Category Archives: Kitchen Gadgets & Tools

Best Single Serve Coffee Maker

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What is the best single serve coffee maker for those on a budget? Check out this post to discover what we found...

What is the best single serve coffee maker for those on a budget? Check out this post to discover what we found... What is the best single serve coffee maker for home use?

That was the topic dujor yesterday when I made a quick stop at Starbuck’s for my afternoon “caffine fix”, and some of the regulars at my neighborhood shop were having a somewhat heated discussion on the topic. And, of course, I had to add my 2¢.

A short while back, I published a post about my favorite grind and brew coffee maker. In that post I referenced the Hamilton Beach Grind and Brew single serve coffee maker as the one I use when I just need one cup to get through my day. I recommended it in that post, and still highly recommend it now…


It was quickly pointed out that, even at the sale price of $159, it was outside of most household budgets, and besides, most folks don’t necessarily want a grind and brew machine.

Well…in that case…

Meet the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker. It’s the one I used for a very long time before I got into grinding my own beans.

It’s one of the least expensive single serve makers around (especially if you buy it at While it doesn’t feature all of the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive machines. it will

  • Brew using single-serve packs, coffee grounds or soft pods
  • It is compatible with K-cup packs
  • It has better coffee extraction than the leading competitor
  • The adjustable cup rest allows for standard-size cups or travel mugs
  • It has durable, stainless steel features and dishwasher safe, removable parts
  • It’s available in 3 colors, black (shown), grey, and red

It does, however, have a couple of “shortcomings” that you should know. For instance, while it does have better coffee extraction than other machines, I suspect that it’s because the brew cycle is a bit longer (almost 2 minutes per cup). On the bright side, that gives the hot water more time in the coffee grounds, allowing you to use less coffee per cup and still have the strength that you desire.

And, while it was never a concern for me, some folks don’t like the idea of the water hopper only holding 10 ounces at a time, meaning you’ll have to refill it each time you brew a cup.

Those things aside, I don’t think you’ll find a better single serve coffee maker than the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker in it’s price range. Why not check it out for yourself…

the Best Single Serve Coffee Maker

Grind and Brew Coffee Maker | It Doesn’t Get Any Fresher Than This!

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Discover how a grind and brew coffee maker can take your coffee enjoyment to a whole new level!

Discover how a grind and brew coffee maker can take your coffee enjoyment to a whole new level!
In a post earlier in the week, I wrote about my favorite home espresso machine. While I dearly love my espresso, sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. Besides, Hubby isn’t too keen on espresso, but does love a good cup of coffee (2?, 5?, 11?) in the morning. For this I use a Cuisinart grind and brew coffee maker (actually, I do have another machine that I use on certain occasions, but we’ll get to that a bit later).

If you read my espresso maker post, you understand 2 things about me and coffee:

  1. I am a coffee addict! It’s my favorite drink (with the possible exception of a fine sippin’ bourbon on a chilly day!)
  2. I strive to make (or buy) the best coffee available!

And, for both of those reasons, I only use freshly ground coffee beans.

And, for the sake of simplicity, I use a grind and brew coffee maker. Having a machine that grinds fresh beans and brews fresh coffee is just easier.

Before we get to the coffee maker, though, please bear with me while I tell you what I think is necessary for making the best coffee, period.

The Water: Coffee is over ninety percent water. If the water has any taste at all, it will affect the taste of your coffee. If your tap water at home is not totally clear and taste-free, use a good filtered water available at any market.

The Coffee: You want good, taste free water because all of the flavor should come from the coffee.

The thing about coffee, however, is the fact that the oils that give it it’s flavor begin to degrade very quickly when the bean is broken (it’s the one flaw in pre-ground coffee). If you want to make a coffee shop quality drink, then you must start with the whole bean.

[Side note:]

When purchasing whole coffee beans, remember that the farther away (in time) the beans are from the roaster, the lower the quality will be. You should buy only about 2 weeks supply at a time to keep the quality at it’s highest.

Note…Some folks advocate freezing coffee beans to protect their freshness. While I do not agree with this, you can make up your own mind. Read this article and decide for yourself…

Now, put it all together with your new Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew Coffeemaker (I use it and I love it!).

