A gift of Wusthof knives

wusthof knife setMy son, who just graduated from college several months ago got these Wusthof knives as a Christmas present.

Why? He loves to cook, and these are the most used knives of any in my kitchen, so I bought him good ones. Any cheap walmart or generic knife set would do the job, at least for a while. But as those of us who work with our hands can tell you there is an intangible joy to using quality tools that is very difficult to quantify.

The balance, the weighting, the quality of manufacture all weigh in this personal decision. But in the end the effort put into producing something as simple as a knife can elevate the experience from mundane to something more. Knives are a pretty well understood manufactured item these days and they are not that hard to do, but doing anything well demands effort, effort that can be felt by those who are sensitive enough to understand what it took to elevate something mundane to something special.

He uses the curved knife for boning chicken thighs and for cutting the joints when he’s carving a whole chicken. It’s the perfect size. The other utility knife he uses for small cutting jobs like cutting a small piece of cheese for a snack or cutting the ends off of an apple, peeling an orange, or even cubing other veggies. These knives are very sharp and don’t lose their edge easy. They are also very easy to sharpen.

Quality is seldom cheap, but it often is in the long run worth it to pay for real quality over sizzle and marketing. Perhaps, when I am gone my son will recall fun times we shared in the kitchen when he was a small boy when he uses these Wusthof knives, it gives me pleasure to think so. God Bless ya!

Award Winning Semi Automatic Espresso Machine

espresso maker

After playing around with this for the past month I can truly say I am very happy with this machine. It took a few times before I discovered the perfect grind and dose amount, but once I got it the results were amazing. You do have to change it up a bit when you are using different coffee beans, but once you master the settings your in for a real treat. I have discovered it is best if you buy small amounts of coffee beans and use them within ten days for optimum taste and creme. This machine won the 2013 Award for best new consumer product by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

This semi automatic machine combines both brewing and grinding it one unit, and has some features you will only find on higher level professional machines. Those features are PID temperature control for extremely accurate brew water which is important for consistent shots (adjustable by 4 degrees each way up or down), a dry puck feature, and a purge system which releases excess steam in the drip tray so coffee is not burnt by residual steam in the boiler.

This Barista Express has everything you need except the coffee beans and water to get you started. It has a beautiful stainless steel finish. My friend worked at starbucks and a few other high end coffee shops so for this to impress him that says a lot. The best thing to me is being able to make those espressos, cappuccinos, Lattes, Macchiatos, Americanos, Ristrettos, hot chocolates, or teas in your own home without having to go out and pay an arm and a leg for a good one. With some experimentation with some syrups, coffee beans and or other flavorings you are sure to find the perfect coffee drink for yourself.

The steam feature on this machine also takes a little practice but once you get the hang of it works absolutely flawlessly. Simply flip the switch and wait for the steam, turn off, insert nozzle and turn steam back on. I do recommend using a very small amount of milk if you want a full froth as with high levels of milk it doesn’t get as frothy.

Another added feature of this machine is the neat hot water feature. This feature makes making hot chocolate and other powdered drinks a blast. I have also used it for my instant oatmeal in the morning.

See also: Choosing the best espresso maker

The machine comes with some very handy tools as well. You get an espresso press for pressing the grounds firmly into the espresso cup. A cleaning kit for the machine, and an espresso razor which helps to ensure you make the exact right amount of espresso everytime.

Overall I have been beyond overjoyed with this product and would highly recommend it as the best espresso maker in the market.

The 5 Best Kitchen Knives

good knife

Knives are the best companion for every chef and anyone who want to make a good chef from home. Ingredients are perfectly prepared using the best kitchen knives. These are knives that are used for dicing, paring and slicing. Here are some knives that have never disappointed me in the kitchen:

Torijo Senkuo Kitchen Knife
This is one of the best kitchen knives. It has up to 62 layers of steel around the blade core making it strong and durable. It is razor-sharp and resistant to rusting and staining. I like this knife because of the practically well-balanced handle which is also molded to fit into the handgrip. I never get tired using this knife.

Clas Ohlson Kitchen Knife
This Capere Chef knife has features to die for and is very affordable. It is made of molybdenum alloy and has been proven to be 300 times resistant to aging and corrosion compared to ordinary stainless steel knives. It is also among the best designed of the best kitchen knives. It has an efficient ergonomic handle that is well balanced and easy to use.

Global Kitchen Knife
It is one of the best kitchen knives manufactured in Japan. I like it because it is made to perfect professional standards. It is sharp and if well taken care of, can be a knife that will be passed down generations. The handle is well balanced. It is hygienic making it safe to use on your ingredients. It is also relatively cheap compared to some kitchen knives.

Saji Kitchen Knife
This knife is made by Japanese Knife Company. The impressive history behind the experienced knife-maker Takeshi Saji produced one of the best kitchen knives ever. It is my one of personal favorite because it does not lose its blade sharpness. This knife is an aesthetic stunner and is wonderfully practical in the kitchen. The handle is perfect for an average hand and can be used for long without weariness.

