We are officially in the eye of the holiday storm. Party hopping, cookie decorating, and, best of all, PRESENT GIVING! It can get a little overwhelming. But that’s why I’m bringing back the gift guide. Three actually (plus some extras!), full of a few of my favorite things you’d find in my kitchen, my cupboard, and my purse. Because the holidays are the absolute best time to get everything you need for the best and tastiest low-sodium life. And give those you love the tools they need to eat well and be well, too.
So let’s get started.
And let’s talk about that beginner cook in your life, whether it is you or Uncle Joe. The one who is eager to get into the kitchen, but doesn’t know the difference between a spatula and serving spoon. Or a yam and sweet potato. (But let’s be real, no one knows the difference between a yam and a sweet potato). For this lucky gift getter, you’ll want to focus on tools that make cooking and cleaning easy.
When it comes to kitchen utensils, I personally think that smaller is always better. That’s why a small rice cooker (item 3), a trusty hand blender (item 4), a teeny cuisinart (item 9), and a KitchenAid mixer (item 8) will mean quick dinners, breads, and pie crusts without breaking a sweat. Or breaking your back when trying to haul it out of the cupboard. And the words “dishwasher safe” are always an extra plus.
Of course, basic cooking tools are also always a welcome treat, too. Ceramic knives (item 1). Measuring cups and spoons (item 2). And cutting boards (item 7). You can’t go wrong here because you can never have too many of these in your kitchen.
And finally, to really encourage some confidence, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a few serving items. I’m talking pretty napkins, plates, and even a candlestick or two. And depending on your gift getter, I think the bolder and brighter the better. Because when you have trays and dishes that make you smile, you’ll want to use them. Which means you’ll want to cook. Which means I”m coming over for dinner. So choose colorful bowls (item 5), whimsical cups (item 11), playful silver wear (item 10), and the cadillac of the kitchen, a Le Creuset (item 6). Bling bling.
And don’t forget, non-chemical cleaners from Method and a tiny vacuum also make a great gift for beginners. Because messes and spills and mistakes are bound to happen. And with the right tools, they don’t have to be stressful.
Okay, now let’s chat about presents for the pros. Or that budding culinary genius in your life who’s ready to experiment with xanthum gum, make baguettes from scratch, smoke fish on their stove, and dehydrate beef jerky. Or at least make a pint of mint chip ice cream. This is the gift list where low-sodium dreams come true. It is full of the tools and tricks that make the impossible dish possible. That reintroduce favorite treats back to the low-sodium table. And make a pint of mint chip ice cream.
If you miss bagels or doughnuts, a doughnut pan (item 1) will do the trick for your own, at-home breakfast creations. Sticking to the bread theme, grab a baguette pan (item 2) for perfectly shaped dough and even more perfectly tasty sandwiches or toast for bruschetta. And don’t forget, baking is a bit of a science. So grab a small kitchen scale too (item 7) and make sure your ingredients measure up!
If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, then get hickory chips (item 3) for your own smoked fish spread, an ice cream maker (item 4) for your the dessert of your low-sodium dreams; a popsicle mold for a sweet or savory cool treats (item 10) ; a coffee grinder or spice grinder to create your own salt-free blends (item 8); and a pasta roller for some impressive lasagna, spaghetti, and maybe a new kind of noodle from your own creative noodle (item 10).
Finally, if you’re about looks, then grab a few tools that give even the unlikeliest ingredients (hello lettuce) a little glam power. A mandolin (item 11) means thinly sliced potatoes and radishes and even asparagus coins. Which means homemade chips, professional looking casseroles, and really pretty salads. A grill pan (item 9) means you can add that smoky, BBQ flavor and those sezy grill marks to food (re: lettuce) all year round. A spice. And finally a waffle maker (item 5) that can turn a simple batter into a morning snack. Or even with the right spices, a savory stand-in for bread or mini waffle crostini that can be used for all your dinner parties and brunches to come!
And finally, let’s talk about the specialty low-sodium goods that make cooking and eating without salt as simple as ordering take-out. But a whole lot healthier and tastier. There’s a catch though: these gifts aren’t just items people can buy for you…these are low-sodium essentials that also make the perfect presents for your friends and family. Why? Because they are the low-sodium snacks and kitchen staples that will help others cook excellent low-sodium food for you!
I’m talking about salt-free chips and granola bars (item 1).
I’m talking salt-free baking powder and marshmallows for desserts, cookies, breads, and banana s’mores (item 2).
I’m talking salt-free salsas, marinades, and spicy ginger sauce (item 3).
I’m talking salt-free spice blends like my favorite, Mrs. Dash (item 4)
… check out Penzeys and Spicely too. I’m talking salt-free PICKLES!!! (item 5).
I’m talking everything you need for salt-free pizza (item 6)
— like the magical GalloLea
instant pizza dough and sauce.
So get a virtual basket. And fill it up this salt-free, low-sodium goodies. Give them to someone you love. And know you’ll be eating well at their house this year and those to come. Maybe throw in this little book
too. You know, just to round it out.