Everything you need to know about registering for cookware, appliances, gadgets and gizmos for a thoroughly efficient and enviably stylish kitchen.
Small appliances are nifty devices guaranteed to save time and storage space and make your life a lot easier, whether you’re chopping up vegetables or making a batch of brownies.
Blender: Generally used for liquids, this is one device you won’t want to do without. Though the blender is best known for serving up frozen cocktails, you can also make homemade tomato sauce, purée a vegetable soup, or shake up a healthy fruit smoothie in this multiuse appliance.
Bread machine: Pour in the ingredients, push some buttons, wait a few hours for the "done" signal and you’ll have a fresh golden-brown loaf. Most bread machines also make pizza dough and sweet rolls as well.
Coffee/cappuccino maker: Today’s models allow you to serve up coffee, espresso and cappuccino with ease. High-tech features, such as a programmable timer, will allow you to wake up to the stimulating smell of fresh morning brew. There are even versions that grind fresh beans and brew the coffee all in one, and models that serve up your favorite iced java, for the true coffee connoisseur.
Electric mixer: This appliance comes in both upright (stand) and handheld versions and will have you making batches of cookies faster than the Keebler elves. It can also make quiche, whipped cream and mousse a snap to fix. If you cook and bake frequently and have enough counter space, register for a larger, more powerful stand mixer.
Food processor: Great for shredding and slicing meats and for chopping vegetables, a food processor allows you to whip up meals in a flash. Some of these time-savers also grate cheese, blend peanut butter and mix bread dough. If you’ll do a lot of entertaining, invest in a deluxe model with all the attachments. If you’ll host only modest parties or basic dinners for two, opt for a simpler, no-frills version (and a smaller mini chopper, which is great for puréeing ingredients for dips and sauces).
Hand blender: This compact appliance is the ultimate in convenience - you simply immerse it into a stock pot to purée ingredients for that tomato basil soup, or lower it into a glass filled with ice cream and milk for a mess-free milkshake.
Indoor barbecue: Long for the taste of grilled foods year-round? Try a smokeless indoor barbecue to sear meats and other foods quickly. Great for entertaining, you can set one up right on your countertop and wow your guests with yummy kebabs.
Juicer: Health-conscious couples love this appliance (the juice made from a juicer is packed with nutrients)—it separates liquids from solids (or pulp) and filters out seeds. A manual version is best for smooth, old-fashioned orange juice. If you want both vegetable (like a beet-carrot-celery combo) and fruit juices, register for an electric juice extractor with a citrus attachment.
Microwave: Extremely valuable for your fast-paced life, a good microwave allows you to cook meals quickly (not just reheat them), and defrost frozen foods. Look for features that simplify the process and make things even faster, like a rotating table for even heating. Programmable settings will allow you to touch a single preset control to cook specific foods, such as potatoes, bacon and popcorn.
Pasta maker: Just pull out this appliance and mix together the ingredients you’ll need for soft, fresh pasta. Most pasta makers include a number of attachments for a variety of noodle shapes.
Pressure cooker: Today’s versions are completely safe (no exploding tops like in the last generation) and great for whipping up one-pot meals in a matter of minutes. Some models even come equipped with a nonstick interior for easy cleanup when you attempt that gooey but delicious risotto.
Slow cooker: Prepare your ingredients in the morning, put them into this plug-in appliance and it will safely cook your meal at low heat for hours. Perfect for entertaining, some models even come with a sporty nylon carrying case for taking on the road.
Toaster/toaster oven: Used for making grilled-cheese sandwiches, broiled hors d’oeuvres and crispy bagels, the toaster oven (which allows you to lay your breads flat) is sure to become a well-used item in your kitchen. If you register for a conventional upright toaster, check out the latest models with extra-wide slots and micro-chip technology.