Sunday, January 12, 2020

Fry Me Another! by Jenn McKinlay


Jenn McKinlay: Okay, so a million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth -- no, wait, we haven't been married that long! Let me start again, when Hub and I got married, I was told by many girlfriends that appliances as gifts were the kiss of death to romance. They told me that the minute you go from flowers and chocolate to a new iron, your relationship is like a shark that has stopped moving -- dead, deader, deadest. Yes, that's a thing.

Fast forward twenty years and enter middle age, and I still love flowers and chocolate but what I really want, no need, is Rosie, the robot maid, from the Jetsons, but that's a whole other post. Where is my domestic robot? I'm looking at you, Tesla! 


Hanna-Barbera / Everett Collection

In the meantime, I will take any appliance that saves me time, because with everyone moving at the speed of light around here, going in a million different directions, I need all the time savers I can get. So, this Christmas, abandoning all romance, I was surprised with an air fryer. A what dryer, you ask? An air fryer! And, let me just say, I wanted one and it is the bomb! Which is super accurate because it rather looks like one, too.

Jenn's Air Fryer in Action!
So far, I've made Poutine and fried chicken, natch. Next up is empanadas or fried apple slices - I haven't decided yet. Either way, it's so much fun to have something new to utilize in the kitchen


My first attempt: Poutine (French fries with gravy and cheese curds)!

Amazing fried chicken!: Recipe from My Forking Life

Next, I really want one of those thing-a-ma-jobs that vacuums while you sleep. I mean flowers are pretty and candy is dandy, but an extra half hour in my day not spent sweeping up dog and cat hair is the shazam! Good thing my birthday is coming up! 

So, what about you, Reds and Readers, what's on your appliance/gadget want list?

88 comments:

  1. I love, love, love my air fryer, Jenn . . .
    I’ve always wanted [and John got me] a Kitchen Aid mixer, so I’m pretty well set in the kitchen appliance department.
    Now, I, too, want Rosie to do the housecleaning [and empty the dishwasher, please] . . . .

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    1. A Kitchen Aid mixer sounds lovely.

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    2. Isn’t it the best? Easy to clean, too! I’ve wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer forever! Hmm. May have to rethink the birthday request!

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    3. Love my cobalt blue Kitchen Aid, which I've had for years. I don't use it often, but when you need it, it's fabulous. As much as you bake, Jenn, you should splurge. It's a lifetime appliance.

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  2. That chicken looks scrumptious!

    My wish list has a single item, a super duper coffeemaker that uses only coffee, either whole beans or ground, and can make an espresso, a single cup of fabulous coffee, or an entire pot. Without using pods or K-cups, and without costing thousands.

    I know, I don't want much. LOL

    My daughter and son-in-law lived in London for ten months, in a spiffy corporate flat near Victoria Station. It had a built-in espresso machine, which made fantastic coffee. My son-in-law and I both did research to see if we could get them here. Sure, for $3,000, and that was in 2006! They are more widely available now, and not as pricey, but still absurdly expensive compared to a Keurig or a Mr. Coffee.

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    1. A built in espresso machine sounds great!

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    2. Oh, you’re my people! That sounds divine. I do have the Ninja Coffee Bar and I love, love, love it because I can make a latte or espresso that darn close to the real thing! But a true espresso maker - wow!

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    3. It was awesome, truly. The hopper held several pounds of beans, and every cup was made with freshly ground coffee. Sheer heaven.

      My daughter, who doesn't drink coffee, could not understand how we kept swooning over it! LOL

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    4. I do love my Nespresso machine passionately. Hubs makes coffee, I make lattes. And, yes, it's pods, but Nespresso recycles them. You get a free UPS bag with every order. Whenever I think I'm going to save money by using my stove top espresso maker, I end up wasting a bag of beans...

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  3. Can't think of anything on my appliance wish list. Then again, I don't use that many appliances, so that's probably why.

    But the way you opened this post makes me think of the first Christmas my now aunt was part of our Christmas celebration. My uncle, my mom's brother, had gotten an electric broom (remember those? really just a smaller vacuum cleaner) for my mom. My now aunt, his girlfriend, was certain that he had blown it and Mom wasn't going to be happy. However, when Mom opened it and exclaimed how happy she was, my aunt publicly ate crow. She quickly learned that we can be a practical gift giving family as well as a fun/nice gift giving family.

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    1. First time I have heard of an electric broom!

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    2. I loved my electric broom! Before I had kids and had to upgrade to some with industrial strength. LOL.

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  4. Jenn, that chicken looks yummy! This is a tough question for me since I am trying to reduce my carbon footprint. While a coffeemaker or an espresso coffee machine sounds wonderful, I want to wait until they invent a solar powered version before I buy one. Since my blender broke, I had been looking for a new blender that is smaller since my kitchen is small. A friend recommended the Nurtiex (sp?) and I bought it. I have not used it yet.

    Diana

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    1. I have a Ninja blender - it’s not small but powerful!

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    2. Oh, the Ninja blenders are the best. Multiple blades so everything is chopped and no chop soup at the bottom.

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  5. Jenn, this post is perfect timing. My sister-in-law just gave us an air fryer that she no longer needs. She had two somehow. I wasn't sure if we would use it. I don't really want to learn how to use another cooking appliance, but then I thought it might at least be worth a try. Your chicken looks delicious, and my sister-in-law says that fries fixed in the air fryer are to die for. So, I guess we will give it a whirl. I'm looking forward to reading what others fix in it, too.

    The only appliance that I still covet is a Kitchen-Aid standing mixer. I have always gotten by with a hand mixer and haven't been able to bring myself to purchase the expensive standing one, but I have a birthday coming up, too, so maybe I should let this be the year that I let myself be pampered with it. My daughter has the vacuum that runs itself and loves it. I haven't felt the need for that yet.

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    1. I think we both deserve a Kitchen Aid, Kathy! I’ve wanted one for years, but my last run at making macarons convinced me I could do better things with my time than beat egg whites for ten minutes :)

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    2. Beating egg whites for ten minutes. That's a lot of minutes for a baking task. But, I do remember the picture of your macarons, Jenn, and they looked beautiful.

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  6. I must read up on how the air fryer works - no idea. I assume it somehow fries without using fat? Also - you had me at poutine! I love it with a passion. I also love my cobalt blue Kitchen Aid mixer.

    I'd like to own a Roomba. My son keeps wanting to give me an Insta pot but I have demurred so far. I don't need one more thing on my kitchen counter.

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    1. Edith, do you use the mixer for bread?

      I have one that my mother gave me, and I bet I haven't used it in five years.

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    2. No, I knead bread by hand - one of my favorite things to do! I use the mixer for whipped cream, for pumpkin pie filling, for cakes, any batter except muffins or quick breads. I have a citrus squeezing attachment but have only used it once.

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    3. Speaking of kneading bread, I still have a bread machine. When the Hooligans were little they could devour an entire loaf with butter in an afternoon.

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    4. I made butter in mine once. It was so messy, but amazing.

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    5. Edith, we are soul sisters. Mine is cobalt, too.

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    6. Another cobalt mixer on my counter. I could not live without it--she's named Opal. I'm also a (slightly) Instant Pot crazy. Hard boiled eggs that peel perfectly! Perfect rice! A pound of dried beans cooked in under an hour! Last night we had dinner guests and served beef brisket with Korean bbq spices. Yes, I-potted that up. But the Kitchen Aid is still the center of my kitchen baking.

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  7. It may be the age difference ( and the situation) but I can't say that I need or want a new appliance. And I've never been attracted by gadgets of any sorts.

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    1. I am a gadget girl. Hub is not handy, so the tools (kitchen and other) are all mine and I love them. My mil laughed when I was more excited about a power drill than dishes for our wedding. LOL.

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  8. While I wait for my flying car and jetpack, I'd settle for nanny (for ME!) so the housework gets done while I'm doing my actual work.

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    1. YES! Am I the only one who got emotionally attached to the nanny robot in The Mandalorian?

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    2. You are not alone. I loved the nanny robot!

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    3. Also loved the nanny robot!

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  9. My cuisinart is on its last legs. If I use it once a year to chop the turkey stuffing parsley, onion, and celery, do I really need it? I routinely grate cheese and chop vegetables by hand.

    I have a coffee bean grinder and two sizes of French Press pots, which can make one to six mugs of coffee depending on the size of the crowd.

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    1. I do love my French press! I’ve had it since 1992! Longer than Hub!

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  10. I was thinking Insta-Pot, for help with work schedules and a real meal on the table, but, Jenn, that air-fried chicken looks fabulous!

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    1. It was shockingly good and that pick is an after thought taken after the Hub and Hooligans decimated the pile!

