Favorite Tools for a Whole Foods (Plant-Based) Kitchen

I had intended to write this post before we moved. But you know how moving goes - it takes a lot of time. Way more than you anticipate. So this post never made it past the outline phase.

But now is a really good time to publish this because I am sharing a kitchen with my mom for the next four months or so. And these are the kitchen tools I could not live without.

Ok, that's bit of an overstatement. We could live without them but life in the kitchen would be a lot more work and potentially more expensive. 

As luck would have it, my mom has these very tools in her own kitchen (and a bunch more like a grain mill) so I didn't need to keep mine very accessible in the move. The pictures below are of my own appliances. I took the photos when we still lived in Maine. 

I'll be honest, when Damien first suggested buying most of these tools I balked at the price. I am the tightwad in the family. Damien believes in buying quality tools and has convinced me likewise.

These tools allow our family to make delicious and healthy whole, plant-based foods. For us, that makes them worth the cost, especially since they are used almost daily. 

We added these essential appliances to our kitchen over the years.

If someone asked me, "What one appliance should I buy to help save time and money in the kitchen?" this is how I'd answer: 

1. Vitamix Blender

Our family owns a Vitamix Vita-Prep, a commercial quality Vitamix model. My mom has the Vitamix 5200. Ours is packed in the trailer so we're using my parent's and I haven't been able to tell a difference between the two, for whatever that is worth.  

We've had ours for five or six years and I haven't used any other high powered blender so I can't compare the Vitamix to a different brand.

But what I can say is that the Vitamix kicks butt on any standard blender I've ever used. 

With this blender we make smoothies, sauces and sometimes dry chop nuts, grains and seeds. It's handled everything I've thrown in there.

It's amazing. I use it most every single day, often more than once. 

Just this morning at my mom's I made almond milk with it. Yesterday night, I used it to blend cashews and broth for our family's favorite potato broccoli soup.

I'd be lost without my Vitamix. This summer I plan on making more slushie drinks for afternoon refreshers. My mom has a cookbook that came with her model with a bunch of recipes for inspiration. I'm looking forward to trying them.

2. Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker

Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker

We've had our Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker for a few years now, at least six. Once again, the files are in the trailer and I don't recall the exact year we purchased it.

What do I love about this pressure cooker?

Cooks beans like nobody's business. I cook beans, in some form or another every couple days. I usually soak my beans overnight first (I haven't yet gotten into the routine of long soaking beans like everyone seems to be recommending these days). After an overnight soak and rinse, the beans take less than 10 minutes under pressure to cook completely. This is compared to 2-3 hours that beans normally take to cook.

What this means is that I don't have to be so on-the-ball in the kitchen. As long as my beans are soaked I can cook them up in under 30 minutes total time (bringing to pressure, pressure cooking and then cooling down). This is a huge time and sanity saver for me.

I also cook all our soups and stews in this pot. I can make a soup in one hour, including my chopping time - and I spend a lot of time chopping. 

The pot itself is really solid and I use it as my all purpose large stock pot even without the pressure lid.

The customer service and warranty is excellent. We've had it fixed twice in the years we've owned it, at no charge (we did pay shipping). Being without my pressure cooker during those weeks while it was being fixed was almost as bad as being without my camera.

I know there are other brands out there. My mom has one of them and I don't like it. No offense to my mom, but my Kuhn Rikon cooks circles around her model. So much so that I had Damien find ours from the trailer so I can use it this summer. I really do love my pressure cooker.

3. Cuisinart Food Processor

food processor pesto

You've probably noticed I'm mentioning a lot of brands in this post. When it comes to kitchen appliances I am brand loyal because I have found these machines to really work for me.

Our Cuisinart food processor is no different. 

I grew up with a food processor in my mother's kitchen and Cuisinart was the brand she used. It's the brand she recently bought new and it's the one that sits in our trailer right now.

We both own the 7 cup model and find it works well for most family sized food processing needs.

The attachment I use the most is the S shaped chopping blade. Yes, you can hand chop all your nuts, dried fruits, veggies, etc. But I spend enough time as it is in the kitchen. This little baby makes my life easier - saving my wrist and my time. 

