Showing posts with label kitchen appliances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kitchen appliances. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Heart Waffle Maker Reviewed

Another Way To Say I Love You

heart waffle
Heart Waffles image courtesy of pixabay.com
With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, I have had hearts on my mind. I found an adorable little kitchen gadget that will allow me to make little heart shaped waffles anytime of the year that I want to. 

The fun part is that with this mini waffle maker you and I are not constrained with just making waffles. Any wet batter will work. So, we can make heart shaped hash browns, paninis or even biscuit dough for a little heart shaped pizza. Now isn't that a fun idea? 

This little waffle maker is very light weight (about a pound) and does not take up much room for storage. It is a perfect size for a small apartment and can even travel with you on vacation. It heats up fairly quickly, too. The one drawback is that it only makes one waffle at a time but it shouldn't take too much time to whip up several due to the miniature size. 

I couldn't help but think of one of my family members who traveled around the country in an RV. This little heart waffle maker would have been great for them to have on their trips because it would pack away nicely in that very limited kitchen area. You are not limited to a heart design, either. There is an option for traditional round waffles if you would rather have them instead of hearts. 

What a fun idea for a house warming gift or a gift for the new bride and groom. Kids can make heart shaped waffles for Mom or Dad on Mother's and Father's day. There are just so many fun ways that this little gadget can be used! I think that it would be such a fun little addition to any kitchen. What about you? Do you think that you would have some fun with it? 




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Sunday, September 30, 2018

An Alternative to a Double Oven when Cooking for a Crowd

Counter-Top Roaster Ovens - "Very handy to have on hand"
Counter-Top Oven Roasters are a Practical and Affordable Solution

If you don't own a double oven it can be tricky to cook for a large crowd. 

For most of our life our homes have had one oven. Our family is quite large and cooking for family events, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, takes creative planning.

It's certainly possible to plan a large dinner with one oven, but having an extra oven makes the job so much easier. 

For 20 years or more we've owned a counter-top roaster oven. It's stored away for most of the year, but come the Fall the oven gets hauled out and used.

I Didn't Want One!

Not being one for a lot of kitchen appliance clutter, I was against getting another kitchen gadget. Clutter is not my thing.

However, I was absolutely wrong.

Our counter-top oven roaster has been one of the best choices in kitchenware we've ever made. Big family meals would be impossible for me without it now! Don't take my oven-roaster away.

The Brand We Use is 'Nesco'

I've featured a few 18 quart Nesco oven roasters below.

An 18 quart oven roaster typically fits a turkey up to 22 pounds. The non-stick cookwell is also removable which makes it easy to clean. If you use it to cook a large chilli for a party, put the entire oven on the table and keep the temperature on low. You can also remove the cookwell and bring it to the table.

In terms of the temperature gage, it operates like a standard oven. As an example, for our Turkeys, I start cooking the Turkey at 400 and then after about an hour turn it down to 350 to 375.

I'll also put oil and butter on the top of the Turkey and it does brown enough for our taste. However, if the top isn't brown enough for you, just lift the cookwell out and place it in the oven to broil the top to the color you like. The roaster also comes with a rack with handles allowing you to safely remove your Turkey.


It's over 20 years later, and I'm still using our Nesco Oven Roaster. Come to think of it, we've never had one single problem with it. That's rare. Hopefully the newer models last as long as my older model has. As far as my own experience, 'reviewed and recommended'.


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer Reviewed (Model 63325)

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer Reviewed
I love my Hamilton Beach 63325 6-Speed Stand Mixer! 

For many years, I was tempted to buy a stand mixer, but I simply couldn't justify the multi-hundred dollar cost of the one I thought I wanted.  Every time I entered a department store, I would mosey over to the kitchen appliances and allow myself to be mesmerized by the beauty of a shiny new stand mixer.   

Several times my husband offered to buy one for me, but I refused to let him spend that much money on a mixer.  He even ordered one online as a surprise for me once and I cancelled the order myself citing the ridiculously high price was just too much.  I told him if it ever went on a 70% off sale, we could talk.  Of course, that never happened.   

