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Hi again! Just wanted to tell you about some of the items Babs and I use in my, er, our kitchen. Babs says she would die if she didn't have them, and I feel they would be important additions to your kitchen, too.

Everyone has a refrigerator, and for the most part, ours does typical fridge type things, just like yours. The butter goes into that compartment in the door. Eggs sit in their carton, on the middle shelve. Fruits and veggies in the crisper bins in the bottom. Babs tries to keep the temp of the refrigerator around 35º to keep everything fresh, but since the fridge and the freezer run on the same thermostat, we find we're always taking the ice cream out to soften. She tries to use whole grains in her cooking. These make themselves at home in the freezer on top. The freezer keeps the grains from turning rancid as well as bug free. The yeast is also kept there.
    Babs and I also have a 12.8 cubic foot chest freezer that she stores the true freezables in. All the leftovers and extras are immediately tossed in there. It reduces the amount of science experiments that often get discovered while cleaning out the fridge. ;oD

For cooking we have four choices (three in the winter): the electric stove, the microwave, the crock-pot and the grill. Unless we're baking we usually use either the crock-pot or the microwave as they both use less electricity than the stove.
    During the warmer months the grill gets used often. It's a portable charcoal grill and over the years that Babs has had it we have both learned one important thing: if you can get it, opt for charcoal made from reclaimed hardwood. Briquettes contain chemicals which are a bitch if you inhale them or get them in your eyes. The hardwood charcoal, when lit with a chimney starter, paper, or fat wood, is healthier and better for the environment in two ways (chemical free, reclaimed wood). It also burns hotter than briquettes, which seals in juices and cooks faster. Granted, it also means it burns faster, but because you don't have to wait for fumes to burn off this is a relatively moot point.

Our other tools include a food processor, a stand mixer, a scale, a blender and a popcorn popper. Babs believes the food processor is the greatest invention ever. You should have seen her go through withdrawal when her old processor died! Thank goodness she got a new Cuisinart for Christmas. Without it she'd never be able to include onions in her recipes. Of course she shouldn't be including them anyway since she's allergic to them. She says if they're cooked to death she's fine with them, but we keep a bottle of Extra Strength Tylenol, just in case. It also makes mincing garlic a whole lot easier! We're now saving up for some new shredding disks and a holder for them.
    The mixer is a Kitchen Aid KSS45. It's the only mixer you're ever gonna need, in our opinion. It's strong enough to knead dough for two loaves of bread, not that Babs makes much bread because she never seems to have any luck with it. If you need more power than that your last name must be Allen (grunt). We use the scale to weigh items, of course, but one of them happens to be flour. When you scoop up a cup of flour that cup can weigh as little as 3 ounces or as much as much as 6. For most recipes a 4 ounce cup is preferred. To be sure your recipes come out right we both highly recommend you get yourself a scale. The blender doesn't get much use. In fact it spends most of its time in storage, coming out only for the holidays when beverages are needing to be blended. Occasionally it gets used to turn some eggshells into powder, too. Last but not least is the popcorn popper. I'm sure you're gonna ask why we have one when we also have the microwave. The answer is: microwaves suck when it comes to popping popcorn and the microwavable stuff is expensive. Babs says she can buy bulk bin popcorn for between 75¢-99¢ a pound, cheaper than most brands of regular popcorn and definitely cheaper than the microwave stuff. What with two kids, it has already earned its keep!

Well that's the tour. Feel free to bounce back to "Some Things You Need to Know" for the link to "A Few of My Favorite Foods".

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