The Perfect Gift Idea For The Chef In The Family


With Black Friday gone and Cyber Monday just a few days away, it is that time of the year to try and find the ideal gifts for your family and friends. For anyone that loves to cook nothing says they are appreciated like a new kitchen appliance. Surprise that chef in your family with a modern toaster oven. Yes, they can make toast, but they are not just toasters. These small countertop ovens are capable of so much more. From baking cookies to slow roasting a whole chicken, you can truly serve your entire family without ever having to use your standard sized range except for rare occasions when you need to cook a turkey.

With that in mind, lets have a look at some of the top options for the kitchen. No matter your budget you should have no problem finding something that will impress.

Toaster Oven Nirvana

When it comes to small appliances it really is hard to top Breville. This is the oven we just got ourselves and we literally just took it out of the box and started cooking. It might have modern controls and a fancy LCD screen, but they are extremely easy to figure out right from the start. We did a lot of mind numbing research before making our final decision and the best toaster oven reviews all have a Breville oven right at the top. You really cannot beat them when it comes to modern and futuristic engineering coupled with exceptional cooking performance. For a precision oven that will give you exceptional results with your recipes there is no better option.

We splurged and got their top of the line convection model, the BOV845SS, but from top to bottom they make some of the highest quality ovens that you can get for your home. It fits perfectly on top of the counter and I can help but stop and stare at it for a few seconds when I am in there. I am sure that we are going to wear this thing out with as much time that we spend in the kitchen creating havoc.

Cuisinart Ovens

Even though we ended up with a Breville, we were also impressed with what Cuisinart had to offer. They have a wide range of options and they have a really solid reputation for building long lasting appliances. They came out with a new convection toaster oven recently that is really high end. It is very similar to the Breville oven we got which made the choice that much harder. It is stainless steel, has a LCD display, and it gets extremely positive feedback from owners. They also have some better choices for those who just don’t want to spend a lot.

While their top oven may sell for around $200, they have some great choices for closer to $100. From the reviews that we read from those who have purchased them, these ovens perform well across the board with a wide array of different cooking tasks. We would have no problem giving these away as a gift this holiday, which we just might do. Cuisinart has one of the best reputations when it comes to the small kitchen appliance market. Their line of toaster ovens is something that we were impressed with and almost leaned in that direction before going with a Breville.


For an even better budget friendly oven you cannot go wrong with Oster. Even if you would like a convection model they have some wonderful ovens to choose from. These can usually be had for under $100 which well help stretch your gift giving budget. We saw one of these in the store and for the price we though that this would be an superb option as well.

Convection Cooking Features

This is the new thing that most of the modern ovens come with. This feature circulates the air inside of the oven and helps brown and cooking more evenly. It also speeds up the process and reduces overall cooking times. This is a huge bonus that makes this such a desirable aspect for any oven. You might have to adjust your recipes slightly, but it is a small learning curve.


The other great thing that we discovered when studying current countertop ovens is how easy it is to clean up after preparing a meal. Stainless steel exteriors and non-stick interiors mean that just a simple wipe with a damp cloth can get it looking like new. Combine this with the energy and time savings that a smaller oven can provide you and this is truly the ultimate present for an amateur cook. We love ours and we are sure that the special someone in your life will love it too. There really is no better gift than that of great food with the people you love the most.

Keeping Your Children Safe On The Road With An Exceptional Car Seat


One of the easiest ways to enjoy your time in the kitchen more is to reduce your worry over the safety and well being of your family. Constantly stressing out over their health is something that concerns just about every parent. Having a child safety seat that you can depend on to protect them in just about every worst case scenario can truly make a difference and help ease your mind. As a mom who loves to cook a well balanced meal for my kids to help them grow and make sure they are nourished, driving to the grocery store with them always gets me nervous. However, I have a car seat that I trust and the kids have something that they love to ride in, and that means everything.

With that in mind, I thought I would share my experience with our Evenflo convertible car seat with fellow moms who are looking struggling to find something perfect for their vehicles. It has a lot going for it from price to features and no matter your budget this is one option that is sure to check off all of the concerns that you may have. We did a lot of research on all of the latest and best rated models, but we could not be happier with our choice. This is just a brief rundown of some of the highlights, but you can read a more detailed review of the Symphony DLX to learn exactly why we recommend this particular convertible car seat to all of our friends.

Wonderful Features

Despite its lower price, this seat comes with just about all of the features that you and your little one would hope for in a child seat.

For parents:

  • Tested safety features that pass all required standards.
  • Budget-friendly price point.
  • Easy to install.
  • Simple to clean and maintain.
  • Years of service – Recommended for kids from 5 to 110 lbs.

For kids:

  • Comfortable materials for the ultimate ride.
  • Two cup holders

This is an all in one convertible car seat, meaning that it can be used for infants all the way up to taller children. It has booster seat functionality so you can use this one seat for all of the years that your child requires the use of a safety seat. This will end up saving you a ton of money in the long run. You will not have to buy three different seats, this particular model can do it all.

With side impact protection, a strong frame, energy absorbing materials, and a great harness system, the Symphony DLX is engineered to provide superior protection from the different forces and flying debris your child may face in the unfortunate instance of an accident.

Parents like me also love how well the materials stand up to spills. The materials are rather easy to keep clean and messes are simple to take care of. These are inevitable, especially with dual cup holders, but it should stand the test of time. The seat pad is machine washable as well.

