2013 Holiday Gift Guide

This year has been absolutely crazy in our home. We started off the year considering adding to our family, and here we are, almost a year later, holding our beautiful baby boy, Judah. He laughs in his sleep, loves staring at the Christmas tree, and his favorite place in the world is the car.

Needless to say, our lives have been turned upside down. I don't sleep. We've had our Christmas tree up since October, so to say I get confused about what month it is is an understatement. I have no clean pants-only clean shirts-which makes for awkward trips to the grocery store. But I am so, so happy.

I'm slowly starting to come out of my mommy-fog and dip my foot back into the All Kinds of Yumm pond. Because Christmas is a big deal in our home, and because I always claw and dig to find the perfect gift for everyone in the family, I thought this was the perfect re-introduction. If you or someone you love is an avid entertainer or enjoys cooking, I'd highly suggest one of these items for their gift list*.

"This eco-friendly tool swiftly cuts thin-crust or deep-dish pizza into uniform slices. Simply grasp the handle at opposite ends and rock the blade back and forth to create portions in the desired size."

I am confident that I have gone through at least 7 pizza cutters since getting married in 2009. Just do yourself a favor and invest in a good one. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

"There's nothing like a delicious plate of pasta - but cooking it can be a hassle. Once the pasta is cooked, pouring it into a strainer or colander can be clumsy, messy and even dangerous if you spill the boiling water. Well, cooking pasta or any type of food that needs draining just became a whole lot safer and easier! Put away your old colander - simply put the lid with built-in strainer on, turn it slightly to lock, and drain hot water with confidence. Made from aluminum, the pasta pot allows perfect heat conduction and the non-stick interior ensures evenly cooked pasta every single time. The innovative, colorful Bialetti 'Trends' pasta pot features a locking built-in strainer that makes draining the water safe and easy."

Pasta is fun, but draining it is definitely not. I love these pots with the built-in strainer, and the colors are to die for. Even if it's not a total necessary, it's convenient, and it's easy on the eyes.

"Love apples or potatoes but don't really care for the peel? The Victorio apple and potato peeler is here to help. For apples it can quickly peel, core and slice with a few turns of the handle."

I confess, I make fewer recipes involving apples and potatoes because I'm too lazy to peel them. A friend of mine owns this and let me use it for an apple crisp. Life: changed.

"Our fun Toadstool Measuring spoons are durably crafted of ceramic and brightly painted for a charming display. The four exclusive spoons are easy to clean and bound with twine to keep them together. They're whimsical kitchen essentials you'll use repeatedly when baking or cooking."

I'm kinda' crazy over-the-top with measuring spoons. And I love these. Talk about an amazing stocking stuffer!

"The food experts at Southern Living put a lot of love into this value-packed, softcover version of their first-ever cookbook of the South's favorite desserts. A must-have for any kitchen, Classic Southern Desserts is as much a look-book as it is a cookbook, with gorgeous, full-color photos accompanying every mouthwatering dish. Over 200 of the Southern Living Test Kitchens' highest-rated recipes for luscious cakes, pies, cupcakes, cookies, and much more, as submitted by generations of home cooks, were handpicked for this book-the kinds of old-fashioned recipes that everyone remembers from childhood, updated to fit today's trends and ingredients."

I am convinced that dessert can play an important role in our lives. It builds bridges between people, it forgives a terrible dinner, and it just tastes so dang good.

And let's be honest - you weren't really going to diet anyway. Besides, there's always room for the classics. Especially when there are over 200 of them and they involve lots and lots of chocolate.

"Bring the family to the table for a wholesome home-cooked meal. The SCR450-PT serves 5 or more people and is ideal for all your favorite slow cooker recipes, with high, low and warm settings to accommodate varied cooking needs and time constraints. Clean up is also a snap with dishwasher-safe, removable stoneware that doubles as a convenient serving dish complete with a dishwasher-safe glass lid."

I know, I know - you already have a crock pot. But this is so pretty...it can't hurt to have two, right?


"Resembling a vintage breadboard, with a raised lip to hold your e-Tablet, this sturdy kitchen helper keeps recipes and other helpful cooking information at your fingertips."

If we're being real, just about every one of us are guilty of using our smart phones or iPads/tablets while cooking. This gorgeous tablet holder is incredibly helpful and will keep you moving without having to awkwardly bend over your iPad.

"It was a time honored tradition among early American families when someone deserved special praise or attention, they were served dinner on The Red Plate. Today this custom, so dear to early American families, returns to remind us a simple reward can mean so much. The Red Plate is the perfect way to acknowledge a family member's special triumphs . . . celebrate a birthday . . . praise a job well done . . . reward a goal achieved . . . or simply say 'You are Special Today.'"

