Product Reviews
  Re: (...)
I thought it would be nice to go through some of our kitchen products we have and review them. It doesn't matter if they are old or new, cost a lot of money or was acquired at a garage sale. One of my prize possessions is a vegetable peeler I bought at the supermarket that I cannot live without!

It was my coffe maker that went kaput that prompted this post. Several years ago my husband bought a coffee maker at Williams-Sonoma.

This is the one:

[Image: kitchenaid.jpg]

Well he bought it for me because he thought I would like it. And I did, sort of. On the upside, it had solid construction, was very attractive and came with an extra pot and extra warming burner for entertaining. On the downside it cost $300 and it was really nothing special. It was made like an office coffee maker which meant it didn't have 'sneak a cup' feature. I can't tell you how many guests grabbed the pot while coffee was brewing expecting the flow to stop when the pot was removed only to have coffee running all over the counter. And early on the clock on the front was rendered useless from drips of water and steam. But the worst thing for me is that it didn't make the coffee better than our old $24.99 coffee maker. This machine was a colossal waste of money.

So when this machine went kaput, I was secretly over-joyed. I got tired of waking up to 'old' and sometimes cold coffee. So I purchased the airpot from Sam's Club for $35. I love this airpot! It worked great and I just loved having fresh coffee on the counter all the time.

[Image: airpot.jpg]

Now I had to reassess our 'coffee needs'. My hubby makes coffee at 4:30 a.m. on his way out the door. This schedule started three years ago. I don't usually get up until 5:30 or 6:00 and while I do love having fresh coffee, I usually only have a cup, maybe two, and sometimes (not often) none. So I decided to go with something that I could make one cup at a time.

So this time I decided to go with an espresso maker. I had a Braun one years ago and loved it. I love the flavor the coffe has when made this way. I always have been checking for a coffee/espresso maker and there just aren't many, or they are VERY expensive.

Well I purchased this little number from Target:

[Image: Mr.-Coffee-ECMP50-Espresso-Cappuccino-Maker.jpg]

Pros: Decent price, makes a pretty decent espresso, easy to use, large water reservoir so you don't always have to fill up to make a cup.

Cons: Water is not hot enough right away so I have to run a cycle without coffe to get it hot enough, frother lacks some power.

Really the jury is still out on this one. I will have to use it a while to figure out if I really like it or not.

One of my most favorite things is my vegetable peeler. I got it at our local Cub store for $4 this summer.

[Image: DSC03104.jpg]

I will never go back to my old peeler again. It fits my hand so well, it's really sharp. The only drawback, if you can call it that is there is no sharp tip for digging out eyes. But how often do I do that anyway? Not enough for me to give up this peeler.

My kitchen timer also took a powder. I had been eyeing the triple timers that are out and about. I decided to purchase the very economical OXO timer despite some of the not so good ratings I found at Amazon.

[Image: timer.jpg]

A month ago I would have told you I loved it. But I would have also said the alarm is very quite, it's a little complicated to set, and it doesn't beep long enough after going off. So if you are out of the room, you may miss the alarm entirely. But I got used to the quite beep, and the got used to setting it. I thought it was fine. UNTIL it started freaking out on me. It will clear itself of all timing for unknown reasons, it will emit a high pitched long series of beeps and just black out! Now I really dislike this thing. I have to set a backup timer for my timer!

The best buy of the summer is the Sauce Master that my husband purchased for me at Fleet Farm for $49.95.

[Image: 9670.jpg]

I love this product! I was able to turn all my tomatoes into puree lickety-split! Not coring, seeding or peeling! I just quartered them and sent them through. Out the other end came a beautiful crimson flow of pristine puree. Just ready to be made into sauce for canning.

Another item that came into the house was a pepper mill. I purchased it at for around $29.

