We’ve told you how the best rice cooker can work as a DIY sous vide machine and make amazing risotto the lazy way, but did you know that it can also make pancakes, bread, mashed potatoes, and poached fruit?

Rice Cooker Pancakes
Of course, when we say “pancake,” it’s more like a literal cake rather than the stack of flapjacks most of us are used to—but it still tastes like a pancake.

This recipe could not be easier. Just grab your favorite box of pancake mix (or make your own) and follow the instructions on the back to make a cup of two of batter, but not too much. (Rocket News24 points out that too much batter will overflow the machine as it cooks.) Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of your rice cooker and set to cook. You can also add fun mix-ins, like fruit or chocolate chips.

Rice Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Rice cookers are also perfect for making mashed potatoes. Peel and slice up your potatoes, put them in the rice cooker with a small amount of water and salt, and go read a book or watch TV while the machine steams them to fluffy perfection.

All you have to do is take them out, drain them, and then add butter, milk, and a very special ingredient for the fluffiest mashers ever.

Rice Cooker Poached Fruit
If you want a healthy dessert, look no further than your rice cooker. It’s easy to poach fruit in there. Wash and slice the fruit of your choice, then add that with some poaching liquid (whether that’s water, wine, or something else) and sweeteners, if any are desired. I like to throw in a cinnamon stick sometimes to make it fancy.
rice cooker poached fruit

Rice Cooker Applesauce
You can also make applesauce in a rice cooker. This is a godsend if you have kids and want to feed them the organic stuff. It’s much cheaper to make at home. (You can also speed through apple peeling with a little know-how.)

Rice Cooker Bread
Finally, what about bread? A lot of cooks don’t like to bake and vice versa, but homemade bread is one of the best sources of joy in a cook’s life. It’s also surprisingly easy to make without a machine, but with a machine? It’s child play.

Just don’t buy a breadmaker. Instead, mix up a quick batch of no-knead bread dough, and put it inside your rice cooker where it can rise and bake, saving you the hassle of dirty mixing bowls.

So what are you waiting for? Put your rice cooker to work so you don’t have to. Plus, you can make actual meals in that machine, too, but keep in mind that these tricks will also work with slow cookers, since the principle behind them is nearly the same. In fact, most new model rice cookers are sold as combination slow cookers.

What ingenious rice cooker hacks do you know?

For starters, I don’t know why I have developed this mental block that non-stick is unhealthy. I mean, I have read enough on net to tell me that aluminum is unhealthy too. But non-stick cookware sort of rings a warning bell in my mind that it is “carcinogenic”. They use perfluorooctanic acid for making that layer on the non-stick pan, which a few studies has shown to emit some carcinogenic fumes.

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Now, I know that many people read what I read, and many people use these non-stick cookware sets. If they were so harmful, there would be some ban against them from governments, right? But that is not happening, so these cookware sets can’t be all that bad. Periodically, I do become sane and less paranoid about health.

But do I have many choices? Not really. Steel vessel simply burns away my seasoning and so I have to use thick gauge of aluminum for getting that seasoning done perfectly. But recently I came across an article that aluminum can be deadly too. Aluminum’s sins can be as deadly as brain or vision problems, and damage to intestinal lining. Now, I do have some gastric problems, and I am afraid, my doctor is not zeroing in on aluminum. The article added cancer to the list, so I am left wondering why am I still using aluminum? I also read another article that hinted on link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s. But then, aren’t most people using aluminum vessels? Why only a fraction of them develop such dreaded diseases?

There were reports about the cookware sets for microwave oven too. In fact, there were reports again microwave itself. Again I rationalize. Why is government not doing anything to stop production of such vessels, if indeed such vessels are hazardous for health. The seed of doubt once sown, germinates. It is hard to banish the thought.

My mind gets worked up on such things, because I have seen an aunt die of stomach cancer, and I know how much she suffered. This is the reason, I am now looking for a good earthen cookware set that can be used for seasoning and I found out this site. I see those chefs on television sets using those pots and I think can there be anything safer than that. But we are so accustomed to dish washers, and displaying our utensils. We don’t want to be seen with something that turns unevenly black, and something that can’t be cleaned perfectly. In fact, I am afraid even of the perfect looking earthen cookware sets. I suspect they used some chemicals for getting that finishing, and that chemical will show its effect on me or my loved ones, sometime down the lane. This is the reason that though I loved that smooth rust colored earthen cookware set that I saw in the mall today, I didn’t buy any.

Read also: Non toxic cookware brands for healthy cooking

 

espresso (2)

To begin with; I am probably among some of the biggest shoppers of espresso machines around, and that is because of two key things; I do not only sell some of the best espresso machines in town, but coffee is one thing I make like everywhere I go. Whether I am in the office or just watching my favorite TV show at home, coffee is one drink I never miss to take. Being one of the people who come across these machines on daily basis, over and over, people come to me for advice when they are looking for the best machines. My friends have also come to know of this and once in a while I receive phone calls from them asking for the best espresso machine models out there. With my tips, nothing has ever gone wrong; the following are a few of the thing I always look out for when shopping for the best espresso machine.

For starters, I personally always look out for so many things, but I will try to squeeze a few of them here. The kind of brew I can get is important, and the best espresso machine is one that I can actually use to get a strong cup of coffee just like I wound find in any coffee bar in town. It does not even stop there; the best espresso is one that has been built to last. Being one the most frequent shoppers of these machines, at times, they can really get expensive and I wouldn’t want to spend all my savings on a machine that will not last or even break down in weeks. It is because of this that I also carefully assess the size and construction. The two must be right before I dish out my money. It is important.

Related to espresso machine:
Making a perfect cup of espresso -The Guardian

When I was shopping for good bread machines, I was looking for a good appliance with consistent performance. This means that the machine should turn out loaves that have a good color, a crisp crust, a light and airy crumb, and most importantly good flavor. I also wanted a machine that has straightforward operation, and the instruction manual should provide precise directions for me to use the appliance. The walls in my apartment are pretty thin and so I was also looking for a bread machine with relatively quiet operation so that I don’t disturb my next door neighbor.
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Another thing I was looking for was a machine with intuitive controls, and the displays had to be easy for me to read. I also wanted a machine that didn’t need a lot of time and effort to find or use my desired setting because I’m a busy soccer mom without a lot of time to spare. The other thing I was looking for was a bread machine with a basic and dough cycle only because I didn’t need a bread machine with all the bells and whistles yet I didn’t need them.

My family consists of my husband and I and our two small boys and so I wanted a small machine that can make a pound of loaf, which offers about eight slices of bread. The shape of the loaf was not so important to me, and it didn’t matter whether the bread machine made horizontal or vertical loaves. However, one thing that I would not compromise on was being able to peek at the loaf while it was being made, and so I was looking for a bread machine with a viewing window. Another thing I wanted was a bread machine with a timer because I wanted to set up everything the evening before, and then wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread. I read this bread maker review and thought I would get one like hers.