Muscle for life

Kitchen

Recommendations

If you’re like me, you probably spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen cooking and/or preparing weekly meals.

Just as with workout supplements and equipment, I like to try a wide variety of kitchen equipment.

I’ve tried all kinds of stuff–blenders, mixers, pots and pans, food scales, tea makers, and even obscure stuff like silicone pancake rings and oven mitts–and in this section of my recommendations, I share my favorite products.

 

Rather than having a cupboard stuffed full of all kinds of pots and pans, you should own a few well-chosen pieces that you can use to cook whatever you want, and that give you the performance needed to cook better.

I judge cookware based on the following criteria:

  • Temperature control. How responsive are they to changes in heat?
  • Heat retention and distribution. How well do they hold heat, and how evenly does it distribute across the cooking surfaces?
  • Handle insulation. How hot do handles get?
  • Cover fit. How snugly do the covers fit? Do they seal in juices?
  • Price. How affordable are they?

Generally speaking, good cookware is thick and solid and sits perfectly flat on the stove; it conducts and holds heat well and responds quickly to changes in temperature;  and it has sturdy, heatproof, and secure handles and lids that feel comfortable in your hand.

Based on those criteria, the following are the pieces I’ve found most useful, and the best in terms of quality and price.

Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set

Superior temperature control and even pouring with no drips

While I’m a fan of cast-iron cookware for skillets and griddles, the Cuisinart MCP-12N MultiClad Pro products are a great choice for your stainless steel cookware needs.

You’re likely to find Cuisinart in most chef’s homes, because their products are incredibly well built.

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Lodge Cast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle

Rugged, nonstick, and chemical free

Here are some of the benefits of a good piece of cast-iron cookware:

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Nordic Ware Pancake Pan

Perfect shape and perfect thickness

One of the keys to making great pancakes is achieving the right thickness, and that’s not possible with a traditional pan unless you use a pancake ring.

Well, if you’re a true pancake lover like me and make them quite regularly, then you might want a pancake pan like this one from Nordic Ware.

It makes Scandanavian-style pancakes, which are on the thinner and smaller side, and which are usually served with sour cream and caviar with smoked salmon. Well, I’m not a fan of the toppings but I am a fan of the shape and thickness of the pancakes. :)

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Skillet

Every kitchen needs a good skillet. It’s perfect for pan-searing and pan-roasting meats as well as reducing sauces.

A traditional skillet (not nonstick) is good for searing and making pan sauces, thanks to the brown, crusty bits its plain surface leaves behind. Here are my two favorite traditional skillets:

ALL-CLAD STAINLESS STEEL 12-INCH FRY PAN

Versatile, beautiful, and incredibly responsive to heat

All-Clad cookware excels with all forms of heat, including gas, electric, and induction, and offers unparalleled responsiveness, heat distribution, and durability. It’s truly top tier, and is used and loved by professional chefs all over the world. Read More...

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Cuisinart Classic Stainless Steel Skillet

Responsive, heats evenly, looks great, and very solidly constructed

Cuisinart is a highly respected brand of cookware, and is found in the kitchens of many professional chefs.

This classic skillet delivers great performance at an even better price. Read More...

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Saucepan

Saucepans are the perfect size and shape for all kinds of kitchen tasks. They don’t take up much space and are perfect for making rice, sauces, vegetables, gravies, creams, puddings, and many other foods.

I recommend that you buy two: one that can hold 3 – 4 quarts, for sauces and vegetables, and another 2-quart nonstick pan for cooking foods that stick easily.

Here are my recommendations for the 3 – 4-quart pan:

All-Clad Stainless Steel 4-Quart Saucepan With Lid

Easy to store, and very responsive to changes in heat

This 4-quart saucepan is perfect. It has a tall design that keeps it from crowding your stove and kitchen, it’s very responsive to changes in heat, and the long, looper handle is just right for lifting and pouring. Read More...

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Cuisinart Chef Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saucepan With Lid

Performs well, and heats quickly and evenly

This saucepan is a great value. It performs well–heating quickly and evenly–and the straining lid and pouring spout are quite useful. The glass lid is a nice touch too, as it allows you to keep an eye on your food. Read More...

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Stockpot

This is the pot you turn for your bigger jobs like steaming lobsters, cooking large batches of pasta and bushels of corn, and creating homemade sauces and stocks.

Something to keep in mind with stockpots is heavier pots perform better. They not only hold heat better, but they help prevent sticking and scorching.

