Death of a Coffee Pot

As with most other thirty-ish people we know, our day starts with the sweet nectar of morning coffee. It’s what makes us ready to face the pile of email that shows up at 8am. It’s what keeps us awake for that mid morning meeting that is so incredibly booooooring. It’s what makes us a little jittery around 3pm.

We’ve gotta have it.

And this morning, we didn’t.

I’ll be the first to admit, our current coffee pot is just short of garbage to start with…a friend gave it to us when he ended up with an extra freebie from an online coffee purveyor. Yeah, you know the one. Since our old coffee pot had just died an inglorious death by me accidentally breaking the glass carafe, we took it and used it faithfully nearly every morning. I would occassionally deep clean it since we have hard water and things tend to grit up after awhile. Well, today we started the coffee at 7:15am. It’s now 10am and IT JUST FINISHED. We didn’t even brew a full pot! Arg!

So, my fellow foodies…I need your help! I’m not looking for a $20 fix nor some fancy machine that will break the bank, but it’s time for us to graduate from the kiddie coffee pot to something more refined. Can you recommend a good coffee maker for us in the comments below? My hubby will thank you once I have my coffee fix…

Sweet Success – a Big City Slider Station is on it’s way.

Got to give a special thanks to Adam at LiveMercial for sending on a Big City Slider Station for review here on UltimateFoodie.  I’m hoping to have it in my hands and cranking out a variety of homemade sliders for review by my family and I by the end of the week.


(For the record though… Billy Mays still pisses me off…. I look at him like Viagra and spammers.  If some jerk would quit buying when he got spammed, they would stop doing it.  Along the same lines, Billy no doubt browbeats hundreds of thousands of Americans into buying what he pitches or he’d be in the breadline or hawking at county fairs)

Big City Slider Station – now I can make sliders at home

God only knows why, but I was watching late night TV last night and was actually confronted with a commercial for a product that I was intrigued by and might just have to pick up.  I was jarred from my semi-slumber by renowned high-volume pitchman Billy Mays (he of the “Just for Men” beard) yelling that I simply had to buy the Big City Slider Station

I started to think… since I am married with a couple of young kids… I don’t get to go out drinking, and subsequently seeking “sliders” all that much anymore, so it would be a hell of an idea to get this kitchen weapon that allows me to make my own “sliders” at home… or worse yet – get my kids hooked on these addictive little mini-burgers.

If you ( like me before the first time I went to Michigan and experienced my first White Castle “bag of 10” ) have no idea what the heck a “slider” is – it’s a mini-burger… on a mini-bun, usually accompanied by (and cooked on top of some mini-onions, with some mini-cheese on top if I have my way.  Purportedly, with this kitchen weapon of mass destruction,  you just heat up the bottom pan, drop in some ground beef, turkey, chicken, possum, etc.,  then press with the top half of the pan to flatten, and within a couple of minutes – voila – perfect slider goodness (thanks to the heat circulating action formed by the 2 part pan.)  Of course – since this is your standard “late night TV” offer there are freebies including a cookbook, a measuring spoon ( would be number 84 for me I think) and a “prep slicer” so I can cut my onions in perfect dice.

It kills me to admit it, but I am tempted to buy one of those things, which may result in me being struck by lightening or something since I am sure that I vowed at some point to never buy any product hawked by this screaming a-hole.

Rules are meant to be broken I guess.

A note to the fine folks at Severn Marketing – I would love to review one of these things…. a free one to play with and write up just might save my life.

Happy eating!


I have a man-crush on my Traeger Pellet Grill

Wade's Traeger Junior Pellet Grill

I have to admit I was really skeptical when I got a call out of the blue a couple of months back from Bruce Bjorkman, the Marketing Director at Traeger Grills and all around BBQ god.  He’d checked out the UltimateFoodie Podcast and asked if I would be into reviewing a Traeger Grill – he asked for my address and a few days later one was on my doorstep.  After my wife and I put it together (not too tough of an assembly job) I was anxious to get cooking.  It’s been a love affair ever since.  Bruce has become a friend and a favorite guest as well/

The Traeger Grill is a different kind of animal from my gas grill or from my charcoal grill in that it runs on compressed “pellets” made of different hardwoods.  Instead of adding chips to get flavor, the pellets function as fuel and flavoring all at once and the smokey flavor you get from the Traeger is outstanding.  Coolest of all is that you have your choice of a ton of different “flavors” of pellets including Hickory, Alder, Apple, Cherry, Maple, Onion, Garlic, Mesquite, Grape Vine and more.  I have found myself mixing and matching chips like I would spices in a rub to get subtle flavoring combinations in my grilled food.

