I have been wanting to purge, organize and deep clean our kitchen — we have too much stuff! This has been on my to-do list since the spring (a parent passing away, nine weeks in a cast, and some major fibro flares will put you behind). I have been looking at our small appliances and trying to decide if they are useful, used, makes cooking easier and if we really need it. I was taking special notes of items that are multi-use, and if it made it easier or harder for me.
These are some of the items in my kitchen I have been assessing. Because of food sensitivities, we buy very few processed food, making it harder on the hard days to eat healthily.
1. Food Processor
I knew I didn’t use mine enough; it was an inexpensive model that I picked on a whim and it just lives in the back of a cupboard. I do drag it out when I need to shred veggies (carrot muffins, yum) or cheese.
I was looking online at what else I can do with this small appliance (or if we should keep it at all) and I was happily surprised to learn I could do so much more than I thought. And, with just the simple attachments that come with a standard food processor.
Did you know you can slice, shed, and grate? Perfect for cut veggies, grate cheese, puree to make dips, spreads, salad dressings, chop nuts, and grind meat? I had no idea, and will be make more of an effort to use my food processor to make kitchen work easier!
Mine doesn’t seem to be available anymore, but I would pick one if I was in the market. I love the version with the scrape feature, it would make it even more efficient! No removing the top to use a spatula… bonus!
Ours recently broke (glass, I dropped it), and when I started looking to replace it, I realized besides the old traditional blender there are a ton of newer options available (mine was older, it might have been a wedding gift 14 years ago). My son is a huge smoothie lover, so we bought him his own smoothie blender for Christmas last year and he loves it! My husband and I, not as much.
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I like the hand blender that has three speeds to handle a variety of foods, beverages, soups, blend, puree, crush, chop, and whisk. Or a more traditional blender I have been looking at that can work great for everything from pureed soup, salsa, and hummus to protein shakes, smoothies, or margaritas plus chop-ice mode and pulse. I have to admit, I am still on the fence. Opinions?
3. Crock Pot/Slow Cooker
This is one of our staple kitchen appliances. It makes meals so much faster and easier! I love being able to drop in all the ingredients in, turn it on and leave it… and if you buy one with the warming feature (we did) then your meal is still hot when everyone’s hungry. We find it perfect for making large batches of sauces, chilis, soups, etc. and freezing them for when I am having a severe fibro flare and all I can manage is too pull something out of the freezer. There are so many recipes online for using your crockpot, it really is a small investment worth making!
4. KitchenAid Mixer
This has to be my favorite Christmas gift ever! I know I would never spend the money on myself but I sure wasn’t going to return it. Bonus points for Hubby that year!
It comes in 20 different colors; mine is black. I can mix, knead and whip ingredients with ease, saving my arms a workout I don’t want!
I also got the Nylon Coated Flat Beater, Nylon Coated Dough Hook and the Wire Whip which are super handy! I wish I had the pour shield and an extra bowl.
It’s not only for baking — you can make homemade ice cream, pulled pork, chicken or beef for a ton of recipes (tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken or tuna salad, whip eggs and frostings. Pinterest has tons of ideas!
5. Veggie Steamer
The brand we have includes 4-quart basket, 3-quart basket, 5-cup rice bowl, and 12-egg nesting basket.
We love it for steaming veggies, as well as making hard boiled eggs. There is something about the taste of steamed veggies to boiled is so much better, and better for you! I admit, we don’t use it often enough. But it is a huge help when we entertain or host holiday dinners.
If we didn’t have a rice cooker, we might use it more for that. It is still an item I am glad we own!
6. Rice Cooker
We love rice with our meals, so this is an item that gets used at least a few times a week. We often make extra and just pop it in the fridge for an easy leftover night.
I find it very helpful that I can add the water and rice, turn it on and I don’t need to check on it until it clicks off.
7. Electric Can Opener
You can still find the old versions that your parent or grandparents might have had (depending on your age).
I prefer one that is smaller; a one-push-button version is now on my Christmas wish list. I love that I can tuck it away in a drawer.