Donuts…doughnuts…whatever the spelling is, this a treat we adore in my home. So when I saw that Dash made a little donut maker, I had to have it. I did look at donut baking trays that go in the oven and put those in my Amazon cart for forever but never really purchased them. This makes mini donuts and does not need me to turn the oven on! For $20, take my money!
I figure this will be a fun day experiment with my son as he can make it himself with me supervising. No hot oven to worry about, and I can help him flip the donuts after one minute as suggested in the recipe booklet.
This makes cake donuts, I haven’t tried yeasted donuts but figure it’ll be difficult to get the exact size to fit these molds, specially when taking into consideration the fact that yeast donut proves.
We made the vanilla donut recipe from the included recipe and went crazy with frostings, sprinkles, and other decorations.
The recipe is easy to make and bake bug i think their time is a little off. If I wait as long as their recommended time, my donuts are hard, not soft like they should be. So we cut the time by half. As soon as it’s set, we flip it over. Let it cook about 30 seconds or so more, until just lightly browned.
It was a fun afternoon activity that gave us delicious sweet donuts in the end. They look really nice too as they are minis but that is my excuse to eat more! 😊
“An egg cooker? Who needs an egg cooker when everyone has a pot at home that will do the same thing?”
I used to think this way when I pass by the cute, colorful egg cookers at the big box stores. Not out loud, just in my head. I mean, I have a lot of kitchen stuff and mostly, they are unitaskers. However, if they do their one job well, I’m sold – hello Zojirushi rice cooker! 😊
Eggs though, I mean how hard is it to cook eggs? That is until you try to make soft poached eggs for breakfast, or the perfect soft boiled eggs for ramen.
Hard boiled is easy – I put eggs in a saucepan, add water, bring to a boil then turn off the heat. I let it sit for a bit (maybe 5-7 minutes) then place the eggs in cold water.
You do have to be there and pay attention though, otherwise you end up with rubbery whites and gray lined yolks. Not exactly what I picture as perfect.
I purchased a 12 egg capacity egg cooker ⬆️ a few months ago, because I like the idea that I can cook less in the bigger capacity cooker if I want to, but can cook an entire dozen if I have to. It also makes up to 7 poached egg/mini omelets. Dash also make a smaller, cuter (7 egg capacity) cooker but that can only make 2 poached egg/mini omelets – a problem since there are 3 of us at home.
I used the big cooker a few times but never really got the hang of making less than a dozen eggs cook perfectly. I even added notes to the measuring cup corresponding to the recommended amount of water for less eggs in the booklet. It cooks 12 eggs perfectly but for less eggs, it’s a hit or miss for me. Sometimes the yolk is too runny, or too set.
So….I bought the smaller, 7 egg cooker to simplify everything. One measure for soft, one for medium, one for hard boiled plus an option for 2 omelet/poached eggs. No more guesstimating the amount for less than a dozen eggs like I did with the other cooker. I tend to cook 7 eggs on the stove top anyway as they fit perfectly in my little saucepan. It’s a win win!
Instructions are the same as the big one – poke eggs on the rounded end with the piercer, set on the egg holders, measure water according to preference and pour into the base, cover and steam away. This small unit shuts down AND plays a nice melody when done. The big one has a startling buzzer sound – probably good when we are half asleep when preparing breakfast, but not pleasant at all. Bonus points for the little red cooker! I recorded both sounds below if you want to hear it.
When the music/buzzer starts playing, it’s time to remove the eggs and place them in cold water. After a few minutes, tap all over to crack the shell, gently roll the egg between your palm and the counter and peel. It usually comes off in 2 – 3 big pieces, or a couple of long peels. Easy!
I like my boiled eggs somewhere between soft boiled and hard boiled and it’s easy and fool proof to achieve it with this machine. You can even walk away and do something else! Just come back when the music starts playing.
All in all, I think this is $15 well spent as I am so busy in the mornings preparing coffee for me and my husband, a milk drink for my son, sandwich/pancakes/waffles/etc. to eat, and chopping fruits for our breakfast. Set it and forget it till it tells me the eggs are ready is so worth it. And no icky gray yolks! My only issue is that it only makes 2 little poached eggs/omelets…but I think I can live with that since I will be holding on to the 12 egg capacity cooker! 😊
When I got the Itaki Pro, I also got the Shabuki pot and the Itaki Jumbo. For this article, I will focus on the Shabuki pot. I purchased the optional steamer basket as I think it will be useful to cook or heat other items while your main dish is going. It kind of reminds me of my small 3 cup Aroma rice cooker with steamer!
