In This Edition of HeatCageKitchen
Dash kitchen products–they’re small, cute, functional, and in stores around the US. Are they worth it?
Hi, again, Dear Readers:
On the heels of four weekly blogs. . .I’m on a roll! Good thing, because I have more to tell you about.
Cow Road Is Repaved!
Recently I got a call from Miss H, asking for some “senior tech support.” Miss H and her husband T live on the other side of what I call Cow Road, and that’s how I get over there. They’re nice people, and I’m happy to help on occasion.
When Miss H called, I got a huge surprise. But first, a previous picture of the lovely Cow Road, taken right after I moved here in 2016:
After the August 2016 flood here, the normal road to get in and out of town was closed because of a broken bridge. You couldn’t get to the Casa de Rurale from there. You had to go around the “long” way, which was Cow Road.
Now, the thing about Cow Road is that while I was in Houston, my long-term plan was to move out of Harris County and into a more rural area like this one. But there’s an old saying, “man plans, God laughs.” Yeah, it was like that. When I said I wanted to move out of Harris County, this was not what I had in mind. I’ve adapted as best I can, but I still get funny looks from people here.
Take a look at the road in this picture:
Don’t drive too fast here. Well, you couldn’t, anyway, not without serious damage to your vehicle. But for several months after I moved here, going into town required us to go bumping and grinding down Cow Road to get to the other road to get into town.
Then when I got the call from Miss H a couple of weeks ago, I took off and discovered:
No kidding, after all these years, they paved Cow Road.
No more bumping and grinding when I take that road to either H&T’s place, or to pay the water bill (which I normally do online.) I couldn’t believe how smooth the ride was, and it takes a lot less time to get to the other side. This is primarily because you don’t have to beware of multiple holes that will take out your oil pan, kink up your chassis, flatten a tire or even knock your transmission off.
That’s Not Really The Name
Although there are signs with the legal name of this parish-owned street, there’s a specific reason why I call it Cow Road.
When I first got here, nobody, including BF, told me the actual name of the road. There were also no signs anywhere, not that I saw. Turns out there was one, and not in the most obvious of places.
While describing the drive one day, I said to BF, “then you go down Cow Road. . .” He smiled and replied, “I think you’ll find that it’s called something else.” Well, with no street signs anywhere, what am I supposed to call it? Especially since I had just moved here and didn’t know where I was. So, I’ve been calling it Cow Road ever since, and so does BF unless I’m not around.
In case you’re wondering:
And still, they don’t care about anyone who gets out of their vehicle and takes their picture.
Instant Pot Update
Remember when I said I bought the “latest and greatest” when I bought my IP? Well, the Duo Evo Plus can no longer be called that. It has been discontinued by the company.
In an email this weekend from the Pressure Cooking Today blog, there’s a new Instant Pot for 2021. It’s sleek and black, unlike previous models. It looks a bit like Darth Vader. The Instant Pot Pro is the newest and latest model for home cooks to use, incorporating updates from mine.
This newest Instant Pot incarnation costs about the same as the Duo Evo Plus. The biggest change is the ability to create five pre-set cooking programs in addition to the built-in menus (which I haven’t yet used anyway.)
The control panel is pretty much the same except for the new pre-sent buttons. The menus have been consolidated; instead of “poultry,” it’s now called “chicken.” Apparently, the “start” buttons aren’t standard on previous IP models, only starting with mine. So they remind you to press “start.”
If you’re considering an Instant Pot after reading my long post, know that the newest IP is the sleek, black Instant Pot Pro. The Duo Evo Plus is now known as an “IBM Selectric.” That’s an electric typewriter that most of us learned on before there were laptops and iPads. In case you’re one of those kids that have never seen one before.
Just last week, I finally printed out my owner’s manual for the Duo Evo Plus, put the pages in plastic page protectors, and put the whole thing into a binder:
At least I have it in the kitchen now.
First The Disclaimers
Amy’s Note: this is not a sponsored post, but does contain my Amazon affiliate links as described at the bottom of each post and page. All opinions are my own, except where noted. Although I’ve researched the subject matter with readily available online information, I did not contact anyone with the Dash Company.
Additional Note: although these mini appliances are cute as a button, they are NOT toys, and children should not use them without proper supervision. The risk of burning little fingers–or any fingers, for that matter–is real, and we don’t want to start our day at an ER or a burn unit. So please exercise proper caution, especially around the little ones.
