I’ve spent my fair share of money over the years on various kitchen gadgets and items designed to make my healthy lifestyle ‘easier’. Some things delivered, some didn’t. Kitchens are tricky- you have to find the balance of what works for your budget, what ACTUALLY works as a gadget, would you actually get use out of of it, as well as DO you have the space for that item.
We moved from a 3bdr, 2.5 bath, split level townhome (with a yard) to an under 900sf 2bdr open plan apartment- and our kitchen shrunk with the move. Not only did we have to resell most of our appliances in the move from Australia to Canada (because of voltage), I now had to be super realistic with what I would end up re-purchasing because of limited space.
Items were evaluated under the following:
- Was it something that was genuinely worth my money to repurchase // how often would I use this item // Could I make do without?
- Would it fit in an open kitchen with virtually no pantry or storage space.
- Was there an updated version, smaller version OR used version of this item that I should wait for?
The following gadgets and appliances are what I ended up choosing for our kitchen and ultimately what I’d recommend to any person who’s looking to make their healthy, plant based meal prep a little easier…
This is what’s worth your money….
Not just any blender…. the VITAMIX blender
- Blenders used to be that kitchen item you brought out on the rare occasion you made Margaritas, or chunky, unsatisfying smoothies… not anymore. I find the Vitamix to be my ‘does it all’ kitchen item and what I reach for (usually) multiple times a day. It’s my small space living answer to a food processor as well because it’s so powerful and can crunch through anything you put into it – just use the tamper to keep pushing the food down into the spinning blades.
- You are able to get really precise with textures, which is something I had never been able to achieve with a conventional blender before. Being a texture person (and a plant based eater) this is EVERYTHING to me. I want my dressings and sauces to be super duper creamy, but things like crushed nuts to be only slightly crushed…. is it too much to ask?
Yes, it’s an investment piece- but if you’re someone who spends time in the kitchen, enjoys cooking or is looking to make healthy eating easier for you and your family- a Vitamix is SO worth the money.
We have the low-profile container – perfect to fit under the cabinets or on the counter top.
Have it easily delivered to your door via Amazon here, or lug it home from Costco- both likely the most cost effective options.
The George Foreman
Ok, it doesn’t need to specifically be a George Foreman, but Mini Grills are AMAZING! Get on it. Especially for a smaller kitchen. It gives you a BBQ feeling without needing a BBQ. Perfect for cooking veggies or traditional BBQ food OR for jazzing up sandwiches or breakfasts (we love using ours for making frozen breakfast burritos into ‘levelled up’ grilled masterpieces). Mini Grills also give you more cooking space options , especially if you don’t have many pans/ room on the stovetop. You can also get ones that are flat surfaced like this.
A great & inexpensive appliance to whip out and use to easily elevate your meal.
The Immersion Blender
I asked for an immersion blender for Christmas a few years ago (You know you’re an adult when…) and it’s been one of my favourite handy go to’s.
These guys are especially awesome for soups or dressings (…& baby food? I’m getting ahead of myself). Chop, crush, blend, and puree – it takes two seconds to pop it in your pot on the stovetop & cleans up very simply once you’re finished. Much easier than dumping cups of hot soup into the blender to partially blend or making blender apple sauce etc.
THIS one is inexpensive and comes with a few other super useful attachments
A gorgeous Kettle
We. LOVE. Our. Kettle.
I can’t say it enough. Our Kettle is used (very conservatively guessing…?) about 10 times a day. We drink a butload of tea in this house, and we have a completely open kitchen… so having something that is functional as well as looked good was a must. Gotta get your daily water in, and having a herbal, caffeine free tea is how we keep hydrated without getting bored. Not to mention keep warm during the long Canadian winters. This beauty illuminates blue when the kettle is on & auto shuts off when it’s reached optimal temperature. It has a super convenient 360 degree base, which you don’t realize is the best thing ever, until you use it as often as we do and you then wonder why all kettles arnt like this because it seems common sense. I now notice the lack of this feature on every other kettle when we travel and it’s an eye twitch moment LOL.
