Unitasker Wednesday: Small apple dish

I’m not sure about you, but when I finish an apple I’m in desperate need of somewhere to place the core. Yeah, I can stroll over to the garbage can and dispose of it there, but I like to sit back and admire the core for a bit. Thankfully for me, there is a perfect product for just this specific use. The small apple dish is kind of like an ashtray for apples. It has a convenient spot to place the apple and the core. From the designer’s site:

By creating an appropriate place in the dish, your fruit waste becomes an esthetic part of your meal.

See? Admiring an apple core is esthetically pleasing to some people, and what better way to put it on display than with the small apple dish? I defy you to find a better way to present your apple.

Thanks to reader Vinod for bringing this unitasker to our attention.

**Each week, the Unitasker Wednesday column humorously pokes fun at the unnecessary, single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Unitasker Wednesday: The Dough-Nu-Matic

Who doesn’t love a doughnut every once in a while? The fresher the doughnut the easier it is to become an addict. If you are addicted to freshly deep fried doughnuts, now you can have your cravings quelled by investing in the Dough-Nu-Matic. The freshly fried dough may scald you incredibly badly, but be patient and you can enjoy your very own doughy goodness.

Why stop by a Krispy Kreme or a Dunkin’ Donuts when you can prepare your very own before you leave for work in the morning?! This bad boy will only eat up 23″ x 7″ x 14″ of valuable counter space. The Dough-Nu-Matic shapes the doughnut, fries it, and dispenses it into the hopper in under a minute. Let them cool, and you can enjoy a fresh doughnut during your daily commute. Of course, you may be adding quite a bit of girth to your waistline if you are partaking in fresh doughnuts every morning, but I challenge you to pass up a fresh doughnut if you have the ability to make your own at the drop of a hat.

Take a look at this video and you may not be able to resist.

**Each week, the Unitasker Wednesday column humorously pokes fun at the unnecessary, single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Unitasker Wednesday: Movie Time Kettle Popcorn Maker

Popcorn is the perfect snack to enjoy while watching a movie. What could be more perfect than this Movie Time Kettle Popcorn Maker? It may measure in at 19″H x 12.5″L x 10.5″ W, but that space is easily sacrificed for the allure of freshly popped popcorn for your movie viewing. How else does one achieve the freshly popped corn of the movie palace? I can’t think of any other way!

It can make up to one gallon of popcorn at once. I’m not exactly sure how much popcorn that is, but it sounds like enough to cure your popcorn craving. This thing is perfect for the home theater, tv room, or game room. It is apparently meant for table top display, so make sure you have a table ready for this popcorn behemoth!

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Unitasker Wednesday: Pickle picker and unitaskers explained

We realized last week that we haven’t ever explained the Unitasker feature on our site. So, before we delve into the goodness that is this week’s item, we wanted to take a few seconds and talk about it.

At their most basic elements, all Unitasker posts are intended to be funny. We joke about single-use items to remind us that organizing doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s good to pause and remember that what we discuss on the site isn’t brain surgery or rocket science.

Often times, the things we mention are things that are in our homes. I have an ice cream maker, a juicer, and a few other items that have been discussed. Matt has the snowball maker. We were both oddly tempted by the martini shaker!

When we mention an item as a Unitasker, we do it knowing that someone out there probably finds some use for the item (well, except for the kitty wigs … we’re still completely baffled by those). For most people, though, the items we name wouldn’t be anything but clutter in their homes. It’s totally fine if you choose to own a Unitasker. There aren’t any Unclutterer Police coming to take it away from you or judge you over it. We’re just talking about stuff, things, objects — not people or their choices. We love our readers and hope to entertain you with the Unitaskers. And, we love it when our readers send us ideas. Some of our best items have come from you! — Erin

So, without further ado, we bring you this week’s installment of Unitasker Wednesday:

Pickle PickerPickles can be tough to round up out of a jar. There is no need to use a fork or your fingers when you can buy a utensil specifically designed for the task of picking up a pickle! The Pickle Picker is just what any pickle lover would want:

Forget squeezing your fingers into a jar trying to grasp a pickle to no avail. This nifty pickle picker does the work for you. Simple and easy to use, the picker is great for any jarred item that is difficult to grab. Just push down on the plunger, grab the item out of the jar and release.

