What paring knife set would you buy if you were given $200?

Time for a little hypothetical question – imagine you were walking by a culinary store and running out the doors came the owner of the shop. He races up to you and says – ‘it’s your lucky day – I’m going to give you anything in my store up to the value of $200!

You’ve got an hour to choose what you want, it has to be a best paring knives, knife accessories, or some other kind of culinary product that you’d find in any normal culinary store – what would you get?

You can get as many products as you like as long as they total $200 or less.

Lets use the prices at Amazon’s home & kitchen shop as a guide (they have most things) but don’t get too caught up in the details – really I’m asking what knives you’re currently looking for!

Founded in 2015, TheKnivester is the web’s best resource for information and reviews on all sorts of knives. It specializes in providing in depth analytical content that will help you make the best decision possible when purchasing your next knife. Continue reading What paring knife set would you buy if you were given $200?

What You Need to Know When Buying a Pellet Stove

With the recent increases in oil and gas costs, a wood (or dual fuel) pellet stove and/or fireplace insert is a good alternative source of heating for your home. However, as with any wood stove or fireplace purchase, there are several things you need to consider that will help you choose the best pellet stove.

Installing the Pellet Stove

Especially if you’re not a professional, ask your authorized pellet-stove dealer to help install your stove. They can assist in confirming the best place to install the heating unit, as well as tell you which accessories you’ll need and how it will be connected. Discuss possibilities and preferences for your home and bring indoor/outdoor pictures to ensure a trouble-free installation. You can also arrange a home visit with the installer; if possible, try to negotiate a free installation for the stove you are buying.

If there are various placement options, consider having access to the pellets (i.e. how far to carry the bags), as well as having congestion in the room beyond the clearances and how the heat will circulate to the rest of your home. You’ll also need a standard 110-volt AC electrical outlet close to the stove.

Initial Cost Outlay

Although actual purchase and installation prices differ per area, you should expect an initial outlay of $2,000 to $3,000 plus installation and accessories for a pellet stove. A dual-fuel pellet stove, which burns wood or other fuels (corn, cherry pits, etc.), will cost more. Be prepared for additional costs of delivery, insurance inspection, protective floor pad, and connection piping and accessories.

Some pellet stoves have a direct-vent connection to the outdoors and do not require a full above-the-roof insulated chimney system. This can cost significantly less to install. Review all possible hook-ups to ensure everything goes well with the installation process. A large hopper is worth the extra cost – you’ll fill it less often, so it’s a good feature to consider for your home.

Operating Costs

Generally speaking, wood pellets cost around $4 to $8 and most come in 40-lb. bags. Cost will vary with availability and type of wood used for the pellets, so make sure you check on the price and availability in your area for other fuels (e.g. corn) before buying a dual stove.

How many bags of pellets you’ll use over the heating period will vary on the type of pellet, stove setting, and climate. For example, we have used a pellet stove for several years by burning one bag of wood pellets per day on the lowest setting. Our average annual usage was about three tons over approximately six cold months, so costs can be reasonable if your winter season is very long.

Pellet Use & Storage

Usually, pellets are sold in 40-lb. plastic bags, which due to its hefty weight can be a constraint for many customers. Bags will need to be hauled from storage to the stove every day or so, as well as poured into the stove’s hopper. Pellet bags can be stacked, but they must be stored in a dry place indoors or in a garage/shed. They must be kept dry, because damp conditions will cause pellets to swell and make them not feed properly through the stove’s drop mechanism.

You can also consider having pellets delivered to your home, for there may be cost savings, often by the ton.

Pellet Stove Maintenance

Pellet stoves are easy to start and maintain. While ash build-up is minimal, the stove will still need regular cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for when and how to clean your pellet stove. A shop or ash vacuum works well for this cleaning, but the wood ash must be cold.

Performance & How They Operate

In terms of performance, pellet stoves produce a very comfortable and dry radiant heat with efficient BTU‘s. Choose a stove model that fits the best for your home’s size. Operating noise should also be minimal. During operation, pellets from the hopper are either pushed by an auger or gravity-fed into a fire chamber where they burn and produce heat. This heat is then radiated out to the room from the stove to the surrounding area. When it is empty, the stove will shut down automatically.

