The Exceptionally Ordinary Life

Must have kitchen gadgets

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Must Have Kitchen Gadgets That Make Life Easier

Truth be told, I don’t use more than half of the stuff that clutters our kitchen counters, cabinets and drawers. In reality, there are only a few things that I can tell you with all honesty are my must have gadgets in the kitchen. They are what we use frequently. Some even on a daily basis, and that make our lives much simpler (at least in the kitchen).

Must have kitchen gadgets that make life easier

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I still remember the glee in my Mom’s face when she bought our first microwave ever. I must have been around 7-8 years old. To her, to me, that huge monstrosity seem like the epitome of comfort.

While some prefer to stay away from them, you’d be hard pressed to find a home that doesn’t have a microwave nowadays. The convenience of being able to heat up leftovers, make popcorn, and even cook a meal is simply too good to pass up.

Copper pan set

After many years of use and abuse, we finally got a decent set of copper pans. Well, my Mother in law got them for us. We had been using the same green set she gifted us when we first moved to Washington. It was scratched, and beat up, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend a fortune on pans that I had no guarantee would not scratch easily.

When my Mother in law gifted us this set, we were a bit skeptical. We were sure we’d have another crappy set in no time. These, however, turned out to be incredible. We’ve been using them for well over a year now, and couldn’t be happier.

Copper deep fryer

Just like the other pans, this one turned out to be a life saver. We don’t fry stuff daily, but it’s very handy when we do have fries, or fried plantains as a side. And just like the other pans, this one has held it’s side of the deal. So far, it’s the best frying pan we’d ever had.

Cutting board

Over the years, we have gone to more cutting boards than I care to count. We have had both wood ones, and plastic ones. Unfortunately, even though the plastic cutting boards seem like the most sanitary choice, the wood ones are actually the best option.

A wood cutting board, if treated regularly with oil, and hand washed, will last for a long time and stay in great condition. No matter which way you go though, having a good cutting board is a must for cutting up meat, veggies,fruit, etc.

Knife set

Whether you cook a lot or not, having a good quality knife set is very important. For years, we went with cheap stuff found at Walmart, or even the Goodwill. Unfortunately, buying cheap means buying twice. We have paid a steep price for being too frugal sometimes.

I have recently purchased this really cool looking knife set, and while it’s slightly more expensive, we are hoping they last a long time. I’ll keep you updated!

Potato peeler

In our house, we make all potatoes homemade, including fries, steak fries, breakfast potatoes, etc. Thankfully, the task of peeling and cutting them falls on our 2 older children’s shoulders, because I would hate to have to do it.

Over the years, they have gone thru a few different potato peelers. One broke, one my daughter didn’t really like, and then there is the newest one, which both kids seem to like. The kids don’t particularly like peeling potatoes, but they both agree that, when the tool works right, the job is less daunting.


It is no secret that I absolutely hate cooking. Hate it enough to make sure that when I am the one cooking here, the recipes are quick, and easy. Just go to the Food tab on this blog and you will see what I mean 😉

Anyway, even though our Crockpot doesn’t get near as much action as we’d like, it is truly a life-saver for us. The amount of recipes that can be cooked in the Crockpot is ridiculous, and I even use it to make my amazing Peanut Clusters Recipe. Yum.

Coffee maker

I was once told by a friend that I was a weird Puerto Rican, just because I don’t particularly like coffee. Maybe she’s right. I do enjoy a cup or 2 a couple times a year, but that’s about it. My husband, however, sings a totally different tune.

Every morning, religiously, he makes himself a cup of coffee as soon as he gets up. That’s just the caffeine shot that gets him moving. Thankfully, we are not fans of coffee shop and their expensive concoctions, and just prefer to make our coffee at home.

Although not a fancy coffee maker, this little beauty does the job really well. We can even get it all ready to go at night, and wake up to ready-made coffee early in the morning, because it’s programmable!


One of the easiest breakfast options for busy mornings is toast. My kids even like to eat their toast with spreads like Nutella, Reese’s or Hershey’s.

Even though a regular toaster would do, a toaster with wider slots is the best way to go if you are toasting bagels, buns, and artisan bread. I truly don’t know how I’d get thru mornings when we are rushing out and nobody wants cereal.

Handheld mixer

For many years I have wanted a KitchenAid stand up mixer bad. Like, I’ve actually tried to convince myself that I can totally justify the steep price. Truth is, I can’t. I don’t bake enough to make it worth paying well over $200 for the luxury of having a Kitchenaid.

And so, I make do with my trusty, little old handheld mixer. It’s nothing fancy. But it works beautifully when I’m in the mood to bake cookies, or a cake. It’s never failed to do the job properly, and at a fraction of the cost of a KitchenAid stand up mixer.


Our blender has multiple purposes. We used for all kinds of tasks, from making sofrito (find my recipe here), to making slushies, to making our favorite sandwich spread (recipe coming soon!)

What I like the most about this blender is that it has several different modes or settings, making it handy for crushing ice, shredding veggies. and much more.

Electric Wok

Our wok has mainly 2 purposes in our home: pork bites, and Chinese fried rice. But even though we don’t use it a lot, I can honestly tell you that it is perfect for those 2 recipes. Because it’s wide open at the top, the wok makes it that much easier to add all the ingredients to our Chinese rice, including the cooked white rice. And mixing it all together is a lot easier as well. We simply love our wok!

Apple slicer

Our little Ms Emma loves apples. Loves them enough to want to take them to school for snack time. The only problem is, she doesn’t like biting on them whole. She likes them cut. And because we are always tight on time in the morning, we decided to buy an apple slicer.