The photo above shows everything I got in the box: the shabuki pot with a glass cover, power cord, a little instruction booklet, a soup spoon, the carry bag, and the optional steamer.
The shabuki is essentially a portable, personal sized pot and stove. You have two temperature settings, low and high, like the little stoves. The cooking surface is metal and fused to the outer plastic body. It comes with a sturdy handle, making it look like a giant soup mug. It’s just so cute!
The optional steamer is to be placed on top of the pot and the glass cover over it if cooking multiple items. The steamer can reheat food, steam veggies, or cook rice in a small pot while you cook another dish below. I think it was worth to get it even if it had to be purchased separately.
Of course, if you only have the pot itself, you can place a basket steamer (the ones that open and expand) over the shabuki and have the same effect although the depth might be different.
The inside of the Shabuki is stainless and there are no creases to worry about, making clean up easy. I would have preferred a removable cooking bowl to make washing up easier since you have to be careful not to wet the area where the power cord plugs in.
Unlike the Itaki Pro and Jumbo, this requires you to be around and will not shut off on it’s own. You also have to be occasionally stirring your food if you don’t want it stuck on the bottom. Quick stir fries and stews would be great in the Shabuki. Ramen and other soups would be a natural food item to cook in this as is boiling water. I have not really made recipes to cook in it as any stove top recipe can be cooked in the Shabuki, just on a smaller scale.
All in all, this would be perfect for if you have limited space (dorm or studio apartments) are cooking for one, traveling, or don’t want multiple dishes to wash as you can eat straight from the pot too.
If you require more food than the Itaki pro can prepare, get the Itaki Jumbo! This is basically an Itaki pro limousine! You get an additional tier with a medium sized “Goldilocks” bowl (not as big as the bottom bowl, not as small as the upper bowl) with a separate cover. You can use it as it is or remove the second tier and use it like the Itaki Pro. Versatile!
My Itaki Jumbo was packaged in an Itaki Pro box with the flaps left open to accommodate the taller lunchbox and that box was placed inside a plain brown box. No complaints as it was for me and it was adequately protected during shipping.
*My recent orders for Itaki jumbo that arrived August 2020 came in their own custom boxes wrapped in the black/gray plastic for shipping. They are no longer packaged in the smaller Itaki pro box, with flaps open. However, they are no longer double boxed like before because of this and every single box was slightly damaged in transit.*
Above is a photo of everything that came in the box: the Itaki Jumbo(base, second tier, and cover), 3 different sized bowls, 2 covers, Itaki measuring cup, egg holder, power cord, carry bag, instruction booklet, and a pair of chopsticks.
The bowls are all different sizes. The big bottom bowl and the little one nesting on top of that remains the same. They also come with their cover for transporting or storing the bowls.
The new addition is a medium sized bowl that goes on the second level. It has it’s own cover too, making it convenient to prep your food in advance and keep them in the refrigerator until ready.
The second tier has a built in egg holder for steaming. Perfect for when you need to steam a dozen eggs for making deviled eggs!
The carry bag has just enough space for the whole lunchbox, and the cord. The bag comes with beautiful patterns too!
Just like the Itaki Pro, it shuts off by itself when the water added to the base is gone, so it basically takes care of cooking your food without needing much attention.
So if you want more than 1 serving, or a dessert while you’re cooking your lunch, this is a good option. With this, you can scale down or up as needed, making meals for 1-3 persons.
I kept seeing the ad for this electric lunchbox on Facebook and other social media sites and it honestly piqued my interest.
I really do not need this lunchbox as I cannot use it at work, but can you see how cute it is? I couldn’t resist buying it (and a shabuki and the jumbo! 🤗). Since it came from overseas, it took a full month to get here. The first shipment got lost so i ordered again through their affiliate, wowzone.
The box for Itaki Pro included the following:
A base – where you put water to steam your food.
A cover – to keep the steam/heat in.
