October 16, 2017

Freshest Cups of Coffee: The Best Coffee Maker with Grinder

There many different ways to make coffee none more common than drip coffee or espresso. Most Americans and others across the world look for that pick me up before work nice and early in the morning. It's no secret that fresh grounds and a well-crafted brew makes for amazing cups of coffee. However, at 6 am when running late for work and still without a caffeine pick me up convenience is often sacrificed for ease of use and availability (looking at you Keurig). The good news is 2-n-1's or the best coffee maker with grinder is the perfect comprise between convenience and quality.

The Pros and Cons of buying the Best Coffee Maker with Grinder-

Pros-

  • Cost Savings- Buying a good grinder can take a hit to your wallet and getting a good coffee maker will not help either. When you buy a coffee maker with a grinder built-in, it will only be one investment instead of two. Most of the times this will save you some cash on your overall investment.
  • Fresh Grinds- We have a couple of articles on the importance of maintaining and keep your coffee beans fresh. When the grinder is built-in the grounds will not lose its aroma or solubles since the grounds will be fresh and made at the same time the pot of coffee or espresso gets made. 
  • Programming- This is why you get a coffee maker with a grinder built-in. Nothing is better than touching a couple of buttons at night and waking up to freshly ground and freshly brewed coffee in the morning. The best coffee maker with a grinder most likely is programmable, and we make sure into include programmability into your grading for you.
  • Ease of Use- When making coffee at home without a Keurig it can seem a bit daunting. Just the grinding of whole beans can be overwhelming with finding the right grinder for your brew, using the right settings, and so on. 2-in-1 coffee makers with grinders take the guesswork out. They know the ideal setting of grind (the right size for the style of coffee the maker makes, i.e., drip or espresso) and come out of the factory with that setup already in place, so you don't have to know or worry about it.

Cons-

  • Lack of Customization- Having a separate quality burr grinder allows you to make multiple different types of coffee biased of grind size. In the mood for a french press change the grinder settings to coarse, and you make your french press. Coffee makers with grinders don't allow for too much deviation from optimal settings for that grinder. The mill's range is insufficient, and the ability to do very fine to extremely coarse are not typically options on these types of mills.
  • ​Harder to clean- With two separate appliances it is easier to break down one and clean it as needed. When you combine the two machines, it makes it harder to clean just one and so you will usually clean both, and it becomes a much larger project.
  • Can lose two appliances at once- If the machine breaks or something stops working on the coffee maker, there is a good chance that you might lose both your grinder and coffee machine all at once and have a larger purchase ahead of you to replace the appliance.

Coffee Maker

Your Kitchen Zone Rating

Programmable

Price

Get Yours Here

Breville Grind Control

Best Coffee Maker with Grinder

9.33

Yes

$$$

Cuisinart Grind and Brew

8.50

Yes

$

Capresso Coffee Team

8.83

Yes

$$

#1-Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control-

 There is a reason almost every single site that reviews this machine has it at #1. This burr coffee grinder and coffee maker combo is the perfect blend of programmability, design, and performance. The price tag reflects the quality but its worth it.

Programmability- The Breville Grind Control allows you to chose from 8 different strength setting (water to coffee ratio), it has a carafe and single cup modes, and auto starts feature that allows you to have machine start brewing automatically at the time you chose. You can also disable the grind function to allow for pregrinds if you already have pre-ground coffee ready. The best part about the programmability of this grinder is burr grinder itself. There are sixty different grind settings that you have at your fingertips so finding the right size grind for your brew will not be an issue outside of extremely fine and extremely coarse grinds. This machine easily gets a 10 out of 10 for Programmability.

Design- The design of the Breville Grind Control feels like every single complaint that we have had about other coffee makers was considered when designing this coffee maker. The bean hopper holds half a pound of whole beans with the grind adjustment knob easily accessible and ready to use. The water tank holds 60oz of water or 12 cups of 5 ounces. The size of the container is one of the larger tanks for a coffee maker with a grinder on the list. Lastly, the high for a cup pour if you are cup mode allows for 7.5'' inches to fit under the pour nozzle. That is plenty big for most travel size mugs. Again with as much scrutinizing as we can (hate to give out 10s) the Beville gets a 10 out of 10 for Design. 

Performance- Breville's Grind Control flat makes a good cup of coffee once you get the setting of the grinder and strength to your preferred cup of joe. We found it a bit difficult to change the grinder setting to get the right coarseness we were looking for, and that is one of the few reasons it doesn't quite earn a ten in performance. The only other issue we had in the performance department was that there is no heating plate. The carafe is insulated and keeps the coffee warm for a while, but without a heating plate, you do not maintain the ideal temperature for coffee as long as we would like. We give it 8 out of 10 on Performance.

Overall- there is very little to complain about the Breville Grind Control coffee maker with grinder. It brews a great cup of coffee, has a top of the line burr grinder that keeps consistent grinds, and comes with a price tag that is worth the value such a powerful machine.

#2-Cuisinart DGB-650BC Grind and Brew-

This coffee maker is on our list as the best-valued coffee maker with grinder. If you have a tight budget or looking to save a penny this machine is the perfect compromise. While the machine could use some polishing overall (a couple of performance and design upgrades) for your dollar, it still brews a great cup of coffee.

Programmability- The Cuisinart allows for a 24-hour program, meaning anytime you want to program the Cuisinart to brew it will. You can set the size and gives you a 1 to 4 extraction option. It took us some time to get used to the settings and even though we are male we had to take a couple of minutes to look through the manual to get a handle on the programming. Once we felt comfortable with the everything playing with tones on the timer, a unique feature, was lots of fun and a nice feature. One programming miss is the fact that you cannot change the temperature settings. A couple of reviews on Amazon has some complaints about the temperature of the coffee not being hot enough. Programming 8.5 out of 10.

Design- The design of this machine makes putting in your grinds, pouring in water, and brewing easy. It comes with a gold-toned filter basket that is rated for commercial use and dishwasher friendly. The grinder has an on/off function if you want to use preground coffee beans. The grinder is, however, plastic and does leave somethings to be desired; we wish it had more grind settings. The hotplate is an excellent addition and makes a glass carafe an option. The button and display are plain but get the job done and are easy to use once you understand how to use them. Design- 8 out of 10

Performance- Keep in mind when it comes to performance there are coffee makers that are more than this combo, and there are grinders more than this combo. With that said the plastic mill surprised us. It still does not compare to a burr or even metal blade grinder, but it exceeded our very very low expectations. The temperature that we measured immediately after the brew was 162 which is below than our ideal temp (more than likely doesn't get hot enough during the brewing process) leading us to believe some of the comments on Amazon about temperature to be true. Even with all these complaints though this coffee maker and grinder produced a robust cup of coffee and when you take into effect that price it taste even better. If this machine cost more it would score lower on performance but its overall value gives it- Performance 9 out of 10

Overall- Dollar for dollar this is one of the better coffee makers with a grinder. We were able to get a decent cup of coffee over and over again with little hassle. The heating plate and carafe work well enough to keep coffee warm for hours giving you the freedom to program and brew your coffee without waiting for it to finish. There are some better quality machines out there for sure but value wise there is not a lot better.

