Create Amazing Espresso with your Espresso Machine just like a Barista

Just like a lot of people, we’re jealous of the best baristas! They have all the inside knowledge on how to make the best coffee-based beverages – espresso being one of them.

Espresso’s used in many different drinks and if you know how to master it from home, that really opens up a lot of what you can do with coffee and coffee-related beverages. You may not even need to spend more money on Starbucks.

The general guidelines on how to make great espresso is to do three things. The first is to set your extraction time at 25 seconds and not a millisecond later. Secondly, it’s recommended to use 8-10 grams of coffee per espresso shot. Lastly, a single shot should yield between 25 and 35 ml.

Although these are very general guidelines, there are some modifications advanced espresso makers can choose to make. For example, for ‘doppio’, 18-22 grams of coffee grounds can be taken to increase the serving volume to 60 ml maximum. For ‘ristretto’, the same volume used for a single shot is applied however serving size is reduced to 18 ml. For ‘lungo’, the volume is maintained at 8-10 grams however the serving size is measured at 60 ml. These elements can be played with.

If you want to get great at creating amazing espresso, you need freshly roasted coffee beans, a high quality coffee grinder, and an espresso machine. Although you can technically make espresso without a machine, an espresso machine is going to provide a more consistent taste in addition to being an easier process. Only a coffee brewer like this will provide the pressure you need to make espresso.

There are two types of espresso makers – steam-driven and pump-driven. Steam-driven espresso makers use steam pressure generated in a boiler to force water through coffee beans however unfortunately they are generally low in quality. Pump-driven espresso machines are more common, higher quality, provide the desired pressure, and have the needed water temperature for proper extraction.

When selecting your coffee beans, this is the other aspect of an amazing espresso which can go unnoticed. Select coffee beans which have been roasted ideally no more than 1-2 weeks prior, grind them and brew it immediately, and use a fine grind on your electric grinder when possible.

Buy Canada’s best espresso maker today from Canada’s own Living.ca. When you pull off your next espresso shot, we’re sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what comes out. Train your hand and equip yourself with the right tools, and that’s all it takes! Shop Living.ca today.

6 Tips on How to Throw a Party with no Stress using Party Tableware from Living.ca

It’s all too common to get overwhelmed by party planning and clean-up. All the stress surrounding a party can too oftentimes weigh us down and prevent us from wanting to do it again. For planning, execution, and a relaxing clean-up, here are a few ways to spend less time and less effort in the build-up to your big shindig.

 

Premium party tableware

 

Living.ca makes its name off of making party planning that much easier. We have premium disposable party tableware designs that look great and which will minimize clean-up. They won’t look out of place next to your bowls, dishes, and linens, and won’t appear mismatched to your theme.

 

Paperless invites

Although paper has a charm, go digital with your invitations either via email or possibly through Facebook. Paperless keeps things neat and tidy, and as people RSVP, you can have an automated list of all attendees right there for you to peruse. If you don’t choose to go the Facebook route, there are plenty of websites with luxe party invitation templates to browse.

 

Center a party around food

 

A party idea which can help cut down on the stress for you is to invite your guests over early to help you cook the recipe of what you will eat. This isn’t right for everyone however for some, it’ll be a fun way to connect and have fun.

 

Cook what you know

If you decide not to invite people over ahead of time to participate in cooking the meal, don’t cook big meals you haven’t done before. Cooking what you know, you can limit the exposure towards unexpected food developments and it’ll be one less thing you have to worry about.

 

Florals

 

Florals are easy to arrange, last longer than flowers, and are visually stunning. The perfect floral arrangement doesn’t have to cost a ton. Including berries, branches, cedar, grass, or textured greens works well as well. They make a great party centerpiece and will help to spruce up the place, without distracting.

 

Easy clean-up

Plan ahead of time as it relates to clean-up. Get empty bins set up around the house, allowing guests to toss out their own food and drink garbage. Especially if it’s a larger house party with people drinking, you don’t want to end up with a counter full of beer bottles. Instead, set up an easy way to dispose of one’s bottles, cans, and other garbage they might be holding.

 

These are just a few of the thoughtful ways to throw a premium luxe party with no stress. Shop Living.ca for premium party tableware, party accessories, and a wide range of different decorative products which may help you in your desire to throw the ultimate party!

What Coffee Machine does Starbucks Use and Can you Make it from Home – yes!

Since being founded in 1971 by a group of friends looking to launch a small business selling high quality roast coffee beans and equipment, Starbucks has become the world’s biggest coffee chain with more than 19,500 stores worldwide.

 

Starbucks coffee is very unique in both its preparation and in taste. The company has more than 20 different roasts, ranging in strength from mild to that which is ideal for everyday drinking and then the stronger drinks which have a real caffeine kick to them. This isn’t even mentioning the seasonal coffees which come through as coffee growers cultivate certain coffee beans only available at certain times of year and/or the corporation choosing to blend beans a certain way to celebrate a holiday like Christmas.

