What’s in Your Kitchen?

The other morning I put up a photo of my kitchen before dawn; it was very dimly lit and a couple of you asked questions about the pots and pans hanging over my sink.  Perfect timing, because I was planning to tell you about some of my favorite kitchen things; so we can start with this!

Almost every house I’ve ever lived in has had something in common.  Cupboards on both sides of the sink, with a window in between.  Is yours like that?  It can be very handy!

Lots of people hang their pots and pans over a kitchen island, but my houses never seem to come with one!  This turned out to be such a great way of getting all my pots and pans out of my cupboards, where they were stacked all on top of each other, falling out every time I needed one, and clattering all over the floor.  Now my frying pans are within easy reach, and my cabinets are free for pie plates, cake pans,  baking dishes, cooling racks, and cupcake pans.

 If you need some kitchen-cupboard space, and you have this setup with the cabinets on both sides of your sink, you might want to try it.  It’s pretty easy; how you do it depends on your house; I have a high ceiling in my kitchen so I needed to have that little board made to screw the hooks into to get the handles of my pans down low enough so I can reach them (very important to measure for that :-)).  In my last house, the ceiling was lower, so I just screwed a finished-to-match-my-cupboards board to the ceiling and that’s where I put the hooks.

One of the things I love about it, besides the pure handiness, is that when I hang my basket strainers after washing, they drip right into the sink.  Brilliant!

Which brings me to one of my favorite kitchen “gadgets.”  I’ve used these basket strainers in my kitchens forever . . . they’re so useful, I have two.  If I had three sinks, I would have three.  (BTW, Don’t you love the heart-shaped sink stopper?  It cheers me up to look down there and see that!  That’s a chicken in the other sink; they have all kinds.  I got them at my favorite kitchen shop here on the island —  btw, they also sell the most delicious aged balsamic vinegar I’ve ever tasted!  You may trust me, sight unseen, it is pure heaven.  Plus (I keep thinking of other things), the orange olive oil; fingers to lips, muah, delicious!  They do ship (508-693-0030).  Maybe you need a small pre-holiday pick-me-up in the form of a kitchen-care basket?

Anyway, the strainers are so big, they hang comfortably on both sides of the sink, leaving room underneath for a large pot, so I can just hang the basket over it to strain it completely! Perfect when making chicken stock, excellent for pasta!

And just the thing for washing and air-drying fruit and vegetables.  And by the way,

(Just thought I would throw that in! You know it’s true!)  The more into cooking I got, the more I learned I could live without lots of kitchen gadgets . . . I’ve managed to get through life without a bagel slicer or a garlic peeler —  I’m amazed at what I see at yard sales:  battery-powered flour sifters, egg crackers (I mean, really!), pickle pickers, sectioned pie slicers, and even a Hello Kitty toaster!  I guess these must have been gifts!   But there are some kitchen things I just couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to, live without.  They seem so unimportant, but for me, they’ve been true bang for the buck.

This is one of them.  Silly thing. It’s a scraper.  But it’s a scooper too.  Mine is really old, I’ve had it a long time.  Now they make much prettier ones, here’s an $8 one made from slate!

But pretty or not, its usefulness makes it beautiful to me!


Using the scraper and my other hand for scooping, I can transfer large amounts of chopped vegetables and herbs from the cutting board to the soup pot, much more than just with my two hands alone, plus they don’t fall all over the floor. That’s good, right?  But that’s not all.

See my scraper up there near the rolling pin?  When I’m all done rolling out this pie crust, my table has bits of dough stuck to it like cement, and about as hard to get off; I scrape the table with my handy little tool, and it’s all gone in a flash. It does make me very happy.  Yes, it’s the little things in life.

I came out totally against electrocution the first time I heard of it.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen Joe put a fork in the toaster; it always gives me heart failure.  Wooden tongs; I love them.

These new (ish) microplane zesters are unbelievable; if you don’t have one yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Old-style zesting, which, for me, always included bits of stray knuckle, is over if you have one of these.  Just drag this zester across a lemon or lime, and the peel jumps off the fruit in thin strips, gathering in the top of the grater, and leaving the bitter white part far behind, where it belongs.  They come in different sizes, for me it doesn’t matter which size I’ve gotten, I like them all.

What else?  Oh, this:

I’ve tried so many different tea balls, and still have these favorites hanging in my kitchen. They managed to stick around for various reasons.  The duck is good if I’m bringing tea to a guest who’s having a hard time getting out of bed.  I found the Victorian silver one in the back at a flea market in England; it has wonderful dents in it, as if a baby played with it.  And was fun to paint!  But for pure workability for any size teapot, including my really big ones, this stainless steel mesh ball is my favorite.  It has a twist lock on it, so no little breakable parts. It allows loose tea to float so all the flavor comes through; plus, there’s room for the tea to expand.  It also works for herbs and spices as a bouquet garni for flavoring stocks and sauces.

My favorite kitchen shop is also where I got these wonderful deep bowls, all sizes, all great colors, lightweight, perfect for all the holiday baking we’re about to do!  *And those are a few of my favorite kitchen things.*  Now I would love to know what your favorites are; every time we get together to talk, I always learn something new! 

I think I know what Patricia Wehner’s favorite kitchen thing is right now . . . She was the lucky winner of our vintage recipe box — she received it and wrote us to say the cutest things:

Oh My Goodness – I got home from Dallas last night and opened my box and joy and happiness jumped out all over my lap and into my heart!!  I took out every precious paper, every precious little surprise tucked in here and there and every precious recipe.  My childhood jumped out of my heart and into that box and happiness spread everywhere!!!!  I love every bit of it and can’t wait to get home and go through it all over again J  Thank you so much for making my fall!!!  Please tell all the girlfriends I will try to send a picture of it (being held tightly in my hands) so they can see it.  I can’t wait to add to it and put it in my kitchen.  I am getting ready to move, and it will be riding in the car with me, NOT packed in a box on a van! Give your kitty a big hug for me – furry children are the preciousness of our days.
Love, Patricia Wehner

That was so much fun Patricia,

And thank all of you for your wonderful comments and stories, that was so much fun!!! And, now, for your reward, speaking of “furry preciousness,” because I know what you really came here for today; you want your reward for sitting through Kitchen 101, right?  And maybe a little recognition for being the adorable people you are?  Oui?  OK.  Jack.  Need I say more, but why should I when a picture is worth a thousand words:

If you don’t hear from me, you know who you can blame. 🙂  Pure cuteness, sweetness, and kitty kisses in the neck are just irresistible.  Girl Kitty is fine too, sweet as ever, but I think she thinks if she pretends there is no Jack, he will disappear.    Have a wonderful day!!!

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329 Responses to What’s in Your Kitchen?

  1. Rachel says:

    Awwwwwwwwwww he is so cute! I love it when he leaps about the room chasing his toy!
    I’m planning out my Christmas baking here too… I’m thinking lots of English puddings- I saw a recipe for a ginger one, and a sticky toffee one….

  2. Linda Steinhauer says:

    I find such comfort from your postings at this difficult time in my life. I feel the warmth that you share with all of us and long to be in that same place and time. The stories of your quilts and homemade goodies give me the comfort that life can be simple and should be. Thank you for bringing a sense of calmness to my life.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad you’re here Linda…sending love and best wishes.

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Sending Love & Prayers to Linda…Knowing in Our ♥ Hearts that Things will Get Better…Loving Joyful Energy headed Your way…Amen! Remember Linda… The Angels are All Around…xoxo Poof! ♥

    • Betsy says:

      Linda….all of us girls out here will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Susan adds so much to our life with her happy thoughts that we have more to share with you! We are out here thinking of you!

    • Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

      Linda – I’m sending sending strong, healing thoughts your way. Just remember you have lots of kind, loving girlfriends right here to make you smile!!. xoxo

    • Martha Ellen says:

      Sending a big hug to you Linda–take care of yourself!xoxo♥

    • Pat Tingwall says:

      Praying for you, too, Linda. I’m glad you found Susan’s blog and the rest of us! Praying your life finds calmness and a sense of joy again in the midst of what you are going through.

    • Rachel says:

      I am glad Susan can bring you joy during tough times- you are in my thoughts and prayers too….

      • Ann C. says:

        Linda… I hope that whatever is difficult in your life right now will get easier with each day that passes. Please try to take comfort in knowing that those of us in Susan’s “circle” are thinking of you.

    • Can you feel the hugs, love and prayers coming your way Linda? We are here for you, Take care you! From Susan Branch land!

    • Ann Carrico says:

      Linda, I’m also in a difficult place and I know what you mean about getting peace and comfort from Susan. I feel the same way! Love and prayers to you and a huge thanks to you Susan!

    • DonnaRay says:

      Add my warm thoughts, Linda, to your “stash” …..to draw from when times are tough.

  3. Ann Y. says:

    Kitty is SO cute ! Loved seeing your favorite kitchen toys….my favorite OLD thing is my grandmother’s flour sifter….I never met her but I think of her everytime I use it and send a little prayer her way. It’s beat up tin with one of those old green handles….LOVE IT. My newest toy is one of those things I thought I DID NOT NEED….then I saw it on sale and thought “what the heck”….it’s an apple( or pear…) core and slicer. That thing you put over the apple and VOILA ! – 8 perfect fruit slices. How did I live without it ???
    Thanks again for sharing….love the idea of the pot over the sink……sounds like a project coming up at my house ! Enjoy this GLORIOUS Fall day…..

    • DonnaRay says:

      We eat so much more fruit now that we have one also. I smack it down on an apple or pear and leave it on the counter so we can snatch a piece as we go about our busy-ness.

  4. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan! We must be kindred spirits!……I can relate with all of this really well. I love my scraper. I love my strainers, love my wooden toaster fetcher and love my carrot shredder too. I do try to keep the novelty things down now because I have learned in the past that fads do cost precious budget funds that are better saved most times for the piggy bank! So look forward to your blog and thank you so so much for reminding us of what the joy in life really is that we tend to overlook a whole lot more than we should! Have a super week!

  5. Paulie says:

    Oh my gosh…..forgot Jack! How adorable and love those two little prints under his chin which I think are so unusual for markings!

  6. Gerri says:

    Love seeing all the things you have collected…I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten many of the same things from my mom and grandmother. We’re a family of savers! I loved seeing your glass flour canister…I’ve got 5 or 6 of them (all from the 30’s and 40’s) thanks to Mom. And of course Jack what a sweetie…but you didn’t say how Girl Kitty is doing? Hope all is well.
    Thanks for sharing your life…Gerri

  7. Sarah Anne says:

    He’s so precious! I think Bailey needs a little brother (or sister)!

  8. Anne W says:

    Hi Susan, I just wanted to let you know how comforting it was to hear Jack’s sweet kitty purrs…we have two cats now,we lost one this summer, and I sooo miss the very loud kitten purr…i know I will be listening again!

  9. Renee Richter says:

    Love the hanging pots idea. I have an extremely small kitchen and have utilized every square inch of it….I thought. This will be a winter project. I’ll send you a photo when I get it done.
    We are catless now but I too have fond memories of little kitties snuggling on my neck. Thanks for the memories.

  10. I just love your Jack, he is so handsome! I had a Jack once but he was a sick stray and ended up dieing..but he so so full of love. We just bought a 1937 home and I am going to hang my pots and pans over the sink just like this. I just love you! ;D

  11. Marilyn says:

    I’m one of those people who fell in love with your kitchen before dawn picture! I find myself going back and looking at it over and over, each time discovering yet another cute detail.

    I’m starting to pare down to the items that I use the most….or love the most. Your hands-free basket strainers are wonderful. What a smart idea. Oh, and that basket of cranberries…yummy!

    I also have a double sink and was wondering about the mat that hangs between them. Is that a towel or a mat to use when you air dry dishes? It’s a really cute accent.

    My favorite kitchen item : My baker’s rack, particularly the 2 large baskets on the very bottom shelf filled with my baking items. It’s a great way to store cookie sheets, loaf pans, cooling racks, baking pans etc.

    Have a great day!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  12. Judy says:

    I love your pots & pans spot over the sink; your tip the other day about mineral oil on your wooden spoons & boards & Jack is soooo cute …Thanks 🙂

  13. Ohhhh, little Jack! I’m trying to hold back an extreme number of exclamation points, Susan!! 😉 Best part of the video: the purring! Little sweetheart!

    You know, my kitchen is my most cherished room of the house. SO much happens in there. It feeds and sustains my little family and brings us together most every evening. It is quite a room!
    My favorite kitchen tools are my Pampered Chef scraper (same idea as your bench scraper) and…hmmm… gonna have to go with my large melon baller. I use it mostly to scoop up cookie dough and muffin/cupcake batter. It has the little lever that releases whatever yumminess is inside. Handy dandy.

    Not sure what I would do without your blog. Now that I found it, I am hopelessly addicted. As I’ve said before, you are a domestic inspiration – and I need that right now! Much love!

  14. Linda Wattier says:

    Good morning Susan, what a cute cat. It’s amazing how we have so much in common. I have the same little house tea strainer. Getting it out of the drawer, so I can see it. My husband is always sticking a knife or something in the toaster. Scares me half to death! My latest great thing in my kitchen is my pink hand mixer I found at a rummage sale. It is an old westinghouse. Still in the original box. Works great. Paid $5 for it. Have a blessed day!

  15. Jocelyn says:

    How cute is that!! I don’t have any pets, so it’s so fun to see a young kitty playing with so much enthusiasm. Enjoy him 🙂

  16. karen saunders says:

    how cute is he?? i love hanging the pots because in old houses, not so much storage. however….you have to be more than two feet tall. (well i’m a little taller than that but not much.) in the video i have to say i LOOOOVE your rug. is it old? it would be so perfect for my house which is kinda english country. those are hard to find. fess up girl!! (also is it an area rug or ww?)

    • sbranch says:

      Is it the one in the Peter Rabbit room? Pink with flowers? That one is an area rug; it’s a big one that takes up almost the whole floor — yes it’s old. Luckily the pan handles are long, that’s what makes the pots and pans reachable!

      • karen saunders says:

        yes, it is the peter rabbit rug. it’s beautiful….great treasure. i bet it’s wool…which will last forever. it reminds me of a linoleum (sp)floor i had in college that had big cabbage roses. i had a red fox named Aesoph and he would jump straight up in the air and come down exactly in the same spot on top of the cabbage rose. i don’t know what he thought it was but it greatly amused me. ….my responses to things are a little strange aren’t they….
        once i was a lookout (in Oregon, where i was born) and my first day i had a fire in my garbage can….right in my lookout. I didn’t know how to cook so i brought all these frozen dinners and i had a freezer that couldn’t hold anything. i had to eat all my dinners in three days and lived on canned soup till my relief showed up. i got really hungry.

  17. Martha Ellen says:

    Oh Susan I love your playtime with Jack! Loved hearing his motor running! Such a sweet sound..
    I too love all the same gagets you do—love the bench scraper–the microplane and instead of tea strainers I use a “tea sock”–I was introduced to these by a European friend. You can find them in some tea shops–I love them as it allows all the yummy goodness of the tea leaves to steep into your pot and no leaves escape.
    Have a great day and enjoy that sweet little Jack. xoxo♥

  18. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Awww, Mr. Mouse-tache is darling! Great Tools 101 – my favorite tool is a giant, wide, butcher knife with a wooden handle that was a Grandma’s! Anything needs slicing, dicing, chopping, out it comes! Patricia’s comments were wonderful! So happy she won! And love the new blog, now I can go get started doing stuff, already had my walk in this beautiful, cold, sunny CA weather. BTW even seeing some COLOR on some trees! Happy Wednesday to all!

