I love to cook and bake, but when I don’t have the right tools or am using something that doesn’t do the job quite as well as I’d like, I get frustrated. Conversely, when I have something that works like a charm, it makes me want to jump for joy! When I first started this site, I shared a few of my favorite things, and readers seemed to really like it. I haven’t posted one since, so I decided it was probably a good time as most of these are great suggestions for gifts for the avid cook on your gift list. Here are some of the items which I constantly use in my kitchen.
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For those butter lovers out there: you’ll never believe you made it without one all this time. In the UK, people leave their butter out, but we can’t safely do this in warmer climates. This is why I love my Butter Bell: there’s no more fighting with hard butter, and I fill it with my favorite, Kerrygold Butter! This is an old way of storing butter as it’s sealed by water in the crock. I have a white one, but I’m tempted to get a spare in case mine breaks and I love these colors!
I despise window screens. When we added onto our kitchen, I wouldn’t let my husband install the screens onto our new windows, which is great for the view, but not so great for keeping the flies out. Granted, I couldn’t do this in many other places, but we truly don’t have that many bugs and flies here in LA (the smog probably kills them all, haha)! However, when I do have flies come in, I cannot stand them buzzing around, so I reach for this bug zapper! There’s no yucky smushing them with a fly swatter; it simply zaps them dead, then I toss them in the trash.
I cannot tell you how many times a day I reach for one of these mini spatulas. They’re perfect for so many jobs, like getting to the bottom of the yogurt container, cleaning out pots, stirring scrambled eggs, finishing off the jam jar–the list goes on and on. I found these at Williams-Sonoma, but they’re also available on Amazon.com if you don’t have a WS near you. I love them so much, I brought about 6 pairs to Europe with me last year to give to my aunts and cousins since everyone in my family loves to cook!
I don’t know if I ever talked about my terrible sewing skills before, but let’s just say my mother is a seamstress and the skills skipped a generation. This summer, my daughter, Denisa, decided that she wanted to make tea cosies and open an Etsy shop online, so she looked up how to make them and did it! I couldn’t believe it as I can barely sew on a button. We make tea at least twice a day, so my tea cosy definitely gets a workout. Using a tea cosy really makes a better cup of tea as it keeps the pot so much warmer. Check out Denisa’s Etsy shop for different patterned cosies. They’re great to give as gifts!
I’ve been using this product for as long as I can remember. For light cleaning I use baking soda, but for things like my cooktop and pots and pans that are really in need of a good scrub, this is what I use. I remembered to take a few photos last time I cleaned my cooktop because a friend was over when I was cleaning it once, and she couldn’t believe the results. Just make sure to rub in the direction of the grain of the steel. Here are my unretouched before and after pictures, which will allow you to understand why I love Barkeepers Friend so much. (I have to ignore the fact that they forgot the apostrophe in their logo and label!)
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