At the risk of sounded disjointed (and a little bit crazy) I am just going to share with you where my heart is this morning and hope you still love me afterward.

James and I have had one rough summer.  I was extremely ill from mid May until about a week and a half ago.  James was taking 12 hours of summer school, I had 8 weddings and we were both mulling over a decision that could mean a lot of change in our lives.  Our attitudes towards each other along with our ability to bring positivity to whatever environment we found ourselves in was mediocre at best.  It felt like a struggle every single day.


It’s no secret that I like control.  Okay, I more than like it, I make myself believe that I NEED it.  Up until now, that has been just fine.  I asked God pointed questions and believed the answers I wanted.  By doing that, I hypothetically tried to put myself, my marriage, my future and God’s power in a little box and tucked it nicely underneath my bed.  My version of control.  Ha.

If you know God, you know he doesn’t take too kindly to being placed in boxes (can’t say I blame him — it did feel pretty stuffy in there this summer).  Things began to fall apart, I began to lose touch with my heart; and before I knew it, I found myself in a puddle on the bathroom floor.  Face to the tile, Izzie from Grey’s Anatomy style.  I felt like I was failing.  I had never failed at anything before but I was failing at life… quite literally.

It was then I heard it, “surrender,”  He said.

“What?!” I mimicked.  “I am in my tiny bathroom, on the floor, sobbing.  If that isn’t a little white flag for ya, I don’t know what is.”

Again… “surrender.”  Calm and hushed like a gentle reminder.  I was truly puzzled.  I wish I could tell you I had a life changing moment right there on that floor but, honestly, it took me a few days and lots of teary eyed conversations before I really listened and gave up the control.

I had to realize that at this point in my life, surrendering didn’t mean losing or failing.  It meant being willing to push my pride aside and know that no matter how great my plans are, God’s are better.  He wasn’t telling me that he was going to fax me over a spreadsheet of his plans for the next few years for my approval then, upon my signature, we would move forward.  He was asking me to trust in Him and put my Yes on the table before I knew what I was agreeing to.  That’s faith, friends.  What we are all called to live by.

I know that failures and fear are a real part of life.  Putting my Yes on the table means that I have to be willing to leave it there every day.  And that is not my nature.  But I can tell you the blessings and rewards each day has held has made it all worthwhile.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

Toaster oven that worth my investment

I’m not one to write reviews, but this toaster oven is worth the time investment! We bought this toaster oven about a month ago. The whole family (inc. the kids) fell in love with it from the first time we ate toasted bread out of it, but we decided to hold off writing the review for “further testing”. Initially, we had a Black and Decker for a bit less than 13 yrs till the toast lever caught fire (literally) and stopped functioning properly. So we needed a replacement. Our criteria was a small toaster/oven, that is not complicated to use, does not offer convection cooking (I already have two full size convection ovens), does not have the annoying ticker timer and that was about $50 – $70. I searched among many brands, unfortunately, many either were simple but offered the ticker timer OR offered convection baking which I know I would not use.

The day I came across The Breville toaster oven and read the reviews, I was impressed with the features, but not the price. The reviews were so positive that I reconsidered the budget allotted for a toaster oven. This toaster oven is so easy to use, my 8 and 11 yr old can operate on their own with minimal supervision. It toasts toast, and french bread or baguette with beautifully, even golden color, crisp outside and warm chewy inside.

We fell in love with toasted bread all over again! I reheated whole chicken the other day, and that came out perfectly warmed, through and through with crisped skin. We love this toaster oven and thank Breville for making it. I will definitely be recommending it to anyone who’s looking for a good toaster oven, and it willing to make the investment. It’s an investment, that’s well worth every penny!

Related topic: The Kitchen Helper

My options on espresso machines under $200

When it comes to the best espresso machine under $200 you have quite a few options. For this budget you start to open yourself up to some high quality machines with a few more added features compared to what you will get if you’re looking for something less than $100. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not all about the additional features but what you want is a machine that will make you a delicious and quality espresso every time. When it comes to drinking coffee, what more do you want?

Espresso machines under $200 will definitely come with a built-in milk frother and you will be able to make everything from tasty lattes to amazing cappuccinos all with one machine. Rather than having to buy any extra coffee accessories you will be able to make all you want using one machine in one place. Sure, the more you spend the more features and quality you’ll get but for $200 you will be able to take advantage of a reliable, durable and easy to use espresso machine that comes with a few bells and whistles but not all of them.

