A couple of months ago, on January 3, Danny and I got married. It was awesome. Another time I’ll write all about our preparations and deliberations and the big day and such, but since I use our glorious gifts from the wedding on a daily basis, they’re always on my mind and they’re what I’ll write about first in my wedding series.
Before and after our wedding, we were super blessed with generous friends and family that showered us with thoughtful and practical gifts as we started a new chapter in our lives together as a married couple. About two months after we got engaged (during which time Danny spent two months in Bangladesh – the end of May/all of June/half of July), and with my first shower in the Chicago area drawing closer (end of July!), we hit Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond hard. Well, if we’re really honest, while Danny was gone, I had been on the internet reading product reviews and ratings sites to decide which blender/toaster/bread knife/etc. was the absolute best (yet still reasonable). I probably spent well over 100 hours doing such things. Seriously. I had a job that allowed me to use the internet about 85% of the time that I was ‘working,’ and I took advantage of it. I also talked to newly married and engaged couple about what they had done/were doing. You only get married/register for lots of goodies once, so I better be wise (and way over think it), was my train of thought. Now, we’re reaping the benefits as I think we have some of the best kitchen/home gadgets around, thanks to our sweet friends and family.
So, without further ado, some of my favorites (so far)…
Top 6 Kitchen Gadgets (first because they’re the best):
This guy is seriously the best ever. I use it at least once every day – for rice, for pasta, for vegetables, stirring, scooping, spooning, dishing…this is where it’s at. I registered for it thinking, “This may not be that practical, but I love the Joseph Joseph brand, so I’ll register for it anyways.” Well, I was right about the brand, but wrong about it not being practical, obviously, and I am so glad.
I bought this when we did our registry completion a few weeks ago, and at the time, I thought, “This sure is frivolous…but if it will help me eat more avocados, then I’ll give it a try.” It is great. One part cuts the avocado open, another pulls out the pit, and the last part slices and removes the ‘flesh’ in one fell swoop. I will tell you that it is a little bit hard to clean the slicing portion of it, sometimes even frustratingly hard, but this tool is just so fun and useful for all the avocados we’ve been consuming lately, that I can handle some extra scrubbing.
I’m not sure why it was ever a good idea to make bristles for a pastry brush out of boar hair…they are so hard to get really clean and keep looking good for a long time! Whoever thought of the silicone idea was a thinker, I’ll tell you that. The head of the brush is angled, so I can set it on the counter and not worry about whatever is on the brush (usually vegan butter) getting on the counter. I typically use this tool for cinnamon rolls, making garlic bread, and other such delights.
So this is likely one of the most expensive things in our house, but that is okay with me. Because it is worth every dollar. With it I have chopped onions, minced garlic, created baba ganoush, mixed ice cream, and made cinnamon roll dough. It does SO many tricks, it is unreal. Really. It is so powerful and tough and while it has a couple of pieces (okay, only 4), it is easy to clean and put back together.
These are so great. Nice enough to serve things out of, but also great for mixing and creating inside of. I use them multiple times a day for basically any and every kitchen task. And, the very best part: they’re made of 98% natural and recycled materials. Love, love, love these.
I never grew up with a stand mixer, so to be gifted one by my sweet family (Illinois fam…you know who you are!) was a sweet shock and blessing. At first, it was kind of intimidating, and I rarely used it, but once I started, I haven’t stopped. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and makes baking a breeze. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to be able to clean a few things up or get the next step of a recipe ready while the mixer does the work. Definitely worth the counter space sacrifice.
Other things we have especially loved…
- Victorinox 40520 Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife
- Bamboo Oval Utensil Holder
- Wilton Indulgence Three-Tier Cooling Rack
- AirBake Ultra Insulated Baking Sheets
- Wilton 6-Cavity Doughnut Pan
- Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
- Tovolo Microwave Collapsible Food Cover
Top 5 Gifts, in Danny’s Opinion (because he’s a big part of this too!):
- Our bed
One of the most practical and frequently used gifts we received was a bed. We got to pick out the bed frame, box spring, and mattress – a huge gift, in a lot of ways. We found the frame at Ikea, and it appears they are no longer being sold there (or anywhere besides Craigslist, for that matter). Our mattress and box spring are from American Furniture Warehouse, and were a part of a limited stock, but the mattress is AMAZING. Probably (definitely) the best one either of us has had.