Also, there are some things you just can't make chopping on your own - like almond butter, which I just made last night. So much cheaper than buying it, about half the price and really easy to make. You might be able to make nut butters in the Vitamix but we find it's easier (to make and clean) in the food processor. 

I often prefer a large hand shredder for shredding veggies as I find washing out the food processor is more work that the actual shredding. Unless of course I'm making a large batch of something and needing to chop many different vegetables, than I use the shredding attachment. 

We've owned our Cuisinart for many years and I've never had any problems with it. I highly recommend this brand though I know there are other food processor brands out there.

4. SoyQuick Soymilk Maker


The best thing about owning this soymilk maker is the amount of money we save. 

When we first started eating mostly vegan, about 10 years ago we switched to rice milk. We actually drank the stuff if I recall correctly. After all, you need to drink milk - just like all those advertisements say, right? 

We didn't like all the additives in the rice milk (sugars and such) so we switched to an additive-free soymilk. But regardless of which one we bought they were both expensive, even when we only used it for topping our morning hot cereal.

Making a quart of organic, non-gmo soymilk costs about 10 cents in our soymilk maker. The Canadian grown soybeans might be a bit more expensive. I'm not sure, we still have a big bag of beans to use that we moved with us. But even with higher prices in Canada it can't be more than a few pennies more per quart (or should I say litre - welcome back to metric Renee).

There are no additives and no packaging. And it's really easy.

The newest SoyQuick, the one we own, is also easier to clean. Which is a big bonus. This summer we're back to using the older model my mom has and I tell ya, it's a pain to clean.

We make soymilk a couple times a week and use it for breakfast, sometimes smoothies and maybe baking, the very limited baking that I do.

We love almond milk but it costs WAY more to make and so we reserve that for a treat. The SoyQuick can also make other grain and nut milks.

Alternatively, you can make soy, nut and grain milks in a high powered blender, like a Vitamix. But my SoyQuick makes the job easier and produces a creamy and not too grainy soymilk, which matters to the children. 

If you've ever bought nut, bean or grain milks for a family for a period of time, say 6 months, you probably could have purchased a SoyQuick Soymilk maker with the amount you spent at the grocery store. And doing so would have eliminated all those packages. Just something to think about. 

5. Dehyrator

dehydrated fruit leather

This is where I don't recommend a brand as such, though I love my 5 tray Excalibur.

Before we owned one, we borrowed a friend's dehydrator (thanks Spring for getting us started). A dehydrator is a kitchen tool you can pass around and share since they aren't used heavily every day, except maybe during harvest season. 

We use our dehydrator primarily for:

  • Drying fruits & veggies - This is especially great during harvest season when there is an over abundance and we want to preserve some of that (we don't do a lot of food preservation). We also use the dehydrator to eliminate or cut down on food waste. If something doesn't taste great fresh (a mealy bag of apples for example) or is too overripe to eat we can dehydrate it and it will taste great as a fruit leather or slices.
  • Preparing trail food - This may have been the original reason Damien convinced me to buy this appliance. But once we got it we used it for so much more than just this purpose. Our family loves the outdoors and backpacking adventures. We need to prepare food that is light in weight (we don't take coolers into the woods), healthy, and filling. The dehyrator is an awesome tool for preparing this kind of food. 

It's funny, if you go to the Excalibur website you'll see they market their dehydrators to veggie types, health conscious folks, gardeners, and outdoorsy people. I guess that about covers us from all angles. No wonder we like it so much!


What tools (beyond the basic knives and bowls and such) do you use most in your kitchen?

(Disclosure: all amazon links are affiliate links.) 

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  • Leilani

    Leilani on June 9, 2011, 2:27 a.m.

    I absolutely love this post, especially because it's something that's been on my mind recently. A friend just recently gifted me with her 20 year old food processor and I became an INSTANT fan, follower, devotee, regular user. I'd been doing all that nut butter/bean patties/hummus stuff in the vitamix and been very frustrated. And feeling disloyal, because I love my vitamix dearly and use it pretty much every day. :) )

    The kitchen aid is my other must have. It has the privilege of sitting on the counter (along with the vitamix and now the food processor).

