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The 2017 Gift Guide is here!
This is one of my favorite posts of the whole year, because we get to talk about alllllll the fun gadgets and cookbooks and gifts.
Also, a note: Brands can’t pay me to be included on this list. This is all stuff that I have, use, and love (unless otherwise noted – I have a few wish list items on here myself!)
There are also no style suggestions, because I am not stylish. (Stick with what you know, right?)
I’m not even going to blab at you too much here, because we have GIFTING to do! We have FIVE gift guides this year (holy smokes!) to help you hit everyone on your list.
Know exactly what you’re looking for? Click one of the links below to jump right to that section!
Happy Holidays, friends!
1. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman // If you only own one cookbook, make it this one. It’s not photo-driven, but MAN is it handy. Easily the most-used cookbook in our house (and the ONLY cookbook Kyle will use when he cooks).
2. Feed the Resistance by Julia Turshen // This book is AWESOME. It’s full of tasty recipes + ideas for getting involved to make your voice heard in politics and in your community. The proceeds are also donated to the ACLU.
3. Feast By Firelight by Emma Frisch // This book is technically still on pre-order, but I am SO excited to see my friend Emma’s vision come to life with this project. She’s the queen of campfire cooking (and a former Food Network Star finalist!) which makes this the perfect book for any outdoorsy friends.
4. Flour Water Salt Yeast by Ken Forkish // This book is on my gift guide AGAIN this year, because it’s just that wonderful. If you like baking or want to level up your bread/pizza dough game, this book is required reading. Beautiful photos and in-depth technique training for the home baker.
5. Half Baked Harvest by Tieghan Gerard // Tieghan’s photography is STRAIGHT UP STUNNING, and her unique, tasty recipes don’t disappoint.
6. Eat Delicious by Dennis the Prescott // One of my FAVORITE new cookbooks. Gorgeous photography, great recipe notes, and an eclectic mix of Dennis’ twist on recipes from his world travels.
7. Genius Recipes by Food52 // Another book making its second appearance on this list! The recipes are, in fact, genius – and the beautiful photos make it a great coffee table book when you’re not cooking from it.
8. The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini // I love this book! Cara does a great job of walking you through knife skills, cuts, and techniques, and her recipes are organized by vegetable so you can stay organized if you’re trying a new-to-you veggie. Perfect for vegetarians or anyone who just wants to step up their Meatless Monday game.
9. Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard // This gorgeous book dominated last year’s IACP awards, and for good reason – Vivian is a gifted chef and storyteller and while it’s a huge book, it’s well worth the read.
1. Linen Napkins // Replace paper napkins or paper towels in your kitchen with washable, reusable napkins. I love linen napkins, because if they get wrinkly, it still looks very natural. When you’ve used them, just toss them in the laundry. The linen napkins pictured are great, although my other personal favorites are these linen napkins from Crate & Barrel.
2. The Dinner Blueprint (Meal Planning Online Course) // Ok, SHAMELESS PLUG, but one of the very best ways to reduce food waste in your home kitchen is to meal plan. And lucky for you, I have a whole course on that very subject! The course is open for enrollment starting in January (which is perfect, because who wants to think about healthy eating during the holidays?) so it makes a great gift (or self-gift!) for anyone ready to tackle their meal planning, prep, and sustainable kitchen in the new year.
3. Silpat Nonstick Baking Mat // Use this nonstick baking mat in place of tinfoil or parchment paper to line your baking sheets. Food lifts right off it and it’s super easy to clean!
4. Home Herb Garden-In-A-Can // There’s no better way to connect to food than to grow it yourself! These garden-in-a-can kits are simple to set up and use, and (bonus!) they’re a ton of fun.
5. Reusable Straws // It’s easy to throw a plastic straw in your morning smoothie and not think much of it, but straws are actually a huge source of waste (and they can end up in the ocean or polluting animal habitats!) These metal reusable straws are a great alternative and are surprisingly easy to clean.
6. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer // A DIY cooking spray canister! Fill it with olive oil, pump the pressure pump, and mist away. A wonderful, environmentally-friendly alternative to canned cooking spray.
7. Bee’s Wrap // My favorite kitchen discovery of the year! Use Bee’s Wrap as a natural alternative to plastic wrap/saran wrap in your kitchen – let the natural heat from your hands heat up the beeswax on these sheets and they’ll stick to just about anything! They’re SO easy to clean and to use, and the beeswax in the sheets makes them smell amaaaaazing.
8. Reusable Tote Bags // Ok, these are kind of a given, but who doesn’t need more reusable grocery bags?? I keep these basic bags in my apartment, in our cars, in random purses and camera bags, you name it. Most grocery stores sell their own reusable bags, and you can also find fun illustrated bags online like these from Emily McDowell.
9. Grow Your Own Mushroom Farm // Another easy, grow-it-at-home kit! I love these mushroom kits because they’re easy and don’t take much effort, and when you’re done growing the mushrooms, you get to eat the gift (instead of having something that just clutters up your house).
10. Stasher Bag // This is one of my new favorite kitchen finds! Stasher bags are a dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe alternative to Ziploc plastic bags. They’re airtight and easy to seal – by far my favorite plastic bag alternative.
11. Reusable Produce Bags // Plastic produce bags are a HUGE source of waste, and they don’t need to be! Take these reusable, washer/dryer safe mesh produce bags to the store or the farmer’s market and use them in place of the plastic ones to, y’know, save the planet.
ALSO: I love gifting thoughtfully-produced food as a gift. Some of my favorites are Sustainable Seafood Shipments from Wild For Salmon, Thoughtfully-Raised meat from Butcher Box, or artisan goods from places like Jacobsen Salt Co., Steven Smith Teamaker, and more. Don’t forget to support small businesses as you shop this holiday season!
1. Anolon Bronze Hard Anodized Nonstick Pot // This has been a gift guide repeat for THREE YEARS, and for good reason: I’ve had my Anolon for 3+ years, and it is STILL my favorite pot. It’s nonstick (but not Teflon!) and after years of cooking and whisking (with a WIRE WHISK, because I’m the worst) it still looks brand-new. It’s also ridiculously easy to clean – even after the messiest recipes (looking at you, mac and cheese!) If anyone ever asks me for cookware for Christmas/Birthdays/Whenever, I buy them Anolon.
2. KitchenAid Pro Electric Kettle // This electric kettle is the best part of my morning routine. It’s stunning, heats water FAST, and makes the most soothing chime sound when you turn it on and off. (Seriously. I could listen to that chime all day). A little on the pricier side, but totally and completely worth it.
3. Immersion Blender // EASILY the most-used gadget in my kitchen. Soups, pestos, sauces, smoothies, pancake batter – you name it, the immersion blender can do it. I even have a handy Immersion Blender 101 post to help you find new hand blender recipes!
4. Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor // My favorite kitchen appliance (after the immersion blender, of course!). This food processor is just THE BEST – it can power through anything (and it comes with slicing and shredding discs for slicing and shredding things!) I’ve had mine for years and I’m still in love with its power, speed, and general looks-gorgeous-on-the-counter-ness.
5. Bench Scraper // This is such a simple kitchen tool, but I’m still surprised at how few people I know have one. Use it to quickly cut or divide dough when you’re making breads and pastas, use it to quickly clean off a cutting board, or as a flat base to help you scoop just-chopped veggies off of your board and throw them into the pan.
6. The Food Lab // Okayyyyy, this should have maybe gone on the cookbook list. But this book is such an incredible resource that I thought it deserved its own special spot. This award-winning book takes you through the science and technique of your favorite recipes and is an invaluable resource for any avid cook.