[Image: 10-7500Hotelwal.jpg]

Some of you may know I have been searching for just the right pepper mill for my hubby for about a year. Maybe more. I have researched so many mills and really knew exactly what I wanted. However, it was too expensive. So I decided to find something economical and functional. Besides, how complicated is a pepper mill? This mill is fine, it does the job. I love it's 18" stature and it looks quite impressive on the kitchen counter. The only drawback is that it only has one grind. Kind of disappointing since the ad said it was fully adjustable. It's not. It works fine and for the price, I will keep it.
  Re: Product Reviews by luvnit (I thought it would b...) be continued by Laura!!

I can't think of any appliance we go thru faster than coffee pots. The last one we had made coffee into a thermal carafe and when it went out (don't remember why) I kept the carafe and got a new maker - a Black & Decker with a glass carafe.

Since I get up anywhere from 4:30 to 7:00a.m. (feel like half my day is over when I sleep in this late), I have the timer set for 5 a.m. and the burner stays on for 2 hours. So, when I get up, I transfer it to the old carafe and it holds the coffee nicely until it gone.

Other applicances? hmmmmm, the only ones out, always ready to use are: Cuisinart food processer, electric can opener (Krups Open Master, the one that cuts the safe edge), and a Kitchen Aid toaster. Oops, forgot my Kitchen Aid mixer - it's on the island always ready to go. Well, and my microwave, it's an appliance too.

The appliance I hope I'm never without again? My warming drawer - I love it. I was without it for 2 1/2 years and it drove me crazy.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by cjs ( be continued b...)
I have a GE 12-cup percolator with built-in warmer ($40 at Wally World) that is my all-time favorite, except for the Corning percolator that we had when we first got married. We have had numerous coffee makers since that time, and they never last long. This one makes "the best!" coffee in less than twelve minutes and keeps it nice and hot.

We also have a Krups toaster that has lasted for years and still toasts perfectly and a KitchenAid mixer that has also lasted for years. I tend to be a "gadget queen" so have many other small appliances, most of which sit in storage in the basement.

Laura, I just remembered something....Did you ever buy that steamer that you were considering some months back? If so, how are you liking it?

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by Mare749 (I have a GE 12-cup p...)
I love the perculator coffee makers! I wish I would have remembered that when I was in the market. They are so cool.

Yes, Maryann, I did purchase that Fresh-O-Matic food steamer. I ended up getting it for $4.35 or $4.65. Not exactly sure. My hubby was working near the auction and picked it up on his way home. I got it home and plugged it in and it didn't work. So the other day when my mom's former hubby was here (small appliance repairman) he brought his tools to take a look at it. It was a blown fuse, but he also tested the heating elements and the upper one worked, but the lower one that heated the steam did not. So it went to the appliance graveyard. Bummer, but we weren't out much, and the hunt was still fun.
"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by Mare749 (I have a GE 12-cup p...)
We are self professed coffee snobs. Now that we're back in CA for a while we'll start roasting our coffee beans again.

Bob picked out a Bunn coffee maker several years ago - it was one of the very few coffee makers that gets the water to 200+ degrees. It makes a pot in about 3 minutes or less and we just love it. The only drawback is that it uses more electricity because it keeps a pots' worth of water hot all the time. It makes a great pot of coffee though and it's so fast that you don't need to "sneak a cup". LOL

I have to admit that most of my kitchen toys are with us, either in the "basement" or the trailer. I just don't have enough room to keep anything out to use on a moment's notice (other than the Bunn).
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by Harborwitch (We are self professe...)
I have a very ordinary coffee maker (Hamilton Beach) that makes great coffee and it's RED, that's why I bought it LOL
My can't live without appliance is the Cuisinart Power Prep Plus Food Processor, it does everything!
Can't forget to mention the counter top oven, (also Hamilton Beach from Wally it's got a convection setting and I use it alot, it's so convenient. It even has a rotisserie
A recent purchase is the Oyster rice cooker, I got a teeny little red one, it takes @ 3C uncooked rice max. I really didn't think I needed one, but now I love to set it up and let it do the rice while I do other prep and cook stuff. It's so nice to have the rice all fluffy and waiting to be served. That's about it for me. I won't keep anything on the counter that doesn't get used daily.
Empress for Life
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by farnfam (I have a very ordina...)
Too bad about the food steamer, Laura. But, you just never know when something you pick up will be a gem, and like you said, you weren't out a lot of money and the search was fun.

