Category: Kitchen + Dining

Alphabet awesome: cookie cutters as easy as A-B-C

My son has been obsessed with the alphabet since he was two years old–so much so, that he was the alphabet for Halloween two years in a row (ask me how I pulled off those costumes). And his nickname? Letter Boy. I kid you not.  So you can imagine how excited I was to find these alphabetastic cookie cutters. Because what’s better for an alphabet-obsessed kid than the ABCs masquerading as COOKIES? LETTERPressed cookie cutters, from the always fun company The Spoon Sisters, come with all 26 letters, an ampersand and exclamation point, packed into a reusable storage tray–all this for a friendly $21....

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6 essential pieces of cookware for the holiday cooking season and beyond

With Halloween behind us, it’s time to let the holiday cooking season begin! Which means stocking up on the cookware you need. Even if you’re not normally a cook, chances are you may be doing your fair share of cooking and baking over the next couple of months. Whether you’re whipping up a holiday meal, making homemade edible gifts (my favorite!) or throwing together a side dish for a holiday potluck, having the right tools will make your job a whole lot easier (or at least more enjoyable). Check out these 5 pots and pans that every home cook–no...

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Pretty bowls make great hostess gifts. Especially when they’re on sale.

With Halloween an entire day behind us, our thoughts at Cool Mom Picks already turn to the best holiday gifts. (We can’t help it!) So when I saw these beautiful little Japanese bowls on sale, I thought, ooh…hostess gift. The modernist Japanese bowls at West Elm are now just six bucks each. I love the contrasting patterns on the inside and outside, although the grey floral with the turquoise rim is especially elegant and simple. I could imagine wrapping up four of them with a nice package of steel-cut oatmeal and some maple syrup. I’m only bummed that the mugs...

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5 geeky, spooky, and altogether kooky cookies for Halloween

Get out the flour and sugar. Crack the eggs (better use than egging the grouchy neighbors, trust us). Monster mash everything up. And then select the perfect creepy cookie cutters for a very happy Halloween snack. First we brought you NINJAbread Men. Now we’re digging these GingerDEAD Men! Just cut out the shape with one side and impress the bones with the other. Mmm…crunchy. Future mad scientists might enjoy the four fun shapes in the Labcutters Science Cookie Cutters. Some iced beakers and test tubes would be the perfect accompaniment for chemistry homework. Baking involves tons of science, you know. Don’t...

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Obsessed with tea towels? Oh, you will be

So I’ve been told I have a tea towel addiction. I prefer to think of it as a healthy obsession. Tea towels, after all, are awesome. They’re there for you whether you’re drying dishes, produce, or your hands. They can also be used in a pinch as aprons and table runners–or as a delivery system, serving up a little old-school charm for your kitchen. Tea towels for the win! Poketo, a long time favorite of ours, has just released a new selection of tea towels. Poketo plus tea towel equals pure bliss. There’s a reason for that, of course.  ...

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Pop art placemats that pack a punch

Ah, the poor humble placemat. Sure, placemats serve a noble purpose: to keep spills and mess (somewhat) contained. But have you ever fallen in love with one? I have. I’m totally smitten with Pop Placemats. These puppies demand attention with their hip styling and personalized pizzazz. They scream: “I am functional and fabulous, KAPOW!” Their old-school cartoon flavor, reminiscent of my favorite Batman episodes of yore, make me so darn happy…and that’s before coffee. Bold graphics keep young Warhols-in-training inspired, and 100% easy-wipe polyester (with no-skid bottoms) keep mama and papa smiling at all the, uh, mealtime art all over the table.  -Eva...

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Come to the Dark Side; we have tea!

That’s no moon– it’s… a tea diffuser, and it’s fully operational, Star Wars fans. You lovers of Star Wars and loose leaf teas: rejoice! This exquisitely detailed stainless steel Death Star Tea Infuser is an officially licensed Lucasfilm collectible — and dishwasher safe, of course.  Simply add your favorite loose leaf tea, twist the Death Star shut, wrap the TIE fighter weight around the handle of your favorite mug, and pretend you’re the Emperor as you enjoy that hot cup of Darth Vader Tea. Gooood. Goooood. –Delilah Find the Death Star Tea Infuser at ThinkGeek. Man we love that...

