Sunday, May 30, 2010

Different types of Green Tea

If you try to buy green tea in a supermarket – even in a very large one – the chances are that you’ll only find one kind of green tea: the kind with ‘green tea’ written on the packet. The green tea that these packets contain tends to be of the absolute lowest quality, and so they are best avoided. Instead, you should try to buy your tea from Chinese markets or food stores, or order it over the Internet, as then you will be able to choose from the full range of green teas.

So which different green teas are there? Well, the most common green tea in Western countries is low-grade Gunpowder – that’s the stuff you’ll generally find in the supermarket. It is used because it is cheap, and stays fresher for longer than other green teas, because of the way it is rolled up into little balls.

The most popular green tea in China is Dragon Well, or Lung Ching, a bright green and quite expensive kind of tea. Many consider it to be the best green tea, but because it is expensive and not very much is produced, it is prone to imitation – make sure you trust whoever you’re buying this tea from to sell you the real thing.

In Japan, green tea drinkers prefer Sencha, a sweeter kind of green tea. It is cheaper than Dragon Well, more the kind of tea you could drink every day, but none the worse for it. Sencha is also more readily available over here than Chinese green teas tend to be, and there is a slightly cheaper version called Bancha as well.

The sweetest kind of green tea is Macha, the tea used in the Japanese tea ceremonies. It is very expensive and very nice, and tastes more like a luxury dessert than the everyday tea you’re probably used to – in Japan, it is a popular flavour of sweets and ice cream. If you ever get a chance to drink Macha, it’s well worth trying, because it really is the king of green teas.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Different Types Of Cookie Sheets Yield Different Tasting Cookies

Anybody who takes the time to make cookies from scratch obviously wants the cookies to come out perfectly and taste delicious. Mixing ingredients is almost unheard of these days with just about everything being available in pre-mixed or pre-made packages. Most people simply buy a roll of cookie dough, slice it, and stick it in the oven for 15-18 minutes. However, for the individuals out there who still take the time to make their own cookie dough, it’s important to know the differences between all the types of cookie sheets available in stores today. There are a multitude of them, and believe it or not, they all yield different results.

Insulated Non-stick Cookie Sheet
Most insulated cookie sheets are made to be non-stick, and because insulated sheets are sometimes on the more expensive side, they tend to resist scratches, chipping, and peeling. Insulated cookie sheets are basically two sheets that have been connected around the edges, which creates a small pocket of air that cannot escape. The air inside of the pocket heats to the set temperature of the oven when the insulated cookie sheet is placed inside.

Insulated cookie sheets are very reliable for evenly baked cookies. Because the air inside the sheet heats to the temperature of the oven, it allows all the cookies on the sheet to cook and brown at the same rate. The evenly heated air prevents the cookie sheet from being hotter in certain spots, which is a common occurrence with regular cookie sheets. In addition to yummy cookies, most insulated cookie sheets are easy to clean because of their non-stick surfaces.

Aluminum Cookie Sheets
Aluminum cookie sheets are very commonly used. Aluminum conducts heat well which is why cookie sheets made of this material usually produce an evenly baked cookie. The only down side to aluminum is that it sometimes prevents cookies from reaching the perfect shade of brown.

Cookie sheets made of aluminum are very sturdy and they won’t rust even if they have to be soaked in water for and extended period of time. Heavy aluminum baking sheets are better to use than the thin types that are available for less money. Thin aluminum sheets can bend and/or warp in a hot oven which can cause cookies to cook unevenly.

Non-Stick Cookie Sheets
When non-stick cookie sheets were invented, a whole new world of baking emerged. The ease of cleaning a cookie sheet with a non-stick surface is amazing, and it practically eliminates the need to butter the sheet before cooking. Washing a non-stick cookie sheet is a breeze and hardly requires anything but a quick scrub.

Non-stick cookie sheets have a surface coating that makes them easy to clean, yet they are still able to produce delicious cookies. Keep in mind that the darker the non-stick surface, the quicker the cookies will brown. Therefore, it’s important to read the instructions that come with the cookie sheet to find out if the manufacturer recommends that the oven’s cooking temperature be lowered to compensate. It may be necessary to lower the temperature of the oven by about 25 degrees.

In conclusion, cookie sheets can be made of a number of different types of materials, or even a combination of materials. Every cookie sheet will yield a different end result for the same exact cookie recipe. The darker the cookie sheet, the faster the cookies will brown because a dark cookie sheet absorbs heat more readily and transfers the heat directly to the cookies. Aluminum cookie sheets are good conductors of heat but are not good for ensuring that the cookies will brown. Insulated cookie sheets will ensure evenly baked cookies no matter how they are spaced on the sheet. For best results, try out a cookie recipe on all three types of sheets and determine which yields the desired results.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Diet Food Doesn’t Have To Be Boring!

Not too long ago, my mother and I were talking about food and diets. "Your grandmother used to feed you pasta five nights a week," my mother insisted.

"She did not!" I exclaimed, stung. After all, I remembered my grandmother as a wonderfully varied cook who could make anything taste wonderful. She served all sorts of meals, not just pasta! There was spaghetti, of course - she was Italian, after all. But she also made Ziti with vegetables. And Linguine. And tuna casserole with. ..elbow macaroni. By the time I'd finished naming off a typical week's worth of menus, I had to concede my mother's point - but I made mine as well. "But... it didn't FEEL like we were eating pasta every night!"

There's a point to this story, I promise, and here it comes:

One of the biggest reasons that people slip off their diets and eating plans is BOREDOM.

It's very easy to look at the foods allowed on your diet and see it as restrictive and boring. Chicken four nights a week. Fish three times a week. Green leafy vegetables till they're coming out of your ears. Who wouldn't get bored?

The answer is - anyone with a good set of cookbooks and a healthy imagination. Perk up your cabinet with spices and fill your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables, then look for novel ways to combine them.

Here are a handful of tips for non-boring, healthy, low-cal eating

1. Spice it up!

Spices are one of the quickest ways out of the diet doldrums. Rosemary and fennel with chicken, mint rubbed into pork, pepper and lemon mint on fresh fish - the 'blander' the food, the higher the effect of the spices.

2. Dress it up.

Fruit vinaigrette dressings make wonderful marinades for meats and dressings for warm or cold vegetables. Try broccoli drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette or cabbage spiced up with apple vinegar and pepper.

2. Herb-infused olive oils - tarragon, ginger, fennel and more.

3. My brother the chef gave me a set of three oils for Christmas one year and it completely changed the way I’ll cook forever!

4. Low sodium soy sauce is a great way to flavor up just about anything.

5. Fruit

The bitterness of dark leafy greens like spinach were practically designed to be eaten with mandarin oranges, raspberries or chunks of pineapple.

Still need some help? Here is a list of the absolute best cookbooks on the market to help you fight those diet boredom blues!

The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook
This cookbook features polenta, couscous and more!

Laurie’s Low-Carb Cookbook
This everyday chef shares recipes that are so easy to do!

Low Carb Meals In Minutes
Use this book and get six weeks worth of complete menus that include shopping lists.

Dr. Atkins New Diet Cookbook
This one’s from the creator of the Atkins Diet

The South Beach Diet Cookbook
This book is packed with more than 200 recipes for delicious low-fat foods

Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites
If meat isn’t your thing, this cookbook shares recipes from one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in America

American Heart Association Low-Fat Low-Cholesterol Cookbook
Are you trying to lower your cholesterol or take care of your heart? This book has great tasting recipes that are good for you—and your heart!

American Heart Association Meals in Minutes
If you’re constantly eating fast foods because you simply don’t have the time to create great tasting healthy meals, check out this book!

Joslin Diabetes Center's Vegetarian Diabetic Cookbook Meatless and vegan recipes that are low fat, high fiber, and delicious

The Guilt-Free Gourmet Famous cruise ship chef Sam Miles put together this wonderful cookbook from his six years traveling on ships as a cook.

So, now you’ve got some ideas and some resources—there should be no reason that you have to live with boring foods—even if you are on a diet!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dewars Bnj Whisky

Everyone loves a good bargain, right? This is especially true when shopping for potentially expensive things like a set of barstools. Getting cheap barstools doesn't mean you have to marry the manager at the local furniture store. In fact, there are several ways to go about finding cheap stools that don't look 'cheap.'

If new barstools are not essential, garage sales are often a great way to find excellent bargains on used barstools. Most experienced garage sale holders know that all prices are negotiable. So, after a careful inspection of the stools in question, offer the owner half what he's asking. You will find that in more instances than not, the seller will accept a price significantly lower than he's asking - especially if the sale's been going on for more than a couple of hours.

Another good option for cheap used barstools is online at big auction sites, like Ebay. These sites are like huge garage sales, only they're all in one place and you don't have to fight the traffic, the weather, and all the rest of the unpleasant aspects of shopping in person.

If deals on new barstools are what you seek, one option is to get out the yellow pages and call local furniture and billiards stores to find out if anyone is having a sale on them. Sometimes you'll find that stores will take less than the listed price, even when there isn't an advertised sale going on. This happens when merchants have been sitting on inventory they need to move. Just ask. That may be all it takes to get cheap barstools from a local provider.

