The Best Way to Keep Spiral Ham from Drying Out

One of the greatest disappointment in the kitchen has to be dry meat. You spend a lot of your hard earned money on a big piece of meat and it comes out with less moisture than the Mojave desert. That has been my past experience with spiral sliced hams. Anyone that I have had has been dry and stringy. This has keep me from buying one myself. Why is this? Why does this happen?

Kirkland Spiral Ham

Why Is My Spiral Ham Dry?
The reason why anyone buys a spiral ham is that it is easier to carves, since it’s been pre-sliced. The problem with that is it makes it easier for the meat to dry out. Juices can easily run of the meat and into the pan. This is the price for that convenience. What also is not helping most people cause is that they overcook the ham. Most hams come already cooked, so it’s really just about re-heating and if you are applying a glaze, cooking the glaze so it sticks to the meat.

Sam's Club Ham Prices 2015

The Best Way to Keep Spiral Ham from Drying Out
There are two things you can do that will really benefit the juiciness of your spiral ham. First is to cover it with foil to help keep the moisture in. If you are going to apply a glaze do so in about the last 15-20 minutes of cooking with the foil removed. The second and most important thing to do is take the ham’s temperature using either a probe thermometer that stays in the meat while it’s in the oven and check using an instant read. A probe would be the easiest. If you don’t have one use the time guide that came with the ham, but it wouldn’t be nearly as accurate. Those guides can’t take into account all the other variables – like size and shape of meat, actual temperature of your oven, how clean your oven is (burned up junk in your oven can effect the cooking time). Cleaning your oven before cooking any big roast is always a good idea, as the thought if only I had the time goes through head as it does mine!

Dearborn Spiral Ham

What Temperature Do I Cook a Spiral Ham to?
If you using a probe thermometer place it in the deepest part of the ham without hitting any bone (the bone will throw off your reading). Then set the alarm to go off at 130 degrees (at 120 degrees is when I would apply a glaze). Remove the ham from the oven and cover again with foil – do it very loosely if you have used a glaze. The ham’s temperature will continue to rise (the carryover effect) and should be at 140 degrees in about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size and shape of your ham.

I would love to hear back from you if you gave my tips a try and had better results. Leave a comment below.

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Sam's Club Ham Prices 2015

What do you normally serve for your Christmas dinner? I grew up with ham, each and every year. While I would prefer a beautiful roast “beast” as Dr. Seuss would say, I usually end sticking with ham. The main reason being that it’s cheap. Even the most pricey hams wouldn’t run you anywhere near the price of a good hunk of beef. That being said if you are in the market for a ham this year, let me share with you what your options are at your local Sam’s Club warehouse.

Sam's Club Ham Prices 2015

Sam's Club Ham Prices 2015

Ham Price
Daily Chef Boneless Spiral Ham $2.78/lb with $2 off coupon
This is a spiral sliced boneless ham from Sam's Club store brand – Daily Chef. There is a $2 off the entire ham coupon for your instant savings. This is a relatively small ham – good for a small get together. What I think is strange is that the ham is boneless yet still spiral sliced. Without a bone a ham is super easy to carve so there is no good reason for it to be pre-slcied.
Smithfield Smokehouse Reserve $2.38/lb
Another boneless offering in a much larger package. This ham is similar to the Kirkland Master Carve Ham that Costco sells. I like these hams because they offer a lot of meat and it's think shape makes it easy to store in the fridge and easy to carve at the table.
Smithfield Pit Ham $2.98/lb
This boneless offering from Smithfield is "water added ham" which mean it can contain up to 10% adder water. This is a pressed ham which means the meat was removed from the bone and then pressed into a log shape. I am not a fan of these types of ham – they don't feel natural. They often have to add back ground ham to fill in the gaps from the bone.
Smithfield Black Forest Ham $2.98/lb
Similar to the ham above but with a black forest flavoring. I love black forest ham for lunch meat but again not a fan of this style of ham.
Ridge Creek Spiral Ham in Nature Juices $1.88/lb
The only bone-in option I found – love using that bone afterward for soup. This ham is in natural juices which means there is added water but not as much as the real cheap hams you find at most big supermarket chains. It is hard to find hams that don't at least have some added water. This was the cheapest option at Sam's.

