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Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Simple Meal For Garlic And Asparagus Lovers


Anyone who knows me knows that I love garlic. I usually eat four or five cloves a day. And not little ones either! I crush medium to large sized cloves and find a way to include them with at least one meal. And before you ask, the answer is NO: despite all the garlic that I eat, I don't smell like garlic! I guess I'm lucky that way.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I love fried potatoes and over-medium eggs served alongside sausage patties or a pile of crispy bacon. Yum! There's no better way to start the day than breakfast at a local, greasy-spoon diner. However, the problem with breakfast at the diner is there aren't any breakfast dishes that contain garlic. Not a single one. And there's never anything on the menu that contains asparagus either (another one of my favorite foods). So, I took it upon myself to dream up a very simple meal that uses garlic, potatoes, asparagus, and fried eggs. After preparing this meal several times, I finally figured out how to make it perfect for my taste buds. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

First, wash a medium sized potato and cut it into small cubes. I prefer to leave the skin on, but you're welcome to peel it. Drop a tablespoon of butter into a frying pan, set the heat on medium, and throw the potato cubes in there.

When the potatoes are nearly cooked, it's time to crush your garlic. I use two to three medium sized cloves but that might be too much for the average person, so maybe start with just one small clove the first time you cook this meal. Crush the garlic and dump it into a small bowl. Very important: let the crushed garlic sit for at least ten minutes all by itself before you mix it with anything. Use an egg timer if you have to (I have three in my kitchen!).

Next, wash and cut eight stalks of asparagus into 1/4 inch pieces. I generally use the top six inches from each piece and toss the lower portion into the trash. In another pan, sauté the asparagus in a tablespoon of butter, and remember to keep stirring them so they don't burn.
By now, your potatoes should be done. I'll usually crank the heat up for at least three to four minutes in order to brown them and make them crispy, and then I'll turn the heat off altogether. Cook the potatoes to your liking, and then turn the heat off.

I prefer to cook the asparagus until they almost lose their crispiness, and then I pour the asparagus into the pan containing the potatoes and mix them together (remember to turn the heat off!).
In the same pan that you cooked the asparagus, fry a couple of eggs. Flip them once and cook to your liking. I prefer over-medium eggs: fluid yolks but thoroughly cooked whites.
The last couple of steps are pretty simple: add the crushed garlic to the pan of potatoes and asparagus, and mix together. Then pour the potatoes and asparagus and garlic mix onto a large plate. Sprinkle a little salt across everything, and then plop the fried eggs on top.

I eat this meal at least three or four times a week, and I love it every time. I like the texture of the egg yolk mixing in with the crispy potatoes and asparagus. Although you can certainly add a sauce to the top of this, I don't think you need to. The blend of flavors and textures makes this meal perfect the way it is.

Some day, somewhere, a restaurant will start serving this meal for breakfast, and when they do, I'll be there!

The listed ingredients will serve one person:

1 medium sized potato
3 medium sized cloves of garlic, crushed (use less if you're new to garlic)
6 spears of asparagus cut into 1/4 inch pieces (use the top 6 inches; discard the rest)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of butter (add more butter if necessary)

Red Shell Foods offers a variety of delicious salad dressings that can be ordered straight from their website. Please visit their site at:
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Three Changes to Make Your French Dip Sandwich Special


French Dip sandwiches have been around for years. It's a basic sandwich made with roast beef, crusty bread, and thin gravy called "au jus." But some restaurants are adding onions, green peppers, and cheese -- changes that are far cry from the original.

Search the Internet and you'll find dozens of recipes for the lunchtime and dinnertime favorites. Some recipes use leftover beef roast, and others use meat cooked in a slow cooker. I made these sandwiches the other night and used leftover beef. Personally, I think the flavor of the sandwich has lots to do with how you season the meat.

While the oven pre-heated I rubbed the meat with olive oil. Then I sprinkled it with crushed rosemary, smoked paprika, garlic powder, thyme, freshly ground pepper, and a little salt. Thanks to the olive oil, the seasoning stays on the meat. To seal the outside of the roast I cooked it at 450 degrees for a half hour. I lowered the heat to 325 and continued cooking until the meat thermometer read 150 degrees -- rare to medium.

Be aware that when you cook a roast and take it out of the oven, it continues to cook for a few minutes. I made a thin sauce with water, au ju mix, and gravy flour. Some of the seasoning had fallen to the bottom of the pan, which added flavor to the sauce. This sauce became my dipping sauce later.
Rachael Ray has posted a recipe for this favorite sandwich on her website. Instead of gravy, she makes a sauce with butter, chopped shallot, dry sherry (optional), canned beef stock, and a little flour. A similar recipe from Georgia Downard is posted on the Food Network website. It, too, uses butter, shallot, garlic, beef broth, and a little white wine for extra flavor.

I checked my cookbook collection and found more recipes, only these had soy sauce in them. Since I'm trying to avoid salt I avoided these recipes. As good as all these recipes are, simple is often better. Three things make my French Dip sandwiches special, the seasoning on the meat, toasting the rolls ahead of time, and making the dipping sauce with leftover gravy. If your mouth isn't watering yet, it will be when you take your first bite of this sandwich.


1 cup leftover beef gravy (plain or mushroom)
1 cup water
2 rounded teaspoons of low-salt au jus mix (available in the soup aisle)
1 ciabatta roll per person (white or wheat)
Soft butter
4 thin slices of roast beef per person


In a small saucepan, whisk leftover gravy, water, and au jus mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat until steaming. Cut each roll in half and butter both halves. Toast rolls in a skillet over low heat, until the buttered side is a golden brown. (Do not over-toast.) Layer meat onto bottom half of each roll and top with remaining half. Ladle dipping sauce into individual bowls. Serve dipping sauce with sandwiches, a salad, or mixed fresh fruit.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 35+ years and is the author of 32 published books. Her latest releases are "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" and "Help! I'm Rasing My Grandkids." Please visit her website and learn more about this busy writer.
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Light Salad Meals for Summer


Light salad meals are a great idea for hot weather menu planning. With just a few fresh ingredients you can make a meal quickly and easily. I like having a few standby recipes for those warm summer-like days. Here are a few of my favorite easy salad meals.
These easy salad recipes can be served in a variety of ways so you can always have a variety of meal ideas that are simple to make.

