Don’t Make These Mistakes Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

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Cup of coffee and coffee beans
Love a hot cup of coffee!

Coffee; there’s nothing like it, whether when waking up to a breakfast of toast made with homemade bread, taking a social break, of settling a satisfying dinner. It seems so easy but many people make these following mistakes when brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

Using Water from the Faucet

Tap water can be full of impurities and various minerals. This is not to say that it will make you sick, but there is a strong possibility that it will throw the flavor of your java off and deposit scale in your coffee pot. Instead of using tap water, use bottled spring water or filtered water.

Purchasing Pre-Ground Beans

OK, in today’s busy world, you might not want to take the time to grind up some beans in the morning. Just grind it before you go to bed the night before. It will still be great in the morning. Why is this important? Many of the aromas contained in coffee are volatiles. This means they are in a gas form and they are imprisoned in the cells of the beans. But when you grind the beans, these gasses are liberated. Ground coffee from the store, whether it is Free Trade or not, has lost aromas 40 times faster than whole beans by the time you see it. This is why a home grinder is a must-have.

What Kind of Grinder? I’m Confused.

There are basically two kinds of coffee grinders, blade grinders and burr grinders. The blade models have just that–blades, similar to your blender. Of course they are the less expensive of the two.  

Burr grinders utilize two revolving abrasive surfaces (the burrs), in between which the coffee is ground, a few beans at a time. Coffee aficionados will pick burr grinders over blades every time. The reason is that that the beans are ground in a uniform size, the machine is sturdier and will last longer, and you have more control over your grind than you do with a blade. I use the Capresso 560.01 Infinity. It has commercial-grade solid conical steel burrs with advanced cutting design. And the price is reasonable.

Using a Cold Coffee Cup/Mug

This one is a no-brainer, right? There is no sense in having a hot beverage if you are just going to pour it into a container that is going to cool it off. So pre-heat your cup!

You can either pour boiling water into it or pour cold water into it and microzap it for 45 seconds or so. Either way you will be off to a good start. I once worked with a fellow who had a small heated coaster on his desk to keep his brew hot since he drank it sloooowly.

Not Using the Correct Sugar and Milk

OK, if you’ve made it this far in the article, you are serious about your cuppa Joe. There’s no point in not doing it right all the way. Now, I am a stickler about drinking mine black and strong but I realize that many of you like the milk and sugar thing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as Seinfeld would say.)

As far as the sugar goes, raw sugar (turbinado sugar) simply tastes better than white sugar. As for milk, put away the skim, nonfat, or 2% stuff; it will just water down your brew. Instead opt for whole milk or half-and-half. It won’t add that much cholesterol to your diet. If that’s a concern, ask your doctor about statins. A good cup is worth it.

Storing Coffee Beans in the Wrong Place

A popular misconception is that the freezer is a good place to store your coffee beans and grounds. That might sound logical but it doesn’t work that way, no matter what Grandma said.

Ideally they should be stored in a cool, dry place. They will remain in tip-top shape for 1-3 weeks in your pantry if you should store them in an airtight opaque container. They degrade quickly in the presence of light, heat, or oxygen.

So there you have it. Following these tips will ensure that you don’t make the most common mistakes brewing the perfect cup of coffee. And it never hurts to buy organic coffee beans.


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How Blood Pressure Medication Affects Your Running

Middle-of-the-pack marathon runners
Middle-of-the-pack marathon runners
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It’s a popular misconception that being a regular runner can get high blood pressure down into the normal range. Certainly it can help by keeping you at a favorable weight, but most experts agree that exercise alone can only drop the blood pressure 10 or so mm Hg in most people. If you are genetically programmed for high blood pressure, this alone may not be enough to do the trick.

I didn’t realize this. When my doctor told me I had hypertension I said, “But doc, that can’t be; I run almost every day and at least one marathon a year.”

He said, “You have been misinformed, my friend. That kind of exercise can help but it’s not a panacea. If it is in your genes, it’s in your genes. Wer’e going to try medication.

