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Once again’ I fear I am a bit behind the times, but better late than never, right?!? Until recently, I did not own an immersion blender. Since I got mine, it has become one of my favorite kitchen tools. Why is it so great you ask? Well let me tell you!

1. They’re not very expensive. You can buy yourself one of these bad boys for about $30. Some come with extra accessories and cost more, but you can get away with a basic version.

2. You can blend stuff right in the container you want it in; the slow cooker, a sealable storage container, your serving container, or the pot you cooked it in! My blender came with a large measuring cup that came with a lid. For cold items of a smaller quantity, I put all my ingredients in there, blend it and put the lid on to store it in the fridge.

3. It’s a convenient size and easy to clean. It’s way smaller than a food processor and the blade attachment comes off easily and goes in the top rack of the dishwasher. If you live in a place with a small kitchen and limited storage, the immersion blender is a great tool that take the place of larger stand blenders and food processors.

What can you make with this handy dandy gadget???

• Soups – My friend, Rachel Showers, makes this awesome curried carrot soup. The first time I made it, I had to transfer this piping hot soup between my slow cooker to the food processor and back again in several batches. Not fun and frankly a recipe for disaster!!! If I can find a way to burn or cut myself in the kitchen, it will be done! With the immersion blender, I can cook my ingredients in the slow cooker until tender and then stick that blender right in the slow cooker and blend it until it’s incredibly smooth!

• Sauces – I haven’t used it as much for this, but back around New Year’s Eve I made crab cakes. I wanted a sauce to go with them and I made this lemon garlic aioli. I’ve never made my own mayonnaise, so I did not know the heaven that was to come when I blended eggs with oil! The lemon and garlic made this sauce the perfect, tangy accompaniment to my crab cakes! And this is just one example of a sauce you could make.

• Salad Dressings – If you read my earlier blog entries, you’ll see a couple of salad dressing ideas I’ve mentioned where you blend different ingredients with bottled ranch dressing to jazz it up; herbs, avocado, salsa, etc.

• Whipped Cream

• Smoothies

Anyway, if you don’t already have one or are looking for a space saving appliance to help with your blending needs, I highly recommend this tool. There are a variety of models available at Amazon.com. This would make an excellent, reasonably priced gift for any cooks in your life or a nice present for yourself!

Word of Warning!!! ALWAYS unplug your immersion blender before cleaning or putting your fingers anywhere near the blade!!!