    I'm so intrigued by the soymilk maker...never heard of it! And when I think of how much soymilk we buy...


  • Laura

    Laura on June 9, 2011, 3:23 a.m.

    Very thorough discussion of kitchen tools! I NEED a food processor. It's even more clear to me now. I've been shredding carrots until my wrists fall off. But I'll probably go on being a thrifty martyr. ;p Thanks for the post.


  • Amber

    Amber on June 9, 2011, 4:48 a.m.

    Love this. I was just thinking about getting a food processor after trying to make date nut bars in the Vitamix (which is at the top of my list as well). it is the best Christmas gift I have ever received. Thanks Renee, for the information.


  • Laura

    Laura on June 9, 2011, 4:59 a.m.

    Here, here, for the pressure cooker! I would love to see some of your pressure cooker recipes posted here (stumbled here searching for pressure cooker recipes). I also have a Kuhn Rikon duromatic!

    You made your food processor look so good with the garlic scapes (hmmm!)

    I didn't know soy-milk makers existied!!!



    hip pressure cooking making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:12 p.m.

      My pressure cooker recipes are so simple and would probably not be appealing to many people's palattes. We are quite happy with basic beans and veggies.

      And I usually make up my recipes while following the basic guideline of another recipe. I'm a kitchen experimenter, rarely cooking the same thing twice unless it's a family favorite like potato broccoli soup, peanut noodles (see my recipes page for some of these).

      If you're looking for good pressure cooker recipes I've read good things about Lorna Sass' books but can't speak from experience. 

      The Pressured Cook: Over 75 One-Pot Meals In Minutes, Made In Today's 100% Safe Pressure Cookers

      Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure

      Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker

      Also, Susan V. from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen has pressure cooker recipes. Many of which I have tried and are good. 



  • Michelle @ The Parent Vortex

    Michelle @ The Parent Vortex on June 9, 2011, 6:35 a.m.

    I've been dreaming of having a pressure cooker and proper blender for ages! It's true that there is a bit of sticker shock at first, but when you take into account how much good equipment will be used it's easier to see the cost as an investment. :)

    I'd love to hear more about how you prepare food to go on camping adventures with your family. We are currently car-campers, but I'd love to free ourselves of the cooler and travel light.


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:19 p.m.

      Ah... light food for camping. Something along those lines is in the works. We'd love to provide more resources like this.

      For now you can check out our trail recipes at Adventure in Progress. We have developed many recipes that we use because we believe in going light in the woods.  

      Stay tuned. Hopefully in the next little while we will be able to help you out a bit more with this request.


  • renee

    renee on June 9, 2011, 12:38 p.m.

    I just wanted to add that the soymilk you make in the soymilk maker is not as rich as the store bought. It took some time for our kids to adjust. Now if I have to buy soymilk I usually add water to thin it out a bit, which stretches your dollar also.


  • Michèle

    Michèle on June 9, 2011, 2:02 p.m.

    Wow, thank you so much for this post! The timing couldn’t be better!

    I am currently in the process of evaluating different models of Excalibur dehydrators. The price of 9-tray is a bit repealing for my taste, so I’m considering the 5-tray. We are also a family of 5 members (mama, papa 10, 7 & 4 yo), have 3 large vegetable gardens and eat almost only dehydrated food during our (numerous!) summer camping trips.

    From your perspective, is the 5-tray big enough?


    • Jenny

      Jenny on June 9, 2011, 6:59 p.m.

      We are a family of 4 and have the 9 tray model. I can easily fill the 9 trays with a dozen bananas, a pineapple, apples, and pears. It would drive me crazy to have the 5 tray model. The time saved with the 9 trays is worth paying the extra money. You will use the extra trays for sure!


    • Nola

      Nola on June 10, 2011, 1:30 a.m.

      I would get the 9 tray if you possibly can. I have I think a 4 tray. I don't think its 5...anyways it is an excalibur. It was a gift so I won't complain but if I could have a bigger one like the 9 tray that would help a lot more. For what you want it for and for your family size I don't think you would be happy with the smaller model.