#3- Capresso 464.05 CoffeeTeam GS 10-Cup Digital Coffeemaker with Conical Burr Grinder-

Capresso's CoffeeTeam is one of the better coffee makers with a grinder. For those of you who want a heating plate and don't want to invest in a thermal carafe for the Breville, this is an excellent option. The conical burr grinding system in the Capresso produced similar or better results than most other grinder combos, and that leads to a good cup of joe. 

Programmability- The display and buttons are big, well laid out, and easy to use. You can program the time and have the brewing system start anytime you chose. You get the option of 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 and you can set the brew strength to mild, medium, or strong. We wish there were more grinding settings like the 60 you get with Breville but you have the option of five grind settings. You can also program how long you want the warming plate to keep the coffee hot for up to two hours before there is an automatic shut off function. One small issue that we found as well you can program the size of the brew you would like and when you would like it to start. The machine will grind and use the correct amount of beans, but it will use all the water in reserve. So even if you say two cups but have 10 cups in the water tank 10 cups of water will be brewed, and you will more than likely wake up to a mess. Programmability- 8 out of 10

Design- We love the design of this coffee maker. With that said let us get to the small complaints we have and then talk about all the good. The first issue is that you must use the carafe that comes with the machine and if you want to change from the glass model to the stainless steel they are different sizes and are not compatible. Outside of that small issue, the glass carafe worked well, was sturdy, and did its job. The heating plate is a bonus and will keep your coffee at a warm temperature the entire duration it is on. The bean hopper is a good size and can be disabled to use pre-ground coffee. The coffee maker also comes with a filtration system that works wonders and eliminates unwanted impurities during the brewing process. Design- 9 out of 10

Performance- The coffee brewing temperature was perfect. Again with built-in grinding coffee makers, we are not able to measure the actual brewing temperature but only the final product once it has immediately left the maker. On all our brews though the temperature was a steady 175-182. The conical grinder performed exceptionally well but is limited in sizes (stays in the middle of the grinding spectrum nothing too fine or too coarse). The grinders were uniform and fed well into the hopper. The cup of coffee had excellent flavor and aroma from the brewing process. If the grinder were a bit more versatile, this coffee maker would score a perfect ten but if you are only going to be using the grinder for drip coffee that is no problem. Performance- 9.5 out of 10

Overall-This coffee maker is well built and for those of you looking to buy a built-in grinder and only use it for drip coffee and not a french press or expresso this machine is perfect. With the addition to the hot plate many might like this machine even more than our over best performer. With an affordable price to boot its easy to see why it makes our best coffee maker with grinder list.

June 7, 2017

Father’s Day Gift 2017

Finding the perfect Father's Day gift 2017 for your dad is no easy task. We have put together a list of favorite items for Dad's around the kitchen (our expertise area) to try and help you find the right gift for pops.

​Finding the Right Father's Day Gift 2017 For Your Dad-

It is true that a homemade gift is more personal than a purchased gift. However, buying a gift can be just as personal if you there is evident thought and consideration that goes into the gift. That is why it is important to think about what your dad enjoys, his hobbies, and personality and get him a gift tailored specifically for him.

We have taken some time to come up with types of dad categories. We then spent time thinking of unique and great ways gifts that show thought and are tailored to his needs.

Types of Fathers-

  • Rugged Outdoors- Nothing is better for this dad than being outdoors and in nature. This dad is probably superb with his hands and loves making things from scratch. While you see two trees and dirt ground he sees a campfire and the perfect place to hang a hammock. For these dads you can also check out our knives guide.
  • Super Chef- This dad bucks the stereotypes and loves to cook. He is always in the kitchen or outside grilling making the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner. He takes pride in his family cleaning the plates and asking for seconds! This entire website is perfect for this dad but you can also check out our processors guide that is great for every chef. 
  • On the Go Dad- This father has a lot on his plate and is always running around to make everyone happy. Six different sports practices, three dance lessons, PTA meeting, and work all in one week? Not a problem for this daddy he gets everyone everywhere and on time.
  • Nerd Dad- You know that one time you walked downstairs and stumbled upon your dad's role playing game with his friends? If something like this has happened to you well, you have a nerd dad. Video games, fantasy movies, comic books, and role playing are all fair game for this geek dad!
  • Finer Things Dad- Also known as the FTD this dad loves the more beautiful things. Sitting down in front a fireplace with a good bottle of scotch and sculptured ice cubes is the perfect night for this father. Need to know a good wine pairing for dinner ask this dad and you will not only get a recommendation but probably his wine notes and flavor guide to the wine as well.

Your dad is likely to be a blend of 2 or more of these wonder father figures. We have given our labels for each gift on which dad will enjoy each gift! Let us know of any other suggestion to add in the comments section!

Fathers Day Gifts 2017-


Ahhh starting it right of with what can only be described as the perfect man-boy toy! Boys like their toys and well daddies are just an enormous boys and will act boyish opening this gift.

We highlight one of a unique drone kits with the POWERUP FPV Paper Airplane VR Drone Kit. This kit puts you in the cockpit of a paper airplane with smartphone virtual reality goggles. If you have ever wanted to control and know what it is like to fly in a paper airplane this drone gives you answers.

Perfect for- Outdoors Dad can get the perfect shot of his hike or campsite or even scout ahead with the remote control
​Perfect for- Nerd Dad will love all the fantasy like features and will fly the drone around the neighborhood acting out a scene from Star Wars.


Fathers Day 2017 Chiller

This HyperChiller has become my favorite item in the kitchen right now. The whole concept behind the product is that you can put any liquid inside it for only 1 minute, and it will cool the liquid as if you have added 30 ice cubes to it. It is ideal for iced coffee like the name suggests but also for white wines, (looking at you Finer Things Dad) soda pop, and scotch. Without having to use ice cubes to chill your drink, there is no water dilution to the process.

Perfect for- Finer Things Dad to chill his scotch or white wine.
Perfect for- On the Go Dad to chill and cool drinks faster and not slow down.


Fathers Day Gift 2017 Book

This book holy cow. A New York Times best selling complete meat- and brisket-cooking education from the country's most celebrated pitmaster and owner of the wildly popular Austin restaurant Franklin Barbecue. This book is for all dads even the Super Chef Dad who already knows his way around a grill. There is so much great information about grilling, meats, and sauces all dads will appreciate it. There is even an Audible addition for the On-the-Go Dad to listen in the car.

Perfect for- All Dads even remotely think about cooking once in a while


Fathers Day Gift 2017 Watch

A watch is way low on the unique scale for fathers day, but Misfit has nailed this watch. The sleek and elegant design will even have the Finer Things Dad impressed. With an app downloaded to any smartphone the watch tracks steps, calories, controls your music player, takes selfies, and gives phone and text alerts. Nerd Dads will geek out to all the features while on the go dad can save time and headaches using the watch and warnings. This watch is amazing.

Perfect for- Finer Things Dad luxury watch with a great design what else can we say.
Perfect For- On the Go Dad the app and watch make life much easier for the busy dad.
Perfect For- Nerd Dad its a smart watch that connects to the app its nerd heaven.

Hopefully, these ideas will at a minimum get you on the right path to helping you find the right gift for you dad. Don't forget a humorous card or personalized card go a long way as well and pair perfectly with your gift. Enjoy Fathers day all!

