Every year, bloggers share their “gift guides” for Christmas shopping, and every year I feel like I’m in junior high.
Why junior high?
That was when I tried to be cool by buying the “in” trendy clothing, but apparently I was always a few months too late. No matter what I did, I wasn’t up to snuff.
That’s how gift guides feel to me because I’m just NOT a shopper! It seemed like I was just re-sharing my same old kitchen favs each year, since I’m not really a “new and trendy” sort of gal but more of a “I know what works and I’m sticking with it!” traditionalist. 🙂
This year, I got smarter. I figured I’d ask OTHER people what THEIR favorite kitchen gadgets were and share that list with you, in case you’re looking for the perfect kitchen tool for the foodie on your list (or are like me and need some fresh ideas for your own list).
This way, we get all the practical stuff from people who really cook every day. I asked as many blogger colleagues I could think of, and even those who should be way too busy to be answering emails sent back their thoughts! 😀
My Top Two New Kitchen Items You Might Want for Christmas This Year
Ironically, I realized that I have picked up a few new kitchen toys this year too, my favs being:
These silicone/stainless steel tongs with built-in rest to avoid messy counters
You can’t buy the cute boy, but you can get our favorite spiralizer to make beets fun like his mustache, plus zoodles, sweet potato “fries” or noodles, and more. This brand is so much better than the Oxo that I had at first!! And they have a tiny one that you use like a pencil sharpener that would make a good stocking stuffer (below). It’s easy to use and clean.
A Few Stocking Stuffers for Foodies
One of the things I loved best about seeing all these tools are that I have never used many of them!! It’s good to see what others use DAILY that I don’t even know about. But I pulled a couple little items that I totally love too that would make great stocking stuffers for the foodie in your life. Do you agree?
Katie Wells of Wellness Mama uses her lemon juicer often and writes about the benefits of drinking lemon water. Having a tool like this will make it easier to use citrus daily, which is great for your health.
Amy Roskelley over at Super Healthy Kids says, “This crinkle cutter is an easy way to make your kids veggies just a little bit more fun and it doesn’t take up too much space in a kitchen drawer! We use it for cucumbers, potatoes, and even carrots.“
This tool makes it so easy for young children to cut soft foods like cheese, as demonstrated in the knife skills lesson in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. (All our recommendations for kids can be found on our comprehensive Kids Cooking Resources page that we created for our members!)
Ricki Heller says this about her silicone spatulas, “They are sturdy enough to mix cookie dough, but flexible and soft enough to fold in aquafaba. I also use them to saute and mix stews, sauces, etc–and they don’t soak in the pasta sauce colors the way wooden spoons or other non-metal utensils do. Plus, they’re safe for non-stick surfaces.”
Erin of 5 Dollar Dinners also recommends this tool for breaking up ground beef while it’s cooking. You’ll see us use a tool similar to this in my cooking lessons for kids online. When we travel and don’t have one for ground beef, I feel like I’m an animal with hooves trying to use a pencil. It will change your life!
Big Items Foodie Bloggers Use Daily in Their Kitchens
From appliances that cost hundreds of dollars to the humble cast iron skillet, these tools deserve a place on your counter or at the front of your easiest-access cupboard. I own and adore almost all of these items, but there are two that I don’t even have! (Can you guess which two?)
Tsh Oxenreider at The Art of Simple, Kiran Dodeja Smith at Easy Real Food, Laura Coppinger at Heavenly Homemakers, Erin Odom at The Humbled Homemaker, Wardee Harmon at Traditional Cooking School, Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs, and Stephanie Langford of Ultimate Bundles all have a high powered blender such as a BlendTec or Vitamix on their list of favorite kitchen appliances.
Tsh says, “I didn’t know the wonderful world I was missing until I got a real, grownup blender that works magic.” and Erin says, “There is no question about it. I use it multiple times every day!”
Kiran also ranks her Instant Pot high on her list (and so do I!!). When talking about her high powered blender and her Instant Pot she says, “These have both been such worthwhile investments!!”
