Our Kitchen Essentials (and what to make with them)

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Our Kitchen Essentials – Our favorite kitchen tools of the trade,
PLUS the recipes we make with them. 

Our Kitchen Essentials - The tools of the trade we use all the time (PLUS, what to make with them!)
We’ve been cleaning out our house, trying to pare down anything we don’t need to bring with us in the move and did a major overhaul of the kitchen this weekend. I keep things pretty tight in there since it’s where I spend so much of my time, but as I organized and cleaned, I started thinking about my kitchen essentials list. What are the tools and appliances I wouldn’t want to do without? Here are 6 of the bigger kitchen items that I use all the time

Our favorite food processor (plus, what to make with it!)

1. Cuisinart 7-cup food processor.

Michael got me this for our first Christmas together in 2008. I use it several times a week (sometimes every day) and it’s still going strong. It’s strong enough to make nut butter, mix up energy bites, gluten free muffin batter, or banana ice cream. I also love the grating function for quickly grating veggies (like zucchini for Chicken Zucchini Poppers). At only $99 it’s one of the most affordable food processors out there and it will LAST.

What to make with it:

Our favorite blender - This baby makes everything from smoothies, to sauces, to hummus, and more!

2. Blendtec Designer Series.

I got a refurbished Blendtec in 2014. A blender like this is an investment, but refurbished is a great way to go. It’s a great way to save a little bit of money, though I’d be sure to check out your local Costco. Ours sometimes has a great deal that makes a brand new one the same price as refurbished.

I cannot say enough good things about this blender. It gets sauces and smoothies completely smooth, which is great for my texture-sensitive Sophie. One other tiny thing I love is that it’s got a blend counter, so you can see how many times you’ve run it. Mine’s going strong more than 770 blends later!

What to make with it:

Our favorite immersion blender (and what to make with it!). This baby is so versatile!

3. Cuisinart Stick/Immersion Blender

It might seem silly to have an immersion blender AND a Blendtec, but I use them both regularly. It’s perfect for small batches of mayo and salad dressing, blending something small, or pureeing hot soups. After my major face burn last year, I much prefer blending warm dishes with my immersion blender. Less splattering, less risk.

What to make with it:

Our favorite slow cooker. We love the lid clips and the easily programmable settings. (PLUS recipes to make with it!)

4. Hamilton Beach Set ‘n’ Forget Slow Cooker.

My slow cooker is one of my favorite kitchen friends. It’s so cozy in the winter and spares my kitchen from heat in the summer. There are so many great recipes out these days, and I love experimenting. I love this one  for a few reasons. It has lid clips, which means you’ll never have a problem with something sloshing over the sides if you’re carting the slow cooker to a chili cook-off, potluck, or friend’s house. It’s also got a thermometer you can insert into larger pieces of meat. You can then set the thermometer, and when you’re meat is cooked through, the slow cooker will automatically switch to the WARM function, which means no more overcooked meat! And lastly, it’s so easy to program for everyday cooking.

(Also: be sure to price compare between Target and Amazon. It alternates which has the better price)

What to make with it:

Our favorite ice cream maker + a few recipes to get you started.

5. Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.

Homemade ice cream is one of the little joys in life. These days, there are so many good machines out there that you don’t have to worry about ice cream salt or hand churning it if you don’t want to (and I don’t really want to).

My Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker has been my good friend for almost 8 years and it’s just the best. We make a batch of ice cream almost every Sunday in the summer!

What to make with it:

Our FAVORITE Spiralizer + What we make with it.

6. Paderno Spiralizer.

Spiralizing is a trend right now, for sure. I don’t know if we’ll all look back in 10-20 years and laugh at all the spiralizing recipes or if they’ll still be going strong, but I’ve loved riding this veggie train.

I have this one from Paderno and it’s really easy to clean. My favorite veggie to spiralize is zucchini, though squash, sweet potatoes, and more are all very popular.

What to make with it:

Our Kitchen Essentials - The tools of the trade we use all the time (PLUS, what to make with them!)

What are YOUR kitchen essentials?
What big tools of the trade do you use most often? 

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