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

Friday, March 9, 2018

KitchenAid Smooth Glide Ice Cream Scoop Reviewed

KitchenAid Smooth Glide Ice Cream Scoop Reviewed
For decades I have fought the battle with scooping ice cream.  Recently, I purchased the KitchenAid Smooth Glide Scoop and I am here to tell you, it actually works!  Scooping ice cream or sherbet just got a whole lot easier for me.

I can't even begin to guess how many spoons I have bent trying to scoop ice cream without letting it thaw on the kitchen counter first.  I hate leaving the ice cream out on the counter to thaw for several reasons.  For one thing, if I want ice cream, I'm not very patient.  I want it right then.  Second, I hate having to wipe off the condensation ring the container leaves on my kitchen counter before I can enjoy my dessert.  Plus, I hate the "frost" coating on the top of my ice cream that is created when it has to refreeze.

I have tried several ice cream scoops over the years.  While they won't bend like a spoon, they have been laborious to use.  Sometimes even painful.  I simply don't have the gorilla strength required to scoop hardened ice cream with a half moon bowl shaped scooper.  However, the KitchenAid Smooth Glide Scoop makes me feel a lot stronger because I can immediately dish up a bowl of ice cream without doing any permanent damage to my silverware, my hand, my wrist, my arm or my shoulder.

KitchenAid Smooth Glide Scoop

 KitchenAid Smooth Glide Scoop, BlackCheck PriceIt is all in the design!  The handle is thick enough for me to grip without being too wide for me to hold.  In the picture, it looks like that is a flat handle, but it is only flat on the top.  It is curved underneath and fits perfectly in my hand, allowing me to firmly grip the scoop.

The scoop itself is slightly curved and easily glides through frozen ice cream.  I admit, I don't really care if the ice cream has a pretty shape.  It doesn't have to be a perfectly shaped ball for me to enjoy devouring it.  Obviously, if you plan to serve ice cream on a cone, you would need the old-fashioned half-moon bowl shaped ice cream scoop.  Me?  I would rather never eat ice cream on a cone again now that I can scoop my ice cream without hurting myself, or someone else.

Oh, and another great feature:  It is dishwasher safe and I do, indeed, wash mine in the dishwasher. 

I will keep my old bowl shaped ice cream scoop to use with batter for cupcakes, cookies, etc., but for ice cream, I choose the KitchenAid Smooth Glide Ice Cream Scoop!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Personal Review of My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

It Took Me 45 Years to Discover the Best Vegetable Peeler

In my opinion, it's the Zyliss Potato Peeler. It's the best solution I've found for peeling celery -- the ultimate test of a peeler for me. I've pictured it next to some celery to be peeled for a soup I was making. I peeled it after I took this picture.

Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

Here's what led to my decision to buy it. If you need an excellent peeler right now and don't need the review, take the shortcut below. 


Go straight to the Zyliss Potato Peeler on Amazon and skip the rest of this review. 


My Early Experience with Vegetable Peelers


Some of my most frustrating kitchen experiences have been while peeling vegetables -- especially celery. When I still lived with my parents, Mom often assigned the job of peeling the vegetables to me. I was the one who peeled the potatoes for the holiday mashed potatoes. I also got to peel the rutabagas to cook, and the carrots and celery for the hors d'oeuvres tray before dinner. It was a job I hated. Mom's peeler was the best to be found for the job in the 1950's. It looked a lot like this Miracle Peeler. I think it was a Miracle Peeler. It was much better than others I had used. Even so, peeling wasn't my favorite kitchen chore. 




The Miracle Peeler's handle was fairly easy to control, and I could cut bad spots out with the sharp curved attachment at the end. When I got married and bought my own peeler, I bought the Miracle Peeler. It was the best I could find 53 years ago.

My mother-in-law was using an old stainless steel paring knife she brought with her from Europe. I could not find one like it online, though I did check eBay. This is what it looked like. It's upside down. There is a peeling blade on the other side of the depression in the blade. When Paula handed this to me to peel something, I didn't know what to do with it. I'd never seen anything like it. I didn't do a very good job. When we next visited my husband's parents, I brought Paula a Miracle Peeler like mine so I could at least function if she asked me to peel something.

