Tuesday, November 14, 2017

{7} Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

First off, the obvious, don't-ever-want-to-live-without-them favorites are running water and appliances like the fridge, stove/oven, and microwave.  In thinking about this post I've spent a lot of time considering what I could easiest live without, of those big ones.

First to go would be the dishwasher.  I end up washing dishes by hand almost daily anyways between baking and cooking pots so washing all the dishes by hand wouldn't be horrible.

Then the microwave.  We use it near daily but we could get around it.

Then the stove.  Mainly because we have a propane camping stove we could use in a pinch (but not in the house, for gas fumes reasons).

Then the oven.  I bake a lot but I could function without it for awhile.

But when it comes down to the final two - running water/sink or the fridge...I really don't know which one I need in my life more.  We have coolers and there's a gas station nearby that sells ice but it's also about my least favorite part of real camping - refreshing the cooler, digging through ice to get what you need and then having to make another spot in the ice to put it back.  When we were without power for 3 days a few years ago, trying to keep the fridge going was a HUGE pain.

But then, running water.  So many reasons it's hard/near impossible to live without that.  So maybe water gets the slight edge but I still don't want to be living without my fridge anytime soon!!

Besides all those big items, these are my other favorite kitchen items.  The ones I could definitely live without but also get pulled out very, very regularly.  The kind I think are really worth having, to make kitchen work a little easier, a little better. 

1) Silicone baking mats

I super rarely lined my cookie sheets before Matt got me these and now I use them almost every single time.  They only fit my completely flat (no edge) baking sheets but that's what I use most of the time anyways.  The clean easily, keep cookies (or other baked goods) from sticking, and keeps the cookie sheets pretty clean.  I'm a big fan.

2) Pineapple corer/slicer

I used to dread cutting up fresh pineapples.  Now I still do a little but not NEARLY as much.  You just cut off the top, screw this nifty tool down and pull out a perfect, core-less, spiral.  It's super fast and so much less messy than my previous method.

3) Kitchen Scale

This is another item I didn't see a need for until I got one.  Now I prefer recipes with weights over mass measurements because it's much more accurate and uses less dishes! (Fewer measuring cups to clean!)  It has come in handy SO MANY times since I got mine.  And, bonus, I've used it to weigh larger-than-standard envelopes to mail instead of just guessing how many extra stamps it's needed.  (First mentioned way back here!)

4) Nordicware popcorn bowl

We eat a decent amount of popcorn around here, specially on movie night but also on random weekday nights when we (Matt) want a fairly healthy snack.  This isn't going to give you super buttery greasy popcorn (unless you add a lot of melted butter afterwards) but does give you nice, healthy, popcorn super easily.  And then we usually add our favorite popcorn salt.  Delicious.  (First mentioned back here!)

5) Deni Ice Cream machine

If you've been following awhile you know I'm a fan of this thing.  It was a random, unregistered for, wedding present that sat mostly unused for many years.  Then 2½ years ago I started my Ice Cream of the Week project in the summer and now it's gotten SO MUCH use.  So much.  When it dies someday I'll probably buy a nicer replacement since I know I use it all the time but this has made a lot of ice cream for us and worked pretty well.  I'm so glad we got it as a wedding present.

6) Oster immersion blender
This was a complete Black Friday impulse buy for under $20 but it has come in handy so many times.  I use it every time I make strawberry applesauce, on soups, ice cream components, refried beans, drink components.  I use it a lot more than I ever thought when I bought it (I was a little less about simplifying back then.)

7) Silicone muffin liners

I have some IKEA ones that I really really like but haven't seen in store or online since I bought them.  I also have Wilton ones that I took (with permission) from my sister's garage sale pile and, while I don't like them as much as my thinner IKEA ones, they work well too.  I eat a muffin almost daily for my morning snack and these save me from a whole lot of paper waste.  (First mentioned here and then again here.)

What are some of your favorite "I could live without but having it makes life a little easier" kitchen tools?  And which major appliance could you most easily give up?

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