In terms of size, I think 12 quarts is best. It’s the “smallest” big pot that you can use for pretty much all stockpot needs while still being small enough to store with your other cookware.

Here are the stockpots I recommend:

All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Quart Stockpot

Easy to clean, the lid fits tightly, and doesn't leak boiling water

You’re going to love this stockpot. It’s thick and distributes heat evenly, which means no burning or hot spots; it’s easy to clean; and the lid fits tightly and doesn’t leak boiling water. Read More...

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Cuisinart Chef's Classic Stainless Steel Stockpot

Solidy constructed, comfortable handles, and responds well to heat

Like all of Cuisinart’s Chef’s Classic line, this stockpot is an all-around great performer, and is offered at a very affordable price. It’s solidly constructed, the handles are comfortable, and it responds to and holds heat well. Read More...

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Nonstick cookware is for cooking or sauteing delicate items that tend to stick or fall to pieces, like stir-fries, pancakes, fish, and egg dishes.  My favorite nonstick is a good preseasoned cast-iron piece.

And in case you think cast-iron is clunky junk, there’s a reason why every restaurant and professional chef worth a lick uses iron cookware. Here are some of the benefits of a good piece of cast iron cookware:

  • Rugged, to the point of being virtually indestructible
  • Heats up evenly and retains its temperature well
  • You can move it from the stove to the oven without any issues

Cast-iron pieces are great for stewing, sauteing, and roasting because the entire surface heats up evenly, including the sides. I also love that you can transfer cast-iron pieces from the stove to the oven, which works perfectly for searing meat or fish and finishing it in the oven.

Nonstick Skillet

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Skillet

Cooks great, and is extremely rugged and durable

Le Creuset’s cast-iron cookware is some of the nicest you can buy. It delivers exceptionally steady, even heat, and its enamel interior coating requires no seasoning, and resists staining, dulling, and general wear and tear.  Read More...

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Lodge Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet

Rugged, nonstick and heats up evenly

I don’t have to explain to you the uses of a skillet, so what I love about this is the value–you get a high-quality cast-iron skillet for $20, and it will basically last forever. Can you beat that? Read More...

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Nonstick Saucepan

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 2 3/4-Quart Saucepan With Lid

High quality and extremely durable

Like all of Le Creuset’s cookware, this saucepan can handle anything you throw at it with ease. It heats quickly and holds temperatures incredibly well, the heavy lid secures tightly to prevent spillage, and the sides prevent dripping when you pour. Read More...

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Cuisinart Chef's Classic Nonstick 2-Quart Saucepan with Lid

Performs well, and heats quickly and evenly

This saucepan is a great value. It performs well–heating quickly and evenly–and the straining lid and pouring spout are quite useful. The glass lid is a nice touch too, as it allows you to keep an eye on your food. Read More...

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Want to be able to cut food like the chefs on TV? You know, smoothly and rapidly cut through anything, creating perfect slices of veggies, fruits, and meat?

Then you want good cutlery. It not only make food prep more enjoyable, it makes it quite a bit faster as well.

While most people just buy a block of mediocre knives, I think it’s a much better idea to invest that money in fewer, higher quality knives. Not even professional chefs need 10 knives to run their kitchen!

Also keep in mind that, if cared for properly, a high-end knife can literally last a lifetime. While it might seem extravagant to spend $100 on a single knife, realize that you will never need to buy another one again.

So below I’m going to recommend 4 basic knives that will handle all your cutting, chopping, and slicing needs. And as you probably know, you can spend a lot of money on knives, so I’m going to give a few recommendations at different price points.

 

Chef's Knife

A good chef’s knife becomes your best friend in the kitchen. You’ll use it for everything from mincing veggies to prepping meat, so you want to make sure it’s good.

Here are the chef’s knives I recommend:

Shun Edo 8-1/2-Inch Chef's Knife

Razor-sharp, mirror-polished, and comfortable

Born of the ancient samurai-sword-making tradition and hand-finished for precision and beauty, Shun is the creme de la creme of cutlery. 

Every aspect, from the shape of the Edo’s blade to the way the handle fits snugly into your hand, has been designed for maximum comfort and control.  Read More...

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Shun Classic Chef's Knife

Beautiful, durable, and stain resistant

This chef’s knife performs superbly, and is ideal for all kinds of slicing, dicing, and chopping. The handle is small, comfortable, and attractive, and the blade shockingly sharp and durable. Read More...