  19. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Congratulations on your new furry baby!!! The video made me laugh so loud…he is soooooooooooooo cute!!! I have a positive feeling the two siblings will get along fine. I also love your collection of various tea balls, so special! I’ve never used one, so now I will keep my eyes on the look out for a first. Susan, I was at the library last Saturday and picked up your Autumn book. I raced home, made a cup of tea, and was lost in the pages for quite awhile. I was ohhhhhing and ahhhhhing over all of your great ideas! I will try to decide on a few to use for my upcoming Advent Tea……my sister-in-laws need some new spoiling. You are truly a special person!!!! Good luck new mommy, with Jack! He is so lucky to have you and your hubby!

  20. KarenW says:

    Well I certainly understand if you get alittle behind on things. With all that precious Kitty fun. You go to play for a bit and the next thing you know an hour has gone by and your sides hurt from laughing at this bit of kitty fur. He is just precious. Look forward to his pictures with GK. Give him a PURRRfrom me!

  21. Debbie Johnson says:

    Hi Susan!
    Loved seeing your kitchen treasures. One of mine is a GIANT silver metal bowl. It comes in handy when cooling off & stirring a big batch of caramel corn and mixing double batches of recipes. But I agree to keeping things as simple as possible in the kitchen. Love how you hang your pots.
    And LOVE your sweet Jack!
    Happy Day,

  22. Barbara (WA) says:

    Of course I beat a path to your blog for an update on Jack!! Loved hearing his purrs – I have to have a good purring kitty and my Lily is such a one. My current favorite kitchen tool is a food mill. We’ve had a bumper crop of apples so I’m making applesauce and apple butter. It’s nice to not have to peel and core the fruit first, just cook down and put through the mill.

  23. Audrianne in Holland Michigan along the shores of Lake Macatawa says:

    Some of my favorite things are ancient. I inherited them from my grandmother and mother, rest their souls. My wooden spoons have more stories than just mixing. They have kept little ones from getting in cupboards, retrieved small bouncy balls from inbetween the stove and counter, soothed a teething puppy – that’s a story! I have a variety of measuring cups, spoons, even pharmaceutical measuring gadgets that are just cool to admire.

  24. Lori C. says:

    Oh Susan! I am so glad you have the Favorite Kitchen Shop – we have a shop here called Olive U in my little hometown, and I love their Tuscan Herb and Meyer Lemon Olive Oils! And I love their Espresso Balsamic – this is the secret ingredient in to-die-for-chili!!! I caramelize my onions and garlic in the Espresso before adding all the other ingredients. They have a Honey Ginger balsamic that is fantastic in Ginger Bread cake! (Woo-hoo!) And I just made a rustic pear tart with their Cinnamon Pear Balsamic (and almond paste). You are right – they are totally addicting and you find yourself redoing all of your favorite recipes.

  25. jeannine leonard says:

    He is so cute, you just want to go through the computer screen and play with him, and also pet him.
    Thanks for the kitchen idea, I am going to show this to the hubby to give him a project to do. It will liven up the space around the window, for a not so emty feeling. Just like all the baskets hanging on the barn boards on the ceiling.

    By the way my girlfriend and I was checking out the local thrift store and she had in her hand your red christmas book, I tell you not, that I begged her in the middle of the store, please please let me have this, As a best friend she did, now I must bake her lots of cookies for christmas, which I gladly will.

  26. susan desimone says:

    well of course just loved seeing how you displayed your pans and such… I have that awful problem as well…pans falling all over the place….sigh….
    BUT my favorite was seeing your new baby Jack video…om my gosh I could hear him purring… aren’t kittens just wonderful..I do believe he is going to be a very big boy though!!!! <3

  27. Patricia says:

    Hello Susan! Jack is utterly adorable, and the best part about seeing him on video is that I don’t start sneezing from cat allergies! Yay!

    And to Lovely Linda: I am sending you some glorous Philadelphia sunshine that is pouring over me right now; I hope the lovely rays of sun envelop you in light and brings a bit of happiness to your day. Whatever it is that is causing you sadness, will soon pass, and much brighter days lie ahead. Remember, God does not send us anything that he knows we cannot handle. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  28. Juliana says:

    Oh my gosh, is there anything more fun than a new kitten? So much energy and curiosity, and I love that you can hear him purring so loudly! I agree with you, the older I get, the less kitchen ‘gadgets’ I realize are necessary. I have a wonderful big, heavy chef’s knife my dad gave me and it does the work of so many other things. I, also, have a variety of sizes of strainers, which I love, because not only do I use them to pour into, the smaller ones I use to scoop out pastas, such as tortellini or ravioli, rather then dumping them onto each other. This is the time of year, when so many new kitchen products come out – so many are unnecessary. Better to put that money into organic, healthier foods, I think!

  29. Jacquelyn W. says:

    Your warm inviting kitchen was just what I needed this morning. I’m planning Thanksgiving dinner for “friends” we haven’t met yet…parents of a friend of our son. I’m sure I’ll think of something but having trouble getting started.
    My favorite item in my kitchen is my French rolling pin…no unitaskers for me (I don’t have the space). I use that rolling pin for pounding chicken breasts, rolling out dough and breaking up hard brown sugar. Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for the peek into your kitchen!

    • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

      Put a slice of bread on top of your brown sugar in an air tight container like Tupperware. Your brown sugar will stay soft for months! Everytime you open the container, add a new slice of bread. My mother taught me to do this way back in the 60’s and it really does work!

  30. Pam says:

    I enjoyed seeing your kitchen goodies Susan, I really must get one of those scrapers. I loved the heart and chicken sink stoppers too. I think my favourite kitchen possession is a bone handled butter knife which belonged to my parents. Don’t ask me why, it just looks and feels really nice.

  31. Pam Korte says:

    Dear Susan:

    What a little cutie pie Jack is. What a wonderful thing you did to adopt him from a shelter. I have a five year old Tuxedo boy that i adopted. They are the best and cutest cats. Congratulations!!!!!!!

  32. That Jack is seriously cute.

    Oh, I can’t live without my cast iron pans. I found my first one, a small one, in an abandoned cottage which was about to be bulldozed. My second one is a large Le Creuset pan which I got at a flea market for $10! I love it almost as much as my kids. It browns veggies and meat like nothing else and grilled cheese…to die for.

    I have a collection of old flour sifters, all of which I use. And some old wooden maple sugar molds, made here in Quebec, and old icing spreaders and mashers. I love vintage kitchen ware, the soft patina and worn handles. I think about the people who used the pieces before me, and what kind of family they had. I feel connected.

  33. Patty says:

    When I woke up this am I discovered a puddle by the bathroom door and wetness going down the hall baseboard and carpet edge! Well, after moving everything out of the walk in closet..( oh my!).. the dear husband started taking the wallboard off to find the leak! What damage a pinhole in the copper pipe can do! Called work, now to wait for the plumber to replace all the pipes in there . We have been meaning to go through all the clothing, and other things stored in that closet.. Guess what my day will be like! As I am having my coffee I decided I could lighten up the morning with a bit of Susan. THANK YOU! It was Just the right thing ! Jack is delightful! Your kitchen 101 was a good read ! We have our pans hanging next to the stove and love it! No pans falling out onto the floor.
    SO, with a smile on my face, thanks to you, I go off to to organize.

    • sbranch says:

      Good Luck!

    • Pat Tingwall says:

      Hi Patty,

      I hope your repair goes smoothly. I could really relate to you wanting a bit of Susan to lighten up your day! I feel the same way and always enjoy seeing what new things Susan has to share with all of us out here, too!

