Five Easy Kitchen Upgrades

easy kitchen upgrades | almost getting it together

Today I was reflecting on the day all of my things arrived in San Francisco. I was putting away things and remembering when I walked in my apartment and how much stuff I have accumulated in three months.

The first thing I unpacked was my kitchen. As my friends who were at my apartment prior to December when I finally had a dresser delivered can attest to, I lived out of boxes of clothes in the middle of the room for about a month. I had no interest in seeing any of my belongings other than my Vitamix and food processor. A girl’s gotta eat things that were chopped up by blades, you know?

easy kitchen upgrades | almost getting it together

Kitchen is love.

When I went on my apartment-hunting trip in SF, I made a list (in my head, not on paper, which I should have done) of things I wanted. The top three were nice kitchen, parking and an in-unit washer and dryer. Despite paying over the GDP of Spain in rent annually, I only have one of those things. Oh, how naive I was. Spoiler alert: it’s the kitchen.

Even if you don’t have a nice kitchen, there are some things you can buy that elevate your kitchen – and make your life a lot easier when you’re cooking. If one of your New Year’s Resolutions (or goals, as the buzz word seems to be this year), is to cook more, you should invest in these not-so-spendy five easy kitchen upgrades. This also accidentally turned into a little mini kitchen tour.

easy kitchen upgrades | almost getting it together

Coffee tastes way better from a French Press.

  • French Press
    I’m kind of a coffee snob. I drink my coffee black so I don’t have anything to mask terrible coffee with, i.e. cream and sugar. My grandmother and mother would flirt with the French Press from time to time when I was growing up. I actually inherited my grandmother’s (aka I asked her for it because she hadn’t used it for years and gave it to me) because I was over making coffee in my dad’s Keurig. For the amount I enjoy drinking in the morning, the Keurig doesn’t cut it.
easy kitchen upgrades cookbooks | almost getting it together

Shortly after this photo was taken, a candle fell off the counter and I thought it was an earthquake.

  • Cookbooks
    I rarely use cookbooks despite owning several. I’m pretty terrible at following recipes… I just like them for inspiration. But if you aren’t inclined to just wing it in the kitchen, cookbooks are nice to have. Plus they look nice in the kitchen and you can find out a lot about a person from the cookbooks they have on their counter. Mine say I used to be fat with a Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, am obsessed with Anthony Bourdain with the Les Halles Cookbook and that I’m a complete freak because I have Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good. (I also own digital copies of a few like Thug Kitchen, The Oh She Glows Cookbook and Davida’s Healthy Breakfast E-Cookbook.
easy kitchen upgrades knife block | almost getting it together

Whoops, a couple knives were in the dishwasher. #lifestylebloggerfail

  • Knife Block Set
    In college I actually asked for a knife set for Christmas. My roommates thought I was crazy because how could one person (well, four people) need so many fancy knives? Trust me. People are still shocked to come over and see a knife block set. It makes life so much easier and it makes you look fancy.
easy kitchen upgrades glass canisters | almost getting it together

Gluten free flour, quinoa, rolled oats and chia seeds within easy reach.

  • Glass Canisters
    Glass canisters don’t only upgrade how adult your kitchen looks but upgrades the ease in which you can cook things. For example, making overnight oats is a breeze when you can just dip your tablespoon in the chia seeds and scoop out some oats into the jar rather than fighting with the bags they come in.
easy kitchen upgrades | almost getting it together

My everyday mantra thanks to EmTodd. Also a sad bottle of wine that has to wait a few more weeks to be drank.

  • Art
    Art is kind of unexpected in some kitchens I think but it really elevates the space. I have a great print Emily gave me for my birthday last year that I finally framed and have in my kitchen. Angela also got me a super cool beet print that I need to frame and hang. I have a lot of hanging of art I need to do, actually, but also… earthquakes.

Bonus:

easy kitchen upgrades | almost getting it together

Stand Mixer that does not get enough love.

  • Stand Mixer
    Okay, no part of this is easy but it is basically every girl’s dream to have one of these in her kitchen, even if she hasn’t used it in two years… not that I am speaking from experience, or anything. BUT it does make life easier if you’re into baking/cooking. Hand mixers are the worst.

Chat with me:
What three things would you need to have in your apartment/house? What are other easy kitchen upgrades that I am forgetting about? Do you have any of these easy kitchen upgrades?

58 comments on “Five Easy Kitchen Upgrades

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on January 20, 2015 7:21 am

I just need a titch more space (mostly counter space). But we are pretty lucky. This kitchen has 3x the counter space of our previous kitchen. I wish I didn’t have so many random things in mine though. And one day I would like to have my stand mixer on the counter, not on top of the fridge, but such is life…

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:29 am

Mine used to be downstairs and I had to lug it up whenever I used it… AND IT’S HEAVY!

