Best Cutting Board for Meat

When choosing a cutting board for preparing meat you want to be sure you can keep it clean and sanitized. It’s best to have a separate cutting board for meat specifically so you can be sure you’re not cross contaminating your fruit, vegetables and baked goods.

Best cutting board for meat

The best cutting board for meat is a bamboo cutting board.

Why?

  • Bamboo is a renewable source-grows easily
  • Durable, yet doesn’t ruin your expensive knives
  • Tends to avoid warping and cracking unlike regular wood cutting boards
  • Gently wipe with soap and water for an easy cleanup

Once you’re finished cutting your meat be sure to wash your hands. After you’ve cleaned your cutting board, wash your hands again. 

Then, begin cutting your vegetables for your meal preparation on a separate cutting board. 

How to keep your bamboo cutting board good so it will last a long time?

  • Use mineral oil: acts as a barrier to water and food

How to clean your raw meat cutting board?

  • Clean it immediately after use
  • Use soap and water, but don’t soak the board in water.  This can damage the board by splitting since water is getting in the cutting board. Let it stand to air dry.

How do you sanitize your meat cutting board?

  • Use a bit of vinegar and fresh lemon juice to gently clean
  • Diluted bleach (1/10 dilution with household bleach)

Bacteria are able to get in between the cuts your knife makes on the board. Thankfully they only live a few hours, but this is why you need to use your board only for meat and not for anything else. When the board dries, the bacteria die off as well. 

bamboo cutting board

Plastic cutting boards tend to have grooves/bumps on their surfaces. This makes it difficult to be sure that it’s truly clean before using it again. Plastic can damage your knives over time. When you’re using your knives on a plastic cutting board, this creates groves in the plastic, which become very hard to clean.

Glass is another alternative that you might want to try. You can can your glass cutting board with soap and water and be sure it’s clean. However, glass ruins knives. Glass cutting boards are harder to cut on because their surface is much more slippery and doesn’t grab like wood or bamboo does.  

Bamboo is the best cutting board material for all of your meat cutting needs. It’s eco-friendly by being a renewable source. Bamboo cutting boards are easy to clean and maintain. Keep one bamboo cutting board specifically for cutting raw meat. This way you’ll have no cross contamination issues. Happy Cooking!

bamboo cutting board

The Best Cutting Board with Containers

My husband loves to prep his meals before he begins cooking anything. He makes a point of taking out all the bowls and using every single one of them for vegetables, sauces, etc. to make cooking not as overwhelming. 

I tried to get him to be a one pan kind of cook but to no avail… I’m more of a wing-it kind of cook and he’s the organized, methodical chef in the house.

I ended up searching around for a cutting board with containers that he could put all of his prepared vegetables in. I knew that this was one thing he needed to keep cooking as easy as possible. 

I managed to find one particular cutting board with containers that was:

  • Ecofriendly – made of bamboo
  • Odor and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Soaked with mineral oil – keeps water out of the bamboo making it durable

It also came with 4 trays that are dishwasher safe. The best part of all is the trays come with bamboo lids. So when he’s prepping meals the day before he can put the cut vegetables in the fridge overnight and then be ready to cook after work the next day.

I find that now the cutting board containers save us from using a ton of bowls and running the dishwasher all the time. It also saves us some countertop space so we have more area to work in. 

The cutting board we ended up going one was this large bamboo cutting board with trays.

Since the cutting board has a groove near the edges it catches the juices when we chop up vegetables and fruit, it keeps the counter much cleaner than before. 

When we’re finished with our bamboo cutting board we wipe it down with a cloth, towel dry, and hand wash the containers. This way, we’ll get the most use out of it. 

I couldn’t be happier with our new cutting board. It makes meal prep and cooking much cleaner and with less clutter on the counters. I know we’ll have this cutting board for years to come.

Best Ice Cream Maker Machine for Home Use

homemade affogato

Cuisineart pure Indulgence ice cream maker is the best ice cream maker to buy for home.

