Tag Archives: kitchen gadgets

Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System

Crock-Pot Hook Up Connectable Entertaining System

The Crock-Pot Hook Up Entertaining System, oh heck, it’s a connectable Crock-Pot that comes in three models to use side by side for parties, buffets or holidays.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

Crock-Pot Hook Up

The Crock-Pot Hook Up is a three piece system that has three different crock pots that can be connected together for entertaining or larger meals. The Crock-Pot Hook Up is a unique system that has a cord on one side that pulls out to plug in and a socket on the other side to allow for connecting other Hook Ups.

You can connect any of the Crock-Pot Hook Ups together using either the 3.5, 2 or dual 1 quart crock-Pot units but you can also buy the same sized Hook Ups. You can connect up to six Hook Ups together using the side outlet plug and socket system that works quite well.

Each Hook Up has the same outer size and connections while the three models have three different sizes of crocks with one being a dual crock design. Hook Up’s come in a double oval 1 quart, 2 quart round and 3.5 quart oval in an assortment of designer colors.

Dual 1 Quart Hook Up

Each crock-pot Hook Up comes with a lid and a slot on the rim of the crock insert for a spoon along with a control for cooking and warming. The Hook Ups have the same 28 inch cord with a two prong end and can be connected together without extending the cord or any distance up to the 28 inches of each cord.

The directions and side of the hookups say you should not connect more than six of the hook ups together for electrical safety. To release the plug when it is retracted you push the latch that secures the plug in the Hook Up on the right side.

You can also stack the Hook Ups for storing but you probably should not stack more than three of them to prevent them from falling over. They do stack but I found that the oval 3.5 and the tdual crock does not stack well on the round one due to the shape of the crocks.

Connecting Hook Ups

They do stack decently when you arrange them with the round one on top so you just have to stack the right ones in the right order. You also need to flip the lids so the handles are inside the crocks but that is kind of obvious while the cords should also be stored by pushing them inside.

You can cook just about anything you want in the Hook Ups just like you would any other Crock-Pot but size is a concern. I did just cook a turkey but had to slice it up to fit it in the 3.5 and 2 quart hook ups but the smaller size works well for parties and buffet meals.

Full Short Rib Meal

The 11 pound bird that we used for both a nice dinner with all the fixings as well as some turkey salad sandwiches with the leftovers was very moist and tasty. The 2 and 3.5 quart Hook Ups work well when you want to cook recipes or one pot meals but makes a fantastic pair for buffets and potluck dinners.

The smaller 1 quart oval hook up is great for things like appetizers, hot dip or smaller servings of desserts or for things like gravy. I tried several recipes from Crock-Pot.com as well as other internet sites and really enjoyed all of them but of course some work better than others.

Chicken Chili with & without Beans

One really stood out as both easy and very good with such a simple recipe that it is ridiculous for a tasty dessert or even breakfast. Take two pounds of uncooked rice and after rinsing put in the 3 quart crock-pot with six cups of whole milk then cook on high for four hours.

When the rice has absorbed all the milk add a cup more and some brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and vanilla for a tasty treat. The 3.5 quart worked well but you could also use the 1 quart dual crock Hook Up for one recipe with raisins and the other without but you would have to adjust the amount of rice.

Slow Cooked Turkey

The Crock-Pot Hook Ups are just like that recipe with simplicity and good flavor coming from a simple to use but versatile set of slow cookers. The Hook Ups are easy to clean with the removable crocks and lids being dishwasher safe while the main unit should just be wiped off.

I highly recommend the Crock-Pot Hook Up as a great and versatile set of slow cookers that come in a variety of sizes and as a set. The individual Crock-Pot Hook Ups cost about $50 and you can find them at Wal-Mart, Target and online at numerous stores.

Hook Up @ Crock-Pot

Hook Up @ Target

Pros
Slow cooking with Warm, Low and High Settings
Easily connect up to six Hook Ups together
Stackable and dishwasher safe

Cons
Round 2 quart needs to be stacked on top

Mastrad purefizz Soda Maker Review

Mastrad purefizz Soda Maker Review

The Mastrad purefizz allows you to make carbonated drinks without the mess and directly in the bottle that is also portable.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

purefizz system

The Mastrad purefizz allows you to enjoy carbonated beverages without the hassle of adding syrups or sugars after you carbonate the water. Many popular soda makers like SodaStream use a carbonation process that first carbonates plain water and then has you add syrup.

The purefizz comes with a stainless steel bottle, funnel and two caps as well as instructions for use but you will need to buy some CO2 cartridges. The purefizz uses CO2 cartridges that are available from Mastrad but you can use any food safe 8 gram CO2 cartridge to carbonate.

The purefizz works very simply by filling the bottle with your chosen beverage and then filling it with CO2 using the charger cap that has a screw thread for the cartridge holder. After charging the bottle you shake the bottle several times and then wait for the gas to evenly distribute throughout your beverage.

You can also use this time to cool your beverage and if you’re carbonating wine for a sparkling wine you can leave it in the fridge for more and smaller bubbles. Leaving the bottle unopened for a longer time allows more of the CO2 to infiltrate the beverage and gives you smaller bubbles as well.

