Swiffer Wet Jet Pads

Swiffer Wet Jet Pads

Swiffer Wet Jet Pads might just be the best product you never knew about. I say this because at one time I didn’t know what all the fuss was about over a simple, light-weight floor, light-duty floor mop. I learned differently when I had my basement floor finished in laminate. What was once a arduous, long task of sweeping then mopping has turned into a very quick and efficient job with the swiffer wet jet pads. The secret is how well this works is not in the mop but in the pads!

You can spend most of your hardwood or laminate floor cleaning by simply using the Swiffer Dry Pads. Essentially, these replaces the need for a broom and a dustpan. Simply attach them to the head of your swiffer broom and they will literally pick up dust, dirt, and small debris like a magnet. Little or no elbow grease is required. Often times my laminate floor shows a fine film of dust when the sun shines through the windows in the morning. This is how I know the floor needs a quick clean up. When you cannot get it looking clean with the dry pads (not too often), you know it is time to switch to the Swiffer wet jet pads.

How to use Swiffer Dry Pads

Swiffer Wet Jet Pads

How to use both dry and wet pads with the Swiffer

The cute, little video below shows you how simple it is to dry and wet clean with the Swiffer. Swiffer also makes a complete Swiffer Starter Kit with spray feature. This is totally unnecessary. As the video below indicates, the simple, manual, hand-held, wet/dry broom for $12.00 works just fine.

Read moreSwiffer Wet Jet Pads

Electric Induction

What is an Induction Cooktop

Electric Induction - Best Induction Range

Electric Induction or an induction cooktop uses magnetic currents to directly heat your pots and pans. Because the energy is directly focused on the metal of the cooking surface rather than an entire surface, electric induction provides perhaps the fastest and most efficient way to cook. Only the pan is heated and not the surface surrounding it.

How Induction Stove Works

An induction cooktop uses magnetic energy to create electric currents which heat metal pots and pans. With induction, only the metal surface area of the pan is affected, so there is little or no wasted heat or energy. Hence, the benefit of electric induction cooking is ultra-fast heat-up times, and better control of cooking temperatures. While there are pros and cons to any technology, electric induction does have its advantages and disadvantages as mentioned above. Here is a bit more about the pros and cons of electric induction. Let’s get the cons out of the way, first.

Induction Cooktop Cons

If electric induction sounds like the greatest invention since sliced bread then why doesn’t everybody own an induction cooktop? The biggest, initial drawback to the induction cooktop or induction range is probably cost. An induction range costs 4 – 8 times more than a traditional, electric cooking range. Fortunately, there are great deals to be had which I will share with you a little bit later. The 2nd factor that pushes some people away from electric induction is that they require induction-ready cookware. Basically, that means your cookware needs to be magnetic. So, any pan that will attract a magnet will work on your induction stove. To be sure, bring along a magnet with you next time you shop for cookware. Many new cookware will have a label on them stating that it is ‘induction-ready’. Stainless steel and cast iron are the two, most obvious choices when it comes to choosing induction cookware. One important consideration is that there are still many choices which are non-stick such as ceramic and porcelain which are made with magnetic cores and are induction-ready. Really, the only other con I can think of to electric induction is that controlling the heat may not be as intuitive to us. Mostly, this is just a matter of getting used to the ultra-fast and efficient way in which induction works. This brings us to the induction cooktop pros.

Induction Cooktop Pros

Induction cooking is ultra fast. I can boil 500 milliliters of water (see below) in less than half a minute. Because induction only works when there is a magnetic current, this means it is very efficient at controlling the temperature. You can heat things up and cool things down much more quickly than you can with a traditional electric cooktop. Electric induction saves energy over traditional, electric cooking. The other benefit of this is safety. If you leave a burner turned on without a pan touching it, there are no worries about anything burning. Why might you want an induction cooktop over a gas stove?

Electric Induction

Induction vs. Gas

Fire is a very natural way to cook and gas provides you with a real, flame. However, gas stoves have their own problems. From my experience, gas stoves tend to be very difficult to find the lowest flame setting. An induction cooktop provides you with precise, numbers to gauge the temperature. With induction, there is no guessing of your dialed-in temperature. Since gas stoves can be left on without a pan they are not as safe. Even when the flame is out, gas stoves continue to push natural gas fumes into your kitchen and home. Of course, gas stoves also require natural gas to be piped into your kitchen. On the flip-side of that, gas stoves are less expensive, so the extra cost for natural gas installation is more than a wash. Finally, most head-to-head performance tests reveal that you can boil water faster on an induction stove than a gas stove. Electric induction is more energy efficient than gas. With induction 80-90% of the energy is directly focused on the food. With electric stoves the efficiency is just 70%, and only 38% for gas.

Read moreElectric Induction

Best Cocktail Shaker

best cocktail shakerThe best cocktail shaker should be able to make your martini ice cold without giving your hands and fingers a case of frostbite.  The typical martini shaker is stainless steel. Stainless steel is a great temperature conductor and is perfectly suited for making your drink super cold very quickly. The problem, however, is that you can only shake so long before you fingers and hands are so ice cold that you can no longer hold on to the shaker. There is something to be said about stainless steel cocktail shakers. They give you the classic look, sound, and feel of a 1940’s bar where the sound of Martinis, Manhattans, Rob Roys and Cosmopolitans being shaken all around you make you feel important and sophisticated – and well, happy too. Is there any other way to make a classic cocktail? I’m here to tell you there is.

Read moreBest Cocktail Shaker