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ChefAlarm: Affordable Leave-In Thermometer

This post was written by my wonderful husband. I hope you enjoy it!

ChefAlarm Display

I was recently given an exciting new product from ThermoWorks to review called the ChefAlarm, and was quite pleased once again.  I’ve never been a great cook but learning to cook with thermometers these past few years has improved my success rate immensely.  And when it comes to thermometry, there is no better company than ThermoWorks, the maker of the Thermapen, which is the Cadillac of instant read thermometers.   (See my Thermapen review here)  I use my Thermapen every time I cook pretty much anything.  In the information age we live in, you can quickly find the ideal internal temperature for just about any food  you are cooking, from meat to bread to muffins to baked potatoes.  Try it!  On top of finding suggested temperatures for various foods, you can also keep a food diary to track your own preferences.  All of this information of ideal and preferred temperatures combined with a fast and accurate thermometer you are pretty much guaranteed consistent results.  Truly great chefs have an instinct for cooking that I just don’t possess so for me cooking is more of a math/science experiment and I’m OK with that.  So my cooking involves notes, food scales, and my Thermapen (and sometimes even a spreadsheet–what can I say, I’m a statistician).  But even naturally gifted chefs can benefit from a great thermometer to confirm those instincts and tell you what is going on in the center of the food you are cooking.

Thermoworks Thermometers

One thing you cannot do with a Thermapen, however, is leave it in the oven/grill while the food is cooking.  You can use it to check on the progress of what you are cooking but it is often nice to not have to open up the oven and check.  That is where my new toy comes in to play.  The ChefAlarm (link) is a new product from ThermoWorks that connects to probes that you can insert into the food and leave in during the entire cooking process.

There are two compatible probes with the ChefAlarm, the Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe (included) and the optional Pro-Series Needle Probe that is ideal for thin cuts of meat and/or sous vide.  Designed for use in commercial kitchens and professional settings, the Pro-Series Probes deliver better accuracy, faster readings, unique designs, wider temperature ranges and better moisture-resistance than the probes sold with low-cost “houseware-grade” temperature alarms.

The probe then connects to the ChefAlarm which displays the temperature of the probe, allowing you to monitor the internal temperature of your food without having to open the oven/grill.  The ChefAlarm display provides a lot of useful information including the minimum and maximum temperatures since being turned on/plugged in and the current temperature is displayed in a very large font that is easily visible at some distance at a glance (in either F or C).  In addition to these current and historical temperature measures, the ChefAlarm also serves as a timer so you can monitor time and temperature all on a single display.  The timer can count down with an alarm or it can count up.  The alarm is adjustable up to 92 dB which can be heard even in a noisy kitchen.  There is also an option to set alarms for high and low temperature thresholds.  Other features include a backlight, splash-proof design allowing you to use it by a busy stove, and is available in 9 colors.  The ChefAlarm folds up to show the display when setting on a counter and it also has a magnetic back allowing it to lay flat on metallic, vertical surface.   ChefAlarm includes unit, Pro-Series High Temp Cooking Probe, SST Probe Clip, Operating Instructions, and Padded Zip Wallet that neatly holds everything.

Perfect Temperature for Bread

I have tried this product on several things so far both in the kitchen as well as the grill.  Used in conjunction with the Thermapen, it is a great way to cook large cuts of meat.  Both products have shortcomings for this (Thermapen can’t be left in while cooking and ChefAlarm can only check the temperature of the one spot you placed the probe), but together they work really well.  Embracing Homemaking has a wonderfully informative article on using the ChefAlarm in conjunction with a Thermapen to cook the perfect holiday turkey.

Grilled Turkey - Yum!

With a new baby due close to Christmas this year, we will be having our first Christmas at home this year and with that our first time cooking a turkey!  I have planned to grill it and have already done a practice turkey breast.  The ChefAlarm and Thermapen combination took all the guesswork out.  It was a practice turkey and I did end up overcooking it a bit but professional equipment can only cover up so many sins of a bad cook!  I broke a cardinal rule and apparently placed the ChefAlarm probe against a bone and that through off my reading.  But like I said…it was a practice turkey!  I am confident I’ll be able to nail the real one.  So far, I’ve also tried the ChefAlarm cooking a wonderful pot roast (target temp 135F – 145F for medium), baking some sourdough bread (target temp 200F-210F), and cooking some chicken fingers in a deep fryer (target temp 165F).  Having the leave-in thermometer with the alarm set really reduces the chances of overcooking anything.  I love my Thermapen and I now love the ChefAlarm, but together they are a perfect combination.

