Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers

Fine mesh strainers are used for many different types of cooking, baking and food preparation tasks, from sifting powdered dry ingredients for baking or garnishing baked goods to straining sauces and custards, rinsing uncooked rice, quinoa or beans, and draining post of cooked pasta. 

When the sieves I inherited from my mom that had served us both for decades eventually needed to be replaced, shopping for replacements turned out to be more challenging than I could have anticipated. 

In this review, I'll share my advice on how to choose the best fine mesh kitchen strainers for your needs as well as my product reviews for the fine mesh sieves I purchased nearly five years ago and recommend highly.

How to Pick the Best Fine Mesh Strainers for Your Needs: 3 Pro Shopping Tips
Learn how to be a savvy consumer when shopping for fine mesh kitchen strainers.

3 Pro Shopping Tips for Choosing the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers for Your Needs.


Think About How You Will Be Using Them.

When shopping for fine mesh strainers, the best choice will depend on what you want to use them for. The ideal diameter, depth, handle, weight balance, durability, wire mesh size and stiffness will be very different for mesh sieves used primarily for sifting cocoa powder, flour or powdered sugar than for those used mainly for straining fresh raspberry seeds or draining a large quantity of just-cooked pasta. 

So, before you start researching or shopping for new fine mesh sieves, take a few minutes to think about the types of tasks you want, need and expect your new strainers to perform well.

Consider the Most Important Product Features and Characteristics for Your Specific Uses. 

Once you have made a list of the things you want to use your new strainer(s) for, it's time to educate yourself about the different types of materials, construction, mesh fineness, and other options available in models at different price points and think about which ones might be best suited to your needs, priorities and budget. 

For example, if you are shopping for a small strainer for steeping loose tea in a cup or travel mug, an inexpensive model made of a very finely woven nylon mesh material might do the best job of filtering out the tea leaves. On the other hand, if you also want to be able to sift or dust small amounts of cocoa powder or confectioners sugar, you might decide to go with a more expensive, stainless steel model that has a stiffer wire mesh and a slightly looser weave, the tradeoff being that it wouldn't be quite as effective at filtering out the small, powdery bits of tea leaf. 

Similarly, having a comfortable, contoured, riveted handle (and preferably two) may be a priority if you are looking for a large-capacity, heavy-duty strainer, but a thinner, flatter handle attached with spot welding might be fine if you only need a small or medium size strainer for lighter-duty tasks.

Stay Focused on Your Needs As You Compare Fine Mesh Strainers and Read Product Reviews.

Whether a review is positive or negative, consider the author's praise or complaints in the context of your own needs and priorities. Also keep an eye out for negative fine mesh strainer reviews based on inappropriate assumptions or unreasonable expectations. 

Reviews by reputable industry experts can be extremely valuable, but it's important to consider how well the reviewers' evaluation and rating criteria match for your own needs, preferences and intended uses for the product. 

I learned this firsthand at the beginning of 2017. A few weeks after I bought a Cuisinart set of small, medium and large strainers that I wanted just for the two smaller sizes, Cook's Illustrated published a fine mesh strainers equipment review (subscription required) that rated the Cuisinart set as "not recommended." Since I trust and respect the America's Test Kitchen staff's opinions, I was dismayed by the low rating for the set I had just bought. However, when I looked at the reviewers' product selection criteria and the performance tests they had devised, I saw that many of the features, specifications and use cases they had focused on (e.g., approximately 9" diameter, stiff, extremely fine wire mesh baskets, handles that were comfortable to hold over an extended period of time, long, wide hooks that fit easily over both medium and large pots and bowls) weren't relevant to the small and medium Cuisinart strainers or the types of tasks for which I had chosen that set. 

On the other hand, those criteria and tests were extremely relevant to my needs and wants for the much sturdier Kukpo 9-inch strainer I had purchased to complement the small and medium sized Cuisinart sieves. If that Cook's Illustrated equipment review had been published one month sooner, I might have had second thoughts about buying my $14 Kukpo, despite the $45 price tag of the only "highly recommended" model, the Rösle 7.9-inch Stainless Steel Round Handle Kitchen Strainer

So, keep your own needs in mind as you are reading fine mesh strainer reviews and looking at product features and specifications. Also, remember that no strainer can do every job equally well and be open to the possibility that investing in more than one might be your best bet, depending on how many things you want to use them for.  

Recommended Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainer Reviews 

Here are my personal product reviews for the best fine mesh kitchen strainers I purchased to replace the much older ones I had inherited. The ones I am recommending have been in frequent use in my kitchen for at least several years, show minimal signs of wear and continue to meet my quality and performance needs and expectations.

Kukpo Stainless Steel Double Fine Mesh Strainer Review

If you are looking for a large, versatile, affordable sieve that does a good job at a variety of kitchen tasks, the Kukpo Stainless Steel Fine Double Mesh Strainer, 9 Inch Diameter is an excellent choice.

