Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cookbooks As Gifts

If you love cooking, you'll love cookbooks. Whether these are cookbooks with recipes from around the world or cookbooks with stories that you read like a novel, these recipe books contribute to the joy of cooking.

Cookbooks with lots of pictures especially gorgeous images of delicious food, make it easy to have the desire to start cooking and looking forward to the end results.

I still have the recipe book for beginners that my dad gave me when I first started college.

Yes, it did help me a lot. The cookbook for beginners come with recipes that require just a few ingredients.

If you're just starting out on your home cooking journey, then the simple recipes cookbooks are the way to go.

Checking out the cookbooks with recipes from around the world is like going on an exotic journey into the kitchens from around the world.

Check out the delicate art of sushi in the Japanese kitchen, the super spicy devil's curry from South East Asia, Kung Pao chicken from the Chinese kitchen, Scotch eggs as well as steak and kidney pies from England or the Tandoori chicken from India.

Classic cookbooks make great housewarming gifts for the home cooks.

Those on a low fat diet would surely love the cookbooks with calorie counts and nutritional information listed for each recipe.

Trying to encourage your college kids or young adults to start cooking healthy meals at home? Well, start by giving them cookbooks with simple recipes or even those with meal plans included.

There are also good niche cookbooks such as those specially written for diabetics or those looking for low cholesterol meals.

Signed cookbooks or those that come with a signed bookplate would make lovely gifts for cookbook collectors.

So, are you one of those whose kitchen shelf is filled with cookbooks of all kinds? You're certainly not alone.

Cookbooks with notes jotted down and passed down through the generations are filled with not only lovely recipes but also cherished memories.

I especially love those cookbooks with stories. Reading these stories take me back through the years, imagining the laughter and tears, the noise and aroma of these old kitchens and what life is like back then.

Reading about the techniques and methods used in the olden day kitchens and comparing with the smart kitchens of today make me appreciate modern life with its advanced technology.

Is it time to buy a gift for mom or dad? Think of the cookbook on backyard grilling or perhaps cookbooks for busy moms.

Gifting mom an easy herb garden kit together with that lovely recipe book sounds like a great idea. Fresh herbs plus delicious recipes certainly go together hand in hand.

I love cookbooks. Besides providing me with delicious recipes, I find them interesting and full of information about life.
What about you?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Buying Gifts For Retro Lovers

Buying Gifts For Retro Lovers
Buying gifts for retro lovers can be so rewarding and fascinating. In fact, it's not unusual for me to spend hours looking at those cool vintage inspired stuff and ended up getting a few items for myself.

There's really quite a wide choice to choose from ranging from personalized gifts to retro-themed house decor items.

My Aunt Ellie is a lover of all things retro, especially vintage inspired kitchen gadgets. By the way, she's a great cook.

Uncle John is an avid gardener. His backyard garden is like a vegetable farm, filled with nutritious home grown food. It's easy to buy gifts for him. Old fashioned garden tools would have him smiling from ear to ear. I got him some heirloom seeds and vintage inspired garden planters as birthday gift. He was so happy.

If you're looking for vintage style gifts for your loved ones, then let me share some nostalgic gift ideas with you.

Are you in the market for old fashioned decor items for your retro themed kitchen? Then you might want to consider the old style 1950s clock which is both decorative and useful. These clocks come with big numbers making them easy to check out the time.

Old style reproduction tin signs always look lovely and full of nostalgic feel. Well, there are all sorts of these retro themed metal signs that you can hang in your home.
Rustic country side rooster signs, 1950s diner signs, fun old school metal signs with humorous messages and lots more.

I like this fun retro sign made from vintage reclaimed wood. Great message don't you agree?

Some of you might still have fond memories of the 50s entertainment icons - Lucy and Elvis Presley. Well, you'll be pleased to know there is an awesome collection of   collectibles of these 2 great entertainment icons.

Coca Cola is another great iconic old time brand. Check out their old school merchandise and let them take you back to the time when it first started in the nineteen century. Coca Cola was initially sold at soda fountains which was popular at that time.

A great way to add some retro flair to your room is to hang up the old fashioned lantern light. It can even serve as a cozy night light.

Vintage inspired coffee mugs are always popular, especially those with funny sayings. Yes, they make cool and fun gifts whether for coffee or tea lovers.