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How do you pit cherries? Aha! We have an easy answer.

I know I’m not the only one who’s always wondered if there’s an easier way to pit cherries. Every year, I wait for cherry season with much anticipation, only to be reminded that with half of my kids needing me to pit their cherries before they can eat them, I’m facing a slow, tedious task, even though I’m fairly handy with a knife. Well this year, I finally invested in an fantastic cherry pitter and now when the kids ask for them, I practically cheer.  The Cherry Chomper is a cute, inexpensive gadget that pops the pits right of cherries with...

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International Mat of Mystery

Merely a place mat for children? Perish the thought. It can be a hat, a brooch, or a pterodactyl. Or just a handy color-your-own disguise kit for a messy kid who needs a mustache. The Paper Disguises Place Mat at My Sweet Muffin is a fantastic addition to any meal or party. Not only does it keep your table tidy, but it also keeps little hands busy and on the right track, if that compass is as accurate as it looks.  Each pad includes twenty-five big mats printed in the USA on thick, high-quality paper. The disguises can be popped...

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Hey Girl, You should totally buy this Ryan Gosling tea towel

I make it no secret that I have a huge crush on the Canadian Ryans: Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling. But since I’m not 15 anymore, I’m pretty sure the glossy posters on my ceiling or calendars on my wall are out of the question. But a tea towel? Oh that’s more than fair game. You better hurry and snatch up the Hey Girl I’d Rather Be Doing Dishes tea towel before I buy it. Artist Colleen Pugh has translated the hugely popular Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” Internet meme into a must-have kitchen accessory for R-Go fan. (I just made that...

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Adorable kids placemats that put the newt in nutrition

If you love animals, alphabets, good deals, and clean tables, we have the deal for you. But you have to hurry. These adorable silicone ABC Placemats from Brinware are on sale at Fab.com through Wednesday only (or until they run out) and they’re 43% off the regular price. We fell in love immediately. They wipe clean, look great, and they even stick to the table to keep your little monkey from tossing them to the ground. You get two in a pack and can choose green/blue or orange/pink, all with the same charming alphabet of creatures. Including a quail...

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Finally, the comfiest, most easy to clean, most stylish booster seat. (Can you tell we’re excited?)

If there is a stage called “Booster Seat Battles,” none of the parenting books have mentioned it–but that’s exactly what my family is currently dealing with. The 2-year-old has refused to sit in a booster, preferring instead to reach up over his head with his spoon and try to dribble his cereal down to his mouth. And the 5-year-old suddenly must have a booster seat to sit in–or at least be offered one–or we’re in for all kinds of dinnertime drama. So let’s just say Luv Chicken is helping us out tremendously right now. Besides being awesome to say...

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What’s the best sippy cup? We may have just found it.

The sippy cup. Ah, how I wish we were past this stage of life. For now I accept my fate that is the avalanche of cups and lids falling on my head every time I open the cabinet. My disdain however only makes me more appreciative of those times I find a sippy cup that is easy to manage and stands up to the elements- and by elements I mean aggressive toddler. We love pretty much everything that inventive company Zo-li does, which is why they’re a mainstay in our Baby Shower Gift Guide, and this new entry is...

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6 cool picnic essentials for a Mother’s Day in the park

Mother’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and not just because my boys spoil me silly with kisses. It hits at the best time of year when the weather turns warm, the flowers bloom and the farmer’s market begins showing signs of bounty. If your mama is a breakfast in bed kind of lady, check out our easy recipes for a make-ahead Mother’s Day brunch. Otherwise, so long as the sun is shining, why not celebrate Mother’s Day with a laid back picnic. Grab your mama, some bread and cheese, and these 7 picnic essentials to celebrate al...

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The baby shower gift that’s definitely not for the baby

This year, I thought one of the more inspired picks in our Baby Shower Gift guide was the Keurig coffee maker. I figure for those moms who thrive on caffeine (or will, once they start to accept their new sleep patterns, or lack thereof), it beats a sixteenth receiving blanket. But even if you’re not a new mom–or a mom at all for that matter–there are a lot of reasons to consider one. We’ve been using the Keurig Platinum Brewing System at home for the last month, and truly, it couldn’t be easier. Plus, it’s already paid for itself,...

