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Slicing to the core

I bought myself an apple slicer for Christmas. Actually, I bought an apple slicer and it happened to be December. Strangely, everything I buy for myself between Thanksgiving and December 25th automatically becomes a Christmas present to myself. Check out those 12-packs of soda I got myself for Christmas! Does the holiday themed aluminum can count as gift wrapping?

I saw the apple slicer at Target and was immediately reminded why I don’t let myself browse that store much anymore. It’s because I buy stuff. Like apple slicers and silicone muffin pans in the shape of hearts and $5.50 DVDs that I will never watch. Thankfully, I have already used the apple slicer, like this:

Apple slicer

Apple slicer

Isn’t that awesome?! I positioned the tool over an apple, pressed down, and instantly I cored and sliced it into 8 pieces. I didn’t even have to press that hard. The only way it could be more perfect is if it peeled the apple too, but then I’d have no use for my paring knife, so I guess it’s for the best. The amount of joy it brings me to slice apples with this device is indescribable and honestly, probably a little sad. No kitchen device should be able to make someone this happy. I might get a little kra-zee and try slicing a pear with it. They’ve also got a mango slicer that I’m coveting until I earn my next Bed, Bath and Beyond rewards card from Discover.

My other kitchen Christmas gift to myself was a grater. I’d never needed one before, but I wanted to make the Sweet Potato Latkes recipe in The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook that my mother gave me for Christmas and this required either a food processor or a grater. I decided the $4.99 grater was a better buy. I got carried away trying to scrape every last piece of sweet potato into the bowl and ended up grating off a piece of my thumb as well. Human flesh: not a recommended ingredient.

My thumb, what's left of it.

The latkes were very good, though they fell apart rather easily. Next time I might add another egg or just try cooking the mixture as a casserole. And I’ll leave out the human skin too.

Recipe is after the jump because I know you’ll ask. Psychic readings only $20!

Sweet Potato and Zucchini Latkes (from The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook)

1 medium zucchini (1/2 pound) ends trimmed

1 large sweet potato (3/4 pound), peeled

1/4 cup minced onion

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil

Unsweetened applesauce (optional)

Slice zucchini lengthwise and remove seeds. Coarsely grate zucchini and potato in a food processor or with a hand grater; transfer to a medium bowl. Add onion, egg, salt, and pepper; stir to combine.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoons to skillet, gently flattening with the back of the spoon as you go. Cook until the edges are golden, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and cook until bottom is golden, about 1 minute more (adjust head if necessary to prevent burning). Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining zucchini mixture. Serve latkes hot with applesauce on the side if desired.

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Donna B • January 4, 2008 at 7:43 am

OK, I love reading your blog, but it is going to cost me money! Making a Target run this weekend and I just added that apple corer to my list! Thanks for the post. I really don’t like coring apples, eat the skin, so I don’t need one that peels them!

You are a TRUE inspiration!


KNH • January 4, 2008 at 8:09 am

The mango slicer is not that great, unless you’re good at figuring out the pit’s orientation. See, I just saved you money!

What’s a “yablespoon of oil?” :P

PQ – The yablespoon is an old English measurement referring to whatever you’re able to spoon out, you know whatever “yablespoon.” Or it is a typo. Take your pick :)


Fatty • January 4, 2008 at 8:19 am

Have you seen the new Will Smith movie – Legend? They might like the human flesh latkes. And now that youre a “lean” protein – you are an acceptable addition to the south beach diet plan.


barbara • January 4, 2008 at 8:38 am

Hey PQ, Here’s a little latkes secret: they hold together better and are crisper if you get some of the water out of the veggies. On your next run to Bed/Bath/Beyond… pick yerself up some of that cheesecloth stuff–it does the trick. You can also use paper towels. And by the way, I too got seduced by that very same apple corer/slicer last weekend! I have been laughing at myself for feeling that using a good old-fashioned KNIFE is just too much work.


Braksgirl • January 4, 2008 at 8:59 am

Hi PQ! I’m one of your new visitors. I just started reading your blog a couple weeks ago and I’m thoroughly impressed with your weight loss. You’re my new hero :)

We also have the apple corer and it’s a genius invention, don’t you think? Right up there with the salad spinner.

Do you know how much human flesh I’ve probably eaten as the cause of using a grater? Jeffrey Dahmer would be jealous, I think. Ok, that was gross.


E • January 4, 2008 at 9:32 am

I LOVE my apple slicer. I got it several years ago — make that 8 years ago, now that I think about it — after seeing Emeril use one on his show. And I’ve used the heck out of that thing! Amazing how something so simple could make me so very happy. Every time I use it, I always say, “I love this thing!”

