100 lb. Club - Kitchen Incentives

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06-22-2009, 10:21 AM

I am looking for suggestions for things that help make it more fun for your to spend so much time in the kitchen. Is there a special piece of equipment that you can't live without? (Or is there something that you regret wasting your money on?) Is there some place where you found an especially wonderful lunch bag or something else that brings a smile to your face when you fill it up each day?

My objective is to set up some rewards for incentive to reach my mini-goals. I am beginning to realize just how much I hate spending time in the kitchen, especially for making lunch to take with me. But, I know that eating out as frequently as I have been is a significant part of my poor eating habits.


06-22-2009, 10:48 AM
I've always loved to cook, but one thing I find is crucial is to be organized. Sounds silly, but streamlining things -- having all your lunch tupperware in ONE spot (lids too!), having your lunch bag RIGHT THERE, having a pretty paper napkin to put in, helps enormously for making lunches. And yes, a few pre-packaged treats to toss in when lunch isn't that exciting helps a bit. I'm not a fan of 100 cal packs, but I do have some sugar free jello puddings I'll toss in once in a while. but all the lunch stuff is in ONE SPOT.

Also, when I'm serving dinner, I just make up a smaller plate to take for lunch the next day. What a time saver and MONEY saver!!! instead of me eating those seconds that evening, I save them til the next day :) Or if we have chicken, I save some to put on the salad the next day - you get the point! You want to make things as EASY as possible to KEEP UP :)

06-22-2009, 10:54 AM
I'm a calorie counter, so I can't live without my food scale and measuring cups! :)

However, my mom did just give me her older Cuisenart food processor and it is so awesome. I was making a veggie soup and it cut out a lot of the prep time by chopping and slicing veggies for me.

I'm also a big fan of my handheld immersion blender. I love soup and the immersion blender lets me blend my soups right there in the pot which is a lot easier than transferring it to an actual blender. Really a handy device.

Oo, and my airpopper. That is my new best friend for curing nasty late night munchies or letting myself feel a letting indulgent. Air popped popcorn has a lot less calories than the bagged stuff (just don't load it it with butter!).

Shannon in ATL
06-22-2009, 10:55 AM
I covet a Bento bag for taking my lunch in.

My greatest kitchen item is a Keurig single cup coffee brewer, that and my 20 ounce stainless steel travel mug. I used to drink A LOT of high calorie coffee beverages from Starbucks and the like, I got the Keurig and now I order flavored coffee cups and use fat free french vanilla coffee mate (25 cal per tbsp) or one of the sweeter coffee mate (35 cal per tbsp) as a treat and I save calories and money. It isn't a traditional cooking item, but as a big coffee drinker I think it is the greatest kitchen item I have ever gotten.

06-22-2009, 12:02 PM
Gotta be my mini-chopper/immersion blender (I think it's a krups, but not sure)? It has a couple of attachments so it can be use with a little blade and chopper cup, a whisk and probably something else I haven't used LOL.

I tend to make omelets for breakfast and like to have onions/garlic, so I whip that little guy out, and chop away!!

06-22-2009, 12:02 PM
Gotta be my mini-chopper/immersion blender (I think it's a krups, but not sure)? It has a couple of attachments so it can be use with a little blade and chopper cup, a whisk and probably something else I haven't used LOL.

I tend to make omelets for breakfast and like to have onions/garlic, so I whip that little guy out, and chop away!!

06-22-2009, 12:19 PM
Besides the other stuff that is mentioned that is awesome- I LOVE my crock pot! If you hate to cook and just want to rest when you get home definitely invest in crock pot recipes!

I just pop everything in the crock pot, turn it on low, come home 8 hours later and tada! Dinner in one pot! You can make all sorts of yummy stews and even if you just want to cook meat. One of my favorite things to cook is meat in a crock pot. I toss in the meat with the seasonings and when I get home I have meat falling off the bone YUM!

06-22-2009, 12:23 PM
I love my Keurig coffee maker! I also have a Tassimo, I finally put the Keurig in our camper and the Tassimo in the kitchen. I cant' decide which I like more and only drink coffee a few times a week, sooooo.

