Monday, November 22, 2010

Why Build An Outdoor Kitchen?

What’s my number one reason for building an outdoor kitchen? I guess it’s because I’m a natural host. I just like having people over to my house and entertaining them. Food, music and beverages are my idea of a good time and I’ve got a lot of friends and relatives who feel the same way. So, what better way to entertain than by having an outdoor kitchen?
It solves a lot of problems with space and convenience being at the top of the list. Space is an obvious one. I can fit a lot more people into my backyard than I can into my family and living rooms combined. And when we’re all outside we’re in one place so it makes for a better party. If people want some quiet from whatever reason they can always go into the house.
They rarely do, though, except for obvious reasons, because all of the food and drinks are outside. This is where the convenience part comes in. It’s so nice to be able to stock my outdoor fridges and coolers with all the food and drinks we’re going to need and then never have to run back and forth to the house. And since I’m cooking outside too, I don’t have to move.
I can enjoy the party myself a lot better and still be able to keep the food and drinks coming without any letup. It really is a lot less stressful for me and also my wife. The cleanup is so much easier for us when everything is outside. It makes us want to have a lot more parties than if we had to have everything inside with me trying to cook on a grill on the patio.
And with all the different accessories you can buy now to complete your outdoor kitchen you have a lot more flexibility than you could ever have with a conventional kitchen. I’ve got sideburners for doing extra duty. I’ve got a smoker. I’ve got warming trays and more. It’s like having a professional kitchen almost and it’s made me a much better cook. I can’t call myself a chef yet but I’m getting there.
I won’t say it didn’t take some time – and money – to realize my dream of having a great outdoor kitchen but the first time I really had a party in my new outdoor kitchen I knew I had made the right decision. I was hooked. What a great time we had and we’ve had many more since then.
And on a practical note, the outdoor kitchen has certainly increased the value of my house should I ever want to sell it. With the outdoor kitchen fad still growing it makes real sense to have on of your own. In fact, if I ever do look for another house you can be sure that an outdoor kitchen will be high up on my list of must-haves. And it will have to be at least as good as my present one—or I’ll just upgrade it until it is!

Entertainment Possibilities With An Outdoor Kitchen

The entertainment possibilities that are opened when you build yourself a new outdoor kitchen are almost limitless. That’s because an outdoor kitchen is more than just a place to cook food. Great outdoor kitchens also function the same way as indoor kitchens do in certain ways.
Remember when you used to go to parties when you were younger? Lots of times the party would be centered in the kitchen for some reason. Was it because you were in closer proximity to the source of food and drink? Or was it just because it was a more comfortable environment? Who knows? Maybe it was a little of both.
In any case, the same thing applies with an outdoor kitchen. People tend to have better time and enjoy themselves more when you’ve got a great outdoor kitchen. It’s especially true if you have a pool and/or a Jacuzzi nearby. Then you’ve got the best of all possible worlds.
The types of parties that you can have with an outdoor kitchen are almost limitless. You can host everything from a bridal shower to an afternoon watching a big game, whatever sport you might like. A covered patio where you can put a TV is all you need for watching sports and a simple outdoor speaker setup takes care of the music needs for any type of party.
Of course, maybe you just want to have a good old-fashioned barbecue. That’s OK too, especially since a good outdoor kitchen makes it so much easier to cook and feed your guests. You don’t have to worry about carting food and beverages from inside if you’ve got outdoor refrigeration units. And with warming units and storage drawers you can keep food a lot fresher. Who wants to eat a dried-out old burger, right?
You also get to be an integral part of the party, too. You can be both host(ess) and chef at the same time. Maybe even bartender too, if you’ve got a bar area. I opted for that with my outdoor kitchen since I had a bit of experience with tending bar in my younger days. It’s great having a real bar setup outside, even though it’s small. I can still serve drinks very quickly and without having bottles and glasses all over the place. It also makes for a lot less mess to clean up afterwards if you limit the number of bartenders, if you know what I mean.
I also find that I can have parties and get-togethers more spontaneously since we don’t have worry about cleaning up the house so much and cleaning up always seems so much easier and quicker. It’s really given us an opportunity to enjoy ourselves more and even though we spent a fair amount of money to get our dream kitchen we feel it’s been worth every penny.
We’re saving money on going out since we can have plenty of fun at home and we’re seeing our friends and relatives more in fun situations. It’s hard to put a price tag on that kind of enjoyment.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Barbecuing With My Outdoor Kitchen

