Archive for category Gadgetry

The Countdown Begins

You don’t need me to remind you that the major gift-giving holiday of the year is fast approaching. OK, you don’t need the reminder, but here it is. I have a fun stocking stuffer, a small wrapped goodie that has lots of applications. Wait, you’ve heard about this before, but not in this incarnation:

The Spork.150

I probably still have the Old World metal fork and spoon combo that was designed to help people with various hand issues such as carpal tunnel pain that radiated down the arm into the hand. The so-called utensil was awkward, but certainly a conversation starter. A whole lotta changes have been made, and the concept has become a big plus for lunchbox users, campers, and tykes learning to hold silverware. Of course, I could think of more uses, such as fashionistas looking to brighten up the holiday table. Its color palate is impressive, and they even introduced the titanium one for the more conservative palate.

Easy to buy, easy to give; fun to use.

I’m a believer.

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Hottest Cool Machine

If you haven’t been to a kitchen shop or looked at a catalog in a while, you may have missed the sodastream invasion. Yes, the whole discussion about recycling can be put to bed with this fun, hot product that seems to be everywhere this holiday season. If you purchase sparkling water or enjoy a little bubbly, then this is the perfect solution to all the expensive and heavy seltzer bottles that drive up your food budget.

The concept is quite simple: You take regular water, preferably chilled, and connect the bottles that come with the tidy, space-saving machine to the unit, give it a few puffs of a button and voilà, sparkling water. You can adjust the amount of bubbly and within seconds enjoy a cold, sparkling drink. No more discussions about flat seltzer; you just bring regular water to life!

This year they have added a full range of flavors, minus the high fructose corn syrup, to make your own specialty drinks including the obvious soda flavors such as cola, cherry cola, ginger ale, and root beer and the new natural line with lemon lime and pink grapefruit. One flavor container makes the equivalent of 33 cans!

Yes, the company talks about cost savings as one liter comes out to about 25 cents! The savings are appreciated, but now you can have the fun of running your own soda fountain. Numerous stores offer an exchange program for your empty cartridge. No waste. The starter pack includes two bottles and a carbonator.

No need to advocate for a company that has provided a simple solution to a basic household beverage, but I’d feel silly if I didn’t share one of my favorite purchases. The company calls it a “drinkmaker,” I call it a fun, interactive experience rather than a ho-hum drink purchase. Why not add a little fun to the home beverage market?fj-black_seltzer_starter_t

Put a little more sparkle into your drink portfolio. You’ll enjoy the fresh, flavor profile and at the same time help the environment and lower your per-bottle costs. Why not?

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Top Home Chef

With all the efforts at cutting back on expensive restaurant meals and being better grocery shoppers, it is only fitting that everything that has been available to the restaurant chef has slowly worked its way into the home kitchen. With the preponderance of chef supplies, cookbooks, and specialty novelties at kitchen stores, it is no wonder that cooks look at the television chef and fantasize about their own creative talents.

We’ve already purchased the special accouterments such as immersion blenders, poultry thermometers, mandolines, and specialty knives. Restaurant quality pots and pans were a natural addition to complement white dinnerware of all shapes and sizes to showcase the specialty preparations. Appliances have not suffered from lack of attention with Viking Ranges making major inroads into the home kitchen, and barista-style coffee makers comfortably supporting the caffeine habit that lends itself nicely to the creativity high.

Now we can do better planning with the first sous vide appliance designed for the home chef. Let’s backtrack a little. Sous vide has been around for a long time, especially in France, and in the US it has gone under the microscopic lens of fears of health and food safety. The water-bath, vacuum-sealed method of steady,keller book low cooking maintains flavors and textures.

After it received passing marks, many chefs joined its original US superstars such as Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon) who has even written a book on the subject with what are fairly technical recipes.  Now it is our turn to use the water bath method of cooking and lock in flavors naturally and emulate the masters. With the new piece of equipment, many of these recipes are now within reach!

It just gets easier and more fun sousvideto be the creative home chef.

Happy cooking.

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Grilling Without a Grill

Fall can be a wonderful time to grill: It’s not too hot outside, some of the bugs have found other activities, and the bounty of produce still offers plenty to accompany the proteins. One slight problem for a lot of people: Grills are costly purchases. Even with the end-of-the-season sales, the massive Weber you’ve been seeing yourself in front of carries a price tag that’s not working for you.

Here’s a doable solution: A portable, disposable, green grill. Yes, the portable charcoal grill does not contain chemicals (it uses natural charcoal), and the container itself is made from recyclable aluminum and the packaging from recyclable paperboard. We’re also talking about a product that averages $5 a grill and sold in multi-paks (larger sizes are also available for slightly more money)ezgrill. If you’ve merely been grillin’ dreaming, here’s your chance to fill your yard with the wonderful aromatics that accompany a grilled dinner.

Now you can participate in the all-American pasttime and still hold your budget in check. There’s always room in the future for that special Weber.

This is a handy, quick, (That’s why they call it an EZ Grill), delicious, win-win.

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My Newest Toy

kitchen_webtouchlessWe’ve heard enough about the fact that we are destroying our own universe. I’ve decided singlehandedly to make the difference that will save us. Seriously. First, it started with having to take boxes of newspapers, cans, and glasses 10 miles away to a recycling center. I mean a serious place, where you separate and sort. I’d only read about this kind of commitment, but I immediately became hooked trying to figure out if I put everything in the right container. After a few trips I realized that I was going to become Recyclewoman. I was making a difference. Before making this commitment I almost reveled in the joy of NOT having to recycle. Put it all in the trash can. One single receptacle and gone. Outta here and with less chaos.

Then, and not sure what really made me turn the corner, I decided enough. I had to change the household ways. I had to solve the world’s problems. Thus the paper box ensemble in my weekend garage where I am amazed how much “trash” was getting thrown away. Now it goes to a happier place after its short country drive and gets separated into its proper future life. Who knew you could become so proactive so quickly!

Where I live we put everything into one container and hope the recycle people don’t just toss it into the garbage can. Although neighborhood spies have suggested that not everything is what it seems. For years I have been amazed by neighbors who never  took out their blue recycling can. What were they thinking? Nothing to recycle? Did they not eat? Read? Get 7th class mail? I have shamed them into compliance as I smile when I see their blue container streetside on Sundays.

As for what has changed inside my house is my new purchase. I purchased a separate hands-free, wave trash can that enables everyone to put the recyclables into its feeder mouth. The iTouchless is truly a thing of beauty, a stainless steel wonder.  A single conveyance that helps eliminate the chaos of items that otherwise overflow their paper bags and beg someone to take them outside. Of course, I bought my new wonder toy online at Costco  and benefited  from free shipping and great pricing. They were begging me to elevate my societal contribution. It was a total mindless act of good will. Now after a few days of this holiday present for all of mankind, I notice how everyone in my family understands commitment. They’re not just trashing it.

Since we get three newspapers daily with an occasional one purchased for some arcane reason, we produce a lot of news print. Add to that all the containers, cans, and bottles, and you have a serious amount of material that should work its way into the blue can. You just wave and never have to get in there and touch.

Anyway we are hooked. Some day all of you will thank us for becoming recycling zealots.

Did I mention I bought two and can’t wait to try some of the other goodies from this company!