Need some great gift ideas for the home cook on your list? We’ve got you covered. As regular readers of our blog know, we’ve been losing weight, but that has only made us focus more on the quality of food that we eat and cook at home. Because we want every calorie to count toward something delicious, we’ve spent quite a bit of time learning new cooking skills and finding the perfect kitchen accessories. If you have a foodie, home cook, or chef-wanna-be in your life, here’s a list of great gift ideas this holiday season. 

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Gift ideas for the home cookGift ideas for the home cook

Kusina Gold SeasoningWe just discovered Kusina Gold Greek Seasoning this fall on our trip to Clear Lake and Mason City. People there kept raving to us about this seasoning and how it makes every dish better. When we visited the local farmer’s market, we met the friendly lady who makes it and purchased some. We are now completely and totally hooked on this magic dust that can be used on everything from meat, poultry, and fish to vegetables both steamed and grilled to take them to a new level of good. We also love sprinkling it on bread and then toasting it with a little shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Electric salt and pepper millsNothing will make a table feel fancier than these good-looking salt and pepper mills. With the touch of a button they go to work, freshly grinding seasoning. They even have a little light on the bottom so you can see how much you’re getting. We got them as a wedding gift and use them every day.

The Chef and The Dish gift certificate – This is the PERFECT gift for the home cook in your life. The Chef and the Dish will send a world class chef right into a person’s kitchen, via Skype, for a private cooking lesson. With classes on cuisines from around the world, the home cook in your life will have a blast learning from an expert. This is an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys learning about new foods and cultures. We’ve done two classes with The Chef and The Dish. We invited friends over for the risotto two ways course with a chef from Italy. And Ann and her friend, Cyndi Kane, learned how to make Spanish paella with a chef in Spain. Both were amazing and we can’t wait to do it again. 

Jura coffee makerIf your home cook is a coffee lover, and you REALLY love them and have a hefty holiday budget, then a Jura coffee maker is a perfect gift. At the touch of a button, this machine grinds the beans, then makes espresso, coffee, a latte, or a cappuccino. Best of all, it’s easy to maintain. We simply adore ours and love that we look forward to our coffee every morning.

Soup bowlsA delicious meal needs a good presentation, and these bowls from Sur la Table are perfect for a piping hot bowl of soup. We’ve used them lots this fall while losing weight on Noom. Complete with handles, they are easy to carry when full of steaming hot soup. 

Pioneer Woman CookbookThe Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond (from Pawhuska, Oklahoma) is a home cook’s best friend. With easy to follow recipes and lots of pictures, her cookbook makes the kitchen a much easier room to navigate. Her newest cookbook makes a wonderful gift for the home cook in your life. 

Unique gift ideas for the home cook on your list

Paella panA properly made paella is a wonderful treat, but to make it right, you need the correct pan. This one will get the job done. See what we mean and read about the time that Ann cooked Spanish Paella with the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s best friend, Hyacinth.

Olive oil dispenserWe learned on our trip to Italy that a key to preserving the taste of olive oil is to store it properly. This olive oil dispenser fits the bill well. This gift idea for the home cook is perfect for storing olive oil in a dark container away from heat and light. And, it has a handy stainless steel pourer for easy pouring. 

Daelmans Dutch Stroopwafel cookiesNo cooking necessary with these sweet treats, and an easy dessert with your holiday meal or afternoon tea. There is something about these melt-in-your-mouth cookies that almost brings tears to the eye. Typically found at World Market, they are crunchy but chewy, and perfect for dipping in a cup of coffee (freshly brewed by the Jura, of course!)

Village Pie Maker pieSome of the best news we’ve had in a long time is that Village Pie Maker pies are now shipped! The folks who make these heavenly desserts use only fresh ingredients. Indeed, it’s the customer who bakes the pie right before serving. We got to tour the Village Pie Maker kitchen a few years ago. You can read all about the secret to these popular pies HERE.

Epicurean utensilsSo, basically, these are the best kitchen utensils ever made. Easy to grip, lightweight, durable, great for non-stick pans, and dishwasher safe, Epicurean utensils are game changing. Get this gift idea for the home cook on your list and forever be their hero. Get a set for yourself, too, while you’re at it. We also love that they are made in the Midwest — in Minnesota. 

Epicurean cutting boardLike kitchen tools of the same brand, this cutting board changes the rules when it comes to cooking. Made from a material originally developed for skateboards, these cutting boards are lightweight, easy to store, dishwasher safe (they can be sanitized after cutting raw meats and chicken!), and won’t damage or dull your knives. We have them in a multitude of sizes and use them almost every day.

Collapsible berry strainerIn truth, this small, collapsible colander can be used for more than just berries. In fact, its size and the fact that it easily slips into any drawer makes it one of the more useful items to have in a kitchen, and a wonderful gift idea for the home cook. 

