Daylight Savings is ending this weekend. Usually we are told to check our batteries in our smoke detectors. I have a suggestion though. I have been trying out a new smoke detector, one that can be used near your kitchen. The Iophic Smoke and Fire Alarm with Universal Sensing Technology won’t go off when you open the oven even when the food is a little charred. So when you change your battery this weekend, think about changing that smoke detector with all of the nuisance alarms, the one that’s affected by the kitchen the most.
I was skeptical when I accepted the offer to review the smoke detector. I have them throughout the house, but the biggest problem is that the detector down the hall from the kitchen goes off every time we open the oven door. When the smoke detector arrived I was determined to do a good test of the smoke detector because if I was endorsing it, it had better work.
So, this is what we did. We took the new smoke detector and we placed it on a wall very close to the old smoke detector. It was easy for my husband to install on the wall, a few screws and it was secure. I wanted to see that every time the old detector went off, that the new one wasn’t also going off. The old one wasn’t awful in that it does have a button to push to shut it off when the alarm is blasting. Of course, in another three minutes, it would go off again or the next time you opened the oven door. The dogs and cats would scurry the off in a panic in all different directions to hide from the blast. The kids and my husband would hit the button and wave towels to clear up the heat and smoke if there was any. This was a nuisance alarm at it’s worst and I was not always quick enough when it came to closing the oven door.
Well, after we placed the new Iophic Smoke Detector on the wall we left it in place for at least a month. In that time, the old smoke detector went off 4 different times: once with a pan on the stove and 3 times with an open oven door. The new detector didn’t go off any of those times. My husband is thrilled, my son is thrilled and if the animals knew what we were asking about, they would also be thrilled because they hate smoke detector noise.
I recommend the Iophic Smoke Detector with Universal Sensing Technology (battery operated) because I tested it and it worked. However, whether you invest in this smoke detector or not, remember it’s time to change your batteries and press those test buttons to make sure the detector will alert you when you really need it.
The Iophic Smoke and Fire Alarm was provided to me for review. It worked in my home, my opinions are my own.
The Wine Doctor Intelli-Stopper helps to preserve the wine left in your bottle after you’ve opened it, plus removes any air left in the bottle. The Classic wine preservation kit contains one pump, to remove the air and two stoppers. You line the preserver pump onto the stopper and pull the air out until the red indicator disappears. It’s easy to use, and though I don’t have a scientific way to measure success (except for the red indicator), I can tell that when I take out the stopper, the whoosh of air tells me that the stopper worked. I’ve had other stoppers and I also have an electric preservation kit, but none of it comes close to the Wine Doctor Intelli-Stopper. The preserver is small enough to stick in a drawer and doesn’t need to be plugged in to an outlet, more pluses if you ask me. (more…)Diana
Mixer Mate is not your standard Mixing Bowl – big and round. This bowl is narrow and more oblong, to help you mix in a more efficient way. I tried it out, and thought it did a great job of whipping things up, quickly. It is deep, so nothing splatters, even when you are pulling the beaters up a little. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to reach the bottom of the bowl because of the depth, but the MixerMate Bowl was the perfect size and yet holds 3 quarts.
When my Mother in Law was visiting this weekend, I showed her the bowl and talked about the features. Her response was the design made sense since she searches for a narrow bottom bowl when she gets her hand mixer out. So there you have it perfect bowl for the hand mixer.
I also like the grippers on the bottom that keep it from sliding in the counter, and the wide lip that makes it easy to hold. There are pour spouts on the ends and side. I tried pouring it out the side spout, but it was a little awkward handling it that way. A minor issue because you can pour out the ends easier. All in all, this bowl really did make mixing faster and easier, helping to swiftly swirl everything smooth, just what it promises.
Disclosure – Mixer Mate was sent to me I was under no obligation, and my review is my own.Diana
Capresso Froth Pro Automatic Milk Frother – is a great addition to your coffee corner. I don’t have a big Coffee Machine with tons of bells and whistles. It’s a single serve coffee maker and that’s it, but I’m the only coffee drinker in the house most of the time. When we have company I bring out the bigger coffee maker, but it takes up too much room for every day use. So you get your coffee add the milk and sweetener and it immediately cools down. Plus, it’s not the same as those coffee places with the foamy milk, is it? The Capresso Froth Pro takes up very little space, but makes a great addition to your coffee maker. I highly recommend the Capresso Froth Pro . You can make lattes, cappuccinos, specialty coffee drinks that taste a little more professional with this. You can also use it to froth up your chocolate milk, or even add warmed milk to your tea.
