Review Cuisinart Coffee Maker

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This is the same machine, 2 years later. Still looks and preforms like new!

Remember when I reviewed this Cuisinart’s Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-cup Programmable Coffeemaker plus Hot Water System coffee pot? Here I am re-reviewing it.

It’s still awesome! 2 years and going strong! Insert cheers here***

This is the one appliance that is used daily in my household. The first thing I do when I step into the kitchen is turn on the hot water feature. (Pets are cared for first thing. I use it to warm their food.)

I can say that this machine is quite the workhorse as daily pots of coffee are made and many, many cups of tea. The hot water feature is used not only for teas and cocoa, I use it to make oatmeal and as i’ve said, heat my pets food.

Everything I’ve done 2 years ago with this machine, I still do. I wipe the machine down with a damp cloth (inside and out) regularly. I used white vinegar to clean the inside of the machine about one-two times a month and the filters get changed about every three-four months. I feel I can stretch the filter changes as I use already filtered water. I don’t have “off/funny” tastes with this unit. I’ve had people ask if the tea tastes like coffee. I can honestly say, I don’t have an issue with that. My tea tastes like tea! 🙂

This machine is so useful when friends are over. They go to the hanging cups and help themselves. We can sit at the breakfast bar and chat and sip and make more beverages to our hearts content!

Cuisinart still sells this unit. Don’t hesitate to buy it. It was a smart purchase, I mean…(I thank Santa Claus for leaving this amazing machine under the tree those years ago!)

Hope you enjoyed the review and it was helpful to you. Whatever you do in your day, make time to have a cup of something. Whether you are a coffee, tea, cocoa drinker, taking a moment for yourself or with someone you care about and enjoy a cup is a wonderful way to start your day. I take mine out onto the deck (weather permitting) and even if it’s for five minutes, I take time to breathe in the clean air and sip my drink…starts my day happy.

Take five minutes for YOU. Breathe, sip your drink, and let the happiness fill you!

Be well Friends. Peace, Koko

DIY Simple Wall Fix In Seconds

Remember the desk I repurposed? (see it here) The wall I’m referring to is the wall I see when I am creating at my desk. I had troubles doing anything with ugly holes staring back at me the whole time! I’m talking at least 20 unsightly holes! I took a shelving system down because something I am building will be in it’s place: Hopefully sooner than later, (waiting for my order to come in). Back to the ugly holes in the wall…I needed a quick fix.

My solution…

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See how to “DIY” lampshade here. Great place to set my computer glasses!

Yes, a door! Voila! The ugly sight was fixed in seconds. (I will do a proper job with spackle later…) Since this is what I see…I wanted to pretty-it-up, by adding the antlers and it was simple enough to do…

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The string was something I had on hand. It was too thin so I braided three strands for a thicker “rope”.

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Seeing a wall full of this was not very inspirational.

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I screwed in two of theses hooks. (See tip below for easy pilot hole start.)

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Tip: You need a nail and a hammer…But keep in mind you want the nail you use to be thinner than the screw, otherwise the screw will not have something to bite into.

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Tap the nail in (Not too far. Just a few taps will do.) See the hole near the right side of the nail?

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Tapping in a pilot hole helps to guide the screw in. Just screw in the screw!

If you have an unsightly wall, you can fix it fast, by using an old door, new door, shoji screen, even a lovely quilt. This quick fix allows me to breathe easier seeing something pretty until I can get to repairing it.

Here’s to making the life around you beautiful. Peace, Koko

Mouse over the pics below to see the caption…Something I didn’t know! Found out accidentally! Teehee!

 

DIY – Make Your Own Bed Frame

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If you can’t find a bed frame that you like…build it!

I’ve never found a bed frame I was happy with. It started with making bed frames for my kids at all stages of them growing up. I wanted them to have as much play space as possible because every kid needs space to make epic Lego scenes or twirl around to their heart’s content, am I right?! So their beds were built up high so they could play underneath (ie; camping reading nook etc.) and as they got older, desks were built-to-suit to fit nicely under.

I wanted a frame high enough to keep the dogs off of the bed. So this is my build…

3/4″ Plywood: 2 sheets, depending on what size frame you are building.

4×4’s Legs: However long you need, buy accordingly.

2×4’s Sides, top and bottom of frame: However long you need depending on building for twin or queen or king. Also 2×4’s for the underside of the frame for support. (see photos below).