The aforementioned online auction websites are another place to find nice bargains on new barstools. Merchants selling new stools will sometimes place them on Ebay to clear their inventory. If you check the site often, you can find truly awesome deals on great barstools.

Finally, take some time to find several websites selling barstools. If you're not in a hurry to buy some cheap stools, what you'll discover is that most of the bigger sites have seasonal and clearance sales from time to time. Waiting for one of those may save you a bundle!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Designer Bar Stools

If you want to increase the level of quality in your bar stools then a designer bar stool is definitely an option for you. With a designer bar stool you get exactly the style you want and the materials that are used are top of the range. They stand out from other bar stools in their unique designs and superior quality.

For most designer bar stools the favourite look is the classic wooden bar stool the soft padded seats. The difference in quality of any designer bar stool in comparison to a standard bar stool is quite apparent as the quality of the material used are far better.

One of the best points to having a designer bar stool is the consideration given to detail; it is this attention to detail that makes a designer bar stool so appealing. For designer bar stools you definitely get what you pay for as the joints on the bar stool are double doweled this is to aid in keeping the bar stool sturdy, the legs on the designer stools have special high quality anti floor marking rubber stoppers to keep your floor mark free. Higher quality wood is used, which is more thoroughly stained or treated.

A designer bar stool certainately does not come cheap, having a bar stool made from the very best quality materials and unique designs can cost $1000 or more. If you make the time to check out various bar stool sites that do good deals on designer stools. Many bar stool sellers are always on the look out for new customers so you could probably find a good deal. This has created a lull where sellers are in fierce competition with each other so look hard and find a good deal.

Even if you have enough money for any bar stool out there, a designer stool may not be a good idea under certain conditions. Repairing these bar stools if damaged or replacing broken ones can be a hassle and quite expensive. So if you have kids or anticipate a lot of use, you may be better served with a less expensive set of stools. This is even truer in a busy bar or restaurant, where not only do you get a lot more use, but that use tends to be harsher. After all, people are always harder on things they don't own.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Delivery? Make Your Own

Pizza is one of the most popular foods on the planet. It definitely has had a rich history and journey from Europe to the United States. Not only is pizza delicious, fast, and great at the end of a long work day when you don’t want to cook, it is so popular that it is not uncommon for the nearest and dearest pizza joint to be Number 1 on the speed dial. You are dead on your feet, but before you pick up the phone tonight to dial that oh so familiar number, think for just one second. What if you made your own pizza tonight? Would it really be that hard? The answer is no. This is one of the great things about making your own pizza. It is easy. It is also healthier than the pizza joint, cheaper than the pizza joint, and more fun than waiting for the pizza joint to deliver the pizza.

One reason you should make your own pizza is because making pizza is easy. With the basic tools that you could probably find in your kitchen right now, you can make your own pizza dough. Basic pizza dough is made of flour, yeast, water, and salt. Some use olive oil or vegetable oil, depending on the recipe. Different ways to enhance this basic dough can make a pizza truly unique, such as folding herbs or cheese right into the dough.

Another reason you should try making your own pizza is it is far healthier than the neighborhood pizza joint you get your pizza from. By making your own pizza, you are in total and complete control over your own ingredients. That means you know exactly what is and is not going into your pizza. Use your favorite fresh ingredients for toppings. Vegetables are a healthy part of a pizza. Poultry, beef and seafood can also be used to make a uniquely topped pizza. You are only limited by your imagination and tastes.

The amount of money you save is another reason to make that pizza on your own. Pizza places charge upwards of $25 to $35 just for one pizza and some soda. This is absolute ridiculous when you can make your own healthier pizza with completely fresh ingredients for a fraction of the cost. You can especially save a chunk of change by buying produce and other ingredients that are on sale at your local grocery store. The savings are substantial.

One final reason to make your own pizza instead of ordering delivery is that it is fun to make pizza. Get your children and spouse involved in the process. Everyone has a job when you are making pizza. Even younger children can help by spreading the sauce or cheese onto the pizza. This is a great way to get the family together, which is hard to do this day and age.

If you are still not convinced to make your own instead of buying, try pizza with store made dough. Many bakeries now make and sell pizza dough by the ball. It is fresh and inexpensive. Start out trying one of these. It’s not as messy as making your own. Another short cut is to buy frozen or prepackaged dough. If you still insist on picking up the phone, that’s ok. Just keep in mind the benefits of making your own instead of ordering.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Delicious Coffee Ideas

Ok so how many of you love a cup of coffee? I know I do! Below you can see 6 of the best recipes to enjoy your coffee a different way. We hope you enjoy it.

Irish Coffee
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 jigger of Bushmills Irish Whiskey
2/3 cup of coffee or flavoured Irish Creme coffee

1/4 cup of heavy cream, lightly whipped
Preheat the glass with hot water. Dump the water out and add the hot coffee with the teaspoon of sugar and stir. Add the jigger of whiskey, and top with the whipping cream. Dark coffee's are best for this recipe.

Spiced French Coffee
1 teaspoon fresh, grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 whole cloves
Regular amount of your usual coffee or try Swiss Chocolate Orange flavored coffee

Add the above ingredients together and brew as normal. Place a slice of orange at the bottom or your cup. Pour in coffee and add sugar and cream to taste. Top with whipping cream and sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon if so desired.
Mint Chocolate Coffee

1 ounce of chocolate mint liqueur
Dash of shaved chocolate
Whipping cream (optional)
Regular coffee or try Dutch Chocolate Decaf

flavoured coffee
Brew your regular coffee, add the 1 ounce of liqueur into your cup. Add some whipping cream if desired and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.
Coffee Flavoured Milkshakes

1 pint of coffee ice cream
2 teaspoons finely ground coffee
1/2 cup light rum (optional)
4 to 6 scoops vanilla ice cream
Instant coffee powder

Spoon coffee ice cream into blender. Add rum and finely ground coffee. Blend on high until creamy smooth. Pour into tall glasses, adding a scoop of the vanilla ice cream to each glass. Sprinkle lightly with instant coffee powder.
Frosty Mocha Coffees

1 cup of freshly brewed coffee
1 pint of vanilla ice cream, softenend
6 tablespoons of chocolate syrup
1 cup prepared cold coffee

Blend hot coffee and chocolate syrup in blender. Blend until smooth. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the softened ice cream and cold coffee. With a rotary beater, beat until smooth. Spoon into tall glasses and serve immediately.
Egg Nogg Coffee

1 cup of coffee or try Pumpkin Spice flavoured coffee

1 egg yoke
1/2 cup of cream
Dash of nutmeg
Beat the suger and egg yoke together. Place cream in a saucepan and heat over low setting, do not burn. Wisk the egg mixture into the warmed cream, heat until hot. Add coffee to mugs and top with the cream mixture. Garnish the coffee with nutmeg.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Deauville La Magnifiqu

Les grands hôtels de Las Vegas, Macao et Monte Carlo font tout pour obtenir le privilège de les faire jouer. Ils sont la source assuré de gros profits car statistiquement, ils vont perdre. Les hôtels n'hésitent pas à mettre à leur disposition un avion privé pour les faire venir ainsi que leurs meilleures suites. Quant on est en mesure de perdre des centaines de milliers de dollars, tout le reste peut ètre offert. On peut dire en français "un flambeur".

Mais pour nous, simple debutant ou joueur non encore confirmes, je vous propose de decouvrir le casino a la francaise: DEAUVILLE.

Le Casino de Deauville est l’un des premiers casinos du groupe qui comprend entre autre les casinos Barrière de : Besançon, Ribeauvillé, le Palais Casino du Touquet, Carnac, Dinard, Enghien-les-Bains, l’unique de la région parisienne, Chamonix, Cannes, Sainte-Maxime, Biarritz et bien d’autres répartis entre la France, la Suisse, la Belgique et Malte.

Depuis 1990, le capital de l’empire est répartit entre Barrière-Desseigne, le Groupe Accor (34%) et Colony Capital (15%).
Le chiffre d’affaire du casino de Deauville s’élève à lui seul à :215,3 millions d’euros en 2004.
Découvrez à la fois le luxe et la sobriété du Casino Deauville!Son immense palais blanc vous ouvre ses portes sous ses prestigieux tapis moelleux et une architecture incomparable, pour mieux vous faire vibrer au son des
cliquetis rythmé des jackpots, les tables rutilantes, ses bars et ses restaurants toujours avenants…

Dans cette ambiance festive et chaleureuse, venez retrouvez au Casino Barrière de Deauville tous vos jeux favoris.
Casino Deauville c’est 325 machines à sous réparties en 3 salons, 6 tables de Boule, sans oublier ses Machines à Rouleaux et Vidéo Poker de 0,10 à 20 euros

Entrez dans la salle de la Boule. Vous y retrouverez 6 tables avec mise minimale de 2 euros.

Le Casino Barrière de Deauville porte l'héritage de la splendeur du passé. Dans ce décor somptueux, vous pouvez varier les plaisirs à chaque instant.

Vous y retrouverez les jeux à mise minimale d’un euro :
2 tables de Roulette Française (mise minimale de 5 euros),
1 table de flash roulette Française (mise minimale de 10 euros),

4 tables de Roulette Anglaise,
10 tables Black Jack,
4 tables de Stud Poker,
1 table de Punto Banco,
1 table de Craps.

