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I love to cook. The kitchen is where I go to unwind when I’m unable to hit the trails. When I’m planning a backpacking trip or a day hike I spend an inordinate amount of time planning the menu. I’ve even gone so far as to make my own dehydrated food. Over the years my love for cooking evolved into an obsession with making healthy foods that tasted indulgent. Making cheese out of cashews, lasagna sheets out of arrow root powder, and cauliflower into fried rice often required kitchen gadgets that went beyond the basics.
Now that we’re moving full time into the camper I’m having to drastically downsize my kitchen utensils. No more juicer, or food dehydrator – I even recently sold my food processor! My plan is to test out my favorite recipes with our limited gadget inventory before we transition full time into the camper so that I have time to get used to the changes and really sort out what I need to keep and what I can get rid of.
If you read my most recent post about our first nights in the camper then you’ll know that I’m anticipating a much slower pace of life once we move into the camper. I’m hopeful that moving at a slower pace will mean I won’t be in such a rush to prepare meals and my time-saving kitchen devices will be less essential. My new focus is finding items that can be easily cleaned, serve multiple purposes, and aren’t prone to breaking. With that list of credentials in mind, here are the gadgets that will be joining us on our move:
The Critical Pieces
This seems like a bit of a no-brainer. Cast iron skillets can be used in the oven, on the stove-top, or over a fire. And the best part? They’re super easy to clean. A quick wipe with a paper towel and you’re all set. I’ve been using mine every morning in an attempt to get it fully seasoned, and while it’s not quite non-stick I’m already enjoying the easy clean up!
While I’d love to have a Vitamix on hand, there just isn’t the counter or cabinet space for such a large appliance. Since smoothies are one of my favorite on-the-go breakfasts and I often make bisque in the winter, I needed a way to easily blend food. The immersion blender is a great option! It’s small and portable but surprisingly mighty. I’ve had my current one for over four years and its still trucking along like the day I bought it.
Alright, I’ll admit this is a bit indulgent but I just love my Le Creuset too much to part with it. Made of cast iron but coated with a non-stick glaze, this bad boy can be used on the stove or in the oven – and maybe over a fire, but given it’s hefty price tag I doubt I’ll be giving that a try.
Another somewhat indulgent decision but one I anticipate will be justified. In many ways this will act the same way as the Le Creuset – when we have ample propane I’ll use the Le Creuset and cook in the oven. When we have ample battery power I’ll use the slow cooker. That’s logical, right?
I’m a big believer in having a good knife to work with in the kitchen and the Miyabi knives more than fit that description. I actually have a three piece set and plan to take the whole set with me. Sort of like the Le Creuset, I have yet to come to terms with the possibility of getting rid of these so they’ve gotta come with us.
Last year I purchased P a 22 ounce tumbler from Hydro Flask and he loved it. It was intended to be a little bonus gift in addition to the engraved leather bound journal I bought him for his birthday, but he quickly became obsessed with it and promptly forgot about the journal. P is a pretty simple guy, his only real requirement of a tumbler is that it keeps his beer cold. However, on one particularly hot day P had been out mountain biking and left his Hydro Flask out in the sun with half a beer still in it. When he came back from doing a few runs his beer was still ice cold – and since then he’s been hooked on the Hydro Flask product.
While Hydro Flasks aren’t cheap, they’re worth it to us when you’re spending a lot of time in extreme temperatures. We’ll be spending a lot of energy to get drinks cold or hot and it just doesn’t make sense to put them in vessels that don’t help support that effort. Added bonus: they’re made in Bend, Oregon, one of our favorite places to ski and mountain bike.
These seem sort of self-explanatory in terms of their usefulness. I debated getting a collapsible strainer, but figured a standing one could be used as a bowl for vegetables when cooking. It’s also what I currently have so it made the most sense to keep it. And while I could go full-minimalist and use my nice knife set to peel veggies, I just don’t trust my knife skills that much.
Now that I’ve narrowed it down to the essentials, I plan on sorting my kitchen according to what’s on this list and what’s not. I’ll set aside the items that aren’t on the list until I feel confident that I can manage a kitchen without them. Once I feel confident enough without they’ll be either donated or sold! Easy peesy! I’m excited to begin collecting recipes that are easy to make with such a minimal kitchen inventory. I’ll be collecting recipes that I think have good potential over on my Pinterest page, so be sure to follow along over there as well!
Just over a month until we move into the camper – I’m starting to feel ready!