The other day, I was informed by my four-year-old that I am “so old” now. Granted, she gives this label to anyone over the age of 12, but it made me think about how things have changed since I “got old.” I realized that I’ve simplified so much of my life over the last decade. I use the same ingredients like bentonite clay for washing my hair, detoxing my armpits and making tooth powder.
I use coconut oil for practically everything. I’ve also simplified my wardrobe and my kitchen tools lately (now to just simplify the shoes…)
When I first got married, I practically collected kitchen gadgets and dishes because I was just learning to cook and I loved experimenting. Now, I have worked to simplify and reduce the number of tools and gadgets in my kitchen and I’m left with wonderfully half-empty drawers and cabinets that only contain the tools I really use.
These are 14 of the kitchen gadgets and tools that made the cut and that I use daily, take on vacation and couldn’t cook without… In fact, I could probably cook practically anything with just these items:
Stainless Steel Table Pans
When we had our third child, regular baking sheets started becoming too small. I found these stainless steel table pans that are used for catering and in restaurants.
They are perfect for everything from roasting a turkey to preparing pounds of roasted vegetables to making a 12-pound meatloaf to serve 30+ people (did that last night).
I can prepare an entire meal with two of these by making meat in one dish and roasted vegetables in another and they are ready at the same time. I typically also use these to make double of a meal so we have another meal of leftovers.
These are steel, not aluminum like most baking pans, and have a much deeper lip so spilling isn’t an issue. I’ve donated all of my other baking pans and ONLY use these now. Even better, they stack and store very minimally.
I even bring them when we go on vacation. Best $20 I’ve ever spent.
Kitchen scissors are much more useful than they get credit for. Besides opening packages and cutting up a chicken, they make preparing food for small children so much faster. I use them at every meal to cut up meat and vegetables for my babies and toddlers.
Kitchen tongs are another multi-use kitchen gadget. They can be used for stirring, tossing, salad serving, grilling, sautéing and so much more.
A good immersion blender replaces a blender, whisk and various other kitchen tools. It can be used to make butter coffee in the morning, whisk foods or blend sauces, or even make homemade whipped cream. It also stores easily in a small drawer (unlike a blender). We still have a Blendtec and love it, but I use the immersion blender more often.
These oven gloves replace hot pads and kitchen mits and store very minimally. They also work for grilling and are perfect for wearing while cooking with a cast iron pan.
A Great Knife
A friend introduced me to Wusthof knives. They are pricy, but these three knives have replaced my entire knife block and they also store minimally in a single drawer.
As drinking glasses, food storage, vases, candle holders, for canning, salad in a jar, and so much more… mason jars can replace so many other kitchen containers.
Cuppow lids turn mason jars into an easy no-spill drinking cup.
Cast Iron Skillet
It would be possible to cook almost every meal with just a cast iron skillet if needed. It can be used stove top, in the oven or even on a campfire. Once you season it correctly, a cast iron skillet is relatively non-stick and lasts forever.
These huck towels have replaced all of my kitchen towels and napkins. They are much more absorbent than regular kitchen towels, easy to wash and work as cloth napkins as well. They even use these in hospitals to clean up blood because they work so well.
A set of stainless steel bowls replaced all of my glass, plastic and silicon bowls that I used to use. They stack and store together and since they have a lid, they work for food storage as well.
Stainless Steel Dishes
With kids, glass dishes never work well. We’d broken about half of our glass wedding dishes when we finally switched to stainless steel dishes for the kids. Now, we have a stash of steel plates, bowls and cups that we use daily. They are dishwasher and oven safe and don’t break!
Our simple set of bamboo utensils replaced all of the plastic utensils we used to have and they work so much better.
An unusual kitchen tool and one of my favorites. A crinkle cutter is safe for the kids to use to help me chop vegetables for meals, which helps keep them involved and makes them more likely to want to eat what we’ve made.