Fun Kitchen Gadgets To Brighten Up Your Chores
There are several companies like Fred & Friends or Charles Viancin who specialize in cheering us up as we slice and dice our way towards another perfectly cooked dinner.
Fun to look at and use, yes, but these are also really useful kitchen gadgets that will brighten up any cooking areas, while adding a touch of whimsy to otherwise mundane chores.
Don’t know about you, but with a holiday season or birthday celebration never far away in my diary, I’m gift hunting a lot – and these do make great gifts for friends.
You do need to be picky and avoid the curse of cheap plastic (you know the sort of thing I mean) but with a little care you can get a wide variety of funky fun utensils to suit every budget and revolutionize the look of any cooking area, so without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Fred & Friends Products
Strictly speaking these Fred & Friends Lunch Bugs aren’t kitchen tools or gadgets, but I absolutely love them. Opening a lunch pack to find this inside always gets a smile – and some days you just need something to lighten things up a bit, well these do.
At around $6 a box, each box contains 24 reusable zipper lock bags. Half have the fly in them, the other half contain a hungry looking cockroach – yum!
Kid’s starting a new school or got first day blues? They’ll make friends in a heartbeat when break-time comes around and this bug in a bag comes out. Friend broken up with her boyfriend? Send round some pop cakes in one of these.
Had a row with your partner? Pack their lunch in one of these and they’ll love you for it (probably!).
Great for Halloween parties – send kids to the fridge for party supplies and listen to them holler… Realistic looking and providing a lot of laughs, highly recommended.
Still totally loving the Fred And Friends Spilt Milk bowl.
Dishwasher safe, unbreakable (yep, really) these silicone bowls are absolutely perfect for toddlers making that awkward transition from baby plates to big persons bowl, they can drop this and no-one cries!
A set of four has lasted us three years now and they come up brilliant white every time, even curry sauce came out with a drop of bleach.
Perfect for camping, the beach and for kids – great to have at work, fun to give to college kids – and a reminder to hard studying students to eat breakfast occasionally!
Fred and Friends Wine Bottle Bag
A fantastic gift for any wine loving friend, this Fred Friends wine bottle bag fits its purpose brilliantly and keeps wine or any bottle of drink beautifully cold all day. Perfect for picnics, parties and pot-luck, the Wine’O Bottle Bag can go pretty much anywhere you do.
Made with a wipe-clean realistic looking faux brown paper bag material, I thought this was a quality item when I got one to keep water cold in the classroom, which it does mostly all day.
Having got admiring comments, accordingly I gave one to a friend for her birthday last year – delighted at the time, she’s still using it happily now and it looks as good as new. As several other members of staff seem to have water in these same bags, clearly the word has spread.
Fred & Friends products are an awesome collection of practical and fun kitchen gadgets, many of which are in my cupboards and freezer, I guess because the quality is there.
Nostalgia Electrics as the name suggests, are best known for retro products mimicking vintage appliances from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, which it has to be said they do very well.
Their Vintage Old Fashioned Hot Dog Roller pictured here on the left, might be fun to look at but believe me, for some reason it also produces the best tasting dogs ever.
Having read a load of reviews before buying, I reckoned most of them to be promoting it – but once we’d tasted the hot dogs, I knew they were telling the truth.
It comes with a bun warmer incorporated into the cute shade at the top of the hot dog roller machine and rollers that work, plus you get a level griddle option insert for burgers or bacon which I’ve never used, so better not comment on.
The only downside is being able to do only four large or eight small hot dogs at a time, but hey, for a family night in at the movies how many dogs do you need in a hurry – and at the price you can buy two if you want them for parties.
Once tasted, I promise you’ll use it for dogs every time – but be warned, hot dogs bought out from stalls won’t ever taste as good again!
Lit-Up Party Fountains Are Hot Halloween Favorites
Nostalgia Electrics also make an inexpensive fun Lighted Party Fountain Beverage Set, which looked and felt a bit cheap out of the box. You know that sinking feeling?
Bought for a garden party last year, that ‘I’ve made a mistake here’ feeling vanished quickly. Once set up with the lights on, it looked great – and not cheap at all.
These party fountains got used again and were a hot hit at Halloween – I’ll be setting them up again in a similar way this year, hopefully with more spooky ice cubes – I’ve got some cunning plans to try…
Filled with red wine and blood orange juice to just the right color – and with a few scary ice cube additions bobbing around, it looked – and tasted – incredibly good!
You noticed the change in tense from one to two?
Truth is, once we’d done a test run for the party, Himself went and got a second one to set up with soft drinks in it for non-alcohol drinking adults and the kids, again it was used in the same way and was a real hit at Halloween – I’ll get some pictures this year to post here.
Nostalgia aren’t the only company making these – there are plenty on the market and mostly more expensive, this was bought for fun rather than to look impressive – which surprisingly it does! One year on? Used fairly regularly, I’d say once a month and more in the summer months, it works like a dream, so quite robust so far.
The scary ice cube molds come in a variety of fun designs, most of them made by Fred & Friends. You can get a huge range of different molds including bones, skulls and brains, all of which can be used to freeze fruit, juice and colored water to achieve a ghoulish effect.
Trust me, mashed strawberries and raspberries frozen into a skull mold with just a hint of Pernod or Anise in the water to make it cloudy – they looks really effective and you can get fluorescent food coloring to add to the graveyard mayhem. Just watch Bones for ideas.
If you or your friends drink tea or fruit tea and you often make a single cup, tea infusers don’t come cuter than the floating Tea Duckie Infuser – this makes a really unique quirky little stocking filler or gift for a special tea loving friend.
Its funny but often these little stocking fillers can be really special to receive and they give much more pleasure than you could have imagined.
