Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Dairy Dilemma

There have been new and confusing reports about milk and dairy products in the news lately. The dairy council has come out with a report that three servings a day will help you lose fat and weight. At the same time, another study (not as well publicized) came out saying that children who drink more than three servings of milk a day have more weight problems. On top of that the numbers of lactose intolerant people seem to be rising.

What is the truth about dairy product consumption?

As Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD. wrote in their article, “The Plot of Soy” ( in 1999, “Organic, cultured butter is available in many stores. It has restored enzymes and high vitamin A content. Contrary to widely held opinion, there is no evidence that butter contributes to heart disease or cancer. At the turn of the century, butter consumption in America was 18 pounds per person per year. Today it is a mere five pounds. As butter consumption has plummeted, cancer and heart disease have risen dramatically. The real blame for this increase points squarely at hydrogenated butter substitutes—margarine and shortening. Butter contains many nutrients that protect us against disease. Those with severe allergies to milk products can still eat clarified butter (ghee) and enjoy its good taste and numerous nutritional benefits.”

Dairy products have been a major part of many cultures’ diets for thousands of years. But the dairy products we have in our grocery stores here in America are very different than the dairy products consumed by people in the past.

The problem today is how we get our dairy products and how they are processed. It starts with the way modern cows are fed. They are given a diet of high-protein soy and grain based feed instead of the traditional grass feeding methods.

We know that grass fed cows have six times higher CLA (conjugated lineolic acid) content in their milk than in grain fed cows, and more Omega 3 fatty acids. CLA helps the body convert fat to muscle, fights cancer, and does many other beneficial things for our bodies. Because of modern feeding methods for cattle, we get almost no CLA in our diets with normal grocery store dairy products. Also the vitamin A and D content of grain fed cows is much lower.

Modern breeding methods also produce cows with abnormally large pituitary glands, so that they produce three times more milk than ordinary cows. These cows need hormones and antibiotics to keep them well in their crowded and unsanitary living environments. The hormones and antibiotics go into the milk, causing trouble for those of us who consume it. Antibiotics are not working the way they should for us anymore because all the antibiotics we consume daily in our dairy and meat products make us resistant to them.

The milk from these grain-fed cows is then pasteurized, which destroys dozens of valuable enzymes. Without these enzymes, the milk becomes very difficult to digest. This explains why so many people are lactose intolerant. This also overstresses the pancreas as it tries to compensate for these missing enzymes.

Pasteurization also destroys much of the valuable vitamin content of the milk. We have been told that pasteurization is needed to keep milk cleaner and kill bacteria. What it really does is allow huge dairy farms to get away with dirty milking practices.

Finally, when they make 1% and 2% milk, they add non-fat dried milk to these products to lower the fat percentage. Non-fat dried milk is ultra-processed, which oxidizes the cholesterol. Rancid (oxidized) cholesterol and fats are what promote heart disease, as we mentioned earlier. Dried milk also has a very high nitrite content.

Raw (unpasturized) milk, on the other hand, is very good for you, and actually safer than pasteurized milk, even for babies and small children. Children fed raw milk have more resistance to TB, scurvy, flu, diphtheria, pneumonia, asthma, allergic skin problems and tooth decay. In addition, their growth and calcium absorption was superior.

Of course, as with all foods, raw milk must come from healthy cows and be carefully handled and stored. The same technology that we use to pasteurize our milk also allows us to keep raw milk fresh and clean. If you are buying directly from a farmer, find out if the cows are kept mostly on pasture and that the barn is kept clean. The milk should go directly from the milking machine into a stainless steel tank or clean containers and be kept chilled. It should be used within a period of one week, after which it will begin to go sour (although it is not dangerous when it does so). With these precautions, raw milk is not only healthy but a safe food for all members of the family, even babies.

Dairy products, meat and whole foods, properly prepared are healthy and life giving. As much as possible, avoid meats and dairy products that have been processed.

Belgium And Beer: Made For Each Other

In addition to some wonderful history, the country of Belgium is "The Beer country". Bordering France, Luxembourg, Germany and The Netherlands, Belgium is in the heart of Europe. This technologically advanced member of NATO and the EU is truly a beer-lovers haven.

So much so, in fact, that the Belgian Brewer's Guild boasts that a beer lover could easily enjoy a different beer every day and not have to duplicate his selection for over a year. How's that for choices, beer lovers?

In a practice that dates back a long time, some of Belgium's more famous breweries are actually brewed in monasteries. These are called trappiste breweries and are brewed by members of the monastic order. There are five well known trappiste breweries: Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westveltren.

They all produce multiple types of beers with the exception of Orval. They believe that producing a single beer allows them to concentrate on one product and not lose focus by concentrating on multiple beers.

Most breweries produce a "dubble" or "tripple" variety, referring to the strength of the beer which is the result of the fermentation activity. The trappiste beers are bottle conditioned and are often stored in cellars where they can evolve into some wonderful beers with age.

More widely available are the "biere d'abbaye" or "abby beers" that are no longer brewed at the abbeys but have been contracted out to local brewers. The original formula is used by the brewer, but the beers are more plentiful to more modern brewing capabilities.

Recently, Belgian beers and ales have greatly influenced the brewing in America. A few examples of this are typified by Celis Brewery in Austin, Tx., New Belgium of Ft. Collins, Co., North Coast Brewing in Ft. Bragg, Ca., and Unibroue in Quebec.

If you haven't already tried beers from Belgium, you're in for a rare treat. After all, it's not "The Beer Country" for nothing.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Benefits Of Family Meal Planning

Are you ready to save some time, feed your family healthier meals and save some money along the way? These are just some of the benefits of family meal planning. Let’s look at all of them in a little more detail.

Eat Healthier
Planning your family meals will cut down on your trips to your favorite fast food restaurant and the amount of pizza you have delivered to your door. Food you prepare at home tends to be much healthier than hamburgers with fries, fried chicken or pizza. When you plan your meals include some lean protein like chicken breast, as well as some salads and vegetables. Your entire family will benefit from the healthier meals.

Save Time
How much time are you spending now running to the grocery store a few times a week. I used to run to the store at least 3 times a week to buy something to fix for dinner. Planning your meals out for a week at a time and then putting together a grocery list with everything you need to cook those meals will cut your trips to the store down to one a week. This alone will save you a few hours each week. Plus you won’t be standing in front of your fridge and pantry every night trying to come up with something you can fix with what you have at hand.

Save Money
All that eating out and having food delivered can quickly add up. By preparing more meals at home you will save quite a few dollars each week. In addition, you will save on your monthly grocery bill, since you will be making a list of everything you need for the week and won’t end up buying extras that just go to waste. I used to throw out food almost every week before I started meal planning.

Less Stress
You know the routine. It’s 6 pm, everyone in the family is starving and you have no idea what’s for dinner. Trying to come up with something to cook from what you have in the kitchen while your kids are tired, hungry and screaming isn’t one of the most fun family activities. You will be much more relaxed about dinner, when you know exactly what you are going to cook ahead of time and known you have everything you need in the house.

Quality Time Together
Meal Planning also encourages everyone to gather around the dinner table each day. Who could resist the delicious smells coming out of the kitchen? Dinnertime has always been a great time for families to gather and share news and experiences of the day. Parents and children can pay each other undivided attention. Cook some dinner, set the table and don’t forget to turn off the TV. Make dinner a daily family tradition again.

I encourage you to give meal planning a try. I am sure you and your family will see the benefits within less than a week.

Don’t have the time or patience to plan your family meals? Let us do it for you!

Begin By Eating Breakfast

You have probably witnessed that eating a healthy breakfast can save you from cravings later during the day and can actually assist your effort in loosing the excess weight you have been carrying around for some time now. But, as time has lately been considered a luxury not many people have during the day and especially during a busy weekday morning, starting the day off with eating a healthy breakfast is now a lost nutritional practice. Between battling work problems and prepare ourselves for another demanding day, we have forgotten to pay attention to the most important meal of the day and usually try to find time to squeeze in a cup of milk or in best cases a whole bowl of cereals. The contemporary fast-paced world has directed people to become superheroes, managing double of even triple careers, but forgetting to manage their own daily food intake. If you think that your body is the only instrument you have to continue performing all the tasks you want, perhaps it is time to pay attention to its nutritional needs and fulfill them accordingly.

But it is more convincing to start our argument from the beginning. Millions of people who skip breakfast and have never invested time in researching the consequences of their act, usually wonder why do experts regard breakfast as the most important meal of the day and how come it is still the most important meal of the day, surpassing the nutritional value of a healthy lunch or even dinner. However, for millions others who do eat a healthy breakfast, their secret to good health lies within this first day's meal. So, it is vital for you to understand why eating breakfast is crucial for your overall heath. While you are sleeping, your body continues to perform its functions and thus consuming resources, but in a lower rate than when you are awake since your metabolism slows down to compensate for the decreased energy needs. After waking up in the morning, because your body does not have enough time to return to its normal state is still experiencing the decreased metabolism state which can be ceased with eating a healthy breakfast. That is actually why it has this particular name "break" the "fasting" process. Thus, a healthy breakfast will end the calorie conservation period and will allow your metabolism to increase to its normal levels. This is why when you actually eat in the morning you feel that your energy levels have increased and you are ready to begin your day's tasks. Moreover, for those of you who are dieting in order to loose weight, you should know that skipping breakfast will not save you from the calories you are trying to avoid. By deciding not to begin your day with a healthy intake, you are not allowing your body's metabolism to go back to its normal state and you actually loose a protein called "leptin" that has been discovered to keep your body working efficiently and thus loosing weight.

