Gift Guide: Keto Snacks, Ingredients, Equipment & Relaxation!

DJ’s Wishlist & Gift Guide

Santa Foodie

Last week, Bea offered her personal holiday Wishlist and Gift Guide. I just wanted some help with it, as it gives a wider breadth of options from two very different perspectives. Ultimately, there’s only one of me, which makes my personal scope wildly narrow!

(That said, Bea gobbled up some of my ideas!)

Anywhoo … her’s is a great launching pad into my own thoughts.

Bea initially seemed to focus on some of the more exotic ingredients missing from her personal repertoire. I tend to have a wide selection of the oddest flours and thickeners, but I’m quite able to get stuck in a rut and become content with what I’ve got. Frankly, I’m very happy with my eating style and range of ingredients. The only reason I ever explore outside my personal box is to present something new to those reading these silly words: you! If I didn’t have this blog, I’d have my 20 favorite things I make and just make those things forever.

But, I have a blog. Time to hunt for something new!

Stocking Stuffers

Chocolate Cake Mix

I’ve long been a big fan of Swerve Sweetener. So, my first thought would be one of their new cake mixes. I’ve never tried these, but I trust the brand and they’ve expanded their offerings. They now offer a few baking mixes, like cake, pancake, cookie, etc. Their Chocolate Cake Mix has the highest rating. So … yeah!

Hook me up, Santa!


And, as much as I love Swerve, it’s not a totally monogamous relationship. I occasionally stray and fool around with other sweeteners. Lately, I’ve been itching to try Lakanto, but I’m even more desirous of Allulose, a new natural sweetener that reads like the world’s most perfect sweetener, from every which way.

It’s a Low-Calorie Sugar Substitute, Gluten-free, Vegan, Kosher Pareve, Diabetic-Friendly, Sugar Alcohol Free, Supports Weight Loss, Does not have an impact on blood sugar levels and is zero on the glycemic index. I mean what else is there? Hopefully it tastes good!

Bacon BBQ Cheese Crisps

I’m a little bit cheating on this one, in that I’ve tried (and LOVED!) the Whisps’ Parmesan Cheese Crisps, as well as the Cheddar and Pepper-Jack Moon Cheeses. It looks like they’ve also expanded their offerings, with several new flavors I’ve yet to try.

I’m looking at you, Bacon BBQ Cheese Crisps!

Sonoma Creamery Cheese Crisps

Here’s a very similar treat, basically bags of flavored crunchified cheese, but these also have high ratings … and I’ve never ever tried them.

So … yep. Wishlist!

Pork Panko

I remember back in the 90’s. A product called Panko spread through kitchens like crazy. It’s a pure white or tan flaked bread crumb product from Japan. It was a wonderful way to get a uniform crust, crunch or breading on a variety of baked and fried dishes. Alas, it’s made of wheat flour. But, what if it wasn’t … ?! Pork Panko?! I’ve never tried or even seen this product, but … now that I know it exists, has high ratings and shows a picture of fried chicken? Yes, please!!

Salted Chocolate Hazelnut

I’ve never tried this, nor have I ever even heard of it, but it’s highly rated and made with good stuff (though, I’m a bit curious to know more about the non-GMO corn fiber). If they swapped and used inulin, this would be a perfect product! That said, it’s super close and my only issue is the unknown. My desire to enjoy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut will win any argument vs. fear of the unknown!

In the Kitchen …

I come from the restaurant world. I started cooking in professional restaurants when I was about 13, working weekends in a local Chateau washing dishes and peeling carrots. My personal kitchen is full of big, ugly, clunky, dented, unbreakable professional equipment. If you give me a standard pot or pan, I’m almost certain to ruin it in a matter of minutes. I simply don’t function delicately, in a kitchen. I’m very fast and very rough on my tools and I’m endlessly baffled by people who fill their kitchens with the latest adorable trinket or seafoam green range of casserole pans. I realize this may seem like arrogance on my part, but I think it’s the simple knowledge I’d scrape it, dent it, shatter it or otherwise spoil its charms in minutes. I do own a few pristine Teflon pans that I wrap in silk and bubble wrap after making crepes, but I secretly resent those pans for making me treat them so gently.

So, when people ask me my advice on their kitchen tools … I’m often lost on the subject. I seek a lifetime of perfect function through aggressive use. Anything else is unnecessary.

That said, old broken down kitchen equipment isn’t often the most photogenic and now that it’s my job to capture images of my job, the periodic splash of color makes sense!

So, in that vein, I share the following, weaving a web between fun and functional.

Floating Swan Ladle

I don’t know why, but I’m drawn to this floating ladle. 1. I seem to always be lacking ladles. 2. It’s shaped like an elegant swan. 3. It floats in the soup! I mean, how cool is that!?

And, actually before I move on, I must say … maybe I’m late to the party, but I’ve never heard of the company OTOTO, but they run a very VERY fine line between silly functionality and whimsically practical. They’ve got simple colanders snatched by aliens, bottle holders from witches, sponge holders shaped like beds, measuring spoons like a bunch of cherries, hot pot trivets shaped like bears and more. I will personally break any and all of these products as soon as I use them, but … if I don’t use them and just take pictures … OTOTO brings the fun!

14-inch fry pan

I grew up with All-Clad in kitchens. These things are indestructible. They even back that up with a lifetime guarantee. Now, I used to own a glorious set of All-Clad pots and pans, but they were pilfered by a sneaky roommate. I’ve since replaced them, but … one piece … one majestic missing piece … would be this 14-inch fry pan. Pre-heat this monster and you’ll have a perfectly consistent layer of heat along the bottom of the pan. It holds its heat and has room to spare. It’s not cheap, but it’s like the Bentley of pans and it’ll last you a lifetime.

