If you're looking for something deep, move along. Today, I'm going to talk about materialistic things. In particular, two consumer products I love more than I probably should.
The first is the Pinzon Stainless-Steel mandoline slicer, which my husband, The Gryphon, and I purchased with a gift card from our wedding a year ago.
We've had the slicer for about a month, but I've only recently begun using it. I never knew a kitchen utensil could make me so happy.
A mandoline slicer, for those who don't know, is a device used to shred or slice foods like vegetables, much thinner and more precisely than you can with a knife. The first time I tried it was a couple weeks ago, when The Gryphon was making sweet potato hash. You select a blade, then take a manageable portion of the food, insert it into a holder, and run it over the blade until you get slices. With the sweet potato, I was alarmed to discover that it was pretty difficult. I was beginning to wonder if the mandoline was worth it.
This past week, I made a recipe from my Rachael Ray cookbook, which called for thinly sliced potatoes, onions and zucchini. I discovered that, when you're slicing a food that's not as hard as a sweet potato, the slicer works very well. For me, a person who doesn't get along well with knives, the mandoline is a blessing.
I flew through the chopping portion of the meal prep, taking a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise. The food also cooked more quickly, because of the slices being so thin. Oh mandoline, where have you been all my life?
The second purchase was a bit of an impulse buy. The Gryphon and I were couch shopping this past weekend, and after we ate dinner at a brew pub in the King of Prussia mall, we browsed the stores while we metabolized our beer. We walked through Sears and I was surprised to learn they sell Land's End clothing and accessories. I had been thinking of getting some new snow boots, so I tried on a pair. But since they didn't have any in wide, I thought I'd check them out online before purchasing them.
It turns out that not only do they not sell wides online, but the color selection was less and the price was higher. Guess I'd have to return to Sears to buy them in person. After my annual doctor's appointment Monday, I stopped at the Sears in the Granite Run Mall. As I was looking for the boots, I walked past a display of ThermaCare Ear Wraps. I'd been thinking of getting ear muffs, so I picked up a pair in Moss Green, along with a pair of Chocolate Brown Snow Angel boots..
I'm very peculiar about hats. While I know that most of your heat escapes through your head, making hats essential, I dislike the knit caps that dominate during winter. So instead, I wear an olive beret. I've always been fond of berets, and my Grandma liked them, too. When I wear mine, I often think of her. The problem with berets, though, is that they do not cover your ears. That can be a problem when the wintry winds begin to whip around as you're trying to, say, walk your dog.
Here's where the ear wraps come in. I tried them Tuesday, when the temperature had dropped to a wintry chill. They fit perfectly, right beneath my hat line, and it's amazing how much of a difference they made. My ears felt toasty warm, instead of buzzing with frozen pain. As the walk proceeded and I warmed up, I folded them and stuck them in my pocket.
In closing, I'd like to say, people of Land's End, my toasty ears thank you. Now I can actually look forward to winter.
You can't buy happiness, but you can buy comfort and convenience.