Ever since I’ve built my outdoor kitchen I’ve found that my barbecuing skills are getting better and better. I’m not sure what to attribute it to but it’s probably a combination of the following.
First, I’m barbecuing more. Since I spent all that money on the outdoor kitchen I’m certainly not going to let it go to waste. I find myself thinking up reasons to barbecue something or smoke something or just plain COOK something outside. Because of this my barbecuing skills are getting better just through the practice.
Second, I’m paying more attention to learning more about barbecuing. You can find so much information on the internet on any topic you can think of and barbecuing is no exception. I read articles and watch videos about barbecuing and get all kinds of recipe ideas from all kinds of sites. Just google “barbecue recipes” and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find tons of great stuff and I particularly like the videos because they show you exactly what to do. You can even find barbecuing videos on the New York Times website, of all places. So having the outdoor kitchen has definitely spurred m to learn more.
Third, now that I have the outdoor kitchen I can have much bigger parties. This means that a lot more people are here and that, in turn, means a couple of things. First, you can’t invite a bunch of people over to your house and then not know what you’re doing. These people are going to be hungry and are going to expect be fed and not just a bunch of slop so this puts the pressure on you to deliver the goods. Second, because of this pressure, you don’t want to mess up because the embarrassment factor would be even greater. It’s one thing to mess up cooking a few hamburgers when the next door neighbors are over but it’s another kettle of fish, so to speak, when you have 20 people expecting great barbecued ribs.
You see what I mean? Everyone’s expectations are higher and so you have to deliver. Also, when people come in for the first time and see this really nice outdoor kitchen with the grills and rotisserie and the smokers and refrigerators and everything else they’re really impressed. It also tends to raise their expectation levels. When they see a kitchen this impressive they just naturally figure that the chef is going to be as good as the equipment looks, or something like that.
So this whole experience has had a very positive effect on my cooking skills. Fortunately for me, I haven’t had any major mishaps yet but I’ve come close a couple of times. Like when the roast took a lot longer than I thought it was supposed to. Thank god we had plenty of beer and no one had to drive far. But other than that, things have been pretty smooth. I haven’t tried to overreach myself too, which is important. So the moral of the story is: if you want to improve your cooking skills, get an outdoor kitchen.

The Essentials Of An Outdoor Kitchen

Writing about the essentials of an outdoor kitchen is a little difficult because what I consider to be essential may not always be exactly what someone else considers to be essential but there are probably enough common things that can be agreed upon so here goes.
Let’s start with the cooking equipment since the basic function of any kitchen, inside or out, is cooking. What type of grill should we have in our outdoor kitchen? Obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of options but my simple rule of thumb is that I want a grill that’s big enough for those occasional large parties I have but not a monster that requires more cleaning – and cost – that I don’t want or need on a regular basis.
I also like propane since it’s easier to set up and more flexible in the long run. Other people like natural gas because it can be hooked up to your home’s system, if you have natural gas, and then you can forget about it. Charcoal is an option but it’s harder to deal with than the others in terms of clean-up. However, if you’re really going to get fancy with your outdoor kitchen setup then you could easily have a gas grill, a smoker and a charcoal grill area. That way you can have the best of all worlds: gas for quick cooking, smoking for the best flavor if you’ve got lots of time and charcoal with different wood chips for various flavors.
I also think it’s important to have other cooking accessories at hand and I like to have a sideburner and a searing station as well as a burner for use with a wok for stir-frying vegetables. These accessories give you a lot of flexibility and make things go a lot quicker, especially when you’ve got a lot of people over and you want to have more than one person in the kitchen.
And to make things easier, you’re also going to want to have a refrigerator in your kitchen so you can keep your prepped food nearby when it comes time to start cooking. An icemaker is also helpful when there are a lot of people enjoying cold beverages. And a warming drawer also comes in very handy the bigger the party you have. You don’t want to leave cooked food laying around getting cold and dry while you’re still cooking.
And while this may not be an absolute essential I also like the idea of having a pizza oven and maybe even a combination pizza oven/salamander as well. It’s great for backyard pizza parties for the kids – or for adults. And a salamander is great for finishing off all kinds of dishes with a quick broil.
There you have it. This is my list of outdoor kitchen essentials. Granted, some of the items on my list might not be considered essential but they sure come in handy and help make your barbecue parties as good as they can be. With a kitchen like this all you’re going to need now are a couple of cooking lessons.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Future Of Carbon Credits