Dash–The Tiny Appliances
So, for the last few years, I’ve been seeing these cute little appliances in Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and a few other places. Finally, one day, I bit and bought. Then another. Then another.
The first Dash product I bought was the thing that makes hard-boiled eggs quickly and easily:
The cup that measures the water has a small pin in the bottom. Use that to put a pinhole in the widest part of the egg. Measure the water and pour it in, plug it in, put the lid on (don’t seal it), and touch the button. When it makes its little noise, turn it off, unplug it, and dunk the eggs in ice water to stop the cooking process. Tah-dah! Hard-boiled eggs with little effort.
You can boil eggs in the Instant Pot, but I have not tried it myself. But with this little doodad, I can leave the IP in the cabinet. There is another model that does a full dozen hard-boiled eggs.
It’s simple technology–water on a hot plate. No kidding, that’s what’s under the rack. This picture from Amazon’s website explains it easily:
Additionally, you can make poached eggs with the little split tray, or a two-egg omelet with the other one. Both sit atop the egg rack, not directly on the hot plate.
The first job is to pour water into the hot plate. The amounts are on the side of the cup, but I usually go to the top-level amount anyway. I’ve had little omelets come out half-cooked, and I had to microwave them to finish.
Put the top on, press the button and you’ll have nice cooked eggs shortly.
Waffle And Other Tiny Makers
I tried to resist, but couldn’t, when I found Dash’s little pumpkin waffle maker in our local Dirt Cheap last year for just a couple of dollars. I found one more, and have bought two others elsewhere:
I still want to get more, because there are so many designs. These are so hard to resist, they’re so cute. Making little waffles that are just enough for you or someone you love. Who could resist?
The company has a range of these little waffle makers to use all year long, including this one for Halloween:
I managed to get the red heart-shaped one before Valentine’s Day this year, but you know what happened there. My mini waffle maker collection also includes a flower design, but I’d like to get more of the different seasonals.
Dash’s newest design is the Star Mini Waffle Maker, which I may try to find soon for the 4th of July.
I did make BF a couple of tiny waffles using a bit of math and his favorite pancake mix, but he wasn’t terribly impressed. Even with a pumpkin on one side.
Egg Bite Maker
I bought this because I wanted to make the egg bites easier than using the Instant Pot. Well. . . .
They weren’t at Target at the time, so I waited until I was going to Mandeville and stopped at BBB. I used a coupon, brought it home and used it.
You use these little cups:
The cups sit in a little water, and the water heats up, much like the other egg cooker. However, unlike the Instant Pot bites, these are about half that size:
I think they’re smaller than the ones you get in Starbucks, too.
Well, I tried it:
I made them the same way I did in the Instant Pot, with bacon and cheese and all that, but. . .they took a long time to cook, and they’re so tiny. And you have to keep refilling the cups and the water and starting over until you’re done.
Too much trouble.
I guess if I hadn’t tried the IP first, I would have been OK with it. But ultimately, I returned it in favor of the IP. This is good for someone who doesn’t have an IP or doesn’t want one but loves the egg bites.
Dash Tiny Ice Cream Maker
For many years–at least 12–I’ve had this Pure Indulgence ice cream maker from Cuisinart. I should make ice cream more often but just don’t. This makes two quarts, and I certainly have containers for the ice cream. I just don’t seem to get around to it as I would like.
But if you want a little ice cream tonight, Dash has you covered with this:
The My Pint Ice Cream Maker will make you just enough for this evening if that’s all you want. The bottom part is the “freezer bowl,” and must be frozen for 24 hours, just like the bigger one. Of course, if you make a recipe of ice cream that goes into the bigger machine, you’ll only be able to make one pint at a time in this one. So that’s an issue. Especially if you use the recipes in the booklet.
Similar to the Cuisinart, the dasher goes through the ice cream mixture. But in this one, the little motor sits on top and turns the dasher. The base doesn’t move. When the motor slows down, the ice cream is done.
There’s even a cup and spoon so you can enjoy your ice cream right then and there!
I did make some ice cream when I brought it home, but I keep forgetting that I have it. Just to make some that night, I mixed some heavy cream, vanilla, stevia liquid, and some sugar-free chocolate chips and ran it. Came out good, and even BF liked it. He only had a spoonful, though.
