Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fish To Eat And Fish To Avoid

Everyone knows fish is good for you. It’s low in saturated fat, and it makes you smart. So it’s no wonder consumers are confused by headlines warning fish eaters of impending doom.
In late 2002, a San Francisco Chronicle headline warned that eating fish can be risky because of the high content of mercury in some deep-water fish. A physician in Northern California had discovered that wealthy individuals eating expensive fish, such as swordfish and tuna, were putting themselves at risk for mercury poisoning -- even as they were trying to eat healthy.

In one case, a woman suffered hair loss and high levels of mercury in her blood. That spurred Dr. Jane M. Hightower, an expert of internal medicine at San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center, to fish around for answers.

Hightower studied her own patients, who were affluent and ate plenty of gourmet fish -- swordfish, sea bass, halibut and ahi tuna. She found that patients who often ate these fish or were experiencing symptoms of mercury exposure (fatigue, headache, joint pain, and reduced memory and concentration) had unacceptable levels of mercury in their blood.

Hightower retested these patients after they abstained from the suspect fish for six months. The high levels of mercury disappeared. Not surprising, the FDA has issued warnings about high levels of mercury for some of these fish.

Fish remains tasty – and healthy

Fish is naturally low in cholesterol and has been the protein of choice for cardiologists and weight-conscious Americans. It is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol and decreasing the stickiness of blood platelets. This means omega-3 fats can lower the risk for stroke.

Studies have shown conclusively that men and women who eat a diet rich in fatty fish -- salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and tuna -- are less likely to suffer heart disease and stroke. One study published in the journal Circulation (American Heart Association) showed that eating fish regularly reduced the risk of heart disease in diabetic women as much as 64 percent. Researchers at Chicago's Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center found that older people who eat fish at least once a week may cut their risk of Alzheimer's disease by more than half.

It's not necessary to eat fish every day to reap the benefits. According to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association, men who ate about three to five ounces of fish one to three times a month were 43 percent less likely to have a stroke during 12 years of follow-up. Men who ate fish more often did not reduce their risk any further.
Get your fish and other fine seafood at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fish Oil - It’s Health Benefits & Risks

As the name implies, fish oil is oil that is removed from the tissues of oily fish and is often recommended as part of a healthy diet program. Many nutritionists recommend that individuals each fish at least once a week, but emphasis must be placed on the importance of avoiding fish that contain certain harmful contaminants. In avoiding predatory fish, such as sharks and others, individuals will prevent the consumption of unhealthy substances which can accumulate due to the fish’s predatory lifestyle.

The benefits of fish oil are thought to be many, including a number of experts who believe that it’s consumption can help to regulate cholesterol. This problem affects many individuals and, if left untreated, can lead to more serious complications. The liver of fish, however, may contain dangerous levels of Vitamin A.

According to the American Heart Association, daily consumption of the proper amount of fish oil can be beneficial for patients suffering from coronary heart disease. In addition, the United States National Institute of Health recommends fish oil for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Once again, the institute reiterates the fact that high levels of omega-3 fatty acid intake may increase the risk of dangerous side effects, including a stroke.

In September 2005, Louisiana State University conducted a study that resulted in findings to support a theory that fish oil may prevent the brain from developing cognitive problems that are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. This illness, which is common among the elderly, causes an individual to gradually lose his/her memory.

Apart from consuming fish on a daily basis, fish oil is available as dietary supplements and can may be purchased at many locations. In certain cases, fish oil may require a doctor’s prescription if the product is of pharmaceutical quality. It is important that individuals read the label and/or instructions carefully before using any medication and/or dietary supplement, including fish oil. It is also equally important that individuals inform their doctor of any current health problems and/or medications for which they are currently taking.

This article is to be used for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as professional medical advice. The information contained herein should not be used in place of, or in conjunction with, a doctor’s recommendation . Prior to beginning any treatment regimen, including one that involves the use of fish oil, an individual who develops an illness of any type should consult a licensed physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding The Beginnings Of The Jello Shot

Jello Shots - Back In The Day
How did anybody back in yester year get their Jello Shot to set properly?
If they used coolers that were packed with ice to set their jello shots, where did they find any ice when it came into the summer months like July and August?

From the instance the 1st Jello Shot was incepted in the later half of the 1800’s until around the early 1920's, jello shots were produced using piping hot water and set on a counter to solidify.

Jello shots don’t require refrigeration or ice cubes to aid setting, introducing your jello shot mix to the cold room, fridge or even just on ice purely speeds up the jello solidifying process. By approximately 1924 it was advertised that Jello Shots could be cooled swiftly by melting a carton of jello in 1/2 a pint of piping hot water and then adding 1/2 a pint of ice water and placing the jello shots in ice.

How "Jello" Almost Never Made It
Many years ago there was a man called Cooper and in 1845 he got acquired the copyright for the jello dessert, then a medicine developer named Pearl B Wait who in 1895 purchased the jello rights from Cooper and Pearl then transformed it into a pre-packaged artefact which was then named JELLO

Try as he did, pearl couldn’t market the product, so along Frank Woodward, who at the age of 20 acquired the Jello exclusive rights for as little as $450, Frank was at 1st disastrous at selling the product and thought of getting shifted of it. He almost sold it for a measly $35, until just before he was to sign over the deeds, Jello shot sales sky rocketed and by 1906 Jello shots had attained an incredible $1,000,000. Not so bad for a guy who never even finished school.

Be Careful Of What Might Stop your "jello Shots" From Setting
The mystery of what prevents your jello shots from setting has been finally solved, the key is not to use any fresh or frozen pineapple, kiwi fruit, figs, mangoes, guava or papaya, or fresh ginger in the jello shot mix.

These particular items all contain an enzyme that keeps jello from setting. However if they are cooked or come from a can then your jello shots will set without much of a problem

The Origin Of "Jello"
The capitalist, inventor and all round generous contributor Peter Cooper, of Tom Thumb engine and Cooper Union fame, got the very 1st official document for a jello dessert ownership in 1845. Although he packaged this gelatine product in little boxes with full instructions for use, it was never successful.

Most people at home were still reliant on single sheets of prepared gelatine, which had to be clarified by boiling in egg whites and shells and dripped through a jelly bag before they attained a shimmering mould. This was frequently very time consuming and is very different from the way jello is today.

The Godfathers Of Jello

The 3 men below are the mainly most responsible for the creation of jello shots in the early days.

The first man is named Peter Cooper and he held the very first patent for jello.

The second is a man called Pearl B Wait who bought the jello patent of Cooper and developed the first fruit-flavoured version of jello.

Then the last mostly mainly responsible for the creation of jello shots is Orator Francis (Frank) Woodward, who dropped out college and at the age of 20 bought the jello copyright for $450 and was about to sell it for $35 sometime later before it boomed at the beginning of the 1900's.

Welcome To America With Jello
During the 1920's, immigrants entering Ellis Island in New York City were served Jello on arrival as a way for the people to say Welcome to America.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finding A Discount Bar Stool

When you are in the market for a cheap bar stool, finding 1 is just a matter of looking for it and when you do you can call it a victory, right? But when buying bar stools, if you go for the cheap option then you could be giving yourself more hassle than you think in the future.

If you're browsing for discount bar stools solely for their decorative value, then saving money should definitely be a top of the list to do practices. However, if you anticipate regular use of the bar stools you buy, discount can mean poor quality, and that may end up in expensive repairs or replacement. You'll save up front, only to spend more in the long run.

The key to find such good quality bar stools is to find quality web sites like that do good discounts on bar stools. While you do find the occasional bar stool deal on the high street, the Internet is most often the best place to carry out your search. This is a far more effective use of your time and the chances of you finding what you want are greatly increased.

Commence by using a major search engine (Google, Yahoo!, MSN) and start searching for a specific phrase, like bar stools, discount bar stools or a different variation of that search phase variation. You'll get 1,000’s of pages packed of potentials. It can quickly become overwhelming unless you take notes and bookmark pages with likely candidates. If you're painstaking and don't throw in the towel to early, you'll definitely find some decent bar stool bargains hidden among the average deals. Again, look for high quality stools being sold at prices more appropriate for cheap models.

You might also find some wonderful discounts on used bar stools on the internet by browsing auction sites like ebay or premier bar stool sites like The only one disadvantage I can for see with buying bar stools from the internet is you cant check the quality first hand like you could have done in a shop or store.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fast Food Takes Its Place

What if someone asked you to name the great cuisines of the world? What would you say? French food, of course, is famous. Italians are world-renowned. Greek food has its own following. What about America?

Well, what comes to mind when you hear the words "American cuisine"? Personally, I think of the 1950's drive-up restaurants, with milkshakes and old-fashioned hamburgers and Coney Islands dripping in mustard. That's probably not the typical definition for the word "cuisine", but it definitely defines American food.
But wait a second. What does the word "cuisine" mean, exactly? The textbook definition is "A characteristic manner or style of preparing food." According to that, there's nothing more American than a hamburger, large fries, and a chocolate milkshake. That meal, served in its own greasy white paper bag, might just be the epitome of everything that is American.

American fast food chains have spread all over the world. They are a symbol of western life in far-off lands, a landmark, loved or hated, by tourists and natives alike. Even the French, who carefully monitor each word that enters their language, have allowed in "hamburger" and "hotdog" to refer to these distinctly American treasures. What exactly is so appealing about this distinctly American tradition of hot, greasy, tasty food on the run?

For one thing, fast food has a constancy about it. Every time you order a cheeseburger from a particular restaurant chain, you know what that cheeseburger is going to taste like. If someone mentions fast food french fries, you can immediately imagine the taste in your mouth and the striped paper pouch in which they arrive, complete with a layer of salt collected at the bottom and that one short, squat little fry, overdone and sharp at the edges. In a constantly changing society, it seems, Americans and others all over the world derive a real comfort from knowing exactly what they are getting. It's the same thing they've been getting since childhood.

