I have been decluttering most of my house and getting rid of a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, the kitchen is a bit harder for me. I love cool kitchen gadgets that aren't one-trick ponies, but have a variety of uses. I thought I'd list my top 5 favorites that just might find their way onto your own wish list. But don't put them on your Christmas list. You don't want kitchen stuff for Christmas. It's stuff for the household, so it for sure needs to come out of the household portion of your budget. ;-)
External Oven Thermometer
A good friend of mine got an external thermometer for me. (I think because I was drooling over it so much at the kitchen store.) It's pretty embarrassing how giddy I get over this thing. You just stick the probe into your bread or your meat in the oven, sit the device on the counter or stick it to something magnetic and then it beeps when it reaches temperature! How insanely cool is that??!?! (Or am I just super geeky about kitchen stuff? Please tell me I'm not the only one...)
Convection Toaster Oven
I recently invested in one of these. And I'm seriously thinking of getting rid of my regular toaster. Why? Well, for one, I can toast 4-6 slices of bread at once and it actually toasts the bread in one go- no pushing the toast down 2 or 3 times to get it toasted enough. Yippee! And look! You can bake a small pizza in there, several potatoes, reheat some garlic bread or broil some fish... The possibilities are endless!
The things I love: it toasts, has a convection fan to speed up baking, it broils, and it uses a lot less energy than heating up your entire oven. Also, if you want to reheat something so that it's crispy, like leftover pizza, it's a better option than a microwave which leaves your pizza soggy and unevenly heated.
I thought I might get rid of our microwave because of this puppy, but no. It does a lot of things, but it doesn't thaw meat out in 10 minutes like I need to do sometimes. So much for decluttering.
3. Bosch Universal Mixer
This baby is on my wish list. We're saving up for it. Yes, it's pricey but I just have one thing to say: "Move over KitchenAid!"
I love that it doesn't have this huge honkin' thing hanging over the bowl. It's super powerful and easy to add new ingredients from the top. One of their newest improvements include suction cup feet so that it doesn't vibrate or jump around (like some gadget I know that starts with Kitchen and ends in Aid.) A friend of mine owns one and loves it. The downside with any type of mixer like this is that the attachments are separate. I want to get the meat grinder and the sausage stuffer! I've always wanted to make my own sausage! Of course it's main use would be to knead bread.
4. Dough Whisk
After all those electronic gadgets, this one is wonderfully simple, yet effective. I got one recently, but haven't used it yet. The dough whisk makes stirring heavy bread dough (or cookie dough) much easier than with a spoon and the dough doesn't stick to it either, apparently. It looks pretty darn cool too! I can't wait to use it!
5. Kitchen Shears
I have to say that this is one of my most-used tools in the kitchen. I have the exact pair shown above and I've used it to strip herbs, but mostly to cut food packaging, to cut vegetables and fruit (when I'm feeling lazy), and even to cut the tips off raw chicken wings when I make homemade hot wings. They are very sturdy and strong and I love that they come apart to be washed in the dishwasher. Another good thing is that their edge is smooth, not serrated, so that they are easy to sharpen at home with a good knife/scissor sharpener. I love my kitchen shears!
Okay, I know I only said 5 kitchen gadgets, but I had to throw this last one in there. I know so many women that have had a hard time finding good kitchen knives. I myself bought what I considered a "good" set of knives, only to be disappointed with how they felt in my hand and how they cut.
What you're looking for in a good knife is a solid handle that is a single piece with the blade, is comfortable to hold, and has a thin blade. In my opinion, the most perfect kitchen knives are made by Rada. These knives are amazing. My mom had one of their paring knives when I was growing up and that knife seriously lasted forever. And it was the perfect size. My husband and I got 2 sets as wedding presents (lucky me!) and I have love, love, loved them! Just be sure to have a good knife sharpener and those knives will last a really long time. Not to mention, I think they are pretty affordable and a great investment. Heck, they could become a treasured family heirloom! They stick really well to my magnetic knife bar too. :-)