    • Jennifer @ kidoing!

      Jennifer @ kidoing! on June 11, 2011, 10:56 a.m.

      I would also recommend the 9 tray. We have a family of four and easily go through the food contents of a 9 tray in a week (OR LESS!). (The food really shrinks so you aren't left with much afterwards!) If you're running the machine, you might as well get as much as you can out of it.


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:24 p.m.

      For your purposes, and considering what a big garden you have, you might want the 9 tray. We've never had a big garden and this year we have none. In the past we've had small gardens and a large farm share but that didn't give us a lot to preserve. 

      Our 5 tray is all we need for our purposes but if you want to do garden food and camp food maybe a 9 tray would be better. 

      Having said that, you can just use a 5 tray and run it more often but then that uses more electricity so you might save money in the end with the larger model. 


      • Michèle

        Michèle on June 13, 2011, 1:25 p.m.

        Thank you all for your input!

        By the time I make my mind, I should have put enough money aside to buy the 9 tray!

        And you're right, Renee. The 9 tray, while containing more, seems more energy-efficient...


  • Renee

    Renee on June 9, 2011, 3:35 p.m.

    Great post. I am looking to buy a new food processor, I ruined mine making almond butter. Not an Oster fan anymore, perhaps I'll look into your Cuisinart. I would love it if you did a cooking post on using a pressure cooker. I really know nothing about those this appliance and you seem to love yours so much. I'd like to know more. I make soups alot, so if a pressure cooker would benefit me, that would be lovely.


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:51 p.m.

      I don't post a lot of recipes to FIMBY but you can check out this Potato Broccoli soup recipe that uses a pressure cooker (with adaptations for a regular pot). Also see Pressure Cooker recipes at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.


  • Kika

    Kika on June 9, 2011, 5:35 p.m.

    My favorite kitchen 'gadgets' or tools are my kitchen-aid mixer (gift from my dad who decided it was time I stopped doing everything by hand?!); Berkey water filter; little coffee press - makes me happy everytime I see it or use it; Nutrimill grain mill. I really wanted to buy a vitamix but decided yesterday it'll have to wait as my son is getting braces and that will be a big expense for us...but I can start putting $ aside for it. I wait for years to buy things b/c I dislike having a bunch of (particularly electric) gadgets and prefer to try and do things by hand but that does limit me in the kitchen somewhat.


  • Kali

    Kali on June 9, 2011, 9:40 p.m.

    Love this post! My favorite gadgets are similar: a vintage Vitamix 5200 that has been a workhouse daily for the past 8 years or so ($100 so well spent!); my crockpot for beans (I do them overnight or all day); my extra coffee grinder for small batches of nuts & seeds; my vintage Champion juicer (for juice, pesto, nut butters, frozen banana treats and a $17 dehydrator that does the job for soaked flax crackers and fruit leathers...for now. I've also use my simple sprouter daily and have done a few trays of microgreens on my counter (pea and beet shoots- the kids love picking a stem as they walk past!) I've been doing nut milks with the vitamix/ cheesecloth method...but you're right, it's pricey and time consuming. I may check into the soy milk option too- thanks!


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:54 p.m.

      You've lucked out on good deals. We've just returned to Canada. Do you have any tips on where to get good deals like the stuff you've mentioned? I rarely do yard sales, well, almost never. 

      I want to get a better sprout system. One that encourages me to do it more. Currently I just use jars with mesh lids. 


      • Kali

        Kali on June 15, 2011, 3:09 a.m.

        Hi Renee, "Used Victoria" is a great resource for us locally- you could try a "Used__" for the area you live (it's become a popular sales list in larger Canadian cities.) Craigslist and Kijiji are great too! We have a simple "Biosnacky" sprouter- 3 small trays, nothing fancy...they run about $25 at most health food stores, and the seeds are inexpensive, so the system pays for itself quickly. I've done the jar/mesh lid too which works..this just drains a little better and produces more. Hope that helps :)


        • renee

          renee on June 15, 2011, 11:32 a.m.

          Thank you. It does. The closest city we are buy right now is Halifax. I do want to get a better sprouting system.


