Browsing Tag

Cooking

The Uncommon Life

3 Easy Meal Tips to Please Picky Kids

January 9, 2018

Your kid has yet to discover that broccoli is delicious and they won’t touch anything that isn’t an unnatural color with a ten-foot fork. It’s going to be OK. While letting your kiddo live on gummy bears and microwaved mac ‘n cheese alone certainly isn’t an option, sneaking some healthy good stuff in their favorite meals is. These tips make breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes healthier, but they’re still completely kid-friendly. Serve up each meal with our Construction Plate & Utensils and your little one might even ask for seconds.

Kid-approved Bake Goods | Breakfast | UncommonGoods

Breakfast: Kid-Approved Baked Goods

As the old saying goes, it’s the “most important meal of the day.” But if that meal is packed with sugar, your kiddo will crash before lunch. Start the day right by replacing the refined sugar in baked goods like mini muffins or waffle bites with a fruity alternative.

  • 1 cup of no-sugar-added applesauce easily replaces 1 cup of white sugar

-or-

  • Mash 3 medium bananas and add a splash of water to get the equivalent of 1 cup of sugar

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Will Our Dairy Free Cheesemaking Kit Impress this Curd Connoisseur?

December 15, 2017

Beloved Marketing Analyst Morgan warms up to vegan cheese… or so it seems.

Product

Dairy Free Cheddar, Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit

Research

As a self-proclaimed cheese connoisseur, I knew the moment I saw the Dairy Free Cheddar, Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit that it had to be mine. Melty mozzarella, creamy ricotta, tangy cheddar: say no more, you had me at melty. (Editor’s note: Morgan loves the Fondoodler, so her predilection for meltiness comes as no surprise to us.) I’ve dabbled in the realm of vegan cheese before, but as a non-vegan, I’m much more familiar with the dairy varieties of my favorite delicious treat. I decided to go to my local grocery store and sample their vegan wares and I was a little disappointed. The consistency and flavor just didn’t meet my exceptionally high cheese standards. Alas.

This is when I decided I was up for the challenge of creating a vegan cheese even the most dairy-loving person could enjoy.

Hypothesis

As a former research scientist, I hypothesized that my laboratory skills could help me concoct this vegan cheese masterpiece. I knew there were challenges, based on my prior vegan cheese sampling and dislike for its odd texture, but the images on the box of this kit looked delightful and I decided to judge a book by its cover.

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Gift Guides

Flavor Faves: 15 Foodie Gifts

November 17, 2017


Pretty much everyone appreciates good food, but “foodies,” as they’re known, are another breed entirely. We all know at least one spice hoarder that fits the bill, and finding a gift to please their palate can be daunting, especially when you’ve seen them tackle ingredients out of one of Chopped’s crueler episodes. Thankfully, we’ve selected 15 of our favorite food-themed treats to make your life—and your holiday shopping—easier. Whether you’re on the hunt for something wearable, hangable, or, of course, edible, our well-seasoned selection of gifts for foodies has something just for you.

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Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Changing Lives and Cooking Dinner with the Non-Electric Slow Cooker

June 8, 2017

Sarah Collins, inventor of the Non-Electric Slow Cooker

Picture this: You want to cook a meal. In the US, this is an easy enough proposition, if occasionally tiring. You take a trip to the grocery store, prep your ingredients, and leave them to cook, whether in an oven, on a stovetop, or in a slow cooker. Before too long, you sit down and eat. Simple, right?

In rural Africa, no such luck. For many women, making a meal is a long, costly process fraught with danger. Every day, women across the continent spend up to seven hours collecting firewood to use for cooking, walking between 3 and 6 miles, taking away time that could be spent working or bonding with family members, and risking sexual assault and attacks by animals along the way. Those who don’t collect firewood often cook with charcoal, a fuel that eats up a sizable chunk of a rural family’s income—think along the lines of one third. The actual cooking takes hours, and the use woodfuels combined with that of an open flame contributes to potentially deadly levels of indoor air pollution. In providing for their families, these women make sacrifices that are unimaginable to many, risking their health and livelihood for the sake of a single meal. A trip to a packed Trader Joe’s at 6 o’clock on a Tuesday pales in comparison.

