What Are the Benefits of Smart Appliances in the Kitchen?

By Daniel Troise, Marketing Intern, HA Marketing, SEMCA


Technology has become an integral feature in our household and is something we truly cannot imagine our lives without! According to a recent survey, about 65% of Americans have at least one smart device in their household showing that the majority of consumers find these modern assistants helpful when going about their daily tasks and activities. One room in your home that might be lacking upgraded appliances (which also happens to be our most-used space) is the kitchen. We’re here to break down the benefits are of having IoT appliances in your kitchen.

Hands-Free Cooking

We love being busy in the kitchen whipping up new Pinterest-worthy recipes, but after a long day at work, the last thing we want to do is spend an hour cooking dinner. That’s where smart kitchen appliances come to the rescue. Here at Sharp, we’ve launched a variety of appliances that allow you to cook hands-free (yup, you read that right)!

SuperSteam+ Build in Wall Oven

Save Time

It’s a fact that smart appliances will save you time – something we’re all needing more of! Juggling work calls, kids’ virtual school sessions, and keeping up with friends can leave us wishing we just had a few more hours in a day to get everything accomplished. An appliance that can help with that is our SuperSteam+ Build-in Wall Oven! It is like having a sous chef by your side with 5 high-performance cooking modes as well as a dedicated mobile app that can enable smart features. The app also includes access to thousands of recipes, so you don’t have to spend time thinking about how to answer the dreaded question of, “What’s for dinner?”

Perfectly Cooked Food Every Time

The final benefit (and perhaps the most important) when cooking with a smart appliance, is perfectly cooked food every time. Say goodbye to overcooked proteins or burned vegetables and hello to devices that work with you to put a 5-star meal on the table. One of our favorite products in our smart kitchen lineup is our Easy Wave Open Built-In Microwave Drawer! This appliance features Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless integration in your smart home. The Sharp Kitchen app features cooking instructions as well as “Microwave Smart Cook” to guide you through the cook and defrost menu items, so your food comes out delicious every time.

Have we convinced you to upgrade that old oven or microwave sitting in your kitchen yet? If so, we would love to hear from you on how these appliances are making your lives simple and better every day!


10 Things You Should Never Put in a Microwave

By Daniel Troise, Marketing Intern, HA Marketing, SEMCA


Working from home for just coming on about a year, my whole workflow and day has changed and I found myself never going hungry as I have now taken the responsibility on stocking the new cafeteria and lunch/break room (yes, it is my kitchen). After constantly running back and forth to my Sharp Carousel Countertop Microwave Oven to prepare quick meals in between meetings and on breaks, I sometimes think back of some common microwave mistakes and mishaps that have happened due to my own negligence or me not knowing proper microwave safety protocols.

After thinking back to the scare, or sometimes laughter, of times where I either put something in the microwave that I was not supposed to I decided that compiling a list of 10 things you should never put in the microwave for our readers would be the perfect way to increase your awareness. Through these tips, I highly recommend you keep them in the back of your head and maybe even think about the things you keep in your kitchen. Personally, I am always using the microwave and have made many efforts to only use microwave-safe products.

Chinese food container

Take-Out Containers

There is nothing I love more than a lazy night on the couch with your favorite movie on and some yummy Chinese food. In fact, it is taking everything to not jump off my keyboard, put sweatpants on, and use the remote to stream my favorite movie. At least I know have plans for tonight, right?

When idealizing my favorite night, one of my favorite foods to order is noodles and sometimes I can eat a bit more than the traditional serving size so I make sure to get more than one, and sometimes save the rest for later (perhaps while I am blogging).

One thing I always do as soon I as I prepare to save it for later is to transfer it out of the traditional take-out containers. Most of the time, the handle that is being used is made from metal and according to “Clark” can easily start a fire.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Popcorn-1024x680.jpeg

Non-Microwave Popcorn

As you probably know by now between some of my past articles and personal interests, I am a huge movie buff and love nothing more than just to grab a bowl of popcorn and kick back, relax, and enjoy a film. What is even cooler is that all Sharp Microwave Ovens and Microwave Drawers come with a convenient Popcorn Preset tuned for Optimal Popping Results.

Throughout society, we have always learned that you just place a bag of popcorn in a microwave and then poof, you are good to go. However, after reading “Money Talk News” I have come to find out that not all popcorn bags are deemed safe and suitable for a microwave. It is extremely important to check the box or individually bag of popcorn and look for the appropriate messaging that ensures you can place it in the microwave. Otherwise, it may be just a brown paper bag and could potentially catch on fire.

Silverware

Silverware

If you have not seen the running trend throughout this article, but we can conclude that placing a medal in the microwave is an absolute no due to the potential harm it can cause to your microwave, your kitchen or home, and most importantly, you! When preparing to place foods in the microwave, we tend to use silverware to mix up or transfer them to microwave-safe containers. Coming to mind after reading this informative article from “The Takeout“, is me mixing the spaghetti when I heat the leftovers up.

While it is totally normal to mix it, it is very important that you do not leave the spoon, fork, knives, or any utensil in the bowl or container when it comes time to prep. This sounds easier than it is, but you may be surprised how easy leaving it can be. Overall, just make sure that you double-check whenever preparing something in the microwave, and most importantly, enjoy your meal!

Kid holding a brown paper bag

Brown Paper Bags

This item interfering with a microwave oven hits a little too close to home for me. Every day for as long as I could remember during elementary school, my mother would pack me lunch in a brown paper bag. Therefore, I always knew where they were. Another thing you should know about this story is that I love nachos.

One time after school, I really wanted nachos, so I placed a bunch of chips in a brown paper bag and placed it in the microwave. While they were not in there for long, once my mother saw that I placed them in the microwave, she ran and took them out. At that point, I learned that brown paper bags have no place in the microwave.

After reflecting upon this story and a bit more research I have come to learn from “Life Hacker” and the “US Department of Agriculture” that placing brown paper bags could cause it to flame and emit toxic fumes due to the intense heart interacting with the materials. Bottom line, if you don’t want to burn your house on fire keep brown paper bags and microwaves separate.

Styrofoam container

Styrofoam Containers

I think many, if not most people I know have questioned whether Styrofoam containers are microwave-safe and if they are deemed okay to safely place in the microwave. Almost every time I go out to eat, and when I was a waiter, anytime I interacted with leftovers or wrapped up food that was not finished I always brought them home in Styrofoam containers. The important thing to take away is no, it is not okay to use them to reheat or prepare food in a microwave.

According to “Interesting Engineering” Styrofoam contains plastic, which is a big no-no for a microwave, but also contains toxic chemicals in the container. When melted or heated, the release of these chemicals can go into your food or beverage and infect it. I’m not sure about you, but personally, I feel a bit more comfortable just transferring everything to a microwave-safe dish.

Guy holding a stainless steel coffee mug

Travel Mugs

After coming home to quarantine, I have made the realization after two days that my father is addicted to travel coffee mugs and loves to purchase one at every destination we go to, or any time they are on the end-cap at the store. In fact, we now have two shelves above the coffee machine dedicated to these travel mugs.

This article from the Huff Post taught me that whether you think so or not, travel mugs are not deemed microwave safe due to the stainless steel. It will not be effective due to the stainless steel blocking the heat, therefore causing the microwave not to work. In fact, there is a chance it could damage your microwave.

And by the way, I made sure to text my dad to tell him before writing this.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum Foil

Everyone has a process when it comes to wrapping up leftovers after dinner. If you are a member of my house, you will quickly learn that we just pull out the aluminum foil and quickly place it over the plate we are trying to save for later. While this is a great concept to use over microwave-safe plates, however, it is very important that you do not place it in the microwave as it could be extremely harmful.

