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Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine-Reviews

Two cuts of ewspress with heart cookies

Best Automatic Espresso Machines You Will Love

by Kathie FitzPatrick

So how do you find the best espresso coffee machine? There are many choices of home espresso machines out there.  The variety sometimes seems as vast as the stars in the sky. Well, perhaps not quite that vast!  But it is a bit confusing to say the least.  This article will review our top favorite picks in the realm of Semi-Automatic and Super-Automatic Espresso Machines in order to help you determine the best automatic espresso machine for you.

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Warm up those Winter Days and Nights with SOUP!

Whether it’s a Dutch Oven…Make Soup…

… A Croc Pot … or A Big 6 quart pot…Make SOUP!

By Kathie FitzPatrick

There is something about a good bowl of home made soup . . . it seems to warm the body and soul and put a smile on your face every time! Whether it fills you up to go back to work at the office, back to school to face the test, or out to shovel the driveway, it makes lots of healthy fuel for the both the body mind and spirit!

White Lentil Soup With Bacon

Fill the chosen cooking vessel with about 3/4 water. Decide if you will use a small bag of white lentils or a large one depending on your pot. Use the water to lentil ration indicated on the bag.  Place one or two pork ham hocks in the pan, salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 diced onion and two or three chopped celery stalks, plus chose sliced carrots.  Let come to a boil, then simmer for about 3 1/2 hrs or until lentils are tender.  Serve with chopped fresh parsley and sprinkle with real crumbled bacon. Be sure you also serve your favorite hot bread and a salad. This makes a healthy, satisfying combination whether for lunch or dinner!

White Lentil Soup with Swedish meatballs

Make the white lentil soup with ham hock as described described above.  In large fraying pan make your Swedish meatballs, turning them often as you fry them for even results.

Swedish Meatballs

In large bowl combine 1 package of lean ground beef (1 or 2 lbs or so) with half the amount of ground pork sausage. Add 1/2 diced medium onion, 2 eggs, 1 cup breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp nutmeg or so depending on your taste; mix well. Shape into small meat balls about 1 inch or so. Fry in pan with a small amount of olive oil coating the pan. When cooked through and through, drop into the pot of hot white lentil soup mixture. Serve with you favorite hot bread, real butter and green salad. Yummmm!

Italian Pasta Fajole

In a large iron pan with cover or Dutch oven, place chopped left over beef chuck roast or diced beef stew meat, and place in hot pan with a little olive oil. Stir in fresh or dry rosemary, and Italian seasoning of your choice or herbs from your garden such as Oregano and Thyme.  Let flavors cook into the meat.  Add five cups of water and one bag of dry mixed bean mix.  Then stir in 3 cups chopped canned tomatoes, Italian style if you can get them.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil then turn heat down to simmer for 4 or 5 hours.  Shortly before serving  pour into boiling mixture, 1 half bag pasta shells. Cook until tender about 9 minutes. Serve with joy, add hot sourdough or faoscia bread! Make green salad with Romain lettuce, spinach, tomato and artichoke hearts…and Italian dressing. This is a family recipe!


Easy Split Pea Soup

The simple recipe for this warm satisfying soup is as old as the hills, and then some! My grandma Elizabeth, on my Mom’s side,  who’s family did a homestead farm in Oklahoma, always had a pot of beans of some kind simmering on the stove.  Split pea is one of those easy, tummy warming ones!

Fill large pot with lid (or croc pot) about 2/3 or so with water. Place one or two ham hocks in it along with either a small or large bag of dry split peas.  Read the mix to water ratio on the bag.  Add a couple of chopped/sliced carrots, 1 diced onion, and a couple of stalks of chopped celery; salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil then simmer 3-4 hours of until the split peas are tender, and liquefying into soup.  Serve with Honey corn bread and your favorite salad!


Quick Five Bean Chili

This is easy and quick! Decide on the amount you want to make. Say, using 2 lbs ground beef would be an average amount serving about 6 people.  In large frying pan cook the ground beef stirring frequently until thoroughly done.  Add salt and pepper to taste and about 3 TBS chili powder, or tailored to your taste.  Use the same frying pan with lid if large enough or transfer to a larger cooking pot with lid.