Safe and Healthy Non Stick Cookware


LIKE many home cooks, I have sent my nonstick skillets to the moldy recesses of my basement, where they have joined the 1950’s aluminum pots and the Dru casseroles (Dutch enamel coated cast iron, now eBay collectibles).

What led to this step were unsettling reports that an overheated Teflon-coated pan may release toxic gases. DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon, says that its pans are safe and that their surfaces won’t decompose, possibly releasing the gas, until the pan’s temperature reaches 680 degrees. Some scientists say that an empty pan left on a burner set on high reaches 700 degrees in as little as three minutes. All pans with nonstick coatings are subject to the same problems, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization.

I banished the skillets last year and spent months dithering over what to buy while making do with the pans I had left: a large Revere Ware skillet with a concave bottom; a small, warped hand-me-down from my mother; and a medium All-Clad in fine shape.

A few passes at online pot sellers made matters worse: there are too many choices. Finally, after consulting the ratings from Consumer Reports and Cook’s Illustrated and calling several experts, I decided to do a test of my own, using the most highly recommended pans, along with a few of my own choices.

While Teflon lets manufacturers make inexpensive pans usable, uncoated cheap pans have hot spots, so cheaper pans — other than cast iron — were never considered.

The most important characteristic was how close the pans came to having the nonstick qualities people love about Teflon. Can they sauté and brown, even without oil? Almost as important, how easy are they to clean?

243There were eight pans in the test, most of them 12 inches in diameter: All-Clad with an aluminum core, All-Clad with a copper core, Bourgeat copper; De Buyer carbon steel; Calphalon anodized aluminum; seasoned and unseasoned Lodge cast iron and Le Creuset enameled cast iron.

All-Clad was one of the top choices of most experts, but did not do well in my tests because sometimes food stuck to the pans and cleaning them was difficult. Top chefs with whom I spoke agreed. “All of my All-Clad sauté pans have brown spots on the sides and outside, too,” said Scott Conant of L’Impero and Alto. “And eggs always stick.”

That’s the nature of stainless steel, said Harold McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking” (Scribner, 2004) and the scientist who can explain everything that happens in the kitchen. “Things stick to stainless,” he said, “and polymerized oil is one of them.”

For the two sets of tests, I cooked 6 dozen eggs; 24 pounds of chicken breasts with and without skin; 10 pounds of onions; and 10 pounds of potatoes. In one set of tests, pans were coated with one tablespoon of oil; in the other just a thin film of oil was applied with waxed paper. All the pans were preheated, the oil added and allowed to get hot enough to ripple; the food had lost its refrigerator chill.

With a tablespoon of oil, all of the pans cooked well and evenly. The chicken was nicely browned, the potatoes were crisp, the onions were meltingly sweet and the eggs were nicely done. The difference between cooking in All-Clad with copper and with aluminum is not significant enough for most cooks to make the more expensive copper pan worth the higher price. The Bourgeat copper pan, of course, cooked quickly and evenly, too, but the differences are too subtle in most situations to be worth the extra money.

But with just a film of oil, neither the All-Clad nor the Bourgeat pans cooked chicken or onions without sticking badly. But then, they don’t claim to be nonstick.

The remaining pans cooked well with just a film of oil.

The Le Creuset pan and the two cast-iron pans produced amazing results. Nothing stuck, including the eggs, and it was quite easy to roll up omelets. There were almost no eggs to scrape up. I don’t recommend browning potatoes or onions with a film of oil because they won’t have much flavor, but these pans could do it.

The chicken, on the other hand, was moist and browned beautifully, a result you wouldn’t get with Teflon-coated pans.

Calphalon did not do as well with just a film of oil: the chicken was nicely browned, but an awful lot of scrambled eggs stayed in the pan.

Read on.
Good Cookware Sets for a Gorgeous Kitchen

That’s How I Choose My Perfect Tents

I’ve been camping for a long long time… and the first thing on my checklist is always a tent. Yet choosing the right tent is surely a headache for people who don’t have any camping experience before… You can’t imagined how much I’ve spent on expensive camping tents only to realize that they are a total waste of money! I mean, high price tents aren’t always the best, as you can buy much cheaper ones and still comfortably enjoy the wonderful weekends with your family. It takes me a while to figure this out, that choosing the best camping tents has nothing to do with the price tag, but rather, it’s about many other factors like space, seasons,… and I want to share that experience with you guys in this post.

When choosing camping tents, my first priority is space. Now the tent names include the manufacture’s maximum number of recommended sleepers, but if you like to camp with kids or pets, think about sizing up a little. There’s a rule of thumb that I always use: choose a tent that can contain 2 more people than what you planned to have. This will give you much more space to store your shoes, boots, backpacks and other gear. Season during which you camp also matters, because the tents are classified based on this. Believe me, you can save quite a lot of money just by noticing which season you’re going to camp. I used to always buy 4 season tents – big mistake! Tent shapes are also very important. There are 2 basic tent shapes: cabin and dome. While the cabin tents give your more vertical walls and often time features like room divider for privacy; the dome tents tend to be easier to set up thanks to their simple design, and their more sloping walls can handle strong winds and weather.

