Sunday, May 31, 2009

Food Safety in the Kitchen

By Michael Bach

Here is a quick reference guide to refreshing your awareness of safe food preparation. Pointers and information to always keep in mind when preparing food or storing it away for future use.

Most conscientious cooks use common sense when preparing or storing food. But common sense in food preparation doesn't just happen, it is learned. This learning happens and when we forget where we learned it, we call it common sense.

Here are just a few pointers to refresh and reinforce your common sense as you are preparing your current meal or storing it for future use.

Food safety actually starts with your excursion to the supermarket. Pick up the packaged or canned foods. Do the tins have dents? Don't buy them. Is the jar cracked? Leave it. Does the lid seem loose or bulging? Pick up another. Look for any expiration dates on the labels, they are there for a reason. Never buy outdated food, even if it is on special. Check the "use by" or "sell by" date on dairy products and pick the ones that will stay fresh the longest. Sometimes they may be at the back of the shelves.

After grocery shopping, put food into the refrigerator or freezer right away. Better yet, put your refrigerator foods straight into one of those insulated freezer bags in the shopping cart and in your car.

Make sure to set the refrigerator temperature is set to 40 deg F and the freezer is set to 0 F. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood should be placed in containers to prevent their fluids from dripping on other foods. Raw juices could possibly harbor harmful germs. Eggs always go in the refrigerator.

Always cook food thoroughly until it is done. Red meat should turn brown inside. Chicken, when poked with a fork, should have clear juices. Fish, on the other hand, when poked with a fork, should flake. Cooked egg whites and yolks should be firm and not runny. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of your poultry, meat, and other foods. Leave it in long enough to ensure an accurate reading.

Wash your hands and cooking surfaces frequently. Germs can be spread quickly so this will ensure that it will not take hold and grow onto your food. A solution of one teaspoon of bleach in one litre of water is all that is needed to sanitise washed surfaces and utensils.

Cooked foods should definitely not be left standing in the kitchen counter or table for more than two hours. And if you must leave them out of the fridge, cover the food so flys can't rest on it. Bacteria tends to grow in temperatures between 40 and 140 deg F.

Foods that have been cooked ahead and cooled should be reheated to at least 165 deg F. (This just so happens to be one of the most overlooked areas in food prep).

Chill Leftover Food Promptly. Place food in the refrigerator and leave room for ventilation. The cold air needs to circulate freely to keep food safe. Divide the food and place in shallow containers. Think about date labeling some of these containers so you don't lose track of how long they've been refrigerating.

These are just a few pointers that you already know, but need to keep remembering. If you follow these basics you will avoid most food spoilage problems.

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Whip Up A Breakfast Treat With Fancy Waffle Makers

By Wallis A Marvin

Waffles next to pancakes are an all time favorite for a morning meal. You don't have to order one at your local restaurant and wait for the waitress to deliver. With the neat waffle makers on the market you can create your own exciting taste in no time. Baking with waffle makers is quick and easy right in your very own kitchen. These appliances are available in a variety of sizes to meet needs.

You can find convenient waffle makers that are two sided. Flip the other side and you can have a grill for pancakes, eggs in any style, sausages, hash brown potatoes, whatever exquisite taste your mouth is watering for.

The way you like to cook and the size of the groups you cook for will determine the type of waffle maker that is best for you needs. They come in many shapes and weights. They are available for squared our rounded waffles.

Something to consider when buying a waffle maker is the number of waffles you'll cook. If you have a larger family there are some that cook up to six waffles perfectly for a tasty treat. This would make you a hit with your family who will be anxiously awaiting a home cooked meal.

Before you invest, check around and compare. You will want to make sure you get one with all of the modern, user friendly conveniences. The features to look for are those that have a nonstick area so you can just easily wipe it clean so scrubbing won't be necessary. Also look for curved edges to secure your grease from dripping over you counter. You will enjoy using this type frequently.

Most models have common functions. The high quality styles have different levels of temperature settings. This lets you determine how light or dark you prefer your waffle. There are also various done alerting indicators.

You will know it is time to dig in and eat when you hear your alarm that's audible. Some appliances have red lights for cooking, and a green indicator light meaning it is done. These have a hinging system for chord placement. It is easily storable.

For complimenting your other appliances, the waffle maker will be available in stainless steel. This is a popular material that will certainly enhance your kitchen. A special surprise that you will like in the form of a variety of recipe ideas will be included too.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Juicing Is A Healthy Way To Go

By Jack Walsh

The best way to improve your health is by giving your body the right material it needs to function in peak physical condition. In today's busy world, juicing can be a very healthy option to incorporate into your regular eating regime.

Before some genius invented cubicles and greasy hamburgers, people ate foods in its most natural form: fresh, nutritious, unprocessed, mostly raw, and with great variety. In fact, there are some societies in parts of the world that no one else cares about who still eat that way and by comparing the types of diseases in modernized societies, it's understood that what you eat makes a huge difference in your health.

Some of the biggest benefit to juicing is its power to magnify the benefits of its ingredients. Sure, it is important to eat solid fruits and vegetables too, but to juice often increases the amount of nutrients, vitamins, and mineral essential to proper body functions.

Because juice is a liquid form, the nutrients and vitamins and minerals are more accessible with minimal processing inside the body. This ensures that much more can be absorbed into your body before it does its round in your digestive tract and less is wasted than if it was encased in solid. It is much easier for your body to extract the good stuff from liquid than it is to extract from hard fibrous particles that make up the solid of the fruits and vegetables.

Your body consists of mostly water and needs water as the main medium of transporting toxins out of your body. Juicing increases the amount of water per unit of fruit or vegetable by reducing the amount of solid. Just by juicing you are increasing the amount of water you put into your body. Probably not meet your daily requirement since an overwhelming majority of people do not hydrate enough during the day, but it helps to bring you closer.

One important thing to keep in mind about properly juicing is that the benefits of juicing are only as good as the ingredients you use. Always use organic grown foods that are free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers since these toxins are what we want out of our bodies so it only makes sense to avoid putting them in to begin with.

A great way to get high quality foods is by buying locally grown produce. This has the added benefit of the fruits and vegetables being much fresher than the supermarket can offer. In fact, the statistic is that, on average, by the time a consumer brings produce home, it is already a few weeks old. If we can't have it fresh off the vine, at least we can have it off a vine that is only a couple hours away instead of weeks away.

Fresh means fresh in every step of the process. It is always a good idea to drink your juice on the spot or within the hour of juicing and never drink something more than a day old.

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Online Food Ordering Tips

By Doug James

I am not sure if you were ware that food could be purchased online. I was in for a surprise when I found out that there were hordes of websites selling food with excellent deals and promotional offers.

You have a wide array of choices to select from the online food stores, like steaks, lobsters, fruit, chocolates, cakes, coffee and wine and select anything you feel like having.

Everything and anything is available to you on-line. You can even find discounts on groceries delivered right to your doorstep.

You can have them at your doorstep in less than 24 hours, along with preparation guidance. Add Omaha steaks to the menu and make the dinner stylish with wine and chocolates. All procured online, at much less price than you had thought of! By ordering online, you get the best of both worlds. You save money and stand to get best deals and incentives.

First of all, you need to know that a standard food delivery site has a number of vital aspects. At the outset, you may want to look for someone who enjoys a reputation, has experience and good clientele. Personally, I appreciate the choices available at They tie up with the known and acclaimed sites, and you need be in no doubt about the deals that you get here.

Next, scrutinize the rates and items. Many sites offer sops for regular customers in the form of coupons and varieties of promotions. To illustrate, if you have fallen for a delicious chocolate, rest assured it will be offered cheaper the next time you place an order. Also, you may be offered free shipping or a 15% rebate in the next order.

Remember to be watchful regarding the shipping. A standard site is supposed to offer free shipping to any part of the country. Items that are likely to get spoilt soon, will need special packing and immediate delivery.