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Linda @ The Fitty on January 20, 2015 7:57 am

If you’re a fan of coffee, have you tried the tassimo machine? I gear it’s really good.

My three essentials are art, glass jars, and nice plates!

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:29 am

I haven’t tried it but I’m interested in seeing how it is now!

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Erin @ The Almond Eater on January 20, 2015 8:18 am

I really want to start using glass canisters to store certain foods! I saw it on Pinterest (duh) but I just haven’t gotten around to it. But it makes things look nice and keeps you more organized. Yuvvvvvv.

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:29 am

Can you just do all my pinning for me haha?

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lindsay on January 20, 2015 8:22 am

now I just need a new stand mixer. Ahhh… I so covet! LOL!

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:28 am

I feel like with all the bread you make you would use it way more than me!

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl on January 20, 2015 9:44 am

I NEED a new knife block set. And I need to actually splurge and get a nice one!

My kitchen must-have is my food processor!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:28 am

Yes, love my food processor too!

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Shannon on January 20, 2015 10:04 am

Great suggestions! My kitchen is in dire need of some upgrades…and I’m thinking the first needs to be a coffee press! Oh and I definitely need a knife block set!

Shannon
Clothes & Quotes
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:28 am

Yes, the coffee press is life changing. Or at least breakfast.

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Whitney Carney on January 20, 2015 10:05 am

How weird is it that it is also my dream to one day own a stand mixer. They are just so pretty. I would probably use it 5 times a year, maybe. I agree I love a little artwork in the kitchen! I think I need to invest in some glass canisters. I hate fooling with the plastic bags that oats/chia seeds/etc. come in. Where did you get them?!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:27 am

I got them from Ikea (as I told you via text haha). I would check Bed Bath & Beyond or Target, too! Or HomeGoods/TJ Maxx!

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Pam on January 20, 2015 10:08 am

I wish I had enough counter space to put my stand mixer on there. Great ideas, thank you for sharing.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:27 am

I’m totally thankful for the kitchen space I have!

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Laurie on January 20, 2015 10:12 am

I’m glad you highlighted the French press. I love mine. I even take it with me when we go camping for great coffee in the mountains!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:26 am

That idea makes me want to go camping haha

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Nutrition a la Natalie on January 20, 2015 10:45 am

I 100% agree that a good knife block is essential. I really WANT to use a French press, but I know it would take my too much time.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:26 am

It’s actually probably quicker than a normal coffee maker. Just turn on hot water in the kettle as soon as you wake up then it sits for 3-4 minutes once it’s hot in the french press then voila! coffee.

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jess meddows on January 20, 2015 10:59 am

So cool to see part of your new studio apartment, Cassie! And nice to see you appreciate a good coffee, too. I brought my (Australian) mother and sister to America on a trip to visit me last year and they were horrified at drip coffee – pretty much unheard of in Australia!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:26 am

Drip is sooooo terrible I can’t even.

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Chris on January 20, 2015 11:19 am

I totally agree with you on the knife set. Quality knives, and a good amount of them, makes a ton of difference in time and presentation of food. I’ve never used a French press for coffee, but I am interested in trying. One super easy item to add is a bowl for fruit and vegetables. Not only does it add color to the kitchen, it reminds you to eat food that’s good for you and not reach in the pantry for that bag of chips.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:25 am

That is suchhhh a good idea. My bananas and avocados are just on the counter. Need to get a bowl ASAP!

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Gina on January 20, 2015 11:24 am

This is a wonderful kitchen! I love how you added cookbooks! I love the way it looks :) And that knife block looks like such a good thing to ask for Christmas! We are needing a better knife block (and knives) in our apartment. I can’t wait to decorate my own kitchen like this in the future soon! :)
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:25 am

The knives make life way easier!!

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Ariana on January 20, 2015 11:51 am

You have such a cute kitchen!! I am totally with you on the glass cannisters. A few of my apartment must-haves are a space to work (even if it’s just a tiny little corner somewhere), a few pieces of exercise equipment, and plants!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:24 am

One of my college kitchens had like one counter. It was awful.

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Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on January 20, 2015 12:02 pm

Cute kitchen! Yours is definitely bigger than mine! Believe it or not, we have an in-unit washer and dryer, but it’s only 3/4 size, so you have to do a lot of loads.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:24 am

But you’re about to get more space sooooon!!

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Jamie King on January 20, 2015 1:13 pm

OMG, a french press is a MUST – I also drink coffee black and don’t mess with anything trying to mask terrible coffee. I’m also obsessed with my ColdBruer. I keep a steady supply of cold brew coffee in my fridge and it’s great for smoothies and on the go mornings (most mornings!).

