Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Foodie Finds: October Edition!

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I've been checking out a few new things this fall, both in and out of the kitchen... yet foodie related nonetheless. Here are some foodie finds that I enjoy and maybe you'll find something that interests you too!
Every month or so, I stop over at my local health food store for specialty items such as gluten free flours, ingredients and organic foods. I have been in a cheese loving mood lately and picked up this organic cheese made by Rumiano. It was deliciously creamy, flavorful and being organic, it was just another bonus. It was wonderful on its own with crackers and I've even used it to make mac and cheese with great results! I learned that this cheese was sold in select places and was happy to stumble across this so easily. If you have this available in your area, I highly recommend you give it a try!
I'm trying to get a head start by incorporating more fruits and vegetables this fall. It's a bit of a challenge but I found making smoothies is a great way to sneak them in. I've been enjoying green smoothies lately which include spinach, kale, apple, mango, pineapple, banana and coconut water. To up my game, I added some spirulina which is considered a 'superfood.' Spirula is often found in commercial smoothies and drinks, so I wanted to have some to try and add to my smoothies and home. I love the way it makes me feel and its like a natural multi-vitamin packed wit iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, beta-carotine, B12, and other healthy things. It's also a great sense of protein and so far, it's been supressing my appetite and keeping me full through the morning. If you are looking ahead to getting on a healthy track before the new year (and the holiday food binge eating lol), try adding some spirulina in your smoothies!

With the holidays just weeks away, I'll be definitely working my oven in overtime. I'll be honest, I've also put my potholders through some good wear and tear... some have even got burned or singed in the past! I've been looking for some new potholders and came across these silicone gloves. They're a great alternative to traditional cloth potholders and much safer too. I especially like that they work well over a grill during the summer months. The gloves are safe to use up to 450 degrees and they have a great non-slip grip pattern throughout. You may need to reconsider your usual potholders... isn't time for new ones before the holiday?!

Although summer is pretty much out of the picture, I've been finding some great uses for my ice pop molds. Since its too cold for my kiddie to enjoy a Popsicle, the molds work great for holding smoothies, yogurt and other little snacks. Each mold comes with a lid to secure the contents and they're easy to hold/grasp even with kiddie hands. My son loves these and the're reuseable, dishwasher safe, 100% BPA free and we love the fun colors!

So when's the last time you sharpened your knives? It's true - a dull knife is much more dangerous than a sharp one! Every year or so, I have my knives professionally sharpened. But in between professional sharpenings, I've been using a sharpener at home. I chucked my old one because it just wasn't sharpening as good as it should have and it kinda fell apart. So when I got this new one, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to use, the sharpness of my knives after using it and the options of both coarse and fine sharpening. Sharpening my knifes at home helps increase the life of my knives and ensures more knife safety in the kitchen. If you are overdue in sharpening your knives, this sharpener does a great job!
One of my most popular culinary classes I teach is my sushi making class. It's been great sharing my love of sushi maki and empowering others in making it themselves. An ingredient I personally like including in my sushi maki classes is tamago - which is a thick Japanese omelette. The beauty of this omelette is that it can be cut into long blocks perfect for maki. Making this omelette in a standard pan just doesn't work since it's traditionally shaped in a block or rectangle. I recently found this tamagoyaki pan specifically designed for tamago which is exactly what I need! But for those that don't necessarily need a pan for tamagoyaki, you can appreciate this nicely sized rectangular pan which can make a grilled cheese, crepe or rolled omelette with easy. The shape also helps certain dishes like these cook easier! 

I recently was asked to cater a hotdog bar for a friend's birthday party. I knew there would be quite a spread with other offerings so to help make my portion stand out, I opted to do a hot dog tower. The tower included squeeze bottles of the usual condiments (ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard) along with other ones (spicy mayo, sriracha, etc.). I also included a few toppings like crumbled bacon, saurkraut, giardinera, shredded cheese, french fried onions and pickle relish. The bottom tier was filled with jumbo hot dogs nestled in steamed buns which were wrapped in parchment. Overall it was a major hit! I also loved using these chalkboard labels to easily identify the various condiments in squeeze bottles. These are a great detail that were perfect for my squeeze bottles. Aside from being easy to use, it looks fantastic and I received a lot of compliments on them!

