The right tools make preparation easy,fast and fun.
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|Vita-Mix High Speed Blender
The Vita-Mix 5200 is the only blender to consider. This machine has blades that move at 240 mph, more than enough power for any blending job and tough enough to break down the tough cellular walls of plant cells. You could chew greens for days and not access the nutrition in one green smoothie you make with the Vita-Mix. It’s your passport to easy, increased veggie consumption. Make juices, smoothies, nut butters, hummus, even flours from grains.
Vita-Mix 5200 (free shipping by using this link)
I used to make all my juices using the Vita-Mix and then strain the pulp, but once I got the Breville Juice Fountain Elite, I gave up that messy and time consuming habit. Either method leaves a fair amount of fiber & flavor-rich pulp for use in crackers, muffins or breads. There are a wide range of juicers available. Some prefer the Champion Juicer or the very pricey Norwalk. Whicherver you choose, get one and start juicing! Drinking fresh veggie juices is that fastest path to health.
Healthy cooking is mostly chopping, dicing and slicing, so treat yourself to knives you love. The 8 inch Shun chef knife, designed by Ken Onion, is hands down the most used tool in my kitchen. I like the weight and shape of the handle, and the curve and cutting ability of the blade. This knife and the 3½ inch Shun Classic Paring knife will meet most of your needs. There is no need to buy a full set of expensive knives.
8 inch Ken Onion Chef Knife by Shun
3½ inch Shun Classic Paring Knife
| Quality Cutting Boards
Investing in a pair of chef knives requires that you care for them well by using them on quality cutting boards. End-cut bamboo is easy on knives, attractive, made from a renewable resource and priced very well. Choose a large board for ample working area for full meal prep, and a smaller board for lighter tasks. If you have vegan or vegetarian members in your family, you may want to consider a separate board for meats and cheeses.
17.25 by 13.75 by 1 inch
13.5 by 7.25 by 1 inch
Incorporating raw cuisine will be infinitely simpler with this efficient machine. It has as small bowl for tiny jobs as well. The standard food processor is definitely the 9 cup version of this machine, but I love this 7 cup model. Two reasons, it is the perfect size for most recipies for a family of four, and it has a small bowl and blade included for smaller jobs.
Not just for beef jerky anymore! You will be amazed at the amazing raw foods you will make with your dehydrator. Excaliber Dehydrator is the trusted standard and most recipies are designed to fill a tray or two in this machine. The 5 tray model is nearly the same price as the larger 9 tray machine. Opt for the large since it takes no more counter space and allows you to dehydrate multiple things at once. Team up with another curious cook who wants to experiment with raw foods and prepare batches of “neatballs”, flax crackers, or whatever you like. Split up the batches so you can try a variety of things each week.
Any bowl large enough to accommodate your ingredients will suffice, but for price and convenience choose Pyrex glass mixing bowls. Glass is nonporous, so it doesn’t absorb flavors or odors. The lids work well for storage and if you have a small kitchen, you can pop on a lid and stack to save counter space.
Pyrex 8 Piece Mixing Bowl Set
The spiral slicer is the best thirty dollars you can spend! If you are ready to replace pasta with veggies, get this now. Forget the flour and eggs formed into noodles and use raw vegetables like zucchini or squash to make pasta. Toss a quick, easy sauce over the veggie noodles to warm them. They absorb the flavors of your sauces even more than standard pasta and they are gluten free.
So much more than a zester, this tool will see extensive use in your kitchen. It can zest citrus like nobody’s business. You can toss out that torturous looking tool, the garlic press, which mutilates and mashes the garlic. Use the Microplane Zester instead and allow the cloves to keep their texture while enlivening their flavor. Grate fresh nutmeg instead of using ground and you’ll have a whole new experience of that strong and exotic spice. Use it for a delicate topping of freshly grated hard cheeses. It is ideal for adding finely grated carrots or ginger to dishes. All in all you get a wide range of uses for under twelve bucks.
|Fine Mesh Strainer
The Vita-Mix doubles as a juicer when you have a quality fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp. The strainer doesn’t even get put away in our kitchen because we use it multiple times a day to make green drinks or Just Beet It, a knock-your-socks-off delicious raw cocktail.
