KRON 4 | Great Gifts for People On the Go for $30 and Less

Today was predicted to be one of the top ten busiest holiday shopping days of the year. If you’ve run out of gift ideas, here are some great buys for that on-the-go person in your life. I went shopping yesterday at the Sports Basement in San Ramon and was excited to find these 10 novel and practical products  — all for $30 and less!

1. Double Layer Home Socks by Woolrich- $15

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Love, love, love these cushy socks! They’ll keep your feet warm and comfy with their double outer layer and super soft inner layer. The inner layer is treated with aloe vera (yes, aloe vera!) to soothe your active feet. Not sure how long the aloe will last after repeated machine washings, but nevertheless, the fabric is silky soft.

Outer layer: 51% nylon, 39% acrylic, 7% polyester, 3% spandex. Inner layer: 97% microfiber nylon, 3% spandex.

2. Freezable Lunch Bag by Packit® – $20

It’s important to keep cold foods cold, but ice packs get wet and messy as they start to unfreeze. No ice packs needed with this bag as the freezable gel is sewn into the walls of the bag. This lunch bag fits a meal, snack, and a 12-oz bottle. It compactly folds up for easy storage, and the buckle handle can attach to backpacks and other bags.

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Step 1: Just fold and freeze the bag overnight.
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Step 2: Expand and pack.

3. Inflatable Solar Light by Luci® – $20

This lightweight little light collapses to just one inch. Great for backpacking, travel, pool/patio, home, and emergencies. Light lasts for 24 hours on the lowest setting. Charges in 7 hours in direct sunlight. Four modes: low medium, high, and one-second flashing. These inflatable lights come in a variety of sizes and colors (for soft ambient lighting).

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4. Hyperlite™ All Weather Gloves – $25

These ultra-thin gloves are wind/waterproof and can activate any touchscreen with their SoundTouchtechnology in the thumbs and index fingers. No need to remove your gloves in the freezing cold to answer your phone! Comes in men’s and women’s sizes.

KRON 4_Xmas Gifts13  Continue reading “KRON 4 | Great Gifts for People On the Go for $30 and Less”

Fit Find | Evo™ Oil Sprayer

 

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The Evo™ oil sprayer is my newest and absolute favorite gadget in my kitchen. I love it so much that I give it a “Must Have” for every health-conscious kitchen! Yes, really! It’s great for cooking, baking, sautéing, grilling, you name it.

What I Love About It

When pouring oil straight from the bottle, I would usually end up with more than I need and with oil in concentrated doses on my food or sauté pan. What I like about the Evo is that it sprays in what they call a “fan spray pattern” which is why it dispenses the exact amount of oil that I want and where I want it (great for portion control). It’s also refillable and reuseable, so it’s economical, as well as easy to clean.

I really like the trigger design because it feels good in my hand, that is, it’s ergonomic. If you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, the Evo is much easier to handle than the aerosol types. I suggest getting a pair of them — one for your favorite oil as well as balsamic vinegar. I spray fresh fish, veggies before roasting (much better than ‘drizzling’ oil all over them), and salads as well as my waffle iron, sandwich grill and baking pans. I plan to get another one to use for my own oil and vinegar dressing!

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18-oz Evo

The BPA-free Evo Oil Sprayer comes in different sizes. I have the smaller 8-oz. size (in the photo at the top) which is perfect for my cooking needs and is great for portability. They also have a large 18-oz. size (left) for the commercial cook or someone who cooks a LOT of food at home. Check out their blog for videos.

Commercial aerosol cooking sprays are horrible. They contain propellants and chemicals and they’re messy. Their inevitable overspray left a sticky hard-to-remove residue on my wood cabinets and cooking surfaces. Ugh. I also never cared for the ‘mister’ types for spritzing oils because they clogged up and were hard to clean.

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Evo is perfect for taking on picnics, BBQ’s or camping trips. I took my Evo on our last camping/fishing trip for grilling and cooking. It was so convenient to grab my Evo and go. Just be sure to lock the sprayer before you pack it up! It was so much more convenient than trying to fill up a travel size bottle of olive oil or packing up the entire bottle of oil (plus a basting brush) as I usually have had to do. Happy spraying! 🙂

Fit Find | Spicely® Lemon Pepper

Lemon pepper is a refreshing blend of the peel of real lemons and coarsely ground pepper. It’s a classic spice for grilled or baked fresh fish (chicken or turkey) and gives fresh zing to grilled, roasted or steamed vegetables, salads, salad dressings, and hummus.

Lemon pepper is often considered a tasty alternative to salt, but beware. Not all lemon peppers are alike. There are several brands on the supermarket shelves and some include salt and sugar.

This Spice Is Nice

Spicely Lemon PepperSpicely® Organic Lemon Pepper is a pure product that’s rather herbal with a touch of tang. Best of all, it contains NO added salt, sugar, processed starches, anti-caking agents, or food colorants. This seasoning is a delicious blend of: Organic Lemon Peel, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion, Organic Celery Seed, Organic Dill Seed, and Organic Turmeric.

