A Convenient Way To Cook What You Grow

One of the best parts of growing your own food is when all of that hard work ends up on your dinner plate. Cooking can be rewarding too, but often times it involves a lot of unwanted work and can be time consuming. We are always looking for better ways to save both time and money and for our family that came in the form of a toaster oven. These are not just toasters, but they are full featured small cooking ovens that fit nicely on your countertop. We love using ours so much that we decided to write a brief review of some of our favorites.

Over the last few years Breville has built a reputation for creating some of the best performing small kitchen appliances that you can buy. Their juicers, food processors, blenders, bread makers, and mixers are all some of the most wished for machines by amateur chefs around the world. Well, you can also add their toaster ovens to this list. One aspect that is common among Breville appliances is their modern design and the technology they incorporate into all of their machines to make them a step ahead of the competition. If you are looking for the sleekest toaster oven for your countertop then getting one of their “Smart” ovens is your best bet.

But what makes their toaster ovens so good? Well, based on our personal experience with one of their models and our search for the top Breville smart toaster oven reviews currently available, we have come up with a quick rundown of all three of their oven options. Any one of these would be an excellent choice to make fast and simple dishes with the ingredients that you love to grow.

Breville BOV800XL

This is their top rated model and their most popular oven. It also happens to be the one we own and use a few times a week and we love it. It is roomy with enough room for 6 pieces of bread if you are into toast. What sets the BOV800XL apart from their other smart ovens is it has convection functionality. This basically means that a fan inside of the oven circulates the air so everything is cooked evenly. This feature also helps speed up cook times and it works great.

Breville calls their ovens “smart” because the heating elements inside will automatically adjust the temperature while it is operating based on the setting that is chosen. This helps take out a lot of the guess work. You can also customize the temperature and the oven will remember what you choose for later use.

Another thing we love is the blue LCD screen. The digital display gives it a real futuristic look that really stands out. It also works rather well with the control knobs. The screen changes color to orange while it is in use.

Just a note, Breville does make 2 other models that are supposedly above the BOV800XL. They are basically the same except for an added cooking setting and the addition of an interior light. The Smart Oven Pro also comes with a light. If you can do without these two things then you can probably save some money sticking with this model. It is a great toaster oven for those who actually like to cook things.

BOV650XL Compact Smart Oven

This is their mid-range smart oven. It is a little bit smaller, weighs less, and it only handle 4 pieces of toast at once. This oven also does not have the convection cooking feature of the BOV800XL. This is ideal for folks that want to do occasional cooking of meals and do not have a lot of mouths to feed. Even though it is compact it is still big enough to feed one or two people with great results.

BOV450XL Mini Smart Oven

This is their smallest model but it is also quite popular. It is a perfect choice for anyone with small kitchens and limited counter space. This is a huge hit in dorm rooms I am sure. This has a little less room than the BOV650XL but it can also handle 4 pieces of bread and a 11 inch pizza. This oven also does not come with convection capability but it does come with the same modern styling and performance.

Pricey But Worth It

Breville has set itself apart with its appliances in its high tech approach to the kitchen. However, this does come at a higher price. Their machines are usually not going to be the least expensive options. Budgetary concerns may keep some people from enjoying these wonderful ovens. Even though they can be pricey, most owners agree that they are usually worth every penny. If you are looking for something that is easy to use, convenient, and extremely versatile to prepare quick and tasty meals, then we highly recommend one of these Breville toaster ovens for your home.

Better Understanding The Impact Of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a specific form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that afflicts the digestive system. It can occur anywhere from the mouth all the way to the anus, but it usually manifests itself and causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, in particular the small intestine. The swelling and inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract can cause severe and debilitating pain as well as digestive problems.

