Showing posts with label Home Appliances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Appliances. Show all posts

Monday, May 13, 2024

DASH Everyday Stand Mixer Review

Ready to downsize? Has the stand mixer become a counter hog? A kitchen tool that can be decorated but is too heavy to move? Looking for a smaller or mini stand mixer? The Everyday Stand Mixer by DASH is a mini mixer with six speeds and a 3 quart bowl with a retro look. 

The Dash Everyday includes a set of beaters and a set of dough hooks along with a book of directions and recipes. Six colors are available: black, aqua, cream, pink, red and white accented with silver trim.



The weight or lack of is one of my favorite features of the mixer. So easy to move on the counter. So easy to store under the counter. The power the mixer generates with such a light weight is quite unexpected!


The light weight of the Everyday stand mixer was a major factor in my consideration of a mini stand mixer. The prior stand mixer was heavy and needed alot of space on the counter. The space the Everyday stand mixer needs is minimal.

Measuring in at 1.93 pounds for the DASH Everyday compared to 25 pounds for the well known brand 5 QT stand mixer, the Everyday is so easy to move and store whether on the counter or in a kitchen cabinet. The low weight is my favorite feature of the Everyday mixer,


The DASH is very loud. The reviews mentioned the unit is loud. It is. Not so loud to need earplugs, but definitely loud enough to prevent conversation.

Again, no comparison between the big name brands. My five quart model was not whisper quiet; but a conversation could be held in close proximity while the mixer was working. 


The look of the mixer is pleasant to the eye. Sleek and minimal. The exterior and buttons are plastic; the buttons are push buttons which do require a bit of labor to push.


Apples to oranges stereotype comparison. $449 for the 5 qt namebrand stand mixer vs $49 for the Everyday mixer.


I have been experimenting with recipes I have made for years in the higher priced stand mixers; so does the Everyday get the job done. It has and it does. Is the process as streamlined or as quiet as the name brand stand mixers? No. 

The speed of the mixer is very very fast! At times the mixer does seem a bit out of control with the speed, but the stability has been solid thus far.


The reviewers were correct. As a consumer the information is easily accessible so I was not surprised regarding the features. I highly recommend sifting through the reviews particularly if you are downsizing from the larger capacity big name brand to this mixer. 

I purchased the Everyday with the hopes it would feel a void between the large steel stand mixers and hand mixersf. The Everyday did mix dough and recipes which require a long mixing time such as meringue with ease.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Friday, January 5, 2024

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener Review

Hamilton Beach Electric Smooth Touch Can Opener
Many years ago, I discovered a hand-held safe cut can opener.  The ability to open can lids without sharp edges has been fabulous!

Sadly, during the holidays this year, I misplaced my beloved safe-cut can opener.  I have no idea what happened to it.  After weeks of looking, I fear it must have been accidentally thrown out with all of the trash generated over Christmas.  

I felt tremendously distressed when I discovered that my original hand-held safe cut can opener was no longer available, anywhere!  I have had that can opener for almost 20 years.  I spent a good bit of time looking at the different hand-held can openers that are now available and trying to select a new one.  There is simply not a comparable "4 in 1" replacement.  However, I did find an electric smooth-cut can opener.  I decided that having an electric can opener again would be nice, so I ordered it immediately.  

I love my new electric smooth touch can opener!  Just like my hand-held safe-cut can opener, there are no sharp edges on the can or lids.  Therefore, there are no hands or fingers cut by sharp lids when removing the lids or when they are "floating" around in the kitchen trash can.

Of course, I still hope my hand-held opener will be found, but for now, I will enjoy my new electric smooth edge, safe cut can opener.


Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener

This sleek design electric can opener is rather attractive sitting on the countertop.  It matches my other kitchen appliances, which are all black, including my coffee maker, my toaster and my stand mixer.  Having it out on the counter does make it very convenient to use. 

The push down activation lever is almost effortless.  The cutting mechanism easily locks into place on the can lid and holds it while separating the lid from the can, creating that smooth edge on the lid and on the can.

