William & Douglas 4-Piece Ravioli Maker Set

Few things are as yummy as fresh, home-made ravioli. And while with much practice one can develop the skills to make them at home without specialized tools, many of us, myself included, just don’t have the time to develop that particular skillset. So along comes William & Douglas and their nifty 4-Piece Ravioli Maker Set, looking all cool and begging for me to use them!

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All the tools sport solid hardwood handles and zinc-alloy metal cutting edges. They’re not sharp so they should be safe for the entire family to use! I would have preferred stainless steel, but in the long run unless I use them way too vigorously than I should they should last a good long time. I would advise against dishwashers, because the zinc-alloy can start to oxidize, and the hardwoods can split if that’s where you decide to wash them, but it’s not advisable by me or the company. I love the little rolling pin tool, because a full sized-rolling pin can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth, and can be overkill for a small batch of ravioli and make a disaster on the counter.

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These tools are easy to use and are ergonomic enough that making large batches won’t cramp your hands or be to taxing on the arms. And William & Douglas offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase. I liked them well enough and would recommend them for both the experienced user or novice home chef.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from William & Douglas. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

MYS Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

It might seem superfluous to have more than one set of grinders on your counter, but in this house, even two sets falls a little short. Because for us, we have 3 different salts and 4 different peppers to grind depending on the meal, so it can get a little crowded on the counter at times. What that also means is I get to compare and contrast MYS’s Grinder set versus, say, the previous set from Q’s Inn. They look alike, but do they perform alike?

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Sadly, no. Not that the MYS set performs badly, it’s just not as butter-smooth as the Q’s Inn set. There’s some binding in the grinding action, as well as a squeal or two. Occasionally they stick a bit. Other than that they function identically. What was absolutely superb was the collapsible silicone pouring spout for refilling. That’s a bonus that has unexpectedly made filling my grinders a joy instead of a chore. The julienne peeler is neat, but I have a few of those, and none of the are as dangerous. This one as sharp blades that are right out there for my soft, pink digits to get sliced and diced on, so have a safe place to store it. The included cleaning brush is also an inspired inclusion that is one of those “Well, duh!” tools that I should have had much sooner. But the meat and potatoes of this set are the grinders, and they’re decent, not great.

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The stainless steel is also slightly thinner, and not as “polished” so I would be wary of putting in salts that have high moisture content. The ceramic burrs are adjustable and should last a while. The glass bases are easy to clean, grip and use. And the included goodies are mostly awesome, but the action on the grinders, which means the most important part of the set, is lacking and problematic on my set, so I have to knock a couple of stars off for that, but I’ll add one back because the silicone funnel for filling? Inspired. And MYS states on the Amazon listing: “100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE; we aim to keep you perfectly happy with our products and want to know if there are any concerns or questions; please contact us as we will make it right!” So it’s up to you, but for my money, Q’s Inn gets my business instead.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from MYS Homeware. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

William & Douglas “Pasta Pal” Ravioli Maker Molds

 

One thing we thoroughly enjoy around here is pasta and raviolis. We’ve grown accustomed to the frozen ones you can buy at the store, but sometimes you want to make your own, filled how you want them filled, and fresh. William & Douglas knows my pain, and offered me the Pasta Pal Ravioli maker to soothe my soul!

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Made from injection molded plastic that’s dishwasher safe (top rack!), you have a choice of 3 top dies/shapes and one back with plenty of space in the hollow for fillings. The 12-pocket tray will sit flush and flat on the counter while you make your raviolis, and won’t mar the countertops like some metal dies might. The food-grade plastic is also not very good at transferring heat, which means that the pasta won’t start heating up and sticking like metal might. Cleanup is a breeze, because you can just throw them in the sink (don’t actually throw them, though!) full of warm soapy water and with a quick brush and drip dry, they’re ready to go again!  There’s no rust to worry about like steel, or oxidization like with cast aluminum. With proper care, your Pasta Pal should last for years and years!

William & Douglas also offer a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with your Pasta Pal, and it’s versatile enough that you can use it to make all manner of dumplings, perogi, wontons, and more. At $15.97, I think it’s priced a bit on the high side, but it’s made well and is “satisfaction guaranteed”, so take that into consideration. I would also like to see William & Douglas offer different sizes, because sometimes you want a larger ravioli or dumpling, but I like my Pasta Pal just fine.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from William & Douglas. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Tryazon: Sterno S’mores Maker for Indoors and Outdoors Use #SmoresMaker

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I’m all for DIY cooking ways and what not better way to bring some fun, by being able to create S’mores at home. The weather is bad? No problem, as this Sterno S’mores Maker has no limitations. You can make S’mores it indoors, outdoors and at any hour. Yup, party any time and this is not just limited to giving kids smiles, you can even make “Gourmet S’mores” that are easy and even make it less messy. No longer do you have to try to hold the candy bar piece, you can literally make a chocolate bark topping that stays……yes, stays put on top of your graham piece.

