10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

It’s soon to be THAT time of year, prepping your house for the onslaught of holiday entertaining is something of a necessity! It’s officially holiday party time where you have holiday potlucks, gingerbread house building parties, and extravagant dinner parties. It’s also a time that can get pretty stressful if you’ve decided to host a festive get-together for friends, family or both! Here are ten easy steps to help avoid the stress and making sure your kitchen is in top shape before the holidays hit.
 

1. Purge Old Food

Set an afternoon aside to clear out all old food items in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. You will not only be getting rid of expired and unwanted items you’ve forgotten about, but you’ll also be creating more room for all those holiday culinary creations. Make more room in a crowded freezer by taking things out of their bulky boxed packaging and storing food in resealable plastic bags. Discard foods that show signs of freezer burn, and place food items that you’ll need up front and center. While your at it, take a quick moment to give your fridge shelves a good wipe down. The quick clean will make your fridge feel fresh thru out the holidays.
 

2. Check Your Spices and Oils

Check the “best by” dates on all the spices and oils you plan on using. When in doubt, throw out all spices or oils over a year old as well as any that don’t have an obvious aroma when opened. Did you know that spices and oils can go rancid or lose their flavor and scent entirely?  Some spices that you might need this holiday season are poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, and sage. Making sure you have those in stock before the holidays is a good item to put on your to-do list.

3. Clean Your Appliances

Cleaning your appliances is one of those chores that is easy to put off. A simple cleaning tool for any of your household appliances is ammonia. Inexpensive ammonia, baking soda, or plain white vinegar can help to loosen and dissolve those tough messes when dealing with your appliances. Never mix ammonia with other strong cleaning agents, such as bleach or commercial oven cleaners. If you have a gas oven, make sure the pilot light is out and the gas has been turned off before you start cleaning. Also make sure you check each appliance you plan to use – microwave oven, stovetop, oven, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, crockpots, food processor, mixer and blender. Nothing better than the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie! A clean oven insures that is all you smell…
 

4. Wash Dishes, Flatware, Glasses, and Linens

A few days before the bustle of preparations, pull out any special dishes, glassware, flatware and serving pieces and give them a good wash. It’s one preparation that can be done easily ahead of time before the kitchen gets super busy with the hustle and bustle of food prep.
 

5. Check For Restocking

Save yourself some time and be sure you have the supplies you need food and supply-wise. You may think your pantry is well-stocked but double-check just in case. Do any of your guests have food allergies?  Are they vegetarian, vegan, etc.? Take these into account and prepare accordingly. No one wants to be spending their time on a holiday hunting down a can of French’s fried onions.

6. Start Meal Planning

Prep what you can ahead of time. Most casseroles and potato dishes can be put in a baking pan ahead of time, and vegetables can be chopped and stored, too. Cookie dough is another easy one to prep and freeze. Having a schedule will keep things organized and allow your guests to know when and how to help. Bake one thing for your freezer once a week starting now for your busy time later.

10 Easy Steps for Prepping Your Kitchen for the Holidays

7. Sharpen Knives

Start the season off right with sharp knives. To use a sharpening steel, hold the steel in your left hand and the knife in your right hand, with the cutting edge toward you. Lay the blade on top of the steel and raise the back of the knife 20 degrees. Place the heel of the blade at the tip of the steel and using light pressure draw the edge across the steel in a sweeping, curved motion. When in doubt take them to a professional to be sharpened. No one wants to have to hack away at their honey-baked ham!

8. De-Clutter Your Pantry

You want to start off your holiday plans with spending time organizing your pantry, cabinets, and fridge. Just like cleaning your fridge in step 1, throw away any expired or rancid food. If you find there are things you just don’t use, it’s the perfect time of year to give to a food drive. Another great way to organize is to pour your flour, sugar, chocolate chips, etc. into canisters or old jelly jars and label them. This gives a cute and organized look to your kitchen.

9. Child-Proof Your Kitchen

First make sure any young children can’t get a hold of any potentially harmful objects, such as matches, lighters, sharp utensils and household cleaners, by storing them in upper cabinets or by using child-safety latches. When cooking, unplug appliances not in use and wind up all cords and try to use the back burners of the stove as much as possible. Make sure all electrical outlets are covered when not in use.
 

10. Keep Kitchen Decorations Minimal

Here at Kitchens Unlimited we love our holiday decorations. But, decorations can often get in the way if you do a lot of cooking or baking. If you want to spruce up your kitchen for the holidays, add some fern garland to your windowsill or hang mistletoe from an arch. Keep decorations off the counters and away from the pantry. Another great and fun way to decorate this holiday is to show off what you made! Display the pies and cookies on a cute glass cake plate.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen?

