Forget Diamonds! Knives Are Girl’s Best Friend

Knives are the tools I use to create my magic in the kitchen, just like an artist uses his brushes. No wonder I am slightly obsessive when it comes to choosing the ones that perform best.

Every cook´s need for knives differs. If you are a baker, for instance, you will not require the same knives as a vegan chef or a barbeque enthusiast. But all cooks want one thing from their knives – they must perform the tasks they are asked to do with ease and skill. Chefs guard their knife sets like their children, once they have found one they love.

You can easily spend a fortune on knives you will never use so the best kitchen knives sets is one which incorporates all the knives you need and none that you don’t.

I adore wafer-thin slices of tomato so a really sharp vegetable knife is essential for me. Mine slices easily through the skin and flesh without crushing the tomato to a pulp. It has a serrated (wavy) edge which can also be used for the tough skins of sausages or a hard bread crust.
I also use a straight edged-knife which is really keen. It can be regularly sharpened to keep its razor-like edge. It works brilliantly for slicing meat and fish and for chopping vegetables as well.

For slicing cooked meat without shredding it or tearing it to pieces, a knife with a Granton edge works best. It has hollowed-out grooves on the blade which fill with the fat and juices which enables it to slide easily and also prevents it sticking.

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Paring knives come in a variety of shapes, and again it depends on what you will use them for most. They are all small for intricate work, with a 3 to 4 inch blade that tapers to a point. I have not regretted investing in an assortment over the years as they make my life so much easier.

A good boning knife means no cut fingers! Mine are really finely-honed so I have to take care that they don’t suddenly slip along the bone when boning a chicken, for example. They have a curved blade and come in varying degrees of stiffness, so it is important to try a few out before deciding what suits you best.
My chef´s knife is the one thing I would grab in a fire. It is large but has a curved blade which means it can finely chop fresh herbs with ease and tackle every other job I throw at it. It is the most versatile knife I have and I love it.

My cleaver is sharp and strong for cutting through bones or the hard skins of vegetables such as squash. It has a sturdy spine with a wide thick blade to make light work of the tasks I set it.
And lastly, my bread knife. I adore freshly-baked bread with lashings of butter and can’t wait for it to cool down before I slice into it. So my trusty bread knife is serrated and extra-sharp so that it doesn’t squash the bread into a doughy mess.

So the best knife set is really as personal as you are. I did not buy one specific set but built it up slowly as I found knives that worked well for me.

Are you looking for the top chef knives to buy? Click here to find out.

My Life With Bread Maker

It’s always great when you have a good bakery a few minutes away from your home. But that’s not my case. And, I just can’t imagine my life without bread. I’m very sensitive about this, and no matter how diverse the food is on the table, if there’s no fresh bread I wouldn’t stay for too long.

It all began with the bread recipes posted online. Some of them were so impressive that I had to try them myself. At first i was hesitant about buying a bread maker as was stated in the recipes, but eventually it turned out great. My current one may not be the best bread maker, but it does the job well and bakes bread in two sizes – 750 g and 1000 g. I always choose a smaller one.

I wanted to understand how the number of ingredients affects the taste and the texture. So, I started to experiment. For my first experiment I decided to add 10 g more of flour, which actually hadn’t influenced the resulting bread that much, maybe a little bit. Another time, I reduced the amount of yeast and slightly diminished the liquid component – this time it had a lighter texture than usually. In general, I realized that in the end yeast is the component that really brings changes.

Check out this gluten free recipe:

There was another experience. My bread maker has three modes for baking white bread: regular (4 hours), fast (2.5 hours) and express (about an hour). I decided that fast mode will be sufficient. And, I wasn’t mistaken. This resulted in perfectly shaped bread. Some other time I tried the standard mode, which I liked as much, despite the harder texture, it turned out really tasty.

All in all, as my own experiments show you don’t need to buy the most expensive bread maker and even the simplest one can be the best bread maker you need, I would suggest to check out the Panasonic bread machines. If you can find a good recipe just go for it with whatever tool you have.

My gift of a knife set saved thanksgiving dinner

During the last thanksgiving, my brother decided to host the whole family at his home and he invited me to help him cook dinner for everyone since I’m a great cook. So you can imagine my frustration when I looked through his kitchen drawers only to discover knives with dull blades and loose handles. I decided that I the first thing I needed to do was to help him find the best knife set under $100. How he expected to be able to carve the thanksgiving turkey with his collection of dull knives is still a mystery to me.