A Vintage Paring Knife My Mother-in-Law Used to Peel Vegetables
A Vintage Paring Knife My Mother-in-Law Used to Peel Vegetables


Why I Wanted to Replace My Miracle Peeler


Over the years my original Miracle Peeler stopped working as well. I decided to get a new one. The replacement I bought looked like the old one but didn't seem to be made as well. I picked it up at a grocery store and didn't pay too much attention to the brand name. Perhaps it was a cheaper knock-off. In any case, it didn't work very well -- especially on celery. If the celery was the least bit limp, it was almost impossible to peel. Not only that, the new one did not seem to fit my hand as well, and it hurt to use it. I decided to try to find a better one.

I Bought a Zyliss Potato Peeler

The Zyliss peeler works very well on celery and on the other veggies I peel with it. I have been using it now for about five years and it's the best I've ever used.

Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler

I've even used it to strip brown spots off the back of romaine lettuce ribs to make them look nicer. The blade is very flexible and the celery strings don't catch in it as much as in other peelers I have used. If strings do linger long enough to interfere with peeling, I rinse the strings off the blade easily under the faucet. On other peelers, I've often had to use a brush.  If I find a bad spot in the vegetable I'm peeling, I use the sharp cutting end of the Zyliss peeler to get it out easily.

The Zyliss peeler handle is more comfortable in my hand than other peelers have been. It's easy to grip and unlike the Miracle Peeler, my fingers don't have to bend to fit around a small thin metal handle that sometimes presses against my skin in a painful way. I also tried using the Zyliss to peel a stalk of celery with my left hand.  I proved to myself that left-handed people can also use the Zyliss Peeler, since the blade flips both ways.

If you need to replace your vegetable peeler, I highly recommend the Zyliss Potato Peeler. I believe you will be very happy with it, as I have been.




Personal Review of  My Favorite Vegetable Peeler: The Zyliss Potato Peeler



You may also want to check out my review of another small but essential kitchen tool: Rescued by a Brix Jar Key: A Review

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review of the Best Nut Choppers I Have Used

Nut Choppers Are Essential Tools in My Kitchen

I use my nut grinder almost every day. I use it most mornings when I chop the walnuts for Barb's Power Breakfast Cereal. I also put chopped walnuts in my Buckwheat Blueberry Breakfast Pudding for cold mornings. Most of my baked goods contain nuts. All of those nuts need to be chopped into smaller pieces.

Review of the Best Nut Grinders I Have Used in my Kitchen
My Progressive Nut Chopper, Divided into its Parts

Here's Why I Needed to Buy the Progressive Nut Chopper


 Norpro Hand Crank Nut Walnut Almond Peanut Chopper Cutter Grinder Time Saver




For most of my over fifty years in the kitchen, I used this manual nut grinder and loved it.

Then one morning I accidentally broke the glass base. I tried the top on every empty jar I had in my cupboard, but not one fit. They were too large or too small or had different size screwing threads to fit a vacuum lid. I tried using one those jars with the same diameter opening, trying to hold the top on while I turned the crank, but it was just too awkward.

I was otherwise perfectly happy with this nut grinder . I would screw the grinder / chopper element onto the glass jar base, put in the nuts I wanted to grind, and crank the handle. I never had a problem. When I finished grinding the nuts I removed the grinder part and dumped any loose nut pieces into the bowl which was ready to receive them. Then I also emptied the jar into the bowl. After the jar was empty, I'd put it in the dishwasher and hand wash the plastic grinder top and lid.

My Review of the Progressive Nut Chopper

Even though I had been very happy with my Norpro Nut Chopper / Grinder, I bought the Progressive Nut Chopper to replace it because it was completely made of plastic.  I would not have to worry about the bottom breaking. I also liked the fact that I could put all the parts in the dishwasher. 

The Progressive Nut Chopper works the same way as the Norpro Nut Chopper. I turn the handle clockwise for nuts chopped coarsely. For a finer grind I turn the handle counterclockwise. The only difference is that there is more distance between the cutting blades on the Progressive model. More nut pieces seem to get stuck on the blades that have to be removed by scraping off the blades when I'm finished chopping than there are when I use the Norpro  model. There is no difference in quality of the chopped nuts. 

Review of the Best Nut Grinder / Choppers I Have Used
A Close Look at the  Progressive Nut Chopper Blades in Action


More Features of the Progressive Nut Chopper

Other things I appreciate about the Progressive Chopper that were lacking in the Norpro are the large non-slip base and the measuring lines on the container. With the Norpro I was always guessing how many nuts I'd chopped until I emptied them into a measuring cup. The Progressive Chopper holds one and one-half cups of nuts in the base and I can see exactly how many I have finished chopping.