May 29, 2017

The Best Vanadium Steel Knife Reviews

If you are an amateur or professional chef, no kitchen is complete without a good set of kitchen knives. Most would even argue that at a good knife is the most important item in the kitchen even over pots and pans. A vanadium steel knife is a type of steel knife that is a fantastic addition to your kitchen and one of the best knives you will ever own.

Stainless Steel vs Carbon Knives?

The debate against stainless steel and high carbon blades is and will forever be argued amongst professionals. Each set of knives has its benefits while having drawbacks as well. Most experts would agree at this point that preference to one or the other is just that a preference and there is no clear cut right or wrong. We break down the pros and cons of each below.

Stainless Steel Knives

Stainless Steel has at least 12% chromium in its blade after the forging process. Chromium makes the blade more rust resistant and water resistant. The chromium, however, makes the blade softer so while it will be easier to sharpen it will also need sharpening more often.

Pros

  • Durability-Stainless Steel knives are less likely to chip or rust as easily as high carbon blades. It is important to separate hardness of the blade from durability it is different. Durability is the knife's ability to last and resist ailments on the knife like water sports. Hardness we will get to later.
  • Maintenance-First we should mention a good kitchen knife should never be put through the dishwasher. Keeping in mind that you should not use the dishwasher maintenance on a stainless steel blade is less and will take less time.
  • Food Flavor- Most high Carbon knives have a protection coating to help with resistance against water and rust. There are some with highly trained pallets that claim they can taste the difference when food is prepared with this coating on the knives. Stainless Steel does not require any protection and thus has 0% chance of changing food flavors.
  • Recyclable-Stainless Steel is now in almost everything and is very easy to break down and recycle. If you no longer are going to use your knife, then you can recycle it and help out our earth.

High Carbon Knives

Carbon is the hardest element in forging, and high carbon steel takes full advantage of the hardness. The hardness of the blade allows for better edging on the blade making the edge razor sharp. The hardness of the materials also keep the sharpness or hold the edge for a lot longer than stainless steel requiring fewer sharpenings. Of course, since there is not a drop of chromium these blades need more attention to cleaning, caring, and maintenance to keep the blades from rust and water spots.

Pros

  • Sharpness-Stainless Steel knives are less likely to chip or rust as easily as high carbon blades. It is important to separate hardness of the blade from durability it is different. Durability is the knife's ability to last and resist ailments on the knife like water sports. Hardness we will get to later.
  • Value-While you might spend a bit more money up front on these knives with the proper care, they last longer and will be as sharp 100 years down the road as they were out of the box. You can't deny the value in these knives longevity.
  • Food Flavor- Most high Carbon knives have a protection coating to help with resistance against water and rust. There are some with highly trained pallets that claim they can taste the difference when food is prepared with this coating on the knives. Stainless Steel does not require any protection and thus has 0% chance of changing food flavors.
  • Hardness-The hardness of the knife with the proper cutting technique can handle even the toughest of materials. Needing to cut through some bones or fillet through think skins this knife can do it for you. The hardness also gives it better edge retention as mentioned above.

What is Vanadium Steel?

The simple answer is that vanadium steel is steel forged with a percentage of vanadium. When vanadium and steel are alloyed together, it makes the metal far less likely to have any corrosion. Vanadium is used to make the blade far more resistant. Vanadium is coarse and very hard which adds to the toughness of your knife.

Vanadium is used in almost everything steel related, and when used in kitchen knives serve a purpose for adding resistance, hardening, and strengthening the steel. Vanadium can be used in both stainless steel and high carbon knives but normally when vanadium is added to the forging process the knives are called chrome vanadium steel knifes. Chrome vanadium steel is a hybrid of stainless steel and high carbon knifes because of the unique way that it is forged. 

​Other Metals Used When Forging Chrome Vanadium Steel Knifes

Molybdenum is often combined in the forging proess with vanadium. Molybdenum can withstand up to 300,000 pounds of force and when combined with vanadium in the correct amounts makes for a perfect blend. The combination of these two tough metals makes for a perfect blend of resistants and toughness.

Chrome is the third metal added in forging a chrome vanadium knife. Chrome is extremely hard metal. Chrome is perfect for holding edges and requires less sharpening. When you combine Chrome with vanadium in the right amounts, you get the perfect blend of toughness and strength optimal for knives.

Pros to Vanadium Steel Knives-

  • Flexibility- Chrome Vanadium is a highly flexible material used in springs for cars. Chrome Vanadium will not break easily like other knives and therefore makes for perfect fillet knives. Fillet knives need to bend around bones while cutting the meat from them. Knives not flexible will leave chunks of meat around the bones, or the knife itself will break on the bones.
  • Rust Resistant- Vanadium's ability to resist corrosion makes the knife ideal for those looking to have their knives last longer with less maintenance. Remember rust resistant does not mean that rust cannot happen. Vanadium steel still needs to be cleaned, oiled, and dried. With vanadium's resistances though you will not need to dry after cleaning air drying is perfectly fine and will not result in water spots.
  • Strength- Vanadium can withstand enormous amounts of pressure. Cutting through bones, tough skin, and seeds are no problem for vanadium steel. You will not have any chips or breaks in the steel because of the strength of the CV steel.

Our Chrome Vanadium Steel Knife Reviews

Korin Masamoto VG-10 Chef's Knife

The Korin Masamoto VG is a one of a kind knife. The Korin Masamoto VG is made from hyper molybdenum-vanadium to give the blade incredible strength, toughness, and is corrosion resistant. Korin Masamoto has been a brand known for quality, and this knife will not disappoint. The blade is 8.2'', extremely light weight, and scored a 58-59 on the Rockwell C Scale of Hardness. 

Pros

  • Quality Wood Handle- Will not slip out of your hand or become slippery.
  • High Sharpness Ratings
  • Knife is Known for its Toughness
  • Simple to Sharpen with Whetstone
  • Perfectly Treated to Have Food Slide Right of the Blade

Cons

  • Left Handed People Must Order Directly from Korin (knife is designed for only right-handed users)
  • For Price, You Must Sharpen Blade Regularly (regular everyday kitchen usage every 2-3 months)
  • Wood Handle Needs Special Cleaning from Time to Time

Verdict- This budget-friendly knife and knife set's value is near impossible to beat. This knife and set are perfect for those looking to start a kitchen set without breaking the bank. The blade is sturdy, strong steel that with proper care will last you a long time. This knife and set are also the perfect beginners set for those just starting to take their cooking to the next level. The steak knife set also is a great addition for those moving out or even into a new home and starting their cookware sets.

Swiss Classic Victorinox

Great for casual, beginner, or those on a strict budget this vanadium chrome steel knife comes at a great price but still packs a punch. Victorinox makes this chef knife with a quality blade that will last for a very long time especially when you take care of your knife correctly. The 14 piece knife set that Victorinox offers is the best value knife set on the market and will take care of almost every chef's needs.

