August 27, 2013 06:00 PM

If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of Jessica Alba’s kitchen – and we’re not just referring to her enviable looks.

“I cook as often as I can,” the actress tells PEOPLE. “I really enjoy making food for my family and friends, so it’s really the way I relax – even if it means putting together a last-minute dinner on a Thursday night.”

So what’s on the menu for the mom-of-two (daughters Honor, 5, and Haven, 2)? “My trick is to keep it simple and healthy,” she adds. She turns to dishes like lemon grilled chicken and kale salad, grilled hot wings in the warmer months and roasted Cornish game hens when the weather cools down. As summer turns into fall, “I’ll prepare roasted butternut squash or other veggies that I toss with olive oil and herbs, like rosemary and thyme,” she says.

That’s what she’s serving – but here are the other essentials you’ll find in her kitchen.

1. The Honest Company’s Fruit & Veggie Wash
“I use this on everything!” Alba says. “Even when you buy organic, you need more than water to rinse away the pathogens, waxes, dirt, handling germs and bacteria often found on the surface of the produce. Plus, it makes your farmers’ market goodies last longer.”

2. Sur La Table’s Measurement Equivalents Magnet
“When adapting recipes, I never can remember how to convert measurements,” she says. “So this quick-reference magnet is awesome because it does the calculations for me.”

3. Retro Magnetic Kitchen Timer
“I love the simplicity and function of this timer s vintage design,” she says. “Plus it s great for using over the stove.”

4. Whiteboard Calendar
“This kitchen is our family hub,” Alba says, “so we stay organized and keep track of the girls’ activities with a whiteboard calendar that we attach to the side of our fridge.”

5. Dish Towels from Etsy
“I love to mix and match one-of-a-kind dish towels in the same color palette,” Alba says.

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