The can opener does not automatically stop or lift the lid off when the can is opened.  The motor sound shifts to a higher pitch when the can lid is completely separated. (You can hear it in the video below when the demonstrator opens the large can of Cento Peeled Tomatoes) Then, you lift the lever with one hand while holding the can with the other and physically remove it yourself.  That prevents cans from falling off the opener and making a mess.

There is also an area in the back of the unit for cord storage which is awesome.  Thus far, I have not left my electric can opener plugged in.  I only plug it in when I am using it, so I do use the cord storage in the back.

To clean it, you simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. 

I searched YouTube and found the video below so you can see the can opener being used and hear the pitch change when the lid is separated.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Best Ultrasonic Humidifier: Ultra Quiet, Easy to Clean & Fill

We live in New England, where the winters are cold and the indoor air is dry from the heating system. I am also susceptible to respiratory illnesses such as colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia in the winter, so using a humidifier is necessary for both health and comfort.

We have found that ultrasonic humidifiers, which we prefer for reasons I'll go into below, tend to last only a few years. So, we have tried a variety of brands and models. The Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier we purchased a month ago is our favorite by far.

Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier
The Levoit LV600S is the New York Times Wirecutter's top pick as
The Best Humidifier of 2023. We love ours!

How to Choose a Room Humidifier

After purchasing multiple humidifiers over the years and doing a lot of product research before each purchase, we've gotten good at choosing a good one. Here are the key considerations when shopping for a humidifier.


There are four main types of portable room humidifiers we considered, which differ based on how the humidity is generated.

Warm mist humidifiers heat the water to create the vapor, i.e., steam. They're great for cold, dry winter climates like ours, and the heat cuts down on germs and bacterial contamination. We have found that they can create a lot of humidity — sometimes too much if you don't keep an eye on the moisture levels. However, warm mist units tend to be noisy, use more energy, and be more difficult to clean than cool mist models. Also, if you have children or pets, a reservoir filled with boiling water may not be the safest choice.

Cool mist units increase the humidity of the room without raising the temperature, so they're ideal for dry, warm climates. They tend to be pretty energy efficient. The units emit a humming sound that may bother some people, while others may experience it as "white noise" that is acceptable. We have found that they can be prone to developing mold and mildew and need to be cleaned more frequently than other types.

Evaporative humidifiers are a subset of the cool mist category. These units create vapor by using a fan to blow air through a moist filter, speeding up the natural process of evaporation, and that vapor is emitted or blown into the room. Like other cool mist models, evaporative humidifiers are safe for children and pets (because the mist is cool or room temperature), and are energy efficient. The filter needs to be changed regularly.

Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency sound vibrations to break the water into droplets, which are then expelled into the air. These units are very energy efficient and extremely quiet, making them a great choice for bedrooms. Many models offer the option of producing cool or warm mist. They may or may not require a filter.

After having tried several types, we prefer an ultrasonic.

Size of Room

As with choosing an air conditioner or space heater, it's important to choose a model designed for rooms of a similar size to the one for which you are purchasing the unit. The power of whatever is creating the mist determines the volume of space the unit can humidify.

Reservoir Capacity

The size of the reservoir determines how long the unit can produce vapor (not how much it can produce) and, therefore, how often you will need to refill it. For that reason, it's important to make sure the reservoir is at least large enough to continue producing mist throughout the night, while you are sleeping.

I look for a large-capacity reservoir that I can fill only once or twice a day.

Ease of Filling

A top-fill reservoir is much easier to fill than a bottom-fill tank. A top-fill reservoir can be filled without removing it from the base unit, whereas a bottom-fill reservoir must be lifted off the base, carried to a faucet, and inverted under the tap to fill it. This can be messy (the water drips) and, if you have a large tank, heavy after you fill it.

Our last ultrasonic humidifier had a bottom-fill reservoir, and we hated it. The sink in our master bedroom's en-suite bathroom is old and small, and we couldn't get the opening of the reservoir under the faucet. That meant we had to carry the dripping tank to and from the kitchen.

Also, since a humidifier should only be on when the reservoir is in place, we had to remember to turn off the power, remove the tank, fill it, replace it, and turn the unit back on.

Ease of Cleaning

It's important to clean your humidifier frequently to avoid breathing vapor filled with germs, mold, and mildew. So, choosing a model that is easy to clean has become one of our top criteria.

