I use these gadgets, toys, and tools every day, and I am grateful to them every day for making my life easier.

1. Digital Meat Thermometer

This little baby gets more work than any other gadget in the kitchen. I use it daily for making steak, burgers, turkey, etc., of course, but I also use it for tea to signal when the water has reached the right temp for the type of tea. It has a programmable alarm, which I set for when I need to get up to check it. It’s worked flawlessly so far.

2. Vacuum Sealer

I am now on vacuum sealer #3 in 4 years. This one, by Rival, has lasted the longest, but it’s no longer available. Once it gives up the ghost, I will absolutely spend another $115-150 for a new one and I will decide whenever that day arrives whether to go back to FoodSaver, Rival, or something else. I love having a vacuum sealer because it really does keep food fresher for longer. It also prevents freezer burn, so I am able to buy and store more food than I would have otherwise. I freeze serving size portions of meats in bags I cut to size knowing that when I defrost and cook them, the meat will be perfect. It also reseals other plastic bags with the heat element, which seems to prevent freezer burn in the broccoli even if I don’t repackage it. There is nothing more disgusting to me than broccoli that has an essence of freezer about it, so for me, this is essential.

3. Digital Scale

It’s not a great digital scale: it’s an old postage scale from stamps.com. Still, my affection for it knows no bounds. It helps me prepare and calculate everything with a level of precision that thrills my not-so-inner geek. When it dies, I will be replacing it with a fancy one, but I love this thing.

4. Hand Blender

It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, it has lots of fabulous attachments. I use it at least once a day. On the weekends, it gets 2 or 3 daily uses for soup-making and quiche-making.

5. Electric Kettle

I never believed I needed an electric kettle because I have a great gas range and a copper-bottomed kettle. Then I decided it would speed up the chilled tea preparation if I had one, so I read all the reviews and bought this one. I loved it so much, I bought one for my mother 2 days later, but I bought her the mini, which was a mistake. It’s too small and hard to use compared to the original.

6. Wustof Knives
I have a classic Wustof 8 inch chef knife that gets a fair amount of work, but my favorite knife is so beloved I hand-wash and store it in its original packaging in the cabinet rather than in the knife block — the Grand Prix II 7 inch Santoku. It’s a gorgeous, balanced knife that enables me to chop, slice, and dice unlike the clumsy amateur I actually am. Plus, it looks scary. I mean really scary. Like so scary the ex was afraid for me to use it, lest I require immediate ER attention. It’s been 3 years and I am still undamaged.

7. Pur Water Filter

How did I cope without this amazing gadget? Very, very expensively. I am a total water snob, known for years for carrying Evian around. I experimented with other waters — original smartwater, fuji, voss. But my true passion was always evian because I genuinely liked the taste of the minerals. It was a ridiculously expensive habit, and was not cost effective for my regular tea making. On a whim, I bought this thing, having used the old style pur and brita sink and pitcher filters. Those had always been flat tasting and died ugly deaths. This, however, is amazing. It remineralizes the water so it tastes great.

8. Foreman Grill

I have a love/hate relationship with my Foreman, mostly because I am on Foreman #3. This one seems great so far, though it’s only been a few months, and it is used daily. I lived without one for months because I was so angry the old $200 one shorted out after the warranty expired. This one I paid under $40 for and it’s performed just fine. When it dies, I won’t be nearly as annoyed.