Stuff and Nonsense: taste the seasons


Showing posts with label taste the seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taste the seasons. Show all posts

3.24.2018

Special Delivery From Taste of Home: Winter 2018

The Winter 2018 Special Delivery From Taste of Home subscription box arrived around the holidays and I was just too busy to deal with it so I did what I always do -- stuffed it in the back of the coat closet until there was time to appreciate it properly!


Excuses, excuses. What's in the box?

Now Designs Planta Bowl Cover (Not shown in photo, because in use) -- Eco-friendly cotton shower cap for your bowls. I scoffed when I first saw this -- my storage bowls all have lids. Why would I need this? And then, the very same day, I made a cookie dough that needed to be chilled for three hours and this cotton cap covered my KitchenAid stand mixer's bowl perfectly and I've been using it ever since. These appear to be sold in sets of two ($15.00 from Now and $14.95 from Amazon), so I'm a little sore I only received one.

Oxo Good Grips Vegetable Brush -- I will confess I've never owned a vegetable brush before. When I've need to scrub a particularly dirty vegetable, I've just broken out the nail brush and gone to town. This brush has very firm bristles and is about the size of a computer mouse. I like that the body is nonslip and that the entire thing is dishwasher safe. I would never have bought it for myself, but now that I have it I will retire the nailbrush to the bathroom where it belongs. Retails for $4.99 on the OXO site and Amazon.

Chef'n Looseleaf Kale & Greens Stripper -- Okay. So. My mom gave me one of these for Christmas and it's excellent at what it does. I know it looks gimmicky as all get out, but it works. I've used it on kale, turnip greens, and basil. Retails for $7.99 on the Chef'n site and $7.95 on Amazon.

Cherchies Pasta e Fagioli Soup Mix -- This seems to be the older version of the soup currently offered on Cherchies' site. This soup requires I rinse and soak the beans first, whereas the new quick-cooking version for sale does not. The ingredients seem pretty standard and I will make this soup because cold weather = soup, but I really wish it had slow cooker instructions.

Lodge Mini Magnetic Trivet -- Dishwasher safe, silicone and rare-earth round magnetic trivet that can protect countertops and tables from pot bottoms heated up to 450°F. This trivet fits all my Le Creuset cookware, including my oval 3⅓ quart Dutch oven, round 7¼ quart Dutch oven, and Signature 10¼" skillet. It works well and I would buy another. Retails for $10 on the Lodge site and $6.51 on Amazon.

DollarDays Inspirational Wall Plaque -- Small (8.625" x 2.75") painted wooden plaque that says "FAMILY, may this home be filled with love and laughter." I have no strong feeling for or against this time. It's just ... ehh. Price per unit, according to DollarDays, is $1.40.

Taste of Home Comfort Food Makeovers -- A collection of lightened-up "family favorite" recipes, including appetizers and sweets as well as main dishes. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I have (as usual) studded the book with sticky notes and I'll probably end up making the "Pineapple Oatmeal" before the month is out. This is a 2015 cookbook currently retailing on Amazon for $12.23 and on the Shop Taste of Home Store for $12.99.

$10 Coupon for the Shop Taste of Home Store -- I ended up purchasing Taste of Home 100 Family Meals and Taste of Home Bake Shop Favorites for $13.83, including shipping. These are cookbooks I've borrowed from my library in the past and felt it was worth having copies of my own. So, yes, the coupon is good value.

Special Delivery from Taste of Home Recipe Cards -- Six cards, all focused on winter comfort foods. So far, I've made the "Warm Tasty Greens With Garlic" (used my Chef'n greens stripper, yo) and the "Pinwheel Steak Pot Pie." I enjoyed making both recipes and The Husband definitely enjoyed eating the pot pie.

While I have been impressed by the quality of the revamped TOH subscription box service and enjoyed finding a new box of surprises on my doorstep every few months, I've decided it's time to call it quits. I have, frankly, too much stuff and don't need more. Cancelling was very easy -- I exchanged a few emails with Reader's Digest Customer Service and that was it. The end.

Read about my experiences with Special Delivery and its precursor, Taste the Seasons.

12.07.2017

Special Delivery From Taste of Home: Fall 2017

The revamped Taste of Home subscription box service -- formerly Taste the Seasons, but now Special Delivery From Taste of Home -- continues to be wonderful and the autumn box was full of so many nice things.


