I've never been much of a juicer. Perhaps it's the intimidation factor of learning to use a new appliance or the ugh factor of sticky, pulpy cleanup when I'm done, but I've resisted the juice movement despite the amazing health benefits its proponents espouse. So when we received a Hurom Slow Juicer as a Christmas gift from my in-laws, I was awfully skeptical about its future as a kitchen fixture. After some balking on my part, my gadget-loving, juice-guzzling husband convinced me to give it a try. Would I become a juicing convert? Find out when you keep reading.
Call me crazy, but I'm wary of products that are marketed "as seen on TV." Sure, the Magic Bullet looks pretty tempting at 2 a.m., but I've never actually made the plunge and picked up the phone to order. Perhaps someone was hoping to convert me.
One recent day, the Prep N' Pop arrived in the mail. This contraption, which looks like a distant relative of a bike pump, promises to help secure foods while prepping them, thereby making peeling, chopping, and slicing easier, quicker, and safer. Did it completely overhaul my kitchen prep process? To find out, head right this way.
If your household is anything close to the average American family, you find yourself running a lot of loads of laundry — most American families actually wash close to 400 loads of laundry a year. So, if you've been bothered by a poorly-functioning washer or a lint-trapless dryer, this may be the year for you to upgrade to a better model. If in doubt, calculate the age of your appliances: if your washer and dryer are more than 15 years old, make it a priority to replace them this year.
Before you start window shopping, though, take some time to consider these points. They may just save you time and money when it comes to replacing your old appliances.
- Take time and watch the sales. Like John and Sherry at Young House Love, you can save a lot of money (they saved almost 50 percent) by tracking sales at major retailers. If you can afford to wait and bide your time, you'll be able to save — sometimes a lot — of money.
- Buy Energy Star appliances. Over the life of an Energy Star-qualified washer, you'll save enough money by simply doing your laundry in this energy-efficient machine to pay for the cost of the matching dryer. Not only will the machine save you money, it will also lower your water usage (and bill). Energy Star-rated washers also require only a dollop of detergent and will get clothes squeaky clean on a cold water cycle (saving money on your heating bill).
- Look for special rebates. Rebates may be available for your new washer purchase. Look for these through the retailer or on Energy Star's website. Just plug in your zip code to determine whether or not you qualify.
- Consider your home's layout. If you're squeezed for space, look for a smaller size washer (unfortunately, these smaller models are often much more expensive). Stacking models can also work well in homes with a small footprint.
Every day is an opportunity to demonstrate your appreciation of loved ones — but thankfully, for those of us who occasionally forget, there's Christmas, the perfect occasion to express heartfelt gratitude. To stun anyone with whom you've shared extra special kitchen time, consider making this the year to wrap a blowout culinary gift and put it under that tree. Need some covet-worthy inspiration? Then keep reading.
Do you think this is a cute example of upcycling, or is it too tacky for your taste? Is there any type of home or garden where this would work well?
Source: Flickr User an_sofie
Two weekends ago, while my husband, baby, and I were away backpacking, our refrigerator decided to give up the ghost. We came home to find an entire fridge and freezer of spoiled food. Not quite the homecoming we were hoping for! I spent the better part of the next day researching refrigerators for our space. The task was doubly hard because our small galley kitchen couldn't accommodate a normal-depth refrigerator. Plus, the majority of fridges that were the right depth were $6,000 and up! Since I'd just finished maternity leave, we were on a tight budget, and couldn't afford to throw that kind of cash at an appliance.
In the end, we found a great Bosch refrigerator that we're quite happy with. In the process of researching this purchase, I learned a few tricks that I thought might help out other Casa readers. See my tips when you read more
Luckily, his girlfriend owns one and she was happy to bring it over. I have the Kitchenaid juicer attachment at home and make fresh squeezed lemon, lime, and orange juice all the time. How about you?
Is your fridge running up your electric bill? Well you better catch it! Conducting your own home energy audit often shows that it takes a lot of power to keep your food cold, especially if you're using an older model. One way to make sure your refrigerator is running as efficiently as possible is to check that it fastens tightly shut. Here's a simple and quick way to test the seals on your appliance's doors from the California Energy Commission — and all you'll need is one dollar. Take the bill and close the door on half of it, then try to pull it out. If the dollar slides out easily, that means you're probably wasting energy (and money) by letting the cold air leak out. If a new fridge is not in the budget, you can order a replacement seal for most appliances online or from the manufacturer directly.