  • Cindy

    Cindy on June 9, 2011, 11:26 p.m.

    Yes, I was wondering about the 5 tray Excalibur, too..... I would like to make crackers, etc. My sister made the most AMAZING mushroom burgers in her dehydrator! But would it be big enough for that? How many burgers could you make in it?


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 3:01 p.m.

      I have no idea for sure but quite a few. The trays are 15"x15" so you might fit 9 patties per tray. If you have time could you send me that recipe?


  • Spring

    Spring on June 10, 2011, 12:25 a.m.

    I'll return the thanks for introducing me to the Vitamix- I don't know how I lived so long without one! :) I am hoping to tax my dehydrator much more than this, with more preserving, as it's a little dusty these days!


  • Nola

    Nola on June 10, 2011, 1:26 a.m.

    I believe in buying quality tools and appliances too when we can, but we can't always do that. We have a few quality things that were gifts or saved up for though. One thing I use a lot is my grain mill especially since I can get non wheat flours a lot cheaper (and a lot healthier!) that way. I save tons of money even though the upfront cost was high.

    I also use my blender almost every day. I can't afford a Vitamix or similar at this point but have found that my Oster Blender (beehive classic) is the best blender that I have used that is not a high end one. I have used other ones and this one is the best I've used for the price. Its not perfect and is nothing in comparison to the high end ones but compared to some others I've used its amazing. It was a gift and they retail about $100.

    I couldn't do without my good chef's knife. It was a gift too and its also worth about $100. Seriously I love that knife and am lost without it working in someone else's kitchen.

    I also own a dehydrator and really enjoy using it too. Its an excalibur like yours. I think its only 4 trays.

    I think my counter space is my biggest blessing though. I love the counter space I have here especially compared to some other places we've lived in. Its not an appliance or tool but its worth even more to me than any of those things!


  • Natalia

    Natalia on June 10, 2011, 9:54 a.m.

    I was going to buy a food processor this year, but my other half, who cooks most of the dinners in this house (I bake) is quite happy to chop and he said we don't need one. So I am yet to get one ...

    We have the same soymilk maker, and I agree it is great, though I still buy soymilk for my coffee (homemade goes a bit yuck). The other two electrical kitchen tools that get the most use - the rice cooker (a really basic cheap one we have had for ages) gets used all the time, and the breadmaker is in use nearly every second day. Our current oven is rubbish, and also I like the idea of just chucking everything in and walking away, so the breadmaker rather than 'artisinal' bread it is :)

    One thing that we tried and soon got rid of - a slow cooker. Everyone raves about them, but I found that there was still a lot of prep (braise this first, brown that, etc. etc.) that we thought why not just do some prep then cook something? (and the dinner cook in this house works full time outside the house and is still happy to come home and cook a meal rather than go the slow cooker route). Perhaps if we cooked with meat it would be worth it, but as vegans we can't see the point.

    We were thinking about a dehydrator for making camping/trail meals, but we don't grow our own produce so were wondering if it was really worth it or just stick with buying stuff. If you had to choose between a pressure cooker and a dehydrator, what would you choose? (I realise they are for totally different things, but I am trying to keep our 'things' to a minimum).


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 2:02 a.m.

      I agree about the slow cooker. We don't like it.  My family says there is a slow cooker taste and I agree. At least with vegetable based meals.  I still own one and use it herbal stuff and occassional cooking.

      We also have a Zojirushi rice cooker that we use often but I figure rice can always be made on the stove top. But the rice cooker is very handy. 

      If you're asking if the dehyrator is worth buying to prepare your own trail food I say definitely yes. Packaged foods (I'm assuming that's what you're talking about) are so expensive. We're a family of five and to feed us on the trail we can't afford packaged backpacking food.  For us it's so worth it to own one. 

      If I had to choose between them though I'd buy the pressure cooker and borrow the dehydrator (smile). It would be hard now to make that choice. When we owned just the pressure cooker we were still car camping and didn't need a dehydrator for backpacking food. Now that we use it I can't imagine not owning it. So I guess it really depends on what your needs are. You can always use a regular pot for cooking beans but oven drying is much trickier than using the dehydrator.