There’s a removable pitcher, with a little plastic blade in the bottom. Pour 8 ounces of milk into the pitcher, place the lid on top, then place it on the box with the motor. There are three buttons on top – cold froth, hot froth, and warmed milk. You will get foamy frothy milk to stir into your coffee, which is pretty darn neat. Since it can do up to 8 ounces of frothy milk or 12 ounces of warmed milk, this would be great to use when serving dessert to your small family gathering after dinner. It takes a short time to froth, so multiple batches would work also. I couldn’t find any negatives, except the price, it’s a little pricey and maybe the human factor – don’t forget about it and leave it full of milk. Duh! It is dishwasher safe which is a big plus for me. This is on the short list for Christmas Kitchen gadgets I would give. If you see it on sale now, snatch it up, because it would be a cool gift.
Disclosure: I was sent a Capresso to review. The review contains my own words and thoughts about the product and is a true measure of what I think.
The Froth picture is also mine, but the froth looked better before it started melting. It’s difficult to get frothy pictures.Diana
Cheese is a great snack, a good hors d’oeuvre for Easter or other family gatherings (like Mother’s Day), but you end up with partially eaten cheeses sitting around in the fridge going moldy. I hate moldy cheese, but I love cheese. The FoodSaver Freshsaver is a hand held, rechargeable vacuum seal device that will keep your cheese from getting moldy. I swear, it’s wonderful for my cheese. About the size of the palm of your hand, it stores in one of your kitchen drawers easily when not in use. I’ve had mine about 6 months and I love it.
Cheese without the FreshSaver system:
Cheese with the FreshSaver system:
Lots of fresh cheeses mmmm.
All you do is position the device over the seal and suction out the air until there isn’t any more air to suck out. It doesn’t work well on wet foods, so jello would not work, however, you can reseal the bag if you just need to take the cheese out and grate a little then put it back and suction it again.
Though the bags and the sealer are only rated for the refrigerator, I have used mine for meat in the freezer. Again, it’s better to pre-freeze the meat a little first so it’s not so juicy. The juicy will ruin the seal. My son used it for his breaded shrimp. He’d take out only what he needed and suction the bag up again, then stick it into the freezer until the next time. Sorry Handivac – I’m working with the FreshSaver now. I don’t have to worry about the dead batteries for this.
By the way, the ziplock sous vide bags work great with the freshsaver also.
Disclosure: I bought this, it wasn’t a paid review. The recommendations are my own.Diana
I have a few gadgets that are maybe a little seasonal in nature, and somewhat fun, but very functional at the same time. Functional is very important to me. I don’t want something hanging around that I’m not going to use, but if it makes my life easier, I definitely want it. Here are a few things I’ve added to my kitchen that I think you might enjoy too.
Cherry Chomper – This cherry pitter by Talisman Designs, is cute and does exactly what it should do. You put a cherry in it’s mouth push down on the head, and the pit is swallowed up, while the cherry is there pitless, waiting for you. My daughter had absconded with the Cherry Chomper and I made her dig it back out and give it back because I am not messing my teeth up on cherry pits. It captures all the pits in the bottom container, so you can throw them into the compost bucket without any rolling away, plus catches the juice too. My Grade A.
Grilly Goat Basting Tongs & Sauce Pot – The Grilly Goat name is a little on the silly side, you have to admit, and the tongs look a little odd, but the set is great. The lockable tongs have a silicon basting brush as built in (kind of it’s removable). I wasn’t sure what I would think, or my husband who likes to do the grilling would think about this feature. Well, we like that we don’t have to mess with both a brush and tongs. The brush worked much better than I thought it would and impressed me. Having just one tool is really cool. Plus, there are other features that we found we like a lot. The Sauce pot is very stable and won’t tip (unlike my other basting pot). The Sauce pot also has a slot to slide the edges of the tongs into, giving you somewhere to set the tongs so that the sauce drips back into the sauce pot and not on the plate or tray. My grade A.