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The S’mores Maker is brought to you by Sterno Products, the company that has been bringing heat to campers and the like for decades. They have created a nice line of products and kits, which make not only Summer funner, but you are not limited by the seasons when entertaining.

The kit includes:

  • 2 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Roasting Safety Screen for even roasting and protection from flame
  • 2 integrated S’mores Making Stations for an easy and clean way to make s’mores
  • Includes 1 can of Sterno S’mores Heat™ (also available for purchase separately)

I decided to make chocolate barks and all you do is make a ganache and/or melt chocolate and add toppings. Ganaches, use Heavy Cream and produce a more velvety texture and by using a 75% ratio of chocolate to 25% cream, the product firms up enough to not fall off the graham or cookie of your choice. You can also melt chocolate on low heat and then simply smear the chocolate on one part of the cookie, add your toppings and you are now pre-making S’mores!  When guests arrive, half the work is completed. I also find this controls messes. Nuts, coconut shavings and so forth can get sloppy when you are building the Ultimate S’mores sandwich. This way of building S’mores makes sure the tables and floors do not suffer from runaway toppings!

The toppings are endless and you can satisfy any picky eater by using these easy tricks:

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Now, this is how the set up looks and it took me an hour to pre-make all the cookies.  I had guests coming as I made them and my chocolate chip mini cookies were eaten up, but you can use more than just graham.  Even Shortbread minis!

 

The Sterno S’mores Maker heats evenly no matter the size of marshmallow.  Hey, I was worried the Giant ones (found at Aldi’s) would not heat up and melt in the center, they did and with ease.  The normal size ones that look like miniatures compared to the gigantic ones, those I purchased at Trader Joe’s.

 

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Verdict:

I was super excited and started purchasing ingredients before the maker even arrived.  Then it arrived!! It was beautiful and easy to assemble, meaning none was needed.  The red portion (holder) is dishwasher safe and because you can by the cans again and again, this means having a S’mores party is endless.  We will be trying more creations in the future and I can’t wait.  This is a must buy and at $35.16 currently at Amazon, it’s perfect for 4th of July or really anytime.  Make your own fun and creations.  The refill fuel cans retail for $6.99 and that is for two cans!  Each can lasts for about 45 minutes.  It’s a cinch to clean up and everyone had a blast.

 

Connect with Sterno and checkout the S’mores Maker at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sterno and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

X-Chef 100% Silicone Basting Brushes, 4-Pack

There are some kitchen tools you can never have enough of. Spatulas. Spoons. Bowls. And basting brushes. When I got offered the opportunity to test out a four pack of 100% food-grade silicone basting brushes from X-Chef, you better believe I said yes with a quickness! And am I ever so glad I did.

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You see, despite the advertisements to the contrary, silicone does hold scents and can transfer them between dishes. And up until recently, I’d been keeping my one smaller silicone brush especially for sweet and neutral dishes, or for egg washes, and a separate one for my savory dishes in a separate drawer so they never got confused. Now, thanks to X-Chef, my brushes can all go in the same drawer because they came in four bright colors to easily tell one from another. The clear lucite handles means I can even label them with a Sharpie if I so desire. The handles are long and sturdy, and the heads can slip right off for easy washing. And being that the silicone brushes are dishwasher safe, I can just toss them right in after use. They’re also temperature safe for foods up to 500°, so basting right out the over or right off the grill is no problem. What I especially liked was that the silicone on these brushes was softer than my other brushes, which means I no longer had to brush very slowly or just dab, because the silicone bristles won’t whip or fling marinades or sauces all over the counter, stovetop or oven door.

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As if all that wasn’t enough, X-Chef guarantees their silicone brushes with a 1-year, “No-Hassle” money back guarantee. It’s not just convenient, it’s essential to have multiples of some tools in your kitchen. A silicone basting brush in and of itself is very essential, but having a few on hand at all times will make a day’s worth of cooking and baking a little less of a mess and hassle. At $8.99 shipped from Amazon, I don’t see any reason for your kitchen to be without them!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from X-Chef.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

KOVOT 12-Piece Slicer &Dice Kitchen Gadget

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and prep is usually a huge part of that time. So I’m always on the lookout for tools that will cut down on prep time and make my “fancy” meals a lot less work than they need to be. And this KOVOT 12-piece Slice & Dice fits the bill nicely! I haven’t enjoyed a kitchen tool this much since my Ninja Prep Blender!