Pros

  • Blade is Great Quality for its Value
  • Extremely Durable and Tough
  • Nearly Impossible to Break or Chip Blade
  • Best Price

Cons

  • The Handle Feel Cheaper and is Easy to Break
  • The Blade Stops at the Handle Making it a Two-Piece Knife (more chance of handle breaking off)
  • Doesn't Hold Edge Well- this knife needs sharpening more than most chrome vanadium knives

Verdict- This budget-friendly knife and knife set's value is near impossible to beat. This knife and set are perfect for those looking to start a kitchen set without breaking the bank. The blade is sturdy, strong steel that with proper care will last you a long time. This knife and set are also the perfect beginners set for those just starting to take their cooking to the next level. The steak knife set also is a great addition for those moving out or even into a new home and starting their cookware sets.

April 16, 2017

Can Coffee Help You Live Longer?

A cup of coffee in the morning may be more beneficial to you than just getting your morning jolt. More people in America are turning to coffee as their drink of choice with Keurigs and home brewed coffee. The uptick in coffee drinkers has led to more and more research being done and all data points to coffee reducing risks of death. We take a look at some of the more recent studies and give you a full breakdown of what a cup of joe can do or not do to your body. 

Coffee Grinds

What is in Coffee?

A good cup of coffee is 98.25% water, and the rest (1.75%) is soluble plant material. Breaking down the 1.75% you have Caffeine, 2-Ethylphenol, Quinic acid, 3.5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid, Dimethyl disulfide, Acetylmethylcarbinol, Putrescine, Trigonelline, and Niacin all can be found in coffee. While this list may seem daunting and you may feel like you are putting a bunch of abnormal chemicals in your body, rest assured you are not. All of the listed chemicals occur naturally in nature, and some even break down during the brewing process to release only vitamins. An excellent breakdown of each compound can be found here at Wired.com. 

Can Coffee make you live longer?

The benefits to coffee are fascinating. Many studies over the past couple years have shown significant health benefits to coffee drinkers. We want to point out that moderation is key for the full health benefits and to have little to no side effects. Without further ado the good list!

1.) Coffee drinkers live longer

We start this list off right with the biggest benefit of all. Multiple studies show that coffee drinkers live longer than non-coffee drinkers. As you go further down the list, you will understand why this is true, but two large studies and both gave very similar results. Coffee lowers the risk of death in males by 20% and in females by 26%. The study also showed people with type 2 diabetes who drank coffee had their risk of death decreased by 30%.

Long Life

2.) Improves energy levels and alertness and can increase intelligence

Can Coffee Help You Live Longer

This one is a no-brainer. Healthy dosages of caffeine are great ways to wake up, get energy, or even improve your focus. The science behind this is that caffeine blocks an inhibitor called Adenosine. The blocking of Adenosine increases the firing of neurons in the brain that allows you to focus and even comprehend and retain information easier. The study for this can is here. This case study shows that caffeine in the correct dosages improves memory, reaction time, mood, and general cognitive functions. Long story short, coffee in moderation not only wakes you up but is a brain enhancer as well.​

​3.) Coffee can help strengthen teeth and keep them from decaying

One or more cups of coffee a day significantly decreases bone loss in teeth. The study took coffee drinkers of 30+ years and non-coffee drinkers and looked at gum disease, bleeding gums, and bone density in teeth. In all categories, coffee drinkers fair far better than their counterparts. The studies head scientist explains that many compounds in coffee fight oxidative damage and inflammation that cause gum disease. The full study is here

4.) Coffee is the biggest source of Antioxidants in Western Diets​

Coffee contains enormous amounts of Antioxidants. Multiple studies show that coffee contains more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. 

5.) Coffee can protect your liver

The liver has many enemies when it comes to health, but the almost all of the diseases and conditions lead to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is when the liver turns into non-functioning scar tissue. People who drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day are at a lower risk of 80% to contract this condition

6.) Caffeine in Coffee can lower the risk of Parkinson's

Parkinson's disease is the second most diagnosed neurologic disease in the US only behind Alzheimer's. Multiple research shows that consistent amounts of Caffeine help lower your risk from Parkinson's. One study has the caffeine decreasing the risk by almost 60%.

7.) Coffee is linked to protecting you from Alzheimer's and Dementia

Remember how we were talking about chemicals in coffee blocking Adenosine? Well, studies show those same compounds might fight against Alzheimer's and Dementia. This study in particular, took 4 case studies and did a meta-analysis and determined those who regularly drink coffee are at up to 65% less of a risk for these diseases.

8.) Coffee helps lower your risk of type II Diabetes and also helps control blood sugar

According to a single review of 18 studies with a total just shy of half a million people, each cup of coffee you drink daily lowers your risk by 7%. The study points out that their numbers are dependent on the cups of coffee being black and not adding any sugar or creme to the cup.

9.) Coffee can decrease your risk of cancer

Coffee can protect you from two types of cancer liver and colorectal. Liver cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the US and colorectal is the fourth. Two studies came up with the same number that regular coffee drinkers are 40% less likely to get either type of cancer

So Is anything about Coffee Bad for You?

This question is complicated and hard to answer. The simple answer is in moderation, no. Coffee has far more health benefits than it does negative side effects. Knowing how coffee affects the body is important to make sure that you are not negatively impacting your body when drinking it. HealthAmbition.com sites multiple tests and studies and gives a pretty comprehensive list of adverse side effects with coffee you can see HERE. One thing to note is that a majority of issues stem from over consumption of coffee. 

So how much is too much?

A study by Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed the anyone under the age of 55 should not drink more than 32 ounces a day or 224 ounces a week. To make these numbers smaller if you drink the regular 8 ounces of coffee in a cup you must keep around or below 4 cups a day.

List of Negative Effects-

  1. Coffee can overworks digestive system and makes it harder to digest meals
  2. Coffee is very acidic and can cause ulcers or IBS
  3. Coffee can affect people with heartburn problems
  4. Coffee is a natural laxative and may speed up digestion too fast before all nutrients are extracted in the intestines.
  5. Coffee makes it harder for your digestive system to absorb iron
  6. There is Acrylamide in coffee which many researchers believe to cause cancer. (There always has to be cancer on a health list right?)
  7. Coffee contains caffeine, and large amounts of caffeine can have adverse effects.​

The other negative to coffee drinkers is what we put into coffee that is not coffee. Most coffee drinkers in America do not prefer a straight black coffee, and the go to additives are cream and sugar. Anything else you put into coffee you must count the calories and include the negative nutrition as well.

TIP: If you need creamer use a low-fat milk instead of processed creamer. If you want to sweeten your coffee and need sugar, then use brown sugar instead of sweeteners in your coffee, it's slightly more healthy for you.

TIP: The healthiest option to sweeten your coffee is not sugar but Cinnamon. Cinnamon helps control blood sugar and has many other health benefits that include the ability to fight belly fat. 

Summary

With multiple scientific studies and understanding how coffee can affect your body, it's simple to say that in moderation, Coffee is one of the healthiest drinks on earth. A regular cup of only coffee not only protects you from cancer and brain diseases but is correlated to the longevity of life. In conclusion, you can keep smiling coffee drinkers (with all your teeth cause coffee helps them) your beverage of choice is a healthy way to start your day.

March 27, 2017

Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker Review

Whether you are hoping to stop buying ice for entertaining, camping, fishing or any other reason, or you just prefer to make ice on demand, a compact ice maker is probably on your radar. This Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker is ultra-compact and highly portable, allowing you to make up to 27 pounds of ice per dayIs it the right for your house, boat, RV or camp? For our full Ice Maker Buying guide click here!

