A Few of My Favorite Things

I’m starting with products I believe will last a long time (or they should!).

They are not a chef’s “top of the line”–but they are my top of the line.

Cooking is a hobby and a passion for me.  I don’t spend money on designer clothes, concerts, theaters, gyms, etc.  I spend it on kitchen items and food.

ABOVE: Cuisinart $149 at Costco

I bought a KitchenAid Food Processor ($279) a year and a half ago, but the the multipurpose blade separated from the white stem during use.  Replacement blade?  $40. Also, the bowl tends to crack easily from regular use–another $40.  I wrote the company and never heard back.  I guess I should have bought the Cuisinart to begin with.  Lesson learned.

I use my food processor almost everyday.  As a matter of fact, this came with an order slip to pick up another bowl for $16.  I believe I will, as often I’m washing to re-use.  Food processors make my cooking life easier.  If I’m chopping veggies by hand, I can be mixing pastry or pureeing in the processor.  It’s a life saver for people who have vegetable gardens.   Fast marinara and pesto too!

ABOVE: KitchenAid Mixer

I may not care for their food processors, but KitchenAid makes a great mixer!  Again, I bought this at Costco.  I can’t remember the exact cost, but I believe it was around $249.  One of my very favorite Christmas presents.  I use it all of the time!  No more little beaters to deal with.  I always burned those little motors out anyway.  Once I got used to adjusting the settings on a professional mixer (“mix on medium” in a regular recipe–does not equal medium on this appliance), it was a breeze to use.

Oh, and a note on the professional mixer:  My mother bought one too, and she called one day to say she was mixing a gluten free bread mix and beating at high (per the directions).  She said it was super loud and beating the dough to death.   Needless to say, her bread died, and she learned the hard way that “High” on the professional is actually more like Medium (4) on this mixer.

ABOVE: Zyliss Can Opener

I love this gadget!  I paid $14.99 at Macy’s.  I can’t stand electric openers, and I prefer the hand crank because certain brands hurt my hand or don’t cut the lid evenly without repeated tries.  This one does an excellent job and it has a little magnet attachment to help pull up the lid–just like the electric openers.

ABOVE:  Le Creuset Oval 8 qt French Oven

I love my Le Creuset.  I’ve collected used pieces from thrift stores and one time I even raced to the city when I was the first person to email a guy and be added to his list for a set of Le Creuset on Craig’s List.   Yes, I entered a strange man’s home alone to pick up a set of black enamel on cast iron Le Creuset.  I’m sick, I know.

Imagine my surprise (and Mark’s jaw dropping as I screamed in public!) when I saw this at Costco.  I don’t know if they have a  deal with Costco or what, but you cannot find 8 qt Le Creuset at the Le Ceuset shop.  Maybe they make them for Costco.  I paid $199–a steal when you compare the cost to a 7.5 qt for $270 and a 9 qt for $300.  These pans will last my life time, and probably be in good enough condition to pass down to my son.   They are high quality enamel cast iron.

E. Guittard Chocolate – Semisweet Dark Chocolate Wafers for Baking and Eating, 61% Cocoa

These make a great flourless chocolate torte!  I buy them at World Market Cost Plus  or PCC. for around $9-13 a box.  I only use them in the good stuff, and it’s all good 🙂



I am not a soda pop person.  Pop has always made me feel kind of tired and out of sorts.  I avoided drinking it for years.  When my friend (Thanks Deb!) shared this with us at a party this summer, Mark really loved it, so he gave me a sip.  Mmmm!  I like to have a little of the Natural Twist  flavor with my popcorn.  I tried the cola, but the caffiene is a bit too much for me (I’m a caffiene light weight).   Mark likes every flavor.  I still rarely drink it, but for folks who have a hard time giving up the unhealthy soder pops, I think this is worth a try.  Why is it on my list of favorites?  I nag and whine about soda pop to my loved ones, and I finally found one that doesn’t scare the ba-jeebers out of me when they drink it.

