There are of course other brands of all of these blenders that are better and worse. So, shop around to decide on what brand will work with your budget. If you can buy all three, then you’ll have more options when it comes to cooking. If you can only afford one, I would suggest the food processor, unless smoothies are near and dear to your heart. I do technically use my KitchenAid blender more, but that’s only because I make smoothies almost every day. I don’t use it for much else. The food processor has been used for countless recipes, far more than will ever touch the blender. Of course the cheapest option is the immersion blender, and you could probably get away with using it for most things if you are willing to be a little creative. It is the easiest product to clean, so that’s definitely a plus. It really all depends on what type of foods you see yourself making, you can always make things work. For a few more details on the different blending options, keep on reading.
Choose what will work for you. There are a variety of sizes and brands to choose from. I have a KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender. Depending on your color option, you can get this blender on Amazon for as low as $101. I have had mine for almost three months and I absolutely love it. I have only used it to make two things: smoothies and vegan mac & cheese sauce. I tried making a sauce for a broccoli salad once, but there wasn’t enough sauce and it just splattered everywhere in the blender. But, it works great in areas that the following two blending devices don’t. Ultimately, if you like making smoothies, it’s worth the buy. Otherwise, a blender probably isn’t worth the money for cooking.
I also have the KitchenAid 2-Speed Hand Blender to be exact. This runs as low as $31, which is significantly cheaper than a blender. This was also my thought process when deciding to get this instead of a traditional blender like mentioned above. As you can see, I ended up getting a blender as well. This doesn’t mean that the immersion blender isn’t good, it’s just not very good at making smoothies. At least not in my experience. However, the immersion blender comes in hand when you are wanting to blend a boiling hot sauce or soup that is still on the stove. You have to watch out for the cord obviously, but it beats having to let sauces cool for an hour before you can put it in your regular blender. I also use the immersion blender when making small amounts of uncooked sauces. The broccoli salad sauce that I mentioned earlier works much better with the immersion blender using the blending cup that comes with it. Overall, the best use for the immersion blender is blending hot soups and sauces on the stove. So if you don’t see yourself making either of those, then one of the other blender options will probably work better.
I have a Cuisinart food processor, Cuisinart Elite Collection 7-Cup Food Processor. This 7-cup size is $76.95, but there are other sizes, both larger and smaller. This is, without a doubt, my top pick for a blending device. It is much more versatile in my opinion, you can mince herbs, puree fruits, and even make banana ice cream. Compared to the other blenders, the only downside to the Cuisinart is that you can’t put extremely hot food in it, and you can’t put a lot of liquid in it. So, no vegan cauliflower alfredo and no smoothies. Before I had the other blenders, I did technically make that alfredo sauce, but I let it cool for a long time, and then had to do multiple batches, probably five. It was tedious, so that’s what led me to buy the immersion blender. As for smoothies, the closest you will get is making a sorbet or banana ice cream. Those are wonderful things, but sometimes you want to be able to drink your meal on-the-go. That’s where the KitchenAid blender, mentioned above, comes in handy. But back to the pros of the Cuisinart, you can grate zucchinis and carrots, you can chop or slice vegetables, make dips, thick batters, and still make some sauces. As long as there isn’t a lot of liquid, you should be fine. The container does have a max-fill line. I do have the 7-cup processor, so a larger size could work better in situations with more liquid. I have had my fair share of liquid coming out of the lid area of the container when blending. My favorite things to make with the Cuisinart is hummus, black bean brownies, and vegan almond cheese! The other two blenders just don’t work as well with these tasks because the ingredients are thicker.
There are a ton of kitchen tools that you can use, so I won’t get too deep into all of the products that I use. These are just my favorite products at the moment. I’m sure that there will be other things in the future that I will drool over, or at least things used to make some food that I will drool over.
Stainless Steel Straws
I’m just now getting into making smoothies, so I don’t have many extras. But, if you love making smoothies, or even your own juices, I would highly recommend these Reusable Straws by Eco at Heart. I don’t know how to describe it, but drinking through the straw makes the smoothie taste better (feel better?), I don’t really know how to describe it. Another major plus is that you won’t be wasting plastic straws every time you drink a smoothie. Seriously though, these straws are great and I strongly suggest buying them. I did buy mine through Amazon, but the straws are from the company, Eco at Heart. They are a great company and they even offer free shipping for orders in the USA. If you buy them from Amazon, Eco at Heart still gets the money, so either way is fine. This package only cost $12.90 for 5 straws and it comes with a cleaning brush.
Silicone Baking Mats
If you like roasting vegetables in the oven, these will be a great help to you. I’ve been reducing the amount of oil that I use, so these AmazonBasics Silicone Baking Mat make baking easier. I would say that it is a replacement for parchment paper in that it prevents sticking. The fact that I have even cooked cubed potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower without a drop of oil is impressive to me. Even if you aren’t looking to cook without oil, these mats will help keep your baking sheets in better shape. You won’t have to scrape off cooked food or sticky remnants. There are a variety of brands to pick from, but I bought the Amazon Basic brand for an amazing price. I was able to get two for $10.95, which is a pretty good deal in my opinion. The original company is Silpat, and their mat of the same size is $24.99 for only one mat. Supposedly it’s the best silicone mat out there, but I didn’t want to spend that much not knowing if I would even like using a silicone mat. There are literally so many to choose from, so pick whatever brand and size works for you. Update: the mats that I bought from Amazon are currently unavailable, so here are some other silicone baking mats to choose from
This is also an essential item if you are looking to use less oil or no oil. My favorite pan is a T-fal. I have cooked countless recipes without any oil and it never sticks. I used to make a tofu scramble and I had to use so much oil in our other non-stick skillets, and the tofu would still stick. With a T-fal pan, I easily scramble tofu without a drop of oil, it’s incredible. Now that I have used this brand, I will not buy any other brand. To save a bit of money, I would suggest looking around for sales or buying from Marshalls or TJMaxx. If you can find one on clearance at one of these stores, then you are getting a great deal. The pan that I have is T-fal Professional Total Nonstick Pan. This may be cheap to some and expensive to others, but I definitely think that this pan is worth the money if you are looking for a new pan. You’ll be saving money in the long run because you won’t be buying oil to cook with.