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Happy 100th Post! A Few of my Favorite (Kitchen) Things AND a Giveaway!

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Happy 100th Post! A Few of my Favorite (Kitchen) Things AND a Giveaway!

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It’s a special day around here!  It’s a bit of a milestone, actually.  Today marks the 100th post on Chew Nibble Nosh!  In honor of today, I figured I’d try something different.  Instead of a recipe, I’m going to talk today about ten of my favorite kitchen gadgets that help make life, and cooking dinner, a whole lot easier.  A couple of them are bigger ticket items (We’re not talking Oprah’s Favorite Things big-ticket type items.  Don’t worry.), but most of them are perfectly simple, affordable items that just come in handy.

Then, after the top ten is revealed, I’ll announce a new giveaway!  So, keep reading!

Onto the Top Ten!  This list is in no particular order.  Each item is just as important in my kitchen as the next.

This first item is something I use every single day, at least once.  It’s my Santoku knife.

The Santoku knife was, traditionally, a Japanese chef’s knife.  In recent years, it’s become a staple in many kitchens.  Why?  It does everything well.  It slices, dices and minces most anything easily.  It’s my go-to knife.  I have a good set of knives, but I use this one more than any other.  See those little dimples along the edge?  They help create air pockets as you slice, so your food doesn’t stick to the knife.  I love it!  For purchase information, click here.

The next item on my list is simple and cheap, but effective.  I use it all the time.  It’s my citrus reamer.

It’s a simple concept.  It’s just a little piece of wood, crafted into a handheld juicer.  I use lemon, lime, and orange juice in a lot of my cooking, and this makes juicing them up a quick and easy job.  Just twist it into your citrus half and the juice flows right out.  After I’m done, I just rinse it off with soapy water and let it air dry. Easy peasy.  You can get these at any store that sells kitchen gadgets, maybe even your grocery store.  It’s a few bucks well spent!  For online purchase information, click here.

The next item on the list isn’t a necessity, it’s a convenience item. However, it’s fun and I love how mine looks in my kitchen.  If you spend a lot of time at the stove, as I do, you know that almost every recipe calls for adding salt and pepper at some point.  This is my salt cellar.

This cute little guy hangs on the cabinet wall, right next to my stove and it’s filled with kosher salt.  When it’s time to sprinkle some salt over the chicken that’s sizzling away in my pan, the salt is right there, right next to me.  And, like I said, it looks great!  Aaron got this for me for my birthday a few years ago and I’ve loved it ever since.  I’ve received more compliments on that salt cellar than on any other decorative item in my house.  No kidding.  You can purchase salt cellars of all shapes and sizes, but this one comes from Williams-Sonoma and you can find the purchase info here.

Next, we have my beloved OXO salad spinner.  You already know how much I love OXO, but even before I started working with them as a blogger, my kitchen was filled with their products.  I’ve had this salad spinner for years and I anticipate having it for many years to come.

The spinner has a rubber foot along the bottom, so it stays nice and snug on the counter as your lettuce spins away inside.  The kids love pumping the spinner up and down, and then when it’s dry enough, they just push that little black button on top and the spinner comes to a screeching halt, quick as a wink.  It’s lettuce drying perfection. For purchase information, click here.

The next item on my list is kind of a surprise…at least to me.  You know when you see those late night infomercials and you can get “something” for $19.99, “but if you call RIGHT NOW, you get two” ?  My father ordered one of these after seeing an infomercial, and they shipped him two.  Can you guess who got the second one?  If I’m being completely honest, when he gave it to me, I laughed and put it in my kitchen drawer thinking I’d never use it.  Then…my peeler broke. It was then that I unwrapped and tried out my Titan Peeler.

This is a wonderful little peeler.  It’s so sharp, that with one small swoop, it can take just the top layer off of anything you might be trying to peel.  Need to peel a ton of potatoes?  It takes just a minute.  Need a long strip of citrus zest?  No problem.  Need to peel a tomato?  I swear.  It works.  I love this peeler and I will be forever grateful to my father and his obsession with late-night infomercial gadgets because of it.  You can order one for yourself (Just one!  I swear!) right here.

Since we’re talking peels here, I might as well mention one of my other favorite peeling tools.  As I said before, I use a lot of citrus in my cooking.  Even more often than juicing a lemon, you’ll find me zesting a lemon, and I couldn’t do it nearly as quickly without my Microplane grater/zester.

Microplanes were originally used as woodworking tools.  Some wonderful, hungry genius then figured out that it wasn’t only good for shaving the rough edges from a piece of wood, it also zests the heck out of a lemon, perfectly grates hard cheeses and can easily mince woody ginger root.  Thank you, Woodworking Cook!  For purchase information, please click here.

Next, it’s another small and seemingly silly item, but it’s one that I use all the time.  It’s my mini whisk.