Carbonated Apple Cider

You can charge the purefizz twice for even more bubbles which might be necessary for wine or other liquors which is something I have not tried. I don’t drink alcohol so I did not try wine or other alcoholic beverages but you can carbonate liquors like vodka and wine.

The costs to do this may be a bit more than store bought soda but the real advantage of this system is not the fact that it can take the place of buying soda but that it can carbonate any liquid. The SodaStream should only be used to carbonate water but the purefizz allows you to carbonate anything you like.

Carbonating juices like cranberry and orange juice can liven up a brunch or just make a great tasty treat anytime of the day. The purefizz can carbonate anything you can pour into the bottle that you want to turn into a fizzy drink.

You can create unique drinks by adding pieces of fruit or frozen fruit juice to the bottle but you do have to use liquid in there as well. You can make fruit drinks with the fruit already added but this really doesn’t affect the fruit and I found adding it directly to a glass is easier.

purefizz Root Beer

I also tried a couple of fun experiments with a favorite drink and a not so favorite drink with interesting results for both. I tried some cold coffee and found it tasted kind of bitter and had a lot of foam and little liquid when I poured it out.

I saw a video on You Tube that carbonated several things using a SodaStream and tried milk with some root beer flavoring that tasted just like a root beer float. This was great, a root beer float in taste but without the pesky clumps of ice cream but with a great creamy flavor.

Other soda makers like the SodaStream and Cuisinart soda makers do not allow you to do this as they carbonate water only due to their design. You can put syrup or liquids other than water in the bottle but it does make a mess and should be avoided to prevent damage to the soda maker.

The purefizz is a simpler design that does not include the tubing and fittings but directly injects CO2 into the bottle through one valve. The purefizz has a lot less moving parts so there are less things to go wrong or to get messed up with syrup or other sticky ingredients.

Carbonated Orange Juice

One thing you do need to make sure is that you release the pressure before opening the bottle as you may blow the gasket out of the bottle when opening by just unscrewing the cap. I know this can happen because I did just that and the rubber seal broke in one spot when I opened the cap without releasing the gas.

I found a handy replacement at a local hardware store and was ready to make more carbonate beverages like my favorite root beer soda. I have used both the SodaStream and the purefizz using the same syrup and find that there are near to identical as far as I can taste.

Both machines work well but the purefizz is a bit more expensive drink for drink with a cost comparison for the carbonators being the main difference. A box of ten CO2 cartridges costs about $11 shipped from Mastrad which equates to a cost per ounce of carbonated water at 4 cents.

Adding the natural sugar root beer syrup from SodaStream just about doubles that 4 cents to 8 cents per ounce so the cost is a bit more than store bought soda. Buying soda at the store costs about 3 or 4 cents per ounce so there is a decent price difference that is made up for in the fact that you can carbonate anything you want.

Carbnated Apple Juice w/ Apple Slices

I have tried a wide variety of juices like lemonade, lime juice, orange juice, fruit punch, grape juice and common ordinary apple juice. You can carbonate wine and other alcohol beverages for a different taste and treat wherever you want with the portable aspect of the purefizz.

It is now almost Thanksgiving so apple cider is plentiful at stores and it makes an excellent choice for the purefizz and trying some at Thanksgiving will be fun. The purefizz is very portable and only has the bottle with the two caps and the cartridges that you need to carry while the soda makers like SodaStream are less portable.

I highly recommend the purefizz Soda Maker for a unique and different way to carbonate beverages that allows you to carbonate anything you want without hassle. The purefizz costs about $80 and the CO2 cartridges cost about $11 for a box of ten.

purefizz @ Mastrad

purefizz @ Mastrad Store

purefizz @ Amazon

Pros
Can carbonate any liquid

Very portable
Easy to clean and bottle only is dishwasher safe

Cons
None

Joseph Joseph TriScale Review

 

 Joseph Joseph TriScale

The Joseph Joseph TriScale is a handy compact digital scale that is perfect for the kitchen but has a unique folding design to make it compact enough to fit in a drawer or cashbox.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

Joseph Joseph TriScale

The Joseph Joseph TriScale is a handy digital scale designed to fold up to a compact 6 by 1.75 by 1/2 inch size when folded up. The scale uses three rubber covered feet as the triple points for weighing that are on the bottom of the scale.

These three points should be out fully and can fit a small, medium and large bowl due to the top of the scale being flat along all its surface except for the digital readout. While you can use it with the legs unfolded most of the way you should just unfold it fully for a stable three point base.

The TriScale uses a button cell battery that fits in the base leg that has the scales LED display which has two push button sections below it. The buttons are marked with a power symbol and ZERO for one and Unit for the other with the obvious power button also being used to zero out the scale.

Joseph Joseph Whats in the Box

The unit button changes the scales function to the various weight units the scale measures in going from gram to pound and ounces, milliliters then fluid ounces. The difference between pound ounces and fluid ounces is the fluid ounces continues to measure only in ounces while the pound ounces setting uses pound and ounces once it goes past 16 ounces.