Did I mention it can also pick up banana peppers and be used to annoyingly poke your little brother? (Maybe it’s not a unitasker after all?!) Regardless, if something is in a jar and you don’t want to waste a perfectly clean fork or your fingers on such a task, then this is the tool that can get the job done.

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Unitasker Wednesday: Food molds

Penguin Sausage MoldYou may have eaten a few hardboiled eggs in your day, but have you ever eaten one in the shape of a cute little fish? If you or you child have been waiting for a more exciting ways to consume hardboiled eggs, your opportunity is now. Over at Slashfood, they highlight the fish mold for all your hardboiling needs. Those folks in Japan think of everything don’t they?

Once you’ve had your taste of an egg in the shape of a cute little fish, you’ll most likely be craving for some more molded foods. Not to worry, the good people at the eBay Store in Japan have your sausage making covered with the Penguin Sausage Maker (pictured). Have you always wanted to have a little more fun when eating plain old sausage links? Your morning breakfast will be full of excitement when you take a bite out of a sausage link shaped like a lovable little penguin. Penguins not for you? How about sausage in the shape of a crab or an octopus? Either way, you’ll be living it up with your newly found love for molded foods.

Wait, what about your kid’s lunch? You’re covered there, too. Boring sandwiches can now be cut and molded into bears, bunnies, or flowers. Take your pick. Now, go forth and eat some molded food!

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Creating a weekly meal plan

In my mind, there are two types of meals: utilitarian and everything else. Utilitarian meals are weekday lunches and dinners when my top priority is supplying my body nutrients for survival. Everything else meals are dinner parties and meals prepared when I have leisurely Saturday afternoons to craft a gourmet plate.

The utilitarian meals, the ones that often begin with phrases such as “What’s for dinner?” and “I’m starving, let’s see what we have in the kitchen,” are where disorganization can work against you. If you don’t have an organized meal plan, it can be easier to head to a fast food joint than to create a nutritious meal at home.

To help with meal planning organization, I created a Meal Plan worksheet (links to the worksheet at the end of this article). To use it, I start most Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee, a stack of cookbooks, and a pad of post-it notes. I flip through my cookbooks, flagging all of the recipes I want to use for the week.

My next task is to put an “X” on the worksheet through any of the meals that I know will be eaten out of the house for friends’ birthdays or whatever is lined up on our calendar. Then, I match up recipes I’ve marked in the cookbooks with openings on the schedule. If any of the items need preparation hours or days beforehand, I’ll list those under the “Prep for Tomorrow” section to help with managing my time. (For example, dough for homemade pizza crusts needs to be made 24 hours in advance of use … so if I want pizza tomorrow, I have to make the dough today.) Also, having at least two snacks listed on the worksheet ensures that I’ve got healthy snack choices available.

When matching recipes with meals, I’ll review the recipe and write down any ingredients on the grocery list section of the worksheet. This helps me plan out what I need from the store and my local farmer’s market. Sometimes, I’ll make two grocery lists for a mini-run on Wednesday night to get fresh produce.

Creating a meal plan takes a little time when it is written, but ultimately saves time and stress during the week. You also may find that a meal plan helps you to eat better and completely eliminate fast food from your diet.

The Unclutterer Meal Plan:

Are cookbooks a thing of the past?

cookbooksLucky for me, my wife enjoys cooking and baking. She has a shelf dedicated to her cookbooks, but she hardly ever uses them. More often than not she accesses recipes via the internet. The amount of information that is at your fingertips is astounding and the ease of accessing that information gets easier and easier.

One cookbook that my wife swears by is the Joy of Cooking. It is an encyclopedic volume of just about anything you can think of cooking or baking. She swears by its usefulness and relies on it quite a bit. Other than that, her cookbooks are seldom used. So are cookbooks obsolete? Why clutter up a whole shelf in your kitchen for a bunch of books that you never use? Here are the recipe sites my wife frequents instead of using a cookbook:

One site that I just happened upon is Supercook.com. The site lets you enter the ingredients you have in your kitchen and then gives you ideas on what you may be able to prepare. Maybe it’s time to let some of your cookbooks go?

How many salad dressings are enough?

