Top 5 Kitchen Must-Haves

Set me loose in a kitchen supply store like Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, or even Home Goods, and I could get lost for hours! I could also leave with a very empty wallet. There are so many gadgets and gizmos out there that claim to make prepping and cooking easier, but end up just cluttering your drawers after you try them once and never use them again (believe me, my kitchen drawers can testify to this fact).

Instead of wasting your money on the latest “As Seen On TV” must-have, I recommend saving your money and investing in some quality kitchen tools that will last you a lifetime.

There are a few items that I use almost every time I go in the kitchen, or at least every day. It has taken some time for me to test out and save up for my must-haves, but let me tell you, they are worth every penny. Many of them come with lifetime warranties attached! Read on for my top recommended kitchen essentials.

1. A Great Set of Pots & Pans: 

This is a basic 10 piece stainless steel set: I love All-Clad. It’s a hefty investment, but again, lifetime warranty! You’ll never need to buy another pot or pan in your life! I prefer stainless steel because you don’t have to worry about non-stick coating eventually breaking down and flaking off into your food. If you really want to splurge, go for the copper core:  The copper layer ensures fast, even heat distribution. Either of these sets can go right into the oven, they work on induction cook tops, and they’re dishwasher safe (although truth be told, I treat these like my first born child and hand wash them with barkeeper’s friend to keep them looking new.) :) 

2. A Grownup Knife Set:

I’m a believer in Wusthof - high quality, German forged, full tang knives made from a single piece of steel. A word to the wise: NEVER put your knives in the dishwasher. It dulls them. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking to professional knife sharpeners about the best ways to care for my blades. There’s a whole science to choosing, using and taking care of knives - click here for a great guide to get you started. Did you know you should hone them before each use? This gives you a nice, straight point to cut with rather than a bent/dulled point, which happens naturally with use. Just straightening/honing the blade works wonders when you’re trying to cut those tomatoes! Here's the honing and sharpening tool I use with my knives:  Not a must-have if your set comes with a honing steel...and you know how to use it! 

3. A solid wood (not bamboo!) cutting board: I have had all of those different professional knife sharpeners I've talked to tell me that bamboo is such a dense wood, it dulls knife blades the same way cutting on glass or granite countertops would. A good, solid wood cutting board will absorb the knife, not create too much resistance against it. I use mine every single day. Boos is the mac daddy of all beautiful cutting boards and worth the investment.

4. A big, sturdy colander: Mesh colanders are a PAIN! Food gets caught under the rim and is near impossible to get out (I may or may not actually keep a toothbrush under the sink to deal with these stuck food's a ridiculous amount of work when you're as particular about clean dishes as I am). I prefer a more solid construction like the one pictured above. It’s so easy to clean, nothing gets stuck under the rim, and it easily sits in the sink while you wash all your fruits & veggies (because you’re eating tons of fruits & veggies, right? ;) ). A absolute must-have! 

5. A set of mixing bowls:  These are a basic kitchen essential that make every task easier. I use mine almost every time I cook. Whether it’s as a container for food scraps as I chop and prep, a vessel to hold those chopped/prepped veggies as I toss them in a bit of avocado oil before roasting, or a way to easily store my big batch cooking leftovers in the fridge with the handy lids - these are indespensible!

I have plenty of other very useful tools that I use on a regular basis, which I'll share in the future, but these are truly my must-haves. 

What are some things you couldn’t live without in your kitchen? They can be basic tools or little kitchen luxuries!

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