Tag: review

Foodie Swellness: Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

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To say that food occupies my thoughts much of the time is an understatement. What will I eat next. What will I order for dinner out tomorrow? (I’ve actually asked friends what they plan to have, and my question has been met with expressions of “I can’t believe you’re already thinking of what you’re going to eat there”). What will they be serving at the lunch I’m attending? What groceries I need to pick up. How I really want to try more Malaysian cuisine. How a pizza would hit the spot right about now. Even when I’m on a plane and we all know how awful plane food can be in economy, I ponder when it will be served and what will be on that little plastic tray.

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And while I do enjoy cooking, sometimes it does feel like a chore. So I occasionally have breakfast for dinner; it’s easy to make something breakfast-y that is simple but tasty and I often have the ingredients in my fridge. Another reason is because I do quite enjoy it, and breakfast sandwiches are something I crave from time to time. So when I saw the adorable Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, an award-winning product, I knew I had to try it out. (The company gave me some of their appliances to test out, full discolosure!)

What it is and how it works? Basically, on the bottom portion, after heating up the machine, you place the bottom of your sandwich bread (think bagel or English muffin), and any veggies, cooked meat or cheese you want in your sandwich, then on the top portion you crack an egg and break the yoke and top it with the top of your English muffin. Close the top on the appliance and about 4 minutes later, you swing out to the side the middle non-stick plate with the tab so that your sandwich becomes, well, a sandwich (one layered piece) and then you lift open the appliance (wearing an oven mitt for safety as parts of it are hot!) and use a spatula to slide off your warm breakfast sandwich. The cheese (I always put cheese!) has melted nicely, the egg is cooked and the bread has a nice warm crispness to it.

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It’s super easy to clean and pretty nifty but I suppose you have to eat breakfast sandwiches pretty regularly to make getting this appliance worth it. I can see it being great for a family with a few kids. Or someone in college or university living in a dorm. The appliance is quite small so storage even in my small downtown condo is not an issue. The only way I feel it can be improved is if it could also cook whatever meat you want in your sandwich; when I was growing up McDonald’s for breakfast was a treat and I’m still a fan of their Sausage McMuffin with egg. But I can’t make a similar homemade version using this appliance since the Maker won’t cook a sausage patty (and cooking it separately to then insert into the completed breakfast sandwich defeats the convenient purpose of only using the Maker).

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Currently I’m using the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker to make a small yet filling breakfast after a run (when I’m typically lazy to fuss with cooking anything more elaborate) but I go through spurts of using it often one week and then giving it a break the next. I think I need to experiment with more ingredients, but so far my fave sandwich includes tomato, ham, cheese, egg and avocado, on an English muffin.

Stay tuned for my next Hamilton Beach product review: the Searing Grill!

 

Leave a Comment August 8, 2016

Foodie Swellness: Juicepresso review

beet ginger carrot lemon green apple juice

You may have noticed I’m a fan of cold-pressed juices (they make an appearance now and again on my Instagram). But, wow, do they cost a chunk of change! And so I decided that I wanted a juicer. I tested out a friend’s to see how I liked it and how fussy it was to clean (not so bad, no more work than cleaning my blender), and decided it was a worthy buy. And then I was asked if I wanted to test out the Juicepresso juicer (Was it my mere wishes of wanting a juicer that brought this about? If so, I’d really, really like to escape the rest of winter and be on a beach, SVP).

The Juicepresso (silly name, but I guess it tell you what it does…) is what’s known as a slow juicer, or masticating juicer. Masticating juicers feature a lower RPM compared to centrifugal juicers (the Juicepresso is a very low 40 RPM) and this cuts down on the oxidation of the juice (you don’t want your juice to be oxidized — this reduces the nutrition level of it). Masticating juicers also apparently produce more yield (I don’t have a ton to compare it to, but this is what I’ve read).

Juicepresso unpacked, I loaded up on veggies and fruit. I gravitate towards juices with ginger in them, so I started with a recipe for a beet, apple, ginger, carrot and lemon juice that I got from GOOP. And it was delicious, and cost a fraction of what a single bottle of the same would cost at a juice bar.

