Monday, March 12, 2012

Pots Galore

Finding the right pot can require real trial and error. Now days, you cannot even rely on brand names to assure you that your pot won't be second rate. Gone are the days where pots can last you a lifetime {my parents still own and use pots they received when they were married}. Unless you make the right choice.

It seems most cookware brands have a 2nd or 3rd string line that may seem like a bargain....until you get it home. My suggestion is never buy a pot sight unseen. And don't be fooled by all the big names in cooking {or entertaining} who have been flooding the market with branded cookware. Just because they cook well, doesn't mean "their" pot is good. Most of them probably don't even use their own pots, they just license their name.

My favorite brands are All-Clad and Le Creuset. Unfortunately, even these 2 giants in cooking now have 3rd string lines. An easy rule of thumb is to stay away from anything that is coated - anodized, non-stick. I have yet to find a non-stick or anodized line of cookware that is worthy. 

Stainless is what I use for everyday cooking. But my dream cookware is copper. Copper cookware is not only beautiful, it makes cooking delicate recipes a breeze because the heat is so evenly distributed throughout the pot or pan. The only downside is that it can be difficult to clean and can be extremely heavy.

The best of both worlds is stainless with a copper core. While you don't have the beauty of copper, it's great for every day use because it cleans easily, is lighter weight but has the heat conduction of copper

If you want your cooking to start off on the right foot, start by having the right equipment..... remember it's all in the pot!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I wish I may, I wish I might....

FINALLY preparing for our big move and there is so much to purchase to turn our new house into a home. I know, I know, I don't need to get everything all at once. So, to pace myself I created my "Mommy's Wishlist" on Amazon. That way I can "shop" without actually spending any money and then slowly, as my budget permits, purchase things for the new digs. Of course, if there are any fairy godmothers/fathers out there that would like to send us a housewarming gift, we wouldn't say no to that ☺

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For Music Lovers Only

Music is such an integral part of my life and who I am. No I am not a famous musician masquerading as a wanna be blogger, I am just a huge fan of music. All kinds of music. I don't discriminate {well maybe against polka or Justin Bieber-ish music}. In fact, I really think I could piece together the soundtrack of my life {or at least the parts that I can remember}.
Now that I am {finally} on the cusp of moving into my new home, one of my super high "wants" is a centralized audio system so that we can play music all over the house. Weelll it looks like that's not going to make it into my dream home package. But thankfully I found the next best thing......Sonos.

Sonos is a wireless audio system that allows you to play music using in-home WiFi connection. You can stream music from your iTunes collection, mp3 collection and from a host of popular internet radio sites like Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, Rhapsody, Napster, iHeartRadio and many others. 

The great thing about it is that you can start with just one of the box-like speaker systems for your main room, and then add on additional speaker systems for other rooms as your needs increase {or you find the money!}. I love the fact that you don't have to purchase {or keep up with} a separate remote for the system. You can control the entire system and each of the zones individually, all from your computer, iPhone, iPad or other tablets and phones. 

Just a few more weeks {hopefully} and I can begin choreographing the next segment of my soundtrack......what's on yours?

Friday, June 10, 2011

For the love of Ramp

For me, nothing says love like garlic and onions.  Well, foodie love that is.  I love love love everything {or better yet alone and roasted!}. I think it just adds the perfect zing to almost any bland dish {i.e., sauteed spinach}.  And onions -- any type of onion -- is just the proverbial cherry on top.  I like them a bit crunchy, but caramelized works too. 

Now that you understand my love of all things garlicy and oniony, you'll understand how I excited I was to learn about an onion called Ramp.  It is, in layman's terms, a cross between an onion and a garlic clove. What a culinarily powerful combination!  I am just salivating thinking about the different recipes that would be transformed with this tasty addition.