Oh, and despite its affordability:
I did manage to get it marked down at our local Dirt Cheap. I had to read the little manual to find all the parts, which were scattered on the shelf. Took it to the testing table, plugged it in, and it worked. Cleaned it when I got it home and stuck the cup in the freezer.
The Dash Range
Now, of course, Dash makes more types of mini-makers, including:
- Waffle bowl maker
- Bundt cake maker
- Rice cooker
- Pie maker
- Pizzelle maker
- Donut maker
- Mini electric skillet
- Mini toaster oven (with very simple controls)
- Dog treat maker (I should get one of these, their recipes use ingredients you already have)
- Waffle stick maker
- Omelet maker
They also make full-sized appliances as well as accessories, like these I found at Dirt Cheap for the little air fryer:
I need to get a few more of these mini-makers, especially since BF likes donuts and pies.
So if you don’t eat waffles made from flour and whatnot, the mini-waffle makers might just collect dust. Or you can make something sweet like these GF Peanut Butter Heart Waffles.
I’ve mentioned chaffles before, but they’re great anytime. That is, if you like eggs. If you don’t, well, this won’t apply to you. Chaffles are cheese and eggs mixed, and are quick to make in these tiny waffle wizards.
But Dash’s mini-waffle makers can make delicious waffled food just like the bigger ones, but in smaller amounts. if you’re doing the ready-made pancake mix, just divide it down to what you need.
Many people also use chaffles to make breakfast sandwiches. And why not? Make your two chaffles, put some cooked bacon, sliced ham, sliced avocado, more cheese, or other delicious things in between them, just like you would with any regular English muffin. Then wrap your paws around it and eat like any two-fisted sandwich you can get out of a drive-through window.
I may have mentioned this before, but you can find several recipes for chaffles on Dash’s recipe page, as well as places like Pinterest and Instagram. There are also Facebook groups just for people who love chaffles.
Why Make Them Small?
Remember that although I embrace cooking large amounts to eat during the week or freezing for later, not everyone does. BF eats something once, maybe twice, and that’s IT.
Let’s examine some statistics: as of 2019, there are more than 36 million people living alone in the United States. You probably know someone who lives alone by choice (that was me) or because their life situation has changed. Not everyone wants to live with someone else, for whatever reason.
Off the top of my head, I think of:
- The GER and The E Man, both widowers
- Aunt Ruth, a widow herself
- Neighbor E, who never married
- LK, a Buddhist friend in the Houston area who also never married
- RW, the lady next door, a divorcee
- Several other former neighbors at El Dorado Trace, including Neighbor J upstairs and TM, the lady next door to him.
- Many people we know locally and throughout the area
BF and I were living alone (separately) until I moved from Houston into his house (and changed his world around) in 2016. As I told him recently, “man was not in the plan,” meaning that before he came along in 2015, I had no plans to be “with” anyone again. That was my choice. El Dorado Trace had a lot of single women living there at the time, and probably still does. Some are owners, more are renters like me. Many are probably still living alone, even if they have a significant other who lives elsewhere.
Those Who Live Alone
Remember too that not everyone living on their own has a house like the GER or a fabulous two-bedroom condo as Neighbor E has, with a suitable kitchen. There are also:
- College students in dorms don’t have room for a full-size anything
- People just out of college who are working a new job and living in their first apartment
- Young people who move out of their parent’s place and into a garage-style or efficiency apartment
- Full-time residents of “tiny homes,” “fifth wheels” or other smaller accommodations
- Folks who are recently separated or divorced, living in a smaller place after moving out of the marital home
- People who are downsizing, for whatever reason
- People who are starting over after losing their home to a disaster or other life-changing event
- RV travelers, part-time or full-time
- People living in “senior apartments” or assisted living facilities, with very small kitchens and little space
- Vacation rentals and AirBnB places
In places like LA, San Francisco, and NYC, if one can afford a place on their own, it isn’t very big. Texas is also getting to that point, leading to people moving far outside of the city into the outer suburbs and rural areas.
When I was looking for a place to live to move out of the GER’s house, I looked at one interesting place in the Medical Center, a neighborhood in the Inner Loop area of Houston. It was a one-bedroom, three-story house. The kitchen had no oven, only a stovetop, with not a lot of room. There were lots of stairs (I was in my 40’s then.) Appliances like these would have been perfect for this little “kitchen closet.” The bedroom was on the third floor. So how was I going to get a bed, dresser, nightstand, and other stuff up there? Well, I didn’t–I ended up at El Dorado Trace, on the ground floor, with a fireplace and a breakfast bar, for 12 years.