What man doesn’t love receiving tools as a wedding gift?! And how useful for putting together all of the new gifts! There are nightstands to be assembled, pictures to be hung, and other such manly tasks awaiting newlywed males, and a nice drill like the one Danny received make it loads of fun. Or so it seems.
Um…look at that thing. 86 pieces?! Danny is so proud of his toolkit, and he should be. For someone who came into our marriage with zero tools, receiving 86 of them (plus a drill) in one day is a pretty sweet thing. He’s taught himself how to use them quite well, too.
If you’ve come to stay with us in the past couple of months, we probably made you waffles for breakfast. Or we at least debated doing so. At first, we made lots of waffles, and I spent lots of time cleaning the waffle maker afterwards. We took a long hiatus from waffles because I despised cleaning it, but now that Danny’s agreed to do the cleaning (he’s the waffle-lover around here), we’re back in business. Come for a sleepover, and we’ll give you waffles!
- Our bed. Must be listed again, because it is Danny’s very favorite thing these days. Seriously. I will not add a second picture however.
Top 4 Dining Essential (because they’re what we put our food on/in):
These weren’t the dishes we originally registered for and received, but they are wonderful. They’re pretty, they’re sturdy, and they’re classy. We bought two sets of these from Ikea, which means that for $40 we got 12 bowls, 12 medium plates, and 12 large plates. We use them for every meal, and love them. Ikea sells them individually as well, so if we break some (as will likely happen before too long), we can easily pick up some inexpensive replacements.
Miraculously, (and thankfully), we’ve only broken one of these yet. They are beautiful and functional and one of my favorite parts about our new life together. True story.
I thought it was ridiculous to register for a bread tray that was $35 but this piece is awesome. We use if often for bread, vegetables, brownies, and really anything else. It’s so pretty and versatile that it’s frequently seen on our table, making my creations look lovelier than they really are. ;)
We received two of these (yay!) and love so much about these…they’re made of bamboo (PANDAS!), they’re pretty, they’re useful, and they’re sustainable (bamboo).
Top 3 Random Kitchen Things (just too good not to mention):
I registered for this guy on a whim, but it was not a mistake! We eat popcorn all the time these days, especially since Danny is a master popcorn maker (and our popper is pretty helpful too). We buy popcorn kernels in bulk, put a 1/3 cup of them in the bowl, as well as a bit of melted (vegan) butter and/or sea salt, stick it all in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and voila! Delicious, healthy, customizable popcorn!
Like the stand mixer, I had never had or used a cast iron skillet (or cast iron anything) before, but we have thoroughly enjoyed ours. We use it for breakfasts (pancakes, french toast) and basically every dinner I’ve ever made. We’ve (sort of) learned to not touch it once it’s hot, especially the handle, but we’ve also learned how useful and practical and fabulous it is. Every one should have one of these, in my personal opinion.
I’d had my eye on this book for a while, so when Danny’s mom sent to me as a shower gift, I was pumped. Our favorite so far is still the waffles with mixed berry topping…mmm. Oh, and we’re vegan, if you didn’t already know.
Top 2 Things for Out of the House Use:
I always felt guilty using loads of plastic bags for produce at the grocery store, so I just put everything directly in the cart. When I saw these, however, they seemed like a great solution for keeping things off the germy cart floor and more contained as well. They are as good as they seem, and get used often.
We were gifted with this larger suitcase, as well as a smaller identical one, and are so excited for our first trip (more on that soon!) so that we can truly put them to the test. As far as I can tell, though, they are extremely well made, have four wheels, which is great for rolling/spinning/transporting, and they have lots of nice pockets and compartments on the inside – perfect for packers like me.
Top Game We Received (because we only received one game, but also because it’s awesome):
We registered for this game at Danny’s request, and let’s be honest: I thought it was a crazy (bad) idea. Was I wrong? YES! This game is quite funny, especially if you play it with the right people. Ha. We have thoroughly enjoyed it thus far, and so glad that Shannon (not me, our friend Shannon) thought, along with Danny, that it was a good idea. Wanna play it? Come on over!!
Whew. There you have a (somewhat) extensive list of our favorite gifts – or at least those that I can find online still. We are grateful to be blessed with so many thoughtful, beautiful, and practical gifts that we’ll be using and enjoying for years to come.
Glad you took the time to look/read, and be on the lookout for the rest of our wedding series!