Silicone kitchen gadgets seem to be all the rage these days and for good reason. First of all they are easy to clean. Second the flexibility of the material makes for easy removal of food and allows items to be made in a variety of shapes. Third the heat safe temperature allows items to be used on the stove top, oven and even put in the dishwasher. And last but not least, with the material being reusable it can help make going green a little easier.
Assorted Silicon Kitchen Gadgets
Here are my favorite silicone kitchen gadgets I think every kitchen needs.
Bump It Off Silicone Multi Purpose Scrubber
I saw this handy gadget made by Goddess of Gadgets come across my Instagram feed and was immediately intrigued as it looked like a great sanitary replacement for my icky dish brush that was falling apart. I took a screen shot knowing I wanted to check it out when I had more time. Coincidently, I received an email a few days later asking if I would like to have a sample sent to try out. Of course, I said yes!
Bump It Off
Although, I always throw my dish brush in the dishwasher after using, the bristles seem to sometimes catch debris in them so I have to rinse it before even after being washed. Overtime the bristles wear down and becomes unusable.
After using the Bump It Off one time I was hooked. Not only did it do a nice job of cleaning the dishes and sink, it came out clean and sanitary right out of the dishwasher. As you can see with the different textures it has a variety of uses. I am going to buy a couple more to have in other parts of the house.
Silicone Oven Mits and Hot Pads
We all have done it, you go to pull the lasagna, cobbler or whatever you may be cooking out of the oven and there goes the thumb of you oven mitt right in the dish. Now you have stringy cheese or sauce stuck in the fibers of the mitt. Even after washing, the mitt will still have stains and for some reason seem mine always seem to shrink!
Silicone Oven Mitt
In the past I have laid out another oven mitt on the counter which makes an uneven surface to lay the baking pan on which is probably not the safest method. Having silicone hot pads on hand make an easy flush surface to lay out on the counter to place your hot dish. These are my favorite silicone oven mitts and hot pads but the there is quite a variety to choose from so you could certainly get the one that is perfect for you.
Much like the Bump It Off, these handy scrubbers can be a replacement for that sponge that seems to lay on the side of the sink harboring bacteria as we speak. Eventually that sponge becomes slimy and gross so it is tossed in the trash adding to landfill waste. Silicone sponges are washable and reusable which keeps your kitchen more sanitary and the environment a little greener.
Who knew baking with silicone could be so easy. From pie tins to muffin cups, the flexibility of this oven safe material allows for bakeware to made in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Silicone Baking Liners
The reusable baking liners are a great replacement for parchment paper which again cuts down on landfill waste.
The silicone bakeware can be greased or sprayed with cooking spray which makes for easy removal of food. And although, the flexible material is great for making a variety of shaped bakeware, they can sometimes be a bit flimsy, so I always place my silicone baking dish on a flat sheet type pan before filling so it can slide easily into the oven.
This adjustable silicone divider called the Bakesplit can be placed on a sheet pan or baking dish to divide different flavors of cakes, dips, casseroles , sheet pan dinners and more. Great to use during the holidays to save on separate baking dishes for every dish.
Silicone Stove Top Gadgets
Prevent stove top splatters with Frywall. This handy cone shaped gadget comes in three sizes to fit 8, 10 or 12 inch pans. Be sure to measure your pan before ordering to get the best fit and results from the Frywall product.
Silicone pan handle cover. This cover helps keep the handle of you pan cooler so you can toss and flip or just hold the pan steady while cooking on the stove top.
If you have a gap between the wall and your oven and stove combo, these handy stove gap inserts will save the day! These gap covers will keep food particles and debris from falling in between the crack of the stove and the wall.
Silicone Kitchen Utensils
From scrapers to flippers you can find just about any kitchen utensil made of silicone. The heat safe material makes these utensils easy to use when cooking on the stove top. The flexibility makes scraping out that last bit of cake batter a breeze.
