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Diane Kistner's Profile

Customer Reviews: 1470
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Diane Kistner RSS Feed (Lexington, Kentucky)
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Premium Silicone Coffee / Tea Cup Lids with Mouth Seal [Set of 4] - Reusable, Anti-Dust, Spill Proof & Keeps Drink HOT
Premium Silicone Coffee / Tea Cup Lids with Mouth Seal [Set of 4] - Reusable, Anti-Dust, Spill Proof & Keeps Drink HOT
Offered by Happy Leaf Products
Price: $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Work great as covers in the microwave, July 1, 2016
These silicone coffee/tea cup lids with drinking spout and vent—which I received at a discount in exchange for my honest review—are a good idea. Problem is, they don't really fit my cups securely enough to use them for their intended purpose. My oversized Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime mug is a perfect fit, but my Corelle mugs (like the blue one) and my more normal-sized coffee mugs are smaller and the lids just sit on top loosely. These lids are a better fit on my widemouth pint-sized mason jars, but they're still loose on them.

But I still like these lids because I can use them as microwave covers for mug cakes or soups or to heat up cold coffee, and they're just right to cover the mason jars that I use to store leftovers, cooked rice, and the like. The drink-spout hole makes a good steam vent for this purpose. I like how colorful these lids are, and the little leaf fits the drink hole quite well.
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AMS Universal Cell Phone Holder, Clip Holder, Lazy Bracket Flexible Long Arms for All Mobile, Fit On Desktop Bed Mobile Stand for Bedroom, Office, Kitchen
AMS Universal Cell Phone Holder, Clip Holder, Lazy Bracket Flexible Long Arms for All Mobile, Fit On Desktop Bed Mobile Stand for Bedroom, Office, Kitchen
Offered by AMS Inc.
Price: $9.99
2 used & new from $9.58

5.0 out of 5 stars Much better for my needs than I thought it would be, July 1, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am an editor/publisher/designer who runs a good-sized independent press from my "desk": a recliner with a lap desk and two clinging little dogs that must position themselves in any nook or cranny that might be available near my body. I have to have a lot of stuff accessible at all times: my 15" MacBook Pro Retina; an external Time Machine backup drive (in addition to my cloud-based Google and Amazon drives); connections for power, ethernet, drive, headphones, drawing tablet, etc.; cellphone; a place to sit my coffee cup; etc. I have shelving within reach for things I don't need constantly, but those things I need, I need where I can get to them without having to rearrange my body (which disturbs the dogs).

Problem is, when I have to get in and out of my recliner—at which time I just lift everything on the lap desk up and sit it on top of an iron plant stand that's otherwise not in the way—everything tries to slide off. I've got a great MacBook cover with good rubber feet that keeps my computer solidly on the desk, but the external drive sometimes slides off, pulling its cable from the Mac without properly ejecting it, and all the cables get snarled up in my chair and the dogs. It's been maddening—and a lot more stressful and disruptive than I'd realized.

This little clip-on cellphone holder, which I received at a discount in exchange for my honest review, has turned out to be much better for my needs than I thought it would be. Yes, it holds my cellphone right beside me where I can stream Prime music to my Fire Phone (liberating my Mac for my resource-heavy graphics programs) and see calls coming in without having to take my hands off the keyboard if I don't want to answer. But what I like the most is that the stiff-but-adjustable coiled stand clips to the edge of my lap desk that hangs over the arm of my recliner, holds all my cables so they don't snarl up and get eaten by the chair when I get up and down, and also serves to hold my backup drive in place so it doesn't slide off.

The clipping clamp has a rubberized texture on the inner edges to protect your phone, and it holds the phone securely. It's a little hard for me to open up the clamp from the back with my arthritis, but I don't have to remove my phone that often. Best of all, with a longer USB charging cable, I can keep the phone charging by plugging it into the surge suppressor/charger on the floor beside my "desk" instead of having to liberate a port on my Mac.

The only thing I don't 100% love about this holder is that it's a little "bouncy"; with my arms resting on my lap desk, when I type my phone moves as if it were vibrating, a distracting movement in my periphery, but I think I can get used to it. When I swipe its face, I get more movement, though, so I have to steady it with my left hand when answering calls or scrolling through apps. It's certainly preferable to what I had before, though. When I get up out of my recliner to sit the lap desk on its stand, everything stays perfectly tidy and secure.

