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!!

xoxo

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

WE WON!!

ANNOUNCEMENTUmmmmm, you guys. Some big news to share over here.

Remember last fall when some of you voted for Eat Laugh Craft in Madison Magazine‘s Best of Madison contest??

Well……….the results………are………in.

*drumroll* 

Thanks to everyone who voted, Eat Laugh Craft has been named the SILVER award for the Best Food Blog and Best Local Blog category in Madison Magazine’s 2016 Best of Madison awards!!BEST-OF-2016-silverI’ve known for a little while now and I’m so excited to share it with all of you, because if not for you, we wouldn’t have won!! 🙂 BOM AnnouncmentIf you live in or around Madison, you’ve no doubt heard of or at least seen the Best of Madison (BOM) logo’s around your favorite places. I could not be happier to be part of this esteemed group of people and organizations. I also couldn’t be happier that so many of you love coming to Eat Laugh Craft to check out my ramblings and see the stuff I make.

I’m truly lucky to be able to keep doing what I love and you guys keep coming back to read it. You guys are the greatest!!

If you live nearby or are visiting Madison soon, check out the full list of the best things around town HERE.

Now stay tuned tomorrow to see my favorite kitchen items and my *must have* list in collaboration with Blue Star Cooking!

xoxo

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2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

Brownies (1)Yowza! It’s the last day of 2015. I swear we just went through this new year thing….already a new one?!? Time flies when you’re having fun.

2015 was an amazing year for me, personally and on the blog with my ever evolving journey with Eat Laugh Craft. Grab a cup of coffee and feast your eyes on way too many photos of my year 🙂

Take a look!

I got married to the most wonderful guy in the world! Surrounded by our absolute favorite people in our lives.

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And then we went to Italy! First stop: TUSCANY ❤ ❤ ❤

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Then we made our way to the Amalfi Coast ❤

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That last picture is RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR BEDROOM WINDOW PEOPLE!!! I’ve been wanting to travel to Italy since before I can even remember. And we finally did it and it was SO MUCH BETTER THAN I COULD HAVE EVER DREAMED. Sorry for yelling. It’s just really that amazing. We are already planning our next trip back!

Now for blog awesomeness!

We were on TV! Check out the crafting special we did for our local ABC affiliate station here in Madison, HERE. This was such a cool experience that we got to do. Only little mishap was that the station thought I was from JoAnn Craft and Fabric stores, but in reality they only sponsored us. Good thing I have my sign there (that’s so small no one can read 🙂 )!

We had another busy year on the blog we published 31 posts (got a little derailed with all the DIY stuff for the wedding so we didn’t hit our one post a week goal but 2016 is a new year).

We also had over 100,000 views in 2015!! Here is a breakdown of our top 5 posts:

2015 top 5Thank you all for helping make our 2015 such a wonderful year! It is such an awesome experience to be able to share my ideas and tips and tricks and actually have people listen! You are all the best, whether this is your first time stopping by or you’ve been reading since the beginning (hi mom and dad).

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe (find yourself a DD or call a cab!) New Years Eve! I have an exciting night of a delicious cheese board and Chianti Classico wine (a special bottle from our honeymoon) planned and to be honest, I might I’ll probably be passed out by 10 pm….. and I’m 26, thanks for asking 🙂

xoxo

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Friday Favs 1-30-15

Friday Favs

Hiii! Happy Friday! The weekend is finally here! We have a busy one on the books. We are going to Minneapolis to visit a best friend of mine and then we are coming back to Madison on Sunday morning and having a few friends over for the superbowl game later. I prepped as much food as I could last night so that it wouldn’t be impossible on Sunday as we’d be a little pressed for time. I made/will make some really fun and cute stuff! I promise to share soon! I’m sorry to report that today is another non-food post- I have a couple of awesome recipes I want to share with you but need to take the time to edit and make little improvements first. So today I’ll share my Friday Favs #2! Any and every thing I’m loving lately. Check it out.

