Carpe Diem Cooking

I’m sure we’re all a little blue over the fact that summer is coming to an end, but we've discovered some new kitchen gadgets to add some fun to your end-of-season cooking and grilling.

Fire Wire circular skewers are a grilling alternative.

A cable-style barbecue skewer, Fire Wire holds twice as much as traditional skewers and is designed with a tip that remains cool when left outside the grill for easy turning.  String on the foods, marinate on the skewer overnight and pop on the grill. The stainless steel wire is dishwasher safe and doesn't rust.

The Peel 'n Slide adjusts for easier peeling.

Attack those carrots, potatoes and radishes with Peel 'n Slides double sided peeler.  Slide the colorful orange, neon green or aqua ergonomic handle to one side or the other selecting between two stainless steel blades. One is for hard skins while the other is for soft. The non-slip handle locks into place.  Eye removers on both sides help dress up potatoes. $7.99.

Sipping Stones cool beverages without diluting them.

Iced tea, sodas and cocktails stay cool without diluting their flavor with ice cube alternative Sipping Stones. Cut from nonporous pure soapstone, the little squares are chilled in the freezer then popped into drinks where they maintain the temperature for a half hour or longer. Sipping Stones come in gray or white in a muslin drawstring-carrying bag. Perfect for outdoor entertaining. $14.95.

Pressure cookers prepare foods faster and without overheating the kitchen.

Instead of overheating the kitchen, cook stews, tough meats and chunky vegetables in a fraction of the time in Fissler's updated pressure cooker.  An audible lock and special color display in the handle indicates that the cover is snapped in place before it builds pressure for rapid cooking and an automatic pressure valve monitors the heat. Unlike traditional cookers, the Fissler runs with no sound, steam nor smell. $239.00.

 Preserve your bathing suit figure by mixing up low calorie daiquiris, cosmopolitans, margaritas and mojitos.  Extracted from leaves of the South American stevia plant, 200 times sweeter than sugar, Truvia comes in a Behind the Bar package that mixes with water to make the simple syrup used to sweeten cocktails with about 30 percent fewer calories. Trivia is available at many grocery chains and cocktail recipes are posted on the Truvia website.

 No more spending time pounding that flank steak with a wooden mallet to prep it for the grill. The sharp etched stainless steel blades of Microplane's Easy Prep Tenderizer are rocked back and forth softening cuts, which often offer the most flavors. An attached cover slides over the blades for protection when the implement is not in use. $19.95.

Transition the tropical drinks of summer with extra notes of ginger, cinnamon, clove and vanilla in Sailor Jerry's Rum. The 92-proof beverage, Caribbean aged, provides hints of caramel and vanilla to help smooth the way to autumn for planter’s punch, hurricanes and piña coladas. $21.95.

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