Adrienne Wolter shares local restaurant reviews, day trips and cooking adventures
Picture a sparkling, granite countertop decorated with stainless steel appliances that shine under bright, recessed lighting. Now, envision the giant steel refrigerator door swinging open to reveal freshly stocked shelves with the finest cooking necessities. The gas stove top is graced with non-stick skillets filled with sizzling onions and peppers. A warm, homey smell permeates the room, making your mouth water. You have just realized, you're in kitchen heaven.
Unfortunately, not all of our kitchen dreams are a reality. Vocabulary like granite, stainless steel and gas appliances may not be a part of our lives; however, every single one of us has a kitchen of some variety, making it one of the most lived-in rooms in a house. We probably spend the majority of our time in the kitchen preparing food and enjoying company.
Therefore, whether moving into a dorm room, setting up an apartment, purchasing your first house, or planning a remodel or redesign, a kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your dwelling. Yet, a kitchen has no purpose if it doesn't have some of the basic appliances to make preparing and cooking possible.
From the "can't live withouts" to the "wish lists" of appliances, check out these awesome tools that make your kitchen functional, convenient, and let's admit it, an enjoyable experience.
If you're striving for a minimalist look in your kitchen, either hone down to the bare essentials or make sure you have a lot of cabinet space to hide appliances when not in use!
A kitchen is worthless without its foundation. Unless you want to eat raw fruits and veggies with some bread or prepackaged snack bars, you need to use heating agents to cook all of your meat and poultry groceries.
Keep all of your dairy, meats and produce fresh with a high-quality chiller. Not only will this help keep your food from spoiling, but it will also protect your health and the health of your family.
Prepare some of your best dishes and casseroles in the oven. Think Christmas cookies, pies, homemade pizzas and fresh banana bread. Invest in a gas oven with a solid stove top to maximize your time.
Always busy and on the go? A microwave is perfect for quick TV dinners, reheating meals, enjoying popcorn or steaming vegetables. Look for appliances with shortcut buttons for preset cook times. Save counter space and try a microhood with a oven fan.
Who doesn't like to watch the toast pop out of the toaster hot and ready to eat? Whether cooking Poptarts, English muffins or plain bread, this is the perfect quick fix to make your meals a cinch.
Adding some of these nice-to-haves will make some common tasks way easier.
Sometimes in the summer, it's nice to sit out on the patio and spend time with family and friends. In order to make this experience comfortable, patio furniture is a must-have. However, to really enhance this pastime, patio chair covers make sitting for long periods of time enjoyable. Similar to patio furniture, these nice-to-have appliances make cooking more efficient and pleasant.
It's one thing to mix cookie batter solids and liquids together with a wooden spoon. After two minutes, your hand begins to ache. Fix this with a simple electric hand mixer for a more even blend.
From morning protein shakes to making margaritas with friends, a blender is the best way to combine liquid and solid foods. Find the right size blender that works for you and be careful around the blades when you clean it.
Preparing a dish that requires diced vegetables or fruit? Use a food processor for finely chopped ingredients to add to a dip or mix. It's not a necessity, but it definitely takes the cake for convenience.
Busy and not in the mood to spend an hour prepping food? Throw meat and vegetables in a slow cooker and walk away. Come back to a perfect, even cook. Now, that's easy!
It's time to picture that pristine kitchen again. If you could have any appliance, what would it be? Forget practical and feed off of impulse for a change. For some luxury appliances, these are some of the most sought after gadgets.
Want to enjoy some decadence now and then? Try adding one of these to your kitchen.
Why go buy pint after pint at the store? Get some common kitchen ingredients like sugar and milk and add your favorite toppings. Enjoy at a home party or movie night.
Nothing says breakfast like a waffle iron. With its simplistic design, you can have breakfast for three meals a day.
Want to have a bistro right in your own kitchen? How about a quaint little cafe that serves those delicious sandwiches? You too can have this luxury with a small, electric Panini Press. Choose your meats and fixings and viola! Instant sandwich.
Fall in love with your kitchen again by stocking it with the essential appliances. Just remember, invest in the gadgets you know you will use frequently. One person might see a hand mixer as an absolute necessity, but if you only bake at Christmastime it might not be worth it for you. That way, you maximize your counter space and make living in your kitchen your own little slice of heaven.
What would you add to these lists? Share your gotta-haves and your wanna-haves in the comments below!