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little BIG thing Part 2 and Bonus Recipe

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So what is a little BIG thing again, you may ask? Well, it’s something so small it really should not be worth the real estate on the blog but has changed my life in a way that is huge.  These three things are such little BIG things!

* The Chiller Wine Bag *

little BIG thing

little big thing
The tag has been replaced with branding on the bag (not shown)

This little BIG thing is so very cool. Pun intended.

We first saw The Chiller Wine Bag all over France, and we were immediately taken by its practical function and simple design.  Unlike the popcorn popper above, this is a space saver.  Maybe you can put your popcorn popper where your wine bucket used to sit.  Imagine folding up your “wine bucket” like a bag and putting it in a draw.  Well, now you can. Wah-la! Space saver and wine chiller all in one!  And it is just so darn cute.

We now are the proud owners of several wine chillers and were thrilled to see that they are also sold in the USA.  There are a couple of brands on Amazon.  I like The Chiller ($9.99/Prime) because there is no visible branding on the bag so for me it is worth the extra couple of bucks.  But if the brand name on the side of the bag doesn’t bother you there another one called Ice Bag ($7.36/Prime).

A little BIG thing Hack

You will notice that in the bag is ice and water. This hack will keep the wine cooler than ice cubes alone.  Think about it, you do not want the wine to get freezing cold but maintain the proper drinking temperature as best you can.  Ice cubes on their own have warm pockets around them since they are individual cubes.  The water displaces the air and uniformly chills the wine.

* Waring Popcorn Popper *

This little BIG thing is a result of coming full circle with a more modern design to an age old solution.  For the “old-ish” readers, do you remember making popcorn on the stove in a pan that you had to shake so it would not burn? I sure do. It was fun to do as a young kid, but it took a while. And it never tasted as good as the popcorn from those fancy machines that spun the kernels.

Then there was the microwave that changed so much. With the advent of microwave popcorn, we all thought that the clouds had parted and we were saved from the mess and dirty dishes. Then we read all the chemicals and crap that they have to put in the oil and butter to make it shelf stable.  And let’s not forget that every microwave is different and more times than not, you burned half the bag and the other half never even popped.  Every bag seemed just a bit different, so you can never get it quite right.  Oh, and you also burned your face getting a steamy facial when you pulled open the bag.

Then you google and find that you can use just a brown paper lunch bag, hooray! But you used oil in the bag, and it soaks through, and you have a real mess on your hands. And if you don’t use oil it tastes like cardboard.  If you are an “air popped” popcorn person…. how nice for you. I am sure you are also aware that your snack also tastes like cardboard.  Then my sister bought us this popcorn maker.  I swear it is the best thing since sliced bread.

little BIG thing

This little BIG thing is worth its weight in gold.

The Waring Popcorn Popper is the bomb. I know another gadget that you must find a place for in the pantry. It is entirely worth it if you love popcorn. First, it is nonstick, so you only need about a tablespoon of oil (versus covering the bottom of the pan). The spinning rods spread the oil all around, so every kernel is coated just enough. The spinning bars keep the popped kernels moving so they do not burn. You and your little kids can watch it through the see-through bowl and stop when it’s all popped.  Then put the cap on the lid (the top of the lid has steam release slots to keep the popcorn dry) and flip it over and the lid is now a bowl. Add your salt and butter or parmesan cheese and olive oil.  Enjoy.

The heated non-stick “pan” lifts off the heating element and can be hand washed with your OXO dishwashing wand as you can with the lid/bowl when you are all done.  Like I said clean up is easy.  Oh, and our favorite popcorn is Pop*Secret Jumbo.  Kernels are big and most pop quickly.

This little BIG thing makes the best popcorn.  You will thank me, and your children will also thank me (cause they can watch it pop).  And one more thing, we have had ours for at least three years, and it is still popping away.  Yeah, $54 bucks for a popcorn popper…. YES.  Worth every penny!

* USB Powered Fan *

little big thing

This, my friends, is my favorite little BIG thing. Like many others, I sit at my desk at my computer all day and sometimes all night too.  It gets stuffy with the heat little BIG thinggenerated by my iMac computer. I needed a fan.  Most fans were just two big and blew my papers and stuff too much.  I did not want another long cord on my desk; I have enough of those already.  All I wanted was a slight breeze blowing my way.  And then I found this small USB Powered Fan ($7.99/Prime) that is perfect.

The gooseneck arm is bendable.  The blades are plastic and can be stopped with your finger if needed.  And it provides just that little breeze that keeps me cool, calm and collected. I do not have a USB port on my keyboard, but if I did, that is where it would be plugged in.  I have a surge strip on my desk because I need to be swapping out electronic devices all the time and I do not want to climb under my desk a lot.  This strip has two USB ports and is perfect for my fan.

 

 

 

 


Restaurant-Style Salsa

restaurant style salsa

 

 

I sent this salsa to a potluck at the hospital where Gary works.  The quart mason jar came home empty. This is super easy and tastes just like salsa at many Mexican restaurants.

Ingredients
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 bunch cilantro leaves with only the most tender stems, washed and separated from the hard stems
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped with the seeds and white membranes removed (leave seeds and membrane if you like it spicier)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime (should be at least 2 tablespoons of juice)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: Your favorite hot sauce to taste

Preparation

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the salsa is as chunky or smooth as you like it. Use 1-second pulses to mix the salsa. Scrape down the sides as needed or stir the salsa with a spatula if there are large pieces not making it to the blade at the bottom.

Taste and adjust the seasonings: Give the salsa a taste. Stir in more lime juice or salt with a spatula, if needed. If you want a spicier (heat) salsa, you can stir in your favorite hot sauce, if you like.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a week: Give the salsa at least 30 minutes to let the flavors combine and mellow, or store it for up to a week. This salsa can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

To change it up you may use…

  • whole fire roasted tomatoes instead of plain tomatoes
  • a chipotle pepper for a smoky flavor
  • an additional jalapeño pepper for a spicier salsa

restaurant style salsa

Download Recipe Here: Restaurant Style Salsa

That’s all for now.

Cheers,

rick

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