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Since I’m handy in the kitchen, I knew exactly what to look for in a knife set. For starters, the set must include honing steel to maintain the sharpness of the knife blades. I also wanted a set that came with a paring knife and a small multi-use blade for slicing and small cutting jobs. The set had to include a serrated knife for delicately slicing food items. I was also looking for a chef’s knife that had a curved blade that could be used for slicing and chopping. The knife set also had to have a storage block for the various tools. (More: Wired (http://www.wired.com/2012/11/chefs-knives)

Utility kitchen shears were lacking in my brother’s kitchen, and I knew that they would come in handy when carving out the thanksgiving turkey. Other features that I was looking for in the best knife set under $100 were zirconium-ceramic blades because they offer excellent sharpness and are resistant to corrosion. Another good thing about such blades was that these knives could simply be wiped clean and then put away. Ceramic knives also rarely require sharpening under normal use. The last feature that I looked for was a knife set with ergonomically designed handles, which allows you to chop and slice easily. After buying my brother a good knife set, I’m happy to say that thanksgiving dinner was a great success.

My first client visited my virtual office!

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Anyone that has been following my blog knows that I decided to find a virtual office from Found a Space so that I could focus more deeply on my home office, while also having a space for clients to visit that wasn’t littered with my life. I looked over a few options after some research on the site and picked the one that was centrally located while not being too pricey.

Well, today I tried out the office with a new client.

I was terrified it would not go well, like the front desk was going to forget that I had reserved space, or they had forgotten to have the space cleaned, or maybe my rent was not processed…Seriously, every thing that could possibly go wrong went through my head the night before the meeting. I got so nervous that I ended up breaking my caffeine fast and ended up this jittery awful mess right before I met with my client.
Of course, it went so perfectly well that when he left I sat there and giggled at myself for a bit. I got there a couple minutes early and checked to make sure my office was set up how I requested (it was) and that there would be no problems (there weren’t). He wanted some really simple marketing work done for his company, kind of similar to the advertising I did so people would know my name. Super friendly guy, with an awesome business idea, and willing to pay me a decent bonus if I’m done by the weekend. I practically danced after the giggles subsided.
That’s me, you guys. I am completely insane and I worry way too much for my good. Seriously this virtual office has amazing reviews and is completely professional, I signed all the paperwork and paid the rental fee for six months up front. I called three times before this appointment to make sure that everything was fine, and yet I was still certain it was going to fall through at the last minute. I really need to learn to accept that things are probably going to be organized and go well, especially when I made sure that they were going to be.
Anyways, I have my first client who is not a personal friend or came to me through networking, so I feel like a real businesswoman now! I’ll just pretend that the melt-down didn’t happen.
…you guys will keep it a secret, right? ;)

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How Grandma Made Masterpieces from A Sewing Machine

I remember when me and my sister were small, we used to visit Grandma each summer vacation. We spent most of our holidays playing around her garden, in the grass fields and just around the neighborhood. Most of the time, we get ourselves so messy and dirty. But overall, we were happy and content just playing. We were excited for the fact that there’ll be no school to interrupt our most anticipated moments for the next weeks to come.

In those days, our clothes got really so dirty that we need to change frequently. As far as I can remember, we change our wears like five times or more. If Mom was there, we would have heard warning words from her. But not from Grandma, she was such a peaceful and calm lady. We usually ran out of our packed clothes. There were times we would have to borrow shirts and shorts from our childhood friends Eddy and Gemma only to have something to wear.

What Grandma would do was bring out her sewing machine and sew clothes for us. That was really awesome seeing her create a pair of top and skirt and sometimes shorts from a piece of cloth she bought from the market. We looked like fine little women from Grandma’s creations. She would sew every piece possible from that sewing machine. I thought to myself way back then, it was the best sewing machine. We get to wear beautiful dresses and clothes you cannot find in the stores, only from Grandma’s home.

