Friday, August 12, 2022

Review of Cultures for Health Heirloom Starters of Yogurt

 Here's a quick mini review:

Ever hear of Mesophilic yogurts?  Those are yogurts you can culture on the countertop at room temperature.  I tried four different mesophilic yogurt cultures from Cultures for Health.  I was super excited to try a yogurt that easy where you just culture it on the countertop.

Sadly, I decided that I didn't like any of them (Villi, Filmjolk, Matsoni, Piima) because of their watery consistency.  They thickened up very well when cultured but that thickness just didn't remain when spooned into my just melted, kind of similar to what happens to gelatin.  When eating them there was no mouthfeel of typical yogurt. It is hard to describe but all of them were just missing something.  I was super bummed.

If I was going to try another meso yogurt, I think it would be Amasi, Halsofil, or Bollnasfil from Positively Probiotic and make it with half and half.  But honestly, if I wasn't happy with any of the above four that I have already tried, I am pretty doubtful that I want to venture into any more mesophilic cultures right now.

What about you?  Is there any mesophilic starter you can recommend?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Best Dishwashers 2022

Buying dishwashers can be tricky.  Currently, the delays and shortages were hard to work around as we bought a new dishwasher. Here are some tips:

1. Buy from your local appliance store. When you visit an appliance store you can handle and compare the appliances and really get a feel for which ones are top quality. Buying from a local appliance store also means you can walk out with the appliance.

2. Do not buy from LG or Samsung. Supposedly, LG and Samsung do not pay their repairman, and so it is difficult to find someone to do repairs under their warranties. LG's LDFN4542W was at the top of my list until I learned about repairman refusing to service them under warranty.

3. Buy with whatever credit card has the best purchase protection and warranty extension. (I recommend Costco's Citi Visa with 120-day purchase protection and 2-year extended warranty.) The reason why I say this is because dishwashers are now considered disposable. All the companies I researched had a one-year parts & labor warranty. Using a credit card with a good extended warranty means you can feel more secure laying down more money for a dishwasher.  If you don't have a credit card with these options, then I would say buy the least expensive quality dishwasher you can find (just not LG or Samsung).

#1 Dishwasher: Maytag MDB8959SKW. This dishwasher was not even on my list until I visited the local appliance store. Upon opening it and inspecting the inside, I could tell it was very solidly built and high quality. It's third rack is a major game changer. I chose this Maytag over Bosch's 800 series because its third rack has so much more room, and the racks move smooth like butter. And dishes come out so dry! $899  I feel like a queen using it.

Best Washing Machines 2022

 This post is mostly for me so I don't forget the info.

I've been searching for a washing machine that completely covers the clothes with water.  I am done with the HE water skimping washers that take hours of washing in order to get clothes sufficiently clean.

Here are the top three:

  1. Speed Queen TC5, specifically AWN632SP116TW02:  Built to have a 25 year life, this washer fills all the way till full.  It has true water temperature and a 5 year parts and labor warranty.  It is built with commercial grade parts (including all metal gear transmission) and has a fast (32:40 on heavy cycle), aggressive wash.  It is basic, no frills washing machine designed to clean well and fast and last!  Expect to pay about $1449.  Yep.  Ouch.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Calphalon vs Circulon Bakeware: Best Nonstick Muffin Pan

When it came time to replace my muffin pan, I just couldn't narrow it down to one and so I ended up buying two different brands; Calphalon and Circulon.

The judging criteria really came down to four features, in order of importance: nonstick ability, quality & features, warranty, and price.

  • First batch (Cinnamon Bran) came out with three turns of the pan.  Second and third batch (Choco-Nut Bran and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit.  There was some residue on the pan which doesn't wipe away easily but washes off easily.  This means that you need to wash the pan in between batches of muffins.
  • This pan is beautiful and matte in appearance.  It is heavy duty and very sturdy.
  • Simply Calphalon's warranty is for 10 years, as long as you follow the company's use and care directions.  I have filed a successful claim with Calphalon fry pans so I know that the company honors their guarantees.
  • At $24.99 this a pretty pricey muffin pan.
  • Nonstick ability: First batch (Cinnamon Bran) come out with one turn of the pan.  Second and third batch (Choco-Nut and Huckleberry Bran) came out after holding the pan upside down and shaking a bit.  There was some residue on the pan with all batches which wiped away easily.  This means that you can quickly wipe the pan and continue baking another batch without having to hand wash in between batches.
  • This pan is beautiful and shiny in appearance.  It is very smooth though not as sturdy as the Simply Calphalon.  It does have a dedicated holding lip for taking in and out of the oven easily.
  • As long as you follow the company's use and care directions, this muffin pan falls under Circulon's lifetime guarantee.  Though it is worth noting that "wear and tear" is one of the warranty's exclusions.  Calphalon's warranty covers wear and tear so I would be wary that Circulon might claim that a muffin pan loosing its nonstick ability falls under "wear and tear".  I called the Circulon company for more details on how long the nonstick feature is supposed to last and she said 15-20 years.  But she also said that they evaluate claims on a case by case basis and that these claims need to have pictures as proof.
  • At $14.99 this is a pretty reasonable price.  And I have seen Circulon going on sale more frequently than Calphalon.
So which one would I recommend?