      • Natalia

        Natalia on June 11, 2011, 8:48 a.m.

        Thanks for the reply Renee. Married Quarter ovens are usually quite rubbish, so the thought of trying to dehydrate in one is something I wouldn't really consider. And even though there are only three of us, buying food for a camping/backpacking trip can add up! So I will see what kind of dehydrators we can get around here.


  • Noor

    Noor on June 10, 2011, 11:14 a.m.

    Love it.. You always manage to inspire me Renee, I know I haven't mentioned that before but you do.. My favorite kitchen appliance is my stainless steel Cuisinart hand blender. I use it mostly for soups and hot sauces, it's dishwasher safe and I really love it. I've been searching juicers recently, any recommendations on these? Does your Vitamix blender make vegetable juices -including leaves-?


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 1:54 a.m.

      Ah... juicers. That's next on our list. Damien does all the research in our house for appliances but I think the Champion is a reputable brand.

      We can put most anything in the Vitamix and it will blend it to smithereens. Leaves, stalks everything. But of course then you have all that pulp you need to strain out.


      • Jennifer @ kidoing!

        Jennifer @ kidoing! on June 11, 2011, 10:50 a.m.

        If you are looking for speed and quick/easy clean up, I would recommend the Breville line of juicers. It's a centrifugal, which is different than masticating (Champion) and possibly not as efficient in extracting the maximum juice, but it's perfect for our high-energy family. It has a smaller footprint, too, than the Champion.


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on June 11, 2011, 1:08 a.m.

    Just getting to this post after returning from vacation and I love it! We own all but the SoyQuick (I make almond milk in the VM). Did I tell you that I bought the Kuhn pressure cooker? Cooked little white beans so far and came out a little mushy, but I think I cooked them too long (8 minutes instead of 6 which I'll try next time). Regardless, I loved it. I am all for a quality appliance. If I'm going to spend the money, I want to spend it once and have it last a long time.

    As far as other appliances we love, I would have to add the KitchenAid stand mixer, which my husband uses for pizza dough and I use for cookie dough. And, we just started making bread weekly in our Zojirushi bread maker. We are very happy with the 60% whole wheat bread it turns out and the ease of use is remarkable. On the smaller scale, the Kyocera slicer is used almost daily to slice thin veggies for the kids. They love thin slices of radishes, carrots, cukes, etc...


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 1:52 a.m.

      Back when we ate bread regularly we owned a Zojirushi - we loved it. Then Damien discovered a gluten intolerance which led us down a mostly bread free household path. We made 100% whole wheat bread with that baby. It was awesome.

      If I baked more the Kitchen Aid might be useful. I used to own a Bosch and I loved it. Once again, after the g-free thing and then eliminating most ingredients from our diet that are used for baking it sat idle for a long time. So we sold it a few years ago. I haven't missed it but I remember fondly making doughs and batters with it. We used wedding money to buy it actually.


      • Jennifer @ kidoing!

        Jennifer @ kidoing! on June 11, 2011, 10:44 a.m.

        Have you tried baking with Bob's gluten free mix? Or made your own GF flours? We try to limit our use of wheat and mix it up a little with a variety when it comes to whole grain baked goods. I have a Bob's mix in my freezer, but haven't tried it yet.

        I would love your recipe for 100% WW bread in the Zoji. Willing to share? :-) The first 100% one I made was edible, but too dense.

        Oh, and I almost forgot to add my juicer. I use that baby every day. I love the Breville Ikon juicer. This particular one has been going strong for about a year and a half now. The Hurom looks enticing for my next juicer, but you can't beat the speed or ease of cleaning of the Breville.


        • renee

          renee on June 11, 2011, 2 p.m.

          Yes, I've tried and I have my own g-free baking mix that I posted on this pancake recipe. I don't make those pancakes anymore though. I got tired of g-free pancakes.

          Our family  (the kids and I that is) eat about one loaf of bread a week (it's a treat). It's just not worth it to keep experimenting with bread when you only eat it once a week or so. I like to buy an artisan loaf at the market or bakery.

