Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens

Stretch is getting ready to go back to college in just a few weeks.  Last year she shared a furnished house with a bunch of other girls, but this year it’s an unfinished apartment.  So, as a foodie Mama sending her wheat allergy buddy off to her own kitchen, I did some ordering of essentials for her. This is when being a Consultant REALLY comes in handy!  I had her go through one of my Pampered Chef catalogs and pick out a few things she wanted, and then I ordered her a few of MY favorite things.

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Classic Batter Bowl – I use this for EVERYTHING.  I mix batters, eggs, vegetables and olive oil before roasting, if it needs combining, it goes in THIS.  I use this for making iced tea.  Fill it with water, add tea bags, and nuke for 8 minutes.  I have baked cakes in this thing, (it’s tempered glass!) and since it has a lid, I’ve also used it as storage in my fridge. The pouring spout is the best bonus ever.

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Mix ‘N Chop – So you know those nights when you get home and you’re looking for something to cook, and you have nothing but frozen ground beef?  We’ve all been there, and we’ve all thrown it in the pan anyway.  With this little baby, you don’t have to worry about it, just throw it in and go to town!  It chops the meat up into little pieces, assisting thawing and ensuring uniformity in the finished product.  It is a lifesaver when making guacamole.  It’s nylon too, so it will not mess with any kind of nonstick pan, and being round it fits snugly against the side of any pot so it’s easy to incorporate every bit of whatever is being cooked.

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Cutting Board – It’s made of polypropylene, so it’s durable and can go into the dishwasher for sanitizing.  The rubber along the edges keep it in place on any counter top. The marks along the edge also allow for measuring that 3″ strip of bacon (HA! – blasphemy…use the WHOLE SLICE) or whatever you may need to measure.  The surface is also kind to knife blades and will not dull them the way slicing on the counter or (Heaven forbid) one of those glass cutting boards will.

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Stainless Steel Whisk – Ten inches long, perfectly balanced, this thing works better than my hand mixer.  I kid you not.  Eggs for omelets, cake batters, salad dressings, WHATEVER.  It’s not too light, it’s not too heavy, and it makes life so much easier. 

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Prep Bowls – They come in a set of six, each with its own lid.  Made of tempered glass, just like the batter bowl, they are 1 cup each.  Perfect for leftovers, I use them to bring my lunch to work.  I can heat in the microwave, or store in the fridge.  No worries.  They’re durable but not too heavy, and they stack beautifully for storage.  

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Stainless Mesh Colanders – Ok, so they’re a little pricier than a plastic colander, but they do so much more and there are THREE of them.  Berries get washed in the small one, or tuna drained (not at the same time!), or herbs…. the middle one is the most versatile colander you’ll ever own, and the large one holds pasta, potatoes, or a whole mess of whatever you’re cooking.  I use mine as steamer inserts too, they set beautifully inside my pans.  I cover with a lid (or even foil!) and I can steam whatever I want in any quantity I need to.

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Measure-All Cup – Liquids on one side, solids on the other.  Perfect for measuring peanut butter, mayo, or anything that usually sticks.  No need for a spatula, just a push empties your contents into the bowl.  I even use mine for stuffing.  I put the stuffing in the solid side, insert into the chicken, give a push and the stuffing is deposited neatly into the bird!

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Mini Serving Spatula – brownies, lasagna, cookies… use it to turn veggies roasting in the oven.  It’s small but mighty.  I have THREE.  Stretch now has one of her own.

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Garlic Peeler – file this under the “things I never knew I needed until I owned one”.  So this thing, you stick the garlic in the tube, put the tube on the counter and your hand on top of it.  Just roll it under your palm until you hear the crinkle inside the tube.  It strips the paper peel off the clove of garlic for you and you didn’t even have to get that garlic smell all over your hands!  Cool stuff.

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And because I love even numbers… The Mix ‘N Scraper – it’s a spatula/scraper and a spoon all at once!  They come in three sizes, I like the small and the mini version.  They get every last drop of chimichurri out of the food processor, or batter out of the bowl, or eggs out of the pan.  Completely irreplaceable, I’ll never go back to regular rubber spatulas again.

So there it is… ten of my favorite things that Stretch will be taking off to her kitchen come the Fall.  If there’s anything on this list that would find a good home in YOUR kitchen, let me know.  I’ll take good care of you.  Shameless plug over…for now 😉