Category: Food

What To Know About Convection Ovens?

Innovation has truly made our home more diverse. Before, we only have the oven. Now we have the oven toaster, the microwave oven, and the convection oven. Most of us are familiar with the oven toaster and the microwave oven, but what is a convection oven?

Food enthusiasts explain that the convection oven is the “scientifically-oriented” member of the oven clique. Technically, all ovens are convection ovens because convection, scientifically defining, is the natural circulation of heat created by differences in temperatures, which is observed in all types of ovens. But the “convection ovens” that we have these days feature an equal circulation of heat through use of fan, which the other ovens lack. With this equal circulation, cooking and roasting are made faster. However, not all foods are best to be cooked with similar heat. For instance, cookies and breads are best baked in a more humid environment, and since a convection oven dries out the oven much speedier, it is best to bake cookies and breads without the convection on (some ovens have the convection feature, which means they have the “fan,” that could be turned on and off).

One of the known units when it comes to convection oven is the Breville BOV800XL Smart Convection Oven. Like many other convection ovens, the BOV800XL unit is capable of baking, roasting, broiling, toasting, reheating and warming, and mostly whatever that you need to do in the kitchen when cooking.

Its digital display lights up in blue when not in use and turns to orange when pre-heating. It also has nine easy pre-set functions, which include Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, Pizza, Cookie, Reheat, Warm. Moreover, the unit has three dials. One is for choosing the function, another is for setting the temperature, and the last is for putting the time. The unit also has default settings for the Bake and Roast functions. For instance, if you choose the Bake function, the oven will automatically set the heat to 325°F and the time to 30 minutes, but these are still adjustable.

What sets this convection oven apart from the other convection ovens is its IQ Element technology, and this involves the five-quartz heating elements that work independently. The IQ Element technology automatically adjusts the time depending on the heat already present inside the oven. For instance, if you are using the Toast function and the oven is already warm after one cycle of toasting, then expect the second toasting cycle’s time to be less.

Not only these, the unit also comes with an auto eject wire rack, pizza and baking pan, a broil rack, and a crumb tray. And its overall look is sleek and classy!

Should you wish to grab your own Breville BOV800XL Smart Convection Oven, here is a table to guide you on how long and how hot you need when cooking the following food:

Food Temperature Time
Biscuits 400º F 9 minutes
Cream Puffs 370º F 54 minutes
Cupcake 330º F 13 minutes
Loaf Cake 330º F 40 minutes
Soufflé (in a hot water pan) 330º F 37 minutes
Macaroni and Cheese 350º F 28 minutes
Whole Chicken 375º F 30 minutes

So are you now more acquainted to oven toaster and microwave oven’s sister convection oven? Ae there any other information that I should know about this? Write these below in the comment section. 🙂

 

 

 

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Top Three Coffee Makers

Justina Cheng, author of one of the books named best by Kirkus Reviews and Barnes & Noble, once said, “Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.”

Drinking coffee is no longer a morning habit these days; it is already a lifestyle. We bond with our friends over a cup of cappuccino. We study with the help of espresso. And we enjoy solitude by sipping our macchiato.

While there are lots of coffee shops anywhere, many still opt to make theirs at home. And although instant coffees are out in the market, nothing beats brewing your own. But how do we get the consistency that we want with our coffee?

Brewing your own coffee entails having your choice of coffee grounds and of course your coffee maker. Today, let’s go over the top three best coffee makers out in the market:

 

  1. Bonavita BV1900TS

 

While Bonavita BV1900TS is not striking on the outside (it does not have any LED or lights but a single button for turning it on and off), many reviews have said that when it comes to coffee drip brewing, this is a champ.

BV1900TS brews coffee straightforwardly. Preparing your coffee would only take opening the water tank lid, pouring a portion of water, adding coffee grounds into the brew basket, positioning it over the thermal flask, and finally flipping the switch. The water from BV1900TS drains fast, which is a good sign. For instance, it only takes six minutes to create a full 45-ounce pot of coffee, and this is under the eight-minute (or less) suggestion from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Finally, BV1900TS runs very hot, which is what makes a coffee maker’s resume topnotch; it reaches the 200-degree mark (Fahrenheit) after about 2 minutes for the rest of the brewing cycle.

All in all, BV1900TS makes good coffee even when using challenging coffee grounds, and if you’ll use better coffee grounds, there’s a big chance you’re in for your best homemade drip coffee ever.