Secondly, the massive appeal of fast food comes from the fact that it is, indeed, fast. Where else but America could such a thing have developed? We're a busy people, with multiple jobs and deadlines and kids and responsibilities, and knowing that we can pick up pre-cooked, steamy hot food in a bag and bring it home to satisfy hunger with minimum fuss is definitely appealing. You technically don't even need to dirty your silverware.

It may be unhealthy, and it may be expensive, and it may be contributing to the decline of Americans sitting down to dinner together every night. But let's face it- like the gas-gobbling SUVs we love to drive, Americans have a dichotomy of love and hate with most of the things they've created. And fast food, in all of its greasy glory, is here to stay.

Besides, sometimes it's a wonderful thing to be able to overcome your guilt, forget about your arteries for just a minute, and buy yourself a burger. And maybe even super-size it. After all, it's the American way.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Famous Flamethrower's High Altitude Chili Cook-off Weekend

The hottest event in Colorado this summer… guaranteed. This is a free event in which chili chefs compete for the state title and the opportunity to represent the Rocky Mountain region in the World Chili Cook-off. Prizes will be awarded for best-costumed chef, best red chili, best green chili and best salsa. And yes, samples will be available to the general public after the judging begins.

The event is held at the base of Winter Park Resort where you can find a 600 mile hiking and mountain biking trail system that spreads throughout the beautiful Fraser Valley. Winter Park is also home of the longest Alpine Slide in Colorado! A 3000 foot long slide, with a 600 foot drop winding through the wilderness. Take a chair lift to the top of Winter Park Mountain and you can find an 18 hole disc golf course. At 10,000 feet you will have some of the best views Colorado has to offer. Back at the base there is also a miniature golf course that takes you through Fraser Valley history, a climbing wall, Rock N' Roll Gyro, Human Maze, Leaps & Bounds Bungee and a whole lot more.

Proceeds of this event will benefit the National Sports Center for the Disabled, which is one of the most important organizations found at Winter Park Resort. It is also sponsored by Coors and Coors Light.

Schedule for Saturday & Sunday:

7:30-9:00 Set-up and Registration
9:00 ICS Salsa assembly may begin
9:45 Cooks Meeting in Plaza-mandatory (head Judge)
Outdoor Gear sale (NSCD Fundraiser)
10:00 ICS Traditional red preparation/cooking begins
ICS Chili Verde preparation/cooking begins
Noon ICS Salsa judging begins
"Tasteoff" Open division judging
begins (Saturday)
1:00 ICS Chili Verde (green) judging begins
2:00 ICS Traditional Red division judging begins
3:30 Tequila Shoot N'Holler Contest (Saturday)
Jalapeno Eating Contest (Sunday)
4:00 Awards Ceremony- all divisions

When: 8/26/06 – 8/27/06 (Saturday & Sunday)

Where: The Base of Winter Park Resort

Admission: Free

Stay just a five minute walk from the event: Slope View Bed and Breakfast offers views of the Continental Divide, unique amenities and a knowledgeable staff. 970-531-2386

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fake food : top 10 most deceptive foods that everyone thinks are healthy but are not

1. Pasteurized Milk

Milk is touted as a healthy food, and most people assume that it does a body good. But pasteurization destroys active enzymes and denatures the fragile proteins in milk. It also kills beneficial bacteria and lowers the vitamin content of your milk.
A better alternative?
Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized. Why raw milk?
Supporters of raw milk say the pasteurization process kills most, if not all, micromilk organisms, including the beneficial ones that aid in digestion and metabolization. They also promote good health by crowding out bad bacteria and help prevent yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract.
The Campaign for real milk says that raw milk comes from cows that are properly fed. Cows that eat green grass provide milk with nutrients like vitamins A and D. They argue that pasteurization enables the milk industry to raise cows in less-expensive, less-healthy conditions.
They also say that pasteurization destroys enzymes and diminishes vitamin content. Pasteurization, says the group, is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Many calves fed pasteurized milk die before maturity.
Raw milk will sour naturally due to the bacterial production of lactic acid and still be healthy, while pasteurized milk, which lacks the essential bacteria, will putrefy.

2. Fruit Juice and Sodas

Fruit juice may be delicious, but it’s often loaded with even more high-fructose corn syrup than actual juice! High fructose corn syrup has been linked to increased cholesterol levels, blood clots, and impaired immunity. Sodas are no better as we all are well aware.

Fructose reduces the affinity of insulin for its receptor, which is the hallmark of type-2 diabetes. This is the first step for glucose to enter a cell and be metabolized. As a result, the body needs to pump out more insulin to handle the same amount of glucose.
The annual ‘Liver Meeting’ of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases which took place October in Boston reported results linking high intake of sugar (specifically fructose) to liver disease.
“The research team concluded that consumption of high fructose can have negative effects on liver through overfeeding, as well as damage the liver by inducing increased oxidative stress.
A better alternative? Delicious, healthy and convenient Dong Quai and Coco-Biotic, both of which you are strongly urged to learn more about and try today!

3. Whole Grains

Many foods from bread to breakfast cereals advertise that they are now made with whole grains. Despite earlier reports discounting fiber’s role in colorectal cancer prevention, two recent studies say fiber from fruits, vegetables, and grains may indeed slice the odds of getting the disease. One study, surveying more than half a million people, found a 25 to 40 percent risk reduction from 30 grams of fiber daily (five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables). Fiber in food may be the key, since those earlier studies focused on fiber supplements.
If you have digestive problems or suffer some of the classic autoimmune reactions (e.g. allergies) consider the possibilities that grains may be problematical. Look at your family members and your family history for clues about dietary problems. Adjust the ratio of cereal grains to meat, vegetables, and fruits and see if the adjustment has physiological and psychological effects. In my opinion one should supplement with vitamins, minerals, protein, and free fatty acids. Above all, eat a varied diet and not too much of one thing.
Conventional whole grains lack vitamins and minerals, can be difficult to digest, and often cause allergenic responses, contributing to autoimmune disorders like Celiac disease.
A better alternative? Grain-like seeds millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are gluten free, do not feed candida act as prebiotics, have a calming effect and are full of vitamins and minerals.

4. Cereal

Cold cereal seems like a convenient and healthy meal, but combined with pasteurized milk, it can be a bowl full of nutritionally damaging food. Cereal itself undergoes a process called extrusion that denatures its proteins (making them toxic) and destroys the grains’ naturally occurring fatty acids. The result is a nutritionally void carrier for sugar and sodium.
For more on cereal and healthy alternatives, read: The Four Major Health Risks of Conventional Grains and the Healthy Weight-Optimizing Grains to Choose Instead.
A better alternative? Make your morning meal green! Try Vitality SuperGreen or a Good Morning Greens Smoothie to start your day off right.

5. Processed Cheese

Processed cheeses, especially individually wrapped slices, have little nutritional value. They are pasteurized and often have fillers and preservatives.
A better alternative? Make Young Coconut Kefir cheese or on stage two of the Body Ecology diet, once your gut is populated with dairy-loving microflora, try cheeses made from fermented raw milk to flavor your salads.

6. Protein Bars

Protein bars now compete with candy bars in convenience stores and grocery aisles, butproteine these quick snacks are not necessarily healthy. Many protein bars use soy protein and count sugars in their top 3 ingredients! Instead of offering you a healthy option, they actually contribute to fungal infections.
A better alternative? Soaked almonds and other nuts are easy and delicious snacks for those on the go! Or try RenewPro for an energizing, gut-healing source of protein. You can mix it in water or even eat a scoop between meals. You’ll love the delicious taste of this truly healthy source of protein.

7. Energy Drinks

Their labels say they contain various herbs, minerals and the amino acid taurine, specially designed to boost your energy by the time you reach the bottom of the can. But if you look at the ingredients, you’ll find that the main ingredients in most energy drinks are actually caffeine and sugar making them hardly more than high-priced soft drinks.
Yet their glitzy designs and claims to improve your performance, concentration and reaction speeds seem to be working. In 2004, energy drinks overtook bottled water as the fastest-growing category in the beverage business. Similar products have even been introduced for kids as young as 4 years old. A better alternative? Drink healthier fluids like water or tea, and if you must have a jolt of energy, a good old-fashioned cup of black coffee will at least spare you the sugar.

8. Fast-Food Salads

Yes, you went to that fast-food joint near your office for lunch, but all was not lost you ordered a salad! Most fast-food chains have jumped on the health bandwagon and are nowsalates offering salads, wraps and other healthy menu choices for just such nutrition-minded customers.
And while some won’t come right out and say they’re healthy (McDonald’s, for instance, no longer uses the word because our consumer research shows people don’t understand it and it’s actually a turn off when it comes to food items.), it is certainly implied in their ads featuring fit, active people and catchy nutrition slogans.
But all salad is not inherently healthy.
In fact, most of the salad ingredients that most fast food chains use make most of them no more healthful than a burger without the bun, dipped in salad dressing, said the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which conducted a nutrition analysis of 34 fast food salads.
One of their more startling findings: McDonald’s Crispy Bacon Ranch Salad has more fat and calories and just as much cholesterol as a Big Mac.
Culprits that make good salads go bad are fried meats, additions like croutons and crispy noodles, bacon, and high-fat salad dressings. Many even have added sugar.
A better alternative? Create your own fresh salad using lots of veggies, some lean protein (egg, chicken), a few nuts or seeds or a small amount of cheese, and a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

9. Soy products

Soy products, including soy milk and soy protein have been linked to digestive distress, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems for men and women, allergies, ADD, higher risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition and loss of libido.1
Soy milk has some negative aspects which are as follows :
-It contains a lot of phytic acid
-It contains hemagglutinin which causes the red blood cells to clump together. However, it is believed to be harmless unless soy milk is taken intravenously
-The genetic modification involved in the process of preparing soy milk may cause lysinoalanine or even nitrosamines
-It contains aluminum
-It contains trypsin inhibitors
A better alternative? Fermented soy products like miso soup, natto and tempeh.

