Welcome back to the #betterforyoucrew series! I’ve teamed up with my girls Suzi, Kate, Caroline, Sarah, and Kristina to highlight green and effective food, beauty and lifestyle products that are rocking our natural worlds. This series will publish the last week of every month so check back for the latest. You can also search #betterforyoucrew on our blogs and Instagram to access the entire series. Wanna join in? Tag #betterforyoucrew on social with your picks. We want to see your faves, too!
When I started making intentional decisions about the food I was feeding my family, THINGS GOT REAL. Real hard. For us, this meant a lot less convenience items and a lot more cooking. At first this was time consuming because I had to look up recipes, double check cook times and re-read gadget directions. But now that I’ve had several years of practice, I’ve found some kitchen gadgets that really streamline cooking at home – especially when cooking healthy. Here they are..
So long nut bags. There’s a new girl in town and she goes by the name of Almond Cow.
The Almond Cow makes plant based milks in 30 SECONDS. Did I just blow your mind or what!? Gone are those devastating moments when you pour yourself a bowl of granola or are in the middle of making pancakes only to realize there is no milk. From now on, you will ALWAYS HAVE MILK!
Not only that, the Almond Cow also gives you full control over what goes into your milks. Most store bought plant-based milks have a lot of flavor and/or consistency enhancers like this Organic Whole Foods Unsweetened Almond Milk:
But with Almond Cow you can literally make a milk that has just almonds and spring water ONLY. No added junk!
But the fun doesn’t stop there. You can make artisan milk blends or create milks that you can never find in the store. I’m talking macadamia milk, brazil nut milk, pumpkin seed milk, or almond/cashew/coconut milk. Or how about 100% nut free blends like oat/hemp/coconut/vanilla!?
Almond Cow recommends soaking nuts for 4+ hours before blending but if you are making nut-free milks you can blend instantly and legit have a batch ready STAT. I do this all the time with oat milk. From the time you turn on the machine to the time your batch is done it’s 30 hot seconds.
And the best part? There is no messy clean up, no gunky nut bags, 10 containers or elusive cheese cloth. Just a couple of stainless parts that need a good rinse after use. I love storing my milks in a cute container like this.
AND! I even have a coupon code so you can try for less! Code THE NEWKNEW will save you $15 here!
Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator
This became an essential for one reason and one reason only: Making RAW VEGGIE BREAD. Raw Veggie Bread literally tripled my veggie intake and changed the way we eat as a family overnight.
Raw Veggie Bread is essentially purred veggies, nuts and oils spread thin on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrated overnight for 10-12 hours. It’s gluten free, raw, nutrient dense and super healthy. My kids crush batches of raw onion bread like it’s going out of style and I just sit there like; Is this really happening!?
You can sub raw veggie bread for bread, wraps, taco shells, burger buns, sandwich thins, pizza crust, crackers or just eat it straight up. It lasts on the counter work weeks, in the fridge for even longer and it freezes good too. The one thing is, you can’t make it in the oven so you need a dehydrator. Here’s the scoop.
You can learn how to make Raw Veggie Bread by the one and only Deanna Mutzel here. She has been making veggie bread for YEARS and her book will have you pumping out RVB in no time. You really only have to watch the first 5 minute video and then you can jump into the 70+ recipes for breads, pizza crust, crackers, keto treats and more. She even has recipes for FERMENTED raw veggie bread too.
I’m telling you guys. LIFE. CHANGING.
- Check out Deanna’s Raw Veggie Bread ebook here.
- And check out my full experience plus and interview with ebook author and Raw Veggie Bread master Deanna here!
Oh, I also want to mention, there are basically two kinds of Excalibur 9 Trays. You can get less trays and spend less money but I love the 9 Tray because you can do several batches at the same time – and anyone who loves to save time knows that BATCH COOKING is where it’s at. Same effort, double the gain. Anyways…like I said, two versions of the 9 Tray – one has a timer and one doesn’t:
The savings here is about $100 if you opt for the model without the timer. I bought one without the timer to save money and then bought this external appliance timer so I can still let the batches run overnight or during the day without having to be home or wake up to shut it off in time.
Berkey Water Filter
When most Americans drink a glass of tap water, they’re also getting a dose of industrial or agricultural contaminants linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems or hormone disruption (source).
You can see EXACTLY what’s in your city water by searching the EWG’s Tap Water Database. Pop in your zip code and it will return a list of contaminants found in your municipal tap. This is why it’s super important to have access to clean drinking water.
As a family of four we have and LOVE the Royal Berkey water filter. Berkey is the queen bee of water filters removing the most junk from our tap out of any other water filter. This is taken from their website:
The Royal Berkey Water Filter removes viruses, pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces rust, silt, sediment, foul taste and odors and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.
