Best Piping Bag to Use

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What is the best piping bag to use?

The best piping bag to use is the DayMark PipingPal Disposable Pastry Bag.

  • Heavy duty – will not split, even with thick mixtures
  • Surface prevents slipping and folding over. Maintains its upright shape
  • Fits both tips and couplers
  • Dispenser for easy access
  • 45 degree angle – ideal for piping decorations
  • Sizes = 12’’, 18’’, 21’’
  • Disposable bags, no risk of contamination with washing reusable bags
best piping bag

How do you choose the size of a piping bag?

Select your piping bag based on how large your recipe is. There are 12″-21″ piping bag sizes. Usually for icing a dozen cupcakes you can go with the 12″ bags.

best piping bag to use for cupcakes

How do you fill a piping bag without making a mess?

  1. Get a tall, wide glass and set it out with plenty of room around it.
  2. Place the piping tip into the bag.
  3. Twist the end of the tip and a few inches of bag and tuck it into the glass. This is to make sure the mixture does not go to the end of the tip yet.
  4. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass.
  5. Fill the piping bag.
  6. Twist the piping bag to seal it closed.
  7. Take the piping bag out of the glass and hold it sideways.
  8. Cut the piping bag roughly in the middle of the metal tip so that the tips edges have no bag around it.
  9. Pipe the first bit of batter out to get any air out.
  10. Pipe your mixture.

Should frosting be cold before piping?

Frosting should be room temperature when piping. This will make it more malleable and able to be manipulated easier than if it was cold.

best piping bag to use

How do you get air bubbles out of a piping bag?

  • run your fingers up the sides of the bag where the air bubbles are
  • twist the bag until almost closed
  • run your fingers up the sides again to remove the air bubbles
  • pipe the first couple centimetres of your mixture onto a plate to make sure all the air bubbles have been removed

How do you seal a piping bag?

Twist the top of the piping bag to seal the piping bag.

Can you use a piping bag with store bought frosting

Yes. You can use a piping bag with store bought frosting. Store bought frosting is usually quite dense and thick, so pick a piping bag that is strong and durable enough that won’t break.

Are reusable silicone piping bags good to use?

  • no risk of breaking or bursting
  • rough exterior for easy gripping and piping – no-slip material
  • smooth inner surface for icing to glide out of
  • environmentally friendly
  • use warm or cold mixtures in them

They are not dishwasher safe. You have to clean them by hand, which can be quite time consuming.

What can you use instead of a piping bag

Instead of a piping bag, you can use a resealable plastic bag for piping. Cut the tip of the bag small-large hole depending on how thick you want your icing to come out. Sometimes resealable bags are more difficult to keep closed and the icing can spill out the top of them.

How do you use a piping bag with a ziplock bag

  1. Place ziplock bag at an angle in a glass.
  2. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass
  3. Fill the ziplock bag with your mixture to pipe.
  4. Close the ziplock bag, make sure to try to get all of the air out of it.
  5. Take the bag out of the glass and hold it horizontally.
  6. Cut the tip small – large depending on how thick you want the icing to come out.
  7. Pipe.

Do you need a piping bag for macarons

Ideally yes. It makes the macarons easier to pipe uniform circles with less jagged edges from a cut bag.

How to Pipe Macarons Without a Tip

Cut the bag to give it a 1/2” large hole. Best to cut smaller hole than a larger hole as you can always cut a larger hole if needed.

How Long can Macaron Batter Sit Before Piping

You can let macaron batter sit for 30 min – 1 hour before piping the batter. Keep the batter at room temperature before piping out.