  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Ice cream made in 20-25 min of churning
  • Able to add extra flavors in the last 5 minutes of churning (marbled caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, mini peanut butter cups, etc.)

Having an ice cream maker gives you more control knowing exactly what it is in your ice cream.

You don’t have to guess what each ingredient is when you read it on the side of a carton.

See how the Cuisineart ice cream maker machine works in the video below.

You can decide what kind of extra foods to put in your ice cream, for example:

  • nuts
  • white chocolate shavings
  • crushed cookies
  • caramel sauce
  • chocolate sauce.

You have the power to create your own flavor’s of ice cream right at home.

Best Ice Cream Maker Machine for Home Use

I first thought about getting an ice cream maker when I tasted vanilla lavender ice cream. I tried this particular flavor from a local grocery store and I found out it was created in small batches only. This meant that it only comes out about once a year. 

By the time I got to the store to get a second container it was all sold out. I knew that I was going to have to start researching and finding myself my own ice cream maker if I wanted to have specialty ice cream flavours at home. 

Best Ice Cream Maker Machine for Home Use

One of my good friends who works as a chef at a luxury vacation lodge creates specialty desserts including homemade ice cream. She told me that the simpler the design of the machine, the longer it’s going to last. She had mentioned to me that they have had a few different machines in the past and it seems like the more simpler you go the less likely it’s going to break in the long run. 

She recommended to me the best homemade ice cream maker she has found is the Cuisineart Pure Indulgence ice cream maker

She has made everything from Ice Cream to frozen yogurt and margaritas

I made the decision to purchase one for myself. We tried out the simple vanilla ice cream for the first batch. It ended up being a lot larger of a batch than I was expecting so we have been eating our way through it. The flavour was delicious, but not quite as rich as the French vanilla. 

For a special treat I baked some mini chocolate chip cookies and put the vanilla ice cream in the centre creating an ice cream sandwich. 

Everyone at work absolutely loved them. I can’t wait to try more flavours. 

When you first get the ice cream maker you have to freeze the bowl it comes with. Wait 24 hours for the bowl to be fully frozen

Make your recipe for your ice cream in a separate bowl.

Place the frozen bowl into the machine, put the paddle into the mixture, and the top on it. 

Turn the machine on and slowly pour your ice cream mixture into the freezer bowl. 

The ice cream mixture will churn the ice cream putting air into the mixture, giving it the right consistency for ice cream. 

Set a timer for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s done mixing. 

Once the ice cream has finished churning put it into an airtight container. 

Freeze for a few hours until it’s fully hardened. 

We usually eat the homemade ice cream the following day when it’s hardened up to our liking. 

vegan espresso ice cream

Wash the freezer bowl and paddle by hand after you’re done for a quick clean-up. 

Ingredients to use in an Ice Cream Maker

  • Fruit
  • Heavy cream
  • Half and half
  • Whole milk
  • Sugar 
  • Extracts
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Cookies
  • Caramel sauce
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Peanut butter cups

Best Candy Thermometer

The best quality candy thermometer is the OXO Good Grips Glass Candy Thermometer.

I started making caramel for an Almond Roca recipe years ago. But, it never quite came out how I wanted it to. It was delicious, but it was just too soft. The consistency wasn’t quite right. 

This year, I decided I was going to try out using my new candy thermometer for my caramel sauce to make my almond roca recipe. Maybe they would actually turn out!

best candy thermometer

I asked my husband to purchase the best candy thermometer for caramel for me.

He got me the OXO Good Grips Glass Candy Thermometer.

When I went to use it, I realized that the bulb didn’t go all the way to the bottom of the pot. But of course, you don’t actually want the bulb to be touching the bottom of the pan. This can cause the bulb to shatter.

So the OXO thermometer he got me, sits a few centimeters above the pot using the adjustable clip. 

When I was making my caramel sauce the bulb was above the level of liquid in the sauce pan so I wasn’t sure how it was going to work.

I started mixing my ingredients, and then I realized that I could just stir the pot and push the caramel sauce over the bulb so I could get an accurate measurement of the temperature.

