7 Kitchen Items You Really Need for Thanksgiving: Do You Have Them All?

Nobody wants unnecessary kitchen clutter. Marie Kondo and Alton Brownhave drilled it into our heads that our artfully arranged kitchen storage spaces should be stocked (never stuffed) only with multipurpose, untrendy, chef-style kitchen gear; leave the Spiralyzer for somebody else’s yard sale! And yet, if you’re planning to host a classic turkey-and-fixin’s Thanksgiving dinner every year, there are a few specialty items that you’re better off investing in. And yes, some of them are even (gasp) uni-taskers.

We talked to Kristen Miglore, creative director at Food52.com, to reveal some kitchen gear you actually need for Thanksgiving dinner.

1. A roasting pan with nonstick rack

Classic stainless-steel roasting pan with nonstick rack from Mauvielfood52.com

The most essential piece: a place to cook that bird. Sure, you could wrestle a disposable foil roasting pan on top of a cookie sheet, but it takes only one wrong move with those flimsy things and your precious bird is all over the floor.

“A sturdy roasting pan with a nonstick rack will make your life so much easier on Turkey Day,” says Miglore. It’s a pan you can actually use year-round for roasting chickens, big cuts of beef, fish, or even veggies. “I just used mine to braise a couple of bunches of collard greens last week—the pan was stuffed!”

This Mauviel version (above) includes a rack and flavor injector ($170, Food52.com). A more budget-friendly choice is available as an Amazon special ($30.56, Amazon.com).

2. A fat separator

A fat separator makes making gravy a snap.oxo.com

“A fat separator is a one-off, but they’re inexpensive, and by that point in the day, you’ll be very glad you have it,” says Miglore. Fat separators make it easy to extract the meat drippings from the fat by allowing the fat to rise to the top. The spout pulls from the bottom of the cup, so that you get only the lean juices.

This Oxo version ($14.99, Oxo.com) has a 4-cup capacity, stopper, and strainer cap on the top to catch little pieces of vegetables or spices that fall in with your drippings as you pour off the pan. If your family is like mine, good gravy is perhaps the most essential part of the holiday meal, but getting it right can be tricky, especially if you make it only once a year. Treat yourself to a fat separator, and make that last-minute task stress-free.

3. A long, sharp carving knife

Dansk Classic Fjord teak-handled carving setfood52.com

A sharp chef’s knife can work in a pinch, but if you’re going to do it right, a carving set is the way to go.

According to Miglore, a proper carving set should include the stabilizing fork that makes carving much easier. And when the pressure is on, you should probably take every advantage you can get. Nobody wants to see the looks of horror on their guests’ faces as they destroy an innocent roast turkey in front of them.

If you want to splurge, this teak-handled set above ($79, Food52.com) is perfect for special occasion roasts. The reviewers at Wirecutter suggest a more affordable set from Messermeister ($48.95, Amazon.com) for its “good looks, wallet-friendly price, and high performance.”

4. A meat thermometer

The Lavatools meat thermometer keeps overcooked turkey at bay.amazon.com

Gone are the days of waiting for a button timer to pop up on the turkey and calling it done. Inaccurate cooking results in dry, overcooked turkey breasts and/or dangerously undercooked thighs. There are a host of techniques for producing the perfect, juicy, delicious bird, but all involve a meat thermometer.

“I pull out my meat thermometer not just on Thanksgiving, but to be more confident every time I roast a chicken or sear a steak,” explains Miglore.

If you want a basic model, the Lavatools PT12 above ($24.99, Amazon.com) is recommended by Wired for its fast readings and Thermapen-style folding probe. If you prefer to read the temperature from afar without having to open the oven, the ThermoPro TP07 is a best-seller ($35.99, Amazon.com) and has a 300-foot range, pre-set meat temperatures, and programmable temperature alert options.

5. A big carving board with a moat

A cutting board with a moat is ideal for juicy turkeys.food52.com

“A big carving board with a moat will save you from having juices escape onto your counter,” explains Miglore.

Great for cutting anything with juice, from turkey to watermelon, a cutting board with a moat is the rare kitchen tool that is incredibly practical but also beautiful and special for the holiday.

Food52 sells this eco-friendly 24-by-18-inch model ($130, Food52.com). For smaller kitchens, Kohl’s has a 16-by-12-inch model ($37.99, Kohls.com).

6. A large, rimmed serving platter

This huge, rimmed platter is the perfect turkey presentation device.Fishseddy.com

“A large serving platter with a good rim is handy for passing at the table,” says Miglore.

