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Christmas Gifts for the Natural Foodie & Family

What are the best kitchen gifts for Christmas? I’ve tested all of these foodie gifts for Christmas that will please any cook you love. 

foodie gifts for Christmas: blender Instant Pot griddle dehydrator cast iron

What’s the difference between a cheap gift and a frugal gift?

Two things:

  1. The love the new owner gives it, shown by how much they use it (check out my useful stocking stuffers)
  2. How long it will last

For example, my Moby Wrap was a gift, and it’s a pricey item, around $50 at the time. But I used it every day of the first 6 months of 3 babies’ lives = less than 10c/day.

But that electric chair massager thingy that I also received as a gift, similarly retailed at about $50, most certainly 40% off with an additional coupon at Kohl’s for a total of $18 or so – a GREAT DEAL! <<<said with much enthusiasm

I used it about twice, for $9 per use.

It sat in my way and stressed me out many times, and I finally had to carry it to Goodwill feeling guilty all the way = further opportunity cost, so to speak, decreasing its value even more.

I’d rather have one single gift in the former category for my birthday and Christmas combined (frugal gift) than 10 of the other kind from one person for Christmas (cheap gifts).

Top 10 Kitchen Items a Real Food (Frugal) Kitchen Needs.

Give me joy, not guilt!

I’m ruthless about it, so you know my gift guide will be filled with only the cream of the crop, the items that last, the lasting use tools.

Since the mission of Kitchen Stewardship® is to keep you healthy without going crazy, I’ll help you find items that will make real food easier or more fun, protect your family from environmental hazards, save you time or use your hard-earned dollars well – most of the time more than one of those!

Whether you use this list to tell other people what to buy for you or to get inspiration for those who appreciate the practical, I hope it’s a gem for you. I truly believe these are the best basic kitchen tools & appliances that are actually worth the money.

Top Ten Foodie Gifts for Christmas: Kitchen Gadgets 

Instant Pot 6 quart

Instant Pot

It’s not that I’ve gotten worse at meal planning over the years, it’s just that I’m so much busier!


Total excuse. I’m SO much worse at meal planning than I used to be and it’s just that I’m not prioritizing it – but the Instant Pot saves me over and over again.

It’s a 7-in-1 electric multi-functional cooker best known for its pressure cooking functionality, but it’s also a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer & it can even saute or warm food. Phew!

Besides saving me on slow cooker recipes that I think of at 3:00 (here’s how to adapt slow cooker recipes to the Instant Pot), my Instant Pot has done meats, gorgeous (and super duper fast rice, 3x as fast as my old rice cooker), and steamed veggies. I even leave rice in it overnight (off), pour in some milk in the morning and turn on a quick cycle and, ta da! Rice pudding, easy as could be.

In fact, it’s so easy you have to see this video of my 5yo son making dinner with it (and grab the GF mac and cheese recipe too!)

The best part perhaps is that the interior bowl is made of stainless steel, and if you’ve looked into materials for slow cookers or rice cookers lately, you know that there’s a lot of nonstick and ceramic (the question of leaching lead with ceramic is a big one). So for materials safety, functionality (did I mention it can even saute!), and pure efficiency, this baby quickly became a favorite thing of mine (see all my recipes here).

The world’s largest retailers now also carry Instant Pot, but YOU can get the best price today on

Hint: Amazon usually puts the IP on “deal of the day” once during December as well as during Black Friday time and 1-2x during the year for Prime Day.


You’re Just *7 Days* Away From Easier Meals with Your Instant Pot

Whether you have a few fav meals in your Instant Pot or still aren’t using it regularly yet, I can show you the secrets to SAVE time (and money) with my favorite appliance!

May I send you my best hacks to maximize my fav appliance so you can spend more time with your family AND nourish them well?

