If you read my homemade ice cream post, you may have seen that I have a slight appliance obsession that I have to work hard to reign in. So you can trust that when I make space for one and actually recommend it to you, it’s worth it if you think you’d use it! I decided to do a round-up of my most favorite. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so I do get a small commission if you purchase using these links!
Rice cooker: We make a lot of brown rice, for bowls and veggies burgers and to sauté with vegetables for a side dish. I was using a smaller rice cooker from my college days, but upgraded about a year ago to this larger version from Aroma. It takes awhile to heat and cook, but the hands on time is practically nothing, and if you add the measured amounts of rice and water, it comes out perfectly every time. There is a little timer too, so you can tell exactly how many minutes until the magical beep tells you that you have a steaming hot pot ready. I keep leftovers in the fridge ready to make into my favorite black bean burgers.
Vitamix: This is hands down my most favorite kitchen item! I received it as a Christmas gift from my mom and grandma a few years ago and I think I’ve used it almost every day since. We use it for smoothies, pureeing soups and sauces, making dessert fillings, hummus, salad dressings, and real fruit margaritas (one of the most fun uses of course). You can buy them new or refurbished, and the refurbished ones are a great value. I understand they are a big investment, but if you think you would use this often, I can’t say enough about my deep love for it. Also, Vitamix has amazing customer service. Mine developed a very small nick in one of the blades and my plunger handle broke. I called the company and a brand new canister and plunger were in the mail the next day, no questions asked.
I am including a few options below. Mine is a Professional Series 500 which may be an outdated model, but it looks most like the first one listed, the CIA Professional Series. I am also including one that looks like a more current version of mine, the Vitamix 5200, as well as a refurbished model, the Vitamix 5300.
Electric griddle: This was given to me at a wedding shower by a good friend of mine (thanks Kristin!) and we love it. On weekends we heat this up and use it for pancakes, French toast, or eggs (and sometimes all three). We just had our 10 year wedding anniversary, so that gives you some insight into the incredible staying power of this appliance 🙂
Salad Spinner: Another wedding gift that is still kicking after years of good, hard use! I don’t think they make the exact same model we have anymore, but it is OXO brand and looks a lot like the one linked below. When I buy bunches of greens at the store (kale, chard, romaine, etc.), I rip or chop them up, toss in here for a quick clean and spin, then store in the refrigerator in the container. I’m so much more likely to reach for the greens if they are prepped and ready to use!
Food Processor: Mine is an older model Cuisinart, but the link below is a very similar version. They make larger, fancier ones, but I’ve never needed larger than this. I use this for making homemade pesto, riced cauliflower or broccoli, certain veggie burger recipes, desserts, pizza dough, and dicing vegetables when I have a lot to chop/dice/mince. It’s easier to get all of the finished product out of the machine bowl as compared to the Vitamix, so I prefer it for things that may be sticky, i.e. pesto or thick batters.
Mixer: I’m not the best at baking, but whenever I decide to give it a whirl, this stand mixer is called upon to work it’s magic. Easy to use and clean, and highly recommended if you do like baking and don’t already have one. ‘Nuf said.
Spiralizer: I used to have a 3 blade spiralizer from Padermo which I liked, but I ended up switching it out for the version from Alli at Inspiralized. Her version has an additional blade option and the blades are built in, changeable by turning a knob versus actually changing out the blade. The only thing I don’t love about it is that sometimes the suction that holds it in place comes undone while I am spiralizing, but this isn’t a big issue in the greater scheme of life. I can power through it 🙂
Cuisinart Immersion Blender: This is great if you make a lot of soups that you want to puree without transferring to a blender, which is the main reason I use it (i.e. this black lentil soup). Honestly, I don’t use this one a ton anymore except for that. The other reason you may use it is for the small bowl attachment, which will dice and chop small amounts of veggies, etc., or for the electric whisk attachment. If I have something to whisk heavily, I usually just throw it in the mixer, but some people may prefer the electric whisk included here. It’s really easy to clean all parts and attachments so that’s always a bonus.
Glass Storage Containers: I love these glass storage containers so much! I have two sets and sometimes even then I wish I had more. We have a lot of leftovers, which these are great for, and between the different sizes you can fit almost whatever you need. I also use them for mixing or melting or storing the portion of canned items that I don’t use, i.e. beans or canned tomatoes. I love the colored lids and they stack perfectly in the fridge so space and food are both saved #win-win.
Ice Cream Maker: My neighbor brought some homemade vanilla ice cream when she came over once, and it was so freaking delicious that I knew we had to get this. I went really gung-ho with it at first, but I haven’t used it in months which I am embarrassed to admit but look at me just being all honest. We did make some really great ice creams when I was on the kick, so I am holding out hope that I will work this back into regular rotation. Just throwing it out there in case you think you need an ice cream maker. This one works really well! You keep the container in the freezer so it’s ready when you are, then just pour the ingredients in and wait about 15 minutes or until desired consistency. Voila.
Crockpot: I always had a smaller one and just got the larger size last winter. I’ve been thinking more about my crockpot lately and how I should use it way more than I do. It seems like the world’s greatest invention, right? Throw food in there, walk away and it’s done in 3- 8 hours?! So I am making a real effort lately to create and find vegetarian crockpot recipes. I’ll share the tried and tested ones!
Crock-Pot 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel (SCR300SS) – the smaller one
Juicer: I go through phases with juicing, because usually I prefer a smoothie unless someone else does the work of actually creating the fresh juice. But awhile ago, we got this juicer and I have been happy with the ease of use and performance. Cleaning up is a bit of a mess, but I think that’s the case with most juicers because they all produce pulp and juice and require cutting of produce so basically you’re making a mess no matter what juicer you use. (Can you tell that the mess involved is part of the reason I don’t juice often anymore?!)
And finally, some favorite cookbooks! Cookbooks can be tricky because they seem all nice and shiny and you buy them and have the best intentions to use them but then….Pinterest. And your cookbooks get stored and take up space and you’re just too lazy to flip through them when you’re thinking about what to make. BUT the ones below I have come back to again and again, OR I learned some great info or tips from and therefore would recommend. Or at least check them out at the library if you don’t want to make the full commitment.
100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love – healthy family friendly recipes.
Crazy Sexy Juice: 100+ Simple Juice, Smoothie & Elixir Recipes to Super-charge Your Health – I love Kris Carr’s laid back yet informative tone, and she packs a lot of info + some great smoothie and juice recipes in here.
And these two are on my wish list: