Must Have Kitchen Items to Make #allthethings

ktichen stove.jpeg

Recently, my (now) fiancé and I (that sounds so fancy and I’m still not used to calling him that, LOL!) finished renovating my childhood home we bought together back in December.

One of our favorite parts of the new house, and where we spend 90% of our time, is the kitchen. It’s literally our dream kitchen and I thank Tim everyday for bringing my vision to life. We still have some shelving to finish up but for the most part it's a fully functioning piece of art, (well, atleast I think so).

When we first moved into the house, we had nothing. We literally went out and bought 4 plates, a couple glasses and on set of utensils. Slowly but surely we’ve been able to add to the collection of kitchen items we needed.

Halfway through the summer, Tim finally got around to proposing (finallllllly!) and soon family + friends were generously sending us wonderful (+ helpful!) gifts to fill our cabinets!

Tim argued with me that we didn’t need most of it but after a few months he’s realized just how much proper equipment makes cooking a BREEZE!

Isn’t it the worst when you find a recipe you want to make, the pictures have your mouth drooling but then you read down through the instructions and it says “with a hand mixer blend ingredients…”, “sear each side in your cast iron pan…” or “fill your slow cooker and set to low for 8 hours…”

Nothing is more defeating than not having the right tools. You feel like a rookie and remind yourself, “this is why I don’t cook!”

So I thought I’d put together a list of things I feel are absolute necessities in any kitchen that will never go out of style or use. These are small investments but you’ll most likely never have to buy it again.

  1. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Because you never think you’ll use one and then you get one and realize cooking, baking + making could’ve been a hell of alot easier with one of these guys. I’ve made batches of homemade pizza dough in this, Christmas cookies galore, whipped cream + pasta. You may be thinking “I’ll never make any of that” but you will. If you have the right tools.

  2. Le Creuset Dutch Oven. There are dutch ovens a plenty at every HomeGoods (and if you get lucky there may even be a Le Creuset hidden on a shelf) but this dutch oven is the perfect tool to make any kind of soup, meat sauce, chilli or even roast chicken! Plus it’s so pretty that I just leave mine out on the counter and stare at it adoringly. (I got a little gold knob for it too so she’s all dressed up.)

  3. Nespresso Machine. Now, this might not be a necessity depending on how seriously you take your coffee but I’m a BIG fan of my Nespresso machine my mom gifted us. I can make cappuccinos and lattes like the best starbucks barista around. Plus, since Tim doesn’t drink much coffee getting a regular ol’ coffee pot didn’t make much sense. (The half-caffinated pods are my favorite because the regular ones make me feel like Jessie Spano in Saved By The Bell. They have around 60 mg of caffeine vs >100mg.)

  4. Food Processor. This is another one of those things you think you’ll never use but then you go to make a fancy pesto and really wish you could but you can’t because you don’t have one. We got ours on Sunday and have already used it three times this week: to make homemade breadcrumbs (because we had none on hand) and to make that fancy pesto. They’re relatively inexpensive and something you’ll never have to replace most likely. Great for chopping up herbs, all kinds of pesto, sauces and rubs, to make breadcrumbs and slice and dice just about anything else.

  5. Nutri Bullet. The only thing better than a Nutri Bullet, in my opinion, is a Vitamix. But since a VItamix is not in our current budget our bullet does just as good of a job making my morning smoothies. If you are someone who loves a good, well blended protein shake, you must get yourself one of these. Get a high powered one however. It might cost you a few dollars more but it’s so worth it. Say goodbye to the days of clumpy smoothies and ill blended ingredients. Plus, if your not totally convinced on the food processor, you can make pesto and breadcrumbs in here!

  6. Electric Wine Opener. Yes, opening a bottle of wine with a corkscrew is just as well but makes it such a breeze it’s hard to go back. This is the best housewarming gift, or gift for any occasion for that matter. Plus for people that get intimidated with opening a bottle, this puts their mind at ease knowing it’s just one button!

  7. Cast Iron Pan. This is the money pan. We cook most of our meals in one of these guys (also, if you’ve never cooked your bacon in one of these you must! It gets so crispy, it’s delicious!) You’ll only ever need to buy one so make sure it’s a big one. These things get better with age (they season themselves the more you cook on them) and your food will becoming uniquely your own with a well-used cast iron pan.

  8. Slow Cooker. Now, I cannot lie, I’m a slow cooker novice. But the amount of recipes I’ve found for a slow cooker, the rave reviews I hear on the daily or set-it-and-forget-it type of cooking it allows, I don’t know wtf I’ve been doing all this time. We just got our delivered this week (after I found the one I wanted on MASSIVE sale) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it to whip up some chili this weekend.

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

I think half the battle of learning to love the kitchen is in not having the right tools on hand. Imagine trying to build a house with a screwdriver and a hammer...it’s impossible! The same can be said for cooking in the kitchen.

Start small, scour HomeGoods for discounted finds, save up those Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons and get to it! The first meal you cook that goes off without a hitch because you have everything you need will crack open the inner Emeril Lagasse in you. I can see it now.

What are some of your favorite items in your kitchen?! We’re still building our collection in this new house of ours and would love to know what you can live without!

Xx Kendall

6 Tips to Alleviating Anxiety

A few years back I would experience a panic attack/anxiety attack pretty severely, a few times a year. It would come on like a wave of emotion that I couldn’t control. It was overwhelming and left me feeling completely drained + exhausted once it passed. 

