Category: Kitchen Appliances (Page 1 of 2)

Safety Tips for Using Stand Mixers and Hand Blenders

Stand Mixers Safety 

Switch the stand mixer off before you reach into the blender or insert utensils. It also needs to be off if you need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Keep your hands away from anything that is moving.  Stand mixers reach high speeds, if you touch parts of the mixer that is moving it could result in a serious injury.  Ensure the attachments, blades etc. have stopped moving before you touch them.

Ensure you wear proper clothing, short sleeves, or roll up long sleeved shirts; an appropriately sized apron, closed-toed shoes no sandals; tie back long hair and remove any jewelry that could get caught.

Please click the link if you want to see the best stand mixer in 2018 and its safety features.

Staying Safe with a Hand Mixer

It goes without saying that all kitchen appliances need to be handled with care to prevent injury. Hand blenders are no exception to this rule. It is easy to become complacent when using the hand blender, or any type of kitchen appliance but that is the time when you risk becoming injured.

Unplug

When changing blades, or removing the blades for storing or cleaning, always unplug the hand blender from the electric power source. There have been times when a malfunction in the switch, or a slight bump has caused the machine to turn on.

Direct Blades Away From You…Always

When you are using your hand blender, it is always important to keep the cutting area and the blades pointed away from you, pointing downwards. This will make it harder for the blade to catch your hair, clothes, jewelry or even fingers, ouch!

Maintain Blade Sharpness

Over time and with use, the blades on the hand blender can start to become blunt. You must keep them sharp so you do not have to add extra force to get the blending job done. The extra force can cause you to slip, or lose control of it while it is on.

General Safety Tips for Cooking with Kids

Cooking can be fun with kids and for kids.  Everyone wants to be safe in this regard. You must be sure to go over general kitchen safety with kids of any age. Explain why they should not throw water on an oil fire on the stove. Always have a first aid kit on-hand, and that you understand basic first aid yourself. With that covered, here are some additional safety measures to take with your children:

Make your equipment as child friendly as possible: mixing bowls and cutting boards with non-skid bases, utensils and knives of the right scale, peelers and other tools with non-slip grips and safety graters.

Shorter kids will need something to stand on, which makes it is very important that they do not need to reach for items which may cause them to lose their balance.

Wherever possible, try to set up a lower work surface for the kids to make it easier, safer and more comfortable to work.

If you use these helpful safety tips, cooking with mixers and blenders will be both safe and fun.

Top 5 Toaster Ovens

When you choose your new toaster oven, you will find that many different models are available. You can buy a conventional toaster, or decide to go to the higher end of the market and buy a toaster oven. Many toaster ovens offer lots of different functions, letting you bake, broil, toast and even steam.

Here is a list of 5 of the top toaster ovens available on the market.

Black and Decker TO1303SB 4 Slice 

This oven is available at a very good price, an entry level model that comes complete with fantastic looks. The black casing and stainless steel door look great together, you could say it is a kitchen classic.

There is no need to pre heat your conventional oven, this model will enable you to get cooking straight away.

The front window is large and helps you to keep track of how things are cooking. The timer, with a ‘stay on’ function, makes cooking easy and to your exact specification.

While it is small enough to fit on any counter top, it still allows you to cook up to four slices of bread or a 9 inch pizza.

This appliance would be a great choice if you are looking for an entry level model, but require something that looks good on the counter top. Black and Decker toaster oven reviews are available by clicking the link.

Panasonic NB-G110P Flash Xpress 

This toaster oven cooks with two 1300w infrared lights which cook up to 40% faster than a conventional toaster oven. For convenience the oven instantly heats, eliminating the need to pre heat the oven.

The oven has six cooking menus, all of which have pre-set buttons. It will automatically calculate the cooking time for a wide variety of foods such as bread, waffles and bagels and also has a reheat function. The digital timer and temperature settings make the oven very user friendly.

The machine comes complete with an inner tray, which is perfect for cooking a 9 inch pizza or 4 slices of bread. All of the crumbs are collected in the removable tray for easy cleaning.

An interior light allows you to view the food while it is cooking and an audible beep lets you know when the cooking is complete.

A top end model, perfect if you require plenty of features and easy cooking.