Get IP hacks in short emails and transform the way you serve dinner:

huge stainless steel stockpot

Huge Stainless Steel Stockpot

Would you believe we received a big stockpot as a wedding gift and took it back? I had registered for it and everything but had second thoughts: “I’ll never make that much soup often enough for the size…”

Oh, how I wish I would have kept it!

I’d use it all the time for bone broth and soup. My husband had to fix my mistake 10 years later with a new gigantic pot for Christmas. It’s certainly not something I use every day, but I do love to make a huge pot of broth or a triple or quad batch of certain soups or chili.

In the winter I’ll just take the whole pot into the garage for storage, then put it back on the stove to heat up a day or two later! You can also make a load of corn on the cob for a crowd for a summer party – or let a toddler climb into it to play a game. 😉

Bethany, former contributing writer here at KS, loves her 10-quart Cuisinart stock pot (recommended by America’s Test Kitchen) which she uses for boiling noodles, making soup, and making large-scale mashed potatoes for holidays.

immersion blender on Amazon

Immersion Blender

I am definitely not kidding when I say this is my favorite kitchen gadget with a plug – and it’s one of the least expensive ones I own!

I use it all. the. time.

To make homemade guacamole, blend refried beans, soups in the pot, homemade applesauce, puree pumpkin, make homemade mayo, whip up pancake batter (especially this grain free pumpkin pancake recipe, which I’ll make right after pureeing the orange vegetable)…I could probably use two!

It’s so easy to clean – just a quick rinse if you’re going from one food to another and then toss the business end in the dishwasher at the end of the night. Compared to a big blender with its many parts, this is child’s play.

Speaking of – my kids of course adore it as well.

RELATED: See our recommended kitchen tools for kids here!

Plus, I love that you can get a decent one for well under $50, and it doesn’t take up a ton of space.

If you can get one with a little mini food chopper, I guarantee you’ll find things to do with that too! (Chopping a small amount of nuts for a recipe, whizzing a bunch of garlic for homemade dressings, making a small batch of homemade dressing and more are some of my favs.)

cast iron griddle and skillet

Cast Iron: Skillet and Griddle

When you’re talking frugality, something you could actually pass on to your children through generations takes the cake, no matter how much it costs at the outset.

We use our cast iron so much, they don’t even have an “away” place to go because they’re always out on the stove.

The skillet is where we saute everything and make recipes that can go from the stovetop to the oven, but the griddle is really the thing that gets used multiple times daily. On the stovetop, we cook:

AND it goes into the oven as well and is an incredible surface for gluten-free flatbread (includes video!), homemade pizza, and biscuits. More on how we use our cast iron griddle in my review!

If you get one, be sure to get at least one metal spatula as well, because it’s not even worth using an old plastic spatula on this.

To clean it, we honestly just scrape off any remnants of food as we’re heating it up, and if it’s really messy, we pour a little water on it when it’s hot, use the metal spatula to scrape and an old dishrag to wipe up messes and then carry on with our cooking. The 5-minute preheat time will kill any bacteria sitting around, and you shouldn’t use soap on cast iron anyway. (Care and cleaning of cast iron)


Cusinart Food Processor

Food Processor

Mine is nothing fancy and gets a lot of heavy jobs done – it is a Cuisinart like the one linked to on Amazon (image above), but I bet this larger 10-cup Hamilton Beach number can do a great job for less money.

I reviewed a massive 14-cup Magimix, and you know what? For 4-10x the cost of the other ones, the only thing it really has one them is size.

So whatever – get a basic one for making blended bean dips, cauli rice, date-and-nut bars and more! (I admit bigger is nice if you have a large family though…)

One tip: you MUST get one with a slicer and shredded blade, because that truly triples its functionality!

I would not survive some meals without my shredding and slicing being automated, and my kids LOVE to feed stuff in the top. Even a two-year-old can actually be helpful on that task instead of just feeling like he is while slowing me down…

Blendtec from Amazon


We’ve had a Blendtec since 2012, and in my initial Blendtec review I wasn’t incredibly glowing.