Specifications of the Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker-

The Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker is ideally sized for sitting on almost any countertop, the Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker weighs 24 pounds, which is roughly average for the industry. The design is unique, offering three very stylish color options (red, silver or bright white) with color coded keys tucked below a backlit display. The design makes it a relatively discreet option for any space. It stores easily in any household or standard cabinetry, too and does not require any emptying as it fully recycles melted ice back into the enormous 26.5-pound reservoir.

Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker

The unit can hold up to 2.5 pounds of ice before the indicator light ticks on, and there is also a low water indicator to ensure you know when to refill. There are three sizes of ice available, and you can make ice in as little as ten minutes' time. The simple to use control panel features a clock and timer settings is backlit for easy reading and ensures you have ice ready whenever you want or need it. You can also keep an eye on things thanks to the window mounted in the lid. The lift out tray makes it ultra-easy to transfer cubes to a storage container or ice bucket for immediate use.It operates on a standard 115v source, it uses modern compressor refrigeration for the utmost in efficiency and comes with a convenient scoop.

Pros and Cons of the Knox Portable Compact Ice Maker-

The Pros-

  • Automated to a significant degree
  • Offers zero waste as it recycles cubes back into the water in the reservoir
  • Nicely sized and not too heavy as to be awkward to carry when empty
  • One of the easiest to read display panels and entirely customizable operations.
  • Ultra-efficient and alerts you to any need for water or emptying.

The Cons-

  • Heavy when full (Close to 50 pounds)
  • Durability (About 10% of customers claim it stops working before a year after purchase)
  • Ice Melts faster than a second cycle (must pull ice fast)

Conclusion

​This portable ice machine is a good value portable ice machine. Its price point is lower than most of our recommended products so if you are looking to save a buck or two this is a good buy. While a good value you will be sacrificing some quality and it is critical to read the warranty from where you are purchasing. Amazon offers a four-year protection plan, at the time of writing this through Asurion LLC, that might be worth the investment. A lot of customers have complained about the machines breaking down after a couple of months. Overall though its hard to find to many flaws with this portable ice maker and the price point makes it a viable option to put in your kitchen. 

Digital Display
March 16, 2017

The Best Coffee Grinder Guide

In today's convenience age when it comes to kitchen appliances, the art of coffee making is sometimes overlooked. Many people will grab the pre-ground coffee from the grocery store, put it in a drip coffee maker, and voilà you have your coffee. The problem is your not getting the best results, and more often than not we end up going to the coffee shop on our way to work weeks later for better coffee. The find the best coffee grinder for you can help make that same cup of joe as you buy from coffee houses with huge savings in time and your wallet!

How can the best coffee grinder change the flavor of coffee?​

To understand how grinders play a significant role in the flavor profile of your coffee you have to understand what exactly a coffee mill (another word for a grinder) does. Now I am sure most of you are rolling your eyes right now because everyone knows that the best coffee grinder grinds down coffee beans, but we need to take a deep look into the process.

​Why do we grind the beans in the first place?

If you look into the history of coffee, you will found out the first extraction of coffee beans was by agitating the bean through a long boiling process. This process left you with a highly caffeinated, bitter, and thick concentrate of coffee. Lucky for us we have since started grinding coffee and running water through the grounds. Why? Well, coffee beans contain caffeine and oils inside of the bean. These oils are what give coffee its aroma and taste and the caffeine well it's what makes sure we get to work in a less zombie like state!

So why is it bad to buy pre-ground coffee?

Pre-Ground Coffee offers a host of issues-

  1. Oxidation- Most of the armor that we get from coffee is due to gasses trapped inside of the bean after roasting. The minute you grind the bean is introduced to Oxygen, and the gasses interact in what is called oxidation. After grinding coffee beans after 20 minutes, an estimate of 60% of the coffee aroma is released and gone. Simply put you lose most of your armor and some of your flavor profile from pre-ground coffee.
  2. Soluble Oils- Coffee bean oils are soluble. That is excellent news for us or else the brewing process would be much more challenging. The problem is when you grind coffee beans and expose them to the environment moister in the air starts to dilute these essential oils. That is why the best cups of joe are ground fresh and brewed as soon as possible.
  3. Delicate Oils- Coffee oils are very easily manipulated by their environment once they are out in the open i.e. they have been ground. They will often pick up and hold odors from around the grinds if exposed for extended periods of time. These new odors only weaken or sometimes even spoils the brew.
  4. Weakens the Roasting Process- During the roasting process, a lot of CO2 is created. Carbon dioxide is needed during the brewing process to help release the oils for a more flavorful and aromatic brew. When you grind your coffee, it creates more surface area in your beans raising the probably of release CO2. According to coffee confidential, almost 80% of all CO2 is released within 60 seconds after grinding.

Grinding Process- Types of Coffee Grinders

Knowing that the best cup of homemade coffee comes from freshly ground coffee beans lets look at how grinders work. So there are two different type of mills, the first what we call the mini blender.

Blade Grinders-

These mills use blades to grind up the coffee beans. They spin the blades as fast as the motors will allow it and the blade cuts where it hits the bean. Two issues come from these little value beauties.

​One they are too inconsistent. Most of these grinders have only manual controls and grind meaning you control that grind. While controlling may sound like a good thing you are responsible for how long (how fine the grinds are) to let your blades run. The process means its all on how long you run the grinder and well human error does occur. The other inconsistency is about the mechanism of the blades. Since the blades will be cutting the bean where ever it hits the bean, there is no consistency.

The second problem comes from the blade friction causing heat. With the blades swirling around and hitting solid objects friction heat starts to build up. Remember those lovely oils we are trying so hard to preserve until we run the drip? Yeah, they don't like heat especially after being ground up and out in the open. You lose a lot of the oils and moisture you with blade grinders; something grind fresh was supposed to preserve.​

Burr Grinders-

Burr grinders have two separate pieces commonly made of metal or ceramic that are set a specific distance apart (the size you want your grind). The two parts then rotate and grind down the bean until it is small enough to fall through the opening leaving an ideal size of the bean. To give you an idea this is the same concept used in pepper shakers that have mills in them. You turn the grinder and pepper fall out once it can fit through the burrs. There are two different types of burr mills flat plate and conical burrs. There is a heated debate amongst coffee enthusiasts alike on which one of these kinds of burrs are better but almost everyone agrees that either is substantially better than a blade grinder and make the best coffee grinder.

Grind sizes-

Size of Grinds

Description

Best Types of Brews

Extra Corse

Slightly larger than sea salt

Cowboy Coffee, Cold Brewing

Corse

Close to the size of sea salt

French Press, Precolators

Medium Corse

Size of Corse Sand

Clever Dripper, Chemex

Medium

Size of Regular Sand

Flat-Bottom and Cone Drips

Medium Fine

Slightly finer than sand

Cone Shaped Poor Overs

Fine

Slightly smaller than table salt

Espresso  

Super Fine

Feels like flour

Turkish Coffee

Best Coffee Grinders of 2017

Baratza Virtuoso

In a lot of our lists, there is room for argument that this our that should be rated higher but not on this page. There is doubt in our mind that the highest rated and best coffee grinder currently for consumers is the Baratza Virtuoso. While we consider this on the top end price range for grinders the Baratza Virtuoso's simplicity is what leads to its consistency. A fantastic scientific study on the accuracy of grinds in grinders can be found here on homesweet. If you don't want to take the time in reading all their findings, we will sum it up for you. If you want a machine that grinds coffee beans at close to the same accuracy of a commercial grade grinder you want the Virtuoso. The best coffee grinder grinds coffee in uniform size and that is exactly what the Virtuoso does. 