Cuisinart CSO-300 Combo 

This has to be my top choice. While it is expensive, it offers so many functions and features. This steam and convection oven incorporates all of the functions of a professional steam oven in a smart and compact way, it is so small, you can place it on any countertop.

The fact that it cooks with steam reduces cooking times by up to 40%. You can select any of the nine cooking functions which include bread, bake convection, bake steam, broil, broil steam, steam or super steam. A keep warm function also comes in handy when entertaining.

This oven not only toasts and bakes, it allows you to steam or poach any type of fish, poultry, rice or vegetable. You can also use the bake steam function that will roast vegetables or meat perfectly. The food comes out perfectly moist and juicy, yet beautifully browned.

If you enjoy making bread, a special setting allows you to proof bread and rolls and bake them quickly, this machine can bake up to 35% faster than a conventional oven, while retaining the nutrients and vitamins, as well as the moisture and freshness.

A fantastic feature is the steam clean facility, who would say no to a self-cleaning toaster oven?

Not only is this a very versatile oven, it looks great too. It is finished in brushed stainless steel, adding style to any kitchen.

Rosewill RHTO-13001 6 Slice Toaster Oven 

With this oven, preparing pizza or toast really couldn’t be easier. When you consider the price of this model, it offers lots of features. It will bake, broil, toast and warm, making it a fantastic addition to any modern kitchen.

The machine is finished with a black exterior, and has a white interior, which will add style to the modern kitchen. The large window allows to you monitor what stage the cooking process is at.

Compared to a lot of models it has a large cooking area, it will easily fit a 12 inch pizza or up to 6 slices of bread. It is powered by a 1500w adjustable thermostat, giving you perfect results, with minimal effort. The 60 minute timer also allows you to ensure your food is cooked precisely every time.

For such an affordable model, this is a powerful oven that really shouldn’t be passed by without serious consideration.

Westinghouse WTO-201-0S Toaster Oven 

This appliance would be a fantastic addition to any kitchen. It is not only affordable, but has great looks with its sleek and stylish stainless steel exterior.

For a cheaper toaster oven, this model has a large cooking capacity. It can cook up to four slices of toast or a 10 inch pizza. This oven also has a good temperature range, from 250 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

It features four cooking settings, which include bake, broil, toast and keep warm. This oven also has a 60 minute timer, perfect if you have other things to get done while the toaster oven works away without supervision. It comes complete with a tray to bake or broil and an oven rack, all specifically designed for this model.

Finding the best model or device

There is always some work to finding the best model or device, no matter what kind of technology you are investing in. In fact, this is something of a quest that I have gone on, many times in the course of my life.

From my first TV to my first car, from my first video game to my first guitar, even my first electric shaver, boom box and coffee maker. Well recently I started on a new kick, learning to cook and I found out that it wasn’t the same world as other technologies.

I should explain that I already had a lot of stuff for my kitchen, but what I really had a problem with was getting rice to cook right.

It was like a bad game of win lose or draw. No matter what, I could always find some way of screwing up the rice. Either it was too soft, too sticky or I just burnt it up. It actually wasn’t funny to me, but rather it was very frustrating.

Which is when a girlfriend of mine suggested that I might benefit from the purchase of a rice cooker.

The premise was sound, so I began to do some research on these devices unknown to me. Figuring that it would be like any other piece of technology, that I could deduce most of what I needed to know from online reviews by customers, buyers and others. Boy was I wrong.

The problem is simple, in essence.

No matter where I shopped online, I found that there was a wide range of different rice cookers, all of which seemed to be decent kitchen items. Although the price range for such rice cookers could go anywhere from $10 all the way to $1200. As if that made any sense to me at all.

Assuming there would be more clarity to be gained, I proceeded to read through the reviews on several websites one by one. I will not name the particular websites to protect the innocent, but the more details I read, the more murky my choices became.

Some reviews made wonderful claims and boasts about different size cookers, being able to make so much more rice. Other reviews claimed certain models cooked higher quality rice and were made from special materials, making them seem almost like magical pots. Still other reviews made wild claims that only the Asian made rice cookers were worthy of cooking rice and no other cookers could compare.

In none of these reviews could anyone seem to address my primary question.

Why do I need a rice cooker?

