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Best Inexpensive Small Kitchen Appliances

Recently, I heard from EC reader Douglas who has kitchen appliances on his mind:

Would you please repeat your column that describes the best inexpensive small kitchen appliances? I want to replace my mixer and small food chopper. Thanks. Your column is great. I look forward to it every day. Doug

middle age male taking notes on the sofa

After a few moments of non-productive searching, my confused self realized that while I’ve included some small kitchen appliances in the past, the column Doug was looking for didn’t exist. Now it does. Thanks, Douglas for that kick I needed and your nice comments, too.

Best Inexpensive small kitchen appliances

collage of 11 small kitchen appliances

1. Food processor

The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is simple to use offering 2 speeds, a powerful 450-watt motor, and a large feed tube. Just the perfect size and a great price, too.

Hamilton Beach food processor

 

2. Hand mixer

When selecting an electric mixer, consider carefully your specific need. If you often use a mixer for small jobs, my pick for Best Inexpensive is the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer. Comes complete with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty. If you require a more robust kitchen appliance for mixing, read on.

KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer in bright red

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9 Ways to Wage War Against Mosquitoes—and Win!

Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite, they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets, and from what I read, have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

An insect on an arm

 

Malaria, transmitted by the female mosquito, infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and in 2018 killed 405,000 people. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus, and West Nile virus.

If that’s not reason enough to hate them, they can turn a beautiful backyard, deck or patio into a nightmare area not fit for humans during mosquito season. But it doesn’t have to be that way provided you are diligent to take control of your home and property.

Mosquito trap

When I discovered we’d be dealing with mosquitoes here in northern Colorado, my research led to purchasing a Dynatrap.

This insect trap is engineered for 3-way protection. First, a UV fluorescent bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects.

Then a second lure, an exclusive Ti02 titanium dioxide-coated surface, produces harmless CO2, which mosquitoes find irresistible (no wonder they love you so much—you emit CO2, too).

Third, a powerful, whisper-quiet vacuum fan sucks insects into the retaining cage where they dehydrate and die.

Every few weeks I empty my mosquito morgue, I mean trap. A full trap is proof-positive that this thing is very effective. I’ve inspected carefully to see what’s getting trapped and while there are lot of moths, wasps, and flies, mosquitoes win the highest population prize. Dynatrap is definitely not a bug zapper. No sizzle noises, odors or other annoyances. I give Dynatrap two thumbs up and five stars, too.

DON’T MISS: Make Your Own Safe and Effective Ant Spray

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Make it Better Yourself: Homemade Coffee Creamer

Cream. It’s coffee’s perfect mate. And when that creamer comes flavored in a handy bottle from the dairy case, even more perfect, right? Oh, but so pricey!

A cup of coffee on a table

Generally, popular brands like Coffeemate, International Delight, Dunkin Donuts Extra Extra and Natural Bliss retail for $.10 to $.30 per ounce. Ouch! But you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price—and it is so easy. The hard part will be not using it all at once. Bonus: You’ll know exactly what’s in it and you can control sweetness and the flavors, too.

Stored in the refrigerator in a glass bottle or similar container with the tight-fitting in the refrigerator, homemade coffee creamer is good for at least 10 to 14 days.

Generally, homemade coffee creamers start with a base to which you add sweetener and flavor. There are two ways to make coffee creamer base—one that starts out sweet (Base Recipe #1)  and one that is not sweet to start (Base Recipe #2).

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How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with Dax Wilson, who’d recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? First, quality and taste, but also to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and all I needed to become equally enthusiastic.

A cup of coffee on a table, with Coffee bean

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13 Remarkable Things You Need to Know About How to Reuse Coffee Grounds

If you love your morning cup of Joe, it’s a pretty good bet you’re throwing out spent coffee grounds on a regular basis. Take a look at this list and you just might discover more than a few ways you can recycle and reuse old grounds so you can enjoy them over (and over) again!

Not a coffee drinker? These days local coffee shops offer their spent grounds for free. Find one near you, then stop by to pick up a bag or two.

 

 

Coffee and Compost

 

Smoke out mosquitoes

According to the EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to keep pests away. The smoke from burning used ground coffee is especially effective to send mosquitoes away because they are seriously repelled by the smell, which to humans is quite subtle. Remember this outdoor trick for your new summer barbecue.

Start with completely dry, used coffee grounds. Place the grounds in a bowl or other flat surface lined with foil and light them with a match, the way you would incense. Add a few fresh bay leaves to amplify your repellant. Set the containers(s) upwind to get the scent moving.

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Everything You Need to Know About Storing Coffee

Having reached the level of coffee snob some years ago, I don’t think I’m quite to the level of coffee geek yet, but I continue to work on it. That’s how much I love really good coffee!

A cup of coffee, with Coffee bean

As you may recall from previous posts I’ve been a home roaster for many years now. While my family and I seriously enjoy a good cup of coffee, the real reason I took up this hobby in the first place was not to achieve quality. It was to save money. Excellent quality, gourmet-level coffee is not inexpensive.

The day I spent $19.95 for 12 ounces of Costa Rican, La Minita Tarrazu roasted coffee beans—with absolutely no indication on the packaging for when this coffee was roasted—was the day I said this is crazy. There has to be a better way.

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Coffee Hacks, Tips, Tricks, and Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte

Whenever I write about my love of coffee that admittedly has turned me into a coffee snob, reader feedback is as enthusiastic as it is voluminous. I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my snobbery.

 

A cup of coffee on a table, with Brewed coffee and Bean

 

Many of you bring up interesting points—questions, too. Like what to do with brewed coffee that is no longer ideally fresh but too good to throw down the drain. Others want to know how to make your own cappuccino, lattes, and even the “steamer,” made popular by Starbucks—surprisingly containing no coffee at all.

Short of purchasing an espresso machine that uses high-pressure steam to make espresso and has a gizmo that steams the milk as well, there are ways we can improvise to create reasonable facsimiles of our favorite coffee drinks.

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How to Make Perfect Iced Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s one thing I just didn’t get until quite recently—Iced Coffee. What?! The idea left me well, cold. Coffee is supposed to be hot. Very, very hot.

And then I made a fatal mistake. I accepted a sample of iced coffee in a popular coffee shop. It was strong, sweet, creamy and icy, icy cold. Wow.

 

A cup of coffee on a table, with Iced coffee and Sugar

The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee

 

I needed to figure out how to make this myself—it was that good—because as much as I might want iced coffee again, I was not going to pay the outrageous price to have someone else make it for me. Read more

Gifts to Thrill and Delight Coffee Snobs

Even if you aren’t one, chances are pretty good you know someone who is a bona fide coffee snob. That’s because unmitigated devotion to coffee has reached epic proportions in the past few years.

For these folks, nothing says “I care” more than a gift that affirms said snobbery and love for truly great coffee. I can pretty much guarantee that any one of these coffee-related gifts will rack up some major love and respect in return. 

 

A cup of coffee on a table, with Mug and Tea

With Amazon Prime on our side, there’s still time to get those last-minute gifts before Christmas.

(Hint: You can start your 30-day free trial today, reap all the benefits and cancel once the trial is over. Easy and ethical.)

By way of full disclosure, I will admit to being a home roaster, which does earn me a certain level of coffee snobbery. I purchase green coffee beans directly from the La Minita Plantation in Costa Rica and roast those beans one pound at a time.

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