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.

Ozeri INSTAVAC Green Earth Storage Container Set

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We all eat. And food isn’t cheap. Especially fresh food. Nothing’s worse than buying some beautiful produce or fresh fruits only to see it toast a few days later. Ozeri seems to have a sixth sense about what to send me to review, because they asked me to review their Storage Container set, called the INSTAVAC Green Earth storage set. 8 pieces (lids and containers) that at first glace might seem rather ordinary. But look closer, these containers have a fantastic feature that sets them head and shoulders above your everyday storage container.

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See that little green doo-dad in the center of the lid? That’s their patented pressure valve that with a small press on the lid, evacuates excess air to keep your fruits and veggies as fresh as the day you bought them. Air is the enemy of fresh food, as it causes food to oxidize and go bad. Short of expensive electronic gadgets, there was really no way before to push the air out of your containers. We own a vacuum sealer and while it’s great for meats, or even some cheeses, it’ll squash just about anything else, and the bags aren’t cheap by any stretch. So we’d been resorting to zip-top baggies and the usual plastic containers that leaked, let air in and out, and were generally a pain in my rear to store.

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Ozeri has solved all of the above. No bulky, awkward, expensive gadgets, no stinky, flimsy, pretty much disposable containers. Now you have the option of a unique, BPA-free, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe containers that come in 4 sizes (the four sizes are: 21 cups (5.0 liters), 12.7 cups (3.0 liters), 6.3 cups (1.5 liters, and 3 cups (0.7 liters), and that fit your fridge and your life. They’re stain-resistant, shatter-proof, and transparent as glass. They have a raised wave pattern to keep food ever-so-slightly elevated and away from liquids or juices. And, as if there weren’t enough features to make you tell Ozeri “Shut up and take my money!!”, there’s a little adjustable dial on there to mark what day you’ve stashed your container, so no more smudged marker, no little strips of making tape, no writing on bags. I think I have a new best friend in my fridge. Ozeri has another winner on their hands here, and I may have to buy a few more sets. And as with everything they sell, they stand behind it 100%. If for any reason you’re not satisfied or your product fails, Ozeri will replace it or refund you, no questions asked. All this for just $24.97? Are you kidding me?

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Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s some tupperware in my kitchen drawers that I suddenly feel the need to chuck in the trash.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ozeri.  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.

BakeItFun: Baking Mat in Blue #Review #BakingMat


 

 

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I always use the best ingredients we can afford when cooking and baking, and the same goes for the tools we use in the kitchen. Price does not always equate good quality and/or performance, so I give opportunity to everything because I have been disappointed by high prices/good known name and fallen in love with items that did not even cost half as much!

BakeItFun, makes professional grade silicone baking mats that fit your cookie sheet. I already use parchment paper and I do use a baking mat of like kind made by a French company. I have been happy with both materials, as each serves different needs, so I was eager to see how BakeItFun would perform against my expensive silicone mats.

I baked the most common recipe of them all, chocolate chip and chunk cookies. The cookie dough contains both shortening and butter, with sugars coming from dark brown sugar alone. I begin by unwrapping and washing the BakeItFun mat and washed it as instructed. The directions state the product needs a oil finish before the first use. First time I have seen this, as oil usually beads up/off silicone surfaces. I thought this was odd but I do as directed and opted for Vegetable oil due to it’s neutrality in flavor. Once the mat was “primed” with the oil, I proceeded to bake and tested with one cookie alone.

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I set the timer for 14 minutes, as this is how long this recipe takes with my other silicone mats and keep a close eye. I first notice a smell from the vegetable oil and I look inside the oven and notice oil beads sort of floating above. I notice at the 10 minute mark that the cookie looks browner than usual, plus the smell in the air is sort of close to “toasted cookies”. I take the cookie out and allow it to cool one minute on the pan and then move it over to the cooling rack. Once the cookie was on the spatula, I notice the bottom is over crisped and brown. We allow it to cool completely and do a taste-test. The cookie is much crisper on the bottom than desired. I decide to deeply wash the mat and even if I feel the oil is off, I am not adding it back on. Instructions state to oil only at first use and if you use the dishwasher (top rack only) to clean the mat.