 

  1. Mr. Coffee DRX5 4-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

 Just like the BV1900TS, this Mr. Coffee unit also makes brewing simple but satisfying palette-wise. Just set it up, turn it on, and brew! Because of its size, Mr. Coffee DRX5 is best for a single person or a couple.

But just like the saying “great things come in small packages,” this compact coffee maker has great features, too. For instance, this four-cup coffee maker brags of its newly designed “Pause n Serve” feature. This allows you to pour a cup of coffee while the machine is still brewing. Apart from this, the unit also has an auto-pause brewing system. With this, you can easily remove the flask and avoid any possible spill! Mr. Coffee DRX5 also has Delay Brew feature for up to 24 hours in advance, which means you do not have to make your cup every morning! Lastly, the coffee maker automatically turns after an hour of being idle. So if you are a busy person that has no time for complicated brewing of your coffee and is too occupied for coffee-related-tasks, then Mr. Coffee DRX5 is for you!

  

  1. De’Longhi 12-Cup Coffee Maker

Originally from Italy, De’Longhi has a long list of appliances, and this includes the De’Longhi 12-Cup Coffee Maker. Most of its best features, such as the 24-hour programmable digital timer and auto shut down, are the same with Mr. Coffee DRX5, but instead of four cups, you get twelve. So if you have a big family and everyone likes to drink coffee first thing in the morning but does not want to wake up early to prepare, then this is best for you.

More than the taste, this coffee maker also makes it a point to boost your drink’s aroma through its special time-release process that saturates the coffee grounds a little to extract the best flavor and aroma from your coffee. Unlike other coffee makers, De’Longhi 12-Cup Coffee Maker has a permanent gold-tone filter that keeps even the finest grounds out of your coffee. This also has the unique front access design. With this, you can simply pull the handle of the machine for easy access to the water and coffee filter.

 

With these three coffee makers, consistency in coffee is no longer a question. Do you agree with me that these are the three best coffee makers? Comment below to let me know. 🙂

Dishes You Can Cook Using Just Your Microwave Oven

Don’t you just love the convenience your microwave oven hands to you? With it, no more turning on of the stove when heating your leftovers and no more washing the pots and pans used saving you money, effort, and time!

There are literally thousands of microwave ovens out there, but there are three units that most of us should consider. First, if you are living in an apartment where space is limited, consider the Danby Designer 0.7 Cubic Feet Countertop Microwave. This is very light and not space consuming but does well the basic functions like reheating your leftover! Secondly, we have the Big Chill Retro Microwave. Unlike the Danby, this one is a bit huge and best for people customizing their kitchen. Why? This unit comes in 200 colors! So whatever color your kitchen may be, we’re sure there’s a color that Big Chill Retro could offer! More than that, the unit has a whooping 1,200 watts! Last in our list is the Breville BM0734XL Quick Touch Microwave Oven, which some say is the smartest microwave oven there is. Why not? This lets you turn the temperature with just a dial, and it has Sensor IQ that adjusts cooking time for you!

Apart from heating leftovers, did you also know that microwave ovens could cook a variety of dishes? This is perfect especially for our working folks who barely have time to cook.

Let’s begin with what you can cook in your microwave oven for breakfast. Eggs are nutritious, so these are best eaten for breakfast. There are a lot of egg recipes, but a common favorite is the poached egg. The traditional manner of cooking a poached egg requires a pan with boiling water, salt, and vinegar. But when using your microwave oven, all you need is a bowl or mug with water (half filled) with a pinch of salt. Then, simply crack the egg into the bowl making sure the egg is completely submerged. Cover this, and microwave on high power for a minute. Check if the egg’s white is firm. If it needs more cooking, re-cover the bowl and microwave for another 15 seconds. Once done, carefully transfer the egg to your toast and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. With this power breakfast, you are ready to take on the day!

For lunch, the menu includes steamed vegetables and meatloaf-in-a-mug. Preparing these two dishes would normally need equipment, such as the steamer, pans, and stove, but with your microwave oven, there’s no need for these! For instance, to steam your veggies, simply place the vegetables (already cut in your preferred size) in a microwave-safe bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover, and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. If the veggies are not cooked after the cooking time, re-cover and microwave once again. To compliment the vegetables, make your meatloaf-in-a-mug. In a small bowl, combine milk, ketchup, oats, and soup mix. Then, add the beef and mix well. Spray the microwave-safe mug with cooking spray and cover. Microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink, and this should be done. Before eating, let the dish stand for 3 minutes. Now, who says preparing lunch would be hard?