My new favorite gadget is the Magic Bullet blender! This is the coolest thing ever!

Oh yeah, forgot my crock pot!!!! I actually have 2 cuz it was always dirty when I wanted to use it so I bought another.

06-22-2009, 12:36 PM
The one pan I absolutely love is my Peking pan (like a flat-bottomed wok with a frying pan handle). It has retired my full wok, and I use it for vegetables much more often than I use a regular frying pan. Often, I have meat cooking in the frying pan, and veg in the peking pan. It's so nice to be able to quickly stir-fry some veg, sprinkle it with seasoning, and serve it up, without the hassle of the old wok (which has to be specially cleaned and seasoned, like cast iron).

06-22-2009, 12:37 PM
Oh, and I'm another one who loves my immersion blender. I use it for protein shakes for breakfast, and for nice easy "creamy" soups for lunch. It's VERY nice not to have to dig out the blender or food processor sometimes.

06-22-2009, 03:05 PM
My favorite has gotta be my crockpot and orange peeler ;)

06-22-2009, 03:37 PM
I love my crock pot. I work long hours so I love to come home to dinner already ready. The other thing I love is my food processor. I bought it not long after I started losing weight and it has helped so much. I can't believe I was married 24 years without one. It really helps me get the veggies in our meals.

06-22-2009, 03:48 PM
Knives :) I have some ceramic knives I absolutely love.

Other useful things include toaster oven, crockpot, rice cooker and microwave of course.

06-22-2009, 03:57 PM
Oh yeah, forgot my crock pot!!!! I actually have 2 cuz it was always dirty when I wanted to use it so I bought another.

Crockpot liners are a GODSEND- I hate cleaning mine as well- now I just pick up the liner, toss it out- give the crockpot a quick wipe and it's all clean :carrot:

06-22-2009, 04:15 PM
The best thing you can do for your kitchen is to organize it. I just did this and now I love looking into my cupboards, pantry shelves, and inside the fridge. Clean and organized is the best thing ever!! :D

I can't live with out is my big "Foreman" like grill. Mine is the kind where the plates come off and go inside the dishwasher. I also have two really great chef knives and a huge cutting board. My digital food scale never leaves my counter and is used for almost every meal. I love my wok for making stir-frys. Today, I just got a new saucepan and a giant saute pan with a lid. I really needed that saute pan now that I think I've become a gourmet cook. ;)

Next on my list is a crock-pot and then a house where I can get a grill. Ohhh the dreams I have for a grill. :dizzy:

06-22-2009, 04:22 PM
Love my crockpot too. But the other essential that I have is my mandolin slicer. So quick and easy to slice things now! I'm actually on my second one, which is NOT as good as my first one. Next time I get one, I'll go back to my "V-slicer".

06-22-2009, 04:22 PM
I must preface this by saying I sell Tupperware, so I may not be totally objective.......

I like my kitchen a lot better now that I've organized my cabinets. DH does, too. I took a half day off work and re-did my cabinets with Modular Mates. I still haven't tackled my spices, but that's on my list.....someday.

I also like Tupperware's dishes that you can use to cook in the microwave, including the steamers. My favorites are the ones that seal so they can go from prep, to the freezer, to the micorwave, to the table. I like to make my lunch in portions and then just take one out and reheat it when I need it.

Have to confess, though, that I still can't live without my Ziploc freezer bags!! I use them for sandwiches and chips when packing DH's lunch (and mine sometimes--the girls at work have no mercy on me for that, either!!). I know I could probably use the sandwich bags cheaper, but I like the thickness of the freezer bags. :)

Alana in Canada
06-22-2009, 04:24 PM
Sharp knives.

They're so essential to everything. Clean washable cutting boards are helpful, too, come to think of it!

Why don't you like spending time in the kitchen? Is it dark? Do you need better lighting?

Does the colour scheme relax you or make you tense and anxious?

Is it well laid out? Can you reach what you need from your workspace? Is it organized well?

Do you have a nice picture or something --a funny soapdish--anything in there make you smile?

