Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

Mother's Day is quickly approaching and the pressure is on to get your Mom the perfect gift that somehow conveys all of the love and gratitude you feel in your heart for the woman that brought you into this world. Truthfully, there is no better gift you can give to your Mom than your love in return. I know this because I'm a Mom myself! A warm hug, a simple "thank you" and a heartfelt "I love you Mom" can make any Mother's heart melt. But if you'd like to give your Mom (or special Mother figure in your life) a great gift, I have a few suggestions. These are all items that I own or would love to have. Now I know that "practical" gifts aren't as glamorous as jewelry or a designer purse, and giving appliances as gifts is considered taboo, but if your Mom is as passionate about cooking and baking as I am, I can assure you that these gift ideas are on the top of her Wish List.

Get your Mom one of these gifts and she will be amazed by your thoughtfulness. Prices range from expensive to inexpensive so there's something to fit every budget.

# 1 Le Creuset Dutch Oven (under $300 depending upon size)

Having just this one item in your kitchen will literally change your cooking forever! Because it's made of cast iron and evenly distributes and holds heat so well, it cooks and braises meats perfectly. It's also great as an all purpose pot for deep frying and cooking soups and stews. If you invest in one piece of cookware for yourself, make it this one. It truly is an investment and your cooking will shine because of it! There are a lot of good quality, less expensive brands in the market, but I recommend Le Creuset.

# 2 Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer (under $300)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Like the Le Creuset Dutch Oven, it literally changed my life in the kitchen. Funny story, I actually owned my Kitchen Aid for a year or two before I started using it because I was intimidated by it. I insisted that my hand held mixer was just as good if not better...boy was I wrong! It's so convenient and easy to use! I can make homemade whipped cream, beat egg whites or knead dough all without using my hands which frees me up to do other things at the same time. What a great time saver, and who doesn't want to save time? If you're going to invest in one of these, I highly recommend getting the Artisan Series which is slightly more expensive than the Classic series but has a more powerful motor. It's definitely worth the extra expense!

If you're a big spender, the Professional Series will blow your Mom away. Just look at this thing of beauty....

# 3 Kitchen Aid Architect Series Food Processor (around $200)

I had been putting off buying a Food Processor for a long time because they're so expensive until I saw a deal at Macy's that I just couldn't pass up. This Kitchen Aid Architect Series Food Processor which retails for over $200 was on sale for $99 plus we got an extra 20% off. I love this Food Processor because it comes with so many different attachments for dough & grating plus it has an extra work bowl so you can process more that one item without having to wash out the bowl! Genius!!

# 4 Keuring Coffee Machine (under $200)

Again, another kitchen appliance I was against (are you sensing a pattern?). After all, what's wrong with a good old fashioned coffee maker? My husband had been wanting one for years but I always talked him out of it, so when he got one as a gift for Christmas two years ago, I couldn't protest. I never thought I would become such a fan, but I am! So convenient and easy to use. No more making a small pot of coffee when all you want is just one cup. Brews fast and coffee comes out piping hot. Love it!

# 5 Mercado Market Bag (under $25)

There's no disputing the fact that reusable shopping bags are good for the environment, but sometimes they can be a pain to use especially if you buy produce that winds up rolling around at the bottom of the bag. This Mercado bag has different mesh compartments and an elastic strap that securely holds taller items like a baguette or a bottle of wine in place.

# 6 Silpat Silicone Baking Mat (under $30)

No more stuck on baked goods with this Silpat silicone baking mat. Great for baking delicate baked goods that you're concerned about sticking.

# 7 Insulated Baking Sheets (around $30 for a set)

I love using insulated baking sheets when baking cookies. It's one of my secret weapons for baking perfect cookies. No more dark bottoms, cookies bake evenly and have a uniform color! Tip: Buy the light colored baking sheets. Darker colored baking pans can brown too quickly.

# 8 Herb Saver (under $30)

I can't count how many times I've had to throw out fresh herbs because they wilted or dried up before I could use them up. This Herb Saver keeps herbs fresh for weeks and conveniently stores in the door of your fridge. Can I get an amen?!

# 9 Microplane Rasp/Zester (under $20)

I used to dread recipes that required any type of citrus zest because I could never get a fine enough zest using my regular grater. This Microplane Rasp/Zester saved me, now I use fresh citrus zest in many of my recipes.

# 10 Citrus Juicer (under $10)

Another life saver in the kitchen! Get every last big of juice out of your lemons and limes using one of these. I received mine as a gift from a friend and it has become an indispensible kitchen tool for me.

Note: This is my own personal endorsement of these products. I am not being paid or sponsored in any way but if Le Creuset or Kitchen Aid wants to strike a deal, holla!

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