  34. Country Gal says:

    Jack is such a cutie I enjoyed the video of him playing.
    I have a window above my sink but I am lucky I have lots of cupboards a large L shaped counter and cupboards and a little island with a cupboard and a corner cupboard lazy susan ! I did a post ages ago with photos of my kitchen maybe I will do one again !
    It was the size of this farm house kitchen that caught my eye with the wood stove in it as well. I do like your kitchen though. My fav kitchen things are my whistle kettle I just love it , my slow cooker and I have all my mums mixing bowls and baking pans that she used when she made home made goodies my favorite mixing bowl is of hers is The Mason Cash traditional English ceramic mixing bowl . Over the years I have collected so many wonderful kitchen things and I use them all . A wonderful post and photos. Have a great day !

  35. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    I am so loving the pots and pans hanging over the window. I have that very window but it’s over counter not the sink. I am going to check out if I can do that since Lavender Cottage is quite small and freeing up another cupboard would be terrific. Am loving Jack and don’t know if I’ll be able to hold out until April (my birthday!). I need to take my girls to the Vet for their checkups and then nothing will stand in the way!! Perhaps a furry baby will find a way to my home in the grey months of Jan-March!! Have a great Wednesday, Girls!!

  36. Kate says:

    Love your kitchen pots! My old house has a 11ft ceiling and no cupboards to put a board on, so I got a new shiny metal shelf unit, put it on the counter next to the stove and have all my pots, big mixing bowls and casserole dishes on and hanging from it. Still need the step stool to reach the top shelf but since I only have 1, yea count it ONE small drawer for kitchen stuff something outside the box had to be thought of.
    I have the wood tweesers too, got mine from the New Hampshire League of Craftsman back in the 60’s. Smartest thing.
    My favorite item is my vintage enamaled casserole pot with a lid. Was my moms and have fond memories of dinners from it as a child. Now use it to bake brown rice. One of those “what a concept” when a aunt showed me how to do the rice in the oven instead of the stovetop, no more boil overs, stuck to the bottom of the pot messes, just perfect rice every time. 1:2.5 water or chicken broth, 350 for a hour or more. Best thing, spray the pot with Pam and clean up is quick and even if you over bake it it still comes out perfect. Ill never make rice on a burner again.
    And Jack is darling, reminds me of my kids who at 14 would not move off the chair for that toy. But they still will for a Cat Dancer, best cat toy ever. Basicly cardboard bits on a piano wire but to them it looks like a bug as they cant see the wire. Hours of fun. Hunter will get one end in his mouth and then chase the other end. Kind of like a dog chasing his tail. Its a riot. They have a website if your local petsmart type place doenst have them.
    Thanks for sharing your new baby! Makes me want a new batch too.

  37. Deborah says:

    Love your kitchen gadget tour! I agree with the zester, that is the key to perfect key lime pie! Another fav of mine is a cake frosting knife, it was my mom’s and images of many children’s bd cakes appear when I go to use it…I also have a big scraper like you show, one in metal and one in plastic, they are great for many things, but cleaning up the counter after kneading bread dough is at the top of the list. I have been using recently an old pot lid, fits medium sized pots, that must be at least 50 years old. It is aluminium, has a small wooden knob to lift, and for a steam vent there is a little door on a hinge. When lifted, there is a stem vent of a triangular shape with about 10 holes! So quaint, i just have to use it. Thank you for the video of Jack..so cute!

  38. Andrea says:

    Oh my goodness… he was purring the entire time. How adorable. Thanks for posting kitchen 101 and you are right about the microplane graters. I can’t live without mine. Hope you are having a great week. Shine on girlfriends…. : )

  39. Marianne says:

    Love what you send our way! Just returned from Portland to see my son and couldn’t wait to get online and catch up reading your blog! My favorite kitchen gadgets (?) are my wooden spoons. Whenever I get one that’s “plain” I get my wood burnisher out and decorate the spoon! Kids get a kick out of them. When I leave this world, I can imagine what people will think when they find these crazy spoons! I get a kick out of it…. thanks Susan for the joy you give to us! Love Jack!!

  40. Lael Michele says:

    Oh Susan! I must go out right away and get a scraper! Can’t believe I’ve been without it this long already! 🙂 My favorite things in my kitchen are the sterling silver serving spoons handed down to me. They were my grandmother’s, who handed them down to my mother, who handed them down to me! They are so beautiful, and make even the simplest dish a little more sparkly. Nothin’ like a wonderful family heirloom that you can still make great use of! Enjoy that little Jack O’ Lantern!

  41. Mary says:

    Hi Susan, thank you for sharing your favorite kitchen gagets! I was looking for a stainless tea ball so this is perfect! I’m still having trouble finding a strainer. Maybe I’m not looking in the right area of the online kitchen store you mentioned. I’d love to get one with a wooden handle like they used to make them! I bought one not too long ago but it has a thin metal handle and isn’t made as well as my old one that has torn. My favorite kitchen gaget is my Mom’s glass citrus juicer (from the 40’s or 50’s)…it has a few chips in it so I can’t use it, but I still love it! Mom used it to make wonderful lemon meringue pies!

  42. Kathy Phenix says:

    Jack is certainly enjoying his new life. Precious, and so beautifully marked. Enjoy him, you found a “winner”!! My favorite kitchen utensil is a big heavy fork. My grandmother had one and it was always used to mix the frosting to go on the “Merry Company” cake which was a family stable for birthdays etc. I couldn’t get the original fork, (snatched by another family member) but I was able to find an exact replica. Lucky me!
    The Merry Company cake is an orange/almond flavored pound cake with a simple frosting in the same flavors. I’ll send on the recipe if anyone would like it.

  43. Sara says:

    I love the idea of hanging them between the cupboards, I would have never thought of that. What a fabulous idea! We are in the process of trying to move, but in the new house, I am going to have to give that a whirl!

    Thank you also, for sharing some sources with us!

    Last night I made the Pumpkin Cheesecake out of your Autumn cookbook. Oh my how heavenly!!! I immediately cut it in half this morning and brought half in to share with coworkers. One to be nice and two, so I don’t gain a million pounds eating the majority of it!! LOL Everyone has just raved over it! Thank you 🙂

    Hmmmm…. my favorite kitchen gadgets…. Well I must say I am loving my banana holder 🙂 Then I would say my watermelon paper towel holder that my grandfather made when he was still alive. Then my wooden cutting board and spoons, my mixing bowls and old pyrex, my tea cups and silver tray, and my garlic press. Oh and I can not forget my cookie cutters!!! Oh!! Oh!!! And my Southern Living cookie sheet that NOTHING sticks to! I also really love my pizza stone which we cook way more than pizza on! LOL! And last but not least, my french coffee press, which I use to make herbal tea from my garden 🙂

    Ok I think that is it!

    P.S. Big hugs to Linda

  44. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good afternoon Susan~
    Your post today is purrfect! Pun intended!
    The weather here is rainy and dreary…. A good day to spend in my kitchen. So many good memories in here! (Our house was built by husband’s family 103 years ago.) The kitchen is rather small and like yours Susan, has a window with cupboards on either side. My window is lined with vintage items: pastry cutters, tin cookie cutters (stars & cows) and all kinds of graters hung on the inside panels that face the sink. As for my favorite kitchen item I don’t have just one. When my grandma passed I got her recipe box, cookbooks (3 very old Watkins ones) and all her precious kitchen utensils. So I guess they are all my favorites. Every time I use them it’s like my grandma is here with me.
    I am addicted to buying ANY old kitchen item at an estate sale…even if I am not sure of it’s use! I always wonder if they held special memories for the person they once belonged to like mine do from my grandma.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      Oh my gosh I forgot my cookie jar!
      It was a wedding gift to my parents. It is a McCoy brown cow with a little kitty sitting on it’s back. I do treasure it even more now that my parents are both gone. Mom gave it to me years ago. She didn’t bake much once my dad developed diabetes.
      Me bad…………

  45. Debbie N. says:

    I think my favorite kitchen gadget is my canning funnel. I haven’t canned in years but I use the funnel all the time. From putting surgar into the surgar jar and leftover spagetti sauce into the storage container it can’t be beat.
    I love your Jack’s little moustashe. It is so adorable.