Taste of Home Taste of Home Holidays & Celebrations -- A 2015 publication. Broken into seasons, this cookbook covers all the major secular American holidays as well as more casual events like pool parties and afternoon tea. I'm hosting Christmas this year, so the winter section is currently quite thick with sticky notes. The Beef Tenderloin With Mushroom-Wine Sauce or Roger Bowld's Salt-Encrusted Prime Rib are currently vying for entree.

Oxo Good Grips Dough Mixer With Blades. I already own this pastry blender and it works really well for dough ... and egg salad. I will probably give this new one away as a door prize during the library cookbook swap I'm organizing for April.

Tovolo Precision Pie Cutter. It's a compass for your pie crust! Attach the edge blade you desire -- loose wave, tight wave, scalloped and straight -- plonk the "pivot" end down on the middle of your rolled dough, then rotate the arm around to cut the prettiest circular crust. I have not actually tried this yet -- pie crust is my nemesis -- but it looks pretty easy. Maybe, I'll make a chicken potpie?

Kitchen Envy Small Silicone Baking Mat. A 9"x12" flexible nonstick baking liner. Perfectly fits my quarter sheet pan. My mat came rolled up in a tube, but flattened right out when I unrolled it. It feels nice and sturdy, as if it will last a while, and I like that it is pre-marked for optimal cookie, etc placement.

Fire & Flavor Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit. I've never brined a turkey before -- it just seemed like a lot of effort and I've always had a vague feeling I'd managed to do it wrong and ruin dinner -- but the display of Fire & Flavor brine kits are Bed, Bath and Beyond were seriously tempting me last month, so I'm glad this came in the fall box. The kit includes brine mix, brining bag, recipes, and instructions. I just supply the turkey, water, sugar, vinegar, and ice.

Gustus Vitae Rosemary Lemon Sea Salt Gourmet Salt. This flavor was developed exclusively for Taste of Home which is a little frustrating. On the one hand, it's cool I have a unique product unavailable to anyone else. On the other, I will not be able to acquire more of it. And it is yummy stuff. Currently, my favorite use is to sprinkle it over hot popcorn, but it's really good on salmon, too. The tin is magnetic so it can stick to your fridge or whathaveyou, but I find the lid leaks a little and so prefer to store it flat in my spice drawer.

My Spice Sage Cinnamon Stick Chunks. My Spice Sage products make a regular appearance in Taste of Home boxes and I'm always pleased to see them as they're always good quality. This cinnamon sticks are broken into one-inch chunks which makes them easier to fit into mulling spice balls or herb bags. So far, I've used some of mine to make "Slow Cooker Spiced Apple & Pear Butter."

Again, I continue to be impressed by this revamped subscription box service and look forward to seeing what the Winter Special Delivery From Taste of Home box has in store for me. Read about my experiences with Special Delivery and its precursor, Taste the Seasons.

8.28.2017

Special Delivery From Taste of Home: Summer 2017

So. My quarterly subscription box from Taste of Home has arrived and it's been rebranded. No more "Taste the Seasons" -- now it's "Special Delivery From Taste of Home." And, beloveds, it is sooo much better. So. Much.

The white and red box I saw sitting on my front steps when I pulled in the driveway after work was so visually distinct that I immediately knew it could not be anything as humdrum as an Amazon delivery or medical supply order. It was even nicely shrink-wrapped so the box itself had stayed fresh and clean during shipping. I admit my heart did a pleasant little skip of anticipation when I picked up the box and felt how heavy it was. Unwrapping it and opening it felt like opening a really nice present to myself.


Which is exactly the experience I want when I open a subscription box. I want to feel excitement, happiness, and anticipation -- not the vague miasma of suspicion and disappointment that's carried me through recent Taste the Seasons boxes. And the stuff that was attractively arrange inside this summer box ... wow.

Looking over the contents of the summer Special Delivery box, it felt like Taste of Home had made a sincere effort to collect interesting and unique quality, seasonal items. This box feels curated. I could not be more pleased or excited. So glad I did not cancel my subscription, after all.

Anyway, what's in the box? So. Many. Things.

Taste of Home Backyard Barbecues: 405 Dishes for Sizzling Celebrations -- A 2014 publication. It is, like every other Taste of Home cookbook I own, now larded with sticky notes. I have made precisely two recipes from this cookbook -- "Cilantro Couscous Salad" and "Grilled Veggie Quesadillas" -- but they were both easy and delish.

