6 Kitchen Appliances That Are Essential For Thanksgiving Dinner Preparations

If my grandmother is to be believed, then Thanksgiving is one of the most stressful dinners a person can prepare. Not only must the turkey be picture perfect but it must be complemented with a wide variety of side dishes and desserts. One way to ensure your Thanksgiving dinner preparations are as easy as possible is make sure you have the best kitchen appliances available to assist you. These appliances will not only save you time but also make it easier to prepare multiple dishes simultaneously and ensure they are all finished at the same time.

Here are six small appliances that are essential to preparing Thanksgiving dinner for your family.

Stand Mixers

Stand Mixer

An overlooked kitchen appliance which is incredibly useful during Thanksgiving preparation is a quality stand mixer. While they are most often associated with desserts a stand mixer is surprisingly versatile. The mixer itself is ideal for creating smoother mashed potatoes, combining dressing ingredients, and preparing silky sweet yams. Plus, a growing number of stand mixers have the capacity to support a variety of accessories which have nothing to do with mixing, but give you the freedom to leverage the mixer’s powerful motor to complete other tasks. For example, you can grind meats, stuff sausage, roll perfect pasta, strain fruits/vegetables, and even make ice cream.

Pressure Cooker

Fagor Pressure Cooker

Another useful kitchen appliance is the pressure cooker. The purpose of a pressure cooker is to speed up the necessary cooking time for a variety of labor-intensive recipes. You can even cook a juicy, delicious turkey in a pressure cooker, although it probably won’t be very presentable if you plan on carving it at the table. To help with Thanksgiving dinner preparations, a pressure cooker is ideal for a variety of time intensive desserts, such as bread pudding and custards. It can also be used to quickly churn out giblet gravy.

Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker with Turkey

A slow cooker is another extremely valuable kitchen appliance everyone should take advantage of when making Thanksgiving dinner. Its primary value is the ability to help free up oven space by allowing you to make one of your side dishes in it. A slow cooker is perfect for making Thanksgiving stuffing, casseroles, and any grain or rice-based side dish. You can also use a slow cooker to keep dips or your gravy warm while you are finishing up the main dishes. Some people prefer a triple slow cooker which allows you to heat up three different types of food at the same time.

Deep Fryer

Deep Fryer

Similar to a pressure cooker, a deep fryer is an excellent way to save time if you are planning on cooking any foods which will be fried in oil. While pan frying is a great way to impart flavor into food, you can easily deep fry the same items in less time, without sacrificing taste. Another option is to start out using the deep fryer and then transferring the food over to a pan while they are finishing. This is particularly helpful if you have multiple appetizers which are all fried.

Food Processor

Cuisinart Food Processor

When it comes to saving time in the kitchen during Thanksgiving, very few kitchen appliances are as valuable as having a food processor within reach. It is amazing how much a food processor can chop, dice and slice during the food preparation portion of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of asking all of your family to help you chop and dice, a food processor can do better work in significantly less time. It will also help assist in making all the delicious sauces, dips and spreads that make your turkey complete.

Similar to other small kitchen appliances on this list, food processors usually come with a variety of helpful attachments and accessories which make it even more versatile. This tool can be effectively used to prepare dishes for every course you plan on making.

Freestanding Cooktops or Range Burners

Ranger Burner Cooktop

If there is one complaint that is common among most people preparing Thanksgiving dinner it is a lack of space on the stove. Unfortunately, stovetop space is one of the most difficult resources to replicate in the kitchen. The easiest way to compensate for this is by using a couple of freestanding cooktops and range burners. Normally they are setup independent of any other appliance and simply need to be near an outlet. Not only does this provide you with more stovetop burners to use but it also is a fantastic space-saver. You can setup one or two range burners anywhere as long as it can reach an outlet.

Preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner is hard enough with all of the right tools. There is no reason to make matters worse by trying to prepare everything without adequate space for heat sources. Making a small investment in the high-value small kitchen appliances listed above will yield immediate benefits. The best part is all of these kitchen appliances take up very little space and are versatile enough to be used all year long.

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6 Tips to Save Money on Winter Heating Bills

Brace yourselves, winter is coming. As such, it is never too early to start planning ahead for the annual rise in winter heating costs.

A common misconception is that the most effective ways to decrease energy costs is by resorting to expensive, large-scale solutions such as installing new insulation throughout your home. Sure, that will definitely work at keeping you warm, but it will also cost you an arm and a leg to do so. The truth is that there are a number of small things you can do right now to help chip away at the overall amount of energy you use this winter. If done correctly, these small changes will lead to big savings. The key is taking the time to assess your needs and choosing the approach which best matches your goals while limiting your expenses.