Therefore, even though it’s large, it’s the best candy thermometer for small batches. 

When I was done making my caramel sauce I watched the Mercury come to an even 300 degrees Farenheight and I poured the caramel sauce into the baking pan. I added the chopped up almonds to it, and then I spread the melted chocolate over the caramel and sprinkled the rest of the chopped almonds to the topping and let it cool. 

Finally, I had made the most incredible Almond Roca. I had no idea that I really needed a candy thermometer to make the Almond Roca that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I always purchased my almond roca at local Christmas markets because it’s my absolute favourite!! Now, I can officially make as much as I want to at home!

I’m an avid baker, and I have tried making macarons, but they never turned out the way I had seen them in pastry shops.

When I took a class making macarons in Vancouver they showed me that when making the sugar sauce for the Italian meringue, it needs to be an even 115 degree Celsius. 

I decided to try out the candy thermometer again. I always had issues making macarons in the past, but I was using the French style recipe. By using the Italian style recipe, the meringue is much more stable so it’s easier to get them to turn out how you like. 

I started making the sugar sauce and I watched the Mercury climb up to an even 115 degrees Celsius. I poured the sugar sauce down the side of the metal mixing bowl with my egg whites. I folded the meringue into the almond mixture and finished off making my macarons, patiently waiting to see how they would turn out. I wondered if this was really going to make the difference between them actually turning out. I put them in the oven and baked them for 12 minutes. 

oxo candy thermometer

I pulled them out of the oven when they were finished, and there it was, my first batch of perfect macarons. I was so proud. I was so grateful to have my new candy thermometer. 

This candy thermometer has been so easy to use, it handles high temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It has stages on the thermometer of hard-crack, giving you an idea of how hard you want your candy to be.

I prefer this candy thermometer over a digital one because there is no battery to change, no risk of the display becoming black at high temperatures, and I find it just as easy to read the temperature.

When we were reading up about candy thermometers I thought for sure a digital thermometer would be the easiest. 

I started reading up on the CDN digital candy thermometer 

You can easily program it to an exact degree. It will alarm at specific points during the key temperature stages when making candy.   

It’s approximately 8 1/4″ tall, much smaller than the OXO Candy Thermometer.

However, most people who have used this thermometer find that it doesn’t last very long. Some people have said that it only lasted them 3-30 uses, and then it just stops working. The screen will go black when it’s used at high temperatures. The clip for the gauge can break off and then you have to hold the thermometer by hand to take the temperature of your candy.

It doesn’t seem like digital thermometers have come very far in terms of longevity, or durability.

The tried and true older style thermometers are a better bet for your candy making needs long term. They are easy to clean, simple to use, and give accurate readings.

The OXO Good Grips Glass Candy Thermometer is the best quality candy thermometer for your baking needs.

Best Bread Maker Ever

Best Bread Maker Ever

Our pick: Zojirushi BB-PAC20 Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker

Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Bread maker

The Zojirushi Breadmaker is our top choice for the best bread maker ever. If you’ve never had a breadmaker before, you might be thinking, do I really need one? What can you actually make with a bread machine?

For those who have owned bread machines before, you know how incredibly versatile they are. But, the problem with most of them, is that they usually only last about 2 years.

This bread maker though will last you for years to come.

Are bread makers worth it?

Yes! Bread makers are totally worth it!

What can you make with a bread maker

  • Apple danishes
  • Bagels
  • Baguette
  • Banana bread
  • Challah bread
  • Cheese and onion bread
  • Chocolate cake
  • Coffee cake
  • Croissants
  • Donuts
  • Tea bread
  • Pizza dough
  • Gluten free bread
  • Gluten free donuts
  • Salt-free bread
  • Sugar-free bread
  • Vegan bread
  • Focaccia bread
  • Homemade pasta dough
  • Corn bread
  • Jam
  • Sugar cookie dough
  • Tortillas

They include more recipes on their website.

If you’re looking for the most durable, long-lasting bread maker, this is the best bread maker choice for your home kitchen.

