Monday, January 4, 2010

LoriD Recommends – Kitchen stuff

If I’m not working or sleeping, I’m probably in my kitchen. I really love my kitchen. It’s a nice size and has useful amenities like food, drink, a computer and TV, good lighting and nice views. Over the holidays, I was in major purge mode. My drawers and cupboards were too packed and disorganized, I had too many cookbooks and I just felt the need for more space. I thought I’d share with you a few things that really work for me in my kitchen.


The one on the left is my favourite - it was my grandmother's and has a blue, wooden handle

Oh, how I love my scoops. I have small, medium and large and use them to apportion cookie dough, fill muffin tins and tart shells, stuff pasta shells, scoop out melons and plop biscuit batter onto a cookie sheet. Scoops make doing any of these things faster and cleaner. Baked goods are also a more uniform size, if that kind of thing matters to you.

Wilton Professional Bakeware

This is really fantastic stuff. The cookies, muffins, cakes, roasts, brownies, squares and casseroles just fall out – no need for tin foil, muffin cups or parchment paper. There’s no stuck-on residue (not even cheese or egg sticks to it), making clean-up super easy. I donated all my bakeware that was not this brand (2 bags full!) to Goodwill. The price is right on these too. Anything I purchased was 50% off, so the 9x13 pan, for example, was $6.50. It would still be a bargain at full price. Those are actually my pans in the picture. I have used that mini muffin tin in the front at least 3 times a week since I got it last Christmas (including this morning) and it still looks brand new.


When I first told Homer I was going to paint our door that leads to the garage with chalkboard paint, he thought it was weird. He thought it was an awkward spot for a chalkboard and questioned why I would paint the whole door when the children could only conceivably reach the lower half. Five years later, this large chalkboard is now an integral part of our command centre. The grown-ups use the top half for messages to each other and the lower half is used by the kids to draw, do math problems and practice spelling words.

Wilton universal scraper

This is a really handy little tool. It’s got the strength of a spoon and the scraping capabilities of a spatula. Use the large side to mix muffin batter and the small side to scrape out the peanut butter jar.

Measure once, bake twice

No matter how hard I try, I cannot bring out the flour/sugar/salt for a recipe without getting it all over the counter or me. I’ve started making an extra batch of dry ingredients whenever I’m making muffins, biscuits, etc. I’m doubling the recipe, but putting one amount in the bowl and the other in a Ziploc. The next time I make the recipe, I just pull out the dry ingredients and add the wet. It’s a real time-saver, both in the making of the recipe and the clean-up.

Recipe Cheat Sheet

There are some things that I tend to make over and over again. For those items, I have a cheat sheet on the inside of one of my cabinet doors. It’s basically the list of ingredients for the recipe with the baking temperature/time. Again, a real time-saver.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

I’ve had my mixer for two years now and I love it. Before I bought it, I had no idea how much I would use it, but now I can report that I use it several times a week. It makes everything so much easier. From cookie dough to mashed potatoes, meringue to bread dough, it has really changed how my kitchen works. With the mixer, the scoops and my Wilton pans, I can make a batch of 3-dozen cookies, start to finish, in less than 30 minutes.

Glass bowl with lid

Tomorrow's muffins, just waiting in the fridge

Her Royal Highness (aka Maggie) prefers to have freshly-baked muffins in the morning. I’ll mix up the muffins in the glass bowl, bake up 12 mini-muffins or 6 regular muffins and put the batter in the fridge for up to 3 days. The bowl is also good for marinating meats or just storing leftover soup or chilli.

Tassimo Beverage Machine

Homer asked for this for Christmas. Since he asks for mostly weird things (e.g. a wall safe), I went right out and got one for him (when it was on sale, of course). This makes a really nice cup of coffee (it’s really HOT, which isn’t always the case with coffee makers), but it also makes hot chocolate, tea, cappuccino and lattes. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. Homer has added it to the “Things that Must be Immediately Replaced if it Breaks” list (along with the stand mixer and his PSP).

What about you? What’s in your kitchen that you wouldn’t want to be without?


Fiona Picklebottom said...

We have the Keurig coffee maker and WE LOVE IT! Also on the must be immediately replaced list as well as the items we will have two of because we are putting one in the vacation home as soon as it is repaired to the point of occupancy (we bought a handyman special foreclosure on a lake). Other than that... toaster oven. Use it daily, can't do without.

Tess said...

What a fun post! (A WALL SAFE)

I agree about the stand mixer. I also got a food saver a few months ago and have used that more than I thought I would.

Also, my electric wine bottle opener, and my little cookie/brownie spatula from Pampered Chef.

Swistle said...

I LOVVVVVE this post. I do that with dry ingredients too, and I love my scoops and my KitchenAid mixer. I'm going to have to try the Wilton bakeware---do you have to grease the muffin cups?

LoriD said...

FP - we looked into the Keurig, but the discs weren't as readily available here as the Tassimo discs.

Tess - I also got Homer an electric wine bottle opener. One of his resolutions is to drink less, so it hasn't been used much yet!

Swistle - I give them a quick burst of cooking spray. When the muffins come out, the cooking spray is just beaded up on the top of the tray, like water on a well-waxed car - it just wipes away!

St said...

Came here from Swistle's tweet. I REALLY need the small scoop! My medium one is too big for cookies and too small for muffins! I agree about wilton! I bought a wilton mini-muffin pan last year and I am now planning to slowly replace all my bakeware. Those beads of cooking spray are awesome, wipes right off!

Misty said...

Oooo, LOVE.

Your kitchen sounds divine. It makes me feel like mine is a cave with crumbs on the floor in comparison.

I am going to keep this in mind for Honey's birthday...Beverage machine, eh?