Sam's Club Ham Prices 2015

My Recommendation
If I was buying a ham from Sam’s Club, I would select the Smithfield Smokehouse Reserve. You get the benefits of a boneless ham but in a more natural way. It’s 100% usable meat. I would avoid the other boneless hams. The Ridge Creek Spiral Ham would be my second option as it cheap but bottom of the barrel cheap and you have the bone to use later for soups.

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Costco Christmas Beef Roast Guide 2015

Christmas time is the greatest excuse there ever was to roast a big chunk of meat. It seems to be the meal of the year where price doesn’t matter as much as getting the best meal on the table. Still you may want to know how much it is going to cost you to bring your Christmas masterpiece to the table. I get the most questions on my blog asking about what Costco has available. I have done the research at my Costco in Ann Arbor, Michigan, so I present to you my guide to Costco’s Christmas Tenderloin and Beef Roasts for the year Two Thousand Fifteen.

Make sure to also check out my 2015 Christmas Ham Costco Guide as well

Whole Peeled Beef Tenderloin

Whole Peeled Beef Tenderloin

Meat Price
Choice Peeled Beef Tenderloin $19.99/lb
It doesn't get any more tender than this or more expensive. This tenderloin has already been peeled and trimmed for you so it's ready to go in the oven or be sliced up for Filet Mignon steaks. What has been peeled off is a layer called silver skin – it is anything but tender. It must be removed as it is not edible so at least with this cut you do not need to worry about that step.
Eye of Round Roast $4.99/lb
If you are on a tight budget you may want to consider an Eye of Round Roast. It is a lot cheaper than the other beef roasts. I am not going to tell you that it will be as good however if you cook it right it still can be a very enjoyable hunk of meat. I have a recipe I posted in first month my blog was online. Kind of embarassing to show this but the information is still useful – My recipe for Eye of Round Roast.
Choice Ribeye Roast Boneleess Checking with store on price
The same hunk of meat that Ribeye steaks – in my opinion the most flavorful steak. It would be easy to carve – it's boneless.
Choice Standing Rib Roast Checking with store on price
As far as I am concerned this is the crown jewel of Christmas roasts. If money is no object this is what I would choose to serve on Christmas day each and every year. Looking for a recipe – try Alton Brown's Dry Aged Standing Rib Roast
Eye of Round Roast

Eye of Round Roast

Other Cuts to Consider

Flat Cut Brisket

Flat Cut Brisket

Top Round Roast

Top Round Roast

What I shared with you so far is the more traditional Christmas beef roasts, but there are other beefy options to try. While I usually save brisket for St. Patrick’s Day, that doesn’t mean you can’t try it on Christmas. Flat Cut brisket is going for $6.99/lb. You can put it in your oven on Christmas morning, filling the house with a wonderful smell all the way to dinner time. Another low and slow option would be short ribs, currently priced at $7.99/lb. Top Round Roasts are going for $4.89/lb and are a similar cheap option as the eye of round (although I would choose the Eye of Round over the Top Round). If you are looking for a faster cooking beef, try Flank steak. Marinate for a couple hours and then place it under your oven’s broiler and in no time you will tasty beef, served sliced thin. Flank steak is going for $6.99/lb.

Flank Steak

Flank Steak

Short Ribs

Short Ribs

If you buy an beef for Christmas from Costco, I would love to hear some feedback. Leave a comment below, let me know if you paid the same price I mentioned and what you did with the cut. Thanks for reading.

If you are a Costco fan, subscribe to my weekly e-mail newsletter and you will be updated whenever I post a new Costco guide or review.

While you are at Costco, make sure to look out for these cheeses that are all under $5 per pound. Great for any holiday party.

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Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

No bones about it, I am not a fan of boneless hams. In fact, for the past 5 years ago I have been telling people reasons not to buy a boneless ham. So why in the world am I reviewing a boneless? This ham is not the same boneless I am accustom to. What I think of boneless ham, I think of this below –

Sparatan Boneless Ham

That is a ham that has been pressed, formed, modeled into a log shape. Very unnatural. Nothing I want to be a part of. Now take a look at this boneless ham from Costco’s Kirkland brand.

Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

Doesn’t look like your grandma’s boneless ham now does it. Instead of taking the meat and pressing it into a log shape, the boneless is just cut out and what you have a is almost heart-shaped thin piece of meat. This shape is great for several reasons:

1. More surface area to apply a glaze to.
2. This shape allows for more even cooking. The temperature of the inner most meat and the temperature of the outer most most is closer – more perfectly cooked meat.

Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

3. Super easy to carve. No bone, and the thickness is perfect serving size.
4. In fits in the fridge easily. Due to it’s flat shape, you can easily fit it in your fridge with all of your other holiday foods.

Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

6 More Reasons to Buy this Ham
1. Besides the advantages of the shape, I also like this this ham has been smoked using applewood. I find that the flavor of applewood is more complex than that of hickory, which I find one most packages of smoked meats (some don’t tell you). Applewood brings a sweet, fruity, smoky flavor to the meat. It is my second favorite, next to cherrywood.

2. The ham goes for $2.49/per pound. Not very expensive – but not your rock bottom price either. After carving it we had more usable meat than we ever did with the cheap 99 cent a pound bone-in hams we have bought in the past.

3. This ham is marked as “ham in natural juices”. Your cheap hams are labeled as “ham and water product”. These ones have water added to them that does not but increase the costs of the ham as you are paying for water weight. Also water does nothing but delute the flavor of the ham. A ham in natural juices is required to be at least 18.5% protein where as a ham and water product can contain any amount of water. A Cook’s brand ham contains 23% added ingredients!

Cook's Ham Label

4. One of the tastiest hams I have had. It has less added water than the cheap hams I normally buy the flavor shines stronger. Also I found that the ham itself wasn’t overly salty. I have had hams that after eating I had to drink a gallon of water to stay hydrated.

5. The texture was melt in your mouth good and the ham had plenty of moisture.

6. Usually I opt for making my own glaze – Eat Like No One Else style – I decided as a far review to use the glaze that came with the ham. The glaze is a red currant glaze. It contains red currant juice and also whole dried zante currants (which actually aren’t currants but dried champagne grapes). The flavor was sweet and tangy. It had Worcestershire in it as well. Very well done glaze. The only ingredient in the glaze that I didn’t like was the modified food starch, other than that I knew and could pronounce everything else in it.

Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

How to Cook this Ham
More often than not I find myself disagreeing with the instructions given on a piece of meat. But this time I had no complaints. Roast it in a 350 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees, then allow the ham to rest until it reaches 140 degrees. They say that should take 10 minutes, but in my case it was more like 15 to 20 minutes to carryover those last 10 degrees. Overall cooking time was about 2 hours. If you have plenty of time to cook your ham I would even roast it at a lower temperature for a longer period. A longer temperature allows the ham to re-heat (yes it has already been cooked) more evenly.

In order to get the temperature right, you need a thermometer. I recommend a probe thermometer that remains in the meat the entire cooking time. Just stick it in the most center part of the ham. Since there are no bones to worry about, it is rather easy to find the sweet spot.

I cooked the ham in my roasting pan. I placed it on the rack in the pan so that there could be airflow all around the ham.

Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham Review

Applying the Glaze

The instructions said to apply the glaze with in last 20 minutes of cooking. When the ham was at 120 degrees, I took it out and applied the glaze. I brushed it on with my Oxo Silicone Basting Brush. One of the best kitchen tools I have. Easy to brush things on and it actually comes off the brush and it easy to clean. Can’t say enough good things about this brush.

Buy a Boneless Ham
After years of telling my readers to never buy a boneless ham, I can actually change my tune (sort of). Avoid all boneless hams if they look like a log or a football. If the boneless ham has a natural shape, especially if it’s a the Kirkland Master Carve Ham, feel free to fork over your money for a delicious piece of meat where every pond you pay for is edible.

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Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

Here at Eat Like No One Else, we like to give you all the information you need on selecting your turkey for the big meal. I have found that a lot of people are curious what Costco offers in the way of birds. Most people probably don’t want to walk into a Costco just to see what the selection is like. That’s what I am here for. I just walked into Costco today, to get you the scoop on what they have available this year.

For this post I decided to answer all the questions I have been getting about Costco turkeys over the past couple weeks. Hopefully anything and everything you wanted to know is covered here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015


Questions I have received about Costco turkeys

1. Does Costco sell turkeys?
Of course. Got a membership, you can get a turkey.

2. What are the prices of turkeys at Costco?
Butterball Fresh Turkeys for $.99/pound (same price as Sam’s Club) Update (12-12-2015) : same turkeys are available for Christmas
Foster Farms Organic Fresh Turkeys for $2.99/pound

3. Does Costco sell fresh turkeys?
Yes, the only turkeys I found on my trip to Costco were fresh – same as my experience last year.

