Friday, July 31, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: As Seen on TV EuroSealer Bag Sealer

Our wedding ten years ago (yikes!) was a beautiful Victorian affair with rich fabrics, bold colors and flowers in every corner. We even found these beautiful jewel-toned potpourri pillows at a local flea market. Each pillow was an actual picture frame, and we decided to use them for place card holders/party favors. Thank goodness they were all individually wrapped or the scents would have been overwhelming! Anyway, we spent the last night before our wedding carefully cutting open each pouch, putting the place card in the holder and resealing the plastic wrap. It was a long and tedious process, but the results were truly magnificent.

We have the As Seen on TV EuroSealer to thank for making our little wedding project work. Designed to provide an inexpensive and easy way to perfectly reseal unused portions of food in seconds, the EuroSealer was a perfect solution to reseal the plastic bags for our place card holders. Talk about thinking outside of the box (thanks, Mom...for everything). Believe it or not, the EuroSealer was about the same price ($9 or so) ten years ago as it is today, and is just as innovative an idea for creating an airtight seal along the edge of any plastic bag in just seconds.

Our EuroSealer lasted up until just a few months ago. That's right, we got almost a decade of use out of this little guy. We've used it on just about every plastic bag we could think of, including frozen fruit and vegetables, crackers, chips, even frozen waffles. There is a little learning curve to adjust to each type of bag, depending on the flimsiness of the plastic bag, but we've never had a problem getting the right seal. The trick is to find the right balance of pressure and speed. Our wedding project gave us enough practice to become experts with the EuroSealer.

When the little strip that holds the heat finally wore off after literally thousands uses, it was as if it
marked the end of an era in our lives...okay, so we're a little sentimental. We were so happy when we saw the As Seen on TV EuroSealer display at our local Bed, Bath and Beyond. Needless to say, now that we have one back on our fridge, the EuroSealer has definitely earned its feature on The Daily Kool. Imagine our surprise at the mixed reviews we came across on Amazon...we just can't understand why anyone would have an issue with the EuroSealer. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done, locking in freshness and flavor quickly and conveniently. Apparently, many complaints have come from people who didn't realize that it takes two AA batteries to work. Once they figured that out, problem solved.

Maybe we're biased because of our history with the EuroSealer, but this is one As Seen on TV investment that has really paid off over the years. Our new one works just as well as the original, and we use it almost every day. The bag cutter works great, and is a nice extra. We love that although it uses heat to seal the bags, it cools off immediately. Overall, the As Seen on TV EuroSealer is a great alternative to plastic clips and twist-ties. Plus, it really cuts down on the need for storage bags. Easy to use, convenient and inexpensive, this is one "kool" idea that is definitely worth trying out.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets

Back in our college days, we spent a lot of time in laundromats. Like most other students, we did not have the luxury of our own washer and dryer. Yep, five years schlepping laundry baskets full of clothing and detergents down to the local Gatorland Laundromat (go Gators!). Not a bad way to meet potential dates, but sheesh...what a humbling experience for us spoiled folks who were used to Mommy doing the dreaded deed. Who knew there were many different bottles to buy for one measly load of laundry? Detergent, fabric softener, bleach, pre-treaters...the list goes on and on.

With many (we won't go into just how many)
years of laundry now under our belts, we finally have the system down pat in our house. However, when we came across the Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets in our local supermarket, we couldn't resist giving them a try. Plus, they were on sale...we're nothing if not bargain hunters. The starter kit is basically a package of 20 sheets in a refillable dispenser. We had the discount, so the starter pack was fine with us. But, anyone who wants to save a few extra pennies could always just buy the 24 sheet refillable package and transfer the sheets to a Ziploc or something.

Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets are a load's worth of detergent, softener and anti-static all in one powerful sheet. The company offers three scents, so we decided to try the Spring Oasis first. It smells fine, but it's certainly no Gain (our favorite detergent scent). We still have the same inexpensive (okay, cheap) washer and dryer that came with our home, so we threw a sheet in and then ran the water to release the detergent. impressive array of bubbles. Not a bad start so far. After a few moments, we put the laundry load in the machine. Side note here: since we were stepping way out of our long-established comfort zone, we decided to test the Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets with towels rather than clothing. We ran the wash on the typical cycle, then transferred the laundry sheet (which was now white) with the towels to the dryer. That's it.

We have to be honest...The Daily Kool is full of skeptics, and we were doubtful that we could get a truly clean load of laundry with this product. We were pleasantly surprised with the
Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets. They really worked just as well as your average laundry detergent and softener...everything came out clean and soft. We did notice that the scent was virtually undetectable by the time the load came out of the dryer...not a big deal for us, though. We didn't calculate it, but we can imagine that it might cost a little more per load when using the Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets. We always expect to pay a bit of a premium for convenience so this wouldn't be a surprise. We do love that they are safe for all washers and dryers, and the company says they can be used in combination with bleach and pre-treaters when necessary.

