By Jayne Cannon
Whether you love to cook, hate to cook or just have to cook, your life in the kitchen is easier when you find the right tools.
RISE ’N’ SHINE
Burning your bagel is not a good way to start the day. The Cuisinart Touch to Toast Leverless Toaster lets you select your own personal shade of grain and counts down the action with an LCD display. No levers to push; with this toaster, the morning magic happens at the touch of button. $100.
NOW YOU SEE IT
Tired of your toast popping up too soon so you have to toast it again or, even worse, too late and you have scrape it or trash it. Then, tune in to the Dash Clear View Toaster. The viewing window lets you watch as your bread browns, and the wide, single slot lets you think outside the breadbox to toast odd shapes. A reheat feature keeps neglected toast butter-ready. $50.
What’s better than sharing a breakfast of piping hot waffles with deep pockets to hold extra syrup? With the Cuisinart Double Belgian Waffle Maker, you and your breakfast companion can eat together —a treat for every cook who has had to serve others, then eat alone. And should you wander away, this waffle maker plays an audio tune to signal that your waffle is ready. $100.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
BE BARISTA WARRIOR
Create your own caffeinated concoction and save a stop on the way to work with the Ninja Coffee Bar. Choices range from a classic brew to iced coffee or specialty drinks; you choose the strength. The included Easy Frother adds a creamy top. $180.
Dad is devoted to his K-cups; Mom loves her tea bags. Bunn has come up with a truce for the beverage wars: the MCU My Cafe Single Cup Multi-Use Coffee Brewer. Using an interchangeable tray system, this machine can deliver a cup brewed from ground coffee, loose tea, prefilled pods or tea bags in less than a minute. $160.
MIX IT UP
For small-batch blending, consider the Kitchen Aid 2-Speed Hand Blender. A 5-foot cord lets you use the blender right in the pot, or use the 3-cup jar that comes with it. The stainless-steel shaft is removable for easy cleaning. $60.
If you’re a bleary-eyed morning smoothie maker, you want to do as little chopping as possible. With the Vitamix Ascent 3300, throw those frozen, unpeeled, uncored fruits and vegetables in, and they turn into a lump-free liquid treat. The unit is programmable, so you can save your settings and blend favorites at the touch of a button. $450.
Jayne Cannon is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a contributor to South Carolina Living, the statewide electric co-op magazine of the Palmetto State. Product inclusion on this page does not imply endorsement; product availability and prices are subject to change.