What is the Best Piping Bag for Macarons

The best piping bag for macarons is the DayMark 21” PipingPal Disposable Pastry Bag. You want the largest, strongest piping bag you can get for macarons. The batter is very thick, and there is a ton of batter. You don’t want to over-mix the batter when you are placing it into the bag. Placing the macaron batter into the bag only once will give it the best chance of turning out. You don’t want to be refilling the bag as this may cause the macarons not to turn out from over-mixing.

bear macaron batter how to pipe

How to Pipe Macarons

  1. Get a tall, wide glass and set it out with plenty of room around it.
  2. Place a 1/2″ piping tip into the bag.
  3. Twist the end of the tip and a few inches of bag and tuck it into the glass. This is to make sure the mixture does not go to the end of the tip yet.
  4. Fold the edges of the bag over the glass.
  5. Fill the piping bag with macaron batter.
  6. Twist the piping bag to seal it closed.
  7. Take the piping bag out of the glass and hold it sideways.
  8. Cut the piping bag roughly in the middle of the metal tip so that the tips edges have no bag around it.
  9. Pipe the first bit of batter out to get any air out.
  10. Pipe the macarons onto a 1.5″ template. Pipe the macarons by holding the top of the bag and squeezing the batter with your fingers that are holding the seal at the top of the bag. Pipe holding the bag straight up. When you’re wanting to move on to the next macaron, make a U to smear the tip on the top of the macaron. This will create less peaks and valleys for you to bang out later. Leave a few inches before piping the next macaron. Add any sprinkles or cookie crumbs. Then, let them sit for 30 min before baking.

Best 9 Bar Coffee Machine

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

9 bar is the gold standard set by Italian Institute of Espresso. The best 9 bar coffee machine is the Rancilio Silvia coffee maker. The pressure is set at 12 bars when it is shipped to you. But sometimes it does only brew as a 9 bar, depending on pressure and how much water is flowing. It brews as one of the best 9 bar coffee machine with a little practice.

What is Italian Certified Espresso?

  • hazel to dark brown foam
  • smooth texture
  • floral aroma mixed with toasted bread/chocolate notes as it brews
espresso brewing
Reviews

What’s the difference between 15 bar and 9 bar espresso?

The best extraction for espresso is between 8-10 bars. This is dependent on your espresso machine, type of espresso beans, grind, water temperature and tamping pressure. Fine tune what works best for you, but 9 bar espresso is the Italian standard and won’t make too much of a difference at 15 bar.

Why is the Rancilio Silvia the best 9 bar coffee machine?

The Rancilio Silvia is only manufactured in Italy. They test every machine to make sure it’s working perfectly before they send them out. The compartments are made so that any part can be replaced or fixed if needed. They want you to have this machine for a long time, it’s built to last. You can expect to have this 9 bar coffee maker for over a decade.

coffee-made-by-rancilio-silvia

How do you get the best espresso crema?

  • brew using a double filter basket to pull 2 shots at once
  • use a bottomless filter basket
  • freshly roasted coffee beans

What is the maintenance on a Rancilio Silvia?

There are only 2 maintenance procedures that need to be done on a regular basis:

  1. Backflushing (recommended 1 x week) 
  2. Changing the rubber gasket/cleaning screen (1x year)

When the coffee starts tasting not as good as it usually does, you should clean the screen. This will give you the aromatic flavour from your italian coffee maker that you love!

I purchased my own Rancilio Silvia in November 2012 and I absolutely love it. I had never owned a coffee maker before this so it was a steep learning curve. Watching videos and practicing daily made me be able to improve my skills and pull delicious crema for my morning coffee.

Best Almond Flour Sifter for Macarons

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What is the best almond flour sifter to use for macarons?

ExcelSteel Heavy Mesh Colander

  • Medium sized mesh for easily sifting almond flour
  • Handles on both sides – easy to hold steady while sifting
  • Ergonomically friendly
  • Made so it can rest on the top of a bowl
  • Stainless steel – strong, resists wear and tear, dishwasher safe
How to Sift Almond Flour Faster

The best almond flour sifter for macarons is a sifter with a bit larger holes than your regular flour sifter. Using a colander or strainer is your best choice for sifting almond flour.

It will make it a lot easier to break up the clumps. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours sifting the almond flour. Your hands will get tired and frustrated because you won’t be able to get all of your almond flour sifted. When you don’t sift your almond flour for your macarons, the shell will be lumpy and may not necessarily turn out. The shell needs to be perfectly smooth, and melts in your mouth when you take that first bite.

