Kate’s Experiment With an Air Oil Less Deep Fryer

The number of things you can get done when you don’t have a job to report to are incredible. My home is spotless, I get to travel and when I get back home I get to cook, a lot. I have a tried a large variety of new foods in my travels, and have begun to try and emulate some of those recipes at home.

One of the more fascinating food discoveries I made was in Atlanta, Georgia. Southern America is known for their fried foods, and I figured my trip there would put on a few pounds but I was pleasantly surprised by a discovery. At one small restaurant I ordered fried catfish and noticed a distinct difference in the consistency of the batter. It was still great tasting, but not as heavy. I just had to ask how they did it.

The owner of the restaurant was happy to share the secret with me. She explained that they had invested in a new method of frying that not only was less expensive for them, it made the fried food healthier. The taste was not always exactly the same, but the new technology just made it taste slightly different, not bad.

This new technology was an air oil less deep fryer, and I immediately went online to read some reviews about this product. What I found was that people who had used them already were in love with the product. The food was described as being delicious, not greasy at all and easy to make. So I picked one that was getting rave reviews all over the board and got to work on some new recipe ideas.

How it works is pretty simple. Just pick a food that you normally deep fry, prepare it as normal, brush a coat of oil over it and place it inside of the fryer. The appliance works like a convection oven, heating the food rapidly on the outside to get that crispy coating you want, while evenly cooking the inside. Even with battered fried recipes you got the same effect, so long as you heated the fryer up beforehand.

Even better, you don’t want to have to worry about making the cooking oil dirty with coatings and seasonings. The clean up is simple, as is the storage making this a machine worthy of Kate’s kitchen.

So what did I cook? Well French fries of course since they seemed the easiest. And then some fried chicken and of course that fried catfish I had down in Atlanta. Everything tasted great, and nothing was overwhelmed with oil the way that deep fried food normally is.

I give the air oil less deep fryer a Kate two thumbs up, both in taste and convenience. This is certainly a healthier method to getting a fried food taste without actually frying it. My recipe list for the appliance keeps getting longer as I keep experimenting with all of my favorite foods.

Kate Takes St. Louis – and Learns to Shoot a Recurve Bow!

One of my stops on the “Kate sees the world” tour was St. Louis Missouri. I have always been intrigued by the American Midwest, and wanted the chance to stroll the streets, explore the city and of course find out what was the story with that arch.

The St. Louis Arch

Pictures don’t do the arch any justice, as it always came across to me as some sort of half baked homage to McDonalds. But up close, it is magnificent, and almost glows gold if you go at sunset. I braved the 630 foot ride to the top to get my birds eye view of the city and beyond, and it was exhilarating. If you are going to St. Louis, make sure this is a part of your trip.

st-louis-archThe St. Louis Zoo

Another much talked about St. Louis attraction is their city zoo, and for good reason. Every city has one, but this city’s is magnificent. There is a stingray pool where you can stick your hand inside, a coast full of penguins and puffins, and an expansive area devoted just to big cats. I spent an entire day here chilling out with elephants and eating cotton candy.

St. Louis Sports

Of course the Cardinals are a big name in St. Louis sports as is there Rams football team. But what surprised me when I visited parks was the number of young people who were playing archery. I later found out that archery is very popular in the Midwest. I decided to take a try and went to a local range where they were happy to rent me a recurve bow and arrows for beginners to try it out for myself. Since seeing Hunger Games, I have been dying to try anyway. Surprisingly, it was easier to shoot the recurve bow than I thought, and managed to impress the everyone around me. I’ve been eying a nice Martin that I saw online, so I might actually get into this when I get home…

Taste Testing

St. Louis is known for its breweries, and not taking a tour of at least one seemed almost sinful. I stopped by Anheuser-Busch Brewery to see the Clydesdales and have a taste of fresh brewed beer. This was something I had dreamed of doing since watching Laverne and Shirley re-runs on TV. There are also dozens of microbreweries around the city where you can go and get a taste of something new.

Eating in St. Louis

When it comes to grabbing lunch or dinner, you absolutely have to head to the hill. This spot in the city is famous for its array of restaurants featuring unique Italian dishes. Try pizza, pastas and some kind of butter cake that was the absolute best dessert I have ever had in my life.

Every city I have traveled to has given me a chance to try new and exciting things, and St. Louis was no exception. This treasure of the Midwest impressed me with its warm hospitality, thrilling experiences and diversity that shone through everywhere I turned.


Essential Items I Never Forget to Pack

It amuses me how different packing is when you are travelling for business instead of for fun. I used to have to worry about stockings and pumps, the right blazer and blouse and of course a briefcase full of papers that I hardly even glanced out. Now it is much more laid back and really dependent on my destination for what I should pack. The one thing I have learned though is that there are some items I cannot leave home without.

My Laptop – I know that seems kind of work related, but it is invaluable for finding out information about the city I am in. Plus I use it to write down my thoughts in order to put them here for you. I know a lot of people have evolved into using their cell phones to get onto the internet, but I still love the luxury of having a full sized screen to look at.

