Cook Healthier With These Oils

oilIf you want to live a healthy life, then you should pay attention to the oil you use for cooking. Have you ever thought about the effect the oils you use on your food have on your general health? Using saturated animal fat and other types of highly refined oils is a major cause of obesity and increased cholesterol. Some of the healthiest oils you can use for cooking are:

Extra Virgin Coconut oil (EVCO)

This oil is rich in fatty acids (lauric acid) which helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Research also indicates that coconut oil increases metabolism, and can help you lose weight if used in the right proportions.
Another reason why you should consider using EVCO is the fact that it has a long shelf life. It can take several months or even up to two years without going rancid.
Since it can sustain high heat cooking, you can use it effectively in diverse recipes. It adds flavor to foods, especially baked products.

Ghee

Also known as clarified butter, ghee comes with a lot of health benefits. It is rich in vitamin A, D and K and it also has traces of calcium and other minerals. Ghee is made by removing milk solids, so if you have lactose intolerance, you can still use it. You will have to consult with your doctor though to confirm if it is safe for you to take it.

It is one of the oils with the highest heating points, and some people find the aroma in ghee very pleasing, especially on vegetable dishes.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that protect your body against diseases caused by free radicals. It promotes a healthy heart by introducing good cholesterol in your system and lowering bad cholesterol. Some people suffering from arthritis find that when they use olive oil, their joint pains reduce significantly. This can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of this oil.
You should use it mainly for your cold dishes such as salad dressing. This is because olive oil tend to oxidize when exposed to elements such as too much heat and light. However, you can still maintain all the necessary nutrients if you use it on dishes that require low heat.

Palm Oil

This oil is made up of saturated and monounsaturated oils. It is rich in vitamins, Co-enzyme Q10 and other nutrients needed in the body. It has a high heating point, so you can use it for most of your cooking that require high heat.

The best type to of palm oil to use is the unrefined red palm oil because it gives maximum nutrients.
However, there have been controversies surrounding the use of palm oil because growing of palm trees have led to degradation of rain forests and endangered tree species. There are still responsible farmers who grow and harvest their trees responsibly, so you can search and buy from them.

Avocado Oil

It is rich in monounsaturated fats and also provides vitamin E and other nutrients. It also has antioxidants that give a wide range of health benefits. It can withstand high heat, so it is suitable for different cooking methods that need heat. It can also be used effectively in cold dishes.

Sesame Oil

It is derived from the tiny sesame nuts and it contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats. The nutrients found in sesame oil includes:Calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6 and iron. It works well in marinating foods, and in stir fried vegetables. There are two varieties, the light sesame oil which is mostly untoasted, and the dark toasted one that comes in a strong nutty aroma.

This oil can be mildly heated because it has a lower smoking point.

Canola Oil

This is one of the most healthy oils you can use for your cooking. It contains the lowest saturated fats compared to other oils and it is very rich in monounsaturated fats. It is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, and has been linked with reducing heart diseases. It also provides Vitamin A and E in the body.

Due to the fact that it has a neutral flavor and relatively high heating point, it is suitable for most dishes that require oil.

Another reason why you should consider using these oils is the health benefits they have on your hair and skin. Not only are they a good source of nutrients in your food, but you can also apply them topically on your skin and hair for beauty purposes.

Top Running Strollers For 2015

Jogging is a time tested method for getting back into shape after giving birth.  For those active moms (and dads) who find the time to take care of their bodies as well as their kids, getting a jogging stroller is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.  You also get the added aerobic benefit of pushing your young one around, which can enhance your workout by 20% or more.  The kids love it because they get to go on an outside joy ride.  So it really is a win-win for everyone involved.

Luckily, there are several quality options available in 2015 for those looking for a new stroller.  Big wheels that swivel, comfy and cool materials, and advanced safety features ensure that both runner and rider will enjoy the entire experience.

Below are some of the top models being sold which have the highest owner ratings.

