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Indispensable Kitchen Gadgets

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I grew up with a convection oven, I remember my grandmother using it for everything!! I also remember never having any problem operating it, but I guess it didn't stick, because when I got my new oven I purposely got one with convection. In 5 years I haven't used it once.

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I think convection might be more useful in a toaster oven because they're notorious for hot spots. The one I have now bakes very evenly but if you keep opening a small oven to rotate it definitely affects results. If I had it on my full sized oven I'd try it because I know one corner bakes cookies faster than the other.

Edited by QuelleC

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I swear by my convection oven for baking, especially cookies and bread. And it is awesome for browning a turkey.

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I swear by my convection oven for baking, especially cookies and bread. And it is awesome for browning a turkey.

So let's say I'm cooking a turkey in my convection oven. How do I time it compared to my regular oven?

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I just got a new oven yesterday (it was nearly impossible to find--my kitchen was built around a 1960's 40 inch electric stove and I didn't want to re-do the entire kitchen for a new oven), a Kenmore Elite stove with a glass cooktop and a convection oven option. I've never had either, so I'm having to relearn things. It does boil quite quickly, which I like, but I'm going to have to practice with the convection option. I tried baking chocolate chip cookies today and some browned too much while others were still raw. Do you have to rotate the baking sheet quite often?

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My truly indispensable gadget isn't really a gadget. It's my big 1 quart Pyrex measuring cup. I can use it to heat things in the microwave, bake stuff in the oven, or chill stuff in the fridge. I've used it as a small punch bowl, a serving bowl, a mixing bowl, a place to let bread dough rise, and (on one occasion) as a goldfish bowl. All this, and it has a handy handle too! And I can even measure with it!

There have been any number of simple meals that I've fixed for myself where Mr.Pyrex and a fork are the only things I've had to clean afterward. I used it so often back when I had housemates that one of them dubbed it the Omnipotent God Bowl.

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If you have any pyrex, treasure it.  I understand it isn't made anymore. At least in the US. I have a couple of yellow pieces from the 60's.  I ate my baby food out of one of the custard cups.  I hear later pieces might shatter.

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I seem to remember being told in a cake decorating class that you could bake cake batter in a Pyrex measuring cup in order to make the skirt for a doll cake but I've never tried it.

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For an indispensable gadget for a low carb diet, may I present the Sylvania Omelet Maker.  I bought this about a year and a half ago and use it at least 4-5 times a week, though the more recent 1 star reviews are concerning, maybe the quality has declined.  Mine works perfectly.  I keep a tupperware type shaker container with egg/veggie/cheese/meat mixture in my refrigerator and whenever I want omelets, just pour in and in 6-7 minutes, two perfect little omelets!  Filling, low in carbs, and delicious.  I also use it for "sunny side up" eggs.  When I bought it, it was less than half the current price, though.

 

By the way, I lost 60+ pounds the low carb way, so this omelet maker is very dear to me as it helped keep me on track.

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If you have any pyrex, treasure it.  I understand it isn't made anymore. At least in the US. I have a couple of yellow pieces from the 60's.  I ate my baby food out of one of the custard cups.  I hear later pieces might shatter.

 

I've heard that too,but Snopes.com (and Pyrex, of course) say it's not completely true.  This explanation seems scientific, logical and not hysteria-inducing, and to me it makes sense. Since the exploding Pyrex made the news, though, I've made sure to set my Pyrex dish(es) down on a towel or hot mitt or whatever instead of a cold, hard surface like the cooktop or kitchen counter when removing them from the oven.  Time to shop tag sales, I guess, and hope for the best.

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For an indispensable gadget for a low carb diet, may I present the Sylvania Omelet Maker.  I bought this about a year and a half ago and use it at least 4-5 times a week, though the more recent 1 star reviews are concerning, maybe the quality has declined.  Mine works perfectly.  I keep a tupperware type shaker container with egg/veggie/cheese/meat mixture in my refrigerator and whenever I want omelets, just pour in and in 6-7 minutes, two perfect little omelets!  Filling, low in carbs, and delicious.  I also use it for "sunny side up" eggs.  When I bought it, it was less than half the current price, though.