I love the creaminess of cottage cheese and here is a really simple salad with just four ingredients. This is a great salad to serve as a wrap sandwich or even a cold pasta topper. This recipe make 3 to 4 servings.

cottage cheese - 1 (16oz) container
marinated artichoke hearts - 1 cup chopped
sun-dried tomatoes in oil - 1/4 cup chopped
pitted oil-cured black olives - 1/4 cup finely diced
(you can use regular black pitted olives if you prefer)


- Simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine completely.
Easy Salad Meal Ideas:
  • Layered Wrap Sandwich: Serve this cheese salad as a layered wrap sandwich. Take a soft tortilla shell and layer it with washed spinach or lettuce leaves. Next place the cottage cheese salad on top of the greens. Then place any of the following on top of the cheese salad; strips of thinly sliced avocado sections, deli ham, chicken or roast beef slices. Roll up the wrap and enjoy.

  • Stuffed Potatoes: Make a quick salad meal by using this creamy salad as a topping for baked potatoes. Serve along with steamed and chilled asparagus drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

  • Pasta Topper: Another idea for a light salad meal is to serve this cheese salad recipe over whole grain cooked and chilled pasta such as rotini, elbow macaroni or farfalle. I like to serve this with warm garlic bread slices on the side.
Here is another four ingredient recipe that make a delicious light salad meal. It is a refreshing crab salad that is packed with flavor. This recipe makes two servings but you can simply double the ingredients to make four servings.


cooked crabmeat - 2 cups (flaked or lump - broken into pieces)
dressing of your choice - 3 to 4 tbsp (Italian, French, or Caesar are good choices)
marinated artichoke hearts - 1 jar (7.5 oz) (drained and cut into small chunks)
fresh watercress - 2 cups (washed and chopped)


- Break the crabmeat into pieces and marinate in a bowl with the salad dressing for one hour.
- After one hour, add all the other ingredients and toss seafood salad well to coat.

Easy Salad Meal Ideas:
  • Crab Salad with Roasted Veggies: Serve this quick crab salad recipe on top of romaine lettuce with a side of roasted vegetables.

  • Crab Stuffed Avocados: Another easy idea is to serve this delicious salad scooped into an avocado half and serve along with rye toast with melted cheese on top for a quick meal.

  • Layered Crab Salad: You can also serve this as a layered salad by layering the crab salad into parfait glasses alternating between layers of peeled orange segments and the crab salad.
Try this simple chicken salad that is filled with great depth of flavor created with chicken, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and more.


chicken - 2 cups cooked, cooled and cubed
garlic - 2 cloves finely chopped
sun-dried tomatoes in oil - 1/3 cup chopped (use oil for dressing)
broccoli - 1 1/2 cups chopped (raw or steamed)
fresh squeezed lime juice - 1 tbsp

Note: If you do not like raw broccoli, you may steam it lightly before adding to salad.

- In a mixing bowl, add the chicken, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, lime juice and the oil from the tomatoes. Toss well to combine.

Easy Salad Meals:
  • Chicken Salad with Udon Noodles: Serve this easy chicken salad over udon noodles with peach and cucumber slices on the side.

  • Easy Garlic Chicken Salad: Serve chicken salad over a bed of spinach leaves and shredded cabbage with a bowl of cold tomato soup and whole grain crackers.

  • Chicken Salad with Rolls: Another quick light summer meal recipe is to serve this garlic lime chicken salad with whole grain rolls or corn muffins.
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Healthy Pizza, Low Carb, Low Fat, High Protein



Healthy Pizza! Low carb, low fat, high protein
Most people like to get stuck into a pizza with extra toppings once in a while. But what if you are on a weight loss (Fat loss diet)?
Do you cut out your favorite foods all together? Or do you find an alternative?
Here is a healthy alternative to greasy pizza that you can eat on more than the odd occasion during your diet.

What You Will Need

Chicken breast
Tomato puree
Oregano or mixed Italian herbs
Garlic powder or crushed garlic

You can add other favorite ingredients also, but be aware of this if you are dieting as all those extras can add up.

Putting Your Healthy Pizza Together
  1. First off, wash and flatten the chicken breast. Place the chicken breast on a flat surface and cover with cling film.Grab something heavy, a chair leg, bible, shoe... But a rolling pin would be ideal! Gently tap the chicken until it is about 1 cm thick all over. Take care not to damage the chicken breast too much as this will serve as our pizza base.

  2. Put a good helping of tomato puree into a bowl and mix in the garlic powder or crushed garlic to taste. (If you are not a garlic lover, you may want to skip the garlic, it is not essential but will really add to the taste)

  3. Go back to the chicken breast. I find that this method works better if you use the "underside" of the chicken breast i.e. not the smooth side. With the chicken breast flat on a surface, (Smooth side down), spread the tomato puree evenly over the full surface and put into a fridge while you prep the rest of the toppings. By doing this it gives the chicken breast chance to absorb some of the flavor.

  4. Slice the peppers, olives, onions and mushrooms and tear the spinach up into small pieces

  5. Take the chicken breast that you prepared earlier out of the fridge and sprinkle with oregano or Italian seasoning (This gives it a "Pizza" flavor)

  6. layer on the toppings. I find it best to layer on the spinach then peppers first. Then the rest of the topping on in any order.

  7. sprinkle with low fat grated cheese, this will bind the topping together. (You can put a small layer of cheese after the spinach and peppers but be aware of the amount of cheese you put on if you are on a fat loss diet.

  8. Cook in the oven on 180c for 30-35 mins or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly ( make sure that the chicken breast is cooked thoroughly before serving).

  9. I would serve this with a Jacket potato if I was not being "Carb conscious" but served on its own, this is low fat, low carb and high protein!
As always, I'm happy to get feedback on how these recipes worked out for you. Let me know how you got on.
Good luck
By James Atkinson
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Want That Salad With a Side of Sugar?


