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Health, Home, and Happiness: What's in my kitchen- Kitchen Tools

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's in my kitchen- Kitchen Tools

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A list of the kitchen equipment that I use every day to make my work easier. I've heard women call their appliances their servants... my dishwasher that washes my dishes, crockpot who does the roast, and dryer that dries the clothes.  I've got a combination of nice-quality, medium, and low quality works-for-now.  A lot of the nicer things I got as Christmas and wedding gifts.  I didn't realize until I started putting it all here how much money I have invested in my kitchen! Most of the clothes in my dresser are from thrift stores, so I suppose it all balances out...
  • Clicking on the pictures takes you to Amazon, which usually has pretty good prices for appliance/kitchen tool type things.

J.A. Henckels International Classic 4-Inch Stainless-Steel Paring Knife
JA Henckels Knives
Paring knife
Bread knife
 Small bread knife for cutting bagels and rolls and stuff
Long thin knife (?) I'd love a cleaver too, I have a Chicago Cutlery utility knife and chef's knife.
Good knives are the difference between enjoying cooking and drudging through it.  I use them daily, hubby sharpens them monthly or so, and I'm glad to have them.  My brother made us a really nice knife block for our wedding.


Cuisinart DLC-2014N PowerPrep Plus 14-Cup Capacity Food Processor, WhiteFood Processor
Cuisinart brand. My parents had one and used it a few times a year for pesto and garlic if I remember correctly. I drag mine out about once a week.  I use for squash pancakes, to grate cheese, slice vegetables, make mayonnaise, and make guacamole.  I've done bread dough in it as well (as described in Nourishing Traditions), though my mixer can do more dough at one time.  Mine came with a small bowl too, which I don't use very often.  I've also recently used this to grind soaked/dehydrated almonds into flour/meal and I think it works nearly as well as a Vitamix. 

Mixer
KitchenAid KSM150PSBU Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer, Cobalt BlueI have a standard Kitchenaid mixer. It's lasted 6 years with just about daily use so I can't complain. My dad fixed it once after I killed it by making overly dry whole wheat bread... often... when I was learning to use whole wheat.  My aunt bought this for our wedding from QVC.  Once this one dies for good, I'll be looking for the next grade up both for the capacity and motor strength.  I use this to make cookies, whip cream, mix bread dough, beat eggs, and other basic mixing needs.


Juicer
Champion Juicer G5-PG710 G5-PG720-WHITE Commerical Heavy Duty JuicerI have the Breville fairly-low-end juicer that I bought when we got to the juicing part of GAPS.    I'm happy with it so far, though it doesn't extract as much of the juice out of the fruits and veggies as it could.  I learned to use the pulp in pancakes, breads, and muffins so I no longer feel like I'm wasting too much food.  If we decide to juice long term (it is kind of expensive) I'll consider getting a higher quality one like the Champion that I hear so much about.

Immersion Blender
I love this for soups!  It's just a $20 one from Target. My kids drink soup with straws and love it. Even hubby, former soup skeptic, loves cream of broccoli soup blended (chicken stock, broccoli, sea salt).

Pyrex Storage 6-Piece Rectangular Set, Clear with Blue LidsPyrex Baking Dishes
I have two 9x13, two loaf pans, two 8x8s. One lid for each the 9x13 and 8x8 for easy reusable cover-up of leftovers.  I use them daily, love that glass isn't reactive. Even stainless steel is said to leach heavy metals into food so glass seems to be the best. I'd like to try stonewear too, but haven't yet.
Pyrex Prepware 3-Piece Mixing Bowl Set, Clear

Glass Mixing Bowls
Easy-to-clean nesting bowls. My mom bought me these at Target.  I had a really neat set of three from Crate and Barrel that I broke when I dropped the entire set trying to put it back on top of the fridge (likely attempting to multitask).  They don't have any like the ones I had or I'd link to show you. So sad :( The glass are quite functional, though, and it's a good variety of sizes.

