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

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Best Powerful, Lightweight Stick Blender With Versatile Attachments

A stick blender, also called an immersion blender, is great for puréeing soups and sauces. Using a lightweight stick blender with a whisk attachment can be a lot more comfortable to use than a traditional hand mixer for mixing batters or whipping heavy cream. Several months ago, after the plastic housing and whip attachment on my 1980s-era Braun MR72 MultiPractic deluxe hand held blender with variable speed control eventually cracked, I did a lot of online research before choosing a new stick blender.

Ultimately, I purchased a Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) with three versatile attachments: an immersion blender, a wire whisk and frother. Today I'll share my review of this excellent, powerful, lightweight stick blender.

Müeller Ultra-Stick 3-in-1 Hand Blender
The Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) is one of my most used kitchen tools. It is also one of the best kitchen gifts and can replace several small appliances!

The Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender Is Surprisingly Powerful

Having used the Braun MR72 MultiPractic stick blender and whisk attachment for several decades gave me a much better idea of which features were important to me when choosing my next model of one of these small appliances. After narrowing down my top contenders for a new immersion blender, the powerful 500W motor on the Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) weighed heavily in its favor, since the 150W motor on my old Braun made it underpowered for my needs.

When using any immersion blender, it's important to hold the blades above the bottom of the pot, pan or other container and control the tool as the suction created by the blade and its housing try to force the shaft downward. The first time I used the blending shaft attachment on my new Müeller hand blender, I could feel how much more power it has compared to my old Braun model!

Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender speed control dial, power button and turbo button
The slim, contoured, ergonomic shape is easy for even a small hand like mine to hold comfortably. The speed control knob turns continuously, and the power and turbo buttons require just a thumb press.

Variable Speed Control Knob, One-Touch On/Off Button and Turbo Button Let You Control That Power Easily

My old model had a variable-speed control dial, but it had only 6 speeds. That, in combination with the 150W motor, provided a very limited range of speeds. By contrast, the Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) offers a choice of 9 speeds, thanks to multiple power and speed controls that give you more control over its powerful 500W motor.

The top of the motor body housing is the speed control knob. On the side near the top are two stacked buttons: The power button and the turbo button.

Speed Control Knob: After inserting the desired attachment—immersion blender, whisk or frother—into the motor body housing, plug the hand blender into the wall outlet. Then, the speed control dial clockwise to increase the speed or counter-clockwise to decrease the speed.

Power Button: Press your thumb on the one-touch on/off power button to turn on the motor and continue to depress it as you blend, whisk or froth your food or beverage. Release the button to turn off the hand blender. The company advises not to hold the Power button down for longer than 50 seconds at a time. However, I have not found that to be a limitation, since the 500W motor provides enough power to complete most tasks I have tried in less than 50 seconds!

Turbo Button: The Turbo button lets you kick things up a gear when you need to, whether you are puréeing cooked vegetables or whipping egg whites or heavy cream. Just slide your thumb down from the Power button to the Turbo button (directly underneath it) and press it for a quick burst of increased power.

Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) with attachments and instruction manual
The Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) with the immersion blending shaft attached, along with the gear box, whisk and frother attachments and simple instruction manual

Immersion Blending Shaft, Whisk and Frother Attachments Are All Extremely Useful

Blending Shaft: Attach this to the motor to use the Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender as an immersion blender. Its extremely sharp, stainless steel S-shaped blade lets you blend shakes or smoothies and purée soups, sauces or baby food.

Whisk Attachment: I use this lightweight stick blender with the whisk attachment several nights a week to make fresh whipped cream to serve with berries, ice cream, or another dessert. The difference in taste between store-bought whipped cream in a pressurized can and freshly whipped, lightly sweetened heavy cream with a splash of vanilla is significant. And with my new Müeller stick blender and wire whisk attachment, I can whip up a small batch of whipped cream, just enough for my husband and me, in just seconds!

I just pour a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream into a 2-cup Pyrex glass liquid measuring cup, add my sweetener of choice and some pure vanilla extract, then insert my hand blender with the whisk attachment and move the whisk in circles, holding it slightly above the bottom of the measuring cup. I start on the slowest speed for 5 or 10 seconds to avoid splattering, then dial the speed up and finish whipping the cream to the desired consistency. After spooning the topping over our dessert, I just pull out the which attachment and wash it and the measuring cup. Easy peasy!