It’s fully programmable, makes from 2 to 12 cups of amazing coffee, and has a charcoal water filter to remove any impurities from your water. You may remember that I mentioned how important the water quality is to making good coffee.

It also lets you control everything, from the amount of coffee ground each time, to the number of cups you’re making, to the strength of the brew itself.

And…unlike some of it’s competing machines, the Cuisinart coffee bean hopper holds 8 ounces of coffee beans in a sealed environment to keep out air and moisture, making every pot “roaster fresh”.

If you’re thinking of getting one for your home, check out Amazon first (they’re currently on sale at over 50% off!).

OH! I almost forgot about the other one…

As I said earlier, Hubby doesn’t get the coffee cravings that I do throughout the day, so, when I just need a cup to “take the edge off”, I pull out my Hamilton Beach Grind and Brew single serve coffee maker. While it doesn’t have all of the settings available on my Cuisinart, it makes an excellent cup of fresh brewed coffee.

So, if you’re someone that only needs one cup of coffee at a time, the Hamilton Beach will serve you well!

Oh, and it, too, is on sale at Amazon! Check It Out Here >>

The Best Home Espresso Machine

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I recently discovered what I believe is the best home espresso machine that a person can buy without “breaking the bank”. If you’re thinking of getting an espresso maker for your home, you may find my story helpful…

Discover the best home espresso machine that you can own without breaking the bank! I grew up in a small Texas town just across the Sabine River from the swamps of south Louisiana. The culture in my small town was more Cajun than Texan, as the people from south Louisiana had settled there for the many jobs offered by the local oil and gas refineries in the area.

Now…Cajun people love strong, hot, black coffee, and that’s the only kind that was served in our house. It was a dark roasted blend of coffee and chicory from the Seaport coffee company. As a child, I remember my father telling me that you could drink one cup of my mother’s coffee and all you needed for the rest of the day was hot water!

Anyway…Making the jump from dark roast Seaport to espresso wasn’t much of a stretch. A small cafe opened in town that offered espresso all day (this was before the likes of Starbucks became so common), and I found myself there much too often.

These days, Starbuck’s, The Coffee Bean, and many others, are on every street corner and espresso flows 24 hours a day. The coffee is good, made to order, and very expensive. At least, for an espresso drinking country girl like me!

So…I decided that it would be best (and, less expensive) if I bought a machine and made my own.

I bought a manual stovetop pot from Amazon and set about learning to make espresso in my own kitchen. And, I can tell you that it was a real learning experience!

My coffee was okay, but there was no danger of me putting Starbuck’s out of business…if you know what I mean!

For some years, I drifted along alternating my homemade drink with the expensive store-bought stuff that I couldn’t afford. Several times, I looked into buying a real expresso maker, but they were soooo expensive! A person could spend thousands of dollars just to be able to make good espresso at home!

Then, finally, Mr Coffee introduced their espresso machine for less than $50. I couldn’t get one fast enough!

Believe Me!   It was way better than the stuff I was making, but still wasn’t “coffee shop” good. I started to feel that the problem was not the espresso makers, but was “operator error” instead! What I needed was a “idiot-proof” espresso maker!

And…I found one! Thanks to my friend Geraldine, a fellow espresso addict that I met at Starbuck’s a year or so ago.

Meet the De’Longhi 15in. Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine – The Best Home Espresso Machine That I’ve Ever Seen!

Meet the De'Longhi 15in. Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine - The Best Home Espresso Machine That I've Ever Seen!My first encounter with this amazing machine was actually in Geraldine’s kitchen. We were at The Coffee Bean one afternoon and she mentioned that she had ordered a new machine from and expected it to be delivered that day.

I’m not sure of exactly when it arrived, but it was three days before she called and invited me over to check it out.

Trust Me! It was worth the wait!

This small machine was making “coffee shop quality” espresso on Geraldine’s kitchen counter. She had ordered some
Lavazza Italian espresso with the machine, and it was amazing!

I ordered one for myself that very day!