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I bake fries and the such as the weeks go by and the mat performs perfectly. It saves me on parchment paper, as I have been using the mat to bake savory dishes from potatoes, rewarming pizza, to puff pastry appetizers I made and froze for later enjoyment. I clean the mat by hand and the directions do say dishwasher safe but I feel it will last better if treated kindly 🙂

Retail Price Point: $11.97 via Amazon for a Half Sheet, 16.5″ x 11″

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Final Verdict-

BakeItFun silicone mats can withstand temperatures from -40°F up to 450°F, so it is freezer safe too and also says microwave safe. I found the product easy to wash and it did not absorb smells of what you cooked prior, so no blending of odd flavors when reusing it. The price point is low for these type of products and this is BPA free materials and FDA approved. My only con, was having to oil it and knowing the results that would cause. It made no sense as all other mats of same like kind do not require any oil prior use. Oil beads up and the entire point of using these surfaces, is to not have foods sit in oil or leak through. Once I stripped the oil off, which was easy as it just floated in bead form…..I was 100% satisfied with the product. I always follow directions but in my opinion, I would not pre-oil a product like this again! No type of oil is also recommended and with the list of fats from Coconut Oil, Peanut Oil, Olive Oil, Grape Oil……I went with one I felt would add little to no flavor if it was going to remain on. BakeItFun also has a 100% Life-Time Guarantee (no questions asked) and I value that greatly. The product has up to 2000 re-uses and if you bake like me, that adds up quickly with daily oven use and not just using it once a day………so I save on parchment paper and my cookie sheets as well!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from BakeItFun.  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.

Grazia: Premium Bakeware Silicone Baking Cups, 24 count #Review #graziabaking

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The last silicone cups you will need to buy! When silicone cups and “pans” came on the market, I was excited to see how the material would work with my baking mixes. I went from being optimistic to then using a pan with 6-cupcake molds that I literally used once and tossed away. First, the thing was flimsy and you had to be careful filling it with batter as a collapse was eminent and lastly, it did not perform well leaving me with uneven baked cupcakes that were dry. Easily clean-up made me rethink what was easy in my book was not at all easy in theirs. I had to soak the wanna-be pan and in 1 years time, the pan became sticky to the touch like the silicone was breaking down by just being exposed to air because I never used it again. Hardest 6 cupcakes, which I later tossed, that I ever had to bake! I swore off silicone and just baked in parchment cups.

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In comes Grazia with the heaviest silicone cups I have ever felt. To give you an idea, the container of 24 cups weighs close to 9 ounces (unfilled). Sturdy and the happiest colors that fit with any celebration. The silicone material that Grazia uses is:

  • Oven Safe
  • Microwave Safe, meaning you can make “one-cup” servings to satisfy any craving
  • Can be used in the Freezer, so you can have ready-to-bake batches ready to go
  • Dishwasher Safe for easy clean-ups
  • The product has a non-stick finish too, so no need for baking sprays with harsh chemicals
  • Most importantly, also BPA-Free and Grazia uses a silicone material that is FDA&LFGB approved (food-grade silicone)
  • Temperature Safe from -40 degrees (for freezer use) to 440 degrees (for oven use)
  • Each cup holds 2.5 ounces of batter, filling, anything you want to create! You can make savory treats too by using Puff Pastry combined with cheeses and meats.  Great way to welcome in 2015 with little mess to clean-up.

Grazia Bakeware is not like any other silicone baking cup I have felt on the market. No collapsing when pouring can occur because the cups are engineered with “real-life” baking in mind, meaning the cups stay put and are easily moved on-to a baking pan and again easily transferred without worrying of spilling or even crushing a cupcake if you happen to touch/move the cup. I can just bake as I always do minus wasting money and parchment paper with the cups I would buy or make before. You just pop-out your creations and start munching or easily make a basket of goodies to give-away.

 

Retail Price Point: $11.99 on Amazon and Grazia stands by their products by providing a Life-time Gurantee

 

Grazia also supplies you with 24 cups to use in 4 different colors. You can use as many as you need and not have to clean-up an entire pan even if some cups were not used. You simply soak in warm soapy water after using and I let mine air dry on the rack before storing them away in the same plastic cylinder holder provided.  So easy to clean that I felt I did not even need to use the dishwasher!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Grazia.  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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