Cooking

How A Toaster Oven Can Help You In The Kitchen

cooking with a new toaster oven

Both conventional ovens and microwave ovens can be frustrating at times. The former takes too long to cook one’s meals, while the latter does not always fully cook the food. It is no wonder, then, that boxes containing seafood, and other types of food as well–contain the warning that microwaving is not the recommended method. However, there is a third alternative: the toaster oven. It has many advantages. The purpose of this post, then, is to discuss a number of those benefits.

Healthier Meals That Are Cooked Evenly

Toaster ovens prepare food by heating the interior of the oven with heating elements. It will take longer to prepare meals with a toaster oven. However, it significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illness. Too often have we heard tragic stories of people who have been made very sick, or actually passed away, from salmonella, legionnaire’s disease, or e.coli. Thoroughly cooking the food kills all the bacteria that came with the frozen food. Aside for the potential for illness or loss of life, food simply tastes better when it has been completely cooked.

Browning and Cooking

Toaster ovens are better at browning and cooking than microwave ovens, for example. Microwaves are rather poor performers in this area. In fact, if one attempts to cook pizza or pizza rolls in a microwave oven, the result is often soggy and inconsistent. Countertop ovens are capable of crisping this type of food making it more savory.

Heating Up Bread

Toasters have a wonderful reputation for heating bread so that it is warm, crispy and brown. Doing this in a large oven or a microwave can result in bread tasting either very hard or too soft. However, a toaster can cook bread long enough to be crispy on the outside, yet softer internally. Or you can cook the bread in the toaster long enough to make it warm but not crispy, based on your personal preference.

Keeps Food Warmer Longer

In order to keep food that you are cooking warm, you simply place the food in the toaster, leave it there, and keep the cooking temperature relatively low. It is ideal if you do not want, or have the time, to eat the food right away. Should you choose the microwave method, you run the risk of the food cooling really quick, causing you to have to microwave it again. That, indeed, would be a waste of energy.

Convection Cooking and Baking

Many of today’s modern toasting ovens come with a convection cooking system. This kind of toaster comes with a fan to circulate the hot air evenly around the inside of the oven so that the dish cooks evenly. This, indeed, increases the chances that the food you prepare in the toaster will be fully cooked, and will be delicious to taste.

Energy Efficiency

In comparison to conventional ovens, the wattage used is much less than a conventional oven. A toaster uses 1200-1800 watts, while a conventional oven employs about twice the wattage. Consequently, if you rely on always using the conventional oven, your energy bill will be higher than you would prefer. Therefore, if you must use the large oven for the larger meals, consider cooking the smaller meals in a toaster.

Versatility

You can do a lot with these type of ovens as they are not just for toasting your favorite types of bread. Finding the best convection toaster oven that best serves your cooking needs is not as difficult as it might seem. Most of the top rated models possess a wide temperature range, and strong cooking capabilities that can handle the cooking of a variety of foods. Also, some come with an additional heating element on the top that allows you to cook and warm at the same time. Some of the modern models have touch screens and rotisserie hooks. This indeed represents a change from the toasters of the 1960s, 1970s or the 1980s. Also, these appliances can handle tasks such as defrosting, warming, broiling or baking.

Toaster Oven Technology

With quartz heating elements, smart ovens, convection features, and LCD displays, today’s toaster ovens provide those who love to cook an appliance that can handle a number of different tasks with less work. Your big oven uses a lot of energy so why not get something that is extremely convenient and can do just as good of a job preparing your favorite meals. From baking, roasting, broiling, reheating, and yes, even toasting, these small countertop ovens can really change the way you spend time in your kitchen. And with the holidays just around the corner, they also make fantastic Christmas gifts.

Health & Nutrition

Simple Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Heat Stroke

Training outside is a great way to maximize your efforts to get back into shape. However, one thing some people often fail to prepare for is the heat. The body is at constant odds with the surrounding environment trying to keep its temperature steady. Now when a person runs hard the core temperature of the body automatically increases. The body goes into overdrive attempting to bring the temperature back to normal levels. Coupled with the increased body temperature induced by running and the hot outside temperature, this cooling mechanism can easily fail to function properly. This is exactly when heat exhaustion sets in.

People often feel fatigued, disorientated, dizzy, and in some serious cases collapse without warning. Even though heat exhaustion is a very real threat when running outside under the sun, there are number of ways you can protect yourself from it. Without further ado, here’s our list of top 5 tips to fight heat exhaustion.

Time of Day

It’s not a good idea to pick the hottest time of a summer day to go out for a run. The run may feel more challenging but it can also end pretty badly and pretty fast. The best time for a run is early mornings. This is when the sun is out, but the temperature outside is still comparatively low. On top of that the oxygen levels are higher in the morning, which means you can push yourself harder feeling less exhausted.

Hydrate

This may seem like an obvious advice, but you would be surprised how many runners fall prey to heat exhaustion due to poor hydration habits. When you are outside running you lose a lot of water through sweating. Replenish that by constantly hydrating yourself. If you planning a short 30 minute run regular water would work just fine. However, for longer runs carry a bottle of sports drink to maintain the body’s electrolyte levels.

