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    Top Benefits I Get by Owning an Espresso Machine at Home

    jean-drinking-espresso-in-louvre

    Making espresso is a delicate and complicated process, which involves forcing hot water to pass through tightly ground and packed coffee. In this process an ounce and a half of hot water is used. The coffee that results after I use this process is dark brown and thick and there is only a small amount of foam on top. I decided to own the best espresso maker because I realized that coffee shops do not make espresso the same way I wanted. This has given me an opportunity to make espresso the way I like. Here are some of the major benefits I have received for owing my own espresso machine at home.

    Cost effectiveness

    Investing in the machine has helped me save a lot of money that I used to buy espresso in the nearby shops. When I add up the amount of money I used to spend on weekly or monthly basis at a coffee shop, I can definitely find how cost effective it is to own my own machine. For just a fraction of the price I can make espresso drinks at home. All I need is to ensure that my machine is in the right condition, right type of coffee, hot water and just some minutes to begin the process. In addition, to saving me on cost, I have also been able to save a lot of time I used to waste going to different coffee shops. In overall, having the espresso machine at home has made life easier.

    Provide high level convenience

    There is nothing good as having people have a dinner in your home and then finish it off with a lovely espresso drink. Having a good espresso machine at home has made it possible for me to satisfy my guests. The machine has helped me reduce the hassles of having to run to a coffee shop whenever my visitors or I need an espresso drink. Having this machine at home means that I can have espressos any time I want. This is even better for me when I come home tired from job.

    Offer a lot of options

    Having an espresso machine at home has given me a lot of options when it comes to preparing coffee. I do not have to have an espresso every day, but knowing that I have the machine at home means that I can have coffee when I want. It also offers me another thing to consider when preparing a meal or having people visiting my home.

    More on espresso machine – Wikipedia

    How to Buy Safe Cookware

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    Making wise food choices and preparing most of your meals at home is essential to creating sustainable wellness. The DIY approach keeps you in control of the quality, the ingredients, and how your meals are prepared, the goal being to feed your body well so it can thrive. But cook up all those high-quality ingredients in low-quality pots or banged up, old non-stick pans and you’ll likely undermine your efforts with extra exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals which, over time, can set the stage for a number of health-busters like cancer, heart disease and cognitive damage.

    In other words, what you cook with matters, so choosing cookware consciously is an easy way to add one more healthy behavior to your repertoire. Which options make the most sense for health-conscious chefs? While there’s no perfect answer, I always default to the classics, as in safe cookware that’s made without a lot of extra chemical interference or coatings – and I encourage you to do the same to help reduce your toxic load. Here are a few thoughts on how to do it:

    Ditch the Non-stick Pans
    No matter how attached you are to your Teflon omelet pan and your non-stick skillet, here’s my simple recommendation: throw them out! Convenient as they are, non-stick (aka Teflon) coated pots and pans come at a cost, releasing toxic fumes when the heat gets too high, letting chemical particles fly through your kitchen and into anyone in the immediate vicinity. In humans, those fumes can trigger flu-like symptoms and can even be lethal to pet birds.

    If that weren’t enough, the chemicals used to create those convenient non-stick-coatings have also been linked to cholesterol, fertility and thyroid problems – so err on the side of caution and kick them out of your kitchen.

    Purge the Plastic
    Cooking in plastic? In word: don’t. Yes, I know everyone loves the convenience of plastic food containers but seriously, stop. Stop using them for storage, and never use them when heating up food in the microwave. Plastic food containers are loaded with hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into food, particularly when the plastic is heated in the microwave, in effect ‘seasoning’ your food with a host of unwanted toxins.

    Plastic is also terrible for the earth, the ocean, sea creatures and our bodies, so the less we all use of it, the better.

    Keep it Glassy
    I love glass for baking as well as for storage – in the fridge or freezer, carrying food to the office, and heating soups in the microwave. Not only is glass versatile and convenient, but it’s also kind to your body because it doesn’t leach toxins into food.