10. Oatmeal

For many people who suffer wheat and gluten allergy or intolerance, oatmeal also becomes and unsafe option. While oats themselves do not contain gluten, they do contain a protein which is relatively similar and current farming techniques create concerns as well. It is not uncommon for a farmer to rotate his oat crops with his wheat, rye or barley crops from year to year, and millers often encounter kernels from volunteer wheat when processing the oats.
Oatmeal seems harmless enough and doesn’t actually contain gluten. But oatmeal can be unsafe if you have a wheat or gluten sensitivity2 because farmers often grow oats in fields that previously had grains like barley and wheat. The other grains can contaminate the oats and could be dangerous for anyone with gluten sensitivity.
A better alternative? For a warm, convenient morning meal, try Body Ecology’s Hot Breakfast Porridge recipe.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fairtrade And The Christmas Hamper

The art of selecting just the right gift for the corporate client or personal friend is enhanced by the chance to include Fairtrade chocolate, an organic Christmas pudding or an award winning wine. A hamper should impress, delight, and surprise the recipient. The days of ordinary fayre are no longer the norm. Hampers can be very specialised.

Fairtrade is now an important factor when sourcing products for hampers. Gone are the days when the packaging was poor and a bit crumpled. It now looks really good eg the Divine chocolate range has vibrant designs on their chocolate bars based on African culture.

A classic example of Fairtrade at work is the Fair Valley Estate in South Africa. It was set up with government backing and today these wines compete with the best from the wine world. Ethical shopping ticks quite a few boxes in the psychology of consumers. You don’t have to buy gift vouchers for donkeys anymore!

A Fairtrade hamper means you get to taste great products and also support emerging manufacturers on the ground. They don’t have to cost a lot either - Fairtrade hamper prices start from £16.95 upwards.

Organic is now readily available within the mainstream retail market. However very few hamper companies supply a thoroughbred "organic" hamper. It is worth searching on the internet using the specific description so that you can be guided to the correct suppliers. Spicers supply an Organic breakfast hamper and an Organic Christmas hamper. So for example, Traidcraft plain chocolate is a great tasting product at a reasonable price and illustrates the fusion of a quality food that is also Fairtrade and organic.

What is meant by Award Winners? When faced with a wide choice of hampers why not go for the "best of the best" - ie hampers that are full of quality, unusual foods that have won awards or international acclaim. Quality Fairtrade hampers come with tasting notes to provide the full story behind the pedigree of each product. If you want your gift to stand out from the average hamper offer then use an Award Winner hamper.

How "green" are hamper companies ? As a responsible supplier it is necessary to strive towards waste reduction and a partnership with recycled or sustainable packaging products. Look for hamper companies whose cardboard, baskets & packaging come from sustainable sources at every opportunity. Ethical companies have moved over from polychip to corn chip void fill - this protects the items inside the hamper and when you have finished with it all you need to do is pour water on it and they dissolve ! A totally biodegradable product that comes from an annually renewable resource. It is also quite fun to watch it dissolve !

So take the opportunity this Christmas to not only buy a hamper but also to buy one which offers genuine benefits to the environment and those less fortunate than yourself. A that is something especially worth doing at Christmas.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fabulous Food: Fungi

Mushrooms. Earthy, elegant, rich, meaty….. Extraordinary.

Mushrooms fall into the love/hate category. You either love ‘em or …… not so much. Kinda like George W, Eminem, country music, and Jim Carey. No middle ground. Regardless of which group you inhabit, mushrooms have long been the subject of great fascination. They are found the world over and date back throughout man’s history. In a Jurassic Park-like moment, a scientist recently found a mushroom encased in tree sap that is many millions of years old.

In ancient times, Egyptians were so enamored with mushrooms that they called them sons of gods, sent to earth on bolts of thunder and declared them food fit only for Royalty. No commoner was permitted to touch them, much less eat them. The Romans were obsessed with fungi and passed laws declaring mushrooms as “the food of the Gods.” In medieval Ireland, mushrooms were regarded as umbrellas for leprechauns and even the gastronomically challenged British had their own legends about mushrooms. They believed that mushrooms should be harvested only during full moons to be edible.

Of the over 40,000 varieties of mushrooms, there are the gastronomically pleasurable, the hallucinogenic, and the deadly. Famous victims of mushroom poisoning include: Buddha, Roman Emperors Tiberius and Claudius, an entire banquet party of guests of the Emperor Nero, Alexander I of Russia, Pope Clement II, and King Charles V of France. Edible mushrooms are a very small number in the fungus category. The vast majority of mushrooms are either tough, bitter, and tasteless, or they are so rare that they are not worthy of interest as food.

Ecologically, fungi play a crucial role. Mushrooms are fungus, not vegetables, and they grow in dark places, reproducing by releasing millions of spores. By recycling dead organic material into useful nutrients and enriching the soil, they play an important symbiotic role in the environment. Some species are even being used to absorb and digest toxic substances like oil, pesticides, and industrial waste where they threaten the environment. Fungi contribute to the production of numerous drugs, like penicillin and other antibiotics, as well as the necessary ingredient for the yeast in bread, cheese, champagne, and beer.

Long regarded as nutritionally devoid, mushrooms have been reevaluated in the 21st Century and trumpeted as “the gourmet health food.” They are low in calories, high in protein, averaging about 20% of their dried mass, and contain a wide range of B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic) and minerals (selenium, copper, and potassium). Recently, there have been claims that they may boost immune systems, have antibiotic properties, and may even fight cancer.

Mushrooms have been cultivated for the last 300 years. The French began cultivating them in caves in the 17th Century. In America, cultivation began in the early 19th Century in Pennsylvania, still the leading producer, followed by California. Pennsylvania produces over 50% of the mushrooms commercially grown in the US.

When selecting mushrooms, you should look for firm, moisture-free, unblemished caps. Store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator – NOT airtight plastic bags, which will retain moisture and accelerate spoilage. Because mushrooms are 90% water, they should never be soaked. To clean them, simply brush or gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel or rinse them with water, then dry them with toweling.

Morels and Truffles

Because the most flavorful mushrooms grow wild, they are a cult unto themselves. In Europe, families spend spring afternoons in the countryside hunting. It’s a three-fer: they enjoy fresh air, Mother Nature and bring home dinner. Mushrooms like chanterelles and porcini are found growing wild in Europe, North America and Asia. But the prized crop is morels. Morels are abundant in Germany and France, and they can be found in many states as well, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and the New England area.

There are four species of wild morels, but the white is considered superior in both taste and texture to black morels. Because of their superb flavor and woodsy aroma, morels are quite expensive. One half ounce of dried morels is about $9 at my local grocery. They have a smoky, nutty, delicate flavor which is more pronounced the darker in color the specimen. In 1990, scientists perfected a process to commercially cultivate morels, however, the wild mushrooms are more flavorful and robust. They are also rare, therefore more expensive.

The undisputed Emperor of the Fungi Kingdom is the truffle. In Europe, there have been gunfights, fraud, and thefts over these tubers that is reminiscent of a 007 movie plot. Because they grow underground (2 – 15”), 4 to 5 feet from the base of an oak tree in Italy and France, they are extremely rare and sought after. Connoisseurs have long considered truffles an aphrodisiac, perhaps because they produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in a male pig’s saliva and men’s underarm sweat (Yum!). Although there is no scientific evidence of any love effects, hunters are using trained dogs and goats more frequently due to the veracity that the female pigs have when they find the truffles.

Truffles have a pungent, woodsy, slightly garlicky aroma, and there are two varieties of truffles commonly found in the marketplace: black and white. Enthusiasts disagree over which is better. Black truffles, found in France, Italy and China, are highly aromatic and will penetrate other foods unless stored separately. The Italians are considered the best, and the Chinese are inferior, but it is difficult to discern them. The safest thing to do if you want to purchase truffles or truffle oil is stick to well-known, reputable names like Agribosco and Urbani. Fresh black truffles must be cooked and again should be purchased from a reputable source.

White truffles are considered by the Italians to be superior. They are abundant in the regions of Piedmont, Umbria and Emilia Bologna, and have a peppery, garlic aroma and flavor. Always served raw, sliced paper thin or added to cooked dishes at the last possible moment to preserve the aromatic compounds, white truffles can cost up to $1500 per kilo.

In the last ten years, black and white truffles have been cultivated in Oregon. Considered inferior to their European cousins, they are a completely different species. Again, the white is superior to the cultivated black. Versatile, the white has a flavor that is pungently aromatic, straightforward and powerful, earthy and musky, and it can be eaten fresh and raw or moderately cooked. The black truffle is less pungent, but is useful in cooked dishes.

The Japanese are so enamored with the taste sensation in mushrooms that they have created a new word as a descriptor, umami. “Umami” is defined as deliciousness, and the Japanese recognize it as a fifth taste, separate from sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. The “umami” experience is best exemplified by the heightened flavor or perfect partnering between mushrooms and certain foods, mostly meats. When properly paired, mushrooms and meat produce a flavor that is more than the sum of its parts. Just like the classic pairing of crème brulee with port, a perfect match that rises to a new plateau.

