Home Office

Hectic life is taking a toll on me. Heck, sometimes I’d still need to bring my work back home. A lot of work and researches need to be done before I conduct a presentation to the board every fortnight. It has never been an easy task simply because I don’t have a proper office in my house. Sometimes, I’d work at the dining table, in the living room, or in my bedroom. Things are messy. Then, one day I decided to have my own office at home.

This is my ideal office at home.

My ideal workspace

My Ideal Office

The monochromatic colors of black and white will set the office mood straight. The sophisticated yet timeless colors will give the idea of a classy office. With everything in the hues of black and white, it is optional to insert certain items of a different hue in my office. I’ll place a bouquet of roses on the table, perhaps? Budget shouldn’t be a problem, because almost all items I need are easily available at IKEA at an affordable price.

Say, if a monochromatic-colored office is too serious, there’s always an alternative idea. Pastel colors are excellent choices as they will soothe and calm my anxiety when I have deadlines to meet. However, I have to bear in mind that bright colors may not be the most suitable colors to be painted in my office. Bright colors create the idea of a jovial, happy and fun atmosphere. Too much of the vibrancy could kill the mood to focus on serious matters.

Pastel-colored Work Space

Pastel-colored Office

Of course, one can never go wrong with minimal decorations and furniture in an office. Lighting is important in a simple office. The balcony should allow a certain degree of light to enter the office. It helps to brighten up the office, thus giving the illusion that the office is spacious. Sitting in a dimly lit office is not ideal for the brain to function properly. And, it is best to have some small plants (e.g cactus) placed on the table, as well.

The Minimal Concept

The Minimalistic Concept

In the end I settled for the minimalist concept. What do you think?

How to Cook Basic Chicken Soup

It is one very versatile soup… You can add Raw biscuits or Spaghetti for noodles, or some kind of Pasta that you like.. All the other work is done.. I hope you give this a try.

chicken soup

Ingredients

2 Large Chicken Breast Bone in with Skin
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Large onion Chopped
2 Cups Chicken Broth or stock
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 Cup Frozen Peas
4 Carrots chopped
A few sprigs of fresh Dill for soup (optional)

A recipe from OldManCooking

Good coffee tips for home baristas

You want good strong coffee, like the stuff you find at coffeehouses, minus the hefty price tag, right? Maybe you’ve tried to make it yourself at home without much success. It takes more than just extra coffee grounds to brew a strong, flavorful cup of coffee.

Typical American coffee just isn’t meant to stand up to espresso-strength brewing. It wasn’t roasted or ground for that purpose, so it turns bitter when you use more. To make good strong coffee, the process starts long before the brew cycle. It starts with the right roast and the right grind.

brewing coffee

THE RIGHT ROAST FOR THE RIGHT BREW

For stronger coffee, without the bitterness, start with the roast. The longer a coffee bean roasts, the richer the flavor. Arabica and Columbian beans in darker roasts provide a full-bodied brew well suited for strong coffee. However, French roast, no matter the bean used, is the absolute best for strong coffee lovers.

In terms of darker roasts, the fresher the better. If you’re really adventurous, you can roast your own beans in less than six minutes in an air popcorn popper to ensure you start with the freshest roast possible.

You can find green coffee beans through gourmet grocers and online suppliers. Only use an air popcorn popper or appliances designed to roast coffee beans. Air poppers, for instance, can vent the chaff created from roasting coffee beans.

Pour in a small amount of your chosen green coffee beans, equal to the amount of popcorn kernels recommended for your popper, and turn on the machine. You should hear cracking after the first three minutes. Watch the beans carefully for the next two or three minutes.

Just before they reach the dark color you want, pour them into a colander and shake to cool. Grind the beans as soon as they cool completely.

THE DAILY GRIND MEANS EVERYTHING

If you grind your own coffee, choose a setting that gives you a coarse grind. You don’t want to use a powdery grind to make strong coffee. You want a chunky consistency to get the best strong brew. Be careful not to overheat the beans during grinding, as this can create bitterness later. Don’t grind more than you’re likely to use in a five day period.

