Holiday Gift Guide: Curated by Liren Baker, Founder of Kitchen Confidante®
Liren Baker is a fabulous recipe developer, cookbook writer, podcaster, foodie, and food photographer, who is so passionate about all things local, such as food artisans and winemakers. She shares such vibrant culinary adventures and embraces so many cultures within her mouthwatering recipes. Her cookbook, Meat to the Side, highlights healthy, easy-to-follow recipes, that are plant-forward, family-friendly, and very drool-worthy. She also contributed to the cookbook, We Cook Filipino: Heart-Healthy Recipes and Inspiring Stories from 36 Filipino Food Personalities and Award-Winning Chefs, which showcases the exquisite, from-the-heart Filipino cuisine in a nutritious way.
I originally met Liren at a foodie event where we instantly connected. Liren is so engaging, fun, and fresh, and I love hearing all her stories about food, drinks, family, and friends. She even had me on her Kitchen Confidante Podcast, Episode 59: Sports Nutrition and Superfoods with Sarah Koszyk. It was such an honor to be asked to do it since she interviews so many powerhouse people in the food, farming, and wine industry. We talked all things about sports and performance nutrition, how food affects our skin health, and superfoods for the brain.
Liren shares her top 10 gifts for the holiday season that are must-haves in any stocking or under a tree. You’ll want to jump on these because they are perfect for all people who enjoy a little extra self-care love and like to have pretty items that are essential for the home.
Measuring spoons, especially pretty decorative ones, are one of my favorite small gifts (they make perfect hostess gifts), but these are my go-to for everyday cooking. What I love most is their shape – they fit perfectly into spice bottles.
My daily afternoon tea ritual is my gift to myself and time to reset. I’ll either make matcha or a warm cup of Superstar. Having a proper matcha bowl and whisk set makes it even more special!
Beautifully crafted in Montana, these wooden spatulas are my most used tool for everyday cooking. Their shape is perfect for sautéing and stirring sauces and suitable for all my cookware. They’re my absolute favorite!
Crafting is such a fun way to unwind. For years, I wanted to learn how to crochet but always struggled. The Woobles kits have everything you need to get started in the craft and make adorable amigurumi (the Japanese art of crocheted or knitted yarn dolls). I recommend starting with Pierre the Penguin. The videos with the kit are the most comprehensive and will prepare you for the more complicated kits or projects when ready.
Before I discovered the Ember mug, I was that person whose tea or coffee would grow cold in the cup, and I would have to reheat it in the microwave — sometimes multiple times if the morning was incredibly hectic! The Ember mug keeps my drink at the perfect temperature, nice and piping hot. (Tip: I recommend darker Ember mugs like the Copper. The lighter ones I’ve had show stains.)
Whether for the gym, the car, or air travel, I can’t live without my Zojirushi travel mug. The brand is famous for its rice cookers (also highly recommend!), but this is just as indispensable for me. It keeps my drinks ice cold or piping hot for hours, and because it locks, I don’t have to worry about it spilling in my bag, even when I’m on a flight.
Tote bags always come in handy – whether shopping at the farmer’s market, going to the library, or just needing an extra bag! I love all the patterns at Rifle Paper Co. – you’re sure to find a design that suits the special people in your life.
My family works on a holiday puzzle every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Recently, we’ve been loving them in advent calendar form. You work on a small portion daily, and by Christmas, you have a new puzzle to display.
The ultimate food gift is a spectacular panettone from Roy. It is unlike any panettone you have ever had, indulgent yet light, and it feeds a crowd. Roy Schartzapel worked for Pierre Heré, Ferran Adria, and Thomas Keller before creating his iconic panettone, pouring his illustrious baking pedigree into his masterpiece.
There’s nothing like First Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Cobram Estate. Grown and milled in Northern California, it is the best expression of exceptional California extra-virgin olive oil – once you’ve cooked with it, it will be hard to cook with any other olive oil again. Their limited-release first harvest is also beautifully packaged, making it perfect for gift-giving.
Have a wonderful holiday season full of giving tasty, useful, must-have gifts.
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN
For a Festive Christmas Morning Breakfast, check out:
Festive Gluten-Free Pancakes (they’re in the shape of Santa Claus, Reindeer, and Snowmen)
For Fabulous Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes, check out:
Make Ahead Breakfast Strata
Grandma’s Chicken Avala
Instant Pot Spinach and Red Pepper Bites
Spinach, Red Pepper, and Cheese Frittata
Cran-Apple Overnight Oats
**There are affiliate links in this post and I will be compensated if you buy the products using these links BUT there is no extra charge to you!