Juicepresso

With a few months of use, here are the pros and cons I’ve experienced with the Juicepresso:

PROS

  • juicing at home costs a fraction of buying cold-pressed juices (yes, there’s the initial cost of the juicer, of course!)
  • Juicepresso takes up much less room than other juicers I’ve seen, which is important when you have a small kitchen like I do
  • Juicepresso is quiet, important when you decide you want to make juice at 2 a.m.
  • the pulp comes out pretty dry, so it does seem to extract juice well
  • because the juice is being masticated instead of being whirred up in a centrifugal juicer, the juice comes out at a regular temperature (it can be a bit warm when you use a centrifugal juicer)
  • Clean up is fairly simple. I often hear people saying how juicers are a pain to clean, but I don’t find it any different than having to clean a blender.

CONS

  • when I juice leafy veggies, they sometimes get stuck and clog up the spout
  • the tube where you enter your produce is narrow (this is typical of masticating juicers) so you do have to chop your veggies smaller than you would for a centrifugal juicer
  • There are two small rubber pieces that you must remove and clean. They’re about the size of a nickel and I promptly lost them about a week after using the Juicepresso and had to have them replaced (I was sent replacements, but if you lose yours, they’ll cost $5 to replace). I think I placed them on the cutting board and then ditched them when I threw out the veggie peels and such. Doh!

All in all, I’m super pleased with the Juicepresso and my new juicing habit. It makes me happy to make a juice…there’s something oddly satisfying of feeding the veggies and fruit into it and watching the juice emerge.

Now, to do something with all that pulp. Such a waste for it to go in the bin. I’m going to need to start baking with it or something.

 

Leave a Comment February 25, 2015

Fitness Swellness: Champion running gear review

running photo in Champion gear in Toronto

Ah, two months of “off season” was a treat. I kept it simple — my goal for my off season was to run three times a week, about 10k each run. Just to maintain some fitness. I probably could’ve afforded to do some intervals in that time, but mentally I really just needed this time off of training to be simple; the fall was an intense few months of training and racing.

In that time, I got to put some Champion running gear to the test (remember — I posted some six weeks ago about this). Here, my honest review of the pieces.

run in Champion gear in Trinity Bellwoods park

First off, the running jacket: When I first saw the jacket, I thought it would be too warm and restrictive for running, given it’s slightly puffy. But I could move fine in it, and it’s actually quite lightweight. Since it’s filled, I think it can give you the mental comfort that it’s warm, but layer it with the right gear, and it’s a great option for a winter run. I like the zippered pockets, and while turquoise is not a colour I gravitate towards, look how the hue pops so prettily against the snow! And the style with the contrasting colours make for a flattering silhouette. The only con of this jacket is that I think it could use more snug-fitting inner lining at the wrists (sometimes I could feel cold air coming into my sleeves).

The sports bra: Good coverage. Good support for high-impact. It’s not as stretchy as other sport bras, though, so putting it on can feel like you’re doing a bit of acrobatics (but once on, it’s comfortable). I like the contrast of the green and turquoise (sport bras always peek through when you have them under a tank so I prefer ones that aren’t just basic black so it adds a little something to your fit outfit).

The grey T-shirt: It’s fine, but a bit boring. A decent basic in good neutral colour. Nothing too remarkable about it.

winter Champion gear run

The running tights: Good fit and the turquoise stripe is flattering — makes the legs look slim. A comfortable length (I find some tights seem to fall a bit short but these were long enough so that even with ankle sport socks, I was fine) and they’re not low-waisted, which is good (some tights I have to pull up regularly mid-run, but these have a good rise and I never had to fuss). They are on the thin side, so I’ll only wear them on days where it feels like 0 degrees Celsius outside. Not the current polar vortex temperatures in Toronto. Although I would certainly wear them under a pair of warm track pants or warmer and baggier pants over top for cold winter runs, given how comfortable they are.

After a few launderings, all of the pieces are holding up well so far. All in all, good basic pieces that won’t break the bank. With the right layering, which is key for dressing for winter running, these could all be key elements to your winter fit wardrobe.

Now if only wearing this brand didn’t always end up with me getting that Buju Banton song “Champion” stuck in my head…

(sponsored)

west side Toronto run in Champion gear

Leave a Comment January 12, 2015


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