10 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!)

Handy-Kitchen-Tips1. Remember, y’all, it’s all about the prep. Take away the stress by doing the prep the night or day before. You’ll look like a star.

Paula’s Best Dishes

2. The smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature. For example, I bake mini chocolate chip-toffee cookies at 500 degrees F for only 4 minutes. Perfect end result.

Jim Lahey

Co. and Sullivan Street Bakery, New York City

3. Store spices in a cool, dark place, not above your stove. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor.

Rick Tramonto

Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood, Osteria di Tramonto and RT Lounge, Wheeling, IL

4. Use a coarse microplane to shave vegetables into salads or vinaigrettes. You can create an orange-fennel dressing by adding grated fennel and orange zest to a simple vinaigrette.

Paul Kahan

Avec, Big Star, Blackbird and The Publican, Chicago

5. Always make stock in a large quantity and freeze it in plastic bags. That way, when you want to make a nice soup or boil veggies, you can simply pull the bag out of the freezer.

Charlie Trotter

Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago

6. If you’re cooking for someone important — whether it’s your boss or a date — never try a new recipe and a new ingredient at the same time.

Marcus Samuelsson

Red Rooster, New York City

7. Cook pasta 1 minute less than the package instructions and cook it the rest of the way in the pan with sauce.

Mario Batali
Iron Chef America

8. After making eggs sunny-side up, deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar, then drizzle the sauce on the eggs to add another dimension to the dish.

Didier Elena
New York City

9. After working with garlic, rub your hands vigorously on your stainless steel sink for 30 seconds before washing them. It will remove the odor.

Gerard CraftNiche and Taste, St. Louis

10. Brine, baby, brine! Ya gotta brine that poultry to really give it the super flavor.

Guy Fieri
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

More tips at Food Network.


The top 3 espresso machines i would recommend

Having an espresso machine at your home can be very economical as compared to the daily expense of having to buy coffee every day. And let’s face it, anything made at home always tastes better. So, are you in need of an espresso machine this year too? Here are three best rated espresso machines this year that you will just love having in your kitchen.

top espresso machine

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express

This machine won the SCAA Best New Product Awards in 2013 and to date it is still a king in the market. It is adored by so many people across the world due to its ease of use and how it makes the best espressos ever in addition to making lattes and cappuccinos.
Some of its awesome features include:
A built-in grinder that can be adjusted.
An infusion gauge that notifies users of when they need to make adjustments such as those of the grind or amount of coffee.
An inbuilt PID
In addition to those it is also easy to clean and can make milk-based beverages too.

The Rancilio HSD-SILVIA Espresso Machine

This machine is built of high quality materials and lasts longer. It is also composed of a lot of commercial features that makes it even more efficient. Other advantages include:
Its use has been simplified to the pressing of only three buttons based on your choice of drink.
The heating elements can easily be removed.
A 58mm portafilter.
If you want an espresso machine that combines power with simplicity, this is what I would recommend for you.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine

Finally, we have our second runners up. Of the three this machine is the cheapest and it got very many positive reviews for its combination of efficiency and quality for just a small price. It has a commercial quality design that is made of durable material and a powerful pump in addition to other amazing features. The portafilter is of 58mm. If you want quality for a small price, this is the right espresso machine for you.

cooking, Home, Kitchen Cutlery

Best Knife Set 2017

How To Select The Best Knife Set?

Confused on how to select the best knife set 2017, I have sorted out some of the best available options which are the perfect combination of quality and performance. Before you make a final decision, make sure the knife set you have selected follows your budget, cooking style and feels comfortable upon consistent usage. Top sellers at are popular brands such as Chicago Cutlery, Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel, Zwilling J.A Henkels, Mercer Culinary Genesis and Victorinox Swiss Classic which have proved to be the best knife sets launched in 2017.

My recommendations:

Chicago Cutlery 16-Piece Knife set

Chicago Cutlery 16-Piece Knife set
Coming over to the most selling product, Chicago Cutlery is a 16-piece knife set which are best suitable for daily use. The knives won’t rust or lose sharpness for years to come as they are made out of strong stainless steel material. Forged high carbon blades are suitable for professional users as the set includes a utility knife, a bread knife, a peeler, a paring knife and other essentials such as sharpening steel to restore the performance of each item.

Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Block

Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Block
Another user’s recommendation for the best available knife set is the premium Cuisinart 15-Piece Stainless Steel Block set which is a perfect choice for modern kitchen. No matter how you want to chop or cut, the knives are highly maneuverable and let you work like a professional. The knives are lightweight and well balanced to give you best grip and comfort upon daily use. Upon close inspection, I have myself witnessed the manufacturer’s quality finish and attention to detail so that you do not get some ordinary piece of knife set while paying a huge amount.

