Getting Your Kids Involved In The Kitchen

If you have been looking for new ways to get your kids to eat better, get out of their rooms, or you just want to spend more time with them then getting them interested in cooking is a great way to achieve this. What we learn as kids is how we carry on as adults and a true love for food can start very young. The time you spend with your children teaching them about the different aspects of food can have a tremendous impact on them as they get older.

But how do you grab their interest? There are several small appliances that can help you get them excited about helping you make various dishes, desserts, and even drinks. It should go without saying, but you should always make sure they are supervised, especially when working with things that can cut or burn them. Teach them about safety first, and the rest should be easy.

Small Kitchen Appliances That Kids Love

Children are often fascinated by new machines, especially in the kitchen. This is perhaps why an Easy-Bake Oven is so popular. Kids love to be creative and making food is a good way to channel their creativity. Here are some ideas of how to capture their imagination.

Ice Cream Machines

This one is pretty simple to understand. Kids love ice cream. They also love to make it as well. There is perhaps no better way to bring everyone together than with the sweet taste of a frozen dessert. Getting a home ice cream machine is a super way to put a smile on everyone’s face. They are cheap, easy to use, and the rewards are high. While there are some expensive high-end options out there, some of the top frozen dessert machines are quite affordable and they make all sorts of great desserts. You might be surprised how easy it is to get your children away from their phones when ice cream is involved. All you need are some simple ingredients and a little time. This is one appliance we feel every home should have.

Toaster Ovens

Some of today’s ovens can do just about everything you need when it comes to cooking food. If you have a small child that loves their Easy-Bake oven, then getting a small toaster oven can bring the same amount of interest. Since they are convenient to use, have a window to see what’s inside, and you can make everything from cookies to roasted chicken, toaster ovens are a fantastic way to bring your kids into the kitchen. These do tend to get hot on the sides and the top, so you will need to keep an eye on your little ones to avoid them touching it while in use. Watching their face as you take out something that you made together can be a priceless experience.

Juicers

If you want to teach your kids the importance of getting their fruits and vegetables, a juicer can make a lot of sense. Children tend to love juice and their is nothing better than when it is fresh. Their are also tons of recipes out there so that they will never get bored. It is also a nice way to get them off of soda. Juicers do have a potential for harm, so this is another appliance where strict supervision is advised. For their health and the quality of their diet, introducing them to the power of fresh juice and have a great influence on them. Portion control is also important as children can often get an upset stomach if they consume too much. Start small and go from there.

Spread The Love Of The Kitchen

These are just a few ideas of ways in which you can get bring your family together and let the kitchen be a gathering place. Teaching kids to eat healthy can take all forms and shapes and a little creativity can go a long way. Cooking with your kids is something that will benefit everyone and are experiences that you will tend to remember forever.

Time For A New Toaster Oven

Lately I have been on a cooking journey to try and expand my horizons in the kitchen. I have discovered some truly wonderful recipes that have turned out better than I had expected. It has been fun learning new techniques and experimenting with different types of cuisine. The one thing I really do not enjoy however is using the oven. It is big, bulky, and it is not a self cleaning model. This is why I have been looking to upgrade my countertop oven into something a little more capable of cooking rather than just reheating and toasting.

My brother just moved into a new house and he was looking to stock his own kitchen with some of the bare essentials. I offered him my current toaster oven since he does not really prepare a lot of his own meals. He accepted it. This was great for me as I just wanted a good excuse to get a new toaster oven on my own. I had be looking every so often as to what was out there, but now it was time to start my search in earnest.

I knew that I had wanted a Breville oven because they seemed to have all of the features that I needed so it was time to do some real research. I began my quest my reviewing the latest toaster oven ratings at Gouverneur Times to see if there were any better options. Turns out that Breville is still the leader when it comes to countertop convection ovens which was exactly what I had my eye on. I pulled the trigger on their top of the line model and I never looked back.

What Oven Did I Get?

While I could of saved a little my by getting the BOV800XL I really wanted an interior light. It’s a petty thing I know, but I went with the BOV845BSS to get this feature. It also came with an extra slow cook setting that I have used a couple of times. I really splurged but I have not regretted it one bit. This oven has a number of high end features that I have really enjoyed.

  • Stainless steel design makes it look ultra-modern. This appliance is the shining star of my kitchen, literally.
  • Super simple controls that required no learning curve.
  • Interior light….oh yeah.
  • Convection cooking feature that works as advertised. Everything comes out even and requires a little less time to cook.
  • Roomy interior that can handle one of my favorite cooking dishes. It also comes with baking pans that have really gotten a workout.
  • Preset functions are nice. I have had no problems leaving it up to the toaster oven using these.
  • LCD display is another nice touch that screams modern technology.
  • Relatively quiet when operating. There is a slight hum when you have the convection fan on. When it is off you can barely hear anything.

