Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Having these 14 Kitchen Tools Helps Me Eat Healthy

Do you have the right tools to cook healthy? I like when recipes come with a list of tools at the very beginning. Having the right tools help. These are basic tools I use every day to cook plant-based meals.

The Wok – The most effective pan for cooking vegetables is the wok. Once you use this and use it often, you will be amazed at how much you use it because what you throw in it. From tofu to eggplant, to broccoli, rice, and noodles, it cooks everything quickly and thoroughly. Say hello to the wok. Just don’t forget to get the wooden flat spoon if you don’t have one.

Rice cooker -- This makes any grain as they say, “perfect every time.”  Add your white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, sticky rice, barley, assorted variations of quinoa and even veggies and walk away. When time is of the essence and you’re focusing on creating your dish, your rice cooker helps.

Boil basket -- Are you tired of eating rice and quinoa all the time? Welcome, the boil basket. One way to make your quinoa, barley and rice taste uniquely flavorful is with the broth. Whether it's tomato, vegetable, garlic and onion, a good tool to have is this basket. There are so many variations of broth to use to cook your grains. This drops in a pot with the hook hanging out to pull out. Fresh herbs are great to add too.

Spaghetti Spoon – Is not just for spaghetti anymore.  I typically use this for rice, stir-fry, vegetables and anything I need to scoop out of a pan or a bowl. Spoons don’t work as well. We’ve used this so much that the spoon has broken off from the handle. Yep, get the spaghetti spoon.

Slicer – there are two variations I have for this including a mandoline slicer. I like cooking tools, I admit, but I bought one for a friend of mine and she said she really loves it.  Let’s face it, a lot of us don’t have time to carefully slice our onions very thin and if we did, not even chefs do that. They almost always have a slicer.

Rubber spoons – When using non-stick or even sauté pans, I reach for the rubber spoon. These spoons are heat resistant and gentle to plant foods. When you create sauces, these work perfectly from stirring gently to scoop curry sauce out of the pan. Wooden spoons don’t work the same. Thank you, rubber spoon.

Sharp knives – If you have dull knives you should just delay your healthy diet plans.  A sharpener is good to have too.

Pairing knives – These are great to slice small stuff but also with precision. I have been able to slice strawberries, mushrooms, peppers large and small, herbs, tomatoes for bruschetta and speaking of bruschetta, olives too. You minimize cutting yourself if you have a nice set of pairing knives. And yes, get a set of them if you can. You will cry if lose the only one you have.

Electric Teakettle – Wow what a game changer this was. Once I started drinking teas often, the electric teakettle helped my daily routine. I would have pulled my hairs out if I had to wait on my teapot.

Bowl / Basket – A lot of veggies are better left out like tomatoes, avocados, garlic, lemons, limes, bananas, apples, pears, etc. You have to have something to put them in to leave them out.

Grill – This gives roasted veggies a lot of flavors. You don’t have to have a BBQ - just a grill big enough to make one plate full.  Even if you’re trying to grill the chicken instead of frying it, a grill brings a new flavor to your foods. With a light avocado or coconut spray, you will have healthy and great tasting roasted food.

Blender – Great for smoothies but it can do a lot more. I’ve made salad dressings, soups, and sauces in a snap.

Glass Storage Containers – When my sister was throwing them out, I gladly took them. I store beans, barley, teas and polenta that I buy sometimes by the pound. My goal is to have a beautiful pantry with nothing but glass jars filled with dry foods.

Plenty of chopping boards– I use at least 3-4 every single day. I have wooden ones and plastic ones and even had the very thin ones although those didn’t last long.  You will need a chopping board when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Have plenty. One is usually in the sink, in the dishwasher or sitting by the sink all at the same time.

When I listen to people say how challenging it is to eat healthy, my first question I have is if they have the right tools. Whatever those tools are for you, those are the right ones.  Sometimes I find these at thrift stores and flea markets. I found a nice skillet at a flea market for $10 bucks that I use. I also peruse the kitchen stores and even Barnes and Noble to see if they have a solution to any recipes I'm working on. 

Please comment on what tool or appliance you use that helps you make incredibly delicious healthy recipes. I’d love to know!    

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