gadgets

Wishlist Wednesday: Kitchenaid Mixer Attachments Edition

One of my goals for this year was to finally get a Kitchenaid mixer. I accomplished this pretty quickly after the beginning of the year, when I realized that we had accumulated close to $200 in gift cards to Macy’s from gifts. What better way to spend it than to bring a new piece of joy into our kitchen?

I am absolutely loving having my mixer, and now have my eye on some attachments to expand the things we are already using it for.

Pasta Attachment

Ravioli Attachment

Variety Pack

I’ve been using my mixer for everything I possibly can, and if I add some attachments I’m pretty sure it’d be one of the only appliances I would ever use in my kitchen.

If anyone has experience with these attachments, give me some advice! What would be your first recommendation?

Another installment of Wishlist Wednesday! This idea was an inspiration from my friend Sam, and just a chance for me to share some things I find fun with all of you. These are products, places, and things I just happen to enjoy!

Wishlist Wednesday: First Edition

This is the first installment of Wishlist Wednesday! This idea was an inspiration from my friend Sam, and just a chance for me to share some things I find fun with all of you. These are products, places, and things I just happen to enjoy! Have a suggestion for me? Let me know!

To kick-off Wishlist Wednesday, here’s some random things that I would love for my kitchen just to spruce it up.

First up, a new tea kettle. Right now we have one I bought at IKEA when I was in my first year of graduate school. Although it does the job, it’s also impossible to touch once you heat it because the handle will burn your hand. You have to use an oven mitt just to pick it up and pour the hot water out. Also, it’s a mess at this point from just being out and it’s NOT easy to clean at all. Thinking something like this….

It’s the Kitchenaid Gourmet Essential Porcelain Kettle. This reminds me of my Kitchenaid mixer, which is also white. I think they’d get along just fine in the kitchen. Plus, it looks like it would be much easier to keep it clean. Still not sure if I would need the oven mitt to pour it. Looks like it might still get hot on the handle.

We also have a little rug at the kitchen sink, and I hate it. I don’t even remember when or where we got it, but it doesn’t go with anything in the rest of the kitchen. My plates are Fiesta in orange and blue, and I want something brighter to make the kitchen a little livelier. Something like this rug from Crate and Barrel.

Last, we need a place to put all our cooking utensils. Our drawer is overflowing at this point and it’d be great to have those tools we use most frequently out and easier to find. I really like the way this utensil holder from Lipper International looks. I think it would work on our counter.

I have an Amazon.com gift card burning a hole in my pocket at the moment. Maybe some sprucing up is in order!

Are there small changes you’ve made to your kitchen space that makes a difference? I’ll take any suggestions you might have!

Top 5: Food (and drink) Experiences for 2011

With 2010 drawing to a close, I’m already thinking ahead to all the fun food and drink experience that await us in 2011. We still have a ton of restaurants to try on our Restaurant Wish List, new recipes in the making, and events to look forward to. In no particular order, here are the Top 5 Food Experiences I can’t wait for in 2011!

2011 Minnesota State Fair
Our bestest friends, Sam & Jason, live in MN (I think I’ve mentioned that many times, but anyway) and absolutely raved about the Minnesota State Fair held in August each year. I’ve never been to a state fair before. It wasn’t really something you heard about living in NY growing up. But two words make me want to go more than anything else: fried pickles. And looking at Sam’s post on the fair in pictures makes me wish it would happen every day. I’m pretty determined to make it out to MN this year at the end of August for at least a few days to experience a true state fair with my best friends!


Meet-ups with the Ladies of MA Girls’ Pint Out

This past year the fabulous Rebecca brought a chapter of Girls’ Pint Out to Massachusetts. Started in Indiana, this beer appreciation group (for the ladies only!) is really exciting to me. I’ll be contributing to the MA GPO blog and helping to plan some upcoming events. I love getting to explore the world of craft beer with the girls!

New Addition to Our Kitchen
I recently came to the conclusion that I can no longer survive without a KitchenAid stand mixer. Dane has been talking more about learning to make breads, and I’m finding that it’d be significantly easier to develop these skills if we had an appliance to help out. Now I’m on the hunt for a great deal, even though I know it’s really tough to find a sale on a mixer. Wish me luck. I hope to add a new KitchenAid stand mixer to our home soon!

Learning to Make Fresh Pasta
I have always wanted to learn how to make my own pasta. Pappardelle, ravioli, fettuccine. When it’s fresh, it’s even better. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for, but in 2011 I want to teach myself and make some fabulous dishes with Kristen and Dane’s homemade pasta. (Conveniently, you can buy a pasta attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer. The possibilities would be endless.)

Sugaring Season in Vermont
Again, one of my goals involve our friends Sam & Jason. Last year Sam’s dad built a sugar house, which is used to collect sap and make maple syrup. We got to see it in the works, during construction over the summer. While we talked with Sam’s family we learned all about sugaring, including that the sugaring season happens in late February and March. They were sweet enough to invite us back up for the sugaring season, and we hope to take advantage of the invitation this year to see maple syrup in the making!

