There are a few essential food preparation tools that I cannot live without, especially when meals are consumed primarily at home (as opposed to take-out or dining out). Most cooks would agree that these are their favorite food prep tools as well and they don’t cook specific to food allergies. I agree, but as I stated above, most people who suffer from multiple food allergies (and a tight budget) are forced to cook at home more often. These food prep tools just help out in that effort.
So, here is my short list…
- Kitchenaid Stand Mixer: This has been my favorite small kitchen appliance since we received this as a wedding gift. If you do not have one and still use a handheld mixer, save up for one. You can look on Craigslist for a gently used mixer (although I don’t know why anyone would ever get rid of it).
Why do I love the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer?
It frees up my hands to do other things. It has nice attachments for various functions. There is a nice bowl attached. It’s pretty on my kitchen counter. And it does its job well!
- Cruisinart Food Processor: I just purchased this item about 6 months ago after my husband killed my Kitchenaid Blender (which, by the way, I never liked much). Why I waited as long as I did to get this wonderful piece of equipment is beyond me. I purchased mine from Amazon.com because I had a $100 gift certificate and they had a great price on it. I have seen it at Costco as well (and they recently had a $30 off coupon).
Why do I love the Cuisinart Food Processor?
It chops thing up really well! I could not believe it when it chopped up herbs for me really small as well as small pieces of jalapeno peppers. I no longer have to make my homemade salsa by hand, which dramatically reduces the amount of time spent making this fabulous dish. It also slices things really nice. I recently purchased a bag of three bell peppers for 60 cents from Meijer’s reduced produce shelf. I already had plenty of frozen chopped peppers, but no sliced. I sliced up tons of these and froze them for the next time they’re needed in a recipe. It also shreds things just perfect! I haven’t used the pie crust thingy yet, but I plan to. Finally, it all fits into the dish washer for a quick clean-up.
- Braun Coffee Bean Grinder: I was given this coffee grinder many years ago by a friend for my birthday. I thought it was nice, but didn’t use it too much. A few years ago, my husband stocked up on whole bean coffee from our local World Market, as it was going out of business. We put the coffee bean packages in the freezer and ground them as needed. Wow! What a difference freshly ground whole bean coffee tastes. We only use whole bean coffee now, and this grinder has been wonderful. However since my husband discovered he has a wheat allergy and I’m cheap, I make my own wheat-free flour and guess what I use? The coffee grinder. It does a wonderful job grinding my oats, chickpeas, white and brown rice down into a very fine flour. My fear…I think it might be on its last leg!
Why do I love my Braun Coffee Bean Grinder?
Well, it does the job and does it well. We are able to grind our coffee beans all the way down to an espresso grind or a regular brew grind. We are able to grind our own flour and I’ve not had to purchase a new piece of equipment just for making flour. (I do clean out the grinder well before switching between coffee and flour.)
- Henkels Knives: Have you ever heard someone say that you have to have good sharp knives for food preparation? It is so true. I have actually taken my own knives to my parents house before because I know that my knives are better. And when you’re making a Thanksgiving meal, you need good knives. I have used poor knives before and well, they are terrible. You can always find Henkels at places like TJ Maxx or Marshalls for a reduced price. They make a great wedding gift!
Why do I love Henkels knives?
Again, like the products above, they get the job done and done well! I have not sharpened my knives in the many years that I have had them (although I think a few are due for a sharpening). Note, I do not put my nice knives in the dishwasher because the packaging said not to (I think maybe because of the high temperature drying or nicking against other utensils).
What are some products that you have found to be essential in your kitchen?