A Few of My Favorite Things {September 2014}

posted by Andrea | 09/2/2014

favorite things 9-14

Here are a few of my favorite things for the month of September… and as always, be sure to check out some of my favorite things from past months.

DISCLOSURE: None of these products are sponsored in any way; however, some of the links below are affiliate links — which means that at no cost to you, I may get a VERY small commission. However, I hope you know that I’m only promoting the products below because I use them daily in my own home and life. Read my full disclosure policy for more information.

MysticMaid Glass Cleaning Cloth

mysticmaid

I don’t particularly love washing windows — but every now and then, I get around to scrubbing them (at least the ones I see regularly — like the kitchen). One way I make washing windows extremely easy is by using my VERY old MysticMaid glass cleaning cloth.

My grandma actually gave me this cloth before I was married, so it’s been around for almost 10 years now, and I almost always use it when I wash windows. I only have ONE cloth so it has really held up well.

The cool thing about this cloth is that all you need to do is get it wet, wipe down the windows, and then rinse it out again. Unless your windows are insanely dirty, there should  be no streaks or smudges left behind. And since it’s microfiber, there is never any lint left behind either.

I realize there are most likely hundreds of other brands and types of glass cleaning cloths, but the MysticMaid cloth is the exact one I’ve been using for years, so I can definitely testify to the fact it works very well!

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Rice Cooker

41nhVUX0rHL

Exactly 3 years ago, we were welcoming our 2 international students into our home for the school year.

They both came with minimal possessions but then purchased many things upon arrival. One of the things Sarah bought was a rice cooker as we didn’t have one for her to use.

Dave and I both liked rice, but we had never had rice from a rice cooker before… boy, were we missing out! Sarah was always making rice in her rice cooker, and after a few weeks, she showed me how to use it.

SO SIMPLE! Just dump double the amount of water for any amount of rice. So if you use 2 cups of rice, you’ll need to add 4 cups of water. Then just shut the lid and plug it in. It automatically switches to the “warm” setting when the rice is fully cooked — and let me tell you, it’s perfectly cooked every time!

There is no boiling water, no standing by the stove stirring for 40 minutes, and no worrying if the rice will burn. I can simply turn the rice on and prepare the rest of the meal while the rice is cooking. Or I can even make some rice in the morning and have it ready to go into various soups or casseroles when it’s time to assemble dinner.

When the school year was over, Sarah left us her rice maker as she didn’t want to pack it and she had several rice cookers back at home. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she left us with a VERY expensive rice cooker (here’s the link to the Tiger Rice Cooker we now own). However, there are MANY less expensive models out there — and I know from friends they all work well.

I can’t tell you how much time and stress this little rice cooker has saved me over the last 3 years — definitely one of my most favorite small appliances!

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Cord Organizing Wrap

cord organizer

Yes, that is the technical term 🙂

I got this cable/cord organizing wrap several years ago, and we just keep finding more and more uses for it around our home. It’s so easy to use (simply wrap it around a bunch of cords) and just as easy to remove if you need to switch something up later.

We have 2 bunches of cords behind our TV, another bunch under our computer desk, and another bunch around cords in the playroom. Everything has stayed neatly organized for several years — out of sight, out of mind (which is why I’ve never thought to add this product to my list of favorite things).

cord cover

Then, a couple weeks ago, our cable company switched things up (again) so we needed to remove some of the cords behind our TV and add a few new ones. It was super easy to do as we just unwrapped the old cords and then added the new ones in. And although I was somewhat annoyed for the cable changes, it DID remind me to add this product to my favorite things post!

At less than $8 for a 5-foot wrap, I’d say it’s definitely worth it!

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Regalo Clip-On High Chair

clip on high chair

I forgot how much we loved our Regalo clip-on high chair until just recently when we broke it out for Simon to start using.

We mainly used this high chair as a portable on-the-go chair for Nora… and that’s probably what we’ll end up using it for with Simon too — but for less than $20, it has been a very useful baby tool for us these past few years.

