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All I want for Christmas....

It’s only just November but as usual, there are signs of Christmas everywhere! I have to admit though that I have already started thinking about and shopping for the occasion, what mum hasn't!

I know I know, I should be happy knowing at Christmastime that we have our health...... however, at this time of year I do get excited by the prospect of a new gadget just for me and my kitchen. So many shiny new toys out there that need to be tried and tested, some are definite luxury whilst others, in my humble opinion, are necessity to help us busy mums and working women to provide nourishing meals on a daily basis. My Christmas list has always featured a new piece of kit for many a year, I remember back in the day asking for a slow cooker to the amazement and shock of a good friend who told me if her husband bought her anything like this for Christmas, she'd hit him with it!!

But I'm a practical person so getting something I really want that I can use, and will make my life that little bit easier, is so worth it!!

Here's my little guide to kitchen essentials that you might like to add to your list this year:

1. A slow cooker- this is a must for me, making meals easy to prepare and ready to eat when I get in from work. Any slow cooker of a decent size to feed the whole family is perfect although last year for Christmas I upgraded to an Instant Pot (slow cooker and pressure cooker in one) which I absolutely love! It's revolutionised cooking for me, I can now roast a chicken in 45 minutes!! And it's succulent, not dry, which can happen when roasting traditionally in the oven.

At this time of year, stews, casseroles, curries, soups and hot pots are a great addition to the diet, and a slow cooker allows you to free up your time as there's no need to watch/stir it!!

2. Nutri-bullet/ nutri-ninja or the likes. I have a bullet and have to say it comes in very useful on a daily basis, whether it be to grind nuts and seeds for my daughters porridge, to puree apple to sweeten our flapjacks or to make a smoothie to take to work. This little bit of kit doesn't take up too much space and is definitely worth the investment.

3. A spiraliser of some description. Great for making easy courgetti spaghetti to increase your vegetable content of meals whilst reducing your intake of, for a lot of people, refined carbohydrates.

4. ‎Juicer- I’d love to say I use it everyday (I used to before having a little one) but I still use it regularly enough to make us fresh juice in the mornings to give us a quick burst of vitamins and minerals found in our rainbow fruit and vegetables. Usually our juices consist of celery, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, red apple, lemon, ginger. Taste delicious and great for helping to stave off the dreaded colds and flu doing their rounds at this time of year!

5. ‎Steamer. I'm not talking about anything fancy, just a stainless steel saucepan which comes with two steamer baskets and a lid, job done! Steaming vegetables provides a better 'bite' whilst also retaining the water soluble vitamins, B & C which are lost in the cooking water when boiled.

6. ‎Food processor- this is my go to piece of equipment for making raw desserts and snacks such as protein balls. Great from rapidly mushing dates, grinding large quantities of oats into flour and helping to puree blueberries into coconut milk for my favourite raw blueberry cake. And the bonus, all parts fit in the dishwasher so there is minimal cleaning up afterwards!

7. ‎Good Tupperware. I can't survive without Tupperware! Sending my daughter to nursery whilst I go to work requires me to provide her with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks all requiring a method of storage and transfer. I have invested in good quality glass Tupperware with plastic lids as this reduces the chances of the chemicals in the plastics from leaching into the food, especially if they are using the containers themselves to reheat her food. Such chemicals are known hormone disruptors so best to keep these things to a minimum. Also great for freezing smaller and larger portions allowing me to batch cook for busy work days!!

I’m still on the lookout for my ideal kitchen gadget for my list this year, however I’m sure I’ll make the right decision when it comes to it. So, what are you asking the big man for this year?! :)

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