I was a lucky girl during this holiday season…surrounded by family and good friends and healthy and prosperous enough to live a life that allows me to experiment with cooking and travel.  Maybe not quite full-time yet as I would like, but still, I know that I am indeed a lucky girl.  Another reason I’m lucky is because my family and friends know how much I love to cook so the gifts that I get tend to center around the kitchen.  Some women may hate getting household appliances for a present, but as long as it’s for cooking and not cleaning I’m all in!

So this year, I got two items that I wanted to share.  Not because I’m promoting specific brands or getting anything at all from the manufacturers but because they honestly have made my life in the kitchen easier and more comfortable.  Both of which are extremely important!  The first was a gift from my mom and the second a gift from the fabulous hubby…

GelPro Gel Mat (truffle basketweave pattern) – I’ve always noticed my feet and lower back throbbing while standing in the kitchen but I kind of just assumed that was a part of being a cook.  Boy was I wrong!  It doesn’t have to be that way…you don’t have to be sore and achey while chopping veggies or doing dishes anymore.  Enter the Gel Mat.  Now, there are a lot of different brands of Gel Mats, but since I received a GelPro one that is the only experience I have and it is phenomenal.  Christian loves it while doing dishes and I’ve honestly found myself standing in my kitchen talking on the phone lately instead of sitting down because it just feels so good under your feet.  It’s a little bit of luxury to thank you for putting the time and effort in to feed your family home-cooked food…and I say all home cooks are well worth it, so add it to your wish list, stat.  Thanks Mom!

Nespresso Aerocino Plus – I am obsessed with having frothed milk on my coffee.  I think it may have something to do with my dad drinking a ton of coffee when I grew up so I associate plain coffee without frothed milk as a “dad” drink…and since he used to smoke while drinking coffee the association unfortunately isn’t a good one no matter how much I love my dad!  So my coffee has to have frothed milk and ideally a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Since we have an espresso maker at home we’ve been making frothed milk with the side spigot for years but to be honest it’s always been a bit inconsistent and it’s a pain to clean so more often than not I would go without the froth milk and start my day a bit unhappily since my coffee wasn’t quite perfect.

Then my wonderful husband bought me the Nespresso Aerocino Plus.  You just pour some milk into the carafe, put the lid on, press the button and in under a minute you have perfectly frothed milk every time.  And it is super quiet, I mean like you have no idea it’s even working.  Such a stark contrast to the screaming frothing spigot on my espresso machine…who likes that noise before they’ve had their coffee?!  It’s because of this stealthy, quick and perfect result that I have nicknamed my Aerocino Plus my “Milk Ninja.”  Yup, so in the morning you can hear me yelling down the hall, “Hey honey, can you milk ninja me?”  Fabulous and now kind of hysterical too…love it.  No more grumpy froth-less mornings for me!