This post is going to be a little bit different then my usual recipe posts. I thought it might be useful for readers to see some of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I can definitely say that most of the ones you see below I probably couldn’t live without. Or, couldn’t live without happily. If you think about it, you probably spend on average an hour per day in the kitchen (or at least I do). Multiply that by 365 and that’s 365 hours per year that you’re in there. In my opinion, let’s make it enjoyable and invest in gadgets that will encourage us to have more fun in the kitchen, and create tasty dishes with greater ease.
First up we have my newest and greatest. The…
#1 Anti-Fatigue Mat
If you haven’t heard of them, they’re mats designed to relieve leg and foot pain associated with standing on your feet for long periods of time. My kitchen is a ceramic tile and I can definitely say that after a half hour of chopping/prepping dinner my feet begin to hurt. Know the feeling? THIS is your answer :)
#2 Quinoa Strainer
It’s important to rinse quinoa before cooking because quinoa is coated with a substance called saponins which are naturally occurring plant chemicals that repel birds and insects. The problem is if quinoa is not rinsed the saponins will give it a bitter taste. At first I had a terrible time dealing with this. I didn’t have a colander that had small enough holes, so half of my precious quinoa would end up delivering it’s nutrients to the drain in the kitchen sink. This little strainer is the perfect size to keep the quinoa from slipping through the holes, and was a very valuable find.
#3 Crock Pot
I feel like this is so essential for a busy person. I love love lovee going through my busy day knowing that it will end with dinner already hot and ready to eat in my crock pot. Definitely look out for a crock-pot applesauce recipe from me soon. Fresh apples and cinnamon cooking all day in the crock-pot on a crisp day is one of my favorite parts of fall!
#4 Kitchen Scale
This may be an RD associated obsession and not so much for the average cook. If I’m going to be telling people what a correct portion size is, I feel that I sure as heck better know what it is myself. I also find it useful when writing recipes, instead of “eyeballing” or “guesstimating” which has the potential to be very detrimental to a patients health. This way, an ounce is an ounce is an ounce. No over-eating necessary!
#5 Garlic “Keeper”
I have to admit, I originally bought this because I thought it was very cute. A little container shaped like garlic to hold my garlic? Come on! Well, it was a nice surprise when I noticed it kept my garlic at room temperature longer then in a regular dish or bowl. I now use it for every clove that comes into my house, and I suggest that you do too.
As I’ve mentioned before, steaming is a very healthy, if not the healthiest way to cook vegetables. The nutrients aren’t leached out in the cooking water, and no fat is applied in the cooking process. These little metal steamers fit easily into any size pot and are a no-brainer investment. Another bonus is that you don’t need to wait for a huge pot of water to boil as you only need a thin layer of water at the bottom of the pot to produce the steam. So just remember, steam away for faster, easier, and healthier results.
#7 Mini Muffin Tins
What a great way to exercise portion control. Want two muffins or cupcakes? Sure, go for it! I find these little guys effective in tricking your mind to believe you’re eating more than you actually are. If you’re like me, eating just one muffin seems cruel and unfair to all the other delicious muffins that may now go moldy in the hot summer heat. Baking 12 mini-muffins will leave you with a lot less guilt then the regular size, and they’re cuter too!
#8 Silpat Baking Mat
These mats are awesome because you don’t need to grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper, just pop the cookies or whatever you are baking on the mat on top of the baking sheet and you’re good to go. I also notice that they help to bake cookies more evenly.
#9 Spice Rack
I just love my spice rack. What a great way to get tons of flavor into your cooking without added salt, fat or sugar.. all things most Americans get quite enough of. The spices have a pretty long shelf life (usually a few years), and are a quick and easy addition to meals when fresh herbs may not be available. There is a catch here.. I bought mine under the exciting promise that I would get unlimited refills for 5 years. How fantastic! No more spending $4.50 on a small jars of McCormick spices every few months. Well, upon placing my order for the first shipment of my “free” spices, I was sad to see that the shipping for these two tiny jars was estimated at about $15. So the lesson is, don’t be fooled by the “free refill” promise. As I learned in Business school, there’s always a catch. However, you can buy the grocery store spices and pour them into the jar on your spice rack to keep everything together and organized.
#10 Food Processor with shredder/slicer attachment
This thing is such a time saver. It will take a block of cheese and grate it in 2 seconds flat. No more sore arms from the hand grater! I often use it to shred carrots, cucumbers, etc. for salads. I really think it will slice anything you put in, and it’s nice to know I have the option if time is of the essence.
Please note that the pictures above are not the exact products that I have in my kitchen, and the websites listed below the pictures are just the sources, not the websites I bought them from.
Are there any great gadgets that I didn’t mention that you can’t live without??