Health

How to plan a dessert menu? Well there are several ways to do this, if you are organizing a dinner party you have to consider the main dishes as well as your starters to the meal, if it’s a grand affair, or if it’s an informal dinner party.

You need to consider the likes and dislikes of your guests, as well as yourself. For the most part it would be assumed that you know your guests and their likes and dislikes to a degree anyway.

So let’s start with a grand affair, which could be a special celebration like a birthday, a reunion, or something similar.

If you are starting with a fruit you might not want fruit within your desserts, or if you did you would want to choose different fruits as desserts, if you had pastry somewhere in your meal either to start or part of your main meal you wouldn’t want a fruit pie or pastry within your desserts. What you need to do is find a real balance within the menu as a whole so that things are not repeated which will add too much bulk and make your guests feel bloated and too full before they even get to their dessert. Nearly everyone will look forward to the dessert so it’s worth making the effort.

So let’s try putting together a balanced menu here, I am going to start with a small salad of rocket leaves as my base for a seafood starter, a combination of shrimps, mussels and a smoked fish like mackerel that is flaked perhaps, over the top of the other fish, or you could have a Mediterranean fish compilation of squid, shrimps and clams, perhaps cooked ahead of time and marinated in olive oil and lemon juice with seasoning and always add garlic, which I always add in large chunks so that they are easy to discard before I serve up. Not everyone is enamored of it and while they might not mind a hint of garlic they wouldn’t appreciate whole pieces of it on their plate. So we have our starter of rocket leaves, washed of course, as a bed for the seafood, spoon over the marinade, never waste it, and garnish with finely chopped parsley. No need to further season as the seasoning will have been done within the marinade. If your guests want to further season allow them to do that at the table by offering them salt and a pepper grinder which is always much nicer. Also offer plenty of fresh warmed bread, no butter as this will spoil the starter.

Now for the next course, since the first course has been quite light we can now afford to offer something a little more substantial, remember this is the second course of four, since it is a grand dinner party, we want to make an impression don’t we? Ok, so I would suggest either a risotto or a pasta dish, perhaps a few ravioli with a very nice plain tomato sauce, or cannelloni with a ricotta and spinach filling with the same plain tomato sauce. If it’s a plain sauce then it won’t be too heavy. Keep it simple because the filled pasta is quite special as it is. The sauce is easily made, by just sauting a small finely chopped onion, a garlic clove and freshly chopped parsley, in olive oil, season, add your sieved tomatoes and cook for at the very least an hour, longer if possible. Obviously make enough for your guests, I would use two cartons of the tomatoes for four people as a starter course which is what this is, if it were for the main meal I would make more sauce.

So the starter and second course is spoken for. Now comes the tricky part the main course, we need to think about what we started with which was fish, and the second which was a filled pasta dish, no meat used in the second course, so we need to decide what meat to use, which could be a leg of lamb, boned and stuffed with ham and mushrooms, I have cooked this many times and it looks pretty impressive. What you need to remember is that the lamb must be cooked very slowly, and it needs to rest, once cooked for at least half an hour before you slice it. So we will go with the lamb, your butcher can bone it for you, and if you are quite handy in the kitchen with this type of thing then go ahead and have a go and do it yourself. You do need a sharp knife which needs to be fairly small. Cut the lamb to the bone along the whole of the leg and simply scrape at the bone to remove the flesh from it. Once you have done this you are now ready to stuff it. You will need at least 8 to 10 slices of honey roasted ham, not too thickly sliced and lightly sauted mushrooms, onions and bread crumbs. Lay the ham across the open flesh of the lamb and top with a layer of mushrooms and onions and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Season well with freshly ground pepper and salt, now you need to bring the lamb together and tie it with fine string, if you cut lengths of string just big enough to knot off then it will be a lot easier. Take your time and secure the leg of lamb so that none of the stuffing is visible. It does take a little time but well worth it. Place it in a roasting pan just big enough for the piece of meat, season it, place it in a hot oven for 30 minutes to brown it a little then cover with aluminum foil and lower the heat as if you were braising. Allow it to cook on this low heat for at least four hours, check from time to time and baste it well. Once it is cooked remover it and let it stand.

In the mean time think about what vegetables you might like. I like roasted veggies with my lamb so I would prepare a selection such as sweet red and green peppers, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and whole plum tomatoes and perhaps chunks of aborigine. There are no hard and fast rules about what veggies to roast of steam for that matter, just what you like or prefer, and since we had a pasta dish for one of the courses I wouldn’t bother with potatoes here. Roasted vegetables always look nice and caramelized once done and they compliment the lamb beautifully, in face they compliment any roasted meat well.

So now we come to the main reason for the written piece. How to plan a dessert menu, well I think you can see that planning a menu, even a dessert menu depends largely on what the whole menu is to begin with, so far we have a fish starter course followed by a pasta course, and then the main course of slow roasted stuffed lamb and roasted vegetables.

