What's your best kitchen 'extra'?

tomatofreakJune 22, 2014

Once you've got all your fab cabinets; your 4- or 6-burner Viking, Wolf or Bluestone range; your French-door fridge, your Miele dishwasher and Italian marble counters, what 'gadget' or small appliance did you decide would make your kitchen complete - or your life easier?

Is it a coffeemaker, toaster oven, food processor, KA stand mixer (with attachments, of course!), Vita-Mix, food dehydrator, etc., etc.?

I thought of this while watching an old movie and sitting through an ad for NuWave Induction countertop 'burner'. From Popeil's roasters to toasters, there seems no end of add-on kitchen gadgets. Just wondering who has what, why and how you use or like it.

Caveat: Really, I'm just trying to distract from the endless discussions about backsplashes!

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christina222_gw

My KA stand mixer. It was my first really big 'adult' purchase (which means it's ancient now!) and I use it nearly daily. I also love my mandoline. For a hand tool it was quite pricy and I don't use it that often but it's the perfect tool for some things.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:02PM
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beautybutdebtfree

My vac pan in the toe-kick!! This is a foot-activated suction dustpan built into the toe-kick that is sucked by the central vacuum system. So you sweep the floor up to the vac pan, toe the switch, and watch the crud disappear into the hole! No bending over or getting your hands gritty with hand dustpan.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Linelle

My Nespresso Pixie. Cappuccino. I'm a hopeless addict.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 7:12PM
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dcward89

Well I had it before the reno but I never want to be without my KA stand mixer. I also am completely and hopelessly addicted to my Keurig...can't get through the morning without my Donut Shop coffee.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:07PM
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spanky_md

Two: my vintage lift-bowl KA mixer that is currently the original white (scuffed and dingy) but i hope soon to be repainted a fun color. LOVE my KA mixer.

2nd: my new DeLonghi KMix orange toaster. I love it so much.

I don't have either of these in place yet because the backsplash and counters are not quite finished, but soon!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Linelle

spanky, your toaster is very cute. But how is it at toasting? I'm looking for a toaster that deigns to toast both sides of a slice of bread.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:18PM
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plllog

I have so many to choose from, but the greatest of all is probably the Danish Dough Whisk.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:24PM
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mrspete

I'm going to have to go with something larger than a small appliance: a walk-in pantry. It provides the best possible storage, so it keeps the kitchen clean.

A close second: my husband's Big Green Egg grill. He does most of the cooking in good weather, and that grill genuinely is better than anything else in it's class.

If you insist upon a small something, it would have to be a plain, old fashioned good sharp knife. It's good for everything.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:26PM
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browniepie

Nespresso CitiZ + Milk

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 9:28PM
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razorbackfan

Well, my KA, for sure, but also my Hamilton Beach coffeemaker. No, it's not fancy, but it's especially easy to fill, it pours without spilling, and it makes deliciously BOLD coffee.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:29PM
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cookncarpenter

Since we have both a lime and a lemon tree in our yard, this simple little tool is indispensable...

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:14PM
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spanky_md

linelle, the Kmix toaster is pretty good at toasting. It doesn't have the absolute best reviews on Amazon but it's pretty good. The main complaint is that you have to turn it down most of the way or it will over-toast the bread but I am not sure why that matters as long as you get the degree of toasting you like. I'm happy with it and it has way more style than most. It also comes in kelly green, red, magenta, black, white, silver and maybe bright yellow. I have seen the bright yellow but the vendor i'm looking at right now on Amazon doesn't show yellow.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:57PM
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blfenton

My vac-pan in the toe kick and my pull-out broom closet. (Can I say that) I love that thing. I'm not really a gadget person.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:05AM
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Majra

My SodaStream! Runner up is my kettle, cuz it looks nice.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:18AM
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Linda

Anyone who will cook for me. And clean up.

Linda

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:25AM
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ReBe231

I opted for the Miele built-in plumbed coffee system. It was a real splurge for me because my husband doesn't drink coffee. I'm still trying to figure it out!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:26AM
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Texas_Gem

I don't have fancy high end appliances but I was so thrilled when we finally got to countertop time (we are complete DIYers) and I could afford granite!

Beyond that, my mom wanted to buy my a KA mixer for my birthday (which was in October) and I told her I didn't want to get it until I had some place to put it. I got my mixer in February and the first thing I used it for was to make my daughters birthday cake.

I actually have tied all the "christenings" of my new kitchen to important family events.

