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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brazilian Cuisine

by: Kirsten Hawkins

It began as most ‘ethnic food movements’ do – with small restaurants in the neighborhoods where immigrants settled, diners and lunchrooms and tea rooms opened by those who wanted to offer a taste of home to their fellow émigrés. Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai – from family run bistros, the cuisine spread as those outside the cultures of the ‘neighborhood’ learned of the good food and the word spread. The latest ‘new cuisine’ that is spreading like wildfire is Brazilian – a delicious blending of three separate cultures that comes together in dishes and delicacies that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

To understand the cuisine of Brazil, one must understand a little of its history. The base of Brazilian cuisine is in its native roots – the foods that sustained the native Brazilians – cassava, yams, fish and meat – but it bears the stamp of two other peoples as well: the Portuguese who came to conquer and stayed, and the African slaves that they brought with them to work the sugar plantations. Brazilian cuisine today is a seamless amalgam of the three influences that interweave in a unique and totally Brazilian style.

The staples of the Brazilian diet are root vegetables, seafood and meat. Manioc, derived from cassava root, is the ‘flour’ of the region, and is eaten in one form or another at nearly every meal. The bitter cassava root is poisonous in its raw state, but when prepared properly, the cassava root yields farinha and tapioca, bases for many dishes of the region. The Portuguese influence shows in the rich, sweet egg breads that are served at nearly every meal, and in the seafood dishes that blend ‘fruits de mer’ with coconut and other native fruits and vegetables. The national dish, bobo de camarao is one of these, a delicious mingling of fresh shrimp in a puree of dried shrimp, manioc (cassava) meal, coconut milk and nuts, flavored with a palm oil called dende.

It is the African influence that is most felt, though – as is to be expected of the people who worked in the kitchens. Pineapple and coconut milk, shredded coconut and palm hearts worked their way into everyday dishes, flavoring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and bread. Brazilian food, unlike the cuisines of many of the surrounding countries, favors the sweet rather than the hot, and more than any other South American cuisine, it carries the savor of tropical island breezes rather than the hot wind of the desert.

The most common ingredients in Brazilian cuisine are cassava, coconut, dende, black beans and rice. Bacalao – salt cod – features in many dishes derived from the Portuguese, but flavored with typical Brazilian insouciance with coconut cream and pistachio nuts it becomes an entirely different food. It is typical of the Brazilian attitude toward food – an expression of a warm and open people to whom feeding and sharing food is the basis of hospitality. Brazilian cuisine is like its people – all are welcome, all are welcomed and all make their mark – without ever overwhelming the contributions of the other.

About the author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Italian Sweets

by: Kirsten Hawkins

The regional cuisine of Italy is surely a delight to the senses. With the pasta, seafood, savory meats and cheeses, and delicious crusty breads, it is hard to stop yourself from eating until you are packed full. However, if you do not remember to save a little room, you may miss out on the best part: dessert. No one does desserts quite like the Italians. From simple fruity finger foods to savory layered tortes, the Italian’s make desserts for every palette. From the chocolate lover to someone looking for something lighter and more refreshing, you are sure to find something to your looking in an Italian bakery.

One of my favorite Italian desserts has been a staple of my Grandmother’s dessert table at holiday dinners for as long as I can remember. The best part is that it is something that I was always able to help with. Stuffed dates were always a task that the kids could do, by simply taking the pre-sliced dates and stuffing about a tea spoon full of cream cheese into them and then dotting them each with a pecan, we could be happy to know we had helped. Even if we ate a date or two along the way.

A variation on this dessert, which is popular in Milan takes a little bit more grown up help. After the dates are stuffed with the cream cheese, a grown up can dip the date into a mixture of bittersweet chocolate and milk and then let them harden. The product is a delicious, almost candy-like concoction that appeals to the sweet and the salty taste buds.

There are desserts that many people take for granted. Rice pudding, for example, is one of the simplest pleasures for Italian households. Milk, sugar, rice, and cinnamon are the staples of this favorite, but it can be substituted to taste with extra sugar, honey, nutmeg, or raisins. My personal favorite is with extra cinnamon and dried cranberries. Another simple that many people forget about, or perhaps even loathe, is the Panettone, otherwise known as fruit cake. A staple on many Christmas tables, the Panettone has gotten a bad rep in the United States, perhaps because of its strong Anise taste. When done right though, a Panettone can be truly delightful.

Other than the cannoli, the most popular Italian dessert is undoubtedly Tiramisu. This alcoholic spongy cake has taken the world by storm with relatively young origins. No one seems to know exactly how the Tiramisu was invented, or by who. What does seem to be agreed upon is that is was invented sometime in the 1960s in the Veneto region of Italy. The ingredients of Tiramisu are basic, but everyone seems to do it a little bit different. Mascarpone, espresso and zabaglione cream make up the complimentary tastes of this delicious dessert, but it would be impossible to create without the base of savoiardi cake, otherwise known as lady fingers. These spongy biscuits make trouble for pastry servers with their delicate spongy nature, but like all Italian desserts are well worth the trouble.

About the author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

Monday, September 28, 2009


by: Kirsten Hawkins

The pie is an ubiquitous symbol of both Italian cooking and Americana. Oven-baked, thin-crust or deep-dish, round or square, it is a common favorite throughout the United States, with a wide number of regional variations.

The most traditional pie is the pizza Napolitano, or Neapolitan pizza. Made of strong flour, the dough is often kneaded by hand and then rolled flat and thin without a rolling pin. The pizza is cooked in an extremely hot wood-fired stone oven for only sixty to ninety seconds, and is removed when it is soft and fragrant. Common varieties of Neapolitan pizza include marinara, made with tomato, olive oil, oregano, and garlic, and margherita, made with tomato, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella cheese.

New York was home to the first pizza parlor in the United States, opened in Little Italy in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi. It is not surprising, then, that New York-style pizza dominates in the Northeastern part of the country. It is thin-crusted, and made with a thin layer of sauce and grated cheese. The dough is hand-tossed, making the pie large and thin. As a result, it is served cut into slices, traditionally eight, which are often eaten folded in half. It can be served with any number of toppings, including pepperoni, the most popular topping in the United States, or as a “white pizza”, which includes no tomato sauce and is made with a variety of cheeses, such as mozzarella and ricotta.

Chicago is also home to a major variety of pizza.The Chicago-style pizza is deep dish, meaning it is made in a pan with the crust formed up the sides, or even with two crusts and sauce between, a so-called “stuffed” pizza. The ingredients are “reversed” in a Chicago pizza, with cheese going in first, and then sauce on top. This particular form of pizza was invented in 1943 at Uno’s Pizzeria in the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

The Midwest also plays host to the St. Louis style pizza. This thin-crust delicacy is made using local provel cheese instead of mozzarella, and is very crispy. Heavily seasoned with oregano and other spices, with a slightly sweet sauce, it is difficult to fold because of the crust and is often cut into squares, instead of served in slices.

A Hawaiian pizza is an American invention that has nothing to do with Hawaii save that one of the main ingredients is pineapple. The pineapple is put atop the pizza, along with Canadian bacon, giving a rather sweet taste very different from pizzas closer to the Italian original. Hawaiian pizza is very common in the Western United States.

In fact, a number of esoteric pizzas are common on the West coast, and “gourmet” pizza is often referred to as “California-style” pizza. This is an example of fusion cuisine, and many of the pizzas go far beyond the common tomato sauce and cheese. Thai pizza, for example, can include bean sprouts and peanut sauce, while breakfast pizza, as the name implies, may be topped with bacon and scrambled eggs. As a “gourmet” food, California pizzas are often individual sized, serving two people at most, and are not cut in slices like other common types of pizza pie.