Regardless of your stance on the Kingdom of ‘Shrooms, they are a healthy, unique, incredibly diverse food. Additionally, they play an important role in our environment. If it weren’t for their ability to recycle dead organic material, our planet would be three feet deep in waste. Gourmet health food meets waste management. A match even the Romans would find ironic.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Extraordinary Tailgating Recipes, Adding Spice to the Game

One of the great recreational activities is an exciting and fun-filled tailgating party. It's more than just drinks at the back of an SUV or a truck; tailgating parties are a big hit at any sports event. This is where everyone gets together to celebrate the game, or maybe just for a get together where all of you can have fun, share stories and laughter.

But aside from that, no party is complete without food and drinks. Food is a very important part of tailgating. Make sure your food is in the Safe Zone. If you do not, end run will mean something completely different!

The most important thing to stress about tailgating is keeping the food at safe temperatures. That is below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees. This means ice and a food thermometer are two of your most important aspects of tailgating equipment.

Did you know that between the temperatures 40 degrees and 140 degrees, bacteria grow at the fastest rate? Therefore, the great thing to do is to make sure that you keep cooked meat to their proper temperature and you have kept cold foods under 40 degrees.

High protein foods, such as meat, eggs and milk products must be stored less than 40 degrees. Melons should be washed on the outside, cut up at home, and then stored under 40 degrees until serving. And, the food should never sit out more than two hours if you are taking “takeout” or fully cooked food to an outdoor event. In addition, make sure to keep insects especially flies to stay away from your foods.

Try to estimate how much food you’ll eat at the event. Taking home leftovers is not encouraged by experienced tailgaters. In the end, be prepared and plan.

You might want to consider some of these suggested recipes. They are just simply great and delicious, a perennial favourite of many experienced tailgaters.

For your main dish, grilled shrimp is easy to prepare.

Peel shrimp leaving tail section intact. Pour one small bottle of Italian dressing in an 8 1/2 x 11-inch pan. Place shrimp in pan. Sprinkle a splash of teriyaki sauce on each shrimp. Lightly sprinkle garlic salt across the entire pan. For extra zest, splash lemon on shrimp.

Chill in refrigerator for two - three hours to marinade, then grill for 10 minutes. Turn occasionally for browning effect. Do not overcook, as shrimp will get tough.

For you beverages, you could prepare summer time punch.

Mix 2 cups of water, ¼ cup powdered iced tea mix, 3 cups orange juice, 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, ¼-cup grenadine, 1 ginger ale and the raspberry sherbet and add a champagne or white wine for extra taste. This will be great drink for your party.

Finally, for your desert, try the apple peach pie. This is just easy: combine a cup of sugar, ¼ tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of flour. Then add 1 tsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon and the sliced apples. Add the top crust add seal around edges. Cut slits in top. Bake it at 425 degrees for 40 minutes and let it cool for 15 minutes.

Before the time has come for the party to start and your friends to arrive, you are already done preparing the foods and drinks. All you have to do is sit back relax and enjoy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Experience The Joy Of Eating At A Restaurant

Restaurants offering a variety of cuisines are dotted all over the United States. They provide not just lip-smacking food but a great ambience too. Most restaurants also pride hemselves on their standards of cleanliness. You can choose to sit in comfort and enjoy a leisurely meal at a host of estaurants or order a take-away meal that you can eat at your convenience elsewhere.

One great advantage of eating at a restaurant is that you get to try a range of international cuisines, ranging from the Eastern to the Mediterranean. You could enjoy the fine meat preparations offered by Arabic restaurants or choose the exotic Filipino dishes like Sisig, Lechon Kawali and Laing offered by Filipino restaurants. Not to mention the Indian restaurants serving their mouth watering dals and curries and the much loved authentic Chinese restaurants which are a favorite with many people. For an indulgent evening, you could opt for a five course meal at an Italian restaurant. The first course is the antipasti or appetizers like garlic bread followed by pastas or soups as a second course or primi. The main dish or secondi usually comprises fish or meat platters, which are served along with side dishes or controni. The last course of this extravagant meal is the dolce or the dessert.

But eating out is not just about the food. The ambience of a restaurant is just as important. Most restaurants take great care of their decor, design and lighting to ensure a relaxing environment. A lot of restaurants liven up their interiors with vibrant colors and interesting posters, paintings or motifs. Some restaurants bring to their decor a touch of the culture of their country, so that your meal is a complete international experience. Music is another part of the ambience. While some restaurants stream lounge music which you can enjoy with your food, others have live bands playing.

Depending on your mood, tastes and time at hand, you can choose which restaurant to visit. Many restaurants offer power lunches for busy executives. If you have time, you could enjoy a lazy meal with some entertainment or choose a restaurant suited for a romantic evening out. Restaurants also offer a range of refreshing drinks, tropical delights and choicest wines. For those of you with a sweet tooth, there are a range of fine desserts, fresh fruit ice creams and goodies offered by most restaurants to pamper you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Executive Gift, Gourmet Smoked Alaskan Salmon

A smoked salmon gift box from Alaska offers sincere thoughtfulness and exceptional gourmet taste in the same gift. Wild caught Alaska Sockeye Salmon are know world wide for flavor and are considered the very best smoked fish product on the market. For a gift of distinction, it makes an ideal executive gift.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well” – Voltair

A sockeye salmon fights the net as it is drawn from the ice cold Alaskan waters. The fisherman lands an exceptional fish and spends an enormous amount of money shipping the smoked fillets home, but it’s worth it because he knows there is nothing like the taste of smoked Alaskan sockeye salmon.

A fishing trip to Alaska might be out of the question as a gift for the executives in your firm, but you can still show genuine appreciation by giving the gift of a smoked salmon gift box.

The purchase of this unique corporate gift can help your team leaders know that they are appreciated. It may seem like such a simple thing, but the executive teams in many corporations receive less recognition than their contributions deserve. It’s safe to say that these team members are, in fact, highly valued, yet there is just so much involved in operating a successful business that one forgets the power of tangible expressions of gratitude.

Imagine the boost in morale when a cherry finish wood gift box housing eight ounces of the finest tasting smoked Copper River sockeye salmon, is presented as a gift of goodwill, acknowledging the contributions of your management team.

Part of successful management is making sure the executives understand the core mission of the company and evidence the motivation to help the company reach difficult goals. A timely executive gift may help you achieve many separate, but connected goals. With such a unique corporate gift your staff understands much valued appreciation while finding motivation to continue in tough circumstances by knowing that they are highly esteemed through their work ethic and unique skills.

Smoked salmon is also a useful gift in courting, maintaining and thanking existing clientele. Your customers may have a choice when it comes to using your services or goods. They can always find a new firm to work with. In times of limited brand loyalty, a well timed gift to a valued customer may be the key that keeps them on the books. A smoked salmon gift box says a lot about the goodwill and appreciation your firm has for valued customers.

These highly prized and great tasting smoked salmon gift boxes are accessible online and can be ordered and delivered when convenient for you. A few simple clicks of the mouse and you’ve avoided traffic and parking issues while taking care of an often neglected part of good management and customer relations.

If your leadership team and customer base are used to pens and calendars, the gift of smoked salmon is sure to leave them talking. This approach will provide a well remembered taste tempting memento of the value you have attached to their contributions to the success of your company.

The gift of smoked salmon also shows your clients and staff that you care about their health as well. Smoked salmon is high in omega-three fatty acids and is low in caloric content. The tremendous taste of smoked salmon is linked with cholesterol reduction and heart health. It’s not often a gift this decadent also has such well established health benefits.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Everyone Loves Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are like me, you remember how much you loved visiting grandma's house as a kid. You loved it because you got spoiled there. She let you play any game you wanted, you got to be silly and goofy, and you could even have candy before dinner. Grandma let you do all of the things that your mom said no to. But there is another reason kids love going to grandma's house to visit: her chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate cookies are loved by most people I know. And most of us discovered our love for them as small children in the comfort of grandma's kitchen. For some reason her cookies were always much better than mom's. Maybe it is because they were always hot and soft or because she probably let you eat as many as you wanted. Whatever the reason, one thing is sure. You loved, and maybe still do love, chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are the perfect snack. You can eat them when they are warm and right out of the oven or you can save them for a few days and still enjoy them just as much. Some people even love to eat the dough of the chocolate chip cookies before they are baked. Not many other snacks can be eaten in so many fun ways. Perfect with a glass of milk, chocolate cookies can be enjoyed after school, just before bed, and during any season of the year. They are just as good when it is freezing cold outside as they are in the middle of summer.

Chocolate chip cookies are the most famous kind of cookies. Everyone has eaten one and most everyone loves them. You can find them in every grocery store and bakery you enter, and most every cook I know has a special recipe to make the perfect batch. Chocolate chip cookies are great because they are made with a few simple ingredients, most of which you have in the house all the time.

Making chocolate chip cookies is a perfect way to get children started working in a kitchen and learning to cook. All kids love to help mom with mixing and pouring the ingredients together, and there is nothing better to let kids experiment with than chocolate chip cookies. Kids can get involved and have a special job to do and they can see and taste the results of their hard work. Baking chocolate chip cookies is a great family building activity that can fill any Saturday afternoon with fun.

So the next time you remember how great grandma's chocolate chip cookies really were, get out your own secret recipe and get your whole family to make the special memory of making and baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everyday Accounting

By the end of the day, imagine the amount of money you have spent. Just think for a second. Some of you may not have spent much at all, if anything. The rest of us generally spend more than we need to; or at least, we spend more than we realize. This all adds up, sometimes to financial heights that incrementally sap our wallets. While it may not seem significant, this price analogy should quell potential disinterest: people find it unsavory to purchase a thirty-dollar item each day, yet they easily spend thirty dollars incrementally, perhaps because they are not as aware. They are not aware, for example, of their fixed spending (insurance, payments, bills...).

