Kitchen Efficiency

I love being in my kitchen but there are a few gadgets and whatnot that I couldn’t live without. I have a tendency to get messy when cooking big meals, or attempting a new, detailed recipe. Hubby jokes me because I often spill food on myself (when eating and cooking), and lately I’ve been dropping things a lot. Having a messy kitchen is just part of “my way” I suppose, and it is lucky for us all that I am so good and efficient at cleaning up as well.

I believe that an efficient kitchen is a happy kitchen. If you don’t have a system then you will likely view cooking as a chore. Even I would not like being in the kitchen as much if I didn’t have great tools to help me. So, in the interest of finding out new and awesome kitchen tools out there, I will first tell you what are my favorites.

1. Tongs: I have many tongs but I love these in particular. I use tongs a lot, for all kinds of things.

2. Pampered Chef mandolin: Simply Awesome.

3. Glad Press ‘n Seal and Reynolds Heavy Duty Foil: No other foil brand will do. I also use those elastic bowl covers.

4. Iced Tea Maker: My Southern boys drink a lot of sweet tea. I make one of these every 2 days and sometimes it doesn’t even last that long! My favorite tea bags are Tetley Family Sized ~ 24 rounds. It takes 2 rounds per pitcher of tea and 1/2 cup organic sugar.

5. Salt: I use either Sea or Kosher Salt, and find it extra handy to have some always available in a little ramekin like this. I actually cook better once I learned how to season with salt and pepper. I feel I have more control over my salt usage when I can pinch it out.

6. Oil and Vinegar: I only cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVER. The vinegar is balsamic. I don’t have near the need for it as I do the oil. It is very handy to have it right by the stove in these easy to pour bottles.

7. Mini Food Processor and Immersion Blender: These two are interchangeable at the handle. I love them both and use them all the time.

8. Stove-side Caddy: I have a drawer full of odds and ends, like a fantastic vegetable peeler, but this caddy holds all the great wooden spoons and high-heat resistant scrapers I could ever need. I use these on a daily basis so I keep the caddy right next to the stove.

9. Large Mixing/Measuring Bowls: I did not take a picture of it but I also have a bigger (8 cup) measuring cup from Pampered Chef. I use both of these all the time for measuring and just as general mixing bowls. I also can’t forget my WHISK. I am old school in the way of mixing, preferring to use this awesome whisk or a fork. I do have a hand mixer but tend to only use it for cakes, etc.

10. Food Saver: This is the smaller version of the Food Saver. I have had it for years, and any savvy mom out there trying to save money should have one. You can’t beat the money you will save by buying in bulk and then freezing for future meals. This machine allows you to portion out your food into any amounts (I try to portion out my bulk meat for meals that serve 4) and then cut the bag to fit it. No waste.

OKAY, so that’s my top 10 kitchen gadgets that I use A LOT. But here are a few other things that also help me out on a daily basis.

Dish Liquid: I use these cute, decorative bottles to store dish liquid right next to my sink. It’s just a reach away and not the least bit unsightly.

Hand Towels: These great little towels came from Williams – Sonoma. I keep them stacked in a little basket near the sink for quick clean ups. And speaking of Williams & Sonoma, I forgot to mention the sponges. I LOVE these sponges. You can also find them at Trader Joes for a much better deal. They are pop-ups and way more durable than store-bought brands that get nasty and stinky quickly. These last much longer and don’t hold those gross germs like other sponges.

Fish Mouth: This was probably not intended to be a holder for my dish brush, but it’s been incredibly convenient!

Straws: Number Two is big about straws. I keep them on the counter and at the ready. It also adds color and a fun flair to the room.

Air-Popper: This is a newer purchase. We love popcorn but really wanted to get away from the microwaveable stuff. We love making our own popcorn and adding a little salt or garlic powder to it. I definitely don’t feel guilty when I scarf down a bowl anymore.

Dinner Bell: I saved the best for last. This old bell has been our “dinner bell” for years. I love it because I don’t have to go screaming all over the house or out into the yard to announce that dinner is ready. All I have to do is ring the bell and they all come running. It’s awesome 🙂

What are some of your kitchen essentials?

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