Category Archives: kitchen tools

40 Real Food Kitchen Essentials

As I am a poor college student, many of these tools and appliances are still but a dream. However, I have compiled a list of everything I either use currently or know would be useful to me in my quest to eat only real food.

Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: 40 Real Food Kitchen Essentials


ziploc, food storage, lunch

Ziploc Divided Lunchbox
This is great for taking lunches to work or school. Cheap, comes in a pack of 2, and it doesn’t leak at least not between compartments. I bought mine from King Soopers but I’m sure is available at many stores.

$6.78 on Amazon
to go coffee cup

Ceramic Coffee Mug
It’s tempting to stop for coffee in the morning (especially now that there is a drive-thru starbucks on my way to school). I see these all over local coffee shops in all kinds of patterns. Save money AND no waste.

$11.90 on Amazon

thermos, soup

Thermos Jar
I will admit that I actually did buy this thermos jar with the Hello Kitty print. It’s awesome for taking oatmeal on days I get to school early, or when I want soup for lunch. Definitely worth it if you like a variety for lunches.

$15.99 on Amazon

popsicles, homemade, molds

Popsicle Molds
I love frozen treats but most store-bought are packed with sugar. I like to make smoothies and pour them into the molds for healthy popsicles (what a concept). I bought some very like these at a party store.

$6.40 on Amazon
colorful mixing bowls, food preparation

Melamine Mixing Bowls
My wonderful Aunt bought me a set of mixing bowls for a birthday present. They are somewhat like these: colorful, nesting and come with lids. I love them because I can use them for storage too (double-duty is a college girls best friend).

$33.45 on Amazon;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=969415;usg=AFHzDLtxaT4WSxzgiKPfYAYf7BCeFL-u5g;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
High Quality Pots and Pans
Something I really want, but can’t justify the price tag when I have a set that cook just fine. These are very expensive but I bet they cook beautifully. Plan: gradually add a new pan as the old ones wear out.

$239.99 at Kohl’s;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=390906;usg=AFHzDLuYVSY-YBZMp0OvOi6q5rn60A0BTw;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

High Quality Knives
Another item on my wish list: knives. Chopping is a big part of cooking from scratch and higher quality knives last a lot longer. Keep them sharp with a sharpener.

$179.99 at Kohl’s

stainless steel measuring cups, cooking, food preparation

Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons
I have used five sets of measuring cups and spoons since I’ve been living on my own and it is so annoying when the painted measurement rubs off. Stainless steel sets usually have the measurement stamped into the metal and are more durable than their plastic counterpart.

$7.15 on Amazon;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=UHW1025_7254832;usg=AFHzDLsAv2LDcw7bdrl7oKAcLgkcJlk-Lg;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

Cast-Iron Skillet
My fabulous grandmother bought one of these for me for a birthday gift. Sometimes a slightly high-maintenance addition to my kitchen, still one I could never live without. Don’t forget to season it! (Also BAM! cuz mine is from Emeril)

$32.99 on Wayfair;dcadv=3632184;sz=200×200;lid=41000000028007181;pid=LEFM2951;usg=AFHzDLvbF-mk0LtDRxcfB4DWQwnMpB31WA;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

The newest addition to my kitchen, and I’m so excited about it! Fill with your favorite cooking oil and use in place of cooking spray (cut out all those nasty propellants). I bought this one at a local cooking store for $9.99. There were many options to choose from.

$18.86 on Boncui;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=CNX1443;usg=AFHzDLuki71NdyzJED3lFj6RjQvQgedZ4A;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Mesh Strainer

I bought this when I tried making almond milk last spring. Now I use it in place of a juicer (tried using a real juicer for a while but found it to be too messy and hard to save the pulp for making crackers). Also useful for making chicken or vegetable stock.

$17.99 on Wayfair;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=CFB1011;usg=AFHzDLuI8nFurkrSHyREjR4hiKqKz7v9UA;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

Ice Cube Tray With Lid
I use these for obvious things like freezing water (I don’t have a fancy refrigerator that makes ice cubes), but also for freezing small portions of pesto, chicken or vegetable stock, leftover wine, fresh herbs (for use in the winter), applesauce, and marinara sauce. The lids make it less messy.

$5.52 on Wayfair;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000028505128;pid=EKC1095;usg=AFHzDLvmubLbRLoXnGSSz0whT3qD_Vk-yA;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

Apple Slicer/Corer
A basic kitchen essential. I usually prefer to just slice apples with a knife since this doesn’t remove all the seeds usually but when I’m in a hurry this is perfect for quick jobs.

$9.99 on Wayfair;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000373657;pid=779637;usg=AFHzDLsUSouJn_1RJrtiVZl0h0saYUxqVw;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

Another basic kitchen tool, but one I use often. Just the thing for scrambled eggs, pancakes and mixing sauces, Don’t find yourself without one. (Before I bought one of these I just used a fork).

$19.95 on Sur la Table

An obvious addition to any kitchen that wants to protect their counters (I DO want my security deposit back). There is controversy over wooden versus plastic cutting boards, after some research I found that it really doesn’t matter (I have one of each). Just find one that doesn’t warp or stain.

$18.32 on Amazon;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000373657;pid=1006576;usg=AFHzDLuMtNRF_8-rsAkXcH5AuBDXpYaw2A;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

An additional basic kitchen need ladles can be used for serving a million different dishes. Before I bought mine (which came in a set of spoons), serving dinner was a much messier task.