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Shun Kai Wasabi Chef’s Knife

Outstanding cutting, reduced food sticking, and beautiful style

This chef’s knife delivers outstanding cutting and edge retention, is sharpened on one side to reduce food sticking, and features Shun’s signature, beautiful style. Read More...

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Wusthof Classic Chef’s Knife

Sharp, solid, and extremely durable.

This chef’s knife lives up to the Wusthof name–it’s sharp, solid (but not too heavy), and extremely durable. Read More...

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Global G-2 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

Comfortable, sharp, and just plain cool

These Japanese knives are known for their remarkably balanced, dimpled handles, and razor-sharp blades that are specially ground to hold their edges for long periods of time.

This chef’s knife is a real winner. It’s comfortable, easy to maneuver, incredibly sharp, and just plain cool. Read More...

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J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 8-Inch Chef Knife

Well balanced, sharp, and very affordable

The knives in Henckels’ International Fine Edge Pro line are very affordable and, in my opinion, perform above their price range.

This chef’s knife is well balanced, the handle feels good in your hand, the blade is sharp and holds its edge well, and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. Read More...

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Utility Knife

The utility knife is between the larger chef’s knife and the smaller paring knife. It’s great for cutting up salads, slicing, peeling, carving, and many other cutting needs.

When a cut calls for a bit more finesse than a chef’s knife can deliver, the utility knife is what you grab. Here are my favorite utility knives:

Shun Edo 5-1/2-Inch Utility Knife

Stunning, sharp, and perfectly balanced

Razor-sharp, mirror-polished blades allow the weight of the knife to do the work and create natural food release.

This utility knife is incredible. It’s not only stunning looking, but it’s insanely sharp, holds its remarkably well, and is perfectly balanced. Read More...

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Shun Classic 6-Inch Utility Knife

Beautiful, sharp, and perfectly weighted

The Shun Classic’s amazingly sharp blade is famous for both edge retention and ease of sharpening. 

Furthermore, the blade’s wood grain pattern not only enhances the knife’s beauty, it also adds durability and stain resistance, and reduced friction when cutting. Read More...

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Shun Kai Wasabi 6-Inch Utility Knife

Beautiful and sharp

This utility knife delivers superb cutting and edge retention, and features Shun’s signature, beautiful style. Read More...

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Wusthof Classic 6-inch Sandwich Knife

Thin, sharp, and well balanced

Wusthof deserves its reputation as one of the finest knife makers in the business.

This sandwich (utility) knife is thin, sharp, and well balanced, and is comfortable in your hand.

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Global GSF-50 6-Inch Utility Knife

Light, extremely sharp, and the handle feels great in your hand

These Japanese knives are known for their remarkably balanced, dimpled handles, and razor-sharp blades that are specially ground to hold their edges for long periods of time.

This utility knife is fabulous. It’s light, extremely sharp, and the handle feels great in your hand. Read More...

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J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 5-Inch Utility Knife

Affordable, and a sharp blade that holds its edge well

The knives in Henckels’ International Fine Edge Pro line are very affordable and, in my opinion, perform above their price range.

This utility knife has a nice, solid feel, and a sharp blade that holds its edge well. Read More...

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Pairing Knife

The paring knife is perfect for delicate, small cutting needs like cutting, slicing, peeling, and removing blemishes from fruits and vegetables, and creating decorative cuts.

Here are my favorites (big surprise, I know):

Shun Edo 4-Inch Paring Knife

Razor-sharp, mirror-polished, and comfortable

Razor-sharp, mirror-polished blades allow the weight of the knife to do the work and create natural food release.

Like the rest of Shun’s Edo line, this paring knife is peerless. You won’t find a prettier, sharper, more durable piece. Read More...

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Shun Classic 4-Inch Paring Knife

Beautiful, durable, and stain resistant

The Shun Classic’s amazingly sharp blade is famous for both edge retention and ease of sharpening. 

Furthermore, the blade’s wood grain pattern not only enhances the knife’s beauty, it also adds durability and stain resistance, and reduced friction when cutting. Read More...

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Shun Kai Wasabi 4-Inch Paring Knife

Affordable, stylish, and performs extremely well

This paring knife is a great, affordable option. It has the signature Shun style and performs extremely well. Read More...

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Wusthof Classic 3.5-Inch Paring Knife

Small, light, and performs fantastically

This paring knife is small, light, and performs fantastically. It’s very well balanced and easily maneuvered, and the blade slices through anything–even meat–with ease. Read More...