When baking macarons, the almond flour is especially crumbly and clumpy. If your almond flour is especially clumpy, blend it in a food processor for a couple of minutes until it’s a bit finer of a grind. This will make it much easier to sift the almond flour.

Another option is to try selecting an almond flour that has been sifted for your macarons. Be sure to sift the almond flour again when you go to make macarons, just in case they clump up again by the time you use them.

You can also sift your icing sugar with the same sifter. Icing sugar is always in balls of sugar. You want your icing sugar to be like powder, aerated, and feel like dust when you mix your macaron batter together.

Are there other reasons to use a sifter?

A sifter increases the surface area available for mixing to the liquid ingredients. This means the ingredients will be more evenly spread throughout the mixing process, creating a balance of flavors and textures.

cookies and cream icing recipe

What is a sifter used for?

A sifter is a kitchen accessory that usually has a handle and metal basket. The basket has metal criss crosses creating a bowl shape that allows small pieces of food to pass through. This breaks up chunks of food into tiny pieces. The process of sifting adds air and lightens the food (flour, icing sugar). This is especially important when making a cake. This allows the cake to cook with small air bubbles throughout the cake. The cake has a bouncy feeling when you push your finger into it. You can feel and taste the difference of a cake that has had the flour sifted.

macaron before baking

When do you measure your ingredients, before or after sifting?

Measure your ingredients for baking always after sifting. Sifting aerates the food, making it lighter. If you measure beforehand, you could be putting too much of the ingredient in your recipe.

Why do you measure your ingredients after sifting?

This is the accurate measurement. Spoon the sifted ingredients into a bowl on your scale to get the weighted measurement. 

Even when baking a cake where you are using your measuring cups, you need to spoon the sifted ingredients into your measuring cup. Then level off the excess with the back of a knife (flat edge). This way, you will not be packing your flour into the cup and may inadvertently over-measure the amount of flour and then have your recipe not turn out how you want it to. Too much flour or not aerating your flour will result in a dense cake which will be difficult to chew. It wont give you that light, spongy texture that you picture when you’re eating cake. 

How much should you sift at once?

  • Only ⅓-½ full basket

Otherwise, your flour or icing sugar will go over the sides and make a huge mess. 

how does a sifter work with almond flour

How do you use a sifter?

  1. Fill your basket ⅓ – ½ full of your first ingredient.
  2. Move the sifter side to side using your hands.
  3. Tap the edge of the sifter gently to let the food fall into the bowl.
  4. For excess food that isn’t coming through the sifter – the dregs of the last bit – discard this. Don’t try to force it through.
  5. Spoon and measure your ingredient – either with a scale, or with a measuring cup and level off with a knife. 
best almond flour sifter for macarons

How to clean a sifter?

  • Bang the excess into a sink or into the garbage can
  • If it’s very dirty, wash it with soap and water. Allow to dry fully before using. Never use a sifter when it’s still wet.

Tips

  • Only sift and measure one ingredient at a time
  • Use your sifter over a larger bowl than you think you need
  • Don’t overfill the sifter – this will take more time than if you only sift a little at a time
  • Use a spoon to gently measure out your sifted ingredient

Think about your own ergonomics when selecting a sifter

  • Do you want an extending handle
  • Do you want handles on the side
  • How big are the holes for what you’re sifting – do you need small or large holes
  • How large of a sifter do you want
  • The larger the sifter, the bigger the bowl needed to catch the sifted food
How to Sift Almond Flour Faster

What foods can you use with a sifter?

  • Flour (almond flour, all purpose flour, bread flour)
  • Icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • Cocoa powder

A sifter is one of the tools you need in the kitchen at certain times – making a cake, macarons, etc. Select a sifter for your kitchen that you know will work for the desserts you will be baking, and that will last a long time. You will have your sifter for years to come.

polar bear macaron

Learn how to make your own bear macarons at home.

