Oct 14

Build it Yourself – Cat Tree


Aug 16

Searching for the best electric tea kettle? Read this

Looking to make the switch to an electric kettle? Perhaps you are just seeking an upgrade, or a model more geared towards what you need it for.

There are countless tea kettles available now, making it a fairly arduous task when searching for the best electric tea kettle that suits your needs. The information below will go a long way in helping you reach a decision.

best tea kettle

Electric tea kettles offer a variety of uses and advantages over standard kettles that require external heating. While conventional kettles aren’t necessarily inferior, they do lack in many areas when compared to their electric counterparts. These are some of the bigger advantages worth noting.

Perhaps the biggest reason that many people opt for electric tea kettles is the convenience they offer. These kettles are simple to use, and require no external heat source. Some versions of electric kettles have their heat source built in, while others are made to be used with a base that heats the kettle.

At minimum, the kettle has a function that allows you to heat it with the press of a button. Others have programmable timers that allow you to determine when it turns on. There are even electric kettles that can heat the water to a specific temperature, which makes the ideal for brewing both coffee and tea.

Making Tea on a Stove

Electric tea kettles also provide a safer option for those that may forget to turn their stoves off, or forget that they are heating a kettle in the first place, as some may offer automatic shut off after running a heating cycle. Overall, electric tea kettles offer an easy way to heat up water for any culinary use calling for it. (Learn more on the benefits of electric kettle)

If you’ve used a conventional kettle before, you’re very aware of how long the process can sometimes take. It can seem like an eternity from the time you fill the kettle to when the water is actually ready for use, especially if your stove has gas burners. Electric tea kettles are much more efficient in their use of energy, and can heat up a full kettle in half the time it takes for a stovetop version. This can be very beneficial if you are in a hurry to brew coffee and tea – and who isn’t?

This was stated earlier, but worth mentioning again. Many electric kettles have the ability to heat water to a specific temperature. This is a great amenity to those who need water just below boiling point for things such as French presses, pour over coffee brewers, and loose leaf teas.

Continue reading: http://willowandeverett.com/best-electric-tea-kettles

Apr 16

Planning to Buy Espresso Machine: Things to Consider

Now that you understand what types of machines are available, let’s talk a bit about how to decide which one is best for you. First of all, I would recommend that you stay clear of steam espresso machines unless you drink only milk based coffee drinks. A manual espresso machine is also not the best choice for most first time buyers – if you get one of these espresso machines then be prepared for quite a number of poor espresso shots and some frustration before you learn get things right (the results are well worth it in the end if you don’t give up).  

Semi-automatic machines and automatic machines are very similar in concept, so I will treat them as one group for the purpose of this discussion and refer to them as semi-automatic machines. That leaves us with semi-automatic and super automatic machines – so your decision really boils down to a simple question: “Do I want a super automatic espresso machine?”. Let’s have a look at some of the major pros and cons of these bean-to-cup machines: (Shared from http://www.espresso-machines-and-coffee-makers.com/buy-espresso-machine.html)

  • Convenience – with higher end models you can pre-program several different drinks and then make them at a touch of a button.
  • Ease to use – your guests can easily operate the machine.
  • Consistency – you will get consistent shots of espresso right from the beginning (with semi-automatic machine some of your first few shots may be close to undrinkable).
  • Time – it will take far less of your time to make your espresso drink with a super automatic machine.
  • Reliability – super automatic machines are more prone to problems than semi-automatic machines.
  • Control of the brewing process – you will not get the best possible shot out of your beans with a super automatic machine.
  • Cost – super automatic machines cost usually more than a comparable semi-automatic machine.
  • freshly-brewed-espresso

Still not decided which way to go? Maybe a semi-automatic espresso machine with an option to take ESE pods (as well as ground coffee) may be the answer. You can start with the pods and then quickly progress to using your own coffee.

Unlike a coffee maker (which uses a dripping mechanism to brew a cup of joe) an espresso machine works instead by forcing very hot water through finely ground coffee known as a “puck.” This process causes the liquid to become thicker than regular coffee. In the end, this cappuccino also forms froth, known as “crema,” on top of the drink as a result of emulsifying the oils in the coffee into a colloid.

A fact that many people get backwards is that an espresso shot actually has less caffeine than cup of coffee (40-75 mg as compared to 80-185 mg.) If daily caffeine intake is a concern to you, then an espresso machine is a great investment.