The scale can measure up to 5 kilograms or 11 pounds and makes an excellent kitchen scale for weighing ingredients and keeping your cooking experience simpler. Just why would you want a kitchen scale for anything other than dieting may come to mind but recipes is one reason and weighing for selling is another.

Measuring for weight control and portioning food is one reason but for cooking and ensuring you get the correct measurements for ingredients makes the most sense. I have been finding out lately when baking and cooking that correct measurements are a key to consistency.

TriScale Folded

Not having as many dishes and measuring cups also makes it easy for cooking so there are actually a few reasons beyond exact measurements. The foods you add to a recipe should be measured so you get no wrong measurements due to differing measuring techniques.

Several studies have been conducted with how people measure ingredients and flour is a perfect example in how much peoples measuring techniques can vary how much is actually in the same sized measuring cup. Different people measured out flour and where getting from four to six ounces as measured by weight for the same cup of flour.

When a recipe calls for a cup of flour people are known to pack, tap and otherwise alter just how much actually goes into that cup. Cheese is another great example if you think about a finely shredded cheese using a planer versus a large holed box shredder.

Bottom of TriScale

If you think about the same cheese and shredding it with a planer or a large holed grater the same shreds will not equal the same volume. If you weigh ingredients you get rid of varying styles to how you measure out ingredients which gets rid of differences in volume when using ingredients in a recipe.

Adding ingredients by weight also means easier cooking when you have less cups and spoons to clean up, think about honey or peanut butter in a recipe. When you measure out honey or other sticky ingredients you lose some of that ingredient still in the spoon or other measuring cup.

You can spray the measuring device with cooking spray to make getting all the ingredient out or you can just bypass this totally by adding the correct amount to a recipe in one bowl. I tried this a few times and rather enjoy not having all those measuring cups and spoons to wash as I do not have a dishwasher.

Using TriScale for Recipe

Actually I do have a dishwasher, me, and I would much rather keep the amount of dishes I have to wash to a minimum so less dishes to wash sounds great to me. I did find smaller measurements like teaspoons and fractions of teaspoons are harder to measure so I think I’ll stay with measuring spoons for the small stuff.

For recipes that require a measuring cup I am going to be using a trusty scale to keep down on the mess and to make recipes easier. Figuring out my favorite recipes for weights instead of volume is easy with handy conversion charts and even a website that will convert volume measures of a wide variety of ingredients into weights for you.

You can use the Joseph Joseph TriScale for weighing food while dieting or for use in a home based business for weighing out portions. The scale works well and is a handy convertible style that makes tossing it in a cash box quit easy.

weighing food

The Joseph Joseph TriScale makes a handy and easy to use scale no matter what you use it for and works well around the kitchen aor wherever you need it. I highly recommend the TriScale for a pocket sized scale to measure in ounces grams and milliliters at home or at the market.

TriScale @ Joseph Joseph

Online Food Calculator

Pros
Accurate Digital Scale
Small size when folded
Affordable at about $30

Cons
None

Ninja Professional Frying System

Ninja Professional Frying System

The Ninja Frying System uses an 1800 watt element to keep the oil at the temperature you need for fast and efficient frying.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

Ninja Frying System

Ninja may be known for their professional blender which is called the Ninja Kitchen System but they also have other appliances that are great at various forms of cooking. The Ninja Professional Frying System uses a high wattage element and smaller size to keep the oil at a high temperature.

Fusion Heat Technology keeps the oil up to the temperature you set for crispy frying and faster cooking with the higher wattage heating element. The Fusion Technology may not be anything more than a higher wattage heating element but the smaller size of the fryer helps as well.

The Ninja Frying System also uses a covered basket to completely submerge your food while cooking to cook faster and with less oil saturating your food. The higher wattage element and small size mean better cooking and a bit healthier as well.

Parts of the Ninja Frying System

The Ninja Frying System has an outer body and inner oil reservoir that has a removable heating element and control panel that connects to a 120 volt outlet. The control panel has an LED panel that shows the temperature setting and a timer to help cook your foods.

The electric cord uses a magnetic connection to ensure a quick and easy safety detach in case of accidents so the cord does not pull the fryer. The fryer basket has a heat proof handle and an easy to fill basket that includes a cover.

The Ninja Fryer holds 3 liters of oil which is a good amount and it does cover the basket completely when submerged. The cover ensures food cooks all over but it is not required to cook foods if you prefer not to use it.

Deep Frying with Basket Cover

The inner reservoir has a removable pour spout to empty the reservoir after the oil has cooled to make things tidy when using. The outer housing has a nice lid to keep oil from spattering while cooking and a small vent.

The fryer does an excellent job with the small size and the higher wattage both contributing to a better frying experience. I think it is the combination of both the size of the fryer and the heating element that gives you the heat you need when frying.

One of the major problems with frying is adding food and having your oil cool so the food does not cook well or fast like those restaurant fryers. The higher wattage and smaller size along with the lid for the basket ensures the oil does not cool and food gets cooked as fast as it should.

