Friday, 14 August 2015

The Top 5 Most Essential Grilling Tools That Every Beginner Needs

Along the way, you will want to add a few more accessories of your choice to achieve your desired barbecue dishes but a few reliable grilling tools will help you get started. Of course, these tools are not only for cooking, but also for your protection while in front of the grill.

So if you have a new grill, here are the top 5 grilling tools that you'll need to get started:

1. Grill gloves

When it comes to grilling, safety should be your top priority as you will be exposed to extreme heat and sometimes open flames. To protect your hands, purchase a good pair of heat-resistant grill gloves - one that has a flexible grip and is comfortable to wear so that it doesn't get in the way of your cooking.

2. Long-handled tongs

A good quality pair of tongs is one of the most important grilling accessories that you should have especially if you're a beginner. When choosing tongs, it is ideal that you opt for the long-handled variety to keep your hands at a safe distance from the grill while cooking. Also go for tongs that has an easy grip so that you can hold small or large as well as delicate or hard food pieces without problems.

3. Spatula

Flipping your food is part of grilling, that's why you will need a reliable spatula that will do its job without damaging even the most delicate types of food. There are numerous new models of spatula out in the market today - some with a knife on the side and some that doubles as a beer opener. These are not recommended as they will only get in the way of turning your food so go with a simple yet durable spatula.

4. Silicone brush

Another important step in the grilling process is adding flavor to your food while it's on the grill, that's why experts recommend beginners to invest in a good quality silicone brush to add sauces or marinades on your food while cooking. Unlike regular grill brushes, silicone brushes won't leave behind bristles on your food. They're also ideal because silicone is heat-resistant and can withstand extreme heat for long periods of time.

5. Food Thermometer

As a beginner, it is important to learn how long various kinds of food cook on the grill. This is hard to tell especially at first, that's why experts recommend a good food thermometer to help guide you. While many use an instant read thermometer which is quite on the expensive side, beginners can start with a reliable digital one which is also a good choice. Just be sure to for a model that is accurate and reads quickly. This way, you won't have to worry about undercooked or overcooked food on the grill.

Invest in these essential grill tools as you start your grilling journey. They will help you achieve delicious dishes and you'll be a grilling pro in no time!

Vegetables On The Grill

The grill is your friend this summer. You can create whole meals on this simple piece of equipment and make delicious food. 
When you grill you use high, direct heat to cook food. This create the nice char and the delicious smoky flavor. But, (always a but) that isn't so healthy.

The charred pieces have carcinogenic compounds. Meat produces more, but veggies have their own. Plus, like all cooking, you lose juices and vitamins with heat.

It's not all bad news. Grilled vegetables taste delicious. They cook fast and retain their snap. It's one of the better cooking methods, far better than boiling.

Here's the best way to cook vegetables and meats on the grill. Marinade everything. A simple marinade keeps away the char, provides wonderful flavor, and keeps everything easy.

Use an oil base. Olive oil is popular. Grapeseed, sesame, and coconut oils are healthier.

Add lots and lots of herbs and spices.

Coat the grill with peanut oil to prevent sticking.

Grill quickly, but don't over cook. Vegetables on the grill need to be done quickly.

Any vegetables can be done on the grill. Larger ones can be cut into smaller pieces. Zucchini, corn, green beans, asparagus, tomato (firm ones), onion, garlic (whole cloves), potato, squash, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, turnips are all good candidates. All fruit that are a little more solid are also good.

Get your fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market. That way, you get the freshest vegetables. Fresh is important because fresh vegetables retain their structure. Firm vegetables are better.

Ever tried grilled peaches or watermelon? You don't know what you are missing!

All meats can be done on the grill. Eggs and fish should be done in a pan or on foil, because they can fall through the grates.

Obtain your meats from a local butcher that uses local meats. This is far healthier, with a better fat profile (more heart healthy omega-3s). Find a local farm that sells eggs. See if they let their chickens run around and eat weeds and bugs, their natural diet. The meats and eggs taste better on a natural diet, and cook up so much better. Yes, you will taste the difference.

Best of all: you can't cook breads, pastas, or any junk on the grill! Just don't go adding it in.

Cook more on the grill this summer. It's quicker, healthier, and tastier! Plus, choosing the local farmer's markets and butcher is cheaper!

Christina Major is the Naturopathic Doctor and Holistic Nutritionist of Crystal Holistic Health Consulting. Crystal Holistic Health helps people, especially women, who have Type II Diabetes, High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure lower their numbers, get off medication and increase their energy so they can save money, take back control of their lives and improve the health and happiness of their families. 

