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COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Kitchen Tip: Stock-Up for Your Slow Cooker

slow cooker veggies healthy mama baby blog

slow cooker veggies healthy mama baby blog

During these dog days of summer, the prospect of a hearty, rich slow cooker meal likely couldn’t be further from your mind. After all, it’s grilling season!

But this quick – and brilliant – tip from Tara and Stephanie at Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby makes so much sense right now, when farmer’s markets are loaded with fresh, locally grown veggies.

They chop meat and veggies to pre-assemble and freeze basic slow cooker meals. All it takes is a few ingredient adjustments to create completely different meals – from barbecue chicken to Thai curry.

Your slow cooker may stay in storage for another few months (although it sure beats turning on the oven during a heat wave!), but when you’re ready for your first cozy fall meal? You can re-live summer memories with the tastes of the season.

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Colorful Fruit Bowls, a Chilly Salad Bowl and Stylish Bottle Grinders by Menu

Dropp! fruit bowls

new norm complete tray set by menu

You may recall the Norm Carving and Serving sets that I introduced last year. This year, Menu improved on it by making a smaller version. I consider it an improvement because the original did not fit inside a standard upper kitchen cabinet. The New Norm Complete Tray Set with its 11 inches of circumference does.

New Norm Cool Bowl by Menu

The Scandinavian company Menu added a salad bowl that comes with a similar cooling element. The Norm Cool Bowl is a must to serve fresher salads, cold dishes and desserts at a buffet, a chic picnic or a BBQ.

menu bottle grinders :: salt and pepper set

I like the idea of a salt and pepper grinder that will not leave grains on my table. Although the concept is not new, the Bottle Grinder is probably the most stylish version I have seen so far. Select one in ash and the other in carbon to create a stunning set.

In Your Kitchen

Dropp! fruit bowls

Dropp! is fruit bowl fashioned as a large, soft drop of paint. It will add a touch of fun in your kitchen. Dropp! is available in 6 colors.

SOURCING:
+ New Norm Complete Tray Set by Menu $119.95 USD at Emmo Home
Menu New Norm Cool Bowl $99.95 USD at Cookware.com
+ Menu Bottle Grinder $44.95 USD at CSN Stores , which ships to Canada and USA
+ Dropp! Fruit Bowl by Menu $64.95 USD at Emmo Home

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Celebration Weekend 2011 is this weekend

celebration weekend

celebration weekend

I love Sunset magazine. I discovered it a few years ago while we were in San Francisco or Los Angeles. There was a copy in our hotel room. I was hooked. Every week, Sunset organized a Celebration Weekend outdoor exhibit at their headquarters. They have activities for all members of the family, food and drinks demonstrations, beautiful gardens and a product exhibit. It is definitely on my to-do list for next year.

If you are not too far from the Menlo Park area this weekend, plan a day at Sunset Magazine Headquarters. Watch this video with footage of the 2010 edition.

SOURCING:
+ See the lineup of Celebration Weekend 2011

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Indoor S’more Maker from Plow Hearth

indoor smore maker kitchen tool

indoor smore maker kitchen tool

The first long weekend of summer – Victoria Day in Canada and Memorial Day in the U.S. – doesn’t just kick off the sunshine season, but camping season too.

Unfortunately for campers, at least those of us in Canada, Victoria Day weekend weather is notoriously unreliable. In my experience, thunderstorms, howling wind and even (shiver!) a dusting of snow have made an appearance (just thankfully not all at once).

One needs to be prepared for any kind of weather, even if it means keeping a cozy indoor spot on standby. But you don’t have to throw out your camping traditions with your soggy sleeping bag.

This indoor s’more maker is designed to be used any time, anywhere: no open flame required. Build your s’mores in the baskets and slide the wire rack into your oven, toaster oven or barbecue. And unless you want oven-cleaning to be a part of your  long weekend plans, be sure to stack the rack on a cookie sheet to catch, ooey-gooey marshmallow drips.

SOURCING:
+ Indoor S’more Maker from Plow Hearth, $24.95 USD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

IceMilk Aprons

icemilk aprons founder

icemilk aprons founder

This story is a  nice follow-up to Mother’s Day since Ashley Leckey Schoenith was inspired by her grandmother’s cooking habits went she founded IceMilk Aprons. You know how much I love aprons and her aprons provide a feminine twist on a minimalist design. They are on my wish list. The big bow adds the right amount of style while the nice décolleté of the full apron makes it appropriate for when you play the hostess.

Whisked Whipping Creme waist apron by icemilk aprons

But if you wish to follow the rule of etiquette, you should wear instead a waist apron when you are the hostess. The IceMilk’s waist aprons have the high waist that is in fashion this year. The Rollings of Cinnamon full apron, that you see on the top picture, is backorder until August 2011 but you can buy the full apron from the Heritage collection with a belt in a different color.

SOURCING:
+ Full Apron Heritage collection $85 USD – photo of the founder
+ Whisked Whipping Creme waist apron $55 USD

 

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Cool Tools | Julienne Peelers

julienne peeler carrots kitchen tools

One of the best things about ordering a salad in a great restaurant is that it’s often too pretty to eat. Vegetables are sliced and diced in decorative ways you’d probably never attempt if you were tossing one together at home. I always get a kick out of finely julienned carrots that look like bright orange silly string on a plate.