Mais Casino Deauville, c’est aussi ses spectacles tels le festival swing et ses loisirs tels le Golf.

Celui-ci, situé sur le Mont Canisy, à quelques minutes du centre de Deauville, offre une vue exceptionnelle à la fois sur la mer et toute la campagne environnante, dans une tranquillité absolue. Vous y retrouverez les parcours à 9 ou 18 trous. Des compétitions y sont aussi organisées.
Alors pourquoi attendre plus longtemps ! Rejoignez vite le Groupe Casino Lucien Barrière à Deauville ! Le seul Casino à vous offrir en plein cœur de la Normandie le plaisir des jeux mélés au plaisir du sport !

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Custom Gift Baskets For The Perfect Gift – Literally

Custom gift baskets are always a hit for any occasion. There are so many custom gift basket ideas that are simple and effective you will never run out of creative ways to share in any celebration. You will be surprised how easy it is to create perfect custom gift baskets for every person on your gift list and for any special occasion.

Specialty stores also offer an amazing selection of custom gift baskets. Handmade soap companies do well to group certain bath related items together and create decorative and inexpensive gift baskets. A town that revolves around a certain industry such as citrus will have shops that create custom gift baskets filled to over flowing with fresh fruit or fruit related items. These specialty baskets can be filled with several varieties of citrus related food and food products such as jelly or orange squeezers.

Perhaps your hometown has an amazing place of business that is unique. Let’s say there is a kitchen where the most remarkable peanut brittle is made and sold. Custom gift baskets should be a serious part of the retail aspect in keeping small businesses such as this going. Offering a small portion of each flavorful type of peanut brittle and magnetic calendar for the refrigerator is a brilliant way to gain new business.

Then, too, you would do well to create your own version of custom gift baskets for the friends and family on our holiday or birthday gift list. Your nephew is really big into Star Wars? A variety of Star Wars games, playing cards, candy and memorabilia placed in a basket and presented for his birthday is guaranteed to create a smile.

Co-workers, employees, and employers alike will feel very special when presented with a custom gift baskets that show your appreciation for their dedication and hard work. And the perk will be you won’t have to spend great sums of money and you won’t have to work hard in order to achieve special custom gift baskets. Just a little bit of thought and planning goes a really long way.

There are many unique versions of custom gift baskets that you may have not ever thought about. Thinking out of the box definitely gets you a long way in the world of surprising gifts. This also betters the chances that your gift will be bring a genuine smile of appreciation. Nothing lasts longer than the memory of a great gift that was well thought out.

Baby showers and wedding showers are not exempt from the custom gift baskets arena. Indeed, there is truly no better way to buy baby or bridal gifts than to present them than in a basket. The basket itself can be used in so many ways that your gift becomes a gift that has longtime benefit.

Copyright 2005 by D. L. Randolph. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Curry - A Journey

Due to a childhood in the Middle East, I was practically brought up on curry. My first memories of it are eating curried goat in the fire station of Dubai airport in about 1962. My dad was the airport manager and the Chief Fire Officer and his family were our good friends and neighbours. The firemen cooked for our two families - fiery hot curry for the adults and a much milder version for us kids. Some of the men were of Arabic origins and some of Indian so I think the resulting meal was something of a mixture.

I remember we were offered chairs and cutlery but we preferred to sit on the floor and in the traditional manner, ate only with our right hands. This posed something of a problem for my mother as she was left-handed - she avoided making inexcusable gaffes by sitting on her left hand until the meal was over.

We learnt to roll rice into balls and with the aid of chapattis (wheat flour flatbreads), scooped up the curry and popped it into our mouths without making too much mess. I don’t think I ate curry again in that way until many years later when I visited Goa and, at a spice plantation, was once again faced with banana leaf plates and fingers only. Bizarrely, in a nearby clearing, was a pink porcelain, pedestal hand basin with a hose pipe attached to the tap, fully supplied with soap and hand towels.

During those days of being expatriates in foreign lands, the British developed a liking for curry lunch on a Sunday. Doubtless this originated in India in the days of the Raj but still found its way to the Middle East and Africa. A group of friends would gather either at one of their houses or the local club. There would be beers or gins and tonics first (cola or fizzy orange for the kids). There wouldn’t be a choice of curries, as I recall, it was always chicken and no matter where we ate it and it always tasted the same. The accompaniments didn’t vary much either but we didn’t mind. There would be poppadoms, mango chutney and a variety of sambals - chopped fruits and salad stuff which might include any or all of banana, pineapple, apple, tomato, cucumber, onion, desiccated coconut, peanuts and raisins or sultanas. With luck there would be chapattis too.

My next curry experiences were back in England. How different it all was. Indian restaurants furnished in red velvet with flocked wallpaper in gold. All sorts of different curries - not only the main ingredient but the mix of spices and flavourings. There were choices of plain or spicy poppadoms, different breads and vegetable curries and dahls as well, no sambals though! On the down side, these curries were often rather greasy and we always thought of them as being terribly fattening - naughty but oh so nice! The saviour, if conscience got the better of us was Tandoori-cooked meats. These were marinated in yoghurt and spice paste and cooked in a Tandoor (an earthenware charcoal oven), so were in effect grilled and much healthier.

Change again then when I finally visited India in 1988 and discovered that meat curries were the exception rather than the rule. Many Indians are vegetarians so paneer (similar to cottage cheese) is popular as are the many dishes made with pulses and vegetables. There was no trace of the greasiness found in restaurants in the UK and the flavours were quite different too.

This voyage of discovery culminated in a determination to learn how to reproduce Indian food in my own home but more of that in another article.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Culinary Traditions Of The Caribbean Islands

Authentic Caribbean cuisine is truly an excellent representation of all the cultural influences the Caribbean Islands have experienced since Christopher Columbus' landing in the late 1400's. With a fine mixture of French Island and African recipes, Caribbean cuisine is widely prepared and enjoyed by people of all nationalities, in many areas of the United States and the world.

Caribbean food and culture was forever changed when the European traders brought African slaves into the region. The slaves ate mostly the scrap leftovers of the slave owners, so not unlike the slaves in the United States they had to make do with what they had. This was the birth of the more contemporary Caribbean Cuisine. The African slaves blended the knowledge of spices and vegetables they had brought from their homeland and incorporated them with the precious fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean Islands, as well as other staples to be found in the area. This created many one-of-a-kind dishes, because many of the produce on the islands at the time was too fragile to make it through the exportation process. Fruits most often found in Caribbean cuisine include yams, yucca, mangos and papaya fruits. Among the produce that is too fragile to be exported is the tamarind fruit and plantains (a fruit grown on a tree that is similar to the banana).

Caribbean food, while spicy, is one of the healthier options among culinary traditions from different regions. As discussed, the lush Caribbean islands are chock full of vegetables and fruits for healthy living. In addition to that, America introduced beans, corn, chile peppers, potatoes and tomatoes to the islands, broadening their palate.

When slavery was abolished on the islands, slave owners had to look else where for help. Bringing in labor from India and China, different types of dishes using rice or curry were introduced and blended into mainstream Caribbean cuisine. This is how the Caribbean favorite curry goat was born.

The Caribbean islands are in a prime location for one of their specialties--seafood. Salted codfish is a specialty on the Caribbean islands. It is usually served in a salad or stew, or at breakfast in scrambled eggs. Lobster, sea turtle, shrimp, crab, and sea urchins are also specialties on the islands. They are used to make such exotic, spicy Caribbean dishes as Antillean crab pilaf and curried coconut shrimp.

Desserts are an integral part of the Caribbean culinary experience. Sugar cane is one of the area's chief products, so there are always an abundance of cakes, pies, and dumplings. Caribbean natives incorporate dessert into almost every meal. At Caribbean restaurants you may notice the emphasis they put on their desserts; in their culture, dessert is just as important as the main course.

Caribbean cuisine incorporates flavors from all of the different cultures that have ever graced the shores of the islands, from Africa to China to India. The flavoring in Caribbean cuisine is intense and rich, strikingly similar African and Creole food.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Culinary Traditions Of South America: Argentina

Argentina is South America's second largest country, snugly situated between the Andes mountain range, the Pacific Ocean, and the South American countries of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile. Being situated in such a manner, Argentina is exposed to many different cultural influences from all directions, including countries all the way across the Pacific. Spain took it upon themselves to permanently settle in the country in the late 1500s, and remained there until Buenos Aires formally emancipated themselves in 1853. One of the most remarkable differences between Argentine Cuisine and exotic cuisines from around the world is the heavy influence that the cuisine of the Italian and Spanish cultures had on it.

Startlingly enough, due to the influence of the Italian culture on the country of Argentina, Italian food staples such as lasagna, pizza, pasta, and ravioli are commonly seen on the Argentine table, at least in the country's major cities. Unusually enough (when it comes to Italian food), white bread is also common, as are side dishes made of vegetables native to Argentina, such as potatoes, egglpants, squash, cucumbers, and zucchini.

Argentina is also one of the world's leading producers of milk, wheat, corn, and meat (including, but not limited to beef, goat meat, pork, and lamb) so naturally, these things are very common in the Argentine dish.Argentine dishes are normally very high in protein, so grilled meats are commonly seen on a plate of Argentine food.

