Forget that Mary Poppins crap, my favorite things have nothing to do with rainbows or kittens. In every room of my house, I’ve been known to simplify, down-size, update or re-organize. But my kitchen (insert content sigh here!) it’s full of cutesie, single purpose items, that coordinate, decorate or accentuate my meals. I LOVE kitchen gadgets.
My kitchen is organized by purpose and size and I can always find what I’m looking for, so I don’t think it’s cluttered or compromised by my collection (and no, I’m not just in denial!). As I look around this haven, I thought it would be fun to write out my favorites for you and give you the chance to add them to your own collection. Think about the foods that you make, the entertaining you do and the ways that you can add a little flare to your flavors.
In no particular order, these are the Top 10, but they are ALL favorites in my kitchen:
1. Silicone Baker’s Pin: When you roll out dough with this pin, you can feel the thickness better than using a traditional rolling pin. It also is easy to clean and isn’t porous like wood. The downside is that it’s unusual in size and hard to store, but the pretty red exterior makes it fun to leave out too. It also doubles as a lethal weapon against anyone that wants to bad talk your cooking.
2. Cheese Slicer: I fell in love with this cutting board while having a 3 am snack with a close friend, during her eighth month of pregnancy. Halfway through our second brick of sharp cheddar, I realized that the design and convenience were both top notch. It makes great sense to have a slicer attached to a cutting board and it comes with replacement wires so your cheesiness can last forever.
3. OXO Kitchen Scissors: I use these more than once a day, no joke. At breakfast, it’s the easiest way to cut up waffles, pancakes or toast into small pieces for the kids. At lunch, I use it to shear a head of leaf lettuce for a salad. For dinner, I skin and de-fat my meat before throwing it in the crock pot. I have my purposes, but the most common use— it’s a sanitary way to cut off the top off those plastic-wrapped popsicles. It’s easy to hand wash or you can throw it in the dishwasher, especially after using it on meat.
4. Rubbermaid Mixing Pitcher: This is way smarter than always pulling out a wooden spoon or spatula to stir up orange juice pulp, mix an instant lemonade or swirl ice around a mojito. Measure the height of your refrigerator’s top shelf before buying it though, to make sure it will fit.
5. Primo Water Cooler: I love having hot and cold water readily available, especially if it tastes good and not like a metal tap. The hot water valve is childproof but still easy enough to use with one hand. It’s easy to change the 5-gallon jug because there is a plunger built in= no spilled water since you don’t have to flip anything over. This is a much more sleek design that the top-loading coolers, it is a nicer presentation to have the water jug stored easily underneath the unit.
6. Lock and Lock Containers: These are so much easier to operate than the typical sealed container. I keep my brown sugar, corn starch and cinnamon sugar in these for easy accessibility, but also to keep the bugs and humidity out.
7. Silicone Ice Cube Trays: While the name may give you the primary use, I have come up with so many others. You can use these cubes to make jell-o jigglers, divide any meat/fruit/veggie/pasta into proportionate sizes before freezing or to prepare homemade baby food. FOR BABY FOOD–After cooking and pureeing single-ingredient items, pour the substance into the trays and freeze. When frozen, pop each cube out and store in a freezer-safe gallon bag for up to a month. To thaw, throw a few cubes in a microwave safe container and heat for 30 seconds, stir and heat again if necessary.
8. OXO Flexible Turner: This is different than your usual spatula or turner. It is incredibly thin and scoots under foods very easily. I use this for removing meringue cookies from parchment paper and flipping tofu when searing it in oil. I prefer the metal turner, but they also make this item in plastic and silicone.
9. Salad Bear Claws: Looking for a fun way to entertain and serve dinner? These are “handy” gadgets to help grab salad or pasta and move it to an individual plate. I get comments every time I use these to serve food, I love it. P.S. They would probably be great to scratch the cook’s back after dinner, too!
10. IKEA Gadget Charging Cup: Isn’t your kitchen counter also the charging station for your ipod, cell phone, blue tooth and pager?! This organizer hangs on the wall and stores all the little power cords so it doesn’t look like an octopus is crawling out of the outlet next to your crock pot. That would just be uncool to crowd your crock pot.