Best Stand Mixer for Bread, Pizza & Pasta dough

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Making dough from scratch is easy using a stand mixer. If you’ve never made dough before it can be daunting just thinking about it. But creating these new items in your own home kitchen is one of the most rewarding foods you can make

homemade bread with pesto and sundried tomatoes
Pesto, sundried tomatoes and cheese stuffed bread

Kneading dough by hand can be a very difficult process. It involves putting plenty of flour on your counter-top and using the base of your hand to push the dough away from you. Then rolling it back towards you into a ball and pushing it into the counter again repeatedly. 

You managed to get flour all over the counter-top and your arms are exhausted at the end of just seven minutes of kneading! 

By using a stand mixer to make your dough it will start by being tacky when it comes away from the sides of the bowl. After a few minutes mixing, the dough will come away from the sides of the bowl easily, making it smooth to touch. When you take the dough out of the bowl, it will be easy to form a uniform ball with your hands.

What qualities do you need in a stand mixer for making dough?

  • Large capacity
  • Durable motor
  • Dough hook attachment
  • Slow speed capability

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough can be a messy process to make by hand. It involves kneading it for a long time to develop the gluten so it can be stretched and molded into a round shape. Using a stand-mixer for only a couple of minutes to knead the dough for you makes pizza dough an easy go-to for a weeknight dinner idea.

How to use a stand mixer to create pizza and bread dough?

  1. Place yeast, sugar and warm water in a separate bowl and let sit for 10 min.
  2. Put yeast mixture into your stand mixer’s bowl once bloomed. 
  3. Add salt, oil, and flour one cup at a time and mix on the lowest speed until all the flour is added.
  4. Mix on low speed until the dough is kneaded and comes away from the bowl without being tacky. Dough should feel smooth, easily touched without having excess on your fingers.
  5. Remove the dough hook and form dough into a ball. 
  6. Let rise for 1.5-2 hours.
  7. Punch down dough.
  8. Dough is ready to be formed and baked, or let rise again and then bake (depending on your recipe).

Using a stand mixer to create pizza and pasta dough takes all of the arm strength needed from manually kneading dough right out of the picture. 

Pasta Dough

Pasta dough is one of the toughest dough’s to make by hand. Using only 00 flour and eggs, the stand-mixer evenly mixes the two ingredients together and creates a ball of dough ready for you to rest and roll out in only a few minutes of mixing. It’s very difficult to mix pasta dough by hand, I would not recommend trying this without a heavy-duty stand mixer.

homemade pasta dough from scratch
Pumpkin Ricotta Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce

Bread Dough

Types of bread dough to use in your stand mixer:

  • Rolls
  • Buns
  • Bread Sticks
  • Loaves
bamboo cutting board fresh bread

Here is an easy to follow beginner recipe that I quite enjoy for sandwich bread. If you would rather use a bread maker instead, here is our recommendation for our favorite bread maker.

Depending on the type of bread you are making, you need to be careful not to over-mix. Breads that are dainty and light for example lemon-loaf, pumpkin-loaf, etc. these need to be mixed until only just combined. Do not over-mix. This will make the loaf very chewy and difficult to eat.   

Larger dough’s like baking cinnamon buns or dinner rolls are easy to make in a bigger capacity stand-mixer. Add one cup of flour at a time on low speed, slowly incorporating the ingredients together. By using a larger bowl you’ll be sure to keep all of the ingredients in your recipe instead of on your counter. 

KitchenAid creates very heavy duty stand mixers. As soon as you take a KitchenAid stand mixer out of the box you can feel how heavy it really is. KitchenAid stand mixers come with a sturdy metal dough hook. The motors in these stand mixers are very powerful and can make up to 3 loaves of bread in a single batch. 

The best stand mixer for bread dough, pizza dough, and pasta dough at home is the KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5 Qt.

  • Planetary mixing
  • Large capacity
  • Slow speed capability
  • Heavy-duty motor for mixing

Kneading bread dough has never been easier. 

The KitchenAid Classic Plus Stand Mixer will be able to reach the very bottom of your mixing bowl, making sure it mixes all of your ingredients together. KitchenAid is a timeless brand that knows what bakers need, and they deliver that with each stand mixer that they make.