Stay warm with these six tips to saving money on your winter heating bills.
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Supplemental Heating: The Easiest Way to Cut Energy Costs in the Fall & Winter

Spot Heating

As the mercury starts to drop, most homeowners will see their energy costs start to go up. In attempt to stay warm, most homeowners will simply crank up the heater, but unfortunately, that’s one of the least efficient ways to stay warm. Instead of heating up your entire house, why not just keep the area you’re hanging out in warm?

This strategy is called Supplemental Heating, and it’s one that more and more homeowners are starting to turn to. Without a doubt, supplementing the heat in your home is the absolute easiest way to lower your energy bills without sacrificing your overall comfort. There’s a number of ways you can utilize this technique to stay warm. But first, let’s learn how it works.

What is Supplemental Heating?

Supplemental heating is a straightforward strategy more homeowners are turning to as energy prices continue to rise. Instead of raising the internal temperature of your home to a consistent level throughout the entire house, only specific areas are heated while the rest of the house remains cool. The logic behind this is simple. If you are not going to be moving throughout the house, from room to room, on a regular basis there is no reason to keep every room the same temperature. A more economical solution is to only heat the spaces you are currently occupying.

There are a number of benefits to adopting a supplemental heating strategy in your home. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common benefits of this strategy.
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3 Common Uses for Combo Kitchens

Combo Kitchen

A combo kitchen is single, standalone unit that serves all your basic kitchen needs. A typical combo kitchen consists of a sink, mini refrigerator and stovetop range. Sometimes referred to as compact kitchens, combination kitchens, kitchenettes or all-in-ones, combo kitchens are available in a variety of configurations. Some models include freezers, ovens, electrical outlets, cabinets, built-in cutting boards and storage drawers.

A combo kitchen is a great solution when space is in short supply, such as in small apartments or guest houses. Other models are especially built for outdoor use, making them perfect for backyard barbecues and patio entertaining. Because combination kitchens are considerably more affordable than traditional kitchens, they also make practical substitutes during home renovations, especially when your budget is being stretched thin.

Let’s take a closer look at three common uses for combo kitchens, so you can make an informed decision as to whether one is right for you.
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7 Easy Ways to Get More From Your Patio This Fall

Summer may be over, but fall is the perfect time to take advantage of everything your patio has to offer. It is the time of year that the leaves begin to turn beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The sweltering summer days begin to wane and shift to a more comfortable, brisk environment. It is the time for football barbecues and perfect mornings to sit outside with a cup of coffee.

Most people set up their patio and never change it but it is one of the most versatile and enjoyable spaces your home has to offer. This is especially true if you plan on entertaining guests outdoors. The key is knowing the easiest ways to get more from your patio with very little effort. Here’s our favorite ways you can improve your patio, so you can enjoy it throughout fall.

1. Choose Versatile Seating Options

One of the simplest ways to give your patio a new, comfortable look is to choose versatile seating options. It doesn’t matter if you prefer metal furniture outdoors or more traditional wood or wicker seating, the key is versatility. While it is nice to have one or two chairs for a more intimate or casual setting, seating is typically the one limitation that prevents people from hosting larger get-togethers outdoors.

Adding one or two long benches is a simple solution. You can add seat cushions or outdoor pillows to turn a simple wooden bench into a more comfortable yet versatile seating solution. The best part is benches are easy to move so it can be pushed aside when it’s not needed.

2. Entertain with an Outdoor Television

Outdoor Television

Just because it’s football season doesn’t mean you need to spend your weekends indoors on the couch. Television technology is evolving at a rapid pace. There are now televisions which are specifically designed to be used and stored in an outdoor environment. They have screen coatings which prevent glare from becoming a problem. Some outdoor televisions can even connect directly to your Wi-Fi network so you wouldn’t have to worry about installing a cable outlet.

Just like when you choose a television for your living room, outdoor televisions come with a large assortment of accessories you can buy to make your experience even better. Before you rush out to buy a TV for your patio, it’s important to consider how much space is available and where you plan to install/watch it.

3. Outdoor Beverage Refrigerator

Patio Outdoor Refrigerator

Nothing is worse than constantly running inside to get food and beverages for friends and family when you’re trying to spend time together outdoors. Not only is it inconvenient, but it also lets all your A/C out of the house. The simple solution is to have an outdoor beverage refrigerator available for your guests. The benefit of an outdoor only beverage station is that you can choose from a wide variety of sizes, so it fit your needs and available space.