    I’m also a big fan of glass mixing bowls which stand up well to whisking, chopping and occasionally toppling onto the kitchen floor without chipping (well, most of the time). Glass is also relatively low-cost, easy to clean, environmentally friendly and best of all, recyclable, which puts it at the top of the class.

    Consider Cast Iron
    Cast iron cookware is a classic safe cookware option that’s been used for generations. Moderately priced and durable, a well-seasoned skillet or pan will behave similarly to non-stick and provide even heat to whatever you put in it.

    Cast iron cookware can be used both on the stovetop as well as in the oven so it’s a great multi-tasker. And while cast iron can leach tiny amounts of iron into food, for most people, the extra iron is beneficial.

    For those who are iron-sensitive, cook a lot of acidic dishes, or simply prefer their cookware in a variety of colors, then high-quality, porcelain-enameled cast iron cookware is an easier-care alternative to traditional cast iron which requires seasoning and a bit more TLC to prevent rust.

    Perhaps a Soupcon of Stainless?
    Stainless steel is a bit of a health mixed bag, but it’s popular because it resists corrosion and stains and is relatively easy to clean. If you’re in the market, look for stainless pieces marked 18/8; 18/10; ‘300 series’ or ‘304 grade’ – which indicate higher quality, and more corrosion resistance. Made from a mix of metals, higher quality stainless steel pieces will generally be more resistant to corrosion and leaching.

    To minimize exposure to the metals in stainless steel or if you have chemical sensitivities, consider buying just one pot or pan (instead of an entire set) and use sparingly – or sidestep stainless altogether. You might also take a look at titanium cookware which, though pricey, is a good alternative to stainless.

    Meet My Juicer: Juicing For Health

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    The summertime is officially here and apart from ice pops, refreshing homemade juices are really a necessity for the hot summer days. While Jonathan and I first relocated to California, all I desired was a juicer. We had been given one as an engagement gift item from my family members and it was the best juicer I have ever seen in my life. Without having any sort of idea how to start with juicing, I went to Barnes and Noble and found several books on juicing.

    I knew that I enjoyed cucumber- but did not know exactly what health benefits it possessed so far as eating as well as juicing. And obviously carrots are ideal for your eyes… but what else? In case, I wanted to juice I wished to do it perfectly and know precisely what I was ingesting and what its benefits were, particularly if I was likely to be feeding these colored juices to my hubby. In addition to the suggestions in the books I purchased, I also performed some study online.

    So today I lay out throughout the day by my pool. Staying in the sun for that long made me feel truly dehydrated and I urgently required a juice to revitalize me. I selected whatever I had in my refrigerator and made a decision to prepare a fresh juice for my husband and me- certainly no juice recipe book required today LOL. However, I did go through a few to select some juices which looked good and so I know what things to buy when I go for shopping tomorrow.

    Having a juicer at home, you’re able to keep the leftover pulp or skin from the vegetables and fruits and utilize for quite a few things. I read on the Internet that you can put it in your pet dog’s food, which I really did and they enjoyed it. I also read that individuals have used the leftovers and have prepared dried fruit leathers using it, blended it into muffins as well as added it to a fertilizer pile in their garden.

    I went through a number of reviews and found it extremely helpful. Having quit meat in February of this year, I discovered that I started bruising much more easily because of the deficiency of iron in my body. Spinach is a fantastic source of iron; however, I dislike eating it on a regular basis. With a juicer, I can easily blend it in with an apple as well as other fruits to cover up the taste and still receive all the nutrients my system demands!

