If you’ve followed our blog for a bit, you most likely realize that I am a sucker for any type of kitchen gadget. Take me to a home show, trade show or RV show and I am immediately drawn to anything kitchen-y. Hubby knows this all to well and really has to work hard keeping me at bay. But then again he also knows that I don’t like shopping, could care less about jewelry, shoes or clothes so why not let a few inexpensive kitchen gadgets find their way into our coach. After all, “a happy wife makes for a happy life”, right?
So anyway, here are a few of my latest favorite things….
Do you end up throwing out bags or boxes of brown sugar because they get so hard you can’t use it? Or do you frequently throw out bags of chips or crackers because they have become stale before they should? Instead of throwing away food items, toss out those useless bag/chip clips! That’s what we ended up doing after we bought an assorted 12 pack Gripstic set ($20) at one of the RV shows. Nothing goes stale in our home any more!
Described as a “revolutionary new chip clip”, these bag sealers can be used in your fridge, freezer or pantry. According to their website, “their patented slide and seal technology locks in freshness by sealing the entire bag air tight. This reusable sealing rod locks air and moisture out to prevent your chips, pretzels, snacks, cereal from going stale, prevents freezer burn and keeps food fresh longer.”
These really do work and will seal any poly, wax, Mylar (or similar) bag so it is truly airtight. Use for cereal, chips, cookies, veggies, frozen items, etc. Simply crease the bag, start the Gripstic and slide it about three quarters of the way across, squeeze the excess air out of the bag, then finish sliding the Gripstic. The bag is now sealed airtight, chip clips just can’t compete! We now use these exclusively and things stay fresh for much longer.
The kit includes:
1 Pink 13″ Gripstic
3 Green 11.25″ Gripstics
3 Yellow 8.75″ Gripstics
3 Purple 7.25″ Gripstics
2 Blue 5″ Gripstics
After using these for awhile, I decided that I needed more so I searched on Amazon and found a cheaper, non GripStic brand alternative. Word of warning – DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY! Why? Because the slot is much smaller than that on the Gripstic and it was more difficult getting the bag into the slot. I ended up throwing these knock offs out.
When Good Morning America featured Gripstic on one of their Deals & Steals segments the beginning of October for $10, a 50% off discount, I immediately ordered another set. At the same time, I ordered the Heavy Duty Handle Set (3), which includes a 14″, 14.6″ and 17″ handle. This set normally sells for $15 but through GMA, it was only $8. These handles are not only great for making it easier to carry heavy bags but they are also perfect for sealing open bags of pet food, kitty litter, potting soil or anything else that needs to stay fresh or be protected from moisture. We use them for bags of kitty food and kitty litter.
Recently the Gripstic Waterproof Sports Pouch ($10) was introduced. Whether you are at the beach, at a water park, boating, camping or enjoying winter sports, this pouch will protect your cell phone, money, passport and other valuables from water, dust, snow and sand. For $10, it includes a 6.5″ Gripstic with adjustable, detachable neck lanyard and added security clip and a 5.5″ x 6.75″ waterproof pouch. We haven’t purchased one yet but might consider it next summer for use on the boat.
Ever cut a lemon, lime, orange or a vegetable in half or open a can and didn’t use all the contents – then what? Doesn’t make sense to throw out perfectly good food, but how to keep the produce fresh and what to use to cover the can. Wrapping it never seems to work – the wrap never stays tight and insists on falling off. Putting it in a baggie doesn’t keep it fresh. Plus the wrap or storage bag will eventually end up in a landfill, impacting our environment.
Enter the perfect solution – Food Huggers! Hmmm, that sure seemed like a good idea, don’t we all, even our food, need a hug every now and then? And if it keeps food fresher, reduces the amount of food that we toss and is reusable, thus minimizing what ends up in the land fill, it must be good! I had never heard of these until once again I was watching another segment of Deals & Steals on GMA where they were promoting the Food Huggers Best Seller Bundle for $22.50 (this set is now called “Bundle of Hugs” and sells for $45.00). Within a week, my cans of cat food, my limes and lemons were happily snuggling with my new Food Huggers!
Of course Huggers will only work on fruits and veggies that are cut in half, you will still need to wrap or bag items that are oddly shaped. Nevertheless we have realized a considerable reduction in the amount of wrap consumed. When cutting something we now tend to think ahead and try to leave a flat surface on any leftovers.
Each set contains the following sizes (first number is the inner measurement, second one is the outer measurement): Mini: 1.25″ – 2.0″; Small: 1.625″ – 2.5″, Medium: 2.125″ – 3.0″, Large: 2.625″ – 3.5″, XLarge: 3.0″ – 4.0″.
Since we’re not big avocado fans, I haven’t used the Avocado Hugs so can’t say how well they work but according to reviews I have read, they do keep the avocados from turning brown.
Although I could regurgitate all the reasons why every household should have at least one set of this product (be forewarned, you’ll be ordering more), best to check out all of the benefits and advantages on their website and to see how they work, check out this video. Food Hugger products are available on Amazon and Food Huggers website. Note we have no affiliation with either company. “If you love your food, give it a hug!”
No matter what type of cook top you use, electric, gas or induction, regulating the temperature low enough to simmer a soup, stew, gravy, sauce or whatever can be a challenge on some cooktops. That’s what I have found over the years and particularly with the Furrion induction cooktop that came with our Entegra. Although we were happy with our gas cooktop on our 2013 Aspire, we jumped on the induction bandwagon back in 2015 when we bought a Nuwave portable induction cooktop (see our review) at one of the warehouse clubs. Because the temp could be set as low as 100° on the Nuwave, it was fantastic at simmering.
Because of our experience with the portable unit, I was really pleased that our new 2017 Aspire was equipped with a two burner Furrion induction cooktop. Although I love many of the features of this product, it didn’t take long for my excitement to diminish. With the lowest temperature setting of only 150°, it was impossible to simmer anything. Instead things would boil and burn! When I complained about this to another Entegra owner we are friends with, she raved about a product she had bought – the SimmerMat. With that kind of recommendation, how could I resist! Hello, Amazon Prime!
Here’s a summary of the features of the SimmerMat Heat Diffuser:
- Works on ALL cooking surfaces: gas, electric, glass, ceramic, and induction.
- For glass, ceramic or induction cooktops, the SimmerMat should be placed on the cooking surface points down.
- Ideal for soups and casseroles, rice and oatmeal, milk desserts and sauces, melting chocolate and toffee, chutney, pickle and relishes and hot drinks.
- Helps control temperature of cooking surface to ensure long, slow cooking.
- Ideal for ALL simmering and slow cooking.
- No more “hot spots” – nothing will stick, scorch, burn or boil over.
- Replaces need for slow cooker, double boiler, and rice cooker.
- Made from high quality enameled steel
- Energy efficient.
- Dishwasher Safe.
Basically, what the SimmerMat does is create a small gap and metallic “buffer” between the cooktop and the pot or pan so less energy gets to the pan, but still maintains an even heating surface. So far, after several uses, this product appears to do everything that it claims it will do. Well worth the $15.98 (Amazon) cost.
So be on the lookout for any deals for these products! Whether you are looking for a gift for yourself, a stocking stuffer, a hostess gift or a birthday present, these are products that go beyond being a gimmick and are truly useful!