Empanadas, pastries stuffed with meat or cheese, are also an Argentine favorite. They are commonly served in Argentine restaurants, and are national favorites.Empanadas are normally eaten baked or fried, and are often served at parties or festivals as appetizers. The dessert version of an empanada usually consists of brown sugar or fruit such as apples or oranges.

In smaller cities, the foreign influences of Spain and Italy are less apparent. Milanesas, thin slivers of meat dipped in eggs, bread crumbs, and then fried in oil, are common fare in the rural areas of Argentina. Their simplicity makes them great snacks, but they can also be served as part of a meal piping hot served with mashed potatoes, or between two slices of bread as a sandwich.

The master chefs are more apt to return to the more classic, provincial style of preparing and cooking food, which bears more of a resemblance to Mexican cuisine than that of Italy. Bolder, more intense spices are used. Calling forth once more the Spanish influences in Argentina, Argentine cooks are famous for their tortillas; unlike the Mexican version of the tortilla the Argentines use potato dough, in contrast to the traditional Mexican corn or flour tortilla.

Desserts are more popular in these areas, as well. Dulce de leche (which roughly translates into "Milk Jam"), a sweet pudding of sugar and milk, is a popular dessert in Argentina. This lightly brown-colored pudding is eaten alone, or stuffed in cakes or pies. Sometimes the treat is also crystallized into a solid wafer-like candy substance.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Culinary Arts

Many believe that food preparation or cooking is an art. Restaurants and catering services anchor their success on the expertise and skills of their kitchen crew. As the saying goes, “ a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Surely restaurants and the food industry keep their customers loyal though delectable and unique recipes using traditional and innovative ingredients.

Culinary arts have become an academic pursuit as well. Large food manufacturers look to culinary artists to create ready-to-eat, name brand food products that feature the same quality as those of homemade and restaurant-prepared food. Several culinary arts schools offer graduate studies for students.

There are the more traditional, classical institutions that cater to students who are employed in luxury hotels, cruise ships, resorts and restaurants or those employed as personal chefs to the rich and famous. Famed chefs open up their own schools to train protégés. There are also culinary arts schools for hobbyists. Good schools provide intensive, hands-on training and real environment simulation to prepare their students well.

Some culinary art’s courses touch on cooking science or the standard ingredients that go into most food products, food decoration and preservation. The courses also segregate trainings into stocks, sauces, soups, meat, fish and poultry cookery, breads and pastries, etc. Several schools also offer courses on exotic and traditional cooking. Students are also trained on food service safety and sanitation, management and finance.

As it is with other specialized professions, culinary arts graduates may often have to start at the bottom when they do find a position. This is especially true in the very discriminating food industry. Chefs become masters after years of experience and after earning the distinction through award-winning recipes and recognitions. They must first become souse chefs before taking the helm at the kitchen. But extremely talented students need not wait too long to establish their own reputation and following.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Croisière Pour Lune de Miel

Les bateaux de croisière sont de plus en plus spacieux, afin de vous offrir le meilleur en matière de détente et relaxation et vous proposent de découvrir de plus en plus de destinations de rêves, de l'Alaska aux Caraïbes en passant par l'Europe.

Les croisières vous offrent un confort digne d'un cinq étoiles, son lot d'aventures, ainsi que l'opportunité de connaître de nouvelles personnes et de vous faire de nouveaux amis.

Mais pour la réussite de votre lune de miel, la croisière doit comprendre à son bord:
1) Du Champagne et des fraises dès votre montée à bord
2) Des canapés et autres attentions dans votre cabine un soir de votre choix
3) Une soirée "Lune de Miel" spécialement destinée à votre attention
4) Mettre à votre disposition des photographes

Pour cela, choisissez bien votre bateau. Celui-ci doit vous offrir les salles et le confort minimal suivant:

1) Des Restaurants devant vous fournir des repas de haute qualité,

2) Des Pubs, vous proposant les meilleures bières irlandaises ainsi que du champagne, doivent être disponible aux quatre coins du bateau et près des salles de SPA et solarium,

3) Au minimum un Centre de conférence,

4) Des activités sportives comme un Centre de Fitness, parours de golf, terrains de basket ball et volley ball, mur d'escalade, piste de jogging, patinoire, jeu de palets et bien d'autres encore;

5) Des activités sportives et éducatives pour les enfants telles le Club enfants pour les enfants de 3 à 17 ans comprenant une discothèque, des jeux vidéo et même un espace où leur est servi un repas;

6) Des Salons de beauté, un Complexe thermal complet incluant Sauna, Spa et Solarium;

7) Pour vos loisirs: Piscines, Jacuzzis, Casino pour pouvoir vous divertir dans une ambiance Las Vegas à l'aide de ses machines à sous, Discothèque, Salle de spectacles, Salle de cartes, Café internet, un théâtre.

8) Mais aussi des services du quotidiens tels: Galerie Marchande (avec bijouterie, magasin de souvenirs, de photos), Bibliothèque, Centre médical, Blanchisserie, et enfin une Chapelle nuptiale.

Les bateaux recommandés pour ce genre de séjour dépendent énormément de vos goûts et du choix de votre destination, à savoir si vous rechercher une évasion romantique au travers des forets tropicales et des plages ensoleillées ou culturelle pour visiter des monuments historiques et découvrir des mentalités étrangères. Pour cela, les listes ne seraient être complètes.

Les deux bateaux de croisières les plus connus sont les suivants:
1) Jewel of the Seas:
Mis en service en mai 2004, le Jewel of the Seas est caractérisés par l'allure innovante des super-yachts. Il possède un design avancé avec ses grandes surfaces vitrées dans les espaces publics et des ascenseurs de verre donnant sur l'océan.

2) Explorer of the Seas:
En route vers les Antilles. Ce paquebot est le plus grand au monde. Vous y trouverez plus d'activités et d'expériences que vous ne pouvez imaginer. Découvrez des aspects novateurs tels que le mur d'escalade vous permettant de vous élever au dessus de l'océan, la patinoire où vous pourrez déguster un chocolat chaud. Le soir, les boutiques, les cafés et autres animations du Royal Promenade s'ouvrent à vous. Cette esplanade, où il fait bon se promener, s'étale sur une longueur équivalente à deux terrains de football et fait 4 ponts de hauteur.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Create a Last Minute Bar

It's great to plan those holiday parties, but once the commitment is made, reality sinks in and the work begins. Not everyone is blessed with a finished basement, ready made for parties, and complete with an oak wet bar and dance floor. Not to worry, with a little work and some creativity you can create your own temporary bar.

Portable bars are great. You can wheel them out whenever you need them and they're already pre-stocked with all the necessities. If you don't own one of these, a make shift bar station can easily be set up and tailored to your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting up your beverage center.

Location, Location, Location

Location is probably your most important decision when setting up you bar station. Guests automatically gravitate to the bar during a party so decide what area of the house you want people to gather. If you have a small kitchen, this may not be the best location. Close proximity to a sink is a perk, but not a necessity. Some people like to set up their bar so that it doubles as a blockade to prevent guests from wandering into certain areas of the house. Try to find an area where you have room to store extra bottles and supplies in behind. A kitchen island or other designated space works well as long as you can handle the traffic jams while you're preparing food. I've also heard of people using bookshelves or outside patios (if the weather cooperates). Wherever you decide, make sure there is space for people to stand around and mingle.

Reuse and Recycle

Setting up a portable bar does not mean going out and buying a new piece of furniture. The chances are you have something lying around the house that will be suitable. Small tables or serving carts work well. I've even seen someone use an old barrel.

Stock Your Bar

Ice storage should be one of your first considerations. A small ice bucket, constantly in need of refilling, will only create unnecessary work. Try to get a larger container, such as a cleaned out planter, an urn or large bowl. I've even seen someone take a large cooler, place it beside the bar and have it over flowing with chilled beverages.

Display your bottles, glasses, openers, and mix so that guests can easily help themselves. Be sure to include juice, pop, a pitcher of water, sliced lime and/or lemons and olives.

Give Your Bar Some Pizzazz

Now is the time to pull out your showy pieces and make your bar stand out. Grab those crystal bowls to hold your condiments and silver trays to show off glassware. If you have a theme for your party, try and reflect it in your bar decor. Have it resemble a beach hut for that Hawaiian theme or display pine boughs for a holiday party. Set up a wine tasting area by pre-opening various bottles and setting them out. If the party is for a big game, set up your keg and stick up a few sports pictures or other memorabilia.

Once the set up is complete, pour yourself a drink to celebrate and wait for the guests to start pouring in

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Create A Beautiful Thanksgiving Centerpiece With Flowers

Every Thanksgiving table should include a centerpiece to add to the festive feel of your dinner. It's quick and easy to make a Thanksgiving centerpiece from fall flowers, pumpkins, gourds, and greenery. You can create a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece in very little time and for very little money.


Here is a simple centerpiece that you can arrange on a tray or platter in just a few minutes: You will need a small potted ivy or mum, a few small gourds or pumpkins, several miniature pumpkins, a few apples, and some fresh or dried greenery such as moss, leaves, or parsley, and of course the platter or tray in which you will place your arrangement.

Place the mum or ivy on one side of the platter and place a gourd and two small pumpkins next to the plant. Make sure you water the plant, but sparingly so as not to overrun or

spill the water onto the other items on the platter. Arrange the miniature pumpkins around the platter and place the apples randomly to give a splash of color. Use small apples of both red and green colors. Place the leaves and/or greenery between the apples, gourds, and pumpkins. This makes a wonderful centerpiece that will make your Thanksgiving table a thing of beauty.


To make a Thanksgiving centerpiece that includes all the symbols of fall, you will need the following:

- a small glass tumbler

- one very small pumpkin that has had the top cut off and the insides scooped out

- six or more small gourds

- a few dried leaves (preferably in various colors)

- a dozen or more fall flowers such as mums

- a cup of fresh or dried cranberries

- shallow glass bowl

After you have gathered your supplies, place the tumbler inside the pumpkin and fill it halfway with water.

Arrange the flowers in the tumbler and place the pumpkin in the glass bowl. Place the bowl containing the pumpkin and the flowers on a cutting board or large glass plate on the table. Arrange the leaves, gourds, and cranberries in a random fashion around the pumpkin. Add a few small candles if you wish. You will have a beautiful centerpiece in just a few minutes of your time.


Create another easy centerpiece with only a clear glass vase (any size you desire), two pounds of fresh or dried cranberries, and a large bunch of pink or white carnations. Cut the carnation stems so that the flowers will be just above the top of the vase and remove any leaves. Place the carnations inside the vase and pull the flowers away from the edge. Drop the cranberries into the vase and then fill with water. This is a very easy and inexpensive centerpiece that will look beautiful on your table.

It is quite easy to make a memorable centerpiece with very little time and money. Use your imagination and add lots of colors and textures to create a centerpiece that will create the perfect Thanksgiving atmosphere.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crab Comforts

Crabs are among the most succulent and delicious seafood eaten today. Whole crabs, crab legs, crab cakes, alaskan crabs, stone crabs, and even other tiny crabs are served across the nation. Some like it with sauce, others are contented to steam it and pick the meat out. More adventurous people would include crabs in soups, salads, and even sandwiches. Crab cakes and crab fritters are also popular choices. Crabs are even included in pasta sauces and omelettes.

But before making crab dishes it is necessary to get really good crabs and crab meat. It doesn't matter if you're going to prepare whole crabs, crab legs, crab cakes, alaskan crabs, stone crabs, or some tiny crab, they key here is freshness. It is better and advised that you get live crabs. Pick crabs that are lively or aggressive. Sick or dead crabs would only ruin your dish and could even be a cause of sickness. Also, crabs are sold by bushels. Insists to inspect or choose your own crabs before putting them in bushels. To ensure freshness, befriend your fish person and ask them to keep you informed when the next batch of crabs would be in. Fresh crabs taste juicier and more succulent than stale crabs.

Now that you have your crabs, it is important to remember some guidelines in preparing them. You would not want to waste quality crabs by careless cooking, would you? It doesn't matter if you want to cook crabs, crab legs, crab cakes, alaskan crabs, stone crabs, or some tiny crab dish, cook your crabs as soon as you got them. I assure you they'll taste better than if cooked on a later time. For steaming, get a wide rack and steaming pot so you can steam the all crabs at once. This way, crabs are steamed evenly and you can prevent earlier steamed crabs from cooling. Make sure that your rack has enough height for your crabs to stay well above the steaming liquid, too short racks will give you boiled crabs instead of steamed. Another trick is to add beer to your boiling liquid, it will give your crabs outstanding flavor. Crab cakes are trickier. It is important to control your seasonings so as not to overpower the subtle flavor of the crab. Avoid over-frying or your crab cake will dry out. The color of stone crab claws and most crabs will change to a bright shade of orange when cooked. Do not overcook your crabs, as soon as they signal you with their color change, remove them from direct heat. When your crabs are cooked, keep your sauces or condiments to a minimum, after all, it is the crabs that should be the star of your meal. Call your friends and family to share your crab feast. But on the other hand, they'll taste so good you might want to enjoy them by yourself.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Corporate Catering in Toronto

Corporate events range from small lunch meetings to full-blown annual sales or shareholder meetings. Even small businesses can schedule events around product launches, store openings or anniversaries.

Regardless of the purpose or size of your event, you need to pay careful attention to every detail so that you get the highest return from the event. Corporate catering is a popular way of making an event special. A small lunch turns into a memorable meeting with the right catering.

Being a cosmopolitan city, Toronto features a variety of corporate catering options. Toronto corporate catering services feature menus from around the world available in a variety of price ranges.

Your challenge is to find the right Toronto corporate catering company for your needs. You need to consider the nature of the event, your budget and which services you need. Your decision is important because it involves more than food. The catering company you choose for your corporate event becomes an extension of your company in the eyes of your attendees. Inadequate food or service will reflect badly on your company. On the other hand, exceptional catering can make your corporate event more successful than you imagined.

How can you decide which is the right Toronto corporate event catering company for you? The first thing you need to consider is the level of service provided. Your job is to make sure you event runs well; you don’t need to worry about food preparation or serving. The corporate catering company should take care of the little details so you can concentrate on the larger issues.

Of course, food quality is very important. Make sure all menus offered by the corporate catering service are made from the highest quality ingredients and are prepared to the highest standards. Toronto is a multicultural city, so it’s important that the catering service offers a variety of menus to suit cultural and lifestyle tastes.

The corporate catering specialists at Ida’s Kitchen have catered to Toronto and GTA corporate events of every size and variety. They have the services you need and are famous for an international menu of delicious and healthy foods.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cooking up Stress and Anxiety

Gone are the days when people think of cooking as a task that should be done “only by women.” In the past, women were traditionally relied upon to cook the meals for the family, do the dishes and clean the house, and be in-charge of just about every domestic task there is. But times have changed and women now play very different roles in society unlike what women of the previous decades were accustomed to. This change in gender roles has affected both women and men --- especially in terms of taking the lead kitchen. Today, both men and women now appreciate the art of cooking. People with exceptional culinary skills are highly compensated. For that reason, it is no wonder that the stress that used to part and parcel of cooking is now experienced by both men and women. Food, after all, is about pleasing the senses of people who partake of one's kitchen creations.

Cooking and stress are not often associated with each other. The word “cooking” easily connotes gustatory pleasures and not stress which is often linked to one's work at the office or to problems at home.
But it should not be a surprise to know that stress and anxiety now affect the men and women who do the cooking as much as the salesman who tries to meet his daily quotas or the manager who faces enormous organizational challenges.

In restaurants, for example, there are now more male cooks or chefs. These kitchen experts follow a so-called “chef's ladder” that defines the rankings and specific tasks of each person in the kitchen. There is the head chef or “Chef de Cuisine” who visualizes the dishes in accordance with the restaurant concept of dining. Next would be the Executive Chef, who actually runs the whole kitchen, manage the costs, hire and fire staff, revamp the menu, do certain administrative tasks. Under them would be the Sous Chef who make the daily specials, takes inventory, watches over the staff, and does the hands-on work in the kitchen. Also called the “Expediter”, the Sous Chef makes sure that the food gets to the table in a timely manner, a task that requires coordination and time management. With the same level as the sous chef, the pastry chef is in-charge of the pastry section of the restaurant. Mostly women reserved for women, this job requires preparation of chocolates, souffles, and sweet pastries.

Under these chefs would be the line cooks who are the ones who actually cook the food. The line cooks are divided according to certain cooking specialty. Another key member of the kitchen is the Chef de Garde Manger who manages the cold food section that includes the salads and desserts.

If you have watched an episode of the t.v. cooking show, Iron chef, you would probably know how stressful it is to work as a chef or a line cook. In that show, the cameras usually show the stress and anxiety in the chef's faces as they try to prepare a certain number of meals under time pressure. Anxiety is also seen on the chef's faces when the judges are tasting their dishes.

In another popular reality-based television show called Hell's Kitchen, several people enter as contestants in a game that is supposed to select the next “big chef” in town. Being a reality show, Hell's Kitchen often shows the stress and anxiety on the faces of the contestants while the host shouts and gets mad at them for not doing certain things right in the kitchen. Anxiety grips each contestant as they try to battle out to win the throne of being the next best chef.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cooking And Food Magazine Subscriptions

If you are a health conscious person, or a person who enjoys cooking or even entertaining at home, you might want to take a look at the cooking and food magazine subscriptions that are available in this day and age. There are an ever growing number of different cooking and food magazines not being offered in this day and age.

By way of example, when it comes to cooking and food magazine subscriptions, there are a number of gourmet magazines that might be just what you are looking for. Of course, gourmet magazines have been around for many, many years. However, with many more people taking up nesting -- which is spending more time staying and entertaining at home -- an ever increasing number of men and women have taken to subscribing to cooking and food magazines, to purchasing cooking and food magazine subscriptions.

In recent years, a significant segment of the population has become concerned about what they eat. These people have become interested in eating right, in eating healthy. They appreciate the connection between the food that is eaten and the overall state of a person’s health. For these people, there are a wide array of different types of healthy eating publications.

If you are interested in one or another of the healthy eating publications, if you are considering a healthy eating cooking and food magazine subscriptions, you will want to spend some time trying to decide what magazine best meets your needs. As mentioned, there are many different magazines in this genre to choose from at this point in time.

For example, there are now cooking and food magazines dedicated and devoted to those people who are interested in using organic food products. These magazines allow a person to learn how to prepare food consistent with an overall organic food practice.

