Which Home Ice Cream Machines Make The Best Gifts

Even though we like to help others lead a more healthy lifestyle and we try to give tips to improve your diet and eating habits, we are not robots. We know it is important to treat yourself every once in a while to a well deserved treat. The key to staying healthy is to not over indulge and to exercise some moderation. With that said, we have a weakness for ice cream, and we do own our own machine to make it at home. Not only does it taste extremely wonderful, but it is something that the little one enjoys doing. There are a lot of advantages to using your own ice cream machine. We make it a family affair once a week and it is indeed a real treat for both adults and kids.

So for those who might be interested in getting your own ice cream maker we have compiled a short list of some of the better reviewed models to help you find the best option for your home. They all seem to be able to produce quality frozen dishes, and they cater to all budgets. So which are the top ice cream machines for the upcoming new year?

Cuisinart Ice Cream Machines

You really cannot go wrong with any model in their line of machines. Cuisinart produces some of the best kitchen appliances, and we have been using one of their models for the past year without any problems. It has been really easy to use and it produces an great tasting ice cream with a very nice consistency. We definitely recommend this brand and some of their best rated models include:

Cuisinart ICE-21

This is a fantastic option for those on a budget. This model usually can be bought for around $40 to $50 online. It can make 1.5 quarts of ice cream as well as gelato, frozen yogurt, and sorbets. This machine has a powerful motor that usually handles the ice cream making process is just a few minutes. It is a versatile, fast, and convenient machine.

Cuisinart ICE 30BC

This is the model that we currently use and we could not be happier with it. It has a capacity of 2 quarts which is perfect for us as we can make a lot of ice cream at once and enjoy it for days. This has more of a mid-range price point and it can be picked up for a little bit more than the ICE-21 machine mentioned above. After giving it a workout for the past year, we highly recommend this model.

Cuisinart ICE-100

This is a higher end model that has its own compressor so you do not have the need to freeze the bowl before using. This model is one that we wish that we could afford, but this model was over our budget. It has all the bells and whistles and it makes producing great tasting ice cream and other frozen desserts super fast and convenient.

Other Top Ice Cream Makers

While Cuisinart has a lot of top quality machines, there are other brands also worth considering if you are in the market for a new ice cream maker.

Breville BCI600XL

Breville is known for the modern and well built small kitchen appliances, and this ice cream machine is no exception. It comes with a LCD display and quick setting buttons to make the entire process as smooth as the ice cream that it produces. Expensive, but it might be well worth it.

Nostalgia Electrics

This company makes machines that resemble units that your grandmother might have used. They are designed to look like wooden barrels and they are a real head turner in any kitchen. They also make some nice ice cream and get pretty decent reviews from owners. For something a little bit different, this may be an nice option.

Healthy Ice Cream?

Yes, even though we think of ice cream as being decadent, indulgent, and relatively not good for our diet, there are ways to actually make it somewhat good for you to eat. You can take advantage of your new machine by using some healthy ice cream recipes. This way you won’t feel as guilty and you can also stick to your diet. Eating good does not always have to taste so bad.


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.


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

If you are shopping for a modern toaster oven then there is a lot to learn. Sites like Gouverneur Times are a great resource for beginners looking for countertop oven guidance. 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.


Finding The Right Baby Monitor To Use In The Kitchen

Before we get to the nitty gritty of what new and improved small kitchen appliances are out there for the taking, we thought that we would give a review on something that we constantly use in the kitchen now that we are new parents, and that is a baby monitor. Preparing a home cooked meal can take quite a while sometimes, so having something that lets us stay in the kitchen and not have to worry about how are little one is doing is invaluable. We really did not realize how much of an asset having one of these in the house would be until we started using one. So for all of the parents out their with newborns or small children, you should hopefully find this useful.

After some research we ended up with the Philips Avent Dect monitor, and so far we have been more than satisfied with our purchase. It is one of the top audio baby monitors on the market and owners have really responded to its wide array of useful features. This unit is easy to set up and comes with DECT technology which guarantees complete privacy and zero interference with other devices (including microwave units and wireless networks). The product also integrates a customized temperature sensor, which can monitor the temperature in baby’s room and display it in either Celsius or Fahrenheit degrees (it can also alert parents through vibration when a certain value is exceeded).

