Top Coffee Makers on the Market

As technology advances, the coffee-making options continue to expand. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to pick the right coffee maker. Fortunately, coffee experts have put these coffee makers to the test and developed a list of the best machines on the market.

Considering both the brew size and the aesthetic appeal of the coffee maker, experts declared the Bonita 8-cup Connoisseur as the best all-around coffee maker. This coffee maker is easy to use and has adjustable temperatures to ensure the perfect cup of coffee. In addition to its ease of use, it also comes in a modern stainless steel design to match the kitchen aesthetic.

Another top choice selected by these experts is the Chemex Pour-over Coffee Maker. This design is the definition of simple coffee making and is a gorgeous addition to any kitchen. The glass vessel holds up to six cups of coffee and is a quality option for manual pour-over systems. Not only is this simplistic, but it is an affordable coffee maker option.

The Cuisinart 12 Cup Brew Central Coffee Maker is a quality coffee machine when looking for a standard drip coffee machine. Reviewers rave about the functionality of this brewer: its adjustable warming settings, automatic shutoff, and programable brew settings. This machine may appear as a standard coffee maker, but it outperforms most systems at a fraction of the price.

If budget is not a concern, the Technivorm Master Coffee Maker is a high-quality machine worth the cost. This machine features a ten-cup pot and adjustable temperature settings. The temperature brings out unique notes in your coffee and produces a better taste. This coffee maker also has a futuristic appearance that adds value to any modern kitchen.

Finally, the OXO On Barista Brain Coffee Maker holds its own when it comes down to high-tech coffee makers. Between the water distribution and the precise temperature, the coffee machine guarantees a flavorful cup of coffee. This machine is a bit pricey, but the cost is worth the splurge for the innovative brewing capabilities of this machine.

These are a few of the best expert-rated coffee makers on the market today that meet the needs of every coffee drinker, both classic and tech-savvy. 

Picking Homegrown Tomatoes

Having a home garden may seem like a daunting task. With the correct information, it is easy to have nutritious and tasty produce. When it comes to growing tomatoes, there are a few tips to obtaining the perfect ripeness.

Most individuals would look at the color and size of the tomato to determine the right time for harvesting, but there is a more accurate way to decipher when the tomatoes are ripe. The first piece of advice is to read the harvesting time on the seedling packet of your tomatoes to get a rough estimate of when they are fully ripe. It is also best to leave the tomatoes on the vine until fully ripened.

Most tomatoes will lighten at the beginning of the ripening process and have reached their maximal nutritional value roughly halfway through their color change. Harvesting tomatoes any time after this halfway mark will still provide that home garden flavor.

The firmness of the tomato is also indicative of when to harvest. When harvesting, the tomato is ready when it is still firm but not rock solid. Once picked, the tomato can ripen further to a softer vegetable for eating. Tomatoes are best eaten when slightly tender to the touch. The tenderness of the tomato is directly related to the maturity of the vegetable.

A final indicator for the most delicious tomatoes is the aroma it admits. Ripe tomatoes on the vine will give off a sweet aromatic smell that indicates it is ready to pick. After being harvested, the tomato can continue to produce a sweet scent at peak ripeness. The tomato typically has the best taste during this fragrant state as well.

One instance when it is appropriate to pick tomatoes before ripeness is in the case of unforeseen weather changes and a variable climate. Most tomatoes will not grow well in extreme heat or cold. In the event of weather changes, green tomatoes should be harvested and mature off the vine. Tomatoes will still ripen off the vine if they are in a mild climate: resting on a kitchen counter.

Overall, homegrown tomatoes are not hard to produce. Harvest tomatoes that are halfway lightened, still firm to the touch, and release a fragrant aroma.   

5 Fast and Easy Breakfast Recipes

Since it the first meal of the day, breakfast is the key to unlocking a productive day. Breakfast plays a pivotal role in how people start the day and determines how the rest of the day pans out. Skipping breakfast has the potential of making people feel dull and not as energetic if they would’ve taken breakfast. Humans require all the major food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. This article will be discussing five everyday breakfast recipes in Kenya.