After a day of work, it’s time for dinner. If you lack the energy to prepare, your microwave oven can still help you. What do you think about having risotto for dinner? You won’t need to cook or go out to have one; just take a hold of your microwave oven. Combine butter, garlic, and onion, and microwave on high for 3 minutes. On a separate microwave-safe dish, place the vegetable broth and heat for two minutes. Mix the rice with the onion, butter, and garlic mixture. Cover the dish tightly and cook on high for 6 minutes. Finally, add the wine into the rice, and cook for 10 minutes. Before serving, add cheese. Bon appetit!

And of course, the day would not be complete without a dessert, and your microwave oven can also help you make one. A lot of cake-in-a-mug could be made in your microwave oven, but one of the bests would be the cheesecake-in-a-mug.

Begin by whisking together the cream cheese, yogurt (or sour cream),vanilla, sugar, egg whites, and flour until light and fluffy. Then, on a separate microwavable mug, sprinkle a layer of Oreo cookie crumbs to create the base. For the cheesecake, mix ½ cup cheesecake base with ⅓ cup Oreos, and then pour this on top of the base. Microwave for about 45 seconds to a minute. You might need to continue microwaving until you see a bubble at the center, and then stop. Microwave for short intervals until you see the edge of the cheesecake firm. At this point, you can now take your cheesecake-in-a-mug out of the microwave and let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

It’s just amazing how a complete day’s meal could be prepared just by using the microwave oven. Whichever microwave oven you choose to have, make sure to try these dishes most especially when you are busy with your day’s run because not only are these yummy and healthy, these can also be made fast, thanks to our dear microwave oven.

 

Cleaning Hacks

Cooking and eating are the important parts of any gathering, and this is also true with cleaning. Cleaning the utensils and appliances used ensures that no food prone to spoilage would be left inside the appliances that could lead to contaminations.

Most cleaning processes are lengthy and follow specific steps. For example, when cleaning the food processor you just used in slicing the ingredients for your main entree, you would need to take the processor apart from the motor base and separate the bowl, lid, pushers, and blades. Then, you would need to submerge the parts (except for the motor base) into warm water with soap and wash using a soft cloth or scrub brush that is non-abrasive. Do not forget to check the nooks because these areas are difficult to get to with just a regular clean. You would also need to double-check the crevices and the chopping blade by using a small brush going inside it. After these, you may rinse and dry the parts before putting them back together.

A similar process is observed when cleaning your blender. After your smoothie delight, pour water in the blender about halfway. If you can, try using hot water because this removes the leftovers better. Next, add a drop of your dishwashing liquid, and put the blender pitcher back on its motor base. Turn on the blender, and let it run for about 10 seconds. The blade may still have some remnants so check this part. Continue running the blender until you’re sure that the blades are clean. Once done, you can pour the water out and rinse the blender one more time before drying it.

On the other hand, a more complicated process is needed when cleaning your oven. Most use detergents when cleaning their ovens, but if you do not like the strong smell these has, then consider cleaning the oven using a baking soda paste, which you can make by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. With this paste, you can clean your oven without the stench of strong chemicals!

Going back to the oven, remove the racks and anything else inside the oven. Then, spread the paste all over the interior surfaces except the heating elements. The baking soda will turn a brownish color as you rub it in. Allow the coating to sit for at least 12 hours.

Meanwhile, clean the racks. To do this, you should find a shallow bucket that can fit your racks. If you don’t have any, you can use your bathtub (just be sure to cover the tub first with towels to avoid scratching). Then, fill the bucket with very hot water until the oven racks are covered. Once done, pour 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid and dissolve. Leave this for at least 4 hours. If there are still greases after 4 hours, use a non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge to remove these.

Back at the oven again, spray a little vinegar. This will react with the baking soda and gently foam making the cleaning better. Wipe the foams. You may continue wiping to ensure the baking soda residue is gone. To make the oven shiny, add a bit of water to the vinegar. And finally, put the racks back because you’re done!