Ninja Frying System Fish & Fries

The Ninja Frying System may not be a professional style fryer that you would see in a restaurant but it does a great job. The Ninja Fryer does have a nice timer to go along with the digital display of your temperature which is pretty accurate when checked with other thermometers.

The Ninja Fryer did an excellent job at common frying tasks like chicken, cheese sticks and hush puppies as well as some odd things like steaming. Since reviewing a larger fryer I have tried steaming in the fryer and it does an excellent job at boiling water quickly and creating a fast cooking steam.

The Ninja Fryer is a great countertop fryer that works well and is easy to clean with the pour spout that aids in emptying. Fryers have been getting pretty sophisticated but this one has two major features that help to make it stand out from the rest.

Frying Cresent Rolls

The Ninja Professional Frying System is a great fryer and well worth the $100 you can pick it up for at the Ninja website. I highly recommend the Ninja Professional Fryer System for a fantastic home fryer that has a couple of advantages over other fryers.

Ninja Fryer Website

pizzacraft Square Glazed Pizza Stone

pizzacraft Square Glazed Pizza Stone

The pizzacraft Square Glazed Pizza Stone is an excellent pizza stone for baking pizzas and other baking like bread and cinnamon rolls.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

pizzacraft Glazed Pizza Stone

I wanted to check out a pizza stone but did not want to go with the trend of a common stone that has that rough surface. Those slabs that look like planters just do not make me all that eager to dig into a pizza so I checked around and found pizzacraft.com.

Pizzacraft is an interesting company that sells on the Yahoo Store and is owned by a larger brand company called The Companion Group. Pizzacraft sells a wide variety of pizza stones, tools and accessories including a couple glazed pizza stones.

Everyone has heard of unglazed pizza stones that have the reputation of baking pizzas by pulling water away from the crust to brown the dough evenly. The glazed pizza stones still keep water from the dough by one of two methods as far as I can find on the internet.

Bottom of Glazed Pizza Stone

One type of stone popular that is made by Emile Henry has micro cracks on the glaze while the pizzacraft stone seems to have small pits. I am not sure if the pizzacraft stone also has micro cracks but you can see tiny pits on the glazed surface.

The stone looks just like other ones I have seen in stores but it has a glazing baked on it that has the slightly rough surface to start with so there are small pits. The surface is not smooth like some of my metal enameled cookware that I have tried out but has these very small pits that are glazed over.

The stone works just like an unglazed pizza stone with preheating for about ten minutes and then placing your food on the stone to cook as usual. Pizzas cook in about ten minutes or less while other breads cook in about the same time or maybe a bit quicker. The pizzacraft Glazed Pizza Stone comes in a round and square version with the square version being 14.5 inches wide with a handle on each side.

Take N Bake Pizza on the Glazed Pizza Stone

The handles stick out about an inch and a half and are raised from the bottom surface of the stone about a half inch for a grabbing surface. The handles are angled upward so you have a full 14.5 inches of surface to use for cooking and it easily fits a large pizza.

Of course sizes vary with pizza makers so you may find some pizzas that are a bit too large but the pizza stone is great for store bought, take and bake and even homemade pizzas. I have also tried a variety of recipes with regular fresh bread, premade breads and sweet breads like those caramel rolls.

You can get messy with foods like extra cheese and caramel rolls and not have to worry about cleanup as the glazed surface is easy to wash in the sink. I try very hard not to dunk the bottom as the pizza stone is only glazed on the top and sides.

Bread on the Pizza Stone

The bottom is raw stone that has been baked during the firing of the stone to glaze the top and sides but the sides and top as well as all the handles are glazed. The pizzacraft stone is not dishwasher safe as it would soak up too much water just like those regular unglazed stones.

I usually just wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth but a few times I have had to scrub it with a rag or a plastic scrubber to get baked on sugar or cheese off. The stone has remained clean and without any marks after baking several pizzas and a host of other breads and treats.

I have tried just about all the tubes of baking products like those Pillsbury biscuits, cinnamon rolls and crescents as well as frozen bread and sweet bread. I have also made homemade bread and dough from a bread maker to bake on the pizzacraft stone.

Caramel Rolls

You should use a pizza peel, those flat wooden paddles, to place and remove pizzas or a similar large tool that handles larger items. The pizzacraft stone can handle foods directly on its surface but you can also use parchment paper to prevent a mess and to help removing foods.

Everything I have made has been more than edible and pretty good with only a couple of recipes not being better than great. I have tried quite a bit and have been more than pleased with the results and am very excited to keep using the stone to cook a variety of foods including pizzas.

I have not had any problems with the pizzacraft stone and can highly recommend it for great crispy pizzas and wonderful tasty breads as well as other foods.

