Blog Posts by Daily Grommet

  • Portion control in a bottle.

    Emsa Oil SprayerEmsa Oil SprayerWhen oil sprayers first appeared in kitchen stores several years ago, they were a huge hit with people who wanted an easy, controlled way to portion their favorite oils for salads, marinades and more. It was a great idea, but in many cases the execution fell short. Too many misters were perpetually clogged or just stopped working altogether. But not this one.

    It's imported from Germany, where engineers' hard-won reputation for superb craftsmanship is taken seriously. The Emsa sprayer makes it easy to coat pans with oil before you bake, or to spray a marinade on the main course, or coat the grill so your dinner doesn't stick. You pump the top about 10 times to pressurize it, then the non-aerosol sprayer distributes a fine mi Monika and Bernard Schnacke, Frieling Monika and Bernard Schnacke, Frielingst. You can control just how much oil (or vinegar) you use, which is ideal for those of us watching calories. We particularly like that the frosted glass jar lets you see how much oil is left in the container - and what kind of condition it's in. The whole

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  • Our favorite "Anywhere" fireplace

    Madi Ferencz, Anywhere Fireplace.Madi Ferencz, Anywhere Fireplace. You never hear about folks curling up beside the radiator or gathering 'round the space heater. It takes firelight to create ambiance like that. Peter de Voogd, Anywhere Fireplace.Peter de Voogd, Anywhere Fireplace. But obviously, not every home has a fireplace. That's where Anywhere Fireplace, which was founded by Madi Ferencz and her son Peter de Voogd, comes in. With this self-contained unit, you don't need a chimney or vent to enjoy a warm fire. There's no gas or electric hookup required either. You simply mount the Anywhere Fireplace on the wall (it took us about 15 minutes with minimal tools), or make room on the floor or tabletop for the freestanding version.

    Anywhere Fireplacace contemporary stainless steel wall mount or pit fireplacesAnywhere Fireplacace contemporary stainless steel wall mount or pit fireplacesThe wall-mounted Chelsea model has a sleek, stainless-steel enclosure. It's a great fit for a family room, bedroom or study - any room in the house, really. The portable freestanding model, called the Gramercy, can be used inside or outside. On a patio, the Gramercy adds light and warmth with a style that's much more subtle and sophisticated than a typical fire pit. Both the Chelsea

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  • Skip the stress: Homemade pasta you can buy

    Monique Deschaine, Al Dente PastaMonique Deschaine, Al Dente PastaIf you live in Michigan, you may already know the story behind Al Dente Pasta, a local treasure. Monique Deschaine was just a regular pasta lover back in 1981 when she read an article about an artisanal pasta business and was inspired to start one herself. She traveled to New York City to study under Italian cooking legend Marcella Hazan, and then headed back to Michigan to give birth to her very own hand-rolled pasta business.

    Thirty years later, Al Dente Pasta is the perfect marriage of traditional methods and modern taste. While other handmade pastas are extruded, Al Dente makes its pasta according to the northern Italian tradition of rolling sheets of dough. This yields pasta with an exceptional texture - tender but firm - that cooks in just three minutes.

    Al Dente Pasta's whole wheat pasta, low carb pasta or organic pastaAl Dente Pasta's whole wheat pasta, low carb pasta or organic pastaSome of Monique's pastas are available at fine food stores throughout the U.S., but many of her most innovative recipes aren't sold in stores. We're featuring four different samplers that showcase her knack for

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  • Let there be light! No batteries required for this flashlight.

    NightStar CS2 LED shake flashlight that requires no batteriesNightStar CS2 LED shake flashlight that requires no batteriesThe electricity just went out, and you're searching for a light. What are the odds you have a working flashlight in that cabinet? The NightStar CS2 is charged by shaking, so it's the flashlight you'll want on hand, even if it's been sitting, unused for years. You don't have to worry about dead batteries, because there aren't any batteries in this flashlight. You just shake it, and the energy generated is converted into electrical energy via a magnet that's passed back and forth through a coil of wire. Roughly 90 seconds of shaking yields about 20 minutes of illumination.

    The co-inventor of the world's first renewable energy shake flashlight and co-founder of Applied Innovative Technologies, Inc. is Steve Vetorino. His flashlight is known for its resilience and reliability and used by the military, emergency personnel and outdoor adventurers around the world. Last year AIT donated hundreds of NightStar flashlights to the non-profit organization Village of Hope. Their

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  • De-clutter your purse in one simple step

    Imagine being able to replace a bunch of different makeup compacts with a single palette that holds all your favorite colors and brands. Now imagine one generous-size mirror instead of a handful of impractically small mirrored cases cluttering up your cosmetics bag. Sounds nice and easy, right?

    That's the idea behind the UNII palette, a new solution for storing makeup that's clever, practical and environmentally friendly. An innovative feature is its magnetized palette, which grips tiny makeup containers, or pots.