$13.00 on Sur la Table;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=399135;usg=AFHzDLuxlMikmOvkPnfe9O3dfjTmtqlW2A;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

Spoons (Wooden and Plastic)
One more kitchen basic. I have three of each (possibly a bit excessive but it happens when you combine kitchens with someone else). Wooden spoons sometimes stain so I only use them when cooking pasta or stirring dry ingredients.

$15.99 at Kohl’s;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000373657;pid=1022052;usg=AFHzDLsp1BhsRWUbIbHJegPW8BG2Wz0nsQ;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Rolling PinA somewhat recent addition to my kitchen, I use this mostly for pie crusts (we love pie!) but it’s also essential during Christmas cookie season. I bought mine at target and there are so many varieties that it’s best to just find what works for you.

$17.00 on Sur la Table

tortilla press, sur la table

Tortilla Press
I’ve been told that tortilla making is easy, especially when you own one of these presses. I don’t yet own one but it is another item that you can find on my wish list.

$19.99 on Sur la table;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000373657;pid=901314;usg=AFHzDLtiXhO_gtv48AdpkxalEDhJilSuvA;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Tortilla Warmer

Not just for Mexican restaurants anymore this tortilla warmer is perfect to keep homemade tortillas warm and fresh. (Not yet owned, on my wishlist).

$9.95 at Sur la Table

ceramic, mortar and pestle

Mortar and Pestle

I was so excited when I bought my little mortar and pestle at a spice store. I use it for crushing both dried and fresh herbs.

$9.31 on Amazon

tofu press

Tofu Press
I had no idea these were so pricey. If you have to cash they’re exceptionally useful when preparing restaurant worthy tofu (tofu tips to be published soon). Two cutting boards works well for me currently.

$41.95 on Amazon

salad dressing bottle, measurements, homemade

Salad Dressing Bottle
This is the best for making salad dressings at home. I don’t have one because we’re using up our vast stores of store-bought salad dressing (for some reason we buy one almost every time we go to the store).

$6.74 on Amazon

tea-rex, tea strainer

Tea Ball
I just have a regular old mesh tea ball, but the TEA-rex makes me laugh. I love these for loose-leaf teas you can buy at most tea shops (or collect herbs in the wild).

$9.98 on Amazon

Food Processor
This is another recent addition to my kitchen (thanks to my grandma). I’m so excited to finally have one because I’ve been noticing a definite need for one. Salsa, pesto, hummus, and a million other things… here I come!

$159.00 at Sur la Table;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=22417;usg=AFHzDLsC8yEPN09LmKzoUo46hDVfIjhJng;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Mini Chopper

I’ve had this for quite a while. It’s awesome for shopping ginger, garlic, or small batches of anything I would use the large food processor for.

$59.99 at Kohl’s;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=1154783;usg=AFHzDLsHgqB1mBFwb95v_E3vUel6SY4ndg;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200

I am still amazed by (and learning about) all the things you can do with a Crock-pot. I love mine for days I know I’ll be home late. What a great feeling to come home and dinner is already prepared.

$59.99 at Kohl’s
george foreman grill

George Foreman Grill
I am a huge fan of grilled cheese so I love this appliance. Mostly I use it to make sandwiches more interesting but we have tried burgers and chicken on it with success. I actually found mine at a garage sale.

$32.95 on Amazon;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000373657;pid=724443;usg=AFHzDLufEnIv39rY6TzHMiQXRwZTJ-ta2A;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Ice Cream Maker
There are not words to describe how badly I want one of these. After trying home-made ice cream on one of my ranch visits last summer I just don’t enjoy the taste of ice cream from the box (as much) anymore. Plus you can control the amount of sweetener and the flavor you add. One day I will have you my pretty.

$59.95 on Sur la Table

Bread Maker
My boyfriend’s father has a bread-maker and he makes the BEST bread in the world. I would like to give bread-making a try and this model has caught my eye. My friend bought a bread-maker on Craig’s list for $5.00 (that actually works) so that’s probably where I’ll start looking.

$141.99 on Wayfair

waffle iron

Waffle Iron
Try as I might, I can’t live without waffles. I don’t like Belgium waffles though. It took me a very long time to find a non-Belgium waffle maker, but I love it very much!

$40 at JC Penny

Probably my most used appliance (at least before I got the food processor) because it did double-duty. I love smoothies in the morning so for me this is essential.

$29.99 at Target;sz=200×200;ord=timestamp?;lid=41000000000342669;pid=760407;usg=AFHzDLstDsTAldF4CQ-OZdG5g589iTOPzA;;pubid=575791;;width=200;height=200
Food Dehydrator
One more item on my to-buy list, a dehydrator seems extremely useful to me. I plan to use it for backpacking food, homemade fruit leather and homemade jerky and I’m sure I could come up with a few other ideas.

$99.99 at Kohl’s

Books and Movies:

omnivore's dilemna, michael pollan, book cover

by Michael Pollan

in defense of food, michael polla, book cover

by Michael Pollan

food rules, michael pollan, book cover

by Michael Pollan

food inc., documentary, movie cover

a Documentary

quick-fix vegetarian, robin robertson, book cover, cookbook

By Robin Robertson

ancient grains for modern meals, maria speck, book cover, cookbook

By Maria Speck

my father's daughter, gwenyth paltrow, book cover, cookbook

By Gwyneth Paltrow

the future of food, documentary, movie cover

a Documentary

fast-food nations, eric schlosser, book cover, documentary

by Eric Schlosser