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Types and Designs of Cookie Cutters

Cookies are everyone's favorite snack. No matter what time of day, it seems that it becomes the ultimate comfort food for people of all ages. A cookie has to have a special taste - not bland and not too sweet. And with the texture, anything goes - whether chewy, crunchy, nutty or gooey, cookies will always be something good to sink your teeth into. It is no wonder everyone loves cookies, and to have them in fun shapes and designs can make munching on them even more special. Cookie cutters can range from the simple round ones to a more complicated cookie mold. Here are the different types of cookie cutters and designs you can find or make.

- Cutout style - This type of cookie cutter is normally made of food grade aluminum and the shape will be seen as the outline of the cookie. A snowman-shaped cutout cookie cutter will have two circles as an outline. Only the outline or the shape of the cookie can be made.

- Cookie stamps - Unlike the cutout style, cookie stamps can have the cookie bear the images on the top of the cookie. With cookie stamps, you can now see the eyes, nose, his scarf, and the smile of the snowman. However, cookie stamps will not bear the exact outline. Instead, it will also be stamped and the outline of the cookie will not follow the image. Cookie stamps are best for those cookies that have elaborate designs.

- Cookie molds - Just like any other mold, cookie molds are three dimensional. You can now see the entire body and shape of the snowman - exactly like the snowman in the porch, just way smaller and tastier.

- Cookie presses - With cookie presses, the dough comes out of the tube already shaped as desired. Instead of having to lay down the dough and cutout or stamp with the image, cookie presses have the dough inside the tube and mounted on the other end is the desired shape of the cookie.

As for designs, cookie cutter designs are generally seasonal. Come winter, popular cookie shapes are bells, snowflakes, snowmen, gift boxes, wreaths, Christmas trees, winter hats, ribbons, mittens, angels, poinsettias, or any other design associated with winter, Christmas, and the holiday season. Spring, fall, and summer will have their own popular cookie designs. Whether as a gift or for your own baking needs, cookie cutters are versatile, fun, and innovative.

To complete the fun look of your cookies, you can place them in colorful and printed tin cans or you can place them in special boxes. There are boxes that come in different shapes as well and you can choose from plain covers to ones that have a transparent window so they can immediately see the yummy cookie with the fun shape inside. Add a beautiful ribbon or if you have special printed ribbons, those can do the trick as well. Eating cookies, different cookie cutters, different cookie topping and flavors - well, just like Cookie Monster, we all love everything cookie.


Meat Tenderizer Tool - What's Old Is New Again

Many remember when they were a kid helping Mom to prepare a meal by getting the wonderful opportunity to take a mallet (unbeknownst to us at the time that it was a meat tenderizing tool) with these pointy little teeth on them and then being allowed to just whack the dickens out of a piece of meat. Not just allowed, but actually encouraged to do so! What a treat that was, although we often didn't know why we would get the chance to do it sometimes, but not every time, Mom was cooking meat. Well, know we know.

With tough economic times, it is not unusual for families to gravitate towards the cheaper, but tougher, pieces of meat to continue to provide protein in the family diet. Without a meat tenderizer method, some of these cuts, no matter how well they are prepared, just wind up like shoe leather. Very long ago, someone discovered a trick to avoid this, and that trick was to help to break down the membranes in the meat prior to cooking - enter the meat tenderizer tool.

A very simple, yet practical, solution for converting a tough cut of meat into a tender tasty entree, a meat tenderizer is inexpensive, doesn't take long to use in the preparation of the meat, and allows for wonderful flavors to be added by the use of marinades or additional seasonings. For all intent and purposes, there are three different primary styles of a meat tenderizer tool (outside of professional cubing machines used by your butcher):

1 Hammer or Mallet Style

Often made of wood or metal, the hammer or mallet style of meat tenderizer tool works much like pounding a nail where one will strike the meat with the hammer or mallet in one spot a number of times until that area softens and the membranes break down, One then simply moves to another area and repeats the process over again.

2 Hand Masher Style

Although physically configured differently from the hammer or mallet style, this upright designed meat tenderizer tool operates in the same fashion as described above by repeatedly striking the meat until the membranes break down.

3 Blade Style

Somewhat harder to describe with words, this style of meat tenderizer tool works kind of like a punch press where the blades extend through a footing on the tool after pressure is applied downward on the handle portion. This downward pressure forces a number of blades into the meat penetrating the meat and cutting the membranes to tenderize the meat.

