My Love of Cooking + Top Kitchen Must-Haves

I don’t know what it is about kitchen tools & doodad’s, but I just feel like you can never have too many! Does anyone else feel this way!? Spending more & more time in the kitchen over the last couple years, whether I’m cooking for myself, spending precious time in the kitchen with my mom, cooking with my boyfriend or whipping up something yummy for him – I have really developed a love of cooking!

When it comes to getting in the kitchen, I guess you could say I’m somewhat of a late bloomer… I’ve been super spoiled by amazing meals my whole life – not only can my mom cook (and bake!) her face off (she’s pretty amazing.) but my dad knows a thing or two, himself! My mom, Italian. Dad, Austrian. My parents come from this incredible background of cooking, food & culture. (and wine. lots of wine) Mom, developed her love of cooking as young girl, always in the kitchen with my Great Grandmother. Naturally, throughout her life she became one hell of a chef. I know one of her greatest joy’s in life is cooking & cooking for her family, especially. And the holidays!?  Everything is so special & done with so much love – I swear you can taste it in her food. 

With all that being said, this may sound a bit silly, but I was hesitant to get into the kitchen for so long because anytime I’d cook something, I’d always compare it to my mom’s cooking…which in my opinion, can’t be beat! It’s not just because she’s my mom – the woman can cook, for real. I call her for advice on almost everything I make and I still compare the flavor, texture, etc…when I make a recipe of hers. But I’ve learned to love playing & experimenting with foods & recipes and just have fun with it. And like mom has always told me… “You just have to feel it” 

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.

— Julia Child

Another reason behind my love of cooking is my super sweet boyfriend. He’s such a foodie and just loves & appreciates food so much! This can sometimes be a challenge for me because I always want everything we eat to be super healthy, but we make it work 🙂
2 things I just adore…
 ♡ Cooking together while music is playing, sipping on wine & nibbling on fruits & cheeses (goats only, for me), talking as we go along, laughing & random dance moves, as we prepare our meal for the night
 ♡ Cooking for my babe! Everything is made with so much love and he’s just the sweetest thing, always telling me he loves to watch me cook & loves my food. awwww….

There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman making dinner for someone she loves.

— Thomas Wolfe

From a health standpoint, I can’t sing the praises of cooking at home enough! As soon as you leave your home, you lose control of what goes in your food. We do eat out often, and of course I  make healthy choices, but at the end of the day eating at at home is the best way to ensure that your meals are prepared in the healthiest way. Its no secret that the reason restaurant food takes so good is because of extra oils, butter, sugar, salt & such that they sneak into the dishes we order. Cooking at home is such a rewarding ritual. It truly is an act of love for both yourself & the people you care about – to cook lovely meals to nourish your mind & body. 

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.

— Craig Claiborne

So with all this cooking going on, a well appointed kitchen is a must, yes? The things below are basically everything we have in our kitchen, use daily, trust & love. From morning till night — coffee, breakfast, snacks, dinners, and everything in between – these are my kitchen must-haves. xx

Much Love & Cooking, 

My Top Kitchen Must-Haves 

OXO Culinary Tool & Utensil Set. 
Set Up Shop with this 17 piece set by OXO! There’s so many everyday items included in this set that it really does make more sense to buy this inclusive set rather than each gadget on its own. My can’t-live-withouts are the veggie peeler, spatula, whisk, tongs & all spoons. Sometimes the can opener for the occasional can of tuna. I really like the OXO Brand – inexpensive, good quality & love their comfy, rubber grips! I’ve included this larger 17 piece set + a smaller option as well.

Bodum French Press. 
When we aren’t using the ‘ole pour over method, we brew our coffee in a French Press. Have you ever tried a French Press!? It makes the. best. coffee. So fresh & smooth. This Bodum Press is super – easy to use, easy clean up & dishwasher safe. 

