I vividly remember the Christmas I felt old. The big cousins were all in a row on the couch opening presents…. Carley got mixing bowls, Brian got knives, Cayla got a crock pot, I got a Kitchen-Aid Mixer. We were all just as excited as we were when we opened a Nintendo 64 years before. Then the little cousin Cole said “Are you really excited about that?” Yes, yes we are. Maybe it is part of growing up, maybe it is just that I love cooking, either way, kitchen gadgets are always at the top of my birthday and Christmas list. The great news is these are the gifts that you use over and over again. Gifts that remind you of the loving person who knew you desperately needed new mixing bowls. Gifts that become part of memories during holiday baking, dinner parties, and impromptu happy hours.
The issue is I live in a 593 square food apartment that has a total of 8 kitchen cabinets (including the one under the sink) and 2 drawers. That is not a lot of room. I have it quite literally busting at the seems. Things are stacked on top of each other, I use the top of my fridge as a shelf, and my counters consistently have (very organized) piles of my most loved supplies. I don’t let these issues stop me from ordering every variation of baking pan on Amazon Prime, but some items do take priority. Here are the things I could not live without in my kitchen.
Some might call this an unnecessary purchase, and I don’t need their negativity in my life. Yes, this is the first item I’m listing. I may or may not have left my house, drove 20 minutes, bought the $25 scoop (I use the 1.5 oz one), then drove home to finish baking cookies. I just needed it in my life and couldn’t make anything else without it. This is the first time I have admitted that story, and I’m not even a little bit ashamed. I now use this scoop for cookie dough, ice cream, mini muffins and muffins, donuts, filling popsicle molds, peanut butter, coconut oil… literally anything that might need to be scooped.
When I moved into my current apartment I got a Vitamix from my parents as a housewarming gift. (I later found out it was a hand-me-down Vitamix because mom wanted a new one. The whole family is obsessed.) I was SO EXCITED for everything I was going to make. At the time, I thought this just meant I was going to make a ton of smoothies. Flash forward and I now use this bad boy almost every day. Smoothies? Done. Mashed sweet potatoes? Done. Smooth muffin batter? Done. It just works. I always thought any blender from Target would be fine, I was wrong.
I recently ended up at Ikea and this was my favorite purchase. Ikea, the store that literally sells everything, and I ended up with $3.99 popsicle molds. Now, I have had other popsicle molds before, but there is something about these silicone ones that is amazing. They are easier to clean and easier to make one at a time. I’ve started making a little extra smoothie every day, pouring the extra into one of these, and then I have a healthy dessert for that night! On an unhealthy note… they are also great for making margarita popsicles.
The simplicity of this gadget is great. One switch, no settings to deal with, minimal clean up, it is like a dream come true. I paid less than $20 for my rice cooker and it is still going strong over 3 years later. I love that I can easily make rice and quinoa without standing over a pot hoping it isn’t burning or sticking together or soggy or not working. Pour in water and rice, flip the switch, eat rice. It is great. Plus, I can add the steam tray for a quick serving of veggies too!
I went to a cooking class where these were used and lost all focus on the recipe because I thought they were so cool. Silicone is always one of my favorites because it is SO EASY to clean (and I’m lazy when it comes to dishes). Maybe I’m the only one who would avoid using some utensils in situations when I knew it would be annoying to clean them… but now I never hesitate to grab these. They are the perfect tool for flipping veggies or protein roasting in the oven or sautéing in a frying pan.
I could go on and on with the random things shoved into my 8 cabinets, but why bother when these are the best ones that live in my counter?