50% off Simple & Delicious Binder Cookbook offer -- Simple & Delicious magazine is my favorite TOH pub and this is a really good deal on a 2016 publication, but I do not need to be buying more cookbooks. No.

Three Three Pigs Tavolo Pan Scrapers -- Have used one of these several times now to scrape clean my enameled cast iron French oven after burning a little food to the bottom (don't read and cook, kids). Took off most of the cooked-on bits and was fairly comfortable to hold. They do seem a bit thin so I was glad to get a set of three as I don't know how long they'll each last.

Tavolo Strawberry Huller -- Have you seen the food hack that involves hulling strawberries with a straw? The Tavolo strawberry huller is much, much better. It doesn't bend or break like a plastic straw, is more comfortable to hold, and the cut-out makes it much easier to clean. It reminds me of a very smaller, more attractive, version of my favorite OXO apple corer and works just as well. The huller is one of those things I would never have thought to buy for myself, but am glad to have.

Chef'n Twist'n Sprout -- I admit I haven't tried this product yet as summer simply isn't the time for Brussels sprouts. However, we're definitely headed toward roasting weather and I expect to start finding sprouts at the farmers market soon. As far as I can tell, I jab a sprout onto the little simply press Brussels sprouts onto the jabby-sticky-out-part and give it a twist to remove the sprout's stem and core. I presume it will also remove any loose leaves, too. Not sure how much my wrists will love it ...

Skoy Scrub 2 pack -- I was a little leery of this, as I'm a bit snobby about my scouring pads (I'm a Dobie girl), but the one I've used has worked surprisingly well and seems indestructible. I've used it to get baked on gunk off casseroles and dried cheese off serrated knives with no damage to the scouring pad at all. I just throw it in the dishwasher once a week (top rack) and it stays new-looking and fresh smelling.

My Spice Sage Garlic Pepper Rub -- My Spice Sage products make a regular appearance in Taste of Home boxes and I'm always pleased to see them as they're always good quality. This rub is a blend of garlic, black Pepper, salt, red bell pepper, and parsley. It's very peppery and garlicky, which I enjoy. So far, I've rubbed it into pork tenderloin and split bone-in chicken breasts with equally tasty results.

Amora Coffee Elegante Blend -- Smells fabulous, but we're not coffee drinkers (I enjoy the scent, but the taste ... nopenopenope) so I'll be passing this along to someone who can appreciate it. Or ... maybe I'll save it for winter baking!

Nawrap Handkerchief -- I was very "What the twee hell is this?" when I saw the sea life-themed handkerchief, but then I realized how handy it would be to have in my lunch box as either a placemat or napkin. It's also quite cute as a decorative liner for a muffin basket or whathaveyou. It's very sturdy and handles washing well (it's a cotton-rayon blend, so line dry). Again, nothing I would ever have bought myself, but definitely enjoy having.

Johnny's Selected Seeds Genovese Basil -- Much too late to start basil seeds for this year's garden! Hopefully, they will keep until next spring. (I haven't had a problem keeping extra seeds from one year to the next, but one never knows).

Envelope of recipe cards -- Six tempting recipe cards. I'd argue the Brussels sprouts recipe is not summery, but at least it's in there to give you an idea what to do with all the sprouts you cored using the Twist'n Sprout! To be fair, I am going to make that recipe ... just not now. Of the remaining cards, I have made the "Herbed Lemon Pork Chops" and the "Minty Watermelon-Cucumber Salad." The Spice Sage rub worked well in the pork chop recipe (I also used fresh garden herbs, instead of dried) and they were very tender and flavorful. The salad was extremely refreshing, although I had to halve the recipe as it was just me eating it.

Again, I am really impressed by the summer box and look forward to seeing what Special Delivery From Taste of Home will bring me in autumn. Read about my experiences with Special Delivery's precursor, Taste the Seasons.

7.24.2017

Taste of Home: Taste The Seasons Goodie Box: Spring 2017

The spring Taste of Home Taste The Seasons subscription box arrived way long time ago now and I was so decidedly underwhelmed by it that I just packed it away until such a time came that I felt I could actually talk about it with some kind of enthusiasm. Which has not really happened, but the summer box arrived last week and, wow, I am a terrible blogger.