It seemed that if I did need one, there would be some way to tell, which one best suited my needs. And if I didn’t need one, then I prayed for the cosmic powers of all things rice like to give me a sign, so I could end this exhausting search for the perfect rice cooker. But alas, it seemed that no answer was forth coming.

So I gave up, deciding that perhaps I would never be able to understand this strange frustrating new technology. That I maybe the one person in the world who will never be able to cook rice to anyone’s satisfaction. It was just then, that I looked one last time for a review that might express what I wanted from such a mythical device.

Which is when I found this review while looking for a rice cooker.

It was from an anonymous person, probably posted as a joke, but it expressed everything I wanted from something to cook my rice in. The poster went simply by the name Rice Man, who so eloquently typed out this haiku like review of the perfect rice cooker ( which I have reprinted here with all the punctuation and grammatical errors, so please forgive them in the spirit of this article ).

i put rice in

i put water in

i turn on

rice cooks

i eat

i happy

i satisfied

end

Yes, Rice Man.

No truer words have never been spoken. So I turned off my computer and went to my stove, determined to find a way to make rice the old fashioned way. Since buying a rice cooker did not seem to be in my future. At least for now.

DIY Beater to Bowl clearance on your Food Mixer or a New Beater to Bowl Attachment?

If you know the problem of dough sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl when you are mixing then you may like to know about how to fix that depending on the type of mixer you have. This is known as beater to bowl clearance and can make a huge difference as when you get it right you do not have to keep stopping to clear the dough from the sides of the bowl and you will not end up with a lot of wastage.

When your mixer is straight from the factory it will be set to just clear the bowl when mixing. It is a delicate balance between touching the sides and scraping the bowl with the blades, however, it can be done.

The best way forward is to check your manual for beater to bowl clearance; if you do not have the instructions here they are;

Beater to Bowl clearance on Tilt-head model mixers

This type of mixer has a screw just below the area where the head is attached to the stand. You will need to unplug your mixer and tilt the head to locate the screw. If you turn it very slightly to the right (clockwise) it will lower the beater, a slight turn to the left (anti-clockwise) it will raise the beater.

Beater to Bowl clearance on Bowl-lift models

This type of mixer has an adjustment screw on the lower portion of the stand.  You will need to put the lift handle down to locate the screw. The same method is used as above, turn to the right for lowering and turn to the left for raising the beater.

You may have to make slight adjustments if you can hear the beater touching the sides.  Just adjust it gradually for the best results.

N.B You will need to be very careful not to touch the bowl with the beater as it can cause damage.

N.B It can also damage the motor.

N.B If you are unsure of how to do this and do not have instructions on how to do this in your product manual, check with your manufacturers help line.  A good branded product will have assistance and will be able to help you make the adjustments rather than trying to adjust it yourself.

If you are in the market for a new stand mixer take a look at Mixer Picks for honest reviews of the latest products on the market.

It is not easy to go into a store and testing a food mixer, you can’t really expect to be able to make a dough mix right there, that is where straight talking reviews can be very useful.

The good news is that if you are shopping around for a new food mixer there are now two types of beater blade on the market which address this problem.

The two types are BeaterBlade and SideSwipe Spatula Mixer Blade; here we can take a look at the two for comparison.

BeaterBlade;

Looks and attaches pretty much the same as any other blade but it has food grade rubber “wings” along the edge of the paddle.

These “wings” are designed to continuously scrape the sides of the bowl so you no longer need to keep stopping and lifting the lid to manually scrape the ingredients from the side of the bowl. It is also designed to go into the dimple in the bottom of the bowl.

Whilst it is good for lighter mixing of cookie dough, cake batter, sugar frosting and nut butters it is not recommended for heavy doughs used in bread making, heavy cookie dough or frozen ingredients.

It can be safely cleaned in the dish washer (top rack).

SideSwipe Spatula Mixer Blade

The shape is similar to your usual blades but you will see that it has “fins”. They are made of silicone molded onto the edge, angled horizontally. This is designed to scrape the sides of the bowl and the ingredients in the bottom of the bowl.

Again, it is not recommended for very stiff doughs, frozen or hard chilled products.

It can also be safely cleaned in the dish washer (top rack).

Both types

The warranties are not great for these newer types of attachments, perhaps the manufacturers anticipate misuse!

