Niper's Cooking Blog

World Wide Cuisine, Cooking & Healthy Eating

The Toaster Oven That Will Make You The Hit Of Christmas


With the holidays literally right around the corner, it is time to do some last minute gift shopping for family and friends. Well when we were out the other day we cam across the exact toaster oven that we have used for the past couple of years and it dawned on me that we could not think of a better present to give to a couple of people we know who love to cook as much as we do. The countertop oven that I am referring to is the TOB-195 from Cuisinart. This has been one of our better appliance purchases that we have made in the last few years, so we picked up a couple of these to pass it forward, especially since the price has come down since we first bought it.

So what makes this such a great oven? This little work horse has a lot going for it, so we decided to write a short review for anyone looking for an excellent gift idea for loved ones. To start, it continues to get excellent customer reviews, like from me, and it is still rated as the best convection toaster oven for the money. This countertop oven is extremely versatile in the cooking chores that it can handle, and it also looks sharp with its stainless steel design. Below are just a few of the reasons you should consider getting a TOB-195 for your kitchen.

Features and Specifications

  • 1500-Watt Oven
  • Automatic shut-off after every 4 hours
  • Easy to sue touch pad controls
  • Slice Capacity of 6 slices
  • Brushed chrome exterior
  • Always-even shade control
  • 2 rack positions
  • Functions: Toast, Pizza/Bake, Convention; Reheat, Bagel and Defrost buttons
  • Broiler pan and drip tray
  • Exact heat sensors for precise and consistent oven temperature
  • Polarized 2 prong plug
  • Dimensions: 18” W x 17” D x 10”
  • 3-year limited warranty


1. The oven warms up very fast

When in use, the toaster’s oven takes a few minutes to reach up to the required temperature. With the help of the broil function, the toaster takes only a couple of minutes to crisp up cheese. Toasts can be ready in 3 minutes using the default medium setting.

2. It has a long timer

With a maximum cook time of 4 hours, one can cook any food evenly. The time is much longer when considering what other brands have to offer. Majority of the toasters in market have a maximum cook time of 2-hours which is way too low for preparing food.

3. The toaster is durable

Cuisinart TOB-195 can consistently prepare food for years before one considers replacing it with another one. Most of the online reviews even state that the toaster can go up to 5 years and even more while producing top quality work.

4. Works like conventional ovens

When preparing smaller meals, it’s not necessary for one to heat up the big oven. Cuisinart TOB-195 can handle virtually any type of food and transform it into a delicious dish that the family can enjoy.

Other Notable Benefits:

  • An attractive design
  • LCD display and Digital control panel
  • It’s versatile
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty


1. Difficulty in crumb tray access

Cuisinart TOB-195 is designed with a crumb tray access at the back as compared to other models like Cuisinart TOB-135 that is accessible from the front. It thus means one has to move the unit forward or turn it in order to slide the crumb tray from its rear end.

2. Complicated settings

The Cuisinart unit is not easy to control like the manually dialed toaster ovens. Most ovens are naturally easier to use as they only require 3 dials to complete the temperature setup. But for Cuisinart 195 TOB-195, an individual is required to press a button to set the function, another for the temperature as well as timer. Hence it requires one to read the toaster manual first before operating it.

3. Inflexibility

Cuisinart TOB-195 comes with some functions which have default time and temperature that can’t be changed. Its timer for instance, only works for bake and broil functions only while the standard temperature for the broil temperature is set on a default of 500 degrees with no alteration allowed. So the inflexibility cannot allow one to cook food that is in line with the desired tastes and recipes.

The TOB-195 is another shining star for Cuisinart as they have an excellent reputation for making some of the most dependable small kitchen appliances.  This toaster oven has really performed well for us over the years and we are going to feel really good about seeing our friends unwrap this in just a few days.  If you have a loved one who spends more time in the kitchen then any other room in the house, this is perhaps the best gift that they will get.

Juicing Recipes That Can Transform Your Health

juicing-vegetablesIf you are one of those people that find it hard to fit a healthy diet into your fast paced world, juicing may be just the thing for you. With job, kids and family demands, it can be nearly impossible to have the time to eat properly and get the nutrients that your body needs. You end up settling for a salad here or there, but juicing is fast and convenient way to get your daily servings of vegetables and fruits into a glass. Getting a juicer is an investment in your health that can transform the way that you feel.