Smoke Your Meats And Embrace Your Inner Caveman

As I am writing this I can smell the fragrant goodness of mesquite and hickory wood mixed with country-style pork ribs and the heady meatiness of sirloin tip roast. My Masterbuilt electric smoker is billowing clouds of white smoke into the suburban grid and I'm annoying my neighbors with the aroma of freshly smoked meat. Today is a celebration of meat.

Meat. I love it. A luxurious and delicious benefit of the frontal lobe. Man is smarter than the other animals, therefore he will fashion a spear and kill what he needs and roast it on a fire. I am an unapologetic apex predator and when I'm in this mind-set there is no amount of tofu, fresh vegetables or nuts that will satiate my desire for the fatty, lusty and carnal desire of freshly smoked meat.

I don't care what meat it is. Game, beef, poultry or lamb it doesn't matter. I sometimes crave meat. I'm comfortable with my carnal desires and the sins of the smoked flesh.

It's like some ancestral caveman jumps into the cockpit of my brain and takes control. I call him Gug. Gug is my friend and although his language skills aren't very good, we have an understanding. Meat is good. Fire is your friend. Cook meat with wood.

Sure the smoker came from the Home Shopping Network. It's a Christmas gift from my wife that I received many moons ago. My ancestor Gug approves of the ease of turning on the electric thermostat to the perfect cooking temperature although he doesn't understand how it works.. Gug also enjoys drinking some ice-cold pineapple moonshine with me as I write this article. Life is good for us knuckle-dragging neanderthals.

Gug doesn't understand the idea of foraging in a grocery store with a stainless steel cart. His small, undeveloped brain gets confused over such weird ideas. Gug evolved to hunt, gather eat and procreate.

Gug is a good friend. He links me with my past. Long before political correctness and childhood obesity and fat-free tofu there was Gug. There are times as a man when it is important to ignore my inner cave man. Gug can get me in trouble. Gug needs to stay home during weddings, cocktail parties and heated discussions with supporters of PETA. I'm not ashamed of my inner Neanderthal and love of meat. It's just that you can't wear a loin cloth all the time and be taken seriously.

I check the digital thermometer and see that the beef is a perfect medium rare. I rest the meat and slap Gug's hand. Gug wants to eat now. He grunts and has a puzzled look on his face as I start grinding cilantro,parsley,lime juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil in the blender to make a chimichurri sauce to compliment the beef.

The country ribs need a little more smoking so I open another mason jar of cold moonshine. This time it's apple pie and Gug smiles a big toothless grin.We have time. There is no rush. I smile too and wait patiently as a slight breeze blows under my loin cloth. This is a wonderful, meat inspired, cave man Sunday.

Ways to Find the Best BBQ Party Caterers

A BBQ party is a special occasion. This is a casual event, where you invite your friends, relatives and neighbours to have some fun with and spend some fun moments. You can call for a BBQ party just for the sake of having fun or you may decide to have a BBQ birthday party or for any other event for that matter. 

Find the Best BBQ Catering Service

If you are planning for a BBQ party, then you don't really need to spend a lot of time in order to find a caterer. However, you must make sure that you have selected the best one out of too many options you have to select from. Remember, the success or failure of your BBQ Party depends upon, the services provided by the BBQ caterers. The quality of food, their hospitality and other factors make a huge difference. Here are a few tips which you might find helpful while selecting a catering service for your BBQ party:

Number of Guests: The first question which needs to be addressed is how many guests you want to invite or have already invited. The reason why this is a very important factor is because all the catering agencies have some limitations in terms of their manpower. With too many guests, you might need to deploy more than one agency.
Their Experience: As already mentioned, a BBQ is a special occasion, therefore it is very important that you have selected a catering agency which has a fair amount of experience in BBQ events.
Their Rates: This is another very important factor. You would like to have everything at minimum possible rates. Therefore, check if the rate which they have quoted is at par with the market standard. If you feel that they have quoted higher rates, see if there is any room for negotiations.
Ask for samples: If possible, ask them to present a few samples for you to check. These samples will give you some idea about their quality.
Overtime Charges: The chances are most likely that you might have to extend your party timing. In that case you will have to pay the catering agency there overtime charges. Ask them about it.
Payment terms: Usually and advance payment is made and the rest is done after the work is done. Check out if the one you have selected follows the set standard. If they follow some other methods, check how reliable they are.
When it comes to a BBQ party, it is very important to be critical and selective in choosing the right caterers. At the end of the day, they are the ones who would be preparing the all important BBQ foods, which is one of the major attractions of the party. So, if you wish to organize a party, then the specialised caterers are the ones you need to get in touch with.