06-22-2009, 04:49 PM
I do love my crockpot, too, but I don't use it as much in the summer. The other big item I use a lot in winter is the rotisserie. It takes up a lot of space, but it makes amazing roasted chicken.

06-22-2009, 05:43 PM
Steamer bags have saved me. I guess that I am not as great a cook as some of the chicks. I often just want fast and easy. Cooking veggies in the microwave using a steamer bag meets that criteria.

06-22-2009, 05:46 PM
Oh I use a microwave steamer that I have and its pretty awesome. I used to also steam veggies in the microwave by putting a wet paper cloth over them although I wanted something that was reusable so bought a microwave steamer.

06-22-2009, 07:32 PM
I completely agree with the good knives! I bought two fabulous santoku knives in February and they have been a godsend. I also could not live without my corningware. I have two set that I can store tons of leftovers. I live by myself so always have leftovers...and I'm funny about plastic containers, so these I can divide up my leftovers, pop a lid on them and into the fridge or freezer they go.

I am a huge fan of kitchen stuff so it's very hard to stop with just my two favorites.

06-22-2009, 07:39 PM
Yes knives are awesome- I have a great set of knives I got as a wedding gift and my mother always buys the cheapy knives that are total crap. When she comes over she'd always say how nice my knives were for cutting. Finally I gave her a set and was like just USE THEM! Who cares if they cost $50- they are WORTH IT! :D

06-22-2009, 07:40 PM
Oh gosh. There are SO many things that I have that I find essential to helping me out in the kitchen and that I can't imagine not having. Just a few:

-Excellent knives - in particular my 5" santakou knife from Cuisinart. Oh do I love that thing. I also have knife sharpeners to keep them super sharp.
-My immersion blender.
-My excellent vegetable peeler (I eat a LOT of kirbys, which is similar to the cucumber). It's bright green so it stands out in the crowded drawer that I have it in.
-I have numerous plastic storage containers in all different sizes.
-Just recently bought and LOVE Pyrex glass bowls with plastic lids. They go safely in the oven and are nice enough to serve in.
-Zyliss garlic press. Super fantastic
-A combination grater/slicer
-Cuisinart food processor
-Tongs - I have a lot of these. They are great for mixing all those roasted veggies I cook - and then I have different ones that I serve those veggies with.
-A cast iron stove top grill. LOVE this thing.

06-22-2009, 08:21 PM
I'll throw in another vote for great knives. I love my Wustofs.

Great pans. I've got All-Clad and I will probably own them to the day I kick it.

A digital food scale.

A SodaStream water carbonator. I can have all the sparkling water I want whenever I want with no lugging heavy bottles home.

A little convection oven on the countertop. It's so much faster to heat up than my wall oven and doesn't come close to heating up the kitchen as badly.

06-22-2009, 09:07 PM
LOTS AND LOTS of measuring cups and spoons
my wonderfully fantastic Cuisinart food processor and mini chopper
my GOOD knives

06-22-2009, 09:16 PM
Add me to the list for good knives. Also, I love measuring cups and spoons. Also, more recently . . . I have gotten a MAGIC BULLET! I love it. I use it everyday three or four times (at least).

06-22-2009, 09:39 PM
Oh, I forgot about a good veggie peeler. If anyone ever has plans to peel a butternut squash or a sweet potato, you are definitely going to want a good peeler!

Arctic Mama
06-23-2009, 01:22 AM
A pressure cooker!

A full roast in 30 minute? Yes please! It's the exact opposite concept of a crock pot, so it cooks things very quickly and tenderly. I love them, they're such time savers!

06-23-2009, 10:26 AM
Oh I forgot, a Vitamix. I use it almost every day. I also have a nice food processor but I can do some stuff in the Vitamix.

I also have a Fagor pressure cooker which has a regular lid so I can pressure cook or just use the pan for cooking soup or veggies or what not.

06-23-2009, 12:09 PM
I think we have overwhelmed the OP lol!

06-24-2009, 09:52 AM
Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I knew you would all be really helpful. :D