Inside/Outside: Kitchen

*updated with winner, below*
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One of the main criteria when we started looking into new homes way back when was a decent kitchen. Seemingly simple and yet? Very, very hard. Our last place had what one might call a kitchenette with zero counter space, (I used the ironing board for chopping. Not fabulous.) so when we walked into our new place with its blue Spanish tile and heaps of windows...
a view from a room

...Not to mention the arched doorways and built-in cabinets, I threw up my hands and sang hallelujah.
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We had to buy us a new table to furnish the breakfast nook, which has become more of a breakfast, lunch and dinner nook on the days when the dining room table has been turned into a Legoverse. I found the table at my favorite prop/junk store on La Brea, a place I have purchased more furniture than perhaps anywhere else.
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I love retro dining spaces - they charm me like crazy. The table is a bit lopsided, yes, but also happy-making. A cozy little family retreat.
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original light-fixture, above
good morning, bird!
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Fable rocks a Rayanne Graff 'do. Behind her = the original 1920s mailbox

Unfortunately, our kitchen did NOT come with a refrigerator so we would have to purchase our own, or so I thought, until some friendly folks at Kenmore contacted me through twitter amidst my flurry of inquiring tweets re: fridge recommendations and consumer reports.

"We have a pretty cool fridge," they emailed me. "Wanna check it out?"

"Uh... yes." I responded. "Yes, yes, YES!" So? Kenmore hooked it up.

And hooked it up they done did. I've never been an appliance person at all. Maybe because I've always rented property and have never taken much of an interest in stove/fridge/washer/whatevers because they didn't *really* belong to me, and come on, now, let's be clear, I'd rather spend my money on clothes and/or cool furniture than state-of-the-art equipment but this fridge = the awesome. Quiet, energy efficient with tons of fridge and freezer space and a million compartments for quinoa.
Fridge also has magnetic areas, rare for stainless steel/important to me because to-do lists are my co-pilots and family portraits must always be on display:
family portrait
"my family" by: Archer
Hal as a baby = aw.
So thank you, Kenmore. Thanks for the fridge and the memories and this amazing sexy-red stand mixer I get to give away to one lucky reader because you guys rule.


Want it*? Just tell me your must-have kitchen gadget**. Besides my spankin' new state-of-art mega-fridge from space, these days I swear by the Citrusmate juicer. Twas a gift from my mom last year when I was struggling to get Archer to eat his fruits and veggies. Fresh-squeezed orange juice has since become a daily must in our house. Yum slash relief.

What are you cookin' with in the kitchen?


*This is the first of several "Hooray for summer!" giveaways I'll be hosting this week. Stay tuned!
**One winner will be chosen via and announced Thursday evening. Good luck!

Updated: Congratulations comment #361, Ashley 8:03pm! Thank you all so much for participating!!!


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courtney | 11:47 AM

Our toaster oven. Don't have to heat up the whole house when I want to make a baked potato, or anything else in the oven. Or my blender, I could live on smoothies. Unfortunately my husband cannot so that's when the toaster oven comes into play.

elizabeth | 12:06 PM

definitely my rice cooker. because I'm Cuban and can't live without speedy congris (black beans and white rice)

Mia | 12:17 PM

Amazing! I just moved to Austin TX to live with my boyfriend and am getting domestic fever in a big way. Would make pounds of lemon ricotta cookies with that mixer!

Sarah Wilson | 12:24 PM

My microplane grater. Weird, I know.

Sarahviz | 12:25 PM

My kitchen must-have: Umm...a wine opener??

Sarah | 12:40 PM

I love my basic Cuisinart 7 cup. I use it for all sorts of stuff. However, it was recently defeated by some brioche dough, convincing me that I really, really need a stand mixer...

leaner | 12:43 PM

Cuisinart food processor. I would be LOST without that thing. Oh and my breadmaker.. I love that, too.

SomewhatVoluble | 1:03 PM

I absolutely love your kitchen! I'd love a fridge like that (and the kitchen aid mixer because I don't have one). I really love our blender; it's very helpful when making smoothies!

donan1212 | 1:23 PM

My immersion blender rocks. I mostly make smoothies for me and veggie purees for my baby girl. And I only have to wash the small attachment blade - big plus!

KacyL | 1:29 PM

I love my little spatula, it's the perfect size for everything!!

Sara | 1:30 PM

I'm in love with your house. Can I move in?

Anonymous | 1:50 PM

i'm a new fan and am so grateful to have found your honest approach to life with kiddos. My must have? Our toaster oven. It sees more action than any thing else in this house!

i'm B. | 2:02 PM

oh my. i think i may have just teared up a little. the only mixer in our kitchen is one that the previous tenant left behind in our first appartment. it is mustard yellow and chocolate brown (if that gives any clue to the era from which it came.) but, sadly, it works fine so i've had no excuse to replace it--until now!!! but to answer your question: the kitchen gadget i can't seem to live without is... the bottle opener. am i right???

