My Favorite kitchen items

Every year there is always someone on your gift list that you may not know exactly what to get.  With fourteen days left until Christmas, I thought I would run down a quick list of items that I love using in the kitchen that may make your gift giving search a little bit easier.

  1. AirBake Cookie Sheets:  These are the best cookie sheets I have ever purchased.  They are reasonably priced, but a little more expensive than cheap cookie sheets.  They work like a dream, and I have yet to have any problems with them.  I bought these about two years ago and they still look as new as the day I bought them.  The cookies always come out evenly cooked, and I cannot sing enough praises to these amazing cookie sheets.  If you or someone on your gift list is looking for cookie sheets, you cannot go wrong with these AirBake cookie sheets.
  2. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless 13 Piece Set: My husband got me into these pans.  They are a nice set.  It is middle of the line with cost,  but fantastic to cook with.  There is a learning curve for cooking with stainless pans.  They are harder to cook with if you aren’t used to them.  They are not non-stick, but if you heat the sauté pans before adding what you are cooking, you can avoid problems with sticking.  You also need to use butter, oil, etc as a non-stick lubricant.  My husband and I purchased these pans because they work with induction.  We recently purchased an induction cooktop, and if you are in the market for a new cooktop, you should seriously look into one. I’ll have to see about my husband writing up a post about our induction cooktop!
  3. Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron Skillet:  In addition to the stainless pans, I like to use cast iron pans.  I have a few sizes of the Lodge Preseasoned pans, and they all work wonderfully.  They cook evenly, the food always has a nice flavor, and these work well for both an induction cooktop, as well as your traditional cooktop, and camping!  They are easy to clean, and they are also very affordable.  The only cons is that they can get fairly heavy, especially the larger pans, and the handle gets fairly hot as well.  You will need a potholder or a special hot handle while picking up a hot cast iron pan.
  4. Lodge Silicone Hot Handle Holder and Lodge scrapper: The Lodge hot handle is perfect for medium and larger cast iron pans.  The small cast iron pan handles tend to be too small for these holders, but you could use a pot holder when holding those pans.  I leave my silicone holders on my pans without any problems.  I bought enough to keep them directly on the handles and this way I don’t even have to worry about finding them.  They are made to withstand the hot temperatures, and really do work wonderfully.  Sometimes with a pot holder, you can still feel the heat coming through.  I have not had that problem using these holders.  Now, the scrapper is what I use when cleaning my cast iron pans.  These work great to get off any debris that may have stuck to the pan while cooking.  It is such a simple device, basically a chunk of plastic with a tapered edge, but it does its job very well.
  5. Zipzicle Zip Top Ice Pop Pouch:  These pouches are wonderful for making homemade popsicles.  I would advise you to keep them upright as they freeze.  Once they are frozen, you can lay them on their side.  When you are ready to eat one, I run them under the tap water for just a second at the zip top.  This makes opening them easy.  To fill the pouches, I use a Pyrex measuring cup with a pouring spout and a turkey baster.  I use the turkey baster at first, and then when the measuring cup is almost empty, I’ll pour directly from the measuring cup into the pouches.  They are easy to use, and hold quite a bit of liquid.
  6. Zipzicle Neoprene Ice pop sleeves and Kooleez Ice Pop Insulator:  If you enjoy eating ice pops, both the Zipzicle and Kooleez insulator sleeves are wonderful for keeping your hands from freezing while eating your frozen treats.  They are a fun, and fairly inexpensive novelty item that would be perfect as a stocking stuffer for your ice pop king or queen.  We have both at our house and use them frequently.  The Zipzicle holders are wider and shorter, while the Kooleez are longer and skinner.  Both of these can hold the Zipzicle ice pop pouches.  Since the Zipzicle sleeve is wider, it is a little easier to get pops in and out of them, but a lot of the ice pop tends to stick out of the sleeve unless you buy short ice pops.  The Kooleez are stretchy enough to fit the Zipzicle pouches, but they are tighter.  I like both equally, but you may prefer one over the other.
