Kitchen Lover’s Gift Guide 2013

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We all have at least one flour-slinging, spatula-wielding, kitchen-dominating cook on our gift list this year. With the millions of kitchen doo-hickies and gadgets on store shelves, how are you to know what’s going to be that one food-themed gift that makes the chef in your life squeal with joy? No worries, we’ve got you covered! In our second annual kitchen gift guide, we give you the skinny on the must-have tools for the healthy cook’s kitchen.

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1. Cookbooks

If you’ve got a food lover in your life, it’s really hard to go wrong if you get them a cookbook. Just as long as it has beautiful pictures and yummy-looking recipes, you’re sure to make them happy. Right now, we’re loving Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home, Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, and Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen.

2. Nonstick Baking Mat

Skip greasing the cooking sheet or using parchment paper for your holiday baking. Instead, use this nonstick baking mat. This professional-grade mat turns any pan into a non-toxic nonstick surface.

3. Microplane Zester

If you’ve ever stumbled across a recipe that calls for citrus zest, fresh grated nutmeg, or finely minced garlic, you know the value of a good quality zester. It’s a must for every kitchen!

4. Cast Iron Dutch Oven

A good quality cast iron Dutch oven is a must for any healthy cook—the cast iron allows for even cooking and the enamel surface doesn’t require much fat for cooking.

5. Glass Storage Containers

Plastic food storage containers are the pits. They warp. They stain. And sometimes, they even stink. Switching to high-quality, durable glass containers is the way to go! We love that they’re oven-safe, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and freezer-safe. Plus, they’ll never warp, stain, or smell.

6. Mandoline Slicer

Any healthy cook is an expert at vegetable chopping, but the best way to save time and energy when dicing onions or slicing potatoes—a mandoline. This tool makes quick work for even the toughest veggies. We like the ones that include multiple discs for various cuts.

7. Programmable Slow Cooker

The programmable slow cooker is the workhorse of the working person’s kitchen arsenal. There are thousands of healthy, easy slow cooker recipes that require barely anything more than dumping ingredients into the pot and turning it on. A good quality slow cooker will last someone (even with heavy use) for years and years.

8. Apron

The days of apron-wearing are long past us, but this utilitarian garment is a must for any of the, ahem, messier, cooks among us. Great news: there is a huge crop of adorable and clever aprons available nowadays for both men and women. And if you’ve got sewing skills, you could also make your own in less than an hour!

9. High-Speed Blender

If you’ve got a particularly good friend or significant other on your gift list, a very generous gift would be a high-speed blender. These puppies range around $250 (and upward), but are worth it for anyone who has a love of smoothies or juicing. No more chewing green smoothies or dealing with chunks of ice. These high-powered machines blast through even the toughest fruits and veggies.

10. Salad Spinner

Any salad-lover knows that the difference between a delicious lunch and a soggy lunch is dry lettuce, and it’s impossible to beat the drying power (and speed) of a high-quality salad spinner. But don’t just use it for lettuce. Salad spinners can dry all kinds of greens and other veggies.

What’s on your holiday wish list for this year?

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Cassie Johnston is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer living and working in Southern Indiana. Her work has been feature in national publications such as Gourmet Magazine and The Huffington Post. Cassie’s a big fan of strenuous hikes, cheese, watching sports, Brussels sprouts, and craft beer, and she’ll talk your ear off about her love of local food and seasonal eating. She’s obsessed with social media and loves connecting with new friends!

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