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Friday, June 11, 2010

Simplify Your Cooking

I just finished making tonights dinner, and as I prepped the veggies, legumes, and ham I was enjoying the kitchen gadgets that make my cooking life so much simpler. It makes my life a little bit easier, and makes cooking a lot more enjoyable, and so tonights blog was born!

I would like to say up front that I don't get any monies from recommending these products. These are truly things that I have purchased or have been gifted that I have really enjoyed, and that have held up the test of time for our family of 6. Some of these items may be old, and hard to find. I'd suggest searching places online if you cannot find them in local retailers.

1. Progressive International Onion Chopper.

You may have seen this gadget on TV. It comes with 2 blades for a mince and a chop. I use both blades nearly every day. It's great for chopping up any and all veggies for soups, salads, hard boiled eggs, and for mix-ins (like adding bell pepper to a pasta salad, or adding celery and onion to a tuna salad). I love that it has measurements on the side as well so when you chop you can tilt the unit on it's side to see how much veggies you have cut. It saves a step from having to get out measuring cups and measure each veggie to see how much more you need. I paid $20, but I have seen them as low as $10 on Amazon.

2. Braun Multi-mix

This is my all time fave item in my kitchen. It's not about the mixer...while it is a powerful hand mixer, it's just a mixer. I've not used the kneading wands ever, and the whipper/chopper blade is something I've only used for homemade mayo and for making bread crumbs. The mastery of this gadget is the mini chopper/food processor. I've owned about 12 different types of food processors, and various choppers, and I am telling you that none have ever held a candle to this thing! I use it to make egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, deviled ham, guacamole, whip up pinto beans into refried beans, to make homemade baby foods, to make homemade sauces, dips, and so much more. I use this every day! It chopped up herbs faster than you can get the cutting board out, and it minces garlic cloves super fine. It's really easy to clean, and is dishwasher safe. The unit also comes with a lid so when I make a batch of something the leftovers can stay in the chopper bowl and go straight into the fridge, although I must admit I rarely have leftovers to store in it.

3. Black & Decker Gizmo under the counter can opener.

This is a space saver, a mess saver, and a time saver. The thing I love about this can opener is it is cordless, and does not take up space on my counter. You can open the can on the unit, or the can opener mechanism can be removed as a handheld can opener and it will open your cans sitting on the counter. It has a rechargable battery, and it charges when you sit it in the base. (Older models have a cord to plug into the handheld unit, but newer models do not-the base plugs into an outlet and the mase has metal pads like a battery charger would.

4. Back 2 Basics Egg & Muffin Toaster

I have owned this in both the 2 slice, and now the 4 slice version. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It does take up a bit more space than a traditional toaster, but it is sooooo worth it. You can toast bread, english muffin, or bagel. You can eggs, and heat a slice of sausage, ham, or pre-cooked bacon on the side tray. You can hard boil eggs perfectly every time with just a few TBSP of water! This is my fave feature. On the 4 slice machine I can hard boil 8 eggs in 6 minutes with just 3 TBSP of water and make deviled eggs for breakfast and snacks, or egg salad for lunch.  

5. Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage Set

Rubbermaid has a few variations of this product. They have a green version, which is specifically for produce, and they have a simple plastic version with red lids. I purchased the PREMIER version. Mine have gray lids, but otherwise look like the photo above.

I used to be a hardcore tupperstuff mamma. I had half a pantry full of odd shaped and various colored tupper products. I thought I was doing the right thing by having "the best" food storage container. Let me say that, despite my love of tupper stuff, and my tupper sellin' mamma friends, they don't have a thing on this new Rubbermaid line.

I love that the lids snap onto the base of the containers, and I love how these all fit inside each other. I have 6 pieces and lids all stacked together filling up the same space as just 2 of my tupper bowls. I also love that the Premier version is made of a harde plastic which is completely clear. I can actually see what is in the container! What a smart design! Lastly, I love that the lids are partially clear so you can see inside the tops as well!

These containers are so much cheaper than tupperstuff, and they are of excellent quality, and are a true space saver!

That's it for today. I tackled that Tupperstuff cabinet around New Years and I have not missed one single item from the old collection of overpriced plastic! I have more cabinet space now, and lids are always right with the container, where they should be!

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