Don’t believe me? Take it from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), who deem it as potentially dangerous. The reflection causes the heat not to warm the food and shield it from getting warm, while in the meantime the heat could potentially spark causing a fire. Instead, always inspect the food and make sure there are no small pieces in the microwave or on the plate before you press the button on the microwave.

Happy Birthday paper plates

Seasonal and Celebratory Paper Plates

This tip came from someone on my immediate workgroup team and I had no idea this could even cause an issue until they told me. Ever buy those paper plates that are designed for the season at the supermarket or local dollar store? I am talking about the ones that say, ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Class of 2021’ and everything in between. While these festive plates really help ring in the celebration with you and your loved ones, adding to the aesthetic of the event, it is important that you steer away from putting these types of plates in the microwave.

To increase durability and keep them low cost, some of the plated contain aluminum or metal that is not deemed microwave safe. While you may think that you are simply just reheating your food, placing plates like these (where you are not 100% sure of the materials used) can cause severe damage to your microwave or even start an unsafe fire. Personally, I still buy the plates, but make sure to transfer all the foods in microwave-safe plates/containers before reheating them.

Pasta with red sauce

Red Sauce

If you ever meet me, in the first five minutes you will come to learn that I love all things pasta, and everything related to it. Being my favorite meal of all time, especially with a red sauce, knowing the ins and out of how to prepare it is second-hand knowledge at this point. I would love to share it with you!

Here is a huge, and messy tip! Whenever you have a sauce that you want to heat up that you made the night before or want to prepare some red sauce to compensate with some freshly boiled pasta, PUT A LID ON IT! According to the Huff Post, placing the red sauce in the microwave without a lid can get really messy, causing it to get everywhere due to the ingredients.

Instead, make sure that when the sauce is alone that you have a microwave-safe lid on it.

Person closing a microwave oven

Nothing At All

This one may come as quite strange; therefore, it is the perfect way to wrap up this list of things you can’t place in the microwave. If you can’t think about what it is, I guess you are sort of right because the answer is nothing.

According to “The Spruce”, one of the worst things to place in your microwave is actually nothing at all. When microwaves turn and are being used, the heat has no place to be absorbed. While the heat is typically absorbed by the food would have nowhere to go, potentially causing an explosion.

You may be thinking, “what kind of person may turn on their microwave with nothing inside of it”, it can be a common mistake to turn it on and forgot to put something in it, or you may think about trying it out as soon as you get it and want to see if it works.


How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven (R1874TY)

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA


This is your complete guide to installing a Sharp Over-the-Range Microwave Oven. Whether you have just purchased a microwave, are redesigning your kitchen, or are still in the process of deciding what microwave is right for you, this guide will provide you with helpful step-by-step installation instructions. For more details regarding our Sharp Over-the-Range Microwave Oven (R1874TY), make sure to visit our website for more detailed information.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to

  1. Prep the designated area
  2. Connect the electric
  3. Install a hood exhaust duct
  4. Connect the ventilation system
  5. Properly mount the appliance.
  6. Install your microwave

Please read all the instructions before starting the installation process.

For more information or to view detailed diagrams that correspond with the installation process, please consult Over-the-Range Microwave Owen Installation Instructions by Sharp.

Where Do You Want to Install Your Over-the-Range Microwave?

You likely have a specific spot in mind for your microwave – such as over your range. Before starting the installation process, you should confirm that your wall construction and counter/cabinet/kitchen space fits the requirements.

Figure 1 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Here is a list of the exact requirements needed for a Sharp Over-the-Range Microwave.

  • The microwave must be mounted on a flat wall that is:
    • 66 inches or more above the floor
    • 30 inches or more above the range/cooking surface
    • 2 inches or more above the backsplash
  • The space for the microwave must be:
    • 12 inches in depth
    • 30 inches in width
    • 5 inches in height
  • The microwave must be mounted on a wall that is a minimum of 2-inch x 4-inch wood studding and 3/8-inch or more — thick drywall or plaster/lath.
  • The wall must be capable of supporting 110 lbs.

If your space fulfills all the above requirements, you can officially start the installation process.

Preparing to Install Your Over-the-Range Microwave

Now that you’ve determined your space can fit and support an over-the-range microwave, you need to prep the area. Prepping the area is very important. It is the foundation for your appliance and includes preparing the wall, connecting the electric, and installing the hood exhaust duct.

The following instructions are very detailed but easy to accomplish. We recommend that if you do not feel confident in your ability to connect the electricity or feel that the electric in its current state does not meet local or national standards, please contact a certified professional.

Prepping the Space to Mount Your Microwave

The first thing you will need to do is identify where the studs are in your wall. You can do this with a stud finder tool or by using a hammer to tap across the surface of the wall lightly. Continue tapping until you hear a solid sound — that means you have found the stud. For tips on finding a stud, watch this video.

The unit should be attached to a minimum of a 2-inch x 4-inch wall stud. Find the center of the stud. This can be done by probing the wall with a small nail to identify the stud’s edges. Place a pencil mark halfway between the edges to identify the center.

Figure 2 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Tip: the center of adjacent studs will normally be 16 inches – 24 inches to either side of this mark.

 Grounding Your Microwave

Before tackling any of the electrical tasks, please make sure your appliance is grounded. In an electrical short circuit, grounding reduces the risk of electric shock by providing an escape wire for the electric current. You must confirm this before moving forward. Your appliance should be plugged into a wall socket that is properly installed and grounded in accordance with national and local code requirements.

Warning: improper use of the grounding plug can result in a risk of electric shock.

Your microwave is equipped with a 3-prong grounding plug. Do not, under any circumstances, cut or remove the grounding pin from the plug.

Connect your power supply cord to the separate 120 Volt AC, 60 Hz, 20 Amp, or more branch circuit, single grounded receptacle. This should be located inside the cabinet directly above the mounting location.

Installing the Hood Exhaust Duct

Is your hood vented to the outside? If so, a hood exhaust duct is required.

Tip: all ductwork must be metal; you cannot use plastic.

To start this process, you will need to confirm that all connections are secure. Please read the following:

  • Exhaust Connection: The hood exhaust is designed to connect to a standard 31/4-inch x 10-inch rectangular duct. If a round duct is required, a rectangular-to-round adapter must be used.
  • Rear Exhaust: If you are using rear or horizontal exhaust, you will need to align the exhaust with the studs’ space.
  • Maximum Duct Length: To achieve satisfactory air movement, you should not exceed a total duct length of 140 feet whether you are using a 3 1/4-inch x 10 inch rectangular or 6-inch diameter round duct.

Figure 3 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

If possible, a straight duct is best. Elbow, adapters, wall, and roof caps create additional airflow resistance. If you are unable to have a straight duct, you will need to calculate the total length, add the equivalent lengths of all transitions and adaptors, plus the length of all straight duct sections. Doing this will allow you to calculate airflow resistance. This should total less than 140 feet.

How to Install Your Over-the-Range Microwave

Now that you have prepped the space for your new appliance, it is time to start the installation process. The installation process includes unboxing your microwave, connecting the ventilation, mounting the scale plate, and finally, mounting your microwave. In order to complete this installation, you will need the following tools:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • ½-inch, 5/8-inch, and 3/32-inch drill bits
  • 1-1/2-inch wood bit or metal hole cutter (if a metal cabinet is used)
  • Saw to cut exhaust opening (if needed)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Tape
  • Protective drop cloth for product and range
  • Protective eyewear

You will also use the items listed below, which are included in the appliance you purchased.

