13 Feb

Evaluating The Best Rated Diet Products

Authorities estimate that human beings weigh more on average today than at any other point during the past. This increase in the average weight can be attributed to many different things. Some experts feel that a lack of exercise is to blame, while others point the finger at an increase in the number of processed foods being consumed by human beings today. Regardless of the cause behind this weight gain, almost every expert can agree that the increased average weight comes with significant risks. Continue reading

12 Feb

How to Make Better Health Pasta Salad

Pasta salad can be one of the dining options at home is also a special occasion for a family meal. You can also make a pasta salad tastier and healthier, but still simple.

1. Use of whole wheat pasta.
Do not use regular pasta, but choose whole-wheat pasta. When using this type of pasta, you can get fiber intake twice as much per one cup of pasta.

2. Replace mayonnaise.
To add flavor do not use mayonnaise. We recommend using a combination of low-fat mayonnaise, low-fat yogurt with no flavor and olive oil. This way you can cut calories and saturated fat.

3. Add the vegetables.
Add vegetables doubled. Select vegetables with more variety of color combination. For pasta salad, veggie options usually consist of carrots, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers.

4. Add fresh herbs.
Spices add flavor without fat or sodium. Add basil, cilantro, or want to try tarragon, herbs typical of Central Asia. Add spices to suit your taste.

10 Feb

Coffee Beans and Coffee Concerns – Enlightening All Coffee Buffs

The seeds produced by the coffee plant are the coffee beans. Though these are referred to as beans they are not really beans in the true botanical sense of the word. The coffee plant bears red or purple fruits which are also called cherries or berries of coffee and the stone that lies inside is the ‘bean’ which is the source of coffee. Two stones lying with their flat sides together usually constitute the coffee bean. It is from this bean that coffee is produced that can be used to produce a variety of coffee beverages like espresso, latte and cappuccino using the right coffee makers- espresso machines etc. It may be mentioned that a small percentage of any crop of coffee cherries contain a single bean in the cherries instead of the usual two. Such berries are called pea berries.

Coffee beans facts Some 0.8% to 2.5% caffeine is contained in the endosperm of the coffee seed or bean. This caffeine content gives them the characteristic flavor for which the plant is cultivated. Several species of the coffee plant are there and the seeds of each species produce coffees having slightly different tastes. Variation can be observed in the flavors of different genetic subspecies also and the coffee varietals- where the coffee plants are being cultivated.

Coffee beans are a major item of export of many countries. Coffee Arabica is the species that makes up the major portion (70-75%) of the world trade. The other important coffee species of coffee cultivated is the Coffee canephora. This is grown where the Coffee Arabica does not thrive.

Processing of coffee beans The coffee beans are processed before they are readied for use in preparing espresso, latte, cappuccino and other special coffee drinks using coffee makers- espresso machines and the like. The processing begins with the beans being removed from the coffee cherries. The fruit is then discarded or made use of as a fertilizer. The bean or seed of coffee is then ground and used in the preparation of beverages of various kinds using a coffee maker or espresso machine.

Coffee beans and espresso beans A difference between ordinary coffee beans and the espresso beans is there. The espresso beans tend to be a concoction of beans. These are almost always a relatively dark roast like a Vienna or light French roast. This is seemingly a trade secret. So, even though the formula of the blend can be discovered the exact amounts or proportions in which the constituents are to be blended cannot be easily found out.

Flavoring of coffee beans There is also the process of flavoring the coffee beans in an attempt to work upon their natural flavor to meet some purpose. Natural oils are usually used to achieve this. Half an ounce of oil is usually to be added to a pound of beans for the flavoring to be done.

The primary concern of all coffee lovers being the flavor of the drinks, special attention needs to be given to ensure that the best flavor is obtained from the coffee beans. This is of crucial importance in case of preparation of espresso, cappuccino, latte and all other special coffee beverages. The superior coffee makers and espresso machines can also deliver the best results i.e. brew the perfect drinks only if the best flavored ground coffee beans are used. Many of the world class coffee makers [http://www.finest-coffee-makers.com/index.html] and espresso machines of the day has been reported to be failing to deliver desirable brews owing to the use of coffee beans that were not up to the mark.

The real flavor of the coffee beans starts developing with the growth of the plant and is influenced by the climate of the place where it is grown. Of course, the particular species of the coffee plant also matters in the developing of the flavor. The processing of the bean i.e. the processes that the coffee beans are made to undergo through after they are extracted from the coffee fruits also affects their taste and flavor.

Roasting helping bring out best flavors Roasting of the beans is an important process that helps bring out the real vibrant flavor of the beans. The carbohydrate and fat content of the coffee beans get transformed to aromatic oils by the heat of the process. This gives rise to the great coffee flavor which is cherished by the people from all corners of the world.

