You've got company coming and it's time for your kitchen to earn its keep again. Is ready for Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day and whatever else you celebrate with family and friends at this hectic time of year?
Here are some resources that could save you time and keep you organized:
Need two ovens but only have room for one? Many of my clients who have lacked the space for double ovens have benefited greatly from a convection microwave in place of a standard microwave. The convection feature turns the microwave into a supplementary oven. It can handle a small holiday roast (like a roasted chicken), and it'll nail those pies and sides.
GE makes a new convection microwave, the over-the-range Monogram Advantium, which can be swapped out with regular microwaves. This new model should fit where your current builder-grade micro lives. But unlike a typical microwave, it offers speed cook, convection cooking and warming functions. That gives you four appliances in the space of one. Nifty, huh?
GE Monogram's new over-the-range Advantium model puts four oven features into a unit that can replace your microwave.
Click here for the combo I'd like for my own kitchen with a really special bonus feature!
The holidays really stress out your fridge and freezer capacity, don't they? All those extra ingredients, left-overs and drinks taking up space you just don't have. Fear not, there's help at hand!
Add a drawer that works as a freezer or a fridge, depending on your needs. You select the setting you need and Fisher & Paykel's innovative CoolDrawer becomes the cooling machine you desire - even for wine!
Fisher & Paykel's CoolDrawer handles frozen food, fresh food and wine with the flexibility of an Olympic gymnast.
Click here for a beverage fridge that doubles as an icemaker!
A slow cooker can also be your best friend during the holidays. I wrote a loving ode to this category recently, stressing its ability to deliver delicious, healthy dishes to time-stressed individuals. The best models work overtime as food warmers and servers, too.
Imagine this scenario: You've got a full day of holiday shopping ahead and company coming later for dinner. Put the ingredients you prepped last night into the slow cooker, set it on low for the desired hours and get your errands done. If you run late, dinner won't burn. Your Crock-Pot will turn it from low to warm automatically and it'll be fine whenever you get home. By the way, Crock-Pot is a brand name, (like Coke and Kleenex), and is one of the few slow cookers that offers the auto-warm feature I cherish so much. That helps makes it the ultimate convenience appliance!
Incidentally, there are numerous desserts you can make in your slow cooker, too, freeing up one of your ovens, along with your schedule.
A slow cooker, like this eponymous model by Crock-Pot, can be a busy bee's best friend.
I've been eyeing this Cuisinart PowerBlend Duet Blender/Food Processor for a year now. It fits two appliances that are potentially worth having into one convenient package, saving both space and money. I like its versatility for the part-time home chef. If you're a cooking enthusiast, its food processor capacity is probably too limited for your needs. If, however, you're more of an occasional cook, this might be a good tool for you. Ditto if you're spending the holidays at your vacation home, where you'd rather mix margaritas than make muffins from scratch.
It's a food processor! It's a blender! It's Cuisinart's space-saving PowerBlend Duet!
For another countertop multi-tasker that I absolutely love, click here.
Holidays stress out more than your appliances and budget. Your countertop and storage space jam up with seasonal gear. Organizational products can help with this any day of the year, but especially now. Consider easy-to-install back-of-door organizers for cleaning supplies; roll-out trays for pots and pans; drawer organizers for knives, silverware and utensils; backsplash organizers for paper towels and spices and a drop-down cookbook rack to keep your favorite holiday recipe book away from countertop spills.
Keep your classic cookbooks convenient but clear of spills with this CS Household Under-Cabinet Cookbook Holder.
Holidays are also stressful on your body. After standing in front of the stove all day your feet, back, hips and legs positively ache. Click here for a holiday helper your sore self will thank you for every day of the year.
I apologize to my loyal readers that Sensible Style has been less frequent than in the past. Besides being busy with client projects, I'm also working on my first-ever kitchen design book to publish next winter by Taunton Press. Sensible Style will be back next month with a special kitchen book round-up for holiday gift-giving (and collecting). Have a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving in the meantime.