Purchasing food on the Internet is an excellent way to find a good discount. Websites have lower operational costs and have the ability to offer you the exact product that you can buy in your neighborhood food store, at a lesser price. This is a wonderful deal! And with the large variety and free delivery, you can't miss the chance to order food on the Internet. Think about sending wine or steaks as an affordable way to give a gift. Many people adore food gifts, so you can't make a mistake.

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Picnic Backpack Selection Tips - For Everyone On The Go

By Patricia C Thomas

The right picnic backpack can transform a long family outing to an enjoyable romp. It can make a huge difference on those romantic outings as well as they leave your arms free for hand-holding. If you know what you are looking for and select according to your current needs, you can find the perfect pack whether you are packing just for yourself or for the entire family.

Depending on who will be doing most of the hauling and the amount of stuff that you want to carry on your trips, you will need to select the appropriate size of pack.

The idea of a backpack gives the illusion of something compact, but be aware that they can get quite large and bulky. Generally, they are sold in terms of the number of people going on the outing. A 2 person pack is going to obviously be more compact than a 4 person pack.

If you are purchasing this item for a child, then consider purchasing one that was made just for children. They will be lighter weight and have features designed just for younger users. If you will be going on a lot of family outings then you may want to purchase a pack for each of your children so they can each carry their own belongings and lighten the load on you.

You also want to look at the arrangement of compartments and how your stuff will fit inside. There will be spaces for drinks and silverware as well as larger openings to pack in food and other bigger sized items. You want to think about what you will typically be packing and find something that will accommodate your needs.

You want one that has enough room to pack the things you want to carry while still being as compact as possible. The value of a backpack is that it can be easily carried along without hassle, so look around and make sure you get one that can comfortably be carried even when filled completely up.

When purchasing a picnic backpack keep in mind the functional capacity of the product more than price. You want something that is going to hold up with consistent use and remain functional for some time to come. If you pick the right size and style chances are you will have many enjoyable outings without the hassle of lugging along a basket by hand.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Buying The Right Toaster Oven

By Jane Garland

Everyone loves to have appliances that are small and mini and easy to cook with, which is why the toaster oven is such a neat invention! When looking for a new oven there are certain things that you need to look for before you actually look. Take these tips and use them as a guide to help you out!

Many people tend to think that a toaster oven is simply another type of toaster. While they do serve the same type of purpose, this small appliance can do so much more than any regular old toaster. In fact, these little ovens were designed to help people cook their food, without having to overheat the house or burn electricity or even gas. You can easily pop in a mini pizza or a small dinner for one and have it cooked up and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

Once you know what this appliance is and what it does, you can then start looking at various ovens. Take a look at the size as well as the features of the toaster oven that you are looking at. If you are going to be using this little oven a lot, then you will need something that can get up to high temperatures.

From there, you should look online and see what you can find in the way of toaster ovens. Of course you can find an oven at your local department store, but you will not be able to the oven that you have your eye on for the price that you can afford. Taking the time to look around is going to help save you money.

When it comes to the features, you need to check and make sure that your chosen oven will broil, toast and bake all of your food in a relatively quick amount of time. For the most part, your toaster oven should be able to sit freely on your countertop without getting in the way of anything.

For the most part, a toaster oven can be looked at as a great invention, especially for those who are limited to living in a small space. If you only plan on cooking for yourself or one other person, you should not need to use your everyday oven, in fact your toaster oven should now become your everyday oven!

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The First and Still The Best Coffee In The World

By James martin

Ethiopia is one of the worlds oldest known countries, a landlocked nation located in the horn of the African continent. Ethiopia is also the country where coffee was first found, and it is from here that it traveled across the world to become perhaps the most preferred beverage today.

It is believed that in the 9th century, a goat herd tasted some wild, bright red berries growing on young green trees and enjoyed the strong taste and the subsequent feeling of elation.

The region called Kaffa led to the name coffee, and the plant coffee arabica began to be grown in other places. Yet connoisseurs of coffee claim that Ethiopian coffee is better than coffee from all other places, as the blends produced in the country are aromatic without being too strong or acidic as is the case with Kenyan coffees.

Ethiopia produces a large variety of coffee beans that could suit every palette without any unique, defining characteristics. The taste and flavour varies according to the region in which it is grown. Thus, one would find dry-roasted coffee or a wet-roasted blend or even a combination of both as found in Sidamo, a coffee known for its rich but light and smooth taste.

If you favour a coffee with a mild taste you should select a dry- roasted coffee over a washed coffee. With so many ways of processing their coffee there is a wide variety of choices, everything from the spicy and sweet Djimmah coffee to the strong and fruity coffees from Harrar.

One Coffee stands out as being something truly special and it comes from the beans produced in a region called Kebado. Which is nothing more than a little village situated on the slopes of the Metesio Mountains.

The coffee has a fruity flavour that is smooth, rich and highly fragrant, and has the typical wet-processed aroma with no grainy consistency found in lighter roasts of coffee. Kebado coffee is considered to be the closest to the most perfect coffee ever produced.

Kebado coffee is organically produced and exported all over the world from Addis Ababa where it is vacuum packed to preserve the freshness of the coffee bean. People all over the world, love the exotic taste and the sugar-like sweetness of the brew. Its aroma is amazing even before it is ground, as it has a fruity scent to it, a blend of passion fruit, plums and berries.

If you are roasted green Ethiopian coffee beans yourself there is one important thing to remember and that is to keep these beans away from a dark roasting, this over powers the beans and you will loose some of the flavours and aromas which are what have made these beans the best in the world.

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Why Cheap Wines Glasses Are the Best

By Tom Smith

Purchasing cheap wines glasses is an idea that attracts a great number of people that would like to enjoy a luxury item like this that will not end up costing them a lot of money. One of the biggest reasons that people like to purchase cheap wine glasses for use in their home is that they will reduce a lot of stress. While hosting special occasions in their home they will not need to worry about their glasses being broken as it would not cost an arm and a leg to replace.

There are a great number of people that do not have a big set of wine glasses. Deciding to purchase cheap wine glasses can end up saving you a huge amount of money. You can very easily purchase enough wine glasses (and maybe a few extra) for whatever kind of occasion that you might be hosting without going broke when you buy cheap wine glasses.

You should never think that using cheap wine glasses as a bad thing to do. There are a great variety of inexpensive wine glasses that are very high quality in appearance. As the host of your special event you should be more concerned about the quality of your wine then the type of glass you are serving it in.

When you are looking into purchasing cheap wine glasses you should keep several things in mind. You should first decide on your glass buying budget. Next you should find the best quality wine glass that fits within your set budget. You need to know exactly where you are planning on storing your wine glasses when they are not in use which will give you the best idea of how many glasses that you should purchase.

When you are not spending all of your money on top of the line wine glasses you are actually purchasing great materials to decorate your kitchen and dining room areas. You can even select different styles of wine glasses for different occasions. Your guests will enjoy the beautiful glasses that you are serving them wine in and many won't even know that they are appreciating cheap wine glasses unless you tell them.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Homebew Supplies Are More Affordable Today

By Joan Ellis

Being the oldest brew in the world, the art of homebrewing and the hundreds of time-proven recipes had more than enough time to evolve. Homebrewing today is a hobby and an art form.

As people moved into cities, household beer production began to decline. It is only in the recent years homebrewing once again became popular thanks to the thousands of hobbyists. Quite of few of which even grew their hobby into a business.

Having an aura of ancient times with a touch of mystery, each recipe tells its own story, it is no wonder that brewing your own beer has a lot of appeal to people on a search of a hobby. Of course, it also helps if you like to drink beer as well.

Homebrewing requires very little initial investment, and you dont have to spend your first year studying and perfecting your technique before you get decent results. Even with the simplest recipe you can have your own beer within a month. Usually its all about getting the initial tools and the supplies that you will use on your first several batches.

