It’s the Thought that Counts: 10 Kitchen Gift Items for Christmas Holiday
There are plenty of reasons why gift-giving is important and valued during Christmas. It can be a way to say thank you, show appreciation, or let someone feel that you care for him/her. Sometimes we’re tongue-tied in expressing our genuine feelings or emotions in words, and so we can let our gifts speak of our thanks to the recipient.
Christmas is the perfect time of the year for exchanging gifts with family and friends. But, we become more bothered about what item we should give to them and anxious if the gift would put a smile or not. Instead of worrying too much about it, you might want to consider wrapping these exciting kitchen essentials as Christmas presents.
1. Oven Toaster
The oven toaster is a small electric kitchen appliance designed for various quick-and-easy cooking methods like toasting and broiling. Moreover, the top and bottom coils inside the chamber release infrared heat that allows the food to be cooked. This smaller version of the heavy-duty oven can have 2-3 racks where the baking trays are attached or placed.
2. Russian Piping Tips
This coming Christmas could be a sweet tooth’s feast, with decadent desserts served to satisfy the cravings. Cupcakes are one of the popular baked goods that appeals to the young and young at heart. And, you can’t call a cupcake without its frosting. Therefore, giving Russian piping tips would put color and vibrancy to the cupcake. Find that special piping tip that’s not ordinary, like one that automatically creates floral-patterned frosting.
3. Ratchet Mill
Pounding and crushing whole herbs and spices in mortar and pestle can be tiring and would take a decade to make (just kidding). But, there’s a kitchen tool that will lessen such prolonging kitchen agony, the ratchet mill. This tool has a similar purpose to mortar and pestle, to grind, but in the fastest way. Also, since it’s portable and small, it doesn’t consume much space.
4. Set of Knives
Expect that there are tons of dishes for Christmas. The sound of the chopped ingredients on the chopping block pervades the kitchen. But, if the knives are dull, things could turn into a cutthroat space. With that said, why not give a set of knives as a present? Find a set that contains numerous knife blades like fillet, butcher, utility, serrated, chef’s knives. If it comes in a wooden or plastic kitchen knives organizer, it wouldn’t be easily cluttered.
5. Automatic Pan Stirrer
Making sauces for your pasta and stews that need attention can be difficult to manage and do, especially if someone has a child who throws tantrums. But, you can ease their burden by giving them an automatic pan stirrer. This modern kitchen tool automatically rotates and stirs the sauce or stew in the pan. Hence, gone are the days of serving burnt and unappetizing foods.
6. Manual Coffee Grinder
Indeed, nothing beats an early morning grind fueled by a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
The manual coffee grinder is an excellent present to give to coffee connoisseurs who are always in a hurry. This is an efficient tool for grinding coffee beans anywhere. Many are small enough to be portable and doesn’t occupy much space. More importantly, buy only those sturdy and high-quality manual coffee grinder so that it would go for the long run.
7. Immersion Blender
Immersion blenders are a hand-held design of the typical blenders. It has blades attached on one end, covered with a protective case to avoid skin contact for safety measures. This portable blender is suitable for making soups and sauces. All you have to do is put it in the pot or pan and let the tool do its thing.
8. Non-stick Pans and Baking Pans
Sometimes, it’s kind of defeating in the kitchen when the food doesn’t easily come out from the pan or baking dish, and we don’t want that to happen during Christmas food preparation, right? Non-stick pans and baking pans have become essentials in every kitchen. The fried food doesn’t stick on the pan, and there will never be a crumbled cake served on the table since the batter doesn’t stick on the bottom and sides of the pan.
9. Food Dehydrator
A food dehydrator is a great gift to give this Christmas since it provides immense assistance to those who plan to bake fruitcakes. This kitchen accessory removes the fruit or vegetable’s liquid content or moisture and turns it into a desiccated product. You can dehydrate the plums and dates so that you won’t have to buy the preserved ones for your fruitcake.
Since the food during Christmas eve is heavy, pairing it with a fresh vegetable salad on the side cuts the food’s fatty taste. While it takes time cutting and julienning the vegetables, why not purchase a mandolin as your gift? This kitchen tool is handy. It’s easier to cut all the vegetables because all you have to do is slide them into the blade attached to the tool. You can also adjust the thickness according to what you prefer.
While we are so busy preparing for the presents that we will give, we seem to have forgotten that it’s always the thought that counts. As long as the gift speaks of your genuine kindness, the receiver will immediately feel it. Hence, don’t stress yourself too much this Christmas and just enjoy the radiance of the Yuletide season.