After years of using it a few times a week, I really do like it. In fact, the display screen is starting to flicker and not glow, and when I think about this thing dying (usually in the middle of making that flatbread I mentioned above), I get the shakes.

I used to say it was equal to any old blender…But is it $500++ worth it? That’s where you have to ask questions.

Now I’m the one answering the questions! 

Look for a deal, but get a high-powered blender if you have a big family, eat real food, love smoothies, or hate fighting with appliances that aren’t powerful enough. 

I used to say I don’t think you necessarily need a high-powered blender for $500 and up, unless you feel you must make homemade nut butters, grind up lemon peels in your smoothies or grind flour.

But it’s become a “need” for me! 😉

Truly, there are some recipes that can only happen in a high-powered thing like Blendtec or Vitamix.

Oster blender

If you’d use it multiple times a day, go big and enjoy every second.

If you really just want a normal blender for smoothies and such, this Hamilton Beach (pictured) and Oster both have good reviews and decent bells and whistles. You could do a lot with these machines!

In 2017 the most-mentioned kitchen tool as a FAVORITE of big food bloggers was a high-powered blender. Tip from The Blender Girl, who would know if anyone does – the KitchenAid Pro Line Series blender is now the most powerful blender on the market.

baking stone

Baking Stone

I have Pampered Chef brand stones and vouch for amazing quality. We hardly know how to make pizza or cookies or biscuits without them, and clean-up is so easy!

A few years ago I read up on Amazon’s offerings and wasn’t impressed, so I bought another PC brand stone.

Now there are a wider variety of options with better reviews and even some Pampered Chef options via Amazon, so they’re worth perusing.


Good Knife and Cutting Board

When I talked about how to clean wooden cutting boards, I mentioned how often I use these items.

Probably more than any other in my kitchen!

My knife is the ONE ITEM that I use every day, 50 times a day. I’m constantly chopping vegetables, and I’m never without my big chef’s knife (unless my son is snatching it to chop veggies; it’s his favorite too!).

I have a Wusthof Classic 6-Inch Cook’s Knife, although it’s always worth price-checking other 6-inch Wusthof knives.

My wooden block is a Boos brand, which are (whoa) pretty expensive – thanks, Mom, for getting this one for me for Christmas!

I realize those don’t seem frugal, but when I consider how blissfully happy they make me and how darn much use they get, I can’t imagine not having either.

Victorinox Knife GA

There is a much more economical option for knives though – the Victorinox brand is very highly rated by America’s Test Kitchen and also members of the staff at KS.

They sell a small-ish chef’s knife that is perfect for little hands (your kids) and a very inexpensive 4-inch utility knife that is a workhorse in many kitchens.

Members of our kids cooking ecourse, Kids Cook Real Food, have grabbed the Victorinox brand from our kids cooking tools resources page (including one 2nd grade teacher using the course with her whole class) and give rave reviews AND in the past year, our 5-inch Victorinox chef’s knife has become my kids’ fav as well!

toaster oven

Toaster Oven

We’ve had two toaster ovens, and both are indispensable for what they do for me, but I have no love for either.

My first, a Cuisinart, had excellent features but was buggy and died too quickly for my liking. The new one, purchased quickly out of necessity when the former died an early death, is an Oster and has some features I absolutely dislike. For example, there’s metal on the door that conducts heat (ouch!) and dials that children aren’t strong enough to turn.

When purchasing a toaster oven, I’d recommend looking for:

  • 6-slice capacity
  • ability to bake a whole pie/8×8 casserole (at least)
  • multiple heights for the tray
  • auto-shutoff timer
  • easy controls (ask yourself how many buttons or dials you’d have to touch just to make toast, for example)
  • NO non-stick on the interior – this one is very hard to find. In fact, a few toaster ovens that I used to recommend have non-stick interiors, and to me, it’s just not worth the potential risk if it gets up to 500F.

