This year my husband and I made some deliberate decisions to stop going out as often, and to start cooking for ourselves more. It’s a way to save money, a way to make sure you’re eating healthy, a way to enhance your life, your skills, your relationship. At one time in my life, I saw cooking as burdensome and challenging. But over time, with practice and with much better tools and gadgets, I started to see the joy in it. Now cooking a meal brings me pride, fulfillment and nourishment. All it took was sticking with it, and an upgrade in equipment has totally helped.
What are the tools and gadgets that have improved my kitchen? Some are super low tech, some are high tech and come with Bluetooth possibilities and sync to your phone. Whaaaaaat! Let me tell you about the items I’ve been cooking with that have totally upgraded my kitchen.
— Lodge Cast Iron 12″ skillet. OK so this list is in no particular order of things, but this particular item gets used almost every day in our kitchen. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware since 1896, so trust that they know what they’re doing! There are so many benefits to cast iron cooking that I’m gonna have to write a separate post just about them, because they’re heavy and there’s a learning curve to cleaning and maintenance. BUT if you don’t yet have a cast iron skillet in your life believe me, you need one. The sear on your meats and veggies, the quality of your cornbread and pancakes, everything will only improve from there on out. Also, please note the Lodge Cast Iron 10″ skillet is number one at Amazon, but I find the 12″ a little more usable for breakfast, lunch and a hearty dinner. It’s a pot you’d love to get and a pot you’ll get a LOT of use out of if you don’t already have one.
— JosephJoseph bowl set. We live in downtown Chicago and have a decent but not extremely large kitchen. What I would give for just a few more cabinets and drawers! Consequently it’s important that we have items that are stackable or collapsible, to maximize kitchen storage space. Enter the JosephJoseph Nest 9 compact mixing bowl set. This thing is colorful, cute, fun to use and comes with ALL of the things you need, from a colander and sieve to measuring cups and measuring spoons, all nested neatly in one big mixing bowl. So smart. I got mine via Uncommon Goods, they’ve got really fun and cute kitchen items over there!
Fiesta bakeware — if you follow me on Instagram, you already know I’m a bit obsessed with Fiestaware. The bold, vibrant bakeware and dinnerware has a timeless aesthetic and a well deserved cult-like following. Fiesta folks tend to be collectors, and with good reason — the products are made with quality to last, in colors that make your kitchen beautiful and fun. Cooking in beautiful bakeware makes me want to step up my game. So far I have the Fiesta large covered casserole, skillet, deep dish pie baker, oval baker and loaf pan. I love them all, I use them all, and this all goes with the idea of cooking more at home and learning to love cooking. There are Fiesta pieces I totally want to add to my collection because I’m addicted. I don’t even have room for the chip and dip set but it’s totally on my Christmas list!
Anova Sous Vide — This thing is a game changer. I had heard of sous vide cooking before the Anova came into my life, but I just thought of it as something chefs did. Being able to sous vide at home has improved our home cooking in SO MANY WAYS. I had a reputation around these parts for overcooking fish — now that’s just a thing of the past. This thing, you can actually set and forget — walk away, come back hours later, whatever. Your meal will be cooked to tender perfection at the temperature you set it to be. So far we have made steak, pork, fish, and chicken with the Anova. I hear they’re also incredible with veggies and the official Anova site has great recipes to try! They’ve created a whole cooking community, check out the hashtag #AnovaFoodNerd for endless inspiration.
Dreamfarm kitchen tools — I thought I had just about every useful kitchen tool I needed and then some. I thought I really didn’t need another spatula, spoon or pair of kitchen tongs. And then the folks at Dreamfarm sent me a selection of their oddly named products. Supoon? Garject? Klongs? What the what? And then I tried them out and was amazed at the innovation. A spoon that converts to a ladle. Tongs intended to sit up and off the counter. The best garlic press I’ve ever tried. Basically they come up with items that you didn’t know you needed, or you didn’t know needed improvement. Check them out here!
What are your kitchen must-haves, favorite products you use all the time? I’m always on the hunt for a new gadget or product to try! Tell me in the comments? Happy cooking, bellas and fellas!