I love to cook, but here’s the deal. I only cook what I know how to cook. Cooking things outside of my cooking zone is a no-go.
Many years ago, as a new wife in our first home – I thought I’m going to make my husband a hearty meal. Growing up we had a nanny who made these amazing steak fingers. I set out to make my husband steak fingers in our new kitchen. It was our first home, we had just built-in and moved in so steak fingers for dinner is what I was determined to accomplish.
I knew the recipe after watching our nanny cook it for us every summer – but I had never tried to make them myself. I followed her recipe, double dipping the steak fingers in the batter – and turned around to find a massive grease fire. Young and dumb (hello 20-year-old Molly) – I called 9-1-1, and while on the phone threw the pan in the sink with water, which of course 9-1-1 then told me “NO! Don’t do that!” Too late. And at the same time, I had egg battered hands and somehow the battery on my cordless phone fell out dropping the call to 9-1-1.
When you hang up on 9-1-1 in an emergency, you have a fire truck, police and ambulance at your house in minutes. Smoke everywhere, but we survived and ever since I have shied away from new recipes.
Lesson learned. You don’t add water to a grease fire.
Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System Review
Hestan Cue reached out and offered to send us their Hestan Cue smart cooking system to review. Their smart cooking system includes an induction burner, smart pan and recipe app with video guided techniques. We get a lot of offers to review things, but this – I wanted to see exactly if it would help cook. Kitchen technology fascinates me and this could just be a game changer in the kitchen – so decided to try it out.
My husband loves him some crepes. Anytime we are on vacation, eating whatever – I feel like we always end up at a crepe place to get some type of dessert crepe. I once bought him store-bought crepes and quickly realized they were crap. So for our first adventure with the Hestan Cue, I was determined to make crepes. Their app has a ton of recipes to choose from, crepes included.
I unpacked the Hestan Cue smart cooking system and the first thing I noticed was the pan is extremely heavy. It’s a solid piece of cookware. I unpacked, washed the pan, plugged in and had the app downloaded in 5 minutes. Easy peasy, I was optimistic.
Following the recipe on the Hestan Cue app, I mixed the ingredients in the blender, moved them to a bowl, got a spatula, started the induction burner and app and was off to the races. The app provided video with step-by-step information on how to make the crepes. It even showed placing things in the blender, spraying the pan and so on.
The app actually connects to the smart cooking system. It ensures that it is heated properly. It tells you when to pour the crepes in (even showing me how to move the pan side-to-side to make the crepe.) After the crepe batter was in the pan, the app counted down and told me and showed me how to flip the crepe. Then the app counted down again, until the crepe was complete.
Perfect crepes. Like for real.
The husband and kids approved. So much so that I had to repeat the crepe making process 11 more times. 12 crepes made, the whole family devoured them. Each kid made their crepes a little different. I cooked bananas and honey for filling, others used Nutella and then with the few leftovers we had, we made Reuben crepes. Success.
Our next adventure with the Hestan Cue will be Crisp Skin Atlantic Salmon. Again, another thing the husband absolutely loves but never felt comfortable cooking.
Overall, the Hestan Cut smart cooking system is a really cool cooking device. I can see this being an awesome wedding gift, especially for the bride or groom who doesn’t know how to cook. This system is really like cooking classes (but more!) with a connected burner.
Do I see us using this every day? No. That said, I don’t see this as something that is filling the kitchen cabinet. This is definitely something we will be using for years to come, especially when entertaining and wanting to try out something new.
If you are a remote worker and work from home, check out these products for your remote workstation!
Best Tech for Working From Home
Our friends at Logitech sent us over several products for the work from home worker to celebrate National Work From Home Week. We’re reviewing these tech products that are perfect for the work at home worker, BONUS – Logitech is also giving these away to a Digital Mom Blog reader, so keep reading!
Logitech 4K Pro Webcam
When working from home, video conferencing nowadays is a must. You want to make sure that you have a camera that is clear, shoots a good picture in low light. The Logitech 4k Pro Webcam does just that.