Although the current investment climate for carbon credits is a bright one, the future could hold even more promise – in a very big way. As of now most of the industrialized countries in the world are working under some sort of carbon tax system as prescribed by the Kyoto protocols. However, the world’s three biggest polluters are not: India, China and the U.S. When these countries sign on to the protocols then the market should explode. What are the chances of this happening in the near future? It’s hard to say but it depends, as you may have guessed, on politics.
Politics in the U.S. to start, but also in China. First, though, U.S. President Obama has to make clear what he intends to do this year, if anything, on his carbon credit – or as it’s called in the U.S., cap and trade – policy. He started the year with a very positive agenda and seemed committed to making progress. However, since June his direction and resolve have seemed rather vague. And with the mid-term elections looming in November the situation becomes even more complicated. Republicans look poised to regain a majority of seat in the House of Representatives and also gain in the Senate. This could make passage of any kind of cap and trade legislation difficult because Republicans tend to favor big business and big business figures that cap and trade will cost them money.
So the direction forward in the U.S. will most likely be uncertain until after November 2. And even then it may take a considerable amount of time to get any legislation passed. But if laws mandating carbon offsetting ever do take place in the U.S. the effect on the carbon market will be immense. First, the U.S. itself is a huge market and the demand for certified carbon offset projects will skyrocket.
Secondly, there will be a knock-on effect in regard to China and India. Up until now, justifiably so, China and India have resisted signing on to Kyoto because of the U.S. refusal to do so. If the U.S. agrees, however, then there will be pressure on China and India to follow and it probably won’t take long for them to do so.
And in China’s case there is additional incentive because China is positioning itself as the world leader in green energy technology. It would be very difficult for China to continue on that path without at the same time ratifying the Kyoto protocols. Their rapidly developing stature in this field would be greatly enhanced by their ratification of Kyoto and their participation in some form of carbon emission control. The addition of China would also greatly increase demand as would India’s participation.
So what does the future hold for the global carbon offset market? It all may boil down ultimately to an election that will take place in the U.S. in about six weeks. Then again, it may not. Obama may not have the political capital or will to force through his carbon cap and trade policy even if the Democrats maintain their present level of control in the government.
His primary concern is the American joblessness problem and the economy as a whole so carbon may take a back seat no matter who wins in November. Until then, though, it’s anybody’s guess as to what may happen. Watch for an update after November.

The Basics Of Carbon Offsetting

In order to reduce global emissions we all must reduce as many carbon producing activities as possible, and offset the emissions we cannot eliminate by purchasing carbon credits. There are many motives attracting companies and individuals to the carbon market. Many participants are attracted solely by their corporate and private contribution to the impact of global climate change, although public perception of corporate environmental responsibility has become increasingly important. Additionally, a noticeable trend is developing for speculation in the future value of carbon at both corporate and private levels through carbon offset holdings in various registries.
Both the compliance and voluntary markets have seen substantial growth in recent years with recent downward pressure perceived as a direct correlation between carbon prices and reduced industrial output during the recent global economic downturn. As many economies are now coming out of the recession and with ever stringent UN emissions targets coming into force, most experts expect the emissions markets to experience significant growth. Businesses are now more aware of their public perception and social responsibility and are extremely motivated to announce their green credentials.
Many investment banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Goldman Sachs have all entered the market place. Nearly every investment bank has set up an environmental markets division and there are now a host of funds that are dedicated to the sector. There are also a number of exchanges where carbon credits are traded and this part of the industry is expected to show huge growth as is the outright sale of credits.
Expectations are high, and estimates of the potential size of a U.S. cap and trade market range from $300 billion to $2 trillion. SBI Energy claimed in their 2009 report that the value of the carbon market has grown from $727 million in 2004 to $118 billion in 2008 globally. One thing is certain and that is that the overall size of the market will continue to grow, especially if the three major countries that are now not part of the Kyoto Protocol – America, India and China – eventually sign on the agreement.
The carbon markets offer a number of enticing factors. If you would like to offset emissions personally or professionally, you can use a carbon calculator to anticipate the amount of CO2e offsets you would require to reach carbon neutral status. Many carbon websites have these on their home page so it is easy to figure out what your carbon footprint actually is.
Alternatively, you may be searching for an ethical investment that may provide potential profits yet ultimately offers many positive effects to our environment. Although U.S. cap and trade may become the catalyst that drives the future of carbon, one should be aware that investment in the carbon markets is highly speculative, and that the prime motivation should always be the environmental benefits.
Whatever your interest, there is one thing that you shouldn’t ignore and that is the opportunity to make a substantial profit from this burgeoning market while at the same time doing something to help the planet.