Here's the best part about the
Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets. Without the need for pouring and measuring, these sheets make laundry a no-brainer. Do you see where we're going with this yet? No? How about this...we now have another chore to pass onto our children whenever we're swamped with other stuff. Woohoo! We watched gleefully as our seven-year old son ran a perfect load of laundry without us having to worry about machine overflow or detergent spilling all over the floor. What a little man! Our son felt great about doing this typically adult task...frankly, we felt just as great by not doing it (he, he...are we evil or what?).

While we honestly don't expect the
Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets to replace our everyday at-home routine, we can definitely see the benefits of this truly innovative product. For us, it's no big deal to measure and pour detergents, and over the years we've perfected the combination to get truly exceptional results. Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets are great if you're looking for an average clean with super-convenient packaging...that's certainly enough for most of us! Did we mention that our seven year old was able to do a load of laundry with these little guys? Plus, carrying one lightweight box of Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets is certainly preferable to handling bottles and boxes of your traditional liquids and powders, especially if you frequent a laundromat. This product is perfect for people who live in apartments, condominiums, dormitories...basically anyone who does not have his own washer and dryer. Purex Complete 3-in-1 laundry sheets are absolutely a "kool" idea that certainly no college student should be without...especially if they are as dependent on their mothers as we were.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Daily Kool is Playing Hooky Today

Seems like Wednesday is becoming our day for playing hooky this summer. Check back tomorrow for another "kool" idea. Have a wonderful day!

The Daily Kool Family

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Highlights Educational Magazine for Children

When we were growing up, nothing (and we mean nothing) was more exciting than getting mail. Okay, we realize that many kids get email these days, but quite frankly, it just doesn't have the same appeal as the real thing. Last year, our youngest son was obsessed with the character Iceman from "SpiderMan and His Amazing Friends" (a classic 80's cartoon series). After helping him write and mail a letter asking Iceman to come babysit him sometime, imagine our son's delight when he started receiving mail and gifts personally from him...Iceman might have been swamped fighting crime with Firestar and SpiderMan, but he still took some time every once in a while to write to his biggest fan...what a hero!

Getting mail addressed to them makes kids feel special and grown up. Keeping it consistent and age-appropriate is often the challenge. Thank goodness for the classic Highlights educational magazine for children. Our parents treated us to this wonderful subscription when we were younger, and we were truly blessed to be able to carry on the tradition in our family. Launched in 1946,
Highlights is the most widely read children's magazine in the world..and with good reason. Recognizing that kids are the world's most important people, Highlights feeds their natural curiosity and love of learning with stories, brain teasers, riddles, crafts and other activities in this wonderfully wholesome and fun publication.

There are so many things to love about the
Highlights educational magazine for children. Our kids' all-time favorite feature is, of course, the ever-popular Hidden Pictures activity. Illustrated by award-winning artists, these puzzles enhance attention to detail and increase word, they're just darn good fun! Add in some exciting science experiments, creative craft ideas, entertaining stories stories and humorous jokes and riddles in every edition. Highlights is packed with all the good stuff to foster kids curiosity, creativity and confidence. What more could a parent ask for?

Though Highlights educational magazine for children is designed for ages 6-12, The Daily Kool was thrilled with the latest series that caters to younger siblings. Highlights High Five celebrates the earlier years of childhood with developmentally appropriate activity ideas and stories for kids 2-6. Intended to be enjoyed with an adult, this magazine helps stimulate social and emotional growth, reasoning and creative ability and acquisition of language skills. A big hit with our four-year old, this is another offering that the editors of Highlights

Highlights educational magazine for children makes a terrific gift for a nephew or niece, child or grandchild. The $30 price tag does put it out of our birthday gift budget for our kids' friends, unfortunately. Since we are overloaded with birthdays, we honestly tend to stick within more of a $10 range per child. Don't get us wrong...Highlights is definitely worth the price, and is a great consideration for those who may not be quite as thrifty as we are.

Highlights clearly states its help "kids develop positive self worth by using their creativity and imagination, reading thinking and reasoning skills, and learning how to treat others with respect kindness and sensitivity." Whether you select the new Highlights High Five or the original Highlights classic, this "kool" magazine subscription is a must have for any family with children. Our boys eagerly anticipate receiving their Highlights magazine each month, and are thrilled when it finally arrives. But the most important aspect of this amazing educational children's magazine is how it encourages parents to create and spend quality time with their children. This, our beloved readers, is truly priceless.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: MIMOBOT Designer USB Flash Drives

When we got this year's required school supply list the other day, we had a bit of a start. Where on earth has the summer gone? School is just kind of sneaking up on us, and we're definitely having a tough time seeing our little babies grow up so fast. If we are so emotional about pre-school for goodness sake, we can just imagine what the parents of new high school and college students are going through right now. Our congratulations (yes, and commiseration) go out to each and every one of you!

