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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hasta la Vista Teflon!

This just in: my home cooked meals now come without a side of potentially toxic chemicals!  Hippie win!  When I was engaged I didn't know much a blessed thing about the hippie obsession of avoiding environmental toxins... so of course I registered for a huge set of teflon non-stick pots and pans.

I wasn't a hippie at all until we started talking about having a baby and then Jesse probably watched with horror as his favorite processed foods were replaced with homemade "stuff" and maybe a little curiosity as I started making my own cleaning solutions.  Then it was all cloth diapers and hypnobirthing and who is this crazy woman and what did she do with my wife?  

But replacing pots and pans is a very expensive process.  So it was put on the back burner (hahahaha!) of my priority list for a long time.  But over the past few months I have slowly started to replace the offending chemical coated pots and pans with new stuff.  Here's what I came up with: instead of buying a large "set" of safe pots and pans that usually come with sizes I never use, I looked for how to get the most use out of the fewest number of pots and pans.  This hodge-podge mix works really well if you're a minimalist.  And it saved me money in the long run... because none of the sets really fit my kitchen needs.  (For example, no stainless steel set comes with an enamel coated dutch oven... go figure.)

This is my Lodge Logic 12-inch cast iron skillet  I use it almost every day, sometimes twice.  Now, there is something to be said about the fact that almost all cast iron skillets these days come "pre-seasoned" by the manufacturer... which could possibly mean a bit of chemical processing.  I haven't done much research into that.  I'm just crossing my fingers that it's no longer got that chemical coating since I've been using it regularly for the three years since my Brother got it for me for Christmas.

I use the metal lid that came with my teflon 12-inch.  I cook almost anything you can imagine in this, except I avoid acidic foods like tomato sauces since they can break down the coating of my pan.  I don't usually wash it with soap... just scrape out any food particles and wipe it down with coconut oil before storage.  I do use hot water and scrub it with salt if it was a particularly messy or sticky meal. It's a pretty good non-stick surface now, so I can even scramble eggs at a low temp without too much of a mess.  I love how it sears meat and I love that it can also go into the oven to finish off a steak, etc. I can fry crispy potatoes, grill sandwiches, saute mushrooms, and on and on.  It's a great pan.

Here we have my Cuisinart 12-quart stainless steel stockpot that I got last year before the holidays.  I am in love with the size of this pot... perfect for making a big batch of bone broth/stock (read: I can fit two chickens for 24-hour stock and even my huge Thanksgiving turkeys!) and also great for party-sized batches of chili and soup.

I picked up this little stainless steel guy at Globus just recently.  Though I need extremely large pots and pans for the majority of my cooking, I also need a small pot for reheating leftovers or making sauces.  Since I don't use it every day, I didn't see the need to buy the more expensive Cuisinart pot in the small size... and I didn't need the reviews to prove it was safe stainless steel because Europe has pretty high standards for that kind of stuff.  Plus it said Edelstahl (stainless steel) right on the tag!

I asked Mom and Dad for this Cuisinart stainless steel 5-1/2-quart casserole for Christmas this year.  I wanted a large stainless steel skillet to use for anything I wouldn't want in my cast iron skillet.  I opted for the "casserole" instead of a large skillet because the skillet Cuisinart sells on amazon doesn't come with a lid.  This did.  So it's neat cause it's HUGE and I can also pop it right in the oven.  Great for messy sauces like red curry meatballs (pictured) and I just used it yesterday for bacon.  Now, stainless steel does take a little getting used to because it's not non-stick.  But I haven't found any stuck-on-food too difficult to remove after a warm soapy water soak.

This beauty is my new favorite addition to the kitchen.  It makes me so happy to cook with a bright blue pot!  This is the 6-quart Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven and I loooooooove it!  I would have to take out a mortgage to afford the beautiful Le Creuset brand of this type of pot... but the reviewers on amazon said I wouldn't be able to tell the difference in performance between the two.  So I got this one.  It's large enough to handle a double batch of any of my soups and stews... and popcorn :o)  I use it 2-3 times a week.  I love that it can be a crock pot of sorts cause you can make an all day stew in your oven... but you can brown the meat first right in your pot and get all the ingredients together right there before popping it in the oven.  I've made slow cooked baked beans in this (in the oven) and also a beef brisket that turned out really good.  There is a little bit of staining already after two months of use but that doesn't bother me much.  I'm sure I could scrub a little harder with vinegar and baking soda, but again: I don't care!

So there you have it.  Jessica's newest pots and pans.  I've been getting along quite nicely with just these guys, but I'll keep you posted if I need to upgrade to more sizes or something really cool that I just have to have.

Not pictured: I also regularly use a baking stone (breads, pizzas, cookies) that my brother-in-law and sis-in-law gave me for Christmas one year.  For use with the baking stone I have two Silpat baking mats.  I also have a large cast iron griddle that someone gave me as a wedding present... I pull it out when making really big batches of pancakes and such. There's also a silicone muffin mold from my mother-in-law that gets regular use.

And I think that concludes my "cookware review!"


  1. what a delectable tour of your kitchen tools!


    1. Thanks! You should come visit again and see them in person ;o)

  2. I got the La Creuset dutch oven for Christmas from my mom and step-dad-to-be (in eggplant...I like to cook in reds or purples) and it stained too. Jeremy read the directions (why would I ever consider reading the directions OF A POT?!?) and it said that you're supposed to do a wash prior to use to avoid staining. Not sure if you did that too and it still stained, but thought I'd share.

    1. I think I did, but maybe I didn't. Hmmm... Oh well. Cheers to stained enamel pots!

  3. I've been recently thinking about our teflon cookware recently too. The unfortunate thing is that we got 2 sets for our wedding and one has been sitting untouched for 7 years. My frugal husband would never let me start buying new pots when "We have perfectly brand new ones sitting in our garage." However, if I start asking for things like pots for Christmas and birthdays he usually gives in. :) And, maybe I can work on selling some of the "brand new" ones!

    Also, I bought a cast iron skillet at a yard sale last summer. I used it once to make hash browns and everything completely stuck to it. I've been to nervous to use it again. Do you think there was something I did wrong, or do you think I need to suck it up and buy one that's more than $.50?

    1. NO! Ohmygosh no your pot is probably perfect it just needs to be seasoned! I'll find you the tips for seasoning it yourself and get back to you soon, okay? Don't get rid of that sucker! XOXO

    2. Yay! I'm not a loser after all!! Another cast iron skillet question too...Can I pretty much cook everything I did on my non-stick skillet on it? Or are there certain things I shouldn't cook on it?

    3. I'm sending you a message right now..