pizza stone

My husband’s policy is “just say no.”  I, on the other hand, don’t really mind taking a little bit of leftovers to work now and again.  I think our general aversion to leftovers has more to do with poor past experiences rather than some true inherent evil.  Meatloaf?  Sure.  Soup?  Even better.  Dressed salad from last night?  Disgusting.  I’ve learned to choose my battles.  With things that are terrible left over I’ve been trying to cut back on portion size and estimating a bit light.  My best friend in the leftover world has become the pizza/bread stone.  It eliminates the soggy factor that is so abhorred.  It also makes a great friend to the bread baker and self-proclaimed cookie monster.

Check it out:

This past weekend, I celebrated my birthday.  My wonderful husband took me to see Wicked (the musical) in San Fransisco with a bunch of friends and then I left the following morning to go on a girls weekend to Ashland, OR.  If you don’t know what’s in Ashland—-well, you’re missing out, as it has one of the best state-side Shakespeare festivals.  As this has little to do with food (except for all the lovely things we consumed while we were there), you might be wondering why I’m recaping all of this.  Well, one of my birthday presents on our trip was this amazing pot:castironpot1

It’s not only beautiful, but it is coated cast iron.  It browns, it sautes, it is perfect for soup, roasting small chickens, holding a casserole, etc.  It goes from stove to oven in a single swoop and cleans up wonderfully.  As they are a bit heavy, I find that this 6.5 qt. size to be perfect for everyday use (unless you’re a family of 8…or just have teenage boys).  Thanks Dad and Karen!

**The picture doesn’t do the pot justice.  It is a deep red that gets darker towards the bottom of the pan.

Along with my trip to Bistro Jeanty, my birthday heralded another gastronomic delight. The above Chef’n Palm Peeler was a present from some thoughtful friends. With my thanks, I was sworn to a promise of an honest review. So here goes:

Compact, comfortable, and chic, this tool won an International Design Excellence Award for 2007. This little item was supposedly more ergonomically correct and easier to use than traditional peelers. Usually a whole foot taller due to my cemented stance upon my soap box (as always eager to wax on about everything under the noun category), I was taken aback to feel only indifference after my experience with the peeler.


  • snug fit which ensures a safe peel
  • blade cover also ensuring a safe grab from the utensil drawer
  • no need to grip a handle required
  • variety of fun colors available


  • peeling seems to take a bit longer
  • precision is obstructed due to the blade being under the palm of your hand as opposed to in plain site
  • can become more easily clogged than traditional peelers

In the end I found that as a user in my mid-twenties who likes things quick and easy to see, I still prefer my good ol’ peeler. However, for those with children wanting to help in the kitchen, with arthritic hands, or who have never seemed to master the art of peeling, this tool might make you re-think taking on that roasted root vegetable soup you’d been eying. But that’s just my opinion. If you asked my husband he’d probably say that it’s the tool for me too (he thinks I’m a bit accident prone).

There are very few things in my life that I allow to be a total mess. My top two? My purse and the measuring cup drawer. I won’t go into the former, but I feel somewhat excused for the latter. Although measuring cups and spoons alike come on so-called handy little rings to keep them together, it seems as though they break, come apart, or (even worse) are just too hard to undo (and so you opt for dirtying the whole lot of them instead).

My Dad (the ultimate gadget-er) out gadgeted me again! While over at his house the other night, I went to grab a measuring spoon and there it was, the answer to all my woes. (Which Santa must have received word of. They were in my stocking Christmas morning).


Easy to disconnect and stay together.

***Bonus: They’re double-sided for measuring out of different container types: one end shallow/long and the other rounded/deep.

Silicone pot holders, bakeware, etc. have been hitting the shelves of kitchen stores in a way that, I have to admit, makes me a bit nervous. Although I know somewhere in my head that the melting point of these products usually ranges in the low 500sF, every time I go to use one I find myself having visions of plastic melted onto my skin or my food tasting like old rubber. However, the silicone spatula is one transition that has been almost seamless to make (no giant leap of faith required). I can now “scrape” the bottom of my non-stick pan (not something I would ever recommend buying, but I’m also a big proponent of using what you have), without a care in the world AND get every drop mixed in with one fail swoop! Fantastic!

My Favorite? Le Creuset. It comes in a host of colors and sizes.