There are some people who are interested in maintaining certain types of diet plans. For example, there are people that are committed to pursuing a low fat diet. As a result, there are cooking and food magazines that focus specifically on dealing with issues relating to a low fat diet and low fat meal planning in the 21st century.

When all is said and done, when it comes to cooking and food magazines, there are specific magazines tailored specifically to a person’s needs and desires when it comes to eating, dining and cooking.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Convenience Food Tips

While it would be ideal to make all of our own snacks and meals from scratch everyday, the plain and simple truth is that most of us simply donÕt have that kind of time. This is where we turn to convenience foods to meet our dietary and weight loss needs. However, the right convenience foods in the right amounts can easily be integrated into almost any diet.

Shop Smart - Never shop on an empty stomach. This will only make it harder for you to make choices that are in your best interests. Always be prepared with a thorough shopping list and do not divert from it. If an aisle is full of tempting goodies but has nothing on your list, simply walk right by it, instead of down it. If you see something healthy that you would like, but itÕs not on your list, jot it down and add it to the list next time. This will provide you with something to look forward to.

Reach for the smaller bags and boxes of what you need when possible. The less food you have leftover in your kitchen translates into less temptation.

Read Labels - All convenience foods are not the same. Depending on your chosen diet, some will fit much better into your routine than others. This is why itÕs important to become an informed consumer and never place anything in your grocery basket unless youÕve read the label and determined itÕs in your best interests to buy it.

Many snack foods come in different versionsÑlow fat, reduced fat, low calorie, low carbohydrate, low salt, etc. Choose the variety that best fits your dieting needs.

Remember that different labels can mean entirely different things. The following list may help you discern between them:

No calorie: Less than 5 calories per serving
Low calorie: Less than 40 calories per serving (or less than 120 calories per meal)
Reduced calorie: 25% less calories than the same amount of a similar food

No fat: Less than 0.5g fat per serving
Low fat: Less than 3g fat per serving (less than 30% of calories from fat per meal)
Low saturated fat: Less than 1g fat per serving
Reduced fat: 25% less fat than the same amount of a similar food

No cholesterol: Less than 2mg cholesterol per serving
Low cholesterol: Less than 20mg cholesterol per serving
Reduced cholesterol: 25% less cholesterol than the same amount of a similar food

No salt: Less than 5mg sodium per serving
Low salt: Less than 140mg sodium per serving
Reduced salt: 25% less sodium than the same amount of a similar food

No sugar: Less than 0.5g sugar per serving
Low sugar: No requirementsÑmake sure to read the label
Reduced sugar: 25% less sugar than the same amount of a similar food

As you can see, eating six servings of a no-fat food can actually total as much as 3g of fat. For someone who is severely restricting their fat intake, this can greatly hinder their progress. ItÕs best to be informed and make wise shopping decisions. Take charge and be responsible.

Trim the Fat - Just because a macaroni and cheese frozen dinner is oozing extra cheese doesnÕt mean you have to eat it. A common sense approach to preparing and consuming convenience foods can go a long way to making them healthier.

When you take a frozen meal out halfway to stir it, remove or blot away any excess oils and fats. Transfer to a real plate when finished, so you can discard the excess sauces.

If rice or pasta calls for a heaping tablespoon of butter, opt instead for a conservative teaspoon of soy margarine or olive oil. Ultimately your rice will taste the same and you wonÕt have all those extra calories to contend with.

Milk and cookies is a long-time favorite, but try for milk and crackers next time. Experiment with jellies and spreads instead of the usual mayonnaise and butter for toppings.

Portion Control - ItÕs easy to lose track of how much youÕve eaten when you drink or eat straight from the container. Stay on track by carefully measuring out serving sizes before you begin eating.

When you do buy items like chips or pretzels, locate the appropriate serving size on the nutrition label. As soon as you arrive home, divide the larger bag into individual servings in small plastic baggies.

In this same spirit, when snacking on any food, separate a single servingÕs worth and put it aside in a plate or bowl. Then immediately put the food away, before you begin eating, to avoid temptation.

Try not to make the original packages easily accessible. Purchasing a bag re-sealer is more effective than using chip clips, because you are less likely to cut open a bag than to simply unclip it. Heavy-duty tape and hard-to-open containers can also do the trick.

Fast Food - Ideally, fast food should be avoided. However, the ever-expanding menus at many of the top fast-food chains are now offering many options that can fit into a variety of diet plans.

Look for grilled meals instead of fried. Opt for alternate sides instead of French fries if possible. Many chains offer salad and yogurt options as well.

Ask for substitutions if a menu item is not quite ideal. For example, you can request a hamburger without a bun, or you can request a bun without a hamburger. If you cannot get the substitution, make modifications yourself before eating, i.e. throw the hamburger bun in a nearby garbage bin or discard half your French fries.

Make Your Own - ThereÕs no rule that says only store-bought, pre-packaged foods are convenient. Take time on the weekend or on days off to do some conscientious grocery shopping and cook one or two large meals of something healthy that you enjoy. Separate into serving sizes and refrigerate (or freeze) as necessary.

Buy fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses to snack on, and prepare them ahead of time by slicing into bite-sized pieces. Separate into serving sizes and store to use as snacks during the week; since they now require no preparation, youÕll be more likely to reach for the carrot sticks and less likely to reach for more processed convenience foods. Your own frozen vegetables make a delicious side dish in a snap.

Voila! Now you have your own frozen dinners (or lunches, or snacks) with much healthier contents.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Convection vs. Conventional Ovens... What's The Difference?

If you are in the market for a new oven and you’ve already begun shopping for one, you’ve probably noticed that there are a few different types. Two of the most popular oven types are conventional and convection, and many newer ovens have the option of cooking food in either fashion depending on the set mode. The difference in these two types of ovens is the way in which the heat in the oven is dispersed during the cooking process.

Convection ovens

A convection oven uses a fan which is usually located on the back side of the oven. The purpose of the fan is to force the heated air inside of the oven and circulate it around the item being cooked. The heated air is constantly pushed over and around the food, and therefore a convection oven cooks food much faster than a conventional oven.

Not only does a convection oven cook food more quickly than a conventional oven, but it can also thoroughly cook food at lower temperatures. The average amount of time saved when cooking with a convection oven is about 20 percent of the food’s normal cooking time. The temperature a convection oven uses to cook food is also about 20 percent lower than a recipe’s suggested cooking temperature.

Typically, convection ovens are known for their popularity in the restaurant industry as well as in commercial cooking facilities. However, it is becoming more popular for individuals to own convection ovens in their homes… or at least a conventional oven that can switch to a convection mode upon request.

Convection ovens are speedier and more efficient than conventional ovens, and therefore may be more expensive. However, professional chefs from around the world swear by them and rely on them for delicious tasting food. Also, since the air circulation in a convention oven is the same throughout, food will cook at the same rate no matter where it is placed in the oven… on the top or bottom rack or near the front or back.

Conventional Ovens

Traditionally, most personal residences in the United States come equipped with a modern conventional ovens. These are the most common types of household ovens, and are used every day by men and women to cook all sorts of meals, desserts, breads, and many other types of food.

Conventional ovens are similar to convection ovens in that they both cook food using heat. They both have the ability to use either gas or electricity, depending on the hook-up in a home. Some may have the versatility to use either gas or electricity simply depending on what is plugged in to them, and some are made to be either gas specific or electricity specific.

The most obvious difference between a conventional oven and a convection oven is the fact that in a conventional oven, air is not forced throughout the oven on a constant basis with the aid of a fan, as it is in a convection oven.

In a conventional oven, the heat circulation in the oven can become blocked by pots and pans inside of the oven. The blocking of the heat can cause uneven cooking. Uneven cooking is especially noticeable when both the bottom and top racks in the oven are being used at the same time. The items on top will cook faster because heat rises to the tops of conventional ovens and when there is a lot in the oven, the heat gets trapped there.

There are pros and cons to both conventional and convection ovens. Conventional ovens have been serving people for years and years and food has been cooked successfully in them for many decades. Convection ovens have many followers and fans, but these types of ovens can be hard to get used to… especially for novice cooks.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Consumers Gobble Up Organic Turkeys

In response to growing concerns for public safety regarding antibiotics in poultry, Americans are consuming organic turkeys in record numbers.

Organic birds are raised without antibiotics. They are fed 100 percent certified organic feed and packaged without artificial flavors or colors.

"Organic poultry sales, which would include turkey, are forecasted as the fastest-growing category of organic product sales, with an anticipated average annual growth of 33.2 percent through 2008," said Katherine DiMatteo of the Organic Trade Association.

Antibiotics are commonly used in conventional agriculture to accelerate livestock growth and prevent some diseases. Yet public health authorities directly link antibiotic use in conventionally raised livestock to more people contracting infections that resist treatment with the same antibiotic drugs.

As a result, the American Medical Association in June 2001 adopted a resolution opposing the use of antimicrobials at non-therapeutic levels in agriculture, or as pesticides or growth promoters, and urged that such uses be ended or phased out based on scientific risk assessments.

Several large poultry companies announced they will phase out one particular poultry antibiotic that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suspects could be responsible for generating antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

But despite the promise, farmers are not required to report antibiotic use, and consumers have no way of knowing if their poultry purchases are supporting it.