This red plate means a lot to me. My mom used one with me and my brothers growing up, and I bought one to use with my family. There are a lot of knock-off "You Are Special Today" plates, but the original is well worth the price. We used ours for years, whether it be for a birthday or a good report card. It's a tradition that I highly suggest starting.

"Ideal for chilling your favorite spirit without diluting its flavor 3/4 - 7/8-inch, Natural, Set of 9. Milled in Vermont by the oldest soapstone workshop in the US. Add three chilled stones to your next dram, let stand for 5-minute and enjoy. Set of 9 stones and muslin storage bag. Not for use with larger volume drinks."

If you buy this, I'm going to assume that you have a grandfather who spends his days in an old library and has a fantastic mustache. He also wears a velvet robe and bears a striking resemblance to Tom Selleck.

Or, you just really like whiskey.

P.S. I hear these are fantastic and work really well with wine, too.

"Our Black Graniteware 34-Qt Stock Pot is great for chili, gumbo, soups, stews and seafood. With a carbon steel core designed for strength, conductivity and heat distribution, this pot lets you cook for a crowd. The porcelain surface is naturally nonstick and non-porous."

If you are even somewhat of a hosting family, you need a large-and I mean large-stock pot. There's no worse feeling than hosting a group of 10 or more and only having your regular-sized cooking tools. This is perfect for everything from chili to a low country boil. And even though it's a little more expensive than your regular pot, it will stay in the family for-ev-er.

"A future heirloom. Not your grandma's Mason jars. Perfect for old-fashioned iced tea, lemonade, or any refreshing drink. Attractive and sturdy with vintage charm galore. Go back to the days of listening to the wireless and drinking moonshine. Set of four glasses, each shaped like a Mason jar, but with an easy-to-hold handle. Lead-free. Dishwasher safe."

I love mason jars. I love that I can use them for just about anything.
So the idea of making a mason jar into a mug? Genius. And so stinkin' cute.

"The pot's exterior features Le Creuset's renowned enamel coating providing a surface that not only looks lovely, but also wipes clean with a damp cloth. Additional features include a removable lid that fits tightly to trap in heat and a locking handle that facilitates safe pouring and transport."

Didn't you know? Tea is "in" again! Ever since Pinterest came into existence, the benefits of tea have covered our boards and Facebook walls. It's chic. It's inexpensive to make. And this teakettle is very pretty (and a great brand, too).

"Our popular stoneware bakers in fresh blues with white interiors. Nesting bakers transition from oven to table to potluck dinner party."

Pans are important. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fancy less-used cookware that we forget about the days we just need to make a lasagna or some brownies. It's important that our day-to-day cookware is as inspiring as our special cookware. Otherwise, what's the point?


"The Misto Oil Bottle Sprayer is now available in vibrant colors to match your kitchen. The sprayer is designed with the health-conscious cook in mind and is perfect for low fat/high flavor cooking, grilling, sautéing, roasting and basting. Misto is ideal for spraying olive oil on salads, pasta, veggies, breads, pizza, chicken, beef and fish. It even works as a plant mister when filled with water. Buy one for your favorite oils, vinegars, lemon or lime juice and more. Refill and reuse again and again!"

Whenever a recipe calls to "drizzle" olive oil on something, I inwardly cringe. Mostly because I drink too much caffeine and my hands shake, and I end up pouring half the bottle over one poor little helpless potato. These olive oil sprayers are heaven-sent for people like me. Just fill it up, take off the lid and spray anything...and I mean anything. It'll become a kitchen necessity soon enough.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Pear

"KitchenAid's Artisan stand mixer is a substantial piece of equipment: 325 watts of mixing power make child's play of creaming butter, kneading dough, and whipping cream. The kid in you will appreciate how quick and easy it is to mix up a batch of cookie dough...this machine is as pretty as it is rugged--you'll want to show it off.!"

I put the KitchenAid Mixer on my holiday gift guide every single year, mostly because I still believe it is one of the most long-standing and useful kitchen tools on the market. And yes, it is well worth the investment. How complicated of a model you get is up to you (and your budget). If, however, you are looking for a stand mixer and don't have the budget for a KitchenAid brand, check out the Hamilton Beach Electrics Stand Mixer which sells for $152.99 on Amazon. I have owned this model and was very happy with it.

So that's it, folks! I hope you enjoyed it. All of these are great picks.


*Prices were updated 12/1/13

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