It is the gift-giving season, so it seems fitting that you should have a list of the Ultimate Essential Tools for your Healthy, Vibrant Kitchen.
This list is gathered from over 50 people who have established healthy, vibrant kitchens of their own, so it is not just my list; it is THE list of Healthy Kitchen Essential Tools. I have included a few items at the end of the post that are new to me but worth looking at so you know what people are talking about.
Due to the overwhelming response to ideas that my community has shared, I divided the list in two. The first post is this list of Essential Tools and next week, I will follow up with the second part of the list, which was Edible Ideas.
Here is the list from least expensive to investment pieces.
Cutting boards $ – You can never have too many cutting boards. You need one dedicated to meat (should you eat meat) and others that work for your situation. Some are more for serving – think cheeses and other items that might need to be cut on a board by your guests or family. I like the idea of cork cutting boards as cork is a renewal product; however, I don’t own one yet. Be sure to invest in some cutting board oil to keep your wooden boards in good condition and last longer. Also, consider the size of the plastic versions so they fit in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Cutting Boards – HomeSense and Amazon Totally Bamboo 20-7930 3-Piece Cutting Board Set
Wooden Spoons and Spurtle $ – Having a good number of wooden spoons makes cooking easy. You will use a lot once you start making soups, stews, stir fry and curries. Check mine out – I have one that gets the curry love more than the others, as you can see from the stain. I have had this set for 20 years. Be aware they will break if they are used for drumsticks. My kids have tested this. The stick item is called a Spurtle. You use a Spurtle for porridge so it does not stick to the spoon while stirring. I am sure you think it would make another good drumstick – stop – don’t do it. I have not tested it.
Wooden Spoons – Pampered Chef
Spurtle – Lee Valley Tools
Zester/Microplane/Grater and Two Piece Funnel $ – When a recipe calls for grated ginger, fresh nutmeg or grated lemon or lime peel, you will be glad you have a Microplane. The green-handled microplane/zester catches the grated items and even allows you to measure the amount you just grated. It comes with a cover which saves your knuckles when reaching for it. While you are looking at great kitchen gadgets, consider investing in a two-part funnel. This one from Lee Valley is ideal for canning and storing food in jars as it perfectly fits them. It comes with a smaller screw-on funnel that is great for spice jars. Once you start home cooking, having tools to reduce the mess as you cook is a time saver and makes the whole process more enjoyable.
Funnel – Lee Valley Tools
Plastic & Metal Grater – Lee Valley Tools
All Metal Grater (not shown) Lee Valley Tools
Brita Water Filter $ – Looking to filter some of the chemicals out of your drinking water, then Brita might be the answer. There are many other more expensive filtration solutions out there, but to start, use a Brita. They have a new model that has a stainless steel finish. WANT TO OWN your own Brita Filter? I was generously given a Brita Stainless Steel Water Filter to give away to my Canadian followers. Just leave a comment below with a note on why you should receive it, and one lucky winner will have it delivered to you. This offer is for Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec). The winner will be randomly picked on December 17, 2014, at 3:00 pm EST.
CONTEST NOW CLOSED
Best price this week: Canadian Tire
Spiralizer $ – This is the hottest new tool in the kitchen. Making pasta out of zucchini or using it to make spiralized sweet potato fries is an impressive display of your culinary skills. Seriously, pesto with zucchini noodles will become a super quick veggie delight and a family favourite. I have spiralized beets as well and marinated them for a salad topping. This is a fun way to make your veggies do tricks.
Slow Cooker $ – You may not use your slow cooker daily, but knowing you have a chilli or stew in it while you are doing a project or have a busy day at work is so comforting. A little bit of prep work upfront and you have a meal ready for you when you need it. You might want to look for a locking lid to bring your homemade chilli to a potluck without it spilling. If you are not in a rush, keep looking through the Canadian Tire flyer, and eventually, they will have the unit you want on sale at a terrific price.
Canadian Tire Crock Pot Travel
Chef Knife, Sharpening Stone and Steel $$ – This is a must-have item. If you have a sharp knife, a cutting board and a pot, you can start making great food at home. A knife is personal. You need to hold it and see how it fits your hand, so I highly recommend going shopping in person to test how the knife feels. You can invest a little or a lot in a knife. The most important aspect of a knife is how sharp it is. You can buy a knife sharpener or take a course on knife sharpening (another gift idea) and look at a sharpening steel and sharpening stone as additional purchases to keep your knife super sharp.
Check out in-person HomeSense, The Bay and Speciality kitchen stores. Also, for my big city followers, usually Chinatown has some great deals on knives. Amazon
Wusthof 4582-20 Classic 8-Inch Cook’s Knife
Nutribullet $$ – If you are on a budget and can’t afford a high-end blender, then consider the Nutribullet. I have both a Vitamix and a Nutribullet and often test recipes in both, so I can see the difference. The high-end blender will give you a smoother finish and the Nutribullet is easier to clean and is great for single servings. This is a great starter solution until you know you want to invest in a high-end blender. I don’t see these going on sale often, so the best guidance I can give you is to use the Bed Bath and Beyond coupon in their flyer to get 20-25% off the regular price. They also have a great customer-friendly return policy should you have any issues with your unit (I had to return mine).
