My Fun Outdoor Projects For The Weekend

I had a brilliant idea to go on pinterest and type in outdoor projects for the weekend. Wow I was blown away with the thousands of pictures that came up. Of course I expected a lot, but this was just to many to go through. So I picked two I thought were easy enough for me, and could definitely be finished in two days.

The first one only costs $8! It is a back yard chair, made with one board. The reason I thought this was a cool project is it is stow-able, and will make an exceptional conversational piece with company. Also because there was no glue or nails involved. Me and glue do not get along! I had all the tools on hand in my shed; so I went to work and made a beautiful board chair. It was way more sturdy than I thought it would be from the pictures on pinterest. It was so easy that I went back to the store and bought two more boards, and made two more for company. I did three of these chairs in one day, which cost a total of about $24! I’m pretty proud of myself.


The next project I set my sites on was a back yard firepit. I have always wanted a firepit! I picture lots of company sitting around the firepit in the summer roasting marshmallows and having a great time. This was a fairly easy project, but laborious . I printed out the instructions and went to the store and the tire shop for all my supplies. Went back home and slaved away at digging the hole and setting up the firepit to look beautiful. In 3 hours I was done! It wasn’t picture perfect, but it will do for some good entertaining.

I am very happy with my outdoor projects for the weekend! I made 3 board seats, which I am still deciding if I should paint or leave plain, and made the backyard firepit I have always wanted! All in all it was a very productive weekend.

The Daily Cleaning for Your Espresso Machine – Backflushing

You need to clean your espresso machine, whether it is a cheap espresso machine or an expensive one. It’s an important process that needs to be done regularly, with certain procedures needed more frequently and some less frequently. Here is what you have to do every day for your espresso machine.

How to Backflush an Espresso Machine by Caffesociety

During the routine procedure for making an espresso, small bits of ground coffee and oils can get built up in the group head. If left without cleaning, this residue can, unfortunately, add a stale taste to your freshly brewed coffee which seriously impinges the quality of your drink.

When it is time to clean – either at the end of the day or at the culmination of an extremely busy period – remove the filter from the group handles and set these to soak in cold water.

Fit your blind backflush disc (or your rubber blanking disc) into the group handle and add one teaspoon of espresso cleaner.
Place the handle back into the espresso machine and then press the ‘espresso’ button to flush water throughout the group head and piping which will remove any build-up of residue. After this initial procedure you should then remove the handle and empty out the water and any leftover cleaning powder and coffee.

Repeat the cleaning procedure, but do not add any further cleaning powder. Now, with a specific espresso brush, gently clean the group seal in a circular motion. Finally, place the group handle back into the group head and run some water through it to finish off the process.

Group handle cleaning
The same grime can build up within your group handle and filter baskets, so it is important to clean those as well. Luckily, this is a very simple procedure.

Remove the filter basket from the group handle and then place both in a bowl-like container filled with hot water and a scoop of espresso cleaner and leave them overnight. Then, the following morning, rinse the handles thoroughly with fresh water.

However it is important not to submerge the plastic handles as the prolonged exposure to the hot water could damage them.

Cooking with Nonstick Cookware

non stick cookware

More nights than not, I cook dinner in a nonstick skillet. It’s easy to wash up and can lend itself to healthy cooking…but is it safe? Here’s what you should know when cooking with nonstick pans:

Related: 6 Pots and Pans Every Home Cook Needs

Using nonstick pans means you need far less oil when cooking. Just a teaspoon or two of oil will let you sauté meats and vegetables—much less than you’d need when using a stainless-steel pan. It’s also great for cooking delicate foods like eggs that might break apart easily in a “stickier” pan.

Recipes to Try: 28 Healthy One-Skillet Dinner Recipes

But, nonstick pans get their nonstickness from perfluorocarbons (PFCs), chemicals that are linked to liver damage and developmental problems. Yikes! Before you toss out your nonstick pans, consider these ways to make cooking with nonstick pans safer.

Related: 7 Simple Ways to Detox Your Diet and Your Home

Turn down the heat. PFCs get released into the air in the form of toxic fumes when the pan is heated too high. To keep that from happening, avoid using nonstick pans on high heat and never heat an empty pan.

Use wooden or silicone utensils. PFCs can be dislodged if the nonstick coating is scratched. That’s why it’s important to only use wooden or silicone utensils in your nonstick cookware.

Hand-wash nonstick pans. Dishwashers get hot! And that will release more of those PFCs than if you wash pans by hand (with a nonabrasive cloth or sponge).

Look for a nonstick skillet made without PFCs. These pans are marketed as “green” or “eco-friendly” and have coatings that won’t break down when used over high heat.

If you’re still wary of nonstick skillets, there is a great alternative: cast iron.