This sturdy, inexpensive Kukpo 9-inch stainless steel fine double mesh strainer can handle most straining, sieving and sifting tasks well.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Practical size. The basket rim is 9" across and the fine wire mesh basket itself is about 8" wide at the top and 3.25" deep, large enough to easily drain a pound of cooked pasta, but not so large that it's unwieldy.
  • A versatile workhorse. If you're looking for a single, good quality, inexpensive fine mesh food strainer that performs well for most uses, I highly recommend this 9-inch Kukpo model. It's great for straining stock, sauces, yogurt, custard, frying oil and coffee grounds; separating milk solids from melted butter for clarified butter or ghee; rinsing rice, beans, lentils and grains such as quinoa; straining seeds from fresh berry purée; and sifting flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa or powdered sugar.
  • Durable construction, including two riveted handles. Unlike many fine mesh strainers, this one has no gap between the wire mesh screen and the rim/frame where bits of food residue can get stuck and be hard to remove. It also has two handles that distribute the weight more evenly and are riveted to the rim rather than spot-welded, making it more comfortable and well balanced to hold when draining a large volume of heavy food, such as cooked pasta.
  • Two layers of fine wire mesh for better strength, stiffness and filtering ability. Doubling the mesh creates a stronger, sturdier basket that holds its shape better and resists denting, despite its size, even when mashing fresh strawberries, raspberries, or confectioners sugar firmly against the mesh to strain the seeds or break up hard lumps.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I generally prefer to wash my fine mesh sieves by hand, but it's nice to be able to run them through the dishwasher occasionally to sanitize them more thoroughly. This one has an all stainless steel construction that doesn't rust, not only in my own experience but also in those of many other customers, according to their product reviews. 
  • 100% money back guarantee. Although I couldn't find any details about the terms of this guarantee, quite a few Amazon customers have raved about the company's outstanding customer service in their reviews. 

Cuisinart Set of 3 Mesh Strainers

I've found that pairing this set of three Cuisinart stainless steel strainers with the larger, sturdier, 9-inch Kukpo double mesh strainer covers all the bases for any use I can think of.

This set of three Cuisinart mesh strainers is excellent for light-duty tasks like dusting desserts with cocoa or confectioners sugar, rinsing berries and juicing lemons.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • Three useful sizes. This set includes 3 1/8”, 5 ½”, and 7 7/8” diameter fine mesh sieves.
  • Great for less strenuous tasks. The two smaller sizes in this set are ideal for things like straining loose tea leaves, dusting powdered sugar or cocoa over desserts, washing a cup of fresh berries or string beans, or straining the seeds while juicing a lemon. The largest one is fine for sifting a couple of cups of dry baking ingredients and similar light-duty tasks, but the spot-welded handles and thinner wire mesh make it too delicate for heavier contents and more demanding applications that require the sturdier Kukpo strainer.
  • Surprisingly inexpensive. At the time of publication, this set of three cost less than $14 on Amazon. Even though I prefer the 9" Kukpo to the 7 7/8" strainer in the Cuisinart set, I consider that a very good value, even for just the small and medium sizes.
  • Dishwasher safe stainless steel. I haven't found a single speck of rust on any of mine after nearly five years of frequent use.
  • Limited lifetime warranty. Cuisinart offers a limited lifetime warranty for its products if you register your purchase with them. I haven't been able to find any information about what it covers for this strainer set. 

Bonus Tip: Use a Stiff, Thin-Bristled Brush to Dislodge Any Food Particles Stuck in the Fine Mesh

Whether you plan to wash your strainers by hand or in the dishwasher, I highly recommend inspecting the fine wire mesh carefully for any bits of food residue that might be stuck. It's best to wash and check the mesh as soon as possible after use, since any clogs will be much harder to dislodge if they are allowed to dry inside those tiny openings. If you need more time, just submerge the strainer in hot water and until you are able to clean and inspect it properly. 

I have found that small, dense brushes with thin, stiff bristles, like the two in the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set, are the most effective tools for clearing stubborn food particles from the fine wire mesh. 


How to Choose the Best Fine Mesh Kitchen Strainers by Margaret Schindel


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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Five Great Grandpa Aprons

Discover five fun aprons for the grandfather in your life!

My grandfathers are both gone. One I did not have the pleasure of knowing; the other, I knew as a child and as a teenager. I have fond memories of him and remember him as being quiet and gentle at least to his three grandchildren. I remember him offering support by just being there. My mother often tells me that when I was a baby my grandfather often checked on me, making sure that I was okay whether I was sleeping or playing.
Five Great Grandpa Aprons

I never had the opportunity to give my grandfather an apron and, to be perfectly honest, it would not have been a suitable gift idea for him. A man cooking was definitely not the norm of the time or in our family. However, we all know that is different now and if there is a grandpa doing the cooking and/or grilling at your family get togethers, one of the grandfather-themed aprons reviewed here on this page ought to make a fun, affordable and practical gift idea.

Everybody knows that grandpas are perfect at least in the eyes of their grandchildren, which is what the first aprons celebrate. 