In this day and age, we are bombarded with hidden sugars. They are quite literally lurking everywhere. They are in our cereals, breads, yogurts, tomato sauces, and even in our salad dressings. Seriously? Did you intend to order that salad with a side of insulin-spiking Italian or the candy bar equivalent, Honey Dijon? In fact, while reading the label of one fairly popular dressing, I noted the second, third, and fourth ingredients were high fructose corn syrup, honey, and sugar. Why not just call it what it is? It's sugar, sugar, and still more sugar!

So, why are the big brands doing this? It is really quite simple. Sugar is addictive, especially when mixed with the perfect ratio of dietary fats. That is what salad dressing is supposed to be, right? Many of the big food corporations have entire research teams dedicated to finding the perfect ratio of sugar and fats to ensure you keep coming back for more... and more... and more.
The reality is, you can spend hours analyzing labels and searching for terms like grape sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, malt syrup, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, molasses, raw sugar, sorbitol, sorghum syrup, sucrose, turbinado sugar, or xylitol (to name a few) or you can make your own.
Here are three of my personal favorites...

Balsamic Vinaigrette (2T serving)- This is perfect for when you're in the mood for something a little bit sweet and a little bit tart. It pairs beautifully with bright green baby spinach, toasted almonds, and freshly sliced strawberries.
1c Balsamic Vinegar
1c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ c Fresh Lemon Juice
3T Dijon Mustard
1T Ground Thyme
2 tsp Pepper

Add the ingredients into a bowl. Whisk until they are thoroughly blended. Serve immediately and refrigerate all leftovers. If stored in an airtight container, then the leftovers should remain fresh for 1-2 weeks.

Lemon-Dijon Dressing (1T serving)- This is the perfect way to add a little bit of tang into your meal. Consider tossing it with mixed greens, tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers.
¾ c Water
9T Dijon Mustard
6T Fresh Lemon Juice
3T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¾ tsp Pepper
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced

Add the ingredients into a bowl. Whisk until they are thoroughly blended. Serve immediately and refrigerate all leftovers. If stored in an airtight container, then the leftovers should remain fresh for 1-2 weeks.

Tahini Dressing (1T serving)- This is a go-to recipe for when you're craving something creamy and a bit heavier. When massaged thoroughly, it hangs on every kale leaf as though they were meant to be lifetime partners.

¾ c Tahini
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1T Low Sodium, Tamari
¼ tsp Onion Powder
2T Lemon Juice
¼ c Water, add until it reaches the desired consistency

Add the ingredients into a bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes to marry the flavors. Serve and refrigerate all leftovers. If stored in an airtight container, then the leftovers should remain fresh for 1-2 weeks.

Jennifer is a Holistic Health Coach and Owner of Holistic Peace, LLC. She is dedicated to supporting individuals as they find the peace to live healthy and happy lives.
To invest in your own health and happiness, contact her on the web at, email at, or her Facebook page at
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

10 the Most Delicious Turkey Recipes

Author: Maria Lauritsen


It always seemed to me somehow that turkeys shouldn't love the beginning of winter. At first we celebrate Thanksgiving Day at the end of November, then comes Christmas – and millions of turkeys in the whole world live they last days.

Do Americans and Britons know why they call this bird by the name of one of the Asia Minor states? In fact it bears no relation to Turkey. Let's look to the past. Turkey cocks came to Europe from West Indies, i.e. America. Christopher Columbus was searching for another way to India as he discovered a new land, which he mistook for India. He thought turkey is related to a peacock that is called tuka by the inhabitants of the islands in the Indian Ocean. That is why we name this wonderful bird turkey.

But let's speak about turkey as a main dish of Christmas dinner. To my mind, it's the biggest and appetizing poultry, which gives the best fit to a family holiday. There are lots of ways to cook a turkey, though it's usually served whole. The principle of cooking is simple enough. First of all you need to unfreeze turkey correctly: do it beforehand, unhurriedly, better in the fridge what will require about 15-20 hours.

Turkey has delicate fatless meat, that's why there is a danger that it can get dryish during cooking. I know one secret way to make your turkey juicy and fleshy – take a usual syringe with a needle, fill it with melt butter and make some injections in its soft places. The result is startling, I assure you! Then rub the bird with salt and pepper within and outside, and it's basically ready to be placed in the oven.

Now it comes time for the most interesting thing: to choose what the turkey will be stuffed with. Whether you use such products like rice, fruits, nuts or chestnuts – it's all a matter of taste. Exactly stuffing variations distinguish different national recipes from each other: Poles add cream and chopped meat, Dutch - mashed potatoes and celery, French prefer chestnuts, and so on. But I'm going to share with you the tastiest turkey recipes from my large collection and hope you'll appreciate them at their true value.

Turkey with cranberries, bacon and walnuts

This spicy filling is one of the most delicious – it's a hybrid between traditional American and English versions of turkey stuffings. Cider sauce harmonizes perfectly with golden turkey crisp.

1 turkey weighing about 4 kilos
1 tablespoon corn oil
4 ounces bacon, sliced
2 shallots, chopped
2 celery twigs, chopped
1 rosemary twig
3 ounces cranberries
3 cups cider
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 ounces walnuts, chopped
1 orange peel, grated
1 cup sausage meat
1 egg
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup mouldering butter
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon starch
salt and pepper at your taste

1.    To make stuffing, combine oil, bacon, shallot, celery and rosemary in a saucepan. Cook 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft but not stain. Add cranberries, and 1 1/2 cup cider. Cook for 10-20 minutes, then take the pan from fire and let the mass get cold.
2.    Add nutmeg, allspice, a pinch of salt and pepper, walnuts, orange peel, sausage meat, 1 egg and crumbs.
3.    Heat up the oven to 240 C. Wipe dry turkey skin and stuff it. The rest of stuffing you can lay around the turkey.
4.    Coat the turkey with butter and flavor. Tent with aluminum foil and put in the oven. In 15 minutes reduce the heat to the minimum. Pour on juice, and then bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Remove foil an hour before the dish is ready. Remove turkey from oven, cover with foil again and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving.
5.    Then you have to make a sauce. Remove grease in the casserole dish in which you've baked the turkey, add cider, chicken broth and a little meat from turkey wings. Combine with starch and cook until it thickens. Pour it in a sauceboat and serve up together with the turkey.

