- How to Peel Potatoes Without a Peeler
- Method One: Boil and Ice Bath
- Method Two: Use A Paring Knife
- How to peel potatoes
- Bottom Line Up Front: Our 5 Best Reviewed Vegetable Peelers
- The Swivel vs. The Y-Peeler
- What to Look For
- Top 5 Vegetable Peelers Brand and Models
- Final Considerations
How to Peel Potatoes Without a Peeler
Thanksgiving is closer than you think and if you’re hosting a feast, mashed potatoes are a must. It’s true, you could peel potatoes using a drill, but that’s a safety hazard. And, peeling potatoes with a peeler takes forever and is especially annoying if you’re preparing a few pounds of potatoes to feed a crowd. With one swift slice of a knife and a cold bowl of water, it’s totally possible to peel potatoes without a peeler. No blood, sweat, tears, or a peeler involved—just your bare hands. The time-saving kitchen hack will make holiday prep significantly easier, so you could actually enjoy the company of your friends and family without stressing over the stove.
You can totally peel boiled potatoes in seconds. Using a sharp knife, slice a horizontal line around the middle of each potato without cutting too deeply. Then, boil your potatoes as you usually would with the peel on. (The peel is actually packed with flavor, so boiling a potato with the skin on will pep up your final dish.) Once it’s possible to poke the potatoes with a fork, drain, and transfer them to a bowl of ice-cold water. Gently rub the surface of each potato after it cools and the skins should peel right off like magic.
Although this hack is helpful during the holidays, it’s useful to keep in mind year-round as potatoes play a large role in many classic breakfast dishes. Think hash. Once you’ve peeled a few potatoes, you can chop them and throw them into a piping hot cast-iron skillet with olive oil, sliced onions, and peppers for a darn delicious morning hash. But, this potato-peeling technique is also perfect for our mashed potato egg clouds and 1-ingredient frittata.
Now what are you gonna do with all that extra time now that you’ve said ta-ta to all that tater labor?
We’ve all been there: you want a potato in a bad way so you grab some at the grocery store and get them home, ready for some homemade french fries, a heaping bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes stuffed with all the fixin’s.
And then you realize, you have no peeler. You’re already committed to the idea of potatoes. In fact, at this point nothing else will do.
Fear not, spud lover. You can still make your mashed potato dreams come true. Read on to find out two ways you can peel a potato without a peeler. #AdultingHacks FTW.
Method One: Boil and Ice Bath
1. If you are boiling your potato to cook it, scrub your unpeeled potatoes before placing them into a pot with cold water. Cover it with a lid and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath for your spuds by combining cold water with ice. Place next to your pot.
3. Simmer until potatoes are tender upon poking with a fork. Now remove your potatoes from the hot water and submerge them in the ice bath.
4. Give the potato 10-20 seconds or so, remove from water, and then simply peel away the skin with your fingers or a paper towel. #magic
Method Two: Use A Paring Knife
1. Wash your potato and stand the potato on its bottom, gripping the potato from the top with your non-dominant hand.
2. Take your knife and starting at the top, making one straight downward cut to remove the skin, being careful to remove as little flesh as possible.
3. Rotate the potato slightly and repeat until skin is removed.
4. Touch up the top and bottom of the potato and remove any eyes or bad spots.
With these simple hacks, you’re only minutes away from your own perfectly naked potato, no peeler required.
How to peel potatoes
There are many effective ways to peel your potatoes, but you may not have heard of some of these – here are several ways to strip your potatoes with ease and speed.
A proper potato peeler is the ideal tool for this task as they’re incredibly easy to use. Place your blade at the bottom of the spud and slowly slide it towards the top positioned so the peeler is moving away from you and not towards you. Attempt to do this in one motion so you create a smooth edge rather than a jagged cut, you then just work your way around the potato rotating as you go. Iron out any dark spots, you may have to go over these as they can run quite deep in the flesh.
If you don’t have a peeler, then not to worry! Get yourself a chopping board, place your spuds on top of it and reach for the old fashioned kitchen knife. First things first, be sure to cut one end of the potato off – this makes the peeling process easier. Stand the potato up on its newly flat surface steadying it with one hand, you can then glide you knife down skimming the edge from top to bottom being careful to take as little of the white flesh as possible. To complete the spud, rotate and repeat this process until you have a completely peeled potato.
