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Kitchen & Cooking

  • No one thinks much about the sharpness of their scissors. Usually, you don't even notice until you find yourself opening and closing them compulsively to cut something that should be easy. My friends, your scissors have lost their mojo. When this happens, it's more economical to simply invest in a scissor sharpener than to keep buying scissors every time they stop cutting properly. I have chosen five of the best on the market. They are affordable, easy to use and durable. Check out these picks and stop tossing and start sharpening your worn out scissors.
    December 10, 2013
  • You may not believe a spatula to be an essential tool, but you try flipping pancakes without one. It is one of those kitchen items that oft times is forgotten, but is very necessary whether you are cooking or baking. In my search for an awesome spatula, each needed to be heat resistant, very sturdy and made from a variety of materials such as plastic, stainless steel and other types. Check out these picks and get a good look at why you need it and what kind works best for you.
    December 10, 2013
  • The baster, also known as a turkey baster, can do much more than baste turkey. Baster have not had a very reliable past. With some concerns revolving around them being difficult to clean, I was determined to trying to see what had been done to redesign and update the baster. In choosing my favorite basters, it was essential that they were easy to clean, did not drip and were sturdy. Check out these basters and reintroduce yourself to all they have to offer.
    December 10, 2013
  • Nothing is better than a tasty gravy full of rich flavors and spices. What you don't want in your gravy is a lot of fat. Separating fat from sauces or gravies can very cumbersome. Skimming the fat off the top can often lead to loss of some of the sauce or juices as well. For any home or professional cook, a fat separator is essential. I have five amazing fat separators that can hold anywhere from one to four cups, are durable and can withstand hot liquids. Browse these fat separators and feel good about taking the fat out of your sauces.
    December 10, 2013
  • If you've had it with a rusting potato masher or tired of the lumps, you would greatly benefit from owning a potato ricer. These wonderful tools allow you to process potatoes and soft veggies or fruits into a smooth, lump free texture. Many people rely on mixers to remove to smooth out potatoes, but this can result in over mixed, glue like results. Some things I was looking for in these picks were sturdiness and if they could hold at least 1/2 cups. These five picks represent the best on the market that not only meet my criteria, but also offer superior performance.
    December 09, 2013
  • Many people despise making salad simply because they end up too wet. There is absolutely no labor in washing lettuce. You just want to make sure that the lettuce dries perfectly. No one wants a soggy salad. Your answer to that is a good quality salad spinner. For these picks, a good salad spinner should be medium to large in size and very simple to use. It's just lettuce, nothing about it should be complex. So stop using up paper towels to dry your lettuce and invest in one of these awesome salad spinners.
    December 06, 2013
  • Whether you're carving up a turkey for a holiday meal or a roast for a family dinner, a good carving set will help you make thin, even slices like a pro. Carving sets come with a carving knife, which has a long, thin blade that can cut cleanly through a variety of different meats. They also come with a carving fork, which is a long, two-pronged fork that's perfect for holding a cut of meat in place while you carve. All of the best carving sets listed below were chosen because they are made out of quality stamped or forged steel, and feature comfortable handles that will last for the life of the blade.
    December 05, 2013
  • When you're baking or roasting in your oven, exact temperatures are essential. Over time, ovens can become less consistent and the actual temperature you set may not be accurate. As a back up, having an oven thermometer could be very useful. Many are very inexpensive and are easy to use. I thought it might be a good idea to seek out five oven thermometers that are affordable, durable, a variety of styles and able to withstand high temperatures. Check out this list and find one that works with your budget and your oven.
    December 05, 2013
  • There are countless accidents each day in both home and professional kitchens. The culprit; The kitchen knife or meat slicer. Cutting your hand or fingers in the kitchen is pretty common place for pros and amateurs alike. That said, it doesn't have to continue. If you are looking to spare injury from knife or kitchen scissor cuts, then cut-resistant gloves are your answer. I chose these five picks because they are affordable and durable. Two things a great set of cut-resistant gloves should be. Stop nicking fingers and protect yourself.
    December 04, 2013
  • Nothing better than a freshly baked apple pie or even homemade apple sauce. The first step in creating these tried and true American favorites is peeling the apples. This can be a tedious and tiresome task when the apple count is more than one or two. Standard potato peelers don't always do the job, it's better to have a truly well made apple peeler. My five favorite picks needed to be either hand-cranked, handheld or electric, easy to clean and under $50. Don't keep struggling with pairing knives that aren't doing the job fast enough. Check out my list and get ready to peel the easy way.
    December 04, 2013
  • Homemade pasta no longer has to be a daunting and back breaking task. With more and more advancements being made in pasta makers for home cooks, it now easier than ever. There are many different types to choose from. While investigating which pasta makers are making the cut, I wanted to focus on ease of use, durability and counter top or electric models. These five picks represent the best available pasta makers on the market. Check them out and find one that suits your tastes.
    December 03, 2013
  • Oven mitts protect the hands when removing hot items from the oven or stove top. The problem with old school hand mitts is that when they get wet, they are essentially useless. Yes, I remember the steam burn from a wet hand mitt. However, hand mitts have come a long way. In order for these five picks to really be worthy of this list, I wanted them to be one size fits all, able to withstand high heat and made with different materials. Take a look at these picks and throw out your old mitts.
