Category Archives: Organization and Cleaning

Must Have Kitchen Tools

Stainless steel skillet on a cutting board with a cooked egg

Don’t we all have those favorite things in our kitchen? Those must have kitchen tools that we always want to use? Sometimes, using them even makes you happy! Typically they make your life easier or work so much better than most.

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In my last post I shared my list of kitchen essentials. These are the things that are pretty much a necessity, even if you kitchen is tiny. I also tackled my favorite kitchen appliances here.

Today I’m filling you in on my favorite must have kitchen tools! Most of them are all essentials and some of them are brand dependent. I use these items week in and week out and often times day in and day out. (Be sure to check out the list of small kitchen appliances to know what else I use often!)

Good Pots and Pans

Several years ago we upgraded our pans to a stainless steel Calphalon set from Bed Bath and Beyond. I love them. They can also go in the oven (with the lids) up to 450 degrees. My set has 8 pans and pots plus lids. So much better than the really old, falling apart set we were using. 🙂

If you don’t cook a lot or are limited on space, I’d recommend an 8 and 10 inch skillet, 1.5 quart sauce pan, 3 quart sauté pan, and a 6 or 8 quart stockpot depending on your family size or if you’ll be cooking for groups. You can always add more later, but if you have limited cabinet space, these are the essentials. If you get a non stick pan, get an 8 or 10 inch skillet.

I recommend buying good quality cookware. You are going to have these things for a long time so you want to love them. Cheaper pans tend to warp and not cook evenly. When we were shopping, our top brands we considered were the higher tiered Calphalon products and All Clad. They are expensive so that did mean it took us a few years to purchase them.

Rubber Spatula

I have the classic scraper from Pampered Chef and love them. Would recommend having two. (Don’t tell anyone, but I actually have three and there are times when they are all dirty at once!) Don’t buy the cheap ones. They will fall apart way easier and not work nearly as well. I use them for cooking, baking, and scraping.

Kitchen Tongs

Buy the ones that lock (by pulling up the head not with the sliding ring)! These are great for flipping meat on the skillet, serving salad, removing corn on the cob from hot water and so much more. I have this one from OXO.

Kitchen Shears

I love using kitchen shears. They are perfect for snipping fresh herbs, green onions, or chives. They are also used weekly to cut my daughter’s pizza into bite sized pieces. You can use a pair for cutting meat into chunks and another for slicing your homemade cinnamon rolls to put in a pan.

Mini Cutting Board

This gets used all the time in our home. It’s perfect for a small job – cutting an apple or grapefruit in half, rough chopping a small amount of veggies, mincing just a clove or two of garlic. I love how little space it takes up. Great size to put in the cooler or slide under a car seat to take on a road trip.

wooden spoon and whisks on a counter

Cheese Plane

The cheese planes for hard and semi hard cheeses are awesome! You can slice cheese in a perfect thickness. No more overly thick slices of cheese for sandwiches, grilled cheese, or crackers. A block of cheese will go much further. This gadget might just save you money.

Flat Risotto Spoon/Saute Paddle

This wooden spoon is perfect for sauteing, browning meat,  and stirring anything you are cooking. The flat edge helps scrape the bottom of the pan much more effectively than a spoon.

Good Knives

You don’t need a block of knives. Instead get fewer but better quality knives. This is something I’d do over again if I could. We registered for a knife block when we got married and they are all very dull. We started replacing our knives with the Wusthof brand. Next I need to get a good sharpener. I would buy 2 Chef’s knives, a paring knife, and a bread knife to start. Do you have a favorite knife brand to share?

Mini Serving Spatula

These are the perfect size to serve any dessert made in a pan. We use it all the time for sweets and main dishes. When mine broke a few years ago it was something that I immediately replaced.

Pancake Turner Spatula

This gets used for pancakes, quesadillas, grilled cheese and other such items in our house. Whether you get stainless steel or silicone or nylon will depend on if you use non stick surfaces to cook your pancakes on.

Pizza Stone

If you make homemade pizza, this is a must have! I have two and they make the best pizza crusts. Well worth the investment. I have the large round stone from Pampered Chef but you can find them many places.

Salad Spinner

This in an item I’d say depends on your salad eating habits. If you make large quantities of salad, you are going to want this. Getting your lettuce dry is so much simpler and it lasts longer. I prepare a large quantity of lettuce for us to use for salads during the week every Sunday and this makes it a breeze. My spinner is one of the push knob kinds.