The best juicers to buy are simple to use, a breeze to clean, and they can provide you with what your body needs to feel good and maintain your health. There are many juicing machines to choose from, but they all are capable of giving you an easy way to turn around years of less than ideal eating habits. Not only is it a healthy endeavor, but it can also be fun to experiment with different juice combinations.

With that in mind, here are some green vegetable juice recipes to get you started:

Recipe 1: Kale and almond squash

In a nutshell, this recipe is incredibly delicious and generously packed with a good amount of healthy vitamins and minerals.


– 75g of chopped Kale (the thick rib at the center of the leaf should be discarded).

– 240ml of unsweetened almond milk

– 1 table spoon almond butter

– 1 date, pitted

– 1 tablespoon coconut oil


Use a powerful blender to completely squash all the ingredients mentioned above, and then drink the juice immediately.

Recipe 2: Red smoothie

To prepare this recipe, simply soak the goji berries for about 5 to 8 hours, or until plump. After that you can mix them with yogurt, raspberries and strawberries.


– 1 table spoon of goji berries ( soaked and dried as specified above)

– 30 to 40g of fresh raspberries

– 3 large strawberries (remember to discard the stems first)

– 1 table spoon of manuka honey

– 1 table spoon of goat milk yogurt

– 1 table spoon of coconut oil

– 240 ml of unsweetened almond milk


Put all the ingredients in a powerful blender, and have them smoothed completely before drinking. Also if you like, you can prepare the juice in bulk and then have some of it refrigerated to be drank later.

Recipe 3: Basil, cucumber and lime juice

This juice can be extremely refreshing, especially if you blend it with ice cubes. Since the acid in the juice goes mute whenever the juice gets cold, it’s advisable to use whole lime to maintain the freshness.


1 handful basil leaves

1 cucumber, divided in two halves lengthwise

Half a lime, pith and zest removed

1 apple, sliced into wedges


To prepare the juice, start by juicing basil into a glass, after which you can mix the basil juice with all the remaining ingredients before juicing the mixture. Alternatively, just chop all the listed ingredients, and then have them stuffed into a powerful blender before mixing it with 120 ml of water. Run the blender. Once done, you can use a fine-mesh strainer to sieve the mixture. Then give is a fine stir and serve immediately.

Recipe 4: Kale, apple and lemon juice

If you’re looking for a healthy, refreshing juice to jump-start your day, look no further. Not only does this type of juice supply your body with adequate amounts of calcium and antioxidants, but it also contains ginger and fresh mint to ensure you’re more energetic and psyched up to tackle the day’s events.


– 5 leaves of kale (large ones, with ribs discarded and the leaves chopped roughly)

– 1 lemon, pith and zest removed

– 1 large apple, chopped roughly

– A large piece of fresh ginger (about 2.5 cm)

– A twig of fresh mint

Stuff all the ingredients in the listing into your juicer. Add 120ml of water into the mixture and then start the blender. Once the mixture has finished blending, pass it through a fine-mesh-strainer before drinking.

Recipe 5: Turnip Fennel juice

Turnip fennel has tons of health benefits than you can possibly imagine. Loaded with vitamin A (beta-carotene, vitamin C and manganese, the juice actually lowers blood cholesterol, detoxifies the liver, improves the eyesight and, most importantly, reduces the risks of cancer.


– Half turnip

– Three carrots

– One apple

– A quarter fennel bulb


If the turnip is waxed, remove the outer skin. You can now run all the above-mentioned ingredients into a powerful blender and have them squashed. Once ready, run the juice through a fine-mesh-strainer and then serve.

Recipe 6: Kale, cilantro and romaine lettuce juice

This type of juice is actually recommended for those with an inflammation, weight loss problems, as well as those looking for a natural way to boost their immunity system.

– Half cucumber

– 3 leaves of kale (the mid rib removed)

– 1 Handful of coriander

– Half lime

– 1 head romaine lettuce

– 2 apples (sliced into wedges)


Chop and slice all the ingredients in the listing. Once done, put them all into a powerful blender before switching it on. You can now sit down and enjoy your drink.

Get Juicing

Getting your proper nutritional needs can be accomplished for those that always seem to not have enough time. It only takes a few minutes to squeeze the goodness of fruits and vegetables down into one glass full of vitamins and minerals. Juicing can make a difference, and it is something that we enthusiastically recommend. So get yourself a juicer, your body will thank you.