Sweet Potato and Arrow Roots

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin A while arrowroot is stacked with fibers and essential nutrients. Sweet potatoes sit in the stomach, making people feel fuller and satisfied for longer. All people have to do is boil them. They are great for breakfast if served with tea or coffee. Adding eggs or bacon makes for a tantalizing first meal of the day.

Cereal

Crunchy cereal served with milk is one of everybody’s favorite breakfast dishes. Cereals are loaded with essential vitamins such as folic acid, which is a key for physical development. Individuals can make their cereal by mixing nuts, oats, and dry fruits if they don’t like store-bought cereal. Adding melted butter, margarine, and honey is an excellent way of infusing taste.

Porridge

This cereal dish is made by boiling ground crushed grain (either millet or maize grains). Containing high amounts of fiber and phosphorus, porridge is full of nourishment. This nutritious, easy-to-make meal is choke-full of healthy calories, making it perfect for jump starting the body. Add some margarine, nuts, honey, or milk to give it extra nutrition and flavor.

Swahili Doughnuts

Swahili doughnuts are lightly flavored with cardamom powder. They get their rich taste from the coconut milk used to bind the dough. It is often accompanied with some hot tea or peas to improve delicacy. Swahili doughnuts can be taken with any morning beverage such as coffee or fruit juice.

Rice and Coconut Pancakes

These are soft and fluffy pancakes that are made from rice and coconut batter. These are perfect for people who need light snacks in the morning. People can also use rice flour if they don’t want to soak the rice through the night. They can be served with tea, coffee, or milk.

How to Properly Clean a Cast Iron Pan or Skillet

Every kitchen should have a cast-iron pan or skillet for cooking. These skillets have many great attributes including great heat retention, extreme durability, and a relatively low price-point. Additionally, a cast-iron skillet should last generations making it a great conversation piece in the kitchen. Most kitchens have one that is used quite frequently. However, many people struggle with properly cleaning it and that will affect overall performance. Additionally, simple neglect will also lead to uneven cooking performance and a need for more thorough repair work. Regular cleanings lead to a long life.

Cleaning a cast iron skillet on a regular basis is the best way to maintain its shape and functionality. It is also very simple. After finishing your cooking and while it is still warm, take some paper towels and wipe down the inside of the skillet. This will remove excess food and oil. When that is completed, get a non-abrasive brush or pad and scrub the skillet under hot running water. Dry the skillet with a towel. Lastly, heat it up on a burner using low heat until all traces of moisture have evaporated. Add a small amount of oil to the skillet and use paper towels to lightly coat the whole interior surface with oil. Let it cool completely.

If you have a skillet that hasn’t been cleaned regularly, bring it back to life relatively easily by using the stove-top or the oven. For the stove-top method, heat the skillet over medium heat. Take some paper towels and dip them into cooking oil with tongs. Wipe the inside surface until the oil smokes and there is no remaining residue in the skillet. After it cools, you might have to repeat this process two or three more times.

Using the oven is a very similar method. Heat the oven to 500 degrees and coat the inside of the skillet with cooking oil using tongs and paper towels. Make sure the surface looks dark and smooth and place it in the oven for 60 minutes. Remove the skillet and let it cool completely.

A cast-iron skillet should last a lifetime with proper maintenance and care. Even when you find a skillet that has been neglected, it can be brought back to life with the methods mentioned above. Cleaning it properly after each use will ensure a long and functional life in your kitchen.

Cleaning a cast iron skillet on a regular basis is the best way to maintain its shape and functionality. It is also very simple. After finishing your cooking and while it is still warm, take some paper towels and wipe down the inside of the skillet. This will remove excess food and oil. When that is completed, get a non-abrasive brush or pad and scrub the skillet under hot running water. Dry the skillet with a towel. Lastly, heat it up on a burner using low heat until all traces of moisture have evaporated. Add a small amount of oil to the skillet and use paper towels to lightly coat the whole interior surface with oil. Let it cool completely.