The Logitech 4K Pro Webcam works with Mac, Windows 10, WIndows 8, WIndows Hello and is certified for Skype for Business.
Rightlight 3 with HDR
Make sure to watch our video review to get a glimpse of the Logitech 4K Pro Webcam in action. This webcam is amazing clear offering 1080p, full HD and visually crisp 720p (HD). From low light to direct sunlight, this webcam makes your shot look amazing.
Camera Setting Application
With the camera setting application, you can adjust your field of view, zoom your video up to 5x, preview your video stream, change your background and much more.
Ultra Secure Login
Infrared sensor technology supports facial recognition for advanced security with Windows Hello or other facial recognition software applications.
As a working mom, I have been blessed to work from home for the last several years – both for corporate and self-employed. Having the right technology is key to being productive!
One thing I have learned about the Logitech company as that they are pro work at home. I am all about support businesses that understand the value of flexibility.Logitech has teamed up with several companies to promote Work from Home week. Read about their stance on working from home:
Logitech believes in flexibility in the workplace and views this week as an opportunity to demonstrate that employees can be successful and productive regardless of location. In addition, Logitech is teaming with companies such as ASPCA, Zoom, BlueJeans, Fuze, Samaschool and Upwork to spread awareness of the benefits of working from home. Logitech finds that working from home offers a win-win-win proposition for employees, companies and the environment.
According to Darrell, “Logitech is a global company, and we’ve collaborated with each other in offices around the world for decades. Our employees use video conferencing every single day in all of our meetings. So it’s built into our culture that it doesn’t matter where you work; it matters how you work. And I think many, certainly not all, companies are catching onto this.”
Scott Wharton, vice president of general manager for Logitech Video Collaboration, added, “Workplace collaboration is no longer bound by four walls thanks to today’s mobile and cloud-based technologies. Logitech provides tools that facilitate creativity and productivity for workers whether they’re in the office, at home or on the go. This week, we have a unique opportunity to showcase how collaboration can thrive even when we’re working remotely.”
It’s National Coffee Day! Some may laugh, but for those of us who use coffee as gas, today is to be celebrated. I’m celebrating today by unboxing and reviewing the Ninja Coffee Maker and sharing a few favorite coffee recipes.
First, let me say this. For year’s we used a Keurig. I loved our Keurig, but with as many people drinking coffee as we have in our house – it isn’t an affordable option. This past year, I bought a cheap, old-school coffee maker and dumped our Keurig. While I loved the idea of making a single cup of coffee whenever it just wasn’t practical for our family of 6 to purchase 2-3 boxes of K-cups each week.
Ninja Coffee Maker Review
Our friends at Shark sent over their new Ninja Coffee Maker for us to review. The main thing that I was so excited about when learning about this coffee maker, is that it allows us to do ONE CUP OF COFFEE at a time, and we don’t have to buy k-cups! Before getting my hopes up too high, I gave this device a thorough review – which you can see in the video.
Here are the highlights of things you should know about the Ninja Coffee Maker:
No K-Cups Needed
I love that the Ninja makes a single cup of coffee for either my mug or Yeti! The best part, I can just buy a regular bag of coffee, on K-cups needed!
The glass coffee carafe is awesome (as long as my kids don’t drop it!) It pours easy, it’s heavy and catches the coffee perfectly as it drips.
Perfect Size Water Container
Okay, this may sound silly but the container that holds the water is a perfect size! With a twist, you unsnap the water container to fill-up before making your coffee. It slides perfectly into our refrigerator for easy filling.
Pretty Coffee Maker
I know some people don’t care how pretty their coffee maker is, but others do. This is a pretty coffee maker. The lines are clean and this device isn’t an eyesore (like our last coffee maker) on the counter.