I’ve had it for several months now and love it! A few of the many benefits include:

  • The machine maintains the optimal temperature so you can brew cup after cup instantly (especially important first thing in the morning!)
  • The filter holder that comes with the machine allows for single shots, double shots, and even one that accommodates K-Cup style coffee pods, if you want to go that way. I still prefer Lavazza Italian Espresso, But that’s just me.
  • You can create a creamy froth by simply selecting “cappuccino” or “hot milk”, and the frother will adjust the level of foam on its own.
  • The bottom tray of the unit is easy to adjust or remove to fit taller cups (important if you’re an espresso addict, like me!). And, best of all…
  • It brews barista-quality espresso, cappuccino, and lattes right on my kitchen counter!

Personally, I feel that the De’Longhi ECP3630 Espresso Machine is the best home espresso maker for me!

Check out the short visual tour below, then order one for yourself today!

Salad Tongs: A “Must Have” For Every Kitchen

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Shop our unique selection of salad tongs gathered from the four corners of cyberspace...
One of life’s obscure axioms is that, in most homes, salad tongs are gadgets that are never considered until they are needed.

Then, it’s often too late. Your guests are arriving and you’ll be forced to serve with the “ole spoon & fork” once again.

If all of this sound too familiar, then you are fortunate to have landed here. I have spent considerable time and spared no expense to research and gather together some of the most unique and beautiful salad tongs from around the internet. Feel free to take this opportunity and pick one of these beauties up for your kitchen.

Totally Bamboo Salad Hands

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Totally Bamboo Salad Hands Salad Tongs

  • Constructed of high quality Moso bamboo
  • Excellent for entertaining or everyday use
  • Easy to maintain; wash with warm water and occasionally use Totally Bamboo’s Revitalizing Oil to extend life and beauty

Available Online at

Bobbi Jean’s 2pc Salad Tong Set & Bonus Spatula

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Bobbi Jean's 2pc Salad Tong Set & Bonus Spatula

These quality kitchen tongs feature stainless steel handles & BPA-Free silicone tips for easy and safe food handling. Use the 9″ tongs for salads & the 12″ for barbecue grilling. The tongs also feature a handy lock ring that helps save some storage space in your kitchen. The sleek, ergonomic design makes them easy to handle and they’re heat-resistant to 480F so you can use them safely on the stove top or in the oven. We’ve also included this BONUS quality pea green-colored, 10″ spatula with stainless steel handles & silicone tips to round out your kitchen gadgets and help make both food preparation and cooking a breeze.

Available Online at

The Premium Connection Rubberwood Salad Tongs

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Premium Connection Rubberwood Salad Tongs

And Now…for something truly unique, these rubberwood salad tongs will be a “conversation starter” at any dinner party.

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Ironwood Gourmet Acacia Wood Spring Salad Tongs

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Ironwood Gourmet Acacia Wood Spring Salad Tongs

Made of beautiful and enviromentely-friendly Acacia wood, which is a hardwood that is grown on all continents.

Perfect for serving up all types of salads.

Grab the green stuff with these handy tongs from Ironwood Gourmet.

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Browne & Co Cuisipro 11-Inch Salad Tongs

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Browne & Co Cuisipro 11-Inch Salad Tongs

These sleek and elegant utensils have been designed to add practicality and style to every kitchen.

Made of heavy gauge stainless steel, they feature a beautiful mirror finish and an elegant design for serving all types of food.

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Hand Juicer: Black & Decker 34-Ounce Citrus Juicer

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Enjoy freshly squeezed juice at home anytime with the Black and Decker 34-Ounce Citrus Juicer

Enjoy freshly squeezed juice at home anytime with the Black and Decker 34-Ounce Citrus Juicer (model CJ625). The juicer’s uniquely designed reamer squeezes every last drop of juice out by spinning clockwise then, upon lifting, counter-clockwise. The adjustable controls allow for customized amounts of pulp and built-in cord storage keeps the cord neat and out of the way. All parts are dishwasher-safe for fast and easy cleanup. The motor stops working automatically when you remove the fruit from the cone.

Available Online at

Enjoy freshly squeezed juice at home anytime with the Black and Decker 34-Ounce Citrus Juicer