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Thoughts on a Stove

13 Oct

A few years ago, our stove on the fritz for the umpteenth time, we decided to take the plunge and just invest in a new, high quality stove that would, in hope, last us for decades to come. We had been saving up money in a “stove fund” for quite some time, so, with our budget firmly set, we headed out to find our kitchen’s new workhorse. We hunted, we researched, and we eventually bought what we thought was going to be the greatest appliance our kitchen had ever seen. Alas, such was not the case.

I am not going to name any names here, but the range we ended up buying has been nothing but trouble from day 1. No, literally day 1. When the stove was delivered to us, parts of it didn’t actually work. I won’t get into the specifics, but, suffice it to say, if  I could go back in time, I would not even consider buying a stove from this company (or the larger company that manufacturers all of the appliances under their brand name).

Bluestar Cooking, maker of restaurant quality home ranges (including the gorgeous red stove seen above) recently named Savory Salty Sweet one of their best food blogs of 2012, and, in light of my constant stove struggles, it got me thinking about the type of product they make. Bluestar gets fantastically great reviews for their products, and if you are looking for consistent quality, they are known for having enormously powerful gas cooktops and the best stove oven for even air exchange. For those of you looking for even more cooking options, Bluestar make the best broiler available to home cooks.

I think I need to start saving up my pennies for a Bluestar.

Kitchen Tools for Kids

1 May

My son and I have been doing a fair bit of cooking lately (this is a feat more notable for him than me, obviously), and we have been greatly enjoying these incredibly charming cooking tools made by Fiesta Products.  The line of tools is called Head Chefs, for obvious reasons, and they are the perfect tools for getting your kid comfortable in the kitchen.  We were gifted a number of these wonderful kitchen tools, and we could not be happier with them.  The sifter shown above, along with the whisk shown below, are two of my son’s favorites.

Although, this spatula is another favorite.

And this spreading knife.

Okay, so we love all the tools.  How can we help ourselves?  The limbs are bendable, the feet have tiny little suction cups beneath, and each body is equipped with a pert little set of buns.  Not buns as in dinner rolls, but buns.  On their bottoms.

And, while I am at it, I could not help but share this great set of salt and pepper shakers.

Product Details

We don’t own those dinosaur goodies, but we do own this lovely set of bunny rabbit salt and pepper grinders, also a gift from a clever family member.

Product Details

I could go on like this forever, so it’s probably best that I just stop while I still have at least a small bit of composure.  I would hope that this is obvious, but I am in no way being compensated by these companies for mentioning their products. I am sharing these because I think they are fine additions to any kitchen, particularly those populated by children who have a blooming interest in cooking.

Gifts for Kids Who Like Food and Cooking

14 Dec

My five year-old is a big fan of working in the kitchen.  Below are some of his favorite, and my favorite, items for cooking and eating like a kid.

Rolling pins sized for kids’ hands

If your kid likes cooking, I say get him or her a real rolling pin, not a toy rolling pin.  These rolling pins are sized for kids’ hands, and they offer real rolling pin action for kids who want to cook for real, not just pretend.

Kids step stool

MOLGER Step stool, birch Width: 16 1/8 " Depth: 16 7/8 " Height: 13 3/4 "  Width: 41 cm Depth: 43 cm Height: 35 cm

Kids are short.  This sturdy step stool is easy to move around, takes a beating, and never wobbles when a kid is standing on it and jumping up and down because he is excited about baking cookies (warning: don’t let your kid jump up and down while he is standing on a stool, whether or not there are cookies in his or her future).  Doubles as a nice step stool for short parents (ahem).

Deep, sturdy metal measuring spoons

I admit, this is a suggestion meant not just for children.  Every adult should also have measuring spoons like this in his or her cooking arsenal.  This CIA Masters measuring spoon set exemplifies everything that measuring spoons should be.  They are sturdy, so they won’t bend if you are made to scrape something heavy or tough while measuring (hard brown sugar, lumpy baking powder—not ideal, but let’s not pretend it never happens).  The spoons are deep, so they won’t spill their contents while your kid is haphazardly measuring stuff (shallow measuring spoons are notorious for this, and I loathe it so). Sure, these cost $21.50, but you’ll never buy measuring spoons again (which cannot be said for buying several sets of cheap measuring spoons—or, god forbid, plastic measuring spoons—and then replacing them every couple of years when they inevitably bend or break).

Silicon pan handle cover

If you are using a cast iron pan, the handle of that pan is going to get wicked hot.  I know you’re keeping the handle of your pan away from your kid while he flips his pancakes on the stove, but, still, prepare for the inevitable and cover your pan handle with one of these anyway.  It’s under $10.  Do it and you’ll feel more relaxed, I swear.

Portion scoop

Oxo Good Grips® Small Cookie Scoop

Scoops like these come in many portion sizes, and they are invaluable for kids who want to fill muffin tins, portion out cookies, or scoop out batter for their own pancakes and waffles.  The handle is easy to squeeze, making release of whatever is in the scoop a cinch, and, if your kid is working near the stove or a hot waffle iron, the handle is long enough to keep his or her hand away from the burn zone.

Kids oil cloth apron

Youth apron / art smock
Oil cloth is a great material for a child’s apron, as it can be wiped clean in a single swipe, or run under the faucet and wiped clean in the case of a more substantial run in.  You can generally find oil cloth aprons on Etsy, in toy stores, or at well-stocked kitchen stores that cater to the needs of families (FYI, these shops are usually local, and not of the chain store variety).
Hog Wild - Dino Sticks
Not everybody knows how to wield a pair of chopsticks. Sure, they’re meant for kids, but who’s to say that you don’t know an adult or two who is secretly pining for a pair of these?  Or maybe sea life is more your thing?
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