Multiple Ways to Make Coffee
You can make coffee a plethora of ways with a click of a button. If you want a carafe, full or half – just click a button. If you want to make coffee in your Yeti over ice, just click a button. The Ninja Coffee Maker is super simple to use with a plethora of coffee making options.
Things To Know
Ninja The Ninja Coffee Maker takes 8 minutes to brew a full carafe of coffee, 4 minutes for a half carafe and 1-2 minutes to fill a Yeti or a mug.
There is a feature that allows you to easily make your coffee over ice. The coffee maker knows how much water to add and gives you a great cup of coffee.
Do you like your coffee strong? No problem! With a click of a button, your coffee will be brewed strong.
Here is a quick overview of what this device offers:
Choose a Size—Cup, Travel Mug, Half Carafe, or Full Carafe—and brew directly into your favorite cup or travel mug or use the carafe.
Choose a Brew—Classic, Rich, Over Ice, and Specialty—to make a variety of hot, iced, and frozen blended coffeehouse-style drinks.
Auto-iQ One-Touch Intelligence knows how to deliver the perfect amount of water at the right time for the size and brew type you select. No need to measure the water or refill the reservoir after every single serve brew.
43 oz. Glass Carafe and Intelligent Warming Plate keep your coffee at the ideal drinking temperature with 2-hour auto shutoff.
What I Didn’t Like
There are 2 downsides that I found with the device but are totally not deal breakers.
I wish the carafe held more coffee. The good news is, it’s easy to make one-off cups of coffee so this isn’t a huge downfall.
The coffee maker makes a lot of steam. You have to be careful to not burn your hand by touching the top of the coffee maker while it’s making coffee.
Portable RCA ice maker – make ice anywhere there is a plug!
RCA recently sent us their compact ice maker to review. We tried it out, and here are our thoughts.
RCA Ice Maker Review
We like to entertain often. While we absolutely love our Samsung Hub refrigerator – the ONE complaint is the amount of ice the ice maker makes. Before any party, it’s always requires a trek out to pick up an additional bag of ice. So when the RCA compact ice maker arrived, we were excited to see what this thing could do.
Using the ice maker is super easy. You just dump in water, plug-in the machine at the RCA ice maker does it’s thing.
The ice maker makes 26 pounds of ice in 24 hours. The typical regular size bag of ice at the store is 7-8 pounds. So, if planned right, you can plug in the device a few hours before a party and shazam, your ice needs are met for the party.
If you are camping, this device would come in handy for camping trips. Just plug into an outlet, pour water in – and you will have enough ice for a cup in around 6 minutes.
The RCA compact ice maker gives you 2 sizes of ice to choose from. I do wish it offered a pebble ice size, but the smaller ice is sufficient for chewing. (Yes, I know, chewing ice is bad.)
The other thing downsize is that the device holds about 1.5 pounds of ice at a time – it would be great if it held more (but then it wouldn’t be compact! Guess you can’t have it all.)
Here are some quick facts about the ice maker:
Enjoy a batch of ice in as little as 6 minutes
Produces 26lbs of ice per day in choice of 2 ice sizes
Stores up to 1.5 lbs of ice at a time
2.3 Quart Reservoir with Electronic LED Controls
No water hook-up needed, you pour water in to make the ice
Uses a standard 110 outlet
The RCA compact ice maker is available at Amazon and retails for $129.
We have a Arlo baby monitor review for you! First, let me say – sad panda here, my babies are all grown. Netgear sent over an Arlo smart baby monitor for us to test out and now I am faced with the fact that I once stared mindlessly into a screen watching my babies every move. Now, I can’t keep track of all of my kids (okay, I totally can – hello FIND MY IPHONE.)
All that to say, THIS – the ARLO smart baby monitor – is the baby monitor that I WISH I had when my littles were littles.
ARLO BABY MONITOR REVIEW
If you have a chance, read my Baby Registry Must Haves post. The ARLO Baby is featured in it and well, it’s a great overview for all new parents on what you need to have for baby. Enough, I know – you just want to know about this awesome baby monitor. I get it.