Pizza is as diverse as America itself, with almost infinite variations – all of them delicious.

About the author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

British Cuisine

by: Kirsten Hawkins
has always suffered from bad press. The simple homespun fare and plain preparation of most traditional British foods pales when compared to French haute cuisine, and it’s not uncommon for food critics to sound almost apologetic when writing about traditional British dishes as if there were something shameful in enjoying a good, thick joint of beef with an accompaniment of Yorkshire pudding. If they speak in glowing terms of anything at all, it is a nod to the clever naming of British foods, where dishes like bubble and squeak and spotted dick appear on restaurant menus.

And yet, for all the snickering and apologetic references, British cuisine at its best is hearty, delicious, simple fare on which to fuel the nation that influenced the entire world. There is no other nation in the world that does a roast of beef to such perfection, nor any better accompaniment to the succulent meat than a puffed, piping hot Yorkshire pudding prepared in its drippings, and few cuisines have a dessert that can compare with the pure heaven that is a well made trifle or treacle tart.

British cuisine is a blending of the practical with the nutritious. If it is, as some say, unimaginative, that may be because the food itself needs little imagination to fancy it up and make it palatable. It is certainly not because the British mind lacks imagination when it comes to food – the common names for everyday meals sometimes require a translator just so you’ll know what’s on your plate. A walk through a restaurant take-away menu offers such dishes as ‘mushy peas’, steak and kidney pie, fish and chips and bangers and mash.

There are well-known British dishes for eating at each meal. Some of the most popular include:

A full English country breakfast includes meat, eggs, pancakes or toast and side dishes like hash and bangers and mash. It’s hearty fare, the sort that is set on the table for dinner in most other cultures. It often includes leftovers from last night’s dinner, diced and fried together with seasonings and butter, sometimes called country hash.

The tradition of mid-afternoon tea is one that’s been observed by the British for centuries. Among the most common dishes served at mid-afternoon tea are finger-foods like crumpets with jam and clotted cream, dainty watercress sandwiches and scones with raisins or dried fruits.

Sunday Dinner:
The Sunday dinner has a long tradition as being a family occasion – the one meal of the week at which all family members gathered. A roast joint of meat – beef, lamb, pork or chicken – is nearly a requirement, and it is served with a potato and vegetable, and very often accompanied by Yorkshire pudding.

Puddings and custards feature prominently in British cuisine. Baked, boiled or steamed, puddings are usually made with suet and breading, and studded with dried fruits and nuts. One of the most popular and delightful British desserts is the trifle, and there are nearly as many variations as there are cooks. The base is a sponge cake, often left over from another meal. Soaked in Madeira or port, it is layered in a dish with custard, jam, fruits and Jell-O and topped with whipped cream. The end result is a delicious mélange that is features all that is good about British cookery – plain, practical cooking that is meant to fill the belly and satisfy the taste buds.

About the author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Food Allergies

by: Steve Wilcott
An allergy can be described as a malfunction of the immune system, an exaggerated response to certain substances. Your body mistakenly believes that something it has touched, smelled or eaten is harmful to it and your body releases massive amounts of chemicals, such as histamine to protect itself.

It is believed that 11 million Americans suffer from food allergies. These allergies are as varied as food itself is. Some people suffer from an allergy to one food, some to many. The most common food allergies are generally eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Symptoms of food allergies are varied and range from a tingling of the mouth to swelling of the tongue and throat to difficulty breathing to hives, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and in some instances death.

There are ways to help you or your loved one manage your food allergies. First seek the help of an allergist. Your allergist will perform a patch test to determine the exact cause of allergic reactions. This will be the guideline you use as you develop a diet based around your food allergies.

As with other types of allergies there is no cure for a food allergy. Some children do grow out of some food allergies as they age although allergies to peanuts, fish, shellfish and nuts are often considered lifetime allergies. You or your loved one must simply avoid the food that causes the allergy. This can be difficult, especially when eating out in a restaurant. Depending on the severity of allergy, even slight cross contamination of food products can cause reactions.

Food labeling is a very important component of avoiding foods that trigger allergies. Since 2000 the FDA has been presenting information on allergy risks and labeling requirements to manufacturers. They seek to have manufacturers change some labels to be easier to read, using plain language like "milk" on a label instead of "caseinate".

In the case of a milk or egg allergy there are alternatives that can be used when cooking or baking. There are many online sites dedicated to supplying information, education and support to those with food allergies.

About the author:
This article courtesy of

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cantonese Regional Cuisine

by: Kirsten Hawkins

Easily the most well-known of the Chinese regional cuisines, Cantonese cuisine comes from the region around Canton in Southern China. Simple spices and a wide variety of foods used in cooking characterize Cantonese cuisine. Of all the Chinese regions, Canton (Guangdong province) has the most available food resources. Its proximity to the sea offers a veritable marine cornucopia to be added to its dishes, making possible such delicate matings as Seven Happiness, a dish that includes shrimp, scallops, fish and lobster along with chicken, beef and pork. The light, delicate sauce, quick cooking and subtle spicing allows the natural flavors to shine through rather than being overwhelmed and blending together.

The spices used in Cantonese cooking tend to be light and simple: ginger, salt, soy sauce, white pepper, spring onion and rice wine. For many who are used to the more rich, spicy and complex flavors of Hunan and Szechwan cooking, Cantonese cooking may seem bland – but the subtle blends of flavor and aroma are created by the hand of a master chef.

All Chinese cuisine takes far more into account than the flavor of a dish. Chinese cooking is a presentation of texture, color, shape and aroma with even the name of the dish contributing to its overall presentation. In true Oriental fashion, a meal is poetry, with every part of it contributing to the overall effect. Chinese courtesy demands that a guest be treated with honor, and to present a guest with anything less than perfection is the height of rudeness.

As an honor to guests, freshness is one of the ultimate ‘ingredients’ in Cantonese regional cooking. In many restaurants, guests can choose their meal from a seafood tank in the dining room. It’s not unusual for a patron to be brought a live fish or crab at the table as proof of the freshness of the meal about to be prepared. Vegetables are likewise fresh, crisp and sweet, and the quick cooking methods preserve each flavor separately to play against the others.

Light sauces with subtle seasonings bring out the natural sweetness of seafood – but the Cantonese chef will only use the very freshest seafood in those dishes. For ‘stale’ seafood, Cantonese cuisine offers thick, spicy sauces meant to mask the characteristic odor of fish. Pungent/sweet dishes like sweet and sour butterfly shrimp might be served this way.

There are few Cantonese desserts that are indigenous to the region, though many restaurants serve a mango based pudding or tapioca. Most meals are served with plain boiled rice, and accompanied by either tea or rice wine.

Wherever in the world you are, you’re likely to find restaurants that serve Cantonese cuisine. It has been carried across the world by emigrants from the Quangdong province, and its light, delicate flavors are easy on the Western palate. To truly appreciate it though, takes more than the taste buds. Cantonese cuisine is a treat for the eyes and the nose as much as for the mouth. Appreciate it.

About the author:
Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food. Visit more information on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From One Cup Coffee Makers to “Smart” Refrigerators: Kitchen Appliances Catch Up with the Speed of Life

by: Ann Cafferty

From One Cup Coffee Makers to “Smart” Refrigerators:
Kitchen Appliances Catch up with the Speed of Life
By R.L. Fielding

The modern kitchen would not be complete without a refrigerator, an oven, a microwave, and a coffee maker. As fixtures in one of the most important rooms in the house, these appliances are on the forefront of the battle for greater convenience and lower energy costs. Here is a look at a few of the technological makeovers which can help you save both time and money.