Since now you are familiar with the basics on metabolism and overnight fasting, you should concentrate on what your healthy breakfast should include. Avoid simple carbs and concentrate on consuming complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Whole wheat bread, cereals, white meats, eggs, low-fat dairy products, vegetables and fruits are excellent breakfast choices. Remember to eat small portions throughout the day, but not to exclude breakfast from your daily nutritional plan. Soon you will be grateful for waking up ten minutes earlier but at the end of the day you will have much more energy to spare and you will feel fitter and healthier all day long.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Texas Holdem: 4 Betting Structures Explained

Even though the United States have made it illegal to gamble online, poker keeps on gaining popularity through the different tournaments that are shown on television such as the World Series of Poker by ESPN. This created a problematic situation: while players claim that poker is not a game of chance, the US government decided that it is.

For a few weeks, panic erupted in the poker world as rumors spread like bushfires that this ban would stop all tournaments. But this proved to be untrue. In fact, because of the online gambling ban, the popularity of tournaments only increased. And in most of these tournaments, the favored game is Texas Holdem.

This article focuses on those planning to take what was once their online casino pastime to a poker tournament close by. You will need to follow some basic betting structures, and we describe these for you. Even if they seem difficult to follow, don't worry. Just practice these at home with friends and you will soon learn the flow of these wagering structures.

Note: Remember that all the games rely on a basic maximum and minimum wager, and all the betting structures should be understood accordingly. Keep in mind that each game has a set limit that is fixed before the game commences. Once begun, the limit remains unchanged until the end. Note also that the tournament organizers or the casinos are those that decide these limits.

1) Structured Wagering Limit:
This means that there are two limits you play to. During the first two rounds, you place wagers according to the lower sum, and then you start betting according to the higher amount set. When you find a game called according to two amounts such as 4/8 dollar limit, then, it means that this game will be played according to the structured wager. Another thing to remember when entering such poker games is that you can only place four wagers each round and not one more.

2) Spread Limit Wager:
Here, you are free to place wagers in a pre-set range and you don't have to place fixed bets. When you find that the limit is within a range then it means that you have found a game that will be played according to the spread limit. Examples are games which can be played between a range of twenty to a hundred dollars. Note that such games do turn out to be expensive because some might bet according to the high limit. Another variation of the spread limit bet is to have a range of four wagers. What this means is that there is a certain amount you can bet for the round before the flop, for the round on the flop, and on the round after the flop and a certain amount for the river.

3) Basic Pot Limit Bet:
In such Texas Holdem games labeled as being played according to the basic pot limit, what it means is that you can place wagers anywhere between the amount that is the big blind and the total size of the game pot. Here too, take note that games such as these can result in high cash pots.

4) No Limit Betting:
This is the one version that pulls in the high rollers from all over. Here, there is not limit at all one how much you wager or raise. Note that unless you are a high-roller or unless you have a tremendous amount of experience playing Texas Holdem at tournaments, stay clear of such games.

Beer Brewing Traditional In Europe

Beer brewing in Europe continues to be a serious traditional business. For thousands of years, Europe has been a leader in brewing this popular beverage. Many countries have perfected distinctive beers; some are like mythological ambrosia. Maintaining the quality of centuries-old recipes, many brewers realise that their strength lies in maintaining tradition over promoting innovation. Not to say there aren’t several breweries experimenting with new flavours, but mostly they leave the newfangled risk-taking to the Americans. Why fix and change that which is not broken?

To promote the preservation of European beer culture, several countries have banded together to create organizations such as the European Beer Consumers’ Union (EBCU). This union was founded in Bruges in 1990 with three founding members: Campaign for Real Ale of Great Britain, Objectieve Bierproevers of Belgium and PINT of the Netherlands. It sounds like a Monty Pythonesque union with contrived names, but it is a legitimate one with twelve countries as members: the above three, plus Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and France.

Their aims are simple: preserve European beer culture, its traditions, beer brewing and breweries; promote traditional beers; support the consumption of traditional beers; and represent European drinkers in a campaign for choice, quality and value. This is not the only pro-quality beer organization in Europe. Others include the Guinness 1759 Society, the British Guild of Beer Writers, and the Brothers of Beer.

The continued production of traditional beers has added one innovation to its traditional facade: beer tours., founded in 1998, promotes many beer-tasting experiences in countries like Belgium, France, England, Germany and Austria. If you are interested in experiencing Germany’s beers, for example, there is a 10-day tour of Munich’s Fruhlingsfest and Bavarian Country Breweries. A personal favourite is the Brewers and Distilleries of Scotland tour. Check the website for details.

Each country in Europe seems to have a beer type focus. In Ireland, they continue to promote their stout beers. Stout is thick and heavy, with an earthy, full-bodied taste. They sell lagers and ales, but the focus and specialty is on beers like Guinness. The Guinness brewery was bought and opened in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland by Arthur Guinness. The original stout is strong and bitter-tasting.

In Spain, lager is the most popular. Spanish lagers are a touch stronger than other countries’ lager offerings. Two of their most popular beers are Especial and Extra. Especial is a pilsner beer, quite light in colour and taste while Extra is a pale lager.

Alas, until recently, Sweden had been a beer desert for decades. Their people have choked and sputtered for more to slake their thirst, all to no avail. Histrionics aside, it was the rigidly-controlled regulations for beer brewing that depleted this country’s brewers. Since Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, its regulations have grown more lax and the country has transformed itself from a desert to a vibrant and diverse beer culture. The industry in Sweden imports from many other countries; this has inspired a search for their own beer identity. How better to discover a beer identity than to try many things to see what works for the people of the country?

In Holland, the industry continues to produce their own phylum of beer: Bierbok. A good version of this type of beer is difficult to produce. Bokbier is a 16th century beer from Bavaria that has endured and been perfected. It is dark in colour (red-brown to black), sweet on the tongue with a mixture of bittersweet flavours, such as toffee, raisins, licorice, coffee, and chocolate. These are not ingredients, but flavours. It is a beer strong in alcohol with an alcohol percentage of 6.5% to 8%.

When applied to beer brewing, history and tradition are not necessarily dusty, boring or dry like old history books or documents. Thousands of years ago, beer was a product in development; it was new and ever-changing. Beer brewing traditions live on and interest drinkers because of the exceptional tastes developed over centuries, not in spite of history and tradition.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky

Famous Grouse
Ask the Edrington Group's master blender, John Ramsay, what makes his drams different and he immediately proposes marriage. In the whisky-making sense, of course. Marriage used to be normal practice for blenders: before bottling, malts and grains would be brought together for a period of mingling. Most firms have abandoned the art, but Edrington sticks to the old ways, marrying its blends for six months and at reduced strength.

'The bean counters in most firms decided it wasn't helping the bottom line,' says John. 'But we ran an exercise to see if we were getting a benefit from marrying, and we were.' It's all down to maximizing flavour.

'When you add water to cask-strength malt, some components become unstable,' he continues. 'We give that time to settle, which means we can give the final blend a light filtration. If you don't do this you'll have to give it a harder filtration to get that stability - and then you lose some flavour'.

The process is made more complicated by his insistence on marrying blocks of blends. 'We'll combine malts and grains; reduce, marry and have Blend One,' he explains. 'Then we repeat the exercise and get Blends Two to Four. When it comes to bottling, rather than just using all of Blend One and then moving on, we'll use some from each batch. It's a form of whisky solera'.

But we skip ahead. Edrington's brands (which include Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark -which they blend for Berry Bros - Lang's Supreme and Black Bottle) start their lives as the new make samples from a host of distilleries, and are nosed by John every day. Then, like every blender, he has to work out how much new make to lay down, to satisfy potential demand for any of the brands many years down the line. It's this ability to assess new make and mature spirit that sets blenders apart.

John can stick his nose in a glass of Glenrothes 5-year-old from sherry wood and know if it fits 'the wee picture in my head', and also how that whisky will behave when combined with thirty others. While some of us may be able to pick out a few malts at a blind tasting, a blender knows not just what it is but whether it fits within the right parameters according to age and wood. It's an awesome ability, but this modest man hasn't allowed it to go to his head.

These blends are very different creatures: they don't just have different core malts, the wood recipe has also been carefully plotted. The sherry wood in the delicate Cutty comes from American oak; the richer Lang's uses Spanish oak and Grouse uses both. 'You want a fragrant sweet aroma in Cutty, so you use American wood and a Speyside malt like Tamdhu for sweetness, with some Bunnahabhain for freshness. Grouse is Speyside-based as well, but there is a lot of influence from Highland Park and the mix of sherry from Spanish and American wood'.

He uses a very Scottish analogy to describe the art of blending. 'It's like putting together a good soccer team. You need a strong central core, then you can tack the stars around that. It's useless if you haven't got that central core right.' But the unsung, hard-working midfielder in all the Edrington blends is North British grain. 'We use different grains: some for commercial reasons, but also to give different characters in the blend. We'll use Strathclyde when it's younger, as it matures quicker. North British ages well, so it will be used in older blends -it also rounds out the wood influence on older whiskies.

'A blend is a bit like a pasta with sauce,' John concludes. 'The grain is the pasta, edible but bland, and the malts are the sauce - a bit strong on their own, but together they're a great combination.' CUTTY SAR1C first made in 1923 by London wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd, Cutty Sark was specifically made as a light-flavoured blend that would appeal to the American market, even though Prohibition was in force. It was smuggled into the United States by one Captain William McCoy and became so popular that people began demanding 'the real McCoy' as their choice of bootleg liquor.


Cutty Sark Gentle, light nose with oat, butter, icing sugar and some delicate raspberry. A mix of cream and grass, with a touch of lemon sherbet on the finish. * * *

Originally conceived by Aberdeen tea merchant Gordon Graham in the 1870s, Black Bottle passed through many different hands before landing in Highland Distillers' lap in 1995. John Ramsay has since reformulated it to be 'the malt with the heart oflslay' and uses all seven Islay malts in the blend. It's a brand to watch.


