My Kitchen Essentials

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For the Kids:

Norpro Silicone Ice Pop Makers
Great for freezing smoothies, applesauce and yogurt…just call it a “make-your-own gogurt.”
Ziplock Divided Lunchbox
Inexpensive, leak-proof (from one compartment to the next) and BPA-free.
Kid’s Insulated Thermos Cup
Comes in boy and girl designs and keeps beverages cold for 12 hours…plus there’s no waste!
Kid’s Insulated Thermos Jar
Comes in boy and girl designs and is great for packing soups, leftovers or oatmeal for school lunches instead of another sandwich.
Insulated Lunch BagInsulated Lunch Bag
I’ve discovered that the Ziplock divided lunch container will fit along with a Thermos cup in the Lands’ End soft sided lunch bags. They will also both fit in some rectangular lunch bags from Target and Old Navy. They will not both fit in (most) Pottery Barn lunch bags.
Animal-Shaped Ice PackAnimal-Shaped Ice Pack
My kids think animal (and flower) shaped ice packs are fun, and ice packs are a necessity when the food sits for a couple hours before lunch time.
Flexible Ice PackFlexible Ice Pack
In addition to the fun shaped ice packs I usually stick in a couple of these little (more practical) ones as well. These are lightweight and can be cut to any shape.
Silicone Muffin LinersSilicone Muffin Liners
If you have a problem with muffins sticking to the paper liners then worry no more! Nothing sticks to these silicone liners plus they are reusable and can also be used for serving snacks other than muffins.
Set of Round CuttersSet of Round Cutters
These cutters are the “trick” to making a perfect apple sandwich. I slice the apple longways then use a small circle to cut out the core piece. I also use these cutters to shape biscuits and other foods.
Push Up Molds
Make your own “push ups” with homemade ice cream or peach sorbet.
Snow Cone Maker
Instead of artificial snow cone syrup add organic fruit juice (or concentrate) to shaved ice for a fun treat…don’t forget cute snow cone cups!
Duralex Clear Glass Plates (for kids!)
If you’re trying to move away from plastics in your kitchen these durable plates for kids are great! This is what we use, and my daughters were very excited when they graduated to glass plates (my youngest was 3 when we got them).
Duralex Clear Glass Tumblers (for kids!)
Along the same lines as the plates, if you want to do away with plastic then these glasses, which we use at our house, are also durable enough for kids.
Tovolo Jewel Pop Molds
My daughters love these little “make your own ring pop” molds!
Cookie CuttersCookie Cutters
“Cookie” cutters can be used for so much more than cookies! We use ours to shape biscuits, sandwiches, cheese, and pancakes.

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Kitchen Tools that I Love:

Salad Spinner
We’ve learned that a good bath is necessary before diving into a bowl of fresh, organic, local greens.
Durable Mixing Bowls
The price may sound like an investment, but we’ve had our glass set of mixing bowls (that we use almost daily) since we got married…12 years ago!
High Quality Pots & Pans
Now those mixing bowls sound like a bargain, but you can either buy this set once (because they will last a lifetime) or slowly add one new piece to your collection each year.
Tortilla Press
I never realized how easy homemade corn tortillas were until I got this press!
Rolling Pin
When making whole-grain flour tortillas I use a good old fashioned rolling pin (and some elbow grease).
Tortilla Warmer
And to keep all those yummy homemade tortillas nice and warm (and soft) nothing could be more perfect than this warmer.
Cast Iron Skillet
This type of pan is what I use (and also what is traditionally used) to make both corn and flour tortillas.
Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
I seriously have 4 sets because that’s how much I use them…this is another product that will last a lifetime.
High Quality Knives (and Kitchen Shears)
If you plan to do a lot of cooking from scratch you’ll be doing lots of chopping so good knives are a necessary evil.
Cutting Boards
What good are high quality knives without their counterpart…I use our cutting boards daily and it’s important to get good ones that don’t warp or stain.
Mesh Strainer
I wouldn’t know how to make homemade chicken stock without my little mesh strainer and ladle (next on the list) because both tools are necessary for separating the gunk from the goodness.
Soup Ladle
Perfect for pouring homemade chicken stock through a strainer and also great for all those homemade soups that you’ll get out of your stock.
Whisk
From making a roux to scrambling eggs to mixing sauces…another necessity.
Olive Oil Sprayer
Since we now use unrefined high quality cooking oils we’ve done away with the store-bought sprays, which means we just make our own.
Ice Cube Trays (with lids)
I bought these trays in the baby food days, but I still use them regularly for freezing small portions of applesauce, chicken stock, pizza sauce and pesto.
Freezer-Safe Glass Jars
This school year I’ve been freezing individual portions of homemade soup in small freezer-safe jelly jars for school lunches…my 1st grader takes soup once a week and loves it.
Mango Slicer
Confession time…I have no clue how to slice a mango without one of these, but what does it matter since we own one!
Apple Slicer
This one makes apple slicing a quick and easy job.
Cooling RackCooling Rack
I use my cooling racks frequently after pulling cheese crackers, cookies, homemade pop tarts and other goodies out of the oven.
Ebelskiver PanEbelskiver Pan
My family absolutely devours the whole-wheat Danish “filled pancakes” that I make in this special pan. What’s not to love?
Potato MasherPotato Masher
Funny enough I never had one of these before our switch to real food and now I use it frequently for everything from refried beans to homemade tomato sauce.
Canning Starter KitCanning Starter Kit
If you’d like to take up canning then you’ll definitely need a kit like this to help you get started.
Pizza CutterPizza Cutter
Since pizza delivery doesn’t fall under our “real food rules” you’ll definitely need one of these so you can make and slice your own! We use our pizza wheel for cutting quesadillas as well.
Pasta Drying RackPasta Drying Rack
This inexpensive, folding drying rack is the perfect spot to hang your homemade noodles until you are ready to throw them into the boiling water.

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My Favorite Kitchen Appliances (Big & Small):

Food Processor
This is probably my most used appliance…plus I got it 12 years ago and it’s still going strong.
Mini Chopper
If I just need to chop something small like fresh ginger or a half batch of pesto I use this instead of getting my big food processor dirty.
Mini Donut Maker
What real foodie wouldn’t be excited about baked mini whole-wheat donuts? Here’s my basic recipe: 1 cup whole-wheat flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 4 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil).
Hand Immersion Blender
I used to puree soups in batches in my countertop blender (which made a huge mess) then I discovered this hand held version that you can stick right into the pot…worth every penny!
Crock Pot
I use my slow cooker weekly for dishes like refried beans (made from dried beans), whole chicken, and flank steak fajitas.
Panini Grill
I go through phases of obsession with my panini grill…there’s no better way to kick up the standard sandwich!
Kitchen Aid Mixer
When I used to make cookies almost daily (before our 100-day pledge) I used my mixer all the time! I don’t use it quite as frequently now, but it’s still great for lots of recipes.
Ice Cream Maker
I am officially spoiled and can never eat ice cream out of a box again…this machine is so easy to use plus you can control the type and amount of sweetener that’s added.
Bread Maker
I think I am finally getting the hang of bread making (don’t expect to get it right the first time), and this is the machine I use…my only complaint is that I have to be there to add raisins when it beeps.
Wheat Grinder
I know it sounds like a crazy thing to do, but grinding your own wheat is as easy as grinding coffee, and I think it tastes much better than the store-bought version.
Espresso Machine
This is what I use to recreate Starbucks at home!
Milk Frother
I just got this for Christmas and I LOVE it…totally kicked up my morning maple mocha a few notches. And it makes the best hot chocolate, too.
Waffle Maker
I could probably live without this appliance, but my daughters would disagree wholeheartedly…they love homemade waffles!
Pasta Machine
For me making pasta is a labor of love…it’s just an added bonus that it tastes so much better than the boxed stuff.
Dehydrator
I’d never heard of a “dehydrator” before our switch to real food, but now I know just how useful it is for everything from dried apples to homemade fruit leathers to beef jerky.