Consider the size of the reservoir opening (can you reach inside easily?), and the size and number of corners, nooks, and crannies in the base and tank.


Consider whether you want manual or automatic controls or a choice. For example, you might want to manually set the rate at which the unit produces mist (regardless of the ambient humidity level), or you might want to set a target humidity level and let the unit automatically start and stop producing vapor as needed to maintain that humidity.

If you live in a climate where the humidity is fairly constant, manual controls are fine. However, if you live in an area with more variable weather conditions, like New England (where the saying goes, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute"), a unit with an automatic setting to maintain a target humidity level will be important.

Price of Consumables

Some types and models require water filters, mineral absorption pads, or other consumables, some of which may be optional (like the aroma pads for our new unit) or may depend on whether you have hard or soft water in your house.

It's important to determine which consumables, if any, are required, how often they will need to be replaced, and how much they cost, to help you determine the total cost of ownership over the expected lifetime of the product.

Customer and Expert Product Reviews and Recommendations

When my husband and I are researching products like humidifiers, we always do our due diligence. We comb through Amazon product reviews and look to expert product reviews and recommendations such as those from Consumer Reports and The New York Times Wirecutter to help us narrow our short list of candidates and finalize our product selection.

Levoit LV600S ultrasonic humidifier and filtered water pitcher
The Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier can crank out plenty of humidity when needed, and for a long time, thanks to its powerful output and large-capacity, 6-liter water tank.

Why We Love the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier

After trying so many different humidifiers over the years, here are the reasons we love our new Levoit LV600S humidifier.

The NYT Wirecutter's Top Pick

This ultrasonic humidifier topped our list of candidates after we read the New York Times Wirecutter article "The 6 Best Humidifiers of 2023" and saw that the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier was their top pick. That was a compelling expert recommendation, and when we looked at the Amazon customer reviews for this product we were extremely impressed with the overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Hybrid Warm/Cool Mist Ultrasonic

If you're not sure which type to buy, the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier gives you the best of all worlds. This model defaults to cool mist, but there is a Warm Mist button that cycles through your choice of warm mist settings (low heat, medium heat, high heat, heat off).

For example, if someone is sick and has chest congestion, you can select one of the warm mist options to help them breathe easier.

The brand's "exclusive" Warm Mist mode claims to have improved mist dispersion and a powerful output: "Set at 550ml/h, the warm mist function generates temperature variation, boosting air circulation for 4× faster relief from discomfort" vs. cool mist.

There is also no risk of being scalded by hot vapor, as the mist is released at a safe temperature of 86-120 °F.

Designed for a Large Room

With its powerful 550ml/h output, the Levoit LV600S is designed to humidify an area as large as 753 square feet. 

Large Reservoir

One of the things we love about this model is the large 6-liter capacity reservoir. We keep our humidifier cranking 24/7 during the cold, dry, New England winter months, and although we top up the water daily, the tank is usually still about half full after 24 hours.

Depending on the settings, the manufacturer claims the unit can produce humidifying mist for up to 50 hours on a single tank of water.

Easy to Fill

The Levoit LV600S is a top-fill model. So, instead of having to turn off the power, remove the water tank, carry it to the sink, turn it over, unscrew the cap, maneuver it under the tap, fill it, replace and tighten the cap, carry it back to the base, and seat it properly before turning the power on again, as we did with our previous model, we can just lift the lid, top up the tank with filtered water from our Brita pitcher, and replace the lid. Easy peasy!

Easy to Clean

This is by far the easiest-to-clean ultrasonic humidifier we have owned. The large opening in the tank makes it easy to reach inside, and the interior corners of both the base and the water tank are very accessible. The cleaning brush that comes with this model is also larger than those from our previous units.

Ease of Operation

The Levoit LV600S has simple, intuitively labeled buttons on the front control panel and a large, easy-to-read, digital display (which is turned off automatically in Sleep Mode).

Automatic Humidity Control

Since we live in New England, the ability to have the unit adjust the volume of mist output automatically to maintain a desired target humidity level is essential. We love this set-it-and-foreget-it mode. However, you can also set the mist output level manually, if you prefer.