Having a silicone basting brush make grilling more sanitary as you can toss it right in the dishwasher after using it on raw meat.
Silicone whisks and tongs prevent leaving marks on nonstick cookware and enameled cast iron. I learned this the hard way while whisking a cheese sauce in my Le Creuset with a wire whisk. Imagine my panic attack as I see the all the gray scratches coating the bottom of my $300 pan. I was able to clean most of the pan using a little bar keepers friend but I will certainly will never use a wire whisk again!
Measuring and Miscellaneous Silone Kitchen Helpers
Silicone measuring cups
I received this set of flexible measuring cups a gift and love the versatility. The three sizes make it easy to measure just about any quantity and the flexibility allows for easy pouring. The large one is great to put a variety of batters in and makes it easy to pour out the perfect potion into you muffin pan or on the griddle.
Silicone infusers make it easy to flavor water by filling the infuser with loose leaf tea, herbs or bits of fruit.
Collapsable items such as strainers and measuring cups saves on space in drawers and cabinets and work just as well, if not better than their metal and plastic counterparts.
Silicone Collapsable Measuring Cups
Silicone Collapsable Colander
So that is my list of some of my favorite silicone kitchen gadgets that have made cooking and clean up in the kitchen just a little easier.
I hope you try some of them out. Please comment if you have a favorite silicone kitchen gadget.
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Moving at any age can be quite an adjustment as I have learned from personal experience. The end of this article will have few tips from me on how I am coping with my own personal move as an empty nester.
But first, for parents with children, Boston-area realtor, former educator, children’s book author, and parent, Julie Etter has some valuable advice for families to navigate process of moving. Below you can read about her new book, “You’ve Survived the Move . . . Now What?”
You’ve Survived the Move . . . Now What?
By Julie Etter
The house hunting is done, the boxes are all in, and you are in your new home! All is perfect, right? It will be, but may not be just yet! In reality, the next chapter has just begun, and you want to write it carefully. Settling into your new house can be an exciting experience, but don’t overlook the necessary steps to make it “HOME.” Here are a few quick steps to making that house a home to ensure everyone is on board with setting up the space to best accommodate your family.
- Let the children have a say in some décor—perhaps it’s a paint color for their room, or input on the wall where the couch will be positioned. Your children’s involvement will add a delightful personal touch. It’s now HOME.
- Offer some consistency. Yes, it’s a new house and fresh start, but did you have a staple painting in the last eating area? Was the snack cabinet set up a certain way? You will find there are natural things you do for your set-up (e.g., glasses go in the cabinet above the dishwasher), but don’t overlook the chance to create consistency in areas that are seemingly insignificant to you because they offer familiarity to the children.
- Be efficient and get settled as soon as possible. This is easier said than done. You are exhausted from the move. Oh, and you still have jobs and a family to take care of. However, the sooner the house is settled (you know, the “main” stuff . . . your box of high school trophies that has followed you for years can stay unpacked), the sooner the kids will acclimate. Children are resilient; the sooner they can depend on stability in their surroundings, the sooner they can get comfortable.
- Have a party! Big or small. Celebrate the new home. Regardless of why you moved and if this home is bigger, smaller, better or worse, it’s yours! Celebrate new beginnings. Also, make a specific point of paying attention to the things your kids point out to guests—you will find they will be very open while giving a tour. Take note of the positives you can further accentuate or the “negatives” you could improve based on their perception.
Finally, and most importantly, give yourself a pat on the back. You are on the other end of the move and despite the late nights, details, and boxes, you are in. Your kids know how hard you worked; time to enjoy with them . . . after you give yourself another cup of coffee!!