Apple-glazed turkey with herbs

This savory herb filling will surely enhance your turkey for the holiday table. In its part sweet apple glaze is snap to cook and has a really delicious and original taste.

1 turkey
1/2 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the glaze:

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.    Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and mix well, then add thyme, parsley, sage, salt and pepper and mix the mass. Pour in broth and fluff gently.
2.    Heat oven to 220 C. Remove giblets and neck from cavity. Fill the large turkey cavity and the smaller neck cavity, if you have enough stuffing. In the case you want to cook the stuffing separately, put in the oven 40-50 minutes before the turkey will be ready.
3.    Roast turkey about 2-2 1/2 hours. Then cover it with foil and, reduce the heat and continue cooking 30-40 minutes more.
4.    Melt apple jelly in a pot. Combine with cinnamon, pepper and salt and mix thoroughly. Brush turkey with apple glaze and cook about 3-5 minutes without foil until it's browned.
5.    Take the turkey out, cover with foil and let it for half an hour

Turkey with blocks and ham with Madeira gravy

If you want your turkey to be juicy, flavored and tasty, try this quite easy recipe. This is a perfect dish for a holiday dinner for two.

1 turkey weighing 5 kilos
12 ounces blocks
1 pint chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, grated
8 ounces bacon, diced
3 parsley twigs, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 ounces dry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 lemon peel
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Madeira
1 tablespoon mustard

1.    Put blocks in a big pan, combine with hot broth and leave it for 10 minutes.
2.    Fry onion and garlic about 5 minutes. Increase the heat, combine with bacon and cook for 5 minutes more.
3.    Combine blocks with bacon, herbs, lemon peel, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Brush the turkey with butter and stuff with the blocks mass.
4.    Heat the oven to 200-220 C. put the turkey on the casserole dish, tent with foil and bake for about 3 hours. Then remove foil, grease the turkey with its juice and cook for 20-30 minutes more.
5.    Take the turkey out, when it's ready and place it on a big dish, covered with foil. Take the casserole dish with turkey grease and put it on fire. Add flour, broth, Madeira and mustard. Cook for 10-15 minutes over a medium heat. Season the turkey at your taste.
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About the Author

If you like my recipes, you’re always welcome to my website, where you can get to know more ways of turkey and stuffing cooking, and also another recipes different dishes.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Choosing a Cake Topper to Show Off Your Personality


Wedding cakes are an important part of every wedding reception. They express the personality of the bride and groom and provide a point of interest for the guests as they wait for the couple to arrive at the reception. In addition to the design of the cake and decoration of the cake table, the cake topper is another representation of the happy couple.

Traditionally, toppers for wedding cakes usually feature statues of a bride and groom. They can be standing side by side like in a wedding ceremony, dancing, holding hands or even sharing a kiss. Usually they are made of crystal or ceramic and are fairly formal.

However, not all cake toppers have to be so traditional. Brides and grooms with a sense of humor might want to pick a more non-traditional topper like a bride holding onto the leg of a runaway groom or a bride holding a frightened groom in her arms. If the couple is known for being funny, this is a great way to carry their personality into the décor of the cake.

Cake toppers can also be customized for the bride and groom. They can be made to specifically match a couple's appearance including hair color, eye color, etc. Couples who are in the military can choose a figurine in a military uniform or couples that enjoy a particular sport or hobby together can have a topper made showing them enjoying that hobby.

Besides the typical bride and groom figurines on wedding cakes, there are other options, both with figurines and without. Cake toppers with more old-fashioned looking couples, cartoon-like figures or even abstract figures can be used. Or for those who don't want to necessarily have a couple on their cake topper, a simple topper displaying the couple's initials can be used or flowers can be used on top of the cake to replace a topper altogether.

The most important part of choosing a topper for wedding cakes is making sure it fits in with your theme. A bride and groom having a Disney-themed wedding might want to have Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in a tuxedo and a wedding dress. For a Christmas-themed wedding, the topper could be of Santa and Mrs. Clause or even a snowman and snowwoman.
Brides and grooms of every type can find toppers for wedding cakes that will fit their personality, their theme and their budget, the possibilities are endless!

So if you are have a low budget for your wedding cake than Fortress cakes in Sydney is your best bet. You can also check out their other cakes like kids birthday cakes.
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cake Decorating With a Silhouette Cameo Cutter


Imagine you were a cake artist who had to create a 5 tier wedding cake with the same design print all around the sides of every tier. The time involved in doing hand painting could be several days and make the cake price prohibitive for the bride. But the bride doesn't have to sacrifice the design of her dreams because she can't afford it. If, instead, the design in printed on edible icing sheets, the bride gets exactly what she wants at a fraction of the cost.

Wedding cake orders have been bigger, more elaborate cakes since the cake competitions started airing on television. Brides used to accept the plain white buttercream cakes that came at no additional cost from the wedding caterer. But, now the cake is a big part of the wedding theme and the biggest focal point after the bride and her gown.

Taking any design, the icing sheets are adhered to the sides of the cake using a bit of piping gel. Nut, more intricate designs are possible by using the electronic cutter machine with those printed designs. A machine equipped cake a special needle design for cutting cake decorating mediums is the Silhouette Cameo cutter.

You can cut an infinite number of patterns using this machine by either buying cartridges or downloading software. The machine connects to your personal computer where you can even enter custom designs to cut out.

Icing sheets aren't the only medium cake decorators cut with the Silhouette; everything from gum paste, modeling chocolate, marzipan and fondant can be thinly rolled on the accompanying mat, slid into the cutter's slot and trimmed into custom decorations.
On a smaller scale, imagine filling an ordering for a matching Louis Vuitton handbag and shoe cake. You could scan the design and cut out all the LV logos and other symbols that make up the design, saving hours required to either pain the or cut them by hand.
For those who don't like their handwriting or just want to cut out monograms, the Silhouette is ideal. The machine costs about $350 and comes with a software program for your desktop and instructions for use.

