Everyone needs a snack on the go sometimes. Before, you’d pick up some crackers or a granola bar, perhaps a cookie or cake. Since all of those things are off the table, a good alternative is to eat dried fruit and jerky. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a good source. Take a look at your typical Jack Link and you’ll find soy sauce, soybean oil, preservatives and all kinds of other suspicious ingredients. If you try to find a more friendly version, you’ll find it’s incredibly expensive.
Our solution was to buy a dehydrator. The idea was intimidating at first, but then we realized a dehydrator is just a warm fan with tiers of trays on top and a lid. It was easier to be less afraid of the process. When you make it yourself, you control the ingredients. In this book are recipes for several types of jerky, as well as fruit leather roll-ups and dried apples. After several hours, the food is dried out. While it’s optimal to switch the trays around for even drying, you could just leave it on overnight and have it be done in the morning—doesn’t get much simpler.
- We use this Waring Pro DHR20 for most of the time. It’s got pretty good capacity and does a full batch in less than half a day.
- Slightly less powerful but cheaper, you can get this Nesco American Harvest FD-37.
- If you’re super serious, get a professional version that will dehydrate lightning quick like this Excalibur 3900 Deluxe, a dehydrator so cool, it’s even got an awesome name.
One of the most versatile tools we have in the kitchen is a food processor. Everything is made so much easier when you don’t have to spend all your time mincing every ingredient into tiny pieces. Not only that, but most food processors also have a grater attachment to grate your carrots or zucchini or cabbage. Our kids much prefer grated carrots in their salad over medallions, and of course it makes it easier for baking with veggies!
- After burning out the motors of several food processors, we researched and fell in love with the Cuisinart. It’s really served us very well, as a multi-function processor, making grating veggies a quick breeze.
- If you want to do more taxing things to the motor of your food processor (like making your own almond flour), you need something with serious muscle. We did research and decided on a Blendtec Designer Series with a Wildside and Twister Jar for ourselves, which we LOVE.
Ice Cream Maker
Ice cream was a religion in our house. We loved to try out new flavors and new brands of ice cream. We’re sure many of you would share our pain if you had to walk away from that entirely. At first we tried to fill the void with fruit sorbet or processed versions of store bought coconut milk ice cream, but they contain quite a bit of sugar. You can solve this dilemma with a simple machine. Modern-day ice cream makers are electric, have bowls you can just place in the freezer beforehand instead of using salted ice, and only take twenty minutes or so to churn. During the summer, we love to experiment with making different kinds of ice cream with different ingredients.
- We have this Cuisinart ICE-21 and have loved it!
- If you’d like to do it the old fashioned way (well, the late 20th century old fashioned way), there’s salted ice versions like this Hamilton Beach 68330R for a little cheaper.
Silicone Muffin Cups
As gluten-free baking staples, almond flour and coconut flour don’t rise very well, so you’ll likely find yourself making cupcakes and muffins instead of cakes. We found ourselves going through so many paper liners that it seemed prudent to get reusable muffin cups. Silicone sticks to the item less, plus it’s nonreactive, so there is even less chemical transfer than if you were using paper liners! They are especially helpful for any egg muffins, as eggs have a tendency to stick to metal and dissolve paper.
- Here are 12 cups for less than ten dollars made by Wilton! You will seriously make up that cost in a year.
- Better yet, consider using a silicone muffin tin for baking like this HIC Brands That Cook version.
The biggest time saver in our kitchen is certainly our electric stand mixer. They are not cheap (a KitchenAid classic mixer starts at $180, a lesser brand is under $100), but you will find yourself using it all the time. We find that it’s safer and easier for the kids to help than if you use an electric beater. Any batter we make goes into the mixer. Any time we need to whip something, it goes in the mixer. Plus, with the KitchenAid brand you can purchase attachments to do a variety of other functions, like grind meat, as listed below. For all of our recipes you could use an electric hand mixer for the same purposes. Point is, if you ever want to beat egg whites, you’ll appreciate having something!
- Here’s the KitchenAid Classic, and it’s truly fantastic. If you stalk the sales, you may be able to purchase it at a store for about one hundred dollars or so.
- Otherwise, here’s a hand mixer by Proctor-Silex for fifteen dollars.
We bought a meat grinder attachment for our stand mixer thinking it would be a neat experiment. But from the moment Matt ground bacon for his 50/50 Bacon Burgers, it became indispensable. You’ll appreciate having one, especially if you’d like to start integrating organ meats. Nutrient-dense and affordable pastured organ meat can be made more palatable by adding it into your ground beef. Plus, making your own sausages or hotdogs would be a great project with the kids— and you get to save money in the long-run.
- Here’s the KitchenAid attachment that will allow you to turn ordinary bacon into the greatest burgers ever conceived.
- Alternatively, a stand alone like this Nesco one will do just as well.