For years, I dreamed of a standing mixer, a kitchen fixture that would whip whites, cream the makings of cakes, and, most importantly, look lovely on my counter.

Then, the best thing happened: I got one, and it was even better than I had imagined. I could make cookie dough in minutes! Cake batters practically melted in my shiny steel bowl. And bread-- I used to think of kneading as therapeutic and relaxing. Bah! Humbug! Now I can go do yoga for the 10 minutes my bread kneads; how's that for relaxing?

I've yet to use my mixer for a savory recipe, mostly because I prefer to think of it as a pure homestead for the sweets and yeasts in my life. But apparently, I can use it to make sausage, cheese pasta filling, and a perfect souffle. Ok, the souffle may be a stretch, but the other two are entirely possible.

My standing mixer, while heavy, has more than earned the square footage it takes up on my counter. It's the first thing I unpack when I move and the only thing I bother to put those Styrofoam packing thingies around before stuffing it into its box; yes, I still have its box.

If you think it won't change your life, think again. I'm much more likely to make delicious breads, like this yummy Honey Wheat Bread (pictured), or from-scratch cookie dough which, let's face it, always tastes better than anything you have to break apart.

Give it a try and tell me if you aren't a believer. They're pricey, so add it to your holiday wishlist this year. Then tell me what you love to make in your mixer!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel