Hi friends, remember me? It’s been an interesting year, and I apologize for being on hiatus for so long. But when I come back, I come back with a bang… recommending something everyone will want to enjoy in their home. What is it, you ask? My friends, it’s just the thing to get your day started or the party started; it’s the Wave~Action blender by Hamilton Beach.

In college, my blender was put to pretty good use (too much mixer, not enough elixir…), but it often would take halfway melted ice to blend the perfect batch of daiquiris. Over the past few years, super deluxe blenders with more horsepower than my grocery getter have become commonplace in many homes, but they’re priced out of my reach. Then, lo and behold, here comes Hamilton Beach with a 700 watt motor to blend the perfect beverage for morning, noon and night, and at the right price.

In the mornings, I use my Wave~Action blender to put together a filling smoothie of light coconut milk, frozen bananas, almond butter and cocoa. The bananas have so much sweetness that there’s no need to add anything else. My breakfast blends quickly and I enjoy it as I walk to the train in the morning.

Grocery Gal Wave action smoothie blender

I recently hosted a barbecue and wanted to create a cocktail in advance so I could be a better hostess. Friends suggested I make something with watermelon, so I found the perfect Boozy Watermelon Mint Lemonade recipe on HostTheToast.com. My Wave~Action blender was up for the test and perfectly blended fresh watermelon, cucumbers, mint and lemon juice into a wonderful concoction, which later had vodka added to it.

Grocery Gal Hamilton Beach Wave Blender ReviewWithout the addition of some type of liquid, this blender, like any, doesn’t blend its contents immediately. However, it comes with a stir spoon which helps you move stuff around fairly easily. I couldn’t imagine my previous blender (which was twice the price 15 years ago) blend anything as well as this Hamilton Beach one does.

Not into beverages? That’s ok! I’ve also filled my Wave~Action blender with roasted eggplant (skin and seeds removed), roasted garlic, tahini and fresh lemon juice to create a killer baba ghanouj. To be honest, I’ve run it a little too long in the blender, so instead of a dip, it had more of a sauce consistency, but it was still delicious. You could drizzle it over grilled meat, or as use a creamy, dairy-free dressing.

I love this blender so much that I’m going to give one to a lucky Grocery Gal reader! To enter the contest, reply to the blog saying what you would make first in your Hamilton Beach Wave~Blender. No purchase necessary, and one entry per email. Contest ends 8/15/15 at 5pm CST.

I can’t wait to hear your recommendations!

Hamilton Beach Wave~Action Blender. Model:53514. MSRP $34.99


Dinner has always been a special occasion in my family. It’s almost always served at the dining room table with records being played in the background. It helps us unwind from our day, and we’re always cooking something from scratch.

The biggest challenge in cooking for us, as well as many families, is time. I leave the house at 6:45 and  don’t get home until after 5:30. Then it’s a hustle to think of what to cook, make it, serve it, clean it up and then the next thing you know it’s 8pm and I’m haven’t had a chance to sit (other than shoveling food in my face). I’ve found some time savings with delivered meals like Home Chef, but that’s a luxury we can’t always rely on.

With the onset of fall, I want something warm, delicious and ready to eat when I come home. This way, I can enjoy family time outside of the kitchen. Slow cookers are a great solution for people with schedules like mine. The only reason why I didn’t rely on a slower cooker more often was because mine was 30+ years old. While it worked like a charm, I would be out of house longer than the 4-6 or 6-8 hours most recipes called for.  Then I found Hamilton Beach’s Set & Forget It 6 quart slow cooker, with its programmable timer and meat thermometer that put me in slow cooker heaven!

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker Grocery GalMy favorite type of food is Indian, and I’ve had a Indian slow-cooker cookbook for years that was just collecting dust on my shelf. Why? Every recipe needed only 4-6 hours which wasn’t going to work with my schedule. Yeah, I could’ve bought a timer… and at one point I did, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it! I didn’t want to arrive from work one day to see my home burned to the ground, so the cookbook remained on the shelf.

The first recipe I tried with my Set & Forget slow cooker (mind you, I’ve used this three times in 10 days – that’s how much I love it!), was a traditional yellow dal recipe. I put all the items in the cooker, used the locking mechanism to keep the heat in and cover in place. I’m not one to read the instruction manual, but I easily figured out how to program the slow cooker. In addition to the timer, this slow cooker offered low, medium and high settings, which was a nice change from my low/high settings. Five hours later and wa-la! Perfect dal for dinner. I now have a bunch of Indian slow cooker recipes earmarked to make over the next few weeks.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker Grocery GalThe locking mechanism on the Set & Forget (best name ever) slow cooker helps keep the heat in, so the food inside seem to self-baste. If your recipe calls for water or broth, I’d recommend using half of  what they recommend; you’ll have a much thicker soup/gravy/sauce/what-have-you.

