Picking the Perfect Espresso Machine for Myself

good espresso machine

Coffee lovers out there would take interest in owning the best espresso machine the shops could offer. Millions of people all over the world are thirsty for coffee. Most would go out of their way just to purchase their favorite coffee from nearby coffee shops. Some take it as dessert after meals, while others drink it to pass the time and the rest cannot just simply live without coffee and the best way for them to satisfy their thirst for coffee? Yes! You got it right! Avail of that espresso machine and bring it with you to stay at the comforts of your home. Then, you can brew all the coffee that you want anytime and any day. That is why, nowadays it is important to know how to pick the best espresso machine to cater our desires.

Picking the espresso machine – Things to know

How to pick the perfect espresso machine is very simple. We just need to identify what type and brand of espresso machine we want to buy since there is a variety of it to choose from. Would we want the Portable type? the Manual Espresso Machine or the Semi-Automatic one? How about the more complex ones like the Super-Automatic and Capsule Espresso Machines? The choice that we make must synchronize with our needs and comfort. In my opinion, the machine with the easiest way to brew coffee is the best espresso machine for me.

In surveys and reviews we would find that the perfect espresso machine for most people is the Semi-Automatic Espresso because it is easy to use but it does not require manual work to brew some coffee. It’s also the best size suitable for the mom’s kitchen. For others however, they want their machines with the look of sophistication and more complex features for their brewing. Super Automatic Machines will do the trick. This kind of machine is more attractive but of course it also takes more time since it would go from grinding to brewing but this will suit the needs of those latte and cappuccino lovers since it has the capacity to froth milk.

For offices, schools and communities it is much suggested to go for the Capsule Espresso Machines. It has both the features of the Semi and Super Automatic Espressos. For this type of machine however, a bigger counter space is needed and it is more pricey as compared to the rest. Of course for those who are not ready for the button pushing and would still want the traditional way of brewing coffee, the Manual Espresso Machine would work well for you. No matter which choice you make the most important of all is knowing why you want an espresso machine and how you would want your machine to serve you the best brewed coffee to your liking.

Which cutting board is the right one to use

my cutting board

A cutting board is a necessary tool in the kitchen — without it (and a knife) almost no prep can be done. But not all cutting boards are created equal. Some look great and are stylish to boot, but wreak havoc on your knives. Others may appear to be hygienic but actually harbor bacteria as dangerous as salmonella and E. coli. So what cutting board is the best, you ask?

Not every cutting board is good for every task — some are too porous to use for cutting raw meat, poultry and fish, because they absorb bacteria. Other boards are so hard that they dull the blades of your knives. (But whatever you do, please don’t cut on your marble, granite or solid surface countertops!) We’ll show you which cutting boards you should steer clear of and which are the right ones to use.

Wood Cutting Boards — Great

Wood cutting boards are some of the most popular and offer a great look and feel, but there are many things to take into consideration with wood. Even though wood cutting boards are very hard, they’re also porous so they absorb everything and anything you put on them, including bacteria. They require oiling to keep the wood in good condition — the oil helps somewhat by creating a barrier against moisture. And of course, after using them, wood cutting boards require thorough cleaning, drying, and re-oiling. Even with all the care and upkeep wood cutting boards require, they are the best for your knives, because the wood does not dull the blade. If you prefer wood cutting boards, consider using them for cutting only vegetables, herbs and breads.

Bamboo Cutting Boards — Great

Bamboo, considered a grass and not a wood, makes a terrific cutting board. The fact that it’s so fast-growing makes it a renewable resource and a great choice for the eco-conscious. Bamboo acts similar to wood — it’s still somewhat porous but is considered harder than wood. It also requires oiling, because the bamboo can splinter when not cared for properly. Long-time use also makes the bamboo boards a bit furry and more receptive to bacteria — if that happens it’s time to buy a new board.

Plastic Cutting Boards — OK

Plastic cutting boards are the most often recommended by profesional chefs. Typically made from polyethylene, plastic boards are durable and last long. They can be washed easily by hand or in a dishwasher. They’re relatively okay on knives but not as good as wood or bamboo. However plastic cutting boards can harbor bacteria as much as and even more than wood, especially when they get furry from long-time use. But for certain duties plastic boards are recommended, such as keeping a separate color-coded one for each type of protein — fish, poultry and meat.