Planning Your New Outdoor Kitchen

Planning your own backyard outdoor kitchen can appear to be a daunting task at first but if you approach methodically and logically then it becomes a much more manageable task. A good place to start is usually by setting up a budget unless, of course, money is no object – how many of us wish we could say that. Anyway, once you know how much money you can spend it makes things easier to plan.

Next, is surveying the space that you have and deciding what is possible from a practical standpoint. Obviously, if you don’t have the space for a mega-outdoor kitchen then it doesn’t matter how elaborate you want your kitchen to be. You’re limited by your space and have to plan accordingly.

At this point you have to decide whether or not you want to bring in an outside designer/consultant to help with the planning.

This really is a function of how much time you want to spend on the whole project yourself. Hiring someone to help would probably make the whole process less time consuming and may ultimately help you end up with a better finished product but you may get a lot of enjoyment out of taking the time yourself to do the research and planning.
Since there are so many sources of information now on the internet it cuts down greatly on the time needed to do research on both designs and equipment. Simply visiting a lot of outdoor kitchen design sites can provide you with numerous ideas as to what you might want your kitchen to look like. And the same goes for sites that retail gas grills, sideburners, smokers, refrigerators and the many other accessories that can make up a great outdoor kitchen.
So you can do a lot of research on your own before bringing in the designers and builders or you engage these experts from the start and let them help you with all of the major decisions that go into creating your perfect outdoor kitchen. Either way, the process becomes a collaborative one and it really pays to find some people to work with that you really feel comfortable with and who seem to understand your vision of what you want. The biggest and most experienced company isn’t necessarily the best for you so make sure you shop around a little and see who’s available in your market area to help you.
And one of the other important things that you need to decide in the beginning stages of your planning is just exactly what kind of outdoor kitchen you really need, as well as want. It might be nice to have a kitchen with all the bells and whistles and everything else that’s available to use but if your level of expertise isn’t the highest and your gatherings aren’t really going to warrant the need for this type of facility then you should probably scale back your plans a bit. See what works for you first and then add features as you go. This is something that experienced designers can help you do and it will make your whole outdoor kitchen experience a lot better in the long run.

The Basics Of Building An Outdoor Kitchen

It seems like more and more people are interested in building their own outdoor kitchen nowadays. Well, maybe not building it

themselves of course, but working with a designer and builder to come up with a great design for the space that they have to

work with in their backyard. What’s driving this trend? It’s hard to say but in a way it might be the economy.
Even though it can cost a bit to build a great outdoor kitchen, once it’s done you just have to buy food and invite over your

friends and relatives. So maybe instead of entertaining in expensive restaurants it’s actually cheaper in the long run to just

entertain at home. There’s less traveling and more fun as you can cook what you like and sharpen your skills as a chef.
And with the tremendous variety of equipment available on the market and plenty of places to buy online the prices on all

kinds of equipment couldn’t be better. Also, many companies offer free design services and consultations so it’s even easier

than ever to put together the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
The process with most companies that specialize in outdoor kitchen construction is quite simple. Give them a call and let them

know basically what you’re looking. Most companies will be happy to come out to your house right away and survey your space.

Then, with some ideas for you on what you want and also a budget to work with, they can put together a design that will

fulfill your needs.
When it comes to the equipment itself, most companies either sell it themselves or work with large retailers who have a big

selection of the various elements that make up a well-equipped outdoor kitchen. Gas grill are, of course, usually the

centerpiece of any outdoor kitchen but other accessories that you may want to consider include smokers, sideburners,

refrigerators and icemakers, warming drawers, outdoor electronics, tools and accessories and even pizza ovens.
Because if you want to have a really great outdoor party then you’re going to want to be able to conduct it all outdoors and

not just cook outside. A great thing to do this time of year (autumn) is have a great Saturday or Sunday afternoon barbecue

and watch your favorite football teams go at it. The farther south you are, the longer into the season you can go but even in

cold weather locales you can prolong your outdoor entertaining season with the use of outdoor space heaters which can raise

the temperature just enough to make it comfortable with only a sweater on.
Whatever you eventually decide to do with your outdoor kitchen just make sure that you hire a reliable builder that has had

experience with outdoor kitchens before and knows the ins and outs. Also make sure that you research both equipment prices

thoroughly as well as construction material prices and costs. It’s so easy to do now with the internet. In a couple of hours

you can compile all the information you need to make your fantasy outdoor kitchen an affordable reality.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