Source: EatingWell

Espresso and Weight Loss

espressoEspresso is a highly concentrated form of coffee. It is produced when very hot but not boiling water is forced through the coffee under high pressure using an espresso machine. The coffee itself is slow roasted and ground to a very fine, powdery consistency. Here in the U.S., a shot of espresso is one liquid ounce. This is important to keep in mind when you’re ordering a tall fancy espresso drink at your favorite coffee shop. If only one ounce equals a serving of espresso, then what else is in your cup adding to carbs and calories? Here’s an example of commonly added ingredients:

  • 1 cup of whole milk – 146 calories and 11.9 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1 cup of fat-free milk – 86 calories and 11.9 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1 cup half and half – 315 calories and 10.4 grams of carbohydrates (3 times the saturated fat found in whole milk)
  • 1 cup heavy cream – 821 calories and 6.6 grams of carbohydrates (55 grams saturated fat)

Common ingredients in espresso specialty drinks make your chances of losing weight diminish even more with each additional ingredient:

  • Sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel

Does Espresso Inhibit Weight Loss?

The high-caffeine version of espresso is believed to offer beneficial effects for dieters who normally drink regular coffee. However, on the other side of that coffee bean are reports that say dieters who choose to drink decaf or who aren’t regular coffee drinkers will experience the opposite.

These results may seem rather indecisive but they are based on a clinical trial at the University Hospital in Zurich (Switzerland). According to their findings, those who drank regular coffee experienced significantly lower increases in their blood pressure when introduced to stress. Drinking regular caffeinated coffee appears to reduce the production of the stress hormones that promote belly fat. In answer to the question, Does espresso inhibit weight loss?–since it contains 3 times the amount of caffeine found in regular coffee, the answer would not only be No, because it actually can encourage weight loss for those coffee drinkers who regularly drink caffeinated coffee.

According to this study the effect of espresso on decaf coffee drinkers, is much different. In these cases, the espresso did nothing to diminish the hormonal response to stress. Instead, this hormonal response might increase blood pressure which in turn can increase insulin resistance which influences the tendency to gain weight.

Caffeine and Weight Gain

Contrary to what many believe, caffeine is not an appetite suppressant. However, it does influence your metabolism. The real question is does caffeine cause weight gain or not? The bottom line-there’s contradictory evidence put forth from a variety of studies.


Are you looking for the best cookware set?


Are you looking for a moderately priced and yet best cookware set made from the best cookware material? What about a set that is backed up by a world renowned chef, Rachael Ray? Let me bring Rachael Ray 80655 10-Piece Hard Anodized Cookware Set to light. It contains 1-1/2 and 3 quart covered saucepans, 6 quart covered stockpot, 3 quart covered sauté pan as well as 8 and 10 inch French skillets.

This set boasts of a handsome charcoal-black finish on the outside and soft grip bright orange silicone handles that are oven-safe up to 4000F. Besides that, these non-stick pans and pots come with glass lids for you to monitor your cooking without sacrificing nutrients and heat, you get further details after reading this nonstick cookware set reviews.

There are a few rules that you need to know about this non-stick cookware. For one, you should always hand wash them. Secondly, you should not stack them up on top of one and another to avoid scratching. Finally, you should never cook using high temperature.

A great number of buyers go banana over this range of cookware. They rave about the reasonable price with its’ ability to cook evenly, being light weight and hassle free cleaning. Even macaroni and cheese that is left overnight clean up with ease with a soft sponge.

However, there are always two sides to a story. Most unsatisfied customers face the same problem with this merchandise. All claim that the outer finishing of this set is rough and starts to wear off after using it for a couple of months. Similarly, the non-stick coating is too thin and begins peeling after about one year’s usage. One may even expect some rust on the metal surrounding the glass lids. For others, it is too small to cook for a family of four.

Taking all things into consideration, if you are searching for the best cookware that requires some pampering but looks good, you may want to buy this Rachael Ray 10-Piece hard anodized cookware set. Fancy a braised lamb shanks anyone?

Stainless steel cookware look really good in the kitchen too, so you might want to check out the Best Stainless Steel Cookware Set and the KitchenAid 71462 stainless steel set. If you’re unsure about what cookware material to opt for, read guide on the types of cookware and 3 of my best cookware sets.

The Knives That Sat In My Kitchen

I can cope with a terrible oven. I can make use of crummy kitchenware. And I’ll confess that I can easily bake a cake in a flimsy baking pan. However, I refuse to utilize a dull knife. It is not only that they’re difficult to use, but a poor knife is completely unsafe. Some individuals are terrified of razor-sharp knives when in fact, while used appropriately, they’re actually more secure: A lot of people cut themselves whenever a knife slides off something they are slicing instead of when it makes a thoroughly clean cut right through it.

