Cooking Save Time in the Kitchen?

I’ll bet that you have often wondered how to use a pressure cooker.

I used to too.

Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Reducing pressure using a pressure cooker? Well, it’s true.

We all have images in our minds either of real pressure cooker catastrophes that we have seen or those we have heard of. Someone we know once made spaghetti sauce in a pressure cooker or was pressure canning in the kitchen when the lid blew off of the pressure cooker and food ended up on the ceiling.

I, too, was afraid of pressure cookers. My father had told me of a time when his mother, in her small kitchen in Ireland, had a pressure cooker explode while under her care. I think that I remember seeing the stains of the accident on her kitchen ceiling when I stayed with my grandparents during a college trip to the Emerald Isle.

So I never really thought that I would venture into the world of pressure cookers.

About 8 years ago, I started on the then “next path” on my learning curve in the home. Don’t we all have learning curves? It can seem completely overwhelming to think about all of the things that we wish to change about our lives and our health and to simply do nothing. We are either afraid of the unknown, afraid of failure, or think that we will “never get there”.

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Anyway, at that point, the “next step” for me was pressure cooking. I was looking for a way to get things done in the kitchen faster and was intrigued by a cookbook author whom I had not heard about until that time. Her name is Lorna Sass. Lorna has numerous books on pressure cooking and “eco-friendly” cooking on the market and she is a fabulous cook and a great source of information when it comes to culinary issues. One of my favorite books in my cookbook library is Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen: Healthy Meals for You and the Planet.

When I “found” Lorna, our family was almost completely vegetarian, so you will notice this bent in some of her books, but she also has a number of fabulous meat based recipes.

Lorna seemed from the start to be the kind of person who “researches things to death” (kind of like me) and so when I read her recommendations for purchasing a pressure cooker, I just went ahead and purchased a Kuhn-Rikon, the brand that she recommended at the time. I did also look on the internet a bit and saw numerous articles on Kuhn-Rikon that backed up her choice, and I have never really looked back. In fact, now, we have three cookers and one of them holds 8 liters. I sometimes have all three going on our stove at once.

You can purchase these at numerous select kitchen stores, but Amazon carries a nice selection as well including this smaller Kuhn-Rikon Cooker.


Blender According to Your Needs


Most domestic blenders have between 200 and 800 Watts, however high performance blenders have much more. You can see and taste the difference – the high power is noticeable in the blending results. For instance, our powerhouse Optimum 9200A High Speed Vortex Blender boosts an incredible 2,611 Watt motor that can blend crunchy vegetables and hard fruit to a velvety consistency in around 30 seconds. It’s like the Ferrari of blenders!

RPM (rotations per minute)

The number of rotations per minute also influences the blender’s power. However, you need to know that this number is mostly a manufacturer specification and it usually can be reached only in laboratory conditions (think geek guys in white robes). These are what the engineers call “theoretical rotations per minute”, meaning the number of rotations per minute reached when the blender functions at idle speed. A much more decisive factor are the rotations per minute under load and the maximum time the blender can blend.

So how many rpm do you need to blend your favourite smoothie? Well, it depends of the ingredients. Fruit and vegetable smoothies are not a challenge and can usually be done relatively easy with most domestic blenders, even low priced ones. More challenging are the green smoothies you want to make using kale, spinach or mangold, when the target is to break the cellular walls of the plant cells. The highest nutrient value is concentrated in these cells, so these are exactly the compounds we want to break and blend.

Some engineers claim the cellular walls of the plant cells can be broken with a blender speed of 25,000 rpm. This could easily be achieved with all the appliances in the Optimum blender range: for instance, the above mentioned Optimum 9200A High Speed Vortex Blender reaches 48,000 rotations per minute, making Green Smoothies a piece of kale. I mean cake.



Ok, so we agree that a high engine power and many rotations per minute are great specs for blenders when it comes to high performance. But you always need to keep in mind the quality of the blades. Perfect results can be achieved only if the blades are arranged properly, if they are made from high-end materials and if the power transmission from the motor to the blades is flawless.


Contrary to popular belief, the blades don’t have to be sharp in a professional blender. Sharp blades are ripping and slicing nutrients and that can destroy the enzymes in the food – you don’t want that. Cheap blender brands need to make their blades sharp as their motors are very week. On the other hand, Optimum’s high-end blades are just breaking and mixing the ingredients, thus preserving enzymes in food and assuring maximum intake of nutrients.

So the power is not really in sharpness of the blades, but in the power of the motor, its speed and the way the blades are positioned.

As you can plainly see, a high-performance blender is a complex kitchen appliance – and this is exactly why it is more expensive than an usual blender.

2. Blender Jug

After focusing on technical specs and numbers, you also need to keep in mind the blender container.


Your blender jug should be very easy to clean and not take the taste or the colour of the food you’re blending (try mixing beets in your morning smoothie and you will see what we mean here). You will sometimes find blender containers made from hardened glass, like the WMF Kult Pro. However, most professional brands are avoiding this and going for the often-used plastic Tritan (Triphenylmethan). The reason glass is more and more avoided these days is simple: glass weighs significantly more and is not easy to handle; moreover, it has a high risk of breaking – for example when accidentally a metal spoon is mixed in. Glass is also more sensitive to high temperatures, so making nut butters and heating soups would be out of the question.