We now need to think of desserts that will compliment the courses that have preceded the dessert. Lamb is quite fatty, so any dessert we choose should be refreshing and light. Fruit is always a favorite, but you might want to have more than one dessert on offer, so a good fruit salad is a good one, perhaps a dairy dessert, like a fool or syllabub, and perhaps an ice cream gateau of some sort. I don’t know about your guests but mine always like a little of them all so I usually have at least three if not four on offer.

You could go in many directions with the fruit salad; you could have a berry fruit salad with lots of red berries, an exotic one with passion fruit, guava and pineapple etc. or a very plain one. I always like to add just a little sherry to mine and a dusting of cinnamon with a light sprinkling of brown cane sugar.

The syllabub can be a citric one with orange or lemon juice, I have even made it with passion fruit and it is so delicious. Always be sure to offer small servings rather than large ones of the syllabub as it can be quite rich. Of course there is the cheese board, don’t have too many cheeses. Choose a hard one like good strong cheddar, a soft one like gorgonzola or another blue veined cheese and one in the middle, perhaps smoked or non smoked Gouda. Not everyone wants a sweet dessert..ice cream gateau, yes its so easy to make. All you need is a block or container of good vanilla ice cream, fruit such as soft berries and a coolie made of fruits cooked with sugar and sieved, and allowed to cool of course, although serving warmed coolie with ice cream gateau is quite acceptable. All you need to do is soften the ice cream just so it is a little pliable, not melted, put it in a bowl along with the soft fruit, add a little sherry or your favorite liquor, a fruit based one and mix all the ingredients together, place the ice cream mixture into a prepared cake tin and put it back into the freezer. When you are halfway through the main course take it out of the freezer to slightly soften, turn it out onto a nice glass plate and drizzle the cool coolie over it and sieve icing sugar over it. Now all you need to do is make a nice pot of coffee to finish the meal off nicely.don’t forget the mint chocolates.enjoy!

This can be used as a basis for any menu making, think about who will be attending, what their likes and dislikes are, how they will be eating, at a table or as finger foods for a buffet etc, and what type of meal it will be, formal or informal. There are no rules as such, but just a little thought can make it as enjoyable for your guests as it will be for you, the cook. There is something quite special about sharing a meal with friends and family, so make it extra special.

Source:

  1. Easy Entertaining Recipes – Food Network
  2. Peanut Butter Diet
  3. Entertaining | BBC Good Food

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  • stylesizzle.com
  • Health

    The Arturo Fuente cigar brand is considered to be if not the World’s finest certainly up near the highest level. It is the top selling cigar brand in the United States of America and this family based company of four generations produces nearly 24 million cigars every year.

    From humble beginnings in 1912 in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, the Arturo Fuente line has grown to become a large, well-respected international brand, one of the most popular on the global market. With so many varieties to choose from including the Chateau Fuente, Chico, Churchill, Corona Grande, Exquisito, Panatela, Spanish Lonsdale, Royal Salute, Reserva No 4., Petite Lancero and the much vaunted Gran Reserva, Arturo Fuente is a brand that has a quality cigar for all smokers.

    Using only the best quality vintage tobaccos and employing skilled hand workmanship, an Arturo Fuente cigar is truly a work of art. As a result they are a highly sought after product and can sometimes be very difficult to acquire owing to lack of supply.

    The quote on the packaging of many Arturo Fuente cigars reads “We will never rush the hands of time”. This pithy saying sums up the dedication to quality control found in the production of this supreme range of smokes. One of the cigar lines, the A-Fuente Gran Reserva is so highly prized that only the most gifted cigar makers are allowed to craft them in the Dominican Republic factory.

    From the tiny cigarillo through to the giant presidente, every cigar type made under the Arturo Fuente brand has a strong attention to detail and quality. Perhaps the rarest and highest rated brand in the world, the Arturo Fuente Opus X is an example of a smooth, rich-flavored cigar experience. A special collection of 30 cigars in a Diamond Crown humidor can cost up to $1,000 to purchase yet the sumptuous design and supreme feel makes this a heavenly choice for the cigar connoisseur. Other lines such as the Hemingway and the 858 are extremely popular and sought after too.

    One reviewer exclaimed after testing an Arturo Fuente cigar, “Perfect cap, solid fill and immaculate wrapper!” Such opinions are common and although not all cigars will appeal to all consumers there is likely to be a choice that will satisfy even the most discerning amongst the extensive Arturo Fuente range.

    Arturo Fuente cigars are available from many retailers including on-line outlets such as 1001 Cuban Cigars, 2000 Smoker, 2 Guys Smoke Shop, 6Gares, ABC – The Cigar Store, Alexander Cigar Merchants, AllFlavoredCigars.com, Best Cigars Online, Best Priced Cubans. Guaranteed to please!