Simple everyday accounting helps to raise awareness.

Save money by logging day-to-day expenses, especially expendable purchases. Either log purchases into a pocket notepad, or simply remember them inside your head. Accounting simply entails adding up purchases, either in print or no print. Do this for one routine day and, depending on your habits, you may be surprised. The psychology behind our purchases lay in how cheap we perceive things to be. So while we may feel guilt in buying a single thirty-dollar item, we would feel less so with three ten-dollar items. Regardless of getting more bang for your buck, the sum total still balances out. The difficulty comes in the temptation of the ten-dollar items; because it leads us to spend more than we like. This can be a financial strain concerning day-to-day purchases; finances usually reserved for long term matters like insurance and payments.

The principle vice points to food. The more food purchased, the more money spent, the greater calories gained. A scientist need not mention the symbiosis of food spending and weight gain. This example of food purchases should be the most obvious habit of anyone with even a meager amount of disposable income. Unless you pack your meals from home, accounting for your food purchases can be a clear indication of your spending habits. In fact, it may compel a person to pack more often. In theory, this can lead to weight loss, as people tend to be less picky with what they bring from home, versus the plethora of fast food chains and hearty restaurants. Give it a shot, and likewise, you may be in for a surprise.

The goal of everyday accounting: to fatten your wallets; or, to keep your wallets fat. The act of spending should not be passive. It has an immediate affect on lifestyle, because it brings awareness to everyday excesses. It makes common sense to save money. And the way to account for your disposable income is to factor in the amount you make from your job. With the aforementioned example of food, add in other daily expenses, like gas. With the information provided by your log of one routine day (or week), calculate the total amount of money spent. Now, with the sum total, find out at what percent it eats up from an average paycheck.

Yes, disposable income is disposable income. Yet what sacrifices can be made? What corners can be cut? Chances are the most expensive, routine items from your log are the expendable or replaceable items. Just be sure to optimize your purchases, and keep that wallet stuffed. Becoming aware of what you buy may lead to a rewarding change in lifestyle, and will alleviate conflicts with fixed spending variables, like bills and insurance.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enjoy Premium Coffee and Its Many Benefits

Coffee drinkers have enjoyed smelling coffee's soothing aroma and drinking coffee as a morning treat for thousands of years. It's often used as a "pick-me-up" to get going in the mornings, as a warming drink during cold winter weather, and even as a treat after meals. In recent years, more and more coffee distributors have been exploring different flavors of coffee, trying out new ground coffees and coffee blends. If you're a coffee drinker, here are some ways to enjoy premium coffee to the fullest and its many benefits.

Premium coffee has been around for years, but not quite in the variety that it's available today. Now you can even go online to order almost any type of coffee beans you'd like. You can order world coffee from many different countries to try all the different coffee blends. You can order roasted coffee, strong coffee, or Kona coffee. There are so many types of coffee that the choices seem endless.

Cold and Flavored Coffee

Another enjoyable type of coffee that's popular today is a cold coffee or iced coffee beverage. There are a variety of cappuccinos, which are specially flavored blends of coffee, milk, and other ingredients to create a sweet coffee-like treat. Then, you can try an iced latte, espresso, and other premium coffee beverages as an alternative to milkshakes and other beverage treats. These even make a great treat for kids.... but don't allow them to drink too much coffee or they might bounce off the walls for a while!

Health Benefits of Coffee

There are conflicting beliefs about the health benefits of coffee, but like any other natural food or beverage, the issue is usually "how much" a person should eat or drink rather than "if" they should. Regular, moderate premium coffee consumption has been linked to many health benefits. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less susceptive to certain ailments such as Alzheimer's disease, gallstones, diabetes, depression, and Parkinson's disease. There are many natural antioxidants contained in ground coffee and coffee beans. Antioxidants aid in the removal of toxins in our bodies and help prevent disease.

On the negative side, coffee also has extremely high caffeine content. Caffeine can provide a sudden boost of energy, but can also cause long-term health ailments if consumed too much, such as a heart rate increase, high blood pressure, or an irregular heartbeat. Coffee is also highly acidic, which can cause a decrease in oxygen levels in the body and a build up of lactic acid. Luckily for those who need to limit their caffeine intake, there is decaf coffee that has most of the caffeine removed.

So as with many natural foods and drinks, drinking coffee in moderation is still the best way to enjoy its health benefits and other benefits as well.

Choose Premium Coffee Online that Excites Your Taste Buds

The good thing about buying premium coffee online is you can obtain the freshest coffee and choose from a number of coffee blends to excite your taste buds. Even coffee drinkers have different preferences when it comes to coffee blends. Ordering premium coffee online enables you to try out all the blends and discover which coffees you like best. And, you can order these from your home at affordable rates. Many of the special coffee blends can't be found at local grocery stores, so you can pick and choose from a wide selection of ground coffee from around the world.

Online premium coffee offers you the beverage you've always loved but with more blends and choices than ever. Try out all the great coffees at your favorite online coffee store today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Enhance Marketing of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are usually more difficult to market than to produce. There are ready markets available daily or weekly for grain and livestock in almost all areas of the United States. There are few similar markets for fruits and vegetables. Most commodities are produced in abundance and long established market channels may be closed to small scale or new producers. A producer may need several years to establish a marketing program. The number of produce buyers has decreased rapidly in recent years. One major nationwide supermarket chain has plans to consolidate the number of buying stations for produce to eight in the United States. A grower has little chance of selling to a local store in a supermarket chain as purchases are made through a central warehouse. As the number of buyers has decreased, the number of producers has decreased, but their acreage has increased considerably. There is often a delay of four to six months after shipment in receiving payment in the wholesale market system when selling through a broker. This often presents a cash flow problem for many growers. Wholesale buyers have strict and specific product quality, grade, and packaging requirements. These purchasing practices and price squeezes have eliminated market availability to many producers.

The future shows more promise for large scale producers or small scale producers than for mid sized producers. The large scale producer can afford the large equipment needed for production, and the use of migrant labor. Small scale producers can use smaller equipment, often hand operated, and family or local labor to substitute for other equipment. Large producers are linked through brokers to supply produce over a relatively long season or year round and it is difficult for small scale producers to supply the quantity and quality required over a long period. Both types of producers can be highly successful or can go broke as production and marketing practices are highly volatile. A mid sized producer is less efficient, and often can't economically justify the purchase of needed equipment or substitute labor for equipment.

The small scale producer needs to seek local market channels. There are opportunities, but a producer must work to find them. Direct to the consumer markets bring highest prices to the producer, but also require more producer time in marketing. A diverse group of crops is ideal, since market demand changes rapidly. A commodity may sell well and bring high prices for a long period, but demand and prices may drop drastically over night. Supply and demand has a tremendous effect on marketability and prices of produce. There are no federal support prices for fruits and vegetables to help the grower when market demand or prices drop. Pick-your-own was a popular practice a few years ago. Society has changed and many people do not have time for harvest. Most consumers would rather buy produce that is harvested, and a popular developing trend is to prepare produce for the market that is as near ready to eat as possible. Precut salads and green beans are good examples of this practice. Shelf life of precut produce is relatively short, and cooling is essential.

There are opportunities for small scale producers for on-farm markets, organized farm markets, locally owned supermarkets, and locally owned fruit and vegetable markets. When selling to any market, and especially to local supermarkets or fruit and vegetable markets, good communication between producer and buyer is essential. A producer needs to know what, when, and how much the buyer can use. The buyer needs to know what is available and when, as he has to keep the shelves stocked. Determining a fair price can be difficult. Daily market prices are available on the internet. County Extension personnel can access this information for producers. Retailers generally double the price paid to account for shrinkage and spoilage.

Crop and variety selection are critical factors in marketing. Buyers are indifferent to the origin of most crops. Locally grown produce is much preferred versus other crops, primarily due to the difference in quality (flavor). Preferences for locally grown fruit and vegetable crops are apparent for sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches. These commodities either are harvested for shipping before top quality is attained, or rapidly lose quality during post harvest handling and shipping.

Different varieties may be used in shipping markets as compared to local markets. The sweet corn shipping market uses mostly supersweet type varieties. Local markets may use supersweet type varieties, but usually prefer SE or SU type varieties. Certain crops or varieties are preferred in specific locations, and a ready local market may exist for a specific item that is not widely available.

A local Crossville, Tennessee market owner recently shared a list of items that he had difficulty in obtaining, and that he needed during the summer season. His list included Half Runner, McCaslan, Caseknife and Greasy beans; pickling cucumbers of 1.5 to 2 inch diameter; fresh highly flavored sweet corn (yellow, white and bicolor); Red Cayanne pepper; colored bell pepper; Kennebec and Yukon Gold potatoes; watermelons (seedy and seedless), strawberries; greenhouse tomatoes (fall, winter, and spring seasons); and highly flavored local tomatoes in the summer season. He had an idea for a tomato festival that included tomato varieties not routinely found in regular market channels. This would include Rutgers, Celebrity, cherry, beefsteak, pink, yellow, yellow and red striped, and pear shaped varieties. Many of these varieties are less productive and have other production problems, but have excellent flavor compared to the standard commercial hybrid varieties. There is a marketing opportunity through this market at Crossville, and similar situations probably exist in most locations in the United States. A producer needs to search for such market opportunities.
The budgets and profitability of crops is another factor in production. Tomatoes have consistently been the most profitable crop for Tennessee producers. Greenhouse production is completely different, but is a rapidly growing enterprise in Tennessee. Sweet corn can be profitable, especially if a high plant population is used to provide high yields. We are planting twice the population (23,500 plants/A) than was planted several years ago, and are evaluating spacings for higher populations. Budgets that detail costs of production and likely returns are available for most crops, or a grower can develop their own budget.

