I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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Cut Meal Preparation Time with These Adorable and Inexpensive Kitchen Gadgets


It’s amazing how motivated you become to cook when someone continues to sing your praises long after the meal is done. It makes my husband so happy to return after a long day and sit at our dinner table for a home cooked meal. Last week’s meatloaf was such a hit, he ‘extended my marriage contract for an additional 7 years complete with signing bonus.’  That’s coach-speak for You did an amazing job. I have to admit, I enjoy the fruits of my labor and being showered with his praises.   The part I like the least about cooking is the time spent in the kitchen preparing the meal especially since I’m no longer allowed a glass of wine.  I’m grateful for kitchen tools that cut my prep time, save money, or allow me to make the experience more fun. Check out these 10 colorful kitchen helpers under $20. I swear once your try them, you’ll wonder why you ever cooked without them.
1.| The task of cooking for a group of picky eaters can often times discourage you from trying a new recipe. There’s nothing more frustrating that cooking a labor intensive dish that the kids don’t like. Instead of being sentenced to eating lasagne everyday for a full week, consider these smaller, happy casserole dishes. They easily go from the oven to the table to the dishwasher in perfect sequence. –$15 on sale now for $10
2.| If you love cooking with garlic but hate wearing the scent on your hands long after everyone has enjoyed the meal, then try this this adorable little garlic peeler. I wore garlic as a perfume until I received it in a swag bag earlier this year. It’s easy to clean and I use it almost everyday. – (on sale now) $3.99 – $7.95
3.| Though dry pasta is pretty cheap, I hate throwing away excess noodles at the end of the meal. This spaghetti measure gets the portions right every time. – $7.00
4.| Did you see the news report where four brands were accused of watering down their lemon juice? I got even and decided to purchase a citrus juicer instead of continuing to buy the stuff in a bottle. It’s an extra step in the meal prep process, but its also a way to get the kids involved. – $13.95
5.| Raise your hand if you are guilty of taking a food storage dish and popping it into the microwave? We’ve been on a mission to use the microwave less these days and opt for the oven when reheating food. These glass storage containers are tempered which means they can be used in extreme temperatures, in the freezer or oven, and clean up effortlessly in the dishwasher. – $18.00
6.| I was content with using a couple of kitchen towels to remove hot dishes from the oven until I realized I had a hot plate and a flaming towel in my hands. Talk about a close call, I damn near burned my kitchen down. Oven mitts have been the way to go ever since. I know it’s not rocket science people, but we sometimes need to be reminded about kitchen safety. – $9.95
7.| It takes only one time to spill precious hand-squeeze citrus juice all over the counter before you recognize the value of a funnel. This model performs 3 functions and works just as hard in the kitchen as you do. It boasts a great space-saving design, too! – $9.95
8.|Ok, so this juilenne peeler is not a necessity, but it takes your food presentation to the next level.  I also found that the kids will eat more fresh veggies when the food resembles fun. – $20
9.| Whether I’m whipping up a breakfast smoothie for my hubby or cheffing up a summer fruit salad, this strawberry huller and knife preserves more of the precious fruit and makes less waste. –$11.95
10.| Gee, is there anything worse than a dull knife? This diamond-strong knife sharpener made it easy for me to sharpen every knife in the drawer. Chop, slice, sliver!! – $15.95

All the above tools have been sourced at Sur la Table; however, most of these items can be found at your local TJMaxx, HomeGoods and Target, so look there first! These are some of my favorites, what would you add to the list?

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Hi, I'm Erika.
Your Design + Happy Healthy Home Advocate.

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

Learn more