Lisinopril is My Hypertension Drug

Lisinopril tablet, 40 Mg
Lisinopril tablet, 40 Mg

There are many high blood pressure drugs on the market. Many of these are now generic which is a good thing because once you are on them, you are likely on them for the long haul and generic-ness reduces the cost. Since it is generic, you might have also heard the brand names Zestril, Prinivil, and Qbrelis. Same stuff, different Big Pharma company.

Different meds may work differently. This one is classified as an ACE inhibitor. It does its deed by reducing the production of angiotensin II, which relaxes arterial muscles and enlarging arteries. When your blood pressure lowers, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.

 The arteries supplying your heart with blood also enlarge while being treated with ACE inhibitors. This increases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart which further improves the ability of your heart to pump blood.

How Lisinopril Affects My Running

Beginning this treatment was a tough pill to swallow (excuse the pun). One of the side effects is a persistent cough which I’ve gotten used to but during races or on the trails I get some odd looks like, are you contagious with something?

It also makes me lethargic all day which translates to a slower pace. Well, that excuse certainly takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? Also, larger, more flexible arteries make for more more blood flow making for a lower heart rate. This is fine for a run of three miles or less but over that it’s not good — once I stop.

I found out just how bad this could be after doing a 10K in the Texas Bridge Series. It was a hot day and I felt fine while running. But a couple of minutes after the (thank God) finish line I was standing in line for food and something cold to slug down.

I began to feel really woozy. Not sick, not nauseous, just light-headed. My vision began to go in and out. It was just the amount and rate of blood still pumping while my muscles had stopped crying out for all that oxygen-toting flow. I see it as meds being an artificial way to regulate the body they just don’t allow adjustment as quickly as “normal” feedback. But I held my place in line and after sitting on the grass and chowing down for about 15 minutes I was OK again. Lesson learned? I now take my meds after a workout, not before. And immediately following a run I walk for up to a mile instead of just standing still as part of my running recovery routine.

Other Blood Pressure Meds Side Effects

Besides the cough and feeling lethargic, I also get these odd but unimportant fleeting back pain. After even a short run my shoulders feel tired and a bit sore. Some people develop headaches, insomnia, anxiety,  and nasal congestion. I have been spared those but chalk it up to still running, recovering, and stretching. Almost every freakin’ day.

So am I happy with how blood pressure medication affects my running? No, not at all. But as my doctor told me, “Young man, it beats the hell out of having a stroke or a cardiac event.” My BP yesterday was 91/67. Maybe too low.


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Rainwater Harvesting 101

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Rainwater harcesting or rainwater collection
A typical rainwater harvesting barrel

Rainwater harvesting or rainwater collection as some call it has been gaining in popularity. There was a time when folks didn’t think much about using water. After all, it is inexpensive and flows from the tap; in our society hauling it home from a well or stream is the stuff of nostalgic folklore.

But that is not the case in many parts of the world. And since we now revel in global awareness, the availability of potable water has become a push-button issue among the green conscious folks among us.

In some parched parts of India men take on an additional spouse whose duty is to transport water from the source to the dwelling–it is a full time job. These “water wives” are often widows or single mothers wishing to “regain respect” in their communities. He notes that they usually do not share the marital bed and often live in separate apartments.

Minimizing Our Use of Potable Water

In our efforts to lower out consumption of tap water we have already trended towards the new normal; in the mid-’90s water conservation laws came into effect, creating the much-dreaded “low-flow” toilet. We also now have low-flow showers (dang it).

Still, it does seem wasteful to expend processed, fluoridated tap water to do things like water the lawn and flower beds. Besides, plants prefer the pH of rain over tap water. Win, win. That is where rainwater harvesting comes in. For residential use it is fairly straightforward. All you really need is a barrel with a screen on top. The water comes from the gutters on the roof line.

A rainwater collection barrel with a mesh filtering screen

How to Install a Water Harvesting Barrel

The good news for homeowner is that installing the system is simple and calls for few tools. The one pictured above is an Ivy 50 gallon barrel that I installed at my home this week. Online it lists for $89 but the small city that I live in teamed up with them for a bulk order for a deep discount.