 Well, have you come across or received any retro style gifts that you love very much? Do share with us in the comments below.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Home Turkey Fryer For Delicious Fried Turkey

A traditional Thanksgiving feast would always have the fried/roast turkey on its menu. A lip smacking delicious crispy skin fried turkey is the main attraction in my family's Thanksgiving dinner.

The indoor electric turkey fryer is certainly a good investment if it is within your budget. It eliminates the danger posed by an open flame.

With the turkey fryer, it will free up your oven space for other baked food items.

One of the first concern about frying a turkey would have to be safety. Frying one over an open flame can be dangerous if not done with proper safety precautions.

If you are nervous about open flames, then an indoor electric turkey fryer such as the Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Gen III Electric Fryer Cooker might be a better alternative for you.

Whether using outdoor or indoor turkey fryers, there are some precautions to be aware of.

  1. Do not fill oil above the maximum fill line. Overflowing of hot oil can be dangerous.
  2. Never put a frozen turkey into the hot oil. There will be a lot of splattering of the hot oil which can cause a fire or an explosion when the hot oil splatters onto the open flame of the burner. This can cause serious injuries.
  3. When lowering the thawed and dried turkey into the hot oil, go as slow as possible to avoid sudden splashing or overflowing of hot oil.
  4. If using an open flame turkey fryer, it is a good idea to turn off the flame when putting in the bird. At least, just in case the hot oil overflows, there won't be the possibility of a fire.
  5. Maintain the correct temperature of 350 degrees throughout. Check out the total cooking time needed; normally, it is about 3.5 - 4 minutes per pound of turkey weight. Fryers that come with thermostat control and timer make the job easier.

You might find that the most difficult part of frying a turkey is the putting in and taking out part. It is safer to switch off the fire when lowering or raising the turkey.

Oil Free Turkey Fryer

For a healthier version of fried turkey, you have now the oil free infra red turkey fryer. This is also good for those who do not wish to handle a pot of boiling oil.

The oil free fryer means no extra expenditure on expensive peanut oil, no dangers of getting splashed and scalded by hot boiling oil or worse, starting a fire because of the hot oil.

It is also great for those who just wish to cook one turkey for Thanksgiving. You do not have a pot of fried turkey oil to keep or to dispose of. For just one turkey, it might not be worth the extra expenditure on the pot of oil.

There is another delicious side effect of the oil less fryer. The excess oil and juices from the turkey drips onto a detachable dripping tray below the cooking basket where the turkey sits. You can use this drippings for making tasty gravy.

It is also possible to stuff your turkey with herbs, wild rice, onions, carrots, chestnuts, garlic etc which would have been impossible with the oil fried bird.

Crispy outside, juicy inside - the perfect home cooked turkey for Thanksgiving made possible by the turkey fryer for home use. Your family and invited friends will be thrilled.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Spine Stretcher Device For Back Pain

Whether excruciating or mild back pain, it dampens your life. Whether it's due to arthritis, pinched nerves, disc degeneration, nerve damage or some other reasons, spinal back pain results in lost working hours and downtime.

Back pain is actually very common and can happen to anyone. Doing a simple daily back stretching exercise with the help of a back stretcher device has proven to be effective for relieving back pain for some sufferers. It could help you too.

Relaxing and stretching your back using a spine back stretcher is a very simple but effective way to relieve pressure on your back and compressed spine. 5 to 10 minutes a day is all that is needed to relieve back pain, increase flexibility and improve posture. It makes use of natural traction to reverse the painful effects of spinal compression and pinched nerves.

The portable arched back stretching device is affordable and can be used at home or when traveling. Get those that come with 2 or 3 levels of stretching positions. The spine back stretcher loosens up your tight muscles and gives your back a great stretch and yes, you'll feel the difference after a few tries.

Living with a painful back is no joy. Your sleep is also affected. After using the back stretching device, no doubt, you would finally get to have a sound sleep at last. Now, isn't that wonderful?

Yes, just a simple piece of device that stretches your back muscles can result in sound sleep at night. Another equally wonderful side benefit is a good posture. You look taller too as you're now standing upright.

Only when your body is not in pain can you enjoy the simple pleasures in life such as good food, good sleep, a good walk in the park and a good conversation with a good friend.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tents For Camping And Hiking

Camping In The Mountain
Summer holidays spent outdoors or to be more precise, with nature, is a great way to fill your holidays with exciting happy memories. Get away from it all, so to say.