Julie Etter is a professional, national award-winning realtor and former middle-school teacher based in Wrentham, MA. She is the author of Lily and Andrew Are Moving (Hardcover, $14.95; Kindle, $11.99), published by JT Publications, LLC. For more information, visit www.treehousebuddies.com
I so wish there was adult version of this book. It would have been helpful in my case. My move came right at the same time both my kiddos who are only 13 months a part, left for college. I was a stay at home mom and all of the sudden found myself alone in a new city. I was a bit of hot mess and am still working on things. I am in no means an expert, and I am sure there could be material out there concerning this topic for adults. For some reason I never thought to look into something like this for adults until I got this information about the book.
Although, this book is geared toward children, I thought since we are addressing the topic there might be some adults expiring anxiety from moving like I did and still do from time to time. In the meantime, while I do some research on finding an adult version concerning moving, I thought I would share some things that have helped me in the in the four years we have been in our new home.
My husband travels quite a bit for work and being an empty nester, I tag along quite often. If this is an option for you, I highly recommend packing your bag and tagging along. Even if you will be stuck at a hotel all day, it is better than sitting home alone.
Join a gym, club or community center. I know you won’t feel like it, but exercise is key to get you out of the funk you may be in. We joined a country club that has a fitness facility and it has changed our lives. Not only can we work out, the club offers a variety of activities and social gatherings where we have met some great people.
Learn to play pickleball. I know this sounds silly but it is one of the best things I have ever gotten involved in. It is still a fairly new sport, but many community centers and parks around the US are catching pickleball fever. There are often mens, ladies and mixed groups that play on certain days and times. It’s a super easy sport to learn and a great way to make new friends and socialize. It is a combination of tennis and life-size ping pong. You can read more about the game here.
Try to find other people that are new to the area as well. We have made a few friends that were in the same situation as us and to have someone that is experiencing the same thing, definitely forms a bond of some sorts. I am so grateful for these new friends. We call ourselves a “framily” because you need people around you who are like family and can help each other out.
If it is relevant to your beliefs, find a church. We are still working on this one…..
Lastly, get yourself some help or medication if you need. I have done both, I can’t say the counseling helped me much. It almost made me sadder in a way talking about home and my kids. I tried Zoloft and did not like it. You can read about my experience with that here. I switched to Wellbutrin about a year and a half ago and have to say I feel much better on it.
Again, I am no expert but do know what it’s like to be in new city alone. If you find yourself in the same situation I hope some of these tips will help you out. Please feel free to comment or email me with any tips, questions, comments you have or just want a friendly shoulder to lean on.
The Google Home voice activated device has just become my best friend. I recently had the chance to spend some time with this personal assistant thanks to Verizon Wireless. They loaned this device out to me to test for a few weeks and now it is time to say goodbye and send it back.
It is definitely more sorrowful than sweet as we part as I have gotten quite used to all the amazing things this little gadget can do.
Below are a list of some of my favorite features of the Google Home.
The ability to play music mixes. Much like Pandora, you say, Okay Google play music by (insert favorite artist) and Google will play a radio mix of that artist along with similar ones right through the built in speaker without commercials. If the music seems to loud or to soft you can also ask it to increase or decrease the volume and when you are finished listening just tell it to turn the music off.
Built in dictionary. This became my husbands favorite feature as he is a terrible speller. As he is tapping out his emails and came across something he could not spell he would ask, “Hey Google how do you spell ____________.”
Got a question? Google has the answer. I am currently following a fitness and nutrition program which you can read about here. One of the suggestions on this is to try and drink a gallon of water a day. Since my water bottle is marked in ounces I had to ask, “Hey Google, How many ounces are in a gallon?” Within seconds I get the response that one U.S. gallon equals 128 ounces.
We are fairly new to the city we live in and Google home was able to answer my questions about the closest library branch location, closest pharmacy, grocery store etc… It will even tell you the hours of business. If you know the address where you are going or even the name of the business and city, it will tell you how long it will take you to get there or how many miles away the location is.
If you are headed out of town, Google can find hotel accommodations located in the area you will be traveling, tell you what the weather will be like and how long it will take to get there.