    WEBSITES REFERRED TO:

    www.cigarinspector.com
    www.cigar-review.com
    www.cigarfamily.com
    www.arturofuente.com
    www.bestcigarprices.com
    en.wikipedia.org
    www.epinions.com
    www.cigarsforless.com
    cigars.about.com
    www.humiblog.com
    www.famous-smoke.com
    www.cigarjack.net
    www.nextag.com
    www.absolutecigars.com
    www.tobacco-barn.com

    Source:

    1. Arturo Fuente Cigar Reviews & Ratings – Thompson Cigar
    2. The Coconut Oil Diet Explained
    3. Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller Cigar Review – YouTube

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  • www.usacigarstore.com
  • Health

    Champ is a traditional Irish recipe, and is really a variation of mashed potato. It is usually served with bacon or else pork sausages.

    Serves 4

    INGREDIENTS:

    5lb potatoes
    Bunch of scallions(spring onions)
    large knob of butter per person
    tsp salt
    1-2 pints of water
    1/2 cup of milk

    Wash and peel potatoes. Place in saucepan and cover with water and add salt.
    Bring to boil then reduce heat and continue cooking until potatoes are tender.

    While potatoes are cooking wash scallions and cut up with kitchen scissors discarding the roots. Place in a small saucepan with the milk and gently heat but do not let milk curdle.

    Drain and mash potatoes. Add scallions and milk. Mix well together and turn out on to plates and shape into mounds.

    Make a well in the center of each mound and stick a large knob of butter in each and serve.

    Source:

    1. 15 Creative Baked Potato Recipes – Relish
    2. Baking With Stevia
    3. Creative Potato Recipes on Pinterest | Potatoes, Potato Salad and …

    Image Credit

  • www.babble.com
  • Health

    Chestnut jam is quite a delicacy in many countries of Europe, such as France, Britain and Italy. Spread the jam on toast or crackers for a snack or use it between layers of cake covered with icing for a delicious dessert.

    French Chestnut Jam

    This recipe is enough to make five pounds of jam, which you can bottle and keep in your pantry.

    Ingredients:

    3 pounds of chestnuts

    2.25 pounds of sugar

    1 tsp, vanilla extract

    Directions:

    Make a cut in the shape of an X in each chestnut. Place the 3 pounds of chestnuts into a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about ten minutes to soften the peel.

    Remove the chestnuts from the water and peel them. Then put the peeled chestnuts back into the water and continue boiling for a further forty minutes.

    You will then have to put the chestnuts through a sieve in order to puree them.

    Although you may have 2.25 pounds of sugar, you may not need to use all of this. Chestnut jam requires equal amounts of pureed chestnuts and sugar. Weigh the amount of puree that you have or measure it out in cups and add the same amount of sugar as you have in puree.

    If you use the full amount of sugar, you will have to add about 11/4 pints of water. Add the vanilla extract and bring the whole mixture to a boil.

    Let the jam simmer for about 15 minutes. Allow it to cool before you start putting it into jars.

    Corsican Chestnut Jam

    The method of boiling and peeling the chestnuts for this recipe is the same as that of the recipe for French chestnut jam. However, it calls for the addition of wild fennel branches to the water as it is boiling before you add the chestnuts.

    When the chestnuts have been peeled and boiled again, you mash them. Then you add about 2 pounds of sugar, 1 cup of water and part of a vanilla stick to the mixture. Let this come to a boil and then simmer. Stir the jam once in a while as it is simmering. Allow to cool and then place in sterilized bottles.

    You can also keep some of the chestnut puree separate and not make it into jam. There are many different cake recipes that call for this puree, such as Chocolate Chestnut Cake.

    Topping:

    Ingredients:

    3 bars of dark chocolate chopped into very fine pieces

    1 cup of chestnut puree

    4 large eggs, separated

    cup of sugar

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350. Generously grease a springform pan and line the bottom with waxed paper.

    Melt the chocolate in the microwave and mash the puree with a fork.

    Beat the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

    In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in the remaining sugar and beat for another minute.

    Add the chestnut puree to the egg yolk mixture and mix until it is well blended. Then fold in the melted chocolate and the egg whites.

    Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Let cool and ice with your favourite frosting.

    Source:

    1. vanilla-chestnut jam — Milly's Kitchen
    2. Heart-Healthy Eating Plan
    3. Amazon.com : Bonne Maman Chestnut Jam or Spread 13 Oz : Jams …

    Image Credit

  • hellomistermagpie.com
  • Health

    The history of coffee, like the history of mankind, trails off into the distant past with little but clues to guide us as to its origins. Now, of course, coffee’s importance around the globe is evidenced by the place it holds on the commodities exchanges, in many years second in value only to oil. How did a lowly berry become such a powerful and vital force in modern life and world economics? And how did it find its way around the globe to come full-circle back to its origins?

