Welcome to my Kitchen

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Yesterday, Regina left this comment for me:

I love your site and enjoy receiving emails with new dishes that you have made. I am trying to get more home cooked meals in our house and your website is helpful with ideas on what to make and what ingredients are needed. In the mashed potatoes you mentioned you use a stand mixer; I am in the process of getting one and would love to hear what model you have and if this helps with your homemade meals. I was looking at a Sunbeam Heritage mixer (alot cheaper than the Kitchen Aid) but I have read a lot of bad reviews on this. Anyhow, would love to hear what helps you in the kitchen to make all your homemade meals. What tools and appliances are essential for you completion of wonderful meals? Thanks for your great recipes and I am looking forward to trying lots of the already posted recipes.

I’m going to answer Regina’s question in this post.  You’ll also get a good look at my cooking philosophy in action.  I don’t believe that you need the latest and greatest to put wonderful meals on the table for your family.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like new shiny appliances and cooking tools, but they aren’t always in the budget.

Come with me on a tour of my kitchen.  I’m betting it looks a lot like yours. (In fact, yours may be nicer 🙂 )

stove First is my stove.  I know that gas stoves are more responsive and cook better, but this is an all electric neighborhood.  I like the glass top because it’s easy to clean.  It also has expandable burners.

Although I don’t use it often, the programmable oven is nice.  I can set it to start cooking later in the day and stop at a certain time too.

My favorite part of the stove is the “speed bake” or convection oven.  A fan inside circulates the air for more even baking.  It does speed up the cooking time as well.

stand mixerMy stand mixer is a Kitchen Aide.  Jim bought it on Black Friday 12 years ago.  He got it from Walmart.  It’s a low-end model, nothing special but I love it.  I’ve never had an ounce of trouble with it in all this time.  It’s big enough to do whatever I need to do and I haven’t felt the need for fancy attachments.

As much as I love my stand mixer, I’m sure a good quality hand mixer would do the job too.

knife cutting boardThere are 3 things in this picture that I use all the time.  First is the santoku knife.  It’s Henckel’s brand, bought from Target for about $50 with birthday money.  If you don’t have a good knife, I do recommend getting one.  A good, sharp knife makes a huge difference in prep time.  So much faster to chop and dice with a sharp knife vs a dull one.

Update: Since I first wrote this post, I’ve discovered Rada Cutlery.  I love their knives!  You can find out more about Rada knives and keeping any knife sharp here.  Visit the Rada Kitchen Store to buy a great knife for under $10!

Also in the picture is a knife sharpener.   It’s easy to use and keeps the blade sharp.

The cutting board is bamboo.  I bought it from Walmart for about $15.  I know there are better quality cutting boards out there, but I really like this one and it was cheap.

cooking utensil bucketI like to keep my cooking utensils handy by the stove.  The bucket came from Ikea.  Super cheap, but it gets the job done.

The utensils area hodge podge of things I’ve picked up over the years.  I do like the scraper from Pampered Chef.  The bamboo spatulas are also nice to cook with and come from Pampered Chef too.

Hiding in there somewhere is my favorite cooking spoon that is wearing out.  It was a wedding gift.  The shape of the plastic is just right for cooking.  I’m going to miss it when it finally bites the dust.

measuringI like to keep a lot of measuring spoons and cups around.  I hate having to wash one before I can measure again.  As you can see, these are not fancy.

One of the measuring cups even has burn marks from falling to the bottom of the dishwasher, but it still measures.

I always untether the measuring spoons.  It bugs me to have them dangling together from a ring.  Of course, that means I lose them in the drawer a lot.

iron skilletsNothing can replace a well seasoned iron skillet.  These were wedding gifts and have had years of cooking.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

SandyW mentioned her iron skillets in a comment yesterday in reply to Regina’s question.

She makes some good points:

One of the things in my kitchen that I use alot is a well seasoned cast iron frypan. In fact I have 3 different sizes. Mine were handed down from my mother and grandmother. If it is seasoned right it is almost as good as a non stick pan. I wash mine in mild soapy water ( not in the dishwasher) even though the instructions say not to or you will have to reseason it. I have never had rust problems or had to reseason. There are directions on several internet sites, some of them make care of cast iron sound somewhat complicated but I find it pretty simple. Pioneer women did just fine using them on their way west. It is also a good way to get some iron into your family’s diet.

calphalon skilletI bought this Calphalon skillet because I needed something a little bigger and I liked the fact that it has a lid.  I ordered it from Amazon for about $25.  Not a bad deal.

I use it several times a week.  It can also go in the oven.

crockpotYou’ve met my slow cooker before.  It’s a 6 quart model.  I like that it is big, because I can fill it up with a large roast, a whole chicken or a lot of soup.

But there are times I wish I owned a smaller one, as well.  For the best slow cooking, the crock needs to be pretty full.  Not every recipe fills this one up.  I’d also love to have a programmable one someday.  For now, I give this one a work out several times a week.

stock potThe last item is a large stock pot.  It has inserts for cooking and draining pasta, but I rarely use them.  I’m pretty sure this came from William Sonoma.  It was a Christmas gift from one of my husband’s bosses.  Will was such a good cook and he thoroughly enjoyed both cooking and eating.  He also liked to pass that love onto others.

