First, how I organize and use my recipes. This recipe box was a wedding gift, and I love it. The dividers are homemade from index cards and labels (I was poor and it was cheap and customizable). I predict that it will fill to capacity sometime in 2010, which means it took 9 years to fill it. It holds 4x6 recipe cards, and I only add a recipe when we've already proven it--it has to make the cut before it's in the box. Many recipes have been thrown out, too, when we've replaced them with something we love more. I'd say about 75% of the recipes in this box are printed off Allrecipes, and I've been using the site so long my recipes are in about 4 different formats as they've changed over the years. I continue to really love their site, especially the ratings and reviews of each recipe.
I love my recipe cards, but they do get pretty beat-up, stained, and smudged. Someday I intend to print fresh copies of all of them and laminate them. Because that may never happen, I especially love this magnetic recipe board my mother-in-law made for me this Christmas, that provides a place to put my cards to keep them visible and clean(er). I had a different one that I made, but I just love how sturdy and pretty this one is.
I do occasionally use a cookbook, too, though, and was having all kinds of trouble keeping them open while cooking, until I found that the easel the magnetic board sits in is a perfect solution for this:
Okay, now for the actual tools. There is no way I could bake without my KitchenAid. Also a wedding gift, it has withstood the test of time. You can probably see the black knobs are broken off, but it still works amazing for me. I use it mostly for baking: bread, cookies, batters, etc. For our homemade pizza, it's practically essential.
Yeah, doesn't look like a kitchen tool, eh? It so is. If you've ever been around Max for more than 10 minutes, you know there is no way I could make dinner without him being strapped in (okay, there is: Adam. He really makes it possible). He has a highchair, too, but this keeps him close and involved in what I'm doing, while keeping him from practicing his two favorite pasttimes: loudly emptying everything in the lower drawers and cupboards (tripping Mom repeatedly in the process), and sneaking behind and around Mom to touch the pans on the stove. It's also awesome for snacks because there is less surface to "wash," I can just wipe and go.
So, you saw mine . . . what are your favorite kitchen tools?