Making Jerk Chicken with My Jamaican Cookbook

My wife and I are big time foodies. Whenever we get a chance, we try new restaurants in our area. We are really into ethnic food. Since we have a young child now, we have started cooking more at home. I have always been a big fan of jerk chicken which is a jamaican dish. I have visited Jamaica a few times and I make sure to eat plenty of it every time I go there. Back home in the USA, there are two or three jamaican restaurants in my city and they all have really gook jerk chicken. If you have never tried it, it is very spicy and and gives your tongue a really good kick. When I eat it while having a beer, it seems to have an even extra kick :)

Okay, I have been enjoying this dish for several years but have always wanted to know how to make it. I found some recipes online but every recipe I found required all kinds of ingredients that I could not seem to find in my grocery store. My luck changed when my best friend gifted me with a jamaican cookbook called Sweet Runnings (sweetrunnings.com) for Christmas last year. This is probably one of the nicest cookbooks that I have ever owned. It has a ton of jamaican recipes and most of the recipes have pictures. I made jerk chicken using the recipe in the cookbook and it came out spot on. Instead of having to make the jerk seasoning from scratch like in other cookbooks I have seen, Sweet Runnings recommends that you use jerk seasoning from the store. This is awesome because McCormick makes a jerk seasoning that you can find in any store in America. Once I combined this with the other ingredients in the recipe, my chicken came out awesome.

I can’t wait to try many of the other recipes in the book!

HDMI Splitter or New Cable Box

My sister just moved in with her boyfriend into a small condo downtown. It is small but it does have two bedrooms. He keeps his stuff in one bedroom and her stuff is in the other room. I know that one of the beds is never slept in which makes me cringe. That’s my kid sister we’re talking about. :)

Anyway, they have a dilemma. They have a couple televisions in their condo – one in the living room and one in his bedroom. They have DirecTV satellite service in the living room and want to get HDTV service in the bedroom as well. My sister called up DirecTV and they told her an additional box would be around 200 bucks. She immediately called me, because I am her go to person for any kind of technical buying advice.

I told her that they should only spend that much money if they want to be watching separate shows in the living room from the bedroom. If they will be watching one or the other, the way to go would be to get a HDMI splitter and split the signal coming from the box in the living room.

These devices are pretty easy to find and they range in price from as little as $20 all the way up to a few hundred bucks. I told her to buy a one input, two output splitter because that is all they need. Some manufacturers make splitters that can split a HDMI signal into 8 outputs which is insane. I guess these are used in high end homes or bars.

I then told her to make sure to buy a good HDMI cable from Monoprice. They sell very good and reasonably priced cables. Here is my theory. Buy a cheap cable. If it ever breaks, throw it away and buy another cheap cable. You will be much better off doing this than buying a single cable for 100 bucks.

Is This the Best Machine for Abs?

I know I haven’t written a post in a while, but i bought a new piece of gym equipment that has been nothing short of amazing. Before I get into it, let me give you a little history on why I made this purchase. For the last few years, like many Americans, I have developed a bit of a belly. It is probably due to the amount of beer that I drink. I really love beer – IPAs, porters, ales, lagers – all of it. I also workout somewhat regularly but could never seem to get rid of the belly. When I wear baggy clothes, you actually can’t tell. I look like a normal slim guy. However, if I wear slim fitting clothes, I see it pretty easily in the mirror. I have tried doing crunches and situps in my living room, but that has not done the trick.

A couple months ago, a friend of mine who is avid crossfitter recommended that I try a GHD machine to get a flat stomach and ripped abs. So what is a GHD machine? GHD stands more glute and hamstring developer. I went to my friend’s Crossfit gym a few times and did several workouts that had GHD exercises. Boy did this machine tear my ab muscles up. The first time I used it, my abs were sore for almost a week. It is so much better than doing crunches or situps. I loved the machine so much that I bought one for my house. You can see the one that I bought in the picture below.