Since that time, I’ve worked really hard to master my mind so these things wouldn’t happen nearly as frequently or, hopefully, at all. It took A LOT of work. A lot of reading + self-development to try to grasp an understanding of my brain. 

Last month I experienced a few not-so-pleasant panic attacks. Now, if you’ve never experienced one, I’ll give you a little explanation of how it used to happen for me. My heart starts beating…no, pounding, like I’ve just downed three espressos. I can physically feel and hear my heart beating out of my chest. I start to feel like I’m losing control for no apparent reason. Sometimes there would be a trigger, sometimes it was out of the clear blue.

Before I mastered my mind, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

I’d start to well up with tears and cry and scream, as if someone else had control over my body. I knew it was completely reactionary but I couldn't regain control. My subconscious was in the driver seat and decided this was happening and that was the end of that. 

A trigger for me would be traffic or if I was late or rushing. But then, of course, there were the times it just happened out of no where. 

After a few "attacks", I realized it was enough trauma for me. I started researching how to manage anxiety and began meditating with the free Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21-day Challenges. And, miraculously, it helped! 

I started reading books about how the mind works + how to recognize certain patterns. I tried to reroute the wiring in my brain so these triggers couldn't work any more.

I can’t tell you how much this self-development work changed my life. I no longer got anxious in traffic, rushed anywhere (not that I’m on-time anywhere either, ha!) or overwhelmed myself with insignificant details. It was great! Anxiety was behind me! Or so I thought…

Now, I don’t consider myself an anxious person. In fact, anyone who knows me is probably alarmed at my utter lack of fucks given. Because I vehemently hate the feeling of anxiousness, I have gone to the total opposite end of the spectrum. So now, it takes a lottt to make me anxious. 

But that doesn’t mean I still don’t have my moments. They’re just sneakier than they used to be. Bubbling to the surface when I least expect it and for seemingly no apparent reason. 

I call these the “tests”. Each time I get one of these, though pretty rarely these days, I know it’s just a check in to see how well I can cope. 

So today’s post brings me back to last month when I experienced one (actually a couple...) of those tests. And what I learned was if I was able to troubleshoot my anxiety, maybe someone out there is trying to do the same. 

Anxiety is living in the future, depression is living in the past. So let’s choose somewhere right in between. 

These are a few tips I’ve picked up that have completely transformed my relationship with anxiety. These work at the onset of an attack. Chronic anxiety is a slightly different ball game (+ a much longer post). Though if you have questions about that, feel free to reach out, I’m most certainly not a doctor but may have a few tips that can help.

How to diffuse a panic attack while you’re in it:

1.   Acknowledge it. Call it by its name and tell yourself what you are experiencing. Notice your heart beating. Put your hand on your chest and feel it. The worst thing you can do is ignore whats happening. Your body is trying to get your attention for a reason. Validate it. 

2.   Breathe. This may seem obvious but this is when people start to panic + take a series of short repetitive breaths. Or shallow “deep” breaths. You want to breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale through your mouth for 4. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Nice + slow.

3.   Affirmations. I find talking myself through it helps to keep it at bay for a while. Sometimes it can go away completely other times not so much. I tell myself, out loud, things like “I am safe. I am supported. I have everything I need. I am calm, I’m OK”. Believe me, if you've ever had a panic attack, the last thing you’re worried about is looking like a weirdo talking to yourself. 

4.   Drink water. If you can, drink an entire liter of water. The water here isn’t the cure, it just gets you to stop your shallow breathing + helps you focus on something else. 

5.   Sweat. Move. Stretch. At the onset of a panic/anxiety attack there is energy pulsing through you, building up the longer it goes on. That energy will come out, one way or another. A quick way to make sure it comes out the right way is to get moving. If you can, go for a run, take a high intensity class, do twenty push ups. It seems counter productive to calming yourself down but you need somewhere to release all that energy in a healthy, productive way.

6.   Call, text, talk to someone. Anyone. For me, I need to tell people what I’m feeling so I don’t feel like I’m all alone. Most of the time they will just be there to tell you breathe and calm down, but having company, whether it be over the phone or in person, helps feel less overwhelmed while its happening. 

These are some of the tips I’ve found that help me the most. They can be used even when you're not in the middle of an attack but feel a general sense of anxiety. Always stop to take inventory of yourself + check in with your mind.

I’d love to hear if you have any of your own to add to the list!?

Anxiety is something most people experience at some point in their lives, whether they talk about it or not. It’s not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. All it is is a signal from your mind to your body to get your attention. Are you constantly stressed but keep bushing it under the rug? Are you totally overwhelmed by life but not addressing it?

Our bodies don’t make mistakes, we are well oiled machines…even on our worst days. So when these attacks arise, use it as a time to look inward to get to the root of the issue, don’t just treat the symptom. You’ll be amazed what is actually causing the issue is much simpler and many times easy to resolve.

Hope this post gave you some tools to use the next time you find yourself pre-panic/anxiety attack. It can be a scary feeling but the better prepared you are, the less overwhelming they become.

 

With love + so much light,

Xo Kendall 

 

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After the event I received such great feedback that I cannot wait to do it again soon. Opportunities for women to hang out with other like minded women just really talking + getting to know one another are far + few between. 

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I often hear people talk about passions as if they are something you're born with or without. Those who get lucky, find their passions, while others look on longingly hoping they, too, will one day discover their passions. 

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