looking for ideas for small kitchen appliances
You're looking at a minimum of two.
Depending on what you like to bake, stand mixer will eventually allow you to branch into other things (e.g. grinding meat, pasta).
Immersion blender would be more practical as an initial investment (smaller, does most of what a blender would); you can crush ice with a towel and a pan.
The same towel/pan could be used to bash spices, but you'd be better off with a mortar or pestle (manual) or a coffee grinder, which will produce fine-ground.
I would lean toward a heavy duty food processor, a vitamix, and a good mixer. I don't know what you have now or what your budget is, but these are what I would start with. I would also figure out which would would receive the heaviest use and get the best the budget allows, and settle for second/third best on the others.
To get the most bang for your buck, an immersion blender with a removal stick bottom that comes with a mini food processor and whisk attachment is a good bet. You can blend smoothies, puree and grind spices in the processor bowl, use the whisk for beating batter and whipping eggs, and the immersion stick in soups and veggies.
I have a Braun version of this tool and it's very handy without taking up a lot of space. That said, it does not blend as well as a full size blender, nor does it process as well as a full size processor. Moreover, it doesn't perform the functions of a stand mixer. However, if you're on a budget, this would be a good start. You can always upgrade down the road.
I agree. This is a great combination small appliance for a small kitchen. I have a Cuisinart model and use it a lot, especially the mini food processor for blending, chopping, pureeing, and mixing small batches of about everything. And whisk and immersion attachments come in handy, too.
Would you please outline your budget - that would help for specific recommendations.
I find a blender very useful and own an inexpensive oster digital one - something like 18 speeds. Its' great and was reasonable. Any walmart, etc has stuff like this. It has held up rather well and I think that it's going on 4-5 years now. I can't fathom why it took me so long to buy one - they are great.
Given the time of year there might be some pretty good deals on mixers, etc. See what they offer at places like Sam's Club and Costco.
Do you really grind that much spice? If so, a small blade grinder works well. These are about $15-20. It's not so often that we need to do stuff like this so I don't own one myself and can use my food processor and an extra pepper grinder to fulfill that function. If money is tight, then use a pepper grinder - they are great for grinding up spices - just don't use it for anything else.
I eventually had to get a food processor because there are just some things that I couldn't do without one. But I wouldn't rush to get one if you can do without for now or your budget is constrained. A decent food processor is not cheap and you'll regret getting one that is too small or underpowered. When you are ready get a good one. Budget at least $150 or so.
An immersion blender is GREAT. I have a cheap plug in model that I got years ago and it STILL holds up and does it's job without complaint. I would avoid the rechargables. Some of these come with "chopper attachments". I think I might have used mine once.
A stand mixer, like a food processor, is a big committment. You'll know when you finally NEED one and don't get a cheap one. Another option is get a good one used on craigslist or for free on freecycle.com. These things can last pretty much forever and you don't have to get them new.