Apr 28
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 Barbeque, kitchen gadgets | icon4 04 28th, 2011| icon3No Comments »

We’ve always been a big baseball family, and if it would EVER stop raining here in the Midwest, we will be out practicing, playing, and viewing several games a week (little league, pick-up, White Sox games, etc.). And since I’m thinking ahead, with Father’s Day coming up, I decided to look into some fun barbeque-style kitchen gadgets for the dads and grandpas out there.

Organize.com has this cute spatula for only $9.99.

They’re a little pricier, but these bottle openers from Uncommon Goods are made out of actual Major League Baseball game-used bats.

For serving condiments and relishes, 17 Circle offers this cute set.

Everything Baseball has all sorts of baseball-themed bar and partyware, but my favorite is this chip & dip set.

In my search for a White Sox cooler, I found this great mini-fridge at the USA Today Sports Store. It holds an entire case of beer and can be plugged into a regular wall socket or a car’s cigarette lighter, so we can put it on the deck during summer cookouts, and take it with us to tailgate parties in the fall.

Apr 11
icon1 Jennifer | icon2 kitchen gadgets, Uncategorized | icon4 04 11th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

When my second son was in preschool, another mom used to pick him up for me in the winter so I wouldn’t have to leave the house with the baby.  One day, she told me that he had been telling “family secrets” in the car, and had related a story about dinner the previous evening, during which I had allegedly become so angry that “Mommy yelled and threw the supper in the sink!”  What had actually happened was that when I was draining the pasta, the collander had flipped and dumped its entire contents into my not-entirely-sparkling-clean sink.  Of course I had yelled because I was mad at myself, but I rinsed the pasta in super-hot water, and no one was the wiser (or so I thought!).

Now that the kids are getting older, we consume exponentially more pasta, and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my ancient collander is probably too small for our needs.  So I thought I’d look around and find a new one because, you know, I can’t help but indulge myself from time to time (ooh, a new collander; I really know how to live large!).  Just for the heck of it, I did a quick little search to see if anyone else is still using the old green Tupperware standby that I had inherited from my mom when I first moved out.  You know the one:

I was surprised to find this one for sale on Etsy for $30!  And a mere $14.95 for shipping!  The description calls it “vintage.”  Vintage!  Am I sitting on a goldmine?  Are there actually people out there who collect old Tupperware?  I do recall someone becoming very excited at my garage sale a couple of years back when I sold my old cakesaver for $2.  Darn!  Apparently I should’ve set my price higher.  I won’t make that mistake again, but for now, I think I’ll hang onto my “vintage”  strainer, at least until I happen to run into a Tupperware lady; their new collander is pretty sweet, and it has “feet” to prevent future flippage.

Feb 1

I never thought an eReader would become such an integral part of my life.  But since I acquired it, I have been happily using the Kobo eReader app on my iPhone to help with a particular domestic problem of mine.  I’ve mentioned before that my husband is the primary grocery shopper in our household due to my, ahem, impulsive shopping habits.  Add to that my general failure to bring make a list, and I’m not the most efficient shopper out there.  Further, I often used to find myself guessing at recipes when inspiration would strike and then racking up some unnecessary expenses.  But with Kobo on my iPhone, right in the middle of the store I’m able to consult those very cookbooks that would normally be standing ineffectually at home on a shelf.  I can buy what I need and get out of there!

And now I can take it a step further with Kobo Reading Life.  Launched back in December for the iPad, Kobo Reading Life is an app that enables users to do all of the following:

∙ Connect your Reading Life with friends on Facebook
∙ Discover and share your favorite books, passages, characters and places
∙ Celebrate reading and earn fun & exciting awards
∙ Track your personal reading history, and learn about your own reading habits

Well, as of today, the Reading Life app is available for iPhones and iPod Touch devices.  So when I’m standing in that grocery store, bursting with pride over getting everything I need (and nothing I don’t) to make Rick Rodger’s Pear Coffee Cake with Streusel Crust, I can post that recipe instantly to Facebook, and give myself an “award.”  I can even check my personal stats.  Ahh, I thrive on validation!

Jan 13

No one has to ask my kids twice if they want pancakes. Or cookies. Or cupcakes. Or pretty much anything sweet. Combine their passion for goodies with their obsession for Star Wars (my three boys range in age from 10 to 6, and “obsession” is putting it mildly), and just try and keep them out of the kitchen! I really wish I had discovered Williams-Sonoma’s line of Star Wars products before Christmas, but fortunately we have some birthdays right around the corner.

The cookie cutters are beyond cool, and you can choose from two sets at $19.95 each:  Heroes & Villains, or Vehicles.  Unfortunately, I’m not a very talented decorater, so the kids might have to settle for the general shape and a lot of imagination!  Also available, and much more likely to be used regularly in our house, are the Star Wars pancake molds

Let’s not forget the importance of our tools.  It would hardly be seemly to flip our Star Wars pancakes with anything but a Darth Vader or Storm Trooper Flexible Spatula ($12.95 each).

