March 22, 2016

My Kitchen: Essentials and Dreams


The kitchen has always been my happy place.  My Dad was always in the kitchen.  And one, if not all of us kids were in there with him.  Sitting on the counter watching him create delicious dinners. Being taste testers. Or washing and cutting things.  And now that I am a mom, I love having my boys in the kitchen with me.  My kitchen is the heart of my home.

When we got our first place, Dad helped me get my kitchen up to his standards. "You don't need much!" he would remind me. And over the years, many of the things he got me have become my most cherished and used things. Its true. I don't need every kitchen gadget in the book. So what do I need?


1.  A set of pots and pans.  And not just any, but a solid and sturdy set.  They are going to get used daily so they need to be able to handle it.  A great set that will last you many years is a big investment but worth every penny.
2.  A thermometer.  Because no one likes raw food.  And even worse, overcooked food.  Yet, its something so easily over looked.  Working in a restaurant for Disney World drilled in the importance of properly cooked food.
3.  A panini press.  My dad bought me one of these one summer while he was visiting and I remember rolling my eyes.  When was I ever going to use one of these things?  At least once a week,  that's when. When the boys have friends over, I can pump out 4 grilled cheeses at a time, in under 10 minutes.  Mom for the win!  
4.  A good knife.  I have a whole block full of knives, but I use my favorite santoku knife for just about everything.  When the boys help me in the kitchen, they use a mini santoku.  And when my friends come over, they laugh at me for using such a big knife to cut even the smallest berries. 
5.  A knife sharpener.  This is another thing dad bought for me.  Mostly because he saw me trying to figure out how to using the honing steel that came with the set.  I knew he used a stone but he figured a run though sharpener would work best for me. 
6.  Measuring spoons.  The very first thing I bought from Pampered Chef was the adjustable measuring spoons.  And I am going to be ordering another set.  Because I love them.  Everything is in one spoon.  Less to wash and less clutter. 
7. A juicer with a jar.  Once Dad offered to make lemonade for a party.  He bought up all the lemons on the island and put me to work juicing.  I was using one of the old school juicers that sat onto of the pitcher. Then my hand slipped and I knocked over the whole pitcher.  It was a disaster.  So when he saw they sold them like this, he couldn't help but send it to me.  For the record, I have yet to spill any more juice.  Knock on wood.
8.  A cookie Scoop.  Where were these things when I was growing up.  I probably rolled thousands of cookies by hand.  This little gadget right here makes my baking so much easier.  And it is also the perfect size to fill my mini cupcake pans.  I love it!

On more than one occasion, someone has asked me how I do not have this or that gadget. Garlic press? No I mince it by hand with my "big knife".  Pizza cutter? I use my knife for that too! And I have made it all these years with out glass measuring cups.  I do have an avocado masher though.  But only because it came free with an avocado purchase.  And I used it to mash bananas for banana bread.  I don't dream of having every little gadget. As a matter of fact I am really good at talking myself out of buying all the cute gadgets, because a cluttered kitchen is my biggest nightmare.  But I do have a few things on my dream kitchen wish list.


1.  A Kitchen Aid.  Am I the only person who still uses and electric hand mixer?  All these bread recipes I find on Pinterest all call for a stand mixer.  Did people not make bread before they were invented? 
2.  A cake stand.  Because cakes are so much prettier on a stand than on a regular old plate. 
3.  A Fry Daddy.  I don't fry things often, but I would love to have a deep fryer.  I'm old fashioned and just fry things in a cast iron skillet.
4.  A complete baking set.  All my bake ware are mixed and not matched.  I would love to have a complete set with 2 loaf pans and 2 cake pans.  Guess I would need round cake pans to go along with that cake stand!
5.  A fancy blender.  Blendtec, Vitamix, Ninja...I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Why are these things so expensive?  
6.  An ice cream maker.  This is one of those things that aren't really that expensive but I still don't have.  Mostly I want it because we once made ice cream in my high school home economics class and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! Im also worried that I would either not use it enough, or use it way to much.
7.  A giant range.  Check out this BlueStar Range.  I would have room to cook and bake everything.  At the same time!  Thanksgiving would be a breeze.
8. A wok.  How do I not have a one already?  Because I have a pan that works good enough.  Even though every time I cook in it I wish it was a wok.  My conscience is clearly a minimalist.

If I had to pick just one thing off my wish list, it would have to be the stove. I already have a fridge that I love. Although I might need this 36" Built In Refrigerator from Bluestar too.  You know, to match my dream stove. And I don't use the dishwasher very often because I didn't have one growing up and I kind of like doing them by hand.  My stove however, most days feels so small.  I've been known to uses 4 or 5 pans for dinner.  My stove has 4 burners and a warmer.  But depending on which pans I am using, there isn't always room for them all on there.  I came so close to buying a double oven stove but it just seemed silly to try to find more space in the same amount of stove. Plus I would still have my space issue up top.  Do I really need all that space?  Of course. A girl can dream right?!

My dream stove is 48" as opposed to the standard 30" has 6 burners and a griddle. And the extra large convection oven is to die for. You can design your own BlueStar Stove by clicking HERE! They are seriously dreamy! Right?  I'm a stainless steel kinda girl but this beauty comes in other colors too.  


My dream kitchen is much bigger than my current one.  It has a cabinets with pull out shelves to hang my pots and pans.  It has a microwave the island where the boys can easily reach it and not over the stove. And instead over the stove is a hood that actually gets rid of smoke and odors.  Oh and a faucet on the wall behind the stove to fill pots with.  So much easier.  And I will need space for proper seating in there too. There are currently two kids sitting on my counter.

Clearly my dream house is much bigger too.

These were only a few of my kitchen favorites and dreams. I could go on for days talking about being in the kitchen and cooking.  I'm no celebrity chef and I'm not worlds greatest baker. Unless you are asking my sons 5th grade class and I am carrying a box full of homemade brownies.  But I love that cooking is what brings my family and friends together.  I have this weird need to feed people and the fact that people, especially kids go hungry hurts my heart.  I have always told the boys that their friends were always welcome at our table.  75% of the time their friends end up helping me in the kitchen too.

What do you love about your current kitchen?  What does your dream kitchen look like?  Am I really the only one with out a Kitchen Aid?  Tell me its not true!  Or tell David it is and remind him that my birthday is in August!  Either way, Id love to know!  

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