Category: Cooking & Diet

The Pure Joy Of Making Homemade Ice Cream

One of the great memories that I had when I was a kid was going over to my grandmother’s house and making ice cream…the old fashion way. Lots of ice and some salt and a lot of churning. The reward was well worth it, but it sure was quite a bit of work. Luckily, today it is a lot easier to get the same great tasting results in the comfort of your own home. It can be as simple as mixing the ingredients and hitting a button. Sure today’s youth have it a lot easier, but guess what, so do today’s elderly.

I look back at some of the things I used to do as a child and how much work went into it and constantly shake my head. This is especially true with making ice cream. Today’s ice cream makers would seem like a gift sent from an alien planet to my grandmother, but I am sure that she would adapt pretty quickly. So if you are in the market for a capable machine to make your own frozen desserts, then the list below should be of some help.

Top 3 Ice Cream Machines for 2018

We love making our own ice cream so much that we have put together our own list of the top units, including the one that we use ourselves.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop

Yes, I splurged as this is not a cheap or budget friendly ice cream maker, but it sure is pretty awesome. The LCD display is something that you will not see on other machines, and it is pretty useful and modern looking. It gives all the setting information and it looks pretty cool. We own a few Breville appliances, they have all have been excellent machines, including this one. We have made tons of ice cream, and since this unit has its own compressor, you do not have to stick the bowl in the freezer for hours for it to work properly.

We have used this particular model for about 2 years and it has given us nothing but joy, and terrific tasting ice cream. It is usually among the top rated machines. We used http://www.gourmetraw.com ice cream maker reviews and discovered just how well the Breville Smart Scoop had scored with owners.

Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream Machine

Okay, so this is another expensive model, but we have used this one on a couple of occasions and we were very impressed with its capacity and simplicity. This ice cream maker also has its own compressor which makes it super convenient, especially for those that don’t like to plan ahead and do things on the fly. It is versatile and can make other types of frozen treats, such as gelato or frozen yogurt for those that like to experiment.

Cuisinart ICE-21

Finally, an inexpensive model that performs rather well. We have had a batch of ice cream made in this machine and it was very tasty. Cheap and easy is how the owner of this ice cream maker described it. Anyone looking to get their first machine without investing a lot up front should consider this model.

Bring Back the Memories

If some of your best childhood memories of your family involve making ice cream, then why not pass that tradition along. Nothing is more rewarding or fun that to sit down with the grandkids and watch their faces light up as they help make dessert for everyone. Making new memories, and ones that they might some day look back on with the same fondness that you do, can be a rather priceless feeling. Buying an ice cream maker has been a worthy endeavor for our family, maybe it can be the same for yours.

Want to see the Breville ice cream maker in action? Check out this video below to see exactly how it works.

What You Can Gain From Owning Your Own Toaster Oven

best toaster ovens to buy

Our previous article touched on some of the simple recipes that you can fix in a toaster oven. The great thing about these countertop ovens is how versatile they are. They have the convenience and small size of a microwave but they also have the functionality to cook many different types of meals of your full sized oven. For preparing something quick and delicious there really is no substitute for having a toaster oven in your home.

Advantages

There are many positive reasons that your countertop should have one of these ovens, below are just a few examples:

Easy To Use – Modern toaster ovens now come equipped with LCD displays and intuitive controls that make finding the perfect setting a breeze. Whether you want to roast a chicken or reheat some pizza there is bound to be a preset function at your fingertips. Some of the higher end models even adjust the time and temperature automatically so you don’t have to. It is truly a set it and forget it experience.

Energy Savings – A smaller oven needs less time to preheat and some ovens don’t need any time to get up to the proper cooking temperature. A smaller interior requires less heating and thus requires less energy to operate. In the long run the energy savings can wind up covering the cost of the oven.

More Than Toast – While they do toast bread, a toaster oven can generally do a lot more. They come with functions like; roast, cook, bake, reheat, toast, bagel, broil, to name a few. These a full featured cooking machines that are able to help you prepare delicious meals and side dishes like you would in your conventional oven.

Easy To Clean – Being smaller also has the advantage of being easier to clean. With non stick interiors, a simple wipe down with a wet cloth can get the toaster oven looking like new. Stainless steel exteriors also make it hard to food to stick to the machine. A couple of minutes to with a rag and you can have it looking shiny without worrying about caked on food sticking to everything.

Modern Styling – Today’s countertop toaster ovens are also designed to have a modern look. The stainless steel body not only serves a function but it also makes it look sleek. From modern to classic, these ovens are sure to fit any type of kitchen with futuristic eye appeal.

Convection Ovens

If you would like to take your cooking with a countertop oven to a whole other level then you will want to get one with a convection setting. This means that there is a fan in the oven that will circulate hot air which in turn will help speed up the cooking time. This also has the advantage of ensuring that the food is cooked evenly on all sides and there are no hot or cold spots on your food. It will also let you use lower temperatures which could boost energy savings even more.

