By Catherine Wallace, RD, LD/N | Contributor
Ice Cream Machine
Especially during the hot summer months, this gadget is a great addition to your kitchen. Once the mixing bowl has chilled overnight in the freezer, you are ready to make the frozen treat of your dreams. It is a simple process of adding your ingredients and turning on the machine. In less than 30 minutes, you will have a fresh, homemade batch of ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet. There is an opening at the top that allows you to add mix-ins while your treat churns. Since all foods you love can and should find a way to fit in your diet, having your own ice cream machine allows you to be in control of your ingredients. You know from start to finish what the ingredients are and you can make your frozen treat as creative or simple as you want.
A very modern twist on a traditional style of cooking dating back thousands of years ago in China, Japan and India. What makes this grill unique is what the material it is made out of. Most good quality models are ceramic, which provides a more even cooking environment, allowing you to use less coal for more efficient convection-style cooking. The Kamado is great for grilling, smoking, baking bread and even pizza. The Big Green Egg is a very popular version of this type of grill, but there is now quite a bit of competition out there. Newer models now have extra features such as side tables and pullout ashtrays for easy cleaning. These are not cheap, but fans say they create the best results.
Talk about a time, energy and money saver. Generally when you boil and steam food in any typical pot, the heating of your liquid creates steam. The key feature of a pressure cooker is the tightly sealed lid. The trapped steam causes both a rise in the internal pressure and temperature, thus increasing the boiling point of water. When food is cooked in superheated water the cooking time is drastically shortened. Pressure cookers are definitely versatile. You can find tons of pressure cooker recipes online with the most popular dishes ranging from soups, chili, pulled meats to rice-based dishes and dried beans. It is the latter of the recipe ideas that I find most valuable. Whole grains and dried beans are fabulous foods to include in your diet and they are typically inexpensive compared to their processed counterparts. However, both of these take a much longer time to prepare than many of us have in one evening. This is the beauty of using a pressure cooker. Many people are afraid of pressure cookers due to the fear of exploding hot water and steam. Rest assured, most of the models out now are designed with safety features to put us home chefs at ease.
Digital Measuring Cup
Whether you want to get precise measuring with ease, or you are just too lazy to bend down and look at where the meniscus falls, this is a perfect kitchen addition. Not to mention, this little device also acts as a small digital scale. Your weight or volume is displayed on the handle and a few typical measured ingredients already come preset, allowing you to convert between grams and cups (or ounces). It comes in a variety of colors and it won’t cost an arm and a leg. The only down fall is you must wash it by hand.
Catherine Wallace, MSH, RD, LD/N is a local Registered and Licensed Dietitian. She works as a Clinical Pediatric Dietitian at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and teaches Nutrition and Food Science at the University of North Florida.