I hope you’ll follow along as we (hopefully!) get to have these experiences in 2011. Cheers to the wonderful things that 2010 brought, and best wishes for a delicious new year in 2011!

What’s in a whisk anyway?

As part of being a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program I get the opportunity to participate in some really fun stuff. Recently, Foodbuzz started a challenge to post about one of their Daily Specials each week for 6 weeks. I’ll be taking them up on this (because I can’t turn down a challenge).

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Today’s Daily Special is a Silicone Ball Whisk. When I saw this, my thought process went like this…

Wow, that’s fun looking! Look at those pretty colors. But that’s a weird shape, I wonder why they would make a whisk like that. Hmm, maybe it’s easier to clean. There has to be a reason for these different kinds of whisks.

Which obviously led me to doing some research on different cooking situations that might require different type of whisks. I found some great resources, and now I know when to use a Ball Whisk vs. when to use a French Whisk. Maybe not important to most people. But then again, I’m not most people (and if you are still reading this, you probably aren’t most people either).

For me, whisks come down to a few different groups: Round, Flat, and Ball Whisks.

Round Whisks
These are usually made from a bunch of different wire (or sometimes silicone or plastic) rounded parts on a handle. These can include a Balloon whisk (which is what I always think of first when I think of a whisk),  Twirl whisk, French whisk (like a Balloon whisk but narrower), and Piano whisks (to me, these look just like Balloon whisks, haven’t totally figured out the difference just yet). Round whisks are usually used to add air into liquids.

Flat Whisks
These also have multiple rounded parts, but much fewer than Round whisks. Flat whisks also have all the rounded wires on one plane, instead of creating a round shape (like a balloon for instance). Flat whisks are usually used for sauces because they can scrape up pieces on the bottom of pots or pans used to add flavor.

Ball Whisks
This is really one kind of whisk that has multiple straight pieces of wire attached to a handle, with each wire having a silicone or metal ball at the end. These are great for reaching into the corners of pans, while still adding volume when needed.

There are many more than this, but this home cook will likely never need (or even know) to use them. I’m glad I at least know this information now! Check out some of the sites below where I found information on this topic if you are looking for more whisking knowledge.

Reluctant Gourmet

Recipetips.com

Culinate

Disney World: Part 4

I may have mentioned this, but Disney has this way of making you suddenly feel like you NEED to have that towel shaped like Mickey Mouse or that crystal glass slipper figurine. Overall, I think was really good about only purchasing a few select souvenirs and gifts for my family. That doesn’t meant that I didn’t wish I had these in our apartment:

OK, I have a confession. I actually did buy that last thing. BUT it was only $4 and it’s good for multiple tasks! I feel good about that purchase.

Besides all the unnecessary fun souvenirs/kitchen gadgets, we found some really delicious desserts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that I have to share. From the second we got to Disney, I decided I wanted a caramel apple. At the same time, Sam decided she wanted a cupcake. We found the perfect caramel apples and cupcakes at Hollywood Studios on our last full day in Florida.

Why have one cupcake when you can have two? Both cupcakes were from the Starring Rolls Cafe.  The apple was from Beverly Sunset Sweet Spells. Perfect for that little kick of sugar we all needed in the middle of the day after all that walking!

The final installment is coming up!

Fresh Salsa!

Sometimes you just need something filled with cheese and salsa. Jayneel and Dane took over dinner duty one night and made nachos for us with chicken, homemade guacamole, and fresh salsa.  I go on these kicks where I have a certain snack that I just want all the time. Recently it’s been salsa, so for the nachos my responsibility was to make fresh salsa. Jay was kind enough to volunteer to help.

We started with fresh ingredients: plum tomatoes, lemon, cilantro, red onion, scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper.

I used about 4 plum tomatoes that I washed and cut into quarters. I cut up half a red onion and the scallions (about 1/4 cup), did a rough dice and added them to my Tupperware Quick Chef. Then, I added the juice of a lemon, about a handful of cilantro, 3 cloves of garlic, and some salt and pepper. Now take it away Jay!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znFmAC5mXFQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x2b405b&color2=0x6b8ab6&border=1]

After some turns, the pieces are small enough and the salsa is ready to eat! You can use a food processor and pulse a few times too, or do it manually by chopping up the pieces very small and mixing together. If you’re looking for some heat, add some chili peppers or chili paste. I let it sit covered in the fridge for about 2 hours before serving and I think the flavor melded together nicely during that time.

Ole!

Kristen

Searching for the Perfect: Cheese Board

I’m I have a passionate love of cheese. At some point in the past few months, probably because of getting married and perusing websites and stores filled with kitchen wares, I decided that a perfect compliment to my cheesy love would be a cheese board. What better way to showcase all the delicious goodness of cheese than on a board made especially for it. This started the search.

We were registered at Target and Macy’s, so I began looking there.

