I’ve decided that if I want to be healthy, my kitchen needs to reflect that. So I came up with a list of things that I want to buy for my healthy kitchen.

1) A juicer. In 2005, I bought a used juicer from Goodwill for $5. I absosmurfly LOVED juicing! I can remember feeling better when I juiced. I read books about it, researched the best recipes and mixes, like what to mix with leafy greens. My favorite combo was apple-carrot. Loved it! But what I didn’t like was the clean-up. The juicer was just too hard to clean up. And at that time I had a dishwasher! So I threw it away with every intention of buying a new one. Here we are, 6 years later, and I never replaced that juicer. In the past couple of months, I’ve really, really wanted one. I’ve tried to win one on ebay, but no such luck. So I’m budgeting for a new Breville juicer. I’m not trying to spend more than $200. And $200 is quite a lot when really I only want to spend $100. But I want a good quality juicer with at least 700 watts of power and easy to clean. I’m looking forward to it, I really am!

2) Santuko style Chef knife. When I started WW in 2009, the Deluxe Kit included a DVD. On the DVD is a section about creating a healthy kitchen. They have this chef on there give her top 5 kitchen items she couldn’t live without. One of them was this knife. Now, what you don’t know is, I am always complaining about knives and pans. My knives are never sharp enough. It’s because I’m so frugal. For the amount of money I’ve spent on cheap blocks of knives, I could have invested in a set of chef knives and a sharpener. 20/20, right? Anyway, I will have this knife. I think about it every time I’m cutting up anything. But whenever I’m in the store and I’m looking at them, I feel like I can’t afford to spend $30+ on one knife. I almost bought one for $19.95, but I remembered the chef saying make sure you spend at least $30 to make sure it’s heavy enough and has a good balance. I trust what she’s saying because she’s not getting a penny of the $30.

3) Dutch oven. I mean a real, cast iron dutch oven. I’ve seen way too many recipes requiring a dutch oven to not need one. I’m always afraid to put the one that comes with the set of pans in the oven. Will the handles melt? Who knows. I know I need a dutch oven. And while it most certainly will not be a Le Creuset, I would like a decent one. I’m only willing to spend $50.

4) A whisk. This is clearly not a necessity, I just want one.

5) Mixing bowls. I used to own a set of mixing bowls, but I’m not sure what happened to them. It’s something I never think of when I’m at the store, but as soon as I need them, I think of them.

6) George Foreman 360. I go back and forth on this one. I want one, I really do. But from all the reviews that I’ve read, it’s kinda big. I just love the idea of the removable plates for cleaning and that I can make soooooooooooo much stuff. I’d even spend extra for the waffle plates. But I have *very* limited counter space. If I got it, I’m not sure what I’d do with it. My kitchen is super duper tiny. I even keep stuff on top of the cabinets. My current GF grill? In a cupboard with other small appliances that aren’t being used at the moment. Not because I don’t use it, I do. But I have to put it back in the cabinet when I’m done because I have no counter space for it. Still, I kinda want one. On the other hand, if I used it enough, it would warrant having it sit on my counter all the time taking up all the space. I’ll think about it.

7) Stainless steel cookware. At first, I would have just said I need a good set of pots and pans. But after watching that WW DVD again last night and recalling a conversation with a gluten-intolerant friend, I decided that good set of pots and pans needs to be stainless steel. My girlfriend that has an intolerance to gluten told me that aluminum pans and those with teflon retain some of whatever is cooked in it. When she was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, she bought stainless steel cookware for this reason. Then the chef in the WW video said that aluminum pans can change the flavor of your food. Stainless steel cookware was on her Top 5 list.

8. Microplane grater. I wanted a new grater but I’ve been putting it off because I hadn’t been sure of what to get. Also on the WW chef’s Top 5 list was a grater, a microplane grater. $10-$20 isn’t too bad. I guess. This is lower on the list of priorities than the whisk.

9) Food thermometer. I used to think these were useless. I mean, you know when the food is done. But what happens a lot of times with me is that I over cook stuff. So now I’d like to remove it from the oven as soon as it’s done. And for that, I need a food thermometer. Plus, the WW chef lady had it on her Top 5 list.

10) The last of the Top 5 is a silicone mat. Now, I almost left this off my list completely. I have asked people over the years since they came out if anyone used silicone baking stuff. Some do, some never have. But I’ve never had anyone rave so much about it that I thought, “Ooh, I’ma hafta get me one of those!” What the WW chef lady said that made me decide to go ahead and put it on the list was that I could roast veggies in the oven without adding any oil. No added fat, you say? Ok, I’ll buy one of those. Maybe. Hardly carries the mystique of the coveted whisk.