For the longest time, I've been wanting a tablet specifically for the kitchen so I can use it to search recipes and food stuff online. The downside is having a 4 year old notice the tablet and request to use it all the time. So instead of a tablet, I've actually found a nice alternative. I currently use a cell phone mount that is typically intended for the car... and I've mounted it in my kitchen up on the backsplash. It's great because I can search for recipes and have it up in perfect view to review while I'm in the kitchen. I've also found it useful to hold my phone in a good position, out of the way in a secure spot, to listen to music and even take a hands free call. The car mount in the kitchen has really made my phone more versatile... who knew what was intended for the car works awesome in the kitchen?!

My boys love sandwiches and they are always looking for new ways to enjoy them. Now with the cooler weather, warm and toasted sandwiches are particularly a favorite... but after awhile, toasting them in the oven or even on the stovetop can get boring. When I was recently introduced to the Toas-Tite, I love the nostalgic packaging at first sight. It reminded me of cool kitchen tools of yesteryear, but something I can definitely use today. Remember those hot pocket sandwiches? Well the Toas-Tite is probably the original hot pocket sandwich. Two pieces of bread are placed in round steal discs, followed by your favorite sweet or savory filling. The discs are closed shut and cooked over an open flame or over your gas stove top - making it not only fun but interactive too. Joel loved helping me make the sandwiches and watching me cook with the Toas-Tite over our gas stove. We both loved how in a matter of minutes, a toasty filled sandwich was ready to eat! 

These days, I've been using my smart phone a lot... not necessary for calls, but for texts, checking in at places I'm going to, taking pictures, or just surfing the web on down time. All that use eats up my battery and I've found myself charging my phone more often. Or even worse, I won't have a charger nearby and I'm left without a phone. Now I don't have to worry about low battery life or no charger available because I have this portable charger! It's a great thing to have in my purse at all times and acts as a mini charging station to keep me on the go with my phone and data usage. It's compatible with pretty much all phones and devices so you can continue staying on the grid lol! I love the size , which is about the same size as a standard lipstick case, and I can have my phone fully charged in as little as 1 1/2 -2 hours. With the holidays coming up, you'll want to make sure your phone is fully charged and you also have some back up... so consider getting one of these portable chargers!

I feel like the year has flown by extremely fast. I mean, it's October... that's 2 months away from the start of a new year! The fall is definitely a busy time in my house because of the upcoming holidays, the various events and entertaining around the holidays, and it seems like there's always somewhere to go, some errand to run and people to have meetings with. To help me organize myself and my sanity, I need some kind of planner I can physically write in. The electronic types don't work for me... I guess I like the satisfaction of writing things out and crossing them off once they've been completed. Call it a sense of accomplishment lol. I learned about these planners and they are so helpful! It's a great size - enough to write what I need down, cleanly and logically put together with lots of places to jot down notes, create lists, etc and I can really capture everything I need to all in a book that fits in my purse. If you struggle with organizing time and schedules, this has been a great tool that I definitely recommend.

Last, but definitely not least... let's talk about the potential weight gain in my future. I know I've talked a bit about the holidays coming up. And with those holidays, food will be all over the place. Delicious food. Mmmm. But that's even more reason for me to get on the health track and stick with it through the upcoming months and winter. I've accepted the fact that I am not a gym person. I'll find any excuse to skip the gym. I've also accepted the fact that I am not a home video person. The proximity of a comfy couch and kitchen steps away are evil. But I've been giving home workouts a go... with resistance bands. So far, so good. I like that I can do this in a room where no couch is nearby and the kitchen is out of sight. It's easy to do and adjust to your strength level. If you're looking for an exercise regime that's easy and has {sore} results - which is a good thing! - this may be for you!


So with so many things shared, I'm giving away some items too! Leave a comment if you'd like to receive one of the following items with why you'd like them! Winner will be announced on Friday, October 10th!



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Here are the winners for the following prizes!

Rumiano Non-GMO Cheese - Comment #9 Karen Delaney
Chalkboard Labels & Pen - Comment #3 Taylor

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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