My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

The Kitchen Gadgets I can’t Live Without!

Sometimes I wonder what it was like back in the old days…

woman chrning butter

…when ice cream and butter was hand-churned, kneading bread was your daily arm-workout, and you had to get frequent visits from the ice truck just to keep your milk cold.

But then I open my fridge or flip the switch on my trusty KitchenAid mixer and thank the Lord for technology. Because, while I still choose to knead my own dough (rather than using a bread machine or the like) for sheer stress-relief purposes, I’m not sure if I could manage all of my kitchen exploits with all of the lovely little gadgets that technology affords me.

Today I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite gadgets that make me feel like an empowered real food ninja most days 🙂

kitchen aid

Isn’t she beautiful??? 🙂 Photo courtesy of Travis Isaacs on Flickr.

The aforementioned, beloved KitchenAid mixer

This little beauty was a precious gift from some dear friends and their moms before my wedding. It makes the most divine chocolate chip cookies and expertly combines my ingredients for whole-wheat tortillas – not to mention the fact that it’s cherry red presence on my counter brings me a smile every time I glance its direction. These are pricey upfront, but being that my grandmother’s from who-knows-how-long ago still sits perched on her counter top in perfect working order, they are in it for the long haul… and IMO, oh-so-worth-it.

The Samurai Sword of All Graters: The Microplane

I have two of these, one in the standard “coarse” size (for cheeses, etc.) and another truly “micro” size (for zesting citrus). I use these to give the extra lemony “zing” to my lemon & cream cheese cupcakes, or to feel like a pro Olive Garden waitress when I’m grating some Parmesan o’er top a salad or some vegetable lasagna. (I used to dream of being a waitress; and though that job opportunity never panned out for me, a girl can dream right?

The Fog to my London: Keurig Milk Frother

A new member of my kitchen arsenal, the milk frother came to me via a birthday gift from my sweet “Grandmama” this past weekend. You simply fill the carafe to the “max” line with milk, pop the lid (with whisk attachment) on, push a button, and BOOM – you’ve got frothy, delicious milk for your favorite latte or hot chocolate. Being a little addicted to Earl Grey Tea Lattes (a.k.a. London Fogs = earl grey + frothy milk + touch of honey), I love that this gadget is going to save me lots of $$$ by making them at home!

A warm asparagus-avocado salad prepared in my beloved cast-iron. Photo courtesy of Vegan Feast Catering.

asparagus-avocado salad

My Prairie Home Companion: The Cast Iron Skillet

Honestly, I was a tiny bit super, crazy terrified by the prospect of cooking with cast iron when I first got married. But, I registered for it nonetheless because my mother-in-law (MIL) had often used cast iron at home, and I wanted to make my husband’s “new home” feel extra home-y 🙂 So, I bucked up some courage and after a few cooking lessons by said sweet-MIL, cast-iron quickly became my favorite way to cook. Between the insanely even heating, its perfect ability to sear fish, the delicious roast chicken it helps me to make, and the fact that all I need is my trusty sponge cloth to wipe it clean after each use – this skillet has stolen my heart 🙂

The Take-it-Slow Master: My Crock Pot

It does the work without you being there. Need I say anything else? Well just in case you’re still not convinced, here’s a handy little list of just a few of the things I can make in my crockpot (or more accurately, it can make for me): coffee-pot roast (yeah – they went there), bone broth, apple butter, yogurt, refried beans, fajitas, and molten lava cake.

The Anti-Blender

Also known as my immersion blender, this little doo-hickey (is it weird that I like that word?) comes with multiple attachments that help me to do everything from blending my favorite fall soups to whipping up my famous balsamic salad dressing a few minutes before dinner. (Want the recipe? I’ll list it at the bottom of the post!)
Canning jars

Mason Jars

My favorite touch of country: Mason Jars

While most wouldn’t qualify these as actual “gadgets,” I use these daily to store various kitchen creations/ingredients – from fresh raw milk, preserving summer produce, soup for 2, pear butter, salad in a jar (have you seen this? Thanks, pinterest!) or even some non-food related things like homemade lotion or bath salts. They are also very pretty with a few freshly cut flowers and some raffia tied around their neck… sigh. 🙂

The Elusive Wish-List Item: A Dehydrator

So I don’t own one of these yet… But I really, really want to. I’m officially saving my pennies so that I can buy myself one and introduce myself to all of the wonders of home-dried fruits, beef jerky, and fruit leathers. I. Can. Not. Wait.

What are you favorite kitchen gadgets? Any I desperately need to know about? 🙂

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