>Q & A — Answers and Tips, part 2 — shopping and equipment

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My goal with this blog is to provide some guidance and techniques for baking and cooking in general. I have been getting a number of questions regarding the equipment that I use, and my shopping habits for materials (ie, what brands).

Let me first say that I am not being paid to endorse any brand, and I hope that this post doesn’t come across as a commercial.

Equipment that I use:

Honestly, most of the time, I use a plain ol’ soup spoon (the larger spoon that comes in silverware sets) to stir up my doughs and batters. I’ve found that it’s really a time saver (plus can be a workout!) to simply pull out a spoon and go for it. Hauling out and subsequently cleaning a mixer can be a real pain, and can actually take more time when you factor in the cleaning and maintenance.

With that said, I do sometimes use a KitchenAid mixer. I own one very similar to this model http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-K45SS-Classic-250-Watt-2-Quart/dp/B00004SGFW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1272585417&sr=1-6

However, a hand mixer will usually work fine, it will just take longer, as you cannot add items and mix simultaneously. I would recommend mixing any bread doughs by hand with a spoon or pastry cutter, however, rather than using a hand mixer.
As many of my friends know, I’m not really a kitchen gadget kind of gal. I simply do not have the space to store a bunch of items that only serve one function. However, a food processor is another kitchen item that I could not live without. I make most of my spreads (like hummus and peanut butter) homemade, and it is wonderful for grating cheese for pizzas and pastas, which can be a money saver. 
On to shopping!
I try to shop sales. I usually buy two bags of unbleached flour by Gold Medal when it goes on sale at my local store, and throw one in the fridge, and dump the other into an airtight container to keep away any visitors (I don’t have bug problems, but I’m not looking to encourage). I buy my white whole wheat flour from Trader Joe’s, and have been pleased with the taste and performance. King Arthur is the way to go for regular whole wheat. 
I make my own almond meal/flour by buying a huge bag of almonds at CostCo and grinding them in my food processor. Between the meal, the almond milk that I make, and almond butter, I use a lot of almonds, so buying such a large quantity isn’t unreasonable for me. However, the Trader Joe’s almonds are a good quality and reasonably priced for smaller quantities. 
I use a lot of yeast, so I usually buy a large jar of it from the grocery store or CostCo. It’s much cheaper than the envelopes in the long run, and I always have it on hand. As a reminder, 1 packet = 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. 
I also tend to buy spices that I use frequently in bulk, like garlic powder, cinnamon, and salt and pepper. Again, it is much cheaper, and I have them on hand. 
Hope that this helps everyone! Feel free to message me or comment with any questions!
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