1 can white northern beans

2 cans pinto beans

2 cans kidney beans

1 can black beans

1 can of chipolte beans, or any other kind of beans you like that would be compatible with Chili.

1 can chopped tomatoes, Mexican style or plain

Use the liquid from the canned beans as a base.  Cook on medium heat for at least 30 min to 1 hour.   Simmer longer to let the flavors continue to release and mix well into the chili.  Shortly before serving add small slices or bits of sliced or chopped fresh green bell pepper.  Let cook barely through and through to keep crisp.

Five Bean Chili–a quick favorite!

Serve with Taco chips or your favorite bread.


Easy Chicken Soup

They say chicken soup is good for the soul, and everything else that ails you. This is probably true!

Basic Home made Chicken Soup

If you have just finished off a baked or roasted chicken, or even brought one home from the deli on the way home from work . . . you may be looking at the chicken carcass, that also made a few tasty sandwiches, thinking, “Now what? Is it time to toss it?”

No!  You can make delightful, warming chicken soup with the remainder, and you’ll be glad you did!

Place the chicken “carcass” in a croc pot or stewing pot, add water up to the three quarter point of the pot or so.  add salt and pepper, I chopped onion, 3 stalks chopped celery, and 2 chopped carrots.  Bring to a boil then let simmer 3 hours. This going to create a “base stock.”

From here decide which kind of chicken soup do you want?

Chicken rice – add 2/3 cup of rice to the boiling mixture.

Chicken vegetable: add your favorite variety of veggies such as potato, green bean, broccoli or other. You may wish to add additional  sliced carrots.

Chicken Curry: Add 1 tsp curry powder.

Chicken Oriental: Add 1 or two egg whites, stir until; add dried Chinese style mushrooms, diced fresh green scallions. Serve; make enough to freeze and enjoy another time!


Grandma Ruby’s Homemade Soup

Here is a simple and easy home made soup recipe sure to please!  Take a large beef bone and place in a large cooking pan with 5 to 6 cups of water.  Add chopped potatoes, 3 stalks chopped celery, 1 chopped onion, 3 large carrots, add salt and pepper to taste, 2 cans pinto beans, one can black beans, 1 can kidney beans. Stir in 2 small cans or one large can tomato soup.  Optional: add corn;  Add braised beef pieces. Bring to a boil, then cook for 4 hrs – 5 hrs. on medium heat until the soup looks well blended and the flavors and have released throughout! Add sage or thyme if desired.  Serve with honey cornbread.

Need some new soup making vessels?  See Dutch ovens here on shopgourmetkitchen.com.

See stainless steel pots:  click here to buy on Amazon:


Top 15 Amazing Kitchen Gadgets Available on Amazon


Make Your Life Easier With These Brilliant and Amazing Kitchen Gadgets!

Here are the top 15 amazing kitchen gadgets available on Amazon. These are simple but brilliant gadgets that will make your life easier in the kitchen and life in general!

From quick slicing, cleaning, coring fruits and vegetables and more . . . you may want one of each!   Turbo charge your kitchen to a new level of efficiency with these simple items that speed up food prep and make food display in a more beautiful fashion. Here is a quick video that will review them!



1.  Pizza scissors – Scizza

Scizza. . . Get your amazing pizza scissors on Amazon

Dreamfarm Scizza – Pizza Scissors, Non-Stick and Pizza Stone Safe Pizza Cutter and Server (Red)

  • Scizza is a pizza cutter that perfectly slices any pizza on any surface and even serves too.  Handy kitchen gadget for all pizza lovers
  • Scizza won’t scratch your non-stick pans or dull on pizza stones
  • Hardened German stainless steel blades provide a sharp, long lasting, durable cutting edge
  • Non-Stick nylon base won’t scratch cookware and is heat resistant up to 205°C/ 400°F
  • Pizza scissors that easily work through deep dish pizza too.
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  • Click here to buy these handy pizza scissors  on Amazon
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  • 2.   SMOOD 

Smood potato avocado and vegetable masher

Smood- Mashing avocado

  • Dreamfarm Smood – One-Press Spring Coil Potato Masher with Silicone Pot Scraper (Red)

