I bring my own big grocery bags to the store with me, but I still use plastic produce bags. These reusable produce bags by Slide Sideways are cute enough to motivate me otherwise. Each is screen-printed by hand with environmentally friendly, non-toxic, water-based inks.
I never write recipes by hand because I have terrible handwriting, but these cute recipe cards by Rifle Paper Co. would be a great gift for a friend.
I really need a footed colander for draining pastas and all the new-to-me whole grains I've been trying. I think I'll pick up this Stainless-Steel 3-Piece Mesh colander set during my next visit to Williams-Sonoma.
I got a set of these measuring cups for Christmas, and I love them. They're heavy and solidly built; I think they'll last forever.
This is the best grater I've ever used, and it's pretty too. It even grates both ways. Mine actually disappeared from my kitchen somehow. Assuming yours doesn't run away, you'll love it forever.
This vegetable brush is awesome because it has the words "vegetable brush" printed on the backside. Now I don't worry about anyone mistaking it for a cleaning brush and using chemicals with it.
My small French wire whisk is so handy for mixing small bowls of batter and sauces. It gets much more use than my larger whisks!
I gave away all of my nonstick pans last year, switched to cast iron and never looked back. Cast iron is non-toxic, durable and oven-safe. This 10-inch skillet is perfect for everyday use.
This Cuisinart ice cream maker was my favorite kitchen toy this summer. I'm so glad I can make delicious ice cream at home now.
The Flavor Bible is an incredibly useful reference book. It lists which flavors pair well with others, which is convenient when you're improvising with what you have on hand.
I got this Juiceman hand blender for Christmas, and it has proven itself useful so far. I've mostly used it for smoothies because it requires less clean up than a regular blender. I'm eager to make blended soups and whipped cream with it soon. The small food processor works great too.
I'm so attached to my 3.5-quart Le Creuset French Oven. It's almost always filled with leftovers in the fridge (right now it's full of cooked barley). Someday I want one in white too.
I took a knife skills class last fall, and the teacher recommended this Wusthof Santoku. I finally got one and use it daily. It fits in my hand much better than my clunky chef's knife.
Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook is my favorite. It's filled with 500 simple, versatile recipes that are heavy on produce and whole grains. I recommend it to anyone who's trying to develop better eating habits or looking for cooking inspiration.
This dual salt and pepper grinder is so handy. Turn it clockwise for pepper and counter-clockwise for salt. My friends always marvel over it when they come over for breakfast club.
I inherited my grandmother's food processor, and it's become an indispensable tool in my kitchen. I've used it for making several large batches of pesto and for grating pounds of carrots for carrot cake, among other things.
I got these Rosle Locking Tongs for Christmas. They're the most beautiful, well-constructed tongs I've ever seen. So far I've only used them to give my dog and younger brother a little squeeze, but I'm sure I'll find a culinary use for them soon.
These GlassLock storage containers are fabulous. The lids are BPA-free and click on with a very satisfying "snap" sound. The rectangular shape takes up less space than circular containers. Plus, they're ideal for storing homemade ice cream.
I'm generally hesitant to buy specialty cooking appliances that take up precious cabinet space, but I made an exception for my Belgian waffle maker. In fact, I don't think a kitchen is complete without one. This waffle maker is inexpensive and has tons of great reviews.
Next: 2012 Kitchen Update Ideas
Next: 2012 Kitchen Update Ideas