  46. Christie Ray says:

    Well, dearest Susan, you are my queen of inspiration…must send you tiara to make official…but this whole recipe box thing is just now way out of control;) my husband found me an old dove-tailed oak recipe box, very large, and I have been filling it with all sorts of things, along with old family recipes. A lavender sachet accompanies the recipe for lavender cookies with rosewater icing, a pretty card with a delicious watercolored cake sits right behind the desserts divider…and today, I added my 4 year old grandson’s recipe for “tummy grumble soup” not to be confused with “feel better soup” he explained very seriously…it’s for when your tummy is grumbling! Well, of course it is…and here are his “gredients”…2 bananas, 4 doodleberries ( I have no idea where you acquire these) 5 blueberries, 5 bacon powder, flour, acorns, and peanuts…are you writing this down? I was biting my lip trying not to giggle and squeeze him up as he was reciting his recipe… I think it’s the best one in the box, and thought you’d agree:)
    That rascal Jack is the cutest thing!!!
    Loved seeing your kitchen…loved seeing that it is a real kitchen, full of love and goodness…not perfect and pretend..it’s lived in!!
    Hugs and blessings sweet inspiration,

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I know what you mean, I call them “scrapbook in a box!” 🙂 What a good recipe from your grandson!

      • Christie Ray says:

        I am also loving my new notebook/ scrapbook recipe binder with all the fun stuff in it! I just need to add photos;) and …btw…I printed off the apple stationery and made the applecranberry crisp yesterday afternoon…and yup, it was gone by this morning!! De..lish…ous!!!

        • sbranch says:

          xoxo !

          • Cathy in Golden, CO says:

            Oh my gosh! What a cute story. That recipe is a keeper! I love 4 year olds! I’m heading off to Oakland tomorrow to squeeze up my little ones too! My husband enjoyed that recipe too. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Pat Tingwall says:

    Hi Susan!
    I just love the way you took us on the tour of your kitchen, pointing out ideas for our pots and pans, strainers, and tea holders! It always feels like a cozy, fun visit when I log in. And you know us so well, too :), because all the while I WAS wondering about Jack!!!! And to see you had a video, not just a picture, brought an immediate smile to my face!!! He is absolutely adorable and looks like a little macho-man! We have a 15 year old black cat named Onyx. We lost her brother, Simon, when he was 2 and a half. Such a sad time for us then…seeing your little Jack reminds me of him…he was also a tuxedo cat, with a real calm, macho-attitude…such a loving sweetheart. You could do anything to that boy and he would just purr and purr! He was also twice the size of his little sister! Enjoy the rest of your day…and yes, here in California this year we have been given some glimpses of a real fall…treasure those days…bringing home fall colored leaves from my walks and hanging them in my kitchen window!

  48. jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your window pot hanger! 🙂 I plan on doing that with mine. Just have to figure out the best way. I SO need to have more space in my cabinets!!! I can hardly wait.
    Love darling Jack too.

  49. Kristina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting the pics of your pots! It was very exciting to open my e-mail and see a whole blog in answer to MY request! (I know…others had the same request, but still…) I love it! I’m going home from work today to figure out exactly how I’m going to hang my pots and pans between the cupboards in front of the kitchen window! Yay me!

    LOVE little black and white Jack, too… Makes me want another kitty! Enjoy!

  50. BJ says:

    Your kitchen valance looks great! It’s a perfect spot for the pots and strainers, etc. I have two scrapers. One is very similar to yours but has little ledges on both sides near the handle. It came from my mother-in-law. My other is all metal with a rolled metal handle. I love them and use them for the same purposes you do. I got rid of my sifter several years ago and use my mesh strainers when I need to sift my flour. Works great and one less thing to find a place to store in the kitchen.
    Today I have a stew cooking in the crockpot and a Chocolate Harvest Cake in the oven… it has Fall spices in it (black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg).

  51. Toby says:

    Thanks for the tour of your kitchen and all your tips :). I love your kitchen and I love your speckled mixing bowls. I checked out the link to your favorite kitchen store, but could not find them. Would you be able to give me some more info on the bowls so I could search for them? Thank you for sharing all that you do!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Maybe if you called that number? I really don’t know who makes them, so sorry — no name on the bottom!

    • Libby Pasztor says:

      Toby, if you go to http://www.cooking.com and do a search for mixing bowls, you’ll see they have a set of four speckled mixing bowls for $34.95, by Zak! Designs, confetti pattern. Not as much fun as visiting a local kitchen store, but this is my favorite resource for anything for my kitchen (and I love being able to shop in my jammies 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Our Kroger grocery store have some wonderful confetti bowls like that. Love them!

  52. Tamar Weaver says:

    Fav kit gadget is a REALLY SMALL wooden spoon that a neighbor gave me a long time ago. She got it from a Pampered Cheif party and didn’t want it (crazy.) It’s about 6″ long and really sturdy. I love SMALL kitchen stuff like spatulas and stirring spoons.

  53. Theresa says:

    Your blog always gives me food for thought… I must say my favorite kitchen gadgets are my antique cookies cutters. I have been collecting them for about 15 years and have a large basket full of them. I love to use my cookie stamps at Christmas, so much prettier than just a glass to flatten a cookie. The other thing I love is my box grater. I have a food processor but the box grater is my tool of choice. Can’t wait to get started baking sugar cookies to decorate with my Great-grandson and grand children.

  54. Pam K says:

    Susan, thank you so much for the video of Jack. I miss purring and his warmed my heart. Play on sweet Jack! Oh, and pass along a snoodle to Girl Kitty from me please. PK

  55. Sarah says:

    My favorite kitchen item is my KitchenAid mixer. I’ve had it forever, Old Faithful. I’m not one of those people who gets testy when someone gives me a “domestic” gift. I love them, and this was one of my favorites! That mixer allows me to keep working hands free while I get the next ingredient ready. It’s been a sturdy workhorse on the counter of three houses now, and I expect to have it for a very long time.

    Cute cat, by the way. That little purr is awesome. 🙂 They do have that going on over dogs. Dogs can’t make those kind of noises. Just tail wagging is all you get when they are happy. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I like the ones who smile!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Schnauzers do what is called “schnauzer talk”–not a bark, not a whine, but a stream of weird weird mouth noises. They do this to get attention or when they are excited. Our Betti keeps up a constant stream of “talk” while I reach for the leashes off the hook when we are going for a walkie. She gets wrinkles on her forehead like she is concentrating. I tell her I’m sorry, I don’t understand dog talk. I think she wonders how smart I am (not?) sometimes? 🙂 She was almost 2 years old when we got her and when we got her papers, we found she was registered as “Still Talkin” so obviously she has done this since she was little…Our other schnauzer, Fanny, talks also but not quite as much…:-)

  56. Kim says:

    Happy Wednesday Susan and the girlfriends! Just this past weekend I spent hours going through my kitchen drawers and cupboards to get rid of all of those gadgets that I thought I needed at one time. Gone are the egg separator, multiple cheese spreaders, the box grater, angel food pan, brand new in box (although I bought it over 12 years ago) “gun” to make cookies and fancy mashed potatoes… not really sure what it is … bought it at one of those home parties where the pressure was on to buy something … now I’m sure I don’t need it, but most likely somebody shopping at the Goodwill will :).
    In place of all of these gadgets I now have SPACE … heavenly stress reducing space in my drawers and cupboards. No more cramming to close and tugging to open. I might add I also have my Cutco chef’s knife, my microplane grater and a nice big cutting board.
    I enjoyed your video of Jack. He is a cutie pie and his little french moustache is so handsome.

