Today we get out all the tools that grate and slice. Clean out the storage space and consider which items to return to the cabinet. Think especially in terms of removing redundant tools and keeping in mind the weight, space, and power restrictions of living tiny. If you are moving into a micro unit, you may only want to keep the knife and cutting board. If you’re headed for a small space you may appreciate having a grater/slicer with a lid. If you have a larger kitchen with no power restrictions then you may enjoy having a small food processor. The “right answer” for you depends on the purpose you have in this season of your life.
For the functions of slicing, zesting, and grating for
a fraction of the energy, space, and price requirements of a food processor,
knife skills is still simpler and far more satisfying.
I do love the KitchenAid Mixer especially in some glorious color like Raspberry Ice!! However, I’ve never found room in a tiny house kitchen for one of these bad boys.
The tiny house version is a spoon (or your hands) for blending,
Today we are talking about kitchen tools that blend, puree, and juice – which covers a variety of tools. Pull all of these items out of your kitchen cabinets and take a look over them. Remove redundant gear and consider what’s best for you in your home. I chose to keep a small blender – the one and only small appliance that made it into my tiny house. Consider what you’ll actually use on a weekly basis, and what alternatives there are in your community.
Alternatives to keeping the gear:
In some cases, visiting a great local shop that offers fresh juices may be more of a treat than keeping an expensive juicer that is a space and energy hog. In my case, instead of juicing each morning, I enjoy a 2 ounce glass of NingXia Red, a superfruit smoothie product that has more great high-nutrient foods in it than I have time to eat in a day – or even a few days – and certainly more than I’m willing to buy at the market and haul home and feed to the machine. Juicing gets expensive in a hurry! Not to mention the clean up because the juicing process is messy. All of that was just too much to bring into a tiny house, so instead of focusing on what I was losing by living tiny, I find an alternative that works great for me. These days I have simplified my life by buying NingXia Red on the Young Living auto-ship program which makes it crazy-easy. Therefore I no longer need a juicer. The benefits I have experienced include better focus, more stamina, and less cravings for salt and sugar which accidentally led to weight loss (score!!). NingXia Red has made such a difference for me that my Austrian and I literally tell perfect strangers about it! lol! Lots of information (including purchase info) is available at this link.
All that to say that you may find creative alternatives to keeping big expensive gear in your kitchen that make it more palatable to part with big energy and space hog appliances. In this manner we remove the sacrificial quality of downsizing, keep our favorite items, and retain only the gear that serves our purpose in this season of our lives.
We lived in 125 sq ft for more than three years and the only appliance we used was the Ninja Master Pro Blender. We used them daily in our restaurant for making smoothies and they held up to the abuse quite well. The price is certainly right, and they don’t take up the space that a VitaMix requires. And if you’re making smoothies on a weekly basis this might be a good fit for you.
Today we talk about the toaster in the Tiny House Foodie kitchen. There are a number of ways to make great toast – in a toaster, in a toaster oven, or in a skillet on a burner. Consider how often you enjoy toast, and pick the method that is right for you and the space you have in your tiny home. Here I show how to toast bread in a skillet so that a toaster is no longer needed, and it’s delicious. Toasting bread in a skillet is my favorite toast because it’s crispy without being dry, and it’s wonderful with a drizzle of honey. I consider toast made this way a real treat.
If you love sandwiches toasted in a panini press, then build your sandwich and add a thin coat of mayonnaise to the outside of each piece of bread in addition to whatever dressing you put on the inside. Heat two skillets, put your sandwich in the first, and top it with the second hot skillet. Press or add a weight to flatten your sandwich even more. The mayonnaise makes the bread toast up beautifully and of course the melted cheese of a panini press sandwich is always amazing.
Pull out all your toasting equipment – and since toasting can be such a messy endeavor – give it all a clean. Donate what you no longer need and put back what you intend to keep.