If you have a skillet that hasn’t been cleaned regularly, bring it back to life relatively easily by using the stove-top or the oven. For the stove-top method, heat the skillet over medium heat. Take some paper towels and dip them into cooking oil with tongs. Wipe the inside surface until the oil smokes and there is no remaining residue in the skillet. After it cools, you might have to repeat this process two or three more times.

Using the oven is a very similar method. Heat the oven to 500 degrees and coat the inside of the skillet with cooking oil using tongs and paper towels. Make sure the surface looks dark and smooth and place it in the oven for 60 minutes. Remove the skillet and let it cool completely.

A cast-iron skillet should last a lifetime with proper maintenance and care. Even when you find a skillet that has been neglected, it can be brought back to life with the methods mentioned above. Cleaning it properly after each use will ensure a long and functional life in your kitchen.

Clear Out Your Kitchen: Get Rid of These Kitchen Tools That Only Do One Task

Every home cook loves the idea of having a kitchen gadget for literally everything. Yet a lot of these kitchen gadgets are sort of “one hit wonders.” They are designed to do only one thing each. As amazing and as useful as those individual tasks accomplished are, these tools will otherwise sit in your kitchen drawers for months, possibly years before you ever pull them out to use again. Here are a few tools and gadgets you can do without, and what you can substitute in their place.

Cherry Pitter

Sweet cherries are a treat at the end of every summer, and only at the end of summer. There is no other time of year when cherries are available in most states. A cherry pitter is nice to have if you intend to pit cherries for a recipe, but useless if you’re just going to eat the cherries as-is.

Decide how often your cherry pitter really does anything for you, and then send it packing. Eating the cherries is a careful task of eating around the pits, but if you eat olives with pits, it’s the same thing. If you need cherries for a recipe, buy them without pits in a jar or canned.

Egg Separators and Microwave Egg Boilers

It doesn’t take much to figure out how to pour a yolk back and forth between its two halves of shell to get the white to separate from the yolk. An egg separator is just for people that are either too creeped out by eggs or too inexperienced to manage this cooking task on their own.

As for the microwave egg boiler, really? Boiling eggs in a pot on the stove takes just a few minutes. In fact, in the same amount of time you boil an egg in the microwave, you could have boiled an egg on the stove. Unless you don’t have a stove or it’s completely defunct, the microwave egg boiler is pointless.

Garlic Press

It sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Like only a thing a professional chef would use, the garlic press impresses but is used less often than a cherry pitter. Very few recipes call for fresh-pressed garlic, and you can accomplish that by buying it in a jar or quickly dicing it yourself with a very sharp kitchen knife.

Originally published to jasonsheasby.net.

Foods That Affect Your Mood

Food is often something people turn to for comfort, but often the foods that we eat negatively impact our mood due to the copious amounts of sugar and calories in them. While indulging once in a while isn’t bad, there are plenty of healthier alternatives to comfort food that will improve your mood rather than be a temporary relief. Research shows that there’s a correlation between nutrition and mental health. Though many other factors can impact your mood (such as your environment, stress level, and more), eating foods that are proven to help mood disorders and brain health is beneficial to everyone’s overall state of being.

Here are just a few to consider when your spirits are down.

Fatty Fish

Salmon and albacore tuna are fatty fish that have an abundance of omega-3 acids. These are essential to a healthy diet because the human body can’t produce omega-3 acids on its own. They’re rich in two specific types of omega-3: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), both of which are linked to helping with depression. Additionally, omega-3s play a role in brain development and cell signaling. 

Experts recommend that most adults should have 250-500mg of combined EPA and DHA per day, and since a 3.5 ounce serving of salmon has 2,260mg of these acids, eating fatty fish a few times a week is an easy way to include this in your diet.

Dark Chocolate

Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean giving up chocolate! Though still a high-calorie food, chocolate has many components that will boost your mood. Sugar, for example, can quickly fuel your brain, and compounds like caffeine, theobromine, and N-acylethanolamine are feel-good substances linked to improving your mood considerably. Health-wise, chocolate has been proven to increase blood flow to your brain, reduce inflammation, and boost your brain’s health, all of which also affect your mood. 