Time To Get Out Of The Kitchen And Get Running


If you are like me then you spend way to much time in the kitchen cooking up meals and desserts for your loved ones. It is quite easy to over indulge at times. Lately I have found myself developing a little bit of a pooch which still boggles me since it always seems that I am chasing after the kids. You would think that would burn off some of those bothersome calories, but it wasn’t enough. After a depressing look in the mirror one day I decided to finally do something about it. And since I was running after the children it seemed nonstop getting a jogging stroller seemed like the next logical step. I have always enjoyed going for a nice jog when I was younger, had the time, and also had the energy. So this was the direction I went.

I knew they were expensive beforehand, so there was less of a sticker shock than probably most parents will have. My sister has one of these strollers and she prepared me for what to expect. I then went in search for some decent reviews just to see which models seem to be the most popular. The running stroller reviews on gave me a idea of what brand names owners rate the highest. I double checked my budget and decided to go with one of the high performance models from BOB. We have a park with some very nice trails and BOB strollers seemed custom made for those. So I narrowed the list to two of the best selling models.

BOB Revolution Flex

This had just about everything that I could want in a stroller. It is built tough, made for all types of terrain and it seem perfect for the trails near our house. Some of what I really liked about this stroller included:

  • Big air filled tires. These were made to handle rocks and non-concrete surfaces.
  • Independent suspension that will help prevent your child getting thrashed around as you go over bumpy paths. You want your child to enjoy the ride as much as possible so that you can enjoy your run.
  • Built tough. This stroller was made to withstand the wear and tear of off road running.
  • Adjustable handle bar. It “Flexes” into different positions so you do not have to strain to find the perfect fit. You can run with the correct form which makes things more comfortable and reduces the risk of an injury.
  • Nice large canopy. I am really obsessive when it comes to protecting my children from the bad effects of the sun. This model has a wonderful sun canopy that will shield them from this.
  • Storage seemed to be decent from what I could tell. I didn’t imagine carrying a lot, just enough for the occasional emergency. Younger kids might require more.

The Flex’s main draw is its handlebar. Often Mom is usually shorter than Dad, so having a means to make both comfortable while using the stroller is a desirable feature. However, since I was probably going to be the only one using this jogger, it was probably not that big of a necessity.

BOB Revolution SE

So this model had been around for a number of years and it is how BOB made a name for itself in the jogging stroller market. At one point it held the fastest time in a marathon, a true world record. It has since been broken, but this model has a proven track record for performance.

  • Revolution SE benefitsLarge air filled tires. Again, if you go off road this is important to have. It also has the same type of suspension as the Flex.
  • Durable construction is a stalwart of the BOB line of joggers. The SE is the forefather to all of their current line of strollers in this regard.
  • Awesome adjustable sun canopy that keeps those dangerous rays off of my little passenger. Did i mention how obsessive I am in this area?

Really, the only major difference that I could see between the SE and the Flex is the adjustable handlebars. Other than that they are basically the same in the important areas. This difference also made the Flex more expensive.

And The Winner Is…

Since I was average height and did not need a handlebar that could adapt I decided to save a little money and I picked up the Revolution SE. I’ve been running from day one and I haven’t looked back. I have been extremely impressed with how well put together this stroller is and how well it has performed. The little one absolutely loves riding in it. We usually go about 4 times a week and I have to say that I have never felt better. That pooch has slowly started to decline which is something that I am most definitely thrilled with. Getting a jogging stroller is a significant investment, but for our family it has been one that was well worth it. If you are looking for exercise ideas that don’t involve paying for a baby sitter, then a high performance running stroller may be just what you are looking for.

Our Experience Shopping For An Infant Safety Seat

infant car seat shoppingGenerally, a great infant car seat is; spacious, easy to install, convenient and that which offers safety. Such kind of car seat makes an infant comfortable and incredibly easy to travel with. Unfortunately, with our first child, we decided to save a little money since our budget was tight. We ended up using a safety seat that was a real pain to try and navigate every day. I had issues with the straps, it was quite heavy, and the little one didn’t really look forward to riding in the car.

This triggered me with our second child to find a better solution than what I had previously gone with. I had a friend who used the Chicco Keyfit 30 and kept singing its praises every time that I talked to her. She absolutely loved it and kept recommending it to me as I was getting near time to give birth. One day I was riding with her and really took a thorough look at it, how she and her child used it, and she showed me everything it could do. I was impressed to say the least.

