Over the years I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my kitchen. For ages it’s been a place of drudgery, a room I’d merely tolerate as I tried in vain to appreciate the art of cooking. After all, what wasn’t to love? There are whole shows dedicated to the joys of cooking…an entire industry predicated upon the love people have for preparing food.

So who was I to hate the kitchen?

Be it my place or not, though, it’s how I felt for years. Which is why I’m positively bumfuzzled by the turn of events in our house these days.

Looking at the bare bones of it, my kitchen could use a remodel. There isn’t enough storage, and the cabinets we have need some sturdying up before they can really excel at their task. Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is capable of achieving its basic function. But in a dream world? Well, let’s just say I’ve been known to swoon at the thought of an island.

Since a hardcore remodel is on the back burner for now, I’ve started my mini renovation with the basics.

**  Baking sheets.

Holy hell, what on earth are they making baking sheets out of these days? The glossy, nonstick surface is like a dream. I actually had breakfast flautas sashay their way across the baking sheet this weekend. (Sort-of-flautas, anyway…I had to fold the tortilla differently to keep the egg mixture from spilling out the ends, but the basic concept is sound. Did you know you can freeze these to have as weekday breakfasts? It’s a game changer for the kids.) I bow down in homage to whatever magic substance is keeping my food from sticking.

**  Pans.

At the risk of seeming teflon obsessed, these pans are the end all/be all of panly manliness. My omelets slide right out. Veggies sauté like a dream. I can even start tofu on the stovetop and finish crisping it in the oven – whaaaaatt? It’s like we live in the 21st century or something.

**  Blender.

Listen, I’ve mentioned that I’m usually behind the curve, right? It’s rare (read: doesn’t happen) to find me leading the trend in any area, let alone one that involves preparing food for consumption. Which is how I’ve come to find Jesus in an immersion blender. Just kidding. I found Jesus long before this blender, but there’s definitely a halo effect when I’m using it that strongly resembles angels singing from on high.

Did you know they make a blender stick that you can put into containers to blend its contents? No need to transfer those potatoes to a wider pot so your handheld blender can work; just drop an immersion blender into that puppy and cream away. And while this may sound a bit Martha Stewart-ish, making homemade applesauce is a real thing. And not that hard when you do it all in one pot. Plus it’s an actual fruit that Bear will eat. There goes that chorus of angels again.

**  Blender, part 2.

Oh my gosh, you guys, did you know these things come with attachments? (You did? Okay, let’s just pretend you didn’t.) Blades that will blend, puree, crush ice…shoot, it’ll probably dance a jig while it works if you ask. There’s even a chopper attachment so you can chop those things that scatter (hello, chopped pecans, you’ve taunted me for the last time) without losing the battle.

**  Instant Pot.

For real, I’m hanging in there with this one. I’m working my way up to big time meals, but I’ve had great success so far with apples (yay, applesauce) and other sides. There was a bit of a glitch while roasting a chicken but I’m chalking that up to user error. Learning curve, thy name is why-the-hell-is-this-chicken-still-raw-in-the-center?