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When it comes to building a kitchen, there’s the list of items that have value and then honestly the pieces you can live without. As a single lady with multiple roommates (and now living solo) over the years, there has never been a wedding registry to provide the elements of a home. It’s been built over time, but absolutely worth it. (Can we have parties for all the single people starting out? That’d be amazing!)
As you look at this list, think of it as a long-term investment. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, making meals, and entertaining. I love cooking and sharing food with others. There’s nothing better. With every piece I purchased, I quickly learned that quality and long-term value were important when outfitting my kitchen. Going drawer by drawer, I’ve compiled this list with the things I love and use on the repeat. Are you ready for the master list?
Knives: J.A. Henckels knife set. I literally love this set. I was gifted this set over 8 years ago. It is still one of my prized possessions to date. By getting them professionally sharpened and honed, once a year, they stay in prime condition.
Lodge cast iron skillets.There’s nothing like cast iron skillets on the stove, in the oven, or even cooking over the campfire. Without any additional coating, it is a great way to cook almost anything. Tortillas, pizzas, braised chicken, or simple roasted veggies. I have a few sizes of them and can’t wait to add my mini skillets to the collection.
Lodge cast iron enamel coated dutch oven Much like it’s famous and far more expensive counterpart, this Dutch oven does the work and with it’s enamel coating it keeps food clean while braising, broiling, and roasting. If you get anything off this list, I’d start here.
Blender. While I absolutely love a Vitamix, Blendtec is a great budget friendly alternative. Whether you’re making smoothies, mixing soups, or pulsing salsa, this blender does the work. Based on how much you use your blender, I recommend purchasing both a large and small blender base.
Copper Measuring spoons and cupsMeasuring scoops and cups perfectly sized for small mouth jars and containers. To add a bit of style to your kitchen I love this touch of copper.
Mini food processor Chop, dice, purée and blend with this sweet and simple food processor. I love using the small size for things like hummus, homemade aiolis, and favorite sauces.
KitchenAid mixer This is an essential in any kitchen and for good reason. With it’s attachments and variety of hooks there’s nothing like a KitchenAid. During the fall and winter months, I love to use it for homemade baked goods, chocolate mousse, and homemade crusty bread.
Core silicone spatulas With a gas stoves, when sourcing my kitchen I was incredibly picky when it came to choosing utensils. Everything needed to be silicone and BPA free. They were my non-negotiables. I stumbled upon these spatulas in a subscription box and quickly discovered that these utensils did the work. With an eco friendly bamboo handle, heat resistant silicone, and heavy duty blade, it is the utensil I use on the daily.
Oxo silicone utensils
To pair with spatulas, I’ve filled out a line of kitchen utensils from OXO. The design is thought out in every piece and are built to last.
Microplane classic zester
I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard of a microplane until watching the Rachael Ray show. I loved the idea of quickly mincing fresh garlic without pasting with salt on a cutting board. Then I discovered I could use this to grate cheese and zest lemons, mince ginger, and shallots. When working in the kitchen, this zester is something I reach for often.
Microplane vegetable spiralizer
Spiralizing is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. Zoodles, sweet potatoes, carrots. You name the vegetable, there’s probably a recipe that calls for spiralizing vegetables. I love the spiralizer from Microplane. Within the spiralizer there’s two sizes for veggies and it’s top rack dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The best part? Small in size, it easily stores next in your kitchen drawer without taking up much space.
Coffee and Tea:
An avid coffee and tea drinker, when you’re in your 30’s knowing how to make a good cup of coffee isn’t an option. It’s a necessity. These essentials keep my home brews in top quality and the cost low. I call that a win, win every time.
Until you’re ready to make a $600 investment in an espresso machine, this little guy is the next best option. Paired with the Fellow Aeropress attachment, it pulls amazing shots while remaining environmentally friendly (say goodbye to waste and paper filters). Paired with a great kettle, you can make coffees, lattes, macchiatos, and americanos. It pretty much does it all.
In the past I’ve been all about a particular variable temperature kettle on the market. However, after going through 3 kettles in 2 years (the interior mechanism and it’s fuse can get blown really easily), I’ve opted to keep things simple with this purchase. Meet the Stagg pour over kettle from Fellow Products. Not only is the product design behind it stunning, but the counter weight handle allows for a perfect pour over and bloom of the coffee ground every time.
Conical Burr Grinder:
When it comes to a good cup of coffee, it all starts with a good bean and proper grind. Conical burr grinders are the best for it’s variable items of grind and finish. This one is a budget friendly option and has lasted for years.
Bodum Copper French Press:
A few years ago, I picked up this French Press for a brand photo shoot. It no only looks amazing in photos, but makes a delicious cup of coffee. While I use my Aeropress every morning, I love having my French press for coffee for groups. (That and it makes amazing loose leaf tea and cold brew as well. Just make sure you wash well in between.)
Soda Stream:In an effort to reduce waste and keep soda water as clean as possible, I absolutely love my Soda Stream. I could easily purchase liters of flavored sparkling water a week, so this kitchen appliance gets used often.
Caterer’s set from World Market:
There’s nothing like a great and simple white plate. This caterer’s set hits both the marks for aesthetic and value. (Not to mention it comes in a set of 12 which is amazing for dinner parties and prep.)
Stoneware from Hearth & Hand Magnolia:
If you’ve hopped on the stoneware craze and are longing for something a bit more textured than a standard plate, we love the stoneware collection from Hearth and Hand Magnolia. With a glazed top and rough bottom, it’s the perfect balance of minimalism and visual interest. We have them both in the creamy gray and matte black.
Glassware: For everyday use, I simply use mason jars as glasses. For nights with company, I use both my steamed and stemless red wine glasses from Crate and Barrel. With a large bowl and strong stem, these glasses are a thing of beauty. (And make the most lovely sound.)
For everyday flatware, we use a silver minimal set from Target. For fancier meals and parties, we use a golden set from Threshold at Target. It adds the perfect amount of sparkle and warmth to a table. That and candlelight makes any night pretty amazing.
Round acacia cutting board from Hearth and Hand:
Every kitchen needs a great cutting board. This one is large, complete with leather handles, and is perfect for a cheeseboard as well.
Linens and chambray napkins:
When it comes to table linens, I like to keep things pretty simple, keeping both the food and the people surrounding the table as the showpieces of the evening. If you haven’t checked out the H&M Home line, it’s something to behold. A few seasons ago, I sourced linen from their ethically sourced conscious line. I picked up a white washed linen tablecloth and the most beautiful blue-gray chambray napkins (similar here, mine are past season). Regardless of the season, these are the linens I always return to over and over again.