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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 10/5/2017

If you walk down the kitchen aisle of any department store you'll see dozens of kitchen tools--some you've maybe never even heard of. As long as people keep buying gimmicky kitchen tools and utensils, companies will keep making them. The temptation might be there, when walking through Target, to buy that chicken-shaped egg yolk separator, but do you really need it? In this article, we'll cover the essential list of kitchen utensils. Once your drawer has these items, you won't need anything else. You'll free up space in your kitchen and avoid money-wasting gimmicks that often don't even work, allowing you to buy better versions of the tools that really count. Note: We won't be talking about the basic silverware and dishes (forks, spoons, plates, cups, etc.) since we can assume you already have those.

  1. The chef's knife. A chef's knife is arguably the most important item in any kitchen. A good chef's knife is made from steel, has balanced weight, and is comfortable to hold. Be sure to keep it sharp and there's nothing you can't cut with it.
  2. Two spatulas. One metal for flipping items on your baking sheets and meat on the grill, one plastic for your frying pans. Thin, heat-resistant, and durable are what you're looking for here.
  3. Three spoons. One wooden (for stirring), one plastic with holes and one plastic without holes.
  4. A strainer. You don't need four sizes of strainer; one big one will do. Be sure to pick one with handles, sturdy handles, for draining big pots of pasta.
  5. Shears. Whether it's for de-stringing a Thanksgiving turkey or opening up a bag of frozen peas, they'll save you a headache trying to use a knife.
  6. Serrated bread knife. Unless you like to ruin a fresh loaf of bread by crushing it while cutting it, you'll need a serrated edge.
  7. Measuring cups and spoons. Clean your measuring spoons by hand so they don't get tossed around in your dishwasher and melted.
  8. Can opener. Skip the huge electric can openers and buy a good handheld one that will last years.
  9. Cutting board. A quality large wooden cutting board will make your life a lot easier, and it won't dull your blades.
  10. Peeler. Y-shaped peelers are much easier to use than their knife-shaped counterparts.
  11. Mixing bowl. You could benefit from multiple mixing bowls if you do a lot of baking, but oftentimes you only need one large bowl for most recipes and can use your smaller soup bowls for other ingredients.

Avoiding the gimmicks

It seems like every day there's a new infomercial for a lemon juice squeezer or a banana slicer. You'll notice that they tend to follow certain trends and offer the same promises. Here are the ones to avoid:
  • Fruit and vegetable slicers. If you have a knife, there's no need for tools that claim to slice certain types of vegetables better than others.
  • Single-use tools. Shears designed just for cutting and serving pizza? Yes, they exist. Avoid items that will just take up space in your cabinets and opt for those that serve multiple purposes.
  • Things you've never heard of. If it's an object that you've never seen or heard of before, odds are you don't need it in your kitchen cabinets. The most time-tested tools are all it takes to make great meals in your kitchen.




Tags: tools   home   kitchen   Cooking   utensils   kitchen tools   cook  
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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 5/25/2017