KitchenAid Silicone Mixer Spatula, RedKitchenaid Spatula
I should buy more of these. Also from Target.  I have to stay out of Target unless I have gift cards ~grin~.  My favorite spatula ever. Only bummer is that you have to hand wash the handle (mine has a wood handle). I take the silicone part off and put that in the dishwasher, though. Yes, I'm that lazy!

Kitchenaid Can Opener
Lifetime Brands 83007-10 Professional Euro PeelerThe most comfortable can opener I've ever used! It doesn't get much of a work out as we move more into real foods, we're trying to stay away from cans because of the BPA in the lining.

Farberware Peeler
I did way too long of a discussion already about my new vegetable peeler.  I still like it.
KTEC Kitchen Mill - Grain and Flour Mill (K-Tec)
Grain Mill
I have a grain mill that is having issues, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about replacing it.  I wonder how long grain mills are supposed to last? For now I'm buying my wheat ground from Wheat Montana, which is local enough that hopefully it's not rancid. I do have a couple 5 gallon buckets of wheat berries, so I should get going on my grain mill research!  From researching last time (I bought used, so not too much $ commitment) I remember that it's not recommended to get the grain mill attachment that goes on the KitchenAid, that it's too hard on the inner workings of the mixer and would wear out quickly.  I remember hearing that Bosch makes great quality mills, I'll have to make sure that's true.

Cutting Boards
One big block one that I rarely use, a smaller 10x10" one that we use occasionally, and then the one my dad made me (you can see it a little back there) that I use every day, many times a day.  I only like wood cutting boards, I find the plastic ones are too slippery.  I do wash with hot water and allow to air dry after cutting meat on them.

Pots and Pans
Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless 1-1/2-Quart Saucepan with Glass LidI have an 8-quart stock pot that I'm in love with.  A small one quart pot that I use daily too, it's perfect for soup for just the kids and I.  A couple bigger Farberware pots that I don't use as often because they're not quite as nice as the Calphalons.  I have a double boiler that my kids have commandeered for their soup.  I don't use my double boiler hardly ever anyway ;) Also a large omlette pan that's stainless steel from Walmart that's functional for the time being. You can see that I'm not too paranoid about stainless. If I suddenly became wealthy, I'd love enamelware.


Strainer
Oxo Good Grips 6-Inch Double Rod StrainerJust an inexpensive strainer that I use all.the.time.  I use it for straining chicken stock, when I soak almonds, for rinsing fruits and veggies, and I can't remember what else. 

RSVP Precision Pierced Stainless-Steel 5-Quart ColanderColander
For when there's more than the strainer can hold

Cast Iron Griddle
My parents bought this for me for my birthday a couple years ago.  It's made in the USA, which I think is important for avoiding lead and other toxins, especially in cast iron, which does transfer some into the food.  Something to watch for- American-based company does NOT mean it's made in the USA.  There are lots of American based companies who outsource their production to China and other countries.  I know my griddle is made in the USA, but I can't tell from the Amazon page if it still is, so you'd want to check by contacting the company first... or at least I would.
Lodge Logic Pro 20-by-10-7/16-Inch Cast-Iron Grill/Griddle
I do love my griddle for heat distribution, cooking lots of pancakes at once, cooking sausage and then eggs next so the sausage seasonings go into the eggs... yum!


If I had to pick only a few things that are priority to buy when starting out, I think I'd pick high quality knives, a nice cutting board, and my food processor.

What kitchen tools do you use the most?
Also, I need a blender for smoothies this summer.  I'm not wanting to invest in a Vitamix, but I want something that can get through frozen fruit for a decent price- any recommendations? 


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16 Comments:

OpenID notjustlaura said...

My most-used tools are the slow-cooker and the microwave.

March 1, 2010 at 5:50 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I use my crock pot all.the.time. I also love my Santoku knife, food processor, Kitchen Aid Stand mixer and my blender. We have went through several cheaper quality blenders and decided the last time we had to purchase one to go ahead and buy an Oster. I have the classic one with the silver colored base and glass container. I have used it for years now (very frequently) and it goes through frozen fruit effortlessly. They aren't too awfully expensive. And when you consider that it should last forever - it comes out much cheaper than the lower priced ones that can't make a decent smoothie and still have to be replace every coupld of years. One of those cast iron griddles has been on my wish list for a while now.

