New Toys for Grown-ups.

No, not that kind of toy. Keep your mind out of the gutter, please. I mean new kitchen toys. Recently I have acquired two new kitchen tools: a new blender and a Panini press. I think I paid a total of $80 between the two, and they have reinvigorated my kitchen.

The blender is really for breakfast, lunch, and cocktails. Marc, Kyra and I have been having fruit smoothies almost every morning with or for breakfast, and occasionally for lunch. Fat free yogurt, tons of fresh fruit, a squirt of honey, and some ice. Of course I can’t just eat that for breakfast — I would be hungry again in 3 minutes. But it feels good to get a few servings of fruit to start our day. (Garrett still won’t drink the smoothies. He is very picky about fruit for some reason, but because he will eat the fruits he likes in great quantity, I have a hard time complaining. I keep having him try different smoothies, and hoping one will stick.)

The Panini press is something I have wanted for a while. I love grilled sandwiches, and I like the idea of sandwiches for dinner. Quick, easy, cheap, but so flexible. Plus I wanted it for summer, so I could cook without turning on the stove or oven. Yes, we do grill, and have frequently in the last few weeks. But we like variety. Hence, we bought an inexpensive Panini press at Target. It fits right in my drawer with the pots and pans. Paninis are great because you can put so many different things in them, so you can eat them frequently without getting bored.

So far we have had:
– grilled chicken, tomato, mozzarella, and pesto
– cheddar and ham
– brie, pear, and prosciutto

The other great thing about my Panini press is that it allows eating in shifts. Most families have to do this, and it is one of my greatest struggles. How do you put together a respectable dinner that will be as tasty at 5 before baseball as it is at 8:30 after baseball when Dad gets home? The Panini press allows for that, because I can make a platter of fillings, and just make each sandwich as needed.

Even grownups need new toys.

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