10 Essential Gadgets Your Kitchen Needs Now

10 Essential Gadgets Your Kitchen Needs Now

Setting up a new kitchen or updating your old one? With so many gadgets on the market, you could be feeling overwhelmed in deciphering what’s worth it and what’s not. Here are ten must-have gadgets and appliances that would make your cooking life a whole lot easier.

1. Silicone Spatula

A spatula is a small cooking implement that is essential for scraping out the food processor or sides of a mixing bowl. Why not purchase a set of silicone spatulas that are heat-proof up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit? Not only will you have the ease of mixing, scrambling, and serving, but the heat resistance allows for the spatula to avoid melting if you leave it against your pot or pan. This item is a joy to use and reasonably priced for the quality

2. Immersion Blender

Once you’ve tried this, you won’t ever want to give it up. The immersion blender, also known as a stick blender, is a handheld tool that makes it easy to blend soups, smoothies, and pestos with a push of a button. Soups can be pureed right into the pot; small batches can be easily mixed in a bowl. Sauces can be thickened and emulsified without removing them from the stovetop. They are typically easy to clean and store, and dishwasher-safe to boot. It is much easier to handle than a traditional blender and takes up much less space.

3. Instant-Read Thermometer

A quality meat thermometer is a must if you often cook meats and want to stop guessing at when they’re done. With an instant-read thermometer, you are easily and quickly able to check to see if your meats are cooked enough. If you are cooking a lot of meat, passionate about your meat, or even paranoid about it, a digital thermometer will become invaluable. A few degrees can be the difference between a tender and tough steak.

4. Cast Iron Skillet

Made with thick, heavy bottoms and sides, cast iron skillets have been workhorses in kitchens all over the world for over 2,000 years. They can evenly heat to high temperatures and retain heat for a long time a give beautiful sear to any class of meat. They can be used on the stovetop and also able to go right in the oven for making cornbread or cobblers. They are also virtually indestructible and will last a lifetime.

5. Mandoline Slicer

The mandoline slicer is indispensable for thinly, slicing, crinkle-cutting, or waffle-cutting veggies. An adjustable-height slicer makes cutting precise slices as simple as waving your hand.

6. Silicone Baking Sheet Liner

Having a baking sheet liner will help provide an even heat transfer for your goodies while they bake. It also allows for easy transfer from baking pan to plate with its silicone technology to share with members of your family. It’s durability, non-staining, and non-sticking surface makes it easy for delicate pastries and goodies to come off without tearing, and cleanup is simple.

7. Kitchen Shears

Every day we reach for shears to open up packaging, snip away herb stems, or trim fats from meats. You might use them to cut up a chicken or trim the crust off a pie. Look for a pair that dismantles for cleaning, so that residue doesn’t build up in the hinge.

8. Microplane Grater and Zester

A microplane grater and zester are for making the most finely-grated pieces of fruits, vegetables, and cheese in basically no time at all. It is perfect for adding thin sprinkles of Parmesan over a pasta dish or adding lemon zest to a flaky fish.

9. Tongs

Tongs may seem less immediately essential, but being able to easily and precisely grip hot foods is a major plus. For easily flipping meats and vegetables, a good pair of tongs that can handle all kinds of different sized foods is a must. It’s important for them to have silicone tips to prevent scratching and a high degree of heat-resistance so they don’t melt after frequent use.

10. Countertop Toaster Oven

A countertop toaster oven makes anything from pizza to cookies. Not only do you save a little money on your energy bill, but it also greatly increases functionality being able to heat up quickly.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Bath?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.

 

Sources

  1. https://www.buzzfeed.com/nataliebrown/essential-cooking-tools-utensils-gadgets?utm_term=.qvBnd24bma#.gs4Rb3rlMQ
  2. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/21-essential-kitchen-tools-every-cook-should-have/
  3. https://www.wayfair.com/ideas-and-advice/18-things-every-foodie-kitchen-needs-S5282.html
  4. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-bare-minimum-the-10-tools-gadgets-goods-every-kitchen-needs-206947
  5. https://www.epicurious.com/archive/bestof/toplists/bestgadgets_knife
  6. https://www.mealime.com/kitchen-essentials-list
  7. https://www.housebeautiful.com/shopping/g3822/kitchen-supplies/?slide=2

DIY Magnetic Board

Hey ya’ll- Ashley here! So my inspiration for this magnetic board came from a Melissa and Doug magnetic doll for Laney last week. She showed immediate interest, but found it hard to dress the doll with the little stand it came with and the no flat surfaces we seemed to have for her disposal. (Insert light bulb above head). I will make her a magnetic board that we can attach to the wall in her play area. Big enough for this doll and any other magnets she may acquire. Thus a project was about to start!

