The past few months have been pretty difficult for me, as I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years. Although this was a difficult decision to make, I knew that the relationship was gong nowhere and that I needed a new start. So he decided to move out and take all of his stuff with him. This meant that he took half the CD collection and I was left with a diminished book shelf. However more importantly, I lost half of my kitchen utensils and gadgets. One thing that he took that really upset me, was the much loved rice cooker. In all fairness it was his, so he had every right to take it, but I loved that rice cooker.
As him leaving heralded a new start, I knew that I had to get myself together and go out and buy new things for the apartment, including a new rice cooker. The one we had was really old, it had been his mother’s for many years before she gave it to us. So, I decoded to treat myself to a sparkly new electric rice cooker. I just didn’t know what make or model to buy. This was when I decided to read up on best small electric rice cooker reviews over on Amazon and cooking websites. I knew that by looking up rice cookers and reading customers experiences, I wold find what I as looking for.
Firstly I had to set my budget, which to be honest was not very much. I limited my search to under $30. Then I decided to search for only small electric rice cookers, as I would only be cooking rice for myself, so why buy a big one? Well, I was really surprised by what I found. There were at last 6 rice cookers under $30. I narrowed the list down to 3 by focusing on good rice cooker reviews and only focusing on those with a 4 star plus rating.
The first was by Black + Decker, a 1.5 cup capacity that had over 1,500 reviews. The second rice cooker was by Panasonic that was again able to cook 1.5 cups of rice. This had over 160 reviews but an overall rating of 4.5 stars. The third rice cooker was by Oster, again with a 4.5 star rating that had over 600 reviews. This was a slightly bigger cooker and was able to cook 3 cups of rice. The prices ranged between $13 to $30. The cheapest was the Black + Decker with the Panasonic being the most expensive. So what did I choose? Well, I went with the Black + Decker, not just because it was the cheapest, but because it had the most favorable reviews and would cook the exact amount of rice I needed.
So my advice to you, is that if you are looking for a new electric rice cooker for a single person, then do read up on customer reviews and do a little research. That way you will get the best product at an affordable price.
More: 13 rice cooker recipes
When I got pregnant with my first child everything seemed so rosy. For most of us women, having a baby is so fulfilling and for me it was not any different. However, when I delivered my baby girl my weight shot up – it was just unbelievable. Talking to my doctor and my friends, everyone agreed that I had to shed off some pounds.
I couldn’t start immediately after the child was born but most disturbingly, I didn’t really have time to go to the gym. I needed something I could use at home and that is when the thought of an elliptical machine came to mind. Before I got pregnant I was a gym regular, I could hit 10KM on the treadmill so at first I was really skeptical about the intensity and effectiveness of the machine.
But I knew I had to do something so I started my search for a good and affordable elliptical machine. The elliptical machine reviews 2015 that I read always seemed to highlight the benefits and the cons of the machine. Soon enough, I was able to find a good option and it was shipped to me after a few days. I have to admit that during the first few weeks, it was very difficult for me to get into my normal exercise routine. Although I felt like I needed more intensity, my condition at the time couldn’t really allow me.
So I picked up the pace slowly and gradually. I soon started enjoying myself. In about three weeks, I had lost about 1 kg. I was now sure that the machine actually worked. Building up momentum over the next few months was not really a problem and sure enough, I was able to cut 10 pounds in just a few months. Losing weight after pregnancy seemed so hard, but I can stand tall and say for sure that a combination of good diet and proper use of the elliptical machine made it possible for me.
Buying advice: Top tips to buy elliptical and treadmill
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.
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 best chef knives to buy?
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 for dough, 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.
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.
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.
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?
Startup Business Ideas
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.
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 sewing machine 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.