Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Choosing the Right Catering Menu for a Special Occasion

When planning a special occasion, one of the first dilemmas is what to feed your guests. You may decide to cater the party yourself, or alternatively forego the stress and hire and catering company to the hard work for you. Either way, the menu decision is often a critical factor on the success of your evening! Guests are often happiest when there’s an abundance of delicious food and drink on offer.

There are types of food which should be avoided for certain occasions. For example, the food and drink choices for a baby shower would be very different to that of a wedding party. Consider the atmosphere you’d like to create with your chosen menu; is it a formal sit-down occasion with wine and gourmet courses, or is it simply background eating finger food whilst other activities are undertaken?

Informal Catering


The classic BBQ menu is simple to create and loved by many. BBQs have a relaxing and laid back nature, and the chosen food should reflect this. Buffet style eating where guests can help themselves to meat, rolls and buns, salads and other accompaniments. BBQs are the ultimate in chilled out eating. Traditional BBQ meats are chicken, beef burgers, and sausages. Typical sides are coleslaw, potato salad, and pasta.

Garden Party

Similarly to the classic BBQ, a garden party is extremely informal and usually a buffet style affair. If you don’t want to stand over a grill whilst your guests eat, try preparing a roast beforehand, which can then be served with cold sides like potato and pasta salads.

Formal Catering

Formal Reception

A more formal event like an Anniversary or milestone birthday party may call for more formal dining arrangements. If you expect a large number of guests, it may be simpler to call in outside help in the form of a specialist caterer. If not, creating the dishes beforehand will ensure you are left ‘relatively’ free to enjoy the party. Create meals which can be easily reheated and served and when guests arrive. A formal event may require a buffet style setup, or for more special events a sit down meal. If the latter, don’t forget to create a simple starter, wholesome main, and delicious dessert!

Choosing your perfect menu can be tricky, depending on the guests you’re expecting, and the type of event you’re holding. Remember to cater for special eating requirements, and it’s always a good idea to have a second option in case guests don’t like your main dishes!

Leeds Seventeen are an award winning restaurant based in Yorkshire, England. As well as hosting weddings and events, they serve delicious English food in their contemporary restaurant. They are currently preparing their Christmas menu. For more information, you can visit them, here: Christmas Party Leeds

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why and How To Make Your Own Soda

Have you ever thought about the cost of buying soda from the supermarket? Every year we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cans and bottles that we then need to spend millions more to dispose of. Wouldn't it be easier if we could make our own soda at home? Not only would this help our bank balance but it would also reduce the load on the environment. Luckily it's very simple to do this. Sodas are made by a process called carbonation which is what adds the fizzy bubbles to your drink.

What You Need

At its simplest carbonating water requires a seltzer bottle which can hold a couple of liters of water. You will also need a charger that contains pressurized CO2. Put the two together and you end up with sparkling water. Of course this just gives you access to plain fizzy water but what if you want a more interesting drink? That's when it's time to consider a machine that is made specifically for the purpose of carbonating drinks.

A Home Carbonation Machine

There are many companies that make these machines such as Everpure and Sodastream. One of the advantages is that you can have access to a wide range of flavors and basically customize your own soda. These usually include diet flavors and caffeine free flavors and you can also get them without artificial sweeteners and with less sugar, sodium and carbohydrates than the carbonated drinks you buy at the supermarket. In addition, a home soda maker requires no plumbing or electricity -- and you never run out of the drinks you love the most.

The Perfect Blend

One of the great things about carbonating your own drinks is the ability to choose just the amount of fizz or flavor you want. Never again will you have a drink that is too flat or that tastes a little bit bland. You can experiment until you find the perfect mix or check out the multiple home carbonation flavor recipes available online. Some home carbonation machines also have water filters available so that you can get your water is pure as possible.

Finally, going back to the environmental benefits, home carbonation machines make a difference because you can reuse the bottles and the CO2 canisters. Instead of having to send cans or bottles off for recycling, all you do is exchange CO2 canisters to be refilled and use the bottles whenever you need a drink for up to 2 years. That's a much longer shelf life than the average soda can or bottle. So, not only do you get your perfect drink, but you can do your bit for the environment too.

