My Favorite Items in My Kitchen

August 29, 2011

If you’ve spent any amount of time in any store, watching any television station, or talking to any woman (or man, I suppose . . . you know, those ones who like to cook), then I’m sure you’ve heard of how the latest kitchen gadget will change your life.  There seems to be a great desire to find the one perfect gadget that will instantly make whatever task is at hand easier than it’s ever been before.

Well, I’m not a huge fan of kitchen gadgets.  I tend to believe that what worked for hundreds of years, will probably work for me, too.  In addition, in the name of simplifying–which is my theme for the summer, don’t forget–I’ve tried to scale back my kitchen gadgets to just the necessity (or at least the necessity for me).  Also, I do not have all the money in the world to buy the most fantastic blender, for instance, ever made by man.  That being said, I do have a few items in my kitchen (whether you’d classify them as “gadgets” or not, I’m not sure) that I love to use because they do make my life easier.

The following is a list of the items that I use in my kitchen.  This is not a perfect list.  I wish I had a better blender, for instance.  However, this is my list.  My favorite items in my kitchen.  I hope it helps you, gives you ideas, and inspires you simplify and organize:

1. The Coffee Maker

I love our coffee maker.  We’ve had many different kinds of coffee makers and they always broke.  We’ve had this one for three years and it’s still working just fine!  It’s the Mr. Coffee 12 Cup Black with Stainless Steel Programmable Coffee Maker.  I love it because it stops brewing if you take the pot out to pour a quick cup, you can regulate the strength and temperature of your coffee, and you can set it to start brewing in the future using a built-in timer.  In addition to coffee, I sometimes brew tea in it as well and have never had any problems doing so.

2. The Mixer

My mixer is awesome.  I have a standard mixer attachment, a bread hook, and a beater attachment.  It works fabulously and has made so many things that used to be daunting relatively easy–or at least feasible.  It’s the KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer and it might be a bit more expensive than you’d like it to be.  Never fear, check out Craig’s List–they’re on there all the time!

What The Mixer takes the place of:

  • a hand mixer
  • a bread machine

3. The Waffle Iron

Ok, this, I guess, is an actual “gadget.”  We love our waffles on Saturday mornings, and although I tried for several months to talk Tim into getting rid of said gadget, I’m very happy that we held onto it.  There’s just something about waffles on a Saturday morning.  Stay tuned for my whole wheat and gluten free waffle recipes!

4. The Magic Bullet

You’ve seen it advertised.  It is pretty fantastic and it does do all the things the advertisements say it does.  It’s really very helpful in making all sorts of different things and I love that I have one item to do the work of three.  I even have a blender attachment and so now I use it as my blender as well.  The only thing I wish is that I could blend more.  Many times I have to blend half the recipe, pour it out, and then blend the second half because the blades are just not strong enough to blend more than about 3 cups of ingredients.  Even still, the clean-up & simplicity of the Magic Bullet is incredible.  I’ve had it for a year and I really do love it.

What The Magic Bullet takes the place of:

  • a blender
  • a food processor
  • an electronic chopper

5. The Bottle Warmer

This is not a necessity.  Many a bottle has been warmed just fine in a bath of hot water or over the stove.  However, the Munchkin Deluxe Bottle and Food Warmer just makes life easier.  It takes four minutes to warm.  It warms using steam, and it beeps when it’s done.  We also warm frozen baby food jars and you can (although I haven’t ever) sterilize pacifiers as well.  We take it with us and it makes the quest for scalding hot water and a large enough cup (at restaurants, for instance) non-existent.  All we have to do is find a plug!

6. The Bottle Dryer/Organizer

Again, another un-necessary item, although, it’s made life much simpler for us.  We don’t have a dish washer, so we use the Sprout Drying Rack as our bottle rack (this keeps the bottles from taking up space in our dish rack).  We also just store the bottles in the organizer.  Once they’re dry they just stay there on the counter until we need one of them!