    There is scant archeological evidence of the use of coffee before the sixth century. However, the coffee bush grows wild on the hills of East Africa, primarily Ethiopia and Kenya, and the Island of Madagascar. Botanically, there are hundreds of wild coffee species of the rubiaceae family-all are coffee, although the commercial coffee trade makes use of only two, Coffea Arabica and C. Canephora (the variety known as Robusta). Wild coffee trees grow as an understory bush in tropical forests, often at an elevation of up to 1500 feet. Wet, humid lands do not lend themselves to the preservation of food residue so lack of evidence for coffee’s usage is likely something that will remain conjecture. Given early man’s success at utilizing native fruits and seeds, it would be unusual that the sweet flesh of the coffee berry wouldn’t have been used as a part of the seasonal diet. That there is little evidence left reflects on just how little we know of early man’s diet in most areas of the world. Because developing civilization soon learned the process of fermentation, the sweet fruits would have lent themselves easily to the local production of wine and ceremonial drinks.The Arabic word “qahwa”, the origin of the word coffee, means wine. In Europe,coffee was called “the wine of Arabia.” The word, qahwa is recorded in mud tablets as for back as 1000 BC. That would seem to indicate that coffee berries were likely fermented into wine at some point, likely early.

    The first reported evidence of coffee as a food or for medical use is about the seventh century AD. Oral tradition talks of African natives pounding coffee berries, including the seeds together with animal fat and rolling it into balls to be used for strength during journeys and when going into battle. What we know with more certainty is that, by the seventh century AD, the succulent outer cherry-like flesh was eaten by slaves taken from present day Sudan into Yemen and Arabia. They entered through the great port of its day, Mocha, now synonymous with coffee and explains the term Mocha for coffee. Obviously, the stimulant properties of the caffeine in the berries were self-evident. This importation into Yemen is why early European explorers attributed Yemen as the origin of coffee, as by that time, coffee was being grown there.

    An early legend of medicinal properties associated with coffee is that of Omar the Dervish. The traditional legend states that Omar was a healer who was exiled from the area around the Port of Mocha by his enemies. Near death,Omar survived by drinking the liquid of roasted coffee berries and discovered his strength restored. By the ninth century, the renowned physician, philosopher and astronomer, Rhazes included the substance Bunchum in an encyclopedia of substances believed to cure diseases. Bunchum is believed to have been coffee. Medicinal uses of coffee continue into the 21st century and new scientific discoveries of its properties still surprise the world on a regular basis.

    Coffee quickly came to be used in religious ceremonies in Yemen, Cairo, Aden and Mecca to enhance worshiper’s ability to maintain stamina and concentration during all-night prayer and meditation. Coffee drinking quickly evolved into a social activity outside of religious ceremonies as an acceptable alternative to alcohol, which was forbidden. ‘Kaveh kanes’, or coffee houses quickly grew in popularity, much to the consternation of religious leaders who were incensed that a religious drink was being quaffed in public places as an adjunct to music, dancing, chess and business deals. These kaveh kanes soon became centers of political activity and were suppressed by the Arabian government. The coffee houses remained popular and although faced with suppression several times through the next century, always returned as popular gathering places. The government finally resolved the issue by taxing them-a very modern method of solving a problem.

    Mocha’s position as the main seaport for the water route to Mecca no doubt had much to do with the early spread of coffee through the Muslim world. Roasted beans soon found a place in the export cargo across the Mediterranean. Early in the 1600s, Pope Clement VIII, having been encouraged to ban the use of coffee as a drink of infidels’, instead tried it himself and then blessed it as a Christian drink. It quickly spread across Europe. At first, coffee was used primarily for medicinal purposes and sold by lemonade vendors. The first coffee house in England was opened by a Turk named Jacob in 1637 in Oxford. The importance of the newly acquired drink is shown in the fact that famous insurance giant Lloyds of London was started as a coffeehouse in 1688. There, Edward Lloyd prepared lists of the ships that his customers had insured.

    Arab exporters knew enough to protect their market: they parched or boiled the beans to make them infertile before shipping them and made it illegal to export fertile beans. However, European traders knew a fortune could be made from this new drink-if only they could get their hands on some fertile seed stock. Legend says an Indian trader smuggled out seven fertile beans strapped to his belly around 1650. However it was accomplished, by 1699 coffee was growing in India and the Dutch soon transplanted coffee to Java. The Dutch colonies quickly became the world’s largest coffee exporters to the world.

    The first historical reference to coffee being drunk in the new world is from 1668. Before long, coffee houses were established in Philadelphia, Boston and other towns. The Boston Tea party was planned in a coffee house called the Green Dragon. Both the Bank of New York and the New York Stock Exchange were started in coffee houses in the Wall Street area of New York. The Boston Tea Party was part of a series of events that popularized the drinking of coffee in the Colonies likely faster than the normal spread of a new drink: few American history books contain the fact that the tea so famously dumped into Boston Harbor was old, spoiled tea and had been shipped to them as the only tea they would be allowed to purchase. This was the King’s efforts at subsidizing the economically-strapped East India Tea Company at the expense of the colonists. The entire act of rebellion was likely as much about rotted tea as unrepresented taxation. The slogan quickly became that Tories drink tea, patriots drink coffee. The consumption of coffee rose in the colonies and that of tea dropped – never to match coffee again.