Hamilton Beach Wave station Express – We bought this on vacation because my daughter wanted to make virgin daiquiris and I was eager to try them out. Since then she’s become our smoothie queen, using different combinations to make luscious drinks. She throws in the ice and they are all ground into tiny ice particles, to make the drink cold, but not watery. The wave action causes the ice to break down evenly, so you won’t have any big ice chunks. This is really high up on the fun list for me. The Wave Station Express has a nice little spigot on the front for pouring, though if it’s slushy you need to pour it out the top.Diana
Things have been really hectic here. After the Biggest Loser/ Jennie-O contest, things seem to go weird – I lost some posts and it turned out to be something wrong with the automatic tweet feature. Then we have had track meets, to keep us really busy (my son’s relay team set the 4 X 400 meet record time for the SVC) and out of the kitchen. Today’s dinner was a very gadget oriented meal. I have some gadgets I’m enjoying using and they did make dinner easier for me – thank you gadgets. Besides being gadget oriented, it was delicious and pretty darn nutritious and probably low fat (but I can’t guarantee that).
I made the rice with a rice cooker – following the directions correctly and it came out perfect. I grilled the tuna on my grill pan on the stove (less calories that way?), I made some honey mustard vinaigrette with a Black and Decker Gizmo and spinned the water out of my chard with the Spin and Stor.
- Aroma Rice Cooker – We enjoy rice, all different kinds of rice with our meals so much that I often make rice in big batches and store it in the freezer to use as needed. Deb raves about using a rice cooker, another sister of mine said she could never get rice right, and uses the quick stuff(which I don’t care for too much) and I always did it the pot method. I wanted to try the rice cooker method though. It would be nice not to worry about it boiling over on the stovetop or worry about it being dry. My first try with the rice cooker was a disaster – a big gummy paste. Instead of reading the directions, I went with how I thought it worked and used way, way, way too much water. Even though I left it on warm for a while and tried to steam out some of the water, it really didn’t come out right. So I went back to the drawing board and read the directions and followed them – to the letter. This time the rice was nice and fluffy, not dry, not soggy – just right. The Aroma Rice Cooker uses sensor logic to determine when the rice is done. You press the button for white rice, or brown rice and it will sense when it’s ready. Then it switches to warm and keeps it warm until you need it. You can set it to smart steam and steam your veggies. I love steamed veggies and will be thrilled to cook up my garden veggies this summer. I’m including some of the details for you. I will definitely be using this again and again. My grade A+.
- Prepares up to 20 cups of rice and keeps it warm for up to 12 hours
- Steams vegetables and cooks rice simultaneously, makes soups and stews
- Easy-to-use digital control panel with multiple features: White Rice, Brown Rice, Quick Rice, Smart Steam and 15-Hour Delay Timer
- Sensor Logic™ technology self-adjusts for consistent, restaurant-quality results
- Water reservoir channels away excess condensation
- Includes recipe booklet, measuring cup, steam tray and serving spatula
- Black & Decker Gizmo Tip & Mix Automatic Salad Dressing Mixer – My brother in law gave me this after we saw it in use in their home. The gizmo is great for homemade salad dressings. It has little spinner spatula, that combines and emulsifies the dressing ingredients. It stirs faster as you are pouring to make sure all of the ingredients stay mixed together as a dressing. Also on the side of the carafe are recipes for different vinaigrettes and the lid doubles as a measuring spoon. The only drawback is that the lid doesn’t screw on and off, so if it tips the vinaigrette would spill. The base detaches from the the carafe for cleaning, but it’s hold is tenuous at best. I would prefer something with a more sturdy connection between the top and bottom. While there are negatives, I still like using it. My grade B-/C+ .
- Spin N Stor Reusable Bags – When I first was offered this I thought, I’ll try it, okay – whatever. The darn thing works like a charm. You rinse your veggies and/or greens off, twist it closed and swing the bag around. The water drains into the side and bottom channel that you pour off. I usually just shake my strainer a few times, let it drain in the sink while I’m cooking and then know I’ll put a plate under it because there will be water dripping off. Now I’m using the Spin N Stor to swing all the water off and my greens are dry not dripping. The only drawback is that it’s a plastic bag, but it’s reusable and it stores much easier than a bowl which is good because I have a very small kitchen. I’ve cleaned my Spin N Stor, let it dry and reused it. My grade A-.
