Cooking Your Vegetables With A Countertop Oven

If going completely raw in your efforts to maintain a vegan lifestyle is too extreme of a move then fear not. Cooking your veggies can be just as rewarding. Whether it is a nice vegetarian fajita, roasted peppers, bean casserole, or anything in between, having a hot meal is easy to achieve with the right equipment. For us, having a toaster oven in the kitchen has been a true blessing. The funny thing is that we do not even use it for making toast. Instead we give it a workout baking, roasting, and broiling some of our favorite vegan meals and side dishes. If you need something to ease your way into this new diet undertaking, a little heat can make a big difference.

We have used primarily a couple of different models over the years, just having upgraded to a real top of the line gem. However, most of our friends make use of a countertop oven as well. We decided to give you some of our favorite ovens that can help your vegetable adventure get off on the right foot. There really is no limit to what you can achieve with food with the right imagination. Once you are set up you can try limitless vegan cooking recipes and take advantage of what it has to offer.

Quick Reviews & Highlights

First, we are not experts at reviewing small appliances, but we do have experience in the kitchen. There is really nothing scientific about our list. It just includes toaster ovens that we really like to use and think you will too.

Breville BOV845BSS Smart Oven Pro

Ok, this is the gem that we mentioned earlier. This is one awesome cooking machine. For years Breville has been the leader in countertop ovens. Their BOV800XL has been consistently ranked as the best toaster oven that you can get for your kitchen. The BOV845BSS is basically the same exact oven but with two added features. First, it has a light on the inside. You would think that every oven out there would come with this but unfortunately the older model Breville’s don’t. This is really handy to have. There is a button for you to activate it whenever you need and it goes off after a few seconds. Also, with 30 seconds left on the counter the light will come on automatically.

The second feature they added was an additional slow cooking setting. This unit comes with 10 preset cooking functions to help take out most of the guesswork. We have yet to use this setting but it is a nice bonus to have.

So far we have been amazed with what we have been able to make with this oven. Casseroles come out perfect and roast sweet peppers are done to perfection. The only negative thing we have to say is that it is a bit pricey. When we last looked it was the most expensive model coming in at nearly $270. It did hurt the pocket book, but we have not regretted it one bit. If you love cooked vegetables like we do then this oven is an ideal choice. Reading up on some of the top tier convection toaster oven reviews will prove why this model is so good in the kitchen.

Cuisinart TOB-155

This was our previous toaster oven that really took a beating. I am not even sure that they make this model any more, but Cuisinart makes some really dependable ovens. We looked into their current offerings and there were a couple that caught our eye. If it was not for the Breville that we ended up getting we would sure have no hesitations about picking up another Cuisinart. It was sad to see our old reliable go, but we got many great years of service. It was our side dish oven that we used for every dinner party that we threw. Our family friends also were sad to see it go since they benefited from it just as much as we did.

Other Brands We Like

Besides Cuisinart and Breville, we have also seen some Oster and Hamilton Beach ovens in action and were also thoroughly impressed. The terrific thing about these two brands in their affordability. If you don’t have the budget to go out and splurge on a new kitchen appliance then these are two names that you should look into.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Some Heat

Going totally raw can be daunting and very hard to keep up daily and this is why adding the comfort of a hot meal can help you get acclimated to such an abrupt change to your diet. Not only will having a toaster oven making things easier to make but they also clean up easily. You want things to be convenient, taste good, and be simple to maintain. A countertop oven can help you with all of these aspects. Don’t be weary, be adventurous in your kitchen and enjoy a lifetime of rewards to your health.

Shedding Some Light On A Top Tier Food Processor

If you have ever watched the Jetsons cartoon and wondered when some of that cool futuristic technology would finally make an appearance, then you are in luck. No, there are no flying vehicles or dwellings above the clouds at the moment. You will just have to settle for a sleek designed food processor in your kitchen for the time being. It may not seem like much, but the Breville Sous Chef BFP800XL is indeed impressive for its size. Breville takes pride in creating some of the more technologically advanced small kitchen appliances, and their entry in the food processor arena is no different. If you are serious about what you cook and you want to maximize your efforts in the kitchen then this is one tool you should add to your arsenal.

We have used the BFP800XL in our own home, and it has lived up to the higher marks we have seen in some of the newer food processor ratings and reviews. The results are almost unanimous. Customer scores are super high despite how expensive this model is compared to other brands. It is currently ranked as a top food processor choice for the modern chef. So which features make the Breville Sous Chef stand apart from the crowd?

BFP800XL Highlights


The BFP800XL comes with two work bowls; one large bowl (3.8l) and a mini processing bowl that is a 2.5 cup. The large processing bowl allows you to blend up large serving while the small one can be used for small jobs like mincing garlic or parsley. You might have noted that many food processes bowls usually has a hole in the bottom center, but not this one: it is completely sealed to prevent leaks when processing a lot of ingredients. The small has to be inside the large one in order for it to work, but it does has its own S blade, and unlike the large one, it not sealed because, you aren’t going to use it for large servings.


