Veggetti Veggie Pasta

Veggetti Pasta Maker
– a Review
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.

How do you rate the Veggetti? 

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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.

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Ninja Express Chop

Ninja Express after Three Years

Product Update

After a little over three years of use the Ninja Express chopper continues to be the biggest blessing in our kitchen. I have used it countless times to blend eggs, mince vegetables, and various other tasks. The machine continues to operate flawlessly with no visible signs of wear and tear on the blades. The inside of the plastic container did get a little nicked up from when we put some really hard nuts in it, but other than marring the appearance a bit, it hasn’t affected the operation and performance of the chopper. The ninja express chopper is by far the most valuable and inexpensive kitchen tool I’ve ever purchased.

 

Ninja Express Chop User Rating:

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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.

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Tasin TS-108 Meat Grinder

Tasin TS 108How do you rate the Tasin TS-108 Meat Grinder: 

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Sometimes I get so excited about a product that I have to review it before I even try it. After some exhaustive research on electric meat grinders, I just ordered the Tasin TS-108.
I am looking forward to this as much as a kid looks forward to a Playstation 3 for Christmas. One of the top reasons I chose this particular electric meat grinder over all the others is that it seemed to the very favorite of those who are actually using it for my very same purpose: Making homemade, raw cat food or dog food. I viewed a very detailed video demonstration of how this meat grinder could be used to make a raw cat food recipe with the same ingredients I wished to use. (You can view this You Tube Video of the TS-108 in action at the bottom of the page). As demonstrated by the video, this electric meat grinder makes quick work of whole cuts of meat and bones. This Tasin meat grinder easily handles and grinds-up the bones in raw meat like turkey, chicken, hen and other poultry products. This is perfect for making a delicious raw food recipe for cats or dogs. Dogs and cats need the nutrients from the bones and skin on raw meet. We tried buying our own raw cat food in a brand called, Rad Cat. This is an excellent product, but shipping, handling and the middle men who bring it to the pet stores make it cost prohibitive  as a long term solution for feeding our two cats. I knew there was a better way, but it would require a high quality electric meat grinder to make it possible. Of all of my research, this is the one that comes out on top for a few reasons:

Benefits of the Tasin TS-108 Electric Meat Grinder

Meat and Bone Grinding Horsepower

The Tasin has a 1200 watts motor. This is 3-times as much as some of the other brands that our selling for under $100 at Walmart, Amazon and other retailers. The meat grinder is built with the quality you’d expect from electric meat grinder. I didn’t want to go with an under-powered, cheap home-style meat grinder. The strong motor is what sold me first on the TS-108 model.

Quality Materials Workmanship and Properties

Unlike other other electric meat grinders, the parts are not all cheap plastic.  The Feed Pans are made from aluminum alloy and the mesh plates and blades are made from sturdy carbon steel. More importantly, the internal gears are made from metal rather than plastic on some of the other electric meat grinders, which will eventually wear out. The body and functions of the Tasin is made from heat-resistant ABs Plastic, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any cheap plastic parts cracking or breaking off.  The TS-108 weights 16 lbs and comes with #12 sized Grinder and a 2.5″ diameter mouth.  Having compared other models, the #12 and 2.5″ diameter mouth seems to be the perfect size for an electric meat grinder.

Features and Accessories

There is not a whole lot of room for bells, whistles and technological gadgetry on an electric meat grinder.  The TS-108 unit is equipped with an on/off switch as well as a reverse setting for un-jamming. One nice little touch  is an internal storage compartment for extra plates and cords.  The TS-108 does come equipped  a kubbe, sausage stuffer and a plunger. I’m not sure what either the kubbe or plunger are, but I will definitely be looking up some sausage recipes.  For the reasonable price of $150, I also got an extra, stainless-steel blade which is reportedly worth $15.00. I did not one small complaint about the Tasin TS-108. The parts are not dishwasher safe, though they advertise the detachable cap, worm and head as hand-washable for easy cleaning.  The motor is CE certified and comes with a circuit breaker to prevent damage to the motor.  The unit comes with a 1 year warranty. I paid $158.00 and some change for the Tasin TS-108 Electric meat grinder. For what I spend on raw cat food, I expect the Tasin TS-108 to pay for itself well within the 1-year warranty. While, the solid construction and features of the Tasin TS-108 seem impressive enough, how does it all operate?

