Using the Best Electric Smoker in My Apartment

Smoking food has been done for many centuries. Back then, people smoked meat manually. Now that technology has improved our way living, you can smoke your foods conveniently. I think that you need to have a look at detailed electric smoker reviews if you don’t have one of these in your home yet. You should definitely start looking now. There are many benefits you can get from having your own high quality smoker and here are some of them.

smoking meat

You can use it inside your home

Unlike the traditional way of smoking food, the best electric meat smoker can be used inside your house. They come in different shapes and sizes so you can choose which one is ideal to use and easy to store. Since there is no need for charcoal and wood burning, it is still possible to smoke your food even if the weather outside is not good. The close design helps prevent smoke from getting out so you can be sure that there is no burning smell and smoky atmosphere inside your home.

You can smoke meat faster

The traditional style of smoking food needs constant tending in order to assure that the coal or wood is still burning. You could forget that you are cooking and make the process longer. It would take a whole day or more to achieve the perfect flavor and desired tenderness. However, with the best electric smoker in your home, you can serve the desired smoked meat without burning too much time.

You can set the time digitally

You can now have your smoked meat ready at dinnertime. By just setting the time according to how much and what kind of food you want, you can feed your family and friends the perfectly smoked flavored food. There is also no need for you to check how the food is doing from time to time because these smokers are automatic. Compared to the old way of smoking food, this kind of machine is certainly more user-friendly.

It is much safer to use

The best quality smokers automatically turn off as soon as the time is done. For people who forget to tend their electronics, this is ideal to have. There is also no open flame to be more precautious with, especially when you have kids around. When using it, it is also best to know the safety measures by knowing the right way to plug it in electric source and following the needed voltage.

It retains the original smoked flavor

According to so many electric smoker reviews that I’ve read, many people would infer that these smokers will diminish the smoky flavor or that it doesn’t give the same results as the traditional way of smoking would. If you have the best electric smoker in your home, you should acquire the best results. If you want to get the exact flavor, all you have to do is follow the suggested time, pressure and temperature to get the perfectly smoked food. This is what I have experienced.

It is low maintenance

Compared to traditional smokers, the electric versions are low cost because you do not need to use coal or wood. All you need is electricity to keep it running. Since it is also faster, you can save time and energy. They are also easy to clean and the other components are dishwasher-safe so you can have them cleaned in no time.

When looking for the best meat smoker, you should know what to consider lots of different factors. For you to narrow down your search, you can ask for suggestions from your friends and family who own one. There are also electric smoker reviews online you can read to check if a particular deal is credible. You have to be careful and put the safety of your home as your top priority.

If you’ve moved into a new apartment, then a smoker would be perfect for you to start a new chapter in your life. Maybe you could throw a barbecue party and invite all of your friends?

New Freezing Apartment…

I have not mastered the heating system in my new apartment. Heat is included in my rent but it wasn’t until recently that I figured out the provided heating is limited. So I may be getting free heat but really this means a burst of heat will be delivered from the vents once every twelve hours. In the meantime I’m left to a poor, shivering state and can’t help but ponder winter wear. Just earlier I was browsing photos of the Inuit when I realized maybe something like this might be needed for life in my apartment this winter.

old heater

So while I was riding the elevator today I ended up talking to a fellow resident who lives on the same floor as I do. She was an elderly woman and I had the feeling she wanted someone to talk too. In truth, I find myself enjoying the company of the elderly more and more as I grow older. I know it may sound silly but when I’m around old people I start to remember my grandparents (who are gone) and I feel like I’m in their company again.

Sort of.

I feel like I’m stepping into the role of a granddaughter who will be told stories, given cookies and will work puzzles because these are all activities I remember from my grandparents. The elderly woman and I ended up talking about heating. I asked for advice and she told me the only way to make it through the cold is to get myself a space heater.