Black Bottle 10-year-old
Islay personified: ozone, ginger, ripe fruit and ginger. With water, an intense smoky perfume leaps out, then mingles with soft cakey fruit before a blast of salt-spray halfway through. Stunning.

FAMOUS GROUSE Perth wine merchant William Gloag started blending whiskies in the 1860s, to warm the cockles of the huntin', shootin', fishin' set. In 1896 his nephew, Matthew, created The Famous Grouse. It remained a little-known classic until the 1970s, but since then has become Scotland's favourite dram, number two in the UK, and is spreading its wings into export.


The Famous Grouse
A fat, juicy, succulent nose with a bint of menthol, lavender and a drift of smoke. Lovely weight on the palate, which is sweet, lightly spiced and tinged with peat. * * * * (*)

Beer Brewing Big And Creative In America

Breweries in America are growing at an exponential rate. Beer brewing is becoming big business with a resurgence of traditional types of ales and lagers combining with more exotic offerings. With a colourful history, beer carries on its controversial way to regain the traditional role it’s always played as an every-day beverage, while taking on a more creative flavour to please every palate.

Back in 1620, when the Mayflower came to America’s shores, the boat fell a bit short of its destination due to a shortage of beer, according to a passenger’s journal. One doesn’t think Puritans would have drunk beer – they were Puritans, after all - however this was the every-day drink of choice. People drank beer as we drink pop, juice, milk and water today. Each tavern and inn brewed its own beer.

It is only in modern society that we see beer as having a perilous quality. There were no laws governing beer brewing and drinking. There were no police roadblocks to catch drunk drivers. How much damage could a horse and cart inflict? Certainly there were no scantily-clad women prancing about at parties, drinking beer and impressing men with their sudsy sexiness. Beer was an every-day beverage drunk by everyone in the household from adult to child. When the Mayflower arrived, the people discovered that the Natives made their beer from maize. Wonder which beer was drunk at the first Thanksgiving? This may have been the first ever “Bring Your Own Beer (BYOB).”

The United States has become an international contender in beer brewing and the country can hold its own when in competition with other countries that are notorious for making amazing beer. The U.S. prohibition slowed things down a little, but in the 21st century, things seem to be heating up for American breweries. According to the Brewer’s Association, nearly 7 million barrels of beer will be made and drunk by Americans in 2006. That’s a lot of kegs, bottles, pints and glasses!

Online there are multitudes of sites about beer: beer brewing magazines to read like “Yankee Brew News” and “Brewery News;” breweries to visit; associations for beer-makers to join like the Brewer’s Association; festivals to attend like the Barleywine Festival in Buffalo, New York; and competitions to enter like the World Beer Cup held in Seattle, Washington. Of these sites, about 85% are based in the U.S. so the Americans seem to be leading the pack!

During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, beer in America was primarily made and distributed by large beer brewing companies. In the early 1980s, many of the states passed legislation that allowed the smaller microbreweries to get in on the action. The large companies still do big business, but many patrons are fussy and want high-quality, exclusive beers; they are the “yuppies” of beer drinkers. In and around any city in America, there are anywhere from 2 to 20 breweries within a 15-mile radius of that city and the numbers are growing. Some states have more breweries than others. Each microbrewery has a family tradition they want to maintain and each beer is different; a return to the old days when two taverns a mile apart had two different-tasting beers.

The breweries have gone back to creating beers that are made from all-natural ingredients like malt, hops and yeast. They produce traditional lagers and ales together with exotic beers that have a hint of spices, vanilla, caramel, coriander and anise. One brewery, found online, uses rose hips in their beer. Usually used for tea, rose hips must provide an interesting taste to beer. Lemon coriander beer may be quite refreshing on a hot day.

Soon we will be having discussions about what type of beer goes best with chicken or beef. We’ll hear opinions like: “The caramel-flavoured beer would go great with that cheesecake; a sweet beer just made for dessert.” Is that beer good for pasta? Would it be better with a roast beef dinner? Already there are countless beer-tasting functions. Is beer the new wine? Is there a “twirl-glass-sniff-liquid-swish-in-mouth” process for beer? Like martinis, there are excessive amounts of beer types. Perhaps the process should be expedited; Beertinis for everyone!

The beer brewing companies in America, found online, emphasize the importance of quality. They discuss the importance of tradition. They discuss the importance of bringing beer back to its every-day role played for thousands of years. This time, breweries also seem to feel beer can be creative-tasting and still be in demand.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Gift Of Drink: Using Mugs As Gifts

During the holidays, there is nothing better than sitting down in a warm home to watch the lovely tree glisten while holding a nice warm mug of your favorite drink. Mugs are a part of the holidays, whether we realize it or not. This holiday season, you can give interesting gifts to your family and friends using mugs. If you are looking for a small and unique gift to give someone this year, consider these fun and original ideas.

To begin, you will need to gather a mug for each individual you are giving to. You can choose mugs to suit their personality. If one person loves dogs, consider getting a dog mug, while if someone else loves sports, you can get a mug with their favorite team on the front. After gathering all of the mugs, gather your favorite warm drink recipes. If you don’t have any, then you will have to do a little research to find some that sound yummy. You can even test to make sure they are delicious by making them yourself before using them.

After locating all of the recipes you want to use type or write them on holiday paper and make one for each of the mugs. You should keep the paper pretty small, as it will be tied onto the mug. Using the recipes, gather everything the recipient will need for the treat. Use small sandwich bags and fill them with the exact amounts of each ingredient needed for the treat. Use them for dry ingredients like cinnamon, sugar, and spices only. If the recipe calls for liquid, like coffee, consider putting grounds or an individual packet into the mug. Milk and water can be used from their own refrigerator.

Tie each bag with a lovely little ribbon and place it into the mug. After you have everything you need for the drink in the mug, add a few sticks of cinnamon for accent. Then poke a small hole into the top of the recipe paper and loop a ribbon through it. Tie the ribbon onto the mug’s handle. Although they will not be following the directions exactly, since you have included measured out portions, they will still have the recipe so they can make more if they desire. Make sure you include instructions about how to mix what you have already included in the gift as well, so they will know what to do. Finally, wrap the gift with tissue paper or cellophane wrap to complete the present.

These are fun gifts to give and receive. Those who get these will think the uniqueness is wonderful and will be excited about making their delicious treat. If you are giving one to someone in a family however, make sure you make one for each person in the family so they can enjoy them together. Using mugs for gifts is a great way to create something personal and interesting without spending a lot of money. These mugs are perfect for teachers, friends, and neighbors.

Becoming Vegetarian

Whatever your reasons are, you have decided to explore the interesting and exciting world of vegetarianism. If you have been a vegetarian for a while or have been researching about vegetarianism, you might already have some idea of what kind of vegetarian you are or want to be. There are four types:

1. Lacto vegetarians- Their diet consists of no animal products, or eggs, but do include dairy products, such as milk,

cheese, yogurt, etc.
2. Ovo-Vegetarians- Their diet consists of no animal or diary products but will eat eggs.
3. Lacto-ovo vegetarians- As you may have already guessed; don’t include any animal products in their diet but will include

dairy products and eggs.
4. Vegan- Their diet consists of only plant-based foods, which means it excludes everything that has come from an animal, such as meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.

If you haven’t decided what kind of vegetarian you would like to be don’t worry! Not everyone knows exactly what kind they want to be at first (I didn’t), but by experimenting and trying different recipes you will figure out what you need and want or don’t need and want.

Becoming a vegetarian can be as easy as you choose to make it. Whether you enjoy preparing delectable, delicious meals or choose quick and easy ones, vegetarian meals can be very satisfying. If you get in the habit of keeping the following on hand, meal preparation time will become a snap:

-Ready-to-eat, whole-grain breakfast cereals, and quick-cooking whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads and

crackers, such as rye, whole wheat, and mixed grain and other grains such as barley and bulgur wheat

-Canned beans, such as pinto, black beans, and garbanzo beans

-Rice (including brown, wild, etc.) and pasta (now available in whole wheat, spinach, and other flavors) with tomato sauce and canned beans and/or chopped veggies

-Vegetarian soups like lentil, navy bean, or minestrone

-A wide variety of plain frozen vegetables, and canned and frozen fruit

-Fortified soymilks and soy cheeses, should you choose to not eat dairy

-A wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, which should be the core of any diet

As you learn to experiment with foods and learn that a meatless diet doesn’t have to lack variety, you’ll find your decision for vegetarianism was not only wise, but easy and fun come mealtime.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Legend of Coffee

coffee, coffee maker, coffee review, coffee legen, coffee beans

Article Body:
One of the most interesting stories in the world is the history of that amazing drink that we call now coffee. OK, coffee is varied and interesting, involving chance occurrences, political intrigue, and the pursuit of wealth and power.

According to one legend (no idea is the legend is real or not), the great effect of coffee beans was noticed by a smart sheep herder from Caffa, in Ethiopia named Kaldi as he was watching his sheep. He noticed that his sheep became happy and very active after eating the red fruits of this unusual plant, the fruits look like red "cherries" . Kaldi, the shepherd soon realized that it was the bright red cherries on the plant that were causing the funny euphoria and after trying the cherries himself, he learned about the great effect .

So what Kabi this next? You bet, Kabi as a good network marketing guy, Kaldi dutifully reported his findings to the his community and after a few tries the monks decided to drink water with berries so they could be awake for longer hours of praying. So you can say that the first use of coffee was mainly religious. Pretty funny isnt'? But obviously keeping the secret was pretty difficult and the word spread, the rumor about coffee reached the Arabian Peninsula, and you pet, coffee was born.

