A few weeks ago, before I knew the love of my life was going to propose to me, I started getting serious about the items in my kitchen. Namely, I wanted to have nice, reliable kitchenware so Rocky could enjoy cooking and I could start getting excited about it. We recently bought our first set of good, essential pans and it truly has made such a difference. Fast forward to now, we are one week engaged and VERY committed to upping our kitchenware game. Domesticity is in full effect.
We currently have a tiny arsenal of cookware we like to use and A LOT of old hand-me-down things we can’t wait to replace because they were hand-me-down for a reason. So, I did what anyone would do and asked my coworkers to shed some wisdom on this area and begged them to allow me to make it a post because likely we’re not the only ones that need help in this area. We can consider this Ryann and Rocky’s wedding registry until further notice (ha). I’ll start with what Rocky and I have and use almost every single day (which is admittedly a very small list).
1. Cast Iron Skillet: I asked for a proper cast iron skillet for my birthday because I knew I would never buy one for myself. We have the 11 5/8″ size and it’s great for making meals for two (or more) people plus it’s SO much more lightweight than any other cast iron I’ve ever used.
2. Equal Parts Cookware Set: Rocky bought these for us about a month ago and they really have changed my attitude around cooking but more importantly, they are SO easy to wash. My least favorite chore is doing dishes so anything that is painless to wash is a win for me. I also love that the lids work for both the skillets and the saucepans so you don’t have to rummage around trying to find the right lid. They also make a knife and it’s BONKERS how good it is. It’s so sharp that I pricked myself while admiring it when we first got it (it was not the knife’s fault I promise).
3. Wooden Spoon: Ever since Rocky started making his own pasta sauce from scratch, he’s been coveting a nice wooden spoon. He finally bought this one from Staub and LOVES it. Now, all we need is a spoon rest…
I wasn’t kidding, Rocky and I have a small arsenal of cookware we like so I’ll pass it along to the rest of EHD to help us get the ball rolling. Take it away, ladies.
1. Thick Glassware: I needed to part ways with my pretty and delicate glassware because they were breaking too often. So I bought this set and I LOVE it. They are still pretty but are thick, very durable AND stackable.
2. Cutting Board: While I love a big beautiful butcher block cutting board as a stylist, they just aren’t practical for my everyday chopping. So anytime we need a cutting board for actual cutting we use THIS. It’s extremely lightweight but super durable. The cut marks don’t look super scratchy, and the black really works in our kitchen so it’s not like it stands out. Still highly recommend!
3. Ninja Blender: Now the size we have isn’t for a large amount of anything, but it’s great for smoothies, sauces, dressings, you name it. I actually love that it doesn’t take up a lot of room and is so easy to store. Plus it works great and you can’t beat the price.
4. Wooden Spoon: It’s a classic for a reason. I love how it feels in my hand, there’s nothing sharp on it so it’s super safe for the kids and it’s just pretty. If you don’t have one, it’s a must.
5. Mixing Bowls: If you have ever tried cooking with kids you know that accidents are GOING to happen. Mixing is one of their most loved cooking activities so these bowls are perfect. They are plastic so not only are the lightweight but unbreakable. Plus I love the neutral colors.
6. Knife: Emily B. bought this knife for me for Christmas a couple of years ago and it happened to be the one that we also use in LA, so I brought it up to the cabin and it chops so well, clean and fast. I’m sure there are a million great knives out there, but this brand is GOOD.
1. 3pc Poly Essentials Cutting Board Set: As much as I wanted a beautiful and expensive cutting board, I had a good talk with myself and said “SAVE YOUR MONEY, DUMMY”. So despite this trio of boards being almost too affordable, I love that they weigh about as much as a feather and take up almost no space in my cupboard.
2. Sunbeam 2 Slice Toaster: I love a simple looking small appliance and this little black toaster is just that. Nothing family but at $16.99 it has lasted me years. But if little pumpkin stopped working, this beauty would be at the top of my list!
