There never seems to be enough storage space in our kitchens, no matter how carefully we design the space to maximize storage options. Sometimes in the planning process we forget about the unused areas. Do you see any unused areas in your kitchen? We bet you do.
When planning your kitchen remodel one of the decisions you will have to make are light or dark cabinets. The decision of light or dark can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. Before making that final decision, you should weigh the pros and cons of each finish. The color you choose should represent the overall look and feel you want for your kitchen. Continue reading
Cooking is one of the most rewarding hobbies you can share with family and friends, and cookbooks are still one of the best ways you can learn how to cook. This list of essential cookbooks are either should be classics or are classics that every cook should have to build their foundation of skills. There is sure to be a book on this list that will appeal to you, no matter what your culinary preferences. Continue reading
Alright, boys, we know you don’t want to hear it, but a refrigerator full of ketchup packets and beer is not the refrigerator of an adult. We know that cooking probably takes more time and energy than you want to expend, but wouldn’t you want to learn if there were more guy inspired products?
We found a great list of items to help you build the perfect kitchen. Take a look!
Let’s start with something that can be loads of fun if you let it, the food processor. Now this might not look like anything more than a food destroyer, but in reality, this little invention can save you loads of time and even money. Use it to chop your vegetables, grind nuts, and even make potato puree.
- Blenders should be the staple of every kitchen (think margarita). Use it to make smoothies after your workout.
Don’t look at us funny, but we strongly suggest investing in an apron. Aprons will keep your clothes from getting those unwanted and sometimes unremovable grease stains. With so many apron options, we are sure you can find one that will fit your personality.
Kitchen towels and oven mitts are a necessity. They each serve a purpose; one is for cleaning, the other is for keeping you out of the hospital with second degree burns on your hands. We are sure you can figure out which one is which.
A 16-quart stockpot is great for corn on the cob to chili. If you are into stews, this is the pot for you.
Cast iron skillets are another kitchen staple that will allow you to cook anything from eggs to lasagnas. Use it on the stovetop or in the oven.
Please, we beg you; have at least one good knife in your kitchen. A quality knife is well worth the investment and will last you a lifetime.
If you decide to delve into the world of knives even further, a serrated knife will be useful for slicing breads or chopping cabbage. Think of it as a mini saw for your harder food items.
Class up your store bought salt and pepper shakers with a matching set of salt and pepper grinders.
How many times have you drained pasta by placing the pot against the sink? A colander is a great investment for draining your pasta and washing your produce. Think of it as a two-for-one deal.
If you decide to get ambitious and learn how to bake, a set of rubber spatulas is the perfect kitchen accessory. Use them to get the last bit of batter or sauce out of a container.
Now that you have learned how to cook, you may want to invest in a tasting spoon. We think you can figure out the use of it by the name alone.
Basting brushes are great for indoor and outdoor cooking and come in a range of sizes. Use them to baste meat or vegetables to make the most of your marinade.
Don’t forget the spices. Start simple; sea salt, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, bay leaves, cloves, rosemary, thyme, and sage. You food will be more flavorful, and your recipe repertoire will increase.
You have just created the kitchen of your dreams. Your new cabinets, hardware, and countertops are ready, but you still have to determine what new appliances you need. With so many choices available it is hard to decide which ones will work the best for you. Northeast Dream Kitchen’s staff can help you with that! But, to get you started we have a created a brief guide.
Start with one of the largest appliances in your room, the refrigerator. Look for space saving features like movable shelving and door compartments. If your budget is tight, the freezer on top model is for you. If you have a small space, side-by-side refrigerators work the best, and for the most space, the French-door refrigerator will work. Remember to check the energy saving guides, the more energy saving stars the appliance has, the more savings you will have on your energy bills.
Refrigerators typically stick out from the counter about six to seven inches. You can have a custom, built-in unit, but it is a more costly option.
Cooktops and ovens are the next big appliance for your new kitchen. If you purchase a cooktop and oven separately, you can use the pieces anywhere. Traditional cooktops of either gas or electric are more common, but you can also choose magnetic induction, radiant, halogen or glass-ceramic surfaces. Although these are easier to clean, you may not always be able to detect whether or not the surface is still hot. If you want the range to be the focal point of your new room, a free-standing oven is best.
