9 Useful Kitchen Gifts
It's that time of year when we start doing two things: 1) reflecting on the past year and 2) scrambling to find gifts.
If you're in the second category and are still scrambling to find gifts, I recommend that that you think back on your year and some of the best things you've purchased or received. Chances are that would make a great gift for someone else. (See also: 25 Awesome Useful Gifts)
For me, they are some kitchen items that have become part of my life in the past year that I now can't live without.
Leak Proof Travel Mug
Who knew that they could design a travel mug that absolutely positively does not leak?! Honestly, this Contigo travel mug has changed my life. Every day I fill my mug with hot tea and throw it in my laptop bag. (It took me some time to trust it enough not to leak.) If you don't have a entirely leak proof mug I highly recommend this one. And they come in stainless steel or BPA free plastic so you don't have to worry about absorbing toxic BPA chemicals.
Electric Tea Kettle
When my parents got me this tea kettle for Christmas last year I immediately thought about the three conventional tea kettles that already took up too much room in my cabinets. I protested and insisted they return it. But my mom insisted I give it a try. She claimed that "they use them all over Europe" and that it would save me a lot of time. Mom — you were right. It not only takes about 2 minutes to heat my water for tea in the morning. But, when I'm rushed for dinner, I boil water in the tea kettle, add the water to a pot on the stove, and cook spaghetti. It shaves 5 minutes off the time it would normally take to boil water on the stove. Plus, apparently it's more energy efficient than boiling water the conventional way. (See also: 20 Great Gifts for Home Cooks)
Wrap and Mat
Ok, so I actually didn't get my Wrap and Mat this year. But, it's still one of my most used kitchen items. I don't have to waste money on small plastic sandwich baggies because I just wrap sandwiches and pizza in the wrap and mat instead.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle(s)
I got a new Camelback Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle this year which is amazing. It actually keeps beverages from sweating on my desk and keeps them cool during the summer. An added benefit is that with the straw I don't drip down my shirt. This year I also got a forty ounce stainless steel water bottle. While I tend to spill on myself with this bottle, it holds a lot more liquid, reducing the number of trips to the water fountain.
Fully Automatic Ice Cream Maker
I used to have an ice cream maker that required pre-freezing the canister for 24 hours. Needless to say, I didn't plan far enough in advance to make ice cream very often. Then, for a wedding present, we got a fully automatic ice cream/gelato maker — you don't have to pre-freeze the canister. Just pour in your cream mixture, turn it on, and 30 minutes later you have ice cream. I used it at least once a week this summer. (See also: The 5 Best Ice Cream Makers)
I asked around for some family input and also got these suggestions as great kitchen gifts:
Cheese Knife — "It cuts any cheese like butter!"
French rolling pin — "It has better control than a regular [rolling pin] and it's easier to “feel” when you have the dough at the right thickness."
Lefse Grill — You may have never heard of this Norwegian treat; but even if you don't make Lefse "it's a great device for making tortillas, pancakes, etc. Because it has better control of temp than the stove."
SideSwipe KitchenAid Mixer Blade — "This gizmo for KitchenAid mixers really works to clean sides of bowl so scraping isn’t needed"
What's the best (and most practical) thing you've purchased/received this year?
(Disclosure: I received the travel mug for free from Contigo but like it so much I have already purchased it for family and friends.)