Listed in no particular order but shown somewhere in the picture opposite this text, our first apron reads Nobody's Perfect but if your name is Grandpa, You're Pretty Damn Close. Find it here on Amazon. 

Next up, The Best Grandpa Ever apron. Available in a number of colors, you will find it here on Amazon. 

If you want a grandfather-themed apron with a grilling reference the Best Grillin' Grandpa Ever apron, found here, ought to suit.

Another choice with a barbecuing reference would be the Grandpa to Some Bar-B-Q Master to Others apron, which seems appropriate for the grandfather who takes a lot of pride in his grilling skills. I love how colorful it is. It is shown in the top box in the picture opposite the text and you will find it here on Amazon.

A personal favorite of mine is the Great Dads Get Promoted To Grandfather apron, which I think would make an amazing gift for a new grandfather or for a grandfather who does not yet know that he is going to be a grandfather. Wouldn't that be a fun and totally unexpected surprise from the expectant parents or of course for any man who has already been promoted to grandfather. Find it on Amazon here.

Edited after publication to say that I found one more great Grandpa apron. This one is also cute for the grandfather who is intensely into his grilling be that in a good or not-so-good way. Stand Back, Grandpa is Grillin' is perfect for a serious griller or for grillers like my husband and father-in-law who are sometimes perhaps a bit distracted when manning the barbecue. Find it on Amazon here

That's it, my short list of five six fun aprons for the granddads you love. Which one suits your grandfather best?

See you
in the kitchen!

Stand Back, Grandpa is Grillin' Apron
MORE APRONS:

Check out a fun debate and maybe even throw in your two cents worth.

A page of How to Make an Apron resources.
If you love sewing and even if you are not experienced, you will find a host of ideas for making aprons on this page.

Curious about the famous chef's apron? Learn about it here.












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Friday, September 3, 2021

Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven Reviewed

Countertop Oven Review
When my oven went out for the second time in a year, I knew I needed an alternative so I searched for the best countertop oven for baking. Discovering the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven has been like finding a riverbed of gold!

Not having a working oven in our home is a major inconvenience. It has taken months to get the circuit board parts for repairing our built-in double ovens (twice). I understand there is a backlog and some parts are simply not available at this time. However, cooking dinner for my family can't wait for months, or that proverbial "slow boat".  

Of course I cook on the stove, in my Instant Pot, in my Crockpot and in the microwave. However, we love pizza, lasagna, manicotti, chicken enchiladas, roast, salmon, casserole style dinners, plus various breads, baked sides & desserts, which require an oven. I use my oven for something almost every day.  Therefore, this time, I had to find a separate countertop oven to carry us through until my double ovens are fixed.  

At the time of writing this article, my double ovens are still waiting for repair and I have been using my Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop (Convection option) Oven multiple times each day for weeks now. I am here to tell you, this little countertop oven is fabulous!  I have decided it actually does a better job of baking bread than my large convection oven. Therefore, even after my ovens are repaired again, I will continue to use this magnificent work-horse appliance.


Why Choose the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven

Countertop Toaster Oven Review
Previously, I did not want a countertop oven because I was warned that they get really hot on the outside.  Plus, most have small interiors and are very limited on what they can cook well.  It seemed like it would be a waste of counter space.

When desperation forced me to reconsider and research countertop ovens, I chose the Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop Oven simply because it is "cool touch".  The outside of the oven doesn't get hot! Plus, I read that the interior cooking space was a little over 12" x 12", which is large enough for a variety of pans. Even though I have needed to purchase smaller cookie sheets and a casserole dish without handles separately, I would like to note that the oven did come with a 12" pizza pan and a baking pan that fit the oven. That allowed me to start cooking immediately.

My first baking experiment for the "little oven" was my banana bread.  My standard loaf pan fit in the oven without any problem.  You can imagine my surprise when I pulled out a beautifully browned loaf of bread, followed by the real test of cutting into it to find it was fully baked with no under-cooked center spots.

Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven
I was beyond excited to serve it to my family for breakfast.  I admit, that was the best ever banana bread and I've been baking banana bread for decades. Next, we baked biscuits and they were also cooked to perfection.

Then we tried pizza and it was perfect!  Followed by broiled beef sausages.  Admittedly, my husband prefers a charred skin on his beef sausage, but I thought the beef sausages were better than usual because the skin wasn't burnt.  Then came the clincher, the one meal that sold me on believing this convection countertop oven is better than my built-in ovens. I baked my lasagna and it was cooked perfectly.

In the midst of a stressful major appliance outage, this little oven has delivered peace and perfection! 

I give the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven my highest recommendation.