Consumers can be sure of avoiding the use of antibiotics in food production by buying organically produced meat. Antibiotics, growth hormones and artificial flavors and colors are forbidden in certified organic foods, which must comply with strict national standards.

For health-conscious consumers, low-fat and high-protein organic turkey is a popular choice year-round. Nationwide, more than 15 percent of all turkeys consumed are during the Thanksgiving holiday and another 8 percent over Christmas.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Consumer's Choice Pork Awards Winners Announced

Today, time-crunched families know the importance of convenience in meal preparation is no longer just a matter of preference, it's a means of survival. But Americans aren't willing to abandon the comfort of their favorite slow-cooked flavors in the interest of time.

The winners of the recently announced Consumer's Choice Pork Awards provide striking examples of the marriage of convenience with traditional, satisfying "comfort" food flavors.

The National Pork Board, the producer-funded organization behind the "Pork. The Other White Meat." campaign, recently announced the winners of the second annual Consumer's Choice Pork Awards. Created to recognize the most innovative new products available to American shoppers, the entries were scored by consumers for taste, product appeal, fit to lifestyle trends and likelihood of purchase.

A panel of industry experts narrowed the pool to 10 products, and a jury of American consumers judged the finalists. The winners include:

* Pork Roast Au Jus (Hormel Foods Corp.), a moist and tender meal that "seems like homemade" but can be prepared quickly.

* Heat & Serve Brats (Johnsonville Sausage, LLC), among the favorites because of its "fresh, nicely grilled taste."

* Quick'n'Easy Gourmet Entrees Pork Roast in Bourbon Sauce (RMH Foods, LLC), chosen for its unique and flavorful bourbon sauce, and praised for being tasty, tender and convenient.

* Jimmy Dean Fresh Taste. Fast! Black Pepper Premium Precooked Bacon Slices (Sara Lee Foods U.S.), a "twist" on traditional bacon, favored for its flavor and easy, no-mess preparation.

* Maple and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham (Tyson Foods, Inc.), the sweet, pre-sliced servings offer quick-and-easy preparation and a taste close to homemade.

For busy cooks, convenience is important in food purchase decisions. No matter how Americans define it, this year's winners are a step toward more convenient - and delicious - meals. Each winner is already flavored and ready to serve, requiring little effort on the part of the cook.

Taste is what really sets the winning products apart from all others. And, according to Brooke Benschoter, director of consumer communications at the National Pork Board, "The variety of cuts, easy preparation methods and versatile flavor of pork make it a favorite with home cooks. The combination of taste and convenience in the winning products offers busy cooks the best of both worlds."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Consejos Sabios para Llenar el Alma

Aquí te presento una lista de consejos para que no te sientas vació, y observar al pasado con una sonrisa. Las he obtenido de una persona que estaba al final de su vida y sintió que hubiera hecho muchas cosas diferentes y ha recetado una serie de consejos para aquel que este interesado en cambiar.

1) Habla menos; escucha más.
2) Escucha a las historias de tus abuelos a cerca de su juventud. Cuando ya no este, revivirás sus llamas por sus memorias.
3) Invita a amigos para cenar o picar algo, a pesar de que tu casa no este en condiciones.
4) Come mucho chocolate.
5) Invita amigos con chicos a tu casa a pesar de que hagan lió.
6) Siéntate en el pasto a pesar de que ensucie tus pantalones.
7) No compres algo solo porque durara mucho tiempo o porque es practico, hazlo porque quieres.
8) Quédate en cama relajado si te sientes enfermo y no pretendas que el mundo no puede continuar sin ti por un día.
9) Prende las velas que tienes de adorno en el salón y déjalas encendidas. No las dejes sin uso en el armario.
10) Comparte responsabilidades de la vida con un compañero, no solo las expensas.
11) (Para las mujeres) En vez de esperar al embarazo a que se termine, disfruta cada momento en tu corazón. Aprende que la vida dentro de ti es la única oportunidad que tienes de ayudar a Dios a crear magia.
12) Deja que tus hijos de abrasen y besen cuando quiera que lo deseen. No los detengas por ninguna razón como: "mas tarde", "ve a lavarte las manos", "deberemos comer" o demás.
13) Di las próximas dos frases lo más seguido que puedas: "Te Amo" y "Lo siento."
14) Deja de preocuparte por quien te quiere o no te quiere, o que tiene quien o no tiene.
15) Valora todas las relaciones humanas personales.
16) Juega con una mascota cuando puedas. Riete y corre con ella y toma parte en sus juegos.
17) Pasa el mayor tiempo posible con la gente que te quiere.
18) Deja de transpirar por todos los pequeños detalles y problemas sin sentido de la vida.
19) Toma cada momento, míralo y déjalo. Nunca volverá de nuevo.

La persona que escribió estos sabios consejos se llamaba Susana, y tenia una hija de seis años. Susana enseño estos ideales básicos a un conocido mío y yo los he tratado de seguir también en honor a su memoria. Creo que puedo decir que convertirá a quienquiera que lo haga en una mejor persona, un mejor esposa o esposa, y en general una persona mas feliz. Inclusive ahora creo que D'os ha bendecido a cada uno de nosotros, y deberemos aceptar estas bendiciones e intentar buscar sentirnos mas fuertes físicamente, mentalmente, y emocionalmente. Recuerda que todos tenemos la suerte de estar aquí, y aprovechar vivir la vida de la mejor manera posible, así que consejos para esa receta nunca están de mas.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Consejos Sabios para Lenar el Alma

Aquí te presento una lista de consejos para que no te sientas vació, y observar al pasado con una sonrisa. Las he obtenido de una persona que estaba al final de su vida y sintió que hubiera hecho muchas cosas diferentes y ha recetado una serie de consejos para aquel que este interesado en cambiar.

1) Habla menos; escucha más.

2) Escucha a las historias de tus abuelos a cerca de su juventud. Cuando ya no este, revivirás sus llamas por sus memorias.

3) Invita a amigos para cenar o picar algo, a pesar de que tu casa no este en condiciones.

4) Come mucho chocolate.

5) Invita amigos con chicos a tu casa a pesar de que hagan lió.

6) Siéntate en el pasto a pesar de que ensucie tus pantalones.

7) No compres algo solo porque durara mucho tiempo o porque es practico, hazlo porque quieres.

8) Quédate en cama relajado si te sientes enfermo y no pretendas que el mundo no puede continuar sin ti por un día.

9) Prende las velas que tienes de adorno en el salón y déjalas encendidas. No las dejes sin uso en el armario.

10) Comparte responsabilidades de la vida con un compañero, no solo las expensas.

11) (Para las mujeres) En vez de esperar al embarazo a que se termine, disfruta cada momento en tu corazón. Aprende que la vida dentro de ti es la única oportunidad que tienes de ayudar a Dios a crear magia.

12) Deja que tus hijos de abrasen y besen cuando quiera que lo deseen. No los detengas por ninguna razón como: "mas tarde", "ve a lavarte las manos", "deberemos comer" o demás.

13) Di las próximas dos frases lo más seguido que puedas: "Te Amo" y "Lo siento."

14) Deja de preocuparte por quien te quiere o no te quiere, o que tiene quien o no tiene.

15) Valora todas las relaciones humanas personales.

16) Juega con una mascota cuando puedas. Riete y corre con ella y toma parte en sus juegos.

17) Pasa el mayor tiempo posible con la gente que te quiere.

18) Deja de transpirar por todos los pequeños detalles y problemas sin sentido de la vida.

19) Toma cada momento, míralo y déjalo. Nunca volverá de nuevo.

La persona que escribió estos sabios consejos se llamaba Susana, y tenia una hija de seis años. Susana enseño estos ideales básicos a un conocido mío y yo los he tratado de seguir también en honor a su memoria. Creo que puedo decir que convertirá a quienquiera que lo haga en una mejor persona, un mejor esposa o esposa, y en general una persona mas feliz. Inclusive ahora creo que D'os ha bendecido a cada uno de nosotros, y deberemos aceptar estas bendiciones e intentar buscar sentirnos mas fuertes físicamente, mentalmente, y emocionalmente. Recuerda que todos tenemos la suerte de estar aquí, y aprovechar vivir la vida de la mejor manera posible, así que consejos para esa receta nunca están de mas.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Communication par Internet entre Franchiseurs et Franchises

Cette communication entre franchiseurs et franchisés peut donc se faire aujourd'hui via Internet ou câbles de d'interconnexion reliant les franchises via leur réseau et permet de rentabiliser le travail des franchisés par le gain de temps en recherche d'informations si ce dernier est correctement utilisé.

Les franchisés peuvent alors passer leurs commandes en ligne et contrôler les dates de livraisons. La plus part des grandes franchises utilisent le système "à la minute", qui permet de connaître au moment précis l'état des stocks ou encore les livraisons effectuées à leur franchisés. Cela a donc réellement permis d'activer le processus et signifie également que le franchisé peut mieux réorganiser ses stocks sans être à court au moment X.

Les systèmes les plus pointus permettent également aux franchisés de s'approvisionner auprès d'un autre franchisé si le franchiseur est à cours de stock.