Tree fruit production does not fit well into small scale agricultural production. The time between planting a tree and the first economic fruit harvest is relatively long. Large equipment is necessary to apply pesticides 10 to 12 times annually starting at the first bud break. Many pesticides are restricted use, and require special handling procedures. Trees need to be pruned at planting and annually in late winter.

Grapes offer some opportunity, but strawberries and blueberries are small fruit that offer more opportunity for small scale producers. Large fruit are required for successful marketing of strawberries and blueberries. Drip irrigation is needed in most areas for stand establishment and crop production. Overhead sprinkler irrigation is often necessary for frost protection. Strawberry production systems are changing from matted row to annual production. The culture of each system is entirely different.

Harvest of fruit and vegetable crops at the proper maturity is essential. Many crops have a very narrow harvest window, and proper maturity is needed to insure a marketable product. Crops that producers tend to harvest early are sweet corn and bell pepper. Sweet corn that is not fully mature has less flavor, and little usable grain. Immature bell pepper pods wilt rapidly and are not attractive. Crops that can easily be harvested too late are sweet corn, bell pepper, and green beans. Bell pepper may be harvested with some color showing. Most markets want a green or colored pepper pod, and not a partially colored pod. Sweet corn and green beans become tough rapidly is allowed to become overmature. Tomatoes are best harvested in the pink stage and harvesting twice a week may be needed for proper maturity. Pink tomatoes have full flavor. Fruit rot, cracking, and bruising may be less when harvest is at the pink stage.

Packaging of produce is a critical factor in marketing. Containers should protect the product and be attractive. Standard packs vary according to the type of product and the market demand, but many buyers require the use of standard size containers. Some routine container sizes are half bushels, bushels, 1 + 1/9 bushel, standard sweet corn crates to hold 4 ½ dozen ears, and pints or quarts for berries. Many different types of materials are used in containers. Waxed pasteboard cartons are very widely used. Snap bean and sweet corn buyers often prefer wire bound wooden boxes. Melons are often sold in bulk cardboard boxes that hold approximately 250 muskmelon. Many markets may require specific counts and product size. for the container. Peppers and tomatoes are specific crops sold by uniform size. Peppers are usually boxed as extra large (40 to 50 -pods/1 + 1/9 bushel) to small (70 to 80 pods/1 + 1/9 bu box). This relatively uniform size allows the retail vendor to sell pepper pods by count. Prepacking in small consumer packages such as 3 potatoes or tomatoes is becoming more of a demand at the producer level. Local markets may have more or less stringent packaging requirements.

Product identification can be a useful tool in marketing. Certain areas or growers have developed a name for their product. Some examples are Vidalia onions, Granger County tomatoes, Washington apples, and Idaho potatoes. Product identification can work well for anyone who wants to stress and maintain quality. It should pay in repeat sales and prices received by the grower. We are considering this approach in Tennessee for Tri-X-Shadow seedless watermelon which has exceptional quality. An identification label could be attached to each melon citing the identification (maybe Tennessee Seedless).

Harvested fruits and vegetables are perishable, and quality loss starts immediately after harvest. Rapid marketing to insure freshness is a desirable feature of locally grown produce. Produce, not sold immediately, needs to be stored properly to maintain appearance, flavor, and quality. Time of harvest, cooling, and storing in shaded areas will help retain quality. Produce harvested early in the morning is cooler than if harvest is later in the day. Quality of products such as green beans, sweet corn, peppers, and peaches benefit from hydrocooling. Hydrocooled produce needs to be kept in a cooler to maintain the proper storage temperature after hydrocooling. Products such as broccoli and sweet corn benefit from storage with ice in the container or placed on ice to maintain a low temperature and to avoid drying of the produce. Produce that has been cooled, should be maintained in cool.

Monday, June 14, 2010

English Cheeses - The Glory Of Vintage Stilton

Cheese was originally developed as a way of preserving milk. Now cheese is classed as a gourmet food, well, some cheese anyway.

Cheeses from different regions have their own characteristic texture and taste because the conditions that the bacterial fermentation is carried out under differ. Cheese makers can use fresh or pasteurised milk, skimmed or whole milk and add colouring. Different pH levels for the fermentation and different temperatures will alll affect the taste and texture of the finished product.

Cheese is a very personal thing. Many people will not have foreign cheese. French people have never heard of the majority of English cheeses. I enjoy French cheese, but I will try anything.

Camembert and Brie are made from pasteurised and from unpasteurised milk. Look for cheeses made from unpasteurised milk. They bear no resemblance to the tasteless and bland pasteurised varieties. Unpasteurised cheese is not suitable for very young children or the elderly.

English cheese is what I was brought up on. My lunch used to be 1/4 of Lancashire cheese ( and a steak and kidney pie). Lancashire cheese is mild, very pale and very crumbly. It is best cut from a whole cheese. Shrink wrapped lancashire cheese is fine for cooking, but that's all. You can only keep lancashire cheese for three or four days. The taste deteriorates on exposure to air. Lancashire is the best cheese for making toasted sandwiches, it has a very high melting point.

Red Leicester cheese is another favourite. This has a nutty taste and should have cracks in it. This is another cheese that is infinitely better when freshly cut, rather than shrink wrapped. Red Leicester has better keeping properties than Lancashire and also works well on toasted sandwiches.

Stilton cheese is made in Leicestershire and has blue veins running through it. You can buy mature, extra mature and vintage Stilton. Be aware though that once you have developed a taste for the vintage cheese that you can never go back to the ordinary supermarket variety.

The extra cost for the vintage cheese is not high, yet the taste comparison is unbelievable. You can recognise a good stilton by the rind. It should be about about one centimetre thick, crusty and a deep creamy yellow. The cheese itself should be deep yellow with plenty of blue veins through it. Most people do not eat the rind on Stilton, but it is edible.

If you eat vintage stilton without drinking a ten or twenty years old port with it you are missing a taste combination that can only be desrcibed as ecstatic. You can judge the quality of the port by how far up your sinuses the taste goes. The best port and Stilton combination I have ever tasted was a 1991 Noval LB with a vintage Stilton. WOW! That made my eyes pop out, the taste senation went so far up my sinuses.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eight Reasons Why Menu Planning Is A Terrible Idea

Have you heard about meal planning lately? Families are busy and getting busier all the time. As families work on getting organized, many home managers are turning to meal planning as a way to eliminate the evening stress in their homes.

However, meal planning is not for everyone. Here are eight reasons why meal planning just may be a terrible idea for you and your family.

1. You enjoy eating unhealthy fast-food three to five times per week.

2. You love the taste of pre-packaged preservative packed frozen convenience food.

3. Spending $200 and 2 hours at the grocery store, only to come home to discover that there is nothing to cook for dinner is one of your favorite things to do.

4. You enjoy the stress of running around like crazy at dinner time trying to figure out what to cook while your children and husband are hungry and crabby.

5. You like your food rut of spaghetti, hot dogs, pizza, repeat.

6. You have no other way to spend the extra $100 you spend each week eating out.

7. You have nothing better to do at 5 o’clock every day then to go to the grocery store. It’s enjoyable to daily spend extra money on groceries as additional items “fall” into your cart.

8. You have no desire to enjoy a home cooked meal around the dinner table with your family. You feel spending time with your family is a complete waste of time.

If you agree with the above statements please do not ever try meal planning – it is probably a terrible idea. On the other hand, if you possibly disagree with at least one of the above statements perhaps it is time to give menu planning a try!

If you would like a weekly menu plan delivered directly to your e-mail box we’d be happy to help.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

E-Banks that Accept US Casino Players

Recently, the US Federal government banned online casinos from operating in America by making it illegal to transfer money to them through any US bank or payment system. As a result of this law, most of the popular online casino networks such as Party Gaming and PlayTech left the United States. Overnight, online casino players found themselves being chased by the Federal government.

But, after a fortnight, the online casino industry came up with a solution and new online casinos started taking root. These began to operate under a different business umbrella, and by doing that, rendered the transfer of money to and from them legal. A major part of this was enlisting electronic banking systems that would accept this new clarification and start doing business with me. Listed in this article are the electronic banking systems that accept players from the United States that wish to play in online casinos.

The Payment Systems You Can Use:
1, 2) MasterCard and Visa:
The most popular credit cards in the world, you can use these for depositing money into your casino account. But, please note that the casinos do not deposit your winning through your credit card. They use one of the other electronic payment systems. This is also the biggest reason why you should refrain from using your personal credit cards today for gambling.

3, 4) Visa Delta, Visa Electron:
These are debit cards that one can use to deposit cash into their casino account. By debit card, it means that the money you pay through the card, is immediately withdrawn from your bank account. This is a comfortable option, but here too, you cannot receive money into it.

5) Neteller:
Based in the UK and traded on the London AIM Stock Exchange, this e-bank company is one of the major independent electronic banking entities in the world, and it allows players to transfer money to and from an online casino.

6) Neteller Instacash
This is Neteller's version of the Debit Card, and, in fact, it is just like any other debit card with one difference. To use, InstaCash, you have to pay a small amount. But, most casinos will offer to pay this for you, so read their regulations.

7) EcoCard
Based in the European Union, EcoCard offers a wider range of electronic banking solutions than the other e-banks. Other than the regular card and debit system, you can decide beforehand how to create a flexible financial account. Because they use a wide network of banks in Europe, transactions made through EcoCard are quick and efficient.