The installation only took about 2 hours. The steps were as follows:

  1. Grade the ground level under the rain gutter downspout.
  2. Place 4 cinder blocks where the barrel will reside.
  3. Place the barrel on the blocks and measure up on the downspout approximately 8 inches from the lip of the barrel lid and use a square to mark a line on the front and sides of the downspout.
  4. Cut it off at this line. You can use a hacksaw but I used a small Dremel saw with a metal-cutting blade. It’s prettier and easier.
  5. Install the diverter (not included in the kit but just a few bucks at Home Depot) on the end of the now cut-off downspout. I used self-tapping screws and a cordless drill with a #2 Phillips bit.
  6. Place the barrel on the cinder blocks so that the diverter is over the lid of the barrel. Secure the lid to the barrel with zip-ties.
  7. Install the plastic cap on one side of the barrel and the overflow tube on the other side. These access ports are just under the lid sticking out from the barrel.
  8. Screw the tap into the bottom front of the barrel being careful not to cross thread it.
  9. The barrel must be secured to the exterior wall of your home or braced up somehow to prevent it from falling over. In the designer’s wisdom the barrel is wider at the top than it is at the bottom. In the image below you can see how I used Tapcon screws to secure a metal angle bracket to the brick. I had to drill the existing holes in the bracket bigger to accommodate the screw on one side and the bungee cord on the other. If we get some really bad weather (like a hurricane) I will add some heavy wire to back up the bungee cord.

Angle bracket with Tapcon screw and bungee cord

Where you live and how much collected water that you use makes a huge impact on how you set up your rainwater harvesting system. A 50 gallon barrel will do me just fine here in South Texas. But if you live in, say, the Pacific Northwest you can expand your system. Just add another barrel and connect it to the side where you placed the plastic cap on the port in step 7.


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Do Social Networking Sites Have an Agenda?

Social Networking, a Blessing and a curse.
Social Networking, a Blessing and a curse.
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This post was updated on 8/12/18.

Social networking sites have come to have a huge impact on the lives of most everyone who is connected. In the grand scheme of things this digital behemoth is a relatively new phenomenon. And yet we have come to take it all for granted and until recently we assumed it was all benign. Perhaps it is time to rethink that.

Facebook Betrayed Our Trust

Facebook is the big guy on the block. It hosts 2,230,000,000 monthly visitors. In 2017 it generated 40.65 billion dollars in sales/revenue. Friends, this is big business. Very big business.

These are not just the culmination of small-time hustles. As we recently found out, in 2014, the U.K. affiliate of U.S. political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica employed a Soviet-born American researcher, Aleksandr Kogan. His task was to gather profile information of Facebook users along with what they chose to “Like.”

All told, 300,000 Facebook users, some of whom were paid a small amount, downloaded Kogan’s app, called This Is Your Digital Life, which presented them with a series of surveys. Kogan harvested data not only of those users but also on their Facebook buddies. As it turned out, 87 million users were misled and their personal data was exposed. The data was never meant to be used for “research” purposes as claimed. It was used to influence politics.

Alex Jones of Infowars Banned

Alex Jones is the head honcho at Infowars, a commentary/show known to advance some kooky conspiracy theories as well as hawking supplements. He is not a dangerous fellow and not many people take him seriously; they see him as the internet version of the National Enquirer.

However, the problem is that Social platforms such as Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube are decidedly left-leaning and saw him as a threat. They have banned him for violating their hate speech policies. Fair enough. 

Patriot Depot

Where things get dicey is when the shoe is on the other foot. Not a thing is done, for example about the YouTube video of Maxine Waters inciting mob violence targeting conservatives and those working in the Trump administration. We could go on and on about the double standard, even to the point where the coddle Democratic Socialism.

YouTube Puts its Boot On Dennis Prager

Do you know who Dennis Prager is? Besides being a syndicated radio talk host and best-selling author he is also one of the world’s leading scholars on the Torah (the Old Testament for you gentiles). He also produces a collection of videos called PragerU. These videos are a combination of opinion, historical facts, and corroborated research.

Although these videos are not hateful nor an incitement to mob violence as Maxine Water’s are (her liberal rantings are sacrosanct to YouTube), YouTube continues to censor more and more of this material because it is (hold your breath) conservative.

