Category Archives: Cooking

Food…Cooking, growing, preserving, storing

Valentine’s Ideas For The Whole Family

A box of chocolates. A dozen red roses. A romantic dinner out. All of these things remind us of Valentine’s Day, and by all means – indulge and enjoy if you can. But if your plans for February 14th include more than a special “plus one”, here are some family-friendly ideas that celebrating all kinds of love.

candlelit-pizza-dinner1. Have a candlelit family dinner

Why not? You’ll still get to enjoy a special meal, and setting a festive table for more than two just adds to the excitement.  An assortment of  rosy-hued candles and flowers will create a simple yet striking Valentine’s-inspired table…and you can make the meal even more memorable by giving each family a chance to say something nice about the others.

p.s. Add sound effects to your candle display with WoodWick candles (they come in red, too!) – a natural wooden wick creates the sound of a crackling fire while it burns.

salted-caramel-chocolate-cake
Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake (Martha Stewart)

2. Make a delightfully decadent dessert

As a bonus to your family dinner  – or anytime, really – you will be a Valentine’s hero with a cake like this. The kids might even enjoy helping you bake.  And to make your prep work a little easier, you might want to pick up a jar of sea salt & caramel sauce for the layers (available at Snow’s) – it’s just as good as homemade!

Get the recipe

 Tea Party
Photo: Little Ladies Tea Parties

3. Host a tea party for your little princess and her friends

If you have a little girl in your life, chances are she’d love to invite her friends over for a Valentine’s tea party. It’s a chance to break out some of that old fashioned china, and maybe a bake a batch of heart-shaped cookies to inspire a few more squeals of delight.  If you have some sophisticated tea drinkers in your group, our “Teas for the Heart” gift box from Tea Forte includes 5 different infusers and antioxidant-rich green teas. Proceeds benefit WomenHeart, a nonprofit which helps women living with, or at risk of heart disease.


4. Craft some homemade cards

No matter how far we advance with technology, there’s something about a simple homemade card that remains timeless.  Heartfelt cards need nothing more than a little inspiration and some basic supplies – which you can find in our expanded craft department.

5. Do a heart-healthy activity

If you’re on Cape Cod this Valentine’s Day, you can do something good for yourself and for others by participating in this year’s 5K Run. Walk. Love Relay. Proceeds will be donated to this year’s Relay For Life of Mid Cape which will be held in June. Registration beins at 9:00 a.m. at the Barnstable County Courthouse; age-group awards will be given to top finishers in 10-year age groups and over 70.

 

Take it Easy: Healthy Crockpot Cooking for the Big Game

What a storm. With all of the excitement, we haven’t had much time to think about the big football game on Sunday.  How will you celebrate?

Last week we talked about making fresh juice, but there probably won’t be too many of us setting up a Superbowl juice bar in front of the flat screen.  But that doesn’t mean we have to throw all the healthy options out the window. Many of the things we love to eat during cold weather football watching – stews, meatballs, pulled pork – can be healthy and easy.

Here are three good-for-you recipes that can be made in a crockpot, perfect for effortless entertaining. Go, Pats!

turkey meatballsMini Turkey Meatballs

Who doesn’t like a meatball? This version has comfort food written all over it, but lean ground turkey and quinoa (instead of breadcrumbs) keeps them healthy and light. From How Sweet Eats.

pulled pork tacosPulled Pork Tacos

A slow cooker is the perfect vessel for cooking up a batch of barbeque-worthy pulled pork while you sleep. For the game, add salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and any other toppings you like to a warm tortilla. From Iowa Girl Eats.

spinach-dipSpinach Artichoke Dip

Chips and dip are a hallmark of any great party. This cheese spinach and artichoke dip uses fat free mayo and feta to make it creamy, and a slow cooker to get it warm and gooey. From Cooking Light.

Enjoy!

