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.

Understanding The Basics Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is best defined as an anxiety disorder which compels people to engage in obsessive behavior that may interfere with their careers and social lives. Further complications can result either from the distractions caused by OCD’s symptoms or from the general distress that it causes to the sufferer.

It also affects a significant amount of people.  Obsessive compulsive disorder afflicts approximately 2.5% of the US population, which means that around 1 out of 40 Americans suffer from some variation of OCD. So although it may not be as prevalent as something people like to think, it is still a serious problem for a fair amount of the population.  Most sufferers of this condition develop symptoms before the age of 30, although it may develop at a later age.

Different Types of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Behavior

OCD cases can be classified into different types based on the behavior being exhibited. Although there is some overlap between these these categories, each type of OCD has certain characteristics which are unique to it.

The first type of OCD deals with obsession that involves a harmful and often aggressive fixation on certain objects and subject. Obsession with religion and certain social activities are good examples of this.

The second type of OCD involves an obsession with symmetry, and is also often accompanied by repetitive behavior as well as a general compulsion towards arranging certain objects.
The third type of OCD involves a general paranoia over contamination, and is usually accompanied by an obsession with cleaning.

And finally, there is the type of OCD which involves hoarding, and is often accompanied by a general tendency to irrationally gather certain objects that attracts the sufferer’s attention.

The Symptoms of OCD

The thoughts and obsessions sparked by OCD can become uncontrollable, and in most cases, the person suffering from OCD will indulge his or her obsession even with the full knowledge that what he or she is doing is irrational. This is because the OCD is the result of repetitive behavior, one that the sufferer has probably engaged in for a very long time. Over time, this repetitive behavior leads to both conscious obsession and ritualization.

The compulsive side of OCD manifests itself through ritualistic behavior. They typically include excessive hand washing, nail biting, touching various random objects. It’s worth mentioning that compulsive behavior is often accompanied by conscious thought, and therefore, tends to require the focused desires and thoughts of the person suffering from OCD.

In contrast to this are habits, which occur with little conscious involvement from the sufferer. Related habits are therefore more routine in nature, and are rarely done in relation to any actual desire on the part of the sufferer. Moreover, habits are rarely complex activities, and unlike compulsive behavior, rarely cause stress. For those concerned about its symptoms you can review an OCD checklist to see if it applies to your current situation.

What Causes It?

While it’s difficult to pinpoint any specific cause for OCD, certain factors are believed to contribute to the problem. Genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain and childhood trauma are factors or potential factors that can play a role in the development of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

It’s worth pointing out, for example, that an imbalance of serotonin in the human brain can potentially increase a person’s chances of developing OCD. Likewise, traumatic childhood experiences, like being a victim of child abuse, can also contribute a person’s chances of developing OCD later on in life.

Treatment Options

After a proper diagnosis from a qualified mental health care professional, treating obsessive-compulsive disorder typically involves cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and various types of medication. However, considering how OCD symptoms manifest differently among different people, a certain degree of flexibility is also required in treating individual patients.

Most therapies for treating OCD involve exposure therapy and prevention of ritualistic behaviors. The goal is to get the patient to withdraw from compulsive behavior for long periods of time, until finally, he or she is able to overcome the problem.

As for medication, SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are often used to treat cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The purpose of these medications is to increase the amount of serotonin in the patient’s brain in order to help prevent the severity of the condition. Other types of medication may also be employed in order to help improve a patient’s responses to therapy, and to speed up the treatment.  ]

Some patients find relief in OCD support groups, where they can share their experiences with others that may be going through the exact same kind of ordeals.  Knowing that you are not alone can be extremely beneficial and may help with any sort of depression symptoms that may arise from having to deal with this disorder.  A patient with this condition should expect to treatment to be a long term part of their lives, however, given enough time and dedication treatment can help control or improve the most problematic parts of OCD and allow the patient to lead a productive life.

For further details on this disorder check out the very informative video below.