news posts

Recipes

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Nothing says July like homemade ice cream. We use this method in our FAVORITE ice cream maker, the Cuisinart from our post: Kitchen Gadgets Worth Owning!

Make the base a day before so it can chill for a good length of time. Using a cold ice cream base will form your ice cream quicker and with a nicer texture too.

Supplies

  • Small CLEAN Dish Towel
  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Mixing Bowls, Wooden Spoon, Wire Whisk, Silicone spatula…
  • Freezer-Proof Storage Container with Lid.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 2% Milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 large Hershey bar, snapped into pieces.

Directions

PREP WORK

8 to 24 hours before using the ice cream machine:

Get stuff cold. Place ice cream maker reservoir in freezer overnight or for a few days.

Prepare the base 8 to 24 hours before you intend to turn it into ice cream in the machine. This will give it enough time to get thoroughly cold, which will create better ice cream.

Our “base” is basically like a concentrated hot cocoa from scratch:

    1. In a cold medium sized sauce pan; add half-and-half, sugar, and pieces of chocolate. Place pan over medium-low heat, slowly heating and stirring the mixture with a whisk until the chocolate is melted and you can no longer feel any sugar grain textures as you stir the bottom of the pan. (Use a silicone spatula to make sure you get any hidden lumps along the walls and corners of the pan.) Turn off stove and remove from heat.
    2. Place the cold milk in a large mixing bowl, and set it aside to adjust to the room temperature while you finish the base.
    3. Use a silicone spatula to stir vanilla and cocoa powder into the warm base. Allow mixture to cool for two minutes.
    4. By a large spoonful at a time, slowly incorporate the chocolate base into the bowl of the cold milk until it is all combined.
    5. Place base mixture back in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours to chill.

Pro Tip: Experiment swapping out the chocolate for other flavors. We’ve used this cooked base method to make fruit flavored ice cream too.

  • Strawberry Ice Cream: Slice strawberries (or other fruit) and place in a bowl with a bit of sugar sprinkled over them and let sit for 20 minutes.
  • Spray a frying pan with cooking spray and cook strawberries (reserving juices) over medium-low heat until softened. (Don’t burn them, they just need to be softened.)
  • Use a silicone spatula to add the contents of the frying pan, and the reserved juices, to Step 1, where you would normally add pieces of chocolate.

Now freeze the chocolate mixture in the machine. Follow your machine’s instructions. Our method is:

  1. Put the ice cream tools like the mixers, containers, bowls, and spatulas in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer) about an hour before you start making ice cream to get them nice and cold.
  2. Set up your work space. Plug in your machine and gather your tools. You will want to move fast so have everything you will need at the ready. Retrieve the frozen reservoir and mixing paddles last to ensure they are as cold as possible when you start churning. Assemble the machine, and move very quickly to start making.
  3. Turn on your machine. Slowly pour the chocolate base mixture into the churning reservoir. Watch the liquid levels, as the mixture expands as it freezes and could overflow if too full.
  4. Place the clean folded dish towel over the hole to keep the cold air in. Return any unused portion of the base mixture to fridge. You can make more later!
  5. Set timer for 20 minutes before peeking at the progress under the dish towel. Inspect quickly to keep as much cold air in as possible. Check again in 10 minutes. Note: the machine noises start to change slightly as the mixture freezes and gets harder to turn.
  6. When your ice cream is set, turn off the machine. Remove the paddle. Quickly stir in any mix-ins with a silicone spatula, and transfer mixture to a freezer safe storage container.

Ice Cream can get a little melty in the process of mix-ins and transferring. Freeze for 10 minutes before dishing it out.

Pro Tip: When it comes to mix-ins, we found most chocolate chips and various candies got way too hard when they froze in the ice cream. Magic Shell type chocolate worked great for making our own chocolate bits or using as a topping. Snacks we could turn into crumbs, like Butterfingers and Oreos worked well too.

