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. 

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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{Bachelorette Weekend}

{Bachelorette Weekend}

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OMG I swear I’m still hungover from last weekend. kidding.

It was my bachelorette party weekend. Me and my bestest friends went to Door County for the weekend. We stayed in this adorable cabin near Egg Harbor. Our itinerary went something like this:
Friday Night
– all arrived  around 7 pm
– went out for dinner in Egg Harbor at Mojo Rosa’s (Kim who owns the place is also catering our wedding she is an absolute blast to be around and so fun. Not to mention she cooks some killer food!)
– Drinks and games at Mojo’s and then Casey’s. Which was great fun. Go to Casey’s and try to guess the number of pennies on the bar! I know the answer and I’ll tell you if you’re right 🙂
– Hot tub shenanigans back at the cabin. Seriously when you let 6 girls who don’t let loose often out on the “town” shit’s getting cray
– sleeping in THE MOST comfortable bed in the world. I was snuggled in a HUGE king bed with my sissy and bff. Heavenly.
Saturday
– had a good ole’ fashion reminisce session about the night before. Seriously we did this all the time in college where we’d all snuggle and laugh and talk about shit that went down the night before. It was so fun to do it again.
– bloody’s and brunch (aka i was too excited for the day and had like 10 grapes)
– all panicked that we had to leave soon and rushed to get ready
– arrived at Stone’s Throw Winery  for our personal tasting course. At this point my soon to be sister’s in laws met up with us!
– tasted 7 awesome wines with Deb who made the day so great! We also met Russell who by some small crazy chance knew my godfather Mike who is a well known wine aficionado if you will, in Napa.
– Sat outside and drank great wine by the fire and talked and laughed for ours. While we were outside two very nice gentleman (Dan & Scott) came over and bought us some wine and chatted with us. We got to talking and they have a blog that they run together as well! They live in the Fox Valley area and run Platter Talk a fun and friendly blog filled with reallllllyyy delicious looking recipes and ideas! They are so fun! You need to go and check them out!
– Went back to the house and played some games and hung out
– We went out to dinner at the Cookery and I would like to publicly apologize to them for how loud and crazy our table got. Thank you Annie for being an amazing server to us! And big shout out to our other server and I don’t remember his name which primarily why I want to apologize!
– 7-10 pm, no clue
– kidding but really just back to the house and playing games being crazy girls and probably hot tubbing it up!
Sunday
– woke up wanting to die and had my bff drive me home which was a slow trip as we stopped approximately 10 times for various reasons most of which were me, and needing to vom.
– arrived home, napped on the couch and went to bed at 8pm.

Even though it went by WAY too fast, I had the best weekend ever and I’m so lucky and thankful to have such great friends and family in my life. Here are a few pictures to share!

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Friday Night Crazies. Lord knows why there was a bronze pig on the street, but we liked it!

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Soon to be sisters!

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Bridesmaids ❤

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gangs all here!

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love them all!

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These were just some little hangover bags that i made the girls as a thank for you making the trek and hanging out with me. They just included like a little granola bar, advil, engery shot, gum, and other cute knick-knacks.

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I just used a paper cutter to cut the paper bags on the ends, and I bought the cute bag topper things at Michaels and used a little hemp to tie them up, tada!!!! Adorbs.

So there you have it. A high level glimpse into the weekend! If you’re ever in DOCO (Door County, WI) which I HIGHLY suggest you make time for in your life, then make sure to hit up the places in mentioned in this post!

Hope you all have a good memorial day weekend! I’ll be relaxing, catching up on sleep and NOT drinking alcohol! 🙂

xoxo

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Being Thankful

Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! (a day late)

I hope that you all had a wonderful day yesterday and spent it with those that you love. I spent mine doing some of my favorite things. Cooking, drinking, laughing, being with family. I was unfortunately only with some of my loved ones yesterday, but it was still great.

Jake was at his parents, which does suck we don’t spend it together, but he loves hunting and if I were to go with him, he’d be hunting most of the time anyway! So we usually spend it apart. Though next year getting married and all, that may have to change 🙂

And my dad and stepmom are in Oregon celebrating their wedding anniversary. I miss them, but I’ll be with them for Christmas!

I wanted to share a few of the things that I’m thankful for in my life. I hear so many cynical comments these days about how Thanksgiving is the celebration of “Americans” coming and kicking Native Americans off their land and so on and so forth. To me, that’s never was Thanksgiving was about. It’s about an “excuse” to be with family and friends and a nice intro into the Christmas season reminding us all to stop and take a look around and be thankful for all that we have. Each and every one of us have something in our lives to be thankful for, and most likely none are the same. I see Thanksgiving drifting further and further away from that. Don’t get me started on Black “Friday” shopping. For years I worked in retail and was forced to give up time with my family to go in and deal with crazed mean people pummeling each other for candles and soaps.

I hated it if you couldn’t tell.

But those times of my life are over, and I appreciate every single sacrifice that retail workers make during this holiday season. And ask you to stop and think twice before you feel the need to shop instead of be with family and friends, you know, actually connecting.

So to inspire you to find your own- here are a few things I’m incredibly thankful for in my life.

My wonderful family

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A house full of a beautiful thanksgiving table setting, family, puppies, and love!

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The best sister a girl could ask for ❤

My amazing Fiancé

 

Jake and I have been together for over 7 years now! I’m lucky and thankful we found each other and have gone through everything we’ve gone through. I get to marry him next year and couldn’t be happier!

Beaver Island & Sunsets

So proud of this shot I took!

Seriously- I witnessed something this beautiful with my own two eyes?! I love nature and sunsets in general and there is nowhere on earth that makes my heart as happy to see them, than on Beaver Island, MI. If you’ve followed by blog for a while you know this is our family vacation spot. Honestly the most beautiful place on earth.

And finally, YOU.

Yes you. A reader of my blog. I started this as a fun hobby a more than 3  years ago and it’s grown into such a big part of my life. I live for it and breath for it and it makes my so happy to work on it and interact with all of you. But without you, it would just be a diary of food 🙂 So thank you, to each and every one of you, thank you for reading my posts and making my food and reaching out and connecting with me. I’m thankful for YOU!

Now- get off your computer and go hang out with good food, good wine, and great friends!

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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