7. Cast Iron Skillet // Another essential piece in any kitchen, and another tool that I find a lot of people tend not to have. Cast iron is sturdy, conducts heat well, gives an incredible sear, and will last a lifetime.
8. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife // Everyone needs a good chef’s knife! Shun is one of my favorite brands (I love the round handles on their knives) and my big knife from them is still going strong after 5ish years. A little more than you might be used to paying for knives, but for how often an avid cook will use it, it’s well worth the price (I actually have friends come over now and specifically request to chop things with this knife because they love it so much!)
9. Instant Pot Multi-Cooker/Pressure Cooker // Okay, full disclosure: I don’t actually own one of these yet. But everyone I know has been FREAKING. OUT. about the Instant Pot lately, so I’ve included it here at the recommendation of some very trusted cook/chef/blogger friends. It’s basically just a fancy pressure cooker, but it’s taking the internet by storm lately and there are some delicious recipes popping up online for Instant Pot owners! This is definitely the next gadget on my shopping list.
10. Stackable Cooling Racks // We live in a TINY apartment, so I’m not willing (or able) to sacrifice all of my limited counter space whenever I’m on a baking spree. If you’re shopping for someone who lives in tight quarters, these stacking cooling racks are a lifesaver – and they fold down flat so they’re easy to store when they’re not in use!
11. Spiralizer // I knoooow this is awfully “trendy” or whatever, but DUDE. I bought my spiralizer a year-ish ago and I. AM. OBSESSED. We use ours at least once a week – it’s easy to clean and it makes my favorite pasta recipes even faster because I don’t have to boil water or cook pasta. Just spiralize a zucchini or two, cover it in some hot pasta sauce, and you’re good to go. I also use this for baked curly fries, sweet potato fries, and more. I was skeptical at first (because TRENDY), but I’ve become a die-hard fan.
12. Proofing Basket // If you’ve tried my easy crusty French bread recipe, you know how much I love my proofing basket! This is a fun and simple way to let dough rise before you bake your bread. It also leaves beautiful rings on the loaf, which makes you look super professional. When I’m not using it for baking, I line it with a linen napkin and use it to store fruit or serve rolls and biscuits like a regular basket.
1. Canon Rebel T6 // This is a great entry-level DSLR camera – it’s the newer version of the same camera I first started with. I’d recommend getting just the camera body or one lens rather than the big kits you might see – that lets the photographer have a bit more fun with finding new lenses to try (and the lenses are the most important part!)
2. 50mm “Nifty Fifty” Lens // This is a great lens for portrait and food photography, and it’s extremely affordable for the quality of its images. If you’re just getting started with photography, this is is a great lens to start with!
3. Memory Cards // I can never have too many memory cards! These are great, affordable gift options, and they’ll be put to good use. Bonus points if you get one of these cool carrying cases to go with them!
4. Ona Astoria Bag // How I ever lived without this camera bag, I’ll never know. Aside from my actual camera, this is my single favorite piece of photography equipment. I have the biggest bag (pictured) although they make all different shapes and sizes. These bags are SO well made (and I’ve put mine through the ringer!) This one has moveable inserts so you can customize it to your own equipment, and a zippered back pocket that can slip over the handle of your suitcase when you travel. I can fit two camera bodies, three or four lenses, my laptop, and iPad, wallet, and all of my cables/filters/cards/straps in this bag at the same time. The BEST camera bag I’ve ever owned.
5. Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription // Adobe is the gold standard when it comes to photo editing, and most photographers I know work in either Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s powerful, fun-to-use software that photographers love.
6. Manfrotto Tripod // Manfrotto is a popular tripod brand, and I love this simple one from them. It’s light and compact, and great for lighter cameras with smaller lenses. You can swivel the camera all around with just one dial that you can move with your thumb. Super simple and versatile.
7. Canon 7D Mark ii // This is my current camera and is great for photographers who are looking to step it up from the Rebel (#1 on this list). It’s a crop sensor (if you want a full frame camera, go with the 6D or 5D) and is great for video and low light situations. I’ve had this camera body for two-ish years now and am still loving it.
