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Kitchen Tools

Great Gift Ideas, Kitchen Tools, Tips

Favorite Kitchen Tool #4 – Timer

I get distracted fairly easily.  I’m often fixing dinner while preparing something for the next day so there are a lot of things going on in the kitchen in parallel.  A timer is what saves me from having to regularly reset the smoke alarm. When I have friends over and have a number of different things cooking at once I have multiple timers going at once. I place one of my three timers by each of the foods I’m cooking. This works because my stove, oven and vent hood are made of a stainless steel that attracts magnets. Each timer has a magnet on the back so I can slap them on the oven door or right above what’s cooking. The timers’ display is big and the buttons simple.  Here is one similar to mine that has gotten good reviews.

I have another use for a timer.  When there is a project I need to do but don’t want to – like filing, cleaning out a closet or folding clothes, I set a timer for 30 minutes so I know I only have to do the dreaded task for that amount of time.  I can do anything for 30 minutes.  It really helps me get projects I don’t enjoy done so I can go play.

When we get to the after-holiday let down, clean-up, and carry on, I’ll be using my timers and feeling virtuous about getting my least favorite items on my to-do list done with the help of my timers.

Cookies, Great Gift Ideas, Kitchen Tools

Copper Cookie Cutters – Snow Flakes

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Old copper cookie cutters – great for baking and decorating

This year I’ve had time to make Christmas cookies – until now my day job has been too intense in November and December.  See Gingerbread Snow Flake Cookies for my recipe. I found these lovely old copper cookie cutters and decided they were perfect for what I wanted to make.

I took a whole afternoon and had a wonderful time making the simple dough and even decorating them, though I don’t do that as well as I’d like to.  The intricately-decorated cookies in the magazines make it all a bit daunting. My motivation is the joy of figuring out the flavors and sharing them with friends – dribbles and all – not perfection.

For the past several years a few friends have come over for dinner and helped me decorate my Christmas tree. Each got a cookie cutter this year. The cookies were a hit, with their strong ginger and spice flavor, and the cookie cutters  were a perfect thank you.

Great Gift Ideas, Kitchen Tools

Favorite Kitchen Tools #2

instant read thermonitor

Favorite Kitchen Tools: #2

This week’s top kitchen tool is an instant read thermometer, the number one favorite of my friend Joni, of My Gluten Free Friend, and I have to agree with her. Both my husband and I use our Thermapen all the time and like it.

The Thermapen reads out accurate (to better than 1F) temperatures in 2 to 3 seconds. It’s splashproof and its large display is easy to read even in low light. It has no buttons, turning on when you rotate the probe into position and shutting off automatically.

We have a classic model called the “Super-Fast Thermapen” that is not cheap at $79 but it has lasted for years. This is the instant read thermometer that America’s Test Kitchen use in their test kitchen.

I just looked on Amazon and could not find it. has it as does

This would be a great gift for any cook.



Great Gift Ideas, Kitchen Tools, Tips

Favorite Kitchen Tools




Sitting around the table the other night we started taking about each person’s favorite kitchen tool, knives excluded. I had to really think about it.

Joni instantly said her instant read thermometer was one tool she would not be without. A big Kitchenaid mixer was Jim’s choice, because of the bread-kneading elbow grease it saves.

My first thought for my favorite kitchen tool was my set of peelers. I use them daily. I’m really picky about peelers. A dull one or one that has a poor grip can make a simple job frustrating. My next thought was my weighing scale: I use my scale often. And then there’s my juicer: I had just finished making limoncello so my wooden fruit juicer had seen a lot of use.

What do you use most often? A corkscrew is certainly a viable answer. This is important when you have a small kitchen. It is easy to clutter your drawers with what’s non-essential.

Especially since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I’d pick a favorite tool each week and post it. For this week it’s my set of vegetable peelers.   These peelers  are inexpensive, quite sharp and have held their cutting edge for years. Their handles are well designed to grip easily. One is your typical scalpel peeler, another a julienne peeler and the third is a serrated peeler. Not only do I use these at home but when I travel they are light and easy to pack.

I gave these peelers to my mother for Christmas one year. Her reaction was one of surprise – they are plastic. She finally tried them and figured out what a nifty tool they are.

I’ve added a link to Amazon above in purple if you want to take a look at them.

I’d love to hear what your favorite kitchen tool is!