Archive | Product Reviews RSS feed for this section

A new Cave Tools product review: Stainless Steel Wood Smoker Box

28 Jan

My husband ranked these ribs as being some of the best he’s ever had in his entire life.

We recently had the opportunity to try out another product from one of my favorite companies, Cave Tools. This time, my husband was very excited to review the new tool because it was something he’d been wanting to try for a long time. The Large Capacity Stainless Steel Smoker Box allows you to smoke meat and fish on the grill and it was a cooking method we’d never tried but had always wanted to.

Smoking is an interesting method of cooking, and it takes some time, so you need to make sure you can devote the time you need in order for everything to cook properly. Because we live in an area of the country that gets cold and snowy, and it’s wintertime, we also had to make sure we were going to use our grill on a day when there wasn’t a blizzard and it was above freezing. Finally, this past weekend was the perfect day. We chose Saturday as our day to smoke a rack of ribs.

This box was a great size and fit well between our grill grates.

The Stainless Steel Smoker Box is very typical of Cave Tools’ superior product quality. Their products are always solidly made and durable. Cave Tools notes that this particular product has several features that make it stand out from the rest: Its stainless steel is 25% thicker so that it prevents warping. It has a hinged lid and large wood chip capacity for thicker smoke. There are no bottom holes, so the wood chips smolder and don’t catch fire, and its thinner profile fits perfectly between the grill grates and flavorizer bars, if you choose to use them.

As our Saturday dawned bright and sunny, Don spent the early afternoon hours preparing the rack of ribs. He created a dry rub consisting of a cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of kosher salt, a teaspoon of garlic powder and half a teaspoon of pepper (approximate measures). He rubbed it all in and refrigerated it for four hours. When he took it out at 4:00, he rinsed it off, patted it dry and then placed it on the grill.

Following the directions that were contained in the box, he filled our smoker box with 100% natural hickory wood chips and set it on the grill over the heat, and waited for it to start smoking. He then placed the rack of ribs on the opposite side. It took approximately 15 minutes for the box to start smoking. He never flipped the ribs over, but rather rotated them every so often to make sure they were cooking evenly.

After two hours, barbecue sauce was added to the meat for the final 20 minutes.

 

 

 

As the cook time neared the end, barbecue sauce was added to the meat for the final 20 minutes of cook time.

Throughout the evening, we could smell the smoker cooking the meat outside, and the aroma was heavenly. We could not wait to try the ribs. The anticipation was exciting and we were very much looking forward to our dinner.

As we dug into dinner, we were thrilled with our results. The ribs were incredibly good. My husband ranked them as being among the top five best rib meals he’s had in his lifetime, and that’s saying a lot, as we’ve had a lot of ribs in our time!

The meat came right off the bone and the flavor was just delicious. We savored every bite and we each had seconds. When we finished eating, I was so glad that there were still more ribs left on the tray for leftovers later this week, as I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to them just yet.

If you’re looking to try out smoking on your grill, I highly recommend the Cave Tools Stainless Steel Smoker Box. If you choose to buy it from Cave Tools directly, you can use the code SMOKERBOX15 to get 15% off your purchase and order here. Should you choose to go through Amazon.com, instead, you can use this link.

Like all the Cave Tools products, this product has a lifetime warranty, should you have any issues with it. I know we can’t wait to use ours again!

The meat came right off the bones of the ribs, just as it should.

*Although I was compensated for this review with a free product, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Cooking with our newest Cave Tool: Stainless Steel Vegetable Grill Basket

27 Nov

The latest and greatest new Cave Tools product for our collection.

If you’re a long-time reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know by now how much we enjoy the cooking tools that Cave Tools sends us to try out. Last week we had the opportunity to give a new one a try and it might just be our very favorite one yet, the Stainless Steel Vegetable Grill Basket.

Cave Tools products can’t be beat when it comes to durability and quality and it’s one of the things we like best about them, especially because we cook at home on a grill and on a campfire when we are camping away from home with our camper. Their products are great for both. We also love that their tools are affordable and budget-friendly for consumers because those things are important to us too.