I’m not sure how big this is, but I’m guessing it’s about 8 quarts.  It’s perfect for large recipe of soup or boiling pasta.

So that’s a peak inside my kitchen.  I told you it wouldn’t be exciting.  It probably looks a lot like your kitchen.

Now that you’ve seen my favorite kitchen tools, what are yours? Or what would you like to have for the kitchen that you don’t currently own?

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  1. I LOVE my kitchen Aid – I have had it 18 years and it has never given me trouble and I use it several times a week. The one thing I am missing in my kitchen? A hand mixer! I use the kitchen Aid for everything – but sometimes I wish I had handmixer for the little things – like whipped cream.

  2. I loved seeing your kitchen! You’re right, it looks a lot like mine. I love all my Pampered Chef stuff, especially my scraper and icing spatula. I have a mini-loaf pan that I’m awfully fond of. I use it to make everything from mini-meatloafs to bread. Don’t have a stand mixer, but hope to some day. Right now, I’ve got a good Sunbeam hand mixer that I like a lot, especially for batters. I adore my crockpot. I have a 4-quart one and a smaller one for dips.
    Thanks for the tour of your kitchen!

  3. I too loved seeing your kitchen. I think your oven is awesome to have that convection feature. I have a glass cook top stove also and have always heard not to use cast iron skillets on the stove top. You were sharing your cast iron skillet and I just wondered if you have actually used them on your glass top and/or if you have had any problems by doing so? I don’t have a cast iron skillet and really want one badly and any info would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for sharing your kitchen. It was fun reading about it.

    • Leslie, I use the cast iron skillets on the glass top all the time. I’ve never had any problem at all. I do occasionally do a good cleaning on the glass top. I use a razor blade to remove any crud that didn’t just wipe off. Then I use the special cleaner (comes in a white bottle with a gold lid) to really clean the glass. I think that helps protect the top. I only do this every few weeks or so and it just takes a couple minutes.

  4. Just yesterday I was making soup in the same WS pot you have and thinking how much I love it! I received it as a wedding gift 12 years ago and I use it all the time. I also love my Kitchen-aid mixer – another wedding gift.

    Thanks for all of your great recipe ideas.

  5. I had a glass top until we recently moved. I had always loved a gas stove but I have to admit I really loved my glass top and would buy another one. The heat was fairly responsive and it was so easy to keep clean. I also have used my cast iron on the glass top many, many times and never had a problem.

  6. I bought my sister a Kitchen Aid mixer for her 5 year anniversary. She was so excited. She is the baker in the family. I also love my Pampered Chief scraper I use it everyday to cook. Btw I tried your crock pot chicken fried pork chops the other night. They were excellent. Thank you for all the great recipes you share with us.

  7. Thanks for giving us a peek in your kitchen Tiffany! I do use measuring cups occasionally but my go-to, can’t live without tool is my scale. It has made my baking especially, so much more consistent : ) My cast iron pans are must-haves too!

  8. Hi…I am a new subscriber to your blog and have enjoyed todays post as well. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer and love it! I was wondering about the cast iron pans on a glass top as well. I have always questioned this but never had an answer…thanks so much. Is the bottom of your cast iron pan smooth? I have seen some new types that have ridges and wondered if that would work on glass. Thanks again for your post today…it was fun and informative.

    • Jackie, the bottom of my skillet is mostly smooth, meaning there aren’t any ridges or anything. There is a texture to the surface and the name of the brand and size of the pan is stamped into the bottom too. I’ve never seen the kind that have ridges. I don’t know how that would work on the glass top, but I’ve never had trouble with mine.

  9. I have several of the same tools as you including the BF special kitchen aid from Walmart! The only thing I don’t have is the cast iron pans. I keep meaning to get some but never think of it when people ask what I’d like for my birthday or Christmas. 🙂

  10. thanks so much for the tour of your home. I’d love a kitchen aid not because of it’s a glitzy appliance but because it’s supposed to be the best. Unfortunately the price isn’t the best *L*. I’d love a flat top range with convection and a dual oven and a larger crockpot. I have a small one but would like a big one for doing bigger roasts and chickens.

  11. Oh good! I have a cast iron pot on my christmas wish list but worried about my glass top. So now, tell me, if I get one, what is a great way to start seasoning it?

  12. Thanks for all the comments and info on using cast iron on glass top stoves. I have REALLY been wanting a couple of cast iron pans, but didn’t know if they could be used on my glass top stove. Like Kristal, I would like to know how to start seasoning a cast iron pan. Thanks for such a great blog!

    • To season a cast iron pan, put a heavy coat of oil or grease all over the inside. I think crisco works well because you can get it coated evenly and heavily. Wipe off big clumps, but you do want it to be a heavy coat. Bake it for at least an hour. Set the oven for 350-400 degrees. It might smoke and stink a bit while it’s seasoning. Let the pan cool and then wipe it out with a paper towel. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times and it will also season more as you cook in it.

  13. How neat to have a look in your kitchen! I have been thinking about a Santoku knife and with your added endorsement, I think I’ll get one.

    I love my iron skillets! I use my small one several times a week. The larger one I use less frequently only because it is so dang heavy and when cleaning it my arm gets tuckered out. LOL

  14. Gary Saqyer says:

    I got all the important kitchen accessories,but missing only one thing…that is one handy and malfunctioning mixer… will get it soon…


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