Save Hundreds with a $20 Coffee Maker
To say I love coffee is an understatement. I drink the stuff all day long — yes, sometimes to the detriment of my water consumption — and if I had it my way, I’d drink iced coffee over hot every time. (As it turns out, you spend more energy and therefore generate more warmth digesting iced coffee once it enters your system than you do digesting hot coffee — to that end, it’s never too cold for iced coffee.) But even my beloved bottle of iced coffee concentrate from Trader Joe’s can add up — and lugging those bottles from the store to my apartment gets heavy, quickly.
In search of a better and more cost-efficient way, I spent a not-insignificant amount of time last year trying to find the ideal iced coffee system for me. I was specifically in the market for the kind of contraption that would allow me to put in the least amount of effort in the morning. That’s when I stumbled across the kind of cold-brew pitchers that steep your beans in water overnight, and it was love at first sip.
One of the most popular versions of this pitcher is the Takeya cold brew coffee maker, which boasts plenty of rave reviews. I wound up buying a similar version made from glass and stainless steel by the company Brew to a Tea — the pitcher works for both cold brew coffee and iced tea, and at $19.99, it’s about five dollars cheaper than the plastic Takeya version.
It’s straightforward enough to use: Fill the pitcher with water as far up as its top line, fill the mesh filter with the coffee of your choice, and submerge the filter into the water. I’ve found it’s helpful to fill the water about 3/4 of the way, insert the filter and the coffee, and then top the pitcher off with more water so that the coffee grounds are fully saturated in water. Then, leave the pitcher in your fridge overnight or up to 24 hours, remove the filter, and boom! Cold brew coffee, ready to dilute to whatever strength you need.
Sure, it takes some foresight to prepare, and if you run out without brewing more, you might need to reach for the hot coffee as a backup. To that end, I’ve taken to storing my brewed cold brew in glass milk bottles once it’s done brewing, to free up my pitcher for a regular rotation.
Even so, the best benefit is the amount of money I’ve saved. Because I was curious, I did the math:
A bottle of Trader Joe’s cold brew coffee concentrate lasts me about a week (OK, sometimes it’s less than that), and costs $7.99.
A bag of Trader Joe’s French roast ground coffee costs $4.99.
If I use one cup of coffee grounds each time I brew a pitcher of cold brew, that means my coffee bag will last me for about five to six pitchers.
A comparable amount of cold brew concentrate would cost me anywhere from $39.95 to $47.94.To that end, the iced coffee pitcher saves me, on average, $35 to $42, for each bag of coffee I use, if I were to buy the same amount of coffee concentrate bottles.
10 Cleaning Products that work Miracles for Under $10
You can get your cleaning done thoroughly and cheaply.
Because we spend a good chunk of our time cleaning, it makes sense to spend money on things that make the process more pleasant and easier. There are many sensible cleaning investments you can make. From nice-looking brooms that make your home prettier as well as cleaner to Dyson stick vacuums, here are some of the purchases you can consider.
I haven’t always been a fan of the Scrub Daddy. The name sounded kind of weird and the toothless grin didn’t exactly give me a pleasant feeling. But my grandma always has one at her sink. So sooner or later, I had to try it out.
I have to admit that Scrub Daddys are nothing short of amazing. They are better than sponges or scrub brushes. They do such a good job that I have finally made peace with the grin.
Scrub Daddies work well in hot or cold water and they never stink which is so nice. You don’t have to get the orange or neon green versions. They also come in a milder gray color that won’t interfere with your kitchen’s color scheme.
Clean Magic Erasers
After using them for a while, the ‘Magic’ part of the name doesn’t sound like a marketing gimmick anymore. These blocks clean wall scuffs, scum in the bathtub, grout, and even stains on stainless steel like a charm.
Shannon Muldoon, the Director of Studio52 loves Mr. Clean Magic Erasers for a good reason. Whenever you find that a rag and a spray do not quite do the job, reach for these Magic Erasers and you will get the job done.
One of the worst things about shower doors is the filth that builds up in their tracks. The worst part about them is that they can be hard to get rid of without cramping your fingers and running through several paper towels. So when I came across these groove cleaners on Instagram (of all places) I had to try them out.
Not only do they remove the gunk effectively, but they are also easy on my hands and reusable. These groove cleaners are amazing for cleaning anything that has grooves, from baseboards and shower doors to window tracks.
Wash the sponge in your dishwasher and it is as good as new.
