Saturday, December 15, 2012

Party Animals steal the show

Party Animal
Ok, we have to admit it, Party Animal Dancing Pet Speaker is cute, cute, cute. Cobra Digital’s “toys” have adjustable arms so Tom or Cleo the Cats can jive with Sandy the dog. I played with Spike, a black dog with a white belly who made everyone smile when he swayed hips and tilted his head to music from the laptop. My daughter chose “Cabaret” for his debut. Spike goes from Broadway to pop and beyond with style. A portion of Party Animal proceeds benefit animal support groups, so the smiles keep spreading. We brought this to a party and it stopped traffic.

The Yogurt experiments
My friend Brenda stumbled upon my yogurt experiments and now she wants a T-Fal Balanced Living Yogurt Maker, too. It seems young people in her household are consuming flavored store-bought cups of the stuff at an alarming rate. Sure, it’s a better snack/dessert than many other options, but the costs can stack up. Making your own is a budget buster and allows you to control ingredients. You make it with your milk and starter, add fruit, honey, etc. if you like, but leave out a host of artificial gunk that you read about on some labels.
I’ve enjoyed several batches of thick, creamy yogurt from the T-Fal and love the jars with a dial-a-date lid you can pack for work. I heat milk, mix it with starter, fill the jars and set the maker for at least 8 hours. The next morning, the jars are ready to refrigerate. My preference is plain yogurt with honey, nuts, chocolate shavings and such added upon serving. I’ll bet my friend will play around with the cooked fruit versions. For the holidays, I’m going to strain some into yogurt cheese and serve it with olive oil and herbs. Imagine, an addictive hobby like this can help you keep up with New Year’s Resolutions.

The bamboo business
Core Bamboo has a catalogue with the most tempting bamboo kitchen creations. It’s easy to visualize chip and dip bowls, cake pedestals, serving and cutting boards, and serving utensils created in smooth natural, or brightly colored wood. The look is simple and clean and classic and modern. Here’s the thing that amazed me, the knives. I tried a vegetable dicer that’s both soft and sharp, and I even shredded red cabbage with it. I carried it around in my purse for a week just to show people and let them feel it. They were as impressed as I was. The line includes serrated slices for bread. Of course, your cheese tray would be graced by such a well-bread tool.

What you need to know about men
“Men Don’t Pee Straight: And Other Things You Should Know About Us” is Mr. Rick Dean’s little book that reveals much. It’s apparently well documented that men think about food, sex and sleep, and will even on occasion buck the notorious trend for not asking directions if it is for something like sex, sleep or food. Men need attention, the author asserts, and they do so by doing things like yelling, driving fast cars and drinking. Under the fragile ego category, he suggests that asking “Can you lift that” constitutes fighting words. The mode of this book reminds me of ‘70s printings read in the “grown-up” section of gag stores. Of course, it’s meant to be funny and the notions don’t sum up all of mankind, but I’ve got to admit, from my own experience, that I snickered under the cleaning dishes section that men find more than one spoon confusing.

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