DeLonghi EC702

This espresso machine priced at just under $200 the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker is definitely the most costly machine on this list. However, with what you spend you get quite a range of great features and making your own espresso with this device is pretty ideal.

For the price range I don’t think that you could find a better, more equipped machine for the job and if you have a hard budget of just $200 then this is the device that I would personally recommend for you.

This DeLonghi, at 13.6 pounds, is quite a large machine but it makes a great centerpiece for your kitchen and is sturdy enough for regular use. At nearly a foot long in depth and height you’re going to need quite a bit of counter space to store this espresso machine and keep in mind that it’s not nearly as compact and portable as the others on this list. If anything, you are likely to see this one being used commercially since it’s such a quality and reliable device. (Full post: The Kitchen Perfectionist)

Nespresso Inissia espresso maker is a value for money machine. Its speed is one of the fastest in the market. There is no waiting time as the machine is able to heat the water to the ideal temperature within 2 minutes.  All you need to do is to press the ‘wake up’ button and then wait for a while before selecting your coffee brew. Not longer do you need to waste valuable time waiting for the water to heat or the machine to be ready. This truly is a game changer.

I recommend this model over others because of its reasonable pricing. It is the cheapest model in the Nespresso range but offers the same quality as the other models. The difference between Inissia and others like Pixie is due to the size and the material of the machine but doesn’t affect the taste of the coffee. Hence, why spend the extra money when you get great espresso at its price?

The Nespresso Inissia is also a space saving coffee maker. It is compact and probably occupies the least amount of space when compared to other espresso makers.

I can’t say enough good things about this nespresso machine. It is affordable, delivers consistent brew and is fast to operate. This is my Editor’s choice and comes highly recommended. (Source: Pouring Over Coffee)

We got a new set of cookware

Last year, we got a new set of cookware!

We had been using various pieces of non-stick and stainless steel cookware that had been purchased at garage sales, and through our years of marriage (7 years today!) the non-stick pieces had worn out, leaving me with just a few pieces of usable cookware — two sauce pans (the largest being 2 quarts) and two skillets (both warped) and my cast iron skillet.


So finally, new cookware was more than just a want; it was a necessity for our growing family. Joshua is always great about researching big purchases, and he spent several weeks reading everything he could find online about different cookware sets! (Read: Best cookware set for your kitchen)

When he finally came to me with his conclusions, he suggested we buy this Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel 12-piece set. I did some reading on cookware of my own, and then did something I don’t normally do: suggested we spend even more money and get the 17-piece version of that same set.

Having grown up with 5 younger siblings, I saw my mom reach for her larger pans almost daily. I already could fill a 6-quart stock pot with soup easily, especially since we frequently had dinner guests.

We looked at the price of buying a couple additional larger pots to supplement the 12-piece set, but of course, the larger pots were the more expensive ones and quickly would have raised the price up and beyond the price of buying everything together in the 17-piece set.

Things I love about my Cuisinart Multiclad Pro Stainless Steel cookware:

1. As the name indicates, this cookware is “multiclad” meaning that in between two layers of stainless steel is a layer of aluminum, which conducts heat better than stainless steel alone.

Nicer cookware frequently features this design on the bottom of the pans, but what makes Cuisinart Multiclad Pro special is that the aluminum core extends all the way up the sides of the pans. This means that when you heat something on the stove-top in one of these pans, the heat surrounds the food rather than just drifting from the bottom up.

All-Clad is a famous brand of cookware that has this same feature (the aluminum core on the sides as well as bottom) but All-Clad is quite a bit more expensive than this Cuisinart line. The Cuisinart Multiclad Pro cookware functions comparably to All-Clad, for a much more affordable price tag. (I haven’t cooked with All-Clad but I have looked at it in person and it does feel/look very similar to the Cuisinart Multiclad I have.)

2. Due to the multiclad construction of these pans, they heat things quickly and evenly. I do find myself using a lower heat setting on the stove with these pans, and they’re heavy enough to hold some heat while sauteeing. Read the full article here

Induction Cooking and Cookware

If you are looking to buy a new induction cookware set in the near future to take advantage of your new induction range, then take a look at our recommendations below for a good selection to choose from.
induction cooking
So what is induction? Induction cooking uses a special induction coil placed below the stove top’s surface combined with specially designed cookware made of cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. The induction coil generate a magnetic current so that the cookware is heated rapidly using magnetic friction. The heat is then transferred from the cookware to the food by conduction. This all happens while the cooking surface, which is typically made from ceramic, remains cool. Only the cookware and it’s contents heats up!