Homemade Pizza

Glazed Pizza Stone @ pizzacraft

Pros
Glazed Stone bakes evenly
Glazed surface is easy to clean
Handles make stone easy to move in and out of oven

Cons
Bottom of stone is unglazed and should not get wet

Ninja Cooking System Review

Ninja Cooking System Review

The Ninja Cooking System is a unique multi type cooking appliance that uses both side and bottom heating to cook meals in a removable aluminum pot.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5
Total: 5/5

Ninja Cooking System

The Ninja Cooking System is a unique and versatile appliance that can sear meats like a pan, slow cook meals like a crock pot and bake like an oven. The Ninja Cooking System uses a three heat system to heat from the bottom, sides or both.

The Ninja Cooking System has a large single aluminum pot that is coated with a nonstick coating as well as the lid except for the vent hole of the lid. The pot can be washed in the dishwasher but the lid should just be hand washed so the vent hole does not rust.

Ninja Cooking System Whats in the Box

The body of the appliance has two dials for setting the heating system as well as an LED display that shows temperature and time for the various settings. The body has the large aluminum heating block inside with the walls also having heating elements to heat the sides of the cooking pot.

The bottom of the pot comes in contact with the aluminum block that heats up the bottom while the sides are more for slow cooking. The combination heat of bottom and sides allows for heating and cooking with steam or direct lower temperatures like a slow cooker or crock pot.

Inside the Ninja Cooking System

The oven can bake, slow roast and slow cook as well as sear and cook like a normal skillet pan or sauté pan to sear meats or simply cook parts of meals. The Ninja Cooking System can be used to sear a roast then finish it off slow and juicy.

You can cook one pot meals like stews and soups without having to use a separate pan to sear or cook parts of the meal. I made a stew and easily cooked the beef then simply added the rest of the vegetables and ingredients then set the cooker to slow cook for several hours.

The stew came out very well with good taste and without wasting any of the flavors from searing the meat in a different pan. Those bits of food stuck to the bottom of your pan gives more flavor to your meal which adds lots of flavor to soups and stews.

Using the Ninja Cooking System you can bake and cook like an oven with settings for oven from 250 to 425 degrees which is a common oven range. The smaller size of the Ninja Cooking System means it will cook a bit faster than you would in a regular oven.

Lasagna in the Ninja

The slow cooker has the added advantage of being able to sear meats then go directly to low for all day long cooking without using separate appliances. This keeps all the good bits of food and juices in the slow cooker for flavorful meals and cuts down on cleaning.

The slow cooker function has low, high and buffet settings for a low keep warm just like slow cookers but with the added advantage of other settings. The Ninja Cooking System has a low metal rack that fits inside to steam meats and other foods simply by putting water or other liquids in the bottom.

Cooking Hamburgers

The food goes on the rack and you can steam foods for juicier meats, tender vegetables and another method of cooking. Steaming meats after searing can provide juicier meats but steaming also can be used for baking to make healthier desserts.

I tried steam baking cupcakes and a few other desserts for tasty and lower cholesterol baking due to steam baking that allows for less oil. When you steam bake you can use half the oil or fat in recipes so the desserts are a bit better for you.

Beef Stew

Due to the steam you can use less fat and the variety of heating allows you to use the Cooking System in other ways like a regular sauté pan. You can cook and boil in the pot using the regular bottom heat of the cooker on the stovetop setting.

You can cook and sauté in the pan or even boil noodles but a real interesting meal choice is one pot meals like lasagna or spaghetti and meatballs. Simply add noodles and sauce as well as water to boil and simmer the noodles down to finish cooking after cooking the meat.

Cake in the Ninja

You can find a good set of recipes on the Ninja website to see the wide variety of cooking you can perform as well as several sites for more recipes from happy users. You can reheat foods as well as cook meals and parts of meals in the Ninja Cooking System.

The Ninja Cooking System is the perfect single appliance for cooking, slow cooking and as a multipurpose cooker that fits most any kitchen. I highly recommend the Ninja Cooking System as a convenient and all around cooking appliance that slow cooks, sears, sautés and does so much more.

Ninja Cooking System Website

Ninja Cooking System Recipes

Pros
Cooks in several ways
Easy to clean
Non-stick coating works well
Easy to use controls

Cons
Lid is not dishwasher safe

William Bounds Robo Steel Pepper Mill

William Bounds Robo Steel Pepper Mill

The William Bounds Robo Steel Pepper Mill may seem like an ostentatious kitchen gadget but I have come to enjoy working with it and find it handy to only use one hand to dispense my pepper while cooking.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

William Bounds Robo Steel Pepper Mill

I saw the Robo Steel pepper mill in a list of products and thought what the heck, why not review a battery operated pepper mill. After all I have reviewed and come to like other gadgets that seemed so out of place in my kitchen or around my home why not one more.

It seems such a small thing when you have for your entire life done something the same way but suddenly someone comes along and says here, this simple device will change the way you do things. It has happened in all sorts of ways in all sorts of industries; one comes to mind as my neighbor has his roof shingled.

The roofer for years has used both a flat bladed shovel and a pitch fork to remove those old shingles but they also had to get on hands and knees to pry out the roofing nails with a hammer. Along comes some smart guy who says why not cut notches in a short tough shovel and use that to pry up and remove both the shingles and the nails in one operation.

