Thursday, August 14, 2014


You know that sinking feeling you have when strolling out to your kitchen in the dark of early morning, wiping the sleep from your tired eyes only to reveal an empty coffee pot.  DRAB!  DANG! BOOM!  No, not the bubble captions from a seventies comic book, but the only words my tired self could muster up this morning when I noticed my favorite pot had kicked the bucket.  Why is it, by the way, that computers and coffee makers only seem to last two to three years? WHAT GIVES??  I'll tell ya what gives, ME…MONEY…to these darn companies who have yet to design a product that lasts longer than Kim Kardashian's romances!  Thank goodness we have backup coffee makers for the random occasion when we have a houseful and need both leaded and unleaded brews, so for today we're okay.  I'm so fed up with throwing money down the coffee drain, though, this morning I'm doing my due-diligence and a tad of research before dropping more Benjamin's for that perfect cup of Joe.  Two resources I use constantly are Consumer Reports and Cooks Illustrated.  For this search, however, I'll turn to the slightly higher-brow of Cooks Illustrated.  I love them for my easy cook recipes, slow-cooker books and Joe's more advanced (read: REAL COOKS) cook books.  You've probably seen the magazine in the grocery store with it's beautiful renderings of food and products or the editor in chief on the "Today Show" sporting his bow tie, but one thing I love most about Cooks Illustrated are the reviews they do each month.  If you don't subscribe, DO IT, or log on to and sign up for a 14 day free trial (always mark your calendar a week prior to free trial ending..I think most companies bank on you forgetting and then they, in turn, laugh all the way to the bank).  With any product review (from mixing bowls to spatulas and Cuisinarts) CI gives thoughtful insight (this one made the product taste strange, etc).  They always offer a "splurge" product then a more mainstream consumer-friendly (and wallet-friendly) alternative.  While the recommendation for coffee makers this time around sounds more like a cast member from the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" I'm going with their recommendation of the Bonavita Coffee Maker.  They make it easy to buy (and a tad dangerous) by including the link to Amazon.  I'm ready for my second cup…and fifth coffee maker in two years!
Free trials are great but, as mentioned above, MY OPINION is companies rely heavily on those who forget to cancel, get charged and never complain.  If you are crazy like me, though, and leave reminder post-its around, mark your calendar and set your smart phone to leave you a stupid reminder, there are many great FREE things on the market. Try these:; As mentioned above, this is a great source for incredible recipes, free product reviews, etc.; if you order PRIME for a free 30-day trial everything ships NEXT DAY for free.  after the trial the charge is $75/year, so make sure you cancel before it's too late!; sign up for Ikea's Family program and get great things like free lunches, discounts on in-store and on-line products, etc.