abby’s gift guide for the home cook

Food & Beverage

December 5, 2018

i love cooking and baking but what i don’t love is a bunch of random kitchen gadgets around the house. i love a good spatula but i don’t need an avocado pitter. you know what i am saying? i have a few devices that have earned themselves a permanent spot in the kitchen and over the years have stood the test of time. i left out things like my blender and mixer because those are some investment staples. i have a kitchenaid mixer that i’ve had the past 10 years (got it as a wedding gift) and a vitamix blender. both have worked incredible over the years and be tempted as a might with the new smeg mixer… i have to stay loyal to ol blue (my blue mixer).

these items go beyond your “basic” needs but are incredibly helpful around the kitchen. i’ve had and used all of them for years and quite frankly haven’t needed to replace anything (unless i dropped it) due to a quality or overuse issue.

  1. William Sonoma Open Kitchen Bowl Plates – i bought these a few years ago and i’m regretting putting all my previous beautiful pasta dishes in a cereal style bowl. These bowls are great for steaks covered in sauce, pastas and more. it allows the liquids to not drop off the plate but also for the toppings to stay evenly mixed and not collected in the bottom of a deep dish.
  2. GreenPan Skillet – I have had my GreenPan Skillets for a few months now and am super impressed with the quality and ease of cleaning. i made cheesy scrambled eggs last week and the cheese and eggs slid right off the pan on to the plate with out any burning or scarping. even though they say dishwasher safe i continue to hand wash only and so far they look brand new.
  3. Nespresso – if you are an iced americano drinking or a latte lover this is a must. the nespresso has prepackaged espresso pods that you simply pop in and press start. the espresso is phenomenal and the milk frother that comes with it creates the perfect foam to create home lattes and cappuccinos. in the summer i love the to make two shots of espresso and pour over ice with water. it costs $1 compared to $3 at starbucks for the same quality. i recently learned that you can request a recycling bag for the used pods.
  4. Breville Smart Oven Air –ok so this one is a bit of an extra add on for the kitchen but it eliminates so many other appliances and if you are like me and hate turning your oven on in the summer then this little oven will work magic. i even like to use it when i have different things to cook at different temperatures. the breville smart oven has an air fry feature, broil and dehydrator among other features. i originally got this as a gift because i wanted a dehydrator but i went with this model because of all the additional features. bye bye toaster.
  5. Staub Oval Bakers – these are my casserole masters. i bake everything from shepherds pie to baked macaroni and when it’s time for dishes i barely have to scrub them. they clean up so nicely and bake evenly. they are the only things i use. I also have the square version that work wonderfully.
  6. Wusthof Gourmet 12 Piece Block Set –  i didn’t realize what a difference a good knife set made until I got this one as a christmas gift last year. my slicing and dicing of vegetables is even and clean and i’m not losing a finger in the process. i originally did not get the version with the steak knives but ended up buying them separately later. they work fantastic. better yet if you buy them from sur la table or williams sonoma they sharpen them for you.
  7. Staub Square Grill Pan – winter is long and the grilling season can be a bit short here in michigan. we use this grill pan for everything from fish to steak. the nice part is you can sear the meat and finish in the oven. i in general have always used staub over le creuset. however i do have some le creuset bakers similar to the staub bakers and they work just as good.
  8. Staub 7qt Round Cocottte –  this is my kitchen workhorse. i have the larger and smaller size but i find this size works great for whole chickens, soups and more. i love the versatility of being able to go from cook top to oven. if you have to sear vegetables or meat and then add to oven it eliminates an entire pan which means less clean up. i think when cooking meat in cast iron it savors the flavor and locks in the moisture as well.

i could really go on and on about how much i love kitchen gadgets and new things for cooking but i limited it to my top 8. i love shopping at william sonoma and sur la table because they always stand behind their product. if ever i have had an issue they always step up and solve the issue or replace the product no questions asked and that is hard to find these days!

happy holiday shopping!


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  1. Linzi says:

    I want it all! Since of these things are already on my wish list!

  2. barb slikkers says:

    oops. u talked about the nespresso…but posted a pic of a breville. was that intentional? btw…i am a nespresso freakaholic. love it. use every day. and agree, love it over ice w milk in the summer. perfect summer coffee treat. we also use the recycle bags and they come w postage already on them. another question…do u have other williams sonoma dishes?…I am building and need new every day white dishes. wondering if williams sonoma are a good choice.

Abigail Albers       Author

Abby is a wife and mother, antique shopper, entrepreneur, gardener, sheep lady, sequin enthusiast and your Midwest Martha Stewart Wannabe.. Follow her on instagram @adventuresinabbyland.

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