My Kitchen Essentials

My Kitchen Essentials

essentials headerSome things in life are just necessary. Besides the obvious sleep, water, food…..each person has their own things that they cant seem to “live without”. Some of mine are coffee, wine, coconut oil, new socks, mascara, salsa….not in that order of course 🙂

Now realistically we can all live without most of our “must haves” but there are certain essentials that we come to love and find ourselves reaching for time and time again. I find the same goes for the kitchen. I mean have you guys SEEN the amount of kitchen gadgets out there??? It’s ridiculous. Yesterday while shopping I came across something called a cookie shovel, not kidding….which honestly was just a spatula that was like 1 inch wider, of course it was $12.

If you aren’t that familiar with cooking utensils or tools, you might not know where to start. If you’re just getting your own kitchen started and are on a tight budget you might not know what’s most important.

Walking into kitchen sections or even whole stores dedicated to kitchen tools can be overwhelming!! And 9 times out of 10 you see something so “smart” and you just “have to have it” and then you use it once (or never) and it sits in a drawer or cupboard taking up space. (It’s OK, we’ve all been there).

Lately I’ve really been feeling inspired to minimize my life a little and get rid of donate some of my excess stuff around the house. It all takes time and it’s a slow go to be honest but then a few weeks ago Blue Star Cooking reached out to me with an idea for a post. What are your kitchen and cooking essentials? I have a lot of stuff, but what do I really think is essential? I really put some thought into it and while there are lots of things I think are cool and that I like, I tried to only list the items that I reach for over and over and over again that help make cooking fun and easier for me. And of course, I had to include a few wish list items too! I’m making due with my rental home appliances for now, but SOMEDAY I swear I’ll have my dream kitchen.

So first off here are my favorite things I currently own:

Kitchen Essentials

  1. Chef Knife (similar): This is my go to knife for everything. No matter the task, big or small it does the trick. Perfectly balanced in my hand and doesn’t hurt even after a lot of chopping.
  2. Paring knife (similar): Sometimes I feel a little obnoxious using my big #1 knife for small stuff so this little paring one is perfect for smaller tasks (think peeling apples).
  3. Cast Iron Dutch Oven : I LOVE cast iron. LOVE. I use this on a regular basis anytime I need a big pot. I don’t boil water in it for pasta or anything but pretty much everything else.
  4. Cast Iron Skillet: Again, LOVE cast iron. I use this almost every day. It gets the most gorgeous sear on meats without sticking!
  5. Stainless Steel Skillet Pan (similar): There are some things I don’t want to use cast iron for or when I need a really deep skillet for something. Stainless steel is my second favorite material for pots and pans after cast iron. As a general rule I stay away from nonstick pans because of the hazardous toxins used in their coatings that leach into your food.
  6. Wooden Spoons (similar): I feel like everyone has these but I really use them for everything. There’s just something about a well worn in wooden spoon that you can’t beat.
  7. Vitamix : Oh I know. They’re pricey. We received ours as a wedding gift but holy cow they’re worth the money. This thing can do anything. Obviously I use it for all of my blending needs but my favorite thing to use it for is the outrageously creamy (without cream) soups that you can create with this. Velvet smooth and out of this world. I can’t remember my life before it 🙂
  8. Spiralizer: If you haven’t jumped on the spiralizer bandwagon yet… you need to. I use this little guy every. single.week. And not just for zucchini noodles. I’ve done spiralized potatoes, squash, carrots, you name it. I love how easy it is to use and NOT expensive at all.
  9. Non Plastic Cutting boards (similar): I threw out all my plastic cutting boards the day that I was scraping up some minced garlic off the board and saw red plastic scrapings from my board mixed in with my garlic. GROSS! I don’t want that stuff in my body! Now I only use wood or bamboo. I have about three different sizes that I use. Just clean well (as you normally would) and you don’t have to worry about those false reports that wood is not as sanitary as other materials.
  10. Honing Steel Knife Sharpener (similar): hands down the MOST IMPORTANT kitchen tool is good and sharp knifes. Sounds counter intuitive but the most dangerous knife is a dull knife. Sharp well balanced knifes can make cooking so much more enjoyable and easy! I have good knifes but even good knifes need sharpening. I’m sure you could Youtube a video how to use a honing steel if you don’t know what the heck this little stick is, but it’s my favorite method to keep my knifes sharp.
  11. Glass measuring cups (similar): Pretty standard item here but I love mine. I have 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup ones and while the 1 cup gets used the most, they’ve all got some good miles on ’em.
  12. Zester Pod: Oookkk, this little guy is one of those random kitchen gadgets that normally sit in peoples drawers unused. I don’t even remember when or where I picked this up but I am obsessed with it. 9 out of the 10 times I use it, I’m grating ginger but it’s also grate (get it.. 🙂 🙂 ) for zesting citrus fruits, making garlic paste etc… Plus it just goes in the little container below for minimal mess!

