A little fact that many of you may not realize… in Texas, there are Dollar Stores EVERYWHERE. Almost to the point of being rediculous. When I lived in California, I can remember there being one in the mall… I dont remember one in NYC (though maybe I just wasnt looking for it).... NOW I pass by 3 (maybe 4?) juse on the way to work.
And not all Dollar Stores are the same… some really charge $1 for everything, others just charge a flat dollar amount (yeah Family Dollar, I’m pointing my finger at you…$7 for something at the dollar store!? pelase). Some are a bit on the cheap/funny side, and some are freakin AWESOME. You start second guessing yourself at the grocery store, wondering “Can I get this at the Dollar Store?”
Soooo, with that mentality, I got just a little bit excited about this online challenge... it’s like a Bravo Reality TV Show I have $5 to spend at the Dollar Store, plus tools and materials I have at home, to create something amazing. You bet I’m gonna try… I love competitions! And crafts… and impressing people with my crafty skills
I have ‘til the end of the Month to post my creation… maybe even a tutorial! Keep and eye out!
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 ) 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.
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
It’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:
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
I love fresh cut flowers, having them in a room always seems to bringten things up. AND I was lucky enough to find some fabulous tulips at 11pm the night before mothers day! (My usual shift gets me out of work at around 11, so technically I wasnt procrastinating…)
Since I bought the flowers and arranged them on my own, it made a beautiful and affordable gift Typically, you can find a nice, reasonably priced glass vase at a craft store, a Dollar Store (which seem to be on every other corner here in Texas)... or under your kitchen sink for the last time you recieved flowers.
To give it a professional looking touch, you can use a “frog” to keep the flowers looking arranged in the vase. Sometimes you can find a vase with a custom “frog” lid… it is full of holes at you can stick the stems in. You can also use clear tape to create get the same results… just stretch pieces of tape across the opening in a criss-cross pattern. Make sure the squares in between large enough for the stems to fit through!
For each person that downloads this cookbook, Barilla will donate $1 to America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network, a national charity that secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. You can even specify that your $1 goes towards a food bank in your area!
These are recipes from 10 Hollywood stars(like Ashley Judd, Tyson Beckford, Harrison Ford, and Kristen Davis) and 2 celebrity chefs… and they all sound like great dishes to try