“Smart” Refrigerators

Has this ever happened to you? On your way home from work, you stop at the supermarket for groceries. While picking up food for dinner, you can’t remember whether there’s a steak in the freezer or if you still have enough butter for the mashed potatoes. Instead of placing a call to your significant other, let your refrigerator check the inventory for you.

Using a cell phone, it is possible to remotely access an up-to-the-minute list of the contents of the “smart” refrigerator via an Internet connection. LG Electronic’s Internet Refrigerator is capable of alerting its user when a product has expired. The potential for this technology is enormous, but the limited availability of online grocery services has slowed its spread. Manufacturers hope to eventually develop a system by which refrigerators will not just keep tabs on the food inside, but will make lists of what is needed and automatically place an order with online grocers.

One drawback of the current technology is the effort that goes into keeping your refrigerator’s records up-to-date. As the refrigerator is stocked, the product names and expiration dates must be logged manually. When an item is removed from the refrigerator, the data must be entered as well. The convenience of knowing what’s in your refrigerator at any time may be outweighed by the inconvenience of keeping such meticulous records.

Another popular focus for the newly-developed technology involves reducing energy costs. For instance, the Fisher & Paykell Active Smart Refrigerator offers multiple energy-conserving features which, when combined, contribute to the overall efficiency of the product. The Active Smart electronic intelligence and multiple sensors monitor the internal temperature while a Variable Capacity Compressor ensures the refrigerator runs at its peak.

Energy-efficiency is particularly important when it comes to refrigerators because they are the only kitchen appliances that run 24-hours per day. By purchasing ecologically-friendly technology you’ll reduce your electricity bills and keep more money in your wallet.

Convenient Coffee Makers

A recent development in coffee consumption is the vacuum brewing system, as highlighted by the Clear Electric Santos coffee maker by Bodum. The machine promises to brew six to twelve cups of strong coffee within eight minutes using an easy-to-clean filtration system. This is an ideal appliance for people who love a full-bodied cup of joe.

The days of boiling whole pots of water just to have a single cup of coffee are over. The one cup coffee maker can brew your favorite gourmet tea or coffee in less than a minute, eliminating the need to prepare a whole pot. For people on-the-go, these fast brewing machines are a welcome addition to the home or workplace.

The single cup coffee maker is also a great energy saver. In the time it might take to heat up one pot of regular coffee or to drive over to Starbucks, a one cup coffee maker by Keurig can brew several differently flavored hot drinks in 40 seconds each. Another perk of this machine is the variety of drinks it can produce. Keurig provides customers with over 70 different coffee or tea “K-Cups” from which to choose. K-Cups are easy-to-insert dispensers, which fit neatly into the coffee company’s machine with little effort and no clean-up.

Multifunctional Ovens

Forget slaving over a hot stove for hours just to get dinner on the table. Thanks to new ovens with automatic time and temperature controls dinner can practically make itself. Want a meal to be ready by the time you get home? Simply place your favorite dish in the oven and let the appliance do the rest.

The Intelligent Oven by TMIO refrigerates food until the user activates the cooking function. The oven’s Internet connectivity allows you to control this feature remotely with your cell phone or computer. Meals are not only delicious, but perfectly timed for your convenience. Additional advances have made the product safer and more energy-efficient, making it both user- and environmentally-friendly.

For real fast food, look for appliances such as the Sharp High Speed Convection/Microwave Oven. A 5-pound roasted chicken would take up to 140 minutes or more in a standard oven but, with the new high-speed ovens, the same meal can be ready within 28 minutes. By using a mix of super-heated circulating air and microwave energy, meals cook up to 80 percent faster.

In a step that brings to mind scenes from a work of science-fiction, General Electric is among the companies developing ovens which respond to voice commands and recognize over 200 regional accents. Rather than pushing a pre-set button, key phrases would activate the already programmed cooking times and temperatures. Such technology may not be a long way off, but its price tag may prove to be beyond the reach of many consumers.

High-tech Microwaves

Trying to find quick and easy recipes? Put down the cookbook. You can easily download hundreds of recipes directly from your microwave with the push of a button.

Using the LG Lifestyle MG-5682NL microwave oven, you can download recipes or other cooking information from the company’s web site. Sharp also sells a microwave that downloads cooking instructions for various meals, then automatically programs the time and power settings required to zap your meal to perfection.
In a slight variation on the theme, a new microwave by Samsung is programmed to read cooking directions by scanning product bar codes with a special sensor. The microwave then pulls the specific cooking instructions off the Internet and cooks the meal accordingly.
Many models now come with cooking pre-sets for popular food items, such as popcorn or frozen meals. Simply press one of the clearly-labeled option buttons on the microwave’s touchpad and the appliance will automatically adjust the time and power level.
Another feature that you won’t want your microwave to be without is a moisture sensor. Microwaves heat food by using radio waves to excite the molecules. To prevent overcooking your food, the moisture sensor will calculate how much time is still needed to cook based on how long it took for the food to begin steaming.

Since the kitchen is a natural hub of activity for any household, a few small changes can mean big savings in more ways than one. These kitchen innovations will not only free up more of your time, but can help you save money on the monthly energy bills. A little efficiency can go a long way!

About Coffeecow
This article was provided by which goes to great lengths to provide the highest quality products, the fastest service, and the deepest discount prices you will find on one cup coffee makers, regular, decaf, and flavored coffee and tea, and a full line of coffee supplies. Developed by coffee professionals with over 35 years of experience in fulfilling any coffee service need, Coffeecow offers all the coffee conveniences for your home or office. Visit for more info.

About the author:
R.L. Fielding has been a freelance writer for 10 years, offering her expertise and skills to a variety of major organizations in the education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing industries. She lives in New Jersey with her dog and two cats and enjoys rock climbing and ornamental gardening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Popularity of Humorous Aprons

by: Thomas Morva

One of the earliest references to aprons comes from the story of Adam and Eve. They were said to have sewn together fig leaves to cover their bodies; this is certainly the first historical account of an apron being used. Fast forward to the 19th and 20th centuries where aprons continued their functional use for keeping clothing clean and for carrying cooking utensils and the like.

Today's apron options are much more fun and exciting than aprons of past years. We have all seen the aprons bearing the words, "Kiss the Cook" and similar sayings. There are certainly more humorous aprons out on the market than we could ever imagine. During the Martha Stewart scandal, you could even find black and white striped aprons that poked fun at the homemaking goddess' pending jail sentence.

Some of today's most popular humorous aprons have sayings like, "If you want breakfast in bed, then sleep in the kitchen" and "I'm not aging, I'm marinating!" Humorous aprons are as creative and colorful as the designers who create them. You can certainly find a humorous apron for nearly every personality.

Humorous aprons are popular among both homemakers and weekend BBQ'ers. In the last couple of decades, buying dad a humorous apron for Father's Day has become a tradition for many families. Dads often enjoy the funny sayings and the kids enjoy watching him cook wearing his new apron.

About the author:
Aprons Info provides detailed information about various types of aprons, including humorous, personalized, child, cooking, and lead aprons, as well as apron sinks, and more. Aprons Info is affiliated with Original Content.

The Applications of Lead Aprons

by: Thomas Morva
Lead aprons are commonly used in medical and dental practices. In dental practices, the lead apron is often used when having a panoramic dental X-ray performed. Since a panoramic x-ray emits radiation to all parts of the upper body, a lead apron is required to keep the patient safe and to prevent as much excess radiation as possible.