How To Sign Up For A Free Listing On Contact Bangkok

http://www.contactbangkok.com Learn step-by-step how to sign up for a free listing on Contact Bangkok.

video

How To Use Contact Bangkok's New CRM System

http://www.contactbangkok.com Learn step-by-step how to use Contact Bangkok's new CRM system.
video

How To List Your Products Or Services On Contact Bangkok

http://www.contactbangkok.com Learn step-by-step how to list your products and services on Contact Bangkok.

video

Friday, March 5, 2010

How To List Your Products Or Services On Contact Bangkok

http://www.contactbangkok.com Learn step-by-step how to list your products and services on Contact Bangkok.

video

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Best Bangkok Business Directory Is Online

The best Bangkok business directory isn’t printed anywhere – it’s online. ContactBangkok.com is the best business directory in Bangkok and probably all of Thailand. There are several reasons for this and one of them is its sheer size. Contact Bangkok now has over 40,000 businesses signed up on its site and more are joining every week. It’s free to sign up and there are many benefits to joining so it’s an easy sell to get businesses interested in joining.

Another reason for the success of Contact Bangkok is that its site offers every business some great features and functionality. For just a basic membership which is free, Contact Bangkok offers every business a page on its site where contact information and a description of the business can be placed. Also, every business can upload a video to the page which can be watched by anyone viewing the page.

Each business is categorized so that people looking for particular types of businesses to contact can do so easily. There are many more important features too, in this comprehensive Bangkok business directory. You can look for jobs and also post jobs for your company. You can buy or sell items in the classified section and you can now set up your own mini-database on the site which acts as your own Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This CRM system will allow businesses to track sales and all functions relating to their customers.

Contact Bangkok also offers many online marketing services for its members including the posting of articles and videos about the member’s business on websites all over the internet. Contact Bangkok can also produce the short promotional videos needed for this type of campaign. And, if you want to advertise your products or services to the entire Contact Bangkok database of companies, or only selected demographics, you can send specially targeted emails to the business categories that you want to reach. And the monthly Contact Bangkok newsletter can also be utilized by members with text or HTML material that is sent out to the site’s over 40,000 members.

Since Contact Bangkok offers its members so many useful features and service –and it’s free – the site has continued to grow steadily which makes it even more valuable as a networking tool and a source for new sales for any business that is a member. They seem certain to maintain their role as the best business directory in Bangkok.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Black Canyon Stole My Ipod

See how Black Canyon stole my Ipod and explained to me that it couldn't have happened because their employees never lie. Really.
video

Monday, January 11, 2010

Online Marketing In Thailand

Online marketing in Thailand is a relatively new trend as most Thai business people have been slow to realize that their websites are becoming more and more important in terms of bringing in business. While this may seem a bit strange to people in more developed countries, it is nevertheless the reality here in Thailand.

Because of this, the entire SEO and online marketing industry here is very small and not very advanced. A survey of company websites that purport to be SEO and online marketing consultants will quickly illustrate that almost every one of these companies has very little idea of what is actually involved in creating a successful SEO marketing campaign. One of the companies that does seem to have a very clear idea of what to do in this field has a site called Marketing Bangkok and also offers an SEO and online marketing training course.

In general, though, the pickings are slim when it comes to real expertise in the field of online marketing and the prices that some people are paying here for the meager results they get seems to suggest that it may be better to do your online marketing using your own personnel. This necessitates training but there is, as mentioned above, a resource for this so it is possible to achieve. However, there are a number of factors to consider when attempting to create your own online marketing department inside your company.

First, make sure that your marketing plan includes all of the elements that are needed to pursue a well-rounded strategy. This means you need to do article marketing, post videos on sharing sites such as YouTube, post article and videos on news and citizen journalism sites, create a blog or multiple blogs, do link building (of the Google-approved variety), make use of social network sites and do bookmarking. These are the basic areas that are essential for most businesses, although yours may not utilize all of them right away.

Once you have mapped out the strategy you want to employ then you need to ensure that your personnel are trained well enough in the specific areas of writing, simple video production and basic skills that are needed to post content on external websites, use bookmarking sites and make use of social networking sites. These basic skills, along with a good database of websites to post content to, are all that are needed to put together an effective online marketing program that will drive more traffic to your website and increase your business.

As for online marketing in Thailand, it is slowly becoming more important to companies here and gradually it will assume a more important role in companies’ overall marketing efforts. As internet speeds increase here and internet penetration becomes greater online marketing in Thailand will become as important as it is in other, more advanced, countries.