Store your grinds in a glass jar with an airtight lid. Keep the jar away from light, not in the fridge or freezer. Coffee is at its absolute best when roasted, ground, and brewed within 24 hours. However, if you store it in an airtight container out of the light, your grounds will stay fresh up to five days.

drink coffee

BREW THE PERFECT CUP

With darker roasts, you do not have to use more grounds to achieve a good strong brew. Since tastes vary, this is the part where you get to experiment to suit your own taste. Start with a ratio of one rounded tablespoon of coffee grounds per six to eight ounces of water. Gradually increase grinds in ½ tablespoon increments until you find the perfect ratio for your tastes and coffee maker.

If you simply cannot abide taking the time to roast or grind your own, you can make standard coffee stronger, to an extent. Buy good quality, pre-ground, pre-packaged coffee in a French roast. Add a pinch of salt to your coffee pot before brewing to eliminate some of the bitterness. It won’t be the same, but it least it won’t be quite as bitter or nasty as the stuff you’ll get by heaping on extra grounds.

Source: http://www.tablespoon.com/posts/good-strong-coffee-tips-for-home-baristas

Your turn: What’s your secret to a great cup of strong coffee?

My choices on the best pots and pans in the market

First, I must admit that I love cooking. It is this very same love for cooking that compelled me to set out on a mission to unearth the best pots and pans. I must confess that I was spoilt for choice as I perused through the available ones in the market. My experience with some was not that amazing but I must point out that some had me dig deeper into my pockets to get extra cash and carry them home.

My experience with Cook N Home pots and pans cookware was quite amazing. Complete with pan, spoons, knives and any other necessary equipment, I must say that it was quite awesome. The price is what actually caught my attention. Going for $48.89, it is a great cooking set.

The next cooking set I had a look at was Rachael Rey Cucina Porcelain pots and pans set. Complete with all the necessary equipment, the color is also amazing. It however calls for ultimate cleanliness for whoever buys it. Going for $99.99, the price is a clear reflection of its perfection.

The bright and shinny Cook N Home 12-piece stainless steel also caught my attention. Complete just like the rest, its price was quite affordable. Taking the price not to imply low quality, it was going for $ 54.54 which I would say is quite affordable for a cooking set of its caliber.

A look at Calphalon non stick 10 piece set got me wanting to stop my search immediately. In a great design, it caught my attention and I should say; it was awesome. At a price of $119.99, it is a cooking set you can recommend for a friend. It is also worth the price.

Perhaps it is about time you went out and to get one of these pots and pans cookwares. Be sure to get the best pots and pans for your home. You must consider price as well as quality and the size.

Helpful article: How to choose healthy pots and pans

Favourite Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie Recipe

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

Recipe courtesy: Peanut Butter and Banana Recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces skim milk or plain soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 medium banana

Directions

  1. Make it: In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Use 6 ice cubes for a thicker consistency.

Nutrition Information

Servings Per Recipe: 1
PER SERVING: 303 cal., 9 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 45 g carb. (4 g fiber), 16 g pro.

Loaded Potato Wedges Recipe

If I’m being honest, I over-ate by a lot this holiday weekend. Sitting at home with a sick kiddo for a few days will have you asking questions like: Can I finish that tub of ice cream during one episode of Narcos? (Ice cream spoiler: YES. Narcos Spoiler: Cocaine is a helluva drug.)

In fact, I over-ate so much that I actually struggled editing this post. Don’t hold that against these loaded potato wedges though. It’s just that by the time I built up the strength to edit these photos, I was feeling more in the mood for a salad than potato wedges.

But this post isn’t for me. It’s for people that maybe have some level of restraint. It’s also for people who realize that yet another holiday weekend of celebrating is this weekend and maybe you are out of appetizer ideas.

And while you could eat these wedges as a meal or side dish, they are really an appetizer. Having a few is delicious, but having half a sheet pan of them is a bit gluttonous. If you’re hosting a party or a game day this weekend, put these delicious things on the menu!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, wedged
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Bacon, crispy and crumbled
  • Scallions or chives

You could use Russet potatoes for these, but I prefer the softer-skinned new potatoes. Get the larger ones though so you can still make decent wedges. These have less starch and I think they make for a better, crispier wedge.

You should be able to get 10-12 wedges per potato.

loaded-potato-wedges-1

10-12 wedges per tater.

Toss the potatoes with some olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper!

Basic seasonings.

Spread these out on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I think the parchment paper is really important. It’ll keep the taters from sticking to the sheet while they bake and also keep the whole thing from sticking when you add cheese later.