These are just a few of the areas where this oven shines. One word of caution, and this goes for most toaster ovens, is that the top of the oven gets rather hot while cooking. I knew this going in and so I also ponied up for the cutting board that Breville makes for their toaster ovens. It is meant to go on top and this way you can place items on top of it and use it as a shelf. This is a good idea if you have a small kitchen and need all of the space that you can get.

What I Have Made So Far

I have been non-stop in the kitchen since this arrived on my doorstep. This was one of the best gifts that I have given to myself and I have really gone to town with trying out all kinds of recipes.

Cooking

I have enjoyed trying out full meals with my new Breville oven. One of the first things I tried was one of the favorites that I used to make in my full sized oven and that was ribs. I baked them for just under 2 hours and then broiled them for a few minutes on each side. The meat was literally falling off the bone. They were extremely juicy and tender and I knew right there that I had made the right decision.

I have also cooked a ton of homemade pizza and I cannot get enough of it. I went a little crazy trying all of the pizza recipes that I could find. I’ve also roasted a whole chicken, yes there is room. I’ve also made a pot roast, casserole, turkey pot pie from scratch, and lots of fish. Everything comes out perfectly done. I was kind of weary on a few of my dishes, but in the end I was overjoyed with the results. I can’t stop looking for new recipes to try as I have yet to find one that did not turn out great.

Baking

I have kind of a sweet tooth as well so I put those baking pans that come with the oven to the test. Pies, cookies, and cakes and everything in between have been made so far and this oven handles it all beautifully. I usually make more than I can eat alone so I end up giving half of it to friends and family and they smile whenever they see me coming with a covered dish. They have also benefited from my new kitchen hobby and are amazed that all of this was prepared in a toaster oven.

Get One and Don’t Look Back

If you love to eat or love to cook and are on the fence about trying one of these smaller ovens, you need not worry. A modern countertop convection oven offers exceptional versatility and convenience that well let you create some extraordinary delights in the kitchen. I was worried at first because of the cost, but it has quickly made up for it with what it has delivered. They are also easy to maintain and keep clean, something that was a burden with my full sized range oven. You won’t regret getting one of these for your home.

Here is one of the recipes that I actually tried and it was a huge hit with the family. My dicing skills are not quite up to par, but everything else turned out terrific.

Juicing Your Way To Better Health On A Budget

Nothing is quite as refreshing and as healthy as a glass of freshly squeezed juice. On a hot day if you reach for a carton of juice from the fridge then you know what we are talking about. However to take your nutrition to the next level then you are going to have to use your own juicer rather than relying on store bought products. While there is nothing wrong with these products you can find in your local market, they have their limitations, both in variety and in nutrients.

The most popular brands of juice will be of your garden variety fruits and vegetables. Oranges, grapes, cranberries are some of the most common kinds of juices sold. Some of the more nutritious types of green juices are harder to find and they will cost you quite a bit more. The reason for this is that they are difficult to preserve and must be consumed right away. There will be a higher price to pay for these types of drinks and they are not going to make a lot of economical sense to consume every day.

I Thought Juicing Was Expensive

This is one of the main drawbacks of owning your own juice extractor. The higher quality machines are typically going to be a sizable investment up front. Then you have the cost of buying fresh produce to make your drinks. While this is true, there are ways to minimize the cost while increasing your vitamin intake.

If you think about how much fresh foods are in a recommended daily allowance you might think it impossible to eat all of that each and every day. Modern juicers let you get all of the goodness of fruits and veggies down to just one or two glasses of juice. This is going to save you a huge amount of time, and how valuable is your time? For a lot of folks this convenience is worth it to improve their diets.

Finding A Good Juicer

If you have looked at recent juicer reviews you will see that most of the highly rated ones will cost between $150 and $300. That is a lot of money to shell out for something that you are not sure you will stick with. If you look a little harder you should have no trouble finding a budget juicer for a little bit less than that. We recommend that you don’t stray below the $100 mark as the cheaper juicers will not leave you satisfied. You want something that works well, is easy to use, and is a machine that you will want to use every day. Cheap extractors can be poorly constructed, wobble on your counter, give you low juice yield and quality.

The two models we recommend for those looking to save a little up front are the Breville BJE200XL (get the review here) and the Cuisinart CJE-1000. These are both centrifugal juicers that will cost you right around $100. They are extremely simple to use, will give you decent yield, and are relatively easy to clean. For those just starting out these are both good choices.