 

Beyond the beans, Starbucks is also well known for using certain equipment including premium quality coffee machines. High-performance espresso machines from the Mastrena brand, for example, are known to generate fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee. They have an exclusive partnership with Starbucks which unfortunately means the Mastrena brand is not found anywhere outside of the company’s properties.

 

Although traditional bean-to-cup machines are easier to use than a traditional espresso maker, they also don’t always produce the best coffee. That said, there are a lot of positives to using a bean-to-cup espresso machine or bean-to-cup coffee maker. They eliminate the need for a separate coffee grinder, as an example, as it’s already built into the machine. Some of the best comparable Starbucks-esque coffee machines include the JURA brand, the Sage Oracle, and the De’Longhi Magnifica. Remember when we say how these sort of bean-to-cup roasters produce less quality coffee – well, it’s true and that’s our issue.

 

If you’re serious about getting premium coffee at home, similar to Starbucks, and yet you know you’re not able to procure the same equipment as the corporation, we recommend shopping quality coffee makers and espresso machines, and buying your own electric coffee bean grinder, instead of going with a single bean-to-cup roaster. Yes, you’ll be adding on a few extra steps however you’ll also be saving $100s and at the end of the day, you’re going to get better coffee.

 

You don’t need Starbucks to get high quality coffee. Instead, shop a small, thin high quality single-cup coffee maker at Living.ca, browse our 15-bar pump espresso machine, and pick up an electric grinder. Get it all from Living.ca today and enjoy fast, free shipping to anywhere in Canada.

Top 3 Toaster Oven Settings and How to Use Them to Maximize Taste

Toaster ovens can come with functions, buttons, and settings that aren’t always clear. Trying to prepare a bagel or cook a small pizza can prove to be challenging. Thankfully, you can keep things simple with no more than 3 toaster oven settings you’ll find on pretty much any model.

Remember, the setting you choose is what controls to heating elements inside. Each preset or suggested cooking time will modify how a given food is prepared. Complicating things, a setting such as ‘cookie’ does not always know whether you’re preparing a small pan of mini-chocolate chip cookies or a larger sized one. How to best approach your toaster oven is use your best judgment and stick with these 3 basic settings.

 

Bake.

The ‘bake’ setting on a toaster oven is what you’ll use most. It’s similar to a traditional oven with heat coming from the bottom. Baking in a toaster oven usually involves it cycling or pulsing top and bottom elements, varying the intensity and helping to maintain an even temperature. After you’ve selected your temperature, preheat for 5 minutes before throwing in a pan of anything. Remember, things will usually bake faster in a toaster oven. Check on anything 5-10 minutes earlier than you normally would.

Broil.

Broil is like grilling. The heat comes from a single direction, usually from the top elements. For melting cheese, roasting peppers, making indoor s’mores, or heating up thin slices of vegetables, this is what you want. You generally won’t need to preheat your toaster oven on ‘boil’. You’ll want to use top rack placement and remember the heat’s only coming from one direction.

 

Toast.

Toaster ovens can make toast, although some do so better than others. The setting is relatively straightforward. The upper and lower elements will distribute heat, temperature is generally controlled either by the general ‘toast’ setting or manually, and rack position can be modified accordingly. The best results are usually found with the middle rack position. Toaster ovens fortunate to have ‘Light’, ‘Medium’, and ‘Dark’ settings can provide more guidance on where things need to be to make the perfect pair of toast.

 

Although the recipes might be a little different, generally, you can make almost anything in a toaster oven – at least, anything you can make in an oven. Roasted sweet potato rounds, sandwiches, and all sorts of fun. It can be overwhelming at first having to learn new recipe approaches but the differences are minimal between a large, traditional oven and a toaster oven. Purchase yours today at Living.ca.

How Does a Toaster Oven work and where you Can Find Yours at Living.ca

The first toaster oven was introduced to market in 1938. It was designed, as one can imagine, as a small oven which would cook food faster than a regular toaster. It was considered a favorable improvement over a toaster, able to heat larger amounts of food, add more ingredients, and cook meals of a greater size. But how does a toaster oven actually work – here’s the question we’re here to answer.

A toaster oven uses an electrical system of coils which heat. These coils are on the bottom and back of the toaster oven. The coils can be seen glowing in red, producing infrared heat or radiation. It’s this which heats and cooks the food, adding warmth and crunch depending on the setting selected. These coils’ heat are also reflected with nirchrime wire, which helps to radiate heat in locations of the toaster oven which does not have coils facing direct towards it.

Comparatively, a toaster oven which is a digital countertop convection oven also produces heat in a similar way, with coils heating up and with hot air which is then circulated throughout. The advantages of a convection oven includes primarily being able to cook food more thoroughly and more evenly. Due to the distance from the food and method used, in some cases, a toaster oven can cook food in as little as half the time a conventional oven can. For small meals or smaller items which need to be toasted, there’s no better way to save time and energy than a toaster oven. A toaster oven can make everything from bagels to pizza.