We have to admit that we were pretty surprised when a USB flash drive was on the required list for our friend's high school daughter. Things have really changed since our 9th grade days of electronic typewriters...are we dating ourselves, or what? Then again, our third grade son hasn't even mastered cursive writing, and yet his teachers already have him working on Microsoft Word and PowerPoint presentations. That's what we get for putting him in private school, we guess...sigh. Anyway, at least our friend's can now give their daughter a USB flash drive that reflects her personal style. These MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives are becoming quite the collectibles for kids and adults alike. Okay, so designer flash drives do not exactly fall within the "must have" category. But, cute can a little piece of technology get? We can definitely see the appeal of these little guys.

Boston-based design house Mimoco has fused the art of contemporary characters with the functionality of personal data storage devices making its name known in both the pop-culture driven Art Toy underground and the savvy high-tech 'tronic world. Ranging in price accordingly, the distinctive character-based MIMOBOT line offers from 1GB to 8GB of flash memory storage and transport for all your finest and most precious music, docs, pics and other personal data bits and bytes. These MIMOBOT designer USB flash drivesare as "kool" as they come. The Star Wars freaks in our family (okay, fine...we admit to being amongst them) are going nuts over this new Darth Vader Unmasked one.

We appreciate that the MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives have passed rigid consumer electronics testing as required by the government and are FCC/CE certified. Think about how much data you can store in one whimsical and convenient little package. For example, a 1GB drive can hold a whopping 256 MP3 songs (on average). The Daily Kool actually has several MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives...we use them as backup for digital pictures, scanned documents and other important files. Owsley Owlbert is our all-time favorite collectible character, and we use him all the time for day to day business...he's definitely a great conversation piece in the office.

MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives are adorable, functional and just plain fun! Throw practicality out the window and pick up one of these colorful characters. They are definitely worth it, especially for the light-heartedness they'll bring to your day. These collectibles make a great gift idea, especially for that person who has everything. Plus, we can't imagine anyone not appreciating them for the extra storage space alone. MIMOBOT designer USB flash drives are the "koolest" creations we've seen in a long time.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Complete Christmas Tree Trim Set

We know what you're thinking...why on earth would The Daily Kool be discussing a Christmas tree trim set in July? Well, ever loyal to our readers, we simply wanted to give everyone a heads-up to QVC's full weekend of everything you need for gift-giving and decorating. Hey, the big day is only five months away, and quite frankly...most of us are pretty broke in today's economy. We're all for preparing earlier this year and, of course, taking advantage of as many deals as we can get before the holiday season actually begins.

Let's be honest here...a bunch of Jews giving Christmas advice may sound kind of ridiculous. Hey, we can appreciate a beautifully decorated Christmas tree just as much as the next person! Besides, this particular
Christmas tree trim set really looks amazing. Don't just take our word for it either. The 87-piece kit, put together by designer David Shindler is a customer top-rated item from QVC's Christmas collection. If you're looking for a truly professionally designed look, this set is definitely for you. Plus, it's on sale with five easy payments and no shipping costs. Sounds like a pretty great value to us!

We absolutely love the consistent reviews about the high quality of the ornaments that come with this complete
Christmas tree trim set. The kit comes with everything you need to decorate a 6' - 7-1/2' tree, including a whopping 50 blown-glass balls that are either solid, hand-painted or marbleized. Add a bunch of winterberry decorator sprays, tassels, teardrops, blown-glass shapes, fabric garlands and a tree're all set to decorate the Christmas tree of your dreams.

Well...maybe. It kind of depends on how professional you really want your style to be.
We can certainly see this complete Christmas tree trim set being perfect for an office environment. But at The Daily Kool, we put our kids in charge of our holiday decorations, and spend weeks with them creating hand-crafted masterpieces. This set may be just a little too perfect for a family that prefers the construction paper garland and bead project look. Then again, what do we know (Jews, remember)? Keep in mind that if you're looking for a specific color combination, this style may not be for you. You should also expect that with such a large kit, there will be some pieces that just don't appeal to you...they can't please everyone, you know.