This Hamilton Beach toaster oven checks all the boxes and has good reviews and a reasonable price, so I feel pretty confident in saying it would be a good choice!


Food Dehydrator

Sometimes I’m not sure if the dehydrator is worth the space, but I do use it a lot. If you want to have a raw foods lifestyle, preserve a lot of seasonal produce, make crispy nuts, or beef jerky, it’s helpful and nearly necessary.

Although you can do a lot of the same things in an oven, many ovens don’t go below 170F and thus will kill enzymes (not “raw” foods), and sometimes you can’t tie up your oven for 12 hours and still survive the day!

They’re excellent for preparedness and stocking up for emergencies. 

I happen to have an Excalibur dehydrator, but there are less expensive options. Check out my comparison dehydrator review to help you make your decision.

And if you do grab one, learn EVERYTHING one can possibly do with a dehydrator, even making shelf stable stock, from Wardee at Traditional Cooking School (a membership makes a sweet clutter-free gift!).


Foodie Gifts for Christmas Honorable Mention: Spiralizer

meatball soup with zoodles

We use zoodles pretty often, so I have to recommend this spiralizer (our fav for sure of the two we’ve tried).

Click for more on how it works and what to do with zoodles!

Honorable Mention: Sodastream

Aquafizz Sodastream

My husband has been trying to be more hydrated the past few years and struggling to drink enough. 

He realized that drinking “fizzy water” as our kids call it really made a difference (he’s a former daily soda drinker), so for a while we were buying flavored carbonated beverages in cans.

But oh, so many cans!

Last year for Christmas, I got him a Sodastream, and we haven’t looked back! 

We love that we start with our filtered water, put it in GLASS, and don’t need any sweetener. The kids can have a little bit and not worry about an open can. 

Hubs even ran a test to see how many ounces came out of a full can of gas, and each 12-ounce can equivalent only costs about 12 cents, half as much as even the off-brand! We highly recommend to improve your own hydration and save the earth from all those cans! 

BUY A SODASTREAM HERE (we have the Aquafizz)

Family/Baby Gifts for Christmas

These are a few of the gifts that I keep going back to over and over for young families, and I can’t leave them out of a gift guide!

Tired of too many THINGS? How about gifts that don’t even need to be wrapped? Find a huge collection of clutter-free gift ideas for the whole family that I collected for you!
Top 10 Kitchen Items a Real Food Frugal Kitchen Needs

Foodie Christmas Gifts: Books, Books and More Books

In a world where hundreds of books are published every day (maybe thousands?) it can be overwhelming to find the simple ones.

A while back on Facebook I shared a reader question about great basic cookbooks to buy for college students and newbies to real food, and when I asked others’ advice I got such a great list of books and had to share with you, along with my personal favs!

Katie’s Favorite Cookbooks to Gift for Foodies

Covers of three cookbooks by Katie Kimball

I hope this doesn’t sound crazy, but truly truly, my own print books are the ones I grab the most of all. I suppose it makes sense since they’re a compilation of almost all of my family’s favorite recipes, which we continue to love! You can get them in print on Amazon Prime:

Chef Junior Cook Book

When 5 kids come together to write a cookbook full of healthy foods, you know it’s going to be something special!

Be part of the movement to show that kids can achieve big dreams AND that they belong in the kitchen, learning life skills, prioritizing wellness with Chef Junior

Get additional digital bonuses when you buy multiple copies! 