Nowheymama said...

There is a Wilton pan that makes a bunch of little truck cakes that I've been wanting for years. Must find a sale....

We use our mixer all. the. time.

Sarah said...

Dude, I LOVED reading this post! I was disappointed when it ended. Now I want a tour of your whole house! Most useful BATHROOM tools! Hmm, maybe I need to think that suggestion through...
Anyways, I love the scoops. I have a BIG one that's really only good for muffin tins, not cookies. That's something I always suggest as a stocking stuffer and is always forgotten about. I think it's time to just go BUY ONE for myself.
I also appreciated the bakeware suggestion. My pans always look like crap by about six months in, and I've been searching for good ones, but I'm too afraid to buy any without hard and fast proof that they won't rust and look gross eventually! So you're saying these can be put through a dishwasher and they'll still look ok?

Jess said...

This post is AWESOME. I want to do that chalkboard thing once we have kids. I am already trying to mentally scout out where it would fit best in our house.

Let's see, what do we love in our kitchen. We used a wedding gift card to Williams-Sonoma to purchase a non-stick griddle, which was Torsten's idea and I thought wouldn't be worth it--but in fact we use it all the time, for breakfasts and dinners. I also love my stand mixer. The Pyrex glass dishes are great. I also use the Pyrex glass measuring cups a lot. We have a two-story dish rack that is fabulous. And I don't drink coffee but Torsten has a DeLonghi coffee maker that he bought refurbished for half price and he gets incredible use out of that thing.

fairydogmother said...

Also here via Swistle. I'm with Jess, this post IS awesome. Your measure once, bake twice tip is going to change my life! My favorite things in my kitchen are my set of three stackable cooling racks, and the electric hand mixer my mom gave me when they were downsizing. She never used it, but I use it all the time. A Kitchen Aide mixer has been at the top of my wish list for a few years now, but I just don't have the space for one in my current kitchen. It is just too hard to justify the expense when I don't have the storage space anyway. As soon as I have a larger kitchen though, it will be my first purchase!

Not Your Aunt B said...

Ditto on the Wilton pans, stand mixer, Pyrex anything (agreeing with Jess), my Cuisinart food processor, and my big set of knives. Love them. Can't live without them. The girls just see the mixer & pans and immediately think DESSERT! They will start begging for some immediately even if nothing is out other than the equipment!

artemisia said...

I saw a kitchen that was redone and all the cabinets were painted with the chalkboard paint. It really was gorgeous, actually. I've also seen a fridge with a chalkboard front; I think I would find that totally useful.

I have a small and medium scoop, and I don't know how I managed to make cookies and muffins before them. They make everything go so quickly and smoothly!

I use my KitchenAid mixer at least twice, often three times a week. Because of that mixer, I no longer buy bread; I always make my own.

I make my own bisquick-type mix and store it in the fridge. I use that at least twice a week, whether for biscuits, pancakes, banana bread or a casserole. It saves so much time. It is less expensive than a processed variety and soooo much healthier. Yep, that "master mix" is definitely a handy tool.

Bette said...

First... thanks for a few handy tips. I think I will start "measure once and baking twice." Also the lidded glass bowl with be great for my pancake batter. I would just need to prepare the night before and store and heat griddle in the morning to make. Awesome.

I love my Cuisinart coffee maker because of the thermos carafe. IT stays hot for about 12 hours. I also looove my extra large pizza pan. I got it years ago after looking for one this big for a looong time. I can make one extra large pizza and divide it to make half our pizza and the other half pepporini only.

Kim said...

I love this post too! My kitchen is small (and I do mean SMALL) but with some organization and as long as the husband and dog aren't in there with me at the same time, it's a very pleasant room for me to spend time in. And now you've inspired me to organize the tupperware cabinet, so thank you!

LoriD said...

Sarah - they are dishwasher safe, but I don't put them in. They are practically clean when you remove the baked goods; just a quick rinse with a soapy cloth finishes the job.

sagessa said...

Okay, I don't have any can't-live-without-it kitchen tools (mostly because Jym does 95% of the cooking), but I wanted to say that I love, love, love your chalkboard door. If we had an appropriate door I would totally do that in our kitchen.

Where did you get that covered glass bowl that you keep the muffin batter in? I love the fact that it has a handle and now I want one so I can make muffins a few at a time.

Wait, I lied. I can't live without my crock pot. Especially in the winter. I make huge batches of chili and soup and we eat on them for days. Tomorrow I'm making white chicken chili, something that I would never attempt if I had to make it on the stove top.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

LoriD said...

sagessa - Hi! I don't know where the covered bowl is from, but the brand is Anchor Hocking. I love my crock pot too - I use it at least once a week in the winter.

CAQuincy said...

I got my covered bowl from Pampered chef. I love it, but this post is making me realize that I don't use it NEARLY enough!

I also love my Kitchen Aid mixer, but I can't fit it on my counter-top (it's too tall!), so I have to store it under the sink, where I forget about it, and I fear it doesn't get the use it deserves! Poor, poor mixer!

And now maybe I'll run out (um, after all this darn snow STOPS) and get myself some GOOD baking pans and some ziplock bags! Thank you!

Erin said...

AWESOME POST. Awesome. Truly.

The chalk wall is something I've been thinking about for a year now. But I'm AFRAID to do it. Because it seems like it might be difficult to UNdo, if it ends up being a mistake. But SO USEFUL! How could it be a mistake?

Also, the recipe cheat sheet is GENIUS!

Caitlin said...

Awesome Awesome post. I can't wait until I have my own kitchen so I can start building up my tools like you (I currently have 3 roomies soo....). But my tools that I cannot live without would be my Blender and toaster oven!