kinda genius: straining ladle


I never knew I could love a kitchen tool the way I love this Straining Ladle from the Spoon Sisters, it’s a hybrid strainer and a ladle, and I can think of a thousand instances where I could have used one of these babies. It can scoop, pour, and filter all in the same moment. Bonus: it’s only $20! — Katie D.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: forkheartknife “quickles”

pickle group

I’ve been keeping tabs on forkheartknife, the blog of Sierra Laumer, one of the proprietors of a soon-to-open Cincinnati restaurant that will also be known as forkheartknife. I love Sierra’s energetic style — and also her food — so I asked if I could share her post on making pickles. Be sure to visit her site for other great (and sometimes surprising) recipes — beet bi-products pizza comes to mind. — Mary T.

Today I made a load of pickles for a tapas and Italian bites dinner:
– Carrots in a spicy brine of chili oil, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices
– Asparagus in a brine of Italian white wine vinegar, garlic, lemon zest, sugar, salt, and spices
– Beets in a pretty classic pickling juice
– Cukes pickled with fennel frond, dill, garlic, and jalapeno
– Red onion with my sherry vinegar
– And OKRA! in a pickling brine

I make a lazy pickle, or “quickle” (because I like making combo words, too). I don’t have a granny to teach me the fine nuances of canning, so I use a jar with a tight lid and keep everything in the fridge for safety.

To pickle something, I use the basic guidelines of 2 c. vinegar, 1 c. water, 1 c. sugar, and 1/4-1/2 c. salt. I play around with adding dried seasonings to the brine — you can adjust the final pickle profile by adding more mustard seed, dill seed, fennel seed, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, ginger, cloves, star anise, etc. And sometimes I’ll add fresh herbs, jalapeno, garlic, or onion. Click for quick tips on making quick pickles. (more…)

From our partners

real life test kitchen: gammy’s carrot cupcakes (or muffins!)


Gammy is what my husband and I call my mom. It’s a tease-y nickname, really due to the fact that she sometimes refers to herself in the third person as “Grandma” even when talking to adults. When I was a kid, Gammy won quite a few blue ribbons at the county fair for her cakes, breads, and pastries. My favorite of all those award-winning delights has to be her carrot cake. It’s light, moist, and not too sweet, and it’s even better topped with plenty of cream cheese frosting. I’ve made this recipe probably at least 50 times — I even make carrot muffins with this recipe, using less oil, less sugar, and more coarsely ground carrots. It’s as easy as cake gets, and is just about the most perfect dessert to celebrate Spring and Earth Day — cake made with a spring vegetable! Enjoy! — Megan B. Click for Gammy’s carrot cupcakes! (more…)

From our partners

earth day giveaway: vessel drinkware!

“Like” us on Facebook to win!

We’ve featured the fabulous, Earth-friendly, reusable cups from Vessel Drinkware quite a bit lately, as we’ve become smitten with the fun designs and great functionality. Well, now they’re returning the love with a giveaway for Shelterrific Facebook friends!

THREE lucky winners will each win THREE Vessel vessels:
One 27-ounce stainless steel bottle
One 10-ounce porcelain Terra tumbler
One 16-ounce acrylic Spirit tumbler

All drinkware are part of Vessel’s featured designs for April, and yes — winners will have their choice of designs for each of the three vessels they’ll win!

To get registered to win, visit Shelterrific’s Facebook page and click on “Like” on or before Monday, April 26, 5 p.m. EST. (But just for fun, let us know how you’re celebrating Earth Day, too.) When entries close, we’ll choose three winners from our Facebook page using a random number generator.

Speaking of Earth Day, when you buy a featured product from Vessel this month, they’ll donate 10% to corresponding charities. Buy a Bird in Blossoms Terra tumbler, and that money goes to the Nature Conservancy. A purchase of a BusyBee Spirit tumbler benefits the Honey Bee Conservancy. And a Noble Lion bottle purchase benefits the World Wildlife Fund.

Thanks, Vessel, for keeping us stylish and green — and for making this grand giveaway possible!

From our partners

got a tong in your heart? get sing along tongs

Just the other night I was laughing in my living room as my friend sang karaoke-style into an aerosol can microphone. Maybe I should pick her up a pair of these Sing Along Tongs from Gama-Go. I’m not one for kitchen tools that are more gimmick than function, but these silicone tongs may just play double duty. In fact, these dishwasher-safe pinchers seem pretty darn useful. Pick up a pair for $12 here. — Erica P.

From our partners