Best Summer Host Gifts

I love all the gatherings in summer!  Picnics in the park, backyard BBQ’s and pool parties! If you are going to a party where the host is providing all of the food and drink, it is customary to bring a small gift for them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive or even store bought! The most common gifts are a bottle of wine or a candle, however, since I don’t drink wine nor burn candles, I’ve collected a group of my favorite stand-by host/hostess gifts.

1) A potted Aloe Vera Barbadensis plant: the aloe vera barbadensis plant is wonderfully medicinal making it a MUST in every household.  Fantastic for all manner of burns from sunburns to electrical burns, it is an easy to grow succulent.  I was gifted a large aloe plant about 20-years ago and its descendants continue to thrive and they find their way into the homes of my friends and family.  A side note: like many household plants, aloe vera is toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. However, I’ve had many aloe plants and many pets and never had this issue. More about the aloe vera barbadensis plant.

2) The PicnicPal Food Tent: We entertain outside a lot which means we have to contend with BUGS. But this brilliantly different food tent makes it so easy and is a wonderful gift. You can purchase the SMALL size which is 3-feet wide (pictured below) here

The large version is 6-feet wide, and can be purchased here.

3) A loaf of fresh-baked bread: This no-knead bread recipe is so easy that it was perfect crusty bread heaven from the FIRST loaf.  The only thing that is important to watch is the temperature of the room.  In winter this recipe will not rise in my house unless I place it on the stove for some extra warmth. I then wrap the loaf up in some parchment paper and tie it with ribbon or twine and voila. The recipe is here.

4) Multipurpose Peeler: I have a rule in my kitchen that if I don’t use something daily, then it MUST be multifunctional if I’m going to buy it. This is how I keep from having too many random utensils and appliances in my modest-sized kitchen.  This tool fits the bill because it peels and juliennes.  If you’ve ever wanted to try and make “zucchini pasta” then this is the tool you need! You can purchase it here from Amazon.


Product Review: Chef Le Mieux Julienne Peeler

I’m always looking for multifuctional products in my home. If something can’t do double duty, then I don’t want it!  Especially if something is bulky and will take up precious storage space, which is why I’ve never purchased a mandoline, which is a specialized sort of grater that allows you to get more precise and intricate shapes out of vegetables. Instead I’ve made do with a high quality peeler and just lived with the fact that my zucchini “noodles” were more of a paparadelle in width then a linguini. [Check out my video on decluttering your kitchen tools here.]

Needless to say I was thrilled to come across this peeler that has a traditional “peel” side and then voila, flip it over and you can julienne with the other side. I tried the peeler on carrots, apples and celery and it worked really well. I used the julienne side on zucchini and you can see the results for yourself.  My only complaint is that the julienne side can get a bit stopped up, but that’s to be expected with the smell spaces (see the second photo).

At less than $10 (list price is $29.99 but it retails for about $9 on Amazon), and made out of stainless steel, it is well worth the price and will be hung-up with pride in the area for my “high-use” kitchen tools. From an eco point of view, I also appreciate the 100% metal construction because it is easy to recycle when the time comes.  The design is excellent, the weight of the produt feels high quality, and I would easily give this as a host or housewarming gift. You can purchase this product here.

Have fun cooking!