Blendtec Designer 725 Replaces a Counter of Kitchen Appliances

The first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, my name is Jennifer, and I have an addiction to kitchen gadgets.
Blendtec_Designer 725_Gun Metal
The Blendtec Designer 725 is indeed another kitchen appliance, but can you give me a pass if I prove to you how it replaces all the other appliances on my counter?

I used to be a pretty bad cook. My repertoire consisted of pasta with jarred sauce and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup (also canned). My kitchen was complete with a few hand-me-down pots and pans and a spatula.

Then I discovered that I have a severe gluten intolerance and for health reasons I would have to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This was before gluten-free options filled supermarket shelves and every restaurant has a special menu. If I wanted to eat, I was going to have to learn how to cook.

In my excitement to improve my cooking skills, I started to build my new appliance collection lining my kitchen counter. I had to get a new toaster to replace the old gluten-filled one. Then when I started baking for myself, Santa brought me a professional level stand mixer. Next came the food processor, blender, immersion blender, margarita maker, ice cream maker, rice cooker, and toaster oven.

Now, some of these appliances are used very frequently – I keep my stand mixer on the counter to encourage me to bake more. Some of them are even multi-use. My rice cooker has a steamer basket to cook veggies at the same time. But I started to wonder if I really needed five different appliances to puree, mix, combine and blend food.

Even with all of these appliances to perform various tasks, they didn’t always work the way they were supposed to. I tried to puree butternut squash soup in my $30 blender and ended up with hot soup sprayed across the counter. The immersion blender worked a bit better, but I still haven’t gotten the hang of the suction to the bottom of the pot when I turn it on. The margarita machine was just a joke. Thank goodness it was a garage sale find because I would never pay for the watery margaritas it produces.

So how does the Blendtec Designer 725 replace these appliances?

I’ve been trying out some of the most common things I make with various appliances, and I’ve been extremely impressed.

Blender
Blender Compare
The Blendtec is without a doubt an improvement over my $30 blender. I have no clue what power was behind my old one, but I can guarantee it’s less than the 1725 watt Blendtec Designer 725.
I’m also a big fan of the blunt safety blade and one-piece jar. I cut myself a few times on the sharp blades of my old blender when I was trying to take the jar apart to clean it. I’m a stickler for a clean kitchen, so the clean cycle and easy-to-clean touch screen are ideal for me.

I can’t imagine my old blender serving any purpose that the Blendtec Designer 725 couldn’t handle, so the cheapie is going in the donation box.

Immersion blender

I primarily use the immersion blender to puree soups and sometimes to whip up a quick vinaigrette. As I already mentioned, the immersion blender has often been difficult to use and the sound drives my dog crazy. While it doesn’t take up much space in the kitchen, I could ditch it for the sake of streamlining my drawers.
Homemade Broccoli Soup
The broccoli soup I made from the Blendtec recipe book was supposed to be a bit chunky but I was so excited at how the Blendtec heated my soup that I got a little overzealous with adding time. Lucky me, because the broccoli cheddar soup was smooth and velvety – almost whipped. Instead of cooking and heating your ingredients in a stockpot, then using the immersion blender, the Blendtec executes every step of the soup in the blender jar.

Margarita maker

I would be embarrassed to serve the margaritas that my old novelty appliance served. That thing has been gathering dust for months. Since I got the Blendtec, I’ve been making delicious smoothies every morning with frozen fruit and almond milk. I can’t wait for the next time I have friends over so I can impress them with different flavors of frozen cocktails. With the super-easy clean cycle there’s no down time between switching flavors.

Ice Cream Maker

Guys, I’m not even going to lie to you. I have never used the ice cream maker sitting in my cabinet. It’s just one of those appliances that takes a lot of prep work and a lot of time; way more effort than picking up a pint of Häagen Dazs. I’ve been making most of my smoothies for breakfast, but I confess I made one with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate syrup that would be perfect for a dessert treat.

I might have talked myself into kitchen appliance recovery. My stand mixer is still my baby, but I can’t wait to continue testing the Blendtec with all my other recipes for blending, pureeing, crushing and pulverizing.

Here’s what I’m going to try next:

Pumpkin Pleaser

Decadent Chocolate Mousse

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Gluten-Free Flatbread

Blendtec Designer 725 Review: What Really Matters in Your Kitchen

How many gadgets and gizmos do you have in your kitchen? I’m guilty of buying a specialty tool or appliance almost every time I go to Target. You need to cut a vegetable? I have a vegetable peeler, a julienne peeler, a food processor, and a mandolin slicer. Oh, and I have knives.

How often do these specialty tools get used? When it comes to getting food on the table quickly, I reach for the same standbys and the fun stuff stays in a drawer. Unfortunately that means I’m stuck making the same old standby recipes, too.