  57. Pamela Rossi says:

    I’m just so happy I found all of you and can visit each time Susan posts something new on her blog. Blessings to Linda and all of you. Thank you for how you enrich my day. PS I have my grandmother’s ravioli cutter. She would roll out paper thin sheets of dough on this big board and use the cutter/roller to make the ravioli shapes. It’s amazing how she did this without any electric equipment. Almost a lost art.

  58. Ann says:

    I have that cabinet/window setup but don’t know if I have the nerve to hang my old pots up for all to see! Yours have just the right patina. I often use my mother’s scraper–it is a versatile tool. Instead of going to the jewelry store for my birthday and Christmas presents I have begun requesting my husband visit William Sonoma. He has as good taste in kitchen stuff as he does in jewelry. Lucky me! (And Jack is a real cutie.)

  59. Lori says:

    Jack is just purr-fect! As for kitchen tools, I have a favorite knife that I use for everything and it just keeps cutting. Not expensive or fancy, it just fits my hand.

  60. Barb Kucera says:

    Hi Susan…my favorite kitchen items are my spaetzle maker, my Dad’s old cookie press and cutters and (not old but still precious) my favorite popcorn bowl, made with love by my little nephew in the local pottery shop. It’s hand painted and has my name and his little boy hand print’s on it. Too adorable!!
    Jack is super cute and very frisky looking. Hold onto your Christmas ornaments 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We’re thinking our tree might have to be very “natural” this year, like direct from the forest, plain like the forest! This cat is a leaper!

  61. Penny Kweder says:

    Jack and the Beanstalk! and a mustache to boot! What a hoot!

  62. Linda H says:

    Susan, thanks for the look inside your kitchen! I, too, love the “toast grabber” and have to remind my husband to use it instead of silverware in the toaster! I also love those little “nesting” bowls–in clear or white, to use when you have to chop small amounts of ingredients to be used in a recipe. I have a double decker wire basket for storing fruit on the counter, and a larger one for the floor to use for storing potatoes, squash, and onions.

  63. Dale Worness says:

    I never would’ve thought to hang pots and pans that way. Some of my pots are sooooo old and well-used that they probably came over on the Mayflower! And I don’t mean the moving company. My electric hand mixer is avacado green if that tells you anything! Still works great though. I did buy a zester last week and ended up zesting my poor thumb that already had a blister on it. Maybe you should have a “Zesting 101” video? I just need to be more careful, I guess.

    Jack A/K/A Jacques needs a little French beret. Do they make them in kitty sizes? Now that would make a cute picture! Maybe someday you could get him a Jill, so they could they could go up the hill and fetch a pail of water! I guess I’ve spent too much time in the catnip! Enjoy your furry bundle of joy!

    Hugs to you, Linda, the kitties and everyone else out there!

  64. Jane Alexander says:

    Oh Gosh, Jack is just so cute!
    I have WONDERFUL kitchen things from my mom’s, grandmom’s, etc.. I LOVE different sizes of iron skillets. I have a large stainless steal mixing bowl that I saw my mama make candy in, and everything else. I now use it when I make candy. I have the water ladel used by my grandparents outside well, to hold the best cold water anyone has ever had. I have an iron pan to cook cornbread that looks like ears of corn. A grill that my daddy cooked breakfast on. And a perfect pot for cooking soup that belonged to the mother of my best friend. Add to that some wonderful wooden spoons my daughter bought for me in Istanbul Turkey.

    Love you!
    Jane Alexander

  65. Deb says:

    Hi Susan and Mr. Jack!
    Ah……just want to hug that kitty, so CUTE! How could your heart not get swept away….he is a charmer! Jack has found his loving forever home….he is one lucky cat……just think of the adventures to come……Tales of Jack…just Fun….Fun…..FUN!
    My favorite gadget is my Grandmas wooden rolling pin, it is about 115 years old now….and it is dented and shines with the love of many years of pie crusts and cookies being rolled out…..it is a treasure. Sometimes, I even put walnuts I want to crush in a ziploc bag, and use the rolling pin to chop them….just because using that old wooden rolling pin…..reminds me that good things, are made to last…..great memories and kitchen utensils….Ha!

    I look forward to your Blog……it is like a gift to all us girlfriends….a connection…..and that is so special!

  66. Jody Thomas says:

    Susan, oh Susan, I really love the gadgets and pans you have; nothing like the old ones. I have a lot of my mother’s; the one thing I guess I love to use the most is a particular large HEAVY pot. it used to be used as a pressure cooker, but the lid is long gone. I make my iced tea in it. The water, of course, is boiled in it and then in go 11 tea bags (Lipton, naturally!). Then into the big orange plastic container (also Mom’s), with a bit of sugar and lemon. It’s the best! OMG, Jack is the cutest ever! I forgot how cute a kitten plays! Much love and thanks! Jody

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Jody! I forgot how fun they were too! Getting reminded!

      • DonnaRay says:

        Oh,I have my Grandma’s “used to be pressure cooker, lid missing” too….it’s my favorite pot! I’m an iced tea freak, too,but I use Luzanne….try it….good Southern tea!

        • sbranch says:

          I make all my iced tea in jars I set out in the sun! Which is why I don’t have too much ice tea in the winter! 🙂

  67. such fun to see and hear (a treat) the sweet, dear kitten Jack!
    I love my kitchen, it is the heart of my cottage and contains an eclectic collection of kitchenailia from my foreign travels. Three things I gravitate to on the rare chance I get to go on holiday: museums, galleries, and Cook Shops!!! I also like to visit local supermarkets and food shops for there you will find all the local delicacies and ‘secret ingredients’ of the local home makers, bakers, and cooks! I have a collection of handthrown pottery dishes and mugs from Ferndale in CA, Virginia Beach, and from Ocracoke Island as well as from Iceland and Grand Canaria, and of course a lot of Welsh pottery. All gets used regularly in a bespoke oak kitchen built by my late father.

  68. Veronica says:

    How cute! Lovely Jack!

  69. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Jack is just adorable, you both are so lucky to have found each other
    Linda, I will be keeping you in my prayers
    Loved all the kitchen gadget pictures. My most favorite thing in my kitchen is my Kitchen Aid Mixer, I have had it for years and years and use it several times a week. I just love it. I also have a special little knife I love to use more than the others. My new favorite kitchen item is something I just purchased recently. Its a white vintage egg holder. It holds 12 eggs and I love the way it looks in my frig with the eggs sitting in it. Much better than the egg carton.
    Happy day Susan


    • sbranch says:

      Love that you like to make the inside of your fridge cute too!

      • Debbie Gage says:

        …speaking of… My Mom always kept those plastic lace rectangular doilies/placemats on the refrigerator shelves. 2 to a shelf. I never particularly liked plastic lace but these looked so adorable! I told my Mom I wanted some for my fridge, too. Sadly, I now have hers, but they are a wonderful reminder. Every time that little refrigerator light comes on I can see her busy in the kitchen, just like always! She was so cute!

  70. Kimi says:

    Hi Susan
    I think its great to hang pots and anything that’s helps one out in the kitchen. Looks like most of your things have been around awhile lovely aren’t they? Old wood soft to the touch from many years of good food and don’t forget the memories…I love the look here in your kitchen. I hope things will get better with the kitties it takes time, maybe girl kitty after pretending Jack not around will come around soon just look at him what’s not to love here MEOW!

  71. Heartsdesire says:

    Enjoyed the cute video of Jack. I think he’s getting bigger. Your hanging pots over your sink look so wonderful. Really adds to the charm of a vintage kitchen. My favourite kitchen item is my made-in-England Gripstand mixing bowl that belonged to my husband’s mother. It’s big and heavy and doesn’t move around the counter when you’re mixing pie crust or cookie dough. It’s especially handy for mixing all the ingredients for Christmas fruitcake. I also love my wire whisks. I have them in a few sizes and probably use one of them every day. Hope you are enjoying a sunny day, it just makes everything seem possible when the sun is shining.