Motorcycle Parts And Accessories To Enhance Your Ride

Whether you're new to the world of motorcycles or you've been riding for years, it is always fun to check out new motorcycle parts and gadgets. These parts can make your ride easier, more enjoyable, and even make you more excited to get on your bike and go for a drive. Check out these accessories to add some fun to your ride.

Motorcycle GPS

When you hop on your motorbike, it's important that you know where you are headed, and this new gadget can help get you there. There are now multiple GPS devices that are specifically designed to be used by motorcyclists on the road. These gadgets are compact, waterproof, and some even have integrated headset connectivity so you can hear the spoken directions inside your helmet. In this new age of technology where it is rare to find someone using an actual paper map, this might be the most obvious investment to improve your riding experience.

Handlebar Warmers

When it's cold outside, riding your bike might not seem like the most appealing mode of transportation, but if it happens to be your only option, handlebar warmers can make your ride much more enjoyable. This gadget attaches to your handlebars and the heating wires slide right under the grip so you don't have to worry about keeping them in place or ruining the aesthetic of your motorcycle. These can be used on any bike with any type of handlebars, but they may not be compatible with foam grips.

Motorcycle Cameras

Have you ever been riding your bike along a beautiful coastline and thought, "I wish I could capture this moment?" Well, now you can. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are now cameras made specifically for motorcycles that can mount just about anywhere as well as get rid of excess noise and vibrations to ensure you have a clear picture when you're playing it back for your friends. These cameras are user-friendly and virtually indestructible so you won't have to worry about them getting ruined outside in harsh climates. All you have to do is attach it, turn it on, and capture the stunning view.

Compact Battery Chargers

Even if you buy all of the cool gadgets and motorcycle parts in the world, you can't put them to use if your motorcycle battery isn't charged. That's why keeping a compact battery charger with you at all times can be a great asset. These compact chargers have short cords and small cases so they are easy to store and can give you a full charge without fear of overcharging your battery once it's full. You should never let a lack of battery charge keep you from a great ride, so make sure you pick up one of these chargers so you can take advantage of all the other motorcycle parts you have.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Confidently, painlessly and quickly sift through all technical specifications, facts and figures to get the core information you need to make an informed purchase of two-way radios. Clear up "data confusion" and glean the most relevant information from manufacturer tech sheets.

FACTOR 1: RF Power

RF Power is a good indicator of the distance a 2-way radio can transmit, as well as a more important factor: the strength of a 2-way radio's signal under optimal transmission conditions. In general, customers don't use their 2-way radios at the upper limits of the transmission range. Most customers transmit from a relatively close proximity between 2-way radios, roughly the size of your "average" construction site - one-half to one mile. Transmitting a distance of that average construction jobsite requires much less than 1 watt of output power.

When do you need 5 watts of RF output power? You need it to overcome interference in the real world. In the real world, 2-way radio users aren't dealing with an optimal situation - a clear line of sight with nothing in between the user and the persons they are communicating with. Buildings, terrain and everything else between you and the receiving parties will create interference and degrade your transmitted signal.

When taking into account real world factors, 1 watt may not be strong enough to overcome interference; any signal that reaches the intended receivers will be very weak and difficult to understand. Models that feature low/high power options allow you to choose when to save power and when to crank it up.

FACTOR 2: Battery (type / capacity / voltage):

Everything begins with the battery when it comes to portable (handheld) 2-way radios. If battery isn't good enough, then nothing else within the 2-way radio can be work well enough. You want a rechargeable battery technology that does not hold memory and can be recharged many times, which is why a high-capacity Li-ion is better than NiMH. Battery capacity, measured in milliamps per hour (mAh), indicates how long the 2-way radio can operate between charges. The higher the number, the longer the run time.

Battery voltage is also directly related to the 2-way radio's RF output power. If a 2-way radio has 5 watts of output power (efficiently) it needs to be backed by at least a 7 volt DC battery pack. TIP: If a two-way radio technical specs sheet claims 5 watts of output power, but only has a 3 volt DC battery pack, it's either a typographical error or an outright lie.

FACTOR 3: Dimensions and Weight:

This one's pretty obvious, and it's the same reason we wear watches instead of carry clocks. Toting around a large, heavy two-way radio all day long creates unnecessary fatigue. A compact, lightweight radio that is rugged and durability is ideal.

