as they’re super absorbent and dry quickly. These make the perfect stocking stuffer for any kitchen!

Floursack towels

Below are some of my all-time favorite cook books!

I honestly have every cookbook from the Barefoot Contessa. You really can’t go wrong with Ina, as all of her cookbooks are classics, and her recipes are tried, tested and family and friend approved.  I really love Ina!

Barefoot Contessa cookbook

This cookbook from Amy Chaplin is beautiful and full of healthy and seasonal recipes. You will see a lot of these recipes on my blog in the months to come.  Just a side note, the pages tend to fall out, as the binding isn’t great, but that’s the only downside, the photos are recipes are worth it.

At home in the whole food kitchen cookbook

I love Dr. Weil and I use this cookbook all of the time to give me inspiration!  It’s full of seasonal and healthy recipes! I’m actually hoping to get his newest cookbook for Christmas!

True food cookbook

This cookbook, The Supper Club is great for parents of picky eaters.  The author is a private chef and knows how to make adult recipes appealing to kids! I have a few of her recipes on the blog, if you want to give them a try; kid friendly caesar salad, turkey meatballs and quinoa cakes.

The supper club cookbook

It’s All Good. I love this cookbook from Gwyneth. It’s chock full of amazing and healthy recipes that are easy to whip up! A few of her recipes that I have on the blog are; carrot ginger dressing, Thai style chicken burgers, and sweet potato and chipotle soup.

It's all good cookbook

Meat Free Monday. This cookbook has meatless recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for every Monday of the year. Lot’s of variety here. A few of the recipes I have on this blog from this cookbook are; Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos and best ever banana bread!

Meat free Monday cookbook

I hope this post was fun and that you found some items on here that you may want to purchase for your kitchen, or loved one! I do realize that I said the word LOVE about 100 times in this post, but I’m posting my favorite things and when I love something, I just have to shout it out!

What’s your favorite kitchen gadget or item? Please share!

Oh, stay tuned for the Nordic Ware popover pan giveaway next week!

With love Jackie

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