The complete
Christmas tree trim set by David Shindler will undoubtedly allow you to create a beautiful focal point in your home this holiday season. Bold colors, rich fabrics and elegance galore, QVC has given its customers quite the value with this kit. This is a truly magnificent collection of color-coordination to help create a stunning masterpiece out of your Christmas tree. Definitely a "kool" idea.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Personalized Deck of Playing Cards

Do you remember learning your first card game? Ours was Go Fish, of course. A deck of cards is the simplest and perhaps the most versatile form of entertainment for the entire family. Seriously, can you think of another object that can provide anywhere near as many different activities for less than $2? So many wonderful memories from our childhood are centered around card games. We spent hours playing games like Spit, Slap Jack and War with our fact, it was practically the only time we got a long. Gin Rummy really helped us bond with our grandparents., even through those difficult teenage years. And who could forget all of the drinking games from the college, maybe we shouldn't go there.

With so many different card games that appeal to young and old, it's a wonder why families don't spend more time playing. Sure, everyone agrees that a deck of cards is a "must have" for vacations, but what about creating a nightly routine before bedtime? Just think about the educational, strategy and social skills you could be teaching your children. We started our kids as young as three with classics such as Old Maid and Concentration (Memory). Their current favorite is Rummy...Grandma would be so proud!

We at The Daily Kool want to make sure that we continue to foster our children's love for card games, even in today's technology-driven world. So, for about $20 each, we decided to treat our kids to their very own personalized deck of playing cards this year. We found a terrific site called, where we were able to help each of them design their very own deck. Check out the one we did for our precious poodle, Pepper...isn't he gorgeous? It was so easy...we selected our layout, downloaded the picture of our choice and inserted some text...that was it!

Don't get us wrong...we know a personalized deck of playing cards is not exactly a necessary item for kids to have. But who cares? Our kids thought it was the "koolest" thing to create their own customized cards on, and are expecting to be the envy of all their friends. You'd be amazed how quickly kids abandon their handheld electronic games in favor of playing a round of Crazy Eights with their friends. Plus, these personalized decks of playing cards will make great holiday gifts for our poker buddies. If we really want to get fancy, we can even splurge for a customized deck of photo playing cards with a different picture on the face of every card at the site (owned by the same people) for about $50. What a great gift idea for our parents to have for their weekly Canasta game!

Here's the bottom line. Playing card games with others is a great way to slow down from the craziness of today's hectic lives. Opportunities to spend some quality time with friends and family in our fast-paced world are few and far between...a deck of cards just naturally brings everyone together, regardless of whether they are young or old. If you haven't already done so, it is definitely time to pass on the love of playing cards to your children, and a personalized deck from sites such as and will undoubtedly add to the fun. What could be "kooler" than that?

Here are just a few traditional single deck card game ideas:
  • Go Fish
  • Old Maid
  • Rummy
  • Gin Rummy
  • Casino (we loved this one as kids!)
  • War
  • Spit
  • Slap Jack
  • Whist
  • Concentration/Memory
  • Snap
  • 21
  • Crazy Eights
  • 52 Card PickUp (the perrenial favorite way to torture siblings)
  • Poker
  • Solitaire

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Daily Kool is Sleeping In Today

Sometimes, you just need to take a break and sleep in a little....have a wonderful day, and we'll be back tomorrow with another "kool" idea!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Lehman's Best Cherry Pitter

One of the most wonderful things about the summer is the abundance of fresh Bing cherries. Dark and sweet, this cherry is one of our all-time favorite fruits. We've been known to go through bushels of them in a sitting. Another funny story about our older brother growing up (we've told a few of them!)...our grandmother somehow convinced him that if he ever swallowed a pit, a real cherry tree would grow in his tummy. Talk about traumatizing a child...gotta love it, especially as a younger (and often tortured) sibling! Hence, our poor brother, though he loved them, hardly ever ate cherries for fear of what would happen...what a wuss!

Our children also love cherries, but have no qualms about recruiting us for cherry pit removal. So, being the ever loving parents that we are, we spend lots and lots of time sitting in front of the television hand-pitting cherries with our sharpest paring knife. Anyone who has kids can probably appreciate our misery. Dissecting cherries one at a time by hand is...well, the pits. There has to be a better way, and so we just decided that it might be time to find ourselves a cherry pitter.

After doing a bunch of research, it looks like Lehman's Best Cherry Pitter is just that...the best. The company boasts how effective it is at removing pits quickly without bruising or crushing the cherries...we're all for less mess and no wasted fruit! It's actually pretty reasonably priced at around $35 also. Basically, the stainless steel punch rod forces the pit through a gasket into the see-through waste container, then automatically lifts the cherry and drops it into the bowl. We love being able to place several cherries into the feed tray, instead of handling them one at a time. Imagine effectively pitting dozens of cherries in just minutes..what an amazing time saver. Plus, the parts are dishwasher safe...who could ask for more?