3. Vitamix Blender: For my 29th birthday, I got a Vitamix Blender (I was very lucky). Needless to say, I was EXTREMELY excited. My 21-year-old very sweet roommate and her girlfriend looked at me utterly perplexed, not understanding how someone could be so excited about a blender. Kids, amiright? Just kidding because I still feel and act like a child. But if this comment section in this post isn’t a testament as to the magical powers of this machine then I don’t know what it. If you are able to invest in a blender get a Vitamix. They are incredible. (RYANN put this on your real registry!)
4. Vitamix Blending Bowls Starter Kit: Also, I just saw these attachments and I REALLY want them. If anyone has them are they worth it?
5. Solid Cherry Wood Nesting Bowl: The vintage wooden bowl on top of my fridge is one of my favorite and most useful things in my kitchen. It basically the junk drawer but a bowl…so it’s at least pretty. In it are my coffee pods, random potatoes, avocados, maybe a bag of chips, and my onion goggles.
6. Safety Goggles: Ok, they aren’t officially “onion goggles.” They are the goggles you get for science class so chemicals and frog guts don’t get in your eyes. I got them for an event (it was cool I promise) but they are actually perfect for chopping up onions! They fit right over my normal glasses so that I can see what I’m cutting and won’t shed a tear. Stop suffering, people.
7. Blue Stripe Kitchen Dish Towels: After being on the hunt for dish towels for far too long, I decided to go classic. These blue strip ones are simple, pretty, and are the perfect balance of sturdy and soft.
8. 5qt Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven: I bought this for my Christmas shoot and have loved it ever since. I mostly love it because of how well it cooks my food but it’s also pretty enough to display on my stove (which is KEY when you have a tiny kitchen).
1. Boos Cutting Board: My sister has had this cutting board for 10+ years now and I’ve just purchased one of my own (which I found ON SALE). I am so excited cause my pet peeve when cutting is having your board slide all over the place and this does not plus it holds up very well if you take care of it.
2. Breville Tea Kettle: I’ve owned this kettle since 2009 and it’s still holding up! If you are into teas like I am or want to make your morning cappuccino then get this gadget. There are 5 temperature controls and it can keep the water at that temp for 20 mins with a touch of the button. It’s definitely a small appliance that I would replace if and when it ever stops working which doesn’t seem to be anytime soon.
3. GIR Silicone Basting Brush: This is such a random kitchen essential that I never knew I really wanted until I was living at Emily’s house during quarantine and it was a game-changer. My boyfriend and I were very into making these smashed potatoes so we used this brush a lot.
4. Microplane: Another big game changer was the microplane! Once I started getting more into cooking I realized this is something I was wanting to use for every meal and if you have ever watched a cooking show you see they use it a lot too. Hot Tip: If you want to know what are true kitchen essentials watch cooking shows and get what the pros use!
5. Pyrex Measuring Cups: When the pros use it, you use it. That’s the rule. I only use these to measure out my ingredients which makes for less stuff cluttering up my cabinets.
6. OXO Hand Held Mandoline: This thing seems so scary to use at first but once you get the hang of it there is no turning back. The hand held one is like the beginner model if you don’t plan on using it for every single meal and don’t want to invest in a high-end version. Plus, Anthony Bourdain said that this should be a kitchen staple for every chef and I trust his word.
7. Cuisinox Wide Spatula: This is my most used spatula because it’s so wide and makes it easier to flip all those pancakes, quesadillas, crepes, or again smashed potatoes (really I am obsessed with them). It’s also great to use with kids because of the wide surface area it’s easier for them to learn how to flip things, that way they can start making their own meals or maybe yours too.
8. Cast Iron Griddle: Another item I didn’t know I needed in my kitchen life until I used it at Emily’s. It’s just great to have a large flat surface that heats evenly. I made scallion pancakes (one of my favorite foods) on it for the first time and can’t wait to get one of my own to perfect the recipe.
