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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Easily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer

how to make zucchini noodles with a vegetable spiralizer
Image by Lou of Lou's Designs
If you're looking to increase your vegetable intake or reduce some of the heavy carbs like pasta from your diet then a spiralizer could be the answer.  Let me review why I think you'll adore having a vegetable spiralizer - I personally love mine, I don't know why I didn't get one sooner.

At the time of writing this I'm doing the Arbonne 30 Day Plan to Healthy Living and Beyond and basically that means that (for this month at least) I can't eat pasta, I can eat zucchini however ... enter zoodles! 

I have been meaning to try and made zoodles aka zucchini noodles for ages which is the whole reason I purchased my vegetable spiralizer.

Making the zucchini noodles was so easy and I'm now seeing lots of other recipes using other vegetables in place of pasta.  What a cool way of getting your child to eat more vegetables than to make their spaghetti bolognaise with zoodles?

So my vegetable spiralizer came with three different blades like the Paderno World Cuisine one below, but you can also get them with 7 blades, Amazon's best selling vegetable spiralizer comes with 7 blades and is the second one featured.




The actual one that I have doesn't seem to be available online which is why I've given you two alternatives.  Now I've only used the blade to made noodles so I'd just get the 3 blade one personally, but...

They were super easy to make you simply placed the zucchini (or vegetable of choice) on the spiky guard, making sure that the other end is in the middle of the round thing that is going to basically core your zucchini so that it looks like a very weird toadstool after the noodles are all made.

The next step is to simply turn the handle, however if that is all you do you won't get very long noodles, you'll just get little curls (they don't say that in the instructions).  What you need to do is as you're turning the handle you need to also be applying a gentle pressure inwards (towards the vegetable) then it will work beautifully.

It is super quick and I simply popped the zoodles into boiling water for a few minutes - basically treating them like fresh pasta noodles.  I've since been told of other ways of cooking them that involve almost sauteing them in coconut oil, but I haven't tried that (and probably won't).

how to make zucchini noodles so that your kids want to eat their vegetables
Image by Louanne Cox, Arbonne Independent Consultant

I would recommend starting with zucchini as it's quite a bland vegetable which makes it ideal to replace spaghetti.  I would also recommend a pinch of salt in the water when cooking it, I didn't do this the first time and it was much better when I did do it.

You can use sweet potato, carrot, parsnips and who knows what other vegetable, just use your imagination.

I will be trying out sweet potato next as I think that will go really well with a number of dishes I enjoy.

Have you ever tired zoodles or thought about making them?  If so then why wait, just do it as Nike would say!

Let me know in the comments if you've tried any other vegetables as I'd love to hear how they went.


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thoughtful Thanksgiving Hostess Gifts

You're invited out to Thanksgiving dinner! Here are five thoughtful gifts your hostess really wants.

Reviewing Gifts Your Hostess Really Wants


You've been invited to a friend or family member's house for Thanksgiving dinner. Lucky you! So now you have a dilemma: what would be the perfect hostess gift to say thank you for the hospitality?

To make your job easier, I've  chosen five different gifts that I'd love to receive if I were serving as your Thanksgiving hostess this year. While your hostess may not have the same tastes that I have, I think there should be an idea or two here that will work to elicit a "Thanks for being so thoughtful!" response from your hostess.








Give the Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment


The Gift of a Seasonal Spa Treatment For Your Thanksgiving Hostess | ButterCosmetics on Etsy
ButterCosmetics on Etsy
Who wouldn't need a spa treatment following a busy Thanksgiving day, or even a long weekend, of cooking, eating, and entertaining? This is a first class gift item, handmade with the best, soothing, healing ingredients you'll find anywhere. Honestly, I'm not usually much of a spa gal, but I would love to treat myself with these bath and lip products. A Thanksgiving hostess gift definitely fit for a queen.


A Gift for the Thanksgiving Cook


Premium Vintage Serving Spoon from MilkandHoneyLuxuries on Etsy, a beautiful, thoughtful hostess gift.
MilkandHoneyLuxuries
Look at this "I'm Thankful For You" serving spoon. Show me a cook who doesn't need another serving spoon and I'll show you . . well, it doesn't matter because any hostess could use an additional big serving spoon at Thanksgiving dinner. And how special is this one? Hand stamped with the words, "I'm thankful for YOU" with a heart, this is beautiful and such a very thoughtful gift! This premium vintage serving spoon is made to order by the creative and well-known folks at Milk and Honey Luxuries. I adore it and bet your hostess will, too.


The Hostess Gift That Keeps on Giving


Pass the blessing along with this Thanksgiving hostess gift, a Giving Platter from DaySpring.
DaySpring Cards and Gifts
Gift your hostess with a plate of your own specialty cookies, candies, or bread presented atop this "Share" Giving Platter. How does it work? The hostess gift arrives on the plate, homemade or even store-bought by you. The printing on the plate says "share," and a simple canvas tag with a verse is included, tied with a ribbon of jute. The verse on the tag begins, "This plate has no real owner, its journey never ends. It travels on a spontaneous path to neighbors... family... friends."