Lead aprons, or another relevant type of shield, should always be used when x-rays are performed. Keep in mind that the part of your body being x-rayed must remain uncovered. The lead apron helps to shield unaffected parts of the body from contamination from radiation. These lead aprons are especially important in protecting vital organs, namely reproductive organs and the breasts of women.

An interesting fact about lead aprons is that they contain radiation. Since lead aprons are exposed to a countless number of x-ray hours, most states and counties require that they be discarded and handled as hazardous material. Classifying lead aprons as a hazardous material means that your local authorities require you to dispose of the lead apron in an authorized and approved hazardous materials location.

Lead aprons of today are much safer and lightweight that those in years past. Many of the lead aprons used today have Velcro straps to make it easier to secure the apron in place. We understand more about safe and unsafe levels of radiation and this knowledge has helped manufacturers in creating safe and effective lead aprons for both medical and dental use. If you have ever had an x-ray, chances are you were instructed to wear the apron.

About the author:
Aprons Info provides detailed information about various types of aprons, including humorous, personalized, child, cooking, and lead aprons, as well as apron sinks, and more. Aprons Info is affiliated with Original Content.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Look at Apron Patterns

by: Thomas Morva

It is a refreshing and rewarding pastime for many people to sew their own aprons. Sewing your own aprons can give you the opportunity to add a creative and personalized flair to this accessory. Several sewing stores, both on and offline, now offer a huge variety of apron patterns to choose from. If you have a certain apron pattern in mind, you can search specifically for it; on the other hand, if you are not sure what you would like to create, many Web sites offer plenty styles to browse through.

Vintage apron patterns are becoming increasingly more popular. Seamstresses often wish to create an apron with the same feel as the ones their grandmothers used to wear. Some Web sites offer original, vintage apron patterns from as far back as the 1920s. There is certainly no shortage of apron patterns for those who want to mimic the styles of yesteryear.

Another popular type of apron pattern is the crocheted apron. These are unique compared to traditional cloth aprons. Most sewing stores carry dozens of these types of apron patterns in more styles that you can imagine. You can also find these apron patterns from online specialty shops.

For those who are just beginning to make aprons, free apron patterns may be a good place to start. You can search the Internet for "free apron patterns" and find several Web sites to choose from. You can find nearly any type of pattern you are looking for and possibly some that never crossed your mind.

The Internet has made it especially easy to find apron patterns, no matter what style you are seeking. A simple Internet search for "apron patterns" will yield dozens of pages and thousands of results. From vintage patterns, crocheted patterns and even child apron patterns, there is certainly a demanding market for creating homemade aprons.

About the author:
Aprons Info provides detailed information about various types of aprons, including humorous, personalized, child, cooking, and lead aprons, as well as apron sinks, and more. Aprons Info is affiliated with Original Content.

A Look at Personalized Aprons

by: Thomas Morva

When we look at the historical picture of aprons throughout time, we know that they originated from a functional need to keep clothing clean and to be able to carry utensils and kindling wood. Over time, however, aprons have evolved into somewhat of a fashion accessory with people enjoying personalized aprons.

Personalized aprons can come in many forms. Since these are customizable, the customer can tell the manufacturer or seamstress exactly what they would like to see. Some people like aprons that don a saying such as "Karen's Kitchen", or a simple, yet catchy phrase that defines their cooking persona.

The embroidery of aprons is also very popular. This form of personalizing aprons is usually a little more expensive than the simpler screen-printing but offers an heirloom of sorts. People who are serious about their cooking enjoy embroidered aprons as gifts for all occasions.

Companies that offer personalized aprons often have a huge selection of styles, colors and sizes to choose from. In addition to adding a name or cute catch phrase, these companies often have a selection of artwork to further personalize the apron. If you are a cat or dog lover or have some other enthusiasm or hobby, you can be assured that a pattern is available to fit your personality. Online specialty shops are perhaps the best place to shop for personalized aprons. Many companies offer personalized aprons for as little as $10 each. For this reason, personalized aprons make great gifts.

Aprons have certainly evolved over the years. Although they have been used for thousands of years for a variety of purposes, modern aprons are usually fun, colorful and portray a personal message from the wearer. Personalized and embroidered aprons are wonderful gifts for loved ones who enjoy a little spice in their cooking attire.

About the author:
Aprons Info provides detailed information about various types of aprons, including humorous, personalized, child, cooking, and lead aprons, as well as apron sinks, and more. Aprons Info is affiliated with Original Content.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Best Kitchen Knives

By Michael W Goff

A kitchen knife is a knife specifically designed to prepare food. How do you choose the best knives for your kitchen needs? When you're an inexperienced cook, the hardest part about figuring out how to choose the best knife, is where to begin. A good set of kitchen knives can be used forever, and even handed down from generation to generation. With that in mind, let's review some of the basic considerations while shopping.

Kitchen knives can be made from a variety of materials. The most common materials are stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, carbon steel, titanium, ceramic and plastic. When buying knives, you can either purchase them individually, or in a set. Therefore, if you're starting from scratch, it may be an option for you to buy individual knives to test the different brands and blades that are available to you. It is cheaper to buy one knife at a time, rather than buying a set. Also, you can be sure to be 100% satisfied with your new set, if you've used an individual knife from that manufacturer before. However, the benefit of buying a set of knives makes each individual knife cheaper. Knives are also constructed in a variety of ways, so make sure you find a durable knife for your needs. Blades can be manufactured by either being forged or stamped.

A variety of knives include a chefs knife, meat knife, paring knife, bread knife and utility knife. Be sure to find a knife that feels good in your hand, and produces the cut you are looking for. Also, it is very important to keep your knives sharp and clean. Keeping a sharp knife will not only make your life easier, but it will reduce the risk of accidents.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Choosing The Best Ice Cream Maker

by: Sharon Chennault

You can make delicious ice cream at home, as good as any premium store brand, if you choose a good ice cream maker and follow a few tips. Ice cream makers can range in price from under $100 to over $500. The more expensive models contain built in freezing compressors. The less expensive models are perfectly suited for use in the home and come in two basic types. There is the type that uses rock salt and ice to cool the ice cream mixture and the type that has a canister that is placed in the freezer. Each of these is equipped with an electric crank or a manual crank. Your particular needs will determine which is right for you.

If you want to make a large quantity of ice cream, you will need to purchase a model that uses rock salt and ice. The canister models will only make up to 1.5 quarts at a time. If you would like to turn ice cream making into a family activity, you can choose the hand-crank model, which will also use rock salt and ice. The crank must be turned manually for a fairly long period of time, thus allowing each family member a turn. An electric crank is quite a bit easier than the manual crank models. You will also get more consistent results due to the bowl turning at a constant speed. Most electric crank ice cream makers will have an automatic cut off feature that will stop the motor when the ice cream reaches the desired consistency. The consistency is judged by the amount of resistance while the bowl is turning.

After you choose which type of ice cream maker is right for you, you will need to find the perfect ice cream recipe. Remember that the faster the ice cream freezes, the better it will taste and the smoother the texture will be. It will be best to pre-mix all your ingredients and let them chill for several hours before placing them in the ice cream maker. When your ice cream is done, it will resemble soft-serve ice cream. You can place the canister in the freezer for a few hours and you will be much happier with the results. If your canister is plastic, consider removing the ice cream as soon as it is done, and placing it in a metal bowl covered with foil. The metal will allow the ice cream to freeze faster and become firmer more quickly than in a plastic container.

You can purchase a mix that is quite easy to make into ice cream very quickly. While the mixes are convenient, the best homemade ice cream is made from fresh ingredients. Milk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cocoa if you desire will give you the best results. You can find numerous ice cream recipes, some which require cooking some which require no cooking. The ice cream recipes that do not require cooking are generally just as good as the cooked type, and require a lot less time. The best ice cream recipes usually contain eggs, however there are many recipes that do not use eggs if you or someone in your family is allergic to eggs.

