Summer is a tough time to be a cook. With a long list of things to do—from soccer practices to garage sales to DIY projects—most of us don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen.
But the foodies in your family need not despair. With a little help from the following handy and time-saving gadgets, you’ll be able to prep and create great-tasting meals and drinks and still check off everything on your to-do list.
Some of these behemoths boast three-horsepower engines and blades that spin at over 30,000 RPM, giving them more raw power than a lawnmower. That kind of brawn will let you make everything from smoothies to pesto to peanut butter with just a few whirls of their stainless-steel blades. Among the most popular of these super-blenders are the Vitamix 7500 and the Blendtec Designer 675.
It’s a cruel fact that the best meals usually take the longest to prepare—unless you have a pressure cooker. These handy devices produce great-tasting fare, like spare ribs and old-fashioned baked beans, in a fraction of the traditional time. What’s more, they run the gamut from the simple Presto Six-Quart Pressure Cooker, with its mechanical release valve, to the programmable Instant Pot IP-Duo, which can make everything from pot roast to yogurt.
Caffeine aficionados rejoice: the Internet has finally come to your coffeemaker. A growing number of companies are cranking out machines—like the Smart Optimal Brew from Mr. Coffee and Smarter Coffee—that connect to your home Wi-Fi network. These brainy brewers can be controlled from just about anywhere with an Apple or Android smartphone. Just plug in the coffee maker, fire up the specially designed app and brew a cup of joe from the comfort of your own bed, keeping the world at bay for just a few more minutes.
Counting calories and tracking nutritional information is far from fun. But digital scales can make the process a breeze. One of the easiest to use is from Perfect Portions. Just place one of 2,000 foods on the scale and it will tell you how many calories, fats and carbs you’re about to eat. For the technologically inclined, there’s the ReFleX Wireless Bluetooth Smart Food Scale, which sends nutritional information directly to your tablet or smartphone.
Tablets are a staple of the modern kitchen for referring to recipes or following along with a cooking tutorial. But they’re also a magnet for flour, olive oil and just about anything else you can spill. Thankfully, there are devices that will keep your tablet safe while you channel your inner Julia Child. At the high-end is Williams-Sonoma’s Smart Tools kit, which includes Bluetooth speakers, a magnetic screen protector and a heavy-duty stand. For the more budget-conscious, The Orange Chef’s Chef Sleeve is essentially a touch-sensitive plastic zip bag for your digital device.
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