Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Favorite Things... in the Kitchen

10 of My Favorite Things in the Kitchen. Great gifts and tools for the baker or cook in your life.  Love all of these tools, and use them often. Alohamora Open a Book

I love this time of year.  Sure, the holiday fun is great, but I really love all the sales on baking items.  I stock up on baking chips when they are $2.50 or less, powder sugar, brown sugar, flour, and more baking supplies.  It hooks me up for a good long while.  Just a little bit of thrifty shopping with my baking addiction. 

Almost every other time I am stocking up on supplies I get a cashier or bagger that says "Baking? I want to be at your house."  I think to myself, "Yes. Yes you do!"  Okay, I'm not that cocky; I actually say something like, "I like to bake."  Honestly, I should be saying, "I have a baking problem, and apparently I'm not trying to help the problem."  

With my baking problem I often bake treats for family and friends when visiting.  When visiting my sister in October, her daughter wanted to make cookies with me.  It was great, but man I was missing some of my favorite kitchen tools.  

Some of these tools are inexpensive and some are a little more pricey.  Though, listing them out may help those of you with a little Christmas money to spend on something you want. 

My Favorite Things... in the Kitchen

The 5 quart size is the best size.  It holds a lot, and mixes the best.  The 4.5 quart is not quite big enough, but the 6 quart professional series doesn't mix the bottom of the bowl as well as I'd like.  Go with the 5 quart. Another fun thing I love about the Stand Mixer is there are a ton of colors to choose from. 

I have a Pampered Chef scoop, but my Oxo scoops are my favorite.  The Small scoop is best for mini-muffin pan, or Brookies.  The Medium scoop is the one I use 90% of the time for my cookies.  The Large scoop is best for cupcakes or large  bakery style cookies. 

I prefer the Standard Size mats for my 17x12 cookie sheet.  These mats save the earth a bit by not using constant parchment paper, and they provide the best texture when baking. 

These are awesome for liquids and the markings stay on well. Though, I have only hand washed my beaker set.   There is a glass shot glass with 1 oz-1 teaspoon markings on it that works awesome too.  You can get the baking shot glass measuring cups for $2 at Walmart, cheaper than Amazon.  Though, the baking shot glass markings don’t last, so plan on replacing it every couple years if you hand wash it, and sooner if you throw it in the dishwasher.  

The French rolling pin is definitely the way to go. I have more than a couple rolling pins, but my French rolling pin with the flat edges is my go to rolling pin.  It is so easy to use and clean and you have a much bigger surface area to work with.

Frosting cupcakes and making churros is a cinch with this tool.  You could probably get the plastic one and be just as happy, but I got the metal one to go with all of my metal Wilton tips.  A couple of my tips get stuck pretty good, so I’m not sure if the tips are supposed to be universal.  Either way, the ease of this tool makes it a favorite of mine.

To be honest, the Amazon reviews aren’t amazing.  However, the ease of not having to use a pastry bag is nice, and I’ve never had any issues with mine.  I’ve used mine more than a dozen times and it is still working like a champ.  

We bought ours at Costco- now online you can get a spatula which may be nice, b/c the Vitamix with it’s center push down tool is awfully nice.  Vitamix and Blendtec are both great, and I don't think I can go back to my $50 blenders now.  Though, if I had to choose between Blendtec or Vitamix, I’d probably still pick the Blendtec. 

Homemade ice cream is the best!  Nothing beats it.  It’s creamier, a little healthier, and you know everything that is going into it.  It’s delicious!  This ice cream maker is hands down SO MUCH better than the old days when homemade ice cream involved lots of ice and rock salt. The awesomeness of this ice cream maker is there no ice or salt; you get the "ice" part of ice cream from the bowl that it is mixed in freezes.  Seriously, this kitchen tool is a brilliant invention.  Homemade ice cream now has never been easier. 

I love immersion blenders; they are incredibly handy for small batches of whipping cream, mixing dressings, and this blender makes pureeing soups effortless.  It is ridiculously handy.   I have grown to love the Kitchen Aid immersion blenders, but I haven't used many others.  I used to use this blender for my green smoothies, until I tasted the game changer Blendtec for my smoothies.  However, I still use this blender at least a couple times a week. The immersion blender has become a must have kitchen tool.  

This is a definite must for any active or busy person, which is pretty much every one, right?!   Mixing protein shakes, my go to quick breakfast or after workout drink, or Greens in this bottle is quick and easy.  I sometimes get a little gunk in the lid spout that takes a toothpick to fully clean, but I haven’t found a better bottle for mixing protein drinks in.  The whisk ball, or I have a solid ball (got from my husband’s work and I can’t find it online anywhere) that works awesome, is the key to mixing on the go happiness.  

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