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January, 2013 |

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5 Kitchen Gadgets That Actually Help Fight Waste

kitchen gadgets, utensils

Photo: Shutterstock

If you’ve walked into any number of kitchen stores recently, you probably noticed the incredible amount of gadgets you can buy to do everything from slice avocados to de-vein shrimp. The sheer number of gadgets makes one wonder which are actually worth buying and which will just clutter your kitchen’s drawers. We’re not going to tell anyone they can’t have their single-use kitchen gadgets because let’s face it, some of them can save a lot of time. But in an ideal world, it’s great when people can try to do more with less and purchase items that will actually get used, oftentimes in a number of different ways.

To help you navigate through all the kitchen accessories, we’ve put together a list of five gadgets for your kitchen that are actually worth buying, especially if one of your goals is to reduce waste. These purchases can help you buy less, throw away less and do less cleaning, so keep reading to find out how.

Immersion Blender

immersion blender, kitchen gadget

Photo: Amazon.com

If you don’t already have a traditional blender in your kitchen, consider purchasing an immersion blender, which will not only make cooking a little easier, it will also help with clean up. An immersion blender, like this one from Cuisinart, is handheld, so it can be put directly into a bowl, pot or glass and quickly blend your ingredients. This is especially handy for making recipes like soups, since you won’t have to transfer any potentially hot liquids from a pot to your blender and back. Since you can blend using only one dish, you’ll waste less time and water washing dishes. Plus, cleaning a bulky blender can be time-consuming, and an immersion blender is simpler to clean.

Immersion blenders, like traditional blenders, can tackle many tasks like making dips, smoothies and sauces, so you’re bound to get a lot of use out of one. The only drawback is immersion blenders can struggle with ice cubes.

Prices for immersion blenders vary a bit, but they generally aren’t too expensive. The Smart Stick Hand Blender from Cuisinart costs $34.95.

Dehydrator

You may think a food dehydrator is an extravagance, especially if you have an oven, but small appliances like toaster ovens, slow cookers and dehydrators actually waste less energy.

Excalibur, kitchen gadget

Photo: Excalibur

Food dehydrators are useful because when you dry foods, you can store them longer. This can help you cut down on food waste. Fruits, meats and herbs can all be dried in a dehydrator, in addition to other foods. Using a dehydrator instead of your oven is more energy efficient, wastes less time and makes it easier to control the temperature, according to The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy’s food blog.

Larger dehydrators like the one pictured above from Excalibur allow for plenty of other uses, too, such as making yogurt or leavening bread. Or, if you’re feeling especially creative, you could make your own pet treats or use the appliance for arts and crafts. Going hiking or camping? Dried food also packs well for travel.

A top-of-the-line dehydrator isn’t cheap, so shop around for a size and style that works best for you. The Excalibur model pictured above runs about $350, but they also offer smaller models. Other smaller dehydrators, like those available at Target, cost as little as $40.

Learn More About Drying Food: 5 Ways to Start Preserving At Home

Continue Reading: More Gadgets

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Brillo: Shining bright at 100

By Dean Shipley

Staff Writer

 

When it comes to making an iconic household product which has been used for a hundred years, London Ohio cleans up. You could scour the universe, but there is only one place in the entire world where the venerable Brillo soap pad in manufactured: it’s London, Ohio.

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Brillo soap pad and it’s being celebrated. The factory at 110 West First Street is the site of today’s party, which include company officials, local and state-level dignitaries.

But the celebration has already begun. Armaly Brands, owner of the brand, began the celebration Jan. 14 with its campaign “Brillo It Off,” said John Armaly, Jr. president and CEO of Armaly Brands.

“Brillo® has been cleaning American households for a century now,” said John Armaly Jr.. “Our year-long celebration is a thank you to generations of loyal consumers who have found real results from our products over the years. We look forward to the next 100 years of providing consumers with the quality they have come to expect and trust from Brillo®.”

Armaly said the brand is as strong as ever and drawing more people to its cleaning power than ever before.

He said Brillo is being used by people who had never before used a soap pad.

 

Production of it has been a part of the economy for a century and the factory will continue to offer sustainable employment going forward.

While the brand moves forward, it is worth the time to cast a look backward to see where Brillo came from.