A portable beverage refrigerator, or even a kegerator, is not only a great way to provide your guests with easy access to food and drinks, they’re also portable and easy to move around. During the winter, if you’re not spending much time on your patio, you can move it in and use in other areas of the house.

4. Portable Ice Maker

Portable Ice Maker

If your beverage refrigerator doesn’t have a built-in ice maker, it would be wise to have a portable ice maker readily available for your guests. Instead of running in and out of the house to get ice, you’ll be providing them the convenience of ice right there.

It’s never been easier to find an inexpensive, yet dependable ice maker that’s designed to stand the elements outside. From the spring sun to the summer heat, a quality ice maker should be durable enough to leave outdoors nearly year-round.

5. Stay Warm With An Outdoor Heater

Patio Heater

As fall begins to turn towards winter the evenings will start to get cold quickly. Depending on where you live, that cold may already be nipping at you. Instead of moving the party indoors try using an outdoor heater. From table top to wall-mounted, there are a number of different heating options you can choose from. Take a look at your options, analyze your space and determine which type of heater will be the best for your patio.

One of the most popular outdoor heating options is a fire pit. This allows you to sit back and enjoy the crackle of an open flame and keep warm at the same time. Instead of building a permanent fire pit, most people prefer the portable version so they can move it out of the way when the weather warms up again. Another option is the more traditional outdoor heaters which can be either propane or electric. With a simple flip of the switch, these heaters are the perfect solution when you don’t want to build and maintain a fire but still want to stay warm.

6. Plant a Garden

Patio Garden Container

An overlooked accent that makes every patio more appealing is the ambiance of a garden. Whether you’re growing flowers or vegetables, having a garden out there is a guaranteed way to make your patio look better. You don’t need a large plot, just a small, low-maintenance garden will do wonders for the look and feel of your patio.

There’s a large variety of gardening equipment and supplies that can help you accomplish this, but all you really need to get started is a few containers, a bag of soil and seeds. It’s easy to swap out your plants depending on the season. This helps ensure that your shrubbery, flowers and vegetables are always lush and green all year-round. Just be sure to cover your plants or move them inside before the deep freezes set in.

7. Cover Your Patio with a Canopy

A simple yet effective way to help maintain your optimal temperature on your patio is by covering it. If you have an open patio the popular option is to use a stylish canvas, canopy or other temporary enclosure, as this allows you to quickly put it up and take it down. Installing a canopy can help keep the elements out, and your heat in. Depending on your patio, you may be better suited with a more enclosed or permanent solution. Be sure to weight your options before buying the first canopy or canvas you find.

Improve Your Patio For Fall

Just because the temperature is changing doesn’t mean you need to retreat indoors quite yet. Summer may be gone, but the beautiful season that is fall is just beginning. By adding a few key accessories and making a couple of improvements to your patio, it will be easy to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer, even into the early winter months.

Surely, we missed a few ways that you can improve your patio for fall. What would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

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3 Things to Keep in Mind When Starting an Indoor Garden

You have decided to start a fall gardening project in your home, and you know what you want to grow. What do you do now? The hardest part to setting up your indoor garden is to figure out what it requires to succeed.

Before you rush out and buy a bunch of gardening equipment for your indoor garden, it’s always wise to proactively troubleshoot a few of the most common problems, in order to ensure the overall long-term success of your garden. From proper lighting and ventilation, to assessing whether you have enough space, let’s take a look at what can do to give your plants what they need to bloom and grow. Follow our beginners guide to setting up a basic indoor garden on a budget.

Size of Your Gardening Space

First, assess the size of your space. Large rooms need a lot of lights with a powerful system for ventilation. Small rooms need fewer lights with less energy devoted to ventilation. Measure the dimensions of your room to give you a better idea of what you will need. A room that measures 18 feet wide, 12 feet long would be considered spacious.

Next, you must think about your budget and how much experience you have growing plants. If you are fairly new to urban or indoor gardening, you may not want to fill the entire room with plants until you have a little more experience. Instead of jumping straight into buying a bunch of gardening equipment, start off with a smaller project and measure your overall success. Once you feel more comfortable, proceed on with more plants. The last thing anybody wants is to spend a bunch of time and money on an indoor garden, only to see your plants die before you can harvest.