For the beginner or in case youre not certain about this hobby, buy one of the entry level starter kits. The cost of such kits is very reasonable, starting at as low as $39US to a more advanced starter kits for $100US and up.

You will feel great about your new hobby when you see the look of surprise on your friends' faces. Surely, they expected to taste an awful concoction, but instead sipped a commercial-quality brew. The beauty of homebrewing is that you can always find new exciting recipes on the net, or in a good recipe book. Or you can try to create your own unique beer by testing different ingredients.

Another bonus for the hobbyist is that with the trend of constant growth in home brewing, homebrew supplies become a lot more affordable. Whether its a whole kit or just a pack of hops you will be able to find a supplier that sells for less and delivers a lot faster that ever before. With prices for homebrew supplies lower than ever, everyone on the lookout for a great new hobby with many benefits should give home brewing a go.

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How to Cook Chicken

By Arf Ahmed

Chicken can be cooked in many ways because it is incredibly versatile. Every method of cooking chicken assists in bringing out all the individual flavors found in chicken. One may find that out that there are thousands of recipes that are devoted to the preparation and cooking of the humble chicken. Not all of them can be mentioned and there may be others that are not so conventional. This type of food item is easy to prepare because of it being low in fat.

To begin with, handle the chicken with care. Keep this chicken at a certain amount of temperature, between 40C and 600C. This then means that the chicken should be refrigerated. The temperature in the chicken is maintained to prevent the multiplication of the bacteria that is found in the chicken and many other types of meat. The chicken should be placed in salty water, with three tablespoons and four cups of water. It should stay in this water for one hour if it is not frozen and longer if it is frozen.

Close this chicken in different ways to be able to prevent it from drying up. The chicken can be covered by brushing a thick layer of marinade sauce or a thin one of cooking oil. Consequently, a foil bag can be used for covering this chicken so that it may be grilled. To ensure even cooking, pound the breast and thighs of the chicken so that they may be of the same size.

Adjust the heat of cooking in accordance to the type of cooking being undertaken. Roasting, sauting, baking, grilling as well as deep frying are dry heat methods of cooking. These methods need high temperatures to cook well but a little amount of time, like 8 to 10 minutes in grilling chicken breasts. Steaming, parchments baking, slow cooking and poaching are the moist heat types of cooking which require a longer time to be ready like 15 minutes to poach chicken breasts.

Checking the chicken to establish that it is completely cooked is very important. Chicken differs from steak which may be prepared either rare or medium rare and should be cooked completely. To establish that it is done, pierce the thick part in the chicken to know if it is around 73.80C. It should not also be overcooked as it will then be dry. This chicken should be left to rest for the redistribution of juices. Before it is well done, it should be left for about 5 to 10 minutes for the juice redistribution process to finalize.

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I Want a Coffee Espresso Machine!

By PJ Easton

I am an avid coffee lover. What better way to enjoy coffee than by getting a coffee espresso machine? There are so many to choose from, the choice is bewildering. We can separate the various espresso machines into three categories.

The first category is what I like to call fully automatic. The fully automatic machine does everything for you. You load it with coffee, water, etc. and just push the button. The second category is partly automatic. This requires your intervention and some of the process is automated. The benefit to these type of machines is that they allow you to have more control over how you want the coffee extraction to go.

Last, but not least is the manual machine. This is my favorite. I don't need any automation, just give me a machine with a handle press and I'm ready to go!

Who makes a good coffee espresso machine? There are many specialty manufacturers and the price can go into the thousands of dollars. Even the mainstream coffee machine manufacturers have offerings that are reasonable.

Krups, Bosch, Capresso and others make great coffee machines. What are the features to look for? If we are talking fully automatic, it should have an integrated burr grinder, high-capacity bean hopper, high-wattage heater, high-pressure pump and automated cleaning cycles. It should also have an integrated frother for lattes.

If we are looking at the semi-automatic models, then look for high-quality components, large boilers, stainless steel components, high-quality portafilters, etc. The manual models are my favorite for many reasons. I like simplicity and quality.

Choose a model with stainless steel or chrome plated parts for maximum durability and minimal interaction with the coffee and water. I simply do not like any plastic components coming in contact with very hot water and/or the coffee. Plastic parts should be avoided if you are an avid espresso coffee fan.

If you are an avid coffee consumer and only the very best will do, then do yourself a favor and get the best coffee espresso machine that you can afford. The investment will be well worth it as you'll enjoy the very best espresso coffee for years to come.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Unearth How To Save Money On Groceries

By Beverly T Brooks

We all eat and we all buy groceries. It is imperative for all of us to save as much cash as possible on the foodstuff that we purchase. Most grocery budgets do present quite a bit of flexibility but sticking to the financial plan and saving as much cash as possible is very vital in these shifting monetary times.

There are a few tips for saving money at the grocery store that most likely bears repeating. Most of these things are common sense and you have most likely heard them all before but they are still key if you are going to save as much as you can when you go shopping.

One and all has heard that they shouldn't go to the grocery store when they are ravenous. But the fact is that when you are famished to tend to get everything in view. It is just like if you starve yourself all day long you usually end up eating everything in view afterward in the day.

An additional idea is to look at all of the shelves. Not unpredictably the most costly items tend to be placed at eye level. If you are looking for the bargains look towards the bottom shelves. That is where the cheaper and the generic brands are regularly placed.

Shop by yourself. Everybody who has children knows that this one is true. You always are apt to purchase extra when you shop with other people. Kids tend to ask for things that you wouldn't in general buy and even spouses are apt to make you procure more than you would if you were unaccompanied. If you want to save the most cash make sure that you shop alone.

Go off shopping early in the day. Afterward when there are more folks the stores bring out the treats to get you to obtain additional. If you get to the store early you will save time because there won't be a crowd and just getting in and getting it completed tends to save you more cash.

Make an effort not to shop when you are in a sour mood. When you are in a bad disposition the temptation to buy junk to make you feel better is just too strong. Also non-grocery things like contact lens solution tends to be pricier at the grocery store than at the other stores. And by no means go to the store to shop unless you have your list and your calculator. Stick with your list. If you didn't mean to buy it in advance, then don't buy it.

Of course, there are other tips like learning to use coupons prudently and taking benefit of rebates. You should constantly explore the best sales but the straightforward tips for saving cash are usually just the ones that make the most common sense.

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The big cheeses and purple clay teapots

By J. Jia

Ancient China is the birthplace of tea, and the Chinese boast an ideal material for making teaware - Yixing purple clay. For hundreds of years, from emperors to celebrities, a number of people have one common ground -- they adore tea and purple clay teapots. Here, you can learn about two of these great men. From their stories, you may realize how much purple clay teapots have some to mean in China.

Ancient poet Su Dongpo (1037 - 1101) and his original purple clay teapot

Su Dongpo was the most eminent writer of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). His works feature an unconstrained and enthusiastic style. Chinese people are so lucky that Su has left some 4,000 ancient poems to them. Besides, he was also a very famous calligrapher and painter.

The funny thing is that Su enjoyed tea and purple clay teapots very much, and he created a well-known pot of his own style called a Dongpo Cross Beam Pot.

Su once lived in Yixing, the only area where purple clay is found, for some time. He used to enjoy tea when doing with his creative work. But what got on his nerves was that the teapots at that time were usually rather small, so he had to keep brewing tea at short intervals. This kept him from concentrating on his work.

So he set out to invent a bigger pot, with a large handle to help him carry it. He took some of the local clay, but time after time failed in making a pot that could match his dream.

Then finally, as the poor poet was still worrying about the pot, a boy attendant came over and invited Su to enjoy a small meal with him. Su's face lit up as soon as he took notice of a lantern in the boy's hand. "Great! I will make a large teapot based on this lantern!" he thought.