March 1, 2010 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger The Queen Herself said...

Everyday, sometimes twice a day I use my pressure cooker pots. I can't live without them. They were sooooo expensive, but the two pots I own are THE. MOST. used pots and are well worth the expense. YOU. NEED. to get one, cook with it, then blog about it. They are awesome for all sorts of reasons... added nutrition, quicker cook times of normally long cooking grains and legumes and just about everything, saving on the energy (both water and gas or electricity) to heat up and cook food normally.

Kuhn Rikon is what I use. I'm told every Swiss household owns an average of three of these. I can't live without mine. I am going on a road trip to visit family next month and I am totally taking these pans with me! Cheers!

March 1, 2010 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

I forgot about my crock pot! Yes, I use that all the time too!

I'll have to check out pressure cookers, they've always intimidated me.

Thanks!

March 1, 2010 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I love reading what others use in their kitchens!
I love my Vita-Mix. It is expensive, but I use it for a grain-mill as well. And I figure it's cheaper then buying a bunch of cheaper blenders over time (and a grain mill). You do have to buy a separate container for grain for the Vita-Mix, but the Blendtec is supposed to be as good of quality and you don't need a separate container for grains.
I also use my 2 cast iron skillets for every meal it seems. My Kitchen Aid is useful, but I use my Vita-Mix if I can, as it's easier to clean.
I also use my simple mandolin for slicing and a cheap grater from IKEA for lots of things.
The Pyrex with glass lids are great also. I buy them when I see them cheap at the thrift store.
Oh, I also have nesting bowls, vintage pyrex colored, that I use for soaking, mixing and serving. They are beautiful and fun! Hopefully I won't drop them when I put them away. I cringed when I read about yours. :)
Oh, and ball glass jars with the white plastic lids-LOVE those!

March 1, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
OpenID Joann said...

What a fun post!

Good, sharp knives are a must in a whole (and real) foods kitchen!

I use my waffle iron every other day. It's an old one from my mom that cooks 2 at once. It's not non-stick and I like that. I see there are some new ones on the market now that do the same.

I love my Whisper Mill grain mill. I've had it for about 15 years. Never had a problem with it. I use it almost every day.

My cast iron pans (again handed down for generations) are just wonderful. I have stainless steel pans, too, as well as on Saladmaster pot. My stainless from Costco work fine, but I must say the two All-Clad pans that I have cook and clean up better.

Oster blender, yes. Smoothies, yum!

I have a Kuhn-Rikon peeler that's divine. It's so sharp and peels anything! You know, I saw one just like it recently at TJ Maxx!

Thanks for all you share with us.

March 1, 2010 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

My sis-in-law and mother-in-law and now I all have the Nutrimill. If you go to pleasant hill grain, you'll find plenty on information to compare the different grain mills. I love the Nutrimill!

Do you know much about enamel-coated cast iron pans? I have a regular cast-iron by Lodge and haven't liked it too much. I use it succesfully for beans and beef stew, but have read not to use it for acidic-based sauces, and haven't had good luck using it as an infusion cooker.(Glorious One Pot Meals).

I love posts like this =) Always fun to see what other people like in their kitchen - and drool over things I don't have LOL!

March 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Pink Dogwood said...

Love looking at kitchen tools... Would love to have a grain mill - maybe in the future.

We use our blender every day - inexpensive purchase from Target. My girls get "dessert" every evening before bed - frozen fruit, raw milk, farm-fresh egg and whatever else is laying around (sometimes its frozen peas or coconut or flax meal or almond butter).

Thinking about buying a more heavy duty blender, tho. This one is starting to slow down (I suppose it should, it's nearly 10 years old!).

March 1, 2010 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Kael said...

