Apr 282015
 

Kobalt Battery Powered Leaf BlowerThe Kobalt Battery Powered Leaf Blower is the third in a series of cordless lawn and garden tools I've bought from Kobalt. Last year, I bought the Kobalt Battery Powered Mower and have been pleased with both its performance and reliability thus far. Next, I purchased the Kobalt Battery Powered Hedge Trimmer. So far, I have been impressed with this light weight chain-saw substitute, but I have not had enough experience with it to complete a review. I hope to give the hedge trimmer some use in the next few days and will review it soon, so check back soon. One thing all of these cordless tools from Kobalt have in common is that you can buy them from here: Lowes Sells Kobalt Tools. Now, back to the Kobalt leaf blower. Before, I get into the specifics of this product, let me do something I rarely do and give you a quick run-down on the pros and cons of the Kobalt battery powered leaf blower:

Pros and Cons of the Kobalt Battery Powered Leaf Blower

Pros

  • Convenient - no cords. Quick charge.
  • Affordable for a lithium ion re-chargeable tool.
  • Light Weight and small for portable, easy storage.
  • Easy to Handle - nice ergonomics.

Cons

  • Weaker air flow  than with other corded and gas blowers - Only good for grass blades, leafs and other light-weight, dry debris.
  • Kobalt forces you to buy both the battery and charger whether you need them or not. With my hedge trimmer and mower, I have more than I can use.

Do the Cons outweigh the Pros?

Continue reading »

Mar 152015
 

iCoffee Opus ReviewAs you have probably noticed from my dozens of coffee-maker reviews, coffee brewers are a bit of a habit with me. I've tried percolators, drip makers, thermal carafe brew stations, grinder-drip makers, various single-cup Keurig machines, Tassimo single cup brewers, and French Presses.  The latest addition to my coffee maker addiction is a new and improved, off-brand version of the most popular, single-cup, K-Cup brewer, the iCoffee Opus. While there are a few other off-brand, K-Cup brewers, the iCoffee Opus utilizes a unique technology not found in other coffee makers.

What's Different about the iCoffee Opus?

SpinBrew Technology

Have you ever wondered if you're getting the full flavor of your cup of coffee as you watch the hot water pour consistently right through the center of the K-Cup? I have not only wondered about this, but have noticed that the coffee from my Keurig is often inconsistent from one cup to the next. My typical 8 ounce serving will taste really good sometimes, but too weak at other times. I've noticed regardless of what brand of coffee I am using. I often wondered how carefully the coffee manufacturers are about measuring the actual contents of coffee that goes into each cup. Or, it could simply be that the brewer itself does not do a consistent job of extracting the complete flavor of the grinds in the k-cup each time?  Either way, the the iCoffee Opus aims to solve this problem by adding an extra operation to the brew function. The iCoffee Opus utilizes a unique brewing technology. The little rod which punctures the hole inside of the k-cup remains inside of the pod and continuously spins inside of it as hot water is being poured through. The idea behinds this is that the water is being dispersed more evenly among the grounds, resulting in a bolder, smoother tasting cup of coffee. According to the iCoffee manufacturer, the grounded coffee beans in traditional k-cup brewers are being over-extracted, resulting in a bitter taste. Personally, I have not been too terribly troubled with bitter tasting k-cup coffee, only disappointed in the inconsistency of strength from cup to cup. In theory, the SpinBrew concept makes good sense. The needle sprays water out the sides, while it is spinning in circles, ensuring that all of the coffee is being evenly saturated throughout the k-cup pod. As we all know, however, not everything in theory turns out as well in reality. Before I get into the actual results and how good iCoffee coffee really tastes, I would like to emphasize one other important advantage of the Opus Coffee Maker..

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:18 am
Dec 272014
 

What is a Bunion?

Hallux Valgus RemediesHallux Valgus is a painful condition that can both quite literally and figuratively knock you right off your feet. The more common term for hallux valgus is a bunion, or a visible bump on the side of the big toe caused by a bone structure problem. Bunions can cause your big toe to lean towards the second toe rather than pointing straight forward. Basically, the bunion or visible bump is the result of a bone-alignment problem which is more than likely caused by doing lots of walking in improper shoes. The more you walk on your feet this way, the more likely you are to aggravate the problem and require surgery. I had this visible bump on the right side of my toe for two years, before finally discovering what it was. The reason I didn't ever suspect I had bunions was because I've associated the pain and swelling with infrequent gout attacks and/or a fractured toe. I've had both of these ailments in the recent past. Now, having experienced all three of these foot problems, I feel pretty well qualified to describe the differences between all of them. I also believe I know how to deal with the problem of bunions in such a way to prevent the need for hallux valgus surgery which I will explain later.

The Difference Between Gout and Bunions

Gout attacks come on rather suddenly, but also heal rather quickly with an anti-inflammatory pain medication such as Indomethacin. I would rate the pain of bunions as a close second to a gout attack. The pain is not quite as severe, but unlike a gout attack, it takes my feet several weeks to heal. With gout, the pain for me can be just as excruciating whether I am on my feet or lying down. Bunions can be excruciatingly painful, but I am usually able to manage the pain a little better by simply resting my feet. Staying off my feet as much as possible is the only way to help the bunions heal. Gout pain tends to be more in the joint of the big toe. With my last bunion flare-up, the pain covered the upper and lower side of the big toe and even affected the bottom of my foot.  Bunions can also cause some very uncomfortable throbbing at night and make it difficult to sleep. Getting out of bed can be a traumatic experience, but overall, the pain is far more manageable than the worst stages of a gout attack which is constant, excruciating pain and extremely sensitive to the mere, light touch of a bed sheet.