And of course, our little intergalactic chefs must look the part while hard at work in the galley.  The Star Wars Kids’ Apron  is available with ($24.95) or without ($19.95) personalization and even comes in adult sizes so no one has to feel left out.

Also available from Williams-Sonoma are Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire Cupcake Decorating Kits ($12 each) and Vehicle Sandwich Cutters ($19.95).  Enjoy them much you will.

Jan 2

Living in the midwest, we don’t cook outside anywhere near as often in the winter, and I really miss the taste of grilled food, as well as the expanded menu offerings that come from outdoor cooking.  So when I stumbled across the Nathan’s Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle while Christmas shopping, I just couldn’t pass it up.  And yes, that’s Nathan’s as in Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters, sponsors of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island that my family can’t miss watching in horrified admiration every summer! 

We took our new Nathan’s Grill/Griddle on a test run today for lunch.  On the menu:  Nathan’s hot dogs (natch) and Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage.  The Grill/Griddle fits over both front and back burners of our gas stove (the only cooking surface not compatible is glass) and distributes the heat evenly.  Although the hot dogs cooked pretty quickly, the sausages took more than twice as long as they typically would on the outdoor grill.  But I liked how the grease was channeled away from the meat, and 40 minutes later, we thoroughly enjoyed our summer-style lunch in the middle of winter.  Afterwards, clean-up was a breeze on the non-stick surface.

On the flip side of the grill is the griddle, which holds further appeal for us.  Making breakfast for a family of six is no small endeavor, and the expanded surface of the griddle will make for much faster pancake production.  The box even depicts pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes all cooking simultaneously on the griddle surface, but that’s a challenge for another day.  So far, Nathan’s Famous Reversible Stovetop Grill & Griddle gets a thumbs up from my family, although I hope it will be quite a while before any of them can down 50 hotdogs in a ten-minute sitting!

Apr 22

Ok so I might be in the stone age but I don’t have a tv in my kitchen! I do have one with Tevo in the living room and have often record a cooking show to watch later. It never fails have to try out the recipe and find myself watching and pausing the show as I go running back & forth from room to room. Yes it is ok to allow yourself the mental picture and laugh at me now.

Imagine my surprise the other day when I came across this site while sipping coffee in my kitchen.  Food Tube is a whole world of self taping cooks with recipes to share. The wonder of it all is that I can get it on my netbook in my kitchen while I cook! My husband will be soooo excited not to have batter on his remote anymore.

I have only explored a few episodes and have a couple earmarked if you will for trial. I will let you know what I think. Maybe I am behind the curve here but I am excited non the less!

Anyone ever use this before? Any advise?

Heres to internet cooking!

Sep 29
icon1 Kayla | icon2 Dinner, kitchen gadgets, slow food | icon4 09 29th, 2009| icon3No Comments »

I love a home cooked meal & for me that sometimes means from a dutch oven in a pit covered in coals. Some of the best meals I have ever eaten were made in a cast iron pots miles from civilization.  So when I found this cool site on all things dutch I had to share it. http://www.dutchovencookware.com/dutch-oven-recipes.html

Dutch oven cooking can be done at home or in the back woods & has been around for hundreds of years. It is not as hard as it looks & trust me you have not lived until you have had peach cobbler ala dutch!

-Keep Cooking

May 7

This cooking method practiced by top chefs is the latest rage, and I had never heard of it till I watched the how-to video that came with my Foodsaver vacuum sealer appliance (which I LOVE! See my other blog post on the topic).

What a convenient, time-saving way to plan and prepare meals. It’s so much easier and they taste incredible.

Basically the process is this: you place your food and ingredients in airtight plastic bags and then simmer them  in hot water below boiling point till done. The result is a tasty, juicy, flavor-infused dish that doesn’t doesn’t lose any of its original appearance or texture.

The drawback is that you need to keep an eye on the water temperature and make sure it stays constant.

But a plus is you can prepare a bunch of meals in advance (vacuum sealing seals out air, so they stay fresh) and have them ready when you are.

I’ll scout out some good recipes and let you know the results I’ve gotten soon.

Feb 22
icon1 Kayla | icon2 kitchen gadgets | icon4 02 22nd, 2008| icon3No Comments »

I have a new favorite kitchen appliance–it’s a Food Saver, which vacuums out all the air from your food so it lasts much longer. 

You can buy in bulk or make a big dinner, then seal the leftovers into individual packets that you just nuke later or drop into simmering water.

This is just the greatest gadget for saving money (less wasted food) and time. Once you start using it, you’ll be addicted.

The web site probably does a better job of explaining it than I have time for right now. Go check it out!