Now that you have the size of your gardening space established, section-off part of the room so that you have a space that is at least 8 feet wide and 12 feet long. This is a manageable working space for a novice. Granted, sectioning the room is an additional effort and expense. However, creating a smaller space within the room gives you more complete control of the environment in your garden. Line the sectioned area with reflective sheeting so that you get the most out of your lighting. If you do not feel confident installing a temporary partition on your own, buy an indoor grow tent to drape from the ceiling.
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A Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating is a fun, cost-effective and easy way to prepare fresh foods for storage or for snacking right away. To ensure the best results, it’s wise to know the bare essentials before you start using your food dehydrator. Armed with this information and a little bit of practice and experimentation, you will be able to dehydrate food like a pro in no time.

What is a Food Dehydrator?

Dehydrated Apple

A food dehydrator is a small kitchen appliance that is used to dry, or dehydrate, your food. Utilizing a built-in fan and low amounts of heat, this small appliance uses a light flow of hot air to reduce the overall amount of water found in fruits, veggies, meats and other foods. Once the water is removed, the food won’t spoil as quickly as it normally would, and is also impervious to many kinds of bacteria that would otherwise grow.

Additionally, food that has been properly dehydrated will continue to retain the vast majority of its original nutritional value. Once you cook your food, you start to lose the overall nutrition potential, which is why many people tout a raw food diet as being one of the healthiest for you. A food dehydrator allows you to retain all of those nutrients and vitamins within your food, but makes it more convenient for you to store and carry around with you.

6 Simple Food Dehydrating Tips

Here are six basic food dehydrating tips that you should keep in mind.

  1. Make sure you have the right temperature
    The temperature and time required to adequately dehydrate will vary depending on the type of dehydrator you buy, as well as the food you want to dehydrate. General time and temperature guidelines will be printed on the dehydrator label or included in the instruction manual along with suggested times needed.
  2. Make sure foods are 95% dehydrated
    In order to be stored properly, foods need to be at least 95 percent dehydrated. If your items feel soft, spongy or sticky, put them back in the dehydrator for additional time. Hard and crunchy or breakable pieces are done. High indoor humidity, air conditioning or breezes may alter the time needed to dehydrate foods. Ideally, find a dry, warm place away from air vents and windows to set up your dehydrator.
  3. Don’t try to dry foods quicker
    Do not worry about over-drying your foods. You can dry them longer if necessary, but it’s not wise to turn the temperature settings up in an attempt to dry the foods quicker. This will seal the outside, leaving moisture within, which will ultimately lead to the food spoiling before you have a chance to eat it.
  4. Preparation is key
    Before you add dehydrate anything, make sure you thoroughly wash all foods with an anti-bacterial vegetable cleaner. Wear gloves when preparing foods to avoid getting skin oils on the food. Steam all low-acid vegetables for 10 minutes prior to dehydrating. After they have been steamed, pat them dry before placing them in the food dehydrator. Spritz bananas and apples with lemon juice to avoid browning.
  5. Become more efficient
    Just like you’re using an oven, it is wise to turn on the dehydrator prior to use to allow it to warm up to the required temperature before adding food. Prepare items that require the same temperature, and dehydrate at the same time. For best results, slice all items to equal thickness and size.

Choosing the Best Food Dehydrator for You

The most important feature of a food dehydrator is the fan. When you’re shopping for a food dehydrator, it’s recommended that you get one with a fan in the back, instead of on the top or the bottom of the unit. A back-mounted fan allows your food to dry evenly throughout the entire dehydrator. Top and bottom fans tend to dry first at the closet levels, and the fan blows scents from foods on one level to meld with foods in another.

To dehydrate foods successfully, an adjustable thermostat, heating element, automatic shut-off timer and suitable capacity are also important features to have available. The adjustable thermostat lets you set the correct temperature according to the food you are dehydrating. Varied temperatures are required according to the individual foods you wish to dehydrate. A heating element keeps the food air at the right temperature to optimally dehydrate, and the automatic shut-off timer allows you to run the dehydrator overnight or during time away from home.

Dehydrator capacity varies from approximately 4 to 10+ square feet of space, either in stackable or slide-out trays. A removable-tray dehydrator with nine trays allows as much as 15 square feet of space. Figure your size requirement according to the amount of food you plan to dehydrate. One-half pound of sliced strawberries, three sliced apples, three sliced bananas or two sliced tomatoes covers approximately one 1.5 square foot tray.

Picking the right size all depends on often you plan to use it, as well as how much food you’d like to dehydrate. If you buy or grow an abundance of fruits and veggies, then perhaps the larger 9-tray food dehydrators are the best fit for you. If you don’t plan on dehydrating a lot of food, then maybe the smaller dehydrators would be a better fit for you.