To keep track of my daily activities, Google can set timers and create shopping lists, If you set up a payment method and delivery address, Google can order items for you and have them shipped right to your door. Just say, Hey Google, order me some paper towels or whatever you may be needing.
The Google Home device is super smart and quite handy to have around. The device is quick to get you the answers you need and would be an amazing partner to have on your Trivial Pursuit team, if anyone even plays that anymore. Maybe now with Google Home device the game will make a comeback since with the help it can provide people can actually answer those darn questions.
I wish to thank Verizon Wireless for loaning me out the Google Home device, but am disappointed I have to send it back. It will surely be missed.
For more information on the Google Home device visit the Verizon Wireless website.
If you are familiar with the stores; Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Sierra Trading Post and HomeGoods, then you have great taste! I love shopping at all the TJX Companies stores. I have been inspired to write this post after cleaning out a box of receipts I have been keeping for the past few months in case I needed to return something. After looking at the pile, and not returning much, I have come to the realization that I might have an addiction.
Although, this should probably be an inspirational post in sharing steps on overcoming addictions, it is really geared more toward feeding the addiction. This is one addiction I am not willing to give up or go to therapy for, unless it is retail therapy!
Our nest is empty and my husband travels a ton for business so it is easy for me to tag along. While he is working during the day, I am off to find the closest TJX stores and will sometime frequent 2 or 3 in one day.
With the travel, comes quite a bit of exposure to swanky shopping districts and areas with high end and luxury brands. Although, I could probably afford to make purchases now and then at one of those stores, I just can’t bring myself to do it because I know there is a good chance I will find it at one of the TJX stores!
Some of my favorite finds have been a Trina Turk swimsuit for only $49.99 that I picked up at TJ Maxx in Washington DC.
Trina Turk Two Piece Swimsuit
My Kate Spade bag I found at TJ Maxx in Chicago for only $149.00.
Kate Spade Purse
My Michael Kors bag I scored at Marshalls in Denver was $199.00.
Michael Kors Purse
I found a pair of Frye shoes for my hubby at the Marshalls in Houston for $99.00.
Frye Shoes from Marshalls
I got two Le Creuset pieces a few months apart, one large and one small in Wichita. Both were under $200 bucks, One was from TJMaxx and the other was Marshalls, what a steal!
Le Creuset Pots
As you can tell by the pile of receipts that is just the tip of the iceberg of some of my favorites!
Marshalls, TJ Maxxx and HomeGoods receipts
Pretty much every piece of clothing in my closet is from one of their stores. My favorite brands I have found there are Max Studio, Kut From The Kloth, Hudson Jeans, Paige Premium Denim, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Coach, NYJD, Bobeau, Born, Max Studio, La Blanca, Trina Turk, Born, Frye, 7 for all Mankind and more! The active wear selection is out of this world and I get plenty of work out wear with RBX and 90 Degree by Reflex being a favorite brand.
Workout Gear from Marshalls
Sierra Trading Post which is another store under the TJX belt, sells mostly online. They do have a handful of stores in Colorado and Wyoming. It is more outdoor related and carry active wear, hiking gear, climbing gear, sporting goods and an amazing selection footwear. I got the cutest pair of Lane Brand Cowboy boots online a couple months ago.
Lane Cowboy Boots
I’ve also gotten Keen and Chaco brand shoes and have bought plenty of name brand clothing as well such as North Face, Columbia, Lucy and more. Our family is into indoor rock climbing so guess where I purchased our harnesses, shoes and gear needed for that!
My husband knows when he goes to Colorado for work, a visit to the Sierra Trading Post in Fort Collins store is a must! He has also come to the realization that I need the TJX reward credit card as I would be making money with the reward certificates you receive just for using it! Please note that if you are interested in the credit card only apply for it in one of their stores or through the official TJX website as other links to apply are scams!
Most of my home decor is from HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Between the three of them it is easy to outfit your entire home. They have a great selection of lamps, pillows, bedding, curtains, towels, rugs, furniture, decorating accessories and more!