The reason I asked was because Lorraine was showing me the steamer in the kitchen at the winery, and telling me how fast it is for heating food and how fresh it tastes. I fell in love with that one!

Almost forgot. Hamilton Beach Food processor. Have had it for years and it's still going strong. I've noticed that the new ones are not as high quality as the older models were though. That, and my food saver, is another favorite.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by Mare749 (Too bad about the fo...)
ooops, forgot my food saver - it sits on top of the microwave so it's always handy.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by cjs (ooops, forgot my foo...)
My can't live without items are:

Kitchen Aid Mixer (red) I use it several times a week during the winter mostly, since it's too hot to do much of anything in my kitchen in the summer.

Cuisinart 14 cup Food Processor- I use this several times a week year round. I love it.

FoodSaver (the new upright one with the moist food setting)- LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! (This one is probably my current favorite.)

OOPS! I forgot one! Salter Scale- Love it! I use it much more than I figured I would. I originally got it to weigh out ingredients for bread. Pop the Baker told me that if I'd leave it out, I'd use it more than expected. I didn't believe him at first and just put it away after every use. Then I started making bread and pasta more and more and decided to leave it out. I can't believe how much I use it....almost daily.

My "not so thrilled with" item:

Mr. Coffee- It's not so bad, but it's old and SOOOOOO SLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWWW! Luckily, I have a wonderful husband that sets it up every night and fixes my coffee in the morning. He hands it to me just as I exit the shower. Isn't he sweet?!?!?!? I'm in no rush to replace it. I'd love to have one like the one Sharon mentioned, but as she said, it uses a LOT of power. I'm not sure William would go for it.

Laura, speaking of the pepper grinder. I have one just like yours, just shorter. I wish I had a tall one. At the time I got it, I thought, "Why?" Now I have to refill that much sooner. ANYWAY, mine is adjustable. I just don't screw the cap on very much. You may try grinding it over a plate, loosening the cap a little each grind until you get the grind you want.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: Product Reviews by Gourmet_Mom (My can't live withou...)
The carafe of my coffeemaker broke (well, DH helped...) and I've been looking for a replacement with no luck. I hate throwing away a perfectly good piece of equipment, so I'll keep on searching. In the meantime I tried a French press but it was too much of a hassle so early in the morning when my brain is still fuzzy. SO I went to the attic to see if one was hanging around up there. And I found a Mr Coffee that must be 20+ years old. It has little white flowers on the carafe, the warmer is bare metal, there no "Brew interrupt" feature but I love it. It makes a good cup of coffee and is much faster than the newer (circa 1995) Hamilton Beach one. And this Mr Coffee was made in the USA. I'm betting it will last a good long time (and I can't remember why I stuck it up in the attic...)

Okay, other products.

I cannnot live without a kitchen scale. Mine is like this, a Salter, only white.
[Image: 41DBujd85AL._AA160_.jpg]
It's easy to use, and I can use a plate or bowl on it, then set it back to "0" to measure directly into the bowl.

Since we both work at home, this Hamilton Beach panini press is wonderful for making lunches.
[Image: 51V3QPKFHML._SL160_AA160_.jpg]

It's easy to use, makes great sandwiches, and is a snap to clean.

I also got this Kitchenaid food processor for Christmas last year to replace my 25-year-old Cusinart (which went to the lake house) and it's great for when I am preparing food for more than the two of us. I also use the mini bowl a lot too.

[Image: 419W6REJHQL._AA300_.jpg]

I have a Sunbeam "Oskar" mini food processor which I like to process small quantities, but they are no longer made and I dread the day that it stops working. Among other things, it also processes Spooky's canned food (which he likes to be smooth or he won't eat it) perfectly.

It's perfect for chopping parsley and garlic, too.

I still haven't found a toaster that I like, though. Any suggestions?

my cooking adventures

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