The ChefAlarm would be a perfect gift for any griller or cook on your Christmas shopping list and now is the perfect time to shop for them as they currently have a “buddy sale” going on where you can get 2 for $52 each (regular price is $59).

Wedgwood, Waterford, & Royal Doulton Christmas Ornaments

This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. As always, all opinions are my own.

I’ve been a fan of Wedgwood’s classic look for as long as I can remember.  I’ve never owned many pieces but I always admired them at others’ homes.

Waterford crystal is gorgeous and I’m lucky enough to own a small Waterford piece that I bought in Ireland.

My mom is a little obsessed with British comedies and because of her I’ve watched my share of the TV show Keeping Up Appearances.  On that show there is a character named Hyacinth Bucket {pronounced “bouquet”} who obsesses over her Royal Doulton fine china.  Ever since I first watched that show years ago I’ve wanted a little piece of Royal Doulton for myself.  I still don’t own any but maybe for Christmas this year I’ll buy myself one of the Royal Doulton Christmas tea cup ornaments.

Today, I was browsing through the Wedgwood, Waterford, and Royal Doulton sites while looking for sale items and I fell in love with a number of their Christmas ornaments.  I couldn’t help but share them with you in case you want to snag a discounted ornament for yourself, co-worker, or loved one.

Wedgwood Christmas Ornaments

The beautiful Wedgwood ornaments are on sale from $19.95-$29.95 (originally $29-$43).  Check out all the cute Wedgwood ornaments for yourself.

Waterford Christmas Ornaments

These Waterford Crystal ornaments are probably gorgeous in person and will hold their beauty for generations if taken care of properly.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any on sale right now.  They range from $55-$85 a piece but some can be custom engraved for no extra charge.  Check out Waterford’s Christmas ornaments for yourself.

Royal Doulton Christmas Ornaments

I think these Royal Doulton ornaments are just lovely and I’m trying to decide between the tea pot and the tea cup {or both!}.  The single ornaments are on sale for $14.99 (from $21.50 retail) and the sets of three are on sale for $39.99 (from $58).  Check out all of the Royal Doulton Christmas ornaments for yourself.

What’s your favorite Christmas ornament?

LTD Commodities: Christmas Decorating & Gift Ideas

LTD Commodities makes Christmas decorating easy!

Today, I got a catalog in the mail from LTD Commodities {You can also shop LTDComodities.com}.  This is a Christmas catalog that I usually look forward to every year but this year I’ve been a bit busy and completely forgot about it.  It was a nice surprise to say the least.  I have a few gift ideas picked out for friends and family but I can’t share those with you because they might see them.  I can, however, share the adorable Christmas decorations they have.  Check out some that I’ve pictured above.  Super cute, right?

Dolls on sale

Okay, check out this ADORABLE and AFFORDABLE little dolls.  I’m kicking myself that I’ve already bought my daughter a similar looking brown haired doll that came with a heftier price tag.  These dolls are only $16.95.  That’s right, just under $17!!  Plus, they have a few different sets of outfits and accessories that you can buy for only $13.95.  Each clothing set comes with three complete clothing outfits and accessories (minus shoes) and the 11 piece accessory set comes with shoes, boots, tights, socks, glasses and more.  Go to LTD Commodities to check it out for yourself.  These dolls are at an unbelievable price.  You all know the brands that look similar to these that have a huge price tag, even the ones at Walmart are around $30.

Moisturizing Gel Heel Socks

Want something nice but inexpensive for yourself?  Look no further than these $4.95 Moisturizing Gel Heel Socks.  I love these gel moisturizing socks but I’m always afraid that all that moisture will give me a nail infection.  With these there is no worry!  Just comfortable, soft heels.  I’m definitely buying a pair of these for myself.

I could go on and on but I just wanted to share one of my favorite places to buy and request Christmas gifts from.  Plus, I’m pretty much in love with their inexpensively priced Christmas decor.  Definitely check out LTD Commodities if you’re still shopping for Christmas gifts!

KidKraft Cookie Baking Set Review

KidKraft Cookie Baking Set

Last Christmas, I wrote about how I searched and searched to find my daughter the perfect play kitchen and how I ended up with a KidKraft kitchen. {See my KidKraft Kitchen Review here}  When the good people at KidKraft saw my post they wrote me an email to tell me how much the liked my thorough review and they asked for my address so that they could send me a KidKraft Baking Set for free – no strings attached.  Of course I said yes and my daughter has happily played with it for months now.  She loves it and I love that it’s made with the same KidKraft quality that I’ve came to expect.

Since Christmas is just around the corner I wanted to share my review of this baking set with you in case that you or someone you know is considering buying a set for the special child in your life.