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A mug of one’s own

As my kids get older we are (gasp) transitioning away from the non-breakable plastic wear and gingerly setting down proper plates and drinkware at their table settings. They still have their personalized placemats so it’s not like I’m turning them into little adults, and in fact we’re not quite out of the HOW COME SHE GOT THE BLUE PRINCESS CUP? I WANT THE BLUE PRINCESS CUP! stage. So what a genius solution these tumblers are. The espresso mugs from Pigeon Toe Ceramics all look beautifully uniform on the outside–but turn over the bottom and a colorful painted bottom reveals...

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The coolest new water bottle on the block

I fully admit to drinking way more bottled water than I should, even though I’m aware of how bad the plastic is for the environment, let alone the risk of water that’s been marinating in chemicals used to produce said plastic. But now I’ve found alternative that could truly change my water-drinking habits forever. I just discovered the incredibly cool looking glass bkr bottles and have fallen in love. Although the concept of a reusable bottle is not exactly earth-shattering, the people behind bkr have managed to get me excited about just that. Yes, it’s made of glass, which...

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The coolest guitar ever is playing a solo in your lemonade

Whether you’re into classic Zeppelin or that annoyingly peppy pop song about a party under the Hollywood sign, you can’t play it without a guitar. And you definitely shouldn’t party without these extra tiny, extra awesome guitars, just in time for entertaining season. These adorable Cool Jazz Ice Stirrers give new meaning to ready to rock. Just pour water into the guitar-shaped molds, insert the neck, and freeze. You end up with guitar-shaped ice, and a neck that behaves as a stirrer. It goes beyond ice–you can make rockin’ guitar popsicles with fruit juice for the kids, too. I...

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Dishes for kids that are safer than plastic – they only look like plastic

It’s hard trying to sort through all the plastic safety issues these days when it comes to feeding our kids. Between BPA, pthalates, melamine fears and microwave warnings, sometimes I just want to throw up my hands in frustration; does everything have to come with a warning these days? Well, not everything. In fact, I’m so thrilled that we get to be the first to announce the launch of a brand new, totally safe set of kids dishes, all made from a really surprising material. [don’t miss an exclusive discount after the jump!] The fantastic anti-plastic dishes for kids...

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GreenEats makes dinner eco-friendly

I’m not shy at all about my love for eco-friendly Green Toys, so it’s probably no surprise that I squealed a little (okay, a lot) when I heard they were launching a line of tableware for kids. Not toy tableware–the stuff you can actually eat off of. And let me just say, the squealing? Totally warranted. Made from recycled milk jugs and completely free of BPA, pthalates and melamine–something that’s tough to avoid in kids tableware– the GreenEats line is simple, sturdy, and dishwasher safe.  We’ve been using the divided plates and tumblers for the last few weeks, and...

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Put an end to the plate wars

I want the pink plate. I want the blue one. If I have to use the orange one, I’ll die, because I hate orange more than a thousand. (All actual quotes from my dinner table.) And if Mommy has to hear the kids argue over plates again, she’s going to go berserkypants. So here’s a beautiful and safe way to insure that you know who gets which plate. Forever. The lovely personalized melamine plates from CMP fave Little Uni are available in eight sophisticated designs that mix backgrounds mom will love with silhouettes the kids will adore. Trucks, owls,...

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Modern tea towels that make me want to take up dishwashing

I have a thing for tea towels, but most of the ones I see fall squarely into the Country Living school of design. What, cityfolk don’t dry their dishes too? So I was happy to be introduced to San Francisco studio Studiopatro, which makes lovely linens in more contemporary motifs. At Studiopatro, I love the collection of handpainted, modern tea towels. Wrap one around a bottle of wine, a cookbook, or a selection of artisanal cheeses and you’ve got a fantastic hostess gift for the upcoming summer weekends. Check out the city category, and what at first seems like...

