My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings!

It’s officially time to start making your list and checking it twice! So I’ve got some fabulous little gift ideas for you – some of my favorite items that I love and use in my kitchen regularly. In my mind, when it comes to gift giving there’s just nothing better than something that’s actually practical and useful. So here are six super affordable kitchen tools that fit the bill, plus one splurge bonus recommendation that will make the cook – or aspiring cook – in your life feel extra special! (Hey, even though that one is expensive it would still totally fit in a stocking.) :)

  1. “Roux” Cooking Spoon: $10
    This spoon with a flat tip is just plain awesome. It was first introduced to me by my mother-in-law who lives in New Orleans. Forget that they tell you it’s just for making roux. I use it all the time when cooking on the stove, and it has quickly become my favorite. Need to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan or break up ground meat while cooking? No problem.
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Roux Cooking Spoon) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  2. Hand Immersion Blender: $35
    This is by far the most ridiculously smart and handy small appliance I own. I love to make homemade soups, and before I had one of these (also given to me by my in-laws!), I was wasting time and also creating a huge mess when pureeing soups. You see, I was transferring my soups (in batches, no less) to the counter top blender, and when your pot is still holding the chunky soup and the blender is filled to the max with pureed soup, where-oh-where do you put it so you can continue pureeing the remaining soup?? Once again, HUGE mess.

    Not to mention a friend once told me the heat of the soup she was pureeing forced the lid of her counter top blender to fly off, and it almost burned her. So please do yourself a huge favor and invest in one of these bad boys, and while you are at it, get one for every cook (or aspiring cook) you know – they will love it!
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Hand Immersion Blender) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  3. Salad Dressing Bottle (with recipe measurements on the side): $8
    This is not the first time I’ve shared this awesome gadget here on the blog. It all started when I saw one in my mom’s kitchen and begged her to let me have it (yes, I still do that sometimes, even at 36 years old). As it turns out, she really does use it and want to keep it (duh), so I scoured the internet to find one of my own. This bottle seriously makes homemade salad dressings a breeze.

    I love it so much that I gave one to just about every extended family member last year and also bought one for an annual gift exchange party with friends (along with some cool salad tongs) – oh how I love practical gifts!
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Salad Dressing Bottle) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  4. “Pinch” Spoons: $5
    These inexpensive little measuring spoons are mainly just cute and fun. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I am making a recipe that calls for a pinch of cumin, if I stick my fingers down into the spice bottle I’ll end up smelling like tacos for the rest of the day. Some might not think that is such a bad thing, but it’s just not my personal preference. I think these spoons are the perfect gift for a cook who seems to have everything already.
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Pinch Spoons) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  5. Kitchen Scale: $25
    This is not one of those “I use it all the time” tools, but when I do need to quickly solve a mystery, like “How much does this broccoli really weigh so I can use the correct amount in this recipe?,” it sure is handy to have around. And with this scale being fairly small in size, it’s not hard to find a place to store it so that it’s available for such occasions.
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Kitchen Scale) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  6. The Best Reusable Shopping Bags: $20
    If you follow my Facebook page, you may have recently heard me gushing about these bags. Yes, it’s the little things in life. But we got an awesome $5 off discount for our readers and didn’t want you to miss out! I got this reusable bagging system from my sister-n-law for Christmas a couple of years ago. They are so much easier to use (and more durable) than all the other bags I’ve tried. But many readers have questioned if I could really fit a week’s worth of groceries in them, so I risked looking like an idiot and had my picture taken with them at the store so you could really get a sense for how big they are.

