Rupert Friend

Rupert Friend

Test of Body Strength


Clean Your Espresso Maker for Better Espressos

Cleaning your espresso maker on a regular basis is simple, easy, and a way for you to give back to something that truly gives you so much. It is kind of like a spa day for your favorite kitchen appliance. Plus, if you do not clean your espresso maker on a regular basis your espresso will taste yucky.

clean espresso machine

Imagine you spend your hard earned time and money on some high quality fresh whole bean coffee only to run your espresso maker as usual and be rewarded with nothing more than a bitter and flat shot. Your first instinct may be to blame the beans. After all, you have been running shots for months now and got the method down! However, you have bought these beans before and know they are capable of producing truly rich and creamy shots. So what went wrong?

Read: Au Revoir Coffee

Most likely, the quality of your beans was tainted by impurities in your espresso maker. Coffee beans are filled with oils that when left to run through a clean espresso maker they add body and flavor to your shot of espresso. Overtime, these oils are bound to stick to the inside of your espresso maker. They emulsify and hold on tight to your water screen, filter basket and portafilter. Before you know it, the oils have multiplied and are plugging the holes in your filter basket and stymieing the flow of your portafilter spout.

Read: Could coffee decrease the risk of stroke

Keeping your espresso maker clean is the key to insuring that the natural flavor and texture of your coffee beans are preserved while also insuring all waterways and filters in your espresso maker are free and clear paving the way for an even and balanced extraction. Furthermore, by maintaining and protecting these waterways and filters from blockage and buildup you extend the life of your espresso maker. Not a bad trade off for just a wee bit of work on your part!

Tips and Hacks for Your Kitchen

Store a hand mixer, its beaters and attachments into a basket before tucking away into a cupboard. No more fussing with wrapping cords, digging around for attachments-everything is neatly tucked in the basket. This works for all kinds of small appliances and their attachments (electric knives, food choppers, electric juicers, etc.). (Source: Marilyn Bohn).

Pick the best kitchen knives with these tips.

Consider stashing measuring cups right in the bins along with the sugar, flour, etc. If you have big bins, consider sticking the sifter right in with the flour too. Great trick and no more digging for lost measuring cups!

Use shallow tubs and boxes to contain like items in the refrigerator (idea from Susiej). Just pull out the tub and grab what’s needed (condiments box for relish, etc.). No more digging through the fridge trying to find that elusive jar of mustard!

Keep pouches of dry soup mixes, seasonings, etc., in small bins (empty margarine tubs work great) or baskets…now they’re neat & tidy in one place.

Insert kitchen reference charts and favorite recipes in clear plastic sleeves then hang on the inside of cupboard doors for easy access. They can easily be wiped clean and frequently referenced info will be right at your fingertips.

Pack lids for plastic containers or Tupperware in a clear tub or large ziploc bags so it’s easy to see just where the required lid is…no more rampaging foot loose and fancy free!

Lazy susans are a great tool to store like things together and you’ll know just where to grab what’s needed.

Cup hooks: Affix to the inside of cupboard doors and on pantry walls. Hang things like measuring spoons, large bbq & kitchen utensils (with straps or holes for hanging), trivets, etc.

Here’s a hot tip sent in from Sarah (website that gives a couple new ideas for storing pot lids (you know — those things that get jumbled up and hide in the cupboards). Spring-tension curtain rods! Run them front-to-back in the drawer to make dividers. If drawer is deep enough for the lid to be stored standing up on its edge, buy 1/2? dowling. Cut the length of the inside of drawer, front to back, plus 1/2 inch. Measure the thickness of the lid(s). Add 1/8?. Drill 1/4? deep holes (that are a hair over 1/2? diameter) on the front and back of the drawer. These holes should be the thickness-of-lid-plus-1/8? from the side. Pop dowel into holes. Presto….a lid-holding-rod on the side.

Ziploc bags neatly carry small like-items (like twisty ties, corn cob handles, etc.) then stash all the bags together in a basket or tub.
Utilize the space underneath cupboards by installing a paper towel or plastic wrap holder, knife holders, etc.

Charts or magnets will nicely track food items in the freezer…you’ll be able to keep on top of what should be eaten soon (less to throw out).

A bamboo steamer makes an ideal countertop food container, stash bulbs of garlic, onions, shallots, and other items that don’t require refrigeration and need ventilation. (Source: Martha Stewart).

More at TipNut

Fidgeting Your Way to Fitness

If work is interfering with your plans for a workout today, perhaps you should drum your fingers against your desktop in frustration. Doing so may help, in some small way, to maintain or augment your fitness, at least according to a study published last month in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The study examined the role in physical fitness of “incidental” physical activity, which involves any movements that are not formally exercise. Also called “activities of daily living,” they include walking to the window, bobbing your foot as you sit, pulling weeds in the yard, chopping onions for dinner and similar movements. Once, people accumulated large amounts of this unplanned exertion, since the world contained fewer cars, offices, elevators and takeout options. But levels of incidental physical activity have fallen sharply, and the amount that any one of us completes varies widely, since some people naturally fidget more than others and some have more physically demanding occupations, like nursing or mothering small, caroming children.

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