    December 03, 2013
  • Even those with the best knife skills could use an easy shortcut. Slicing ingredients thinly and evenly can be a challenge with even a sharp knife. For recipes and preparations that require evenly sliced ingredients, your best option is a manodline. A mandoline is a flat rectangular shaped slicer and looks very similar to a flat grater. You can adjust the thickness and it typically comes with a slicing guard. This protects your hands and knuckles from the center blade. While selecting these five mandolines, I wanted them to be sturdy and under $300. A good mandoline can be pricey, but definitely worth the investment.
    December 03, 2013
  • Many of us have had the experience of crushing garlic with the back of a spoon or the side of a knife. This can result in a messy, garlic infused chopping board and garlic hands. Not to mention the strong smell of garlic you can wear all day. Well now, you and or your cutting board smelling like garlic doesn't have to happen. A garlic press is a great tool to make the messy task of mincing or crushing garlic easy. I wanted garlic presses that were sturdy, have comfortable handles and were easy to clean. Check out my picks and see which garlic press fits your taste.
    December 03, 2013
  • There aren't many things in the world as delicious as a batch of freshly baked brownies, hot out of the oven. Whether you're a fan of the gooey middle pieces or the crispy corners, there are plenty of high-quality brownie pans to choose from. When picking out the best brownie pans, we looked for pans that heat evenly with no hot or cold spots that can cause burned or uncooked patches. We also looked for pans with superior non-stick qualities so that you won't have to dig your brownies out of the pan with a butter knife. All the pans that made this list are also easy to clean, and though some are dishwasher safe, your pan will last longer if you wash it by hand.
    December 02, 2013
  • Fresh, homemade donuts are delicious but deep frying them in oil can make them one of the unhealthiest treats out there. Fortunately, there are specialized baking pans that can be used to make donuts in the oven. Baked donuts are just as light and fluffy as their fried counterparts, but don't have nearly as much fat. Once they're out of the oven, they can be topped with chocolate, caramel, or powdered sugar, just like store-bought donuts. For our list of these five best donut pans, we chose pans that are made from high quality aluminum, steel, or cast iron that heat evenly and will last for years.
    December 02, 2013
  • Cake pans come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. There are round, square, and rectangular pans, as well as pans that can create specialty cakes that are perfect for holiday celebrations and children's birthday parties. No matter what shape pan you choose, you'll want a pan that releases extremely well so that the cake slides out of it without breaking. Good cake pans are also made from high quality steel or aluminum that heats evenly so that the entire cake bakes through without burning. When picking out the best cake pans, we chose pans with these two essential qualities, as well as pans that are a good value for the money.
    December 02, 2013
  • If you're craving homemade muffins or cupcakes you'll need a muffin pan. These pans contain a series of cups that cook up a batch of hand-held treats. Though many people use baking cups to allow these tiny cakes to slip right out of the pan, the pans on this list are made so you can bake cup cakes or muffins without a paper or foil lining. The five pans on this list are also made from high quality materials that heat up evenly so there won't be burned or raw spots on your baked goods. The final quality we looked for in a muffin pan was the ability to make out-of-the ordinary cup cakes or muffins that are absolutely delicious.
    November 27, 2013
  • Cleaning an oven is often a struggle, frustrating and full of chemicals. This list has graded different oven cleaners on three categories: price, ability and its environmental friendliness. Put those three together and what is achieved is a product that can be safely used in the home without breaking the bank. Going green in today's world should not be a luxury, it is a necessity. Therefore, all of these top five oven cleaners are wonderful in their ability to remove the unwanted mess, and at the same, help keep the planet surviving for a few more years. A win-win for any consumer. Go green now, clean that oven and relax knowing that the choices made were the right ones.
    November 26, 2013
  • Springform pans are perfect for making delicate cakes and quiches that might crack or crumble when being turned out of a standard cake pan. When picking out the best springform pans, we looked for pans with a sturdy latch, a tight seal between the collar and the base, and a superior non-stick coated that releases easily. Though many of the pans that made our list are dishwasher safe, it's a good idea to wash all springform pans by hand because they have a number of delicate parts that could bend or break in the dishwasher. They also need to be dried completely so they don't form rust in the collar. If you're making a cheesecake, you won't be able to bake it in a water bath if you're using a springform pan, no matter how tight the seal.
    November 26, 2013
  • Bread pans, sometimes called loaf pans, are a must if you're hoping to make a fresh loaf of sandwich bread or quick bread. Though most bread pans are in a traditional loaf shape, some are specially designed to make baguettes or individual-sized loaves. The best bread pans are made from a high-quality metal that ensures even cooking and that doesn't develop hot spots that could burn the bread. They are also strong and durable, and made to last for years. When choosing the best bread pans, we looked for pans that were durable, made of high-quality materials, and highly-recommended by home bakers.