The spring Taste The Seasons box is just ... eh. Honestly, it feels like a collection of unrelated odds and ends -- as if someone was cleaning out the TOH junk drawer, dumped it in a box, and mailed it to me. I can see the TOH folks tried to tie the items together in the text of the insert -- "this honey is just what you need for the Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs" and "try it in place of Montreal Seasoning on the BBQ Chicken bites" -- but it's not enough. (Although, both recipes are easy and delish).

I'd probably be less annoyed if I hadn't completed, over the past year, multiple TOH surveys about the Taste the Seasons subscription box service. I feel I've been very clear about what I liked or didn't like and what I'd like to see more or less of. And then this arrives and I feel very nopenopeNOPE about the whole thing. I can only presume my feels are very different from those of everyone else who answered the surveys.


So. Some of the items are quite nice. I've already studded TOH's Simple, Easy, Fast Kitchen cookbook with sticky notes. Spice Sage seasoning blends are always a treat. And I'm not going to sneer at a wee jar of Dickinson's delicious golden honey.

But. More. Muffin huggin' metal cookie cutters. Just no, Taste of Home. You can't make me bake rolled cookies. Even if they would be shaped like a adorable bunnies and spring tulips.


As for the Brainstream beep-egg classic floating egg timer -- a plastic musical egg that sings when your eggs are done boiling -- it's kind-of a cute idea. It's very existence feels like a gentle German joke and I like that it sings different tunes for different boil levels but then I own a singing Japanese water boiler and rice cooker so, of course, I would find a singing egg timer cute. However, I am completely turned off by the thought of boiling a plastic-encapsulated battery.


Meh to the flimsy Taste the Season daily list magnetic pad. I've been using it as a regular shopping list/note pad and ignored all the hours printed on it because I already have an app, wall calendar, and daily planner book for organizing my life.

Also meh to the Tovolo silicone anchor breakfast shaper. I like the idea of breakfast shapers -- even own a set of Star Wars pancake molds. But. An anchor? For spring? Why not the bee and hive or ladybug and flower sandwich shapers? They are similarly priced and look much more seasonal.


Also a great big NOPE to the 11-piece measuring set. After having received OXO products in the three previous boxes, these molded plastic cups and spoons are a comedown. Also, I already own multiple (nicer) measuring sets, thus I have no need for these. (I've taken the measuring set and breakfast shaper to work where we'll find some use for them during crafternoons).

Overall, this box left me with mixed feelings. It wasn't seasonal enough and some of the items did not appeal to me at all. However, other items were exactly what I would have wished for. I don't know ... this box is best summed up with a shrug.

Read about my other (more pleasing) experiences with Taste the Seasons.

3.02.2017

Taste of Home: Taste The Seasons Goodie Box: Winter 2017

The winter Taste of Home Taste The Seasons subscription box it arrived just before Christmas, but I didn't have time to deal with it so it went into the hall closet and there it stayed until ... mid-February, when I realized I'd better get a crack on before spring arrived!



Here's what I found in the winter box:
  1. Access code for three months of free online cooking classes at Salted
  2. Taste of Home Kitchen Companion special edition magazine (Fall 2016)
  3. Taste of Home Soups cookbook (2015)
  4. Several TOH "Most Requested" seasonal recipe cards
  5. Taste of Home Dot-to-Dot
  6. My Spice Sage Adobo seasoning
  7. OXO ladle
  8. OXO slotted spoon
  9. 2 metal seasonal cookie cutters
Overall, I am very pleased with the contents of the winter box. Aside from the ubiquitous metal cookie cutters, everything in this box is very appealing and interesting. I've needed a proper ladle for yonks (a gravy spoon is not an effective substitute), but have been too lazy/cheap to shop for one. The slotted spoon is also, unsurprisingly, a nice improvement over the silicone one I picked up for a dollar at Big Lots. Booth spoons have a nice heft and are quite sturdy, the "good grips" handle is actually a good size for my wee, girlish hands, and the bowls of the spoons are large enough to scoop up a proper portion. I was a little worried the holes in the slotted spoon would be too big for foods like peas and corn, but that has not been the case. (However, I do think the tiny "spring" peas will slip right through the holes and, obviously, you can't use the slotted spoon with orzo or rice).

