Be Healthy And Happy

by Regina

Making Espresso With A Home Espresso Machine

by Regina

As anyone who’s ever tried to make the perfect espresso knows, it’s not as easy as it looks. There are a ton of different elements at play, from the temperature to the right amount of beans ground just so. If any of those elements are anything less than perfect, you’re in danger of winding up with bitter, undrinkable sludge instead of the ultimate espresso that evokes memories of your summer in Italy.

But fear not. As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. To help you reach perfection sooner, we’ve compiled this handy list of tips that will help you whip up the best espresso you’ve ever had without leaving your own cozy kitchen. Goodbye, morning runs to the coffee house!

If you’re lucky enough to have your own espresso machine, you’re more likely to wind up with a coffee house quality espresso than your stovetop-using counterparts. See what the best espresso machines under $200 are.

1. Grind your beans just before brewing. For espresso, you’ll want to select a fine grind setting. Don’t use the same setting as you would for brewed coffee – that would be much coarser than you’d want for a proper espresso.

2. Pour cold water into the water chamber. Making Espresso recommends using one tablespoon of ground beans for each ounce of water, and warns that anything less precise will throw off your espresso shot.

3. Pack the beans evenly into the coffee basket, and level off the top to avoid any overflow.

4. Press the coffee with a tamper to ensure the beans are evenly distributed in the basket.

5. Let your machine work its magic. Once the foam, or “crema” at the top of your espresso starts looking more white than brown, remove your cup and savor your perfect creation!

If you don’t have an espresso machine, an espresso can also be made by using a moka pot. Click here to find out how.

How to Use Your Espresso Machine to Make Perfect Espresso At Home

by Regina

Espresso is a touchy subject in the coffee industry. You can learn “the only correct way” from a ton of different sources and somehow, they always seem to differ. The honest answer is that there is no one way to make espresso that is universal and works for every espresso machine. Espresso machines are touchy and each one has a “best practices” list in order that you can make great espresso.

The 5 most important factors to pulling perfect espresso shots are: Water Pressure, Extraction Time, Water Temperature, Grind Consistency, and Tamping. If any one of these are off, your shots will lose a lot of flavor and you won’t enjoy your end espresso drink. For perfect espresso shots, all of these need to be set exactly right. Some of these are out of your control, however. The goal is to strive for perfection in all of these things and get as close as you can – or, if you can justify it, find a new machine that will allow you to achieve that perfection.

1. Water Pressure: It’s ironic that many home machines don’t output the proper water pressure. This is actually one of the most crucial parts to brewing great tasting espresso – yet many home machines are not calibrated, mis-calibrated, or not even capable of the proper water pressure. It’s important that you get 9 bars of water pressure.

2. Extraction Time: This is a fairly hotly contested subject in the industry. Ultimately, it depends on the espresso beans you are using in your machine. For our beans, we recommend a 25 – 30 second extraction time. This means that once you push the button on your espresso machine to start the extraction process, within the first 5 seconds, you should see liquid coming out of your portafilter into the cup. From that point, your shot should take no longer than 25 seconds to finish.

3. Water Temperature: Your water temperature should be around 94˚C or 201˚F. A variance of around 2 or 3 degrees in either direction won’t negatively affect your flavor so it doesn’t have to be “on the dot”. Just make sure you are conscious of keeping your machine’s temperature in that area.

4. Grind Consistency: Grind consistency and tamping (#5 below) are both big pieces to great espresso that interplay with each other a little bit. To ensure you have the best grind for pulling perfect espresso shots, you want to calibrate your grinder based on the extraction time and tamping.

5. Tamping: For prefect espresso shots, it’s recommended that you add about 5lbs. of tamp pressure (initially) and then achieve 30lbs. of even tamp pressure after cleaning the grounds from the edge of the portafilter back into the basket.


Tips for an Uncluttered Kitchen

by Regina

We love the look of a clean, uncluttered kitchen like this beauty designed by architectural designer Louise Brooks for her own home overlooking Long Island Sound. Keeping clutter under control isnít easy, however, because kitchens are by necessity filled with ìstuff.î We’ve gathered a selection of our favorite ideas for keeping a kitchen in order while enhancing efficiency.

One of Louise Brooks’ favorite storage ideas is a floor-to-ceiling plate rack, where platters, chargers, and pretty dishes are accessible while adding color and pattern to the room.

Chicago-based designer Mick De Giulio often incorporates countertop ìgaragesî for small appliances in the kitchen he designs. This Chicago kitchen has nearly 10 feet of countertop storage from SieMatic cabinets, with three motorized doors that lower at the push of a button.

Coffee pot and blender are pushed behind flip-down doors when not in use. The kitchen cleans up in minutes and appliances are out of sight, an important feature in todayís kitchens that are open to entertaining spaces.

Not enough cabinet space? Mount a pegboard and hang all your essentials. Get the most out of the cabinets you do have with stackable shelves.

Read: Personal Reviews of the Best Cookware

Don’t neglect the space above your cabinets. You could stash extra stuff up there in baskets, as in the kitchen of blogger Elsie Larson.

If you have the space, you could mount an additional shelf above your cabinets for even more storage.

Deciding how to store dishes and glassware isn’t an either/or proposition. You can combine several approaches and use them as part of your decorating scheme. In this kitchen, simple shelves hold plates and bowls, while cups hang from hooks on a rail. Glasses and other dishes are kept behind glass doors.

If you reserve the walls of your kitchen for windows or artwork, you may decide to store dishes in drawers. Sturdy wooden pegs, secured into holes in the base piece, keep dishes from knocking against each other every time you open or close the drawer.

If you have drawers that are custom sizes, look for adjustable silverware organizers. The type shown here has parts that slide together. You also can find drawer dividers made of plastic and cut them to size with scissors.

Piggybacking two drawers in the space of one allows you to keep different sets of silverware in one section and meal-preparation tools in the other. In the double drawer shown here, the top section slides on runners mounted inside the bottom drawer.

Workout with the Right Machine

by Regina

Being involved in workouts is advisable and a good practice health-wise. However, having a good elliptical machine companion for your exercise is another thing that you ought to consider. Reading home elliptical reviews 2014 is the best way to get the necessary information on what is to be considered when buying one. Consider a situation where you buy a machine then you notice that it does not fit with your knees. To avoid any possible stress, provided below are some of the criteria that one can consider before giving out their money for an elliptical machine.

Consider the safety features. Some models won’t fit young or short people and you may find that they may get trapped or even pinched by the moving parts. In case you have one, consider that it fits you well. The best thing here is to try it first preferably from the ones that your friends have. Moreover, look at the hand grips if they are comfortable and that they are not located far from each other. The elliptical and stride lengths are very important here. Ideally, they should be natural enough and conform with you.

Size of your elliptical do counts. This is because most are 2.5 by 6 feet. Only a few are smaller than this. Ensure that the machine that you buy has sufficient space because when you are on it, you will feel highly elevated and you may want to come down and back at some points. Besides, consider those machines that are easily adjustable to fit you. Here check whether it is an automatic one or you will be required to do the adjustments manually.

In conclusion, warranty of the manufacturer is very important. Machines that carry a warranty of two to three years are the best ones. They cover the major parts of the machine. This will give you a little bit of confidence when using your machine. If you only equip yourself with the above tips, you can get the best elliptical machine for your workout.