Category: Kitchen + Dining

The New Year is looking bright indeed with this gorgeous dinnerware set

I can’t even think about spring cleaning until the outdoor temperature is above freezing, but this vibrant dinnerware set from Cortney and Robert Novogratz makes even the coldest day feel bright. At least, that’s how I imagine it while I sit here wrapped in ten pounds of polar fleece. The set is on a fabulous sale at Macy’s right now, with most pieces priced at $5.99 and free shipping. Considering the main collection is dishwasher- and microwave-safe stoneware that will appeal to the whole family and match a rainbow of decor palettes, that’s quite a steal. The sale at...

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Gorgeous modern holiday table settings for some festive inspiration. And uh, hold the Waterford.

When I’ve spent hours working on the perfect Christmas meal, a great holiday table setting is important to me. Serving it on plastic Santa Claus plates with paper napkins is not really my thing, since I want to show my friends and family how much love went into the meal. Still, I want it to be simple enough that kids feel welcome, and I’m not ignoring my family all day to make the table look like something out of a too-perfect magazine spread. I’ve been inspired by these beautiful holiday table settings and the creative details, and I hope...

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Time to start saying cheers! Often. As much as possible.

Hostess gift season is upon us big time, and this has always been one of my favorite kinds of gifts to track down. Just look at our Hostess Gifts Pinterest board which is already filling up with fun new ideas; something about making sure you put the same effort into being a guest, as we all know it takes to be a great host. At Anthropologie, I spotted these simple linen Cheers cocktail napkins and I think it’s the most perfect gift for so many people on your list, whether it’s cocktails with a friend or a weekend with your mother-in-law. While they’re...

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Marry Mr. Darcy? Nah, eat him instead.

Oddly enough, I’m not talking about literary Halloween zombies; I’m talking about cookies. Specifically, those made with this adorable set of Jane Austen cookie cutters. Because honestly, I’ve always wanted to take a bite out of Darcy.  We have yet another reason to celebrate 3-D printers, thanks to these cool cookie cutters printed to order from Netherlands Etsy shop Printmeneer, featuring silhouettes of Mr. Darcy and Jane Austen herself.  Use them to cut cookie dough, fondant, clay, or soft cheese. How cute would these be, iced? Or hanging as ornaments from the tree? After all, it is a truth universally...

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Awesome food storage labels that won’t come off in the dishwasher

I have become a label whore. Nope, not designer jeans. I’m talking about the sticky variety. I’m using a different sticky name label for virtually every sippy cup, water bottle, food container and lunchbox for my two kids, and the bane of my existence has become scraping the yucky remnants off said items after putting them in the dishwasher. Luckily, the label gods have heard my cry and answered with these new dishwasher-safe labels from past CMP pick, Emily Press.   Besides the fact that the Write Your Own waterproof labels don’t wash off and are super easy to apply, I love...

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Can stock pots be sexy? We say yes. Ohhhh, yes.

I’m pretty sure it’s a sign of adulthood when you start drooling over kitchen gadgets. So, hi, I guess I’m a grownup now. Because this pot is kind of turning me on.   I can’t help but fawn over the Japanese white enamel cookware at Cool Mom Picks fav Poketo. The gorgeous white enamel stock pot designed by Tokyo-based designer Makoto Koizumi is so perfect for fall and winter cooking, with my chili, soup, and stew recipes just waiting on my Pinterest boards. Plus enamel is great for even heat distribution, and I love the non-stick properties. Just know...

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Grammar police: Your mugs are here.

We all have our pet peeves, and one of mine happens to be spelling and grammar. Even a text message with they’re/there/their used incorrectly is enough to make me cringe. (To say nothing of all the pitches we receive daily that assure us “mom’s will love this!”) That’s why this set of mugs would be perfect for starting every grammatically-correct day. I love how the Grammar Grumbles mugs from The Literary Gift Company illustrate the proper use of two/to/too and clarify that no one will actually die if they don’t get what they’re yearning for. (It’s a figure of...