Cookbook Holder

Here’s one worth mentioning. As someone who writes cookbooks (one of them being massive), cookbook holders are a common topic. This one looks perfect. Strong and purposeful, yet elegant!

Here’s a different basic model, but this one would be nice as it could hold a tablet, as well!

Wüsthof 8-inch Chef Knife

Another question I’m asked about all the time … my knives. I’ve got a pretty robust set of knives that I’ve used and refined since I was a kid. Most of my knives are Wüsthof, including my 8-inch chef knife, which has been the cornerstone of my existence, for as long as I can remember. Frankly, I’ve had it so long, I don’t even know where it came from!

For a step up, here’s great starter kit!

Maple Cutting Board

Speaking of knives, what about a cutting board? I’m old-school. I’m a fan of wood and nothing so hard it’ll dull or break a knife. Something like walnut, maple of beechwood would be perfect! I also really like a large cutting board. Mine is 24” x 18” and made of Maple. It’s big, heavy and can be a pain to clean (it barely fits in my sink), but I’m a big fan of having space and not needing it vs. needing space and not having it. It’s worth it. Finally, those weird cutouts, divots and moats to collect juices and whatnot? That’ll also collect good food, makes sliding things off of it more challenging, your knife can get stuck in there, it’s harder to clean, etc. A big simple and clean cutting board is the way to go.

Muffing Top Pan

Weirdest item ever, and definitely fun over functional, but I also think this would be the perfect complement to my grain-free quick-breads book. In both cases, the goal is to get rid of that infernal muffin top!

For Giant Expensive Stockings

I personally don’t use a lot of electronic equipment. I don’t use crockpots, instapots, air-fryers, microwaves, toasters, etc. Those always feel like they’re stealing my opportunity to cook. For those looking to minimize their experience in the kitchen, these are handy tools, but I like to partipate in the process and enjoy preparing in stages and organizing my way through a kitchen. I love poking things and getting my hands dirty. However, there are a few pieces of equipment that I DO use and I DO love.

Vacuum Packer

I’m a huge fan of vacuum packing. As much as I love to cook, I also love to be lazy when I’m not in the mood to cook. Having a backup load of perfectly stashed and preserved food has saved my rear time and time, again. After a long day, who really wants to come home and stand and prepare a big elaborate meal. Better to just re-heat something, kick the shoes off and enjoy the evening! Vacuum packing helps preserve food, increases shelf life, is completely customizable, drastically diminishes freezer burn and on and on. It can be a bit of a pain to set up and get going, but having a fresh homemade bag of Chili or Beef Bourguignon for dinner makes that extra bit of preparation endlessly worth it.

Ice Cream Maker

I’ve also written about Ice Cream in the past. I’ve got a killer hand-me-down Italian Ice Cream Maker, but should it ever die, this is the machine I’d go for. I’ve used the frozen metal-bucket kinds, but I find the bucket takes up too much space in the freezer, space I’d rather use for Ice Cream. In general, I like knowing it’s a relatively inexpensive machine, but it comes with everything one would need. No rock salt, no separate bucket, etc. It’s all there. I scream!


I’m in a weird blender place. I have a cheap $19.00 grocery store blender, but I’ve also got a super powerful commercial grade food processor. So, between the two, all of my needs are more than met. However, if I had a couple spare hundred-dollar bills and a giant batch of bisque in the pot, I’d spring for a Vitamix.

A beast of a blender!


Here’s where form and function convene. Every professional kitchen I’ve ever been in has had one of these. Kitchen Aid obviously took note. While they do offer a range of more home-style mixers, they’ve even applied some splashes of color to their beefier models. One of these looks attractive on any kitchen counter and can quickly whip up some cream for the top of a Chocolate Pudding Pie, or the batter for a killer batch of Maple-Bacon Bars!

No Stocking Big Enough

I think it’s important to note that a healthy life isn’t 100% about dieting and life in the kitchen. Granted, food does account for about 80% of the issues related to health and weight, but other issues such as stress, sleep, exercise and so on all contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

My personal pick, and my wild wish upon a star would be…

Infrared Burner Gas Grill

A hot tub. That’s right. A hot tub! At the end of a long day at work, in the kitchen, on the job, on my feet, behind a desk, chasing kids or doing whatever it is that I hold in that tense rocky place in my back … This is a perfect way to dissolve the tension

I hope y’all had a glorious Thanksgiving! I received lots of emails from various folks trying a variety of things. HUZZAH!! I even received a few photos. All looks as tantalizing as can be.

Super Mega Plug II: Electric Boogaloo

Obviously, it’s my long-held belief that the single most perfect gift for anyone would be one of my books. They’re useful, pretty to look at, enormously informative, imminently fun to read and a perfect match for anyone needing a healthier diet.

Free Shipping

The free shipping option seemed like a good opportunity for folks. I’m extending the free shipping option from today, on through Monday, December 10th at 11:59pm EST. I feel confident that the books should arrive before Christmas if ordered by the 10th, but after that … It’s possible the books will miss the holiday deadline. So, I’m giving it another shot. I hope you love them!

If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, at checkout, simply add the discount code: BRINGHOMEBACON

Linking Note: These are all affiliate links (well, mostly). “DJ Foodie” will scoop up a few pennies if you make a purchase through these links. The thoughts and ideas are 100% Bea’s, though. The content is designed to be useful and helpful during the holiday season. Finally, with the entire scope of Amazon’s offerings, there’s no need to lean towards or recommend any one product… unless it’s awesome!

This content would not be presented any differently, if the affiliate links were removed.

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

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