So after Thanksgiving, when life has settled down for a few minutes, your hostess friend can add her own goodies and present the plate to yet another neighbor or friend. Perhaps the plate, eventually, will make its way back with you since, as the verse says, "its journey never ends." Consider this gift idea for a hostess who is known to be a "giver." She'll love passing the blessing along in the future.


A Simple "Thank You" Will Do 


Thank You figurine by Willow Tree and Dayspring, a thoughtful Thanksgiving hostess gift.
Thank You Figurine by Willow Tree
This "Thank You" figurine by Willow Tree on Dayspring would be a beautiful choice for a hostess. She's little, just 5 1/2 inches high, but her message ("So appreciative of all you do!") is a big one that will encourage and lift up your hostess each time her eye catches this thoughtful gift.

Artist and sculptor Susan Lodi creates every figure in her Willow Tree collection with expressions revealed through gestures and absence of facial features, so the recipient can interpret its meaning in a personal way. What a beautiful way to show your appreciation for the kindness your hostess shows you.


Say "Thank You" With Flowers


Beautiful, Fresh Fall Flowers from FTD and DaySpring
When in doubt, flowers are a tried and true thank-you gift for a hostess. This beautiful, fall-colored Give Thanks Fall Bouquet would make a perfect, seasonal choice for a Thanksgiving hostess. More arrangements are available at the link. Good news is that all you have to do is the ordering; FTD delivers!  


How did I do? I hope you've discovered the perfect gift for your Thanksgiving hostess this year. I'd love to know what you chose, so don't be shy about leaving a comment below. I hope both you and your hostess have a very happy Thanksgiving!

~ Susan


Still looking? Check out these Gift Reviews from our Review This! team.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review of the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer

KitchenAid Artisan Review, or Why I Love My Blue KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!


My son gave me my KitchenAid Artisan mixer in Cobalt Blue for Christmas in 2006 and I have loved this stand mixer ever since. Of course the most important reason I love it so much is that my son gave it to me! Second would have to be that it's Cobalt Blue, one of my favorite colors! (My kitchen is Blue and White and Stainless Steel.) But even though that is plenty enough to make it one of my favorite appliances in the kitchen, there is so much more to love about the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer!

Before I got it, I had 2 hand mixers and a food processor and a food grinder, but the KitchenAid stand mixer actually replaces the food processor and the food grinder for me. In fact, with the bread kneading attachment, it takes away the need for a bread maker, really, since the hard part of bread is the kneading. I use my bread kneading attachment all the time in the Winter when I make bread several times weekly. (It came with the mixer.) So that's 4 appliances in one! Cool, right?

And this mixer is strong! They say it has 325 watts of power. (Whatever that means!) What I know is that it whips everything fast with no problem whatsoever! Plus the head tilts back, so easy to get the bowl off the stand.

And about the attachments: Mine came with a wire whisk attachment that will whip cream in a few minutes with ease, the kneading attachment which they call the dough hook, and flat beater attachment that is for things that are truly hard to mix, like stiff cookie dough, or maybe meatloaf. It also came with a shield to keep food from spattering, and a chute for adding in more ingredients. It also comes with a 5-quart polished stainless steel bowl to add to the beauty of this mixer!

In the reviews I read on Amazon, some people noted that this mixer is very heavy so hard to put away and retrieve. Maybe so, but it's beautiful and so useful that it's fine to leave it out on the counter all the time in a place of honor; that's what I do. In fact if you've seen any of my recipes online, you have most probably seen it in some of the pictures, because I don't put it away, ever. It sits on the counter, right next to the wine. Priorities, you know?

KitchenAid Stand Mixer Colors



KitchenAid Stand mixer colors
KtchenAid Stand Mixer Colors


I love Blue, so my son gave me a Blue KitchenAid Mixer, but they are available in an array of colors to go with any kitchen or kitchen theme. You can see in the picture there are different shades of Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Black, Gray, and even White. (Yes, they have more than one shade of White.) And there are Stainless Steel and Copper too. Here are just a few of the ones available! White, Black, Yellow, Tangerine, Espresso, Watermelon, Ice Blue, Almond, Aqua, Pink, Bayleaf Green, Cranberry, Blue Willow, Boysenberry, Silver, Copper, Cornflower, Blue, French Blue, Apple Green, Red, Gray, Stainless Steel.


*Note about the KitchenAid Mixers Sale


If you are searching for the sale on KitchenAid mixers, it usually happens in January and July. But you don't have to wait to get a great price on one. Amazon always has great deals and you can almost always work out a way to get FREE SHIPPING. On any item, click "More Options" to see other ways to buy it, including free shipping options.



Video Review of the Best KitchenAid Mixer


See why someone else agrees with me that the Artisan KitchenAid mixer is the best stand mixer! Of all the KitchenAid food mixers, it's the one with the most rave reviews!

Want to see it again, and check out the accessories that come with it? Just click on the link. Happy Cooking!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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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

P.S. If you enjoyed this review, please pin it:

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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