For our latest product trial, we opted to grill some fresh zucchini, squash, red onion and eggplant to go along with some grilled salmon and pesto that we were having for dinner. Coincidentally, the salmon was being grilled utilizing a Cave Tools product too, the small fish basket, and we were able to fit them side-by-side on our grill, which was so convenient. Even though we were using our vegetable basket to grill vegetables, it could also be used to grill other foods as well, such as shrimp or chicken, as well as other vegetables, fruits and meats. The fact that this tool is truly a basket, vented to let the grilled taste in, made for more flavorful veggies than if we’d tried grilling them in a foil pack. They were easily contained thanks to the depth of the basket, nothing fell out, no ripped foil packet, and no veggies dropping through our grill grates.

We loved being able to grill all of our veggies at the same time, in the same basket and on the same grill as our fish. No need to try to cook indoors and outdoors at the same time.

The Vegetable Grill Basket is a great size, at 13.5 x 11 x 2.5 inches, has great depth and is able to fit a good amount of vegetables in it, more than enough for all of us to eat, and even enough for leftovers too. One of the best things about the basket was the handles on the sides that were angled and a good size for being able to carefully lift the basket off the grill with our pot-holders.

The Vegetable Grill Basket is available for purchase both on Amazon.com and on the Cave Tools website. To purchase on Amazon, visit this link. To purchase it on the Cave Tools website, visit this link and be sure to utilize their special discount code to receive 15% Off: VEGGIE15  while you’re there.

As always, this Cave Tools product has a Lifetime Warranty with 100% of your money back, even if you’re not satisfied with your product at some point down the road. Although we’ve never needed to use this warranty, we love a company that stands behind its products forever.

I’m craving these all over again!

**Thanks to Cave Tools for sharing their product with us.

Although I was given the product in exchange for this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.**

A Cave Tools product review

29 Sep

This fish basket keeps the fish off of the grill itself, and is dishwasher safe.

I love grilled salmon. I love it plain, but I love it even more when it is smothered in pesto sauce. This past week, we chose to have grilled salmon with pesto sauce for dinner one night and I had the chance to try out the latest Cave Tools product that I had been given to review.

The basket is made of stainless steel and comes in two sizes, large and small. Here, we have the small and we were able to fit four salmon steaks inside of it. We found that thicker fish works better than a something like a piece of flounder would work because the thicker fish holds itself together better.

Our fish cooked well in the fish basket, and we recommend using a non-stick spray to help keep anything from sticking to the basket itself. However, should you have anything stuck to your basket, it’s easy to just put it right into the dishwasher and it all comes off.

One of our favorite ways to eat salmon, this time using the Cave Tools small fish basket.

The Cave Tools small fish basket is easy to store, given its compact shape and size and fits right into a cabinet or inside the bottom drawer of a stove when not in use. Its small size also allows for other things to be cooked on your grill at the same time, which was helpful to us since not everyone likes salmon as much as we do at our house! By keeping things separate on our grill, my husband and I could have salmon while the kids could enjoy hot dogs.

Although we have not tried it ourselves, I have also read that grilling vegetables is made easier in the fish basket and I’d like to give that a try. Sometimes grilling things such as asparagus can be tricky on a grill, given the wider spaces between slats. This might just be exactly what we needed to solve that problem.

Our salmon came out great and we enjoyed our meal very much. If you’re looking for the Cave Tools small fish basket, you can find it here on their website or on Amazon as well. If you choose to purchase directly from the Cave Tools site, you can use the coupon code FISH15 to receive a 15% discount.

Of course, all Cave Tools products come with a lifetime warranty in case you’re not happy with your purchase. There is also a free downloadable BBQ recipe guide included with your purchase.

**I was given a free product in exchange for an honest review of this product. Although I was compensated for the review with the free product, all thoughts, opinions and statements are my own.**

 

 

 

Cave Tools Pigtail Food Flipper: a great new tool for summer grilling

30 Jun

We’ll be taking these with us to the campground this summer!

It’s officially summer! Summer means so many things, but one thing it means for us is grilling. Another thing it means for us is camping.When we camp, we grill! Therefore, I was very excited when Cave Tools asked me to try out another one of their fabulous products. I have reviewed several of their other grilling tools and have yet to be disappointed.