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Global GS-38 3.5 Inch Paring Knife

Scary sharp, comfortable, with a high-tech look

Like all of Global’s products, this paring knife is wonderful. The edge is scary sharp right out of the box, the hollow, sand-filled handle fits nicely in your hand and provides great balance, and the high-tech look always catches my eye. Read More...

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J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 3-Inch Paring Knife

Sharp, light, fits nicely in your hand, and holds its edge well

The knives in Henckels’ International Fine Edge Pro line are very affordable and, in my opinion, perform above their price range.

This is a solid paring knife. It’s sharp, light, fits nicely in your hand, and holds its edge well. Read More...

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Bread Knife

Due to its long length and narrow, serrated blade, this is the perfect knife for the crumbless cutting of breads and baked goods. It’s also particularly useful for cutting meats like large roasts and turkeys, as well as meatloaf. The serrated edges grip the meat and allow for smooth, thin slicing.

In my opinion, you’re not going to notice as much of a difference between the top-end and less expensive options. If you have the cash, though, and want to stick with the best, Shun is what you want:

Shun Edo Bread Knife

Razor-sharp, mirror-polished, and comfortable

This bread knife just melts through bread and baked goods, and looks beautiful while doing it. The weight and balance is perfect as well, making the knife do the work. Read More...

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Shun Classic 9-Inch Bread Knife

Beautiful and stain resistant

This is just a stellar bread knife. It features lighter serrations than other bread knives and relies on its incredible sharpness instead. This means smoother cuts Read More...

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Kai Wasabi 9-Inch Bread Knife

Well balanced and comfortable to use

Don’t let its “bigger brothers” fool you–this bread knife is no slouch. Its Shun-sharp blade is thin and lightly serrated, so it won’t tear the bread and cutting board to pieces, and it’s well balanced and comfortable to use. Read More...

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Wusthof Classic 9-Inch Bread Knife

Sturdy, comfortable, and stays sharp

Wusthof deserves its reputation as one of the finest knife makers in the business.

I’ve put my Wusthof bread knife through its paces and it has done great. It’s sturdy, has a comfortable handle, and it held its edge for many months before needing a sharpening.

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Global G-9 - 8-3/4 inch Bread Knife

Sharp, pretty, and well-balanced

These Japanese knives are known for their remarkably balanced, dimpled handles, and razor-sharp blades that are specially ground to hold their edges for long periods of time.

Like all of Global’s knives, this bread knife is one of the “big boys” of cutlery. It’s everything you would expect: sharper than all hell, pretty, well-balanced, comfortable, and durable. Read More...

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J.A. Henckels International Fine Edge Pro 8-inch Bread Knife

Solidly contructed, plenty sharp, and quite durable

This bread knife more than gets the job done. It’s solidly constructed, plenty sharp (no mashing the bread, even if it’s freshly baked), and is quite durable. Read More...

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Knife Honing and Sharpening

A huge part of extending a knife’s lifespan is honing and sharpening it when needed, and doing it correctly. Sharpen a knife too frequently and you’ll wear it down; sharpen it too infrequently and you’ll have a dull knife that requires more force to cut (making it more dangerous).

A good test for knife sharpness is to, with one hand, hold up a sheet of paper by a corner with two fingers. With the other hand, bring the knife to an edge of the paper and try to run it through. If it cuts into the paper, it’s sharp enough. If it doesn’t, it isn’t.

Now, if you use a proper cutting board (more on that soon), and your hone your knives after each use, you shouldn’t have to sharpen your knives more than once every 3 – 6 months.

Let’s first look at properly honing your knives. The edges of knives are very thin, and can become bent and warped with use. These blemishes dull the blade. You use a honing steel to straighten the edges out, bringing them back into proper alignment and thus sharpness.

Knife sharpening is different. Over time, cutting and steeling your knives will wear metal away from the edges, and some folds and blemishes can become more permanent. You sharpen your knives to correct these issues.

You have two options for knife sharpening: manual and electric. Manual sharpening requires a whetstone and quite a bit of practice. Instead, I recommend you go electric.

So, to hone your knives, you’ll first need a honing steel and sharpener:

SHUN HONING STEEL

Useful and beautiful

Like all of Shun’s products, this is a beautiful honing steel, and is especially useful if you’re sharpening Shun knives thanks to the angle guide on the handle (Shun knives take a 16-degree angle for sharpening, not a 20-degree angle like most others). Read More...

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Wusthof Sharpening Steel

Quick and easy

Like all of Wusthof’s products, this sharpening steel is a cut above the rest. 

