These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

I wanted to compile a list of things (or gadgets or do-dads) that have made my life a little easier over the years and maybe give you some ideas for last-minute shopping.  One would think, since I garden so much, that many of these would be related to  this subject.  Instead, I have found that most of my favorites refer to cooking.
First of all, I love my garlic press.
kitchen garlic press
It’s a very simple tool that minces a clove or two of garlic (depending on the size of the clove) and leaves the skin behind in the press.  Insert, press, scrape, done.  I love easy.
This measuring cup is different from the pourable ones. kitchen measuring cupIt works best for solid to semi-solid ingredients like shortening or applesauce.  Simply push the yellow tube down to the desired measurement, add your ingredient and while holding it over the bowl, push the yellow tube until it stops.  Scrape the top and move on.  No more licking scraping the sides of the measuring cup to get every last bit.
kitchen measuring cup
My cast iron skillet is a must for cooking.  I most often use it in the oven for cornbread, but I’ve also used it for chicken pot pies and apple pies.  For the stove top, it’s a must have for bacon, fried squash, and okra.  It takes some special care for clean up, (no soap) but not enough to deter me from using it every week.
This is called a mandoline.
mandoline
It’s great for slicing onions, cucumbers and even lettuce. Mine has 3 widths and the smallest is super thin.

mandoline
paper-thin is the smallest width
mandoline
widest width
It comes with a do-dad for holding the veggies (not shown because I couldn’t find it) so you won’t slice your fingers which my daughter-in-law knows about first hand (or finger)and several stitches later.
Flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars can add a twist to your cooking.
oil and vinegars My Thanksgiving turkeys were coated with a Chardonnay Garlic oil before roasting.  I’ve recently tried (and loved!)Tuscan Herb olive oil on my roasted chickens.   Flavored oils can also be used in place of vegetable oils in your favorite recipes.  Try mixing some dried herbs with these oils for bread dipping and you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
oil and vinegars
This one was mixed with strawberry balsamic vinegar for a yummy salad dressing.
My compost crock is pretty enough to keep on the counter and hold all your scraps for the compost pile.
compost crockThe lid is lined with a charcoal filter to eliminate any smells. Special liners made from cornstarch are available and will dissolve in your compost pile along with your scraps.
Now on to gardening favorites.
For any gardener, gloves always come in handy. I usually go through 3-4 pair a season.  I like a good fitting glove (size medium–hint. hint.) and prefer the ones with the leather fingertips as these areas always get holes and get my fingernails dirty.
Another tool I can never have too many of is pruners.  I usually keep mine in my back pocket while working, but occasionally I lay them down and lose track of them.   Most handles of pruners are green or brown-same as grass or dirt which is one of the reasons they are so hard to find if they are put down.  Here’s a  little trick I have learned over the years that has helped with this.   I wrap my handles with hot pink duct tape.  This way if they are put down in the dirt, I see them instantly.  Nevertheless, it’s always nice to have backup pruners just in case.
And last but not least, the tub of all tubs.  The King of Tubs in my world.
garden trug tubIf you want a tub that can hold leaves, feed, tools, or baby chicks, this tubs for you. I’ve washed many a flower pot in these tubs as well a puppy or two.  It can even do this
garden trug tubfor easy one-handed carrying.
This particular tub is called a Trug Tub and was purchased from Gardener’s Supply.  It’s made from a very durable plastic and comes in three different sizes and a variety of colors.  I’m pretty sure this is the largest size and I love them so much I have three.  Red, blue and pink of course.
There you have it.  Just a few of my favorite things.
What are some of your favorite things?