Suzanne H | 2:11 PM

I cook everything in my saucier/chef's pan but I think my favorite gadget is my boring, old Pampered Chef peeler. It is still sharp and works great and I love seeing those peels go flying!

JustiheB | 2:18 PM

I know it seems like a small thing, but I adore my garlic press. I think it has something to do with my italian background :)

JennyLee | 2:35 PM

My Jack LaLanne juicer. It seriously rocks!

Katie | 3:13 PM

I cannot do without my rice cooker. Throw in the water and rice and let it go! One less thing to worry about watching.

Kim | 3:27 PM

stick blender!

Jesse | 3:30 PM

I love, love, love my hand/immersion blender. We have precious little kitchen space also and it takes the place of probably 5 other appliances. I use it almost every day, and being able to put it directly into the pot or saucepan is fabulous!

Robin | 3:57 PM

My magic bullet (yes, it's a kitchen tool, I promise) is something I use daily: protein drinks, smoothies, coffee bean grinder, chicken salad (which I've learned to fake with garbonzo beans), etc, etc. Couldn't live without it.

SJ | 6:16 PM

You can't beat a sharp knife - changed my world when I received one. I also adore my rice cooker.

Ida Mae | 6:29 PM

must have kitchen gadget...hmmm. I would say my food processor.. but it's only a mini one. Now that I have it I now realize that I need an even bigger one.. then I would be able to make your hummus in one big batch instead of a bunch of little ones..
~Ida Mae
ida_mai at hotmail dot com

cissy la la | 6:43 PM

I just REALLY need a mixer! I can't afford one.

Rachel | 7:01 PM

I can't live without my spice grinder. Wheeee! I love making my own chili powder.

Amber | 7:42 PM

Drool...I would say that I LOVE my tiny little pampered chef cutting board, but in case that doesn't qualify as a "gadget" I'd say my blender is my favorite :)

W | 8:50 PM

Perhaps this doesn't count as a gadget, but I simply cannot live without high quality knives. We have a set of Henckels that were our wedding gift to ourselves. The other thing I use almost every day is a fatty plastic spoon that has holes in it, awesome for straining noodles, berries, whatnot.

jen | 9:07 PM

mandolin slicer all the way! sometimes i get carried away and nick my fingers :)

OL | 9:28 PM

Beyond a doubt my coffee maker. 6:00 a.m. feels so early when I wake up and realize my 9 month old is kicking my ribs and my 4 year old is tapping my knee asking for popcorn. "What do you mean popcorn isn't a breakfast food?"

Heather O'Neill | 9:29 PM

My honey got me a manual wheatgrass juicer for Christmas and -- after several failed attempts -- I have finally been successful at growing and juicing my own wheatgrass. It might not be a traditional "appliance" but it is pretty cool nonetheless.

Anonymous | 9:30 PM

my favorite rediscovered kitchen 'appliance' is my cast iron skillet -- I use it for everything lately, pancakes, sauteeing chicken for fajitas, cornbread, even cake! second favorite is my bialetti stovetop espresso machine, i can't live without it. i love that mixer, hooray for summer!

Unknown | 10:49 PM

my favorite rediscovered kitchen 'appliance' is my cast iron skillet -- I use it for everything lately, pancakes, sauteeing chicken for fajitas, cornbread, even cake! second favorite is my bialetti stovetop espresso machine, i can't live without it. i love that mixer, hooray for summer!

Jamilisa | 11:48 PM

I need a new mixer! ha! Also...a sweet food processor and a sweet fridge would be awesome too...too bad Kenmore doesn't love me :)

Mtt | 6:58 AM

Hmmm...lots of fav gadgets but I LOVE my garlic press the most!

shyncoll | 8:36 AM

I love love love my crock pot! It's so much easier to leave something in there and have it finished when getting home from work than to have to start cooking as soon as the workday is over!

Femi Ford | 9:24 AM

my must have appliance is coffee maker used everyday. cuisinart is second up and crockpot is third!

Tricina | 9:34 AM

My must-have? My new Magic Bullet blender. It's soooo compact (which saves tons of counter space) and it replaces my old stand blender, my immersion blender, my garlic press, my cheese grater, and my food processor. I use it at LEAST once every day and usually twice.

mommymae | 12:37 PM

not entering, but wanted to let you know i love that fridge. the kitchen looks fab

AS Novus | 5:45 PM

My must have kitchen gadget?? Hmm definitely my coffee maker!! Though I have been rocking the sunbeam hand held mixmaster since my mom bought it for me when I was 18. It still whips up a great birthday cake after 17 years!!

Jelena | 8:41 PM

Awesome kitchen!! The family portrait is adorable. I love my cast iron skillet.

beyond | 9:19 PM

i need that mixer...
i love my immersion blender! great for smoothies and soups alike.

Ashley | 1:04 PM

AHHHHHH! I am so excited, thank you thank you thank you!!! Can't wait to try it out. You rock, lady!

malimish | 12:19 AM

i love your rayanne graff reference. damn i miss that show. and yes, that scene when he grabs her hand in the hall. it KILLS me every time!

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