Holiday Gift Guide 2014 + a Thermapen Giveaway! {Giveaway Closed}

by alexandra

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - Gift-giving inspiration for the cooks, bakers, and food-lovers in your life! | www.brighteyedbaker.com

I think I’ve already said it like one or a million times, but I ♡ the holidays so much. I’m totally hyped to share bunches of festive recipes with you guys this month to pump up all that Christmas spirit, but I thought it’d also be fun to throw in something new and do a gift guide. I’m doing this partly because I have so many kitchen-y items that I absolutely love and use ALL THE TIME that I think you might love too, and partly because coming up with gift ideas can be tricky sometimes and I’m hoping I can help out.

Because this blog is mostly about food and it’s pretty much the main thing I a) have a solid knowledge about and b) am super passionate about, I decided to stick to food-focused gifts. A lot of these items are kitchen tools of one sort or another, so some of them are more for your tearin’ it up in the kitchen kind of person, but others are geared a little more towards special interests. Then there’s a few other things – like tableware, cookbooks, and food-inspired art – that are just fun for any food-lover. Essentially, I’d like to think that if you have an interest in stepping foot in the kitchen at all, you might find something that piques your interest here. Also, all of these items are things I personally use and love, except for a few in the last category which I’ve been lusting after and decided to share.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - The Essentials  | www.brighteyedbaker.com

1) OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale with Pull-Out Display – This is the one thing I use more than anything else in my kitchen.  Not only is weighing ingredients a foolproof way to follow recipes accurately, but I actually like that it saves me from having to wash so many different measuring cups all the time. This scale can weigh up to 11 lbs, which is awesome, and mine’s been going strong for a few years now with CONSTANT use.

2) Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen – I’ve already raved many times about how much I love my Thermapen – you can check out this post for more on that. No matter what your area of interest is when it comes to baking or cooking, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a number of uses for the Thermapen. It’s on the pricey end of kitchen thermometers, but I can say from experience that it’s because it works well and stands the test of time – something that most kitchen thermometers don’t do. (I’m giving one of these away at the end of this post, so keep reading!)

3) Tovolo® Mini Silicone Scrape and Scoop Multi-Purpose Scrapers – I feel a little funny for including a a mini spatula-type thing in a gift guide, but you guys – I swear – this will be your new best friend. I never thought I would use it when I first got it, but I literally use it every day for one thing or another. It’s super helpful for scraping down bowls, getting into tight spaces, and scooping up dough, batter, or what not.

4) Sur La Table Platinum Pro Bakeware – I own a few pieces from this line: the 8″ square pan (pictured), the 9″ x 13″ rectangular pan, and the pullman loaf pan. What I love about this bakeware is how evenly it cooks food and how completely non-stick it is. Plus, I’m a big fan of baking pans with straight sides since it gives the finished product a cleaner look, so this fits right in with that.

5) OXO Good Grips 9-Piece Nesting Bowls and Colanders Set – I have multiple sets of bowl in my kitchen, but these are the ones I always grab first. They’re lightweight but sturdy with a nice grip on the bottom to prevent them from slipping around, and they come with fitted colanders and lids which is just an added bonus.

6) Nordic Ware Deluxe Bundt Cake Keeper – In some people’s worlds this is probably not considered an “essential”, but if you ever make bundt cakes, I say it’s a total essential! There’s nothing sadder to me than having to cover a perfectly-decorated bundt cake with saran wrap or foil and ruin all that hard work, so this is a super-convenient way to avoid that, and it makes for really easy transportation too.

7) Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 10- to 15-Cup Bundt Pan – Again, only an essential if you actual bake bundt cakes, but in the event that you do, this pan is a miracle worker. It turns out perfect cakes without any sticking-to-the-pan business every single time, and I can’t recommend it enough.

8) Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Combo Cooker, 3-Quart – I’m finally the owner of a cast iron pan and I’m obsessed with it. I love this purchase because you get a dutch oven and a skillet in one, which opens the door to SO many potential uses. Plus, it’s pre-seasoned, really good quality, and – as far as cast iron cookware goes – very reasonably priced. (P.S. When it comes to cast iron skillets – you can totally think beyond the typical uses. I’ve made a peach pie crumble with mine and a giant skillet cookie that I’m planning on sharing soon. I’m also SO inspired by Jennifer from Seasons & Suppers, who’s always brimming with ideas for unique ways to use them.)

