Apr 13, 2016

Ma Katie's Favorite Things: Kitchen Gadgets

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Out of all the rooms in our house, the kitchen is definitely one of our favorites - this is where we cook the meals that feed the 10 bellies in our family.  We have a large island where I can work while still socializing with my crew or even helping a kiddo with a math problem, not to mention enough space for many of us to cook together!  I could share so much about what I love about our kitchen, but I thought I'd start with sharing my five favorite kitchen gadgets ... 

#1 - Crockpot

I rely heavily on our crockpot for meals.  I think without it, getting a homemade meal on the table would be difficult.  My first crockpot was a circular one and was great when we only had a few kids. But we were needing to upgrade and this oval one has been perfect for our large family.  I even shared one of my crockpot recipes here for a recent Friday Feasting.  I actually own two of these because I'm known to have both going at the same time! 

#2 - Rice Cooker (new version found here)

We love to eat rice - topped with a yummy jambalaya, dijon pork, teriyaki chicken or just with a little butter and salt and served as a side.  When we first got married, I used the instant rice where you boil the water, dump in the measured amount of rice and then fluff with a fork after five minutes and eat.  It was easy and quick, but as we grew, it didn't make sense to use it any more - we were going through a box so fast and it was expensive.  So we tried cooking rice over the stove top.  Truly, I never could get it right.  Probably all the distractions and not cooking it properly, or maybe I was stirring it too much and peeking when I shouldn't.  Thankfully I found a great microwave rice cooker from Pampered Chef and we used that for  few years, but we outgrew it quickly.  Hubs suggested we get a rice cooker, looked at reviews and found this one for us.  And - wow!!!  Was I thrilled when we did!!  It is a piece of cake to make rice now!!  And, we still have leftovers when I make a batch and I've never even made the max amount yet.  So I think this cooker will suit our family for the long haul!  

#3 - Espresso Machine (new version found here)

I make myself a cup of coffee from this machine only a couple times a week (because I'm not really a crazy coffee drinker, but do love my coffee when I get one).  It's so nice to have it to have fresh coffee from freshly ground coffee beans when I do make myself a cup and it's SO fast and easy to use!  My favorite use of this machine is during my weekly prayer group gathering.  You see, I have this really cute Barista that makes lattes for my friends and I when we go through our Cursillo Reunion Group card and pray and share and discuss how God is working in our lives.  The good company, amazing coffee and gathering in His name make for one of my favorite nights of the week!!  

Oh the questions I get asked being a homeschooling mom of many - "are you done yet?", "do you have a tv?", "are you Catholic?", and I find this one the weirdest but one I still get asked often - "do you make your own bread?".  Mostly I say "no" to the last question, because I'm a cheater bread maker.  I just don't feel right patting myself on the back and answering yes to the kneeding and such when all I do is dump in a list of ingredients and hit the "start" button.  Anyways, this lovely machine gets its workout too.  Our crew can knock out a loaf of bread in one sitting!  We make the basic white loaf and banana bread the most - those are our two favorites!!

Okay, so this isn't really a kitchen gadget that helps with food prep or cooking, but it's one of those gadgets that make the time in the kitchen fun and enjoyable because it provides a little music for ya.  Or a podcast to listen to when you are preparing meals and doing dishes.  Or if you want to project the volume of the daily Mass readings/soul food so all the kids can hear, this makes a great option to plug your smartphone right into it and play them.  SO many options!  And it's so handy to have it right there in the kitchen and out of the way.  Ours definitely gets great use!!  

So there ya have it!!  What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?  
I'd love to hear from you!!  

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