This KitchenAid stand mixer evenly distributes ingredients and develops the gluten while kneading the dough. It adds air into the dough, creating air pockets in your bread. Your bread will be light, fresh, and bounce back when you touch it. The smell of freshly baked bread will fill your home and you’ll never imagine purchasing bread from the grocery store again.

Best Milk Pitcher for Latte Art

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ve had the Espro milk steaming pitcher for about 7 years now. My husband gave it to me for Christmas after I got my Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine. I wasn’t very seasoned at making espresso or frothing milk when he got it for me. I basically just wrote off latte art for years. But after perfecting my espresso game and milk steaming I decided to give latte art another try.

best milk steaming pitcher

The Espro milk steaming pitcher is the best milk pitcher for latte art. 

Why?

  • The sharp V shape when pouring the milk lets you go as close to the espresso surface as you possibly can
  • The V gives you the control to create the designs you want more accurately than a U shape
  • Creates smooth velvety microfoam

Espro has designed their pitcher in a way that the milk swirls around in a perfect circle.

espro milk pitcher

The center of the bottom of the pitcher is raised. This allows the milk to create a vortex when the steam wand is forcing air into the milk. 

espro milk steaming pitcher

There are fill lines on the inside of the pitcher so you can replicate the volume of milk you need every time you make your latte at home.

best milk pitcher

Espro guarantees their milk steaming pitcher will last you for life. I personally have had mine for over 7 years and I’ve had no issues.

How to clean your Espro Steaming Pitcher?

  • Use soap and water with a cloth and wipe down after each use

Where to store your Frothing Pitcher?

  • Store it in the fridge or freezer so your milk is very cold when you start steaming your milk

How to use your Espro Steaming Pitcher?

  1. Put your pitcher in the fridge/freezer for a few hours
  2. Pour milk into the pitcher (up to 12 oz.)
  3. Place steam wand straight down into the milk.
  4. Turn on steam wand.
  5. Hold the side of the pitcher. When it’s too hot to touch, it’s done!
  6. Pour milk into espresso
  7. Enjoy!
latte art espro milk pitcher
I still have a long way to go until I can make beautiful latte art!

Here are a few tips on milk steaming!

Learn from the pros how to make latte art! Once you can make delicious espresso and microfoam, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful lattes for all of your friends and family!

Blanco vs Kraus Granite Sinks

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Blanco and Kraus create focal point kitchen sinks. Granite sinks are one of the newest trends for kitchen renovations.

Why pick a granite kitchen sink?

  • Sleek, stylish and modern look
  • Undermount- gives more of a clean look to your kitchen
  • Deeper bowl than stainless steel, making it easy to clean large items like baking pans and roasting pans
  • More color choices than plain stainless steel

Why choose a Blanco Silgranit sink?

Blanco has perfected their silgranit sinks with over the course of the last 30 years. Blanco sinks come with a lifetime warrenty which shows their longevity and durability for your everyday needs.

  • Resists scratches
  • Repels stains
  • Withstands high heat
  • Stands up to heavy items being dropped into the sink

Blanco silgranit sinks are very durable and hold up with high heat. No need to worry about pouring hot pasta water into the sink. It will not burn the surface or change it in any way. The color will hold up and the surface left unchanged.

  • Heat resistant up to 536° F 

What are silgranit sinks made of?

  • They are made with acrylic, pigments (color), and granite.

How do you clean a blanco silgranit sink?

  • Use a little baking soda and water with a cloth and wipe clean

When cleaning your sink, usually just rinsing it down with water will do the trick.

Baking soda and water is only for more of a deep cleaning routine.

What colors do the blanco silgranit sinks come in?

Styles of Sink Blanco Silgranit comes in

  • farmhouse
  • sinks with drainboards built in
  • cascading divide in the sink
  • long sinks for your custom kitchen needs
  • laundry room sinks
  • low divide sinks
  • round sinks
  • smaller sinks for a petite kitchen
  • double bowl sinks
  • bar sinks

We purchased an Anthracite Blanco silgranit sink for our kitchen renovation. We’ve had it a few months already and we absolutely love it.

blanco silgranit sink

Blanco silgranit sinks are the best choice for your new kitchen if you’re looking for more or a variety of colors and styles. Blanco silgranit sinks are budget friendly, and will last you the life of your kitchen.

