My Favorites Things
FOOD, SLOW COOKERS AND OUTDOOR GRILLS
It is a fact that no matter what else is going on, human beings need to eat. Sustenance can be easily had on the road by choosing low nutritional items from the dollar menu, but even at those prices, eating out every single day for lunch and dinner can be very costly to both the family finances and overall health.
We got into the habit of dicing and chopping vegetables and whatever meat we had on hand and throwing them in the slow-cooker in the morning. By the time kids and adults got home, we were greeted by the pleasant aroma of a dinner waiting to be savored, not slaved over. Frankly, not having an elderly grandmother or a live-in Chef that makes the best food in the world, this was a logical and inexpensive alternative. Over the years, I have accumulated different size slow cookers to do different things. A tiny one I used when traveling to heat up the baby's food or warm the water for her bottles while staying at hotels. It now serves as a hot dip server, such as spinach or artichoke dip or spicy melted cheese recipes.
I also love, love, love, cookbooks. As someone who loves to cook and sometimes is frustrated by not being able to think of an answer to "What's for dinner?" sometimes, I find books to be a great source of instant inspiration, even when I don't have all the ingredients or just don't care for some of them. I tend to think of cookbooks as my starting canvas in which I end up painting a masterpiece (if only in my mind).
I have never liked them. Period. The shinny metal monsters that dull and rust in the backyard have never been a favorite of mine. The cleaning takes for ever, before and after. There is no way on Earth I am cooking directly on something that has been sitting outdoors for months even if it was cleaned properly before the season ended.
However, it has become obvious that I had to bite the bullet and find something to take with us when we go RVing because the small stove inside the RV is great when it is raining or incredibly cold, but on hot days, the last thing we want is to have the bed sheets smelling like bacon or fish for days on end.
We finally settled on the Coleman Road Trip Grill LXE, but after comparing features was glad to get the Paul Jr. version because it has the thermostat on the lid, which has become indispensable and the side tables with the easy-to-clean chrome. The wheels are wider than the red grill and basically, well... it just looks cool! These grills have optional accessories to replace the cooking surface, but through experience, I have learned that all we needed was the stove grate. It makes it easy to just make pancakes and fry bacon or beef hash or heat up water for hot cocoa. Definitely a more versatile item.
If you have perused my Homemade Pizza page, you know I am in love with my Breadman machine. I like things that can multi-task, after all, I do, so why shouldn't the gadgets I use save space and do more than one thing? Obviously baking bread is the primary existence for this gadget, but being able to make healthier pizzas at home was an added bonus I had not thought about. When the youngest needed to take something for her class, a loaf of banana bread from beginning to finish was done while I worked with no mixing or checking on my part.
WaterPick - I did not know this gadget existed until our oldest had to get braces and it was recommended by the dental hygienist. She stated that after braces are removed, a lot of the kids have horribly yellow teeth and develop cavities. It made sense, since food particles get trapped between the hardware and the teeth. So we bought one and after everyone gave it a try, I ended up picking one up for the master bathroom. I was surprised by how much gunk remains even after brushing with an electric toothbrush. Truth be told, We all hate dental floss and this is a very good alternative that keeps pearly whites clean and reduces the use of dental tools to remove plaque. As an added bonus, it eliminates bad breath.
For years, every grandfather and dad got the cheap corded drills for father's day and Christmas. About a decade ago we donated the old drills and got this little wonder. I love that I can use it anywhere, not be restricted by the length of the cord, or have to unroll another orange extension cord. I also like the fact that after the kids where shown how to use it, they are independent enough to hang their own wall decor without having to bother dad. When they move out in a million years or so, we plan to give them their own tool box for their new home. Until then, they can use ours.
SEAGATE ULTRA-PORTABLE HARD DRIVE
If you have been following me on Twitter you are aware of the saga of two HP laptops that both got fried after two years of ownership. I refuse to fool around with thumb drives for important documents, they are perfectly fine to transfer a few files, but to back up the system in case of total and horrific failure? - Not so much. We like its portability and the capacity. With 1TB of space, it can easily back up two of our laptops and I am glad we did since we have two useless bricks not worth repairing but all the information is off-site.
Maybe I will dedicate a page to vent about how I really feel about HP laptop quality, but for now, I'll keep those four-letter words to myself.
Have a great day and visit soon.