This is how Ben Shapiro explains it, “For more than two years, YouTube has continued to restrict access to more and more of PragerU’s educational videos – simply because they present a conservative point of view. There are currently over 80 PragerU videos that are restricted – more than double the amount of restricted videos since filing our lawsuit against YouTube. Silicon Valley giants like YouTube continue to censor the ideas they don’t agree with. They promote their Leftist ideology and restrict conservative speech.”

I don’t really care which side of the fence you are on; is this really the America you want? Where some millionaire purveyors of social media (that makes them a BIG part of the 1%) decides what we can see and what we can’t? Not the government, not your HOA, not your mommy and daddy, not Antifa, but citizens like you and me?

Social Networking Driving Political and Cultural Change

Given the way the social networking machine silences the right and hands a bullhorn to the progressive left, it is not a huge leap to conclude that they are using their platforms to effect political and social change.

Journalistsresource.org tells us, “The largest and perhaps best-known inquiry into this issue so far is a 2012 study published in the journal Nature, A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization, which suggested that messages on users’ Facebook feeds could significantly influence voting patterns. The study data — analyzed in collaboration with Facebook data scientists — suggested that certain messages promoted by friends “increased turnout directly by about 60,000 voters and indirectly through social contagion by another 280,000 voters, for a total of 340,000 additional votes.”

This is what it has come to. The Democrat party is floundering and without fresh ideas and fresh faces they feel compelled to use the censorship vs promote game to keep some skin in the game.

The conclusion? Social networking sites have an agenda. Do not be fooled into thinking that they are providing some kind of altruistic public service. They serve their masters on the left and sheeple are buying into it.


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Top Training and Weight Loss Apps

Myfitnesspal App Screenshot

How many times have you heard, “There’s an app for that!” It’s true; the market is flooded with them for everything from generating prime numbers to identifying flowers. The problem is that some of them are pure junk that just take up space on your phone. With that in mind, here are the top training and weight loss apps. We’ve done the research for you so you won’t have to.

MyFitnessPal

Perhaps the best thing about the MyFitnessPal app is its vast database of more than one million foods, listing counts of calories, macros, and other nutrients.Whether you are on a diet for weight loss or you are just getting the best bang for your buck to fuel your next grueling workout, this app has your back. It can also guide you in setting the applicable weight loss goals that are based on your current weight, how many pounds you are looking to lose, and your present exercise level.

Waterlogged

Hydration is one thing that we don’t always pay enough attention to. Sometimes we just don’t feel thirsty and that’s fine if you are just going to drive home after work. But if you have an afternoon workout planned instead, this can be a bad thing. Waterlogged lets you set reminders at scheduled times or at random intervals to swig more water and track of how well you are at meeting your daily drinking goals.

Talkspace

Talkspace aims its focus on the mental side of your life. Face it, you might be down because you are not meeting your goals. You may be peeved off because that cruel taskmaster of a boss is ruining your workouts by imposing seemingly random work schedules and slamming you with impromptu overtime. Whatever. You just need to vent. This app gives you access to professional counseling anywhere, 24/7.

My Asics

This app is a wonderful planning tool. It will create a training plan for a specific upcoming event. In doing this it takes into consideration your current fitness level and personal goals. And no, you don’t have to be running in Asics for this to work although it is a clever marketing move.

Happy Scale

As handy as they are, weight scales don’t really give you your “true” weight, because it does not take into consideration the state of your hormonal fluctuations or whether you are carrying more poundage due to constipation or water retention. Happy Scale strives to take these fluctuations out of your weight measurements and that makes makes for a nice, smooth curve if you are graphing it.

BioForce HRV

Have you considered your heart rate variability? This is defined as the fluctuations in the amount of time between each heartbeat. Knowing it is important because this metric is a marker of your body’s current stress levels and exercise recovery status.

Too much fluctuation indicates fatigue, and BioForce HRV uses these numbers to determine just how hard you can effectively work out. “I’ve used this for years,” Men’s Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, Ph.D. tells us. “It allows me to know how long and hard I should train that day based on the state of my nervous system.”

