Over the years, I've learned a lot about cooking Mexican style. I have learned to make soups, salsas, guisados (stews) and many tomato based dishes. All of these include using a blender. Its probably the most important kitchen appliance that I use on a daily basis. I am always blending tomatoes, cooked or uncooked. The blender is also used for smoothies, juices, and making aguas de frutas too. When I lived in the States, the only thing I used a blender for was making milkshakes. I love that most food is made from scratch here.
Before it used to seem like a pain...but now I realize, its so much healthier to cook the Mexican way. Its also gotten much easier over the years. I can whip up some meatballs in guisado de jitomate in fifteen or twenty minutes. You want noodle soup? That takes about the same amount of time. And since I have one little boy who won't eat his vegetables, I can sneak them in using the blender! And he never notices.
Another important kitchen tool I use on a daily basis is a sieve or strainer with a handle. You need this to keep the tomato seeds and pieces out of what you're making. Or when you add chicken stock (we can't buy it here, we have to make it) to a soup, you have to strain out the pieces. Or if you want little boys to drink fresh juice, you strain the fruit pieces out. Mostly I use mine for making soups, which I make pretty often. I learned the hard way that you need one made of metal and not plastic! Once I poured hot chicken stock into my plastic strainer and all of a sudden, I realized the strainer had melted and was now part of my soup!
I have my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to thank for the knowledge I have of how to cook. I think the only thing I could really make when I got married was barbecued chicken. Now I have a lot more knowledge under my belt. I am so thankful for all the things they've taught me.