Foods That Promote Healthy, Restful Sleep

During these stressful and fast-paced times, more and more people are having problems with sleeping.  Eating the right food can help battle various sleep issues like insomnia and sleep apnea.

Here’s a list of a number of healthy food items that promote restful sleep.

What Food Ingredients Help You Get A Good Night’s Rest?

If you’re having problems with getting a good night’s sleep, it would help if you consume foods that are rich in tryptophan.  Tryptophan is a concentrated dietary element that the body does not naturally make, and must be obtained from different food sources.  Among the food items that are rich in tryptophan include lentils, chick peas, hazel nuts, whole grains including rice, beans and peanuts.

Tryptophan Increases Serotonin Levels

Food items that are rich in tryptophan and carbohydrates are great for those who have sleeping problems, because tryptophan is used to produce a hormone called serotonin.  Serotonin generally promotes feelings of relaxation, calm and sleepiness.  Without enough serotonin, the brain continues to stay active even at night, hence the bouts of insomnia. Other food items that are rich in tryptophan include eggs, sesame seeds, fermented soy beans, whole-grain pita and raw dairy products.

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Buying Cured Pork

Pork may be purchased fresh or cured, the latter being accomplishedcured prok Buying Cured Pork by a process combining heat salt and sodium nitrate. Curing alters the flavor and color of the meat, so that the meat retains its reddish color during cooking.

When buying and preparing cured pork products, it is important to read the label carefully to determine whether or not the item has been pre cooked or not. If it has, the cooking time will be shorter because it is only necessary to reheat the meat. In contrast, cure pork that has not been pre cooked needs to be reheated until the interior temperature reaches 160 F to avoid the possibility of viable Trichinella spiralis bacteria in the meat.

Cured hams may be purchased at the meat display and are also available canned. Canned hams commonly require refrigeration because they have not been heated to a high enough temperature during canning to endure the safe storage in room temperature.

Bacon is a cured pork product that is popular particularly on breakfast menus and sandwiches. The choice between thick or thin slices is a matter of individual preferences. You need to now the weight of individual packages when comparing prices between brands.

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How to Cook Chicken Using A Toaster Oven

If your home has a relatively small kitchen, it would certainly make sense to have an oven toaster in it. Most toaster oven models are equipped with timers, electronic temperature settings and other helpful high-tech tools, which make them look more like mini-ovens rather than simple toasters.   If you want to cook chicken on an oven toaster, here are some helpful ideas to consider.

How to Cook Chicken in an Oven Toaster chicken How to Cook Chicken Using A Toaster Oven

While a toaster oven may be a bit small for holding a whole chicken, users can still roast chicken parts, as well as cook other tasty chicken recipes here.  Here’s an easy-to-follow mini-oven chicken recipe.

  1.  First, set the unit to “Bake”, and then preheat it to 450 º F.   Next, finely chop a few garlic cloves and a small onion.
  2. Line-up the interiors with foil, place a layer of garlic and onions n the foil. Next, place the chicken on top. Do not, however, pack the tray too closely, and place the chicken parts skin- side up. Sprinkle any remaining garlic and onion pieces between the chicken parts.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken parts with olive oil, and add salt and pepper, as well as drizzle fresh dried herbs on top.
  4. Lower the oven down to 425 º F, and place the chicken inside. Ensure that the chicken does not touch the oven walls.  Cook the chicken for 20 minutes, and baste the chicken with butter, olive oil while it’s cooking.

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The Joys of Using a Toaster Oven

While the early toaster machine was only good for toasting two bread slices at a time, today’s new variants do more than that. These machines can broil, defrost, bake, roast and of course toast.  These home cooking machines are also called convection ovens, toaster-oven broilers and convection-roaster ovens.  For those who are having a tough time finding the right toaster oven , they can check out this site, where they can safely compare prices and evaluate other important aspects.

The Convection Oven Roaster Mini Toaster Oven 300x300 The Joys of Using a Toaster Oven

Among the different brands of toaster ovens, the ones that use convection technology are among the top-selling items today. A toaster oven that uses convection technology often utilizes a small fan, which circulates hot air inside the oven.  Toasters that use convection heating allow for a balanced distribution of heat, which provides even browning and coking of food.

