Most of us want the simple things…relatives getting along, no pets (or kids) knocking over the Christmas tree, and gifts we can actually use!
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday rush, it can be challenging to truly appreciate the joy of this special time of year. Then, of course, there’s the challenge of finding the right gift for that special someone on your shopping list! Does this person seem to have everything they need? Are you looking for a thoughtful, yet quick and easy, gift? If this special person (maybe this special person is you!) likes to cook, spends time in the kitchen, or heck…likes to eat, then keep reading…we have some great ideas for you!
Because we spend countless hours in the kitchen coming up with delicious, easy-to-prepare, nutritious meal ideas for the Eat REAL America community, we have our favorite kitchen gadgets and utensils – which we want to share with you! Keep in mind, when it comes to kitchen gadgets, we are picky…they have to be affordable, useful and convenient…we don’t need just another kitchen tool taking up space!
Get your list ready!
- Ninja Express Chop: similar to a mini food processor, it will make dressings, hummus and pesto, and will also chop nuts. Another favorite trick is to use it to chop vegetables to hide in a variety of meals such as sloppy joes and marinara sauces. Whatever it takes for those picky eaters…who aren’t always necessarily the kids!
- Spiralizer: our favorite gadget to turn veggies into noodles and make sweet potato fries! Available in a couple different varieties — our favorite is the crank version with 3 different blades for angel hair, spaghetti and ribbons. So easy to use for all kinds of vegetables…carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, summer squash — if it doesn’t have a pit, you can probably spiralize it! See more about the spiralizer.
- Pineapple corer: this cool gadget will core, slice and dice a pineapple…all in one crazy easy tool! Pick one up for your white elephant gift exchange…which is how I acquired ours! Best gift exchange item we have ever received! More about the pineapple corer.
- Cast iron skillet: this is likely to become your "go-to" skillet! It is low-maintenance, virtually indestructible, doesn't degrade like non-stick pans, evenly distributes the heat and is great to use in the oven!
- Dutch oven: these pots come in different sizes and are perfect for soups, stews and chili. They will last forever and you can use them for searing meats, making casseroles and you can transfer them from the stove to the oven!
- Slow cooker: there is nothing better than coming home to a meal that has cooked low and slow all day and is ready to enjoy! The removable inserts make cleanup much easier. At least a 6 quart size will work great with most slow cooker recipes — and look for the ones with the easy latch lid and automatic warm feature!
- Chef's knife: this knife is versatile enough to do everything from chopping herbs to butchering a chicken. It is great for chopping, slicing and dicing fruits, vegetables and meats! Look for an 8" or a 10" knife that feels comfortable. Even if it appears intimidating at first (I thought I would cut my hand off!), hang in there -- you may decide this is the only knife you need!
- Immersion blender: allows you to blend soups and sauces without taking them out of the pot! No more transferring batches of hot soup to the blender!
- Olive oil sprayer: great for spraying veggies before roasting or adding to air-popped popcorn.
- Salt and pepper grinders: there is just something about freshly ground salt and pepper! Spice grinders are also useful to freshly grind other spices and/or coffee beans.
- Garlic press: quick and easy way to mince fresh garlic!
- Microplane zester: you will love it for recipes that call for zested fruit or ginger!
- Give the gift of spices! Put together a collection of spices — purchase small quantities of common spices from local merchants…and some not-so-common spices (like Za’atar) to encourage your loved ones to try new foods. Great gift for the newly married couple or those wanting to cook more and eat healthfully!
- Give the gift of REAL food! Purchase a gift membership for Eat REAL America! Perfect for someone who needs a little motivation and assistance to follow through on their desire to enjoy more delicious and healthy meals at home!
The ultimate simple kitchen necessity?…mason jars!
Half pint mason jars are perfect to mix up homemade dressings and ideal for overnight oatmeals…and so much more! Plus, you can store just about anything in these handy little jars! A great unique and thoughtful gift idea is homemade granola in mason jars...the Cranberry Coconut Granola is excellent for the holidays! Perfect for co-workers, teachers and friends!
So, maybe if you drop some big hints or include some of these items on your wish list, you will be able to add these great tools to your kitchen collection! Or, use these as ideas for others on your list - we think they will be happy you did!