My Sneakers – No matter where the wind is taking me, I always have a good pair of sneakers to explore in. Even flats can hurt after a few hours of wandering around a zoo. A pair of jeans, thick socks and sneakers will keep me on my feet and trying new things from dawn to dusk.

My Essential Oils – Speaking of spending long hours out and about, I am never far from my collection of essential oils or my essential oil diffuser necklace. The necklace makes sure that I smell fresh all day, and the collection of oils is necessary to help control my mood and health. If I feel a cold coming on I quickly switch to eucalyptus. If I am having trouble sleeping I will fill my essential oil diffuser necklace with the warm scent of lavender. This is a lot easier than always trying to find the closest drug store in a strange city. When I get home I crank up my ZAQ Litemist diffuser and put on some relaxing scents so that I can get back into the mood of being home.

bookOne Knock Out Outfit – There is going to be at least one night when I am going to want to paint the city I am in red, so I always make sure I am prepared for it. I have a number of killer dresses that wear well and don’t wrinkle easily to choose from. Each time I start getting ready for a new adventure I choose one of these with a coordinating shoe, just in case the night life calls when I am away.

A Good Book – For those nights when I don’t go out, or for when waiting at the airport or in flight, I always make sure to have a good book on hand. I prefer hard copies over e-books, and will just donate it to the library or salvation army after I have finished reading.

What you pack for your personal vacations depends on what is most important to you. What I have found is that bringing some of my creature comforts on the road with me helps me to relax and not miss home so much.

So What Type of Job is Kate in the Market For?

As you know, I recently made a big life change by leaving my job. I was extremely unhappy and did not want to become one of those people who dreaded getting up each day. Not working, I look forward to the sun, and welcome any adventures that the new day will bring.

But, someone has to pay for all of these plane tickets, so I have been looking at my career choices. My passion has always been writing, but years of editing has burned me out of that. A friend suggested that I put my writing talent to a different use, and make lyrics for songs. Now I have never been much of a poet, but that is an intriguing thought. Just imagine, something written by Kate being heard around the world coming out from the mouth of someone like Adam Levine. I could learn to love that.

But Would I need a Musical Background?

I can’t really carry a tune to save my life, but I do like to listen to music. Especially when it makes me think. And when I did the research, I found that there are a lot of songs being written before the music, which is definitely what I would be doing.

It was also suggested that I take some online singing lessons, and no, not so that I could learn to sing the songs myself. Learning to sing online would give me a better understanding of how singers perform, and how to make my lyrics more workable with music.

Music-Loops1I thought that this was a good suggestion, especially since learning to sing online can be done from any hotel room in any city on the planet, so I picked one of the best over at musicaltraininghq.com.

Coming Up With What to Write About

I think this is the hardest part, if you over think it. The best songs come from the heart, where you can relate to the message in what the performer is singing. This is why love songs are prevalent in music, people love, they lose and then they write a song about how they feel. I can do that.

Selling Your Lyrics

This would seem to be the hardest part of a career choice like this one. You would have to have the right contacts and someone with a great voice who can highlight how your song would sound. Would that mean I would also have to collaborate with a musician to put music behind my lyrics? Yes, once you reach this point, the job description gets more complicated than I had originally bargained for.

So for the moment I may dabble in see what I can come up with, learn to sing online and continue my travels around the world. This is the time for Kate, and I am going to make the most of it.

Interesting Tid-bits I Picked Up in Atlanta

As a former editor, Atlanta has always intrigued me and was on my top 5 list of American cities to visit. I was half expecting, something out of Gone With the Wind with southern gentleman bustling about, but what a found instead was a very modern city where in many ways chivalry still does exist.

Arriving in Atlanta

Unlike other big cities, where the airport is off in the suburbs, when you land in Atlanta you LAND in Atlanta making it very fast and easy to get to your hotel. From Hartsfield Jackson, which BTW is very easy to navigate with trams taking you from the gate to baggage claim, I stayed at a nearby Marriot which was very reasonable considering the name and the city it was in.

Getting Around Atlanta

I had rented a car, and planned on using that to do most of my traveling around the city. It’s cool because there is highway (285) that encircles the entire city. When I wanted to do something on the south side, instead of having to figure out my way through multiple city streets, I just hopped on this and got off close to my destination. I also headed north one morning to find the infamous Mall of Georgia and ran into what I now know as spaghetti junction. This is where what seemed like a dozen different highways all intersected one another at different heights, very cool.

Sights I Saw While in Atlanta

Besides the Mall of Georgia (which is not in Atlanta, but only 45 minutes away) I also went to Olympic Park, a Braves Game, the CNN building, the Aquarium and the zoo. Every place I visited was very maintained and beautiful, but if I had to pick, the aquarium was my favorite. Not only do they have the largest pools of fish I have ever seen, there is a fish tunnel, where you walk through surrounded by sea creatures to your left, right and over your head.

aquarium-tunnelI Love a Little Night Life

When it comes to a night club scene, Atlanta’s is sizzling. I knew this was a hip-hop capital, but I had no idea how much of an influence that had on the party scene. Downtown Atlanta at night is a trip in itself, with an array of diverse clubs that I think could rival even New York or LA.