All that time in your kitchen make you realize a remodel is on your wish list? It’s never too early to start planing. Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients all over the San Francisco East Bay since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood!

 

We take designing a beautiful kitchen for our clients very seriously, focusing on creating a kitchen space that is both functional & beautiful. We love to provide insight and education to our clients 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

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

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  3. https://www.wayfair.com/ideas-and-advice/18-things-every-foodie-kitchen-needs-S5282.html
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5 Steps to Upgrading Your Kitchen Island

5 Steps to Upgrading Your Kitchen IslandWhether you’re remodeling your kitchen or making a few changes spruce up your space, changing or adding a kitchen island can make an eye-catching statement with its unique design and personality. It can set the tone for the entire room with varying features like countertop, decorative posts, or a baseboard trim.  Kitchen islands are pretty easy to update. You can update a plain island with planks and corbels. These installations can be slightly tricky, so you can either follow a step-by-step guide or you can hire a professional. Try to preserve “the triangle” – the linear space between the sink, refrigerator and stove. Leaving it open allows for ease of movement among the three.

Step 1 Remove the Moulding

If you are going full DIY on your kitchen island, the initial step is to remove the existing quarter round moulding that runs around the base of the island and the corner moulding. Purchase a trim removal tool to keep the damage to a minimum. Whether you decide to do-it-yourself or hire professional help like those at Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California, you can update your kitchen island by sanding, priming, and painting it to make it look brand new. By sanding the sides of your island, the paint will look better and you will be able to remove any shiny surfaces. Gently rub the surface of each side with a fine sanding block while moving in small circles; be cautious of inhaling any wood particles so wear a mask while doing this. Add a coat of high-quality primer with small paint rollers to gently and carefully coat each side of the island with primer in smooth, vertical motions. Allow 3 or 4 hours for the primer to dry before painting. Paint the island to match or contrast the rest of your kitchen. Look online for color ideas or browse paint samples at your local hardware store for inspiration. Using interior enamel paint, which will give your island a long lasting finish that is easy to clean.

Step 2 Install the Baseboard

Next is installing the baseboard around the two sides and back of the island. Make a box – frame each side of the island with the poplar strips to make a neat box. Once you’re finished, install the corbels and put the trim on.

Step 3 Replace the Countertop

Replacing your kitchen island’s countertop is the most effective way to make a quick and dramatic change. If you’re enlarging the size of your island’s countertop, tape off the area for a few weeks first to see how comfortable it will be. Once you’ve taken your final measurements, you can order a new countertop, or you can repurpose materials to really craft the island to your liking. When you replace your dated countertops try installing new legs to support the counter’s extended width and length. By taking advantage of online sources such as Craigslist or eBay, you can reuse fun materials to create a homemade island. If any of this seems like too much work to undertake on your own, call Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California.  We have the designers, contractors and installation experts to get it done right the first time.

When choosing the island’s countertop, choose a complementary material that will be able to expand the feel and the functionality of the space. You can choose a material that best suits your needs depending on your budget and surface requirements. The island’s counter should be placed at least 36 inches away from any existing counter to ensure enough space.

Step 4 Get Crazy with the Glue

Once you get your countertop, run a bead of extra-strength wood glue along the top of the cabinet and the top of each corbel. Set a few bricks on top for a couple of hours to ensure its adhesion. You can use a nail gun to attach the baseboards and poplar strips. If you don’t own a nail gun, you can attach all of the trim pieces by applying Liquid Nails to the back side and tapping them in with some finishing nails and a hammer.

Step 5 Caulk Carefully

The key to making trim work look professional is to finish it out properly: filling every nail hole, filling every seam, caulking every joint, sanding smooth. Caulk is your best friend when it comes to filling in all of the gaps where the new trim butts up against the existing wood.

For design ideas, you can give your island a stylish surrounding with salvaged items, like brick to give a contemporary look. In a compact kitchen, it’s important to be aware of your colors; you can create an exciting and cohesive look for the space using complementary colors. For easier food preparation, consider enhancing the island with under-counter appliances and/or auxiliary sinks. You can even build your own island using crates and plywood to create a storage center for your items and foods.

Ideas such as using white marble, repurposed wood, color-blocking, and bold colors will provide your island a unique look. Islands can be any size, shape, or color you want. Like the rest of the kitchen, an island should be a direct reflection of what is important to the homeowner both in style and function.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Island?

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

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  6. https://www.remodelaholic.com/update-plain-kitchen-island-planks-corbels/