Sharon Hurley Hall writes for Eden Springs, the UK’s No.1 supplier for water cooler hire. Eden Springs provides certified carbon neutral water - the first in the UK to do so. Eden Springs is currently offering Sodastream soda makers with hire contracts.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easing into a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Almost Painlessly

Many families and individuals are interested in switching from a primarily meat-and-potatoes type of diet to a vegetarian or even vegan diet. The health benefits are enormous, ranging from lowered cholesterol to increased energy. While the initial transition to a new diet can be difficult, there are many ways to replace meat and dairy products in your favorite meals. Cooking meals you love in a vegetarian or vegan style with meat substitutes can help curb cravings and get you on the right track towards your new diet. You can even increase savings depending on the kinds of replacements you buy and what type of meats you are eliminating.

There are a handful of meals that are easy to transition for a meat-free diet. Lasagna, for example, is typically prepared with layers of lasagna noodles, cheese, sauce and ground beef. Replacing the ground beef with tofu and spinach can taste wonderful and still make a hearty meal for the whole family. If you’re trying to cut eliminate dairy products, you can eliminate the cheese all together or find a vegan cheese substitute for your meal. Tacos are another meal that is easy to prepare without the use of meat. Processed meat replacements are available, along with the use of beans. Trying different combinations can help you prepare delicious meals without the use of any meat.

If you are interested in pursuing a vegan diet, you may have difficulty also avoiding milk and other dairy products. Luckily, there are a variety of milk substitutes that taste great and are cruelty-free. Almond milk is a nice choice for many people since it tastes slightly sweet and works great in recipes that call for milk. Many vegans and vegetarians are fond of soy milk, and its ready availability in most stores makes it a very popular option.

Trying to find substitutes for your favorite food can be a very helpful way to transition from a meat-based diet. Instead of thinking that you can never enjoy ice cream again due to a new vegan diet, you can look out for blends that have been made just for vegans. The number of vegetarians and vegans in the world is growing significantly, allowing you to enjoy a much broader range of products from which to choose.

Switching to a diet full of plants and other forms of protein rather than meat and dairy products is not only good for your body, it’s also a wonderful change for the environment. Taking the time to find different food and drinks free of animal by-products and meat will ease the transition and reduce habit-induced cravings. As you browse through the safe products, you will likely notice that many of the items available allow you to prepare similar meals as before. Soy milk, tofu and meat replacements can easily fit into recipes you typically follow, so that cravings aren’t difficult to tackle. By researching the substitutes that are available, you can begin following a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet and be well on the way towards a healthier body.

Article written by Sara Woods, a writer for Coupon Croc; Visit us for Argos discounts to save on health supplements, kitchen appliances, and everything you need to maintain a healthy diet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ten Fantastic Restaurants You Could Own

As time progresses, some people can begin to feel that their lives have begun to stagnate. In these instances, new and exciting opportunities – especially in the world of business – are a great way to help you find new direction. One great way to embrace change and development is to own a restaurant. Here is a list of ten fantastic restaurants which you could own:

1. French Attraction

As the centre of high-class cuisine, France is the perfect location for anyone committed to starting their own restaurant. Great restaurant opportunities include top-class restaurant establishments within the Dordogne region of Southern France. One such example comes complete with thirty seven acres of beautiful landscape and is priced at around €2,000,000 (just over £1,750,000).

2. Californian Dream

Sun and glamour await restaurateurs who embrace the Californian dream. With great venues available on Sunset Boulevard, situated within West Hollywood, there are a great business opportunities to be enjoyed. One example includes a 5,000 square foot property, which was established in 1947 and offers fine dining.

3. Spanish Variety

If you are interested in something a bit more varied then this type of venture could be the perfect opportunity. A new complex in the Spanish island Menorca has six themed restaurants for sale and plans for further development. Priced at nearly €5,000,000 (just under £4,500,000), these units comply with EU regulations and are constructed primarily from English sourced materials.

4. English Retreat

Restaurants don’t have to be situated on land and floating venues are a great way to offer a unique dining experience. This great Thames based floating venue costs £2,600,000 and supports a capacity of 1,000 people. It has two separate dining areas and additional bars.

5. Australian Sunshine

The Australian city of Sydney is a bustling hive of activity. With a great establishment situated within the Blue Mountains on sale for over £2,600,000, there is a real opportunity for an ambitious young restauranter. This particular property seats up to 150 guests in a 325 square metre venue that has won multiple awards in the past.

