Cutting Down On Waste By Juicing My Organic Vegetables


As a family, working in the garden and growing our own organic vegetables has been an extremely rewarding experience. However, one of the drawbacks that we encounter is that we end up growing too much. We try to give our excess away but our neighbors can only handle so much extra kale. A portion of our haul always ends up going to waste, so I decided to see if there was a way to reduce that. This was when I took my first steps into juicing.

My sister had always tried to get me into juicing. I took some of our vegetables over to her house one time and made a little party out of it. I was surprised with just how much fruit and vegetables were needed to make a glass of juice. I thought that was spectacular that you can fit so many nutrients into a container. This would be perfect for our waste problem. Unfortunately, I was not all that impressed with the juice that came out of her expensive Breville juicer. So I decided to do some research.

My Quest

My eyes were opened after that little organic get together and I really liked the idea of finding another use for all that we grow in our family garden. Juicing our veggies seemed like something that we could benefit from, but I needed to learn more. My sister’s juicer was extremely fast, and she loved it, but I just found the juice a little watery, somewhat frothy, and I thought it would be more green. I needed to discover more about the juicing process.

The biggest eye opener was knowing the difference between masticating and centrifugal juicers. My sister used a centrifugal machine, and this was perfect for her. It was fast, easy to clean, and she loved the taste of the juice that it produced. When I learned about masticating machines, I knew this was the real difference maker for me. We grow a lot of leafy greens like spinach and kale and these are the types of foods that masticating units excel at. It is a slower form of juicing that is able to get more of the nutritious goodness out of greens. This was the direction I needed to go.

Finding The Right Juicer

Once I knew which type of machine to get I went to find the best juicer on the market for my family. Since I needed a masticating juice extractor, my focus was narrowed. After going over tons of reviews I finally settled on getting the Omega NC800. Omega as a brand was one of the top rated choices that we found. Their juicers are extremely well built and they have long warranties. Since we planned on doing a lot of juicing, this was something that was important to us. That day where we finally were able to zero in and make a choice was an exciting day.

Our Experience

The day it arrived it almost felt like Christmas. It was easy enough to put together and we jumped right into to using it. We had a nice stockpile of fresh cucumber, kale, cabbage, carrots, and radish ready to give it a test run. We also went to our local store to pick up some extra ingredients that we do not grow like apples, ginger, and lemons. We did some studying beforehand and found some exciting juice recipes that we found appealing. It was a good day.

The first thing that I noticed right off the bat was how much quieter this model was than the Breville juicer that my sister used. Her machine sounded like it was using a jet engine, perhaps this is why it got the job done so fast. Our new Omega juicer, on the other hand, was pleasantly quiet. It produced a small grinding type of a sound that did not shake the walls. Everything moved at a much steadier pace. We had to do some minor cutting of the vegetables to get them to fit, but it was not that much work. Overall, I was very happy with this part of the process of juicing.

There was also a noticeable difference in the juice that was produced. It had a somewhat darker color which is what I had first envisioned it should look like. There as less froth, but one trade off was that there was a little more pulp in the juice. This was not a problem for us as we kind of like pulp. We always buy are orange juice with pulp as we like that added bit of fiber. The final juice also tasted better to me. Perhaps it was that I felt more confident in everything. I really could not have been more pleased.

That was a few months ago, and from the first test run to now our experience with a masticating juicer has been extremely satisfying. One of the advantages is that we can store the juice we produce for a few days in the fridge. This is not something that is recommended when you use a centrifugal juicer as it adds a little more oxygen into the juice which causes it to spoil faster.

Less Waste

We try to be good global citizens which is why our organic garden is so important to us. We always felt guilty whenever we had to throw away and compost the vegetables that we could not eat. Juicing has drastically cut that back to almost nothing. This has probably been the best choice we have made as a family. Juicing has many health benefits, but it also has other advantages that can benefit us all.

What Parents Should Expect From A Convertible Car Seat


Driving around town is one of the most dangerous activities that we do each and every day. As parents, the peril weighs more on our minds when we are trying to protect our children. Having a dependable car seat can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to not only keep our kids safe, but also to having peace of mind. First time parents are often in for a shock when they become aware of all of the different options that have choose from when shopping for a new safety seat. For newborns, the two main choices are infant seats and convertible seats.

Unless you can afford to buy two seats within a year or two, we always suggest going the convertible route. These types of seats make the most financial sense. They will offer your child a safe and protected ride that they can use for the first few years until they are big enough to use a booster seat. While they may not offer the convenience of an infant seat, they give parents a seat that will last.


Small babies require extra care and attention from a car seat. Their head and neck area are not strong enough yet so special inserts are used with convertible car seats to provide this support. The seat should also be used in a rear facing position to give the proper protection. When they are finally big enough, you can remove the insert and “convert” the seat to a forward facing position. Each seat has their own weight and height recommendations, so this is something important to know before using. The ability to accommodate children of varying sizes is one of the main reasons why these types of safety seats are so popular with parents. They provide a way to use just one seat that will adjust to your growing child.

Reputable Brands

One of the best ways to ensure that you get a quality car seat that has been tested as safe for your child to ride in is to get a brand name unit from a reputable store. Never buy a used seat unless you are absolute sure that it has never been in an accident. And even then, you need to check the expiration date to make sure it is still viable. Yes, car seats have expiration dates.

Luckily there are numerous manufacturers to choose from no matter how big or small your budget may be. Below are our top three picks from different price ranges according to some of the latest convertible child car seat ratings.