Spicely also makes an Organic Lemon Peel if you like even more lemon-y zest on your food. Lemons add brightness and acidity to any dish. The lemon peel is granulated and delicious in soups and marinades as well.

Spicely states, “All imported spices are required to go through a sterilization process before being sold in the United States. Most spice companies sterilize using synthetic chemicals or radiation. Spicely Organics uses a process called steam sterilization, which sterilizes food products without adding any chemicals or hazardous materials.” 

The Not-So-Fit Finds

McCormick Lemon Pepper with Garlic & OnionMcCormick’s California Style Lemon Pepper with Garlic & Onion – Black Pepper, Lemon Peel, Citric Acid*, Salt, Onion, Garlic, Sugar, Maltodextrin**, Lemon Juice Solids, and Natural Flavors.

*Citric Acid is a white crystalline powder produced commercially by using a culture of Aspergillus niger (a fungus) and feeding it simple sugar. Molasses is used primarily for citric acid fermentation since it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive. A. niger uses the glucose as food and produces citric acid and carbon dioxide (C02) as waste products.

NOTE: This is the same fungus that causes a disease called ‘black mold’ on certain fruits and vegetables (e.g., grapes, apricots, onions, and peanuts) and is a common contaminant of food. In foods, citric acid is used as a flavor enhancer, preservative and emulsifier.

**Maltodextrin is a cheap filler or thickener that’s added to processed foods. It’s derived from starch, i.e., carbohydrates, such as corn, wheat, potatoes, or rice. The processed starch turns into a moderately sweet or a flavorless white powder. Maltodextrin is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, in fact, as rapidly as pure glucose. This additive is used in some spice blends as we’ve just learned, but it’s often used in:    Continue reading “Fit Find | Spicely® Lemon Pepper”

Fit Find | Chef’n® Citrus Juicer

I love adding fresh citrus juice to my food and have tried many different ways to get the most juice out of lemons and limes. I’ve tried the electric models to different manual methods. What’s most important to me when it comes to kitchen tools is efficiency, that is, I want something that’s fast, easy to use, easy to clean, durable, easy to store, and most of all, does the job.

Citrus JuicerI have to say, I absolutely LOVE my new Chef’n® FreshForce™ Citrus Juicer! It was a life saver the other day when I decided to make some mango salsa and after starting a big batch, I could only find a single little lime in my refrigerator. Rats! Normally, one lime would not suffice, but this juicer is amazing. I squeezed the lime, then rotated it around within the squeezer, squeezed again, and continued to do this until I squeezed every last ounce of juice out of this lime. WOW! And yes, I ended up with enough lime juice for my salsa!

The manufacturer states that it “produces 20% more juice than conventional hand-held juicers”. Well, I definitely found that to be true and it does so without a lot of unwanted pulp. Just like a carpenter or mechanic, when you have the right tools, your work is much more efficent, economical and enjoyable. I hand-wash my juicer as recommended by the manufacturer. FreshForce sells for $24.99.

Fit Find | Ground Chia Seeds

Ground Chia SeedChia seeds? If you’re having sudden flashbacks of your old Chia Pet® from the 1980’s and you’re impulsively singing “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” right now, you’re probably not alone. Believe it or not, we’re talking about the same ‘chia’ but… instead of watching the seeds sprout into “animal fur”, we’re eating them!

Chia seeds, like flax seeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (2.3 grams ALA per two tablespoons). These omega-3’s increase the production of anti-inflammatory substances that help prevent “cell adhesion molecules” from causing plaque buildup in your arteries.

These little seeds also pack in a good amount of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re small (little ovals) and typically black in color. To receive the benefits of the fatty acids, they need to be hydrated before eating them. These seeds can soak up to 12 times their weight in liquid and when soaked, they form a gelatinous texture which make them an excellent binding agent in baking.

chia-seed-smoothie_adobestock_77942716_croppedThese nutritious seeds now come finely ground to a powder which make them easy to blend in your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, salads, and soups. And like ground flaxseeds, they’re great in baked goods too. Spectrum® Ground Chia Seeds have been cold milled. Since Omega-3 fats are sensitive to heat, the cold milling process is a plus. On that note, be sure to store your seeds in the freezer or refrigerator to extend their shelf life because these seeds are also sensitive to oxygen (air) and light. Oxidation will affect the nutritional value of the healthy fats as well as cause them to go rancid.

*I especially like the Spectrum brand for chia and flaxseeds. They are packed in a light protective pouch and sealed airtight which is probably why they contain more omega-3’s than other brands. NEVER buy your seeds from self-serve bins or barrels in the grocery store!

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: You can substitute ground chia seeds (or ground flaxseeds) for eggs in recipes if you’re a vegan — or like me, sometimes you’re just out of eggs! Simply mix 3 tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of ground chia seeds (3:1 ratio) for every large egg. After stirring together, let the mixture sit for five minutes, then add it to your recipe.