With these, your food processor, blender, and oven are clean! However, there’s more than meets the eye. While your food processor, blender, and oven appear clean, it’s not right to say that these are already safe because these might be contaminated with a lot of organisms that can cause diseases. Thus, consider disinfecting. Disinfecting kills organisms, such as bacteria, virus, and parasites that the eyes can’t see. There are a lot of disinfectants in the market, and these come in liquids, sprays, or wipes. If you’re not into using chemicals, then try making your own inexpensive disinfectant by mixing a tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach with a gallon of water. Damp some in a clean clothe and wipe your appliances.

Some say that cooking and eating are the best parts of get-togethers; let’s not argue about that, but let’s also agree that there’s something fulfilling knowing the fact that your appliances are squeaky clean after a day of cooking and eating!

 

Healthy Halloween Treats

Trick or Treat is a known tradition every Halloween, and while kids love getting treats, such as candies, chocolates, and cookies, we, adults, can’t help but worry about the amount of sugar the kids would ingest with these. To address this worry, we have come up with a short list of Halloween treats that are healthier than most of what are given away, which you might want to consider offering this coming Trick or Treat.

 

Let us begin with the Banana Ghosts. This may sound scary, but this is actually yummy and healthy. Bananas are known to contain several essential nutrients and have benefits for digestion, heart health, and weight loss. To make Banana Ghosts, prepare bananas and chocolate chips of two different sizes. First, cut he bananas crosswise. Then, use the chocolate chips as its eyes (smaller size) and mouth (bigger size).

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You could also make Darkly Enchanting Apples. Dark chocolate and apples are both healthy that, in fact, when you mix them, you can create an antioxidant-rich active twosome that may help protect your heart! To make these Darkly Enchanting Apples, prepare apples, sticks, dark-chocolate baking discs or chips, and a parchment paper.

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Begin by removing the apple stems. Then, insert the sticks into the top of the apples. Set these aside. On the other hand, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, such as Winware Stainless 8 Quart Double Boiler with Cover. When done, dip each apple while slowly rotating until all sides are covered in chocolate. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper, and set in the fridge to cool.

From fruits, let us move on to Grilled Mummy. Without the gimmick, this is just grilled cheese on whole grains with olives, but kids don’t love whole grains and olives no matter how healthy they are (olives have antioxidant nutrients and whole grains are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, and trace minerals), so let’s make them more appealing and fitting to the Halloween season! You’ll need whole-wheat sandwich thins, tomato sauce, sliced olives, and sliced cheese (of your choice), which is among the richest dietary sources of calcium essential in bone health.

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To make one, preheat your oven to 350°F. Did you know that Samsung Appliance NE59J7630SB is one of the best ovens of 2016? So if you’re looking for an oven to use this Halloween season, you may want to try this one. While preheating, split the sandwich thins in half. Then, pour some tomato sauce. Once done, line the sliced cheddar cheese, and placed the sliced olives as eyes. Bake for 10 minutes.

Lastly, offer something to drink to the tired kids with this Orange Potion Juice made from carrots and cantaloupe! To prepare, all you need are three carrots and ½ cantaloupe. Simply cut the covering off of the cantaloupe and then juice it using a juicer like Breville 800JEXL, which is one of the best juicers this year, reports say. Do the same to the carrots. Once done, mix these two juices together before pouring in a glass or a mason jar with spooky faces design. Not only will this help quench their thirst, this would also supply the kids with beta-carotene and fiber content from the carrots and potassium, B vitamins, and magnesium from the cantaloupe!

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With these treats, we can say goodbye to our worries about kids having too much of sugar just load of fun!

Reminders When Using The Microwave

We have been used to the convenience of the microwave whenever we are in our kitchen. From letting us preheat leftovers to preparing our meal, our dear microwave has been there for us. But did you know that there are some ways or uses that microwaves do not encourage? To make sure that you are not doing any of these, we have come up with the top seven ways we are using the microwave the wrong way.

