Monday, December 1, 2014

My Top 5 Kitchen Stocking Stuffers

Can you believe it's December already?  My favorite part of the holiday is planning Christmas gifts for my family.  And my favorite part of Christmas gifts are stocking stuffers.  These are the things you need but they needn't be boring.  Stocking stuffers are fun, creative, and a great way to show just how much thought you've put into the recipient of each gift!  My husband is often at a loss for just which kitchen gadget I might have my eye on, so I often find myself taking pictures while at the stores browsing and texting him the photos, along with the store name, and price.  Sometimes I'll email him with a particular product, often from the manufacturer's website, especially when there's a specific brand I want (examples would be my Emeril pots and pans and Wusthof knives, because I want to have a matching set when possible).  That way he has the exact specs of the product I want, but he has free rein to do research and get the best deal.  Here are a few items on my wish list this year:

Miniature Colander. Perfect for rinsing berries, cherry tomatoes, or beans.  Adorable to fill with other kitchen trinkets for a favorite home economics teacher. Put an ornament hanger on one handle and hang one (or several) from a kitchen Christmas Tree. Find this one at Sur La Table in a variety of colors.

Mini Whisk.  I cannot count the number of times my mom or best friend would come to my house and admonish my lack of this basic kitchen tool.  My reply was always something about how using a salad fork worked just as well, but secretly I was longing for a cute baby whisk.  These are perfect for sauces, beating eggs, and stirring up homemade salad dressings.  I bought one for myself last year, plopped it in my stocking, and used it every day since.  How did I survive before?!

Soap Dispensing Dish Brush. Refills for this beauty are a staple in my stocking. I hate kitchen clean-up, but it's a necessary evil. Make life easy by having a dish brush and liquid dish soap all in one place. No more burning your hands in hot water. Also, I've found that this particular brand holds up well to big messes (think cheese sauces and rice cooked to the bottom of a pan) so you don't have to replace the brush quite as often.

Mini Chopper.  I like Kitchen Aid appliances, so this is my model of choice, but I had a Cuisinart version until the housing for the blade cracked in two places, allowing me to justify buying what I really wanted.  Yes, I have put more than one mini chopper in my shopping basket at Target, ready to buy it only because I wanted a Kitchen Aid one that matched my other countertop appliances (which are, in fact, stowed in my cabinets) only to chide myself for buying a duplicate of something I already have.  Don't tell my husband, but I may have purposely overused my Cuisinart chopper so it would hurry up and break so that my want could turn into a bonafide need!

Cookie Scoop.  In a fit of laziness a few Christmases ago, I bought a cookie scoop.  My cookies were never uniform in size because:  (A) I used a tablespoon and my finger to scoop out the dough and (B) after scooping out three dozen cookies I'd get bored and just make ginormous cookies.  Enter the cookie scoop.  Instant reduction in time  from cookie dough to oven to belly!  That was justification enough, especially when my husband saw just how quickly he could have warm gooey chocolate chip cookies.  I bought one for my mom's Christmas stocking, and I don't know if she's used it yet, but when she does, I know she'll be forever grateful...

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