The Pigtail Food Flippers arrived on our doorstep just as we were creating our menu for a week’s worth of meals, and we put steaks right on the menu so we could try out our new tool. We would be grilling at home, but soon we will be camping and we’ll be grilling over a campfire. These new tools, a pair of two-one longer and one shorter-seemed to be perfect for all the grilling we do. Although we were doing steaks on this particular night, the tools are great for so many other things, including bacon, chicken, hot dogs and ribs, just to name a few ideas.

The Pigtail Food Flipper was great for grilling steaks, but it has many other uses as well.

When I asked my husband what he liked about the new Pigtail Food Flippers versus using a spatula, a fork or tongs, he said that the shape of the hook which made for easy flipping.

“I liked the way the hook was shaped,” he said. “All you had to do was hook the meat and flip it rather than trying to get a spatula underneath. I also liked that it came in two sizes, I didn’t have to use a big one for a small piece of meat and I won’t have to use a small one for a big piece.”

The tool was super-easy to clean because they’re dishwasher safe, and to store, which is a big plus for a small kitchen. Additionally, the handles fit well into the palm of your hand, much more comfortable than the flat form of a spatula.

You can find this great new tool set in two places and it’s very affordable. It’s on Amazon here, and on the Cave Tools website here. If you choose to order from the Cave Tools site, there is a great 15% off discount available by entering the coupon code PIGTAIL15 at checkout.

As we pack up for camping, we’ll be including our Pigtail Flippers, and I encourage you to check them out too!

 

***I was given a free product in order to do this review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.***

 

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Two weeks of meals and a new recipe for you

8 Feb
This was a recipe we tried out a couple months back and loved, so we put it on the list again this menu cycle.

This was a recipe we tried out a couple months back and loved, so we put it on the list again this menu cycle.

The weeks are flying by! Today I have a two week menu for you, and a new recipe that we recently tried, loved for Loaded Baked Potato Soup, and therefore, just made again. In fact, it is my lunch today, left over from last night’s dinner, as I write. I know that I mentioned last time that I love the Skinnytaste blog, and although I don’t usually share from the same spot so many times in a row, I’m going to have to make an exception in today’s post, which really shares more than one new recipe with you. Thanks to Gina for making such delicious healthy recipes!

Without further ado, here is two weeks of menu inspiration for you.

Sunday (Superbowl): Don’s Chili, Teriyaki Wings, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Baked Zucchini Rounds with Marinara (her recipe calls for sticks) Here is an alternate recipe for Baked Zucchini Fries from our lunch at the White House that we also love.

Sticks or rounds, using gluten free bread crumbs, these are a favorite treat at our house.

Sticks or rounds, using gluten free bread crumbs, these are a favorite treat at our house.

Monday: Baked Potato Soup from the Skinnytaste Blog. You can see her recipe here, which also calls for the addition of sour cream as a topping option. We did use turkey bacon on ours.

Tuesday: Hot Dogs and Potato Puffs (Mom’s out on this night, this is NOT my favorite dinner. At least the hot dogs are turkey hot dogs! And there is at least one of my kids who is of the belief that Potato Puffs aka Tater Tots, are a root vegetable. That’s another issue for another day.)

Wednesday: Paninis

Thursday: Steak Lettuce Tacos I shared this recipe on my last two weeks of meals post. I won’t say whose recipe this is…any guesses? Click the link and see!

Friday: Homemade pizzas (This and Nachos are often our go-to Friday night meals.)

Saturday: Chicken nuggets and mac and cheese (all gluten free) not homemade, tonight is a kids’ night in, parents’ night out for a 7:30 theater show, something we very rarely ever get to do, and we have a final end of season basketball game until 5:30, so desperate times call for desperate measures! This is probably one of their favorite meals when it comes to the not-good-for-you kind of meals, but this is real life. It’s not all good for us all the time. The mac and cheese is a white cheese, organic kind, and the nuggets are better than some we have found, as good as we can get in a frozen, breaded, gluten free tenderloin. And to boot, I have no idea what or where we parents are even are eating, given our time crunch. So there’s that.

Sunday: Baked chicken dinner, a Sunday favorite of ours which uses one of my favorite Pampered Chef  bakeware items.