Finally, when trying to find the best home espresso maker for your needs, you’re going to have to consider what type of drive mechanism you want it to use to make the beverage. Not all espresso machines operate in the same way, and the strength and taste of the drink is affected by the operation it uses to produce it. (Source: http://davidandmax.com)

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Apr 16

Preparing good quality rice with the right rice cooker

Rice is a powerful food staple for every meal, so you better cook rice in good quality. It is sometimes difficult for you to avoid undercooking or overcooking the rice. However, you apply your method of preparing for a good result. What is your method of cooking rice? Are you sure you are preparing good quality cooked rice? What might be the difference in the quality of rice when using an electric kitchen appliance?

white rice

Significant Uses of Rice Cooker

A rice cooker or multi cooker is an appliance used for automated cooking with a timer. A multi cooker has many uses. It can steam, stew, roast, grill, deep fry, boil, simmer, bake and grill food. It uses in preparing food using every type of method of cooking such as simmering, slow cooking, steaming, boiling and also baking. This device is operated by putting the ingredient inside and selecting the corresponding program then leaving it for a few minutes until it is perfectly cooked. (Guide: How to cook rice perfectly)

There are stovetop pots that you can cook rice in a covered pan on the stove but how about preferring a rice cooker or a multi cooker in cooking rice? A rice cooker is a designed to cook short, medium or long grain rice with little or without intervention from the cook. This electric appliance has the capacity in a better result in cooking the rice. It is an automated tool that allows better quality cooked rice compared to a stovetop. It reduces time spent in the kitchen preparing meals.

Steps in Easy Cooking

With these, you just need to follow simple steps or guidelines to make the cooking easy. First, you have to pick a rice type. Examples are purple rice, brown rice or typically plain white rice. Then find appropriate indicator and fill the pot up to the marker inside it. The rice will be optimized, and it will taste better.

Performance is may be the reason some uses an electric cooker since its result is mostly better that stovetop cooking. There is the tendency that you vary the heat pressure depending on the amount and type of rice you are cooking. Long-grain brown rice takes much time in the cooking  you are using the stovetop. But when you use a rice cooker, it reduces the time consumed in food. Using a slower cooker will need more effort concerning cooking rice. You have to monitor it and stir from time to time. It gives your convenience of using the rice cooker because you don’t have to stand by on it in the entire process of cooking. Rice cooker makes the cooked rice more tastes. It gives aroma to the rice after it has cooked. Through the keep-warm setting, you don’t have to worry that it will be overcooked or undercooked. (Read: Purchasing a fuzzy rice cooker)

The primary benefit of a rice cooker is making cooking easier for you. This innovative technology is a great help in preparing an excellent quality of cooked rice.

Post shared from The Helping Kitchen

Dec 15

Tips for Healthy Cooking with Nonstick Cookware

Nonstick pans have come under fire lately. Cooking with pans that have a nonstick coating, such as Teflon, may expose you to a dangerous chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which advisers to the EPA have labeled as a likely human carcinogen.

This chemical and its precursors are also found in grease-resistant microwave popcorn bags and stain- and water-resistant fabrics. The EPA and the manufacturers report that PFOA isn’t released in normal cooking, but heating a coated pan to high temperatures can cause off-gassing of PFOA. According to Dupont, this occurs at 660 degrees. Still, a forgotten empty skillet can reach that temperature in a few minutes.

Related: How I Used Cookware

Careful with the Nonstick Coating

Discard pans that have scratches; the coating can flake off into foods and be ingested. To avoid the fumes that occur when a nonstick pan is heated to more than 660 degrees, never put one under a broiler or leave an empty skillet on a stove-top burner. Technology is improving, so choose the best non stick cookware with newer nonstick coatings that do not contain PFOA. These are new, though, so long-term tests have not been conducted.

Use anodized aluminum cookware set, which are hardened to the point that they’re nearly nonporous, so food doesn’t stick easily to their surface.

Use good old cast-iron pans. Although they are heavy, they conduct heat easily, and well-seasoned cast iron is virtually nonstick. Plus, the iron that leaches into your food from the pan can have health benefits.

