These are a few of my favorite things.

Go into any kitchen shop and you could look at all the neat gadgets, tools and what-nots for hours. My husband used to play a game when I would drag him into one. He called it ,“What is this crazy thing for?” He might have guessed right once or twice, but I think he did it just to make me laugh (and to get me out of the store) but I'll have to admit, some times I had no clue what some of the things he picked up were for. Here are just a few of the things I have in my kitchen and I believe that all kitchens should include at least one or two.

Kitchen Aid ®Stand Mixer. I love love love this. It makes short work of almost any dough or batter and is a dream when whipping egg whites. There are attachments for it as well that can turn your mixer into a pasta roller or meat grinder or assorted other things. Super neat. While the up front cost is a bit steep, it is well worth the investment. You will have a professional piece of equipment that will last you years. If the price is still too much for you to swallow, try looking for a refurbished one on-line. This holds a permanent spot on my counter top. If you bake frequently, as I do, I would recommend getting an extra bowl. Dishwasher safe bowls and attachments make clean up a breeze.

Cuisinart® Food Processor
. This machine makes shredding cheese, chopping nuts, and making bread crumbs so simple. The model I have came with two different grating blades, a slicing blade, a dough blade and an “all purpose” steel blade. Before I had my stand mixer, this beauty was what I used to make my pizza dough. I love this for making pesto as well. The bowl and blades are dishwasher safe so hooray for cleanup here as well. It lives right next door to my stand mixer.

Non-stick baking mats. You may have heard them referred to as “Silpat®” . This is a brand name but it is used as a generic term for a non-stick baking mat. I use Chef's Planet brand non-stick bakeliners. They are cut to fit and (hee hee) dishwasher safe. I haven't ever found the need to use my dishwasher on them. Just plain old water and a nylon scrubber work like a charm. They are less expensive than Silpat® liners but if you prefer Silpat®, by all means, it is your kitchen after all.

Rasp zester. This does a beautiful job with zesting citrus fruits and I wouldn't dream of grating fresh nutmeg without mine. I have an old model that looks like it came out of dad's garage and in fact, that's exactly how its current use came about.

Sheet pans. I use jelly roll pans for almost everything. I really don't like traditional “cookie sheets” which have no sides. If you know me, you know it isn't' a complete day unless I have dropped something, burned myself or fallen down. I need all the help I can get. These do the job. They hold my cookies, cakes and loaves. Wonderful inventions. I have assorted sizes, but my favorite is my 10X15”.

My hands. No seriously-your hands are more often than not your best kitchen tool. You can pound, mash, knead, roll, measure and shape with them. Ok, so the chopping and slicing are out, but you won't get cut by them either.

So that's a peak into my kitchen. We'll ignore the crumbs on the floor and the fridge covered in kiddie-art.


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