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Cooking for a family as big as mine was a labor of love—emphasis on the labor part. Thanks to technology and fancy new appliances and gadgets, love is now overpowering labor.  

First up, the fancy shmancy professional grade oven and stovetop.  It's recently become popular in the US to invest in the Cadillac of ovens, a trend that's been seen in Europe and commercial kitchens for a while now. As professional and efficient as they come, the new and improved powerhouse ovens allow you a much more sophisticated control of temperature and heat emission, so that your kitchen doesn't gain ten degrees while making stir fry.  Easy to clean and highly intelligent, this baby alone will make cooking a true joy.

mandolin slicerNot too long ago I discovered the Mandoline Slicer.It's a short piece of wood or plastic with a razor blade going across the width near the bottom with a slim gap of space above it.  Think of it as a grater with a single blade capable of taking off a finger if misused.  It actually comes with a hand grip to keep your fingers a safe distance away.  The mandolin will give you thin, perfectly even slices every time, cutting your chopping time in half and cutting out your headache entirely.

Crock PotWith a thousand things to do each day (well, maybe not that many but it sure feels like it), all little help adds up. I really enjoy cooking with fresh ingredients, but there is always at least one day in the week I can't afford to spend an hour or more cooking, so it turns into crock pot night.

Can OpenerNow, with many crock pot dishes, you use canned, frozen or otherwise processed items, which means hand cramps galore from opening cans.My solution? OneTouch Can OpenerNo cramps, no complaints, just instant satisfaction.

Thermometers and digital timersDigital timers and thermometers are godsends, in my opinion. Out with the egg timer and in with the efficient digital timer.  Small enough to fit in your pocket, you can take it with you wherever you are in the house while the food cooks away. Digital thermometers come in two parts: first, the actual gauge goes into your roast, and the temperature reader is portable, also allowing you to keep track of your dish from the comfort of the couch.  My kind of cooking!

As for non-electronic innovations, the key word you want to remember is silicon.  Silicon is the new stainless steel, since it has a virtually limitless heat tolerance (500 degrees and then they start cracking), incredible flexibility of motion and is across the board dishwasher safe.  My my silicone spatulaswithstood many a brainless moment of being left resting on a hot pan, showing no damage or evidence of any kind. Kitchen Aid Mixer Now let's focus on baking; there are three inventions/devices I can no longer live without.  First, my electric, free-standing mixer.  Spash free, hands free, nearly a dozen speeds to choose from—it's about to outsource my right hand it's so darn efficient.  

 baking sheetI also can't bake without my non-stick baking pan pads. Made of silicon, these pads just lay across your baking sheet and are truly the definition of non-stick. I'm saving a fortune on time and money by not having to butter and flower or spray the pan each time I got o use it—and you don't have to wait between batches to keep going; these pads will see you through to the end of your baking project.  Similarly, I invested in a silicon muffin mold, and don't ever plan on going back to the muffin papers and tin. Completely dishwasher safe, stain and odor resistant and completely non-stick as well.

Silicon will be the kitchen rockstar of the future. I recently found an article discussing a prototype for a roll-up frying pan made primarily of silicon.  Although it's just a prototype for now, it's my dream future-cooking gadget   

So if you have half o dozen mouths to feed or more and time is of the essence, maybe consider how any of these investments could speed up and simplify your cooking plans.      

If you have favortie gadgets, please don’t keep them a secret, share in the comments below. I’m always looking for things that save me time.

Bon Appétit

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • I lost a good portion of my right thumb once on a mandoline but it was my fault. I still love that slicing tool. And that digital thermometer you‘re displaying is fantastic. I had one of those for years. I wore the thing out. And, non stick baking mats save money and time. I put everything from hot liquid caramel to leftover melted chocolate on them. They truly are no stick and cleanup is great. Saves me lots of money not having to buy so much parchement paper.

      Here’s a no cost tip. Add a little bleach to your dishwater. It sanitizes everything and cuts grease like nobody’s business. I use it at the shop all time. When you walk in the door it either smells like chocolate or clorox!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • I love silicone, have you seen the new cheese grater by pyrex? It is a standing grater with a see thru measuring on each side of rhe gater and a pull out bottom to release the cheese, its cool. Easy to clean.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • I adore silicon .... and I have a Kitchen Aid .



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • A big electric roaster is a good thing to have if you‘re frequently cooking for a crowd.  

      I don’t have a lot of gadgets.  When storage space is seriously limited, you think twice before you buy anything.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ellebough wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • My husband gave me a really nice set of wusthof knives for my birthday in October. I am still giddy with butterflies in my stomach every time I use them. I would also include my french press coffee maker in with the can’t-live-withouts. You don’t realize that you’ve been drinking burnt coffee all those years til you’ve tried the french press.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • Oh, good knives are an absolute must!  I wouldn’t miss half the things I’ve got in my kitchen, but nobody better touch my knives!!!!  That goes for home and work.  Don’t mess with my knives.

      Once upon a time I caught my mother in law scraping away at the cast iron frying pan(another of my favorite tools) with one of my good paring knives. I had to leave the house or I’d have strangled her.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ellebough wrote Nov 17, 2009
    • What is it about mothers-in-law? Oh, who am I kidding. My mom drives me nuts, too. :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 18, 2009
    • Love the knives, but my kids shove them into a dishwasher and they ruin, each and every time.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Paris Mano wrote Nov 18, 2009
    • I love the silicon baking items. Use them all of the time. Just purchased a bundt pan to make an Eggnog Spice Bundt Cake for the holidays.

      Also like the Magic Bullet. I use it all of the time for making smoothies and also chopping up chicken for chicken salad. Great item!estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Nov 18, 2009
    • Crock pot, bread maker (with horizontal pan), a BrAun stick mixer, a toaster,
      microwave with rotating plate are used all the time. I just bought a 1 1/2 C
      electric food chopper that will puree food also. It fits in a cupboard so I keep
      my counter space. The only applances on the counters is the microwave and
      the breadmaker. I have a waffle maker and a small deep fryer hogging up a
      cupboard and haven’t used either in years. I can part with the deep fryer but
      relunctant on the waffle maker.  

      I have a lot of cast iron that I store in the oven. Does anyone else store pans
      in their oven? My pantry cupboards are full of medicinal herbs & paraphenal-
      ia (sp?) to process them. Nowadays stoves don’t have storage drawers so the
      oven looked like a good spot.  ;o)

      I have a set of knives I never told my husband how much they cost. It costed
      more than my violin, to give an idea of the expense.  

      Cathie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Nov 18, 2009
    • I love my pizza oven....it’s the best for cooking frozen, homemade or reheat resturant pizza. And it cooks it in half the time with no cheese dripping off and burning the bottom of your stove..... LOVE IT!



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