After just a few tries, Su perfected the lantern-shaped teapot. But there was a problem: it was heavy and slick, so no one could hold it. Even attaching the standard teapot handle was not enough. After thinking for some time, Su crafted a long, U-shaped handle that hung over the pot and attached to both the front and back. This handle was easy to carry, and gave great leverage when pouring tea out of the large belly of the pot.

From then on, Su often enjoyed tea carrying the 'beam' of his large purple clay teapot. He loved this pot as if it was his own son. To memorize this uniquely shaped teapot, a lot of potters have tried to imitate it. They named this kind of pot after the famous writer: Dongpo Cross Beam Pot.

Here's a photo of one such pot, taken in Su's old home:

A famous emperor and purple clay teapots

The Qianlong emperor of the Qing dynasty was one of the oldest emperors in history and ruled for one of the longest periods of time.

One of his secrets to healthiness was enjoying tea every day. Here's one of his comments: "A king is not supposed to live without tea even just for one day." It tells us how important enjoying tea was in his life. He used to travel to all parts of his country dressed as ordinary people, and he savored all kinds of Chinese tea.

As a tea connoisseur, Qianlong also called for Yixing purple clay teapots to match his tea. So he amassed a large collection of first-rank purple clay teapots, as he thought it was very clear that a good purple clay teapot could bring out the original color, scent, and taste of his tea. He boasted their superior quality and functions. He called purple clay teapots 'The best tea ware on earth.'

Emperor Qianlong appointed specialists to select the best purple clay teapots from Yixing, or to design the most appealing styles. Favored by emperors like Qianlong, Yixing purple clay teapots earned a great reputation soon. Nowadays, people are proud of owning good purple clay teapots. Although we have no chance to being an emperor for even one day, we can pick a purple clay teapot and experience the pleasure that emperors used to have.

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Decorate your Home using Flea Market Finds

By Mara Hernandez-Capili

Today I would be talking about how to transform cheap Flea Market finds into fashionable and savvy decorative elements into your homes. A day at a flea market spells fun and awesome treats for the whole family. There are just so many things to purchase from a flea market and your imagination should never be a limit in putting Flea market pieces together into your homes.

As an Interior Design practitioner during my free time I browse through the Internet for the current design trends and I am always in awe at how a marvelous and great looking interior is actually designed using cheap, second hand and flea market pieces. I often thought that really a good design is not achievable by using expensive materials only, but how keen the designer is on putting pieces together that match. Let's take a look at some flea market pieces and how they are turned into charming decorative interior pieces.

The design that I will mention are gathered from the Better Homes and Garden website. Let's take a look:

Vintage bronze and silver drawer pulls salvaged from a flea market could be excellent key holders. Just try to keep them in their usual color, add a little bit of polish and hang them on your living room wall, next to your door. Turn an old beat-up window shutter into an elegant mail center by giving it a fresh coat of paint and leaning it against a wall or a corner, this mail center could be an excellent conversation piece for your guests. Use the shutter slats to tuck in important notes that should never be forgotten and left behind.

A very fresh and interesting remake for an old iron fence is to transform it into a coat rack. Take the tip of the iron fence (save the rest of the fence body for later use) and nail it on a wall to use as a coat hanger.

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Is Ginger Beer Really Different From Ginger Ale?

By David Marcheschi

First brewed during the colonial period, Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale are beverages that have been part of history. Since it was conceptualized in the year 1700, both beverages have proven their staying power in the market. During that period, they were considered "Small Beers", because in spite of having natural alcohol content from the fermentation process, the 2-10% alcohol content they had was much smaller as compared to the amount of alcohol in beer or other liquors from that time period.

Nowadays, you can only find Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale brands that have alcohol content in other countries. In America, all brands available no longer have any alcohol content to it, since they are now being marketed as a type of soda.

In alternative medicine, ginger root has been known to ease nausea and sore throats. This is the reason why many take Ginger Root and Ginger Beer of Ginger Ale to help treat and ease the discomfort that they feel whenever they have these health conditions. Another use of Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are as mixers to form different alcoholic cocktail drinks. The popular cocktail Dark N' Stormy drink is made by mixing Ginger Beer with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and it is also known as "Bermuda's National Drink". Ginger Beer can also be mixed with vodka to make the refreshing cocktail drink Moscow Mule.

Now, What Is The Difference?

Despite all of these similarities, ginger ale and ginger beer are very different sodas. The main difference between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale is in the amount of ginger each type of beverage contains. The amount of ginger root used to make Ginger Beer is much higher than that used to make Ginger Ale, and as a result, there is much more of a spicy ginger flavor to Ginger Beer.

Besides the ginger content, other factors that mark the difference between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale are the levels of its sweetener, carbonation and flavoring content. Ginger Ale is sweeter since it has more sweeteners in it and it also appears less cloudy than Ginger Beer since it has a higher carbonation level. Also, the amount of fruit juice flavorings in these beverages differ. Each soda uses different amounts of lemon, lime or even pineapple.

Besides what has been stated, there is actually no difference in the process of making these two drinks. Since they are now been branded as sodas, most Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are produced by adding carbonated water and syrups together just like the many other large scale sodas. However, there are still a few independent companies that stays true in making Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales using the old fashioned method of making it in small batches. These smaller companies avoid the usual high fructose syrup and the artificial flavors and colorings that can usually be found in soft drinks.

Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are two of the most versatile kind of beverages. There are a lot of brands available that have created different flavors and recipes of Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales that will surely suit each and every palate. Give each brand a try and enjoy what makes each beverage different and unique in taste.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Making Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Growing Them Yourself

By Roy Washington

Making chocolate covered strawberries can be a great way to use your creative intentions in the kitchen. It's also a great way for family members to join together in a fun activity.

Enjoying fresh strawberries is a great treat. Being able to have access to more than you can ever eat is a great plus. By growing your own, you can surely have plenty to make in chocolate covered desserts. And you can give many away to friends.

Hand dipped strawberries in white chocolate, dark chocolate, or any other assorted treats, make for a healthy and good-for-you snack after a meal. You can feel excited about giving this to your kids. Instead of artificial candies with dyes, bad sweeteners and more, you can have nature's bounty drizzled with a bit of cocoa bean product and really enjoy.

Buying a strawberry plant is a pretty easy task if you're anywhere near a gardening center or home store. Many have lots to choose from. From there, you need to have a raised bed of dirt, which is easy to assemble, or a large pot.

Being able to grow strawberries that you can eventually turn into chocolate delicacies can take a bit of patience. Perhaps you may be lucky and start right off the bat with a very healthy and growing plant. Water, light, soil, and plant condition all are factors that may need to be adjusted. Subsequent plantings can take these into account.

The slow food movement emphasizes local sources and enjoyment of the meal as a community endeavour. Growing your own strawberries, and then using them in unexpected ways such as chocolate covered, sliced up in pretty arrangements, in salads, and other forms, can enhance your appreciation of enjoying every moment.

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Video Games that Teach You How to Cook

By Patrick Shay

If you're like a lot of people you've probably never considered learning how to cook using a video game console. However, the Nintendo DS has turned cooking into an interactive video game experience with a few different video games. Nintendo hopes to get families to spend more time in the kitchen together with the following titles available for the Nintendo DS.

One game that focuses on cooking competition is What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver. This interactive game features the famous chef and allows you to test your skills in the kitchen, virtually or in real life. The thought of cooking on a video game may seem odd but once you get started you'll quickly get the hang of it. Even if you don't like the competition you can use any of the 100 included recipes which were created by Jamie Oliver himself.

If you'd like to learn and master the art of fine French cooking you might be interested in Gourmet Chef: Cook Your Way to Fame. Adults would probably enjoy this game more than children. Although if you have a child that is serious about cooking they might also appreciate this game more than a kid who just wants to have fun playing a video game. In Gourmet Chef you'll learn many tasks with the stylus which you can later apply to real recipes.