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Other Products…including Food:

Thermos
It’s borderline embarrasing how much I love this thing…it keeps my ice water cold for days with no condensation or leaking (exactly what I needed to help me kick the plastic water bottle habit)!
Glass Storage Containers
If you are moving away from plastics in your kitchen then these are great for storage and nice enough to serve food out of as well.
Salad Dressing Bottle
If you are trying to avoid overly processed store-bought salad dressings then this is for you…it tells you to fill “vinegar to this line” and then “lemon juice to this line” so making your own dressing couldn’t be easier. Just be sure to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil and omit (or replace) the sugar!
Grapefruit Spoons
These little spoons are very helpful if you’re a grapefruit lover like us.
Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
For more info on what types of oils we use check out our “No Refined Oils” post.
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
You can actually make clarified butter at home or if you like shortcuts (like me) you can buy it, too. :) It’s good for cooking at high heats.
Eco Grocery Bag SystemEco Grocery Bag System
I love these reusable shopping bags because they aren’t scattered all over the back of my car (since they zip up together) and they are sturdy and big enough to hold ALL my groceries!
Alba Natural SunblockAlba Natural Sunblock
This stuff is thick and white, but it does the trick when it comes to protecting your skin without containing a bunch of unnecessary chemicals.
Natural Sunscreen SprayNatural Sunscreen Spray
This sunscreen spray still requires some rubbing, but not as much as the thick, white cream we use as well.
Natural DeodorantNatural Deodorant
In an effort to “clean up” our products outside of the pantry I’ve started using this Naturally Fresh crystal deodorant and so far so good! Just be sure to wet it first before using.
Quick Cooking Brown RiceQuick Cooking Brown Rice
I’ve found that regular whole grain (brown) rice can take a LONG time to cook…so I highly recommend going the quick cooking route!
Whole-Wheat Pasta
Containing only 1-ingredient this is a very easy and cheap real food to add to your table.
Ak-Mak Whole Grain Organic Crackers
Not only are these 100% whole-grain, but they are organic!
Coconut Oil
If you’re not sure what to do with coconut oil just check out our “How to Cook with Coconut Oil” post.
King Arthur Flour, White Whole Wheat
This “white” whole wheat flour is in fact whole wheat, however it’s a variety that may be more palatable for those just switching to whole wheat.
Dr. Bronners Soap
I am not saying this natural soap is truly “magical,” but it’s pretty darn pure and totally does the trick.
Yes to Carrots Shampoo
This is currently our favorite shampoo (and conditioner) after trying loads of other “natural” options.
Yes to Carrots Conditioner
My daughters feel like such “big girls” now that they use conditioner like mommy – and this is the natural brand that I buy for all three of us.
Yes to Carrots Lotion
During the winter months we’ve got this pump style natural lotion in almost every bathroom in the house!
   

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362 comments to My Kitchen Essentials

  • Michael Scherer

    We couldn’t live with out our Zojorishi rice cooker. We make steel cut oats, brown rice, and quinoa in it. Add ingredients and press a button and it comes out perfect every time. I’d also have to add to your list a high quality (restaurant grade) coffee bean grinder. (something ala – http://www.espressopros.com/coffee-grinders-chr-2810e.html). Expensive, but I’ve had mine for 10+ years now and use it just about daily! That’s longevity. My husband would say the toaster oven.. but I have not quite mastered the art of micro baking personally :-)

  • Patty

    Hi! What brand of coconut water would you suggest to use? Thanks!

  • Mary Kirwan

    I know you talk about freezing things in jars, are they just standard ball canning jars or is there a particular brand you recommend?

  • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi Mary. The freezer safe Ball jars that Lisa buys are under the “Kithchen Tools That I Love” section above. ~Amy

  • Patty

    We use our Zojirushi rice cooker all the time too. Oatmeal made with steel cut oats comes out great.

  • Patty

    Do all ice cream makers have the freezer bowl you have to freeze before making the ice cream? I never seem to have enough room in my freezer.

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  • Kim Ealy

    I love your suggested kitchen gadgets – love kitchen gadgets!! I would also recommned for those who do not have or cannot afford a whet grinder o attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer (I only have a grinder attachment because it was a gift and I love it! But it’s pricy).But for small, fresh batches or to grind up other grains that are small or have a lot of moisture (flax, oats, rice), I bought a small coffee grinder that works perfectly! You can adjust the courseness an I use fine and add the ingredients to my container of wheat flour. http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-IDS77-Electric-Cleaning/dp/B000BRLXUI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406315995&sr=8-1&keywords=Mr.+Coffee+grinder. I have had mine for 8 years and it’s one of my favorite gadgets! I paid $10 for mine on sale, but it’s still under $20!!!

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