 

Features of the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven

 Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster OvenCheck Price
  • Cool Touch Exterior
  • Large Interior Capacity
  • Convection or Standard Oven Settings
  • Oven Light
  • Non-stick Interior
  • Easy to Select & Set Cooking Options
  • Easy to Set Timer
  • Preheats Really Fast
  • Preset cooking functions: Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, (Bread) Proof, Pizza, Cookies, Reheat, & Dehydrate 
  • Keep Warm & Defrost Buttons
  • Wire Cooking Rack with Optional Upper or Lower Position
  • Included Accessories: 12" Pizza Pan, Baking Pan, Dehydration Basket, & Crumb Tray
  • Does Not Heat Up the Kitchen like a Regular Oven
  • 3 Year Warranty - Product Registeration at Calphalon.com


A Few Placement Notes
  1. While the sides and top are cool touch, the bottom and back are hot, therefore I pull the "little oven" out about 4" from the wall when using
  2. The Electric Cord is on the right side of the back, not the center.  This keeps the cord away from the heat of the back, but might limit placement depending on where your electric outlet is installed
  3. The Cooling Vent is on the right side and should not be blocked.
  4. Rubber Feet on the Bottom create a 1½" separation between the counter and the bottom of the countertop oven
  5. Exterior Measurements:  19" wide x 12½" height x 17" depth (including handle)
  6. Do Not Place Hot Food on the Glass Oven Door  
  7. Print the User Guide Here

My New Lasagna/Casserole Dish That Fits This Countertop Oven




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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Best Back to School Memories Last for Years! A Product Review

September is a month that is full of lots of activities, usually focused around going back to school. 




Parents are busy making sure that the clothes and shoes fit.  If they don't you know there will be a shopping trip on the horizon.  First days back to school are so much fun because the students have been missing some of their friends and maybe, just maybe, there will be a new friend or two to be made.

This year most of the students and parents are especially happy that their children will be returning to a "more normal" way of learning.  No more "home schooling" unless that is the choice you have made for your children.  

For the kids going back, it will seem even more special!  Their old classrooms have been empty for almost 2 years.  Who knows what changes have taken place while they were all being home schooled.


I love seeing everyone's pictures of their kids all dressed up and ready to jump on the School Bus!  All their backpacks and gear labelled and ready to use.

Personally, the memory I love the best was getting that new pencil case and the pencils, pens, crayons or colored pencils that I would use almost daily!

There is something really special about getting that brand new pack of Crayola Pencil Crayons and sitting with a brand new sharpener.  While patiently sharpening each crayon, I would daydream about how this year was going to be the best year ever!  It was almost like a child's meditation on life!  

For younger children it might be a whole new set of Crayola Crayons and some new pencils.  A Pink Eraser that hadn't yet been used was also a MUST HAVE  for the new school year.


I don't know why, but around this time of year I love going shopping for school supplies, just nowadays we call them office supplies.  It still makes my heart go pitter patter when I see those Colored Pencils and Markers of all kinds.

My guess is that most children will be looking forward to school this year for many reasons.  The parents are looking forward to this as well.  Running Zoom meetings with teachers is not the same as being in the classroom.  Getting back together with their friends and socializing would be the first reason many are looking forward to Back to School.  And I'm sure the second reason is to pull out those brand new pencils, pencil crayons and markers to do the first of many assignments.  

Keeping them all together and neat is another fun part of this Back to School task and pencil cases have come a long way from the plain black top zipped pouch!  Now you can make a statement with how you carry your personal writing implements.  I happen to love this red one and it has a 5 star rating as well.  The others colors are also really neat!   

Back to School is an adventure for the parents as well as the kids.  New gear is part of the fun.  Making and seeing new friends and old ones will always be a part of the Memories that our children will cherish!




If the kids come home from school a little stressed, make sure you have a color by numbers book for them, after all it is supposed to relieve stress!  You might want one for yourself too!  

                        Happy Back to School Days Everyone!






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Monday, August 30, 2021

Real Men Don't Wear Aprons, Do They?

Real men don't wear aprons, do they? What do you think? Join the debate now.

REAL MEN DON’T WEAR APRONS, DO THEY?

What do you think? Real men don't wear aprons do they? This page is dedicated to the issue of whether or not real men wear aprons. Are you a real man? If so, do or do you not wear one? Herewith find a friendly and occasionally funny debate about whether or not men actually do wear aprons. Please participate in the comment section at the bottom of the page and be sure to share this page with others so that they can add their voices to the debate. Do real men wear aprons?

HEY BANANABRAIN! REAL MEN DON’T WEAR APRONS!


Hey, BananaBrain! Real men DON'T wear aprons. Doesn't matter how many fantastic men's aprons you find, Brenda. I'm not going to put one on, no way, no how! 

But maybe you don't feel that way. Maybe you are a MAN WITH AN APRON in which case you're going to want to vote for them.

This page is meant as a bit of fun and has been moved from where it originally was posted on another website. Therefore, the names of the commenters have been changed to protect their real identities. 

REAL MEN DON’T WEAR APRONS. DO THEY OR DON'T THEY? HERE'S WHAT THE PEOPLE HAD TO SAY:  


Anonymous: They do.

VLC: Yes.

SJ: "Just" an apron? :) My wife wouldn't care if I wore newspaper as long as I cooked!