11) A stove-top grill pan. Now this is a priority. I’ve wanted it long enough that I can consider it a need now. I live in an apartment with no patio or balcony, so a real grill is not happening. But I’m always wishing I had one. Instead I either use my George Foreman or I broil in the oven. But I want the grill. Just think of the kabobs and grilled veggies! Yum! Plus, the other side is a pancake griddle. Rock star.

12) Rolling pin. A WOODEN rolling pin. The only time I’d need this is if I were making dumplings (hardly ever), cookies (I do want to bake more), and pizza (fairly often). But when I was growing up, we had a wooden rolling pin. So in my mind, the plastic ones I keep seeing are just . . . wrong. I’ve checked the goodwill and it was a bust. I will have my wooden rolling pin.

What a nice even number. 12. One dozen. I think I may go to the outlet mall to that kitchen store. What’s the name of that store? I’ve never even been in there, because this fat girl didn’t even know she liked to cook until a few months ago. Wild, right? When I mention my new hobby to my BFF and my son’s father, they both had the same response: I knew that. You ain’t know that? No, I didn’t know that. Cooking was a necessary evil: I want to eat, I have to cook the food. My best friend said everyone has to cook, but she knew I liked cooking because of the way I collect and try out recipes. I never thought about that. I thought everyone did that. I guess some people just know how to cook. I’m not one of those people. When I was a little girl, my mother told me that if you could read, you could do ANYTHING. I remember thinking, that’s not true. But she gave me an orange Betty Crocker cookbook. I wish I’d kept that cookbook. Anyway, I used to love baking desserts from that book. We had two apple trees in our back yard, so I made plenty of apple pies (my grandmother or sister would make the dough for me). But my favorite recipe in the book was for peanut butter cookies. I still remember how they tasted. Mmmm, it was a cheap way to have dessert. And who doesn’t like dessert? But growing up poor, dessert was a luxury. But my parents taught me that I could still have dessert, I just had to make it. We ALWAYS had baking staples. So I baked cakes and cookies.

You know what’s ironic about this? When I was baking all these cakes and cookies, I was skinny as hell! I left home at 18 weighing about 136 pounds. I was HELLA skinny! Not a good look. But then I go to college and it was like I forgot all about baking. And I started to balloon in weight. Even now, I don’t bake much. And when I do, it’s not from scratch (except pizza sometimes). Yet here I am, fat. I had every intention of baking cookies this week. As I did last week. And the week before that. I’ve baked nothing. I’m scared of what will happen. Like this week, I feel like I’m snacking out of control. So if I baked a batch of cookies, would I eat them all? Could I really let 12 or 24 cookies sit in the house and only eat 1 or 2 each day? I’d put my money on NO FUCKING WAY. So I haven’t baked any cookies. If I get a sweet tooth and I have nothing in the house, I’ve been snacking on 1-2 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips with my 23 almonds. I pretend I’m eating a chocolate bar. It kinda works. It’s good enough to knock off the craving, but not good enough to overeat. I’m also not a big chocolate person (except when Aunt Flo is here), so those chocolate chips are safe in the fridge. But if I put them in COOKIES? And they were all melted and gooey? Even in the midst of oatmeal? I’d fuck those cookies up. excuse my French, but that’s the only way to describe what would happen if I baked cookies. Total and complete annihilation. Not to mention I’d probably go buy some fat-free vanilla ice cream to go with them. Just extra points for no friggin’ reason. No cookies. Even though the thought of them fresh out the oven with a glass of milk . . . THIS IS HOW YOU GOT FAT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!! YOU ARE NOT READY FOR COOKIES SO SHUT THE FUCK UP TALKING ABOUT THEM.

Damn, it’s sad it came to that. I was just talking about kitchen utensils. Now I’m going off about cookies? I’m not really sure how it happened, but I’m just going to bring this post to an end.

EDIT: I was so caught up in the cookies, I forgot the point of bringing up the cookbook in the first place. I’m not blessed with culinary skill. I can cook because I can read. That’s why I collect recipes and have no problem spending money on cookbooks; I know I’ll get my money’s worth. I know what I like, what I don’t like, what I’m willing to try, and to what I give a hearty HELL NO. So I use recipes as a guide and tweak them to my tastes. In doing this, I am trying new things (to which you are a witness), but it takes some creativity to make healthy food flavorful. And that makes cooking fun!