By the early 20th century, aluminum cookware was replacing cast iron cookware in the kitchen. The more aluminum home cookware came onto the coal-fired stoves, the more a need arose for a durable cleaning product. Those aluminum utensils — though much lighter than cast iron predecessors — blackened as they sat on the burners of the coal-fired stoves. Those lightweight cooking pots soon took on the sooty appearance which was totally unacceptable.

A cookware salesman saw the need for a tough, effective cleaning product to make those utensils sparkle again. He began working with his brother-in-law, a jeweler and together they developed a solution. Concocting a combination of soap, jeweler’s rouge (powdered ferric oxide) and fine steel wool from Germany they offered a product to scour the pots and pans as they began to blacken. It worked. So well, in fact, the salesman added it to his product line.

The steel wool scouring pad plied with soap and the mildly abrasive jeweler’s rouge scored a clean hit with consumers to the point the creators were savvy enough to seek a patent. As they spoke with New York attorney, Milton Loeb about the patent, they realized they were short of funding. They offered Loeb a partnership in the business and he accepted. On Jan. 31, 1913, Brillo was born.

By 1921, the production of Brillo moved to London, where the steel wool for the pads had been produced by Williams Manufacturing. Though it has had several owners since that time, it is securely in the hands of Armaly Brands, which has striven to keep it true to its original mission: to tackle tough cleaning jobs. But Brillo became more than just a household cleaning tool.

In 1964 with the help of two assistants, artist Andy Warhol used the industrial design of the Brillo shipping carton as inspiration for his own rendition of art. He created 80 plywood boxes and replicated in silkscreen with precision the artwork on the original shipping carton. Warhol’s assistant said prepping and silk screening all 80 boxes took six weeks to complete. They were part of a series of works he executed along with the Campbell’s soup cans.

In 2010 Brillo® was acquired by Armaly Brands, maker of industry leading Estracell® sponges. As a result, a new line of Brillo Estracell®…More Sanitary! sponges were introduced, continuing a long history of innovation from one of the world’s most trusted household cleaning brands.

Today, the company provides a wide variety of household cleaning products and remains dedicated to one ideal…helping people everywhere enjoy clean, healthy lifestyles.

 







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‘Strong Momentum’ in 2013: Whirlpool CEO

“We’re coming off low levels and we have a long way to go before we come to what we consider to be a norm,” he said.

On Thursday, Whirlpool reported higher-than-expected profits in the fourth quarter in an environment of slack demand in Europe and North America.

Whirlpool said fourth-quarter net earnings had fallen to $122 million, or $1.52 a share, from $205 million, or $2.62 a share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, Whirlpool earned $2.29 per share, while analysts expected $2.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Reuters contributed to this report

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Skillet’s AWAKE Becomes Only Active Rock Band to Go Platinum in 2012

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Skillet

Skillet's AWAKE Becomes Only Active Rock Band to Go Platinum in 2012

Talk about starting the year on a high note: two-time Grammy-nominated rock band Skilet were in the studio putting the finishing touches on their highly anticipated new album when they received the great news that their most recent release, AWAKE (Atlantic/Ardent/INO), has just been certified platinum for sales in excess of one million copies in the US. It’s worth noting that Skillet was the onlyactive rock band to achieve platinum certification in 2012, and were one of only three rock bands (the other two being Mumford Sons and the Black Keys) to strike platinum in 2012. “We are so proud of Skillet for this crowning achievement,” stated Craig Kallman, Chairman/CEO of Atlantic Records and Julie Greenwald, Chairman/COO of Atlantic Records. “The band is hard at work finishing up their incredible new album which we can’t wait for the world to hear this Spring.”

Skillet (singer/bassist John Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist Korey Cooper, drummer Jen Ledger and guitarist Seth Morrison) is recording in Los Angeles, where they’ve re-teamed with producer Howard Benson (Motorhead, My Chemical Romance, All American Rejects), who helmed 2009’s Awake.

Giving a bit of a sneak peek into what the record will sound like, lead vocalist John Cooper says that “Musically, this record feels like a roller coaster ride. Several tracks are aggressive with dirtier and edgier guitars. Korey’s keyboards are extremely unique and Jen’s great vocals are showcased throughout the album. There are some powerful anthems and the ‘signature Skillet’ songs our fans tend to love: symphonic, classical rock duets.”