Battery Compartment

That guy is probably sitting in a comfy lawn chair in Florida drinking mojitos and laughing at the fate a simple idea gave him. The same comes to my mind when I think of things like the battery operated hand soap dispenser, which is still running strong, or the battery operated pepper mill.

Think of a common cooking experience, standing over the stove adding those final ingredients to a recipe and stirring the contents of a pot or pan to get things mixed in. You reach over after setting down your spoon or spatula and grab the salt and pepper one at a time to add that final bit of spice.

But you have to put down that spoon or spatula when adding fresh ground pepper, the only real way to use pepper,  because that pepper mill requires two hands. Salt is a mere flip of the wrist away but pepper mills have to be operated by turning the one part to enable the grinding mechanism to grind down the pepper corns inside.

The Robo Steel Pepper Mill removes that step of requiring two hands for adding spices as well as giving you the light to see what you’re doing regardless of hood lights and kitchen lighting. Out on the grill, at the campfire or wherever your cooking the Robo Steel Pepper Mill has both the single hand operation to grind pepper directly into your cooking container as well as a light to show you how much your adding.

using the robo steel

Simply tilt the ceramic grinder toward your cooking pot or dish and the Robo Steel will deliver the pepper or even coarse salt right to your recipe. The tilt mechanism does not work unless the grinder end is pointed below horizontal so there is no mess and your spice goes where you want it to.

The Robo Steel Pepper Mill has a two part ceramic grinding stone that grinds the pepper without wear and tear on the grind mechanism and is fully adjustable. Simply turning the front knob where the pepper comes out adjusts the grind from course to fine for easy adjustments.

The light is a single LED bulb under the grind area to help light your way to adding the correct amount of spice to your recipe. This is yet another thing I thought, too geeky for my taste, but I truly have come to enjoy being able to see a bit better when adding the pepper.

The light does not have enough brilliance to brighten the whole of a 12 inch sauté pan or comparable pot but it does give you enough light to see the pepper as it hits the recipe. The light is helpful especially if you’re away from light in the evening like outdoor grilling or fire side cooking so the Robo Steel Pepper Mill is handy away from home.

testing the pepper mill

The Robo Steel Pepper Mill has a body made from brushed stainless steel and clear plastic with the black plastic pieces around the grinding mechanism. The clear part of the pepper mill allows you to see how much pepper is in the pepper mill while the stainless steel body makes an attractive and sturdy device.

The batteries are in the bottom of the pepper mill under a screw on lid and are common AAA sized for easy replacement but battery life is hard to gauge due to the short uses. I have been using the Robo Steel a lot and have gone through the first set of alkaline batteries but the set of rechargeable batteries I replaced them with are still going strong.

The battery life will depend on use so I am not worried about that but the price may be a consideration for some at $60 for the William Bounds product. That is a lot to pay for the convenience of a tilt operated pepper mill but the convenience is a great feature when cooking.

ceramic grinder & adjustment

When cooking things like soups and stews, steaks or chops it is so nice to simply grab the mill and tilt to add pepper just like I have always done for salt when cooking. I have come to love this handy kitchen gadget and can highly recommend the Williams Bound Robo Steel Pepper Mill even though the cost may have you wincing a bit, think birthday or Christmas present.

Robo Steel @ William Bounds Website

Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori

 Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori

The Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori is an excellent apple corer with a built in knife that makes quick work of apples for cooking or simple enjoyment of eating but it also works for other fruit.

Ease of Use/Performance: 23/25
Convenience/Storage 24/25
Appearance/Design 24/25
How much I enjoy 22/25

Total: 93/100

Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori

The Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori is a kitchen gadget that makes quick work of fruit like apples and pears to core and slice with the circular corer and folding knife blade. The Apple Knife Colori is a stainless steel corer with an apple shaped handle that conceals an inch and a half long straight nonstick knife blade.

The knife blade has a straight cutting edge while the back of the blade is curve which makes sense in design for slicing and cutting apples or pears. The corer works well for fruit like apples and pears but you may need to use the corer or knife to get all the core of larger fruit.

The corer is 3/4 of an inch across and can core an average sized fruit easily but you will probably have to do a little more coring when you cut the apples in half. The corer gets a good portion of the seeds and center of apples but you will have to use the corer to get what it did not clear out when the fruit was whole.

Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori

If you use a larger corer you will wind up taking more good fruit so this 3/4 inch size makes a good compromise between getting most of the center and getting too much. You can easily cut the smaller section of core out that the corer misses on the first attempt using either the corer or the knife blade.

The knife makes a great way to slice your fruit after you have taken most of the core out so you can get the rest as well as cut the fruit into bite sized pieces or for cooking. I used the Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori on a number of apples for baking a pie was easy and a handy way to prepare enough fruit for a recipe.

I used the knife on a good amount of fruit including the apples and pears my family purchased from a yearly sale a youth group conducts that we are part of. The 4-H group we belong to sells boxes of fruit and we bought a mixed box and a box of pears so we have used the Apple Knife Colori on a multitude of apples and pears.

