Here’s a picture of Otis, because he’s really cute and makes me happy:
I’m slightly addicted to watching cooking shows on The Food Network. (Ree Drummond’s show, Pioneer Woman, is my all-time favorite!!)
It’s not so much that I love what the hosts are making but more, I love the way they all seem to make cooking and baking an art. They use ideal tools, quality ingredients and whip up meringue like it’s a leisurely Sunday activity.
In my world, I don’t have the best of everything and I certainly don’t think anyone would describe my kitchen technique as “graceful,” but those are all things I’m working on…I have, over the last couple of years, found the value of certain items. If you want to slice and dice your produce properly, you have to use high-grade knives. If you want to load your blender to the brim yet still want a smooth smoothie, you need a powerful (i.e. expensive 🙁 ) blender. I’m certainly no expert, but these are just a few of the staples in my kitchen that, through rigorous use, have held up and performed beautifully:
1. Vitamix Blender: Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it takes up some space on your counter. BUT this blender is possibly one of the best “health food prep” investments that you could make. Mark and I load this sucker with everything imaginable and blend creamy, yummy smoothies every day. It also makes almond butter, soup, banana ice-cream…you name it! I absolutely love my Vitamix.
2. Le Creuset Cast-Iron Grill Pan: One word of caution–this thing is HEAVY! But, Mark and I almost exclusively use this pan for all of our steaks and seafood. Sear the meat in the pan on the stove, then pop the pan in the oven to finish cooking the center. We have never had a bad experience using our grill pan. It is pretty easy to clean (as long as you grease it up a little before cooking your meat), comes in a bunch of cool colors and cooks meat to perfection.
3. Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler: Pasta is verrrry rare in our house. We have fun, however, using different veggies as “noodles” instead. This tool is our secret to perfect veggie noodles! Using this peeler is a breeze. The “teeth” don’t get clogged, the blades stay extremely sharp (even after a ton of use!), it feels durable in your hand, and I just toss mine in the dishwasher-so cleaning is really simple!
4. Crock Pot: We use our crock pot religiously! We bought the crock pot that I have linked at Costco and it has held up extremely well-easy clean, is easy to store, and has basic programming buttons that are easy to get the hang of. I love that we can set the crock pot for, say, 8 hours and after 8 hours it only keeps your food warm but does not cook it any longer. This has been very convenient for days when Mark and I leave at 9am and don’t return home until 6 or 7pm.
5. Silicone Spatulas: I love this set of spatulas. The varied sizes and shapes are perfect for everything that you could possibly need to scrape or flip. Whether I’m flipping protein pancakes, scraping the sides of my Vitamix to get every last bit of smoothie, or mixing Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie dough, I use these spatulas. They don’t stick, crack or burn. They’re almost too easy to clean and are not expensive so if you need to replace them (or need more!)– it’s not a problem!
6. Food steamer: I am in the camp that microwave steaming your plastic bags of veggies is not always the best method of getting steamed vegetables. We do use the microwave method when we’re in a hurry, but generally, Mark and I use a steamer. The one that I have linked is the exact one that we use. It’s really easy to use and can steam just about anything. It can steam a small or large batch of veggies. We love it!
While this is not an exhaustive list of every kitchen product that I love, this is a list of almost all of my favorite things that I use daily (or almost daily). As I said before, I do my best when it comes to pulling meals together, but with all the items listed above, my job is a lot easier!
I’m off to Fit Camp…yay!!! xo