About the author:
This article has been provided courtesy of Kitchen Junkie,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Party 911: Pasta Salad To The Rescue

by: Nicole Dean
Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been invited to a party and realize you don’t have a meal to bring. Not only that, but the party starts in an hour. What should you do?

You have four options:

Don’t go, and miss out on a really fun time.

Show up empty-handed and explain red-faced that you forgot.

Grab a casserole dish and head to the deli. Order your food and have them put it right into your casserole dish. Yes, I’ve gone this. It’s expensive but it works. If you get asked for the recipe, just wink and say “It’s Grandma’s secret recipe”.

Whip up a big batch of pasta salad for only a few dollars, and have plenty left over to eat for lunch during the week. You will save money and look good showing up at the party with a great dish.

Pasta salad is truly one of the easiest meals to prepare. All you need are noodles and salad dressing. You can use pretty much any salad dressing on the market – the standards like Italian, Ranch, or, if you’re ambitious, your favorite homemade dressing.

Now for the fun part. Cook the noodles, following package directions and then drain. Pour the dressing on while the noodles are warm so they will absorb all that good oily flavor.

Look around your kitchen to see if you have any of the following ingredients:

Fresh veggies – carrots, broccoli, green onions

Frozen vegetables – frozen peas are wonderful in pasta salad

Cubed or shredded cheese

Garbanzo beans (also known as Chick Peas)

Black Olives

Toss in whatever you can find. It’s an ‘everything goes’ type of recipe. Bring more dressing with you in case you need to add it later, and voila! You’re done.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can bring some cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, bacon bits or sunflower seeds as toppings. It’s all good.

The next time you are invited to a party, don’t panic. Just grab these instructions and whip up a meal in minutes. Enjoy!

About the author:
Are you a mom who’d rather play than cook? If so, you won’t want to miss And, if frugal cooking is your thing, then check out

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Chef, or a Bevy of Chefs?

by: Margaret Cowan

Most cooking tours feature one chef who gives you two to four cooking lessons in the same kitchen on your three to six day cooking adventure. Some tours take you to a variety of restaurants and homes so you cook with many chefs or good home cooks. The "cook's tour" version is four chefs in four different kitchens in six days.

Which is better for you, one or many?

Cooking with one chef four times in six days gives you an opportunity to really get to know one another ---a new friend in Italy! Working together in the kitchen over a few days means your teacher will understand what you want and need to learn, and how you learn best, so you get the most out of your lessons.

In most cooking tours with one chef, your cooking lessons are in the same hotel or country property you stay at, so you just go downstairs after breakfast for a morning lesson, and can just walk to your room after your dinner following an early evening lesson. No driving back and forth from home to other chefs' kitchens.

If you're looking for a relaxed pace with a new Italian friend at a home base, the "one chef" cooking tour is for you.

Cooking with many chefs, you meet a wonderful variety of local characters from young & charming to old & charming, from a top restaurant chef to a grandmother on her farm.

Some cook traditional style plates while others mix in creative touches; dishes are too beautiful to eat. You learn a variety of styles and presentations. Each area has it's own specialities, white truffles, artichokes and an ever changing array of olive oils and rich flavoured regional wines. More aromas to temp your palate than you could ever imagine and the best part is that you will be able to recreate the recipes and relive the memories when you are back working in your own kitchen at home.

You experience cooking in many kitchens, restaurants and homes-the equipment they use, how their kitchens are laid out-- you get a real feel for food culture and maybe some ideas for your kitchen at home.

Visit a variety of towns and landscapes as you travel to all the chefs' kitchens and get a good idea of what the countryside is like. It's an opportunity to soak up the warm rich colours and imposing architecture from the various ages of Italy.

If you're looking for real immersion in Italian culture, thrive on variety and like to keep busy, the "many chef" tour is designed especially with you in mind.

I've visited about 40 cooking holiday programs in Italy from north to south stayed in the accommodation, met the owners and chefs, and whenever possible, participated in Italian cooking lessons and of course sampled the food. I've been travelling to Italy since 1972, lived in Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast for three years. Although I no longer live in Italy, I always come away from my Italian travels in my "second country" with mouth-watering new recipes and a renewed appreciation of Italy and the Italian people.

About the author:
Margaret Cowan is Mama Margaret. She owns Mama Margaret & Friends Cooking, Wine & Walking Adventures in Italy. If you like to immerse yourself in the local culture, learn to cook local dishes and meet unique characters when you travel, you will appreciate Margaret's Insider Travel Tips at:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cooking With Cast Iron

by: Tim Sousa

Cast iron cookware is an extremely versatile and economic alternative to expensive copper and copper clad cookware. If you aren't currently using at least a couple of cast iron pans in your kitchen, you really should consider it.

Cast iron has several advantages over other cookware. Cast iron pans have excellent heat conduction and retention, so you get even heating over the whole surface of the pan. If there are no wooden handles on your cast iron cookware, you can use it either on the stove, or in the oven. Properly seasoned and cared for, cast iron is just as non stick as any fancy non-stick pans. Cast iron is very durable. Some of you may have cast iron pans from your grandmother's kitchen that are still in excellent condition. Cast iron pans are very inexpensive compared to the fancy copper pans.

On the other side of the coin, there are some disadvantages to cast iron. Cast iron pans are very heavy. If not properly treated, cast iron pans can be prone to rust. Cast iron pans must be handwashed, they are not dishwasher safe. Cast iron pans require a bit more maintenance than regular pans (but not too much more).

If you properly care for your cast iron, it will give you many years of use. Some cast iron comes pre-seasoned, so you don't need to season it yourself. If you need to season it, simply rub it with oil, shortening, or lard, and heat for an hour in a 300 degree oven. Then remove the pan and let it cool. You can repeat this process a couple more times to strengthen the bond of the seasoning. What seasoning does, is it fills in the pores in the iron with the oil, helping to prevent food from sticking and to create a protective coating.

You should never use soap in a cast iron pan. To clean them, just use hot water and a plastic scouring pad, don't use steel wool, or it could ruin the seasoning (if this happens, just re-season the pan). After washing, dry the pan throughly with lint free paper towels. Store the pans with the lid off to prevent moisture from building up and causing the pan to rust.

Other cast iron care tips: Do not use cast iron to cook acidic foods, cast iron is a reactive metal, and will react with the acids. Never use your cast iron pans to store food; You can use them to keep food warm during a meal, but when the meal is over, move the food into proper storage containers, and wash your pan.

If you don't currently have any cast iron cookware, I suggest getting some and trying it. A good skillet and dutch oven are good pans to start with. They can be used for pan frying, deep frying, roasting, and stewing. I've even used two pans as a makeshift sandwich press.

Whatever the disadvantages of cast iron cookware, they are far outweighed by the advantages. Properly cared for, cast iron cookware will last for years of great meals.

About the author:
Tim Sousa is the webmaster for Classy Cooking. An online library of recipes, cooking tips, and other valuable cooking resources.

by: David Chandler

The Olive tree dates back to early ancient times in both biblical and classical
writings. In these early writings, the olive oil is referenced as a symbol of
both goodness and purity, and the tree represents peace and happiness.
In ancient times, the oil was also burnt in sacred lamps at temples during
the Olympic Games, and the victor was crowned with its leaves.