    More on Juicing:
    Juicing for health and weight loss – Web Md
    Nutrition rich juice recipes – Health

    Why I Love This Mattress

    To begin with; I have never liked the idea of sleeping on an air mattress. Interestingly, it is not like I have a not- so-good experience with them, I just don’t like them. However, a few days ago, they way I have always looked at air mattress changed. One of my friends who lived across town called and told me that he needed someone to go out camping with. Without giving it some serious thoughts, I agreed. I love camping and there was no way I could turn that offer down even for anything in the world. When we arrived at the camping location, I was surprised; my friend had packed an air mattress. All along I had thought we were going to sleep on some sort of sleeping mats. I was happy though for that was going to be the perfect opportunity to give this kind of mattress a try.

    outdoor-tent-Twin-inflatable-mattress-air-bed-Camping-Mat

    It is now five days since we came back from camping and one thing truly stood out. Air mattresses are probably some of the best items any person could go camping with. During our camping the kind of convenience we got from our air mattresses is mind blowing. We could move it with so much eases. After all, they were small n size and very lightweight. Secondly, if comfort during camping is what you always want, just like us, I suggest you go with this kind of mattress; just imagine sleeping on air. It is one of the most comfortable sleeping mattresses to have ever tried.

    At the end, although air mattresses have over and over being considered some kind of temporary sleeping solution, It is amazing how they are fast coming into the picture. I have it now in my bedroom and if all that I have been able to get from it is anything to go buy, I would advise other people to go for this choice.

    Knives That Makes My Cooking Easier

    Whether you are a high class chef or an amateur that only cooks in your home, it can be nice to know what the top best chef knives to use are.

    Utilizing one of these knives will make cooking much easier. If you’re looking for the top kitchen knives to buy, there are many online reviews you can search for. It’s not always about the kind of knife, but the brand that is used. Therefore, what are the best kitchen knives to purchase?

    Henckels and Wusthof are brand names coming out of Germany. These brands seem to come up in many kitchen knife reviews. Global and Shun are more companies that make great knives to use. Both companies are based out of Japan. All of these manufacturers create a variety of different sizes and lengths to use. You many need to try and look into a few different types to determine which knife will suit your use best.

    chef-knife

    Many chefs use different sized knives for different uses. A smaller knife might be used for cutting things like vegetables, whereas a larger knife would be useful for things like meats and fish. Buying a knife from any one of these four companies is a smart investment. According to many kitchen knife reviews 2015, they are some of the top kitchen knife manufacturers in the world.

    People who buy these knives will own and use them for a lengthy period of time because they last and will make cooking in the kitchen faster and easier. Critics and cooks all over say these are the top best chef knives to use. These brand name knives are light weight yet extremely sharp and durable. Many would say that they are quite attractive as well, so anyone is willing to show them off while using them.

    Each person has his or her own likes and styles so these companies try to compensate everyone. Go ahead, look into these brands and try out one of their knives today!

    How to buy the right chef knife – Bon Appetit

    Cooking Rice Got Much Easier

    In my family, we intend to eat a lot of rice and the amount of time need to prepare rice falls on my hand because none of my other relatives can cook– not to mention the aftermath of cleaning the pots with chances of burned rice sticking on to it. Me being the only person serving rice to my family has really taken a toll on me, and for the past two decades, I have been prepping, rinsing, and cooking the rice several times.

    rice_top

    Finally, I found good rice cooker reviews on the best rice cooker that I was hearing so much about and cooking has never been so much easier for me since then. The rice cooker is very easy to use and the instruction to cook rice is very easy to teach my family. And they are able to cook their rice in a matter of minutes. When I am finished with pouring the rice drenched in water in the rice cooker’s pot, I simply close the lid and wait for the cooker to alert me, by making beeping sounds, that the rice are prepared and ready to serve.

    After the rice is cooked, I pull back the lid and the white rice that I have put in the cooker is beautifully prepare with any contents being burned in the bottom. The texture and taste of the rice is almost identical to the way I cook it, and it cooks the rice at a faster rate than me. Unlike the past pots that I have used to cook rice, the pot in the rice cooker does not tend stick, and it makes it much easier to clean. For such an affordable item, the rice cooker not only satisfied me and my family, it has also been very easy to wash and take care of it.