The powerful motor of this hand blender also means I can use it to beat egg whites or mix cake, cupcake or other thin to medium batters, rather than pulling out my large, heavy KitchenAid stand mixer (which I now reserve for mixing thicker, heavier batters and doughs).

Frother Attachment: My husband and I drink Bulletproof coffee (hot coffee whipped with clarified butter and MCT oil to a creamy, foam-topped consistency) in the morning. It has several valuable benefits, as I've discussed in my product review of The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker. We had already purchased a cordless milk frother for this purpose, but it devours batteries and is underpowered, which is even more noticeable as the two AA batteries run down.

The frother attachment to our new Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender is a significant improvement in terms of power (110V vs. 3V), and we no longer are chewing through AA batteries.

Close-up of extremely sharp stainless steel blending shaft blade
The stainless steel blending shaft has an extremely sharp blade. Fortunately, it's also dishwasher safe!

Easy to Assemble and Disassemble

The plastic whip attachment for my old Braun hand blender was a pain in the neck to attach and detach from the motor housing. Fortunately, assembling and disassembling my new Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender (model MU-HB-02) with different attachments is a breeze!

Make sure the motor body is unplugged before attaching or detaching anything to or from it.

To attach the immersion blending shaft, insert it into the motor body and turn it counterclockwise so it snaps into the housing (you will hear a click).

To connect the whisk attachment or milk frother, first insert the shaft of the attachment into the gearbox. Then, insert the gearbox into the motor body and turn it counterclockwise so it snaps into the housing (you will hear a click).

To remove the immersion blending shaft, whisk or frother after using, simply reverse the process: Turn the blending shaft or gearbox clockwise and pull gently to detach it from the motor body housing, then gently pull out the whisk or frother attachment from the gearbox, if applicable.

Quick and Easy Clean-Up With Dishwasher-Safe Attachments

The motor body housing and gearbox should never be immersed in water, but can be cleaned easily just by wiping with a sponge or damp cloth.

The blending shaft, whisk and frother attachments can be hand washed in warm soapy water or put in the dishwasher for easy clean-up.

Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender assembled with blending shaft as an immersion blender
Connect the stainless steel blending shaft to the motor housing for a powerful immersion blender

Lightweight, Slim and Comfortable to Use

The Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender model MU-HB-02 weighs only approximately 1.9 pounds. It is lightweight, slim and has an ergonomic grip that is comfortable even for small hands like mine.

It is also 12.6 inches tall, so if I'm puréeing hot soup in a stockpot or Dutch oven, for example, my hand stays comfortably elevated above the heat.

Surprisingly Affordable and an Excellent Value

I could have spent more money on an immersion blender with whisk and other attachments that had features this one lacks, such as a speed dial that be operated with the dominant hand while the power is on. However, the quality/price/performance ratio on this Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender is quite impressive and it does everything I need it to at an extremely affordable price—less than $35 at the time of publication.

Since this stick blender with the whisk attachment is made mostly of stainless steel (unlike many others), takes the place of frother and a hand mixer (and is much more comfortable to use), can stand in for a regular blender or food processor in many cases and does a better job than either of those for blending small amounts of ingredients, it's really a terrific value. The America's Test Kitchen expert testers also recommended this immersion blender on the Cook's Illustrated website.

Don’t Use the Immersion Blending Shaft in Nonstick Cookware

The only other feature I could wish for would be a removable pan guard for the immersion blending shaft's blade housing, like the one on the KitchenAid KHBV53BM Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender, that wouldn't scratch nonstick cookware. However, the pan guard appears to be plastic, and I wouldn't feel comfortable using a plastic attachment inside a hot pan or pot of food that's directly on the heat anyway. In addition, that KitchenAid model has only 180W of power, doesn't come with a whisk or frother attachment, and the removable immersion blending arm isn't dishwasher-safe.