          But I am thinking of trying this recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

          It was years and years ago that I made 100% WW bread and I no longer have the recipe since I no longer have the machine (it was tweaked for that particular machine).

          Thanks for the heads up on the Breville. We are looking to buy a juicer in the next year. 



          • Jennifer @ kidoing!

            Jennifer @ kidoing! on June 11, 2011, 8:33 p.m.

            I make an apple oat vegan pancake that is gluten free if you use gluten free oats (I grind quick oats in my VM dry container) from Eat Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. It's our favorite and go to recipe for pancakes. They don't rise like traditional pancakes, but are very tasty.

            We don't eat much bread either, but I do like toast with almond butter a couple times a week.

            I will check out those links!


  • Barbara

    Barbara on June 11, 2011, 4:21 p.m.

    Beans in 10 minutes?! Wow! That sounds VERY promising... we eat beans about twice a week + chick peas about once a week. Seems like a pressure cooker would simplify things here (but I think that I even more want a grain mill - we eat a lot of bread here and it is just so much more healthy to mill the grain yourself.) Apropos beans - do you have some good bean recipes to share or link to? We eat a lot of them, but I'm a bit uninspired when it comes to beans and often just hide them in soups or puree them. :-)


    • renee

      renee on June 11, 2011, 6:09 p.m.

      I do have this one bean recipe - Baked Beans - on the blog. 

      Beans are a staple in our diet and we eat them every day so I don't hide them in food. My family is very used to eating them and the way I prepare and serve them is very simple, not very blog worthy to be honest. 

      Since moving to my parent's I've used Lean Bean Cuisine: Over 100 Tasty Meatless Recipes from Around the World by Jay Solomon. It's pretty good.

      Also, Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship has an Everything Beans e-cookbook. I haven't read it though so I can't speak for the recipes. 


  • Heather

    Heather on June 13, 2011, 4:08 p.m.

    This is such a great post! I really want to invest in a Vitamix, I had been holding off, but your review is really pushing me to do it :). I love our Excalibur, could never use anything else, but have to admit that I haven't tried anything else either. There really are a few tools that I just love and could not live without. We use a Breville Juicer that I find to be so amazing. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QBFFU8

    Thanks for so many wonderful tips!


    • renee

      renee on June 13, 2011, 4:17 p.m.

      The Breville seems like a winner. I think we'll seriously look into this when it comes time to purchase one.


      • Barbara

        Barbara on June 14, 2011, 6:43 p.m.

        Thank you, Renee! I'm reading through your vegan eats & health section now - so interesting! I also live in the North (actually, Novia Scotia is really down south from here ;) + I share all your thoughts about eating locally! It was so good to read another Northern opinion on that. :-)


  • Kelly

    Kelly on June 22, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

    Hi Renee, I really like your blog. Since reading this post, I bought the mandoline and have the excalibur dehydrator on my wish list. I really appreciate your reader's comments also.

    My favourite appliance is the Thermomix. It's really pricey, and replaces a ton of appliances. For me it was worth it. I use it for milling and grinding and grating and chopping and blending and juicing and cooking (rice, veg, stew, curry, etc...). It's like a vitamix that also weighs and cooks with steam. When I had to restart with no kitchen appliances, I decided to buy this instead of a bunch of individual items. This plus an oven and a toaster, and I'm pretty much done.

    I'm not much of a cook yet, but getting there. This machine makes me look good though! My favourite part is that I can time things and walk away (no stirring or watching the stove). It's really efficient. You should know that passionate cooks who love the whole process and like it to take time might not appreciate it though. I'm told that fancy restaurants have them in their kitchens for no-fail tricky French dishes that involve rising and thickening.

    There is no US distributor, but I think there is one in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that US clients can buy from. (Its a German product).

    Thanks for sharing your life and ideas! I am really enjoying this blog.



  • Frank

    Frank on Aug. 3, 2013, 9:03 a.m.

    I use a Vitamix 750 on a regular basis.  One of its nice feautures is that jar is 3 inches shorter than that on the 5200.  Therefore, this makes the jar wider and easier to work with.  At any rate, all Vitamix products are of high quality and built with excellent craftsmanship.


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