Cooked fruit that is then chilled (strawberries, bananas, peaches, cherries, etc.) makes better taste and texture than just mixing in fresh slices at the end.

Let us know what homemade ice cream flavor combinations you come up with in the comments of our social media; @DeAnnaAndCompany. Enjoy!

Curb Appeal

Boat Life

 

This summer, we’re enjoying the outdoors beyond our home by hopping on the nearest boat! Whether you’re manning a pontoon or just a guest on the not-so-high seas of Central Florida, we have a few boat tips, products, and even two quick boat rental reviews below.

Simple Boat Etiquette

  • Technically we’re supposed to wait on the dock until the captain grants you permission to “come aboard.”
  • Remove your shoes. They scuff the boat.
  • No spray sunscreens. There’s something in them that remove or effect finishes and stain vinyl, floors, and walls. Instead, look for traditional cream versions that are environmentally safe. Usually listed as “reef safe.”
  • Leave things as you found them. This seems obvious, but discarding anything in the water is a no-no. No matter how small, it effects the environment and the wildlife.
  • Watch out for the manatees and respect the wildlife.

Safety First

  • Boat with buddies. It’s always safer to be on the water with a friend or five, and probably more fun too!
  • Phones may not work. Tell someone on land where you’ll be. We boated for two full days and never lost our connection for texting, but making phone calls, and maps apps were another story.
  • Have an emergency plan, know where the life vests are, take a boat safety course. There are lots of resources online and some rentals may require you to complete an online course before they will rent a boat to you.
  • Know your numbers. How long, wide, and tall the boat is will be important for knowing if you can clear narrow channels and over passes.
  • Take a paper map and write down emergency or any contact numbers on it. Chart out a course online and print it before you go. Remember, phones may not always work.
  • Go slow through tunnels and around other boaters.

“ACK! SOMETHING TOUCHED MY FOOT!”

It’s Florida. If there’s water there’s probably a gator in it. Pay attention to signs, proceed with caution, and only swim in designated areas.

A Place in the Shade

Do not get on a boat without bringing a hat, 100%+ uv rated polarized sunglasses, sunscreen, fresh water, and a snack. If it’s hot outside, it can be even hotter and sunnier on the boat. By the time you realize you need any of those things, it may be too late and there are rarely any places to find those essentials in the water wilderness.

Functional Boat Style

Swim shirts with UPF 50+ protection are another way to block out the Florida sun. Quality swim shirts are completely comfortable to swim in, dry fast, and look cool too.

Found on Amazon

A good boat hat should have wide sun-shielding brims, and the ability to be cinched down with a chin strap if it gets too windy out there.

Found on Amazon

Pack a boat picnic. Snacks and water are always a good idea to have on board. Yogi Bear would be so proud of your “pic-a-nic basket” style with these finds!

Found on Amazon

How Did The Boat Rentals Go?

Overall, we enjoyed both of our rental experiences. However, it does seem a LOT more glamorous in photos than it was in actuality. While we’ve gone on day charter boats a number of times in the Keys, boat tours in Clearwater, Mount Dora, and Winter Park – and had really great experiences – renting the whole boat and navigating it yourself is a completely different experience than being a boat guest on a tourist attraction. On our own, it got kind of boring out there because there’s only so many things to do when you don’t know the lake or river that well. Traveling with a seasoned boat owner or the captains of the tourist boats and charters is a much more relaxing and exciting adventure IMO. You get to relax and just enjoy the whole experience because of all of their instinctual knowledge of the area and years of boating experience.