I know, believing in this legend is pretty nice, but some top historians believe something different, they think that the first beans of coffee where brought to Ethiopia (where the legend started) by ships from Yemen, where it existed since the 6th century. Then coffee became world famous once it arrived to key places in that time, Cairo and Mecca.

I love the legends about the origin of things, and in this case, I love the legend of the origin of Mocha mainly because I'm a coffee lover, but the best one so far is the origin of how the name of mocha or coffee was created.

The story goes that Arabian was sent to the desert with his followers to die of starvation (not very nice). Well, the Arabian was so desperate that he had his friends boil and eat the fruit from an unknown plant. (yes, you guess it already, didn't you? Coffee) Not only this fruit save the exiles, but their survival was taken as a religious sign by the residents of close by town, Mocha.

The plant and its beverage were named Mocha to honor this event. So every time you order a Mocha , think of this. Nice story isn't?

The ironic thing of the history of coffee is that the plant grew naturally in Ethiopia, but once transplanted in Arabia the Arabic business men took control and make a good profit from the coffee idea, but it took a long time for a country to adapt it as a proper drink. And that was until the Turks started drinking coffee in their everyday life, often adding spices such as clove, cinnamon, cardamom and anise to the brew. That's why we have Turkish coffee !

Beating an Addiction

The 4 stages of addiction come in to play mainly when you try to change an eating habit or anything that is self medicated. Food is the most common addiction for the majotity of us - Bread, drinks, Desserts, alcohol Alcohol. Other addictions are fast fatty foods, this is a high addiction. People usually consume generous helpings of steak, burgers, and chips(fries), large salads, which ar healthy but not with great big mountains of dressing. Chunks of cheese also tend to appear as a part of a daily food consumption.

Calories are units of energy, after your dinner you want to be full of energy no feeling tired.

Eating more than you need you start to feel like you are in a different state similar to a slight drugged state, so when you are eating your not really thinking about anything else, which is why it is said when your unhappy you comfort eat.

Stage One – Resistance to change

A certain program comes says, At breakfast each morning try not to have a drink, except water take a beverage every other day, have a soup as a meal instead of something heavier, and weigh your self every day.

This may be scary stuff. You are probabily thinking that you are just fine this old way and that the new way wont be the same. You are apprehensive about doing something new and something different that isnt as easy as the normal way you do things, but you know the way thing are now are producing negative results.

It is the narrow minded view that the outcome of what you attemping will end badly, even though you dont know or havent even experienced the possible outcome yet. It is the addiction to the old ways that have contorded your way of thinking to give up and make you feel justified for doing so.

Stage Two – Begrudging attempts

You decide to join a weight loss program and have obtained information on dieting, however grudgingly, you will try it out. You think - I dont want to do this, I will just pick 1 or 2 days a week were I wont have coffee and a bun on my break, I don’t want to weigh myself twice a day. I really dont want to document everything I eat. I wnat to have my fry or danish in the morning not cereal. I don’t want breakfast in the morning, but I will because I want to weigh XX pounds.

Stage Three – Surprise, I enjoyed it

I actually tried a bowl of hot cereal in the morning and found it to be most enjoyable. For lunch I took a walk down to the deli and had the most delicous soup, that I was quite surprised to have enjoyed so much. For the evening time I had a cup of hot water instead of my usual coffee and thought it strangely satisfying

Stage Four – The new way becomes the comfortable and preferred way

It is very important to differentiate between the foods that were familiar and the foods that you really love, just try not to overload yourself on food to numb the senses. Striving to get the food and consuming it has become an intrigal part of the self medication that you put yourself through. The mere thought of not getting your food fix induces a feeling of anxiety and you become slightly annoyed. You just eat what ever it is to feel comfortable hense the "comfort eating" term. Consider it this way - not drinking coffee and getting a sore head then drinking coffee to relieve the discomfort caused by not getting it, it’s like horse chasing a corrot on a stick.

Having the knowledge of the 4 stages of addiction with help you to be pro active in getting rid of any resistance to making that move described in stages 2 and 3 and all the way to knowing the new way is the comfortable, preferred way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The History Of The Jelly Bean

Funny as it may sound, but jelly bens do have a fascinating history. Jelly beans have been on the shelfs of our shops for around 100 years and have been enjoyed by young and old throgh out the world. While Jelly beans only made there main appearance in the 1900's jelly beans have been about since the 17th century but where known as Jordan almonds.

Jelly beans became very popular when they started being sold as penny sweets in many stores across the globe.

Back in the jelly bean early days they were sold in a variety of colors and flavors, but unlike the jelly beans of today they were not sold in variety packets, instead they were sold in single colors, a bag of reds or a bag of blues etc. Jelly beans then became very popular during seasonal times (eg summer or christmas) because of the various seasonal colors that were available.

Jelly beans remained the same, with their semi hard shell and soft chewy center until the mid 1970’s. When the Herman Goelitz Candy Co., Inc. revolutionized the jelly bean for ever. This company made the jelly bean into a delicacy by making unusual flavors, such as peach, melon, grape and sour fruit flavors.

The new jelly beans were completely different, they donned a different taste as well as look, and the center was even changed in several flavors from the classic clear jelly to a matching color of the bean.

According to few independant sources jelly beans were the favorite of former president Ronald Regan. Of all the famous people who loved jelly beans throughout the ages Regan was the number 1 fan. During his administration it was quite common to find jelly beans in every almost every room in the white house.

One fact about jelly beans is that many of these little drops of heaven even went into space. One of the space shuttles took up a load of jelly beans for the shuttle crew to snack on while they were up there. I guess that even astronauts need to satisfy their sweet tooth now and then.

The history of jelly beans is not finished evolving as of yet. Every year more and more creative flavors of the jelly bean hit the market. In a few years time there will be a whole new history for people to talk about and record.

BBQ Food is the Mental Cue that summer is Here

Winter is over, spring has sprung, and summer is on its way. It’s the perfect time to take the cover off of the barbecue grill and get grilling. BBQ food is the perfect start to a great summer. As the smells of neighborhood grills begin wafting down the streets of towns all across America, there is a theme that permeates the breeze. Summer is here; it’s time for fun in the sun.

There is nothing that takes me back to my childhood quite like BBQ food. The smells, the flavors, and most importantly, the feeling of quality time spent with family and the knowledge that we are building memories for our children to someday share with their children. If you think about it, you can have BBQ food of some sort, almost any night of the week. As long as you are willing to use your grill, which has the benefit of keeping the heat of cooking on the outside of your home.

Here are some great grilling ideas that will enable you to have BBQ food almost anytime you want.
1) Veggies taste better when cooked on a grill. You can also have fun mixing flavors and seasonings. Kraft had a great idea of butter mix-ins for vegetables, I also like to marinate mine in Italian dressing and grill them in foil packets.
2) Almost any meat you can purchase will taste better cooked on a grill. I even enjoy smoked sausage cooked on a grill with BBQ sauce.
3) Make it a great night by allowing family members to make their own shish kabobs.
4) Have theme nights for your BBQ food, you can do Italian BBQ, Mexican BBQ, Caribbean, be creative and have fun.

The real beauty of BBQ food is that it is an excuse we use to build lasting memories of good times with family and friends. There is no reason we can’t make meal times special each and every day, not just during the summer months.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Basil The Sweet Herb

Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil is my favorite of all the herbs because it is so versatile and easy to grow. Those of you who follow my recipes site will know that I like to grow my own herbs and as basil is normally ready to eat just 6-weeks after planting I naturally use it often.

Basil is an attractive annual, about 18 inches (450 mm) tall with light-green, fairly broad leaves. There are several species of cultivated basil, one having purple leaves, so it is also a decorative plant in your garden.

Basil grows easily from seed planted after all danger of frost has passed. Pinch stems when the plant reaches 18 inches (450 mm) tall to promote bushy, compact growth. Avoid lush growth as it may reduce the flavor.

Green leaves can be picked about 6 weeks following planting. It is best to cut leaves for drying just before flowers open. However, if you can use fresh the taste is far better and it is also an extra vegetable to compliment a healthy diet.

Spicy-scented basil leaves are one of the most popular of all herbs used in cooking. There are two particular ways I like to use basil; the first, and most common, is to mix it with pine nuts and a little garlic, a splash of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a blender to make Pesto. Pesto can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator. Use about 90% basil to 10% pine nuts.

The other way I like using basil is with freshly picked tomatoes, sliced, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with chopped basil. This dish can be served alone as an appetizer or as part of a salad.

The other great thing about basil is that you should grow one basil plant between each tomato plant in your garden. The plants compliment each other and the basil acts as a deterrent to many of the bugs that like tomato. It never fails to amaze me the way nature has a habit of making complimentary plants that together protect each other in growth and them compliment each other on the table.

Top chef's use basil with all tomato dishes, whether cooked or raw. The other thing to remember about using olive oil is that it is an omega 3 oil and very good at promoting "good" cholesterol.

This article is copyright (c) David McCarthy, 2006.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Food In Trend

Fire was discovered.

This discovery enabled him to the means of preparing food for eating. We call it cooking. Man used stones, used wood, used stove and now, he captivates the appetite of anyone-anywhere. Food now is not only considered as a basic need but also a means of business, profit, expression, culture, and catharsis.

As an element of business and profit, restaurants and eateries have been the form of livelihood for many. As an expression, cooking food is a way of experimenting with what you know and what you want to know more. It is also a good skill if mastered. As culture, menus tell the country’s name. As a catharsis, you can just eat a lot on a depressed day.

Food comes in many trends in all parts of the globe. There are really these popular trends common for the white, brown and black.