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Swear to Mod: Amazing mid-century vintage shop on Etsy with an extra reason to shop there

Browsing around Etsy as I am apt to do…oh, every hour or so, I discovered the wonderful Swear To Mod shop, featuring so much of the mid-century, 60’s, and 70’s housewares and art that I love. Only this experience was a little different than most.   I had the best time gazing at her colorful, well-curated vintage selection and settled on a fabulous fondue fork set from the 70’s (don’t judge; I had to have them)–but right after purchasing, my money was refunded. I asked Theresa if something was wrong, and she explained that she discovered one of the...

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Homemade ice pops fit for a ladybug

When we received a homemade ice pop kit for my daughter’s birthday I was so thrilled–it’s one of those things I had been meaning to get for ages anyway. As it turns out, this one is even better than I could have imagined. If you’re cool with insects. Not only do the six Tovolo Garden Friends Bug Pop Molds churn out adorable ice pops that look like ladybugs and beetles and not entirely creepy caterpillars, but they’re really smartly designed. You secure the molds two to a leaf stand, fill them with juice, then lower in the “stem” stick...

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Home is where the mug is. (Or mug is where the home is?)

Always on the lookout for cool personalized gifts, I’m really taken with this one which would be so perfect as a hostess gift after an extended stay. The personalized coffee mugs are rendered with an architectural drawing of your own home–or the cabin on the lake that you just visited for three days thanks to your awesome cousins. Just send in a decent photo and New Orleans illustrator Erin Sketchler will go to town on a porcelain mug or set of coasters or possibly even a plate if you ask nicely. I could not do the same thing with...

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Mixing up colors with Martha Stewart mixing bowls

Last year, we got a set of Martha Stewart ice cream bowls that have become favorites with my kids, whether they’re holding ice cream, peanut butter for dipping carrot sticks, or maple syrup in the morning. So I’m excited to see now she’s added to the collection with a beautiful set of mixing bowls. The Martha Stewart mixing bowls are so gorgeous, aren’t they? They would get so much use at our place, from mixing up pancake batter to serving kettle corn on movie nights. I especially love that they’re light enough that kids can lift them themselves (not...

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Teaching kids good manners at the table, thanks to what’s on the table

If you’ve ever wondered how to get your children to practice good manners at the dinner table, perhaps these adorable plates can help do it for you? After all, it’s hard to refuse polite advice from a princess in pearls or a fancy-looking guy in a turban with a soccer ball. The collection of Manners Plates for kids at the awesome online shop Little Circus are just delightful. They are written in French–after all, France is a place where they really do know good manners (unless you happen to be an American trying to speaking English in a Champs-Élysées-area...

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Life is a colander of cherries

We’ve officially entered hostess gift season, which happens to coincide with fresh produce season season. Which gives me an awesome idea.   Visit Ross Lab on Etsy for this gorgeous made-to-order, handmade ceramic berry colander and then hit your local farmer’s market or you know, Whole Foods, for the proverbial (and actual) bowl full of cherries. There are also lovely salt and pepper cellars, coffee mugs, and a really pretty, rustic sugar/creamer set. Just present with artisanal salts; the mugs with some good coffee and so on. It just amps up the gift that much more.   It’s such...

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Geeky cookie cutters from Game of Thrones, Dr Who, and more. Because who doesn’t want to eat Jamie Lannister’s hand? (Eh, forget we said that.)

NASA recently announced a 3D printer concept that could potentially cure world hunger. We’re not there yet, but here’s a cool way to use 3D printers to make food more fun. And more geeky. Introducing Tyrion Lannister, the cookie. WarpZone Prints is an ever-evolving Etsy shop by a geeky mom of two, producing one-of-a-kind cookie cutter designs to showcase your favorite geeky and otherwise fun pop culture references, including Doctor Who, My Neighbor Totoro, My Little Pony, Mario Brothers, Monty Python, and many other fandoms.  You won’t want to miss the chance to eat your favorite characters considering the results...

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A hostess gift that she’ll treasure forever. Or she’d better, because she can’t resell it.

Sometimes a great bottle of wine or a handmade candle makes the perfect hostess gift. But when you need something extra special, I think I’ve found a winner. This custom personalized wooden serving tray is simply gorgeous. A fabulous hostess, housewarming, or wedding gift, the tray is handcrafted from reclaimed cherrywood and features lovely design details, like the custom engraving with the names of your choice and the rope handles. If you see a different design in the shop that you’d prefer, just convo the artist. They’ll whip up exactly what you’d like to make this personalized gift even...