Before this machine was ever used for cake decorating, it had been used with a different type of needle for paper crafts. Wedding cake designer, Linda McClure, adapted the machine for use with cake decorating materials.

It does take a bit of practice to get used to using the machine. Both fondant and gum paste can be sticky and freezing them a bit will allow them to cut cleaner instead of sticking to the cutting needle. Once the design is cut, you can use a pointed object such as a scriber to lift the design then apply it to the cake with a dab of water.

There are infinite design possibilities when working with the software from pre-programmed designs to ones you scan or download. Technology has found its way into the cake decorator's kitchen.
Theresa Happe is a cake decorator and fan of where you can find the Silhouette Cameo Cutter
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Five Fantastic Clam Dishes


Seafood is very popular and arguably healthy for you, or so says my doctor. It certainly has less fats and calories than red meats, no added hormones, and many health benefits. Growing up by the seacoast I often take seafood's popularity for granted, but on a recent trip to the Midwest, restaurants were featuring oysters from both coasts, Maine lobster, and plenty of sushi. My favorite seafood of all time is clams, and although perhaps not as popular away from the coast, the wide array of clams dishes on local menus and the proliferation of "clam shacks" along the New England coast reinforce the notion of the clam's popularity. Here are some of five of the most popular clam dishes.

Fried clams, deep fried to a golden brown and served with tartar sauce are a favorite. These are typically soft shell clams, briefly dipped in coating, and then deep fried. Although no one is going to claim these are healthy, if the coating, usually bread crumbs or some type of batter, is relatively light they do not absorb as much grease as would be expected. Everyone has their favorite place locally for these, whether it's a Spartan clam shack with benches and tables outside or a more upscale establishment.

Steamers are also soft shell clams, at least in New England, and steamed briefly perhaps for 2-3 minutes just until they open. They need to be served immediately when done, and are usually dipped in the broth from steaming and then into melted butter. They make a great appetizer. Many types of clams can be steamed, but my favorite is New England soft shell clams.
Baked stuffed clams are popular both on restaurant menus and also in supermarkets. These are available far and wide, and there are even several frozen varieties that are pretty good. That said, fresh is always better. These are hard shell clams, chopped and mixed with some combination of breadcrumbs, onions, spices, peppers, and more.

A clamcake is an interesting concept and not too far removed from the baked stuffed clam idea, except they are deep fried and served with tartar sauce. The best clam cakes have a high clam to other ingredient ratio. Besides clams, they often contain eggs, breadcrumbs, flour, and more.
Our last clam dish is Clam Pie. This is a traditional Native American dish enjoyed by The Puritans, and consists of a pie crust with filling that includes flour, sauteed onions, carrots, potatoes and of course chopped clams. Interestingly, this is often served for breakfast and makes a hearty breakfast indeed!

Visit All About Clams for much more information on tasty clam dishes!
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Red Lobster Clam Chowder Recipe - Soup's On!

Author: Recipes McGee


I really hope you take the opportunity to make this incredible Red Lobster Clam Chowder Recipe for yourself and someone(s) you love. It's a really nice, simple chowder in a classic New England style. Prepare to smile in delight!
Red Lobster Clam Chowder Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 cup clams (in juice)
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Red Lobster Clam Chowder Directions:
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large soup pot.

  2. Add onion, celery, leeks, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Mix well.

  4. Add milk. Whisk it like you really mean it!

  5. Set a colander over soup pot. Pour clams into the colendar, allowing the juice to drain into the pot. When completely strained, set clams aside.

  6. Return pot to heat (med-high heat) and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

  7. Add potatoes and seasonings. Reduce heat to low.

  8. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

  9. Add clams and let simmer an additional 6-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  10. Stir in heavy cream. Let simmer another minute or two.

  11. Serve in hot sourdough bread bowls or in your favorite cup or bowl.

  12. Enjoy!
And there you have it! Your very own Red Lobster Clam Chowder to serve on its own in a nice crisp sourdough bread bowl or as a nice starter before a special meal. But I'm sure you already know how you'd like to eat it, so I'll just let you do it your way!
I just know this recipe is gonna knock your socks off!
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About the Author
Recipes McGee has you covered. In addition to this super tasty chowder recipe, I've got plenty more Red Lobster Recipes
for you to fall in love with! In addition, I've got a whole library of "copycat" secret restaurant recipes looking for a good home!

Go to now. You're going to LOVE this!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chilli Con Carne With Popping Kidney Beans Recipe


A good, slow-cooked chilli con carne always goes down a treat. I've done popping kidney beans on the side to mix it up. They add a bit of crunch to a traditionally mellow dish.

Serves 10

Chilli con carne with popping kidney beans ingredients:

1 dried chillies (such as chipotle).
Olive oil.
2 large red onions, finely chopped.
1 large bunch coriander, leaves picked and chopped, roots finely chopped.
3 long red chillies, seeds removed, finely sliced.
2 carrots, chopped. 1 and 1/2 tbs smoked paprika (pimenton).
1 cinnamon quill.
1 tbs cumin seeds.
500g beef mince.
4 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes.
3 capsicums (in mixed colours).
2 x 400gcans kidney beans, drained.

Sour cream, steamed rice, jacket potatoes, tacos or flatbreads, to serve.
Methods of cooking:

1- To make the chilli con carne, place dried chillies in a bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside to rehydrate.
2- Place a large sauc
epan over medium heat, add a glug of oil, then add the onion, garlic, coriander roots and most of the fresh chilli (reserving some to serve). Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the carrot, paprika, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds, then cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.

3- Drain the rehydrated chillies, reserving the soaking water, and thinly slice. Stir them into the pan with the mince, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid evaporates and the meat is browned. Add the tomatoes and reserved chilli soaking water, then season well and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 hours until thickened.

4- Meanwhile, to char the capsicums, carefully hold them with long tongs over a high gas flame or place on a screaming hot chargill pan and turn until blackened all over. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to steam until cool enough to handle. Peel, discarding the seeds, and cut the flesh into strips, then add to the mince.

