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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My 6 Favorite Non-Toxic Kitchen Essentials

Truth be told, I am still a rookie at this whole healthy cooking thing, cooking in general really, but like everything, the more I cook, the easier it gets. As I go along, I learn about different tools that make life much easier in the kitchen, products that I wish I would have known about when I first started cooking and baking. I wanted to share a few of my favorite kitchen essentials that have made all the difference for me. Collectively, these gems have saved me time, energy, money, and have even improved the quality of my food.  I know I will be adding to this list over time! This is just the beginning.

I present to you my 6 current favorite kitchen essentials, in no particular order (because they're all winners in my mind)...

This was a present I bought for myself this past Christmas. I was using the old juicing tool where you had to really put your back into it and manually twist the citrus fruit around the top to get the juice out and by the end of it you felt like you had just finished a hardcore arm and hand workout. That is not what we want to happen for something that should be a simple and quick task. I usually juice lemons every 2 weeks so that I have freshly squeezed lemon juice ready to go when a recipe calls for it. This tool has saved me so much time. Now, I don't dread juicing citrus fruits anymore. Yay!

Ozeri 10" Stainless-Steel Non-Stick Pan $42.95 (It is on sale now! Its original price is $79.95. Run, don't walk!)
I had been looking for a non-stick pan for a long time but I wasn't going to settle for a pan that contained all of those toxins that have been around for years in traditional non-stick pans. Those harmful chemicals are: PTFE, PFOA, cadmium, lead, and others, and they are released into the environment and into our bodies and lead to serious health problems later in life. PFOA has been under investigation by the EPA. When I finally found a non-toxic non-stick pan that fit the bill, I was ecstatic! Although I have only used this eco-friendly pan a few times since purchasing it in December, I can happily say that it delivers on its promise of being a high performance frying pan with chemical-free non-stick perfection. Now, its ability to endure its non-stick coating can only be determined with time. I'll get back to you on that one.

I use this super nifty (do people still use that word?) electric tea kettle daily, either for tea or for any recipes that call for warm or boiling water. The Adagio Teas utiliTEA electric kettle quickly heats water to what ever temperature you desire. It couldn't be more user-friendly. It is also BPA-free.

Vitamix 5200 Blender $449 (Buy from Sunshine Juicers with this $50 off coupon code: 5200X for the Turboblend VS model - same as mine except I paid a little more for the platinum color)
Big surprise here, eh? I have talked extensively about the Vitamix blender on my blog and I don't get paid a cent to do it. It is easily one of the best investments I have ever made. I use it daily for smoothies but I also use it for soups, dips, desserts, dry chopping vegetables, you name it. It processes everything quickly and produces the silkiest, smoothest texture. It is also easy to clean. I can't say enough great things about this high-quality high-speed blender and how drastically it has changed the way I eat and my willingness to want to eat healthfully because of it. 

Apple Slicer and Corer $10 (The one pictured above is from Target for $8.99)
This is an old faithful product. My mom had an apple slicer and corer around ever since I can remember. I have never sliced and cored an apple without one so when people talk about manually coring and slicing apples, it confuses me because I assume everyone has one in their kitchen but clearly it's a well-kept secret that I want everyone to be in on. This is another kitchen essential that saves time and energy. Hassle-free is the way to be.

This is another one of those old faithfuls that my mom always used. I have never used parchment paper or aluminum foil to bake anything in the oven. It has always been a Silpat baking mat. They are made of woven glass coated with food-standard silicone and are heat-resistant up to 480° F. What I love most about Silpat baking mats is that they're reusable so they last for years (my Silpat above has been around for over 10 years) and they're non-stick so no need to grease. Just clean with dish soap and warm water. Hassle-free is the way to .... you got it. It's pretty cool that they're made in France, too, and they're a staple item for professionals. Money-saver, time-saver and energy-saver. You're welcome.

I'd love to know what your kitchen essentials are and also which of the products above would you find most beneficial? Happy healthy cooking! :-)


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