Review of the Best Nut Choppers I Have Used: The Progressive Nut chopper and the Norpro Nut Chopper


Which Nut Chopper is Right for You?

Both nut choppers work the same way, so which you buy will depend on how important these unique features of the Progressive Nut Chopper are to you.
  • More durable plastic base that is hard to break
  • All parts may go into top rack of dishwasher
  • Convenient measuring lines on base
  • Non-slip base
You will pay a bit more to get those features, but you will also not have to worry very much about having to replace a broken base. If that doesn't matter to you, you can probably do just as well with the Norpro Chopper. Either nut chopper will give you great value and last a long time -- unless you accidentally drop the Norpro or knock it against a hard surface.

Which Nut Chopper Will You Choose?







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Monday, September 19, 2016

Spoonula Review

Le Creuset Spatula Spoon
Sometimes it is the smallest and most overlooked thing that makes our lives easier. In this case, I have discovered that my spoonula is one of the things that makes life in the kitchen much better. Cooking is not typically something that is enjoyable for me. My cooking is about survival more than fun. But my silicone, wooden-handled hybrid of a spatula and a spoon is the first tool I grab now when at the stove. This is my spoonula review.


My Wonderful Williams-Sonoma Spoonula


A friend of mine re-gifted some small spatulas and strange-looking utensils to me. The larger utensils of the bunch were strange-looking; a wedge of concave silicone on a wooden handle.  It was fairly large and chunky.  I tossed it into a drawer thinking that I'd throw it away after my friend left.

One day, after having neglected kitchen chores in such a long time that my spatulas and spoons were dirty, I grabbed this strange utensil. I don't recall what I was cooking - probably scrambled eggs.  I do recall how I immediately loved this spoon-spatula.  Despite it's relatively hefty weight, it was comfortable and easy to handle.  It scraped and flipped my food like a dream.  

Since then, I've looked it up on the internet and identified it as a Williams-Sonoma Spoonula with a wooden handle. I want to purchase another one or two because I like it so much.  I've owned this one for approximately a year now.  I have not melted the silicone end - as I often do my spatulas.


My Williams-Sonoma Spoonula


I recommend a silicone spoonula for the following reasons:

  • in the fry pan - scrambled eggs and sauteed veggies
  • stirring sauces - gravy and alfredo sauce
  • mixing batters - perfect for scraping every drop of pancake or cake batter from the bowl
  • scraping that last bit of the peanut butter from the inside of the large jar
  • It does not scratch my non-stick pans
  • It has not melted
  • Is extremely durable - I JUST noted that it is to be hand-washed.  I've run mine through the dishwasher after every frequent use.  Which explains the slight wear of the wooden handle. Oops.

If you are talented in the kitchen, I am quite sure you can find more uses for this durable and handy kitchen tool.  
KitchenAid Silicone Spoon Spatula


Whether you prefer the Williams-Sonoma brand, or other brands such as Rachel Ray's, I think you will find a sturdy silicone spoonula as helpful in the kitchen as I do.


Rachel Ray's 3-piece Spoonula Set


A Few Considerations from the Experts When Purchasing Silicone Spatulas


I completely lucked into ownership of a silicone spoonula suited to my needs.  I have experienced kitchen utensils that melt and utensils that are so flimsy they are worthless.  I had not considered further potential kitchen utensil problems and annoyances. Here is a wonderful silicone spatula review from American's Test Kitchen to guide your purchase or your silicone spatula or spoonula.










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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Oster Griddle and Why I Love It - A Review

Oster Griddle via Amazon
The biggest reason we have a Griddle in the house is to make pancakes.

For decades home-made pancakes have been a staple in our home and when we're in-between grills, pancake breakfasts usually hit the skids.

Well, we've been in the 'in-between' stage for about a year or more, so just recently I decided a new Griddle was in order.

What's nice about a Griddle is the convenience for breakfast! My fourth son is now 16, still in high-school, and I make it a habit to prepare him a decent breakfast before school. That breakfast usually ranges between:
  • Free-Range Eggs, Spinach & Kale fried in Coconut Oil and Sliced Oranges, or
  • A Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Sliced Oranges or Bananas
What Do I Love about The Oster Griddle?