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And so, our problem of running out of something to wear was solved. Thanks to the best sewing machine used by the caring hands of Grandma. When Mom would pick us up when vacation is almost over, she was always overwhelmed by how we looked different and how we needed more bags for the new clothes Grandma made for us. That was really memorable and sweet. (Click here for top recommended brands)
Today, my sister and I have grown up and we each have our own families. Like Mom and sadly unlike Grandma, we only buy our clothes from stores everywhere. Occasionally, we get to sew clothes when needed. Just for repairs or simple stitches to strengthen loose threads.

Whenever summer is here, I reminisce about those times at Grandma’s place. I will always remember and tell the story of how she made masterpieces from her passionate hands, the love of her little darling granddaughters, and the best sewing machine.

My New Flat Iron This Year

straightI was looking at flat iron reviews 2015 online the other day. I was surprised to find that there were different flat irons for different types of hair. For instance, relaxed, curly and thick hair would be suitable with ceramic flat irons, while the tourmaline flat iron straighteners were suitable for curly, thick and naturally fine hair. In fact, there were different brands and models for each type of hair, irrespective of their plate specifications. I imagined that each brand was trying to position itself, and claim their advantages over a particular type of hair.

Anyway, the purpose of looking at flat iron reviews was to buy one for myself. I needed a flat iron that would heat up quickly and would also heat evenly. I needed easy grip for holding it, and wanted broad plates to get in more hair with each swipe. I found the tourmaline ceramic flat iron models were the latest, and at least as per brand positioning for the model that I selected, suited my hair to the hilt. My hair is thick and curly, and looks like a bird’s nest if not combed for at least 10 minutes every time I need to go out. The tourmaline ceramic flat iron heats up within a matter of seconds, and I could use it if I needed to go out urgently.

I bought the flat iron two months back to this day. The model I bought also has infrared heat that can be directed at the hair while the flat iron is being used. This makes my hair look silkier and smoother, and gives it that conditioned texture. It also has adjustable temperature settings where I can control temperature depending on the condition of my hair. I normally use the flat iron at two-thirds of its maximum temperature setting, and at this temperature all the nasty curls sticking out from behind my ears are gone, and I look as if I am just back from my hairstylist, so great is the effect.

You got me what for my birthday?

When I turned 30 I swore I wasn’t going to have another birthday. Such a decision suited my husband just fine, but with the birth of our children, suddenly I was dragged back into the fold and gradually I’ve become excited at the prospect of being woken by my children proudly bearing their home-made presents filled with love and my husband trying his best to make me breakfast (with varying degrees of success). My birthday last weekend will have to go down as one of the more memorable ones on record, but not perhaps for the reasons I had originally been expecting.

Now my friends will all vouch that, with a household of 5, I manage to keep things pretty clean and tidy at home. My husband and children could care less (unless of course they can’t find their shoes, their homework or the TV remote), but I do my best. The only thing that I refuse to do on a regular basis is the ironing. I go out of my way to buy wrinkle-free clothes and I figure the towels and sheets are going to get messed up eventually anyway, so why bother? Of course if there’s a special occasion I’ll drag the iron of the depths of the linen cupboard, but it’s a rarity.

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So imagine my surprise when after unwrapping my husband’s birthday gift I am greeted by a box with the image of an iron on it and “Best Iron 2015,” plastered in multiple places. My son asked, “what’s that?” I muttered under my breath, “my thoughts exactly”. The box was not big enough to house the Christian Louboutin Maralena Flame Sandals I had been hinting all year for to my husband to get me, but surely this was a joke? Surely he wasn’t prepared to risk his life over something so, um….silly?

Well clearly I underestimated my husband, as I pulled out my brand new Maytag SmartFill M1200. “It did win the award for best iron 2014,” he told me matter of factly. As if somehow the fact that it was an award winning iron would suddenly change my obvious distaste for ironing. “Do you like it? He asked. I of course nodded graciously, all the while thinking of which of my friends I might be able to regift this award winning iron to this coming Christmas. And then my thoughts quickly turned to my darling husband and the prospect of making something good come from this birthday. It suddenly dawned on me. ‘Learn how to iron’ vouchers would be a stunning gift for my dearest husband this Christmas. Wouldn’t you agree?

Related site – T3.com

Air Mattress a Must for Camping

Coleman air Mattress composed of many unique models with diverse colors, many pump choices and materials. The big deal is just deciding on which one is best for your requirement. The following are the good camping air bed reviews 2015.