Click here to see a list of contaminants the Berkey filter removes.
With the Royal Berkey, we fill it up at night and that generally lasts us throughout the next day.
Set up was pretty easy although my husband had to fiddle with the assembly because our spicket was leaking but after taking tutelage from Youtube we got it up and running without too much trouble. Also, I don’t love that it takes up counter space (and also, the Royal size won’t fit under most cabinets) so I ended up using a vintage salad stand passed down from my Grandma to house ours in the corner of our kitchen. It works for us and it’s super cute.
Use filtered water to drink, cook, boil pasta, steam veggies, water plants, make coffee + tea! Berkey also has a smaller travel size filter that is great for road trips, camping and longer stays away. I’m thinking of getting a travel size one for our condo up north.
And if you want to know more, check out the other 4 water filters I use at home.
MILO Nontoxic Cookware
Nontoxic cookware. Also super important. Two great options are Xtrema which is 100% ceramic and a recent find of mine: MILO. MILO is cast iron coated in glass. And it’s not only practical but super cute too. It has that practicality and look of super fancy French cookware without the price tag. In fact, I leave this Dutch Oven out on my stove top ALWAYS just because it looks so chic.
Let’s take a deeper look. I talked with the owner a bit and this is what he had to say about MILO:
On being nontoxic: One thing that led us to choosing enameled cast iron as our weapon of choice in the kitchen is that the coating doesn’t wear down like a non-stick, or something of that sort. The enamel we use has been tested and engineered to last for generations, unlike other synthetic coatings you see on less premium cookware. So, we’re able to use our cookware in our kitchens on a daily basis cooking a wide variety of foods without concerns of the material breaking down or even worse leaching toxins, chemicals, etc.
Lots of traditional nonstick cookware has a chemical coating that works temporarily. They have a fixed count of “releases” where food can come off of it without sticking, and these coatings can come off over time onto food. In contrast, we use a glass coating around the cast iron, so it’s kind of the same as eating out of glass Tupperware.
On manufacturing in China: In our opinion, our factory makes some of the finest cookware in the world. They also have excellent working conditions. We tend to visit the factory about 2-3 times a year.
Before deciding on China, we visited factories in Italy, France, Portugal, Mexico, Turkey and the USA, and the one we use now stands out as one of the most overall impressive operations we’ve seen.
KITCHEN AID PRO Line Series BLENDER
I went all in on this Kitchen Aid Pro after being fed up about not being able to pulverize frozen fruits and veggies in my Vitamix S30. I mean enough is enough. It’s a blender. It has one job to do. Just blend me a smoothie already!
So after going straight to the top and opting for this BPA-free Kitchen Aid Pro blender, I have to say, I’ve never looked back. This blends ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and I have the smoothest, thickest smoothies on the block.
My only complaint is the barrel is super wide from top to bottom. You can see the canister is not tapered at the bottom which means it’s hard to blend small batches like if you were trying to grind 1/2 cup a coffee beans, it would struggle. That being said, I can throw a stock of celery in it, blend it down, strain it and get a cup of celery juice. I’m talking; gold.
I especially love making these two faves:
An immersion blender is so simple yet so effective. For less than $40 you can have purred hot soups, gazpacho…get ultra smooth mashed potatoes and more – all with out dirtying another dish or pot.
You just prepare whatever you are cooking and then literally immerse this hand-held blender and watch the transformation happen. One of the best things I ever bought for my kitchen. And easy to clean too. This is the one I’ve had and loved for years.
More things I love…
Some more gadgets I love and use just about everyday:
- Stainless steel coffee maker– No filters, no waste.
- Meat thermometer – Get ready to cook perfectly done meat for the rest of your life.
- The crown jewel of pressure cookers. I’m talking boiled eggs in 3 minutes, pulled chicken in 15 minutes, raw beans to bean soup in less than an hour…plus it’s a yogurt maker, slow cooker, rice cooker and so much more!
- A lemon juicer – Best $8 you’ll ever spend. I use this for my lemon water daily.
- Microplane – Once you have this you will never look back. Great for grating super fine ginger, turmeric, parmesan…
- My favorite tableware.
If you are left wanting more!? Be sure to check out these posts too!
- Suzi from Gurl Gone Green’s Favorite Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
- Kate from Root & Revel’s Kitchen Essentials
- Caroline from Olive You Whole’s 5 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets
- Sarah from Whoorl’s My Favorite Kitchen Tool’s and Gadgets
- Kristina from Love & Zest’s Best Kitchen Gadgets and Tools
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?