We call the tenth food trend as convenient or ready-meals. They are becoming so popular these days. They come in handy packaging and may be chilled or ready-to-eat food products. Americans and Southeast Asians are among who take out these pouches for most number of times a week.

The next one is something one cannot munch but drink. These days, healthy juice drinks, energy drinks and so forth are hitting the customers’ fridge. They come in really cool containers commonly tin cans.

Low-fat and Non-fat food are now in. People now are more conscious and particular about their health. Their body figure is also a big factor. These days, people are now more conscious about their health and wellness so they prefer healthy drinks.

The seventh spot is taken by the healthy low-carbohydrates snack. Between meals, people commonly eat something like junk food. As mentioned, people now try to consider healthful factors for their very selves. A pack of a multi-grain snack and the like are one of the trends and they are liked by people of all ages.

Cheese, condiments and ethnic food flavors like that of exotic fruit takes the 6th spot. On the other hand, farm products like meat, milk and others are always in trend no matter what the season is, it holds the 5th place for food trends.

Meeting friends while pouring a bottle of liquor is a usual sight. As social creatures, we need to meet people. Social drinking bonds people to deeper acceptance of each other. The fourth in trend is the liquor and other beverages. Wines are good for the health that makes it as one of the most wanted. Liquor and its other forms are the third one...

Drive-through in every fast food restaurant. It is more convenient and hassle- free for people especially those who are on the go. Today’s fast way of life really finds this form as in trend. It is the second most popular food trend these present times.

Instant-prepared food is on the top rank. This type includes food which is easy to prepare and are still not so lacking the “full” factor. All over the globe, this is the number one food in trend.

Like fashion styles, food trends also vary and if one is in trend, it does not mean that it is the well-balanced diet our body needs.

Baseball Betting: How to Bet Basics

If you know nothing about sports and you still feel the urge to wager, baseball is the easiest sports to wager on. As opposed to football and basketball, where you are mixed up with the point spreads and other confusing calculations, in baseball betting you simply put your money on the outcome of the game. In addition, the baseball season lasts longer, which means more matches and bigger chances to go home with the winning money. Here is a step to step guide to baseball betting.

The main difference between baseball betting and other team sports betting such as football and basketball is that while the latter ones use point spreads, the former uses the money line.

What is a Point Spread?
Point spread is the most common betting type offered in football and basketball betting. The sportsbook spreads the odd of a certain match by subtracting points from the favorite team, which is the team most likely to win and adding points to the underdog, which is the team that will raise a lot of eyebrows if wins.

What is a Money Line?
In baseball betting, the sportsbook sets the odds strictly on the outcome of the match. In order to even the action, bettors would have to risk more money on the favorite and risk less on the underdog. This is called the money line.

For example, if the money line is minus 170 on the favorite and plus 150 on the underdog, then you would have to bet 170 dollars on the favorite in order to earn 100 dollars. On the other hand, if you bet 100 dollars on the underdog, you would win 150 dollars if they would eventually win the match.

The difference between the minus 170 on the favorite and the plus 150 on the underdog is known as the twenty cent line. If the money line was minus on the favorite and plus 150 on the underdog, it is called the ten cent line or dime line. The fifteen cent line is also common in baseball betting.

Sportsbooks also offer total bets and run lines in baseball betting.

1) Total Bets:
These wagers are based on the sum of the runs scored by both of the teams. For example, if the sportsbook sets the over under total of a match as 7, the over wins if the sum of the runs scored by both teams exceeds 7 and the under wins if it sums up to less than 7.

2) The Run Line:
This wager is the baseball variation of point spread. When you are betting on the run line, you are betting on whether one of the teams wins by more than one run, which is marked as minus 1.5 or stays within one run, marked as plus 1.5.

Although the money line makes baseball betting simpler than football and basketball betting, it causes the payoffs calculation to be more complicated:

1) In order to calculate the payoff when wagering on the favorite you should add 1 to the favorite price and divide it with the favorite price.

2) In order to calculate the payoff when wagering on the underdog you should add 1 to the underdog price.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Time Flies When You're Chewing Gum: A Brief History Of Chewing Gum

It's been a tool for diplomacy, a space-age way to keep astronauts' teeth healthy and has been paired with some of America's most famous icons. It's chewing gum-and it may have been discovered when its modern day inventor was chewing on ways to reinvent the wheel.

Thomas Adams, often referred to as "The Father of Gum," is said to have first tried to mix chicle (a natural gum base that had been chewed in Mexico for generations) with rubber to create a cheaper product for carriage wheels. After experimenting without success, it's believed he overheard a little girl ordering chewing gum at a drugstore and then decided to use the chicle for chewing gum. At that time, chewing gum was made from paraffin wax. Adams bet that his chicle would be a popular substitute. His wager paid off.

Adding The Flavor

In Louisville, Kentucky, a drugstore owner named John Colgan sold gum from the balsam tree, flavored with powdered sugar. After Adams' son (who was a traveling salesman) paid Colgan a visit, he was sold on the merits of using chicle gum instead. Using the new chicle gum imported from Mexico, Colgan introduced a new, flavored gum called "Colgan's Taffy Tolu Chewing Gum." The product became an overnight success.

Since then, gum manufacturers have found a number of ways to create exciting gum sensations. For instance, Trident Splash™ has a liquid-filled center surrounded by a soft, chewy gum with a sweet, crisp outer shell. It comes in two surprising flavors that are a far cry from the powdered sugar gum sold by John Colgan: peppermint with vanilla and strawberry with lime.

Adding The Fun

Mr. Jonathan P. Primley had a sense of humor that upset proper Victorian rules of etiquette. At that time, no "proper lady" would be caught chewing gum. Yet Primley's invention of the first ever fruit-flavored gum, which he called Kis-Me, proved very popular. The gum's slogan was: "Far Better Than A Kiss."

A Gum Is Born

The first sugarless gum- Trident-was introduced in the 1960s. Since its introduction, people have chewed more than 4.5 billion pieces of the gum. Placed end to end, that's enough gum to span the distance from New York to Los Angeles 18 times, reach halfway to the moon or circle the globe 1.8 times.

According to Cadbury Adams USA LLC, which is the U.S. business unit of confectionery and beverage leader Cadbury Schweppes (NYSE: CSG), and the makers of Trident and other popular gums such as Dentyne-"the gum isn't just great tasting, it's good for you." Studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum reduces the risk of tooth decay-which can lead to tooth loss.

In fact, the gum was originally sold to soften tooth tartar. It was made from three ingredients (Tri-); and because it was good for teeth, the Latin root for teeth (-dent) was used in the name. Trident White, a product also sold by Cadbury Adams, which whitens teeth and helps prevent stains, contains an ingredient called Recaldent that has been shown to strengthen teeth.

Great Moments In Gum

• Around the year 200 A.D., Mayans of Central America are believed to have been chewing chicle-a gum resin. At the same time, native peoples in North America are thought to have been chewing resin from spruce trees.

• In 1900, the first gumballs hit American shelves.

• In 1928, the first bubble gum was invented by a 28-year-old accountant named Walter Diemer.

• The first bubble gum cards were introduced in the 1930s. The pictures ranged from war heroes, to Wild West figures to pro-athletes.

• During WWII, U.S. military personnel gave American chewing gum away to people they met overseas-helping make friends and spread the popularity of gum.

• In 1964, NASA gave sugarless gum to astronauts on the Gemini space missions to help keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Bars in Tuscany – a Gastronomic Experience

A small town in Tuscany, ancient red brick and stone, narrow cobbled streets winding around the contours of the hill upon which it is built, a few shops, all closed now, as it is siesta time. The only sign of life comes from the doors of a bar, an appetising aroma of espresso coffee wafting out to give hope of food and sustenance to the tardy traveller. If you’re lucky it will be one of those bars that provide a fine array of freshly made sandwiches and pastries.

Italian bars are not primarily about drinking…alcohol that is. Coffee is their staple, the reputation of the barista stands or falls on the espresso he produces. (A fine, literary example is provided in ‘The Food of Love’ by Anthony Capella. Set in Rome, the barista is forever tinkering with his coffee machine in pursuit of the perfect coffee, cannibalising his van to add parts to the machine to build up ever-higher pressure.) Bars provide a social function: most of the neighbourhood will pass through the bar during the day, for a breakfast cappuccino and brioche (pastry), mid-morning espresso and regular doses of the same throughout the day. Even today most people stop work at lunchtime for a two or three hour siesta break, then work until 7 in the evening.

Anyone with any respect for their digestion would take a leisurely lunch either at home or in a restaurant or trattoria, but for those in too much of a hurry, wanting food on the go, the bar provides the equivalent of ‘fast-food’: tramezzini (sandwiches made with sliced bread, usually intended to be toasted), panini (filled rolls of all sorts), pastries both sweet and savoury, ice-creams. Of course quality varies – at worst a sad selection of curling-edged tramezzini, at best an enormous variety of breads and fillings, tantalisingly displayed and beautifully wrapped, if you intend to take away.

My memories of the best include: Nannini’s in Siena, where it can take hours just to choose; the bar in the main square of Colle di Val d’Elsa (Bassa), where you could get a slice of flaky-pastried pie filled with spinach, ricotta, egg and more that melted in the mouth and ice-cream that kept you there all day, just to try all the different flavours; a simple bar on the main road below Monteriggione, which would make you up a panino fresh, with a crusty roll and ample slices of prosciutto, carved straight from the ham, as you waited; a bar on the Via di Citta in Siena near the Duomo, which had the best breakfast brioches ever, tempting you beyond the sensible ‘just one’, into the realms of second cappuccino, second brioche and beyond!

It is eight years since I was last in Tuscany, (having children put a halt to travelling for a while), but I am sure that those bars still endure, serving coffee and food, the same mouth-watering treats: Tuscan ‘fast-food’ at its best.