1. Cutting Board: The best thing I never knew I needed until I moved into my apartment was this IKEA cutting board. It’s $20, very useful, oh and it has a little shelf thing that lets it rest on your kitchen counter so for us it just lives out all the time and it’s SO functional. If you guys want one that’s a little fancier and doesn’t have a giant Ikea logo on the side (I get it) here’s another one that serves the same purpose but it nicer (I’ll splurge on this one day):
2. Shun Classic Western Chef’s Knife: If you like to cook, I hear you should really invest in these two things: 1. A good knife and 2. A cast iron. I’ve been cast iron shopping for far too long (question: should I get a STAUB or nah??), but I recently got Chase this knife for our anniversary and WE LOVE IT (it’s by Sam the cooking guy x Nakiri but you’ll be on a waitlist for literally forever, so here’s a great Nakiri alternative). Spend like $80-$150 bucks on a good knife and it will last you forever and you can use it for everything. This one from Shun (the ultimate knife brand) is on sale for 55% off right now
3. Stainless Steel Tongs with Soft Grip: This is the best $3 you will ever spend. Breakup with your spatula cause the tong train is way more fun and it’s just all-around better (unless you’re making pancakes or something, then fine you can keep your spatula).
4. Core Stripe Hand Towel Copper: Having kitchen tea towels around is one of the best things in life to get you to stop using paper towels 24/7. I picked up this hand towel from Target for the backyard shoot I did a few weeks ago and loved the color and thickness of it, so I brought it to my apartment kitchen and have been using it ever since. I just found out it’s actually a bathroom hand towel, which explains the thickness, but I think this is an insanely good hack everyone should know…use hand towels in the kitchen cause they’re 10x more absorbent than the skimpy linen lame-o towels.
5. Breville VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee & Espresso Machine: I cannot even begin to express to you how much joy this coffee machine brings me. I drink a lot of coffee a day (which as we know a latte is like $7 for no reason at all these days). So instead, I’ve been buying Nespresso pods in bulk (which rounds out to be around $1.00 per coffee and it’s SO GOOD). If you want deliciously rich espresso shots, go with this machine, and if you want big ol’ cups of velvety coffee go with this machine. You really can’t go wrong.
6. Mega Insulated Aluminum Cookie Sheet: Everyone should have one of these. That’s all.
7. Garlic Peel and Press: I had no idea that a good garlic press was so essential, but my grandma got me this for Christmas last year and WOW is it an amazing gift. If you know someone who likes to cook, gift it to them! Or gift it to yourself!
1. Colander: Oh my gosh, can I link all of Squish’s products??? I finally bought one of these a few years back after walking past it at Target every week (it is truly the brightest thing in the kitchen section) and now I could honestly be the Squish spokesperson. This strainer is my FAVORITE because I can use the handles to extend it over my sink (a dream for those of us who maaaay have a few plates just sitting there) and when I’m done, it packs flat and takes up no cabinet space. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (I also make pasta/mac and cheese literally EVERY DAY, so I’m SUPER SERIOUS about this one. If lime green is a little too much for you, definitely check-in at your local Target — I’ve been able to grab them in both teal and in orange.)
2. Silicone Lids: These are SO GOOD and multifunctional. Missing Tupperware lid? Grab one of these. Want to keep a pot warm while you decide whether or not to go back for seconds? Grab one of these. Dream of microwaving something without splatters? SILICONE LIDS TO THE RESCUE. They also nest and fit perfectly in a drawer so storage is a BREEZE.
3. Dish Rack: I have been known to let a few dishes pile up in the sink, so the double-decker rack is an essential. In the past, I’d look at my pile and feel kind of overwhelmed (how did these all get here??? If I actually build up the moxie to wash them, where will I dry them???) or I’d just end up only washing a few, since that was all I had space for, so this was a game-changer for me. This one has a TON of space, adjustable hooks, a flatware compartment, and a movable spout that drains straight into the sink. It’s compact, stable, and pretty enough to leave on your counter 24/7.
4. Compostable Sponge Cloths – I have written about these before, but BOY, I LOVE THEM. They come in sets of 10 and just one cloth can replace 17 rolls of paper towels!!! They’re good for doing the dishes or soaking up spills (I have different uses for each of the colors), they’re so absorbent, and when you’re finished you can just rinse, wring, and let them air-dry. I still haven’t hit the point where I’m ready to retire any of mine, but you can just toss them in a compost pile when they’ve reached the end of their life. These were a LIFESAVER when all my local grocery stores ran out of paper towels earlier this year and now I’ll never go back.
Annnd we made it! I, for one, feel very confident about the future of my kitchen and I hope you do too. I love a personal recommendation, so please drop your favorites below. xx