27 July 2016


Velcro Brand One-Wrap Thin Ties

Adjustable, reusable hook & loop ties

I have been using Velcro One-Wrap Thin Ties for about a year now and I can tell you, there is not a better product for wrapping up your headphone cords, computer cables, and anything else you can think of. I have tried several different products similar to this and these are by far the best.

I bought 100 of them for $5 on Amazon, and at first I thought 100 was a little excessive, but I am so glad I can use these anywhere I can think. The ties are so thin yet strong and the velcro holds very well. I have had other non-velcro brand ties and the velcro holds, but the “fuzzy” part is way too fuzzy. These are so thin and not fuzzy. The velcro holds strong. I also like that they have round edges. If you want to use these for small wires, just cut the tie since you won’t need the full 8 inches. 4 inches is more than enough to tie up a pair of standard headphones.

07/27/16 -- Stuart Peterson

26 July 2016


Vegetable Keep Sack

Double draw-string designed hanging sack protects vegetables from light and delays the sprouting process

Being an avid home cook in New York City, having space to work is more important than any tool (except maybe a good chef’s knife). Finding these hanging vegetable keep sacks from design-savvy cookware company Mastrad was a revelation and meant I had at least one drawer freed up.

I’ve had mine hanging under the cabinet for two years, and they keep potatoes, onions, and other root vegetables dry, dark, and out of the way. The design is simple: a canvas tube, lined with cotton, with a filling drawstring at the top and a dispensing drawstring at the bottom, slightly angled to keep the tubers from dumping all over the floor.

I belong to a CSA, so for a few weeks in the fall, I am absolutely swimming in potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots. If I had the space I’d create a root cellar, but one (or a few) of these sacks keeps my roots from sprouting or getting moldy for weeks. The internet is swarming with cutesy containers to keep potatoes, but loose baskets, modular plastic, and bulky burlap don’t keep potatoes in the darkness they need. There are bins you can build into the sides of cabinets, but as a renter, it’s key that I can screw in an anchor, hang the colorful bag for all to see, then easily take it down to refill it or when I move.

They’re cheap, washable, and come in three sizes (with illustrations of potatoes, onions, and garlic, respectively, but free to be you and me) As a cook in a small kitchen, I lust after big mixers and expensive gadgets, but I am grateful for my potato sacks.

07/26/16 -- Sam Roth

25 July 2016


Sproutamo Easy Sprout Sprouter

Seed germinator provides continuous ventilation, humidification and warmth

Bought one Eazy-Sprout a year or more ago to sprout organic seed for the “children” (our little parrots). Started with wheat. Soak 8-12 hours, drain and rinse, drain again. Let sprout for 12-36 hours, and then place in a container in the fridge. Every time I made some for the birds I eat some to make sure it is okay. Now I am hooked! So I bought another one for us. Great addition to salads and soups and great in waffles! I buy organic Alfalfa, Broccoli, Mung Beans, Quinoa, Millet Sunflower, Oat, and many more. We store in the fridge inside snap topped containers with a paper towel at the bottom to keep from being too damp. Very easy to use and keep clean. And you can store the dry seeds indefinitely.

07/25/16 -- Kent Barnes

22 July 2016


Fagor Rapida 5-piece Pressure Cooker Set

Makes soybeans soft enough

Do pressure cookers scare you? I know they scare a lot of people, and that keeps them from even considering using one. But pressure cookers have evolved and the best ones work well with pretty much no danger. (I’m assuming a certain level of intelligence here, like don’t run it out of water or fail to turn it down from high when it comes up to pressure.)

Believe me, I know what pressure cookers used to be like. I lived at The Farm in TN throughout the 70s with our “yay soybeans” ethos and our relentless vegan diet. I saw a Presto pressure cooker blow its safety valve more than once, throwing a geyser of water and beans onto the ceiling. And I wouldn’t buy an old one from a Goodwill. But today’s stainless steel pressure cookers with their superior steam-handling technology such as Rapida’s Splendid Pressure Cooker line are nothing like the old days.

Get one of these cookers and a fabulous bean dinner of your choice means soaking overnight and then a mere 18 minutes in the pressure cooker, yielding beans soft enough to easily mash on the roof of your mouth.

And if you really want to get your protein by eating soybeans it’s the only way to go. I don’t care how many hours you boil soybeans – do it overnight if you want – you won’t get them soft enough. And then there’s kale. I love that this hardy green that I once saw withstand a -20f freeze, is now the darling of everyone. It should be because it is so great. With a Rapida pressure cooker you can cook that kale under pressure in 3 minutes flat instead of, what, 20 minutes in a regular boil?

So lower carbon footprint, softer beans, the best greens in minutes, and little risk. If you want to eat less animal and more vegetable and prefer to cook your own food – get a pressure cooker. There’s nothing like it.

07/22/16 -- John Coate

21 July 2016


Lithium Grease in a Spray Can

Convenient lubrication

Grease is a superior lubricant for many applications. It remains in the place where it is needed, unlike oil, which can run away from its intended placement. Grease also tends to last longer and requires fewer applications, especially when exposed to the elements. However, grease is messy. Traditionally it comes in tubs and tubes and must be applied using your hands or specialty grease guns. I have avoided using it the past because of the mess involved.

A few years ago I found lithium grease in a spray can. It has all of the benefits of grease and none of the mess. I use it on everything from bicycle chains to door hinges. You can use the regular spray tip for wide coverage or attach the straw for precision application.

07/21/16 -- Greg Henigan

20 July 2016


Fat Separator and Strainer

Low spout prevents floating fat from pouring

I love to cook. A few years ago we bought this fat separator. This Catamount brand fat separator has a strainer that fits on top to keep those burned bits and pieces out of the mix. As the drippings cool the fat moves to the top and the flavor containing part stays at the bottom. The spout will pour out the separated juices and leave the grease and oils in the heatproof glass. I also use it to measure hot liquids.

07/20/16 -- Kent K. Barnes


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