Favorite Kitchen Appliances and Gadgets

Ever wonder what favorite kitchen appliances and gadgets make cooking easier and thus more enjoyable for us? Well search no longer! Check out the list below for our absolute favorite, wouldn’t-want-to-cook-without-them, incredibly useful favorite kitchen appliances and gadgets. We’ve just launched this page and will be adding to it every week, so bookmark it now and check bag regularly to see what’s new!

Also, we want to provide you with at least a little knowledge on each product, so while it’s not a full in-depth review (maybe someday!), each section should give you a snapshot of why we use and endorse this particular item or brand. If you have a favorite kitchen appliance or gadget you think should be on here, email me (joelle@oursweetlyspicedlife.com) to let me know! If you’d also like to know our recommendations for stocking a healthy pantry, check out our Healthy Pantry Staples resource page.





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Favorite Kitchen Appliances—High Speed Blender:

Vitamix or Blendtec Blender

Useful for making everything from soups, sauces, and smoothies to muffin batter, bread dough, and nut butters, these versatile machines absolutely deserve a place in your kitchen! Unlike typical blenders, these powerful machines can smoothly blend more difficult ingredients, such as ice or frozen fruits, vegetables, nuts, fruits with thick skins like dates, cacao nibs, and seedy fruits like strawberries and raspberries. Not only will they blend these ingredients more smoothly, they’ll do so far more quickly! You can even use these blenders for rough chopping ingredients; I often use mine to “shred” carrots for homemade carrot cake instead of digging out the food processor.

Also, because of the truly powerful motor and high-speeds, these blenders can blend frozen fruits and cold ingredients so quickly and well without overheating the ingredients that you can make no-churn ice creams, like this Lychee Cherry Blender Ice Cream, or cold fruit soups with ease! For intense blending in your Vitamix, such as homemade nut butters, you may need to use the included tamper to keep ingredients near the blades. Fully read your instructions for blending with tamping to avoid overheating your machine. Of course, with lighter creations, you can let the blender run for longer periods to easily make and heat blended soups to steamy temps on cool fall nights! We also love using our Vitamix to make quick bread dough or these perfect and easy blender muffins from Happy Healthy Mama for simple baking with practically no cleanup.

Vitamix and Blendtec blenders have dominated the blender world for years, and rightfully so; while either blender and an array of models of each will work splendidly and last you years and years, we personally use and adore Vitamix. We use our Vitamix at least once a day, for our morning smoothie, and generally 2-3 times each day as we cook. I love that cleanup is as simple as blending warm water and a dash of soap on the high or cleaning cycle, depending on your model, for 30 or so seconds. No hand washing required; win! We’ve been blending with our Vitamix for almost 5 years now (fall 2018), and it still works like a charm. Vitamix has several models, including less-expensive certified refurbished options, and multiple container sizes (some specifically low-profile for fitting under counters!). We use this model (5200) with 10 speed settings and a high/low option for control; the newer version (5300) of this basically trades the high/low control for a pulse option. Similar models include the Explorian. Many people, however, prefer models like this with pre-programmed settings for things like soup, smoothies, and cleaning as well as a pulse option AND the 10-speed variable control setting; it’s truly an epic blender!


Extra – Vitamix Dry Goods Container

While you can blend both wet and dry goods in either blender, Vitamix recommends (and so do we), that you use their Dry Goods Container if you wish to grind your own flours on a regular basis. Blendtec recommends just using their standard container, but Vitamix has created containers with different blades specifically designed to do different jobs. Now, tossing some seeds, nuts, or grains in your basic Vitamix container for your daily smoothie won’t harm the blades, and really, neither will the irregular grinding of wheat berries or flax seeds for the occasional energy bite. However, if you plan to grind spelt, wheat, flax, etc. into flour on a regular basis, using a separate dry goods container with blades designed for that purpose will help prolong the life of your standard wet goods container blades. Make sure the dry-goods container you purchase is compatible with your base!

We’ve had our dry goods container for over 4 years now (summer 2018), and it still grinds a few cups of oat, wheat, or spelt berries into fine flour in a matter of seconds, allowing us to make nutritious flours on the spot out of whole ingredients instead of needing to purchase things like flax meal, which can go rancid quickly, or shelf stable wheat or spelt flours that have lost much of their nutritional value.

The only drawbacks to such powerful high-speed blenders are the noise and the price. While these machines certainly make some noise, they blend so quickly and well with so many uses that it’s never really bothered me. The price may also seem steep, definitely compared to standard blenders, but their quality and power are simply unmatched. Our Vitamix is easily our most used, useful, and loved piece of equipment in our kitchen; I don’t for a second regret the investment. The company also has good warranties and supposedly great customer service, though in all this time we’ve never actually needed to contact them! Check out the smoothies (LINK!) on the blog to get started, and make sure you subscribe (LINK!) to get our free 10 recipe smoothie ebook!