We Let the Kids Pick the Apartment We Would Move to in Minnesota

I put in for a transfer to one of our corporate facilities that was offering more vertical opportunities and was in need of a technical expert like myself. The first move was more of a lateral position, but it paid quite a bit more than my present job. I was hesitant when the company made me an offer, but when they said they would pay moving expenses, my wife and I agreed I should accept it. The kids did not want to move, so we asked what kind of place would make them want to. They showed us the www.cedarsedina.com website for the Cedars at Edina apartments in Minnesota telling us they would move if that was where they could live.

The swimming and the fact that the place was pet-friendly were the top two things on their list. The very top was us being able to bring Clarence, our cat, along with us. She, yes Clarence is a she and super friendly. Continue reading

Great Place to Live for This Contract Worker

I had to look into apartments near ballantyne in Charlotte NC due to accepting a one year contract to do some information technology work for a local company. They offered some assistance in finding a place to live, but also offered to pay for the rent. The latter, I felt, meant a lot more than having your living quarters assigned to you. It meant I could look around and pick a really nice place to live, something that would match my lifestyle and also be located close to work, restaurants, and other entertainment options. I thought it would be easy to find a place.

It was actually more difficult than I thought it would be. There are many great living arrangements in the city, and surprisingly more than a few were fairly close to the area I needed to live in. Continue reading

She is Happy Here with Us

My husband was married for nearly ten years before he got a divorce. The two have a young daughter who is now 14 years old. When her father and I were first married, she had a real hard time adjusting to the fact that her father had a new wife. We definitely had our growing pains as a family, but I love that girl with all of my heart. When we started looking at luxury apartments in Asheville NC, I wanted to make sure that his daughter felt like this was her home too even though she would only be with us periodically through the year since her mother has full custody.

The apartment that I found at The District is absolutely perfect for our small family. Because I want her to feel welcome but also be able to maintain her privacy, I really like that her bedroom is on one end of the apartment while ours is at the other end. Continue reading

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Fresh Roasted Coffee Facts

Depending on the day, coffee is either the number one or two most consumed beverage in the world. It is enjoyed daily by hundreds of millions of people in virtually every country around the globe.

Many fresh roasted coffee lovers have no idea how their favorite morning cup of coffee is ‘made’. This article briefly explains the process of roasting gourmet coffee beans and how those wonderful flavors and aromas’ get into your morning cup!

It takes around fifteen to twenty minutes to roast gourmet coffee beans using a typical small commercial gas roaster. The usual rule-of-thumb is the quicker the roast, the better the coffee.

Short roasting retains the largest percentage of the gourmet coffee bean’s aromatic properties. Slow roasting gourmet coffee beans results in the beans baking and usually prevents them from developing fully. Also slow roasting normally won’t produce bright roasts and typically makes the beans hard instead of brittle even after the color standard has been attained.

Gourmet coffee beans have varying degrees of moisture when they are green or raw. The best fresh roasted coffee is created by first starting the roasting process with a slow fire until some of the moisture has been driven out of the bean. If too much heat is used at the beginning of the roasting process there is a high risk of “tipping” or charring the little germ at the end of the bean which is the most sensitive part of the bean.

Kissing The Cheeks” of a gourmet coffee bean is caused by loading too many beans in the roasting cylinder at one time and revolving the roasting cylinder too fast. This causes some of the beans to ride the cylinder walls for a complete revolution instead of falling off the sides into the cylinder as it revolves. As a result one face of the gourmet coffee bean gets burned or ‘kissed’.

There are no universal standards for coffee roasting. Because roasting is part ‘art’, a roaster will develop a personal blend and roast combination and establish that blend/roast combination as a sample ‘type’ to be used as the in-house standard the next time a batch of that blend/roast is roasted. Coffee drinker’s tastes run the entire gambit of roasting possibilities, from light roasted to extremely dark roasts.

Many roasters use the following roasting classifications:

  • Light
  • Cinnamon
  • Medium
  • High
  • City
  • Full City
  • French
  • Italian

A city roast is a dark roasted bean. A full city roast is a few degrees darker yet. A French roasted bean is cooked until the natural oil appears on the surface. And an Italian roasted bean is roasted until it is carbonized so it can be easily powdered.