Nourishing Meals

You’ve probably heard me reference a recipe from my well-worn copy of the Nourishing Meals cookbook if you’ve been around KS long enough, and now Alyssa has come out with a new edition: the Nourishing Meals Cookbook deserves to be a staple! (Amazon/Bookshop)

Wellness Mama Cookbook

The Wellness Mama Cookbook from my friend Katie is an incredible value, so many family-friendly, 100% real food recipes that we use and share often. (Amazon/

Cookbook cover - New Favorites for New Cooks

New Favorites for New Cooks: This cookbook is written by a chef who is the founder of Charlie Carts, an amazing real food cooking program for kids – one of my team members has been lucky enough to experience them at her local library and was very impressed. I love that there are 50 recipes, all whole foods, and every one we have tried has been incredibly delicious!! (Amazon/

Anise Loves Green Food - Kids Cook Real Food Ecourse

Anise Loves GREEN Food is a kids’ picture book about a little boy who loves to draw and his sister who loves to cook, a lovely story with interesting recipes too! Leah has made almost every recipe in the book, we love it so much! (Amazon/

And OH you have to check out this book by Stacy C. Bauer, Cami Kangaroo Has Too Many Sweets! It’s darn cute and my boys love reading it. 🙂

Simple Green Meals

Simple Green Meals has been helping us get more vegetables in our diet, and these recipes are so unique and flavorful, plus gorgeous photos make us want to eat every one! (Amazon/

100 days real food on budget cookbook

100 Days of Real Food on a Budget is a fun book, especially because Lisa’s girls have recipes in the book! She’s a big proponent of kids cooking and yours will be inspired by these photos and simple recipes (and you’ll be happy to save a few bucks per meal!).

KS Community’s Top Best “Basics” Cookbooks

These are listed in order of number of people recommending them! (Note: I haven’t read or used most of these, but I’ll include reader notes about how compatible they are with 100% real food when I have them.)

How to Cook Everything book

How to Cook Everything (Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition)

  • Reader notes: “One of my personal favorites!”
  • “Keeps things simple when they can be.”
  • Katie note: Mark Bittman is great, has a blog, wrote for the NY Times and has tons of books. A newer book, VB6, is kind of intriguing. This book is also available on Kindle.
  • From the KS team: One book on my Christmas list is a newer but similar title: How to Cook Everything Fast. Can’t beat using fresh ingredients to get a meal on the table quickly!
Betty Crocker Cookbook

Betty Crocker Cookbook:
1500 Recipes for the Way You Cook Today (Betty Crocker’s Cookbook)

Where's Mom cookbook

Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her?: Surviving Away from Home

Reader note: “Not that it’s terribly real food based, but I bought myself “Where’s Mom Now that I Need Her” when I was in college. It had basic cooking info, how to do laundry, 1st aid info.”

Joy of Cooking cookbook

 Joy of Cooking

Reader notes: “Recommended to find an older addition; didn’t rely on microwaves then.”

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 15th Edition:
Gifts from the Kitchen (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid)

  • Reader note: While not always entirely real-food, there are helpful substitution lists, conversions, etc.
  • Katie note: Yep! I have this one, too, same old red plaid, although  my version is older. It’s good to have a “basic” like this on hand…but I’m so curious to try the Mark Bittman book and the next one below…
America's Test Kitchen Cookbook

 The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 3rd Edition:
Cookware Rating Edition

More Recommendations (Honorable Mentions)

These below each had just a single recommendation from readers, but all had many and solid reviews…

Fresh 20 cookbook

The Fresh 20:
20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a Week

  • Note: Using just 20 organic, non-processed ingredients per week, home cooks can create 5 wholesome, delicious meals in just minutes. Includes shopping lists, prep tips and more.
  • Katie note: I’ve had the pleasure of working with Melissa Lanz, the author, and you can be assured that this cookbook is 100% real food and doable. Gorgeous recipes and what a cool concept to help streamline shopping!
Healthy College Cookbook

 The Healthy College Cookbook

Reader Note: Even breaks down how to boil an egg!

how to cook without a book

How to Cook Without a Book:
Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart

Reader note: Important recipes/techniques that used to be handed down but aren’t any more. Pioneer Woman LOVES her books.