AWAKE was a blockbuster release for Skillet, debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart and No. 1 on the magazine’s Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums Chart. In addition, the record hit No. 1 on iTunes’ Top Album Chart, garnered 3 Billboard Music Awards and spawned four hit singles including the No. 1 Active Rock smash and gold-certified “Awake Alive,” the gold-certified “Hero,” “It’s Not Me It’s You” and the platinum-certified “Monster.” “Monster” lived up to its name, selling more than a million copies and hitting Top 5 at Active Rock radio, while its Companion video has generated over 47 million YouTube views. The hook-happy “Hero” was featured in season-long spots for NBC’s NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL and served as the official theme song for WWE’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View. The band toured endlessly in support, playing to sold-out crowds across the country, which earned them a spot on Pollstar’s Concert Pulse Chart of the Top 50 Tours for fall of 2010. Awake followed the band’s 2006’s gold-selling album, COMATOSE.

In other words, it was business as usual for the quartet, who over the course of the past few years have sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone, racked up more than 150 million YouTube views and amassed a diehard following (dubbed Panheads) whose members number in the millions.

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Deda "Kitchen Delights To Go"

“Deda Designs is a boutique design label specialised in kitchen accessories. Is was created by Saray Levin and Einat Nahary, two designers and two very close friends. Among our products you can find printed aprons, cloth napkins and placemats, bamboo cutting boards and a great variety of printed kitchen towels. The thought of originality, visibility and responsibility led us to look for a unique solution for our packaging. We decided to use recycled fast food packages, such as sandwich packs, salad containers and paper bags, to house our kitchen products”

 

 

Our goal is to introduce as many eco-elements to our manufacturing process as possible – in packaging, product, as well as factory compliance. Our packages are also considered as eco products, by meeting the base criteria of being either recyclable, reusable and responsible. They are free of any plastics, using only PET (recycled plastic) or PLA (cornstarch) materials.

Designed By: Deda Designs

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Northwest calendar

Today

“Art of the Cosmos” – Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte. Colorful images of star clusters and nebulae highlight the work of regional astro-photographers and artists. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Reception: 5:30-7:30 p.m. today. Included in $8 admission. 742-6455.

Friday

First Friday Artisan’s Market – The Marketplace, 3841 W. River Road. More than 30 artists show and sell jewelry, photography, paintings and dinnerware. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. the first Friday of the month. Free. 574-5535.

Toddler Storytime – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Stories, songs and rhymes for accompanied children 18 to 36 months old. 10-10:30 a.m. Fridays. Free. 594-5580.

Joe Bourne Tribute to Lou Rawls – DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, SaddleBrooke. Joe Bourne and his combo, featuring vocalist Angel Diamond. 7:30-9 p.m. Feb. 1. $24 in advance; $27 at the door. 825-2818.

FX Live – Oro Valley Church of the Nazarene, 500 W. Calle Concordia. Event for parents and kids to illustrate how they can work together. Parents and kids participate onstage in a variety of games and challenges. Presented by Kidz Blitz. 7-8:30 p.m. Feb. 1. $5 in advance; $8 at the door. 297-8297.

Friday Fun Knitters – Foothills Mall, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd. Knitters of any skill level are welcome. Meet at the Food Court. 10 a.m. Fridays. Free. 293-0781.

“My Friend From India” – The Comedy Playhouse, 3620 N. First Ave. Comedy. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. $18; discounts available. 260-6442.

Saturday

SCORE Business Counseling – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Free one-on-one counseling. Make a one-hour appointment by calling 229-5300. 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 2. Free. 594-.5580.

New West – DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, SaddleBrooke. Musical trio. 4 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2. $22 in advance; $24 at the door. 825-2818.

Catalina Community Swap Meet – 77north Artworks and Marketplace, 16733 N. Oracle Road, Catalina. Vendors: $15, bring shade and table. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Free to shop. Feb. 2. Free. 825-4427.

Mason Center Saturday Morning Bird Walks – Mason Center, 3835 W. Hardy Road. A brief presentation is followed by a slow stroll around the half-mile trail. Advance signup required; email volunteer@tucsonaudubon.org online. 8-9 a.m. Saturdays. Free. 209-1811.

Tucson Mountain Park Birding Walk – Tucson Mountain Park Ironwood Picnic Area, 1548 S. Kinney Road. Join birding expert John Higgins for a guided bird walk. Spot canyon towhees, rufous-winged sparrows, Gila woodpeckers and other birds of the desert Southwest nestled among the saguaros and ironwood trees. 8-10 a.m. Feb. 2. Free. 615-7855.

