Kitchen Appliance Advice

I'd like to get some small kitchen appliances and change the way we've been cooking. I'd love your suggestions and other ideas. Here is what I am thinking about:

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Canning - Love the idea of being able to make a lot of something and store it. I've used my friend's pressure cooker but it's kinda difficult with little ones running around. I saw the new electric pressure cookers. What do you think?

I do not grill (my husband does but never has time) so I was thinking about getting a rotisserie? Or should I simply get a bigger toaster oven? Aren't they pretty much the same?

Magic Bullet - our blender is kaput and I hate the food processor and this seems to to both. Buy? Don't buy?


Express 101 -- I love the informercial but does it work the way it is presented?

Thanks in advance for all you suggestions and I look forward to reading your ideas.

Mindy from Oregon

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

Hi, I have a Express 101 and it is not quite as advertized, wouldn't buy it again. I have a Magic Bullet and I like it for making iced drinks, the chopping part takes a little practice.

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

Mindy, as far as the Xpress101, altho I don't have myself I did ask for reviews here and also looked online. It was not reviewed very favorably. I was going to buy it for my Mom. Some said the non-stick service wore off just after using a couple times, others said it didn't get hot enough to do a good enough cooking job. If you were to put Xpress101 into a search engine, you could find out more.

Do you ever use a crock pot? That would be a good small appliance to buy if you don't already have one. There are many good crock pot recipes online. It is convenient because you can put your food on in the morning and do other things all day and dinner is ready....you might just need to make a salad to go with!

I contimplated getting the Magic Bullet but didn't like all the various parts that came with it and didn't feel like dealing with all those things and storing it. I have a friend who got one who loves it for smoothies but said it doesn't grate cheese worth a hoot.

I still do most of my cooking stove-top or in the oven; however when it's hot, I prefer to use other methods that don't heat up the kitchen

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

Hi, I just wanted to tell you about my blender/food processor that I purchased last year. I think it is called a duet by Cuisinart. It has the same base and swaps out a biggish food processor (cuisinart, so pretty good) and a full size blender with a glass pitcher. I think it was about $100.00. Everything comes apart easily so I can just pop it all in the dishwasher. I have been intrigued by the magic bullet (I'm a sucker for those infomercials) but it seems so little, especially if you are talking about the serious food prep that canning requires. Also, they are plastic. I had a plastic blender a few years ago and I made something tomato in it (maybe gazpacho?) and I was never able to get the garlic odor out of it. Now I swear by glass for stuff like that.

As for the other appliances, I use my rice cooker at least once a week and I never mess up my rice. I have a fancy stand mixer that usually holds up my cutting boards but is nice at Christmastime for baking. The rotissieres often make your kitchen hot and take up a bit of counter space (like a crockpot). I have an older George Foreman grill that my husband uses to grill during the winter. It it pretty nice for bacon too, the grease all goes into a tray. Nice for grilled cheese or other panini sandwiches too. If I were to buy one for grilling today, I would be sure to get one with detachable grill faces (reversible if possible). Mine is sort of a pain to get clean.

If you really want to cook differently and are in the Portland area, consider signing up for organic produce delivery from Organics To You. I just signed up about a month ago, every two weeks, and I just love it. It forces me to try veggies that I always avoid at the supermarket.

Good luck and have fun!

Jess in Portland

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

I have an express 101 and I use it often. I'm retired and live alone. I thaw burritos in the microwave, them toss in the 101 to crisp up the tortilla. It comes with a nice little recipe book. I bake my desserts in it, freeze the extra ones. I've cooked bacon wrapped fillets in it , omelets, you name it, I've probably tried to cook it in my 101.

As for the magic bullet, I'm waiting for my blender to wear out, but its on my wish list.

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

Dear Mindy, I bought a Magic Bullet when my food processor broke down. I have never regretted it. It is great for chopping, mixing and especially good for whipping cream, it only takes a few seconds.

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

I have a magic bullet, great for single serving smoothie or chopping like 1 onion, but I need a bigger processor and blender for larger batches offten.