Reasonably Priced Consumables

The Levoit Replacement Mineral Absorption Pads should be replaced every 2–4 weeks depending on the hardness of your tap water. A pack of 10 costs $9.99 on Amazon at the time of this post's publication. You can also find less expensive replacement pads that claim to be compatible with this model.

The Levoit Water Filter Sponges should be changed about once a month, depending on the water hardness in your area. At the time of this article's publication, a 10-pack costs $9.99 on Amazon.

There are also optional Levoit Aroma Pads that can be used with essential oils and placed in the Aroma Box compartment at the back of the base. The mist will diffuse the aroma when the humidifier is in use. A pack of 16 costs $9.99 on Amazon as of this writing.

Extremely Quiet

At a noise level of less than 28dB, the default unheated, cool mist mode is practically silent, which we love. The sound increases when the Warm Mist settings are used to heat the water, but this model is still extremely quiet compared to our previous humidifiers.

Sleep Mode

The Sleep Mode turns off the lighted controls display and changes the mist setting from a manual mode (if applicable) to an automatic mode and uses the humidity sensor to automatically adjust the mist level to maintain 50-60% relative humidity. 

Sleep Mode also turns off the warm mist, if applicable, to reduce noise, but you can press the Warm Mist button to turn it back on if desired.

My husband can't sleep well unless our bedroom is completely dark, so being able to keep the display turned off is a great feature for us. We keep our set to Sleep Mode all the time unless we need to change a setting manually, which makes this appliance much more unobtrusive.

Minimal "White Dust"

After running our Levoit LV600S nonstop for the past month and filling it with filtered tap water from our Brita pitcher, we still haven't seen any sign of the dreaded mineral residue on our furniture or floors.


Although we have not yet needed to use it, you can set a timer to automatically shut off the unit after a preset interval (between one and 12 hours).

Memory Function

This model will remember your Mist Level, Humidity Level, Warm Mist, and Wi-Fi settings even when the unit is turned off or unplugged. It will not remember your Sleep or Timer settings, however, and the display will turn on automatically when the unit is turned back on.

Aroma Box

At the back of the base, there is a compartment called the Aroma Box. You can pull it out, put 8–10 drops of essential oil onto an Aroma Pad, place the scented pad into the compartment, and replace it. This will lightly scent the water vapor. We have not tried this yet.

“No Water” Indicator With Auto-Shutoff

If there is no water in the tank, this indicator will blink 10 times and the humidifier will shut off automatically. The indicator lights up when the water tank is removed and remains on until the tank is re-seated on the base.

Mobile App

What makes the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier "smart" is that it is Bluetooth- and VeSync-enabled. VeSync is a smart home app that allows you to control connected devices remotely from anywhere.
Screenshot of the VeSync smart home mobile app on my iPhone. The app lets you
control your humidifier and other VeSync-enabled devices from your smartphone.

We only started using the app this week, and it's a great option with an extremely intuitive, easy-to-use interface. It's also nice to know that we will be able to control our humidifier remotely when we travel.

The app allows also you to access additional smart functions including a sophisticated Plant Mode and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice commands.

Sleek Design

Although appearance is less important to us than function and features when we choose an ultrasonic humidifier, this one has the advantage of looking streamlined and unobtrusive and doesn't detract from our home decor. A nice bonus!

Helpful Humidifier Tips

Optimize the Humidity Level

If you live in a climate with cold winters, keep the humidity level low enough so the mist doesn't condense on your windows (and potentially rot the wood window frames).

Consider a Standalone Indoor Hygrometer

A humidifier's built-in humidity sensor (humidistat) measures the humidity in the immediate vicinity. For a more accurate measure of the room's humidity, we put an inexpensive indoor hygrometer on the far side of the room and set the humidifier's target humidity so that our desired humidity level displays on the hygrometer.

Protect Against Possible Leaks

The only time we had an ultrasonic humidifier leak, it was the result of user error. (It had a bottom-fill tank and when we refilled and replaced it on the base, we didn't seat the reservoir correctly, so the water leaked onto the table.) So, as a precaution, we now put our ultrasonic humidifiers on an old plastic cutting board on top of a sturdy plastic 12-gallon lidded storage container. The cutting board provides a stable surface for the unit to sit on, and the interlocking flaps at the top of the crate are not water-tight, so if there is ever a leak, the water would fall through the interlocking flaps and be contained inside the crate with no risk of damaging our hardwood floors.