I love the art in your kitchen. I’m terrible at decorating…wanna come over and do it for me ? ;)

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:24 am

I have to look into this ColdBruer!

I’m not great at decorating haha… the rest of my place is bare of art right now!

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Shashi at Runninsrilankan on January 20, 2015 1:17 pm

A good knife set is so under-rated! And (I feel) so is a good food processor or a blender! I have been using an older model cheapo one and I NEED to upgrade – but I have been dragging my feet! All those lovely bites out there – my blender won’t grind up dates and nuts to a proper consistency to make them bites!

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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:23 am

Food processor is KEY. I’m worried mine will die someday!

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on January 20, 2015 1:21 pm

The only kitchen appliance I don’t have now is a stand mixer….must get!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:23 am

I would say if you have a good blender you don’t need one ;)

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Kay @ Kay Bueno on January 20, 2015 1:31 pm

Obviously I love your kitchen since I eat there every time I’m over. :)

Not kitchen related, but I require a ton of pillows, a kettle for tea (props for electric because it doesn’t make my whole house 175 degrees), and about 20 blankets. Can you tell I go for comfort?
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:23 am

Electric tea kettle is so clutch! And so much faster!

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Earl-Leigh on January 20, 2015 1:48 pm

I need a French press! My coffeemaker takes up way too much space on my counter. I really want a juicer!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:22 am

I have a juicer I don’t use often enough :(

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Pragati // Simple Medicine on January 20, 2015 2:27 pm

French Press is a MUST, a good cutting board, tea kettle (useful for boiling water for the French Press) and a spoon dish/holder so that I can rest my cooking spoon on something other than the counter.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:22 am

OH Spoon holder is a great call!

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Hilary on January 20, 2015 4:55 pm

I love the glass containers! I love the look and convenience and unlike my parents you can actually see inside of them instead of not knowing what is inside the freaking thing! I plan on investing in some of these whenever I move out haha
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:22 am

I didn’t realize how much easier they made my life!

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Farrah on January 20, 2015 7:42 pm

I want a ginormously awesome kitchen someday (with lots of counter space)! <3 While I usually wing it in the kitchen, I've kinda been getting into cookbooks lately just because that food photography is awesome for inspiration. <3

I love my crockpot, my blender, and what I like to refer to as my first-world rice cooker! (I use it to make rice/porridge/soup/one-pot meals/quinoa/steam vegetables/bake cakes.) :D

Someday, when I'm finally done moving around, I'd like a food processor too. :]
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:21 am

I totally want to hear more about this first-world rice cooker!

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Mar @ Mar on the Run on January 20, 2015 9:14 pm

lovely photos our kitchens look exactly the same only my fridge/sink are switched! :) you just reminded me that I need new knives, my set is so old! My George Foreman Grill, Coffeemaker and spice rack are essential!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:20 am

I love that your kitchen in Pitt looks like mine in SF!

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Jessie on January 21, 2015 12:16 am

Our kitchen is always the first room to get unpacked. I could honestly never live without my blender, a nice set of bowls, good pots & like you said, knife set.
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:19 am

Not having a blender was the worst when I was home for Christmas!

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Kristen on January 21, 2015 12:16 am

Haha I hear you on the earthquake stuff! We had 2 the first week I moved to Alaska and I swear we have one once a month. I was going to hang a picture over our bed until I remembered that most of our bigger earthquakes have come in the middle of the night and I don’t need to die because I wanted art in my bedroom :) Good luck with decorating!
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:19 am

That is so scary!! What do you do when you have one??

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Jo @ Living Mint Green on January 21, 2015 12:23 pm

Hahaha, when I first moved to the Rockies, I was about to live in a hotel for a month and the only things I packed were clothes & my Blendtec.
I hear ya on the cookbook situation. I love ’em, but I rarely use them. I like winging it in the kitchen. I also have a stand mixer but never use it. It was one of those things I desperately wanted & I’ve used it maybe 10 times?
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Cassie on January 25, 2015 2:09 am

I loveeee that you packed your BlendTec. I thought about packing mine but needed the room for clothes haha.

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jlb on March 24, 2016 9:09 pm

The #1 upgrade in my opinion is to get a quality chef’s knife. You don’t need a whole stack of knives, just one good one.

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JB on March 28, 2016 3:09 pm

A nice blender, electric kettle and French press are the three things I can’t do without!

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Adam Larson on March 29, 2016 2:51 am

As a barista I too recommend a French press for coffee. Just be sure to have a freshly grind beans for a deep dark full flavored coffee.

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Karla on May 24, 2016 2:00 pm

You have a cute kitchen, Cassie! You can upgrade with an electric kettle for boiling water fast for French Press. lol

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