With the holidays coming up fast, I’ve put together a little gift guide for folks who enjoy the same things I do: cooking, reading and lounging around the house wearing sweatpants and eating snacks. The products you see on this list are things I personally have and recommend, or things I’ve been lusting after for some time now. You’ll find different price points in each category to accommodate every budget. Enjoy, and of course — happy holidays!
Cooking and Baking:
1. Crate & Barrel Non-Stick Wire Cooling Rack ($7.95): This is the best cooling rack I’ve ever owned: it’s sturdy and the rungs lie flat and therefore don’t leave any weird indentations on your baked goods. I own several that have lasted me a good five years or so without any signs of letting up.
2. Savora Hand Grater ($29.99): Again, this is the best grater I’ve ever owned. The hand grater has a nifty little compartment that catches whatever you’re grating, preventing any mess. Plus, it comes in several cute colors! In fact, I’m actually a huge fan of almost all of Savora’s cooking tools — every single one I own is incredibly functional and adorable at the same time.
3. Le Creuset 5 1/2 Quart Round French Oven ($280): At this point, who hasn’t heard of Le Creuset? Their products have been endorsed by the likes of Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow. This particular french oven is a classic workhorse, and its size is perfect for a wide range of recipes for soups and stews. You can even use it to bake bread! I’m particularly in love with the matte colors.
4. Falcon Enamelware Bake Set (~$85): I bought my first set of enamelware plates when I moved into a house with three dudes prone to breaking nearly everything in sight. Enamelware is light, durable, and adorable to boot. This bake set comes from my favorite enamelware brand and comes with five different pans, perfect for a variety of desserts.
1. Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich ($35): Ever since I took a tour of the Bob’s Red Mill Factory, I’ve been wanting to explore baking with wheat-flour alternatives. Alice Medrich’s cookbook is the perfect introduction, using teff, buckwheat and rice flour to recreate classic baked goods like brownies, yellow cake and more.
2. Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi ($35): Although I was initially underwhelmed by my visit to Yotam Ottolenghi’s flagship restaurant in London, his cookbooks have never let me down. In particular, his Plenty book series actually gets me excited about vegetables, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself. Plenty More is a companion to his earlier Plenty, but with even more valuable techniques and recipes to boot.
3. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg ($40): The Flavor Bible series are not conventional cookbooks by any means; instead, what you’ll find in each is an index of ingredients and a list of other ingredients and flavors they pair well with. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is a vegetarian update to Page and Dornenburg’s massively successful The Flavor Bible, and even though I’m an incredibly avid meat eater, I cannot recommend this book enough. A large number of my recipes that have been inspired by one of their flavor pairings.
4. The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum ($40): Even though Rose Levy Beranbaum is much beloved and respected in the baking community, I’ve always found her previous cookbooks (in particular, The Cake Bible) in need of a refresh. The Baking Bible, however, provides the detail-oriented instructions and ingenious tips that she is celebrated for with the much-needed ingredient and flavor pairing updates I’ve always desired.
1. West Elm Tech Knit Gloves ($14): Even though the heat’s on high, it’s not unusual to find me wearing gloves indoors since my hands tend to run cold. I like to wear this pair from West Elm with touchscreen compatible fingertips that allow me to use my laptop and cell phone without having to take the gloves off.
2. Uniqlo Polka Dot Lounge Pants ($14.90): I once bought these sweatpants on a whim while attending a tech conference in San Francisco since I’d forgotten sleeping attire. These have turned out to be the best pants I’ve ever owned, period — the cuffed pant bottoms prevent any dragging of the pants on the floor (a common problem with pants for short people like myself) and trap body heat in, making them the warmest, coziest pair of pants I own.
3. Everlane Weekender Bag ($95 – $135): Although I’m admittedly very much a homebody, Erlend and I sometimes like to plan overnight trips to nearby gems like the Olympic Peninsula. This is my go-to travel bag — functional and sturdy, but beautiful and glamorous enough to make me feel like I’m about to embark on a scenic train ride along the Cote d’Azur.
4. Tieks Starstruck Ballet Flats ($265): Are you one of those ladies who’s always struggled to find a comfortable ballet flat? Well, look no further because Tieks ballet flats the solution to all your woes. Their leather flats seriously feel like running shoes on my feet! Soooo comfortable. I’m a big fan of the glittery Starstruck color, which straddle the line between casual and dressy depending on your outfit. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, and I seriously would not say no to a pair in every color.
1. CB2 Glass Terrariums ($4.95 – $6.95): Over the past few years, terrariums and succulents have exploded in popularity thanks in part to Pinterest. In Portland, it’s become a bit of a challenge to find reasonably priced bowls and vases for the succulents; I’ve seen folks selling containers for $30 and upwards!!! CB2, however, offers two great terrariums in adorable shapes (a bubble and a teardrop) for unbeatable prices.
2. Ikea MAFFENS Basket ($18): I have a love/hate relationship with Ikea — although I’ve grown to despise their signature cheap furniture, I’m always pleasantly surprised by their other home accessories. If you take the time to poke around their many offerings, you’ll find gems like this cute and functional multipurpose basket that could almost pass as a unique, one-of-a-kind find.
3. Secret Holiday Co “Yes” Banner ($60): Secret Holiday Co has a host of meticulously handcrafted banners encouraging everybody to be their best self with phrases like “BE BRAVE” or “BE KIND”. I like the classic — a simple banner that reads”YES”, because sometimes you just need a simple “yes” for an answer.
4. Schoolhouse Electric Ion C-Series Tabletop Light ($119): These adorable tabletop lights come from Schoolhouse Electric, one of my favorite Portland-based companies, and provide the perfect pop of light and color in any space. You can customize the lamp by choosing different Edison bulbs (West Elm has a great collection).