Milk chocolate has a lot of added sugar and fat, so opting for dark chocolate is a much better option. Despite the benefits, it’s wise to stick to one or two small squares at a time.

Bananas

Bananas have high levels of B6, a vitamin that helps synthesize feel-good chemicals in your brain such as dopamine and serotonin. Likewise, one large banana (136g) has 16g of sugar and 3.5g of fiber. This is a good thing because when paired with fiber, sugar is released into the bloodstream more slowly, which allows for stable blood sugar levels and better mood control. When your blood sugar is too low, you can become irritable and get mood swings. They also have prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria that resides in your gut. All of this works together to maintain your blood sugar levels and stabilize your mood.

Strange Foods You Need to Try

Food can quickly become boring or uninteresting if you eat it every day, so why not look for something new? If you’re feeling adventurous, you may want to opt for finding truly bizarre foods to feast on other than what you can find at your local grocery store. Who wouldn’t want to say they changed their meals up and ate ant larvae or worms instead of grilled chicken? If doing something like this sounds right up your alley, here are a few unique foods you can try from around the world (it’ll give you an excuse to travel too!).

Palolo

For some people, the first image that comes to mind when we hear the word worm is the number of them scattered along the sidewalks and roads during and after it rains. For others, however, worms make a popular dish, and in the South Pacific, palolo is popular indeed among Samoan people. They have a fishy flavor similar to caviar, and can be eaten either right out of the ocean when harvested or cooked with other foods for flavor. 

Here’s a fun fact as an added bonus: the palolo’s head stays stuck to pieces of coral, so when they’re harvested, you’re only getting the back end of it. Enjoy your worm butt!

Escamoles

Once a delicacy among the Aztecs, escamoles—ant larvae—is a treat that’s still found today all around Central Mexico and in Mexico City. It has a nutty, buttery flavor and a creamy texture, both of which make it a prized meal to be had. To try escamoles, however, you’ll need to travel to Mexico yourself since it’s not allowed to cross the country’s border. What a reason to travel, right? 

Turducken

Turducken has been around since the 1970s, and it’s something else altogether. It’s made by stuffing a partially deboned turkey with a deboned duck, which is stuffed with a deboned chicken stuffed with stuffing. To be less confusing, the order (from outside inward) is turkey, duck, chicken, stuffing. Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme is claimed to be the Turducken inventor, but some believe it was actually invented in a hunting camp, while an unnamed surgeon claims to be the true inventor. In any event, if you want three different types of meat at your next Thanksgiving dinner, give Turducken a try.

Frozen Alternatives to Ice Cream

You can find a wide variety of frozen treats in your local grocery store. The arrangement of flavors and brands range from original flavors like vanilla and chocolate flavoring to organic and all-natural ingredients (mainly anything grown from plants). These choices still have an extremely high amount of sugars that can be harmful to your body. As an ice cream fan, what can you do to make sure you still get what you crave without getting all the additives and preservatives? Which healthy foods can be used to substitute these ingredients?

Yogurt

Yogurt can be used for almost anything these days, especially greek yogurt considering its consistency. It can be a replacement for dips, ice creams, and so much more. The below list contains some of the most popular ideas that you can create at home to replace your ice cream desires:

Sorbets

The most popular flavor of sorbet is rainbow. This can be found in any ice cream aisle, but what if you could make your own? Well, it is possible. Alongside this, you can find recipes for just about any fruit-filled sorbet that will keep you on the healthy side of life. You may find that you could lose some weight just because you won’t have the extra, unpronounceable products added to it. The internet has offered up some of these easy to make recipes:

Fruit Popsicles

Homemade popsicles are one of the best ideas anyone could have come up with. You can literally make a popsicle out of anything. Frozen, fruity treats are sought after all the time, so why not have some ready to grab and go? Just like everything else offered in this article, the array of recipe ideas offered online can become overwhelming when deciding which to try, but fret no more. Here are a few options to begin with if you try can not make up your mind. If you are an adult and looking for that special twist, check out the very last link below. It is bound to make the whole neighbor want to head over every day of summer:

Summertime calls for cold, sweet treats, and it is also the time where most of us want to look great in our swimsuits. Preparing ahead with these great ideas can ensure that you can maintain your goals and possibly carry them out through the year. Once you learn to start with these simple recipes, then you will eventually become curious about making similar treats that can relate to each season as they come along. If you do that, then by the time the next summer rolls around, you should have no problem achieving your perfect body!  