BOB Revolution SE

This is a safe pick as it is one of the best selling and best rated jogging stroller on the market.  This unit has an extremely solid track record with parents over the years and it continues to be a very worth pick for anyone in the market for a new stroller.  Light weight, durable, easy to guide, and plenty of storage usually have this as one of the top 10 jogging strollers that you can buy.  It is great for runners who do not want to worry about the safety or comfort of their children.

Baby Jogger X3 Summit

For parents that like to go off-roading, this is a terrific option.  Great suspension and big wheels make this a serious contender for anyone looking to take their jogging stroller outside of the city and off the beaten path.  Very durable and easy to clean materials as well.

Graco Fast Action Jogger

For those that need something that is easy to fold and get out of the car then this is a great option.  Simple design along with versatility make this a hit with parents.  Very easy to move in and out of the car and store away during the winter months.  This jogging stroller gets high marks from parents of small cars as well.  It provides a safe and comfy ride for kids.

Get Out and Jog

Running has always been a quick way to get a healthy workout.  Involving your kids can also be quite a motivating factor as well.  Finding the right equipment can go a long way to providing a family activity that everyone can benefit from and enjoy.  Strollers can be a significant investment, especially those designed to be used a faster pace, but the positive impact that they can provide can definitely make it worth it.

 

 

The Joy of Homemade Ice Cream

ice-cream-machine-reviews-2015One of the great memories that I had when I was a kid was going over to my grandmother’s house and making ice cream…the old fashion way.  Lots of ice and some salt and a lot of churning.  The reward was well worth it, but it sure was quite a bit of work.  Luckily, today it is a lot easier to get the same great tasting results in the comfort of your own home.  It can be as simple as mixing the ingredients and hitting a button.  Sure today’s youth have it a lot easier, but guess what, so do today’s elderly.

I look back at some of the things I used to do as a child and how much work went into it and constantly shake my head.  This is especially true with making ice cream.  Today’s ice cream makers would seem like a gift sent from an alien planet to my grandmother, but I am sure that she would adapt pretty quickly.  So if you are in the market for a capable machine to make your own frozen desserts, then the list below should be of some help.

Top 3 Ice Cream Machines for 2015

We love making our own ice cream so much that we have put together our own list of the top units, including the one that we use ourselves.

Breville BCI600XL Smart Scoop

Yes, I splurged as this is not a cheap or budget friendly ice cream maker, but it sure is pretty awesome.  The LCD display is something that you will not see on other machines, and it is pretty useful and modern looking.  It gives all the setting information and it looks pretty cool.  We own a few Breville appliances, they have all have been excellent machines, including this one.  We have made tons of ice cream, and since this unit has its own compressor, you do not have to stick the bowl in the freezer for hours for it to work properly.

We have used this particular model for about 2 years and it has given us nothing but joy, and terrific tasting ice cream.  It is usally among the top rated machines in various ice cream maker reviews online with extremely high customer feedback.

Cuisinart ICE-100 Ice Cream Machine

Okay, so this is another expensive model, but we have used this one on a couple of occasions and we were very impressed with its capacity and simplicity.  This ice cream maker also has its own compressor which makes it super convenient, especially for those that don’t like to plan ahead and do things on the fly.  It is versatile and can make other types of frozen treats, such as gelato or frozen yogurt for those that like to experiment.

Cuisinart ICE-21

Finally, an inexpensive model that performs rather well.  We have had a batch of ice cream made in this machine and it was very tasty.  Cheap and easy is how the owner of this ice cream maker described it.  Anyone looking to get their first machine without investing a lot up front should consider this model.

Bring Back the Memories

If some of your best childhood memories of your family involve making ice cream, then why not pass that tradition along.  Nothing is more rewarding or fun that to sit down with the grandkids and watch their faces light up as they help make dessert for everyone.  Making new memories, and ones that they might some day look back on with the same fondness that you do, can be a rather priceless feeling.  Buying an ice cream maker has been a worthy endeavour for our family, maybe it can be the same for yours.

Want to see the Breville ice cream maker in action?  Check out this video below to see exactly how it works and what it has to offer.