  • Make mashing potatoes or other cooked vegetables easy!
  • Effortlessly creates smooth mash in seconds by trapping food and forcing it through the thin gaps between the collapsing stainless steel spring coils
  • Soft multi-grip handle is ergonomically designed to be held in several comfortable and efficient hand positions
  • Unique spring design eliminates jarring on the wrist by absorbing the downward force
  • Silicone scraper makes it easy to clean the pot or bowl and is heat resistant to 260-Degree c/500-Degree f
  • This product is dishwasher-safe
  • Make life easier with this amazing kitchen gadget!
  • Click here to buy this handy kitchen item on Amazon!   
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  • 3. TAPI

  • Dreamfarm Tapi – Faucet Drinking Fountain, Fits Most Taps (Assorted Colors)

  • TAPI- Makes kitchen tap into a water fountain

  • Convenient tool makes your kitchen tap into a water fountain. Great for traveling too!
  • Tapi fits onto your kitchen tap and lets water pass through it normally
  • Squeeze it to redirect the water up, creating a drinking fountain
  • Drink or rinse your mouth straight from your tap without worrying about dirty hands, glasses  or cups
  • Not sure if it will fit your tap? Go to the Dreamfarm website for a fitting guide. Made of water-safe rubber.
  • Includes ONE Tapi, color will vary.Click here to buy TAPI on Amazon 
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4. Temji

Temji. Regulate the temperature in your shower or kitchen tap with Temji

Temji is a very handy tool that helps you adjust the water temperature on your kitchen tap or in your shower! This product recently moved from Amazon to Dreamfarm.  Here’s the link:

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5. Teafu

Infuse tea and eliminate the mess!


Dreamfarm DFTE8210 Teafu Tea Ball Strainers, Assorted Colors

Amazingly convenient tea infuser! Be kind to yourself. Buy a few of  these in various colors!

  • Eliminate the mess by squeezing out every last drop of tea into your cup before standing teafu up on the kitchen counter;
  • Easily scoop your favorite tea into teafu just like using a spoon because it opens completely flat;
  • Ergonomic handle makes it easy to squeeze teafu and infuse your tea quickly;
  • Premium-grade silicone is heat resistant to 500 farenheit.
  • Dishwasher safe;

Click here to purchase Teafu

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6. Garject

Amazing garlic press- Garject

Dreamfarm Garject – Self-Cleaning Garlic Press with Peel Eject (Red)

  • The Garject presses unpeeled garlic, scrapes itself clean, and then ejects the peel. Amazing.
  • Automatically scrapes off any excess garlic and cleans itself as you open up the handle
  • This product has a very clever design which ensures all of the pressed garlic gets into your meal and never on your fingers
  • Simply push the ‘peel eject’ button to shoot the peel into the trash, then rinse under water and garject is clean
  •  Dishwasher safe. Place on top rack
  • Truly amazing kitchen gadget

To buy  Garject on Amazon, click here

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  • 7. Chopula

  • The amazing Chopula…get yours today!

  • Dreamfarm Chopula – Super-Flexible Chopping Sit Up Spatula – Safe for Non-Stick (Red)

  • Chopula is a spatula that is thin and flexible for flipping and strong for chopping on its side. Amazing
  • Great for separating meat or eggs in a pan, flipping pancakes, or serving right to the pan
  • Keep counter clean thanks to the clever bended handle which holds the head upward
  • Flexible, large head slides easily under food for a clean lift or flip that keeps even fragile food in one piece
  • Dishwasher safe; Non-stick safe nylon is heat resistant up to 250°C/480°F
  • Materials: Nylon
  • Love it!
  • Buy Chopula on Amazon right here
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Sugarless Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Be True to Yourself During the Holidays!

Deep Dish Ceramic Covered Pumpkin Pie Plate

Ah, it’s that time of year again . . .the Holidays!  But what comes along with that is THE FOOD!

We love getting together with friends and family around the Holidays and those big dinners right on Thanksgiving, they are the best!  But the rich food often plays havoc with our fitness goals.

Here are some suggestions for you. If you are visiting friends where you did not make the food, avoid as many sugary treats as possible. Hopefully, they did some meatballs, cold cuts, fruit or veggie platters or other goodies that are not too bad on the waistline and will help your successfully skip over the fudge! If not, sample conservatively or skip all together. Have a beverage, and visit your friends. After all, that’s what you’re really there for, right?