  72. Cindy Garner says:

    Oh, how I would love a pot rack….oh, or even a window over my sink….I think that would be delightful, but to have both….♥
    I think I have only ever had 1 kitchen, many many many moons ago that had a window over the sink…..

    p.s….it looks like Jack Boy has made himself comfortable in his new room…. :0)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, he is very much at home — I’ve had to remove the quilts, the feather tree, the bedspread and the lamp which was knocked over, but didn’t break, twice, before we actually saw the handwriting on the wall. And I still love him madly!

  73. Jeanne Hedin says:

    Such a sweet video of little Jack with his motor running full speed. 🙂 My favorite kitchen items are my cast iron skillet which belonged to my grandmother, my mother and now me. It adds an extra touch of love to everything cooked or baked in it and always brings me back to my southern roots. I also love the brown teapot that belonged to my mother and the smaller matching brown teapot she gave to me before I left for college. I have many lovely teapots, but tea always tastes the best when served from one of these.

    Warm thoughts going out to Linda . . .

  74. Carol H says:

    Aww–he is adorable!!! Just love him!! Thanks for the video!! More to come I hope!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to try not to put his picture in my wallet to show all the people at the supermarket! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Oh, I’m laughing…like the photos I have of our schnauzers in my wallet! Someone asked me why I didn’t start a blog–and my answer was, “Just how many pictures of Fanny and Betti would people want to see?” LOL 🙂

  75. Pat Mofjeld says:

    What a fun video–it is so much fun to get a kitten or puppy when they are that young and are full of fun and innocence…I know how fast time flies when you are playing with them. I remember Norm asking me what I’d done all day when we first got our very first schnauzer, who was 7 weeks old when we got her. All I had done all day was sit on the floor and watch her–watched her playing, watched her sleeping. Time flew by! One kitchen gadget that I absolutely LOVE this time of year is the apple peeler/slicer. I make and freeze lots of apple crisps and I couldn’t do it by myself without that gadget as it speeds up the process so much…Our kitchen in the townhouse has cupboards on either side of the sink with a wall over the sink but we still hung the pans across over the sink. Doing this gave me more cupboard space and I think keeps the pans in better shape than stacking them on a shelf…Our kitchen is small in the townhouse. Norm also made a shelf on either side of the sink underneath the cabinets and just over the backsplash of formica. These shelves are deep enough for holding mixing bowls and those jars that one puts flour, sugar, dried split peas, rice, etc., so are both decorative and functional!

  76. B. Hammond says:

    Thanks for Kitchen 101! I have three photos hanging in my kitchen. The top photo is of my son (now 39 years old) sitting on my Grandmother’s kitchen cabinet. He would help her cook. In the photo, he is holding an egg and sitting next to the big yellow Fire King bowl. (These are my favorite kitchen items! I have the red, green, and blue nesting bowls too!) The second photo is of my oldest Grandson sitting on my kitchen cabinet holding an egg helping me cook and sitting next to the big yellow bowl. The third photo is of my youngest Grandson–you guessed it–on the cabinet next to the bowl! Ahhh! What goodness has come from that bowl down through the years! Now everytime I use the bowl (often) I think of my Grandmother, Mother, Son, and Grandsons! Happy goodness and memories to you! Thanks for your blog, I love it! 🙂

  77. Susan Edwards says:

    Thank you for sharing the kitchen tour … it has given me several good ideas for the future of my kitchen. I also enjoyed updates on Jack and the video was too precious. Your daily blogs are a special part of my day … thank you 🙂

  78. B. Hammond says:

    Oops! I should have mentioned that my son and grandsons were about 18 months old when each of the photos were taken!

  79. Laura B Jenkins says:

    hahaha! As I was reading about your fave kitchen must-haves, I was telling myself “wait for it……. wait for it” and resisted the temptation to jump to the Jack update! Great suggestions for the kitchen…nice for gift ideas this time of year….but, oh…that little man, “Jack-La-Lane” (my nickname for him) and his antics…what utter joy! Nothing cuter than a playful kitten….wait til Aunt Rach sees him…(luckily Alice wouldn’t allow it…otherwise, you would have to R’s suitcase before she leaves)..xoxoxo

  80. Sue Graham says:

    Oh darn it, Susan!! You make me really want a new kitten! (And also, your rug is very pretty 🙂 I love your blogs – I’m so happy when I find a new one in my inbox. Thank you sincerely.

  81. Debbie says:

    Hi Susan,
    Jack is so adoreable and so lucky to have you and Joe and girl kitty in his life. He was definitely meant to be in your lives. Love how he was purring. So sweet. And love your pots hanging over your sink. We have a pot rack as well and it certainly does make a difference when they are not in the cabinets taking up way too much space. Thank you for sharing all your lovely kitchen of happiness. So love your blog and it makes me put things in perspective each and everyday. Its about the simple pleasures. And oh yes, I forgot. I went out yesterday and bought my first set of watercolors and brushes. Hubby bought me an easel for my birthday. I majored in art years and years ago and painted with acrylics. And now that I am an empty nester, I have decided to venture out with something new and get back to painting but this time with my new watercolors. I can’t wait. Bye for now.

  82. Vickib says:

    Another lovely post, great idea for the hanging pans, I have a wooden bar hanging above my sink and draining board too with a couple of pans sieve and a collander have some lavender hanging off one side too which looks nice, I have to say my fav kitchen things that I wouldn’t be without are my scales for measuring cake ingredients, my wooden spoon collection I have up on the wall in my nice shabby chic box, my mixing bowls and grandmas bread board 🙂 … You made me laugh out loud saying about the lemon rind and bits of knuckle ha soooo true!! Def need one of those zesters and also have a nice glass lemon dish on my to buy list too, squeezing the life out of them by hand just doesn’t have the same satisfaction as using a proper lemon squeezed Much love xxx

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t we love our kitchens? As I’m reading, I’m picturing what everyone is writing about! So fun!

  83. Annabelle says:

    Loved this post & your blog. I need a scraper! Jack is such a sweetie!

  84. Mary S. says:

    LOVED seeing all your favorite kitchen gadgets!!
    But Jack!! Nothing is funnier than a kitten! And what a little purr-baby!!!!

  85. LJ says:

    My daughter gifted me with one of those microzesters and Walah! I couldn’t believe it was so ABSOLUTELY wonderful. I, too, have always used one of those ‘knuckle busters’ and always had to zest twice as much cuz so much stuck in the holes. Don’t make do; GET ONE!!

  86. Jamie V. says:

    Dear Susan,
    You wonderful clever girl!!! Love the pots and pans over the sink I will have to try that. Julia Child would be proud of you. She hung hers on the wall with pegboard to hang them on. Ive been meaning to comment for a long time about your counter tops. LOVE THEM.. so glad that you did not resort to granite counter tops. I adore the way your kitchen looks and feels its so you and so like the ones that I grew up in, warm and cozy and with a heart. Ive retained a vintage look in my 1932 story book home and people love it too. I think they are relaxed in it and thats what I want in my home.
    On to the tools…I have to say that you have covered my favorite tools except I need to get one of those scrappers they look very useful so thanks for the tips. I do love my depression glass (green) lemon squeezer use it all the time, and I love my Henckels tomatoe knife which cuts tomatoes like no other knife can and other things as well. Id be lost without it.
    Yep, your right we all would have been greatly disappointed if we did not get to see little adorable Jack, and you did not disappoint us. I wrote you last time about adopting a kitty her name is Luna and your email on Jack propelled me to get an appointment to see her. I have to go through an adoption process but I see my new kitty on my lap soon. I wish I could send you a picture of her when I get her home, but do not know how to do it.
    Lots of well wishes to you and Jack and Girl Kitty!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I have that same knife, it’s my favorite knife and I use it for everything too! Love that you are getting Luna — the name alone would make me want her!

