Common Misconceptions About Coffee

We all love the stuff, but we can’t always be up to date with all there is to know about coffee. Here are two common misconceptions about coffee that may surprise you.

Storing coffee in the freezer. For infrequent coffee drinker bringing home a brand new bag of beans, it’s often tempting to think the best place to keep it would be in the freezer. The problem with keeping coffee beans in the freezer, however, is that it will create too much moisture in the bag, leading to beans that go bad quickly and end up with a dull taste. The best place to store beans is in the pantry or other cool, dry place, in an airtight container with a one way valve so that no air can get in but CO2 can get out.

Decaf coffee. For those who love the taste of coffee but can’t quite handle the caffeine, or those who’re already on their fourth cup and need to cut back ever so slightly, decaf may seem like a godsend. Here it is, the wonderful taste of coffee with absolutely none of the caffeine, right? Well, not quite. While most decaf coffees manage to be up to 97% caffeine free, they do still contain some caffeine, an average of 5mg per cup. This may not be enough to keep you up at night, but it’s worth noting that caffeine has a half life of six hours so it’s still not a great idea to have a cup of decaf before bed.

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Amazing Uses for Apples

Pie? You’ve had plenty. Juice? Just enough. As is? You’ve done that as well. You’ve likely had plenty of experience with the conventional uses for apples already, you’re looking for something new. Well good news! We’ve got three amazing uses for apples that you may not have thought of.

Apple, carrot, & raisin coleslaw. Coleslaw is a staple of any BBQ and one of the quintessential summertimes dishes, but nobody said you can’t tweak it a little bit and add your own twist. When you’ve had your fill of cabbage you can always make a sweet substitute for the traditional coleslaw with shredded carrots, apples, and raisins. Not a raisin fan? Try dried cranberries instead for a bit of tartness.

Apple grilled cheese. A few slices of apple make a perfect addition to grilled cheese, and you can mix and match varieties for any number of flavor variations. Aged cheddar and Granny Smith make for a pretty timeless classic, but try brie and russets for something a bit sweeter. Want a little something more? Throw in some bacon too!

Apple stuffing. That’s right, gone are the days of nearly flavorless stuffing, when it’s next time for turkey, or even for whole chicken, add some apple to your stuffing recipe and make it more than just filler. If you’re feeling adventurous, some apple slices under the skin packed with plenty of butter will help keep your bird moist and flavorful.

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Essential Kitchen Skills: Toasting Spices

For many of us, cooking skills are only learned out of necessity; when we move out on our own for the first time and are finally responsible for feeding ourselves. Skills were often developed through trial and error, handed down from our parents and grandparents, or even picked up from cookbooks and recipes. That said, we live in the age of convenience, where everything imaginable can be delivered, and cooking has become little more than novelty thanks to meal prep packages. For those who still love to cook from scratch, or those looking to learn, here’s a basic skill everyone should know: Toasting spices.

Mom cooking with kids on the kitchen

You may ask yourself why would you toast spices? The answer is simple: Toasting spices helps bring out the flavors and aromas. This technique is particularly useful when incorporating seldom used spices that may have been sitting around for some time, while the spices may have lost much of their punch, toasting them will certainly help bring them back to life!

The technique is a simple one, and involves little more than a frying pan. Heat the pan to medium high heat and lay the spices out across the cooking surface, stirring or shaking them up frequently to ensure they don’t burn. Once your spices start giving off strong aromas they’re ready to use, and if some trial and error is needed a few burnt spices represent a fairly minimal investment.

Happy woman preparing food at table in kitchen

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Beyond the Pickle

There’s nothing quite like a dill pickle fresh from the fridge! Crunchy, juicy, refreshing, the perfect snack or addition to your sandwich or salad. Not only are dill pickles delicious, but they’re also quite easy to make at home and a perfect way to stock up on preserves for the winter. But why stop at pickles? Here are six of the many vegetables that are just perfect for pickling.

Fresh organic radishes

Carrots. A perfect addition to salads and coleslaws and great on their own for snacking or as part of a party platter, carrots can be sliced or diced for the perfect pickling vegetables.

Beets. Ideal when you’re looking to add color to a wide variety of dishes and a great way to enjoy the amazing health benefits of beets.

