Top 5's

Kitchen Gadgets

Vegan living requires planning and preparation, especially in the kitchen. We have found that some tools really help make preparation easier and are worth making our lives easier or more comfortable. Jon and I each have our own set of top 5 kitchen gadgets. I’ll start.

Jenna

#1 Tablet and Cookbook Stand

I certainly love cooking from cookbooks but truth be told, most of the recipes we use we have saved online (even if we own the cookbook). We find it easier to prop a tablet on a cookbook stand and read the recipe from there for a few reasons. First, all of our recipes can be found on the one device. No having to flip through books looking for the right one. Second, the print can be enlarged and it is easier to keep track of what step you are on. Third, conversions. We shoot for little waste, often we at least halve recipes (and still have left overs) since we are just two people. Also, I am working hard at losing weight. I like to log my food into a calorie counter on Sparkpeople.com and that is much easier when my tablet is in the kitchen already! We use two apps in particular for recipes: Pinterest and Pocket. (Check out a few of our favorite recipes on our Pinterest) For our absolute recipe staples that we always want access to we use Pocket because they can even be accessed if you have no internet access! This has really saved us travelling. We keep a homemade cough syrup recipe in here that we swear by! It could be used for grocery shopping too, though we are more pen and paper folks for that.

#2 Bowl Covers and #3 Food Savors

Again, we shoot for as little waste as possible. That being said, I hate dealing with left overs. Finding the right containers is time consuming and collecting the containers can take up valuable storage space. I also don’t like my food looking or smelling suspicious if I am going to use it again later. We use cloth bowl covers for leftovers that we are planning on eating up within the next day or so. I made these myself (I love to sew practical, useful items) years ago and they are still going strong. I have a couple different sizes and they are handy because they are quick and can fit anything from jars to square casserole dishes. They also work wonderfully for coving bowls when rising dough. The best part though? We just throw them in with our washing!

Food savors are silicone discs that cover the end of produce that you have cut into . We have two sets and use them on a daily basis. They are great for cucumber, onion, avocado and bell pepper. But we also use them to cover cans and jars too! We save on so many plastic bags and awkward containers! Admittedly I was a little shocked by the upfront cost, but I’d re-buy in a heartbeat! (Amazon sometimes has deals too…)

#4 Pineapple Corer

Necessity in life? No. But it does make weekly food prep much easier. I LOVE fresh pineapple! I hate paying to have the store cut it for us (too expensive and then you have a plastic container to deal with). For us, fresh is the way to go and this awkward looking device really speeds up the process!

#5 Mason Jars, Lids and Reusable Straws

We use mason jars. A lot. We use them for drinks (especially smoothies), to store leftovers, in the pantry for dry goods and even to transport our lunch to work (soups and salads). Mason jars are cheap. The one thing we change are the tops. I don’t like the metal rings as they often rust and are hard to open so we invest in plastic tops. We also bought lid and reusable straws to make iced beverages that much easier to transport! Our cat, Fret, LOOOVES water. We have to use the lids or she will drink all our water!!

#1 Dough Scrapper

So I love to bake. It’s become one of my favorite kitchen activities (a close second to actually eating the food). I love the smell of yeast, how baked bread or sweets smell, how you combine all these ingredients and get something new and awesome… I just love baking! That being said, I’ve have had a love/hate relationship with the actual dough. It can be sticky, messy, and if not handled right you get misshaped loafs. Enter the dough scrapper. I’m not sure this is the official name of the product but it’s basically a silicone spatula tip but a little bigger. It’s great for getting dough out of a bowl, shaping it, diving it, and handling it. All this with less mess too. Is it necessary? No, I’ve made lots of baked goods without one. But honestly I’d rather use a dough scrapper from now on!

#2 Silpat Mat

Speaking of messes in the kitchen. A silicone baking mat helps A TON with minimizing both mess and waste. It’s like a reusable piece of parchment paper… but better! It’s really tough to use though… you have to put it on the baking sheet and… well that’s actually all you have to do! Your food cooks as normal, won’t stick, and your bakeware lasts even longer! We have 2 mats so that we can cycle them out as they get dirty.

Making messy sticky cauliflower wings? No problem! They won’t stick to the mat.

#3 Bread Bags

We bought some linen cloth bags for storing baked goods. We prefer to make our own bread because one, then you actually know what’s in your baked good and two, less waste. It’s also cheaper in most cases! To help “protect our investment” of whatever we made, we needed a good way to store the bread that wouldn’t make the bread hard or mold quickly. These linen bags have worked great on breads, bagels, and even cookies! They are reusable, washable, small to store, and very handy to have around.

#4 Patty Press

But wait you’re thinking. “Vegans don’t eat burgers!” Yes, that’s true we don’t eat what many people consider a “burger” but the patty press is still SO useful to us! This little gadget can be used to shape veggie burgers, veggie sausage patties, nice and even biscuits, and a variety of other yummy vegan items. It can portion in three different sizes which allows for not only good measurements but also even portions for all your dishes.

#5 Tea Steeper/ French Press

Let’s make one thing very clear. Jenna is the tea drinker and I love a good cup of coffee. These gadgets are our methods for making caffeine. While we don’t drink the same form of it we both surely thank God for caffeine. Now if we went to a Dunkin Donuts and got two medium drinks (and iced tea for Jenna and a cold brew for me) we’d spend between 4 and 5 dollars. Over time that adds up! Making it at home is just as easy, cheaper, and way less plastic waste. A tea steeper and a little patience yields a great cup of tea for the wife, and I put some ground coffee and water in the press overnight and get a super tasty coffee for the whole next day! The grounds and leaves go to the compost, the beverages go in mason jars (see above!) and we’ve saved money, had less waste, and got our caffeine fix for the day!

 

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