The first week of classes coupled with my monumental migration to Washington, D.C., where I will be residing from September to the end of October, has made these few weeks hectic.
This July, a few friends and I scrambled to find last minute housing as Georgetown University announced its plan to remain closed for the fall semester. After exploring a variety of options, we ended up in Capitol Hill in a small two-bedroom apartment.
Our apartment is a quaint two-story red brick building on the corner of two relatively well-known streets. A nice small park lies a block east. The U.S. Capitol is several blocks northeast. As you walk into the apartment, you’ll find a wooden staircase directly to your left. Descending the stairs, a small kitchen sits directly to your right.
The kitchen space is about as long as a yoga mat. It’s devoid of a countertop for preparing food, and everything is cramped together — the stove just a foot away from the sink. When even one of my roommates and I cook in the kitchen simultaneously, the space is narrow enough that we’re constantly colliding and squeezing past each other.
Without a meal plan this semester, I knew from the get-go that I would be cooking daily and using the kitchen. Having never fully lived on my own, I knew this would be a challenging transition. Although I wholeheartedly enjoy all things culinary, I also noted it would not be feasible to spend hours each day crafting a dish that would be devoured in less than half an hour.
Cooking-wise, this week was relatively uneventful. Somehow, I managed to subsist solely on smoothies, Annie’s boxed bunny mac and cheese, Uber Eats leftovers and Sweetgreen. However, as I have been trying to settle into a steady regimen, I have noted that certain space-efficient appliances are must-haves in a tiny kitchen.
Three appliances I definitely recommend in a compact kitchen are a Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker — for the early morning coffee fix without running to the dining hall —an Instant Pot and my newfound personal favorite, a Magic Bullet. With the help of my Magic Bullet, I am hoping to further develop some recipes this semester while experimenting with others I have saved on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
1. Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker, $79.99 on Keurig
I’m not typically a coffee person, and I think that’s exactly why I recommend the Keurig K-Mini Single Serve. I look forward to choosing an assortment of K-Cup flavorings and especially love browsing through the Dunkin’ Donuts pods online. As opposed to some of the more expensive models, this model is affordable yet continues to function at a high quality. As a casual coffee sipper, I don’t demand much of my coffee, and this appliance is the perfect fit! Its sleek, slim figure makes it an easy addition to any cramped kitchen.
2. Instant Pot DUO Mini 3-Quart, $59.99 at Walmart
The other day, I made this delicious honey and soy sauce salmon with a side of sauteed onions and zucchini. The only thing missing from the enriching meal was a side of lightly buttered jasmine rice. Unfortunately, at the time, my family’s frequently used Instant Pot was approximately 400 miles away, so I made do with a piece of bread instead. However, moving forward, a mini Instant Pot might be exactly what I need. The potential recipes are limitless, ranging from chili to slow-cooked pot roast to chicken noodle soup. Instant Pot meals are as scrumptious as they are easy to prepare. Not to mention that the appliance barely takes up any space on the kitchen counter.
3. Magic Bullet, $39.88 at Walmart
Every morning this week, I have been blending together a mix of bananas, frozen organic blueberries and skim milk to whip up a great start-of-the-day smoothie! What I like best about the Magic Bullet is the neat clean up and perfect serving size. The Magic Bullet is a small, handleless cylindrical cup that closes onto a black twist cap with an attached blade. After placing all ingredients into the plastic cup and fastening the lid, you place the cup onto the electric part of the Magic Bullet and press down. The resulting concoction is delicious and easy to clean up — all you have to do is wash out the plastic cup and blender blade!
I made it to the local grocery store earlier this week and after buying some more fruits and vegetables, I am going to be experimenting with different fruit and vegetable blends. Stay tuned for a creative combination of smoothie recipes I hope to share with you all in my next article!
Isabella Xu is a junior in the McDonough School of Business. Homemade Gourmet appears online every other week.