Other things to remember, electric wall ovens have a larger capacity than gas ovens and the temperature in an electric oven is more accurate. When choosing a gas cooktop, look for products that have cast iron burners. These will last longer than their ceramic counterpart.
Most homes today have dishwashers and finding the right one is simple. Check the number of spray levels and spray directions the appliance has. The more of each, the cleaner your dishes! Also, check for the cycle variations; light cycle for your fine glassware and dinnerware, heavy cycle for pots and pans, and a rinse and hold are important features to have. If you are looking for ease of cleaning, find a dishwasher with touch controls, and if the kitchen and family room are together, consider getting a dishwasher that has a sound reduction package.
We don’t always think about the microwave, but this appliance has become just as important as the kitchen sink. There are a few options. If you have one to two feet of extra space, a countertop version will work for you. If space is a hot commodity in your kitchen think about getting an above range microwave, but be aware, the vent on these may not be as strong as a traditional range hood.
Kitchen appliances don’t make a kitchen, but appliances that are functional and appealing help make the kitchen a better place to work in. Take the time to do your research, ask questions, and you will find the appliances that are right for you.
No more florescent lighting! It sounds almost like a mantra for kitchens everywhere and it should be. With the sea of lighting options available, the old stand-by of florescent bulbs is a thing of the past. When thinking of lighting for your new kitchen from Northeast Dream Kitchens, think layers. Layers of lighting help make the kitchen more inviting and also serve the purpose of highlighting the areas where the lighting is being used.
The first option in lighting layers is task oriented. When you are working you need plenty of light to see recipes, judge the freshness of the food you are using, and also review the progress of the food as it is cooking. Task lighting is important because it illuminates your work spaces such as counter tops or inside a pantry closet, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Consider using mounted fixtures that shine directly into your workspace. If mounted lighting isn’t an option, track lighting may be. You can adjust the lights to shine where you want, highlighting the best parts of your kitchen.
Accent lighting is the second layer in your lighting scheme. Accent lighting highlights and adds depth and dimension to your kitchen. Accent lighting may come in the form of under cabinet lighting, toe kick lighting, and over cabinet lighting. When adding accent lighting think of what areas you would like to have highlighted. If you have a beautiful new backsplash, consider under cabinet lighting in the form of LED strips. Toe kick lighting is another option where LED strips may be used.
Kitchen eye-candy lighting is the third layer in your kitchen lighting plan. These are lights that are practical, add ambiance, and accents the room. There are so many options of decorative lighting available now it may take you a while to choose.
Ambient lighting is the final piece to your lighting layering puzzle. These lights are used in eating areas and can be in the form of chandeliers, pendants, or even wall sconces. They can be a visual separation of the kitchen and dining areas.
Sunlight is always the ultimate lighting source and can be the tip top of your lighting layering, but if your kitchen doesn’t get a huge amount of sun consider investing in skylights or solar tubes.
No singular layer of light can stand by itself, but together with the other layers will make your kitchen an inviting space you may never want to leave. So think outside the traditional lighting norms and make your kitchen lighting pop.
A clean kitchen is important to us all, but going beyond the surface clean can help preserve your family’s health and the look of your kitchen. We all know the basics, but do you know the deep-down dirty secrets? We bet you don’t!
Don’t do everything all at once. Your time is precious so make a plan and stick to it. Try to accomplish simple things at night before you go to bed, like cleaning up the dinner dishes (don’t wait until they are piled so high you can see over them). Then make a schedule. Wednesdays are for cleaning the stove; Sundays are for cleaning out the refrigerator. These simple things will make your deep-down cleaning so much easier.
Use your dishwasher for more than just dishes. Anything that is dishwasher safe can be cleaning in the dishwasher, so use it to your advantage. Take apart your electric can opener and use the dishwasher to clean the non-electric parts. If your refrigerator needs a proper cleaning, don’t scrub the small shelves and bins, let the dishwasher do it for you (just be sure to put the plastic items on the top shelf). Drip pans, burner covers, you name it! An added benefit, dishwashers use less water than hand washing, so you could potentially save on your water bill too.