 

 

Juicing for Health: Why and With What

In a poll conducted by USA.gov, half of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015 were about health. Specifically: lose weight, quit smoking, get fit, manage stress, drink less alcohol. Not surprising, but what you may not know is that there is one single practice that can help you succeed with every single one of these resolutions – juicing.
fresh juices

Juicing has been around for a long time, and hundreds of studies have been done on its benefits. Documentaries have been made, including Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, which tells the story of a man who lost almost 100 pounds and healed his autoimmune disease by following a 60-day juice fast.   

Watch the trailer 

Benefits of Juicing

        • Quick, efficient way to get your nutrients
        • Boosts immunity
        • Gives you more energy
        • Flushes out toxins
        • Helps with weight lose weight
        • Gives your digestive system a break
        • Helps prevent cancer and disease

Impressive list, right? But if you’ve never juiced before, you might wonder where to start.  Before you stock your fridge with celery, beets, apples, carrots and kale, you’ll need a good juicer.

Which Juicer?

Breville juicer Breville juicerThere is indeed a juicer out there for every budget: from $20 to $400 or more. While Snow’s carries juicers in all of these price ranges, we always love to recommend Breville – moderately priced, heavy-duty, high quality juicers.

In fact, it was a Breville juicer featured in the documentary we mentioned earlier.  We carry both the the Breville Compact Juice Fountain ($99.99) and the Breville Juice Fountain Plus ($149.99). They are both great machines; the Fountain Plus is built to make more juice at a time, faster – so it’s a better choice if you plan to juice frequently and/or have several juice fans in your family.

For more reasons, recipes and reviews, take a peek at one of our other posts on juicing: Glass Half Full. Here’s to a healthy 2015!

 

 

Nespress Yourself

Is a Nespresso Coffee System for You?

If you’re considering a premium home coffee machine, there are lots of choices. Nespresso, iCoffee, Capresso… we carry them all at Snow’s, and they all have their distinct features and benefits.

Today we’re highlighting Nespresso systems, because through the end of the month, you’ll get a $100 club credit with the purchase a system valued at $199 or more*. This gives you $100 toward mail order purchases of Nespresso coffee capsules – the most efficient and cost effective way to buy them.

There’s a whole Nespresso movement out there, evident by more than $4M Facebook page likes, and the many fans dedicated to documenting their ‪#‎NespressoMoment‬. But for those of us just trying to figure out if taking stock in the world Nespresso is for us, here’s what you need to know:

How the machines work and what they make:

vertuolineThe VertuoLine Makes coffee and espresso.

Technology: Gentle Centrifusion™ extraction makes for a smooth, rich and highly aromatic coffee, with high intensity and body, finished with a silky and generous crema.

Capsules come in 2 sizes, for “long” cups of coffee or espresso.

 

original lineThe OriginalLine  includes a range of machines, including some that feature an integrated milk-heating and foaming system to produce lattes and cappuccinos, in addition to espresso and coffee.

Technology: High-pressure extraction system releases all of the aromas contained in each coffee capsule. This guarantees an optimum distribution of the water through the ground coffee, resulting in a smooth and authentic taste.

Capsules come in espresso varieties, or the specially crafted grand crus.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • Nespresso coffee was top rated by a Good Housekeeping taste panel
  • There are different coffee “strengths” you can choose from: lungo (mild), espresso and ristretto (intense)
  • Easy to program and use controls; intuitive “smart start” guide included
  • Brews a shot of espresso in about 20 seconds
  • Nespresso is known for excellent customer service

Another important piece of Nespresso’s platform is sustainability and environmental consciousness. They have featured their coffee farmers in many campaigns, thanking them for their commitment in quality and sustainability (‪#‎MeetOurFarmers‬). Regarding their green initiatives, they have a free capsule recycling program.

And if you’re still not convinced, you might want to indulge in one of the many ads featuring George Clooney. At least for many of the ladies out there, that’s reason enough to be a Nespresso fan.

The YouTube ID of -jVMYQACn84?list=PLQ2eIUsAVWUyoz0kY_nbMg3xUjYBjqrxF is invalid.

 

* Some restrictions. Click here for details.