Olives have been cultivated since prehistoric times in Asia Minor. Today
olives are commercially produced in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Tunisia,
Morocco, Turkey, Portugal, China, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Angola, South
Africa, Uruguay, Afghanistan, Australia, New Zealand, and California. The
Mediterranean area produces 93% of the olive production. Currently there
are some 800 million olive trees being cultivated. California is the only
state where olives are grown commercially. Over 90% of the olive
production is used to make olive oil.

The Olive tree is considered an evergreen tree. These trees can live to be
over 2,000 years old. They grow 20-40 feet high and begin to bear fruit
between 4 and 8 years old. The tree blooms with small whitish flowers and
have a wonderful fragrant.

A Franciscan missionary planted the first olive tree in California in 1769 at a
Franciscan mission in San Diego. The olives grown in California are called
¡°mission olives¡±. Of all the species of olives, this olive is especially good for
its oil.

Olives are not edible, green, or ripe, and must be treated with lye and/or
cured in brine or dry salt before being edible. They contain about 20% oil.
Olives must be processed to remove the bitter glycoside oleuropein, before
they are edible, so they are usually first treated with lye and then pickled.

Greek olives are not treated with lye. They are strong tasting because
they are just packed in dry salt, or pickled in brine for 6 to 12 months
(where they undergo a process of lactic fermentation), and finally packed in
fresh brine.

Spanish green olives are picked before they are ripe, treated with lye, and
then placed in a brine and allowed to ferment.

California olives are treated to set the pigment, treated with lye and then
packed immediately in brine and sterilized. They do not undergo the
fermentation process, and the sterilization 'cooks' them. This lack of
fermentation and the 'cooking' when they are sterilized produces a bland,
uninteresting olive

Ten medium size black olives have 50 calories and 4 grams of fat.

About the author:
For more information, visit

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Wonderful World of Peanuts

by: Lara Velez


Before I begin with the history of peanuts you should probably know that the peanut is not a nut. The "pea"nut is actually more closely related to the pea. It is a member of the legumes family. Also, peanuts do not grow in trees like nuts do. They grow on the ground. They start out as flowers, and eventually wind up burrowing underground. Under ground is where they become a delicious peanut.

OK - so where did these little guys come from you ask? Well, they are thought to have originated in South America...possibly Brazil or Peru. When the Portuguese began to explore "The New World," they took peanuts back home with them. Portuguese traders took them as far as Asia and Africa.

In the United States, peanuts became popular during the Civil War. Then around the 1900's many mechanical devices were invented to help with the processing of peanuts. As a result their popularity increased even more. Speaking of inventions...George Washington Carver invented over 300 uses for the peanut, including; medicine, ink, soap, shampoo, ice-cream, and axle grease.

Today, peanuts are eaten all over the world. They have become a huge money making industry. In the United States alone they contribute well over 4 billion dollars yearly to the economy


Americans consume 700 million pounds or 3.3 pounds per person, of peanut butter per year….that's enough to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon.

To enhance the flavor of a cola drink, Southerners put peanuts into the bottle.

There are approximately 810 peanuts in an 18 oz. jar of peanut butter.

The peanut is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground.

Peanut oil has a very high smoking point. This allows peanut oil to be heated to a higher temperature than most oils, making it an excellent choice for frying.

Since peanuts are a legume, they reduce the need for additional fertilizers as they return nitrogen to the soil as they grow.


Peanuts are packed full of healthy stuff, including; antioxidants, niacin,
Vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, bioflavnoids, protein, and they have more resveratrol than grapes (which lowers LDL - aka "bad cholesterol")

That's not all...Some medical researchers say that they lower the risk of heart disease and provide protection from some types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast).

Well, as you can see there are some great reasons to eat if the fact that they are delicious isn't enough.


Peanut proteins can act as powerful allergens, even in tiny amounts. That is why Peanut allergies are the most common cause of death by food in the United States. Some people can have a ruthless reaction just for inhaling the scent of a peanut. People can die from very small amounts.

So, if your allergic to peanuts...or think you could be...don't risk even going near them. You can substitute almonds or any nut for any of the recipes below. For the'll have to make your own 'nut butter.



Put 2 cups of peanuts in a blender and blend until smooth.

For added texture and/or flavoring add one or more of the following:

2 Tblsp honey

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract - or any other extract you like.

1/4 c mini chocolate chips

1/4 c rice cereal


3 c. salted peanuts2 Tblsp. butter
Measure 1/2 peanuts and put aside. Empty remaining peanuts into blender container. Cover and blend on low speed until the peanuts are chopped. Add butter, cover and blend on low speed 15 seconds. Turn off the blender and scrape down sides with rubber spatula. Cover and blend on low speed 5 seconds.

Repeat this process 3 or 4 times until the peanut butter starts to get smooth. Cover and blend on highest speed 1 minute. Add the 1/2 cup peanuts, cover and blend on medium speed for 3 - 5 seconds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.


1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix peanut butter and butter in large mixing bowl until smooth. Then gradually add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon batter onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with a criss cross fork print. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

About the author:
About the Author: My name is Lara Velez and I am the Editor-in-Chief of The Recipe Finder - Online cooking magazine - http://www.therecipefinder.comI am also a wife and mother of two. I enjoy cooking, reading, scrapbooking, and being a wife and mom.Please feel free to email me any time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Give Me French Fries with that Shake

by: Donna Monday

What goes better with a juicy hamburger and a delicious milkshake than a plate of crispy French fries?

Nothing, that’s what. I bet you’ve had countless meals, especially hamburgers, with a side of fries. Now you’re looking to find some recipes that show’s you exactly how to make those tasty diner and fast food restaurant style French fries.

Well, you’re in luck because you can easily find out online how to make fast food French fries – like McDonald’s French fries, curly French fries, sweet potato French fries, oven baked French fries, or baked homemade French fries.

Cooking French fries the traditional way involves grease and you want to be sure to use low-fat cooking oil to cut down on the fat content. There are places online to find French fries makers where you can deep fry them at home in just a few minutes.

Many people enjoy the recipes for seasoned French fries that are baked in an oven and not a frying pan. Cooking seasoned French fries in the oven eliminates most of the extra fat and calories, without sacrificing that delicious French fries taste.

Making French fries to eat at home that taste the same or better than the ones you have when you eat out is easy and fun with the right recipe, potatoes, oil and seasonings.

About the author:

Donna Monday
Easy to make – fun to drink

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Making Hamburger Recipes is Easy and Fun

by: Donna Monday

When I was a kid Wimpy from the old Popeye cartoon show was one of my favorite characters because he expressed a deep love and obsession with hamburgers on a bun. Wimpy was always looking for hamburgers and wasn’t happy unless his plate was piled high with steaming hot hamburgers.

Even though I could only eat one, I easily related to Wimpy’s love of hamburgers, especially cheeseburgers. As I grew up I discovered how easy it was to make a meal out of cooking hamburgers and putting them on a hamburger bun. Add a little ketchup or hamburger sauce and you’ve got yourself a quick lunch or dinner.

While I’m not sure about the real history of the hamburger (a couple of towns claim to be the home of the original burger) I do know that they’re popularity spread quickly. Online you can find recipes for hamburger pattie or how to make foil hamburgers over fire. But some of the best hamburger recipes don’t even involve a bun.

Online you can find recipes for hamburger stew, hamburger goulash, hamburger casserole, hamburger jerky, hamburger chowder, hamburger gravy, hamburger steak, hamburger with stuffed green peppers, hamburger macaroni soup, hamburger stroganoff, hamburger pie, and other easy hamburger recipes with egg, bread crumbs and onion.