Recognizing the Difference Between Bunions and a Fractured Toe

I couldn't have possibly been given a more confusing set of coincidences when it comes to understanding problems with my foot. I've had gout, a fractured toe, and a bunion all on my right toe within a time-frame of three years, or at least the latter two. When I first fractured my toe, I felt swelling and throbbing on my 2nd toe, rather than the big toe. I finally went into have the doctor look at it. She shook her head and told me that the swelling didn't look like gout. She was absolutely right. X-Rays proved that I had a fractured toe. The degree of pain was similar to my most recent bunion flare-up. The only difference is that the swelling and pain was pretty much limited to the surrounding toe where-as the bunion pain covered a much wider area around the affected bone. The last time I felt pain in the area of my toe, I was uncertain if I was on the verge of having a rare gout attack or if my previously fractured toe was causing me some problems. By a stroke of good fortune, my mother happened to be visiting us that day and I decided to show her my foot. She immediately recognized the bump as a bunion. I looked up the condition online and found several pictures which looked exactly like mine. Then, just when I thought my right foot was beginning to heal, I felt some pain on the bottom of my left big toe. Two days later, I recognized the visible bump on the side of my left toe. The one thing I didn't do was go limping into my doctor's office. From what I've read about bunions, there is not much a doctor can do other than prescribe prescription-strength pain killers or recommend surgery. I knew I had a bunion problem, but what would I do about it? I spent the better part of six weeks learning about my ailment and tried to avoid using my feet as much as possible (not an easy task in my line of work). I am one to avoid doctors and surgeries at all cost, so I decided to do my own research and remedies on Hallux Valgus: Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:05 pm
Jul 302014
 

VeggettiI never dreamed that veggie pasta would become one of my most desired food staples on the dinner table. The Veggetti will turn just about any reasonably sized squash or zucchini into a pasta dish in a couple of minutes or less. We've all probably seen spaghetti squash dishes used as pasta substitutes in the past. The Veggetti, though, which uses the narrower zucchini gives you a better taste and two different sized textures of vegetable pasta.  Unlike squash, the flavor won't over-power your sauce, and the texture is just as firm as your favorite brand of al dente spaghetti. Some of you are probably asking why anyone would prefer veggie spaghetti over good ol' regular pasta.

The answer is, carbs and gluten. Doctors and nutritionists are proving that our food pyramid has been deliberately and wrongly turned upside down for the last several years. Our bodies were meant to eat a diet with less carbs and richer in saturated fats and cholesterol. Books and blogs such as Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are changing the way we view carbohydrates in our diets. Furthermore, a higher number of people seem to be suffering from wheat or gluten intolerance these days, and Celiac disease is on the rise. Why wheat has suddenly become suspect in all of this is still Uncooked Veggie Pasta being debated. It could be that our bodies were never designed for grains, or it could have something to do with the way wheat and grains have been genetically modified. It is not the intention of my article to elaborate on this topic; there are plenty of other websites and books that go into that. One thing I do know for sure is that I have never enjoyed packaged spaghetti pasta as much as I used to since they started removing the eggs due to the phony cholesterol fear. My mother always had our favorite brand in the cupboards: R&F Egg Vermicelli. The eggs gave the pasta texture which as I will explain, is the most important characteristic of pasta. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jul 282014
 


Ninja Express ChopThe Ninja Express Chop is one of the most useful, electric kitchen appliances we've ever bought for our home. My wife actually bought this for me, but so far has has used it everyday, herself, for chopping vegetables and fruits. I spend a great deal of time hand-beating, scrambled eggs in the morning. I like to create as small a mess as possible, so I normally use a large glass and a fork or serrated knife to mix the eggs. This takes time and is hard on the right shoulder that I injured a few months ago. While the Ninja makes quick, easy, mess-free work out of eggs, this amazing express chopper does so much more. During the summer months, when we have an abundance of garden vegetables, peppers and fruits littering our kitchen counters, the Ninja Express Chop is practically begging to be used on a daily basis. The Ninja is actually a review I am excited to talk about and review in-depth. Below, you will find a detailed overview on the Uses, Operation, Performance, Convenience, pros and cons, and final conclusions on the Ninja chopping appliance. Also, I have included a real-life demonstration of the Ninja Express Chop in use. Enjoy the review and please leave me your comments.

Ninja Express Chop

Uses

Ninja-Chopper-UsesThe opportunities to effortlessly chop food things up are endless: Salsa, Pico De Gallo, fruit smoothies, coffee beans, nuts, beans, herbs, spices, sauces, gravies, eggs, and every other type of food known to man. My wife, who tends the garden and cares for the vegetables was using the Ninja far more frequently than me. Once I got my hands on it, though, it became a regular part of my routine for making omelettes.  A lot of times I didn't get as creative and healthy with omelettes as I should have, simply because I didn't want to go through the trouble of chopping things up. Now, the Ninja chopper sits on my counter and practically dares me to look for some peppers, onions and other vegetables to chop up and add to my eggs in the morning. It wasn't til I actually experienced the Ninja that I fully appreciated the way it works.  Continue reading »

 Posted by at 1:36 pm