  87. Ellen Beeton says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your kitchen and everything that it represents with us. Also, Jack is just as cute as he can be.

  88. Jeanne Murray says:

    I popped into LaRoux on Halloween and purchased the most darling Owl mugs; that shoppe has such charm.

    What kind of hooks do you use from which to hang your pots? They look like cup hooks, but I am guessing that they must be a bit stronger to support cast iron.

    Enjoy this gorgeous evening …


  89. Nicole Brake says:

    Susan …I thought of you and Jack today. Today, I was at storytime with my little girl at the Burbank Library in California, and there was a flyer for “The Black and White Catillion.” Later on this month they are holding an open adoption cat faire with black and white cats only!!! How clever and cute is that!

  90. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Jack is adorable and such a loud purrr he makes while he plays. Really precious ♥
    Now on to the kitchen which I always love to see, it’s the Heart of the Home, as you say. Brillant idea to hang pots and pan over sink. Mine are over stove right now but we are going to have to move them somewhere when we install our new fan. I’ve been worried about where to put everything because I don’t have a large kitchen. Like you said, having pans stacked in cupboards doesn’t work well and hard to get at what you need. Love all the items you showed us in kitchen works 101 and I have a variation on them all. Those strainers you have are wonderful looking. I have stainless colanders but your baskets are much more charming. Oh and I’m going out to buy some wooden tongs. I will check the link to the little store on the island first. Don’t you just love to browse around kitchen stores?
    Thanks for video of Jack and all the great ideas. Everything a keeper. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Sandy! Yes I do love the browsing, especially this place, they have vats of different olive oils and vinegars, and tiny cups, I never go into town without having a delicious little Balsamic Vinegar “Pick-me-up.” 🙂

  91. Ann C. says:

    When I was young I thought I needed a different gadget for every operation in the kitchen. Now,after farming all of those gadgets out to my children or Goodwill, I find that what I love most are my “piggy” cutting board and my favorite old knife….. I can do anything with them!! Grandmothers’ cast iron skillets and old bowls round out the necesities.
    Jack is a love! I was so happy we could hear him purring 🙂

  92. Ruth from Pennsylvania says:

    When I complained at work one day that one of my rolling pin handles kept falling off, my employer, who was also the shop foreman, disappeared for most of the afternoon. Right before it was time to go home for the day, he came up to the office from the woodshop, huffing and puffing. Proudly, he presented me with a rolling pin that he had fashioned from a solid block of wood. That one-piece rolling pin, (including handles that will NEVER fall off because the whole rolling pin was turned on a lathe from one piece of wood) holds a very special place of honor in my kitchen since he passed away a few years ago. Isn’t it comforting when we reach for these otherwise everyday kitchen items to have these special memories wash over us, like a small gift from the past?

  93. Cindy Tuning says:

    Why is it that we women can get so attached to and excited about cooking utensils? Can you imagine a man asking his friends what their favorite tool in the shed is? Well,that’s just asking for trouble. It’s because we are such nurturing souls that connect fixing food and feeding people with LOVE. I have gotten absolutely teary when my mother has gotten out a grey Melmac ‘8 shaped’ dish that she used to make Jello and fruit cocktail salad in when we were kids. Don’t know why. I don’t even like Jello or fruit cocktail.! I just had a wonderful week of fixing, feeding and loving my daughter and granddaughter. They went back to SanDiego last night getting ready for her next deployment. How can a week go by so fast?? Anyway…back to your kitchen.I love that you have kept the ‘retro’ countertop.I remember the same material in our house growing up.I look forward to the Blog and The Girlfriends and all the sharing that goes on.All that’s missing is that grey Melmac dish!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Cindy! I’m so happy your daughter and granddaughter made it home! Too short, but I’m glad they came! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  94. Jennifer says:

    Omg!!!!! Jack is so sweet….I loved hearing his purr. I love you Susan and everything you are and share with us, your girlfriends. I have the exact same “heart” kitchen sink plug….I was tickled to see yours! I love your pots and pans rack…it is so charming and makes your kitchen so homey. I especially loved looking out you kitchen window to see all your little birdy friends perched on the bird feeders. My favorite kitchen gadget is my zester too, I love to zest!….in fact, I just used it last Saturday to zest an orange for your Spiced Apple Cider recipe…..mmmmm so good, xoxox.

  95. Teena says:

    Susan, I have to admit it has never occurred to me to hang pots and pans between the cabinets, and it makes total sense, in every way! The drip/dry convenience over the sinks says it all…such a great idea, and I believe it would be just the thing to do! I will ultimately be moving, not sure when, but depending on where I find myself, I would like to do this very thing. My kitchen is too small for an island, and I have been hanging a few pots and pans on hooks, on a small bar on the wall, beside my stove….very cramped, actually. I don’t have very many fancy gadgets, but do have a scraper, somewhat like yours, and it is handy. I find myself getting several ideas from you, as I read your posts and I will continue to say, thank you so much for sharing!

  96. Gumbo Lily says:

    Fun post! I loved seeing your kitchen gadgets and hanging pots and tea balls. I, too, love my zester, my scraper (which I like to use to cut brownies/bars with too), tea infuser spoons and one which is mesh but has a handle for stirring/swirling in the mug. I can’t live without my cast iron skillets. One of my most favorite of the favorites is my electric kettle. Six years ago I bought one after coming back from a trip to England and my Braun kettle is still kicking out boiling hot water every single day. I start my water for pasta in it, use the boiling water to clear the drains in my sink, and of course, it is used for making coffee and tea, and the best thing about it — no forgotten kettle boiled dry on the stove!

    Jack is so stinking cute!


  97. Loved the kitchen tour, I’ve got to find a scraper! It looks like such a useful item! Mmmm! Your blueberry pie looks yummy, I can smell it! I have 3 silver bowls (small, med, lrg) that I have had since forever, and use all the time. Jacques is so adorable! I had to scroll back up to the video, when someone mentioned the markings under his chin, He looks kind of like he got into the inkwell! Except he is so distinguished with his smiley moustache! Give both kittys a hug from me, and say hi to Joe!

  98. Jennie says:

    Susan- love this post! Pure kitchen and kitten heaven! 😉
    I am right there with you on the microplane zester- the first time I used mine I thought I had died and gone to heaven. There are no words to describe how much better it is than any other I’ve ever found. The other kitchen bit I can’t live without would be my old tupperware pancake mix ‘pourer’- I’m sure it has an official name, but my brain isn’t working at the moment. Anyway- it’s a hand me down from my Grammie and I use it for everything: transferring filtered water from the fridge to the coffee maker, sifting together ‘dry’ ingredients to add to the ‘wet’, pouring the filling for an ‘egg bake’ into the pie crust, and sometimes I even use it to pour pancake batter onto the griddle!

  99. Gert says:

    Susan, wow! I love your kitchen! That is a great idea to hang them over your sink….you have me thinking..smile! We hate trying to put all those pots & pans away in the cupboards…

    Love…love…love…the video of Jack! He is so cute!

    xoxo Gert

  100. Linda says:

    Looks like Jack has made himself at home in the Peter Rabbit Room. I love his tummy with the oh-so-cute markings. And just so Girl Kitty doesn’t her her feelings hurt, she’s a doll, too, and still Queen of the Drawing Table, I’m sure.

    One of my favorite kitchen tools is an Oxo potato peeler. When I discovered it, I was so happy. (I’ve given these as gifts because I think they are so great!) No more skinny handled peelers that make my hands cramp before I finish my peeling tasks. Another ah-ha moment for me was getting a meat themometer–now I know for sure when the meat is done.

    Like many others have said, the really special tools are the ones that belonged to someone else and have been passed down. You just feel like the good cookin’ vibes are still in there helping you make a successful dish.

    Thanks for showing your kitchen. It is so homey, and I love your stove.
    ~ Linda in Texas

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