(Okay, okay, the best gifts ever are clearly my two kiddos and my hubby, but here I'm going to talk about material gifts received for Christmas this year.)
I am not a big fan of getting gifts. Or giving gifts, for that matter. I just feel like we all have so much stuff, and I hate getting (or giving) useless things just because it's expected. We certainly don't need more stuff cluttering up are already over-cluttered house, that's for sure.
I do like useful gifts, and every year at Christmas, I'm able to come up with a short list of things that I'd like to get. This year, for example, it was a set of heavy-duty (18/10) measuring cups and measuring spoons, a Silpat, and a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven. (It's certainly easier to come up with a list now that I spend so much of my time cooking!) And every once in a while, someone who knows me really well can pick out something that I didn't ask for, but that I love anyway; this year, hubby surprised me with a gorgeous new food processor. (The old one had so many chipped or broken parts that I almost never used it.)
But this year, my sister-in-law surprised me with an immersion blender, something I never would have thought I needed. I love it. I mean, I really, really love it. I have been using it every day since it arrived to make the kids a special "shake." We used to make this "shake" (it's really a smoothie; no ice cream involved) only on special occasions, when we felt like dragging out the blender, fighting with it to get it to work (it has many broken pieces, too), and cleaning all of the millions of parts.
With the immersion blender, I slice a cup of frozen strawberries and half of a banana, add a cup of vanilla yogurt, and blend for a minute. It is so easy. And the clean-up? Rinse off the blade part of the blender, wash two cups, a spoon, a measuring cup, a knife, and the mixing cup that came with the blender.
The kids are in heaven with this oh-so-special dessert-like treat...which is filled with ingredients that I would give them any day of the week for any meal.