Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Okay, cats 'n kittens... hold onto your mittens, because here's my Thursday Thirteen (finally!).....

The Thirteen Household Gadgets that I Can't Live Without!!!!

1. My Foodsaver.
This little vacuum sealing device has been worth its cost a hundred times over! If you've seen the infomercial, then you can imagine all the things I use it for. I love this little guy!

2. My Cuisinart food processor.
I don't use this device every day, but when I need it, I really need it! I can't believe that I ever used to make gazpacho, salsa or harossets by hand! It's a clean, easy and quick process since I got this device! Also, when I made Rum Balls (yum!!!) I actually used to crush vanilla wafers by putting them in a ziplock bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin! What was I thinking? This guy does the job in seconds!

3. My small knife.
You need to use the correct knife for the job, but the correct knife varies a bit from person to person. Me, I generally prefer to use the smallest knife possible for a particular task; I just feel like I have more control. So, my small paring knife is also used for cutting small veggies for soup or salad, cutting sandwiches (on the diagonal, of course) and other quick little tasks.

4. My OXO veggie peeler.
Far and away the BEST peeler I've ever used! It fits comfortably in mind hand, slides easily along the item being peeled and takes off the right amount of the peel without slicing too far into the flesh of the food. I don't know exactly how to explain the difference other than to say it just works better! Try one and see -- you can pick it up at your local Bed Bath & Beyond store!

5. My Pizza Stone.
My friend turned me onto these about 10 years ago. Her pizzas are still better than mine, but the pizza stone makes even mine taste great. Essentially, its a large tile stone that you heat up to 500 degrees in your oven and then you use a big wooden paddle (just like in a pizzeria) to put the pizza crust onto the stone. At such a high temperature, the crust parbakes very quickly. You then remove the partially-baked crust to the safety of your countertop, add your sauce, cheese and topping and return the pizza to the pizza stone in the oven to continue baking. It makes homemade pizza into gourmet pizza! Two caveats -- 1. Use the rectangular stone. It costs a little more than the round, but gives you a little more room which gives you a little more "wiggle room" when trying to position the uncooked dough onto the stone! and 2. Only bake pizza at home during cold weather -- the 500 degree oven and the fact that you will be constantly opening the oven door to place and remove the pizza crust means that your kitchen will also heat up!

6. Filtered water from my fridge.
Yeah, I know most people had these kind of refrigerators decades ago, but I didn't! I LOVE getting cold filtered water at the touch of a button! It's still a novelty to me! And it encourages me to drink more water each day!

7. "Disposable" reusuable plastic containers.
You know the type -- Tupperware created the genre and Glad and Ziplok have taken it to a new level by making them affordable, freezable and microwaveable. As much as I love these for food storage, I also use them for tons of stuff around the house! Look in any drawer or cabinet in my house and I guarantee you'll find them!

8. Zip-top plastic bags.
Ditto everything I said for the previous item and then multiply it by 100! Seriously -- I don't think I could live without Ziploks! I use them for EVERYTHING! How did I ever get through a day without them before????

9. My Gevalia coffeemaker that brews into 2 thermal mugs.
I'm the only one in my house who drinks coffee, so this little device is perfect! When my coffee is finished brewing, it's already waiting for me in my own thermal mug. I just add milk and Splenda and I'm ready to hit the road! No cleaning up at all (well, okay, I do throw the filter in the trash, but there's no soap/sponge cleaning involved!)!

10. My MP3 player.
It's not an iPod, but it holds a gig of music or books on tape. RockStar bought it for me when I was training for the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk in 2005 and was starting to get bored while walking 14+ miles by myself. I can burn CDs or download audiobooks onto it and walk for hours while getting lost in a story! And there's no extra discs or tapes to carry around! I've yet to break into podcasts, but plan to try it out pretty soon! I'm always a little behind the curve with technology, but RockStar pushed me along with this one!

11. DVD players.
I love DVDs! I don't particularly care whether the sound or picture is any better. I hardly ever listen to a directors' commentary track. And I don't really care how much can fit onto a single disc. What I love the most is how SMALL they are! They take up so much less room than VHS tapes! Right there, that's enough for me!

12. My Digital Camera.
Once again, I have RockStar to thank! I was very happy, thank you very much, with my Canon 35mm camera with all its lenses and filters. I knew how to use it and took great photos with it. I had no desire to screw things up with some digital device. UNTIL Rockstar bought me my Canon 20D. WOW! It's a digital/SLR hybrid, which means that I can use all my old lenses and filters with it and it works just like my old 35mm EXCEPT that it's digital! WAH - HOO! Now, I take all my fancy artsy-fartsy photos, then go through them while they're still in the camera and delete all the worthless ones, upload the good ones and then choose only the best to print! Do you know how much this saves me in wasted film and developing charges???? It also allows me the freedom of shooting an endless number of photos in order to capture a single great one! That's how I got the great photo of CutiePie on the swings from WW last week -- I just kept shooting pictures as he kept coming around the corner! I didn't have to worry about changing rolls or how much it was going to cost to develop all the blurry and crappy shots! I LOVE MY CAMERA!

13. My computer - duh!!!
RockStar teases me that I'm addicted to my computer and to the 'net. What's his point? Ha ha! Yes, I love being connected to the 'net! When I'm offline for too long, I start feeling like Helen Keller! I rely on my computer for access to all the information I need to get -- directions, weather, facts, figures, calculations, keeping in touch, shopping, etc....

So, how about you --- what are a few of the household gadgets that you can't live without????

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