8) FirePay
This e-banking system is solely web-based and carries out its transactions just like a debit card. You place cash into your FirePay account, and then, you can use that money to pay or deposit into your casino account. While it will not cost you a dime to open an account, you will be charged a minimal amount each time you transfer money from your bank account to FirePay.

9) Moneybookers
All you need to open an account is an email address! This e-banking system uses transactions from your credit or debit card or your bank account to whichever company you wish to move your money to. Regulated in the UK and run by Gatcombe Park Ventures Limited, this is one of the relatively new e-finance companies that allow transferring money to online casinos.

10) eWalletXpress:
Owned and run by Navaho Networks Inc, eWalletXpress is a new electronic payment system that has been created to answer the need for US players to transfer funds to online casinos.

11) 900Pay:
This is a completely different e-banking system. Instead of charging your bank account or your credit card, 900Pay charges your telephone bill for all your financial transactions. This is one of the fastest methods of electronic payment because you do not have to go through a long and detailed sign up process. And, if you were wondering, this does work to fund your casino account.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eating Low On The Food Chain: Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is becoming more and more popular. Some people chose to become vegetarian because of health issues, animal right issues or they simply don’t enjoy the taste of meat. There are several types of vegetarians which include semi vegetarians, who still eat meat, but eat meat and all animal products in small amounts. These type of vegetarians usually eat this way because of a health problem such as high blood pressure, obesity or heart disease. Lacto-ovo vegetarians don’t eat any meat but include dairy products and eggs in their diet, this is the most common type of vegetarian in Western cultures. There are also lacto vegetarians, who do not eat eggs, but still eat dairy. The last and most extreme type of vegetarian is a vegan. This type of vegetarian doesn’t include any type of animal products in their diet, including honey and gelatins. They often avoid wearing clothing made out of leather or wool and only use products which are not tested on animals. Most vegans become vegetarians because of issues concerning animal rights. Some vegetarians will only eat white meats, such as chicken or fish, or will only eat meat that is labeled “free range”, which indicates that the animals were not raised under cruel conditions.

A lot of people who eat meat can’t understand how a vegetarian can be healthy. The truth is that vegetarians tend to be a lot healthier than meat eaters. Statistics show that meat eaters are three times more likely to develop heart disease or breast cancer than vegetarians. Meat eaters are also 400% more likely to develop colon cancer. Eating too much meat has also been linked to obesity and excess weight. On average, vegetarians live about 6 years longer than meat eaters.

If you decide you want to become vegetarian, you have to make sure you are consuming enough healthy foods. A healthy vegetarian doesn’t survive off of white bread and pasta alone. Make sure to include a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain pastas, breads and rice, lots of beans and legumes, soy proteins, tofu, and nuts. Make sure you get adequate amounts of calcium by eating a lot of soy milk, tofu, spinach, kale and other vegetables high in calcium. If you are still eating dairy products and eggs, make sure you are consuming them in healthy amounts.

By switching to a vegetarian diet, you will improve you’re health and lose weight as long as you are eating the right foods. There is a lot of information on the internet concerning the issue of vegetarianism, so you can find out which type of vegetarianism is right for you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Earl Grey Tea - The Unique Flavor of Earl Grey Tea

The smoky and fragrant taste of Earl Grey is a unique experience that many people can not get enough of. Described as a spicy citrus flavor, Earl Grey is a hard to describe taste that is unforgettable once tasted. Apparently Captain Picard of Star Trek fame will not drink anything else!

Although many people consider Earl Grey as a type of tea, any black tea with bergamot flavor added is in fact Earl Grey. Some manufacturers will even use their lower quality black tea to make Early Grey in the belief that the strong flavor of bergamot will mask the poor taste of the tea. Mostly taken black with maybe a slice of lemon added, Earl Grey is nevertheless one of the most popular of all the flavored teas in the world.

The Origin of Earl Grey Tea

Earl Charles Grey was the Prime Minister of Great Britain in 1830. The story is that while on a diplomatic trip to China, he saved the life of a mandarin. To show his gratitude, the mandarin gifted Earl Grey a special tea, which the Prime Minister took back to England with him. The tea quickly became a favorite in the Earls drawing room, and he asked his personal tea supplier to reproduce the same flavor for him. The new tea became fashionable and eventually spread throughout England and the rest of the world.

It is a good story, but unlikely to contain much truth! Charles Grey never visited China and the Chinese drink very little black tea in any case, which means the true origin of Earl Grey tea is still a mystery.


Bergamot is a citrus tree that is cultivated on the south coast of Italy. Also known as the Princes Pear, the fruit is inedible but the oil extracted from it is used to fragrance perfume as well as tea. The oil was an ingredient of one of the first Eau de Cologne ever made. (It is quite different from the herb called bergamot) The fruit is a cross between lemon, orange and grapefruit, sometimes compared to orange blossom.

In the winter months, before it ripens, the fruit harvest is picked by hand. Specially made cold presses are used to extract the bergamot essence, which is then stored for at least a year. Bergamot is used in aromatherapy to treat depression, and also has anti-microbial effects that can strengthen the resistance of the body to colds and illnesses. Perhaps Earl Grey tea is a good remedy for winter sniffles!

The Taste of Lady Grey

Popular consensus in the time of Earl Grey held that tea made women over-excitable, causing impropriety in the female temperament. Orange, lemon and bergamot were added to tea to calm these impulses, and Lady Grey tea was invented. Today many people still enjoy the taste; not limited to female drinkers!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dubai Vend 2006 Exhibition

Dubai, 12th July 2006 - One year after its successful inauguration in May 2005, the 2nd “Dubai International Vending Machines Exhibition” is again set to take place this year from 14-17 November in Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and certainly the Middle East’s most vibrant and rapidly expanding business hub. Organised and managed by its founders, the Dubai-based prestigious event management company “In Time Events LLC”, this exhibition is expected to attract more than 6,000 visitors during the course of this 4-day event, displaying a comprehensive portfolio of the latest in vending machines and its related products by more than 170 exhibiting importers, distributors and traders from around the world.

As an event unique of its kind in the Gulf region and the UAE in particular, this 2nd edition of the “Dubai International Vending Machines Exhibition” caters to the specific needs of the fast growing retail industry for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), as well as to the open public and governmental institutions, among who also is the Dubai Municipality. The exhibition will be complemented by a choice of high profile industry leaders who will be sharing their thoughts on the industry with the audience by giving some in-depth background information on the businesses and competitive environment which they are affiliated with. The 2nd “Dubai International Vending Machines Exhibition” is the ideal platform for decision-makers and other business professionals, such as financial institutions, franchisers, industry consultants, associations and private sector representatives to meet, exchange ideas and create future relationships of sustainable mutual benefit.

On the same occasion, the “Dubai International Vending Machines Exhibition” will be accompanied by the “Dubai International Soft Drinks Exhibition”, which also is to take place during the period 14-17 November 2006 – Dubai Creek Park having such sophisticated and mutually enhancing exhibitions in place ensures a high degree of value added to each of these events.

For more information please do get directly in touch with
In Time Events LLC
Tel.: +971 (04) 2953379
Fax: +971 (04) 2953374
Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Or visit and

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The delicious world of German Beer

Most German beers are popular, because they are vegan (no animal products are used). Bavarian purity laws require them to use four ingredients only: water, grain, hops and yeast. Real German beer is also not pasteurized as many American beers are, which allows the beers real flavor to flourish. Listed below is some of the different types of German beers typically found in Bavaria and what you can expect if you order one of these types. "Helles" ( A lite beer) The standard light beer, when you order a "Helles" in a pub or restaurant you will usually get a pint. Depending on the brewer it can be quite refreshing. Some beer gardens have responded to the public's outcry for smaller quantities and now also offer them outdoors, the "real" beer garden only serves the "Maß" (one quart). By the way, this precise nation has laws governing the quantity of liquids served to the public, that is why you will find level markers on each glass. If your Maß looks like it is not quite 1 liter after the foam settles, just go back and say "bitte nachschenken". The man at the keg will be impressed that you know your way around. "Pils" (Pilsener) If you like a more bitter and less malty taste try the pils which is also called pilsener. You can order them in restaurants and special pils bars. Take a closer look at the time consuming process of serving a foam crowned pils with perfection. You will see dozens of glasses filled with foam only, waiting to settle. It can take a good quarter of an hour for the foam refills to turn into the golden liquid. This particular beer is arguably the closest to American beer you will find in Germany. "Dunkeles" (A dark beer) Against popular beliefs it is not the most powerful in alcohol contents. It is basically a lager bottom brewed beer containing "toasted" malt. Many enjoy mixing this with cola. "Weissbier" (A white beer) A very good idea on a hot day when you prefer a lighter tasting beer. Weizen means wheat, often called a Weissbier (white), and is served in tall and elegant 1/2 liter glasses. But beware of its "light" character it is the strongest in alcohol content. While some will serve it with a slice of lemon, do not put one in your Hefe (yeast) Weissbier. The Hefeweissbier comes only in bottles. A professional will wet the glass and pour the bottle at a steep angle. With the foam that remains at the bottom of the bottle he will collect the yeast (swirling action) and add it to your beer. Bock and Doppelbock (A Bock beer) Bock is a term used for a stronger beer (doppel meaning double). Fasting monks found an ingenious way of compensating the lack of food - they started brewing very strong beers. March and October are the two most prominent seasons for brewing these special beers but you can find them year round.

What Is Organic Food And Should I Buy It?