    King Louis XIV of France worked diligently to acquire a coffee tree for The Royal Botanical Garden and was finally gifted with one from Java in 1714. As the tree didn’t grow well in the colder climate of France, he had a greenhouse built to protect it. He was apparently successful as it is said that this tree’s descendants were the source of many of the cultivators used in South and Central America. This was accomplished by the daring exploit of a young French naval officer on leave in Paris. Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu, was in Paris on leave from Martinique, a French colony in the Caribbean. Realizing Martinique could be a French version of Java, he requested clippings from his king’s tree but permission was refused.

    Not to be denied, de Clieu led a successful moonlight raid of the Jardin des Plantes into the hothouse to liberate a sprout. De Clieu then sailed for Martinique with the small plant. However, his troubles were just beginning. After a series of mishaps on the voyage, including jealous passengers attempting to get pieces of the little plant, pirates and a water shortage, he managed to get the seeding to Martinique where the brave little plant produced 18 million trees in the next twenty years and began the coffee trade in the French colonies of the new world.

    Despite De Clieu’s efforts, he was not the first to bring coffee to the Americas. The Dutch brought coffee to the colony of Surinam in 1718. Plantations followed in French Guiana. Soon, Brazil, seeing the wealth to be created from coffee export, entered into an intrigue to obtain some seedlings. Under the guise of settling a border dispute, they dispatched Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta to French Guiana. Knowing he would have little hope of getting any seedlings from the well-guarded plantations, Lt Paheta took a more circuitous route and romanced the governor’s wife. He apparently did well, as at the state farewell dinner in his honor, the governor’s wife presented him with a bouquet which included several coffee seedlings.

    By eighteen hundred, Brazils coffee crop had started producing such massive harvests that coffee was now affordable for the common man and not just the elite. Brazil now leads the world in coffee exports, followed by Viet Nam.

    Coffee’s importance in the political systems and economies around the world did not begin nor end with its significance in the American Revolution: The French Revolution was also planned in a coffee house. King Frederick the Great of Prussia once tried to ban coffee as its consumption was interfering with the profits of the beer brewing industry. And housewives in London in 1674, formed the Women’s Petition Against Coffee (WPAC). They complained that their men were always at the coffee houses, and not at home as needed to deal with domestic issues. During the American Civil War, Union soldiers were issued eight pounds of ground roast coffee beans as part of their one hundred pound food ration-or they could take ten pounds of green coffee beans instead. As the South faced a coffee shortage, housewives devised a substitute using roasted and ground chicory root, sometimes mixed with dandelion root.

    Coffee continues to be of international significance, with forty-five exporting countries joining the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in an effort to stabilize prices and output and thus avoid the occasional boom or bust nature of the market. Extreme price volatility caused by weather conditions and excess production has historically both enriched and impoverished small coffee growers. Small growers constitute much of many countries’ export coffee and are at high risk of being taken advantage of by political and financial interests. The ICO attempts to promote stability and sustainable growing practices and enforce fair trade and dealing with individual farmers. Since 1963, 24 import and 45 export countries have cooperated through the ICO. By imposing a quota system, they can limit the outflow of beans from producing nations in times of oversupply. These controls, in force to sustain prices only until the market does so normally, have been applied several times.

    These forty-five exporting countries girdle the globe-there is no continent in the tropic latitudes where coffee hasn’t become an economic force. China is currently developing its coffee production system and although still a tea-drinking nation, coffee has become a more viable product. It is questionable if they will join the ICO. At its origins in Africa, however, political upheaval and wars have prevented the populace in many small countries from taking advantage of the profitable export of the native crop. It remains to be seen if political stability will soon allow these farmers to contribute the wealth generated through coffee to their country’s economic well-being. Fair Trade Coffee organizations attempt to provide a decent return to these small producers and many conscientious Americans and Europeans prove themselves willing to pay a premium price for their products, knowing farmers got a fair price.

    Coffee customs vary a great deal: in Turkey or Greece, the eldest is served first. Bedouins would greet the honored guest with “Allah wa Sablan”, meaning, “My home is your home”. In Uganda, the green beans are mixed with sweet grasses and various spices, dried, and then wrapped in grass packets, to be hung in their homes. It serves as talisman and decoration.

    Coffee’s use as a medicine dates far into its history. Even today coffee has several common and accepted benefits that the average drinker takes advantage of. Coffee’s mild stimulant properties are what forces many a worker into wide-awake usefulness each morning. Caffeine in coffee increases concentration, intensifies muscle responses and elevates mood. Caffeine is actually listed as a drug on the Olympic banned drug schedule and testing limits the amount allowable in the blood stream to about five cups. Caffeine’s effects appear to be site-specific in that it dilates coronary and gastrointestinal vessels but constricts blood vessels in the head and may relieve migraine headache, the symptoms of which include swollen cranial blood vessels. It also increases pain-free exercise time in some angina patients. However, because it speeds up heartbeat, doctors often advise patients with heart disease to avoid caffeinated beverages entirely. It acts as a mild diuretic and may help with bloating caused by menstruation. Roasting the beans increases the niacin content available to the human body and is an important source of several other minerals.