My counters were installed 2 days before my baby's first birthday so I showed them off at her party. I also used my new double wall ovens for the first time to make her cake.

I used my KA mixer for the first time to make her older sisters cake for her 5th birthday and I used all 3 ovens simultaneously for the first time when I hosted a big retirement party for my dad.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:57AM
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Mags438

Kitchen not finished yet but so far, I'm loving a mezzaluna I got DH. also love the tapmaster. Doesn't take a lot to make me happy. :-)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:00AM
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ChristyMcK

Well, we're in the middle of a kitchen refresh but my response will be the same: My technivorm moccamaster coffee maker. It makes mornings so nice and it is used every single day.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:06AM
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sjhockeyfan325

My favorite cabinet "extra" is the pull-out condiment rack (I liked it so much in my previous home, I got a bigger one this time). I have two all-time favorite "gadgets" - Prep Taxi and Jar Pop.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:58AM
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greenhaven

A KA mixer is certainly on my wishlist, but I have to say that my Bella electric kettle is the thing I love and use most right now:

I use a french press, and it is sooo pleasant to get up in the morning, flip the kettle switch and have hot water quickly. It also makes me very happy to fill it and pour with it. A first-world like, to be sure, but I love it and it makes me happy. I paid about 10 dollars extra for the ceramic Bella because it was so appealing.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 12:15PM
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raee_gw

We are using the Nutribullet a lot, and also the toaster oven -- just an inexpensive Black & Decker. I actually have a larger convection toaster oven that I bought at a tag sale, but it is still sitting in the basement -- have been content with the small one.

The other little gadget that I am enjoying is the over-the-sink colander that I got at Ikea. I am kind of surprised at how much I use it!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 12:47PM
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tomatofreak

I am so glad I asked this question! So many neat things in your kitchens. So many pretties, too. Love the orange toaster (my favorite color) and the Bella kettle. majra, I love your stovetop kettle; is it really striped or is that just the lighting.

pillog, I love whisks, but I have never seen a Danish dough whisk. How do you use it? Does it work for heavy doughs like biscuits?

Omigosh, you coffee-lovers have certainly splurged! I had to google the Moccamaster as I've never heard of it. It is so sleek and pretty, I'm tempted. (No chance though; all $$$ going to the reno.)

ctycdm, I know it's overkill, but I have both the lemon and the lime juicers! I can blame Rick Bayless for that, lol.

Mags438, I am a knife junkie, but I've always been suspicious that the mezzaluna doesn't work as advertised. Is it really an improvement over a chef's knife?

I must say my favorite small appliance is (was, before it partly broke) my GE microwave/convection oven combo. The micro part stopped working and I haven't gotten it fixed, but the bake feature is phenomenal.

And, wow, if I could choose from all your faves, it would definitely be the toe kick vac pan!! I've always said my ideal kitchen would be tiled from the top down and have a huge industrial disposer drain in the middle of the floor. ;O)

Besides what you love, what did you buy that you rarely or never use? (Can't tell you how many times I've done that.)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:02PM
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calumin

I have a Technivorm Moccamaster and a Rocky Rancilio grinder. Now I just received a Nespresso as a gift, but not sure where I'm going to put it...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 2:31PM
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CTN30

I love my food processor. It's not related to the kitchen renovation, but it was something I wanted for years and would talk myself out of spending the money on. Then a friend was moving and wanting to get rid of stuff and gave me his. I had been trying to use my blender as a makeshift processor for years, and there's just no comparison. It's just a fairly basic KA 7 cup model - nothing all that fancy - but I love it.

On the flipside of that, I could probably easily live without my KA stand mixer. It was a wedding gift 12 years ago, and I probably use it 4-5 times a year, tops.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Teehee1984

I like my KA mixer, which I've had for over 20 years; Vita Mix is great, really like it, but this little fella makes the best coffee EVER. Everything pales in comparison. Since it makes expresso, I usually cut it with boiling water and milk or cream for a homemade latte-like beverage. It is a joy to get up in the morning!

I used one of these in Italy and won't go back to a coffee maker. Doesn't take up much room and it is really cute. I just noticed amazon has a 10
cup...hmm... Don't let this giant, close up picture fool you, it is quite small.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 4:10PM
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cal_quail

TeeHee1984 - What is it? Link? Name? Looks very cool.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Teehee1984

Cuisinox Roma Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker -- sorry, I should have included the name. I got mine from amazon.