Staying on the tea trend… we also love making our own healthy iced tea creations. These BPA free tumblers allow you to brew up a custom blend of your favourite herbs, pop it in the fridge and you have a yummy, healthy drink to grab throughout the day. Home made iced tea is the bomb.com not only because of the flavours you can create, but because YOU control the sugar (unlike conventional bottled iced tea, which has a SHOCKINGLY HIGH amount). You can also keep it super simple and fill the tumbler with citrus fruit, berries, cucumbers or whatever other flavour you want to create. Stay hydrated without feeling bored or consuming the unnecessary sugar!
A Juicer that is easy to use, so you actually use it
This is our second Optimum Juicer from a company called Froothie. It’s called the Optimum 600. They ship worldwide and were super easy to deal with, as well as they offer a 30 day money back guarantee). Our first order from Froothie was while living in Australia, and we used the juicer so much that we ended up re-purchasing the same unit when we moved back over to Canada (different voltage).
When I went to write this blog post, I saw that Optimum had released the new generation of this juicer (above) which noticeably takes up less counter space & looks like less parts to clean. I’d gladly swap to the new generation when it comes time to upgrade, OR I’m reallllyyyy into the idea of upgrading to THIS ‘no mess’ juicer (though it seems almost too good to be true… lol)
Whatever brand you buy, you should look for a ‘Cold Press’ juicer- which basically presses & masticates the juice from your ingredients. The other type of juicer on the market is called a ‘Centrifugal ‘ juicer and it produces your juice by using a spinning blade. The issue with a fast, spinning blade is the heat that comes with it. The heat is said to oxidize some of the nutrients of your juice, so cold press juicers are the gold standard for not only a higher juice yield, but fresher, more nutritious juice.
No juicer (that I’ve heard of or experienced) is super easy or convenient to clean. It’s just a matter of what is the lesser evil. The Optimum Juicer isn’t fiddily, comes apart easily and gets the job done without too much mess. I find that even if a brand promotes that their juicer has a wide mouth and is able to handle full fruit /veggies without any prep, it probably still shouldn’t. It honestly ends up being way less work to just quickly chop stuff up into 1-2inch chunks and then toss them in. That way it for SURE doesn’t clog the machine up and is still somewhat easy to take apart and clean.
Moving on to smaller gadgets, the Milk Frother has become a staple in our kitchen. This little tool is ideal for frothing your nut mylks, mixing supplements so they COMPLETELY dissolve & quickly mixing up light dressings. Possibilities are really endless for this little wiz. Mine is the torky little two level whisk linked above- totally recommend.
The stoner’s answer to the garlic press….
I’ve had a rough relationship with the garlic press over the years…. I genuinely don’t understand why they bother making some of them. You know the ones… the kind that squish the garlic out and around the sides when you press it, or ones that bust after a few uses. The garlic press is a kitchen item that is fiddily, annoying to clean and commonly lets you down. NO MORE! Meet this Gourmia Garlic Grinder. Place your garlic in the grinder, and twist until it’s the consistency you’re after. BOOM.
The device that makes oodles of Zoodles
One day when I have a larger kitchen space, I’d love to purchase a heftier spiralizer like THIS for vegetable noodles. They are a super easy tool to make gluten free ‘zoodles’ and get extra vegetables in while staying away from processed foods.
Since we’re working with limited space in our kitchen, I opted for THIS little device. The Microplane spiralizer quickly turns your veggies into linguini sized ribbon for stir-frying or for making more interesting textures for salads etc. It works like a pencil sharpener, just apply pressure while pushing and turning the vegetable through the barrel to create beautiful ribbons. Perfect for a small kitchen, or if you want the option of zoodles, but know it won’t be something you have super often.
I’m going to keep adding to this list as I add things to our kitchen over the years- make sure to check back from time to time to see any updates 🙂