Ease your holiday shopping stress with my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide!
Can you believe that it’s already December? I spent so much time planning and prepping for Thanksgiving, it’s hard to believe that the holiday season is officially underway! I love the holidays but if you’re anything like me, this time of year can also be a bit stressful. Between work, school, and traveling, we somehow also have to find the time to buy holiday gifts for all of the special people in our lives. I always feel a little bad for my husband Pete because he also has the additional stress of trying to figure out birthday plans for me in the midst of all of the holiday chaos!
So in an effort to try to simplify your to-do list, I decided to make my first ever Holiday Gift Guide. A lot of people have been asking me for gift recommendations for the budding foodies and chefs in their families so I decided to comprise a list of some of my favorite items. With the exception of one product (Learning Tower), all of the items in this post are things that I actually own and use (or as close to them as possible) so I feel comfortable recommending them.
So take a look below and hopefully you can find the perfect gift for that special foodie in your life! This post does contain affiliate links. Happy Holidays!
Lodge 10.25-inch Cast Iron Skillet– This is one of my most used skillets! A well-seasoned cast iron skillet will last for many years and can be used to cook pretty much anything.
Wusthof Classic 7-inch Santoku Knife– I actually have two of these knives! I registered for one when I got married (11 years ago) and I received one in my knife roll on the first day of culinary school. A good knife that feels comfortable in your hand is a chef’s most valuable tool!
Knife Sharpener– There’s no sense in having a good knife if you don’t keep it sharp! This is a great, inexpensive sharpener that’s easy to use.
Acacia Chopping Board– This board is durable and beautiful too! I leave it out on my counter because it’s so pretty. It’s also great to photograph food on!
Hand Blender/Mini Chopper– This versatile tool is one of my favorite kitchen items. It’s great for chopping things like onions and garlic and also for pureeing sauces. It can also be used as an immersion blender so that you can blend soup directly in the pot!
Microplane Zester Grater– An invaluable tool in a chef’s kitchen! This microplane is perfect for zesting lemons and grating things like cheese, ginger and whole nutmeg to add a pop of flavor to your dishes.
Stainless Steel Locking Tongs– The workhorse of the kitchen, I use these tongs almost every time I cook. The simple locking mechanism makes them easy to store.
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven– I received a lime green version of this Dutch oven as a Christmas gift from my husband Pete years ago when I first started cooking and it’s still one of my favorite pots! I use it to make soups, stews, chili, and braised dishes like short ribs.
Fish Spatula– I first got this tool in culinary school and I still use it every time I cook fish. It’s thin and flexible, which makes it perfect for flipping delicate items like fish, scallops, pancakes, and fritters.
Salt Cellar– In culinary school we always used a salt bowl rather than a shaker so that we could see and feel the amount of salt we were using. Now I always keep my wooden salt cellar right next to my stove. Mine was handcrafted by my talented father-in-law but unfortunately it isn’t for sale! This was the closest one I could find.
Vitamix Blender– Another indispensable item in my kitchen, I use my Vitamix for smoothies, soups, sauces, baby food, everything! I first used a Vitamix in culinary school and it really is the strongest blender I’ve ever tried.
Le Creuset Braiser– One of the highlights of our move from New York City down to South Florida was stopping at the Le Creuset outlet in South Carolina and buying this beauty. This braiser is one of my favorite cooking vessels and is of the highest quality. It heats food evenly and is can be used on the stove or in the oven. It’s definitely a splurge item but for the amount I’ve used it, it’s money well spent!
FUN CHEFFY SPLURGES:
Molecular Gastronomy Kit– Pete got this for me as a gift and it’s so cool! If you have someone in your life who’s a real foodie and is addicted to Top Chef, then this is the perfect gift for them. They can create things like mint caviar beads that burst in your mouth, chocolate spaghetti, lemon foam or tzatziki spheres!
Super Taster Strips– Did you know that approximately 25% of Americans are considered “supertasters” and have the ability to taste certain flavors that others can’t? I got this kit for Pete on his birthday so that we could find out which one of us has the better palate once and for all! Are you curious to know if you’re a super taster? This kit will tell you!
Spiralizer– If you haven’t jumped on the spiralizer train yet, you may want to consider it! It’s actually a pretty cool tool that allows you to turn fresh vegetables like zucchini and sweet potatoes into noodles. I like this one because it comes with 4 different blades to give you a variety of different shapes and sizes.
Sous Vide Cooker– Sous vide cooking is a restaurant technique that involves cooking food in a vacuum-sealed bag in a precise, low temperature water bath. It gives a perfectly moist, tender product every time and is easy to do at home. This precision cooker even connects to your phone, allowing you to cook amazing meals by simply touching a button.
Creme Brûlée Torch– When I want to impress my guests, I make creme brûlée for dessert and pull out this awesome blow torch! I have everyone sprinkle the sugar on top of the custard and torch the sugar themselves. It’s so easy and fun! I also use my torch for finishing touches on my dishes like when I need to melt cheese or brown breadcrumbs.
FOR THE BAR:
Moscow Mule Mugs– I got these for Pete as a Father’s Day gift because he loves Moscow Mules but we actually use these cups for everything. They’re gorgeous and I feel very fancy drinking water from them!
Wine Charms– I recently bought these for the Thanksgiving party that I hosted. With 18 guests, these charms were perfect for everyone to use to keep track of their wine glasses. I went with the beach themed charms because we’re in Florida but there are all sorts of unique varieties available.
Agate Coasters– I pull out these beautiful coasters when we have guests and I always get compliments on them! Made from beautiful Brazilian agate (a variety of quartz that’s formed in volcanic rock), each set is unique due to naturally occurring color & pattern variations.
COOKING WITH YOUR KIDS:
Curious Chef Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit– my daughter Sienna loves to use this kit. It’s perfect to introduce your little ones to cooking and includes a vegetable scrubber, melon baller, medium nylon knife, apple slicer, large silicone spoon and vegetable peeler. It even comes with a cute sticker set!
Learning Tower– this sturdy step stool for kids is made of solid wood and is adjustable in height. It’s perfect for the curious little learner in your family- simply pull it up to the counter and get started cooking together! Although I don’t own this item, it’s comes highly recommended from friends who have it and it has extremely high ratings on Amazon.
Mickey Mouse Pancake Ring– I bought this after we went on a Disney cruise and my daughter Sienna got used to having Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles every morning! It’s easy to use and I feel like the coolest mom in the world when I present her with a plate of Mickey pancakes.
Natural Pregnancy Cookbook– My pregnancy cookbook makes a great holiday gift for expectant moms! This book ensures that moms and their babies get the nutrition they need, while still enjoying delicious food! It has over 125 delicious, nutritious recipes to suit any taste or palate.
Natural Baby Food– My latest cookbook is the perfect gift for any new parents in your life! When it comes to planning a healthy diet for your child, this book removes the guesswork, ensuring that your baby gets the nutrition they need, developing healthy eating habits that will benefit them for years to come!
Sesame Street “C” is for Cooking– This book is an oldie but goodie! Our favorite friends from Sesame Street are featured in this kid-friendly cookbook that has over 50 simple, healthy recipes. All of the recipes have “kids” steps to get your children involved in the kitchen.
Custom Tray of Nuts, Fruit & Chocolate– I like to buy nuts and grains in bulk from sites like nuts.com. They also have these great customizable trays where you can mix and match a wide variety of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and more. It’s a great gift to send to friends, families, and coworkers.
Good luck with your shopping and Happy Holidays!