March 15, 2012

5 Kitchen Items I'd Rather Not Do Without

I cringe when magazines and websites feature lists of "must-have" items. Maybe it's the rebel in me that can't stand to be told by some big fancy corporation what I must have.  This is not a list of must-have's.  But for me, these items make life in the kitchen a little bit simpler.   And isn't cooking with the right tools so much more fun?

1. Scoopy-Scoops.
I call them scoopy-scoops, but they are really called "dishers." Often these great kitchen tools are mislabeled as ice cream scoops.  They actually fail to scoop ice cream very well at all, but they probably have 100 other kitchen uses.  I have a large (size 20) one that I use to scoop batter for muffins,cupcakes and drop-biscuits.  It is also a great way to serve up pretty little domes of mashed potatoes. My small one (size 50) is the perfect size for cookie dough and mini muffins. 


The sizes, by the way, tell you how many scoops it would take to make a quart.  So a #20 disher is 1/20th of a quart, or approximately 1.6 ounces.

2. A Choppy-Chop
Okay, so I give my kitchen tools cutesy names.  Doesn't everybody?  I use my choppy-chop every single  day to chop onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. I've bought inexpensive ones ever since I discovered I have a propensity to drop and break pricey items within the first week of owning them.

I don't even own a garlic press because my choppy-chop minces garlic so well. And I kinda have a thing against uni-taskers.


3. A good quality stand mixer
When we got married we registered for an inexpensive store-brand stand mixer.  We are thankful for the gift and made good use of that stand mixer, but we quickly learned why there was such a big price difference between the name brand ones and the cheap-as-they-come ones.  The cheap one couldn't make whipped shortbread, took forever to beat egg whites into peaks, and definitely could not knead bread dough. If you can afford it, spring for a good quality stand mixer.  I received mine as a Christmas gift from my hubby one year.  I use it nearly every day for making breads, pitas, and homemade pizza dough, beating egg whites, whipping up some real whipped cream or making fantastic fluffy mashed potatoes. Come to think of it, he's really benefited quite a lot from that Christmas gift....



I won't tell you what brand to buy, but it rhymes with ItchenKaid. 

4. A palm peeler.
This thing falls in the thought-it-was-stupid-until-I-tried-it category.  For the first time in my married life I actually bother to peel carrots.


5. A kitchen scale.  
A tablespoon of butter is half an ounce.  A cup of butter is 8 ounces.  If you've ever tried to measure cold butter by cramming it against it's will into a measuring cup you will understand why this information could be useful!  I also use it to measure chocolate for recipes and to divide dough into equal loaves.


I keep mine in a shallow kitchen drawer so that I don't even have to pull it out to use it...I just open the drawer and weigh away!


Random unnecessary fact: When my twins were newborns we monitored their weight gain between doctors visits by weighing them in a mixing bowl on this kitchen scale.  It was short lived because the scale only goes up to 8 pounds.

What kitchen tool would you rather not do without?

35 comments:

  1. Kitchen Scissors!!! I cut meats into pieces so much quicker than a knife:) Also, helps cut things into small bits for my son who has just started eating 90% finger foods:)

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  2. My Pampered Chef apple slicer! It cores the apple and cuts it into 10 neat slices in one quick step. I also use it for pears and to cut potatoes into wedges. The kids love to see me use it - they call it the "cool cutter."

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  3. My Pampered Chef Measure All Cup. Liquids facing up and sticky things like Peanut butter or molasses facing down. Would not want to live without it!!

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  4. I LOVE my melon baller! Not because I ball lots of melon, but because it makes it SO simple to remove the seeds of an apple. My daughter prefers whole apples, but after she nearly chocked on a seed one day, I started halving the apple and using the melon baller to core it. (Thank you Pinterest) She loves them this way!

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    1. haha Karen....is it possible that the pinterest pin you saw was from my site? http://www.imperfecthomemaking.com/2011/11/quick-tip-coring-apples.html

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  5. Hahaha, love the cute names! I give my tools ridiculous names too. Like choppy-doo or scoopy-doo. I'll admit that my go to kitchen equipment is a medium skillet that my roommate owns. It works so well for cooking so many things!

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  6. I love my Pyrex bowls/lids/casserole dishes. And my plain-Jane Corningware dishes. And my ramekins. I use those about 4 times a day. :)

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  7. I love my little brown, square pampered chef scrapers. I use them to clean all sorts of stuff....soak and scrape. I can't believe I use to use a sponge for all of my cleaning. Also, bag clips. You can get them from PC also, but IKEA also carries them in a variety pack for a few bucks. I use them to clip bags of chips, cereal, frozen fruit bags, crackers, you name it!

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  8. We do most of our cooking from whole ingredients and also preserve so the kitchen gets a workout and tends to be crowded. We try to simplify by focusing on multitaskers. My faves:
    1. Good, sharp kitchen knives and a magnetic knife strip to keep them well out of toddler reach.
    2. Mason jars and plastic lids. Useful for shaking together salad dressing, "whipping" milk for a latte, or storing odds and ends.
    3. Dishwasher. We love to cook. Dishes, not so much.
    4. A ginormous food processor. Helllllo, homemade salsa. Goodbye grating carrots and potatoes. Also good for grating apples for cider pressing.)