Figure 4 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Preparing Your Microwave

Unbox your microwave. Fully inspect the unit to confirm there are not any dents, scratches, or cracks. Open the microwave to confirm that there is not a misaligned or bent door, damaged door seal, or broken/loose door hinge. It should be in pristine condition. If it is not, contact the retailer you purchased the microwave from or contact a Sharp authorized service center. You do not want to install a previously damaged microwave. This could cause various problems, from an inability to function to inflicting damage on the surrounding surfaces.

If the unit you purchased has a mounting plate: rest the oven on its side. Remove the two screws that secure the mounting plate to the rear side of the microwave. Remove the mounting plate. The two screws can be discarded.

Figure 5 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Connecting the Ventilation System to Your Microwave

Your microwave can attach to three different types of hood ventilation systems:

  • Recirculating: non-vented, ductless operations
  • Horizontal exhaust: outside ventilation
  • Vertical exhaust: outside ventilation

Follow the directions below based on the type of ventilation system you will be using.

Recirculating 

If you have a recirculating system, that means that it is non-vented and ductless. These units are typically preassembled for recirculating and require no further installation. See owner’s manual for care, filter maintenance, and additional information.

Horizontal Exhaust 

If you have a horizontal exhaust, this means you are working with outside ventilation. Follow these instructions:

1. Remove the screws from the fan cover bracket. You need to save these screws.

Figure 6 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

2. Remove the fan cover bracket.

3. Carefully lift the hood fan unit and slip the wire out of the cavity. Do not stretch, pull, or overextend these wires, as it could cause damage.

Figure 7 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

4. Rotate the hood fan unit 180° so that the fan blade openings face the back of the microwave. You will need to lift the wire over the hood fan unit into the microwave.

Figure 8 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

5. Replace the hood fan unit with the microwave. Be careful not to pinch the wire.

6. Place the wire back into the cavity.

7. Replace the fan cover bracket. You will need to confirm that the fan blades are visible through the rear opening in the microwave. This must be done before moving forward.

8. Attach the fan cover bracket to the microwave with the screws you removed in step 1. The hood should not be rotated for horizontal exhaust operation.

Figure 9 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

9. Attach the exhaust damper assembly to the mounting plate’s back by sliding it into the slits.

10. Use screws to tighten into place.

Figure 10 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Vertical Exhaust 

If you have a vertical exhaust, this means you are working with outside ventilation. Follow these instructions:

1. Remove the screws from the fan cover bracket. You need to save these screws.

2. Remove the fan cover bracket.

3.Carefully lift the hood fan unit and slip the wire out of the cavity. Do not stretch, pull, or overextend these wires, as it could cause damage.

4. Rotate the hood fan unit 90° so that the fan blade openings are facing the top of the oven.

5. Place the hood fan unit into the oven. Be careful not to pinch the lead wire between the inner bracket and the hood fan unit. Put the lead wire into the wire box.

6. Attach the fan cover bracket to the unit with the screws you removed in step 1. The hood should not be rotated for vertical exhaust operation.

7. Attach the exhaust damper assembly to the fan cover by sliding it into the slits.

Figure 11 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

8. Use screws to tighten into place.

Microwave Installation – Mounting Scale Plate

Before installing your microwave mounting scale plate, please confirm that your space meets all the requirements listed in the “Where Do You Want to Install Your Over-the-Range Microwave?” section above.

First, use wood screws to attach the mounting plate to the stud(s). Next, use toggle bolts to attach the mounting plate through the holes and attach the toggle nuts.

Figure 12 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

It would be best if you positioned the mounting plate with the toggle bolts attached to the wall. Insert toggle nuts and bolts through the holes in the wall with the toggle nuts closed. Use the wood screws to attach the mounting plate to the stud(s).

Figure 13 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Tip: Before insertion, be sure you leave a space more than the wall’s thickness between the Mounting Plate and the end of each of the toggle nuts (in the closed position). If you do not leave enough space, the toggle nut will not open on the other side of the wall. Once a toggle nut opens, it cannot be withdrawn from the hole; therefore, make sure all of the toggles are in the correct position before insertion.

Align the mounting plate carefully and hold it in position while tightening toggle bolts. Pull toggle bolt toward you and turn clockwise to tighten.

Figure 14 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

Microwave Installation – Mounting Oven to the Wall

For this final step, two people are recommended to attach the microwave to the mounting plate.

1. Carefully place the microwave on top of the range.

Tip: It is recommended that you place a piece of cardboard or a towel/drop cloth between the two units to prevent scratching or damage.

2. Slide the unit toward the back of the range until it stops. Align the lower back edge of the microwave with the mounting plate, then thread the power supply cord through the hole made in the bottom of the top cabinet.

3. Hang the oven on the lower edge of the mounting plate, then rotate the unit upward. Take care that the power cord can clear the edge of the hole as the oven is rotated upward.

Tip: In the case of a non-recessed bottom in the top cabinet, the hole for the cord may need to be enlarged.

4. Tighten the two-unit mounting screws located in the grease filter openings. Next, you will need to install the grease filters by fitting them into the opening. Push back and up into place.

Figure 15 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave OvenFigure 16 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

5. Use the screws and washers provided to attach the unit to the top cabinet.

6. Make a bundle of the power supply cord and place it inside the cabinet.

Figure 17 - How to Install an Over-the-Range Microwave Oven

7. Remove all packing material from the microwave.

8. Plug in the power cord.

 Start Using Your New Over-the-Range Microwave

Congratulations — you’ve successfully completed the over-the-range microwave installation process! We recommend that all new users read the operations manual before using it. We hope you love your new microwave!


Are Steam Ovens Worth Buying?

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA


Since the start of the new year, many resolutions have been made to develop a better lifestyle. As if making it to a workout class or finding a treadmill in your new gym wasn’t hard enough, now cooking a meal full of nutrients is thrown into the mix.

At Sharp, we try to cook with the most beneficial appliances and ingredients to keep our lifestyles moving in the right direction. An abundance of research gathered about the benefits of cooking with a superheated steam oven has helped guide us through our cooking journey.

Your first steam oven purchase can be quite an investment; there’s no denying that. Through this article, we hope to give you a better understanding of what a superheated steam oven is and if it is the right choice for your lifestyle.

What is Superheated Steam?

You may be asking yourself what superheated steam is, what exactly are the steam oven benefits, and why it has become more of a trend over the past few years. Superheated steam is steam put in contact with additional heat, making the steam temperature rise with pressure.

In a recent study published in the Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources, superheated steam food samples scored the highest “among the sensory characteristics, tenderness score, juiciness score, and overall acceptability score.” After extensive research, our team has also gathered that “steamed vegetables maintained a better texture quality than boiled vegetables” and that “steamed sweet potatoes had an increase in antioxidant activity.”

How a Superheated Steam Oven Works

Believe it or not, a superheated steam oven works much as a convection oven does. A notable benefit over the traditional oven found in most of our homes, a superheated steam oven has proven to be cleaner. The Sharp SuperSteam+ Built-in Oven (SSC2489DS) is a hybrid convection oven that uses heat and water to cook. It has 5 high-performance cooking modes, including Steam, Steam Bake, Convection Bake, Super Steam Grill, and Super Steam Roast. The combination of superheated steam and conventional, radiant heat in cooking modes means that your food will be crispy and browned on the outside, moist and delicious on the inside.

In the aforementioned Korean Journal of Food Science, researchers found that “moisture content and lightness value were higher in superheated steam cooked chicken steak than that of boiling, grilling, and microwave cooking.” And a three-in-one combination wall oven like the Sharp SuperSteam+  Built-in Wall Oven offers versatility. You have the option to cook with superheated steam at browning temperatures, radiant heat, and convection or with gentle and regular steam.