A few more gift ideas for the home cook

Eleanor red wine from Francis Ford Coppola WineryA home cook goes to a great deal of work to make a delicious meal, so it’s only right to serve the meal alongside a great glass of wine. Eleanor from Coppola is a full-bodied, dry red wine that is simply delicious and one of our favorites. If dry reds aren’t your thing, no worries; Coppola Winery has great wines for every taste. Honestly, we’ve never had a bad one. 

The Pioneer Woman’s plastic wrap dispenserThis one is a life changer. Seriously. Just pull out enough plastic wrap to cover your dish, then slide the blade across the plastic. That’s it. No more wadded up wrap that sticks to itself. Plus, the box is equipped with little rubber feet so it won’t slide while it’s being used, and it even looks good enough to leave out on the counter. We have the plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and parchment paper dispensers and give them often as gifts. 

Le Creuset potThese enamel coated, cast-iron pots are terrific for about anything you want to do in the kitchen. Use them in the oven for a tender pot roast, or on the stove to make your favorite soups. Because they are cast iron, they distribute heat evenly. They are also beautiful pieces and we often display ours on our stove top. 

Rice for Risotto and parmigiano reggiano cheeseThe first step to cooking well at home is to have quality ingredients. When we learned to make strawberry Parmesan risotto with The Chef & The Dish we quickly saw that having the correct rice and cheese was as important as any cooking technique we’d use. This is the right rice and any home cook will appreciate a quality (and authentic) wedge of Pamigiano Reggiano cheese. Look for the dotted Parmigiano Reggiano stamp in the rind to make sure it’s the real deal. 

Avocado toolThis handy-dandy gadget makes all the difference and is a great gift idea for the home cook who likes to make guacamole. This scoops the avocado out of its skin easily, then mashes it up and can even mix in the other ingredients. Ann also uses this tool for scooping out the baked potato and separating it from the skin when making twice-baked potatoes!

What are your favorite gift ideas for the home cook in your life? Let us know in the comments below. 


Gift ideas for the home cook

  • The Rooftop Garden is a unique space on the top deck of the @celebrityedge. There’s no water slide on this ship, no go-carts, and the’s no rock wall for climbing. Instead the Rooftop Garden provides a “living urban playscape inspired by childhood playgrounds and designed to waken the inner child in all of us,” according to the Celebrity Cruises website. There are live plants, comfortable outdoor seating, and unique art installations that set the space apart from anything else at sea. @cruisecelebrity
  • Blu is a restaurant on the Celebrity Edge that is dedicated to guests in Aqua Class.  It serves “clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine” in a gorgeous blue venue. To give you an example of the types of entrees served, for dinner tonight Blu is offering seared duck breast with wilted chard, farro risotto, and black cherry jus; a cracked pepper corn-crusted tuna salad, watercress, and dijon vinaigrette; and pumpkin gnocchi with sautéed arugula, sundries tomatoes, marinated artichokes, goat cheese and basil pesto. What would you order?
  • Yes, cruise ships are huge, but if you do a little exploring, you’ll find that the designers have included many small spots perfect for intimate conversation and watching the world go by. We found this nook in Eden, on deck 5 of the Celebrity Edge, near the stern.
  • Last Sunday we began the second half of our very first back-to-back cruise on the Celebrity Edge. We’ve had the best cruise vacation and have enjoyed every single minute of our vacation. The Edge  been an ideal place to relax, recharge, and prepare for a new year. We’ve also used this time to try new things and focus on a healthy lifestyle. Thank you all for coming along on our journey and sharing your sweet comments with us along the way. We are grateful for each of you.
  • We just love these guys!! These two characters were the bartenders on the Retreat Sundeck for our cruise aboard the Celebrity Edge. Johannes and Vince created a light, fun atmosphere and made you want to go to the pool every day. Their personalities helped make the Retreat a welcoming place with professional service. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. We found similar cheerfulness in crew around every corner of the Edge, under the command of @captainkatemccue.
  • A refreshing drink...⁣
Something we've done this cruise is work to find drinks we could enjoy by the pool that didn't have lots of calories from alcohol or sugar. Thankfully, @celebritycruises has some pretty great bartenders willing to help us out. ⁣
To make this drink, Vince, our Retreat bartender, first muddled some lemons and limes in the bottom of a shaker. He then poured a little fresh lime juice over it, added a couple of mint leaves, and then ice. Finally, he shook the mixture, then poured it into a glass before adding diet Sprite to the top. ⁣
What we got was a delicious, refreshing drink that really satisfied on a warm day by the pool. The best part is that it only had a few calories from the lime juice.⁣
We think we'll have another.⁣
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  • Isn’t she beautiful? The @celebrityedge is like no other ship at sea. Her striking bow is distinct and efficient. Plus, we think it just looks cool. We took this rare nighttime photo from the pier in San Juan, Puerto Rico after docking near sunset giving us a completely different view of the same alluring ship. @captainkatemccue and her team have given us a glorious week at sea that we will never forget.
  • Sailing into and docking in San Juan, Puerto Rico tonight on the @celebritycruises @celebrityedge took our breath away. You can watch a live video on our Facebook page @postcardjar.

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