  7. Ice Pop Joy: Organic, Healthy, Fresh, Delicious by Anni Daulter: There are a lot of amazing and inspirational ice pop recipes in this cookbook.  She gives you great ideas to play with, and you can easily go and explore making up your own recipes off of hers.  I sometimes change around the fruits, add difference juices, etc.  However, her book has given me a lot of inspiration on where to begin with making my own ice pops, as well as some combinations that I never really thought of putting together.  These are not your typical ice pop recipes.  She has recipes for tofu, vegetable, fruit, tea pops, and more.  It truly is a great book with a ton of ideas!
  8. Burn- FIX and First Aid Kit:  It is always a good idea to keep burn aids and a first aid kit around.  Accidents happen to the best of us, and you always want to be prepared.  These burn pads are fantastic for burns, we got them for my husband after he got a bad burn in the kitchen after Thanksgiving.  I wish we had found these when I burned my hand on the oven rack by accident a few months ago.
  9. Infantino Squeeze Pouch, Infantino Squeeze Station, Infantino Fresh Squeezed Simple Squeeze Kit:  If you, your child, or someone you know loves fruit and veggie pouches, Infantino has a great line of products.  The Squeeze Station is nice for when you want to make a more than one or two pouches at once, or you can use the Fresh Squeeze Simple Squeeze when you are wanting to make a single pouch quickly.  They sell pouches that come with twist tops.  I have never had a problem with leaking and they are very easy to use.  It is an easy way to make healthy snacks when on the go for kids and adults alike.
  10. Spiralizer:  I absolutely love my spiralizer.  I have used it to make zucchini noodles, fried zucchini chips, sweet potato chips, potato slices and more.  There are a lot of things you can do with this.  I would suggest you also check out the cook book Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci.  There are some great recipe suggestions, and inspirations to give you some great ideas on how to use your spiralizer and replace some of your carbs with vegetables.  Personally, this is why I bought the spiralizer, to incorporate more vegetables in place of and sometimes with pasta.
  11. Munchie Mug Snack Cup:  These are great for kids and adults alike.  They come in 12 oz or 16 oz sizes.  You take your dry snack of choice (crackers, pretzels, sweedish fish) and place it in the cup.  There is a lid with an overlapping fabric that is easy to put your hand through to get to your food, but keeps the food nice and tidy in the cup when tipped over or dropped, or a solid lid if you want something a little more sturdy or for safe storing, and makes it so you can hold liquids without leaking.  The trick to making sure they don’t leak is to make sure the cap and container are not wet where the cap threads on.  If the threading gets wet, I have had leaks.  However, these cups are mainly advertised for dry foods.  These cups come in a variety of colors as well.
  12. Ninja Master Prep: This is really an amazing blender.  When my blender finally burned out, I researched blenders for a while.  I really didn’t want to spend a ton of money, but I wanted something that worked well.  This blender is absolutely amazing.  I use it to make smoothies all of the time, as well for blending sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and it purees like a dream.  It is a pulsing blender.  You push the button on the motor on and off as many times as you need to to get the desired consistency.  The motor is in the top.  It is small and easy to store, which is an added bonus to me since I hate to have too many things on my counters.  Also, you can buy additional attachments and parts from Ninja’s website if you wanted additional jars, lids, etc.  I use this almost every day.
  13. Thermos Hydration Bottle:  This is the best water bottle I have ever had.  It does not leak, it holds a good amount of water, it has a ring so you can attach it with a carabiner and carry it with you.  It fits in a car cup holder as well.  I also love that it doesn’t have a straw.  I love water and I tend to guzzle water when I am drinking it.  To me, a straw gets in the way and makes it take longer to drink the amount of water I’m wanting.  The mechanism to open the water bottle is very easy to open as well as close.  You press the button and it pops open, and push the top down to close it.
  14. Curious Chef Apple Slicer:  I have been thinking about getting an apple slicer for years.  I never made the jump to do it until a couple of months ago.  I must say, I absolutely love the Curious Chef Apple Slicer.  I like to peel my apples, and then use the slicer to remove the core and slice the apple all at once.  It takes less than a second and works very well.  This is actually a product line that is marketed towards getting kids more involved in the kitchen.  You should check them out!


So, there you go!  My fourteen favorite kitchen items for 2015 fourteen days before Christmas!  I hope you were able to find something that you or someone you know will enjoy as well!