Camping with your family in tow is also a great way to bond, amid fresh mountain air, the sound of birds calling and the whistling of a gentle breeze.

Before you start heading to the mountains or camping grounds, first check out your camping tent. Do you have one? Is it still in good condition? Are you bringing your dog?  

Family camping tents with screen porch would be most suitable for those with pets tagging along as the screened front porch can be used as the sheltered place for your dog to sleep. It can also double up as a place for meals or a sun room to relax and play card games. Yes, a camping tent with a screen room means out with the bugs, in with the breeze.

When it comes to tents, there are many choices. Should you get a camping tent with rooms such as a 3 room cabin tent or go for those large family tents for 10 - 16 people. These large family tents come with room dividers which can be removed to form one large room if the need arises.

Then you have those instant tents which just pop up and can just as easily be dismantled. Hiking and backpacking tents are smaller and lighter meant for one to four person.

Nice and useful features to have in a family camping tent:

  • Waterproof tent walls and floor
  • Spacious
  • Tall tent so that you can stand up straight when inside
  • Attached screen room or front porch to keep out the bugs
  • Room dividers or zipped walls so that you can have privacy when needed.
  • Hanging pockets for small necessities.
  • Mesh roof for admiring the starry night sky (Standby the rainfly for the unexpected rain)
Getting the campfire ready is an adventure in itself. Normally, the campfire is outside the tent but there are tents where you can have the campfire right inside the tent itself.

The Tentipi adventure tents are single pole tents with an innovative stove and chimney design. You've got to check them out and read all about their campfire right inside the tent.

Whether solo backpacking or camping with family, a good quality tent is an important necessity for a memorable camping trip. Cheap flimsy ones will get blown away by strong winds and washed out by heavy rain.

Check out reviews of lightweight backpacking tents before buying.

Here's to an awesome camping holiday!

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Best Air Fryers For Home Use

Tefal Actifry Hot Air Multi Cooker
Tefal Actifry Hot Air Fryer
The hot air fryer is one modern kitchen appliance that is slowly gaining a big fan base. People are talking about the healthy fryer, oil free fryer or hot air deep fryer and the tasty greasless meals that can be cooked in these hot air fryers.

Most people love fried food but worry over the loaded unhealthy calories. With the air fryer that uses less oil, in fact 1 tablespoon only if needed, fried food without the greasy taste and calories certainly sounds most appealing.

Are Air Fryers Really Healthier?

Before we get started on whether this hot air cooker deserves the name healthy fryer, let's check out how it works.

How Does The Air Fryer Work?

The less oil fryer works using the Rapid Air Circulation Technology whereby air is heated up by a grill or heating element located in the top part of the air fryer. A fan which is also located in the top part blows the hot air all around the hot air frying machine.

The food is put into the cooking basket located on the lower part of the machine and is cooked by this heated air rapidly moving in all directions.

There are a few brands of home hot air fryers that seem recommended by consumers. Popular ones include the Philips hot air fryer and the Tefal Actifry air fryer.

Philips hot air fryer reviews

There are 2 models of Philips hot air cookers available in the USA, the Philips HD9220/26 and the HD9230/26.The HD9220 is manual whereas the 9230 is a digital airfryer.

The fryer seems easy to operate, just 2 knobs to control. One is for timer and the other for temperature.

The cooking basket has a mesh bottom for good air circulation and has a cooking capacity of 1.8 pounds.

So far so good, seems simple enough.

Then, the not so simple part is discovered. You do require a learning curve to get the hang of things. Of course, to some, one or two tries will be enough to get the best results. For some, you might need a bit more time.

Take for example the ever popular French fries. If cooking frozen fries, no extra oil is needed as the frozen fries already contain oil. You need to stop halfway during the cooking process to give the basket a shake so that the fries are more even cooked.

A single layer of food will cook better than food pile on top of each other in the basket.

For sure you get fries that taste like fast food fries minus the excess fat and grease, healthier French fries.

Tefal Actifry Hot Air Multi Cooker

The Tefal hot air fryer works slighly differently from the Philips fryer. Instead of a cooking basket, it has a non-stick pan with a stirring paddle. This does remind me of the non-stick wok and its cooking ladle.

The temperature is not adjustable and comes fixed at 339 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, one less function to worry about.