Coring & Slicing Apples

The handle in the shape of an apple makes the corer easy to hold and handle even when it gets wet and slippery from fruit juice while coring a lot of fruit at once. The knife blade and molded slot also helps make the handle not perfectly smooth so you can hold the corer well and control it easily.

The folding blade also means safety so you don’t cut yourself from the blade being exposed while using the corer but it also makes a great way to use the knife away from the kitchen. The folding blade makes the knife a safe way to take the apple corer with you when camping, on picnics or for sack meals at work or play.

The stainless steel and plastic material means no rusting and corrosion on the corer or the handle but I am not sure what material the blade itself is made of. The knife blade has a nonstick coating over most of the blade except the edge which is razor sharp when you purchase it.

Coring Pears

You can sharpen the blade easily but a regular kitchen sharpener may not work as easily due to the larger size of the apple shaped handle. I have used a kitchen sharpening steel on the blade and it does work well but a countertop electric knife sharpener may not work because of the larger sized handle.

The Apple Knife Colori is a great apple corer and slicer with the combined knife blade in the handle of the corer so you have two tools in one. This makes an easy way to process fruit for recipes and cooking as well as a quick gadget to grab when wanting to cut just one fruit.

The Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori makes a fantastic apple corer and slicer in one tool so you don’t have to dirty two tools for a single job in the kitchen. The Apple Knife Colori is available from Amazon, Kuhn Rikon and other internet sites for about $16.

I highly recommend the Kuhn Rikon Apple Knife Colori for a fantastic kitchen gadget as an easy to use and well-designed fruit corer and knife in one.

Apple Knife Colori @ Kuhn Rikon

Apple Knife Colori @ Amazon

Beater Blade & Beater Blade Pro

The Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro replaces your flat beater on Kitchen Aid and other popular brands of stand mixers using a unique plastic blade to scrape the bowl and mix ingredients faster than standard beater blades.

Ease of Use/Performance: 24/25
Convenience/Storage 24/25
Appearance/Design 24/25
How much I enjoy 25/25

Total: 97/100

Beater Blade & Beater Blade Pro

Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro are new blades for your stand mixer that adds a bowl scraping flexible plastic blade on each side of the beater blade to maximize mixing and scrape the bowl. The Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro are both replacements with a flexible plastic blade along both sides that helps to scrape the bowl and dimple at the bottom as well as mix faster.

The Beater Blade makes mixing easier and faster as it incorporates and moves the ingredients around inside the bowl as well as scrapes the sides and bottom while using your stand mixer. The Beater Blade Pro is the institutional and professional grade Beater Blade made for frequent use at schools and restaurants with a yellow color instead of white.

The Beater Blade costs about $22 and the Beater Blade Pro costs about $30 for a great replacement for the beater blade that comes with the stand mixer. The Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro come in models for the Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, Viking and Kenwood stand mixers in various sizes.

I received the Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro for my Kitchen Aid 4 quart stand mixer and am very impressed with the new blades. The Beater Blade helps to mix ingredients faster and better, incorporating the ingredients better due to the flexible plastic on the sides of the blade.

Beater Blades & Instructions

The Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro are made from co-polyester plastic with a plastic blade that is adhered to the groove along the edge. On both the basic and Pro models the blade looks to be formed inside the groove or exceedingly well adhered or glued.

I really cannot tell any difference between the Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro other than the color, both appear to be made of the same type of plastic. Both the Beater Blade and Pro also have the flexible plastic scraper well adhered to the beater blade seemingly made into the groove but it does look like it is well glued.

While it would be hard to get a definite time frame the Beater Blade and Pro does mix ingredients faster as well as scrapes the sides and bottom of the bowl. Both blades mix better than the flat blade that comes with the Kitchen Aid because of the silicone rubber blades that scrapes the sides while mixing.

Without & With the Beater Blade

These blades scrape the sides and move the ingredients around the bowl faster because the plastic blades increase the area of the blades and force the ingredients around the blade. The ingredients are forced toward the center of the bowl and then around the blade but not much adheres to the blades while mixing or when you’re finished.

More ingredients stuck to the metal beater blade that came with my Kitchen Aid mixer than the Beater Blade or Beater Blade Pro when using all three on the same recipe. I made several recipes and used all three blades to check performance and compare the blades by mixing with all three.

The instructions tell you that adjusting the blades to fit snuggly against the bowl may be required but my stand mixer did not need any adjustment. The blades scrape well against the bowl and really do a great job of mixing and incorporating ingredients but if adjustments are needed it is easy.

Beater Blade & Pound Cake

The Beater Blade cuts down on mixing time and makes the job of cooking easier by cutting down on mixing time and mixing better than the blade that comes with the stand mixer. The Beater Blade will not cut down time by much more than half but it will scrape and get more ingredients mixed as well as help with getting stuff out of the bowl.

You can use the Beater Blade to scrape the bowl when a mix is done using the flexible plastic side as a scrapper which is explained in several of the recipes on the Beater Blade website. There are several recipes on their site which I tried as well as numerous others and had a lot of fun using both the Beater Blades as well as enjoyed the food I made.