That’s all my golden tips when it comes to choosing a perfect camping tent. If you use these tips then you may save a lot of money and effort setting up your first tent on you camping trip! It takes me a while to learn all of these tricks, but boy they helped a lot – and I think it’ll help you very well too!

Best places to go camping – Budget Travel

Great Ellipticals For My Workout Routine

Elliptical machines are very beneficial but they can be quite costly. They are a main competition to treadmills and the only thing that can hinder a buyer from getting one is price. This article will focus on some of the best elliptical under 1000.

Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

This machine is decent and much smaller than the normal sizes. It is suitable for women and anyone who has less space for their exercise routine. It operates on battery and has a 17 inch stride. It has an LCD console which is compatible with an Mp3 for basic users and is fit for beginners or the elderly group of people. It has a footplate that articulates and a fan that is built in. It has sensors for contact grip and pulse. It comes with a frame warranty of two years and a part warranty of six months. It goes for $345.

Horizon EX-57 Elliptical Machine

This machine goes for $499 and it comes with an LCD console and a stride of 18 inches in length. It has 8 resistance levels, large pedals that are contoured and a flywheel of 14.3 lb. It has 9 different program options and also has a holder for your water bottle. It has pulse grips for monitoring of the heart. It has a one year warranty for parts and one year warranty for labor at home.

Gazelle Supreme

This manual machine offers aerobic and resistance training. It has a double pivot system which gives a greater motion range and this means more independence for the legs. It has features like power pistons, ten exercises, soft glide technology, grip pulse and it can keep track of your time, calories burned, distance, pulse rate and speed. It can be used for any levels of fitness and it comes with a warranty of one year. It goes for a price of $279.

Additional information on elliptical

Get to Your Fitness Goal with Heart Rate Monitor

Heart rate monitors are important for people who are interested in exercises or fitness programs that require close monitoring of the heart rate. They have different features such as heart rate monitors, position tracking, pace tracking and other accessories that make your running more interesting and more organized.
getting fit
Here is a heart rate monitor review 2014 and you can see that my favorite heart rate monitors are Garmin Forerunner watches.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor – This is an awesome forerunner watch from Garmin that has features such as a heart rate monitor, a pace and distance tracker, 20 hours of battery-life and is waterproof up to 50 meters.

Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS Heart Rate Monitor – This is another one from Garmin and it is a GPS-enabled trainer that records pace, distance and has a rechargeable battery and a heat rate monitor.

Garmin Forerunner 220 – This is part of the new generation watches from Garmin. It has evolved from the 210 versions and comes with completely customizable features. The watch has Bluetooth, vibration, audible alerts, and a function that recognizes a personal best during your runs. The watch can also download for advanced workouts and offers advance technology for maximum performance.

Choosing a Heart Rate Monitor

The shopping of a good forerunner watch should include a number of factors. First you have to consider your exercise plans and what you want to achieve. There are watches that will track your activities such as pace, distance and heart rate.

These watches can be very helpful because they will further assist you in planning your workout. There is a wide range of forerunners from Garmin and though all of them are high quality products, they have different features and functions. Choose a watch that fits your raining sessions and the goals you want to achieve at the very end of the training session.

A good watch will ensure that you do not deviate from your initial training goals and that you receive desired results in the shortest time possible.

What You Need for Quality Yoga

When it comes to yoga mats you might find yourself in a difficult spot; should I save money and buy cheaper one or spend more money so that it will last longer and have better quality materials. From my experience it is important to buy only what you need and what suits your needs the best. Best yoga mat for hot yoga doesn’t have to be expensive nor inexpensive it needs to be what you want it to be – best yoga mat for you.

After trying out many different mats, I’ve come to conclusion – mats with cushy, soft textures with natural rubber are the best for my style of yoga. They gave the right feel for me and didn’t move or slide while doing vinyasas or holding my pose for minutes. If you want to keep your mat in one place without sliding or moving it’s best to get mat’s coated with soft layer of polyurethane. Polyurethane is material used on ships floors and boat-decks to keep them slip-free.


There are many different yoga mats on the market. But even if two mats look the same, they will act differently on different floors. When picking the right mat for you, be sure to check what kind of surface you will be doing yoga on, and use appropriate cover for it. If it’s really slippery surface, you will need polyurethane coating to stop it from sliding, or rugged surface; you can get away with more natural and soft mats.

It only comes down to what your preferences are when doing yoga. Do you want it to stay in one place (more rugged and sturdy) or to be soft and have extra padding for your knees and knuckles whiled doing floor poses. Some people prefer more natural materials; others love “high-tech” materials such as polyurethane. No matter what yoga mat you choose it is only important that you can do quality yoga and you feel right about your pick.