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    2. Confession on the Instant pot. I decided that I needed one because I'm had to change my eating habits and the IP was offered as the answer to my food prep needs. When the prices came down I bought one. It is still in the shipping box waiting for me to take it to an Amazon drop-off. It is too big. You need to babysit the cooking process so no time saver there. And, while looking for recipes for the IP, I found so many for the crock pot (which I already own) that I mentally slapped my own hand for buying into the hype. This is just me thought.

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    3. Great information, I had wondered about the IP, but I had been leaning in that direction. I love my crock pot.

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  11. I don’t spend much time in the kitchen, so I don’t have many kitchen gadgets. Air fryers are tempting me, but haven’t made up my mind yet. That fried chicken picture is a strong argument for yes.

    On the other hand, if self-driving cars become safe and affordable in my lifetime, I’ll definitely be getting one of those!

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    1. Oh, please, sign me up for that self-driving car!

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    2. Yes, please, on the self driving car!

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  12. Cannot think of any other kitchen appliance I want although right now with the dry air in my house I should probably look into getting a humidifier. For years I coveted a Kitchen-Aid mixer even the the 30 year plus mixer I had was still doing the job. Finally got one and I am not all that impressed. I think I've had it now for 3 years and I don't believe I've used it 10 times. Lesson learned about wanting something without trying out one of a friend's.

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    1. Good to know. As the Hooligans fly the coop, I wonder if I’ll bake as much as I do now. Hmm.

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  13. I have a 19 year old Kitchenaid Mixer, cobalt blue, twin of Debs's, and I couldn't live without it. My favorite new appliance is a Nespresso coffee machine. Yes, it uses pods, but Nespresso provides a bag to mail them back in, post paid. They use the old grounds for compost and make all aluminum bicycles with the pods that they donate to people in third world countries who have no other transportation. It makes the best espresso, in four sizes, depending on my mood for the day. I bought it, including the milk frother for under $150, and I've never looked back.

    My blender is sitting on a shelf in the basement, and I haven't missed it. I have a Kitchenaid immersion blender that does everything I need it to.

    I know my carbon footprint is too big, but I'm too old to start milking my own cows. Live with it.

    Oh, I also have an old Roomba, was a lifesaver when we had a houseful of shedding cats. Now I don't use it. The dogs don't shed, and I can keep up with only one cat.

    I'm pretty sure I have an iron. Somewhere. And my housekeeper knows where the vacuum is. I think.

    Happy Sunday my darling Reds and readers.

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    1. BTW, I made Julia's risotto last night, sans the fennel, because I didn't have any, but with mushrooms, leftover broccoli, and a handful of peas. It was a success, very easy, and there's enough for dinner tonight.

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    2. Excellent! I was going to put the risotto in this week’s menu line up!

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    3. So glad you made the risotto. All veggies I love. Yea for leftovers.

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    4. Ha, Ann, I just posted the same comment about the Nespresso before I read yours. Rick chided me for buying another appliance, and now he loves it. There are many things I'd give up in my kitchen before that.

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    5. You said it Debs. Best coffee ever and I have a latte every single morning. Julie, on the other hand, uses an old brand x and Folgers or something. Which is fine. I get the Nespresso all to myself.

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  14. I was wondering about the air fryers Jenn. We’re the fries crisp? I looked at the combination fryer plus roaster etc and decided I didn’t want another appliance cluttering up the counter. I may reconsider for Johns birthday!

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    1. The fries were crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside! I like that I can fry without guilt. I’m going to try fried catfish next.

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  15. What does it do? Like a deep fryer with no oil? The coolest “appliance” I have gotten recently is such a surprising thing. It is a glob of stuff, kind of like… The Blob in the movie. It comes in a packe that you unseal.
    Inside is this…all I can say is glob! Of sticky slimy stuff. It holds together in a ball when you roll it. So what it’s for? It picks up little crumbs and stuff from wherever you can never get them out. Like the dashboard of your car, where all those little crumbs get into cracks and crevices and they are impossible to remove.
    So you roll the glob of pink stuff across the dashboard, or across the buttons on the radio or around the dials, you know what I mean? The blob just picks them up and pulls them right out. I’ve got to say, it is amazing.
    Then when the glob gets too dirty, you just toss it, and take another piece of blob from the bag of blob.
    I wish I could tell you the name of it, but it is in Chinese, and there is not one word of English that I understand on the bag.
    But it is quite incredible!

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    1. I have to look for this, Hank! Of course, environmental me wants to know if the glob is biodegradable. Must check it out!

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    2. I have no idea! I have no idea what’s in it, or what it’s made of or anything at all! It feels like pink slime, it looks like pink slime, and it is quite astonishing and how it stays together and then melts but stays in one piece.