9) OXO 10-Piece Good Grips Pop Containers Set – I can’t say enough about how genius these containers are. They open and close with the touch of a button, they stack, they’re clear so you can identify what’s inside, and they’re perfect for holding anything and everything to clear up kitchen and pantry space. You can see what I did with mine in this post!

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - The Specialities | www.brighteyedbaker.com1) Kuissential Deluxe Automatic Milk Frother and Warmer, Cappuccino Maker – I’ll admit that I’m a little bit of a coffee snob, and it makes me sad when my coffee isn’t all frothy and foamy. This is what I use every morning to make hot peppermint white mochas and iced caramel lattes with all kinds of foamy goodness every single time. It’s simple to use and it works well.

2) Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer – This little gadget gets SO much use in our house. It’s quick and easy to use for squeezing citrus – there’s one for limes, one for lemons, and one for oranges – and so much simpler and more effective  than a traditional lemon juicer or the old by-hand method. I especially love this for summer cocktails – pretty much all my favorites have lemon or lime, so this is the perfect little tool for that.

3) OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter – Last year I went through 10 lbs of cherries in a week for OXO’s 10 Lb Cherry Challenge, and I have absolutely no idea how I could have done it without this cherry pitter. For that matter, I don’t think I’d ever bake with cherries if I didn’t own this pitter. It might be more of a gadget than a kitchen staple, but it does what it’s built to do really well, and makes life a million times easier. (It also works for olives!)

4) OXO Good Grips Twist & Pop Strawberry Huller – I get that hulling strawberries with a knife isn’t exactly the most difficult thing to do. BUT, if you work with strawberries a lot, this little tool makes the task faster, easier, and actually a little bit of fun(!!) for a small price.

5) OXO Good Grips Mango Splitter – Unlike hulling strawberries, I literally find pitting and slicing mangoes to be a ridiclous annoying and difficult task, which sucks because juicy, tangy mangoes are one of my all-time favorites. This thing is my lifesaver; it works perfectly.

6) Paderno World Cuisine 10 1/4-Inch Carbon Steel Crepe Pan – My favorite splurge breakfast is nutella crêpes, and I originally bought this because I just didn’t have the right pan for making crêpes; they were all either too small or the wrong shape. This was a pretty inexpensive purchase, and not only is it really good for crêpes since it’s easy to move around and has those slightly slanted edges, but it was a good intro for me into the world of cast iron since you care for carbon steel in pretty much the same way. It’s not just for crêpes either! I also use mine for making my favorite garlic naan. (← insert smiley face with the hearts for eyes)

7) Cuisinart Pure Indulgence 2-Quart Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker – YOU GUYS. Very few things make me happier than homemade ice cream. Every summer I get blown away by a few new favorites  – like this caramel latté ice cream and this mint oreo one – and I owe it all to this magical little ice cream maker. It’s the easiest thing in the world to use and it churns up some gorgeous ice cream.

8) Lékué Round Chocolate Mold – I don’t think I ever expected to be the kind of person with the inclination to make fancy chocolates, but then I got into things like tempering chocolate and making rum caramel-filled chocolate cups, and I realized that a good chocolate mold would be a useful tool. This one does its job really well and turns out shiny chocolates that look like they were made by a pro.

9) Ateco Plastic Coated Decorating Bag, 18-Inch – This piping bag actually comes in a bunch of different sizes, but the 18″ is the size I own and I absolutely love it. One thing I’ve learned over time is that not all piping bags are created equally, and this one is really heavy-duty and long-lasting, with a cloth exterior that helps you keep your grip and a plastic interior that’s easily washable. It’s also mega big, which is my kind of thing since I like to keep things easy and pack as much frosting into the bag at one time as possible.