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

4. Does Costco sell Butterball turkeys?
Yes you can get a Butterball turkey that is fresh for 99 cents per pound. The packaging this year features that classic picture by Norman Rockwell. Butterball is encouraging you to share your Thanksgiving memories through a photo contest in which you could win a $1000 prepaid Visa giftcard (see details at Butterball’s website).

5. Does Costco sell brined turkeys?
The turkeys I found this year were no pre-brined at all. I prefer to brine it myself, using Alton Brown’s dry brine method.

6. How far in advance can you buy a fresh turkey at Costco?
Turkey are available now. I went there first on Tuesday, November 10th and they didn’t have any turkeys yet, but by Tuesday, November 17th they had them in stock. In future years you probably can get your turkey starting about 12 to 14 days before Thanksgiving.

7. Are Costco fresh turkeys frozen?
A fresh turkey, frozen? Any turkey that is called fresh can never been frozen. They don’t take frozen turkeys and just defrost them for you. If a fresh turkey still feels hard to the touch that is because for a turkey can be considered fresh even if it’s temperature is as low as 26 degrees. Turkey meat doesn’t freeze at the same temperature as water, so a 26 degree turkey is still not considered frozen.

8. Does Costco have Diestel turkeys this year?
I didn’t see any at my Costco this year. If you have seen one at your Costco let me know below in the comment section. (Learn more about Diestel turkeys)

9. Does Costco sell natural turkeys?
Natural is a word that is not defined by anyone expect whoever is using it. If you are wondering, the turkeys available at Costco are grown without the use of hormones and don’t contain any additional seasoning.

10. Does Costco sell heritage turkeys?
No, didn’t see any this year.

Costco Turkey Thanksgiving Prices 2015

11. Does Costco carry organic turkeys?
Yes from Foster Farms, going for $2.99/pound. These have been certified organic by the USDA. This also means that these turkeys are non-GMO as to be certified organic a turkey cannot be feed genetically modified feed.

12. What size turkeys does Costco have?
They have both “hen” turkeys that weight around 10 to 16 pounds (14 pound range is the most likely you will find) and “tom” turkeys which is anything over 16 pounds. 22 pound turkeys are around the biggest you’ll find.

13. Is there a shortage of turkeys at Costco this year?
There was concern that there would not be enough turkeys this year because of an outbreak of bird flu. I have seen no signs of that whatsoever. The only impact at the store that I have witness is the price of eggs skyrocketing.

Have you found any other types of turkeys at Costco this year? Share your experiences in the comment section below?

For more great Thanksgiving tips, tricks, recipes, turkey talk, etc – sign up for e-mail updates in the box below. Thank you & Happy Thanksgiving!

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Click here for the 2015 Guide to Beef Tenderloin and Roasts at Costco.

Turkey is well established as the go-to protein of Thanksgiving. Christmas it isn’t so clear. I grew up on ham for Christmas. Many bring the bird back one month later for another go-around. Those things are good and all, but Christmas only comes once a year. I say it’s time to roast a big chunk of beef. The best two options are beef tenderloin and prime rib. I have been told that warehouse stores like Costco are the best plays to get these hunks of cow as the best prices. Is it true? I headed out to my local Costco to find the answer.

Meat Price
Choice Ribeye Roast Boneleess $9.99/lb
The same hunk of meat that Ribeye steaks are cut from. A lot of flavor and a good option if you don't want to deal with the bone.
Choice Standing Rib Roast $9.69/lb
I myself prefer bone-in meat. It means more flavor. This is my favorite meat for Christmas dinner. Christmas is a special time of year and this is the only time of year where you can easily find this roast. This is what Prime Rib is cut from except this is Choice beef not prime beef. My Costco did not have any true Prime Rib during my visit. Even with choice beef you can have a steakhouse-like experience in your own home. I suggest using Alton Brown's recipe.
Choice Seasoned Standing Rib Roast $10.69/lb
This is a rib roast that has already been seasoned for you. You are you going to pay a $1 per pound for this and if you are talking about a 6 pound roast that's $6 more you are paying to have it seasoned for you. Save the money and do it yourself.
Choice Whole Beef Tenderloin $12.99/lb
Another Christmas favorite is roasting a whole beef tenderloin. It's super tender. Although I think the rib roast has more flavor. This is a good option if you want to leaner especially if you have already eaten way too many Christmas cookies.
Choice Peeled Beef Tenderloin $19.99/lb
Here is a beef tenderloin that has been peeled and trimmed for you. Tenderloin has a tough layer on the outside called silver skin that you should remove as it is not edible. It's not that easy to do. It is also missing what is called the chain meat which is small side piece of meat that has a lot of flavor and can be used to make a delicious beef sandwich. I think to save $7 a pound it is worth your time and effort to learn how to prep the tenderloin yourself. Below you will find a YouTube video showing you how.

