A Few of My Favorite Things!

Over the past few days I have been getting lots of emails from those of you that are looking for the perfect gift for the foodie in your family. Today I want to share with you some of my kitchen essentials. In my opinion, these are the tools that every cook needs.

One Year Ago: Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies 

My Top 10 Gifts for Home Cooks

1. The Professional 600 Series Kitchenaid Stand Mixer

KitchenAid Professional 600 Stand Mixer

I think of this mixer as my left arm in the kitchen. I am not sure what I would do without it. This thing is a beast! It is the most powerful of the Kitchenaid stand mixers. A 10-speed slide control gives you just the speed you need from a very fast whip to a very slow stir. Whether you want to whip up 8 loaves of bread, 13 dozen cookies, or 8 pounds of mashed potatoes, this mixer can do it, all in one bowl!

2. Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus 11 cup Food Processor

Cuisinart DLC-2011CHB Food Processor, 11-Cup Prep Plus Series

This food processor quickly and easily slices, dices, chops, and purees. It can slice and chop vegetables like nobody’s business, mix pizza dough with ease, and emulsify eggs and oil into mayonnaise—all with the push of a button. The 11-cup capacity processor powers through virtually any ingredient with its stainless steel blade. This processor is great for  shortening prep time so you can concentrate on the cooking at hand.

3. Kitchenaid 5 Speed Blender

Here is a high performance blender produces lump-free smoothies, creamy hummus, pesto, smooth soups, and pulverized ice. I use this blender so much during the summer to make our favorite tropical drinks during cookouts.

4. Le Creuset 7 1/4-Quart Round French Oven

Every cook knows that a good Dutch oven (also known as a stockpot, round oven, French oven, or casserole) is a kitchen essential. Last Christmas I received my first Le Creuset French oven and immediately fell in love. Made of cast-iron, which is known for its heat distribution and retention, this French oven cooks foods evenly and gently without hot spots. The even heat distribution and heat retention is great for cooking on the stovetop or finishing in the oven. The perfect choice for braises, pot roasts, and stews, but it can also be used to deep-fry foods and boil pasta.

5. Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker

Cuisinart-ICE-21-Frozen-Yogurt-Ice-Cream-and-Sorbet-Maker-01

Here in Sweet Pea’s Kitchen we love ice cream! Ice cream is not just a summer treat in our house so that is why I included it in my top 10. I love this ice cream maker, with just the push of a button you can have creamy, delicious ice cream in minutes! It also makes frozen yogurt, sorbet, even frozen drinks. The large capacity mixing bowl lets you make up to 1-1/2 quarts of your favorite smooth and creamy frozen treats. Essential for summer entertaining! I bought mine at Williams Sonoma where they give you a free second freezer bowl!

6. OXO Digital Kitchen Scale

Here is one kitchen gadget that I use not only for cooking and baking, but also as a diet tool to weigh my portions of food. The digital scale accurately measure ingredients for cooking and baking, something that measuring cups can never measure up to. No matter how precise you try to be with measuring cups, even if you “dip and sweep” or scoop,  you could be off by as much as 10 percent—a variance that, in baking, can mean the difference between a dense cake or a fluffy, tender crumb. I love that the display panel pulls away from the base, making it so much easier to check the readings when the container overhangs the platform.

7. Wusthof Classic 8-Piece Knife Set with Block

A good set of knives are essential to any cook. I love this 8 piece set that includes the perfect knife no mater what you are doing. These knives cut through tough meats, vegetables, fruits, and crusty breads with ease. Knife blocks are great to give as gifts during the holidays, however if you are searching for just a chef’s knife, the Wusthof Grand Prix II Chef’s Knife can’t be beat!

8. Instant Read Thermometer: Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen 

There is nothing worse than food that has been overcooked (well maybe undercooked ;) ). You spend hours preparing the meal only to have the main dish overcooked and dry. With this instant read thermometer you will no longer have to suffer through an overcooked meal. If you are looking for one to use for your holiday meal I like to use the ThermoWorks Original Cooking Thermometer for roasts. It has a probe that you insert into the roast. When the roast is at the correct temperature an alarm goes off letting you know the food is ready. This thermometer is essential for holiday turkeys and hams.

9. Vollrath Cookie Sheet

Cookie Sheet (17x14-in.) by Vollrath Co.