The Sharp SuperSteam+™ Built-in Oven uses a Hybrid Convection System that circulates the hot air, steam, and super steam through a damper duct system. Heat is delivered through the upper and back of the oven, as well as the top of the oven. Unlike conventional radiant ovens, convection ovens have a fan that continuously circulates air through the oven cavity. When hot air is blown onto food, the food tends to cook more quickly as opposed to merely surrounding it.

How to Cook in a Superheated Steam Oven

Cooking with superheated steam has never been easier than it is today. The Sharp SuperSteam+ Built-In Wall Oven has a Smart Cook feature that offers built-in recipes and pre-set cook options, which take the guesswork out of cooking. There are healthy menu categories and easy controls accessible through the touchscreen. You can also connect to your home network to enable remote control operation of common features, like preheating, and receive push notifications to your mobile phone. Use the app to access 43 additional recipes found with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and cook in your SuperSteam+™ Built-In Wall Oven!

The SuperSteam+ app also keeps you connected with our Spotlight section – your source for Helpful Hints, Inspired Innovations, and new manual cook recipes from our vibrant, online community at Simply Better Living. With additional recipes and tips available online, everyone can get started cooking with superheated steam right away. Sharp’s steam oven’s benefits go beyond versatile cooking options. The oven’s interface gives you expert guidance to make mindful and delicious meals you will love. Our Smart Cook feature offers built-in recipes and pre-set cook options that take the guesswork out of cooking while the Manual settings put you in control of the oven.

What Can You Do with Your Sharp SuperSteam+ App?

  • Preheat your oven remotely!
  • Access more menus via the app.
  • App provides cook times and temperatures for some of your favorite foods.
  • Enjoy Smart Recipes with full-colour, step-by-step instructions.
  • Save your favorite and most frequently used foods for quick and easy access.
  • Keep up to date with all things that Sharp under the Spotlight section and access great recipes, ideas, and tips!
  • Push notifications to your mobile device to let you know when your oven has finished preheating and when your food is ready.

Pinterest has also become a valuable resource for many aspiring cooks. It offers various superheated steam oven recipes that will make cooking in your new oven a breeze. To find more superheated steam oven recipes, check out the “Recipes” tab on our blog. Please share your favorite recipes with us in the comments down below.


Kitchen Design Trend: Floating Shelves

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA


Suppose you’re new to Simply Better Living, welcome home! It’s no secret that I LOVE to discover modern and noteworthy kitchen trends. In all honesty, my weekends are spent walking through a local retail store in the kitchen section, scrolling through design boards on Pinterest, or watching HGTV. So it doesn’t come as a surprise to my friends and family when I discover unique kitchen trends that I want to incorporate into my home.

Floating Shelves for Your Kitchen

One of my favorite trends that I have seen everywhere? Floating kitchen shelves! These shelves offer just as much storage space as traditional cabinets with the added convenience of being completely open and accessible. Besides being a convenient choice for many kitchens, I love the way these open shelves look.

Below I’ve highlighted some of my favorite inspiration shots of floating shelves, although I have to warn you that seeing these may cause you to replace your cabinets with these shelves instead!

Tea & Coffee Bar

Floating Shelves for Small Spaces

One of my favorite uses for open shelves is to section off a separate space in the kitchen for a tea and coffee bar. I love to start our morning with a cup of hazelnut coffee. Having a different section of my kitchen for all my tea and coffee must-haves is convenient and adds a café feeling to my kitchen.  The whole space gives off a cozy feel that makes me want to curl up with a big cup of coffee and a good book!

Small Spaces

Floating Shelves for Small Spaces

One of the most common complaints about kitchen spaces is that they feel too small or cramped. A simple way to open up a kitchen is to incorporate open floating shelves. Traditional cabinets can often make your space feel closed off… but the openness of these shelves allows for even the smallest kitchen spaces to feel light and airy. Pro tip: If your kitchen is small, counter space, as well as shelving space, is crucial. Consider incorporating a Sharp Microwave Drawer or a Sharp Over-the-Range Microwave Oven to free up your precious counter space and provide an overall sleek and modern look.

Live Edge

Live Edge Floating Shelves

A live edge floating shelf is one of my favorites takes on this trend. The raw edges on these shelves incorporate the wood’s original look into any kitchen space, allowing for an overall natural and organic feel. I especially loved how the above photo includes knots from the original wood into the shelves.

I have a pretty good feeling that this floating kitchen shelf trend isn’t going away anytime soon, and we’ll be on the hunt for more fun ways floating shelves are being incorporated into kitchens. Do you have a favorite inspiration photo of floating shelves? Let us know on Twitter!


How to Make the Most of Small Kitchens

By Daniel Troise, Marketing Intern, SEMCA


The easiest excuse for not getting organized is to say that you need more space or more money. Sometimes, if your favorite room or space is a mess, it seems easier to close the door.

As a current young professional in the hunt for an apartment myself, I look at virtual open houses and see some of the smallest kitchen spaces with limited cabinetry and space. While many look at that with displeasure and go on to the next one, I look at this as a challenge. You may be surprised at what you can make out of space, and looks may be deceiving. After reading this article, you may want to give it a chance.

Create More Cabinet Storage

cabinets

I have been searching for an apartment right outside my local metropolitan area for some time now. If you know anything about New York real estate, spacious kitchens and budgets are not two phrases you hear in the same sentence often. This leaves me with the option to make the most out of the available space I will be given in the apartment I choose.

Getting organized does not take thousands of dollars or require hours of construction. The items you will need can be bought online or at a local store near you, and the payoff will be huge. Think outside of the box; you can make storage and utilize almost any space. I got inspiration from “Tidbits from the Tremayne’s,” calling for a chalkboard inside your cabinet doors.

Adhesive hooks

The concept behind this idea is to find objects you can hang on the inside of cabinet doors, creating more room and using a chalk sheet or paint to organize your items. People have used measuring cups, chips, and utensils, to name a few. This allows you to make a bit more cabinet or countertop space.

After you gather which items you will use, the next step is to take your cabinet door off the hinges and place it on a flat surface. Measure or tape out the entire inside of the cabinet and apply the chalk tape or paint the defined area. Keep in mind; if you are in a rental unit, you may want to go with the chalk tape concept to be removed toward the end easily. If you are all for the paint, make sure to give your landlord a heads up (and maybe share the article with them!)

Give the paint a few minutes to dry and let the tape settle. Finally, get small adhesive hooks and apply them to the chalkboard.  Feel free to continue this practice throughout all your cabinet doors, ensuring you can maximize the space in your kitchen. Perhaps getting a Sharp Microwave Drawer Oven will help. You are going to love it!

Extra Sink Storage

Kitchen sink with sponges

Whenever I am cooking in my kitchen or cleaning up around the house, one thing that annoys me most is clutter. It makes your home look messy and can make your design feel unauthentic and ruin the aesthetic you want to achieve.

While most of this can be corrected with bins and storage options designed to fit the feel of your home or kitchen theme, an area where I struggle is near the sink of my kitchen. Between the dish soap, sponge brush, and sponge, the lack of counter space near the sink causes me to leave these items against the wall and not have a proper place for them until now?

I began looking for ways to create more storage and stumbled upon an awesome step-by-step instruction guide from “The Art of Doing Stuff,” which gives us tips on installing a tip-out tray under your sink for storage. You know those fake drawers that are typically under the sink but don’t open? Let’s put them to work!