There's a pretty wide range between competing models. I have seen differences of ten ounces or more in weight between comparable models. Remember to take the battery and antenna into consideration if the spec sheets don't specify the total weight of the radio.

FACTOR 4: Channels:

If channels aren't programmable, they don't do you a lot of good. Most 2-way radios on the market today feature programmable channels. The more channels your 2-way radio has, the more frequencies you can program, and thus the more options you have to avoid interference from other groups of people using the same frequency. That may be important in congested areas. I recommend a minimum of a dozen programmable channels for real-life convenience.

For example, if you are using a 2-way radio with only 1 or 2 channels and there are other people using those frequencies you may not be able to "get away" from the busy channels, making your 2-way radios fairly useless. Having more channels gives you more frequency options so you can easily and quickly switch to open channels. Again, the number of channels and the number of programmable channels varies depending on the make and model of the radio.

FACTOR 5: Frequency Range:

Frequency range details which frequencies the 2-way radio will transmit and receive. This feature is very much controlled by the FCC within the US. The FCC details which frequency ranges are for which type of activity and radio type, along with which frequencies require an active license to use.

FACTOR 6: Channel Spacing (Bandwidth):

This is related to frequency range. A radio frequency signal occupies more than just the frequency it transmitting on. The signal takes up space on the frequency above and below its transmit frequency. How much of the frequencies above and below are affected is what we call "bandwidth" or "channel spacing".

In an effort to make more efficient use of available frequencies, the FCC recently created a narrowbanding rule requiring all radios to have channel spacing of 12.5 kHz or less. To repeat: to be narrowband compliant with FCC regulations, a two-way radio MUST have a channel spacing of 12.5 kHz or less.

FACTOR 7: Audio Output:

Audio output (typically measured in mW) measures your 2-way radio's audio amplifier output power (the loudness of your two-way radio's volume). Construction and industrial environments are loud in and of themselves, so professional users need their 2-way radio volume (audio output) to be loud enough to hear the received signal over the ambient noise.

A 500mW rating is good. Generally speaking, the higher the mW audio output is above 500mW, the more likely your two-way radio's volume will be measurably louder and clearer. Extreme military radios have an audio output of around 1000mW.

Taking these six factors into consideration should result in a the purchase of a 2-way radio that will function well for professional purposes. Other features you many see on spec sheets will be optional "convenience" factors such as programmable squelch, programmable buttons, headset accessory jacks, universal compatibility, VOX (voice activated transmit), busy channel lockout, channel scan, and privacy settings (though privacy even among the most expensive models is questionable).

Among these options, my Must-Have features are "Emergency Call Out" and "Group Call" features that allow immediate critical communication that saves time, and sometimes lives.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

UHF or VHF Two Way Radios - Which Is Better for Me?

Two way radio customers ask me all the time whether they should use UHF or VHF two way radios. The answer of course depends on where you're planning to use the walkie talkies. It is also important to know if you're already using two way radios because UHF radios won't talk to VHF radios and vice versa. There are some off brand radios that might allow UHF and VHF to be used on the same radio but UHF doesn't talk to VHF without additional technologies so for this article, they don't talk to each other.

UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency. UHF is ideal for customers looking to use their two way radios indoors most of the time. UHF does a better job of penetrating through obstructions like concrete and steel. I recommend UHF technology any time someone has a jobsite where they work both indoors and outdoors. Target, American Eagle Outfitters, and Olive Garden Restaurants all use UHF two way radios.

VHF stands for Very High Frequencies. VHF works best for customers who primarily use their two way radios outdoors. The VHF signal will travel further outdoors but will not provide the best audio quality indoors. Walmart is a large user of VHF two way radios and does so because they have been purchasing two way radios since only VHF radios were available for sale. Surveyors and Landscaping crews are the most common users of VHF technology.

Both UHF and VHF handle held two way radios have a range of 1-2 miles outdoors without the use of a Repeater. Repeaters can extend the range across a city or even a state with the right budget. The range of your two way radios will vary based on the terrain, the number of obstacles, and the wattage of the two way radio. Handheld two way radios can only be 5 watts of power or lower.

I recommend UHF two way radios to all customers unless they are always outdoors. UHF will outperform VHF any time a radio is being used in a mixed environment consisting of both indoor and outdoor. The price point between UHF and VHF is nominal if any and the benefit of having a clearer signal when working both indoors and outdoors far exceeds any price difference you would see. I also believe as technology has improved the audio quality differences between UHF and VHF has been marginalized.

Whether you choose to use UHF or VHF two way radios are a cost effective way to improve safety and productivity at your workplace.