Do Toaster Ovens Make Good Gifts?

Toaster ovens actually make terrific gifts. 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 BOV845BSS, 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.

Oster

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.

Cleaning

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.

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Your Kids Like To Ride In Style Too

graco-style

Buying a child safety seat is one of the more important first purchases that you are going to have to make as a new parent. Of course you want something that is completely safe, crash tested, and secure. However, that does not mean that you have to get something that is an eyesore, is made of harsh materials, and is something you really don’t want other parents to see in your backseat.

The Graco 4Ever All In One is a perfect examples of a convertible car seat that excels in both form and function. It will protect your kids, but it is also something that brings with it a high end style. Your kids will love riding this safety seat and it is something that you will not mind looking at or using on a daily basis. Keeping your child safe has never looked so good. Whether you drive a Camry or a Cadillac, this is one seat that will you will enjoy using and have some peace of mind on the road.

Features

This particular convertible seat is packed with features that make it easy for parents to operate. It gets high marks for its installation, safety, and ease of use. You can read a full review of the Graco 4Ever, but we have a quick breakdown of this car seat’s best features below.

Rear-facing: Suitable for children with an average weight of between 5-40 pounds. For safety reasons your kid’s head should not reach past one inch beneath the top of the cushion (headrest). The shell of this seat can seat to 27 inches. There is no limit for a child height except the 1” rule.

Forward- facing: Ideal for children with a weight of 20-65 pounds. When it comes to height, he or she should be between 27 inches to 52 inches. Make sure that the tip of your kid’s ear is below the top end of the cushion.

High back booster: Suitable for children with an average weight of between 30-100 pounds. They should also have a height of between 38 inches to 52 inches. For safety reasons, your child should be at least 8-years old before they switch from forward facing to high back booster.

Backless booster: I deal for children with an average weight of between 40-120 pounds, and with a height of between 40” to 57”. This limit is usually ideal for children who are at least 57” or 4’9” tall, although the usual range is between 4’9” to 5’.

Other features include: steel reinforced frame, easy to read bubble-level indicator, energy absorbing EPS foam, no thread harness, and adjustable base.

Measurements

The Graco 4Ever convertible seat is 20” wide and 24” high. The seat is about 21.5” long. The seat has a weight of 23 pounds and comes with a 10 years lifespan. The lowest harness height is 7”, and the highest harness height is 18”. The highest booster height is about 19” and the internal rear facing height is 27.5” (1” below the cushion adjustment level which is 28.5”). Seating depth is about 12”, internal seating width is 13”, the widest point on the base is 15”, the broadest external seat breadth is 19.5”, and the narrowest point on the base both at the front and at the back is about 11.5”.

This seat is one of the easiest seats to install. The forward-facing and rear-facing installs well with the LATCH system for car seats. The paths of the belts are well labeled and color coded both in the manual and on the seat itself. The blue color is for rear facing, the orange for forward facing, and the green color is for boosters. The tether straps and the LATCH belts are very easy to remove or loosen when you want to, and they still stay secure.

Pros

  • Comes with a cover that is easy to remove
  • It’s very easy to install this seat with seat belt or LATCH
  • Can easily be converted to backless booster or high back mode
  • Enables one to use LATCH easily in high back mode
  • Ideal for small babies
  • You do not need to loosen or remove the harness when switching to booster mode
  • Comes with an easy to understand manual instructions
  • Has a lifespan of 10 years before it expires

Cons

  • Has some straps which are somewhat twisted
  • Doesn’t have a lock-off device for fitting with safety belt
  • When using a rear facing mode it can be tricky to tighten the harness

The Bottom Line

Graco is known for making great budget-friendly car seats. The 4Ever is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but with the ability to use only one seat from infant to toddler, it is a bargain. With plush, well ventilated materials, comfort features, and safety enhancements, this is one convertible car seat well worth consideration.

Cooking In Style With A Convection Countertop Oven

modern-toaster-ovens

Our kitchen says a lot about our home.  Even though function is often the most vital aspect to an efficient work space, when it comes to cooking, style is also just as important.  For years toaster ovens have gotten a bad rap as being cheap and flimsy without much use other than browning some slices of bread.  However, now they are modern cooking appliances that are not only full featured mini ovens, but they are also designed to fit into any type of kitchen and add to the overall decor.  For those that spend a lot of time at home cooking big meals for the family, getting a toaster oven that has a convection setting is going to be most beneficial.  Find out exactly how versatile these ovens are and see which two brands we recommend the most to elevate the overall look of your counter top.

But Can They Cook?

If you love to prepare casseroles, side dishes, bake cookies, broil meat, roast chicken, or just about any other recipe that calls for the use of a conventional oven can be cooked in a toaster oven.  Today’s countertop ovens are engineered with some serious cooking technology that gives you the flexibility to replace your big oven with something that is easier to use.

Most of the high end models come with a number of preset functions that will allow you set it and forget it whether you want to defrost, bake, roast, broil, preheat, make toast, and similar type chores.  They are also made with quartz heating elements which reduce the time to preheat the oven and they produce more even heat that cooks perfectly on all sides of the food.  The results might surprise you.

Convection Feature

This is what helps separate fully functional toaster ovens from those that are best used for just heating a pizza or making toast.  Serious chefs get a lot of use out of convection cooking and it is something that you should look for when shopping for a new oven.

An oven with convection settings can move the hot air inside of the oven with the use of a fan.  This air circulation encompasses the food making sure to cook it evenly on every side.  The rush of warm air will also reduce the overall time needed as well as let you use slightly lower temperatures.  This is a super efficient way to cook food that can save you time and energy while produce delicious, perfectly cooked meals.