Two days later, I satisfied my carnitas tooth (yes, I do have one), with Rick Bayless’ Garlickly Carnitas Slow Cook Sauce and some pork shoulder. Married to a vegetarian, I whipped up some tofu taco meat for him, and we were ready for dinner in about 20 minutes. Perfect after a long day. I loved the smell of the carnitas cooking when I came home, but my husband, said vegetarian, wasn’t a fan of the pork goodness wafting throughout the house.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerTonight’s meal (counting down the hours till I get to try it), uses rump roast I had in the freezer. I didn’t know how to cook it, so I went to the trusty interweb for some ideas. The website PaleOMG had a great recipe which featured mushrooms, onions and garlic. I prepared everything in about 15 minutes before I got into the shower.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerAs I mentioned, my husband doesn’t eat meat, so I “Set & Forgot” about it on our back porch this morning to minimize the meat smells. I wanted to use the meat probe to gauge when to turn the slow cooker off, but I didn’t know what temperature I needed the meat to be. Maybe if I had read the instruction manual I could’ve found the answer (!), but I needed to get into the shower! Instead, I set it for 7 hours on low and am confident there will be a delicious dinner waiting for me at home.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow CookerWith school starting, daylight fading and the temperatures dropping, I cannot think of a better way to be inspired to cook a delicious, healthy meal for my family than with Hamilton Beach’s Set & Forget Slow Cooker. The 6 quart size is big enough for any large family and perfect for my small family of three. I love this product so much, I’ll be giving one Hamilton Beach Set & Forget slow cooker to one lucky Grocery Gal reader! To enter, leave a comment saying what you would want to make with your Hamilton Beach slow cooker. Get two entries if you attach a recipe/link to recipe! Contest is open until October 15, 2014. One entry per email.

Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6 Qt. Programmable Slow Cooker with Spoon/Lid. MSRP $59.99

#SlowCookerMeals

 


When I went to the International Home and Housewares Show earlier this year, I made some friends at Hamilton Beach. They offer a 6 speed stand mixer and asked if I’d try out their product and give my thoughts on it. Until recently, I thought mixers were just for people with large kitchens and/or lots of storage space. It was a great gift to add to a wedding registry; something I’d want but never buy for myself.

One of the selling points for the mixer is that it has same mixing action as KitchenAid stand mixers: a 300 watt motor, but at a substantially lower price. After reading that, I immediately asked if there were attachments available for the Hamilton Beach mixer. Unfortunately the Hamilton Beach was simply a mixer.

Grocery Gal Hamilton Beach Kitchenaid mixer

Hamilton Beach vs. Kitchen Aid

Side by side, the Hamilton Beach 6 speed mixer is more compact that a KitchenAid stand mixer. It definitely has a more modern look than the iconic KitchenAid mixer. It’s lightweight, which is helpful if you need to pull it out of cabinets or off shelves.  I did prefer Hamilton Beach’s speed control in it’s dial format. It was very easy to increase or decrease the speed while the mixer was running.

I tested it out by making some Italian style crackers, ciappe, for an upcoming party. I have found mixing dough for bread-based foods a little challenging at times; you definitely don’t want to overmix the dough. The Hamilton Beach motor was impressive – it did a really nice job kneading the dough together quickly, while keeping the mixer stable. I would say the motor was the most impressive piece of the entire machine. The three mixing attachments: a beater, dough hook and a whisk were lightweight coated metal and plastic.

Grocery Gal hamilton beach  6 speed mixer review

Cracker dough

So, how did the crackers come out? Well, not well enough to share the recipe. But you can’t blame that on the Hamilton Beach mixer!

Grocery Gal Hamilton Beach Mixer review

Mixer? Check! Dough? Check! Wine? Check!

Since the Hamilton Beach 6 speed mixer is rectangular in shape, it was easy to clean and store amongst other small appliances.  However, as someone with limited kitchen space, if I’m going to get something to automate my cooking, I need it to be multifunctional. I waited until my forties to get my first KitchenAid mixer, and I know they don’t come cheap (shhh… I bought a refurbished one!). I was choosing between a Hamilton Beach and a KitchenAid stand mixer, personally, I’d hold off, sell some stuff on Craigslist to get some extra cash, and wait for a coupon to get the KitchenAid model. For people who want to throw their ingredients in a bowl, flip a switch, and then walk away, then you’ll love the Hamilton Beach 6 speed mixer. For the more experimental cooks out there, you might feel limited.

Hamilton Beach 6 Speed Mixer. $129.99 MSRP


I received my first media pass for Grocery Gal to attend the International Home & Housewares Show, compliments of Chicago Food Bloggers and Hamilton Beach.  This is where companies both large and small showcase their products in three huge halls at McCormick Place in Chicago, and I was like a kid in a candy store with no cash. I asked many companies where their products were located, a surprising amount told me Bed Bath and Beyond. Ugh. I normally avoid that store like the plague, but I might need do dig out a 20% mailer, don some sunglasses and a hat, and stop in. My new favorite show, Broad City, seems to have a love affair with the store, too.

I digress.

The trade show was filled with color and so many crazy new products that made me want to experiment more in the kitchen and share my successful recipes with my Grocery Gal fans. I got excited over the possibilities a food dehydrator could give me!

And I’ve finally convinced myself I must save up my pennies for my dream kitchen accessory – a Kitchenaid mixer. I always thought it was a lazy person’s tool, but now I’m obsessed with them. I keep on checking eBay for vintage ones, while the shiny new Pistachio and Ice colors keep trying to reign me in. If you have anything to share about vintage versus new (I’ve heard the motors are better on the older ones), please share them below. I was hoping to snap a few pictures of some of the more obnoxious booths, but those surprisingly didn’t allow me to take photos. Enjoy some show highlights…

Kitchen Aid Mixers Grocery Gal

Torn between the pistachio and the ice

Grocery Gal Mad Millie

Next to the Kitchenaid Mixer, this is the 2nd item on my wishlist

Grocery Gal spots Pantone colored carafes

I’m a sucker for anything Pantone

Grocery Gal finds Moscow Mule copper mugs at the international housewares show

If it ever stops snowing in Chicago, it’ll be time for some Moscow Mules

Grocery Gal finds Peeps at International Home & Housewares show in Chicago

Peeps are fascinating. But I would never, ever, ever eat one.