If you’re not planning to carve the turkey at the table, it’s also the perfect vessel for getting your turkey from the kitchen to the table. Without a rim on your platter, it’s easy to spill turkey juice over the side—especially if the person bearing the platter has been indulging in predinner cocktails. It’s best to play it safe. This 20-inch platter from Fishs Eddy is what I use ($42.95, Fishseddy.com). It doubles in the summer as a gigantic salad platter.

7. Quality pie pans

Having decent pie pans is so worth it.Amazon.com

Pie can be a fiddly thing to make. The crust can be fussy: It has to be browned but not burned, and baked just right so the filling is set but not dry. My first few years hosting Thanksgiving, I used disposable pie pans, but they broke the crust if you let them bend at all while moving them. The next year, I cheaped out and got glass pie pans at the dollar store. I paid the price because one of them split in half in the heat of the oven, ruining that pie and flooding the oven floor with uncooked filling.

The lesson I learned, twice, was to pony up for decent pie pans, even if you use them only once a year. They’re easy to store and just might motivate you to bake a peach pie this summer. This Pyrex three-pack from Amazon has nice handles and is extremely affordable ($13.17, Amazon.com).

 

Posted by Audrey Ference on realtor.com

Kitchen Organization Prep Steps for Turkey Day

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, you’ll want to prep your kitchen for the work ahead. Don’t wait until the day before to get everything cleaned and organized. Here are some tips from HomeAdvisor to make sure your kitchen’s ready for the big day:

Turkey DayClean, Clean, Clean!
Clear and clean your countertops, butcher blocks and dining tables to ready them for the slew of groceries, dishes and ingredients to come. Store unnecessary items somewhere out of the way. If you have a countertop microwave that you won’t be using for the holiday, consider moving it to make more room. Also move blenders, drying racks and any other non-essentials that might free up space. Next, wipe surfaces down with a washcloth dipped in soapy water. If you have harsh stains, break out the sponge to scrub them off.

Make Sure Your Equipment is in Working Order
Make sure that any equipment you’ll be using is in working order. This includes everything from your range hood, stovetop, dishwasher and oven to your can opener, electric mixer and corkscrew. If you’re the adventurous type, it might even include your grill. It’s a good idea to perform this exercise even if your appliances are in good condition — just to avoid any last-minute holiday disasters. If you find that any of your appliances are in need of repair or maintenance, you’ll need to call a repair service to see if they can fit you in on short notice.

Pay special attention to items like your sink and garbage disposal, which will get heavy use on Thanksgiving. Run the disposal a few times before the holiday to make sure it is working properly. If it begins to clog, assess whether its one of the few issues you can fix yourself or a major issue that requires plumbing assistance, such as a complete disposal replacement.

Purge Your Storage Areas
If you’ll need additional cabinet or shelving space during the holiday, consider rearranging or purging your storage areas. This is a good opportunity to discard or donate anything you no longer have use for. If you’re making room in the pantry, it’s a chance to get rid of food past its expiration date — or to donate spices and non-perishables you’ll never use to a charity or a local shelter. If an item is useful but will be in your way, find temporary space in a closet or a different room.

Organize Your Fridge
You’ll need to make room in your refrigerator for all the food you’ll have to store before and after Thanksgiving. To make sure your fridge is holiday-ready, empty out the entire refrigerator and repeat the process you used with the cabinets and shelves. Anything that’s expired should go in the trash. What’s left should be placed back as succinctly as possible.

Pro tip: Condiments, produce and dairy products should be kept in the drawers or door of your refrigerator to save room on the shelves. Try to fit beverage cans and bottles in the door on the bottom rack. Leave extra room on the bottom shelf for your turkey.

Get Your Dining Table Ready
Once you’ve prepped the kitchen and freed some space on the countertops, you’ll need to clear the dining table to set it for dinner. Clear off any leftover groceries or dishes and move them to the kitchen. Then clean the table and chairs — and run tablecloths, pillows and cushions through the wash as necessary. Next, you can set your table to impress your guests and showcase all of your hard work.

Conclusion
Preparing the Thanksgiving feast can be stressful. And waiting until the last minute to get your kitchen in order can make it even more stressful. Take some time to prep your kitchen in advance of the holiday so you’re ready to tackle the big job without any surprises or disasters. That way, you can cook the meal and enjoy the holiday with your family without a hitch!

This story was written by Andrea Davis and originally appeared on HuffingtonPost.com.

Get More Space With Small Kitchen Solutions

Kitchen remodeling ranks among the most popular remodeling projects each year, as kitchens have become the functional and social hubs for many families.

poligonchik/iStock/Thinkstock

poligonchik/iStock/Thinkstock

Almost every kitchen has a design flaw or something that can be changed to make the space more workable.