If you want to keep the humidifier manual and consumable supplies (e.g., filters) next to the humidifier, as we do, put them in a zippered plastic freezer bag to keep them dry and protect against possible leaks.

Use Distilled or Filtered Tap Water

If your tap water is hard, you can cut down significantly on the dreaded white mineral dust (the residue from the minerals in the water after the emitted mist evaporates) by using distilled or filtered water. We keep a Brita water filter pitcher next to our humidifier and use the filtered water to refill the reservoir.

In fact, the manufacturer of our model recommends that all users use distilled water or filtered water to fill the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier instead of tap water, which they say "might leave white dust and grow mold."

Give the Gift of Health and Comfort

If you know someone who lives in a cold or dry climate, has respiratory issues, or gets colds easily, the Levoit LV600S Smart Hybrid Ultrasonic Humidifier would make a great gift!

The Best Ultrasonic Humidifier: Ultra Quiet, Easy to Clean & Fill by Margaret Schindel

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Friday, December 15, 2023

Presto GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer Review

Granpappy Deep Fryer
When my husband requested beignets this past week, I realized it was time to purchase a new Fry Daddy.  After all, my original Fry Daddy was over 40 years old.  It served me well for decades, but the time had arrived to retire it.  The last few times that I have made beignets, I fried them in my electric skillet.  Of course, that works just fine, but I prefer the deep fryer that a Fry Daddy offers for beignets or french fries.

My husband's parents were born in Louisiana and we still have relatives living in Louisiana, including my own sister.  Beignets have always been a part of our lives.  After all, one cannot hail from New Orleans and not be familiar with the fabulous Cafe Du Monde and their delicious beignets.  In fact, you cannot visit New Orleans without visiting Cafe Du Monde.  It is just not done!

Since we reside 400 miles away from New Orleans and Cafe Du Monde, we must settle for the next best thing.  A box of Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix and a deep fryer!  

Preparing to replace my beloved Fry Daddy, I ventured over to Amazon where I discovered the GranPappy!  Oh, yeah!  Now we're talking!!!  

This larger version of the original Fry Daddy is awesome!  I can cook approximately 10 beignets at a time in the GranPappy, which means I am eating them much sooner.  Okay, well, it really means I am sitting down to eat them much sooner.  I always "snack" on them as I am cooking.  They are simply too hard to resist!

By comparison, the Fry Daddy holds 4 cups of oil and the GranPappy holds 6 cups of oil.  The GranPappy deep fryer is taller and wider as shown in the photo below.


deep fryers


Presto GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer

I love the larger size!  It makes me wish I had purchased a GranPappy years ago.

I cook in my electric skillets a few times each month, but when it comes to deep frying smaller items like french fries, beignets, hush puppies, fried okra, etc, I prefer the FryDaddy or my new GranPappy deep fryer.  Because of the taller, more narrow designs, they simply do not pop or splatter oil out as much as the shorter sides of an electric skillet will.  I don't enjoy being popped by hot oil, but we do love our fried foods.  Therefore, I consider the GranPappy deep fryer an essential appliance in my kitchen. 

It takes 15 minutes for the oil too heat in the GranPappy deep fryer.  Keep in mind, you are cooking with hot oil.  I highly recommend using the slotted spoon that comes with the GranPappy to lower your food into the oil.  "Dropping" food into hot oil causes the hot oil to splash back on you and trust me, it burns.

When you are finished cooking, be sure to allow your oil to completely cool (I allow a few hours) before you remove the oil and clean the deep fryer.  

Since the GranPappy has a detachable electric cord, I wash the deep fryer after each use.  I have a separate pot with a strainer for storing the oil for reuse.  The lip design allows you to easily pour the oil from the unit without making a mess.  Alternately, you can store cooled oil in the GranPappy itself.  It comes with a plastic lid just for that reason.  Just be sure to wait for the oil and unit to completely cool before you put the lid on.

The GranPappy has only one temperature, therefore there are no controls to adjust.  It maintains the proper frying temperature automatically. 