Why choose a Kraus Granite sink?

Kraus granite sinks are one of the top of the line sinks on the market. If you want a luxurious sink handcrafted in Italy for your new kitchen, a Kraus granite sink is the way to go. It comes with a lifetime warranty so you can be sure of it’s strength, and resilience over the lifetime of your kitchen.

  • UV protection to keep the color strong after being subjected to sunlight
  • resists stains and scratches
  • absorbs sound- making it much more quiet
  • holds up to extreme temperature changes

Kraus granite sinks are made to last you the life of your kitchen.

  • Heat resistant up to 650° F

What are Kraus granite sinks made of?

  • granite and ceramic nanoparticles

Some of the Kraus granite sinks have a ledge on the outside ring of the sink. The ledge holds a custom cutting board (included) for your prepping needs! This saves you some of your precious counter space.

The drain is positioned in a way that completely drains the sink dry. Their sinks are made of a non-porous material which makes them very easy to clean!

How do you clean a Kraus granite sink?

  • Use soap and water and wipe clean with a cloth

What colors do Kraus granite sinks come in?

  • grey
  • black
  • charcoal
  • brown
  • white

What style of sinks do Kraus granite sinks come in?

  • farmhouse with cutting board area
  • single bowl with cutting board area
  • double bowl sinks
  • low divide double bowl sinks
  • long kitchen sink

Blanco vs Kraus Granite Sinks

Type of SinkBlanco Precis Silgranit SinkKraus Undermount Granite Single Basin Kitchen Sink
Heat ResistanceHeat resistant up to 536° FHeat resistant up to 650° F
ProsHuge selection of different colors and stylesUV protection to keep the colour strong after being subjected to sunlight
ConsPossibility for stains in lighter colorsLimited Colours available
Rating5/55/5

Kraus granite sinks are the top of the line sinks when it comes to reliability and strength for your new kitchen. Although, there aren’t as many different sinks to choose from or as many colors as Blanco. However, Kraus withstands higher heat than Blanco silgranit sinks. Kraus has taken functionality to heart with its added cutting board capabilities to most of their granite sinks. Depending on your needs for your new kitchen, if you can find a size and color of sink you like, Kraus is the best way to go. If you’re looking for a different color and more of a variety with styles, you’re best to go with Blanco.

Best Travel Mug for Cold Drinks

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Last summer I was heading out the door to go to the lake. I was getting ready and wanted an iced cold drink to float on the lake with. I figured why not just make an iced coffee at home using my home espresso maker then going through a drive through and wasting time. I needed a travel mug for my cold drink to hit the road.

When I went to put my iced coffee in something for the road I realized I only had my tumbler. By the time we got to the lake it would probably be melted in an hour’s time. 

I needed a new travel mug for cold drinks on a hot summer’s day. One that would last at least 2 hours. One hour of travel time to the lake, and 1 hour of floating on the lake and enjoying my iced coffee. 

I decided to start researching travel mugs for iced beverages. I came across the Zojirushi stainless mug

The Zojirushi stainless mug is the best travel mug for cold drinks because it keeps drinks cold for up to 6 hours!! I think at that point I would just need a refill on my iced coffee!

It comes in these beautiful colors:

  • Smoky Blue 
  • Champagne Gold 
  • Black
  • Lavender Pink 
  • Stainless 
  • Deep Cherry 
  • Emerald 

I decided to go with champagne gold. I love gold, it goes with everything!

These reliable cold drink travel mugs have a warranty for 5 years. If it doesn’t hold it’s chill in those 5 years, you can get a new one shipped to you asap. 

How much iced coffee does it hold?

  • Just under half a litre

That’s a lot of iced coffee! Might just pour myself 2 iced coffees next time!