Bed Bath and Beyond – Use the flyer coupon in-store.
Cast Iron Pots $$$ – Le Creuset pots made the wish list. They come in a range of vibrant colours from orange to red, to yellow and a few shades of blue. They are a lovely addition to a healthy, vibrant kitchen. If you can’t afford a Le Creuset pot, some alternatives will do equally as well. Look for enamel-coated cast iron pots. The interior should be cream so you and see how your food is browning. My dream Le Creuset item is the stovetop kettle.
Breville Ikon Juicer $$ – Juicing is really all that and more. Juicing lets you get your veggies in easily and makes them super easy to digest quickly, giving you lots of added energy and healthy vitality. When buying a juicer, the best juicer is the one you use. That said, the juicer you use is likely the one that is the easiest to clean, and the Breville Ikon Juicer is the easiest to clean. Join the green juice crowd and start making your own healthy juices at home.
Best Buy – They do price matching with Amazon and will give you 10% off the difference in price.
Cuisinart Food Processor $$$ – This is also an essential tool once you start making food from scratch. It can make grating carrots and mushrooms for chilli a fun and fast activity. You will also use it for puddings, hummus, bliss balls and thicker items. Your high-end blender will burn out if you try to use it for these tasks, so just don’t even try. You will want a 9-cup minimum. If you are planning to do nut butter go with a stronger motor. Personally, as my 33-year-old Cuisinart is slowly wearing out, I am looking at a 14-cup, 100-watt motor. I hear that the KitchenAid food processor is solid as well. Both are good choices.
Check out The Bay, Canadian Tire and Amazon Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, Die Cast
KitchenAid Stand Mixer $$$ – For people who love to bake, this is a must-have. It is also great for teaching children how to have fun in the kitchen as they don’t have to hold a mixer as they help prepare baked goods. Going gluten-free does not mean you have to give up baking; you just use different ingredients. It also makes a great coconut whipped cream that all dairy and non-dairy lovers will enjoy. The best deals are available now and again around Mother’s Day.
Check your flyers for deals or look online. These are always on sale somewhere. The more powerful the motor, the more expensive. Amazon KitchenAid KSM75SL Classic Stand Mixer, Silver
Excalibur 9 Shelf Dehydrator with Timer $$$$ – This is an item that is not a necessity but is great to have if you do raw foods or eat a vegan diet. I use mine to make kale chips and dehydrate nuts that I have soaked. I have also used it for herbs and fruits. I invested in the version with a timer to ensure I get the results I want. Consider the 9-shelf unit as Kale chips take a lot of room and you will want the space. It also allows you to do a large batch of nuts all at once.
Raw Nutrition Excalibur 3926TB with Timer
Vitamix $$$$$ – This was hands down, the item that seemed to transform a kitchen into a healthy vibrant kitchen. From smoothies to super smooth soups to cashew cream to almond milk this is the tool to help you make food from whole foods easily. It is a high price point but you may be able to redeem your Air Miles Reward Points or other Frequent Flyer points to get one. That is how I got mine. Some health shows do demos and offer good pricing but they are infrequent and if you want it now, look online for deals.
Here is the link to the Air Miles site which has all types of blenders but not the Vitamix larger units. It does have the Blendtec high-speed blender that many people love. It seems there is a love battle over which blender is better. Both do a great job.
Delta Trinsic Touch20 Technology Kitchen Faucet $$$$$ – For the person that has everything or constantly has their hands full, a touch faucet is the coolest. Sticky hands – no worries. Use your wrist on the faucet and it starts to give you water. No need to get the tap dirty. My friend Lynne Knowlton has it installed in her kitchen (that is her kitchen in the image). Check out her site/blog for stunning inspiration and fun-loving girlfriend chats. She will make you laugh. The only challenge with a touch faucet is that you go to your friend’s home and touch the faucet expecting it to work like home. Having to use the handles is so “old school.”
Check out Delta Faucet’s site for a store that carries it near you.
Be sure to drop by Lynne’s site and tell her Jo-Ann sent you.
Some other interesting items that were included but I have not tried are rice cookers, Instant Pot, Thermomix, and Zoku. When you ask, you get lots of ideas and interesting products to explore. Have you tried these items? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
I am delighted that so many people contributed to this post. I know you will find at least one item to make your kitchen healthy and vibrant. If you only do one thing, buy a good quality knife as that is where it all starts.
Remember to leave a comment for your chance to win the Brita Water Filter (details above).
Next week, we will cover the Edible Ideas list. My mouth is watering already.
To creating a Healthy, Vibrant Kitchen,
I was not paid to do this post. I do have some links in the content that links through to my Amazon affiliate codes. I make a very small commission on your purchase which helps to keep this blog running. I thank you for using the links and supporting this blog. The company supplied the Brita Water Filter as a giveaway.
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