Thanks to its extreme hardness, it quickly whips your edges back into shape. Read More...

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Chef's Choice Edgeselect 120 Professional Knife Sharpener

Quiet, safe, and easy to operate

The Chef’s Choice 120 is simply one of the best electric sharpeners on the market. It’s quiet, very easy to operate, and its spring-loaded blade guides make sharpening foolproof. Read More...

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And here’s how to use them properly:

 

Cutting Board

Believe it or not, the type of cutting board you use matters…a lot.

Not only does a proper cutting board keep your blades sharp, it needs to resist deep gouges and moisture, it needs to be large enough to accommodate all cutting and chopping needs, and it needs to be heavy enough to stay in place.

The two types of cutting boards I like most are wood and polypropylene. Nice wood boards are not only beautiful, but they’re very easy on your knives and very resistant to gouges. Polypropylene boards are cheaper, and a bit more prone to gouging, but are also easy on your knives and thus very viable.

If you’re buying a wood board, you’re going to want to oil it every 3 – 4 weeks to keep moisture out and prevent warps and cracks. I recommend a product called Howard’s Butcher Block Oil, which you’ll find below. It’s food-grade mineral oil (doesn’t go rancid) stabilized with vitamin E.

Here are my recommendations:

Proteak Teak Cutting Board with Hand Grip and Juice Canal

Hefty and gorgeous

Teak is particularly popular with cutting boards because it’s exceptionally hard and durable, and actually has a natural oil that makes it moisture resistant (which helps prevent warping, cracking, and bacteria growth).

This board by Proteak is hefty and gorgeous, and the hand grip and juice canal are nice touches as well. Read More...

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John Boos Chop-N-Slice Maple Cutting Board

Durable, stain and warp-resistent, and relatively affordable

Maple is another popular wood for cutting boards because, like teak, it’s durable, stain- and warp-resistant, and relatively affordable.

John Boos has been around since 1887 and is widely known for their kitchenware, and their wood products in particular. Read More...

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Oxo Good Grips Cutting Board

Cheap and effective

While polypropylene boards are inferior to wood, they’re cheap and get the job done. This board also has tapered edges that help keep it in place, and juice grooves to catch liquid. Read More...

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Howard's Butcher Block Oil

Protects wood boards and doesn't go rancid

If you’re buying a wood board, you’re going to want to oil it every 3 – 4 weeks to keep moisture out and prevent warps and cracks.

Most importantly, get the right oil. What you don’t want are oils that will go rancid over time, like olive, canola, or coconut oil.

Instead, I recommend Howard’s Butcher Block Oil. It’s food-grade mineral oil (doesn’t go rancid) stabilized with vitamin E.

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Using the butcher block oil is simple:

1. Wash your cutting board with soap and hot water. Dry off with a towel and let fully dry.

2. Use a paper towel or clean, soft cloth to apply the oil to the wood in an even layer.

3. Let the oil soak in for at least a few hours, but overnight is best.

4. Remove excess oil after the soak-in period.

Chances are you have your basics covered as far as utensils go, so in this section I’m going to share with you a variety of others that can make cooking an easier, fasted, more enjoyable experience.

Chef'n Palm Peeler

Easier and faster

Here’s yet another nifty little gadget from Chef’n (I found this company through their VeggiChop utensil, which I now use every day).

The Palm Peeler slides onto your finger, tucks into your palm, and peels anything you can get your hand on. It makes peeling way faster.

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Quirky Pluck Yolk Extractor

Simple and useful

I love simple, useful things like the Quirky Pluck Yolk Extractor.

Click the “Read More…” button below to see the video.

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In my opinion, it’s worth investing a little money into good kitchen appliances. They make cooking easier, faster, and in some cases safer.

 

Blender

I love to make my post-workout shakes with frozen fruit, so I’ve really given blenders a beating (frozen bananas are particularly tough on them).

A good blender can be used for more than making protein shakes, too. With a high-end model like a Vitamix, you can make hot soups (yup they come out of the blender hot), frozen desserts, nut butters, and more.

Below are blenders that have stood the test of time, with daily use (and sometimes multiple uses per day in the case of the office blender).

Vitamix CIA Professional Series

Incredibly well built, powerful, and versatile

This commercial-grade blender comes with a 2-horsepower motor that can spin the blades up to 240 MPH. It can be used to create smoothies, hot soups, frozen desserts, and more. It chops, creams, blends, heats, grinds, and churns anything you throw into it. Read More...

