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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [October 4, 2014] - Updated Recall and Safety Alerts widget from Government of Canada
  • [April 16, 2014] - Eat Well Recipes from Government of Canada
  • [November 15, 2013] - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!
  • [September 29, 2013] - Early Canadian Cookbooks Online

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Small Kitchen Appliances

Frugal Kitchens 101
Like many modern homemakers, I have a plethora of small kitchen appliances.  Unlike some, I tend not to get small kitchen appliances that are single purpose.  This is actually interesting as I was gifted with a waffle maker for Christmas and just bought a high power juice extractor, both single purpose small kitchen appliances.  However, these are specialized single use appliances for specific tasks that I know of no other way to get the same results without the appliance.  Ok, I do know how to make juice manually with a reamer but that is limited to juicing citrus fruits.  At some point I would love to buy a steam juicer for home canning juices but for the most part, the only way to make a wide varieties of juices at home is using a juicer.  There are manual waffle makers available, closer to what you would use for camping although they could be used on a regular stove top, I think.  At any rate, small kitchen appliances come at a cost.

Small kitchen appliance use electricity and while it might not be much because they are seldom in use for more than a few minutes, they still use electricity.  The second problem is small kitchen appliances take space, either on the counter or in storage.  I now have 20 small kitchen appliances of which only two have earned their place on the counter.  Surprisingly, I do not have a breadmaker, cotton candy machine, chocolate fountain or any of the other gimmicky small kitchen appliances.  Most of them help immensely with entertaining and bulk cooking.  They are not fancy but they are high quality.  Of those 20 small kitchen appliances, only three would be an immediate, not even blink an eyelash, this minute replacement.  All are invaluable small kitchen appliances that save me both time and money while giving me consistent good results.  They are:

  • Kitchen Aid stand mixer - We raised four kids and I can't tell you how many times I wished for a Kitchen Aid stand mixer but funds were tight when the kids were young.  I splurged on a KA stand mixer about 10 years ago.  It is my kitchen work-horse!  I use the KA pretty much daily, often multiple times in a day.  Additional KA attachments let me use the KA for grinding meats, making pasta, shredding, slicing and straining foods.  This save us a considerable amount of money by not having purchase pre-made, store bought versions and it also us to avoid the food additives in store bought versions.
  • Keurig single brew system - This is one small kitchen appliance that earns its keep on our counter.  It is used daily and often multiple times.  It is a God send when entertaining!  The Keurig K-cups range in price from 35¢ to 79¢ depending on where they are bought.  While this sounds expensive, we can easily offer our guests gourmet coffee without having to slip to the coffee shop where the price of a cup of coffee ranges between $1.25 to $3.50 but I've been told some specialty coffee shops charge more.  We have the re-usable My K-cup filtering system so can use regular ground coffee at a current cost of 8¢ per cup.  This is a nice extra that insulates you from not being able to find K-cups as what happened with the Melitta One:One single brew system.  Since we bought the Keurig, we don't get take-out coffee on a regular basis so we are saving right there.  We are further saving because we only brew what we need so there is less brewed coffee wasted.  It is especially convenient being able to make only one cup without having to make a whole pot of coffee.
  • FoodSaver vacuum sealer - This appliance, despite the low cost, saves me so much money I wouldn't think twice about replacing it!  It has saved us countless dollars by eliminating freezer burn as well as keeping home dried foods at their peak of flavour without moisture or insect damage.  It protects our valuables and important documents from possible water damage when boating and I use it to seal original genealogy documents in acid-free holders.  I've used it to make home made ice packs, protect skeins of wool from silver worms, make boil-in-the-bag ready meals, as well as in many crafting projects.  


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