Category: Reviews

Prepare Rice… That’s Twice as Nice!

Prepare Rice… That’s Twice as Nice!

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For the greater majority of the world’s population, rice is a daily staple. It is a healthy and economically sound crop, which is one of the many reasons for its continuing popularity in many developed countries. Rice lends itself nicely to a wide variety of meals, but first you need to cook it; you can do that in a microwave, or on a stove top, but one of the best ways to cook rice while locking in its flavor is with a real Japanese rice cooker. A proper rice cooker represents the best way to prepare rice to its fullest potential, without sacrificing its significant nutritional value.

So, what is the best Japanese rice cooker available on the market today? Read on, as we’ve covered a few of those more popular options which are widely commercially available. Each of the following products offers its own particular style and feel, while incorporating enough user-friendly features as to have us feeling like it belongs on this list of the best Japanese rice cookers.

Zojirushi Rice Cooker NP-NI10 IH

There are a lot of factors which will influence how your rice is going to turn out. Such considerations as ambient room temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure each play their own part. Fortunately, with this particular beauty, we have a one-liter capacity Japanese rice cooker with built-in artificial intelligence software; this will help to ensure that your rice presents the same ideal consistency year-round – whatever the weather, or other concerns. It does this by monitoring the state of your grains while they’re cooking. It will stop before it overcooks your rice, and it will notify you of any problems. This is easily one of our favorite machines on the list, as it features patented 1H pressure cooking for that same great taste with which you’re probably familiar from the finest Japanese restaurants. You’ll never get rice quite so nice as this out of your microwave!

Panasonic Rice Cooker SR-SPX104 IH

This handy rice cooker from Panasonic offers its own take on 1H pressure cooking, as well as a variety of eco-friendly course modes. What are those, you might be asking? These modes allow you to quickly and conveniently prepare up to one liter of rice in its ideal form for use in a variety of dishes – everything from plain white rice to accompany your chicken dinner, to rice for spicy curry, sushi, rice pudding, or even porridge or gruel. Rice has a thousand and one applications all across the globe, but with this handy number from Panasonic you don’t need to worry about having the optimal conditions necessary to produce rice for each one of them memorized. With the push of a button, and a simple mode selection, you’re off and running – preparing the rest of your meal, while the rice cooker has its job covered. A handy, high-visibility LED display only adds to this model’s already substantial convenience factor.

Tiger Rice Cooker JBU-A55-W

With a modest three-cup capacity, the Tiger is a slightly smaller model than some of the other rice cookers on this list, but it more than makes up for that deficit through its ease of use and the simplicity of keeping it clean. With its capacity to serve as a warmer, keeping your finished rice in peak condition for as long as possible, this model of Japanese rice cooker is ideal for a busy bachelor (or bachelorette!) as well as for any young couple – perhaps living in a situation where you’ve both got school, jobs, and lives of your own. The Tiger incorporates a number of useful features, including a small book of rice-based side dish recipes… and a mini-tray for cooking small portions of chicken, beef, vegetables, or other items to go with your rice, at the same time that you’re cooking the rice itself. The Tiger is simple to use, easy to set up, and quick and easy to complete; much of it simply wipes clean with a damp towel. If you don’t need to cook for a large family, this could be one of the best models of Japanese rice cooker available today to meet your own individual needs.
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You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For!

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When I started college I was so excited to be living on campus, away from home for the first time. I would be sharing an apartment with two other girls, so living space would be very limited. I would need to be frugal and take care to find necessities that were functional and space-saving. A friend told me about Oomphed!, where I could find information on compact hair dryers that would still work great on my hair.

At this point I guess I should tell you that my hair is my baby. I spend a small fortune on hair products, cuts an styles, and appliances like blow dryers so that I can always make my hair look like I just stepped out of a salon.

am especially picky about blow dryers since everyone knows the blowout is THE most important part of any style. After finding the perfect compact blow dryer, I was unpacking my things in my new living quarters, and one of my new roomies saw my hair dryer. She literally squealed and exclaimed how “cute” it was.

I told her that it was not meant to be cute, that it was a precision tool for getting my hair into just the right style, not like the cheapies that came from the local department store that just blew your hair every which way. She took offense at this, presumably because this is exactly where her own blow dryer had come from, and huffed away.

Oh well, I told myself, that’s her problem. Not everyone cares about how they look. I continued unpacking and arranging my things. The following day I was invited to a big party happening the next weekend. I was excited to get to mix and mingle with my new college friends, and I immediately began planning every last detail, from the dress I would wear to the earrings to the shoes to my hairstyle.

I just knew all the girls were going to be asking me where I got my hair done and they would absolutely faint when I told them that I do it myself. But I would not be sharing my beauty secrets with them. The day of the party finally arrived. I had my dress and accessories laid out on my bed as I get into the shower. I completed my entire hair regimen of shampoo, deep-conditioning masque, and instant conditioner, then after a bit of towel-drying, I added some mousse and shine spritzer.

Now I was ready to use my new blow dryer for the very first time. I liked to let my hair air-dry as much as possible, then I would use my curling wand and flat iron to style it. But for extra-special occasions I would go all out and blow dry with my special styling brushes. I stepped in front of the mirror, wrapped the first section of hair around my special round styling brush, picked up my awesome new blow dryer, and turned it on.