We've had a Griddle in our home for decades, and I do have a good amount of experience determing whether a grill passes the 'pancake' making test.

When I tried the Oster Griddle for the first time, I knew instantly, by how the pancakes browned, whether I had a winner ... and yes, according to my pancake making judgement, this grill is a winner.

Here are the points about the Oster Griddle that I appreciate:
  • It's ceramic non-stick coating is fantastic for non-stick performance. For the first batch of pancakes, I always put a bit of butter on the grill (even with a non-stick griddle) just to be safe. But with this grill, although I haven't tried it, I believe the butter was unnecessary. However, for the other three batches of pancakes, I did not add any butter whatsoever and the pancakes didn't stick at all!
  • The size of the grill is nice - I was able to make six good sized pancakes at a time.
  • The surface is scratch resistant and less likely to peel or flake. I haven't had ours long enough to give it the scratch test, but based on the durability of the surface, I can believe it.
  • The ceramic coating is free of PTFE & PFOA chemicals.
  • Food cooks evenly
  • It does cook faster and thus I imagine that will save energy over time
  • It looks nice on my counter and it's a snap to clean
I plan to use it frequently for breakfasts and it's situated conveniently beside the Vitamax and Coffee Machine (the two other appliances that get the most use).

Using our Oster Griddle for Grilled Cheese
Photo by Funkthishouse.com
Enjoy My Pancake Recipe:

Well, it's not really mine, it was my Mom's and before Mom, Grandmothers :)
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar (Optional)
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Salt (Optional)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Melted Butter or Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
Mix all of the ingredients together (manually). Don't over mix it of course. Let the Mixed Batter sit for five or ten minutes or even longer if needed. Then, using a ladle, scoop onto your grill ... greased with a little bit of butter if you like.

On the Oster Grill, the temperature between 265 and 300 degrees seemed to work fine for me.

The secret to good, fluffy pancakes is to only flip them once.

You'll know the first side is cooked when there are 'bubble-holes' peeking through the uncooked side. However, you can usually tell by the smell, or just take a little peek to be sure they're the color of golden brown that you like.

Flip them over, let the other side cook for a few minutes or less, and they're done.

Because we are so many in our family, and everyone has there own preference for the fixings they like inside their pancakes, I'll add the items to each pancake on the uncooked side one at a time, while the one side is cooking. Tip: When you add the food item to the uncooked side, gently spread some of the batter from that uncooked side over the food item - that way when you flip it over, you'll have batter cooking on the grill instead of the chocolate chips, blueberries or whatever you added hitting the grill directly (which could burn).

Popular flavor additions in our home are chocolate chips, fresh raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. This morning it was chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry pancakes.

So yes, I recommend this grill, we love it!





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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pineapple Corer and Slicer Review

Pineapple Corer and Slicer Review
This pineapple corer-slicer is a relatively new addition to my kitchen gadget collection, one I use often and always enjoy. This week when I prepared and served a fresh pineapple I documented the event with my camera, so I figured this was a good time to share a brief review. (Photos below are all mine.)

Who needs a pineapple corer/slicer? Anyone who loves to eat fresh pineapple but hates the cutting-it-up process!

Here's what I used to do. I'd see a display of pretty pineapples in the store that looked so tasty and reminded me of our long-ago trip to Hawaii, so I'd lovingly select one, gently put it in my grocery cart, take it home, and set it on the counter where I'd let it stay for days, until the leaves started drying up. Eventually, I'd pull out the cutting board and two or three knives to tackle the cutting and slicing, then grab the poor pineapple. After 10 or 15 minutes of slicing, dicing, changing knives, trimming, and chopping, I'd have my pineapple chunks, but I'd also have a big mess to clean up.

No more!

Now, I simply grab the pineapple then pull out my stainless steel pineapple corer-slicer, one sharp knife (for cutting off the top), and the cutting board. It takes just seconds to cut a few inches off the top of the pineapple then no more than a minute or two to line up the cutter with the pineapple core, twist the handle to work the cutter to the bottom of the luscious fruit, and pull out the gorgeous pineapple slices.

Let me show you how it works:

Using the sharp knife, lay the pineapple on the cutting board and cut a couple of inches off the top.
Using the sharp knife, lay the pineapple on the cutting board and cut a couple of inches off the top. 