Different types of roasting of the coffee beans also have different effects on the coffee produced i.e. varying of the composition. So, while light roast produces light flavored coffee the medium roast leads to preparation of a sweeter and fuller-bodied coffee. Again, dark roast that requires a long roasting time produces a spicy and sweet deep tasting coffee. The characteristic flavors of coffee that are a result of particular roasting are produced in the brews prepared by the coffee makers [http://www.finest-coffee-makers.com/index.html] and espresso machines of the day too.

Selecting best coffee beans and ensuring their freshness It is the best coffee beans that are to be selected. This is determined from the region where they are procured from. The coffee planted in a particular region and influenced by its climate produces a distinctive flavor in its cherries and beans (seeds). The Arabica coffee is considered as the very best. Gourmet coffee drinks are made using this coffee. Other varieties like the Robusta beans have been known to have more caffeine content and lesser flavor. These are also prepared cheaper.

Keeping the coffee beans fresh is also very important. These are to be kept sealed in an air tight container. To take care of freshness in the coffee beverages that you make using your coffee maker or espresso machine you need to purchase whole beans of coffee from specialty shops. These beans are to be used within a week of purchase. Only then can you get to enjoy perfectly flavored coffee drink. It is always preferable to gave a good coffee grinder at home and prepare freshly ground coffee for your brewing purpose. Pre ground coffee often lacks much of the flavor and aroma that are the hallmark of premium coffee. On the other hand freshly ground coffee provides more nutritional benefit and ensures the best flavor.

7 Feb

Coffee History – A Rich Tradition For More Than 1,000 Years of Coffee Produced and Enjoyed Worldwide

The history of coffee has a rich and fascinating tradition, resulting in gourmet coffee available to you in your kitchen or at your favorite coffee house.

Coffee dates back to the 9th century. Today, a good cup of coffee ties our world together in ways that are truly amazing through the years.

The Origin of Coffee

No one knows how coffee was discovered. One popular legend says coffee was discovered by an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi who found his goats prancing around a shrub bearing bright red fruit. He tasted the fruit and experienced the same energy.

Kaldi shared his discovery with the local monks, and they used the fruit to stay awake during long hours of prayer. The “mysterious red fruit” spread to monasteries all over the world, starting the relationship between the church and coffee that has lasted for centuries.

Coffee is mentioned in writings as early as the 10th century, and historians since then have followed coffee’s history and use throughout the world.

In 1471, not long before Columbus left to discover America, the first coffee house opened in Constantinople. The merchant trade of Venice brought coffee to Italy, where the first European coffee shop opened in 1645. Coffee houses spread throughout Europe and England and later to America. By 1675, there were over 3,000 coffee houses in England, demonstrating coffee’s tremendous appeal so many years ago.

As coffee production started around the world in different tropical regions, the growing conditions produced new and distinctive flavors. Various cultures invented new ways of enjoying coffee, and starting new traditions.

Coffee Making Through the Years

How we roast, grind and brew coffee has changed tremendously over the years. At first, coffee was boiled after being crushed by a mortar and pestle, as it still done with Turkish coffee.

Drip brewing started around 1800 in France, about the same time as percolators were invented also. Vacuum coffee makers were invented in 1840 to brew coffee that was clear and without sediment. By the end of the 19th century, espresso machines were developed for brewing coffee through the pressure method. Paper filters were invented by Melitta Benz in 1908. She and her husband patented them and started the Melitta family coffee business, which their grandchildren continue to this day.

Drip coffee makers for home use in the United States became popular after the Mr. Coffee coffee maker was introduced in 1972. Prior to that time, most coffee at home was made with a percolator, either electric or on the stove top.

The rise of the corner gourmet coffee house in America is an even more recent event. Founded in 1971, Starbucks popularized dark, gourmet coffee and expanded on a massive scale in the 1990’s. Now there are 16,000 stores worldwide, including 11,000 in the United States and 1,000 in Canada. This rise in gourmet coffee houses has brought a new coffee lifestyle to American society, greatly increasing expectations for coffee quality.

Growing Coffee Around the World

From coffee’s start in the Arabian peninsula, coffee has become one of the largest commercial crops grown around the world.  Coffees are grown in tropical and subtropical areas, including some of the most impoverished areas of the world. The traditional coffee production areas in are in South America (with Brazil and Columbia as the two largest coffee producers in the world), Africa (primarily East Africa) and Indonesia. Other areas grow coffees that have become prized, including Jamaica, Hawaii, Australia, India, and Costa Rica, winning the hearts of coffee aficionados worldwide.

Gourmet Coffee Today

In general, the coffee beans from from Central and South America are known for their mild yet potent flavor. East African and Arabian coffee beans are known for their intense flavor and bright acidity.  Indonesian coffee beans produce smooth, rich and low acid flavors.

Coffee has brought amazing changes to our society and our world in the past 1,100 years. Coffee continues to span the globe, connecting us with people far away. The coffee in your cup came from beans grown in an exotic location far away and transported around the world to you.

What will be next for coffee? Who knows, so enjoy your cup of gourmet coffee and the rich tradition that goes with it!

