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Not Just Take Out » Gadgets

Archive for Gadgets

::kitschy kitchen:: Star Wars Sugar Cookies

We go to the mall almost every Wednesday. This week we’ll go today because of the holiday. PTB buys his comics on that day. I get a treat at Starbucks and a chance to browse Williams Sonoma. It’s silly, and really the only thing we manage to do consistently, but we always have fun with our mini-trip.

I really enjoy it when, not only do I manage to drag him into Williams Sonoma with me but, he buys me something! Well, I guess this doesn’t totally count as being exclusively for me. I have never ever managed to even stay awake through an entire Star Wars movie. So yeah. But the part that is for me was the cookie recipe and my first set of cookie cutters. Although, these are more of cookie presses I guess.

I’ve never been let down by the recipes that come with my Williams Sonoma toys and these cookies were no different. The cookie cutters were incredibly easy to use, so if you have a Star Wars fan buy them now before they are gone!! As long as you kept the dough chilled and didn’t let it start to melt while you were cutting, the dough doesn’t get stuck in even the tiniest of details. And since they are presses, it makes every bit of dough turn into the perfect cookie. Just shove the last bits into a mold, press, and perfect cookie!

What You Need
Step One

1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 egg
Step Two
1 cup sugar
Step Three
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Step Four
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

Seriously. Take your butter and egg out ahead of time. Don’t fake room temp butter. Leaving it out ahead of time DOES make a difference!

In an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar. Beating for approx. 2 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

In a small bowl, sift together step four ingredients. Add half the mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low until no longer dry. Add the remaining flour and continue on low until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a disc and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. This is my favorite part because I only make half the cookies at a time. That way, two days later, we have a fresh batch of cookies with very little work!

Once you are ready to make the cookies preheat the oven to 350F and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4″ thick.

Don’t be afraid to push on the cutters! They will only go so far. For me, the dough would lift up with the cookie cutter and then I would just drop it onto the parchment lined cookies sheet.

Space the cookies on the sheet about 1″ apart. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Let cool on the sheets on racks for 5 minutes and then transfer the cookies to the rack cool completely.

Enjoy your buttery sugary goodness!

You can make royal icing to decorate. Or you can buy the prefect colors from Williams Sonoma for decorating. I think the advantage to the press is not having to decorate them. And really, they don’t need any extra sugar. They are perfect on their own. But then again…I have never been one for icing.

::kitschy kitchen:: Whisky Business


Holiday weekends are the best! Being sick meant I didn’t really cook much. And we stayed home the whole weekend. But it was still the best. Just getting to be lazy with PTB was all I needed. I’m still not up for cooking completely. So I’ve been quite lazy in the kitchen. I have, however, spent a lot of my sick time with the internet. There was once this tiny little silver necklace featured on Etsy that was a whisk. I adored it. So I decided to search for it again. I simply typed in “whisk”. I found a plethora of awesome stuff, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

There is something about the whisk that makes it one of my favorite things in a kitchen. Not necessarily the most functional. I think wooden spoon wins that award for me. I mean, seriously, what can’t you use a wooden spoon for? I think that was even one of my mom’s choice spanking devices. But the whisk. Now that would have hurt to be spanked with a whisk. Thank goodness I escaped that one. Maybe that is why it beats wooden spoon for favorite thing.

I’m going to go with it’s form as my reasoning though. I think the whisks are the prettiest things in my kitchen. I can’t wait for the space and excuse to own more. Just a huge variety of whisks. A whole utensil holder full of whisks. It will be gorgeous ūüôā

Clockwise (from top left): (1)Keep Calm and Bake a Cake Print by Ruby Paper Co., (2)Wire Whisk Sterling Charm Necklace by Exo Design,(3)Whisks by Picky Photo, (4)Mini Whisk Earrings by Every Week, (5)Tasty Whisk Decal by Elephannie, (6)The Baker’s Necklace by The Bumbling Bird

::kitschy kitchen:: Forked Up Art


How cute are these?! I originally saw the iPhone holder (I’m sorry I don’t remember where), and when I saw the variety offered through their Etsy store I had to share! ¬†Since I find myself following recipes off my phone sometimes, this would be quite handy in the kitchen. ¬†But then…the napkin holder is just adorable…And the salt and pepper shakers, priceless. ¬†Personally, I have a hard time deciding. ¬†With a small kitchen, I think I would need to choose just one. ¬†Which one would you pick? ¬†(Oh! ¬†And there are more on their Etsy store so check them out!)

And, if you want to keep up to date with new fork & spoon art, follow them on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook!

::gadget:: The Perfect Egg Timer


We’re off celebrating a graduation today so this post is short and simple! ¬†On one of our many trips to the mall, I managed to drag PTB into Williams Sonoma for a quick browse through. ¬†It always makes it easier for me when he finds something that fascinates him. ¬†On this particular trip it was the Egg-Per’fect Color Changing Egg Timer.