It comes with a frying timetable to help you determine how long you need to cook food.  For instance, fresh cut french fries take 6 to 10 minutes, but raw, battered shrimp only takes 3 to 5 minutes.  Chicken will take longer (up to 18 minutes) depending on the size of the piece.  Personally, I cook fried chicken in my electric skillet since I am cooking 8 to 10 pieces at a time, but I wouldn't hesitate to cook chicken in this deep fryer if I was only cooking a few wings or legs. 

The beignets only take a few minutes to fry to perfection!


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Thursday, April 20, 2023

KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper


KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper
My KitchenAid 3.5 Cup food chopper review. There are so many tools for the kitchen, one of my favorites is my KitchenAid food chopper. 

We had a smaller food chopper for years, and it worked just fine. For cooking and baking, I wanted something larger.  After doing some research and reading reviews, I decided on this KitchenAid 3.5-cup chopper.

Food choppers are great and will save you time over using a knife to cut larger amounts of ingredients for a recipe.

 This is where I particularly find it handy when a recipe calls for ingredients to be chopped, diced, or minced. It saves me time. To be honest with you, I'm not that good with a knife.

I'm okay using a knife when a recipe calls for small amounts to be diced or chopped. Such as a couple cloves of diced garlic or a couple of chopped carrots.

When a recipe calls for larger amounts of diced or chopped ingredients for soups, stews, or other dishes it's time for me to use the chopper. 

Salsa recipe
Chopped Cilantro, onion, garlic, and jalapeno for salsa

I recently made some homemade salsa. I needed to chop large amounts of ingredients for the recipe. My KitchenAid food chopper made short work of this task. You can find my homemade salsa recipe here: Homemade Restaurant Style Salsa.

Features of the KitchenAid Food Chopper:

  • Chop, mix, and puree
  • Two speeds with a pulse button
  • One touch operation
  • Stainless Steel Blade
  • 3.5 cup bowl with a pour spout, Handle, and locking blade
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Easy to clean
Since this is a 3.5-cup food chopper it is best to cut larger size onions, carrots, and other larger vegetables into quarters before chopping.

KitchenAid is a trusted name brand. We have several KitchenAid products in our kitchen. We are very happy with the performance of all of them. 

KitchenAid Queen of Hearts Food Chopper KFC3516QHSD, 3.5 Cup, Passion RedKitchenAid Queen of Hearts Food Chopper KFC3516QHSD, 3.5 Cup, Passion RedCheck Price


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Friday, September 3, 2021

Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven Reviewed

Countertop Oven Review
When my oven went out for the second time in a year, I knew I needed an alternative so I searched for the best countertop oven for baking. Discovering the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven has been like finding a riverbed of gold!

Not having a working oven in our home is a major inconvenience. It has taken months to get the circuit board parts for repairing our built-in double ovens (twice). I understand there is a backlog and some parts are simply not available at this time. However, cooking dinner for my family can't wait for months, or that proverbial "slow boat".  

Of course I cook on the stove, in my Instant Pot, in my Crockpot and in the microwave. However, we love pizza, lasagna, manicotti, chicken enchiladas, roast, salmon, casserole style dinners, plus various breads, baked sides & desserts, which require an oven. I use my oven for something almost every day.  Therefore, this time, I had to find a separate countertop oven to carry us through until my double ovens are fixed.  

At the time of writing this article, my double ovens are still waiting for repair and I have been using my Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop (Convection option) Oven multiple times each day for weeks now. I am here to tell you, this little countertop oven is fabulous!  I have decided it actually does a better job of baking bread than my large convection oven. Therefore, even after my ovens are repaired again, I will continue to use this magnificent work-horse appliance.

Why Choose the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven

Countertop Toaster Oven Review
Previously, I did not want a countertop oven because I was warned that they get really hot on the outside.  Plus, most have small interiors and are very limited on what they can cook well.  It seemed like it would be a waste of counter space.

When desperation forced me to reconsider and research countertop ovens, I chose the Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop Oven simply because it is "cool touch".  The outside of the oven doesn't get hot! Plus, I read that the interior cooking space was a little over 12" x 12", which is large enough for a variety of pans. Even though I have needed to purchase smaller cookie sheets and a casserole dish without handles separately, I would like to note that the oven did come with a 12" pizza pan and a baking pan that fit the oven. That allowed me to start cooking immediately.

