Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Foodie Finds: November Edition!

If you're like me, you're probably gearing up for Thanksgiving later this month!  I've been checking out a few new things that can help me for the holidays both in and out of the kitchen, while being somewhat food related. Here are some foodie finds that I recently enjoyed and maybe you'll find something that can help you with the holiday prep in a couple of weeks...


I can never have too many frying pans. I learned about the TeChef brand when I was looking for some pans to use for my culinary classes. What I like about these frying pans is that they are bottom heavy. This allows heat to evenly spread across the bottom and then up the sides. Another plus is that they are not only good on standard gas and electric ranges, but I love that they work well with induction cooktops too! The pans come in a few different colors but I love the olive pan since it goes well in my kitchen.


I was recently in the market for a new citrus press and so I got two of them to compare since I just couldn't decide between the two. This one by BTipsy was so easy to use and squeezing every drop of juice was practically effortless.  The two handles allow for a great grip that even Joel (my 4+ year old) could do a great job juicing. It's a perfect size for all sorts of citrus fruits - lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, etc. And this is a great tool to use for the holiday cocktails and holiday baked goods using citrus! Congrats to Melissa who will receive this Lemon Squeezer for her comment via Facebook!



The other citrus juicer I picked up was this one from Cookeezi. I love the chic and modern design and it was a good size that fit nicely in a standard drawer. Similar to other juicer, this one also yields a good amount of juice effortlessly. I especially like that this juicer is made with 18/10 stainless steel material which makes it pretty strong, durable, shiny and rust resistant. The long handles give me a better mechanical advantage, making juicing so easy. Cleaning is a breeze as this one is dishwasher safe too.


I'm pretty sure there will not be a shortage of mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving. I've always wondered if using a ricer/masher would make a big difference in my mashed potatoes. I picked up this Priority Chef® Potato Ricer and I've now been converted. Potatoes run through a ricer definitely yields a much better, fluffier and creamier mashed potatoes - no lumps! The ricer is a nice ergonomic, non-slip design with soft silicone handles. This one doesn't slip or slide when placed over a pot or bowl when ricing. Aside from mashed potatoes, I can see how this would be great for making baby food and various purees with fruits and vegetables. Oh, and this is dishwasher safe too since its made with stainless steel. 

I can never be without a zester/grater in my kitchen. With so many things to use it with (citrus fruits, chocolate, cheeses and even spices - there's always something you can use it for. This one is made with high grade stainless steel and the durable blade doesn't need sharpening. The handle has a soft comfortable non-slip grip ad overall, its a unique ergonomic design for maximum control for easy use. 
Steel Grater/Zester
** receive 25% off promo code! **
I also picked up this other steel grater/zest, which also has a snap on plastic cover for safety. The rubber feet help hold the grater in place during use and protects my counter from scratches. If you want to check this out for yourself, you can receive 25% off using this promo code at checkout: ZVXSILFZ (expires 12/31/14).
I was in needof a new colander for pasta, vegetables and other preparations. In fact, one of my fave uses for a colander is to steam tamales in it, which is usually around the holidays. The holes of this colander are less than 1/16" in diameter, which are small enough to prevent even cooked rice and orzo from slipping through. And I also learned than water actually drains faster from smaller holes than larger holes! This is due to less solid surface to slow it down, which is why his mesh-style perforation colander is so effective. The entire bowl, from the bottom to the rim, is perforated so there's nowhere for water to get trapped. Another feature of the colander is the base. It's one solid circle of stainless steel that keeps the colander safely level. It also allows your food to be elevated above the floor of the sink and whatever water hasn't yet gone down the drain. And like many of the items I've recently tried, this is also dishwasher safe since its made out of stainless steel.

I tend to use my peeler more during the holiday food prep namely for the various side dishes I make. I was in need of a new one and tried this Deiss Dual Julienne & Vegetable peeler. It allows me to peel, julienne, slice and shred vegetables of any shape and size. It's not four different tools - just a single peeler that makes cooking fun. This tool is especially handy for prepping vegetables like potatoes, carrots, squash, etc. 

Heritage Tray from Reed & Barton
I'm always looking for elegant pieces to use for the holiday table. The Heritage Tray features a beveled glass insert nestled within a perfectly polished, pewter-plated tray. Graduated banded and beaded lines encircle the tray, a primary inspiration for this collection. Crafted in polished pewterplate, its rounded corners add a soft, modern ease to its classic profile and enhance the overall look. Available in 3 popular sizes, these metal trays can be a wonderful accessory for the bathroom, bedside table, bar, or office, as much as platters for dining and food presentation. Congrats to Eva who will receive this Heritage Tray for her comment below!


