Mangia Mondays:: Kitchen Can’t Live Withouts II

Hi friends, how was your Thanksgiving??
I hope you stuffed yourselves silly and enjoyed time with family and friends!

I had to take a little blogging break to finish up the board and batten in my foyer {which I can’t wait to show you!}, scrub the stain, caulking and paint off my hands to get a much needed manicure with Hannah, make an unsuccessful attempt at the ol’ Christmas card photo {remind me why I do this???} and then give up and drown my sorrows in four different kinds of pie (and work on my double chin).

It was a good Thanksgiving!

And just like that, we are catapulted right into the Christmas season, a time when I feel like I cook and bake more than ever.

Remember my Kitchen Can’t Live Withouts?  Since it’s Mangia Monday, the weekly blog hop I co-host with Kristin of the fabulous foodie blog Delightfully Dowling, I thought it would be fun to chat about more random items that are put to good use in my kitchen.

So here we go! –
Kitchen Can’t Live Withouts, Part II

1.  Cast Iron Dutch Oven

After lusting after, but never being able to justify the purchase of, a Le Creuset Dutch oven for years, I recently picked up a cast iron casserole dish with stainless steel lid at, of all places, Ikea.  I wouldn’t think of Ikea as a place for a decent pot but we have been pleasantly surprised by how well this functions.  It is quite heavy,  can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and even on the grille, and will be in service in my kitchen for years to come.  In the short time I’ve owned it I’ve already made one-pot dinners in it like this de-lish Lemon Herb Dutch Oven Chicken {recipe found at From The Little Yellow Kitchen}.  One of my favorite purchases as of late – I highly recommend it.

2.  Recycling Bin In The Kitchen

This bin is not exactly good looking, but our current kitchen doesn’t have enough room for pull out recycle bins.  This little bucket lives in the pantry and I toss recyclables into it throughout the day.  When it’s full one of the kids will sort it’s contents into the paper or container bins that live in the mudroom.  It’s handy, out of site, and literally takes one minute to empty for my grumbling 13, 11 or 9 year old children.   I can’t believe how much paper, plastic, and bottles we discard as a family of five, and I love how reduce-reuse-recyle is a way of life for this generation!

3.  A Good, Reliable Meat Thermometer

This is a staple in any kitchen.  We’ve had fancy digital thermometers in the past, but this basic stainless steel one has withstood the test of time and accuracy, and is a necessity for making sure your meat is not under-or-over cooked.

4.  Garlic Press

As you can see, this plain old garlic press has been around my kitchen for quite a while.  We are firm believers in freshly pressed garlic vs. the big jar of minced garlic you can buy at the grocery store.  Nothing like the smell of fresh garlic sauteing in a pan!  I like to smash cloves of garlic to remove the skin and then place in the garlic press to mince.  {Check out this tutorial at the blog Parents of a Dozen for removing garlic clove skins while keeping the cloves whole – in 10 seconds!}

5.  Apron
While I don’t wear an apron every day when I cook, I do love to have one for baking and cleaning up the kitchen when I’m dressed up.  Nothing like a little grease on your cute holiday outfit to ruin your night.  My apron is a basic one from my local Williams Sonoma outlet, but I am lusting after one of these cute numbers that are functional and fun!

6.  Ramekins

We have lots of ramekins in this house, and I use them all the time!  The big one pictured above is more like a casserole dish, but they are all along the same idea, in various sizes.  The medium sized ramekins are perfect for a cup of soup or a serving of fruit for the kiddos.  I love to serve Individual Chocolate Molten Cakes to company, which I make in the small ramekins.

7.  Barbecue Turner 
(formerly the one and only Bar B Boss by Pampered Chef)

I bought this for Mark waaaay back when, along with some other grilling tools and cookbook, as a fun Christmas present.  {What is it with guys and their grills?}  It’s a huge spatula that has a serrated edge and a long handle to keep your hand away from the heat…..and a bottle opener of course!  One of Mark’s fave manly man cooking tools.

8.  Cookie Scoop

If you have kids, ya gotta have a good quality cookie scoop.  I have a little one and it has logged hours scooping cookie dough.  I just bought a cheap big one at the grocery store and it broke on the second use, so I highly recommend getting one like this from Wilton – they know their baking goods!

9.  Cookie/Baking Sheet

While you’re investing in a good cookie scoop, how about a decent baking sheet?  I am due for some new ones – the ones I have are almost 15 years old and the non-stick surface is wearing off {gross!}  I have heard and read that these Airbake Ultra baking sheets are fabulous for even heat distribution and a nice golden brown bottom to your chocolate chips cookies :)  Any recommendations?

10.  Measuring Spoons
My favorite thing in my kitchen…..

My mom gave this pewter spoons to me and I LOVE them (here’s a link to a similar set).  They’re special because I associate them with her when I use them 5,208 times a week.  I handwash them and hang them by my sink, and I hope one of my kids will use these same spoons in their kitchen someday.  Pretty measuring spoons are bountiful and would make such a lovely gift for a chef on your Christmas list!


Pier One

Pier One

Simply Chi on Etsy
{I love these!!  What a lovely gift they would make!}

Alissa at 33 Shades Of Green is hosting a Kitchen Favorites party this Friday so if you’re looking for more kitchen inspirations be sure to check it out!

In the meantime I hope you’ll join in the fun of Mangia Mondays by linking up or sharing in comments a recipe, kitchen tips or tricks, or a restaurant review – or better yet –
I’d love to hear about YOUR favorite items in your kitchen!

Thanks for visiting and have a great week ahead!