Cooking Tool Thursday: Spatulas

I LOVE my spatulas.  I use them almost everyday, whether I’m scrambling eggs, baking a cake, or scraping the last scoop from the peanut butter jar.  Silicone spatulas are a definite must-have kitchen tool.  And, having worked at a cooking store and in a commercial kitchen, I’ve tried many different brands, shapes and sizes.  Ultimately, these 2 spatulas (see above) are my favorite and will always hold a special place in my heart and utensil canister.

THIS Wilton Silicon Spatula is the BEST.  I absolutely love it because it’s super sturdy yet flexible and even more so, because it’s all one piece (as opposed to those that have a wooden or metal handle and silicone head attached, which tend to accumulate gunk in their hard-to-reach places and eventually fall apart).  It helps scrape a bowl like a champ and folds batter like nobody’s business.  Also, it’s heat safe up 400 degrees so it’s ideal for scrambling eggs, mixing a sauce or sautéing anything in a non-stick skillet.  You need one.  Get it on Amazon HERE.

Sometimes, a standard size spatula just won’t do.  That’s where my second favorite, THIS Tovolo Scoop and Spread spatula comes in.  It is made of nylon and is not necessarily useful for cooking hot foods BUT it’s exceptionally useful for scraping sides of small spaces like the inside of my Nutribullet and/or an almost-empty jar, or to mix color into or spread a small batch of frosting.  Plus, one side is flexible (for scooping) and one side is more rigid (for spreading) so it’s multi-purposeful (is that even a word?.?) and can be used for 2 different things at the same time.  You also need this one.  You can get it on Amazon HERE.

 

Cooking Tool Thursday: Silicon baking mats


If you’ve done any sort of cookie or sheet pan baking, you know how much of a pain (and costly) parchment paper can be.  Unless you pay a premium for the perfect cookie-sheet-size parchment, it often take a lot of measuring and folding and refolding and wasting to fit a piece of parchment perfectly on your cookie sheet.  I’ll be honest, I do prefer parchment to foil for easy clean-up,  but nothing beats a silicon baking mat (I own 3).

Here’s why:

  • They’re environmentally friendly and cost effective because they can be used (over and over) in place of parchment, wax paper, and tin foil.
  • They fit perfectly into a standard 13×18″ half-sheet pan so no more wrestling with odd shaped parchment or foil.  And they roll up nicely for easy storage.
  • They can be use for for baking, roasting and freezing, withstanding temperatures from -40 to 480 degrees F.
  • They are easy to clean. (I find it easiest to clean them while still on the sheet pan.)
  • They are made of FDA and LFGB approved materials and they are free of BPA and PFOA.

I have THIS set of 2 by Artisan and 1 original Silpat, both available on Amazon.  I’ve dedicated one of them to savory cooking like roasting veggies or making Pizza Pockets and the other 2 to sweets.  They are amazing and cookies especially, cook more evenly and uniformly.  Seeeeeee:

Side note: Concerned about the safety of food grade silicon?  Like many things science, there isn’t a TON of definitive research. BUT as of now, it’s been proven safe. For more info, check out THIS article from Scientific American discussing the safety of silicon in cooking.

Ready to buy? Click HERE for the Artisan set of 2.  Click HERE for the original Silpat.

Wild Card Wednesday: True Eats Recommendations!!

Happy Hump Day!!

Lately, I’ve had quite a few people ask me for links to the products and cooking tools I’ve recommended so far SO I dedicate this Wild Card Wednesday post to re-sharing those links, along with the original articles explaining WHY you need these products in your life.

Why am I qualified to make these recommendations?  Check out my About Me page!

(Full disclosure: I am part of the Amazon Associates program so if you purchase anything via my Amazon links, I get a small percentage of the sale. But even if I didn’t, I would still recommend each and every one of the products listed below.)

INGREDIENTS

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

Tomato Paste in a tube

Nielsen Massey’s Vanilla Bean Paste

Ghiradelli Unsweetened Cocoa

Kikkoman Whole Wheat Panko Bread Crumbs

Dellalo Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles

Tonnino Tuna Fillets

SNACKS

That’s It bars

Teriyaki Roasted Seaweed

Calbee Harvest Snaps

Made in Nature Dried Fruit

Peeled Snacks Dried Fruit

Tillamook Old Fashioned Vanilla Greek yogurt

  • BUY: Available in most grocery, health food and super stores
  • WHY?

Saffron Road Korean BBQ Crunchy Chickpeas

Field Trip Uncured Turkey Jerky

 TRADER JOE’S

Organic Brown Rice, Rice Medley and Organic Quinoa (frozen)

Toasted Oatmeal Flakes

Unsulfured, unsweetened dried fruit

Whole Grain Crispbread

COOKING TOOLS

Global 7″ Chef’s Knife

Magic Bullet Nutribullet

Inspiralizer

Scanpan

Epicurean Non-Slip Cutting Board

OXO Good Grips Cutting Board

Stainless Steel Bench Scraper

‘Ove’ Glove

Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer

Progressive Nut Chopper

OXO Stainless Steel Food Scale

Casabella Cherry Pitter

OXO Pineapple Corer

Chef’s Choice Pro Diamond Knife Sharpener

MinoSharp Ceramic Wheel Water Sharpener Plus

Chef’s Choice Trizor XV Edge Sharpener

Charles Viancin Silicon Lids

FUN STUFF FOR KIDS

Make Your Own Dog Treats Kit

Fred & Friends Dinner Winner plate

Fred & Friends Mrs. Food Face plate

Constructive Eating Construction Plate and Utensil Set

R & M Mini Cookie (or fruit and veggie) cutters

Bentgo Kids Bento Lunch Box

Nerdy Nummies Cookbook

MISCELLANEOUS

Sur la Table Knife Skills class

HipsSister

The (original) Skinnytaste Cookbook

Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

Skinnytaste Meal Planner

 

Cooking Tool Thursday: NutriBullet

Now-a-days, the Vitamix or similar high-powered blenders are all the rage.  And, rightfully so.  They are amazing, whizzing beasts…the Rolls-Royce of blenders.  Unfortunately, they come with the Rolls-Royce price (about $400-$600).  Holy-Pretty-Penny-Batman.