However, my daughter and son-in-law did the unthinkable without my permission a few years ago.   They gave me a stand mixer for Mother's Day.


The Gift of the Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Stand Mixer


Hamilton Beach 63325 6-Speed Stand Mixer
I should note that the children were smarter than me.  They knew I needed a stand mixer, but they didn't choose the shiny and pretty model I was entranced by in department stores.  They looked at a durable, dependable, yet lightweight beast.  

I confess, I hadn't even considered the weight of the "beauty" I thought I wanted.   It's a good thing they thought of the weight though because I do have to move my stand mixer (11 lbs) each time I use it.  I would never have been comfortable lifting and moving the "beauty" (26 lbs).  Lifting my "beast" and carrying it from counter to counter is almost effortless for me.

The first time I used my Hamilton Beach stand mixer, I stood back and watched, amazed at how it did that work for me.  I definitely appreciated everything about it.  

You might think that being lighter weight would cause the mixer to hop around on the counter while mixing.  It does not.  It has nonslip feet and they definitely work!  

I also thought I wanted a glass bowl, but the Hamilton Beach stand mixer has a stainless steel bowl.  As it turns out, the stainless steel bowl is fabulous!  It is also much lighter than a glass mixing bowl, plus it won't break if I drop it.  Now, I have to tell you, I am thrilled that it came with stainless steel instead of glass.

Features of the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer, Model 63325


Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer Reviewed (Model 63325)
  • 6 Speeds
  • 3 Attachments:  Flat Beater, Whisk, & Dough Hook
  • Head tilts up and locks into place to easily add ingredients 
  • Beater has excellent bowl coverage - very little need for scrapping sides
  • Nonslip Feet
  • Lightweight (11 lbs)
  • Mixer Unit Wipes Clean
  • Attachments and Bowl are Dishwasher Safe
  • Inexpensive by Comparison 

I want to take a moment to address how well this stand mixer mixes.  When I make a German chocolate cake, I do stop and scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure it is getting completely mixed.  That truly may be more habit on my part than necessity.  However, heavier batters, like my carrot cake, do not require scraping the sides of the bowl at all.  The flat beater does an excellent job of scraping, stirring and mixing.

The only advantage I now see to the beauty over the beast is that you can purchase separate attachments like a food grinder, pasta maker, ice cream maker, etc. that work by using the motor of the stand mixer for power.  If I ponder that for long, I realize I'm not likely to ever buy or use either of those separately purchased attachments.  If I want either of those things, I can buy the individual machine that is made for that specific purpose with it own motor.  

In case I forgot to mention, the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer (the beast) costs almost 1/4 of the price of the one I thought I wanted (the beauty).  Ironically, that even beats that 70% off sale I was waiting for before I would make a purchase.

Thank you again to my daughter and her sweet husband for giving me what I really needed, the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer. 
   

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Easily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer

how to make zucchini noodles with a vegetable spiralizer
Image by Lou of Lou's Designs
If you're looking to increase your vegetable intake or reduce some of the heavy carbs like pasta from your diet then a spiralizer could be the answer.  Let me review why I think you'll adore having a vegetable spiralizer - I personally love mine, I don't know why I didn't get one sooner.

At the time of writing this I'm doing the Arbonne 30 Day Plan to Healthy Living and Beyond and basically that means that (for this month at least) I can't eat pasta, I can eat zucchini however ... enter zoodles! 

I have been meaning to try and made zoodles aka zucchini noodles for ages which is the whole reason I purchased my vegetable spiralizer.

Making the zucchini noodles was so easy and I'm now seeing lots of other recipes using other vegetables in place of pasta.  What a cool way of getting your child to eat more vegetables than to make their spaghetti bolognaise with zoodles?

So my vegetable spiralizer came with three different blades like the Paderno World Cuisine one below, but you can also get them with 7 blades, Amazon's best selling vegetable spiralizer comes with 7 blades and is the second one featured.




The actual one that I have doesn't seem to be available online which is why I've given you two alternatives.  Now I've only used the blade to made noodles so I'd just get the 3 blade one personally, but...