    The set comes with 4 bags total – 3 that are close in size to the light blue one plus 1 other that is slightly smaller (the black one). They are all labeled with what items go in each one, and even if I am shopping for extra house guests or Thanksgiving dinner, I have honestly never run out of room. And my favorite part is that they all neatly (and easily) fold and zip up together into one of the 4 bags (the brown one). No more bags flying all over the back of my car when they aren’t in use! That used to drive me crazy. This is another one of those great practical gifts for just about anyone on your list!
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Eco Bagging System) from 100 Days of #RealFood
  7. SPLURGE: Professional Knife: $150
    This is one of those coveted high-end items that you collect one of each year. Then over time you’ll have yourself a nice collection! I got this very same knife as my big gift last year, and it’s amazing how much better I like it than the other knives we own. I love everything from the handle to the blade to the shape to how it rests in your hand perfectly. Not to mention it’s just cool looking. :) This would be an extra special big surprise for someone who really likes to cook!
    My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings! (Good Knife) from 100 Days of #RealFood

What food-related items are going to be on your list this year?

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57 thoughts on “My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Stockings!”

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  1. Hi Lisa. Thank for great items you have suggested. I have to arrange my new kitchen so I’m thinking about kitchen tools that I have to buy. Your mentioned is very helpful to me. Only one thing that I have just bought is a Ceramic Cookware Set as shown here I have no ideas anymore what i should buy to my kitchen. I’ll follow your list. Thank you again for your sharing.

  2. Melissa Madore

    I love the idea of the salad dressing mixer but I notice that it asked for refined sugar… What do you do to remplace it ?

  3. How about a good quality stand up/block cheese grater? I have a really old one that I use all the time (mostly for your carrot/applesauce muffins!) and would love to hear what you would recommend :)

  4. I would say to add a coffee / spice grinder to the mix. That or a really good, fine mesh tea strainer. Also, a few candy molds for gelatin treats or holiday baking would be good. (^o^)b

  5. I recently discovered a flat whisk suggested by The Pioneer Woman. I love it and it works better than a traditional whisk!

  6. I couldn’t agree more about the immersion blender- I use mine almost daily – for smoothies, soups, pesto, etc.

    Also would add a microplane, and a sil pat or other silicone baking sheet liner.

  7. I love practical gifts as well!

    This is a great list. After batch cooking with friends and using their hand immersion blender, I went out and purchased one for homemade soups. What a time saver!!

  8. I have a question about the salad dressing bottle now for example with the honey mustard do you add everything all together and what order would you put it in.

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Amy. Order shouldn’t matter. If it separates, you just swirl or shake the bottle a bit. ~Amy

    2. Amy – I have two of those bottles and love them! I look at the vertical line for each recipe, and then fill beginning w the bottom ingredient. Ex: the honey mustard – I start w honey, filling to the line indicated, then add the oil to the next line up, then the acid. When I’ve done that, then I add the “extras” – salt, pepper, onion powder, Dijon. And if you forget, there’s a little reminder printed right on the bottle! If you don’t usually make scratch dressings, I suggest getting your dressings out to warm up prior to preparing your meal. I sometimes set them near the oven/stove, too, as the oils solidify in the fridge (I generally use extra virgin olive oil).

  9. My partner and I both went to culinary school, and we can tell you that one kitchen knife is not right for all cooks. We each have good quality chefs knives that we love, but we can’t stand each other’s. If you really want to give a kitchen knife as a gift, I suggest giving a gift certificate to a local cutlery store. That way, the recipient can try several and find the one that’s right for him or her.

  10. Great list! However, it may be worth noting that a rather large number of people manage to sustain serious cuts from trying to clean their immersion blenders. In fact, the NYTimes did a piece about this back in January titled “Bandages Not Included.”

  11. I love the little semi circular curli cue wire whipper from Pampered Chef. I gave one to each of the gals I work with last Christmas, and they’ve told me it’s their very favorite gift from work ever! They’re only about 4 or 5 bucks and you can use them to make beverages,scramble eggs in a tall glass, whisk sauces and gravies, stir just about anything, rinse quickly under running water and use again! It is so handy.
    My other favorite are the silicone spatulas from Le Creuset shaped like a spoon. AWESOME!