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Ninja Pro Blender

Cheap, blends anything, and takes one hell of a beating.

I used my first one once per day (and sometimes 2-3 times per day) to blend frozen bananas and other fruit, and it lasted over a year. Lesser blenders can barely even blend a frozen banana, let alone 2, without burning out fairly quickly (trust me, I’ve run through quite a few cheaper blenders). Read More...

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Magimix Blender

Durable and blends anything

The Ninja isn’t available onAmazon.co.uk, but Magimix is a great alternative. 

Like the Ninja, it’s a little workhorse. It chews up anything you throw at it and just keeps on going. It’s a bit pricier than the Ninja, but it’ll last you a long time so it’s worth the investment. Read More...

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Food Scale

One of the most common mistakes people make is they try to eyeball food portions, and underestimate how much they’re actually eating. This, in turn, prevents weight loss (or gain, if they’re trying to focus on building muscle).

That’s why a food scale is your best friend for meal planning. It makes hitting exact macronutritional and caloric numbers a breeze.

EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale

Cheap, simple, and works great

One of the most common mistakes people make is they try to eyeball food portions, and underestimate how much they’re actually eating. This, in turn, prevents weight loss (or gain, if they’re trying to focus on building muscle).

That’s why a food scale is your best friend for meal planning. It makes hitting exact macronutritional and caloric numbers a breeze.

Read More...

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Salter Slim Kitchen Scale

Inexpensive and works well

Like the EatSmart Precision Pro, it’s relatively inexpensive and works as advertised. Read More...

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SITU Smart Food Scale

Smart and extremely useful

I don’t post many Kickstarter projects because of how ridiculously delayed  many wind up being, but I’m going to make an exception for the SITU because it’s awesome.

SITU is a simple food scale with a Bluetooth chip that talks to your iPad or Android tablet. You can place virtually any food item on SITU and view the exact nutrition information for that amount of food on the companion SITU app.

Something like this would be extremely useful for meal planning and diet compliance.

Read More...

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Water Filtration

The Institute of Medicine recommends that we get about a gallon of water per day, and while we do get a fair amount from food,  this requires drinking at least a couple liters of water every day.

While some people assume that tap water is totally fine to drink, research has shown that it is becoming more and more contaminated with all kinds of pollutants–bacteria, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and various types of poisonous chemicals.

Many of us are aware of this already, and thus mainly drink bottled water. This is not just expensive–it comes with other problems: research has shown that bottled water is chock full of chemicals. One study examined 18 different bottled waters from 13 different companies and found over 24,000 chemicals present including endocrine disruptors.

This is why I recommend you invest in effective water filtration device, and why I stick to filtered water.

Now, what you want to achieve with water filtration is very low levels of dissolved solids in the water, as measured in “parts per million.” The closer to 0, the better. (Tap water generally tests at anywhere from 200 – 700 PPM of dissolved solids.)

You can measure the levels of dissolved solids in your water using an electronic water tester like the one given below. This is useful for keeping an eye on your water quality, so you know when filters need to be changed.

ZeroWater ZM-016 Electronic Water Tester

Useful and easy to use

You can measure the levels of dissolved solids in your water using an electronic water tester like the ZeroWater ZM-016 Electronic Water Tester. This is useful for keeping an eye on your water quality, so you know when filters need to be changed. Read More...

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ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher

Tastes extremely clean, and filter lasts a solid 3 months

I’ve tried quite a few filtered pitchers and have been regularly disappointed both in taste and measurements of dissolved solids (I like to see a reading of 5 parts per million or less).

The ZeroWater ZP-010 was the first that I actually liked.

The water tests at 0 to 1 PPM and thus tastes extremely clean, and the filter lasts a solid 3 months or so at 1 to 1.5 gallons per day being run through it.

Read More...

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iSpring 75GPD 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Exceptional value with clean-tasting, sediment-free water

There are a LOT of options in terms of brands, and I like iSpring because they deliver an exceptional value. 

This system is just a great bang for your buck–it’s easy to set up, it delivers crisp, clean water that tests very low in terms of dissolved solids, and it costs a fraction of what you would pay for a bigger brand like GE or Culligan. Read More...

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Toaster

Not much to say about a toaster, other than a bad one burns your toast. 🙂

Breville BTA830XL 4-Slice Toaster

Toasts perfectly and simple to use

This toaster not only looks beautiful, it toasts perfectly (no hot or cold spots) and is just a pleasure to use. It comes with preset toasting cycles, the digital controls are simple, and the toast doesn’t “pop”–it slowly rises in all its golden glory. Read More...