That said, to help circulate that warm air throughout the room, use a heat-powered fan on the heat stove. These are non-electric and are very efficient to directing heat to warm up the room. When power is interrupted, the stove will automatically shut down for safety. A power surge or slight interruption may or may not affect operation. Since a pellet stove must be pellet-fed on a daily basis, you must make arrangements with someone to feed the heat stove regularly when planning on being away from home.

Other Considerations

Follow recommendations as to the size of the stove for your home. A stove that is too large may be too heat even when set to a lower level and can result in a fuel and money waste. Additionally, the size of the hopper will dictate how often you will have to fill it.

To start, confirm the availability of parts, warranty, and service. When buying a pellet insert, verify that the stove can be connected with an existing fireplace chimney. Always have a trained specialist install a pellet stove for safety. If you choose a good pellet stove, then its durability should be generally very good and have long expected lifespans, along with minimal downtime.

Coffee Makers Made In USA Are Made To Last

If you are looking for a coffee maker that is made in the USA, then we have tried our very best to pick out three that do actually appear to have been made in the USA. As silly as it sounds, choosing where your coffee maker was manufactured can make a lot of difference. Things like parts, quality – and just how long the machine will last for are all great determining factors to look around for when shopping for a coffee maker made in the USA. In China, where many of the coffee makers are produced, companies resort to mass production to make quick cash, whereby in the USA, well things are ran a little bit more low scale, and along with this comes more skill and craftsmanship.

It must be noted though that we are not 100% sure that they are entirely made there, you may have parts from China or another country thrown in too, however, we have tired our best and reviewed three great coffee makers and they have certainly been assembled in the good old U S of A! It is always a good idea to check with the manufacturer first though.

Aerobie 80R08 AeroPress

We cannot be entirely sure that this was fully made in the USA, but it was certainly assembled in the state of California, and well this AeroPress coffee maker certainly offers you the most when it comes to the art of coffee making. It is also just perfect for those that hate to wait and need coffee, now, now, now. The reason being it brews coffee in a minute! All you need to do I count to 6, then look forward to putting your feet up with a cup of coffee.

  • This is an extremely unique coffee maker that allows you to make not just best instant coffee, but also espressos too. It offers you the chance to get a little pressure so that is makes the coffee with extremely rich flavours
  • Is suitable for making American styled coffee, and of course espresso styled shots. Also great for making cappuccinos and lattes. A real all-rounder when it comes to coffee making
  • The temperate is low when making coffees and the brew time is significantly lower too. As a result of this, the level of acid that is contained within the brewer is a lot lower too, when compared to other coffee makers that are widely available on the market
  • The coffee is micro filtered and is particle free, making it so pure that you can literally store it for days as a concentrate
  • The materials that are shipped out with this are fuss free
  • Makes 2-4 cups of coffee at a time
  • Takes one minute to brew (20 seconds to press)

If you find the best instant coffee, please click here.

BUNN BXB Velocity Brew

This is a great coffee maker for those that enjoy the finer things in life. You can make around 10 cups of coffee in an amazing 3 minutes. But beware; it is not ideal for those that smash things! As it has some glass and porcelain features. Not great to have in your kitchen if your spouse has a tendency to have temper tantrums!

  • It has the capacity to brew between four to ten cups in three minutes
  • The carafe is made entirely out of glass
  • Has a warming plate made from the finest porcelain
  • On and off switch that are lighted
  • Made from stainless steel and had a water tank that can keep your coffee at the 200 degree mark all day, every day
  • Has a lovely spray head feature that makes sure that you get great coffee and extraction

The manufacturer assembles all their BX and GR models in Creston, Iowa

Chemex Glass Coffeemaker

If you like things that are modern, and fall into the category of the best 100 modern things avalible when it comes to technology as certified by the Illinois Institute of Technology, then this is certainlly a coffee maker to add to your online shopping list. It is designed for those that love wooden features and like the best  types of material that are on offer to man, what with a leather collar you will be in your element with this. It is the perfect item to have in your office, or of course sitting on your wooden kitchen table.