A very popular cooking game with adults and children is Cooking Mama. There are many different titles to choose from in the Cooking Mama series. In this action-packed game you compete against other chefs to win the gold medal. This game is very interactive and makes use of the advanced features of the Nintendo DS console. One example is being able to cool down your dishes by blowing in the microphone. You really have to be careful with this game though because once you start playing it can be hard to stop.

Instead of a race against the clock, Personal Trainer: Cooking is intended to work more like a virtual cookbook. You can look up different recipes and make them at your own pace. Unlike other cooking games, you make the recipes in your own kitchen using real ingredients instead of pretending to cook on the Nintendo DS. There are over 200 recipes to choose from all over the world.

Believe it or not but there are many other cooking games available for the Nintendo DS than those listed in this article. Even though you might not have considered owning a Nintendo DS before, these cooking games have attracted a whole new audience to the world of hand-held video game consoles. If you'd like to learn how to cook and don't have time to sort through all kinds of books, magazines, or websites you might want to give some of these games a try.

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How Low Carb Diets Work

By Nikki Keating

There are those that will refer to the low carb diet as a mere fad diet from a decade ago. This is not the best way to properly describe the diet because fad infers it is not a good diet strategy. In actuality, the low carb diet is one of the quickest, easiest, and most successful diets one could ever employ.

Yes, low card diets work and they can greatly eliminate excess fat. Best of all, low carb diets do not require calorie counting or severely restricting what you eat. So, for those who may be wondering how this diet works, here is a brief overview of the most important points.

In order for your body to function, it needs energy. Carbohydrates, fats, and, to a lesser extent, proteins are used to burn fuel to create energy. Carbs are the body's first choice and it is critical to avoid eating carbs when you are not active. This is because unused carbs turn immediately to fat. However, if you dramatically reduce the amount of carbs you eat your body will shift to burning stored fat. That means when you reduce your carb intakeyou lose weight.guaranteed!

Carbs include bread, rice, fruit, vegetables, sugars, and starches. During the early stages of a low carb diet, it is necessary to completely wipe out all carb intake. Instead, replace them with meats, chicken, fish, eggs, cheeses, and other low/no carb foods. This way, the carbs in your body are burned up. Once they are gone and not replaced, you will drop a great deal of retained water (Carbs are a major culprit of water retention) and then you will start to metabolize your stored fat.

There is another point to consider when starting a low carb diet. If you increase the amount of exercise you get, you will lose weight even faster. Exercise requires a great deal of energy expenditure. When you begin to burn calories with exercise, there are no carb calories to utilize so the body burns fat and a little bit of protein.

Instead, the body will burn fat and a small amount of protein. This strategy is the same one body builders do when they want to get lean and ripped for a competition. You do not have to work that hard as even a little bit of minor working out can be a blast. 20 minutes of light cardio, for example, could easily help reduce one's weight with minimal effort.

Then again, you do not even have to work out all that much. Many people who do not even work out find themselves losing a great deal of weight with a low carb diet. Again, the body must burn energy in order to function. Without carbohydrates, it will perform its basic metabolic functions through the utilization of fats.

It really is unfair to refer to the concept of low carb dieting as a fad. It is a very successful diet plan that has been used for decades and will continue to be used for many decades more for one simple reason. The low carb diet works.

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BelAir Farmers Market a Maryland Affair

By Mara Hernandez-Capili

This article is written in order to provide the readers on the benefits of Farmers market. Many things have been said about Farmers Market and this is one piece that would add up on the growing information about the goodness and advantages that Farmers Markets can bring to people. Personally, I prefer to go to a Farmers Market rather than buy my vegetables and fruits at the local department or grocery. Why? Because of the many obvious benefits that consumers can garner from shopping in a Farmers Market.

The goods being sold here are usually handpicked by the farmers during the wee hours of the morning, which provide for its best quality and appearance. Farmers market is the place where you can buy the freshest fruits and vegetables in season. Why fresh? Well, Farmers market usually open in the morning (usually around 7am) and closes at noon. Farmers also sign the agreement at the local community that indicates that their produce is 100% chemical or pesticide free which could make them ban at the place lest they decide to break the rule.

At Farmers Market people can buy the freshest jams and preserve using the fruits in season. These are well cultivated and processed by the conscientious farmers who only use the safest ingredients and method in making fruit preserves. These preserves are not juts great to use in homes but they are also great to gig away as presents because of their lovely packages.

Farmers market are usually held once a week. Crafters and their handmade and handcrafted pieces are very competitive when it comes to catching the buyers' and spectators eye during shopping. This is also a great venue to display other forms of creativity by allowing grafters to join the scene.

If visiting in Maryland, never forget to catch a glimpse of the Farmers Market.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

How To Order Coffee Online

By Matt Hellstrom

Most coffee lovers would never have thought that it would become so easy to obtain their favorite specialty blend by just sitting at your desk or at home in front of your PC and order coffee online without even leaving the building! Remember the days when rare, expensive coffee beans were exclusive to upscale gourmet markets?

With coffee being the second largest export in the world with only petroleum ahead of it, it is difficult to remember that most people are not aware that coffee beans are in fact not beans! Yes, that is right, coffee beans are not beans. It is the two-part pit of the coffee cherry like fruit that actually that looks like beans due to the two flat sides of the pit that gives the impression that they are beans.

When you order coffee online, there are literally hundreds of blends you can choose from. However, very few people know that that in fact when they order coffee online, they are ordering from different blends of flavor and not different blends of coffee beans. There are only two cultivars of coffee beans that are grown for commercial purposes. Arabica coffee and coffee robusta are the most common to the world's coffee buyers and Arabica coffee comprises of 75% of the global coffee trade.

Surely, when you search through the sites to order coffee online, it will be clear that vast amounts of blends are available to order. Nevertheless, ask yourself the question; will you be able to imagine the taste of the coffee if you have only a description to read? If you find yourself in a specialist coffee shop, you smell the different flavours of the variety of coffee blends and can determine in a sense how it will taste like. But when you order coffee online, all you have is your imagination and the description.

Most of these shops where you order coffee online are very particular about the product they make available and therefore search all over the world for the best coffee beans they can find. Many suppliers purchase green coffee beans and roast them onsite immediately before shipping to ensure the finest quality.

As if this trend of ordering coffee online needs any helping hand on the marketing thereof, most online coffee shops ship each day using express or two day mail and frequently offer discounts on the first order you place with them. Frequent buyers are rewarded with additional savings when they order coffee online.

Unlike purchasing from a traditional retail store, when you order coffee online, it will not cost you an arm and a leg. Prices will vary from site to site, but generally, you can generally save more than you'd expect by shopping online. Not only that, most retail stores don't or can't carry all the different varieties that you may crave, thereby giving online shopping the advantage when it comes to greater selection.

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Want to Order A Tasty Food and Beverage

By George Teknia

Online food shops numbering in the thousands offer options for food and drink to satisfy any set of taste buds. Online, you can locate the majority of the UK's high street food shops, replete with any sort of food or confection desired. The time has come to indulge yourself in a variety of your favourite flavours, foods, and beverages.

2) All of the UKs leading retailers can be found in one convenient place, where you can pick up a quick lunchtime snack, or easily order for a large party. You can get the best food in the world just by turning on your computer.

You will enjoy the finest quality and selection, and are sure to find something delightful for everyone. You may even order tasty gifts for your friends and family on all of your special occasions! It doesn't matter if its your birthday or Christmas, you'll always find a good meal.

Gift baskets can be purchased from high end candy stores and from other specialty shops that are online. Of course, there are always offers, deals and contests to look into as well. As well, you can shop for the best wines online.

Choose from a variety of top brand name suppliers, providing the best food and drink, even from online health conscious food stores for a nutritious helping of tasty provisions. You can even find health food sites online.

Some online shops can suggest healthier options to traditional foods. You can shop for gifts brimming with foods, wine, and assortments of chocolates. You can find brand name champagne, wine, spirits, and brews to go along with gifts of chocolate, balloon decorations, and other options.

