To boil water for one or two cups of coffee or tea in a stove top kettle seems to consume a great deal of energy for what you get, a few cups of hot water. Thus, the growing popularity and variety of plug-in water kettles that heat small amounts of water quickly and with greater energy efficiency. The 34 oz version of bodum’s BISTRO Electric Cordless Water Heater is an interesting, attractive but imperfect entry into this growing field of more energy efficient products. In its favor, it is made of brightly colored plastic and has a presence all its own. It is virtually impossible to not notice it on a kitchen counter. Available in a dozen brightly obvious colors, mine is a bright red. It boils water quickly. I timed it several times and it brought a full load of 34 ounces to a full boil in just under six minutes.
You fill it from the top then push the “On” button. The BISTRO does the rest. It boils the water and then shuts itself off so it is impossible to destroy it by forgetting to turn it off.
Another nice feature is the base from which it separates. It requires neither dragging a cord around while you try to pour hot water from it not having to unplug one. Rather, the pot sits on a base which stays plugged in then lifts off of it when it is time to pour. This is a nice idea as is the lack of more traditional electrical coils inside the pot itself. The heating element is a flat metal disk that covers the entire bottom of the interior of the pitcher.
There are, however, some downsides of the BISTRO that are important to mention. These include 1) The lack of a manual shut off switch, so that water cannot be heated to a temperature short of a full boil without taking the kettle off of the base before the automatic shut off triggers; 2) Once used, the kettle must stand and cool for about ten minutes before reuse is safe and 3) The pricing is not particularly competitive with other electric kettles that take #s 1 and 2 above into account in their manufacture.
Made in Switzerland and sold around the world, the instruction book is in eleven languages. This suggests a certain air of sophistication. But, when it comes to having and using an electric water kettle, a booklet in seven languages and colorful plastic does not make up for a couple of reasonably evident oversights in design.
This BISTRO electric cordless water kettle is very light and feels delicate although seems to have been built and assembled sturdily. The small, removable “scale filter” is a mildly irritating insert that requires maintenance not common in other water heaters in this class and size.
A nice try, but not one I would recommend at the price. At half the price (nearly $40. from tea kettles for sale) a device at least as good can be readily had.
Severe thunderstorms and tornados ripped through the midwestern U.S. these past few days. We picked Sunday through Tuesday to drive cross country. To say the trip was stressful is the understatement of the week. Thank god we all had travel pillows because that ride hurt. Our hookup was travelcollectivegroup they helped us with some great pillows!
Where’s the good weather?
The start of our cross country drive west to the Rockies from the East Coast would wait for good weather. It never came. In a deceivingly short span of sunshine on Sunday morning, May 22, we departed. The weather turned from bad to really bad slowly but steadily from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. We put up for the night in a Frankfort motel, just west of Lexington, Kentucky.
First thing to happen in any motel room of mine is to turn on the TV. Having none at home, it’s first on when I’m away.
May 22: Joplin tornado
First thing on TV was Mike Bettes of Weather Channel showing the destruction in Joplin. A tornado hit that heartland town hard the night before. He was among the first on the scene, standing before total destruction as his backdrop. It was later in the broadcast that Bettes broke down. He witnessed dead bodies among the wreckage. The storm killed 117 there and still counting.
It was 5:34 in the morning when that same tornadic activity reached us in our Frankfort motel. Having traveled east and dissipated a bit, the tornado manifest merely as a severe thunderstorm with hail, dangerous lightning, and flooding rains. I wanted desperately to sleep more, but the jolting lightning and big boomers wouldn’t allow it. Did I mention we wanted desperately not to see our new car dented with hail? Later but still early morning, the weather blessedly cleared a bit as we departed on Day 2 of the trip.
May 23: St. Louis tornado watch
The calm after that storm was short-lived indeed. By noontime, another severe thunderstorm warning turned to tornado watch for St. Louis. That announcement put an end to a barbecue stop we anticipated with stoked appetites. The 17th Street Grille in O’Fallon, Illinois, besides having the best spare ribs in the state, was on the trajectory of a storm cell piping up Interstate 44.
Still in Missouri, the storm was headed northeast to exactly where we contemplated lunch. We’ll have to postpone the pork and make a run for it past the arch in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the storm intersected us west of St. Louis. Fortunately, it settled down into a mere severe thunderstorm with damaging lightning and flooding rains. It left the tornadic development and the prospect of BBQ pork for another day and place.