Even though your favorite traditional oven recipes may need some adjusting for time and temperature, a convection oven can really help speed up the process of preparing tasty homemade meals for you and your family.

Brands such as Breville, Cuisinart, and Kitchenaid make terrific convection countertop ovens that are worth consideration. Going through the recent convection toaster oven ratings over at Great Plains Examiner shows just how tight the battle for the top spot truly is. While Breville has a line of toaster ovens that is exceptional, Cuisinart is slowly catching up and they also have some superb convection ovens that we highly recommend. It really is hard to make a bad choice when it comes to buying one of these appliances as long as you stick with the names at the top.

Disadvantages

While there is a lot of reasons that you should buy a toaster oven, there are also some aspects that might prevent you from pulling the trigger on a new small appliance purchase.

Price – This is always the biggest detriment to shopping. If you already have a full sized range you may just not see the need to spend more money on another machine to cook your food. Toaster ovens can typically range from $50 up to $400, so cost is definitely a factor.

Countertop Space – Most of us do not have big kitchens, so finding room on the counter can be a challenge. This usually means that something up there already will have to find a new home in a cabinet. Rearranging the kitchen just may not seem all that appealing to warrant a new oven.

Are You Missing Out?

If you like to think of yourself as an amateur chef who loves to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then you will probably get a lot of use out of a higher end toaster oven. If you think that cooking a meal is too much work then why wouldn’t you want something that could give the same results but with less effort and time. Do miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the food you prepare even more.

Simple Tips To Purchasing Your First Juicing Machine

A juicer is not only the perfect compliment to any kitchen but it is also a great addition for your home because everyone living under your roof can reap the benefits that juicing can deliver. It is not just for granola eating hippies, juicing has gone mainstream and for anyone looking to improve their health, their energy, and their diet, the juicer is worth a closer look. But what should you look for when buying a new juice extractor? We have broken down some of the most important aspects that you should keep an eye on when trying to find the best model for your needs.

There are two different methods by which juicers operate and the type of juice that you consider depends a lot on what you hope to get out of it. Centrifugal juicers main advantage is speed, but they can be quite loud. Masticating juicers main advantage is noise, although these machines can operate at a slower pace. Both can deliver great tasting and nutritious juice full of phytonutrients, they just arrive at the same place a little differently. So which ever type of unit that you pick, you will be sure to get the full benefits of juicing and everything that it has to offer your health.

Features to Consider When Shopping For A Juicer

Finding the right juicer for you depends a lot on how you expect to use the machine and what you hope to get out of it. Below are some of the primary features to consider when searching.

Price

This is always a primary factor for shoppers. Quality juicers can range from anywhere from $100 up to $500. You should be able to find a top performing juicer somewhere in this price range. Don’t try to get the cheapest machine, because the bargain juicers tend to not be stable as well as not be as efficient. You will wind up wasting money in the long run. On the other end, spending more than $500 will not get you a distinct advantage worth pay more for. Stick to this range and you should be fine. Centrifugal juicers tend to be less expensive than masticating models, so if your budget is tight, look into getting one of these.

Speed

Today’s centrifugal juicers, especially Breville models, are going to give you the fastest juicing experience. The cutting discs spin at super high rates of speed and they devour hard fruits and vegetables with ease. They also have feed chutes with wide openings to reduce prep time. They are also rather easy to clean, so from the first step to the last step, a centrifugal juicer is going to save you the most time. If getting the job done fast is the most important concern, this is the juicer for you.

Juice Yield

This pertains to how much juice is extracted from various fruits and vegetables. Masticating juice machines are going to win this battle. They get slightly more juice out of various kinds of food and will end up saving you money in the long run. They are also great at getting juice from leafy greens, something that centrifugal juicers tend to struggle with.

Noise

If you are someone who hates to operate noisy kitchen appliances, or you are worried about waking the neighborhood, then avoid centrifugal models and get yourself a masticating juicer. These machines run at considerably lower speeds and produce noticeably less noise.

Clean Up

There is no distinct advantage to either type of juicer, but this is more model specific. This is something to read up on when you read through online juicer reviews.

Juicer Machine Reviews

This is perhaps the easiest way to find a quality machine. See which models owners give the best feedback to. If a particular model shines in certain areas, the customer reviews will probably bear that out. And if something is awful about a certain machine, then you will definitely be able to find that out as well. User ratings are a great way to find a quality machine. Juicing is popular enough that there are literally thousands of ratings to read from.

Any Juicer Is Better Than No Juicer

There are lots of quality options from which to choose from, so try not to get too hung up on finding the absolute best. If speed, price or ease of use are the chief factors guiding your decision, then get a centrifugal model. If the highest juice yield, low noise, and leafy green juicing is your primary goal, then get yourself a masticating model. Any juicer that you choose is going to dramatically impact the way that you live and the way that you feel. So get juicing as soon as you can and pick up something that can benefit the entire family.