This is refreshing!


Vantoo Unisex Adjustbale Kitchen Apron with Convenient Pockets for Men and Women,Indigo Blue
Vantoo Unisex Adjustbale Kitchen Apron with Convenient Pockets for Men and Women,Indigo Blue
Offered by GUOKAI
Price: $32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Short people got no reason to live?, July 1, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The joking aside, let me say up front that this is not an apron for short people. I am 4'11" tall, and even adjusted to its very shortest setting, this apron is totally unusable for me. See the photos—see how long it is on my torso? I thought I could tie it tighter to at least hang it off my rear, but I can't tighten the tie enough to keep it from falling down to the top of my thighs in the back. Needless to say, the extra side pocket—what I'd hoped to carry my recipes device in—is just so far down, only the tips of my fingers reach into the pocket.

But all this said, please don't let this keep you from buying this apron if you have a man in the house who needs it, or if you are a taller woman. The apron is good heavy blue jean denim, the stitching and jeans buttons are very high quality, and the apron is plenty large to give ample coverage to those with larger bodies. It's so big, in fact, that if Vantoo added extra buttonholes on the other side of the neck strap—which I suggest they do as a product improvement, no matter what—I don't know if that would be enough for somebody as short as I am. It's a great idea to have a unisex apron that can be adjusted to fit different people in a household, but be aware that there are limits.

Weirdly, the washing instructions say not to machine wash this apron, to wash it by hand in cold water. Yeah, I can see people doing that.... Other than possible puckering at the stitching and hem, though, and maybe some of the color fading that's typical for denim, I don't see why this apron could not be machine-washed. It is certainly well enough made to hold up to washing machine abuse.

I received this apron at a discount in exchange for my honest review.
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MEITK Nontoxic Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper - No Oil Needed - Fast Microwave Popcorn Bucket Maker
MEITK Nontoxic Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper - No Oil Needed - Fast Microwave Popcorn Bucket Maker

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for portion control and weight loss, June 30, 2016
I lost 85 lbs. tracking everything I put in my mouth with My Fitness Pal, so I know how important portion control is. This neat little silicone microwave popcorn popper is great for anyone who is trying to eat healthier snacks without having to do a lot of measuring. There are two of us in the house, and DP eats microwave popcorn in the bag with all the nasty, nasty additives in it. I won't eat that because it's so nasty, but it IS convenient. I've tried other microwave popcorn poppers that were made of plastic, and one of them even melted in the microwave! This one is slightly tricky to get the lid on, but you get the hang of it quickly. Just wait to seal the lid down until you've got it loosely pushed down around the edges.

So, this popcorn popper holds 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of dry popcorn kernels. See the nutritional info below. A typical 2.5 ounce bag of microwave popcorn has 413 calories. If you figure that .5 ounces is the added fat, you can get a rough equivalence with air-popped corn. (It's possible there's less than 2 ounces of popcorn and even more fat in the pre-packaged microwave popcorn, meaning even less nutrition and fiber and more nasty high-caloric bad-fat stuff. Eating is not an exact science!)

1/4 cup unpopped popcorn:

131 calories
Fat: 1.53g (Saturated Fat: 0.215g).
Carbs: 26.25g (Fiber: 4.89g, Sugar 0.29).
Protein: 4.37g.

The instructions for using this silicone popcorn popper say to add butter and salt after popping. Maybe you're not supposed to do it, but I tried popping my popcorn with 2 tsp. of extra virgin coconut oil with no problem. If the silicone is food-safe in the microwave and it doesn't melt with oil in it, even though I know oil gets a lot hotter in the microwave, I think it's probably okay.

Most oils run about 120 calories per tablespoon, and a tablespoon is really more than you need to pop 2 oz. of popcorn. The Viva Labs extra virgin coconut oil that I use has 125 calories per tablespoon; I've found EVCO, with its antifungal and antimicrobial properties, really helps me lose weight and also improves the look of my skin. So 2 tsp. adds only 83 calories, for a total of 214 calories—half the calories of that bag of microwave popcorn DP eats—and also gives me some hunger-satiating healthy fat.