If I need to purée a soup or sauce, it's easy enough to use a stainless steel pot or to transfer the contents of a nonstick pot to a stainless steel bowl for immersion blending and then return the puréed mixture to the pot. This minor inconvenience is well worth it to have all the advantages and versatility of the Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender, especially given its affordable price.

An Affordable and Versatile Small Kitchen Appliance Any Home Cook Would Love

Click image to order the
Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender
(model MU-HB-02) 
on Amazon

This is one of those kitchen tools that you don't realize you needed until you have one. In fact, since I don't do a lot of immersion blending, when my old Braun stick blender with plastic parts cracked, I thought about not replacing it. But I really loved being able to whip up a small batch of fresh whipped cream or whip just one or two egg whites without having to drag out my heavy KitchenAid stand mixer, which is what prompted me to take a look at getting another hand blender with a whisk attachment. Finding a lightweight, stainless steel model with a much more powerful motor at an affordable price made the decision very easy.

The fact that this stick blender also has a milk frother attachment was a nice bonus that many gift recipients would appreciate, since lattes, cappucinos and other frothy drinks have become so popular. And, of course, anyone who drinks Bulletproof coffee would definitely love such a powerful frother.

I find myself using this versatile stick blender nearly every day, sometimes multiple times a day, for frothing coffee, making fresh whipped cream, or puréeing a sauce or gravy to get the lumps out quickly and easily. I'll bet someone you know would get a lot of use out of this Müeller Multi-Purpose Ultra-Stick Hand Blender, too.


The Best Powerful, Lightweight Stick Blender With Versatile Attachments by Margaret Schindel


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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 Calphalon.com


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




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Monday, July 1, 2019

Reviewing the NuWave Brio 10 Qt Air Fryer

Reviewing the NuWave Brio on Review This! 
Just this week I purchased the NuWave Brio 10 qt air fryer. And I am immediately in love with this way of cooking. I had to immediately review my new kitchen appliance.  If I find that over time I become disenchanted with this air fryer, I'll update this review. But right now I cannot imagine changing my mind about this machine.


NuWave Brio 


I bought an air fryer due to a recommendation from a co-worker. My co-worker had a cardiac event at a very young age. Thankfully, he recovered fully and returned to work. Not only did he return to work he clearly was losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.  I asked him what his secret was. He said that he was using an air fryer. And if I was interested in losing weight and/or becoming healthier, I should definitely get one.

After looking at video reviews and comparison shopping in the stores, I chose the NuWave Brio 10 Qt machine. I made this choice for three main reasons.

  • similar pricing to the other machines
  • 1500w (double the power of some of the other machines)
  • a larger cooking space than some of the other machines

The NuWave advertising lists the highlights of this appliance as:

  • digital controls
  • evenly distributed heat
  • dishwasher safe parts (the parts - not the machine)
  • program functions - program your favorite recipes
  • stage functions - create up to 10 stages of time/temp adjustments
  • rotisserie - adjustable forks and rotates 360 degrees
  • sear function 
  • reversible wire rack (to adjust the height of your food and/or make room for up to an 8 lb chicken)
  • built-in "safe start" sensor
  • precise temperature control from 100F - 400F degrees. 

My Skepticism and Hesitation


That initial air fryer recommendation came to me close to two years ago. When my co-worker suggested an air fryer, one of the reasons I was very skeptical is that I didn't believe that I'd use one regularly. After all, I never deep-fry foods and I already often bake my meats/french fries rather than fry. 

Since then, a second co-worker has had a cardiac event (she is fully recovered also - thank God!). With my friends having major health scares, my own increasingly health problems, and after watching a movie of a young man who controls his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms via diet and exercise, I decided to take the plunge and purchase an air fryer. 

(No, I do not have MS, but his story about healthy diet was so motivating I decided to focus on cutting out even more carbs, sugars, and junk foods. If you would like to see my review of Living Proof by Matt Embry, click here).


The Past Week with the Brio Air Fryer


Since I have bought this machine, I have had a wide variety of cooked vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, green beans) that I normally would not have unless I was eating out. For some reason, I have never been able to stir-fry or saute vegetables and have them turn out appealing in any way. The one vegetable I cook well is summer squash, but I was frying them in a small amount of oil. Now I'm air frying them with only a dusting of cooking spray.