6. Thai Paradise

The bustling city of Bangkok is home to a number of great restaurants all of which provide great opportunities for budding businessmen and women. A great establishment just outside of the busy centre is currently on the market for just over £300,000. An idyllic and peaceful location, this is perfect for a unique dining venture.

7. Mexican Flavour

Mexico is well known for its sensational food, combining sharp flavours with bright colours for excellent cuisine. With a commercial property on the market in Quintana Roo for just over £350,000, this would be the ideal location for a restaurant or bar.

8. Italian Flair

Italy is the home of amazing food and culinary expertise. The Northwest region of Liguria offers great venues for restaurant development, and one such establishment is currently on the market for just under £1,500,000. A 16th Century Florentine building, the property has a 250 square metre terrace with views of the spectacular mountainous landscape surrounding it.

9. Alaskan Serenity

Alaska has great restaurant venues available such as the one situated alongside the Sterling Airstrip. Currently styled as a 1950s themed cafe, this property, costing just under450,000 US Dollars (under £300,000), comes complete with six acres of stunning views. Located near world class fishing rivers, this restaurant could be developed into a truly great establishment.

10. Canadian Class

Canada is a beautiful landscape and home to a number of thriving restaurants. The region of Ontario boasts an amazing opportunity for a budding restaurateur, with an award-winning restaurant for sale at a price of around £1,100,000. The property has been established for nineteen years and has an indoor seating capacity of 180, with an additional 54 seats in the outdoor patio.

Rachel is a business blogger currently on the lookout for restaurants for sale.

Expand Your Culinary Repertoire by Cooking Over Fire Pits

Did you know you can turn your backyard's fire pit into a grill? All you need is an inexpensive grill grate to place over the top of the pit and you'll be ready to grill in style. With their large size, fire pits make great grills. Whether you're grilling up kabobs, hot dogs or steaks, cooking over a fire pit is a great way to enjoy your backyard.

Choose the Right Wood for Fire Pits

Standard grills utilize charcoal for cooking, but when it comes to fire pits, using wood is a very popular method for grilling. This will give your cookout some old-fashioned character, not to mention add delicious flavor to the food.

Experiment with different types of wood, as each will give a different flavor to your food. Whether you choose hickory, maple, oak or another type of wood, you can be certain that any food cooked on a fire pit will be delicious and juicy.

Get Grilling With Your Fire Pit

You can use your fire pit just like you would use any other grill. If you want to start simple, stick with grilling hotdogs. Grill the hotdogs over the fire pit the exact same way you would over a traditional grill. Be sure to rotate the hotdogs with tongs as they grill. If you used wood in your fire pit, you'll be pleased with the unique flavor the wood gives hot dogs. You'll never go back to a traditional grill again!

Once you're comfortable grilling over your fire pit, give yourself a cooking challenge. One of the best aspects of grilling over a fire pit is using wood, which gives the food a distinct, smoky flavor. Think of all the restaurants you've been to that grill their meats over apple wood or some other type of wood. This trend is all the rage right now in the grilling industry, and you can achieve the very same taste with the meats you grill over your fire pit.

Impress Your Friends with Fire Pits

Before you know it, your friends will think of you as a culinary genius after they've sampled the foods cooked on your fire pit. Remember to keep your fire pit clean. Just like with a traditional grill, you need to scrub down your grill grate and clean the ashes out of your fire pit after each use. But the extra work is worth it once you see how great it is to have a fire pit in your backyard.

Not only does a fire pit add a warm quality to your backyard, but it also can make your backyard feel like an outdoor oasis. Add some nice patio furniture and hanging baskets of flowers and you'll be ready to wine and dine your family and friends. Just don't be surprised when they want to come back for dinner every night.

Post by guest blogger Stephanie Kalina-Metzger, a writer who enjoys blogging about fire pits.

How To Buy Wine Online

Whether you have a birthday, engagement, wedding or simply want to celebrate without need for specific reason, the Internet has become the best place to start organising. There’s now no longer a need to rush around to find a friend who can DJ or speak to your next door neighbour who happens to be supremely fast at putting together a buffet of sandwiches and sausage rolls. Everything can be done in a sophisticated and efficient way without breaking the bank. One of the hardest aspects of organising any event has always been ordering the food and drink. Being able to select the right food and beverages that suits everybody’s tastes it almost impossible. That’s why I put together this handy little guide which outlines how to buy wine online. This guide will help to avoid any last minute dash to the supermarket where you’ll end up struggling to fill your car boot with low quality and high priced wines.