Monday: Chicken, veggie and rice soup (homemade, gluten free with white rice)

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Pasta with meatballs

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: First night of school vacation week, so dinner is currently TBA

Cave Tools BBQ Brush Review

25 Mar
Look at the difference between our old brush and the new Cave Tools Brush!

Look at the difference between our old brush and the new Cave Tools Brush!

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and being New England, we had snow today. There is a funny saying here that is, “If you don’t like the weather here, wait five minutes and it’ll change,” and it’s so true. That said, yesterday was nice enough out to cook on the grill, while today, it’s a completely different world outside.

Luckily we had the day yesterday to marinate a London Broil and cook it on the grill for dinner. Our grill is super old. We’ve had for more than a decade, almost two, since we moved into our house. Parts and piece of it have been replaced through the years, but the old bones of it are the same. We tend to be the type of people where if something’s not broken, we don’t fix it, and so as long as our grill is in good working order, we’re still using it.

That said, we’ve gone through many grilling tools throughout the years. We’ve bought some, received some as gifts, and they’ve come and gone, not really anything too noteworthy, over the life of the grill.

Recently however, we were given the opportunity to try out the new Cave Tools BBQ brush, in exchange for an honest review of the product. Given how much we’ve loved all of the Cave Tools products so far, I jumped at the chance to give this brush a try. If it could clean our old grill, it could clean anything! The brush we had been using for a while was on its way out, but we still had it, and when you put one next to the other, you can see that there is just comparison in the quality of the two.

Looking at the newly cleaned right side of the grill versus the uncleaned left side, you can see what an amazing job the BBQ brush did!

Looking at the newly cleaned right side of the grill versus the uncleaned left side, you can see what an amazing job the BBQ brush did!

When I read the features of the brush on the Cave Tools website, I liked what I saw. It’s 100% rust proof, it’s got a heavy duty strength clip which holds together three brushes which allows for maximum cleaning power on all types of grill grates. The stainless steel bristles wrap all the way around in order to achieve better cleaning angles and longer lasting durability. It’s even safe for porcelain. When my husband used the brush to clean our grill, he said that there was a 100% difference between using the old brush and the Cave Tools Brush, and the ability for the bristles to wrap around the grates made all the difference in the world.

My favorite thing of all though, is when a company stands behind its products, and I really loved that Cave Tools provides a Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee for the brush. To me, having that peace of mind is priceless.

You can check out the Cave Tools BBQ brush on the website here, or on Amazon.com here. If you choose to order the Cave Tools BBQ brush from Amazon, you can use this coupon code to receive 15% off: V9BW7SDN.

All clean and ready for spring!

All clean and ready for spring!

 

I’m in love.

1 Feb

It’s February, and I’m in love.

My heart pitter-patters and I think about the new object of my affection constantly. What will we do together next? What new things will we try? For years I hoped and prayed I’d find love like this again. It had been so long since my last love affair.

I wasn’t even planning for this, and it has taken me completely by surprise, which I guess is the best kind of love.

1

That’s right, I’m in love with my new Stir Fry pan from Pampered Chef. Now I’m not a Pampered Chef consultant, and I don’t pretend to even play one on TV, but I.LOVE.THIS.PAN.

And I’m pretty sure my husband does too.

You see, years and years (and years) ago, my husband and I had received a beautiful piece of cookware from his grandmother. It was a nice, deep Teflon saute pan and it had a glass cover for the top and two handles for the side. I loved that pan. We used it constantly and it was the perfect size for all our meals, even as our family expanded from two, to three, to four, and finally to five hungry mouths to feed. We could saute, cook, simmer. You name it, we cooked it in that pan.

And then, one day, try as we would to deny the obvious, we realized our pan was getting old and scratched and we thought we were seeing evidence of little bits of Teflon coming off.

Clearly, you’re not supposed to use Teflon as an added ingredient in your recipes.

We had to say good bye to our pan.

I missed that pan every.single.day.

Don’t get me wrong, we had other pans. We even had two cast iron pans that we loved, but it wasn’t the same. We had to use both pans at once to make some of our saucier meals because one wasn’t deep enough to hold everything. My stir fry meals toppled over the sides of just one pan, our sauces bubbled over. We didn’t have a true matching cover to go with our pans.