  • Has a lovely polished wooden collar that has a fantastic leather tie on there, for a great look in your home
  • It was picked out as one of the best 100 designed products of modern times, by the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Uses 5 oz cup capacity allowing you to make upto 5 cups each use
  • Utilises Chemex filters that are needed for all the operations that this conducts
  • Can make up to an amazing 30 ounces of coffee at a time

So there you have it folks, three coffee makers that are made in the USA (as far as we are aware). They are perfect for those that are feeling a little patriotic and want to invest in something that was made in their home country. Or, for that matter people that are just so fed up of seeing the made in China sign lolling around on their home machinery. It can get a little bit disappointing when you suddenly realise that the majority of work around the globe has in fact been outsourced to China! What ever happened to making things locally? It certainly offers a little bit of food for thought for you. Do you actually know, or are you even aware of where your current coffee maker is made? It may be time to start taking a look around you, and weighing up your choices.

Thomas is the founder of Fourth Estate Coffee. The blog combined two of his passions : writing and coffee. He isn’t a coffee expert, but he is interested in drinking better coffee.

Benefits of Using Bean Bag Chair for Outdoor

The bean bag chair is really a big frameless chair which looks like the bean bag. This consists of a sizable material bag full of polystyrene drops or even small Styrofoam golf balls also it molds easily towards the curves from the owner’s entire body. Gossip offers this how the very first edition of the best Bean Bag chair had been found accidentally. Whenever a Styrofoam manufacturing plant positioned their own remaining items in the manufacturing collection the Best Bean Bag, the actual producers considered utilizing it to produce a brand new bit of furniture as well as known as this the actual Sacco.

When does it Start?

Through the 1970’s, the actual chairs grew to become obtainable in shops. These were made from long lasting leather-based as well as had been full of heavy Styrofoam pellets. Within the 1990’s, producers associated with bean bag chairs began producing all of them in various types, designs, as well as dimensions, for example, reclining chairs as well as couches. See the Bean Bag Chair Review for a good idea on it. Additionally, they grew to become much more child-friendly along with childproof long lasting zippers. These days, many of these chairs are usually created using washable handles and therefore are full of shredded froth to create this stronger.

bean bag for open space [source: homegrowncityfarms dot com]

Benefits of bean bags:

You might encounter tension at the office or even from home every day. When you start to relax nevertheless, among the best methods to unwind would be to get a groove back again through managing on the Best Bean Bag Chair for some mins.
These types of chairs tend to be ideal that you should exercise deep breathing methods from any kind of time from the day time.
Based on medical professionals, numerous health issues these days could be avoided by simply utilizing ergonomically created bits of furniture.
Utilizing a bean bag chair can help relieve the actual discomfort since it is built to shape the body.
The actual ergonomic desk placement decreases muscle tissue traces as well as can help you unwind following a lengthy, demanding a trip to function.
Conventional furniture such as couches, chairs as well as reclining chairs has to be changed following just a couple many years useful.
Whenever you buy a superior quality bean bag chair nevertheless, it may really final a person for life.
If you consider good care from it through cleaning the actual include from time to time, your family may appreciate it for several years in the future.
You can easily preserve simply because it doesn’t require putting together. Because it is actually cellular as well as light-weight, it may be very easily relocated in one the main home to a different.
They’re probably the most perfect and many useful options to utilizing traditional chairs which are constructed with wooden.
If you’re worried about coordinating your own furniture using the relaxation of the house’s inside, you’d be happy to understand that you could completely personalize the way in which your own bean bag chair appears.

bean bag for open space [source: ultimatesack dot com]

You are able to pick the material, the form and also the dimension. Therefore, regardless of whether you’re looking to buy one for the kid’s bed room, for the research, or even for the residing room, you’d not really end up being challenged to locate one which may meet your requirements completely.
This Best Bean Bag is actually shapeless as well as frameless, it is simple to take it along with you as well as shop this within the trunk area of the vehicle.
It doesn’t consider an excessive amount of room and it is gentle sufficient to consider along with you anyplace you need to proceed.

Final Thinking:

If you will invest each day in the seaside, a good immediately remain in a campsite, or even time within an outside has a picnic, you’ll also have the Best Bean Bag Chair that you should relaxation as well as unwind upon. There are many other forms as well as benefit. It requires the form of the chair, rip decrease, bag, and so on. through the years it’s shown to be the best option with regard to additional with a capacity of furniture and it is numerous advantages show the reason why individuals ought to do it now.
This is a guest post by Melisa , a home advisor, who is interested in furniture and home décor.