For the days where I just want a cold water bottle for a day at the beach I add a few ice cubes to the bottle. The opening to the bottle is big enough to fit full sized ice cubes into.

The Zojirushi stainless mug has a safety lock so it will not open unexpectedly on you! 

You can rest assured it will not cover you in sticky iced coffee when you’re just trying to get to the beach in a rush and you knock over your travel mug getting into the car! (said no one ever)

Here’s a closer look at the mug in full detail

The Zojirushi stainless mug will keep all of your slushy drinks cold for hours on a hot day and will do so for at least 5 years! It’s well worth the price and reliability!

Best Cutting Board for Meat

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

When choosing a cutting board for preparing meat you want to be sure you can keep it clean and sanitized. It’s best to have a separate cutting board for meat specifically so you can be sure you’re not cross contaminating your fruit, vegetables and baked goods.

Best cutting board for meat

The best cutting board for meat is a bamboo cutting board.

Why?

  • Bamboo is a renewable source-grows easily
  • Durable, yet doesn’t ruin your expensive knives
  • Tends to avoid warping and cracking unlike regular wood cutting boards
  • Gently wipe with soap and water for an easy cleanup

Once you’re finished cutting your meat be sure to wash your hands. After you’ve cleaned your cutting board, wash your hands again. 

Then, begin cutting your vegetables for your meal preparation on a separate cutting board. 

How to keep your bamboo cutting board good so it will last a long time?

  • Use mineral oil: acts as a barrier to water and food

How to clean your raw meat cutting board?

  • Clean it immediately after use
  • Use soap and water, but don’t soak the board in water.  This can damage the board by splitting since water is getting in the cutting board. Let it stand to air dry.

How do you sanitize your meat cutting board?

  • Use a bit of vinegar and fresh lemon juice to gently clean
  • Diluted bleach (1/10 dilution with household bleach)

Bacteria are able to get in between the cuts your knife makes on the board. Thankfully they only live a few hours, but this is why you need to use your board only for meat and not for anything else. When the board dries, the bacteria die off as well. 

bamboo cutting board

Plastic cutting boards tend to have grooves/bumps on their surfaces. This makes it difficult to be sure that it’s truly clean before using it again. Plastic can damage your knives over time. When you’re using your knives on a plastic cutting board, this creates groves in the plastic, which become very hard to clean.

Glass is another alternative that you might want to try. You can can your glass cutting board with soap and water and be sure it’s clean. However, glass ruins knives. Glass cutting boards are harder to cut on because their surface is much more slippery and doesn’t grab like wood or bamboo does.  

Bamboo is the best cutting board material for all of your meat cutting needs. It’s eco-friendly by being a renewable source. Bamboo cutting boards are easy to clean and maintain. Keep one bamboo cutting board specifically for cutting raw meat. This way you’ll have no cross contamination issues. Happy Cooking!

bamboo cutting board

Best Italian Coffee Machine for Home

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I started my search for an espresso machine after I moved out. I had started having Starbucks a little too often for my wallet to handle, and I figured I would like to have coffee to wake up in the morning. I started researching Italian coffee machines for home use for 3 weeks straight, several hours a day. I was trying to find one that was going to last me a long time. 

There are a few different styles of espresso machines.

  • Automatic
  • Semi-automatic
  • Super-automatic

I wanted one that I could still steam the milk myself, and do the dosing/tamping myself (semi-automatic). I didn’t want to just push a button and have the coffee made for me (automatic).

I began by watching videos on:

I came across one machine that was a semi-automatic and it was more of a professional grade machine. It took some time for you to get the hang of it, but once you did could achieve quality coffee for years to come

I wanted an espresso machine that was going to last me awhile. I didn’t want to just buy the cheap one and throw it out in a year or two. 

I found out the best Italian coffee machine for home use is the Rancilio Silvia. It is only manufactured in Italy. They test every machine to make sure it’s working perfectly before they send them out. The compartments are made so that any part can be replaced or fixed if needed. They want you to have this machine for a long time, it’s built to last. 

