Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Toaster Oven Tuesday

If you've been reading my blog over the last year and a half, you may recall that I do not have a normal, full-size oven.  It isn't that it doesn't work, it flat out does not exist.  If you haven't been around all that long and aren't aware of this, I'll explain.
The OLD wall oven, can you guess what era this was from?  Harvest Brown with Avocado and Chrome handles. Note the bungee cord holding the oven door closed...yeah, it had problems.

The back-story:  In February/March of 2012, we had a leak in an upstairs bathroom, it actually became evident way before that though.  Marty could not find the leak.  It wasn't the toilet, and it wasn't the pipes.  We never did call in a plumber, but he wouldn't have found the problem either and would have charged for his visit.  

We could tell that the moisture was coming from under the tub after showers, so started thinking perhaps it was the tub's drain.  To make a long story short, we decided to call in a contractor and have him look at it since it appeared we'd have to be tearing out some tile and walls and/or the tub to find the source of the leak. Marty had already pulled up the linoleum and we could see that the underlayment wood was very wet and had buckled some. 

After removing toilet and linoleum trying to find leak.
Having a contractor look at it gave way to conversations of complete remodels and ultimately included a second bathroom which was directly below the bathroom with the leak because we had no way of knowing if the floor/ceiling between the two was damaged from the months of leakage.  There was evidence from the downstairs ceiling that it had already been replaced in that area some time in the past.  Ultimately, the leak was determined to be saturated wall board behind the tile where the grout was allowing water through - happens in older homes even if you can't see that the grout is failing.  Another reason for considering the redo on the lower bathroom as well was that neither Marty nor I are getting any younger and we both have elderly parents that could ultimately end up with us, and maneuvering stairs to get to bathing facilities could be a problem - as I did find out when I broke my foot and couldn't get in nor out of the standard tub.  Oops, sorry, rabbit trail.

Downstairs bathroom showing where the oven cavity was, that walled area directly in front of the man next to the toilet. Vanity is already gone, and I'm happy to say, so is that tile - I hated that stuff.  We still have about the same amount of it in our entry - some day it too shall be gone :)
The project became one of gutting both bathrooms and putting in a full shower downstairs, which previously had only a toilet and vanity.  Between the toilet and vanity were the three walls that formed the wall-oven cavity from the kitchen just on the other side.  To put in said shower, the wall-oven had to go and the oven cavity along with cupboards above and below had to go in order to make room to move the toilet over to fit the shower in. 
Having added a full shower; toilet not yet installed.  And no oven wall cavity!
The present:  Our original plan was to then do a fairly extensive kitchen remodel relocating and adding a free-standing range with oven.  In February of 2013 Marty and I hit a personal brick wall and delayed the kitchen even though we'd had four contractors give us bids.  We have not revisited the kitchen remodel, and I focused myself on finding a good toaster oven, because face it, there are things that just need an oven.  We'd been thinking of replacing our old toaster oven for a long time.

Oster Toaster Oven
The old one was a nice large toaster oven that included a built-in rotisserie and convection features.  I liked it but it had a problem with one of the elements that had warped and was looking a little too much like an "S" and had some bright glowing spots.  I dared not leave the room when it was on as I feared it would start a fire.  I knew it had to be replaced, but when I began looking for a replacement, I didn't want to spend a fortune, and I didn't know what brand was considered good.  The one we had previously, was an odd brand and no longer available.  Marty had seen one that he thought might make a good Christmas gift for me in 2012, but he wanted to run it by me and after looking it up on the internet, I decided we just didn't have the space, and reviews said it got too hot on the outside, so didn't get it.  It was also several hundred dollars more than what I was willing to spend!
with racks and drip pan, oven door open
Meanwhile, I'd mentioned the need on Facebook and a friend recommended the Oster and said it was sold at Walmart for $99.  Well, every time I went to our Super Walmart, they had only the one on display and never any in stock.  It was quite some months before they had one in stock and as soon as they did, I snatched one up and have not regretted it.  It takes up more space than the old one so I had to put it on a different counter, which is a bummer as I don't have a lot of counter space, but I do have an oven now...a toaster oven.  
The extent of my right-of-sink counterspace
It's large enough to fit two medium pizzas at the same time as it has two racks, it will hold a 9" x 13" glass Pyrex baking dish.

It will likely be quite some time until we get our kitchen remodel with a big oven, so in the meantime, I'm learning to cook all things possible in the toaster oven.  The first and most frequently made is the toast we have for breakfast nearly every day.  That's an easy one.

I've decided that I will attempt to create a weekly post on making something in my toaster oven that I might normally have cooked in a full-size oven.  There will obviously be space limitations.  I cannot put my turkey roaster in this oven, but that doesn't mean I can't roast turkey.  Nor can I put a full-size cookie sheet.  I will learn to adjust pan sizes and cooking times, some of which I've already experienced are different than when cooking in a 'normal' oven.

These posts will be on Tuesdays.  Some things may be very simple, others perhaps a bit more complicated.  Of course if I find I've overwhelmed myself, I will may admit defeat and let you know or just post them less frequently, say once a month.  

For now though, beginning 07 January 2014, I will begin posting Toaster Oven Tuesday every week -  AND, as I will be using my toaster oven, I cannot vouch for how any recipe or pre-made frozen food item might turn out in your toaster oven, nor will I specifically recommend that you even try them in yours, especially if you do not have a large capacity toaster oven; I know there are some things that say on their packages "not recommended for toaster ovens".  For those things, I will either not make them, or determine if the warning is due to the container it comes in and perhaps swap containers and try to cook.

I receive NO compensation from the makers of Oster and am not specifically recommending or endorsing this product.  It just happens to be the toaster oven we have, the price was right for our budget at the time, and it's working well for us.  It does not have the rotisserie feature as our old one did, but it does have convection cooking.  While the old one had convection, it was always on and with the Oster, it has to be selected, so I'll be learning.  

I'm sure Marty and Nick will appreciate this lofty goal of mine as I may be cooking more, or at least with more variety.


  1. Back in the 70s....grin...I had an oven that color and a toaster oven. They are really helpful.

  2. We had a wall oven like your old one at Hunter Road. I hated it. I could not get my husband to understand it was NOT normal sized. Ugh. Of course, in hindsight, it was good prep for an RV oven which may actually be smaller. Ha! I've really been considering getting a toaster oven -- though I would need to be able to 'put it away' when it wasn't in use -- so, funnily enough, the one you got may be too big! The other pro is being able to take it outside and cook stuff in the summer (and not heat up our little RV). I'll look forward to your posts!! :)


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