 

By the way, I lost 60+ pounds the low carb way, so this omelet maker is very dear to me as it helped keep me on track.

 

That omelet maker looks pretty handy, I may have to look into it.  I make them on the stove top, and they're usually tasty but not pretty; the omelet gadget may take some of the angst out of the equation, and give me a sane-sized omelet at the same time.  Oh - and congratulations on your weight loss! 

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Glad to hear about the Pyrexbeing made, I never quite believed it about the explosions anyway but things often are made more cheaply through the years. I know better than to put a screaming hot glass pan on a wet surface. Thanks for the article, harrie! Anchor Hocking always seemed to be made more cheaply to me.

 

I'll have to look up whether Pyrex is being made in the US. I'm pretty sure I heard it was discontinued from Cook's Country or ATK which was their reason for testing new measuring cups. I love my quart cup too.

 

My entire Pfaltzgraff set was made in the 80's and 90's in the US.  My couple of Mirro aluminum pieces too when they were made in WI.  I'm so glad I don't have to outfit my kitchen from scratch these days. I also have several of my parent's corning ware from the 60s, I'm glad I kept it!

Edited by QuelleC

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 My Krups coffee/herb grinder! Just out of curiosity I put in the peel of a large lemon. My curiosity paid off because it made perfect, uniform zest that was tiny enough to blend well but large enough to see that each little piece was perfectly squared. Unbelievable... I also use it to blend spices so the combination will be perfectly blended. Haven't ground any coffee though...

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Glad to hear about the Pyrex, I never quite believed it about the explosions anyway but things often are made more cheaply through the years. I know better than to put a screaming hot glass pan on a wet surface.  I'll have to look up whether Pyrex is being made in the US. I'm pretty sure I heard it was discontinued from Cook's Country or ATK when they were testing measuring cups. I love my quart cup too.

 

My entire Pfaltzgraff set was made in the 80's and 90's in the US.  My couple of Mirro aluminum pieces too when they were made in WI.  I'm so glad I don't have to outfit my kitchen from scratch these days.

 

Sad but true, about things not being made like they used to.  Gaaaahhh - I've turned into my mom!!  Actually, I have two Pyrex baking dishes that are hand-me-downs from my mom, so I know they're old, and I treat them with much love and tenderness (when I'm not scorching the crap out of them or baking something on really good and hard).  I hope they last a good, long time. 

 

Most of my dishes are restaurant overstock from the odd-lot store - they're nice enough and good and heavy, but they're no Pfaltzgraff.

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I just checked on Wiki and the formula change for Pyrex was in 1998 and the newer ones have a bluish tint on the thicker bottom.  That's how my Anchor Hocking bowl looks.

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I just have the lower end Gazebo pattern they sold at Shopko and got some great deals, and I spent about 10 years in the 90's collecting odd pieces on Ebay when they were still cheap. I bought a few off the Pfaltzgraff site like the kitchen soap dispenser I still have.  Gazebo also came in blue in the early 80's and Gazebo with white flowers on the blue plates and colored flowers on the white plates.  I mix them and painted my kitchen blue. Just looking back to the good old days when I could afford that stuff.  I LOVE restaurant dishes!  One of my favorite things though, beside the dedicated Gazebo canned cranberry dish are the corn dishes that are curved and hold the heat and butter on the corn cob. Ok, enough about my kitchen I promise! (QuelleC Needs Job Now)

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It's still possible to get borosilicate cookware, you just have to get it from other manufacturers than "Pyrex." I actually can't remember which ones make it, but a while ago I was looking and found a few that do. Some was even available via amazon, so not that obscure. You can verify by checking the manufacturer's websites, where they were proudly saying they still make borosilicate wares. I know it would be better if I could remember what the brand names were, but I don't. I do remember it wasn't that hard to find them once I knew what I was looking for. I just did a search and then double checked the results. After I bought what I wanted, though, the names slipped from my brain.