Use this to add garlic, ginger, or nutmeg to a dish. It’s also perfect for zesting citrus fruit. If you don’t do a lot of cooking with fresh garlic or nutmeg you can skip tool and simply mince it with a knife and cutting board, but the microplane is amazing. 😉

USA Pans

I only discovered these a few years ago but I am obsessed! They use a silicone coating and are nonstick. I first made egg muffins in these and was amazed when the eggs popped right and I hadn’t treated the pan at all. They are more expensive that your basics pans, so I have been building my stash slowly. I have the mini muffin tin, regular muffin pan, mini loaf pan set, and one larger loaf pan.

What are your go to, must have kitchen tools? I have one I’m wanting to try and honestly, I hope I get to update this list with it.

Between this list, the kitchen essentials and favorite kitchen appliances, you’ll have a pretty stocked kitchen that you’ll want to spend time in!

Sharp knife on a wooden cutting board

My Favorite Kitchen Tools! You will want to make sure you have these in your kitchen: cheese plane, rubber spatula, good pots and pans and more! Great ideas for my kitchen or a wedding registry.

Originally published April 3, 2014. Updated August 29, 2019.

Automatic Ice Cream Maker

My FAVORITE kitchen appliance - an automatic ice cream maker. Why I like it and tips for using the machine. You are going to want one of these!

An electric counter top ice cream maker was on my wish list and my in-laws had an old version at their house that never got used. They said we could have it. I jumped on it and has it been put to good use!

This is one of my all time favorite kitchen appliances. (It made the list of my favorite kitchen appliances.) No, I’m not exaggerating. Yes, I might be slightly ice cream obsessed but I think my obsession also makes my family happy.

We purchased ice cream every once in a while but not as often as I would have liked because of budget and health reasons. This amazing little gadget takes care of both of those issues. I can make it as healthy as I’d like (and even if I make it with sugar, it’s way better than the stuff at the store) for much cheaper.

My FAVORITE kitchen appliance - an automatic ice cream maker. Why I like it and tips for using the machine. You are going to want one of these!

4 Reasons I Love My Automatic Ice Cream Maker

No ice and salt necessary

We had an electric ice cream maker which we used every once in a while. It was a pain to remember to buy or make ice and have the salt on hand. Now, I  just dump my ice cream mixture into the frozen bowl and am ready to go.

No Unnecessary Ingredients


Strawberry: INGREDIENTS: Fresh Grade ‘A’ whole milk, strawberries, sugar, cream, corn syrup, modified corn starch, natural strawberry flavor, stabilizer blend (monoglycerides, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, carrageenan), artificial colors red 3, yellow 6, blue 1.

Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the ice cream carton from the store? The majority have a dozen ingredients or more. Most of them being processed ones that aren’t good for you. When you make it at home, you know exactly what goes in it. Cream or coconut milk, sweetener, flavoring, maybe eggs and thickener.


You can make frozen yogurt, sorbet, or ice cream with whatever flavors and add ins you like! You aren’t stuck making a gallon of one kind like you do in a rock and salt machine. Here you can do 2 quarts or even less. You also aren’t stuck to the flavors found in the store.


So yes, you can buy a half gallon of the cheapest (and not very good tasting) ice cream for $2.50, the middle of the road product is $4 for a half gallon (on sale) and when you get to the good stuff with real ingredients you are going to be spending $3-$4 a pint! With this amazing machine, you can make it for a fraction of the cost. 

Tips for using your Ice Cream Maker

1. If you have space, keep the freezer bowl in the freezer. This eliminates the need to plan the night before and you can satisfy a last minute craving or feed drop in guests in no time.

2. If you cook your ice cream base or are using room temperature products (canned coconut milk), refrigerate your ice cream base until completely chilled. This is a must. You will end up with a much thicker and creamier treat.

3. If you have a large family and are worried that 2 quarts of ice cream won’t be enough, buy a second freezer bowl! You can make two different types that way and be able to please everyone (or most everyone).

Do you have any ice cream makers? How often do they get used?

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My Favorite Kitchen Appliances

Today I have my list of the kitchen appliances that I use the most. One of my favorite kitchen appliances might surprise you. I’d probably even consider it my favorite of the favorites. It’s the last one on the list below.

Don’t forget to check out my list of kitchen essentials and the other of my favorite kitchen tools. Between these three lists, your kitchen would be equipped to handle anything.

Great ideas for a registry or stocking your kitchen | A list of my favorite kitchen appliances. The last one might surprise you - I LOVE it!

Mini Food Chopper

One that holds 2-3 cups is an ideal size. I use this all the time for small amounts of hummus, salsa, and other items that need pureed.