Storing & Rehydrating Dehydrated Foods

During storage, be sure to protect your dehydrated foods from heat, light and moisture. Any of these in excess may shorten the shelf life of the food. Once your food is dehydrated, allow it to cool to room temperature to avoid condensation inside packaging. For best results, you should consider using a vacuum sealer to package dehydrated foods for storage. If a vacuum sealer is not available, you can use a Ziploc bag, but make sure you force out as much air as you can and seal it tightly.

Once your dehydrated food is bagged, place the items in a dark, cool and dry area. Do not place in the freezer, or you will notice ice crystals start to collect inside. To ensure overall quality, check your inventory weekly for a couple of weeks. When dehydrated adequately and stored in a vacuum seal, foods can last over 20 years.

To rehydrate foods, plan to place 1 cup of food in 1 cup of hot or cool water, depending on your planned use. Once this is completed, allow up to four hours for rehydration. Use as you would normally in your recipe. If you’re using a slow cooker to prepare your food, then just simply add your vegetables to the cooker, add the amount of water your recipe calls for and your veggies will rehydrate themselves.

Why You Should Try It

Dehydrating foods not only saves you money, but it is very simple and incredibly healthy. Dehydrated foods not only retain their vitamin and mineral content, but they also have a shelf life that extends for decades. Following these simple guidelines assures success for beginners who are interested in the process.

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4 Simple Space-Saving Tips for Organizing a Cluttered Closet

It is a tale as old as time — the older you get, the more clothes you buy, and the harder it is to part with beloved fabrics and well-worn shoes. Eventually, these nostalgic lifestyle habits come back to haunt you when you run out of room in your closet. Without taking proper actions, it’s bound to happen to all of us at some point. To help you prevent this from happening, here are our four favorite space-saving tips for a cluttered closet.

Purge the Unnecessary & Old Clothes

The first space-saving tip for decluttering your closet is to purge all the unnecessary clothes you no longer need. Begin with the two-year rule to purge outdated or garments that no longer fit. If you have not used it or worn it in two years, it is safe to assume that you no longer need to keep it.

Once you’ve gone through and analyzed what you’ve worn in the last two years, going forward a good way to keep track of what you want to keep is to start with your hangers facing one way. Each time you take out an item of clothing and return it, turn the hanger around and face it in the direction of your preference. At the end of one or two years (depending on your available space), get rid of all the clothes that you have not turned around.

Remove Non-Essential Items From the Closet

Now that you’ve gone through all your clothes and decided what should go and what should stay, it’s now time to relocate anything else that does not belong in the closet. If it is not clothes or shoes, try to find it a new place to store it.

Have you been using the closet as a storage area for books, boxes, suitcases and other random household items? You are not alone, but it is time for a new solution. Move these things to another area of the home, such as a linen closet, basement or garage. If you have an extra room or closet elsewhere, consider sorting your clothes by season and moving the off-season clothes into a separate area to be switched out. Relocate items that you use frequently to an easy-to-reach area.

Instead of sending everything to a landfill, consider donating or selling items that you no longer use. There are many options should you find yourself willing and able to part with the clutter. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and other thrift shops willingly take gently worn items, and your donations help others in need. Some stores allow trade-ins for store credit or cash rewards for accepted clothing. If you have taken great care of your clothes, bags and shoes, this is a good way to update your wardrobe and save some space. If your friends are similarly struggling, a clothes swap could get rid of your clutter and score you a few useful things in return. Even a garage sale would be a great option if you find the rest of your home suffering from the same cramped quarters as your closet.

Utilize the Space You Have

Even if you live in the smallest, compact living area, there are still ways to take advantage of the space you do have. For example, the walls and floors and the back of a closet and closet door can be huge space savers. Attach hooks on the backs of doors to hang shoes, belts, bags, jewelry and other accessories that would otherwise take up space where you could store your clothes.

Built-in or add-on shelves can also help save space for stackable items. Take advantage of all vertical space by stacking sweaters, shoes and handbags on shelves. Use compressed bags, boxes or clear containers to stack and store items that you do not frequently use, such as out-of-season clothing. You can also employ stacking drawers or shelves to help prevent items from toppling over. Buying and installing space-saving shelves is somewhat simple, assuming that you have the time, space, and are DIY-savvy.