How to choose the Best Hand Held Mixer for your Kitchen

How-to-choose-a-best-hand-held-mixer-for-your-kitchen?If you want to make the cake, cream, eggs, foam for capuccino should invest a mixer is essential. On the market, there are two types of hand mixer is handheld dough mixer and beat the egg to the table.

The machine has the main function is to mix the flour and eggs is just one stage in the making of the cake on the side that has the kind of cake is not related to the eggs that are merely used to mixer well with other ingredients.

In addition to the function of mixing the flour, whisk air also has guest features cotton fresh creams and do the frosting. If you just baked the cake easily simple type you should just buy the hand held mixer is enough. Here are a few hand held mixer reviews that you should know before choosing a hand held electric mixer fit the needs of your family.

“This article is made by Shana J.Eaton who owner: handmixercenter.com. This blog provides the useful information, tips/tricks, reviews about hand mixer where that you can find the best hand mixer.”

Characteristics of Hand Held Mixer

+ Hand held mixer type usually has a capacity less than 300W, the desktop usually has larger capacity of 300W. If used in your family can use the hand held mixer also with business purposes you may choose to have the desktop line capacity from 500W.

+ The usual mix will accompany the accessories such as dough hook, wire whip, flat beater. Dough hook often use to mix the special powder detergents, use baking powder as flour, bread, pastry bag. Wire whip stick to cotton eggs, fresh cream, cake gato. Flat beater used to mix the powder density just right such as powdered biscuits, mashed sweet potatoes, mix the cream. Continue reading How to choose the Best Hand Held Mixer for your Kitchen


Hello everyone, it’s Jill again. Matt has been too busy with work to blog so I am doing another post to keep you all well sugared and entertained. As promised in my last post, I am doing something chocolate this time around. I’ve had some free time on my hands lately and decided to experiment. I used a few chocolate cake recipes, took the bits I liked and added a few things of my own to create the one here. If you like coffee and chocolate you will LOVEthis cake. Actually, my husband doesn’t even like coffee (sinful I know), and he loves this cake. This is an image heavy post, and I apologize for the photo quality…one day I will buy a better camera and learn how to use it properly.

My word of advice today is DON’T BAKE DISTRACTED! I had a baking debacle at the end of this because my thoughts were elsewhere and I wasn’t paying attention. This is why you will not see an image of the cake fully iced and looking pretty. If you must know, I put the top layer of the cake on upside down and gravity took over very quicky and broke it into four pieces. I used the frosting as mortar and got the thing back together. It tasted great, but was not the most attractive confection.



I was clicking through the Lunch Studio blog the other day and came across their Parisi Bakery post, which featured this ridiculously awesome looking sandwich.  Needless to say, after seeing that I decided that I needed to go there for lunch.

A quick read through of the Interwebs and a few Foursquare tips will tell you that Parisi’s is known for two things: their sandwiches and their long lines.  I’ve been there twice now, and I can vouch that both their sandwiches are fantastic and that their lines do indeed require some patience.

If you’re in the area, however, you should make it a point to stop by Parisi’s Bakery.  As Lunch Studio mentions in their post, you will not be disappointed. Continue reading MEATBALL PARM FROM PARISI BAKERY IN NEW YORK



Thanks to one of my chef friends, I found this place three years ago. One of the great things about Alidoro is that it does not change. You will always get the same fresh, delicious substantial Italian sandwich you are craving. The place is tiny. It has one refrigerated deli case behind the counter, which houses all the ingredients they carry (which are not many). Italian meats, cheeses and baby arugula are the elements from which these sandwiches are crafted. The bread is always fresh as it comes from a bakery nearby.

As far as the service goes, there is definitely a system at work here. You walk into the small space, wait on line, order your sandwich wait a few minutes while it is being made right in front of you (they don’t rush, even when the line is out the door), told the amount you owe (by the not so friendly owner), give her your money, wait a few moments more and then you are out the door. While it is not the friendliest or fastest service in the city, it is certainly worth the sometimes less than pleasant exchange.

Letter grade: I have yet to see one in the window. Curious?
Restroom: No restroom


I thought I’d write up a quick post to show that this blog isn’t dead… at least not yet.

The pictures of the food are from an awesome lunch that I had last month with Amy and Ryan at The Adore near Union Square.  I didn’t take any pictures of us while there, so I just stuck in some random pictures of us.