1: Think About Your Food

As we all know, a fine wine to match a great meal is memorable. It’s pointless serving up a wine that does not compliment your meal and thankfully you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to find out which wines match which foods. The best place to start is by looking online at cookery websites or YouTube videos. Type into ‘wines that match...’ and then list your food. It’s a quick and easy way to find the wine you’re looking for! Generally, red wines tend to have a deeper, heavier taste than sweet white wines.

2: Have A Quantity In Mind

If you’re planning a romantic meal, you may only need to find one or two bottles of fine French wine. Whereas if you’re planning a larger scale event with more attending, you need to think about what’s best for your budget. Most people are unable to afford vintage wines in large quantities so it may be more suitable looking for companies that offer mixed wine cases or discounts on large orders. When you order wine online, the wine merchant’s website should have a page dedicated to mixed case wine offers.

3: Select Your Vintage

A vintage refers to the year the wine was produced. Due to varying weather conditions each year, some years are better for wine production than others. In more recent times, 1990 was a great year for wine production and may be a good choice if you want to impress for a particularly special occasion. It’s a common misconception that older wines are the best. This is not true as they may have been produced in a low quality vintage. All wine merchant websites should provide the vintage date within their product description.

4: Customer Reviews

A quality wine merchant website should offer information on customer reviews. These are usually listed below each product. Not only should you use customer reviews to help you choose which website and company to order from, but you may also find out useful information about the wine itself and occasions that the wine is suitable for.

5: Wine Delivery

The best thing about ordering wine online is that you don’t have to worry about going to collect and lift large cases of wine. An online wine merchants should offer you several different options at checkout and for more expensive purchases, particular those of premium vintages, a courier service and a money back guarantee should anything arrive broken. Always be sure to check the estimated delivery date for the wine in case you are running on a tight deadline, as some premium vintages may have to be withdrawn from their larder.

Scott Cole is a writer who loves nothing more than letting words flow to paper smoother than red wine from a decanter.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Healthy Menu Selections When Dining Out

Sometimes we find ourselves in a perfect rhythm. We are eating healthy, sticking to our fitness routines, and finally seeing some great results. Then, an invite out to eat can be a waste of all our good prioress. Most items on the menu, although delicious, are horrible options when it comes to health. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and you can find some healthy options when dining out. Dining out is a part of our culture, so sooner or later you are going to find yourself at a restaurant.

The first step to healthy eating habits is having healthy drinking habits. Just because you are out to eat doesn't mean you have to suck down 3 coca colas. One of the best options you have is water, with a splash of lemon. Tastes great, and you can be happy with healthy decision you made afterwards. If water isn't cutting it for you, try an orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice. Although high in sugar, juices have healthy vitamins that sodas, or what I like to call them "filler drinks," just do not have to offer. If certainly have to get that soda, and diet is not an option, just make sure that you limit your quantity. If the rewarding Coke is just what you want after a hard workout, then thats ok! Do not take advantage of free refills.

After your drink selections are made an appetizer may be the next choice to make. Avoid all selections that are described as fried, buttered, or deep fried. Appetizers rich in carbohydrates like potato skins or a basket of fries are really bad for you. Potato based foods are the quickest ways to weight gain. Some appetizers you might consider choosing are spinach deeps, grilled calamari with marinara sauce, lettuce wraps, whole grain rolls, or house salads. Remember that foods with nutritional value always are a better option. Of course, you really do not need to order an appetizer. Don't let fried appetizers ruin your meal. In all honesty you are better off enjoying a beer or a glass of wine.

When it comes to the main course, you have more options than you might think. However, most of the menu is littered with options that supply enough calories for the day. One convenient option menus are starting to list are a smaller health menu that usually come with a calorie count, or a weight watcher point system. These are great, because along with a great tasting meal you know what you are putting into your body and therefore can be guilt free. Try to stay away from the options that include a big basket of fries. Vegetables, salads, or soups are much better options.

Sooner or later we are going to dine out. After all of your hard work at determination, don't let a night out set you back on your diet and exercise progress. Remember, there is nothing wrong with going out to eat once in a while, but make sure you choose the healthier options each menu has to offer. You will be much happier with your choices once you leave the restaurant!