Rubber gloves are probably your best defensive weapon when it comes to cleaning. Household cleaning products are amazing for your house but not-so-nice for your skin. You still want to have soft and supple hands when you are done cleaning.
Never take on deep cleaning without wearing rubber gloves. They are especially important in winter when skin dryness is such a huge problem. Invest in one of these and you will pinch yourself for taking so long to buy them.
Bar Keeper’s Friend
There is a good reason why so many people love the Bar Keeper’s Friend. It is a near-universal cleaner that polishes off stainless steel cookware and utensils as well as clears up rust, scum, grimy wheels, hard water stains, and cleans sports equipment.
Bar Keeper’s Friend works for so many items that it would be difficult to list all of them. All you need to know is that you need to make the Bar Keeper’s Friend your friend too.
Reusable Swiffer Pads
These eco-friendly pads have lasted so long in the market because they are so popular. The only downside of these Swiffer pads is that you can’t refill the bottle of cleaning solution so you have to keep buying new plastic bottles which are wasteful.
But there are reusable microfiber pads that are just as good as the Swiffer and are even more robust. They can tolerate harder scrubbing. Afterward, you can wash the microfiber pads by hand or throw them into the laundry.
Deep Cleaning Brush Set from OXO
Remember using an old toothbrush to wash away grout and scrub sneakers clean? This set has amazing mini scrub brushes that work for all kinds of cleaning tasks.
What makes them even better than a toothbrush is the wiper blade made from rubber that effectively removes all the dirt hidden inside the crevices and corners.
Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste
Pink stuff Cleaning paste has an amazing power to remove grout from your home. So many people swear by vinegar and baking soda. But sometimes you need something stronger. And this is it.
Full Circle Coffee Machine Descaling Liquid
If you want nice tasting coffee, you want to clean your coffee maker. A lot of people use white vinegar for the job. But when you want to go all out, invest in a descaling product that will take out the grime that has built up within your coffee machine.
Drill Brush Attachments
I am obsessed with these brushes that go inside my drill and thoroughly clean it without leaving me exhausted. They work beautifully on grout, grease on hubcaps, bathtubs, as well as patio furniture when it is crunchy with dirt. Use these drill brushes to scrub all the filth away.If you are trying to cut down on your use of paper towels, you may want to consider using compostable sponge cloths instead. And work with blinds brushes to dust windows. Wipe the cloth over your couch to remove pills and leave it perfect.
How to Care for Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is one of the most ubiquitous kitchen staples that serve a variety of uses. Stainless steel pans get hot really fast because they have cores of aluminum or copper that respond quickly to heat.
Stainless steel pots and pans are also nice looking. So you can usually use them as serving dishes as well. Stainless steel is incredibly light when you compare it to cast-iron, and they are easy to clean with a dishwasher in addition.
Read on to find out more about stainless steel cookware. One of the best gifts you can receive is a gorgeous set of stainless steel cookware.
Cooking with Stainless Steel
Stainless steel heats up quickly, so you don’t want to leave it sitting on a hot stove empty. Put some high quality oil on the pan first before you turn on the heat.
Remember that heating an empty stainless steel pan can warp it. Cheap cooking oils and fats are a no-no. Use a small amount of good quality fat. If want to go for nonstick stainless steel, choose one that is coated with silicone, wooden, or nylon stirring tools and avoid cooking sprays.
Because stainless steel heats up so fast, you don’t want to set the temperature so high because the food might burn or stick to the pan.
If you use stainless steel in the oven or broiler, the temperature should be no higher than of 600°F. Nonstick stainless steel is not oven-safe for temperatures higher than 400°F.
Stainless steel works well with most cook tops as well as induction systems. Some are not. You want to see if your magnet attaches itself to the stainless steel pan base. If they stick together, it is a sign that you are good to go.
Stainless Steel Cookware Storage
If your stainless steel cookware is lined with nonstick, you might want to invest in a cookware protector to shield it from scratching. This cookware should last long as long as you take good care of it.
Invert the lids and stack the cooking pots and pans in order of size. You can hand the pretty ones – or the most often used ones – on a pegboard. Keep them somewhere within reach because you will be cooking with them on the regular.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel is dishwasher safe, but to get it to last decades, you want to wash it by hand and avoid using high heat.
Harsh chemicals and steel wool are bad for stainless steel. Soak it overnight using soapy water and some vinegar. Lemon and baking soda helps remove the toughest stains. Invest in a special cleaning product to help get rid of discoloration or to remove foods that get burnt on the pan and don’t come out easily. One such product is the Bar Keeper’s Friend.
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