There’s more to being healthy than eating clean and exercising plenty. You would also want to make sure that your chosen healthy ingredients will not become potentially dangerous for you during the cooking process. High-quality blender brands are aware of this and started to act accordingly: Vitamix, Optimum Omniblend or Bianco are offering their high-end products with “BPA-free” jugs, so no trace of BPA would end up in your morning glass of healthy smoothie or juice.


Bisphenol A (or BPA, on short) is a chemical compound with an important role in the production of plastic and resin. It has been proven that, in minor quantities, BPA can merge into food and drinks, if these are stored in containers made with Bisphenol A components. The actual side effects in this case are not adequately proven, as it often happens with many controversial chemical substances. Some experts have looked into a connection between BPA exposure and many conditions and, according to certain studies, exposure to BPA, even at low and short-term doses, is linked to a number of health problems. We’ve dedicated a whole article to this and you can read more about BPA and BPA-free products here.

Optimum’s team of engineers is devoted to making their high-end blender range as safe as possible for the public. Our brand is determined to always play it safe and respect our clients’ healthy lifestyle. That is why all the blenders in the exclusive Optimum blender range come with a top-of-the-line UL, CE and FDA approved Eastman Copolyester BPA-Free jug. So you could sit back, relax and focus on your awesome ingredients, rather than on chemical compounds.


Always keep in mind the capacity of the blending container. It is shown in litres and can go from 0,25 L for personal blenders, to high filling quantities of 2 L. The last one is mostly used in professional kitchens but also when you want to make smoothies for your whole family, nut butters or cake batters.

However, you need to consider that bigger is not necessarily better and keep in mind your family or business needs. If your blender container is too big, you would need to fill it properly with ingredients, or the blender blades will not reach them. Therefore, if you want to blend for yourself or for two persons, you can use a smaller container – you can try the Optimum NutriForce Extractor , that has both a 450L and a 1L jug. However if you have a bigger family (4-6 members) or if you plan on making spreads, batters and butters for some guests, a 2L container would be perfect – you can try the 2L Eastman Copolyester BPA-Free jug that comes with the Optimum G2.1 Platinum Series.


Golf Shoe Guide:

A good pair of golf shoes is essential to allow you to enjoy your time on the course.

The majority of golfers still walk around the golf course and golf shoe manufacturers have poured significant resources into research and development to ensure you can do that in comfort whilst also assisting you to play better golf.

Pushing the limits of sole, upper, spike and water-resistant technology, today’s shoes are a key weapon in your armoury and deserve to be labelled as ‘game-improvement’ tools.

The following information will help you understand what golf shoes can offer you and assist you in finding the pair for you:

he classic spiked golf shoe offers comfort, breathability, water resistance, style and traction. Finding the right pair for you is based on personal taste and what you want the shoe to deliver.

You need to decide what it is you want from your golf shoe; a waterproof shoe? A shoe to wear in all conditions? A lightweight shoe? Colour? Soft or Metal Spikes? Whatever you need in your shoe, you will find in today’s market.

A key advantage of spiked golf shoes is the stability that it can bring to your swing through better grip and because the upper of the shoe is likely to be more stable.

Modern technology has allowed traditional shoes to develop that are both lightweight and offer the stability demanded by serious players, however there can be a trade off so bear this in mind when you buy.


baby on solid food?

When should I introduce solid food to my baby?

As long as your baby shows signs of readiness, your child’s doctor may say you can start solids any time around 4 to 6 months. Until then, breast milk or formula provides all the calories and nourishment your baby needs – and can handle. Infants don’t yet have the physical skills to swallow solid foods safely, and their digestive system simply isn’t ready for solids until they’re about 4 months old.

(Note that there’s some controversy on this topic. While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) section on breastfeeding recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, the AAP’s nutrition section and guidelines for pediatricians recommend starting solids at 4 to 6 months.)

How can I tell when my baby’s ready for solid food?

Your baby will give you clear signs when he’s ready to move beyond a liquid diet. Cues to look for include:

  • Head control. Your baby needs to be able to keep his head in a steady, upright position.
  • Sitting well when supported. Your baby needs to be able to sit uprightin an infant feeding seat or highchair to swallow well.
  • Losing the “extrusion reflex.” Your baby’s mouth and tongue develop in sync with his digestive system. To start solids, he should be able to move food to the back of his mouth and swallow it, instead of using his tongue to push food out of his mouth.
  • Significant weight gain. He may be ready to eat solids if he’s doubled his birth weight, weighs at least 13 pounds, and is at least 4 months old.
  • Curiosity about food. Your baby may begin eyeing or reaching for your food or may open his mouth if you offer him a spoonful.

Fitness for Men

No one blames you for seeing a well-muscled personal trainer at your gym and thinking, “What could that kid possibly teach me about fitness?” Just 30 years ago the field of personal training was highly unregulated. Anyone who’d spent a couple months in a gym could hang up a plaque and call themselves an expert.

But today’s personal-training industry is not what it used to be, with trainers typically boasting multiple certifications, and in some cases, degrees. So yes, they can teach you a thing or two about fitness, and you should listen. But if you’re still convinced you know it all, check out this list for the tell-tale signs it’s time to invest in a trainer of your own.