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Set

Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece Forged Knife Set
Next on our list comes the Mercer Culinary Genesis 6-Piece forged knife set which is made out of superb quality German stainless steel to meet your cooking expectations. With these knives, you can chop, cut, mince and slice like a pro with increased efficiency. For the comfort of its users, the company has provided black Santoprene handles which are designed to give best grip even when your hands are wet. The knives are well balanced and come with a decent storage box so which can greatly enhance the beauty of your kitchen.

Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set

Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery Block Set
Last on our list for the ultimate knife set is the amazing Victorinox Swiss Classic 15-Piece Cutlery block set which includes items such as a boning knife, bread knife, chef’s knife and a 4” parer to meet your cooking expectations. Known for its outstanding performance and durability, each blade is crafted out of stamped high carbon stainless steel and hand crafted separately to meet the Swiss standards. I think this is surely the best available option for cooking enthusiasts and professionals by which they can greatly enhance their speed and performance.


Experience on Making My Own Espresso At Home

Has espresso become your first thing in the morning? If yes, there is no use in paying for that cup of espresso whereas you can make it from the comfort of your home. Making espresso at home is a walk in the park, only if you have a versatile espresso machine. If you are budgeting on one, you can get one of the best espresso machines 2017, but a better entry level espresso machine will be priced around $400.

espresso drink

Espresso machines are lauded for their unmatched versatility when it comes to espresso brewing. These machines come in different sizes and models for you to choose from. Here are some of the best espresso machine reviews detailing the best espresso machines.

1. Breville BES900XL

This machine features multiple control buttons that will give you full control of the entire brewing process. It stainless steel construction makes it one of the most durable espresso machines on the market, while its auto-shut off system will automatically switch it off once it is done with brewing espresso. It offers 4 flavor settings for you to choose the setting that suits you best. You can read multiple reviews on Breville espresso machines to learn more of different types of Breville espresso machines. I owned this machine since 2012. It have been worked greatly for 4 years already. I just love it.

2 Delonghi Esam3300 Magnifica

This super automatic espresso machine features an ergonomic control panel, a cappuccino system frother and a patented direct to brew system. These features make it ideal for mixing steam and milk in order to create the best froth. It also comes with reheat functions, temperature control buttons and decalcification indicators used for alerting users when it needs to be cleaned.  If you’re looking for a great espresso maker, I’d recommend this one without reserve.

3. Krups Espresseria

This machine comes with a built-in grinder that is specially designed to crush the hardest beans. It also features a self-cleaning function thus making it quiet easy to clean. It can automatically shut itself off when it is done with brewing espresso, thanks to its auto-shut off technology. It comes with milk frother and 7 flavor settings.


Tea is more than just a beverage

Tea is more than a beverage, it’s an herbal remedy.

This quote describes it well:

Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage. ~Okakura Kakuzō

Tea is a perfectly simple way to access the health benefits of herbs.

The quiet ritual of preparing and sipping a cup of tea is a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful practice.

Creating your own tea blends is easy and much less expensive than buying some of the pre-made bags at the store. Homemade tea also makes a delightful gift.


Here are a bunch of recipes you can make in your own kitchen:

Oh, and if you’re going to make your own tea, you might want one of these little beauties:

This ForLife Stump Tea Pot is usually used for loose tea, but also works with tea bags. It holds about 18 ounces and makes approximately two-three cups of tea. It’s perfect for one or two people. I love it. See my full tea collection here.

On to the tea recipes . . .


Ginger Tumeric Tea @ Home Grown and Healthy

ImmuniTea {Wellness Herbal Tea} @ Real Food Outlaws

Elderberry Tea @ Fresh Bites Daily

Power-packed Teas for Winter @ Studio Botanica

Sore Throat Herbal Remedy Tea @ Studio Botanica

Cold & Flu Fighting Apple Green Tea Tumeric Tonic @ A Harmony Healing


Check out tea collection


Best Tea Kettles for My Cup of Tea

tea kettle

I prefer tea over coffee simply because I find drinking tea more refreshing, plus the fact that coffee makes me sleepy. I know, this is ironic! And as the winter is fast approaching, I bet all of you are scouting for the best tea kettles 2016. Don’t worry I have you covered, here’re my top 4 tea kettles for 2016:

First on my list is the OXO Unisex Good Grips. It has the old fashion feel to it and a loud whistle that reminds me of my grandmother’s kettle. It is an electric kettle made of stainless steel and has fixed spout for safe and precise pouring, perfect for a clumsy tea drinker like me. But OXO is not just a beauty, it is pretty straightforward. Its simplistic design gives you unbeatable performance. It is available for $34.95.

