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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Space Challenged

Living in an apartment means there's less space in many areas, including the kitchen. And, it can also mean giving up some appliances, like a microwave.

At first, we thought that might be a problem since in the VA house our larger counter space gave us plenty of room for a microwave. It's still there, but it's an older, very large unit. We used it mainly for reheating rather than cooking meals. It was especially useful for reheating our morning coffee in the late afternoon.

Relocating it to NH wasn't an option because of the limited counter space shown in this photo. That meant we had to find a replacement appliance. We've owned and used toaster ovens before so that seemed the best choice. A friend suggested we get a toaster/convection oven.

convection (or fan) oven uses internal fans to circulate air while cooking. Conventional ovens, which don't have fans, rely primarily on radiation from oven walls, and to a lesser extent, on natural convection caused by temperature differences within the oven, to transfer heat to food. Convection oven fans allow more heat to be transferred via convective heat transfer. Translated it means that these ovens distribute heat more evenly around the food, which cooks more evenly in less time and at a lower temperature. So far, we've found that to be true.
We took our friend's suggestion on the make and model to buy — a Cuisinart CounterPro Convection Toaster Oven Broiler. Our decision was also based on its overall size. As shown here, the unit nearly fills the available cabinet space leaving just a bit of counter space.

A similar unit we liked was made by Breville. It was pricier with great reviews. Alas, its dimensions were too large for the available counter space. 
Overall, we've been satisfied with this unit which cost about $100; there's been no problems in a year of nearly daily use. As most folks know, when appliances like this break down, it's hardly worth a repair; replacing it can be about the same cost.

We've survived for over a year without a microwave and aren't interested in buying one. 

How about you — ever reconsidered an appliance because of space or other reasons ?

12 comments:

Latane Barton said...

I am with you.... a microwave is pretty useless and in the way. However, here at the apartment they are built in above the stove so I do use it for warming sometimes. But, buy one... no thank you.

Mildred said...

I like your oven and what a perfect fit on your counter!

Our current home has a microwave built-in over the stove; we use it just for warming. In a previous home, there was no room in the kitchen for a microwave and we had one, so a shelf was built above the dryer for it (the laundry room was next to the kitchen) It worked out fine for limited use.

Anvilcloud said...

Our mw gets a lot of use, but everybody figures out there own style in this world.

Sandra said...

we got hooked on undercounter cofee pot and toaster oven way back in the mid 80's. then they stopped making them. i still miss them. we bought them because we had no counters and now we have tons of counters but still like the convenience. we have one of these like yours, different brand and i use it for all my baking. we love it. we now consider it a necessary item after 3 years of it and would buy another one. we also could not live without our microwave. i use the microwave to heat my rice bags for knees and back..

Country Gal said...

The toaster broiler convectional ovens are great we use one a lot it looks very similar to yours but is Black and Decker as there is only the two of us . I still use the Micro wave just not as often and to reheat mostly but I could do with out the MW but not the toaster oven I use the toaster oven more then my big oven to for just the two of us to cook all kinds of meals . Hope you enjoy your new appliance I think you will find it quite handy and easy to use as well . Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I use my microwave a lot for reheating and fixing those packaged frozen foods like broccoli or corn. Wish I had room for a convection oven, but don't. Yours looks like a perfect fit!

gigihawaii said...

I have a toaster oven and a microwave, but no convection oven. Interesting info regarding yours.

Emma Springfield said...

I cannot imagine not having my microwave. It would be an interesting experiment.

Connie said...

I'm glad you found something that fits your space and works well for you. I use my microwave quite frequently and would feel a little lost without it.

William Kendall said...

The kitchen in our flat is a bit crowded, but my flatmate and I have very different schedules, and she makes more use of the kitchen than I do. I tend to use the microwave instead of the stove.

Lynn said...

My parents loved their convection oven - I've never had one. Like you - I am space challenged. I'd love to tear out the kitchen cabinets and replace them so I could have that built in microwave (which I use a lot.) Some $$$ needs to present itself before any tearing out happens. :)

Ginnie said...

My (only organic and vegan for her) daughter made her husband put the microwave in the basement ... so you can imagine how seldom it's used. For me, I use it probably twice a day to heat stuff.

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