This is not my normal blog--
As you are shopping this year for the holidays, here are a few items that I highly recommend for people that cook.
Small appliances that I use frequently
Breville Smart Oven
Seriously people, trust me. Just get this. You will love it. It toasts. It roasts. It bakes. It reheats. It's fantastic. Imagine garlic cheesy bread any time you want. A cheese quesadilla. A roasted chicken. Perfect toast or bagels.
I love this thing. So does my husband. And my kids. Fantastic appliance.
Any brand. They aren't all expensive. Because everything tastes better as a panini. Period. Personal favorite is peanut butter & nutella.
Oxo Mandoline Slicer
My husband may disagree on this, but this one rocks. It replaced my love of my old Pampered Chef one (their new one has too many safety features). With that said, use the finger guard. My husband's knuckle will never be the same again. This is smooth and easy to use. I like all the options for cutting widths. It has the blades you'll actually use. It goes well with the salad book I recommend.
Pampered Chef Salad & Berry Spinner
Best salad spinner in the world. Did I mention that I eat a LOT of salads??
Cookbooks on my shelf
Vegetarian cooking never tasted so good. Fantastic. The lemon pound cake is phenomenal as is the hummus recipe. And 1,000 other things. Weird hippie food that isn't so weird or hippie any longer.
Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer
Amazingly delicious make ahead meals that you can make in bulk. I've cooked with friends a few times and we've split the costs. We once made 12 meals each for $50 a person ($4.16 a meal!). The brownie recipe is to die for you. The soups are the best. Great stuff. It's food your family will actually eat.
Williams-Sonoma Salad a Day
Who needs a salad cookbook, you ask? You do. I eat a LOT of salad. This book took my salad making to a new level. There are all kinds of salads, too, not just leaf salads. Tuna salad that is actually good. Imagine 365 different dressings. My one word of caution- DON'T STRAY FROM THE RECIPES. A lot of thought clearly went into this book- texture, taste combos, seasonal items... if it says use 1/4 tsp of cayenne put it in. Even if you hate cayenne. I usually make salads for my book club. Half the club has now purchased this book. It's THAT good. It's also not for beginner's. Fancy ingredients. Fancy techniques. But if you cook, it's well worth it.
The Everything Cookbook
If you can't cook, this book is for you. It has all the basics you'll ever need- how to roast a turkey, make macaroni and cheese, easy cornbread-- and it's easy to understand. I use this all the time for the simple stuff- meatloaf, for example. I'm also using this with my kids this year to help them learn to cook. I told my husband if he ever gets an idea to make something, check here first. Kids going off to college or their first apartment NEED this book.