Initially when I first set up my kitchen, I looked at the best Japanese kitchen knives set reviews and bought it. There was an attractive chunky wooden holder (you understand, the light colored wood which you observe in Scandinavian furniture?). The knives sat comfortably in it. The darn thing captured my fancy.

I bought the knives as well as the holder and placed it on the kitchen table. Whenever the sunlight streamed through the windows, the handles of the knives gleamed satisfactorily. Ah, Serena, I told myself personally – you have got quite the modern kitchen!

5 years have passed by now – and you know what – the knives are sitting in the holder even today. We do not make use of them at all! Rather, my maids have a preference for these – the inexpensive handmade knives from the neighboring market.

These knives are created by hand. A blade has been inserted into a holder made of wood and bound using thin wire. After that, the blade is sharpened on a stone. The better, larger ones cost around 2 dollars.

It is not only my maids who appreciate these knives – I do as well. They are simply great for cutting vegetables; even the toughest tomato is no problem whatsoever. I believe it is because the blade is very thin and flexible. T-chick! T-chak! In less than 10 minutes, the beans and carrots are all perfectly sliced!

My food-writer buddy Martina is a huge fan of these knives too. I recall a few years ago, I was strolling in the mall with her and she mentioned, “Serena, you know, they are excellent for vegetable carving.” That’s when I purchased those for the first time, and today I am hooked.

The kitchen knives are extremely sharp when you buy them. However they lose the sharpness in a month or two, simply because they’re actually thin knives and I don’t believe the metal is top quality. When we’ve utilized them for a few months, we return them to the knife guy and get them sharpened once again.

Despite the necessity for sharpening, they’re really wonderful to use, and we have switched over totally to those. Next time if you’re at your local market, purchase yourself one of those. Oh, and if you require finding out exactly how sharp the knife is request them to show that cool paper-slicing thing they do! It is really exciting to watch!

How I Taught My neighbor To Cook Rice With A Rice Cooker

My friends and neighbors have been asking a lot about where I get my recipes from, since they are always amazed by how well I am able to prepare delicious meals. This has made me love cooking more than I already do and everyone wants to learn from me. My neighbor recently asked me to help her prepare a nice meal for her visitors who were coming for dinner at her house. Since the visitors were multicultural, she wanted to cook a meal that is favorable to everyone, so rice was going to be the best choice of dish for the occasion.


We decided to cook rice because it is easy and quick dish to prepare which most like people because of its color, taste and aroma. When I entered her kitchen the first thing I realized, is that she didn’t have a rice cooker. Since cooking a great rice recipe requires a rice cooker that is big enough to cook the rice with all the ingredients required we decided to buy a stainless steel rice cooker. These cookers are very high-quality and make cooking rice easy, they are also very effective. The meal we prepared turned out to be very great which made her love cooking great rice recipes using the one of best stainless steel rice cookers.

I have been using a rice cooker for some years myself and really like how fast they cook rice. The digital timer and buttons found on the best stainless steel rice cookers like mine makes operation easier. My neighbor these days is telling me how happy she is with her new stainless steel cooker since it helps her cook great meals for her family. I am happy to hear how she has managed to prepare great rice recipes on her own that include rice pilaf recipes, white recipes and many others that very delicious.

Air mattresses these days are so good


Ever since my backache problem, I have been sleeping on this new air mattress that we bought. I can happily say that I am far more comfortable on this than on those cotton mattresses. I am glad my husband chose to buy this mattress instead of spending heavily on conventional beds. You see, I everything seems alright when we sit or lie down in the show room, but the real results can only be known after sleeping on the mattress for an entire night. Which showroom would allow us that?

My husband read through some best air mattress reviews before ordering this one. It is not as if I didn’t have any say. But I guess I had resigned to living with backache. I was a bit disappointed too that he was considering air mattress, which for some reasons is considered a temporary arrangement. My husband also ordered a wooden box that keeps this mattress about 10 inches above the ground. The carpenter has done a perfect job. I find it easier to sit and stand up from this bed than I did on our regular bed.

The showroom from where we ordered assured us that this mattress can be used regularly, and I am using it regularly. There is some arrangement at the bottom for holding it firmly to the wooden box. My husband is keeping his shoes in that box, and so am I. To that extent, We never have to remove the mattress that is holding on firmly to the box.

It has been a while since I read the reviews. It mentioned something about air columns. At that time, I was wondering whether those are not tall claims. But to be honest, I have been very comfortable on this mattress. The air columns technology, whatever it is, is good. So is the technology that prevents the air from leaving the air mattress. I would suggest that everybody who suffers with a back ache try this air mattress from the Intex brand before opting for any expensive mattress. When it comes to mattresses costs are not material, comfort is.

Related links:
Best brands of air mattress
Tips for selecting an air mattress