Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kitchen Gadgets by Alison (Guest Post)

Hello! My name is Alison and I am so excited to be guest posting for Shonda. Shonda and I "met" through the blog world and have enjoyed encouraging one another via the internet, so sharing on her blog is truly an honour.   I enjoy writing about life with my husband, including what we eat, where we travel, and much more!

The place in my home that I love the most is my kitchen. There is nothing overly special about it, other than the fact that it's "mine." It's a place where I can go to relax, create something new, and whip up something delicious to nourish myself, my husband and those who visit. As a part of loving my kitchen, there are a few kitchen "gadgets" (a loose term!) that I especially love using. It's not about the brand for me, but more about the function. And so I thought I'd share a couple of kitchen gadgets that I enjoy with a couple of recipes for each one so you can see how I use them.

1. The Crock Pot.
This should come as no surprise to most people, but the crock pot is an incredible tool that I LOVE. I use it in so many ways, but it's especially useful in the summer months when it's hot out and it's easier to barbecue than heat up your oven. The most common way that I use the crock pot is for cooking dried beans. It's so easy, not at all time consuming, and efficient. Another recipe that I love to make in my crock pot is vegetable stock. All you need to do is save up your veggie pieces (like the stubs of carrots or broccoli) and top them up with water and cook! So delicious, so easy. And last but not least, I also love making desserts in the crock pot. One of our family favourites is rice pudding!

2. Garlic Press.
My garlic press was a gift to me from my sister-in-law...and it's not really a press...but more of a garlic "twist." I put my garlic inside it, twist it back and forth and voila! Instant minced garlic. I love it because I use garlic in EVERYTHING. Literally. I must use at least one clove a day. Minimum. So what do I like to use garlic in? Well, anything really. But here are a couple of my favourites:
  • Canadian Wings
  • Guacamole
  • Hot Artichoke & Spinach Dip
  • Chickpea Curry

3. Hand Blender
The hand blender is also known as an immersion blender, and it was given to me as a wedding gift. It's so easy for pureeing soups. You just make your soup, allow it to simmer for a bit, and then puree it with the hand blender and you have a delicious smooth soup. One of the soups I enjoy doing this with is pumpkin soup.

Those are just a few of the items that I love to use on a regular basis. What kitchen "gadgets" or tools do you find handy in your kitchen?