(hmmm, that makes me feel like maybe I need to get myself an exciting life.)


TorontoJoanna • January 4, 2008 at 9:46 am

Hi PQ. I found your blog yesterday when searching for a local restaurant called “Queen’s Pasta.” Have been reading it non-stop for hours (Shhh – don’t tell my boss). Congrats on your amazing personal journey!

One question for you – what’s with all the soda? Many moons ago, you posted that you were done with soda and are now only on water. But since, I have seen many, many references to soda, including photos of your fridge.

What gives? It’s way bad for your lovely body. Even the diet stuff, which can trick your digestive system many ways.

I’m a fizz addict myself, so I buy club soda/carbonated mineral water and add a splash of juice – any juice will do. I highly recommend it. Get the fake chemicals out of your body!

Good luck and have fun with the half-marathon training. My longest race is a 10K, and last summer I completed a “try-a-tri.” I’m hoping to do another this season.

Happy New Year!

PQ – Oh yeah, that no-soda thing lasted maybe a month. I just love ’em too much. Fake chemicals – yum! If it makes you feel any better, I also drink Crystal Lite a lot, so my bloodstream has not become completely carbonated – yet.


Mymsie • January 4, 2008 at 10:05 am

Aren’t apple slicers the best? They make eating an apple so much fun!

Now that you have a grater, if you like the taste, consider grating fresh finger in Asian-inspired dishes. Or you can broil fish with ginger and scallions and low-sodium soy sauce. YUM!


Erin • January 4, 2008 at 10:11 am

I get that much joy out of my new pannini sandwich maker! Guess what we’ve had every night for dinner since It was unwrapped on Christmas.


Cathleen • January 4, 2008 at 10:23 am

I have the mango slicer, and I find it works pretty well in terms of cutting the fruit in half. But there’s still a lot of cutting to be done afterwards, since it only cuts the mango into two pieces and, unlike apples, you don’t eat the skin. So: probably not worth the space it takes up in my tiny kitchen.


Courtney • January 4, 2008 at 10:25 am

I have the mango slicer, and I love it. I do eat a lot of mangos though. I’ve found that you need to buy the smaller sized mangos to make it work the best. It isn’t as easy as the apple slicer, since you still do have to sear the fruit off the skin, but it’s a million times better then cutting the mango without it. I got mine at Crate and Barrell.


K • January 4, 2008 at 11:26 am

Don’t you eat the skin of your apples? That sounds pretty labour-intensive!

I will admit to cutting apples up before I eat them – a hangover from when I had braces and couldn’t open my jaws wide enough to chomp into a whole one – but I’d never get around to eating one if I had to peel it.

I do identify with your joy in kitchen doodads, though. I get great pleasure from my lemon squeezer, which looks wonderfully retro, but actually cost £1 from the local supermarket’s Basics range.


Jenny O. • January 4, 2008 at 11:32 am

I’m in the same camp with you- I’d rather have my apples peeled. I’m actually so lazy that I’d rather buy the McDonald’s apple dippers (sans sauce) because they are already peeled and sliced. Wow. I can’t believe I just admitted that.


GoGo • January 4, 2008 at 11:35 am

Want the apple slicer thingy. I only like apples when they are sliced up; otherwise, they make my teeth unhappy.

I can see myself getting a little trigger-happy with that thing, though (e.g., trying to slice up paperweights at the office).


Sally Parrott Ashbrook • January 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

My garlic press fills me with similar joy.

I have to say, though: a good food processor is one kitchen item I do not regret getting. It does so much awesome stuff and makes preparing some dishes wayyyyy easier.


Lora Ramirez • January 4, 2008 at 12:11 pm

I think the Vidalia vegetable slicer/chopper was the best $9.99 I ever spent. No onion tears for me!


Emily • January 4, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Happiness is new kitchen gadgets.


VerseFameBeauty • January 4, 2008 at 1:18 pm

So many kitchen gadgets to comment on!

I like apple slicers (So fast! So easy!) but I prefer my apple corer as it makes putting peanut butter in the center of a whole apple much easier and safer! (By the way, why don’t you eat the skin? That is by far the most nutritious part, as I’m sure you know. It’s also the part that makes apples good for cleaning your teeth.)

I LOVE my food processor. Even though I don’t use it every day, when I do I dance for joy that I have one. I have a model with a couple of grater blades and also a mini bowl for making smaller batches of chopped things without having to clean the whole unit.

I have eschewed my garlic press for buying pre-minced garlic. I don’t buy many time-saving items, but man am I glad I use that! My hands tend to stay garlicky for a full week after I chop fresh garlic – ick!

Brand-new graters are super dangerous. Yours will dull and eventually you won’t be able to add human flesh to recipes anymore. ;-) I hope you got one with a small side that can be used as a zester!