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Whether you need to dice peppers, onions, or potatoes, or you need celery, carrots and onions for a mirepoix , this little Slice & Dice is just what the doctor ordered! No more little “escapees” from the cutting board to fall on the carpet. No more “onion eyes” and more mess to clean repeatedly. Because everything you slice, dice and chop goes right into the storage container right beneath the blades! And, I might add, the container has little non-skip, non-slip feet to keep it firmly anchored in place while you work. There’s an assortment of double sided blade inserts to fit any and all of your chopping needs, as well as a mandolin slicer for my pear tart I plan to make this holiday season. There’s a grater for the variety of cheeses I put in my homemade mac and cheese, a peeler for the apple and raisin bread pudding, there’s really a tool for every course and meal! At $18.99, you get a lot of kitchen tools for one low price, and they all store away in the included container when you’re finished. With the holidays in full swing, and much eating and entertaining to be done, I just couldn’t imagine getting everything done as easily as I did with the KOVOT 12-Piece Slice & Dice.

I would recommend hand washing everything, or limiting things to the top rack of the dishwasher if necessary. It’s really the best way to keep corrosion and rust on the blades to a minimum. I would also be careful how much force is used when you have harder root vegetables, as some of the blades seemed like they could be bent if I applied too much force.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sharps Gear.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

X-Chef Easy Flex Silicone Spatula Set

 

I cook and bake a lot, and one thing I’ve learned, aside from you can never have enough mixing bowls, is you can never have enough spatulas. I usually buy them 2 or 3 at a time, and when X-Chef offered me their 4-pack, I was soooo game. They’ve been a blessing in the kitchen, but their not without their faults.

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Silicone spatulas are ubiquitous in the kitchen, so much so that I don’t know a single person without one. And yet, there’s good ones, and bad ones, and the line that delineates them is often very easy to cross. To rigid and they won’t flex, to soft and they won’t hold. Too short and you end up with schmutz on your fingers, too long and you can’t get the fine control you need for nooks and crannies. Handle shape, build quality…It seems like I’m really overthinking this, but until you’ve used a bad one and been so frustrated you wanted to hurl it across the room, you realize I’m not just picking nits. X-Chef’s spatulas are almost there. There’s a lot to love here, too. They’re long enough, with good rigidity without being too stiff. They’re different colors, so you can essentially “color-code” them for different mixes when doing more than one dish. They’re dishwasher safe, non-stick, and heat resistant to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit. But then they sort of start to fall apart, figuratively speaking. The shape of the spatula is did not have enough curve on the end, and there was no tip for whipping up peaks or getting into corners. The handles are thin and not too ergonomic, so prolonged use will be a pain in the hand. And the palstic the handles are made from is the kind that clouds and gets brittle after a few trips through the dishwasher. I don’t know about you, but after spends a couple hours mixing and making int he kitchen, the last thing I want to do is stand there for another 30 minutes hand washing everything.

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Maybe I’m being too picky. A four pack of these X-Chef spatulas with only run you $6.99 shipped. At that price I would look at them as disposable, because they certainly aren’t going to last a very long time. So in the end, you could do much worse. You could also do a lot better. They do have a ” LIFETIME NO-HASSLE FREE-REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE!”, but when mine discolored and cracked, I asked them about it through the “contact us” potion of the website and didn’t get a response yet.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from X-Chef.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Silicone Pet Food Mat by Tip Top Petware

Our little dog can be messy. We’re partially to blame for this, since we used to hide “nummers” under her kibble to entice her to eat what my Husband likes to call her “dry cereal”. And in the process, she’ll nose half the kibble out of her bowl because there just has to be something better at the bottom. We’d taken to putting a plastic party platter under her bowl to try to keep from crunching every time we walked into the garage. It was awkward, hard to clean, and probably should be tossed by now. But then Tip Top Petware offered me their Silicone Pet Food mat, and now all is right with the world.

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Made from 100% food-grade non-slip silicone, it’s water proof, non-toxic, dishwasher safe, flexible and durable. It has a raised lip all around to help keep spills, both wet and dry, on the mat and off the floor. at 18.5″ by 11.5″ it’s big enough for both food and water bowls, and can be kept clean with a simple damp cloth or Clorox wipe. You can fold it up like a taco to pour “spilled” food back into the bowl where it belongs, and comes in four different colors: Black, grey, pink and red. It even has the most adorable little paw at the top corner.