Tea Infuser and Matching Drip Tray
** receive 25% off promo code! **
Not everyone is a coffee drinker like me and for our upcoming holiday parties, I like to offer both coffee and tea services. Although grabbing a few tea bags and placing them on the table would be easy, I like to add a special touch for my holiday events. I came across these tea infusers which are perfect for tea lovers. It's a great shape and made out of silicone so it's easy to use and comfortable to hold. The silicone material is resistant to temperatures up to 400 degrees (F) and it also comes with a matching drip tray to hold the infuser in between uses. I love that I can offer loose teas (which I personally prefer over bagged teas) and guests can enjoy them with an infuser for more flavor and unwanted chemicals or unpleasant flavors. You can also give this tea infuser a try by receiving a 25% off discount using this promo code @ checkout: OEE6E3IU (expires 12/31/14).

While we're on the topic of teas, I can't help but mention coffees too. I'm hosting an upcoming Holiday Cookie Swap and will be offering a variety of coffees and hot chocolate bar. To help make it easy for guests to fill up and enjoy their favorite cup of joe or cocoa, I picked up a couple electric milk frothers. They froth up hot or cold milk in just seconds so guests don't have to wait long to enjoy their holiday drinks. It can froth up to 115ml  of hot or cold milk in under two minutes for sophisticated coffeehouse-style beverages such as lattes, cappuccinos, breves and even hot chocolate. The interior is also non-stick, which is great for easy clean up. There is also a built in heat control and automatic shut off feature that prevents burning. And because my little guy is a hot chocolate fan, I don't have to worry too much with him around the frother since the stainless-steel, insulated jar allows outer wall to remain cool to the touch while milk warms inside.

Teacup Shaped Silicone Cupcake Liners
** receive $5 off promo code! **
I'm doing my fair share of baking this holiday and I'm always on the look out for cute and unique bakeware. I came across these cute teacup liners made out of silicone, which are perfect to use for cupcakes, brownies, and other dessert ideas. These come in white, so its versatile to use for different occasions, not just for the holidays. And as previously mentioned, they can be used to bake recipes in (as they are oven save, but the saucers are not) or simply as a way to present items like chocolate, fruits, jellies, condiments, etc. They are easy to use and cleam and are made of food grade silicone. You can also give these silicone tea cup liners a try by receiving a $5 off discount using this promo code @ checkout: GMGZFVE6 (expires 12/31/15).

The holidays are just around the corner and I love coming up with seasonal cocktails to serve with appetizers. I came across this cocktail muddler by BTipsy and LOVE it! It's perfect for muddling fresh herbs, spices and fruit. Unlike other muddlers I've used in the past, this one doesn't break or rust after a few uses. It has a grooved nylon head that doesn't corrode or pollute my drink liek some wooden lacquered muddlers on the market. And it's easy to clean and dishwasher safe too. Congrats to John who will receive this Cocktail Muddler for his comment via Facebook!

Some folks are hopping a plane to see loved ones for the holidays. Not necessarily food related, but I had to share my new find for these small packing cubes. These are AWESOME! I loved how organized  I was with my packing. These are made with a see through mesh panel which allows me to easily find what I need. They also maintain privacy while going through security in the airport. I also like that with the different cubes to form separate compartments, it makes it easy for me to pack and unpack what I need, when I need it. Lastly, they come in a variety of sizes to fit in all sorts of bags and luggage pieces.

If you're a fan of Instagram, you're going to LOVE this new tool . These days, more people are using their smartphone to take pictures everywhere and anywhere. These smartphones make it so easy. Now, there's a way to take smartphone photo taking to the next level. This Phoneography Starter Kit is everything you need to step up your camera phone photo game: a Wide/Macro lens and a phone camera filter. The Wide/Macro Lens allows you to shoot with the Wide angle lens, and then unscrew it to reveal a useful macro lens. The Phone-o-chrome Phone filter add shades of color to your photos to make them unique and even more eye catching. Included in the package is Phoneography 101, a four week course that teaches you photography fundamentals through the lens of your phone. Bite-sized lessons show up in your inbox complete with fun challenges to get you shooting. (And when you finish, you get a $10 Gift Card! Score!) This kit makes the perfectest present for any smartphone picture taker or for anyone that wants to maximize their smartphone camera.

It seems like everywhere I look, chalkboards are a crafty trend. Along with that are chalk markers. I was looking for some chalk markers that dry fast and don't smudge and found them with Go Chalk It Markers. They're easy to clean with a damp cloth and they don't leave a dust like ordinary chalk. It's not only perfect for crafters but children too. Each package contains 8 colors: ( Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, & Yellow) and are great as a gift for teachers too. 

Lastly, with the shortened days and lack of natural sunlight, I was looking for a light that helps combat seasonal change. This lamp is great because it simulates natural sunlight and eases “winter blues,” the effects of shift work, jet lag, malaise or fatigue. For those food photography buffs, this light also helps with photo taking as it offers a bright light similar to natural sunlight. Congrats to Rochelle, who will receive a Verilux HappyLight Lamp for her comment below!