Ease of use

Blendtec_Designer 725_1

While a high-end, high-powered blender might be a specialty tool for some people, I’ve had my eye on a Blendtec for a while. I saw a demonstration of what this blender could do about a year ago, and I was impressed. Since then, every time I make soup, or rush out of the house without breakfast, or drop $20 at the store on hummus (hey, I like hummus), I thought about what I could do with a Blendtec.

With the opportunity to test the Blendtec Designer 725, I wanted to skip the novelty “Will it Blend?” tests and get down to what really matters to me in the kitchen.

I don’t want to have to re-read the manual every time I want to use an appliance. I opened up the Blendtec box and was whipping up my first smoothie within 60 seconds. Sure, there is a manual, but I’ll be looking at it more for the dozens of recipes included in the box.

Blendtec_Designer 725_3
The base of the Blendtec has an interactive touch screen. It’s a friendly blender, with words of encouragement and easy-to-follow instructions. With preset cycles for smoothies, frozen treats, juice, soup, dips, and even the clean cycle, it’s pretty foolproof.

I did have a tiny bit of confusion when a recipe called for “Level 7” instead of any of the presets, and the first few times I tried to pulse I just turned it off, but that was all in the first five minutes of using it. By minute 10 I felt like an expert.

Ease of cleaning

Washing made easy If a tool or appliance takes longer to clean than the time I spend using it, it’s not getting used. Also, I recently moved from a condo with a dishwasher to a house WITHOUT a dishwasher. My tolerance for cleaning fiddly parts is pretty low.

Imagine my glee to discover the preset button for cleaning. This is by far the easiest to clean blender I have ever used. Dump a cup of water and a drop of dishsoap into the jar, and press clean. Rinse, and you’re ready for your next blend.

Word of warning: When they tell you to make sure the lid is secured tightly before blending food, they probably mean that for the cleaning cycle, too. I sprayed suds all over my kitchen counter, but with the sealed touchscreen base, I didn’t have to worry about the water damaging anything.

When I made broccoli soup in the blender I did have to swipe a sponge across some stuck on food near the top of the jar, but the one-piece jar was so much easier to clean than my old $30 blender with rubber gaskets and separate blades.

Fresh food

I follow a very strict gluten-free diet, so it’s extremely important that I know every ingredient going into my food. That usually means I prepare things from scratch instead of buying processed versions. I need tools that help make that job easier.

Broccoli Soup Ingredients

Check out the ingredient list for a container of Campbell’s Broccoli Cheddar Bisque:

Chicken Stock, Broccoli, Cream (Milk), Celery, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola, and/or Soybean), Contains Less than 2% of: Modified Cornstarch, Cheddar Cheese (Dried) (Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Cream, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid), Wheat Flour, Onions (Dried), Broccoli (Dried), Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Maltodextrin, Parmesan Cheese
(Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Soy Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Flavoring, Nonfat Milk, Butter (Dried) (Cream [Milk], Salt), Garlic (Dried), Buttermilk (Dried), Roasted Garlic (Dried), Spice, Sunflower Lecithin, Annatto Extract for Color, Soy Lecithin.

Here’s the ingredient list of the broccoli cheddar soup I made from a Blendtec recipe:

Steamed broccoli, vegetable broth (I used homemade stock), water, kosher sea salt, ground black pepper, ground nutmeg, cheddar cheese.

Flavorful food

I try to shop at farmer’s markets for in-season food, and while I don’t always buy organic, I’m picky about the produce I get at the grocery store. When I go to all that effort, I want my ingredients to shine. I tried some basic recipes out of the Blendtec cookbook that came with the blender – a green smoothie, hummus, almond butter, and broccoli soup to start.

I was very impressed with the simple instructions that produced a good, solid base to work with. With all of those recipes, I divided up the end result and threw it back into the Blendtec to make new flavor combinations. My green smoothie got a tropical twist with extra pineapple and mango. Plain hummus turned into spicy roasted garlic hummus. I made a sweet treat out of chocolate almond butter. I turned a chunky broccoli soup into a whipped puree with added heat from smoked paprika.

As an experimenter in the kitchen it’s important to know that I have a good base to start with, and I can have fun with new flavors. I can tell the Blendtec will give me that starting point for so many meals.

Saving money

The Blendtec is a high-end kitchen appliance, and it does require a pretty high investment up front, but I think I’ll make money back on it in a year. With an 8-year guarantee warranty, let’s say I’ll get at least 10 years out of this model. From making my own hummus out of a dollar’s worth of beans to making soup to bring to work instead of buying lunch, that’s immediately a few hundred dollars I’ll save in a year.

