For Tenderizing Meat, It Can’t Be Beat

It’s hammer time! HA!

This Cave Tools‘ Meat Tenderizer is quite unique compared to the ones I’ve previously used. Let’s start with the ergonomics. It is designed with a heavy handle, offering even weight distribution balancing the head to the grip. This allows for a steady hand when bringing it down on to the target.

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Next, the head. One side is smooth, one is convex, but its not sharp. Compared to a standard mallet, which has a side with sharp, pyramid shaped teeth, the Cave Tools mallet is safe to touch. So safe I let my four year old niece help me pound some chicken.

A few smacks of the hammer later, and voila… gorgeous stuffed chicken!

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Cave Tools does a great job of making sure that their products have a little something extra, quality wise, to compare to other brands. In the case of the Meat Tenderizer, I am mostly impressed with the power it has in hand. You don’t have to be strong, or have a bold, handshake grip with the mallet. Its easy to handle, and when it is used, the weight distribution puts all the punch in the right spot.

I chose to make stuffed chicken for my test drive, but this tool can also be used to crack nuts, crush bread crumbs, break up chocolate bark or peanut brittle, or smash just about anything you wish. (just remember, its not a weapon, even if you feel like Thor holding it)

Two thumbs up, of course.

To order your own click here:

or here:

How about a special deal… here is an Amazon discount code for 15% off: KRYLK4CT

Thank you to Michael, and everyone at Cave Tools for your patience and partnership 🙂

Celebrating Veterans Day Everyday

photo courtesy of Facebook

Pittsburgh is a town rich in a population of proud veterans and service men and women of all branches of the Military. One scout from my sons’ scout troop (BSA Troop 348, of North Side) took the initiative to show special appreciation for his local veterans by dedicating his Eagle Scout Candidate Project to developing a memorial garden for the American Legion of Avalon Borough.

In case you missed it, WPXI did a “Proud to be from Pittsburgh” feature story on this project, interviewing the Troop leaders, and the Scout himself, Jonathan Reinheardt.

I can’t tell you how many times this Boy Scout troop has impressed and astonished me with their abilities as a team. Congratulations Jonathan! Happy Veterans’ Day to all who have served.

(if you watch the video you will see my sons!)

Sincerely, Carri… from the laptop

This Thermometer is HOT

Have you heard of Cave Tools?

I had not heard of them either, until recently. I received a request for a product review of their Instant Read Digital Cooking Thermometer , which lead to my first experience with their company.

My first thought of the thermometer was, it was very thin and lightweight, as compared to an older model with a linear gauge. I remembered back to my food handler’s certification class lessons when we were taught to examine the stem for the input nodule, and make sure it is deep in the food’s center, long enough to get an accurate reading.

Yeah, not the case with this brand. In order to maintain a safe distance from the hot food, the temperature sensor is located at the bottom half inch of the probe stem. And, its thin design makes it very easy to insert into smaller foods.

Photo Credit: 411inthe412
The Thin Tip

I used it throughout my cooking to see how it worked.

Photo Credit: 411inthe412
Baked Ravioli

The ravioli was my first experiment. I was curious to see how fast it would register such a thin food. The results: on point. So, I went on using it with everything I cooked all week.

Photo Credit: 411inthe412
Crock Pot Angus Roast

Mental Note: This roast was wonderful and fell apart without serration. Fall apart temperature is apparently 211. 🙂

Photo Credit: 411inthe412
Breakfast Sausage Links

Normally I would cut them in half to see if there was still pink in the middle. This is far more efficient.

Photo Credit: 411inthe412
Baked Potato wrapped in foil

Because you know if you take the potato out too soon, it ruins the meal!

As you can see, I had fun with it.

I recommend using this thermometer for two main reasons. One, the compactivity of size makes it convenient to get an accurate temperature using a smaller sample of food. This means less hovering over an open oven door, or grill waiting for a reading, all the while letting heat escape and potentially burning yourself! And two, it is more efficient than an old school thermometer, and more economical than an expensive digital reader with probe wand. It’s inexpensive, at under $14.00 you are getting a Lifetime guaranteed instant-read thermometer, perfect for sneaking quick temperature checks during tailgating. Ok – that’s three things. My fault.

You can purchase your own from their Website or Amazon.

Psssst…. if you order via Amazon, use promo code LH58KB66 and get 15% off!

Sincerely, Carri… from my kitchen


Want me to review a product? Contact me!

It’s Coming Together Nicely

I want to thank all of the folks who have been sticking by me as I get this website up and running. Especially the good folks at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, who always give me something fun to talk about.

411 in the 412 is almost ready for a grand launch, so to speak, and I am getting ready to start looking for folks who may be interested in contributing.

I’m looking for artists, photogs, writers, bloggers, podcasters, vloggers or everyday people who want something fun and creative to do.

I need art, photos, articles, columns, audio, video and everyday people to participate in the broadcast to all of the Burghers in the know.

Simply email me at and we can connect!

Thanks again,