If you like to cook, you can learn a lot at Smitten Kitchen. Finally am perfecting my pizza recipes thanks to Smitten Kitchen.

Key has been to be patient and forward thinking with the dough. Get it done the night before, sometimes even make large batches of it to keep me fine for a while.

Pureeing canned tomatoes gives the ideal sauce; not quite as wet.

Pizza can be healthy and I get in the habit of making my own pizza each day. Because it's fun and I can justify putting so many things on it, and a great way to use up vegetables that are around.

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Been busy making home ice cream with the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Strawberry ice cream has been the choice of late.

Strawberry Ice Cream Ingredients:
3 cups of strawberries
2 eggs
2 cups of half and half
1 cup of whipping cream
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Recipe should work with any ice cream maker not just the ice-20 1.5 quart Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. As with any recipe you make with an ice cream maker, make sure every ingredient is as cold as possible. For this recipe, strawberries are the key in that regard.

You can have store-bought frozen strawberries or get fresh strawberries and freeze them. But you will want a food processor or blender that can cut them up after they are taken out of the freezer. You might have to wait 5 minutes or so until your processor or blender can puree them. Leave the strawberries in a bowl.

Then get the 2 eggs out and whip them until they are a thin mixture. You will then be able to add the 2 cups of half and half, 1 cup of whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the 1 cup of sugar. Stir all of that together. Then it is time for the pureed strawberries.

All of that mixed together means it is time to get your ice cream maker churning. Add this mixture and your ice cream should be finished in 15-30 minutes. That will conclude your Strawberry Ice Cream recipe.

If your consistency is too 'soupy', this likely means your ingredients or ice cream maker bowl were not frozen enough. It's not the end of the world though, you can just put the ice cream in a container and after a few hours it will be frozen good.

The design was too old and not supported by movable type any longer. Time to update.

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It's been over 3 years since we first bought the RabbitAir BioGS 421A Air Purifier, and the performance has remained exceptional.

One thing we've noticed is that you can get a lot of life out of your filters if you make a habit out of vacuuming / washing the charcoal filter and HEPA prefilter. This goes without saying, but it can be the difference between a filter lasting 9 months or 18 months. Fortunately replacement filters are cheap for the Rabbit BioGS compared to the others.

The RabbitAir BioGS 421A Purifier has been most effective on the auto-setting in rooms slightly smaller than the given coverage (600 square feet). Auto setting will start the Rabbit on high for a few minutes and then slow down to a consistent level as it manages the odor sensors. In this way, it will then do a great job of saving power / energy and taking care of odors and dust when the sensor detects changes. Even when working at full speed the machine sounds like a fan on low speed.

Having your own ice cream maker is great for so many reasons, but being able to experiment with so many recipes and ingredients is the best part.

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It's hard for a lot of people to believe ice cream can taste better than store bought, since of course that tastes good too. However modern ice cream makers can make some of the creamiest, freshest tasting ice cream imaginable. And you get to skip the preservatives, putting in whatever milk / eggs / cream / flavors you wish. According to this Vegan Scoop cookbook, Haagen Daas has nearly 20 grams of saturated fat per half cup while the Vanilla ice cream recipe in the book I have is around 1.5 grams of saturated fat per half cup! Oh, and half the sugar and 200 less calories. Anyway, vanilla almond milk is something I use for many recipes. Great flavor. A lot of times I just keep it simple with a nice Vanilla ice cream and throw in some fresh fruit in there at the end as the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is finishing.

The Cuisinart Ice 20 icecream maker has been perfect for us the last few years. The bigger Cuisinart Ice 30 BC is great too, a friend has it, but the Ice 20 is more than enough for our family of three. Since the bowl has to be frozen beforehand (more on that below), we did pick up a second bowl that was on sale. This allows us to make a second batch of ice cream after the first one is done (since of course you'd have to clean the bowl and re-freeze it).

It is imperative with any of these ice cream makers that you store the bowl in the freezer for a half a day or more (and sometimes turn down your freezer temp if the bowl is still not frozen). The cold ingredients you use should be brought out right when you need them - you want things as cold as possible if you want the ice cream served right after making it. When finished you'll want to freeze anyway to get a better consistency, but the colder the bowl / ingredients are initially the better the ice cream will be when it's immediately finished. The process only takes 25-30 minutes, and you can add fruit and other toppings towards the end.

With the weather getting nice, our cats are starting to get antsy. They spend more time in the porch area, excited to speak with their bird friends once again who have returned from hiding now that Winter is leaving us. But those thick coats are starting to shed, all over the house and on the furniture. It is time to deShed.

Before purchasing a large FURminator brush, we never felt like we could truly cleanse the cats old fur from their coat. Cat hair would continue to build up on the couches and their various sleep spots around the house. But the FURminator is different. Not only do the cats love the tool, but it is nothing short of stunning to see the quantity of cat / dog hair that is removed with the FURminator.