10) BonJour Brushed Aluminum Chef’s Torch with Fuel Gauge – I should just admit that I have an obsession with torching food – think toasted marshmallows for ice cream, roasted jalapeños for salsa, crême brûlée (and I could definitely go on) – so this torch is like my best friend. It’s also a really fun thing to pull out for making spur-of-the-moment-s’mores, since everyone seems to get a big kick out of using it. Seeing as I may not be the safest person ever with a torch in hand, I really like the safety features built into it too. :)

11) Ateco 6-Piece Pastry Tube and Tips Set – For basic cake and cupcake decorating, these are my go-to piping tips. I love the large openings that let you make big swirls of frosting, and the shapes included are perfect for the occasional cupcake decorator since they cover all the types used most commonly.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - The Fun Stuff | www.brighteyedbaker.com1) Anthropologie Latte Bowls – You’ll quickly begin to see here that I have a bit of an obsession with Anthropologie kitchen products. I own a couple of these bowls – one large one in a pretty shade of light blue and a couple smaller ones in a jade color – and I can’t get enough of how cute they are. Every time I go to the store I’m soooo tempted to buy more, because all the colors are gorgeous!

2) Chocolate Glazed Donut Original Watercolor Painting by Alicia Severson – I first came across Alicia’s art earlier this year, and I was totally in awe seeing all of her mouthwatering food-inspired paintings. This donut is just one of my favorites (mostly because I’m a baking girl at heart), but her shop is filled with a variety of incredible paintings that would be right at home in someone’s kitchen.

3) Anthropologie Stripes Abound Apron – I’m this really weird person who never wears an apron when I’m in the kitchen, but that doesn’t stop me from eyeing the Anthro aprons allll the time and promising myself that if I bought one I’d actually wear it. In a perfect world I look very put-together when I bake – like wearing normal-person clothes with my hair done and this apron on.  (In reality I’m in sweats and a t-shirt with my hair in a messy bun and flour dusted all over me, but hey, a girl can dream.)

4) Tartine Bread – Remember how I said that I only own three cookbooks? Well when I do buy one, I make really dang sure that it’s worth it, and this one definitely is. It’s not just a cookbook, because it starts out by sharing the story behind Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, but it also gives you a really in-depth look at how to make perfect loaves of bread with crisp, rustic crusts and light-as-air interiors (← basically the stuff of my dreams).

5) Alex and Ani Cupcake Charm Bangle – I honestly never ever ever wear bracelets, with the exception of my growing collection of Alex and Ani ones that I wear all the time (when I’m not in my sweats!). I love that each one carries its own little message – something that speaks to me -and wearing them is like having a constant reminder of all the good things in my life. I don’t have the cupcake one yet, but for any baker it would be such a cute and meaningful gift.

6) Milk Glass Pedestal Cake Stand – My obsession with cake stands is never-ending. I’ve always loved the simple milk glass ones, so I finally broke down and bought this mini white one that I absolutely love for cupcakes and small cakes. Solid white is always a good way to go for showcasing food, but I’ve also been swooning over the classic jadeite for a while now!

7) Bake it Pretty Royal Blue Carnival Stripe Cupcake Liners – Every once in a while I like to splurge on fun cupcake liners – especially when I’m making something for a party or event – and Bake it Pretty is one of the best places to find them in all sorts of colors and designs. One of my favorites is the carnival stripe design, although I also can’t get enough of these mini ones I bought as well! (Side note: it’s super super important to buy greaseproof liners like the ones sold on Bake it Pretty, because otherwise all that cuteness just won’t show up in the finished product. They’re usually a little pricier, but I’ve learned that it’s definitely worth it.)

 8) The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments – This is my ice cream bible. Every flavor I’ve made with it – like Java Chip, {extra-dark} Chocolate, and Vanilla Bean – has completely blown my mind. The tastes are always spot on and the texture is consistently silky-smooth and creamier than creamy. I literally want to make everything in this book.

9) Suite One Studio Gold Rimmed Dessert Plates – I first came across Lindsay’s work on Instagram, and I’m constantly awed by her raw talent and the gorgeous, unique pieces she creates. These plates are just one of my favorites — I have many!!