However, no challenge is quite as difficult as reworking a small kitchen space.

If you are on a tight remodeling budget, have building restrictions, or own a condominium where you must work with the space allotted, you do have options to transform your kitchen.

Appliances

New appliances can serve to update and unify a room. All stainless steel appliances are becoming more popular—and not just in contemporary homes.

Energy efficiency is a key factor to keep in mind when purchasing home appliances, but the energy efficiency of similar appliances can vary significantly. It is usually more cost-effective to purchase household appliances with high efficiencies.

Built-in ovens, microwaves and storage for small appliances will make your kitchen appear less cluttered.

For homeowners who entertain regularly, the kitchen wine refrigerator has become very popular. These appliances can accommodate from 12 to 300 wine bottles depending on the model.

There are even countertop fridges to keep just a few bottles at a time properly chilled.

Counter Space

Even large kitchens are difficult to work in if there isn’t enough counter space. Plan to cover as much of the area not occupied with appliances with countertops.

If the difference in floor space is a matter of a few square feet, plan your design with deeper counters.

Granite, marble and stainless steel are the most expensive options, with laminate on the lower end of the spectrum and everything else falling somewhere in between.

For homeowners who use their kitchens frequently, different materials will enable a better cooking environment. For example, marble and granite offer cool surfaces for handling dough while the butcher block allows one to easily chop and prepare food.

And, if you like both, you don’t have to choose. It’s becoming more and more popular to combine counter options to create a unique look and a more functional kitchen.

Ready to remodel? Click here to hire one of our licensed and insured pros for your kitchen remodel.

Storage

Squeeze as many cabinets into your design as possible. Think about the placement of cabinets in relation to appliances, also.

Deep cabinets that can hold plates should be located near the dishwasher, and large cabinets with slide-out drawers should be placed near the oven. The fewer unnecessary steps needed to complete a task, the smoother the function of your kitchen will be.

Waist-high sliding shelves that hold mixers and toasters can quickly get small appliances out of sight, but keep them easily at hand. Built-in storage for foods like potatoes and onions—and bread storage cabinets—will also give the kitchen a cleaner look.

Roll-Out Pantry

If there isn’t enough room for a closet pantry, many cabinet manufacturers now make roll-out pantries. These can be pulled out to view the items you have—but rolled back into a space about 18 inches wide and 5.5 feet tall.

If there isn’t room for any type of pantry, consider converting a closet outside of the kitchen to a storage area for fine china, large pots and infrequently used items.

Lighting

One easily overlooked design element is good lighting.

Under-counter lighting and clean halogen lights can make the space appear larger and more comfortable.

Sinks

A small kitchen does not have to have a small sink. A large sink will make it easier for you to clean large pots and pans, and it is a great place to stash the dirty pots before you have a chance to rinse them.

If you are in an apartment or a small house, a large sink in the kitchen can serve double duty as a utility sink, too.

Other Ideas for Small Kitchens

Some other quick solutions to increase the efficiency of your small kitchen include the following:

  • Put a wire basket on the inside of the cabinet to hold trash bags and other frequently used items. These store-bought products are affordable and easy to install on the back of the cabinet door or under the sink.
  • Mount an instant hot water heater on the sink. This is something small that makes a big difference. Installing such a device will usually replace the sprayer or soap. This could be really useful if you indulge in a cup of tea or instant coffee each day.
  • Install a tile back splash on all the walls above the counters, stove and sink. This can quickly change the look of the kitchen and make it easier to clean.
  • Change the cabinet and drawer knobs. This is a very simple and affordable option that will give the kitchen an extra special touch. There are a lot of unique designs out there, so be prepared to use your creative side.

 This story was originally published on HomeAdvisor.com and published again on realtor.com. See it here.

11 Ultimate Outdoor Kitchens in Multi-Million Dollar Homes

It’s easy to cook in your backyard. Just grab a hibachi, stack up some charcoal, and light a match. But what if you want to level up in your outdoor culinary pursuits?

Wheel your old Weber kettle out of the picture and build an outdoor kitchen. Add a stove top, some cabinets, running water, a fridge, and plenty of counter space—voila, you’ve got an outdoor space allowing you to cook alfresco with ease.

To offer inspiration in your quest for top-quality grilling, we identified eleven dreamy outdoor kitchens in homes currently for sale. While these wide open kitchens are all attached to luxurious million-dollar homes, perhaps you can re-create these majestic spaces on a scale to fit your budget.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these outdoor marvels and the homes they’re attached to, just click on the picture to see the listing.