It has a 1200 watt induction motor. One great thing about induction motors is that they are simple and rugged in construction, and hence they tend to last for a long time. That’s why this unit comes with a 25 year warranty. The induction motor also makes this machine very powerful and when you press the pause or the on button the food are chopped or shred in a matter of a second. You will be amazed at how this unit works and how efficient it is, and if you have been using a small processor for a while, you might begin to use the pause button, and use one item at a time, until you learn how fast it works.


One of the greatest features of this food processor is the wide selection of blades that are all made from stainless steel for numerous prep options. All the blades and disc are housed in a nice, convenient accessory storage. There are three blades which include Micro-serrated S blade, the mini processing blade and the dough blade. You will also get five multi-functional discs, each of which is safe to handle, they have a flash design to ensure you do not get cut, but be careful . With the disc, you can be able to control the thickness of the ingredients that you are processing, thanks to the adjustment settings on the slicing disc.

Control and Safety Feature

The Breville BFP800XL r features a control panel with three stylish round buttons and an LCD with an auto timer. You can use the auto timer to set your desired time for processing, and it will stop processing as soon as the set time is reached. You will also notice that this unit is secure in all aspect: the bowls are BPA-free, the lid and the food pushers have a safety lock mechanism that prevent the motor from turning if you do not lock everything in place. A cleaning brush is also included for safe cleaning of the blades and the disc.

Wider Feed Chute

The size of feed chute is super wide, (5.5 inches) to allow you to slice, chop or shred any ingredient without having to cut it first. You can put a large potato and a whole zucchini or whatever you need to cut without any worry. Along with the feed tube is a small pusher that is great for small produce like carrot and you can use it as a measuring cup if you aren’t using in your processing.

User Ratings

Breville products have generally are some of the most wished for and highly rated appliances on the market. When it comes to the Breville BFP800XL, many reviews show that this is an excellent choice. It is robust, efficient, sturdy, well built, smooth running, quiet, and easy to operate. If you are looking for a high end food processor to handle your baby food needs, then this may be just what you are looking for.


Juicing On A Budget For Beginners

Nothing is quite as refreshing and as healthy as a glass of freshly squeezed juice. On a hot day if you reach for a carton of juice from the fridge then you know what we are talking about. However to take your nutrition to the next level then you are going to have to use your own juicer rather than relying on store bought products. While there is nothing wrong with these products you can find in your local market, they have their limitations, both in variety and in nutrients.

The most popular brands of juice will be of your garden variety fruits and vegetables. Oranges, grapes, cranberries are some of the most common kinds of juices sold. Some of the more nutritious types of green juices are harder to find and they will cost you quite a bit more. The reason for this is that they are difficult to preserve and must be consumed right away. There will be a higher price to pay for these types of drinks and they are not going to make a lot of economical sense to consume every day.

I Thought Juicing Was Expensive

This is one of the main drawbacks of owning your own juice extractor. The higher quality machines are typically going to be a sizable investment up front. Then you have the cost of buying fresh produce to make your drinks. While this is true, there are ways to minimize the cost while increasing your vitamin intake.

If you think about how much fresh foods are in a recommended daily allowance you might think it impossible to eat all of that each and every day. Modern juicers let you get all of the goodness of fruits and veggies down to just one or two glasses of juice. This is going to save you a huge amount of time, and how valuable is your time? For a lot of folks this convenience is worth it to improve their diets.

Finding A Good Juicer

If you have looked at recent juicer reviews you will see that most of the highly rated ones will cost between $150 and $300. That is a lot of money to shell out for something that you are not sure you will stick with. If you look a little harder you should have no trouble finding a budget juicer for a little bit less than that. We recommend that you don’t stray below the $100 mark as the cheaper juicers will not leave you satisfied. You want something that works well, is easy to use, and is a machine that you will want to use every day. Cheap extractors can be poorly constructed, wobble on your counter, give you low juice yield and quality.

The two models we recommend for those looking to save a little up front are the Breville BJE200XL centrifugal juicer and the Cuisinart CJE-1000. These are both centrifugal juicers that will cost you right around $100. They are extremely simple to use, will give you decent yield, and are relatively easy to clean. For those just starting out these are both good choices.

Your Ingredients

Now that you have a juicer it is time to use it. The best thing that you can do to save money in this area is to buy in bulk. Avoid prepackaged items and purchase by the pound. Farmer’s markets are great for this and you can try and haggle on the price as well. A bunch of carrots with the stems on them is going to be a little bit less than a package of baby carrots. Once you have some experience you will get the hang of how much to buy without throwing out what you can’t use later on.

One of the by-products of juicing is that you are left with a bunch of dry pulp. Don’t throw this out. This is a good source of dietary fiber that you can use later on such as cake toppings or in soups. This will allow you to use everything and have very little go to waste.

Worth The Effort

You only get one body and treating it the best you can now will pay off for you in the future. The vitamins and nutrients that are in fruits and vegetables are going to be vital to maintaining your health over the long run. Yes, juicing is going to be more effort, and cost more money then eating a salad or two every day, but it not all of us enjoy grazing each and every day. Using a juicer will provide variety, give you something refreshing, and save you a tremendous amount of time. There are numerous benefits that make it worth it and being on a budget should not stop you. Here is to your health.

Check out the video below for a couple of more decent budget juicer ideas that will help you change your diet and improve your heath. Save a little and gain a lot.