Pros

  • Grinding Accuracy is world class
  • Quiet
  • Powerful
  • Ideal for French Press Grinds
  • Easy to clean the burrs and inside the machine

Cons

  • Not Ideal for Espresso Grinds
  • Cylinder is harder to get off and no stopper to hold beans
  • Grinds sometimes leak from cylinder

Best Value for Coffee Grinder

Baratza Encore

Coming in a full three figures cheaper at times this compelling value option is right for people looking to save some cash but still want a higher performing coffee grinder. The Baratza Encore tested well in medium sized grinds, fine grinds, and medium grinds. Most of the grinds were as uniform as some of the other $200 models. The Baratza Encore does not have the ability to provide quality fine grinds however you should not buy the Baratza Encore if you want to use it for espresso grinds. This machine is your best coffee grinder if you are comparing results to dollars spent.

Pros

  • Great Value
  • Good for Common Brews (Medium Grind)
  • Easily Clean the Burrs
  • Best $200 or under coffee grinder

Cons

  • Corse Grind Consistency is Poor
  • Lots of Plastic 
  • Not suited for espresso grinds
  • Cylinder is harder to get off and no stopper to hold beans

March 6, 2017

Cuisinart 14 Cup Food Processor Review

​We take an in-depth look at the Cuisinart FP14DCN Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor. This is an updated verision of the Cuisinart 14 Cup food processor. The new updated verision has a 4.5 cup bowl for smaller projects, a new touchpad that includes a dough speed setting, and a slightly more powerful motor. These improvements are on top of an already well rounded model which is why Cuisinart FP-14DCN Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor is not only are best value but also now the most popular on Amazon.

The specifications on the Cuisinart FP-14DCN Elite Collection 2.0 14-Cup Food Processor prove that it is a high quality, nearly professional grade unit. It is elegantly designed and features a surprisingly small footprint for such a powerful machine. The "die cast" colored machine, stands at 7.8 x 10.2 x 17 inches and weighs in at 20 pounds. It features a 1300-watt peak-power induction motor to enable any sort of food prep required. It offers easy controls and multiple functions, thanks to is unique features.


  • Nesting work bowl design that includes a larger than average 14 cup bowl as well as the 4.5 work bowl.
  • An innovative adjustable slicing blade that is similar to having six different slicing blades; enabling you to slice fat orange slices or paper thin cucumbers.
  • The Cuisinart Supreme Wide-Mouth feed tube can handle oversized ingredients and cut down on prep and processing.
  • The Patent-Pending SealTight Advantage System features a push button release, easy on/off locking, and ensures that the bowls are firmly sealed and blades locked to cut down on any messes and ensure processing and pouring are safe and easier than ever.
  • Electronic touch pad controls feature easy to use controls for pulsing, dough making, and simpler on/off functionality. The blue LED lights make it simple and easy to see just what you are doing.
  • Accessories include the stainless steel discs such as the adjustable slicing disc, large and small chopping or mixing blades, reversible shredding disc, and a dough blade. There is also a BPA free spatula, recipe book, cover, and locking storage case for all the extra gear.
  • All removable parts are dishwasher safe.
  • And an impressive three-year limited warranty on the unit and amazing 20-year warranty on the motor.

To ensure accuracy of our reviews it is necessary to consider the various advantage and disadvantages in choosing this Cuisinart, food processor. The problem is that there little to say on the disadvantages or "cons" side of things. The machine has been thoughtfully designed and by a brand long associated with high-end food prep - Cuisinart. Our primary complaint with the original 14 cup food process is that no dough blade was included with the initial purchase. That has been remedied with 2.0 elite series as Cuisinart has added a dough blade. We tried to nitpick on this machine, but with it so well made it's hard to find anything glaring.

The Pro's list is much larger. We love the dual sized work bowls, adjustable slicing blade, easy to see touchpad, and the convenience of a retractable cord are some of the biggest "pros" of choosing this unit. The checklist just keeps going too-

  • It has a powerful motor
  • Dishwasher safe components make it amazingly easy to maintain
  • One of the largest food processing bowls for recreational use
  • And finally an incredible warrenty

The biggest Pro, however, has to be the value. With Cuisinart's modest price tag for everything, you get its hard to argue there is any better value when it comes to the best food processors.​ We highly recommend this food processor and is easily in the conversation of being the best food processor for your dollars. You can orders yours here! 

20 Ideas for Your Food Processor

If you aren’t a big fan of the food processor, you don’t know what you are missing. First if you have not bought a food processor yet check out our full in depth buying guide here. You may have gotten one as a wedding present from your aunt or as a housewarming gift from your parents. Or, let me guess...you just bought one for yourself.Is it collecting dust in your kitchen cupboard? What a waste!It doesn't have to be hidden away until you have to slice carrots and onions. You could be making…

Pie dough!And Ice cream! And even homemade mayo! Chances are, you aren’t getting the use out of your food processor that you could (and should!) be. Food processors have a wide variety of applications beyond chopping veggies. A good food processor can turn you into quite the chef while saving you time, and, not to mention, keep dozens of pots and pans from needing a clean.Here is a list of twenty food processor hacks that will just make you fall in love with the big ole’ machine.

• Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish cold tomato soup, perfect for hot summer days. It uses fresh tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, herbs, oil, vinegar, and spices. As you can imagine, this could take a lot of chopping. If you are like me, the vegetable juices will ooze off the chopping board and get all over your kitchen counter...what a mess? Don’t freak out; you can save on this by putting all the gazpacho ingredients in the food processor. You can find a great food processor gazpacho recipe (with a Californian twist!) at Simply Recipes click here.

Picture Credit: Simply Recipe

• Nut Butters

Have you ever wondered what is really in your peanut butter? If you look at the ingredients of most commercial nut butter, it is likely you won’t recognize many of them. Why not make it at home? For the most basic recipe, all you need is an oven and nuts. Roast the raw nuts of your choice for about 10-15 minutes at 350F, moving it around once or twice, so they are evenly cooked. Put them in your food processor, and you will notice the nuts have turned into a moist powder. Scrape down what was stuck on the sides and turn on the food processor again. Repeat this multiple times until it starts to clump, and let your food processor run. It will take about 15 minutes for the nuts to turn into a delicious, creamy, all-natural nut butter.

Pro Tip- Add the flavors of your choice – cinnamon, maple syrup, raw sugar, dark chocolate… let your imagination run wild!Check out the step-by-step recipe for roasted almond nut butter at Heather Eats Almond Butter.

• Meat Grinder or Meat Shredder

High-quality ground meat is a lot more expensive per-pound than the same quality meat when it is whole. You will love it when you make yours at home. Healthy Green Kitchen has a delicious recipe for homemade pork breakfast sausage made from organic, grass-fed pork shoulder.

