Showdown! Gas vs Electric!

gas-vs-elec

You might not want to think about heating up an oven right now with the temperatures outside, but if you’re apartment hunting the kitchen might be a top priority on your list! Do you do a lot of cooking? If so, there’s also a chance you have a preference between gas power or electric power for your style of cooking. I know I have a preference, but we’ll get to that momentarily. It’s possible that you like what you grew up with because you’re used to it. Or maybe your preference deals more with your cooking style. Either way, most people who use their kitchens for things other than toaster pastries prefer one over the other!

If you don’t already have a preference, here are some things you might want to know about both:

Electric Ovens

The electric oven variety is powered by a big electric coil on its underside. This coil heats up pretty darn evenly throughout the stove, which makes them a favorite for bakers. Electric ovens also change temperature slowly and emit a dry heat, which equals golden toasty baked goods. Something to keep in mind is that you may want to preheat longer than in a gas stove since the temperature takes longer to change, even if the sensor says it’s preheated. Another great way to keep the temperature under control is by using an over thermometer.

If you’re more into frying food, you may want to skip ahead to the gas oven section. Electric ovens are not ideal in my opinion when it comes to cooking in a skillet. I come from experience on this one – pretty sure “skillet” is my middle name (fried chicken, fried okra, fried potatoes, stir fry…you get the idea). The problem is the heat is not as easily manipulated through electric coils on top of the stove as it is with a gas powered flame. That slow heating and cooling that’s great for baking is not as impressive when you need to make a quick change to the food in your frying pan.

Gas Ovens

Gas ovens are powered by, you guessed it, gas which is ignited and burns to heat the oven compartment. They heat up quickly and work efficiently. However, the heat is less even and is more humid, which makes them slightly less ideal for baking. Thankfully gas ovens are being improved on and if your model is relatively new it may be nearly as good as the electric one.

Things may cook more quickly in a gas powered oven, so beware of dark baking dishes which might promote burning or overly-crisped edges!

As I mentioned before, though, gas stoves are a dream when it comes to frying. I love the amount of control available with a gas powered burner! So depending on your cooking style, you can find your ideal stove to look for!

How Do You Do Coffee in Your Apartment?

coffee

Are you a coffee drinker? Folgers lover or shameless coffee snob? Either way, it’s totally cool. Most of us are helplessly addicted to caffeine at this point in our lives, and some of us actually just plain love coffee. The aroma of brewing coffee alone almost provides a little bit of a pick-me-up.

How do you make coffee in your apartment? There are so many different ways to brew a cup of coffee without a bulky coffee maker and achieve great tasting results. With limited space and limited funds, I’m partial to these:

The Pour Over

pour over

Pour overs are great because they require no equipment other than a simple cone pour over dripper which you can find in most home goods stores. If you want to grind your own coffee beans (which is recommended to keep the coffee’s freshness in tact), you will also need a coffee grinder. Other than that, keep the right size coffee filter around and if you have a way of boiling water, you have coffee. So beautifully simple!

How to do a pour over

The Moka

moka

A Moka is an Italian stovetop coffee maker which, with beans ground correctly, produces an espresso style coffee. Mokas are also great for making Cuban style coffee (a sweetened espresso drink). They are good for making small amounts of espresso style coffee relatively quickly, and inexpensively.

(image credit: dearcoffeeiloveyou.com)

How to make coffee with a Moka

The French Press

french press

Easy to use and adorable, the french press makes a quick cup of coffee. If you like your coffee thicker and stronger tasting, this is the method for you. Since the grounds are in contact with the water for a longer period of time, a french pressed cup of coffee is full of flavor.

How to make coffee with a french press

How do you do your morning joe?

(title image credit: chavacoffee.tumblr.com)

How to Spend Less on Your Groceries

groceruy

Grocery bills add up quickly, unfortunately especially so when you are trying your best to eat a healthy diet. Don’t let the grocery store get you down – keep these things in mind when shopping to help save big bucks.

Don’t Buy Something Just Because You Have a Coupon – Coupons can be great for products you know you’ll use, but if it’s something that is less important to you and you’re not sure about, skip the coupon.

Price per Ounce – Most grocery stores will list the price per ounce on the shelf label below a product. This is the best way to compare prices between competing brands. Often food items are packaged in different sized containers, so this gives products a level playing field to compare on.

Know When to Buy Organic – It is important to buy produce which is not covered in harmful pesticides, but some fruits and veggies are cleaner than others. The ones you have to worry about the most are: sweet bell peppers, apples, celery, strawberries, spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grapes, nectarines, hot peppers, peaches, and potatoes. It’s less of a risk to buy the non-organic version of the other fruits and vegetables, which saves you some money.

Buy in Bulk – I don’t mean go to Sam’s Club and buy 24 steaks at a time, but what I mean is use the bulk bins in grocery stores for things like grains, loose tea, spices, and pasta. These are almost always cheaper ways to get the same things that come in a box and you can take and reuse your own containers most places.

Buy a Few Extra When the Price is Right – If it will keep and not go bad, buy when the buying’s good.

