December 4, 2012

December has arrived and I barely remember November. How did this happen? It’s so dark in the early morning and again by late afternoon, so we’ll be putting the tree up this week. I need that extra shot of light in my life.

It’s the holidaze, and soon, butter, sugar, chocolate, flour will be swirling around the kitchen as I bake up holiday gifts. I don’t do much shopping anymore, although I do spend months finding just the right things for Dennis, who not only has what he wants, but wants very little.

This is the time of year when everyone has gift guides, lists, and best-of’s to assist you with holiday purchasing, and I’m going to join the crowd, with a little group of items that make me happy in the kitchen.

First of all, let’s talk the King of DIY Kitchen Toys – the KitchenAid. I use the 7 quart mixer every single day, for all sorts of cooking and particularly for preserving projects. Put this big machine with a serious motor on your Santa list! I upgraded from the smaller tilt-head mixer earlier this year and I couldn’t be happier. The stronger motor means an easier, quicker time making sausages, applesauce, sauerkraut – you name it.

How do sausages, applesauce and sauerkraut emerge from a mixer? Why, with the attachment pack, of course! The FVSFGA – the one attachment package you need to turn that KitchenAid into an essential kitchen tool — it’s got a grinder, slicer, shredder and even a strainer (works like a food mill!) I just love this package. I’ve made tomato puree, tomato juice, and grape juice using the strainer and kimchi and sauerrueben using the slicer and shredder. It’s fabulous.

And for all you Charcutepalooza-ers, did you know KA has an ALL METAL meat grinder! This attachment stays colder longer, making those five pound batches of sausage infinitely easier to process. And from Butcher-Baker, you can get an ALL METAL sausage stuffer attachment, too.

And for those of you without a stand mixer, don’t dismay! You, too, can make sausages, hamburgers and turkey burgers at home with this easy to use hand grinder.

I’m laughing as I write this. Who would think I would be singing the praises of the FoodSaver? Well, I’m here to tell you, this machine has changed my freezer. I can actually find things! No more freezer burn! Easier salt curing with no refrigerator spills! Seriously, this is a fantastic addition to the DIY kitchen.

Feeling crafty? My friend Carol brought me this adorable gift earlier this year and I’ll be making a few of these cute tea-towel-in-a-produce-carton gifties for some friends.

Not at all kitchen related, but so freaking adorable, this Wagging Tail Portrait ornament thrilled us!

Too busy to do it yourself this season?

Maggie Battista’s Eat Boutique has the most wonderful collection of edible gifts.

Looking for some special, one of a kind, handmade gifts? Laura Silverman of Glutton For Life has put together a small, perfect gift shop on her elegant blog.

Want to send someone a personalized, spectacular gift? There’s no one better than Gail Dosik (aka The Tough Cookie) for decorated DELICIOUS cookies. Order soon because she gets BUSY!

And, for those stockings, look at these chocolates from Byrne and Carlson, especially the Mendiant bar — gorgeous and taste as good as they look!

That’s it for today. Next week, I’ll offer up some ideas for cookbooks.

xoCathy, getting in the spirit

8 Responses to “the holiday gift guide, part one”

  1. Gail

    Me? You put me in here? THANK YOU!
    And, c’mon…isn’t that food saver a fancy version of ‘seal-a-meal’? #doubtingthomas

  2. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    Great ideas–thanks! I’d add skinny measuring spoons as a stocking stuffer. Santa’s elves found a set at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and they appeared in my stocking last year. I love being able to easily get spices out of my jars!

  3. Sally

    Nice post, Cathy! I have a friend who is unhappy with her Kitchen Aid 5-plus. What do you think of the one you use for making bread? Have you tried it for that? (Oh, and now I want a food saver, thanks for that!) Out of control appliance lust. 🙂

    • Cathy

      I have made several batches of my homemade challah, which is a big recipe, in this mixer. I’m delighted with it. Smaller batches are tough, as the bowl is so big.

  4. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    I’ve had a Food Saver for years; mine is old, no where near as pretty but I’ll tell you, it’s a workhorse. I sort of forget how valuable it is because it’s one of the few appliances that is stored under the counter in a cabinet but I use it for everything…great suggestion.

    I could also use a new KitchenAid mixer for the sheer size but I just can’t give up my 27 year old friend just yet! 🙂

  5. MD smith

    Thanks for the low-down on your new stand mixer. I have been lusting after one for years, and just couldn’t decide on which model. The accessories are the big decider!

    Have a very Merry and a Happy, too!


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