Moosewood cookbook

Get Cooking: 150 Simple Recipes to Get You Started in the Kitchen

Reader Note: Geared toward beginners. Author of Moosewood Cookbook

Moosewood cookbook

 The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen’s Classic Cooking)

Note: NYT Top Ten Best-Selling Cookbooks of All Time

Saving Dinner cookbook

 Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table

Reader note: A great cookbook for people who are just starting out and want to make good food. It really helped me to gain confidence with my cooking. I always buy this as part of my wedding gift or bridal shower gift for someone. I really think it’s excellent!

Other Gift Guides:

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
Category: Gift Guides

30 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts for the Natural Foodie & Family”

  1. Hi Katie! I love your site! I am thinking of asking my husband for some of your ebooks for Christmas this year.

    Do you have any plans to offer Christmas sales on your ebooks?

    Thank you!

  2. I love the huge roasting pan I inherited from my Grandpa. We cook 24 lb. turkeys in that thing! And I can use a higher temperature, cook faster, eat sooner! I also cook soups and stews in it.

    I have the Bosch mixer and blender. Love them! When I get back to bread making, that will be used twice a week. It handles five loaves at once! I accidentally put too much flour in my Kitchen Aid and it broke… The blender get used frequently for coffee drinks or smoothies.

    Crock pot and rice cooker we use all the time. Until we get all the parts for my stove, I am enjoying the electric skillet for sauces and frying.

    I have the Pampered Chef 9 x 13 casserole stone and 9 x 13 pizza stone. It’s hard to burn anything with those!

    French press for coffee! I usually do cold brew in the refrigerator overnight. Pour it on ice with some half and half. Takes up less space as the coffee maker. Easier to clean.

    Of course I love my wooden cutting board! Pepper grinder and pink salt grinder. I even have a cinnamon grinder and nutmeg grinder too!

    Best of all, I enjoy coming home to a meal prepared by my children! (Ages: 28, 21, 19, 16 and 12) Everyone knows how to cook or prepare something!

  3. Great list! I might add a crock pot. 🙂 As far as cookbooks, what about Nourishing Traditions? It’s a MUST have for real foodies. 🙂

  4. Stickblender. Hands down most awesome kitchen thing. Coming in very close behind is my cheap blender. Instapot is nice but crockpot will never leave. Instapot does slowcooking, but not lIke a crockpot! And i like the bigger oval crockpots too.

    1. And an instapot burns anything with dairy in it, even parmesan cheese added to spaghetti sauce. Major bummer compared to a crockpot.

  5. Katie Its like you made your list straight from my Christmas and birthday wish list. Hoping I’ll get a few of these this season. Thank you for great options.

  6. Another wonderful and inexpensive Chef’s knife ($35) is the Victorinox. (Maker of the Swiss Army Knife) It was recommended by Cooks Illustrated and also the TV show, America’s Test Kitchen, which is the same company. (They use it exclusively in their kitchens.) I’ve had mine for years now and it’s still as sharp as it was when I bought it!

  7. I’ve been traveling for work for a couple of months, and I can tell you what I have at home that I miss most:
    -my Keurig. Hands down #1.
    -my cast iron Dutch oven and grill pan
    -my Füri rocker knife. It. Is. Amazing.
    -my wooden cutting board
    -my spice stack brand organizer… It’s got these drawers that you pull down and are all labeled. It makes grabbing whatever I need super easy on the fly
    -my garbage disposal (seriously) and dishwasher
    -I’ve got every gadget that you could conceive, which I now realize how even though I only use them occasionally, there’s that thing you can’t do without it… Like my garlic peeler and press, my immersion blender, a good pizza cutter, my automatic stirrers, my ‘one-egg pan’, etc…
    Also, there’s that dual zone wine chiller… Because Pinot noir really IS best at 65 degrees!