TeenZone Movie and Popcorn – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. 2:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 2. Free. 594-5580.

Science Saturday: Will Mars Be Our Next Home? – Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. Examine challenges and possibilities involved in taking human civilization to Mars. Presented by Tucson L5 Space Society. 2-3 p.m. Feb. 2. Free. 594-5200.

Sunday

Piano Inspirations of Mary Beth Carlson to Benefit Youth on Their Own – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 7575 N. Paseo del Norte. 3-4:30 p.m. Feb. 3. $15 suggested donation. 293-1136.

Monday

Baby Storytime – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. For accompanied babies up to 18 months. Activities development and learning. 10-10:30 a.m. Mondays. Free. 594-5580.

Tuesday

Abbett Mystery Book Club – Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. 2-3 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month. Free. 594-5200.

Read to a Dog – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Children practice reading to trained and certified therapy and service dogs. 2-3 p.m. Feb. 5. Free. 594-5580.

Preschool Storytime – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Designed for 3- to 5-year-olds and their parents or caregivers. Children do activities designed to promote development and learning. All programs are designed for parents to participate with their children. 11:30 a.m.-noon Tuesdays. Free. 594-5580.

Wednesday

Writers’ Workshop – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Discuss your project and discover creative writing techniques. Presented by Alexis Powers. 9-11 a.m. Feb. 6. Free. 594-5580.

Family Storytime – Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. Opportunity for parents to introduce their children to reading and language in a fun way. 10-10:30 a.m. Feb. 6. Free. 594-5580.

Piano Pumpin’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Revue Starring Ross Martinie Eiler – DesertView Performing Arts Center, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive, SaddleBrooke. Concert features popular hits from the 1950s and ’60s including “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” 7:30-9 p.m. Feb. 6. $25 in advance; $30 at the door. 825-2818.

Family Fun Astronomy Night – Flowing Wells Library, 1730 W. Wetmore Road. University of Arizona Astronomy Club and graduate students will give a presentation on the solar system, star classifications, Earth’s atmosphere, magnetic fields and the moon. 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 6. Free. 594-5225.

Go to dailystarcalendar.com for more calendar listings and to submit an event at least three weeks in advance.

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KitchenAid microwave cited in fire cases


Millions of kitchen appliances are sold every year. Of course, when you buy one, you assume it’s safe.

Yet government documents show there are an estimated 147,000 appliance fires every year. Many are the result of human error. But a new Consumer Reports investigation reveals some are caused by the appliances themselves.

The Queen Anne High School condominiums are in a lovely, landmarked building. But tenant Joe Lyons is afraid for his safety. The condo board says he’s one of ten residents who’ve reported KitchenAid microwaves that have started on their own, and in at least in one case caused electrical arcing.

“I feel unsafe, especially when I heard the stories around the building of the sparking being so intense it sounded similar to fireworks,” Lyons said.

A fire in a Florida home started in a microwave that was not in use, according to the official fire report.

Both incidents, reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, involved the same microwave — KitchenAid model KHMS-155-LSS.

Consumer Reports looked at thousands of pages of CPSC documents in its investigation of appliance fires, including many obtained through its Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Forty-one of the CPSC reports involved KitchenAid microwaves that turned on by themselves, some causing fires,” said Dan DiClerico, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports also examined 82 similar reports involving some GE microwaves, six of which involved serious fires.

“The reports listed various models, but 30 complaints involved the GE Spacemaker line of over-the-range microwave,” said DiClerico.

None of those microwaves has been recalled. And the problem is not limited to these two manufacturers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission told Consumer Reports it has “an open investigation into the safety of kitchen appliances, including microwaves.”

If you have a problem with your microwave, unplug it and get a technician in to look at it. And it’s a good idea to know which circuit breaker turns off the microwave in case of an emergency.

Whirlpool, which owns KitchenAid, says it has not been able to verify a single report of a self-starting microwave.

GE told Consumer Reports that it “has investigated unverified reports of ‘self-start’ and found them to constitute product quality, not product safety, concerns. Many have been determined not to be ‘self-starts’ at all.”

It you’re experiencing a problem with any appliance, Consumer Reports says notify the manufacturer immediately and report the problem to saferproducts.gov.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2013. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org.

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