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Black & Decker Stainless Steel Toaster

Simple, solidly constructed, and performs well

As expected from Black & Decker, this toaster is solidly constructed, performs well, and has a simple, industrial look. You can’t go wrong here. Read More...

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Tea Maker

I love tea, and have written about its many health benefits. There’s a big difference between fresh, loose teas and the bagged stuff you can buy in the grocery store.

The latter use older, lower-quality leaves that not only taste worse, but also have lower concentrations of the healthy antioxidants that makes tea special.

Making loose-leaf tea isn’t as simple as tossing a teabag into a cup of hot water, but I think it’s worth the extra brewing step. And while you could use a simple tea infuser for single cups, I like to make my tea 1 liter at a time. Hence, here are my recommendations:

Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker

Fully automated and programmable

The basket is fully automated and moves up and down, gently agitating the leaves to better infuse your tea. It comes with various presets for water temperature and steep times (and is fully programmable so you can create your own presets). It even can be programmed to start brewing tea at a certain time so you can wake up to a fresh cup of your favorite brew. Read More...

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Grosche Zurich French Press Coffee and Tea Maker

Easy to use and affordable

I like this product from Grosche because it’s stainless steel and glass (no chemicals that can leech from plastic), large (1 liter), easy to use, and affordable. Read More...

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Other Appliances

Cuisinart DLC-10S Pro Classic 7-Cup Food Processor

Top brand and high-quality

Cuisinart earned their place as one of the top brands of kitchenware. I’ve yet to be disappointed in one of their products. Read More...

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T-Fal Optigrill

Smart and easy to use

The T-Fal Optigrill isn’t just another electric grill–it’s a “smart grill” that comes programmed with ideal cooking times and temperatures for a wide variety of items, such as fish, steak, poultry, and sandwiches. Read More...

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Waring Pro WMK600 Double Belgian-Waffle Maker

Produces thick, perfectly browned waffles

The Waring Pro produces thick, perfectly browned waffles that put their freezer-burnt pre-made brethren to shame. Its non-stick coating means easy removal and no mess, and its precision heating element ensures even baking. Read More...

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Breville JE98XL

Powerful, fast, and easy to set up

  • It’s powerful, which means you don’t have to wrestle your material into it and it spits out a lot of juice.
  • It’s fast, which means no waiting 15 to 20 minutes for your cheaper juicer to chew through everything. This thing rips through anything you throw at it in a minute or two.
  • It’s easy to set up, operate, and break down and clean.
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Aerobie Aeropress Coffee and Expresso Maker

Innovative, rich flavor and fast

The Aerobie Aeropress is an innovative coffee maker that is perfect for brewing 1 – 4 cups of coffee or espresso. It uses the ideal water temperature and gentle air pressure brewing to produce coffee and espresso that has rich flavor with lower acidity and without bitterness. Read More...

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Sunbeam Donut Maker

Healthier and better

I know I know…what the hell is this doing on a health and fitness website?

Well, you can make healthier donuts! And hey, we do have our cheat meals  too!

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Jura Automatic Milk Frother

Simple and safe

This milk frother from the Swiss company Jura lets you prepare the perfect milk for your beverages with the simple flip of a switch–no dealing with squealing steam wands and burnt fingers. A worthwhile purchase for coffee and tea lovers! Read More...

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Paderno Vegetable Slicer

Hand operated, BPA-free plastic, and easy to use

The Paderno World Cuisine vegetable slicer is an easy-to-use, hand-powered tool that makes vegetable and fruit strands, spirals, and slices.

Here’s a quick rundown of its key features:

  • It comes with three blades:
    • A shredder blade for creating long, spaghetti-like strands
    • A chipper blade for creating long, thick spiral strands
    • A straight blade for creating long, ribbon-like strands
  • The frame and blade plates are constructed of BPA-free plastic.
  • Can be used with a variety of fruits and vegetables including apples, potatoes, carrots, cucumber, zucchini and more
  • Hand operated–no batteries or AC outlet necessary
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Krups Electric Kettle with Tea Infuser

Programmable, BPA-free plastic, and a great value

If you’re like me and you drink a lot of tea, you should consider getting a proper tea maker like this Krups electric kettle. Here are the key features:

  • Four programmable water temperature settings (176f, 194f, 203f amd 212f). 