There is only one possible catch that we can envision with
Lehman's Best Cherry Pitter. It's unreasonable to expect perfection each and every time, so we can imagine a cherry or two sneaking into our bowl unpitted. And, assuming that each pitted cherry really does come out whole and virtually undamaged as the company claims, it might be easy to miss a particular cherry that still has a pit inside. Not a huge problem when just eating cherries for their simple enjoyment, but definitely a consideration when baking fresh pies and cobblers for dinner guests. So, we'll just have to put out a small disclaimer, and pray that everyone's dental work is up to date.

Lehman's Best Cherry Pitter is worth the risk of an occasional escapee. We'll probably keep a pretty close eye on the hopper to make sure each pit does indeed come out. The best part? This pitter looks safe and easy enough for children to use. Anyone who reads our blog knows we're always looking for ways to put our kids to work...under the guise of fostering independence, of course (sneaky, sneaky)! Ideal for canning, freezing, dehydrating and baking, Lehman's Best Cherry Pitter is a definite "kool" idea for enjoying one of the summer's sweetest treats.

Refreshingly "Kool" Cherry Soup Recipe

  • 1/4 lemon, peeled and seeded
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sweet red wine
  • 2 cups pitted sweet cherries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Chop peeled and seeded lemon into small pieces and blend with water until it forms a smooth pulp.
  2. Put the lemon pulp, cherries, sugar and cinnamon in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch with a little water and add with the red wine to the soup mixture.
  4. Stir constantly over low heat until slightly thickened.
  5. Cool to room temperature in an ice-water bath, then chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and blend until coarsely chopped.
  7. Stir the cherries back into the soup mixture and serve.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Greenies Pill Pockets for Dogs and Cats

When we were kids, our older brother hated taking aspirin. Okay, perhaps we're really showing our age here, but these were the days before children's Tylenol liquid suspension and when Dimetapp cough syrup (we remember it as the yummy grape medicine) was by prescription only. Our poor mother could only get our brother to take a pill by crushing it in applesauce and spoon-feeding him. Considering the torture he put us through growing up, it was a great pleasure to have a reason to call big brother a "baby" at nanny boo boo!

Our poor pets don't have it as easy as our brother did when it comes to taking medication. Whenever our dog Pepper has to take a pill, we literally pry his mouth open, shove it to the back of his throat, clamp his jaw shut and rub until he swallows. Don't get us wrong, Pepper's pretty good about taking them (certainly better than our brother was), but why should we have to struggle at all? Isn't there a way to let him think his medication is more reward than punishment?

Leave it to our mother...she found these Pill Pockets for dogs and cats by the Greenies company last year. As a foster parent for Poodle Rescue, our mother fell in love with and decided to keep an otherwise unadoptable dog who had a host of social and medical issues...sometimes, things are just meant to be. Poor Kasha took pills three times a day and somehow became very adept at hiding them in her mouth to later be spit out in Mom's potted plants...ah yes, Kasha was quite the clever pooch. Greenies Pill Pockets changed all of that.

Greenies Pill Pockets for dogs and cats are a nutritious treat that contain a built-in pocket, perfect for hiding a pill or supplement. This veterinarian designed and recommended solution is truly brilliant (why can't we think of these things?)! Seriously, doesn't get any easier than this. Just hold the Greenies Pill Pocket, insert the pill, squeeze the top half closed, then give as a treat. There are two sizes available for dogs; the smaller one is great for tablets, while the larger one is more suited for capsules. The one size for cats works well for either capsules or tablets. Dogs have their flavor choice of beef or chicken, while cats get either chicken or salmon. Pets love the taste so much, they won't even notice there's medicine inside.

Though we have been recommending
Greenies Pill Pockets to all of our friends without complaint, remember that pets (like people) have different is possible that yours won't like them. But, for around $8 per package, it's certainly worth taking the chance. We've also heard that some cats may be too smart to fall for the old "hide the pill in the pocket" trick and will chew around the offs! Our pooch Pepper tends to just swallow the whole darn thing, especially if we make him work (sit, shake, speak, etc.) to earn it. We love how pliable Greenies Pill Pockets for dogs and cats can mush them around even really large pills. Plus, we can fit several smaller pills inside one of the larger pill pockets if we wanted to.

There has been some controversy surrounding the authenticity of some of the
Greenies Pill Pocket distributors on Amazon, so we've referred you to our friends at 1-800-PetMeds (we used to work for the CEO at his previous company ten years ago and are big fans of his). Besides, the prices are reasonable and they have a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. The company doesn't seem to carry the salmon flavor for cat, though...we're not sure why. If you'd rather shop locally, we've found that Pet Supermarket tends to have a better price than PetSmart, and that many vets carry them as well.