I then went online to check out what kind of feedback other owners had given it, and it was mostly extremely high praise. After doing a lot of research, it was easy to come to the conclusion that this was the best car seat for our child. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased this Chicco safety seat and had it ready to go ahead of time. When it came time to use it, we were not let down. This thing was such a nice upgrade from our previous car seat that it was almost night and day. So this is the go to infant seat that we recommend now to anyone who will listen. We decided to write a short review to list some of the terrific features that this seat has to offer.

Key Features

1. Center-pull latch

The center-pull latch allows easy and quick installment from both sides of your vehicle hence giving you confidence about your child’s safety. The bubble levels also performs the same function as the center-pull latch.

2. Adjustable harness and base

This feature allows you to adjust the seat such that it can fit your growing baby. This means that you don’t need to replace your seat when your baby starts to grow. You only need to make adjustments to fit your baby. Moreover, it has an adjustable head support feature which gives your baby’s head incredible support while growing.

3. Solid construction and good design

Everyone loves beautiful and attractive things. The Keyfit is one of the most attractive car infant seat ever invented. I heard many people backing up this product but I did not believe it until I tool a close look at it. You would probably love it from the first sight.

4. Interior EPS energy absorbing foam

The interior of the Keyfit seat is lined with the EPS energy absorbing form which increases the impact protection. This ensures that your newborn baby is not exposed to any potential threats. It also has a crash protection to provide an extra margin of safety.

Chicco has an excellent safety record and a relatively unblemished record of not having their car seats being recalled. You can trust this manufacturer as their seats meet or exceed safety standards around the globe. It is also important to read the manual that comes with any car seat to make sure that you are using it properly. Unfortunately, this is something that an alarming number of parents overlook which in the end can increase the risk of injury.


  • The car seat offers excellent safety due to the side-impact protection feature. It is tested and meets all the conditions of the federal safety requirements. Moreover, its design offers extra body and head support.
  • It is convenient. Regardless of the kind of life that you live, this car seat will fit perfectly in your life. This is because this product fits with many strollers without much hassle. Moreover, it is easy to install in your vehicle.
  • The Keyfit 30 material is machine washable. This reduces the hassle of washing since most of the work will be done by the machine washer.
  • The seat is lightweight hence giving parents ample time to move their infants to wherever place they want with ease. It weighs approximately 9.6 pounds making it one of the lightest infant seats available in the market.
  • This infant seat is easy to use. It includes easy to follow instructions, easy installation procedure, easy to place and remove the child into and from the seat.
  • This safety seat comes handy with a one year limited warranty. Moreover, the chicco website ensures that the customers get access to amazing support. The customer service representatives can be contacted via email or phone call. This gives you great value of your investment since any problem that you encounter can be sorted immediately just by single click of a button.


  • Removing the seat cushions may be trick especially for a newbie. This wastes a lot of your time when you want to take them off for washing.
  • The inability of the padding to breathe makes your baby to sweat. Therefore, you need to carry additional two or three clothes especially if it is summer season.

Save Yourself The Worrying

The Chicco Keyfit 30 is a product whose performance cannot be questioned. Thousands of customers who have tried this product have given positive testimonies on the quality services they received. Driving in a car is perhaps the most dangerous thing that we do every day. This is often an area of anxiety for parents as they want something that offers the maximum protection for their child while in the car. Getting one of these infant seats is a great way to take some of the worry out your daily commute and it is something that is definitely worth the investment for both parent and child.

The Benefits Of Cooking With Onions

Cooking with onions

Onion (Allium cepa L) is a widely cultivated and consumed plant due to its pungent flavors; it is part of the allium family of plants which includes chives, garlic, shallots, scallions and leeks. It is believed that onions were first domesticated in Central and Western Asia; onions were also pictured on ancient Egyptian monuments around 5,000 years ago. Onion is a nutrient-dense food containing enormous health and medicinal properties; it contains incredible polyphenols such as quercetin compounds that have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and antimicrobial effects. It also contains sulfur compounds that possess anti-carcinogenic properties. Some of the beneficial ingredients include vitamins E, C and B-complex and minerals such as calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Some of the benefits of onions include:

Anti-Cancer Benefits

Onions provide effective prevention for cancer. A study in “Nutrition Health” shows that it is rich in organosulfur compounds that inhibit tumor growth, mutagenic reactions and reduce the DNA damage to cells. Besides, Onion is a source vitamin C, a strong antioxidant that protects one from free radicals known to cause cancer, especially esophageal cancer, renal cell cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, stomach and colorectal cancers. Besides, Quercetin compounds contained in onions have potent and diverse anti-cancer effects.

