The One Appliance That Can Spice Up Your Kitchen

Cooking ideas and appliances

If you are like me then you have one cabinet in your kitchen devoted to small appliances that you never use. I have been guilty too often of getting over excited about something, buying it, using it once, and then putting it away to collect dust. I am talking to you bread making machine. However, once in a while you do run across something that you actually enjoy using regularly and it becomes a mainstay on your countertop. My juicer turned out to be one of those gems and so did my new toaster oven.

I never really did all that much cooking because my full sized oven was something that I tried to steer clear of. It was big, I wasn’t too fond to try and clean it, and eating out was much more convenient. I started to look at my diet and wanted something that could help me change it for the better that wasn’t too much work. I knew that cooking for myself needed to become part of my routine so I started looking into getting a small oven for my kitchen that wasn’t so intimidating to use.

This turned out to be one of the best decisions that I made recently. I spend a lot more time in the kitchen and I am eating a lot better. If you are looking for ways to turn around your diet and explore new recipes then having one of these at your disposal can be a real game changer.


Believe it or not, toaster ovens can make more than just toast. If you have not looked closely at modern countertop ovens then you just might be surprised with everything they can do, especially those with convection cooking features. These are full fledged ovens. You can make just about anything that you can with a big oven, only quicker and more efficiently. Pot roast, full sized chicken, casseroles, baked and broiled ribs, meatloaf, fish, cookies, brownies, cakes, and a lot more. This are very robust cooking appliances even for a family of four.

You are really only limited by your imagination. Of course, something like a large turkey can only be prepared in a full sized oven, but that is just one of the few limits that you have. In the short time that I have had my Breville Smart Oven I have been able to create a number of full meals and side dishes that have surprised both me and my family. The overall versatility of these units is quite astounding and really gives you tremendous value for the money spent.

Healthy Cooking

There are many advantages of cooking for yourself, but one of the major positives is that you are in charge of all of the ingredients. You can really fine tune your recipes to make meals extremely healthy without sacrificing taste. I found that while I was eating a bit more than I usually would because of how much more I was cooking, I was able to lose weight because I was able to skip fats, oils, and ingredients that were not as healthy for me. If you are worried about what your family eats then this is going to be a huge bonus for you.

Savings All Around

Smaller toaster ovens are more energy efficient than that large oven you currently have in your kitchen. If you get one with a convection feature then your cooking times are going to reduced as well. This will give an opportunity to not only save money, but a fair amount of time as well. You will also spend less time having to clean a countertop oven. The benefits of owning one of these machines keep adding up the closer you look at what they can offer you.

Family Time In The Kitchen

One of the other added bonuses that I did not anticipate was how much more time our family spends together, especially in the kitchen. Cooking homemade meals has a way of really bringing everyone closer together. The kids help out and they get to create their own dishes and learn something about cooking for themselves that they can carry with them when they are older. This is perhaps the one thing that I love the most that I never thought about before I owned a toaster oven. It really has been a blessing in this regard.

Break Out The Credit Card

If this all sounds appealing to you and you now what to get one of these ovens for your own kitchen then you may want to know which ones are worth your money. Fortunately, toaster ovens are not all that expensive when compared to other small appliances. Sure there are some expensive options with high end ovens topping out around $270. There are however several good choices between $100 and $200. If you want a full featured small oven that can roast, bake, broil, toast, reheat, and have a convection cooking option, then you are going to probably spend between $200 and $250. There are a number of high quality toaster ovens available and you can check out the latest reviews here to see which one fits within your budget and has the features you need. It all depends on how much you are looking to spend and how much cooking you wish to do.

I cannot recommend getting yourself a toaster oven enough. As you can see, it can have quite a positive impact in so many different areas. It transformed the way that my family and I eat on a daily basis, and I am sure it can have the same impact for you.

Breaking Down The Different Types Of Juicers On The Market

If you have been looking to lose some weight, improve the quality of your diet, or simply consume more fruits and vegetables daily then you may have been curious turning to juicing. This is a great way to improve your health and it can be a tremendous time saver. It has really taken hold in recent years as an alternative for those who do not have a lot of time to get the nutrition that they need on a daily basis. Owning a juice extractor makes a lot of sense but it can also be confusing for beginners. You may have come across some reviews of popular centrifugal and masticating juicers and wondered which of these types of juice extractors would be best to use and what are the main differences between these two types of machines.

This is not uncommon and it is something that is good to know before you put down your money and invest in a brand new juicing appliance. Here is a quick rundown of what is currently available and what they have to offer you in your kitchen.

Main Types of Juicers For Home Use

Before you set off and make a quick decision on getting a new juicer it is important to know which type of machine is best going to serve you.

Masticating Juicers

Masticating machines are the most efficient type of juicer out there. They are known for the quality of the juice that they produce as well as the high juice yield that they can achieve. There is very little wasted when you run fruits and vegetables through one of these types of juice extractors. They run a little bit slower and are more deliberate, but they produce less noise and extract the most juice of the foods you want to juice.

Because masticating juice extractors run at a lower RPM, they do not introduce as much oxygen into the juice. The less oxidation within the juice means that you can store it for longer without the worry of it spoiling as fast. You can make a lot of juice at one sitting and put in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. This is another advantage to using this type of machine.

They are pricey, but they will give you an excellent quality juice and get more of the vital vitamins and minerals from your produce. The higher cost is something that will pay for itself over time.