Holding the pineapple with one hand, line up the cutter with the core of the pineapple then start turning. You'll need to apply just a bit of pressure.  Continue turning and slicing until you reach almost to the bottom of the pineapple.
Holding the pineapple with one hand, line up the cutter with the core of the pineapple then start turning. You'll need to apply just a bit of pressure. Continue turning and slicing until you reach almost to the bottom of the pineapple. 

Use the handle to firmly pull the pineapple slices out of the pineapple.
Use the handle to firmly pull the pineapple slices out of the pineapple. Hold everything upright so the juice doesn't run out like it did here.
(I had to lay it down to take the picture.)

Remove the handle to easily slide the pineapple slices off the cutter.
Once you've pulled the slices out of the pineapple, push the two black buttons below the handle to remove the handle, then slide the pineapple slices off the cutter. Use a knife to cut the slices into chunks if you prefer. Use the empty pineapple "shell" to serve fruit salad or a fancy drink. Replace the "lid" for an elegant presentation.

Which Pineapple Corer Slicer Works Best?


There are basically three types of pineapple corers. I'm very satisfied with the simple stainless steel model, the style that is most widely available and comes with mostly excellent reviews. There's also a plastic model that works the same way but, based on reviews that I've read, may not cut the pineapple as smoothly and will eventually break. Or you might want to consider the ratcheting model that costs about twice as much (still less than $20), but the ratchet mechanism makes it easier to turn the handle without continuously re-positioning your hand. Some plastic models come with a convenient wedge cutter; most do not and judging by the videos I've watched, you won't miss it.

Compare the three types at this Bed, Bath and Beyond link and watch a video of each, showing exactly how they work. Or check out the huge selection and low prices of pineapple corers on eBay.

Should you buy a pineapple corer and slicer to add to your kitchen gadget collection? If you enjoy eating or serving fresh pineapple, it's a no-brainer. You'll spend from about 6 to 20 dollars and never again have to let another beautiful, fresh, delicious, good-for-you pineapple go bad as it wastes away on your kitchen counter. I say go for it!  

~ Susan
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven Review

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven Review
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven Review

A Multi-Use Rotating Pizza Oven (and more) 


I first had my eye on the Presto Pizzazz a couple of years ago, thinking that it might be a fun kitchen gadget, something I'd use now and then to bake or re-heat pizza. I didn't buy it then because I decided that a one-purpose gadget wasn't a good investment of money or space in my kitchen.

But wait, there's more.

Recently, I came across this clever pizza cooker again, with a new, updated name. Now it's called the Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven. This time I read the outstanding reviews and realized that there was much more to the Presto Pizzazz than pizza. People love this thing and use it for lots of different convenience foods, and prepare food that you wouldn't even think of as being able to bake outside a conventional oven. Indeed, it's not just a one-purpose kitchen gadget, not at all!

So I bought the Pizzazz Plus and determined to test it out for myself.

First We Baked Pizza


First, we tried pizza (makes sense). I bought our favorite freshly-prepared pizza from the deli (actually they're previously frozen, thawed when you buy them, but they look fresh, taste amazing, and we like them a lot). I ended up adding a little bit of time to the recommended cooking time in the Presto Pizzaz Plus instruction booklet and we really loved the result. The crust was perfectly done on the bottom, the toppings hot, and the cheese bubbly. The frozen pizza that I tried later turned out very well, too.

I should mention that there are two heating elements on the oven, one above and one underneath the tray. It's up to you to choose upper, dual, or lower. So if the crust is done the way you like it but your piled-on pizza toppings need a bit more heat, simply choose "upper," add some time, and watch the pizza until it looks exactly as hot and bubbly as you want it to be.

Chocolate Chip Cookies Baked on the Presto Pizzazz Plus
Chocolate chip cookies
baking on the Presto Pizzazz Plus.
Then we moved on to cookies for dessert. Brilliant! I love being able to bake up just four to six cookies from a refrigerated package for the two of us as a quick dessert. Delicious result!

Tater tots make for a quick lunch or snack when baked on the Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven
Tater tots make for a quick lunch
or snack when baked on the
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven.
The next day I chose tater tots to fix for a quick lunch. Again, the pizza oven, now a tater tots oven, performed as advertised using the settings and cooking time for "potato patties" in the convenience food cooking chart included with the instructions.

The breaded, cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers that we tried next turned out great, too.