Glass Cutting Boards — Avoid

Glass cutting boards are nonporous and easy to clean — you can wash them in the sink or the dishwasher. There’s also no need to oil them obviously, so there’s no upkeep. However, glass cutting boards are the worst for your knives. For this reason we don’t recommend glass cutting boards.

We Recommend

Your kitchen should have at least two cutting boards, one wood and one plastic. A wood cutting board is the best for prepping fruits and vegetables. Keep one on your counter and clean and oil it often. For preparing raw proteins, we recommend a plastic board, which should be washed often, preferably in a dish washer. If you like using a cutting board for carving cooked meats, you’ll want to have a third cutting board, or you could do so safely on your vegetable board as well.

We also love Epicurean boards, a brand of cutting boards that are made out of a material originally created for skate park surfaces. The cutting boards are made from a combination of different recycled materials including wood and plastic. These boards are safe on knives, safe in dishwashers and are completely nonporous, meaning no bacteria.

(Source: Huffington Post: Cutting boards to avoid)

Loving this OXO 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

avocado slicer

Split, pit, slice and scoop avocados safely and effectively with the OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer. The plastic blade easily cuts through the skin and fruit of the avocado, without being sharp to the touch. The pitting tool allows you to quickly remove the pit with a simple twist — no more dangerous stabbing or losing fruit while digging it out with a knife or spoon. Scoop out the rest of this delicious fruit into perfect slices with the simple and efficient fan blade.

My story of being and chef and collecting knives for passion

I have always had an inclination towards cooking and that is why it was my dream to be a chef in a top class restaurant. From a very young age I started trying out various dishes at home with the help of my mother and to my astonishment the dishes came out pretty well. I love the ideas of using different utensils while cooking and I was especially fond of my sets of knives that helped me in chopping, cutting, shredding and mincing. I even bought one apron that had pockets to keep my knives set while I am working in the kitchen. This has led my fascination towards choosing and collecting chef knives every time I come across something unique.


It is exciting for me…

Collecting different types of knives has become a passion that I have and now that I am working as professional chef in a five star hotel these knives do come into use when I am working in my kitchen. When I travel around the world, I still collect some of the top rated chef knives that are made form highest standard of stainless steel and gives me a good grip while cutting, chopping or dicing. Knives may seem to be a dangerous instrument to many but for me they are the most important tools for my work. Without these tools I am practically paralyzed at my workplace. Interesting, isn’t it? Yes, it is and that is why I feel my hobby and passion of collecting these knives are quite unique and exclusive.

Still collecting and counting…

More: Expert Guide: Know your knives

Nowadays when I want to increase my collection I rather look up the internet for the latest collections. The biggest online shopping giants have some of the amazing collections of top rated chef knives at discounted prices too.

Reference: Pcnchef.com

Best Coffee Maker With Grinders

Best Coffee Maker Grinds

There are few things in life better than waking up to freshly-ground coffee! With an espresso machine or a grind-and-brew coffee maker, this can be your morning reality every day. Freshly-ground coffee has the benefit of being fresher than pre-ground coffee, which is great if you’re a coffee enthusiast who wants to taste every note. Here are some helpful coffee maker with grinders reviews to help you make your decision:

Black & Decker Mill & Brew

This 12-cup coffeemaker is your go-to if you have simple tastes and prefer drip coffee. It comes in a variety of colours for coordinating with your kitchen decor, including black, white, grey, and red. The Sneak-a-Cup feature means that you can pull the glass Duralife carafe out of the machine for a quick cup even when the machine’s in the middle of brewing because it automatically pauses the brewing mechanism and then restarts it when you return the carafe to its spot. 24-Hour Quick Touch programming means that you can set this coffee maker to fresh grind and brew any amount of coffee you want, any time of the day, with a few simple button touches.