6″ Carriage bolts, 2 per leg = 8

Hex nuts for the carriage bolts = 8, one per bolt.

Washers = 8, one per bolt.

“L” brackets for support on the underside of the frame.

Felt for each feet to prevent scratching of your wood floors as well as a buffer between the 4×4’s and the 2×4’s (see picture below).

Paint or stain

Tools:

Chop saw

Skill saw

Hammer

Wrench – Proper size to use on hex bolts.

Drill with proper size drill bit to drill holes. Also, drill for screwing screws into 2×4’s.

Screws or nails

Clamps – trigger clamps

Measuring tape

I want to start off by introducing this...

I want to start off by introducing this tip…This is felt. I buy it by the sheet and cut it to suit. I use them under most furniture to help me move them around the room without needing any help whatsoever! How cool is that!?

See the felt? I doubled the felt because this build is heavy! I was all out of dark brown felt, though the white isn't really noticeable. I could take a marker and color the edges...again, not a big deal. ;)

See the felt? I doubled the felt because this build is heavy! I was all out of dark brown felt, though the white isn’t really noticeable. I could take a marker and color the edges…again, not a big deal. 😉

The basic build is to first figure out the height you want the frame to be. Don’t forget to account for the measurement of the plywood on top. In this build I used 3/4″ plywood.

I used 4×4 for the legs. I wanted the chunky look, plus it’s very sturdy. I measured for the height and cut the 4×4 using a chop saw.

Measuring out for a queen size I measured and cut 2×4’s for the frame to go around the entire bed. You can screw or nail the 2×4 together creating a “box”.

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To attach the legs onto the 2×4 “frame” you can use trigger clamps to hold the 4×4 into the corner so you can pre-drill for the carriage bolts. I pre-drilled one hole per side corner off setting them so one is closer to the top on one side and one is closer to the bottom. I drilled through the 2×4 into the 4×4 all the way through!

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After the holes are pre-drilled I inserted the carriage bolt. This is where the hammer is needed to pound the bolt through. Once the bolt is through I used a washer and then a hex nut to secure the 4×4 in place. Before I go on I want to mention: Before the legs are set into the corner, I cut felt to put in the corner before I placed the 4×4 leg. The felt is to prevent the wood rubbing against each other.

What do you think of the floors? It took me a day and a half to lay the wood and one day to stain and seal. A walk through post about the floors coming: please stay tuned!

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After the legs are bolted in place, I cut the plywood to fit using a skill saw. Drill the plywood into the 2×4 sides.

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Here you can see the felt in places where the 4×4 would touch the 2×4 sides. And you can see how I’ve off set the bolts.

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Here you can see I’ve run 2×4’s across the underside of the frame. This is for support. I also used “L” brackets for more support.

At this point you can leave the wood natural, paint it, or stain. I chose to stain it. I had left over stain from doing the floors. I just rubbed the stain in and let dry. I then did one coat of water based poly on it.

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Kitty approves!  I need to do this technique on the lamps so they look like they match! Woohoo, another project. 😀

Tips:

If you have trouble finding 4×4’s you can use 2×4’s for the legs using 2-2×4’s in an “L” fashion.

When building a high frame such as a bunk bed style on top and say a desk area under, use 2×4 supports on three sides.  And for the ladder you can add more 2×4’s for the rungs.

Buy untreated wood only. You don’t want pressure treated! Some stores don’t carry untreated in the stores, but may be able to order it. ASK!

If you can’t find the right bed frame…build it!

If you want to see what I’m up to, follow me on instagram or twitter. I put up different things that don’t always make it onto the blog.

Share your smiles and your good wishes around. You never know who might need it! Now go out and be awesome!  Best, Koko ❀

Review Cuisinart’s: Coffee Plus 12-cup Programmable Coffeemaker plus Hot Water System

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We just got the Cuisinart’s “Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System”.  In one word; LOVE. We are big coffee drinkers, and what’s more is we are big tea drinkers too, and the occasional hot chocolate gets in there somewhere.

Coffee makers come with all kinds of bells and whistles. In your most basic maker, there is an on and off switch and the hot plate; which is what the coffee pot sits on. For most people this is good enough. But for those of you that need a built-in programmer so your coffee is ready whenever you want it to be, this has that, and more!  The features are really simple to use.