Also, try to make sure the potatoes aren’t over-lapping too much so they can crisp up.

Spread ’em out!

Bake these things at 400 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes and give them a flip halfway through.

You could stop here and have really solid potato wedges.

Looking good.

The Shingle Method

Assuming you want to take these to the next level though, re-arrange the taters so they are slightly overlapping. This makes  it easier to top them.

I call it the shingle method for obvious reasons.

The single method.

At some point, you’ll also want to get the sauce ready. I just pulsed a ripe avocado with some sour cream, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. If you don’t have a small food processor, you could just mash everything together really well.

Yes please.

Add some grated cheese and crispy bacon to your shingled wedges!

Toppers.

Return these to the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is bubbling. This is what you’re looking for!

loaded-potato-wedges-8

Oh yea…

Avocado sauce and some chives (or scallions) will finish off the wedges.

Serve them while they are nice and hot!

Okay… I lied about having trouble editing this post… now I’m hungry again!

A recipe shared from http://www.macheesmo.com/loaded-potato-wedges

Going to buy a new knife block set

My old knife set is not a block set. We are shifting to a new house. I have my kitchen done up the way I want, rather than adjust to what the rented accommodations are. I have always wanted my knives to be on kitchen counter top. In fact, I’d prefer it to be near the small table, which gives me a direct view to television programs. I could chop vegetables and meat while watching those programs. This obviously means a block set would be better and to be honest, it looks stylish.
kitchen knives
My requirements are all types of knives, paring is mandatory, so are carving knife and bread knife. If the set has a fork knife, a pair of shears, and a peeler it would complete my requirements, though I could forego a thing or two.

I liked the Wusthof Classic Deluxe set (8 pieces). Though it is expensive, it is one of the best knife block set around. I have used Wusthof knives so I should know. The set includes kitchen shears, cook’s knife with 8″ blade, paring knife with 3.5 inch blade, utility knife with 4.5 inch blade, bread knife with 8 inch blade, and sandwich knife with 6 inch blade. In addition to these, there is sharpening steel of 9 inches. The blades are made from steel but this steel is high carbon variety and includes an alloy that resists any stains. I am impressed with the shape of the blades and the shape of the wooden block. Chopping on board is so easy with knives of this this shape. Moreover, the block makes it easy for me to select the knife I want. Many knife block sets force people to stand up and select, which is not what I intend to do in my new home.

The second set that I liked was also Wusthof Classic Ikon Creme set, which has only 7 pieces. Unlike the Delexe set, which has oak block, the block in this set is made from walnut wood, and the handles are impressive in white color. The advantage of this set for me is that it has 17 slots, which means I could add new knives or other cutlery to it, later on. It is also expensive, but I think this one is worth it as well. I would personally opt for Wusthof knives anytime. Check out the reviews at Lavues.

3 Best Buys – Stainless Steel Cookware Sets

stainless steel pan

For starters, stainless steel is the best choice when choosing cookware. Reason? Because, just like the name suggests, it does not stain easily, compared to other materials like aluminium. I hope we are on the same page now, so we can move together.That said, you will still need to choose your cookware properly, because some companies tend to mold it better than others. You know, just like how one person happens to wear the same dress better than another. It could be where they source their steel or something, I don’t know exactly. I thus decided to do a little stainless steel cookware set review for you all, based in my ‘interaction’ with utensils from different companies. I do not own all these, no, but, I, well, go to people’s kitchens- a lot!

Gourmet chef

This is my personal favorite. With a great satisfaction of the non-stick quality, Gourmet Chef scores another plus with their light weight of utensils, yet not too light to wear out quickly. As a sucker for looks, I must admit that their attractive design always has me biased when buying.Downside: every time I have gone shopping, I only see 12-piece sets, irks me when I am looking for an eight or ten piece set. I recommend Gourmet chef for anyone who thinks of cookware as part of their interior decor.
Calphalon classic
My sister and I have a non-ending debate on this. I won’t delve into that, but i have no reason to advise her to change models, because Calphalon is just as nice. Non-stick too, and I must admit I envy it’s ease of cleaning, not to mention it’s availability in sets of almost all numbers.Downside: Calphalon is a bit heavy, and the handles have a feel that is not exactly natural to the hand. My sister thinks I’m biased, but I am saying this in utmost objectivity. If you cook meals that last long on the burner, then this is for you!
Tramontina
If none of us can agree to be moved, then I think we could both settle for Tramontina. Non-stick (that is not debatable) easy-to clean and light. Moreover, Tramontina has what i would call customized handles.Downside: You will have to do more than a surface search to land these. If you are just beginning your love affair with cookware, I say start here. Cookware goes a long way in affecting your mood in the kitchen, so you better have it right from the start. Any one of these is a good buy if you ask me; you can thank me later!!