Then don’t forget food waste. While cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out, I still hate to waste ingredients. Instead of throwing out the last bits of greens or herbs that have started to wilt, I can toss them into a smoothie with whatever fruit I have around as well.

Next up: I’ll test out the messiest tasks in my kitchen to see if the Blendtec really lives up to its promises.

Buy Viewpoints Best Overall Small Kitchen Appliances During Amazon Sales

In the kitchen with presents

If you’re looking to buy the best kitchen appliances as Christmas gifts this year, Amazon sales are slashing prices of a few.

I love kitchen appliances. If I had the space, my entire Christmas list would be filled with them: a stand mixer, stainless steel cookware, a toaster oven, an espresso maker, etc. But these things take up space, and they cost money, especially if you want to buy the best of the best. Viewpoints’ Best Overall winners in the small kitchen appliance category are no exception. The most expensive one costs well over $500 full price, so getting these products while on sale can be a great money saver. Amazon sales slash the prices of four of these winners, including blenders, juicers, food processors and coffee makers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kohls Sale Lowers Prices On Two Viewpoints Best Value Award Winners

Coffee Milkshake

Two of Viewpoints’ Best Value award winners are on sale at Kohls in the days leading up to Christmas. Used together, these two products, a coffee maker and a blender, can be used to make this coffee milkshake, amongst other things.

If you’ve been keeping up with Viewpoints lately, you know that we’ve recently started rolling out our Reviewers’ Choice Awards. So far we have handed out awards for small kitchen appliances based on consumer reviews and ratings. The top two awards a product can receive are Best Overall and Best Value. Best Value winners are both highly rated and affordable. But a holiday Kohls Sale has lowered the prices even more on two Best Value winners: the Mr. Coffee Programmable Coffee Maker and the Bella Rocket Blender.

Read the rest of this entry »

VIDEO: The Nordstrom Sale On Beauty Products Will Save You Little This Christmas

Beauty Products

Stocking up on beauty products during sales is essential if you don’t want to break the bank, but Christmas sales at Nordstrom might not save you as much money as you were hoping this year.

Beauty products can be expensive, especially if you’re like me and don’t want to change to a cheaper product because you really like what you’re using. So when my regular products go on sale I rush to stock up so I can make it through to the next one. Nordstrom is where many go to get their skin care products and makeup, but it’s also expensive. The current Nordstrom sale on beauty products might not save you much more than a couple bucks, but that still might lower the price just enough for it to fit into your budget.

Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee Lover Gift Ideas For Every Budget

coffee gift ideas

These coffee lover gift ideas will please the coffee connoisseur in your life — from small to large budgets.

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to make decisions about what to give to others — or ask for yourself. This is the perfect time to add to a coffee connoisseur’s collection, whether that person is just discovering their love of coffee, or a longtime java fan. Here, I’m sharing some of the season’s most popular coffee makers and accessories.

Read the rest of this entry »

Best Kitchen Gifts For Aspiring Home Chefs

best kitchen gifts

These best kitchen gifts would be a welcome surprise under the tree for the aspiring chef in your life.

I love my kitchen appliances, but don’t always love the price tag that comes with them. Christmas is a great time to find good deals on some of the most coveted small kitchen appliances. Maybe you have an aspiring chef on your gift list, or someone who loves to bake and cook? Maybe you want to give yourself a gift and finish out your kitchen appliance set. These appliances would be great to snag for holiday gift giving, and they will never know what a great deal you got on them!

Read the rest of this entry »

VIDEO: Buying As Seen On TV For Your Teen This Christmas

Teenagers Around Christmas

Teenagers can be hard to shop for this time of year, unless you’re getting direct input from them. But if you want to surprise them, late night infomercials might hold the key to the perfect gift.

Buying gifts for your teenager or maybe a family friend’s can be a bit tricky. They’ve hit that age where they just aren’t easy to shop for anymore. As Seen On TV might be able to save the day. You’ve seen their infomercials and wondered about their products but are not really sure if you should make the leap. Well we at Viewpoints have found a few As Seen On TV products that might be un-reviewed, but the teenager (and possibly adult) on your Christmas list will like regardless.

Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Shopping Guide: Get All Your Tech At Best Buy This Black Friday

Best Buy

Black Friday at Best Buy this year will save you more money than in years past with deeper discounts and multiple rounds of doorbuster deals. Image courtesy flickr user: Nicholas Eckhart

I have to admit that I am partial to Best Buy. At least, I am in some ways. I like to buy my laptops there because I prefer their insurance plans to the ones available at the Apple store. But I honestly don’t go there for anything else, especially not for Black Friday shopping. But that’s only because I don’t have the budget to buy a lot of tech. However, this year Best Buy Black Friday sales make typically bank-breaking items wallet friendly.

Read the rest of this entry »