Tag: Best

The 5 Best Blenders to Buy (So You Can Quit Those $10 Smoothies)

Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go food—and they’re a godsend for anyone who’s not into solid food before noon. But hitting up a juice shop for your smoothie fix is a pricey habit. So if you’re serious about smoothies (or soups or dips or nut butters), it’s time to invest in a blender. Our friends at BestReviews spent weeks testing blenders to find the five best machines on the market. A few are expensive, but none of them will set you back as much as a year’s worth of $ 10 smoothies. 

Nutri Ninja 1. Nutri Ninja Pro BL450

The Nutri Ninja snuck in and became one of the most popular blenders on the market without the competition really noticing. So “ninja” is an apt name. It’s the perfect personal blender for someone looking to make individual smoothies or shakes. The Nutri Ninja easily breaks through ice, seeds, skin, and even stems. Also, the jar doubles as a grab-and-go container thanks to the “sip-and-seal” lids. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, making cleanup a cinch. Just make sure you don’t overfill the container—many customers reported leaks when they stuffed in too many fruits and veggies. 

($ 66.38; walmart.com)

Vitamix Pro 750 Heritage Blender 2. Vitamix Pro 750 Heritage Blender

A Vitamix is a blender in the same way a Tesla is a car—which is to say both blow the rest of the competition out of the water. The Heritage model is built on decades of research and technology. It makes blending a smoothie look like the easiest thing in the world, and it has no problem whipping up nut butters or even steaming hot soup. The only real drawback is the price. 

($ 528.96; surlatable.com)

KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender 3. KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender

The retro look on this KitchenAid might remind you of the blender you grew up with, but it definitely works better. The five speeds allow for maximum control, and you can do anything from dicing to pulverizing with ease. Its one weakness is that it’s loud: One Amazon commenter described the noise as “an angry Chewbacca.” Still, the KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender makes a mean smoothie at a great price, so we can deal with the Star Wars sound effects. 

($ 99.99; target.com)

Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender 4. Oster Versa Pro Performance Blender

From across the room, you might mistake the Versa Pro Performance Blender for a Vitamix—it has a similar dial and comes with a tamper (that plastic rod you push through the lid to help everything blend evenly). It also features programmed settings that take the guesswork out of making smoothies, dips, and soups. For all that, this blender is a third of the price of a Vitamix.

($ 149.99; target.com)

Blendtec Total Blender 5. Blendtec Total Blender

Serious at-home smoothie makers are split into two camps: those who swear by Vitamix and those who are loyal to Blendtec. You really can’t go wrong with either, and the Total Blender is quite a bit cheaper. At first glance, the Blendtec’s dull blades look like they could barely cut through a raspberry. But they tested it on an iPhone and the blender turned it into dust. That’s  some serious design ingenuity, and it makes Blendtec perfect for anyone worried about cleaning around sharp blender blades. 

($ 399.99; target.com)

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The Best Slow Cookers to Buy (Because Not All Crock-Pots Are Created Equal)

Though there are some superheroes who manage to whip up delicious meals from scratch after a long day at work, we can’t all be like that. For the rest of us, there are slow cookers. Throw in some protein, grains, veggies, and sauce before heading out the door, and when you come home, you’ve got a tasty, piping hot meal waiting for you. (OK, so it’s not quite that easy. You should follow a recipe, but you get the point.)

Still, not all slow cookers are created equal. Since you’ll be leaving the appliance unattended for hours, you want to pick one you can trust. Here are our four favorite models:

If You’re on a Budget

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Slow Cooker

Crock-Pot 4-Quart Manual Slow Cooker

If you’re looking for a no-frills, top-notch slow cooker, this is the model to buy. It looks nearly identical to the one our mom had 20 years ago—it’s what marketers would spin as “a timeless design.” But, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Plus, its four-quart size makes it ideal for small kitchens where counters and cabinets are a precious commodity.

($ 19.99, crock-pot.com)

If You Like to Party

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay-or-Go 6-Quart Portable Slow Cooker

Need to cook something for a crowd? Let us introduce you to your new best friend, the Stay-or-Go slow cooker. Making big meals—without slaving away in the kitchen—has never been easier. And if you’re leaving the house for your party, you don’t have to worry about spilling your dish in transport. The locking mechanism on top keeps everything sealed (and warm) until you’re ready to serve.