THE PONTOON RENTAL

We rented an 18′ pontoon from Lake Adventures Boat Rentals on Lake Eustis. The boat was VERY clean and pretty. The staff was helpful and nice. Navigating the little water channel from Lake Eustis over to Lake Dora was our favorite part of the day. Finding the entrance was almost completely hidden, but we saw a few boats *disappearing* among the foliage and followed them. I felt like Harry Potter at the train station. It was a relaxing beautiful day, floating here and there, spotting different birds, turtles, plants, and other wildlife. We parked the boat at the dock in Mount Dora to use the clean public restrooms, and enjoyed walking around downtown for a bit. The rental was easy, and there was no hassle upon our return. They even helped us bring our stuff from the cars in the morning and back to the cars at the end of our rental.

THE TINY HOUSE BOAT RENTAL

We also rented a “tiny house boat” on the St. John’s river for a few days. The owner was nice and their boat was a unique concept. The boat was cleaned, but it definitely had a “lived in” feel, that I didn’t notice in the website photos. It had a simple kitchenette set up with a very useful sink and a camping type cook top, a small bed/table combo similar to a pop-up camper, a nook for sitting, and a “bathroom.” But it was not a bathroom. It was a shoe cubby with an imposter toilet of despair. Luckily, we found the boat gas station on the river. It has a general store with clean and *real* bathroom facilities. I’ve never been so happy to hear a flush. No fault of the tiny house boat, but having been on a traditional house boat before, I think the words “house boat” combined with the photos and write up did not give my brain the reality check it needed to manage my expectations for this adventure. Also, the weather was very hot. There is no air conditioning or circulation type fan. When it stormed you’d have to close all of the windows and doors to keep from flooding, which made it even hotter. At night you had to close up everything again because the insects of Jumanji ascended on the river at 7:32PM, so it was hot all night too. However, since it was mostly heat and toilet troubles, now that I know better what to expect, we might consider trying it again one day. But ONLY in the cooler months.

“I’d Rather Be A Tourist”

There’s nothing wrong with that! Try any of the boat tours in Mount Dora. There are a few of them offering several different trip lengths and vistas. The dock is located just behind the Pisces Rising restaurant.

Scenic Boat Tours in Winter Park also offers boat tours that travel the chain of lakes and go through super narrow foliage filled channels that are really cool! The dock is just off Park Avenue at the bottom of the hill. 312 E. Morse Blvd.

Do you live that boat life? Have any tips? Have you rented a boat in Central Florida? We’d love to hear your tips and experiences. Let us know in the comments of our Instagram and Facebook for our “Boat Life” posts this month.

Home Hack

Fireworks in Central Florida

Many cities are back to pre-pandemic Fourth of July celebrations this year. Here’s a list to help plan where and how to enjoy fireworks, with options for celebrating on the holiday weekend before, and on Monday, July 4th too!

BEFORE YOU GO: Be sure to verify on the city’s event pages for location, time, schedule updates, cancellations, or changes.

CELEBRATIONS ON THIS WEEKEND:

WINTER GARDEN

City of Winter Garden’s Red White and Blues on the Plaza music night.

Where: Centennial Plaza, W. Plant Street in Historic Downtown

When: 7:00 – 9PM, Fri. July 1

City of Winter Garden’s Independence Day Celebration, live music, kids crafts, family games on the lawn.

Where: Downtown Pavilion, 104 S. Lakeview Avenue

When: 8:00AM – 1PM, Sat. July 2

OVIEDO

Year after year, there’s a great City of Oviedo Independence Day Celebration and fireworks at the Oviedo Mall. There are $20 advance purchase wristbands available that includes unlimited rides and attractions.

Where: 1700 Oviedo Mall Boulevard Oviedo, FL 32765

When: 5:00 – 9PM Sat. July 2

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS

Red Hot and Boom concert event. Admission is free. Vendors, food, beverages available for purchase. This event is put on by the radio station XL106.7 and a lot of local businesses and is known for being a concert day of nationally recognized and up-and-coming music artists.