Not the Baby Monitor of 2011
SO my last baby was born in 2011. Sure we had video baby monitors, but compared to this monitor? This is the Baby Monitor of 2017 – this is NOT a 2011 monitor. The picture is clear, the audio is awesome, the features are legit. Here, let me just tell you everything you want to know in our Arlo Baby Smart Monitor review:
1080p HD Quality
1080p HD for all you non-geeks means this has AMAZING quality video. No longer will your baby look like an alien thru the video monitor – this quality is legit! You can view live or recorded videos in awesome detail and color. I actually downsized this screen shot as for web, best practice is not to have massive images. For real y’all – check out this quality. My kid looks like my kid and not some blurry monster like in the old school video monitors!
Air Sensor – Air Quality Checker
Air quality checker? Well, didn’t know what better way to say – this device checks your air quality! The built-in air sensor will show you the temperature wherever your camera is located, as well as humidity and condition of the air.
HELLO CHILD, CAN YOU PLEASE GO BACK TO SLEEP. Yes, those are the words that my kids constantly heard but you know, you do you. You can talk to your baby from anywhere and hear them, too – all thru the Arlo app.
Advanced Night Vision
Because newborns require 24 hour surveillance, the Arlo Baby Smart Monitor gives you near-invisible infrared LEDs, that let you see your baby clearly, even in the dark. That’s right, night vision!
Set alerts when ever there is motion or sound – even set air quality notifications! The smart alert notifications are sent to your smartphone. Smart, eh? I love this feature, again – things that I didn’t have back in the day (5 whole years ago, what a difference 5 years make!)
Play White Noise and Music Thru the Baby Monitor
This feature is something that I adore, why? I had 2 colic kids that had to have white noise to sleep! The Arlo monitor comes with a playlist of options for your baby to listen to, including white noise! You can also record your voice and play it back to them.
Free 7-Day Cloud Storage
You can be review, download and share recorded moments for an entire week
The multi-colored night light, music player, temperature, humidity & VOCs air sensors are all controlled from the Arlo app. Again, all thru your app. Nope, didn’t have that 5 years ago.
Go wireless with your baby monitor for up to 6 hours (or up to 3 hours with night vision.) This allows you to monitor your baby, wherever you go! This also allows your camera still work, in the event of a power outage.
The Arlo baby monitor works thru your Arlo app! If you have an Arlo video surveillance system, it’s the same app as you will use to monitor your child.
Arlo Baby Accessories
The Arlo baby camera comes dressed in an adorable bunny outfit. If green bunny isn’t your thing, no worries – the camera has costumes! You can dress your camera up as a cat or dog.
Other Arlo accessories include a display monitor – which would be super helpful if you had a sitter and didn’t want to give them phone access. Also there is a monitor stand available which comes in handy when positioning the camera.
Useful After Your Baby is Grown
After your babies are all grown, this baby monitor still has a purpose! We use our’s as an indoor camera. It’s great as we can talk to the kids and hear what they are doing when we aren’t around. I can be outside in the pasture, pull up the app – see what my kid is doing! I can move the camera around to wherever my kids and know that they are okay. This is an advantage of the kids growing up, I don’t have to be TOTALLY eagle eye on them.
Setting Up The Baby Monitor
Setting up the Arlo baby monitor took 15 minutes. 5 of that is retrieving, setting up a new password and telling my husband the new password. Setup is super easy. If you are a non-techy – no worries, Netgear made the setup process super simple.
Stay tuned for our Arlo Baby Monitor Review video!
Peace of Mind
As a working mom who traveled when her babies were little, I so would value all of these features. Moms and dads just want peace of mind, knowing that their child is okay. This baby product offers just that.
Thanks for reading our Arlo Baby Monitor Review – now it’s your chance to win one of your very own! We have no need for a baby monitor in our house, babies grown, mom sad. My loss is YOUR win! I’m giving away my review unit to a lucky reader. I hope that this helps out one of your new mamas or papas in your quest to raise baby!
