Item Number One:
NO BONES ABOUT IT... MY FAVORITE STOCK/BOUILLON SUBSTITUTE
I'm not a purist when it comes to beef or chicken broth/stock. I make my own when there are bones available to do so, but when I'm boneless, I have no qualms about using broth from a can/box. However, when I need to add concentrated flavor to a dish without adding much liquid, I've found this first item on my "must have" list to be superior to bouillon cubes. So anytime you see "bouillon" listed in my recipes, I'm using this product, Savory Choice. I order it a couple of times a year from Amazon. It's available in beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties. I love it... in a totally broth-erly kind of way.
Item Number Two:
AMORE' DOUBLE CONCENTRATED TOMATO PASTE
I love this product first and foremost for its excellent, non-tinny tomato flavor, but I'm as equally fond of it for its non-waste factor. Just squeeze out the amount you want, slap on the cap, and store it in your fridge. No more throwing out half cans of tomato paste! This is available at Amazon, but I've also found it at my local Meijer store in the Italian foods section.
Item Number Three:
MY WUSTHOF 7" SANTOKU KNIFE
A few years back, when my teenaged son was way too gifted and intelligent to work in the fast food industry, he worked a brief stint as a Cutco knife representative. By brief, I mean one week. And let's just get it out in the open already, I was his only sale.
My Cutco knives have been a great addition to my kitchen tools, but they've been just "OK" in my books. I'll label them adequate, especially since I had no previous experience with quality knives. I cut and chopped, but I wasn't enjoying the experience..... if that makes any sense (don't worry if it doesn't.)
Two years ago, my other son purchased a gift certificate from Williams Sonoma for me for Mother's Day. You can almost imagine my excitement and dedication-to-purchase as I spent nearly a half a day in the store. I'd done my research prior to visiting the store, and I was fairly certain that I wanted to spend this gift certificate on a quality knife. Online reviews pointed me toward purchasing a Wusthof 7" Santoku. OMG... I finally GET why gearhead guys get so excited about the engines in their cars and trucks, and how fishing guys can spend a boatload on one tiny little lure! Quality tools make all the difference in the world!
I love my Wusthof Santoku. Without making it sound weird, I just need you to know how much more I enjoy cutting and chopping. In fact, it's really the part of cooking I most look forward to. It's cathartic, somehow, like the repetitive, tiny sewing stitches must be to a quilter.
If you only have one quality knife, let it be a Wusthof. Item Number Four:
KITCHEN AID MIXER
This is the end-all, beat-all of mixers. If you can pony up the bucks initially to afford this beauty, chances are you'll never have to buy another mixer. It is sleek, and strong, and (just ask Sandra Lee,) you can purchase it in like a bazillion different colors to coordinate with your daily tablescapes. But I digress, and speak only out of jealousy, obviously. If Sandra has a warehouse pantry in which she can store a bazillion Kitchen Aids, why should that bother me?
Ok, now that you've got me started, I'm going to have to go balls to the walls. Why... WHy....WHY..WHYYY.. does she have color coordinated Kitchen Aid mixers on every episode, yet she pulls out her hand-held wussy mixer whenever she actually needs to use a mixer? Is she purposely trying to piss me off? (my therapissed thinks so)
Anyway. After having probably three or four lesser models throughout my homemaking years, I finally purchased a Kitchen Aid. I've yet to be disappointed.