So there you have it, my most used and most favorite items in my kitchen. I definitely feel like I have a well stocked kitchen full of great stuff that I’ve acquired over the years but there are definitely some stuff I’m still dreaming about getting my hands on. Some will have to wait until we buy our first home but others…wellllllll, hopefully before that.

Kitchen Wish List

  1. Fancy Fridge– I have been dreaming of a beautiful french door fridge since I moved to college. Ever since then I’ve been renting and dealing with not even full size fridges people!! Feel bad for me please 🙂 I personally do not care for water and ice dispensers in/on fridges so this one is perfect for me. With just the right amount of drawers, door space, and sections and not an astronomical price tag. ❤
  2. Kitchenaid Mixer: Ok this little guy has been giving me so much grief over the past year. I have almost bought one like 10 times. You know what my problem is? And the proof that I might be the worst decision maker ever? I cannot, for the life of me, decide which color to get. I love green, but the glossy red is beautiful, but so is white, and so is black…but you like green, but would that go with you future kitchen you have no idea what it looks like…..and that same cycle of that over in my head 10 times. It’s paralyzed me and I haven’t bought one yet. I should make that my 2016 goal. JUST. BUY.THE.DAMN.THING.
  3. Kitchen Scale: So many times I have thought, “I really need a kitchen scale”. For both cooking (hello all recipes not from the U.S.) but also for home and beauty products too. 2 oz of this….4 oz of this…. I think a scale is a staple in every kitchen and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. This particular one was on Oprah’s 2015 Christmas gift list, so gotta be good, right?
  4. Baking Pans : Ok to set the record straight I do own baking pans, I just don’t like the ones I have. They’re warped and bent. Eventually I want the industrial style high rimmed ones that can hold all the roasted veggies my heart desires 🙂
  5. Hood Vent : I take back what I said about the fridge. THIS is my biggest pet peeve about renting. I mean what is even the point of over oven fans that just recirculate the air???? There is no point- plain and simple. I dream of days where I can cook bacon, sear steaks, make chicken piccata without my clothes in my closet down the hall smelling like said food item for a week. Blue Star Cooking has so many options from size to style to color. I can’t wait for the day I get to actually pick one out and not just stare at their website dreaming.
  6. Glass Bowl Set: Ok this is another sort of lame one, I have some bowls but I’ve found I really like glass over metal for some things and I just want a nesting set of them because…well if you saw my cupboard you’d understand. Anything to help me organize is a good thing!
  7. Gas Stove : Lastly of course, the bread and butter of the kitchen, a stove. Not just any stove, but a gas stove. I envy everyone who has these and cannot wait until I have one of my own. Real flame cooking your food and real control over temperature. Blue Star Cooking has over 750 (not a typo) of color combos you can pick from and order. Above is a beautiful green number I designed. Ahhh someday…someday.

The Blue Star site has a lot of cool stuff including where you can design your own oven! Click here to design your own. It’s fun!

So those are my current wish list items. Not too many and some are totally do-able price wise. It just comes down to making decisions and biting the bullet.

