I recently got asked about what tools I can't live without and what my dream kitchen would look like. While I love my kitchen, there is an ongoing list of things I wish I had. My husband and I attended a friend's housewarming party last fall, and as soon as I stepped into their kitchen, I mentally started adding things to my wish list.
In addition to this pie-in-the-sky dream, I also wanted to share a list of my kitchen must-haves. These are the workhorses of my kitchen and things that I reach for either on a daily or weekly basis.
Without further adieu, here are my kitchen essentials, in no particular order:
- KitchenAid stand mixer. I own the classic model in white and bought it about 10 years ago when I took a cake decorating class at my local craft store. At the time, I balked at the price and even asked the instructor if it was possible to make the buttercream by hand whisking. Ha! I would love to upgrade to the Professional series one day since it has a larger bowl and stronger motor.
- Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch bakeware. I used to own the generic brand of baking sheets and pans. And of course my baked goods stuck to the pans like nobody's business. I finally upgraded to the Gold Touch brand and haven't looked back. I rarely have to grease my pans and sheets and am in love with this product line. I'm slowly replacing all my old bakeware and need to stalk the sales.
- Imitation Silpat. This wonderful silicone baking mat has been a savior in the kitchen. I bake cookies and other items on there and never have to work about my baked good browning or burning. I set my caramel on there to cool and roast vegetables on there too. I bought two imitation versions at a home goods store and can't vouch for the original French brand, but I can't live without these.
- Le Creuset round Dutch oven. I also balked at the price of these Dutch ovens ($300!?!?!) but quickly realized how versatile this cookware was. I bought mine at a Le Creuset outlet store so mine may be slightly discolored or damaged, but I don't care. I've made countless soups, stews, sauces and dishes in my Dutch oven. I plan on gifting one to Addie once she's older.
- Blendtec blender. I can't even begin to tell you how many cheap blenders I've broken while trying to make smoothies. I wish I was kidding! My previous blenders couldn't even chop ice! This blender does it all. I use it to make smoothies, soup, desserts and sauces. I'm sure I could use it to make ice cream but haven't tried it yet. My parents use theirs at least once a day to make juices. It's well worth the investment.
- Henckels chef's knife. This is my everyday knife. I use it to chop just about everything. We have a knife block, and my husband often gets frustrated when he can't slice something. I tell him to get out the "good knife" and then he's happy. I loved mine so much that I bought my mom one as well (she loves hers too).
- Pampered chef spatulas. I've had mine for over 10 years and they are still going strong. My spatulas are the first things I grab in my baking drawer when I have to mix something by hand. I use it for non-baking items too and can't imagine life in my kitchen without my beloved Pampered Chef babies.
- A gas-powered 8-burner range with double ovens and griddle. My house is configured with an electric stove (ugh), so cooking on the range takes FOREVER... especially when I'm making caramels or something that requires that I heat something to a specific temperature. I'd love to have two ovens so I can bake two things at once, and the griddle could be a great place to set my mise en place or to grill other items (like pancakes, burgers, veggies or maybe even a pizza!). While this gorgeous BlueStar ruby red range probably wouldn't match with my existing decor, it's still freaking awesome.
- A French door refrigerator. My kitchen has custom cabinetry that the original owners had installed. While it makes for a nice, uniform kitchen, it doesn't give me the flexibility to swap out refrigerators. There is cabinetry built on either side of the refrigerator so only a certain sized fridge will fit into the space. Unless I can tear down part of the cabinetry, I cannot own a beauty like this. Oh, French door refrigerator... how I long to have thee.
- A center island with a sink. I'd love a kitchen large enough where I can install a granite island with a separate sink and seating area. This could be a great area to prep food and baked goods, gather around for a party or a place for Addie to do her homework. Is that too much to ask?
- Organized storage for pots and pans. My husband likes to give me a hard time when I put my pots and pans away because it's super noisy. I have to put the large items on the bottom of the drawer and then stack the smaller ones on top. Having something like this organized drawer would make me a very happy camper. And quieter, to boot.