2 stainless steel bowls that nest. Smaller one goes on top of the bigger bowl.
A plastic lid for the bowls. You do NOT use this when steaming.
A small measuring cup – 40 ml. This cup also has an egg piercer at the bottom. It is used to carefully pierce the wide end of an egg prior to steaming. This makes the eggs easier to peel and I heard that it reduces the eggy smell too.
Egg holder with a handle – can cook 5 eggs at a time. *The handle can be used to carefully lift the little metal bowl off of the bottom bowl! Make sure it isn’t too heavy as the handle is made of plastic.*
A little recipe guide and an instruction leaflet. The recipe book is also available by email in pdf format, just ask! 😊
A pretty cloth carry bag.
And the plug.
So what does this thing do? It can either cook your meal from scratch or just reheat your food using steam. It comes with a tiny measuring cup that holds 40 ml. One little cup of water in the base unit of MY itaki creates steam for about 25 minutes. (Please note that I was informed that it varies from 15-25 minutes for others so please check yours out so you can estimate a baseline time per cup and go from there. I will time my cooking and add times to the recipe so you can adjust the amount of water you use in your base.) I use 2-3 cups when cooking a full meal with raw meats specially if the bottom bowl is full. After the water has boiled off, the lunchbox automatically shuts off, convenient right? Hands free and fool proof! What’s not to love?
*Please note that the word “cup” in any of my electric lunchbox recipe refers to the little itaki cup included with the lunchbox. It holds 40ml. See photo above.*
The little stainless top bowl usually makes rice for me. I find that 2 little cups of rice, rinsed well, plus 2 little cups of water always yields perfect rice with at least 2 itaki cups water in the base. I had tried it with long grain, Japanese short/medium grain, and basmati rice. 2:2 works wonderfully for all of these. I have yet to try brown rice but will sometime.
I have been so excited waiting for this to arrive that I opened it right away and washed everything. As soon as it was clean, I checked what ingredients I have on hand to put it to the test. I feel like a kid with a new toy!
For my trial recipe I made a beef and radish soup in the bottom bowl and some rice in the top bowl.
2 itaki cups rice, rinsed
2 itaki cups water for rice
A handful of thinly sliced beef
4 inch daikon radish, peeled and cubed
Dash of garlic powder
1 1/2-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 tablespoon Korean red pepper paste (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Korean chili flakes
Water to cover
2 itaki cups water for base
Place rice in the small top bowl and rinse a few times until water is clear. Drain. Place 2 cups of water in the bowl and set aside.
In the bigger bottom bowl, place beef, radish, garlic powder, onion, green onions, soy sauce, fish sauce, red pepper paste, chili flakes, and just enough water to cover. *adjust spices to your taste.*
Add 2 cups of water in the base of the lunchbox. Gently place the big bowl in then place the small rice bowl on top. Cover, secure the clips, plug the cord, and press the button to start.
Try not to open the lunchbox until the light goes off. 2 cups of water in the base will take about 50 minutes.
When the light goes off, carefully open the clips and lift the handles. Holding the handles, turn the cover AWAY from you as the steam can burn you. You don’t want that to happen as you want to enjoy your hot meal, right? Now use a fork to gently lift the rice bowl from the lunchbox using the holes on the edges of the bowl. Fluff the rice a little. Carefully lift the hot soup out of the base and enjoy!
The beef is thinly sliced and perfectly cooked just like the rice. It took about an hour more or less but I am quite impressed as it was really good. Spicy hot and hot. The rice tames it just a little.
Can’t wait till I get more groceries and time to play with this but as of now I can truly see how useful this will be if you’re cooking for one, are traveling, in a dorm, or just want to try out a dish so you’re not stuck with a lot if you didn’t like it. Definitely worth the price and time spent waiting(about a month)!
Today, out of sheer laziness, (I mean it’s raining and cold outside here in Orange County!) I discovered Instacart.
I had been wanting to get a bottle (or more!) of Lee Kum Kee Brown Braising Sauce and my plan was that I was going to pass by the 99 Ranch in Irvine after my son’s soccer game today. All is well until we were informed that the game is canceled as the fields were closed due to the rain. Great! Time for plan B, except that I didn’t have one.