There’s even secret fast food hamburger recipes that expose how to make the popular McDonald’s hamburger, Wendy’s hamburger, and White Castle hamburgers. So, you don’t have to borrow money to buy hamburgers and promise to “pay you back on Tuesday” like Wimpy. You can just whip up one of your yummy recipes the next time you have a craving for the savory taste of hamburger.

How to Make Asian Hamburger:

About the author:
Donna Monday
Easy to make – fun to drink

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Frugal Cooking With Herbs

by: Cyndi Roberts

Herbs are fun to grow and easy to use. Herbs can
be a frugal cook's best friend because they can
enhance even the simplest fare making it seem
grand! Herbs are easy to grow--you can even grow
them on your kitchen windowsill.

The addition of herbs can change completely the
flavor of foods-from homemade breads to soups,
stews and vegetables. And they can add variety
and excitement to your diet.

A beginner should use herbs with care, adding a little
at a time and adjusting to your own taste. Each herb
has its own individual flavor and certain herbs also
have well-known associations with particular foods.
Basil is often paired with tomatoes, rosemary with
lamb, chives with cream cheese and cottage cheese.

Fresh herbs are wonderful as garnishes. Herb vinegars
can be used in salad dressings, soups and marinades.
You can also add fresh herbs to mayonnaise or butter
for a different flavor.

Fresh herbs will keep in the refrigerator for several
days. A good way to freeze herbs such as basil, oregano,
and dill is to chop, place in ice cube trays, cover with
water and freeze. Then just add to stews and sauces
when needed.

Some easy herbs to grow are lemon balm, rosemary, oregano,
dill, basil, parsley, peppermint, lavendar, sage.
Of course, you can buy herbs to cook with at the
supermarket, also.

Here are some simple recipes to get you started
using herbs in your cooking.

Lemon Chive Dressing

1 clove garlic
dash of salt
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
and the juice
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped chives

Put the garlic and salt in a bowl and crush together.
Add lemon rind, juice and mustard, stirring until
smooth. Slowly whisk in the oil. Fold in chives
and season with black pepper, if desired.

This is a good dressing to pour over warm, cooked new
potatoes. Add finely chopped green onions.

Mint Iced Tea

Wash 8 sprigs of fresh mint, 12 inches long (any mint,
spearmint, peppermint, applemint will do). Place in
blender with 4 cups water and liquefy. Let it set for
about 1/2 hour and strain.

Herb Butter

1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons of dried herbs

Soften the butter to room temperature. Finely chop the
fresh herbs. Blend herbs and butter well. Store in

Use to season vegetables, as a spread on bread, biscuits
or baked potatoes. Anywhere you normally use butter.

Here's something different: not really cooking, but a
recipe that you might find fun!
Basil-Lemon Facial Mask

Pulverize a handful of fresh basil leaves. Peel 1/2 of
an avocado and mash. Add avocado to basil in blender,
along with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon honey.
Mix until smooth.

Apply to clean face and leave as long as desired. Rinse
off with lukewarm water.

In short, you don't have to be an herb specialist to
learn to enjoy using herbs.

About the author:
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter
"1 Frugal Friend 2 Another", bringing you practical,
money-saving tips, recipes and ideas. Visit her online at
http://www.cynroberts.comto subscribe and receive the
Free e-course, "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill".

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Chicken Recipe for Every Occasion

by: Donna Monday

It taste just like chicken.

That line’s become a part of our culture to describe meat dishes that aren’t made with chicken, but none the less, taste almost exactly like our favorite poultry meat. And why do we think that many of these alternative white meats (including tofu substitutes) taste like chicken?

Because most of us have grown up eating chicken in every conceivable way, shape, and form. Chicken is by far the most versatile meat used in recipes and will continue to be so as long as it remains relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare.

To give you an idea of the vast variety of chicken recipes, I’ve dug up a few favorites that folks are often looking for online:

Garlic lemon chicken, beer can chicken, chicken marsala, chicken and dumplings, baked chicken, chicken parmesan, chicken pot pie, bourbon chicken, chicken noodle soup, chicken salad, chicken and dumplings, chicken breast, white chicken chili, fried chicken, chicken tortilla soup, chicken cordon blue or bleu, chicken parmesan, chicken divan, chicken wings, chicken cacciatore, chicken enchiladas, orange chicken, chicken casserole, chicken stew, curry chicken, fried chicken.

And that’s just a small sample of the wonderful chicken recipes you can find online. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the greatest cook in the world or if you love to cook but short on time. You’re bound to find several chicken recipes that fit your budget, schedule, and level of cooking expertise.

You can bet your sweet chicken noodle that somewhere right now there’s a cook putting a chicken in a pot, oven, pan, or casserole dish getting ready to create another delicious chicken inspired dish.

About the author:

Donna Monday
Easy to make – fun to drink

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Healthier Food From the Grill of BBQ

By Hinds Ryan

You must have heard about barbeques gas? If not, ask any food lover around you. Yes, the word barbeque is common among them. These gas not only provide you tasty food but add unique aroma to the food, which is generally loved by all. Do you want to learn about barbeques gas? Are you fond of eating grilled food?

Grilling of food using barbeques gas

Grilling is the method of cooking, which involves providing dry heat from below or above. Grilling in this heat the food by exposing it to temperature above 260C. The food so grilled gets the specific aroma, which add to the taste of food and make it unique. This outdoor grilling, so called barbeque, cooks the food by indirect heat and smoke. It is not only the method but there are several devices, which are used to cook the food.

Barbeque grilling tips

Moreover, food coked by barbeques gas is considered healthy and good for health conscious people. It does not add any grease to the food. Here are some tips to use this and prepare good food for your near and dear.

• There are thermometers in some of the devices, which avoid over cooking or under cooking.
• Always remember that weather influence grilling. Hot and cool weather have their own effects on cooking and grilling.
• Its have the lid on their stoves, which heat the food evenly and uniformly.
barbeques gas

These Gas are the device commonly gaining popularity. These are more easy to use with knob to maintain temperature under food. These types of this gas have eased up the work in addition of providing specific taste to the food. These are commonly used to prepare meat. Natural gas connected with barbeques gas has helped to cook food easier. With so many advantages of these gas, you can easily invite your friends for it party. Buy a barbeque and have a memorable party. There are cheaper charcoal grills, which could be easily purchased and less complicated than gas. Further, these can be easily kept in garden or backyard.

It has made life easy by providing relief and making cooking easier. Some of the barbeques gas have wheels, which help it to easily move around and use as per the requirement. Such a convenient grill has filed human life with comfort and luxury. The unique taste added helps you in gaining fame all among your friends. So, what are looking for? Buy these gas today and enjoy cooking and grilling of food. Serve your guest with the best food they have had. Have a memorable party time and gain the popularity for serving them to the fullest.

For any help on Barbeques, check out the info available online, these will help you learn to find the Gas bbq an instant go!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Surviving the Heat of the Kitchen

by: ARA

(ARA) - You’ve seen aspiring singing idols, survivors in the wilderness and gold-medal athletes. Now meet the Best Teen Chef in America Patricia Homma, who sautéed, roasted and whisked her way to the top award in a national high school Culinary Arts scholarship competition sponsored by The Art Institutes, a leading educator in design and culinary arts nationwide.

After an intense two-hour cook-off, competing with 17 other high school seniors from around the country, Homma, an honors student at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Ga., was awarded the gold medal and a $30,000 scholarship to attend The Art Institute of Atlanta. The competition was held at The Art Institute of New York City.