Though you may think it takes expert chopping skills to produce such delightful results, there’s a kitchen tool that can do most of the work. A julienne peeler is a very affordable kitchen addition that can add a bit of fun to your dishes and save you a bit of prep work. Use it to slice veggies them for salad, stir fry, spring or cold rolls.

Carrots are the obvious target for this easy-to-use tool, but it would work just as well on beets, cucumbers, zucchini or on potatoes to create pomme frites.

We rounded up a few options at various price points, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one in a kitchen supply store.

1. Progressive Julienne Peeler from Kitchen Stuff Plus $4.99 CAD
2. Kuhn Rikon Julienne Peeler with blade protector, $20 CAD
3. Messermeister 800-60 Pro Touch Julienne Cutter from Amazon.ca, $7.12 CAD
4. Zyliss Julienne Peeler from Amazon.ca, $7.99 CAD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Must-Have Small Appliances for a Quick Breakfast | Being a First-time Parent

toasters and nespresso

toasters and nespresso

It is a fact that parents with babies are time-crunched. I begin my third week with my baby at home and I came to appreciate the efficiency of my toaster and our Nespresso machine.

Now, I frequently use the reheat function of my toaster. Before we have Zack, I only use once. Diaper changing or something else may disturb me and my toast will rest on the plate longer than it should. The reheat function means that I do not throw it away. This is important since going to buy a new loaf of bread is not always an easy task. Several brands propose it. I bought the Breville ikon 2-Slice Toaster. I saw that Philips seems to make a good one.

You will need a coffee boast a few times a day to stay awake. We switched to Nespresso because it is fast, easy and tasty. I still make me a small pot of French press in the morning but the rest of the time, I drink an espresso or lungo made with my Nespresso machine.

Food-wise, having instant oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruits charcuterie and soups are a life saver. As you can see, my eating habits are erratic during the day. But my husband and I try to find the time to eat a relax dinner, even if that means eating at 10 PM.

SOURCING:
+ For Canadians: Breville ikon 2-slice toaster $69.99 CAD
+ For Americans: Breville ikon 2-slice toaster $69.89 USD
+ Philips 2 slot 2 function metal curve toaster

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Airtight Food Storage and Jars by Takeya

takeya storage jars

takeya storage jars

These food and drink storage products should appeal to the design-conscious while the airtight feature will please the health-conscious. I like that they have an airtight twist top lid.

takeya pitchers

I read that they have more desirable features. The freezer-safe storage containers are shaped to easily pour out food. The hot and cold beverage jugs can be stored upright or it can be laid on its side without leaking. They are made of a durable and high temperature BPA-free acrylic, that has glass-like clarity. They are supposed to be stain and odor proof.

The Takeya products look great on paper; does anyone have tried them?

SOURCING:
+ Airtight Food Jug by Takeya $17.99 USD for the 40oz, $19.99 for the 66oz
+ Takeya Airtight Jug $12.99 USD for the 40oz, $14.99 for the 66oz

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Kitchen Tool | Microplane Herb Mill from Williams-Sonoma

herb grinder kitchen tool williams sonoma

herb grinder kitchen tool williams sonoma

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we have at least a few more months until farmer’s markets start filling up with locally-grown, full-of-flavour produce. But the first few sunny days of spring always seem to stir cravings for lighter, fresher meals after a winter’s worth of rich comfort food.

Adding fresh herbs to your dishes – either as a garnish or as ingredients – can help bridge the gap while we wait for vegetable gardens to come to life. They’ll provide the burst of flavour at an affordable price point.

If you tend to steer clear of fresh herbs on account of all that chopping, this microplane herb mill from Williams-Sonoma will substitute nicely for a sous chef. Fill the mill with herbs then let the stainless steel scissoring blades mince herbs with just a twist of your wrist. Best of all, clean up is a (fresh, spring) breeze since the blades can be tossed in the dishwasher. After all, you likely have other spring cleaning to get to.

SOURCING:
+ Microplane Herb Mill from Williams-Sonoma, $19.99 USD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

My New Cupcake Decorating Tools

cuisipro Cupcake Corer and Decorating Set

cuisipro Cupcake Corer and Decorating Set

I went shopping to Linen Chest last night. My husband and I wanted a Nespresso machine – I will tell you all about that later. I couldn’t go there and not take a look at some of their merchandises. I ended up buying a Decorating Pen and a Cupcake Corer and Decorating Set, both by Cuisipro. I will be all set for kids parties and birthdays.

cuisipro Decorating Pen

You can use the Decorating pen not just for decorating cookies and cakes. You can style your plates or put the finishing touch to a potage or a soup.

SOURCING:
Cuisipro Cupcake Corer and Decorating Set $19.99 CAD at Linen Chest
+ Cuisipro Decorating Pen $11.99 CAD

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Home Made Cookie Stamp

cookie stamper home made baking tool

cookie stamper home made baking tool

If your baked goods rival the fare found in fancy sweet shops (and why wouldn’t they?), this cool kitchen tool may be just what you need to remind snackers your creations are the real home made deal.

The 2.75″ stamp is made with food-grade silicone and features a sturdy wooden handle made from sustainably harvested trees. It even comes with a special peanut butter cookie recipe, but the stamp would also work well for shortbread and sugar cookies.

SOURCING:
+ Home Made Cookie Stamp $14.95 USD at NerdSeven
+ Home Made Cookie Stamp by Suck UK