Known for significantly improving the texture and flavor of the meats prepared by tenderizing before cooking, the use of a meat tenderizer tool is actually required for the preparation of such entrees like schnitzel or chicken fried steak as the meats for these recipes must be "pounded out" into thin sections prior to preparation. Most often used on beef, pork, and venison, the use of this tenderizer tool is not limited to these meats as one can use this tool on poultry and fish as well. A wonderful tool in its own right, the ability to work seasonings and marinades into the meat should not be underestimated either, for short of a dry rub, it is hard to think of another method that works better.


High Tech Home Appliances and Heart in the 21st Century Kitchen

The kitchen is where life happens. The kitchen is not just where food is being prepared and eaten, it is the heart of the home where conversations take place, where memories are made and shared, where the party inevitably ends up, and where people and families connect.

As we can see through the eyes of our experts, the kitchen has come a long way - and it is going to go even further. By looking back at where the kitchen has come from and where it is headed, this report demonstrates how the kitchen has grown with the times to become one of the most evolutionary rooms in the home. It serves as an entertainment centre, a dining room, and a workspace. And this list will only expand as the kitchen continues its constant evolution.

As technology continues to advance, we see how it enhances the cooking experience, providing leading-edge, hard-working tools all creative home chefs will continue to value so they can express their own personal flare in their gourmet creations. Touch-activated controls, conversion systems and induction technology will bring premium performance and high-technology items straight into the hands of home enthusiasts. Steam assist technology in convection ranges will enable home enthusiasts to enjoy the same beautiful results as that of a professional chef. Cleaning up will be a breeze with the addition of steam assist technology to dishwashers - making dishes not just clean, but also sanitized.

The environment promises to maintain its position as a top priority for Canadians, and the kitchen will continue to reflect this prevalent issue through its evolution. Energy-saving home appliances and advanced technologies will help environmentally-aware consumers decrease their impact on the environment. And as awareness and demand build from the savvy home enthusiast, more changes are no doubt to come. Not only will kitchen appliances reflect this green trend by offering increased energy efficiency, but kitchen design materials will also reflect the desire for environmental sustainability. Additionally, the kitchen will be a place where home enthusiasts will exercise their desire to get back to nature, sampling organic foods, local, market-fresh produce and new ingredients.

Our experts have demonstrated that the social hub and heart of the home will continue to change with the times, leaving us with an interesting thought to ponder: how will those changes affect us, and what will our own evolution look like?


Cooking With Kids: Teaching Them Valuable Life Skills

Too many cooks in the kitchen can seem problematic. There are advantages to cooking with people, particularly when those people that help you cook are your own children. Getting your kids involved in the kitchen helps them in so many ways. It allows you to spend time together and also to teach them some important skills that will be useful in their lives such as cooking, cleaning, measuring, and most of all enjoyment.

It is fun to spend time with your kids in the kitchen. The first step is to choose a recipe that is easy if the children are younger, or that tastes good. Being able to sample food at different steps in the cooking process makes cooking especially tasty. When a child is involved in cooking, a couple of things happen. A child gains an appreciation for the food you are cooking and more than likely will be more willing to eat it because they helped cook it. Also, it teaches them a life skill that will be practical when they move away from home.

Another practical skill that is taught when a child helps in the kitchen is the ability to clean up. They learn that cooking is only part of what happens in the kitchen. Cleaning up as you cook decreases the amount of washing after the meal is done. Kids can see just how much time and effort go into preparing for a meal and thus will gain a greater appreciation of eating at home. When they eat out, it will also help them appreciate the waiter and all the behind the scenes people and help them understand why people leave tips or gratuity.

Cooking also helps teach some important math skills. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and other math savvy knowledge is learned in a practical and hands on manner that will make the skill a subtle one. The kids may not realize that they are multiplying when you ask how many cups you need if you are doubling a recipe. This is especially helpful when learning how to add fractions. Everything is visually displayed as well as physically handled, so the lessons tend to work for those that are kinesthetic or visual learners, but these are not the only learning types that benefit from time spent in the kitchen.

Overall, cooking with kids is fun and enjoyable. It allows you time to talk and keep up with what is happening in their lives, but it also teaches them some important skills that will benefit long after they leave home.