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Our cats and my brother's dog absolutely love these FURminator's, and when we bust the tool out they'll whine and rub their heads against it before we even start deShedding. They literally fight over who gets to use it first! Thus we bought a few blue smaller FURminators so that we could use multiple tools on them.

It might seem like you can deShed these animals all day with the FURminator, especially in the back area where hair builds up. Eventually though, you'll come to a silky smooth coat that you probably have never seen before - and your cat / dog will love you for it. Having less animal hair is great for us obviously, but your animal companions truly appreciate it, as it's more comfortable for them and takes away from potential hairballs.

In the past we found some products that looked similar to the FURminator but did not perform much better than a standard brush. After reading the reviews, and seeing the FURminator's are all 50%+ off at Amazon , we decided to give it a try. As mentioned above, it has worked so well that we bought a second smaller one a few months later to keep up with the demand from the animals!

The Medium or Large FURminator's for dogs / larger cats are generally 50-60$ but with the sale it's more like 20-25$. The smaller FURminator's for most cats are normally 35$ but just 17$ for now.

One thing I've came across in reviews is that people have mentioned that you may need to buy a replacement blade if performance of the blade declines. But we can say that our 6 month old ones, and even 1 year + FURminator are still working as they did initially.

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Amazon has put up several end of the holiday season deals, with all the gift cards doled out over Christmas. One really nice discount just went active with the KitchenAid Professional 600 series 6 quart stand mixer. Many different colors available with the cheapest being the black licorice KitchenAid 600 series mixers for 300$ with free shipping after a 50$ rebate.

Nearly 500 5 star reviews at Amazon for the 6 quart 600 series pro mixer from KitchenAid. Very similar to the quality of the 4.5 quart Artisan Stand Mixer by KitchenAid, but the 6 quarts allows for larger scale efforts (or if you just want to double the recipe). This has caught the eye of many who knead their own bread dough with their KitchenAid stand mixer, including myself, as it is easy to churn out loaf after loaf with the 600 series. The motor is unbelievably consistent and the capacity is there with the six quarts.

One big mechanical issue needs to be brought up, as it plagued the 6 quart 600 series KitchenAid mixer for some time. The gearbox used to have a plastic cover, which was problematic considering the heating element would continually wear the cover down and strip the gears. KitchenAid has since been manufacturing their 600 series pro mixers with an all-metal gearbox to solve the aforementioned issue (since early 2007).

Fall is leaving us for Winter as most people are finishing up raking / blowing their lawns in preparation for snow-fall (at least up here!) This season went well for us. Having a large yard with plenty of huge oak and ash trees usually results in a sore back from nightly raking after work.

This summer though we decided to get a head start on Fall and get a Toro Leaf Blower 51599. I like not having to charge it, despite having to venture around the yard with a cord. It's with it to be able to vacuum / blow leaves. With the vacuum function, you can take a huge pile of leaves and have them in a bag quickly. The power of this machine is something one would not expect to get from an electrical blower. Most are used to a gas blower with oil run-off and an overkill with power. The Toro provides similar power without the smell and dripping, and the cumbersome weight too.

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Big tip when using your Toro blower - avoid wet leaves. This should be common sense as any leaf blower / vacuum will get clogged, but you would be surprised at some of the reviews complaining about wet leaves ruining the machine.

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The Toro Electric Blower Vacuum is so efficient when vacuuming that your bag amount will reduce in half as opposed to raking the yard. That's not to mention the absurd amount of time you are saving being able to blower all the leaves in a pile and instantly vacuum them up. We loved the value of the Toro at the 100$ or so we spent, but with Fall season passing the Toro Blower 51599 is on sale for 69$ and free shipping at Amazon.

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Having installed a 750 sq ft. hardwood oak floor, I would advise doing it yourself since you will save hundreds / thousands of dollars. With the efficient tools at our disposal nowadays, even the most novice handyman can lay down tight hard wood floors with little problem.

After a bit of research the Bostitch MIIIFS Pneumatic Floor Stapler sounded like the most reliable, efficient floor nailer around, not to mention outrageously cheap on some eBay auctions. Normally near 1000$ it was in the 300$-400$ range. Because the Bostitch is so efficient with it's air usage you will want to have your compressor lower than you would think, around 75 PSI usually, but it depends on the wood that the staple is entering. After some practice on your part, the added experience should allow you to begin to judge what is an ideal PSI. You don't want too much pressure with your Bostitch MIIIFS because of the potential to split tongues.

With your nice new hardwood floor, you will see that caring for it is an ongoing process. You have to be careful what you use on said hard wood floors, making sure to only use hardwood-safe products as most household cleaners will damage your floors. Of course sweeping often is a necessity but I prefer to just vacuum the floors because that is more effective getting in between spots on the hardwood floor (use the attachment not the beater bar of course!) Know your finishes but in general even water you will not want to use - just get a damp mop, rung out well, and use that.

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