Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kitchen Gadget Shopping March 13

As I mentioned last night we had a very productive day shopping yesterday. Let me set the stage for you. Dan and I met our friend Louis at the Lancaster Outlet malls. Our friend Louis is actually a professional shopper. Louis and I met when we worked at a hospital together where he was the director of pharmacy and materials management which meant that he purchased everything for the hospital. He is a fabulous shopper so we always have a great time on these excursions. When we go shopping with Louis there is always a contest to see who will win. Normally it is either me or Louis but yesterday Dan had the most stuff. To be fair his was entirely clothing and he needed to replenish his wardrobe. Yes I am making excuses, but I came in a close second so that had to be a reason. ;-)

We started at the kitchen gadget store. There is a large shop in Lancaster called “Reading China and Glass” that exclusively carries home goods. It is the size of a small chain grocery store so there is always something to find. Yesterday I hit the motherlode of stuff. Here are some of the more interesting things I picked up:

Tasting Spoons, because you never know when you want to make something decadent and just a little bite of it will be enough.

Jelly strainer for making almond milk and soymilk. I can’t take credit for this it was an idea that Bryanna came up with and it seemed so great I wanted to give it a try.

More sushi molds well, for sushi of course.

If you haven’t tried magnetic measuring spoons these things are great. I have another set and use them all the time.

When I saw this silicon egg poacher I started thinking of what I could make in it with tofu or okara. This is definitely something for area 51. Not exactly sure what yet, but I will figure it out.

My hubby loves candy so I picked up a two more candy molds. Now I need to come up with some recipes for healthy candy. The recipes will be the hardest part of this process.

Of all the kitchen gadgets this gyoza maker is one my husband couldn’t believe I didn’t have. I normally make them by hand but that takes a long time so I wanted to try the mold in the hope that it is faster. We will see.

I am very short 5’2 ½” to be exact. As I say to my hubby that half inch makes a difference when you are as short as I am. Because I am vertically challenged I also have small hands and this makes it difficult to open jars. I was very excited to find this jar opener. Dan told me his grandmother had something very similar decades ago that worked like a charm. If this works well you will all know about it. This may be my favorite gadget today.

The taco shells mold are pretty awesome as well. I love the idea of being able to bake taco shells. However I plan to dehydrate them so we will see if this works. It is another experiment for area 51 but one that I am really looking forward to. I can be such a food geek.  Nicco (aka Binky) was checking them out as well.

Finally there was a tart maker. I had never heard of this before. But when I was reading the back and it said you could use phyllo dough I knew I had to give this a try.

After a few hours of kitchen and clothes shopping we stopped at Ruby Tuesday and got salad bar since it is always possible to stay vegan there. I did notice that the salad bar didn’t get much traffic while we were there. However I did see many plates of greasy fried food and quesadillas coming out of the kitchen. I am going to guess that healthy eating isn’t at the top of the list for shoppers in Lancaster. Once we finished lunch we went back to shopping and both bought more clothes before we headed for home.

We met Louis for dinner at Jesse Wong’s and had our usual, veggie sushi and Faux duck Szechuan style washed down with a big pot of green tea.

Then it was off the Wegman’s for provisions and home. By the time the day was over we had been running around for 12 hours. Dan and I were both very tired.

Today we spent lounging around and putting away all the “stuff” we purchased. It always seems like more when you have to put it away. Thankfully I had made some space for the new items. It looks like now I should make just a little more space.

For dinner tonight we had white bean chili with homemade seitan chorizo. It was quite tasty, but is now another back log recipe to add to the queue. I am feeling as though I am never going to get caught up.

Tomorrow I have a few things to do. I may not have a chance to post anything until dinner time. Until then, I hope you all have a great Monday. If I can sneak a post in between now and then I will. Talk to you later.


  1. How fun!! Love the new gadgets. I'm vertically challenged too and agree, every cm counts. I'm only 5'2" no 1/2 to boast about LOL. I actually like being short now.

  2. i kep meaning to buy sushi molds,i im going to go with (non-age appropriate) hello kitty ones:) another adorable picture of binky

  3. Heather,

    Thanks!! I can't wait to try them out.

    It took me years to appreciate being short too. I like it now as well.


    I will let you know how the sushi molds work out. Up until now I have always made sushi rolls. Do they really make hello kitty molds? I have never seen those.

    Binky says thanks for the compliment.


  4. Love the tasting spoons as a serving you are totally set now. I really must get a gyoza maker now too.

    Must be fun to go around with a professional shopper.

  5. Rose,

    Aren't the tasting spoons adorable? I couldn't help myself on those. Not the most useful things but too darn cute to not buy.

    Louis is a great shopper and a huge amount of fun. He was reminding me that I should be tweeting as we went from store to store. This resulting in my laughing and saying, "come on no one needs minute by minute updates." He had my laughing all day. Between Dan and Louis my face hurt from laughing so much. They are both very funny.

    I will let you know if the gyoza maker is useful. It seems as though it should be, but only time will tell.

    talk to you later,

  6. oh yea they make'em:) i dont know how i missed this but you went to ruby tuesdays!! whenever i go to the east coast i hit that place as many times as possible!!!! i dont think there are any even in cali, i could be wrong though..dont bother writing back to there is no point to this comment other than saying im glad you had fun:)

  7. Great post, Alicia--what fun! I was talking about you last night. One of my best friends (who is 4'11", by the way...I'm a big giant 5'3", haha) was predicting that my next big purchase is going to be a dehydrator. I disagreed, saying how much I want a Vita-Mix, but then I started talking about YOUR dehydrator, and all the great stuff you've been doing.... Maybe I'll get both (hello, ebay!), we'll see how much my tax refund is! ;)


  8. Michelle,

    No Ruby Tuesday where you live? I had no idea. I thought it was a national chain.


