Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet The Appliance Freaks

I was recently contacted by Ellen and Karen over at the Appliance Freaks. They have this awesome blog where they review everything from toaster ovens to vacuums and more. What a fantastic idea for a blog! They wrote an article/guest post for I Thee Cook which you can read below, with some great info and neat tips on convection toaster ovens. Read up and if you have a chance go over and say hello.

5 good reasons why you should use a convection toaster oven
Whether you cook for a large family every day or just for yourself, having a convection toaster oven can be a great asset in the kitchen. If you have a large family to feed, you might be skeptical because of the name. Do not be misled by “toaster,” because it can do more than toast your bread in the morning. Although it might not be best way to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table for a party of 15, it can actually replace your larger oven for most daily tasks. The trick is learning what you can do with it. You will soon discover it can be your new best friend in the kitchen.

It Does it All!
This is different than the standard toaster oven you use to make your breakfast bagels and toast. The “convection” feature means your toaster oven comes with a fan that distributes hot air evenly throughout the oven, which means you can make just about anything. Does your meal plan call for a whole chicken?  Cake? The unique features of a convection toaster oven will cook a variety of things just the way you want. Those tortillas and pita breads will turn out crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and you can bake croissants to light, fluffy perfection.
It will even defrost your ingredients before cooking. Use a shallow dish and select the “defrost” setting. Whatever you defrost will be defrosted as well as partially cooked; just keep that in mind when setting your cook time.

Don’t Toss the Pizza Crust
Leftovers are great for quick meals, especially pizza. It makes a great breakfast or lunch the next day. The only problem is getting the crust crisp again. The convection toaster oven does more than just reheat the crust, leaving it limp and mushy. In many convection toaster ovens, like the Smart Oven by Breville, a pizza-crisping tray gets your leftover crust as crisp and fresh as when it first came out of the oven.

Make Quick Desserts with the Kids
Cookies are a great dessert option; you can even let the kids in on the fun. They are easy to bake and make a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Plus, a convection toaster oven will bake them to perfection whether you want to use a quick mix or want to take some extra time and care to make them from scratch.
Chocolate dip for your favorite fruit is another easy-to-make dessert idea for you. In the convection oven, you will get a smooth, creamy dip.  The chocolate melts slowly and evenly, with no lumps. Also, you can make the dip last longer by adding a little butter and milk; this added touch will prevent it from hardening up as fast so you can savor it a little longer.

Great Snacks and Sides
Baked potatoes make great side dishes for larger meals or a wonderful afternoon snack on their own. A convection toaster oven lets you bake perfect baked potatoes. Just you’re your potatoes—just one if that is all you need—and slice them in two. When they are almost done baking, just pull them out and add cheese or sprinkle on some bacon bits. Then, put back in and melt the cheese to golden brown.

Of course, healthy snacks are great too- not to mention less traumatic to your waistline. For something a little healthier, try making your own roasted nuts. Simply spread them on shallow tray or dish like a cooking sheet for optimum hot air flow. Be sure to keep an eye on them until you learn how long it takes for them to cook to your taste; don’t forget that the convection oven cooks everything faster. To add flavor or switch things up, try sprinkling them with salt water, caramel or other spices.

Keeping Things in Color

The next time you are cleaning up broken crayon pieces, don’t toss them. Your convection toaster oven can help you repair those crayons by melting the pieces to create new ones. Start by using aluminum foil to create tube-shaped “molds.” Next, remove the paper from the broken pieces and drop them into the tubes. Heat your convection oven to 250 degrees to melt the wax. The kids will be ready to create another round of artistic masterpieces just as soon as they cool.

If you take time to learn all the ways a convection toaster oven can be a great addition to your kitchen, you can use it to save time by getting great-tasting meals on the table faster and also save a little money. A convection toaster oven uses less electricity than a larger oven, so by using it for your everyday cooking needs, you can actually reduce your power bill as well.

Take time to look into the features of a new convection toaster oven that will be the most helpful for you. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money on something that will ultimately be worth the investment.

About Ellen:

Ellen Kaylor and her friend Karen May are co-authors of ApplianceFreaks.com, a popular and helpful blog known for its insightful and well-researched project reviews that help customers when shopping for home and kitchen appliances. The two share their knowledge and experience to help readers make the right purchase decision and get more for their money. If you are looking for a juicer, their Breville 800JEXL review is worth checking out.

Ellen is a mother of three, a great cook, and a juicing enthusiast. She also teaches cooking classes where she shares her passion and cooking expertise with her students.

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