17 January 2013

Must have appliances for a small apartment

I don't always have a lot of time for it, but I love working in the kitchen.  That doesn't mean I'm a great cook (not like Evelyn and Kepenie are, wow!), but I aspire to be one.

My mother spent many years as a professional baker making everything from the perfect cinnamon rolls  to wedding cakes.  My grandmother is amazing at finding yummy and easy recipes I never would have found any other way and knows a lot of great cooking tricks she's learned over the years.  With the help of those two amazing women I moved into my first apartment well prepared to cook for myself.

I've found that are some kitchen appliances that I use very frequently because they save time and work so well.  But I also think that they are perfect for someone with a very small living space and who may not have a stove/oven.

1. An immersion blender.  This is one of my mother's favorite kitchen tools because it is so versatile and can be used in situations where a full sized blender cannot, like when you are cooking something on the stove.  We both really like the Cuisinart model because it has power, is well made, and has really useful attachements: a whisk, a small food processor, and a sharp-edged blending tool.  My mother has the cordless version and loves the portability.

I used it today to make the best hot chocolate ever (the secret is to use real chocolate rather than cocoa).

2. A toaster oven.  This has to be one of the best inventions ever and another of my mother's favorite appliances.  It is perfect for someone who doesn't have an oven because you can use it to cook or bake small amounts of things without heating up your kitchen and it doesn't take up much space.  Of course it is also a toaster.  I cannot imagine not having one of these, I use it every day.

3. A rice cooker.  I wanted a rice cooker just so I could make rice, but I had no idea that they could also be used to steam veggies to perfection if it has a steaming basket.  I cook most of my veggies this way now and it saves me a lot of time.  This would be perfect for a college student because they are very inexpensive (I've seen them for $10) and easy to use to make a healthy meal.

5. A slow cooker.  My wise grandmother insisted that I get a slow cooker because it has been an invaluable appliance for her.  Of course she was right, I use it on days where I don't have any time to cook or when preparing large quantities of beans to freeze for the upcoming week.  I absolutely love the Cuisinart model (I know...I kind of have a thing for them, maybe because they seem to last forever and have all the functions I want) because it has a large ceramic pot and it is programmable so I can come home to a warm dinner.

Do you have a certain appliance that you love and find particularly useful (or fun to use?  I know I'm eying a gourmet ice cream maker...)?  Please do tell!

***Note that I have received no compensation for this post, these aren't thorough reviews and I'm not trying to advertise for the companies.  My sole intent is to share my own experiences and opinions on cookware.


  1. I love my mini george foreman and my air popper, although the air popper hasn't gotten much use lately. Thanks for sharing, I feel like everyone lately has been talking about cooking on their blogs!

  2. I have been meaning to get an immersion blender for a long time! I keep finding all these recipes for pureed soups and it just doesn't seem worth it to transfer it to a real blender and then back.

    Anyways, I think this is a good list! I've been living in tiny apartments up until now, and counter/cupboard space is definitely an issue.

  3. Great list! I have everything apart from the toaster oven, although I do have a full size oven. My biggest challenge is trying to fit everything into my kitchen, along with my other stuff! :)

  4. Great list, I've wanted a rice cooker forever but they're kind of big and all my kitchen cabinets are already full :( Maybe one day when I have a(n even) bigger kitchen?
    my all time favorite kitchen appliance is my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It's perfect! I use it all the time for baking, cutting vegetables, making cereals, ... I just love it! Oh and it's also a nice design elements in my kitchen ;)
    My second favorite appliance is my kitchen aid blender. I use it to make smoothies and milk shakes pretty much every day, but it's also great for chopping chocolate (for some 'real' hot chocolate) and oats and nuts for homemade cereal bars. And and does a microwave count too? because I just got an awesome one that makes PERFECT crisp pizza - yumm!

  5. I'd never heard of a rice cooker. I cook rice in a special tray in my steamer (about $20 at Target 10 years ago). Sounds like they are two sides of the same coin. It does look like the Oster steamer is $35 now and takes up more space, so the rice cooker looks like a great option!
    Honestly, the appliance I'm addicted to is my Keurig. One cup of coffee is all I ever need and I LOVE it! (and over time, it is a lot cheaper than Starbucks)

  6. This is a good list of appliances. I have two of the four: a rice cooker/steamer and a crock pot. My cabinet and counter space is limited, so I prefer a microwave over a toaster oven.