It is really solid and has a 25 year warranty! It makes coffee/expresso pretty quickly too. Within minutes.

I think that cuisinox has other cute styles too. They aren't cheap, but they aren't flimsy throw aways either.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:38PM
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tomatofreak

CTN30, I've been waiting for someone to name the food processor. I thought, surely, several people would. I gave mine to my daughter several years ago.

cal_quail, I think it's in this link to stovetop espresso makers. They've come a long way since the little 2-piece aluminum ones of the 70's, although those worked quite well.

As for the KA stand mixer, I thought I couldn't live without one. Not true; it mostly collects dust.

Here is a link that might be useful: stovetop espresso makers

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:51PM
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romy718

I bought a couple of Shun knives I am enjoying using - along with this Epicurean cutting board. My husband mentioned he put my Ginsu knife in the dishwasher. I was very confused because I have a 30 plus year old Ginsu knife that I use in the garden to split plants. He meant the Shun which is not a knife you put in the dishwasher.
Seeing lots of things I'd like to add to my kitchen. Greenhaven, I noticed your ceramic kettle in your countertop teaser pic. I might need that. Also intrigued by TeeHee's Cuisinox Espresso Maker.
I haven't allowed myself to even look or read about the Vitamix although I did succumb & get a Kitchenaid stand mixer.

This post was edited by romy718 on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 19:19

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 5:55PM
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a2gemini

Wow- lots of great ideas - Pillog - I might have to get that Danish Dough hook - I only have a standard pastry blender -
I have to put in a plug for my Vitamix. It wasn't part of my original plan but it jumped into my kitchen one day and I never looked back.

My little glass prep bowls are so handy as well. I keep 6 on each side of the kitchen.

I do love my lemon squeezer posted above. I have tried electric, manual and all sorts of others over the years - but love the metal squeezer.

I find I use almost everything in my kitchen - but need to look above the cooktop as I don't think I opened that cabinet in almost 2 years - I think it has a few ceramic vases, an old gold coffee percolator...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:08PM
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oldbat2be

Too hard to answer! I'm sitting here looking around the kitchen and here are some things not yet mentioned (hopefully) which I wouldn't want to be without:

30" deep countertops:

Part and parcel of the deep countertops, are the deep uppers:

Inset composter:

OTF - the One True Faucet - Kohler Karbon

I think I'm the only one with a fire extinguisher niche :)

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 9:40PM
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marcojohnson

#1: Bubbles on Demand (for cheap)

We are sparkling water nuts - and after years of lugging up cases of San Pel and/or Gerolsteiner... we made the switch

http://www.sodastreamusa.com/

and with the addition of a few drops of trace minerals

http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/p/trace-minerals-research-concentrace-trace-mineral-drops-8-fl-oz/tm-1002#.U6jcSvldU4g

and you have something virtually indistinguishable from the imports, less recycling, much lower cost, and a happier back!!!

And because we go through 10+ bottles a week ... I hooked up a 10# tank of CO2 (fill it up at the local beer supply shop) and for $20 we get somewhere north of 8 months of bubbly water for under ten cents a liter (not factoring in all of the initial hardware and bottles that get replaced every 3-4 years).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSepx4tDUgg

We don't like any of the soda flavors that they sell - this is primarily for sparking water and occasionally adding some Mio or CountryTyme lemonade.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:13PM
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marcojohnson

We have a tie for #2, #3, and #4 -- according to my better half the chef, all three have been "can't live without" devices.

Like so many others - the KA stand - we have the raise-the-bowl model.

Also, two items from Brevile that really have impressed and performed well:

http://www.brevilleusa.com/the-smart-oven-r.html

This gadget toasts bagels and bread like nothing else - and has the convection and bake/broil functions that really work well for smaller items - all the way up to a 13" pizza.

http://www.brevilleusa.com/sous-chef-food-processor.html

is their food processor - which replaced a cuisinart that died after 12 years of heavy use. This beast grinds, slices, kneads, and chops through everything without breaking a sweat.

I'm also of the "can't live without" opinion for my Nespresso and Keurig coffee machines.

And what would a thread about "extras" be without talking about controlling your lighting from your iPhone :)

http://www.insteon.com/2242-222-insteon-hub.html

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:22PM
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sjhockeyfan325

Marco, can you post a picture of your Sodastream setup? We also go through a lot a bottles a week.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Aamich

My insta-read thermometer and my collection of Tupperware and other storage bowls. Oh, and my Wusthof tomato knife which I use for lots of things besides slicing tomatoes.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:50PM
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ktj459

It's so funny that so many of you say the KA mixer. Mine sits in the cabinet collecting dust until I use it for Christmas cookies. I wonder what I'm doing wrong?