Any pasta dish of course, pesto, whipped potatoes, lamb, or even in a nice spring salad! My favorite recipe that I found so fare, courtesy of the Food Network, is:

Baby Ramp and New Potato Soup 
with Mini Truffle Grilled Cheese Sandwiches


  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 pound fresh ramps, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 slices of Brioche bread (about 1/4-inch thick)
  • Small bottle of White Truffle Oil
  • 4 slices of Chicory Farms Desoto Cheese (about 1/4-inch thick)


Melt the butter in a 6-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the ramps. Season with salt and black pepper. Saute until the ramps are wilted and soft, about 6 minutes. Add the bay leaf and garlic, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very soft and the mixture is thick and cream, about 1 hour. Remove the soup from the heat. Discard the bay leaf. Slowly add the cream. Stir to blend. Reseason the soup. Brush each side of the bread with the truffle oil. Place a piece of cheese on top of four slices of the bread. Place the remaining slices of bread on top of the cheese. Place the sandwiches on the hot griddle. Grill the sandwiches for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and the cheese has melted. Cut each sandwich into five finger-size slices. Serve the sandwiches with the soup.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A mattress fit for a queen or king {literally}

I was perusing the Home & Garden section in my local paper, honing in on the list of deals and steals for the coming week. Most of the deals weren't really that great, or were for things I just didn't need.  Then I read:  Hästens is discounting some of its all-natural handmade mattresses up to 30 percent, while supplies last (the 200T II King, originally $35,080, is $24,556; the Luxuria Queen, regularly $10,120, is $7,084).

A $35,000 bed!?!? I know, why am I surprised. You can go big with everything else -- gold/platinum plated grooming pieces, diamond encrusted drinking glasses, retractable floor covered pools -- why not your mattress where you go to rest and rejuvenate.

Hästens offers beds that are truly unique; each one taking 140+ hours to build and made entirely by hand using only the finest natural materials. Your bed is made to order and signed by a Hästens master craftsman. Hästens uses use only all-natural materials in their beds; such as the finest pure flax, wool and cotton, carefully selected pine and genuine, hypoallergenic horsehair.

While currently I do not have a $35k bed in my budget, they have me sold on their beds. I MUST at least try laying on it, if not actually having one one day. They say a good night's rest is the absolute precursor to almost everything -- health, performance, mood, happiness. So why not increase your chance at a truly restful slumber by only settling for the best for where you lay your head. I'm sold!

p.s. If you can't afford one you still have a chance at a luxurious sleep! Try out a Hästens bed at any of these fine hotels.

Monday, March 21, 2011

From here to there in no time FLAT

There's nothing sexy about moving or moving companies {well there might be something sexy about movers, but that's an entirely different blog entry}, but if you've ever had to move you understand how hard it is to find a reasonably priced professional moving company.  If you chose the wrong movers, the moving process can scar you for life; leaving dark memories of broken/missing valuables, curiously misshapen boxes, men with plumbers pants who are perpetually on break, and a final bill that is a large multiple of your estimate.

I have had to move way to many times in my young adult life.  I've gone it alone, used friends, had a premium moving company {not my dime}, been moved by the government and only recently, researched and found a moving company for which I paid.  This last time, I not only was moving an entire house, but I was moving out of state into a storage facility. 

I had seen FlatRate's moving trucks around the city and I like the concept of knowing what my move was going to cost up front.  I'm pretty sure only the moving company wins if the price is determined AFTER they have your stuff on the truck.  The moving consultant came to our house and looked at everything we were moving, heard the details of where we were moving to, entered all the information into his handy dandy computer and printed out a detailed estimate for me right there on the spot. 

Suprisingly it wasn't too bad.  But of course I had to negotiate.  In the end, the price was fantastic AND I knew it was final.

On the day of my move, my moving team showed up on time and ready to work.  They were all young and strong and, more importantly, focused, courteous and professional.  They took such good care of my things and were in and out quicker than I thought was possible. 

When they arrived on the other end, we all stood around eyeing my storage facility with disbelief.  I couldn't imagine getting a truck and a half into that space.  But the head mover packed that space so perfectly I even had a bit of room to spare.

Unfortunately, for some of you, FlatRate is only in the New York, Los Angeles, Miami, DC and San Francisco metropolitan areas.  But if you do live in one of these metropolises check them out for your next move so that you {and your belongings} won't be left Flat.