These prices aren’t bad and are definitely better than a high end grocery store. However make sure you do a bit of shopping around. You may found better sales at large chain stores. For example, my local Meijer store will have a Certified Angus Standing Rib Roast for $7.99/lb during Christmas week. The prices are comparable to Sam’s Club as you can see in my Sam’s Club version of this post. Although my Sam’s Club did not offer the Standing Rib Roast.

If you wish to be notified of other Costco related posts and reviews make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter by submitting your email below.

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I will have the 2015 prices available by the end of the day on Saturday, December 19th, 2015 To be notified when the 2015 post will be available, sign up for my weekly newsletter by submitting your email below.

We are getting ever so close to one of the most anticipated days of the year – Christmas Day. How is your shopping going? Have you been done for weeks or have you not even started? Whether you are in early shopper or a late one, most people probably pick out what they will eat on Christmas Day as one of their last decisions. And if you are still wondering what you might make, consider a large chunk of beef, available at your local Sam’s Club. People want to know how much that will set that back. I made a visit to my Sam’s Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Wednesday, December 17th to see what they had.

Meat Price
Emmbe Prime Rib $12.98/lb
This prime rib comes in a sealed packaged coated with spices and is hardwood smoked. It's not a huge portion so you would might need more than 1 of these to sufface or choose another option.
Whole Beef Tenderloin $12.98/lb
No cut of beef is more melt in your mouth than the tenderloin. I have cooked it for Christmas in the past. You can cut it into steaks and serve up some filet mignon or roast the thing whole (I like Alton Brown's method)
Choice Rib Eye Roast $9.98/lb
The biggest cut of beef I found on this trip was their Rib Eye Roast. It's the same cut that butcher cut rib eye steaks from. Very flavorful and the cheapest of the three options. Below you will find a video showing you how to cook one with a roasted garlic sauce. The person in the video cooked it to a high temperature that I would recommend. I would pull it at about 135 to 140 for medium. She pulls it at 150 for medium but with carry over heat it looks just barely pink. I would like more pink in mine but to each their own. Realize that the center will be the pinkest. If you have guests that want it more well done you can serve them the end pieces.

I have been studying for months whether a membership to Sam’s Club is worth the price. So in each case I examine whether or not an item will save me money by buying it there. In this case, I can get a Rib Eye Roast from Kroger for $8.99/lb and I know that several local grocery store chains have whole beef tenderloin for under $10/lb. Sorry, Sam’s Club the prices on these items does not justify a membership in this case. Shop around and if you can’t get a better deal in your area. For some, Sam’s Club still might be the better option. Know your options and don’t assume that Sam’s Club membership alone is going to bring you the best bargain.

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Zyliss Christmas Gift Ideas

This post includes product recommendations. This is my honest opinion on what the best product I think is to buy and what I would purchase for myself. You will find Amazon affiliate links but I have not been paid by the maker of this product to endorse it.

I have not been shy sharing that Alton Brown and his show Good Eats has played the most influential role in my love of food and cooking. This creative show not only taught me about the food itself but also about the tools used to make the food. Good Eats was where I was introduced to Zyliss, a Swiss company founded in 1948 by Karl Zysset. It all started with a garlic press and since then they have introduced some wonderful and colorful tools to make the cook’s life easier in the kitchen. Some of my favorite products of theirs are basic tools, but done in a fantastic way. To learn more about them check out this video. After that I will get into some of their products I personally recommend as gifts.

Zyliss Handheld Pizza Wheel
This was their first tool to check my attention. It’s a pizza cutter that doesn’t have a handle. Might sound strange at first. This cutter just has a plastic cover over the wheel. This allows your hand to be closer to the action and gives you greater control, making it easier to apply the right pressure to cut through pizza. I use it a lot to cut through raw dough, like when I am making homemade crackers. It’s also super easy to clean because you can completely remove the metal wheel. Now the plastic on mine did break after many years of use. It broke where the metal wheel attaches. I plan to replace it soon and when I do I will have an extra metal wheel as a backup.

