Saturday, March 29, 2014

Serendipitous Saturday - Kitchen Things I LOVE!

It's no secret that I love to cook. There's just something about starting with a few ingredients that might not amount to much on their own and then ending up with something completely yummy.

Over the years, though, I've learned that the right equipment can make any job easier, even more enjoyable.
But there are so many kitchen gadgets out there, each promising to do something amazing. Some are worth the money, while others are just a waste.

So here are some of my favorite things from my kitchen. Things I use almost every day and really wouldn't want to do without.

I bet most of you have at least seen this. It's a Mix n Chop from Pampered Chef.
Now they give you all kinds of things you can do with this nifty guy, but he really only has one job at my house and that's to break up ground meat as it's browning. I've used forks and potato mashers, but if you want nice, crumbly meat, this fella gets the job done like no other.

I've always loved wooden spoons, but these are the bomb.
These spoons are made from olive wood. I picked up the one in the middle on one of my trips to Ouray. You wouldn't believe the really cool culinary store they have there. At any rate, I loved it so much and used it all the time, so I hopped on over to Amazon to find the other two sizes. 
Why do I like them?
Olive wood has a nice, smooth texture. No splinters here. 
And, with proper conditioning, they are made to last forever.

A fish turner?
You betcha. Once you try it, you'll be hooked (no pun intended :).
I'd seen chefs use these on the Food Network and wondered what all the fuss was about, so, in need of a new turner, I picked this one up on Amazon. Forget about fish, I use this baby for everything from cookies to hamburgers. It's flexible, yet sturdy, making it perfect for any job, tough or delicate.

Meet my addiction.
I love enameled cast iron. I bought the small black pot first to test the enameled cast iron waters and I fell in love with the way it distributed the heat to cook things evenly. But I needed something bigger than 3 quarts.
So I went to Amazon and, after looking at several and reading the reviews, I decided on the 6 qt. red one from Lodge. From the moment it arrived, I was sold. The Lodge enameled cast iron has the same features as some of the high-end enameled cast iron, but at an affordable price. I learned something about buying them on Amazon, though. Yes, their prices are competitive, but be sure to click on each color because the price will vary from one color to the next. That means, unless you have your heart set on a particular color, you might even save some more money. And who doesn't like that?

So what are some of your favorite kitchen gadgets and why?


  1. Newest favorite gadgets. The little cafe cups-put your coffee in and use in Keurig. Second one is a pineapple corer. Got it thru Avon but it's on Amazon. AMAZING!!! We buy pineapple all the time now. It's so easy and not messy.

    1. A pineapple corer? I bet that is a handy, dandy gadget. Especially if you eat a lot of pineapple. Very cool, Tina. I might have to check that out.

    2. I bet my husband would love the pineapple corer. he's really into pineapple, but for some reason, it makes my tongue go all crazy feeling. I avoid it, unless it's been canned. Then it's not as potent.

  2. I LOVE that mix and chop thingy but can never remember what it's called!
    I also like cooking in the enameled cast iron but sure hate having to pick the pans up for anything - call that my workout! I lucked out and realized (after using the big pan for a dog water dish and the little one to hold the grease from my Fry Daddy trial) that I had 2 pieces of Le Creuset - hoo boy the day I realized they were expensive pans! I found a couple more at decent prices but nowhere near the free the other 2 were. they're awsome but sooo heavy.

    not sure if it's a gadget but I recently got one of those old tupperware bacon keepers - my mom had one for years and when I got tired of hunting up freezer bags for my bacon I got one of these babies off ebay(actually got 3 since they were the same price as the single one...)

    and my other keeper I found out are the Fire King bowls with handles - my dad picked them up at a garage sale and brought them to me (they weren't pyrex so my mom shunned them LOL!) those suckers are handy - i can spray the inside, add an egg and beat it, salt , pepper, a turkey sausage patty (jimmy dean), and sprinkle some 2% shredded cheddar and nuke 1 1/2-2 min or so and toast a biscuite or bagel or english muffin and have a quick sandwich. also handy for fruit and other stuff - love the handle!