A few tips: (1) As with any microwaved item, open the lid away from you so the steam doesn't blast you in the face. (2) As with any microwaved item, let the popcorn sit in the microwave for a minute or so before removing it so the still-cooking/hot microwaves can settle down; this way, you avoid having to use kitchen mitts. While I wait, I fix my water with diet tonic water ice cubes, which is my other weight-loss (and "don't drink alcohol") tip.

There's something very satisfying about sitting down with a full-to-the-top "bucket" of popcorn you were able to make without fuss in a few minutes. The quality and freshness of the kernels you use will, of course, impact how many of the kernels pop and how good the popcorn tastes. But even with some generic kernels that I know are not that good, I was able to pop up a nice batch with not too many unpopped kernels. In the future, I will use my other weight-loss trick of putting a little less than the measurement I'm tracking but still logging it as the full amount. So by adding a little less than 1/4 cup of dry popcorn kernels, I get a nice serving of non-clumped, perfectly fluffy kernels. Fantastic!


M&C Airtight Coffee Canister with Built-in Valve |Premium Stainless Steel Scoop | 20Oz
M&C Airtight Coffee Canister with Built-in Valve |Premium Stainless Steel Scoop | 20Oz
Offered by M&C Home
Price: $42.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A quality item for coffee purists, June 30, 2016
This is a very nicely sized, elegant coffee canister that provides both beautiful form and function, although I wish the branding were not on the front of it. I've taken photos of the canister beside a three-pound can of ground coffee from Costco for scale. This canister can certainly be used with ground coffee, but it's intended to be used to store freshly roasted coffee beans. Roasted coffee beans release carbon dioxide for about two weeks after roasting, and grinding whole beans also releases the gas. (For a fascinating explanation of how this affects flavor, google "driftaway coffee bloom." I didn't know this before agreeing to provide an honest review in exchange for receiving the product at a discount.)

The beauty of this canister is that it seals away the beans (or freshly ground beans) from oxygen but allows for degassing of carbon dioxide through the top of the lid. Oxidation is what makes coffee go stale. You can freeze your beans to help prevent this, but there is raging discussion among coffee purists about whether or not this degrades the beans. Those who would never freeze their beans need a product like this degassing coffee canister to keep their beans at their freshest and most favorable.

The included coffee measuring spoon is 2 oz., or 1/8 cup, and is very high quality. It is a great pleasure to hold and use it. It also can be kept stored through the hinge part of the canister. The lid is plastic (not cheap, though), but everything that comes in contact with your beans is stainless steel.

What I'm wondering—but have not yet experimented with—is if this canister could be used as a receptacle for sourdough starter or as a fermenting vat for sauerkraut or kimchi. Ferments also involve the need to keep oxygen away from the food or liquid being fermented while allowing the carbon dioxide to escape, but the question is: would this handle the rate of degassing? And how much head space would be needed not to make a mess? I'll have to play with it. Clearly, though, once used for this purpose, it would not be at all suitable for coffee beans! ;)
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Stoga Led Water Faucet Stream Light 7 colors Changing for Bathroom and Kitchen
Stoga Led Water Faucet Stream Light 7 colors Changing for Bathroom and Kitchen

3.0 out of 5 stars Trippy! Would be funky for a party, June 30, 2016
I received this 7-color-changing faucet stream light at a discount in exchange for my honest review. The package I received had a list of three different products of this type available from this company, with this one checked. The other two were one color (not changing) and a temperature-sensing one (blue/cool, green/moderate, red/hot). The latter type would have been most useful to me, but this is the one I agreed to review.

I was happy to discover that it did indeed fit my existing kitchen faucet. We live in a very old apartment with a lot of older, no-longer-standard fixtures, and I was a little nervous that it wouldn't work. I had to take a pipe wrench to the existing hardware to remove the existing end piece, but then this fixture screwed on just fine.

Unfortunately, the product doesn't work as advertised, at least not on my faucet. Instead of gradually changing colors, the lights flash on and off as they change. I tried tightening the fixture, but it's not steel (it's chrome-colored plastic), so I didn't dare take the pipe wrench to it. I hand-tightened the fixture as much as I could, which helped a little, but it still flashes in a trippy fashion. The coloration of the water stream is not as nice as shown in the product photo—even with the overhead lights off—although if it were working better it probably would be. The lights are not very bright, either; I suspect it's the tightening issue, although it's conceivable I've received a defective item.

