Happy 1st Monday of the year!
I love getting kitchen gadgets as gifts because #1, I love to cook, and #2, I don’t have to buy it myself. Haha. But all kitchen gadgets are not created equal in necessity. I don’t have a lot of storage or counter space in my kitchen, so, every inch is prime real estate. Fortunately for me, my strong desire to declutter tagged along with me to greet the new year. So, this new year will be a continuation of my endless journey to declutter my home. Does anybody else gets really stressed when the home is cluttered with unused, unnecessary items? Because I do. And can I just add, why am I still not 100% decluttered by now?! Because I am not an island of one!
I’m a little bit on the slow side getting my year started this year. Partly due to a very, unbelievably, busy holiday season! I’m really blessed with a great big family, and I love them but, Wow!, this introvert has had her fill of social activity every day for the last two weeks of 2019. So much so that I had to silence my phone to get mental peace and quiet. Every body wonders why I sleep so much when I’m inactive! It’s because it’s the only place I don’t have to help fulfill anyone else’s agenda, including my own.
Rule #1 of the New Year: There’s no guilt in taking time off! Because it’s either I rest or I’m just not worth having around. I took me the rest of the new 2020 week 1 to get back on track! I’m skipping the whole new year’s resolution and goals for the blog post this year, and just moving along to a new post: 10 Must-have and 10 Not-so Must-have gadgets for the kitchen to celebrate year ’20, because I’m in a strong decluttering phase right now because the year is so new! This is an unsponsored post.
#1 Pampered Chef Mix and Chop
I love this item! I bought it more than 10+ years ago, and I still use it to grind meat when I’m cooking. For anyone who has tried cooking ground meat in a pan, this tool is a game changer! I use this at least once a week to make my GSD’s food, and sometimes to make taco meat.
While I now have a hand held electric mixer to grind meat in the pot, especially helpful making homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, nothing beats the one tool to wash for me. An electronic device will be more work as I try to put it together and plug in. As a fitness plus, the manual chopping means some arm workouts added to your day.
I use sifters largely for flour and sugar for my baking and for removing lumps off liquid batter, especially helpful when I make Sapin-sapin – one of my fave desserts – recipe forthcoming. I have three kinds of sifters: a handheld with a crank handle, a small regular handheld, and a large over the counter steel colander, that does more than just sifting. While I think the sifter with the crank handle is cute, I can do without it. Honestly, I can use just the large sifter for everything I need a sifter for; but, a smaller sifter is extra handy for dusting cakes and for when working with smaller containers.
#3 Bamboo spatula
Mine are pampered Chef and I bought them 10+ years ago. I love the sturdiness of it, which is especially helpful when making Ube, or food that are extra thick to work with. As a plus, I feel good knowing it’s not slowly melting in the heat and mixing unknown substances in my food. You never really know. It’s also extra helpful when I leave it in the pot for longer than expected because it doesn’t burn my hands when I pick it up again because you know, I multi-task.
#4 Plastic Food Scraper
This is very useful for scraping crust off from bakeware, pots, and pans. Mine are Pampered Chef that came with the stoneware that I bought almost 20 years ago. I don’t have my stoneware anymore but I still use the food scraper that came with it.
#5 Manual Handheld Whipped Cream Maker
I never knew just how easy it was to make whipped cream until I made one myself with this gadget. Mine is a gift, a Pampered Chef. I needed only two ingredients: heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. (I can use granulated sugar too but it scrapes the plastic during mixing.) It’s a bit of an arm workout to use, about 100 pumps for me to have my preferred consistency, but that’s exercise, you guys. Don’t be afraid of a manual work. I personally like infusing workouts throughout my day. That way, when I don’t get to fit a “workout”, I know I did some throughout the day. This item takes such a small space compared to a stand-alone or hand held mixer.
#6 Pineapple Corer
I didn’t even know these existed until a couple years ago. I just cut the top off a fresh pineapple and twist the pineapple corer into to the pineapple flesh. What comes out is a long spiral of pineapple goodness that I can just run a knife through to make pineapple slices, chunks, or tidbits. I love it! I bought mine from Aldi’s for $5. I’ve made so many pineapple smoothies easily with this. No more peeling involved and less to clean up. And since the outer shell is still intact, it makes for a great smoothie presentation when I transfer the smoothie back in it.
#7 Ninja Blender
I was gifted a Ninja Blender by my hubby a few years back and I still love it to this day! I can make single serve or large quantities of very icy smoothies. I love that it is heavy duty to crush the ice I like to fill it with. I make acai bowls and all sorts of very icy smoothies. (P.S. I was also gifted a juicer a 15 years ago by a family member, and to this day, it remains unused. haha Sorry, gifter. Maybe this is the year, I’ll finally use it. Is it worth the effort though when there’s a blender?!?)
#8 K-pod Wall Organizer
One of the gifts I gave my husband this year is a new Keurig K-duo coffee maker, that I got for $97 at Target during Black Friday. We all love it! We can make single serve coffee or, for me – a, more cost effective, pot full of coffee. Since we don’t have a lot of counter space, I also bought a K-pod wall organizer. It’s a bit of a inner battle for me, owning our first Keurig. We throw so much one-time use plastic containers! I will essentially buy a reusable K-pod. I want to continue being more active in creating less waste.
#9. Reusable Produce Bags
These were recent Christmas gifts. I try, when I can, not to use produce plastics bags when I grocery shop. It drives my husband crazy that the fruits and vegetables are just hanging loosely in the cart. I try to explain to him that it’s better for the Earth that way. Now, I have bags to use without adding to the plastic waste to satisfy both my husband and I. I love it!
