Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dehydraded Apples - An update

As I promised in this post, when more apples were delivered, I would take pictures of the entire dehydration process. Well, I did. Kinda.

The Apple

Almost any apple will do. I personally prefer the sweeter types, but as long as the flesh is nice and firm, it will probably dry out nicely. The juicer the apple, the longer it will take to dry!

These apples (Discovery, I believe) are nice and super sweet. The flesh is a nice golden and pink colour! Very nice.

The apple variety is from Suffolk, England and was 'invented' in 1962.

Bonus tip: Take the peel and the core and boil it down with a bunch of sugar, and you will have the prettiest and tastiest syrup!



The Machinery

A couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to get an apple peeler, and that is one of the best and most time saving pieces of equipment we've ever got for the kitchen.

As you can see, you will need a small child to operate it.

First you attach the apple with the spikes, that go right through the centre of the apple. Then you start spinning it, and the apple will start to rotate through the knife part of the peeler. I never get tired of the process.

See the apple spinning! Woooo!

The arm that cuts the peel off, follows the contour of the apple nicely. Some apples that are completely crooked, will end up looking weird. Eat it!

This process as two outcomes.

  1. The apple gets peeled
  2. The apple it turned into a spiral!


See! I told you! A spiral!

Isn't it cool.

Besides being a huge time-saver, it gives a nice and consistent thickness of the slices, which makes the dehydration process easier, as all slices are done at the same time!

All we need now is...

...The Cut!

One cut, right through one side of the apple, will turn the spiral into slices. No, they won't be perfect circles; Actually, they'll look like C's when they are dried, but the flavour is the same.

Look as the nice colours of the flesh! Yum!

The Process


Spreading the slices on the drying rack.

For my Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Dehydrator, I have about 10 trays and I try to use the all, at the same time. A dehydrator is not cheap to run, so the more is in it, the better!

Avoid overlapping the apple slices. If they overlap, it is impossible to dehydrate them consistently. You can to move the slices closer together, saving a couple of trays, half-way through the process, but not worth the effort. In my house, halfway through the process, is in the middle of the night, anyway. 

Apples are done!

Or dehydrated, anyway.

As you can see, there is much less space between them, than when they were put in the dehydrator. Also, they weigh about a fifth. Gone is the water, kept is the flavour!

 And here they are.

A medium-sized Ziplock, filled with dried crispy apple-slices. This was one good sized bucket of apples; Now its a bag of apple chips.

Good for a quick snack, to put in your oats when camping, for semi-long term storage, gifts and even decoration!

Conclusion

I cannot tell you how much fun it is to create your own snack. A healthy alternative to all the other stuff we fill ourselves with. Also, a great way to waste fewer resources. Most apples ends up in the garbage or the compost, but dehydrating them, makes them store longer and that way you can use more!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Adobe Lightroom workflow

The Tale

When I was a young boy, I struggled with processing my images.

 coming home from events, where I would have shot hundreds of images, I dumped them all on my pc and the started the cycle of procrastination. Just the thought of the tiresome process of going through all the images, would make me ignore them for weeks, if not months.
This just ends up with more images to process, a huge backlog, stress, guilt, and in the end, the loss of the lust for photography.

The Realization

A solution had to be found. I scoured the Internet, trying to find a solution to my problem and after many moons, I stumbled over creativeLIVE, a company promising to solve the problems of my creative process.
After very little time, I realized that they had what I needed. An instructional video course by Jared Platt, lasting many hours. This video course would prove to be the do-all/end-all of my image processing rut.

The Solution

Spending the time watching the videos, I learned how to get it done. Get it done fast and with a positive attitude. I realized that not everything what how I wanted to do it, but it was pretty close.
So I set sail to create my own Lightroom Image Processing workflow, based on Jared Platt's and I've decided to share it with everyone. It is a work in progress, but take from it what you like and let me know if you have suggestions on how to improve it.

Link: My Lightroom Workflow


And by the way; Spend some time on creativeLIVE's website and check out some of the instructional videos. There is an extreme amount of value for very little money! You can learn a LOT by dropping a few $ and spending some time!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Trending Top 3 beers aren't even beers!

The Apps

I've been using Untappd for a while, mainly to get suggestions of beer that I might like but also to keep track of the beers that I've already tried, and what I though of them. It was originally the Danish developed Wine App, Vivino, that got me interested in tracking the finer joys of life and after that, I've never looked back.