Your Ingredients

Now that you have a juicer it is time to use it. The best thing that you can do to save money in this area is to buy in bulk. Avoid prepackaged items and purchase by the pound. Farmer’s markets are great for this and you can try and haggle on the price as well. A bunch of carrots with the stems on them is going to be a little bit less than a package of baby carrots. Once you have some experience you will get the hang of how much to buy without throwing out what you can’t use later on.

One of the by-products of juicing is that you are left with a bunch of dry pulp. Don’t throw this out. This is a good source of dietary fiber that you can use later on such as cake toppings or in soups. This will allow you to use everything and have very little go to waste.

Worth The Effort

You only get one body and treating it the best you can now will pay off for you in the future. The vitamins and nutrients that are in fruits and vegetables are going to be vital to maintaining your health over the long run. Yes, juicing is going to be more effort, and cost more money then eating a salad or two every day, but it not all of us enjoy grazing each and every day. Using a juicer will provide variety, give you something refreshing, and save you a tremendous amount of time. There are numerous benefits that make it worth it and being on a budget should not stop you. Here is to your health.

Check out the video below for a couple of more decent budget juicer ideas that will help you change your diet and improve your heath. Save a little and gain a lot.

Buying A New Infant Car Seat Is Quite The Adventure

I don’t have children just yet, someday soon I hope, but my sister just found out a few months ago that she is going to be expecting a new addition to her family very shortly. After spending time with her as she tries her best to prepare for the birth it quickly hits you just how expensive having a child can be. I told her to not worry about getting a car seat as I would help out and buy her one to help out. So I went on a search for the best car seats for infants to find something that both the baby and my sister would enjoy using while providing the safest ride possible for my new niece of nephew (we still don’t know which just yet).

I really didn’t know where to start, so I just went on a quest to do the most research to find the best option. I found myself reading the latest child car seat ratings and tips to find the top infant car seats available. I found that this really helped steer me in the right direction. I wanted to see which models that parents had experience with and recommended the most. This is typically how I purchase anything online. Sometimes it takes me a few weeks to finally pull the trigger on a purchase, but it usually serves me well and I end up with something that I am happy with. This is exactly what I did in this case, so for those who may be shopping for a new child restraint seat for small children, these are just a couple of the best options that I came across. Of course, budget is always a factor, but I also wanted something that was comfortable, versatile, and lightweight for my sister to use on an every day basis.

My Final Three Choices

Through a couple of weeks of intense research, and reading what seemed like an endless amount of customer reviews, I was able to narrow my choices. There are surprisingly a good number of models to choose from, so it took a little time to whittle it down to just a few car seats.

Chicco KeyFit

This is the infant seat that I eventually ended up buying. It has a number of things that made it the best choice for my sister, I hope. First, it is very highly rated by parents. Kids love to ride in it as well. It is really safe as well, with proper head and neck protection for little babies and it gives excellent support in this area. It is also very versatile which is probably the biggest factor in my decision. This model is made to fit into various strollers easily. You do not have to remove the baby, the entire seat just snaps into the stroller for the ultimate convenience. I talked it over with my sister and this is something that she can envision being really handy for her.

The ratings for this model are also really high and it is probably the best ranked infant seat that I came across in my research. It was a little pricey for my current budget, around $200, but I didn’t mind because you really cannot put a price on safety and comfort. In the end, the Chicco made the best sense for what I was looking for and I can’t wait to see it in action in the upcoming months.

Britax BeSafe Infant Seat

This model was a close second for me and I almost ended up buying this seat. Britax is another company that is known for their safety record when it comes to child safety seats. The have some of the best protection engineered into all of the seats and this model is no different. In the event of a crash, I was certain that this model would offer great security to the newborn. This infant seat also comes in a wide array of colors, but the colors that I was interested in buying were quite expensive. This was a key reason that I went with the Chicco seat. If I could afford it then I might have decided to go this route.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio

This seat was definitely out of my price range but it was one that I really wished that I could afford. It comes in a huge number of color and design options that look so elegant. Protection is also second to none. This is almost the ultimate for infant car seats but it is not for every budget. It has excellent safety features that will put your mind at ease while driving and it looks extremely comfortable for any infant that has the pleasure of riding in it. If price is not any option then this Peg Perego car seat is something that I would definitely recommend. It has impressive ratings from owners as well.

Happy With My Choice

Like I said earlier, there are a number of good options out there for any new parents looking to buy a car seat for the baby. In the end, I am very happy with my purchase at it hit on all the major concerns that I had. It was the right price, it exceeds car seat safety standards, looks comfy, and it gets good reviews from parents who have actually used it. Being a new parent can be expensive, so I am thrilled that I was able to help out in this way for my sister. No one ever likes to think that they will be in a car accident, but it is reassuring to know that you have the right equipment to be as prepared as possible should the worst happen. Now I can’t wait to be an aunt and spoil my new niece or nephew further!