Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Toys

Whether or not we choose to admit it, we all have toys.

The concept of toys can mean different things to different people - especially for us big kids. Granted some of us big kids still get a kick out of the little kids toys. Our definition of "toys" varies greatly, but I'm talking about the kind of toys that get us excited about our favourite hobbies or other activities!

Sadly, even with the greatest of care and maintenance, many of our beloved toys must eventually be replaced with newer and more efficient models.

I won't go into a list of all of my toys, but many of mine are found in my kitchen!

One of my favourite toys, I got about 6 1/2 years ago - a Kitchen Aid Stand mixer! My old hand mixer had died and I was going to just get another one, but found a great deal on a lift & lock stand mixer that I couldn't resist! Besides, I'd always wanted a stand mixer and I knew I'd get a lot of use from it! My mom owned a Braun kitchen machine and I loved using it when I was at the farm, but hated cleaning all the little grooves around the top of the mixing bowl.

A year later, I also bought a Kitchen Aid food processor. I've gotten a LOT of use out of it as well! Frankly, I couldn't do some of my favourite recipes without them!

I got a blender for Christmas in the mid 80's. I was thrilled, until I realized that the only way to get it thoroughly cleaned, was to take the base of the plastic jar apart every time! Just adding hot soapy water wasn't cleaning it enough. No matter what I did though, I could never get the darn thing back together properly! I always had to get someone else to assemble it for me after cleaning. Not fun or convenient! I eventually gave up that blender after attempting to reassemble it myself one day. I was making a pudding and had the misfortune of the milk leaking out all over my counter.
A year ago, I got my mom's old blender that had a solid glass jar. It had been a 25th wedding anniversary present for my parents back in 1969! It was a great machine back in the day, but alas, it's prime had past. It overheated easily and just couldn't handle most of the jobs anymore.

I also got my mom's hand mixer - circa late 70's. It was also a good mixer except that it had a detachable electrical cord. I never really like it, as the cord always seemed to slip out while I was using it. Mom always joked that it was all in the way you held your mouth while you used it! So, I guess I should have left it at the farm, but frankly I missed having a hand mixer as some jobs are just not practical or worthy of using a stand mixer but too much for a stick blender.

The hunt for New Toys was on! I wanted a new hand mixer. I wanted a blender like my mom had - one with a solid glass jar that didn't come apart, but they don't make them that way anymore. I did my usual research - comparing various brands, models and reading customer reviews - but quickly realized that my best options were with the legendary Kitchen Aid! After that, it was just a matter of watching for a good deal.

The deal came in mid March when The Shopping Channel had a showstopper featuring a 5 speed blender with a 48oz glass jar and a bonus immersion blender! There was also an introductory price on a 9 speed hand mixer with several attachments! I hadn't actually planned on getting a blender AND a hand mixer at the same time but the prices were just too good not to!

The New Toys arrived a few days later!
Okay, so the blender jar can be completely disassembled for cleaning however the instructions state that you can also add a drop of detergent and some warm water then run the machine for a few seconds and then thoroughly rinse. It does clean it well - you just have to make sure your water isn't too hot or the lid will pop off and make a heck of a mess!!

Tip: Before you run a warm soapy water solution - or any warm substances - loosen the clear plastic cap in the lid so that you can hold it just a fraction of an inch above the full lid while the machine is running. That way the lid doesn't pop. You may still get a bit of spillage but it won't be nearly as bad!

So, after I cleaned up the mess and dried the jar, I had to decide what to make first! Well, since it was getting close to Easter at the time, I did the pureed fruit and liquids for the Paska. I've also done a pudding mix, made some bread crumbs and crushed some ice! The machine is wonderfully efficient!
I've only used the hand/immersion blender once and that was to do a final blend of a chilled mix for my lemon cheesecake ice cream. It is a bit noisier than I expected - especially on the higher speed but so far so good. To be perfectly honest, I've owned another version of an immersion blender for many years and rarely used it as it had several little disk attachments that were a nuisance to switch out. This new one came with only the one attachment (others can be purchased separately) which is much easier to deal with but I'm really not sure how much use I'll get out of it. Time will tell.

So far, the hand mixer has gotten the most use. I've made a couple of different frostings, a cake, and mashed potatoes for my Soulful Chicken! Works like a charm!! The dough hooks wouldn't be suitable for a large or heavy dough but if you were only doing a small batch of a cookie, or a loaf/muffin of some kind then this would be great!
I've only had my New Toys for a month, but I am loving them! The sleek styles, powerful motors and the increased options and versatility they allow me to have in my kitchen are a real joy!

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go play with my toys....


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