Radishes. Tacos, anyone? Toss pickled radishes into your tortilla for a great addition to Mexican night! Also great for adding some crunch to your favorite salad or sandwich without overpowering other flavors.

Organic Green Jalapeno Peppers

Asparagus. Give your Bloody Mary a stir! Pickled asparagus is not just for drinks, salads and sandwiches can greatly benefit from their taste and texture.

Red onions. Sometimes adding raw onions to a dish can prove to be a bit too harsh. Pickled onions have less of a bite but plenty of taste, a spectacular substitute.

Jalapenos. When you’re looking for some spice, jalapenos are quite nice! Pickled for a bit less of a punch, they’re great for garnish.

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St Patrick’s Day Meal Ideas

Corned beef and cabbage is all well and good, but when you’re looking for a delicious St Patrick’s Day dinner that’s just a little bit different, try one (or all) of these fine ideas.

Guinness beef stew. Who hasn’t enjoyed a Guinness or two on St. Patrick’s day? The time honored tradition doesn’t have to be relegated to the pub, Guinness can be a great part of dinner when it’s incorporated into beef stew.

Homemade Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty) / St.Patrick day food

Coddle. While it was originally conceived as a way to use up leftover meat before the Catholic tradition of meatless Fridays, coddle has evolved to become a family favorite for any occasion. Often made with meat scraps from bacon and sausage, along with a whole lot of veggies, this hearty stew makes for the perfect Irish meal.

Boxty. Essentially an Irish version of a latke, this delicious potato pancake uses a combination of mashed and chopped potatoes for texture, and makes for the perfect accompaniment to any delicious dinner.

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Blaa. While it’s often served with breakfast or used for sandwiches, blaa is the Irish equivalent to the American dinner roll and makes a great compliment to any meal.

Yellowman (Irish Honeycomb). When it’s time for dessert, it’s hard to go wrong with Yellowman. Often compared to honeycomb toffee, the crunchy rind and sweet interior are a time honored treat in Ireland.

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In Praise of Slow (The Slow Cooker, That is)

It may seem like a bit of a paradox, we live busy lives that by all accounts are fast paced, how can something called a slow cooker make our lives any easier? Well, yes, the appliances are aptly named as a slow cooker is just that: Slow. But oh what a wonderful world of possibilities they open up. Here are three reason why a slow cooker is perfect for your busy life.

beautiful girl with slo-cooker

Set it and forget it. Not many of us remember Ron Popeil’s infomercial for his “Showtime Rotisserie,” but the phrase lives on in kitchens throughout the globe thanks to slow cookers. It really is that simple, you set your meal to start cooking in the morning, forget about it as you go about your day, and when you get home? Bam! A piping hot home cooked meal ready to serve.

Batch cooking for your busy week. Batch cooking is one of the many perks of the usually amply sized slow cooker. Rather than slave over the stove to cook a single meal you can spend the same amount of time on prep and have meals for the rest of the week. Pretty much a no brainer.

verticle slow cooker meal

Batch prepping is a thing too. If you’re willing to devote a day to chopping, why not prepare several batch meals in advance? Ingredients can be stored in a ziplock in the freezer and pretty much cooked from frozen in most cases. Just imagine, a month’s worth of food prepared in a single day!

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The Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs! They’re not just delicious, they’re also good for you, and eating eggs on a regular basis comes with a load of benefits. Here are just five of the many benefits of eating eggs.

bacon and eggs

They’re quick, easy, and versatile. Cooking an egg is quite literally a matter of minutes, and few other cooked foods are quite as easy. To top it all off, eggs are incredibly versatile and can not only be cooked a number of different ways, they can also be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes.

They’re loaded with vitamins. A single egg contains vitamins A, B5, B2, B6, B12, D, E, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, selenium, and folate. Need we say more?

They’re packed with protein. Eggs are an excellent source of complete proteins, containing all nine amino acids that the body can’t synthesize naturally, and help promote muscle recovery and development.

Served fried eggs

They’re good for your health. Eggs raise HDL (good) cholesterol and help make LDL (bad) cholesterol less harmful. They also help manage weight, contribute to better eye health and mental acuity, and may help reduce the risk of stroke.

They’re portable and make great snacks. Rather than spending extra money on vending machine snacks that are full of salt and sugar, hard boiled eggs can help satisfy those mid-day craving and make for a much healthier alternative!

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