Where to Buy
The Arlo Baby monitor retails for $249.99 and is available on Amazon and Best Buy.
VIZIO sent me the new 2017 36″ 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System for review. All opinions are my own.
Looking for something to surprise the geek dad with this Father’s Day? Here’s what me and the kids surprised our favorite dad nerd with – a VIZIO SmartCast. Our friend’s at VIZIO sent us the latest VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar (SB3651-E6) for review. Rather than telling my husband, I decided to surprise him with the new setup.
VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System Review
We have the VIZIO M-Series SmartCast display in our bedroom. While any TV that connects to bluetooth can use the VIZIO sound bar – I decided to setup the new audio system with the SmartCast display. My husband and I watch TV the most in our bedroom, so this made total sense.
About The 36″ 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System
Our Sound Bar is the 36″ 5.1 VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System. Here are the tech specs:
The Sound Bar is 36″
System Frequency Response 50 Hz – 20 kHz
Subwoofer Speaker Size 5.2″
Sound Pressure Level 101dB
Sound Enhancement Technology Dolby Digital®, DTS Studio Sound™, DTS TruSurround™, DTS TruVolume™, DTS Digital Surround™
Sound Bar Buttons: Power, Input, Volume Up, Volume Down, Bluetooth
Remote Control Has LCD Display (or just use your smart phone, more on that – keep reading!)
Now here is the deal. While I know my tech, what I have is a secret weapon. My husband usually is the one to put the tech together. Whether it’s a drone or a television, I give it to him to do the install, then I get to play. Seeing that this audio system was for him – I decided to take on the installation challenge.
The speaker setup works as such. You habe the VIZIO SmartCast sound bar, a wireless subwoofer, and 2 satellite speakers. The system also comes with:
remote control with 2x AAA batteries
stereo RCA to 3.5 mm audio cable
3mm to 3mm audio cable
coaxial audio cable
2 satellite speaker audio cables
digital optical cable
2 power cables
4 wall mount screws
2 wall mount brackets (for the satellite speakers)
2 wall mount brackets (for the sound bar)
wall mount template
quick start guide
4 cable ties
I was a bit overwhelmed, but everything was super organized and the quick start guide did it’s job, guiding me thru what to do when and how. Though, I’ll admit – the wireless sound bar and satellite speakers aren’t wall mounted as of yet. We recently moved our bedroom configuration and need to mount the TV.
For the best surround sound experience, position the sound bar goes centered below the TV (ideally ear level,) the left surround speaker goes to the left, the right to the right and the subwoofer connects to the left surround speaker.
From start to finish, I had the surround sound system installed in our bedroom in under 30 minutes.
Using Your Tablet or Smartphone as a Remote
You can download the VIZIO SmartCast app and turn your smartphone into a remote to control your sound bar! If you have the VIZIO SmartCart display, you are in luck – as the app works with both! App setup was super simple to pair and setup.
It’s Not Just for Your TV!
You aren’t just limited to using your VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar for your television. I use mine to listen to Pandora. It’s essentially a bluetooth speaker, so great sound isn’t just for movies and TV shows.
What I HAVEN’T done YET – is hooked my alarm clock to the Vizio SmartCast sound bar for a VERY LOUD wake-up jam session. Keyword, yet. OH, i’ve thought about it many times. Someday 🙂
Great Sounding Audio From All Angles
The sound from theVIZIO SmartCast display was decent. I can say that woah, after hooking up the SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar – there is no comparison. Now our movies come at us from all angles. The bass rumbles the bed (the subwoofer is strategically placed.) Adding the sound bar makes the movies and television viewing an immersive experience.
If you are in the market for a sound bar, want to up the quality of audio on your television or perhaps are looking for a great gift for dad – check out the VIZIO SmartCast Wireless Sound Bar System.