5- Dry kidney beans on paper towel. Place a large frypan over medium heat and toast the remaining cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add a good drizzle of oil and the beans. Cook, tossing, for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and starting to pop. Season well, then tip into a serving bowl, scatter over the coriander leaves and mix together.

6- Season the chilli con carne, remove the cinnamon quill, then scatter over the reserved fresh chilli. Serve with the popping beans, sour cream and rice or whatever you fancy. By then, the Chilli con carne with popping kidney beans is ready.

Find out more delicious dishes and desserts on our blog. There are hundreds of heavenly dishes from top international cuisines. All recipes are provided with detailed and easy steps to follow and enjoy at the comfort of your home.
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easy and Delicious: Mediterranean Chicken and Potatoes


Bandera, Texas is usually a very warm place; however, this time of the year the winds can pick up and it gets pretty chilly for a Texas town! After doing a morning's chores, I decided I wanted something warm, flavorful, and filling but not necessarily fattening.

Today, I knew I had some really nice Roma tomatoes from the store that I could not resist, a small package of goat cheese I picked up as a treat, and frozen chicken thawing in the fridge. I also had potatoes that needed to be used while they were still good, so I decided to make my Mediterranean chicken and roasted potatoes.

Both of these dishes are simply delicious, do well with one another or paired with other sides, and are really very easy to make. They bring color, flavor, and love to your table and will definitely reward you for all of your hard work outside!

Mediterranean chicken and roasted potatoes
The potatoes:
You will want to do the potatoes first because they cook in two segments at 40 minutes each.
  • 6 medium sized baking potatoes, cut into wedges.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin for its fruity flavor)
  • 1/2 cup of water.
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice - fresh or bottled.
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced finely.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a pan large enough to hold all of your potatoes with a non-cook spray.
Take your washed and dried potatoes and slice them in half lengthwise. Place the flat side down and cut into half twice and then again twice so that you have evenly-sized wedges. The closer in size the wedges are width-wise, the more uniformly they will cook.
In a separate container, mix the oil, lemon juice, oregano together. Add the garlic to the oil mixture and stir well.
Place the potatoes in a deep bowl and salt and pepper them. Toss them around a little to make sure the S&P gets on each of the potatoes. Then add the oil to the bowl.
Wash your hands thoroughly and then use your hands to mix the potatoes and oil. Yes, you will smell like garlic. If that bothers you, use vanilla extract in your hand-washing soap when you are done tossing the potatoes. If that does not bother you, you are like me. I love garlic, love the smell of it, and I don't mind getting a sniff of it here and there as I'm cooking! The more the merrier!
Place the oiled potatoes into the baking pan and pour the water into the bottom of the pan. This is the secret to roasting potatoes without them becoming dry and sponge-like. (Don't tell your friends - let them just imagine you're a genius.)
Place the potatoes into the oven and set the timer to 40 minutes. At the end of 40 minutes, stir the potatoes around making sure to spoon the delicious garlic-infused oil/water over the potatoes. While the first 40 minutes is taking place, you can prep your ingredients for the chicken dish.
When your timer is up and your potatoes are turned and bathed, set the timer for another 40 minutes; use this time to actually cook the chicken dish. The total cook time will be 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Mediterranean Chicken
  • 3-4 chicken breasts, washed and then salted and peppered, cut into halves or thirds.
  • 6 Roma tomatoes - diced into pieces around 1/2″
  • 1 tablespoon of capers, drained and rinsed
  • I small can of black olives, sliced (or slice your own)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice - fresh or otherwise
  • half a small onion, sliced thinly
  • Worcestershire sauce - 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 pats of butter.
  • Fresh goat cheese crumbles
I'm going to go on a cooking rant - I can just feel it bubbling up inside of me, so buckle up because here we go.
Cast Iron. No, no, no - I know - they're heavy, they're confusing sometimes, they don't have the ever beloved teflon non-stick that people are convinced they MUST have - but really... if you can just try one nice big cast iron pan, I promise that you will hear angels sing, see fireworks, and ask it to marry you.

OK maybe I'm exaggerating a wee bit. But seriously - a well-seasoned cast iron pan will rock your world and your cooking and even clean up time! If you're new to cast iron pans, I'll post an article about how to choose, use, and enjoy them.
So - no matter what pan you choose (subliminal messaging: cast iron) you will want to heat the pan to medium/medium-hot. If you use stainless, I sometimes use a simple non-stick spray to help clean up. Once the pan is good and warm, add your oil and let it heat.

The Vegetables
While the oil is heating, combine all of your other ingredients except for half of the onions and all of the lemon juice into a bowl and let them meet each other. Toss in your seasoning, give them a little stir so that they're mingling and getting happy, then get ready to do more with your chicken.
Eat at least 2 olives and pretend that you're doing quality control on the way. Don't tell anyone you did it - deny it vehemently if anyone suspects anything!
Note, in this case I used green olives because we had a party and ate all of the black olives. Oops! I really cannot resist olives!

Preparing the Chicken
Gently nestle the seasoned chicken breasts into the olive oil. I really believe the care you give to the food you're cooking and the fun you let yourself have comes out in the quality at the end. Enjoy the process! Listen to them sizzle as they hit the pan. Give them a little bit of a wiggle so that the oil gets under them and they stick a little less. Then let them be for a bit.

You want the one side of the chicken to sear a bit. You don't want to micromanage the food, poking it, looking at it, moving it around; you'll anger it and it'll decide it wants to ruin your dinner party. Let it just rest until the one side is at least white (not pink), and preferably has a little color to it - just a bit.
If you're impatient and you really just cannot resist doing something to it, show it some love by putting some more seasonings on the top side.

Once the chicken is ready on one side, go ahead and flip it over to give the other side some color.
Caramelizing the onions adds to the depth of flavors.
At this point I added the reserved half of the onions to the skillet to start to pick up some color and caramelize a bit. To me, there are few flavors that really make a dish as interesting as caramelized onions. Cook until the chicken breasts are nearly cooked about 10 minutes.