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In my age demographic I was one of the last holdouts to get a smartphone. I honest to goodness couldn't imagine when I'd ever use. Well, the joke was on me because today my computer is my iPhone.

Which brings me to....I live alone (with my dog). I didn't grow up with a family who used a toaster oven. But reading here, I seem to be a candidate. Would I use one? Would it be iPhone-esque for me? What would I use it for?

I love to cook but at the moment I'm flying solo so cooking has all but ended. Can it hold a totinos pizza? (yes, I asked that).

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I love my Breville counter top oven. We have a honking huge Jenn-Air range/oven that runs on the propane in a tank on our property. It was such a waste of propane to heat up that huge oven for 2 baked potatoes, which we have several times a week, so it is perfect for that. I've made frozen pizza in it, use it for toast, and roasting shrimp - 4 minutes with the convection on and you get perfectly cooked shrimp for other dishes.

 

One gadget I love is my strawberry huller - Oxo brand. My husband thought I was crazy, but I bought it because I had an email 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond (the email coupons really do expire unlike the ones that come in the mail). I use it every day, as I eat the same thing for breakfast every day - Yoplait Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of Fiber One and strawberries and blueberries.

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Which brings me to....I live alone (with my dog). I didn't grow up with a family who used a toaster oven. But reading here, I seem to be a candidate. Would I use one? Would it be iPhone-esque for me? What would I use it for?

 

I also live alone, but I can't get a toaster oven due to limited space. I grew up with one in our home. My parents had one before they owned a microwave. Growing up, we used it for reheating certain foods, as well as for frozen food items, and making toast/bagels, etc. I've made small batch cookies, roasted veg, and fish in them as well. I find it more useful to me than microwave in some ways.

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Thank you both! I do believe I will purchase one and likely enjoy. And to be a good citizen will report back on my uses bc maybe there are others asking if they'd use one.

Pampered Chef has this thing called the "mix n chop". I'm not, would never be a PC pimp. But, I've had friends who are and have spent some cash. Well- my friends- this thing delivers. Ground beef, pork sausage (think Jimmy Dean)- anything that's hard to break up is destroyed by this gadget. And it's safe on all surfaces! One of the best things I've bought.

Edited by KnoxForPres
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Thank you both! I do believe I will purchase one and likely enjoy. And to be a good citizen will report back on my uses bc maybe there are others asking if they'd use one.

Pampered Chef has this thing called the "mix n chop". I'm not, would never be a PC pimp. But, I've had friends who are and have spent some cash. Well- my friends- this thing delivers. Ground beef, pork sausage (think Jimmy Dean)- anything that's hard to break up is destroyed by this gadget. And it's safe on all surfaces! One of the best things I've bought.

I second the Breville recommendation. I've got the Smart Oven Pro and it is well worth the $250. It can fit a Totinos Pizza and even comes with a pizza pan. I can bake a casserole in a 9x13 pan with no problem, bake cookies,etc. It's great in the summer because it doesn't heat up the whole kitchen. It's my second favorite kitchen appliance, right behind my Kitchen Aid mixer.

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I second the Breville recommendation. I've got the Smart Oven Pro and it is well worth the $250. It can fit a Totinos Pizza and even comes with a pizza pan. I can bake a casserole in a 9x13 pan with no problem, bake cookies,etc. It's great in the summer because it doesn't heat up the whole kitchen. It's my second favorite kitchen appliance, right behind my Kitchen Aid mixer.

This changes everything. Totinos and a 9x13? I think I love you.

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Bed, Bath & Beyond sells the Breville Smart Oven Pro for $250 - I got mine there and used a 20% off coupon.