That night we tried frozen egg rolls to go with our stir-fry vegetables (honestly, we do eat "fresh" most of the time, but everybody's entitled to a little convenience food now and then). Again, score! And no preheating the conventional oven, which sped up dinner prep time considerably.

All the frozen convenience foods that we tried, even the cookies, turned out great. Saturday morning came the big test: cinnamon rolls, the "pop and fresh" kind. I almost didn't try them on the Pizzazz Plus because it seemed so unlikely that they'd turn out, but my husband encouraged me to be brave, to try and see what happens. Once again I was not only surprised but impressed. Eight cinnamon rolls with the recommended settings from the instruction book were a perfect fit and turned out beautifully, as you can see from the pictures below. And yes, they tasted great, too.

Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - before.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - before.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - after.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Cinnamon Rolls - after.

Presto Pizzazz Plus Tips


Here are seven things about the Pizzazz that are important to remember:

Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven with Instruction Book. Utensils not included.
Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Oven with Instruction Book.
Utensils are not included.
1. Place the Pizzazz Plus away from the edge of the counter. It's attractive to both kids and dogs, neither of which should be allowed to operate or even touch it without the permission (and supervision) of a responsible adult. Safety first!

2. Don't walk away from the Pizzazz Plus when it's in use. First reason, you might not hear the "ding" when it's done and, even though the heating coils turn off at the end of the timed cycle, the residual heat may will burn the food (I should have taken a picture). Second reason, see number one above.

3. Using potholders, lift and remove the tray from the Pizzazz when you're satisfied that the food is done and set it on a cooling rack or cutting board to let the food, and the tray, cool.

4. To avoid damaging the surface of the tray, don't use a pizza wheel or knife until you've moved the pizza to a cutting board. See number 5.

5. Treat the tray carefully to make it last. Store it in a safe place where it won't get scratched. Use only utensils that are designed to be used on non-stick surfaces to keep from damaging the surface. Consider investing in a silicone or plastic spatula and tongs (useful for turning tater-tots, egg rolls, etc.) to use with the Presto Pizzazz.

6. Read the instruction booklet that comes with the appliance. Test it using the times and methods on the cooking charts then adjust accordingly based on your own preferences.

7. Don't overload the cooking tray with food; leave space between individual tater tots, chicken nuggets, etc. For instance, six cookies, spaced evenly, bake much better than nine or 10 cookies that are too close together.

But Wait, There's More!


(Did I say that already?) There are many other foods you can bake on the Pizzazz Plus, I just haven't gotten to them all. Besides typical frozen snack foods, cookies, and cinnamon rolls, the instruction booklet suggests grilled sandwiches and quesadillas, and even includes instructions for making s'mores. What's not to like about that?!

When I first looked, I was amazed at how many 5-star reviews this convenient countertop pizza oven had received. Now I know why. The very handy Presto Pizzazz Plus Rotating Pizza Oven gets 5 stars from me and has earned my "Sassy Susan" Seal of Approval.

Did you enjoy the review? Does this appliance appeal to you? How would you use it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

QUICK LINKS:
Buy the Presto Pizzazz Plus at Home Depot (Best price as I type this - subject to change)
Buy it at Walmart
Buy it at Amazon.com

~Susan
Meet the Reviewer

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The Presto Pizzazz Pizza Oven does more than bake pizza. Use it to prepare convenience foods and snacks, even cookies and cinnamon rolls!




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Thursday, July 16, 2015

OXO Good Grips Liquid Measuring Cup Review

The OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup is my choice for best measuring cup. Read the review to learn what makes it so special.

When you work in the kitchen every day, as most of us do, it's important to have a good, easy-to-use, liquid measuring cup. While measuring cups are pretty easy to come by, just how easy is yours to use? 

Recently, after one time too many measuring water by pouring, then leaning over to read the markings on the side of the cup, then pouring a little bit of the water out, checking the markings again, then adding just a bit more since I poured too much out the first time, I had had enough of that frustrating routine. What I really disliked was having to lean over, contorting my body sideways so I could see the red marks on the side of the cup, then doing it all over again until I got the amount just right. My back didn't like the routine and neither did I.  

That day, after putting it off for much too long, I ordered an OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup

When my package arrived, I couldn't wait to give it a try. I rinsed out the rather odd-looking cup, grabbed the water pitcher, and poured, aiming at the 1-cup mark. Voila!  I got the right amount of water on the first try! Why? Because all I had to do was stand up straight, pour slowly, and watch the target mark on the inner angled surface. When the water got to the target mark, I stopped. Perfect! I had just the amount that I needed. No bending!