10) Anthropologie Calligrapher Canape Plate – Every one of these plates is inspired by a different vintage flashcard, and each has a different letter of the alphabet with its own unique design. I only have the “c”, but I love how fun and whimsical it is – so somebody, please send me more! ;)

11) Old Dutch 16-Ounce Solid Copper Hammered Moscow Mule Mug, Set of 4 – I’ve been dreaming of owning a set of Moscow Mule Mugs for quite some time now – not only because they’re the traditional cup for a mule but also because they’re stunning. I tend to gravitate towards the hammered copper ones, and these are some of my favorites of all the ones I’ve seen.

12) Metallic Silver and White Striped Paper Drinking Straws – While I don’t really use these to drink out of, I love having them for food photos and as a fun (but also useful!) decoration for parties. This is just one of my favorite colors from my go-to Etsy shop for striped straws. The owner, Jennifer, is also super sweet and great to work with.

13) Lemon Meringue Pie Art – This is from another Etsy shop with tons of colorful food-inspired artwork. The lemon meringue print is one of my favorites, and I can see how so many of these would make a playful addition to your kitchen walls!Thermapen Giveaway | www.brighteyedbaker.com

And lastly, for the Thermapen giveaway! This is a short giveaway that will only be open until Friday, December 12th at midnight PST, so hop in on it while you can. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below for all the entry options. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – always to products I’m a fan of myself. They help to keep this blog possible, so thank you for your understanding!

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Charlie C December 11, 2014

I’m thinking of making a rib roast for Christmas dinner instead of a turkey or ham this year, and a Thermapen would definitely help with that.

Karla December 11, 2014

Happy Holidays & thank you for the chance to win! Steak is the choice for holiday dinners in my house. A Thermapen would make sure I cook each steak perfectly.

Thanks, Karla

Rachel D December 11, 2014

I have always wanted to make homemade marshmallows and this would be the perfect tool to do so! Thanks for the giveaway -Rachel

Erin m. December 11, 2014

I’d love to make toffee using this thermometer!

Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking December 11, 2014

I just want to copy the URL and send this to my entire family. SO many awesome gift ideas!! Especially for someone like me who never knows how to answer that question… ;) Didn’t you use the thermapen to make caramel before? Because if you did, I totally want to try that!
Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking recently posted..Soft-Baked Ginger CookiesMy Profile

alexandra December 12, 2014

Haha thanks Amy! And yup, I used this when I made these boozy chocolate caramel cups. It’s good when you need to make sure your caramel comes out with a really specific consistency. :)

S December 11, 2014

I have that food scale and it was one of the best things I bought for my kitchen next to my knives, microplane, and dutch oven.

alexandra December 12, 2014

I love my microplane too!

Fran B December 12, 2014

I would love to have a thermapen

Laura m December 12, 2014

I’d use this to make sure my holiday turkey was cooked to perfection!

Adrienne December 12, 2014

I plan on using this Thermopen to make a caramel sauce for the holidays.

Malerie Dorman December 12, 2014

This is a fantastic set of give guides! I would use this to make sure my steaks are perfect

Kenny December 12, 2014

We usually do a nice big Prime Rib roast at my sister’s house on Christmas day. A Thermapen would be so cool to break out this year!

Piroska December 12, 2014

I’d make a Roast Beef dinner. I’ve never managed to make a decent beef roast. With the thermapen, I’m sure I’d get it just right!

stephanie December 12, 2014

Wow! That is a serious list and now I heart you. I would make bread…I have always wanted to test doneness that way so I know exactly what I am looking for!

Natalia Martínez December 12, 2014

I don’t have a special holiday dish, we are always experimenting new dishes. And this holyday we are making paella! Not a very termometer dish. I do want to experiment with pork a the temperature, like ribs with orange and honey.
¿Is this a worldwide giveaway? The giveaway pop up when i was searching what to do with oranges and i found the candied orange peel that i want to try. :)

Gloria R December 12, 2014

a prime rib roast

Jeff Grabarczyk December 12, 2014

We’re doing a turkey this year and the Thermapen would help to make it perfect! I’d also like to make soft, chewy caramel candies, too!

Melody December 12, 2014

I’d love to make some candy! :)

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