We Bought the Blender

Okay, we did it. We finally broke down and bought a fancy-schmancy Vitamix blender, BUT we ended up going the reconditioned route to save some pennies.

When we made the decision to buy, I went to the Vitamix site to make the purchase only to find that they are currently out of stock for new blenders. I sent an email to find out when more would be in stock. The friendly sales rep said more would be available mid-July, but mentioned that they have reconditioned ones in stock for considerably less.

The reconditioned blenders are ones that people sent back under the 30-day money-back-guarantee policy. (Let’s face it: It’s a pretty expensive blender if you’re only going to use it to make smoothies.) The company takes the returned blender, runs it through the same testing as the new blenders (or so they say), removes any blemishes and replaces the pitcher and tamper with new ones. And, you get a 5-year warranty with it.

So we went for it.

I don’t have it yet, but it’s due to arrive on Monday and I AM SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED! (It doesn’t take much for me.) I found a vegan peach sherbert recipe on its website that I want to try because, even though I’ve seen it work in person, I’m still baffled as to how a blender can make ice cream.

We’ve been talking about buying this thing for so long that I hope I’m not disappointed. I’ve said it here before: I’m not a fan of having lots of kitchen gadgets. But, as you all know, once you’ve spent some time cooking in your kitchen, you start to know which tools you need and don’t need.

Once I get the blender and play with it a bit, I’ll post a review.

I hope you all are well!

Vegan Weekly Roundup

Why do short weeks always feel the longest? This week was crazy, so the weekend could not get here soon enough. Here are a few posts that helped me escape from a hectic week. I hope you all are well!!

I really need to make this quinoa and lentil salad for lunch next week (sans the honey).

The difference between baking soda and baking powder (I’ve been told numerous times and still have to look it up).

How to stock your freezer with freezer meals.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade.

Blenders rated by Real Simple (I still want a Vitamix, I can’t help it).

Love, love, love this kitchen (and house), though I’m still on the fence about open shelving (my stuff isn’t that nice to put on display).

I really want these to make Linzer cookies for the holidays (yes, I’m already thinking about the holidays).

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

I was perusing the Web when I came across this list of 13 must-have gadgets that every cook needs in the kitchen. I try to be a minimalist in the kitchen, but I agree with most everything on the list — except for the mise en place bowls (I get the idea, but that just means more dishes to wash). I would, however, like to add a few of my own. While these aren’t necessarily must-haves — you can get on just fine without them — they are certainly tools that I turn to time and again in my kitchen.

Food processer: My tiny little Cuisinart gets such a workout. I curse at it every time I use it because I really need a bigger one (liquids always spill out of the sides), but it does the job.

Wok: I just upgraded my cheap IKEA wok to a much nicer (while still cheaply priced — thank you, TJ Maxx!), non-stick, ceramic wok. Sure, you can use a regular pan to make stir-fry, but if you make it as much as I do, you’ll appreciate the deep, sloping sides for keeping everything inside the pan. Woks also heat up a lot faster.

Cast iron skillet: A properly seasoned cast iron skillet is so versatile. It’s perfect for making pancakes, skillet cornbread, frying tofu — you name it. Plus, you can use it as a makeshift tofu press.

Silicone spatulas: One of my best friends gave me two silicon spatulas, along with a bunch of other helpful kitchen gadgets, as my wedding present nearly six years ago (yikes!). I reach for them over any other cooking utensil. I use them for sautéing and baking — they’re perfect for gently folding ingredients and for scraping all the batter out of a bowl.

Whirley Pop: OK, I know this sounds like a strange one, but we love popcorn as a snack and microwave popcorn is a waste of money, especially if you’re vegan (no butter!). Bulk popcorn is so much cheaper and you can season it however you like. This handy gadget makes popcorn on the stove in a matter of minutes and leaves hardly any unpopped kernels. A little melted Earth Balance, a little chili seasoning and nutritional yeast — so good!

Wish list

Vitamix: I really, really want a Vitamix. Yes, they seem to be all the rage these days but even my skeptical husband was turned into a believer when we watched a demonstration of one at our Whole Foods. It’s going to be a while before I can get one because they’re so darn expensive, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

What are your favorite go-to kitchen gadgets?