The Taste of Home Kitchen Companion magazine and Soups cookbook are delightful. So many delicious and surprising recipes in each! Yes, there can be a preponderance of dairy, but we're talking about cold weather comfort food, after all. I was really taken with the recipe for "Rainbow Hash" -- coconut oil, sweet and purple potatoes, carrots, kale/spinach, and garlic -- and have made it twice now (once with kale and a purple potato and once with spinach and two sweet potatoes). The color is beautiful (even without the purple potato) and the hash is just bursting with flavor. Pair it with soft poached or runny fried eggs for a healthy, filling breakfast.


Interestingly, the Soups cookbook is not just soups, but includes many recipes for sandwiches and breads to pair with the soups. I love soup and eat it year-round so I expect this cookbook will see a lot of use. So far, I have made the "Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup" (paired with easy yeasty "Herb Focaccia Rolls" from Taste of Home Kitchen Companion) and the "Southwestern Bean Chowder" (so filling and nutritious).

Making the "Herb Focaccia Rolls" allowed me to use some of the yeast that came with the Autumn box! I generally avoid yeast breads and rolls, because yeast fills me with dread, but these rolls were dead easy to make and I am now inclined to try other yeasty recipes.

I do wish I'd opened this box a little sooner as many of the "Most Requested" recipe cards were suitable for winter holiday entertaining. In particular, I would love to have served the "Ensenada Shrimp Cocktail" and "Marinated Olive & Cheese Ring" at our Cards Against Humanity party. Oh well, we're just about due for another night of Secret Hitler ...

Taste the Seasons is a quarterly seasonal kitchen subscription box curated by Taste of Home featuring themed recipes, kitchen tools and gadgets, ingredients, special coupons/discounts, and free access online cooking classes (which are always awesome). You can buy an individual box for $34.95 or subscribe to the whole year for $29.95 each. Taste of Home values each box at over $80 so it sounds like a good deal either way. Subscription options automatically renew quarterly until cancelled and canceling requires a call to Customer Care. If you have food allergies, you'll want to talk to Customer Care, anyway, before you commit to a box or boxes.

Read about my other experiences with Taste the Seasons.

11.03.2016

Taste of Home: Taste the Seasons Goodie Box: Fall 2016

The Taste of Home Taste the Seasons fall goodie box arrived early last month, but, what with one thing and another, I didn't get to it until recently. What can I say? These days I am sloooow and disorganized blogger. Anyway, despite the Christmas displays everywhere, it's still autumn for another six weeks.

Oops! Forgot to put the cookbook back in the box before I snapped the pic.

Taste the Seasons is a quarterly seasonal kitchen subscription box curated by Taste of Home featuring themed recipes, kitchen tools and gadgets, ingredients, special coupons/discounts, and access to TOH's online Cooking School (the classes are always awesome). You can buy an individual box for $34.95 or subscribe to the whole year for $29.95 each. Taste of Home values each box at $75 to $90 so it sounds like a good deal either way. Subscription options automatically renew quarterly until cancelled and canceling requires a call to Customer Care. If you have food allergies, you'll want to talk to Customer Care, anyway, before you commit to a box or boxes.

Here's what I found in the fall box:
  1. Access code for free online access to 2 Cooking School courses
  2. Discounted subscription offer to Taste of Home magazine (77% off)
  3. Taste of Home's Cookies, Bars, & More cookbook
  4. My Spice Sage Cinnamon Flavored Sugar
  5. OXO Cookie Scoop
  6. Several TOH "Most Requested" seasonal recipe cards
  7. Red Star Platinum Superior Baking Yeast packets & brochure w/ coupon
  8. Metal dough scraper
  9. Maple leaf & candy corn-shaped metal cookie cutters

While I really wasn't thrilled by the metal cookie cutters as I just don't do that kind of cookie, I was pleased with everything else in the box and thought it was, overall, decent value (even if not quite the value TOH suggests). Alas, cookie cutters were in the summer box, too, so I expect to see them again in winter and spring ...

Maybe the universe (or, at least, TOH) is trying to tell me something? Is it time to embrace rolled cookies?


The cookbook, Cookies, Bars, & More is full of delicious-sounding cookie recipes and I've already liberally dotted the "Classics With a Twist" and "In the Pan" chapters with sticky notes. The OXO cookie scoop was very welcome, because while I own two other scoops, they are not that size (1½ Tbsp). Now I can take that item off my Amazon wish list and replace it with, say, America's Test Kitchen's Food Processor Perfection: 75 Amazing Ways to Use the Most Powerful Tool in Your Kitchen (IS THAT AN UNSUBTLE ENOUGH HINT VIS-A-VIS CHRISTMAS GIFT SHOPPING???).


