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Best Inexpensive Small Kitchen Appliances

Recently, I heard from EC reader Douglas who has kitchen appliances on his mind:

Would you please repeat your column that describes the best inexpensive small kitchen appliances? I want to replace my mixer and small food chopper. Thanks. Your column is great. I look forward to it every day. Doug

middle age male taking notes on the sofa

After a few moments of non-productive searching, my confused self realized that while I’ve included some small kitchen appliances in the past, the column Doug was looking for didn’t exist. Now it does. Thanks, Douglas for that kick I needed and your nice comments, too.

Best Inexpensive small kitchen appliances

collage of 11 small kitchen appliances

1. Food processor

The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is simple to use offering 2 speeds, a powerful 450-watt motor, and a large feed tube. Just the perfect size and a great price, too.

Hamilton Beach food processor

 

2. Hand mixer

When selecting an electric mixer, consider carefully your specific need. If you often use a mixer for small jobs, my pick for Best Inexpensive is the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer. Comes complete with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty. If you require a more robust kitchen appliance for mixing, read on.

KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer in bright red

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Make Your Kitchen Look Like New for Around $400 and Some Sweat

When I walked into Amy and Justin’s kitchen, my jaw dropped. It was like I’d stumbled into the wrong house. The gorgeous new cabinets and countertops made it look brand new.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when these friends told us they weren’t new cabinets and counters at all. They performed their kitchen makeover themselves—all for less than $400.

beautiful kitchen remodel with dark cabinets and countertops

You may think that kitchen projects need to be left to the professionals, which of course is fine provided you’ve got thousands of dollars to work with. But if your budget is slightly under that—and you’re willing to contribute some sweat to the project—new products and methods now available can bring do-it-yourself options to any kitchen makeover.

Cabinets

Our friends refinished their existing cabinets (the doors and face frames) with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Coating Transformations Kit that covers 100 square feet, available online and at home improvement centers like Home Depot.

The thing that gave Amy and Justin the courage and confidence to tackle this project themselves was the Rust-Oleum promise of no stripping, no sanding, no priming, and no special skills required. While their cabinets are made of wood, this product will also transform melamine, metal, and laminate cabinetry.

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How to Clean Cookie Sheet Pans So They Look New!

They come in sizes big and small, rimmed or without sides. We use them to bake just about anything, but mostly cookies. And they can get super grungy with layers of baked- and burnt-on grease resulting in ugly stains and residue build-up.

 

Does anything here look familiar to you? If so, I have good news. Your cookie sheets can be cleaned and restored, even back to the way they looked when new.

What follows is a relatively quick and easy way to get rid of baked-on grease, stubborn food residue, and even rust on any type of cookie and baking sheets—aluminized steel, aluminum, and non-stick—and then to clean and maintain to keep them sparkling clean.

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How to Remove Years of Kitchen Cabinet Grit and Grime

When did you last look at your kitchen cabinets? Not a passing glance, but an up-close visual study—paying particular attention to the areas around the knobs and handles that get touched thousands of times throughout the weeks and months? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about and what I’m pretty sure my dear reader Sandy is talking about, too.

before and after proper cleaning of filthy kitchen cabinet

Dear Mary: We’re moving into a new (to us) house and would like to know what kind of cleaner to use on the wood kitchen cabinets? They’re pretty skanky and feel sticky to the touch!

I hate to think how many years of dirt have built up on them. But I don’t want to remove any finish that is on them. How can we clean the years of dirt without damanging the finish?  Sandy

Natural Orange Oil

Dear Sandy: If sounds to me as if your challenge is greater than simple maintenance of kitchen cabinets to keep ahead of sticky build-up, the result of cooking. Anyone who has a kitchen and actually cooks in it knows this just happens!

Your situation may call for a good commercial product for the simple reason that you don’t know how old this dirt is, or what kind of finish is hiding beneath it. It’s quite possible the cabinets are in great shape and can be restored to their original beauty. You really can remove years of grit and grime from any wood surface. And you have options—use a commercial product or make your own wood cleaner.

Should you prefer a commercial product, you won’t find anything more effective than Howard Real Orange Oil products. You can depend on the effectiveness of real orange oil polish to melt away grease, grime, polish, and wax buildup, leaving a fresh scent and beauty in its place. It’s going to cost a bit to do your entire kitchen, should you decide to go the commercial route.