Kitchen sink with false drawer

The first step is to remove the false drawer from the bottom of the sink. This should be a simple step as they usually pop right off or can be unscrewed. Then head on over to your local dollar store (with your mask, course) or go online and purchase pencil trays. Screw-in the trays to the back of the false drawer. To ensure that it will work and you will have enough room, set it up against the opening to make sure it does not interfere with the sink basin or any other cabinets. Once set, screw them into the cabinet drawer.

Finally, place a tip-out hinge, similar to the ones found here, to each side of the false drawer (even though it’s not so false anymore) and reinstall it back into the cabinet base. Yay! Now you can hide your sponges, soaps, and whatever you want, giving your kitchen a more sleek and edgy look.

Overall make sure that you have a pencil, screwdriver, ruler, drill, and a drill bit, in addition to the two hinges and pencil bins to complete this project. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Pegboard Backsplash

pegboard backsplash

The more and more I research small kitchen storage ideas, the more I realize how small some kitchens are. If you think yours is small, I challenge you to go and do a quick search online and see. This allows us to be even more creative.

There are times where an organization can serve as a design piece. There is just something so satisfying about looking at someone’s belongings when they are all in sync with one another and aligned so symmetrical. From floating shelves that display all of your belongings to open door pantries, who says you can’t tap into your interior designer side and show off your organization skills.

floating shelves

A typical kitchen is set up with a counter with storage on the bottom and cabinets on the top, with a limited amount of wall space in between. Well, if you learned anything thus far, it is maximizing everything, even the smallest of areas. Finding this concept for a pegboard backsplash from “DIY Network” is the perfect addition to this article.

To complete this look and storage hack, you are going to need a 1/2″ pegboard panel, paper bags (the grocery store ones should work fine), 12 felt pads, 3/4″ drywall screws, and 1/2″ wood trim for edging around the backsplash.

The first step is to use the paper bags to outline and create a template to place the backsplash. The benefit of using the bags is so that you can write and measure out the size of the pegboard. Double-check and make sure that your outlines and measurements are exact, then place it on top of the pegboard and use a jigsaw to cut it according to the size.

Next, we are going to want to add felts to the back of the pegboard. This is so that they stay off the wall, allowing hooks to slide in and out. Finally, screw the pegboard in the wall and plan it out. Hang up your favorite utensils, measuring cups, or anything else. This can help declutter your countertop and cabinet space, allowing for more room and a cleaner look.

Under Cabinet Storage

hanging coffee cups

We are seriously utilizing every square foot in the kitchen to make sure you get the most out of your space. From backsplashes to cabinet doors and more, my goal is for you to get organized and get in a better state of mind.

It amazes me what you can find online. The internet feels like a collaborative space for people to exchange and share ideas to solve common problems and create unique solutions. After searching for hours for the simplest and most beneficial DIY storage hacks for small kitchens, I realized that cabinet shelves aren’t the only storage source in a cabinet. I know we talked about the usage of cabinet doors before, but did you also know that you can utilize the bottom of the cabinet?

hanging mugs

I was on social media and came across this posting from “Two Men and a Little Farm” calling for under cabinet jar mounting. Under your cabinet, the process is quite simple, mount in a magnetic strip and place it under the cabinet. It is recommended that you place it towards the back of the cabinet to utilize the counter space when cooking, prepping meals, and everything in between.

Once the magnetic strip is up, you can hang the mason jars as the tops attach to the magnetic strip. It may be a great idea not to fill the mason jars with heavy items. While the blog stopped here, I saw another awesome hack looking at the photograph from the bloggers. This one may be even simpler (I know, right?).

Some kitchen objects can be difficult to store because of their shapes. And by some kitchen objects, I mean coffee mugs. I can tell you that my whole bottom row in my one cabinet is coffee mugs, and none of them are the same. Some I got from vacations, others as gifts, it can be hard to keep them organized and store. Placing little hooks on the bottom of your upper cabinet will allow you to hang all your uniquely shaped (I don’t like to say odd) to hang, creating shelves of space where you can store more.

Try placing the coffee mugs closest to your coffee machine. Trust me on this one; you are going to love it!

Pantry Between the Studs

pantry shelves

From the tiniest projects, from just sticking on an adhesive on the back of a cabinet door to knocking down sheetrock, everyone has their own ideas of a small project. This last project is by far one of the most innovative and genius ideas I have seen in a long time and personally doesn’t take longer than a day’s work to complete. How would you feel if I told you that you could build a panty in your home without adding any square footage? Would you believe me? I was confused for a second until I found this amazing concept from “Live From Julie’s House.”

Basically, the idea is to set up shelves between your walls’ studs, remove the drywall, and create a storage place for foods or anything. Sliding doors will allow you to maximize the space without taking up too much room. Now before you get a sledgehammer, here are a few tips to follow.

Ensure that you know where the studs are in the wall before you see if this is a solution for you. You can tell by knocking on the wall and seeing where it is hollow and hard. Also, if you are renting a house or are not the sole homeowner, you should consult this project with other parties (I highly believe that they will be all for it.) If you can, you may also want to use a wall where you know there are no pipes or wiring. If you check off all these boxes, let’s move on.

Sliding pantry door- closed

Create wood shelves in between each of the studs. Spread them out far enough so you know what you can place on them. In fact, please test it out using common kitchen products such as cereal boxes, canned goods, and more to ensure that you have enough height space.

Finally, install sliding doors covering the space’s width, so not everyone has to see your pantry. If you want to tap into your artistic side, feel free to paint a design on the door and paint all the shelves a neutral color that matches the rest of the house’s theme.


10 Ooey Gooey Baked Brie Recipes

By Jena Branco, Marketing Coordinator, Brand & Marketing Communications, SECL

Unfortunately these days during the pandemic, entertaining friends and families have been non-existent. But that doesn’t stop me from preparing a beautiful charcuterie board on Saturday nights for my little family of three to enjoy during family night of watching movies or playing board games.

So what is my quintessential item on my charcuterie board? Baked brie is the answer to that question!!! My boys love the gooey, melty, velvety texture and flavour of brie when it’s baked. The flavour is not pungent — very mild-flavoured cheese even for my picky 13 year-old — and can be paired with either a sweet or savoury topping.

How to Bake Brie

  1. Remove your brie wheel out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for approx 30 – 45 mins before baking.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F on the Convection Bake function (or a conventional oven to 350°F).
  3. Place the wheel of brie on a piece of parchment paper and place the parchment paper in an oven-proof baking dish that’s just slightly larger than the wheel of brie (this is for easy transfer to a serving dish). If you’re lucky enough to have a brie baking dish, you can bake and serve directly in this beautiful dish.
  4. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake. Every oven is different, but generally for an 8-ounce wheel, bake for approx 12 – 15 minutes, and 18-22 minutes for a 16-ounce wheel.
  5. Remove from the brie from oven and gently press with a butter knife to check if the brie has melted. If it hasn’t, place back in the oven for an additional 2 – 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with crackers and fresh fruit

Tips to Make the Best Baked Brie

  1. If you are buying a wheel of brie, make sure you consider the thickness of the brie. Most wheels of brie are sold in 1-inch thickness, so if they are thicker than that, keep in mind they will require a longer baking time.
  2. Don’t skimp on the brie. Try to purchase one that is labelled “triple-cream brie”. This one melts beautifully and will give you the best gooey, velvety texture.
  3. Don’t forget to score the top rind of the brie to ensure even melting.
  4. Leave the rind on the brie. It’s totally edible and will hold the cheese together.
  5. Allow the wheel of brie to sit at room temperature for at least 30-45 minutes prior to baking it, as this ensures the brie melts evenly in the oven. Cold brie in a hot oven will definitely require additional baking time, and can risk you over baking it.
  6. Most importantly — don’t over cook! If the brie is over baked, it often becomes hard as it cools. This is not appealing or appetizing at the very least.

