Showing posts with label great gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label great gadgets. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

favorite things

The carnivore and I try every year to limit how much we spend on each other. In an attempt to accomplish this goal this year, we tried to just give each other stocking stuffers. Well, needless to say we have yet again failed to restrain ourselves as the pile of presents that don't fit in a stocking under our tree prove. Oh well, its not too late for you. And if you are looking for some great gadgets (I have written about all of these before) that do fit in a stocking, here are a few of my favorite things:

mini whisks - perfect for whipping up scrambled eggs on a slow Sunday morning

collapsible measuring cups - wonderful space savers

magnetic measuring spoons - never loose that 1/4 tsp spoon in the back of a drawer again

silicone muffin cups - slide off your blueberry or apple spice muffs with ease

grapefruit spoons - the only way to eat a ruby red

spaghetti tongs - if you eat pasta you have to have these

working mat - great for big batches of cookies or rolling our dough for calzones

zester - lemon, lime, orange, garlic, nutmeg...the list goes on

bamboo utensils - eco-friendly and durable, win - win

reusable bags - take them with you to the store or farmers market to get all you goodies

clip-on spoon rests - keeps your utensils safe and your counters clean, what's not to love?

butter boy - the best corn cob related invention ever

toast tongs - no electrocution scare here

Click on the any of the above to get your own or fill the stocking of your favorite foodie. Got more ideas for great gadget gifts? Let me know below. The carnivore checks here occasionally and I am sure he would love some suggestions!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

a spoonful of sugar

Let's face it, it is cold and flu season. In order to stay healthy this time of year I do the usual - keep my hand sanitizer handy, get my full shot, and try to stay as rested as baby omnivore will let me. I also try to boost my vitamin C intake. This is easier to do with a great gift I receive every year at this time. My great grandfather sends everyone a huge box of oranges and grapefruit. It is a fantastic gift really. It makes the house smell of sweet citrus (a nice pick me up on the jam packed days around the holidays). Plus, it gives me an excuse to use one of my favorite gadgets - my grapefruit spoons.

See these spoons have these tiny ridged teeth and a pointed tip that allow you to dig out eat segment of the grapefruit. How cool is that? Ever since the carnivore found these amazing little grapefruit spoons we have been able to devour every bit of the giant globes of goodness.

I like to have half of a grapefruit with a spoonful of sugar on top; the carnivore likes a bit more. In any case, I am getting him to eat some fruit and we both are getting some vitamin C. Who couldn't use that this time of year?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

outer space

I don't know about you, but the carnivore and I don't exactly have a huge kitchen. As such, we often scout our local William Sonoma Outlet for space saving gadgets. Let me introduce you to two of my colorful favorites - magnetic measuring spoons and collapsible measuring cups.

The measuring spoons are fantastic because not only do they save me space, they also save me time. I no longer have to hunt through my drawer for that little 1/4 tsp that always hides. The magnet in the middle holds them all together in a neat little stack - little being the key word because my drawer is not that big.

The measuring cups are equally genius. We all need these different sizes, but who has the room? Each one pops out to be used and then folds up nicely to fit into already any overcrowded drawer. Seriously - all four of these take up about the same amount of space as one that doesn't collapse. What's not to love about that?!

If you don't already have these super savers you can get them by clicking on the highlighted words above. So, what space saving kitchen gadgets to you have? I would love to add them to my (stuffed) drawer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

tongs ta-tongs ta-tongs

It never fails that when the carnivore and I have friends and family over for dinner we are still cooking when they arrive. And inevitably while I am still rushing around to finish a meal I grab some gadget or another that makes a guest ooh and aah. Most of the time it is something that I have had for years and no longer even consider something novel, but instead a necessity. These spaghetti tongs fall in that category. (This is especially true since the carnivore went on a cleaning spree one day and threw out my backup pair of regular tongs.)