  12. I second the cutting board. Last year I spent some Christmas money I received on a Boos Block, along with the wood conditioner. It’s been a great investment! We also have some flexible plastic cutting boards that are useful for folding to scrape ingredients into the pan or containers.
    Other small items I love are my Oxo mini measuring cup, which makes measuring tablespoons of liquid ingredients (lemon juice, oil) easy, and my adjustable measuring spoons from Pampered Chef. I like those because I only need 2 spoons in the drawer as opposed to 5 or 6.
    This year my husband & I are buying ourselves a new gas range for Christmas. We moved in May, and our appliances at the new house are nearly 20 years old and are showing their age. I realized at Thanksgiving when putting the turkey breast in the oven that we definitely need a bigger oven!

    1. The easiest way to peel garlic is to smash the cluster of cloves apart and put them in a metal bowl. Turn another metal bowl over on top of the first bowl so that they face each other, rim to rim. Hold them together and shake like crazy. Your garlic is now peeled!! :)

  13. I’ve been struggling to think of things to add to my wishlist, but now will add kitchen scales :)

    I think I will also add a spiraliser. I would love a dehydrator, but just don’t have the kitchen space for one at the moment.

  14. I borrowed my mums crockpot to do the slow cooker chicken…which was delicious…and so now for Christmas Im getting a crockpot and a stick mixer(what you’ve called a hand immersion blender) I find they’re also great for making smoothies! especially if its only for one or two people rather than use my proper blender which I then have to pull apart and clean!

  15. The kitchen thing that I’m dying to get (and I think I will, after all the hinting I’ve been doing!) is a 2 1/4 tsp. measuring spoon from King Arthur Flour. I can’t wait to have that for all my yeast recipes that call for 1 packet of yeast! (since I buy it in a large package)

  16. Love my immersion blender. I bought mine after watching a Rick Bayless live cooking demonstration during which he sang it’s praises. That is one kitchen appliance I could never live without now – SO useful! I use it for soups all the time. I also use it to whip up a smoothie for my daughter on a regular basis (if I’m making for the whole family I prefer the blender).

  17. Love your ideas! I have an immersion blender and a kitchen scale — I don;t use them every day, but when I need them they are VERY nice to have on hand. I also love those shopping bags, and was going to buy a set, but just can’t bring myself to pay $10 shipping for a $20 item. Too bad — they look much nicer and more convenient to use than my current set of reusable grocery bags.

  18. Love your blog (it’s new to me) and think this is a great list. I, too, adore practical gifts. Only one comment about your items: I think you are underselling the usefulness of the scale. I really do use mine every day. It makes baking better, easier, less messy, and quicker! Lots of non-baking uses for it, too once you get in the habit of thinking about ways to use it.

  19. We moved from TX to MN this year and I have asked for a meat tenderizer. I found a great one with long sharp spikes and showed my husband how it would make perfect chicken fried steaks. I haven’t found the right tenderized cuts at any stores up here so I will have to make my own!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Trudy. If you do not wish to do the online ordering, you should be able to find similar items at Sur La Table or William Sonoma. ~Amy

  20. I love the idea of using that immersion blender for soup and not having to transfer the soup, thank you! Sometimes quite a mess!! I think that might go on my list now! I love my food scale for baking bread. Before I had it, and I saw recipes with ingredients in grams, I thought those were some serious cooks and bakers! While it’s probably true, I actually find it pretty easy and convenient to use a scale for making bread. Still haven’t taken up the habit for recipes I create though :~ My splurge is quite definitely my breadmaker, though the Blendtec is also quite awesome. Oh and here is my gift idea list which I don’t think contains anything that fits in a stocking! http://fresh-you.blogspot.com/2013/11/gift-ideas-groovy-gadgets-id-love-to.html Happy Thanksgiving, and happy holidays, Lisa!

  21. Ny favorite tool is a fine microplane. I use it for zesting, grating parmesan and nutmeg and find it a perfect size to hold over a bowl. I love that it is super sharp, but that also means I end up with nicks occasionally, so be careful!