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The multitasking mug for moms

Coffee to wake up with in the morning. Wine to relax with at night once you’ve sung your last lullaby. Luckily, this mug is perfect for the yin and yang of beverages. Of course, this adorable mug from ChantillyStay on Etsy wouldn’t work for me, because my voracious reader would let the secret out. Still, one opaque mug that handles my morning coffee IV and my evening wine session is a pretty good deal.  Each 14-oz ceramic mug is hand-stamped with shhh…there’s wine in here, or another quote of your choice, including the substitution of your favorite spirit in...

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Bigger, stronger, hotter. Yes, coffee.

I like it hot, strong, and bigger than usual. And a little on the sweet side. And now I can have it all with one press of a button, just the way I like it. Coffee has never been hotter with this very clever new offering from Keurig. And Dad might like it, too. We tried (and loved!) the original Keurig, thanks to the way it can replicate your favorite fancy beverages at home in seconds. Now we’re digging on the new Keurig Vue, which allows you to brew your drink in a broader range of sizes and strengths....

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A is for aperitif. Or…apple juice? Yeah, apple juice,

Our admiration for NYC photographer Joanne Dugan goes way back. From her genius ABC NYC book and then her NYC counting book, to the custom name artwork made from her photography, her work is equal parts sophisticated and child-like, which is why we love it as much as our kids do. And now she’s got a new project that we’re thrilled about, available at one of our very favorite museum stores.   The new Alphabet City coasters at the MoMA store take Joanne’s wonderful urban typographic images and turns them into a set of 28 US-made, eco-friendly coasters. No,...

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In season: tea towels as fresh as just-picked veggies

Cooking with the windows open, wrists slightly dirty from picking fresh veggies, knife making a crisp choppety-choppety sound–not going to lie. I live for spring and summer produce. But, with cooking comes cleanup, which pales in comparison to eating. Until you discover pure linen tea towels like these. Ahhhh.    From Poketo, featuring sweetly simple, often humorous designs hand-printed in fresh green and vibrant orange, these towels are for more than just wiping countertops. Use them as place mats, kitchen decor, knot one around your waist as an impromptu apron–or, if you’re feeling crafty, use as uber-green gift wrap. They’re naturally more...

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Grammar Rules. Even in the kitchen.

Hi, Word Nerd here. You know, the type who cringes wildly every time she receives a pitch promising “A Great Story Idea For Mom’s Everywhere.” I’m also a little anal about the its/it’s issues on my children’s homework, so you can imagine how excited I am about this line of grammar police dishware.     The may/can plates from Grammar Rules are so perfect for kids, giving you the perfect opportunity to explain that “yes, everyone can have ice cream for breakfast but no, you may not.” (Or at least that’s the example I might use.) They’re such fun...

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Will they stop teaching cursive? Not in our house.

With all the talk about getting rid of cursive handwriting in schools, this writer is a little panicky. Fortunately my kids are showing the inclination anyway. Which is in part why I’m loving these awesome personalized placemats to help them do that very thing. We fell in love with the awesome kids’ personalized placemats from Sarah + Abraham a while back–my kids still love sitting down at the chair where they see a likeness of their faces staring back at them. Plus? The placemats show no real sign of wear and tear, even after everyday use for more than...

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New kitchenware, definitely not for minimalists

I tend to gravitate towards white kitchenware and serving pieces, but once in a while you just need something with more impact to liven up all that neutral. The new kitchenware from Isak, a longtime favorite design company of ours (love Sandra Isakson’s kids counting poster!), delivers in spades with their trademark combo of color, whimsy, retro-styling, and just enough Scandinavian quirkiness to make guests excited to get a better look at just what’s hiding under the Gouda on the serving tray. I love all the designs, but the family breadboard and porcelain cups might be my favorite–I could...

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Tired of cute bunnies and chicks? How about zombies?

Are you sick of bunnies, flowers, and butterflies yet? Okay, we’re not either, thanks to that extra-long winter. Still, we’re year-round zombie fans, especially when they’re adorable and delicious.  The Undead Zombie Cookie Cutters from Perpetual Kid are a slightly skewed way to celebrate the rebirth of spring. Or that’s how I’m seeing it. Each set comes with three cookie cutters made from food-safe plastic that you can even toss in the dishwasher. Whether you prefer your shambling corpses to be hunching, walking, or running, your kids will have tons of fun icing them and adding bloody red sprinkles....