 

Home for the Holidays: Tips for Getting Ready

It’s a familiar feeling. We’ve hardly finished washing the dishes from Thanksgiving – and the Christmas season arrives, with bells on.

If you play host or hostess for the holidays, a good game plan will help you get your home in order more easily.  After all, the best gift you can give your loved ones is to be relaxed and joyful, knowing you have the prep work squared away.

Here are 5 ideas for getting ahead of the holiday rush:

make ahead soup#1 Make Meals for Crunch Time
There are definitely some holiday treats – like cookies – you can make ahead and freeze. But if you can also squeeze in items like casseroles, soups and stews, you’ll appreciate having an easy home cooked meal when the rest of your schedule gets tight.

Find it at Snow’s: canning jars, slow cookers, oven safe cookware, reusable / portable food containers

#2 Pack, Purge and Polish
Before you start filling closets with gifts from Santa, make some room by sorting through your clothes and making a dash to Goodwill. After the purge, you can give the house a thorough cleaning – before that task overwhelms you.

Find it at Snow’s: household storage containers, cleaning products (including all-natural and non-toxic cleaners)

cape cod wreath#3 Enhance the Entryway
When holiday visitors come-a-knocking, a festive entryway will let them know good times are waiting inside. Sometimes less is more: a single lush, live wreath with some seasonal accents can transform a front door.

Find it at Snow’s: live wreaths and trees, garland, decorative holiday trimmings

#4 Create a Welcoming Washroom
Except for the kitchen (everyone really spend time there!), your bathroom is probably the most visited room in the house. Freshen up the space with some special soaps, lotions and perhaps a lightly scented candle or two… your guests will appreciate the effort.

Find it at Snow’s: premium lotions and soaps, bath accessories, towels, candles and diffusers

puzzle#5 Stock Up on Fun
We love the food, we love the gifts. But what’s better than doing nothing more than sitting down to play a game? Your friends and family will jump at the chance to break out a classic board game, work on a big puzzle, or simply relax and connect with one another.

Find it at Snow’s: toys, games and puzzles for all ages, including the classics!

All the Fixings: Tools and Tableware for the Holidays

It’s just four weeks until Thanksgiving…wow.  But don’t worry,  Snow’s has everything you need to pull of this year’s turkey day without a hitch.

For the Kitchen

basterThanksgiving is the ultimate multi-tasking cooking marathon. But with the right tools for the job, preparing your feast gets a whole lot easier.

Basters are a necessity for the perfect turkey… and this one from Animal House is both fun and functional. Just squeeze the rubber turkey and get those juices flowing!

stuffing bagIf you like your stuffing cooked inside the bird, these disposable mesh stuffing bags are really easy to use. No mess, and no reason to scoop that stuffing again!

Plus,  you’ll find pop-up timers, poultry lacer sets, gravy separators, cutting boards and lots more.

If you need cookware, Snow’s is definitely the place to go. Much of our name brand quality cookware is sold for far less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. So much less, in fact – we can’t advertise it!

 

For the Table

pheasant paper goodsBirds are a popular holiday theme this year, and Snow’s has some beautiful new designs to inspire you.  Many of our dinnerware collections are versatile enough to go from Thanksgiving to Christmas and beyond…they are so attractive, you’ll want to keep them out year-round. And for those times when you can’t bear to wash another dish, stock up on some holiday paper goods, like our plates and napkins featuring these colorful pheasants.

woodwick candlesFor your table decor, Woodwick candles are a lovely addition. They look great, and guest will love the subtle crackle of the wooden wick. And with scents like “pumpkin strudel,” there’s just one more mouth-watering aroma to enjoy.

Finally, don’t forget the little things. Holidays and big family gatherings are a time when we ask ourselves: “Where did all the teaspoons go?”  Whether the dishwasher ate them or they mistakenly ended up in the trash, replenish your set with open stock flatware – buying only the pieces need. 

Barbecue that Bird!

How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey on a Charcoal Grill

It’s a common Thanksgiving dilemma. Every year, it’s a timing and spacial relations challenge to make room in the oven for stuffing, rolls, green bean casseroles and everything else that needs to get cooked despite the 20-lb. turkey that got there first.