Food is placed on the cooking pan and when the machine is turned on, the pan will rotate with the paddle stirring the food. Shaking of food halfway is not necessary.

Roasting vegetables turn out great too.

There is no greasy mess to clean up as there is no splatter of oil. All the removable parts are dishwasher safe.

The hot air frying machine cooks fast with no oil or very little oil and cleaning up is hassle-free.

Less oil, less calories. Yes, I would say that the hot air cooker is a healthy fryer in that sense.

If you are interested in knowing more about these healthy greaseless fryers, you can read detailed reviews at

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tips For Making Sausages At Home

Juicy sausages have always been a favorite of mine. Having tried out a
friend's home-made tasty sausages, I decided to try making some of my own.

First, I will need a sausage stuffer machine suitable for home use. Lem vertical stainless steel sausage stuffer seems to be popular among home chefs. My friend has a sausage stuffing kit from LEM too.

The Vivo vertical stainless steel sausage stuffer comes in single or double gear.

Home made sausages are definitely healthier as the amount of fat or salt can be controlled. On top of that, no fillers will be added resulting in more tasty sausages. Just add seasonings according to the taste that appeals to your taste buds, be it paprika, oriental garlic and ginger taste, perhaps the German Bauerwurst or Italian sausages might be more appealing to you. I love mine with a bit of wine added.

Natural casings come recommended. Looks like quite a few types available. You have the fibrous types, hog, sheep or cow casings and collagen casings. Vegetarian casings cater to the non-meat eaters group making vegetarian sausages.

Useful tips:

When pushing the ground meat into the casing, avoid air bubbles in the casing. This is to avoid the sausage splitting up during the cooking process. Check for air bubbles and poke with a toothpick to remove them.

Refrigerate the prepared raw sausage overnight, uncovered. It taste better as the seasonings get to soak into the meat thoroughly.

Try to include at least 25% fat in the meat mixture to ensure that the sausages are moist and smooth.

Check out some youtube videos too.

I am sure you will enjoy making sausages at home as much as I did.

My Pet Dog Jogging Stroller

Strolling In The Park
A pet jogger stroller is a useful item to have when you have a pet that you wish to bring along with you during your outdoor activities.

When jogging, your pet dog might not be able to catch up with you and gets tired long before you do. The pet stroller comes in handy then as you can just put your little doggy in the stroller while you continue jogging.

It is especially useful when transporting an injured dog to the vet. It can lie comfortably in the stroller instead of you struggling to carry it while trying not to hurt it more.

There are many types of pet jogging strollers such as those for 30lbs, 40lbs or even 70lbs jogger stroller for pets.

Then you have jogger strollers that are lightweight and portable or those meant for rough terrain. The all terrain pet stroller comes with large wheels that glide easily over smooth or rough terrain and has good shock absorption, ensuring a smooth ride.

Pet strollers are easier to transport your pet than a pet carrier. It is certainly easier on your back.

Get a pet jogger stroller and you will have no problem bringing your pet along to enjoy the outdoors together.

I and my Snowy (my Shih Tzu doggy) have many happy trips together whether jogging, meeting up with friends, going to the morning market and almost any activities outdoors.

My pet stroller for small dogs has a zipped interior compartment, large basket as well as front swivel wheels which makes pushing and navigating easy. In fact Snowy insists on taking afternoon naps in the stroller as she finds it so comfortable.

So next time you bump into someone with a stroller, it might be a pet dog or cat inside and not necessary a cute little baby!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Exercise Your Way To Good Health

A large number of people are at the moment seeking ways to be in better health and better shape. Unfortunately these folks more often than not, assume that it's just way too much work to successfully go about achieving the desired result. Glance through the fitness tips provided below and see why it is definitely not as difficult as you think.

Learning to count calories is good for your fitness goals. This is because calories consumption must not be more than calories burned. Exercise regularly to burn up the extra calories consumed. If you consume more than what is needed for your basal metabolic rate (the energy needed for your daily activities) the extra calories can be burned off by exercises.

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Is it possible for you to walk to work or maybe cycle to work instead of driving? How about walking up the flight of stairs instead of just taking the lift? Walking out for lunch instead of driving or ordering takeaways?

Biking is a great way to lose weight in a fun way. The breeze, the scenery and the familiar faces that pass you as you cycle along can be anything but monotonous and boring.