My second choice would be the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp. Preparing a cup of tea was never this easy! (Here’s a temperature chart for beginners.) This big boy can boil up to 1.7 liters of water! It’s electric, cordless and has a six preheating settings for steeping your tea. It also has dripless our Spout with a splash guard that guarantees no mess on your countertop. It is available for $79.38. Although it is a bit on the pricey side, it guarantees quality, safety, and performance.

Third on my choice is the BELLA 1.2L Electric Ceramic Tea Kettle. Nothing speaks class and timeless beauty than a ceramic kettle. It’s the perfect conversational piece on your table. And because it’s ceramic, you can be assured that it is free from stone or metallic residue. Bella guarantees to deliver the best tasting tea. I just cannot wait for tea time with my girlfriend with this! It is available for $33.99, and for a ceramic kettle that price is a bargain.

Last would be SMAL WK-0815T Tea Maker and Electric Kettle. This one has tea masters in mind! Its high-quality borosilicate glass pot design, for a more robust look plus this one, has a strainer for easy cleaning. Best of all, this kettle can boil water like no other. It uses STRIX thermostat technology that is three times the normal thermostat. This is available for $65.00.

So there you go! I’ve done the legwork for you, so all you have to do now is to choose and grab one from your nearest store!


Fantastic start for my kids

Camp has gotten off to a fantastic start for my kids.  Girlie loves her camp group and did a great job of picking a club that really suits her – nature!  She’s been able to pet goats and feed worms to a baby alligator!  At least, I think that is what she was telling me via FaceTime tonight. :)   I’m in Connecticut this week working on a Salesforce implementation and am missing all the fun.  Little Dude has a drop-off meltdown every morning due to his separation anxiety issues, but somehow going to camp with a driver and being delivered by this relative stranger to his camp group is a lot more bearable… go figure!

Anyway, I promised some random-genre posts during the summer lunch-lull and I’ll kick that off with a show and tell on a recent pinterest project: DIY Vanilla Extract! I pinned that to my gift ideas board a few months ago and finally got around to using the idea for end-of-year gifts.  The original post goes into more detail, but for me, the project entailed the following steps:

I ordered vanilla bean pods from

I bought oil and vinegar bottles from the dollar store.

I bought a giant bottle of vodka!

I took the lids off the bottles and washed them thoroughly.

I sliced the vanilla bean pods down the center and placed two sliced beans (4 segments) in each bottle.

I filled the bottle with vodka and put the lids back on.

I went to Michaels for scrapbook supplies and mod podge to decorate the bottle and make the labels.

I made labels with PowerPoint and printed them on my printer. I’ll send you the files if you want them!

I enlisted my husband’s help to cut the scrapbook paper and do a nice job with the mod-podging (is that a verb?).

I wrote a nice thank you note to each teacher and bought them Williams Sonoma gift cards (for baking supplies) and put that all together to give to them on the last day of school.



Which Nonstick Cookware is the Best?

Many people get confused on which cookware to choose for their cooking needs; whether to go for regular uncoated cookware or the nonstick one. The decision usually comes down to your personal preference. There are different types of cookware and all of them come with their own drawbacks and benefits. However, many people fail to understand the advantages of choosing nonstick cookware and this is where nonstick cookware reviews come in handy.

The good thing with a nonstick pan is that when cooking, food does not stick to the surface of the cookware. This not only give you a pleasurable cooking experience but it also makes cleaning of the pan easy. Nonstick cookware that comes with coatings such as Anolon, Tefal, Circulon among others are super easy to clean. In addition, nonstick cookware offers a healthy cooking such that you only need to use little fat or oil to cook your food unlike the uncoated cookware. Moreover, there are some nonstick cookwares that are designed to be safe for oven use.

Nonstick pans are designed with special coatings which can be ruined if washed in the dishwasher because of the harshness of chemicals. You do not have to worry that you have a hard time cleaning your nonstick cookware. Washing your pan by hand is quite unchallenging. Nonstick cookware has grown in popularity and the negatives outweigh the benefits of this type of cookware.