Best Juicers In 2015

top juicers on the market

If you are looking for a simple and easy way to make a huge positive impact on the way you feel, the amount of energy you have, and your overall health, then getting a juicer is something that you should be considering.  Why spend endless amounts of money on vitamin supplements that are not easily absorbed, when you could be powering up on nature’s own vitamin and mineral resources.  If you want to start of 2015 doing something for yourself that can have long lasting benefits, then take the leap and get your kitchen a juicing machine.

To help you down the path to improve your health, we have put together a list of some of the top juicers currently on the market.  Finding the best juicer is just the first step, but it is also the most important one.  Whether you choose a masticating juicer or a centrifugal machine, just getting something to help you juice fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will be better than nothing.  So let’s take a lot at some of the top rated juicing models available.

Breville Juicers

Breville makes some of the best selling and top owner rated juicing machines that you can buy.  Nearly all of their centrifugal juicers are excellent performers and they are a terrific option for anyone who needs a fast machine.  You cannot go wrong buying a Breville juicer, and their reviews bear that out.

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite

This is one of their flagship juicers and it is their top rated model with users.  It features and all stainless steel design, with stainless steel cutting discs, and it has one powerful motor.

  • Fast
  • Loud
  • Powerful Motor
  • Easy to Clean
  • Easy to Use
  • Excellent Customer Ratings
  • Pricey

Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus

Similar to the model above, this juicer is also a great choice for anyone wanting to get into juicing for the first time  as it is about half of the price of the Juice Fountain Elite.

  • Fast
  • Easy to Clean
  • Simple to Use
  • Best Seller
  • More Affordable
  • Loud

Breville BJE200XL Juice Fountain Compact

This is their best bargain juicer and perfect for anyone on a tight budget.  It has a shorter, more compact design.  It also has just one speed which devours anything that you want to juice.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Compact
  • High Speed
  • Fast
  • Loud
  • Not Good With Leafy Vegetables

Omega Juicers

Omega makes some of the highest rated masticating juicers on the market.  They are slower than Breville models, but this helps them be a lot more quiet as well as more efficient.  They are great at juicing leafy vegetables and they get more juice out of a wide range of fruits and veggies with a better quality juice.  You also can’t go wrong with an Omega juicer since they provide some of the most extensive warranties available of any juicer manufacturer.

Omega 8006 Nutrition Center

This is not a new juicer, but it still continues to be one of their most popular models.  Very good choice for someone that has a few extra minutes to juice and wants to get the best quality.

  • Great for Leafy Veggies
  • High Juice Yield
  • Quality Juice
  • Very Quiet
  • Slower

Omega NC800HDS Nutrition Center

This is one of their newer models that has a few things that 8006 does not.  Most notably, it comes with a larger feed chute.  You can throw bigger sized foods into the juicer and not waste time slicing them up into smaller bits.  Very high quality machine.

  • Wide Feed Chute
  • Higher Juice Yield
  • 15 Year Warranty
  • Great For Leafy Vegetables
  • Very Quiet
  • Slower

Omega VSJ843 Series Upright Juicers

Omega also makes some of the best vertical style masticating juicers.  The Omega VSJ843R and VSJ843Q are great space savers and take up very little room in the kitchen.  They do tend to clog at times with harder vegetables, which should be cut up into smaller sized bits.

  • Space Saving Design
  • Extremely Silent
  • Good For Leafy Foods
  • Expensive
  • More Prone To Jamming

Other Juicers

Omega and Breville are two of the top juicing machine makers, but there are other great options out there as well.  Kuvings, Tribest and Hurom are also very capable juicer options.  Getting a juicer that is right for you may take a little time as they all have their advantages and disadvantages.  But once you find one that fits your needs you can then begin to unlock the goodness of fruits and vegetables in your own kitchen.  Start 2015 off on the right foot, get yourself a juicer.

Compliment Your Baked Goods With Ethiopian Coffee

 

ethiopian-coffee-2

Few things taste better than baking up that perfect pastry or an after dinner piece of pie along with a fresh brewed cup of coffee.  Choosing the right kind of coffee bean is just as important as choosing the freshest ingredients for your baking recipes.  Here, we will examine why Ethiopia has some of the highest quality coffee exports and why if you haven’t tried it already you should treat yourself to this wonderfully flavored delight.