Zyliss Fruit Peeler
No doubt my favorite peeler. I love this thing. It’s meant to be used on soft fruit, but I use it as main peeler. I have peeled peaches with it and was able to get the skin off without cutting too much into the fruit. It’s easy to hold onto as well as to clean. I have had it for several years and it’s still doing a wonderful job.

Zyliss 5.5-Inch Kitchen Knife
I own this knife. The best part about it is that it comes with a protective sheath. This keeps the knife protected and sharp in the drawer. This is also handy if you need travel with it, such as going camping, you have the perfect choice. I take it with us on all our camping trips. The purple color is pretty too!

Zyliss Stainless Steel 4-Inch Serrated Paring Knife
I bring this knife along camping too. Useful for the small jobs.

Zyliss Metal Ice-Cream Scoop
Another Zyliss item I was introduced to by Alton Brown. This scoop is easy to use. The handle fits your hand like a glove and the way the shape of the scoop makes it easy to really dig into the ice cream and come out with a perfect looking scoop, even when the ice cream is rock hard. I also have used this scoop for removing seeds from pumpkins and other hard squash.

Zyliss Stainless Steel Cheese Knife
This knife slices through cheese with ease and is easy to hold. It has an inner blade that you can use for thin slices of hard or semi-soft cheeses. If the cheese is too soft it doesn’t work. Most of the time I just use the main blade. I also like the tip on the end that makes it easy to serve the cheese.

Zyliss Silicone Spatula
This is a strong spatula that is stiff enough to get the job done while still having some bend to it. Comes in a many colors to fit your style and kitchen.

Zyliss Meat Tenderizer
Before I wrote this post, I contacted the company asking them about some of their new products, they said one of their more popular new items is their meat tenderizer. This tenderizer has a pins that get pushed down right into the meat. I have a similar device that is designed a bit differently – but works much better than a mallet tenderizer, which is a glorified hammer in my opinion. They just rip the meat, where these pin style tenderizer actually do the job they are set out to. I use them whenever I make Alton Brown’s Swiss Steak.

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Ball Christmas Gift Ideas

This post includes product recommendations. This is my honest opinion on what the best product I think is to buy and what I would purchase for myself. You will find Amazon affiliate links but I have not been paid by the maker of this product to endorse it.

I have to say right now that the concept of canning is not on my mind at all. With my garden virtually dead of every living thing besides the kale struggling to hold on and a few select herbs. However, that doesn’t mean that I am not thinking about Ball Jars. In fact I think there are some great items from Ball that you can give away as Christmas gifts, even if the receiver isn’t going to can something for another 6 months (or ever!). Ball isn’t just for canning enthusiasts anymore.

Below I assembled a list of items that would make wonderful gifts this holiday season.

Sip and Straw Lids
When we found out that this was actually a thing, my wife couldn’t wait to get them. You can turn any Ball jar into a drinking glass. Large jars, medium jars, small jars – they all work. The lids themselves fit perfectly. Great for smoothies. The straws are of high quality and are easy to suck smoothies through. I also loved them for whenever we do a juice fast. We use a 32 oz Ball jar for the juice and then put a regular lid on it. Do all 3 juices for the day and then when we are ready to drink them, just pop off the lid and pop on the sip lid, insert straw and enjoy. They have: regular mouth and wide mouth
We own both types and use them all the time. One of our most used purchases of 2014.

Drinking Mug
If you prefer drinking out of something with a handle, then try the Ball Drinking Mugs. You can buy the sip and straw lids will work with these mugs for a great combo gift.

Jar Infusor
If you are bored of ordinary water or like those flavored waters, you can make your own with their jar infusor. Place lemon, berries, mint, etc into the infusor that sits right down into the water and you don’t have to worry it getting in the way as you are drinking. They fit on any jar, just select whether you need a wide mouth or a regular mouth infusor.

BallĀ® Collapsible Funnel
Here is a Ball product that will come in handy for canning as well as everyday use – a collapsible funnel. Takes up less space, so easier to store and is made to fit both regular and wide mouth Ball Jars and will work for non Ball items as well.