Using the pan
Many people settle for the old fashioned manual peeling approach, but you can actually use the cooking process to your advantage for this task. Put a slice through the skin of your spuds and place them in a large pan with water, bring the pan to the boil and leave them in the water for 15 minutes. Prepare a second pan of cold water and place your boiled potatoes in once the time is up, this is so you can handle them. Now for the satisfying part – pick up the cooled spuds and you’ll magically find that the skins slide off to a gentle touch.
Don’t look at your Vegetable Peeler as just a potato peeler. It really can do so much more. Its sharp dual blade creates thin slices of a variety of foods.
Here are six different ways to use your peeler.
- Make vegetable curls for salads, soups or garnishes
Use the peeler to make thin ribbons of asparagus, cucumber or carrots. Use the ribbons as the salad itself, or use them as a salad topper.
- Create chocolate shavings
Elevate your dessert game. Run the peeler along a chocolate bar to create shavings to place on cakes, cookies and other confections.
- Shave Parmesan cheese
When a recipe calls for shaved Parmesan, reach for a peeler. Run it along a block of fresh Parmesan to make cheese curls to add to salads or pasta.
- Shave thin slices of onion
When you just want a little bite of onion in salads and soups, use the Vegetable Peeler to peel thin slices.
- Create garnishes for cocktails
Use it to peel off a thin strip of orange, lemon or grapefruit skin – avoiding the white pith. Slightly bend the peel to release the oils and drop it into a cocktail.
- Shave pieces of hard butter
When the butter is too hard to spread, grab a Vegetable Peeler to shave off strips of butter for easy spreading.
A Vegetable Peeler is also a great kitchen gadget for getting kids involved in cooking, with adult supervision. The dual blades on Cutco’s Vegetable Peeler are sharp, so make sure kids are holding the food they’re peeling above where they’ll be running the peeler, and have them peel away from themselves.
Vegetable peelers come in all shapes and sizes, and prices vary widely between the different options. Some of us care about paying a low price, but most of us just want something that works. The good news is that it is quite possible to get a high quality tool and also be frugal with your funds. You don’t have to compromise comfort, sharpness, speed or convenience, and you certainly do not have to shell out top dollar to have the ultimate potato peeler in your kitchen drawer. Stop struggling with that old, dull mess you have now, and don’t waste another minute feverishly removing teeny strips with your old-school style peeler. Read on to discover how affordable it can be to acquire a high quality tool that will last for years, and make peeling potatoes and other veggies easier than ever, all while adding comfort and convenience to the task.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PEELER?
In order to quickly remove skin from potatoes, you need a blade that is sharp. Dull blades will skim over the top, get caught on each peel, or will rip and chew away at your veggie, only to produce lack luster results that you had to work too hard to achieve. You can assume that the higher the price tag, the easier the tool will be to use, but this is definitely not the case. Just because you paid a bunch of money does not guarantee that the blade will be sharp, or even functional on all foods. Most peelers have blades that are made from metals that can not possibly be all that sharp. Add to that, the fact that many of them take it one step further to use metal that may be sharp initially, but dulls quickly with use. If you have ever tried to sharpen a tool like this, then you know it is pretty close to impossible to accomplish. This is why it is important to get a potato peeler with a good blade when new, but also one made from material that will remain effective over time, without the need for sharpening. If you are using a super sharp peeler, then each stroke will be effortless as the skin removes quickly. Instead of straining and struggling, you will be able to slip across the surface with ease, and remove skin like a hot knife through butter. The Star Peeler is just such a tool, with just such a blade, and it is widely regarded as the best potato peeler that money can buy.
Instead of a stainless steel blade for convenience sake, it has a Tungsten Steel one for usage sake. It is not as dishwasher friendly due to the material, but as long as you dry it off after washing, and apply the occasional oil, you will never have to worry about rusting, and the tool will remain useful for 20 or more years on average. Tungsten steel is a higher grade of steel that is harder, and able to be made sharper when compared to stainless. Because of the material, you will get a sharper blade right off the bat, but also one that does not dull or require sharpening down the road, even with everyday use. Instead of spending a bunch of time and effort to peel your spuds when preparing mashed potatoes, you will be able to complete the job in way less time, and using only minimal effort. The incredibly sharp blade will do the work for you, so even skimming across the surface with minimal pressure applied will produce the results you want.