Where: Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

When: 4:00 – 11PM Sun. July 3


FIREWORKS ON THE ACTUAL DAY:

DOWNTOWN ORLANDO:

Fireworks at the Fountain. Vendors, food, live entertainment, and family fun

Where: 512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL (Lake Eola)

When: 4:00 – 10PM Mon. July 4

APOPKA:

Vendors, food, live music, family fun at the beautiful Apopka Amphitheater.

Where: Apopka Amphitheater, 3710 Jason Dwelley Pkwy, Apopka,FL

When: 6:00 – 9PM, Mon. July 4

WINTER GARDEN:

City of Winter Garden’s Party in the Park fireworks celebration

Where: 29 W. Garden Avenue, Winter Garden, FL

When: 6 – 9:15PM, Mon. July 4 

CLERMONT:

City of Clermont Red White and Boom at Waterfront Park. Food trucks, live music, and fireworks of Lake Minneola.

Where: 330 3rd St, Clermont, FL

When: 7 – 10PM, Mon. July 4 

LEESBURG:

City of Leesburg July Fourth Celebration. Baseball, kids zone, live music, and fireworks at Venetian Gardens.

Where: 201 E Dixie Ave, Leesburg, FL (North Shore of Lake Harris)

When: 7 – 11:30PM, Mon. July 4

TAVARES:

City of Tavares Independence Day Celebration at Lake County Historic Courthouse. Street party, seaplanes, parade, kids activities until 6:30, and fireworks at 9.

Where: 317 W Main St, Tavares, FL

When: 4:45 – 6:30PM, and 9PM Mon. July 4


NON-FIREWORKS FUN

For those who do not enjoy fireworks, there are lots of day time festivities before nighttime fireworks. Most of the hours-long events above have fair-like activities, vendors, entertainment, and concerts during the day.

The city of WINTER PARK has no mention of fireworks on their website for their Annual 4th of July Celebration event for 9AM-12PM, with a decorated bike ride parade starting at 11:30AM in Martin Luther King Jr. Park and Community Playground. Free treats while supplies last, live music, and a kids fun zone. More information on Winter Park’s event page.

Where: 255 South Denning Drive, Winter Park, Florida

When: 9AM-12PM Mon. July 4

The city of WINTER GARDEN has no mention of fireworks on their website for their weekend and Monday morning celebration events:
City of Winter Garden’s Red White and Blues on the Plaza blues music night.

Where: Centennial Plaza, W. Plant Street in Historic Downtown

When: 7:00 – 9PM, Fri. July 1

City of Winter Garden’s Independence Day Celebration – live music, kids crafts, family games on the lawn.

Where: Downtown Pavilion, 104 S. Lakeview Avenue

When: 8:00AM – 1PM, Sat. July 2

City of Winter Garden’s All American Kids Parade and Breakfast-free breakfast for kids, adult breakfast available for purchase, entertainment and activities for kids. Family parade with free decoration station for bikes, scooters, wagons, and even feet for those who would like to join the parade.

Where: Winter Garden Masonic Lodge No. 165, 230 W. Bay Street

When: 8:00AM – 10:30AM, Mon. July 4


THEME PARK HOPPING

If you are in the mood to make a day of it at the theme parks, all of these Central Florida favorites mention specific “Fourth of July” fireworks on their websites. Universal Studios is even setting up a specific party zone and time for the holiday! 

EPCOT Walt Disney World,  Mon. July 4

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World, Mon. July 4

Universal Studios Orlando Mon. July 4,  party is from 5PM to 9PM

SeaWorld Orlando Mon. July 4

Fun Spot locations in Orlando and Kissimmee, website lists fireworks display is specifically for the Fourth of July, Mon. July 4 at 9PM

Home Hack

Meal Subscription Review: Hello Fresh

There are so many meal services to choose from, but none of their websites make it very clear what to expect. In fact, most sites felt like there was no information at all besides “Here is food – sign up now!” We hope to make things a little clearer for anyone out there trying to explore and compare different meal service subscriptions.

Today, we’re reviewing DeAnna’s favorite meal service: HELLO FRESH! (And sharing the recipe for the HF meal she made last night too.)