WV3: Hmm, I think it's fine, I just don't know any who do!

Anonymous: Unless they are cooking something extremely messy. Or they're wearing nice clothes.

LM24: The only aprons we have in our house are for the kids. My husband does most of the cooking.

QS: A real man would just get in there and take care of business, apron or not. Especially if he could get a little dirty and the wife is the one doing laundry!

J: I thought that ties provide enough protection while cooking.

MPA: Well, if you are using apron as a metaphor for cooking then yes, but I have never worn an apron in my life!

HLM: I don't wear an apron. Neither does my wife.

KT: Real men can't find an apron!

Anonymous: No, Real men do not wear aprons!

JI: Yes!

SD: Unless the apron is to be used as a giant bib it would be useless! LOL

EK13: I don't even know any men who can cook, let alone wear an apron. =P

Anonymous: Well, my man doesn't wear an apron, just like he doesn't know how to "clear as you go" when he cooks. But at least he cooks!

L22: I don't but never thought about it either so I just figure no you don’t see it every day.

CSM: Well, my husband does not wear an apron, but I sure wish he would. I do the laundry!

Anonymous: Aprons are for wimps - cook, get dirty and then get your lady to clean you up!

MRE: Mine doesn't but then he only makes toast.

Mrs: I don't even own an apron so I don't think the hubby is likely to wear one!

Anonymous: Aprons are protective apparel; nothing more, nothing less. If you are doing "dirty" stuff, cooking, washing dishes, etc. whilst wearing good clothes wear an apron! If you are going to work in the garden, wash the car, paint the house; dress appropriately - ie wear old clothes, no apron needed.

Anonymous: Chefs, meat cutters, welders, bike mechanics wear aprons. Real men wear whatever they want 'cuz they are men and are not afraid of what others might think.

ViJ: Real men don't care what others say. Real men are confident in any skill they've got and comfortable in their own skin.

NV: Ouch, dahling.

Anonymous: Bobby Flay wears aprons.

Anonymous: Part of the grill experience is having beer, meat and the smell of flesh on the grill. You can choose to wear an apron or you can choose to carry a towel around or you could take part in the third option and wipe your hands on your shirt and walk around the party with grease stains on your shirt. While you’re at the third option, you may as well put on a half shirt with your beer belly hanging out the bottom. If wearing an apron takes your man hood, I don't think you had much to take. Of course, this all said is intended for a manly apron wearer not the flowery apron you stole from your wife before the divorce.

Anonymous: Real men wear aprons, when and only when I want them to. Otherwise, they're kept starkers. ;D

Anonymous: Why not? Nothing is wrong with a nice PVC apron. It keeps you clean when cooking and is easy to clean after you finish.

E L S: I wear my apron for all the fellas who can't or won't and I'm quite OK with that!

Anonymous: No problem - pinafore or smock style, but no frills and certainly no stupid half aprons.

SE: Real men are sexy men and sexy men cook :-) They have to be able to throw together a good meal, or the ladies will find someone who can!

KTC: Men definitely do wear aprons. How about when doing a BBQ? There are some great BBQ aprons out there. Make sure the BBQ-er has a beer in hand at all times and that's manly! (Find a great selection of Sizzlin' Hot BBQ Aprons here.)

MR: If women can wear tight jeans, men can wear sexy aprons!

LH: Oh yes, they do. My very best-selling Zazzle product is the King of the Grill BBQ apron but hubby only wears a leather apron and that's only for when he's welding. Hmmmmmmm. (I couldn't find LH's apron but I found a fun selection of King of the Grill aprons on Etsy here.)

Anonymous: "Real Men" Any man that has anything worth protecting down there would be wise to wear an apron when working with hot food. Taking a bath in hot caramel is never fun.

Anonymous: Of course, they should wear aprons. Full length. PVC.

CRLM: Real men are totally sexy in aprons. (It has to be a manly apron though.)

Anonymous: Real men wear aprons - PVC when dishwashing

Anonymous: They do.

Anonymous: At a church supper, you want to be able to mingle, without being covered in slop! Working under different, sometimes rushed conditions, with a new crew - stuff happens, and the resulting "decorations" are not always pretty.

Anonymous: Yes, absolutely they do! Real men do AND look pretty good in them as well. (I know I do.)

Anonymous: This idea, that wearing an apron makes you less manly is silly. My carpenter and butcher wear aprons... does that mean they are any less manly than anyone else. Real men can and do wear aprons! RTV LM: My hubby loves his apron I had custom made for him when he grills and, LOL, I can attest he's a real man ;)

VS: I started wearing aprons in 1975 when I went to work for Howard Johnson's. As a manager, we had to run the line in the kitchen most of the time but be presentable for the front of the house as well. I kept an extra set of clothing in the office for emergencies like bending over a deep fryer and dipping in your tie but aprons saved me many, many times! I've kept the habit.

RW: My husband wears the apron in our family -- and it is sexy!

PI: Yeah, they do but only if there is something really stupid written on it.