Let me just tell you. ¬†This package screams of the classy (expensive) kitchen gadgets you expect to find at Williams Sonoma. ¬†Especially with its $5 price tag. ¬†Can’t beat that. ¬†It was worth a shot. ¬†I’m not a huge hard boiled egg fan, so maybe this would encourage me to boil some eggs for him. ¬†Then again, maybe not.

With a changing color as it cooks, fool proof technology, this egg timer can handle not only hard boiled eggs, but medium and soft as well.  Again, fancy, right?  Add it to your pot just as if it were any other egg and let them go.

We were (I was) excited to see it change color. ¬†So I watched it for the first few minutes. ¬†I would have made perfect soft boiled eggs. ¬†I quickly got bored though and moved onto the next thing. ¬†So yeah…perfect? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†You still have to have some sense of the time or just watch the pot. ¬†Close to the egg it quickly went from “hard” to completely colored in. ¬†There wasn’t a moment to spare!

Ok, there probably was. ¬†I exaggerate. ¬†PTB says the eggs were GREAT! ¬†Again… not a fan, so I wouldn’t know. ¬†But on the list of kitschy things to have, it is small, and convenient, and adds a tiny bit of fun to boiling eggs. Unfortunately though, it isn’t classy enough to be sold through Williams Sonoma’s website. ¬†Thank goodness for Amazon.

::gadgets:: Keurig


Let’s talk about coffee. ¬†If you are having a Mother’s Day Brunch, or any brunch, or if you live for that matter, coffee is probably important to you. ¬†Ok, maybe not you. ¬†Only 50% of Americans have a cup everyday. ¬†But about 80% drink it occasionally. ¬†I know it is important to me. ¬†And, for his sanity, it is important to PTB. ¬†Important that I start my day with a cup.

I actually didn’t own a coffee pot for quite some time. ¬†I worked at Starbucks for about 5 years, and then next door to a Starbucks for another 4. ¬†No need to have MORE coffee at home. ¬†But then, I wasn’t working there anymore. ¬†Luckily, I still had daily access to my Tall Vanilla Soy 140F Latte. ¬†And then….I discovered the greatest thing ever. ¬†Actually – I was introduced to it by one of my fabulous readers! ¬†The Keurig.

Far less popular at that time, it was like I had been introduced to sliced bread. ¬†Now, I can’t imagine surviving without it. ¬†I am like a Keurig preacher. ¬†The Keurig is a single cup brewing system. ¬†It comes in a variety of sizes with different functionalities and features. ¬†Mine is the Breville version. ¬†It seemed like a good compromise after I had been eyeing a Breville espresso machine for a few years.

So let me tell you why you need one. ¬†With a single cup system, everyone gets the type of coffee they want. ¬†You don’t have to settle for a blend that, by pleasing everyone, pleases no one. ¬†There are no multiple pots waiting to be brewed if someone wants decaf. ¬†With any of the full size brewers (not the personal), you have a tank of water, which means, if the machine is on, you could have a cup ready in a minute. ¬†It has been incredibly easy to maintain and clean. ¬†The removable parts are all dishwasher friendly. ¬†Since we only run filtered water through the tank that then filters it again, we have never had to descale it, but if I did, the machine tells me when it needs it! ¬†I am not sure about the other models, but mine actually has a back spout that drains into the drop tray. ¬†If the tiny pin that punctures the K-cup gets clogged, the water will simply drain to the drip tray rather than all over your counter.

I chose the Breville because of the built in water filter, the larger cup size (travel mugs), and the fact that it came with the My Cup accessory and built in storage for it. ¬†I bought the carousel because….well, because how could I resist? ¬†The My Cup is a metal filter that allows you to use your own ground coffee or loose tea, or if you are DARING like me…you just rip the string off the tea bag, stick it in the My Cup, and brew like that. ¬†Oh. ¬†Did I not mention that I use this to make the perfect cup of tea? ¬†So now it is good for almost everyone. ¬†You can get a huge variety of coffee, tea, and hot cocoa cups, so there is surely something to please almost everyone.

PTB only really drinks tea when I give him Sleepytime. ¬†Since it knocks him out, this isn’t a regular occurence. ¬†Once Keurig introduced their incredible Cafe Escapes line, the Keurig became useful for both of us! ¬†He loves the chai lattes it makes! ¬†More Starbucks savings! ¬†I know a latte and a cup of coffee are not th same thing. ¬†I still have the occassional latte as a treat… ¬†but look at this math:

$3.60 Latte X 5 days a week = $72/month, $936/year

$250 Keurig + ($.40 cup of coffee x 7 days a week) + $1.69 creamer each week = $268.76 first month, $482.88 first year, $233.88/year after that

I have had my machine for well over a year now, so it has paid for itself how many times? ¬†After the first year I am saving $700/year?! ¬†Where did I get money for all that Starbucks? ¬†And seriously – who are we kidding…we all know I drank more than one every work day. ¬†And it isn’t like I went without on the weekends. ¬†And since I am just having a bit of cream and a bit of sugar once a day rather than a cup of milk and a bunch of sugar and whipped cream multiple times a day….think of all the calories I have saved ūüôā

One cup at a time!

** I have not been paid for this post ‚Äď I just love my Keurig and wanted to share ¬†ūüôā