I checked Amazon and a single bottle was $17+! Plus I would not get it today. I knew it was about $3 at the store, so I kept searching. Then Instacart popped up on my search.
There were several stores that I could shop at using the app that were close to my home. H Mart, Sprouts, Target, Gelson’s, Stater Brother’s, Ralph’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, Petco, Pavillion’s, Albertson’s, Aldi, Total Wine, CVS, Bevmo, Smart and Final, and Von’s.
Curious, I added things to my H Mart grocery cart that I would normally pick up at Asian grocery stores…mirin, radish, inari, gochujan….. If the item you want isn’t available, you could add a note for your shopper. I added a couple of items that weren’t available, my brown braising sauce being one of them! I added a note that I really need this. Let’s see if i will get it in my order.
It showed “Free delivery” for my order. By now my tab was around $60 for 10 items but still lower than if I go myself as I often pick things up that catches my eye even if I had no intention of buying it before I saw it. I hesitated for an hour or so, with my cart full of yummy ingredients, but afterward I clicked Place Order just to try it out. It was 11:47am.
You could chose 1, 2, or 5 hour delivery times, specific times, or days.
It showed that my delivery will be within 2 hours…the closest H mart is about 30 minutes away from home, so if I had to go, driving back and forth is going to be already at least 1 hour…finding a parking spot, shopping…checking out…I am starting to see the advantages of this service.
So then I looked at the fees..(I know! I should have done that first!) it was less than $3 for the service on this particular order plus at least 10% tip for the driver (it starts at 5%, but you could adjust it), it is still worth it. If you become an Instacart Express Member for $9.99 a month or $99 a year, any order above $35 is delivered for free and you can shop different stores per order! You can try it for free for 14 days, before deciding if you want it or not.
ADDING TO EXISTING ORDER
The app informed me that I could add to my order before the shopper begins shopping but I tried to add Kamaboko multiple times, in the app and on safari, in vain. I just kept getting a notice that states they were aware I was having problems.
Just now I got a message that my order is running behind and estimated it to be here by 2:00-2:30pm when it was originally 12:50-1:50pm. I still couldn’t add my kamaboko!
When your shopper starts going thru the store, the app will notify you their name. My shopper today was Jonah B. She asked, on the CHAT feature, if I would approve a replacement for an item I ordered. You could accept or decline. I chose accept for the Tonkatsu sauce.
Later, the radish was above the weight I asked for, so I was asked if it was okay. Sure! It happens.
And in the end the Brown Braising Sauce isn’t available. She messaged me that she asked and they said they do not have any braising sauce available. I asked her if I need to place a separate order at a different place, would that be a different transaction, and she said yes. I told her to just leave it out. I will keep the rest of the order.
Well, guess what? My very kind shopper went to 99 Ranch after asking me if I want it and got me my Lee Kum Kee Brown Braising Sauce – all 6 bottles! What a nice person! She actually made my day! I was so happy that when she said my order would be 30 minutes late because of it, I said “take your time, I am so happy right now, it doesn’t really matter!”
ON THE WAY TO YOU
After the shopping is done, you can follow your shopper in the app, and it shows real time location. My shopper was here a little past 2:30pm and I could not be more pleased with this new found service. Of course, even if the app states that tipping is optional, I gave her a good tip. It’s raining, and cold, and she went above and beyond helping me get those bottles of Braising sauce! I was preparing our lunch at home while she went out to collect my groceries!
The items I got were things I regularly buy so I know that the price on Instacart for these are comparable to me going to H Mart and picking it up myself. However, for some stores the price varies, sometimes higher and sometimes lower, than actual store price. I guess if you’ll use it a lot, you probably will be paying about the same as store price, some with inflated prices, and some with discounts.
I was going to use Instacart only this once, but I might just make this a back up for days like today! I believe there are some days when it is more than worth it to pay for this kind of service. I do have a few days like that a month (between my son’s school, homework, soccer, futsal, Taekwondo, science club, my full time job, a blog, a dog, the laundry, cooking, cleaning the house…) and knowing I still can get fresh, real ingredients for a minimal fee will reduce the stress of preparing meals at home.
I invite you to check Instacart.com out and hopefully you will find it useful on days when there isn’t enough time to do everything you have to do! I know I definitely did!
If you had used Instacart, let me know what you think in the comments section!