Great Set of Knives.
We have & use Wusthof & Shun Knives which are both Ahhhhmazing knives and could cut your finger off if your not paying attention. lol 
If your in the kitchen a lot, knives just aren’t the thing to skimp on. A great set of knives makes all your prep work – chopping, slicing, mincing, paring – a whole lot easier. Making clean, smooth cuts into your fruits & veggies is weirdly rewarding. And the latter, is freaking frustrating! Cutting into a tomato with a dull knife just sucks – the whole thing just kinda goes splat. ugh 

OXO Salad Spinner.
You all know how much of a salad lover I am. Some leafy greens come pre-washed but for those that need rinsing, there’s nothing worse than wet, soggy lettuces. Nothing fancy, the OXO Salad Spinner does what its supposed to do and does it well – and it has a pretty nifty little break system going on. Love it!

Pour Over Coffee Maker + Melita Coffee Filters. 
Some morning’s we’re feeling French and others, we’re a bit antiquated with our pour over.  It took me a little bit of time to perfect my own personal pour over but I’ve got it down now. I medium roast, 3 small (not heaping) tablespoons of grinds, about 6oz. of water & a generous amount of almond milk gives me a perfect cuppa joe. 

Cutting Boards. 
Cutting boards are another one of those things that I feel like you just can’t have enough of & are so much fun! Small/medium/big sized ones. Plastic/wooden, square/rectangular/round boards…some cutting boards aren’t cutting boards at all – like cheese boards for entertaining – we simply use them to place our cheeses, fruits like apples & strawberries + perhaps other yummies like olives, figs, nuts & such and use another board for preparing. You get the point, lol. I’ve made a fun selection of cutting boards below – a few we have at home + a couple others that are swoon worthy! 

Cuisinart PowerBlend 600 Blender. 
Its not a VitaMix, I know, but this Cuisinart 600 Blender is plenty powerful & blends up all my smoothies & frozen fruit perfectly! I still have a Ninja Blender which I used for quite a while but honestly I prefer this blender. The puree & liquify settings are incredible and turn out the smoothest, perfectly blended smoothies! 

Le Creuset Citrus Juicer.
Just the sweetest citrus juicer that you ever did see! In red, of course! (well, for me any way) We have little red accents all over the house and it IS one of my fave colors so this fits in just perfectly, especially with our giant, red Le Creuset Dutch Oven. 

Joseph & Joseph Nest Storage. 
I seriously can’t get enough of this Joseph & Joseph Nest Storage System! I use these babies on the daily. Unlike other storage systems that claim to “nest” but don’t when it comes to the whole kit & caboodle — these seriously do nest, one inside the other – including every single happy, colorful lid. We don’t have much cabinet space so these are a space-life-saver, for sure. And no worries here, these containers are BPA Free! I wouldn’t use them if they weren’t. However, I do not heat anything in them. I’m still wary of plastics + heat, even if they are BPA Free. 

OXO Measuring Cups.
I wish I was at “I don’t need a measuring cup” status when I cook, buut I’m not. lol I watch my mom simply eyeball it as she pours ingredients into a pot or mixing bowl and I’ve always wonder how she knows she’s using the right amount. Any way, if your like me and still need to use measuring cups, these MC’s from OXO are great and they nest, which  makes them even better. 

Anthropologie dishtowels. 
As if I needed one more thing to suck me at Antho…I find their simple, sweet & Euro inspired dishtowels utterly irresistible. My mother’s daughter, I’m a fool for things I don’t need but have to have like these cute, striped, hand towels. (or all of them, actually!)  In my family, we use the word mappina – Italian for dishtowel. 🙂 

Nambé “Copper Canyon” Wood Salad Set.
This Nambé Wood Salad Set is simply lovely. And it comes with copper plated servers to match perfectly. My salads are full of vibrant, colorful greens & veggies that look so pretty against a simple wooden or white salad bowl. 

Le Creuset Dutch Oven. 
Our Le Creuset French/Dutch Oven gets worked! This fabulous pot, made of cast-iron, heats evenly and can easily be transferred from the stove top to the oven. We cook, roast, bake our faces off with this French beaut. We have the red one, and I love love it!

Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.

— Julia Child

Bodum Electric Water Kettle. 
If your still boiling your water on the stove, let me introduce you to the Electric Water Kettle. Tea & coffee-time game changer right here people. Aside from coffee in the morning, we are forever making tea in the afternoon & at night before bed and this electric water kettle gets your water boiling in no time! 

Williams-Sonoma Mixing Bowls. 
Just a simple set of 3 mixing bowls that have a neat little design to them to make mixing-life easier + they nest perfectly inside each other! 

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