For South African entrepreneur Sarah Collins, this was a key problem. Her lifelong mission to empower rural Africans has manifested in many types of work, from conservation to political action, but perhaps her most meaningful contribution has been the invention of the Non-Electric Slow Cooker, also known as the Wonderbag. Now available for purchase from UncommonGoods, Sarah’s slow cooker—made from patterned cotton fabric stuffed with repurposed foam—keeps food brought to a boil cooking for up to 12 hours simply by trapping heat. For every Non-Electric Slow Cooker purchased in the developed world, another is donated to the Wonderbag Foundation, an organization that distributes Sarah’s invention to communities in need throughout Africa. Because the Non-Electric Slow Cooker doesn’t require an open flame to keep food cooking, it reduces pollution and deforestation throughout Africa and keeps rural women and families safer and healthier, freeing up their time and money for work, play, and family bonding.

As a certified B Corp, UncommonGoods is committed to offering sustainable, socially responsible products. When we first heard about the Non-Electric Slow Cooker, we were intrigued—we’d never heard of a slow cooker made out of foam! Once we learned of its impressive effect in Africa, though, we knew we needed to hear more from its inventor. Read on for more of Sarah’s story—including advice on how to contribute to her mission, even from afar.

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Can These Tools Improve Your Soup?

December 7, 2016
featured_image
Product

Stainless Steel Produce Keeper and Soup Pot Flavor Infuser

 

Background

It is officially fall, almost winter actually, which means TIME FOR SOUP. What is better than the combination of crisp air and the smell of soup bubbling on the stove? Nothing, you say? I agree!

As a frequent maker of soups, I’m very interested in anything that can make my soups more delicious or the process of making them easier. Thus, the Soup Pot Flavor Infuser was immediately intriguing to me. I’ve used bouquet garni in the past, and I’ve wrapped herbs in cheese cloth, but this item seemed like a more sustainable way to add flavor to my soup, and also get rid of the problem of having to locate something and fish it out of the finished pot. Additionally, I thought perhaps I could save some of the time I usually spend stripping fresh herbs off their stem and finely chopping them by just putting entire stems into the infuser and not worrying about accidentally taking a bite of something decidedly un-tasty.

Speaking of herbs, anyone who uses fresh herbs regularly knows the pain of buying a bundle of gorgeous fresh herbs only to find that there’s no possible way to use them all before they get brown and sad and suited only for the compost bin. I’ve been eagerly anticipating trying out our Stainless Steel Produce Keeper to see if I can start making the most of my thyme (see what I did there?)

Hypothesis

The combination of the Soup Pot Flavor Infuser and Stainless Steel Produce Keeper will make this the soupiest and least wasteful winter ever!

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Roll Out Ravioli Like a Pro

September 1, 2016

Marisa | UncommonGoods

Product

Ravioli Rolling Pin

Ravioli Rolling Pin | UncommonGoods

 

Dumpling statue

Me, next to a statue honoring the dumplings of the world, in the Fine Arts Center at the Minnesota State Fair

I’m a known dumpling lover. I’ve always wanted to make ravioli, because 1) it’s a form of dumplings, 1a) dumplings are the best, 2) it’s delicious, and 3) pre-made ravioli seems too expensive for what it is, and 4) the one time I did I buy store-bought ravioli, it was suuuuper suboptimally subpar. As my mom says, “The dough gets leather-y.”

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Maker Stories

Inside the Designer’s Studio
with Hipatia Lopez

August 12, 2016
Hipatia Lopez with the Empanada Fork | UncommonGoods

Hipatia Lopez with the Empanada Fork in her New Jersey Kitchen

While preparing for a holiday feast, Hipatia Lopez found herself facing 100 empanadas that needed closing. She may have finished the project with sore hands, but it gave her the idea to invent the Empanada Fork, a tool that closes empanadas, turnovers, and pastries in no time.

While many of our Studio Tours give readers a look inside creative spaces of makers of handmade goods, Hipatia’s story is a little different–and must-read for anyone who’s ever thought-up a problem-solving product, but isn’t sure what to do next. Hipatia wasn’t trained as a product designer and didn’t have a line of inventions to her name, but she was motivated. She knew she was on to something, and decided to take the next step and turn her idea into the real deal.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to physically travel to Hipatia’s home in New Jersey to learn about her process, but through phone calls, emails, and snapshots, Hipatia helped me create a virtual tour of her creative space (and kitchen). 

Empanada Fork with Dough | UncommonGoods

The Empanada Fork in action

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