One of My Many Nicknames + Kitchen Tools I Can’t Live Without : Part One

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Luanne has approximately 999 nicknames for me. One them is Podunk Mol.

This particular nickname stems from the fact that I have no regard, interest, or knowledge about fashion, brands or labels.

Fancy jewelry, fancy clothes, fancy bags and fancy shoes are lost on me.

  • I don’t know how one even decides on a “style”. All I know is that the line between classy and trashy is very confusing to me.
  • If I had to choose between buying clothes at a mall (do those still exist?) or a thrift store, I would go thrift store any day, regardless of how much money I have.
  • I would way rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping any day of the week.
  • Buying new bras, underwear and socks make me panic so I usually wear Luanne’s old ones instead. <— true story (and it drives her nuts. And then she calls me Podunk Mol).

This isn’t good and this isn’t bad. It’s just how I am. I don’t want to pay more for something than I have to and I don’t buy stuff that isn’t necessary (my cat pants were 100% necessary).

Luanne can call me Podunk Mol, anytime. I have what I need and I’m perfectly happy and content with that.

My kitchen is no exception.

Cooking plant based recipes and meals isn’t complicated and it doesn’t require fancy expensive equipment. I’m sharing the 10 kitchen tools that I use in my kitchen most often. I’m also sharing how much I paid for them and where I got them. I’ll give you the first five today and the next five next week. Deal? If I can eat a Whole Food Plant Based diet and create weekly Plant Fueled Meal plans for you with only these items, you’ll be totally set!

Here are five of the 10 most frequently used tools in my kitchen. I list them in order of how much I use them, starting with the most used first. Some of these items are brand specific, some aren’t. I have no affiliation with any of these brands and I am not being paid to mention them – it’s just what I happen to have.

ONE: Blender
This is non-negotiable.

I use my blender every single day, sometimes two or three times a day. I use it for my morning smoothie and for making dressings, sauces, soups and other yumminess for our weekly Plant Fueled Meal Plans.

What I’m rolling with:

Oster 12 speed blender.

This is $40 at Target. I got it used for $20 from Rufus, the guy who has a fruit stand / oddities / permanent yard sale on the side of the road near our house. It was missing the O-ring, so I picked one up from Home Depot for .99 and called it a day.

I’ve never owned a Vitamix or any other fancy blender. I know they’re orgasmic and at some point I might get one, but for now I’m perfect with my $20 blender from Rufus.

TWO: Salad Spinner

I use this once or twice a week and I enjoy the benefits from it every day.

I live in a small town in Hawaii and the very best and most affordable place to buy produce is from our local organic farm, Johnson’s Farm. They have a booth at our Sunday Farmers Market where we go each week and stock up on produce. We usually spend around $25 and it lasts us through the week.

As soon as I get home from the market I lay out all my produce and start my produce washing party. This party consists of a big bowl, my salad spinner, all my leafy greens and lettuce, a couple big storage containers, a cup of tea and my favorite Podcast, WTF (tea just doesn’t sound cool, damn it).

I wash my greens, spin them super dry in my salad spinner and store them in a couple containers in my fridge. This gives me washed greens ready to go anytime I want. And because I have them washed and ready to go, I eat WAY more of them throughout the week.

There’s no point washing your greens in advance if you can’t get them super dry because if you store them wet, they start to slime and go bad really quickly. A salad spinner is the difference between your greens lasting three days and your greens lasting seven days. A simple salad spinner will help you eat more greens, it will save you time and it will save you money on wasted produce.

What I’m rolling with:

I got my salad spinner for $1 from a yard sale. I dropped it on the floor shortly after I brought it home and it cracked in several places. Luanne patched it up with some duct tape and we’ve been good to go ever since.

THREE: Fine Mesh Strainer

If I had to pick the most under-appreciated cooking item, the fine mesh strainer would be it (and I’ve thought about this more than five times).

Here’s why. Without the dependable fine mesh strainer, how would one rinse such a grain as tiny as quinoa? It’s impossible. It’s fine mesh strainer city or bust.

I also use this gem for rinsing beans and other grains. I use it for straining water from soaked nuts or seeds when I make yummy sauces and dressings. I use it for straining water from simmered sweet potatoes and removing excess water from steamed broccoli and greens. At any given moment this tool is either being used or it’s in my dish rack drying.

What I’m rolling with:

I bought my fine mesh strainer from Ross Dress For Less for $5 (and kitchen stuff for less as it were). It has a wooden handle and a double mesh lining.

FOUR: Instant Pot

Believe the hype. It’s good. It’s really, really, really good.

The Instant Pot is a multifunctional electric pressure cooker. It functions as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, a steamer and a yogurt maker. You can also saute ingredients directly in the inner pot, which comes in handy when making soups, stews and curries. Beans can take up to three hours to cook on the stove. I cook my beans in 15 minutes in my Instant Pot. I mean, come on!

I used to think overnight oats were the best way to make steel cut oats. That has changed since I bought my Instant Pot. I now make steel cut oats in 10 minutes instead of 8 hours. #thankyoulife

What I’m rolling with:

I have the IP-LUX60-6-in-1. I ordered it from Amazon for $99.

FIVE: Steamer Basket

I use this sucker every day for steaming veggies.

I add about a cup of water to a pot, place the steamer basket inside, add my veggies (usually leafy greens or broccoli) and place a lid on the pot. After 3 or 4 minutes, I take out my veggies, place them in a bowl, add some sauce, like T-Crack or Coconut Aminos, sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds and dig in.

Buy one with legs because it keeps it slightly elevated and will work in any pot.

What I’m rolling with:

I bought my steamer basket at Walmart for $5. I usually don’t shop at Walmart for a lot of reasons, mainly because of their poor labor practices and the negative impact they have on communities. That said, sometimes in a pinch, Walmart happens.

Okay – that wraps up the first five. I’ll be back next week with the next five.

In the meantime, go make today’s recipe and post a pic in our private Facebook group!

Plant Based Chai Eggnog

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes (75g)
5 medium-sized dates, pit taken out and simmered in water for 10 minutes
3 cups unsweetened nondairy milk (700ml)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
small pinch ground cloves (optional)
small pinch cardamom powder (optional)
small pinch salt (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana, frozen or fresh
cinnamon stick (optional)

  • Soak the cashews and simmer the dates while you work on the next steps.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the nondairy milk, chia seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, cardamom, salt and vanilla. Stir the ingredients with a whisk and let set for 10 minutes.
  • Drain and discard the water from the cashews and the water from the dates. Add the cashews and the dates to your blender, along with the nondairy milk mixture and the banana. Blend until ridiculously creamy and smooth, at least 2 full minutes.
  • Sprinkle with a bit of fresh grated nutmeg and garnish with a cinnamon stick before serving.
  • This drink is really yummy served cold or warm!











Wishing you a happy week. May you have everything you need.




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Food photography by Christine June

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