This article was written by Alina Cambridge. Alina is a health enthusiast who is passionate about fitness, and skin care health. She works with Acne Centre providing the last breakthroughs in acne science.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The 5 Big Benefits of Buying From an Online Artisan Meat Shop

Purchasing from an online artisan meat shop might sound strange considering that you don’t have the meat in front of you when you order it and you have to wait for it to arrive, but there are actually many advantages to buying meats from these gourmet online retailers. Most people do at least some of their consumer activity online, from buying t-shirts to purchasing Christmas gifts to ordering electronics for personal use. You can refill prescriptions online, order groceries and have them delivered to your house and have items shipped to your home from around the world—the possibilities are endless. So why not enjoy the largest possible selection of gourmet meats from around the world instead of being limited to what your grocer is carrying?

The 5 Big Benefits of Online Meat Buying

1. Bulk Buying Power

If you need a large quantity of high-quality meat for an upcoming event, your local gourmet meat shop might not have enough product on-hand to meet your needs, assuming that you do have an artisanal retailer in your area. Your local grocery store may also not have a large quantity of specialty meats, and their gourmet selections will most likely be limited. A bulk grocery store will most definitely not have the gourmet meats you’re looking for; this would be a better option if your large event is a backyard barbeque rather than an elegant affair. An online gourmet retailer will be able to fill your order with a large quantity of the best artisanal meats in a short period of time.

2. Convenience

Ordering gourmet meats online is simply more convenient than waiting around in the butcher shop or deli. Sure, you have to wait for your order to arrive, but if it’s not something you need at this very moment, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. It’s just one less errand you need to run while you’re out and about.

3. Organic Selections

If you don’t have a lot of organic meat products available in your local area, online meat shopping is an excellent choice. Retailers on the Internet may offer a much larger selection of organic options than your local grocery store, deli or butcher.

4. Largest Selection

Even if you have an artisanal, gourmet or specialty store nearby, chances are that it can’t rival the selection that is available at your fingertips on the Internet. You can find virtually any kind of rare or hard-to-find meat online.

5. Lower Costs

An online retailer may also be able to offer lower prices than your local gourmet meat shop due to high volumes of sales and special relationships with artisan food makers. You can always shop around and find the best deals for pricey meats when you shop online.

Jessica writes about a wide variety of topics. She especially enjoys writing about food. You can learn more about Gourmet Meats at http://www.dibruno.com/

Friday, July 29, 2011

5 Awesome Filipino Cookbooks to Add to Your Collection

The people of the Philippines have enjoyed creating and cooking traditional Filipino meals for years. These meals are normally created using a variety of vegetables along with seafood, dairy products, meat, and rice. Some of the benefits of cooking Filipino meals are that they are simple to make and are full of delicious flavor. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned cook, here are five Filipino cookbooks you should add to your collection.

The Filipino-American Kitchen

The Filipino-American Kitchen is an excellent cookbook for people, who are interested in or new to learning about cooking Filipino cuisine. This cookbook is also a great resource for Filipino-Americans who are interested in bring American traditions into their cooking. It contains over 100 traditional and up-to-dated Filipino recipes that include American food or techniques.

Filipino Cookbook: 85 Homestyle Recipes to Delight

The Filipino Cookbook: 85 Homestyle Recipes to Delight is another great resource for people who are trying to create their own Filipino cuisines at home. This cookbook features 85 different recipes that showcase some of the traditional meals from the Philippines. Some of the awesome recipes inside of this cookbook are Halo-Halo, which is a mixed fruit dessert, and Pininyahang, which is a wonderful chicken mixed with pineapples dish.

Philippine Recipes Made Easy

Philippine Recipes Made Easy is an older Filipino cookbook but it still continues to remain popular with Filipino- American cooks. The author of the cookbook provides easy to follow directions that anyone who is new to cooking Filipino cuisine can follow. Also the majority of the ingredients can be found at your local supermarket, which is beneficial for cooks with limited Asian grocery store options. Some of the popular traditional Filipino recipes featured in this cookbook are Pancit Canton and Adobo.

Authentic Recipes from the Philippines

Authentic Recipes from the Philippines is a unique cookbook that provides its readers with information on the history of Filipino foods along with traditional recipes. Each recipe has a picture of the cuisine so you will know how the final appearance of your meal will look. One of the resources provided in this cookbook is food substitution recommendations for hard to find Asian ingredients.