The one really nice thing about this faucet light, though, is that it creates a very nice, measured, aerated, multi-streaming flow. I like that so much better than the way my existing faucet head worked that I'll probably leave it on the faucet despite it not working quite as well as it should. If we were to have a party, it would be pretty funky in the bathroom.


Vegetable Spiralizer, FDA Approved Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer By HOLUCK |6 Sets Of Stainless Steel Blades| Perfect For Fruits Salad Pasta & More| Precise Cutter Easy To Use
Vegetable Spiralizer, FDA Approved Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer By HOLUCK |6 Sets Of Stainless Steel Blades| Perfect For Fruits Salad Pasta & More| Precise Cutter Easy To Use
Offered by HOLUCK
Price: $49.99
3 used & new from $32.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Makes lovely vegetable strands you can eat raw or cook, June 25, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The only spiralizer I've ever used is one of those cone-shaped ones that you turned by hand. It was majorly difficult to use and even more difficult to clean. I hated it so much I gave it away. When I was offered this one at a discount in exchange for my honest review, I thought I'd try it but wasn't holding out a lot of hope that I would like it.

The product I received had one full set of three blades—a slicer, curler, and shredder (thicker to medium to noodle-sized)—plus another full set of the same three blades and an extra turning handle. One of the shredder blades had a few tines bent, but I was able to straighten them out with a small pair of pliers.

Two features of this spiralizer I really like are (1) the fact that the sliding mechanism that holds the vegetable and the turning crank pulls completely out of the bottom tray for easy rinsing and air drying and (2) there is a stop to prevent you from grinding the plastic holding teeth into the blade, which would damage not only the teeth but also the blade. You wind up with a thick sliver of whatever you were spiralizing left over in addition to the skinny little core that feeds through the fitted blade as you turn the crank.

Of the three blades, the thicker slicing blade just didn't work very well at all. I spiralized three potatoes, each with a different blade. Maybe a potato is not a good thing to use with that slicing blade, but it just didn't want to cut it. I had to use a good bit of force. The curling blade, which gives you a little bit larger "noodle" than the shredding blade, worked better, but I liked the shredding blade the best. It makes a wonderful spaghetti-thin noodle from whatever you are spiralizing. Once you're done, the whole thing comes apart quite easily and rinses clean under running tap water.

One thing to note: You can use this either left-handed or right-handed, but the direction you turn the crank matters. Working with the crank on my right, I had to crank away from me; on the left, I had to crank towards me. At first I was having trouble finding a bowl that would work with it, but one of my shallow Rubbermaid glass bowls was perfect. The lip of the bowl fit up under the little shelf part. The suction cup feet are a nice feature, but they only work on a really smooth and flat surface. I couldn't get them to stick to my wood table or my somewhat textured countertop, but they stuck very well to a slightly dampened glass cutting board.

I really haven't been able to figure out what the little side handle is for. I thought at first you were supposed to hold it and use it to gradually force the cranking mechanism along the track, but unless there is a trick I haven't figured out yet, this is not a very ergonomic thing to do. I had better success just using it to help me pull the core of whatever I was finished spiralizing back through the blade. I had the best luck, and the easiest time of it, by holding my left hand on top of the blade tower and cranking the spiralizer with my right hand. I found the shredder blade made very quick work of my potato and left me with wonderful strands of potato that I then tossed in a little olive oil before cooking. I haven't tried it yet, but I want to see how these potato noodles do in my Multifry air fryer.
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Svinz 15 OZ. Touchless Automatic Soap Dispenser - Chrome
Svinz 15 OZ. Touchless Automatic Soap Dispenser - Chrome
Offered by SVINZ
Price: $24.95
2 used & new from $24.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Position of the sensor is much better than a sensor that faces outward from dispenser body, June 25, 2016
Like another touchless automatic soap dispenser I recently reviewed, I received this one at a discount in exchange for my honest review. I'm comparing the two so you can see the difference in size. This Svinz dispenser holds a LOT more liquid soap than the other one does, which I really like, but it doesn't fit up under my over-sink shelf like the other one does. I like that this one allows you to see exactly how much soap is left and also that the adjustment settings are easier to see (and therefore remember).

As you can see from my photos, this dispenser is a good bit larger than the other one. It has its motion sensor on the underside of the protruding arm instead of, like the solid stainless one, as a little black window along the inside barrel of the dispenser. Both work fine, but I think I like this one a little better because it's more intuitive to "double dip" if you want a little more soap. Also, it's less likely than the other one to dispense soap if you come near it—say, while you're washing dishes—because you literally have to put your hand up under the arm before it "sees" you.