As you enjoy the big Holiday dinners with family and friends, just be conservative. Take only one medium sized plate of food, and you should be fine. After all, turkey is healthy for you! Choose side dishes such as green beans and potatoes and green salad over the sweet dishes.

Afterwards, if possible, take a long walk around the neighborhood with some of the group. This is a great opportunity to stretch your legs and work off a big part of the dinner plus talk with people you may not get to visit with very often or any other time of year.

If you get to bring some of the food, bring healthy snacks and fruit and veggie platters to add to the festive holiday spread. You can be sure they are always appreciated!

Here’s a recipe for a sugarless pumpkin pie that I have taken out to parties and served at home that is a wonderful dessert for the Holidays. Honestly, you will not be able to tell the difference! Shop for Xyla Crystals, a sugar substitute, in the health food section or your favorite store. Xlya looks, tastes and measures eactly like regular sugar. Xyla is 100% Xylitol. “Sweet without the gulit,” the product label says. Basically, you can use any pumpkin pie recipe on the pumpkin pack can, and replace the sugar with Xyla, but here is my own personal recipe:

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees
Have on hand:

2 eggs
¾ cup Xyla crystals sugar substitute
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 can pure pumpkin pack (15 oz)
1 can (12 fluid oz) evaporated milk
Pinch salt

1 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) deep dish pie shell
1 cup whipped cream – from carton
1 tsp vanilla
2 envelopes Stevia sugar substitute
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Combine Xyla Cystals sugar substitute salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in a small bowl and blend. Lightly beat the two eggs in a medium bowl, then add pumpkin, stirring, add in the spices mixture.
Pour into pie shell. Back for 15 minutes at 425. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees continuimjg to bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick or a knife to be sure the filling is cooked through and through. Cool at least 40 minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped cream whipped the old fashioned way, adding 1 tsp vanilla and 2 envelopes Stevia to sweeten.

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You will enjoy this pumpkin pie as a guilt free addition to your holiday gatherings and dinners! 

 Also think about this wonderful pie dish to serve at home or transport your pie to a party:

Buy this wonderful pie serving dish on Amazon by clicking on this link here:

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Ceramic Pumkin Pie Plate- Be the star of the party!

For yoga and exercise tips plus additional recipes, please visit me at www.healthyweightsystems.com


How to Use Coffee to Build Relationships

Having coffee together adds a warm positive note to both your discussion and work projects.

Having coffee together adds a warm positive note to both your discussion and work projects.

Sitting Down and Having Coffee Together is Much More Powerful Than you May Think.

By Kathie FitzPatrick

We know we love drinking coffee . . . and we know a lot of other people like to drink coffee.
So enjoying coffee is something we can potentially have in common with people, both current friends and soon to be friends, and business associates.

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Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Coffee?

Love Coffee?  Are You Drinking 3 or 4 Cups a Day? It might Just be Very Good For your Health!

Studies show that coffee in moderation is actually good for your health.

Studies show that coffee in moderation is actually good for your health. Scroll below for the video YOUR BRAIN ON COFFEE

By Kathie FitzPatrick

There are certain things we love . . and some things we even feel guilty about indulging in. If you love coffee, relax.  Drinking one to four cups a day may protect you from developing a number of various diseases, according to current clinical studies.

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Small Espresso Machine for the Home

“Where is that Small Espresso Machine that I Will Love?”

"Where is that small espresso machine that I will love...and will fit neatly on my kitchen counter space?"

“Where is that small espresso machine that I will love…and will fit neatly on my kitchen counter space?”

Small Espresso Machine for the Home

Ever found yourself looking over the display of home espresso machines on-line and wondered if the one you like would fit your limited counter space?

Or maybe starting with evaluating a small espresso machine is just the way to go from the very beginning.

Let’s take a look at a selection that should answer the question and give you a wonderful espresso machine that will make those really great coffee drinks you are looking forward to!

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Which Nespresso Machine is Right for You?

Cappuccino coffee...one of the favorite specialty coffee drinks!

Cappuccino coffee…one of the favorite specialty coffee drinks made with a Nespresso machine!

“Which Nespresso Machine Shall I Buy?”