    1. Oh, my goodness... You had Le Creuset and didn't even know it, Susanna? Luckily they're built to last. And they are very pricey.

      I think I have one of those bacon keepers. No wait, it's the hot dog keeper. Had the thing forever and still use it to store left over meat.

      Love the sound of those Fire King bowls. What a great breakfast idea.

    2. yep, I had 2 pieces and didn't know it was good stuff LOL! of course I wasn't cooking when I bought my townhome - which explains why I bought a townhome with a tiny alley kitchen - all I needed was counter space for the drive thru bags..sigh..

      the bacon might be the same as hotdog- think it says lunchmeat too - it's rectangular an the package of bacon fits perfect and the lid is tight- could break a nail on that sucker.

  3. Well, I'd never seen that first doohickie. :-) But then I'm not a kitchen gadget connoisseur. I'm pretty much have bowl and wooden spoon, maybe a spatula and I'm good to go. :-) I'm such a plain Jane cook. Mind you, I think the greatest invention ever is the garlic crusher thingy. And y'all would cringe if you saw my pots and pans. Pretty horrid. some day when I have a real kitchen with cupboard space I'd love to buy some pretty pots too.

    1. Kav, we'd all be lost without a bowl and a spoon. I mean, talk about a multitude of uses. Better to have that than some other gadget that serves only one purpose and rarely or never gets used. :)

  4. My favorite gadget is a whisk from Pampered Chef. It has a flat bottom, and a kind of rounded spring doohickey....

    What is it about Pampered Chef items that defy description?

    Anyway, it's great for whisking one egg in a cup or anything small like that. Really gets the job done!

    Ah! I found it in their on-line catalog. It's called the "mini-whipper"!

    1. I've seen that, Jan, and always wondered what I would use it for. Now I know. :)

      And yes, Pampered Chef does have some really cool item. I've had it forever and still love my cheese knife.

  5. Hm, let's see. Trying to think of things I can't live without. Mr. Latte? My whole family uses him... Lattes, chai tea, milk steamers. Bu for utensils, I probably can't live without my potato masher.
    I have an ancient one with a bright red handle and a wavy wire end.
    Oh, and maybe my tin percolator coffee maker that I use when we go camping.
    My husband would probably say his "calendar", which is an iron tortilla warmer, completely flat, with a long handle. Looks like a crepe maker but without any ridge. We actually use it a lot for quesadillas and such...

    1. Sorry gang, no Mr. Latte for me. Coffee...bleck!

      The potato masher I can get into, though. And the ancient ones are usually way better than the ones they make now. Which is why those ancient ones are still around. :)

  6. Oh, I have my faves, and some of them have done guest appearances right here! My antique pastry blender, so much more flexible than shiny new ones and a little rust is clutch for down-home country taste!!! My cast aluminum kettles, the most wonderful, non-rusting, even heat distribution pots and pans in the world. Old looking and worn, but they're perfect!

    I have to agree with Mr. Latte.... LOVE!

    Big old stoneware bowls. I love them. My Williams Sonoma spatulas for baking, I would have never thought there could be such a difference, but Lacey (beautiful DIL) gave them to me as a gift and they're amazing. And they've never broken!!!!

    Even with my stiff cookie doughs and bread doughs. Now that's well made!

    So many others, but what a fun look at the tools of the trade, Mindy!!!! And I'm making Lindi's mac and cheese today for Dave's birthday.... It is a carb-feast day, so the rest of the week: GRASS. :)

    1. Well, I couldn't find a Mr. Latte. But I suspect it's the Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte????

    2. I wish I could find me some stoneware bowls, Ruthy. I've been wanting a big one forever.

      Spatulas that are tough enough for stirring? Hmm...I just might have to check those out.

  7. I love my Pampered Chef thingy like yours! I love how well it breaks up my ground beef, etc.

    Okay, I've got to go see what Mr. Latte is. Ruthy, have you given up your Keurig???

  8. Well, I hope the Mr. Latte is the same as the Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte because I just bought one!