Chicco Nextfit Zip

This is one of the better rated convertible seats that you can get. Parents rate it extremely favorably for its overall convenience and its ability to wash. You can simply unzip the seat cover and drop it in your washing machine to take care of those unavoidable spills and disastrous messes. This is not the most expensive seat out there but it is still a high end option that will run you around $350.

It has been tested and certified to meet and exceed safety regulations required of child seats so you can rest assured that your kids will be riding in something designed to offer maximum protection. It has extremely comfortable materials, and even that all important cup holder.

Britax Marathon ClickTight

Britax is another brand name with a trustworthy reputation. They have a complete line of convertible seats and the Marathon falls somewhere in the middle as far as features and price. It costs around $250 and gives parents excellent value for that price.

It is extremely safe, with patented safety technology engineered into each seat. It offers a nice level of comfort that is a hit with kids. Parents love to use this seat as it has a “ClickTight” function that makes installation a breeze.

Evenflo Symphony

There are a number of models in the Symphony line, but the LX offers a nice balance of features, comfort, and price. This particular model runs around $150 and it is a very solid option for parents, or grandparents, looking for something that won’t completely break the bank.

Solid safety record that is designed to meet and/or exceed current standards, this seat is built to protect your child from varying crash forces and flying debris. It is not extra fancy, it just gets the job done and it does it pretty well.

More Choices

The hard part about buying a new child seat is all of the choices that are out there. The best place to start is to determine your overall budget, then you can narrow it down by features and user ratings. It may seem daunting at first, but finding a model that both you and your kids will enjoy using every day is something that is achievable. Once you find a convertible car seat, the next step is to make sure that you are using it properly. One of the advantages of getting a name brand is that the resources on their websites often include easy to follow instructional videos. It would be wise to invest some time to make sure you are installing the seat correctly and the straps are in the right position.

Speed Up Your Cook Times With A Convection Toaster Oven


Let’s face it, food tastes a little better when we don’t have to work as hard to make it. This is perhaps the reason that so many busy professionals would rather order take out than cook a homemade meal. But there is one way to take out a lot of the work and the wait of cooking and that is to use a modern convection oven. Now, if you are thinking that toaster ovens are just for making toast, then it may have been awhile since you have actually seen what they can do. Today’s countertop ovens are capable of replacing just about any type of dish that you can create in your full sized oven. When you add in the power of convection, then you are taking your cooking to a whole other level. We decided to put together a list of some of the top toaster ovens that will transform your countertop into a place to make healthy and tasty fast food that your family will love.

The Power Of Convection

This is the new trend in oven technology that makes use of an internal fan to circulate hot air in and around your food. This method not only ensures that everything is cooked evenly, but it will also reduce the amount of time required to cook everything. You kind of get the best of both worlds and what comes out is downright spectacular. There are several toaster ovens that have this functionality and get high marks for their performance in the kitchen.

Breville Smart Oven Pro

Breville really nailed it with their line of countertop ovens and the BOV845SS is their high end convection model. If you look at any of the top convection toaster oven reviews you are sure to find a Breville oven at the top. This Smart Oven has everything that you would ever need and some of the impressive features include; quartz heating elements, automatic temperature control, LCD display screen, convection cooking feature, 10 preset cooking functions, interior light, stainless steel housing, non-stick interior, front crumb tray, and more. This is perhaps the most equipped countertop oven on the market and it can handle anything you wish to cook. From side dishes to whole chickens, this modern machine can make your standard oven all but obsolete.

The controls are rather intuitive and easy to use. Its stainless steel design not only gives it a modern look, but it also enables the unit to be cleaned with just a damp cloth. Its cooking functions take out all of the guess work as this oven can automatically adjust the temperature and cooking time. For anyone that spends a lot of time in the kitchen, the Smart Oven Pro is going to be your best and most rewarding choice.

Cuisinart TOB-260

At first glance, this oven looks almost like a Breville clone. It has the stainless steel construction and blue LCD display that gives it an ultra-modern look, but it does have a slightly wider stance. This has a lot going for it that will give Breville ovens a run for their money. The one thing that stands out most is that it has not one, but two different convection cooking features to help you take full advantage of this technology. With a wide range of presets, Cuisinart’s Exact Heat cooking system, and a sleek design, this countertop oven will fit nicely into any type of kitchen. Owners really love this model and the marks it gets for cooking performance is rather impressive. You can cut your recipe times by up to 25% when using the convection features. This unit is easy to use, simple to clean, and energy efficient. This is the ultimate machine to help you save time and money all while preparing mouth watering meals for your entire family.


This is a well known brand name that has also thrown its hat in the ring when it comes to countertop convection ovens. Their newer models try to do everything that the other two brands can offer but at a little more affordable price point. If money is ultra tight then going this route is a sensible option. They may not look quite as cool, but they are going to give you some great results in the kitchen. Their convection features work as advertised, and for the price you are going to get excellent value for the money. These are not cheap ovens, but you can save a little going with a Kitchenaid.

Cooking Healthy Is Now More Convenient

Eating healthy is often seen as being too much of a hassle. Getting a convection oven, however, can help to change your attitude about taking control of your diet. Once you see how easy it is to use one of these ovens and how well it performs when compared to your standard sized oven, it will be hard to keep you out of the kitchen. It may take a little time to get used to the reduced cooking times, but there are plenty of delicious and healthy convection oven recipes out there that your family will truly enjoy. If you wanted to stop your obsession with fast food and start preparing healthier meals for your family, getting one of these ovens for your kitchen counter is something that will be worth the investment.