Tasin TS-108 Electric Meat Grinder in Action

Here is an impressive video demonstration of how easily meat and bones are ground up through the Tasin TS-108 Meat grinder.


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Tassimo vs Keurig

Tassimo vs Keurig
Single Cup Brewer

This Tassimo vs Keurig Single Cup Coffee maker showdown is a result of my life-long desire to enjoy the best tasting coffee at home without the muss, fuss, mess and expenses of a fancy Starbucks Type Heavy Duty coffee brewer or without having to drive to a Starbucks and wait in line behind phony coffee drinkers. Haven’t you ever wished you could just make just one 8 ounce cup of really hot, strong coffee at home without having to wait in line behind those sweet-drink fake-o coffee foo-foo snobs ordering their latte with half-and-half and just a splash of this and that with nutmeg and whipped cream, etc, etc? You only want a good, strong hot cup of coffee and you’re willing to pay $1.68 – $2.50 for it, depending on whether or not it’s sized as a Tall, Grande or Vente. Well, would if you could make a cup of coffee just as hot, fresh and strong for 1/3rd the price. Well, this is what Tassimo and Keurig fans claim they can do.

To be honest, I’ve never thought much of single-cup brewers. I used to think, “So, they brew one cup of coffee at a time? What’s the big deal with that? “Well, my recent visit at the Philadelphia Loews Hotel last week changed my mind completely. In our room was a Keurig single cup brewer, with an assortment of Coffees, Teas and Hot Chocolate K-Cups. I’ve heard the constant bickering of the Tassimo vs Keurig debates, but what I didn’t understand was how convenient these single cup brewers are and perfect for a hotel stay.

I’ve never cared for the weak coffee in the hotel Lobbies and I hesitate to use the small, little coffee pots in the rooms which accumulate dirt, dust and coffee ground debris from the other guests. Yet, I need something quick, smooth and strong to get me going in the morning. Upon first inspection of the Keurig, I was impressed with how clean it was. I grabbed one of the K-Cup pods and in a couple of minutes I had a hot cup of reasonably good coffee with absolutely no mess. When my wife used it to make tea, I was concerned that it would taint the flavor of the next cup of coffee I made. Not so! The ingredients inside these single cup brewer pods (known as K-Cups for the Keurig and T-Pads for the Tassimo), are completely self-contained. None of the ingredients come in contact with the actual coffee maker. A tiny hole is punctured through the K-Cup or T-Pad and the beverage goes directly into your cup. It is fast, convenient, tasty and absolutely mess free. I was sold on a Keurig, but what about the Tassimo that I often heard about in these debates?

With thousands of personal reviews and opinions on both Tassimo and Keurig, I thought it would be useful to do an overview – or an ‘over-review- so to speak of all the reviews. While my impression of the Keurig was good, I thought the coffee could be slightly stronger. Having looked up two of the latest models, I narrowed my choice down between to two of the best valued, most reviewed models: The Tassimo Bosch TAS4511UC and the Keurig B60 Special edition. Both machines range in price from $139 – $199. So, which of these Single Cup Brewers provides the most satisfaction? Here are the basic conclusions of Tassimo vs Keurig comparisons among hundreds of users.

Brewer Comparisons

For starters, the Tassimo vs Keurig is a close call and both are excellent single cup brewers with very high marks from users. The Tassimo ranks 4.75 stars among 209 users and the Keurig rates 4 stars among 1,000 users.

Tassimo vs Keurig Opinion Reviews:

    • Flavor: Tassimo
      Both machines make piping hot coffee, but the Tassimo gets a unanimous edge for flavor.
    • Versatility: Tassimo
      The Tassimo is also more versatile in that you can make different types of coffee drinks; Cappuccino, Lattés, etc.
    • Coffee variety: Keurig
      Users of the Keurig seem to have more choices for regular coffee.
    • Technology: Tassimo
      The Tassimo TAS4512 wins the cool-factor due to its barcode technology.
    • Build and Apperance: Tassimo
      Though only a slight edge and matter of opinion, more users seemed impressed with the quality build and appearance of the Tassimo Bosch model.