    Coffee has long been a recommended aid to treating asthma in Chinese medicine. According to a spate of recent scientific studies moderate coffee drinking may lower the risk of colon cancer by about 25%, gallstones by 45%, cirrhosis of the liver by 80%, and Parkinson’s disease by between 50% to 80%. Some studies have indicated that coffee contains four times the amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as those of green tea. The Japanese use coffee to improve their skin, and reduce wrinkles, by bathing in coffee grounds that were fermented with pineapple pulp.

    Coffee enemas were an established part of medical practice when Dr. Max Gerson introduced them into cancer therapy in the 1930s. Based on German laboratory research, Gerson believed that caffeine could stimulate the liver and gall bladder to discharge bile. He felt this process could contribute to the health of the cancer patient. Most people don’t know that the notorious coffee enema appeared at least as early as 1917 and was found in the prestigious Merck Manual until 1972. In the 1920s German scientists found that a caffeine solution could open the bile ducts and stimulate the production of bile in the liver of experimental animals. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente recently announced that coffee drinking appears to guard against cirrhosis of the liver; tea did not show the same advantage so evidently it isn’t the caffeine that is the beneficial agent.

    Assuming one intends to consume their coffee in the usual manner, exactly how it is prepared can vary widely. The Bedouins generally serve coffee plain with ginger or cardamom. It has a yellow color and a very sweet taste. The Italians drink their espresso with sugar, the Germans and Swiss like to add equal parts of hot chocolate. Mexicans add cinnamon, the Belgians chocolate. Ethiopians drink their coffee with a pinch of salt, Moroccans with peppercorns. Coffee drinkers in the Middle East often add cardamom and spices. Whipped cream is the favorite amongst Austrians. The Egyptians like pure and strong coffee; they seldom add sugar, milk or cream to it. Traditionally, unsweetened coffee is offered to mourners and sweetened coffee at weddings. Many of Norwegian ancestry in the United States add an egg to the coffee during a special method of brewing. And some people add an eggshell to the pot and usually can’t tell you why-it’s a tradition they learned from their parents and grandparents. Several old cookbooks direct the use of eggshells to remove bitterness from cheaper coffee and that may be where the tradition started. Others suggest the calcium base of the eggshell assists in conditioning the water for a better tasting brew.

    Most people today brew coffee at home using the drip method with coffee roasted and ground to work with drip coffee makers. Fifty years ago, the percolator was the rage. Now it’s the French Press. Decaffeinated coffee has been around since the early 1900s. The processes for decaffeination vary and many use rather unsavory chemicals in the process. A better solution may simply to use Arabica coffees as they have about half the caffeine of the Robusta varieties. Instant coffee, developed nearly the same time as decaffeinated, is made by brewing the roasted beans then dehydrating the results.

    And coffee is still a social experience valued by the masses, as evidenced by the growth of the Starbucks chain and specialty coffee shops. When consuming coffee in a social setting, there is one time-honored tradition that we all follow without realizing it. This custom dates back to the early London coffee houses. There, conspicuously-placed small brass boxes carried the inscription, “To Insure Promptness”. The acronym, TIP, carries the same connotation today as it did nearly four hundred years ago and the wise customer still follows it.

    Source:

    1. How Bad Are K-Cups for the Environment? – The Atlantic
    2. Rice Diet Menu
    3. COFFEE CIRCLES – your hangout place in Yangon!

    Image Credit

  • crazygallery.info
  • Health

    Celebrating the Jelly Bean!

    As a child, the first thing I did after finding my Easter basket was to dig to the bottom through the coarse, plastic strips of Easter grass to find the jelly beans. Nothing in that basket appealed to me more than those deliciously chewy, tongue-staining beans! What is it about the jelly bean that makes it so special?

    Where did the jelly bean come from? Actually, no one is quite sure where the jelly bean originated! There is some speculation that it came from a Turkish candy called, Turkish Delight. Both the jelly bean and Turkish Delight have a soft center and outer coating. Turkish delight tends to be coated with powdered sugar while jelly beans have a partly hard shell. The hard shell is thought to have been adapted from a French candy process called “panning”. Panning happens when something is candy-coated with a sugar and syrup combination. It makes me wonder if while making Turkish delight, someone didn’t have some sort of kitchen accident and came up with the wonderful jelly bean! If that is the case, I am eternally grateful for such a delectable blunder!

    The popularity of the jelly bean in the United States came in the early 20th century when they became available as what were called “penny candies”. These candies were sold by weight and individual color. This turned out to be a very popular way for people to treat themselves and others during particular holidays and seasons. Easter eventually became jelly bean’s main focus when its egg shape was associated with fertility and birth due to the pagan holiday that celebrates fertility, Ishtar.

    How are Jelly Beans made? All jelly beans begin with corn syrup, sugar and starch. The rest of the ingredients depend on the manufacturer! Most jelly bean manufacturers will add coloring and flavor including fruit juices, fruit pectin, artificial flavoring and powder. The outer shell of the jelly bean takes the longest to make because it is made up of many layers. Each layer is put on the jelly bean one at a time.