In addition, space-saving hangers and rods are available for your closet needs. If most of your clothes are short-hanging, add an extra closet rod above or below the first to instantly double the amount of hanging space. Use add-on hangers, which take up as much space as a single hanger and store four times the amount of clothing.

Fix That Shoe Problem

Since shoes are less versatile than clothing, they can be harder to store and take up more space in your already cluttered closet. Luckily, you have some space-saving options if you have nowhere else to store your shoes.

Use a hanging shoe rack for the back of your door to keep shoes organized, easy to reach and out of the way. Another great way to store shoes is on DIY shoe hangers. Cut the bottom rod of a wire hanger in the middle and twist up both ends, creating dual hooks on which to hang your shoes. Hang these next to your clothes, and save the floor space of your closet for stacks of sweaters, linen or other items. While this isn’t the prettiest option, it’s cheap and it saves a ton of space.

If you have the space, opt for a decorative shoe storing solution to de-clutter your closet. Options include a wall-hanging rack or a pretty cabinet that serves dual functions for shoes and accessories. Tubs and baskets keep footwear together and can be stored on shelves or floors. Consider sorting shoes and boots by seasonal use or style, so you always know where to look for the footwear that you need.

Cluttered Closets: More Common Than You Think

Closet clutter is a common issue that affects us all, no matter how big or small our closets are. The shortage of space is especially a problem for those that live in small homes and apartments. By following the space-saving tips above, you’ll be able to fully utilize the amount of space you have in your closet and organize your clothes in a way that works best for you.

Surely, there are more tips out there. What space-saving tips would you recommend?

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Jump on Juice: An Overview of the New Juicing Diet Trend

Juicing fruits and vegetables for health has been going on for centuries, but movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead bring the trend into the mainstream. Many people start juicing as part of a weight loss plan, for cleansing the digestive system or to replenish nutrients after an illness. However, the main benefit of juicing is that it’s a simple way for you to start consuming healthier foods you may not have ate otherwise.

With so many different juicing products on the market, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of these health benefits. This is especially true now that modern juicers do much of the work for you.

Here’s a quick rundown of how juicing works, its pros and cons and how you can get started today.

How Juicing Works

In simple terms, juicing refers to the process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables. The modern juicing trend usually refers to centrifugal juicers, which push fruits and vegetables through a feed tube and into a chamber where the juicers grind them. The juice moves through a tube and into a pitcher, while the pulp is left behind.

Masticating juicers are also popular. These machines work more slowly and require you to cut up the fruits and vegetables before juicing them due to the smaller feed tube diameter, but they tend to extract more juice from each item. They often produce juice with more pulp than centrifugal juicers.

Manual, handheld juicers can also be used to produce juice. The benefit here is more portability and a much lower cost investment, but these juicers require a great deal of effort to use. Manual juicers are best for infrequent juicing.

Health Benefits of Juicing

In fact, juicing advocates espouse the health benefits of ingesting a high level of nutrients in larger quantities than is possible by eating the same number of whole plants. Juicing delivers vitamins and phytochemicals to the body rapidly and in large quantities. Juice is highly caloric but quickly digested.

Juicing for weight loss is the primary goal for most people who are new to this diet trend. Juicers often follow juicing diet plans that last for weeks or even months in an effort to lose weight. This trend is echoed in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There are many online communities devoted to juicing for weight loss.

On the other hand, some people prefer to incorporate juice into a more typical diet as a way to get more healthy nutrients into their system. For instance, many juicers opt for a juice made from fresh vegetables or fruits for breakfast or drink juice as a snack. It is also common for athletes to drink freshly juiced fruits and vegetables after a workout or athletic event to replenish lost nutrients and hydration.

Health Dangers of Juicing

While there are definitely many health benefits associated with juicing, we must also point out some of the potential dangers associated with the process.

First off, health advocates are quick to point out that juicing should never be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to deliver many essential vitamins and minerals, but should never be your only source of these important foods. This is due to the amount of fiber that is extracted from your fruits and veggies during the juicing process. Ensuring you consume the recommended dietary fiber no only lowers your risk for developing many dangerous health conditions, it also assists in your weight loss program.

Another potential danger of juicing is the consumption of too much sugar. Fruits are full of sugar, in fact one apple has approximately 23 grams of sugar, which is also about the same amount one orange has. In comparison, one 12 oz. can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. If you were to juice just one apple and one orange, you would be consuming more sugar than a can of Coke. One could argue that it’s a different kind of sugar in the two drinks, which is fair, but there’s no denying the potential dangers of adding an abundance of extra sugar to your diet.