They were super easy to make you simply placed the zucchini (or vegetable of choice) on the spiky guard, making sure that the other end is in the middle of the round thing that is going to basically core your zucchini so that it looks like a very weird toadstool after the noodles are all made.

The next step is to simply turn the handle, however if that is all you do you won't get very long noodles, you'll just get little curls (they don't say that in the instructions).  What you need to do is as you're turning the handle you need to also be applying a gentle pressure inwards (towards the vegetable) then it will work beautifully.

It is super quick and I simply popped the zoodles into boiling water for a few minutes - basically treating them like fresh pasta noodles.  I've since been told of other ways of cooking them that involve almost sauteing them in coconut oil, but I haven't tried that (and probably won't).

how to make zucchini noodles so that your kids want to eat their vegetables
Image by Louanne Cox, Arbonne Independent Consultant

I would recommend starting with zucchini as it's quite a bland vegetable which makes it ideal to replace spaghetti.  I would also recommend a pinch of salt in the water when cooking it, I didn't do this the first time and it was much better when I did do it.

You can use sweet potato, carrot, parsnips and who knows what other vegetable, just use your imagination.

I will be trying out sweet potato next as I think that will go really well with a number of dishes I enjoy.

Have you ever tired zoodles or thought about making them?  If so then why wait, just do it as Nike would say!

Let me know in the comments if you've tried any other vegetables as I'd love to hear how they went.


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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Easy in the Kitchen: Slow Cooker to Make Homemade Beans

Programmable Slow Cooker
Yes, I admit it. I have 2 slow cookers and I use them both regularly. Easy in the kitchen is my preference and I'm going to review with you how I make things easier with my slow cookers. They aren't just for making dinners anymore. There's plenty to enjoy about slow cookers.

My two are different sizes. I have a smaller one that is a 4-quart cooker, and I have a larger programmable 6-quart size (www.kitchen-basics-small-appliances.com/programmable-slow-cookers-easy-cooking). I have made plenty of chilis, stews and soups in my slow cookers and I will continue to do so. The joy of tossing in all the ingredients, turn the thing on and come back to dinner ready to serve can't be beat. Plus, why not make enough for 2 or more dinners? That's easy in the kitchen in my book.

Homemade Beans


One of my favorite uses for my slow cookers is making my own homemade "cans" of beans. I was one of those people who would buy cans and try to force myself to use them. Sure beans are good for you, but I could never stomach the boring taste and slimy liquid canned beans were packed in. Discovering how to make my own beans made a world of difference.

  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Pinto beans
  • Navy beans or any white bean
I start with dried beans - so much cheaper! About 1/2 cup of dried beans will equal a standard can size of cooked beans (about 1 1/2 cups). My smaller slow cooker easily handles a cup and half of dried beans, so I make 3 "cans" of beans at a time. 

Dried beans need to be soaked first, so I do this in my slow cooker. Usually overnight. Then drain and rinse the beans, put them back in the slower cooker, add enough water to cover the beans with about 2 inches of water on top, and cook. I set my slow cooker on high for 4 hours and the beans are cooked to perfection. If you have a programmable slow cooker, you can set it to cook the beans when it's most convenient for you. 

Packaging Homemade Beans


Freezing your cans of homemade beans is the easiest option.  I use half-pint mason jars which hold about 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans - the equivalent of a standard can. Remember to label them with the date as well. Frozen beans should last about 6 months. Of course, I can't ever test that out, I use my frozen beans too fast! 

Here's an easy in the kitchen trick for you. With any frozen foods, top the food with a piece of parchment paper. That will prevent ice crystals from forming and will keep freezer burn out of your food. 

Choosing a Slow Cooker


If you're in the market for a slow cooker, whether your first, second or ninth, there are things to consider before you buy. The options are numerous. You'll want to think about what size you need, what features will be helpful and what your budget allows. When you have the right appliance for the right cooking needs, you will have an easier time in the kitchen. 

So stop depending on store-bought cans of beans. Make your own. Flavor them to your own tastes and enjoy healthy and delicious homemade beans in your slow cooker. 





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