Les demandes peuvent être connectées au réseau et toutes les ventes peuvent être relayées auprès des franchiseurs. Cela implique donc que la plus part des cas des demandes d'ordres peuvent être retirées directement par le franchisé.

Pour le franchiseur, cela est fantastique car il n'est alors plus nécessaire de perdre du temps à rechercher le franchisé disposant de la quantité adéquate désirée qui pourrait répondre urgemment à la demande.

Les franchisés en tire un avantage certain car ils voient leur travail diminué et leur permet de passer plus de temps sur les problèmes marketings et la gestion de la relation clientèle.

Par ailleurs, les franchisés peuvent maintenant payer en même temps en ligne le franchiseur et les fournisseurs sans avoir recours aux carnets de chèques, enveloppes et postage. Une solution simple de payement en ligne donne de nombreux avantages que ne peuvent procurer les méthodes de payements classiques. En plus d'augmenter leur facilité de caisse, ce système leur permet également de réduire les risques de fraude.

Par exemple, une grande société de jeux carte possédant bon nombre de franchises. L'une d'entre elle se retrouve à cours de jeux que l'on vient de lui demander. Un simple passage sur Intranet et elle peut alors renseigner exactement son client quant aux délais de livraison du produit.

D'autres systèmes encore plus perfectionnés permettent de voir leurs comptes, rendant alors leur travail plus aisé grâce à une analyse plus objective. Le comptable est ainsi capable de voir en temps et en heure toute transaction effectuée et de récupérer les données des autres franchises.

Mais l'Intranet permet aussi à l'entreprise d'y déposer ses brochures, de visionner les dernières vidéos publicitaires de la société et éventuellement aider les franchiseurs en leur adressant un feedback sur la manière d'améliorer leur politique marketing pour le futur. Ils peuvent également tenir leurs opérateurs informés de façon régulière de manière manuelle.

Pour cela, un accès Internet haut débit est obligatoire, les franchisés développant habituellement leur business depuis leur ordinateur. Cela implique au franchiseur de devoir former son franchisé quant à l'utilisation et la maintenance de leur outil informatique.

es franchiseurs aiment adopter ce système afin de renforcer l'image de marque de la compagnie et faire participer activement leurs franchisés au cœur de cette dernière.

Toutefois, les dangers de l'utilisation d'Internet (ou intranet) sont nombreux. Si le serveur principal des franchiseurs tombe en panne et ne dispose pas de back up adéquate ou une facilité d'accès d'autres serveurs, tous les réseaux des franchisés peut être pénalisé.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cold Chain- A Way Forward

A consumer revolution is taking place in India as people change their eating habits and shopping patterns. While fresh foods have long been a staple, more people are putting a premium on speed and convenience. Supermarkets and shopping malls are cropping up everywhere, and sales of consumer-ready frozen foods are burgeoning, from ice cream and frozen entrees, to vegetables, fruits, sea foods and meats.

To meet this rising demand, manufactures and retailers of temperature sensitive products must move their perishable foods quickly, while emphasizing quality, safety, reliability, and traceability. This is a real challenge in a country where the cold-chain infrastructure still needs a lot of work to be done. India’s cold chain infrastructure is fragmented, under funded, and scrambling to keep up with soaring demand. The need of the hour is to address these concerns immediately.

The frozen food distribution is still not stabilized as most of the companies are still finding it difficult for service and are adopting the most rudimentary method of delivery of frozen/chilled foods to the trade. This, basically means that the integrity of the cold chain is being compromised. However, at this moment, the focus seems to be on survival and most of the companies are first interested in building volumes before they can provide high-class facilities for distribution of frozen/chilled products.

We at SNOWMAN, are now looking at expanding our network in terms of scale and reach if we are to compete at the domestic or international level. Our focus is to provide every requisite cold chain related solution to the customers but seeing the opportunity in F&V sector, definitely our focus would be more towards fruits and vegetables sector in the days to come along with new avenues like temperature controlled pharmaceutical products etc.

We are eagerly watching the prospects of large corporate like Reliance, Bharti, Aditya Birla Group, Mahindra & Mahindra , TATA and ITC etc to formulate and implement their retailing plan which will immensely benefit the cold chain industry. In my opinion, the cold chain industry will automatically grow as soon as the organized retail starts fully in place. All other difficulties will get resolved in due course of time. However basically what we need, is the consumer walking into a retail store and looking for chilled/frozen food products. This is the day when the cold chain industry will start moving forward and we have already seen the glimpse of it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coffee - From Coffee Beans To Coffee Grinding

So, you are the happy owner of a coffee/espresso machine. But do you really know how to get the most out of it? Here are a few handy pointers that should help you to make the perfect espresso coffee time and time again.

Tip 1 - Let Your Coffee/espresso Machine fully Heat Up

The inner workings of your coffee machine that hold water items like the boiler are classically made of metal. Allowing this equipment to heat up by turning on your coffee machine at least 10 min preceding the 1st coffee will make a more steady heat for your coffees. Also use this time to heat your coffee cups before use, use the steam nozzle in hot water mode to fill the cups. Some coffee machines have built in cup heaters that take a few minutes to warm up.

Tip 2 - Use Fresh Water

With coffee, everything has to be fresh. Empty out your coffee machine water container every day when you are making your 1st coffee. You should use filtered water and you will definitely taste the difference. Using filtered water will also lengthen the life of your coffee machine; reducing calcification and lime scale build up.

Tip 3 - Use Fresh Coffee beans

If you do not have an automatic coffee machine that has a grinder built in then you will need to buy a separate one. Every time you use your coffee machine, only ever grind enough coffee beans for that measure of coffee. This will give you a glowing creme on top of your coffee or espresso. Store your beans in the freezer until it’s to use them, this will help them to hold their flavour.

Tip 4 - Use The Correct Grind And Correct Tamping

Talk to your coffee supplier about your coffee machine and make sure that he is giving you the correct ground coffee. If possible use your own grinder to attain the most favourable fineness. Gently pack your freshly ground coffee into the filter handle, do not pack to much or press to hard or you won’t reach a decent flow rate. A excellent rule of thumb is that it should take about 25 seconds for 30ml of coffee to be poured.

Tip 5 - Experiment

There are so many variables at work with a coffee machine that you will need to make a lot of coffees to truly realize the different coffees you can make. The temperature, the beans, the grind and the flow rate will all give diverse tasting coffees. You will know you are getting it right when your coffee machine produces a thick golden creme and a sweet, rich espresso coffee.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Citas a Ciegas

Para todo aquel que busque encontrar su alma gemela, media naranja, amor, enamorarse, un compañero de emociones o como quieras llamarlo es algo difícil de encontrar. Para algunos desde ya no es algo complicado, les ha pasado a los 15 años, 18, 22, en fin ya comparten el día y la mayor parte de sus vidas con alguien desde hace mucho. A otros, sin embargo les es más complicado y duro de encontrar.

La experiencia de las citas a ciegas es algo inolvidable, bueno o malo puede ser interesante. Como dicen, la experiencia es cuando no encuentras lo que buscas. Sin embargo hay casos en que esta experiencia se vuelve en lo que uno busca.

Si eres de aquellos que creen en que un amigo, familia o alguien que te conoce puede llegar a tener a alguien con el cual encuentres lo que buscas, la pregunta es ¿Por qué no probar?

En mi caso personal, experimente varias citas a ciegas y amigas mías también lo hicieron. Algunas fueron sorprendentes, en el sentido de buenas y otras de malas. Es como un juego de ruleta una pequeña probabilidad en muchas de que salgas feliz o que algo interesante salga de ello.

Una amiga de mi mama quiso que conozca al hermano de su nuera. Cuando llegue al lugar de la cita y lo vi, rápidamente me di cuenta de que no era para mi pero quizás podía pasar un buen rato. El chico, trajo consigo un poema que había escrito y quería decírmelo. Era una situación muy rara e incomoda ya que el y yo no concordábamos en nada y no teníamos nada que ver. El problema era que la amiga de mi mama no me conocía tanto, y creía que si. Es por eso que la cita no funciono.

En el caso de mi hermana, al mudarse a un país nuevo la única forma de conocer gente y chicos era por medio de citas. Lo gracioso de la historia es que la señora de la lavandería le propuso salir con su hijo y ella acepto. Al llegar a la cita el chico tenía labio leporino y era nada atractivo en su aspecto. Mi hermana no podía disimular no mirar a su labio y en el medio de la cita encontró a otro chico en la mesa de enfrente que le gusto.

Mi amigo, que es gay y yo salimos hace unas semanas a una fiesta con una amiga mía. Los dos se hicieron amigos y ella le comento que tiene un amigo de su clase de la universidad que también es gay y es muy lindo. Entonces arreglaron que por que no se conocían. AL final de la noche intercambiaron teléfonos y quedo ella en hablar con su amigo. Su amigo acepto y se llamaron. Al encontrarse los dos no tenían nada de lo que hablar y el otro para hacer la cita más corto no pudo disimular su desinterés y hacia todo rápido para irse antes.

En fin, las citas a ciegas son algo que debes hacer si la persona que los conecta los conoce bien y puede llegar a saber que te gustara de la otra persona o que buscas. Sin embargo no hay certeza de que saldrás contento de una forma u otra. Puede pasar que de casualidad la persona te encante y que si tienes la mente abierta saldrás ganando.