Some baked brie I’ve prepared were on the sweeter side. It’s easy to grab a jar of your favourite preserve (such as fig, apricot, orange marmalade, blueberry or raspberry) and pile it high on top of a wheel of baked brie. But I’ve compiled a few of my favourite toppings below — a mix of sweet and savoury ideas — for you to try and enjoy!


1. Baked Brie with Roasted Garlic and Cherries

Baked brie with roasted garlic and cherries

My favourite baked brie of all time is served with roasted garlic and cherries. The garlic is roasted in olive oil and it’s so soft that it spreads like butter. Add fresh cherries and sliced almonds while it’s baking, will give another dimension to this savoury but delicious dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 Heads of Garlic
  • 6 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 teaspoons for each garlic head)
  • 1 Large Brie Wheel 13-14 ounces
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cherries
  • 1/4 cup of blanched sliced almonds
  • 4 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 Large Loaf of Baguette Bread

Instructions

Roasting the garlic

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 375°F on the Convection Bake function (or a conventional oven to 400°F).
  2. Remove any loose papery outer layers from the garlic, but leave the tight fitting peel intact.
  3. Slice about ¼ inch off the top of the garlic head – the side that doesn’t sit flat.
  4. Cut 3 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil, roughly 12”. Set one garlic head in the middle. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil carefully, making sure it sinks into the individual cloves.
  5. Bring up all four sides of the aluminum foil and wrap tightly on top. Repeat with the remaining garlic.
  6. Place the foil wrapped garlic heads on a baking sheet and roast for 40-50 minutes.
  7. Remove the garlic from the oven. When you remove the foil, the garlic heads should be golden, and have a spreadable consistency.
  8. Let your oven cool down for a bit, before you start baking the brie.

Serve the baked brie and roasted garlic

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F on the Convection Bake function (or a conventional oven to 350°F).
  2. Cut the baguette into ½ inch rounds. Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Place the brie wheel in the middle of a cast-iron skillet. Add cherries and sliced almonds over top. Sprinkle honey and bake the brie for 15-20 minutes, or until the inside is melted. The brie should give when pressed lightly.
  4. When the brie is almost done, place the bread in the oven for the last 5-6 minutes to toast it just a little bit.
  5. Serve the brie wheel in the cast-iron skillet. Add the roasted garlic heads in the skillet and serve.
  6. Spread a clove of roasted garlic on a piece of bread and top with a generous amount of brie cheese.

2. Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This savoury but show-stopping appetizer from Taste and Tell only takes minutes to prepare!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (13.2 oz) wheel brie cheese
  • 1–2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • bagel chips or crackers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F on the Convection Bake function (or a conventional oven to 350°F).
  2. Combine the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a bowl with some of the oil from the tomatoes. Place the wheel of brie on a baking sheet (you can place it on a piece of parchment paper to make it easy to transfer to a serving plate). Place the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic on top of the cheese.
  3. Bake in the oven until the cheese is soft and starts to ooze out the sides, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle on the parsley before serving.

3. Baked Brie with Cranberry and Walnuts

Baked brie with cranberry sauce and walnuts.

Warm, melty brie with a savoury & sweet cranberry and walnut topping – a quick and easy crowd pleasing creation!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 8 or 9 ounce brie
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 350°F in a conventional oven).
  2. Place cranberries, maple syrup, butter, rosemary and salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 3-5 minutes or until syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
  3. Place brie in a parchment paper lined oven-proof dish, cover with foil, and bake brie for 15 minutes or until soft.
  4. Carefully transfer brie to serving dish or a charcuterie board. Pour cranberry mixture over brie and garnish with chopped walnuts.
  5. Serve immediately with crackers or baguette slices.

4. Baked Brie with Sweet Red Pepper Jam

Adapted from PinkWhen, this recipe is a touch of sweetness and tang — the perfect complement to your appetizer table.

Ingredients – Red Pepper Jam

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 red bell peppers (stemmed, seeded, and finely diced)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Ingredients – Baked Brie

  • 8 ounce wheel of brie cheese
  • 1/4 cup red pepper jam
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red bell peppers and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until the peppers are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, honey and mustard seeds. Bring to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature until you are ready to serve, or place it in a tightly sealed jar. Place in the refrigerator, will keep for about 2 weeks.
  2. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 350°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 375°F in a conventional oven) and spray a baking dish or small cast iron pan with nonstick spray. Place the brie in the pan, and then place the pan in the oven.
  3. Bake the brie for about 15 minutes or until softened.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately dollop with red pepper jam. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and fresh parsley.
  5. Enjoy immediately with crostini, crackers or pita bread.

5. Blueberry Pecan Baked Brie

Soft whole baked brie cheese with pecan, blueberries and honey

You’ll only need four ingredients: wheel of brie, fresh blueberries, pecans, and honey … plus whatever you choose to serve the baked brie with. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce wheel of brie cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, toasted and halved
  • 4 tbsp of honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 350°F in a conventional oven)
  2. Place brie round on parchment lined baking sheet. Thinly cut top off of brie round. Cover top of brie round with fresh blueberries and pecans. Drizzle with honey.
  3. Bake for 7-10 minutes until melty.
  4. Serve warm with sliced pears, apples, bread or crackers.

6. Baked Brie with Red Wine Jelly and Sliced Almonds

Baked Brie with Red Wine Jelly, Sliced Almonds and Warm Ciabatta.

Your friends and family will feel like royalty when you serve them this baked brie with red wine jelly. The preserve is rich and delicious — made for a queen (or king)!

Ingredients & Instructions- Red Wine Jelly

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine (Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Merlot or Red Blends are good)
  • 3 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 (3-ounce) envelope liquid pectin
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter
  1. Bring 1¼ cups wine to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup; approximately15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Add remaining wine and sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Stir in pectin, lemon juice, and butter, and return to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the reduced wine.
  4. Using hot, sterilized jelly jars, fill jars just to rim; add lid until just tight and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  5. To be fully set, put in refrigerator to cool overnight. Jelly can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Ingredients – Baked Brie

  • 10 ounce wheel of brie cheese
  • 3/4 cup of red wine jelly
  • 1 cup of toasted almonds, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 350°F in a conventional oven)
  2. Place brie round on parchment lined baking sheet. Cover top of brie round with the red wine jelly and toasted sliced almonds.
  3. Bake for 7-10 minutes until melty.
  4. Enjoy immediately with ciabatta bread.

7. Baked Brie with Fig Jam

This recipe from Entertaining with Beth is one I use often. As she suggested, I use a cast-iron skillet to bake and serve the baked brie … love that I only have one dish to wash! Serve with sliced and toasted baguettes and fresh grapes.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (230g) wheel of brie
  • 2 tbsp. (30ml) fig jam
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 dried figs, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) of pecans, chopped
  • 1 baguette, sliced and Toasted
  • 2 bunches grapes

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 350°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 375°F in a conventional oven)
  2. Place brie in an oven-safe dish, a 6” (15cm) cast iron skillet works perfectly!
  3. Spread jam on top, add rosemary, dried figs, and pecans.
  4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Place on a wooden charger or charcuterie board, add grapes and toasted baguette!