    The definition of best bread maker has changed

    I used to watch my mother preparing bread dough and was fascinated with the way she lovingly baked those soft breads, especially on weekends. We even got some folded breads which tasted so yummy that I could have crowned her as the “Queen of bread makers”. A little bit older, I realized that though the bread tasted good, I did not relish doing the same work she did. Whenever she asked me to mix the dough, I obviously had some homework to do.

    How-to-make-jam-in-a-breadmaker

    My first bread maker did not really do much either. It was a gift at my wedding almost 30 years ago. I still had to manually prepare that dough, and the thought did not appeal to me. I did it for my family and patted my back, telling me, I am the best mother in the world because I do such dirty job. I was actually delighted that the bread maker gave way. It meant respite from making bread for a while. We bought bread for a couple of weeks, and it did pinch my pocket. I could bake it for half that cost with the best bread machine! Right? (See:
    Choosing the best bread machine for home use)

    My husband sat with me and we searched on Internet for a bread maker. I was surprised with what modern bread makers can do. These can mix that dough, and spare my hands from looking ugly while I did that chore. That was enough for me to fall in love with bread making once more. But there is more to the story. I can now bake breads of different sizes, and bake different types bread and other treats for my family. I also vary the crusts of these breads as per how my family members like them. The parts of my bread maker can also be washed in washing machine. Though this bread maker did cost me more than I expected, it is the best bread maker I have ever come across. Even my friends do not have such a bread maker. Now, I can safely say that I am the “queen of bread makers”.

    Mixer – The Tool You Sorely Lack for Baking Bread

    dough in the mixerIf you like baked bread and would like to give baking a try, then it is time to get a kitchen mixer. The mixer is mainly used as a baking tool for cakes and cookies but there are best mixers for bread as well that will make your job easier. Whether it is a batch of scones or cookies, cakes or breads, bakers will need a mixer. Mixers come in two types, the stand mixer and the hand mixer. If you need one for baking bread make sure you get the stand mixer because hand mixers lack the power to mix dough. There are various features and brands to choose from, so you might want to read up a bit before continuing with your purchase.

    Anyway, here are a few quick pointers to help you choose a the best kitchen mixer. Firstly, choose between a stand mixer and a hand mixer. The stand mixer is more suitable if you intend to bake more often, larger amounts and bread. The hand mixer is less powerful but triumphs in portability and space saving storage. When you need to beat egg whites or make a sauce, the hand mixer can be your best friend as it would be too much of a hassle to drag out a big stand mixer to do a small job.

    After choosing the type, there are several features to look at:

    • If you choose a stand mixer, look at the size and the bowl capacity. You want a mixer that will not take up too much space on your counter top and yet be able to mix the amount you need. Generally 4.5 to 5 quart is a good average size.
    • Then look at the power. A 325-watt mixer is very basic; anything lower than that is only good for cake batter which is in liquid form. For bread and pizza dough, try to get a higher wattage, 575-watt or 600-watt.
    • Most mixers nowadays come with 5 or 6 speeds, but generally you will only use three. Check the speed controls, especially if you are buying a hand mixer. You want the buttons or dial to be easily accessible and it should be comfortable to switch speeds while you are mixing.
    • Extra beaters, whisks and hooks are a good addition to your mixer and will allow you to do different tasks like beating eggs and kneading dough. Check to see whether you can get replacements for these parts for the same model of mixer in case you lose or damage them.
    • The weight of your mixer should be light so that you can store it away after use, and yet not as light as to jitter on the counter while it is operating. If you buy a hand mixer, it must certainly be lightweight to put less strain on your hand.
    • Does the mixer make a loud noise while it runs? If so, it may be of a less sturdy build or made of less quality parts, or you may be overburdening the mixer with tasks that it wasn’t made for.

    With these pointers you are now ready to look at the numerous mixer brands and models and find yourself the best mixer for the job.

    How To Clean A Toaster

    toast

    Are you like me, who cram almost anything from pastries to waffles into the toaster? I always find it amusing to toast something other than bread for my breakfast. It is no surprise then, that my toaster often needs a clean to prevent it from burning out, or up.