We first reviewed EveryPlate, which we found to be one of the most affordable services. You can read our review on that here: EveryPlate.

We learned that EveryPlate is a sister company to Hello Fresh, so it is no wonder we like them both. In comparing the two, we like to think of Hello Fresh as the older, fancier, often more sophisticated sister with her home completely organized and her life together. 😂 While both services are wonderful and produce delicious meals, there’s more attention to the details in Hello Fresh meal choices and the delivery method that makes it our number one choice, despite the small difference in price.

What to Expect

Your chosen meals will arrive like clockwork in a big Hello Fresh box full of fresh goodness. If you forget to choose your meals for the week, the algorithm will choose for you. Be sure to learn your “choose-by-day” deadline so that you can avoid any unwanted meals, or if you like to be surprised, let it roll the dice! From the HF website: “Choose from 50 weekly menu + market items including vegetarian, kid-approved and low calorie meals, crafted and curated by our chefs. Add ready to eat salads, sandwiches, soups and many more options.”

We were nervous about the “serving size” before we started Hello Fresh, but trust that these are real-life servings. The portions are generous enough that we finish it all and never find ourselves hungry after a HF meal. Your delivery options are available with as few as 2 servings (for 2 people), which make it ideal for a couple or a single who likes to have leftovers. If you have a family or roommates, the meals can be ordered in as many as 4 servings (for 4 people) too.

Ingredients Arrive Pre-Sorted and Measured

The sorted packaging is THE BEST. Instead of each ingredient being dumped into the box all jumbled together, Hello Fresh pre-measures and separates each meal’s ingredients into separate bags. The bags store well in the fridge and make it so easy to grab and go. You’d think things being separated out wouldn’t matter much, but it saves a lot of time in the prep-work stage. We also love that spices are included in the exact amount needed for the recipe.

Directions Are Easy

Directions are on a large card that is easy to read and understand. Ingredients and a meal photo are shown on the front of the card with directions on the back. The directions are separated out into bite-sized steps (see what we did there? 😁) which keep us from getting overwhelmed. The meal cards make it possible to re-create any meal on your own with store-bought ingredients.

PRO TIP: Hole punch and store your favorite meal cards in a 3-ring binder to make on your own in the future.

Our Favorite Feature

One of our favorite things Hello Fresh offers are the fancier add-on meal options. You can add meals to your plan at any point. Sometimes they are themed and offered around celebrations like Super Bowl, or they might just be something fancy like wood-plank salmon. We also love the variety of different bowl-type meals they offer regularly too!

Pause or Cancel

When you have a busy week or holiday plans Hello Fresh allows you to change the delivery day, or even skip a week. HF also allows us to cancel at any time and pick up again in a few weeks or months. We’ve typically skipped weeks when we are super busy, but have even cancelled when we will be on vacation, when family is visiting for an extended period, or even just to change things up for a bit. It’s never been a problem to stop and start the service again. In fact, it’s super quick to pick right back up because all of your preferences remain in your account.

Customer Service

Hello Fresh customer service is great too – they are very quick to correct and compensate for any issues.

Now, the potential cons of this meal service.

  • Many meals require a bit of chopping and prepping. Often the prep-work takes us longer than the cooking part. We don’t mind this feature, but can see how some might not enjoy that.
  • These are not pre-prepared meals you just pop in the oven. These meals are made – by you – from scratch. Meaning, from chopping the measured-out fresh ingredients, mincing, zesting, adding, stirring, sautéing, boiling… to the finished meal, you make it. Again, we like this feature because we love to cook, but can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Hello Fresh is not the cheapest meal service option, but we find the attention to details to be well worth the price. HF is cheaper and healthier than dining out, so again, we don’t find this to be a con but can see where people might. If more affordable is a must, see our review of EveryPlate meal subscription service. It’s like a lite version of the Hello Fresh experience.

