For Mother’s Day or my birthday, I no longer need anything extravagant as far as a gift. I often just look forward to dinner out instead of shopping, cooking and then cleaning up. My gift lists usually include a gift certificate to my hair salon or current favorite store, a spa visit for a massage, or a refill on my favorite perfume. Nothing too excessive! These are all great gifts but somewhat short lived.
I have learned that certain gift items bring delight over and over and many of them happen to be in my kitchen. It sounds a little lame (maybe quite lame) but sometimes I would rather have a new toaster than new clothes. Given that I spend many hours in the kitchen, a really great cooking tool or gadget, makes cooking easier and brings me satisfaction over and over. I already have beautiful jewelry, I don’t need more of it. I really don’t need more than a few bottles of perfume. Simple gifts that are useful everyday are usually my favorites.
Below is my list of my current favorite kitchen and house items that make me happy and also make cooking and entertaining easier. Not that kitchen items are all top on my gift list at all, but given the amount of hours I spend in the kitchen each week, it is wonderful to have the right tools!
Pasta Pot with Strainer This is great for cooking pasta, bags of rice, potatoes, chicken and more. I have barely used my strainer since getting this new pasta pot. There is no space wasted in the sink and no big strainer to clean. The lid is smaller and easier to clean than the large plastic strainer. My new pot is also deeper than my old one, so it does not boil over as easily.
Silicone Oven Mitt I have gotten several pot holders over the last few years that are thick and heat resistant but they are so thick that it is tough to grab the hot pan. This silicone piece is small and much more flexible to grab a pan out of the oven or take a lid off a hot pot on the stove. It is small enough to manipulate your hand but offers enough protection to avoid the heat. I got mine for a few dollars on a recent visit to Crate & Barrel, or here are a few similar versions.
Square Grill Pan This pan is in constant use in my house for pancakes, french toast, grilled cheese and more. Being able to cook four of everything (instead of 2 or 3) at a time is worth it. It fits easier in your cabinet and is easy to clean. It also works perfectly with my grill press to cook more yummy foods.
Grill Press This heavy press is great for making Panini’s, fried bagels, bacon, chicken and more. I have only used it to grill a few items but lately I’ve been doing some research and found several other great ideas:
Food Network: 10 Unexpected Things to Make in a Panini Press
Keurig Coffee Maker This pot is expensive and the coffee is expensive but I would Never go back to my old coffee pot now. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay for my Keurig, I won it at a school fundraiser. I had no idea how much I would like it. It is so convenient that I also got the small single cup for work. There is always a fresh cup and so many choices of what to have! Coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate, chai tea, tea from a pod or just hot water and your teabag, we use it constantly. My kids can use it themselves for tea or hot cocoa easily without any worry of them burning themselves. The pods are expensive but there are plenty of stores to get a better price or use a coupon.
Bagel Slicer I thought my husband was a bit silly for buying a bagel slicer, when he is perfectly capable of slicing a bagel himself! But now that we have it, and all my kids can cut their own bagels safely, it has earned its spot in my kitchen. The slicer always cuts bagels evenly so there is no problem fitting it in the toaster. It is also quite handy when you have company and need to slice lots of bagels quickly.
Nutri-Ninja Not only can you do smoothies and shakes, you can puree some serious soups!! Our first blender from when we got married didn’t last very long once my husband started making smoothies on a daily basis. The replacement blender he bought was fine until we burnt out the motor smoothing out some delicious potato soup. After much debate, we decided to make the bigger investment in the larger version of the ninja. One of the advantages is that it comes with several sizes of containers so we can make multiple items at a time. My husband can have his smoothie, I can make a small one in my flavor to bring to work and we still have the main blender available to make soup.
Microwave Steamer I truly eat more vegetables simply because I have my microwave steamer. It is so easy to use and I have fresh steamed veggies in minutes. After cooking dinner which is often two or three items, I don’t really feel like cooking some vegetables. With my steamer, I chop up a few veggies quickly, toss them in the steamer with water in the bottom and set them aside. When the rest of the dinner is a few minutes from being ready, I pop the veggies into the microwave for 5-6 minutes.
Bluetooth Speaker Music is an absolute must for our house. My “party music” for years was a 10 CD changer with detachable speakers so that I could put one speaker in the house and one speaker outside. Talk about old technology! I graduated to an iPod and small speaker but my new favorite is my JBL charge 2 Bluetooth speaker. When I upgraded my phone, I turned my old one into my music iPod.
This Bluetooth speaker has great sound and can be moved anywhere in the house or even outside for summer parties. I like that we can customize the playlists depending on the crowd. My daughter was happy that I made a playlist with current music for her pool party rather than playing my “old” music. I love that I can play any music any time. The JBL Charge is a great speaker and has a long battery life, I have used it for 8 hours or more without running down the battery.
Whatever makes you happy for Mother’s Day, you should do it! What are your favorite gift ideas to ask for or to give to someone else? Let us know!
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