My favorite small appliance/accessory would be my dust buster! I know that sounds ridiculous but I have a toddler, a dog and a cat and that thing is a lifesaver! I'm having a plug placed specifically for it so that it is always charged and within easy reach!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:06AM
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greenhaven

Hmmm...I do not tend to hang on to things I rarely use, so my choices there are slim. I guess I would choose my Pampered Chef apple peeler, even though I got it super cheap at a yard sale. I rarely use it, but when I use it I reeealy use it. Our last house had the most amazing mature and productive apple tree, and I made applesauce and apple pies up the wazoo. The peeler/corer sure comes in handy during applesauce seaon.

I do regret purchasing a Ninja blender instead of a Vitamix when I killed my standard blender making green smoothies. I hate making smoothies in it so it sits in the pantry. I actually regret my ( low-end) food processor, too, although I suspect that has more to do with the quality and my lack of knowledge of how to use it well and properly. I have not yet gotten rid of it because I have not really hit my stride gain for cooking, after our move.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 12:34AM
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marcojohnson

sjhockeyfan - the video shows the external tank system ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSepx4tDUgg and the website that I bought the parts from: https://co2doctor.com/

Here in SD, I have a "bottle exchange" place that sells me a 10# CO2 tank for $20, exchanging the old one (kind of like Blue Rhino for propane). You can also buy a tank and have it filled locally - I'd buy it form the CO2 place you end up using. Best way to find a local CO2 place is to look up "beer C02" :) I didn't go the paintball can route, too small.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 3:29AM
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schicksal

I think mine is something that my parents gave me for free. It's an Osterizer Galaxie 8. It looks like it did the day it came out of the box; I don't think they ever used it. Then they bought a Vitamix that they used... twice?

There's also a ~1960 Kennmore toaster that I really like. It's chrome with a cool turquoise base. Needs a new cord though - the rubber in the old one deteriorated and last time I used it I got a loud pop and flash a few inches from the plug end.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:36AM
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scpalmetto

The KA of course but our newest favorite is a Breville Mini toaster oven. Wow, can that thing make toast that looks like toast should look and it does plenty of other jobs too. Best part is how easy it is to clean.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:29AM
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sjhockeyfan325

I rarely use it, but when I use it I reeealy use it.

ktj459, I think that's the answer to your question about the KA stand mixer (mine, coveted for years, also sits in the pantry until I take it out at the holidays. but then I really use it, and am glad to have it).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:42AM
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feisty68

A gadget that has changed my life is a meat thermometer that has a probe that goes into the meat, with a digital temperature indicator (with alarm) that stays on the counter. Perfect meat every time.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 4:37PM
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tomatofreak

schicksal, that is the best blender ever! I so wish I still had mine.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 4:49PM
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susanlynn2012

Thanks everyone for sharing. I will share when my kitchen is done.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Juno_barks

I also have, and love, my dough whisk. Bought mine from Lee Valley Hardware. But my favorite is the wood cutting board my father cut for me about 30 yrs ago - pig shaped - and with a sentimental variety of wood.

All you kitchen aid owners - those bad reviews scare me - are you truly loving your KA? I want one for my new kitchen, and don't know which one to buy.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:56PM
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spanky_md

Juno, I've had KA mixers since forever and I love them. (I say mixerS because I kept seeing them used at auctions and would buy them and pass on the previous one to one or another of my kids.)

I grew up with a Sunbeam Mixmaster, which was fine for lightweight mixing. I bought one of those used and had it for maybe 10 years, then got a KA mixer for Christmas. I have not looked back. The only change I made was going from a tilt head to a lift bowl---not sure there's a huge difference. I think I have the lower HP model of the lift bowl, maybe.