  1. The microwave, whether it is the most expensive, such as the KitchenAid Architect Series II KBHS109SSS or the cheapest, such as the KENWOOD K20MSS15 Solo Microwave, should not be used with any metals, aluminum foils, or metal trimmings. It does not matter if the material is entirely made of these or just a portion (even just a little portion) because items with these are a fire starter.
  2. Apart from metals, aluminum foils, or metal trimmings, papers, such as paper bags, plastic bags, and newspapers are also a big no-no when using the microwave. According to the USDA, ““They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven.” So before you place that food inside the microwave, make sure to peel off the paper.
  3. While there are microwave-ready plastic containers, these are still not fully advisable to be used in microwaves. Many of these might have estrogen-like chemicals, such as BPA (bisphenol A), and these can leach into your food when the plastic is heated. When this happens, BPA could obstruct with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones.
  4. Microwave sure emits enormous heat, which is why some have thought of boiling food in it, but be aware if you plan to boil eggs (hard boiled). The rapid heat from the microwaves generates a lot of steam in the egg, and this steam has nowhere to go! With nowhere to go, the egg could explode causing a big mess or burning your hand!
  5. The general idea about microwave is that it heats foods, which is often used when defrosting. However, when defrosting meat and breast milk, do not forget to double-check if your microwave has a turntable that rotates. If it does not, like that of Flat Panasonic Microwace Oven, then opt for the conventional method of defrosting. Why? The absence of the turntable could lead to uneven distribution of heat, and this would allow bacteria to grow. Also, the outer area of the meat will start to heat whereas the inner portion will remain frozen. Moreover, others have reported that when defrosting milk using a microwave without the turntable, some of breast milk’s immune-boosting proteins could be destroyed.
  6. Warm fruits seem nice, but did you know that some fruits are not advisable to be heated via microwave? For example, grapes will explode. Others, such as peppers, could release chemicals that could irritate your eyes and throat.
  7. Finally, if you think using the microwave without putting anything in it is safe, you are absolutely wrong. The magnetron, which makes the microwave function, ends up absorbing the microwaves instead, and this can damage your microwave and worst even start a fire.

Are you guilty of doing any of these? Good thing that with this list on your hand, you now have a better knowledge about how not to use your microwave.

 

Reminders When Using The Microwave

We have been used to the convenience of the microwave whenever we are in our kitchen. From letting us preheat leftovers to preparing our meal, our dear microwave has been there for us. But did you know that there are some ways or uses that microwaves do not encourage? To make sure that you are not doing any of these, we have come up with the top seven ways we are using the microwave the wrong way.

  1. The microwave, whether it is the most expensive, such as the KitchenAid Architect Series II KBHS109SSS or the cheapest, such as the KENWOOD K20MSS15 Solo Microwave, should not be used with any metals, aluminum foils, or metal trimmings. It does not matter if the material is entirely made of these or just a portion (even just a little portion) because items with these are a fire starter.
  2. Apart from metals, aluminum foils, or metal trimmings, papers, such as paper bags, plastic bags, and newspapers are also a big no-no when using the microwave. According to the USDA, ““They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven.” So before you place that food inside the microwave, make sure to peel off the paper.
  3. While there are microwave-ready plastic containers, these are still not fully advisable to be used in microwaves. Many of these might have estrogen-like chemicals, such as BPA (bisphenol A), and these can leach into your food when the plastic is heated. When this happens, BPA could obstruct with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones.
  4. Microwave sure emits enormous heat, which is why some have thought of boiling food in it, but be aware if you plan to boil eggs (hard boiled). The rapid heat from the microwaves generates a lot of steam in the egg, and this steam has nowhere to go! With nowhere to go, the egg could explode causing a big mess or burning your hand!
  5. The general idea about microwave is that it heats foods, which is often used when defrosting. However, when defrosting meat and breast milk, do not forget to double-check if your microwave has a turntable that rotates. If it does not, like that of Flat Panasonic Microwace Oven, then opt for the conventional method of defrosting. Why? The absence of the turntable could lead to uneven distribution of heat, and this would allow bacteria to grow. Also, the outer area of the meat will start to heat whereas the inner portion will remain frozen. Moreover, others have reported that when defrosting milk using a microwave without the turntable, some of breast milk’s immune-boosting proteins could be destroyed.
  6. Warm fruits seem nice, but did you know that some fruits are not advisable to be heated via microwave? For example, grapes will explode. Others, such as peppers, could release chemicals that could irritate your eyes and throat.
  7. Finally, if you think using the microwave without putting anything in it is safe, you are absolutely wrong. The magnetron, which makes the microwave function, ends up absorbing the microwaves instead, and this can damage your microwave and worst even start a fire.

Are you guilty of doing any of these? Good thing that with this list on your hand, you now have a better knowledge about how not to use your microwave.