Here's the bottom line...if you put medication inside something that pets actually like, then giving pills becomes a lot easier. Just like the applesauce trick worked with our brother.
Greenies Pill Pockets for dogs and cats are a stress-free medication delivery treat and an absolute "kool" idea that every pet owner should try.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Nordic Ware Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Baking Pan

What better way to celebrate the end of our National Ice Cream Month week-long feature than with cake? Or should we say cupcakes? The Daily Kool family is headed out to a friend's house for dinner together tonight...of course, we're in charge of the dessert (we have a bit of a reputation). Since there's going to be a pretty large group of kids at the house, we thought it might be fun to do something a little different for them.

Take a look at this adorable ice cream cone cupcake baking pan from Nordic Ware. Since we are always on the lookout for unusual novelty pans, we're pretty excited about this one. Do these cupcakes look just like ice cream cones, or what? Gotta love that Nordic Ware! We really love the detail of this pan. Constructed of heavy cast-aluminum, it is non-stick coated for easy cake removal and clean up. Plus, since the pan measures 3" deep and 10.5" across, it will produ
ce six nice size, cone-shaped cupcakes at one time.

Our creative juices are really flowing with possibilities with the Nordic Ware ice cream cone cupcake baking pan, but we're keeping it pretty simple for tonight's event. We're going to bring several cans of Betty Crocker easy flow icing and some sprinkles to make the "ice cream" to top our cupcake cones. The kids can sit down and decorate to their hearts' content. We'll also bring along a couple of containers of real ice cream...our local supermarket has a "buy one, get one free" special going on this week. The kids can top their cupcakes with ice cream instead of the frosting, or maybe we'll just give each of them a plate and put a scoop on the side so they can have it all...yep, that's probably the way we'll go.

As with all high quality baking pans, we strongly recommend hand-washing this one. Hey, superior baking comes at a superior price (around $35), so we'd prefer our pans to last forever. Also, make sure to grease the Nordic Ware
ice cream cone cupcake baking pan very well to avoid stickiness. With so many intricate details to create the realistic effect, even a non-stick coating just isn't enough. Pam baking spray with flour (found in your local supermarket) always gives us excellent results. Experiment with a boxed cake mix's easier, kids love it, and it tends to have the great consistency for beginners with these kinds of pans.

It's just too bad we can only make six cupcakes at a time...we'll be spending most of the day in the kitchen baking. But, with this super "kool" Nordic Ware
ice cream cone cupcake baking pan, we are absolutely going to be the hit of the party tonight. Yeah we know we're showoffs, but could we resist?

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Zeroll Original Ice Cream Scoop

Here at The Daily Kool, our arms are getting quite the workout this summer...well, at least one arm, anyway. Our kids have been having one playdate after another at the house, and we've been doling out ice cream scoops practically by the dozen each day. Dig, twirl, release...dig, twirl release. Such is our life. It's amazing how one single perfect scoop of ice cream just seems to brighten a child's day...wait a minute, did we say perfect? A lofty, yet often elusive goal, we know. But apparently (and we've just recently learned this, mind you), a dish or cone of ice cream just tastes better to a kid if it has that professional, ice cream parlor look. Go figure, but kudos are important in the world of parenthood...we'll take what we can get. Pretty shallow of us, isn't it?

Good thing we have our Zeroll original ice cream scoop. We know, we ice cream scoop is really not something most people think twice about when getting. Ours was a bridal shower gift ten years ago (yikes, has it been that long?). We do admit though, our
Zeroll original ice cream scoop has gotten plenty of use over the years and is arguably still the best on the market. The Daily Kool has certainly never considered or needed a replacement. The secret is a heat-conductive, anti-freeze solution encased within an aluminum alloy. The fluid in the handle responds to the warmth of the hand, helping the bowl roll and release even the hardest ice cream instantly.

Zeroll original ice cream scoop is actually pretty comfortable to use, regardless of whether you're right or left-handed (we have both in our family). Plus, it is apparently a top choice of ice cream parlors. However, this professional-grade ice cream scoop does come with a couple of note-worthy considerations. It is absolutely, positively, without a doubt not dishwasher safe...keep temptation away, folks! Trust us, we are as lazy as the next person, but even we take the time to hand-wash this one. One cycle in the dishwasher can render the anti-freeze fluid useless, so don't take the chance. Plus, even the best ice cream scoop in the world may need a little help every once in a while. If your ice cream has formed into a solid block in the freezer, try pre-warming the handle in lukewarm water for a few seconds, then dry quickly with a soft cloth before scooping. Allowing the ice cream to temper a bit results in a faster and effortless scoop and release.