Ball Dry Herb Jars
For storing your dried herbs or spices these jars with a shaker lid are a good choice. Although I don’t usually shake anything out of the lids, preferring to take the lids off and use a measuring spoon, I still like the size of these jars. They fit well in my spice drawer. I have cinnamon, ginger, ground mustard, and garlic powder in them as I write this.

Other Gift Ideas
Besides these ideas, you can just give the gift of jars. The small jars are very useful for things other than just food. If you have a crafter in your family, they will find many uses for a set of small jars. Or if you have a friend that is really into canning, they could always use extra lids or rings. They make great stocking stuffers. Of course you can become really creativity with who you give your Ball jars by including something inside them. Ball has a ongoing list of ideas on their facebook page.

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My Current Food Mill, Time to Replace?

My Current Food Mill, Time to Replace?

This post includes a product recommendation. This is my honest opinion on what the best product I think is to buy and what I would purchase for myself. You will find Amazon affiliate links but I have not been paid by the maker of this product to endorse it.

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets that you see me talking about a lot on the blog is a food mill. I use them for making applesauce, tomato sauce, even mashed potatoes. They come in handy for those wanting to make baby food. It’s a huge time saver in the kitchen. I love being able to make applesauce without having to do any peeling – that’s what the food mill is for. I think it’s an underrated tool that most people have forgotten about. It would make a great Christmas present for someone this year.

I have been noticing that my food mill is starting to look more and more like my 13 year old winter ravaged mini-van. It was given to me by someone wanting to rid themselves of one more item cramping up their cabinets only to later realize it’s usefulness and asking to borrow back. Needless to say the mill has seen better days plus it’s a big pain in the butt to clean! I have been looking up food mills to add to my Amazon wish list for this Christmas season. I have selected which food mill I think would make the best Christmas present. It had to meet each of the four criteria below.

Mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes

1. Easy to clean
This no. 1 on my list. It has to be easy to clean. I have owned one for years that is not easy to clean. Why? Because it does not come apart. It needs to be able to come apart, so that you can easily clean all the components. If it doesn’t, you will be struggling to get into every crevice.

2. Stainless steel inside
I don’t want the bowl to be plastic. I need it to be strong and I don’t want it to look bad after the first use. One of the main things I use a food mill for is tomato sauce. They would stain up the plastic really bad, really fast.

Roasted Applesauce

Applesauce

3. Must fit over pots or bowls without falling off
The food has to go somewhere. The mill needs to fit over a bowl or a pot with it being completely stable. The one I own now has hooks on the bottom which is good and bad. It is good in that when it fits on a bowl it fits really well. But if I don’t have the right bowl or pot handy, it can be a balancing act that I want no part of.

4. Easy to grip for good control
If it’s not easy to work with you aren’t going to use it. It’s just like that shirt that you always have hanging in your closet but never comes off the hanger because you just don’t feel comfortable in it. The handle must be sturdy and easy to hold onto.

My Top Choice for Food Mill
If you were buying a food mill for Christmas for your favorite foodie family member or friend, the food mill that I would suggest is the Oxo Good Grips Food Mill.

Why Buy the Oxo Food Mill
Criteria 1 – Easy to clean
Yes it does come with 3 different discs, which is a cool feature I have lived without and could continue doing so. But the fact that it comes with 3 discs, means you can take them out – which means you can clean it easily. Score! 1 out of 1. The discs are removable via a spring loaded lever.

Criteria 2 – Stainless steel inside
It’s plastic on the outside, but the inside is completely stainless steel – ideal for throwing hot foods directly in and not of that staining I am concerned about. 2 out of 2.

Criteria 3. Must fit over pots or bowls without falling off
I like the legs on this thing. They are really big, way more substantial than what it is on my current mill. They have a non-slip covering on them. The one I have now is more like clips and they are made of metal so unless I have the perfect bowl, I have had it slip off and make a mess. Even though the legs on the Oxo are larger, they do fold up for easy storage. 3 out of 3.

Criteria 4. Easy to grip for good control
This one I have to just trust my eyes, since I can’t feel it for myself. The top handle and the side handle are large. They look very easy to hold onto. I don’t want any puny wire handles.

The OXO Good Grips Food Mill meet all the criteria. A lot of other food mills I looked at meet 2 or 3 of them, but not all 4. I found some with interchangeable discs but they didn’t have very good feet. I want my next food mill to be an OXO, I highly recommend you give this one a try as well.

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I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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