Your other option is to make your own highly effective cleaner, for just pennies.

I have two recipes for you and any readers with wood cabinets, regardless if those cabinets have a natural finish or they’re painted.

The first is for cabinets that just need some sprucing up to bring back the beauty and shine; the second is more powerful if you’re looking at years of built-up gunk and grime.
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The One Simple Thing You Must Have in Your Home

My heart was pounding, the smoke alarm was screaming and I was in full-on panic mode. Flames were reaching toward the upper kitchen cabinets. It happened so fast! I didn’t have time to run to the pantry to search for baking soda.

I had a rip-roaring fire on my hands and I was in slow motion thinking about how sad it would be to be homeless for Christmas.

I’d turned my back for a few seconds to find a utensil. When I returned, small flames were shooting from the burner. My quick thinking told me to smother a grease fire, so I grabbed a pot lid to do that, but it wasn’t airtight and soon the flames were double the size and spreading.

That’s when I locked eyeballs with the fire extinguisher that had been sitting on the counter for so long it blended into the décor.

I’d never engaged a fire extinguisher before. I read the instructions once but that’s about it. Not knowing what to expect, I grabbed that thing, jerked out the red plastic ring (it came out easily), pointed the nozzle, and pulled the trigger. It put out the fire with one mighty blast of fine yellow powder so strong and powerful it nearly knocked me off my feet.

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Should you Repair or Replace your Broken Appliances?

You’re worried the washing machine may be on its last spin cycle. It makes a horrible screeching sound and needs a lot of coaxing to make it all the way through a full cycle. Should you spend $319 to fix this inefficient appliance or replace it with a $999 new model that will use less electricity and water?

Deciding whether to repair or replace your broken appliance—especially when trying to discover which option will save money in the long run—can be challenging.

Set of household kitchen technics on yellow background. Set of a

Consider these basic guidelines and suggestions to help you decide, based on costs for replacement and repairs and the advantages of new models.

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide—Best Ideas for Foodies

Yes, another Holiday Gift Guide, and not so much because I love creating these guides for you (I do!) but due to popular request. And if it wouldn’t have appeared to be overly self-serving, for sure I would have titled this Guide something like my favorite Best Inexpensive really awesome kitchen things that foodies of all levels are sure to love as much as I do.

 

1. Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven

Finally, a pizza stone that is not so fragile I have to worry about it cracking under extreme conditions (I must be super hard on pizza stones because I have broken more than a few).

First, it is extra thick at 3/4-inch. And heavy (thank you Amazon for Prime shipping). But here is the most amazing thing—guaranteed to withstand up to a whopping 1000 degrees F. Culinary Couture Pizza Stone for Grill and Oven will not crack! I leave mine on the bottom shelf of my oven at all times, which makes for easy storage, but also makes it convenient for baking bread as well as chicken, shrimp, and cookies, too. About $40.

2. Egg Rings

What a great idea, really. These Non-Stock Fried and Poached Egg Rings are perfect, too, for pancakes and anything else you want to come out round! Also comes in a heart-shaped option.

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14 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher

Without a doubt, my least favorite household chore is hand washing dishes. That makes my dishwasher the one appliance I can’t live without. I love it. In fact, I have this motto that if it can’t go in the dishwasher I don’t need it.

Despite all my efforts, I still end up having to hand wash a few things since having learned the hard way there are certain items that should never go in a dishwasher. They can be ruined or they can ruin your dishwasher. You should hand wash them instead.

dishwasher open to reveal clea dishes and utensils

Wood

You’d be amazed how well I can fit wood cutting boards, bowls, and utensils into my dishwasher. But what was I thinking? I’m careful to not expose my wood floors to standing water because that’s just asking for trouble—but these small items made of wood were somehow impervious to the brutality of super hot water plus detergent followed by blistering high drying heat? So wrong!

Bottom line is that water causes wood to swell and distort. Detergent strips the natural oils, causing wood to crack. Wood needs to be hand-washed and dried quickly. When you need to disinfect, use a mild solution of one gallon of 70 F (cool) water plus one teaspoon of liquid bleach will do the trick.

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