It has a temperature setting for low, medium, and high allowing you to really customize your cup-of-joe! We keep ours on medium temp and that is plenty hot enough. Now when we are going outside with a cup we will turn the setting on high to give our hot coffee a chance at staying hotter longer while we are out working in the cold.

This maker does have what Cuisinart calls “brew pause” and that means if you need that caffeine fix NOW, then you can simply pull the pot out and pour before it’s finished brewing the entire pot. A brilliant feature for when that visitor or relative comes for a visit; you know who I’m talking about, the one person that won’t utter a single word until coffee has crossed his or her palate.

It has a water filter; a simple charcoal pack that is easily installed. I use filtered water anyway, but knowing this has a filter built-in, makes it doubly nice. I’m all for filtering out as many impurities as possible.

I like that it comes with a gold tone filter basket. Not all coffee makers come with one. I made the switch many, many years ago, well before some coffee makers started including them (again, not all coffee makers include the gold tone filter basket). I’ve had to buy them in the past.  If you have to ever replace it, it costs around 10 dollars, but keep in mind, my last one lasted 2 years!  I never really liked dealing with the paper filters. Less to toss in the trash the better. But if you go this route, look for the paper cups that aren’t bleached.

Now I’m really excited to tell you about the hot water feature. I seriously never thought how this one luxury would change my life! Okay, maybe I went too far, but really, this feature is so awesome. I’ve said it before, we are big tea drinkers. The tea kettle was the most used “pot” in the house. We boil a lot of water. Constantly filling the pot setting it to boil, waiting for it to boil, then forgetting it, to then be subject to the eardrum piercing “teapot scream”. This would happen no less than a dozen times a day. The stress of not wanting to leave the kettle because you wanted to avoid the “scream” was apparent :( .  Pouring water from the kettle was another stress as water would spill out and down the spout and puddle on the counter no matter how careful you were.   We have gone through many tea kettles and all have this leaky-when-you-pour issue. If that wasn’t bad enough, we always had to be mindful of a kitty burning his paws on the hot stove.  I know, they shouldn’t be on the counter in the first place, but it happens. (And YES counters are wiped down several times a day! Not so much from the occasional kitty not minding manners, but I have black granite counter tops. Need I say more? :P )

Not only is the hot water feature awesome for making tea and hot cocoa, it is very useful for our pets foods. If you are into the dry soup mixes this hot water feature is perfect for that too. It’s also great for making oatmeal too (just ask about my amazing oatmeal recipe).

It has its own water reservoir; holding 54 ounces. The heating element works so fast that I feel it’s almost a no wait ready hot water maker! The hot water feature even tells you when you need to add more water via red light indicator. Again, the water heats up so fast that I have never had to “wait” for it to get hot before I can use it. By the time I’ve measured out my tea leaves the water is ready. If that isn’t a fast enough time measure, I’ve taken a tea bag out of the canister, put it in my cup and poured. In my book, that’s fast. And the best, best thing…no more loud kettle scream! My ears thank me daily. There is a light to tell you when the water is ready if you really need to know; It will go from a flashing light to a solid.

A convenient drip tray catches an unwanted drip or two and it’s removable allowing taller mugs to be used.  Great for those tall travel cups! There is a safety feature that allows you to lock the hot water dispenser lever. We don’t have use for that as we are an adult household, still, may come in handy if you have a very curious cat or counter-high-dog (Great Dane!)

It has a blue back-lit LCD making the digital clock easy to read. The blue light is so pretty!  Another plus. What!?…Pretty makes me smile.

If all of that wasn’t good enough….wait for it…, it’s BPA free! I love that!

Is this machine perfect? Do I have anything negative to say? If I had to pick one thing, it would be the “beeping” sound it makes to let you know when the coffee is finished brewing (and turning off).  It’s… very audible.  Not obnoxiously loud (not sure if it would “wake a baby” kind of loud), but definitely perceptible. I suppose that is a good thing if you are in another room, upstairs, sitting on the back porch waiting for “said” coffee to brew, you get the picture. All in all, it’s certainly not “too” loud to make me take this back. In fact there are a few appliances I do own that I’d give back….NOT my Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable plus Hot Water System! NEVER!

Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely! In fact I would give it to someone I love! ❤ This would make a wonderful gift for a college student. Coffee and hot water on tap!

Thank you for reading. Be well. Peace, Koko 🙂

 

Cha-cha Chai…a delicious hot beverage you can make at home!