TG: I never wear an apron myself and neither does my husband, but that's just because I don't like to put them on and off again, but I don't truly see why men can't wear an apron if he wants to. I always wear trousers, does that make me less feminine? And yes, if a man likes to cook and keep his clothes clean, he should wear an apron of some sort.

Anonymous: I love to see my men folk in aprons

Anonymous: It takes a real man, secure in himself, and no need to prove his "machismo" to wear an apron.

Jack: Chefs wear aprons. Men that aren't chefs wear them when they cook, if they're not girlie aprons.

IM: I have met a REAL man, a manly man and he uses an apron now and then.

Anonymous: Sure they do, sometimes.

Anonymous: Yes, some do wear aprons 24/7.

GW: Real men can do anything!

Anonymous: Well, as long as they are not girlie aprons, LOL.

EW: Real men can really wear aprons!

Anonymous: Men who know that the healthiest foods are home cooked are the 'smarter' men. What makes them even smarter is that they choose to wear aprons because they know that aprons keep their clothes clean while they cook those healthy meals. Eat that ! ;)

TAWA: Lots of men wear aprons and can still be manly. (Sure a frilly pinafore isn’t making anyone feel THAT masculine but DANG FLABBIT ITS AN APRON!!) MY POINT IS MEN JUST WEAR A DANG APRON! Sheesh this is like saying real women don’t wear pants!

Anonymous: To say men do not wear aprons does not make sense really. All kinds of professional men wear aprons. In Freemasonry, we give aprons as awards.

JC: I worked for several years as a cook in restaurants and residences. You better believe men wear aprons when they cook for a living. As for around the house, well, they do it they barbecue, I think. Anonymous: Dirty apron = clean clothes PL: Yes, he does, well, maybe not all of the time. In fact, this just gave me the idea to write a page about my man in his apron. I'm sure he won't mind, will he? This is a fun debate, deserving of 5 aprons.

EJA: My husband is all man and he's more likely to wear an apron than I am.

AG LM: When I meet a REAL man, I’ll let you know. I’ll know he is real as he WILL be wearing his apron and not hanging onto my apron strings, he he he.

Anonymous: Real men can and do wear aprons

HB: Chefs wear them and many of them are "real men."

KTBTEN: Real men fry tofu -- it can be wise to wear an apron when stir-frying tofu in a wok over very high heat.

Anonymous: Real men DO wear aprons. They do.

WWH: We don't own any aprons but they seem to be really fashionable!

R7: I know one man who DOES wear an apron occasionally but to be honest I haven't seen many people in aprons period. Men or women.

BD: Real men aren't afraid to wear aprons and I like my man in nothing but an apron.

LK: My real men wear footie PJs! Aprons, too!

TD: Real men don’t care what other think... :)

SD: Mine should and I wouldn't mind as long as he's doing the cooking!

SLM: Well, let's just put it this way. Before I ever did any cooking apart from a braai (barbeque), I wouldn't have been caught dead in an apron. However, lots of men wear funny aprons at a braai. Now, however being forced to cook, I'll put on the wife's apron. Handy to wipe your hands on.

K: They wear aprons, but they never tie them in the back - just hang them over their neck and go.

-------------------------------------

Before you vote, here is an opportunity to add a good, solid, basic apron to your man's wardrobe. 

The first one shown below is by Chefs Work and is simple but durable and receives top marks from the reviewers on Amazon. Check it and the reviews out for yourself on Amazon by clicking right here

Chef Works basic striped apron receives solid reviews from users. Perfect for the apron-wearing man in your household.
The second apron also shown below is for those already converted to wearing an apron, reads Real Men Wear Aprons and is available in a host of colors. Find it on Amazon here.

Perfect for the man who cooks and wants to protect his clothes. Real men DO wear aprons!
-------------------------------------

Phew! If you made it this far, now is the time. It is your turn to add your voice to the debate. Please don't let the previous comments change your opinion but do add your thoughts. What do you think? Do real men wear aprons or not?

See you
in the kitchen!  

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Reviewing The Benefits and Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawn Mower


This is my personal review of our manual lawnmower. Over the years we have had maybe five or six lawnmowers all electric, apart from one petrol powered one.

However, last year we bought a manual lawnmower. I am not really sure why we decided to do that, but I know we were fed up with our electric ones breaking down or cutting the cord accidentally and the whole hassle of fixing up extension leads inside the house as we have no outside power. The one petrol lawnmower we had was very heavy and noisy and really too big for us and our lawn and neither of us liked it.

The electric one had just given up, more expensive to fix than to buy another one and of course, it was at peak mowing time so we needed another one quickly.

Searching For A Lawn Mower

We started trawling Amazon for lawnmowers. We did not want a petrol mower as we do not have a massive amount of lawn and it would have been too much. We were fed up with electric lawnmowers and all the issues we had found with them. 

So we decided to hone in on manual lawnmowers. At first, I was not sure this was a good idea. My husband has health issues and I need to be careful with my back having a history of severe back problems. I wasn't sure we would be able to push it without added power.