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    3. I think I need this and you're going to have to share a link.

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    4. I saw and ad for that, Hank, it looked wonderful. Now that I have a recommendation, I'm getting it next time I see it on FB!

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  16. I'm seriously curious about that air fryer. We've got a smallish kitchen so no room for a standing mixer or a crock/insta pot -- though for some reason I do have room for a vintage milkshake mixer (a green porcelain stand and a clip-on metal cup). Priorities.

    I got a Cuisinart food processor ages (really) ago and I still use it all the time. For grating cheese. Grinding nuts. Making hummus.

    My favorite more recent gadget is an immersion blender (waving, Ann!) The minute I got it I gave away my blender. Another favorite is an electronic meat thermometer, though I still have my mother-in-law's candy thermometer. I'm quite sure she never made candy but I do.

    And I love my non-electric gadgets like a mandolin for thin slicing.

    The only gadget I need right now is a basting brush. Like Danielle I'm trying to minimize my carbon footprint, so I refuse to buy a silicone one... I want one with a wooden handle and real bristles that will decay like this one that I've had for decades and still has at least a few more weeks in it.

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    1. The carbon foot print is always a concern but since I decided to refinish our kitchen cupboards myself and spare the landfill that dumping, I feel okay with rewarding myself with a gadget. Plus, I’m remodeling our laundry room with a storage shelf for the air fryer, bread machine, and electric turkey fryer (Hub’s), etc. I do think storage is key!
      Love the vintage milkshake mixer, Hallie!

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    2. You sound like my soul sister when it comes to the kitchen, Hallie. Small and efficient. All I have is a hand-held blender, coffee grinder, hand mixer, toaster oven (NO microwave). That's about it. Plus the pasta maker, but that has to be kept in the dining room. And of course I rarely use it, but it does nice work when I do.

      Oooh, vintage milkshake mixer. Perfect! Years ago my mom gave her 1940s orange juicer (tall, black and white, big lever). Sadly, it eventually broke due to, I think, metal fatigue.

      About the pastry brush: Try the hardware store. In the paint department. I use mine every day for brushing the coffee out of the grinder.

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    3. Hallie, isn’t the immersion blender dah bomb?!

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    4. Hallie, I buy paint brushes at the hardware store. Wash in dish washer. They last for ages and will break down.

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    5. We've had an immersion blender for years. Love it.

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    6. Paint brushes?!? I never thought of that. I do worry though that they might have some kind of toxic metal or glue since they're not made for food. Going to research...

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    7. When I was a kid we had short brushes from Fuller Brush. The bristles were folded through a metal loop with a plastic cap that slid down to hold everything in place and then the cap was pulled up so you could wash them. I have no idea what held the bristles during washing but we a few of them.

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  17. I'm happy with the appliances I have but I will welcome Rosie with open arms if she ever shows up. I think about the Instant Pot frequently but have a feeling I wouldn't end up using it very much. On the other hand, it would replace the slow cooker, the rice cooker and my current yogurt-making process. So, maybe ...

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  18. I have not gotten an Instant Pot - yet - as my 20 yr old Crock Pot and I understand each other so well. :)

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    1. I agree, Jenn. My crock pot and I know what to expect out of each other, so I'm sticking with it.

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  19. Our kitchen is small and my natty “appliance garage” fits only two items — the coffee grinder and the toaster. I fantasize about a bright red Kitchen Aid because they are gorgeous and a snazzy new Cuisinart, but I’d use either only a couple times a year given how and what I cook/bake, so I satisfy my fantasy by looking through foodie magazines instead. They take up less room....

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    1. The thing about the kitchen aid made certain is that it is a once in a lifetime purchase for the average household. I bought the grinder attachment for mine, pennies at a garage sale. Great for making ham salad!

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    2. Amanda, an immersion blender is all you need. Tiny footprint. Lots of uses.

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    3. I used my food grinder, which was Mom's, in my red Kitchen Aid for cranberry relish and ground up deli meats and cheese sandwich on rolls.