I've made chicken livers in this machine and they turned out GREAT.  I did not expect them too. The light flour coating browned and crisped. I was amazed. Another perk was that cooking the chicken livers in the machine greatly decreased that cooking liver smell that permeates the apartment when I cook them in the frying pan!  

I've also made a beef and broccoli Chinese food recipe that turned out GREAT. This is something I've never been able to cook successfully previously. 

I have made both lightly floured chicken nuggets and BBQ chicken chunks that looked and tasted as though they were grilled.

But the best thing about this appliance has been cooking great foods, foods that I often would pop into the oven for 30 - 45 minutes. But this apartment is hot and we've been having a heatwave. Without the Brio, I would either be on the verge of heatstroke while making dinner or I would forgo a real meal. With the NuWave Brio, I have been making great meals during this heatwave and adding very little, if any, extra heat in the kitchen. 

I am really pleased with this purchase and I'm very glad I finally acted on my co-worker's recommendation.







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Friday, June 14, 2019

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed

An inexpensive rice cooker that everyone should have in their kitchen!

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed
I love rice, but I always hated the mess on my stove-top created by the sputtering pan.  I have several friends who have commented over the years, that their rice would burn on the stove if they cooked it according to the package instructions.

On the stovetop, Riceland Rice, the brand I prefer, should be cooked on a low boil, covered for 15 minutes.  You are not supposed to lift the lid or stir the rice for 20 minutes.  I have always believed my rice did not burn simply because of my brand of cookware, and not because my friends were doing anything wrong.

Regardless of the cleanup required, I cook rice frequently.  After all, cleanup is just a part of cooking and I do enjoy cooking.  

When my children were in school, there were mothers who found their solution by buying a rice cooker.  However, it wasn't until this last Mother's Day that I discovered the real beauty of a rice cooker in my own kitchen when my son gifted me with a Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker.


Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Review


 Hamilton Beach (37518) Rice Cooker,
4 Cups uncooked resulting in 8 Cups Cooked
Comes with Steam & Rinse Basket
Check Availablity & Price
See Below for Newer Model
I want to start by saying, I really love this rice cooker and I wish I had it decades ago.  It is so easy to cook and clean with this fabulous little cooker.  Plus, it doesn't take up very much storage room.  Because I use it often, I leave mine out on the counter, but it would be small enough to store in a standard kitchen cabinet.

I have yet to experiment with all that this beauty can do for me, but cooking the rice without a mess is enough for me to recommend this cooker to anyone.  It came with a small steamer basket, which I look forward to testing soon by steaming fresh vegetables.  The basket can also be used as a colander for rinsing.

You can cook white or brown rice, beans, hot cereal, hot soup and grains in the cooker, in addition to steaming vegetables.

The cooking pot has a nonstick coating and is dishwasher safe.

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Review


To Cook White Rice in the Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker

Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker Reviewed
  • Simply add 1 cup white rice, 1 teaspoon of butter, dash of salt and 2 cups boiling water into the cooker pot.  
  • Set the pot into the cooker and close the lid.  
  • Plug in the Rice Cooker
  • Select Warm, then Select White Rice
The cooker will auto set the timer to the default timing and auto-adjusts the time as it cooks.  (usually takes about 35 minutes to cook the rice according to my recipe, but let the cooker auto-adjust itself) 

When it has finished cooking, the cooker automatically switches over to a warming cycle to keep the rice warm until you are ready to serve.


Rice Cooker Vs. Instant Pot


I want to note that I do have an Instant Pot, which I also love.  The 8 cup rice cooker is perfect for rice or sides.  It is smaller and lighter-weight than my Instant Pot, which makes it much easier to store.  However, I could never cook my Minestrone Soup in it.  I need my Instant Pot for complete dinner size meals.  

If you have space for both, I highly recommend having both the 8 cup Hamilton Beach Rice Cooker and the 6 Qt. Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.


Note: A few days ago, I needed a housewarming gift and thought this would be the perfect gift. However, I noted that my model (37518) was no longer available "new". Therefore, I purchased (37519 - shown on the far right below). Other than a slightly different color control panel, it is exactly the same in size and function.  



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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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