I also wasn't sure if it would cut effectively. It felt in this age of technology, powered appliances and high specifications to be a step backward. Yet in a way also felt completely appropriate for our nature-friendly, wildlife garden and for the more power-saving, environmentally aware times we live in.

The manual lawnmower we found had an appealing price point and looked very sturdy and we were fed up replacing lawnmowers too often. So we bought a Bosch manual lawn mower. 


Bosch Manual Lawn Mower


Our First Experience Of A Manual Lawn Mower.

When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised that it was sturdy looking but not too heavy.

Set up was easy with only the long handles to fix to the frame which even for us was easy. We never fitted the grassbox as we intended to cut the lawn often and have always found a grassbox to be an encumbrance. However, the grassbox is there if we ever need it. 

Hubby was the first to try to in the garden. We set the blades on high and he simply pushed it and it cut cleanly and efficiently.  After a few laps he stopped and said it was really easy to push and no more work than our previous electric mowers! In fact, he seemed to be rather enjoying it!

So then I tried it and to my joy, it was indeed easy to push and did not hurt my back that time or any other time I have mowed the lawn.

For some reason I have yet to pin down it always seems more fun to use than our powered ones ever did!  

So after using this manual lawnmower for nearly a year now we have found clear benefits and drawbacks as we see it from our personal experience.

Manual Lawn Mower Is Easy To Use


Benefits Of A Manual Lawnmower

It is easier to push than we expected and no more physical strength is required than with our previous powered mowers

Much quieter than our electric or petrol mowers and it has quite a soothing muted sound

There are no electricity costs and no petrol costs. So we can mow to our heart's content knowing we are not incurring any ongoing financial costs at all! This is great for us as power costs are due to rise by a significant amount, so any savings are good. 

Regarding the environment, there are no emissions from a manual lawn mower so this is all good for our planet.

There is the joy of knowing that never again will we cut through an electric cable!

With no trailing wires, no extension leads required, no outdoor power needed and no wires trailing from the house into the garden, it is an easy-use tool.  

Fewer components mean there is less to go wrong

The manual lawn mower is ready to go as soon as you are! We now have no worries that it won't start or that a component will suddenly go wrong.

Close Up Of Bosch Manual Lawnmower, blades, wheels and roller


Even with battery lawnmowers you have the battery life or recharging to concern yourself with, while with a totally manual machine none such concerns. 

Significantly better for wildlife. We don't disturb any more wildlife using our manual lawnmower than we would with our presence walking down the garden. 

The frogs, toads,  hedgehogs and birds -especially fledglings - have plenty of time to move away from it and there's no risk if any of them getting caught up by the blades.


Fledgling Baby Robin 


To us, it does appear to give a better cleaner cut rather than tearing the grass.

It was less expensive than other powered mowers we have purchased in the past.

As it has a smaller footprint than most powered mowers it is easier to store and takes up less space. 

We can carry it easily as it is not too heavy, though it is sturdy. 

The manual lawnmower feels safer around wildlife, pets and children as there are no wires for them to get caught up in or trip over. There is no electricity to worry about and no fast-moving blades. We do take all the usual safety precautions of course. 

Hedgehog In Our Garden


Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawnmower

I do think that if you have a very large lawn a manual lawnmower will take more time to achieve the task. While it is perfectly possible to cut a large lawn with a manual lawn mower you will need to decide if you wish to do that. 

We find you need to cut a little more often than with a powered mower as it is much easier to cut shorter grass than longer grass with it.

If you attach the grassbox you may need to empty it more often, but I think if you cut more often this would not be an issue. 

Long grass will be more difficult to cut and certainly take more effort. Little and often is easier to cut than letting the grass grow longer which makes it harder to cut and then does require more physical power.

It is not so good at cutting wet grass as it does take more effort and seems to clog up more easily, but we rarely try to cut wet grass anyway even with our powered mowers, preferring to cut it when it is dry.

We will need to sharpen the blades every few years with our size lawn, but given the saving in electricity, this will not be a cost issue.   

Ours does have a roller but many manual mowers won't have rollers, so stripes will be more difficult to achieve. If this is important to you check that you can achieve stripes with it. If you want one with a roller function do check all the specifications. 

If you are considering a manual lawn mower do research properly what is important to you in a lawnmower. We bought a Bosch Manual Lawnmower and there are many more choices that are equally suitable. 

Here is a selection to browse. Do consider what you need in a manual lawn mower and read all the specifications carefully.


Happy With Our Manual Lawn Mower 

In summary, we are both really happy with our Bosch manual lawn mower. We have owned it for nearly a year now with no issues at all and are very content that we never need to worry about it breaking down or not starting. 

We don't worry about wires or electricity costs. We have no need to worry about safety with wildlife or pets or children getting caught up in the wires or blades. Obviously, the blades are sharp so you would take all the usual precautions regarding children and any type of machinery. 

We find it a gentle, easy, quiet way to mow our smallish lawn that is environmentally and wildlife-friendly and does not annoy us or the neighbours. 

