Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland; Food Styling: Robin Bashinsky

To bake or not to bake.

Briana Riddock
July 06, 2018

The Internet went crazy upon the announcement of Amazon’s Prime Day. It’s basically the online Black Friday of summer, and the retail giant will slash prices on products across the entire site. We have been filling our shopping baskets in anticipation that our favorite kitchen items will be on sale come July 16th starting at 3 pm (EST) through July 17th. The 36-hour shopping extravaganza will include a few items that we’ve had our eyes on such as this newly launched Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender. There will also be stellar deals at your local Whole Foods if you are a Prime member. Don’t have a membership? You can sign up for a 30-day free trial or you can ask a friend or family member to add you to there account.    

If you can’t wait until the official sale launches, we found a few kitchen steals that you can grab right now. Cutting food with a dull knife is a dreadful (and dangerous) experience, but thanks to this nifty $5 knife sharpener, you no longer have to slice and dice in agony. This essential kitchen tool will transform the way you cook going forward. No more squashed tomato slices or janky salmon fillets because you couldn’t cleanly cut through the slick skin with your not-so-sharp knife. This life-saving (and super affordable) sharpener is well worth the purchase. We would also like to highlight perhaps the most budget-friendly silicone baking mats on the market, by AmazonBasics. For $10, you get not just one, but two mats. Let’s get into this magical baking come-up. The food-grade silicone mats are perfect for any home cook that bakes sweet or savory items on sheet pans. You won’t need the assistance of additional oil, butter, or cooking spray either, because silicone material creates an easy-to-clean, completely non-stick surface all on its own.


While we’re thinking about baking, how about thinking about baking one of these decadent blueberry cobbler recipes this weekend? You can keep it classic with a lattice crust or opt for a quick and easy Bisquick topping. Lay your handy new silicone baking mat on a sheet pan, placed on the rack beneath your cobbler, to catch any bubbling juice drips as it bakes. The clean-up will be a breeze. If you’re really in a baking mood and happen to have a boatload of zucchini hanging around (likely), you might want to try one of our favorite zucchini bread recipes. This Sesame-Cashew Zucchini Bread is my all-time favorite recipe. The nutty sesame seed oil and cashew butter frosting are toasty, rich, and perfect together.

WATCH: How to Make Zucchini Bread   


For those that aren’t so into baking or simply don’t have the patience to hang out in the kitchen with the oven going in the middle of a blistering hot summer, we developed a few oven-free recipes just for you. When you shop for your ingredients, remember that the grocery store has a few products that will cut down on your time in the kitchen and also keep you from preheating your oven this weekend. Already steamed shrimp from the seafood counter will help you to prepare our No-Cook Shrimp Noodle Bowl with Peanut-Ginger Sauce or Zoodles with Shrimp and Green Goddess Dressing in no time at all. While a store-bought rotisserie chicken has got you covered to make this fresh Heirloom Tomato-Herb Salad with Chicken and Couscous. When you reach your favorite outdoor location, pull out this convenient portable grill and make our Ultimate Grilled Tomato Sandwiches and Southwestern Pork Lettuce Wraps.

Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling Karen Ranken; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Wash all that good food down with a couple of classic cocktails, conveniently packaged in portable cans by Cutwater Spirits. We loved how true-to-flavor a few of the canned cocktails were. The rum and cola was collectively the team's favorite of the batch, followed closely by the G&T, vodka mule, and rum and ginger. Grab yourself a pack of four (12-ounce) cocktail cans for $12.99 to $14.99, and head out for a day by the pool.

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