Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gift giving is upon us!

As of today there are only 30 shopping days left until Christmas. If you are like me and haven't done anything, the stress may start to set in at thinking of how many days are left. Between moving and starting a new job, not just in a new city but in a new country, I have let the ball drop a bit this year. Luckily there is still some time to figure things out. In an attempt to help either with ideas for yourself or for the foodie or home chef in your life here are a few of my favorite things from the past year. I share these products as my favorites and not because any of the following companies know anything about me or have sponsored me.

1. Fannie Farmer Cookbook - This isn't specific to the past year but has been my family's go-to cookbook for as long as I can remember. Whenever I call my parents with a question for what temperature and how long to cook anything, they say "Check Fannie Farmer". Everything from how long to roast a chicken to how to make brownies from scratch (and it's a great recipe) this book has it all. It is a necessary cookbook in any home chef's library and at $7.99 from amazon, the price can't be beat.

2. Yummy Soup - This fabulous recipe management software is a lifesaver. I first read about it on What's for Suppr and decided to check it out. It has changed the way I keep track of recipes. I was always that person that would tear interesting recipes or ideas from magazines or the newspaper. Now with Yummy Soup, I simply find the recipe online and import it into the program with their easy AnySite Web Importer. You can also generate grocery lists right in the program while the recipe your buying for is on screen. My recipes are organized, so easy to search and I don't have a stack of papers or magazines that need a home. At $20, this is a great and inexpensive gift or stocking stuffer.

3. Emile Henry Pie Dish - I actually bought this for last year's Thanksgiving dinner, but have come to fully appreciate it in the last 6 months. Not only does this dish come in bold colors, which I love, but the way it evenly conducts heat makes quite simply for the perfect pie. I use my so much that I insisted on packing it up and bringing it with me to Toronto. At $44 from Williams-Sonoma I think this dish is worth far more that that.

4. Cuisinart Digital Slow Cooker - I used a Crate and Barrel gift card to get this slow cooker and am so glad I did. I have used it to make pulled chicken and chicken cacciatore and have a multitude of other recipes I can't wait to try. There is something about setting this to cook in the morning when you leave for work and coming home to a fabulous and easy dinner. For anyone who works a full time job but loves slow cooked foods, this is a must have. There are less expensive models, that may be fine, but I only wanted to write about things that I have personally used and I love this slow cooker. It even comes with a recipe book that has a great chili recipe. At $99 this is a higher price point, but I believe well worth it and the only other kitchen tool I brought to Toronto with me from LA.

5. Wusthof Knives - I LOVE my Wusthof knives. They are the best knives I've ever used and make all prep work so much easier and more pleasant to do. A great chef's knife paired with a solid chop block is the best gift I can imagine for a home chef and the carving set is a must have for anyone who roasts chickens or turkeys. As the knives can get pricey, what is great about them that you can by open stock or a set depending on who you are buying for and your price point.

Hope this helps you out. In the coming days I will also post my wish list as a home chef and self-proclaimed foodie for the things I would love to get this Christmas or in the coming year. Here's to the craziness of the holiday season and all the yummy food that comes along with it!

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