Bosch Manual Lawnmower


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Friday, August 20, 2021

Camera Lens Cap Holder Leash Review

camera lens holder
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with keeping up with my camera lens caps.  I am not normally clumsy, but my lens caps just seem to slip through my fingers and fall to the ground just as I am trying to capture the perfect shot.

Not only can fumbling with the camera lens cap cause me to lose the opportunity for a great picture, dropping it in dirt can get the lens cap dusty. That pretty much negates the purpose of having a lens cap.  After all, I don't wish to press dirt or dust against my camera lens.

Normally, I wear jeans and my camera vest when we go hiking. If I am taking a panoramic photo of a landscape, I simply slip my camera lens in a pocket.  However, if I spot an animal along the trail, I tend to "flip" the cover off the lens in a hurry.  Needless to say, that is how it ends up on the ground instead of in my pocket.

I've also managed to drop and lose lens caps in our vehicles. They just seem to gravitate to unknown crevices or fall into the dark abyss, otherwise known as under the seat. 

Extreme annoyance with these pesky, unruly covers sent me on a search for a leash to keep them close at hand. I demand, no more runaways!

Obviously, I am not alone in this game of "find the fallen lens cover" because I quickly located exactly what I needed.  You, too, may feel you need a remedy.  If so, I can highly recommend this easy to attach lens cap leash. 

 

Altura Photo Lens Cap Keeper 
Camera Lens Cap Leash for DSRL & Mirrorless Lenses

It might seem that tying a string onto the lens cap would be a simple solution.  However, my lens cap covers do not have any holes in them anywhere. Therefore, a string is not an option.

These camera lens cap leashes have one end that sticks to the lens cap cover and the other end is an elastic strap that stretches snugly around the lens itself.  This simple invention works like a charm!  Plus, the lens cap leashes are extremely inexpensive.

Stop your lens cap struggle today!  If only every annoyance was this easy to eliminate.






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Monday, August 16, 2021

Emeril Lagasse Pasta and Beyond Review

 

Emeril Lagasse Pasta and Beyond Review

There is no doubt that our family loves pasta. We enjoy making our own homemade pasta whenever time allows.

We have had and used, our Atlas pasta machine for years, and with this machine, you can make different types of noodles. With everybody’s busy schedules we don’t always have the time to make the dough, roll it out and run it through the machine.

It was just after Christmas 2020 when I was flipping through the television channels, and I came across Emeril Lagasse’s infomercial for his Pasta & Beyond machine.

I immediately stopped flipping the channels, number one because I like Emeril Lagasse and number two, I love homemade pasta. I’m usually not an impulse buyer, but after watching the infomercial I knew that I had to have this.

I bought the complete system, which includes a shredder, a slicer, a meat grinder, a slow juicer, and a frozen treat maker. This post is about the pasta machine, as I have not tried the others yet. Although, my daughter did use the meat grinder and she liked its performance.

What you get with Pasta and Beyond:

The past machine

Liquid measuring cup

Dry measuring cup

Mixing Chamber

Pasta Discs (8 different types of pasta)

Spatula/cleaning tool

Cleaning brush

A recipe book that includes so many pasta recipes, and there is even a gluten-free pasta recipe.

The different types of pasta that you can make with your Pasta and Beyond:

Pasta Discs

Penne

Spaghetti

Linguine

Tagliatelle

Udon (This is one I haven't had before)

Angel Hair

Fettucine

Lasagna

Making homemade pasta with this machine is so easy. You just add the dry ingredients into the mixing chamber. Prepare the wet ingredients in the provided measuring cup. Turn on the machine according to the instructions. Then, add the wet ingredients slowly through the mixing chamber lid.

The machine will mix for about 5 minutes and then it will go in reverse to begin extruding the pasta. The best part is that you can have homemade pasta on the table in about 30 minutes.

If you are in a pasta-making mood the pasta is easy to freeze. Make a few pounds of your favorite, freeze it, and have homemade pasta anytime. The machine is also very easy to clean.

Wet and Dry Ingredients

In this photo, we are getting ready to make some homemade linguine. We used Emeril's Pasta recipe with all-purpose flour and semolina flour. 

A ten-second video of making our linguine

One pound of Linguine

This is our one pound of linguine that we made in about 30 minutes. This was homemade, and oh so fresh, we enjoyed linguine and clam sauce that day.

I wonder what my grandmother would think of this machine. Growing up I watched her make homemade pasta all the time, only it was all by hand.

There are other pasta machines on the market and I can't speak to their performance. I can tell you that I am 100 percent satisfied with my Pasta and Beyond.

EMERIL LAGASSE Pasta & Beyond, Automatic Pasta and Noodle Maker with Slow Juicer - 8 Pasta Shaping Discs BlackEMERIL LAGASSE Pasta & Beyond, Automatic Pasta and Noodle Maker with Slow Juicer - 8 Pasta Shaping Discs BlackCheck the Price

 

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