October 7, 2008

Review: William Bounds Black Walnut Pepper Mill and Bali Spice Pepper

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We have been using the William Bounds Black Walnut Pepper Mill, and enjoying their pepper corns as well. When picking a pepper mill you have to make sure and get one that isn't a chore to use. The Black Walnut Pepper Mill from William Bounds is very easy on the hand, easy to turn, and very easy to change the grind setting. Combined with some of their pepper corns which are dated for freshness, you really get the perfect combo. Our favorite pepper so far is the Wildcrafted Bali Long Pepper - it's very different and really delicious on pork and other meats.

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Adjusting the grind is right at the top of the pepper mill.

What we really like about the Walnut Pepper Mill is that each turn of the pepper mill produces just the right amount of pepper, and the course setting is perfect for salads. Measuring 9 inches tall, the mill is designed for either salt or peppercorns. The American Black Walnut Mill joins several other mills in the Exotic Woods Collection including Rosewood Klios, Teak Mills, Bamboo Mills and Cherry Wood Mills.

At Wiliam Bounds

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October 3, 2008

CDN ProAccurate Heavy Duty Fridge and Freezer Thermometer

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Want to save money on your electric bill? We recommend getting a fridge and freezer thermometer. A simple $7.99 investment can help lower your energy bills by monitoring the temperature in your refrigerator, which consumes more energy than any other appliance in the typical American home according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As energy costs soar, the CDN ProAccurate Heavy Duty Refrigerator/Freezer Thermometer makes it easy to keep your refrigerator at the optimal temperature to reduce energy costs while ensuring food safety.

We were able to gradually adjust the temperature of our refrigerator and freezer to the optimal temperature, and we found the easy to read dial assuring that the temperature was both accurate and safe. Before this we never knew the settings we had the freezer and refrigerator on were even close to the right temperature.

We think for $7.99 you can't go wrong, and you can also use the CDN ProAccurate Heavy Duty Fridge and Freezer Thermometer over and over again. We've left ours in the freezer to ensure things stay at the right temperature moving forward.

At CDN ProAccurate Heavy Duty Fridge and Freezer Thermometer

You may also want to read our review of the CDN temperature probe.

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September 25, 2008

Review: Crock-Pot eLume Touch Screen Slow Cooker

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elumecrockpot.jpgCrock-Pot has a new touch screen slow cooker coming out this Fall, and we've been doing some hands on testing of this new model. It features a luminescent touch screen interface instead of the more traditional dial controls found on most Crock-Pots. The eLume model also is very large, allowing you to make meals large enough to feed 8+ people. We decided to make the famous Kalua Pig plate lunch recipe we've recently been taught friends for our first meal with the Crock-Pot.

Kalua Pig Recipe:

  • 4.5 pound pork butt
  • 2½ tablespoons Hawaiian salt - we used smoky salt from Penzeys
  • 1/2 bottle of liquid smoke
  • Garlic from Penzeys - we'd normally used fresh garlic but tried their new dried minced garlic
  • 1 head of cabbage

The controls on the front are very easy to use, and the glowing lights are also a pleasant addition to the kitchen ambiance. We dialed up 6.5 hours, and then put it on high. Pressing start allows you to start the countdown.

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September 19, 2008

Review: Capresso H20 Plus Water Kettle - Make an Eco-Friendly Cup of Tea

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We've been looking for a more energy efficient and safe way to make a cup of tea in the morning, and we believe we've found it with the Capresso H20 Plus Water Kettle. The Capresso H2O Plus Water Kettle is a fast and convenient way to brew hot water for tea and other beverages, and a new independent study shows another advantage: energy savings.

The energy-conscious Capresso H2O Plus Water Kettle has a concealed heating element under a stainless steel dome on the base of the kettle, which boils water faster and uses less energy than a stovetop kettle, according to an independent study by Gaynes Labs, Inc. In fact, water boiled on an electric range used nearly 60 percent more energy than water boiled in the Capresso H2O Plus, and on a gas range the stovetop kettle use over 163 percent more energy.

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The Capresso H20 Plus Water Kettle uses 163% less
energy than our gas range.

The high-quality Schott glass showcases water when it boils, making it instantly clear when the water reaches a rolling boil, and we think as you can see above - it just looks cool. The kettle automatically shuts off when the water reaches a boil, ensuring the kettle does not boil dry. For added safety and energy savings, the kettle also automatically shuts off when it is removed from the power base.

We also found the kettle easy to operate, the H2O Plus comes with a simple on/off switch and a blue indicator light to show when the kettle is on. Indicator lines from 16 to 48 ounces and two to six cups on the glass kettle make it easy to fill the right amount. The power base includes the electric plug, with a cord storage option so the cord does not get in your way.

At Capresso H2O Plus Glass Water Kettles and Capresso

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September 16, 2008

Review: Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Safety LidLifter

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We've been using the Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Safety LidLifter over the past few weeks, and have found it to be much better than our old can opener. The big difference is the lid that is cut from the can isn't sharp, and the handle is much easier to hold. We also like how the majority is made of composite plastic, making it easier to clean.

Features

  • Safely cuts the outside rim of can, not the top
  • leaves no sharp edges
  • you never have to touch the lid
  • ingenious design does the twisting for you!



