Alright, so, part of being keto is getting used to making a lot of your own food – so much of the ~convenient~ shit in stores is carbs, carbs, carbs. It definitely took some adjusting for me – I was never much of a cook before (I had a meal plan until my last year of college, and then I learned how to make…4-5 dishes, one of which was frozen chicken nuggets. Another was cornbread casserole, aka carbloaf), so there was definitely a learning curve.
I am, without a doubt, The Cook in my family now. It’s fun for me to try new recipes, and I’ve gotten comfortable enough with keto foods to be able to throw a few ingredients together into my own mishmash recipe that I can be fairly confident will taste good.
WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS I DON’T KNOW
(pretend I thought this out and came up with a segue into the most helpful kitchen gadgets for keto)
Here are the gadgets I insist on having in my kitchen:
- A food scale. This is a must! I actually have 4, but I only use 2 – a big one from Costco that weighs up to 30lbs with 0.5 gram/0.01 oz accuracy, and a little tiny pocket scale from Amazon that has 0.01 gram accuracy but only weighs up to 1,000 grams (about 3 pounds). I generally use the little one for small things – shredded cheese, macadamia nuts, etc – and the big one for meats and larger items that won’t fit on the small scale or weigh more than it can handle. Also – a heads up – if you buy that little scale from Amazon, it *will* think you’re a drug dealer for a while. You’ll get some weird recommendations, like little tiny plastic baggies. No, Amazon, I don’t sell coke. I just weigh my food, gahd.
- An immersion blender. I’ve been talking this one up a lot lately on IG because seriously, I would be dead in the water without this thing. Mine’s a fairly old one from Braun that I believe my grandma got for us, but you can pick them up all kinds of places – Amazon, of course, and I’ve heard they’re a popular thrift store find. Mine has a few different attachments – an S-blade (what I use most), a whisk (that I lost), and a food processor jar thing; plus a little measuring cup that the S-blade head fits in perfectly (v crucial). Mine’s kinda like this one, but a different brand…and less fancy. I use the S-blade like, 99% of the time. I’ve used the food processor bit to turn granular Swerve into powdered Swerve, though. ANYWAY. This. Thing. Is. The. Tits. I use it mostly for eggs, because it gets a TON of air into them and makes them fantastically light and fluffy. Wanna eat 2 eggs but feel like you’re eating 5? Use your immersion blender to fluff those babies up. Also great for: bulletproof/butter coffee; mashed cauliflower; hollandaise sauce; whipped cream; soups/sauces (esp in the crockpot! Take the meat out, put the blender in, give it a quick whir and voila! All your sauce components = blended)… the list goes on!
- A mini frother. I got one for $5 from IKEA, but if you don’t have an IKEA near you (which I no longer do either), there’s always Amazon (can yall tell I love online shopping? Or?). These are great for individual servings of whipped cream – it can take a few minutes and it doesn’t get suuuuper stiff, but it’s the easiest way I’ve found to make 2-3 tbsp whipped cream at a time; bulletproof coffee; foamy coffee; anything you want to froth, really. My mom loves mine so much that she bought one for herself, my sister, my grandma, and my friend’s family at Thanksgiving when we were near an IKEA. They’re seriously so convenient!
- A food processor. I don’t use this one as much anymore, tbh, but it’s definitely a good thing to have and I used it all the time at the beginning! I have the Ninja Master Prep set that has a little food processor and a big blender. I like that the motor fits on both, but I do wish I’d gotten a kind that has a little pour spout so you can add ingredients while you’re processing – that’s kind of crucial to some emulsion recipes. Ah well. You live and you learn! The small processor is awesome for little jobs, and I mostly use the big blender to make cauliflower rice in large batches. I learned a trick online that if you add the raw cauliflower to the blender, pour in some water, and blend that, you get a big batch of cauli rice with much less mess than doing several batches in the small processor. All you have to do is strain the water out and you’re good to go. I thought it would make cauliflower soup, but it didn’t!
- A crockpot. This is especially great if you work long days – I used to work 12hour overnight shifts in grad school, and the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook something – because you can dump in the ingredients, set it on low, and it’ll cook it for you. So easy. We have 2 now – a little one and a big one – and they’re great for making big meat dishes. The only drawback (in my opinion) is that a lot of crockpot foods can have that same soupy-goopy-mushy texture. Also, they require forethought and planning. So if it’s 5pm and you’re like “Oh shit, what am I going to make for dinner???,” the crockpot isn’t going to help you. Unless you want to eat dinner at 4am. Which I do not.
So yeah! Those are my top 4 kitchen gadgets (and an honorable mention) that I love and swear by. I love them so much that I made my parents send me the immersion blender in grad school when I forgot to pack it – they never use it, and I didn’t want to buy another one – even in my cramped little basement apartment half-kitchenette, I made sure to have these four things. I had a damn hot plate and a microwave to cook with, but I made do! And then I bought a countertop oven and a crockpot eventually, but that’s a different story; I digress.
You don’t need a full professional kitchen to be successful on keto. You don’t need one of those $200 stand mixers (though lordt knows I would love to have one someday, just to feel like a real, fancy adult). You don’t need the top-of-the-line ultra-fancy everything; I get lots of my pots and pans at thrift stores or bargain stores like Burlington Coat Factory or Ross. Just stick with stuff you can use for all kinds of things, and learn to fucking cook!