When it comes to kitchen toys, I’m totally a material girl. -insert Madonna’s 1985 hit song- Maybe it’s my Taurean nature, I don’t know, but I definitely seem to spend more money on kitchen accessories than clothing accessories.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so perhaps my materialism in this area is justified. I appreciate having good quality items for a few reasons:
- They won’t crap out on me.
- They make cooking more efficient. Patience isn’t always one of my virtues.
- They improve the quality of my food – it’s more nutritious, and/or it has a better taste or texture.
All this said, my collection of kitchen toys isn’t too large yet. I’m still working on it! I always have my eye on new gadgets, forever looking to expand my collection until one day I can say I have my “dream team” of tools and accessories at my disposal. For now, though, I can say I’m doing well.
Here are a few of my most favourite items. Some of these may seem small or insignificant, but they serve a purpose and I can honestly say I feel gratitude and warm fuzzies every time I use them.
Thermo-Pot by Black+Blum – I always carry a lunch with me to work, or when I’m out and about. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being able to carry a hot meal! I absolutely love this thermos for a few reasons: it holds a lot (500ml is way more than other thermoses I’ve looked at), it has a spoon magnetized to the side, and it keeps my food nice and hot for several hours – the vaccuum lid has a 10 year guarantee! Plus, it’s made of stainless steel (hooray for no plastic!) and the cork top is super pretty. Do yourself a favour and pick up one of these beauties. I can’t imagine what I’d do without it now.
Silicone Muffin Cups – These may be old news for many of you, but if you haven’t tried baking with these yet, do it. Silicone liners are the way to go for muffins and cupcakes – no more struggling to get them out of the pan, and cleanup becomes a breeze. Sure you could use paper liners, but they’re less earth-friendly and I find I lose some of my muffin because it sticks to the paper. No one wants that.
Benriner Cook Helper Slicer – The fancy name of my spiralizer. I was gifted this incredible thing of wonderfulness a couple years ago, and I couldn’t be happier with it. As a nutritionist who recommends limiting our grain consumption, I believe that everyone should have a spiralizer in their kitchen! My partner and I use it every week. Zucchini noodles (aka zoodles) make a great substitution for spaghetti. Spiralizers are easy to use and there’s many different types, brands, and price ranges, so what are you waiting for? :)
Canning Funnel – A funnel designed for Mason jars. This may seem ridiculous, I know. I was wondering why I should even bother getting one, but I’m glad I did. The funnel is super wide, so it makes throwing stuff in the jar SO much easier. I use it when I make sauerkraut.
Santevia Water Pitcher – Think Brita, but better. Santevia not only filters your tap water but alkalizes it. Currently my budget, as well as lack of counter space in my kitchen apartment, make it difficult to get a bigger and more elaborate countertop filter. Thankfully, the Santevia pitcher is working well for us right now. Also, you can get a small portable filter for your water bottle and be able to filter your water on the go. I used it when we were camping. Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes I do notice a difference in the taste of the filtered water vs tap water.
KitchenAid Immersion Blender – I’m so damn happy to have this. When making pureed soups, we used to awkwardly transfer the soup from the pot into the food processor, in batches. It took a while and was a pain in the butt, not to mention it added another large item to clean up afterwards. Now we simply stick this hand blender into the pot of soup and blend away – easy peasy. It’s also great to use when you just want to blend a small quantity of something, instead of dirtying your big food processor. I use this all the time to make my sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate milkshake. (Please click on that link and go make it now. You’re welcome.)
Double Deckered Lazy Susan Spice Rack – Unfortunately I don’t have a link to show you where you can buy something like this, so I’ve included a picture of my own and hopefully you can find something similar if you’re interested. Having an organized way to store your spices, something that’s neat and tidy, will make your kitchen experiences much more pleasant. Who wants to sniff through a pile of random, unlabelled spices in little baggies? I don’t know if this item here is actually intended to be a spice rack, but when we saw it, we knew it would be a perfect solution. Finding the spices I need is a breeze. Plus, this fits right inside my cupboard, saving a ton of precious counter space in our small kitchen.
Stainless Steel Tea Infuser – Last but certainly not least, is this tea steeper/strainer/infuser. I love this little guy! When steeping looseleaf tea, I’ve found this is the easiest for me. When I’m feeling under the weather I throw chunks of garlic and ginger into this little thing, let it steep in the hot water, and I’m feeling better in no time. I love that I can use it for a single mug or for a whole teapot; it fits nicely inside either.
As I said, my collection is ever growing. Down the road I’ll make some additions to this list and re-post it.
What’s currently on my wishlist? Cute little moulds for gelatin gummies, some ramekins, glass straws, silicone baking mats, a 2-gallon Mason jar kombucha dispenser, a roasting pan, a pizza stone, an ice cream maker, and a Berkey water filter.
Before I go, I thought I’d mention a few words about living on a budget (because we all have a budget, right?). Here are some tips:
- Firstly, make a wishlist. Think about what you desire, write it all down in a list, and imagine what it would feel like to own those things. Imagine yourself using them in your own home. Sounds cheesy, but just try it.
- Decide what’s important and don’t be a hoarder. Don’t buy things for the sake of buying things (does that ever feel good, really?). If you walk into any kitchen store you’ll see there’s a lot of random kitchen CRAP out there. Buy items that are actually useful to you, so you don’t waste your money accumulating all kinds of stuff you’re not going to use on a regular basis. The little stuff adds up, and I know personally I don’t have the space for it.
- Go for quality. Do your research and choose the product that will ultimately last you longer (many years), even if it means waiting a little longer until you have the money saved up. It will be frustrating when an appliance breaks within 2 years and you have to buy something new again.
- Ask for it! Put your longed-for appliances and kitchen gadgets on your wishlist for birthdays and other holidays. That’s how I got my cast iron pan, dehydrator, and most recently, my food processor. Also, you may be lucky enough to get a hand-me-down from a family member or friend, if they know you’re after something specific. When my sister-in-law learned that I needed a slow cooker, she gave me her old one that she didn’t use anymore and was just taking up space – a win-win for both of us.
- Borrow or rent where possible. While you’re waiting patiently for your own Vitamix (or other coveted kitchen appliance) see if you can borrow someone else’s for special projects, events, and occasions. In Toronto, there is a Kitchen Library that recently opened, where you can rent kitchen items. What a fantastic idea.
- Splurge when you can. Even though it was a bit out of my price range, several years ago I treated myself to this juicer. I was fortunate at the time to be in a place (financially) where this purchase didn’t break the bank. Embrace the abundant times and enjoy making these special purchases.
- Cultivate gratitude for what you already have. If you have a kitchen with electricity and a fully functioning fridge and stove, you have more than millions of people in the world. It isn’t until we’re grateful for the goodness that already exists in our lives, that we’re open enough to receive more.
“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” –Julia Child
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