The only thing I recommend if you get one, is to get the after market regular beater with the silicone flange on it that scrapes the bowl as it runs. Changed my LIFE. (haha, no really, it did.)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:10PM
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cam349

Okay - so I now have 3 thing in my Amazon cart - things I'm sure I can't live without! I'm still working on my kitchen as well, but two things come to mind. My mini chopper - you can only fit an onion in there, but I can mince my garlic, chop up my onion, then do any other veggies I need and the thing in minuscule and easy to clean and store. The other thing I love is my motion activated soap dispenser. I can now wash my hands without having to touch anything!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:21PM
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kitykat

Food Saver vacuum and bags.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:53PM
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marcojohnson

Yes... remote meat thermometer... absolutely best under $20 gadget!!!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:27PM
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mrspete

Pllog -- I have that Danish wisk, and it is wonderful! Unlike other whisks, it doesn't collect "stuff" in the middle, and it's so easy to wash.

Cytmdm -- I have that lemon/lime squisher, and I love it too.

OldBat2Be -- I currently have a fire extinguisher just inside my pantry, but I am planning something similar to your niche in my new kitchen.

Vitamix. I don't get the hype.

Kitchen Aid Mixer -- I use mine multiple times each week. Aside from the obvious, it's great for mixing up homemade bread, and the bread can rise in the mixer bowl. My mother's KA is well over 3 decades old, so it's a good investment.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:40PM
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sjhockeyfan325

Spanky, were you referring to the KA "flex edge beater"? That looks awesome!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:16PM
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monicakm_gw

TAPMASTER! Can't imagine life without it.
MINT/BRAAVA dry/wet mop robot. Wouldn't want to imagine life without it! :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:30PM
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sjhockeyfan325

What does the robot do when it gets near stairs?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:46PM
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monicakm_gw

It stops and turns around :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 11:49PM
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joygreenwald

My necessary items: Kuhn Rikon Epicurean garlic press, Thermapen meat thermometer, Victorinox chef's knife, and 12" All Clad nonstick. (Points to anyone who can figure out what these specific items have in common.)

My almost useless splurge: Vitamix blender. I know it can do all sorts of things. And it's made a few great smoothies. But mostly it's a dust catcher. (Oh, and my mandolin slicer. It's great when I've used it, but that's seldom since it's just easier to clean my knives.)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:51AM
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spanky_md

sjhockeyfan: So KA finally came out with one! Yes, that's the concept, though mine is one of the early ones made by some other company before KA caught on. The quality looks to be exactly like KA's beaters and it's quite a bit less money. I found both on Amazon using your search words.

Scraping the bowl during the mixing process is the only thing I don't like about KA mixers. Not only do you have to lift the beater out, but you pretty much have to take the bowl off the stand to really scrape it well. (With my old Mixmaster, you could actually stick the spatula down in there while the thing was running! My mom taught me how to do that when I was a kid. And yes, a couple of times I dropped the spatula and it bent up the beaters and she got mad.)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 10:02AM
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sjhockeyfan325

sparky, me too - so I'm going to get one of these (and one for my DIL while I'm at it)

Monicakm, does it really? We were looking at them at BBB the other day and they get very good reviews (plus yours of course :-)). We have a LOT of hardwood floors that get very dusty, but there are two sets of stairs. If they really "learn" not to fall down the stairs, I'm getting one!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Juno_barks

Thanks for the KA advice - I just need to go buy one, I think, and quit with the review reading and worrying.
Just love ALL these gadgets, but my favorite is the house vac that pics up the dirt at the toekick. I keep thinking about that one - a brilliant idea.
My newest splurge is a roomba - pet hair model. When we move back into the upstairs, I hope it will change my life. So far, its keeping our basement carpet cleaner than its ever been. Now if they would just make a robot to clean out the roomba... (and to vac with stairs). I do understand roomba won't go down stairs, and that you can establish electronic walls to keep it in a particular area.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 1:02PM
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athomesewing

I detest sweeping the floors, so I let Roombas. Love them! They do have "cliff sensors" and they do not fall down the stairs. They do okay with carpet and very very well at keeping hard floors nice. I even turned two loose in the construction area after the drywalling and they did an incredible job of picking up that dust.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:28PM
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cal_quail

Not kitchen related, but a second for the Braava. I just put LVT throughout almost the whole house. I have two fluffy Australian Shepherds and live on a hill where the wind blows up the hill, across the dirt where there used to be grass (working on it) and into my house. I love the Braava.

I pick up the big clouds of dog fur first that piles in certain spots and then run the robot to sweep and about every other time to mop, just with water.