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I would advise future buyers to open it, wash it and let it air out a bit to lessen the silicone smell. Our pooch wouldn’t touch her bowl at first because the smells were all wrong, but that was our mistake, not a fault of Tip Top Petware. Now a month in and we wonder how we got along without it. At $18.95, it’s a little on the pricey side, but when you consider how much potential damage you’re preventing, what with the spills, drips, a scooting of bowls, it will probably pay for itself quite quickly.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tip Top Petware.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Ninja Master Prep Food & Drink System

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I have had some experience with Ninja kitchen systems, having just this year gotten to try out a Ninja Mega Kitchen System. While it was uber cool, and did a lot of things well, I had many dedicated kitchen gadgets that did what the Ninja did, but better. So when I was offered to try out a Ninja Master Prep System, I was game but went in with my eyes wide open.

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Like the previous Ninja branded system I used, this one is pretty cool, and does tasks that I previously had to do by hand or with multiple different kitchen gadgets. The Ninja Master Prep system seems indispensable to people who cool a lot (like me!) what with being able to prep multiple things, both sweet and savory, all with just swapping out the Ninja Master Pod (head unit). And with everything but the motor being completely dishwasher safe, prep and cleanup is a breeze! With a large 48 oz. pitcher and a smaller, 16 oz. bowl, it’s good for big jobs, little jobs, and everything in between. The dual-stage blades can be separated for even smaller jobs, but with 4 blades per spindle, and two different spindles, you have enough sharp stuff to make mince meat of just about anything. The work lids seal (almost*) watertight, so there’s very little chance of spilling or messes to clean up. And if you blend a little too much, not to worry, there’s storage lids included. So you can go from countertop prep to kitchen shelf store with no effort at all.

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Alas, it’s not all wine and roses with the Ninja Master Prep system. For starters, the warranty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You have to pay shipping for your defective unit (bummer!) and shipping for your replacement unit (MAJOR bummer!) essentially making the cost of replacing a new, defective unit on par with buying a new, non-defective unit. Next is the plastic gears that drive the very powerful 400 watt motor. Should you attempt to blend something particularly hard, or thick, the gears could strip and break, rendering the unit useless. And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence all over the net and Amazon to support that this can and does happen, from time to time. Lastly, I must get to my (almost*) comment above. The top of the worklid has space for the blade spindle to pop out and meet up with the Master Pod gear and drive the blades. But if you’ve filled the Prep Pitcher or Prep Bowl too much, or blend too long or vigorously, whatever you blend has a very good chance of spurting out the top, and this happened to me every time I’ve used it so far, to varying degrees. I have no doubt this will eventually make for a horrible, gummy mess as it’s nearly impossible to clean effectively. The same goes for some small crevasses and nooks that will hold onto schmutz and be nigh unreachable without the dishwasher. Sometimes you just want to wash things in the sink and get back to it, but that’s not going to always be possible. And that’s not even mentioning what’ll happen should the gasket that seals that part fail and moisture get into the motor housing.

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All those things are a shame, because I really like this unit. It does everything I ask of it, blends like a dream, chops when I want things chopped, and pulverizes when I need something pulverized. So while I can’t give it the vaunted “5 Star” rating, I can go as high as 4 because you can’t really hold a potential failure against something that as of this writing is still going strong.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge for the purpose of review.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Kuuk Salad Spinner Review

It’s no secret that many heads of lettuce have met their demise here in our home. In fact, a great many type of produce have, and the one thing they all had in common was being washed and spun dry. I’ve put many a miles on my old OXO salad and herb spinner. So many that the brake no longer worked, and the top started falling apart. Shortly after replacing it, I got an offer to try a version from Kuuk, and boy was I jazzed. Two is always better than one and imagine how much produce could be run through our little cleaning assembly line with 2 spinners going at once!

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Sadly, it was not meant to be. While this Kuuk spinner really tries to look like many of the leading brands available in stores, it falls way, way short in design, quality and function. For starters, it’s made quite cheaply. It’s priced competitively, at only $19.95, but it just isn’t made with materials that will last a long time. The major pluses for this are it’s price point and large size. It goes quickly downhill from there.

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The design, though, is really where things fell apart for us. From the “latching” lid, to the spinning crank, to the entire unit being unbalanced, it’s just awkward and difficult to use effectively. While most of us have, at one time or another, pressed down the plunger on a spinner, the Kuuk spinner uses a crank lever to spin the mesh strainer inside. And heaven help you if you don’t hold the container firmly on the counter, because it’ll wobble like an unbalanced washing machine and fly right off the counter. And the latch on the side that is supposed to keep the lid on is difficult to line up if only because the plastic the lid is made from has so much flex in it.

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In the end, I was disappointed in this product. I wanted to like it, and wanted to really be able to use it more often, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t meant to be. Also, my experience with the company with another of their products left much to be desired, and I’d be lying if I told you that that didn’t factor in more than a bit when it came to how I felt about this product. Nobody wants to buy products from a company that won’t stand behind them.

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  • On Amazon

I received the above product(s) free of charge from iHeadphones. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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