Homma dreams of having all her family and friends celebrate every holiday at her home, the way it was at her mom’s house growing up in Brazil. After she moved to the United States in 1997, Homma began to watch cooking shows on television after school and was inspired to try some recipes and start cooking for her family. She’s been cooking ever since, for her friends as well. Although busy with work and a local youth group, she still finds time to watch Food TV, where her current favorites are “Iron Chef” and “30-Minute Meals with Chef Rachael Ray.”

Each contestant submitted a three-course menu as part of the entry requirements. Homma’s menu was titled “Tropical Sensations” and featured spinach and mango salad and grilled salmon (recipes below).

Now in its fourth year, The Art Institutes Best Teen Chef in America competition is an annual scholarship program that seeks to spotlight and recognize the most promising young culinary talent in the country. Eighteen high school seniors and would-be chefs were selected as finalists at regional competitions held in March at each of the Art Institutes where Culinary Arts programs are offered. More than $190,000 in tuition scholarships was awarded to the top nine finalists.

Next year’s Best Teen Chef 2004 competition will take place at The Art Institute of California - Orange County on May 22. Deadline for entries is Feb. 13, with local cook-off competitions taking place March 27. To receive information, register at

First through third place winners received $30,000 scholarships from The Art Institutes. In addition to Homma, second place finisher Lauren Cianfrani, representing The Art Institute of Philadelphia and Jenny Winiecki, representing The Art Institutes International Minnesota, who finished third, received $30,000 scholarships.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Affordable Gourmet-style Recipes

by: ARA
(ARA) - Looking for recipe ideas that are easy to follow, inexpensive and relatively guilt-free too? Try incorporating an American household favorite -- canned tuna!

For something a little different that promises to please guests and family, Bumble Bee provides some delightful, recipe ideas made with canned tuna’s new gold label Prime Fillet. Keep this gourmet quality solid white albacore tuna ready in the pantry for parties, unexpected guests or family get-togethers. Then, whip up an affordable gourmet-style meal that will have your guests convinced you’ve prepared something truly elaborate and extravagant. As an added bonus, they will enjoy canapés or entrées that are delectable, but without those serious calories.

Specially developed by two of California’s leading chefs, here are recipes that demonstrate how canned tuna is no ordinary ingredient.

* Mediterranean-Style Rigatoni Pasta with Prime Fillet Albacore

Recipe by Chef de Cuisine Fabrice Poigin, Bertrand at Mister A’s, San Diego

This simple and flavorful pasta dish with a Mediterranean flair is ideal whether sitting down to dinner with the family or celebrating with guests. Chef Fabrice suggests complementing this with a glass of 2001 Spottswood Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Serves 4.


1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces unsalted butter

1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 vine ripe tomato, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced

A sprig of rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 small jar of Spanish olives (green olives stuffed with pimientos), drained

2 6-ounce cans of Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore, drained

1/2 pound rigatoni pasta

1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

Dry aged parmesan, grated

Pinch of crushed red hot pepper flakes (optional)

Directions: Bring water to boil in a large pot according to package directions in preparation for cooking the rigatoni pasta. Heat 2/3 of the olive oil and 4 ounces of unsalted butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until nearly hot but not smoking. Add diced onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes until soft. Add diced red bell peppers, reducing to low-medium heat and cook until peppers are soft. Add diced tomato, minced garlic and 1/3 teaspoon of rosemary sprig leaves. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Cover and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, add drained whole olives and Bumble Bee Prime Fillet tuna in solid pieces to sautéed mixture. Cover and cook until tuna is heated through (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).

Cook the rigatoni pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander, leaving behind a little moisture. Toss the pasta, tuna sauce and water, then place in a serving dish or on individual plates. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top and garnish with thinly sliced chives and grated dry aged parmesan. Top with a pinch of crushed red hot pepper flakes, if you prefer a little more bite.

* Delicate, Festive Albacore Tuna Canape

Recipe by Chef de Cuisine Fabrice Poigin, Bertrand at Mister A’s, San Diego

An easy-to-follow, elegant-style canapé for entertaining guests or just treating yourself to a unique way of serving up albacore tuna! Serves 6 to 8.


1 6-ounce can of Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore, drained

2 finely diced shallots

1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced

1 soup spoon crème fraiche

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Sourdough bread (optional)

3 ounces of comté cheese or aged white cheddar, sliced thinly

Extra crème fraiche for garnish (optional)

1/2 ounce domestic caviar (optional)

Chervil sprigs (optional)

Directions: Mix together Prime Fillet tuna, shallots, chives, crème fraiche, and salt and pepper. Spoon mixture onto toasted triangles of sourdough bread or into Chinese ceramic serving spoons. Top each serving mixture with a slice of cheese and place in a pre-heated oven (300 degrees) until cheese begins to melt -- approximately 3 minutes. Remove toasties or Chinese spoons from the oven and top individually with a dot of crème fraiche, and then a dot of caviar (optional). Finish with a sprig of chervil to garnish.

* Prime Fillet Albacore Tuna and Potato Casserole

Recipe by Chef Gerald Hirigoyen, owner and executive chef, Piperade and Fringale Restaurants, San Francisco

Recognized in Food & Wine magazine’s 2003 Top Ten Best New Wine Lists, Chef Gerald suggests complementing this entrée with a glass of 2001 Turnbull Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Serves 4.


1/2 cup olive oil

2 large onions, thinly sliced

4 medium Anaheim chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth

6 to 8 saffron threads

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 mild dried chili pepper

4 6-ounce cans of Bumble Bee Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore, drained

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Pinch of piment d’Espelette (Basque chili pepper) or mild cayenne powder

Directions: Warm 1/2 cup olive oil in a large casserole over high heat. Add onions, Anaheim chilies, bay leaves, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, wine, vegetable stock, and saffron. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Add salt, pepper, and dried chili pepper, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the tuna and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through. Stir only occasionally to avoid breaking apart the fish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve in shallow soup bowls, and sprinkle with the parsley and piment d’Espelette.

Look for Bumble Bee Prime Fillet’s upside-down gold can in most supermarkets nationwide. For more information on Bumble Bee, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

About the author:
Courtesy of ARA Content

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cooking Techniques For the Perfect Steak

By Pauline Go

Once you have mastered the cooking techniques for a perfect steak, you will want to eat one everyday. Cooking the steak in a perfect manner should result in a very juicy and flavorful steak. The perfect steak should never be overcooked and hence, the use of a meat thermometer is an essential part of cooking the perfect steak.

The most convenient ways to cook a perfect steak are grilling, pan searing, and sear roasting. For grilling your steak, apply some non sticky oil onto the grill to prevent your steak from sticking to it. Place the steak on the burning hot grill. Resist from pressing the beef from metal spatula or anything else. Flip your steaks for once. Give them 5-6 minutes to cook each side, season them.

To check the doneness of the steak, use the meat thermometer. This will give you the indication whether the meat is cooked or not.

Another way of cooking perfect steaks is pan-searing, which consist of the same procedure as in grilling but using a pan. Use non sticky oil before you start cooking. Cook the steaks for 5-6 minutes per side, and again use the meat thermometer to figure out whether the steak is done.

Sear-roasting starts with preheating the oven to 500 F. Then carefully place the steaks into the pan at such high temperature and heat them for 1-2 minutes each side. Again use the meat thermometer as described above.

One important thing common in all these techniques is after using the meat thermometer, take out steaks from the heat source 15 minutes before the serving. This is because once the steaks are removed, you find their temperature rising 5- 10 degrees.

Remember, cooking perfect steaks should cause your steaks to turn brown making the juices concentrated, which gives the meat a rich and delicious flavor.

About Author:
Pauline Go is an online leading expert in cooking. She also offers top quality articles like:
Boil Pork Ribs Tips, Grilling Hamburgers Instructions