Copyright 2006 Kit Heathcock

Bar Stools A Buyers Guide

Pub stools-Take note of the height of your bar counter

Although the above statement may seem like common sense I have, on many occasions, been in bars and pubs where the bar stool was the wrong size for the bar or table at which I sat.

Many proprieters spend a lot of time and energy on the look and feel of the bar's environment but fail to look seriously at how comfortable the customers will be when seated.

For instance if you have a bar counter that is 46" then the most appropriate stool would be 34". A quick rule-of-thumb is to have a 9-13" gap between the seat and the counter. This will give a very comfortable experience to the customer and have the average person in an ideal position at the bar.

For a traditional pub or tavern with a 46" bar counter I would recommend a high-back wood style 34" stool with a foot rest. This would provide maximum comfort with that added authentic look and feel.

Cafe stools

For a cafe it is always best to have metal stools or chairs as opposed to plastic. Plastic has a cheap look and feel to it whereas metal lends to both modern and traditional eating environments.

They come in many different styles and designs and can produce a real european flavour to any dining area.

In addition metal stools or chairs can be used both inside and in an outside seated area. I have been in expensive coffee houses where the exterior eating area has mirrored the inside and this allows you to enjoy the feel of the inside environment while enjoying the sun.

Cocktail stools

For those of you interested in the more up-market approach, a stainless steel or aluminium stool, with a circular ringed footrest, is a must for all cocktail bar lovers. These bar stools blend into almost any surroundings. With a young clientele, as the main customer base, this envirnoment can be fast paced and the seating arrangements can change over the space of a night.

In such situations, when bartenders often need to alter the pub arrangements in order to facilitate customer requirements, it is essential to have both a light-weight and durable stool.

The aluminium bar stool is ideal for such a task, as is lightweight stainless steel. These stools are not only remarkably light and therefore easy to maneuver, in compact environments, but they are also exceptionally durable, easy to clean and can be found at very reasonable prices.


Lounges are traditionally used for recreational socialising with friends and establishments tend to create a relaxed atmosphere which allows easy conversation. With this in mind the seating arrangements should reflect this and it is therefore crucial to think of the comfort of the customer.

Upholstered stools and chairs are essential for creating the correct ambiance and level of comfort to meet the customer requirements. Even if the environment reflects a more traditional feel, as do some Irish bars, wooden stools with padded seats in no way detract from the feel of the surroundings.

Small stools

As well as the standard 36" bar stool, which is the average height for an average bar counter, all bars from local taverns to up-market cocktail lounges have additional seating areas. Obviously, the standard size of bar stool would be inappropriate for such a bar table or lounge area.

Therefore proprieters should always have a stock of smaller stools for the lounge and seated area in the public bar. Usually, in most cases, only a 20" stool would be required to meet the comfortable table height. A good rule-rule-thumb for a table stool would be to give aproximately 6" between the seat and table surface.

Kitchen stools

Whether its a modern breakfast bar you have or a traditional pine table, kitchen stools can be ideal for your seating requirements. Traditional chairs or bar stools like those pictured below can give that warm feeling that you had whenever you where in your mama's kitchen. Alternatively a metal, chrome or aluminium look can add sleek and sophistication to any modern kitchen.

As with the pub stools the height of the counter should be considered prior to purchasing any stools or chairs. The standard breakfast bar is usually 36" which would suggest that you use a 30" stool.

When considering a breakfast bar the rule-of-thumb is to have a 6-10" gap between the counter and the seat to derive maximum comfort. However, if you have traditional seating arrangements around a table leave a 6" gap.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Understand Egg Carton Dates

If you're confused about the dates you see on egg cartons, it's not surprising. Food product dating is hard to understand. One of the more puzzling facts is that none of the dates on food packages -- not even "use by" dates -- are an indication of food safety. Instead, package dates refer to product quality.

An "expiration" or "sell by" date on some egg cartons helps to ensure that the eggs are fresh by informing the grocery store not to sell the eggs after the marked date. These dates are also intended to encourage you to use the eggs when they're still at their highest quality. An expiration date on the carton is not required but, if one is used, it can be no more than 30 days after the eggs were packed. Since the packer or retailer may choose a date under 30 days, your local retailer can give you more complete information about how many days a "sell by" or "expiration date" allows after packing.

Some cartons show a Julian date on the short side of the carton. The Julian date is the day the eggs were packed -- starting with 001 as Jan 1 and ending with 365 for December 31. For example, eggs packed on June 15 would be marked 166. Some other egg packers print an open "use by" date -- July 15, for example -- right on the eggshell itself. If properly refrigerated, shell eggs will keep with insignificant quality loss for at least four to five weeks after the Julian or pack date. If there is no Julian or pack date, using your eggs within three weeks of purchase will allow for the possibility that your eggs may have been temporarily warehoused by the retailer before you bought them.

Why isn't safety a factor in these dates? Food safety depends on many things, including how you handle and store eggs and other foods. Both quality and safety changes can happen before or after the date on a package. For example, if you put a fully-cooked deli ham and a carton of eggs in the trunk of your car on a hot day and then run several errands before you refrigerate the ham and eggs at home, you've both reduced the ham's and eggs' shelf-life and increased your risk of food-borne illness -- no matter what the package dates say.

Even when eggs are refrigerated, time causes a quality difference, too, especially in appearance. As eggs age, the whites thin and the yolks flatten. This means that the eggs will spread more in a pan if you fry them and there will be more "angel wings" of white in the water if you poach them. Because the yolk membranes also weaken with age, the yolks may break whether you want them to or not.

For recipes where shape isn't important, particularly when whites and yolks are beaten together, you can still use the eggs. The weakening of the yolk membrane, however, makes it easier for bacteria -- if they're present -- to reach the nutritious yolk. So, to prevent the possibility of foodborne illness, it's best to use older eggs in fully cooked items, such as quiches, stratas and baked goods.

When correctly handled, eggs have a fairly long shelf-life compared to other perishable foods. For both quality and safety, simply keep eggs refrigerated and cook them properly. - NU

Balvenie Scotch Whisky


Regional categorisation is a vexed issue in whisky: it may be a handy way of grouping distilleries together geographically, but it can be a tricky business identifying a stylistic continuity between all the whiskies in Perthshire or Speyside.

But if you can't claim that there is a 'Speyside style', or isolate certain qualities which make Speyside the best whisky-making region on the mainland, how do you explain such a concentration of distilleries in the area - a part of the Highlands which was, in the early days of whisky, a pretty remote part of the world?

David Stewart, William Grant's grandly-titled Malt Master, is happy to admit ignorance on this point. 'All of the quality distilleries are here in this central part of Speyside,' he says. That's the mystique of Scotch, We've all got highly-sophisticated equipment, but we can't tell what makes the difference'. He's pretty sure what makes Balvenie such a dramatically different dram to Glenfiddich, even though they share the same site and use the same malt and water.

The character comes from the still. Glenfiddich is coal fired, Balvenie is gas fired. The shape of the stills is different: Balvenie has bigger stills with shorter necks and that's where the flavours change. Maybe the ten per cent of floor-malted barley helps, but I think it's the stills.'

Other influential factors include great wood management and the use of old dunnage warehouses. 'It'i not just age th;ii makes whiiky great,' says David. 'It's age and wood.' This underpins his decision to make life interesting (or difficult) for himself by creating a Balvenie range in which each malt shows a subtly different wood influence.

If we were just to age the Founder's Reserve and do it as a 12-year-old or a 15-year-old, we wouldn't see much difference between them. We had to take a different route, so we produced Double Wood, [where the malt is aged for 10 years in ex-Bourbon barrels and finished in sherry butts]. Then we started doing Single Barrel, and at a higher strength with no chill filtering; then Port Wood and now vintage casks.'

This freedom to experiment is one of the advantages of Grant's family-owned status. 'We can do things quickly. The family is steeped in whisky, but we are encouraged to be innovative, we can go against the trend -with the Balvenie range, or with Black Barrel, where we were determined to make the only single grain whisky that really works.'

If the William Grant portfolio was The Byrds, then Glenfiddich would be Roger McGuinn and Balvenie would be Gene Clark, the underrated genius. David, as Grant's master blender, is in charge of the entire range, from malts to blends to single grain and whisky liqueur, and his special affection for Balvenie is obvious. 'I've been at Grant's for 35 years,' he says. 'It's been my only job

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's A Barbecue Party Without Some Condiments?

Condiments are substances applied to food to improve or enhance flavor. They usually come in the form of powders, spreads and sauces. A condiment is typically squirted, sprinkled or smeared, with commercially prepared condiment products often packaged in plastic or glass containers. Some are served as single-serving packets too as what is common in cafeterias and airlines. Of course, BBQ parties and cookouts are never complete without a steady supply of condiments.

Some of the more common condiments include ketchup, mayo, pickles, mustard, wasabi, vinegars, salad dressings and salt. Barbecue and hot sauces are other popular condiment choices used to complement or add flavor to dishes. Since people have different preferences when it comes to seasoning their meats, having an assortment of condiment products on hand when hosting a barbecue is always best.

Condiments and Smashing BBQ Parties

Nothing spoils a barbecue quicker than a shortage of condiments. Whether it's ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, relish or BBQ sauce, finding yourself running low on any of these items can spell disaster for a party. You see, a condiment gives food that added kick to keep people coming back for more. Further, half the fun of eating is being able to adjust the taste of the food to suit each individual's particular taste buds so without condiments, people will have a tough time managing this.

Holding a hit barbecue event isn't easy. But if you keep your shelves well-stocked in the condiment department, you're halfway there. Here are other tips to ensure your next BBQ is a smashing success.