    November 26, 2013
  • Bundt cakes are an essential part of many holiday celebrations. These ring-shaped cakes are made in specialized bundt pans that have fluted sides and a tube going through the middle. The shape allows more of the cake batter to touch the sides which helps large cakes cook much faster than they would in other shaped molds. The best bundt pans have high-quality non-stick coatings that allows the cake to slide effortlessly out of the pan. They also need to be made from a high-quality aluminum or steel that heats evenly. In addition to these two qualities, we also looked for pans that were durable enough to last for years.
    November 26, 2013
  • A holiday staple for decades, the electric knife makes it easy to carve up a turkey or a roast beef with ease. Electric knives can get their power direct from the wall socket or they can rely on a battery pack that gets charged before the knife is used. In general, electric knives that have cords are most useful in the home environment, where there is easy access to electricity. Cordless electric knives usually come with fillet blades because these knives are popular with fisherman who can carve up the day's catch before heading home to prepare dinner. When shopping for an electric knife, it's a good idea to try before you buy. The handles on these knives are quite large, and though most have been ergonomically designed with comfort in mind, there are some home cooks that find even the best electric knives difficult to hold.
    November 21, 2013
  • A good set of knives is something every cook needs. Prices on individual knives range from downright cheap to astronomically expensive, but you don't have to pay through the teeth to pick up a quality blade that will last a number of years. Whether you prefer the strength of a forged steel blade, the value of a stamped steel blade, or the incredible sharpness of a ceramic blade, there are plenty of excellent knives to consider. When you're building a collection of knives, you'll want to start with a great utility knife, like a classic chef's knife or an Asian style santoku. These knives are great for many different types of tasks, including chopping vegetables and mincing herbs. A paring knife that can make intricate cuts, skin fruit, and core berries is another must in every kitchen. You'll want a long knife with a serrated edge to cut bread, and you'll want to be sure to pick up a set of steak knives for the table. Once you have these basic knives, it's a good idea to add some specialty knives to your collection. From fillet knives to carving knives to butcher knives to boning knives, using the right knife for the right task makes a big difference. Once you pick out a few knives, you'll want to be sure to follow the manufacturer's care guidelines. Some knives should be hand washed, while others can stand up to the high temperature and humidity in the dishwasher. All knives benefit from routine sharpening, but you'll want to be sure to follow sharpening directions to the letter because not all knives are honed to the same angle.
    November 19, 2013
  • Frying pans have been used for decades for cooking a variety of dishes. A frying pan is great for foods that require shallow frying or even for searing or toasting. This is an essential pan that makes cooking quick and easy. A good quality pan can be non stick, stainless steel or any other sturdy material. The picks on this list were chosen because they are light weight yet durable, easy to clean and any size. The following five pans are guaranteed to have you sizzling with ease.
    November 18, 2013
  • If there's one kitchen essential tool you need, it is a well made saucepan. A saucepan is important because they are very versatile and great for any job that doesn't require a large pot. It isn't difficult to choose the right pan, you just need a few things to look for. The saucepans on this list were chosen because they are heavy duty, have a lid, anywhere from 2 to 5 quarts and have a nonstick interior. Whichever pan you choose, it should make fixing almost anything in it a breeze.
    October 25, 2013
  • Though fondue is a rather classic and very 1970s dinner party idea, it has made a resurgence in recent years. It serves as more than just an opportunity to indulge in the ooey gooey tradition of dripping bread into a hot pot of melted cheese. It's a social thing. The fondue pots on this list were chosen because they are electric, have visual appeal and durability. These are the best new age fondue pots on the market.
    October 23, 2013
  • For so many, a cup of tea is no more than a tea bag of sub par tea with hot water from a hot and cold water tank or microwave. For tea lovers however, a proper cup of tea includes superior quality tea leaves and water, heated in a well made tea kettle. Tea kettles make far better tea than using a pot because they heat quickly. The kettles on this list were chosen because they are sturdy, usable on a stove top or electric with a unique and stylish design. Choose your favorite tea kettle from my five picks and enjoy the benefits of a proper cup of tea.
    October 15, 2013
  • Although the use of broiler pans has declined with the advent of grill pans and other more advanced roasters, the broiler pan remains an affordable and easy option for oven broiled foods. Broiler pans have been used for decades for oven roasting. Some ovens even come with broiler pans. Because much of the juices and liquids from the roasting meat sits at the bottom of the pan, and can often cause sticking, the quality of your broiler pan is essential. The broiler pans listed here were chosen because they are easy to clean, sturdy, nonstick and under $50. The broiler pan may be a bit of a blast from the past, but these five fabulous picks will renew your faith in broiler cooking.
    October 09, 2013
  • If you are looking for a healthier ways to enjoy fruits and vegetables or even protein, then a food dehydrator will be a great option. Dehydrating food for health purposes has been around since biblical times. The benefit of dehydrated foods are priceless. By drying foods, you will retain nearly 100 percent of the vitamins and nutrients. Buying bulk dried foods in a regular grocery store can be very expensive. As an alternative, owning your own dehydrator can not only be fun, but will save you money. In assessing the best dehydrators on the market, low cost, size and heating power were factors. I looked for dehydrators under $150, had a minimum 6 tray capacity and had at least 500 watts of power. These five dehydrators will allow you to affordably invest in your health without compromising quality.
    October 08, 2013