I’ve tried out a few new things by Copco lately and the Pizza Line from Mario Batali is another one. The two items I tried out were the Pizza Knife and the Container Grater, both are decent kitchen tools to have.
The Pizza knife is the best pizza cutting tool for me. I’ve had the pizza cutters with the little wheel, but this Pizza Knife cuts through it just by pressing down and rocking it back and forth once. The only downside is that it’s big and you will need to figure out where to store it. However, my husband and son loved it the first time we used it. No cheese sticking to it and smearing, just cut, cut cut, cut and you are done, it’s that simple and fast. I put it into the dishwasher along the side to get cleaned off- where it won’t take up much room. If you eat pizza on a regular basis – this would be something you would want to own.
The Container Grater – took a little practice. I didn’t love it at first, but as I used it and got used to the way it worked, I liked it more and more. Our first surprise was that we couldn’t figure out how to take the lid on and off. My son figured it out and I thought I was a dunce until my daughter said that she and my husband wanted to use some of the cheese I had grated into the container, but couldn’t figure out how to open it up. There are these two little pieces on the end that you squeeze together to slip the grater arm past. Duh! Then I filled the Cheese holder part too high, which made it awkward to hold and grate. Once I realized that I should only fill the cheese holder part way so that the knob fit in better, moving the arm back and forth across the grater became easier. Lastly, it’s a little messy, so you need to put a tray under the container while you are grating.
After hearing all of that, you are probably thinking why bother? Well, grating has always been messy for me and I always use a tray or plate, so that’s no different. Using the regular cheese grater I scrape my fingers or I try to be careful so that I don’t scrape them. This has a block with a knob that protects your fingers – thank you! The components come apart and go into the dishwasher for easy cleanup. Storage is wonderful. I can grate the cheese into the container, and if I get interrupted (as I did last week with a sick daughter) I can put on the lid and stick it into the fridge and come back to it later. Once I figured out the trick to filling the cheese holder only part way, it was much easier on my arm to use and rocked back and forth and made the grating faster and easier.Diana
Here’s a cool new way to keep those bags closed – Bag Caps. Bag Clips are good, but Copco’s Bag Caps are better. I’ve been trying these great things out, and I like them. There are three different sizes to work with all different size bags. I’ve been using the small ones on my bags of frozen veggies – and voila – no more veggies all over the freezer bottom. It’s great for chips, veggies, candy, grains. I found the ultimate make me happy use though.
My son is a cereal eater. The boy is 6’2” and wears a size 13 shoe, but his foot is definitely hollow. I know he stores his food there. He runs on the track team and eats constantly. This boy eats a lot of cereal, one day, he ate 7 bowls, usually he eats 4, or he did, until I started buying the mega size cereal bags of generic mini – wheat type stuff. One problem, the bags tear. Every day, it would tear a little more, then when you pour, it would get on the table and sprinkle cereal bits all over. Copco’s Bag Caps stop the rippage, seriously, no tearing, or ripping, or spilling. Teenage boys don’t care about any of that stuff, but their mom’s sure do.
So here’s the thing. I have stainless steel appliances which means I can’t hang my son’s lovely artwork on the fridge. Well, I can with tape but then there’s all that sticky clean up. I love our new fridge, but can’t stand not being able to use it as a display surface. I’m a gal who likes reminders. I need calenders and white boards and big bold lettering. Can’t have that with a stainless steel fridge. At least not until Happeez came along.
Happeez are products that stick where magnets don’t. Clips, frames, whiteboards and more, simply peel of the backing of each Happeez and stick to the desired surface. The beauty part is that they don’t leave a sticky residue or stain behind, and if it loses its stickiness all one needs to do is clean the backing with a bit o’vinegar and water.
Now, I have my son’s pictures on my fridge, inside Happeez frames. I have his artwork displayed using the Happeez clips and I even have my reminders thanks to the whiteboard calendar. Happeez makes me happy. Bet it makes you happy too.
Find Happeez at MayfairLane.com.