Tan-Through Shirts and Bathing Suits for Men and W

Fooducate

Fooducate is impartial and will tell you things that that nutrition label on the box tries to hide. It boasts a database of more than 250,000 items. It works this way — you scan a food UPC label using your smartphone’s camera and it will rate the product with a letter grade with an explanation for why it is or why it is not healthy. It will also give you a list of healthier options that are related to the product you’re eyeing.

Healthy Out

It’s rough for folks watching what they eat to find healthy options when they’re out on the town. HealthyOut uses GPS to compile a list of eateries in your area, as well as recommended menu items for a healthy meal. It will also pony up some additional tips on how you can make the dish healthier, like leaving croutons off a salad.

Yummly

It takes the guesswork out of deciding what to cook. Just give it your dietary preferences (such as Paleo, low-carb, or Keto), favorite types of food, and your cooking abilities This will generate a list of recipes that will suit your food style preferences and lifestyle choices. It will also provide shopping lists from your favorite recipes. One less thing to fret over.

Give one or more of these training and weight loss apps a spin and see if it doesn’t make your life just a little bit easier.


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Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Residential hurricane devastation
Residential devastation in the aftermath of a hurricane

It’s that time of year once again. Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Although meteorologists make an impressive list of names and do their best to make predictions, it’s really just a crap shoot as to when and where one will hit.

The bottom line here is that if you live in an area that has even the slightest possibility of being hit by one of these God-awful monstrosities you owe it to yourself, your family, and your pets to follow this hurricane preparedness checklist.

Hurricane preparedness is something most homeowners don’t think about until the last minute. Does this sound like you? Do you have an emergency kit? Got the hurricane evacuation route plotted out? Let’s look at a few things you should do to get prepared now.

Shutter Your Windows

You don’t want glass blasting into your home. Do you remember the trip to Home Depot the last time a hurricane threatened to visit? Plywood, batteries, and generators – all gone. So why not buy your plywood to cover your windows now while you can make it easy on yourself?

It’s not so bad. Just measure all your windows to figure out how many sheets of half-inch plywood to buy. While you’re there, pick up some PLYLOX hurricane window clips. These make securing the plywood a snap.

Some storm shutters are designed specifically with hurricanes in mind. Some of them are even motorized which is a great benefit since hiring someone to help with a storm at hand can be problematic.

Call for Tree Trimming Services Now

How often do you hire a tree trimming company. If you reply “never,” you’re in good company! Truth be told though, one of the main reasons trees fall down in high winds is branch density; you need to open up the canopy. The price you pay for annual tree pruning is a bargain compared to the price of a new roof.

For example, I just had a tree service take out three Queen Palms in my front yard and one Maple tree in the back yard. The Palms just never recovered from the hard freeze last winter and the Maple was just old, big, and as brittle as an old woman with osteoporosis. High winds would probably have resulted in mad roof damage.

Put Together Disaster Kits

Hurricane emergency kits are easy to assemble. And mandatory. You’ll need to put back enough non-perishable food and bottled water to last your family and pets a week. This is like the plywood; do it now!

Every time you go to the grocery store, just pick up a can of Spam and a can of vegetables. Start putting them in a storage container in the garage or in the back of your pantry. There’s a lot of high quality emergency preparedness kits on the market.

You’ve seen them; they’re chock full of emergency medical supplies? Buy one. Or two. Or three; you might want to take care of neighbors.

Buy a NOAA Weather Alert Radio

Public notification of weather conditions is the key to knowing what’s coming. Get a weather alert radio to stay in the know. The best models not only work under battery power, but have a crank handle.

While you are at it, get ahold of a small solar charger for things like your cell phone

Arm Yourself

It really doesn’t matter which side of the 2nd amendment rights you fall on. The reality of a post-disaster situation is that there are bad guys wanting to take what you have and possibly even cause bodily harm. At that point the gun rights thing becomes a stupid argument. It doesn’t matter if you have to bug out or choose to hunker down and shelter in place.

Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense
Glock pistol and Savage shotgun for home defense

You can’t go wrong with a tactical shotgun. Even a complete novice can nail a target. Besides, it looks badass.

My go-to sidearms are a .40 cal Glock and a Beretta U22 Neos. The Glock is almost impossible to jam and has incredible stopping power. The Beretta is also adequate for self-defense and small game if that ever became necessary.