Because it is also a large blade, and has a horizontal orientation that will run perpendicular with your food, it will remove larger pieces of skin with each pass. Instead of working hard to peel away skinny little strips, you will love how easy it is to use no strength, and remove larger chunks. Another added benefit of this sharper blade is that slight variations in pressure will easily increase, or decrease the thickness of your peel. In this way it is easy to take away just the outer coating without wasting actual food, but you can also take it in the opposite direction, and apply more pressure to remove what is more like a slice because it is so thick. For this reason, you will have complete control over the tool, and the end result you are working to produce.
If you are preparing a large meal, or have several items to peel for another reason, then comfort is important. Also, those with arthritis, strength issues, or other problems with their hands and/or wrists require a tool that is comfortable and able to be used without trouble. The shape of this potato peeler makes for one comfortable tool. Instead of a slim stick of a tool that can be tedious to hold, this one features a wide comfortable handle. Almost anyone one can hold it comfortably, and due to the shape, it will not cause strain, even with prolonged usage. Because you need very little effort to peel with it, The Star Peeler also does not require the user to hold on tight, or keep a strong grip as they work. A loose, comfortable grasp is all that is necessary, so it is quite friendly to almost any type of user. As an added bonus, this design that provides extreme comfort also allows the tool to be used by right or left handed people just as easily. Using either hand will produce the same results, and there is nothing about the design that would make it more difficult for a left handed person to use with their natural side. For quick, one veggie jobs, or full bags of potatoes this peeler will provide a comfortable and easy to use option. This makes it a favorite of homeowners, but also a go-to choice for professional kitchens and catering operations.
As if using this peeler was not easy and convenient enough, there are a couple other features that make it one of the great ones. The entire handle is made from stainless steel. Other peelers in this price-range save money on material costs, and compromise quality by including a plastic handle. This is a weak spot in the design, that most likely will not stand the test of time. Plastic fades with washings, breaks easily, and can even stain or pick up smells from the food you work with. Metal will be more sturdy, it is much more difficult to damage or break, and you can almost guarantee it will last much longer than any plastic counterpart. With the stainless steel body, you get something that looks great, but is also lightweight and super durable. It will not crack or break in the drawer, and time will not cause it to change in appearance or become less sturdy. Of course with those lower quality peelers, the blade won’t stay sharp for very long, so a tough handle seems sort of silly from a design stand point anyway. Because you know the blade on this potato peeler will remain sharp for many years, it is important, and nice to know, that it is made from a material that will last.
On the top part of the metal handle, up near the blade, you will also notice a triangular shaped metal thing sticking out. This is quite useful for quickly removing the imperfections, and “eyes” commonly encountered when peeling potatoes. When you come across a brown spot, simply flip the tool to the side, and dig it out with ease. It is not really sharp to the touch in a way that would be dangerous, but it is made from metal, so anything yucky encountered while peeling can be removed and disposed of easily. If you press down and apply a little bit of pressure, this same part can cut out long strips from any vegetable you are working with. It is almost like a julienne cut, so it could be used for a single portion of fries, but is also useful for other small jobs like prepping some carrots for the top of a salad.
If you are looking for the ultimate potato peeler, then look no further. This one offers the ultimate in sharpness, comfort and usability. It would be hard to find one that works better, and if you did, it probably would not last as long. Many people come to us after owning one of these for 25 years or more in order to buy another one. The most common reason for these types of reorders are not due to a dull blade or peeler that broke, but more often in relation to a “mysterious disappearance” or someone purchasing one as a gift for family and friends. If you hate peeling vegetables, or if you have tried several types of peelers only to decide that they are all useless garbage, give this one a try and you won’t be disappointed. It is definitely one of the quickest, easiest and most affordable ways to peel a potato, and it will last for many years of happy use. Any kitchen that lacks one now, would be better off with one in the drawer. It is nearly unmatched for performance, and is quite affordable for the quality offered.