Think higher, or at least stand on something to get a different perspective. Look around while standing on a stool; you may see things you missed at eye level. Also, be sure to get down and dirty. Take a look from a lower perspective too. (You would be amazed at what gets under your cabinets!).
Start at the top. Dust and degrease the top of the cabinets, wash cabinet doors, wipe cabinet interiors, and then move to the countertops, the lower cabinets and finally the floor.
Have you ever thought about how dirty the top of your refrigerator gets? Cover it with plastic wrap and when it gets dirty just peel it away and start all over. So much easier, don’t you think?
Anything can become a cleaning tool; you just have to look at it differently. Cotton swabs, chopsticks, even pencils can be used (if wrapped) to clean the small spaces your traditional tools won’t reach.
If you have a small kitchen, don’t fret, just take the larger items outside or wash them in the tub. You have more room and less mess!
Our last piece of advice: if you spill something clean it immediately. Don’t wait until you are done prepping or cooking. This way you spill doesn’t bake on, crust on, or mold to the surface where it landed.
Follow these few steps and your new kitchen from Northeast Dream Kitchens will be the talk of the neighborhood.
You have decided to have a dinner party, great! Having guest over can be stressful, but never fear Northeast Dream Kitchens is here to help you plan the perfect party with very little stress. The main ingredient? Pre-planning and preparation.
There are a few do’s and don’ts when planning for a dinner party, and the first one is create lists. Lists may seem a bit over the top, but you will thank us in the end. Have a shopping list, a guest list, an ingredient list, and a to do list for the day of and that evening. Each of these lists has a particular purpose and will keep you sane enough to enjoy the evening.
Start with the guest list. How many people you invite will determine how many people you can spend time with. Invite a reasonable amount of people and try to ask people who know each other. If you invite all strangers (to everyone but you), there will be awkward pauses and less of a chance of your guests enjoying themselves.
After you find out, who is attending the dinner you can begin to plan the meal. Find out from your guests if there are any dietary restrictions or food preferences. Nothing is worse than finding out after you have prepared everything that one of your guests is allergic to parsley. If they have extreme restrictions, ask them to bring something you can prepare alongside the main meal.
Go with what you know. If you have never made sushi, don’t pick your dinner party to do it. Your guests are there to spend time with you, not with your fabulous, or not so fabulous meal. Make sure you have all of the ingredients in advance. Take an inventory of your pantry and if you are missing or low on anything for the meal add it to your shopping list.
If you want simple food, dress it up. Presentation can make all the difference. Add fruit to simple squares of yellow cake, add artisan bread croutons to soup, a bit of whimsy will make it fun and inviting.
Use a timer to keep you on track and plan to be finished with everything an hour before your guests arrives. This will give you an opportunity to get dressed, relax, and get ready to invite your friends into your home. No one likes a late hostess.
To help you stay on-time minimize distractions. Ask children to limit the number of visits to the kitchen, if they aren’t attending the dinner, have their meals prepared ahead of time. Put pets away, clean out the fridge before the party to ensure adequate space for any leftovers, have your over pre-prepped with the racks in their correct positions prior to cooking.
When preparing the meal try to have as much done as possible prior to assembly. Chop vegetables and fruits, practice “mise en place” and have everything staged ahead of time.
Keep your table-scape simple.
Make a playlist and keep the music at a reasonable level.
Use cloth napkins for everything except cocktails.
And, buy extra ice.
Now it’s time to enjoy the party and relax, spend time with your guests, and give them a night to remember.
Remember, Northeast Dream Kitchens is here to help you find the right kitchen design for you. Stop by our showroom to find out more.
Upgrading your kitchen can be fun and exciting, but have you ever noticed how much stuff you find that you forgot you even had? Instead of throwing these things away why not upcycle them and add a little whimsy to your new kitchen. Create fun talking pieces from all that old “junk”.