Combining the Chicken and Vegetables
Once the onions have picked up color and the chicken breasts have as well, dump the tomato mixture into the pan with the chicken. Stir the tomato mixture around the chicken gently so that the tomatoes and the chicken both have a chance to touch the bottom to continue cooking.
Breathe in deeply and enjoy the smells. Tangy, rich, bright, deep - they're all there.
Turn down your heat to medium/medium-low so that you don't cook this too quickly. The goal is to let the tomatoes cook down and lose their structure, but not to burn them or let them get too mushy.

Let the Mixture Cook Together
Go in occasionally and use a spoon to lift up the cooked tomatoes, put them on the chicken, and let the still-uncooked tomatoes get their turn at the bottom of the pan.Once about half of the tomatoes are cooked down, I turn the chicken over. Use a spoon to pick up the juices from the tomatoes and bathe the chicken pieces in them. Take your lemon juice and sprinkle over the top of the chicken pieces, season with a little more salt and pepper - just a little.
When all of the tomatoes are done and the chicken is complete, about 15 minutes, put 2-3 pats of butter into the sauce and stir it in to finish your sauce. Get your warm plates ready.

Finishing the Dish
For this dish, I put the potatoes on the plate first. Then you serve the chicken beside it, or on top of the potatoes. That being said, I think serving them on the side is best because the roasted potatoes keep crisp and you can always drag them over to the tomato sauce to pick up some of the goodies. Yum!!

Sprinkle a tiny bit of fresh goat cheese crumbles on top of the chicken. Then be sure to eat some of the extra goat cheese because it is Just That Good!!
This is a dish that is piquant, warm, so easy to cook, and very pretty with its reds and greens topping the beautiful golden chicken. Be sure to share it with friends and family.
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Salads: A Great Addition To Any Meal



Salad: A Bowl of Health and Happiness

Salads today are full of flavor, not a bowl of wilted lettuce, over ripe tomatoes and little else. Salads today are full color, appetizing, full of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are appropriate for all occasions. You can create a salad for a family dinner, a light lunch or a dinner party. Salad can actually be your main course. The creation of salads is limitless. If you can dream it, you can create it.

Salads today can be prepared any time of year. They can be as simple or as complex as you like. Salads can be the main course by adding meat, seafood or poultry along with your greens, vegetables, nuts, fruit and cheese. Salads will fit very easily into you meal plans. As you get into the habit of adding Salads to your menu planning you will discover you are searching for the ingredients to the next type of salad you desire to place on your table.
In this day and age we are being encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables to our diets. There isn't a better way to add these into your diet than a fresh salad at meal time.
Salads: Keep It Fresh

Salads are only as good as the ingredients that you use. It's important when purchasing your ingredients to make sure they are fresh. Just as when serving a dish eye appeal is important so let your eyes do the shopping.

Salad Recipes:

Greek Salad (4 servings)
7 ounces Greek Feta cheese
2 heads of Romaine Lettuce, shredded
4 tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 Cucumber, sliced
24 Kalamata Olives, pitted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as Greek oregano, flat-leaf parsley or basil)

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1. Make the dressing first and set aside.
2. Prepare all salad ingredients and divide evenly into 4 bowls.
3. Drizzle with dressing and serve. (Do not add dressing until ready to serve)

Dinner Salad (4 servings)
3 ounces cucumber, sliced or diced
8 scallions, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded
1 yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2-3 radishes cut into thin rounds
3 ounces spring mix
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. Add all ingredients for the dressing in a blender and puree. Set aside
2. Prepare ingredients for salad and divide evenly into four bowls.
3. Drizzle with dressing and serve. (Do not add dressing until ready to serve)
Shrimp, Salmon and Tomato Salad (4 servings)
6 ounces of grape tomatoes
12 Romaine lettuce leaves
4 ounces of smoked salmon
8 ounces peeled, cooked shrimp

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1. Mix all ingredients for dressing in a bowl, set aside.
2. Cut tomatoes in half. Take the lettuce leaves and arrange around the bowl.
3. Cut smoke salmon into strips. Add tomatoes and salmon and shrimp to bowls.
4. Drizzle with dressing and serve. (Do not add dressing until ready to serve)

For more great recipes click the link below:
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Banana Bread Recipes for Diabetics

Author: Linda Wilson


Back-to-school and the upcoming fall season call for bringing out fruit bread recipes.  Following are some recipes for banana breads and muffins.  All are suitable for diabetics.


1 cup egg substitute or 4 eggs

2 cups Equal Sugar-Lite or Splenda Blend

3/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs.  Blend Equal, applesauce and oil into eggs.  Add banana and mix well.  Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir flour mixture into egg mixture.  Stir in zucchini and pecans just until combined.  Pour mixture into two greased 9-inch loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

3 large well-ripened bananas

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce

1/3 cup low-fat milk

1/3 cup  Splenda Blend

1 tsp. salt, optional

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

(or you can use 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mash bananas with a fork.  Add egg, applesauce, milk, sugar or Splenda, salt, baking soda and baking powder to bananas.  Mix well with fork.  Slowly stir in the flour.  Stir only until flour is moistened.  Fold in chopped nuts.  Lightly grease a loaf pan with cooking spray.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed

3/4 cup Splenda granular

1/4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt, optional

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, blend together bananas, sugar and egg or egg substitute.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Blend well.  Stir in the butter and chocolate chips.  Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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About the Author

A grandmother with diabetes along with other autoimmune diseases, Linda enjoys sharing with others what she has learned about living with her diseases. For more of her diabetic recipes and information visit her website at
She also has a Vintage Recipe Blog at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What's The Difference Between A Vegan And A Vegetarian?


A true vegan is a person who does not eat or use animal products of any kind. This not only includes honey, eggs, dairy products and meat, it also includes the choice to not use any animal products such as leather and. feathers.

You'll find that there are many different degrees of the vegetarian diet, but a true vegetarian does not eat animal products. Often they do wear or use products that are made from animals. Some vegetarians eat fish or eggs. Others will eat dairy products. There are as many reasons as there are vegetarians why people decide to give up dairy products, meat, and fish.

