6 Cooking Tools I Use Daily

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Like most home cooks, my kitchen is full of gadgets, tools, and appliances. Some items are used for special occasions, but others are used on a daily basis. Here are the items in our kitchen that get the most use. They are our workhorses in our kitchen, and the tools that really lay the foundation for all of our family’s cooking.

41okb6os7jlLodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven (buy it here on Amazon)

This cast iron dutch oven gets a lot of use in our house. It can do so many things – braised and seared meats, stews and soups, perfectly baked sourdough bread, baked casseroles. We’ve even taken it on camping trips. I’ve owned my dutch oven for about 6 years, and plan to pass it on to my kids as a family heirloom. This thing will definitely live longer than me.

71cagmgumnl-_sl1500_Cuisinart 12-Piece Knife Set (buy it here on Amazon)

We actually own two knife sets – this Cuisinart 12-piece set, and a full Cutco set that I’ve had since selling Cutco knives as a summer job during college. I like this set because they are good, solid stainless steel knives. They come with blade guards, and comfortable handles.

81e685wuucl-_sx425_Pyrex Mixing Bowls (buy it here on Amazon)

These glass mixing bowls are great for mixing or storing anything from salads to cake batter. They are really sturdy, and we’ve own ours since getting married over 10 years ago.

81bo7tjzyll-_sl1500_Silicone Pot Holders (buy it here on Amazon)

These were given to me as a gift a few years ago, and I did not expect to use them so frequently. They can be used as pot holders, trivets, can openers, and spoon rests. Also, they are super easy to clean.

71piuvb9-dl-_sl1067_Digital Kitchen Scale (buy it here on Amazon)

This kitchen scale is so useful. It is great for measuring food by weight, which is important if you’re following recipes that call for ingredients in grams or ounces. The scale is very precise, has a tare function (so you can automatically subtract the weight of your container), and has a unit button that converts to various weight measurements.

61qv9tsgqil-_sl1500_OXO Good Grips Tongs (buy it here on Amazon)

You need yourself a good pair of tongs. This version is great because it is a long 12-inches, and has silicone heads that are safe for non-stick cookware.

What are some of your favorite cooking tools that you use on a regular basis?

Coffee Ice Cream

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The great thing about coffee ice cream is how amazing it tastes. The not so great thing is that if you eat some at night, you may not be able to sleep because of all the caffeine. I was an insomniac until 4am.

I made coffee ice cream to accompany our Thanksgiving meal a few weeks ago. Mmm…it was so delicious. Creamy, rich with real coffee, and a perfect sidekick to the pumpkin pie.

The photo above was literally taken before I ate up the very last spoonful of ice cream. That’s how good it was, and how quickly we ate it up.

Coffee Ice Cream

Print this recipe
Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf or regular)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee

Directions

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling!). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Best Recipes For An Amazing Thanksgiving Meal

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I am really passionate about Thanksgiving. Our family celebrates Thanksgiving through the entire month of November with our Thanksgiving tree tradition.

Most years we host a family/friends Thanksgiving gathering at our house, and this year will be no different. Usually we share the work of cooking the variety of Thanksgiving food. Mom’s making roast turkey, my husband does the sweet potatoes, I don’t trust anyone but myself to cook the stuffing.

After hosting Thanksgiving for so many years, I figured I needed to start curating the list of recipes that have become classics (or at least repeats) for our Thanksgiving meal. And yay for you, I’m writing this post far enough in advance so you can plan an amazing meal.

Happy cooking, eating, and merriment!

Roast Turkey

Good Eats Roast Turkey (from Alton Brown) – This turkey recipe has over 5,000 reviews, for good reason. It’s super flavorful and moist.

Perfect Turkey – I’ve made this recipe a few times, with and without the brine. It’s well-seasoned.

Perfect Roast Turkey – This is the one roast turkey recipe I’d go with. Ina’s methods are classic and simple, and really do result in the perfect roast turkey. When in doubt, always trust Ina.

Side Dishes

Perfectly Easy Dinner Rolls – This is a family favorite that I learned from my mom. Light, buttery, and quite a bit like King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread.

Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole – If sweet potatoes are your thing, this dish is for you. My husband has made this one for years.

Corn Casserole – I didn’t grow up eating corn casserole (sometimes called cornbread pudding). One Thanksgiving my friend Ethel brought this dish over, and I was like, “What IS this?” I’ve been fixing this recipe ever since. It’s super simple to make, and the perfect sidekick to all the other traditional Thanksgiving fare.

Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Onions – I love how fresh this recipe is. It takes some extra prep, but it’s worth it.

Sausage and Herb Stuffing – I make this stuffing every year. Tip: you can make it in a crockpot to save precious oven space for other dishes.

Classic Mashed Potatoes – A no-fuss mashed potatoes recipe. It’s all you need.

Cranberry Sauce – Please, for the love of food, do not serve canned cranberry sauce (aka gross lump of jelly). This recipe is what cranberry sauce is supposed to be.

Desserts

Apple Pie – I think apple pie is good any time of the year. So why not add it to your Thanksgiving table?

Sticky Toffee Pudding – This is another Thanksgiving repeat for us (and sometimes makes an appearance at Christmas). I think this goes so well with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pie – The obvious choice for Thanksgiving dessert. You can make this a day or two in advance if you’re trying to space out your meal prep.

Crack Pie – Have you tried Crack Pie yet? It’s a real thing, and it will blow your mind.

Creme Brulee – If you want to have a fancier dessert, make creme brulee.

Leftovers

Jook (Chinese Porridge) – I come from a Chinese family that traditionally makes this porridge with the leftover turkey meat and carcass after Thanksgiving. It makes a great post-Thanksgiving day dinner.

The Great After-Thanksgiving Turkey Enchiladas – A great way to use leftover turkey.

Lemon Turkey Noodle Soup – This recipe is just as good with turkey as it is with chicken. We love this soup on a cold day.

More Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well

Thanksgiving Cookbook: 100 Simple and Easy Holiday Recipes

Please share in the comments…what are you making for Thanksgiving? Do you have any recipes to share?