I personally don’t have a use for such a big, powerful blender.  I rarely use my standard blender and often use my food processor for big jobs.  If YOU are in the market for a Vitamix, you can get it on Amazon HERE.  They usually have the best price, customer service is great and if you’re a Prime member, you can get free shipping, for most things, in a day or 2. Hard. To. Beat.

But enough about the Vitamix.  I’m here to tell you about the humble, the amazing…NutriBullet by Magic Bullet.  I absolutely LOVE this little machine. It’s compact, taking up little space in my packed cabinets. It blends, purees and emulsifies like a champ.  And it works amazingly well for blending sauces or salsas, smoothies or anytime I need to blend a small batch of anything.  With THIS NutriBullet you can say goodbye to the days of watching your blender blades spin, not catching the ingredients you need to blend because it’s too big. 

THIS 12 piece NutriBullet set is awesome because it includes 2 different size cups, resealable lids, removable handles (for taking your smoothie on the go), and 2 different types of blades (one for emulsifying and one for breaking down dry ingredients).  It’s super affordable ($79.99) and the pieces are really easy to clean (they are dishwasher safe if you so choose to go that route).

If blending, emulsifying or pureeing is your game, NutriBullet is the name.

 

Cooking Tool Thursday: OXO Pineapple Corer

​I love pineapple.  It’s beautiful flesh provides the perfect balance of sweet and tart. It can be eaten straight up, grilled, in a salsa, in cake, muffins, and more.  Plus, it’s loaded with Vitamin C and (trace mineral) Manganese, both of which are potent antioxidants. It also contains an enzyme that may help reduce inflammation and aid in digestion. Wham. Bam. Thank you ma’am.

The one somewhat annoying thing about pineapple is it can be a pain in to cut.  Yes, I could buy it pre-cut but it costs more ($5 vs. $3 at my local Vons, for example), quality can be iffy and frankly, I’m just not a fan of pre-cut produce.  I could buy it canned but like all canned fruit, it’s mushy and tastes a bit tinny.

Enter the OXO Pineapple Corer.

It is the coolest thing since sliced bread.  Better yet, it has drastically increased the amount of pineapple we eat. It takes less than a minute to pry the luscious yellow flesh out of it’s spiky skin and even less time to get into your mouth.  Check out my amateur video to see how this baby works!  Then see my tip below on how to buy and store pineapple.

Blown away? Buy the OXO Pineapple Corer HERE!

How to buy and store pineapple: Pick one that is already ripe (fresh, sweet scent, bright green leaves and some yellowing of the skin) because it will not continue to ripen once picked.  If you aren’t planning on eating it for a couple days, put it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Once cut, store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.

 

 

 

 

Cooking Tool Thursday: Casabella Cherry Pitter

Hallelujah!  It’s cherry season!  I love cherries because they are delicious, nutritious (high five for Vitamin C and A) and such a treat.  What I don’t love about cherries though, are the pits that are wedged deep within this glorious fruit.

I have a sooolllution!

THIS Casabella Cherry Pitter.  I love this tool because it seamlessly removes the pits from  cherries with the push of a button.  Even more awesome, the cherry is left beautifully intact (which is a bonus if you want to use them whole in say, a pie or a fruit salad).  Plus, if you are a mom or dad (or anyone who takes care of kids), you know how frustrating it can be to try to pry those suckers out with a knife.  And if you leave them in, then your child inevitably regurgitates the fruit back into your hand in attempt to spit out the pit.  Not awesome.

So, if you want to see how it works, check out my (very first) video HERE.

AND if you want to buy it (which, I know you do), click HERE to get it on Amazon.

Cooking Tool Thursday: Nut Chopper

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I love nuts. I add them to salads, baked goods, fish, chicken and more.  They add a fabulous crunch and flavor that can’t be duplicated by a non-nut ingredient. Plus, they add an extra boost of protein and healthy fat to boot.

The tricky part about nuts as an ingredient (as opposed to whole nuts for snacking) is, they can be a pain to chop. Yes, you can buy your nuts pre-chopped but I find they don’t taste as fresh and are less cost effective. And, chopping nuts with a chefs knife is fine, if you don’t mind the possibility of nuts in the eye, all over the floor, or in your windowsill garden.

Enter the Progressive Nut Chopper.

It’s pretty basic, affordable, compact and easy to clean.  Plus, it’s VERY easy to use.  You put the nuts in the top compartment, crank the handle on the side and voila…chopped nuts.  It even has 2 different types of blades inside.  One chops coarsely and the other more fine.  PLUS, the bottom half of the gadget is marked with volume measures, allowing you to easily eyeball your nut volume.  :giggle:

The only nut that you can’t chop with this awesome tool is…me.  I’m too big.

Take my word for it.  You want this. Get it RIGHT HERE.