Half Baked in Seattle

A blog about dining in, dining out and everything food.

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Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

How much is too much for a coffee pot?

When I purchased my Kuerig Brewer, my husband thought I was nut so spend over $150 on a coffee pot, but I am still pleased with it and now my mom has one too.

Being from the Seattle area, Coffee is a big part of my world. I can smell it roasting every day on my way to work from the freeway and I have met very few people under the age of 12 that don’t like a quick trip to Starbucks now and then. With our dreary grey skies and wet weather, Coffee is the pick- me-up-drug of choice in the NW.

In the 70’s, I remember when my mom got her first Mr. Coffee machine. I guess she has a percolator before, but I don’t remember what it looked like. I remember how she was excited by the new technology of the drip coffee maker.

As the years passed,  I recall such innovations in the coffee world as self timers to turn them off and on for you and coffee pots that made smaller amounts for the single drinkers. As time progressed we decided that we had to have espresso and home espresso makers popped up and coffee grinders so you could buy your coffee by the whole bean. I have seen pots that grind your coffee for you, and pots that keep it hot for hours in thermal carafes, but I think the newest coffee maker by SAECO has to take the cake for being the most over the top, over priced, coffee gadget of them all. For a $3100 price tag, you could have a down payment on your own expresso stand!

What does it do?

It can make 6 different kinds of coffee drinks and it does froth and steam milk and it basically cleans itself. You can choose how strong or weak you want it make your coffee and it grinds the beans accordingly. So …there are other machines on the market that can do this? What makes this special? It remembers up to 6 individual users and how they like their coffee and it uses fingerprint technology to do so!  WTF? This seems like frivolous use of some pretty high tech stuff.  I am not trying to protect government secrets, I only want a cup of joe.

So what happens when I want to sleep in on Mother’s Day and my daughter wants to make a cup of coffee for mom with her breakfast in bed? Does she have to drag me by my finger to the coffee pot to get my chosen selection?

I am sure it has the ability to make cups manually, but for the price of a small used car, I would rather drive to Starbucks than fork over this kind of cash. Coffee is expensive as it is!

Giveaway-Put a flying spaghetti (scrub)monster in your sink!

I saw an article a couple of months ago about something called a Spaghetti Scrub and I was both a bit skeptical of the press release info that was included and intrigued at the same time. The information from the company stating that there was a replacement for the kitchen scrubber sponge that would not make my sink smell bad, that would not ruin my non stick pans and that would look so…. fun? Why would I want I flying spaghetti monster in my sink!

I immediately went directly to the source and contacted  Goodbye Detergent ® to see if I could get a couple of these to test/try and see if indeed I could stop the breeding of ugly kitchen sink bacteria  and still get things clean!  They responded quickly and sent a couple of these little guys to me quickly.

According to their website, Spaghettie scrubs feature:

  • Reusable scrubs last for months
  • Unique pliable shape
  • Great for peeling vegetables
  • Lack of mold and bacteria
  • No smell or rust
  • Save money and the environment by reducing the need for soaps

I find that ALL of the above are true.  I have had them a couple of months and they are as good as new.  I love them for stuck on food in hard to reach places.

I seriously dislike peeling my fingers with a potato peeler and if you are just needed a quick scrub down for a carrot, though I wouldn’t recommend us

ing the same one you have been scrubbing dishes with, they do work. I have not seen any signs of mold and I don’t happen to have a petri

dish handy to do a scientific test, but judging by the fact that they are not slimy and do not smell bad, I would say that bacterial residue is minimal after rinsing them out.  Saving money? $10.99 for two on Amazon, or you can find them at Metropolitan Market or City Kitchens in Seattle,  seems a bit expensive for scrubbers, but once you realize how much longer they last and how much better they clean, I think you may find it worth the cost.

What else makes these unique? Made from Corn Cobs(Yellow=coarse) and Peach Pits (red=gentle), they are organic and because these are lightly abrasive, they use less detergent and are thus better for the environment. Simple dampen, wipe and hang to dry.  I was concerned about the coarseness of them but found that while they didn’t work too well on my cast iron grill pan ( still need a heavy duty metal scrubber for them) they didn’t harm my non stick and even dried on gooey old food that got left in a pan for a few days while I took a stomach flu break from chores came out with ease (and while the pan might have made me a bit nauseous, the scrubber did not).

I have scoured (sorry-bad pun intended) other blogs and all seem to agree that these are the best new kitchen item around.

If biodegradable, cute and clean doesn’t do it for you, how about sexy? A creative marketing video shows some things I bet you never thought about doing with  a stinky kitchen sponge!