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  20. Interesting. I bought a Kitchenaid (forest green) mixer back in the nineties when we changed churches. Our new one had a big cookie sale every December and I decided I needed a decent mixer. It came with 3 attachments for mixing. I’ve never used the dough hook. I’m trying to think of my last appliance purchase. Maybe replacing my old Oreck with a new Oreck. My husband bought a Dyson stick looking thing to vaccuum the stairs. It’s cordless so you have to charge it. I ignore it completely. I did get suckered into buying some upright wonder vaccuum that also steams and cleans spots. It was supposed to make a real difference on wood and tile. It didn’t. It’s gathering dust now. So is the Dustbuster that doesn’t hold a charge very long. Crockpot, Ninja, Keurig, Mr Coffee, immersion blender. I use them all to varying degrees. My neighbor has been extolling the successes of her hot pot. I’m not remotely tempted. I think the worst gift Frank ever gave me was a deep fat fryer. He taught at the Border Patrol Academy back in the 70s when it was in south Texas. Evenings and weekend he fished on South Padre Island and the restaurants would fry up his catch. When his session was over he returned to El Paso where I was working at my job and keeping the home fires burning. And gave me a damn fryer for our anniversary. And didn’t get why I wasn’t thrilled. Bah humbug.

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  21. I don’t use my cuisinart often but when I need it I need it. I got a new one a couple of years ago when the 40 year old one gave up the ghost. It weighs about half as much. Same footprint but at least I can lift it with one hand.

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  22. Is there an island for misfit appliances?

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    1. Yes, it's the graveyard of appliances cited by Clare Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Hilarious episode.

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  23. Great comments, thank you so much Jenn for raising the dreaded appliance graveyard issue. Does anyone remember the Huxtables of the '90's tv show? I don't have an air fryer, though I did read reviews when they first hit the market. My most used appliances: commercial KitchenAid bought around 1979; I don't use it daily any more but chocolate mousse cake, meringues for all sorts of desserts etc. My big Cuisinart; smoked trout pate, pastry, chopping herbs to make herb butter. A great way to use up the huge bunch of fresh parsley, pesto, breadcrumbs, country pates, meat loaves; the list goes on and on. Of course the electric kettle gets the biggest workout followed by the immersion blender. I do have the usual others, I have disposed of a juicer, ice cream maker and espresso machine. I am tempted by the air fryer, but I need persuading.

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  24. I love a practical gift, especially one that makes my life easier. My favorite "gadget" is my Bissell crosswave. It scrubs your hard floors and sucks up the water and any debris on the floor all at once. It's not quite Rosie the robot, but it's pretty great.

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  25. Since one of my dearest friends recently published her first Instant Pot cookbook with Simon & Schuster, I feel as though I ought to get one, if only to justify my autographed copy of her book.=]

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  26. The Instant Pot was my last year's Christmas present, and I am still using it. I had to do a lot of rearranging to make storage space for it, though, and I haven't used it as much as I would like. It is fabulous for specific things, like making beans (amazing) and stock. But if I had to choose between it and my rice maker (we eat a lot of brown rice in our house) the Instant Pot would go. And I have yet to use the slow cooker function, which I really should try.

    When our 30 year old Cuisinart food processor bit the dust, I bought a Kitchen Aid Processor, but it is HUGE, sits out on the counter, and I hardly ever use it. I do almost all my chopping by hand, because I have a good knife and I like doing it. I'm wondering if I could get by with a smaller one...

    And, like Celia, my electric kettle gets a daily workout!

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  27. WOW, your fried chicken looks great, so does the poutine! We bought an air fryer, used it twice, were not satisfied with the product and we put it away. I'm thinking I need to dig it out and do some more experimenting. By the way, I love the color of the one you have. It is gorgeous.

    I tell my husband he does not know me well enough to buy me appliances. That said, I'm thinking instant pot might make a nice Valentine's Day gift!

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  28. The vacuum that is like a robot 🤖 would be amazing!

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  29. Shalom Reds and fans. Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I knew right away to say that I wanted a Pyrex measuring cup. Well, I got it. It’s glass and holds and measures 2 cups and it comes with what I think is a silicone cover. It came with 3 other kitchen tools (also silicone), a whisk, a small slotted spatula and a tool for scrapping the bottom of the blender.

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  30. Envying your colored KitchenAid mixers since mine is plain white. I use the mixer for my baking and the hand mixer for mashed potatoes. Also use the crock pot but not my blender too much. Maybe I should get an immersion blender since I've seen them used on cooking shows.

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  31. Kitchen Aid - check. Food processor - check. Blender - check. Slow cooker or Insta pot - nope. Air Fryer - nope. The blender is huge, purchased to make protein enhanced milkshakes for Mom and left with me when she moved to Oregon. I actually lost the blender jar for while, couldn't remember where I put it. If Rosie showed up at my apartment, she would need to stay outside when not working and I wouldn't want her to get rusty.

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