Induction cooking is newer to North America and is much more prevalent in Europe. It is loved by industry professionals due to its ability to heat water at an awesome rate, making it the go-to for an emergency pasta boil! Great for buffets and cafeterias and table service as they deliver a safer and much cooler experience for chefs and customers.

Now we can get to the type of cookware that the professionals can recommend. First thing to consider is the thickness and contents of the cookware you are purchasing. More quality induction cookware will have a multi-layer set up sandwiched between stainless steel. What this does is help transfer the heat generated from the range to the food with minimal loss. The loss you experience will be the radiation of heat coming from the cookware itself and/or the back transfer of heat to the stove top.

Stainless steel cookware is a must for any serious professional cook, but keep in mind the quality level depends entirely on the thickness and how many ply the cookware units have. A very light stainless steel set can be detrimental to you cooking as it may heat up far too quickly and lose heat at the same high speed making it a finicky product to have in your home. Thin cookware has its place, especially on gas ranges, but they require a certain skill level. Heating up too fast means that if you lose control of the heat being applied, you can burn your food items much more quickly. At the same time, if you are able to react swiftly enough, thin stainless steel cookware allows you the agility to deal with overheating quickly and efficiently.

Well, by now you should have realized that if you have purchased an induction range and tried your old aluminum/aluminium cookware that they just don’t work. If you remember at the top where we explained how induction cooking works, the magnetism is what drives the induction heat into the cookware. Unfortunately, aluminum/aluminium is not magnetically reactive and therefore you will be sitting there waiting for that aluminum/aluminium cookware to heat up for a long, long time.

But don’t fear! While we can’t salvage your current cookware, we can introduce you to some new aluminum/aluminium cookware that retains the benefits of aluminum/aluminium cookware while working great on your induction range. More in this site.

Rice cooker with fuzzy logic technology


When discussing a purchase of a new rice cooker, the phrase ‘fuzzy logic rice cooker’ often comes up. What, exactly, is a fuzzy logic rice cooker? Is the term fuzzy logic just marketing hype designed to get you to splash out on a newer model rice cooker or does it really signify something different? The answer is yes, fuzzy logic rice cookers really are different than the older on/off variety of cooker you may be familiar with.

The familiar, standard rice cooker you typically see is an on/off model which usually does a pretty good job of making a good batch of rice and then shuts off once it has been cooked. Some models may also have a warming feature.

A fuzzy logic rice cooker incorporates a computer chip with fuzzy logic processing technology which lets the fuzzy logic cooker make decisions on its own, adjusting the temperature and cooking time so that it can produce a perfect batch of rice every time.

best rice cooker

How exactly it manages to do this is a topic for another article but briefly, fuzzy logic is derived from fuzzy set theory developed in 1965 by UC Berkeley professor Lotfi Zadeh. This type of logic applies to reasoning and decision making which is approximate in nature rather than strictly accurate. It allows decisions to be made which take into account factors that could be considered shades of gray rather than simple black and white. This type of technology is, of course, not limited to the rice cooker but is increasingly found in a wide range of consumer electronics including refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and more.

This more human like decision making ability allows the fuzzy logic rice cooker to make judgments as to the moisture level of the rice and make decisions on the fly to quickly adjust cooking settings to guarantee perfect rice. Most fuzzy logic cookers also come with a wide variety of settings available to give the rice cooker an even more fine grained control over the cooking process. If you already know how to use a rice cooker, you’ll find these models much more versatile.  On many rice cooker models you can select which type of rice you are cooking, brown rice, sushi, jasmine rice, etc. In addition, you may be able to select the texture you would prefer – whether you like a softer or harder texture to your rice.

If you are in the market for a new fuzzy logic rice cooker you should definitely give some consideration to choosing a model with a fuzzy logic chip. Two of the best quality brands with stellar reputations are Zojirushi and Cuckoo rice cookers.  Both Zojirushi and Cuckoo make a wide variety of cookers in different sizes and with a host of different features.

You can take a look at the best Zojirushi and Cuckoo rice cookers on Amazon.  This Cuckoo rice cooker has received a perfect 5 star customer satisfaction rating.

Your initial cost in choosing a quality fuzzy logic rice cooker may be higher but, depending on how you intend to use it, you may find it a wise investment in the long run.

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