  7. A really good 8" chef's knife. I use it every single day!

  8. With just these few choice kitchen tools, you are well on your way to becoming a great home cook! Since I really enjoy baking, parchment paper and good mixing bowls are a must! Simple but so, so important.

  9. I couldn't get by in the kitchen without my immersion blender! I have the same model as you, and I love it! I have to say, one of the best parts about growing up has been developing my arsenal of kitchen gadgets!

  10. I'd think a microwave oven is a must have, especially for a single person, to heat up things quickly. I usually have a hot water dispenser too so I can make tea any time. Other non-machines: a good sharp paring knife, chef's knife, nice big pan or wok, lots of chopsticks (different sets for cooking and eating). Handmade coasters and heat pads in bright colors to lighten things up.

  11. I don't cook much at all any more but do use three out of your choice
    My rice cooker get more use than any other. Have steamed veggies with it as much as i cook rice

    Slow cooker is great

    Toaster oven -especially during summer months.

    Thanks for your accessments of each

    I'm typing with my new iPad -it does want me to check my spelling. . . . Next time


  12. I wouldn't want to be without my food processor. It pretty much does it all from chopping, dicing, slicing to just plain mushing things up. :-) So fun!!

  13. Your mother sounds amazing!
    I LOVED my kitchen Aid mixer - but it broke :( I have to get it fixed.
    I couldn't live with out my food processor, my pestle and mortar and of course my oven.
    But for me, my greatest love? My bookcase of recipe books :)

  14. My slow cooker is one of my must haves! It is just perfect for no fuss cooking.
    I am sure you an excellent cook. These kitchen tools seem like just the ticket!

  15. I didn't know you could use a rice cooker for steaming veggies. That is brilliant!

    My one kitchen must have is cookie sheets. Mostly because the only thing I'm any good at making are cookies.

  16. I have an older smoothie maker immersion blender that an old roommate left and it works for what I need it to do. My brother and his wife brought home a rice maker from Japan when they moved home years ago because they were so used to eating rice with every meal they couldn't live without one. My go to appliance is probably my kitchen aid mixer with the attachments. I use it all summer for canning not to mention all of the baking I do. My next must have is my electric tea kettle. I'm not sure what I'd do with out that one!

  17. great list! i agree - i use each of them quite often. one thing i have in addition is a small combo foodprocessor/blender. it's smaller than a foodprocessor, and can interchange between that and the blender so it saves space. i use it a lot and really helps cut down on the random items in a small kitchen.

  18. I have appliance envy! :) We have a blender, a Keurig, and a toaster and room for nothing else! If we didn't have a fish tank on the counter, I'd get a stand-mixer, though I never use my electric hand-mixer. :P How big is your slow cooker? We have two but both are too small to do anything with. I might use a bigger one.

  19. I gave my immersion blender away....to one of my kids....

    Love your list. I'd add: french press

  20. oooh-- I love this idea, I lived in a dorm room for four years and I don't really know what kind of appliances I should be looking into for when I have my own place! I couldn't live without my electric tea kettle though-- boiling water in under two minutes!

  21. I love your list, and heartily agree with your must-have choices! The only thing I'd add to my own must-have list is an electric tea kettle, though I admit to keeping mine in my spinning room instead of the kitchen. :)

    Also, that's so awesome that your mother's a baker, too! I'm sure we could swap lots of baking stories.

  22. I LOVE my Kitchenaid stand mixer. I've had it for over 20 years and it still works beautifully. I use it for everything from cookies to bread. I can't imagine my kitchen without it.

  23. I have been eyeing the immersion blenders for awhile now but I really don't need another kitchen appliance. I am so thankful that my last Christmas present from my mom was a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. My holidays have been so much easier since.

  24. Aww, Pumpkin! You honor me. It's all about trial and error plus some determination.
    It's great that you did this post b/c many students are on a budget and want to eat healthier. You have grown upmwith two great role models. You'll do fine as a cook. I mean, wow! Homemade hot cocoa? I don't even do that. How many quarts is your slow cooker? I have a 7 one I think and my meat would turn out dry.


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