Source: marthastewart.com

Nov 15

Why I Can’t Live Without A Reliable Toaster In My Kitchen

Just like a lot of people, I enjoy having a cup of coffee and toasted bread when I wake up every morning. For this simple reason alone, I always make sure that the toaster in my kitchen is always in working condition. Based on my personal experience, there are a lot of toasters today that don’t last very long. After using them for a few months or even weeks, they would break down. This is why whenever I purchase another toaster, I make sure that it was manufactured by a trusted brand. The price may be more but it’s worth it because at least the toaster will last long.

toaster (1)

I think the best toasters in the market today are the ones made by the brands Cuisinart, Oster, Black and Decker, and Breville. These are brands that are known for the high quality of their products. This is why I always prefer their toasters when I go shopping for another one. Their price tags are not only very affordable, they are also sturdy enough to last for years if they are well taken care off. I also want my toasters to have features that can help me toast bread more efficiently and quickly. Needless to say, the brands I just mentioned have the features I’m looking for.

Another thing that I look for in a toaster is the overall design and size. I have a fairly small kitchen so I want my toaster to be a bit smaller as well so that it won’t occupy too much space in the kitchen counter. As long as the toaster can toast at least two slices of bread in one go, it’s fine by me (Guide: How to make toast). However, the toasting time should be quick because I’m always in a rush when I wake up in the morning to get ready for work. The faster the toasting time, the better.

Oct 15

Intrigues of a Japanese Kitchen Knife

Today, Japanese kitchen knives are one of the most treasured kitchen cutlery in the world. They are one of those things that define a modern kitchen and its domination in the ‘kitchen world’ cannot be over-emphasized. They are one of those things that you will notice in almost all the cooking TV shows in Mexico, Japan and in any other part of the world. There is no major knife brand in the world that stands out as so spectacularly modern, untainted steel right from the tip to the base. There are the cheap Japanese chef knife sets under $100 that are popularly known all over the world.

As a result of its popularity, one of the main challenges being faced by the developers of the Japanese kitchen knives is forgery. As a chef, cook or a shopper you need to be able to differentiate between an original from a fake one so as to avoid being a forgers victim. One distinguishing feature of a Japanese kitchen knife is that, they are lightweight and have very sharp edges. In addition, their steel blades are very firm unlike the other knives which are usually flexible. Its unbending ability makes it easier to maintain their sharp edges. (Read about sharpening your kitchen knives here)


It is only Japan that has its own unique techniques of designing kitchen knives. At first, Japanese kitchen knives were designed to achieve the exceptional cutting needs that was required when preparing their own (Japanese) food e.g. sushi. Cutting raw fish with precision was the main consideration when developing the knives. Just visit any Japanese restaurant and you will definitely notice how specific they are when preparing a delicate raw fish slices and their quick act of chopping vegetable. Their finesse is only achieved as a result of the carefully designed Japanese knives.

The Sushi knife for instance, has been specifically designed to perform ‘surgeon-precision’ slices of raw fish even with limited effort. Perhaps, one of the most identifiable of the Japanese Kitchen knives is the extremely resourceful santoku knife. It is made unique by its exceptional style and finish. It has a flat edged blade that is characterized by some distinctive markings. As a result of its functional style and unique design, santoku is one of the most celebrated of the Japanese knives and is a darling to most celebrity chefs.

Japanese kitchen knives have gone global and are some of the top rated knives in the world. One problem though is that, not everybody has the skills to make the best out of the knives. Poor use of these knives can really ruin one’s reputation and to others it can be a waste of money. Some people only buy these Japanese knives to be envied by their friends and hence they end up not using the knife to its full potential. It is therefore important to take time and understand or rather familiarize yourself with your specific culinary desires and needs. To help you on this point, I’d like to refer you to a book titled Japanese Kitchen Knives written by chef Nozaki.

Oct 15

A Decision Criteria in Choosing the Best Air Mattress

When I moved house from my mother’s to my new apartment in Texas, I realized that I did not have enough money to buy a good solid guest bed. This was enough reason for me to worry since my cousin Mirinda had promised that she would constantly visit me on weekends for sleepovers. On my online search for the cheapest beds, I stumbled on air mattresses that not only promised of amazing affordability but also cozy comfortability. I however found myself in a dilemma in choosing the best air mattress since they were so many selling.


The air mattresses had great ratings and rave reviews that left me wondering over which air bed to select. Out of the highly acclaimed air beds that I stumbled on were Serta Air Raised bed, Sound Asleep Dream Series, Insta-bed Air Raised bed, Insta-bed EZ Queen Air bed, Aero bed Comfort and Intex Raised Downy airbed. All these beds had great features and therefore confusing me further on the one to buy.

