Ooh, yay, cooking is one of my favorite things in the world. SO here are my recs:
1. Blender – I loved our old Oster. It was wonderful and perfect, and my mom accidentally threw it out when my parents moved & I was storing things during a switch in apartments. I’m not sure I have forgiven her yet, haha, because the Black & Decker we bought in a pinch crapped out after, oh, four margaritas and two protein shakes.
2. Slow cooker – I actually don’t have one because I don’t eat meat and have never had a need for a SC.
3. Coffee maker (+ espresso?) – We have a Cuisinart coffee maker that is programmable, has a wonderful filter, and just makes nice, fresh coffee. I also really recommend getting a grinder or French press and using whole beans, as it makes for a much richer, fresher taste.
4. Hand mixer – I’m a stand mixer girl all the way, just because I like to make fresh whipped cream and things that would make my hand cramp up otherwise. I have the Kitchen Aid Artisan and am in love. If it gave me a ring, I might marry it.
5. Food processors – Cuisinart here, too. They’re by far the best bang for your buck. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – go for the bigger model. We are college students on a budget, so we bought the 7 cup and I rue the day. Maybe a bit dramatic, but I have almost killed it with a French tart shell crust and Julia’s Boca Negra Cake. Whoops.
6. Toaster ovens – Don’t have one. City counter space just doesn’t allow for such luxuries. We already have to lift the super heavy stand mixer and the not-so-heavy food processor up from the cabinet every time we want to use them.
7. Cutlery – Yes, this is an opinion matter, but also one where you need to do your homework. If you don’t get a set with a high carbon density, your knives won’t be any good! We bought a set of Paula Deen knives (once again, on a budget) but there are plenty of good knives out there. Remember to sharpen often and never ever stick them in the dishwasher.
8. Pots & pans – All Clad is truly the ideal here. But once again, poor college students can’t afford All Clad (it’s going on the registry, believe you me) so Cuisinart’s Chef’s Classics are the next best thing. Once again, Cuisinart is great for quality on a budget.
And my own personal note:
if you’re registering for any bakeware (or just replacing it) ditch the nonstick! You’ll thank me later. 🙂