    Magnetic Makeup Compact | Eyeshadow CompactMagnetic Makeup Compact | Eyeshadow CompactYou can fill the UNII palette with makeup sold in refill sizes, which is not only a cost-saver but also more environmentally friendly since it eliminates the need for wasteful packaging. More and more cosmetics companies are selling their makeup in this way. You can also transfer any metal makeup pot from its original case to the UNII palette through a process called de-potting (you use a hair dryer to loosen the glue seal, then pop your favorite eye shadow

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  • How to get your sexy back

    Most women are pears. They've got thigh shapers and control top stockings that probably work well to control their below-the-belt bulges. But if you happen to be one of those thick-waisted apples (like some of us over here at Daily Grommet ), you probably have drawers full of long-line bras, and suffocating tank tops that are meant to control that below-the-bra bulge, but have never really successfully kept that pesky bit o' back fat under wraps.

    The problem with most of these contraptions is that what gets squeezed tends to pop out somewhere else (cups runneth over, the bra rides up to reveal an unsightly roll around the waist, and some lump somewhere you'd rather people not feel, greets them the second they hug you hello).
    Sassybax ShapewearSassybax Shapewear
    But then we found Sassybax. What we loved was that unlike some of the other upper body shaping get-ups we've tried, Sassybax has underwire cups (where there's back fat, there's boobage, we always say). And, the bottom of the garment continues down to the

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  • Chopsticks made simple

    The chopsticks that come with your favorite take-out food are splintery, and the last time your kid tried to grab a wanton it wound up airborne. But those clever Finns have the solution to both of these problems: Linking chopsticks.

    Jani Martikainen, KitastickJani Martikainen, KitastickCalled Kitasticks, these sleek utensils were created by Jani Martikainen, the owner of Finnish design house Majamoo. They can be used just like regular chopsticks, if you're already a pro. For beginners (or those who never quite mastered traditional chopsticks), the patented interlocking design allows for a bit of help without screaming to the world, "Hey, I'm using training wheels on my chopsticks."Buy Kitastick's Linked Chopsticks here.Buy Kitastick's Linked Chopsticks here.

    The design is chic Scandinavian all the way, so the Kitasticks look great and provide the sleekest solution we've seen when it comes to chopstick help. Kids will clamor to try new foods, and Kitasticks will be the talk of your next dinner party. These chopsticks won't save the world, but they just may spice up dinnertime.

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  • Looking for relaxation? There's a candle for that.

    Scandle Candle soy body massage candleScandle Candle soy body massage candleWhen it's time to unwind after a hectic day, a candle can instantly transform the mood of a room with potent scents and warm light. And if you want to take things up a notch, the Scandle candle is the perfect way to make the setting a little more intimate. The Scandle candle is an aromatherapy soy candle that produces a massage oil as it burns. So you can burn it for ambiance and enjoy the fragrance. Then, extinguish the candle and use a few drops of the heated oil to nourish your own skin (the essential oils are great for manicures and pedicures) or treat someone special to a massage.

    Christine WhiteChristine WhiteThe creator of Scandle candles is Christine White, who left the world of high-tech marketing after the dot-com bust and became immersed in all-natural skincare and beauty products. Christine makes her candles using a blend of natural and environmentally safe materials, including cosmetic grade soy butter, shea butter, jojoba and vitamin E. She doesn't use any paraffin or petroleum, so her

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  • The last tweezers you'll ever buy.

    Mary Ann McCormickMary Ann McCormickGood tweezers are a dime a dozen but a great pair of tweezers is hard to find. Mary Ann McCormick from Lark Fine Food (we featured her gourmet cookies just last month) said these were the best tweezers she has ever owned. After using them to extract a very stubborn sliver that other tweezers couldn't grip, we have to agree.

    So what makes Uncle Bill's Sliver Gripper so special? Unlike conventional tweezers that are made by spot-welding two pieces of metal together, the Sliver Gripper is crafted Uncle Bill, Uncle Bill's Silver GrippersUncle Bill, Uncle Bill's Silver Grippersfrom a single piece of spring-tempered stainless steel. The pointed tip is honed by hand so it's unbelievably precise. The inventor, Uncle Bill, created the tweezersUncle Bill's Sliver Gripper precision stainless steel tweezersUncle Bill's Sliver Gripper precision stainless steel tweezers in his basement workshop. Today they're manufactured in West Hartford, Conn., by a company that kept the Uncle Bill name to pay homage to his big little invention. One of Uncle Bill's largest customers is the U.S. military - soldiers keep a pair with their dog tags. If the Sliver Gripper is good enough for use in the

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  • The trick to making toast ... safely

    Finnish Woodworks wooden toaster tongsFinnish Woodworks wooden toaster tongsIf you've ever tried to coax bread slices out of a toaster with a knife (even though you've been warned not to), this kitchen tool is for you. Toast Grabbers are heat-resistant wooden tongs designed to help you dislodge toast, muffins and bagels before they burn. The 12-inch tongs can also be used for grilling, grabbing, tossing, flipping…the possibilities for handling hot items are endless.

    George Suokko, Finnish WoodworksGeorge Suokko, Finnish Woodworks Each pair of tongs is made of hard maple and finished with mineral oil by George Suokko, a master carpenter and cabinetmaker. George spent his early career days working as a mechanical engineer before deciding that a life of carpentry would be more rewarding. He founded Finnish Woodworks in 1992 and has been remodeling homes and building Shaker-inspired custom furniture pieces ever since. Today George leaves a pair of Toast Grabbers as a thank-you gift for clients, whenever he completes a job. His signature tongs are not only beautifully crafted but also practical. We're going to keep a

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