In the United States, lighter roasted beans are favored on the west coast, the darkest roasts are enjoyed in the south and a medium-colored roast is the primary roast enjoyed on the east coast. Coffee drinkers in Boston especially enjoy cinnamon roasted coffee.

Coffee loses weight during the roasting process. The amount of weight lost varies according to the degree of roasting and the nature of the bean. Green beans, on average, loose sixteen (16%) percent of their weight during the roasting process. Typically one hundred pounds of coffee in the cherry produces twenty-five pounds in the parchment. One hundred pounds in parchment produces eighty-four pounds of cleaned coffee. And one hundred pounds of cleaned coffee produces eighty-four pounds of fresh roasted coffee.

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The Sweet Health Benefits Of Sour Foods

As a young man, I remember my grandmother trying to give me sauerkraut for dinner once and making the worst face possible in response to which my grandmother laughed and said, “Sauerkraut is not only good, it’s good for you!” When I tell my patients about sauerkraut as a health food, they make almost that same funny face! Recently, however, it turns out that grandma’s words were correct – sauerkraut has a surprising health benefit to it as do other fermented foods. In fact, a group of Polish women were recently studied for their rates of breast cancer. The group who ate a lot of sauerkraut had very low rates of breast cancer.

Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, olives, pickles, sourdough bread have been around for a long time. They were created to help food keep longer using a natural fermentation process called lacto-fermentation. In this process, beneficial lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria (the kind that live in your gut and help digest your foods) convert the starch and sugar in foods to lactic acid. The lactic acid acted as a preservative so refrigeration was not necessary and food had a long shelf life.

A surprising, little known health benefit about these fermented foods was then discovered. It seems that the same fermentation process that both preserves and gives these foods their distinctive sour-tangy taste are also higher in vitamins and actually help your digestion, remove excess saturated fats and cholesterol, and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy.

In fact, these good bacteria present in naturally fermented food have recently started popping up all over television ads and health food articles as “probiotics” which restore and maintain your intestinal flora, i.e., the level of good bacteria in your gut. In case you didn’t know this, your large intestine, the place that houses all these beneficial bacteria, is the very seat of your immune system. When your beneficial bacteria levels are optimal, you have a healthy immune system strong enough to ward off infections and other diseases.

Many fermented foods, like olives, also contain good Omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial in reducing inflammation throughout your body.

Not All Sour Foods Are Naturally Fermented

When I tell my patients about naturally fermented superfoods, they say, great I’ll pick up some at the grocery store! However, most canned sauerkraut, pickles, greek olives on the shelves, and buttermilks, yogurts, and kefir in your dairy section of your grocery store may not have been created through a natural fermentation process and may not contain the live bacteria.

In fact, many of these grocery store varieties of sour-tasting dairy foods are pasteurized, and the canned-shelf varieties can get their sour taste through the addition of vinegar (a fermented food in itself) and/or certain preservative-grade minerals like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added to extend shelf life. Most have lactic acid added to them rather than it developing naturally in the fermentation process described above. However, even these grocery store varieties of “fast” fermented foods give some health benefits in addition to their vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, etc, just not as much as naturally fermented that contain the live culture.

Unless your local grocery store has a special section for refrigerated health foods, you likely will have to go to a health food or natural foods store to get real, naturally fermented,

Lose Weight Successfully With a Fitness Journal

If you want to lose weight or you’re just interested in getting in shape, a fitness journal can be your key to success.

Much like a personal diary a journal is the one place where you can share all of your dreams and goals and at the same time create a plan to make those aspirations a real part of your life.

I’m sure by now, you know that in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. Keeping a fitness journal can be a fun way to assess your current eating and exercise habits and formulate a strategy to reduce calories while increasing your physical activity.

Start your fitness journal by recording your current weight and measurements, if you like, you can even add a current photo of yourself. This is your starting point, so make sure you take the time to complete this important step. Months from now when your body is changing, you’ll be able to look back and see how much you have achieved. Once this base is established it will provide the motivation you need to keep you going.

Motivation or the lack thereof, can be the driving force behind your exercise program or the biggest obstacle in your efforts to lose weight. As a personal trainer who specializes in women’s fitness, I have found that women who keep a fitness journal have a far greater chance of success than those who do not.

