If you’re coming off the standard American diet, you may not have done a lot of cooking in the past. Most of my meals consisted of something out of a box or the freezer, warmed in the oven, stove, or microwave until ready to eat. Only occasionally did I have to chop veggies or puree things and I had no idea what a pressure cooker was. When I started preparing all of my own meals from scratch, I found that my kitchen was very poorly stocked and wound up going on an insane spending spree, buying up every gadget that seemed like it would make my life easier.
Big mistake. I never used most of that stuff and the rest was cheap crap that barely worked or broke down without a warranty. After that, I was more careful about what I spent my money on. I took a good, hard look at the types of things I was doing most often on the autoimmune protocol (things like chopping veggies, stovetop cooking, and making green smoothies) and researched the best tools for the job. I decided to invest in appliances that would outperform and outlive the stuff I’d had before. And now, many years later, I couldn’t be happier with those decisions. So without further ado:
My Favorite Kitchen Tools and Appliances
|I love my stainless steel cookware. None of the controversy of Teflon-coated nonstick surfaces, none of the hassle of cast iron. I’ve cooked all kinds of things in my pans over the years and even burned cheese comes off nice and easy with just the tiniest little bit of elbow grease. These pans are one of the best investments I ever made!|
|A high-powered blender is a must-have for green smoothies and ultra-smooth soups. It’s powerful enough you won’t have to worry about kale stems in your smoothies and it even makes a smooth puree of raw beets and carrots. I use my Blendtec for nearly everything. Mayonnaise, marinades and pesto, salad dressings, smoothies, sauces, soups, ice cream…. It’s far and away my most-used kitchen appliance (unless you count the fridge, I guess). The WildSide jar is wider than the standard jar, so you can fit a bit more yummy goodness in there. It’s an investment, but the warranty and customer service are fantastic, and you’ll never want another blender again!|
|My second favorite kitchen appliance has to be the Instant Pot. This baby’s a seven-in-one countertop device: Slow-cooker, pressure-cooker, rice-cooker, yogurt-maker, steamer, warmer, and saute-er (yep, it can even stand in for your stovetop)! It’ll do everything from crisping bacon and browning meat to steaming veggies to slow-cooking soups and pot roasts. For those of you who eat rice, it doesn’t get any easier than pressure-cooked in ten minutes. Ands a minimalist without a lot of kitchen space, I couldn’t be happier to have so many versatile features packed into such a little thing. Plus, it’s often on sale on Amazon!|
|If you ever want to make homemade ice creams or sorbets, you need one of these ice-cream makers. This electric ice-cream maker was a real game-changer for me. As a kid, I used a hand-crank one to make vanilla ice cream at my grandma’s house. Then my parents bought an electric one, a big ol’ tub that needed rock salt to run, and it never worked that well. This one removes all that fuss. Stick the tub piece in a freezer for a few hours and your ice cream or sorbet will be ready in 20 minutes flat. No rock salt, no ice, no mess. It couldn’t be easier!|
|In the same vein, a high-capacity food processor can work miracles. This model is a beast: It can handle not only higher volume, but greater density than the cheap Oster and Hamilton Beach models I’ve owned in the past. Nut butters don’t get any smoother than what this baby can produce, and it’ll make quick work of any shredding, chopping, or pulsing you might need to do. The warranty’s great, too!|
|My Pyrex glassware is far and away the most-used item in my kitchen. I use the larger glass dishes for baking in–everything from whole chickens to roasted veggies–and the whole set is perfect for food storage. Talk about one-pot meals: Just let those roasted veggies cool, pop on the BPA-free lid, and stick ’em in the fridge or freezer for later! You’ll need a separate set of storage containers for anything liquid, as these aren’t airtight, but they do about 90% of the work in my household.|
|These silicone kitchen tools from Rachael Ray are amazing. They won’t scratch your cookware, the handles don’t get hot while you cook, they’re easy to clean, and they have a neat little notch so you can set them on the lip of your pot without risking a dribble on the counter or dirtying another dish to hold them when they’re not in use. There’s a whole series, including a ladle, slotted spoon, whole spoon, spatula, turner, and tongs, but they’re only offered separately. Search “Rachael Ray Tools Lazy” on Amazon to shop them all!|
|If you ever want to make veggie noodles (like zucchini-based “zoodles”), a spiralizer is a must-have. You can julienne them for straight, stick-like noodles, but it’s just not the same. This isn’t one of the most-used tools in my kitchen, but it is one of my favorite ones to use. It’s fun! Beets, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash–spiralized veggies always go down a treat.|
|A good mandoline slicer is worth every penny. With way more options and a sturdier build than some of the cheaper models (I’ve owned and replaced several), this one is the easiest way to slice, julienne, or waffle vegetables. When you’re prepping a lot of healthy meals from scratch, easier slicing counts for a lot! Chips and waffle fries have never been simpler. The blades are sharp, though, so I highly recommend some cut-resistant gloves to go with any mandoline.|
|When it comes to garlic, you always want to buy fresh, whole cloves. It’s so much more nutritious than pre-sliced garlic–you might be surprised by just how potent an antibiotic fresh garlic is and alliums of all kinds are known for their anti-cancer properties. But mincing fresh garlic can be a real pain in the butt. That’s why a good garlic press makes the list. I don’t know what I’d do without one!|
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