The BeaterBlade is guaranteed for 1 year.

The SwideSwipe Spatula is guaranteed for 90 days (from date of purchase).

At the time of writing it is difficult to know which brands have which attachment available.  You have the link in this article offering up to date information on food mixers to help you choose.

Whether you want the “wings” of the bird or the “fins” of a fish to help you scrape the sides is another consideration!

 

A simple Guide to Blending Superfoods

Have you ever tried munching your way through a leafy green salad for breakfast?  No?  Really?  Leaves are just for garnish right?  No, wrong!

The fact that superfoods can be blended and made into a delicious drink with a little imagination make it so much easier to kick start a healthy habit with a blender, check out blendaway.us wow what a site, for up to date reviews on the latest blenders.

If you can imagine this smoothie; kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, mint, ginger and coconut water then you make it!

On its own you may just manage downing the coconut water which is a stand- alone delicious and nutritious drink.

Leaves alone can be taste a bit bitter, but with the pungency of ginger, the sweetness of the coconut water and mint there is the perfect balance.

The coconut, ginger and mint have good digestive properties to counteract any adverse effects of the leaves.

Spinach and kale are both packed with vitamins and minerals, spinach will give you iron and kale is even rich in protein. Mint also has a powerful antioxidant as do all greens. Cucumbers are cooling; they will give you plenty of B vitamins (all great anti-stress vitamins).

Another great smoothie is;

Blend together avocado, pineapple, pear, spinach, chia seeds and almond milk, giving you plenty of fiber, some sweetness along with lots of nutrients.  Pineapple is rich in bromelain which is good for arthritis and digestion. Avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals and also help absorption of these nutrients in other foods.

Fruits to be careful with!

May cause oral allergy syndrome

Whilst mint is a good remedy for seasonal allergies there are other allergies you need to be aware of.

For example some people suffer burning mouth syndrome with fruit added to smoothies.  The reason is that some fruits do unfortunately cause this reaction in some people.

Hence why it is better to use one fruit at a time and use other ingredients to add sweetness such as almond milk or coconut water.

Most obviously you will not be using any nut milks or butters if you have a nut allergy!

It is also a good idea to keep to greens rather than fruits with blending a cocktail of nutritious raw ingredients.  Fruit is high in sugar in the form of fructose and you don’t want spikes in blood sugar at any time of day.

Some of the more common allergenic fruits are bananas, mangoes, papaya, kiwifruit, apples, oranges, melons and strawberries.  This type of allergy is unpleasant with symptoms of itching, burning or even lips swelling.  It would be better for this reason to stick to just one fruit at a time. Once you are sure you have no allergic reaction to any particular fruit you can go ahead.  Even try strawberries with and without leaves added.  There is a lot more nutrition in the leaves.

This type of allergy is caused by the proteins similar to protein antigens in pollen, so hay fever sufferers are more likely to get this reaction.

Bromelain is not good for everyone!

Whilst herbalists will often prescribe bromelain from pineapple for arthritis, if you are sensitive to this enzyme you will probably already know because it can cause painful tongue pain and burning. The most concentrated bromelain is found in the fiber in the core of pineapple so you can try leaving that out of your blends.  If it still burns your tongue you may want to try different fruit, pears are very neutral and very rarely cause any allergies.

How long can you store your smoothies?

As your smoothies are rich in live enzymes, giving you a great boost of fresh nutrition it is better to make enough to drink or sip as soon as possible.  If you do make a large batch try to consume it within 48 hours from the fridge.  Buy some decent glass containers as plastic storage is more likely to explode as gases form in fresh smoothies after a very short time.

Once you start blending you will find your own favourite combinations, check out the many recipes for different types of smoothies.

Although I have said some of these fruits are allergenic to some people, you will probably know already what foods burn or cause problems for you.  As there are so many fruits available you will be able to eat some and not others.

Alternatives

Try some carrots for sweetness, beets are also sweet and can make a change from adding fruit.  If you are concerned about sugar and calories just stick to greens and added lemon or lime for taste, they also have anti-bacterial properties plus a good kick of vitamin C.

If you’re fed up with shop bought smoothies and the premium price perhaps it is about time to try a home-made smoothie, I hope this article is enough to get your taste buds begging you for a new purpose built blender!

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