Works for Me: Kitchen Edition

Shannon is asking for our favorite kitchen tips. I have two major tools that help me in the kitchen: a wok and a rice cooker. The rice cooker makes it possible to cook either rice or oatmeal without having another pot on the stove to watch. And thanks to the wok, I can get all sorts of stir-fry meat and veggie meals to the table in half an hour or less. I can live without an electric can-opener and a KitchenAid. But I’d never be without my wok or my rice-cooker. Works for me!


  1. The rice-cooker is a favorite in my home as well. Actually, when I was a kid, we all got a rice-cooker when we turned 18 and it was actually a rite of passage of sorts. Some people get a car or a big party, but we got a rice-cooker. And since I make some mean fried rice, I guess it all evened out in the end, right? =)

  2. I love having a rice cooker. I had no idea you could cook oatmeal in it though. Any special requirements?

  3. I have both a rice cooker and a wok and I love them both! I didn’t realize you could make oatmeal in a rice cooker either. I’ll have to try it! 🙂

  4. Either quick oats or regular oats will work. I use oats and water in a 1 to 2 ratio. For our family, that’s 4 cups of oats and 8 cups of water. When it is done, the rice cooker will click over to ‘warm’ just like it does for rice. At that point I add a couple tablespoons of butter, a cup of sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some chopped apples or raisins.

  5. We consume a lot of rice so a rice cooker would probably be a good idea in this house.

  6. I was thinking of getting a slow cooker, maybe a rice cooker would be better?

  7. I tried making a comment but it didn’t take.

    Anyway, I just said that the rice-cooker is popular chez nous as well. In my family, getting a rice-cooker when we turn 18 is actually a rite of passage of sorts. I think that goes to show just how handy a rice-cooker really is!

  8. I didn’t ever think of using a rice cooker for oatmeal until now…greaattt idea! Thanks for sharing! =)

  9. wow – was about to resign my rice cooker to long-term storage when i read your post… i love homemade oatmeal, and this sounds like a perfect idea!

    how long does it need to cook if i use steel-cut oats? any idea?

  10. Hello,

    I like your idea of the rice cooker, I’ve never used one but have heard good things. One of my favorite items is a salad spinner. I’ve used them before but never had one of my own. They work so great!

    Your water lily header is beautiful!

    Take Care,


  11. What a clever idea! Thanks for sharing, I’m going to have to try this.

  12. I already use your recipe for oatmeal =), but do just add the apples and other stuff to cook along with the oatmeal.

    No room for a wok, but I agree with your other mentions. ‘Never had an electric stand mixer, and only rarely even pull out a hand mixer. And I’m hopelessly inept with electric can openers anyway– when I’ve used one in other people’s homes, it’s been more comedy routine than time saver!

  13. You make me want to shop, girl… I don’t have either one. I think hear Target calling my name. Unfortunately, it called my name yesterday too.

  14. Delurking to say that I love to read your blog and your insights.

    I would have never thought to use my rice cooker for oatmeal! What a great idea!

  15. My sister gave me her smaller rice cooker and I absolutely LOVE it! Now, I couldn’t be without my stand mixer. 😉

  16. Do you have an electric wok or a stove top wok? Just out of curiousity….

    I had a rice cooker and gave it away because we never used it. But I never thought about using it for oatmeal. Dang! What was I thinking?

  17. Stove top wok, anodized steel (I stay far from that nasty teflon).

    And as far as the steel-cut oats, I’d just try and see. The worst that could happen is that the rice cooker would turn off before it was done and then you’d need to finish them on the stove. But I bet it would work.

    BTW, let me know if you do try the steel cut oats. I’m curious.

  18. I agree, love both! I went to our local asian store for my rice cooker and it makes perfect rice every time!
    Have a great Wednesday.

  19. I love my rice cooker too. I’ll have to try it for oatmeal. Great tip!

  20. Oh I bet I’d love oatmeal made in a rice cooker! Great suggestion!

  21. Oatmeal in a rice cooker – what a great idea!

  22. Oh wow! I had NO idea you could could oatmeal in a rice cooker! I LOVE my rice cooker – I use it ALL the time….and now…..I just might have to use it even more!!! : ) Thanks! ; )

  23. this probably won’t mean anything to anyone but me – but when my husband and i were registering for our wedding 8 years ago he insisted on registering for a rice cooker. i couldn’t IMAGINE why we would need such a thing. one of my friends ended up getting it for us when she heard about the disagreement. (she thought it was funny that i even cared since i don’t cook) anyway – it is THE best thing – and PERFECT for someone like me who isn’t a cook. love the idea of oatmeal too. you are so creative mary!

  24. That’s the thing– ya don’t have to be a big cook to benefit from a rice cooker. Start the rice going, toss some frozen Asian-style veggies into a hot skillet to cook with a little chicken and sesame oil, and in 20 minutes you’re done.


  25. I never would’ve thought to use my rice cooker to do oats. Great tip! Thanks!

  26. I love really well made oatmeal (I know as porrage in the UK), but with only me eating it, I’m not sure I would succeed in using the rice cooker. I like half milk, half water to make porrage and add raisins/sultanas, cooking it for quite a while on the hob stirring v.often, I don’t like it too bitty. My husband is quite particular about how rice should be cooked, so I leave him to it – not going to complain.

    My favourite tools in the kitchen are my Hand Blender (great for making smoothies or proper banana milkshake – gets fruit into my husband) and my Slow cooker. The slow cooker is great for Sunday mornings when we get organised enough to have a decent meal cooking for us while we’re at church! The best way to cook tougher meat (like beef or pork) without much hassle.

  27. Oatmeal in a rice cooker? Cool!

    Just curious: have you ever tried brown rice in the cooker? Did it work?