Star Potato Peeler
The Y-peeler is what belongs in your kitchen tools drawer.
Earlier this summer, Kenji published a list of his most essential cooking equipment. On the list was a Y-Head Vegetable Peeler made by Kuhn Rikon. It seemed like a pretty obvious item to me; then again, I’ve been working with food for years and I can’t remember the last time I saw any other peeler in a pro setting.
But in the comments, some readers weren’t convinced the y-peeler was as good as the straight swivel peelers most home cooks use.
I have two things to say to this. The first is that if you truly love your straight swivel peeler and it’s doing everything you’ve ever wanted, more power to you—I can’t argue with that. The second is: THAT’S CRAZY! A Y-PEELER IS CATEGORICALLY SUPERIOR.
Kuhn Rikon 3-Set Original Swiss Peeler, Red/Green/Yellow $11.84 from Amazon
It’s hard to show in photos why I like these so much, but I’ll try. Before getting to the pictures though, I’ll start with some key points:
- Kuhn Rikon’s y-peeler has a carbon steel blade. In my experience its blade starts out—and stays—way sharper than the stainless steel ones I’ve used. The carbon steel is prone to rusting, so you have to wash and dry it soon after each use, but we should take care of all of our cooking tools anyway (especially blades), so I don’t really consider that a negative.
- They’re cheap! A 3-pack, at the time of writing, is selling on Amazon for ten bucks. That’s just a few dollars per peeler. I always buy a few at a time, and when the blade finally does start to fail, I just switch to a new one.
- Unlike a lot of swivel peelers, which often have the blade on only one side, the shape of a y-peeler makes it work in either hand. As a lefty, it’s invaluable to have a peeler that works for me—and anyone else in my kitchen.
- The wider handle, as compared to most narrow-handled straight peelers, means you can hold and use the peeler with less of a death grip, which is more comfortable.
My guess is that, because of the y-peeler’s different form, many people who are used to straight swivel peelers have trouble adjusting. The technique is slightly different and it takes a little getting used to before you start to feel its power.
Here are some examples of how I use it.
Let’s start with these carrots. It’s a still photo, but just look at how clean the peeled shaving is. That’s the carbon steel blade’s sharpness at work. Plus, as you see here and in the subsequent photos, the y-peeler cuts thinner swaths than most straight peelers, leaving more of the vegetable behind.
For something like a carrot, sometimes I’ll hold the stem end in my hand and rest the carrot’s tip on the cutting board. Then I’ll make quick lengthwise pulls with the peeler from stem to tip, spinning the carrot in my fingers as I go. It’s peeled in no time.
Other times, I’ll hold the carrot in the air, usually right over the garbage, and just shave those strips right into the trash. With a y-peeler, you end up pulling down along the length of it with your hand, as opposed to laterally scraping the vegetable the way straight peelers tend to work.
Multiple grips are possible, depending on what you’re peeling. Above, I’m palming the sweet potato, allowing me to get full-length passes with each stroke.
Whereas, here, I’m holding the potato more firmly in my hand. I can peel faster this way, but I won’t be able to get full-length passes, so I’ll flip the potato to finish the end that’s currently in my hand.
For more precision peeling, such as taking off an apple peel in one continuous strip, it’s possible to palm the peeler, freeing the peeling hand’s thumb to brace against the thing you’re peeling. It’ll slow you down, but you’ll have more control.
Like a samurai, one deft stroke against the apple’s base takes the peel there right off. Kashwing!
Taking some zest off citrus, like an orange? No problem, the y-peeler gets it off with minimal pith—just look how you can see the blade through the zest.
Use one of these for a couple months straight, then see if you still want to go back to the straight ones. If I were a betting man, I’d say it’s unlikely.
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No matter what level you’re at when it comes to cooking, every kitchen needs a vegetable peeler. From skinning carrots to potatoes, let me just tell you, I use mine almost every day!
Not only are these necessary but they are also affordable, giving you no excuse not to have one or two in your kitchen!
If you’re currently in the market for a brand new model, then you’re in luck. Today I’m going to take an in-depth look at the top 5 vegetable peelers on the market, and help you make the best decision for your kitchen.
