Good morning kittens,
You know I’m going to bring you the latest and greatest. As I get older I find myself passionate about something I’ve not been really passionate about, in light years. What is that you ask? Myself! Yes I’m afraid ladies know this feeling all too well. We care for our families, friends, children, partners, but when it comes to ourselves, we are usually last on our list.
Let me share with you some of today’s best gadgets that have made a world of difference in my life and hopefully, if it applies, it can make a world of difference in yours.
First off, I cook. Yes I took a hiatus for the last few years my daughter was in college. I literally was burnt out. For the last two years of her college life, if the kid wanted home cooking, after school, she drove to her grandmother’s house first (thank God, she was only a few blocks away from our place,) ate there and then came home. I felt guilty that I wasn’t providing dinner but I managed to find away to manage my guilt using a few choice methods; ordering out, purchased bags of frozen meals from BJ’s (which were quite yummy and truthfully economical, as they were about $13 a pop and could feed the three of us, and learned that cereal or the occasional tuna sandwich works wonders.
Cut to a few years later and I’m back in front of the stove – with a few changes. My daughter is happily married and in front of her own stove when she gets around to it so blessedly the only two people I have to think about, are myself and the sailor – and thank God, he’s easy.
However cooking food and being able to pack lunch for both of us remains the healthiest and most economical way to go. I’ve sacrificed some of my weekend time to cook so I can pack lunch for both the sailor and I. We also have some leftovers for dinner but usually we eat light as we get home so late. More often than not, after work, we relax with a quick bowl of cereal in front of the tube and munch and crunch away. The daily savings of $13 each day allows me to come home using my express bus $6.75 instead of hauling my ass over to the train and then the bus. And trust me, at 44, taking the express bus is now an affordable luxury that I would be hard pressed to give up. In the mornings, I still take the bus and train so I can get to work on time but in the evening, I can watch a movie or take a nap (usually the latter) on my way home – and it’s the best!
1. Now ladies, if you’re like me, you’ve got two days to fit in a million things, cooking is only one chore, and let me tell you – I’m still me – spending two hours in the kitchen is not something I aim for. So here are a few items that will cut your time in half when you’re slaving away in the kitchen. An Electric Kettle – I’m an instant coffee girl and many of my guests are avid tea drinkers including my sailor. This device is used on a daily. Not only does it come in handy for the tea/coffee but also when you’re cooking and need boiling water for any recipe. Nine out of ten, when I’m cooking and I require water, I reach for my kettle and get to pouring. – A little word of advice, these electric kettle price rangers are from a mere$12 to upwards of a $100. I’ve tried the $60 range kettle and the $20 range kettle and hands down, go for the $20. They’re lightweight and last much longer with very little fuss. You simply rinse and refill.
2. A Rice Cooker – Hello my parents are Guyanese. Rice is a staple of our diet, therefore the rice cooker the best thing out since a roti shop! Prior to my rice cooker I had to boil water, wash the rice, throw it in the boiling water, stir, stir, stir like a witches brew – for about 20 minutes, and keep testing it to make sure the grainy part of the rice was no longer present yet make sure that I didn’t overcook it to the point where it was too soft (as my mama would say, soft like pop.) When it was ready, I then had to strain it in the sink then put it back in the pot once it cooled. Are you kidding me? All of this work and we’re just talking about the rice! Now honey child, you get your rice cooker, and depending on how much rice you want to cook (typically I cook three cups,) you measure your three cups, and yes – still wash the rice, but then you throw the washed, uncooked rice in the cooker, measure your water, for my cooker it’s 2 cups of water for each cup of rice plus an additional one cup – so 7 cups of water. Most of these devices are plug and play, plug it in, press cook and that’s it, story finish! You’re done. You see some steam, you hear a little bubbling and 20 minutes later, you hear a beep, letting you know it’s done. Most rice cookers switch to a warm setting when the rice has finished cooking. What can be easier than that? Trust me, the rice cooker is worth its weight in gold times ten. Sometimes I get a little fancy and throw in kidney beans, raisins, or some light veggies. You can make soup and a myriad of other things in your rice cooker. The options are plentiful. But if rice is one of your diet staples, get this handy dandy. You’ll have more time for hanky panky if you do! Rice cookers range in prices. I bought mine years ago for $20.00 on Amazon but as they’ve gone up in popularity, they’ve gone up in price. Of course if you only need a 6 – 10 cup rice cooker, there are many still in the $20-25 price range. If you’re looking beyond that, the price goes up.