Heigh-ho, heigh ho it's off to work I go. I get bombarded by their 20% that I sometimes feel guilty of no use. Breville, here I come! Is it ok or sad to be excited about a kitchen device? Discuss amongst yourselves :)

Edited by KnoxForPres
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Heigh-ho, heigh ho it's off to work I go. I get bombarded by their 20% that I sometimes feel guilty of no use. Breville, here I come! Is it ok or sad to be excited about a kitchen device? Discuss amongst yourselves :)

If it's wrong, I don't want to be right. Also, I will confess to a nostalgic love of Totinos pizza. It's hard to find where I live, but when I brave the local Walmart I always pick one up (and eat it for lunch that day).

Oh, one more thing about the 9x13 pan - it won't fit if it has handles. So my regular glass casserole dish won't fit, but a metal brownie pan will.

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I know you have already decided to get a toaster oven, but I wanted to chime in and add my name to the list of those that can't live without it (also live alone with pets). Plus you can toss your regular toaster if space is an issue. I have the Cuisinart toaster/convection oven which was considerably less expensive than the price I'm seeing listed here for the Breville, but I can not pretend to know the differences. The Cuisinart will definitely bake a pizza, though. And it holds a full slab of ribs, so it's pretty good sized.

Just make sure you don't go to Walmart and get one of those $25.00 ones, those are worthless as the price would suggest.

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I know you have already decided to get a toaster oven, but I wanted to chime in and add my name to the list of those that can't live without it (also live alone with pets). Plus you can toss your regular toaster if space is an issue. I have the Cuisinart toaster/convection oven which was considerably less expensive than the price I'm seeing listed here for the Breville, but I can not pretend to know the differences. The Cuisinart will definitely bake a pizza, though. And it holds a full slab of ribs, so it's pretty good sized.

Just make sure you don't go to Walmart and get one of those $25.00 ones, those are worthless as the price would suggest.

Masonlamps without knowing it you're like a celebrity talking to me! I think I've loved everything you've ever posted. So by golly, I am going to research a bit and buy one. Really- can't thank you all enough. Such great people here.

Eta; my word- see having a computer would make usernames easy! And yet, the iPhone.

Edited by KnoxForPres

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Masonlamps without knowing it you're like a celebrity talking to me! I think I've loved everything you've ever posted. So by golly, I am going to research a bit and buy one.

 

Thanks KnoxForPres, that's a really nice thing to say.  And good luck with your search for a toaster oven.

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I have a knife that is my kitchen's MVP.  My Dad and uncle used to go to the flea market all the time and would come home with a random selection of stuff, but they picked out kick ass knives.  It looks like some fat butter knife, although longer and wider than norm, but can hold an edge like crazy.  I use it for cutting up fruits, vegetables, meats (that don't require a heavier and longer blade), peeling citrus, ...just a thousand things.  I seriously use it at least 10x a day and the house rule is if you use it, it needs to be washed immediately so when I want to use it next, it is ready.  I have some motor skills and strength deficits in my right hand (right handed too), so the size and weight of this knife is probably more important to me than most.

 

Somehow early last week it went missing.  I was the last one to use it so I am checking the usual drawer and tray it is in, every other drawer in the kitchen, the dishwasher...I check all these places at least a dozen times.  Nothing.  I even take out all the trash from the kitchen trash can in case I accidentally dropped it in there (and thank you for recycling and composting because this task was a lot less unpleasant than it would have been in years past).

 

I figure it will show up the next day, but it doesn't.  I go several days without it and I am not kidding about the amount of psychological strain not having it gave me plus I don't have a back up or a way to get a replacement except starying to haunt 2nd hand stores.  I'm muttering darkly while rechecking the utensil drawer for the 500x this weekend when my 14 yo decides to give me a hand.  She immediately finds it!  When I put it away, it missed the tray and slid into the gap between the tray and side of drawer.

 

I finally notice (after owning it for 20+ years) that it has a manufacturer's stamp on the blade - John Blyde / Sheffield.  I look it up and find some that look about the same on ebay so I have to immediately order them.  With a little luck, they'll be the same and I'll have back up in case I ever lose it.