  8. (1)My number one item is my enamel cast iron Dutch oven. I use it nearly every day and it has transformed my cooking. I even got a smaller one to use instead of my regular sauce pans. I absolutely love it!
    (2) I also love my cast iron skillet. I inherited it from my grandmother and am so lucky to have it.
    (3) I agree with the baking stone. I have a round one and it is my go-to in the oven. If I need something bigger, I like my basic chef’s sheet pans with a Silpat liner.
    (4) I feel so lucky to have gotten a Kitchen Aid mixer back when they were making them well. And we got a high hp model so it can handle everything. If I ever wear it out, I’ll replace it with a Bosch, probably.
    (5) I have a Japanese chef’s knife that is my right hand in the kitchen. I use it with a bamboo cutting board that works for now, but I would love a really good board some day.
    (6) My crockpot is not used now as much as it was back when I used cream of ____ soup and IQF chicken breasts, but I’m still putting it to great use making chicken stock! I make stock in it weekly and that has made such a difference for me.
    (7) My freezer is essential. I have a medium-ish chest freezer, but my desire is to have an upright. I would dearly love to have a simple refrigerator-only and upright freezer matched set. I never have enough refrigerator space!

    I think those are my biggies. I have a food processor, but I never use it. I really should get in the habit of using it more. It would speed things up considerably! I’m thinking about rearranging my counters a bit and making room for it to be out to see if that would help me use it more. Thanks for a great post!

  9. My “wish list” is short… I want a chef. Lol. Seriousy, I don’t really enjoy cooking. My likes and dislikes:

    -I have a KA stand mixer that I like, it has lasted me 11 years now, but gets used only about 1-2 times a month, mostly for baking.
    -I have a 12 year old blender gathering dust in the cupboard, used mostly by my sister when she visits and makes wine slushes and margaritas. I can’t remember the last time I used it for something else :/
    -I do have glass food storage containers and love them. Great for heating up leftovers in the microwave at work! The plastic ones are almost gone…
    -Got rid of my breadmaker due to space, poor bread quality, and the ingredients got too expensive to use it regularly (a loaf of bread from the store is much cheaper and lasts longer).
    -One of my faves is an apple slicer, a round thing with handles that cuts the apple into slices in 1 swipe. We use that almost every day.
    -I use the toaster oven and crock pot all. the. time.
    -My coffee maker and espresso/cappuccino maker both have prime spots on the counter and get used daily, sometimes 2-3 times a day.

    The best part… all of these things were gifts! Hmmm. Does that mean if I actually ask for a chef, I will get one? I can always dream, right 🙂

  10. I also have a Ninja Blender with the processor bowl. I love it and use it almost every day. I use it on lots of heavy duty tasks like making peanut butter, smoothies with frozen fruit, and even making homemade crackers.

  11. Kathy Hutton

    I have a Bosch with all the attachments, use the processer and blender daily. Great list!

  12. My list is quite different:

    1. Digital Pressure cooker which can be used as a crockpot also. Makes great stock as well as rice puddings and all the stuff pressure cookers make. And they are entirely safe and tell you when there is pressure in the container. As Alton Brown would say, “Think multi-use!” Oh and I have stick blender which I very seldom use.

    2. Ninja with the food prep unit – slices, grates, etc. Use it to prepare a base smoothie recipe (Breakfast Essentials, protein powder and a smoothie powder with 1% milk) which we store in the fridge. Then add the base to spinach cubes, pinapple cubes, apple slices and a flavoring extract like strawberry for our individual smoothies.

    3. Electric knife – I use it from cutting bread cubes – then dried – for french onion soup, cutting meats and I always refrgerate my Quiches, flip them onto a cutting board and precut the quiche slices – works great because you don’t have to butcher the quiche when removing a slice. It even is great for slicing freshly made bread.

    4. My cooking plate/griddle is not cast iron – it’s aluminum. Works great and makes the grill marks you like to see on cooked meats. And I do have kiln plates which I use in the oven which will take any temperature shock and will work to over 3,000F – not your averages oven temperature.

