I admit it – I am a kitchen gadget fanatic. If something makes life easier in the kitchen, then it is on my must-have list (if not already on my kitchen shelf). Since apartments tend to have limited kitchen storage space, you want to find gadgets that you’ll use frequently, are small enough to store, and are easy to clean.
My all-time favorite, must-have, can’t-live-without kitchen item is the Crock-Pot. Slow-cooked meals are ideal for busy people – toss a few items in first thing in the morning, turn it on, and let it cook all day. Walk in after a long day at work and the wonderful scents of a home-cooked meal greet you. And the best part – the slow-cooker will usually provide enough for leftovers the next night (or lunch the next day).
The second item I use most in my kitchen is my single-cup coffee brewer. This little machine has won my heart. No matter how late I may be running in the morning, it is faster to brew a quick cup of coffee and take it with me than it is to stop somewhere to buy coffee on my way to work – saving me both time and money.
Sometimes, the silly things purchased spur-of-the-moment turn out to be great, so the next time something catches your eye, stop and consider it for a moment. A few years ago, I attended a Pampered Chef party and bought a jar opener as an after-thought. The expensive cake-decorating kit I also purchased sits on my pantry shelf still in the box (I had big ideas of making fancy cakes … that didn't work out), but this handy, inexpensive little gadget is used almost daily.
If you would love to compost but think you can't living in an apartment, consider a kitchen composter – especially if you are involved with a local community garden. Some composters are pretty enough to have right on the countertop, ideal for keeping the small items (such as orange rinds and coffee grounds) that you may want to take with you to your garden.
Be honest – do you ever buy something just because it is unusual and you know visitors to your apartment are sure to comment on it? I think, the next time I have a get-together that involves food, I'll whip out the alien-looking "food pod" from Fusionbrands.com and steam some veggies – just to get the "Ooh, what is that?" reaction.
If you have kids, consider a Zoku ice-pop maker – it makes the ice pops on the kitchen counter (without electricity) in seven minutes. That means the kids can sit and watch their ice pops freeze. And while they are doing that … seven minutes of quiet! (In the Mom-I'm-Bored throes of late summer, this is a rare thing. Yes, they will soon be a sticky mess with ice pop juice running down their arms. But hey – seven whole minutes!)
Another cute item is the Fridgeezoo Refrigerator Pet from ThinkGeek.com. My kids love to stand with the refrigerator door open, just staring inside. The fridge pet will start to turn color and scold them when the door has been open too long. (Although, I think my kids will love this and will leave the door open on purpose just to hear the fridge pet speak. Hmmm.)
From trendy new items to the classic stand-bys, the right kitchen gadgets can make your time in the kitchen much more fun! What is your favorite kitchen gadget? Tell us on Facebook!