Zeroll original ice cream scoop is so innovative that it's apparently been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Art? Well, our ice cream scoops do come out beautiful enough for the kids to make great funny faces out of mini M&Ms, marshmallows and licorice...does that count? Perhaps it's a little pricey (around $15), but the Zeroll original ice cream scoop is definitely worth it. With the proper care, this product just might make it through another decade of marriage. How "kool" is that?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder

Our posts honoring National Ice Cream Month have received a lot of interest from our loyal readers, particularly yesterday's "kool" idea, the Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express ice cream cone maker. However, our review brought up an intriguing a wire rack really the best choice for cooling off our ice cream cones? What if we do decide to decorate them or simply add some melted chocolate to the bottom? A wire rack would most definitely result in a bit of a mess if we laid our fancier ice cream cones on it. We need a better solution...that's right, an ice cream holder!

The Daily Kool has found some professional-grade acrylic ice cream cone stands. They're...okay. But being the vain people we are, we want something a little more decorative for our home. Not to worry...Chef's Choice is one step ahead of us with this snazzy ice cream cone holder. This shiny chrome, no stain and easy to clean cone holder is just what we need to create a beautiful presentation. The Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder boasts four rotating arms of spiraling wire that are designed to even handle heavier ice cream cones securely. The low profile is supported by a weighted four-inch base that won't tip, even when only one cone is in place. Of course, the
Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder is ideal for helping freshly made cones maintain their shape after rolling.

Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder is a fun and practical way to support homemade cones for filling and display them for eating. What a terrific accessory to the perfect ice cream party! It's truly like having two extra pairs of hands, convenient in the rare event that someone chooses to put his ice cream cone down for a moment. As crazy as it sounds, not everyone inhales their ice cream like we do at The Daily Kool. Our only contention with the Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder is that it is only designed to display four cones...okay for a family of four, but a regular recipe yields a batch of eight. Though it seems like we can stack cooled cones inside each other, it would be nice if Chef's Choice offered a larger version of the ice cream cone holder with an additional level to handle at least four more separately.

Regardless, the
Chef's Choice Ice Cream Cone Holder is definitely a perfect companion to the Waffle Cone Express. A delightful addition to any summer ice cream party, this holder is a "kool" and handy product that does its job well.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Chef's Choice 838 Waffle Cone Express Ice Cream Cone Maker

Nothing says summer quite like an ice cream cone. Some of our best childhood memories include strolling down the boardwalk by the beach with our parents, eating ice cream cones while watching the ocean waves crash against the shore. We could never quite understand how anyone could dishonor the sanctity of ice cream by eating it out of a cup. Good thing we've never quite grown adults, we still love our ice cream cones, even when the sticky mess drips down the side of our arms. Waffle cones help us stay a bit cleaner...not that we care much. We just love them because they are so darned yummy!

At The Daily Kool, we have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to addictions like these. Our taste buds require easy and immediate access for those occasional (okay, frequent) cravings, but our inherent laziness prevent us from taking more trips to the ice cream parlor to satisfy them. Plus, the cost definitely adds up! Sure, ice cream cones are available at our local supermarket, but have you ever read the ingredients in those things? Too many unpronounceable words for us...blech.

Take a look at the Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express ice cream cone maker. Seriously, folks...nothing beats the incredible aroma and freshness of a home-baked waffle cone. This ice cream cone maker features an advanced professional baking system that delivers homemade, freshly baked sugar cones in about two minutes. Yes, you heard us right...two minutes. Who could resist that temptation? Like your ice cream cone crispier than the average aficionado? No problem...a color-control dial makes that personal browning preference easy to select. An instant temperature recovery feature allows for continuous baking..cone after cone. The unique locking latch function with easy-clean overflow channel ensures each ice cream cone will be uniform in thickness for perfect results each and every time. Plus, the built-in cord storage compartment makes it convenient to keep the
Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express ice cream cone maker in a space saving, upright position.

A plastic cone-rolling form is included with the
Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express ice cream cone maker. Illustrated instructions and detailed recipes make it easy to become a master ice cream cone maker in no time. We love how the recipes use everyday ingredients we typically keep stocked in our pantry, and our creative juices are already flowing with several possible variations. Chocolate dipped sprinkle cones, waffle cups, cookies and even cannolis...our waistlines are expanding as we speak! Just be careful when rolling the ice cream has to be done when it's hot or it won't form properly. Also, make sure to pinch the end properly to prevent ice cream from leaking out...pouring some melted chocolate in the bottom of the cone is an easy (and tasty) solution. Though it has a non-stick coating, we recommend spraying or brushing the Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express with a little oil before use to make it that much easier.

Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express ice cream cone maker is a great way to enjoy the crunchy sweetness of this sugary treat, straight from the kitchen. It's available all over, but we found the best deal at Bed Bath and Beyond with our 20% coupon...just go to the store to save on shipping, or type in your coupon code online. For about the price of a couple of trips to the ice cream parlor, you can produce delectable, edible delights that are sure to impress each and every time. Friends and family will be amazed at your culinary genius, never guessing how "kool" and easy it is...that's okay, we won't tell if you don't.