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I am a Chai fanatic!  I’ve tasted it made many ways.  It was a delight to try this recipe from  http://figandquince.com/2014/02/03/cacao-herbshoppe-brooklyn-cardamom-yummy-drink/ (Chai; brought to you by, Fig & Quince!)  

As she mentioned in her recipe…all ingredients; adjust to your taste!

As for the ingredients, I made mine with 2 cups grass-fed raw unpasteurized milk

8 whole cardamoms

10 cloves

1 tablespoon organic cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon organic ground ginger

1/4 cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon good vanilla (homemade by me in Bourbon)

1 teaspoon raw unpasteurized honey.

Slowly simmer the whole cardamoms and cloves in milk. When milk is hot, add all other ingredients.  Gently stir.  Pour into large mug and enjoy!  (I didn’t strain out the cardamoms and cloves, but for those of you who want to…please do! 😉 )

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This was a wonderful treat and sipping it by the fire was extra nice.  Thank you Azita!

If you try this drink, please drop me a comment.  If you have a chai recipe you’d like to share…I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s to you finding your “treat” today! Cheers! Koko ✿

Please like, follow and share…your support means the world to me!

Shine On Award!

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Getting to know us:

Thank you Luca of http://cookingwithluca.wordpress.com/  for nominating me.  I’ve been nominated for several of these and have never really known how they work, where they started, who started them.  Also I’ve seen how many don’t want to receive them, so I’ve never gone farther than to say thank you for the nomination.  I don’t want to upset anyone for giving them something they clearly don’t want.  But this was sent with sincerity and so I felt compelled to go forward with it.  So if I send you a nomination and you don’t want it…please just ignore.  I just wanted you to know I’ve thought enough of you to nominate you 😉

Get to know us:

For this award I am supposed to share 7 things about myself…

  1. The time of year I love best is autumn.
  2. I seem to have a connection with animals.
  3. I care too much.
  4. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.
  5. Sitting idle is not something you’ll find me doing.
  6. Being outdoors makes me happy.
  7. I am never bored.

Should you accept; the instructions are as follows:
– Put the logo on the front of the post Award
– Return the name of the blog that you named at the beginning of the post
– State 7 things about ourselves
– Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and put the link of their blog
– these bloggers to notify the nomination

And here are the nominees.  (Keep in mind I am trying to remember who hates receiving these and will try not to ….well you get it.)

http://smashingglitter.com/

http://llewsoba.wordpress.com/

http://myfavouritepastime.com/

http://juliecrombe.com/

http://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/

http://kittnoir.wordpress.com/

http://sentimaparliamodi.wordpress.com/

http://promenadeplantings.com/

http://rubyangel711.wordpress.com/

http://oxygenyourstyle.wordpress.com/

http://beautystalkers.wordpress.com/

http://chefdoru.com/

http://dorastable.com/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/

http://pacificcoastbeauty.wordpress.com/

Let’s Have Cheesecake!

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A simple cheesecake that will impress the most finicky of dessert connoisseurs!  This really easy dessert was quickly named one of the most delicious creations I’ve made to date.  (Does this mean my peeps are easy to please?)  Here goes:

This makes about seven ramekins.  My ramekins are 8oz cups.

Ingredients:

3–8oz bricks of cream cheese

3/4 cup of brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons of really good vanilla

You will also need a package of peanut butter cups.  Cut them up to desired sizes.

What to do:

I used my kitchen aid mixer…Beating the cream cheese until all bricks are softly blended.  Add brown sugar.  Mix well.  Add eggs one at a time mixing well in between.  Add your really good vanilla 😉

As for the bottom of your cheesecake…you can use crushed graham crackers (basic recipe is crushing a cup worth of graham crackers and mixing that with 3 tablespoons of melted butter).  You also can omit the bottom crust all together.

Put 2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mix at the bottom of a ramekin.  Fill cup with about a 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture.  Add cut up peanut butter cups.  Fill cup with another 1/4 scoop of cheesecake mixture. If you have left over mixture, simply add a spoonful to each cup!

I like to put a pan of water at the bottom of the oven.  I believe the extra moist air keeps the cheesecake from cracking.  If you omit this step…whats a few cracks anyway? You will be covering it with whipped cream.  No one will know!

Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Let it cool.  Top with freshly whipped cream!

