Quite a few wonderful new items have appeared in kitchen stores recently that are very exciting.  The first is the Cuisinart Blend and Cook Soup Maker ( Amazon.com).  The unique new blender allows users to cook on low, medium, and high while blending!  You can cook homemade soups in the blender in one simple step.  The non-stick cooking plate lets you sauté ingredients, cook them, and then blend the final product, piping ready to serve.  The blender is not just for soups.  You can crush ice, grind spices, prepare dressings, chop nuts, bread crumbs, grind spices, make lemon zest, concoct smoothies, and of course, prepare baby foods in a few minutes.  This souped up (forgive the pun) blender is a welcome addition to my kitchen!

The Sodastream Jet Starter Kit (Amazon.com) is one of the hottest kitchen toys of the year.  It is perfect for those who love their fizz but want to tailor the flavor.  This do-it-yourself carbonated soda maker allows you to skip all the excess sodium and high-fructose corn syrup in canned sodas and make pure, fresh, and delicious drinks.  The soda maker carbonates water in a BPA-free, reusable one-liter bottle in less than 30 seconds. If you don’t finish the soda, just seal it and refrigerate until ready to drink.  The Jet Starter Kit includes the soda maker, 1 60 liter CO2 cylinder, and a plastic carbonating bottle.  When the CO2 carbonator is empty, you can buy refills on line.  It’s safe, ecologically sound, and fun for everyone in the family, including the kids.  We made apple soda using frozen apple juice concentrate and soda which was fun and delish!

Can’t decide if you want apple or cherry pie?  Use the Chicago Metallic Non-Stick 9-inch Split Decision Pie Pan (Amazon.com).  Just lay one crust across both sides, choose your fillings that take similar times to cook, and voila, you have two different pies to please your fussy guests.  The best part of this pie pan is that you do also do a traditional 9-inch pie.  It has a wonderful lift and serve feature which enables easy removal without wrecking the crust.  And, the pie pan is dishwasher safe.


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