Oct May I Suggest: Kitchen.

  • small williams-sonoma rubber spatulas (perfect for everything)
  • pyrex measuring pitchers (these are a staple around here for melting and measuring)
  • mini whisks (awesome for brownie and muffin batter)
  • lemon squeezer (i use this way more than i ever thought i might)
  • garlic crusher (this one is amazing. thank you, david.)
  • stainless steel measuring cups (may as well splurge on the good kind so the measurements never rub off; however benji adores my retired plastic ones)
  • cookie spatula (sturdy and thin enough for the most fragile sugar cookie)
  • vegetable palm peeler by chef'n (way better than my rusty swivel version)
  • slotted wooden spoon (this goes without saying)
  • three cookie sheets (i hate scrubbing them, but love having more than two for big batches)
  • large container of cookie cutters (my mom gave me an assorted collection when i got married. it's such a great gift idea to a young bride who assumes her days will be full of cookie making and frosting and sprinkling)
  • hand egg beater (i feel like a legit housewife with this hand-me-down in my drawer)

When I'm in the mood for it, I love cooking.  I've discovered so many wonderful kitchen gadgets in the past couple years that it's been tough to narrow them down for this post, but here are a few of my favorites:

Baking stone:  The more you use it, the better it gets (which is why I would never trade mine for a new one, no matter how black and mottled it is).  My favorite application is homemade pizza, but it also works great for artisan breads and cookies.  Stoneware decreases scorching and makes crispier crusts.  Tips: food tends to turn out better when the stone is hot, so preheat the stone along with the oven, and don't wash it with soap--the stone can absorb it and soap takes away the stone's "seasoning."

Fresh Mozzarella:  I am, unfortunately, a cheese wuss--I don't handle strong, sharp flavors well--but fresh mozzarella is something even I can appreciate.  It's very mild and soft, and you can use it on all kinds of things: chunked up in salads, sliced on homemade pizza or lasagna, or as an integral part of this bruschetta, which is one of my absolute favorite foods.

Inside Out Bowls:  When it comes to Anthropologie, I'm more of a looker than a shopper, but I fell head-over-heels for these bowls...so we splurged a little. They're just the right size for fruit or ice cream, and we use them all the time.  And maybe I'm just easily satisfied, but every time I see them in my cupboard, they make me happy.

I like to keep my kitchen very simple and organized. I find that I enjoy cooking a lot more when I do. And to me simple means not having a lot of gadgets and stuff around if I don't really need them. I really like using my hands in the kitchen instead of letting other things do the hard work for me. With that being said I had to wrack my brain a bit to find some good kitchen things to share with all of you...

1. Wooden Spoons and Spoon Oil: There is something about using a wooden spoon when I'm cooking that makes me feel like a real authentic cook. Or maybe it just reminds me of watching my grandma cook when I was a little girl. I don't know what it is, but stirring a pot of {insert favorite food here} with a wooden spoon makes me really happy. I've started a little collection of them, and it's been a fun thing for me. One thing that is important is that you take care of your wooden spoons, cutting boards, bowls, or anything else wooden that you use in the kitchen so that it doesn't dry out and splinter. It's really simple to whip up some spoon oil and use it to condition your wood. I found great instructions over at 3191 to do this. I used about 2 ounces of beeswax (got mine at Whole Foods) and 8 ounces of mineral oil (found in the pharmacy section of the supermarket) to make the jar of spoon oil pictured above. Want to feel like you're an old pro in the kitchen and making the most delicious home cooked meal ever? Use a wooden spoon!
2. White dish towels: Again, I like my kitchen to be simple yet functional and having all white kitchen towels helps me accomplish this. If they get super dirty, stained, no big deal. Throw them in the wash with some bleach and they come out looking great! It also helps me to really see when they do need to be changed out (hard to keep a dirty white towel around too long). I've found that through the years my taste and style changes and I've usually ended up with a whole lot of mismatched towels that look worn out and, switching to all white solves that problem. There is just something about having clean, white dish towels in the kitchen that makes me want to pull one out to cover some rising dough... I don't know, maybe it's a mind trick, but I strongly suggest it.
3. Homemade All Purpose Cleaner: I like to make my own cleaning spray. I started doing this about a year ago and I don't think I will ever go back. It's super easy, and I love it. Here's what you do. Get a spray bottle from the store. Now you fill it with three ingredients. Water, rubbing alcohol, and vinegar (using equal parts of each). That's it. I used to use 409 but it would make me sneeze every time I used it (not cool), and then I switched to Greenworks which I loved, but I go through so much of this stuff I hated having to buy it all the time. So now I make my own, and I really love this combination. I use it to clean my counters, mirrors, tables, smudges on the walls, you name it. And I promise that as soon as the vinegar dries you wont even smell it anymore.

With so many good suggestions listed above, I feel good about saying I skipped out this week. Am getting ready to teach at the SLC Art Weekend tomorrow, and preparing has been all-consuming. But, if I were to pick some favorite items in the kitchen, I would say:
1. Sugar
2. Wheat
3. Eggs
4. Dairy
Everything I'm not eating (sugar) or have recently discovered I'm allergic to. In my family, Food+Eating=LIVING. Right now, I'm leaning towards ignoring my allergies and living with the consequences. A stomach ache sounds a lot nicer than never eating Gma's cookies again. (Best cookie recipe ever. No really, it is.)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


  1. You poor thing with those allergies! My family is the same one and one of my silly prayers when I'm pregnant is that my child won't turn out to have food allergies!! My sil is lactose-intolerant and while she does have the advantage of lactaid, she generally just ignores the allergy when it's something she wants to eat - who wants to never eat ice cream again? Maybe you could check out any good food-allergy groceries you find and use what you like, and ignore the rest? I really felt for you when you said you were allergic to all those things!!

  2. Boo for your allergies! WHAT?! All those things?! I'm so sorry, Hannah! I totally agree, Food+Eating=Life. No fun!
    And, I agree, your Gma's cookies are, truly, the BEST.
    Good luck, cute Hannah! And, have fun this weekend! I wish I could come and listen to you!!

  3. I agree - grandma's cookies are way worth a belly ache.

    I would also suggest a microplane. I love that tool.

  4. I found out I was allergic to dairy, wheat, and soy when I was in high school. It's pretty much impossible (at least for me) to go without those, so I live the the consequences. It's way better than being hungry all the time. Good luck.

  5. I'm with Lindsay... I smile everytime I open my cabinets to those bowls.

  6. I made your grandma's cookies this morning for a relief society activity this afternoon. Two thumbs up on the cookie dough!! (I haven't had a cookie yet, but plan to very soon).

  7. Not to diminish your lame food allergies, because I think that's quite lame,

    butI love the part about the wooden spoons and oil in this post. LOVE it. I have been wondering what to do about my wooden stuff for awhile now and that link was really helpful.


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