• Get out that old BBQ grill that's been collecting dust in the garage. Fix the patio and wash all the utensils you'll be using before you start grilling.

• Prepare the outdoor cooking recipes in advance. Visit the market and buy the freshest meats needed.

• When it comes to cooking a whole chicken on the grill, stuff it with a half-filled beer can. The beer aroma will stick to the chicken and give it a great beer-y taste. If others don't appreciate it, have them slather up some condiments on the chicken.

• When cooking burgers, put holes in the center so they'll cook thoroughly. The holes will close up once they're grilled so don't worry about it!

• Shop around for great condiment and sauce products. Make sure to check out It's got an online catalog of the best condiments, hot sauces, salsas, rubs and marinades in town.

Condiments play a huge role in the success of a BBQ party. For the best barbecue condiment selections, there's only one place to go really – InsaneChicken. It's got the Ass Kickin' Mustard, the Ingleby Farms Jalapeno Ketchup, the Smuggler's Run Jolly Rouge Chipotle Creme and a bunch of other mouth-watering condiment delights. Add life to your future barbecue parties – get your condiments and sauces from the best in the business – InsaneChicken. Ah, will someone please pass the 20 Pepper Hot Garlic Pickles please?

Baccarat History and American Baccarat Rules

If we put aside the black ties, the velvet curtains and the overall exclusive atmosphere, baccarat is one of the simplest casino games around. In addition, baccarat is a beatable game with a low house edge, which makes it one of the best bets you can make! Here you can read about baccarat history and learn how to play the game.

Both the American and European versions of baccarat and the French Chemin de Fer are late developments of the Italian game called baccara, which means zero in Italian. The origins of baccara go back to an old Etruscan myth. According to the myth, a blonde virgin had to toss a nine sided die to decide on her destiny. If the die landed on eight or nine, she would have to fulfill her destiny and become a priest. If the die landed on six or seven, she would be forbidden to participate in any religious activity. If the die landed on any other number, the virgin had to walk into the sea.

The Italian game baccara was popular among French aristocracy during the end of the 15th century. Baccara had evolved to the European version of baccarat, which is still played in European casinos today as well as the French variation of baccarat known as Chemin de Fer, which is mainly played in casinos in France. The American version of the game was introduced to Nevada casinos in the 1950s by Francis Tommy Renzoni, who imported the game from Havana.

Baccarat still carries an aroma of aristocracy and exclusivity. In American casinos, baccarat is played in a separated area of the casino, hidden behind velvet curtains. Baccarat players are usually dressed up and the betting limits are higher comparing to other table games. In order to attract the medium budget players, a lower limit version of baccarat, called mini baccarat, was invented. Mini baccarat is played on a smaller table, inside the casino gambling area with lower betting limits than baccarat.

How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is played with 3 dealers and up to 12 or 14 players. Baccarat is usually played with 8 standard card decks. Aces valued as one, face cards and ten cards valued as zero, and the rest of the number cards worth their face value. The suit has no meaning. The object of the game is to get as close to 9 as possible.

The play begins by all players, including the dealer, placing their bets either on the player, the banker, or on a tie. Traditionally, the dealer bets on the banker. The dealer can be the house dealer or one of the players. After everyone has placed their bets, the dealer gives two cards to each player and to the banker.

The score of each hand is calculated as the sum of the two cards minus the left digit. For example, if the sum of the two cards is 15, the score would be 5. The decision whether to deal a third card is determined by a set or rules and it is not up to the player or the dealers decision. 
If the score of the players hand is 9 or 8, he wins
If the score of the dealers hand is 9 or 8, it is a tie
If a players score is 7 or 6, he can be dealt a third card
If a players score is 5 or less, he has to receive a third card
If a player gets a third card and the score of the dealers hand is 2, 1 or 0, he must draw a third card
If the score of the dealers hand is 3 and the players third card is any value but 8, he must draw a third card
If the score of the dealers hand is 4 and the players third card value is between 2 and 7, he must draw a third card
If the score of the dealers hand is 5 and the players third card value is between 4 and seven, he must draw a third card
If the score of the dealers hand is 6 and the players third card is 6 or 7, he must draw a third card.
If the score of the dealers hand is 7, he cannot draw a third card.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Open an Online Casino Now?

The USA has banned online gambling. Or has it? Reading the Post Authority Law, I have found that what they have banned is financial transactions between US financial organizations and online casinos. Why? They cannot ban online casinos because these are not under their jurisdiction. So, have online casinos complied? Some. The large ones have such as Party Gaming and 888, but an American player can still play.

So what does that tell us?
That gambling is at an all time high in the US and across the world. People like to play games for cash because they love the adrenalin rush they get when they bet money on the outcome of a game. A law, that refuses to acknowledge this is doomed to fail just like a law disallowing people from crossing the road when the signal light is red.

What About the Online Casinos?
Some, like Golden Casino, use a different name as their financial entity and ,thus, effectively bypass the US law. It pretty much works like this: the online casino does not allow US players but they leave it up to the players to stop playing. In other words, they do accept them, but are legally not liable for them.

So Why Should You Open an Online Casino NOW?
The US is bubbling with online players anxious to find somewhere or some casino that will accept their cash and allow them to play there. You can take advantage of this gap and this urge and place your casino in that location. Mind you, this is not unique and many online casinos are trying to think of ways to serve the US crowd, but it still is a budding industry because the big players like Playtech and BetonSports have left. Why not get in there and take up that gap?

Lets discuss this in financial terms. People are looking for this product and are scouring the city to find it. Why not open an online casino and offer them what they want? The initial costs are high, but the return on your investment will more than justify spending such large sums on purchasing the software. Note that running an online casino is not that difficult once you have bought the relevant software. Then, you have to spend on marketing this product. Use the relevant internet sites, and voile, players will start dropping in at an alarming rate.

Another reason to buy or open an online casino is that the law will take a while to take effect. This means that people can still play at casinos without any fear of prosecution. So why not take a plunge?

How Can I Open An Online Casino?
Contact one of the many software companies dealing with gaming such as MicroGaming, OddsOn and many others and ask. Some of these will even allow you to use their services such as customer and technical services while you just sit back and watch the money grow in your account. Is that something or not?

Opening or buying an online casino now is still if not more profitable than before. But do not take my word for it alone. Look up google or yahoo and research this for yourself. You will be surprised at the number of new casinos coming up. Join this rush for cash too or be left behind.

Bacara el Preferido del Agente 007

El Agente 007 y su audacia con el juego continúan deslumbrando año tras año a sus sensuales compañeras en escena y derrotando a sus astutos enemigos.

El Bacara: El Juego preferido del clásico James Bond: Bacará y el Agente 007

El Bacará es el clásico juego de apuestas originado en Italia en el siglo 15 y es también característico del famoso espía 007. En cada escena lo identifican una elegancia y excelencia, que junto con su impecable  Martini en mano y las apuestas en otra James Bond ha mantenido una leyenda desde su origen desde los años 50 hasta el presente. Es así como el espía ingles domina la versión francesa del juego Bacará llamada Chemin de Fer con gran talento y admiración.

Bacara siempre fue popular entre la alta sociedad, especialmente en el siglo 15, cuando surgió en Italia. Bacara significa cero en italiano y a lo largo de su expansión en diferentes países nuevas reglas y variaciones fueron inventadas y adaptadas como en Estados Unidos o en Francia el Chemin de Fer, o el denominado Juego de James Bond.

El juego consiste en el "Jugador" y la "Banca"  el nombre que se la a las opciones de apuestas, estos son repartidos dos o tres cartas cada uno con el objetivo simple de llegar a 9 sin pasarse de el. Mientras tanto la banca decide según las reglas del juego cuando detener la jugada y los jugadores ya han debido apostar a cual de las dos Jugador o Banca ganara la mano. Los jugadores o el jugador apuesta y el que apuesta a la mano que gano el puntaje mas correcto, gana la mano. En la adaptación americana, el juego funciona en contra a la banca, mientras que en Chemin de Fer, los jugadores compiten el uno con el otro. Uno representa al jugador y el otro a la Banca.

En compañía del Chemin de Fer los libros de Ian Fleming junto a las adaptaciones en escena de James Bond, han deslumbrado por décadas las diferentes aventuras del espía, con ayuda de su impecable poder del juego y su atractivo estilo. Hasta su último estreno en el 2006 James Bond sigue disfrutando de la lujuria de las mesas verdes de los casinos junto a su cigarro y el su sensual compañera en acción. En el anio 1964, las novelas y capítulos de James Bond, fueron escritas por Kingsley Amis, John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, y Charlie Higson. Tambien sus actores variaron comenzando con el conocido Sean Connery, siguiendo con Geroge Lazenby, Roger Moore, Tomothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan y Daniel Craig.

Si observas, es muy interesante ver la manera en que el Agente apuesta al juego y a su vez actúa y descubre los secretos que lo rodean con la misma rapidez, seguridad y astucia. Enlas películas de James Bond el juego Chemin de Fer transcurre en elegantes salas llenas de mujeres elegantes y hombres adinerados que detrás del juego tienen otros intereses por revelar. En la realidad el enlace entre el Bacará y El Agente 007 es de un acompañante fiel de aventuras secretas y emocionantes de mas de cinco décadas que hicieron de el una leyenda inolvidable que resurge de generación en generación.

Monday, February 15, 2010

With Wines there is a Flavour for almost any Taste

Any lover of wines will tell you that a good palate is not something one is born with. It is a skill that is acquired over a long course of time and education. For those of you who are not yet loves of this fine liquid, a little education may be in order. There are basically four types of wine: red, white, blush (or rose), and champagne and contrary to popular belief, good wine doesn’t come in a box, that is unless it’s a small box that has been gift wrapped.