Now, as the name implies, these guys are great for grabbing gobs and gobs of noodles. On the nights that I make spaghetti for myself and the carnivore they certainly come in handy. However, that is not the only time I use them. I like to have them on hand for stir frying and serving my garlic green beans too. I mean, how else are you supposed to get those stringy, slippery guys on your plate? They are even great for grabbing freshly grilled corn since the tongs are a bot curved on the ends.

So, if you don't have your own set, get some here. If you do have them not only do you know what a great gadget they are, you probably have experienced their versatility too. Got a way to use these guys that I haven't thought of - let me know below.

Monday, July 27, 2009

zester for life

It has been awhile since I have shared with you a great kitchen gadget, but since I have used this tool so much recently I thought it was about time. This wonder gadget is a microplane grater/zester. Once you get your own you will wonder (ha, ha) how you ever lived without it.

But seriously, in the past few days I have used it to add the lemon peel in the dreamy drummies for the carnivore. I used it to zest some orange for a batch of strawberry muffins. I even used it to grate some fresh ginger into a thai pasta dish. (Recipes for these two coming soon.) And it is great (okay, I'll stop with the puns now) for other things too - like garlic, onions, or limes.

In fact, I am always digging it out of the dishwasher and having to wash it by hand because I use it so much. By the way, it is easy to clean either way. And, however you use it you will be adding in great nutrients to your meals. So, get yourself your own here. You too will be a zester for life.

Already got one? Let me know what you used it for most recently...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

not so skinny dippin'

I am a certified cheese addict. When people ask, if you were stranded on a dessert island what one food would you have to have, I always answer cheese. I have never met a cheese I didn't like. Hard, soft, buttery, stinky, you name it, I eat it.

But, there is one thing better than cheese - melted cheese! I love cheese dip. For years I enjoyed going to Mexican restaurants and ordering the big bowl. So imagine my surprise, when I was registering for my wedding gifts a few years ago and came across a gadget that would let me have that same experience at home.

Let me introduce you to one of my all time favorite kitchen must haves - the heated chip and dip tray. This, my friends, is nothing short of genius. Now I can have all that gooey queso whenever I want (which is kinda dangerous when you think about it). This set contains a plastic chip tray, a ceramic bowl for the dip, and a heating element that goes right under the bowl that can be plugged into any outlet. Lucky for me I have an outlet right next to my stove that I can use while I am cooking and one next to the table we usually eat on at night so I can keep it warm throughout dinner too. You can use this for non-hot items too by just leaving the heating element off. So, its is multi-functional in theory, but I must tell you I only use it to heat up cheese dip.

I have put a similar one in my amazon store if you want to get your own. Or, it can make a great gift. We just got one for my sister-in-law along with a set of margarita glasses. She is now all set to have her own (cheese) fiesta. And, if you are registering for your own wedding - add this to your list. You will use it and enjoy it much more than that salad spinner or food steamer everyone insists you need - I promise!

Friday, May 22, 2009

warm and fluffy inside

Since I just wrote a post about pancakes, I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you my favorite pancake related gadget. This wonder is know as the pancake warmer. As I have mentioned before, the carnivore is in charge of pancakes (and other foods that require flipping). So, I got this for him as a gift for Christmas a few years ago. I figured it combined two of his loves - pancakes and gadgets. If it were only electronic somehow...

Alas, it may not be high-tech, but it is genius. It keeps your pancakes warm while you are cooking the rest of the batter. You then simply transport the whole container to the table and pass around the warm fluffy goodness. This ceramic container is nice and roomy. It can hold big pancakes or silver dollar ones. It is also sufficiently tall enough to hold a large stack of pancakes. The little holes allow the pancakes to vent and not get soggy, but trap in the heat until it is time to eat.

We like to go head and pre-butter the pancakes as we place them in the warmer so that it can go ahead and melt. Yum! A word of caution, while this is great for pancakes, it is not so good for waffles. They need to stay a little bit crispier than this gadget allows. In any case, the pancake warmer is a great addition to your kitchen / breakfast table. It can also make a great gift when combined with some specialty pancake mix and syrup. I could not find a similar item at Amazon to place in my store, but you can find this exact model at Crate and Barrel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a working mat that works

I am not a neat freak, but I do like to keep things nice while I am cooking, mostly so I don't have to clean when I am done making dinner. The carnivore gave me this product this past Christmas, and not only does it work well, but it also keeps my counters clean.