The Vidalia onion slicer does make slicing onions easier… I think… but the blades are actually quite dull and I have to put mine on the floor and stand on it in order to make it slice! (Mind you, I’ve only used it once.)

PQ – Peanut butter inside the apple? Dude, that’s brilliant. Sounds messy though.


EVA • January 4, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Yummy. Those cut up apples look way better than a whole one!


Marianne • January 4, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I *love* my apple slicer! Best little invention ever, and such a timesaver in the morning.

We got a mandolin for Christmas, and I am so excited to start using it. It slices, juliennes, even *cross-cuts* veggies. The vegetable slicing possibilities seem endless. I wonder if I could use it to shred sweet potato and zucchini and make those latkes… hmm..


Heidi • January 4, 2008 at 2:16 pm

There is also an apple peeler/corer/spiral cutter. I shouldn’t tell you all I dont’ want there to be a run on them and the price to go up.


I had a cored/sliced/spiral cut apple at a far once and HAD to find this magic machine. it wasn’t too expensive (dont’ be fooled by that cheapo potatoe peeler looking thing they sell on tv) – this is made of metal It makes THE best apples thinly spiral cut, no core and no skin :)

i am a gadget queen too and I dont’ even COOK!



Bella • January 4, 2008 at 2:57 pm

I just found your site yesterday through a comment Kalyn made on a Blogher post. (Was that convoluted enough for you?)

Anyway, I love your story, I love your blog, and I love the inspiration you’ve given me. I started SBD on December 1st, and I’ve been doing well on it, but wondered if anyone had lost a huge amount of weight on it. I have 150 lbs to lose, and wanted to know if it was possible. After reading a bit of your blog and looking at your pictures, I can see that it is indeed!!

Thank you for writing such an amazing blog about your journey. It’s on my daily “to read” list.


Donna • January 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm

The recipe sounded fantastic so I tried it for lunch. Delicious. I had the same trouble with them falling apart so I cooked them as hasbbrowns using less oil.


Jill • January 4, 2008 at 3:07 pm

I got my apple slicer from Pampered Chef several years ago and I use it at least once a week. Apples and peanut butter are my new crack (not that I ever used old crack, but you know what I mean)!


Reb • January 4, 2008 at 3:12 pm

LOL! You are all making it sound like this is a new invention! My mother had one that she probably got in the late ’40’s, of course, it doesn’t have the fancy rubber grips, but otherwise, it looks just the same ;) We used to steal slices when she was making pies and put salt on them – I know bad habit, but it tasted soooo good. Damn, now I have to go buy apples and find my slicer!

PQ, a little flour sprinkled on the latkes will help them bind too.

There is a garlic mincer on the market that is two pieces. Looks like petri dishes, with teeth that spin past each other. It minces your garlic and your hands stay clean. Sorry I don’t have the name for it.


julie • January 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Now can you find a pineapple cutter for me?? i LOVE fresh pineapple but they are so expensive to buy already cut in the deli area and such a pain to cut up and only get a few cups of the sweet stuff!! i do WW so its such a great 1 point treat but they go moldy sititng on my counter cuz i just hate the chore of cutting them.. thanks for the blog you are very inspiring!!


MK • January 4, 2008 at 5:23 pm

We’ve had the apple slicer over here for awhile and the whole family loves it. The kids use it (not little kids!), too; it makes me feel somewhat better than giving them a knife. Add peanut butter and they’re happy.

And, yep, it works on pears, too.

Heidi, in one of the previous comments, mentioned the spiral peeler/corer. I have one of those, too. If I’m peeling apples in bulk (like for applesauce or pies), I use it and it is SO MUCH FASTER than doing it by hand. Otherwise, it sits in a cabinet taking up space.


Kate • January 4, 2008 at 6:02 pm

PQ, This is related to an earlier post. While I was out walking today I was thinking about your funk. Maybe you are low on vitamin D, if you’re not getting as much sunlight as you did during the longer days. Or you might suffer from SAD, try using an Ott Light (I think there are cheaper knock-offs available) when you’re home at night. I also agree with some of your commenters that you might find a church that suits you that has activities for people your age, and might meet nice men there. Find a hobby that keeps you busy. Even though I do it rarely and have little experience, I find that when I sew I lose track of the time and my urge to eat all the time. You probably have everything under control. I have read your blog for many months and really enjoy it.

PQ – Someone else mentioned the sunlight thing, and I think it’s a definite possibility. And I bought a sewing machine a year and a half ago meaning to learn to sew, but it’s been untouched lately. I should start a new project!