Even though I had it on the lowest setting, the blast of air that assaulted my hair was like a mini-hurricane. My carefully combed-out and sectioned-off hair went everywhere, and much of it was caught int he styling brush I was holding to my head. I immediately turned it off and double-checked that the setting was on low. It was. Aiming the appliance away from my head, I turned it on again.

It worked perfectly. I signed my relief and turned it off again to re-comb my hair and begin again. That was easier said than done; my hair had become tangled and a lot of it was caught up in the brush, so I had to carefully pull it out of the brush in tiny sections, so as not to pull a lot of it out.

Once I got it free and re-brushed and re-sectioned, I picked up the blow dryer to start again. I aimed it at my head and turned it back on. It went haywire again, this time blowing my hair in every direction and causing massive tangles and crazy directions in my hair! I turned it off again and started brushing and trying to style.

My hair was a mess!

I didn’t have time to re-wash it and start all over, my date would be picking me up soon. I couldn’t use my blow dryer, that was clear, and my hair would not be naturally dry by the time my date arrived, and my hair looked atrocious if I didn’t work with it as it was drying. So I was stuck going to my very first mixer with hair that looked like the Grinch’s. The next day I went to the local department store and purchased a mice modest hair dryer, and it has worked like a dream.

Checking back on Oomphed!, I discovered that this blow dryer is actually rated as better for my hair than the one I spent a small fortune on!
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How to Choose a Cordless drill for your Home use

How to Choose a Cordless drill for your Home use

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If you haven’t already got a cordless drill in your tool kit then you may appreciate a few tips on what to look out for. As they come in different sizes, different power ratings, different running times but are similar shapes it is good to know that there is a wide range and going for a good well-known brand may be a good idea. We can take a look at the latest technology to get the best out of your cordless tools.

Check out the website Drills and Drivers for more information on cordless drill reviews.

Here we will look at some of the differences between combination drills and drill drivers.

Different types of cordless drill

Combination drills

  • Combine high speed rotary drilling with screwdriver and hammer drilling
  • Screwdriver mode is slow speed providing more twisting force (torque)
  • Rotary drilling is used for high speed drilling into metal or wood
  • Hammer mode allows for drilling into very dense materials such as concrete
  • B Tungsten carbide drill bits are used for hammer drilling

Drill drivers

  • Can do high speed rotary drilling
  • Can do screw driving
  • Cannot do hammer drilling

Power/Voltage

  • Power is measured in voltage; higher voltage means more torque-spinning strength to overcome any resistance. In the past ten years the available voltage has risen from 9.6V to 18V maximum.
  • Also bear in mind power = weight as well, the following voltages are available; 6, 7.2, 9.6, 12, 14.4 and 18V.
  • 12V is probably about right for most DIY projects, not too heavy and about the right amount of power.
  • To give you an idea of the weight a 9.6V drill will weigh around 3 ½ lbs and an 18V can weigh in at 10 lbs. So before you buy try picking up the equivalent weight and make sure you feel happy with that, also think about the need to drill above shoulder height at times.

Run times/Ah

  • Same voltage and different Ah meaning same power but different run times
  • For home DIY projects a compact 1.5Ah should be sufficient
  • Remember, higher Ah = more weight

Handles

  • Pre-cordless drills, traditionally had pistol handle grips, like a gun in other words and this put the handle behind the motor.
  • Mostly the new cordless designs have T-shape handle grip which makes it easier to house the battery and also prevents the hand from slipping.
  • There are other advantages to this type of handle, one major advantage is balance and another is that it is easier to get into tight spaces as it means your hand is out of the way.
  • There is still some good reason for using the older style pistol grip such as when you need to use more force, i.e. when you want to get directly behind the bit and apply pressure.

Speed/Gears

  • The most basic cordless drill will have only one speed, that may be fine for the most basic DIY tasks, but really it is better to look for a decent model with at least 2 speeds, (always switch off and stop the drill before changing gear).
  • 2 speeds would typically be 300 rpm and 800 rpm, the lower speed for screw driving and the higher speed for drilling holes.
  • If you do a lot of hole drilling look for something with more speed, 1000 rpm is a good speed.

Torque

  • Variable torque is handy in screw driver mode
  • Correct torque setting means your drill will disengage once the screw is flush with the drilled surface

Brushes

  • Are the only part of your tool that may need replacing after so many hours
  • If you prefer to take away this worry, look for brushless
  • Without the friction of brush motors there is no wasted energy and more run time

But

  • Watch out, they cost a bit more

Or

  • Wait until the price comes down!

Batteries and chargers

  • Some batteries come with a “fuel gauge”, good to know how much charge is remaining
  • If you are impatient look for a rapid “smart charger”

Lithium-ion

As there is a lot of information on different battery types I will leave it up to you to check out the hype on Li-ion batteries compared with Ni-Cad and other types of rechargeable batteries.

But

  • Do look out for a fresh battery, insist on a brand new battery as opposed to one that has been on the shelf and already starting to degrade

Extras

  • Some batteries now come with a flashlight
  • If you have ever had someone standing there with a torch or flashlight while you work you may appreciate this extra feature

The future

  • If you need a lot of tools and other cordless appliances you could think about an 18V battery pack which can accommodate more than 50 tools, this is the future, no more worrying about different types of battery
  • 18V batteries are the most often used for this type of application and it may well be an investment that will save you money in the long term

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