I was sad.

And then suddenly, I wasn’t!

A few weeks ago, my very good-I’ve-known-her-almost-as-long-as-I’ve-known-my-husband-friend Marcia asked me if I would host a new kind of Pampered Chef party. She’s been a consultant for years and years now, and there was a new kind of party she wanted to try: a virtual party on Facebook. Would I try it?

Sure thing! I love Facebook because it’s where I get to see lots of family and friends from all over the country, all over the world! And, it’s where I get a lot of great recipes! I invited hundreds of people. Literally. I can fit a good 10-12 in my living room, but this let me be unlimited. I didn’t have to worry about space or weather or distance. I had all kinds of out of state friends on my list.

The party would last one hour and be completely virtual. No ingredients to buy, no house to clean, no makeup to put on. I could sit in my bed under my electric blanket and play along with the games, talk to my guests and watch the videos of all the great new tools that I would suddenly have to have.

As many parties as I’ve had in the past, it never even occurred to me to check out the January hostess benefits, or even to ask. Suddenly though, as I had my party, the orders started coming in. Notification after notification arrived in my email inbox. As my youngest daughter partied in my bed along with me, part playing along and part watching iCarly on the TV, I decided we’d better check things out on the hostess benefits page of my party website.

Sure enough, January was DOUBLE hostess benefits month!

Who knew?

Well, probably lots of people, but I was happily surprised!! Suddenly, even my daughter was paying attention to them and we looked at the videos and photos popping up throughout the party with new eyes.

Granted, I have lots and lots of Pampered Chef tools. I have been creating a collection of great pieces since before my wedding when I had my first party as a newly engaged young 20-something, and I use them all the time.

When all was said and done, I had earned……

Wait for it…..

$530 to spend outright, plus five half price items and one 60% off item, and I received two booking credits for people who had agreed to also have virtual parties after participating in mine, so I’d get really great discounts if I saved a few things from my list and ordered from their parties too.

I was amazed and I was so ready to shop. Normally I don’t have this much to spend.

Or should I say, I have NEVER had this much to spend.

I had a running wish list as the party had progressed, but it was full of little things. With this much money to spend, I could now afford many of those little things and then some really big, expensive things.

And that’s when it happened.

As I turned the pages of my paper catalog now in hand, I saw my newest love: the Executive Chef Stir-fry Skillet. The words Executive Chef made my heart stop for a mere second and I took in a breath as I looked at the pan. I think I even heard angels sing.

It was definitely love at first sight. It was a pan which was not Teflon, but rather a baked on non-stick aluminum. It had handles on both sides, it was ever so deep. It could even go in an oven of up to 400 degrees. What fun we would have together! I pictured all of our recipes being made right in that pan. Cranberry chicken, Chicken Marsala and any one of our favorite stir fry recipes, all bubbly and steaming and yet not bubbling right over.

After placing my hostess order, I planned out our next two weeks of meals, which conveniently coincided with the arrival of my shopping spree. I planned out all of the above and then some. Cranberry Chicken was up first, per request from one kid. Chicken Marsala was up another time, per request of another kid. Shepherd’s Pie, Taco Bake, Lasagna.

I began to daydream of cooking two pounds of ground beef at once in a pan with two cans of creamed corn mixed in for our Shepherd’s Pie, or being able to saute 15 chicken tenderloins in the pan with two cups of cranberries and two cups of water all at once for our Cranberry Chicken recipe.

Sure enough, when my order arrived and I unpacked it all, reminiscent of a child opening gifts on Christmas morning, my pan was all I’d hoped for and more. That very first night, I rejoiced as I happily made our Cranberry Chicken, and beamed as everyone commented how great it came out. My meat browned evenly, there was plenty of room for everything and it all tasted delicious. I think it tasted even better than usual in my new pan!

2

I’d highly recommend any Pampered Chef party and any of their products to any of my friends and family, always. However, I must say, this new virtual party was fantastic! It was such fun “seeing” everyone that I wouldn’t get to see at my own in-house party. It was fun watching the videos and seeing some new must-have products, but most of all, it was fun falling in love-with a stir fry pan- all over again.

Happy February!