After your workout juicing is also a great way to replenish what your body has lost out in the sun. Having a juicer in your kitchen is going to let you use fresh fruits and vegetables to give the body what it needs in the time of crisis.

It is vital that you are aware of the signs of dehydration and know what you can do to prevent and treat it should it occur.

Know When To Quit

Fitness is all about pushing your body to its maximum limits. However, it’s also important to understand personal limitations. Don’t be afraid to quit if you start feeling light-headed or experience momentary blackouts. These are clear signs that your body is not being able to cope with the excess heat. Find a shade and stop to hydrate yourself.

Don’t Push It

If you have no experience in running under the sun, it’s best that you take it slow and acclimatize your body as you go along. Seasoned outdoor runners should also acclimatize their bodies during the first few weeks of the summer months. Start slow and keep the distance short. Once the body starts to adapt to the heat, slowly increase the pace and duration of your runs.

Wear Proper Clothes And Accessories

Wearing the right clothing and accessories goes a long way into keeping heat exhaustion at bay. Choose light colored, breathable, and loose fitting fitness wears. This will boost the evaporation rate of the sweat causing the body to cool down much faster. You should also consider wearing a proper sunscreen lotion and a sunglasses with decent UV protection.

Running is a fantastic activity for numerous reasons. It is great for your heart, your weight, and your mind. However, if you are not careful and attentive to your body while out jogging, it has the potential to be quite deadly. Get your workout in, just be careful while you are out there.

You can find out more information on what happens to your body during heat stroke by watching this very informative video below.

Family

Watching Out For Signs Of Child Depression

Studies aimed at understanding depression in children have been a field of intense research in the last two decades. Infants, toddlers and kids under thirteen years old have been observed and some of them have been found to display depressive behavior. Surprisingly, even infants have been observed to show sadness, sleep and eating problems, fatigue, fussiness and tantrum fits. Although not all bouts of bad moods and feelings of melancholy can be classified as depression; it is the lingering of such behavior over prolonged periods of time that is cause for worry.

Symptoms & Signs

The primary symptoms of depression in children usually include persistent feelings of sadness along with a feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness, especially in the slightly older ones. It is generally accompanied by severe mood swings including anger and irritability. There is a perceptible change in appetite and sleep patterns, it may be either too less or too much. It may also lead to social withdrawal and extreme fear of rejection. The child is plagued by fatigue, low energy and poor concentration levels. These may be accompanied by vocal outbursts and intermittent crying in some of the kids. Complaints of physical pain such as stomach aches or headaches that do not respond to conventional medicines are also indicative of depression.

These symptoms are only indicative in nature and not all children who are depressed display all the symptoms. Some may exhibit different symptoms at different times and under different circumstances. They undergo a noticeable reduction in their ability to function in extra-curricular activities, events, and academic performance in schools. Although a relatively rare phenomenon, some kids do attempt suicide in fits of anger or frustration. Children above twelve years of age are also vulnerable to drugs and alcohol abuse in depressive state of mind.

However, depressed children especially those with suicidal tendencies do display some warning signs and parents need to be vigilant to banish such morbid thoughts in their child. Some of the warnings of depression are talks about death and dying, focus on negative aspects of things, reduced emotional expression, hyper sensitive behavior, social isolation, lack of interest in friends and all fun filled children’s activities.

As in the case of depression in adulthood, the possible causes for the onset of depression in children is rather obscure. Depression is believed to be caused by disruption of neurotransmitters levels in the brain thereby interfering in the person’s ability to feel good. Depression is in all probability a combination of a number of factors that may include after effects of physical illness, family history, and certain events in their life and hormonal imbalances in the body.

Treatment For Depression In Children

In case the parents are able to detect the signs of depression in their child, the real bit of good news is that professional help is effective in dealing with the problem. Depression can be treated holistically with psychotherapy and medicines in consultation with the child’s pediatrician. Medications for treating depression in children may in extreme cases also include anti-depressant pills to cure school phobias, panic attacks, bed wetting in older children and other anxiety disorders. Other medication options that may be administered after the prescription by a qualified doctor could include anti-psychotic medications for hallucinations, disillusions and disorganized thinking. Mood stabilizers, anti convulsions and sleep medications are also used for short duration of times.

Psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy is shown to be very effective in treating depression in children. Other effective depression remedies include Dialectical Behavior Therapy for slightly older children with suicidal tendencies. This often involves both group and individual sessions for completer relief. Family therapy focuses on involving all the members in the family in helping the child cope with his problem. This helps open up communication channels between the child and his immediate family members and well wishers.

Sometimes, these sessions may be held together in groups of patients and families with a common counselor. This helps in finding how different families cope with the same illness; it is a great learning experience for all those who are involved in the therapy sessions. Play therapy is truly beneficial in cases of kids who are unable to verbalize their problems.

All the above mentioned therapies and remedies are no quick fix solutions, they require considerable amount of time and patience. Treating mental depression remains a formidable task, yet with a sustained and concerted effect the child can bloom into a healthy and pleasant adolescent and adult.