I Already Have a Stand Mixer…why would I want a Food Processor?

Stand mixers are for most preparation to do with baking – pie crust, bread dough etc.  A Food Processor is great for chopping, pureeing, slicing, grinding nuts and coffee, finely chopping herbs…the list is endless.  Try to think of the stand mixer as helping with sweet foodstuffs and the Food Processor with savory.  Although that ‘rule’ is interchangeable, it helps to see why you would benefit from both.

Handy Hints

  • Try not to be seduced by a machine with many ‘extras’. These only add to the cost and you may only use them very rarely – or never at all!
  • Food Processors that live in cupboards don’t get used! So don’t forget to check how much space the Food Processor will take up on your counter top. When you’re deciding where it will ‘live’, make sure it’s near a power point and that you have enough free space nearby for any rough chopping or peeling etc.
  • Check that the parts of the Food Processor are safe in the dishwasher as this can save time on cleanup.
  • For a family-sized processor (9 to 11 cups), look for a model that has a motor of at least 600 watts, to minimize the likelihood of the motor burning out.
  • Choose a model from a manufacturer who offers service options, a range of additional blades or mixing tools and replacement parts.
  • Look for a model with smooth ‘touch’ pad controls rather than raised buttons. This makes it easier to keep clean.
  • Food Processors make graham cracker crusts or cheesecake bases a breeze!
  • They are ideal for pureeing food for babies. Just cook your regular meal and whizz up a portion for your baby (unless you are having highly spiced food which could upset baby’s  stomach!).
  • Make your own peanut or almond butter. Simply put shelled nuts into the bowl and grind until it’s the consistency that you desire.
  • When shredding Mozzarella cheese, freeze it for 20 minutes first. This will make it shred much more easily and stop it clumping together.



I Want a Food Processor…But Which One?

Many people love the idea of owning a Food Processor.  Especially when they see TV Chefs using them so effortlessly to whip up delicious concoctions.  But don’t forget that the TV Chef has a team who choose exactly the right equipment for the job and wash it up afterwards!

So, where do you start when choosing a Food Processor?  Let’s take a look at what you need to consider, so that you can buy the machine that’s right for you, which will reward you with such easy food preparation that it can even renew your enjoyment of cooking!

Maybe the first and possibly the most important choice is the size of your new Processor.  They range from ‘mini’ (21 ounces) to 14 cup size – which is most often used in a professional kitchen.  If you usually cook for a family of four, a 9 to 11 cup size should be fine for your needs.

When deciding on the size you need, it’s also helpful to try to think of the ways in which you will most often use the Processor and for what foodstuffs.  For example, if you love coleslaw and want something to make chopping a breeze, you may need a largish bowl for volume.

*A handy tip for making your own coleslaw is to use the shredding disc rather than the slicing one.  The slicing disc tends to make the pieces too short but would be fine for, say, making julienne carrots.

If you specifically want to use your processor for finely chopping small amounts of herbs or nuts or for making small quantities of sauces, you have two options.  You could look for a processor that comes with a separate, small chopping bowl and blade.  Alternatively, you could get a mini 3 cup processor to use alongside your larger one.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

Check to see if the Processor you are interested in has a pulse switch.  This enables you to whizz the blades for as long as your finger is on the button, giving you greater control over how finely you chop.  It is also better for the machine’s motor to chop in this way.

What Comes With It?

Most processors come with basic attachments but do take some time to check if these will meet your needs.  It’s also worth checking if the manufacturers offer the option for you to buy other attachments for your new machine.

All Food Processors come with a variety of interchangeable discs for shredding and slicing.  The size of the disc is in millimeters and this measurement will tell you the size of the resulting shredding or sliced foodstuff.

Another standard attachment is the feeding tube.  This means that you can turn the machine on and then push foods safely into the bowl, as your hands are nowhere near the blades.  It’s also useful for trickling ingredients into an already moving mixture, such as during the preparation of mayonnaise.

Some processors have a special option for juicing fruit or vegetables.

The heavier processors come with a dough blade which is very useful if you like to bake your own bread or make a lot of pastry.

Which Names Should I Look For and How Much Are They?

The brands that regularly perform the highest in magazine and consumer ratings are KitchenAid and Cuisinart.  They are also in the higher price bracket.  For an 11 cup family sized Food Processor you would probably pay around $130 – although it’s well worth shopping around, waiting until the sales or putting one on your Birthday or Christmas wish list!

Less expensive brands include Black & Decker and Hamilton Beach, with products at around $50 – however, their motors are not so powerful and they may be more prone to burn out.

As with all kitchen appliances, buy the best you can afford to avoid disappointment and having to pay out for an early replacement.

How to Choose a Toaster

There are as many types of toasters out there as there are different bread types. It can be a bit overwhelming. Are you just looking for something simple that will brown 2 pieces of commercial bread, or do you want a toaster that can do everything from bagels to hamburger buns?

Here are a few tips and hints for choosing the right toaster for you.