Many of today’s brands are also equipped with lots of user- friendly features.  These include digital and touchpad controls, electronic timers and sensors, rounded rear walls, and large interiors that can accommodate even a 12-inch pizza.  So if you’re at a loss as to which brand to buy, our site  can help you fully evaluate each of today’s top-selling oven toaster brands

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How to Organize Your Pantry

Especially for a small kitchen, it will be very difficult to prepare meals if your kitchen is cluttered and unorganized.

Kitchen Pantry Furniture How to Organize Your PantryWe would like to  share with you a few tips on how to make a small kitchen space be useful, productive and a place where you actually want to spend time by organizing your pantry.

  1. Remove everything on your kitchen cupboards, drawers and cabinets. Check if anything is expired.
  2. See if you have multiples of anything and consolidate them in one container.
  3. Now you are ready to start organizing what will be going back into the pantry.
  4. Arrange shelves like they do in the grocery store clearly visible ands stored by categorypantry 2 How to Organize Your Pantry
  5. What you use the most should be at eyelevel
  6. Maximize the space you have by using shelf helpers ( wire racks that can provide a 2nd level to your space)
  7. Store heavier items on the bottom shelf so you can reach them without straining and for items that you don’t want small children to get their hands, out them on higher shelves so they cant reach them
  8. Try to get the following organizers:
    1. over- the- door organizer so you can take advantage of the additional space of the door
    2. slide out storage  baskets for little things that you get on impulse
    3. no slip turntables for your condiments and seasonings for ease in reaching the things at the back and putting it away when you are done.

Organizing and your pantry will only take a few minutes of your time and it will make your kitchen time an enjoyable one.

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Is There a Link Between Stress And Poor Nutrition?

According to our researchers here in Cooking With Your Toaster Oven, whenever a person is stressed-out, he often tends to make poor food choices.  Those who are overwhelmed by stress tend to eat the wrong types of food, consume excess alcohol and smoke a pack of cigarettes or more per day. Is there a direct link between stress and poor nutrition? Here are a few important ideas to ponder on.

snacks Is There a Link Between Stress And Poor Nutrition?Stress Can Lead To Mindless Munching

Because of the increase in the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, a stressed-out person will most likely crave for food items that are high in fat, salt and sugar.  Stress also makes the individual more prone to what’s called “emotional eating”.  Emotional eating refers to eating even if you’re not hungry. Some people who suffer from stress have been known to eat lots of junk food, and drink up to three cans of colas and carbonated fruit sodas daily.

Stress Can Make You Forget To Drink Water

Many of us who are so busy often forget to drink water.  Most workaholics tend to forget to drink water, because they drink soda or coffee instead.  Ask yourself; are you able to drink 8, or even 4 glasses of water per day?  A large majority of workaholics also eat less at home, and would rather prefer to buy their food at the fast food joint.  The downside to eating at fast foods is that they’re expensive and bad for your health too.

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How To Cook Toaster Oven Style Cinnamon Toast

Breakfast would certainly be so delectable, if you include cinnamon toast in your meal selection. The sweet and spicy smell of cinnamon toast would truly make for a mouth-watering early-morning meal with your friends and family.  Not only would it be a great alternative to regular bread and butter toast, it can also be enhanced with your fruit of choice, along with a glass of milk or coffee.

cinnamon 300x205 How To Cook Toaster Oven Style Cinnamon ToastHere’s how to bake toaster oven style cinnamon toasts. 

Prepare Ingredients 

The first step in cooking cinnamon toast is preparing the ingredients.  Mix ¼ cup of granulated sugar with 4 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Next, choose your bread.  Remember that any bread that has a broadened slice to hold butter will be just fine.  The bread though must not be stale, although slightly-stale bread should improve with heating.

Toasting The Bread

Place the sliced bread on a cookie sheet, and spread them evenly.  Next, evenly spread butter on each of the bread slices, and allow the butter to melt a bit. Now, place the bread slices in the preheated toaster oven, at 450 F. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.  Once the bread is evenly toasted, sprinkle as much cinnamon sugar over the toast, as the butter will make the cinnamon mix stick.

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Four Basic Kitchen Layouts

Cooking With Your Toaster Oven would like to share with you the 4 basic kitchen layouts:

Kitchen floor plans revolve around the triangle created by the placement of the refrigerator, sink and cooking area. Depending on the dimensions, door and window placements and shape, a kitchen may be designed as Galley, Single wall, L-shaped and U- shaped.

galley Four Basic Kitchen LayoutsGalley Kitchen: This is when the kitchen is arranged lengthwise along two walls. The two parallel long walls are the sites for the refrigerator, sink, cook top, toaster oven and counters, A good arrangement in a galley kitchen is to have the sink and refrigerator on one wall, with the cooking area along the parallel wall.

