Everyone is always talking about meal prepping, and to be completely honest, I have found that meal prepping really does make my life so much easier. Think about a pineapple… mmmm…when it’s sitting on the counter it looks yummy, but do you really want to deal with cutting it? Instead of taking the time to get the knife and cutting board, dig into the tough skin, and then clean up the juicy mess, you probably just go for a processed packaged snack. On the other hand, if you open the fridge and freshly cut pineapple is in a Tupperware container, wouldn’t you be drawn to grab a few sweet slices as a juicy treat? It’s quite simple, having healthy foods ready and prepped to eat makes choosing and eating healthy foods that much easier!

So, you decide to meal prep and towards the end you get an overwhelming feeling rush over you when you glance at the piles of pots, pans, gadgets, and gizmos taking over your kitchen counters. After a few hours of chopping and cooking the last thing you want to do is clean everything…ughhh!
No worries, I have decided to let you in on a little secret of mine…use kitchen gadgets that are not only fun, but real time savers! Here are 4 of my favorite kitchen must haves :0)

1. The Vitamix:

vitamix
Now, this is a pricey product and I was hesitant for years to buy one because I already had a food processor, blender, and a juicer…. So, why would I need another more expensive version? Well, I was fortunate enough to receive one as a gift from my brother and boy was he right…. I really do use it multiple times EVERY day! My Vitamix whips up my morning shakes to perfection with their smoothie preset. I make homemade nut butters and nut milks. Soups are a regular hot ticket item in our house. Not only does it puree the ingredients nicely, it HEATS them up! I can have a delicious and healthy soup in just 7 minutes! Looking for a treat every once in a while? Well, my Vitamix has a preset for Ice cream and Sorbet as well! As if blending, chopping, pureeing, pulverizing, juicing, dicing, heating, and cooling weren’t enough… it’s self-cleaning!!!!! No joke, just add one pump of dish soap and a little warm water, turn to the self-cleaning mode and “Voila!” Maybe you can put away a few dollars every month to save for one, or add it to a holiday/birthday/registry list. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Here is one of my favorite winter warm ups; apple roasted butternut squash soup:
http://www.jodimckenna.com/2013/10/vitamix-apple-butternut-squash-soup.html

 

2. Spilarizer by Paderno (3-Blade):

spiralizer
For less than $35 you can get this extremely affordable, fun, kitchen toy… yup, I said toy! It reminds me of play dough toys from my childhood where you could push play dough through a plastic mold and get strings of hair or tubes and shapes. The plastic Paderno is very easy to clean and does not have a lot of parts. The blades are extremely sharp and they offer three different blade styles. A 1/8 inch thin spaghetti like curl, a thicker ¼ inch linguini curl, and a flat ribbon curl. I love spiralizing zucchini and making “Zoodles!” You can spiral an entire zucchini in just one minute. Whip up a bunch and throw them in a pan with some sauce or white wine, chickpeas, tomatoes, mushrooms, and tempeh (or chicken for you meat eaters). Yum! I also love using the flat blade for spiraling sweet potatoes and carrots. Eat them raw or baked. Simple and delicious. This is great kitchen toy to get creative with. Not to mention, if you’re having company you can garnish your plates like a five star restaurant in just seconds!

Check out this rich and decadent recipe for zoodles with creamy avocado sauce:
http://thewateringmouth.com/spiralized-zucchini-pasta-with-creamy-avocado-sauce-recipe-video/

 

3. Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Mixer by Witmer:

haroldpeanutbuttermixer
We are big nut butter fans in our house and we buy the all-natural nut butters that need to be stirred. A few years ago my fiancé came across this incredible tool online. We ordered it immediately and our days of dripping oil, slippery jars, and nut butter messes were over! For just $10 you can customize the lid and mixer to the appropriate size and brand of nut butter that you already buy. They have two mixer versions: one, which is a crank mixer (that’s the one we use) and the other, which is a twist knob mixer. This simple device comes with a screw top lid, metal crank mixing rod, rubber gasket, and plastic lid liner. You simply place the three pieces on top of your jar and begin cranking the nut butter until it’s completely stirred. No mess, no fuss, no oil spilling over the edge, and barely any clean up. Once you remove the mixing rod, just wipe off the plastic lid and rubber gasket… screw the original lid back on and BAM, all done!

Once your peanut butter is smooth and creamy try this personal favorite for homemade protein bars (and it uses the Vitamix!): http://ohsheglows.com/2013/08/29/quick-n-easy-no-bake-protein-bars/

 

4. Muffin Trays:

mini_frittatas
Yes, regular old-fashioned muffin trays, which so many of us already have in our kitchens! Muffin trays are great for portion control and making food on the go. Besides making muffins and cupcakes you can make a variety of mini quiches, lasagnas, veggies frittatas, egg omelets, pureed and frozen fruits/veggies for smoothies, mini quinoa patties, mini meat balls, mini burgers, etc. The ideas are endless. You basically make any regular dish and portion it into your muffin tray so that you have easy, on the go, healthy, portioned snack!

Here is a simple vegan tofu frittata recipe that I love and you can modify it to meet your flavor palate :0)
http://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/mini-tofu-frittatas/

 

Remember….
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!!!

I hope to see you in the kitchen :0)
Xoxo
Jess

Written by: Jessica Glazer

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