And these are a few of my favorite things...

by Chef Julie Frans

Hum along to Julie Andrews and The Sound of Music iconic tune while you read this article, and picture me dancing through my kitchen, singing to my favorite pieces kitchen equipment. 

And, if that visual hasn't offered you some holiday cheer, these pro-tips and my holiday gift suggestions are sure to! 

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music

We've rounded up a list of items that I love in my home kitchen, and always recommend to friends and family to take your kitchen experience to the next-level.

Think stocking stuffers, Hanukkah surprises, Christmas gifts for loved ones or colleagues as you peruse my top kitchen picks for home kitchens and cooking enthusiasts. 

For the full list, check out our online Amazon store.

You'll find kitchen tools like spatulas and strainers, equipment like nesting bowls and measuring cups, and even ingredients on our Amazon store. 


You don’t need a whole set of fancy or expensive knives to be a successful home-cook.  Home cooks need a good set of knives that feel comfortable in their hand, are balanced in weight, and stay sharp for a while. 

Ultimately, everyone should have a chef’s knife or santoku, a utility knife, a vegetable prep knife, and a serrated knife. 

Cutting napa cabbage using a global santuko knife

These will be sufficient for most at-home cooking when it comes to vegetarian food. Meats & seafood might require additional knives. 

My favorite home-kitchen knives: Global brand.

My most-used knives include this 7” hollow Santoku chef’s knife and this 5.5” vegetable prep knife. This four-piece set of Global knives is perfect for home kitchens, and covers most bases. It includes my favorite 6" utility knife. 

Cutting Boards

Don’t underestimate the importance of the size of a cutting board. While a small cutting board that slips around the counter can be frustrating and annoying, a large, solid, stable cutting board can turn a veg-prep hater into a veg-prep ninja!

Get the biggest one that fits in the kitchen and can be washed in the basin. 

Wood is a natural anti-bacterial. Wash them well and keep them oiled to maintain them, but don't worry that they aren't plastic. Wood makes a great chopping block.

Cutting brussels sprouts on a large boos block cutting board

My recommendation: Consider this large Boos Block like I have, or this smaller version for tighter spaces.  This bamboo board is nice, and a great value. 

Keep a few smaller plastic-type cutting boards for items that could pose a cross contamination risk.  


I’m pretty partial to Vitamix, but any blender that has a strong motor, a sharp blade, and a variety of controllable speeds will work. Another great option at a lower price is the Ninja-Professional 72 Oz

Why is a good blender key?

Great sauces and soups are simple to make with the right ingredients and a good blender.

Photo of a blender with pesto ingredients inside

One reason that you'll want to buy a blender with a variety of speeds is that hot liquids always need to be started on the lowest possible speed to avoid the liquid exploding out the top. 

Furthermore, turning the speed from low to high to low and back to high several times helps to get sauces silky smooth. 

Vitamix blenders are an investment, but they're powerful, durable, and last for a very long time if cared for properly. They come with a good warranty and can be refurbished. 

If you REALLY love someone and they REALLY love cooking, go for the gusto! Get them a great blender. 

Non-stick Pans

You may have heard at some point that non-stick pans were not safe. Thanks to the EPA’s PFOA Stewardship Program, non-stick coatings can no longer contain dangerous chemicals.

But, very old cookware, purchased before 2013, should be replaced ASAP. 

Pouring olive oil in a non-stick pan in preparation for cooking

There are some more recommended brands than others, and can be researched in articles like this one by Organic Authority. 

My recommendations are the GreenPan Rio Ceramic Non-stick or this Calphalon non-stick fry pan set. 

Spring-loaded tongs

There's really nothing like a good pair of spring-loaded tongs in the kitchen, and the right sized tongs for each type of cooking can make all the difference in the world. 

For tossing and serving salads, meats and vegetable dishes, 9" tongs are the best. I always keep at least one set of metal ones and a silicon-coated pair.

For high-heat cooking, especially grilling, 12" tongs are the key to keeping your fingers from becoming chestnuts roasting on an open fire. 

This set is perfect for any home kitchen. 


In a recent interview with Food & Wine, Ina Garten revealed that you should replace your vegetable peelers and zesters not just once, but as frequently as once a year. "Vegetable peelers get rusty, they get dull, and they're very cheap, so you can just throw them out and buy new ones," Garten says. (

A good peeler versus a dull one can make or break a dinner prep sesh, and like the sign in my kitchen says, "If the cook ain't happy, no one's happy." Don't underestimate the power in this little tool. 

Here's my favorite type of peeler. 

Rimmed baking sheets

Half sheet and quarter sheet pans are very useful in all kitchens. They can be used to gather ingredients for a recipe, and to use for holding food after it’s been cooked.

They are great for roasting vegetables in the oven and for transporting foods to and from the grill. 

Food on a baking sheet being put into an oven

della bowls at home digital cookbook

Bundle up that holiday gift to make it a complete package! 

This E-book is packed with recipes that anyone can make easily at home with basic kitchen equipment. Some of the recipes are from our founder Della Heiman's travels or from her family cookbook. Some are from my cooking classes over the years. 

della bowls at home E-cookbook

A whole lot of additional recipes from our della bowls house favorite bowls are included in the digital cookbook, too. It's only $9.99, and will provide recipes and inspiration for countless combinations of healthy, happy, plant-based bowls through the year. 

Buy your della bowls digital cookbook here. 

And there's a whole lot more on our Amazon store. 

Happy holidays, from our kitchen to yours!


We’ve collected some of our tried and true cooking tools and culinary products in our The Doral Yard Favorites store on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.