There is now terminology which defines different degrees of the vegetarian diet. For example, a pescatarian still eats seafood, a lacto eats dairy products, an ovo eats eggs and a lacto-ovo vegetarian includes both dairy and eggs in their diet. The newest term floating around is a flexitarian which is someone who chooses to be vegetarian or vegan only on certain days. Should you decide to eliminate all animal food products and byproducts completely, you'll be known as vegan.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why people choose this lifestyle.

Health Concerns Are Often A Major Factor When Choosing A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet:
Often people choose a vegetarian diet because of concerns over their health. A vegan or vegetarian diet can sometimes be helpful in treating certain diseases and conditions. This diet choice may also be a significant factor in prevention.

A good example of how a vegetarian or vegan diet can be beneficial is this: If you become a vegan, you stop adding cholesterol to your diet because vegetables and fruits don't contain cholesterol. If a person has high cholesterol and combines exercise with a vegan diet, it can help lower cholesterol.

Saturated fat is added to the diet by eating meat. Meat consumption can cause stress on your kidneys. Semi-vegetarians who consume both eggs and dairy are more likely to improve their cholesterol and overall health than they would by continuing to eat meat. Generally, people who stick to vegan and vegetarian diets reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke caused by excess fat and cholesterol.
Vegan and vegetarian diets have also been known to be beneficial when managing other conditions as well. It may also increase longevity and may help control obesity.

Vegans and vegetarians may experience a lower risk of certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. The vegan and vegetarian diet may also reduce the risk of contracting food borne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria.

The vegan and vegetarian diets generally contain a high fiber content which helps the body eliminate waste and aids in the prevention of constipation. It also reduces the risk of suffering from spastic colon and hemorrhoids.

Vegan and vegetarian diets also help to strengthen bones, boost immunity and increase your strength and stamina.

Vegans and vegetarians are less likely to suffer from diabetes. They also have a reduced risk of gall bladder problems and gallstones. Some people become vegans or vegetarians in an attempt to ward off a full-blown case of diabetes. It has been found that people who are vegans or vegetarians experience fewer health problems than people who eat meat.

Dairy Intolerance And Allergy:
As surprising as it may seem, there isn't any evidence that humans require milk from cows. There are many delicious alternatives for dairy milk available in the marketplace. Soy, hemp, almond and rice milks are ideal for people with dairy intolerance or allergies. Tofu is made from soybeans. Soy products are available in many delicious options including products such as soy yogurt, vegan butter and soy cheese.

Animal Rights:
Another reason many people become vegans or vegetarians is because they are against the practices of the meat producing industry as well as the common practice of using hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. Animal cruelty is often also a major deciding factor when choosing to become vegan or vegetarian.Certain religions are also an influencing factor as they have guidelines about eating meat. Buddhists are vegetarians. Hindus usually don't eat meat and never eat beef. As much as 80% of the population of India is vegetarian.

Environmental Factors:
Environmental consciousness is another reason people choose to become vegans and vegetarians. Raising animals requires much more water than raising grains and vegetables. Concerns over deforestation and the extinction of species are other reasons people choose to become vegan or vegetarian.
Raising animals uses natural resources in larger quantities than raising crops of grains and beans. Raising cattle for beef destroys the topsoil,which is not as thick as it once was. Another concern is the run off of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides used to grow food for cattle leaching into the groundwater and causing contamination.

World Hunger:
The decision to become vegan or vegetarian sometimes comes with the awareness that raising meat costs more than raising grain. Grain used to feed animals destined for slaughter could be used to help alleviate hunger around the world.

There really aren't any hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. The path you choose to follow will ultimately be uniquely your own.
Kate R. Winston is a professional Chef and a vegetarian of more than 30 years. For more information about transitioning to a plant based diet visit
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Monday, April 1, 2013

Unfold the History of Herbs and Spices


Before discovering the rich history of Indian herbs and spices, it is necessary to understand the terms herbs and spices in a more concise manner. Let us begin with the dictionary meaning of herbs - an herb is "a flowering plant whose stem above ground does not become woody." In addition, spices can be defined as - "any of a variety of dried seeds, pungent or aromatic substances of vegetable origin, as pepper, cinnamon, or cloves, used as seasoning, preservatives, etc."

The history of spices has revolved around South Asia and Middle East countries and their trade practices, which dates back to about 1550 B.C. The use of plants as herbs has been important to all tribes or cultures since long before history was recorded. Formerly, spices were imported from Asia and Africa and consequently they were quite expensive as compared to the present prices. In India, hundreds of tribal cultures have used wild and cultivated herbs for medicinal and food purposes since 15th century. Herbs are talked about in Genesis, the first chapter of the Bible, and throughout its content. As civilizations evolved so did the knowledge for the use of herbs. These days, it has been widely used in Ayurveda medicines, home remedies, and recipes.

Food seasonings around the world: Different cooking techniques have adopted world widely, therefore herbs are used in variations to fulfill versatile tastes of people of different countries. Nevertheless, well-practiced use of herbs and spices will do wonders for your cooking. So, it is suggested to know the diverse flavors and properties of seasonings.

• India: The majorly used spices are Coriander, Cumin, Turmeric, Fenugreek, Ginger, which are used as an integral ingredient in almost all the vegetable or non-vegetable Indian curries.

• Chinese: In Chinese cooking methods, Fennel, Cloves, Cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and Star anise are the most used food seasonings.

• Mexican: Mexicans are well known for the world's best pizzas; hence, they use Oregano, Cumin, Chili powder, Cilantro, Coriander in almost all recipes.

• Thai: Thai cuisine has become well known since 1960s. Coriander, Chili powder, Lemongrass, Turmeric, and Ginger are the most popularly used spices in Thai cuisine.

• Greek: Basil, Sage, Cumin, Cinnamon, and Dill have gained unambiguous place in Greek cuisine.
All these spices have long tradition and value in culinary arts of different traditions, regions or countries. PRS spices offers blended Indian spices of high quality and emerged as one of the prime cumin, turmeric, Fenugreek suppliers in Indian market.

PRS Spices is a leading spice & herbs supplier that offers range of good quality spices seasonings, cumin powder, chat masala etc. We offer valued spices to meet all cookery needs globally. Herbs and Spices | Fenugreek suppliers
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