Until recently, it seemed that few people around these parts had even heard of a hand blender, let alone seen one in action.So permit me to introduce you to mine.This handy little gadget is ubiquitous in Belgian kitchens — they’re used every day in food preparation; most often, I suspect, to blend delicious soups.Small, easy to store, easy to clean, the Kroeker hand blender has already been hard at work this week whirring away making strawberry yogurt smoothies and butternut squash soup.I’ve also used it to make hummus from scratch by shoving it into the bowl to smoosh together the garlic, tahini and chick peas.A hand blender makes milkshakes in a jiffy, too.We tried to take a smoothie-making video, but it didn’t turn out. So we have instead a photo series.Whirring, whirring, whirring….Tap, tap, tap….Slurp!Just a reminder: Traditional blenders have lids; hand blenders do not. Therefore you must remember that you won’t be able to use a lid while working with a hand blender. If you decide to give it a go, be sure to immerse the blade section down into the ingredients, or it could splatter a little.Also, unlike a traditional blender, you can’t walk away while it’s at work. It’s a hand blender, so you’re holding it with your hand. You’ll have to stick around until the processing is over.Those are the only weaknesses I’ve encountered so far, and I’ve used it for years.It won’t replace a Vita-Mix, of course, but for many applications, I find it to be a great alternative to a standard blender, with advantages such as the fact that it rinses perfectly clean in seconds and slips right back into its slim box for easy, compact storage.For more Works For Me Wednesday ideas, pop on over to Rocks In My Dryer, hub of all things helpful.Oh, and feel free to browse my WFMW archives, as well.