Holiday 2011 Gift Guide: Paleo Kitchen Heavyweights

It’s December and the holidays are rapidly approaching. Last week we talked about ten great stocking stuffers for the Paleo kitchen. Watch the blog over the next few weeks for more Gift Guides (books, and other Paleo gear).

Today we’ll look at ten big ticket kitchen gadgets. I reach for these items often while cooking or baking. They’re pretty essential in my kitchen and the cost per use is super low (that’s how I justify big ticket purchases). Without further ado…

Cuisinart Stick Blender

This thing is super awesome. Stick it in a pot of soup or stuff that could become soup, and get a creamy soup without doing the dangerous pot-to-blender-back-to-pot dance. I use this for making butternut squash soup all the time in the fall and winter.

Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Slow Cooker

How do I love my slow cooker? Let me count the ways. A cheap cut of meat, plus some all day simmering in this guy with some broth, onions, celery and carrots equals magic. I also use my slow cooker to make lard from pork fat, to make bone broth, and more.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart French Oven

If my house were on fire and I could only grab one thing, I would nudge my dog out the door with my foot and grab this thing. I’m pretty serious about that. There’s a reason Le Creuset has the reputation for quality that they do. If you buy one of these, it will last you your entire life. It has a permanent spot on my stovetop.

Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator

Dry things out. Make jerky from meat. Presto – paleo snacks! I like this all in one kit because it comes with a handy jerky gun.

All-Clad Master Chef 2 7-Piece Cookware Set

All-Clad is no joke. If your pots and pans can’t knock someone out cold with one BANG to the head, they aren’t heavy duty enough. These are nice and heavy, and they’re pretty to look at. They also will last a lifetime.

J.A. Henckels International Chef’s Knife

Every time I go cook at a friend’s house, I’m always disappointed in the janky, $9.99-WalMart-Special knife they hand me. They’re inevitably dull, and I end up cutting myself and crying more when I’m slicing onions and vegetables roll to the floor. It’s a sad state of affairs. I have this exact knife in my kitchen and I love it. It feels great to hold in your hand, and the carbon steel stays sharp as long as you take care of it. I highly recommend this bad boy.

Cuisinart 9-Cup Food Processor

For chopping things, making soups, slicing stuff, making fresh salsa. The uses for this thing are pretty endless. I use mine several times a week.

Fermentation Pot

Make your own kraut (and other fermented veggies like kimchi). Get natural probiotics. This is the Mercedes-Benz of kraut pots.

Presto 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

You can make a whole meal at one time with a pressure cooker. I use mine to cook big hunks of vegetable matter (whole beets, butternut squash, etc.) quickly.

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-Quart Stockpot


I make my own chicken or beef stock (bone broth, yummmm) every other month or so in this exact pot. It is so, so good for you (calcium, minerals!) and way tastier than the canned or boxed stuff. Every good chef makes stock from scratch.

What are your must-have kitchen gadgets?

We heard about your favorite little kitchen doodads, but for now we want to know – what are your must-have big ticket kitchen gadgets? Tell us in the comments!

Categories: Cooking


Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation

Have you heard about the Paleo diet and were curious about how to get started? Or maybe you’ve been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? Then Robb Wolf’s 30 Day Paleo Transformation is for you.


  1. Randi says

    Kiwi Knives from Thailand. I have the paring knife, and after a year and a half it still slices veggies like it’s nothing and it’s never been resharpened. I also have the cleaver and it works great to slice meat and bone. Plus, they are super cheap… under $10 cheap. I love them!

  2. says

    My family has been asking me what I want for Xmas and it’s so hard to come up with ideas on the spot. These are all excellent suggestions, I’ve been coveting an immersion blender for years but never justified purchasing one because I have a functioning regular blender. My favorite big ticket item has to be my Calphalon wok. It’s gigantic and it holds a LOT of food so we can make 4-5 meals at once.

  3. Katya says

    Another great thing about the Le Creuset is it will survive that fire so you’ll have free hands to grab something else.

  4. Katherine says

    Love my pressure cooker, also love my Ninja blender. I use it all the time. Smoothies, pestos, putting up veggies from the garden.

  5. says

    Opening up my young coconuts is a lot easier since I got a really heavy cleaver from a local Asian grocery store.