Both Apps give me suggestions on what I might like, based on my past drinking history (makes me sound like an alcoholic, right!) and more often that not, I'm suggested something that I really like! So my mind and taste buds has been opened up to new experiences!

Trending = Popular

Anyway, I was just playing around with the Untappd App, when the Trending beers caught my interest. What beers are the most popular at the moment. There are two lists. A Micro and a Macro brewery list. The Micro brewery list contains some very interesting beers indeed, like the Flipside Red IPA from Nevada and the Pumpkin/Yam beer from Southern Tier Brewery, but it was the Macro brewery list that made me do a double take!

The Surprise

The top one spot of the most trending Macro brewery beers in the world, is Bud Light. Yup, Bud Light!

Number two; Miller Lite.

Number three; Coors Light.

Anyone see anything wrong with this list? It's not that its American beer. American brewery's make some awesome beer.

Since alcohol is the primary carrier of flavour, aroma and taste, in beer, one would naturally conclude that beer with less alcohol tastes less... well, just less!

How can less flavour full beers be topping the list? Really, I don't get it. It's a little like putting a Big Mac on the top spot of 'Best Meal'. Most consistent maybe, but best?

Honestly, I'm surprised! More than!

To Untappd defence (I know its not really their doing), their website lets you drill down Top Beers by country and by type.

I urge you to sign up and try it out! You will try something new and that is never bad!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Apple (the real ones on trees) season is here. Let the drying of apples commence!

A HUGE bucket of nice, fresh, juicy red-green apples was delivered to our door, yesterday.

Whenever I see vast amounts of fresh fruit in quantities that are much higher than what a family of four can expect to consume, I bring out my Nesco/American Harvest dehydrator. Being able to dry out a load of fresh fruit, containing all the goodness and leaving out the water, is amazing. Fruits (and other consumables) can be stored for much longer and takes up way less space.

Anyway, just wanted to show an image of the end product of the latest apple dehydration project.

25 large dehydrated large apples.
Dried apple slices. Delicious dried apple slices! They will probably be gone in a couple of days, then again; Its a snack that can't get much healthier.

Rumour has it, that I'll receive another bucket of apples, later in the week. I'll be sure to take photos of the entire project this time.

Now go and dry stuff!

/Hans

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alternate day fasting. My take on the 5:2 diet!

[Insert long uninteresting talk about how I've been struggling with my weight for many years, and how I've tried every single diet and finally found one that appears to work...-ish. Really remember to insert it here, or people will think you are an idiot].

The 5:2 diet is pretty straight forward. Eat normally for 5 days, limit your calorie intake to 600 calories or day for two days (500 if you are a woman). The two 'fasting' days should not be consecutive. Restrict yourself to only drinking water, tea or black coffee.

Basically; Loose/maintain weight my limiting your overall calorie intake. How would have thought that limiting your calorie intake would make you loose weight? Amazing, isn't it :)

Instead of limiting my diet to VLCD powder, broccoli & celery soup or something else stupid, for the rest of my life, I can eat whatever I want 5 days a week, as long as I don't eat for 2 days a week. That is what makes this 'diet' work for me! No need to change my eating habits completely, something that I know I can't do, just skipping a couple of days a week!

The drawbacks are simple and easy to combat.
  1. You get grumpy and short tempered, especially at night.
    As long as you are aware of it, you'll be fine. Just warn your friends and family.
  2.  You'll have 3-4 times a day were you are REALLY hungry. It lasts 10 minutes.
    Just hang in there. Drink a glass of water. It'll pass!
  3. The body need to adjust, so in the first week or two, you will probably have a couple of days where you feel sick! It'll pass!
  4. Don't exercise too much on your fasting days. You probably won't be able to do much.
  5. On fasting days, you will be tired earlier. Go to bed earlier! Its good in many ways.
I'm still in the process of trying to loose a lot of weight, so I've made a modification to the diet. I call it the 4:3 diet. Guess what that means? Yup, 4 days of eating and 3 days of fasting. And when I say fasting, I mean it. No eating at all! For 36 hour.

Some days it's really hard and others, not so much. But it works! No wonders, but it works. About 0.8 kg (~1,8lbs) a week, without changing my diet.

I try to exercise every other day, but it's honestly not that stable. I try, and I'll get better at it!

Animal tests have also shown that putting that kind of stress on your body/cells, can have a positive health effect. Nothing conclusive, but I expect to live until I'm a 150!

Have fun loosing weight! At least as much fun as it was putting it on!

And please leave comments!