Kitchen

10 KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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Simplify Meal Preparation with the Right Tools for the Job

text by Tiffany Scales, Food Contributor

Hello! I hope this week before Christmas is off to a great start for you! I have some great recipes coming up, so I want you to have the right tools to make them! I firmly believe that having the right tools in the kitchen makes cooking much easier and enjoyable. The tools I love the most are not only basic, but quality. The last thing I need is something breaking in the middle of making a dish! Here are my top 10 kitchen essentials. I think they make great last-minute gifts, too!
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1.| Every kitchen needs a set of “basic tools.” That includes a whisk, slotted spoon, large spoon, spatulas,  and tongs.
2.| Every kitchen also needs a good set of knives. Many recipes involve chopped meats, fruits and vegetables, so you need a good sharp knife to help you get the work done in a safe and efficient manner.
3.| You would be surprised at the number of recipes that call for an electric mixer. I finally broke down and bought my KitchenAid mixer several years ago and I think that it’s one of the best investments I have made. It makes baking 100 times easier.
4.| Wearing an apron, especially a cute one, makes you feel more confident in the kitchen and not so upset when things get messy. If things don’t get messy sometimes in the kitchen, then you probably aren’t doing it right. Just a sidenote…
5.| A good set of pots is required, not optional for good cooking. If your food burns easily and gets stuck to the bottom of the pot every time you cook, then it’s time to invest in a new set. This is the cookware I use and I love it. It’s quality (i.e. heavy stainless steel), reasonably priced and I love the glass lids. 
6.| I love fresh salad dressing. Would you believe that I make it in this $2.50 jar? My favorite dressing is lemon vinaigrette. All you have to do is add the juice of one lemon, double the amount of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper to the jar. Shake it up and presto- fresh salad dressing. 
7.| Freshly ground black pepper makes food taste 100% better than the stuff in the tin. Promise. This pepper grinder has a permanent home near my stove.
8.| The first recipe I will be sharing with you calls for lemon and orange zest, which are very popular ingredients. I use this Microplane for all of my zesting. I also use it to finely grate cheese. I never use pre-grated cheese. Pre-grated cheese = fake flavor. Just another sidenote…
9.| I cut all of my fruits and vegetables on wood cutting boards. They are easy to clean and make great accessories in the kitchen.
10.| You would also be surprised a the number of recipes that require a cast-iron dutch oven. Think of it as an oven on top of your stove. I use this to braise meat and to make quick soups and stews, which make regular appearances on my kitchen table during the fall and winter. 
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I have referenced the source of the items above. However, note that most of these items can be found at your local TJMaxx, HomeGoods and Target, so look there first!

These are some of my favorites, what would you add to the list?

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DESIGN OBSESSED, ATLANTA GO-TO GIRL, STYLE CHAMELEON, BEACH LOVER. 

Hi, I'm Erika.
Your Design + Happy Healthy Home Advocate.

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

Learn more