    Who is the most famous jelly bean lover of all? While I think that I might be the person who loves jelly beans more than anyone else, the most famous jelly bean lover had to have been our President Ronald Reagan. He made jelly beans almost as American as baseball and apple pie – it doesn’t get much better than that!

    Source:

    1. How to Celebrate National Jelly Bean Day: 8 Steps
    2. NutriSystem Cost
    3. NATIONAL JELLY BEAN DAY IS ON APRIL 22: Celebrate! | Presswire

    Image Credit

  • kidsparties.about.com
  • Health

    A friend offers first-time guests a “wee dram o’ whisky,” and asks them how they take it. Should the word “ice” appear in the answer, he pours a blend (Johnny Walker Black, perhaps); but if the answer is “neat,” out comes the good stuff. I passed the test my first time, and found myself lingering over a cut-crystal tumbler with a couple of fingers of Lagavulin 16 swirling in the bottom. On other visits, it’s been an Oban 14 and once a Highland Park 18. Next time he stops by my house, I’ll have to see what he thinks of the 12-year-old Caol Ila from an airport duty-free. Newbies be forewarned: it’s an Islay whisky, which means that it’s an acquired taste from the get-go…

    Caol Ila, which translates from Gaelic as “Sound of Islay,” the stretch of water that separates wee Islay from Isle of Jura off Scotland’s west coast; is the smallest of the island’s seven historic distilleries. The eighth, a microdistillery, just began production in 2005. Unlike the in-your-face, super-peaty whiskies from the south of the island, meaning Laphroaig or Lagavulin, Caol Ila (pronounced something similar to “cull eelah”) is lighter in both color and taste. In that, it approaches the even lighter output of neighboring distilleries Bowmore and Bunnahabhain. Natives of Islay claim that taste is in the water, and the springs that produce Caol Ila’s water are nearly as deep in the peat as those on the southern shore. If you find the flavor of Laphroaig too pungently smoky (“ashy,” some call it, “like licking an ashtray”) you’re unlikely to warm up to Caol Ila, either.

    Great: that means more for me…

    Tasting notes:
    •  Color:  pale straw with a wee glint of green
    •  Nose: a powerful jolt of peat, with faint notes of sea salt and spice, perhaps even the faintest citrus. A few drops of water cut back on the peat and strengthen the citrus and spice, as well as raise some nutty notes.
    •  On the tongue: starts fairly sweet, with a lot of smoke. Long finish; curiously bereft of the oak and sherry one often finds in the best whiskies.
    •  Body: fresh, smooth in the mouth: not as “raw” as southern Islay single malts, with a slower burn and a less aggressive attack.
    •  Finish: long and smoky with a mild astringency, even faintly sour at the very end.
    •  Overall: Though its flavor is clearly influenced by distinctive Islay peat, yet considerably less pungent than the better-known malts from the little island; Caol Ila manages to hold its own in the tasting room. 

    Fans of Islay single malts, including this writer, should certainly plan to add Caol Ila to their life list. The green bottle with its subtle ivory label tends to be hard to find: the distiller’s PR flacks call it a “secret malt,” though I’ve seen it at a whisky bar or two. A wee dram o’ Caol Ila will prove worth the effort to find it.

    Source:

    1. Caol Ila distillery
    2. Does Nutrisystem Work
    3. Caol ila Single Malt Whisky : The Whisky Exchange

    Image Credit

  • www.edinburghwhiskyblog.com
  • Health

    How to plan drinks for a party?  That is a question with a multiplicity of answers because it begs several other questions.  You need to know what type of people will be attending, children or adult or mixed?  Also, how many people are expected to attend the party and for how long will the party last, and what time of year?  What is the purpose of the party, birthday, sports bash, or a formal occasion?  All of these factors will effect planning drinks for a party!

    The age of the participants is crucial to know as that will determine what types of drinks are being severed.  Young children will mean planning on lots of sweet drinks such as soda, fruit juices and even Kool-aid!  You should also plan on lots as young children drink much more than adults, will lose their drinks and also spill them, on the furniture or each other.  All of this needs to be considered when planning drinks.  Adults will usually require more sophisticated beverages and served in better cups, but the adult drinks are generally sipped rather than guzzled and so not as many are required.  With adults, plan on mixed drinks, a little wine and some non-alcoholic beverages.

    The size of the party is very important in planning drinks, and the time of year as well as location and duration for the party.  It is obvious that the greater the number of peopled the longer the party, the more drinks needed, but location and time of year will influence how much people will drink and the types of drinks, important to know in planning!  Winter will mean more warm drinks such as Irish or Russian Coffee.  Summer means plan on more ice and people will drink more, especially if it is outside.  A party that people will be driving long distances or busy roads means less drinking, so plan fewer drinks per person.

    In determining how to plan drinks for a party, the occasion is very important.  A children’s birthday party requires mainly fruit punch, and lots of it if it is in the summer.  A Monday Night Football is usually several cases of beer, but the glasses aren’t needed.  Formal means a good selection of different types of alcohol, vodka, rum, whiskey and also some wine.  These should also be served with a selection of mixers, good glasses and by someone that knows how to blend drinks!