Coleman double sized quick-bed with 4D pump.

The type is the best choice for people camping out and overnight visitors since it comes with a 4D Pump and fits a double- standard bed sheets. It is meant for heavy-duty where it is fitted with high quality PVC, with forty coils inside and a tender suede top for extra comfort. It delivers a built in wrap and roll storage structure that creates packing and storing quick and easy. It will save on the available space in the house or at the camping sites.

Coleman double-high wrap and roll quick-bed queen.

This double airbed is made for more comfort each and every time sudden visitors comes or when one go camping. When functioning, it inflates to about one and a half feet. It enables one to get the lid of the cold ground. It is fitted with twenty one coils for reliable firmness and strength. It does not have a pump, but easier to inflate using a separately available 120 V electric pump with less than five minute. The mattress is made of long-lasting, puncture-resistant polyvinyl chloride and enclosed in soft suede for comfort.

Coleman double-high Pillow with Top Airbed and Integrated Pump.

It is similar to the double-high wrap and roll quick-bed queen only that it is raised up for more comfort. It comprise of integrated electrical air pump and topped with fiber filler pad. Another added advantage is the fact that it comes with a bag for easier packing.

The above is just, but a few, there are others with different features and durability. It is thus always good to go for the one that fits your need.

Recommended Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are prone to scratching and therefore this call for one to make informed decision in order to shop for best vacuum cleaners. The best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors does not have rubber wheels for smooth cleaning of your floor. Canister vacuum cleaners have been used for quite a long time in cleaning the hardwood floors. In case you want to shop for the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors, then here are the things you need to consider.

Vacuum cleaner should not have a beater brushes. These are the rotating cylinders that are located at the head of the cleaner that do have a scratching effect on the floor when you use it to clean. This may leave marks on your floor making them undesirable for cleaning hardwood floors. Moreover, heavy vacuum cleaners do leave scuff marks and scratches and therefore one need to ensure that the machine that you buy can be easily moved along the vacuum floor with ease. Vacuum cleaner ought to be capable of mopping and sweeping the floor. This is because if water is left on the floor for quite a long time it can possibly damage the wood or warp it.

Small wood floors are well cleaned using the handheld cleaners. Large cleaners often miss other areas such as corners when cleaning. This therefore requires the smaller cleaners. Furthermore the best cleaners are those that have high suction power because it removes all the dust and hairs from the floor leaving it without a single spot. Check out this small handheld best vacuum cleaners.

The best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors include Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum. This cleaner uses WindTunnel Technology making it not to clog up when being used. Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner is durable and comes with a collar seal for easy change and safety. Other best vacuum cleaners include Electrolux EL6984A UlitraSilencer Green Canister, The Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G Vacuum Cleaner and Bissel 81l2t PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Stick Vacuum cleaner. The later has a V-shape design that makes it easily direct the large debris into the middle of the suction path. Determining the best vacuum cleaner is not an easy task and therefore any buyer ought to make pre-informed decisions.

 

Time to start my company

The company has already been registered and I am already giddy with the excitement of the idea that I too will be an employer. This started off as an off-hand comment from my husband who suggested that as a stay home mum, I could start something that will not only bring in some extra cash, but something that does not require me to go out there looking for a job. The tender from their company for acquisition of cleaning services was some kind of eye opener. It has been a blur of activities to register a company, have the necessary and submit the tender in time and the elation of having been awarded the tender has not yet even had the time to settle in just yet. I hate to think that my husband had a hand in our being awarded, but I’ll deal with that later.

My services have to be top notch and that is why I look up the top floor steam cleaners review on the internet. You should check out this! Don’t I just thank God for Google! I prefer a steam cleaner as it means my workers will spend less time to clean up as it does not require them to spend time scrubbing. The fact that it will leave the floors dry is a major plus. To add on these, it will deal with stubborn stains as well as grout and it can be used on almost any type of floor. My top floor steam cleaners reviews search leads me to even some steam cleaners with two tanks. That way, if a floor requires that you clean with some detergent you can fill up one tank with water and the other with the cleaning detergent. I am already feeling tempted to get that. There is also the advantage that depending on the model I choose to buy, I could get a model that cleans the surfaces too.