Rah • January 4, 2008 at 6:09 pm

My name is Rah and I am a compulsive apple slicer. I have TWO apple-slicers, one for home and one for the office. Oh, PQ, there is a whole world of gadgets out there–the citrus zester, the melon baller, the pulp scooper-outer(technical name not used by Pampered Chef), the nutmeg plane…it gives me chills.

p.s. The slicer works fine on pears.

p.p.s. I once made a bowl of homemade pimiento cheese that included some grated finger.

PQ – Man, if I were rich and had lots of cabinet space I would totally buy all of those things.


Kristy • January 4, 2008 at 6:44 pm

This is like dejavu! I also bought an apple slicer and a grater at Target last week! I have yet to use the apple slicer because I don’t really eat apples. I’m hoping it will work on the pears I put on my lunch salads. As for the grater, I lost several fingernails and chunks of skin trying to grate some chocolate…


swizzlepop • January 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

I have wanted one of those apple corer thingies for ever. My husband has convinced me that we don’t need it because he likes to cut up the apples but now I want one again and that mango one too. I LOVE kitchen gadgets, it’s a sickness really. Those latkes sound yummy, I may have to try them, minus the skin of course.


weightlossguru • January 4, 2008 at 7:20 pm

From Ann on my Blog at Xmas time:


“I’ve got the best latke making recipe. Grate 4 large potatoes and drain well. Mix 1/2 a grated medium onion, 2 eggs, 4tbspns. self-raising flour & seasoning. Mix all together. Heat groundnut or grapeseed oil and fry spoonfuls of mixture over moderate heat. Turn when rich brown & brown the other side. Drain well. Open freeze then put in plastic bags in the freezer. Reheat by defrosting for 1 hour on a foil-covered baking sheet, then put in the oven at Gas 8/450 F/230 C for 7 to 8 minutes. You can also make them without onion and seasoning and serve with apple sauce. ENJOY ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS !”


“Make sure you squeeze all the water out of the grated potatoes before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.”

enjoy :)


Em • January 4, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I grate my knuckles every time I grate cheese. EVERY TIME.

Don’t tell my friends who ate my lasagna new years eve. Yikes.


Lynn • January 4, 2008 at 9:14 pm

PQ – You are so funny – the picture of your thumb was just hysterical. I used to use an apple slicer but I would get very annoyed if I didn’t center it right and the slices had pieces of the core on it – oh, I’m not anal – I really just peel and slice now a days – just thought you’d like to know…


Julia • January 4, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I also have the apple slicer but seldom use it as I prefer thinner slices so have come up with a quick easy way to cut the apples :)

When I was in Australia a couple of months ago I saw an avocado slicer and didn’t buy it – now I want to kick myself!!! Need to look here for one.

They have amazing kitchen gadget stores there and I love browsing them :)

Yummy we had latkes for Hannukah and I try not to make them too often, my mom makes a good potato pudding/kugel in a dish which is yummy too.


Juanita • January 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm

Try to get as much of the water out of the potatoes and add a little flour to the mixture. That should keep them from falling apart.


AmyLou • January 5, 2008 at 1:38 am

I also have 2 slicers…one for work and home. It is probably the most used gadget in my house!

I just bought a kiwi slicer and love it too! Similar to one pictured…but here is a pineapple slicer for Julie.


Marla • January 5, 2008 at 9:39 am

One time I gave a friend a “rotato” for her birthday, and I swear we had more fun with that thing! Also a possible hazard, keep the fingers away!


Sarah J • January 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Late Bloomer blogged a long time ago about her favorite snack and I have been a fan ever since… sliced apple (preferably with aforementioned gadget) into a tupperware-y container with 1 TBS of peanut butter. Let it tumble in your bag and you have an excellent protein/fiber yummy snack! I live for/by this snack!


PastaQueen • January 5, 2008 at 7:34 pm

PQ – I usually do eat my apples with the peel, but the night before this post I made an apple soufflé (yeah, I couldn’t believe it either) which called for the apples to be peeled. As for that spiral cutter, OMG, I want one! It would take up far too much cabinet space, but seeing this video of an apple being sliced, peeled and cored was like kitchen gadget porn.


PastaQueen • January 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm

PQ – As for the food processor, I’ve thought about getting one, but the thought of having to clean the blades and the container and everything makes me less than enthusiastic. I barely tolerate cleaning my blender. Do they sell self-cleaning food processors? Because I’d totally be down with that.


amy • January 6, 2008 at 12:03 am

totally went out and bought one of these after reading your posts! I myself am not a huge apple fan (except when I’m dipping in low-fat caramel dip), but I cut apples daily for my grandpa. even HE did a happy dance when he saw how the lil’ device worked :)


A-M • May 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

I feel the same way about my egg slicer.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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