This working mat, or pastry mat, is silicone on both sides so it sticks to the counter. So, when you dust it with flour, you can roll any dough on it with ease. For example, I love to use it when I am making my calzones. There is no slipping or sliding.

Plus, it is huge! I am a little messy when it comes to baking, but this mat is big enough for me to spread out on without worry. The one the carnivore got me also has lots of great measurement markers on it as well - not that I have used them yet.

But, the best thing about this mat is how easy it makes clean up. No more messy counters! I just pick up the mat and rinse it with warm water, and like that I am all done. Plus, it rolls up for easy storage.

The one I have came from King Arthur Flour, but I have placed a similar one in my amazon store if you are interested in getting your own. I highly recommend it for all you bakers out there.

Do you have a kitchen gadget that helps keep your kitchen clean? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

great green gadgets

As you all know I love kitchen gadgets and goodies, and if they are green it is even better in my book. So, for this Earth Week series I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Glass water bottles - The carnivore used to complain about how much money we spent on bottled water. And I knew deep down that even if I recycled those bottles it couldn't be good for the environment to ship that heavy water, but I still wanted a bottle. I couldn't help it. One day I came across these guys in a Crate and Barrel catalog (or you can get some here). I dog-eared the pages and left the catalog where the carnivore could see. Catching the less than subtle hint, he got me a couple for my birthday this past year. I can officially say we are now a plastic bottle free house. We are saving money and the planet, but I still can reach in the fridge and get a cold bottle of water whenever I want.

Green pans - I read about these in a book my mother got me for Christmas that taught me some very scary things about the non-stick pans I had registered and received for my wedding. That black stuff that was coming off contained chemicals that were bad for me and the environment. Again, the carnivore got me this green gadget (from Target, but also available at Crate and Barrel and here) as a present and I love it! It is super non-stick, requiring less oil and less cleaning, and it is very lightweight. Plus, it heats the food evenly. I just can't say enough good things about it. I am now hoping for a full set...hint, hint!

Bamboo utensils and cutting boards - As you may have heard, bamboo is a sustainable and renewable resource. Moreover, bamboo has been reported to have antibacterial properties that keep it from absorbing and retaining odors. Who doesn't need that in the kitchen? My mother-in-law got me a set of bamboo utensils and a cutting board for Christmas. I am now using them all the time.

Kitchen Towels - I haven't gotten rid of my paper towels by any stretch of the imagination. But, with the purchase of a few cute kitchen towels from my local William-Sonoma Outlet I have cut down my use. They are great for wiping up all of the inevitable messes I make in the kitchen, as well as for drying my hands when I wash up.

Reusable bags - For all those shopping trips to the local farmer's market and the grocery store, I now use recycled bags. I have a few from Whole Foods, one for freezer goods, even a freebie the humane society sent me. My favorite one though is the FEED 100 bag my parents got me this past year. It has great little pouches and folds up really small. Most importantly, the proceeds from this bag helped feed 100 school children lunch in Rwanda through the UN's World Food Program. But, all reusable bags help take plastic off our planet. Plus, the come in cute colors and designs these days!

So go get yourself some green goodies of your own! And if you are wondering, all of these products can be purchased through my amazon store and in the places mentioned above.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

butter my butt and call me a biscuit!

Well, maybe butter my corn instead. My friend, Katie, suggested I add these gadgets to the blog. She has used them at my house and loves them as much as I do. In fact, everyone who comes over when we have grilled corn does. And, since we just made grilled corn, I thought it would be a good time to share these corn accessories with everyone. First, I have to admit my carnivore and I came across these on accident at a Paula Dean Buffet/Gift Store in Tunica, Mississippi. And, if anyone knows butter - it is Paula. I think all of her recipes start with at least one stick. We didn't cave to the impulse to buy them there. But, when my carnivore received an award at work I knew I had to get these for him. Silly I know, but he loves Paula and all her
butter recipes.