One benefit of the galley kitchen is that it is easy to shift from one working side of the kitchen to the other with a minimum steps. Unfortunately, this convenience can quickly become congestion if anybody is walking through a kitchen or trying to help the meal preparation.

single wall Four Basic Kitchen LayoutsSingle-wall Kitchen: 

The least convenient kitchen arrangement is one that allots only a single wall to locate the sink, refrigerator and cooking area. This single wall kitchen creates a single traffic lane paralleling the wall, resulting in a situation that requires a relatively large amount of walking.

L-Shaped Kitchen L shaped Four Basic Kitchen Layouts

An L-shaped kitchen is generally more efficient and pleasant to work in than either the galley or single wall kitchen. The more open feel of the kitchen space and the convenience of the work triangle that can be arranged within the L are advantages that chefs appreciate. The right angle created by the two arms of the L makes it practical to position the sink and refrigerator on one wall and the cooking area on the other,. This arrangement allows easy movement between the sink, refrigerator and cooking area.

u shaped Four Basic Kitchen LayoutsU-Shaped Kitchen: 

The easiest kitchen to work in is the U-shaped kitchen. The space for food preparation is defined by the arms of the U, and the traffic from others wandering through is restricted. In this layout, the sink, refrigerator and cooking center are arranged on different walls, forming a U.

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How to Keep Your Kitchen Knives Clean

You use knives for a great many tasks in the kitchen. . Cooking Withknives 072710 xlg2 300x164 How to Keep Your Kitchen Knives Clean Your Toaster Oven agrees that well looked after and carefully handled, they make your job easier. Poorly used, they can cause accidents; when not properly cleaned, they can spread harmful bacteria.

Knives must be absolutely clean before you use them. Otherwise the knife will pass on to the food flavors of other foods it has been in contact with.

The second danger is that the harmful bacteria will be spread by the knife. This is very serious if the knife has been in contact with the raw meat, fish or vegetables and is then used for food which has already been cooked, or does not require cooking before serving.

How to clean knives:

cleaning knives How to Keep Your Kitchen Knives CleanOnce you have finished using the knife for a particular task, wash it thoroughly:

  • Do this at the sink, in lots of hot water with an all purpose detergent
  • Rub the blade and handle all over, using nylon brush or cloth—keep your fingers away from the sharp edge of the blade
  • Rinse in very hot water to kill any remaining bacteria
  • Dry with paper towel
  • Do not put knives in dishwashers. The jostling movement can damage the blade and the cutting edge. The chemicals can also cause the pitting of the blades.

 Storing Knives:

When not in use, Cooking With Your Toaster Oven  recommends that you store your knives in a purpose made case, wallet, box, knife block or a magnetic rack. Do not keep knives in a drawer where they will knock together and het damaged edges.

Photo Credits: Whitney Tressel


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How To Create A Healthy Breakfast Meal

What’s the typical breakfast fare today? The usual breakfast food items aren’t that healthy, as they consist of stuff like toast, pancakes, bacon and eggs, bagels and more.  All of us know that breakfast is important, because it provides us with the energy to last the whole day.

Here are a number of healthy eating suggestions for breakfast.

walnuts 300x200 How To Create A Healthy Breakfast MealEat A Lot Of Walnuts

If you just can’t stay away from the regular toast and butter fare, why not try adding walnuts to your breakfast routine? Walnuts are a very good source of vitamin E, minerals, proteins, healthy fats and phytochemicals.  Walnuts are also good sources of monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart.

Create a Breakfast Salad Recipe breakfast 300x222 How To Create A Healthy Breakfast Meal

Why not add a healthy twist to your breakfast, by creating a salad recipe? To make a simple salad, here are the ingredients – a bag of romaine hearts, ¼ to ½ red pepper (cut into thin strips), one hard-boiled egg (sliced), a handful of chopped roasted almonds, and poppy seed or honey mustard salad dressing. Mix all the ingredients, and you’re now ready to munch on it.  You can also try adding beans, lettuce or berries, to keep things tasty and interesting.

