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My Kitchen Essentials

All of the kitchen must have’s and the things I use most often, all in one place for you!

I’m excited to share this article because I get so many questions on what I use and where I got everything.  I figured an easy go to list would be the most helpful for people to reference.  Let’s get going….

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  • My #1 go to FAVORITE gadget of all time has to be my mini food processor and immersion blender combo kit.  

Hubby got this from Costco for me and I literally use it EVERY single day, at least once a day.  I use the mini food processor for small jobs like grinding my oats (pancakes, waffles, baked goods, etc), sauces, my salad dressings, easy salsas, quick chopping of vegetables to sauté’s, fruit “jellies”, and even small batches of nut butters.  Most of the time, I’m cooking meals mainly for myself so I rarely need the big food processor to chop things.  This mini one is the perfect size for 1-2 servings of something.  I use the immersion blender mainly for soups and the whisk for whipping eggs, pancake/waffle batters, and smaller batches of muffins or other baked goods.  Those attachments don’t get used as often, but they still get used at least 2-3 times a week.

 

 

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  • A large food processor!  This isn’t the same one I have since mine is discontinued now (it’s super old but still does the trick)!  This one had a high rating on Amazon, so I figured it would illustrate things well enough.

Like my mini, this gets used quite often each week.  I’m actually a little surprised I use it so much but this comes in really handy mainly when I’m baking now.  Because I started using chick peas/garbanzo beans in so many of my baked good recipes, a food processor is the  perfect appliance to chop & smooth out those batters and also easier to clean than my blender which is the only other thing I would use.  If I’m not making something with the beans, my food processor also gets used to make cole slaw, finely chopped salads, and big batches of nut butters.  If you don’t have a really good blender and make big batches of oat flour, this is a great option and can be purchased relatively inexpensive at Target or Bed Bath and Beyond (with a 40% off coupon too)!

 

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  • The infamous food scale!  Something I had NEVER used or even thought of purchasing until about 3 months ago but now I use it every single day!

If you have read a little about me here on my blog, my journey, my history you would know that I never counted a calorie in my life prior to this journey.  I hated to even think about it but as I hit a stall in my progress around month 4, I was desperate to change things up and find something else that would help me get out of the plateau I seemed to be in.  Thats when I found IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and so began my days of “counting” and tracking.  Some people who follow IIFYM are avid counters and measure EVERYTHING they eat.  I definitely never took it to that extreme, but there are certain things I do weigh to get a proper count on my macros, namely my proteins (chicken, turkey, beef) and when I eat raw nuts.  Everything else I take approximations (2 tablespoons, 1/2 cup, 1/3 serving, etc.)  But my food scale does get used daily now until I am done reverse dieting, get my calories up high enough, AND have a really good grasp on what my intake should look & feel like through the Fall and Winter.

 

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I used to eat a lot of pancakes when I first started eating healthier because they are such a great way to start your day and fuel you for training.  I was a sucker for a good stack of protein hot cakes and then realized how dumb I was to not try my waffle iron with the same recipes.  Life hasn’t been the same since.  Pancakes are great and all but something about that crispy texture on a waffle gets me every single time.  MMM… waffles.  My waffle iron is REALLY old, at least 20 years old but it’s still going strong.  It now gets used at least once a week.  MMM waffles.

 

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  • Next up is actually something my husband and I bought for our daughter… a mini donut maker!

Again, using the same recipe as my pancakes and waffles, the batter works perfectly for donuts as well.  I know a lot of people who have a big donut pan, but I like these little guys.  Literally takes under 5 minutes to cook the 14 donuts each of my batches makes.  I don’t eat too many regular donuts these days, but when I get tired of pancakes or waffles, whipping up the donuts is fun.  Mine probably gets used once every couple of weeks.  This item can be sold at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, or other large department store.

 

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In all honesty, I have really only used mine for zucchini and apples (once) BUT it gets used at least twice a week.  I don’t believe in low carb/no carb diets (really, do your research… not a healthy, long term way to do things but thats a whole different post entirely), BUT there are times where I just want to keep things a bit lighter and making “noodles” out of vegetables is just fun!  I do zucchini “noodles” and marinara all of the time, great way to trick those kiddos when doing Italian night.  My husband and kids will totally eat this as well so thats a big bonus for me!  I haven’t used the other blades it comes with yet, but hope to experiment a bit more and come up with additional uses/recipes for it.

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This has been a staple in my kitchen for at least 10 years now.  So many sweet treats, so many memories with my kids & husband.  It’s a higher priced item one would invest in, but an appliance that has gotten plenty of use over the years and something that I’m sure will last for many more years.  Prior to my journey, I baked indulgent, sugary, creamy, buttery treats pretty much every week.  My stand mixer had always been my go to appliance but as my eating and cooking habits evolved, so did my baking.   I don’t use butter or cream anymore and I don’t make huge batches of things so rarely need the power and speed of a regular mixer.  Between my mini combo kit  and regular food processor, batters & doughs are pretty much taken care of.  Now that the holiday’s are upon us though, I’m sure the mixer will get some extra use!

 

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  • The mandolin!  A semi odd item, but perfect for anyone who likes to make things pretty  and might be a little OCD.

I doubt anyone would really have a need for a mandolin, but it’s a fun and inexpensive gadget to have.  It basically does the same thing as a food processor (with the blade attachment) but on a much smaller, slower scale.  Sometimes when I’m trying to get a little fancy with presentation, this guy makes the most perfect, uniform slices of fruits and vegetables.  I have used mine for zucchini, apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, beets, and sweet potatoes.

And last but not least… my highest priced kitchen items that are not a must, but I do love them.

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This is pretty much where my journey all began.  When I first decided to change my lifestyle and eat completely “clean”, I knew there were going to be a lot of fruit and green smoothies in my future.  One day my husband and I were at Costco and they were holding a demonstration for these blenders.  I was literally sold on one that day, especially after taste testing at least 6 recipes.  After I saw how powerful and versatile it was, I knew it had to be mine.  If you are picky about texture like myself, there is NO other blender that will produce the same results (except maybe a Blendtek which is totally comparable).  There is a reason why all of those cooking shows and restaurants use a Vitamix… they are just that awesome!  My Vitamix was easily used twice a day for months, however when I pulled back on smoothies, it didn’t get quite as much use.  We still use it on a regular basis though for shakes, soups, ice creams, and making my whole grain flours.  Even though I don’t use the Vitamix daily, I won’t EVER get rid of it.  I still love it.

 

 

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  • The Omega Juicer.  Ah, juicing.  I miss you.

Yes, I 100% jumped on that band wagon.  We had bought a cheap Jack LaLaine juicer from Costco a couple of years ago that I used quite often but after doing some research, watching a few videos, and when I went ALL in for a new lifestyle, I upgraded our juicer and bought this big guy.  I juiced 2-3 times a day for about 6 months and LOVED it.  Then I got scared of fruit (the sugar in it anyways), so pulled back completely.  Now that I am tracking my macros and in a good training routine, juicing has since been brought back and I will continue to juice forever and ever.  Nothing beats fresh juice!!!  I’m really looking forward to fresh daily juices again!

 So, that’s it in a nutshell!  The things I use every day, fun extra’s, and items I use on occasion but adore.  These are my kitchen staples!

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