The Traeger is really set up for “Barbecuing” as opposed to “Grilling”  it is all about indirect heat provided by a small auger-fed firebox with a blower – so no direct flames are ever all that close to your food.  The Traeger Grill is essentially a convection over powered by natural wood and with the associated wood smoke flavors. This convection action also makes it possible to do some nice baking on the Traeger – I have used mine to make some dynamite hot sandwiches, baked potatoes and best of all PIZZA.  Traeger actually partners with Papa Murphy’s Pizza and it is a winning combination for sure.

Traeger Pellet Grills are not something you can pick up at Walmart – they are not cheap – but are worth every penny.  They are hand made in the USA by folks in Oregon here in the great North West with pride.  If you are  a serious outdoor cook, I highly recommend that you pick one up either directly from Traeger at or through one of their local dealers.  Tell them Wade from UltimateFoodie sent you and before long you will have a man-crush on your Traeger Grill too.

I’ll do some follow up posts with recipes and reviews of the food I have made on my Traeger in coming weeks.

Kitchen Basics: Measuring Cups

RSVP Measuring Cups ? 7 Piece Stainless Steel Set By RSVP

7 Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Set By RSVP

Measuring cups may seem a little boring to start off a regular series with, but when it comes down to it, those little cups are pretty darn important in the kitchen.

There are two different kinds of measuring cups, one kind for measuring wet ingredients and another for dry. It’s important to use the right kind for whatever you are measuring. Will you get close if you use the wrong type? Sure, but be forewarned! If you use cups designed for dry ingredients to measure liquids, you will always short the liquid or end up spilling and if you use those designed to measure liquids for dry ingredients, you will always be over since there isn’t an easy way to level without tamping down the ingredient you are measuring. I’ve found that I use measuring cups most often when I am baking and with baking it is uber important to get your measurements correct. A bread made with too much dry ingredients and not enough liquids isn’t going to turn out right.

Measuring cups for dry ingredients are normally metal or plastic with a rigid rim and a sturdy handle. They usually come in sets of 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup and sometimes you can find sets that also include 1/8 cup, 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup like the set I have here from For a very long time, I used only plastic measuring cups, but after about the fourth set of those in five years, I decided that was enough. I bought a metal set and I’ve never looked back. My plastic ones just didn’t hold up…they would crack or even melt in the dishwasher (despite being labeled as dishwasher safe) and one set even discolored weirdly. My metal ones are awesome. They stack up nicely, clean easily, and have a nice heft to them. When you are measuring dry ingredients, you should never press and compact the ingredient into the cup, except when you are measuring brown sugar which is always packed into the cup. To measure everything else, fill the cup to the brim lightly and then level it off with the flat side of a knife. Packing an ingredient that shouldn’t be, such as flour, will throw off your recipe.

Pyrex 1-c. Liquid Measuring Cup

Pyrex One Cup Glass Measuring Cup

Wet measuring cups are usually glass or clear plastic so you can read the amount through the side at eye level. They have a spout for pouring and usually have a handle as well for easy use. I would advocate going with glass and specifically Pyrex for a couple of reasons. First, they are glass, so repeated trips through the dishwasher won’t make them brittle. Also, the measurement marks on Pyrex are really baked on there, so they won’t scratch off with use. Finally, the handles are attached in such a way that they are stackable so you can have multiple volumes of measuring cups and they won’t take up a ton of space. Now, glass can break (it’s glass!) but I’ve been using my Pyrex measuring cups for almost 15 years and I’ve even dropped them from time to time (not recommending this) but they still look like they’re new.

I’ll be posting regularly on kitchen tools, terms, ingredients, and tricks, so keep an eye out for another useful Kitchen Basics review shortly!