Archives for category: Gadgets

Good morning all!

As my week flies by I haven’t had much time to make anything delicious. I have been working with my band (www.OnceAnEmpire.com) in the studio to create our debut album. And while I am so excited to almost have this project complete, I am missing my kitchen! We have practice and recording all week, except for Friday night when I am hoping to have some time to make kitchenaidsomething pumpkin flavored. But until then, I figured I would add a post to highlight one of the most important gadgets I have in my kitchen – my mixer. Seriously,  I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Oh wait, yes I do, because I never baked anything – ha. Anywho, having a mixer has changed the way I do business in the kitchen. Nothing is off limits, and it has come in handy on several occasions – nay, absolutely necessary.

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As I embark on my cooking journey, I started realizing all of the tools that my kitchen lacks. Whether big or small, every item makes a difference. I am going to start a new category New Found Necessities as a way to help others who are in my shoes decide which things are absolutely necessary when tackling meals in the kitchen.

#1. A decent can opener.

Product Image Michael Graves Gray Easy-crank Can Opener

Now most people have a can opener already, as I did. And I’m sure most people have been there when you go to open something up and your can opener is NOT on your side. It eats through only certain parts of the metal, making it so the lid doesn’t come off even if you can drain all the liquid out of the can. This drove me nuts! And as I started cooking more and more things that required a can opener, I decided enough was enough. I went out to Target and bought a simple can opener. Now I can open cans stress free!! And this one even doubles as a bottle opener! For only $8 it was definitely worth every penny.

#2. A set of knives.

Up until I started cooking, I had a very random assortment of dull and mismatched knives. They were fine for the occasional chop up of random fruits and opening containers, but when it came down to chopping and dicing ingredients, they just didn’t cut it (pardon the pun). So I set out to find a nice set of knives, most of which were very expensive. Luckily, one of my favorite stores, Ikea had a delightfully colorful set that came with everything I needed and all for $10. It comes with a bread knife, 2 different sized cook’s knives, a paring knife and a utility knife. Now that I have them, I don’t know how I lived without them! Not only do they work great, but they look nice sitting on the counter.

#3. Food storage containers.

Food storage containers are a new necessity for me because I’ve never really had to use them… ever. You don’t save fast food for later, and usually freezer foods are only enough to eat as one meal anyway. I always had a random mismatched assortment of containers, all of which probably came from other people bringing food over. But the thing I realized about cooking and grocery shopping is that ingredients are not sold in small one meal quantities (like a Tbsp. of cilantro, or a cup of flour). So food storage containers are necessary to keep these excessive ingredients fresh for their next use. Not only that, but I needed a place to keep the leftovers from the meals I’ve been making. Again, I went to Ikea and found a 17 piece set for only $4. They work how they should and best of all are dishwasher safe.

#4. A nice dinnerware set.

There is nothing worse to me than a beautiful meal served on paper plates (unless it’s Chinet haha). For this reason I believe everyone should have a nice dinnerware set (a set means it matches). Again, these can be very pricey, so I went back to Ikea and purchased an 18 piece set for only $20. It’s a nice dark brown color and comes with dinner plates, side plates and bowls. They even have different colors and styles (all at varying prices) to suit your decor and taste.

#5. Dishtowels and Oven mitts

So you’re cooking dinner and you go to wash your hands (obsessively if you are me), you turn around looking for somewhere to dry them… you could wipe them on your pants (but that’s kind of gross) or you could bring a bathroom towel into the kitchen (ugh!). Now it may seem that I am exaggerating this a bit, but if you have men or children in the house, then you know what I am talking about, and chances are this is something that needs to be purchased almost regularly (either that or kept out of reach). Dishtowels are meant to be a clean place to dry things off (not a rag, men!).  So I went back to Target and found a nice set of dishtowels. They have a wide variety of prices, styles and colors, and most have matching oven mitts that can be purchase separately. Oh – and I don’t think I need to go into why oven mitts are a necessity – ha.

This list will continue to evolve as I do, and while these items may start small, I have a feeling that I will be finding many more MUST haves for my cooking adventures. Thanks for reading!