Buying made in America products is a popular trend that I hope will stick around for a long time. With so many unemployed Americans still searching for work, buying made in America products is something everyone can do that will add up to a big difference in the job market. The company I write this blog for, Wisconsinmade.com, started out as a one woman operation and now employees eight people. The company owner Linda wouldn’t have been able to hire any of us if it weren’t for the people who shop for made in America products. If you want to buy American and you aren’t sure where to start, how about the kitchen? Here are some decorative and functional kitchen items that are made in Wisconsin!
Canister Set – I like my kitchen to be unique. I want my friends to say “Wow, where did you get that?” instead of “I saw that at Target last week!”. These canisters by Jessie’s Pottery will add some artistic flare to your kitchen and since each one is handmade, no two sets are exactly the same.
Mixing Bowls – I have one of these mixing bowls in my kitchen and I absolutely love it since I can use it for cooking as well as serving. The three bowl set fits together nicely for easy storage, but you might want to leave these beautiful bowls out for everyone to see.
Wisconsin State Cutting Board – Show your state pride with this Wisconsin state cutting board. Availble in a variety of woods, it’s has a food safe coating so you can use it for chopping, or use the pre-cut hole to hang the board for display.
Coffee Scoop – This attractive coffee scoop is made of a variety of Wisconsin woods. Each scoop holds about two tablespoons of beans which is the perfect amount for a hot cup of joe.
Pizza Cutter – Stop struggling with those dinky hand held pizza cutters and try the rocking action of this cutter by Sunway. Made out of stonewood, a durable, dishwasher safe and maintenence free material that will last through a lifetime of delicious pies.
Next time someone complains to you that nothing is Made in American anymore, send them over to my blog and Wisconsinmade.com!
For me, good coffee is hard to come by, I confess I am a big coffee snob. During the week I grab a quick cup on the way out the door but on the weekends the snobbery is in full force. I grind my own beans, use a French press instead of a drip coffee maker and slowly slurp while I contemplate the acidity and earthiness of my coffee. See, I told you I was a snob! Coffee is a hobby for me. There are so many ways to make it, so many varieties to try and making a cup of good coffee is an adventure! If you want to discover the wonderful world of coffee, here are a few tips to get you started. The tips get progressively harder and more time consuming so start with number 1and work your way up to 5!
1. Make sure you use the right amount of grounds. Not enough grounds will make your coffee taste bitter. Make sure you use 2 heaping tablespoons for 6 ounces of water. A coffee scoop that holds 2 tablespoons (like the one pictured above) will make it easy to get the right amount each time.
2. Find the variety that you like. I didn’t like coffee for the longest time and then I started to realize I enjoyed certain types of coffee. I prefer coffee with less acidity and an earthy flavor. Many people prefer more acidic coffees and some people think that “earthy” coffee tastes like feet. Everyone has a different preference so find the coffee that’s right for you. Try a coffee sampler gift basket with many small bags of different varieties, or join a coffee of the month club to have different types of good coffee delivered to your door each month. You’ll discover a favorite in no time.
3. Buy whole beans and grind your own. Once the coffee beans are ground they start to lose flavor so it is best to grind your coffee right before you start to brew. Coffee grinders come in many different sizes and price ranges, and you can usually find a small one that will do the job for $20 or less. Just make sure to use your grinder for coffee only! Grinding spices in your coffee grinder will change the flavor of the coffee. If you don’t have a grinder, grind it at the grocery store or have a coffee shop do it for you.
4. Try using a French press. A French press is a carafe that you can make coffee in. You just add the grounds, pour in boiling water, let the coffee sit for 4 minutes and then press down a plunger that holds the grounds at the bottom so they don’t end up in your cup. This takes more time than a drip coffee maker so it isn’t very practical for the grab-and-go coffee drinker, but makes a great weekend treat. The French press method allows for more of the oils in the grounds to get into the coffee, making it taste much better than the drip version.
5. Roasting your own beans. This is the next step in coffee snobbery for me. Wisconsinmade.com offers a coffee roaster and bags of un-roasted beans for roasting your own coffee in your oven at home. I haven’t tried this yet, but so far the lesson I learned is the more time you put into your coffee the better it tastes! I will definitely be trying this soon so check back for more blog posts about coffee.