I have to admit that I’m kind of having fun making these lists, and at the same time, I feel that tug of anti-materialism that makes me want to scrap the gadgets and just talk food.
I’m not a huge proponent of over-spending and letting kids get the gimmies and department store ridiculousness and door buster deals that require a sense of animosity to obtain. On the other hand, if your life is anything like mine, if you don’t put some practical things that you want and will use on a Christmas list, your mother-in-law will buy you something anyway…and she may not be so intuitive about the “want” or the “use” as you’d like.
I actually keep a running list in my computer for the whole family, all year long, just so I’m ready for the inevitable: “Where’s your wish list???”
Today’s list is full of kitchen gadgets with motors, cords, moving parts, and generally a high price tag (although I’ve got a few goodies under $50). Don’t worry, the stocking stuffer list is just a click away!
I do have to say that you ought to check local prices and availability first. I’d just like to show you what kinds of things I find helpful in my kitchen and you can go from there.
Top 10 Kitchen Gadgets
Now for the fun part! Some of these items I have and love, some are on my personal wish list. I’ll try to make that clear in the description, if it makes a difference to you. I don’t always know the perfect brand, either. I bought my last blender (the one that smokes sometimes when I make butter) at a garage sale, so that tells you a lot about my standards!
How and why I use my toaster oven:
*I don’t use a microwave
*Reheats last longer
*Surprising benefits of a microwave-free life
|We’ve had two toaster ovens, and both are indispensable for what they do for me, but I have no love for either. My first, a Cuisinart, had excellent features but was buggy and died too quickly for my liking. The new one, purchased out of necessity when the former died an early death, is an Oster and has some features I absolutely dislike. Here’s a Cuisinart option and one from Black & Decker.
When purchasing a toaster oven, I’d recommend looking for: 6-slice capacity, ability to bake a whole pie/8×8 casserole (at least), multiple heights for the tray, auto-shutoff timer, easy controls (ask yourself how many buttons or dials you’d have to touch just to make toast, for example). Convection cooking may be nice, but I don’t think it gets anything done any faster. Watch out for metal on the door (ouch!) and dials that children can’t turn, even if they’re taught how.
How I use my dehydrator:
|Sometimes I’m not sure if the dehydrator is worth the space, but I do use it a lot. If you want to have a raw foods lifestyle, preserve a lot of seasonal product, make crispy nuts, or beef jerky, it’s helpful and nearly necessary. Although you can do a lot of the same things in an oven, many ovens don’t go below 170F and thus will kill enzymes (not “raw” foods), and sometimes you can’t tie up your oven for 12 hours and still survive the day!|
My experience so far:
|A grain mill is a super huge investment and commitment. It definitely takes longer to make baked goods, just “one more step,” but the nutrition and cost savings of grinding your own grain, along with the reassurance of being able to store bulk grains, is unsurpassed. I love my Nutrimill.
See my complete Nutrimill review and also learn how the first year of owning it worked out for me. Two other bloggers I respect have written about various mills and comparisons: Nourishing Gourmet and Heavenly Homemakers.
|Another super big ticket item, the Blendtec and Vitamix seem to be the top two high-powered blenders out there. Many, many people listed them first on their “wish list” during the dehydrator giveaway. These machines take the place of your blender, food processor, AND grain mill.
I performed an in-depth video review of the two blenders, and I STILL can’t decide which one is best. Though I was definitely missing mine when I let my parents borrow it for a few months.
|Berkey Water Filtration System
||I’m becoming more and more interested in the Berkey system. I’m telling you, no one has anything bad to say about it (except that it takes counter space, which is my holdup. I’ve got 9 feet of counter, total. Cannot. Spare. A. Foot.)
The Berkey filters chlorine, fluoride (with an extra filter), plus 99% of all nasty contaminants. Good stuff. It doesn’t need electricity, so it will save you in an emergency, too. For more, check out Lisa’s humorous Berkey review.
Mine makes a wicked big batch of healthy pumpkin cookies, among other things!
|Now we get to my ultimate favorite kitchen gadget, one that I use nearly daily. Ok, I don’t really bake that much, but I bet it’s 3-4 times a week! Sometimes I use it 3 times in a day. My KitchenAid mixer has a prized place on my 9 feet of counter, I’m telling you. The fact that it will knead my bread dough allows our family to have homemade sourdough bread. I don’t knead bread by hand. Period. I also love that I can get out and put away ingredients while my batters and cookie doughs are mixing themselves. Indispensable!|
|I don’t actually own a food processor, but thanks to my mom who decided I’d use hers more than she does, I bet I drag it up from the basement once or twice a week. I try really hard to make more than one recipe at a time, because I’m lazy and hate dishes!
The food processor I use is nothing special, similar to this one thsi one found on Amazon. I might wish for a slightly bigger one, although right now I’m shooting for that high-powered blender to have fewer total gadgets to store. Here’s a KitchenAid 13-cup example from Amazon.
|Immersion Blender||Here’s a lower budget item that still is a super fun gadget and gets constant use in my kitchen. Stick blenders make blending soups like my garlic soup super easy, and I make thin applesauce with the skins right in the pot! I also use the stick blender (also called a hand blender or immersion blender) to make perfect homemade mayo, every time. (That’s a vlog, if you want to see how it works.)
Some people like the chrome version to avoid plastic. Mine looks just like this one but is a Braun (I can’t find it anymore), and I LOVE the mini bonus food processor – I use it to make Caesar dressing all the time (same as this one less at Amazon, sigh). Sometimes you just want cheap – .
I use it to freeze onions in bulk, plus a ton of other tasks!
|For some reason I forgot how much I love my Pampered Chef food chopper until recently. It’s SO much faster than a knife for chopping onions, garlic, and anything else for soups and casseroles when the slicing look doesn’t matter. Here’s the second one I have, dedicated to chopping nuts and chocolate. I don’t wash it much!
One word of caution: it you don’t have a lot of hand strength or dexterity, you may not be happy with this item. I have two because I got one for my mom for Christmas one year and she decided it hurt her hand, and she preferred a knife.
|Mandolin Slicer||Not to be confused with the musical instrument, which is spelled the same way, a mandolin helps you slice a lot of food, evenly and quickly. It makes homemade potato chips a snap, and I also love it for these California chicken wraps, which have a number of sliced vegetables. I don’t use it often, but when I packed it up to “set” our house to sell, I missed it! Absence makes the heart grow fonder (and more hungry).|
Is anybody hungry? I just want to go play in my kitchen now, excuse me. If you’ve got any winner ideas to add, join in the comments, or feel free to ask me questions about my personal experiences with the items I own.
Looking for clutter free? Again, I don’t blame you. Check out the online products I love for e-products that are just as much fun as a KitchenAid but don’t take up nearly as much counter space. (Healthy Snacks to Go would make a great gift!)
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon. If you end up shopping Amazon anyway, you might as well use Swagbucks – I’ll get a bunch of gifts for free this year because of it! Current advertisers receiving their complementary (and well deserved) mention are Berkey , Pleasant Hill Grainand CookWare’s Plus. Phew! See my full disclosure statement here.