The great thing about Zevia is that it doesn’t mess with my sugar levels.  The company claims it has no effect on blood sugar levels–ranks zero on the glycemic index.  It is also gluten and dairy free.  Approx. $5.99 six-pack (get it on sale!)

PS I use stevia sweetener in my tea!

One more for now:

I love these Mario Batali 5-Piece Measuring Prep Bowl Sets!  I have two sets –the one in Persimmon orange (above) and a set in Pesto green.  The first set was a gift from my friend Liz (Thanks Liz!), and the second was a find at GoodWill.  They are perfect for prepping and measuring foods for cooking and baking.

You can get them here at Amazon.com for about $9.99 set.

I have lots of favorite things, and I’m always hunting around online for other people’s ‘favorite” things lists.  if you have any favorites, please let me know!


17 thoughts on “A Few of My Favorite Things

  1. I have deep seated KitchenAid Mixer/Le Cresuet envy 🙂

    Both are on my Christmas list for this year. If I get the Kitchen Aid I will be asking for tips!!

    Great blog. I’d never seen the Mario Batali mixing bowls before and you may just run me into a food processor convert. Can you believe I’ve never used one? I live under the fear that they’re hard to clean.

  2. MAVEN: As much as you enjoy cooking, I think you’d love a food processor. The newer processors are super easy to clean and dishwasher safe, but they’re so easy to clean you don’t need to use the DW.
    Le Creuset enamel coated cast iron are easy to clean too.
    I use those Mario B prep bowls everyday too.
    I hope you get everything you want for your kitchen.

  3. I love kitchen gadgets! I don’t use a food processor, as I find the whole chopping/cutting part of cooking very relaxing. I adore my Le Creuset and have been on the lookout for more pieces at garage sales this summer.

  4. Hi Lauren!
    Honestly, I rarely use it to chop veggies–unless I have huge amounts for canning and freezing. I’m usually chopping while something else is whizzing in the food processor. They’re great for pureeing,soups, sauces, cream fillings,I also use it for pastry doughs and certain breads.
    I used to think Le Creuset was just popular because it was french and brand name, but I was sold on it after cooking in one.
    Let me know if you have a favorite chopping knife. I have one, and I’m curious as to what othe people prefer.

  5. SHELAGH: Oh wow! Thanks,I’m going to check out that garlic press. It’s always easier to see what items people recommend, rather than trial and error. I should post a blog on items I bought that turned out to be duds.
    Thanks for commenting 🙂

  6. what is the button on the can opener for? I just use a cheapo stainless steel one. I hate the stand up ones… I have one I have never used just sitting in my cabinet. I have been looking for a good “indoor” dutch oven. thanks for the list!

  7. KIM: The button clicks to open it up,and clicks to lock it in place while opening the can, then you click to release. Plus, there is another red magnet button on the bottom, you hold it over the can after opening, and it sticks to the lid to pull it up and out of your way.
    You can’t go wrong with Le Creuset. They’re expensive, but Costco has a deal! Also, I bought one in California at an outlet store.
    One mistake I made was to buy my first oven too small. When you’re in the shop the 7.5 and 9 qt ovens look huge compared to the 4.5 qt, but I ended up needing the 8 qt (or 7.5 qt) for cooking soups, sauces, roasts, etc. I’m happy I found the 8 qt!

  8. When I killed off the last Cuisinart I bought a Magic Bullet from an Infomercial and NEVER looked back. Pinky swear. I do not have a Kitchen Aid but it is on my permanent wish list. I LOVE the can opener and I too hate electric ones. And adore my Le Creuset, I love the chocolate, have the measuring bowls and seriously need to try that soda. Try as I might I can NOT wean myself from real soda.

    When are we getting together for tea?>!

  9. MLP: Let’s make a date for next week?
    Zevia was on sale at PCC, but if not, QFC in EDmonds often has it on sale in health area.
    I’ve seen those SB, but I’ve never tried one.

  10. I love La Creuset too! (I shouldn’t be telling anyone, but Amazon.com usually has really good prices on mix and match pieces. They even have a whole store dedicated to it.)

  11. Pingback: More of My Favorite Things « Angelnina’s Cottage

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