Salad DressingNot to pick on my mom or my mother-in-law, but they both have an odd habit of collecting salad dressing in their refrigerators. The salad dressings may start out neatly lined up on the refrigerator’s door, but they somehow end up in the back of the main shelves never to see the light of day before they become expired. With a quick inventory of my refrigerator, I count two dressings. That is reasonable. If you’d like the choice of six to ten dressings, go to a restaurant. Stocking your fridge full of dressing is overkill.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to take inventory of your food supply. You may be a bit embarrassed when you find out how much you actually have in you fridge, but there is an easy way to curb your inventory. Stop buying more dressing. (Heck, make your own.) Before you head to the grocery store take stock of what you need and make a list. If you have more than one dressing per household occupant, then you most likely don’t need any more. So when you head out to buy groceries skip the salad dressing aisle unless you need more Ranch, of course.

I guess taking aim at salad dressings isn’t fair. I’m sure there are any number of groceries that can be over purchased in this country in over abundance. The main thing to take from this post is to make a shopping list when heading to the grocery store. Making a list and sticking to it will help curb your appetite for more food.

Unitasker Wednesday: Spinmallow

SpinmallowYou’re heading out on a camping trip and you have to pack one thing … so what will it be? After taking a look at the Spinmallow, it may be on the top of your list.

Why roast a marshmallow like a caveman using a stick when you can sit back and relax while the Spinmallow does all the work. No more waking up in the morning with a sore wrist from rotating marshmallows all night. The revolutionary Spinmallow rotates the marshmallow for you with the help of two AA batteries.

According to the makers of the Spinmallow, it is “the most exciting way to toast marshmallows over a campfire or barbeque.” I have no doubt that it is as exciting as it sounds, but what are the advantages of a self propelled marshmallow spinner? Again, according to the makers:

  • No more searching for sticks
  • Toasts marshmallows evenly
  • Kids love it! Perfect for Scouts, family gatherings, parties and backyard barbeques.
  • Great for hot dogs too!
  • Detachable 29″ skewer is easy to clean.

So while those suckers are searching tirelessly for sticks, you can kick back and enjoy an evenly toasted marshmallow that kids love. You can also use it for hot dogs? Maybe this isn’t a unitasker after all!

Thanks to Guinnevere for pointing out this great unitasker.

**Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that manage to find their way into our homes.

Food donation items may be lurking in your cupboard

With the holiday season upon us, what better time to do an inventory of your cupboard or pantry?! If your cupboards are anything like mine, you likely have duplicate canned goods that you can take to a local charity in time for holiday feasts.

Over the span of a year, canned goods seem to accumulate at the back of the cupboard leaving me with multiple items of the same thing. It seems to be inevitable. So, take some time, unclutter your cupboards, and donate your extra cans to a worthy cause. (Be nice, too, and check to make sure that your cans haven’t passed their expiration dates!) On your way to the donation center, you may want to stop at the grocery store and buy some extra non-perishables for good measure.

Unitasker Wednesday: Caramel apple dipper

Caramel Apple DipperDo you have a sweet tooth? Well, if you have a sweet tooth and you like to indulge in compulsive purchases, then the Caramel Apple Dipper is probably right up your alley. Why wait until your next trip to an amusement park or the county fair for a taste of caramel wrapped around an otherwise healthy fruit? You can melt caramel in this giant apple and easily dip your apple into the sweet golden goodness.

If you can’t get enough of that caramel apple, you may want to invest in a cotton candy machine. This is the next step in your descent into the carnival food pyramid that will undoubtedly leave you asking for mercy.

** Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that seem to find their way into our homes.

Unitasker Wednesday: The Panini Press

Panini PressPanini style sandwiches are, in my opinion, very delicious. Is there a way that I could recreate the panini in the comfort of my own kitchen? The Breville Ikon Panini Press does just that, but at 15 1/2″ x 12″ x 6 1/2″ high is it worth the space that it hogs up?

If you desire a panini to the point that you can’t stand it and you don’t want to part with the $100 and the cupboard space, you can probably survive by using items that you already have in your kitchen. Here is an easy step-by-step process to make a panini without a oversized panini press.

** Unitasker Wednesday posts humorously poke fun at the single-use items that seem to find their way into our homes.