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  9. Good quality long tongs! I love them for turning meat in the pan and dishing up veggies. I also remember registering for a big food processor when I got married (because my mom said I'd want one) and thinking that I'd never use it. I can't believe how much I've used it, from making baby food to pureeing soups.

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  10. The kitchen items I can't live without are: pampered chef garlic press, kitchen aid stand mixer, chef knife, scoopers, iphone (I save my frequently used recipes on my iPhone as a note), microplane for zesting lemons, limes and oranges, flat stoneware for baking the best cookies, pizza and biscuits, bag clips, food processor, slow cooker. Ok, I guess it's a long list!

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  11. pampered chef awesome microwaveable vegetable steamer... which can also defrost frozen meat in like 5 minutes; good-quality kitchen knives (we have wustoff); good spatulas... the kind that aren't too floppy

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  12. I threw out my choppy chop after it let me down by breaking. We invested in a food processor. OMG! Best tool you should ever own! That is my number one tool I couldn't live without. I have no idea how I survived before!

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  13. My Vitamix blender for my morning smoothie. So good! A very sharp knife is another essential for me.

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  14. Does that hand peeler work on potatoes?

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  15. This is great! I'm so with you. When people buy me things for my kitchen, I get annoyed because I don't have whatever it is because I don't need it. And then I realize that there are a few things that I do have that would be categorized as a gadget: my kitchenaid (like yours) and my strawberry huller thingymabob. Even my hand strainer.

    But Yeah, I'm with you, too!

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  16. I COMPLETELY agree with the palm peeler (and the mixer) and have been without mine for 4 months now. I miss it so and am so excited to find it when we move to our own place again. :) It's seriously the one tool I wish I could find in storage. I currently despise peeling foods and will put off making our favorite recipes until I can't stand it any longer purely because I despise the peeling it takes. My daughter would get more fruit variety (and more veggie variety) if I could just find the darned thing. I seriously use my moms kitchen to do a lot fo my cooking purely because I can snag her peeler from her when I'm there. :'( I miss the little guy, lol.

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  17. Bullet style mini blender is really the little engine that could and does. I use that thing at least twice a day. And a rice cooker. Those two appliances make my world go round.

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  18. Amazing things you have in your kitchen.
    These are very useful and time saving machines.

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  19. As soon as I had a kitchen of my own, i told everyone and their mother how badly i wanted cast iron cookware. My mother in law bought us a set for our first anniversary and it was the second greatest thing she gave me, (first being her son). i swear cast iron even elevates grilled cheese to the next level!

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  20. My favorite is the ninja Mixer. Mine has a big blender and 2 smaller cups bowls. Mine has the power on top. Love it. Makes whipped cream, salsa, cream sauces, etc. I use it just about every day. Best thing is fruit sorbet(using frozen fruits)

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    1. i would be lost without my ninja....i wonder how i ever did anything without it!!!!

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  21. My favorite kitchen item is my teenage daughter who loves to bake in there! I must confess that I've never used my KitchenAid, lol! Actually, I have little storage and I'm not a gadget person, but there are some great ideas here. With a large family, I use my big electric skillet the most, because pans are never big enough. I've never seen a palm peeler, but I keep plenty of good veggie peelers around so all the kids can help at once.

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  22. Aww.... my big ole' baby was over 9 lbs at birth, so the scale wouldn't have worked. (I probably don't own a bowl big enough for him to have fit in, either...) Too funny!

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    1. We use a postal scale to weigh our son. Im not sure what the weight limit is, but it still works great at 19 months and 27 lbs.

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  23. I actually don't have any of these things {but I want them}. My biggest wish is for one of those stand mixers.

    On another note, have you considered making a tab just for the printables you've created? I think it would make it super easy for people to find them all since they seem to be scattered among separate posts. I'm creating a list of resources for free home management binder printables on my blog and was hoping for one central location I could send them to here. Just a thought... ;)

    Love your blog!

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  24. My garlic press (otherwise, I find myself just using garlic powder which is nowhere as good) and my scoop. It looks like I need a 20, though, because I would love one big enough for muffins.

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  25. Any OXO product as they have a lifetime guarantee, and an IMMERSION BLENDER- easy creamed soups, equal parts soft butter and oil for "stretched butter", baby food.... worth its weight in gold!

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  26. hi Kelly

    sorry to leave this here but couldn't find an email, while checking out a site that is nothing but copied posts, I found one of yours and wanted to let you know. http://cakerecipeswithpictures.com/cinnamon-buns/

    Dennis

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. I LOVE my garlic press!

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  29. For me it's my Ninja! I love this blender - everything about it. I use it to make smoothies, salsa, ice cream and more.

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  30. I've never heard of a palm peeler. My mom loves any kind of kitchen gadget, so I think I might have to find one for her (and one for me, too!)

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