Cooking Gadgets to Help with Holiday Meals

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and ILA cares about both safety and delicious well-prepared food. This week’s sale items will focus on things to help around the kitchen. Product highlights will include the ways that these products are special and how they might benefit everyone from the novice cook to the well-seasoned chef. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the advantages of using an air fryer, talking kitchen scale, and a slow cooker.

Air Fryers

Air fryers have become one of the most popular kitchen appliances. You can cook nearly any food item in them, and they are great if you like fried food but do not want the high calories. Empish Thomas, a visually impaired person, wanted something to spice up her cooking routine during the pandemic and was no longer eating out. She was unsure of which one to purchase, but she knew two things: (1) she did not want a digital display because of inaccessibility (2) she did not want one she had to operate via smartphone with a Bluetooth connection. Advanced technology is not something she wants to deal with when she is cooking and has her hands deep in the ingredients.

She continued by stating one might ask, “So, what do you cook in an air fryer?” All kinds of interesting and delicious foods. She discovers something new all the time, but the basic things are traditional items like chicken, fish, or French fries. You can prepare meats in various ways depending on the recipe. I checked online and found too many to count. I have cooked salmon croquettes and hushpuppies. Next, she wants to try veggies like frozen cut okra, or fresh cut squash and zucchini. She is open to experimenting.

She has discovered that air frying is a way to take those old favorites of fried foods, which she had reduced but not completely stopped eating, and make them healthier. There is no oil or shortening. She just uses a little cooking spray and that is it. The food has the same consistency as if it were fried in oil in a skillet. Using an air fryer also keeps the level of heat down in her kitchen. Her gas stove creates a hot and uncomfortable environment but using an air fryer does not. Also, cooking time is reduced. For example, air frying meat takes about 20 minutes depending on if there are bones. While the meat is air frying, she can prepare her sides. Using an air fryer has become a great way to keep cooking simple, easy, and healthy during the pandemic.

Components of an air fryer includes: the base (houses the electronics and holds the air frying drawer, pan, or tray), the heating element/fan (creates the air frying environment), the basket (vessel with holes where one places whatever is going to be air fried), and; the pan, drawer, or tray (solid piece where the basket sets, catching crumbs, fat, oil, sauce, etc.).

ILA proudly offers the Chefman3.5L Air Fryer for purchase. Excerpts from this section were taken from a VisionAware article entitled, Air Fryers Prove to be a Simpler and Healthier Way to Cook.

Talking Kitchen Scales

Kitchen scales are no longer an essential kitchen tool for professional chefs and bakers but rather a must-have item in every household. In addition to the benefits below, a talking kitchen scale also helps take the guess work out of what the scale shows/reads. If you are visually impaired, hearing the weight spoken is especially important. Most talking scales can be programmed to weigh in either grams or ounces. In many cases, you are not limited to just one language if English is not your native language.

Meal Portions: Kitchen scales can help you weigh your food and help keep your meal portions in check. They can also help you tremendously if you are on a particular diet or cooking for a diabetic person.

Calorie Counting: Food scales can help you track your calories and give you the correct information as compared to what is written on the food packaging.

Encourages Mindful Eating: Practicing weighing your food and eating your meals at home can give you a great idea on what healthy portions are and what foods are low in calorie. It can help benefit you a lot when you eat outside or are on vacation and cannot carry your equipment along with you.

Helps in Cooking and Baking: Recipes from cookbooks or off the internet require you to measure your ingredients for best results which is why it is essential to stick to a scale. A small digital scale can truly become your best friend in the kitchen.

Compact Size and Affordable: These days kitchen scales are extremely compact and take up little space in your kitchen. Also, apart from being space friendly, they are super affordable and do not burn a hole in the pocket.

ILA proudly offers the VOX-2 Talking Kitchen for purchase. It can be programmed to speak in in English, Spanish, French and German. Information from this section came from the article, Find The Perfect Balance: Benefits Of A Kitchen Scale.

Slow Cookers

A slow cooker can come in handy with a delicious meal waiting for you and your family at the end of the day. Most slow cookers have two or three settings. When using the low setting, food will cook in six to 10 hours. Using the high setting allows food to cook in four to six hours. If possible, turn the slow cooker on the high setting for the first hour of cooking time and then use the setting that fits your needs. One hour on high is about equal to two hours on low. One hour in the oven at 350° F is equivalent to about 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low. Similarly, 3 hours in the oven is equivalent to 4-6 hours on high and 8-16 hours on low.

Benefits of Using a Slow Cooker:

  • Have a meal at home in the slow cooker eliminates the temptation to order take-out which is often less nutritious and more expensive.
  • Slow cookers usually allow one-step preparation. Placing all the ingredients in the slow cooker saves preparation time and cuts down on cleanup.
  • Slow cookers are useful throughout the year. Coming in from a cold winter day, the aroma of hot soup is welcoming. Slow cookers also work well for summertime use; they do not heat the kitchen the way an oven might.
  • As a result of the long, low-temperature cooking, slow cookers help tenderize less-expensive cuts of meat.
  • A slow cooker brings out the flavor in foods. A wide variety of foods can be cooked in a slow cooker, including one pot meals, soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • A slow cooker uses less electricity than an oven.

ILA proudly offers the Hamilton Beach 4 Quart Oval Slow Cooker for purchase. Information from this section came from the article The Benefits of Slow Cooker Meals.

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