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September 5, 2008

Review: Bosch MIXXO Hand Blender Review

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We've been using the Bosch MIXXo hand blender over the past few weeks, and have to say - why didn't we have a hand blender before? You see, we make lots of soups that we love to blend. We currently have a large blender that makes us pour the hot soup in, blend, and then have to wash out the blender, the pot, etc. Yuck. With the Bosch MIXXO hand blender, we can simply blend the soup right in the pot, resulting in have the clean up. YAY!

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Blending soup has never been any easier. Thanks MIXXO!

Key Features:

  • Cordless handheld immersion blender with chopper attachment
  • Runs on lightweight, long-lasting re-chargeable lithium ion battery
  • Anti-splash blender foot; LED charge-level indicator; soft-touch handle
  • 24-ounce blender jug and charging station included; dishwasher-safe parts
  • Measures 2-1/2 by 2-1/2 by 15-3/4 inches; 1-year limited warranty

Setup is a breeze, and the unit also charges quickly. Since we're on the green front, we also charged the blender, and then unplugged the adaptor, and the charge in the main unit lasts for a couple of sessions of soup making. We also know it's the late summer, but making iced drinks with the hand blender is really easy as well.

At Bosch and Bosch Mixxo

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July 22, 2008

Review: Guyot Designs Meal Gear - Squishy Nesting Bowls

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bowl_hand_outside.jpgWe've been using these "Squishy Bowls" from GuyotDesigns over the past few weeks for prep and espresso shot holders, and have to say they work great. Designed with backpacking in mind, the bowls are both squish-able and made out of heat resistant silicone. Even after much squishing these bowls retain their shape, and are perfect for hot and cold foods especially with our kids. You can hand wash these with soap and water, and we've also put them into the dishwasher with great results.

The bowls come in the following sizes:

  • Large bowl: 16 oz. (500ml) capacity, 3.3 oz (93g) weight
  • Medium bowl: 14 oz. (420ml) capacity, 2.6 oz. (67g) weight
  • Cup: 6 oz. (200ml) capacity, 1.7 oz. (48g) weight
  • Travel shot: 1.5 oz. (44ml) capacity, 0.5 oz. (23g) weight

At GuyotDesigns and Guyot Designs Meal Gear - Squishy Bowls

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June 26, 2008

Review: Nuwave Pro Digital-Controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven

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Infrared ovens are the latest small appliance rage, and we've been fortunate enough over the past few weeks to be cooking with the Nuwave 20322 Pro Digital-Controlled Infrared Tabletop Oven. We were skeptical at first if this appliance could really make great tasting ribs, chicken, vegetables, and other foods, but we are skeptical no longer. The Nuwave oven delivers great tasting foods cooked perfectly, and it's easy. You simply set the timer and position the included racks and in whatever time you need the food to cook - you get moist really tasty results.

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The Nuwave oven uses confection, infrared, and conduction cooking methods.

The Nuwave Pro cooks foods while keeping them moist on the inside, crisp and browned on the outside with out using any fats or oils. The Nuwave Pro Infrared Oven works with a patented trio of cooking methods: Conduction to apply heat directly to food, Convection to circulate the heat around the food, and Far Infrared radiant heat to penetrate the food to cook from the inside out.

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May 30, 2008

Review: AirDry Wine Glass Dryer - No Streaks or Spotting on Wine Glasses

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The new AirDry wine glass rack lets you throw in the towel and let AirDry do the job. AirDry is designed to carefully hold four stemware glasses to allow them to dry naturally, without streaking or spotting, so there's no need to use a dishtowel or the added energy of a dishwasher.

The AirDry features rubber-coated hooks that softly grip glass stems, keeping them secure from falling or tapping against each other while drying. Whether you're drying one glass or four, the AirDry base is wide enough to prevent tipping.

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It comes in two pieces, allowing you to quickly put it together
or put it away for storage.


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It does not tip over and is very sturdy even when drying
one wine glass.

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Look - no streaking with AirDry!

The Architec AirDry has a suggested retail price of $14.99. We think this is perfect for small dinner parties, and also a really nice alternative to using the dishwasher. You'll also be able to use this for those giant wine glasses, and have no streaks or spots.

More at Architec

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May 22, 2008

Review: Architec Cork Cutting Board - Go Green When Cutting

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Architec brings a green, renewable resource to food preparation with the introduction of the Cork Cutting Board, part of the company's "live smart. go-green" product line. We've been using the cutting board over the past several weeks, and find it to be really different. Not only is the shape and design interesting, but the feeling of the wine cork texture and flex the cutting board gives makes it very grippy on the countertops here at Kitchen Contraptions.

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The cutting board comes packed with a simple wrap. Go-Green!

Just like a traditional wine cork, the Architec Cork Cutting Board is made of agglomerated cork, small particles of cork adhered together using heat and pressure. Cork - the bark from an oak tree grown in Spain, Portugal and China - is a green product, sustainable and renewable, produced with minimal environmental impact. The cork is harvested by hand by gently peeling the bark off the tree. This earth-friendly and sustainable method of hand harvesting cork leaves the cork tree intact and ready to produce again.

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