Breville Barista Express

A fancy choice for the fancy coffee drinker, the Barista Express is a high-quality espresso maker that holds up to a half-pound of fresh beans and grinds them every time you want to pull an espresso shot. It holds up to 2 litres of water and features a Purge option, which automatically chooses the right water temperature for the best quality espresso.

Saeco Intelia Deluxe

The Intelia Deluxe is the ultimate espresso machine for the at-home barista, letting you make doppios, lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and everything in between with just a few simple button presses. This machine even froths or steams milk for you, eliminating the need to buy a separate steam wand. Customize each drink that you make, with five different strength settings, brew length settings, and temperature settings.

Got my own new burr coffee grinder!

Being addicted to coffee has driven me to make this decision: I will go buy my own new burr coffee grinder. Going to the city center every week just to grind some coffee is becoming exhausting.

I wore my beige jacket, my hat and pair of gloves and started walking to the train station. As I walked, I stared at the coffee shops that have the best burr coffee grinders just to have an idea about the brand names which I had no idea about.

I reached the train station, bought a ticket, hopped into the train. “It’s a two hour trip to the city center, I will search for some brands on the way.” And so I did. I took out my rose gold phone, and started searching, and I felt how ignorant I was!

The motors, the blades, the measures, the prices! Everything counts when you choose your best burr coffee grinder.


As I reached the electronics shop, and entered the burr coffee grinders isle, I gazed aimlessly at the number of grinders they had and the brands that I knew nothing about; KitchenAid®, Krups®, Cuisinart®, Capresso® and many more! I could almost smell the fresh scent of coffee coming out of them.

I asked the employees and started inquiring about the specs, pros and cons, and everything else related to coffee grinding. After a couple hours I became an expert. Now I had to choose the best burr coffee grinder for me!

After holding and spectating a good number of machines, I decided to choose a strong one yet with a reasonable price and good additions. In what I have learnt in this time, the most important tips are to pay attention to the grinder’s motor power, the noise it makes, does it grind other food like nuts, is it easy to clean and if it has additional storage bowls. (Read also: Coffee grinder tips you need to know)

I took the machine to the cashier, happy and almost flying, paid for it, and even let them wrap it as a gift.

I reached home, and I finally got the best burr coffee grinder for me! I made some freshly bought coffee, and enjoyed my mug at my patio watching the light rain starting to fall.

Just bought a humidifier for my baby!


I gave birth to my baby in a region with dry climate and after a few days I noticed she had some red patches on her cheeks. She was crying all the time from the irritation. Her pediatrician confirmed my fears. She had eczema. Apart from some ointments and baby oils prescribed, she also recommended that I get a cool mist humidifier as it would help by adding moisture to the already dry air and prevent loss of water and heat from my baby’s skin. This would help relieve my baby of her irritated dry skin. I set out to look for the best humidifier for babies and bought one. That was the best thing that I did.
The humidifier has more benefits. Whenever my baby has a congested nose, the mist from the humidifier helps to unstuff the congested mucous in her tiny nose and she ends up breathing comfortably. My baby has enjoyed having a soft skin and her eczema condition is now getting better. I also use the humidifier to regulate temperature levels for my baby’s room. It will neither be too warm nor too dry, and she sleeps well.

Learn more: Why do we need humidifier for babies
When I went out to buy a humidifier for my baby, I ensured that I got one with low noise, one that will automatically shut off when the water is all used up, an adjustable one to maintain my desired humidity levels, easy to clean and carrying around. Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier met all the above requirements (Read also: Cool mist vs warm mist humidifier). It is a straight forward easy to use humidifier and the best part is it comes in different nice colours. It is also a pocket friendly as compared to other brands that I came across in the market.
It is a good thing to provide a humidifier for your baby, whether a newborn, a little older infant or a toddler. Having the air too dry is not good for anyone.

My automatic espresso machine gives me authentic ristretto

espresso machine for home
I grew up in a household that relishes coffee brewed in different ways. When I was young, we did not get to drink our favorite coffee brew as often simply because there were not enough coffee vending machines around back then. Therefore, going to movies meant that cup of espresso or latte before the show and so we were always ready an hour before the show. Drinking in coffee houses was expensive no doubt. But my father always indulged us. Had he been alive, he would have loved to have sipped the espresso my best espresso machine churns out everyday.