For my purposes here I will focus on red and white wines, as they are by far the most common. The general rule about red and white wines has for years been that in general if you are eating a more delicate dish such as chicken or fish you should choose a subtle wine that won’t overpower the dish. That is why red wine is traditionally associated with darker meats and white wine with lighter meats and vegetable dishes. This rule however, is not inviolate and if you are spending your hard earned money, you should be able to drink whatever you darned well please with your dinner. But hey, that’s just me. But I think this rule kind of hit the wind when people began wearing white after Labor Day.

While France has for many years been known as wine country the U. S. and Australia are producing some really good wines lately and Italy has always had an excellent selection. Each process will produce a different flavor and texture, as you learn more about your particular likes and dislikes make note of where the wine was made, what specific type of wine it was and what the approximate age of the wine is.

Find what you like and work with that. Branch out from there and try to find similar wines in flavor, body, and texture without buying the same identical bottle of wine over and over again. If you find a wine you really like, purchase a few bottles so you have some on hand. Slowly build your collection in this manner and you will eventually have a nice collection of wines that you enjoy.

Artists Biographies on Film: Top Movies about Visual Artists

Visual artists biographies is a popular theme in the movie world. Moviemakers have always been fascinated by visual artists biographies, especially if it includes struggle with insanity, drug addiction or social conventions. In addition, it gives them an opportunity to depict original or resurrected artworks on the big screen.
Here you can read about some of the most interesting movies about visual artists biographies.
Lust for Life directed by Vincente Minnelli in 1952 

Vincent Van Gogh biography had gained several cinematic adaptations. Lust for Life with Kirk Douglas as the struggling artist is one of the most notable. The movie is based on a best selling book by Irving Stone, who also authored The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michelangelo, which also had appeared on the silver screen.

If you are a fan of Van Gogh artwork, you would enjoy watching Last for Life, which features almost 200 of Van Goghs original paintings. However, if you are familiar with Kirk Douglas previous filmographic, seeing him as a tortured Dutch painter might take a little adjustment. Another recommended film about Van Gogh is Robert Altmans Vincent and Theo from 1990.

Surviving Picasso directed by James Ivory in 1996

Like Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso image made him an iconic figure outside the artistic circles. While Van Gogh symbolizes the self destructive, manic depressive artist who achieves success only after his death, Picasso represents the misanthropic and womanizer artist. Picasso infamous relationship with women is the focus of this Merchant and Ivory film. The story is told from the eyes of Picasso mistress Francoise Gilot and features only reproductions of Picasso works. With Anthony Hopkins talent and his physical resemblance to Picasso, Surviving Picasso manages to create an unflattering portrait of an artist as a cruel, self centered genius.

Girl with Pearl Earring directed by Peter Webber in 2003

Comparing to Van Gogh and Picasso, Vermeers biography is less known and less controversial. Therefore Girl with Pearl Earring is much more restrained and delicate. The movie focuses on a short period in Vermeers life in which he was painting the portrait of his young low class maid. Although Girl with Pearl Earring does not avoid filmic conventions by over dramatizing Vermeers painting process, the movie is worth watching if only for its artistic design, which success in evoking Vermeers perception of light and color.

Basquiat directed by Julian Schnabel in 1996

The most common critique against movies that deals with visual arts is the way they depict the creation process. Therefore, there were big expectations from Basquiat, which was directed by the celebrated painter Julian Schnabel. Schnabel did well in depicting Jean Michelle Basquiat rise and fall story in less the predictable manner we have seen millions time before. However, the only reason to watch Basquiat is David Bowie plays the role of Andy Warhol.

Frida directed by Julie Taymor in 2002

Like most of the visual artists who had their life story appear on the silver screen, Frida Kahlo carried an unusual biography, which includes bus accident, problematic marriage, and an affair with Leon Trotsky. Like Van Gogh, Picasso and Jackson Pollock, who was the subject of a biopic from 2000, Frida Kahlo was an icon long before Frida was released, but the 123 minutes film did help to strength her position as a feminist idol and probably the most famous woman painter of the 20 century. Frida tries its best to integrate Frida Kahlo life story with her painting and the result is very colorful and pleasant, but still does not stay far enough from the conventions of depicting artists on film.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Wine Goes With My Chicken Salad Sandwich?

We've all heard that there are rules to selecting the right wine. Those rules are based on the type of meat or fish main course, cost, the snootiness factor and other less savory snobbery. Heck, I'm no snob when selecting just that right wine to go with my meal. I have 1 rule that fits no matter what's on the menu. But before I give you Franks rule of wine selection, let's review a few of the more recognized rules.

Red with meat, white with fish. Yea, this is a good direction to take all right. It's good if you like your meals color coordinated. Heck, I'm satisfied if my husband is color coordinated and don't really care if my meals are on a specific color spectrum.

Price determines quality. OK, I made this one up after having a wine steward get almost indignant at my wine selection because it didn't have the "nose" of a truly "good" wine. A nose of course is what's on people's faces that they look down on us less sophisticated wine connoisseurs. Apparently wine also has a nose and it simply means the way it smells. The difference between us and them however is that we say smell and they say "bouquet." Well la tee-da.

How about using the Sommelier of the restaurant to select your wine? If you get one with a sense of humor, this is an excellent way to find new wines to enjoy. A Sommelier is someone who is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional. They understand all the aging, grape selection, part of the country and wine making techniques that basic wine drinkers like myself just aren't interested in studying about. A great sommelier will not focus on price but on what types of wine you enjoy. What you're eating will be considered but actually, a good Sommelier is looking to select a wine based on my 1 rule of wine selection.

That 1 rule of wine selection trumps everything else in picking a wine drink. That number 1 rule is ...


That's it! Who cares if it's expensive except the restaurant that gets the huge mark-up price. You're going to drink it and if the wine is something you've enjoyed before or at a previous special occasion, you will start to reminisce. You will begin to walk down memory lane and if that special someone you're dining with happens to be your lifes partner of many years, they too will begin to remember back when. The romance is rekindled not by the wine but by the memories.

There is a certain magic to a wine that can be tied back into your own personal history. So what kind of wine goes with my chicken salad sandwich? I'll take the one I like...the one with the magic.


The most common mistake made by people who attempt to put together their first resume is that they put in too much information. They want to describe everything that they have ever done from the moment of conception to the present. The resume ends up being too long, and nobody will read it.

The most important piece of information that you should retain is that your resume, no matter how well it is put together, will only get a 15 to 30 second review by the person who does the initial screening.

That person is normally someone in Human Resources whose job is to look at hundreds of resumes per day. You must create your resume in such a way that it gives all the information they need in a maximum of 30 seconds.

There is information that, under most circumstances, should not be in a resume. This includes:
• Your age or date of birth
• Religious or political affiliations
• Reasons why you left your last job
• Your Social Security Number
• Health restrictions or physical limitations
• Any sentence that has "do not," "cannot," or "unable"

Age or Date of Birth

I repeat, you should not put your age or date of birth in a resume. In the US, an employer has no legal right to know your age. An employer can ask you only if you are over the age of 18 for insurance liability reasons or if local, state, or federal law requires that employees be over a certain age.

Therefore, if you’re concerned that your age will be a factor, don't list the date you graduated from high school or the years that you received any of your degrees. I received my undergraduate degree in 1962. Can any of you guess my age?

Religious Affiliations or Political Affiliations

It’s generally recommended that you stay away from listing a particular type of religion or political party affiliation. However, being active in your community or church can sometimes be a positive factor in many large companies, so you should make general statements about your participation in activities that support the community. Volunteer work for a charity group would be a positive example but active support for an environmental group could raise some eyebrows.

Reasons for Leaving Previous Jobs

We’ve become a mobile society and longevity in a position is now considered two years. People accept new jobs for many reasons. If you left your last job because of differences with your supervisor or company philosophy, I don't recommend that you put that information in your resume. The reader will probably get a negative impression of you. If you couldn't get along with your last company, you probably won't get along here.

If the job application asks you to give reasons for leaving your last job, a safe and truthful answer could be that you were offered a better position. “Better” could mean a pay raise, better working hours, better office environment, or newer equipment.

Your Social Security Number (SSN)

The exceptions to this are federal resumes sent for civil service positions. A prospective employer can ask for your Social Security Number in an application - that is normally a requirement for employment. However, putting your SSN on a resume could lead to disaster.

You’ll be sending out many resumes; you won’t know who’ll be reading them. It doesn't cost much money to put a small want ad in the newspaper or on an Internet employment site, and a dishonest person can run a fraudulent ad.

If someone knows your SSN, he can apply for credit cards or other important documents, such as duplicate SSN cards, with the information you normally provide on a resume. Be alert if someone other than in the civil service asks for your SSN.

Information about Health and Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act has changed the way businesses in the US recruit and hire an employee. Generally, an employer has no legal right to know your health status. The only health-related questions that an employer can ask are job related.

If the job description requires that you lift 50 lbs, the employer has the legal and legitimate right to ask in the interview if you can do this. He can also state the requirement in his ad. He cannot ask you if you have back problems, diabetes, or have had a heart attack unless the job, such as airline pilot, requires perfect health.

Find out your legal rights if you live outside the US.

Marital Status

I’ve added marital status because this is another issue that can work against you, particularly if you’re a single parent. I know some people will disagree, but single parents have the highest absentee rate in the work force.

Companies will try to avoid hiring a single parent if at all possible. However, in the US they cannot ask you your marital status or if you have children. Don't volunteer this information on the resume.

If asked this question in an interview, the proper response could be, "Can you tell me what this has to do with the position I’m applying for?" That should end the questioning on this issue if the interviewer does not want to face a lawsuit.