Kitchen Mixers Can Make You or Break You in the Kitchen

Of all the kitchen appliances I have in my kitchen currently, I would have to say that my stand mixer is the one I cannot live without. There are plenty of stand mixers out there, some more professional than others, but the hard core stand mixer I own cannot be stopped. In fact, it is the same stand mixer my grandmother received for her wedding. Some fifty years later, the stand mixer still works and will work circles around any contemporary mixer.

I own a Kitchenaid, and would tell anyone to research the products heavily before deciding on a mixer. Yes, the price on some stand mixers are a little steep, but as you can see, I have a fifty year old mixer, so price is relative. There are stand mixers that come with a large bowl and additional attachments, mostly a whisk, a paddle, and a dough hook, for those moments when you want fresh baked bread. The whisk will beat every potato you have in the household into submission, and create the most airy, fluffy and lump free mashed potatoes anyone could ever imagine. If you need lump free batters, then the paddle will be your best friend, and the dough hook is the most divine creation ever, particularly when you are dealing with stickier doughs, such as pizza or bread.

A nice thing about having a stand mixer in the house, whatever brand you choose, is that there are so many other attachments for your stand mixer, which can make you a one person bakery and restaurant, ready to deliver fantastic meals. If you need the best organic pasta, you have pasta roller and slicer available which can make you an Italian cuisine expert in moments. Is sausage more your style? There's an attachment for grinding and stuffing packaging so you can make your own kielbasas and andoulis. Have more of a sweet tooth? The ice cream maker attachment is for you!

There are very few drawbacks to owning a stand mixer. I know with mine, the only drawback would be weight, as some stand mixers can be hefty. However, appliance manufacturers are addressing this issue by creating an array of colors to coordinate your mixer with your kitchen, so you don't have to move it at all. Some may say that another drawback is trying to get ingredients into the bowl, but that is why there is tilt head stand mixers, which allow you lift the appliance and gain better access to the bowl.

Some manufacturers offer over twenty different colors in their stand mixers, while some go for a more vintage look of chrome and copper. While owning a brightly colored mixer may be fine now for your brightly colored kitchen, keep in mind that most stand mixers have incredible longevity, so twenty, thirty years from now, you could still be using that neon orange mixer in your very neutral colored kitchen. Do you really want a neon orange mixer on your counter thirty years from now? Color seems more of a debate to make on your mixer, rather than the price.

With someone just starting out in the domestic world of the kitchen, a more expensive stand mixer may not be the best idea. Particularly if they are unsure if they even want to be a cooking goddess. It would probably be more appropriate to give a gift of a less expensive mixer, unless you are one that swears by a certain brand and insist that everyone has that brand and model. We all have those family members and friends who are like that, so it's best to just go with it.


Stainless Steel Cooking Pots

Cookware is important, especially for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen. Would you believe that cookware has a significant impact on how the food will actually taste? Many people do not realize this, and there are actually quite a few options out there when it comes to finding the right cookware. Stainless steel cooking pots have several advantages that you might take into account, for instance they are extremely durable which makes them resistant to scratches, dings, and dents. This alone will ensure that you have a great set of stainless pots for many years to come.

The appearance of stainless steel cooking pots is another reason that many people will seek them out. The surface is sleep and easy to clean which means an absolute minimal amount of cleaning will produce sparkling, shining pans no matter how long or how often you actually use them.

The composition of these pans actually helps quite a bit in the creation of food as stainless steel cookware does not actually react with acids or alkaline foods. In many other pans, the chemicals would react with the pan, thereby causing corrosion and other adverse affects. This would be a serious problem and would contribute to the death of your cookware. This feature will allow you to cook virtually anything in your pans with no fear!

The price is another point that many people can agree on as a positive point for the purchase of stainless steel cooking pots. They are much cheaper than Teflon or cast iron which means you can have more pans on hand than you would otherwise. Because of this most will state that these cooking pots are the best possible option in the kitchen.

As you can see, there is plenty of reason to try out stainless steel cookware if you haven't already. These pots and pans come in a number of different forms whether you need a basic sauce pan or a large scale cooking pot. You have plenty of choices and before you know it you will have built a huge collection of cookware - especially considering the price! Now would be a great time to start looking for new pots and pans. You always have the option of buying used of course, but that doesn't mean you should. If possible, buy new and make sure that you shop online for the best possible deals.

Before you know it you'll be cooking and enjoying food made in your stainless steel pans and even enjoying those meals with your family. The time has come to reconstruct your pan collection in the name of stainless steel.


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