Nespresso Citiz C111 Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frothier, Chrome


Which Nespresso machine makes cappuccinos and lattes?”

Here we go . . . this one does!

This Nespresso machine includes an Aeroccino Plus milk frothier, rapid one touch preparation of hot or cold milk froth for Cappuccino, Latte and Iced Cappuccino
Owners notice an easy insertion and ejection of the coffee capsules.  This model of Nespresso  holds 10 used capsules. It also has a removable 34-ounce water tank. This is for use with Nespresso coffee capsules only.
The Nespresso Citiz is a good example of compact brewing unit technology.  Fast preheating time is 25 seconds. This machine has a 19 Bar high pressure pump. The automatic power turns off off after 9 minutes of inactivity
This machine also has an automatic and programmable coffee volume quantity (Espresso and Lungo). Items sold separately valued at $348.
The flexible pivoting tray accommodates tall recipe glasses!

Buy the Nespresso Citiz C111 Espresso Maker on Amazon:

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Which Nespresso Machine Should I buy?

Here are a few questions posted on Amazon reviews from people considering owning a Nespresso machine or who already own one:

Question:  Can you also make just plain coffee with this model?

Answer: No. If you want one that makes coffee and espresso look at the Nespresso Vertuoline machines.

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Freshest beans? Is Home Coffee Roasting for You?

The Importance of Fresh Coffee Beans . . .

Is Home Coffee Roasting for You?

Green and brown decaf unroasted and black roasted coffee beans as background.

Green beans will make the transformation to freshly roasted coffee beans in our cup!


Ah, if you are a coffee lover there is nothing like fresh coffee beans in your cup!
Since the critical top priority in making a full and flavorful cup of coffee is in the freshness of the beans, let’s get to the bottom of it.  You can sometimes find a source of freshly roasted beans close by your home through various coffee stores or specialty shops, or possibly through mail subscription, or you can decide to roast the green coffee beans at home yourself.  More about home coffee roasting later.
When you look around the local grocery store where you shop you probably assume that the beans on the shelf are fresh, but this often just not the case.

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Best Home Coffee Bean Roasters

So why do people do home coffee roasting?

Freshly roasted coffee . . . there's nothing like it.

Freshly roasted coffee . . . there’s nothing like it.

I watch people on-line passionately stirring those green coffee beans in a frying pan on their stoves at home, patiently waiting for those precious “cracks” to signal the first sign that their roast is about done.  The first crack finally makes a loud pop or a crack sound like a branch breaking. Then here is comes, the second crack that sounds like rice krispies . . . ah, now it’s  time to pull it off and cool it in a colander, and eyeball that perfect medium roast.

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Italian Espresso Machines-Reviews & A Little Bit of History

Italian Espresso Machines-Reviews

By Kathie FitzPatrick

Italian coffee machines-in-love-with-italy_zylunYuO_L

No, espresso did not originally come from Seattle.

Thanks to North African and Turkish merchant traders who brought the early concept of espresso through Venetian ports to Italy in the early part of the 20th century during the Renaissance period, coffee had already become a part of daily life in Italy. In the year 1763 there were 200 coffee shops in Venice.

Then about 140 years later, in 1903, a businessman, Luigi Bezzera, was trying to figure out a way to make his coffee faster. He was an owner of a manufacturing business and was losing patience with how long it took to make his coffee each morning.

Bezzera delightfully discovered that by adding steam pressure to the coffee making process this not only cut down the time of the brewing process itself, but created a far stronger and more robust cup of coffee. It was a new creation of its own. Upon further study and tinkering he cleverly came up with what he called his “Fast coffee machine.” The word “espresso” means fast in Italian.

Vintage teapot with dry tea and rose buds over black metal background

However, Bezzera was not as talented in marketing as he was creating the first espresso maker. In 1905 he sold the rights to another businessman, Desidero Pavoni. From there a short time later the machine was patented.   Also within a short time Pavoni’s name was associated with everything having to do with espresso.

In current times Italy now has over 200,000 coffee bars and growing.

It’s fun to look at the history of espresso coffee creation! Today we are going to take a big leap forward in time and review some of the favorite Italian espresso machines for the home. So now you will get a good look at all things “espresso machine Italian,” and make the right choice for the best Italian espresso machine for your personal home!

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