I am currently looking for a small love seat or chaise lounge to fill this big empty space in our bedroom.
Considering all of the recipes on this blog, it is safe to say I am an avid cook and get plenty of my kitchen gadgets there too!
I have started sharing some of my favorite finds on my Instagram account @sharminmeadows so be sure and follow me there to check out the latest. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
If you have not shopped at any TJX stores, I encourage you to start. I promise you will not be disappointed. If you do shop at the TJX stores, you know where I am coming from! I would for you to leave a comment below on your favorite find, or maybe I should say #fabfound!
Well, I am off to HomeGoods to look for a love seat and apply for my TJX rewards credit card!
Also to be clear I am not paid or endorsed by the TJX Companies to write this either, although I would like to be! I just enjoy using this blog to share the things that I have done a found that make living finer!
I love creating cheese plates and boards and make them all the time, no matter what the season. I wrote about creating the perfect cheese board here. I sometimes do get in a rut with using the same cheeses with Dubliner and goat cheese being a favorite.
I thrive on entertaining and cheese boards are my go to dish. I was thrilled that folks over at Wayfair sent me a link to a post about creating a cheese board for all seasons. I am pretty good at using whatever fruits may be in season to pair with the cheeses but never really thought about using seasonal cheeses.
I loved that idea so much as well some ideas on different platters to use, I thought I might share it with you. You can read about their seasonal cheese boards here.
If you have any tips for creating cheese boards or have a favorite cheese you think I would like to try, please feel free to comment below.
I love a great cheese board or plate and here are my tips for building the perfect one.
First, pick out the tray you would like to use. I prefer white, but any tray or even a wood cutting board will do the trick.
Start off with your favorite cheese. Right now mine are the Sartori line of cheeses. With flavors like merlot, rosemary, raspberry and balsamic it is hard to beat. Whole Foods Market carries most of their cheeses and I wish to thank Whole Foods Market for supplying me with a gift card to purchase the ingredients for this dish.
Once you have picked out the cheese it is time to build around it. Just like wine some cheeses pair well with other things but I am not that picky and really like an assortment of choices.
Add some fruit. Grapes are probably the most common but have fun with this and use what is in season. Apples and pears are divine in the fall while berries should be your go to fruit in the summer. Dried fruits work nicely year around. Try dried apricots or cherries.
Next add a little salt. I love Castelvetrano olives. They are slightly salty but also very mild and their bright beautiful green color is hard to beat. You could also add a few slices of cured salami or meat of choice.
Your going to want some crunch and that is where the nuts come in. I really like walnuts but any nut will do. You can also throw in some crackers for added crunch as well.
Lastly is chocolate, dark is best but you can put out whatever kind you like. That is the beauty of putting together your own.
Cheeseboards can be terribly romantic, especially this close to valentines day. Stay in this year and share a bottle of wine over your own cheeseboard creation. And then if you are still hungry, check out my recipe for Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Filet Mignon. With these two dishes up your sleeve, you may want to stay in for date night all the time!
The next time you are in charge of bringing dish to a party or hosting your own, cheese plates and boards could not be any easier, they look elegant and are absolutely delicious.
Below are some tips from Whole Foods Market on pairing the Sartori line of cheeses. Have fun trying different combinations and in no time you will have mastered your own perfect cheese board.
Sartori is a family-owned fourth-generation artisanal cheesemaker from Plymouth, Wisconsin. Each of the varieties below are based off of their BellaVitano Gold, a creamy, nutty, Parmesan-inspired Italian farmstead cheese.
Rum Runner – A Whole Foods Market Exclusive!
Buttery and slightly sweet, soaked in locally made rum.
Pairs with: Dark beers, smoked meats, and red grapes
Berry and plum notes!
Pairs with: Crusty bread, dried fruit, and hoppy beer
Bright notes of raspberry combine with hazelnut and brown-butter flavors.
Pairs well with nuts, chocolate, or light Italian red wine