Our blender gets used all of the time for large batches of salsa and hummus, making oat flour and smoothies. (When making smoothies fill the blender up and freeze the extras in individual cups.) A Blendtec or Vitamix is on my wish list but in the meantime I have a Ninja Master Prep. It doesn’t get oat flour as fine as I’d like or some fruits at smooth but it gets the job done. The nice thing about it, is that it comes with a 2 cup jar as well. I’m curious as to how the Ninja Professional Blender are. What kind-of blender to you have?


I love my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I make rolls, breadsticks, naan and other breads and this makes it a breeze. Whipping up a large batch of butter cream icing is simple – you just let the machine do the work. No standing there holding electric hand beaters. Making double (or triple) batches of cookies won’t kill your arms. When I made bread I use 7-8 cups of whole wheat flour. If you are going to make batches of bread much bigger than that you are going to want to invest in a more heavy duty mixer. There’s no way this could have stood up to my mom’s 14 cups of grain bread making every week!

Hand Mixer

This would be a maybe essential. If you whip egg whites or heavy cream you’ll want this. (Unless you want to give yourself an arm workout with a whisk). If you only make recipes that require beaten in large amounts, you could use the whisk attachment to your stand mixer. I never use this for making things like cookies. I always do them by hand or with the Kitchen Aid.

Slow Cooker

I use this for cooking beans and making yogurt way more than I do for making meals.. I have a 6 quart and a 1 1/2 quart but the smaller one seldom gets used.

Electric Griddle

This is depending on family size. If you have no or one or two kids, this would probably not be essential. If your family grows, this will speed up pancake, grilled cheese, bacon frying and quesadilla making tremendously.

Pressure Cooker

I don’t yet have a pressure cooker but my mom and sister do. You can have dry beans cooked in under 15-30 minutes from start to finish. Crazy. In fact, my mom told me she had beans that had soaked for just a few hours cooked in 8 minutes! It would be helpful for those days I forget to soak and cook my chick peas. My sister also uses her pressure cooker to quickly cook meat.

Rice Cooker

I wouldn’t consider this an essential just because you can cook rice on the stove top or in the oven. I’m including it, though, because I have one and use it every time I make rice. It makes the process brainless. Mine is a basic 6 cup one that came from Wal-Mart but there are some fancy ones available. A programmable rice cooker would be handy sometimes.

Automatic Ice Cream Maker

I’m saving my favorite for last. I know it might not seem like an essential but let me tell you, this thing is amazing! We use it all the time and it has eliminated our need to purchase ice cream from the store. It’s so easy and you don’t need any rock salt or ice. I’ll have a post coming this or next week going into more detail on this wonderful gadget.

What are you favorite kitchen appliances? Is there something that I need to add to my collection?

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5 Minute Pick Up

It’s easy enough for two adults to have piles of belongings out that need put away. Then when you add kids to the mix, there is always something not where it belongs. Most of the time, there are a lot of somethings not where they belong.

Everywhere I look, I see toys, paper, coloring stuff, mail, laundry and on and on. It stresses me out and puts me on edge. The blanket that our daughter has to have to go to sleep is harder to find. Even when you don’t have a ton of toys, goodness, can they ever get spread out.

The 5 minute pick up is a quick, easy, and painless way to keep mass amounts of stuff from being strewn around your house. 5 minutes, seriously! Who doesn’t have time for that?

5 Minute Pick Up - a simple way to keep toys and clutter from taking over your house. We love doing this after supper each night.


Each night after the supper dishes are done, we set the timer for 5 minutes and have at it. Mom, Dad, and the 3 year old. With a little direction and finding things for her to put away, our daughter is more than capable of cleaning for 5 minutes. Little brother just crawls around and wonders what is going on. In a few months, when he’s able to follow basic commands, he’ll be able to participate by placing his ball in the toy box.

You’d be surprised what a difference just 5 minutes can make. Things can go from looking like a tornado has gone through to being relatively put together. Depending on how messy your house gets during the day, you might want to make a few 5 minute pick ups a part of your routine: once before lunch, once in the afternoon, and once after dinner. On a night our house is especially destroyed, we’ve been known to have a 10 minute pick up. Do what works best for your family.

It’s way more relaxing to go to bed not worrying that you might trip and fall when you are up with the kids in the middle of night and knowing that you don’t have a disaster to tackle in the morning because it’s already taken care of!

What do you do to try and keep the toys and clutter picked up in your house?

Linking up to these fun parties!