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Forget the Easter Ham. Enjoy a Grilled Cheesus.

On many days, the biggest miracle is getting my kids to eat their dinner without a fight. Well, I’d love to see them try to refuse a sandwich with Jesus Christ’s own face pressed on it. Inspired by the infamous Glee episode a couple of years back, the Grilled Cheesus Sandwich Press not only makes a pretty heavenly grilled cheese sandwich (heh, get it?) but a portion of the proceeds actually helps feed the hungry, which is something we think JC himself would approve of. And hey, if it gets our kids to eat, then hallelujah! –Kristen You can...

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The kids’ table is the place to be with Marimekko’s fun, fancy dishes

I love using colorful matching dish sets for my kids’ snacks and meals. Not to mention, I swear it makes my kids eat better. And now, there’s a new line of children’s dinnerware from Marimekko–yes, the design house responsible for the iconic bold prints that may be on your couch cushions or even baby clothes–that I’m totally in love with. Made from durable porcelain–so not for babies–the four different kids’ dish sets include a plate, a bowl, and a mug. On the plus side, porcelain means microwaves, dishwashers, ovens and freezers are all fair game.   Now I will...

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Who knew T-Rex was so tasty?

Back in the Crumbtaceous period, dinosaurs roamed the earth, devouring each other with glasses of milk and falling into the La Brea Chocolate Pits. Okay, kidding. But we are really excited about these 3-D dinosaur cookie cutters. Making creatures with 3-D Dinosaur Cookie Cutters is pretty simple and doesn’t require any of that fancy faux-science from Jurassic Park. Simply mix up your favorite cookie recipe (or buy it pre-made at the store, we won’t judge.) Use the 3-4 cookie cutters included to stamp out the appropriate number of torsos, legs, tails, and tiny T-Rex arms. Bake, then assemble the...

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A letterpress recipe for success

The holidays might be over, but we’re willing to bet you know a hostess, bride, or prize-winning baker who deserves the world’s loveliest letterpress recipe cards. This starter set even comes in a handmade wooden box. Delicious, right? The Letterpress Recipe Box from 1canoe2 on Etsy is the sort of gift that delights now and for years to come, thanks to thick, recycled French card stock and deep, hand-drawn letterpress designs. Each set comes with seven hand-cut dividers and forty-two recipe cards in six different colors, packaged in an unfinished oak box handmade by the artist’s father. Love that....

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Colorful coasters with serious design savvy

Bold. Graphic. Modern. Who’d have guessed the humble coaster could be so fun–and protect furniture so gorgeously? Bonus: They’re sturdy enough for your kids, too. The gorgeous coasters from ArtisEverything on Etsy are sturdy enough to survive three generations of sweating sweet tea glasses. Shop owner Iris designs each set, then impregnates the wood with a special printing process that isn’t glued and can’t be peeled off. The bright, shiny finish will last and protect your furniture for years to come. And even if your kids use them as adorable little frisbees, they’ll take a licking and keep on…um…coasting....

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How to make a holiday mug gift more special. (You weren’t just going to give a mug, right?)

While yes, mugs make good fallback holiday gifts for teachers and coaches and colleagues and your mother-in-law, on their own they’re not necessarily…special. (Although we did find one in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide in the gifts under $16 category that’s pretty darn cool.) Here, I thought of 6 ways to give your mug gift a little more oomph. 1. Include your favorite tea bags I always look at Tea Forte for gifts each year because not only are the teas great, but they’re always so beautifully packaged and ready for gifting. (No offense to Lipton, yo.) This year there’s a new...

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Serve up some very happy holidays with personalized plates

I adore everything about the holidays, especially decorating. Growing up in my family, prepping the house pretty much stopped at setting out the menorah. Now that I’m in charge, I love decking out our home with a cozy all-holidays-welcome vibe–especially when it comes to the all-important yummy focal point of every holiday season: the table. Hanukkah-themed tableware can prove to be a challenge to find, though. So this year, I am tickled to have come across some very fun and festive personalized plates from CMP fave Little Uni.  {Keep reading for an exclusive holiday discount for CMP readers!} A year doesn’t go by...

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