If you have no idea where to start, the Cuisinart 55-11BK nonstick is one of the best nonstick cookware in the market. It comes in a set of 11 pieces. Its nonstick finish guarantees you a continuous food release. Cleaning of the cookware has never been this easy and it is dishwasher safe. Another nonstick cookware worth checking out is the T-Fal Initiatives which come in a set of ten pieces. The cookware set is designed with ergonomic handles which can withstand oven temperature of up to 350 degrees. What makes this nonstick cookware set stand out is the lid which comes with a knob for allowing you to easily adjust the opening to release stem.

Calphon nonstick is another cookware set worth checking out. The set compromises of 14 pieces that come with lids made with tempered glass. The cookware set has a brushed finish with handle material that is silicone coated and made of stainless steel. What makes this cookware set popular is its pan-pot material which hard anodized aluminum.

Your kitchen cookware cannot be complete without Guy Fieri nonstick set. The 10 piece cookware has a long lasting interior made of nonstick finish. This offers healthy cooking and outstanding food release. With Guy Fieri, there are no more hassles in cleaning your cookware. Good thing with this nonstick set is that it is dishwasher safe but hand washing is also recommended. The aluminum construction that comes with the cookware not only offers durability but it also distributes heat evenly and rapidly thus getting rid of hot spots that result to burnt food. The colored handles fitted with riveted silicone for providing easy grip will make you fall in love with Guy fieri.

If you are looking for nonstick cookware that comes with dishwasher properties, then Farberware Dishwasher safe nonstick is your perfect option. It compromises of 15 pieces. The shatter-resistant lids made of glass makes the cooking process simple by allowing you to keep an eye on the cooking food while the moisture, heat and flavors are sealed in. This is a perfect example of a top quality cookware made of nonstick interiors which allows easy releasing of foods for uncomplicated cleanup. The cookware handles offer extra strength due to their nature of being double riveted.

Related Posts:


We Made Gummies!

I’ve been promising Girlie that we’d try making our own gummy snacks ever since I saw my friend Kendra’s recipe a couple of months ago.  Kendra’s Blog is always full of great inspiration for my bentos and she frequently posts other non-bento ideas too.  Her article on How To: Mess Up Home-Made Fruit Juice Gummies was perfect for inspiring me to try!  And thanks to her advice, we did NOT mess up our batch!

The recipe is simple: 2/3 cup of fruit juice concentrate plus 4 packets (1 box) of gelatin.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the juice in the saucepan.  Let it sit a few minutes, then heat it a little and stir until gelatin is dissolved.  Pour into molds and wait 20 minutes for the gummies to set.   Easy-peasy!


I read the directions to Girlie and explained everything to her the first time.  When we made the second batch later in the day, she did everything on her own, except for pouring the hot juice/gelatin mix into the molds.   She and I swapped and she became the photographer on that step.  We are such a good team.

Here’s our pictoral demonstration:

1) Pour 2/3 cup fruit juice concentrate (we used apple, grape, cherry) into a pan:

2) Sprinkle in 4 packages of gelatin and let it sit for a few minutes:

3) Heat the juice/gelatin mixture on medium and stir until dissolved:

4) Pour into molds and wait 20 minutes for gummies to set:

5) Enjoy your finished product!

These are yummy and easy to make. I like that you can control the ingredients and keep dyes and excess sugar out of the food.  I also like that I could pick shapes that my kids loved and that it was easy for Girlie could be in charge of the project.  She brought a container of them in to school today to share with all of her friends.  She’s so proud of herself! This is project we will definitely do over and over.

I bought the train molds and animal molds at If you look around, you will find lots of other choices. I am sure I’ll be ordering more soon.  One batch filled up both sheets of molds plus a tiny bit leftover that I poured into a glass ramekin and can either serve as a large circle or cut up for the kids.  They could be good for sandwich decorations in the kids’ bento lunches!

Let me know if you try these and how they came out! They were a hit at our house!

Kitchen Cutlery

The importance of finding the best kitchen knives

Everyone has their own living, sleeping, eating and cooking style within their homes and apartment. But if you are obsessed with home interiors and appliances then you must be obsessed with new and useful kitchen gears for your kitchen. Right kitchen gears will help you to do your work within short time. Knives are also among the most important and useful kitchen gear. You can find a good knife set by reading reviews available in abundance on various websites.

Kinds of Knives

A well managed hoe kitchen need some important and useful equipments i.e. every kind of knife. Usually people take it non-seriously that any knife can play the same role like other. However, this perception is totally false. Every kind of knife has different purpose while it comes to cutting, chopping and peeling. Knife has usually four kinds for example, slicer knife, a chef’s knife, routine knife and a parer. Chef’s knife, a slicer and parer are usually expensive among other knives.