Another feature which is very appreciated by parents is the night mode, which can help soothe one or more babies at a time via soft lights and different lullabies. Consumers will also benefit from a talk-back feature, which aids in the sending of different messages to the baby. Studies have shown that the simple hearing of parents’ voice can tranquil babies, hence why this functionality has been implemented in the Philips Avent DECT. Product range is of up to 330 meters outdoor and 50 meters indoor.

Monitor Features

DECT technology: The DECT technology included this model assures owners of minimal interference with other devices, including cordless phones, cell phones, other baby monitors or even extensive wireless networks. Additionally, the data encryption technology safeguards channel transmission, so only parents who have the receiver will know what happens with the baby.

Crystal Clear Sound: Sound is once again top notch thanks to the DECT technology, which carefully monitors each giggle, scream or cry of the child as well as the background noise (which is ultimately filtered). Parents can see the noise level on the receiver, being indicated by 5 blue dots. When the noise level is high, more lights are turned on. When the noise level drops, the blue lights begin turning off. Parents can take advantage of the vibration reminder when the noise level reaches upper limits, as well as personalization of the sound output via the +/- arrows.

Night Light and Lullabies: If ever the little one has trouble falling asleep parents can take advantage of the night mode on this monitor. It comes with a light on the unit that is placed in the baby’s room to help take care of some of the uneasiness that being in total darkness may present. It also has programmed lullabies that can play and help gently soothe the child to sleep.

Rechargeable Wireless Unit: The Avent DECT is designed to operate for up to 18 hours on battery, requiring 10 hours of charging thereafter. An adapter is included in the package and is compatible with all the standard outlets. Range is very good for an indoor voice monitor, reaching up to 50 meters inside the house and 330 meters when used outdoor.

Pros of This Baby Monitor

We read an awful lot of customer feedback on this particular model and this baby monitor has gotten very positive reviews from parents and some of the features which were mostly appreciated by customers include:

Range: Most customers who bought the product appreciate its long action range. One reviewer reports that he experienced no loss of signal in a 4,000 square-foot house. Furthermore, the fact that DECT technology reports when the link is lost is also a useful feature that helps ensure that parents know when they are pushing the limits of the unit’s range.

Sound quality: A number of online reviews praise this model’s overall sound quality and lack of static. Owners like that the unit enables them to hear every noise their children make, even if some of them live in areas where outdoor noise is louder. They are also delighted with the blue dots which clearly indicate current sound level (on a range of 1 to 5).

Night mode: Another highly appreciated feature of the device is the “Night mode”, which enables parents to soothe their babies from a distance with the aid of remote night light and lullabies. This feature is also very handy for parents. Owners liked they way that this feature worked.

Temperature sensor: The temperature sensor embedded in the device is a nice feature. In case the temperature is too high, windows can be open or a fan turned on. If temperatures drops too low, the heating system can be turned on or the child can be wrapped in a thicker blanket.

Cons of This Monitor

When reviewing the product, some customers also mentioned few downsides. They noted that the Philips Avent DECT could be even better if:

Indoor to Outdoor range could be better: Few customers note that they experienced signal loss when trying to use the remote outdoor while the unit was still inside the house. They suggest Philips to improve the range to 500 meters or more in the future.

Louder Volume: Albeit the volume on remote can be customized via +/- arrows, 2 customers note that they could use an even higher max volume limit.

Screen Readability: By default, the Philips Avent DECT comes with a B&W screen with blue backlighting. Few customers suggest that readability could be improved in future models by introducing a color LCD screen, even though this would lead to higher production and retail costs.

All in all, the Philips Avent DECT is an affordable and easy-to-use audio monitor. It comes with a variety of interesting features including Temperature Sensor and Night mode, as well as the DECT technology which ensures zero interference with other devices as well as a perfectly secure connection. We have used this on several occasions in the kitchen and it has worked like a charm, even when testing out our own homemade baby food. It is easy to get sidetracked and distracted while you are in the zone trying to juggle all the ingredients of a recipe. It is nice to have something that lets you stay connected to your little when they are in another room. This is the perfect companion to anyone with a newborn who spends a lot time cooking.