Bottom Line Up Front: Our 5 Best Reviewed Vegetable Peelers
- OXO Pro Swivel
- OXO Good Grips Y Peeler
- OXO Good Grips Standard Swivel
- Kuhn Rikon Original 4-Inch Swiss Peeler
- Precision Kitchenware Stainless Steel Dual Julienne & Vegetable Peeler
Note: the links above lead to pricing, customer reviews, and more information and specifications on Amazon or other major retailers.
The Swivel vs. The Y-Peeler
There are two different styles of vegetable peelers we’ll be looking at, the Y and the Swivel type. I would say, among home cooks, the swivel style is more popular. They usual have a vertical blade that is used by moving your hand back and forth on the produce.
The Y-Peeler, on the other hand, has a horizontal blade, and is used by starting at the bottom and peeling the skin towards you. This maneuver is a little tricky until you get used to it.
Home cooks tend to like the swivel design because it’s easier to use and feels very natural, whereas those in the food and restaurant industry like the Y models, as they’re often more willing to spend the time adjusting to the different movement. They also say that these are sharper and can even save time.
Other folks often keep both kinds on hand for different tasks, and often use the Y style purely for potato skin removal. The Y version also tends to be more user-friendly for left-handed folks.
A Y style model removes the skin from a potato.
Let’s look at a few varieties of both types of peelers below, and you can decide which style is the most practical for you.
What to Look For
When it comes to vegetable peelers, you want one that is durable. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want is for my tool to break when I’m trying to make dinner, and end up with a cut finger and bloody potatoes! Durable models are affordable (even from the best brands), but I don’t believe they are designed to last forever; I think one that lasts a few years is a reasonable request.
I’m not talking about the way it looks or whose brand it carries, but more so, is it made in a way that allows it to do its job, and do it well? When buying a product, it’s expected that it does exactly what it claims it can do. Personally, I’ve bought far too many vegetable peelers in the past that simply don’t peel! Or they are poorly designed and end up clogging around the blade, wasting more time since it’s necessary to clean it out with every few passes.
When researching various models, I found there are a few different types of blades: stainless steel, ceramic and even carbon steel blades. For me, the only blade which makes sense is the stainless steel blade. I’m rather clumsy in the kitchen so the ceramic doesn’t make sense as I could easily drop it and have it break. And the carbon steel blades can rust if not dried right after washed, and well, that doesn’t always happen in my kitchen. I’ll go over this more with each individual model, but I wanted to mention it because blades are a big consideration when purchasing one of these.
Top 5 Vegetable Peelers Brand and Models
Let’s dive in, starting with a very popular kitchen brand: OXO.
OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel
I almost overlooked this product, as it looks so similar to the one I talk about above, but don’t be fooled – they are not the same. I did some research and it turns out that OXO did a little case study where they watched users use the above mentioned product, and collected user feedback.
With that information, they created this improved model, and possibly the better option. With this Pro model the blade is sharper, and replaceable! Multiple reviewers stated that this option is also a lot more comfortable than the standard offering (which is quite good, and what I use).
- It’s been updated, and usually that means it’s been improved
- Sharper blade
- Satisfaction guaranteed
- Replaceable blade
- Metal potato eye remover
Foodal’s Number 1 Choice: OXO Good Grips Pro Swivel Peeler and is available on Amazon.
OXO Good Grips Y Model
Sticking with the OXO brand, I wanted to take a look at their version of a Y-peeler. I immediately saw that this model is not as popular, however I’m very intrigued by the Y design, as in my home we’ve always had the swivel variety. And I have to say, after watching a video of this device peeling a butternut squash, so effortlessly, I’m thinking both varieties of peelers might just have a place in my kitchen!
This model doesn’t disappoint when it comes to comfort. One home cook explains how much easier the holidays are with this device, peeling root vegetables for a big crowd with no hand cramps. The majority of users find the blade to be very sharp, which I considered a plus when deciding on my purchase. That being said, it’s easier to cut yourself if you’re not careful, which one user did say happened.
OXO Good Grips Y Peeler available from Amazon
- Sharp– cuts through tough skin like butternut squash with precision
- Brand you can count on– if you’re not satisfied or it breaks, OXO will replace it or refund your money
- No clogging– I read that some examples are built poorly and the skin gets caught in the blade, which is not the case with this one
- Dishwasher safe
Like the swivel version, the Y peeler is also available in a pro version for a few bucks more.