    If I had to pick a Vitamix or dehydrator it would be the Vitamix hands down. Ebay is a good idea have you looked for refurbished models? My big 6.5qt Kitchen Mixer was refurbished (and half price) and came with the same warranty as a new one. It has worked well for over 5 years now. You might want to see if Vitamix or Excalibur offers something similar.


  9. Lots of cool stocking stuffer things! Why do you recommend magnetic measuring spoons? Do you hang them on the fridge?

  10. SV,

    Good question. I just tried and no they won't hang on the frig.

    What I like about them is the following:
    1) each spoon is separate so you only wash the dirty ones
    2) each spoon has two ends one round and one narrow (to fit into small jars)
    3) the spoons are flat on the bottom so you can sit them on the counter and pour liquid into them
    4) the magnetic aspect keeps them together in the drawer

    I bought my first set of these about a year ago at the Crate and Barrel outlet near you in Leesburg. Since then I have wished that I had two sets. Now I do. :-) If you measure a lot, which I do for writing the blog, they are very handy.


  11. AWESOME new gadgets!
    I have a gyoza maker - I have it in 3 sizes. It is one of my rather pathetically small kitchen gadget items. I have total gadget envy.

  12. Jeni,

    Thanks! It was a really fun and productive shopping expedition.

    I am happy to hear you have three different sizes of gyoza makers. That must mean that work well. Can't wait to try mine out.


  13. Thanks for the explanation! If I ever see any for sale, I'll pick some up to see for myself.

  14. SV,

    You are welcome! They are surprisingly more useful than the traditional connected variety of measuring spoons. I almost bought two sets on Saturday but decided even with all the cooking do that I didn't need three sets.


  15. Well, Ali, you DID make a haul!
    I'm glad SV asked about the magnetic measuring spoons, because I was wondering that myself and also figured you'd hang them on the fridge! (I intentionally "accidently" broke the ring on my set of measuring spoons because I don't like having them attached either. The magnets are a clever idea for keeping them together.

    I had to look up the gyoza gizmo, but when I saw what it is and does, I sure started pining for vegan potstickers. I've only had them once, at a Whole Foods in Houston, but I could NOT stop eating them! You'll have fun with that gadget for sure!

    The jar opener was a great idea. I've seen that style in the stores and been tempted, so will be curious to hear your review. I have one that my grandmother had... a big, clumsy thing that looks like something you'd use to tighten suspension bridges! :-) I use it pretty often though... the increase in altitude from town to our house makes jar lids extra hard to open.

    Your lunch looked divine, btw! Yummmm... glad you had a fun day!

  16. Lalo,

    I took the rings off my older spoons too and they were all over the drawer. Try replacing the ring with a split ring (from the stationary store). The type of thing accountants use to hold workpapers together that is hinged and has zip zag teeth in the middle. Do you know what I mean? If not I will post a link when I get home.

    I will let you know about the jar opener. I am psyched about that gizmo.


  17. I think I know what you mean... a little like the rings in a loose-leaf ring-binder notebook, only "sold separately?" :-) That would be a great idea! (I keep my measuring spoons in a little rectangular basket in my drawer, which helps - but I'm still always digging around for the 1/8 and 1/4 teaspoons).

  18. Lalo,

    That is exactly what I mean! They come of various sizes. I use them for lots of things around the house. I guess once an accounting geek, always an accounting geek. ;-)


  19. LOL - well, how clever and adaptable of you to be able to parlay your accounting geek gadgets into cooking geek ones!! :-)

  20. Lalo,

    LOL, good point that eluded me. You are witty as always!


  21. Hi Alicia! I have only been off the computer a couple of days and yet I have so many posts to catch up on! Right now I just wanted to say hello and say that I'm glad you had such a fun day out. Those spoons you bought look fantastic - they seem to solve all potential spoony problems.
    BTW that's a great picture of you.

  22. Oh, not always!, believe me! :-) But thank you, Ali, you're too kind!

    So have you gotten to play with any of your new toys yet? :-)

  23. Jenny,

    I almost squealed in the store when I found the spoons. Little things that like really appeal to me too. They use tiny dishes like those at the MiniBar in DC which is why I had to buy them. I loved that restaurant and try to emulate things we have had there when I feel like pulling out all the stops.

    Thanks for the compliment on the pic. That is very sweet of you. :-)


    I have not had a chance to use any of the gadgets yet. Yesterday I made typical food (chili and seitan) and today after running around I have not been in the kitchen yet. Maybe tomorrow I will get to try some of them, fingers crossed.

    Seems like always from here! ;-)


  24. I am lusting after everything you posted, lol. I think that is one shopping trip I could get on board with--I am obsessed with kitchen tools/gadgets! Some day I will have the money to stock my kitchen well...someday :-)


  25. Courtney,

    The kitchen gadget store is my favorite place. Can you tell?

    I will admit that most of these aren't necessities, but they are fun. When I use them I will let you know so you can decide if they are worth picking up or not. ;-)


  26. Do you have one of these Jar Pops? I love mine - a simple gadget that really does make it easier to open a jar. (no connection to the company - just a happy customer)


  27. Karen,

    Sorry it too me a while to post this. Blogger didn't send me the usual email and I just checked my dashboard.

    I have not seen these before but appreciate the suggestion. If the opener I bought doesn't work as well as I hope I will definitely look for one of these.



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