​Shredding chicken and other meats is also a breeze with your food processor. Put your thoroughly cooked meat that you want to shred in the food processor and only use the pulse function. Tap your pulse button until you have the meat shred to your liking. Make sure to be very quick with your pulses the power of your food process will quickly take the shredded meat into ground meats in a second. These shredded meats are perfect for recipes that call for shredded chicken or pork to be pulled apart by forks save your fingers and sweat use your food processor!

Pro Tip- Make sure the meat is cold when you want to grind it, so it doesn’t turn into mush when you process it. Make sure you meat is fully cooked when you want to shred it. 

• Homemade Mayonnaise

Let’s face it. Mayo is on the black list of sauces. It is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and some critics point to potentially dangerous ingredients like soybean oil.

It doesn’t have to be that way; if you have your food processor handy, you can make a delicious, healthier homemade mayonnaise with an egg yolk,  lemon juice, vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil and skip all those nasty preservatives. Adding a mustard turns your mayo into a remoulade and makes for a very taste spread. Check out the full recipe with mustard at Umami Girl.

• Pesto

If you are a seasoned food processor user, this might come as a no-brainer. But, believe it or not, people will pay good money for some bottled pesto sauce. You don't have to be one of those people make an amazing batch of pesto at home and save some cash. Pesto is incredibly easy to make. Once you have all of the ingredients on hand, it takes about three minutes. It’s the secret pesto bottlers don’t want anyone to know.

The traditional recipe calls for basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, tossed in the food processor and blended until smooth. Are you feeling adventurous? You can make any variation of the classic recipe you want. You can use carrot tops instead of basil, almonds instead of pine nuts, and asiago instead of parmesan there are countless recipe variants.

Check out a step-by-step guide on how to make pesto at Gimme Some Oven.

• Creamy Dips

Do you have some unexpected guests coming over? You can make a delicious dip in minutes by mixing a creamy base like yogurt, cream, cottage cheese or – for some vegetarian versions – tofu and avocado. Toss the ingredients in the food processor, add some garlic, lime, and seasoning and serve with pita chips or crackers. Chowhound has a great article on 20 different dips you can make in a food processor we have tried most of them and have not found one that we disliked. Check the recipes out here! 

• Marmalades

Three ingredients. Food processor. Delicious tangy spread for your morning toast. It’s not too good to be true!

Food Processor Marmalade

• Pasta Dough

If you have ever made pasta dough before, you probably remember what a mess it was to clean up the sticky dough off your fingers, the bowl, and the spatula. Rather than kneading the pasta dough by hand, you can mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. When it is done, the dough just needs to be rolled out and cut into your desired shape and cook.

The Second Pancake has a great recipe for food processor pasta dough and the guide has great pictures for reference. You can find the full recipe here!

• Cauliflower Rice​

Cauliflower rice has gained popularity in many health and fitness circles as a great low-carb alternative to regular rice. Its applications go way beyond a simple side dish. You can use cauliflower rice to make pizza crust, stuffed peppers, and even sushi.

Cauliflower rice is the simplest thing you can imagine. After washing your cauliflower head, cut it into chunks put it into the food processor using the grater function. To prepare it before a meal, steam or sauté for a maximum of 10 minutes with desired ingredients.

• Homemade Gluten-Free Flour

Yes! Your food processor can also make flour! Believe it or not, it will only take about three minutes.

Remember the nut butter I mentioned before? For the first few minutes, the butter was more powdery than it is buttery. This powder can be used as flour. When it comes to nut-based flour, almond flour bakes best, while oat flour is the easiest to make.

To make it, just place the desired flour base (oats, cashews, almonds, sunflower, hazelnut, buckwheat, and more) in the processor and grind them for 1-2 minutes. Some tips on different bases for gluten-free flour can be found at Attune Foods.

• Baby Food

Homemade baby food is healthier, more natural, and cheaper than store-bought baby food. You can puree almost anything – from carrots and pears to peas. If you have a full week ahead of your, you can plan ahead and make large batches and freeze the puree in small storage containers.

• Truffles

Do you have someone you want to impress with your skills in the kitchen? Even the word Truffle sounds fancy. Mix all of the necessary ingredients in a food processor, only to roll and chill. Find the full recipe at My Yellow Farmhouse here.

• Pie crust

Call me strange, but my favorite part of pies has always been the crust. I can tell when the crust is frozen, store-bought or homemade. Homemade crusts are always the best, and any pie fan will tell you that there is nothing quite like a pie made from scratch.

• No-Cook Fudge

Fudge doesn’t have to be something you only enjoy at the state fair. Using your food processor, you can make fudge, without having to turn on your stove.

Usually melting the chocolate is a vital part of making fudge to make sure all the ingredients are properly mixed. A food processor does this without needing the chocolate melted. Using a food processor not only saves you time but also gets room temp fudge into the refrigerator meaning it will be hardened faster!​

Check out a great recipe at Cookie and Kate.

• Cole Slaw​

Cole slaw is a classic summer side. While cole slaw doesn’t have very many ingredients, when done in the traditional manner, cole slaw takes lots and lots of chopping. You can put the cabbage, onion, and carrot into the food processor, and toss with the dressing of your choice. Its super quick and super easy to make slaw fast.

Pro Tip- Use the pulse setting on your food processor. You don't want to turn your shredded veggies from a slaw to mush.

• Salsas

No need to get store-bought salsa after this hack. Put tomatoes, onion, cilantro and lemon juice in the food processor, and two minutes, you will have the perfect appetizer for taco night. As you get more comfortable with experimenting, you can add garlic, green and red peppers, jalapeños, corn, vinegar, and anything else your heart desires.

Pro Tip- For salsa just put your food processor on full speed and let it really go to town on everything in the bowl. For Pico De Gallo use the pulse setting and stop while your tomatoes and veggies are still chunky. 

• Macaroons

With this recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Macarons from Good Housekeeping, you can take the batter straight from the food processor bowl to the cookie.

Pro Tip- If they aren’t eaten within the first day, they get a little soggy. Freeze them, they will last up to one month.

• Dressings

If you make oily dressings in a bowl, they will often separate into phases. If you make them in a food processer, however, all of the ingredients will temporarily blend, allowing you enjoy the tastes of each of your dressings’ ingredients.

For a fluffy, creamy dressing, check out this recipe for food processor Caesar dressing straight from Cuisinart.

• Making Ice Cream at Home

​This hack alone is worth buying a new food processor. Not only can you make ice cream at home, but you can also make it with one ingredient, and it is much healthier than commercial ice cream. Watch this great video below on how to make your homemade ice cream. 

Pick a fruit – any fruit! Place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours, and then whip it up in the food processor. If you like your ice cream a little sweeter, you can add honey, cinnamon, chocolate, or any additions you can think of. After it is blended, scoop the blend into a storage container and place it back into the freezer.

• Churn Heavy Cream into Butter

Churning butter has got to be the coolest food processor hack. Imagine being able to say you churned your own butter? Well, it’s not churning so much as it is processing – but the end-product is just as yummy, and takes only a fraction of the time. What could be better than high-quality, freshly churned butter?​ Plus if you add fun stuff like honey or garlic during the process you have homemade garlic butter or homemade honey butter. 

