Liza Hawkins

Home owner 
Frederick, MD  
About me:
With her down-to-earth approach to food, and a dash or two of snark, Liza enjoys eating, reading, cooking, dining and writing on a daily basis. By day, she's an insurance professional, by night she gracefully (or not sometimes) barrels through life keeping up with her blog (a)Musing Foodie, other freelance writing jobs, non-profit work, Twitter and Facebook, her kids, her husband, and whatever else happens to fill her plate. Read her blog here: 
My favorite style:
Artsy Chic Simple Comfort 
Liza Hawkins likes 5 comments on an ideabook

Guest Picks: The Well-Stocked Starter Kitchen

We’ve got all the kitchen basics and tableware you need (or that recent grad needs) to make cooking a joy Full Story
     Comment   July 5, 2014
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Sharon Ullman
Oh for heaven's sake, go to Marshalls or TGMax Homegoods for your beginner kitchen things, beautiful wood cutting boards are only $10.00-$20.00, their items come directly from the high priced stores. ~ Loads of wonderful things for your kitchen. I only purchase Stainless steel and glass items to cook with, purchased a set of three sizes colanders like the yellow one above in red for only $15.00. Gorgeous speckled green bowls ~ $5.00 each. And the list goes on and on. And yes, a variety of scissors are a must in any kitchen, I use them every single day several times per day.
June 22, 2014 at 10:01pm     
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Sherrie Holmes
Good for you, Sharon Ullman, for being a thrifty shopper! I'm a retired senior citizen on a limited budget, and must watch my pennies. I just bought a 3-quart stainless steel saucepan (Paul Revere, copper bottom) in excellent condition at Goodwill for $5.99. You can often find older, better-made items at Goodwill to replace the cheap stuff they make nowadays. One item I consider indispensible is my manual, hand-crank can opener. I'm talking about the really old kind, made of sturdy metal that doesn't bend like today's cheapies do. (See picture--if I can figure out how to attach it!) I don't like a bunch of appliances and gadgets on my kitchen counters, and gave away my electric can opener decades ago. I've had my manual can opener for 50 years, and it still outperforms the modern ones.

Many of us Houzz fans are on limited budgets and cannot afford some of the lovely (but out of our price range) items listed here, so I'm always glad when the article-writers and fans offer inexpensive alternatives.
June 22, 2014 at 10:58pm     
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About knife blocks - the best orientation for the slots is vertical rather than horizontal. But - you need to put the knives in with the sharp side UP, not down, otherwise every time you slide the knife in, you blunt the blade. If the slots are horizontal, as shown in the Ideabook, same applies - the block will slowly blunt the blades. So - go with one like this, but turn the knives the other way up!

Knives should be kept very sharp indeed, but, unless you've been trained how to sharpen your blades by a pro, my advice would be to take them to a pro and have them sharpened professionally. It's only a buck or two a blade, usually done while you wait, and they will last WAY longer than if you mess them up yourself. :) You can get them sharpened at most restaurant-supply stores. Sharpening them yourself may also void the warranty...
June 23, 2014 at 9:07am     
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Sherrie Holmes
Thank you to everyone who mentioned turning your knives blade-side-up when using a knife block! I never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. I'm planning on getting a small knife block as I am tired of having to rummage through the knife/kitchenwares drawer all the time. Worse yet is when a knife or spatula sticks up and prevents you from opening the drawer. I only use my 3 favorite knives anyway, so a small knife block is the ticket, especially since I don't have any convenient place for a magnetic knife strip (which, to be honest, I don't like the looks of).

Free tip for those of you who like to make homemade breads: in my opinion, the best tool for slicing bread is an electric knife. I know that sounds weird, but I learned this from a long-time chef/bread maker who showed me how much easier it is to get nice, even slices with an electric knife vs. a bread knife.
June 24, 2014 at 12:10am     
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Thanks for the electric knife tip, sherrieholmes.
July 1, 2014 at 7:22pm     
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