This is where a charcoal grill can come to the rescue.  Although it’s seems untraditional, there are many converts who say a cooking Thanksgiving turkey on a grill is the only way to go. In the Snow’s family, Stan and Bonnie Snow have been doing it this way for years.

grilled turkeyWeber has detailed (but easy to follow) instructions for cooking a turkey this way. The brined turkey with pan gravy pictured here looks just like a traditional roast turkey you would pull out of your oven, only it comes off the grill – and it’s really more accurate to say barbecued than “grilled.” The turkey doesn’t sit directly on the grate, so you don’t have grill marks. A nice touch for a ribeye, but not so much for your holiday bird.

View the recipe and instructions (If you’re more of a visual learner, watch the video below to see it done step-by-step).

bird-vid
VIDEO: Cooking a Turkey on a Charcoal Grill

Grilling a turkey involves brining it ahead of time (overnight) in a mixture of apple juice, water, salt and herbs. The effect of brining is sort of a miracle of science: the salt in the brine denatures some of the meat’s proteins, which allows more of the natural juices to be retained.

The cooking process itself is all about indirect, low heat. Over the course of about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, the bird will cook slowly as you add more charcoal each hour.

Other than the turkey and seasoning, preparing and grilling a turkey successfully requires the following tools:

turkey with thermometer
Caption: Safety first: The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 160° to 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone).
  1. Large cooler
  2. Sturdy plastic bag
  3. Ice
  4. Wood chips (optional)
  5. Chimney starter (optional)
  6. Charcoal
  7. 3 large disposable foil pans
  8. Charcoal grill with cooking grate
  9. Meat thermometer
  10. Gravy separator

 

So this year, consider firing up the grill to help with your Thanksgiving spread. Your oven will thank you, and you might even get some of the guys off the couch and outside cooking! :-)

Heavy Metal Fans

The why and which of All-Clad cookware

If you asked a professional chef (or a serious foodie) what cookware they have in their kitchen, they would probably say All-Clad.

Why? Well, part of the reason is probably based on reputation alone. It’s like buying a Rolex watch: you may not know exactly why it’s better, but you have the expectation that it will be. For those in the know, All-Clad represents exemplary cooking performance, which means your culinary creations are never sacrificed due to a malfunction in the pan.

All-Clad uses a special metal bonding process which is formulated for optimal cooking performance, not for ease of manufacturing.  A pure core of aluminum, stainless or copper – not only on the bottom, but all the way up the sides of each piece of cookware – distributes heat evenly and provides professional results.

As for history, All-Clad definitely has it. Clad Metals began in the U.S. steel age, and the products are still made by American craftsmen in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania the same way they were four decades ago.  Click to watch an early television interview with founder John Ulam, where he describes the technical innovations that led to the creation of All-Clad.

Choosing All-Clad Cookware

All-Clad has four major lines of cookware: Stainless Steel, MC2, Hard Anodized and Copper Core.  Selected pans in some collections offer a nonstick surface.

all clad stainless
Callout: Stainless is the original – tried and true. And if you don’t want to hand wash your pots and pans, you need not look any further; the stainless line is the only one recommended for the dishwasher.

Four product lines seems like a lot to think about before you even get cooking, but there’s good news. Inside, everything is (basically) the same: all pieces have the patented aluminum core that covers the bottom of the pan and extends up the sides. The Copper Core line has more bells and whistles, but it’s also the most expensive, so a copper repertoire may not be in everyone’s budget.

Feeling confident that any piece of All-Clad cookware you buy will be high quality, it really comes down to the look and the price, both of which are personal. So here’s a down and dirty description of each, keeping in mind that price-wise, there isn’t too much of a swing between the different lines until you get to the copper collection.

1. MC2all clad mc2

MC2 cookware is a contemporary makeover of All-Clad’s original Master Chef collection, created for the chef community. Stainless interior and a matte, brushed aluminum exterior, providing superior cooking results at an extraordinary value.