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How to Make Baked Potatoes in your Microwave or Toaster Oven

Do you know that you can cook baked potatoes in your microwave, or even in your Toaster Oven?

bake 200x300 How to Make  Baked Potatoes in your Microwave or Toaster OvenHere’s how:

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F
  • Get 2 large sized potatoes and thoroughly  wash both
  • Prick the potatoes on all sides all the way through  with a fork
  • Position your potatoes at the center of the plate. For 2 potatoes , it will take 10 minutes to cook , if you only have one potatoes, then you just need half of the time ( 5 minutes)
  • Once cooking is done, remove from the toaster oven (be sure your hands are protected as it can be very very hot)
  • Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil while you prepare for your filling. This will make your potato stay warm.
  • Fillings can be plain butter or cheese, mayonnaise with tuna, bacon or ham.
  • When your fillings are ready, cut through the potatoes in an X form and unwrap the peelings.
  • Fill your potatoes with butter or cheese and top it with a few strips of bacon or ham.

Enjoy your lunch! 

Are Green Potatoes Safe to eat?

When you see potatoes with green spots or with greenish tint, it green How to Make  Baked Potatoes in your Microwave or Toaster Ovenwould be best not to purchase it. Over exposure to light causes a chemical reaction that increases chlorophyll buildup and the production of the chemical “solanine”. Solanine will impart a bitter taste to the potatoes and high levels can actually cause serious medical problems such as interfering with nerve impulse transmission, abdominal discomfort, nausea and diarrhea. When potatoes are stored, it is best to store them in a dark location to avoid solanine buildup. This may also be a risk factor for people with arthritis.

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A Yummy Way to Cook Your Steak

A lot of people just pan fry their steak. We, at Cooking With Your Toaster Oven would like to share a a new way to cook a steak, pan fried and cooking it in a toaster oven!

Before we start, you have to know your steak–whether it is a Rib eye, New York cut, or Fillet Mignon, all have different qualities.  In choosing  a steak , choose one with most marbling (having small streaks of fat). This will give you a more tender feel and taste. And let the meat rests for 20 mins before you prepare so it will reach your room temperature.

steak2 300x200 A Yummy Way to Cook Your SteakHere are the easy steps!

  1. Pre heat your toaster oven to 375º
  2. Sprinkle both sides of your meat with salt and pepper. For best results, use Kocher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  3. Get a pan and oil. Pan fry to medium heat.
  4. Flatten the steak so it can get an even sear.  Pan fry for 1.30 minutes each side.
  5. Place steak in the toaster oven for 4-10 minutes depending on what type of cooking you want:  medium rare, medium well or well done.
  6. Let your steak rest for 5 min. You have to give the steak some time for the juices to settle before you cut into it.
  7. Serve.

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Presenting Food like a Chef

Cooking for your Toaster Oven would like to share with you how chefs presents their food.

Many Chefs can arrange food attractively without being able to explain why it is that they are selecting particular colors and shapes, or why they are positioning items in one place rather than another.

thai 300x199 Presenting Food like a ChefThere are some rules which provide a starting point on how you can do this:

  • Keep arrangements simple –elaborates designs are rarely worth the long time they take. While food is being handled in a warm kitchen, conditions are ideal for growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Plan your arrangement in advance—good idea is to sketch the effect you want on a piece of paper. Try a central feature that the rest of the design leads into.
  • Trim, prepare or cut food carefully—ragged cuts and uneven edges or mixtures of shapes look untidy. Try to keep everything roughly on the same size.
  • Make the food easy to recognize —using cuts and
    arrangements that improve the appearance of the food, but not disguise or hide it. Ingredients should not be chopped or minced so finely that they cannot be told apart.
  • Consider how the food is to be eaten –sitting at a table, rice egg 300x198 Presenting Food like a Chefmoving a about with a plate in one hand or with fingers only.
  • Consider how the food is to be served— on the guest’s plate, on a dish presented at the table, on a large dish which many people help themselves to.
  • Make the most of the serving dish—so that the shape and design of dish and food work to each other’s advantage. Doilies and napkins folded in special ways can add interest.
  • Select the right sized dish—a large buffet filled with small dishes looks messy. If a single portion dish is too large, the food will look lost or too much have to be used.
  • Don’t overload the serving dish—it should look full but not overcrowded.
  • Use different colors—but not more than three as a rule because too many colors can create a messy effect. Sometimes, two or three shades of the same color can be very effective.
  • Give variation to the height—food lying flat on the plate tends to look dull.
  • Provide a focal point—something to catch the eye. This could be the main ingredient, placed in a prominent position or a related ingredient introduced because of its attractiveness. On a large food display, one dish can be the focal point or an arrangement of flowers can do the same.

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