8. Polarizing Filters or UV Filters // I love using these filters on my lenses – I usually have a polarizing filter (pictured) and sometimes a UV filter as well. They protect your lens from dust and grime and can also help control light for better, more vibrant photos. Just keep in mind that different lenses will need different sizes of filter, so double-check what lenses your photographer already has!
9. Wide Angle 24mm Lens // If you’re shopping for a food photographer doing those Tasty-style overhead videos, landscape photography, interior photography, or anything else where they want a nice wide angle, this lens is a great choice. I use it almost exclusively to shoot the overhead footage for our recipe videos, but it’s versatile enough for a variety of settings. Relatively cheap and great quality for the price.
10. Camera Strap // My biggest gripe when I first started using my camera professionally was that the strap that came with it was sooooo ugly. I swapped the Canon strap out for a fun one that fit my personality more. I love this one (pictured) from Amazon, and I’m currently using this one from Etsy.
11. Remote Shutter // For all those times someone says “set up your camera and take a picture of us all!” No need to do a self-timer – just connect this remote shutter to your camera and take photos from a few feet away. Also handy if you’re a food photographer who’s hand-modeling your own recipe and can’t hold the camera at the same time.
12. 100mm Macro Lens // This one isn’t cheap, but 100mm is one of my favorite focal lengths for food and portrait photography. This is an L series lens, which are famously high-quality and well worth the price.
1. Misto Olive Oil Sprayer // A DIY cooking spray canister! Fill it with olive oil, pump the pressure pump, and mist away. A wonderful, environmentally-friendly alternative to canned cooking spray.
2. Microplane // ESSENTIAL. Zest citrus, freshly shave parmesan for your spaghetti, grate some nutmeg, etc. etc. etc. I use this DAILY.
3. Olive Oil Bottle // So much prettier than that ugly bottle from the store, don’t you think? Also, I love having a permanently un-capped olive oil bottle in my kitchen – it makes everything go so much quicker!
4. Cupcake/Cookie Scoop // My favorite way to ensure all of my cookies + cupcakes are the same size. Same sized scoops = everything bakes evenly = food tastes better. SCIENCE.
5. Salt Cellar // Salt needs to be easily accessible when you’re cooking, and this swing-top salt cellar is my favorite thing. Easy to get to the salt, looks beautiful on the counter, has a fun-to-swing-around-and-around lid.
6. Dinosaur Taco Holder! // Do I really need to say anything else about this?
7. “Meh” mug // Because sometimes you just need it.
8. Stasher Bag // This is one of my new favorite kitchen finds! Stasher bags are a dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, sous-vide-safe alternative to Ziploc plastic bags. They’re airtight and easy to seal – by far my favorite plastic bag alternative.
9. Reusable Produce Bags // Plastic produce bags are a HUGE source of waste, and they don’t need to be! Take these reusable, washer/dryer safe mesh produce bags to the store or the farmer’s market and use them in place of the plastic ones to, y’know, save the planet.
10. Maldon Salt // Big, beautiful salt flakes are a cook’s dream. I love using Maldon salt to finish dishes or to add a salty bite to sweet things like fudge or chocolate chip cookies.
11. Productivity Planner // Who HASN’T thought to themselves, “ugh, I wish I had more time in the day”? This small planner keeps you on track with just a few minutes a day of following their quick prompts.
12. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm // Boring? Maybe. But essential! This lip balm is the best lip balm out of all the lip balm, and I have one baaaaasically everywhere.
13. Cards Against Humanity // This is by FAR our favorite party game, and the more you and your friends’ minds are in the gutter, the more fun it is. Plus, the company is hysterical (just Google them to catch up with their latest shenanigans).
WHEW! We made it! Thanks again for tuning into this year’s gift guide – I appreciate you so much and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!