October 20, 2016

My Top 10 Kitchen Essentials (and some luxury items too!)

I’m a big fan of minimalist. A few months ago I sold a ton of furniture online, took pictures off the walls, and I think Jared got nervous none of it was going to be replaced. (We have new pictures, I just needed a change!)

I hold the same sentiment when it comes to the kitchen.  After accumulating a lot of ‘stuff’ over the years, I relegated 90% to the garage to be sure I didn’t use it before moving it on, and I’m now left with the basics that I need and love, and actually use.  I have very little sitting on my countertop, and I prefer it that way!

Aside from appliances, cutlery and crockery, here are my top 10 kitchen essentials: (Ok so I couldn’t quite get to a minimal 10 and done…  I’ve added in luxury extra items at the end too!)

 

1. Cast Iron Skillet and Mini Skillet.More and more people are making the (wise) switch away from non stick cookware (they’re not the most healthy thing to have in your house, just ask google and you can read) and this is hands down my number one kitchen purchase. I like the 10″ size but also have a larger one, a pizza one which I use for pancakes, fritters, and (the best) easy pizza, and finally a mini one for heating single servings. The Lodge brand is really affordable and the only American made one with nothing added into the cast iron. (These also make great gifts and are on my regular giving list!)

2. A Good Blender

After trying various ones, I bought a refurbished blendtec and it’s my favourite but I’ve also owned a Vitamix in the past and loved them too.  Whichever one you go for, refurbished are great options price wise, and they’re an essential for the healthy kitchen. I use it for blending up nut milks, salad dressing and sauces, pesto, making smoothies, cocktails, grinding nuts and seeds, so many things.

3. Glass jars for storage

As much as we can, we buy in bulk, and I also food prep a lot, and save all leftovers cos I hate throwing food away (that’s also a massive money saver – the average family tosses a LOT of for out each week!) All of those things mean I need a ton of storage options for dry goods, sauces, leftovers and prepped food. Glass jars are my go to as we try avoid plastic and less clean and eco friendly options! The two brands we have in our kitchen are Mason Jars (I like big 320z ones for dry goods and salads, medium 16oz wide mouth ones for sauces, nuts, and to go drinks, and mini ones for keeping ground coffee, spices, and tiny leftovers) We also love Weck Jars and I use them for storing milk, and dressings, and for serving at the table as I prefer the look. I love both brands and they are both affordable.

4: Bees wrap: A Health Eco Friendly Cling Wrap Alternative**

It’s so easy to dive for the cling film/saran wrap to cover a dish, wrap some cheese, send something in a lunch box. But then it ends up in the trash, and you’re covering your food in plastic, which I really don’t love doing. Chemicals, ya know. I spotted this stuff on a trip and I’ve never looked back.  It’s just organic cotton and beeswax. Seriously, non toxic, compostable, reusable, its amazing.  I have 4 sheets and use it to do everything I would have used plastic for.

 **You can use code WHOLEFOODBEESWRAP at MightyNest.com for a $3 price on 2 sheets (which is insanely low! They’re $18 on Amazon) when you sign up for a free one month trial. SIDETONE:, I tried it, it works and it is a super worthwhile deal and you can cancel after a month! And to boot Mighty Nest is an incredible company for all things clean kitchen so take a look anyway, and you probably won’t end up wanting to cancel! We love it – that’s why I got y’all a code. And also cos I want to help rid the world of plastic 😉

5. Nut Milk Bag

An essential for any home that makes nut milk (and if you drink it you should be making it – our recipe is HERE), but you can also use it for straining yogurt,  as a cheese Cloth, for juice, tea, and cold brewing coffee. I’ve had a few but this is my fave for being eco friendly and made from organic cotton. 

6. Food Processor

This could go on the luxury list in some kitchens but for me it’s definitely in my essential items.  If you’re making everything from scratch in your kitchen then you need a food processor.  I have THIS one which is a great price at $80 but you can often find really great deals on them second hand, or at garage sales, or on craigslist so take a look around!  We use it for sauces, hummus, desserts, ice cream, nut butter, and so much more.