If you juice your own orange and grapefruit juice you may want to invest in an electric juicer. Even if you have one of those bulky contraptions you may want a hand juicer as well. Why drag out the electric juicer for a quick citrus addition to a recipe? Pop this handy gadget out, juice by hand and voila, citrus in under a minute. For under five dollars, it’s well worth not having to clean the electric version.
|Nut Milk Bag
Make your own nut milks and nut flours at home. It is easy to separate the nut pulp, which you will use to make flour, from the milk using this handy little bag. Making milk at home not only allows you to experiment with making different flavors, it also makes it cost effective and better for the environment, since you won’t be supporting the production of disposable milk boxes.
What is the sense in making all this healthy food and then storing it in plastic containers that leach chemicals into your delicious creations? Get yourself a few glass containers with lids to make it easy to safely store leftovers, soak nuts and grains, and for healthful meals on the go.
The mandolin makes easy work of tough slicing and dicing jobs. This tool is another one that makes replacing processed noodles easy. Thin slice veggies to replace pasta noodles or to make chips. I tried several cheap mandolins before finding this one. Mandolins have been the cause of many a missing finger tip so be careful. Save yourself a pint of blood and use a Kevlar Cut Resistant Glove.
When your spin your greens dry after rinsing, they will require much less dressing to flavor them. Its important to remove the soil from greens, such as spinach and cilantro. Simply rinse in the inner strainer and then spin dry in the same container. It’s a simple tool, but a very useful one that makes salads a snap.
A coffee grinder that is designated for use with spices will save you tons of cleaning. You can certainly use a coffee grinder, but good luck getting all that fine coffee bean dust out from under the blades. I found it impossible. Even when I thought I had it clean, my ground spices carried that distinctive coffee scent.
Why fire up your oven when a toaster oven does small jobs faster and more efficiently? The Oster doubles as a dehydrator if you want to dabble in raw cuisine.
Keep it simple and just get what you need. Chances are you have basic utensils already in your kitchen so simply make sure your utensils are safe for use with your pans. For Teflon coated pans use silicone. For cast iron, steel and copper pans use wood utensils for cooking and metal turners for flipping. If you need severak a set is the most cost efficient choice.
5 Piece Bamboo Utensils
Rubbermaid 5-Piece Utensil Set
Solid Stainless Steel Turner
Slotted Steel Flexible Turner
|Ice Cream Maker
Raw ice creams and sorbets are dairy free and more delicious than their lactose filled counterparts. They also have no refined sugars, fillers, or dyes. Once you taste raw ice creams you may never go back!
Save your pans and a whole lot of scrubbing and buy a small rice cooker. It is not expensive, and it makes a hassle free pot of rice while you prepare what you want to serve on top. Prices for rice cookers vary wildly, but the basic models do the job. The best price we found was through Amazon.com for fifteen dollars.
|Pots and Pans
Opinions vary on what is safest, and most cost effective for pans. Types and prices run the gamut, so do your research. I found the best prices on Amazon, but I suggest testing out the weight and feel before you buy. Here are the most used pots and pans in my kitchen:
Cast iron 10” skillet
Calphalon’s 12” non-stick fry pan with glass lid
Calphalon 2½ quart sauce pan with glass lid
Calphalon 8 quart stockpot with glass lid
a full set may be more cost efficient if you need several
Ceramic or porcelain are your best bet for baking. It may be more cost effective to buy a set, but the two most used dishes will be the 9×13” and 8×8”dishes. If you or someone in your family loves to bake, you will need to throw in a cookie sheet, cake pans and maybe a cupcake tin.
9×13” ceramic baking dish
8×8” ceramic baking dish
Simply Calphalon 6 piece bakeware
The links in this post and PDF are to companies with which I have made affiliate arrangements so that I may receive a small percentage or commission for promoting their products. They do not have any input in my choices, any say over which items I review, or any editorial rights over my writings on the products. They simply allow a small percentage to go to me as an affiliate because they recognize that honest opinions from a passionate chef are a fabulous form of advertising for them. I do not make affiliate links to ANY product or service that would charge you more in order for me to get paid. Quite the contrary, you will get the same price as if you went direct and any discounts I can arrange for my readers with the company will be passed on directly to you. Just thought I should share so there are no secrets!