2014 Holiday Staff Picks – Under $50

Gift BoxIt’s that time of year again, and holiday gift shopping is upon us! Every year, many of our readers and customers have told us how much they enjoy seeing what our staff chooses to give as holiday presents for friends and family.

We’ve compiled our favorite kitchenware items for 2014, with one rule: What would we choose if we had only $50 to spend?

From personal coffee makers to home cheese making kits, read below to see the wide range of foodie gifts we chose:

Alice: #120358 Lodge Logic Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Deep Skillet, 10.25″ ($34.99)

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“This is the kind of gift that I’m sure anyone would love getting! It’s pre-seasoned, deeper than the normal fry pan, and has an accessory handle to use as a second handle when moving the pan in and out of the oven. It’s so useful, you can use it to cook on the stove, or as a dutch oven, and even to make upside-down cakes! It’s a great pan to have.”

Annie: #13554 Progressive 19-Piece Ultimate Measuring Cups and Spoons Set ($12.99)

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“I absolutely love these. The odd sizes really are useful, since a lot of recipes call for different size measurements. I use this set all the time, and I think it’s a gift that anyone can appreciate!”

Ashley: #5399 Cameron Stovetop Smoker ($49.99)

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“This is a great gift for those people on your list that already have a well stocked kitchen arsenal. I recently gave the stovetop smoker with an assortment of chips as a gift to a friend that is a professional chef, and even he was impressed with the purchase!  I personally, bought mine just over a year ago and it has inspired many exciting meals. It’s easy to use, does not smoke up the house and goes way beyond just smoking meats. I’ve smoked fruits, vegetables, salt and even eggs! One of my favorites was smoked peaches that I sliced on a baguette, with ricotta and balsamic vinegar. You can experiment  with different types of chips and you can even smoke using dried loose tea. It’s a great gift for those who get the craving for bbq during the cold winter months, but it really goes way beyond that into vegetarian or vegan cooking as well. It has definitely become one of my unexpected kitchen favorites.”

Barb: #613230 Lipper Square Spice Tower, Two Tier ($39.99)

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“I love the grey mesh paired with the bamboo top – it would look good on anyone’s counter! This spice tower is compact and yet it holds 18 jars that come empty so you can fill it with your favorite variety of herbs and seasonings. The labels go on the tops and are easy to read. Pretty and practical.”

Brian: #613740 Capresso “On the Go” Auto Drip Coffee Maker ($49.99)

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“The Capresso On the Go personal coffee maker is the perfect combination of quick, easy and affordable, plus it actually makes great coffee. Using any auto-drip coffee (no K-cups!) this small machine brews at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, into a stainless steel double-walled travel mug within minutes.”

Dennis: #613856 Cuisinart 3 Quart Stainless Steel Multiclad Pro Tri-Ply Casserole ($49.99 – regular price $99.99)

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“This is a gift I would love to give or receive this year! This Cuisinart casserole pan is made with fully-clad aluminum with a stainless steel interior and exterior. It heats up quickly and cooks food evenly, and can be used for everything from sauteing and frying to baked foods like casserole and lasagna.”

Liana: #613543 Boska Home Fresh Cheese Maker Kit ($34.99)

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“What a fun gift for a foodie friend! Everything you need to make your own homemade mozzarella in a gift friendly glass lightning closure jar. It’s unique and thoughtful. And if they share after they make the mozzarella, it is a gift that keeps on giving!”

Mariella: #9976 Fletcher’s Mill Enchantment Pepper Mill, 8” Cherry ($44.99 – regular price $49.99)

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“This American-made pepper mill has a shape that fits my hands super comfortably, and looks beautiful on any table for when company comes. Every cook needs a good quality mill for freshly ground pepper, and this is a perfect size for any household. As an added bonus, it has a pop-out mechanism for easy cleaning.”

Nadia: #5605 Fido 3 Liter Glass Storage Jar ($8.99)

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“My holiday gifts are going to be creative this year, by using classic European bail top canning jars to make personalized gifts. The Fido and Le Parfait jars come in a range of sizes for all different size presents. The 3 liter Fido jar is the perfect size to use for giving out my famous apricot biscotti. I’ll tie on a bow with one of my favorite kitchen tools, such as a colorful spatula, a pair of tongs, or measuring spoons. After the cookies are gone, the jar serves as a very practical airtight storage container, large enough to accommodate ingredients such as sugar, flour and rice (it can hold up to 5 lbs of flour).”

Neomie: #1857 4”x13.5” Rectangular Tin Tart Pan ($18.99)

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“I absolutely LOVE this tart pan! The rectangular shape is something different than the normal circular tart. This will make any tart look fancy and will be sure to impress any crowd!”

Nina Rose: #19254 Lekue Large 1 Quart Microwave Steam Case with Tray ($39.99)

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“Steamed veggies are a staple in my house, and there’s nothing easier to use than this microwaveable steamer! When I know my boyfriend will be coming home late for dinner, I’ll put the water in the bottom of the steam case, put the tray on top with the veggies on the tray, and leave it in the fridge with a sticky note that says how long to microwave it for – when he gets home, all he has to do is nuke it, and he has a healthy dinner in minutes. It’s also great for fish, especially when you add stock or white wine to the bottom of the case, and it keeps foods super moist without turning rubbery. It’s the perfect gift for someone who would like to eat healthier, or for those who already enjoy eating healthy and are looking for convenient meal preparation.”

Paulino: #6640 Cuisinart Smart Stick Immersion Blender ($34.99 – regular price $50.00)

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“This tool is one of those precious items I absolutely cannot do without in my kitchen, and it’s something I would recommend to anyone because it’s so useful! It’s perfect for pureeing soups and sauces without having to pour from the pot to a blender, making for less mess and hot splatter. It just makes life so much easier!”

Vanessa: #612832 Marisa McClellan’s Preserving by the Pint Cookbook ($19.99 – regular price $23.00) 

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“This year, for inexpensive and personalized holiday gifts, I will be attempting small batch canning recipes to give homemade jams and butters to friends, family and coworkers.” Editors note: Lucky us!

Zach: Epicurean Wood Fiber Composite Cutting Boards (assorted sizes $11.99 – $34.99)

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“Cutting boards come in all varieties and shapes and sometimes it’s hard to choose! A lot of people tend to prefer natural materials like wood. The problem with wood is that you can’t put it in the dishwasher and you have to periodically oil it in order to maintain it. Epicurean cutting boards solve both issues. It is a natural wood fiber composite cutting board that is truly versatile! Not only do you not have to oil it but it can go in the dishwasher. Made to provide durability and sustainability, it’s a cutting board that isn’t just great for your knives but great for your kitchen!”


Stay tuned, because next week we’ll tell you what our staff answered when we asked them what they’d choose to give or receive as a holiday gift without budget considerations!



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