Tools of the Trade – Our Favorite Kitchen Toys

Blendtec high power blender: one of my favorite kitchen tools

One of my great joys is preparing meals for Lake Villa Guatemala guests. I’m often asked for recipes, but I’m also asked what kind of kitchen tools I use and recommend.

Are these tools required to prepare outstanding vegan meals? Not at all. You skip them all of them and still make delicious plant-based cuisine. Some of them, however, will make your life far easier whether you cooking is plant-based or not.

If you want to purchase these handy items, I’d appreciate you using the links below. It’s rare that this is not the best deal you can get, and if you use these links,  I’ll may get a small credit for your purchase. Your purchase helps with the cost of running this site.

Blendtec: The Ultimate Blending Machine

I used a Vitamix for years. It’s a great machine, but my love affair with my Blendtec far surpasses what I felt for the Vitamix.

I use the Blendtec every day–for soups, salad dressings, hot chocolate, smoothies, my homemade nut and coconut milks, and nut cheeze. In fact, I typically use it several times a day. No other single kitchen tool gets the kind of workout that I give my Blendtec.

This set, offered through Amazon, is a nice deal. It includes the twister jar, which is fantastic for making smooth sauces and salad dressings. I also use it to make nut butters. Is there anything better than homemade almond butter? Yum!

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot changed the way I cook.

With several pre-sets plus manual controls, I can sauté, slow cook, and pressure cook with one pot. I pressure cook beans, saute onions and garlic, make soup, cook rice, and even steam artichokes!

The Instant Pot is energy-efficient and very safe. I can leave beans or soups to pressure cook while I’m away and not give it a second thought!

Actifry

A guest told me about this wonderful air fryer. It has a paddle keeps the food moving as hot air cook it. You can make french fries from a pound of potatoes with only one or two tablespoons of oil! I use it to cook potatoes, stir fries, and even to make my tofu scramble.

If you love french fries but don’t like the fat, this appliance is a must!

Cuisinart Food Processor

I have a 25 year old Cuisinart DLC7 Super Pro. They’re wonderful, but not made anymore. This is the updated version–simple, elegant, and affordable.

Some people get by with just a high-power blender, but there are things that simply come out better in a food processor. Pesto sauce, desserts like my Chocolate Balls of Deliciousness or Peanut Butter Truffle Balls, and grating hard foods like coconut or carrots are all better done in a food processor. 

Ultrasonic Washer

I eat a lot of raw foods, and this is what I use to clean them all. While others rely on chemicals to clean their fresh produce this ultrasonic washer gets rid of chemicals such as pesticides, and germs.

The washer I use is no longer available, but if I were to buy another, this is the one I would get.

I disinfect all produce as soon as I come back from the market, and it’s ready to eat.

Zojirushi Water Boiler and Warmer

Zojirushi Water Boiler and WarmerI keep water hot for guests to make tea at any time. This gem of a boiler and warmer is insulated, so it keeps the water hot with minimal energy usage. It has three temperature settings (including two that I’m told are perfect for different teas). It also has a timer, so I can set it up at night and have hot water ready for my morning coffee. 

Excalibur Dehydrator

When I bought my first dehydrator, I read reviews for a cheaper brand that claimed it was as good as the Excalibur. I bought it. It wasn’t as good.

This baby gives me plenty of drying space for raw breads, mushroom burgers, dried fruit, and my favorite kale chips!

Dehydrators tend to be a bit noisy, so I keep mine in the laundry room.

My Go-To Pan

Most of my pans are stainless, but this enameled cast iron casserole pan gets more use than any other pan I own.

It retains heat well, it’s solid (and heavy!), and the cover fits well. You can pay far more for a similar pan with a fancier brand name. This one has been great for nearly five years of heavy use so far.

Enameled Cast Iron Wok

There’s nothing like this wok for stir fries. Like the casserole pan, it’s heavy!

The glass lid fits well, and the shape is perfect for the large quantities of veggies I stir fry.

You can pay more than twice the price for a fancier brand, but with this wok there’s no need!

Nut Milk Bag

I make all my own non-dairy milks. I don’t like the processed flavor of commercial milks. With coconuts so plentiful and cheap here, there’s no reason not to make my own! Almond milk is so much better when it’s made fresh.

I’ve tried several nut milk bags: nylon, hemp, and cotton. This organic, unbleached cotton bag is my favorite. It cleans easily and doesn’t let the pulp through (which is a problem with many nut milk bags over time, especially the nylon bags.)

I also use nut milk bags for making non-dairy cheeses. Can you say carrot cake with homemade cashew cream cheese frosting? Mmmm.

Vegetable Steamer

I steam a lot of veggies. I’ve tried silicone steamer baskets, but I keep coming back to the trusty stainless steel version.

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