Filipino Cuisine: Recipes from the Islands

Filipino Cuisine: Recipes from the Islands is a cookbook that features different cuisines from all around the Philippines Islands. Some of the other cultures featured in this cookbook are Spanish, Mexican, and Portuguese. You can find over 200 recipes in this cookbook with pictures along with an index and glossary.

These cookbooks are a great resource to have if you don’t know much about cooking Filipino foods. By having a lot of patience along with practice, you will be on your way to becoming a great Filipino cuisine cook in no time.

About the Author: Tanya Davis is a full-time writer with a passion for cooking and international foods. She also enjoys writing about health and careers in the healthcare field and regularly contributes content to coding and billing schools.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dining in The Desert is Sizzling In Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona is an awesome place to visit ;and there are places to eat that are just are just as exciting. So, whether a person craves seafood, Mexican or just plain old burgers and shakes, Scottsdale has it. Below are four unqiue restaurants to visit in this area:

Upscale Dining

If one prefers fine dinning at its best, then try The White Chocolate Grill. This upscale hideout has more than just a catchy title going for it. The menu at the White Chocolate Grill is diverse and there is something for everyone. They serve traditional American style food.

The ambiance is simply breathtaking. The White Chocolate Grill has been ranked a four- star restaurant. One bite of their delicious food and one will know why. The menu includes things from filet Mingeon to Parmesan- encrusted filet of fish and many other exquisite specialties. The average price is around thirty dollars per person and features an outdoor patio area. This restaurant is a must- visit while in the area.

A Special Dining Experience

If one prefers something on the wild side, then try Cowboy Ciao. This restaurant will make visitors want to put on the cowboy boots and saddle up. They serve things like Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry and Tenderbelly Pork Shank. The portions are hardy and the experience undeniable.
If it is dessert that is craved, dig into The White Chocolate Blondie or the Crème Fraîche Cheesecake. While this restaurant is a little pricey at around thirty- five dollars a person, it is worth every penny.

If Green Is Your Thing

If someone prefers organic- style food from local farmers and such, then Acadia Farms is the right pick. They have two locations to serve their guests: The Phoenix Art Museum and also the Old Town Scottsdale. For twenty- eight dollars a person, diners can choose from a list of entrees. Try the Butternut Squash Ravioli for a real kick or a delightful dish like Marinated and Grilled Organic Chicken Breast.

While they do offer an authentic organic experience, it will come at a cost. The menu price is fifty five dollars, which include entree, appetizer, soup/salad and a dessert.

Latin Sizzle

Having a flare for Latin cuisine calls for a visit to The Mission. They offer authentic Latin food served with a budget in mind. The average plate here is around twenty dollars. You can find things such as Tecate Skirt Steak, Chilean Salmon and Mango & Jimaca Salad. Old world charm and elegance make this dinning experience quite memorable. Spanish staff and atmosphere give this restaurant two thumbs up.

One thing is sure: when in Scottsdale, the cuisines choices are endless. These are a few of the best; but there are several more from which to choose. People who visit Scottsdale, Arizona will certainly not go hungry.


Heather Johnson writes for HoneymoonDestinations.org, the leading online honeymoon planning resource. Come learn all about the best honeymoon destinations today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Olive Oil: An Anti-Aging Agent

Olive oil figures prominently in the Mediterranean diet. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat, it lowers risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline in people who include this healthy oil in their diets.

High fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But generous use of olive oil can lower rates of these conditions. Comparing olive oil with other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats, and vegetable oils like corn oil dominate, turns up some very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil a day may reduce your risk of heart disease. You can get the most benefit by substituting olive oil for saturated fats rather than just adding more olive oil to your diet.

Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cheer Up With Cherry Cheesecake

Celebrate spring with something decadent, rich, and healthy. Impossible? Not when you make this Cherry Ricotta Cheesecake from Ellie Krieger. It's creamy and loaded with calcium, protein, selenium, phosphorus, riboflavin, and Vitamin A.

Cherry Ricotta Cheesecake

cooking spray
16-ounce part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh sweet cherries
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon warm water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Process ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Add sour cream, eggs, sugar, flour, cream cheese, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. Blend well.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until set. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
4. Boil cherries, lemon juice, and honey in a sauce pan. Dissolve gelatin in warm water then stir in cherry mixture. Chill until thickened.
5. Top cheesecake with cherry mixture and serve.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Anti-Aging Breakfast Smoothie

Tired from a long night of work or play? Revive yourself with a serving of this anti-aging smoothie from Martha Stewart. Loaded in antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins, this smoothie is perfect for breakfast or even as an afternoon energy boost.

