My Favorite Things of 2020 — Part One– Products and Gadgets

2020 was not a year that allowed me to go out and find new foods to try and new gadgets to explore.  However, I did find a few things I absolutely loved even in the midst of the pandemic. 

Primal Palate Seasonings and Seasoning Blends

I have 29 small batch spice blend recipes on the blog and dozens more waiting for the small batch treatment so why on earth would I buy spice blends.  The first time I purchased a few Primal Palate Spice blends it was because they  were a small company I had heard of and I wanted to support them through the pandemic.  I was also very bored with my meals and was dying to try anything new.  All the rest of the times I have ordered from Primal Palate is because they produce a damn good product.  So much so I have ended up buying a jar of all 18 of their spice blends to try, both the vanilla and almond extracts,  5 of their single spices and 3 of their salts to experiment with.  I probably won’t keep all 18 spice blends on my shelf but I will always  keep a bottle of my favorites in the pantry.

If you are wondering what to do with all the spice blends, check out the recipe section of Primal Palate’s website.   They have tons of recipes using their spicate blends.  The ones I have tried have been really good.  Or you could be like me, most of the time, and just grab a random bottle and sprinkle it over everything.

Furikake

I know you are all probably going “What the heck is that?”  I was in the same boat when I first read about Furikake in one of the cookbooks I bought this fall.  Furikake is a Japanese seasoning blend that was used on rice.  I am told it was originally created as a calcium supplement. It is now as common on the Japanese table as salt and pepper. The blend contains sesame seeds, some kind of seaweed, and some kind of dried fish.   It wasn’t something I was going to buy but when I found it when I was at the Asian market  looking for some other things, I couldn’t resist trying it.  I am glad I did it’s amazing on everything, eggs, vegetables, popcorn, chicken, pork, beef as well as rice.

Spinddrift Sparkling Water

I am not a fan of sparkling water.  I read something that compared it to drinking static and most of the time I don’t think the comparison is inaccurate.  However,  I keep trying new brands of sparkling water because I want to find something I enjoy besides tap water when I am on my next Whole 30 and give up my diet Dr. Pepper and Arnold Palmer Half Tea Half Lemonades.

I tried Spindrift because they offered a sampler pack of all their flavors this summer.   It was one can of all their flavors except their newest flavor, pineapple, you got two of those. I figured if I wasn’t crazy about them it wouldn’t be too hard to finish them up.

The good thing is that Spindrift isn’t so heavily carbonized that it tastes like static. It also has distinct flavors to each different type of flavor. I think that is because Spindrift flavors their seltzer with actual fruit juice instead of just natural flavors. My favorite flavor, to the surprise of no one who knows me, is the cranberry-raspberry.

Gourmia 7 Quart Air Fryer

I put of buying an air fryer for along time because I wasn’t sure I would use it enough to make spending the money.  I just don’t fry a lot of things. My other concern was the size of the basket. Most I had seen were not even big enough to feed one person much less two or more.

On my 50th birthday I was strolling around Best Buy and saw a 7 quart Gourmia air fryer. It looked big enough for me to cook enough food to feed me at one time and it was on sale. It came home with me that day.

My only complaint about my air fryer is that I didn’t find it sooner.  Air fryers are much more versatile then it seems on the surface. I have baked muffins and cookies, made steak, lasagna, casseroles, tons of vegetables and so much more. Pretty much anything you make in the oven can be made in the air fryer if you can find a pan that fits in the basket. I am absolutely amazed at how often I use it.

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