“I have a space heater in my apartment. Do you want to see it?” she asked. I could hear the excitement in her voice. As if, the idea of showing off her space heater was the most thrilling idea of all time. I’ve always felt a little nervous about stepping into stranger’s apartments but I’ve gotten past this because, well, I’ve just become more social over time. I followed the woman into her apartment and we talked in great detail about space heaters. She insisted on giving me a tour of her entire apartment, which was beautiful with stunning views of the river and highly decorated with care.

I left just a few minutes ago, feeling like I had just stepped out of a cozy scene where neighbors visit other neighbors and everyone is cheerful to one another. Instead of being distant strangers, people stop to say “Hello.” Typically, I have no interest in knowing my neighbors but this new apartment has brought about some interesting changes.

One way or another

coffee shop I work at

When I am melancholy, or weary, or simply stressed I find myself escaping to the coffee shop I work at. Under normal circumstances I would not recommend turning one’s workplace into a kind of sanctuary. I’ve worked plenty of other jobs by now to know the workplace is often the center of stress, the place where one considers jumping off a cliff, rather than a place of happiness… But the coffee shop I work at is in fact unique. My pet name for the shop is Rachel Café, or House of Rachel and this name is highly suitable, I find.

I know the life stories of my workers right down to their mannerisms and accents and I also have an attachment to the customers who visit… It is a bit like the Cheers theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” but not completely, of course. We do serve coffee, after all, not beer. I also find the job thrilling because I work with incredibly interesting people. We have a field herper on staff and a former librarian from Albania and a boy who rocks out for Jesus on his guitar. Our customers are just as eccentric and lovable. Many will play trivia with me before I give them their drink, or will ask, “How are you?” with genuine concern each day. And the truth is, I will go far to make customers love the café as much as I do.

Last night I gave a customer an extra teabag (no charge) “for later” because I knew he needed it (who doesn’t need Earl Grey?). If someone isn’t satisfied with their drink, I will make them anything on the menu with specific customizations until that person is delighted. Of course, if someone is rude my attitude changes swiftly and I tell them, “You need to leave. Your negativity is ruining my positive energy. Take your sorry self to Starbucks.” Actually, I haven’t used these words yet… I am saving them for the day I stop caring about customer service or keeping my job.

Last week my coworker brought in a mix CD for us to listen to and suddenly a Blondie song came on. K informed me, “I put on this song just for you.” You see, “Blondie” has become a nickname my coworkers call me. And no, I don’t mind being called it. I have blond hair, I get it. This is the song she selected:

Perhaps this will sound childish to some of you but here was someone who had put a song on a mix CD in my honor. I felt touched; I knew that song will always be associated with this specific memory and I didn’t really know how to respond, except to sing along to the lyrics and dance.

And yes, sometimes dancing at work is necessary.

The Minotaur

audio booksI’ve been experimenting with listening to audio books (mostly while driving) and my newest audio selection is The Minotaur by Barbara Vine. An Amazon review summarized the novel as follows: “Barbara Vine (a.k.a. Ruth Rendell) is back with yet another fascinating psychological portrait of what could be called the ultimate dysfunctional family. A young Swedish caretaker (Kersten, pronounced “Shastin”) is sent to work for the Cosway family, four unmarried daughters and a disturbed son who are ruled by the apathetic 80 year old Ida Cosway.

They live in a rambling ivy covered mansion which features a mysterious maze inside a locked library. Kersten soon finds that the family members pretty much hate each other and their lives are governed by sexual jealousies, secrets and lies.” There are countless aspects of this story that intrigue me. It is a Victorian gothic novel set in modern times. There is a mystery involved. The family is quite eccentric. The home of the Cosway family reminds me of the setting for the recent film, Atonement. I also keep imagining scenes from The Secret Garden.

In addition, there is a labyrinth within the home that is a gigantic library and the walls of the labyrinth are made up of books… How exciting is that? I imagine this scene but darker, far darker and with dust and cobwebs in place.

The narrator, British actress Sian Thomas, is excellent. Her voice is perfect for the novel and is what I would describe as lovely. She is British and it is a British novel so I think the word lovely is spot on.