Does Chivalry Still Exist?

There is a certain charm to Atlanta men that I have yet to encounter in other parts of the country. I did not find my Rhett, but I was called ma’am more times than I would like to admit. One thing I noticed, and then confirmed online, is that Atlanta men don’t seem to take beard trimming tips very seriously. I saw more beards in various shapes and sizes at the Braves game than I have seen combined in my entire life. Is there a ban on beard trimming here or something? Seems like everyone is using beard oil around here.

If given the opportunity I would love to go back and explore more of this fascinating city. It is curiously diverse for a southern city, where different ethnicities seem to have no qualms about getting along. If you’ve never been I highly recommend the trip and it definitely warrants a visit to the aquarium.

"Gfp-office-desk-area" by Yinan Chen - www.goodfreephotos.com (gallery, image). Via Wikimedia Commons.

Reasons I Left My Job

Recently I decided that I was going to leave my job. It was a tough decision, one that took me many months to decide. I had been at this job for several years, and the thought of trying to go and do something else was a little scary. For a while, I would wake up each morning, tell myself that today would be the day I give in my two-week notice. But I would come home later that day, still having not given it in. This process continued on for longer than I’d like to admit, until I finally pushed myself to do it. I know there are a lot of people out there who are contemplating leaving their jobs, and I’m hoping that by giving the reasons why I left mine, you’ll be able to find the courage to leave your own.

The first reason I left my job is because I no longer liked the people I was working for and with. From the time I started until I left, there had been a major turnover at the company I was working at. Most of the people I started with were no longer there, and the replacements were not all that great to work with. My co-workers were unfriendly, and my boss was too overbearing. I had no real friends at work, making the day seem like it was dragging on. My work went unappreciated, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get the office to be a friendlier place.

Secondly, I no longer enjoyed the work I was doing. I had started out as a writer, getting to choose which topics I would cover and how I would cover them. As time went on I was promoted, and ended up mostly editing other’s work. While at the time a promotion seemed like a good thing – there was certainly a pay increase – I missed getting to write. I found ways around this – sometimes I assigned myself articles when someone was out or we were behind – but it wasn’t enough. I no longer found job in my work, and this made it hard to find a reason to go in to the office each day.

Lastly, I finally realized that I was simply unhappy. Going to work brought me no joy, and not leaving my job made me miserable outside of work. The only time I was happy was when I was so busy doing something else – traveling, or at a party – that I would forget about work for a while. It took me a while, but one morning I finally woke up and realized I didn’t want to do it anymore. I decided that no matter how hard the future would be, at least taking a step to make myself happy would be better than no step at all. That morning I went straight into my boss’s office and told him I would be finishing out the month, and then moving on.

Looking back, I can say that leaving my job was one of the hardest things I had to do, but it shouldn’t have been. When you’re unhappy, you should do everything you can do fix that as soon as you can. Life is too short to spend it miserable. If this means leaving your job, then I suggest you do so.

"Seven Sisters Panorama, East Sussex, England - May 2009" by Diliff - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Why You Should Travel

Traveling is one of the best things you can do in your life. It offers so many different benefits, ones that can only be achieved through travel. Many of us go through life hardly ever leaving our home state, let alone go to an entirely new culture altogether. There is so much out there to experience, that wasting your time in your hometown is tragic. If you have been looking for some motivational reasons to travel, I have decided to put together a short list. Hopefully by reading it, you’ll get that kick in the pants you’ve been looking for to go out there and start seeing the world.

1. Experience New Cultures – There are so many cultures out there, some of which can be vastly different than your own. By traveling, you get to experience these people first hand and develop your own opinion on them. Instead of relying on what other people say, or what you hear on the TV, you can see what another culture is like for yourself. You may find that it is actually very similar to your own, or that it has aspects you admire that are missing in yours. When you travel, keep an open mind and be ready to experience new cultures for what they are. You may find what you like.

2. Break Routine – Traveling doesn’t have to mean spending months on the other side of the world. Sometimes travel can simply mean getting away to break your daily routine. Too many of us are stuck in a rut, essentially doing the same things and going to the same places every day. Break out of this by going somewhere new. Even if it is only an hour away from where you, experiencing something new will help grow your imagination and give your mind the break it needs from the daily grind.

3. Not That Expensive – “But Kate, traveling is so expensive! I don’t have the money for that!” I hear this all the time, but many people don’t realize how this is not always true. If you are willing to be a little adventurous, you can travel anywhere for much less than you think. With room-sharing sites like AirBNB.com, and couch surfing websites, you can find accomidations in any country for a fraction of the cost you’d see at a hotel. In addition, you have the opportunity to meet someone from that country/city who can show you around and tell you what things to see. It is a great way to meet new people and travel on a budget. There are plenty of ways to travel without spending your life savings, you just have to be willing to look for creative alternatives and doing some research.

Don’t let your excuses keep you from traveling. It is a big world out there, and you deserve to see as much of it as you can. Start planning your next (or first) trip now, and you’ll see that you don’t have to spend a lot of money just to get away. Your mind will thank you later, and your future self will be happy for the memories.