    I fully agree on the pressure cooker too. Great for cooking cow tongue quickly.

  6. Robyn says

    The one kitchen item I can’t do without is my Thermomix. It allows me to make my own almond butter, make the perfect hardboiled egg, steams my veggies and make some very yummy curries. I use it at least twice or three times each day.

  7. Airedalelover says

    The Le Cruset pot is my favorite too. I recently dropped the lidon mine and it broke. I wrote to the company hoping to purchase a new lid. The pot has a life time warranty so they replaced it, even giving me a choice of colors!
    I had to pay a reasonable handling/shipping fee and retun the bottom half of the pot. The broken lid had long been discarded. I received the pot as a wedding gift in 1968 and probably used it 3 times a week. It was not stained or scratched and I burned more than one thing in it.

    Thanks for the gift guides. Very helpful

  8. says

    My suggestion is too big for a stocking, but not really a big ticket item, either. It would be great for your next Paleo White Elephant gift exchange.

    I love my wide mouth canning jars and metal lids, even though I never really can anything.

    The wide mouth pint jars are perfect for making yogurt, storing leftovers, opened coconut milk, salad dressings, shaking sauces and dressings, freezing pumpkin puree or stock for later, etc. They stack in the fridge, too.

    The quart jars are good for soups and things like that.

    The 1 cup jars (hard to find in wide mouth, but worth looking for) are good for homemade rubs, spice mixes, and just smaller portion in general.

    There’s a special canning funnel which seems silly, but comes in handy several times a week.

    The narrow mouth jars are a pain in the butt. Skip them.

  9. Janeway says

    Shopping for a slow cooker today and saw your timely post. A substantial minority of Amazon reviewers complain that the cooker you recommend inconveniently shuts itself off after a few hours, which of course is totally undesirable. Have you had any problem like that?

    • Leigh says

      I got this slow cooker last Christmas and I haven’t had any problems with it. I use it once or twice a week. Most of the bad reviews seem to be from over a year ago so maybe they have fixed it?

  10. melissa says

    hey amber, have you tried the jerky seasonings that you can order with the nesco food dehydrator? i can’t seem to find an ingredient list on those to see if they have any freaky shit i don’t wanna eat in ’em. thanks!

    • Erin says

      Melissa, I have the nesco dehydrator and I LOVE IT. I have never used the jerky seasoning packets (never even gave them a thought) cuz I do everything from scratch. The only way to know exactly what you’re cooking with is to scratch cook everything, in my opinion. Jerky seasoning included!

    • Leigh says

      The seasoning packets that come with the nesco are definitely not paleo. It’s super easy to make your own seasoning though. I usually use some combination of salt/pepper/garlic powder/worcestershire/coconut aminos/beef broth/red wine or balsamic vinegar. You basically can’t go wrong. :)

      • melissa says

        cool, thanks leigh. i kind of figured they weren’t, i just saw that there as a package where you could get the spices included. making your own spice blend is usually better anyway!

  11. Erin says

    I own and LOVE the nesco dehydrator on this list. I’ve never used the knives on the list, but a good knife is a MUST for any serious home cook!

  12. JD says

    I have used several of these products and am an avid paleo cook so my $.02. All-Clad cookware is great. I have a set of their basic line and love it. I returned my Cuisinart immersion blender and purchased a Brevelle. At first I was worried that it wasn’t worth $99 – turns out its a steal. It has a mini food processor, dough blade, blender and mixer attachments. I use it all the time and love it. I love Henckel knives but would not buy the International line! They are not the same quality as their other lines. They are not made in Germany and do not hold their edge like the other lines do. A chef’s knife is the one item any serious cook should invest in and a good 10″ costs $125-150. 8″ is a bit less.


  13. says

    That fermentation pot looks like fun! I’ve been making (or rather trying) sauerkraut lately. I’d like to try to make some other fermented foods!

    I have one of those blender sticks and they are awesome. Just made some home made mayo the other day, it was great.

  14. Tricia says

    Cuisinart food processor: mashed cauliflower, soups, date balls, slicing veggies, pesto, etc… Its worth its weight in gold.
    I recommend a Shun or a Global instead of a Henckel- so much easier to sharpen.

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