I bought the machine from Rogue Fitness. They make a lot of the equipment that is used in the Crossfit games every year. I have been using my Rogue GHD for about 6 weeks now and I already see a pretty big difference. My stomach is not yet perfectly flat but it will be soon. I highly recommend this machine but you probably don’t need to spend $700 like I did for the Rogue one. I am pretty anal and want really sturdy and high quality stuff. If you can tolerate a little bit of wobble, a cheaper non industrial version would suit you fine.

Jack Lalanne Power Juicer

Bob StrollerToday, I am writing about another product I use pretty regularly. When my wife and I got married a few years ago, we received many wedding gifts. One of the best gifts that we received was a Jack Lalanne power juicer. To be honest, when we first got it, we didn’t know what it was. After doing some researching online, we realized that this was indeed a very cool kitchen gadget. Ours is white like the picture to the left. The juicer is pretty easy to use. To assemble, there are really just a few parts. There is the main base which contains the power motor. The receptacle with the spout installs on top of the base. Once the receptacle is installed, you then have to install the filter basket which is like a cone shaped cereal bowl that is flat on the bottom. The shredding blade is then installed above the filter using a special tool. Once the filter is in, it is time to install the lid which connects to the receptacle. Now it looks like a juicer. To juice, all we have to do is turn the juicer on, and start feeding fruits into the feed chute.

What We like About the Juicer
The Jack Lalanne is extremely powerful and it shreds fruits really fast. We use it to juice fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and cucumbers. We have friends with the same juicer that say it is hard to clean but my wife and I disagree. Cleaning doesn’t take that long at all. One trick we learned is that if we clean it right after we use it, things come off very easily.

What We Don’t Like
Sometimes we feel like the juicer could do a better job of extracting the juice because the pulp feels kind of wet. This is probably the price we pay for speed. We also kind of wish that we had the stainless steel finish instead of white. Carrots stain the white very easily and it never comes out. We have heard that this type of centrifugal juicer doesn’t do well with leafy greens, but we don’t use it for that. We make green smoothies with our high speed blender which makes it really smooth while keeping the fiber in it.

Overall, I do recommend this juicer. I know there are others out there that may be as good or better. I just can’t comment on those since I have never used them. I believe the best place to buy a Jack Lalanne juicer is on Amazon.

The Bob Stroller is the Best

Bob StrollerI still remember the day my wife told me that we were going to have a baby. It was an exciting and amazing day. A few months later, we went to baby stores trying to decide which strollers to buy. My wife and I had disagreements because I wanted a stroller that I could take jogging, but she didn’t care about that.

There are all these things to consider when shopping for stroller. For the first 6 months of a baby’s life, they can’t sit up in a stroller so most parents just buy the stroller frames that the car seat can snap into. Both Chicco and Greco which are popular car seat manufacturers make versions of this. The problem with these “snap and go” type strollers is that the baby will outgrow it very quickly and it is not that great in grass or going to the park. The “snap and go” type strollers are better suited for going to the supermarket.

Another stroller that we considered was the City Mini which is a pretty compact stroller and it rides very nice. However, like the snap and go type models, the City Mini isn’t very good for the park. It works great on smooth surfaces but once it gets a little bumpy, the baby would feel everything. This led me to the Bob stroller. The Bob is a jogging stroller and it sure is cushy. We live in an older neighborhood and the sidewalks are not very smooth anymore. They have warped and raised due to the heat in the summer. The Bob handles this rough terrain with no problems.

Since our baby could not sit upright in the stroller until he was 6 months old, we bought the adapter for our Chicco carseat. The adapter is cheaper and takes up way less space than the snap and go type stroller frame that the car seat would snap into. The only drawback of the Bob is that it is a little bulky and may not fit in smaller vehicles easily. We are actually considering purchasing a simple umbrella stroller which we will be able to take to the airport and for going out of town.