With all the cookies I crank out of this kitchen, I always rely on this cookie sheet. It is made from heavy-gauge 3004 aluminum that heats rapidly and evenly. It is super easy to clean. It is also under $25, making it a great buy for the baker in your family.

10. Wilton Avanti Everglide Metal-Safe Non-Stick 12-Cup Muffin Pan

I always get emails asking which muffin tin I use to make cupcakes and muffins. I really like this muffin tin because it has oversized handles where I can hold on to the tin with an oven mitt and not worry about denting my fresh-baked goodie. Since it has a nonstick surface, my muffins pop right out without sticking.

So there you go…my top picks for the foodie on your list. Do you have a favorite thing that you would add to my list? I want to hear about it! I am always looking for new things to add to my kitchen. Happy holidays and happy cooking! :D

16 Responses to “A Few of My Favorite Things!”

  1. #
    1
    Megan — December 15, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    I think that’s the KitchenAid I registered for. Happy to hear you love it! I need something more powerful than the classic.

  2. #
    2
    layersuponlayers — December 15, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    My husband bought the Le Creuset in the same color, but his is more oval. It is beautiful enough to leave out on the stove or counter when not in use, and he has made the most delicious pot roasts in it, so far! Great gift idea! It will be your kitchen baby for years to come!

  3. #
    3
    cravesadventure — December 15, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Recently I took the splurge and bought a Vita-Mix – love it! Love Le Creuset – adds a pop of color to the kitchen. Thanks for sharing!

  4. #
    4
    Laura — December 15, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    Silpat liners for cookie sheets

  5. #
    5
    jenna — December 15, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

    Great choices! I want the OXO scale this year from Santa.

  6. #
    6
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — December 15, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    I am the household food processor/chopper! Great list, wouldn’t change a thing.

  7. #
    7
    Caroline — December 15, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    Great picks, Christina! I stand by my professional Kitchen Aid mixer 100% as well. Not too sure what I’d do without it. I have that Cuisinart food processor as well…it’s great! :)

  8. #
    8
    ChgoJohn — December 15, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Funny how dependent upon these appliances I’ve become. I’ve got your list covered and am very happy with them all.

  9. #
    9
    Michael Ann Riley — December 15, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

    Wow, I want all of them!!! I have a similar cookie sheet that is 25 years old and still going strong. Never have to grease it and it never burns cookies on the bottom. I do not own a standing mixer, can you believe it? I am thinking about it though :-) Love the blender recommendation. Great list!

  10. #
    10
    Sarah from The Hem of His Garment — December 15, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    A Kitchen Aid Mixer in Almond Cream is on my Christmas list this year!! So excited! :)

  11. #
    11
    Bluejellybeans — December 15, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    Merry Christmas to you too!
    I’m going to send this list to Santa ;)

  12. #
    12
    Patti — December 15, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations – I will definitely look into some of those!

  13. #
    13
    Just A Smidgen — December 15, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

    I love all of these:) Might be time to ask Santa for an upgrade to that cuisinart! I love Kitchenaid… and every time they come out with a new color… I guess it’s just like shoes, you always want another pair in a different color;) Great blog and Christmas ideas!

  14. #
    14
    Fran@fransfavs.com — December 16, 2011 @ 9:24 am

    Christina, we have an almost identical list with identical products! Couldn’t live without my KA mixer and my Oxo digital scale. And the Kitchen Aid blender is just the best–purees/liquefies anything in an instant. One of my top 10 kitchen aids that’s not on your list is the microplane zester–makes zesting lemons a breeze instead of a drudgery as it was years ago for me before I discovered and bought one. Of course, my all time favorite is my wooden spoon. :-) Merry Chriskwanzukah!!! Keep the great recipes coming…

  15. #
    15
    Fran@fransfavs.com — December 16, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    p.s. How could I forget?! Couldn’t function in the kitchen making soups without my immersion blender!!

  16. #
    16
    The Orange Bee — December 18, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Great list – especially the knives by Wusthof. I’ve been given one or sometimes two every Christmas for several years. I have so many that I asked my husband to start buying them for our 24 year old daughter instead of me. Couldn’t work in my kitchen without them.
    I found your beautiful blog through “Rufus” while looking for pumpkin recipes – I’ve still got canned pumpkin in the pantry and want to use it for a Christmas treat. Think I might try your pumpkin biscuits – honey is one of my favorite ingredients. If you check out The Orange Bee you’ll see why. I’ll be back to visit. Merry Christmas!

Leave a Comment