There is no secret that carpeting is excellent for ensuring that the home is kept comfy and warm, but in most homes, this has been exposed to various incredibly terrible things. Shoe tracks when you’re walking around the place and dirty dog paw marks, children messing around and dripping liquids or drinks when you have guests over. When you’ve got an active house and the carpets are being used quite a lot, the finest carpet cleaning machine needs to be bought.

Buying the best carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner will cost you a lot of money but in the long run this will definitely be a good idea because it will save a lot of money and time over quite a number of years. Due to the sheer volume of products available to us, understanding the features of a decent carpet cleaner is only one hurdle, locating the best product is another thing. You really need to read through a lot of carpet cleaner reviews.

You can either buy a high quality cleaning machine to use yourself or end up cleaning your carpets once or twice year by hiring a professional cleaning company. In my opinion, this can be extremely expensive and there’s a lot of hassle involved so I know which method I would prefer more.

When it comes to features, a wide range of people aren’t fond of different tanks as dealing with these can be quite complicated and time-consuming, but it is preferred by others. At the end of the day, the decision is up to you because there are advantages to both of these systems. I personally love the machines below and I have used them to great effectiveness in the past.

So let’s take a quick look at a few carpet cleaner reviews.

The Mighty Pro model affiliated with the Rug Doctor machine has all the essential features you need to begin, including a stair tool alongside an upholstery tool, a hose, some cleaning solution and an attachment for collecting pet waste. This model just isn’t a standard machine and isn’t designed to function as a standard vacuum cleaner by any means. The layout associated with this model is cumbersome, leading to a bit of difficulty when steering and it’s also more heavy when compared with other models with similar features.

Mighty Pro
The cleaning power of the Mighty Pro is probably the greatest available right now and to be honest, this machine is regularly used by professional cleaners. The only thing that is disadvantageous is that it is costly and there are more affordable alternatives available for you to buy.

Bissell is a well-known manufacturer and they certainly have one of the best carpet cleaner machines at their disposal. The Heat Pro Premier Model is a good quality product and makes it certain for you to clean everything deep within the carpet due to the high power associated. Even though this isn’t the best carpet cleaner made by this brand it still functions quite well. There are some issues with the Heat Pro in the sense that the hair attachment doesn’t work that well and pet hair in particular can get stuck inside the machine.

Bissell Heat Pro
When it comes to the best carpet cleaner made by Bissell, you’re probably looking at the Big Green machine. This is also among the strongest carpet cleaners accessible to us these days. The Big Green machine can be considered as a professional product that gives professional results. Even though this machine is somewhat bulky, to get the job done as efficiently, it needs to have this stature.

This carpet cleaner is prepared to get the job done and it includes a bit of wash up liquid to use on your carpet. In general, the carpet-cleaning marketplace is dominated by the Bissell brand. But the Big Green is by far the best product they have managed to create. This really is an excellent machine when a strong clean is needed, because the final result leads to carpet that smell lovely, that are clean and are soft to use. Even though it can cost quite a lot, this carpet shampooer would be perfect for any home.

Bissell Big Green carpet cleaning machine

Brunswick Heads (affectionately known as ‘Bruns’) is my home away from home. Located on the gorgeous far northern coast of New South Wales, just 15 minutes north of Byron Bay, this gorgeous little beach town is a little piece of paradise that I hope to one day call my home. Whenever I am feeling run down or need a little pick me up I pack up the car and round up the kids and head to Bruns to clear my mind and renew my spirit.

Shiitake Mushroom SaladWhether you choose to take leisurely morning walks along the beach, browse the stalls showcasing unique home wares, handmade clothing and natural beauty products at the monthly markets, wet your whistle in one of the greatest beer gardens in Australia or all of the above, Bruns has something for everyone and to my great delight is a vegetarian foodie’s utopia. In fact, this was where I first met Rebecca, an amazing food blogger.

Corn and asparagus pies at the local bakery, Gado Gado at Rice, Israeli breakfast treats and fresh juice at Yami Yami or delicious, authentic Mexican food at Gringos (undeniably the BEST Mexican restaurant in England but sadly only open during summer months) the mouth-watering dining options here are endless.

I never visit Brunswick Heads without a trip to the local Health Food Store, Brunswick Heads Health Foods. Not only do they stock an incredibly vast array of health products they also sell the most amazing salads I have ever tasted, my all-time favourite being the shiitake mushroom, quinoa and tofu.

There is something very special about this salad – it kicks your tastebuds into overdrive with its unique combination flavours. Because I love it so much but can’t make the two hour drive to Bruns every week to enjoy it I have attempted to re-create this salad for myself a number of times. This recipe, though not exactly the same, is very close to the one I love so dearly (but only get to indulge in four times a year). I hope you LOVE it as much as I do.