If you aren’t ready to go all out with the upcycling process, start with something simple like lighting. Use materials that wouldn’t necessarily be considered for lighting. Old colanders can be hung on the wall and lit from behind, or they can be used as pendant lamps over a bar. Other great pendant light options are stoneware mixing bowls, old wisks, large mugs, old wine bottles, even tin cans; just suspend them from the ceiling with a simple exposed light bulb. Do you ever end up with 20 forks and only two spoons? Try creating a flatware chandelier with all the mismatched pieces.
Speaking of flatware, why not use it to add some style to your new kitchen. Use old spoons to create door and drawer handles. Bend forks to create wall hooks or curtain tie-backs. And, if you are feeling creative, use old forks and knives to create napkin rings.
Storage is always an issue in any kitchen, and we sometimes forget there are simple solutions to make our lives easier. If you have space in your new kitchen, instead of building a brand new island, create one out of old pieces of furniture. Vintage chests of drawers can be placed back-to-back with a piece of butcher block on top to create small item storage solutions and a great place to prep. Old file cabinets painted a bright color are also a great island in the making. Again, just add some butcher block and presto! A new kitchen island with plenty of storage.
If you have a junk drawer, try using old muffin tins to collect the tiny things or have your children use them to sort coins when you have them. Adhere old cheese graters to the wall upside down and use them to store pens and pencils.
Tin cans are another great storage saver. You can paint them or leave the labels on depending on how adventurous you would like to be. Store your cooking utensils, flatware, candles, or herbs.
Use old rolling pins as wall racks and wooden spoons as towel racks. Cake pans can become picture holders or wall clocks.
Just about anything in your kitchen can be repurposed into something, so take another look at that pile of junk. Northeast Dream Kitchens is here to help you find the right style for your kitchen makeover. With our help and your creativity, you can have the kitchen of your dreams.
Going Green, eco-friendly, reduced carbon footprint, how many times have you heard these phrases? Do you ever think about applying any of these phrases to your kitchen design? Consider this, a kitchen made of sustainable products not only reduces your carbon footprint, but creates a healthy space for your family too.
Green kitchens include use of sustainable products, environmentally friendly cleaners, and recycling centers to help reduce the amount of waste your family produces. Green kitchens do have to have a complete overhaul, but you can do some small things to make a large impact.
Start with recycling. If you have space in your kitchen, reuse one of the cabinet areas for a recycling center. Use deep sliding drawers to hold recycling bins for glass, plastic, and paper, the sliding door will allow you to keep the recyclables hidden from the guests and readily available to you.
How many paper towels do you use in a week? Do you grab an enormous handful every time you wipe the counter? Or, do you use paper towels to dry your hands? Consider using cloth towels instead. If you are worried about using cloth towels to clean up messes, have some rags on hand. You can clean up the mess and toss them in the laundry.
You have that beautiful faucet, but does it have a water filter on it? In landfills around the U.S., there are enough plastic water bottles to circle the earth over nine times. Using a water filter will help reduce the amount of bottles in landfills and will also help your water taste better.
Switch to cleaners that are non-toxic. Most of us use cleaning chemicals on a regular basis without thinking about what they are doing to your family. By turning to earth friendly and family friendly cleaning products, you are doing good double time. One suggestion if you aren’t sure where to start? White vinegar is one of the best green cleaning products you can use. It disinfects, cleans, polishes, and reduces odors.
Have you ever thought about composting? Composting is a gardener’s best friend and reduces the amount of food waste you are putting in the garbage bin. Composting bins come in all sizes, from apartment versions to large ones. Find one that fits within your kitchen scheme.
Do you ever look at those organizational magazines and see all of the food storage ideas? One great way to improve the environmental friendliness of your kitchen is to reduce the amount of food product packaging. Buy food staples in bulk and store them in cute reusable containers.
It isn’t difficult to begin changing your kitchen over to an eco-friendly kitchen. Take small steps and do your research, and before you know it you will be on your way to helping the environment. Northeast Dream Kitchens is here to help you create the kitchen of your dreams. Ask us about eco-friendly and sustainable products for your new kitchen.