Anti-Aging Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup chilled green tea, unsweetened
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
Turbinado sugar or other natural sweetener to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process or blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more yogurt.

Tip 1: If you are lactose-intolerant, you can substitute cultured soy for yogurt. Similarly, if you don't like yogurt, low-fat milk is a great alternative.

Tip 2: When serving this smoothie as part of a brunch spread, blend yogurt, tea, sweetener, and flaxseed together first. Divide into two equal parts. Blend blueberries with half of the yogurt mixture and pour into a glass. Do the same with strawberries and pour into the same glass. Stir for a fancy color effect.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuna Burgers

If you enjoy burgers, there's no reason to stop eating it just because you want to stay healthy. The key idea is to choose a healthier burger. Lean beef and turkey work well, but for variety, hold the bacon. Tuna burgers can be just as satisfying and they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins as well.

Try Tyler Florence's tuna burgers the next time you have a craving.

Tuna Burgers

For the Sauce:

1 small carrot, roughly chopped
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
Pinch of sugar
salt and ground pepper

For the Burgers:

1 pound sushi-grade tuna ground
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
salt and ground pepper
1 cup spicy sprouts, for garnish
4 whole-grain hamburger buns
1/2 avocado, sliced

1. Blend sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
2. Lightly combine burger ingredients and form into four patties. Grill until cooked to desired doneness.
3. Place burgers on buns, garnish with avocado and sprouts, and sauce.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Healthy Egg Drop Soup

Egg drop soup is a staple in Chinese restaurant and takeout menus. Egg is good as it is high in choline and one of the natural sources of Vitamin K. Unfortunately, most egg drop soups sold in the market are high in sodium. For a healthier take on egg drop soup, try this recipe by Nina Simonds of the Food Network:

1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup minced scallions
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 cup rice wine or sake
5 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound snow peas
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water

1. Heat oil over high heat until hot. Sauté tomatoes and scallions. Add water, salt, soy sauce, and rice wine. Reduce heat and add snow peas.
2.Slowly add the cornstarch mixture and bring the liquid to a boil, stirring to prevent lumps from forming until slightly thickened.
3. Remove from the heat and slowly add the beaten eggs. Stir once or twice so that the eggs form thin streamers. Taste for seasoning and ladle into serving bowls.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Basil: More than Just Pesto

The round, often pointed, leaves of the basil plant looks a lot like peppermint to which it is related. Its highly fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of foods, but has become ever popular as the main ingredient in pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Orientin and vicenin are two water-soluble flavonoids that have been of particular interest in basil, and in studies on human white blood cells; these components of basil protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Basil is a very good source of vitamin A. Called "pro-vitamin A," since it can be converted into vitamin A, beta-carotene is a more powerful anti-oxidant than vitamin A and not only protects epithelial cells from free radical damage, but also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream. Only after it has been oxidized does cholesterol build up in blood vessel walls, initiating the development of atherosclerosis, whose end result can be a heart attack or stroke.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ceasar Salad: A Healthier Take On A Classic Recipe

Ceasar salad is a staple in takeout and even in fancy restaurant menus. But most often than not, what should have been a healthy salad is made unhealthy with heaps of bacon and high-fat dressing. Make your Ceasar salad healthier with this Martha Stewart recipe:

Healthier Ceasar Salad

2 cups chopped romaine
2 sardines
1 hard-boiled egg
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1/2 cup croutons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Wash romaine leaves in cold water. Drain thoroughly
.2. Debone sardines and ground with a fork into a paste.
3. Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified. Stir in sardine paste.
4. Slice hard boiled egg.
5. Toss egg, lettuce, and croutons with the dressing.

Tip 1: If you want bacon in your Ceasar salad, toss a few rashers of turkey bacon onto a baking sheet and bake until crisp. Drain bacon of excess fat and put them inside a brown paper bag. Roll a rolling pin over the paper bag to crumble the bacon. Top your salad with bacon after tossing.

Tip 2: If you like garlic, slice the top off a garlic clove and rub it on the inside of your salad bowl.

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