My first baking experiment for the "little oven" was my banana bread.  My standard loaf pan fit in the oven without any problem.  You can imagine my surprise when I pulled out a beautifully browned loaf of bread, followed by the real test of cutting into it to find it was fully baked with no under-cooked center spots.

Calphalon Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven
I was beyond excited to serve it to my family for breakfast.  I admit, that was the best ever banana bread and I've been baking banana bread for decades. Next, we baked biscuits and they were also cooked to perfection.

Then we tried pizza and it was perfect!  Followed by broiled beef sausages.  Admittedly, my husband prefers a charred skin on his beef sausage, but I thought the beef sausages were better than usual because the skin wasn't burnt.  Then came the clincher, the one meal that sold me on believing this convection countertop oven is better than my built-in ovens. I baked my lasagna and it was cooked perfectly.

In the midst of a stressful major appliance outage, this little oven has delivered peace and perfection! 

I give the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven my highest recommendation.


Features of the Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster Oven

 Calphalon Performance Cool Touch Countertop Toaster OvenCheck Price
  • Cool Touch Exterior
  • Large Interior Capacity
  • Convection or Standard Oven Settings
  • Oven Light
  • Non-stick Interior
  • Easy to Select & Set Cooking Options
  • Easy to Set Timer
  • Preheats Really Fast
  • Preset cooking functions: Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, (Bread) Proof, Pizza, Cookies, Reheat, & Dehydrate 
  • Keep Warm & Defrost Buttons
  • Wire Cooking Rack with Optional Upper or Lower Position
  • Included Accessories: 12" Pizza Pan, Baking Pan, Dehydration Basket, & Crumb Tray
  • Does Not Heat Up the Kitchen like a Regular Oven
  • 3 Year Warranty - Product Registeration at

A Few Placement Notes
  1. While the sides and top are cool touch, the bottom and back are hot, therefore I pull the "little oven" out about 4" from the wall when using
  2. The Electric Cord is on the right side of the back, not the center.  This keeps the cord away from the heat of the back, but might limit placement depending on where your electric outlet is installed
  3. The Cooling Vent is on the right side and should not be blocked.
  4. Rubber Feet on the Bottom create a 1½" separation between the counter and the bottom of the countertop oven
  5. Exterior Measurements:  19" wide x 12½" height x 17" depth (including handle)
  6. Do Not Place Hot Food on the Glass Oven Door  
  7. Print the User Guide Here

My New Lasagna/Casserole Dish That Fits This Countertop Oven

 HIC Oblong Rectangular Baking Dish Roasting Lasagna Pan, Fine White Porcelain,13 x 9Check Price


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Sunday, August 15, 2021

Review of a Quality Mini Blender-Chopper

Check Out This Brand of Mini-Chopper for a Quality Product

I recommend this mini-chopper because it's lasted us nearly fifteen years.

As most of us know, it's rare for any appliance to last that long. 

What makes this mini-chopper special isn't fancy features; in my opinion, it's the company that makes it. 

A Black & Decker Product - In Business Since 1910

We've always been a fan of this company and its products. They established their beginnings in 1910 in Baltimore, Maryland, as a small machine shop. Their products range from heavy equipment, hardware, home accessories, fastening systems, power tools, and home appliances. A Black & Decker drill was even used on the moon in the early 1970s for the Apollo 15 and 16 missions. In 2010 they merged with Stanley Works to become Stanley Black & Decker.

On a personal note, my mother worked for their company in the mid-1970s. Where I'm from, Black & Decker has been known for manufacturing solid products.

What's the Big Deal About a Mini-Chopper Anyway?

I'm not one for a lot of counter appliances. I find hauling out an appliance to be time-consuming. I prefer to cut, chop and mix as much as I can without a lot of extra equipment to store and wash. However, I've made an exception for this one product. 

Our Black & Decker Mini Chopper - It's over 15 years old and still going strong

I use the mini-chopper for anything that needs shredding, cutting, or chopping. I especially like it for chopping garlic and onions. I'll chop one, two, or three heads of garlic in one go. Tonight was a chicken broccoli casserole, and its main feature was lots of garlic. Thanks to this handy item, I can dice a lot of garlic at once.