Basic Gourmet Waffle Cone

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly
  1. Preheat the Chef's Choice Waffle Cone Express. Start with Color Control setting of 2 1/2 to 3, but change as necessary for best results.

  2. Beat the egg, egg white and salt in a small bowl with a fork or hand-held mixer until well blended. Beat in the sugar and beat until sugar is incorporated and the egg has lightened in color slightly, about 1 minute. Add flour and beat another 15 seconds or until incorporated and all lumps are gone. Add the melted butter and stir until well blended.

  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of batter in the center of the iron. Bake for 1 minute then check for proper color. Cook an additional 5 to 10 seconds if necessary.

  4. Quickly remove the waffle from the WaffleCone Express™ onto a clean cloth towel. If the waffle is too hot to handle with your bare hands, use the cloth to help lift and roll the waffle around the cone form. Hold the cone a few seconds to set its shape then place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 8 ice cream cones.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Today's Kool Idea: Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker

The Daily Kool family has always toyed with the idea of getting an ice cream maker for our home. As parents, we are often concerned about controlling the quality of ingredients in the food our children eat. Store-bought ice cream often has additives, so we often prefer the premium brands...hey, if we can't pronounce it, we certainly don't want to eat it. But, wow. Premium ice cream definitely comes at a premium price. An ice cream maker may seem like a perfect solution, but since no one in our household can ever agree on one flavor (heaven forbid), we always figured it would be a wasted investment...until now.

Check out the Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker...yep, it can make two different batches of ice cream at the same time. How "kool" is that? This sleek machine is fully automatic and can produce one or two quarts of frozen dessert in about 20 minutes. Cuisinart boasts the smoothest and creamiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet with this attractive appliance...all at the touch of a button. Made of heavy grade plastic (available in black or white) and brushed stainless steel, this just might be the ice cream maker we've been looking for. A control switch is easily set to activate both bowls or just one. We love having the option of simultaneously producing either one or two quarts of one flavor, or one quart each of two different flavors. Plus, the machine is easy to clean...a definite requirement in our family.

Making ice cream in the
Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker seems like a breeze. Simply stick the double-insulated bowls in the freezer for 6-12 hours, then place them in the base. This is a critical step, since well-chilled canisters and cold ingredients are the key to success with this and any other ice cream maker. Insert the plastic paddles into the machine and place the cover units on. Select the one or two side option, turn on the motor and pour the mix into the unit through the easy pour spout. The plastic covers make it easy to see how the base is coming along. about 20-30 minutes, it's time for dessert!

There are definitely a few things to keep in mind when deciding to purchase the
Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker. Although it looks pretty sharp with its long, low profile, the dimensions of this machine make it just too large to sit out unless it's being used daily...though that is a possibility with the ice cream fanatics in The Daily Kool household. But most of us should plan on having a place to store it when not in use. Also, we understand that the machine is pretty loud when operating...just something to keep in mind with guests and children who are sensitive to noise. If there's space, it might be easier to just keep the bowls in the freezer all the time for an impromptu craving. Just make sure to keep the bowls in a plastic bag to avoid freezer burn when removing.

We love stuff in our ice cream..nuts, cookie bits, candy, fruit, pickles (just kidding). The
Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker says to add any special ingredients in the last five minutes for best results and a truly individual concoction. Only one problem...if the pieces are any larger than a chocolate chip-sized small dice, they can jam up the mixer. This may be fine for the kids, but we adults like chunks in our ice cream...big, big chunks. For us, it'll just be easier to incorporate our mix-ins with a rubber spatula after the ice cream is made. We also prefer a firmer texture with our ice cream, so we will likely transfer the desserts to our beloved Lock and Lock storage containers and place them in the freezer for a couple of hours before enjoying. However, frozen yogurt should be eaten immediately or it might become a bit too hard and lose the smoothness commonly associated with it. The machine does come with a recipe book for ice cream, sorbets, sherbets, frozen yogurts and mixed frozen drinks (with or without alcohol), and there are countless lower-calorie recipes online for the more diet-discerning palette.

For anyone interested in experimenting with different flavors, making sorbet and ice cream at the same time, or simply satisfying everyone in the family with individual tastes, the
Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker definitely seems like the way to go. What a pleasure it would be to know exactly what goes into our frozen desserts, eliminate processed ingredients and control the sugar content. Here's an easy recipe for vanilla ice cream that is perfect for kids and those of us who are kids at heart. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1/2 pint light cream
  • small can of condensed milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (according to taste)
Directions: Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator, then transfer to Cuisinart ICE-40 Flavor Duo Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt & Sorbet Maker. Freeze according to manufacturer instructions.

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