However, don’t let these potential dangers stop you from juicing. There’s no denying that juicing has many health benefits and can help assist in a weight loss program or just improving your overall diet. Just remember to watch your sugar intake and find other sources of fiber. As the old saying goes — everything in moderation.

Popular Juice Combinations

Fortunately, juicing is extremely versatile. Just about any vegetable or fruit works in a juicer, and there are countless combinations that make a tasty juice. Experiment with your favorite produce to come up with unique blends. It is also a good idea to read up on the health benefits for specific fruits and vegetables to target specific health goals.

Juice fasts typically include different types of juice throughout the day. A breakfast juice, for example, often includes fruit like apples, oranges, melons or grapes. Suggested dinner juices tend to include heavier produce like zucchini, kale or spinach. Juicers sometimes include spices like ginger, garlic or even hot sauce to add more flavor.

One very popular juicing recipe for any time of the day is a green juice. Sometimes referred to as “Green Goddess Juice,” green juices include a base of fresh greens like kale, spinach and other dark, leafy greens. There are many excellent variations beyond the green base, but typical recipes call for ingredients like green apples, cucumber, lemon juice, celery and additional liquid like coconut water or almond milk. Green juice is often part of a juice fast, but it is also typical of the kind of juice in a typical healthy diet.

There are hundreds of juicing recipes out there. Try out a few of these recipes, experiment with your own ingredients and you’re guaranteed to find a juice that you’ll want to drink all day long.

The Best Juicers on the Market

The Best Juicers

It’s easy to add more juice to your diet. First you need to find the right juicer for you. We have a wide selection of juicers available for you. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

The Top 3 Juicers on the Market

  1. Kuvings Multi-Purpose Masticating Slow Juicer (Model #NJE-3570U)
  2. Metrokane Citrus Power Juicer (Model #1009)
  3. Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor (Model #67608)

When done with a balanced diet, juicing provides a number of remarkable health benefits. Just be sure to keep an eye on how much sugar you consume, as well as make sure you’re still consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you have any doubts, it would be wise to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist prior to starting a juice diet.

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Tailgating 101: The Best Travel Coolers for Tailgate Parties

Travel Cooler

Finally! The start of the 2013/2014 NFL season is upon us. It’s been exactly 6 months and 3 days — or 194 days to be exact — since the Superbowl ended. If you’re like us here in the CompactAppliance office, you’ve got your pick’em leagues already set up, your fantasy football draft night scheduled and you’re now counting down the days for kick off. But, don’t forget to get your essential tailgate supplies in order, before the season officially starts.

Most people think that tailgating involves a lot of time and effort, and at the end of the day, it does take a lot of planning. But it’s much easier to plan out the perfect tailgate party when you have the right supplies ready to go. No matter how extravagant your tailgate party is, one of the most important accessories you need is a durable cooler to keep your tasty beverages cold.

Choosing the Right Cooler For Your Tailgate Party

Without a cooler, it’s a little difficult to keep your food and drinks cold, and what is a tailgate without hamburgers, hot dogs and ice-cold beverages? Travel coolers are an ideal choice for tailgating because they are easy to transport and come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. There is a cooler for every situation, guaranteeing that your tailgating needs are met.

Type

There are a couple of types of coolers you can choose from. Each type has their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Chest Coolers:
A portable chest cooler, for example, is probably your go-to cooler. Chest coolers are your basic cheap insulated plastic boxes that keep your drinks and food cool. You probably know them as the bright blue or red box, with a white top. They’re light and easy to carry around. Some of them have wheels and a handle on them to make it easier for you to transport. Once you add loads of ice, they do a pretty good job at keeping your contents cool… at least until the ice melts. This is one of the main disadvantages of a chest cooler. It only works for a short period of time. On top of that, you still have to deal with trying to find the right drink buried under all the ice.
12 Volt Travel Coolers:
Portable 12 volt travel coolers, on the other hand, work on the same principles as the chest coolers, but they are more reliable, less messy and have many desired features available. The most important difference between a chest cooler and a 12-volt travel cooler is that you can control the temperature. If you want to bring along frozen foods, you can do that without worrying about them defrosting or going bad. Or, if you just want to keep your food and drinks cold, you can do that as well. Because there’s no melting ice, there’s less clean-up involved and it’s much easier to find the drink you want. You can plug them into an wall outlet or a lighter outlet in your car. This is the perfect type of cooler for tailgating, as well as camping, boating, picnics and all other outdoor activities.