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I love my immersion/stick blender. I make a lot of soups and find this works really well. I did upgrade to a small commercial type rather than the kind from Costco that I found underpowered after my first one cracked. The last soup I made was a roasted carrot which was delicious.

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DeLurker, I feel you about having a special knife! My family used The Knife for almost everything, and we seriously had a moment of silence the day it finally broke.

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Trini - So glad to hear someone else understands my feelings (wo-o-o feelings)...my deepest sympathy on your loss.

 

I had no idea I was so attached to The Knife (as it will now be known as thanks to Trini)!  The new ones are not exactly the same, but I believe they have the basic design and balance that I need.  What they lack is a good edge - I've been sharpening one with my whetstone but my skills are so-so at best.  I need my Dad to come visit so he can give them a proper edge (Dad has mad knife sharpening skills.  He's prone to cutting and nicking himself if charged with using a sharp/semi-sharp object, but he sharpens one like no one and nothing else.  He's been forbidden to sharpen knives in my brother's house because he makes them too sharp).

 

Does anyone have any experience on this product or a similar one - OXO Good Grips Complete Grate & Slice Set? 

 

I'm considering it - my usage will be modest at best, so do not want to spend the bucks for a high end mandolin.  Looks versatile and reasonably compact/self-contained.  I've had good luck with OXO products in the past.  Get's decent reviews on Amazon and other sites I have checked.  I'd be interested in getting feedback on this one or recommendations for a similar product you like.

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I totally love kitchen gadgets and really wish I could justify buying the OXO set linked above.  Damn it, I own most of the stuff already separately purchased.  If you buy it, you will have to let us know how you like it.

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I really want to make my own almond butter but I keep reading conflicting reviews when it comes to whether it's possible for various machines to do it without burning out their motors.

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I really want to make my own almond butter but I keep reading conflicting reviews when it comes to whether it's possible for various machines to do it without burning out their motors.

I'm assuming you do this in a blender. Seems like a high end Vitamix could do it. KitchenAid just came out with a magnetic drive blender so there is no motor to burn out. It's pricey - $450, but you can get it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, so with a 20% off coupon it's more affordable.

 

http://www.kitchenaid.com/countertop-appliances/blenders/torrent-blender/

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Does anyone have any experience on this product or a similar one - OXO Good Grips Complete Grate & Slice Set? 

 

I'm considering it - my usage will be modest at best, so do not want to spend the bucks for a high end mandolin.  Looks versatile and reasonably compact/self-contained.  I've had good luck with OXO products in the past.  Get's decent reviews on Amazon and other sites I have checked.  I'd be interested in getting feedback on this one or recommendations for a similar product you like.

I recently got the Swissmar Borner V-Power and like it. I found good reviews of different models at thesweethome.com, including an OXO model.

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Hi, everybody! Urgently need your advice about purchasing new blender. I had Oster Rapid, it was making almost everything what I wanted: crushing ice, fruits and vegetables, making soups, smoothies, creams e. g., but, unfortunately, broke down (I don't know, may'cause of the small capacity). Have read a lot of articles, comparisons, forums, most advised me this Ninja topchoice.best/main-review/best-countertop-blenders. And OMG in 2 months it died(((((( Waiting for your useful recommendations! My family won't endure another corpse. Need something powerful, but not very expensive. Thank's a lot in advance!

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I don't know your price point, and I can't recommend the exact blender at your link, but I have been using the Oster Blender that came with my Oster Kitchen Center (remember those?) for the last 25 years and it still works like a champ.  And it is glass instead of plastic, which I really like.  The overall Amazon reviews come in at close to 5 stars for 1,400 reviews, so seems to be highly regarded although you obviously want to check some of the one star reviews to see what's up with those.  Good luck with the blender search.