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Ice cream season, Martha Stewart style

There has been a perceptible increase of ice cream consumption in our home over the last week. In fact, once the weather gets warm, I don’t think a day goes by without my kids asking for ice cream. (Yeah, it’s for the kids.) The folks from Martha Stewart were kind enough to send me this little set of ice cream bowls recently as a way of saying Happy Summer, and we’ve been giving them quite the workout. They really are very pretty, and the small size keeps portions in check. While the accompanying spoons are a little small for...

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Silicone Ally

Sprucing up for spring usually doesn’t include my kitchen utensil container, but I have long been a convert of silicone spatulas. And these swirly, pretty, funky spatulas are exactly what my kitchen needs right now.   Silicone spatulas are not only easy to clean, they’re heat-proof up to 500°F, and trust me, once you start using well-made silicone for cooking, stirring and pancake-flipping, your collection of old, cracked wooden and plastic tools will be nothing but a faded, slightly stained memory.  The green spoonula is great for working with doughs and frostings, the red spatula is perfect for spreading and clearing out that peanut...

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Nothing says spring like a bunny on your plate.

Even vegetarians can get behind this pick. Because the well-plated rabbits that have captured my heart are from our clever friends at Le Papier Studio– you know, the folks who brought us that ingenious Easter Egg Silhouette tutorial and end up in our gift guides year after year? They’ve got a whole mess of pretty stuff cooking up for spring. The Spring Silhouette Plates are one of six Easter plates available, each custom made in melamine just for you. You can choose your silhouette image, background color, font, and text, making each plate a phenomenal heirloom. And for a $10...

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Look ma, there’s a monkey in my food!

My son is the proud owner of a Skip Hop Zoo Backpack (a froggie, in case you were wondering), so when I found out they were making a line of tableware to match, I got excited about the idea of luring my son to dinner with something besides bribery. Skip Hop’s new collection of children’s tableware feature matching plates and bowls, which come in bee, monkey, owl and dog. (For some reason the frog didn’t make the cut. They’re BPA-free, phthalate-free and PVC-free, but because they’re made of melamine we’d still recommend hand-washing. And if you can’t get enough...

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You can even eat the dishes

Having recently introduced my girls to the joys of Willie Wonka (yes the original. Sheesh.) they became instantly fascinated with the idea of a teacup that you could actually eat. I had to explain that it was just a movie, and that no, we can not actually eat our dishware. But wait! Turns out you can. A clever group of entrepreneurial Parsons grads calling themselves The Way We See The World devised some fabulous edible cups from a vegan JELL-O substitute, aptly named Jelloware. I’m not sure about Rosemary-Beet, but Lemon-Basil and Ginger-Mint sound pretty darn good to me....

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Making a holiday table look like a holiday table

I know that starting tomorrow I will admire my family members’ beautifully adorned holiday tables and think I should really do more with mine. And then I will start virtually shopping online for gorgeous linens and flatware and other pretty things. And then maybe this year, I’ll actually hit purchase instead of just imagining it all magically coming together in my dining room somehow. The new tabletop items from Chilewich are right up my alley. The pressed dahlia placemats in gunmetal grey or gold can make a table sophisticated, not flashy, something tough with metallics.The lace openwork is so...

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Kids placemats are almost too cute to cover with food

We’ve been eating out waaaay too much lately because of a kitchen renovation, and though my kids have finally grown sick of chicken fingers, they are also sick of those restaurant-supplied paper activity mats that hold their attention for about five minutes while we wait for our food.  Rather than another word search for the words “Fries” and “Soda,” I’ve found some awesome placemats to keep them coloring patiently and making something they may actually want to bring home after the meal is done. {don’t miss the giveaway after the jump!} The recycled paper Letterpress Kids Placemats from the...

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Put a cork in it: The cool OXO Uplift Tea Kettle

Trying to agree on a tea kettle with the sigOth last weekend in a Maine gourmet shop was nearly as difficult as trying to agree on a baby name. The kitchen is more or less his domain (the culinary school degree grants him as much), so he tends to get his way with things like professional pots and pans, and way too many fancy knives. Well wasn’t I thrilled when we agreed on the splurgey anniversary edition OXO Uplift Tea Kettle (Amazon affiliate link), with the stainless body and cork handles. I adore cork for its look, sustainability, and because it’s naturally heat resistant...

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