There was good news in the wet sprint west through St. Louis. It put us farther west than anticipated and unexpectedly well positioned for an early supper. Arthur Bryant’s is legend for cholesterol clogging barbecue brisket in Kansas City. Not stopping there is not in the cards when passing through. And, I was feeling that a gastronomic reward was due for having missed it in O’Fallon for a freakin’ tornado that we managed to outrun on the road.
Our heads hit the pillow in Salina, Kansas. The tornadic activity was petering out in the state that makes them famous. Central Kansas was calm compared to the rest of the stormy region, with which we were on a collision course for the whole trip.
May 24: Good morning, Salina!
The morning gave rise to an early departure, given the hour we gained and unexpectedly good weather for Kansas. I punched on the TV to see Weather Channel’s Stephanie Abrams. “A severe storm cell in Russell is moving east along I-70. Salina, it’s heading for you!”
Oh, swell. Stephanie Abrams was speaking to me, good weather and all that it was in Salina at that moment. Dopler radar and the lovably toothy Weather Gal got my attention. We must divert from our westward I-70 route lest we hit severe weather head-on. Heaven forbid it should turn tornadic. Go south, people. Gotta go!
By now, I’m getting the idea that Mother Nature is purposefully putting up storms in our path. Divert we must. We have no interest in an interstate interlude with a tornado. The skirt was successful with nary a hailstone, dangerous lightning, nor flooding rains en route. Although, the skies did not give up their gray grudge all the way west through Kansas and into flatter-than-flat eastern Colorado.
“We’re getting out of tornado territory now,” my husband proclaimed confidently. Xanax had reinstituted some confidence in me earlier. It’s true. You never hear of a tornado in the Rockies. Funnel clouds don’t form this close to the mountains, choosing rather to repeatedly frazzle the people of the plains.
“Then why is it so black over there,” I wondered, fighting frazzle, and pointing in the direction of our intended route. This road goes directly between Nowhere A and Nowhere B along a 63-mile stretch of absolutely nothing. It gets you where you need to be to proceed west, however. We had been on this starkly spooky road several times before. And just when we thought it was safe, another black terror appeared in the skies where nothing ever like it was ever seen before.
Another diversion, taking us 33 miles–at least–out of our way. But out of the way of that storm it was, making for yet another safe–if not frazzling–passage through the funneled fingers of fate.
May 25: Here
We got where we were going. But’s that’s about all I can say for the trip.
Cranberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, and they’re plentiful in grocery stores at this time of year. Take advantage of the seasonal treats and use fresh (or frozen year round) cranberries to make your own cranberry juice at home. This way, you can add just as much sugar as you’d like and leave out all the extra preservatives and junk that can find its way into bottled juices. One pound of cranberries will make one quart of juice. Fresh cranberries will last for about five days in the refrigerator. If you’re not going to use them by then, wash and dry them, then stick them in a zip-top plastic bag and throw them in your freezer. They’ll keep for a very long time that way.
To check the freshness of your cranberries (and have a little fun), bounce one on your kitchen counter-if it bounces, it’s good!
When you’re ready to make your juice, wash your cranberries and discard any that are soft and mushy. Then put all of the berries in a large saucepan along with three slices from an orange, five cups of water and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. To save time and money you could alternatively purchase a juicer, you can find some good reviews at Reviewyourjuicer.
After 10 minutes, all of your berries should have popped, if not, keep simmering until they do.
Next, line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain your cranberries into a large measuring cup or bowl. Use a wooden spoon to push the solids against the strainer, extracting as much juice as you can.
Chunk the solids into your compost bin and return the juice to the pot.
Bring the juice to a boil again and add in your sugar, stirring until dissolved. I usually end up using a little less than half a cup of sugar. Start with about ¼ a cup and taste as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take sugar away if you’ve added too much.
When you’ve got the juice sweetened to your desire, pour it into a pitcher and let it cool, then put it in the refrigerator to chill.
You can enjoy your homemade cranberry juice for breakfast, or combine it with some homemade lemonade or sparkling water for a nice afternoon treat.
You can also use the bright red juice to make holiday cocktails for yourself or holiday guests.
One tasty option that everyone seems to enjoy is the Cape Cod. Just fill a highball glass with ice, pour in a shot of vodka, squeeze in a lime wedge and top off with your cranberry juice. Give your drink a quick stir and enjoy it. With all that vitamin C, it’s practically healthy!
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