Now, with the advancements in technology, there are some online stores that also offer a cashback option to consumers so they can order the food they want without concern for the prices and enjoy some the benefits of extra cash.

Payment can be made easily with both cash and credit, but do not delay! Log on today for a scrumptious treat you are sure to love.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Panasonic Rice Cookers

By Anthony Cruz

I love my Panasonic 3.3 cup rice cooker. This baby gives me everything I need in a rice cooker, so it is not a surprise why reviewers love it. The innovation and convenience it brings are what attract me to this rice cooker.

Panasonic rice cookers are among the choice of many consumers. A friend uses a Panasonic rice cooker and says she loves it. Read on to know the good and the bad about rice cookers with the Panasonic name.

There are plenty of models to choose from and space does not permit to list all of them. So I randomly chose 5 units and included them here.

Panasonic SR-NA18

From Jessica, 33, accountant: I listened to the online reviewers so I got this rice cooker. It is a very nice cooker, actually. One of the good things is its automatic adjustments, perfect when making the best rice.

It has a self-cleaning feature and a washable inner lid. This compact unit also looks great on my countertop.

But there are some minor grumbles. I could not fit a head of cauliflower in it. I also wish the steamer tray was deeper.

Panasonic SR-G18FG 10-Cup Rice Cooker

From Kelly, 34, entrepreneur: I had no problem with this rice cooker three months after I bought it. I was thinking it was the perfect one. And then the water began to splatter like crazy.

The rice boils many times when I cook using this cooker. It creates some pretty annoying mess on my countertop. To top it all, I usually end up with a poor rice.

I am not a fan of coarse rice. The splattering when the rice boils is just horrible. I have tried every troubleshooting suggestion and failed.

Panasonic SR-NA10 Rice Cooker

From Jess, 43, programmer: I have all good words for this Panasonic rice cooker. My family and I are very picky about the rice we eat. Our rice cooker has not let us down so far.

It makes great rice of any type. I also love the fact that it is easy to clean. I also like the LCD display, which allows me to see the remaining time before the rice is cooked.

What a great rice cooker! We could not ask for more.

Panasonic SR-G10G

From Leslie, 55, government employee: The 5-cup size is ideal for 2-4 persons. The online reviews are true. It cooks rice perfectly.

I have tried cooking white and brown rice with this cooker with good results. Here is a helpful tip: Adjust water quantity depending on the rice type. Cleaning is so easy.

But there are some minor flaws. I do not like the shallow lid of the pot and the shabby handles of the rice cooker. It gives a great value, though.

Panasonic SR-3NA 1.5-Cup Rice Cooker

From Gina, 30, Masters student: My mother gave me this cooker as a gift. It is the right size for single people. Not only is it cute, but it also cooks the rice that I want.

This rice cooker is perfect for health-conscious people like me. I also love the fact that it looks good with the overall design of my kitchen.

I bought it 2 months ago and I have been cooking with it almost daily since then, definitely among the finest Panasonic rice cookers. The performance is great, so far.

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Farmer's Market in Durham

By Mara Hernandez-Capili

Durham Farmers Market enjoys its 10 years anniversary this year and the place is going stronger than ever. At Durham, North Carolina locals will have a taste of authentic homegrown farm produces because of the Durham Farmer's Market. At the Durham Farmer's Market only the tastiest and freshest produce are encouraged to be sold by reliable vendors.

The local farmers attest to the safeness of their produce. Why is it better to buy at a Farmer's Market and not on any grocery store or shop? Well it's because the price is relatively cheaper because all your money goes to the grower/ farmer and no to some middlemen or rental fees. Be on top of your diet and nutrition by only selecting the freshest and the most delicious fruits and vegetables in season. At the Durham's Farmers Market everything is 100% artificial and chemicals free.

Ever wonder if what you're about to eat is properly fertilized? At the Durham Farmer's Market all your questions about how your food or purchase is prepared and cultivated will be answered directly by the farmers. Want to know how they took care of their livestock before they sell them to make sure that you eat only the healthy and the best meat? All the farmers at the Durham Market are only to happy to answer your questions for you.

By buying at Farmers market you also get a chance to help your community and townsfolk by helping your local farmers and contributing to the advocacy of healthy eating habits. Seasoned fruits could be bought at the Durham Farmers Market and that clearly means that you get the fruits in their freshest and most delicious flavor of the year. This will save you the time of worrying and builds the commonalty trust between you and your seller.

The Durham Farmers Market- a haven of fresh and healthy food!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simply Pleasing Gourmet Cooking

By KeschawBoydWilliams

Gourmet cooking is seen as an art. It is meant to be a memorable experience filled with texture, style and color for the diner. The gourmet themselves make it an experience that is a step above the regular cooking experience with high quality foods, exotic ingredients and masterful preparation.

Even though a majority of gourmet preparation is done in the home, this term is more frequently used in reference to the end result of processes managed by professionals in kitchens which the consumer will never enter. The products issuing from these kitchens are packaged for purchase by aficianados of fine food, such as yourself, for your personal enjoyment, and for that of those you gift them to.

If you are gourmet cooking in your home, you will be happy to know that you have access to a panoply of special ingredients to elevate the taste, aromas, and textures of your time-tested recipes. These may include products such as: prepared gourmet sauces (for instance, pasta sauces suffused with sun-dried tomatoes and Italian sausage) to blanket a spinach pasta of your own making; pre-prepared pastas such as pumpkin fettucini or artichoke linguini to be slathered with your personal recipe marinara sauce; or other culinary riches like gourmet salsas (with exotic ingredients such as habanero peppers, peach or mango preserves, and tequila) for dipping your chips into, and unique twists on the common guacamole recipe.

A natural extension of the gourmet food line is gourmet snacks. In the recent years, gourmet snacks and gourmet gift baskets full of snacks have made a hit in the consumer market. Full of gourmet chips, cheese sticks and candies, the basket market is soaring upwards for these specialty treats and most people appreciate the added extra effort of the gourmet touch.

Naturally, there are some well-worn faves that have endured over the years, particularly the plethora ofl scrumptious gourmet desserts. You can Google search a ton of recipes for gourmet cheesecakes, with flavors like cool lime, caramel apple, and honey/peanut butter, and that only skims the top of possibilities. You can also find literally thousands of gourmet cookie recipes, including such delights as French butter, fruity sugar cookies, chocolate mint creams, and an endless variety of chocolate and peanut butter variations.

Gourmet food items have been very popular throughout the years. Items can be bought for cooking at home but they are extremely popular for bringing to friends parties, open houses and just as a reminder of your thoughtfulness. Look at the tastes of the person that you are offering the food to and tailor it to their likes and desires. As noted above, those recipes are easily found and once you get the hang of it, gourmet treats can be made in a snap!

If you prefer something that can be grabbed off the shelf without the use of technology, there are many gourmet cookbooks available at your local grocery stores and bookstores. You can also elect to get monthly magazines with terrific recipes and thought provoking presentations for future holiday parties. Of course with the use of technology, second-hand gourmet books are available online (some with free shipping) at excellent prices and from beginner to advanced gourmet cooking. You can also offer the suggestion to family members that those a gourmet baskets are sure a gift you would love to buy yourself!

So, when next you find yourself hunting for things to transform your attempt at gourmet cooking into a five-star culinary achievement, for quenching your craving for sweets of a higher nature, or for giving an uncommonly delicious gift to a loved one, keep in mind the vast possibilities offered by the gourmet food industry. With some thoughtful consideration, you can choose the specialty food which will give you and yours maximum enjoyment. And in doing so, free the connoisseur within you waiting to experience greater epicurean delights. Bon Appetit!

