Let’s face it, everybody eats, sleeps and, yes, many people drink beverages of an alcoholic nature. While nobody’s got a great craving to have a nice, new toaster under the tree this holiday season, there are a few handy items to have around the home that may make life easier, more enjoyable or at least more pleasant to look at.
RSVP Herb Scissors ($9.95) Ever get tired of chopping that cilantro or parsley with a sharp knife, constantly worrying about keeping your fingertips curled in so that you don’t lose one? Well, there is an easier way. The Herb Scissors, made by RSVP International, resemble five pairs of scissors that have been stuck together and aligned so that when you trim the edge of those green onions, you get four tiny slices per squeeze. And you don’t have to worry about losing a finger in the process. It even comes with a handy cover to protect the blades.
Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl (no pricing information available) For those of you who are single, or often find yourself eating alone, you may have noticed that watching videos or scrolling through posts and tweets on your smartphone is a bit awkward at the dinner table. Sure, you could set your smartphone down on the table next to your plate or bowl, but then you’re likely to spill on the phone. So along comes the “Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl” from Miso Soup Designs. It’s a bowl that has a stand for your smartphone on one side, allowing you to shovel noodles into your mouth while reading that Boulder Weekly article online. Sure, it’s kind of sad that we are now designing products that allow us to spend even more time on our phones, but maybe people will use it to connect with their distant relatives and friends over Skype or Facetime.
GreenPan ($14.99 to $39.99) Let’s face it, there’s really nothing better in your kitchen life than a good nonstick frying pan. The problem is, many of them are coated with substances like Teflon that, under high heat, can release toxic fumes and blister and peel over time. GreenPan uses a ceramic material dubbed Thermolon that is resistant to high temperatures. In addition, users say cooking with a GreenPan allows them to use less oil or butter. The company produces all of its cookware sans lead or cadmium, and produces about 60 percent less carbon dioxide during the curing phase of production than traditional coatings. So not only is it good for your health, it’s better for the health of the planet.
Comma Workshop quilts ($75-$2,725) Winter is a time for curling up and keeping warm, and there are few more aesthetically pleasing options for the quilt you cuddle up to than the Comma Workshop’s. Founder Kerry Larkin’s clean, white quilts are all machine quilted by hand with poetry and prose in a white or color thread. Their line is ever-growing, and includes writings by Larkin, local poets and this year added text from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Henry Thoreau’s Walden. The Comma Workshop also recently introduced a series that stitches prose into pillows, tea towels and throw quilts. www.commaworkshop.com
B the Change Gift Box from America’s Best Organics ($48) America’s Best Organics lets you wrap up the power of business in changing the social and environmental food landscape. Their B the Change gift box sources from certified “B Corporations,” companies that have promised to uphold higher standards for social and environmental transparency and accountability. They’re tasty, too, packing together chocolates from Alter Ego and Fearless, traditional Amazonian leaf that steeps like tea but with less tannins and more antioxidants from Runa, and Peeled Snacks dried fruit. www.americasbestorganics.com
Custom Photo Tiles and Tile Murals ($9.99-$74.99) So you’ve made the photo books and loaded up a digital frame with a rotating slideshow of images but you still haven’t made use of all your favorite photos? Check out Mike’s Camera custom tile and mile mural prints. Print tiles as small as four-by-four inches to mural across the top of a table, perhaps, or as large as 12 by 18 to frame and hang on the wall. And don’t worry, it’s just a one-day turnaround for standard service, so there’s still time to pick your photos and get them forever preserved in tiles. Details at www.mikescamera.com/tiles.html.
Artisanal Bamboo salt chest ($125) If you are looking for a gift for anyone who likes to cook, or eat for that matter, then look no further. This gorgeous, gourmet salt sampler features 24 delicious selections from around the world. Each variety of salt is contained in its own classic glass jar with a cork stopper. The jars are displayed in a beautiful, environmentally friendly bamboo case and are held with stainless steel hardware. Each jar holds 1.25 oz. of salt. You can purchase your salt collection at www.uncommongoods.com/product/artisanalbamboo-salt-chest.
Nespresso Citiz espresso maker ($249) Not only does this great-looking machine make one of the best cups of espresso you’ll ever have, it’s also extremely easy to use. You don’t have to measure, and you’ll never wind up with coffee grounds all over the place because Nespresso uses specialized cartridges. All you have to do when the mood strikes is pop one in, wait a few seconds and enjoy. And when friends come over it’s no problem to crank out the crank for everyone. This machine has a 33.8-ounce water tank that heats in less than 60 seconds. You can buy this 7.5 pounds of caffeinated joy locally at Peppercorn. It makes a mean latte as well.
Stainless steel index cutting board ($80) We all know that our health depends on keeping our cooking environment healthy. In other words, don’t chop that onion on top of the chicken juice you just created when you cut up the chicken. This stainless steel cutting board system helps prevent food-born illnesses. By using color-coated indexed boards, you and everyone else helping prep a meal will be able to know what has been cut where. And not only will you and your family be healthier, this system is both modern and stylish and makes a great gift for the holidays. You can find this Joseph and Joseph chopping system at numerous online retailers. The sturdy polypropylene boards are designed specifically to prevent dulling knives.
Tovolo Ice Sphere Molds ($11.95) The rise of mixology has led to an elevated scrutiny of every ingredient in a cocktail, even the ice. It’s more complicated than you think. Ice is important not just for regulating temperature of the drink, but the dilution of it as well. Rectangular cubes will, generally, melt more quickly than spherical ones, since spheres have less surface area than cubes. Less surface area equals less ice exposed to the air, which equals slower melting times. The Tovolo ice sphere molds stack easily in the freezer and produce big, eye-pleasing globes of ice that will keep your fancy libation of choice chill but not watery.
MENU Blade Decanting Pourer ($19.95) Perhaps the wine lover in your life is skeptical about in-bottle decanters. But get them one as a gift, and watch how quickly they prosthelytize their benefits. Decanters add air to the wine as it is poured into the glass, and the effect is magical, allowing the wine to reach its full flavor potential. MENU’s Blade Decanting Pourer fits into any bottle of wine and pours with no spill, and its clear plastic allows you to watch the process in action. It’s a beautiful sight.
Buy it for your loved ones and watch for yourself. More information at www.menudesignshop.com.