Do you have a different meal service? Share your pros/cons/experience with us in the comments of our social media for this article. We’d love to hear about it!

Instagram and Facebook:

@DeAnnaAndCompany

*Note: This article is not a paid advertisement or endorsement. We really have a subscription and have enjoyed the meals and service!*

Curb Appeal

Summer Loving Butterfly Bushes!

Butterfly Bushes are a fountain of beautiful tiny flowers that butterflies cannot resist… and neither can we!

We picked up one of these plants at a local garden show, and they have been a visual delight. There are always multiple butterflies enthusiastically fluttering around the vibrant micro flowers.

It’s not just butterflies we’ve seen, but bumble bees, honey bees, and humming birds too.

The bush grows kind of like a fountain grass, leggy with the flowers growing in cone masses on the ends.

These bushes like the sun. They also must be tended to regularly by “deadheading” (cutting off) the flower cones as soon as they are spent, so that new flowers will grow.

Other Butterfly Attractors

There are many plants that make for a beautiful garden AND attract butterflies and other pollinators. Here are a few popular choices we see often at the nursery and our local garden centers.

LANTANA

 

PENTAS

 

BLACK-EYED SUSANS

 

SUN FLOWERS

 

CONE FLOWERS 

Our Current Favorite Places for Plants

  • Apopka Art and Foliage Festival: Brought to us by the City of Apopka and the Apopka Women’s Club.
  • Propagate Social House, Apopka: It’s like a coffee house, café, and plant place all-in-one! A very low key, quaint and relaxing atmosphere.
  • Kim’s Cabbage Patch, Clermont: Not just plants, but fruits, vegetables and other stuff too!
  • Lucas’ Nursery, Oviedo: A massive nursery with beautiful grounds, unique planters and lawn art, a butterfly encounter, a dedicated butterfly plant area, and just about every other plant, bush, and tree you could ever imagine.

Always Plant With Care

As with all plants, purchase locally at a nursery or approved vendor to ensure you are buying Central Florida safe plants. Inquire with an on-site plant specialist for care instructions, tips, and to know potential hazards if planting in high traffic areas, or in areas pets use.

If you need some quick tips for transplanting your plant purchases to the garden, check out our article, Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere.

How are you planting your summer gardens? Any favorite finds? Favorite plant spots? Share with us via email or by commenting on our social media posts:

@DeAnnaAndCompany

Instagram and Facebook

Home Hack

Kitchen Gadgets Worth Owning

OUR BEST KITCHEN FINDS!

Over the years we have bought or have been gifted our fair share of kitchen gadgets. In truth, 80% of them are nonsense space hogs. You know the ones, they either didn’t work as advertised, or sit on the counter or in a cabinet taking up space for YEARS with no use. However, today we are sharing our absolute FAVORITE kitchen gadgets that were well worth the money for how often we use them and how great of quality they are! The best part: we found all of them are available on Amazon! Three cheers for one-stop shopping!

The Prepdeck

prepdeck meal prep

This is a life saver if you cook a lot, and especially handy if you have a meal service or follow written recipes. This self-storing stylish cubby is a cutting board, ingredient sorter, tool hub, and even holds the the stems and ends you cut off from your produce, so you’re not combating the trash while you cook. You can even add on an attachment to hold an ipad for your recipes if that’s how you roll. It’s pricey but comes with a bunch of tools, bins, and a magnetic removable cutting board. The whole thing stores away in a sleek and minimalist manner, so it will look cute on the counter too!