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5 Easy Ways To Buy Barbeque Essentials and Picnic Supplies cheaply

By Alexandra Vrugt

Most people are looking for ways to enjoy themselves and still buy for cheap those things that they need for their households and for entertaining. Here is 5 easy ways for you to save while being able to buy the stuff that you need to have a fun and delicious barbeque and picnic:

Seek out frugal recipes for your event. Keep your menu simple to keep the costs low. If you just have to use a "fantastic" recipe that you know, try integrating alternatives that are cheaper or on sale at that time. Plus, don't forget to check with friends about what the frugal recipes that they use that seem to be crowd pleasers.

Don't forget to consider a pot-luck barbeque where everyone brings something that they like and would like to share. This is one of the cheapest ways to host a barbeque because you won't have to put out as much for the food!

Get your barbeque sauce on sale and buy a lot when it's at the cheapest price! You can expect to save with coupons, supermarket sales like "buy one, get one free", and mark-downs. Buying the largest bottle of barbeque sauce can run you as much as $7! You can get more and spend less by just planning, clipping those coupons, and working the sales. With double coupon sales at stores, you could potentially get your sauce completely free!

Don't pay tons of money for paper products. A frugal fashionista will always buy for cheap the things that they need from discount retailers and thrift stores whenever possible. Themed events can sometimes cost a lot to pull off, but you can potentially buy an expensive item or two from a party supply store. But don't overbuy from there.

To complete the decor, fill in with dollar store or discount store items that you can easily mix and match. Check the mark-downs at the party supply store also because they sometimes have large quantities of cheap stuff for large parties.

Get your meats on markdown or discount! Never pay full price for meats because you will definitely blow your budget. Plan for your event by buying well in advance to get markdown meats that you can freeze and prepare at a later time. Expect to save upwards of 60% off of the retail price, and your money will go a lot further. Stores will discount everything from chicken to specialty cuts of steak. So, keep your eye out and buy when the price is right.

5. Always use coupons so that you will never pay full price. Companies publish coupons every week of the year, plus they make them available at the cash register, online, and in the supermarket aisles. You can always save by buying products with coupons when they already go on sale. You can get everything that you need for a great barbecue including condiments, relish, salads, and rolls for cheap just by working those coupons!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Coffee Equipment

By Matt Hellstrom

A quality cup of coffee according to the experts is only as good as the coffee equipment used to brew it. Although the quality of coffee does also depend on a few other variables too. For instance, the amount of time elapsed since the beans were ground, and roasted, as well as the quality of the actual coffee bean will affect the taste.

Freshly roasted and ground coffee is a great deal better than coffee which has been ground and allowed to grow stale. So you will need a coffee grinder to get the best possible quality out of your coffee. A coffee bean roaster would be great if you can manage it. A lesser quality coffee bean which is freshly ground is much better than a high quality coffee which is ground and allowed to go stale.

The basic piece of coffee equipment you, as a coffee lover, require is a good grinder. Grinders are available in all kinds of makes and models. They also come in different sizes, but no one really needs an industrial sized coffee grinder at home. Remember you want to grind the coffee fresh every time you need it; this is how you maintain the quality of the brew.

The be all and end all of coffee equipment has got to be the espresso machine. These are manufactured by many coffee equipment companies and are designed to make espresso the correct way at home.

Espresso needs to be made within a certain time frame; this is not easily achieved with the semi-automatic type machine; however they are adequate. The automatic espresso machine is the most preferable type of coffee equipment to use as it is simple to program in the time required to cut off a good shot of espresso. Cutting off a shot is the terminology used for making a cup of espresso as aficionados refer to it.

The best espresso machines have all the bells and whistles; these are the "super automatic" machines which do everything for you. They look good and this coffee equipment will grind the coffee, tamp the ground coffee and pull off the shot. Some models even discard the coffee grounds. Super automatic espresso machines are very entertaining for coffee lovers and they will watch fascinated as their coffee is made fresh for them. Now we are talking about some major coffee equipment with the price tag to match.

If you are going to go for coffee equipment that has a high price tag, you had better make sure that parts are easily available and that servicing can be obtained locally. The last thing you need is to be without your espresso machine for extended periods of time; that just wouldn't do!

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Shopping for a Waffle Maker

By Wilson G Myer

A waffle is basically made with a batter, and then cooked with a waffle iron that has been expressly patterned in order to give the waffle a characteristic and distinctive shape. Variations are usually made either via the differences in batter or even by the shape of the iron used.

Waffle making came to America in 1620 when the pilgrims first landed on the North American continent. Waffles were quite popular European fare, and Thomas Jefferson used to hold waffle parties or "frolics" as they were called. Waffles have been around for centuries, and in the Middle Ages, waffles were crafted by using two metal plates affixed by a hinge, with a wooden handle. This was held to cook over a fire and flipped for even cooking. These early waffles were referred to as wafers.

There are many distinct types of waffles and waffle makers. For example, Brussels or Belgian waffles often have deeper indentations, and are typically larger that an American style waffle. These waffles were brought to America for the first time at the New York 1964 World's Fair. Belgium is also the home of the Lige waffle.

Hong Kong style waffles are round and feature four quarters so that they can be easily filled with peanut butter sometimes, then subsequently folded into halves. Stroopwafels are a Dutch delicacy, and like the Hong Kong variety they are folded in half and a rich and very sweet mixture of syrup, butter, brown sugar, with a bit of cinnamon is added.

Using a heart shaped waffle iron creates Swedish style waffles. Often they are filled with whipped cream or sour cream and have berries or jams inserted within. In Norway salted varieties are used and often topped with blue cheese or brown cheese.

Waffle makers are now electric, have non-stick cooking plates and have handy light signals that let you know when to put on the batter, and even lights that signal you when the waffles are ready. USA waffle makers come in a plethora of styles including cartoon characters, the famous outline of the Disney Mickey Mouse character, and various hearts and flowers. The advantage of these is that of course children love them.

In addition to deciding on what shape of waffle iron to buy, you may want to have a retractable cord handy if you are working with a small space. You can also find compact waffle makers that can be stored sideways. Waffle makers may come equipped with a number of extra features as well, like the ability to make sandwiches or even cook meat, or choose a waffle maker with an LED display and electronic controls. Many models will even beep to let you know when to pour the batter, and again when the waffle is done.

Depending on what you are going to use your waffle maker for and how often you are going to use it, you can purchase waffle makers online or in department stores. If you require one with all the modern gadgets or if you are going to use it very often, then a restaurant supply store is your best bet. Just remember that once you begin making them, chances are that your family will be asking for waffles often! They then can become a healthy part of a balanced breakfast.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Picnic Backpacks: A Picnic Essential

By Paula C Burringham

A family picnic can be great fun. Whether you enjoy a picnic at home or you go out to the park, everyone will enjoy it. It's a wonderful time to enjoy family and to enjoy bonding with each other. Food is a big part of having a picnic so you'll need to be able to carry all the food and other items you'll need with you. It definitely makes things easier if you are having a picnic away from home.

For the big picnic a picnic backpack can definitely come in handy. Usually they have containers to help store the food, pockets for storage, and you can get drinks, food, utensils, and even blankets into them. They look just like a backpack and you carry them like one too.

While the disadvantages of a picnic backpack are few, some backpacks are not durable enough to stand heavy weight or designed well enough to keep things in place causing mess inside the backpack. This, of course, depends on the brand of picnic backpack you will use.

Look for picnic backpacks that are both durable and made of quality materials. Since you'll be carrying quite a few things in the backpack make sure that it heavy weight enough to handle all that weight. It should also have plenty of pockets and containers to carry all the things you are going to need for the big picnic.

Some of the more common names associated with picnic backpacks include Hudson, Zuma, Kaleidoscope, Pranzo, and Classico. These are dependable and durable brands that will cater to the needs you have. You can find them on the web or in local stores as well.

When you purchase a picnic backpack it should make carrying everything easy for you, so make sure that you find one that has various containers that seal well. They should have good starps so everything is kept in place. This way things won't end up spilling and making a huge mess for you.

