Stocking the Kitchen with Useful Gadgets for Healthy Cooking

Stocking the Kitchen with Useful Gadgets for Healthy Cooking

Have you been through Williams-Sonoma, Target, Macy’s, or Sur La Table to see their featured kitchen gadgets? If you are a zealous cook, and have a love for being in the kitchen to cook for others or just to relieve stress, then you can’t help but search out and admire the latest tools of the trade, in this case the most necessary kitchen gadgets.

After you have eyed all of those gadgets, you ask which ones do I really need? Here is a look at four of the most useful kitchen aids that we think will help make your cooking and baking time in the kitchen more of a breeze.

Microplane Grater

The Right Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking -microplane and box grader

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Microplane graters are very useful for grating a verity of foods , like nutmeg, cheese, and zest from citrus fruit. The microplane is etched instead of stamped, like the box grater is.

The microplanes etched edges are razor sharp, grating the food items even finer, then the the smaller stamped grater side of the box grater.

Orange Ginger and Rainbow Carrot's

 

Citrus zest is a healthy way to add seasoned flavor to your favorite recipes. The microplane can easily zest any citrus rind without piercing the pith.

Try a side of steamed or roasted rainbow carrots, sliced and mixed with ginger syrup and the zest of an orange.

A microplane will also grate the perfect chocolate shavings for a cake, or some hard Asiago cheese to grate over your favorite pasta or even a pizza.

 

Immersion Blender

Immersion Blender

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The immersion blender allows you to puree nutritious soups and dips without straining your wrist.

Some of the hand held blenders have multi-speeds making it easier to work on thick or denser concoctions, taking only 90 seconds to puree thick soups like split pea and ham , or chunky spaghetti sauce into a pureed spaghetti  sauce.

A handheld immersion blender saves you time, as you don’t have to get your blender out to puree the soup or other food items, and less clean-up.

Angled Measuring Cup

angled measuring cup by OXO

Source: Chef’s Resource – chefsresource.com –

 

An angled measuring cup by OXO makes measuring foods that are easy to underestimate when cooking or baking, such as flour, cooking oils, pasta, cereal, and nuts.

The angled measuring cup has measurement markings visible from above, making it easier to add accurate amounts of ingredients to your cooking or baking and eliminating the need to examine amounts at eye level.

 

 

 

Colored Flexible Cutting Boards

Sanitation is important when using cutting boards. Bacteria can reside in grooves produced by cutting, or in liquids left on the board, either it be a wooden or plastic cutting board.

Colored Flexible Cutting Boards

Source: Chefs Catalog – chefscatalog.com –

Bacteria or allergens can easily be transmitted from one part of the kitchen to another or from one food to another by way of cutting knives, hands, or surfaces such as chopping boards.

To reduce the chance of cross contamination, why not use flexible cutting boards, which are of different colors for use with different types of food such as raw meat, cooked meat, dairy and vegetables.

Many professional kitchens follow this standard color-coding system.

Blue cutting boards: raw fish

Red cutting boards: raw meat

Green cutting boards: vegetable, salad and fruit

Yellow cutting boards: raw poultry

Brown cutting boards: cooked meat

White cutting boards: dairy (also for universal if no other board is available)

Remember that stocking your kitchen with the appropriate tools of the trade doesn’t have to be expensive. Shop around and investigate and read up on product reviews, such as those done by Good House Keeping , Eating Well, Consumer Search , with the reviews posted on their websites.

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Cooking With Honey – The Healthy Sweetener

honey

 

If you want to be able to cook sweets without the negative health effects of refined sugar, honey is an excellent option. Among other reasons, honey is metabolized more slowly by your body, meaning that you are less likely to get a sugar “high” after eating something made with honey.

Honey can be challenging to cook with, though, for several reasons. So many people don’t cook with it because they don’t know how. But once you know how to use honey in your favorite kitchen creations, it’s not hard at all to use.

The first challenge that honey presents is that it burns easily than sugar does. This problem is usually eliminated by doing your cooking or baking at a slightly lower heat. To prevent burning lower the temperature 25 degrees than what the recipe calls for.

honey is like liquid The main hurdle to cooking with honey is that it is a liquid. Replacing sugar with honey will ruin some recipes if you don’t make an allowance for the extra liquid that the honey adds. Reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup for every cup of honey used after the first, depending on the recipe.

Also when replacing honey for sugar, it will be equal amounts. That is 1 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar.

With most muffins, simple quick breads, and yeast breads, you can make the substitution without any adjustment. Cakes, cookies and some other recipes you should decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the honey.

Honey is also very easy to use in pies. Since they are already somewhat liquid, you can replace the sugar with honey. If the pie filling seems too runny, just add a little extra thickener before you pour it in your pie shell.

To prevent the honey sticking to the measuring spoon or cups, lubricate the spoons and cups with water, oil or egg white.  This will facilitate easy and accurate honey measurements.

bee pollinating flowersThe flavor of honey can sometimes be an issue that is depending on the flowers the honey bee pollinates. Examples of differing flavors are clove, orange, raspberry or lavender blossoms.

Depending on how sweet or not sweet you want your recipe to be try one of the following :

1.Darker honey for a sweeter, more potent flavor

2. Lighter-colored honey for a more subtle flavor

Cooks.com advises to mix in 1/4 tsp. baking soda for every cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. They say you will cut honey’s acidity this way.

