Tuesday December 10, 2013
The holidays are a great time to give your inner creative child full reign with fruit and veggies. Create some table decorations and totally blow away guests with some cool culinary art. But, you need the tools to do it. Start small or big, but give a whirl. Or, maybe someone on your gift list would love these.
There's a good variety of garnishing tools on the market, including this Dexter Russell 7-pc set of quality garnishing tools in a small pouch. Compare Prices
Check out this You Tube Video on Carving to get inspired.
Another way to add creative flair to your table is to carve a soft fruit or vegetable and insert a tea light candle into it. You can do that with a small tool called a candle carver. I saw one of these illustrated recently. This tool seems very easy to use and it's an innovative way to make a candle holder. Compare Prices
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Gadgets around $20
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Monday December 9, 2013
False. At one time, this was true. I remember being stressed out years ago, while watching the pressure knob dance around and being afraid that the pot would explode. Gone are those days.
Don't get me wrong, you still need to use common sense, follow manufacturer guidelines for use and pay attention to what you're doing. But newer pressure cookers are designed with good safety features, so they are much easier to use. And electric models take pressure cooking to a new level and maximize convenience.
Why use a pressure cooker? This kind of cooking pot can tenderize the toughest meat and you can cook anything in a fraction of the time required in a regular oven or by stovetop cooking. Imagine - a large pot of potatoes in about 11 minutes and pasta sauce in about 30 minutes. A pot roast in a few minutes longer. And everything is flavorful and tender. Pressure cooking has become much easier and is the ideal cooking method for busy cooks and those looking to save money on food.
The model featured is a T-Fal 4.2 Qt Steel Stovetop Pressure Cooker - compare prices
Compare prices of pressure cookers
Learn more about pressure cookers
5 Reasons to cook with a pressure cooker
Pressure cooker vs pressure canner - know the difference?
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Monday December 9, 2013
While washer dealers and manufacturers make no mention of it (or very little), many consumers can vouch that washer mold is very real.
It's also terribly aggravating, when you consider the cost of these high efficiency washers. Mold can build up in washing machines and the culprit is humidity. And, it's not brand specific either.
Although some manufacturers have attempted to make some washer design changes, the problem is far from resolved. Ask anyone with clean smelly towels or a stinky washer. Washer cleaners for the most part, are not very effective and are temporary solutions. But, you can tackle the mold monster, with a Washer Fan.
Washer Fan™ is a small fan that attaches easily to the washer. For machines sold in Canada and the U.S., model WF VFL (replaces WF V) fits vented front load washers. There's now also a universal model (WF U) for non-vented and top load machines. This model actually fits all washers. The little fan helps to circulate air into the washer to reduce humidity.
Do you have a mildew smell in the laundry room, clean smelly bath towels, or a bad odor coming from the washer tub? WasherFan is the only permanent solution I know of, to fix this problem.
Select by your brand of washer and buy direct from Washer Fan. You'll also find some interesting videos on their site, additional washer care tips and accessories or replacement parts.
If you've never had a problem with mold or a smelly washer, you might want to keep it that way by installing one of these fans. I thought I was avoiding the mold monster by being proactive with my front load washer care and that might have helped a bit, but I could not prevent it. Note that mold can build up over time and you don't realize it till there's a bad odor.
Learn more about this fix to my front load washer mold in my WasherFan review. (Note my update on this original post).
Photo © Washer Fan
HE Front Load Washer Care | More About Laundry Appliances | Front Load vs Top Load Washers
Sunday December 8, 2013
Homemade goodness says more than the prepackaged store variety and many are embracing making their own, preservative-free delicacies. And it's so easy now to find quality ingredients and affordable culinary tools.
You don't need to be a pastry chef or professional candy maker either. Making homemade chocolates is a great project to do with the kids - how can they resist helping with this task.
A small appliance I love to use each time I tackle chocolate desserts is a melting pot. It's just so much easier to use than melting delicate chocolate in a double boiler on the stove. You can take the necessary time to dip and sit at a table if needed.
I've used the single Koolatron for years, but the Wilton Chocolate Melting Pot is also a popular model. The double Koolatron is ideal for those who dip in white and dark chocolate. I wouldn't want to be without a melting pot. I find it a baking essential.
Compare Prices of Chocolate Melting Pots
Compare Prices of Chocolate Molds
Find homemade chocolates recipes from About.com's Candy Expert
Find recipes and baking tips from About.com's Desserts/Baking Expert
Cake Decorating Equipment and Supplies
Pastry Tools and Baking Utensils
Photos Courtesy Serif/PriceGrabber