7. Coffee/Spice Grinder

Well I’d just be lying if I tried to write an essentials list without this, and without #9 too! But really, coffee bought whole bean in bulk is so much fresher and tastes so much better! This one I have now is technically just a coffee grinder but I also use it for grinding spices, and small amounts of other things too – like oats for pancakes when you don’t want to pull out the big machines! (If you want a true coffee and spice grinder: I also have had THIS one and it’s great too, just twice the price.)

8. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

From making cookies, to serving a salad, straining nut milk to breading chicken, rising bread to sprouting beans… I use at least one of these every single day. They’re durable,dishwasher safe and will be with you forever.  I like this set of six but there’s also a great set of three that comes with covers for storing salads or prepped food in the fridge.

9. A French Press

(I changed this one mid writing, when I shattered our glass french press.  they’re my favourite but next time I’m ordering a stainless steel one – this one!! I’ll tell you what I think when it arrives!)

Everyone has their preferred method of making coffee but I love this brewing for leaving no waste (like a K cup, or one use filter) and the grounds can go in the compost.  I also don’t often drink coffee alone so I like being able to make multiple cups at once.  This is an essential for life, for last happy weekend mornings, for hosting, and for happiness! (This is was the glass one we love used to love!)

10. A Spiralizer

 This spiralizer, or it’s more frugal cousin, a julienne peeler, is a staple in our kitchen for zucchini noddles, sweet potato fries, veggie slaws, cutting veggies for salads, and I know there are so many other things you can do with them! It’s a great gadget for making healthy food fun and creative!
And then because there are other things that I really love having but couldn’t class as truly essential – here are some of my top luxury items!

The Extras: Luxury Items

Stainless steel muffin tins – Again, getting rid of the ‘non stick’ items, and these are also indestructible and will be with you a life time! I suggest using muffins liners but then these are brilliant! I’m also a huge fan of the cast iron version for cornbread – there’s something aesthetically pleasing about corn bread muffins in cast iron!!
Cast Iron Bread Tin This is my favourite way to bake bread! And for $10 it’s a stellar price too!
Kitchen scale Sometimes you need more precise measurements in cooking, especially for baking so I love having a good scale.  We actually bought this for coffee to stop us making too much each morning – it’s already saved us a ton of money on not making extra coffee!  It also comes in great eco friendly packaging. Win win. Get it HERE.
Really good knives You can get away with mediocre knives but if you’re in the kitchen a lot, at least a really good chef’s knife will absolutely change your life!! (and this one’s a great gift idea too!)
A Simple Stainless steel saucepan – If I had to choose one pan it would be a skillet, and probably still skillets if I could have two, but my third would be a small simple stainless steel pan for steaming veggies, or making sauces.
Tiffin Tins Another option for food storage when prepping but also for packing food to go, or to keep with you to bring home takeout without using disposable plastic to go boxes.  These are sturdy lunch box options too that will be with you for years.
Kitchen Aid My favorite luxury item! These now do so many things and are a beauty for your countertop too.  You can make pasta, ice cream, knead bread, whip cream, pretty much everything.  I have the pro model, but the standard is also amazing and take a look at www.williamssonoma.com for great holiday sales – that’s where I got mine at an amazing discount!
Mini bullet – truly a luxury item, I don’t own one but love using it at my parents house for the ease of whipping up pancake batter and smoothies when you just want a small amount and don’t want to get out the big blender!
Toaster Oven Jared had to work so hard to get me to put this on our wedding list, they’re an American idea I think and I thought it was pointless but 5 years on I’ll say, it saves on electricity and also stops the house heating up in our hot summers so I love it for both of those, and it replaces our toaster with something that is a lot more versatile.
Electric Kettle From American items to a very English one, this is a much loved item in my kitchen! No whistling, no forgetting a kettle (cos I do that so easily!) on the stove, it’s just easy and brilliant!
Ice Cream Maker If ice cream is an essential in your freezer, than an ice cream maker should be an essential in your kitchen! It’s so easy to make your own and you can make them exactly to your own spec and eating desires!  (This is another one we love to give as gifts too! Give it with a little gift basket of things that could go in ice creams like clean choc chips, coconut cream, nuts etc!)


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