When shopping for honey they also state that a 12-ounce jar of honey is equivalent to an 8-ounce cup for liquid measurements.

Remember to store your honey in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing any moisture outside the container. It will also help keep the honey indefinitely. Also keep it at room temperature to facilitate use in baking, as cold honey thickens and hot honey’s flavor can become distorted.

Article Header Image credit: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

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      Orange Cranberry Muffins

      Orange Cranberry Muffins

       

      A wonderful bread recipe that uses the whole orange, not just the zest or orange extract. If you would like to know the health benefits of the orange peel link here to read about it: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

      Here is what you will need:

      Orange Cranberry Bread  Ingredients

      2 small oranges

      1 cup orange juice

      2 eggs, large

      1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)

      1 1/3 cups sugar

      1 tsp. salt

      2 tsp. baking powder

      2 tsp. baking soda

      3 cups flour

      1 cup cranberries, chopped fresh

      The ingredients are for baking the batter in a 9 X 9 inch baking pan. To make muffins or cupcakes cut each ingredient in half (makes 12 muffins).

      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

      whole oranges and orange jucie in processor

       Wash oranges and cut into pieces. Remove seeds.  Place orange pieces and orange juice into food processor.

      oranges processed

      Process until oranges are finely chopped. Add eggs and butter; process for 3 seconds until combined. You could replace the butter with 1 cup coconut oil.

      Orange Cranberry Bread ingredients in bowl ready to mix

      Sift the remaining 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Next pour processed orange and juice into the center of the dry ingredients, add cranberries; stir until moistened. Do not over mix.

      Orange Cranberry Bread batter in a lined 9 x 9 inch pan

      As was stated at the on set, you can make muffins by cutting the ingredients in half or use the recipe as is and pour the batter into a parchment lined 9 x 9 baking pan.

      Place in oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes (for bread) or 15 to 20 minutes (for muffins)  until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted. Cool in pan 10 minutes remove to wire rack to cool completely.

      nside view of fresh Orange Craberry Bread

      Here’s a look of how a fresh whole Orange Cranberry Bread looks like on the inside. This cake is packed with 100% of your daily need for vitamin-C. Link here to read more about: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

      Orange Cranberry Muffins

       

      To top the muffins, combine one 8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature) with a few drops of orange food coloring and 1 teaspoon of orange extract. Using a pastry pipe, pipe orange cream cheese over each muffin. Chop 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh cranberries and spoon over cream cheese on each muffin. Enjoy!!

      Link here to read: Benefits of the Orange Peel.

       

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      Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream

      Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream

      Cupcakes

      1 18.25-ounce box devil’s food cake mix

      1 2.5-ounce jar baby food pureed prunes

      1 cup strong coffee

      3 large egg whites (see video below, how to separate egg whites from yolks)

      2 tablespoons coconut oil

      Sauce

      2 12-ounce packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed

      1/2 cup sugar

      1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot starch

      Topping

      2 teaspoons instant espresso

      1 cup heavy cream

      ½ cup powdered sugar

      2/3 cup sliced almonds, dry-roasted

      Preheat the oven to 325°F

      Place a medium metal mixing bowl with beaters into freezer.

      Lightly spray two 12-cup muffin pans with an olive oil spray

      In a large mixing bowl, combine the cupcake ingredients. Pour two tablespoons each per cupcake well in prepared muffin pan. Bake in oven 21 minutes or until center of cupcakes are done.

      Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, stir together the raspberries, sugar, and starch until the starch is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes.

      Double Chocolate Cupcakes over Raspberry Sauce Topped with Almond Mocha Whipped Cream with CoffeeRemove the metal mixing bowl and beaters from the freezer. Attach the beaters to the hand mixer and pour the cold heavy cream into the cold mixing bowl. Beat on high until cream just starts to thicken. Stop beating and add powdered sugar and instant powdered espresso. Begin beating again until the add ingredients are mixed in well and the cream begins to form stiff peaks. Place whipped cream into refrigerator until ready to use.

      For each serving, spread 2 tablespoon raspberry sauce on a dessert plate, top with a cupcake, spoon 2 tablespoons of whipped topping mixture over the cupcake, and sprinkle with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of sliced almonds.

      Check out more Desserts by Splendid Recipes and More

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      Carrot Coconut Bread

      Carrot Coconut Bread

      1¼ cups flour

      ¾ cup sugar

      1 tsp. baking powder

      1 tsp. salt

      ½ tsp. baking soda

      ½ tsp. cinnamon

      ½ tsp. nutmeg

      1 cup sweet shredded coconut

      2 large eggs, beaten

      ½ cup vegetable oil

      ½ cup plain Greek yogurt

      1 tsp. vanilla

      1 cup shredded carrot

       

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees

       

      In a large bowl, sift together first 7 ingredients. Then mix in shredded coconut.

      In a medium bowl, whisk eggs then add oil and mix well; add the yogurt, vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Stir the shredded carrots into the egg mixture, and then fold into the dry mixture until just combined.

      Pour into four 4 to 5 inch spring form pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes and then remove bread and cool on a rack.

      Frosting for bread as follows: Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 8 oz. soft cream cheese and 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread over cooled bread. Reserve some cream cheese to decorate carrots on top. Use orange and green food coloring and a pastry bag. Orange is for the carrot and green for the leaf.

       

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