Zojirushi Bread maker Pros & Cons

Pros:

You can make 6+ loaves/week for years (4-5 years)

Other breadmakers claim that they can make gluten free bread, but it just doesn’t turn out as well and consistent as the Zojirushi Breadmaker . 

The cost of making bread in your new breadmaker will save you money in the long run. 

Once you purchase your bread machine yeast and bread machine flour you’ll be ready to try out your new bread machine!

You can have fresh bread readily available within 2.5-3.5 hours depending on the recipe.

The top of the breadmaker includes a heater in the lid. This brown’s the top of your loaf ever so slightly to give you a perfect loaf of delicious bread.  

The Zojirushi Breadmaker is easy to clean. Hand wash the paddle and loaf pan after each use and let it air dry for a couple hours so you have it all ready for your next fluffy loaf of bread.

Cons:

You may have to replace the paddle after several years of use. You can easily purchase this online when you need it, unlike other brands where it’s difficult to source replacement parts

Mixer is loud. However, most bread machines are loud. They have moving parts and they need to be able to mix their ingredients effectively. This might be something to think about if you’re planning on putting the delay timer on to have fresh bread in the morning. Perhaps keep it downstairs, somewhere that you won’t hear it mixing away when you’re sleeping.

What other recipes can you make with a bread maker?

  • Pita bread
  • Naan bread
  • Pretzels
  • Pumpkin spice bread
  • Calzone dough
  • Cinnamon buns
  • Cheese bread 
  • Multigrain bread
  • Lemon cake
  • English muffins
  • Hamburger buns

What is the best bread maker recipe?

Pizza Pretzels

What if you want to make gluten free bread?

It comes with several recipes for creating gluten free breads.  

  • Gluten free donuts
  • Gluten free apple walnut cake
  • Gluten free carrot cake
  • Gluten free green tea bread
  • Gluten free raisin bread
  • Gluten free pizza dough

What kind of gluten free flour can you use in your bread maker?

What if you want dairy free bread?

Substitute the milk for:

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk

How do you store bread maker bread?

Store your freshly baked, cooled down loaf in an airtight container. Be sure to only slice off what you are using at the time. If you slice all of the bread when it’s cooled, it could stale faster. 

Store it in the fridge to keep it fresher a bit longer. You’ll want to use it up within 3 days of making your loaf, or store it in the freezer. It doesn’t last as long as bread you purchase in your local grocery store because it doesn’t have the same preservatives as your freshly baked bread.

This is actually one of the perks for having a breadmaker. You get to control what you’re putting into your body. You know exactly how much sugar, salt, etc. is going into the recipe, so you can be more informed about how much you’re consuming on a daily basis.

For people with allergies, this can be a life-saver. You can select your flour, salt, sugar/sugar-free, nut-free environment as you need it for your own dietary needs.

How do you slice your bread?

Use a serrated knife to cut your bread to your desired thickness.

How to clean your breadmaker?

Is it dishwasher safe?

No, you need to handwash the loaf pan.

How do you properly measure your ingredients for your breadmaker?

I have used my breadmaker to make several different types of cakes, rolls, dough,  and bread. We’ve only had one for a year and I can’t imagine not having it. 

I remember when I received one for Christmas, my husband said he didn’t think we would use it much. But his attitude changed within a few weeks. 

Once he realized he could use it for making pizza dough, he didn’t have a huge mess to clean up after. When he makes pizza dough, it makes enough for 2 large pizzas. I never expected such a small machine to be able to make that much dough at once. 

Sometimes we use ½ the dough for a pizza, and then leave the other ½ in the fridge and use it the following day to make another pizza. 

We use our bread machine at least once a week to make different recipes. It saves us time, it’s less mess, and it saves us money. I love using it make quick dough recipes like pizza pretzels for lunches during the week.

Once you start using your new bread maker, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it!

