Gifts for Gardeners and Veggie Lovers, Part 2: Kitchen Essentials

PART 2: Kitchen Essentials
Kitchen Essentials are a welcome gift for gardeners and foodies.  Old standbys and the latest trends both make my list.    

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Food Prep:

Large Cutting Board-**Edit** I previoulsy recommended a bamboo cutting board.  After doing some research, I’ve come to learn that some cutting boards contain toxic ingredients such as adhesives, petroleums oils and more.  I now recommend a solid wood cutting board like the ones available at  These boards are made from a solid piece of maple, no adhesives, and sealed with food grade oil finishes.

Spiral Vegetable Slicer– Make veggie noodles and fun salads for the New Year with Paderno’s Vegetable Spiral Slicer.

Salad Spinner– If you want the perfect salad, a salad spinner will remove excess water from freshly washed greens without smashing or bruising.  Kids just love to spin it.
Plastic OXO  or  Stainless Steel Maestoware

A “Good” Knife Set – This recommendation is not intended to make you laugh.  But it might.  A good knife will get you very far in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a fabulous knife recommendation.  Because we have so many food allergies, I often put knives in the dishwasher to get them extra clean.  This is never recommended.  But I’ve been doing this for years with the “As Seen On TV” Miracle Blade knife set. I know, it’s not exactly an heirloom piece.  But for $27, you will get good knives that you can beat up and not feel bad about it.  And they really do work great!  I always gravitate to them over the other “good” knives I have in the drawer.  I’m sure you can shop around and find a superb knife that you would be proud to present to your favorite foodie.  But this, however laughable, has over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon.  I’m obviously not the only one loving these in secret.

Small Appliances:  

Instant Pot– Of course, the gift of the year!  Bone broth in 90 minutes.  Pot Roast in 45 minutes.  Spaghetti squash in 20.   The Instant Pot is a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.  7-in-1 or  6-in-1 options.

Blendtec or Vitamix?  I can’t choose the winner of the blender wars.  Blendtec and Vitamix are both good choices.  Pricey, but if you drink smoothies every day, a quality blender will both pay for itself and last for years.

Immersion Blender– Make pureed soups, baby food, pesto, smoothies, shakes and salsas.  Super easy to use, and the immersion blade fits inside a 16 oz. wide mouth mason jar to blend and store with ease.  I make chimichuri every week with herbs from my garden, this blender, and a mason jar.

Food Dehydrator– Preserve your garden bounty with a basic or advanced food dehydrator.

On the go:  

PlanetboxLunchbots, and Pyrex– Eating out is a gamble if you are focused on nutrition and avoiding food allergens.  Take your garden veggies with you!  Kids covet the Planetbox.  Lunchbots are another awesome option, and I love the simple Pyrex glass.  From fridge to oven to dishwasher, plus a convenient lid, why not buy extras containers as back up gifts for everyone?  Pyrex is an affordable classic.

Lifefactory Waterbottles– Glass water bottles keep you hydrated without leaching toxins into your body and the environment.  Lifefactory bottles are very thick glass, covered in a silicon sleeve.  If you break the glass, they will replace it for free, plus the cost of shipping.  The 12 oz. straw cup is holding strong with my two year old!  Phew.  And for thirsty adults, the 22 oz. flip cap comes in beautiful colors.  This is a great gift for anyone.  Our school teachers loved theirs!

Stocking Stuffer:

Y-shaped Peeler Set – Another kitchen basic I use every single day.  I only peel vegetables with these peelers.  Life changing.  Available in an assortment of colors.

Silicon Spatula Scoop– These are my favorite kitchen utensil.  A spatula that will not scratch your Le Crueset, strong enough to scoop food out of a dish, and looks great in a kitchen.  They come in many different colors, making them both fun and useful.

I could list my favorite kitchen essentials all day long.  The right tools will reduce time in the kitchen and make cooking more enjoyable.  What are your must have/must give kitchen items?

Check back soon for Part 3 of Gifts for Gardeners and Veggie Lovers.

Click here for Part 1


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