Blender woes

I bought a blender from someone on Craigslist a while ago (very convenient! I highly recommend Craigslist; there’s even a free section). It was meant to replace a very low-quality, very hard-to-clean food processor. There are a few blended things I make (hummus, falafel, soymilk) that justified a slight upgrade, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.

At this point, I can’t even definitively say that the blender is better than the food processor. It does have a glass pitcher and takes longer to smell like burning plastic 🙁 but it doesn’t chop things as finely. Hummus is a struggle; falafel and soymilk don’t get ground finely enough to be even close to correct.

I discovered that the food mill (I don’t have the very useful tripod stand) works great for hummus, but it won’t work for harder things (like falafel, where the chickpeas are still raw) and it seems that the question of the safety of aluminum cookware is still undecided. What is the most versatile tool for my blending/grinding/chopping needs that isn’t electrified, will last forever, and/or can be bought used?

Ideas:

  1. Mortar and pestle (my sibling finds this very suitable)
  2. Handcrank food/Grain mill
  3. KitchenAid stand mixer with grinding attachment (would also replace bread machine)
  4. Suggestions?