Of the recipe cards, I have made the "Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars" and "Red Apple Butter Bars" with pleasing results -- my coworkers seemed quite taken by the apple bars, anyway, and there was nothing left by afternoon break. I actually made the pecan bars with hazelnuts so The Husband would eat them as I thought they were, in every other way, the perfect cookie for him. He must have liked them, because they're disappearing at a rapid pace. They were intensely chocolaty and reminded me a bit of my Mom's Toll House cookie bars ... but better. The apple bars were more like dense bars of apple crisp than cookie. Tasty, yes, but messy.


As for the yeast ... I've never done much baking with yeast as I am intimidated by it. I have made the basic loaf from Jeff Hertzberg's The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day several times with perfectly edible results, but have yet to get "fancy." However, one of the fall box recipes cards is for "Southwest Pretzels" and pretzel aren't that fancy. Surely, I can make pretzels! One of these days ...

While I do continue to think Taste of Home has somewhat over-valued the contents of the box, I'm still glad I subscribed for the year (at a discounted rate) and am looking forward to the winter box. Just, hopefully, no more cookie cutters! Maybe, a nice seasonal tea towel? Or more free magazines, like the summer box?

Read about my other experiences with Taste the Seasons.

9.12.2016

Taste of Home: Taste the Seasons Goodie Box: Summer 2016

I swear it is not my intention to fill this blog with subscription box reviews! That said, I want to talk about the Taste of Home Taste the Seasons: Summer Goodie Box I received in July.


Taste the Seasons is a quarterly seasonal kitchen subscription box curated by Taste of Home featuring themed recipes, kitchen tools and gadgets, ingredients, special coupons/discounts, and access to TOH's online Cooking School. You can buy an individual box for $34.95 or subscribe to the whole year for $29.95 each. Taste of Home values each box at $75 to $90 so it sounds like a good deal either way. Subscription options automatically renew quarterly until cancelled and canceling requires a call to Customer Care. If you have food allergies, you'll want to talk to Customer Care, anyway, before you commit to a box or boxes.

Here's what I found in the Summer box:
  1. Access code for free online access to 2 Cooking School courses
  2. American flag cupcake/cake picks
  3. Betty Crocker-branded silicone basting brush
  4. Great Flavors' Steak, Chop, & Broil seasoning blend
  5. June/July issue of Country Woman
  6. June/July issue of Simple & Delicious
  7. OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer
  8. Several TOH "Most Requested" seasonal recipe cards
  9. Taste of Home Frosty Treats & More cookbook (2015)
  10. True Citrus sampler pack (7 sticks; 1 of each flavor) & coupons
  11. Watermelon slice & flip-flop cookie cutters

While I'm kind-of "meh" about the cookie cutters and flag picks -- I'm a drop cookie kind of gal and the flag picks just look cheap -- I was pleased with everything else in the box and thought it was, overall, good value (even if not quite the value TOH suggests). The cookbook, recipe cards, and magazines are full of delicious-sounding recipes and I've quite dog-eared my issue of Simple & Delicious.


Of the recipe cards, I have made the "Sweet Tea Barbecued Chicken" and the "Steak 'n' Potato Kabobs." Both recipes worked out well and the kabob recipe gave me an opportunity to try the Steak, Chop, & Broil seasoning blend -- a gluten-free blend of coarse salt, black pepper, dill seed, garlic, onion, red bell peppers, herbs and spices appropriate for steaks, burgers, pork, lamb and chicken -- and the silicone basting brush. (Yes, I already own a silicone brush, but it sees so much use that an extra was welcome).


Of everything in the box, however, the OXO 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer is my particular favorite. While it looks a bit like a prop from a low-budget science fiction show, it's surprisingly effective and I've murdered so many avocados since acquiring it. Definitely not something I would ever have bought myself (it's a definite clutter-up-your-drawers-unitasker), but I'm pleased to have it.

While I do think Taste of Home has over-valued the physical contents of the box -- my calculations brought it in at around $70 (not including the regular cost of Cooking School courses) -- it's still worth more than I paid and is full of things that pleased me. Overall, I enjoyed the Summer Taste the Seasons Goodie Box and look forward to seeing what the autumn brings!

Read about my other experiences with Taste the Seasons.