 

(image credit: fifties-sixties-everyday-life.tumblr.com)

A chocolaty gluten-free treat

Whether you suffer from a wheat allergy or you just want less gluten in your diet, the words “gluten free” have become pretty prevalent in today’s media. However, wheat-less does not have to mean tasteless. If you are a lover of chocolate you will love this insanely rich chocolate dessert that has all the perks of a decadent chocolate cake, without the flour! Most of the ingredients are already in your home like eggs, butter, and sugar with a just a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up chocolate chips and espresso powder. Make this sweet treat as a guilty pleasure all to yourself or invite friends over for a baking bonding session right out of your wildest chocolaty dreams! Check the full recipe!

 

Homemade apple fritters

Crisp, sweet, and delicious… who doesn’t love an apple fritter? Now, you don’t have to wait to go to a restaurant to have this sweet treat because with the recipe in the link below, you can make scrumptious apple fritters from the comfort of your own home. With everyday ingredients like nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, flour, and of course, apples, you can have a plate of warm, yummy fritters ready for the next Sunday brunch. Go on and get to the kitchen!

http://rincon-cocina.blogspot.ie/2014/01/homemade-apple-fritters.html

The best quiche you’ll ever make

Breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day and it pretty much sets the tone for how the rest of your day will go. Therefore, it might as well be filling and delicious! Quiches are the fun of a dessert pie, with the flexibility of being a breakfast, lunch, or dinner item depending on what you put in it. This quiche recipe will be the best breakfast quiche you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating and is super easy to make right in your own kitchen. It only requires a few basic ingredients like eggs, cheese, bacon, and pie crust, but you can replace or add your own ingredients to give it your own flavor. Check out the link below to get the recipe to make this for your next breakfast or even better yet, for the next at home brunch with the girls!

http://howtothisandthat.com/easiest-quiche-recipe-ever-plus-4-variations/

Sweet cornbread recipe

With Thanksgiving right around the corner,  you are probably already looking for some tasty recipes to make for that special meal.  One staple food on every table during Thanksgiving is cornbread and what better way to make cornbread even tastier than by mixing it with cake mix!  All you have to do buy Betty Crocker cornbread mix and Betty Crocker yellow cake mix, make them both, then combine the 2 mixtures and pop it in the oven,  super easy, and so delicious!  Not only can you enjoy this sweet treat during Thanksgiving, you can have it for Christmas and even with your New Year’s Eve meal.  Cornbread with a pinch of sweetness, a perfect addition to the dinner table this holiday season!

http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/cake-mix-cornbread/e6bea189-70d3-4ad8-a4f6-837046bd2402

Teas to calm your nerves

With the holiday season coming up, you may be getting a sense of anxiety over the idea of planning that huge Thanksgiving dinner and getting all the right presents for your loved ones this Christmas.  A big mug of soothing tea may be just the trick after a long day of sending out Thanksgiving invites and holiday shopping. There are several teas that have been shown to naturally calm you that you may want to try out to get that perfect night of rest.

Kava tea

Kava is a natural, herbal tea that is very well researched and proven to fight anxiety and induce a sense of calm over you.  However, kava teas brought in your regular grocery stores will not be strong enough to combat anxiety, so check out any tea shops around you to see if they sell pure kava herbal tea.  Be sure to combine the tea with something that has fat in it, like milk and also do not drink kava if you have liver problems.

 Passionflower tea

Passionflower tea is like kava, but not nearly as strong.  It is shown to be very relaxing when taken in the right dose. However, since “dosing” is not quite well known, it is unsure if store bought teas will be potent enough.  Therefore, buy passionflower extract and put in a few drops in some warm water. Start with small amounts to see what works best with you.

Valerian root tea

Valerian root tea is not designed specially for anxiety, but it is very well known for the calming effect it has.  Since it can be pretty potent, drink it with caution and for your first time, try it at night before bed to see just how fast it makes you sleepy.

http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/healing-tea

Baking up some holiday spirit

Halloween is right around the corner and the same way you can decorate your home with some holiday spirit, you can also decorate your mouth and tummy by baking up some Halloween themed sweet treats.  In the link below is a cookie recipe that will have you screaming for joy with how cute (and delicious) these cookies are!  You can bake delicious chocolate peanut butter spider cookies with a basic peanut butter cookie recipe, Lindt chocolate balls, chocolate icing and candy eyes.  Make them for friends, have them at a Halloween party, and even make a batch just for you. No matter what, these cookies will be fun to make and fun to eat!

http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2014/10/chocolate-peanut-butter-spider-cookies.html

July 4th Treats

Happy 4th of July!  After you and your family have had a delicious BBQ, here is a delicious sweet treat to nibble on while you sit around to watch fireworks. All you’ll need is:

-Pretzel squares

-White chocolate candy melts

-Blue sprinkles

-Red M&Ms

All you need to do is arrange the pretzels on a cooking sheet and put one candy melt in the center of each pretzel. Put the cooking sheet in the oven at 185 degrees to let the chocolate melt just a bit (about 4-5 minute should be good) then remove them, add on the sprinkles and top it off with a red M&M right in the center. In just a few minutes, you have a homemade delicious sweet and salty treat that everyone in the family can enjoy! Have a happy fourth of July!