I love fruit teas and this is one of the best and most loved kitchen gifts I have ever received – it came from another tea lover!
Animal style kitchen gadgets are always popular, but not always as useful as Duckie.
Actually Animal themed kitchen timers get a bad press with a whole lot of reviewers saying the same thing – they don’t work properly or they don’t work at all.
I’ve been lucky, the Duck Timer from Kikkerland has worked fine for me and has the cutest quack when times up – absolutely perfect for teaching, but apparently they aren’t reliable, not for others anyway – and not if you don’t want food to burn.
For a reliable kitchen timer you don’t have to spend much, but sadly you might be better to ditch the animal theme.
My own favorite fun kitchen timer is a really cool and clever Time Cube, well two actually so between them they cover every block of time needed.
These are so cool I use them at school for mentoring times and as an inoffensive reminder on parents evening, that everyone has to take a turn. Lots of parents and kids are interested in how they work, but so far no-one has been offended…Result!
However if you’re looking for the best all round kitchen timer at a budget price and you are prepared to dump the animal theme, then Polder Kitchen Timers offer accuracy, reliability and portability – these are awesome value.
With a lanyard to put around your neck and a magnet to stick it to appliances, other neat features include multiple different timings and an easy set system meaning you don’t have to scroll through minute by minute – which with most of them you do.
This is probably the first cooking timer you can carry around from room to room easily and not lose track of when things back in the kitchen are done.
Whimsical Fun From Charles Viancin
Charles Viancin products aren’t so much fun kitchen gadgets as whimsical functional unusual tools – I love them, use them and have no hesitation recommending them to anyone, not least because they work.
These Charles Viancin Silicone Lids in particular are extremely practical yet are pretty enough to be out on display.
Held on by very efficient suction, these charming pot and plate covers come in sets, in singles and also in different sizes for different pots.
Choose from Lily pads, Sunflowers or Hibiscus, these make practical cheery stocking fillers that will get used and be really appreciated.
Charles Viancin also makes one of the most simple yet useful gadgets I’ve got – truly these Rose Bud Finger Grips are unbelievably handy for all sorts of hot kitchen tasks.
What do I do most that they come in handy for? Carry plates or pots and pans right out of the oven without having to use big gloves – oh and taking hot plates and dished to the table. I have seen my husband wearing one on his nose, it amused the kids, though I fear they have photos and what they upload to Facebook should worry him.
Matching but not from Viancin, are these really useful Spill Stopper Splatter Guard Silicone Pot Pan Lids – phew what a mouthful.
Pasta has a horrid habit of boiling over and leaving a sticky starchy mess everywhere – and that was the primary reason for getting one of these.
Do they work? Oh yes, they do the job well and where I wouldn’t have left a milk pan before, not for a nano-second, now at least one can look away from the stove.
Incredibly useful, I’ve now got three in different sizes to cover the main saucepans – magic mess savers for milk pans!
Stopped Smoking Indoors? You Might Start Again With The Smoking Gun!
The Smoking Gun Indoor Food Smoker is a proper kitchen appliance and also a lot of fun, not so much to use because it’s very simple, but to eat the food you’ve smoked.
The smoking gun imparts flavor to cooked meats and fish, cheese, flour, fruits, bread, pretty much anything you can think of that you’d want to add a smoky flavor to.
We use it with dehydrated tomatoes, zucchinis, apricots, apples – anything I use to cook or make chutney with works great and adds a smokiness to the chutney itself – delicious with cheese or cold cuts of ham.
Diabetic diets can easily become boring without different flavors to lift a sugar restricted palate – with an indoor smoker you can add aromatic taste to sweets as well as main meals.
The wood chips come in several different flavors and impart a barbecued woodsy flavor – it makes a vegetarian paella taste almost meaty and as though it’s got smoky chorizo in it.
Does smoke fill up the kitchen or the house? No, absolutely not, a faint aroma, wispy traces is all, but nothing that gets stuck in soft furnishings and no, it’s never set the fire alarms off, there isn’t enough to do that.
There are two types of indoor ‘flavor’ smoker that cook or cook and smoke food (rather than the outdoor type used to preserve hams and bacon or salmon). The Smoking Gun is more expensive than the Camerons Stovetop Smoker and there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
One funky fun and very clever kitchen gadget is the Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker – if you haven’t seen these yet, you have got to check them out.
Pure frozen fruit treats that taste like silky sinful ice cream – kids just beg for more – which with these, they can happily have. (Click Here To Read More About The Yonanas)
Nostalia Electrics Retro Frozen Treat Maker pictured left, is pretty much the only competition to the Yonanas.
Less expensive, it has very good write-ups for the price and like the smoking gun, these machines add options for diabetics to vary flavors in meals, even pure frozen fruit treats are a rare luxury in the ice cream department for anyone on a strict diabetic diet.
There’s also the ever popular snow cone machines which turn out shaved ice in a trice – add it to frozen treats or pour snow cone syrup over the ice – Malibu is heavenly. Just click the link to read the post.
Scrabble Refrigerator Magnets – Now These Are Fun!
Fridge magnets are ever popular and none is more useful than this full Magnetic Scrabble Fridge Set – these are brilliant for teaching vocabulary and spellings to children at home.
Its one way I can have the last word, at least until getting home again! As in the picture, we do use our mainly as a reminder list for food shopping, sometimes I post the days ‘menu’ on it for fun.
You know the saying a watched pot never boils, well you sure don’t watch the pot when you’re trying to beat your partner or kids at fridge scrabble!
There are literally thousands of fun kitchen gadgets to choose from for yourself or to give to friends, so throw off your inhibitions and turn those boring cooking chores into chortles as you work!