Toaster vs. Toaster Oven

My love of toaster ovens comes down to their versatility and my lifestyle, but my family would disagree. Learn more at
I’ve been a toaster oven fan since my days of melting marshmallows and chocolate chips onto graham crackers in the little model on my grandmother’s counter for my after-school snack. But my parents always kept a pop-up toaster on their kitchen counter, preferring it to this day. My sister owns both, but there’s a clear preference: the pop-up toaster claims counter space, but the toaster oven lives in a cupboard until needed for a special meal, like mini English muffin pizzas.

I listened to all of their pros and cons, along with some deeper research, for my latest piece for The Spruce Eats. Although I wasn’t swayed to give up my toaster oven, I found several sound reasons for choosing a pop-up toaster instead.
Learn about choosing and using toasters and toaster ovens


Home-Spiced Nuts

Home-spiced nuts make delicious gifts, party munchies or late-night snacks. Learn more at
I love home-spiced nuts at the holidays. I reach for them long after I’ve tired of the endless sweetness of cookies, and they’re just as tasty on a cheese and pickle platter as a eaten straight from the jar with a cocktail.

The recipe I share this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon not only explains how to make your own spiced nuts but also gives you plenty of options. From my favorite homemade sweet-and-spicy blend, to a premixed garam masala, to an infused salt variation, there are ideas for every occasion.
Learn to make Home-Spiced Nuts and my Sweet Spice Mix

Holiday Spice

Sweets top the list of foods given at the holidays, so some of my favorite “small” homemade gifts are short on sugar yet big on taste. Learn to make Sweet Spice Mix and Sweet and Spicy Nuts.
I like giving homemade food gifts. They’re appreciated by everyone: the child with a sweet tooth, the apartment dweller without room to garden, the new mom too busy to can, the grandparent who simply doesn’t need more stuff. But food gifts are also perfect for people you want to thank with something thoughtful that won’t break your year-end budget: your hairdresser or favorite coworker, your child’s soccer coach or piano teacher, the neighbor who feeds your cat or helped jump your car. Chances are none of these people need more candles, bath soaps, fridge magnets, or Christmas ornaments. But they all need to eat.

The first food gifts that come to mind during the holidays are cookies, and it’s certainly easy to stretch a batch as you prepare treats for the family or an exchange. But if your giftee has dozens of clients or students, the sugar load can add up fast. Some of my favorite “small” gifts are short on sugar yet big on taste.
Learn to make Sweet Spice Mix and Sweet and Spicy Nuts