Order of awesomeness:  Hanging out with Amy & Ryan > Duck Sandwich > Fruit Tarts

If you have the chance, go there for lunch and sit by the window.

13 4 5

Smoked Duck onion, tomato, arugula, lettuce


Jane and I hanging at SXSW

The Adore
17 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 243-8742


I suppose it is because the Atlantic City Beer Festival ended up being somewhat anti-climatic.  It was my first beer festival, and I really didn’t know what to expect.  Sadly, what ended up greeting us when we arrived were long lines and really tiny cups.  The entire night was simply a recursive pattern of standing in line for 20 minutes for 2 ounces of beer, drinking it in two sips, and getting back in line.  Needless to say, Eric, Yin, Paul, and I got bored of this quickly and decided to leave early.  Off to Ruth’s Chris…

THE MELTING POT (ATLANTIC CITY, NJ2 Yeah… Ruth’s Chris didn’t want us.  Since Ruth’s Chris was too busy, we decided to walk down the street and try out The Melting Pot.  I was a first timer at this place as well, so again, I really did not have any expectations.

Here’s what we ended up eating: Quattro Formaggio Cheese, Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon Florentine, Limoncello Balsamic Sirloin, Shrimp Diablo, Sun-dried Tomato Chicken, Orange Fennel Pork Tenderloin, Porcini and Portobello Sacchetti, Fresh Vegetables, Lobster Tail, and Milk Chocolate Tiramisu Fondue.

Eating at The Melting Pot was a decent experience, but I’m still not sure how I feel about all the work that is necessary to cook your own food in those fondue pots.  I think I’d much prefer to just get a sizzling steak served to me medium rare with a lobster tail on the side.


The Melting Pot
2112 Atlantic Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 441-1100

Christy over at My Life and My Journey was nice enough to mail me a bunch of flavor & fiber bars the other week, so I thought I’d just write a quick little entry about them.  Thanks, Christy!

THE MELTING POT (ATLANTIC CITY, NJ3Though these bars are not something that I’d typically buy for myself, I can honestly say that I was caught off guard by how much they did not suck.  I don’t know what it is.  Maybe I was beaten with healthy food products as a child, but I definitely associate “health food” with words like horrible, flavorless, disgusting, cardboard, and boring.  To my surprise, however, these bars were quite tasty.  I brought them into work and gave some to my co-workers who all agreed that they were a lot better than they expected as well.  Feel free to interpret that as you see fit.  gnu foods isn’t paying me to advertise this product, so I’ll stop here.

The point is, I still don’t know if I’d go out of my way to buy something like this, but it definitely surpassed all of my expectations.  Good work, gnu foods.


Today’s another busy day at Simande, so it’s going to have to be another bulleted recap of last night’s exploits.  I think that the pictures do a decent job of walking you through the night though, so hopefully you’ll forgive me for not writing as much as I typically would.

sushiAnyway, here we go:

      • Instead of just being the judges, Paul and Stephan decided to join us in the sushi eating contest that Anne and I had planned for the night.
      • The rules were as follows:
        • Everyone can pick out whatever sushi, rolls, or sashimi that they’d like, but they must grab enough for the other eaters (so in the beginning, everyone has to take 4 pieces).
        • The sushi is then divided to everyone equally.
        • When the first person finishes, that person will hit a timer that will count down from 5 minutes.
        • Anyone who does not finish within that 5 minute window is out.
      • It appeared that Stephan’s tactic in the beginning was to be the absolute slowest eater and to try to take advantage of the 5 minute gap between plates.
      • Stephan made it half-way through his plate in round 3 and called it quits.  He would later come to regret coming in last (see bottom picture).
      • Anne made a respectable attempt to stay in the game towards the end of round 4 (watch the video), but she unfortunately couldn’t eat the last two pieces.
      • The fifth round was just as Paul described it in his blog this morning – brutal.  Paul and I both ended up gagging a bit because of the stupid sea squirt, which is important to note since only one of us was actually able to swallow it.
      • Paul put up a good fight but gave up with 4 pieces left.  That was a shame because I could have gone another 3 rounds.
      • I’m sorry, I just lied to you.  I wanted to die after that fifth plate.
      • About 60 pieces of sushi and 14 hours later, I’m still full.

we kicked the loser to the curb with the trash