I don't have stairs, but understand it is supposed to sense them and stop. My challenge is getting it to stop where I want it to stop (do certain rooms together at certain times). IIRC, you can get things to make it stop. So far I've just moved trashcans, boxes etc. to block doorways where I can't close a door. I want to look into the blockers (I think they called them lighthouses). It'd make things a step easier.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 3:57PM
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lvmadison

I totally agree with the votes for the vac-pan. We don't even have a central vac system. Our electrician hooked ours up to a wet vac in the basement. It has been almost 9 years since we remodeled our kitchen and we still love it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 5:38PM
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gr8daygw

About the Roombas, my friend has one and it's kinda noisy. Are the newer ones less so? I'd love some help with the dog hair. Golden Retrievers shed so much and my other mixed breed sheds, too. I'm a bit of a neat freak and keeping up with it is a never ending job!! But I wouldn't trade them for anything and I think my husband would probably get rid of me before the dogs, lol. Just saying…. So do you think they are tolerably loud? My house is as open as a barn so there's that to consider.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:15PM
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monicakm_gw

sjhockeyfan, yes, really :) I don't have stairs but my home has a total of 4 places where you step down/up (6"). The unit is much heavier in the back-end. The Braava may hang less than an inch over the edge before she backs up. I think the manual tells you to block stairs but they're just covering their rears. I have had this thing since it was owned by Evolution and call Mint (hence her name Senorita Mintina :) )

If you're interested, you can do a search with my name and "Mint" to read more of what I think about this awesome little machine. Is it perfect? No. Does it do a better job than I would do with a microfiber cloth? It's a little embarrassing, but yes, it absolutely does and I'm not breaking my already half broke back doing it. Plus she goes under furniture. It comes with cleaning cloths but I would suggest using Swiffers and double them (insides together) for a thicker cushion. Then just turn it over for the next cleaning. For wet mopping, I use the blue cloths that come with the unit. I fill the reservoir with water, spray the cloth with my 50/50 water/alcohol mixture. Then as it's cleaning, I spray the same mixture on the floor.

We don't have pets or kids in the house (expect when the grandbabies, 6 & 8, come over). The mopping action surprised the heck out of me. I really wasn't expecting a lot from that feature. It does a great job. But again, I don't have globs of jelly on my kitchen floor (g).

And I have never failed to mention that as great as this machine is, it's not perfect. About once a month (ok, maybe more) I'll clean up a corner where some stuff may have been pushed or she just didn't get to. Still, what she does do FAR out weighs what she's not perfect at. That I know of, I have sold 12 Mint/Braavas and everyone has been thrilled with them!

There are two places where I have to put a heavy trashcan or a jug of laundry detergent because she can get stuck. One between the toilet and tub in one bathroom and between the toilet and wall in another bathroom. Braava can go into a narrow area no further than 12". She has to be able to turn around completely.

gr8day, Braava is not a vacuum so all you hear is the pad gliding along the floor. Nearly every night I have it running while I'm in bed. I do my natural stone floors, porcelain and sealed engineered hardwood floors.

I have to say tho that my Tapmaster (kitchen and master bath) is right up there with the Braava...so is my Toto Washlet but that's for another forum (g) It took about a month of using my Tapmaster in the kitchen till I was totally unaware of my "need" for water. It was just there when I needed it with virtually no thought or action on my part. And it's like having a third hand. Takes multi-tasking to a whole new level :)

And even tho this isn't considered an "extra" I can't stop before I mention how much I love my KA KUDE60 dishwasher. EVERY SINGLE DAY, for the last 6 years, I say, out loud, this is my favorite appliance EVER! The interior size, tine placement and customization, 3rd rack, cleaning power, quietness...it's a dw made in heaven :) I've removed the large utensil basket, opening up a large slot put all my utensils on the 3rd row cutlery rack. There is still a smaller bin (placed outside the bottom rack, for spatulas, etc). These 4 things I wish I had extras of in storage :)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:18AM
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dakota01

My Sharp drawer micro-wave. I LOVE IT!!! Also love my window bench seat with drawers below. THough, in hindsight - I shoud have put in false drawer fronts and just had the seat top (lid) open. It would have given me more space for large serving pieces and hand appliances that I don't use often.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:42AM
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tomatofreak

joygreenwald, I've tried, but I can't figure out the commonality of all those items. Clues?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Gooster

Wow, so many helpful suggestions and ideas on what to buy here!

I'll add Vac Pan, Braava and so much else to my watch list.