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Hi, everybody! Urgently need your advice about purchasing new blender. I had Oster Rapid, it was making almost everything what I wanted: crushing ice, fruits and vegetables, making soups, smoothies, creams e. g., but, unfortunately, broke down (I don't know, may'cause of the small capacity). Have read a lot of articles, comparisons, forums, most advised me this Ninja topchoice.best/main-review/best-countertop-blenders. And OMG in 2 months it died(((((( Waiting for your useful recommendations! My family won't endure another corpse. Need something powerful, but not very expensive. Thank's a lot in advance!

MargeGunderson posted about a review site, The Sweet Home, a bit ago.  I liked the reviews there a lot.  If it is frequently used item in your house, it probably is worth spending a bit more.  And if the Ninja went kaput after 2 months, see about returning it and getting credit for a different brand.  With stores and online sites being so competitive, a lot of them are being much more flexible with return policies.  And if that doesn't work, contact the manufacturer.  They are much more responsive than in the past because it is so easy for a dissatisfied customer to post a bad review.

 

I've been pretty lucky with microwaves.  My first one was in the mid 80's and cost me over $300 From Wards or Sears! But it lasted something like 15 years.  I went without one until my son insisted I buy a $50 Haier model at Shopko or Kmart about 7 years ago and it's running fine.  Maybe not the capacity you're looking for but they revolve and as long as they hold a dinner plate that's fine. We use it several times a day.

Forgot to mention this wayback when...used to work in multifamily and commercial real estate.  A substantial portion of my time was spent doing property inspections and reading various reports.  A lot of apartment owners (who own the building) use Haier appliances.  They are not pricey, not overly fancy, but extremely durable.

 

Does anyone have any experience on this product or a similar one - OXO Good Grips Complete Grate & Slice Set? 

 

I'm considering it - my usage will be modest at best, so do not want to spend the bucks for a high end mandolin.  Looks versatile and reasonably compact/self-contained.  I've had good luck with OXO products in the past. 

Finally got this.  I absolutely love the design - neat, compact, fits together for easy storage.  The graters do what they are supposed to do.  Used the slicer this weekend.  It is very sharp and I have some coordination deficits in my right hand now so that resulted in me finding out exactly how sharp it is.  Think it is going to work out very well for me, but again, I will only put it to modest use.  I wish it had one more slicer to make slightly thicker cuts - that would be my only suggestion.  Well, and to be careful when using it!

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It's not electric and it only cost $4 but my favorite kitchen gadget is the onion keeper. That thing that looks like an onion. It fits nearly every onion I buy and there is zero smell coming out of it. I thought it would be something I ended up tossing but I love that thing and will buy another one if it ever breaks.

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I love my Pampered Chef cutting boards.  They have grips on the edges so they don't slip.  I need to buy new ones, though.  Hubby used one when he was cutting carpet with a utility knife.  Gah.

https://www.pamperedchef.com/shop/Cutlery/Cutting+Boards/Cutting+Board/1012

 

i don't use my Kitchen Aid mixer often, but when I need it, it's the best thing ever.

 

My Braun hand blender.  I got it as a wedding gift 15 years ago, so I have an older model. It's an immersion blender, a mixer, and a chopper.  I use it all the time.

http://www.braunhousehold.com/global/products/food-preparation/hand-blenders/identitycollection-mq-5-vario-0x22111026

 

 

 

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i don't use my Kitchen Aid mixer often, but when I need it, it's the best thing ever.

 

 

 

Same here.  It was a wedding gift (PRguy and I married five years ago) and we've used it maybe three times.  I'm mostly lazy and mix by hand. 

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Can anyone recommend a good waffle maker?  Not one for Belgian waffles and not the ultra-expensive top-of-the-line/bells and whistles kind, but a basic machine that just makes good waffles.  Because of the really good employee discount my brother can get, he's always asking everyone in the family to put small appliances on their Christmas lists (that's how I got my Keurig a couple of years ago and a really nice food processor last year).  I already have just about anything a person could want (probably way too many things), but I thought that a waffle maker would be nice.  I wouldn't use it all the time, so I don't need the fanciest one that is made.  Just a good basic model.  Any recommendations?  

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