    How to plan drinks for a party?  Determine all these other issues first and the drinks will take care of themselves!

    Source:

    1. Party Drinks Calculator from Better Homes and Gardens
    2. Best Foods for Energy & Endurance
    3. Party Planning – Total Wine & More

    Image Credit

  • pinterest.com
  • Health

    Unassuming and ever present, the fruit of cucumis sativus is one of the world’s most popular vegetables. Ubiquitous in salad, synonymous with pickles, and lending itself well to cool summer soups, the cucumber is one of the world’s oldest and most popular gourds. As well as being food, it has a long history of being used to moisten and rejuvenate skin, a use continued even in upscale beauty salons to this day.

    Being the seed bearing part of the plant, the cucumber is botanically a fruit. But because of its flavor and culinary uses, we consider it a vegetable. While most of us know the thick skinned, dark green variety commonly sold in supermarkets, cucumbers actually come in many varieties. They can be smaller or larger, thinner or rounder, and more flavorful.

    While most varieties are medium to dark green, one, the lemon cucumber, is a greenish yellow when ripe. One type of domestic cucumber, the Armenian or snake cucumber, is a different species of cucumis. All others are varieties of cucumis sativus.

    Easy to grow, cucumis sativus is recommended for any vegetable garden. It is a good beginner plant, ideal for children and inexperienced gardeners, as well as seasoned horticulturalists. The plants are generous producers. One alone can yield as much as 30 pounds in a growing season.

    Cucumbers usually begin to fruit in the late spring or early summer and continue producing until mid autumn or the first frost, whichever comes first. They should be harvested when young. If allowed to mature on the vine, the vegetables become tough and inedible. Harvesting the young cucumbers also keeps the plant producing.

    Vegetable gardeners have liked the cucumber for at least 3,000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest continuously cultivated vegetables. Native to the Himalayan foothills, it was known through much of western Asia by 1000 BCE. From there, it spread to eastern Asia, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean, being cultivated in Greece and Rome during their respective heydays. Elsewhere in Europe, the cucumber was being grown by medieval times.

    Today, cucumbers are available in supermarkets year round, making many people unaware that they are summer vegetables. Greenhouses are used to grow cucumbers out of season, and they can also be shipped from the other hemisphere during the winter months.

    Though having cucumbers out of season is easier in our own time, it is not a modern phenomenon. The Roman emperor Tiberius liked cucumbers so much that he insisted on having them year round. Greenhouses and other artificial growing methods were used to satisfy his whim. The year round cucumber is proof that modern technology allows all of us to live like a Roman emperor.

    Indeed, our current uses for cucumis sativus show that, while technology may provide more cucumbers, it has little improvement over the cucumber itself. Now, as thousands of years ago, women wishing to beautify their skin swear by the cucumber.

    As a food, it has countless uses, the bare minimum of which are common in our culture. Whereas North Americans mainly eat cucumbers raw, East Europeans have many traditional dishes that include cooked cucumbers. Though we associate this vegetable mainly with salads and pickles, that is just the tip of the iceberg of its long history.

    Source:

    1. Cucumber
    2. High Protein Diets: More Dangerous Than You Might Think
    3. Cucumber

    Image Credit

  • guiltfreefoodguide.com
  • Health

    Chili is a great comfort food that can be eaten anytime of the year.  A good bowl of chili warms the soul, and is good to eat for a variety of personal reasons.  I have had chili everyway possible and at all kinds of different occasions.  My chili recipe has been requested by many people which wants a good bowl of chili to take to potlucks or family gatherings.  Being from Cincinnati, my family usually has this chili served with hot dogs or spaghetti topped with cheese, onions and oyster crackers.   

    Ingredients

    2 lbs. Ground beef

    1 Med. Onion, diced

    4 stalks Celery, diced

    1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

    1 Red Bell Pepper, diced

    2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

    2-3 Jalapeno Peppers, minced (Optional)

    2 (14 oz) cans of Kidney Beans

    2 (14 oz) cans of diced Tomatoes

    2 (14 oz) cans of Tomato Sauce

    3 cups Water

    4 Tbsp. Chili Powder or 2 packets of chili mix

    2 Tbsp. Cumin

    2 Tbsp. Salt or salt to taste

    dash of pepper to taste.

    2 Tbsp. oil

    2 Tsp. Cinnamon (Optional) If want the taste of Cincinnati chili

    In skillet, brown ground beef, drain and set aside.  In large pot with lid, combine onions, celery, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno peppers (optional) with the oil, and stir until vegetables are tender.  In the same pot,  add the cooked ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and cinnamon(optional), and stir until blended.  Cover with lid and cook over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Can top chili with toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, corn chips,crackers or green onions.  Can serve chili over cooked spaghetti, topped with cheese and onion.

    Source:

    1. Simple, Perfect Chili Recipe : Ree Drummond : Food Network
    2. Foods Combining Diet
    3. Easy Chili Recipe | MyRecipes.com

    Image Credit

  • www.easyfamilymeals.org