Did that get you excited? Do you want your own set now? Do you have scrubbie envy? You can’t have mine, but you can get your own set!

Post a comment on the blog (be sure you register and include a valid email) and I will pick a winner by October 15th to get their own set.

12 Days of Kitchen Gadgets: #1 Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker

I have finally arrived at my favorite kitchen gadget!  I love my Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System .

I have always been a fairly light coffee drinker, and since I am the only one in the house most of the time that does drink it, making a whole pot of coffee is a waste of time and coffee.   I hate messing with filters and grounds and the mess in general.Yes, I am lazy, so I found that with limited time and the hassle, I often found myself stopping for coffee on the way to work more than brewing a pot for myself.

Now I have a new best friend in my kitchen that makes me a cup of fresh coffee  from power on to hot cup in about two mintues. It takes me longer to figure out what variety I want than to make the cup.

This machine uses K-Cups and between Amazon and Keurig, there are many varieties of coffee, tea and hot cocoa to choose from. I highly recommend buying the cups from one of these two places. Bed, Bath and Beyond also carries them in a pinch, but the prices are higher.

The brewer has an easy to read display and a simple to operate timer function to auto turn on and off for you, temperature control and it will even tell you when it is time to clean it.

You can choose from three different cup sizes .

The water reservoir  is removable and holds enough water for several large cups. I used filtered water from my refrigerator dispenser to keep from having build up and thus not having to clean the machine as much.

I now wonder why I didn’t buy one of these sooner, but what finally tipped my wallet was the fact that I was not locked into buying k-cups.

There is a re-usable k-cup filter that can be used with your own favorite coffee. I have used it a couple times with my favorite coffees from Old Brisbee Roasters.

K-cups come in so many varieties, it is hard to choose where to start, but some of my favorites are :

Kahlua, Pumpkin spice, and Emeril’s Vanilla Bean Bam.

I also love the Pure Peppermint tea and the English breakfast. There is also a great lemon flavoried iced tea that I used a bunch in the summer and Deejster and my daughter both like the Dark Chocolate hot cocoa . (I also like this made half and half with coffee).

12 Days of Kitchen Gadgets: #2 SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor

Cuisinart is an name that has always been associated with quality in my kitchen and I find that my Cuisinart Smart Power  Duet Blender/Food processor is perfect for my needs.

For the most part, my blender gets used for smoothies (Try Lemonade, Frozen strawberries and Lime Sherbert-for your own version of Jamba Juice’s Strawberry surfrider) and blended drinks and this unit works great for crushed ice and making smooth frozen drinks.  The no-drip glass pitcher is heavy duty and holds a full 40 ounces. I find that good glass blenders are hard to find these days and they are so much better than the plastic type.

The food processor is smooth and I have read many reviews of this product that say that it is not very sturdy , but I have had no issues with it. No it is not a full sized food processor, and no , you probably can’t crush rocks in it, but you can grate cheese, crush cookies for pie crust, or make some killer salsa with it. I would warn that if you are not careful, this is more of a pulverizer than a processor. It is powerful and it doesn’t take much to take your chopped nuts to nut flour if you are not paying attention.

If you are going for an all around versatile machine, this is a great buy and would make a great gift.

For entertaining, you can make the Margaritas in the pitcher, then switch it out and grate cheese for nachos and make fresh salsa all with one machine.

All parts are top rack dishwasher safe (glass portion can be put in the bottom) and since the buttons are electronic push, they are sealed and this makes clean up a breeze. My old blender was always getting gooey stuff down in the button area and it never really ever seemed to get clean.

12 Days of Kitchen Gadgets: #3 George Foreman G5

The next “grilleration” George Forman is a magical gadget for my kitchen.  I have used this thing to it’s near death and it still functions, though I need to order some new plates for it.

I have grilled everything from hot dogs to steaks and fish in this, I have made waffles, baked a pizza, grilled a panini and way more stuff.  Since the plates are interchangeable and removable, clean up is easy and the versatility is wonderful.  It holds enough that you can cook hamburgers for 4 or 5 easily.  The “unhinging” lid is awesome as it allows you to put in larger food items and it still cooks easily.

Deej got me one of these a few years ago and it is getting worn down now, but I have used it a lot. We liked it so much we bought one for a wedding gift for his cousin.

If you know of where the replacement plates can be found let me know. I found them online at one time and I would hate to have to replace the whole machine to get new ones, but at this point I figure I have gotten so much use out of it, I would buy another.

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