To know about what kind of knife you should use, then you should find out the best kitchen knife set reviews regarding different kind of knives. Knife plays a very significant role while cutting and slicing vegetables and meat to give your food a fine and neat look. Uneven and irregular slicing often let your dish look ugly. Consumer Reports is your best asset. Buyer Reports’ kitchen knife surveys will give you legit purchasing guidance that you can trust.

Benefits of sharp knives

Sharp blades need less effort than dull blades. Less savage power does less harm to the food. Soft and Sensitive food ingredients like herbs, cut through neatly will search fresher for more, though a non forged knife. The neatness and natural looks of ingredients remain the same by using sharp knives. Dull knives usually bring harm to you fingers while putting extra force in cutting, slicing and peeling.

Hence, there are many websites you can see for best kitchen knives reviews. You will easily find your desired result and you can make a good decision while buying knife for your kitchen.


Are You Fit?

Fitness refers to ability of the body to function with vigor and alertness. Nutrition refers to the nurturing of our body, in our ability to keep it healthy and functioning as it is supposed to do. Our ability to provide the body with all the necessary food, vitamins, and minerals so that we continue to thrive in our daily life processes. But do we know if we are really fit? How do we tell?
First, you might want to look at your exercise habits, if there are any. If there aren’t any exercise routines to examine, no fitness. Everyone, no matter what their age, benefits from exercise. It keeps our bodies conditioned, our mental sharpness working at top speed, and thanks to the physical aspect, we get a boost to our cardio health, extra calorie burn, and more oxygen to those cells!
Do you take in more calories than your body needs? Are you supplementing your vitamins and minerals to make sure you are getting your recommended daily allowances? If you’re not making the most basic of efforts to take care of your nutritional needs, you aren’t a fit individual. You may not look sick, you may not have any noticeable symptoms of ill-health, but you’re not the fit and toned individual you could be.
What about the stress levels in your life? Do work in an environment with high levels of stress? Is your personal life a source of comfort or does it add to your stress levels? Do you engage in some form of stress-relieving activity? Stress is the number on contributor to heart attacks and strokes, since they manage to speed up the affect of the real culprits. Stress is basically an out of control situation for most adults today. We manage to schedule every moment of our free time, and leave ourselves with no time for quiet reflection, or time to deal with life’s unexpected emergencies.
Fitness requires us to examine more than just our exercise routine. The mere definition of fitness refers to the body’s ability to meet physical stresses. That includes coping with our day to day life, getting from the beginning of the day to the end, without being worn completely out. In order to be truly fit, we find ways to rid ourselves of built up stress, the kind that begins to affect our muscles, muscle tone, and composition. Massages are the best cure for ridding our bodies of the stress buildup that can occur, even with exercise regimens and detract from our overall fitness.
Exercises that demand total body involvement are the best for maintaining and improving your level of fitness most effectively. Running, swimming, jogging, dancing, cycling, and very brisk walking are some of the more popular total body involvement exercises.
There are so many occasions to stop and question our efforts at maintaining optimal health, that we usually don’t even take the time to begin the examination. But it is beneficial to our overall health, the quality and quantity of our life, to make every effort to be fit, healthy, individuals.


Trying my first juice cleanse

After much prodding by a friend, I decided to try a juice cleanse for myself to see what the entire hubbub was about. While there were many available packaged cleanses available that I could order on the internet or buy at the shops, they all seemed needlessly expensive. I couldn’t understand the idea of paying more than two hundred dollars for what were essentially a few bottles of juice. So, I decided to buy the ingredients myself and looked for good juicer reviews on the internet. I found a great juicer that was also cheap and the ingredients all came in under $100.

So, I began my journey into the world of detox cleanses. I would not eat or drink anything but the juices for three whole days and see how I feel afterwards. The first day started with an immediate pang for something sweet. I have a sweet tooth and will usually eat something sweet for breakfast. But I decided to stick with the cleanse and my sweet craving was satisfied with a citrusy and sweet afternoon juice. I was having three different juices a day- for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lunch and dinner juices tasted good while the breakfast juice had a wheatgrass base which I did not like.

The hardest part of the cleanse was being hungry all the time. I would pass fast food places and have to pry myself away from the doors. It took great will power to keep to it. I found myself sapped of energy for the first 2 days and my productivity at work suffered. However, by the third day I found that I was back to my old self somewhat and was able to carry on working. I suspect I lost some weight and by the end of the 3 days did feel a lot cleaner, whether that was psychological I do not know.