This whisk is only 6 inches long, and it’s perfect for stirring up dry cookie ingredients, whipping up a couple of scrambled eggs or stirring a small pan of sauce on the stove.  I use it so often that I should probably buy another one.  I’ve had to dig around in the dishwasher and hand wash this little guy many times because I need him for a second time during the day.  For purchase information, please click here.

I’ll finish off the list with a few of my favorite baking items.  The first one is my small, offset spatula.

This little tool (the spatula is only 4 inches long) is a major multitasker in my kitchen.  Most often used for frosting cakes, I also use it to spread out cheesy or saucy lasagna layers or to smooth out the top of a loaf of banana bread before I pop it in the oven.  Plus, I use it all the time to frost cakes and cupcakes.  It’s bent spatula edge is much easier to frost with than a straight spatula or knife. For purchase information, click here.

My next favorite item was found after a lot of trial and error.  There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to roll out cookie dough and having the dough stick to the rolling pin.  My first rolling pin was Teflon coated, a “nonstick” pin.  EVERYTHING stuck to it.  It drove me crazy.  Then, I bought an old-fashioned, roller-based,wooden rolling pin.  It broke after just a few rolls…and my pie dough still stuck to it.  Then, I learned about French rolling pins.

It’s just a round piece of wood with tapered ends, but it works!  Before I roll out anything, I quickly rub some flour on the pin and then set to work.  The dough rolls out evenly and neatly and I feel like I have more control over it, as I can move the ends around easier than with a roller-based pin.  The French know how to bake.  I should have known that their rolling pin would be superior!  Plus, they are really cheap!  I actually picked mine up in the baking aisle of my grocery store, but here’s one that you can buy online if you have trouble finding one.  Click here for info.

And, finally, the last item on my list is the big-ticket item.  It’s my KitchenAid mixer.

I love my mixer.  It’s huge, takes up a considerable amount of counter space, and is really heavy, but I love it.  It makes hands-free work of almost every cake or cookie recipe I bake.  Plus, with just a change of attachments, I can whip up meringue or marshmallow in no time flat.  It’s an investment, but it’s something that I know I will have in my kitchen forever.  It’s a well made, time-tested product.  You can purchase these at any major department store or cooking supply store.  If you’d rather have the UPS man lug it up your steps, you can purchase one here.

Now that I’ve shared my favorites with you, I’d love to give a little favorite something away to you!

It’s a “Thank You!” giveaway!

This blog is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I finally got the oomph to commit to it last September.  Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind.  The blog’s readership is growing by leaps and bounds, so much that I’m kind of surprised!  I have YOU to thank for it.   I always knew I’d surrounded myself with good people, but I never imagined how supportive my friends and family would be as I took on this project.  Your support and the confidence you have in me means the world to me.  I also never imagined how many amazing people I’d be able to connect with, just by sharing my thoughts and recipes a few times a week.  The blog has become a big part of my life, and I’m enjoying my time here more than you know!  Thank YOU for being there for me, and for being patient with me as I’m figuring this crazy blog world stuff out.

If you stop by Chew Nibble Nosh from time to time, you know that I love, love, love cooking magazines.  I subscribe to way too many.  I’ve lost count.  They provide endless inspiration, and I’d like to share some of that inspiration with you!

In honor of Chew Nibble Nosh’s 100th post, I’ll be giving away a year’s subscription to Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine!

Photo courtesy of Everyday Food Magazine

I love this magazine!  The recipes are fresh and easy, simple and sophisticated.  From day one, Chew Nibble Nosh’s tagline has been “A Place for the Everyday Foodie”.   A subscription to Everyday Food just seemed like the perfect fit!

So, how can you get in on the action?

Just leave a comment after this post and answer this question,

“What is your all-time favorite kitchen gadget that you just can’t live without?”

Want another entry?

1.)If you “like” Chew Nibble Nosh on Facebook, let me know!

2.) If you follow my Twitter feed (@chewnibblenosh), let me know in another comment!

3.) If you follow Chew Nibble Nosh on Pinterest, leave yet another!

The winner will be chosen via a random number generator software program, so each comment will serve as a separate entry. Each individual may have no more than four entries (assuming main comment, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest comments/entries are all utilized). Make sure you leave separate comments if you’re a Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest follower to up your chances!

The Nitty Gritty Important Stuff:

– The giveaway is only open to US residents who are 18 years of age or older.

Entries must be received by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 11, 2012.

– The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via the contact email left with the winning comment. The winner will be asked for their name, age and mailing address. If the winner does not respond by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 with the requested information, a new winner will be chosen.

– The winner will be announced on Chew Nibble Nosh, Facebook, and Twitter on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

– Giveaway sponsored by Chew Nibble Nosh.

Good luck and thank you, so much, for your support!  Here’s to the next 100!  And the 100 after that!

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