Top 5 Time-Saving Kitchen Tools
16 Aug 2011
Dear Vegan at Heart,
Today's mission is brought to you by Tracye McQuirter, vegan trailblaizer, public health nutrition expert, speaker, and author of the bestseller By Any Greens Necessary. A compelling read from the beginning, Tracye tells the story of how she went from a veg food hater to a vegan pro, with fascinating anecdotes involving civil rights leader Dick Gregory and trying to stay veg in Kenya, where she had to negotiate offerings of goat's blood and other traditional food and drink. (And you thought being veg in Virginia was tricky!) Her personal stories, unique perspective, meticulous research, recipes and how-to advice make this book well worth a read.
This week your mission is to read about her five favorite kitchen tools, check out her website, and consider signing up to her weekly ezine for more tips and info.
1. Salad Spinner
I LOVE my salad spinner. In fact, I have two. Every week, I pick one day to wash two big bunches of kale, dry them in my two salad spinners, then chop them small enough to store in one salad spinner. Then the kale is ready to grab from the fridge for salad, sandwiches, wraps, and burritos, or add to the blender for my morning smoothies. Before I got the salad spinner, I used to dread washing vegetables and drying them with paper towels. It was such a wet, wasteful mess. With a salad spinner, there's no mess and no waste, and the whole process takes about 15 minutes from start to clean-up.
2. High-powered Blender
I use my Vitamix every morning to make green smoothies. Lately, I've been blending fresh wheatgrass and water with 2-3 types of fruit, such as apple, banana, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, mango, and orange. I recommend using a blender instead of a juicer to make whole food smoothies that keep all of the essential fiber in the drink. (You won't taste the pulp.) High-powered blenders are an investment (the Vitamix starts at $379), but they can be well worth it. You'll find it easier to consume more fresh fruits and veggies every day and the long-term health benefits will be priceless.
3. Food Processor
I choose one day to chop whole onions, garlic cloves, an apple, carrots, a head of cabbage, and nuts in the food processor. Then I store them in separate glass containers with lids in the fridge for the week. This is a huge time-saver because these are fresh ingredients I regularly add to my raw or cooked meals, and I don't have to spend time chopping each day.
4. Electric Crock Pot
An electric crock pot, also known as a slow cooker, makes it easy to cook beans, rice, stew, chili, and other dishes while you're away from home (or at home doing something other than cooking). With an electric crock pot, you won't have to constantly check on the food, and when it's hot outside (100 degrees in DC yesterday!) you don't have to turn on the stove or oven. Crock pots are also energy efficient, which is always a good thing.
5. Spiral Slicer
Also known as a mandolin slicer, this is great piece of kitchen equipment to have on hand. You can use the spiral slicer to make spaghetti strands, julienne strips, or thin half rounds from vegetables. I like to use zucchini to make spaghetti strands that I top with salsa, black olives, chopped avocadoes, and fresh basil. Quick, easy, and delicious! The julienne strips and half rounds are also great to add to a fresh salad or a stir-fry, or to dip in hummus or salsa.
These tools save me lots of time in the kitchen and I hope they help you, too. (Photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com)
P.s. Have a particular brand of any of the above that you want to rave about or caution people against? Feel free to comment below.