A huge reason why toaster ovens are so popular in Canada is because of these reasons as well as their size. Toaster ovens can fit into tight spaces, which are perfect for college students and condos. They can cook a wide variety of foods, reheat leftovers, double as a classic or traditional toaster, and also warms up frozen packaged foods. People with busy lifestyles or living in tight quarters don’t need much more than a toaster oven to ensure they get a hot meal. They’re frequently purposes in RVs and among seniors as well.

How a toaster oven works is pretty straightforward, as it turns out. Their popularity is recognized widely and as the world continues to move towards small, convenient living spaces, there’s no telling how much more popular toaster ovens may become in the decades ahead. Purchase Canada’s best toaster oven today from Living.ca, on-sale for a limited time only!

Why you Want to use a Kitchen Scale

Digital kitchen scales are used by professional cooks and bakers every day. If you’re a serious Canadian baker or cook, a kitchen scale can greatly simplify and improve upon the recipes you’re using.

Kitchen Scale from Livingbasic
Kitchen Scale from Livingbasic

Let’s say you’re making a batter to dip a piece of chicken in prior to putting it in the deep fryer. Let’s say you’re making a salad dressing and you need to get your ingredient measurements correct. Or, alternatively, let’s say you’re baking one of the most complex recipes you’ve tackled yet. For all these scenarios, you want a kitchen scale to be able to tell you correctly the amount of ingredient used. Using a kitchen scale, you won’t have to worry about unevenly baked meatballs or cookies. You won’t have to worry about pancakes or cakes turning out right. You’ll easily get your recipes right every single time. A kitchen scale is as close to a guarantee as you can get.

 

Many cooks and bakers will tell you a kitchen scale is more accurate than a measurement tool like cups. It can seem intimidating having to switch recipes from size to grams however weight’s more accurate than cups, especially when it comes to baking. In some cases, ingredients like flours can vary wildly in weight when put into a cup. That sort of thing can decide how a loaf of bread turn out. Comparatively, using a kitchen scale instead of cups will also help keep your kitchen much tidier. Between your teaspoons, tablespoons, measuring cups, liquid glass vessels, and bowls of all shapes and sizes, you won’t have all those dishes that need cleaning. So in a sense, there’s more precision, and less work to do during and after your cooking – it doesn’t get better than that.

 

The last thing we want to mention about why to use a kitchen scale is that it’s going to keep you healthier. If you need to measure food for personal health reasons, “eyeballing” it is not an accurate way to measure anything. If you’re looking to gain or lose weight for athletic reasons, alternatively, you need to know precisely how much protein, fat, sugar, and salt you’re packing in. A professional kitchen scale will make measuring chicken or salmon easy, and can help in assembling salads. All in all, you’ll have much better oversight about what’s going into your body than you ever will working with other measurement tools and/or using your eyeballs to estimate it.

 

Purchase your kitchen scale and accessories, and small home appliances from Canada’s own Living.ca today.

8 Surprising Foods you can Make in your Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is easy to underestimate. Many Canadians and people who purchase toaster ovens don’t oftentimes know how to get maximum use out of them. They may just see them as a smaller version of your oven. There’s a lot you can do with a toaster oven though that can give them tremendous value. Here are some ideas!

 

Roasted almonds

Almonds can be tossed in a sweetener of some kind like a maple syrop, honey, or sugar, and then sprinkled with some spices of your choosing like a cinnamon or salt. Toss them into your toaster oven, let them toast on a single layer, and pull them out when you’re ready to munch!

 

Chicken nuggets

Because of their small size, toaster ovens heat up way faster than a traditional oven does. Throw in some chicken nuggets and cook them for an identical time you would in your regular oven. Within a half-hour, you’ll have the nuggets you desire.

 

Small pan of cornbread

If you’re quick and smart about it, you can make some cornbread in your toaster oven. Ensure the recipe you’re using is toaster oven specific. As you modify the size and shape of cornbread and/or related bread-based dishes, cooking time will have to adjust as appropriate.

 

Glazed salmon

Toaster ovens are a great weapon when cooking up some glazed salmon or any number of the various fancy fish recipes out there. Like chicken, fish cooks quickly which makes them an ideal food to have in a toaster oven.

 

Roast chicken

That’s right, you can roast a chicken in a toaster oven if you know how to wield the controls correctly. Consult with any of the numerous recipes available online for ideas on where to get started.

 

Garlic-roasted green beans

Green beans don’t need to be cooked which makes them ideal to heat and bake in a small toaster oven. It doesn’t take long for green beans to heat to their center and so, spice them as you like. Then, roast them until they look good to go.

 

Bacon

Yes, you can cook bacon in your toaster oven. Just remember they drip if they’re not contained so be sure to lay out your strips on a tray of some kind. Due to the size, you won’t be able to make a whole tray of bacon but it’s enough to help fill you up when you’re eating for one.

 

Sausage and peppers

Italian sausages in a bed of slice onion and peppers topping a tray to be put into your toaster oven is a fun treat. Please note you’ll have to pull out the tray a couple times throughout your roast to stir so that nothing burns.

 

Living.ca has small kitchen appliances such as toaster ovens, deep fryers, pressure cookers, sous vides, and more. Visit Canada’s own Living.ca for more information on where you can see Canada’s best small appliances.