KidKraft Baking Set

I’ll start with this stock photo from KidKraft.  This set comes with a mixer, removable bowl, two cookies, cookie tray, a working rolling pin, and a spoon for stirring.  Every piece is made with wood and covered with some sort of durable paint.  After months of wear there isn’t one little bit of paint that has chipped.  That’s pretty impressive!

KidKraft Play Cookies

My daughter loves to set her table and serve her little stuffed friends.  Here is a picture of a table that she set herself.  I know what you’re thinking…either that I taught her well or that she is OCD.  ha!  It may be a little of both.

KidKraft Cookies

Here’s an up close look at the cookies to give you a better idea of what they look like.  They have some weight to them without being too heavy.

Kid's Mixer

The mixer moves up and down with ease.  It’s made well so that little fingers won’t get pinched when playing.

Kids's Wooden Mixer

Here’s a look at the mixer when it’s in the down position.  You can see that there is a gap between the beater bars and the bowl.  That’s nice for two reasons. 1.) It won’t scratch the bowl. 2.) Little hands can easily remove the bowl without having to lift the top of the mixer.

KidKraft Mixer

From this angle you can see how it fits perfectly on the counter space available and it even leaves some room for additional food prep.  You can also see the circular logo in the side of the mixer.  If I had my way it wouldn’t be there but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.

KidKraft Kitchen Accessories

Here’s an example of that free counter space being put to good use.  The lovely hand towel was made by my sweet sister-in-law who also made a matching dish towel too.

KidKraft Kitchen

Here’s a look at my daughter baking her KidKraft cookies.

Okay, it’s time for a quick review.

Pros:

  1. All pieces are made with wood so I know they’ll last.
  2. After months of use the paint is still in perfect condition.
  3. The mixer is made well so it won’t pinch tiny fingers.
  4. No annoying noises or batteries to replace.
  5. Working rolling pin and liftable mixer {yes, I made up the word liftable}.
  6. Fits well on our KidKraft kitchen, it matches it, and looks nice setting out.
  7. The bowl can be removed easily and used as a salad bowl or fruit bowl, etc.

Tiny Con:

  1. I’m not a fan of the logo on the side of the mixer.

All in all, my daughter and I both love this set and would recommend it to any little chef.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

This KidKraft Baking Set is on sale right now at Target for $23.49 but prices are always fluctuating so double check before you buy.

KidKraft Kitchen Review

Why We Love Our KidKraft Kitchen

When my husband and I decided to buy my little girl a kitchen for Christmas last year, I didn’t know it then but, I had my work cut out for me.  There are dozens, probably hundreds of models to choose from.  There are wooden ones, plastic ones, non-gender ones, girly ones, ones with grills attached, and ones with seating attached.  There are kitchens that transition with age.  There are some that offer a lot of storage and some that have very little.  Some come with electronic sounds and some have old fashion knobs that click when you turn them.  The options were overwhelming!!!  Don’t get me started on accessories.  You know?  The play food, plates, blenders, toasters, dish towels, aprons…Ahhh!!!

From the picture above you can tell that I did finally decide on a kitchen.  It took weeks of researching and weighing the pros and cons.  This was the only big present we got her for Christmas and we only gave a few small other gifts so we shelled out the money for a new, fancy pants, wooden, KidKraft kitchen.  We love it!  Absolutely love it!

Because I’ve posted pictures with my daughter playing with her kitchen on Instagram and on Facebook I’ve had probably a dozen or so people ask me where I got it.  Requests keep coming in so today I decided to write a post and tell everyone about the kitchen we bought and why we love it.  For disclosure, I was not paid by any company to write about this product but I have included my affiliate links in this post so I can maybe buy a coffee with the proceeds from people who buy through my link.  It won’t cost anyone a penny more!

Now, here’s the kitchen I bought.  It’s called the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen.

Why I like it:

  1. It’s wooden and built well so it will last.  Plus, it’s heavy enough that it won’t fall over on her (but it does come with wall brackets just in case!).
  2. It doesn’t take batteries so there’s no need to replace them and no annoying noises.
  3. It’s non-gender so if we have a son later down the road he can play with it too (I know boys play with pink things all the time but I figure why plan for it when it can be avoided?).
  4. It’s attractive enough to have in our living room without looking like an eyesore.
  5. It’s not a primary color and it doesn’t have to have matching accessories to look nice (Things like that bother me. Maybe I’m the only one!).
  6. The sink was removable for cleaning. Nice bonus!
  7. It had a towel rack and pegs for hanging towels or utensils (What can I say? I like details!).
  8. It has a chalk board on the freezer and a water dispenser in the fridge.
  9. The fridge has a shelf inside so you can put two large baskets inside to hold food.
  10. The oven has a slide out cookie sheet that is removable (Two levels of storage inside!).
  11. The dishwasher’s shelf is removable too (Two levels of storage inside!).
  12. There is a detachable phone on the side of the fridge.
  13. There is a small amount of counter space for food prep.
  14. There is space behind the sink for accessory storage (We have a toaster and salt and pepper there).
  15. There is a shelf above the sink for extra storage.
  16. The sink head rotates and the handle moves up and down.
  17. The stove and range knobs click when you turn them but that’s all the noise this kitchen makes.
  18. The oven doors open to the left and the dishwasher to the right so you can play in both at once.
  19. My daughter (who was 18 months when we bought it) can play with the lower parts now and the upper areas when she gets older.  This will be a toy she can play with for a long time.

To buy it:

If you’re interested in buying this KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen you can buy it online at Amazon.com.  I bought mine from Walmart.com but they’re currently sold out of this kitchen at the moment.

The accessories:

KidKraft Cookware Set

We chose to go with different pots and pans but if you are wanting to hang utensils on the pegs in the back of this kitchen, this KidKraft Cookware Set is the only one with handles wide enough to fit.  It’s on sale right now at Walmart.com for $20.34 but keep in mind that those prices could change.

 

Step 2 Cookware Set

We have the Step2 Cooking Essentials 10-piece Stainless Steal Set.  It’s adorable!  I love that I she could really cook with them later on and we can throw them in the dishwasher when they’re dirty.  Isn’t the little stock pot just adorable?  We hung the two pot holders from the pegs in the kitchen and store the other pots and pans in the dishwasher when not being used.  Amazon.com currently sells this set for $29.77 + Free Super Saver Shipping.

 

Play Food

I bought plastic play food so it would be quieter play than if I had chosen wooden food.  It’s much cheaper too!  You can read about how I got a great deal on my play food at Aldi here.

 

Kidkraft Play Dishes

I hope to buy these plastic KidKraft play dishes soon for my daughter’s second birthday.  Walmart.com has them on sale right now for $15 and Amazon.com for $18.48 but the prices are always fluctuating.

6 Month Update: We still love our kitchen and recently reviewed out KidKraft Baking Set if you want to check that out here.

Well, I think that’s it!  I hope I gave you enough information without boring you to tears.  If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask!

Inexpensive, Unique, & Homemade Valentine Gift Ideas!

Inexpensive, Unique, & Homemade Valentine Gift Ideas!

 

Chocolate, flowers, and diamonds are all great gifts.  Not many people will disagree with that.  Showing your love how much you care doesn’t have to be expensive with a little thought, time, and creativity.  Here are 5 inexpensive unique homemade valentine gift ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.

 

Before we get started, I just want to throw out a quick reminder to everyone to think about what your significant other’s love language is. For help with figuring that out see the book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts or take the online Love Language quiz.  If you know how they “hear” you say I love you then you’ll be able to find the perfect gift for them!  For instance, if your husband loves to hear words of affirmation you could do #3 the Celtic Heart Knot and frame it with a backdrop of a list of the reasons you love him. {You like the way he smiles, the way he cooks pancakes perfectly, etc.}.  If your wife’s love language is gifts of service then you could plan a relaxing evening for her with say #1’s Homemade Bath Bombs, a soothing CD, and a few hours to herself while you and the kids straighten up and clean the house for her.  Once you know you’re loved one’s love language you can find the perfect gift for them!  Now for our 5 gift ideas…

 

 

Homemade Bath Bombs

  •  Homemade Bath Bombs – These fizzy bombs delight kids and adults alike and leave your skin silky smooth.  They often are a rare luxury in our house because they cost a pretty penny however, I have found a DIY bath bomb recipe on WikiTalks.com and you can check out that recipe here.  I can’t wait to try this out myself!

 

 

Paper Fortune Cookie Pattern

  •  Paper Fortune Cookies – These fortune cookies are adorable and perfect for the last minute gifter.  These are so simple to make!  Visit Design. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. for all the details.

 

 

Celtic Heart Knot

  • Celtic Heart KnotFusion Knots has a video to guide you step by step to help you make your own Celtic heart knot.  You could use a number of different types of string or rope to make a beautiful necklace or bracelet with this beautiful heart design.  I think my favorite would be to have a thick white rope, like the one shown above, and have it framed with a dark colored backing.  Maybe a hunter green or deep red.  I think that would be lovely!   