You see a fitness journal makes you accountable for your weight loss plan. Once you’ve established your starting point and written down your goals, you’ll want to make some time everyday to record everything you eat and drink. That means everything. You many even be surprised when you realize how much food you consume.

Once you begin coming face to face with your food consumption, you’ll be able to determine which foods to keep in your diet and which foods you need to replace with healthier substitutes. There is a certain connection that your brain will make when you put pen to paper and become responsible for your own health. It’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that you are eating a somewhat healthy diet when you keep these thoughts locked away in your mind.

Along with recording your eating habits, you’ll want to write down your daily physical activities. Are you exercising regularly? For optimum women’s health you’ll need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for 6 days of the week. You can use your journal to determine your fitness level and increase it gradually for best results.

Challenge your fitness workout by making goals each week. For instance, you could set a goal to add more weights to your exercise program or to take longer walks, swim more laps, take a spinning class or learn to play tennis. The secret is to write down anything and everything that will keep you motivated to exercise regularly and eat healthy.

You can get the body that you desire, all it takes is a desire to succeed followed by a commitment to see it through. But the good thing is you don’t have to do it by yourself. Faithfully keeping your fitness journal will keep you focused on your goals and give you the motivation you need to excel.

Building Fitness Requires Muscle and Nutrition

If people are at all aware of what is going on around them, then they also have heard that building fitness in their body is an important way to assure good health, even as they move through the aging process. However, there still is a common misunderstanding that people have about being skinny and equating this to being in good physical condition. Continue reading

How to Brew a Great Cup of Coffee Every Time

Coffee is truly one of the pleasures of life. Not only can it pick you up in the afternoon, but the taste can be pure enjoyment. First, though, you need to know a few things in order to brew a great cup of coffee in your own home.

Beans

Great-tasting coffee starts with the best beans and a good coffee grinder. The burr type of grinder is the best. It can operate at slower speeds so your coffee beans are not subject to heat buildup as they are being ground.

With good coffee beans, a burr grinder, and an above average coffee maker, you can make a great cup of coffee at home that equals anything bought at a coffee house. The only other expense you will experience is any syrups or creamers you choose to put in. You’ll still be saving a lot of money by making your coffee at home.

What are the best beans to buy? What’s the difference between arabica and robusta, the two basic coffee species?

Arabica

There are two basic coffee variants: one is the traditional arabica, and the other is robusta coffee.

The shrubs that produce arabica coffee beans were said to have been planted by the descendants of the Queen of Sheba, who came from Ethiopia, where Coffea arabica originates. Arabica beans tend to have less caffeine and milder flavor than robusta. In fact robusta coffee beans have twice the caffeine.

Arabica coffee beans are considered to be superior in quality than robusta. All gourmet coffee beans are created from selected Arabic coffee beans.

Robusta

Robusta is used as an inexpensive substitute for arabica in commercial coffee blends and in almost all instant coffee products. Robusta of finer quality are used in espresso blends for a foamy effect and for better affordability.

High quality robusta is also used to blend espresso for more bite, and to lower costs. Robusta can be grown in climates and environments were arabica would not be profitable.

Not all robusta coffee is less expensive. Some robusta blends include the very popular Jamaican Blue Mountain and the Hawaiian Kona coffees which are so much in demand that they command a higher price.

Most Italian coffee is brewed very strong from the lower quality robusta bean, which might suggest why Italy gave us such innovations as cappuccino (coffee with steamed milk) and flavored coffees

Conclusion

There’s more to enjoying a good cup of coffee than grinding some beans, throwing them into a coffee maker, and drinking the result. To be able to truly enjoy a cup of coffee, start with a burr coffee grinder, an above-average coffee maker, and experiment with different flavors and blends of the best gourmet coffee.

It is Easy to Follow Simple Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe

Baking used to be something which was popular and almost every girl was taught how to bake and cook. These days it seems that the art of baking is fading away and many people find it difficult to manage even the simplest cooking. This is why I was glad to see my nephew trying out some baking in the holidays and he produced some amazing results by following an easy clotted cream recipe along with a homemade toffee apples recipe. This is the simplest pear and Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe which he perfected. Continue reading

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