First things first, I had nothing to make said magnetic wall board. So we all jumped in the car and headed to our second favorite place- Home Depot! There are two ways to make any surface magnetic; you can apply a magnetic paint- usually black and a very bold statement to a surface or you can purchase a piece of magnetic zinc coated metal, in any size desirable. I chose the latter.

So we went in with this list:

  • 24×46″ 26ga. zinc sheet metal
  • white window/base board molding (to frame sheet metal)
  • rosettes (to make window molding look like a frame and a little more dressed up)
  • paint to paint the window molding

We found all of our material and paint, which gave us a grand total of $51.87!!

I already had some leftover paint at home that I used to paint the frame- but most stores have samples you can buy for really cheap and even mark down paint that wasn’t used.

Once we got home, I cleared all of Laney’s toys so hubby could hang the sheet metal. He did this using Loctite construction adhesive (that bad boy isn’t going anywhere!). While the metal dried and adhered to the wall, hubby cut the molding to fit around the metal square size using a miter jig. The molding was 2″ thick so we just overlapped half of it to the metal and the rest the wall. The right and left panels are 34 1/2″ in length. The bottom and the top panels are 20″ in length. This will leave just enough of a gap in each corner- your rosettes go there!

 

Before
Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MagneticBoard2

While the metal was drying and adhering to the wall, I painted the molding using chalk paint because it adheres to any material with little to no prep work required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MagneticBoard3Now that the metal had adhered to the wall and all the molding pieces were dry (I left the rosettes the primed white they came as for a pop of color), we glued the molding first and the rosettes second. We used duct tape to keep everything in place while it dried. (The Loctite adhesive we used required a 24 hour cure time-this will vary depending on what product you go with, or if you use adhesive at all). We only let it cure for about 12 hours and it was solid.

This is how our magnetic wall board turned out!!

 

 

 

 

Overall this was a fairly easy shopping spree as all needed materials are readily kept in stock. The only tool that you may not have lying around wood be the jig- but those are fairly inexpensive tool and cool to have in the garage! The actual set up time was done while Laney was sleeping so the adhering process and drying time of the paint was not compromised.

She absolutely loves playing on her board and am so happy we decided to make this for her- not only can she used it for her dolls, she can practice her numbers, letters and colors as well as use the board to hang her art!

 

I have an eye for seeing the problems others might miss. If you have some trouble areas in your kitchen or bath contact us and we will help you locate and find the perfect solutions.

Is Green Design a “Thing” Anymore?

 

IMG_6077   About 10 years ago, I began taking classes at UC Berkeley Extension to complete a certificate program in Sustainable Design. As I to worked my way through the program, I began to wonder if eventually, the terms Sustainable Design, or Green Design would become redundant, because all good design would automatically incorporate sustainability. Well, I must not have been the only one to sense that things were heading in that direction, because it wasn’t long after that, just as I was completing the program, that the school stopped offering that particular certificate.

   Increasingly, building codes are being changed that require more water saving and energy saving products than ever before. And, many companies are incorporating sustainable practices into their materials and manufacturing processes.

   You may wonder what constitutes a sustainable or “green” design, and how do you incorporate these concepts into your home remodel project? There are actually a lot of different criteria to consider when evaluating the sustainability of a product or process, and the choice as to what you consider to be a top priority is often an individual decision.

Some of these aspects of sustainability are:

• Personal use of resources in your home, such as how much energy or water is used.

• The wise use of resources in the manufacturing of a product.

• The distance that materials have to travel to get to your job-site, affecting the carbon footprint.

• The responsible resourcing of materials, such as sustainably grown wood for floors and cabinets.

• The policies and practices of the companies that manufacture the products that you choose.

• The way that products affect the immediate environment within the home, especially with regard to off-gassing and materials that create poor indoor air quality.

 

   If these are issues that are of concern to you, it can be confusing and overwhelming to do the research and make choices that are best suited to your individual needs and requirements. Let us use our knowledge and expertise to guide and assist you to find the products that you can incorporate into your remodeling project that will help keep your home and planet happy and healthy.