Bread Maker Pizza Pretzels Recipe

Bread machines can do much more than just bake loaves of bread. You can use you bread machine to make pretzel bread dough, and then top your pretzels how you like them. If you’re making regular pretzels, give them an egg wash with a bit of salt before baking them. For our bread machine pretzel bread we’ll be making pizza pretzels. Pizza pretzels are topped with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Yum!

Bread maker pizza pretzels

Bread Maker Pizza Pretzels Recipe

How to use your bread maker to make pizza pretzel dough. Bake your pizza pretzels in the oven with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time15 mins
Bread Maker Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: pretzel
Yield: 8 Pretzels

Equipment

  • bread maker
  • Oven

Materials

  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7/8 cup water

Topping

  • 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese grated

Instructions

  • Pour water into bread pan.
  • Place flour into bread pan covering all the water.
  • Add salt and sugar to bread pan.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and put yeast into the well.
  • Select dough setting on bread machine.
  • Once dough is finished, preheat oven to 450˚F.
  • Separate dough into 8 even pieces.
  • Roll each dough into a long rope shape ~6” long.
  • Twist each dough into a knot shape. Place knots onto a baking sheet.
  • Brush each knot with pizza sauce. Cover the entire knot in pizza sauce, bringing the sauce right down to the bottom of each knot. If you don’t fully cover the knot this will result in a dry pizza pretzel.
  • Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese onto each knot.
  • Bake at 450˚F for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
bread maker pizza pretzels recipe

Best Gluten Free Bread Maker

Best Gluten Free Bread Maker

Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Breadmaker

The Zojirushi Breadmaker is the best gluten free bread maker. 

It comes with several recipes for creating gluten free breads.  

  • Gluten free donuts
  • Gluten free apple walnut cake
  • Gluten free carrot cake
  • Gluten free green tea bread
  • Gluten free raisin bread
  • Gluten free pizza dough

They include more recipes on their website.

If you’re looking for the most durable, long-lasting breadmaker, this is the one for you. 

Zojirushi Bread Maker Review

Pros:

You can make 6+ loaves/week for years (4-5 years)

Other breadmakers claim that they can make gluten free bread, but it just doesn’t turn out as well and consistent as the Zojirushi Breadmaker . 

The cost of making gluten free bread in your new breadmaker will save you money in the long run, than purchasing your $7.00 loaf every week. 

You can have fresh bread readily available within 2.5 hours

The top of the breadmaker includes a heater in the lid. This brown’s the top of your loaf ever so slightly to give you a perfect loaf of delicious bread.  

The Zojirushi Breadmaker is easy to clean. Hand wash the paddle and loaf pan after each use and let it air dry for a couple hours so you have it all ready for your next fluffy loaf of bread.

The Zojirushi Bread maker is one of the few break makers that is both a bread and jam maker

Cons:

You may have to replace the paddle after several years of use. You can easily purchase this online when you need it, unlike other brands where it’s difficult to source replacement parts

Mixer is loud. However, most bread machines are loud. They have moving parts and they need to be able to mix their ingredients effectively. This might be something to think about if you’re planning on putting the delay timer on to have fresh bread in the morning. Perhaps keep it downstairs, somewhere that you won’t hear it mixing away while you’re sleeping.

What kind of gluten free flour can you use in your bread maker

How to make Gluten Free Bread also Dairy Free Bread

Substitute the milk for:

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Oat milk

How to store gluten free bread

Store your freshly baked gluten free bread after it has cooled down in an airtight container. Be sure to only slice off what you are using at the time. If you slice all of the bread when it’s cooled, it could stale faster. 

Store it in the fridge to keep it fresher a bit longer. You’ll want to use it up within 3 days of making your loaf, or store it in the freezer.

Try out a few nutritious gluten free bread recipes by checking out the 125 Best Gluten Free Bread Machine Recipes

Blanco Silgranit Sink Review

Blanco Silgranit sinks are known for being sleek, stylish, and classy. Your kitchen sink is going to be one of the drawing points in your new kitchen.

You want to be sure you’re picking our a quality sink that is going to last you for years to come.

So how do they measure up?