Stories about our espresso machines

We bought Saeco Phillips Intellia this January. Therefore, it may be a bit early for me to be give this automatic espresso machine review. But I do want to share what I found worthwhile in this espresso machine. For starters it has a coffee grinder in it, which means you can use coffee beans for brewing the coffee as desired. But it is also possible to bypass this grinding function, which is just as well, because I could opt for ground coffee powders from market. This can be great if you enjoy different flavors and do not maintain enough beans of all those coffees. There is an auto adjust feature also which allows such changes. I can select the quantities, and also the strength of coffee. We can also vary the height of the cup under this, because of height adjustment possible with adjustable spout. This espresso machine has ceramic grinder. Overall, it is not too heavy. It also self cleans, which is not a feature anybody should overlook, because cleaning espresso machines is not an easy job.

My daughter bought DeLonghi ESAM Magnifica on the same day as we bought our espresso machine. It gives her great cappuccino and espresso. She just loves the crema layer, so this espresso machine was almost custom made for her. Like my espresso machine, she can grind coffee beans or bypass that function. She also has an option to adjust the size of grinding. The bean container in this automatic espresso machine is also removable. I have tasted coffee from her machine, and I can vouch that she gets perfectly smooth espressos from it.

Air Bed for My Daughter

My older daughter is carrying. She will be arriving here the next month. We did not plan to have children back in our home. In any event, we never had spare double beds. I know my son-in-law will be around more often than in the last three years. But I am also left to wonder how I am to accommodate them. My husband suggested that we buy the best air bed for everyday use. For now, air bed does sound as a good idea, though I would rather my daughter look for her comfort.

My husband thinks that is no problem because if my daughter cannot use that air bed, we could use it, and let the younger couple use our bed. Use our bed? Was he kidding? But to be fair, he was being practical. Our home is small, and we do not have spare bedrooms. When kids were around, one bedroom was for us, one for my daughters, and the other one was for my sons. My sons slept in living room if we had guests. Ever since the nest has become empty, I have stuffed everything in the boys bedroom, and started using the girls bedroom as my hobby room. Now, I will have to vacate this hobby room of course, because as my husband suggested, I might have to use the air bed here.

I do have problems with my back, so I mentioned it to my husband that air beds usually do not have the required height. His solution to the problem is getting a wooden bed built that can hold the air bed in place. Really? But won’t that become a permanent fixture?

He asked me if my daughter is not going to get pregnant again? I can’t argue about it. Even my younger daughter could get pregnant. I should thank god that both of them are not pregnant simultaneously. I would have to empty the boy’s room for that.

The air bed we are thinking of is about 19 inches in height. We also cannot opt for wider bed, because we do need to accommodate the large desert cooler in here. My computer will also remain in this room. The large king size air bed that is available may be what we will settle for. My husband has measured the room and he says we can afford to cross 58 inches in width. I feel even that is a lot, because I would need to change bed sheets, and moving in the room would be difficult with that much width. The good news is, air beds are not heavy so my fingers will not feel trapped under the mattress when I am making the bed. As to length, we are not tall so it would pretty much depend upon the width of the king size bed that we can find.

Get a special gift for mom

Contrary to what my mother believes, gifts for mom have always been hard to shop for. She thinks she’s easy to shop for. Are there certain things that she likes? Yes. I know I can always go and buy the latest books and she’ll be happy. I also know that if I don’t buy them, she’ll buy them for herself. This rather defeats the purpose of a gift, in my book. I think a gift should be something that you would not normally buy for yourself. It should be something that says that the giver knows what you like, thought about what you needed, felt compelled to get something perfect.


Last Christmas, I really wanted to get something special for my mom. There are the typical gifts that everyone buys. There are flowers, perfume, slippers or the various kitchen gadgets galore. All of these are nice and would probably be acceptable presents. However, they didn’t say, “I put time, love and attention in this gift for you.” Instead, they screamed, “I did what I always did because I know you like it and it was easy.” So, after weeks of thinking, it finally came to me.