Working out a sweat need not be the same old routine every day. You will soon get bored and become less motivated. It is also not as good for your muscles as they grow acclimated to the same old routine. If you would like to run to lose weight, then running on a treadmill every alternate day followed by running outdoors in between can reduce the risk of getting bored and losing interest in your running plans.

If you have joints problems, working out on an elliptical trainer should suit you. Offering low impact exercise, the elliptical trainer is a great cardio workout machine for both the young and old. A good elliptical is the new Precor EFX 447 elliptical complete with a free Preva fitness membership.

Another highly recommended best buy elliptical trainer is the Diamondback Fitness 1260ef. It has been voted best buy for 8 consecutive years by a leading consumer magazine.

For those who love working out in the company of others with the same interest, then joining a group or class would be just perfect. Examples such as yoga class, dancing class, aerobics class are good for losing weight and getting into shape. You might even make some good friends along the way.
If you are someone that can only train with the help of a trainer, then getting a personal trainer is advisable. A personal trainer can advise you on your weak points and monitors your progress besides giving great encouragement all the way. Of course, a personal trainer will cost you money, but if within your budget, personal trainers are really worth the investment.

A great way to improve endurance and get faster results doing what you usually do is to complete your workout in a much faster time. For example, reduce a 30 minutes workout to between 25 and 27 minutes will cause your muscles to work harder and you can feel an improvement in your endurance.

Wearing trendy clothes for exercise can also act as a sort of motivation too. Some performance clothes are very high tech. They can lick moisture, removes the odor of your sweat and can even act as a support for your muscles, minimizing aches and pains later.

Exercise brings about good health and of course a more trimmer you. As long as you keep on doing it, you will see results.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Is Mindful Eating

 Ever heard of mindful eating? Actually you hear it all the time. Be aware of your food and enjoy it. Pay attention to every single bite and not just eat for the sake of eating and filling up your hungry growling stomach. In other words, your food deserves your full attention just like a student paying full attention when the teacher is teaching.

Mindful eating can actually help you lose weight. You are totally in control of the amount of food you take. Compared to emotional eating when you eat every time you feel sad, lonely, depressed or stressed, you are subconsciously eating without actually realizing what and how much food you are putting into your mouth. Let us explore some of the common bad eating habits.

In mindful eating, you chew your food slowly and deliberately, marveling at its tastiness. Stop when you are almost full; never stuff yourself until you feel bloated with food. Learn to listen to your hunger cues. On the other hand, emotional eaters seek comfort in food and thus tend to overeat. For the emotional eaters, try at least to snack on healthy food such as fruits or even sugar free chewing gums. A better idea would be to get involved in some healthy activities every time you have negative feelings. Jump on your home treadmill and run until you sweat or go outdoors for a walk if possible. Call up a friend or even saying a prayer helps too. You can even try taking out your best cookware set, whip up a small portion of your favorite food and eat from your best dinnerware. By the time the food is cooked and ready, you would most probably be less emotional, and might not even want to eat it. Save your home cooked meal for dinner instead.

A friend of mine always cleans her house whenever she feels depressed. Out come her trusty Electrolux canister vacuum and before long, her house is spick and span. Looking with pride at her clean house always put her back in a good mood.

Skipping meals and eating at irregular times is another bad eating habit to avoid. Eating at irregular times is bad for metabolism and can lead to muscle loss over the long term. Besides, it is bad for your energy levels and this can cause a flaw in your attention span. Added to these, you might overeat at your next meal as you would be hungry. Try having small meals such as sandwiches, yogurt, mixed nuts or fruits if you really have to skip meals because of work commitments or for other reasons. At least, this helps to maintain your blood sugar level and metabolic rate, and thus a far more effective fat burning to keep you in shape.

It is also not good to eat in front of the television or while working at your computer. Remember, mindful eating ensures that you will stop eating when almost full. You must pay attention to what you are eating. No multitasking here! It also helps to eat from a smaller plate as it gives the illusion of a full plate of food.

Try to cook food that satisfies the sense of sight and smell. You will be more likely to savor your food and eat slowly, enjoying every mouthful. That's why restaurant food is always nicely presented to increase our appetite.

Eat smart the mindful way, enjoy your food, maintain your weight and good health at the same time. Life is so wonderful indeed!