The Blanco Silgranit sink has a non-porous surface which is anti-bacterial. Food will not be absorbed into the material and begin to smell. You can leave dishes to sit in the sink safely and do them at your leisure without worrying about if you’re damaging your sink.

The surface of the sink prevents pots and pans from clanging. You can be assured that this sink won’t be too loud from dropping things in the sink. 

Do Blanco sinks chip

  • Blanco sinks are durable and can withstand having sharp objects dropped in them. They resist chipping, but it can happen over time.

Do Blanco Silgranit sinks stain

  • The Blanco Silgranit sink is resistant to stains.

Do Blanco sinks scratch

  • The Blanco Silgranit sink is resistant to scratches.
silgranit-sink

Blanco Silgranit Sink Colors

Blanco offers a diverse array of colors for granite sinks when compared to other top sink brands.

When we were renovating our kitchen we went through a lot of research and took the time to figure out which brands are the most durable, and which ones are going to last us a long time. 

Our cabinets and counter-tops gave our kitchen a modern look to it. There’s a luxurious feel to it when you walk in the room. The sink we selected had to match this. Therefore, we wanted to go with a higher quality sink.

silgranit-sink-with-white-quartz

When we met with our designer she recommended a Blanco Silgranit sink.

One thing I noticed when I came across in my research was that some sinks can crack when high temperature foods are poured into the sink like pouring hot water after making pasta.

The Blanco Silgranit sink is heat resistant up to 536° F.

blanco silgranit sink

After visiting a few different stores and feeling the quality of each granite sink I could see that Blanco was the best choice for us.

It took me by surprise how beautiful and modern the sink looked in person.

Types of Blanco Silgranit Sinks

Blanco has a huge selection of different types of sinks:

  • farmhouse
  • sinks with drainboards built in
  • cascading divide in the sink
  • long sinks for your custom kitchen needs
  • laundry room sinks
  • low divide sinks
  • round sinks
  • smaller sinks for a petite kitchen
  • double bowl sinks
  • bar sinks

We decided on the Blanco Silgranit single bowl kitchen sink in Anthracite.

I love the look of the single bowl sinks that are undermounted. The sink and counter-top have clean lines which looks more aesthetically pleasing on the eye. Not only that, I can clean the counter and push all the food scraps into the sink when cleaning up after a meal making it easy to clean the counter. 

How deep is the Blanco Silgranit sink?

  • Bowl depth: 8 5⁄8”

Since the bowl is so much deeper than I was used to, I didn’t realize how many dishes I was going to be able to soak in the sink. 

I can soak some dishes while I’m washing other ones at the same time! This makes clean up much quicker than I anticipated.  

We haven’t had a dishwasher in about 5 weeks so this was a game-changer for me!! 

Another benefit to having such a deep sink…. You can place a few dirty dishes in the sink to be cleaned later and you don’t see them. I can be at my stove cooking away and I don’t see any dishes in my sink, making me feel more calm and relaxed since they are out of sight and out of mind. 

One of my favourite things to do in my spare time is making baked goods. I decided to try my hand at making macarons after taking a class locally to see how I would do at making them. 

After I was done making macarons about 4 hours later I was cleaning the baking pan and I put it right into the sink. What shocked me is the whole pan fit into the sink and I still had room for other dishes as well. I was able to clean the pan and rinse it off so easily that it seems like doing dishes takes a lot less time for me now.  

I never thought that getting a new sink would allow me to do dishes in less time but here we are. 

When I drained the sink for the first time I noticed was that it drains the sink completely dry. There isn’t a pool of water waiting at the bottom of the sink. It self cleans by draining itself dry so you can leave the sink perfectly clean when you’re finished with it. 

With having new pipe under our sink, it can be drained in about 8 seconds depending on how deep you fill it.

blanco-silgranit-sink

When you do your kitchen renovation you want everything to be perfect, you want everything to go well, and you want to know that you made the right choice. 

One thing I know for sure, is I know I made the right choice picking the Blanco Silgranit sink. It fits so well into our modern kitchen and I can’t imagine picking another one. 

It’s just perfect for our life.