All-Clad-Hard-Anodized2. Hard Anodized

You probably wouldn’t stock your kitchen with all hard anodized cookware, but they are a great companions to stainless basics. Crafted the same way inside, with a non-stick surface. Think grill pans.

all-clad-stainless-steel3. Stainless

Classic All-Clad. Timeless design, shiny stainless-steel exterior, dishwasher safe. Available in every shape and size you can think of, from a cute little 1/2 qt. butter warmer to a 7 qt. pasta pentola. (pictured: a 3-piece set including stockpot, strainer insert and lid, perfect for cooking pasta).

all clad copper core4. Copper Core

These beauties have an added – you guessed it – copper core in between layers of aluminum, which gives it even more heat-conducting goodness. Copper is considered the best cooking material around, prized by chefs and gourmands. The look is also distinct with an accent band of copper around the outside.

 

Shop All-Clad products at Snow’s (A larger selection can be found in our retail store at 22 Main Street, Orleans)

Not sold on All-Clad? Click here to read one of our past posts comparing Cuisinart, Swiss Diamond and Lodge, too.

 

What’s Your Daily Grind?

Seven “traditional” coffee makers compared

With the advent of the K-cup and the resurgence of the French press, there is certainly  more than one way to make a cup of coffee. But when but when it comes down to choosing a “regular coffee maker,” how do you know which one is right for you?

To help you navigate all the coffee maker options out there, here’s a line up of 7 great ones, with a summary of what’s what:

1. Premium Coffee “To-Go”Hamilton Beach 12-Cup, Two Way Coffee Brewer – $89.99 at Snow’s

This is an affordable coffeemaker that can brew premium Hamilton-Beach-Two-Way-Brewer-Single-Serve-and-12-cup-Coffee-Makerroast coffee at home, either in a single serving or a full 12-cup pot.

For “solo” use, it comes with a stainless travel mug – or you can use your own.  You also have a choice of using ground coffee or pre-packaged soft pods.

Brew strength is another special feature of this coffee maker: simply select regular or bold, rather than have to fuss with the amount of coffee you use to adjust the taste. Other conveniences include programmable brewing, automatic shutoff, and an automatic pause & serve feature for pouring a cup while it’s still brewing.

2. Modern Functionality: Cuisinart 12-Cup Brew Central – $89.99 at Snow’s

cuisinart brew centralCuisinart is one of the best names in kitchen appliances, and coffee makers are no exception. We are actually reviewing 3 different Cuisinart models here today; all with unique differences.

The Brew Central  is a solid, reliable, attractive coffee maker with an array of convenience features at a mid-range price.

It’s totally programmable, with an adjustable heater plate for temperature control, a small batch (1 to 4 cups) option, and a brew-pause function so you can grab a cup mid-brew. This model also has an upscale look: a brushed stainless finish and a sleek, modern design.

3. All-in-One: Cuisinart 12-Cup Automatic Grind & Brew – $99.99 at Snow’s

cuisinart grind and brewThe big extra with the Cuisinart Grind and Brew is just as the name indicates: the beans are automatically ground right before brewing, tight in the unit. The streamlined design and brushed metal finish is on the modern side, but less dramatically so than the Brew Central – so it looks great in almost any kitchen. It has full programming features with adjustable auto shut-off, 1 to 4 cup setting, brew pause, and even a “grind off” feature if you want to use pre-ground coffee. It also has a large control panel with large push buttons for quick and simple operation.

4. One Cup at a TimeCuisinart 12-Cup Coffee On Demand – $99.99 at Snow’s

cuisinart coffee on demandCuisinart’s Coffee on Demand™ is a carafe-free coffeemaker that delivers up to 12 cups of hot coffee…cup by cup. You (and your house guests) can dispense one cup at a time; a dispenser light comes on when you press the lever to fill your cup, and the gauge on the front gives a count down to cups remaining. It’s kind of like the K-cup brewers, except it uses loose ground coffee.

In additional to all of Cuisinart’s programmable features, it has a removable water reservoir to make fill-ups (and clean ups) easy.