The blades make fast work of mixing dry and wet ingredients and really does a fast job of working on recipes that require simple folding of ingredients. I had an easy time with several recipes that required a variety of mixing and blending with both the blades that worked as well as each other.

The Beater Blade Difference

One final word on the quality for the Beater Blade, I recently attended the Taste of Home Cooking School demonstration and they use the Beater Blade in their on stage demonstration. The chef who was demonstrating the Taste of Home recipes used the Beater Blade, a better recommendation I could not give.

The Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro are both fantastic replacements for the standard beater blade and definitely the best accessory you could buy for your stand mixer. I highly recommend the Beater Blade and Beater Blade Pro for a great beater and mixer blade for your stand mixer that works better than the one that comes with the stand mixer.

Beater Blade Website

Farberware 12″ Millenium Skillets

Farberware 12″ Millenium Skillets

The 12” Stainless Steel Millennium Skillets by Farberware is a fantastic piece of kitchen cookware that works great both with simple things like eggs to more complex foods like Crepes.

Ease of Use/Performance: 24/25
Convenience/Storage 21/25
Appearance/Design 23/25
How much I enjoy 25/25

Total: 93/100

Farberware Millennium 12" Stainless Steel Skillets

Low cost, great even heat from the aluminum core base with metal utensil safe DuPont Teflon non-stick coating and an oven safe design makes this a great purchase for any kitchen. The Millennium 12” skillet is a large cooking skillet for use on the stove or in the oven and includes a DuPont Teflon coating that is metal utensil safe.

The Millennium 12” Skillets is a stainless steel skillet with an aluminum core inside the impact bonded bottom with an oven safe handle. The DuPont Teflon Professional with Metal Guard non-stick coating is a high end coating just like those professional chefs use on their kitchen cookware.

The cooking area is nine inches across while the handle made of stainless steel is also about nine inches long, the handle is riveted onto the side of the skillet with two rivets. The Millennium skillets have an aluminum core in the stainless steel base that creates an even cooking surface for your food and recipes.

Bottom of Millennium Skillets

The stainless steel design is a nice one but the skillet can be a bit heavy for flipping food while you cook it, the skillets weigh 3.5 pounds. The weight is the only concern I have other than keeping the Teflon coating scratch free but using only silicon utensils will help in that area.

The DuPont Teflon coating is a high end coating that the company offers that includes a metal safe component but these coatings are an interesting feature. I usually learn a lot from my reviews but even before I received this skillet I learned about non-stick coatings.

Cookware companies can purchase the various levels of coatings on their pans and DuPont is one of the top rated companies that coat cookware with non-stick coatings. The various levels of coatings are usually referred to by their cost and the Professional series form DuPont is one of their higher cost ones.

Holds Plenty of Food

The coating also has a scratch resistant technology, whatever that means, but mainly the coating is a higher end so should last longer than less expensive pans. The metal utensil technology is not one I am going to test other than to try it out a few times with some metal utensils.

The pan does exhibit a few scratches but not far enough to reach bare metal, I can only see surface scratches that do not go down to the stainless steel. I have stopped using metal utensils and will only be using silicon covered spatulas and spoons so I can have the coating last as long as possible.

Using the Millennium skillets has been a joy to not only cook the everyday things like eggs and parts of meals like sautéing vegetables but for special occasions. I have gotten pretty good at crepes and enjoy making things like sautéed vegetables and omelets.

Sauteed Beans

I have gotten pretty good at flipping my food while cooking, very few times has food found its way to the floor or the stove top. Using the techniques real chefs use is fun and can make cooking easier as you don’t have to pick up a utensil to stir the food if you simply flip it real quick.

I tried some of the techniques for testing pans from the show America’s Test Kitchen like having eggs slide off the pan when cooked and seeing how evenly crepes cooked. Some things I did not do that they do because they can afford it such as cooking eggs till they stop sticking.

The pans non-stick coating has lasted just fine and my eggs still slide off with just as much ease now as the day I first tried an egg on the skillets over three months ago. I have used the skillet to brown onions and sauté vegetables, cook eggs several different ways as well as cook oddball dishes like several attempts at risotto.

Salmon in the Millennium Skillet

The skillet is non-stick and the food can really slide out of the pan with no coaxing from a utensil even with meat like steaks and chicken breasts. The pan is great and the surface area for cooking, the area that is flat in the bottom is large enough to cook a decent amount of food.

I have seared large steaks and roasts prior to slow cooking in the crock pot or roasting in the oven, I have even roasted in the skillet to try out the oven capabilities. I have been using the Millennium Skillet for all kinds of cooking and have been very satisfied with the results from my cooking.

One feature I like is the aluminum handle that does not get so hot that you have grab an oven mitt to move or hold the skillet. The Millennium skillet has been a great addition to my6 cookware and one I have really enjoyed reviewing and using for both everyday meals and special events.

The Farberware Millennium 12” Stainless Steel Skillets is a professional grade cookware that works well with its non-stick DuPont Teflon coating. I highly recommend the Farberware Millennium Skillet for cooking your favorite recipes.

Farberware Website