Picnic backpacks can be bought from sport or equipment stores. You can also check out reliable websites that sell durable picnic backpacks. They are generally affordable and highly dependable. Some backpacks that have special features such as extra compartments are priced higher, but the function that they have is amazing.

The picnic backpack is not only ideal whenever you go on picnics but can also be used for other events such as mountain hiking as well. This makes picnic backpacks a hit for people who love being outdoors. Now that the summer heat is up, why don't you try getting a new picnic backpack for yourself and for your family?

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Coffee Delivery Services

By PJ Easton

Coffee delivery services exist to make the coffee drinker happy. That is how I view the industry. If you are a casual coffee drinker and Folger's instant coffee makes your day, this service is not for you. I am talking about the coffee aficionado who understands that there are so many ways to happily satisfy their coffee craving. I want to talk about what kind of coffee drinker you are first and then we'll talk about what's out there.

There are all kinds of coffee drinkers out there from the average coffee lover to the person who pays over a hundred dollars for exotic coffee and flies it to their door for instant gratification. There is only one coffee that I will fly to my door and that is Kona Peaberry coffee. Once you taste it, you'll never go back.

Unfortunately, my friends have tasted it and as a result, I must abstain from this wonderful coffee or go broke because of the moochers. Anyway, once you have assessed your coffee mania level, you can decide which coffee delivery services are right for you. Many people love surprises. I don't. If you love to be surprised, you can choose to have a random selection of coffee shipped to you on a schedule, usually monthly.

Whatever type of coffee you have delivered to you, remember that a true coffee drinker always has coffee beans shipped to them. Please invest in a proper coffee grinder. Blade coffee grinders simply shred the coffee and are all but useless when trying to get uniform flavor from your bean.

Use a burr grinder, they are only slightly more expensive and entirely worth the added cost. Make sure your coffee delivery service is located close to you. Order today, grind tomorrow, savor the flavor. Everybody say ahhh... It is best to grind only the coffee that you'll need right away.

The thinking here is that the wonderful aroma you smell escaping from the grinder will also take the flavor with it if it sits outside too long after grinding. Ever wonder why supermarket coffee tastes so bad? It tastes that way because they use low quality coffee beans and they were ground months ago.

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Looking For The Best Water Filter You Can Find?

By Peter Abertoning

Does the safety of your drinking water worry you? If it does maybe you've spent some time thinking about getting a water filter. There's so many filters to choose from it's difficult deciding which is the best water filter.

There's a few things to take into account when you're trying to work out which water filter to buy.

Carbon filters are one of the best water filters. These water filter systems are known to be very cost effective and easy to install. Additionally, carbon filters are known to be one of the best types of filters for removing impurities from your water. This may be one of the main reasons that carbon filters are one of the most common types of water filtration systems for you to have in the household. These are definitely one of the best faucet water filters that you will want to take into consideration.

Another one of the best water filters to take into consideration is a whole house water filter system. Since whole house water filter systems will purify the water from all of the taps in your home, it is one of the best types to consider. Keep in mind that whole house water filters can come in a variety of different types, whether it be carbon, reverse osmosis, or anything else.

Even if you just want to filter some drinking water you have options. You could get a simple pitcher water filter, where you pour your water in and the water filters through, and you pour the water into a glass. And you can get faucet water filters where all you have to do is to turn the tap on.

Pitcher filters are cheap but do have one drawback. They don't hold much and the are slow. You pour the water in and it slowly filters through, but it takes a while until you have enough water for a drink.

That's just a few of your options, you need to spend some serious time researching. Budget and your individual needs are both things you need to think about before you get started. But remember, the most important thing is that you're drinking nice clean water.

Remember there are impurities in your water and it's important to remove them, for reasons of taste and health.

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Kona Coffee - Kona Coffee Comes From Hawaii

By PJ Easton

Kona coffee is one of my favorite coffees. I could go on and on, but you really have to taste it to understand why people love it so much. This coffee comes from the Big Island of Hawaii. The coffee plant was brought to the island in the nineteenth century and was Brazilian in origin. Today, there are many small farms on Hawaii that grow this wonderful type of coffee. My favorite is the peaberry version, the one with the small coffee beans.

If you are going to go through the expense of having Kona coffee delivered to you, you might as well do it right. First off, buy the beans, don't buy the coffee already ground. Grind only as much coffee as you will consume in a day.

I have measured how much it takes to fill my coffee press and I only grind one press full at a time. Oh, by the way, I don't use a coffee maker. I use a coffee press. Basically, a coffee press is a glass jar with a top piece that is attached to a plunger with a screen attached to it. You put the coffee in the bottom, pour hot water into the jar, let it brew for at least 4 minutes and then push down on the plunger which strains the coffee and keeps the coffee grounds on the bottom.

This method of making coffee blows away my $200 Capresso coffee maker. Really, this $30 device makes the best coffee I've ever tasted.

Enough with the coffee brewing lesson already. If you buy Kona coffee, make sure it is 100% Kona coffee. Do not buy a blend. Usually blends will have as much as 90% cheap coffee mixed in and you should not pay a premium for that. I would recommend you try the smallest size available, usually an 8oz. bag of coffee to start. If you like it, by all means, save money by ordering several pounds of coffee beans at a time. Personally, I like to buy my coffee beans fresh every month despite the higher cost. For me, freshness is the top consideration.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Whisky Galore at The Islay Festival of Malt and Music

By Rachel Wilson

The small island of Islay is getting ready for the annual week long Festival of Malt and Music which starts the last weekend in May. The whiskies of Islay, from no less than eight working distilleries, are famous throughout the world and the malt whisky industry is one of Islay's largest employers and sources of revenue.

Each of the islands distilleries will be having its own open day during the festival and the whisky lover will be able to enjoy whisky tastings, master classes and distillery tours. In addition a busy programme also includes a variety of musical and cultural events, Highland dancing, the Islay Pipe Band, sporting events, guided walks and children's amusements. Many of the venues will feature food tastings and refreshments using local produce and ingredients.

An Evening of Gaelic Song and Traditional Music at the Gaelic College Bowmore on the evening of 27th May will be a treat for those interested in Gaelic music and culture. This is a great opportunity to see local Islay artists, including the Islay Gaelic Choir, perform. There will be refreshments and a raffle.

A highlight of the week for the real whisky aficionado will be a whisky tasting Ceilidh on the evening of the 25th May. If you think you can tell Ardbeg from Bowmore or Bruichladdich then all the distilleries will be there with their whiskies so go along and test your whisky tasting skills. Musical entertainment at the event will be by the Islay Fiddle and Accordion Band.

The distinguishing characteristics of Islay's whisky are due to its peaty soil, brown peaty water and exposed position. The winter gales bring salty sea spray inland to most parts of the island. This soaks into the peat which dries out again in the salty, seaweed scented breeze, imparting some of the strongest flavours of all the malt whiskies.

The distilleries in the south of the island include Ardbeg and Laphroaig. These produce some of the most powerful of Islay's whiskies. The brown, peaty water is used together with a heavily peated malt in the distilling process. The whisky has a flavour that has been described as peat smoke, brine and iodine. Sometimes even "medicinal".

The distilleries to the north of Islay include Bruichladdich. They produce a much milder whisky. They don't use the brown peaty water but draw water from the springs before it has a chance to come into contact with the peat. A lightly peated malt is also favoured. The whisky produced is still dry but much lighter with mossy overtones rather that peaty and the flavours of the sea are not so pronounced.

On the shores of Loch Indaal, in the middle of the Island, lies Bowmore distillery. In character it is somewhere in between the whiskies of the north and those of the south. While peaty flavours are very much in evidence it is not medicinal. The sea, salt, seaweed and iodine can be still be detected but the more delicate floral notes are able to come through and the whisky has a peppery finish.

Islay is known as The Queen of the Hebrides and a visit offers much more than the festival. Try a taste of island life with stunning scenery and amazing wildlife.

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