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with Debbie, the crockpot is wonderful and there are lots and lots of recipes online. Doesnt heat up the kitchen and you can shop the weekly sales at the grocery store. As for grilling if using charcoal, buy a chimney very easy to use. I dont like alot of small appliances as I dont have that much space..I have a kitchenaid mixer which I love..food processor , and a blender that i dont use that much... I rather use a good knife and cutting boards...one for meats, and veggies. All dishwasher or hand wash by hand.. that is simple living to me.. and doesnt affect electric bill.

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

I just bought a small George Forman Grill. It is the best thing I've ever bought. I wish I would have bought the bigger one. It is so easy to cook chicken breasts or fish. It cooks so quickly. You can also do hamburgers or Veggie burgers. I have used it to grill vegetables and make grilled sandwiches. You should give it a try!

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April 5, 20070 found this helpful

I have a little 'Braun' hand blender wand (approx. $25.00). It has the heart of a lion, takes up less counter space than a drinking glass, and cleans up with one whrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr in soapy water, rinses under the tap. I use it for everything, even making smoothies and pulverizing rice. I can't recommend it highly enough. I'd be lost without it.

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April 6, 20070 found this helpful

I can all the time and often use my pressure canner often. I've never seen an electric one big enough to can in though -- maybe I'm just behind the times.

If you are serious about canning, what do you want to can? You will use a water bath for a lot of stuff, and it would be a good place to start.

When my toaster oven goes out, I'm planning to buy one with a rotisserie. I also want it to be a convection oven too. Triple duty without any added space. For years I had microwaves that were also convection ovens and loved them. When my last one went out, my son bought me a new one that was only a microwave, and I really miss the convection part.

I had a GT 101 Express, and will leave the opinions to others. I'll just say that Walgreens sells an "omlet" maker that I also have, that is almost exactly like the GT 101, but lots cheaper. You won't get the recipe booklet, but the Internet helps a lot. They have both good and bad points, like any appliance. It just depends how you cook.

I have a Magic Bullet too. I love it for small jobs. But I also have a Vita Mix (a commercial high speed blender modified for home use), and a regular blender for moderate size jobs that even crushes ice and has a metal cannister. My opinion here is to buy the size blender that you'll use most. I cook and can a lot and it is so convenient to have the proper size for any task, but it took me years to build up to this. Good appliances that last years are not cheap. The Magic Bullet is convenient to use and clean when a small amount is being blended (a single smoothie), but it simply does not have the power of a Vita Mix nor can it pulverize things completely.

I agree with the George Foreman grill, it is simply wonderful. But do get the changable plates, they are so much easier to clean and can take the place of several other appliances: indoor grill, panni maker, waffle iron, flat grill... Check out other brands too, you might find another that will fit your needs better.

Frankly, I'd change eating habits first, then buy one appliance at a time to see what fits into the new lifestyle. Most appliances aren't cheap and waste counter/cupboard space and money if not used enough. It can be expensive to buy all the things one would need for canning, especially if you don't use them too often. Good luck on what ever you choose.

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April 6, 20070 found this helpful

I have the Magic Bullet and hate it. The only thing I find it does easily is whip cream. I tried making chicken salad for a sandwich in there and it wouldn't chop the chicken unless I pressed it many times and by then it turned to mush. I'd never buy another. I think a good, smaller food processor would work just fine.

I have several George Foreman Grills and love them. One is the smaller, just for one, serving size but the other is large. I wish they had the lift off plates when I bought mine but I found that, after cooking and it's still warm, lay wet paper towels on it. If you let it sit for awhile while you eat, you can go back and just wipe off the mess that's left behind.

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April 12, 20070 found this helpful

Yes, the Express 101 works great, not messy, fast easy recipes. I love it.

Pancakes, desserts, easy and simple. A good buy

Regards, Janet

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April 12, 20070 found this helpful

thanks for all the suggestions!!! I totally love this site and the input I have received!! Thank you

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