I still love my Nespresso (less so the Lattissima) and the Ninja is getting quite a bit of use. However, I'm quite pleased with all the new DeMeyere cookware I've purchased -- primarily because it cleans up so easily. People here strongly recommended it and it's been worth it. The All Clad stuff is headed to the 2nd home or to Goodwill.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 4:22PM
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aliris19

This is such a fun thread! I guess when trying to find it back and googling for it, I came across a gazillion others like it, still, I just loved reading it down. And I have to say, I am so surprised at all the love *lost* on Vita-Mix es! I just love mine. And I have to say this was not something I felt my life was lacking, I kind of got a little bit suckered into buying it from Costco. But I use it on average more than once per day for a couple years now. I just love the thing. And it really changes the way I cook in the kitchen, too. It has replaced some of the function of other appliances sometimes. It is essentially on par with the stove or oven in terms of my use.

Conversely, I am really surprised by the love for KA mixers. I grew up with one and was sure it was the first thing I would buy for my kitchen. But somehow that never happened and I have refused it as a gift many times since; I just do not feel I need it.

So I really think these countertop appliances are "fungible". You can accommodate for one with another and having one lessens the need for another. And unless you have all of them spread out, it's hard to know what is actually your perfectly favored one, beyond having something that's good-enough.

As well, one's life changes (obviously) in space and time. We're too fat around here for cookies, which was its principle use growing up. And living in socal we have fruit overflowething all of the time; smoothies are a staple concoction. always, daily. And I just, frankly, can barely imagine life without a machine that pulverizes ice. :)

Lots of extras I love as well that I hadn't anticipated: a hood; another thing I can't believe I contemplated life without. A cutting-board drawer. A huge drawer to hold all that tupperware *with lids one*!!! A great-smelling and sufficiently huge spice cabinet. A small cabinet immediately adjacent to a speed oven, the former indispensable to the latter, the both a huge, huge boon (though I can imagine life without them). Enough counter space. Deep counters. A low counter (next to the fridge to enable food-unpacking).

:) There's more but I'll stop.... Thank you GWers!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 1:22AM
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alex9179

I've only refreshed my kitchen and purchased all new appliances over the last 8 years, so it's a half reno ;)

One of my favorite gadgets is the Breville Smart Oven. I got the big size so that I could use it as my second oven. It's used more often than my wall oven or microwave.
My stick blender is another favorite. I make my own mayo (so tasty!) and that little baby does it in 30 seconds. It has a whisk attachment that I use for scrambled eggs every week.

My biggest splurge is the Ankarsrum mixer. KA reviews scared me and I needed a high capacity work horse for the things I wanted to try and to feed 3 growing kids. Couldn't ask for better! I use it 2-3 times a week for a variety of things.

You'd think I loved to cook with my fancy appliances, but I just like food!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:21PM
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aliris19

Alex - what a great idea; homemade mayo.... recipe please?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:27PM
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kksmama

I love my nutrimill, and do not think I've seen it mentioned here. The differences between fresh ground kamut, or hard white wheat, and store bought whole wheat flour cannot be overstated.
I also love my in drawer knife organizer, and the research and thread posted by olivertwist was super helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: knife organization

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:40PM
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aliris19

kksmama -- Vitamix! Another thing to do with it ... again, why I wonder there is so little love on here for that thing! I am guessing they work comparable to make flour, though not sure...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:49PM
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homeimprovementmom

My Breville stainless steel tea/hot water boiler. Has a friendly, gentle bell that rings when the water is boiling, the cord is long, the kettle comes off the base, and it takes less than 30 secs. to boil water. been very handy in the a.m. when we all are getting ready for school, work and all need hot water for coffee, tea. I used an electric kettle in China and had to find one here in the US. The Breville is stainless steel inside out so no plastic taste or worry.
the other is my simple Aladin knife sharpener.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:56PM
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alex9179

Aliris, this is from the Top Secret Recipe guy for a Hellman's clone, but I use the whole egg. I just couldn't abide soy bean oil mayo!

1 egg
2-1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1 cup vegetable oil (I use safflower, sunflower, etc and sometimes a Tbspn or so bacon drippings. Olive oil makes it bitter.)

For the stick blender method, use a jar w/ lid that the blender fits into and you don't have to transfer it for storage. Pickle jars work well.

Add all ingredients to jar except oil. Then add oil on top. Place stick blender all the way down and blend using an up and down motion until emulsified and oil is blended, which takes less than half a minute. Refrigerate up to 14 days, makes 1 cup. If I double it, I use 1-1/2 cups oil.

You can do it the traditional way of whisking or use a blender while slowly streaming in the oil.

