March 12, 2010

the little things (in the kitchen)

It's no secret that I am certainly not a master chef. It's rare that I make a whole meal from start-to-finish, and I am extremely lucky to have a husband who actually enjoys cooking so he doesn't see it as a chore to make up for my shortcomings in the kitchen. (He doesn't call them shortcomings, I do :)

The one thing that I have always enjoyed in the kitchen is baking. I don't know why I see this as being so different from regular cooking, but I enjoy it so much more. Maybe it's because the result tends to be a bit more sweet and a bit less healthy? I do love sweet and unhealthy things....

Last night I made some chocolate chip cookies from scratch, using the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip bag. I feel like that recipe never fails me, and I love the excuse to break out the KitchenAid mixer in all her Ice Blue glory. We have a pretty petite kitchen with limited counter space, so one of the keys to baking cookies without losing my mind (and all of my counter space) has been this:

We registered for this baby when we got married, and for a measley $9.99, dare I say, it has made baking in a small kitchen so much more pleasant. I kind of want another set so I can bake double-batches of yumminess and just keep stacking up :) (And by the way, my cookies look way better than those pictured above.)

While not handy for baking, my two other favorite inexpensive kitchen items are:

I have the worst time opening jars (small hands, overall wimpiness) and this little gadget is amazing. It's great for jars of any size, and it has not failed me yet!

Our oven doesn't have the sort of handle where we could hang towels, so we have two of these and they're awesome at making our kitchen look somewhat organized (or at least like not-a-complete-mess).

What are your favorite little things that make your experience in the kitchen more pleasant?


  1. YUM! Can you send some of those cookies my way? I am with you on enjoying baking MUCH more than cooking... but I think it's the calculated recipes and preciseness of baking vs the better-if-you-wing-it aspect of a lot of cooking. I'm not a good "winger".

    PS I also have that cookie rack and love it!

  2. I love love love my KitchenAid mixer (not little or inexpensive - but the best Christmas present ever!)

    I think the little things I like most are my little magnetic oven-mitt holders that I've stuck to the refrigerator, and my pizza stone. Love that thing.

  3. I looove that over the cabinet door hanger, we have the same one. I'm the laziest baker because I hate using the kitchenaid, getting it down and having to clean it... lazy ass.

  4. I so need those stackable cooling racks! What have I not seen those before?
    I also love any reason I can to take out my Kitchen Aid mixer or Food Processor.
    My favorite little kitchen things have been our OXO utensil set - I use those everyday.

  5. I'm with you on the cooling racks! Not only do they maximize space, they help make a perfect cookie. One of my must-have kitchen gadgets is a good pair of tongs. Seriously - I never would've thought it, but we ended up with stainless steel locking tongs and they're awesome for so many things. Great for grabbing things like bacon, roasted potatoes, baked crab cakes, spaghetti and much more! ;)

  6. I also have (and LOVE) those stackable cooling racks, they are life changers! Another life changer is the Cuisinart Hand Blender - it lets you puree soups in the pot on the stove and do all of the cool stuff a regular blender can do without all of the heavy lifting and cleaning. Love it!

  7. great tips! i'm craving cookies now :) i know it may seem rather silly, but food processors are amazing. just amazing!

  8. A few of my favorite kitchen items: garlic press, wooden spoons, Britta faucet filter, immersion blender.

  9. I have one of those stacking cooling racks - it has been great. The other thing I am loving at the moment, is my silicone baking dish. It is great for things that are a bit gooey and messy and need to cool in the pan. Then when cooled you can pop the entire slab out to cut it up. Instead of almost trying to dig it out of the pan, square by square.

  10. I also agree with the stick blender. Pureeing in the pot is great!

  11. Loving the over the cabinet towel holder and the cooling racks.

    Once my wedding is out of the way, I'll start to build my wish list of kitchen utensils!

  12. My favourite kitchen item is this:

    It is a little mesh cup that you place over your drain so you don't worry about food going down and you aren't picking small gross food bits up with your hands!

  13. We got those cooling racks for the wedding... they are indeed awesome! Also, I could really use the jar opener... I had to take a jar of pasta sauce to work today because I couldn't open it last night! One of my coworkers opened it without making fun of me. I think. ;) -Taffy


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