#10 Rice Cooker
I can live without eating rice, but why?! And while eating less carbs will be beneficial for me, I am consciously choosing to continue eating carbs, preferably in moderation, because carbs, like rice, makes me happy. My rice cooker cooks up to 12 cups of rice! It is especially helpful during family parties. My current one is a gift from my mom a few years back. I’ve used it solely for making rice, although it doubles as a steamer too. I have cooked brown rice, basmati rice, and jasmine rice in it; but, I have not tried making quinoa with it yet though.
These are my essentials kitchen tools. Not to exclude pots and pans, and bakeware because those are essentials without the mention. I would love to shift to stainless steel cookware in the future. It’s supposedly better; but, I haven’t done much research. For now, I’m sticking with my teflon covered cookware, which, are also a gift. Haha. I told you, I love getting kitchen gadgets.
Then there are some gadgets I have but don’t feel quite worthy of space, in my kitchen at least:
#1 Bread Machine. Ours is a hand-me-down. I’ve used it twice, since acquiring it. I do like that the bread mixes, rises, and cooks in one gadget for an easy cleanup. But I rarely make loaf bread. I do make Pan de sal though, and I prefer to make it manually.
#2 Insta Pot or Pressure Cooker. We got this as a gift, and at the time, I still ate meat. I don’t anymore, so I don’t have any use for tenderizing much of anything, and my kids are starting to eat less meat too, which only leaves my husband. While it does tenderize the meat, frozen or thawed, a lot faster, there really is not much use for it for us. Certainly, we do not use this gadget to it’s potential; but, there are just too many different taste buds in my family that eliminates the need to cook large batches of anything.
#3 Pampered Chef manual Food Chopper. There are so many crevices to this. A small electric food processor can do the same job easier.
#4 Mixing Pitcher. The downside to this is that the mixer is attached to the cover, and if I wanted to add anything solid in the pitcher, like sliced fruits, the handle that controls the mixer protrudes out, making it harder to store in the fridge for me, that or I store it uncovered.
#5 Stand-alone mixer. My Kitchen-aid mixer is a hand-me down from my mother-in-law. While I make a conscious effort to use it because I have it, it’s not really a necessity for me, especially for the price. I don’t use it to it’s potential, for sure. I don’t ever feel the need to grind my own meat, or make my own pasta, for example. I mix cake batter with my hand too. What I will use my stand-alone mixer for is meringue, whip cream, icing, macaroons. However, all these, I can use a handheld mixer for, which will take a lot less space than my stand alone mixer. Since I do have it, I’m not going to spend money just to replace it. It’s won’t be cost effective. For now, it stays. If not for anything, for decoration. Haha
#6 Can Colander. I bought mine a few years back for tuna. However, I find that letting the juice run from the can while holding the top of the can cover and then dumping the meat onto paper towels to squeeze the remaining juice out more effective. I rarely use canned anything these days though. I’m trying to progress onto a more natural approach to food. The operative word being: “trying”. I don’t have a lot of pantry space either. I have 2 cupboard worth of pantry space that is always full to the brim because of every one’s taste bud preference. It drives me bonkers having to pull everything in the front to get to the back stuff! The less canned food, the better for me.
#7 Electric Popcorn Maker. I thought this would be cool to have because it pops the kernels without the use of oil – so healthy. It uses a small space in my storage; however, popcorn doesn’t taste good to me without oil. I can add all the salt I want, at the end of the day, popcorn just need to have an added “oil” taste. I satisfy my popcorn cravings with popping the kernels in a pot on stove top. All I need is oil and popcorn kernels. I very rarely cook microwaveble popcorn.
#8 Misto Oil Spray. I love the idea of spritzing plain oil; however, mine just keeps clogging that it rarely works. It’s frustrating. So, for now, I use silicone brush to coat bakeware with oil, when necessary. Maybe other brands of oil sprays work or maybe I just got a defective one. So I’m willing to give another brand a try. Any suggestions?
#9 Ceramic Tea Pot. These are really cute, and I was given one as a gift; but, they come so small that I can drink the entire pot serving alone, in one sitting! A tea kettle would be better, or for convenience, water in a mug microwaved works perfectly fine for me. I get it, mugs do not make for a pretty tea time showcase. Now that we have a Keurig, I can just run the hot water through the coffee maker too. P.S. I drink tea like water.
#10 Tea cups. I don’t have any of these decorative ones anymore, except for 1 of my original Japanese tea set, a gift. They are hand wash, most of the time, and takes space for something I don’t use all that often. Instead, I use my “You are Here” Starbucks microwave and dishwasher safe mugs. I get it, it’s not as pretty for tea time parties, which I don’t do anyway. haha.
There you have it, my 10 Must-have and 10 Not-so must have kitchen items based on my personal experience that made it to 2020. As I have said, kitchen storage space is prime real estate in my house, so each item that claims a spot has to be worthy of it. Some of the items I mentioned may work for better for you and some may not. To each her own. Maybe, just maybe, this list may help you buy less this year, or the least, help you decide to remove some clutter out your kitchen. Potato, patatas.
As Marie Kondo advices, ask yourself if having the item still spark joy in you. If not, say goodbye to it and donate it – when ever you are ready, of course.
I hope your new year is starting off well. I’m certainly living it with the continued goal to use less and be more Earth-friendly. I still catch myself without reusable shopping bags but I’m working on it. I’ll put together a list of places to drop off your used shopping plastic bags for recycling in a future post. Every little positive change helps. I am a work in progress.
What must-have items have made it to 2020 in your kitchen?
Until next time.