I like to think I’m a no-frills kind of a girl. Living in the different places I have, I’ve had to learn how to make do in some interesting kitchens. In Honduras, I figured out how to “bake” cookies over a fire using a covered pan. (The secret is in flipping the cookies at just the right moment. No lid for your pan? Just use a plate!) In Costa Rica, I adjusted my flour for altitude to make banana pancakes and breads. As a college kid, it was all about making my mini-crockpot do the work.
However, now that I have a real kitchen, I have a few kitchen gadgets that make my life so much easier. While I can do without them, our food quality is better with them! In no particular order, here are my five favorite kitchen gadgets ever! (One of these would make a great Christmas gift for a special someone in your life, by the way, no matter what the size of your budget!) 🙂
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Top Five Kitchen Gadgets
I joke that my life changed when I got an immersion/stick blender. That may be an exaggeration. But, joking aside, once I figured out how this baby works, I totally lost my fear of making homemade Italian sauce or silky soups. Others may carefully transfer their soups and sauce ingredients into a blender. I was done with that after getting burnt a few times by splashing soup. And I hated having to wash all the different components of the blender in addition to all the cutting boards, etc. from making sauce. With an immersion blender, all you have to do is lower it into your cooked food (such as beans, if you’re trying to make refried beans), and push the button. (Just don’t let the spinning piece at the top peek at the air, or you’ll have splatters everywhere.) I feel like a pro when I serve silky smooth soups and sauces. But the credit mostly goes to the stick blender.
We have the attachment with the little container, as well. Bam! Instant baby food happens when I dump in veggies, a banana, or whatever else is cooking.
This is the brand I am lucky enough to have, but there are also cheaper options here: Immersion or Stick Blenders on Amazon.
Good-Quality Wooden Rolling Pin
A wobbly or splinter-filled rolling pin makes it extremely difficult to make tortillas (unless you’re Latina and can spin them out on your hands like some of my Honduran friends). It’s worth paying a little extra to get quality. Unless you have a woodworking grandfather like I do. In that case, wait for him to finish hours upon hours of sanding the perfect product.
Most of the bread we eat is made in our kitchen. Before having a baby, I rejoiced in the peaceful sensation of kneading dough by hand. Now, I’m happy to dump the ingredients in my stand mixer and let it do all the work. David’s parents gave us one they’d had in their closet, and I’m so grateful for it! Almost everything I bake goes through the stand mixer at some point.
When we first got married, a pastry cutter was one of the first things I bought with our wedding gift cards. Is this a must-have kitchen gadget? I think so. Not only can you make the best pastry with a tool to cut the lard/butter into the flour, but you can also slice hard-boiled eggs or smush overripe bananas for banana bread. To make things even better, a pastry cutter costs a whole lot less than a KitchenAid! This is my favorite one.
Sharp Knife and Cutting Board
A cutting board doesn’t really count as a gadget in my book, but it’s necessary to pair with a sharp knife. You won’t want to cut toward yourself with a really good knife.
Honestly, I’ve always been a little terrified of sharp knives. I gave myself several terrible slices while David and I were dating. When he first took me to meet his mom, he instructed her not to let me loose among her collection of Cutco knives. The problem was, I was so used to using dull knives, I would do things like cut a piece of bread right into my hand. Now, I absolutely love my sharp trimmer knife, especially for cutting meat. Slicing meat is no longer my least favorite job in the kitchen. Onions have reclaimed their rightful spot as least-favorite-thing-to-cut.
What are your favorite, life-saving kitchen gadgets or tools?
Let us know in the comments! 🙂