5. Easy ProgrammingKrups 12-Cup Precision Coffee Maker – $89.99 at Snow’s

krups precisionHolding a steady spot next to all of the Cuisinart models as powerful, well-designed, full-featured coffee maker, the Krups Precision has a few unique features of its own.

Programming is extra easy thanks to a uniquely angled upward-facing control panel & LCD screen with a high-contrast black-on-white display; you can see the buttons without having to crouch over. In addition, dual auto-on presets give you the option to wake up to freshly brewed coffee, and at a later time if you have a chance to sleep in.

6. Truly CustomizedBreville 12-Cup YouBrew Coffee Maker with Grinder youbrew– $249.99 at Snow’s

Now we’re getting to the cream of the crop. If you take your coffee very seriously, you may want to splurge for one of the best coffee makers available.

It has all the bells and whistles. Choose a cup, a travel mug or a carafe. Choose your brew strength, even your flavor profile—Breville’s Brew IQ System (have you ever met a coffee with an IQ?) takes care of getting the water to the optimal temperature, then dispenses the correct amount for your selected brew size and strength.  Even the single cup mode has five (yes, five) adjustable flavor settings. There’s also a built-in burr grinder to freshly grind your choice of beans.

icoffee7. New InnovationRemmington 12-Cup iCoffee System – $169.95 at Snow’s

The new iCoffee’s SteamBrew™ patented technology is actually pretty revolutionary. There are six rotating hot water jets, a brew-viewing window, gold-tone filtration, and all the automatic, programmable features you would expect.  But its claim to fame is that it makes coffee with steam, resulting in coffee that tastes creamier, bolder and more flavorful.

According to the company, drip coffee makers extract unevenly, which results in unwanted acidic and bitter coffee oils. Single-serve coffee makers do the same thing: the water runs through only one part of the pod, so over-extraction happens here, too. Using a French press solves this problem, but many people find it time consuming to brew and clean, and it is limited to only a few cups that can get cold fast.

If you’re intrigued, check out the 90-second video to see how it works.  The iCoffee system is brand new and in stock at Snow’s in Orleans.

 

Note: All coffee makers are excluded from this weekend’s savings pass, but that’s not a bad thing. Why? Well, Snow’s coffee makers are sold at the MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) every day. This price is significantly lower than the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price), so the customer never has to wait…they are always offered at a “sale” price!

Confident Cooks

Choosing the best cookware for you

cookingIt seems there as many different types of cookware as there are foods to make, so how to you decide what cookware will work the best for you?

Well, as with lots of things, much of it boils down to personal preference. Aside from the pros and cons of the actual cookware material (we’ll get into that in a moment), aesthetics and ergonomics are important factors to consider. If a pan is too heavy to comfortably lift, or if the finish doesn’t match your decor, you might wish you made a different decision regardless of a particular line’s culinary performance.

Snow’s carries an impressive selection of cookware from basic on up. If you’re considering an investment in one of the mid to high range lines of cookware (or even a single pot or pan), this side by side comparison may help guide you.  We’ve organized the distinct features and benefits of our four top cookware brands: Cuisinart, All Clad, Lodge and Swiss Diamond.

[table id=1 /]

A few final thoughts:

  • Purchasing a set of cookware if usually more cost effective than buying each piece separately. And at Snow’s, most of our cookware is at Snow’s Everyday Low Price, which means that our prices are below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), everyday. We never advertise this as a sale, because it’s a great price, all the time. Although we don’t advertise it, an example is the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 7-piece cookware set; the MSRP is $260 and Snow’s offers it at just $99.99!
  • The cliche term “you get what you pay for” is most certainly true with cookware, too. You should try to buy the best cookware you can for the money you are able to spend; it will last longer and ultimately give you a better return on your investment.

Even armed with lots of information, purchasing cookware can still be overwhelming. At Snow’s, we encourage you to speak with someone in our kitchen department; they are knowledgeable and happy to help.

Links to browse or buy cookware:

All Clad

Cuisinart

Lodge

Swiss Diamond