I've changed up the type of vinegar, used my preserved lemons instead of juice, add a tsp of dijon if I have it. Very adaptable to your tastes!

Here are some Aioli recipes I've found that are delicious, too. Best if made the night before.

Spicy Aioli
1 cup mayo
2 T sriracha
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove minced garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
Kosher salt to taste - probably won't need it

Garlic Aioli
3/4 cup mayo
3 cloves minced garlic - I had some roasted cloves and it was fabulous
2T lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt, if desired
1/2 tsp ground black pepper - I used white pepper

I've added curry powder to the mayo for a cold sauce with grilled/baked chicken - OMG, it's addictive. The full recipe is more involved, really good, but not necessary. I'll link to it, below.

It sounds like I eat mayo every day! There are weeks when I haven't made any, but I've been doing it for a while and have made stuff for parties.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken breasts with curry sauce

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:15PM
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kksmama

I don't think the vitamix and nutrimill are comparable, Aliris, but there is plenty to love about Vitamix and it generally gets its due around here - I sure got talked into one! But I don't want to scratch my pretty container with tasks better suited to other appliances. And um, some people, have, um...a lot of appliances.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:21PM
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aliris19

yum yum yum and yum. Thank you Alex!! Some of the reason I appreciate the recipe is that we just don't use mayo much at all! But then one needs it and doesn't have it. OR buys too much and it just takes up space.... much better to have a habit in the pocket for just whipping it up like this. I knew it was easy and you mentioned it was -- fantastic. I will not buy any more of that stuff. It's all so gross anyway, the store-bought. Except Hellmans, which for mysterious reasons really does taste better than the rest -- best it's that sugar! ;) Anyway, I'm really looking forward to trying this; thanks!

kksmama! lol ... I had some serious buyer's skepticism if not remorse; fear, after buying that VM. But if I were to whats-it-called, amortize, its use I bet it would come out pretty great. I don't do the fancy expensive drinks-out thing but I will take dh's leftover coffee and throw it in ice cubes, buy some of that "Mexican" hot cocoa mix from smart n final (studiously avoiding its ingredients list) and blend that together with milk. Think of how quickly you can justify the expense that way! It's a workhorse. I'll look up your nutrimill next.... :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:58PM
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kksmama

You are so right about amortizing kitchen appliances! Seems to me that dh needs a new toy tool for every diy job - imagine if I had a new one for every meal!

At one point I half considered calling off the kitchen remodel and figuring out how many restaurant meals our budget would buy. We really do eat better quality meals since the remodel; making the work of cooking easier and more pleasurable means it happens on at least some occasions on which we previously would've ordered out. And sneaking greens, chia and flax into smoothies was my prime justification for the VM.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:40PM
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christina222_gw

Kt459 you asked: "It's so funny that so many of you say the KA mixer. Mine sits in the cabinet collecting dust until I use it for Christmas cookies. I wonder what I'm doing wrong"

You said in your question what you're doing wrong (though obviously there's nothing wrong with not using your mixer), it's in a cabinet! Everyone I know who has and doesn't use their KA mixer keeps it in a cabinet or pantry. They weight a ton and no one wants to haul the thing around. Even on a lift it's not convenient. Mine is on my counter (in a spot designated for it from the design phase) and I use it nearly daily. If I had to drag it out to use it I'm sure I'd hardly ever bother.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:20PM
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dilly_ny

Breville toaster oven with Blendtec blend as close runner up

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:55AM
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sjhockeyfan325

As long as we're talking recipes, I'm going to have a cold poached salmon for a group. I would love ideas for what to serve beside it as a sauce or condiment (I've already got the salads and other sides covered). If I can use one of my favorite kitchen "extras" to make it, all the better. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:44AM
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cal_quail

Dragging up this old thread, but I don't think it's the one I was looking for. Thanks to whoever suggested the Atlas pepper mill. Ours finally arrived (other items were backordered and we said to wait to ship everything and it's very nice.

Also, I've been wanting a new coffee grinder for a while and today was my first day using my Breville Smart Grinder. I really wanted to get a Baratza or Rancilio but after considering what I didn't like about my old one and how much I was/wasn't willing to spend (and the Breville having a cord wrap) I decided the Breville was the way to go. Great coffee this morning and I was able to cut a few steps out of my coffee ritual. My biggest issue with my old Krups was how static-y the bin was that the grounds went into. Now I can grind right into my filter. Awesome. And tasty.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 11:21PM
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