Nachos El GrandeI hope everyone is enjoying my blog. This week, I want to share is one of my favourites, something I like even better than this delightful dish. It is Nachos El Grande.

Slice up one red and one yellow capsicum – put onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper, bake in moderate oven for about 20 minutes (or until soft).

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a fry pan. Dice an onion finely, and peel and roughly chop a clove of garlic and add both to the oil. Cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add a drained can of cannellini beans and cook for further minute or so – pop mixture into a blender with 1/2 a cup of water and a packet of taco seasoning and blitz. Return to pan and add a can of five-bean mix and a tin of corn kernels – simmer for around five minutes.

De-seed an avocado and cut into cubes. Place into a bowl with two diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, thinly sliced mint and basil, the zest and juice from a lime and a dash of olive oil – add some salt and pepper, mix and set aside.

Heat corn chips on an ovenproof tray for a few minutes prior to serving. Layer the corn chips, bean mix, grilled peppers and avocado mixture. Top with your favourite tomato salsa, sliced black olives, green onions and sprinkle with fresh parsley to finish – Enjoy!

Agedashi TofuOne of my favourite Japanese dishes is agedashi tofu but unfortunately as the name suggests, it is traditionally made with dashi, a Japanese stock prepared with bonito flakes – dried fish. Since going veg back in January this year, I have longed for a bowl of agedashi tofu.

This delicate dish with its soft tofu pieces swimming in sweet, salty broth is absolutely heavenly. The texture of the tofu in the dish is very unique and I have often wondered how this is achieved, luckily, a few months ago I was ordering lunch at Perigian Beach Sushi Wave when I noticed agedashi tofu on the menu. Desperate for a bowl, I asked the head chef if he could prepare a vegetarian version for me.

He was more than happy to oblige and I was delighted! Shortly after, the chef personally delivered a bowl of vegetarian friendly agedashi tofu to my table along with a hearty serving of edamame (young soy beans) and a wakame salad.

I took full advantage of the situation and asked the chef how the wonderful texture of the tofu was created in this dish, the answer – potato starch! Needless to say I have been determined to make my own version of this dish ever since, and I have finally done it. I love simple food that tastes amazing! This dish has a few ingredients and takes less than 20 minutes to make from start to finish! The best part is, it tastes divine, and is a perfect soup for summer as the flavours are fresh and light!

Agedashi Tofu

Serves 2 – takes 15-20 minutes to make

2 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best)

1/3 cup Mirin

1/3 cup light soy sauce

1 packet firm silken tofu (harder than silken, softer than firm)

1/2 cup potato starch

Pinch of salt

Rice bran oil – for frying

Green onions

Place vegetable stock, mirin and soy sauce into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat do not boil, just let the liquid heat slowly until it has almost reached boiling point. This should only take a few minutes. You can tell it’s ready when steam starts to rise from the liquid. Rest broth over a low heat while preparing tofu.

Remove tofu from package and slice into cubes approx 2cm square, and rest on paper towel. Place potato starch and salt into a bowl and add tofu cubes, and use your fingers to gently coat the tofu with potato starch. Heat rice bran oil in a wok on the stovetop. Rice bran oil is light in colour and has a high burning point so it is perfect for making this dish. To test the oil, insert a chopstick vertically into the wok touching the base of the wok with the end of the chopsticks. Bubbles will appear around the chopstick when the oil is hot enough. Add the tofu pieces and fry for 1 minute. Until the edges are crisp but not golden, the tofu should not change colour.

Remove tofu from wok and rest on a piece paper towel. Place tofu pieces into serving bowls and gently ladle broth into bowls, pouring it down the sides of each bowl, don’t pour it over the tofu. Garnish the dish with thinly sliced green onions – enjoy

August’s guest is the delightful Rebecca, author of an excellent blog. Bec is a fellow food blogger, one of my favourites in fact! Her blog is full of entertaining anecdotes and delicious vegan recipes accompanied by mouth-watering pictures. She is an inspiration to anyone seeking to transition from vegetarian to vegan, or anyone that simply wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

How long have you been a vegan and what influenced your choice to become one?

I’ve been vegan for just over ten months. I never really enjoyed eating meat and became semi-vegetarian in my teens. I still ate chicken and fish up until a couple of years ago when I learnt more about factory farming conditions and the antibiotics and steroids used to produce meat, and decided I didn’t want any part of it anymore.

I had always been interested in the health and spiritual benefits of veganism but not enough to stop eating dairy. I loved cheese and didn’t really see what the harm was. Eventually I did some research and learnt the truth about the tragic dairy industry, including the fact that 700,000 calves are separated from their mothers at birth and destroyed in Australia every year. After many tears and a few sleepless nights, I came to accept that I couldn’t ever chow down on my beloved cheese again without seeing those calves in my mind.