It’s extremely easy to wash, it comes with a little carrying bag, it folds down nicely, and it’s relatively easy to attach to the table (once you’ve done it once or twice!)

It doesn’t have any bells or whistles so I don’t think we’d ever use this for our everyday chair… but it is fabulous for quick trips to places that don’t have high chairs available.

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Good Cook 16 oz. Kitchen Scale

kitchen scale

The very first summer we were married (2006) I found a teeny, tiny Good Cook 16 oz. kitchen scale on the clearance rack at our grocery store. I thought, “that’s so cute, I will buy it” not knowing what (or even if) I would ever use it. Naughty-naughty, I know!

Well, that was probably the best $2 I’ve ever spent on kitchen gadgets because I use it ALL the time. I bet I use this scale at least 3-5 times every week to measure food for the freezer (like 1lb. of meat), measurements for baking, or recipe conversions. It’s a fabulous tool that has taken much of the guess work out of cooking and baking.

measuring butter

 

That’s all for me this month.

Make sure you check out my previous months’ favorite things — and feel free to share some of YOUR favorite things in the comments below!

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26 comments

  1. Amanda

    09/03/2014

    We have a similar Chicco travel high chair…we use it all the time! We never travel without it, we always take it to restaurants if we’re not sure they’ll have seats, and we even take it to our parents houses when we need to. We love it!

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  2. Meg

    09/03/2014

    You are so funny!! Oh, the horrors of buying a mini scale that you didn’t already have a use for!! :-). I always love your favorite things posts!!

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  3. Erin

    09/03/2014

    Thank you so much for the Regalo Easy Diner Portable Hook-On High Chair recommendation. My husband and I are going on a family camping trip in a few weeks and we were looking for something for our 5 month old.

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    Andrea Reply:

    no problem — hope it works for you Erin!

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  4. JoDi

    09/02/2014

    I love your favorite things posts! I definitely need to get one of those cleaning cloths. Streaky glass drives me nuts, and I haven’t found anything that really works well. Looks like it’s time to put together and Amazon order!

    My mom had one of those little kitchen scales when were growing up and used it all the time. I have a digital one from Ikea that I love. It does more than a pound which I find very useful.
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20018198/

    I think my very favorite kitchen gadget is my microplane. I started using it for garlic cloves because I hate mincing them, and it works great! I have this one, and it shreds the garlic to the perfect size (for me.) 🙂
    http://www.amazon.com/Microplane-35009-Series-Medium-Ribbon/dp/B00009WE3V/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-5&keywords=microplane+medium+ribbon

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh yes, I love the microplanes too! I have 3 different sizes and kinds and use them all!

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  5. Barrie

    09/02/2014

    Great list this month! Please keep posting your favorite things, I really love finding great new finds that are always USEFUL!

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  6. Tara

    09/02/2014

    I married into a Korean family and I actually own that exact rice cooker (although I found it for less than half that price on Amazon around the holidays a few years ago). It’s the classic Asian household appliance. It will keep rice nice and warm for 2-3 days for us before it starts to get a little to dry around the edges. Then we just use it to make juk (rice porridge-sort of the ultimate comfort food for my husband) and start a fresh pot. When your starch of choice is rice instead of bread or potatoes, it’s vital to have it on hand for every meal. This rice cooker has been a lifesaver for me.

    Now to get me some of those cord organizers…

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    Andrea Reply:

    what!! You can keep rice in there for 2-3 days??

    I’ve always just made small amounts for a single meal — this could be a game-changer for me!

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    Tara Reply:

    Well, in a Tiger brand or other good asian-made brand YES! 🙂

    I haven’t had good success with typical American brands found at household and department stores with this though. So you did inherit a great rice cooker for using over multiple days.

    But DO be sure to soak your rice for a bit if you’re going to try it. Soak white rice for an hour or two (or more depending on the rice) until it begins to look more chalky white. Soak brown rices 6-12 hours or more.

    It seems like after a few years of daily use the cookers start to dry out the rice sooner, but if yours is used infrequently you could probably get at least 2 good days if not more out of yours batches. All depends on how much you cook. You can also sprinkle a little water into the cooker on day 2 and 3 to help keep it moist.