Installation is also a breeze and the safety harness is rather easy to adjust. One recommendation that all parents can benefit from is to follow the instruction manual for proper use. Luckily there is not much to it and Evenflo has FAQ’s and videos on their site to help you use the LATCH system in your vehicle.  They boast that it can be installed in 60 seconds and we can attest to this, although we did not sit there with a stopwatch and time it ourselves. This is something that we absolutely love about this seat since we are constantly switching between two different vehicles. This makes everything so hassle free for us.

A Less Stressful Ride

While it may seem like we are going overboard for our praise of this seat, we have nothing to do with the company. We just love the seat that much and feel that this is one of the best purchases we have made for our child. It has been a joy to use every day and when you get something that gives you such extremely satisfying results you can’t help but smile. We were kind of hesitant to get something that did not cost as much as some of the other higher end convertible car seats out there, but we were stressing over nothing. This Evenflo car seat has delivered tremendous value for us and has made driving around town a lot less stressful. If you are looking for a child seat that is safe, easy to use, and something that your kids will enjoy, then the Symphony DLX may just be the solution you are seeking. It sure was the right choice for us.

Quality Juice Comes From Using The Right Machine


Juicing is one of the most efficient ways in which you can increase your daily intake of important vitamins and minerals. If your diet needs a little improvement, then getting a juicer for your kitchen is the right place to start. We have already covered most of the benefits that one of the machines can offer you in our previous article, now it is time to find one that will help you take advantage of them. Let’s start off by briefly covering some of the higher rated model juicing extractors for 2016.

Top Rated Juicers

There are several high quality brands that will help you get the absolute most out of fruits and vegetables to improve your health. Below are just some of the top reviewed juicers to get you started in the right direction.

Breville 800JEXL

This is Breville’s flagship centrifugal juicer. It is built out of heavy duty materials such as a die-cast metal body, titanium re-enforced cutting blade and stainless steel mesh filter. It features a hefty 1000W two speed motor that runs at either 6500RPM or 13000RPM to make quick work of just about any type of produce thrown its way. With an extra wide feed chute, and designed for fast and easy clean up, this Breville model helps you get the job done in the shortest amount of time.

Omega NC800

It is the latest generation in Omega’s quality line of masticating juicers. This slow juicer features a larger feed chute which drastically cuts down on prep time. It also comes with an adjustable end cap to better control the pulp as it exits the unit while producing a higher juice yield. The Omega NC800 has not been out long, but it is quickly garnering a lot of high praise from owners who love how it performs on leafy greens, hard veggies and fruits

Breville JE98XL

The Breville JE98XL may be the best overall value on our list. This is one of Breville’s mid-range centrifugal juicers that features a 850W two speed motor that operates at either 6500RPM for softer produce or at 12000RPM to handle the toughest fruits and vegetables. Like all of their models, this Breville Juice Fountain Plus comes with an extra wide feed chute and easy clean design to provide a fast and simple juicing experience. This juicer has been a top seller for a few years and it is probably the top juicer for those that don’t want to spend a lot time every day to get a great quality juice.

Breville BJE200XL

Perfect for beginner juicers, the BJE200XL is a powerful yet simple compact centrifugal juicer that just gets the job done. Designed for fast and efficient juicing without all of the bells and whistles of higher priced models. Comes with a 700W that operates at a blistering 14000RPM to make quick work of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. It also comes with an extra wide feed tube so whole produce can be added without the need to be chopped into smaller bits. For those on a budget, or do not want to spend a lot of time juicing or cleaning up, this is the perfect machine.

Best Brand Name Juicing Machines

Just a quick glance at the latest reviews of juicers and it is apparent that Breville ranks highest for centrifugal machines. They are high quality, high performing models that owners continue to recommend and rate above all other makers. For masticating models we have found that Omega juicers are among the most highly rated by customers. They are well built and provide outstanding quality juice as well as being backed by some of the best warranties in the industry. We also found that Kuvings juicers, while not as popular, also received high marks from owners. We have scoured over various online retailers listings of a wide range of juicers being sold today, reading hundreds and hundreds of reviews to come up with the list above of the top juicers for 2015.

What Type of Juicer Is Best?

There is no right answer for this question. The right juicer for you will be a personal choice based on your individual wants and needs. Before finding a juicing machine that will provide you with the best experience, you must first determine how you will be using the juicer and what you hope to get out of it. Some important questions to answer before making a purchase may include;

  • What types of fruits and vegetables will I be juicing most often?
  • Will leafy greens vegetables like spinach, cabbage, kale and wheatgrass be a major part of my juicing diet?
  • What is my budget?
  • How much time will I have each day to prepare juice and to clean up?
  • Will I be juicing while others are still asleep in the morning, and how quiet do I need the machine to be?
  • Do I want to make a lot of juice at once and be able to store it in the fridge for more than one day?
  • What is the best juicer for leafy greens?

Some of these questions will help you figure out and choose which type of juicer machine will best serve your needs. Once you determine what type of juicer you want, you can zero in on a particular model.

The Health Benefits of Juicing

Whichever type of machine you end up buying, you will be well on your way to a healthier diet and lifestyle that can have profound effects on your well being. Below is a great video explaining some of the benefits that juicing can provide you and why adding this one simple appliance to your kitchen can have such a huge impact on your health.