A little food, a little shopping, a lot of family time…I sure am looking forward to the next few days!
The kids and I have lots of food to prepare today, because the more healthy food I bring to the family pot luck Thanksgiving, the more healthy choices there are for my family to eat.
For you, I have a little light reading with my kitchen stocking stuffer wish list, the top 10 little items I use all the time (or wish I had) in my kitchen. (Be sure to check out the green wish list and big kitchen gadget wish list for your Black Friday shopping wishes. I’ve also already shared my top 3 fun food gifts.)
||From basic baking to pulling my yogurt jars out of the boiling water and managing to can tomatoes without killing myself, these babies are constantly busy around here! The versatility of having all your fingers available is priceless.|
||Easy to find for under $5, if you want to buy real lettuce in bulk, this little baby is indispensable. You can cut lettuce fast to store for a few days and prevent brown edges. Pair with a Salad Spinner for maximum output! Here’s my ode to salad prep.|
|A darn good Knife
||This one was a late addition to the list, but when I thought about the ONE ITEM that I use every day, 50 times a day, it’s my favorite knife. I’m constantly chopping vegetables, and I’m never without my big chef’s knife. I’m considering asking for a fancy brand like Wusthof that friends who really know how to cook have recommended to me, and I saw this Wusthof Classic 6-Inch Cook’s Knife or Wusthof Grand Prix II 6-Inch Cook’s Knife for 60% off this week – saivng over $100 on the second one! Mine might be a little longer than 6 inches, but that’s a whale of a deal.|
|Microplane Zester Grater
||I never thought I wanted one of these, but when I got a hand-me-down from my grandma, I realized a few things. (1) it’s the best way to zest citrus ever created, (2) it really is kind of fun to have freshly grated cheese at the table, and (3) it’s super easy to clean, a major bonus! We end up using it a lot, which was a surprise. I highly recommend having one in your gadget drawer.|
||My sister-in-law found this fun toy for my birthday this year. I’m sure it’s mainly for making drinks, but I’m telling you: I can now make my homemade Italian dressing in about 2 minutes. I store it right in this baby and love it! The best part is that it’s glass, so it’s really easy to wash the base in the dishwasher.|
||This item made the list because my pastry blender is pretty junky – the blades are not sharp at all – and I wish I had a new one. I use mine a ton for homemade tortillas, homemade biscuits, and homemade crackers. Here’s a bit less expensive one, but I would pay the $10 more to get a good one nowadays!|
|Silicone Baking Mat
|I know there’s some controversy over whether silicone is safe or not, but I’m certain it’s safer than my peeling non-stick cookie sheets. I like using parchment paper on really messy tasks, too (unbleached stuff from the health foods store), but I also use the baking mat to avoid the waste. For some things like this peppermint bark (that I’m so ready to make now that I can store it in my garage!), a mat becomes an essential for me. Get the recipe in Smart Sweets!|
|Stirring things for Lazy People
||When a stirring tool gives me permission to leave it in the pot without worrying about it melting, I’m a happy girl. I love my wooden spoon, but I also love my spoons that can’t stain with tomato sauce. I have two High Temp Nylon Mixing Spoons that are always in business. I’ve had a spoonula (one of those thick spatula thingys) for years now, and I’m telling you: it’s the very best thing for browning beef and scrambling eggs!|
Definitely browse for more options; this is just one basic example…
|You can get a garlic press for $1-$30 easily. I’d probably shoot mid-range if I did it again, maybe one with an attachment that pops the garlic peels out. This is another gadget I never thought I wanted, because I often used my chopper (from last week’s list) for chopping both onions and garlic. When I ran into some recipes (like homemade salad dressings) that called for garlic but no onion, I realized I wanted a press. It’s another item that is in the “dirty dishes” pile almost daily! (Use garlic often to fight sick bugs!)|
|Good Rolling Pin
||When we packed up some things to “stage” our house to sell it, I was hard on myself and packed up one of my rolling pins. I made a mistake and packed the better one! I missed it terribly. Two things to look for when buying a rolling pin: heavy and wooden. The best place to find one is a rummage sale, because decades ago women knew how to bake! Forget the non-stick newfangled guys; they’re terrible. Mine looks just like the top photo, and I love it! Some would swear by having handle like this one.|
No books? No pots or pans or baking dishes? Choosing 10 was a tough nut to crack, but you can see a list of the good books I’ve read (or others have recommended and are on my own wish list) here, and if I was going to make one more list, it would have been Top 5 Safe Materials to Cook and Store: stuff like stainless steel and glass storage bowls, stoneware for baking (my Pampered Chef baking stone gets a workout 5 times a week, I bet!), and cast iron for the stovetop, like this cast iron pan or this enameled cast iron skillet.
What gadgets are your favorites? I’m always looking for something new for my wish list!
If you’d rather go anti-materialist this week and just enjoy some down time with your family – that’s likely the route I’ll choose as well – you might as well bake. Here are some ideas for you:
- Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
- Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
- Apple Squares
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Homemade Crackers
- Healthy Fruit Pizza
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
Disclosure: Links to cooking.com and Amazon will share a small percentage with me. Feel free to shop there – try to avoid Amazon if you can, but man…they sell everything. I want to be able to show you examples of what I’m talking about, but really, I hope you can find these items on sale in a real store in your community. Have fun wish listing! See my full disclosure statement here.
Image from Flickr.