I however came up with a decision criteria. I wanted a queen size bed that would perfectly suit my cousin Mirinda. Two, the air mattress had to have a sure-firm grip on the ground. It also had to have a comfort coil and never flat technology so that Mirinda would sleep soundly without having to wake up in the dead of the night to refill the air in her bed. I would also go for a bed that had at least 1 year warranty lest I bought a bed that would wear in a matter of months. There was no way that I was going to spend my hard-earned money on a bed that would not last for long. Mirinda had also requested for a bed that had a built-in headboard and therefore I had to factor that in my decision.

Aug 15

Top Secrets of My Daily Joy Both At Home and At Work Place


Maintaining a smiling face all through the day is not an easy task especially given the daily pressures we have to go through. Sometimes our relationships with the family may be constrained and getting to work makes our days endless given the ever suspicious bosses and the nagging employees. Keeping your joys and hopes high is all we need in our daily lives. A cup of espresso never lets you down and with the espresso machine reviews you are able to determine the machine to purchase and start enjoying your life and let all the pressures flee you.

After a morning jog in my hood after waking up I let go all my sorrows and ease my day with espresso. This makes me fresh and ready to face the day’s challenges.

At my work place I can never do without another cup of espresso which I normally take at intervals of two to three hours thanks to my employer that offers them freely. When I take my favorite drink I just feel that my nerves are reactivated and my memory is boosted. I can be able to handle more demanding tasks at work with ease and even faster. I also find espresso to be a major booster in my digestion which makes me feed on so many other types of food without any discomfort in my stomach.


Courtesy of the espresso machine reviews, my employer was able to purchase the right machine that enables my colleagues and me to enjoy our favorite drink. The machine does not only make quality espresso but also makes the preparation fast. With the right amounts of the ingredients of making espresso, quality is not an issue with the machine. It serves hot espresso that you need to take caution while drinking. At home I normally get my espresso ready which I drink while watching television.

Aug 15

Feeding the Rice Lover

My husband is one of those guys who can’t let a meal pass by without eating at least 3 cups of rice. For some reason, he does not get fat though and he does not even exercise so it must be that metabolism. I decided to buy the best rice cooker brand in order to cook a lot of rice for our anniversary. I expect him to come home late for work so I have a lot of time to prepare everything. I wanted it to be a surprise so I also bought some meat in order to cook his favorite the Pot Roast Beef since that goes well with rice. I also thought sesame seed would mix well with Japanese rice too. Later on, I prepared the plates, spoons and forks already plus a candle for it to become a romantic dinner. Of course, it would be better to celebrate an anniversary at home instead of doing it at a restaurant so there would be nobody else around the place except the two of you.


The moment my husband came home, I shouted him “Surprise!” and he dropped his briefcase in amazement. I know it was a long day at work for him since he works at an insurance company. I knew he was going to be so hungry though since all that stress can make your tummy growl. He looked so happy when he saw the dinner table was all set with his favorite rice. He quickly gave me a kiss then a hug as he sat down. We looked so happy as we chomped down on the Japanese Rice and the Pot Roast Beef. It did not take long before he told me to do it again next year because he loves surprises especially when it involves a lot of rice.

Apr 15

How My Sewing Machine Has Made Me A Better Quilter

To say the least; quilting is one of the things I have never liked; Interestingly, from my tender age, I saw my mom do the quilting every single night, and at no time did I develop some sort of interest. Every day my mom insisted I watched her do the quilting, but all her pleas felt on deaf ears. Had I known this was some of the things I was going to do at some point in my life, I would have let her teach me.

My journey to quilting actually started after I got married and our first son born; since I was home most of the time, at times, I really got bored and needed something to keep me busy. I talked to my husband about my ordeal and after a very lengthy discussion he suggested I go for a few sewing lesson and I start quilting straight away. I was surprised, but then again not shocked; my husband loved quilting and I think it is one of the skills he learnt from his mom. I agreed to her terms, but under one condition; just like my mom, he must get me the best sewing machine for quilting. He agreed he will buy me once I clear my sewing lessons.

sewing class

On a rather twist of events, it is now over a year since I completed my sewing lessons and got my first sewing machine for quilting. Thanks to my sewing machines, I love doing small quilting tasks every other day. Although, the sewing machine for quilting did cost us a significant amount of money, some of the features it has have in a way made every aspect of quilting easier and straightforward. A the end; if quilting is something you want to be apart of , just like my story, I suggest you also buy the right sewing machine for quilting for the benefits are far reaching.

More: Craftsy Online Classes