Treatment of Acne

A Journal in “Wound Care” shows that onions extracts contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities that help reduce acne scar and prevents inflammation and discoloration on the skin. Their anti-microbial effect acts as a potent antiseptic that protects the skin from acne infections caused by bacteria; it helps reduce redness and swelling related to acne. Onion extracts applied regularly to a scar helps to minimize the amount of collagen production which lowers the fiber content in the skin. Thus, it lessens the appearance of a scar making it less noticeable on the face.

Reduce Glucose Levels

Daily intake of onions helps regulate the blood sugar level. Publication in “The Endocrine Society” has shown that the trace amounts of chromium in onions have significant blood sugar-lowering action. Quercetin, an active compound contained in the onions help to actively regulate the blood sugar and cholesterol levels by increasing glucose metabolic rates and appetite levels; it also boosts glucose tolerance and minimize fasting sugar level.

Promotes Cardiovascular Health

Onion exhibits potent cardiovascular benefits; studies from “The University of Wisconsin-Madison” found that onions provide protection to the heart that helps decrease the risk of coronary artery and peripheral vascular diseases. The sulfur compounds, vitamin B complex and chromium compounds in onions helps prevents a heart attack by lowering homocysteine levels, a potential risk of cardiac stroke. The sulfur compounds contain anti-clotting effects that inhibit thrombocyte biosynthesis, thus helps prevent the clumping together of platelets and clot formation. The allium and allyl disulfide decrease blood vessel stiffness. Also, quercetin in onions offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that boost cardiovascular health.

Anti-ageing Benefits:

Onions contain anti-ageing benefits; a publication on “Natural Cures and Healing” shows that the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E in onions help to prevent free radical damage and excessive exposure to harmful UV rays that are responsible for causing premature ageing. Quercetin compound is an excellent antioxidant and a detoxifier; it enhances the elimination of toxic chemicals which helps to keep your skin wrinkle-free. The presence of sulphur-rich phytochemicals in onions boosts the anti-ageing qualities; it keeps the skin supple and ensure a smooth, youthful and radiant appearance. Besides, regular massaging of the skin with fresh onion juice facilitates a continuous blood circulation that improves the overall appearance of your skin.

Cold and Respiratory Benefits

Onions are rich in essential vitamins A and C that help alleviate respiratory conditions. Sulfur contents in onions have beneficial effects for colds, coughs, and bronchitis; it boosts the melting of phlegm in individuals suffering from severe coughing. A Journal on “West Indian medical” states that onions contain antimicrobial properties that destroy active microbes including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas and Candida found in the throat which is responsible for sore throats and infections that cause coughs. Onion syrup is regarded as a household antimicrobial remedy for croupy coughs.

Possible Side Effects

Notably, onions are known to cause eye irritations and for making people cry; it do not contain severe side effects on consumption. However, it is important to note that, onions cause allergic reactions to some individuals; one may experience a reddish, itchy rash when an onion is into contact with the skin. It may also cause a breathing problem, oral swelling, tingling, and a drop in blood pressure in patients suffering from anaphylactic allergic reactions. Individuals with gastrointestinal gas production are advised not to consume onion food. Besides, American Journal of Gastroenterology suggested that patients having chronic heartburn or gastric reflux disease should not take onion since it worsens these symptoms.

There have been numerous diet-based studies conducted in journals of agricultural and food chemistry have confirmed that onions are one of the richest sources of flavonoid; Quercetin and sulfur compounds contained in onions contributes to its anti-cancer, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Onions are naturally low in calories and abundant in vitamins and minerals. Other benefits of onions include improvement of digestion, protection against allergies, treatment of anemia, maintenance of bone health and prevention of oral infections.

Onions are one of the most widely used ingredients in cooking and for good reason. They provide a strong kick, great texture, and are easy to prepare. But not only do they add to the taste of your favorite recipes, but they can also do a body good. Hopefully, after seeing the tremendous positive impact that they can have on your health, you will find more ways to use this versatile vegetable in your kitchen.