Do you believe that a vegan diet is beneficial to your health?

Vegan DietAbsolutely! For me, I found that I had to change my entire way of eating. Before becoming vegan I thought I was being healthy by eating microwaved Lean Cuisine meals and way too much processed food labelled ‘low fat’. Most of these products contain animal derivatives so I was forced to start making my meals from scratch and I discovered an amazing change in my skin, mental health and energy levels.

Pre-vegan, I often skipped meals and always strived to eat less to keep my weight down. Now I find I can eat all day long and never have to worry about gaining weight, which is a great feeling and so liberating!

Have you travelled overseas?  If so, what are your most memorable international culinary experiences and your favourite cuisine?   

I sure have! I lived in London for 3 years and then moved to Sydney for a few more before returning home, and I was lucky enough to spend a lot of that time travelling and exploring.

I wasn’t vegan then or even a full vegetarian, so I tried all sorts of different and unexpected things including the most amazing Indian curries in London (Brick Lane, I miss you!), Thai curries in Sydney (they go so well with the beach culture), and the most incredible chocolate sauces in Paris and Brussels.

My most memorable experience though, involved the simplest of cuisines. After backpacking for 5 weeks around South Africa, I stayed at a hostel that served a hearty vegetable curry and rice at 6pm every night. If you were at the hostel between 6 and 7pm, your dinner was provided and free. I absolutely loved this idea for so many reasons – when you are backpacking, every cent counts so it was a great money-saver. Also, after spending so long travelling it felt amazing to receive a wholesome, simple, home-cooked meal. It also encouraged a sense of community among the backpackers, bringing everyone together for an hour each day to sit and chat and swap stories while they ate.

What are your five most favourite ingredients? 

Ooh, I’d have to say Coconut Oil, Agave Syrup, Cashews (I’m currently obsessed with cashew cream!), Nutritional Yeast and fresh herbs like basil and coriander.

Tell us what your most favourite dish/food is and why? 

My absolute favourite food is Tex-Mex! I am crazy for burritos, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, quesadillas…you name it, I want it in my belly! Since becoming vegan I have learnt that they don’t have to be covered in lashings of cheese or sour cream to be delicious either. Now I enjoy slathering them with spicy salsa, tangy guacamole and fresh coriander. Mmmmm, so good!

There are so many hidden animals ingredients in the foods available today, is it hard work being vegan?

It can be. Some products really surprise me with the strange things they add and I’ve been disappointed whilst reading ingredients lists many times. Sometimes even products labelled as vegan contain palm oil and I’m not down with that. These days I generally make meals from scratch and buy any packaged food from vegan or wholefood stores where there’s a better selection to choose from.

How often do you eat out? Do you find that most restaurants will accommodate vegan requests, or do you prefer to just go to restaurants you know are exclusively vegetarian? 

I eat out at least twice a week. I find brunch is the easiest meal to order at non-veg restaurants, so I eat a lot of grilled mushrooms on toast!

A lot of restaurants (especially where I live) still have no idea what vegan means, so it can be frustrating at times but I have a handful of favourite restaurants that ‘get it’ and I choose to frequent them when possible. If I’m heading to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday or other event, I’ll check the menu on-line before I go to see if any of their meals can be veganised. In the worst-case scenario where a restaurant has no vegan options for main course, I’ll just order a couple of sides (like wedges and a garden salad) and just eat more at home later.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about becoming a vegan? 

I would say – absolutely try it! What do you have to lose? There are so many amazing vegan recipes and resources on the net and it has never been easier to be vegan when eating out or travelling. Make it an adventure and have fun with it.

Back when the vegan idea was quite intimidating to me, I started with a 30-day challenge to myself and found that I loved the positive changes in my health, energy levels and intuition more than I loved cheese. I was the biggest cheese monster alive and I never thought I would ever say that! Getting to my dream goal weight without even trying was an unexpected but very welcomed side-effect and it feels great to skip around in my skinny jeans, knowing that I’m helping myself as well as the animals and environment.

Do you enjoy cooking? What influences have contributed to your cooking style?

Before choosing a vegan lifestyle, I didn’t like cooking at all and chose convenience meals wherever possible. Now, though, I love it!  I love getting creative with vegan food and I love how I feel so healthy and energised after I eat a meal created from scratch.

I read a lot of vegan blogs when I was toying with the idea of becoming vegan and I still do. They influence and inspire me every day. My Mum and sister are both amazing cooks, so I often call them for advice and I also love reading menus and food articles and dreaming up creative ideas to veganise them.