This is the first of 3 blog entries I will be posting that involves items every kitchen should own. This was a really fun research project for me because I asked a variety of women – cooks vs. non-cooks, bakers vs. non-bakers, working moms vs. SAHM’s – their opinion on what is important and what items they value in the kitchen. Stay tuned for the follow-ups on kitchen items in the $25-$100 range, followed by kitchen items over $100 that everyone should splurge on.
As always, if you have anything you want to add, please post in the comments as every Mama can benefit from others’ experiences!
1. Wine Pump
I’m not sure I even need to add an explanation as to why this is important. I use this alllll the time. If you ever want to cook with wine, a guest wants a separate wine, or Mama just needs one glass at the end of the day, this will save that bottle from going bad. It’s easy to use, doesn’t take up space, and just plain necessary.
Wine Pumps can be found here.
2. Food Huggers
Tired of trying to figure out how to save that can of beans you didn’t finish? Don’t want to use another plastic Ziploc bag for a half piece of fruit or veggie? This will be your lifesaver. I always used tinfoil to place over my half-used cans, now I have these! My Ziploc bag obsession decreased once I bought these. Also, these don’t take up much space and are better for the environment.
Farberware Food Huggers can be found here.
3. Pan Scraper
There are a lot of options for pan scrapers all over Amazon ranging in price so find the version you like best. These are great for getting dried cheese off of pans, making sure all the grease is out before washing, and helps save the finish of your pans prior to scraping and washing.
Pan Scrapers can be found here.
4. Butter Keeper
OK, technically this one here is slightly over $15 but I included it on “15 under 15” because there are a few different versions of these you can buy that fall under $15 and if you change the color, some are cheaper than others. I actually didn’t have one of these prior to a girlfriend telling me about this but it’s genius. I admit I am quite particular about my butter. I can’t stand when restaurants give you freezing butter that rips apart the bread. This little guy keeps butter exactly how I like it and it stays on my counter all day for easy scooping!
Butter keeper can be found here.
5. Stretch Lids
This is very similar to the food huggers above so take your pick but I like these as well. Similar concept but I love that you can change the size easily on these lids so it fits over everything.
Stretch lids can be found here.
6. Baking Mats
A bakers gift. How many times have you made cookies and then been a little bummed you still had to clean the baking sheet after everything’s been put away? If you place these on your baking sheet prior to baking, you simply wet cloth, wipe down, and put away. Done.
Baking mats can be found here.
7. Insulated Thermos for Kids
If you have kids and don’t own these already, go out and buy them – they are essential! One of the only cups that doesn’t leak all over the place and these things can be thrown clear across the room without breaking – been there, done that. We use these for all things drinking: water, juice, shakes, on-the-go, etc. They keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.
Insulated Thermos for kids can be found here.
8. Insulated Wine Tumbler
Going on a walk with your kids? Ride bikes in the evening? Walk to the park before dinner? Bingo! Bring this along to make all those playdates a little more fun yet subtle. My girlfriend and I actually contemplated taking these cups to the zoo – with some wine, obviously – but then thought better of it. Maybe next time?
Insulated Wine Tumbler can be found here.
9. Boon Snug Lids
I bought these years ago and only just started reaping the benefits. If you are in the middle of a dishwashing cycle and have run out of sippy cups, simply take one of these lids and spread it over any cup you have in the cabinet and there’s your sippy cup for kids. My kids also fight over the color of their items and this allows them to pick what they want. It’s the small things, you know?
Boon snug lids can be found here.
10. Silicone Lids
These are awesome for keeping messes at bay when you microwave or have something on the stove top. But also, place these lids over your bowls while you finish the rest of dinner and it will help keep food hot or bugs away if you are outside. They suction to the top of bowls to help stay insulated and are easy to store.
Silicone Lids can be found here.
11. Blender Bottles
If you make protein shakes with just protein powder and liquid, these are a lifesaver. Shake them after placing the ingredients inside and it keeps the chunks from forming. They also fit in most car cup holders so if you are running out the door and need a quick food-fix, you can use these in a hurry.
Blender Bottles can be found here.
12. Garlic Peeler
I have to be honest, I don’t own one of these but two of my girlfriends swear by it. I always buy the pre-peeled garlic in bags but if you don’t, likely your garlic will stay fresh longer and this eliminatates the time it takes to peel.
Garlic Peeler can be found here.
13. Handheld Grater/Zester
If you cook or bake with any kind of zest, this will be your new best friend. It’s easy to hold and can grate any spice or citrus fruit to add a burst of flavor to any dish. I also like that it’s not large and bulky with 5 different sizes so when you clean it, the sponge doesn’t get in all the grating options.
Zester can be found here.
14. Lemon, Lime, and Orange Squeezer
If I made this list in order of what I thought was most essential, this would be closer to the top. I use this thing every single day. It’s so easy to make juice in a pinch when a recipe calls for it or add any citrus punch to a salad or the top of chicken, fish, or meat.
Lemon Squeezer can be found here.
15. Looseleaf Plus
This is another tool I don’t actually own but a few people suggested it as well. If you cook or bake a lot with small greens, this helps de-stem quickly. This one in particular also helps cut stems off of small spices.
Looseleaf Plus can be found here.