Toasters all work the same way, you stick a piece of bread into them and a heating element browns it. What makes a toaster different from another is the various options available?

  • Number of Slices – How much toast do you need? If it’s just for you a standard 2-slot toaster will be plenty. Do you have a large household? You might want to go with a multi-slot toaster. You can find these in 4, 6, even 8 slices.
  • Browning Control - How dark do you like your toast? If you like variety look for a toaster that lets you control how long the bread toasts. It’s a common feature on even the most basic models
  • Size of Bread Slot – Higher end toasters will allow for varying bread sizes. This option lets you plop in a bagel and not have to worry about it turning to charcoal or sticking when it pops up. The top end models will have a spring-loaded slot that adjusts to whatever sized bread you’re putting into it.
  • Style – Since there are so many toaster options out there you just have to look for the right one to fit your kitchen. You can find any color out there all the way up to stainless steel. The choice is yours.

Use these four tips and hints for choosing a toaster and you’ll have a stylish product, and perfectly browned bread for years to come.

Tips and Hints for Choosing a Juicer

Why go through all the hassle of chopping up fruits and vegetables to get your daily dietary needs? Consider a juicer instead. Juicing is a great way to get all your daily vitamins and minerals in one glass. They’re easy to use and the juice is delicious.

Here are a few tips and hints for choosing a juicer.

There are 3 main types of juicers:

Centrifugal Juicers are the most common and least expensive. They’re a great choice for the beginning juicer. A centrifugal juicer pulps what is put into it and spins the juice down into a glass at high speed. These work great on the harder pieces of produce like carrots but are much less effective with greens like spinach. Since this is the least expensive type of juicer be sure to buy one that has a good warranty.

Single Gear Juicers act a bit like a meat grinder. They chew what’s put in them into a mash. One of the benefits of a single gear juicer is that they extract more juice from the plant. Since this is a screw type masher it operates at lower speeds and the machine will last much longer.

Twin Gear Juicers operate similarly to single gear juicers but instead use two rotating screws to finely mash the pulp. This results in the most efficient of machines. Twin Gear Juicers operate at very low speeds, and extract the most juice from the pulp. Of course they are also the most expensive of the juicer types.

Hopefully these tips and hints for choosing a juicer have helped take some of the guesswork out of just what type to buy.

Once you juice that first glass of your favorite fruit or vegetable you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get a one!

Welcome to a healthier way to live!

Cooking Tips for Bodybuilders

If you want to pack on some serious muscle, you not only need to pay your dues in the gym, you also need to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to build muscle and keep your energy levels high. So what kinds of foods can help you convert pumped iron into pumped up muscles?

These cooking tips for bodybuilders will help you find out.

What Food Groups do Bodybuilders Need Most?

Before you can decide how to cook for bodybuilders, you need to know what kinds of food they should be eating. A good bodybuilding diet has three important aspects:

Protein:

Protein is the most important building block to creating strong muscles. If you don’t have enough protein in your diet, your body will simply be unable to pack on more muscle no matter how hard you work out.

Carbohydrates:

Carbs help keep your body’s energy levels high, even when you are working hard. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads and rice provide you with a steady source of energy, whereas simple carbs like white flour and sugar give you a quick boost followed by a crash.

Good Fat:

Bodybuilding isn’t just about being strong, it’s also about having a hard, ripped body. To achieve this ripped look, bodybuilders should have lots of muscle and very little body fat. Why? Body fat blurs and conceals the shape of the muscles underneath, ruining the effect of your hard training. On the other hand, “good” fats help to lubricate the joints and keep you healthy. Stick to a small amount of unsaturated fat (about 20% of your diet).

How to Cook for Bodybuilders:

When you’re bodybuilding, it’s easy to get into a rut and eat the same few healthy foods over and over again. However, that quickly leads to a boring diet. When cooking for bodybuilders, you need to be creative enough to add new flair to the standby ingredients.

Some ideas include:

Shake Up Breakfast with Egg White Omelets: Egg whites are full of protein but low in fats and calories. You can create a variety of delicious meals by combining egg whites with cheese and fresh vegetables.

Try Vegetarian Meat Substitutes:

Most vegetarian meat substitutes are very high in protein. Even meat lovers can enjoy some of these products, and reap the benefits of delicious, low-fat meals.

Put Spices to Work for You:

Spices can completely change the way a meal tastes without adding unhealthy fats or calories. Try lemon pepper with your tuna, add paprika to your omelets, or rosemary to your chicken. The next day, swap spices to keep your meals interesting.

Other Important Cooking Tips for Bodybuilders:

Avoid Hidden Cooking Fats – Avoid “invisible” fats by using non-stick spray instead of oil in your frying pans, and substituting olive oil for butter in recipes.

Don’t Overlook Extra Calories:

Remember that the pat of butter you put on your bread or the dressing you add to your salad could be full of calories.

Remove Chicken Skins:

A large percentage of the unhealthy fat from chicken is in its skin. By simply removing the skin, you vastly improve the healthiness of your meal.