My Simple Kitchen

I am not a huge fan of appliances in my tiny kitchen. Besides the inevitable fact that there isn’t much room, I also hate clutter!! However, I do have 3 essentials that I consider my kitchen icons.

foodsaverDepending on how tiny my living space is, I always have room for my favorite small appliance, the FoodSaver. It comes in several different models, but mine will stand upright to save space on my countertop if I decide to keep it out all the time. Although most people are familiar with what they are, some are not. The FoodSaver is a vacuum pack system used to seal and store foods to keep them fresh for long periods of time.

As with many other appliances it comes with lots of different accessories like different sizes of bags, canisters, bottle stoppers, sealer tops, etc. But, I don’t have alot of those. I do have the Mason Jar Sealer and I love it. I save on alot of the accessories by buying Mason Jars instead of FoodSaver canisters which can be rather expensive. I can also save lots of foods, wet and dry, in Mason Jars without vacuum sealing them. For the most part though, I generally use the bags for meats and solid things while using the Mason Jars for soups & stews.

Now, don’t get the idea that I clutter up my kitchen space with jars and vacuum packed foods because I don’t! You might not think someone living alone would even use one of these things. They are primarily used for larger families that buy bulk food quantities at large wholesale stores. But, I don’t use mine for those kinds of things. I generally go to places that make me up meals I can pack up and save for later. I might buy a meal for 3 instead of 1 and then make them into smaller meals to refrigerate or freeze. Then, I just drop one in boiling water or heat them up in the microwave. In northeastern winters I make up my favorite soups & stews, while in summer months I use it to keep salad stuff and summer fruit items fresher.

freezerMy next favorite appliance is a compact freezer that stands upright and opens from the top. The size I get depends on how much space I have, but I never have a very big one. For now (and until I build my tiny house), I generally use just the refrigerator with a freezer that comes standard in an apartment complex.

convection ovenAnd last, but not least, I have a small convection/toaster oven that bakes, broils, heats, cooks and toasts. I almost never use the large oven that comes standard in the apartment complex I live in. It uses a lot of electricity and to cook for one, it is not necessary when I have my convection oven. I also use a small microwave to heat foods and make my tea quickly.

But, I don’t really even need all of that! With a little imagination from my simple mind, I create very simple meals like soups, stews and meat, chicken or fish with a salad or those steamer vegetables that you pop in the steamers2microwave for a couple of minutes. I never thought vegetables could taste so good yet be so easy…no tedious pickovers at the produce stand, no storing, no cutting, no cooking!! I don’t like alot of ingredients in my meals because I don’t like to store them. I can make very tasty meals with only butter, salt, pepper, sugar and a few select spices. All in all, I try to make all my eating needs very simple.

With all this said, I have to be honest. I am not really a big fan of cooking at all!! I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can get very tasty, healthy, home-cooked meals to go. More often than not, I take advantage of this method since the ingredients are fresh daily and it saves me from having to store alot of stuff for cooking it on my own. While this is a bit more expensive, it has always been cheaper for me than throwing away spoiled food I didn’t use up in time.

By Betsy McCullen on July 13, 2009 · Posted in Issue 9: Food and Cooking

4 Comments | Post Comment

StephanieNo Gravatar says:

I think I would have either your toaster or a microwave/convection oven combo, like those you find in RVs these days. Apollo makes one, though I’ve read mixed (but generally favorable) reviews. Although I don’t make cookies or brownies anymore, I would like to be able to bake large casseroles that I can go through in a week or so. At the same time, I use microwaves for most of my cooking (which doesn’t make me a gourmet chef, I know), and a dual purpose oven/microwave combo appeals to me because it uses half the space of a microwave and a mini-oven.

Posted on July 13th, 2009

EJNo Gravatar says:

Mason jars can be vacuum sealed, too.

Posted on July 14th, 2009

Betsy McCullenNo Gravatar says:

thanx for the idea! mine is by cook’s essentials from qvc. they don’t carry this model anymore tho so when it is time to buy something else i might give that a closer look. when my space gets smaller (and it will as i continue to downsize) i will want to consider something similar. the one thing i forgot to mention is that mine is extended and rounded in the back for cooking a regular-sized pizza which is an added feature that not many convection ovens have. i can make casseroles in mine although not large ones. it will not fit a rectangular casserole dish, but the round and square dishes work well.

Posted on July 14th, 2009

Betsy McCullenNo Gravatar says:

yes, i vacuum pack in them (alot more than not) by using the mason jar vacuum sealer, but they have alot of other uses that i can take advantage of as well. and they store easily by stacking. so by purchasing them, i get twofold or threefold usage :)

Posted on July 14th, 2009