Throughout the first half of the novel they continue to reference the geode. I figured out it was a physical thing but this is where my mental knowledge ended. Tonight I looked up the answer. A geode is essentially a beautiful rock formation. *Whew.* I can rest easy now. You see, while driving I can’t stop and look up information… so I end up sorting it out in my head, which in turn distracts me from listening to the story…While listening to audio books I always feel like I am missing important details.

With a mystery novel I know I am missing important details. This could be because I am driving and to some extent paying attention to the road and in turn my listening comprehension decreases. Oh, if only I would ignore the road and listen to the story in full, complete detail! I’m sure I would have solved the mystery by now. Instead I’m still trying to put all the pieces together.

Previous audio books I’ve listened to include:

Naked, by David Sedaris. This was very easy to follow. Sedaris reads all of his own work.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by JK Rowling. I had already read this (like a true Harry Potter fan, of course) but I listened to the audio version as a refresher. I will listen to Book 8 once it is available from the library.

Do you listen to audio books? If so, when and where?

Wedding talk

wedding cakeMy brother’s wedding is officially over and done with. He’s happily married, everything went smoothly and the wedding was lovely… What else? I’ve had several thoughts running through my head over the span of the wedding weekend. Here are a few thoughts: I have a big family and yet, only two of my siblings are married (I’m including my newly married brother when I say two). It seems my siblings, and myself included, haven’t made getting married our sole life purpose and reason for living. Or, maybe we’re all unlucky in love.

There are many ways you could look at it. So, about a half million times this weekend the conversation switched over to the question: “Who is next?” The question isn’t entirely offensive, nor is it surprising. I assume everyone felt the need to ask it because there is no way to know who is next, which might just be the scariest thing ever. My oldest brother was married 15 years ago. Will it be another 15 years before someone else gets married? No one had a Magic 8-Ball on hand to consult for the answer and to be honest, I haven’t exactly been staying up at night trying to answer the question, either.

So, the question, “Who is next?” prevailed throughout all the wedding festivities.   You would think the same conversation would get old at some point. I was asked the question on Friday throughout the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The topic was debated extensively on Saturday throughout the actual wedding. Even today I met with family for lunch, only to hear further speculation as to who is “next” in line for marriage. I admit, I only have so much patience when asked the same question over and over again. It gets a little tiring at some point. I start considering new and creative ways in which I can respond. Well, I think I’m next. After all, getting married and popping out babies has always been my life ambition. I don’t even know why I’m bothering with college. Do I need a degree to change diapers?

I think what is most frustrating about the question, “Who is next?” is the underlying assumption that marriage is what defines individuals. The notion that you are incomplete until you are married and if you haven’t made the trip to the alter yet, it is only a matter of time before you are “next.” I would rather have spent the weekend talking about why I might go into the Peace Corps, or how I had a wonderful time in Florida with my sister, Sara, but am not a fan of the lizards that are everywhere, or discussing the newest Lost or Harry Potter conspiracy. Of course, why discuss such topics when the single most important issue has to be when I will be getting married. I also found myself thinking this weekend about the absurd nature of weddings.

Often weddings are suppose to exemplify perfection and yet, there are so many uncontrollable forces. At the rehearsal the priest was incredibly strict as he gave out exact instructions. How one should walk, which way to face, the importance of standing up when the bride enters the church, and so on. It became apparent that timing and presentation are everything. When the actual wedding ceremony arrived I remembered only bits and pieces of the previous night’s instructions. As I began to walk down the aisle I knew the show was on.

wedding bouquet

I attempted to strive for excellence by walking as perfectly as possible, at just the right speed and angle. Mid-way down the aisle I felt my new red shoes painfully digging into my feet. So, instead of walking as a vision of elegance I ended up walking a little like a penguin. Later, when I went to the back of the church in order to pick up the gifts for the Eucharist, I had a small collision with one of my sisters. Luckily, the collision was minor but it felt much greater as all eyes were on us. I’m certain the priest noticed and wondered why that blonde girl hadn’t paid more attention at the rehearsal.

