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The kids are back in school and daily routines are back in full swing. Today I’m talking about kitchen appliances both big and small and how you can get the most use out of them this fall. Using your kitchen appliances to their full potential can help take some stress out of daily routines and make meal times a breeze.

Pressure and Slow Cookers

Instant PotPressure cookers and instant pots are the perfect small appliance for days when you get home after a long day and you don’t have a meal planned out. On these days I throw in some chicken thighs or breast, seasoning and a cup of water or sauce and pressure cook it for 30 minutes. Steam some veggies and cook some pasta or rice and your meal is done. I love that you can then use the sauce from the pressure cooker to add to your pasta or rice as well.

Instant pots are perfect for any meal, even dessert. They are perfect for family sized portions of breakfast oatmeal and I can tell you they make the best rice pudding. Instant pots have a variety of functions such as pressure cook, slow cook, rice, steam, saute, soup, meat and yogurt. There’s also some great online forums and communities for instant pot lovers where you can find and share your favourite recipes and any tips and tricks to get the most out of your small appliance. Instant pots have taken off and become many families go to appliance for quick, easy and healthy meals.

crockpotMany pressure cookers have a slow cooker option, or you can buy just a slow cooker or crockpot on its own. Slow cookers are for the days when you’re more organized and have the time to throw in a meal like a chili or roast before you head out for the day. They are perfect for soups and stews and one-pot meals and you can easily make a big batch meal and freeze it for a later date. Like so many appliances they also come Wi-Fi enabled which means you can connect and adjust your cooking time, temperature, switch it to warm or turn it off using your smart device.

Blenders for soups and smoothies

vitamix blenderBlenders don’t take up much counter space and are perfect for morning smoothies to take on the run in the mornings. I love the idea of pre-making and freezing individual smoothie packs so it’s as simple as emptying one into your blender with a liquid of your choice and you’re done. There are many blenders available that come with blending cups which means you can make your smoothie right into a travel cup with no extra clean up. With smoothies you can hide greens, chia and flax seeds or hemp hearts.

Vitamix and Blendtec are two brands that have a heat function to make hearty and delicious soups perfect for fall weather. They can easily be made ahead and stored in the freezer or simply whip up a batch from leftover cooked veggies for a hearty lunch to send to school with your kids or for yourself at work. They are available with different size containers, in a variety of watts and functions like chop, dice, blend and puree.

Refrigerators and deep freezers

Samsung Family HubRefrigerators aren’t just for food storage, smart refrigerators are becoming increasingly popular and Samsung has done it well with the Family Hub. There’s plenty of space for food storage and amazing features like a CoolSelect pantry drawer, humidity controlled crispers and an auto pull out freezer drawer. I love that it has anti-fingerprint stainless steel which means less time cleaning. By far the best feature is the Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen. You can look up recipes, shop for your groceries online, stream music for entertaining and help you keep your family organized with a calendar. Simply send updates, notes and photos from your smartphone directly to your fridge to stay on track with routines and schedules. The most innovative feature of the Family Hub is the three built-in cameras that allow you to view the contents of your fridge remotely using your smartphone so if you’re out shopping and wonder if you’re low on milk you can easily check from wherever you are.

I’m not sure why the fall weather makes me feel like cooking and storing food. Deep freezers are a must have to store prepped meals, leftovers and smoothie packs for quick and easy meals. They’re available in multiple sizes which means you can find the perfect size for your needs and family and you can choose between the upright or chest style as well.

Espresso machines for fall lattes

De'Longhi Espresso machineAn espresso machine is something I have yet to treat myself to but I’m thinking this fall may be the time to invest. I love a good latte and cappuccino and my favourite time to enjoy one is on the weekends when I don’t have to rush out the door in the early morning. Fall is the best time for an espresso machine if you love a flavoured latte and when you make them at home it’s more budget friendly and you can control the level of sweetness if you’re adding your favourite syrup.

Espresso machines are available for a variety of budgets and personal preferences. You can buy a basic espresso machine that simply brews espresso or choose one with a variety of features and options. Some features to think about are a coffee grinder, milk frother, mug warmer, touchscreen, customizable drink options and a milk carafe that you can store back in the fridge with any unused milk for your next hot drink.

Now that the weather here on the West Coast seems to have officially turned from summer to fall I have been using my pressure cooker and coffee maker a lot more often. Think about checking out some online communities or using popular apps for new recipes and tips on getting the most out of your small appliances this fall.

You can find some innovative appliances both big and small at bestbuy.ca.