This apple slicer is one of the best small purchases we’ve made for the kitchen. It was totally worth it to spend a few dollars just so we didn’t have to cut the apples one chunk at a time.


We’ve had this stockpot for years. We first bought it to use it to cook spaghetti sauce and chili in it. However, since we got our other, nicer set, now we use this one for things like canning, or to make apple jam and applesauce.

There is nothing special about this pot, other than it’s really deep and can hold it’s own, even when I am making a crap ton of applesauce, that will also need canning.


If like me, you buy big packs of meat, then you know that the best way to split it in even portions is with a scale. Your kitchen scale doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. As long as it’s properly calibrated, it will do what you need it to do.

Our kitchen scale gets the most action when we buy ground beef. We usually buy the 93%/7% for “cooking” (spaghetti sauce, chili, etc), which we then split in portions weighing 2 lb each. For burgers, we buy the 80%/20%, which my husband then splits in 1/4 lb to make the patties.

Hamburger press

I have to admit I am extremely picky about the weirdest things. For example, I don’t like when the meat hangs out of the bun in a burger, hot dog or sandwich. Unfortunately, with homemade burgers it’s sometimes hard to get them in the right shape, and so the meat sticks out a bit.

We solved this by getting this handy hamburger press. As I said above, my husband splits the meat in 1/4 lb chunks, and then shapes it into balls. We then put the balls in the hamburger press, and flatten them in nice, round shapes.


This could be considered more of a convenience than a need, but having a strainer will make it that much easier to take care of your pasta noodles. With a strainer, you simply dump the entire contents of the pan, and the holes allow the water to drip down. Just make sure you do this over the kitchen sink, of you will end up with water all over the place 😉

Silicone utensils set

A good set of silicone utensils comes in very handy in every kitchen. We have several, some wood, some silicone, and some metal. Whichever material you prefer, just make sure that they are good quality. The best part about this set is that it includes a ladle!

Wood plantain press

This works similar to the hamburger press, but we only use it to make fried plantains. Ever since I can remember, we’ve had a wood plantain press in our home, although my Grandma’s was way bigger than the one I have now. Nevertheless, it does what I need it to do, and it’s fairly inexpensive.

Wooden mortar

There is this thing called Mofongo that is a typical side dish in my country. It’s made of plantains (Do you see a pattern here?), with bacon and garlic thrown in for good measure. It’s absolutely delicious! Anyway, when we made mofongo, we used to mash our plantains in a regular, ceramic bowl, with a wood spoon. But mashing plantains is much harder than mashing potatoes, and so we got this amazing wooden mortar.

It has been truly life-changing. Ours is sort of tiny, compared to my Grandma’s but works great, and it doesn’t take up a whole lot of room in the cabinet.

Mixing bowls

Having a nice set of mixing bowls is essential. This set in particular is even pretty enough to be used when serving a nice family dinner on Thanksgiving. I use mine when I bake as well, and my husband likes to dump cooked noodles on them.

Measuring cup

Not a whole lot to say about this, other than every kitchen should have at least 1 measuring cup. Two or more if you like to cook or bake more elaborate meals or desserts.

We currently have 1 that we use for food, and Ms Emma has 1 that’s strictly for slime, but I plan on buying a huge one soon to make matters easier for me.

 Measuring spoons

Measuring spoons are another must have in any kitchen. Even if you don’t cook a whole lot, having a set of measuring spoons available when you need it, will make your cooking much easier.


I know most of us rely on our cellphones quite a bit, but nothing is more convenient than a kitchen timer. For one, you can leave it on the counter, and still hear it go off when it’s time (most are pretty loud). Also, your cellphone could run out of battery, or you could be in an important call, and unable to check on time.


Having a set of silicone or rubber spatulas is definitely a must in any kitchen. Spatulas can be used when cooking eggs, or to scrape cake mix from the bowl when you bake. We have owned this inexpensive set of spatulas for a long time and they do the work beautifully.

Grater with storage container

There are many good graters out there, but this one is my favorite. This grater comes with 2 different grating planers, so you can grate your food in thin or thicker strips. It’s pretty convenient, because it also comes with a container that catches whatever it is you are grating. And you can even store any grated leftovers!

Oven thermometer

Having a small oven thermometer can come in very handy, especially when cooking things like a turkey, or a roast. An oven thermometer gives you a more specific read on what the oven temperature actually is, which allows you to quickly adjust the knobs up or down, as needed.

Dish soap dispenser

For many years, we used one of those cheap soap dispensers. I mean, like those we use in the bathroom for hand soap. That got difficult fast. See, dish soap is way thicker than hand soap. That means that the narrow tube that the soap goes thru was just not wide enough and got clogged.

When I got sick of it, I finally decided to invest in a really nice dish soap dispenser. It was not only affordable, but it helps keep the back of the sink tidy and neat, just the way I like it.

Must have kitchen gadgets that will make life easier

I’d be the first to admit that our kitchen counters, cabinets, and drawers need some major de-cluttering. We own way too many things that we don’t use or even need.

The kitchen overhaul is coming up soon. Hopefully this summer. I can promise you something though: None of the items listed above are going anywhere any time soon. These are the things that make our time in the kitchen a lot easier.

What are your must have kitchen gadgets? Which are the things that you simply can’t imagine cooking without? Please, share with us in the comment section below. Inquiring minds want to know!

Must have kitchen gadgets

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