Relief! I should have ordered an angled measuring cup a long time ago! 

This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cups Set is a great gift idea.
This 3-piece OXO Angled Measuring Cup set
includes the 1, 2, and 4-cup measuring cups.
This liquid measuring cup is made of BPA-free plastic, has the comfortable OXO padded handle (great when your hands are wet or slippery), is dishwasher safe, microwave safe (except for oils or fats), and includes bright markings in ounces, cups, and milliliters (on the outside only). It's also available in multiple sizes. The three-cup set pictured here is a great package deal and includes one each of 1-cup, a 2-cup, and 4-cup cups with the patented inside markings that come in so very handy no matter what liquid you're using. 

Another feature that I really like about this cup is the indentation at the top, above the handle, for your thumb. It's comfortable to hold and easy to pour. Check out the picture below - that's my hand, my thumb, my OXO angled liquid measuring cup.

The comfortable non-slip handle with indentation for your thumb at the top makes this OXO angled measuring cup easy to hold, easy to pour.
One caution, based on reading customer reviews, is to not use hot oil-based liquids in the plastic cup to avoid cracking or breaking. I wouldn't, for instance, melt a stick of butter in the cup in the microwave as I occasionally do with my old glass measuring cup.  

An individual angled measuring cup or the three-piece OXO liquid measuring cup set would make a great gift for a bridal shower, for mom, or treat yourself. You'll love it and, believe me, you deserve it!






-- Susan Deppner






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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Paleo Spiralizer Recipes Cookbook Review

Two of the most popular words in the cooking and recipe world these days are “Paleo” and “spiralizer.” This cookbook really caught my eye because it incorporates both of these trends (or call them fads, that's okay, they're good fads) in one book with a rather long title, Spiralizer Cookbook: 45+ Paleo Spiralizer Recipes To Get You Started - Get Creative With Endless Possibilities, by Trisha Eakman. I recently found the book in the Kindle bookstore and wanted to share my review.

Besides the enticing combination mentioned in the title, the next thing that got my attention is that the recipes in this book go far beyond zucchini ribbons. While (as I write this) it's zucchini season, and zucchinis are the reason I originally bought my spiralizer, this book includes recipes that use spiral versions of lots of different foods.

Take carrots, for instance. How do Nutty Carrot Pancakes sound? Or Carrot and Garlic Pasta? Banana and Carrot Muffins? Just wait 'til you read those recipes that use spiralized carrots!

I do love zucchini, though, so I was very pleased to find, as I browsed the table of contents, plenty of recipes that use "zoodles," or zucchini noodles. The Fiery Shrimp and Zucchini Pasta, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles (I've already tried this one, see my photo below), even Choco Coco Zucchini Cookies all sound wonderful and are on my list of recipes to try.

This isn't a book meant to educate you on the benefits of eating clean, Paleo, or gluten free. It's a recipe book to encourage you, as the subtitle says, to "Get Creative With Endless Possibilities." The creative recipes inside are easy to follow and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. If you already cook gluten free, you'll probably have most of them on hand.

Paleo recipe from the Spiralizer Cookbook, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
from the Spiralizer Cookbook
(Photo by Susan Deppner)
If you follow a gluten free diet or if you're looking for Paleo recipes, I think you'll really enjoy this cookbook. In fact, you'll probably have a hard time choosing which recipe to prepare first. I finally chose Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles. As you can see from my photo, it turned out great, healthful, beautiful, and delicious!



Like this one? Follow the link for more cookbooks for Kindle.

P.S. Did you know that you don't have to own a Kindle to enjoy Kindle cookbooks? Use one of Amazon's free reading apps to read on your phone or tablet. You'll find more info on the book page.


NOTE: This book is now available only in a paperback edition. The links above have been updated.

Veggetti Pro Spiral Vegetable Cutter
As Seen on TV


UPDATE: Readers have left comments about not being familiar with a spiralizer, so I found a version of the spiral vegetable cutter that I think you'll like.

This tool is called the Veggetti Pro, an "as seen on TV" spiralizer kitchen gadget with great reviews, very easy to use, and it makes both wide and narrow cuts (notice the wider zucchini noodles in the picture).

It's available at a great price, too, in the $25 vicinity as I write this. Great gift idea!



-- Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews.




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