Meet Franc the Fizzy Water Making Penguin

12 01 2010

If you hang out with me when there is snacking or a meal, you might know of my love for sparkling water. It started some time around 10 years ago. I used to think it tasted like dirt. I never liked it.

One day I accidentally bought a bottle of Pelligrino and I was won. Now, I’d prefer water with gas over flat. But it’s expensive! And the bottles fill up the recycling bin so quickly! And they are heavy when I’m walking home from the store! I could go on and on…

So. For Christmas, Scott gave me Franc. He comes with some CO2 containers (that can be refilled when you take them back to Williams Sonoma) and a couple glass bottles… and makes THE best sparkling water I’ve ever had. Each CO2 bottle will fizz 60 of the water bottles.

franc, our new family member


franc with one of the water bottles

 First, you tuck the bottle of water in his back and tilt it back in.

tuck the bottle in his back

Then you close the silver part right back down. It slides down over the bottle and locks in place.

close the back down

Pull the beak, holding it down until it whistles. I like to pull it twice for extra bubbly water. Guess what the coolest part is? NO WIRES! It’s a pretty sleek little machine that has made it’s way onto the counter with no issues.

dont worry - it doesn't hurt him

Open it back up, pour water and top with lime or lemon or orange or soda or whatever little flavor you want. Apparently you can order soda flavors online to make your own homemade soda.

perfectly fresh sparkling water. thanks franc!

What a great Christmas present. Franc will be in our family for many years to come.

I’m Speechless (is this a first?)

13 01 2008

Wow. Just wow. My older sister and her husband gave me one of the coolest gifts I might have ever received for Christmas. Seriously. I’m speechless at how amazing this little tool really is!

 Cuisinart Hand Blender

I made a batch of butternut squash soup tonight, usually this involves me transferring boiling soup from the pot to the food processor then to a different bowl and back to the pot in about 3-4 batches. This usually takes about 20 minutes and is VERY messy. Last time I did this I spilled the soup during the transfer and burned the crud outta my hand. Well, Shar, Jake, you have saved my hand and about 30-45 minutes! The entire blending process took less than 3 minutes. And cleanup? Oh, 45 seconds. YOU RULE!

You just drop it in your pot of boiling goodies, turn it on, and blend away (be careful, the motor is quite powerful). This model happens to come with a chopper and whisk attachment as well. All super compact and hardly takes up any space in my kitchen cabinets.

I tried a new variation of my soup tonight, it was better than my original!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 (3 1/2 – 4lb) Butternut Squash
Olive oil
3 Tbsp butter
1 Leek (white part only, chopped)
4 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups chicken stock
3/4 of an 8oz block low fat cream cheese
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground marjoram
add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
creme fraiche

Split and seed the squash. Lay split squash face down on an oiled cookie sheet. Cook in oven at 400 for about 45 minutes, or until flesh is tender with a fork.

Let the squash cool and scoop out the meat, throw out the skin.

In a soup pot, melt butter. Cook until tender, but not brown leeks and ginger. Add squash, chicken stock, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and marjoram. Bring to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, breaking up squash for 20 minutes. Add cream cheese just prior to next step of blending.

Insert immersion blender (YAY!) or puree mixture in food processor or blender and add back to pot.

Top soup with roasted seeds, creme fraiche, cilantro or whatever your heart desires!

Notes: I also have used ground ginger for lack of remembering the actual fresh root at the store, I just cut the amount in half. I always love to rinse the seeds, coat them with olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt and dry them out for an hour at 200F. They are delicious sprinkled on top of the soup!

Happy girl with my hand blender (and listening to kplu via my new under-cabinet radio while I cook):