In NellieBellie’s cupboard


To keep meal-making simple, it is always a good idea to keep stocked on basic staples, tools, and necessities. Below are the items that make my tiny kitchen and pantry perform in a big way! I’m here to disprove the notion that tiny kitchens can’t have BIG style and function! Busy mom’s need to get the job done with little fuss or muss regardless of how big their kitchen is!

In a tiny kitchen that utilizes only a few pans, I opt for high-quality and versatile sizes. I adore this fry pan…it’s non-stick, consistent heat, and beautiful. This frypan hangs on the side of my cupboard for all the world to see it’s beautiful copper bottom.

This 10.5-inch pan I use for Thai curry, Hawaiian chicken, homemade tomato sauce, and even deep dish pizza. Truly a worthwhile investment in a small kitchen!



I couldn’t function without coconut milk in my cupboard. Because coconut milk is canned, I know that any recipe requiring milk will always be able to be made by subbing out coconut milk! Also, we prefer not to use dairy milk for our tummy’s sake.

I prefer to use unsweetened, organic, and full-fat versions of coconut milk in soups, curries, oatmeal, even in coffee drinks. Coconut milk is highly versatile and stores well!



Just this past year I was gifted with a Kitchenaid stand mixer, that I adore and have found space for, but for 18 years without one, I used a Bodum hand mixer. In fact, I still often use it. I have loved its fun design, retractable cord, and solid build.

Tiny kitchens’ that don’t often want to use valuable space for a large item like a stand mixer will find that a hand mixer will be a good, compact substitute.



Good knives are necessary for a well-working kitchen. But, I have found that it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on them. A simple set that features one of each of the necessary knives is adequate. This set has everything I need, can be sharpened (a must!), and my kids love to use them (remember, my kids are 13 and 18…don’t let young children have knives). I have even found that the cheap knives at Target are quite good. Don’t break the bank on knives!



Chicken broth is always stocked in my pantry, always! Much like coconut milk, I use chicken broth to replace water, milk, and other liquids in many savory recipes. I replace milk in mashed potatoes with chicken broth, use it to poach eggs in, and even heat it up for the kids when they are sick.

I only use Free Range and Organic chicken broth, just as I do for the meat, itself. If you can do the same, kudos. If that’s not important to you or not in your budget, that’s cool!




Plastic cutting mats save soooo much space, are easy to clean, and still work as well as traditional cutting boards. Small kitchens shouldn’t use anything BUT this style cutting board. 





We go through mountains and mountains of steel cut oats, in my house! We love overnight oats, traditional oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, and even oats for dessert crusts and to replace breadcrumbs in meatballs. 

Bob’s Red Mill makes the best Steel Cut Oats…evah!




There is one thing in my kitchen that I will never give up. Ever. That is my food processor. 

I use my food processor for so. many. things.! I use it for pesto, pie crust, grinding coffee, chopping veggies, pureeing soups, and so many other functions. It truly is used and abused!

I have a simple, small 8-cup Cuisinart food processor without a lot of special functions. Simple and effective! 



Double duty is the name of the game for everything in my tiny home! My mixing bowls aren’t spared the same philosophy. They are nesting, oven proof, dishwasher proof, microwaveable, pretty enough for display, AND fit well in my stand mixer as an extra bowl. 

I use stoneware for all of the above reasons but this particular set I love because of the beautiful colors! 




Vanilla bean paste! Guys, if you bake and use vanilla extract you need to use this instead! The flavor is amazing, the smell is crazy good, and because it’s highly concentrated, a bottle will last a long time!

Your cakes and cookies will never be better!




Almost every kitchen finds a microwave an essential tool. Unfortunately, many of them are giant beasts that take up valuable space. We have opted for a tiny .7 cu version that has the basic functions with a much smaller footprint. Swapping out our giant microwave for the smaller one was a decision I have never regretted!

If we could afford it, I would get one even smaller! Ironically, any smaller gets far, far more expensive!



I have added mug holders, hooks, and racks to the side of cupboards, the back walls, and even the side of the fridge. These are great for hanging mugs, towels, and more. 

Tip: package spice mixes, hot cocoa packets, and more small packages into zip lock baggies and hang them!




Obviously, this is a condensed list of what is in my cupboards. It is constantly being added to and updated as our lifestyle changes and adjusts. I hope you find a tool or resource to help your little kitchen perform in a big way!


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