back-to-school-appliances.jpegLast year was the first year I had all four of my kids in school, so it was the first time I experienced what it was like when all the kids went back to school. Although they had a late start due to a teacher’s strike, it took me until the end of October to get used to not having anyone around me for six hours a day.

For a while, I floundered around between cleaning the house, working, and online shopping, but once I was used to the silence, that’s when the magic started to happen. There’s a little known fact no one told me about being a parent: when you finally have some dedicated free time, your creativity goes into overdrive.

I painted walls, I redecorated rooms, and I started to try new recipes in ways I never had before. Suddenly recipes with a lot of prep time didn’t seem that overwhelming when no one was there to ask you for a sandwich, and I really had a chance to put my kitchen appliances to the test. The kids were a little startled when they came home to a hot dinner every single night, and they were in awe at some of the lunches I threw together, but we all loved what I could whip up with my favourite appliances.

 

Summer isn’t a time of year when you use your appliances to their full potential, but with back to school here and fall right around the corner, I’m looking forward to heading back into the kitchen and using my favourite back to school appliances. In no particular order, here they are.

 

Slow cookersslow-cooker.jpg

There’s no better time to get reacquainted with your slow cooker than the fall. I love slow cookers for so many reasons, from how they meld flavours together because the dish cooks for so long to how they have dinner ready for you when you get home after a long day. Having a slow cooker in your house means that easy comfort food is never far away.

I’ve tried a lot of different slow cookers and found things to love about them all. The Breville Fast Slow Cooker is a two-in-one pressure cooker and slow cooker, so you can choose which function you’d like to use.

Or, you can choose the Crock-Pot Wi-Fi WeMo Smart Slow Cooker. I love this slow cooker because you can get everything ready in the morning and, if you’re not home to flip the switch, just open the WeMo app on your smartphone and turn your slow cooker on. You get remote access to all cooking functions including time, temperature, warm, and off.

breadmaker copy.jpgBreadmaker

I love making my own bread, and although I’ve made it by hand and baked it in my oven before, I also know that the easiest way to having fresh bread on a regular basis is to have a breadmaker around.

My breadmaker is by far one of my favourite appliances, and that’s because it bakes breads, makes dough, and even takes jam making and makes it simple. I use a breadmaker so often when the kids are back in school that I bought one small enough to keep on the counter for daily use.

You can find breadmakers of all sizes and types, and the one you pick depends on how much space you have to store it, the types of functions you want it to have, and how big you’d like your bread loaves to be. I choose the Cuisinart Bread Maker because it’s sleek, compact, and has a ton of great options including a gluten-free button, and think the Easy Bread Capsule Breadmaker from Sunbeam is one of the coolest breadmakers I’ve ever seen.

To use the Easy Bread Capsule Breadmaker you just let the breadmaker know what you want to bake, hit the program, and it will tell you what to add. Once it’s done kneading, rising, and baking, it slides out in a full loaf.

Indoor grillt-fal-grill.jpg

I’m a big fan of BBQing, and for some reason I enjoy grilled meat and vegetables much more in the fall than in the summer. But standing outside by the BBQ isn’t fun when it gets chilly outside, and that’s why my indoor grill is one of my favourite back to school appliances.

When the temperatures start to dip, I don’t have to give up grilled chicken or vegetables, and grills are also the best way to cook hot dogs, Panini’s or grilled cheese, and even grilled fruit.

There are so many great grills on Bestbuy.ca it’s hard to pick just one, but the Cuisinart Griddle Deluxe has received great reviews from Best Buy customers and has some amazing grilling options. You can grill up everything from pancakes to Panini’s or just use it to have a quick toasted grill cheese sandwich. It has six different cooking programs from full grill to top melt.

I recently tested out the T-fal OptiGrill Non-stick grill and I was so impressed. All you have to do to use it is choose a pre-set grill button for everything from steak to sandwiches or hot dogs and the grill does the rest for you. It heats up, you put your food on, and once it’s pre-heated the sensor takes over. It will cook your food to perfection and then turn itself off when it’s done, so you don’t even have to hover over it and dinner is served.

FoodSaver.jpgVacuum sealer

In the fall I tend to start stockpiling fruit, because I know the winter months tend to be lean where fresh fruit is concerned. I like to pick like crazy during the weeks leading up to back to school and freeze the fruit for quick lunchtime snacks for the kids, and that’s where my vacuum sealer comes in.

I love having a vacuum sealer around because you can load up on different cuts of meat, sliced vegetables, and fruit and preserve them for as long as possible by sealing them right up in their own container or baggie. I’ve used the FoodSaver Vacuum sealer for over 5 years and it make it so simple to seal everything I bring home. It’s hands free too, so all you have to do is push a button and it vacuums, seals, and shuts off automatically.

My favourite back to school appliances are those that I pull out every single day, and now that fall is almost here I’m excited to get back into trying new recipes with them. Now that I’ve shared my favourites, I’d love to hear yours. You can share in the comments or @ me on Twitter.