8. Baked Brie with Caramelized Onion, Bacon & Balsamic Jam

My mouth waters every time I make this. I love the flavour of caramelized onion and balsamic vinegar rendered in bacon. Thank you to Everyday Gourmet with Blakely for sharing this piece of savoury explosion in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, diced small
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 round brie
  • Crackers & sliced baguette for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 325°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 350°F in a conventional oven)
  2. In a pan over medium heat add the sliced bacon. Cook until you see the fat rendering, about a minute or two. Add in the sliced onions in the pan.
  3. Cook the onions, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until they turn a beautiful caramel colour. Keep to medium heat so the onions do not burn!
  4. Once the onions have caramelized nicely add in the thyme leaves, pinch of salt, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Stir to combine and let it cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Set aside while the brie cooks
  6. Put the brie in an oven proof serving dish and into the preheated oven. Bake until it starts to bubble and melt, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and top with the caramelized onion jam. Serve with crackers and sliced baguette.

9. Baked Brie in Phyllo Pastry

Adapted from A Family Feast, this light and flaky baked brie, topped with your favourite jam is gorgeous and delicious — what else can you ask for? I’ve always used puff pastry in the past, but this phyllo version is much more delicate.

Ingredients

  • 6 sheets phyllo dough 14×18-inch size
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 10 ounce wheel of brie
  • 4–6 tablespoons of your favourite preserves or jam (i.e., fig, apricot, or strawberry)
  • Crackers for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 400°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 425°F in a conventional oven)
  2. When handling phyllo pastry, make sure you have a clean and dry dishtowel on hand. Use the dishtowel to cover the phyllo sheets you are not using to prevent from drying out.
  3. Using one sheet at a time, brush butter all over the top side of the the phyllo sheet, place the brie on top and wrap the brie wheel. Turn the cheese over each time so that the folds are on the bottom, when you start your next sheet. Repeat steps 3 until you have wrapped 5 sheets of phyllo around the cheese.
  4. Generously spread your favourite jam across the top of the brie wheel.
  5. Spread a generous amount of butter on your last phyllo sheet and gently place the phyllo over the top of the jam, butter side down, being very careful not to tear the phyllo dough.
  6. Finish wrapping the brie with the dough, folding the edges underneath the brie and using additional butter as needed to smooth the phyllo folds around the cheese. Brush additional butter over the top.
  7. Place brie round on parchment lined baking sheet, and into the preheated oven. Bake about 15 minutes until lightly brown.
  8. Let brie sit for 5 minutes before serving with crackers.

10. Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Honey and Almonds

One of my first baked brie using puff pastry is from Taste and See. A definite winner every time I made it! I’m so excited to include this amazing recipe and share it with you all.

Ingredients

  • 12-13 ounce wheel of brie
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted, rolled out to 11 x 11 inches
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Roll the puff pastry into 11-inch square.  Check to make sure this provides enough room to fold over your brie and seal up… if not then roll your pastry out a little wider.  Place brie in center and top with 2 tablespoons of honey and half the almonds.
  2. Fold up the corners of puff pastry one at a time, brushing all the dough with the egg wash as you go, using it like glue to hold the pastry together. Continue to brush the egg wash over the top and sides of the dough after formed.
  3. Preheat your Superheated Steam Oven to 375°F degrees in the Convection Bake function (or 400°F in a conventional oven). When ready, bake brie for 10 minutes, then carefully pull the oven rack out without removing the brie from the oven. Quickly drizzle with a tablespoon of honey and sprinkle with the remaining almond slices. Slide the Brie back in the oven and continue baking for another 10 minutes.
  4. Be careful to not let the almonds burn.

Catch your Kitchen on the Flip Side

By Matthew Vecera, Senior Manager, Brand & Digital Marketing, SEMCA


There has never been a perfect time to consider remodeling your kitchen with fall in full swing and cold weather upon us. More often than not, we forget how central our kitchen is in our day-to-day interactions at home. We see our kitchen as a stable environment and a place that has always looked and felt a certain way. Then year-after-year, we debate either sprucing up our kitchen or taking a much-needed trip to the Bahamas.

Well, the excuses end here. With travel restrictions in place, this season is the perfect time to break out the paint rollers and ladders and finally give your much-beloved kitchen a face-lift.

More Enhanced than Ever Before

If your kitchen is going to face a renovation, then the appliances will not be left behind. We are constantly upgrading our cell phones and everyday technology to include the latest and most noteworthy features. So why shouldn’t we do the same with our kitchen appliances? Kitchen appliance technology has become more innovative and helpful over the years, as I’m sure it will continue to become in years moving forward.

Stuffed peppers being prepared with Sharp Supersteam Countertop Oven

Appliances now contain Smart features like Bluetooth connectivity and motion-activated technology. While this may not be a necessity in your home, it is sure to change how you interact with your kitchen on a day-to-day basis. Just look at Sharp’s Micro-WAVE oven, which features Easy Wave Open for touchless operation. Imagine simply waving up-and-down near a motion sensor and having your Microwave Drawer glide open. No more messy touch screens.  Innovative stuff, right?

Switch up your culinary experience by experimenting with a new and noteworthy cooking technique, steam cooking. Sharp’s Superheated Steam Built-in Wall Oven will change the way you think about mindful cooking. This is because of the combination of superheated steam and conventional, radiant heat in all cooking modes.

This cooking method is sure to enhance your everyday fish, poultry, and vegetable dinners by making your food crispy and browned on the outside and moist and delicious on the inside. Steam cooking in this convenient and affordable countertop oven is sure to enhance your baking experience as well.

Bring your Garden Indoors

I’m sure you have all heard the expression “wake up and smell the roses” at least one or two times in this lifetime. But what if this wasn’t just an overused expression? Think about it, the fresh smell of herbs and your favorite plants, as you make your usual morning cup of coffee.

In fact, there are indoor house plants that even purify the air you breathe, such as a spider plant, dracaena, Chinese evergreen, or a chamaedorea elegans. This fall, consider adding more greenery to your kitchen for a more mindful lifestyle.

Create a Pet-Friendly Environment

Every so often, it’s nice to get away from the fall breeze and relax indoors with the heat blasting. This is a universal concept, even with our furry friends, making being a pet owner in the fall complicated.

Pet dander can negatively affect the air quality of your household; this much we know. But opening the windows to circulate the air during the fall/winter can lead to a costly electricity bill at the end of the month. It is because of our love for our pets that we discovered a solution to this conundrum, a Plasmacluster Air Purifier.

Sharp Air PurifierWoman cooking in a kitchen next to Sharp Air Purifier

This season, we recommend investing in an air purifier that will capture pesky pollen, dust, and pet dander, leaving the air in your home cleaner than before without breaking the bank on pricey electricity bills. A Sharp Plasmacluster Air Purifier reduces germs, bacteria, viruses, odors, mold, and fungus typically found in the air circulating in your home.

Spreading Fall Time Spirit from Corner to Corner

Cool and rich colors are a fall favorite; there’s no denying that. The use of colored décor is essential in capturing a guest’s eye and creating positive energy in your kitchen, which means deep red, burnt orange, and dark green colors are our kryptonite this season. Regardless of your favorite color, search for everyday décor that makes your kitchen feel warm and welcoming. We recommend all things floral and festive.

Another fantastic way to spread the season spirit is with seasonal, holiday-inspired décor. The classic “happy fall y’all” signs and pumpkin accents are a crowd pleaser year-after-year. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend time in a fall-inspired kitchen, with all of the beauty minus the leaves?

Bring in the Light

There is arguably nothing more mood-lifting than copious amounts of sunlight beaming into any room in the house, especially your kitchen. The kitchen in my home is constantly compared to a fishbowl because of the number of windows and glass panel doors surrounding it, capturing light during the day.