My mother always asks for pictures of the family. In her eyes, I never give her enough pictures. Also, she has a hard time remembering certain events throughout the year. I decided to combine the two and make her a picture calendar. I bought a desktop blotter calendar from the local office supply store. You could print out a calendar here too, if you have nice paper.Then, I started going through pictures. First, I outlined the box on the day of all of the birthdays of her family and friends.

In each box, I put a picture of the person whose birthday it was. For my anniversary, I put a wedding picture of my husband and I. On each major holiday, I put a picture of various family members celebrating that holiday. I also added in small things, like a guitar on Fridays, because that is guitar lesson day. I put in the Cub Scout symbol on Mondays, because that’s when the Cub Scout meetings are. On Mother’s Day, I put a heart-shaped picture of her and I. The last thing I did was attach several blank decorative stickers to the calendar so that she could add things as they came up through the year.

This cheap and easy gift actually brought tears to her eyes. It probably tops the list of my gifts for mom.

What can you do with a food processor

I have to admit something before diving in: I very rarely bother to dig out the other attachments and blades for my food processor. I just never got in the habit of using it to cut vegetables or other prep work. The majority of the time, I leave the standard “chopping blade” in the food processor and use it for everything I do.
Tips from The Kitchn1. Puréeing Soups and Sauces: This was actually the top reason why I got a food processor in the first place.

2. Preparing Salsas, Pestos, Dips, and Spreads: With all the fine chopping and grinding required for these kinds of recipes, a food processor really makes the job a lot easier.


3. Making Pasta Dough: I didn’t believe this would work until I finally tried it, and now I will forever more make my pasta dough in the food processor. SO easy.

4. Grinding Meat: Grinding meat yourself is cheaper and safer (I feel). I just cut whole pieces of meat into chunks, freeze them until the edges are stiff, and then pulse them in the food processor until coarsely ground.

5. Making Homemade Mayonnaise: Yet another example of the food processor acting as my third arm in the kitchen.

6. Grinding Nuts: Forget chopping nuts by hand — when I want a few cups of finely-chopped nuts for a dessert recipe, it’s all about the food processor.

making peanut butter with a food processor

7. Making Nut Butter: And if you keep grinding nuts a little more past that floury stage, you’ll eventually have homemade nut butter!

8. Grinding Whole Grains into Flour: This isn’t as perfect as an actual grain mill would be, but it works fine for small batches of specialty flours.

9. Making Bread Crumbs and Cookie Crumbs: I really like how finely the food processor is able to cut my bread and cookie crumbs for things like topping mac and cheese or making a cheese cake crust.

10. Shredding Cheese: This is actually one of the few times I get out one of the other blades. If I have to shred whole blocks of cheese for a casserole or similar recipe, the food processor gets it done in a fraction of the time.

What other ways do you regularly use your food processor?

Juicing Just One Glass A Day


Juicing, just one glass a day, is the best and easiest way to meet your daily recommendations of vegetables and fruits. Therefore, juicing at home is a good idea. However, choosing the best one is difficult because there are hundreds of them on the market and each one has its own juicing process. Let’s have a close look at tips to choose the best juicer.

The first and most important factor is your budget, or how much you want to spend on this unit. But keep in mind that most expensive juicer might not be the best one.

The second thing is the juicer type. Primarily, the juicers available these days can be categorized into: wheatgrass juicers, citrus juicers, masticating juicers (single gear), centrifugal juicers, and triturating juicers (twin gears.

Wheatgrass juicers are meant only for leafy veggies and wheatgrass and they can be automatic or manual. Best juicers for best health! Citrus juicers are most basic type, and can squeeze out juice from citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. Masticating juicers are good for all types of veggies and fruits. They work at low speed and retain all nutrients. Centrifugal juicers are more affordable and good for veggies and fruits, but not leafy greens. They have rotating disc that shreds pulp out of fruits and vegetables for juicing. Triturating juicers can make enzyme and nutrient dense juice for you.