I like the shape of this one, and it comes with cheese tools, so that’s always fun.

And this one has a little built in slicer! AND cheese tools.

Target also has a line of cheeseboards with college logos on them, if you’re into that. Not sure I need my college logo on a cheeseboard, but to each their own. Also realized I’m not into the boards that have a little groove for crackers. Not sure why, just not my tastes.

Now, over to Macy’s. I only saw one I liked there, and honestly it’s a little out of my price range. If something’s only function is to hold cheese, I don’t feel a need to pay a huge amount. I do like that it’s a nice modern design.

We also have a ton of gift cards from the wedding. So of course I had to look around a bit.

First up, Crate and Barrel. Found this nice marble cheese board, but I’m feeling that I’m more of a tradition wooden cheeseboard kind of a girl.

Crate and Barrel also has a cheese dome, which is intriguing. However, I don’t want anything to stand between me and cheese, so that probably wouldn’t work out.

On to Williams-Sonoma. I browsed both online and in the store. I absolutely love that store, it makes me want to cook all day, every day. First up: a slate cheeseboard.

I like the look, but again, I think I’m looking for wood. Also, I wonder if the slate would get scratched? But it does come with some chalk so you can label the cheeses, which I love.

I love this one! It has a the option to get a monogram of up to three initials ($59.00 without the monogram). An cheeseboard with MY initials? It’s like marking my territory, although I promise to share with others. Hmm, this is a definite contender.

Looking like it’s between the first one from Target and the last one from Williams-Sonoma. I have a big decision to make.

Kristen

Garlic Zoom!

Bear with me here for our first video post. I wanted to show this fun little gadget in action!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csoOSIO1BL8&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]

Again, I got this at the We Are Not Martha 2 Year Blogiversary party and though I probably never would have purchased it for myself, it’s actually great. Not to mention, fun to use. To get one, visit Amazon!

Top 5: Kitchen Gadgets

I may have become the victim of infomercials, I don’t know. Not sure when it happened but I seem to be unable to live without certain kitchen gadgets, some of which are the stars of their very own infomercials. My mom is absolutely an influence with this. She always finds the best kitchen stuff!

So currently, here’s my top 5 things I cannot live without in my kitchen.

1. One Touch Can Opener

Yup, this is totally infomercial stuff. Actually, I don’t think it even got it’s own half hour. Pretty sure it just got a commercial, and a buy-one-now-and-get-a-second-one-for-no-additional-cost! deal. My mom got one of these about a year ago. I made fun of her. Then I tried it. And I was a happy girl. And because she’s the best mom ever, she immediately went out and got me one and gave it to me for my bridal shower. I just hate opening cans with manual openers, and other automatic ones I’ve tried always seem to break. Call me lazy, it’s cool. Love you mom!

2. My beloved Keurig

Another wedding gift from my hubby’s best friend, Jay (oyster eating Jay). Apparently I’m a coffee drinker. I love how easy it is to use and the variety of coffee and teas that you can get for it. It also came with a pretty good variety pack, which I’m still working on to decide which flavors/brands I can’t live without. Also? There are Gloria Jean’s coffees! My first job was at a Gloria Jeans coffee shop in a mall in NY and I have some serious nostalgia when I have a cup of GJ coffee. It is still, in my opinion, some of the best coffee around. And you can totally be jealous of my meerkat mug, I won’t blame you. We have two actually. Take that.

3. Extra towel holder

This is another little nugget of gold supplied by my mom. So this may seem dumb, but we don’t have a dishwasher in our apartment. Which is really fine. However, that means we’re constantly doing dishes. And when you’re done doing dishes, what’s the first thing you reach for? (Keep it clean folks) A towel to dry your hands. Now our stove is at the other end of the counter, so I LOVE this little guy that holds a towel nice and convenient right under the sink.

Have I mentioned that I love you mom?

4. Animal shaped kitchen tools

If you have a soul, there’s no way you can’t love these. These were an engagement gift (seeing a trend here? if you want new kitchen stuff, just get married.) from my favorite, Sam. She can pick out something I would love with her eyes closed because she can practically read my mind. I guess that goes along with being a best friend. There are other gadgets in this line, called Animal House and sold at Target. I totally want the whale tail ice cream scoop and the shark paring knife to complete my set.

5.  The Magic Bullet

Back to infomercial land. You better believe that this one has it’s own hour long infomercial. My former roommate came home from Cleveland with this about a year ago and I could not understand why anyone would want/need this thing. And then we made smoothies and I was sold. It comes with a ton of little cups that are perfect for individual servings. Dane and I love making smoothies in it, and we never want the same things in our smoothies so it works out perfectly. I’ve made pesto using the Magic Bullet too, and it was great. When we started our registry, this was first on it, and first off of it because my old roomie immediately purchased it for us.

Take them or leave them, but I know I can’t live without these love-of-my-life gadgets. What are YOUR favorite kitchen gadgets?

-Kristen

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