Bon appetit!

San Diego, CA, $2.439 million — 6660 Mower Pl.

from realtor.com

Austin, TX, $9.75 million — 1906 Scenic Dr.

from realtor.com

Scottsdale, AZ, $1.699 million — 13049 E Gold Dust Ave.

from realtor.com

Houston, TX, $2.25 million — 12930 Memorial Dr.

from realtor.com

El Dorado Hills, CA, $1.595 million — 2001 Salmon Valley Ln.

from realtor.com

Sunset, SC, $3.3 million — 304 S Cove Rd.

from realtor.com

Rancho Mirage, CA, $1.325 million — 36735 Palm View Rd.

from realtor.com

Mobile, AL, $1.325 million — 3065 Canary Island Dr.

from realtor.comPorto Cima, MO, $1.949 million — 510 Grand Cove Rd.from realtor.com

Covington, LA, $1.175 million — 322 Twin River Dr.from realtor.com

Calistoga, CA, $12 million — 5800 Petrified Forest Rd.

from realtor.com

This article was originally published by  on realtor.com. To see the original article, click here.

Renovating a Small Kitchen?

As the manager of the kitchen department in IKEA’s Paramus, NJ, location, Carol Smith is used to helping customers create their dream kitchen — even when space is limited. Here, she shares 10 things to consider before planning your own renovation.

How many people use the kitchen?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

The needs of a family will inevitably be different from those of an empty nester. A family might want food storage lower or the microwave more accessible, so older children can help themselves to an after-school snack. A couple, meanwhile, might opt for an island with a cooktop and bar sink.

 

How often do you cook or entertain?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

A serious entertainer may want wall ovens, under-counter beverage refrigerators or additional room for appliances, so a layout will need to accommodate these extras while maintaining clean, uncluttered counter space.

 

Will you need space for dining?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

If you will, consider space-saving options, such as folding bar stools or designs that tuck under a counter or work island. If even modest space exists, a kitchen island may be a worthy consideration.

 

What are your must-haves?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Homeowners should have an idea of their “must-have” features as well as secondary, or “nice-to-have,” features. Your budget will ultimately determine which items will make it into the final plan.

 

Where will your work triangle fit in?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Even in a small space, try to achieve the “work triangle,” that optimal configuration between the stove, refrigerator and sink. Rolling carts offer storage and workspace, and their mobility frees up built-in space to accommodate the triangle.

 

How can you maximize storage?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Cabinets up to the ceiling line are great for occasional storage like holiday bakeware and turkey platters. They also offer a great opportunity to use handy step stools!

 

Are you using every bit of space?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Pull-out interiors and rotating carousels can make accessing tough corners much easier. Even drawer organizers can make a big difference. Better organization translates into more space, and in a small kitchen that’s a plus.

 

What will be on display?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

In a small kitchen, an uncluttered look is essential. Many people like the decorative effect of glass doors on cabinets, but always ask yourself, “What’s going behind the glass?” Stemware can look beautiful; canned goods not as much.

 

Is there anything you can part with?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Clearing out your cabinets before demolition provides the perfect chance to take stock of what you have. Purge those broken springform pans and old electric juicers! Keep what you really use and get rid of the rest.

 

Which colors or surfaces will visually expand the space?

Source: IKEA

Source: IKEA

Lighter colors and reflective surfaces like stainless steel, chrome and high-gloss fronts tend to open up a small space. But never underestimate the magic of lighting! Under-cabinet lighting and other options can make small, gloomy spaces appear more inviting.

This article was originally published by Marie Proeller Hueston of Bobvila.com on Zillow Blog. See the original article here.

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Our 7th Annual Chili Cook-Off & Dessert Auction Approaches!

This year all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society!

Image

Every year we look forward to this event! We’ve had a fantastic time in the past years raising money for Breast Cancer.

We usually have about 25 participants who enter their chili-and it’s all you can eat! This event is by special invitation only (not open to the public for health code reasons); however, each year our outcome is larger than the previous year.  Funds raised last year were just a little over $2,600.

What’s better than supporting a good cause, simply by eating yummies? This is a beautiful 3-layer vanilla velvet cake from last year in the dessert auction.

In the basement of Broadway Christian Church, our Realtor Paul Smith auctions away desserts.

Who can forget about this chili entry from last year? Jeff Radel’s “Kick-Butt Man Chili” was a force to be reckoned with.

And last but not least, our winner of the Chili contest from last year was Tamala Anderson, from the closing department. Despite even campaign efforts of other competitors for votes, she won on taste alone. Will she win again? The suspense thickens…