Cuisinart “ICE” line of ice cream makers

CuisinArt ice cream and frozen yogurt maker

This is THE BEST ice cream maker we have ever used. If you are venturing into home made ice cream, this one is a must! Don’t get fancy or be fooled by bells and whistles, the “ICE” line is a simple machine and is the absolute best at churning out delicious ice cream /frozen yogurt/ sorbet. (Ours is a Cuisinart ICE-20.) It’s worth noting: This machine even won in a crowd and chef-based test among several competitor brands and more expensive models on The American Test Kitchen!

pizza peelAluminum Pizza Peels

If you make pizza often, frozen, fresh, or from scratch – a pizza peel is a must! A thin (but sturdy) metal peel transfers items to and from the oven with ease. We use it for pizza, calzones, breads, and anything else that bakes straight on the rack. We even use a peel to retrieve cooked pies.

PRO TIP: Make sure you pick one with a solid handle, none of those collapsing, folding, and/or bolting handles – pizzas can get heavy so you want one solid wood piece for the handle.

Pizza Stones

pizza stone

Do you make your own pizza? A REAL (thick) pizza stone will make it bake evenly every time. No more mystery moistness in the under crust. It will be crisp and perfect.

Teak and Wooden Spoons

wooden kitchen utensils

We are firm believers in the power of baking and cooking with wooden utensils. It magically makes things feel more special and they look great arranged in a vase on the counter.

make veggie noodlesZucchini Spiralizer

If you have ever thought of cutting back on your traditional pasta intake, or wanted to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, a vegetable spiralizer is the way to go! They make fancy expensive ones, attachments for Kitchenaid mixers, but my go-to is the “as seen on tv” “Veggetti” version. It takes up hardly any space, is inexpensive, and allows me to make “zoodles” at a moment’s notice, with no prep at all. One end makes thin noodles and the other makes thicker. You just stick the vegetable in one side and turn it like you’re sharpening a pencil.

Pyrex Bakeware and Storage Sets

pyrex

It can be pricey for a good set, but you will buy it once and use it for YEARS! Our Pyrex is 20 years old and still going strong! These glass dishes are great for storing left overs, cooking in, and serving too. It’s also an environmentally friendly storage option because it’s reusable and made from glass. NOTE: If you ever happen upon the vented lid versions – those lids have all lasted the 20 years and are still going strong. The plain lids bit the dust after 10 years or so – but that’s still a good run for the money!

PRO TIP: Tomato sauces and plastic lids (or bowls) are not friends. Keep lids stain-free by simply spraying the lids with cooking spray before you cover any tomato-based dishes and it will resist staining.

And now for a whole section of KitchenAid. My motto is when in doubt, choose the KitchenAid! It’s never let me down.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer

kitchenaid mixer

There’s a reason you see these everywhere. They really work, and work well. They look cute on the counter too!

KitchenAid Blender

kitchenaid blender

I was torn between this and another top brand, and I am SO glad I chose this one. It blends consistently, is reliable, and doesn’t have a million blades to clean.

KitchenAid Mini Food Processor

kitchenaid mini

This thing is great for making small-batch dressings, dips, or mincing vegetables, I’ve even used it for chopping nuts!

What are your favorite kitchen gadgets? Let us know your kitchen and cooking related must-haves in the comments on our social media:

@DeAnnaAndCompany on Instagram and Facebook

Recipes

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

potato wedges

These potato wedges are PERFECT for backyard barbecues, or even as a quick side for weekday dinners, or as an alternative to hash browns for breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 5* small Yukon Gold Potatoes. Red Potatoes work too. *This is a good potion for two people, if you’re cooking for a crowd estimate about 2.5 potatoes per person.
  • Salt and Pepper Mills (Fresh cracked tastes better.)
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425
  • Rinse potatoes, then cut into 1/2” wedges leaving the skin on.
  • In a bowl, add a large drizzle of Olive Oil, add potatoes, and 1 turn of salt* to 5 turns of pepper*. Mix to coat.
  • Spread wedges into a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake on middle rack for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Let individuals salt and pepper their portions to their tastes.

Note: *If salt and pepper isn’t your thing, you could try fry seasoning, no-salt or low sodium alternatives, rosemary, garlic… experiment with your favorite potato spices!