We’ve come a long way. Our equipment has become very sophisticated and very powerful. We can now make food very quickly. With all the great inventions and new technology, we’ve managed to make food faster. However, we have not managed to make food better. That’s why it’s no sacrifice to me, to get rid of a microwave. It’s no sacrifice to skip the freezer section of the market where the overly processed microwave “food” is found in all that packaging. It’s no sacrifice to cook great meals and reheat them in a saucepan on the stove, or by heating them in the oven. It’s no sacrifice to make real popcorn, and buying popcorn kernels is much cheaper than microwave popcorn, and doesn’t come with all that extra packaging and toxic butter-like-chemical. It’s no sacrifice to make a fresh cup of coffee rather than reheating an old one. Find out how to brew Tiny House Coffee here.
In a tiny house situation, the power a microwave requires is too much for a solar system, and may overwhelm a small electrical system and flip a breaker or something. Trust me, that always happens when it’s cold, rainy, and after dark and then one of us has to go out in that weather with a flashlight to get the breaker turned back on! lol! In an off-grid situation, running a microwave may not even be an option because they are such energy hogs. So part of becoming comfortable with tiny house living may include finding other ways to cook food without the use of the microwave.
Finally, there are some very real health concerns in microwaved food. I’ve read the results of various research on the topic and I’m convinced there are valid concerns. However, I’m not interested in debating any of that. I’m not a scientist but I do respect what scientist do. For me it’s much simpler to cook without it to remove the question, and the concern – and even the debate. I really don’t want the debate! In fact, I am willing to be ridiculed on this topic (and have been – at length!) rather than even engage in the battle. I love peace. I love people, even when we disagree. I’m very secure that the choice I’ve made is the right one for me and of course I recognize that some folks won’t agree. And that’s actually fine with me. I choose not to eat microwaved food and I prefer not to eat in restaurants where I know the food will be microwaved. Food artists don’t cook that way anyway, so that’s hardly a sacrifice. No problem. In short, I lose nothing by avoiding a microwave. I skip the health concern and I eat better food. Where’s the sacrifice?
If you have a microwave, take it out and look it over. It’s an automatic toss if it is damaged or malfunctioning. Put it in the garage or other distant room of the house for a while. Clean the spot where the microwave was and consider your kitchen without it. Make a contest of it and see who can go the longest without using it. You have nothing to lose.
What you “need” is based on what you’re used to. Change what you’re used to, and it will change what you need.
So the best way to make a real change in your kitchen is to simply dive in and get going. You may not think that you can “go tiny”, but I know you can (even in your current full-sized kitchen). And from my years of experience living in 125 square feet, I can honestly tell you that what you gain makes every “sacrifice” worth it. In time you might even find that none of it was actually a sacrifice, at least that’s how I feel.
The Rest of the Appliances
Today we wrap up the Right-Sizing your Kitchen video series by taking a look at the rest of the kitchen appliances. We’ve already talked about the food processor, blender, mixer, toaster and microwave… today we cover the rest of them. What are your favorites that I haven’t mentioned? I’m curious to know what other folks are using on a weekly basis that they’ll want to save space for in their tiny house. We’re all different so our collections will be different.
In my experience, less is definitely better in a tiny house. Ours was on the smaller side at 125 square feet, so we really kept a very minimal collection of things in our tiny house kitchen. And there were still things we kept that we didn’t use, so we could have even gone tinier – so to speak.
I love cooking great food simply. It brings me so much joy because the food is more crafted. When I don’t need an appliance to make something it feels more like a work of my own hands, and that is very rewarding to me. In the end the most important things in my kitchen have always been the knife and cutting board, the dutch oven, and a few favorite plates and glasses. Having fresh fruit and vegetables close at hand – usually right on the kitchen counter – is always very satisfying. We keep less around, so we eat fresher food, and that’s one of many reasons why tiny house living has been such a lovely adventure for us.
I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can #LiveTiny, #EmbraceSimplicity and still #EatWell. You may not think that you can go tiny, but I know you can.