The next things include noise level, power and cleaning. The motor always creates some noise but you should decide whether you want a quiet one (less power), or would opt for a noisy machine (high power). Power decides the time and speed of juicing. Therefore, opt for high watt (not high RPM) for best juicing, as this will minimize heat and oxidation.

Cleaning a juicer after juicing can be cumbersome especially if you juice daily. Therefore, check the complexity of the machine because easily removable parts means easier cleaning. Also make sure its components are dishwasher safe in case you use a dishwasher.

The last and most important thing is warranty. The duration of the warranty will give you an idea about its quality. A juicer that comes with a long warranty is more reliable than one with a short warranty.

Black & Decker Pressure Rice Cooker Makes Cooking Easy

Black and Decker rice cooker has made my cooking too easy when I am held up with work and I just think that it was the right one to get after reading this reviews on best rice cookers. I just need to add dry rice and required amount of water in the rice cooker and put it on. This cooking device automatically switches to keep-warm mode after the rice gets cooked and keeps the rice warm at an ideal serving temperature. When I used the cooker for the first time it sprayed slime all over my kitchen and took me long to clean all the mess.


I was disappointed with the product and was thinking I chose on a wrong product. But later when I went through the instruction booklet I found that the mess was because I used too much water to cook the rice. I actually used the same amount of water which I normally used to cook it on the flame, but Black and Decker rice cooker requires less water to cook in comparison to the water needed to cook rice over the flame.

After then I always used the water as per the instruction booklet and I never faced the same problem again. This kitchen appliance gives you perfect firm and fluffy rice if you follow the instruction booklet properly and the best part is that it automatically switches to keep-warm mode after rice being cooked which gives you perfect warm rice even if you want to eat them at some later hours.

Black and Decker rice cooker have removable non-stick cooking pan and can be cleaned easily. It has a heavy-duty tempered glass tip that keeps in heat, moisture and allows me to check the food through glass without steam being released. Now I can make my favorite rice recipes, soups or stews in two simple steps: putting the ingredients in the cooker and switching on the button. That’s what I need to do, the rest is taken care by black and Decker rice cooker. I would highly recommend Black and Decker rice cooker to working women who are busy and held up with loads of work and don’t have much time to cook. I love this product.

Source: http://fronteracooking.com

The dilemma of finding best cookware

My daughter, who is internet savvy, and more up to date with everything in the market, asked me the other day, mama, what are the best cookware sets. As a parent, you simply do not have the liberty to say, I don’t know, or you decide. Even though she has lived in this house with us for almost 20 years, I have been the one who has been doing the cooking. I do have a fascination for cookware, and she knows it. But how do I rank a cookware set as the best?


A lot of real time thinking went into this, and subsequently I did try to answer that question for myself. Here is my criteria for qualifying any cookware as best cookware.

1. Handle should be conveniently designed so as not to strain the wrists and the arm. I am old, and I do have problem in lifting some of my ancient vessels. So I guess, I decided this should be one of the qualifications.

2. The color, material, and shape matter to any woman. We don’t adjust like men, do we? Moreover, we take pride in displaying the best of our clothes, crockery, and cookware. It gives us an edge as if we are smarter than others in our shopping. I have three sets, and I know I match the display on wall we have with the summer and winter interiors.

3. The cookware should neither be too heavy, nor too light. If it is too heavy, it is going to be difficult to lift. Some day it will slip and fall. The end result is an ugly dent. If it is made from too light a material, it will still have those dents, but in addition, it may burn the seasoning. Between lighter and heavier cookware, I would turn to heavy variety. We are not going to drop the vessel every day. But seasoning can be burnt every single day. So thanks but no thanks to thinner gauge varieties.

4. Most of the handles come out. Once that happens, the pot is almost pushed aside. If we can ensure that the handles are riveted and soldered on to the cooking pan or pot, as the case may be, we have a good set of cookware before us.

5. Washing in dishwasher. Nowadays, we have that convenience. So why not have the right type of vessels?

I missed out on two points when I answered my daughter. But I guess, she can spend some time thinking too.

Source: Cook with tina