Knowing the best Aroma rice cookers to buy

Who doesn’t love cooking? cooking is an art and for many people it stands as an healthy hobby.If you often stay at home and crave to cook some delicious recipes, then choosing the right cooker for your kitchen needs is a mandatory. So, here are some few models of the best rice cookers that I would personally recommend. Aroma rice cooker are well known for their best quality and affordable prices.

One among them is ‘The Aroma 12-Cup Sensor Logic rice cooker’. This is an electric cooker with some remarkable sensor technology that could make changes to the heating time based on room temperature.It has a capacity to hold 6 cups of uncooked rice which can yield up to 12 cups of cooked rice.The specialty of this cooker is its saute-then-simmer feature which creates more heat for browning food and turns automatically to simmer when liquid is added.It has a detachable power cable which is seldom found in other cookers.

Another cooker in this brand that I find fascinating is ‘The Aroma ARC-150SB 20-cup rice cooker’. This is the quality product from aroma that has the best value for given money.This cooker comes with an option of only steam.It slowly cooks food with consistent taste from top to bottom and this large cooker comes with digital controls for your ease.

If you are cooking for a small group, then ‘Aroma 6-cup pot-style ARC-743-1NG’ will be suitable.This is the right choice when you are in a budget.The electric cooker offers three different types of color choices;black,red or white which helps you match to the kitchen decor.Additionally, it has one-touch control which makes cooking as easy as touching a switch.This cooker comes with a stream tray which comes out of the main unit and gives greater capacity.Plus, a serving spatula and a rice measuring cup comes along with this cooker.

‘Aroma 8-cup(cooked) digital Rice Cooker and food steamer’ is one cooker that comes with 15-hour delay timer,which helps in easy cooking ahead of time.It has a user-friendly design and comes with recipes,rice measuring cup,serving spatula and steam tray.It is better to go for this if you need a rice cooker that cooks anywhere from 2 to 8 cups of rice.

It was difficult to find espresso in India

Travel has been our passion, and we stayed in India for almost a decade because my husband was sent there. We decided to make the most of our stay by traveling to various places in that country. I had a few problems though. I am a coffee addict, and finding a decently brewed coffee in a country that is predominantly tea drinker, was a difficult proposition. The closest they came to latte on coffee was in some southern State. The person poured coffee from a height of about 3 feet into a small glass below, with a great deal of precision, and repeated the action with the other hand till decent froth was built on coffee. There was nothing wrong with the coffee or beans. It was just that I was not accustomed to drinking so sweet coffee, and prefer it neatly placed before me in a ceramic cup or mug.

CoffeeHealthBenefits5 (13)

After a few months of suffering, we ordered an espresso maker from Amazon but not before going through oh so many reviews about such appliances. I was told that reviews may not always be genuine. I believed that to be true. How can a small appliance get so many good reviews and simultaneously bad reviews? So when my husband was reading those reviews, I suggested that he only opt for the best espresso makers. “And how am I to judge that?” he’d asked. I promptly told him to look for espresso makers on Amazon that scored only four and and five star. The task was time consuming but my husband had the time, and I didn’t. So he sat a couple of hours for almost a week and searched different websites to locate the best espresso maker based on my stipulation. In about a week’s time, he had a few “best espresso maker reviews” for me to review and finalize. We decided we will take a small machine, rather a single cup espresso maker because Indians prefer tea and as long as we stay in India, we would have Indian visitors.

I feel no shame in admitting that I am the decision maker in my family in so far as the kitchen appliances go. My husband and my son get to do all the spade work. We finally settled for Mr. Coffee espresso maker. It was not until we had paid for it with my husband’s credit card that I noticed a few negative reviews. I guess there must have been some reason for my husband liking it. All I can say is I am happy with the appliance. I get creamy frothy coffee, and my younger children got creamy frothy chocolate from the same machine.