    I’ll also give you my husband’s famous trick for freezing rice for when you wan’t to have some on hand for a quick warm up. Scoop warm rice straight from your rice cooker in 1-2 cup servings onto saran wrap and form a firm ball with the wrap. Wrap a second time and freeze. To thaw, put frozen rice ball straight from the freezer into the microwave and cook until it opens up like a hot and fresh batch (usually around 3 minutes). 🙂 I don’t like using the microwave much anymore, but this has saved my tush a few times.

    Welcome to your new world of rice! LOL

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  7. Melinda

    09/02/2014

    Yeah, you can only use one crock at a time. It still gives you more versatility than other crockpots. If you use more than one at a time regularly, you’ll have to have more than one to store anyway.

    If I remember right, these crockpots used to sell for more than $100. I’m happy to see that they’ve come down in price. It looks like you can get your best deal at Bed, Bath, and Beyond if you order it in-store with a coupon.

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  8. Melinda

    09/02/2014

    I have a lot of favorite things, but one that I love when I go to use it is my 3-in-1 crockpot. It includes one base and 3 different sized crocks that nest on top of the base for easy storage. It’s very reasonably priced and would make a great wedding or housewarming gift.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000R8A1OK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=BJ0KT6TNEMF6&coliid=I2KWI4WKIFXMN8

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh that IS cool 🙂

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    melinda Reply:

    You’re going to hate me though. I found mine on Craigslist. The lady used it once and sold it to me for $10. I hope you find a deal too if you end up going for it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s an amazing deal! I’ve actually never seen anything like that before. I love the space-saving nature of it — although I guess the one down side is that you can only use ONE of the bowls at a time… right?

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  9. Lisa

    09/02/2014

    So happy every time I see ‘a few of my favorite things’, love that and love your blog! Does brown rice cook well in the rice cooker?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lisa — and yes, brown rice (or any type of rice, or even many grains) should cook fine in a rice cooker.

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  10. Jenny

    09/02/2014

    You can also make rice in your crock pot! I just got a crock pot the other week and haven’t had a chance to try it out but I’m looking forward to it.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Jenny, you can cook rice in a slow cooker — but it takes about 3 hours versus about 25 minutes in a rice cooker 🙂

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  11. Janice

    09/02/2014

    Well, I told myself I have got to stop writing comments on your blog posts as if I wanted to write my own blog attached to yours. However, I must tell you that I really look forward to your “A Few of My Favorite Things” posts. I often go out and buy something you recommend or I order online. Thanks for the info about a rice cooker. I have wondered about such an appliance, figuring they were just another gadget that we really didn’t need. Since we love rice, I am now confident they are worth it whether I buy one new or at the thrift store.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — comment away Janice 🙂
    And thanks, I love writing the Favorite things posts so I’m glad there are a handful of people who also enjoy reading them!

    Also, you can actually cook a lot of different things in a rice cooker besides just rice — check out some ideas in this article.

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    Lee Cockrum Reply:

    I love making steel cut oatmeal. I put it in overnight on warm, and then put it on cook when I get up, and it’s ready when it clicks back to warm.

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  12. Michelle W

    09/02/2014

    It’s a huge toss up between my most loved small kitchen appliance: the rice cooker or the crockpot. You can cook all kinds of other grains in it, and a friend SWEARS it makes the perfect pancake too!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yup — I’ve tried the pancake and it works! cool huh!

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  13. Jessica

    09/02/2014

    I NEED those cord organizers! Thanks for these favorite things post! They are so helpful in finding useful items that someone else really likes.

    Related to your list, we love our Ingelsina hook-on high chair. It’s a little more expensive, but it was the only hook-on high chair I could find that worked with the short lip we had on our counter. Here’s a link in case anyone is interested: http://www.amazon.com/Inglesina-2013-Table-Chair-Ibisco/dp/B006JV4HFS.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the link Jessica — we could have used that chair for our old dining room table 🙂

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