    5. A taco press – at least 8 inches – can be used for all sorts of things like we put a chunk of bulk pork sausage in a plastic bag and press it for frying.

    6. Pizza peel – I used it today to flip the turkey (we start the turkey breast side down then flip it 2/3rds of the way through cooking to brown the breast). We use it for removing pies and quiches etc, etc, etc

    7. 12 inch cast aluminum (?) fry pan. And a small non-stick fry pan. And we have a wok-pan which we use less frequently but it is still handy for cooking many foods.

    8. Cheesecake pans are usefull for cooking a variety of foods like quiche and breakfast strata.

    9. We use a very large rectangular pan on the bottom rack of our oven – again aluminum – and keep it filled with water. It keeps food moist while you bake it and adds moisture to your home in the winter.

    10. Our dishwasher is an essential part of our kitchen and we use it as many as 3 times a day when we are doing lots of baking or blending recipes. For us it is a gold standard for cleanliness. Once we remove a utensil or baking pan, it always goes through the dishwasher before returning it to it’s rightful place. Drop a spoon on the floor – into the dishwasher it goes. And we always keep clorox nearby for our dishpan which we use to stage dishes for the dishwasher. Food safety is our highest goal.

    1. Regarding your aluminum fry pan…Do you know that aluminum is porous when heated? Bits of food, etc,. can get trapped inside after the pan cools. Just thought I’d mention this.

  13. Last year for Christmas I asked for that exact OXO veg peeler and one of those can openers that takes off the ‘top’ not cuts into the can (no sharp edges!). This year I got an immersion blender. Haven’t used it yet, but it was $20 at Aldi and had quite a few attachments and knock wood all the small appliances I’ve purchased at Aldi over the years are really great quality.

    I never thought I would use a food processor but now it is something I use occasionally. We mostly love our Blendtec…I don’t always think it blends ice as nicely as it ‘should’ or make nut butters the way I want, but then again we don’t have the “Twister” jar

  14. Happy Advent!

    The big thing on my list: a freezer. Maybe 2 small ones. Maybe one big one. The little freezer in the fridge isn’t adequate.

    An oddball item: an engraved/decorated pie server that no one would dare walk off with.

    And always useful little things: dish towels and wooden spoons and quality knives (paring and bread especially).

    I have a blender and never use it; I’ve never owned a food processors and don’t much see the need for one. I prefer to use muscle-powered prep whenever I can.

  15. Love my kitchen aid stand mixer we bought with wedding money 25 years ago. Sadly after being rebuilt twice it will need to be replaced soon. Won’t hesitate to buy the same again. Use it all the time. bread. Pizza dough. Cookies. Just to name a few. Usually 2 to 3 times a week. For 25 years!? No wonder it’s tired.!

    1. Beware…the newer KA mixers are not near as good as the old ones 🙁 I got rid of mine about a year ago, before it died from WW bread, and upgraded to a Bosch. It’s not as hand for liquid-y batters but WAY better for dough.

      Read up on the plastic gears, etc…before you buy KA again. Of course, it depends on how you plan to use it……cakes, cookies etc….are less taxing than WW dough and tough stuff.

      1. Kathy Hutton

        I have a Bosch with all the attachments, use the processer and blender daily. Great list!

        1. Kathy Hutton

          sorry, the last comment didn’t go away. But for anyone buying a KitchenAide stand mixer be aware that there are different hp for the models. If you want a good one you have to get one with the highest hp.

  16. About blenders, popular mechanics did a YouTube blender review that’s interesting to check out before you buy. Another useful kitchen tool: collapsible steamer basket.

  17. Here is my argument for a Vitamix. I ditched my food processor and use my Vitamix for everything. I had a Ninja which started sucking after about a year. I bought a factory refurbished Vitamix for $320 and it is guaranteed for 7 years. Way cheaper that constantly replacing food processors and blenders that wear out with my constant use. Just my two cents 🙂

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