Top Convection Brands

When it comes to convection toaster ovens we typically go to our two favorite brand names for modern small kitchen appliances.  Breville and Cuisinart have great reputations for making sleek machines that include the latest technology and their ovens are no different.

Breviile

Breville ovens are the standard which all others strive to match.  Their eye for detail is amazing and they make some of the most advanced models around.  They have three different ovens that feature convection cooking.  The BOV800XL is their most popular oven.  It has five quartz heating elements that perform great with Breville’s Element IQ smart cooking technology.  This is designed to automatically adjust temps and cooking times based on the settings chosen.  Its stainless steel construction and LCD display give this a polished and refined look that will elevate any style of kitchen.  The combination of performance and looks makes this the number one option for amateur chefs.

Cuisinart

This name has been synonymous for years with high quality kitchen appliances.  Cuisinart ovens are also some of the best on the market that have a lot to offer.  Their best convection countertop oven is the TOB-260.  This rivals some of the top Breville models for style and reliability.  It also has two separate convection settings which is unique.  Definitely made for those who love to cook, the TOB-260 is a true power house that will let you almost completely replace your full sized oven.  It also has the design elements that are equally eye catching and make it stand out on your counter.

Other Brands

While there are plenty of other brands that try their hand at convection ovens, we would only recommend the two standouts above.  They have plenty of favorable customer feedback and years of reliability to lean on.  If you are looking for a new toaster oven and want something that can do more than reheat pizza, then you should look into getting one engineered to perform.  Taking advantage of convection cooking will save you a lot of the hassle that a full sized oven may present.  You should be trying to do what you can do enjoy your food more instead of working harder to prepare it.  Getting a countertop oven can help you get there faster while also raising the style of your kitchen.

 

 

A Classic Jogging Stroller That Hasn’t Gone Out Of Style

Jogger with style

If you are a parent looking to get back into shape but find it hard to juggle your time while looking after your little one, then getting a jogging stroller can kill two birds with one stone.  Not only will you enjoy the experience of getting outside of the house and running, but it is something that just about ever kid loves to partake in as well.  This is where the BOB Revolution SE stroller can help.

While it has been around for years, the Revolution SE is still rated as the best jogging stroller by avid runners and kids.  With style, comfort, and safety features that are second to none, this running stroller continues to be a huge hit with owners.  Here is a quick preview of why you should get this stroller for your family.

BOB Revolution SE Features

Padded, adjustable reclining seat

You probably have come across the buggy seats in other strollers that look like 5 cushions sewn together. Not on this stroller. The seat on Bob revolution is 14.5 inches wide and around 23 inches high from the bottom of the seat up to the top of the canopy. This means that a three years old child can be easily accommodated.

The other notable feature about the seat on this stroller is the position of the seat. Many strollers have a sling seat positioned between the front and back wheels. Bob revolution seat is position across the widest part of the buggy. I.e. Over the back wheels of the stroller and the seat is reclined to the position of your liking. This means added comfort for your little ones.

Swiveling front wheels

Bob revolution is a three-wheeled stroller; two wide and sturdy rear wheels and one front wheel. All wheels are made of high impact polymer material with tubes that can take any terrain. The front wheel usually swivels to allow maneuverability. You can lock the wheels forward when going over tough surfaces to increase the stability of the stroller.

Multi-position canopy

The canopy on this stroller is super large and protects your little one from any weather element. The canopy can be adjusted into 5 different positions giving a wide range of coverage. There is a peekaboo window (85-square inch) that allows you to keep an eye on your child. You can fold the canopy all the way back at times when you do not need, say sun protection.

Storage

Having a large storage is imperative when jogging with your child. This stroller has lots of storage for your child essential as well as your stuffs. There are 2 interior mesh pockets, one big pocket on the seatback and a large basket hanging underneath the seat.

Suspension system

When pushing this stroller, you will notice that it feels smooth. This is because of the suspension system on it, which minimizes the bumps or uneven surfaces thereby providing a gentle ride for your child. The two-position shock absorbers are there to provide more comfort and reliability.

Handlebars

The handle height is around 40 inches which is a comfortable height for any parent. The handlebar is padded to give you extra comfort and comes with a wrist strap that allows you to secure the stroller when jogging.

Lightweight frame

The aluminum frame on Bob Revolution is light weight which makes folding very easy. You can fold it in just two steps that require two hands. The folding dimension is 36”length, 25.5” width and 16”H which typically means that it can fit nicely in any vehicle.

Pros

  • Good for both jogger and stroller since the child is safe and comfortable when you do both.
  • Durable. The material made of this stroller is durable and easy clean which means you do not need to buy another stroller before the child gets old enough or until he or she is 70lbs.
  • It’s fairly easy to fold. All you need to do is simply lift up the levels by handle bar, then collapse the handle bar.
  • Plenty of storage room for you and your child.
  • It’s very safe. The five harness keeps your little one secure, the seats keeps him or her comfortable, and the brakes allow you to keep the stroller in a lock position when you’ve stopped.

Cons

  • It’s not a one hand fold which means you will have to bend down and use two hands. It is however very easy to fold.
  • It heavy because of a wide frame, large wheels, large canopy, and the padded seats so it’s not something that you would like lifting on a regular basis. These features that add the bulkiness has their advantage, so you have to look it on both ways.

When it comes to joggers, BOB strollers are among the most highly rated on the market.  The Revolution SE’s price is high, but I can confidently tell you, that it is extra money if you are a regular runner. Remember that what is important to our children is safety leave alone the comfort, so get a jogger that focuses on safety more than anything else.  However, it also does not hurt to get something with a design and style that sets it apart from others in its class.