You can learn how to make your own butter from heavy cream at Frugality Gal.​ Not only does Frugality Gal do a great job explaining how but all the trail and error she went through plus cost savings by making your own butter. 

Your food processor can be your greatest ally in the kitchen if you do not have one check out our full guide here. We also have a guide on when to use your food processor, blender, or immersion blender here. Not only can it help you save time as you make your favorite weeknight staples, but the food processor can also help you to be a bit more adventurous, and try making something new.Food processor truffles for dessert, anyone? Bon appetit!​

February 21, 2017

Tortilla Soup Recipe (The Pioneer Woman Recipe and Attempt to Recreate)

For years I have been looking good Tortilla Soup, and even though I have been following The Pioneer Woman, I have never tried her recipe till recently. It is amazing and the best recipe I have found in 4 years making the soup.

Below is screen print of the recipe straight from The Pioneer Woman's blog. (I sent a request to talk about her recipe with the option to view this post before posting but have got no response, so I am doing my best to give as much credit to her for the recipe as possible.)​

So you can see the instructions above for the Pioneer Woman. Let me tell you what I did slightly different than her mostly because of availability of items. From here on out PW is Pioneer Woman and well me is me!

PW- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Me- So far so good!

PW- Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
Me- Two for Two this is going to be a slam dunk!​

PW- Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.
Me- Crap. I told everyone that we were having Chicken Tortilla Soup since we have been making it for a month now its everyone's favorite and been talking about it and I am staring down at frozen chicken at 4:30.......So I poach the chicken.​

Me-​ I then Shred it in my food processor because well anytime I can use my precious (food processor) I use my precious. Then I take the shredded chicken throw it back in the skillet and sprinkle the seasoning on the chicken and brown the shredded chicken.​ For our food processor guide check it out here. My current food processor you can check out here!

Poached Chicken for Tortilla Soup
Shredded Chicken for Tortilla Soup

PW-Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.
Me- Yeah entirely skipped this as I said above.

PW-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.
Me- I was able to do this back on track 3 for 4!

Veggies for Tortilla Soup

PW-Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Me-
X-So no Rotel down here where I live not without driving an hour, so I substituted Pimentos instead. One small can.
X-Let's see chicken stock... again hard to find where I live, so we went with a good ole bullion cube solution.
X-Tomato Paste again hard to come by so we went with two small tomatoes diced then smashed with a wooden spoon.
🙂 Water- I GOT THAT!
X- Finally beans.. yeah I am allergic so no.
In my Monty Python voice... We will call this step a draw, I mean I did get one of the ingredients right nailed the water. (for those in need of a reference about the quote here is the entire scene from Monty Python)

PW-Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.
Me- Nailed this step back on track for the 3rd err 4th time.

PW- Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese, if you have it! (The garnishes really make the soup delicious.)
Me- We d this but also add fresh cilantro and avocado she is right the garnishes take this soup to a whole new level.

Well there you have it I was able to recreate this delicious recipe to the tee...... not really but with the spirit of the recipe followed, I have to say Pioneer Woman nailed it! Here is a picture of the final product. To follow the Pioneer Woman on social media click the links and to follow us on social media do the same!

Blender vs Food Processor vs Immersion Blender

Professional chefs, those who love to prepare fine dishes as a hobby, and parents who try to make healthy meals for their family are all too aware the value a quality blender brings. However, not all know the value that comes from food processors and immersion blenders. We are asked to compare blender vs food processor all the time so we made a chart and a couple quick tips for each appliance. 

While a blender is great, it's not the best tool for every blending task we face inside the kitchen. Recently, we spent time investigating and testing which of the three works best in some scenarios. Here's where each tool is most useful and when you should consider changing up and using a different option. We have created a quick chart for reference below with full explanations if you keep reading. 

Recipe

Blender

Immersion Blender

Food Processor

Smoothies/Blended Drinks

Ideal

NEVER EVER FOR ICE

Not Really

Butters/Whipping

Can Use

Ideal

Can Use

Chopping Veggies/ Fruits

No

Ideal

No

Doughs

No

Can Use

No

Shredding Meats/ Cheeses

No

Ideal

No

Purees

Can Use

Don't Use

Ideal

Blender

Ninja Blender

The blender is the number one go to for all our blending and puree needs. However, the traditional blender is best for making smoothies and alcoholic cocktails (such as Margaritas). Blenders have incredibly powerful motors but blades that are not as sharp as the food processor. It is the powerful motor whipping around duller blades and high blade rotations that make blending ice, fruit, and vegetables an easy process.

Traditional blenders eliminate the need for a number of other kitchen appliances, are easy to clean, and the deep bowls help prevent overflowing or causing the lid to explode off, allowing for smooth mixtures which are easy to digest.

The only drawback to the traditional blender is their blades are often rather dull, making it not as useful when trying to puree foods with a harder constitution or even slice and dice. Avoid using the blender when trying to do anything with finesse.

Immersion Blender

Not as powerful nor multi-purpose as the traditional blender, the immersion blender is useful due to its compact nature. It also eliminates the need for multiple cycles a regular blender would need to puree certain soups. While the Immersion Blender is less common in the kitchen its usefulness will surprise you.

Immersion blenders work best with foods that are liquid or have a soft constitution, making it the best option to blend mashed potatoes, pesto, and tomato sauce. The immersion blender is also ideal for helping to improve the consistency of cream cheese (for cheesecake), hummus, and mayonnaise.

The one critique of immersion blenders is that the user must be careful not to use it in shallow bowls or if what needs whipping, blending, or pureed is in small quantities. Why? Well at any time if the immersion blenders blades come out of the material be prepared to wear the food, paint the walls, and laugh at the situation. Deeper bowls will also help with keeping the messes to a minimum. However, it would be a lie to say I have not used the immersion blender as painting tool and my kitchen wall was the canvas.

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Food Processor

KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

KitchenAid 9 Cup Food Processor

Our favorite appliance, what is there you don't want to use a food processor for in your kitchen? Once I learned the power of the food processor nothing was safe from its blades. You can check out our full buyers guide on food processors here. A food processor's blades resemble those of a katana. The diesel machines are perfect for chopping up hard foods that the traditional blender can have trouble chopping. The food processor can easily and efficiently slice nuts, seeds, and other dense foods.

In fact, we can also use a food processor to chop up onions, garlic, peppers, and other vegetables. For cutting meat to shreds, there is no other option which comes close to the food process.

You should not use the food processor for liquids. They are not best suited for handling liquid foods or those containing a loose constitution. While others will say that it's acceptable to use a food processor with these foods, don't get a blender. To puree in a food processor (I have tried multiple times) you will have to run it through the process multiple times. You cannot keep the liquid and the processor running for long as the liquid will seep out the sides, middle, and top. A blender or immersion blender is far more practical in this situation.​

*It is critical to note that you should never use your food process to blend or chop ice. The food processors motor is not as strong as a blenders to motor through the ice. More importantly, the success of your food processor is reliant on razor sharp blades and blending ice will dull your blades fast. Again our note to everyone never put ice into your food processor unless you want to buy some new blades for you precious (Am I the only one that calls my food processor that?).

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