OXO Good Grips Swivel (Standard Model)
OXO prides itself in comfort and this example is no exception. Its handle is designed with a soft rubber handle so it fits softly in your hand, and users agree this is the tool for you if you have lots of potatoes to peel! One professional cook reported peeling over 100 potatoes a day with this peeler for 6 years!
OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler
Most professional cooks seem to prefer the Y design, but I found that this OXO version is highly praised between both home cooks and professionals, which pretty much sealed the deal for me.
This model is made with a sharp stainless steel blade that peels potatoes, carrots, apples and many other hard fruits and vegetables.
It’s also the swivel variety, meaning it contours to any surface. One user said her favorite part of the OXO is the precision and speed with which she can peel potatoes.
- Small in size– this product weighs in at 2 oz
- Durable– one user reported having this model for 7 years and it still works great
- Dishwasher safe– anything that doesn’t have to be hand washed is a plus in my book
- Built-in potato eyer– making it easier to peel potatoes and not waste the actual potato
- Suitable for righties and lefties
- Stainless steel blade– you don’t have to worry about the blade breaking if it’s dropped, or rusting
- Brand you can count on– If you’re not satisfied or it breaks, OXO will replace it or refund your money
Read all customer reviews of the OXO Swivel Model on Amazon now.
Kuhn Rikon Swiss
This blade is very popular among food industry professionals. So many users in the industry rave about how this is the only model they use or will ever use again. This is a Y design, so it has the horizontal blade, and it’s one of the few models with a carbon steel blade.
That being said, the blade can rust if you’re not careful, but it’s very sharp!
These peelers are available in a 3-pack on Amazon.com, and they are very affordable. This one also comes in fun colors, which I have to say, the few colorful kitchen tools I have (like a purple knife) seem to get used more often than the boring black and stainless steel ones. If solid bright colors aren’t enough dazzle for you, there are even polka dot versions available!
- Food industry quality– it’s a good sign when professional chefs are recommending this product
- Carbon steel blade– extra sharp blade that doesn’t dull
- Comes in bright colors– making it more fun to use!
Kuhn Rikon Original 4-Inch Swiss Peeler
When I first saw Precision Kitchenware’s offering I thought, “Wow, this is a snazzy tool!” It’s silver and looks like it has all the bells and whistles. This is another Y design, and it’s the bestselling model on Amazon. One user said, “finally a well-made vegetable peeler,” which is really important to me and I imagine is for you as well.
This one also has a julienne feature, so it has a jagged edge on one side of the blade for this purpose, as well as a smooth side of the blade for ordinary vegetable skin removal. Some users reported that the edge makes it a little hard to use and clean, but it’s nothing that a toothbrush can’t solve.
This device also comes with a lifetime warranty. If it breaks or you’re not happy with it, you can return it or get a refund with no hassle.
Precision Kitchenware Stainless Steel Dual Julienne & Vegetable Peeler
- Popularity– the bestselling model on Amazon, usually a good sign
- Sharp– most users love how sharp and quick this blade is
- Lifetime warranty– you can return this if it ever breaks down or if you’re not satisfied
After looking at all the peelers, a few things stand out to me:
If you want a swivel model, hands down the OXO Pro is the one. It’s durable, it’s the standard among home chefs, and professionals seem to also love it.
If you’re looking for a Y design, remember it’s a little more complicated to use at first. OXO’s Y offering seems pretty standard. It’s a good brand, and its dishwasher safe. Personally, I would pick the Kuhn Rikon brand when it comes to a Y-Peeler. It’s just a little more appealing to me. It’s colorful, simple, affordable and sharp – plus it’s highly reviewed on Amazon.
Then again, Precision Kitchenware’s offering has the ability to perform several functions (remarkably well for both, I might add) plus its lifetime warranty and quality all metal construction also make it a solid choice.
That being said, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the above five vegetable peelers (I didn’t include any models in this review that I believe to be inferior – all of these are top notch). If you don’t like them, you can return them and get your money back. With just a little investment, I think it’s worth giving one or two a try!
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog “The Seasonal Diet” (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.