How to Make the World’s Best Sandwiches at Home

Going out and having a fresh sandwich from your favorite local deli can be a treat, but often you might wonder if you could replicate that same experience at home. Making sandwiches at home can seem difficult at first, but it’s one of the easier foods to replicate your success with over time. Take these steps in making some of the best sandwiches you can eat at home.

Bread

The bread in a sandwich is known as one of these most crucial parts of a sandwich as you can get many different types of tastes just from the bread itself. Choosing the right bread means understanding what type of ingredients you’re planning on putting between the slices of bread. For example, ciabatta bread is often known for being great bread for those looking for a sandwich that might be skimpier on the ingredients. Before purchasing your bread, consider getting a full uncut loaf over pre-sliced bread as it can tend to get soggy very quickly.

Meat

Meat is typically known as the primary source of ingredients for a sandwich in between the bread and vegetables. To source the right meat for your sandwiches, you’ll want to visit a local butcher instead of picking up presliced meat at the grocery store. The reason behind this is that working with a butcher can make it so that you get the freshest meat possible with the exact type of cut your sandwiches are looking for.

International Types

While not exactly called sandwiches, you can try out various international foods that are similar enough to sandwiches that you eat today. One of these is the sabich from Israel, which is pita bread stuffed with ingredients like hummus, Israeli salad, amba, tahini, and more to create a great option for those that are vegetarian. Another popular food is ognigrazu, a Japanese sandwich made out of rice and seaweed that can include all different ingredients in the middle like tuna, fried chicken, avocado, and more. Finally, you can try Korean lettuce wraps that use lettuce as bread and allows you to wrap the leaves around protein like pork belly and steak. Experimenting with international dishes can be a great way to find a new food that you can obsess over. 

Food Spotlight: Prosciutto e Melone

If you’ve been to Italy or anywhere with a high Italian presence, you’re probably familiar with prosciutto e melone. If not, then you should know that prosciutto e melone is the combination of cured meat and melon, both of which make up a staple Italian snack that’s been around for centuries. In fact, prosciutto e melone can be traced back to ancient Roman times, when eating hot and dry foods together was a common health practice.

 

In 2. Century AD, a doctor named Galeno theorized that everyone was made up of four qualities: fire, air, earth, and water. These elements were core parts in the medicinal teachings of Humorism, and were able to be connected to diets that humans ate at the time: warm, cold, dry, and juicy foods, all to correspond to the four balancing elements. If humans wished to avoid falling ill, they had to maintain a balanced diet based around these teachings. As melon was considered highly dangerous at the time due to it being juicy and cold, adding prosciutto’s warm dryness was meant to balance the food and make it safe for consumption.

 

Naturally, the combination of melon and cured meat became so popular that the recipe survived centuries of world changes.

 

Why is it so popular?

 

Take a look at what’s on the market today, and you’ll know how prosciutto e melone survived the years. Chocolate covered pretzels, kettle corn, maple-roasted bacon, french fries dipped in ice cream—humans are drawn to pairing salty foods with sweet ones. The two flavors complement one another deliciously, and prosciutto e melone provides that same flavor combination to those looking for a snack. It doesn’t just have a flavorful combination, though; this snack is also packed with vitamins, fiber, good fats, and protein, making it a refreshingly healthy food option to choose from. It can be enjoyed at lunch, be part of an aperitivo spread, or even be served with dinner.

The best part? There’s no cooking required when preparing this dish. There are only two ingredients, and you can throw them together if you’re in a hurry. You just need a slice of sweet melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, you name it) that’s seedless and rind-free and thinly-sliced prosciutto crudo. Wrap it around the melon slices with the edges of each slice still showing, and it’s ready to serve.