As you intricately plan your kitchen renovation, make sure you consider the number of natural light fixtures you include in the walls. Consider adding a few extra windows and a glass door instead of a wooden door.


What Room Has the Dirtiest Air?

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA

Have you ever wondered which room inside your home has the dirtiest air quality? Since I have been working remotely for most of the year, I have become all too familiar with the importance of clearing the air inside my home to clear out unwanted smells and bacteria. I do this in multiple ways: I take advantage of clear days by opening my home’s windows; I use my vent while cooking inside my kitchen; and I invested in an air purifier for most rooms inside my home. The combination of these three efforts has made a noticeable difference in the air I breathe each day inside my home.

The Bedroom

Dirty is complicated, there are no two ways about it.  It is comprised of some combination of particulates, gases, and microbes.  The balance depends on your house. The bedroom can be both the smelliest and the dustiest room in the house. Even if you change your bedding regularly — the mattress, shoes, and carpets are places that accumulate sweat, drool, dead skin cells, and oils related to body odor.  If you keep your clothes hamper in the bedroom, that is another component, and it is made worse by moisture – sweat, used towels, etc.  That can lead to an additional moldy odor.

Sheets and bedding are in constant motion at night.  This is also where you sort through your clothes and take them on and off.  Dust and particulates can easily take to the air in these conditions.  And if you have allergies to dust mites like I do, moving those allergens into the air makes a more hostile environment for allergy sufferers.

The Bathroom

If you keep your hamper in the bathroom, don’t be surprised if the bathroom is the house’s smelliest room.  The added moisture from the sink and shower will only encourage mold growth. In most cases, bathrooms are cleaner than you think – because people pay more attention to them. At least I know I do.  The abundant hard surfaces that are easily cleaned and hostile to bacteria helps.  And there are many options for commercial cleaning products.

If you purchased a bathroom cleaner, you probably used it.  And bathroom cleaners often contain bleach-based disinfectant elements that regular household cleaners don’t have.

The Living Room

The germiest place in the home is normally around household pet areas.  These are areas that you don’t think to do deep cleans, like the wall-trim at the floor near the food and water bowls.  Moisture and bits of food can get into any crevice and encourage bacteria and germs to grow.  Bits of stray food can also easily produce mold.  Household cleaning products rarely contain disinfectants or bleach, certainly not for wood or carpets.

Free-roaming pets seem obvious suspects, but caged pets, like birds and small mammals, can still produce particulate matter and odors capable of getting all-around a well-ventilated house. We documented pet issues pretty well in our blog post “How Sharp Air Purifiers Keep Pet and Owner Together”.

The Basement

The moldiest place is almost always a basement, but hampers and bathroom wallpaper can also be sources. If you smell “fish,” and you know that it can’t be actual fish, take it very seriously because smoldering electrical components often produce a fishy smell.  Sniff all electric plugs, outlets, and light switches in the house just in case.  Then go and count the fish in the aquarium?

Change and Improve Indoor Air Quality Using an Air Purifier 

Sharp air purifier on a bench with flower

When used properly and positioned properly in the room, some people notice beneficial changes of using an air purifier inside a room in their home after one hour. Impressive, right?

Success against airborne particulate matter and allergens depends on the unit’s ability to circulate the room’s air.  Placing it near a wall, without obstructions like picture frames, and a clear shot at the ceiling will help ensure that the fan can move and cycle the room’s air.  It’s called the Coanda Effect, and it means that moving air travels along surfaces more efficiently.  Our air purifiers use that effect for cycling the air in a room efficiently.

Regarding bacteria, mold, fungus, and viruses, Sharp Plasmacluter® Ion Technology is proven to reduce all of them by more than 85% (between 85%-94% for individual strains) in a little more than 4 hours, according to laboratory testing by AHAM.  That is one of the many reasons I decided to incorporate these air purifiers into many rooms inside my home. In these less than certain times, my air purifiers give me peace of mind regarding the air I breathe at home.


Latest Trends in Kitchens & Appliances for 2021

By Gina Greco, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist, SEMCA

With every New Year comes new renovation and design trends. In 2021, we challenge you to make a statement in your kitchen. Bring unique colors and accent pieces into your kitchen and be bold with the latest eye-catching and memorable trends.

The Rise of Smart Kitchen Appliances

Bring your kitchen into the future by incorporating the latest smart appliances into your design. Smart home appliances have become incredibly innovative and are continuously developing at a fast pace.

Sharp Microwave Drawer in a modern kitchen

A must-have for any active cook in the kitchen is the new Sharp Stainless Steel IoT Easy Wave Open Microwave Drawer Oven, which opens smoothly with a simple wave of your hand near the motion sensor, boasts an all-new, elegant and stylish design for a premium kitchen. The SuperSteam+ Built-In Wall Oven is another appliance making waves in the cooking world this year. you can enjoy the extended features of the SuperSteam+ Built-In Wall Oven, including remote start and notifications. Download the Sharp SuperSteam+ Oven app to enable the smart features and access thousands of recipes powered by SideChef. With the creation of superheated steam ovens, cooking has never been faster and more comfortable than it is today.

However, cooking appliances are not the only things “getting smart” this season. New Bluetooth devices have been released that connect/control your kitchen lights, appliances, and smartphone, all while playing your favorite music. Talk about innovation. All in all, these products are sure to shake up the way you think of a smart kitchen.

Store More with Less

Make way for pull-out storage this upcoming year. Now more than ever, homeowners will have an efficient way to organize and access treats that mysteriously find their way into your kitchen cabinet.

Traditionally, cabinet structures left homeowners with a great deal of unnecessary wasted space. More innovative storage also means more places to hide that well-loved cookware that you would rather go off display.

There is a misconception that to organize your kitchen, you need to remodel it completely. While a kitchen renovation is always an option, there are many cost-effective solutions to organize your kitchen, some of the most common being drawer dividers, labeled glass jars, and a spice rack.

The best way to decluttering and organizing your kitchen is to decide what your most chaotic areas are and work from there. Many DIY solutions do not require installations; in fact, they usually require everyday items you may already have.

Bolder and Better

Latest Kitchen Trends for 2020: Bolder Colors

This season, concerning cabinet color, the brighter, the better. If committing to a warm orange or blue is too drastic of a change for your liking (I know it is for mine), then two-tone cabinets are a happy alternative for you.

Two-tone cabinets have been an option that many homeowners are leaning towards as it provides a pop-of-color with a distinctive and contemporary look. You can incorporate this design trend into your kitchen by choosing a dark contrasting cabinet color for only one wall section, exhibiting the appearance of a built-in hutch.

Since storage has grown in importance this year, a two-toned cabinet structure could give your kitchen a less cluttered, lighter appearance without reducing the number of cabinets you currently have. This can be done by choosing a light, pastel color for the upper cabinets and choosing a dark or colorful color for the lower cabinets.

Pet-Friendly Spaces

Latest Kitchen Trends for 2020: Pet-Friendly Air Purifiers

Ensuring the cleanliness of your kitchen is increasingly essential as allergies become more and more persistent. We know how much of a pest pet dander and odor can be to keep up with. But how do we keep our furry friends close to us without the urge to consistently clean and sanitize the kitchen?

This season, create a pet-friendly space in your kitchen by investing in an air purifier with True HEPA and charcoal filters.  Our air purifiers have patented Plasmacluster® technology known to create ions that are both positive and negative and disperses them into the air. By doing so, the air purifier effectively removes 99.97% of particles and eliminates odors from the air that passes through the filter.

What trends will you incorporate into your kitchen in the New Year?