7. The Oven

Ok, so this might seem like an odd item to place in a list like this, but it’s true that I love my oven.  I don’t have a particularly special oven.  In fact, it doesn’t even have a self-cleaning function, but it’s changed the way we eat and the nutrients we get from our food.  A few months ago I moved our microwave into our utility room.  We still use it for a few things, but for almost everything we use our oven.  The thing we use the oven for now that we always used the microwave for before is heating up left-overs.  It’s remarkable how it really doesn’t take that much more time, how much better the food tastes, and how easy it really is.  In addition, and I haven’t done enough research on this myself, I think that microwaving food might actaully nuke the nutrients and leave you with worthless food in the end!  (Here are some articles all about that: Microwave Menace, Vegis Lose Antioxidants in Microwave, & Hidden Hazards – Microwave Oven).  Either way, I love my oven!

What The Oven takes the place of:

  • The microwave
  • The toaster (almost always.  The jury’s still out on whether I can really get rid of my toaster . . . I may look into a toaster oven, but that’s just one more item!)

8. The Monthly Calendar/Weekly Schedule/To Do List Frame

If I don’t have a plan I will get nothing done.  Days, weeks, even months will pass me by and nothing will have gotten accomplished.  That is why the frame on my fridge is one of the best things about my kitchen.  Each month I change and print out this calendar.  The left side is a monthly calendar and on the right is a weekly schedule.  I put it in a frame with magnets on the back and put it on the side of my fridge.  Then I write whatever I need to on the glass in wet-erase markers.  It keeps me organized and helps me to actually see what I’m supposed to be doing at any given time of the day.  Stay tuned for a post just about this item.

What The Monthly Calendar/Weekly Schedule/To Do List Frame takes the place of:

  • a hanging calendar
  • a weekly schedule that has to be written out new every week
  • scads of tiny pieces of paper with item “to do” on them

9. The Everything Basket

On the counter in my kitchen is a basket.  In the basket is mail, stamps, rubber bands, pens, markers, batteries, etc.  This frees up my old “everything drawer” and keeps me from throwing things in there that really don’t need to be kept–I’ve found if I have to look at what’s in there I’m better about keeping only the necessities in it.

What The Everything Basket takes the place of:

  • The Everything Drawer

10. The Homemaking Binder

My Homemaking Binder is very much a work in progress.  Stay tuned for a post about just it.  It hangs out on my counter next to my Everything Basket and inside it are booklets, notecards, sticky notes, recipes, ideas, etc.  It, right now, needs a serious over-haul, but the idea is to keep almost everything you need to take care of your home in said binder.  I’m having trouble deciding if this needs to be a binder or if I could use a digital program (like Evernote, for instance) for this purpose.  More on all that once I figure it out.  Nevertheless, my Homemaking Binder is a necessity right now!

What The Homemaking Binder takes the place of:

  • many different sheets of random lists
  • scads of cookbooks
  • crazy amounts of different sized recipe index cards

11. The Latch-Lock Air-Tight Plastic Containers

These Better Homes and Gardens Flip-Tite plastic containers have changed my refrigerator.  Everything is organized, I can see it all, and it all stays fresh.  We even store Luke’s homemade baby food in these containers.  They come in several different sizes and they’re actually quite inexpensive!  I’m hooked!

What The Latch-Lock Air-Tight Tupperware takes the place of:

  • every other lame-o type of plastic container ever invented

12. The Clear Plastic Tubs

I LOVE baskets.  I know all about plastic, and I’m not a big fan, but I’m guilty–I use plastic tubs to organize.  My kitchen cabinets are full of many different sized plastic tubs with all sorts of random items in them.  They keep me organized and make items easier to find.

What items in your kitchen do you love?  Which are you not so crazy about?  Helpful hints?  Tips?  Ideas?

One Response to “My Favorite Items in My Kitchen”

  1. Hollie said

    I love my Magic Bullet too! We got one as a wedding gift and it’s awesome!

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