In My Life, I've Loved Them All

As Seen on TV: Perfect Brownie Pan

Admit it, you love those cheesy commercials! Usually “as seen on TV” type things are good concepts, but the actual product is a bit lacking in quality. If you’re like me, you’re tempted to call in, but usually don’t… knowing you could probably find the item at the nearest Bed Bath and Beyond or Dollar General.

The Perfect Brownie Pan is one of those items that my entire family though was an interesting idea… and wouldn’t you know, my brother got me one for Christmas. Now, this one isn’t the same brand as the “as seen on TV model” and that is fine by me. It seems to be pretty sturdy, construction wise, and the bottom piece has handles so you can lift it up and out, as opposed to the TV version that has a little stand that pushes the bottom up and out (“perfect for entertaining” :| )

Here’s the 3 pieces so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about: The divider, the side of the pan, and the bottom of the pan.

For this brownie pan test, I went with a boxed mix. Actually, for 99% of the brownies made in this house, we use a boxed mix. No shame in that.

Put the bottom piece in the side piece. Spray the whole inside with baking spray. Add batter. Easy enough. I was curious to see how much batter would leak between the two pieces…

Insert the divider straight down into the pan. In my haste, I forgot an important step: SPRAY THE DIVIDER with cooking spray! Opps.

We got a little fancy and put some toffee bits (homemade toffee that is) on a couple of the pieces, just to see what would happen :D

Bake according to your recipe (or side of the box).

30ish minutes later: WE HAVE BROWNIES! I somehow managed to not let an equal amount of batter get into each little segment, so some of the outside pieces didn’t get as big. Or it may be because I did not rotate the pan… or that the outer pan edges get hotter than the inner divider edges. It did not affect the brownie taste, so it’s all good.

One important lesson about this contraption: You need to wait until the brownies are cool before removing the divider. I did not, and thus removing the divider brought along some brownie segments with it.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this pan. It delivered on all of its promises. Brownies tasted just fine and were perfectly separated. Also, only a minimal amount leaked in between the side and bottom pieces.

It worked out so well, we’ve of course “tested” it again, and again :D I think it might be cute to use a cake batter, then frost the top and sides of each piece and decorate like a mini-cake. That is for another day…

As Seen on TV: Big City Slider Station

As Seen on TV- Slider Station
This special kind of marketing still exists… direct from TV to customer. Now adays though, you can usually find “as seen on TV” products in retail and grocery stores. My dad saw the commercial for the Big City Slider Station and decided he wanted to try it… turned into a gag-Christmas present. (Side Note: Which “Big City” is know for Sliders?) Well, since Big City Slider Station was something kitchen related, I was put to the task of testing this little invention.

The box it came in was pretty big… so it was a little shocking to see how small the pan was (but when you think about it, it’s making 5 little burgers, and it needs to fit over one burner, ao it makes sense). The pan and lid are actually pretty lightweight (but maybe I’m just used to the heavy calpholon pans in my kitchen) and they seem to be coated (non-stick? dunno). Besides the pan/lid, you also get a little scoop so you can make uniform little burgers and an “instruction” book. I use the term instruction loosely because it doesnt really give you any… but I guess since the product is demonstrated like 50x per commercial spot of 60 seconds, if you can’t catch on you pry shouldnt be using it in the first place.

For you visual learners, I photo-documented my journey:

So I used the little scoop to make all the hamburger balls (sorry that sounds a bit leude, but I cant think of a better way to describe them :P) in advance. 1 pound of hamburger will make about 12 little patties. I heated up the pan and lit over medium high heat (theres no real instruction to do this, but it seems thats the only way the lid will get hot to help in the cooking process). Then it is just a matter of lifting the lid, adding 5 hamburger balls, and putting the lid back on. The first batch I did not push the lid down very hard… but by the 2nd and 3rd try they came out looking very patty like. Once the lid is on, you just wait. It is nice in that the lid keeps the grease at bay, so you can wander around the kitchen and do other things (get out condiments, split rolls, wirte the next great American Novel…). About 3 minutes later, remove the lid and BAM you got 5 mini-burgers.

Big City Slider Station PROS:

  • Truth in advertising… the pan does exactly what it says it is going to do

  • They turn out looking like the picture on the box

  • Little things are fun to eat and all the rage right now

  • The lid made me feel ok to walk away (not to far) during the cooking time

  • No need to flip the burgers!

  • The lid fits neatly into the pan so it is not a storage hassel

Big City Slider Station CONS:

  • They do not give you/suggest a way to get the Sliders out of the pan (smart people like me use a fork or scewer

  • Each slider patty ends up swimming in it’s only little pool of grease. Between each batch, I had the poor the grease out (i ended up pouring it into another frying pan that was in the sink). Basically there is no elegant way to get the grease out of 5 little slider chambers

  • ALSO, when you are lifting the lid to remove the patties, that grease will SPATER so watch out!

  • You need to eat like 3 or 4 of them to feel full… so my family of 4 polished off the sliders as I was cooking the remaining batches. Next time I need to think more about how to keep 1 batch warm while the next cooks so we can all eat together.

  • When you have access to a grill, eating burgers cooked in a pan on the stove should be a last resort

All and all the Big City Slider Station is a pretty cute toy. Not a kitchen MUST HAVE, but something that’ll be fun to pull out every once and a while. That, to me, is an infomercial success :D

As Seen on TV: Debbie Meyer Green Bags

Green BagsIt’s true… many people these days do not stop to watch commercials. The advent of the DVR has made television commercial spots a finicky form of conveying your advertising message. BUT… sometimes commercials are unavoidable, or maybe you forget that you can fast forward through them.

If you have watched the Food Network anytime in the past YEAR, or any daytime television program on network cable for that matter, you may have seen a direct-to-customer ad for Debbie Meyer Green Bags. Their website claims that, when you store your fruits and veggies in these bags, they will stay fresher longer… by absorbing the ethylene gas that is naturally given off by the fruits/veggies. The commercial itself is quite funny (as most As-Seen-On-TV product commercials are)... she opens the door to her fridge and it is PACKED completely full of Green Bags, each brimming with perfectly fresh looking produce. Though the commercial did not prompt us to call and order Debbies wonderful bags, their existence did remain the heads of my parents…. soooo when they saw a display of the “official” Green Bags at the local Kroger, they decided to try some (classic marketing strategy by Debbie, BTW).

This isnt the first time we have experimented with As Seen on TV products… we have had great success with some (my dad loves his Flowbee) and not so much with others (the Eggstractor is a POS). We decided to test the new found Green Bags with bananas… and a week later this is what we saw:

Our banana experiment

Pretty cool…. considering my family buys a lot of banannas, usually just a couple too many, making us the proud owners of many a brown/VERY ripe banana. Although the ripe ripe bananas make the best banana bread (recipe to come), now we should have more yellow bananas around for snacking and my favorite sandwich: Peanut butter, banana, and honey. Yum!

Side note: We tried a second bag of tomatoes, and some did start to rot inside. I told my mom that the bags only claim to extend the life of veggies, not make them live forever :P

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