I bought a Champion juicer when we starter GAPS and I love it. We juice several mornings a week. The stoneware from Pampered Chef is a favorite of mine and guaranteed free of lead. I laughed at your spatula-dishwasher story. I guess I'm more lazy than you since I just throw my wooden-handled spatulas in the dishwasher (so far, so good)! I found my blender at Goodwill. It's a Osterizer with a glass canister and has been working great for almost 2 years. I've seen the same model at the grocery store for about $20.

March 1, 2010 at 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

I desperately want a kitchenaid mixer and a food processor! But no such luck yet. One day. :) Thanks for sharing what's in your kitchen!!

March 1, 2010 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Cara said...

Thanks for all the recommendations! I bought an Oster blender today- great price with a glass container.

Enamel over cast iron-- I have one pot that is, but it's made in China so I'm wary of the additives that might be in it. I like cooking with it, it's not quite nonstick but is easy to care for.

March 1, 2010 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Michelle (She Looketh Well) said...

I too love my pressure cooker but hesitate to use it now since being much more Nourishing Tradtitions minded. I am sure I read somewhere that it is too hot and just 'kill' the food completely. I think it was in NT???

Good sharp knives for sure! Love my blendtec. Have a great food pro that I love.

Cast iron frying pans, a 10 inch and a 14 inch (huge for big family)

Good huge stainless steel stock pot. I make stock every week and I get about 12 quarts of good bone broth from it. Love to see those jars of stock. Oh, JARS, JARS and more JARS!

March 2, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger EllaJac said...

When you upgrade your mixer, consider the Electrolux Assistent. (yes, it's spelled that way). It's not cheap, but can do a TON of bread dough and it made WELL. I love mine.

Considering pressure cookers, do study up on them... the whole high-heat, total-denaturation thing has me staying away from mine. Too, mine is cast aluminum, and I don't put food on aluminum! :)

In addition to my crockpot (okay, crockpotS), I have a big roaster thingy (those rectangular metal things that plug in). I can roast a (homegrown) turkey in it, soak then cook 10 lbs of beans, make a giant soup or chili.. Love the thing.

I got a vitamix blender in a failed business effort, and though it's used, I LOVE it. Our restaurant supply sometimes sells used/refurbished stuff at reasonable prices.. don't know if yours would?

March 2, 2010 at 9:05 AM  
Blogger EllaJac said...

oh, I got a nutrimill grain mill last year and have been happy with it. Sites like amazon have lots of user reviews to read up on!

March 2, 2010 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger stacey said...

I read through everyone first and glad I did b/c I probably wouldn't have thought of some of these as "kitchen" tools!

Crockpot, for sure (I actually have 2 and BOTH handles have broken off; weird!)
Can opener (for fruits and veggies!)
Kitchen shears
Blender (Target one for now)
Pyrex bowls, dishes

Pizza stone (I used my cake stone the other day which I rarely do and the cake was like they say...evenly cooked and YUMMY!)
Mini bowls from PC (you can measure, store, cook, and they have lids. love love love them. need another set!)

Hand blender
Jars (Thanks for the reminder! I really try to store leftover juices or veggies in jars in freezer for stew later.)
Dishwasher!!!!

March 3, 2010 at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous AMYOSMUNDSON@YAHOO.COM said...

I LOVE MY KITCHEN GADGETS!
*SALAD SHOOTER FOR GRATING & SLICING POUND AFTER POUND OF VEGGIES AND CHEESE,
*EXCALIBER DEHYDRATOR FOR MAKING BEEF JERKY, DRIED FRUIT, AND YOGURT
*NUTRIMILL FOR WONDERFUL, FRESH WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
*BOSCH MIXER (THIS IS THE BEST ONE)POWERFUL ENOUGH FOR MIXING/KNEADING ENOUGH DOUGH FOR A 6 LOAF BATCH. IT HAS A BLENDER ATTACHMENT THAT EASILY GOES THROUGH FROZEN FRUIT FOR SMOOTHIES AND ALSO A FOOD PROCESSOR ATTACHMENT.

March 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

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