3. A Crock Pot – What is easier than washing chicken legs and thighs, throwing in some carrots and potatoes, adding your favorite sauce and setting a timer? Nothing, that’s what. I use my crock pot religiously. It makes the most food with the least amount of hassle. Sometimes when I’m at my favorite grocers (which is Key Food, it’s a few blocks from me and there are far things I value more than convenience) well they have large packs of chicken thighs and legs without any skin. I grab a bag of potatoes and a bag of baby carrots and I’m off to the races. If you want to get fancy, you can season the chicken overnight and leave it in the fridge. By the by, you can have the crock pot cooking all night and when you wake, voila, food galore but I don’t recommend that unless you want your entire home to smell like food. My sailor (or I for that matter) can’t sleep when the entire joint smells like baked chicken and veggies. In the early morn, say about 10am, I wash the chicken with a bit of salt and/or lime for a few minutes, then dump the entire pack (usally 8 pieces) into the crock. I peel the potatoes, quarter and dump them directly onto the chicken in the crock. I wash the baby carrots and dump them onto the potatoes in the crock, yes you are layering. I then use any number of my favorite sauces (usually in a jar) and dump the contents on top of all the food. You can use barbecue sauce, ranch sauce, Indian chicken tikka sauce, really anything. Don’t worry about mixing anything, the crock will do it for you once everything settles. Remember the crock is a slow cooker. I tend to slow cook meat and veggies for at least 6 hours, more likely 8. The food lasts practically all week and I pack both the sailor and myself lunch every day. Talk about save your wallet and time and hassle. You can get an amazing 8 quart (I recommend no smaller than 6 quart) for about $40.00 on Amazon!
4. A Food Processor – Now I’m not going to lie, people use food processors for a million things. Before you buy any gadget you need to figure out what kind of lifestyle you have and then you can figure out what type of gadgets you can use to make your life easier. My sailor and I love salad. What we don’t love is the time we spend chopping up all of the ingredients. When at the grocers, I generally purchase 2 cucumbers, three peppers, a small cartoon of cherry tomatoes and a bag of baby carrots as well as a bag of mixed greens salad. During the weekend I get my small food processor out and slice up everything and place it separately in Tupperware; so I have my sliced tomatoes in a small, plastic Tupperware, the cucumbers are in a separate Tupperware as well as the peppers and carrots. I boil about 8 eggs, peel them and place them in a bowl in the fridge. Sometimes I make a tuna salad as well and place that in a bowl in the fridge. When I get home – it takes me less than 10 minutes to prepare a healthy, yummy salad for dinner. I just wash a bit of the salad from the bag and then take a few ingredients from each Tupperware container (already nicely chopped) slice an egg or two, top it off with some shredded cheese, nuts and/or raisins and I’m all set. It’s the most delicious, healthy and non-time consuming dinner ever! Give it a whirl! Might I add that today’s small food processors are more than affordable!
5. Do you feel like cooking is the most boring-est chore ever? Yeah, sometimes I do. You know what helps? Having a TV in the kitchen! What’s that you say – no place to put one – not in the budget? Well have I got news for you – if you’ve got a smartphone and you’ve got Netflix or Amazon Prime Video or HBO Go or any type of movie screening on your phone then you’re halfway there. I have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on my phone but it’s a real pain in the ass to find someplace to stick my phone where I can glance at it from time to time (not when you’re chopping the onions mind you) and hear it well. Movies, television series are my constant companion when chores have taken the front and center of my life. They make the task at hand so much more enjoyable!
Here’s what you need:
And you are in business! Place your phone horizontally on the business card holder and you are good to go, instant TV stand!
Did I mention that the business card holder is $2.72 on Amazon? Yeah, it’s like that!