The cause of Crohn’s disease is not completely understood and is not precisely known. Its symptoms are very similar to that of ulcerative colitis, another form of IBD. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis cause inflammation in the lining of digestive organs, but whereas ulcerative colitis affects the outermost layer, Crohn’s can cause inflammation in all the layers of the intestines. With such closely related symptoms a proper diagnosis of Crohn’s disease may take time to achieve.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Since Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract it may have a vast array of symptoms that may present themselves to varying degrees. Where the disease flares up can determine what kind of symptoms occur. Some of the following may be seen:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Fatigue
  • Pain when expelling fecal matter

Other symptoms may also include the following:

  • Night sweats
  • Constipation
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Liver inflammation
  • Swollen gums
  • Skin problems, ulcers
  • Fistulas near the rectum
  • Loss of appetite

There are also sub-categories of Crohn’s disease that are defined by which organ is afflicted and they may have their own set of symptoms.

  • Crohn’s ileo-colitis and entero-colitis: This refers to inflammation of both the colon and small intestines. Symptoms may include blockage of the small intestine as well as bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  • Crohn’s terminal ileitis: This occurs in the final part of the small intestine closest to the colon. Diarrhea and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms.
  • Crohn’s colitis: This is inflammation found only in the colon. Peri-rectal abscesses may occur as well as bloody diarrhea and pain in the abdominal region.
  • Crohn’s enteritis: Involves different parts of the small intestine with bloody diarrhea and pain being the most common symptoms.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should consult with your doctor so that the proper tests can be performed to see if you may have Crohn’s disease or any other ailment that may be affecting your digestive system.

Crohn’s Disease Tests and Diagnosis

To determine if a patient has Crohn’s disease a thorough medical examination may be performed consisting of numerous tests. These may include blood tests, upper GI barium X-rays, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy and CT scans.

  • Barium Upper GI X-ray: In this test, the patient drinks a barium mixture to completely coat the inside of the small intestines and stomach. The patient then goes through a series of x-rays where the barium shows up as bright white. Barium contrasts well on the x-rays and highlights areas of concern such as ulcerations and narrowing.
  • CT Scans: A CT scan is a computerized x-ray method that images the entire abdominal region and is highly effective in discovering abscesses.
  • Colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy: A direct inspection of the colon may also be performed with the use of a colonoscope, a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera and light attached on the end. This is inserted through the anus and directed up the rectum into the colon where the doctor can view the lining of the colon wall. A sigmoidoscopy is used to view only the sigmoid colon, the last third of the colon, whereby a colonoscopy can view the entire length of the organ. In both procedures a full colonoscopy prep is required to empty the colon of all fecal matter.
  • Blood Tests: Routine blood tests are run to look for a high white blood cell count as well as anemia. An elevated white blood cell count could be an indication of inflammation somewhere in the body.
  • Stool Sample: This looks for blood in the stool or for possible infections of the intestines.


Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Currently there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, treatment instead focuses on inflammation control and reducing the severity and frequency of symptoms. Drug therapy, surgery and dietary adjustments may be a course of action taken by your physician.

Some of the medications than are often prescribed to sufferers of Crohn’s disease include antibiotics, aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressant drugs as well as anti-diarrheal drugs.

There is no recommended dietary guideline to combat crohn’s disease. The patient may avoid certain foods that tend to worsen some of their symptoms. Nutritional supplements are also recommended. Since the disease tends affect appetite, nutritional deficiencies may be an area of concern for sufferers. Poor nutrient absorption from food may also be a factor for taking dietary supplements.

Surgery is often required for Crohn’s disease patients. Surgery is not a cure and recurrence of the disease is not uncommon after surgery. Surgery is primarily used to remove diseased parts of the digestive system that are causing blockage or obstruction or when severe symptoms of the patient stop responding to drug therapy.

Crohn’s disease can be extremely difficult to live with and is a daily ongoing problem for patients that suffer from it. It strikes men and women equally usually between the ages of 20 and 35. Those with a close family member that have the disease are at increased risk to develop it themselves. Jewish people have a higher risk of suffering from Crohn’s disease while Africa-Americans have a decreased risk of having to deal with the disease.