I wanted a machine that I was going to have little maintenance to do on it. I’m not one for cleaning every little thing all of the time, so this was going to have to be something I could handle but not interfere with my busy life.

After thoroughly researching the Rancilio Silvia, I discovered there was only 2 maintenance procedures that needed to be done on a regular basis:

  1. Backflushing (recommended 1 x week) 
  2. Changing the rubber gasket/cleaning screen (1x year)

When the coffee starts tasting not as good as it usually does, you should clean the screen. This will give you the aromatic flavour from your italian coffee maker that you love!

I purchased my own Rancilio Silvia in November 2012 and I absolutely love it. I had never owned a coffee maker before this so it was a steep learning curve. Watching videos and practicing daily made me be able to improve my skills and pull delicious crema for my morning coffee.

pulling espresso shot

I’m so glad I put in the time and effort to learn this machine because looking back, I never knew I was going to have this machine for years to come. 

I visited my aunt at her house 6 months after purchasing my espresso maker and I noticed that she had the exact same machine and grinder I did!! (Rocky grinder)

I had no idea she had the same one! She told me how her brother had owned the same machine as her for longer than her. My aunt at the time had already owned her Rancilio Silvia for 10 years. She still owns it today and loves it!

One thing that isn’t the greatest is that the drip tray is very short. You have to drain the tray every few days or it overflows. I try to do it every time I use the machine so I don’t have it overflow on me. I’ve had a huge mess to clean up when I’ve forgotten about it! 

One of my favourite desserts to make with my espresso machine is affogato.

homemade affogato
Homemade Affogato

Affogato is made with a couple scoops of ice cream, freshly brewed espresso and white chocolate shavings on top. It’s to die for!! 

Another dessert I like to make with my espresso machine is Espresso Ice Cream. It’s decadent and rich with flavor!

vegan espresso ice cream

I also love making iced coffee with my espresso machine. I typically add 4 pumps vanilla, 2 shots of espresso, ~6 ice cubes, and 1 cup of milk. Throw it all in a blender and enjoy your freshly made iced coffee! For an extra treat, put 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream or birthday cake ice cream for more of a creamy flavour. Yum!

If you’re looking for a new skill to learn and a coffee machine that will last you a long time, the best Italian coffee machine for home use is the Rancilio Silvia by far! You will love learning how to make coffee and maybe one day you’ll be able to create beautiful latte art with your milk steaming skills. I have not mastered this at all…. It’s been almost 8 years so maybe I’ll get there one day! 

The Best Cutting Board with Containers

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

My husband loves to prep his meals before he begins cooking anything. He makes a point of taking out all the bowls and using every single one of them for vegetables, sauces, etc. to make cooking not as overwhelming. 

I tried to get him to be a one pan kind of cook but to no avail… I’m more of a wing-it kind of cook and he’s the organized, methodical chef in the house.

I ended up searching around for a cutting board with containers that he could put all of his prepared vegetables in. I knew that this was one thing he needed to keep cooking as easy as possible. 

I managed to one particular cutting board that was:

  • Ecofriendly – made of bamboo
  • Odor and water-resistant
  • Easy to clean
  • Soaked with mineral oil – keeps water out of the bamboo making it durable

It also came with 4 trays that are dishwasher safe. The best part of all is the trays come with bamboo lids. So when he’s prepping meals the day before he can put the cut vegetables in the fridge overnight and then be ready to cook after work the next day.

I find that now the cutting board containers save us from using a ton of bowls and running the dishwasher all the time. It also saves us some countertop space so we have more area to work in. 

The cutting board we ended up going one was this large bamboo cutting board with trays.

Since the cutting board has a groove near the edges it catches the juices when we chop up vegetables and fruit, it keeps the counter much cleaner than before. 

When we’re finished with our bamboo cutting board we wipe it down with a cloth, towel dry, and hand wash the containers. This way, we’ll get the most use out of it. 

I couldn’t be happier with our new cutting board. It makes meal prep and cooking much cleaner and with less clutter on the counters. I know we’ll have this cutting board for years to come.