What are your favorite must haves and things on your dream kitchen wish list? Anything you can’t live without that I missed? I’d love to hear from you!!




*I haven’t been compensated in any form for the above products or links. All opinions are my own. 


Friday Faves-Holiday Gift Guide-12-4-15

Friday Faves-Holiday Gift Guide

Dun dun duuuunnnnn. Guess what?!? 21 days until Christmas! And if Christmas isn’t your holiday, it’s getting close to a lot of other gift giving holiday times as well.

I actually have the majority of my holiday shopping done! (I know…what a show off). But don’t worry, I still have a few things to make and complete but going out to the crazy stores for last minute things will NOT be happening this year (first time ever???)

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a Friday Faves post and today I wanted to do a special one and share with you some of this years new items (or new to me 🙂 ) that I’ve come across while holiday shopping that I think are really cool and wouldn’t mind receiving a few for myself…*cough cough* BUT FIRST!!! One little piece of exciting news for us!

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be doing a short segment for our local (Madison, WI) ABC affiliate channel, WKOW27. We were contacted by a representative for JoAnn Fabric and Craft stores to do a short (3 minutes or so) segment on some easy holiday crafts. Of course we said yes! I am pretty excited, I’ve never done anything like this so it’s be really interesting! If you’re in the Madison and a early riser we’ll be on at around 6:25 am tomorrow December the 5th! Tune in if you’re around and if not, send good vibes 🙂

Now onto these great gifts! There’s definitely something on here for everyone on your list.

  1. Hair tie BRACELET: I can NOT believe I didn’t think of this!! Who doesn’t hate wearing those pesky things on their wrists? I need at least two on me at all times but I hate how it leaves marks and also hate that I know it looks tacky but there’s no way around it. UNTIL NOW PEOPLE!!!
  2. Blackberry Elderflower Pimms: Maybe this is a British thing (my dad is from England and I grew up visiting family there frequently) but  Pimm’s is delicious in the first place and then combine it with Elderflower (one of my all time favorite flavors) and blackberry and I’m already drooling over it. The *ONLY* thing that could make it better was if it was already chilled in my fridge waiting for me after work today 🙂 While it may be a more summery drink, I’m down for it all year long.
  3. Cooler Tube: I’m not sure why I think this is so cool but how awesome is this?! A cooler just for a couple of cans that you can wear and have both hands free to do activities?!? Ok typing it out it seems like sort of dumb, and unnecessary but I don’t care, I still think it’s cool!
  4. Swell Bottle: First off, they look so sleek and chic and pretty! (& there are a TON of designs to choose from) 2nd and probably most important, they keep your drink HOT for 12 hours (yeah not a typo) or they keep your drink cold for 24 (also not a typo). They’re composed of non-leaching and non-toxic stainless steel, comes in three different sizes, and the company gives back to many charities around the world. Talk about win, win, win!
  5. Typhoon Digital Kitchen Scale: I totally stole this from Oprah’s favorite things list of 2015. I love this because it’s sort of retro looking and cool. It also can be used with or without the bowl and really makes things easy to measure more precisely particularly if you’re cooking recipes from abroad that ask for grams and ingredients measured by weight.
  6. Perfect Skin Spin: I’ve been aware of these face cleansing brush systems for a couple of years now but they were all (that I had seen) too pricey for me to try and not know if I’d like it. But this one on the other hand is extremely reasonably priced and also is multi functional! There are multiple heads to use (rough, gentle, even pumice stone for your feet or rough elbows!) It comes in a variety of cool colors and it’s awesome to have an option to give this type of cleansing a try without breaking the bank!

So there are some of my favorite things this holiday season! Go out and get your shopping done so you can have a *more* stress free holiday! As always, thanks for stopping by and checking out our blog!


*Please know that we have not been compensated for featuring any of these items. There are no affiliate links contained in this post. We simply wanted to share some great products and are not benefiting from this post or earning income in anyway. Enjoy! 🙂