The bottom line is this: don’t wait for the weather to be on top of you. Prepare now. You’ll thank me later. You’re welcome.


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Low-Carb Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Carbonara spaghetti may sound exotic but it is really a simple dish. This recipe is a variation on the typical one as it is made with a low-carb diet in mind. One of the things I like about this recipe is that it is open to modification if you feel like adding more spices, using a different species of cheese, etc.

Low-carb black bean spaghetti carbonara
Low-carb black bean spaghetti carbonara

I for one love Italian food. Homemade pizza always goes over big here and one of our favorites is Pizza Margherita. Of course there is always that debate over crispy or thick crust. That’s a battle I have yet to win, yet in the pursuit of domestic tranquility…

Speaking of low-carb Italian dishes, have you tried your hand at making egg noodles? Zero carbs with plenty of nutritional value is a good thing.

Ingredient List

  • 16 oz black bean spaghetti (this is what makes the dish low-carb; if that is not important to you use any kind of past you prefer)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 10 slices chopped bacon (nitrate free if possible)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 30 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 16 oz black bean spaghetti
  • Chopped parsley (you decide how much)
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Directions

  • Whisk the eggs thoroughly in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in the basil.
  • Whisk in the cheese.
  • Put the spaghetti in a large pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil; stir occasionally.
  • Start cooking the bacon in a skillet or sauce pan; add the onion when the bacon is half-way done; set the pan aside when the bacon is done. There is no need to drain it.
  • When the spaghetti is al dente begin adding it to the egg mixture. Add a bit at a time while mixing.
  • Mix in the bacon/onion mixture.
  • Serve and top with more cheese and parsley if desired.

Did you make any interesting and tasty tweaks to this low-carb spaghetti carbonara recipe? If so, share with our fellow foodies in the comment section below.


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The Character that was Removed from the Alphabet


The ampersand, a useful character banned from the alphabet
The ampersand, a useful character banned from the alphabet

The ampersand. We all see it more than we actually write it and yet it is one of the handiest characters around. In fact one of its primary uses is in business names, presumably so that they will fit on business cards.

Unlike the Oxford comma, there is no raging battle among grammarians about the use of this character.

Where Did the Ampersand Come From?

The physical shape of the character predates the name (ampersand) by at least 1,500 years. Back in the first century, Roman scribes plied their trade in cursive. Because of this they penned the Latin word et which means “and” they linked up the e and t. As time went on the combination of letters came to signify the word “and” in English too. Some versions of the character, like that clearly reveal the origin of the shape.

“Ampersand” as a name came years later when “&” was a full-fledged member of the English alphabet. During the early 1800s school children reciting their ABCs finished their recitation with the &. It was too confusing to say “X, Y, Z, and.” So instead the students said, “and per se and.” “Per se” is Latin for “by itself,” so the students were basically saying, “X, Y, Z, and by itself and.” As time unfolded, “and per se and” was slurred together into the very word we use today — ampersand. When a word comes about from a mistaken pronunciation, it’s called a mondegreen.


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How to Get a Perfect Shave Every Time



Shaving razor, brush, cup and soap
Shaving razor, brush, cup and soap – gear for manly grooming

 

Make no mistake about it; manly grooming and shaving in particular is a huge business. And it’s always something new! and improved! A veritable nest of blades on a handle. It pivots! It lubricates! And the cost of replacement blades will kill you. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get a perfect shave every time for a fraction of the cost.

Like anything else, having the right equipment is half of the game. This is what’s on my shelf:

  • A safety razor. I use a stainless steel Merkur (German company) razor. This will set you back $30.00 or more but it is the last one you will ever have to buy. As a bonus, if you are of the green persuasion, just look at all the throw-away plastic you will not be heartlessly be disposing of. Yes, shaving can save the planet.
  • Merkur double edge razor blades. These are about $8.00 per package on Amazon. These are far superior to domestic blades and keep their edge longer.

  • A puck (cake) of shaving soap. Many different scents and formulations are out there so shop around. You are about to discover how much more comfortable and effective real soap is compared to those cans of foaming goo. And yeah, those empty cans pollute as well. And are more expensive.
  • A shaving soap mug. Shaving mugs can be had in many different styles; the important thing is the proper size to fit the soap puck. Heck, you can use a coffee cup if it is the correct size. Some pucks come in plastic containers that can serve as a cup.

  • A good quality shaving brush. Forget those cheepies found in the grocery store. They are too stiff and they don’t hold the lather well. They are uncomfortable to use and will give you a poor shave. Avoid any brush that is made of “synthetic bristles.” Instead go for one that uses pure badger bristles. Science has not been able to improve on nature when it comes to shaving brushes. And it will grow back on the badger so I suppose it’s a renewable resource.
  • After shave. This is a personal preference. I generally use Old Spice Classic. It is invigorating and remarkably low priced. Maybe I like it since it’s what my old Grandpa used and I’m a sentimental slob.



Steps for a Close, Clean Shave

  1. Step out of the shower or wash your face with soap and hot water. No need to rinse.
  2. Run the hot water in the sink, wet your shaving brush and whip up a lather in your cup with a circular motion. Add hot water as needed.
  3. Load your brush with soap; really swirl it around.
  4. Shave your face using downward strokes.
  5. Reapply lather.
  6. Shave your face using upward strokes.
  7. Wipe you face with a soft towel soaked with cold water.
  8. Slap on your preferred after shave.

Some Shaving Trivia

Because I’m sure you care.

  • A marketing executive working for the Wilkinson Sword Company who made razor blades for men conceived of a campaign to convince women of North America that underarm hair was unhygienic and it was not feminine. Within two years razor blades sales doubled as granny and great granny conformed to this socially constructed gender stereotype. As you might expect, pit-hair on a woman has evolved into a fetish.
  • Nearly 70% of American women prefer a clean-shaven man. The rest prefer lumberjacks.
  • Fidel Castro originally grew out his beard is because his supply of Gillette Blades was cut off.
  • Shaving cream didn’t always come in aerosol cans; the method wasn’t even introduced until 1950. And what a poor idea it was.
  • Peter the Great of Russia imposed a tax on beards, which was collected at every town gate. And I thought Obama was bad on taxes!

Enjoy your shave. If we have to do it let’s make it comfortable and close. After all, who wants to look like a Hollywood hipster?


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Low Carb Egg Noodles Pasta Recipe



Low carb egg noodles with basil
Low carb egg noodles with basil

Low Carb diets are very popular these days. The main problem is that they can be quite restrictive. People love their pasta; it seems like we are hard-wired for carbohydrates. Pasta is very high in carbohydrates so even one “cheat meal” can set a weight loss program way back. Oh, the guilt! But thanks to this low carb egg noodles pasta recipe, all is not lost.

Note that this recipe is not gluten-free but it boasts 0 carbs per serving (unless you add something else. And with just three basic ingredients it is not a very difficult dish to prepare.

Egg Noodles Pasta Ingredient List (2 smallish servings)

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ounce cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon wheat gluten; this is optional but it creates a better texture
  • A dozen or so fresh basil leaves or spice/herb of your choice (basil adds only about 1 carb but 6% RDA of vitamin A)
  • Broth of your choice

Gluten is not the villain it is made out to be. In reality it is a protein and it is the “glue” that holds bread together, especially homemade bread. But if you are sensitive to it just leave it out of the recipe.



Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Add the cream cheese, eggs, and gluten to a  blender jar.
  3. Blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the mixture out onto a silicone mat that has been placed on top of a heavy baking pan.
  5. Smooth mixture out into a rectangle shape while keeping the mixture very thin.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F until set; about 15 minutes but your time may vary.
  7. Remove from oven and let it set and cool for a few minutes prior to cutting into strips.
  8. Next,  gently simmer in the broth for about 6 minutes minutes. The broth can be retained for soup or another use. Waste not, want not.
Low carb noodles with Pace Picante Sauce
Low carb noodles with Pace Picante Sauce

Enjoy your low carb egg noodles with the topping of your choice. I enjoy it with Panamanian style ceviche once in a while but each to his own I always say. In the photo above the noodles are slathered with Pace Picante Sauce (hot).

I suppose that makes it like a breakfast burrito minus the tortilla.

 


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