With so many people living alone in the US, as well as people who want to eat better, there’s definitely a market for these smaller appliances.
Bigger Dash Appliances
Dash also has a range of full-size appliances that are available in Bed, Bath, and Beyond as well as online:
But if you want a larger model, they have you covered there, too:
They also have a six-quart air fryer, as well as accessories for each size like the ones I mentioned earlier.
And if you need a little extra cooking space one day:
Fancy a cuppa? Or are you looking to make oatmeal, pasta, or something else quickly?
I have a kettle for boiling water, but not one like this. For someone in a small place by themselves, this 110 cooker could be just the ticket for a faster breakfast or late-night meal.
Other Specialty Appliances
Dash also has more full-size appliances like:
- Bread makers
- Toasters and toaster ovens, including this cute and simple mini
- Kettles just for boiling water
- Full-size waffle makers
- An iced coffee maker that steeps faster, in as little as five minutes
- A fondue maker (welcome to the 1960s!)
- A food dehydrator
I received The Complete Dehydrator Cookbook by Carole Cancler from Callisto last year. Oh, boy–I was ready to start dehydrating. There’s a recipe for almond-flour based Double Chocolate Biscotti on page 197 that I just want to try first–I love biscotti. But when I showed BF the book and discussed getting one, he laughed and said, “that’s OK, I had enough dehydrated food in the Navy when I was overseas.” Darnit.
It was worse when I got a few books on aromatherapy. He had me laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
The Sincerest Form Of Flattery
Let me just admit that these appliances do, indeed, remind me of Suzy Homemaker appliances. Especially ones with the aqua color.
I also admit that when I go to our local Dirt Cheap, one of the things I’m looking for is anything from Dash. Somehow, I just don’t think many people around these parts are familiar with the company or see a need for their unique products. (You know, I haven’t been there in a while, but might visit this week.) But now, others have gotten into the “mini-maker” act.
Although Dash products haven’t appeared in our local Walmart–or any we’ve been in–Club W has been carrying a knockoff line of some of Dash’s most popular products:
Craft chain Hobby Lobby has also gotten on board with the smaller specialty appliances. They do carry some Dash products, but also the Nostalgia brand like Walmart, as well as another brand called Bella. They also have a few Star Wars products, like a Baby Yoda Waffle Maker, and some small character slow cookers as well.
On Dash’s About Us page, they explain:
We believe that taking small steps every day to live a healthier life can have a big impact. And that the best path to wellness is eating whole, natural foods. At Dash, we make products that make it easier for you to prepare and eat real food at home so that you can feel your best. In the store, in your kitchen and online — We give you the tools and the support to make delicious healthy meals.
That’s what living unprocessed is all about.
Their social media pages, particularly Instagram, have all kinds of posts, including videos from a lady calling herself “Ms. Dash.” Is she the person behind the company? I don’t know, but she is always cooking up something delicious and making videos of it for everyone to enjoy. They also have a YouTube channel with videos dating back 8 years for so many of their products. And it looks like this year is Dash’s 10th anniversary. Has it been that long?
The bottom of the box has this cute saying:
The company’s fun vibe runs all throughout its website and social media channels. They encourage people to cook for themselves, which I’m sure has been happening more in the last year or so. Their web page for their waffle makers has a title tag that says, “Waffles are like pancakes with syrup traps.” Isn’t that the truth?
Their tag line, “unprocess your food,” encourages people to cook for themselves, however simple. You’ll see a number of vegan and vegetarian recipes demonstrated by “Ms. Dash,” as well as learn how to use some of their appliances when making recipes.
Ready To Go Mini?
Dash’s products are all produced with one idea: to make cooking easier and more enjoyable. Their smaller products make cooking for one or two easy without turning on the stove, and the larger products accommodate families.
All of the mini-makers make great gifts for graduates, aspiring cooks, or anyone with a sense of humor. Families with children can use them to teach cooking (with supervision, of course–they’re not toys.) And those living single can cook for themselves easier with smaller appliances.
So far, I’ve found them to be great little products that work well and deliver on their promises. I don’t have each and every one of them, but I will be buying more over time in the future. Yes, even that dehydrator. I don’t know about the fondue set yet.