History

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Coffea arabica, which is the most popular coffee species in the world, originated from Ethiopia. It is believed that a goat herder, by the name Kaldi, discovered coffee at the beginning of the 9th century. After his goats ate red berries from some wild shrubs in a bush, he noticed the energizing effect they had on his flock, and he decided to taste some himself, and he enjoyed them. Since then, people have been growing and drinking coffee in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. In fact, the drink has become an integral part of the Ethiopian culture and society, such that an elaborate ceremony is held regularly, just to drink coffee. In addition, it is the only country in the world where the locals consume over fifty percent of its total coffee production.

Main Types of Ethiopian Coffee Beans And Their Flavors

Ethiopian coffee is one of the most unique and sought-after coffees in the world, thanks to the rich array of varieties and flavors available. From rich red wine, to spicy, to chocolate tones, Ethiopia coffee has the best range of flavors one can ever ask for. The diverse tastes are attributed to the different climatic conditions of the growing regions.

There are two varieties of Ethiopian coffee: wet-processed and dry-processed varieties. The wet-processed beans are washed, and have light body and less wild tastes. They include Sidamo, Limu and Ghimbi among others. The dry-processed beans, on the other hand, are sun-dried, and have a rich earthy flavor with full body. Examples include, Harrar, Koratie etc. Here’s an in-depth look into different types of Ethiopian coffee beans and their flavors.

Ethiopian Harrar Coffee

This type of coffee is of the Arabica species, and is grown on small farms in Harrar region, in the Eastern part of the country. It is one of the oldest wild varieties used to make coffee to date. Ethiopian Harrar is known for its full body, dry edge, medium acidity and unique wine flavor. The beans, which are of medium size, have a distinctive greenish-yellow color. They are dry-processed, meaning that they are left to dry naturally in the sun, usually on tables and patios. The sorting and processing is done entirely by skillful manual laborers.

There are three categories of Ethiopian Harrar: longberry, shortberry, and mocha. The longberry variety, which is the most popular, has the largest beans, and is known for its slightly acidic, wine-like flavor. The shortberry variety are smaller in size than the longberry beans. The mocha, or mocca variety, command very high prices due to its pearberry beans. Rather the normal 2 beans per coffee cherry, mocha harrar has only one bean per cherry.

The best Harrar coffee beans have heavy body and rich aroma, with strong, dry, winy to fruity flavor. It is also not unusual to observe an intense aroma of blackberries or blueberries in this type of coffee.

Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee

Ethiopian Sidamo grows exclusively in Sidamo, in the southern part of the country. It has two varieties: washed and natural (sun-dried) coffee types. In addition, it has medium beans and greenish-grayish color. It is especially appreciated for its low-acidity, and deep, sweet flavor. A good Sidamo coffee usually has well-balanced tones of chocolate, wine and citrus.

Examples of Ethiopian Sidamo include Yirgachefe and Guji coffee varieties. The Yirgachefe coffee, which is the most favored of the two, is wet-processed (washed), and has a mild, fruity and aromatic taste.

Ethiopian Limu Coffee

Ethiopian Limu is a high quality coffee that grows in the Southwestern and South-central parts of Ethiopia. It has medium sized beans with unique roundish shape, and greenish color. Limu, which is wet-processed, has a noticeable sweet, winy and spicy flavor, with well balanced acidity and body. Because of this, it is sought after by numerous roasters around the world.
Ethiopian Ghimbi Coffee

This type of coffee is produced from the Western part of Ethiopia. It is distinguished by its sharp acidity, longer lasting body than Harrar coffee, as well as complex flavors and aromas. It is wet-processed, just like Sidamo and Limu.

Overall, Ethiopian coffee remains one of the best coffee varieties in the world. With a wide array of flavors to try, you’ll never run out of options. If you find yourself in Ethiopia, make an effort to take part in their coffee ceremony, to enjoy coffee like an Ethiopian.