  22. Lisa, I live in Concord, NC and just started following your blog. I found it from reading an article in the Charlotte Observer. Since I sometimes buy whole chickens from a local farmer, I bought a Wusthof chicken shears. While it was a hefty price tag, I love it as well!

  23. I have a question about the salad dressing bottle. Reviews on Amazon say that the cap easily breaks and the writing comes off after washing. I would put more weight into your experience with it than amazon reviewers so I am guessing you haven’t had any of these problems? Thanks!

    1. I’ve had mine for many years and have had no issues with the cap breaking. And after years of dishwashing I am just now seeing a few parts of the letters come off, but it is very minor – I can still read everything very clearly. If you wanted to hand wash it I don’t think that would ever happen. I hope that helps!

  24. LOVE the roux spoon…have a nalgene one but metal is so much better.
    One tip for cooks with beginning cooks is Tupperware measuring spoons–they can rest steady, upright on the counter with the teaspoon of whatever. My little helper can dish it out and set it aside for my other helper to add. Love them so much I have two sets.
    would someone tell Santa that the one knife a year plan is sooo clever? I love the idea!

  25. I’ve asked Santa for a juicer this year. It’s killing me to be patient for it! I need to add the flat tip spoon to the list! Love this blog Lisa! Read all the time! Great suggestions, will probably do the salad dressing bottle for gifts. Question – I have a hand held mixer. Can that work the same as immersion blender with the right attachment?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Sara. Hmmm, I’ve never seen a handheld with an attachment similar to an immersion blender. If so, I’m sure it would be fine. ~Amy

  26. I would love suggestions on a great colander that can work with rinsing quinoa and for making soup stock as well the best baster that doesn’t leak. Last year I found new turquoise measuring cups and a turquoise digital thermometer in my stocking (Santa apparently was listening quite closely when I was showing my lovely husbamd the ones I really liked!) I have used them so much this year too.
    For items larger than a stocking, I absolutely love the vitamix we recieved as a first anniversary gift from my folks. We use it all the time too — from green smoothies, soup and sauce prep to frozen treats. Can’t wait to see what others list too…think I will mention the spoon to my husband too. Thanks for sharing!!!

  27. I use my kitchen scale almost daily. The scale I bought came with a volume/weight conversion guide so now I weigh all ingredients when baking. Also, it is wonderful when measuring sticky ingredients like honey. I just measure directly into whatever vessel I’m mixing in. No more sticky measuring cups.
    Also, about knives, I recently found out that Wusthoff Classic knives carry a lifetime warranty. The handle of one of my knives cracked and I was able to have it replaced at a certified retailer at no cost. The upfront expense may be a little hard to justify but it is nice knowing they stand behind their products without jumping through several hoops.

    1. I also love love love my Cuisanart Food Processor. It’s made baby food, sauces, oat flour etc. for going on 11 years now. And it’s so quiet (compared to others). The size has been good too. If it EVER dies on me, I have to get a new one immediately! Good luck Gina!

  28. I also use my immersion blender to stir the jar of natural peanut butter. I am thinking of getting the cookbook special that you posted earlier today. I my husband usually gets me some sort of item for the kitchen each year. Self-serving gift in a good way…I love to cook & he loves to eat!

  29. I have that same kitchen scale and use it often when baking. I buy a two pound brick of good quality butter and need the scale to weigh out portions since most recipes are given in number of sticks or tablespoons. It is also helpful for bread making since weight is usually more accurate than volume.

  30. I am getting a larger food processor (I currently just have a small blender attachment and the lid is broken!) and a bread machine!! :) I have an immersion blender but I like that roux spoon!!! That sure does look handy. I’m asking my kids (7,4,1) to get me more measuring spoons & cups….mine end up in their play kitchen, never to be seen again! :/

    Love this blog!!! Found it recently and am having fun with your recipes and readings! Thank you for all your effort that goes into this!