    It wouldn’t be fun to burn yourself while cleaning the toaster, so do make sure that it is cooled down first. I would give more or less an hour of cooling time if I wanted to clean it after use. During this time, unplug the toaster and get the cleaning supplies ready. You only need a sponge or cloth, warm water, vinegar, and a small brush or a toothbrush.

    When everything is ready, remove the crumb tray from your toaster and empty it. If your toaster is a very old model, it might not have this feature. Check out toaster ratings for more about new toaster models or the best toasters  in the market.  The crumb tray either comes out altogether or just opens up for you to empty the crumbs that have collected in it. It is a very useful feature and if you are buying a new toaster, make sure to get one with a crumb tray.

    If the tray is completely removable, you can rinse it in warm, soapy water and brush it to get rid of any charred crumbs that stuck to it. If it does not come out completely, you can still wipe it with the cloth or sponge suffused in vinegar and warm water. The toothbrush will be handy for any difficult corners. Don’t leave the tray wet inside the toaster though; dry it before putting it back inside.

    I tend to be very thorough in my cleaning, so the next step is to overturn the toaster and give it a good shake. This works for toasters that do not have the crumb tray. I like my toaster to be clear of all crumb particles that may lodge inside. But be careful while shaking the toaster; there are electronics and heating elements inside that you don’t want to break. Tapping on the bottom of the toaster works as well.

     Another method to get crumbs out of the slots is to blow them out with a compressed can of air. The toaster should be held up in one hand and the can in another, with the slots facing the compressed air tube. Don’t let the slots face yourself or you will end up with toast crumbs flying all over your face, hair and eyes. There can be chemicals in the compressed air can so don’t insert the tube into the slots. Remember never to wet the insides of the toaster for your own safety.

    Cleaning the exterior of the toaster is a no-brainer. Simply wipe it down with the same vinegar solution and cloth. Soap will work as well as vinegar for plastic housings, but for stainless steel ones it may leave liquid streaks or spots.

    There, after just a few minutes, your toaster is as good as new. It pays to schedule a cleaning at least once a week and to keep your toaster clean because it is an appliance that gets used almost every day. Besides, a dirty toaster is more prone to break downs, making burnt toast, and even starting fires. A few minutes a week is a rather good investment, don’t you think?

    Don’t you just love easy recipes?

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    I love the fact that I can find easy recipes anytime, day or night on the Internet. If I know what I want to cook, I just go to the search engines and enter in the name of the dish I want to make and easy recipes pop up on the page. Sure, I have the old red and white Betty Crocker cookbook in my cupboard, but I haven’t opened that in years. I even collect fun and diverse cookbooks. But what I love about online easy recipes is the fact that I can enter in the title of the dish and a full page of search results will show up, all of them with easy recipes to make that dish. I can look through all of them and see how they differ and see how they are the same and come up with a wonderful recipe for myself.

    Even better than finding easy recipes for a dish I want to make, is being able to list the ingredients that I have in my cupboard and having recipes that use those ingredients show up in the search results. Sometimes I’ll list crazy ingredients if that’s all I have and I have never failed to find an easy recipe to make something really yummy. Made completely out of the few main items that I have in my cupboard or refrigerator.

    I think the best part about easy recipes online is that you can read reviews of people who have made the dish. Their tips are extremely helpful. They might have added a different ingredient, made a substitution, cooked it at a different temperature, for more or less time. It is really helpful to see what changes other people have made to the original recipe.

    So what I do is read the recipe and then I will read a couple pages of reviews and then I will make my own recipe in my head based upon the initial recipe and the reviews that people have made. It is usually a very successful method.

    If you’re looking for easy recipes, just go online. Type in either the name of the dish you would like to make or type in a few of the ingredients you have on hand. Either way you will find easy recipes that will be a delight to make and delicious to eat. Happy Eats!