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Holiday Products - Everyday Essentials

From measuring spoons to mini food processors, what should you have in your kitchen to make food prep easier? Here is a concise list of what I use in my kitchen.

Here are a few items I use all the time:

1. Microplane - there is nothing better than a little zest to brighten up a vinaigrette, sauce, soup, cookies, breads....I could go on! I also use it for nutmeg and Parmesan cheese.

2. Thermometer - this item WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER COOK! I tell my students all the time, if you only buy one new thing it should be this!!

3. Measuring Spoons - not all spoons are created equal! I use metal ones so that they maintain accuracy (they don't melt or warp in the dishwasher) and ones that fit down inside the jar. Ever tried to get that round measuring spoon inside the spice jar?

4. Silpat mats - I first received one of these as a gift while I was living in France. Now I have multiple ones in half sheet pan and 1/4 sheet pan sizes. It is the perfect thing for the Christmas cookie baking spree you are about to embark on as well! The silicon prevents anything from sticking to the pan as well as making things brown more evenly.

Also, please buy the real Silpat, not a cheaper knock off version!

5. Juicer - squeezing citrus has never been any easier! I use this frequently and it fits most citrus. There is no need to buy multiple sizes.

6. Immersion blender and mini food processor - this is a great combo to have. I use this immersion blender all the time to purée soups. the food processor work great for small quantities when you do not want to get out the big one!

7. Double mesh strainer - from straining cocktails to making dessert, this strainer will catch even the smallest of pieces, making your end product SMOOTH!

8. Silicon pastry brush - I love these because they are so easy to clean. You can use them for BBQ sauce and/or butter. The clean up perfectly in the dishwasher and you do not have to worry about cross-contaminating.

Gadgets I do not use...

1. Garlic press - wastes too much!

2. Pizza cutter - I have never found one that cuts as well as a knife

3. Egg yolk separator - I just use my hand

4. Toaster - yes my toaster oven takes up more counter space, but my bagel never gets stuck down!

Looking for a unique gift for the cook who has everything?

This last item is one you probably did not even know you needed!

A paper towel holder and a place to charge your devices. It even has a wine stopper for the top! Just be careful of dropping water from those wet hands!

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