In our house, we've had to replace numerous appliances over that same time period. However, not this mini-chopper - it has never broken or needed any type of repair.

Our 15-year-old+ Black & Decker Mini Chopper

Not repairing or replacing an appliance for over fifteen years automatically earns said appliance a five-star rating. This little gadget is well made!

If you're looking for an affordable hostess gift or a small gift for someone, don't hesitate to choose the Black & Decker Mini Chopper. It's something that will absolutely get used, and best of all, last.

You can find the mini-chopper here on Amazon. You'll notice that our mini-chopper has a completely different look. Of course, the reason being, it's fifteen years old!

Don't hesitate to choose this product. Five stars.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Review of Gremlin Week - Two Appliances Bit the Dust

Gremlin week was expensive

This past week was 'everything broke' week. Literally. 

We had to make two substantial purchases to replace the items the Gremlins busted.

The Microwave Bit The Dust

So there I am in the kitchen, minding my own business, reaching for something as my hand brushes the top of the microwave when I notice that thing that makes you go 'hmmm; heat on the top exterior of it.

My son had just made popcorn, running it for four minutes or so. However, it shouldn't have been on the hot side to touch the exterior ... or so I thought?

So doubting myself, I called one of my brothers and asked him to run his microwave to see if it was hot to touch on the exterior after use. Because, seriously, I was just second-guessing myself ... had I just never noticed that the exterior of the microwave got so hot?

My brother confirmed my thoughts; my microwave shouldn't be hot to the touch after use. In fact, it was so hot, I couldn't really touch the top.

Yes, I googled till the cows came home on this scenario, and just like google, the responses were a mixed bag of nothing concrete.

So I decided to give the microwave one last, quick try. 

And that's when it happened. The entire thing started to spark. OMG. Scared the living crap out of me. Quickly the beast was unplugged, and off I went to Amazon (Amazon, you are way too convenient) and ordered a new one.

My criteria was very specific: inexpensive - and that's it. 

Why inexpensive? Because since we've owned this house, nearly thirty years, we've gone through at least four microwaves. So all I wanted was something that didn't break the bank.

Here's what we selected. Oh, and I threw in a picture of my favorite red wine and some Lemoncella - just in case you're having a Gremlin week.

Here's the one we purchased on Amazon
Read the reviews, went for the price. Inexpensive. So far so good. Working fine.

The Central Vacuum Unit Went to the Big One in the Sky

Hubby was vacuuming something up in the laundry room ... minding his own business .... when poof, the central vacuum system ceased. He stepped into the garage to smell smoke, and yep, our central vacuum unit reached the end of its appliance life.

I am not complaining though, because we bought and installed our Electrolux Central Vacuum system in 1994 - It lasted 27 years!! It's been the ONLY appliance that hasn't broken down until now. They don't make them like that anymore!

My brother informed me that Beam bought out Electrolux. He put a Beam central vacuum system in his house not too long ago. 

Strangely enough, my mother's central vacuum system also died this year. She went ahead and put a Beam central vacuum system. Actually, my brother helped her pick it out. He's handy; he installed it.

I decided to check Amazon and go with something a bit less in price. The Beam central vacuum (just the unit that hangs on the wall) cost my mom about $795 (Canadian) - yah, we live in Canada.

Here's the central vacuum unit we selected - An Ovo. The unit itself cost us $399 (Canadian). We don't need any piping or vacuum parts. Our old ones still work.

Available on Amazon

It's a pretty darn powerful vacuum system. It works for homes up to 7000 square feet, and our home isn't anywhere near that size. With the basement, we're about 3500 square feet. So it'll be fine. Plus it offers a ten-year warranty.

Since we've just purchased these items, I can't give you a detailed review of how they've performed yet, but I'll be surprised if there's a problem. I'm not anticipating any problems. So far, so good.

So now I'm heading off to enjoy a glass of wine - the one that's sitting beside the microwave in that photo up there. 

It was a cha-ching week. Yuk. I hate shopping. Actually, I hate spending money, but it had to be done.

Gremlin week sucks.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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