There are two products in these pictures. One is you standard corn pick, known as butter babies. They some in a brightly colored pack with a set of four. The have nice strong prongs that dig right into the ends of the corn cob easily. They are super easy to clean and they snap together for simple storage.The second, and more amazing product is the butter boy (I think you can get a butter girl too). Again, you have a choice of colors. But, what is so wonderful about this little guy is that he allows you to apply butter to your corn without any mess or lost butter. You just place a stick of butter inside and pop off the top of his little head. The curved opening fits perfectly onto the cob. Slide back and forth and voila - perfectly buttered corn!

I know it seems corny (ha!), but it one of those things that once you get it you are going to wonder how you ever lived without it. And they make a great gift too. Especially for the hostess at your next bar-b-que. It is also great for those of you with kiddies. They are adorable and help keep things clean. Check out my amazon store to get your very own butter boy and matching butter babies.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

basic banana bread

As you know, I am always trying to get my carnivore to eat his fruits and veggies. So, often I make a breakfast bread that sneaks in some nutrients. This is a perfect example. The bananas are a great source of potassium and the walnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Don't worry. These are the good fats. Research has sown that omega-3s can lower cholesterol, protect the heart, defend against some cancers and help ease symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Besides, making this bread is better than tossing those browning bananas!

To make this bread you will need:

3 eggs
1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of sugar
2 1/3 cup of pancake mix
3 small brown bananas
1/2 cup of walnuts

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with oil. Co
mbine all of the ingredients above and mix thoroughly. Add the batter to your loaf pan and cook for 50-60 minutes (until golden brown and it passes the toothpick test). Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then loosen it from the pan and turn it onto a cooling rack. (If you are wondering about the one pictured above it is an expandable rack. See my amazon store for more details.) Slice generously and serve while still warm.

menu ideas:
Serve this banana bread with a glass of OJ and a couple of slices of either bacon or "facon" to satisfy both the vegetarian and the meat-eater in your house. It can also make a great afternoon snack.

what did the easter bunny bring you?

The Easter bunny left me a basket of goodies last night. I not only got lots of candy (yeah!) but I also got tickets to see Wicked when it comes to town this summer! I even got new kitchen gadgets. (The bunny must have been checking out my new blog.) I got some super cute cookie cutters in adorable shapes, like butterflies and bunnies. I will have to put these to use soon. Any one have a good cookie recipe? Something that holds it shape...But, I haven't even mentioned my favorite gadget yet - a new cheese grater! I have been lusting after this box cheese grater for quite awhile now. I haven't met a cheese I didn't like, so the idea of being able to slice and grate numerous cheeses in multiple ways gets me giddy. I have added one just like mine to my amazon store. I think everyone should have one. I know the bags of pre-shredded cheese can make life simpler, but they usually cost more than shredding your own. Also, there are a world of cheeses out there that don't come in those resealable packs. Just think of the possibilities! So what did the bunny bring you?

(One more thing I have to tell you, the carnivore, I mean the bunny, was very green with his basket this year. He used our shredded credit card offers as the filling. Isn't that a great idea?)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

whittle bity whisks

I know you all have a whisk (or two) in your kitchen. I did too. But, then my mother gave me a a set of two tiny whisks. My first thought was, "when on earth will I use these?" It turns out the answer is - ALL THE TIME! I use them when I make scrambled eggs. I use them to mix muffin batters. I use them to combine dry ingredients when I am baking. In short, I use them for pretty much everything that I used to grab a fork for because my whisk was too big. So, it turns out these silly little whisks aren't so silly. I have bookmarked some similar to mine at my amazon store. I recommend you get a set for yourself - and maybe your daughter. When she gets that quizzical look on her face like I did, just send her to this blog. I am telling you - I use them almost everyday.

Do you have a small gadget you can't live without? I'd love to hear what it is.
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