10 Foodie Kitchen Favorites
If you are like me, you save all of your “luxury” need items for Christmas. I like the build up of suspense and waiting for one special day where I don’t have to experience buyer’s remorse. Saying, “I’ll put it on my Christmas list!” is my ultimate test of patience. The benefit? I have a WONDERFUL Christmas where I get things I need AND want. We foodies are lucky–our passion benefits the family, so we usually get what’s on our lists.
The past 10 years, I’ve acquired some golden kitchen tools I can no longer see myself cooking without. Some are the result of my college job at “Linen’s ‘N’ Things” where I worked in the Bedding department (but was ALWAYS hanging out in the Housewares section!) and others arose from the need of the fledgling cook I became while working at Trader Joe’s (10% discount+hard core food lover= LOTS of cooking and eating!). But a majority of my kitchen “friends” are the result of tips from other chefs and bloggers. It is my sincere hope I introduce you to a kitchen tool that makes your life *easier* and enables you to become more efficient or successful in the kitchen. Enjoy!
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My 10 Favorite Foodie Tools
- Silicone Handles: These will prevent burns from the ultra hot (and even) heat cast iron cookware provides. An easy stocking stuffer and tool no cook should be without!
- Peeler, Can Opener, and Tongs by OXO: The triple threat! These were among the first tools I acquired because they actually fit in my college budget! The peeler and tongs I use DAILY and the can opener is amazingly easy to use. The “professional” peeler feels like cutting into smooth butter–awesome! The tongs have a long reach and I prefer the metal tipped ones, so I can use in high heat cooking and he grill. These get daily use in our house!
- Floor Mat: I get home from work, and on adventurous days, I spend another hour-and-a-half in the kitchen cooking and preparing lunches for the next day. I like going barefoot (a comfort issue and it reduces toxins in the house!), but my plantar faciitis makes it painful. A couple of years ago, I discovered these mats and bought two of them for the kitchen! This year I am asking for a few of the small sized mats for the bathroom and laundry area!
- Cast Iron Skillets: DAILY USE! I make perfect eggs, bacon, quesadillas, grilled cheese, and get wonderfully seared meats! the fact that water should NEVER touch these babies make them the EASIEST thing to keep clean. As long as I keep water away and have my trusty pastured bacon fat/lard/coconut oil handy, I simply wipe the pans down with a dry dish towel–done! I bought Wagner skillets on ebay, but check your local second-hand store, Goodwill, and be on the look out at yard/estate sales!
- Crock Pot: Oh crock pot, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways—bone broth, applesauce, stews, soups are easy-peasy in this programmable model. It stays on the “warm” setting after the cooking time has elapsed. This beautiful machine is in use at least 72 hours/week in my household!
- Dutch Oven: I use my dutch oven more in cooler weather—my famous “Love Your Body Chili,” mulligatawny soup, oxtails, are frequent guests at the table in fall and winter and I love this enameled cast-iron pot. I use it on the stove and in oven.
- Ice Cream Maker: My very best friend from April-November! I…LOVE..REAL…ICE CREAM! As a kid, I hated most of the carton stuff–yuck! The taste was just “off.” About 5 years ago I was introduced to real ice cream made with a manual ice cream maker–it completely opened my eyes to the possibility. This model is easy! Mix the ingredients in a blender (check out my pumpkin custard ice cream recipe!), turn the machine on FIRST (very important! I almost broke the machine in my excitement to use it by forgetting this key step!) and pour mixture in. In less than half an hour, you’ll have ice cream so delicious it will bring tears of joy to your eyes. I like using raw dairy, raw cacao powder, and maple syrup in my recipes!
- Mini-Food Processor: Pâté, mayonnaise, salsa, hummus, salad dressing, baking—literally the all-purpose helper! I was TERRIFIED to use one and finally opened this in January (after owning it for 2 years!) when my blender broke. When I finally gained the courage to plug it in, I found it had a locking mechanism for added safety. I LOVE this little machine. I may have to upgrade to the larger size soon!
- Berkey Water Filter: I worked overtime for 2 months to buy this and it was WORTH EVERY PENNY! The biggest push for me was flouride. Our city has just voted to flouridate its water, quite scary considering flouride is a neurotoxin linked to learning issues in children. As a teacher, I always question food choices and environmental toxins as they relate to learning. I was drinking Brita-filtered water when I conceived my son, but had moved to the unincorporated COUNTY–where water has been flouridated for years! Completely freaked out, I began doing research on reverse-osmosis filters I could actually afford. We LOVE our Berkey! The first time I tasted the water, I couldn’t believe how clean it tasted! Pricey, but I considered it a good investment since I (will) have little ones with developing brains and bodies!
Happy shopping! I wish you have a VERY healthy holiday season (and I sincerely hope you have someone to clean the kitchen for you after you’re done preparing all your wonderful feasts!).