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Tips: Try crushing Oreo cookies or Nilla wafers or even Nutter Butter cookies for the bottom of cheesecake.  (Most any cookie will do!)

For the center try: Snickers, Heath Bar, Butterfingers, or feeling fruity?  Try a tablespoon or two of really good jam, chopped up mango, or peaches.

This truly was easy to make.  If you are needing a quick dessert idea that you can make ahead of time and surely will impress your friends/family; I hope you give this a try.  I’d love to hear what kind of combination/creation you came up with. Enjoy! Hugs, Koko❁

Please like, follow and share…your support means the world to me!

Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

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Chickpeas or garbanzo beans…however you like to call this particular bean, they are delicious.  This bean is used in many different ways.  Have you eaten humus?  That is made using this bean.  They are great in salads, soups, cold pasta, bean salad, the possibilities are endless.

Cooking the chickpeas this way makes it a fun snack by itself or fantastic tossed on salad! This can be considered an appetizer to serve along with other party finger foods.

My daughter is on holiday break from college.  We’ve been having fun experimenting with food.  She wanted to make this.  So we did!  She threw together the ingredients and I baked and stirred it.  Team effort.

Making this is almost as easy as eating them!  Here goes:

2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained.  Pat dry!

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

2 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt.  Or sea salt.  (can omit all together)

1/4 cup grape seed oil  (can use olive oil or coconut oil)

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients coating the chickpeas evenly.

Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir one time and bake again for another 10 minutes.  Done.  Serve warm or cold.  (I couldn’t wait and ate them hot right out of the oven!)

All ovens cook differently so peak in on them.  (I have an oven light which makes it convenient.) I’ve baked them at 450 degrees and stirred them two times during cooking.

Also, you can cook this on the stove.  The texture you are going for is slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  You may like it dryer so cook/bake longer and less cook/bake for softer.  Either way you like it, it will be delicious!

This can be made hundreds of ways.  Keep in mind the oil helps to crispy it up and to help the seasonings stick to it.  Use your imagination and toss the chickpeas with your favorite seasonings.  Chili power,  powdered onion, powdered garlic, Worcestershire sauce!  When done baking try sprinkling Parmesan cheese over it! YUM! Give it a try and please let me know the amazing ways you’ve made this!

Bronchitis…Pneumonia…Oh No!

The whole month of October flew out the window without much notice.  Days passed me by and I couldn’t tell you if it was Monday or Friday.  That time of year to “fall-back” with time change, and now, it’s November! What?!  Twilight zone just happened and I was cast right in the middle of a confusing episode!

I’ve been absent from the blogging world for some time.  Sadly, I’ve missed so many of my favorite bloggers posts.  Having moments here and there to read some of them has given me hope that all my days aren’t filled with coughing, fevers, aches, pains, nose blowing, and the sounds of the breathing machine whirling at what seems like a constant in the background, oh my!

My kid has been down with bronchitis and pneumonia for many weeks, poor thing.  Then my other one decides he can’t be left out and got it too!  I hear it’s going around the college campus and hundreds of kids have it!  Gah!!!!  They should have posted warnings that everyone should come to school with surgical masks or a diving helmet.  You know the kind the underwater divers wear? Or a giant bubble you can encase yourself in to protect yourself from the elements!  Seriously though, you can practice good washing habits and dress accordingly, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

After weeks of caring for the family, I too got struck with some kind of bug.  It wasn’t a bad one, but then again, what is bad?  For me, I’d have to be almost dead on an emergency helicopter on the way to the closest hospital, before I call it bad.  I got the on and off fever and the nagging cough that wouldn’t allow me to sleep even a couple of hours through the night.  For a moment I thought I was going to have to turn in my “S” card (superwoman).  I was determined not to let it get the best of me. I powered down a ton of vitamin drinks and elixirs that could make one question my sanity.  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t going to let this bug turn into something Halloween dragged to my door.  After a few days of bewitching potions and concoctions I am proud to say my “S” card is safely tucked into the back pocket of my work jeans! Rawr! I told that bug where to go.  Okay, so my voice is still gone, but then again I never liked the sound of it much anyway.

So wash those hands, bundle up, and if all else fails and you catch it anyway…find the remote, have a good friend on speed dial and grab a huge thermos of something hot.

Miss you all and can’t wait to catch up! Hugs, Koko