Both dispensers take four AAA batteries. You can set this one to dispense either 1.5 ml or 3 ml of soap just by setting the On switch to either the center (less soap) or all the way to the right. The other one requires you to remember how to press a little black button on top to adjust the amount of soap or turn it off. Each of these dispensers has its advantages; if you want an elegant look or a smaller height, the solid stainless one is better. But if you want a dispenser that doesn't have to be refilled very often and that's pretty idiot-proof to operate, this one's definitely the best.


Professional V Mandoline Slicer Set For Vegetable Julienne Food Kitchen Tools with 5 Adjustable V-Blades - Safe Hat - Blades Rack by Amagoing
Professional V Mandoline Slicer Set For Vegetable Julienne Food Kitchen Tools with 5 Adjustable V-Blades - Safe Hat - Blades Rack by Amagoing
Offered by Amagoing
Price: $49.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Very sharp blades, sturdy on flat surfaces, June 25, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have an old red MIU V-Slicer that is similar to this one that I never use because the blades are dull and the sliding holder/finger guard never worked right and then tore up. This slicer is better than that one, but it's about the same size and sits up at about the same height. I think this Amagoing slicer is built a little sturdier, and the finger guard is definitely much better. The pins that stick into your vegetables are longer and the whole thing slides along the tracks far more smoothly while still feeling firmly affixed.

I started to only give this four stars because it doesn't really work with any of the bowls I have, not the large stainless steel bowls or my Corelle spaghetti serving bowl or my 8-cup Pyrex measuring container. You really have to use this V slicer on a cutting board or countertop, as shown, to keep it steady. (The silicone feet work as long as the surface is flat.) The MIU one I have at least would lie across my big bowl and sit fairly securely as I sliced into the bowl. I did discover, however, that one of the precut aluminum foil sheets (like you get from Costco) fits perfectly underneath this slicer, so it can be used to slice and then wrap up the ingredients for refrigeration until used or made into a foil packet meal, like if you're slicing or julienning carrots or potatoes or any other veggies you plan to bake in the oven. Doing it that way helps you gauge how much to slice.

The two julienne blades are really sharp, so you need to keep them safely stored in the little V holder and away from children. I wouldn't leave one of them in the V slicer but, rather, would use one of the slicer "blades"—really just a V of plastic that positions your vegetable a little under the blade for different thicknesses of cuts. There are three of these plastic "blades" and it's safest to store one of them in the V slicer. I tried to get a shot of the different thicknesses. I will most often use the julienne blades.

There's not much to the instructions, but they are really clearly written in well-translated English. The box is your standard Chinese fare—kind of camp, actually. I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest review.
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ERollDeep Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, 5 piece set, Chef Quality
ERollDeep Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons, 5 piece set, Chef Quality
Offered by eRolldeep
Price: $8.99
2 used & new from $8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It has a half tablespoon!, June 24, 2016
I love this measuring spoon set, which I received at a discount in exchange for my honest review. These are heavy-duty spoons in exactly the sizes I always need and none of those extra ones I never use. It's even got a 1/2 tablespoon—1.5 teaspoons—which is a very handy size to have if you're into the five-minute no-knead bread technique.

What I love most about these spoons is that they are clearly marked (and deeply etched) with both metric and U.S./British cooking units. Maybe I'll even start memorizing the metric equivalents and start being more comfortable working with European recipes. I can always refer to the spoons, though, to see what I need.

I love the wide openings on the handles, which makes them very easy to hang individually on hooks if I choose to remove them from their hanging ring. The spoon bowls are wide and flat, most suitable for dry ingredients to be leveled off but certainly usable with liquids if filled all the way to the top (for accuracy). The only thing that wasn't quite up to snuff with the set I received was was some black oily-looking residue on a few of the spoons that I at first thought were flaws in the finish. After a trip through the dishwasher, the gunk was gone. As a gift, this might not be the most wonderful set you can buy and ship directly, but it's just what I wanted: utilitarian and meant to be in constant use in my kitchen. Someone who really cooks a lot is not going to care about less-than-fancy packaging or a little grease left over from manufacturing.
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