My Inspirations ♥ · Tips & Tricks

Tips, Tricks & Words of Wisdom…

Often people ask me what products I use in my cooking and baking. Here is my list of what I prefer to use in my kitchen as how we are eating and preparing as of late.

As a lot of you know we are always trying to change for the good… so its possible this list will change. I have listed where I buy some of these items- I’m sure you will find them in various stores near you.

The key to my cooking is use good products that are fresh. Cook and bake with love and it’ll be awesome! Whenever possible- buy local! I cannot get enough of our farmers markets! Grow anything and everything you can! The best part is you can have fun in your kitchen preserving your grown goods for months to come! Trust this Minnesota girl- this is a HUGE good thing in the long winter months and your family will love you for it! (especially if you give some of your goodies as gifts)

I only use Iodized sea salt in all my cooking.
I love the large flake in my cooking and most people are iodine deficient.

I love love love spices and I purchase 98% of them from The Spice House. Awesome company with a great product. I freeze all my spices to preserve their freshness. And I love giving spices as gifts- you’d be surprised how excited people get!

I buy Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil from Sam’s Club and fill an oil dispenser thats kept out by my stove. I use this in all my cooking & baking. If we’re frying we use peanut oil.

My House Seasoning
I love this mixture! Taken from Paula Dean- I order my granulated garlic from the spice house.
1 cup iodized sea salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup black pepper
I have given this mixture in a really nice container I find at William Sonoma during their summer BBQ season. I put the filled container in a plastic gift bag sold at your local craft store and tie it off with a bow and handmade tag. I pair this with a favorite cook book and some grill mitts for an awesome wedding shower gift.

Roasting Chicken Breasts
I only buy bone-in skin on chicken breasts. They produce a much more moist and flavorful meat for salads, fajitas etc. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree’s. Spray your roasting pan with Pam cooking spray. Arrange chicken breasts on prepared pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the skin side of breasts and season with the house seasoning. Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your breasts ; )

I only buy C & H sugars. They are made from pure cane sugar. Everything else is produced from beets- nothing else will do. I prefer the bakers sugar which is a finer grade. I started buying the bakers sugar when I invested in a gelato machine and needed my sugar to dissolve faster and now prefer it in all my baking & cooking.

I only use unsalted butter. Its a better quality butter and you are in control of the salt content. I always have 2 sticks out at all times at room temperature and I keep at least 8+ sticks in my kitchen freezer at all times.

I LOVE nuts! It doesn’t matter what kind –  they are wonderful! All of my nuts are frozen to preserve their freshness- NO ONE likes rancid nuts- not even a desperate squirrel.

I love a good vanilla! I only use Nielsen- Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract- the best!

King Arthur Flour
I love their extracts, chocolates, flours and just about everything else they have to offer! I absolutely love their 1/2 sheet parchment paper- saves on clean up big time!

Believe it or not I still really like Archer Farms (Target brand) Old Fashioned Oats. I choose them over Quaker any day- I know, crazy!

Fruits & Vegetables
We try our best to buy as much organic as possible. Its so much better for you when its real.

I think that if you can grate it yourself your getting a far superior outcome. Plus its kind of a work out to cut the cheese.

I buy organic, cage free eggs. Brown eggs make me a happy girl : )

Organic Valley is an AWESOME company! LOVE the milk! Its the best of the best!

Stonyfield organic low fat french vanilla yogurt
Fage Total 0% All Natural Nonfat Greek strained Yogurt

Trader Joe’s Organic Raw Honey. Always have this on hand! Hot water, fresh lemon and this honey is the perfect RX for a sore throat.

I use Hellmann’s Light in place of regular in my recipes.

Hot Sauce
Franks Redhot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce – hands down.

Vidalia is my all time favorite! I always look forward to my Daughter Allie’s birthday (May 2nd) when we get them here in Minnesota. This onion season lasts sadly to the 4th of July when I sauté them in butter and sugar for our brats. After that is Walla Walla, then Spanish… I’m not big into red although its good in certain recipes. Sam’s Club does carry a sweet onion through the year which I always make sure to have in my cart.


The best on the planet! Kona coffee! Trader Joe’s carries 100% Kona medium roast coffee beans. Kona coffee was listed as Forbes best bean- totally agree!

Coffee Creamer
I buy 2 bottles of creamer at a time. Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Vanilla and also in the low fat version. Upon unpacking groceries I shake them and pour half out of the regular into a measuring cup, then refill it with the low fat. Then pour the regular thats in the measuring cup into the 1/2 full low fat – now you have successfully mixed them 1/2 & 1/2… why did I come up with this? because I’m always trying to watch my weight but don’t like the low fat that well. It was a flavorful happy medium and as one gets used and the other sits in a separate fridge in waiting.

Simple Syrup
This is in my fridge at all times- its a one to one ratio, so 1 cup sugar to one cup water. In a pan mix and heat up until the sugar dissolves, don’t let this boil. Cool and store in bottle for upwards of 3 weeks. This recipe can also be infused with other flavors.

Whipped cream

It’s no secret I’m addicted to whipped cream. I buy light real cream in a can, lite cool whip in all my recipes, and on special occasions when only fresh home made whipped cream will do- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream, a healthy 1/3 cup powdered sugar & 1 teaspoon good vanilla (try other flavors!) Put all in a tall bowl and whip on high speed until you get stiff peaks- do not over whip!!! Yummmmmmm!

Cream Cheese

I substitute 1/3 less fat cream cheese in all my recipes- so good!

This is it for now- I hope something in here works for you ❤

One thought on “Tips, Tricks & Words of Wisdom…

  1. Thank you! Yes- visit their website, its amazing what all they have and GREAT service! The porcini salt is my fav on grilles strip steak – incredible!

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