As I carried the glass of wine for the Eucharist to the front of the church I couldn’t help but envision disaster. I could see myself dropping it on the priest, causing permanent stains to form over his ivory robes as the sound of breaking glass echoed through the church. I walked slower than usual to avoid this scenario, focusing my eyes on the wine, telling myself, “Keep calm, keep calm.” I almost let out a visible sigh of relief when the glass was finally placed into the hands of someone far more capable.

In the middle of the ceremony my brother, Alex, was dying from a cold. It sounded like he might be hacking up a lung. What would happen if a groomsmen hacked up a lung in the middle of the ceremony? Would this stop the wedding? Alex turned to me and whispered in panic, “I need a napkin.” Of course, I had no such thing. I whispered to the person sitting next to me, “Alex needs a napkin.” Of course, no one had a napkin and Alex went on dying. Everyone assumed he needed the napkin because he must have been crying (how touching) but if they saw the spittle that eventually covered his tuxedo and seat, they would have understood why a napkin was so urgently requested.

I understand weddings must follow tradition and if one plans on getting married in a church, then ceremony and tradition are to be expected. But at the same time, why does tradition have to be so formal and uncomfortable? I can imagine myself getting married in a field or on the beach, the wind blowing through my hair. I might have a priest conduct the ceremony but it wouldn’t be a ceremony with strict rules and order in place. I wouldn’t want it to be a total hippie wedding but maybe a little hippie like. Maybe something like the wedding I encountered on a beach in Fort Myers, Florida. Something small, informal, and in a natural setting. No frills, just a wedding on the beach.

Looking for my dream coffee shop

I live in a city that prides itself on its many coffee shops. Coffee shop culture is very much so alive in my city and yet, I haven’t been able to find my ideal coffee shop. I’ve been brainstorming about what this fantasy place would look like and feel like and what it would feature. Here are the top three characteristics my dream coffee shop must have:

  • Coffee ShopFree wireless with top speed. Also, many power outlets for convenience. I’m a student and frequent user of the Internet. Therefore, I bring my laptop with me and need wireless on the go. Luckily, most coffee shops in town feature free wireless. However, there are the vile few who charge for wireless. These are the coffee shops that consistently lose my business.
  • Quality drinks and quality baristas. These two should go hand in hand. If I’m going to pay an overpriced sum for a drink, then my expectation is the drink had better be good. I’ve worked as a coffee barista at several locations now. I know what it takes to make a perfect latte, mocha, cappuccino, espresso, americano, etc. I expect the barista to know what I know and to care enough about each drink to make it with the highest attention to detail.
  • Ambience and presence. This combination can be tricky to achieve. I don’t even know if I can accurately describe it. Every coffee shop I go to carries its own atmosphere and tone. When I walk inside, I immediately get a feel for the place. For example, when I enter a Starbucks café the following words come to mind: overly commercial, trendy, predictable, corporate, machine. I never feel cozy at a Starbucks. (Unless, of course, it’s 4 am in the morning and I’ve just fallen asleep in front of their fireplace due to sleep depravation.) I also can’t feel comfortable when they’ve coined their ridiculous terminology and have no problem serving foamy lattes. (For those of you who don’t know – a latte should not have foam.) I prefer the ambience of more local, independently owned coffee shops. These coffee shops tend to be driven by love and creativity rather than a pre-calculated business formula. This usually leaves room for spontaneity and the feeling of entering the coffee shop less traveled. At the moment a coffee shop that does this very well is The Drowsy Parrot.

Other requirements for my dream coffee shop, include:

  • Comfy chairs, roomy tables, plush seating.
  • A menu with a wide variety of drink selections.
  • Late hours – of course, the ideal being open 24 hours.
  • Fair Trade selection of coffees and teas.
  • Tasty, varied baked good options to go with drinks. Also, freshly made is important. I know a lot of coffee shops merely thaw out their food the night before. I prefer fresh baked goodness.