It’s a close call, but more users preferred the latest Bosch Tassimo vs Keurig B60. I’ll give you my detailed review on the Tassimo T45111UC after I’ve had a chance to use the one I just ordered.

Coffee Selection Between Both Brewers

For regular coffee, Keurig gets the edge here. Since I found such a cheap price on the Keurig Mr Coffee, I couldn’t resist getting one for the office and so now I own both a Tassimo and a Keurig. Being that I’m not so interested in making other things such as Latte’s and Cappuccino’s I’ll have to admit that the Tassimo falls short of the Keurig when it comes to their selection of Cheap K-Cups.

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French Coffee Press Review

French Coffee Press
French Coffee Press

I used to think a French coffee press was just another one of those snobby marketing ideas. As I quite often do, I’ve changed my mind a bit on the Coffee Press method of brewing coffee as I’ll explain in this review. First, a little history about how a French Press Coffee maker ended up in my home: I bought my, 8-Cup Bodum coffee press about 15 years ago when I started drinking Starbucks Coffee. For many years, I didn’t like Starbucks Coffee. In fact, I only drank light roasted coffees. I thought the Starbucks Dark roasted coffees tasted smoky and lacked the richness of lighter roasts. It wasn’t until I actually went into a Starbucks Store and ordered a regular cup of coffee that I got a new found appreciation for their darker, cream tasting roasts. The home coffee makers just don’t do a decent job. One: home coffee brewers don’t make it hot enough. Two, home coffee brewers don’t extract the flavor of the dark coffee grinds. Because the darker grinds are well roasted, the window for unlocking their flavor is extremely critical So, one day about 15 years ago, I asked my Starbucks store representative what kind of coffee maker it would take to get the coffee to taste as good at home as it does the store. They showed me a Bodum French press and I bought it on the spot. Why?

 

What is a French Coffee Press

A French Coffee Press is a bit of a peculiar looking contraption, isn’t it? Some would have you believe it’s a beautiful relic meant to be proudly displayed in your kitchen. I wouldn’t call a French coffee press ugly, but I wouldn’t exactly call it attractive either. At any rate, a coffee press is indeed an interesting looking device. My Bodum coffee press consists of an 8-Cup glass carafe with a plastic base. The lid has an 8” metal rod going through it, with a mesh-metal filter attached to the bottom. A spring-type mechanism wraps around the circumference of the mesh filter and is designed to push the grinds down and keep them out of your coffee when you press it. So, how do you use a one?

How to Use a Coffee Press

Using a French coffee press is a far more simple process than the looks of this contraption would have you believe. I actually enjoy using mine, but it does require a couple of little extra steps to prepare. The first thing I do is grind the coffee. Because a press uses no paper filter, it is important not to grind the coffee too fine. In fact, the coffee grinds can be quite coarse and still get a good roasted flavor. I usually turn my coffee grinder on for no more than about 10 seconds. I also like to use more coffee than I would with a traditional coffee maker. It’s up to you how strong you like your coffee. Dump the coffee grinds into your French coffee press carafe and some water either on the stove or with a microwave proof container. Since my own French Press holds 8 cups, I usually boil 2-8 cups of water, depending on how much coffee I want to make. Then, while the boiling water is piping hot, pour it into the carafe over the coffee grinds. Gently put the lid on without pushing the rod down. Allow the coffee to steep for about 3-5 minutes then slowly press the rod down to the bottom of the carafe. The Coffee is now ready to pour. When prepared with my Bodum, the coffee is hotter and more flavorful than with the Cuisinart Coffee/Grinder and several of the other coffee makers I own, including the old-fashioned percolator! And I like the idea that the French coffee press is so old-fashioned that it’s simple to use and clean. Just dump the grinds into the sink and wash the carafe and parts and set them in the sink basket to dry.

Cons of the French Press

If a coffee press is so simple to use then you’re probably asking why I would ever use anything else. There are actually three reasons: One: My Bodum Press simply doesn’t make enough coffee for an entire family. Two: The coffee doesn’t stay hot very long as there is no heating element on the bottom. Three: You will have some fine coffee grinds sediments in your cup. I don’t mind this, but others might. The coffee press has its place among my other coffee makers and I use it when I want just one or two cups of the fullest bodied coffee I can get my hands on at home.

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