Organic food is the food derived from animals and plants that have been grown and raised in accordance with the strict guidelines associated with government’s definition of the term, “organic.” In order to be certified as an organic food, food must be grown without the use of products such as manufactured fertilizers, synthetic or man-made pesticides, additives that control or modify growth, antibodies, and/or and livestock feed containing additives. Organic Foods Once Just a Niche Market It wasn’t that long ago that “eating organic” was something only a relatively small number of people did. Back in the 1960’s, life was changing. Women were beginning to work outside the home and the trend then was convenience. Processed foods meant a good meal could be delivered to the table in a fraction of the time. The market for frozen and processed foods literally took off. Organic food was definitely not something that most people gave much attention to especially since there no longer was enough time to visit the butcher, the produce vendor and the dairy farm. A quick trip to the supermarket could now provide a family with enough food for several days. And that’s how life continued, fueled by the need for speed and convenience. Organic Foods Go Mainstream Lately, people’s feelings towards the foods they eat are changing once again. This time, the change is being fueled by the feeling that people no longer know what they’re putting into their bodies. The news today is filled with stories of E. coli outbreaks, genetic food engineering, the potential dangers of eating foods that are shot up with growth hormones to make them bigger and better, and other frightening information. Tired of feeling out of control, eating organic has become chic and has definitely become the latest trend in eating among people from all levels of society. True organic food is more expensive than non-organic food, but the trade-offs are well worth the additional cost. Not only is organic food better for those who consume it, the people who eat organic foods claim these foods actually taste better than those grown and raised without this strict definition. In fact, eating organic is the best way and really is the only way to feel 100% confident about the foods that are consumed. Meeting the New Demand Today, organic food is big business and an ever-growing segment of the food industry. Farmers are changing the way they grow their foods to take advantage of this increased demand. Unfortunately for produce growers, it can take up to 2 full years for the land to cleanse itself of the synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that have been applied during all the years prior to growing organic. But the wait is a worthwhile trade-off as well. Organic foods are so popular that it’s no longer necessary to shop for them at specialty stores. In fact, large grocery store chains are constantly devoting more shelf space to meet the ever-growing needs of organic food devotees.

Dry Rub – For That Magic Touch In Your Barbecue

Dry rub is a culmination of a variety of spices that can tickle your taste buds. It is not only used for seasoning your poultry or beef, but also added to invite those unconventional yet delightful flavors to vegetables, salads and casseroles. Moreover, how on earth can one avoid the spiced up sandwiches, thanks to dry rub.

Rubs are either used in their dry form or mixed up with some sort of liquid preferably oil. And if dry rub is mixed with oil it might as well be referred as wet rub or paste. Wet rub or paste for that matter brings that heavenly flavor for grilled or roasted meat. The oil simply helps the spices to stick to the respective meat furthering the roasting process.

A mixture of rubs with mustard and horseradish and the subsequent paste can be used to coat briskets prior to their long slow smoking. No wonder dry rub is an absolute ‘must’ especially in barbecues. If you are arranging for a bar-b-q then make sure that you have rubs because that’s how the cuisine will become more delectable.

If you have tasted dry rub for once, you would no longer cater to chilies or pepper for that matter. It is not only hot but the hottest of all in the tinsel town of hot sauces. There are no boundaries, no limits as regards the usage of rubs. Be it the rub for marinating meat or for fish or other delicate items, you just name it. It may sound unorthodox but the fact of the matter is that rubs mixed with mustard or mayonnaise can make a sandwich doubly sumptuous. Again it goes without saying that they add an extra touch of flavor in salad dressing.

Presumably adding some rub to your sour cream or yogurt would mean a culinary shock but in reality it works wonders. Sprinkling hot rubs on baked potatoes, rice, french fries, popcorn not only makes them tastier but also shows that it doesn’t get any easier than this.

Speaking of rubs, ones that come to mind are Corky's Dry BBQ Rub and the Jack Daniel's BBQ Rub. The former sets any bar-b-q perk right up & is ideal for ranch salad dressing. The secret to its taste lies in its ingredients like paprika, salt, spices and garlic. While the latter is both an incredible marinade for pork, beef, chicken, seafood and also an excellent seasoning for vegetables, soups and stews. Surprisingly we find natural hickory smoke flavor, flavoring and Jac Daniel's Black Label Whiskey amongst the ingredients other than the conventional combination of salt, sugar, spices, paprika, monosodium glutamate, onion powder and garlic powder.

Rubs are the ultimate culinary destination with its magical flavors that can transform ordinary taste to extraordinary. If you wish to pamper your appetite then you must indulge into rubs, it’s just a sprinkle away. So what are you waiting for? Run to your nearest store or login to the online stores to grab your rubs today!

Monday, June 7, 2010

What To Consider When Buying A Wooden Bar Stool

Wooden bar stools offer quality what ever location they are in, either in the bar or home. A good bar stool design is one that has a padded seat or removable cushion, as comfort is the name of the game and of course a bar stool that can blend into any back ground or interior. Most items of furniture manufactured from wood in many instances will complement almost any room. Think about the décor or themes you have employed in the past. Whether it’s traditional, country, uptown apartment, wooden bar stools really can fit in to most places. In traditionally designed rooms, darker woods or more complex design on bar stool legs or back rests will supply the affluent, yet comfortable design most at home in traditional styles. Padded seats or detachable cushions in deep vibrant colours will set nicely with most decors. With modern décor, bright or darkened wooden bar stools work well together in their respective light and dark back grounds. Some wooden bar stools also use metal trims in their fabrics, this has the advantage of making the bar stools very modern looking. If you want to incorporate wooden bar stools into a country styled décor, a 2 tone designed stool is what you are looking for and has stood the test of time and looks like it will continue for the foreseeable future. You can buy wooden bar stools with 2 coats of paint or just have the 1 coat to improve and harmonize the innate wood finish. Light woods and white or hunter green are the most popular. A deeper colour or rosewood finish can make an off-white colour finish fit in to the sheikest of interiors. Wooden bar stools are strong and can endure a lot of what gets thrown at them and will adapt to many decors. Wooden bar stools are the most versatile of all the different varieties of bar stool designs. Metal bar stools can’t really fit in to any décor that isn’t up market or post modern. When buying your bar stools don’t presume that you will have the same house or keep to the decoration plan so choose the style carefully. It's much more logical to invest in furniture that will last for ages. Wooden bar stools will be around no matter what trends hit your home. A simple change of upholstery or change of chair pad, and your wooden stools have had a makeover!

Drink Up

Americans are big drinkers…of water, that is. We keep bottles of water in our cars, at the office, in our gym bag and in our briefcase or purse. Travelers bring water onto planes and trains. I don't remember what we did before bottled water became so popular, but I bet we didn't drink as much.

Most Americans get plenty of fluids, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the scientific body that establishes nutrition recommendations for Americans. In fact, aiming toward a goal of eight daily glasses of water in addition to other fluids in your diet probably is not necessary.

The IOM recommends a total of about nine daily cups of fluid for women and about 13 cups for men. Keep in mind, however, that everything that we drink counts-water, milk, coffee and tea, juice and soft drinks-as do water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Of course, water is calorie-free, which makes it an attractive option.

"Use thirst as your guide," advises Jo Ann Hattner, R.D., a nutrition consultant in San Francisco, Calif. "Drink when you're thirsty and you probably will get enough fluids over the course of the day." Hattner points out that older adults are the exception. "Older adults often don't have a good thirst mechanism so they won't feel thirsty even though their body needs fluids." Be sure to drink a lot if you are physically active, live in a hot climate, or are taking a vacation to a warm and/or dry climate.

Include foods that are high in liquid to help keep your body hydrated. Start the day off with Whole Grain Total topped with milk and fresh fruit. Enjoy soup or a large salad with your lunch. Include vegetables at dinner, along with fruit for dessert. Hattner suggests being aware of the color of your urine to determine whether you've had enough fluids. "If it's light in color, you're fine. If the color is dark, then your urine may be too concentrated and you need to drink up!"

Ask Mindy

Q: Do coffee and tea count? I am a coffee drinker and was told to drink extra water since coffee makes the body lose extra fluid.

A: Coffee and tea do count. Contrary to popular belief, coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are not dehydrating, though they may have a temporary diuretic effect, and do not cause the body to lose extra fluids.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Why We Love Food Network

Whenever I hear someone say they hate television it amazes me. My next question is always “what do you watch?” I never seem to get a straight answer. With the advent of cable television and satellite tv, there is always something on. For food lovers, food network has to be the best thing on television since Julia Child was on the air. Between the celebrities that do the cooking, and the topics and recipes that they pick, what else could you ask for. It really was an ingenious concept, a food channel that is on 24 hour a day all about food. It is even a better fit than the golf channel, or the history channel or any other channel because everyone eats. Once you add the personalities of the ”Celebrity Chefs” to the shows, you can only have a winning formula. Rachael Ray is definitely my favorite, it seems as if, just like all of the chefs that she is always in a great mood, which is always refreshing. Then there's Emeril, who must be the most popular, has combined an open forum with music and celebrity guests. For Emeril to be the standout for food network makes perfect sense, his knowledge of food is unbelievable, he is very easy to like for men and women, and he likes to have fun. It's almost as if you're in his house while he's cooking I don't think that I have ever watched Alton Brown's Good Eats, and not learned something. His information is a lot of did you know, that you probably did not know. Paula Dean's southern style is always warm and friendly. There is a show everyone, which should be the goal of all television networks Food network was a very welcome addition to cable tv land, with the technology of digital cable and tivo, you can have all your favorite shows ready to watch whenever you want. Can you imagine back in the day being able to watch Julia Child whenever you want? Another reason we love food network is their website. It is very informative and anything you see on television you can get from their website. Everything from the recipes that you see, to the actual video. It is pretty easy to navigate and find what you are looking for. Their online store has everything from cookbooks to cooking utensils. With food network becoming more and more popular, we can only hope that it grows and expands to cover more topics and foods.