1) These boots:

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As many of you know I live in Wisconsin. The past month has been, in a word, freezing. Seriously so cold. Like -40 windchill cold. Children don’t go to school because it’s so cold. Earlier in the winter (like November) I decided to invest in a good pair of winter boots. I had been wearing my uggs for literally 6 years and they had ZERO tred/traction left, and were falling apart. I looked around for a while but then found THE boot of all winter boots! Behold the Sorel Joan of the Arctic! Not cheap but totally worth it. These babies are so warm and comfortable, not to mention a.dor.able and I am sooo obsessed with them. My heart will break a little when I need to put them away for the season. I would recommend these to ANYONE (particularly if you live where it’s cold). The best part is the liner is removeable so if it gets bad (like fur starts looking questionable or they just start smelling 😉 ) you can remove them and either wash them or replace them! (you can buy replacement liners). There are SOOO many other cute styles too!

2) This water: 

LaCroix-Coconut

First of all- I am obsessed with this stuff. I drink it by itself all the time, but I was researching some fun recipes to use the water in and came across the LaCroix website. These are are fabulous! Plus there are flavors on here I didn’t know existed…um hello passionfruit! The ideas on here are so fun. But this  looks like something I could definitely get into 🙂

3) This magic:

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COCONUT OIL is my latest (actually been in love with it for about 3 years now) obsession. It is good for any thing you can think of. Cooking- I LOVE it for making popcorn, oil pulling (seriously look into this if you don’t do it already- my teeth are like 5 shades whiter because of it I swear! Although that’s not why I do it) it’s great for your skin (think chapstick, dry elbows, legs, face etc…) it does wonders as a conditioning treatment for your hair, I even read a blog post last week about how it is a natural (and effective!) personal lubricant (if you catch my drift 😉 ) butttt my all time favorite use for it is as eye make up remover. I take a cotton swab or ball and scoop some up and my makeup is gone and my eye lashes are conditioned in like 10 seconds flat. I buy mine from Costco and it comes in TWO giant containers which is great for me but if you are skeptical just look for organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil and you’ll be golden. This will change your life I swear!!

4) Wedding Planning e-cards

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Wedding planning is in full swing and I’m going crazy! To give you an idea of how it’s going………. Jake and I argued about what freaking plastic cup sizes to get for the wedding for almost TWO HOURS!!!! Yeah, sadly I’m not kidding. And measuring cups may or may not have been brought out to determine just how much 8,9,10,12,14, and 16 oz is and what it looks like. And what beer, cocktails, and wine should be served out of. We’re still not even decided- is it too late to elope? I don’t mean to complain but this is the first major event I’ve planned. My family thinks I’m a crazy planner lady with way too many lists but I couldn’t afford justify spending that kind of money, on a wedding planner or day of coordinator so it’s just me(that’s a little dramatic I have family and friends who are helping). I feel like I’m forgetting things! oh and how the laksdfj;alejr;lksdfjsdfj am I going to get everything there to our location?!?! Ok- I’m done I know you feel like this:

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🙂 So I’ll stop. But seriously I know it’s worth it and in the end it will all be great! But lots still left to do!

There are LOTS of funny ecards for weddings/planning out there. Too many funny ones that I have to share a few- enjoy!

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Ahh- laughter is good for the soul 🙂 Thanks for reading and I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

xoxo

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Giveaway Winner!

and the winner is

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway we hosted that ended late last week. It was our first one so we weren’t sure what to expect. We had about 42 entries- so if you entered, your odds were pretty high! 🙂

But as we all know- there can only be one winner. Sooooo without further A-do (not sure how to spell that saying)… The winner of the Red Gold Tomato product giveaway is…………………………………………………….

SARAH SCOTT OSWOLD 

Congrats Sarah!!! Sarah won by liking our Facebook page. Make sure to go and like it yourself to stay up to date with special things we are doing.

Sarah- I will be emailing you shortly with details!

Thank you to everyone again and have a fantastic week!!!

xoxo

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