I am by no means a singer or theater/movie buff, and it might borderline cliche but…
Every kitchen aficionado has their own go-tos. Here are mine (in no particular order), and this list will grow as does this site. Curious about what I’m using or need a recommendation? Drop a note in the comments or on Instagram and we’ll see what I have up my sleeve.
- Le Creuset Dutch Oven — Worth the expense as they last a lifetime. I found my first and beloved one at a TJ Maxx in rural Mississippi (location of my first post-grad job). It was green, half off and I couldn’t leave with it out. It’s been 6.5 years and despite now having a few more, is still my No. 1.
- Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer — Also worth the expense, that said, mine randomly appeared in my parents kitchen when I was 14ish. I think my grandmother, who was in the kitchen remodeling business at the time, got it for free, or it came with our new microwave? That said, its lived in Missouri, Mississippi, Connecticut and currently New Jersey, and still runs like it did on day one.
- Lodge Cast Iron Pans — Cast iron is trendy again, but for good reason. The pans are almost indestructible, heat evenly and are easy to clean.
- Nespresso — I have the original line, and got very into it after our trip to Spain where we were forced to only drink espresso. It’s just so much better than filter coffee. I love brewing a green Lungo pod over a glass of ice for the perfect quick iced Americano (since half of the ice melts).
Fridge and Pantry Items
- Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste — Measures 1:1 like extract, but packs 10x the flavor. I use it when I want the vanilla to stand out, like in my grandmother’s sugar cookies, whipped cream or Creme brûlée. Chocolate chip cookies and other recipes that call for vanilla extract, don’t get the upgrade.
- Prechopped Mirepoix — Huge time saver and buying a whole bunch of celery when I only need two stalks is annoying. Trader Joe’s is my go-to, but most grocery stores are also chopping “in house.”
- Fresh Garlic from the local farmers market — I bought a head to meet a credit card minimum and discovered how not fresh the heads in the grocery store are. Now a farmer’s market trip isn’t complete without one.
- Kitchen Basics stocks — Probably because my mom purchases them, but aside from Trader Joe’s, these are my go to for store-bought. They are rich, delicious, and chicken comes in low salt. Plus, during the holidays, they also have turkey.
- Ghirardelli anything — Always my No. 1 choice when it comes to baking bars and chips. Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks are an easy No. 2 for cookies. Their brownie mixes are also 100%.
- Kikoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce — Store brands (even Trader Joe’s) always taste off, so this might just a creature of habit choice, but nonetheless my go-to.
- Parchment paper — This stuff is magic and I fear baking without it. No amount of cooking spray, butter or flour can do what parchment paper does when it comes time to unmold from a pan.
- Calfia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk — This almond milk is thicker and creamier than others we’ve tried and doesn’t seem too metallic to me. Therefore seems to substitute for regular milk better in my opinion. But for cereal, Blue Diamond is just fine.
- Dinners (or brunch!) with friends
- Day dreaming about my future kitchen
- Sports, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals, golf, college football and my fantasy football team — the NY Tomatoes of NJ
- Cats (but my husband is allergic)
- Running (sometimes)
(Updated: December 2018)