($ 22.49, target.com)

If You Cook Tons of Meat

Hamilton Beach Set-n-Forget

Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Now we’re getting to the models with cool bells and whistles. This step up from run-of-the-mill slow cookers comes with a built-in meat thermometer. Next time you’re cooking a full chicken or a roast, poke the meat with the thermometer and set your desired temperature. Once the meat reaches the right temp, the cooker automatically turns from “cook” to “warm”—meaning the meat comes out perfectly juicy every time!

($ 49.49, target.com)

If You Love Gadgets

Crock-Pot with WeMo

Crock-Pot 6-Quart Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

This model is pricey, but it comes with a really cool feature: If you download the WeMo app and plug in your Crock-Pot before you leave home, you can turn this model on and adjust the temperature from anywhere. But, you ask, isn’t a slow cooker’s selling point that you can turn it on before you leave for work, not worry about it all day, and come home to a perfectly cooked meal? Well, yeah. But there are plenty of slow cooker recipes that require more precise timing, so being able to control the Crock-Pot from a distance can be really helpful.

($ 129.99, crock-pot.com)

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The Best Gluten-Free Pastas You Can Buy

Gluten-free pasta is something of a contradiction. You can’t expect mac and cheese made with bean pasta to taste like the boxed stuff you made in college, but that’s actually the best part of cooking with these noodles. With different flavors and textures than your typical box of penne, alternate grain and carb-based noodles allow you to play with ingredients you never thought would go together. Just looking for a GF option to cover with cheese and sauce, you say? Some of these grain-free pastas taste just as neutral as the spaghetti Mom used to make. Open your mind and pick up one of these nine gluten-free pastas at the grocery store this week.

GF pasta: banza

Photo: Amazon

One of our favorite pastas of the bunch, protein-rich Banza gets its power from chickpeas. Toss the subtly nutty-flavored pasta with sautéed veg and sun-dried tomatoes for a bright dinner you’ll want every night this week.

Ready for a chickpea bonanza? Buy it now.

GF pasta: King Soba

Photo: Amazon

These striking purple-black noodles pair just as well with marinara as they do with peanut sauce. King Soba noodles’ best texture is revealed when slightly undercooked and refreshed with cold water.

Go purple. Buy it now.

GF pasta: ancient harvest

Photo: Amazon

The most similar to wheat pasta in flavor and taste, Ancient Harvest is just waiting to help you trick your dinner guests into eating a completely GF bolognese.

Mmm, penne bolognese. Buy it now.

GF pasta: jovial

Photo: Amazon

Throw Jovial pasta into a big grain bowl with sautéed greens, mushrooms, and cabbage—only this time, you won’t be waiting an hour for the brown rice to cook.

Start building your grain bowl. Buy it now.

GF pasta: bionaturae

Photo: Amazon

A blend of rice, potatoes, and soy (all neutral-tasting carbs), Bionaturae pasta is ready to become the most satisfying mac and cheese your GF stomach has ever had. You. Are. Welcome.

GF elbow noodles FTW. Buy it now.

GF pasta: eden

Photo: Amazon

If soba noodles aren’t part of your weekly pasta routine, it’s time to change things up. Toss Eden pasta with roasted broccoli and soy-ginger sauce, and plop a chunk of salmon on top. Ohhhhhhyeah.

It’s better than takeout. Buy it now.

GF pasta: explore asia

Photo: Amazon

Only know edamame as that out-to-dinner appetizer? Open your mind to Explore Cuisine pasta and embrace the green noodles by coating them in kale pesto and sautéed greens.

Go green. Buy it now.

GF pasta: tolerant

Photo: Amazon

Take a break from lentil soups and curries in favor of Tolerant pasta. The red lentil-based noodles are perfect in pasta primavera—just made sure not to overcook ’em so they hold their shape.

Think you can Tolerant it? Buy it now.

GF pasta: trader joes

Photo: Amazon

With a distinct flavor, Trader Joe’s bean pasta is the best choice when you want your noodles to actually bring something to the dish. Refusing to hide behind neutral flavor, this gluten-free option makes a perfect base for a corn, tomato, avocado, and red onion pasta salad.

Just in time for summer. Buy it now.

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