Size

No matter what you’ve heard, size does matter. Choose the best travel cooler for tailgating based on the amount of people at your event, as well as the amount of food and beverages you need to entertain your guests. When it comes to the size of a cooler, you have plenty of options. Travel coolers can range in size from 18-quarts to over 100-quarts.

A 40-quart cooler has enough space to store approximately 50 cans of beer or soda. Generally, this is an ideal size cooler for smaller tailgate parties. If you plan to have a larger tailgate, you will obviously want to choose a travel cooler with a larger storage capacity. We would recommend a 100-quart cooler, or larger, to ensure you have enough room to store both food and beverages.

Material

In addition to size, travel coolers are made from different materials, including fiberglass and plastic. Both of these materials are a good choice. They’re both lightweight and rust-resistant. Unpleasant odors don’t linger in either type. They’re also both easy to clean and easy to carry. Both types of materials are great choices for tailgating purposes, because they have superior insulation and store ice for an extended period of time.

Warming Coolers

This may seem odd at first, but there are coolers out there that can help keep your food warm. Working on the same principles for keeping your food cold, these coolers utilize the insulation to help keep your food warm. Depending on your tailgate setup, there are coolers that are flexible enough to allow you to choose between cooling or heating its contents.

When choosing the best travel cooler for tailgating, it’s important to consider the amount of room you need for storage and the temperature at which your items need to be stored. This information helps you determine the right size and type of cooler is best for your tailgate party. Regardless of whether you actually use it for tailgating or not, a durable travel cooler is just one of those items that everyone should own.

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3 Products To Help You Achieve An Organized Freezer

If you keep a lot of frozen foods on hand, you know how hard it is to keep them all organized. Large chest freezers are efficient, but they’re not very good for items you need to reach daily. If you’re spending to much time digging around for food in your freezer, then it’s probably time to get an easily organized freezer that is seamless to use every day.

Here’s a couple of freezer options that may help you get more organized.

1. Upright Freezers

EdgeStar Upright Freezer

Cramped freezers that are part of a refrigerator unit, as well as chest freezers are far from the only option available to you. Upright freezers come in all shapes and sizes and are more than capable of meeting a wide variety of needs. Whether you’re a college student who needs to store frozen foods in your dorm or a mom who needs to keep a wide variety of meats and foods in stock and readily available at a moment’s notice, there’s an upright freezer on the market for you.

Small upright freezers are also a great fit for college students, since they rarely need a lot freezer space. Fortunately for them, there are plenty of compact freezers that fit easily in a dorm room. These would give you around a cubic foot or two of space. Not only are these freezers affordable on a student budget, they provide the luxury of being able to store a few comforts of home and some easy microwavable meals to provide a break from dining hall food.

If you buy a lot of fresh meat and need to keep ready access to it all, a larger upright freezer is an excellent choice. Depending on how much meat you need to store, this larger type of freezer is available with up to 23 cubic feet of space and more. Adjustable racks make it easy to store anything of any size for quick access.

The Best Upright Freezer Options:

2. Undercounter Freezers

Undercounter Freezer

Although a lot of storage space is nice, some people just need to store their usual grocery run of various meats and frozen foods. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, then perhaps a lower-profile undercounter freezer is the best option for you. These are perfect for those who need a little more space than their regular refrigerator’s freezer offers, but don’t want to invest in a large chest freezer or lose the space that it would take up.

Undercounter freezers typically have a good amount of cubic feet of space and fit under your counter for a discreet, hidden-away and convenient location. You can store your daily items in your refrigerator’s freezer, and your less-used items can stay organized and frozen under your counter. Or, if your problem isn’t a full freezer, you can also install a built-in, undercounter refrigerator.

The Best Undercounter Freezer Options:

3. Portable Freezers

12-Volt Portable Freezer

If you are always on the go, a portable freezer may be the best option for you to get organized. These will allow you to clean out space in your freezer, and keep it frozen while you’re out and about. Unlike a simple cooler that you fill with ice that melts quickly, a 12-volt portable freezer is designed to keep your food frozen for a longer duration of time, and does not require the use of ice.

While this type of freezer is not the best long-term solution for storing frozen food in your house, it will still work. These portable freezers, however, are perfect for road trips, camping and picnics.

The Best Portable Freezer Options:

If you are in desperate need for freezer space but hate digging through inconvenient chest freezers, one of the three products listed above may be the best option to get your kitchen organized. Whether you use extra shelves or have two freezers, keeping an organized freezer has never been easier.

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