Centrifugal Juicers

Centrifugal juice extractors are less expensive and they are generally a tad bit more popular than their masticating counterparts. They perform by turning at a very fast speed, using centrifugal force to drive and draw out the fresh fruit fruit juice. The are extremely fast at juicing as well as being very loud. These types of machines are extremely quick and convenient. They are not ideal for leafy veggies, but they can still get the job done. They are also usually very easy to clean.

Their convenience and affordability is what sets them apart from masticating juicers. If you are juicing on a budget then a centrifugal juicer is going to be your best option. These are the main reasons for their popularity with those new to juicing. If you find that you like to juice routinely and it is something that you plan on sticking with then it would make more sense to upgrade to a masticating machine from their if you wish.

Wheatgrass Juicers

Just as the name indicates, this type of juicer is made to extract juice from wheatgrass.  This is a specialty item for those who wish to consume this leafy green on a regular basis and take advantge of the nutrients found in wheatgrass. They may be sold on various prices. Some masticating juicers may offer a special wheatgrass juicing accessory but this is not going to be for everyone.

Just about any specialized fresh fruit juice set up is going to be more expensive and constrained in what you actually can do from it. Add when compared to the fact that it is another instrument you’re going to must wash and, well, you will observe where I’m choosing this.

Citrus Juicers

Manual fresh fruit juice extractors are just what they appear to be, and you operate them by hand. They’re usually much less costly as compared to their power alternatives and they make a lot much less noise, too. These are going to be mainly for citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit. These types of machines are not going to serve you well if you also want to juice foods like carrots or leafy greens. They are relatively inexpensive and are great for a fresh glass of orange juice in the morning. They are also easy to clean and maintain.

Here’s To Your Health

If you want to finally get serious about your diet and your health then having a juicer on your kitchen counter can be a smart decision. Vitamins and minerals are vital to your body and your overall well being. Juicing is a smart and fast way to instantly improve your daily nutrition so buying one is a wise choice in our opinion. No matter your budget or time constraints, there is a juicer out there that is perfect for what you need. Now its your turn to take back control of your diet and start loading up on your fresh vegetables and fruits.

A Parents Guide To The Top Child Seats

Buying a new car seat is always an extensive endeavor. We pour so much time into researching and finding the best possible car seat for our child because of its importance. As parents it is our job to protect them and keep them safe and having the right equipment is vital to this goal. The roads are a dangerous place so making sure that their car seat is reliable, safe, as well as being comfortable is something that we are all looking for.

If you have been racking your brain trying to find the perfect car seat option for your children then hopefully our guide will be of some use. We have done our own fair amount of searching, studying the latest car seat reviews in hopes of zeroing in on some of the best convertible car seat choices. Why get a convertible car seat? Because these are going to be the most cost effective course of action over the long haul. You can use them for a number of years since most of them are made for infants from 5 lbs. all the way up to 65 lbs. You are going to get a number of years worth of use out of them before you have to buy a booster seat and will end up saving you money.

Our Top Choices

Since we just had to go through this process ourselves when we were in need of a new car seat for our daughter we thought we would run down some of the seats that made our final list. We are always looking for ways to save the most money as parents, but we just did not feel like this was an area for use to pinch pennies. Most of these are not going to be cheap so if money is tight then you might have to dig a little deeper to find something to fit within your own budget.

Graco 4Ever

This is a super choice as it is rated for kids from 5 to 120 lbs. Yes, we could not believe it ourselves. This might just be the only car seat that we are going to need since it can serve as an infant, convertible, and booster seat. This is what they call an “all in one” seat and it just made perfect sense to both me and my wife. While it did cost us $300 when you think about how many years of service we are going to get out of this seat it really is not all that expensive. It is rated for 10 years so at $30 per year that is not too bad.

Of course we checked its ratings with parents and it gets very high marks. It has some tremendous safety features so we know our daughter is going to be protected but has a lot more. The material seems like it is pretty durable and should hold up well for the next few years. Stains come out pretty easily as well. One other thing that we like about the 4Ever is that installation was not that hard. While it is not the lightest convertible car seat out there, my wife can swap it out from my car to hers pretty well and I have no problem doing the same. It seems to be rather comfortable as well as our little one has no problem falling asleep in it.

Overall it has only been a year, but we are happy that this was the choice that we made for our family. We can see us using this seat for many years with no problems. We even convinced my sister to get one for her son and she is just as thrilled with hers as we are with ours. For the money this has been an investment that we are both proud of.

Chicco NextFit and Nextfit Zip

Chicco is another top brand name that we felt confident in. Their infant seats are highly praised and we thought that their convertible seats would shine just the same. Of all of the seats that we reviewed this one was a close second the Graco in our eyes.

These are solid seats with extra strong construction. What intrigued us about these seats were the high ratings that they received from parents, especially for how easy they are to clean. The Zip version is made to easily remove the seat pad so that you can throw it in the washing machine. That sounded like a nice feature to my wife. The one thing that scared us away from it was the weight as we do end up swapping our car seat often in between both of our cars. We did not want it to be a chore every time so we went with something that was a little lighter. We were impressed with everything else about this convertible seat.

The Others

The Graco and the Chicco seats were a close #1 and #2 but there were some others that caught our attention. Most of the Britax convertible car seats that we looked into seemed to be a great fit with some nice features. They are also held in high regard by parents. There were some other brands that we never heard of but seemed appealing to us. Diono, Recaro and Maxi Cosi seemed to be parent favorites as well. The good thing is that there are plenty of wonderful options out there for picky parents. The bad thing is that it can really eat up a lot of your time trying to find exactly the right one for your child. We are happy with our choice it just took us a little while to get there. Hopefully this will help you make a quicker and less stressful decision that what we had to go through.