As you probably know, water temperature is a very important part of extracting enough flavor from the leaves to brew a perfect cup of tea.

  • A BPA-free plastic double infuser. 

This is a basket-within-a-basket setup that lets you place shorter brew time ingredients in the inner basket and longer brew time ingredients in the outer basket.

  • A fine mesh screen to help keep sediment out of your cup.

Excessive tea debris is annoying and a mesh screen behind the spout keeps it out.

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Yonanas Fruit Ice Cream Maker

Healthy and delicious

If you love ice cream, you’ll really love this thing. Yonanas turns frozen fruit and other flavorings into a delicious, healthy soft-serve treat.

The unit combines frozen bananas and any additional fruit or chocolate and instantly churns the ingredients to produce a treat with the texture of frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream, but without the additional fat, sugar, or preservatives.

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Philips AirFryer

A healthy alternative for frying food

If you love fried food but can’t justify the overload of grease and fat, you’re going to love the Philips AirFryer.

As the name suggests, this little device fries foods with little to no oil by circulating extremely hot air over them. The result is crispy goodness using just a tablespoon of oil or less.

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Black Diamond Knife Block

Beautiful and practical

This creative knife block was designed for Edge of Belgravia by Christian Bird, and it features room for up to 11 knives in angled slits that allow for easy extraction as well as a skeletal design that lets you see the blades that you’re grabbing.

If you want the full effect, pick up the matching Ceramic Onyx series of knives as well.

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Lekue Silicone Bread Maker

Non-stick, durable, and super useful

The Lekue Bread Maker makes bread baking simple. You use the high-quality silicone bowl (it can withstand temperatures up to 428 F) to mix the dough and then fold it over and fasten it to itself, throw it in the oven or microwave, and voila, you find bread inside. Read More...

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Shake 'n Make Ice Cream Maker

Healthy, fast, and cheap

There are a surprising number of healthy recipes for ice cream (like this one using sweet potatoes), but not everyone has easy access to an ice cream maker. Not only are they pricey, but they can take up a lot of counter or cabinet space.

That’s why this Shake ‘n’ Make Ice Cream Maker by Mustard is one of the coolest kitchen tools I’ve seen in a long time. It’s just $20, doesn’t require batteries, allows you to make healthy homemade ice cream in three minutes – and you’ll burn a few calories while you’re at it! That’s a win for your body and your wallet.

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Primo Oval Ceramic Grill

Handcrafted and versatile

This is the ultimate backyard feature for any grill kings or Paleo dieters out there.

Sure, it’s an awesome conversation piece simply by being made of handcrafted black ceramic, but there will be silence around the table when you serve the succulent meats and flavorful veggies that come out of this thing.

The charcoal grill is versatile with a cast iron chimney cap, easy-to-read thermometer, and a stainless steel vent door at the bottom. The Primo Grill can also be used for smoking meats, but the next day you can use it for grilling a pizza. These grills comes in three sizes, and there are several options for stainless steel and wooden stands.

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Aroma R-Evolution Aromafork

Improve experience and smell

Molecular gastronomists and serious foodies, here’s a one-of-a-kind utensil for you.

The AROMAFORK adds to your tasting experience by amping up the sensation of smell. More than taste, the aroma of a meal is what lingers and makes us crave more, even long after the last bite is gone.

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Chef'n VeggiChop Hand-Powdered Food Chopper

Fast, easy, and safe

Some home cooks love to prep and find chopping veggies relaxing. If that’s not you, here’s a bit of good news. there’s no need to slowly cut up all your ingredients one by one.

With the Chef’n Veggie Chop, it’s doesn’t take long to slice and dice everything for your mise en place. This kitchen gadget is more than a time-saver–it’s like a hand-powered food processor, perfect for taking on the road. It can pulverize nuts, turn oil and herbs into pesto, and mix up a tasty guacamole.

The blades and bowl are dishwasher safe, as is the convenient storage lid that lets you easily keep leftovers in the Chef’n Veggie Chop for a future meal or snack.

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Waring Professional Popcorn Marker

Healthy, macro-friendly, and easy to use

Healthy popcorn rarely comes from a microwavable bag. Use less oil and still make popcorn in minutes with the Waring Pro WPM10 Professional Popcorn Maker, which has a built-in serving bowl that doubles as the lid.

A halogen heater and stirrer system ensures the kernels are evenly cooked, and large vents release steam to keep popcorn dry so it doesn’t get soggy. This is great for game nights with the fan crew, at-home movie dates, and parties of all kinds.

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