 

 

Love Letters

  • Love Letters – These “love letters” aren’t a stack of handwritten notes where you’ve poured out your heart and soul and undying devotion to the one you love.  Although, I highly recommend those as a homemade Valentine gift too!  These are the beautifully designed letters from a fellow blogger, Liz from Hoosier Homemade.  Aren’t they darling?  While I adore over the top pink, frilly, and girlieness you could also make these in colors that coordinate with your home decor so that you could keep them up and enjoy them year-round.    

 

 

Free Love Coupons

 

  • Free Love CouponsI Heart Nap Time has free printable love coupons for you to print and assemble your own love coupon book.  This is a simple gift but a thoughtful one too!  If you do this don’t forget to choose coupons that are perfect for your sweetheart’s love language.

 

Whatever you give this Valentine’s Day make sure it’s from the heart and that the recipient is 100% confident of your love.  If you do that, you can’t go wrong!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Eversave: Valentine’s Day Deals!

 

As always, Eversave is a great place to find great deals both online and locally but lately they’ve stepped up their game.   Eversave has a shopping page dedicated to bringing you the best deals on Valentine’s gifts!  They’ve got everything from decadent fudge, to spinning photo cubes, to beautiful umbrellas in a wine bottle carrying case.  I enjoy unique gifts and I LOVE chocolate – Eversave has both on sale.  If you’re still undecided on what to get your loved one, you’ll want to check this out!

 

Don’t forget that once you sign up you can refer your friends and get paid for it!

 

{Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.}

 

Valentine Gift Idea: Harry & David – Sale w/ 20% Coupon!

Harry and David

While searching for my own sweetheart a Valentine’s Day gift I found this A-dor-able chocolate gift set from Harry & David.  I’ve heard awesome things about this company from big names on TV but I’ve never tried them myself.  This incredibly cute set is likely to be my first purchase from them and I think it’s going to be a gift for myself!  My husband isn’t real big on sweets so maybe I’ll get him a fruit or savory gift set, I’m not sure yet.  Here’s the deal I found on this chocolate set:

 

Valentine Petites Fours

 

“An elegant treat straight out of 18th century France, our petits fours are masterfully handcrafted in our bakery with unique flavors to bring a decadent flare to any party.”

  • 3 Strawberry Shortcake Petits Fours (1.4 oz. each)
  • 3 Red Velvet Petits Fours (1.4 oz. each)
  • 3 Lemon Raspberry Petits Fours (1.4 oz. each)
  • 3 Triple Chocolate Petits Fours (1.4 oz. each)
[Regular Price: $29.95]
NOW $26.95 , Save 10%
+ 20% using coupon code VAL20
= a great deal on a yummy treat!

 

If you’re interested in a gift from Harry & David for yourself and/or your sweetheart don’t forget to shop through Ebates for double cash back!  It’s normally 4% but today you can get 8% cash back.  Also, if you order by 2/7 you can have your Valentine’s Day gifts arrive in time by only using standard shipping.

Custom Photo Calendar for $5.50 Shipped!

vistaprint free calendar

Right now at Vistaprint you can get a free Custom Photo Calendar.  You just have to pay $5.50 for shipping and handling.

 

These will make great personalized gifts for Christmas!

 

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Cheap Alternative to Pottery Barn’s Wooden Blocks

Pottery Barn Wooden Blocks

Pottery Barn Wooden Blocks $39

 

Don’t you adore these customized blocks?  I sure do!  I recently received one as a gift for my sweet little angel.  However, the one I received was identical in design, shape, and font but not in price.  Our friends discovered these blocks on Craft-E-Family.com years ago and has been giving them as baby shower gifts ever since!

 

Craft-E-Family Wooden Block $15.50

 

Identical, right?  The Craft-E-Family block looks darker on the screen than it really is.  I have mine right here and it looks exactly like the Pottery Barn Wooden Block.

Pottery Barn Wooden Blocks – $39
Shipping & Processing – $8
Tax – $3.17
= $50.17

 

Craft-E-Family – $15.50
Shipping & Processing – $0
Tax – $0
= $15.50

 

Plus, Craft-E-Family baby blocks offer engraving options that Pottery Barn doesn’t!  Craft-E-Family blocks come standard with “Proud Parents of XXX & XXX  XXXX.”  You also add additional information for a small fee.  It’s only $1.50 to add “A Special Gift From XXX XXXX” on the bottom and only $3 extra to add the names of siblings or the hospital.  I love Pottery Barn but this is one of those times it’s better to shop elsewhere.  If you place an order on Craft-E-Family be sure to tell them that Ashley from EmbracingBeauty.com sent you!