While I’m not a huge new years resolution girl, I do like to make yearly goals or a small list of things I hope to accomplish or practice more frequently in the new year. I have spoken with many people who are making resolutions similar to this. They want to work on improving different areas of their personal wellness in 2019, specifically in the area of cooking, food and nutrition. With that in mind, I decided to focus this post specifically on “foodie finds”. These are kitchen and cooking tools that I love or think would be great for you or the friend or family member wanting to get back in the kitchen or maybe wanting to get in the kitchen for the first time (it’s never too late to start!!) this coming year. Whether you want to start cooking more for yourself or for your family, here are some of my favorite tools and resources to simplify the process so that you can be one step closer to making those food and nutrition goals a regular reality this year!
I love my food processor! I have a mini one and a regular size one. It makes making sauces and marinades and dressings so much simpler! I can cook a plain piece of meat but then throw five ingredients in my food processor for a sauce and it makes the meal feel gourmet! I also learned this year that you can throw chunks of yummy Parmesan in your food processor for super quick grating (thank you, Ina Garten)!
2. SET OF GOOD KNIVES
I once worked with a client and it wasn’t until our third session that I realized he didn’t like vegetables simply due to the lack of good equipment. Cutting vegetables was not a pleasant process. However, as soon as he purchased a good set of knives and a few other tools, he came back eating a variety of veggies cooked all different ways. The knives I like and have in my kitchen are Wusthof knives. Dad got Kyle and I this set for Christmas right before we got married and we love them!
3. GOOD BAKING SHEETS (SMALL, MEDIUM AND LARGE)
The last couple of months I have been on the hunt for baking sheets that will not warp in a high heat oven (you know they are warped because you will hear a loud “POP"!” in your oven and you will see one side slanting up and your cookies or veggies all over to one side of the pan. You don’t want this to happen because it creates uneven cooking! Last month I ordered these baking sheets by Nordic Ware and they have been excellent! I highly recommend them. Get a small, medium and large size.
4. STACKABLE MEASURING CUPS
Gotta have some measuring cups (1) when you’re starting out and (2) if you’re baking. After you’ve been cooking for a while you can start to eye stuff. However, baking is exact and you’ve gotta measure! I like the stackable ones or ones that lay flat like these so they don’t clutter your drawers.
Good herbs and spices make everything better! Consider making a little spice starter kit to kick off the year of cooking. Some of my most used spices include: Italian Seasoning, Herbs de Provence, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, chili powder, and dried thyme, rosemary, oregano and dill. To save a little money, buy a spice rack like this one with the empty containers that you can label yourself. Then go to the bulk spice aisle of your grocery store (like Central Market or Sprouts) and select the spices that you want. You’ll pay for the spices by weight here and it’s typically so much cheaper than if you buy the pre-bottle spices. I also love the idea of taking these spice jars, labeling the tops and having a draw dedicated to spices (it’s saves counter space!). Unfortunately, we don’t have a draw to spare right now, ha, but it’s something to aspire to!
6. GOOD EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Gotta have olive oil! It’s perfect for low-heat cooking, dressings, sauces, and a dip for bread at the dinner table. You must have regular but I also love the infused olive oils from Olivier’s & Co. They have one infused with Basil that is a favorite of mine!
7. AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Just like the olive oil, I think an aged balsamic vinegar is also a must. It’s perfect for dressings and dipping but also makes excellent balsamic reductions over the skillet. Olivers and Co makes a fantastic one!
8. POT / LE CRUISET
A heat-proof pot like this is excellent. Cook stews, soups, meat over the skillet and then throw it in the oven to finish cooking. An excellent gift!
Check this previous post for some of my favorite cookbooks! They vary in levels of difficulty and could be perfect for the beginner to the more advanced home chef.
10. SOMETHING TOTALLY FOR FUN
Like these super cute aprons and oven mitts from Antrhopologie for her
Or this fun all-in-one cooking tool for him…
I hope this helps with some of your last-minute gift and stocking-stuffer ideas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!