If you’re considering getting an Instant Pot but are on the fence, read my pros and cons that might help you make your decision. I’ve also determined the only Instant Pot accessories you need and where to not waste your money.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
Stainless Steel Electric Frying Pan
Kelly the Kitchen Kop loves her Stainless Steel Electric Frying Pan. She says, “This sucker is just what a busy Mom needs so you can throw meals together faster than if you had to use two pans or make several batches. It’s super easy to clean, too!
A Really Good Knife
A good sharp knife is a workhorse in a real food kitchen, along with a good cutting board (my mom got me that one years ago for Christmas and I am still grateful!).
If you need a recommendation for a good knife for a kid to use, I have a big resource list of products we use and love in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. (Tip: Keep goggles in your knife drawer for the onion cutting without tears, especially for kids!)
Ricki Heller, author of the best-selling Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free likes the Cuisinart 14-cup food processor in particular and says, “It’s a biggie, but it always gets the job done, from making nut butter ultra-smooth, to mixing tough grain-free bread dough, to mixing up my dogs’ raw veggies (I actually have two separate ones–one for us, one for the dogs!!).”
Tiffany at Don’t Waste the Crumbs also uses her electric griddle often. She says to look for one with a removable cooking surface because it makes it much easier to clean. And personally, I still use my cast iron griddle multiple times a day. The only time it leaves our stovetop is when we’re making gluten-free flatbread or homemade pizza on it! I might have to chat with Tiffany about this… 😉
It’s easier than you think it may be to season and care for cast iron cookware.
Stephanie Langford of Ultimate Bundles says, “I like the simple manual knob instead of the digital touch screens because it’s more reliable, less likely to break.“
Back to Smaller Kitchen Toys for the Wish List (so Unique!)
This is where I’m getting a lesson right along with you all. I’ve never ever heard of a lot of these fun kitchen gadgets, and yet some may sneak onto my own Christmas wish list this year. What fun to see what people who cook daily really USE daily and couldn’t do without!
If you don’t use fresh ginger very often, you should definitely learn about how good it is for you…and then buy some next time you’re perusing the produce section. Here’s a truckload of ginger recipes to use it in.
Here’s how this tool can help make life easier for Jessica Fisher of Fish Mama (and I’m with her on this one – I may have grabbed a second one on Amazon Prime day in July as a Christmas gift for myself because mine is 14 years old!!!).
Here are some other great lunch packing tools and tricks.
I had to look this one up when Jessica’s email came in – what are pizza screens? I wondered. But they’re on Fish Mama’s list of favorite kitchen tools, and I’ve decided I need to get over to her family’s house for a weekly pizza night someday! (If only we weren’t many states apart…)
Wardee Harmon at Traditional Cooking School couldn’t do without her glass canning jars. Be sure to grab plastic lids too, because for daily storage, the two-part lids are annoying. I have a whole shelf of jars in my kitchen too!!
Erin Chase of 5 Dollar Dinners uses these handy bag stands to hold up zipper bags while filling them with meals intended for the freezer. What funny looking things! But if you’re into once-a-month cooking like our partners at Once a Month Meals (grab our special KS mini planner here!), they’re vital. Even just for storing summer veggies or freezing occasional extra meals like I do with my 3 freezers, these wouldn’t take up much space!
Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom uses her bread machine to make homemade bread for her family. This brand is top of the line, and here are some other more affordable options if you’re just getting started making your own bread. (Check Craigslist and rummage sales too though – seems like bread makers are an unfortunate item that everyone thinks they’ll use and then nobody ever does – which is good for us to get them for $10!!!)
Crystal of Money Saving Mom tells all about her experience with her milk frother on her blog. Less expensive than hitting a fancy coffee shop every day yet still get that “pamper yourself” fun in your morning coffee. Crystal has had a huge turnaround in her health in the past year or two, so even though she’s known for saving money, she’s also got good info on saving your health!
Wardee Harmon at Traditional Cooking School uses cheesecloth for all sorts of things in her Traditional Cooking School classes. Cheesecloth is really useful for straining the whey out of homemade yogurt.
So fun, right?
Maybe next year I’ll ask them all about their biggest fail/regret purchase of their kitchen lives. I know I have some!!
If you appreciated the balance and depth of the review you just read, you will love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!