Being handy with minor repairs is a skill that benefits any homeowner. Whether it's tightening a door knob or hanging a picture frame there are certain jobs that you don't want to waste time calling someone to help you do. Furthermore, basic maintenance in the home can save you money on repairs. If you're not the do-it-yourself type who dreams of a garage full of every type of power tool there is, fear not. Today we'll show you the essential homeowner's toolbox that contains everything you need to make quick fixes without taking up much room in your cabinet. 1. Tape Measure From measuring a space to fit furniture in to measuring your child's height against the wall, a tape measure will come in handy often. When shopping for tape measures keep in mind that you'll only need one as long as you pick one that's long enough to stretch across the rooms of your home. 2. Hammer and nails There is an endless variety of hammers to choose from. For simple home repairs or hanging things on your wall, you'll only need a simple nail hammer. This is really a two-in-one as it serves as a pry bar if you need to remove any nails as well. For your small toolkit you don't want a huge box of nails. Buy a small box with assorted sizes. The ones you're most likely to use are small or pin-sized nails for hanging picture frames. 3. Level Your hammer and nails won't be much use if you can't hang your picture straight. 4. Duct and electrical tape So you've got a broken broom handle and want to sweep out the house. It isn't the prettiest fix, but duct tape will save you until you have time to get to the store for a new broom. Duct tape has innumerable uses and if you use enough it will hold. Electrical tape should be used for things like live wires or items that are battery powered. This type of tape is an electrical insulator, so you won't get zapped if you use it properly. 5. Screwdriver set To save space in your toolbox buy a handle with detachable bits that suit any occasion. You won't have to worry about whether to buy a phillips head or flathead because you'll have all that and much more. 6. Utility knife A utility knife with replaceable blades will serve you well whether it's trimming a piece of carpet, cutting wrapping paper, or breaking down cardboard boxes. 7. Wind-up flashlight Chances are if you need a flashlight you just use the built-in one on your cell phone. But if the power goes out and you haven't changed the battery in your flashlight for five years you might be out of luck. Wind-up flashlights are battery-free and relatively inexpensive. 8. Pliers  A small set of pliers will fit nicely in your toolbox and will eventually come in handy. Needle-nose pliers are great for bending small objects and often come with a wire cutter included; another two-for-one space saver. 9. Adjustable wrench Whether it's a loose bolt on a lawn chair or a dead spark plug on your lawn mower, you'll need an adjustable wrench to make the fix. 10. Zip ties  Slightly more elegant and less messy than grouping your cables together with tape is connecting them with zip ties. They're handy because they're easy to put on, quite sturdy, and can be removed with one snip of your scissors.  




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Posted by Deborah Schilling on 11/3/2016

Many people are averse to shopping at the dollar store because they assume that the quality of the items there are inferior to those at other stores. Others simply assume that since many of the products aren't recognized name brands that they aren't good products. However, there are some dollar store deals that are always worth the dollar. One issue that many people have in a dollar store is that they walk down the aisle filling their carts with impulse buys thinking, "It's just a dollar." But those dollars add up and you'll find yourself buying things that you don't really need or items you could find cheaper by buying in bulk elsewhere. In this article, we'll cover some of the most useful items that you can find at your local dollar store.

Holiday and party supplies

Let's face it, the kids don't read their cards or observe their wrapping paper. They're more concerned with what's inside. When it comes to party prep, you can save a huge amount by buying everything at the dollar store. With the exception of paper products like napkins and paper towels, you'll get more for your buck at the dollar store. Some items to look out for:
  • balloons
  • plastic cutlery
  • large tin food containers
  • cards
  • wrapping paper

Tool kit supplies

If you don't feel like going outside to your shed every time you need to tighten a screw, or if you live in a small space and don't want bulky tools laying around, making a small toolkit is the way to go. And the dollar store is the place to start. Buy a small, empty toolbox and fill it with items from the dollar store. Some useful items to include:
  • nails and screws
  • hooks and hangers
  • screwdrivers
  • pliers
  • adjustable wrench
  • tape measure
  • super glue
  • tape
  • a pair of work gloves

First aid items

Every home and every vehicle should have a first aid kit. However, good kits can be expensive and the items within them have expiration dates. Rather than spending a lot on a kit you (hopefully) never have to use, fill a small box or bag with first aid items from the dollar store. Some first aid essentials to put inside:
  • assorted band-aids
  • burn cream
  • medical tape
  • antibiotic ointment
  • support bandages
  • small scissors
  • gauze
  • antibacterial wet wipes
  • aspirin
  • hot or cold compress

Cleaning products

Not every cleaning product will be cheaper at the dollar store. And for products you use often it might make more sense to buy in bulk online or from a wholesale club. However, there are some cleaning items that you will almost always save on at the dollar store. The key to saving on cleaning supplies from the dollar store is to buy generic brands. They often contain the same ingredients and are sometimes even made by the same manufacturer. Sometimes the only difference is that dollar store products may be diluted more.

Kitchen Utensils

Most dollar stores have a large kitchen section that includes useful items like various sized spoons and spatulas. You can also find other kitchen essentials like sponges, dish scrubbers, sink stoppers and strainers, measuring cups and much more.  




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Deborah Schilling
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