4 Feb

Reduce Childhood Obesity Through Food, Fitness and Fun

The ever growing problem of childhood obesity is challenging community based and commercial organizations. The health care industry is very concerned about this “epidemic” because the cost of care for these children continues to rise, and will continue to increase as these children grow into adulthood. Across Canada, 1 in 4 children are considered overweight or obese according to the Ontario Medical Association. What can be done?

Family cycling together – staying fit and having fun!There are a variety of factors that contribute to obesity in children. These include genetic, environmental, behavioural and social issues. It’s not just a matter of over eating or under exercising or a lack of willpower and self control. However, if the problem is going to be addressed, it does come down to personal and family commitment to making a change.

So, what can you do if you have a child struggling with their weight? The approach I would recommend comes down to food, fitness and fun for the whole family. This could be a significant lifestyle shift but if you’re concerned about your child’s health, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Here are some tips.

  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.
  • Work on incorporating more home made meals into your diet instead of eating out or using heavily processed foods for major meals.
  • Try to include foods from at least 3 of the four main food groups in each meal. Plan meals and snacks so you’re choosing a variety of nutritious, tasty foods.
  • Limit the serving sizes of snacks and limit snacks to 1 or 2 per day. Choose things like fresh fruit and yogurt or cheese, a muffin or cereal with milk.
  • Allow your child to enjoy their favourite foods in moderation.

Of course, exercise and overall activity level is equally important as how many calories your child consumes. We all know we should be more active for our general health and well being. Here are some activity suggestions.

  • Encourage your child to aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity 5 days a week.
  • For family activities, choose a variety your family will enjoy.
  • Choose activities that can be done from home like walking, cycling, hiking and playing games outdoors.
  • Limit screen time (television, video games and computer time) to less than 2 hours per day.
  • If your child has a television in their bedroom, remove it. A research study showed children with a TV in their room watched close to 5 hours more programming than those without.
  • Exercise with your child and set a good example for them. Community or in home exercise programs are an ideal solution.

As you can see, dealing with childhood obesity requires a lifestyle change for the family. You can not expect your child to do everything on their own. Your role as a parent is to support your child’s change to a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately it will benefit your entire family for years to come.

2 Feb

Sproutarian

Vegetarianism and raw food enthusiasts fall into many different groups with different theories of what kind of natural foods are best. Most vegetarians eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Vegans eat no animal by-products at all, including dairy or eggs. Fruitarians eat primarily fruits. And some vegetarians eat only sprouts.
Sprouts are very nutritious because they contain all the elements a plant needs for life and growth. The endosperm of seed is the storehouse of carbohydrates, protein and oil. When the seed germinates, these become predigested amino acids and natural sugars upon which the plant embryo feeds to grow. This life force we eat is filled with energy which is capable of generating cells of the body and supplying us with new vigor and life. For this reason sprouts can retard the ageing process.

Sprouts contain goodly amounts of male and female hormones, as well, in their most easily assimilated form. Research shows that sprouts are among the highest food in vitamins. They are not only a low cost food but are also tasty and easy to grow. Children and the elderly can make sprouting a profitable hobby. All of us can profit from the boost to health they provide.

Almost any seed, grain or legume can be sprouted though some are tastier than others. You may try mung beans, alfalfa, wheat, peas, fenugreek, chickpeas, radish, fennel, celery seed, etc. These are most readily found in natural food stores. Remember to soak small seeds only for 4 hours and beans for 15 hours. You also can mix these seeds. Get a 2 liter wide-mouth jar and a piece of cheesecloth or old nylon stocking to fasten as a cover with a rubber band. Put seed into the jar as follows:
2 Tsps alfalfa, 2 Tsps radish or fenugreek, 1/4 cup lentils, 1/2 cup mung beans. Soak these seeds for 15 hours and drain the water. Afterwards rinse and drain well twice daily for about 3-5 days. If you wish to make larger amounts of sprouts, so you may share with others, place 2 cups of mixed seed into a large porcelain pot, in the bottom of which holes have been drilled for easy rinsing. Simply place underneath the faucet and rinse morning and evening with warm water. Cover with a plate. The seeds grow beautifully and abundantly in a few days.

1 Feb

How to Choose the Best Coffee Maker for You

Research has shown that just over half of all Americans drink coffee on a regular basis. This equates to coffee being consumed by over 100 million people everyday. It’s important to consider though that America’s population is made of people from all over the world. So, opinions on what constitutes a good cup of coffee vary greatly across the country. Fortunately for consumers there are a number of different styles of coffee maker on the market today.

Coffee drinkers are able to choose a brewing machine according to their own individual preferences. Popular styles of coffee maker include Automatic Espresso, Percolator, Automatic Drip, Stovetop Espresso, French Press and Vacuum type. Each type has advantages and disadvantages and the user’s control over the end product will vary from machine to machine.

Automatic Espresso

These types come in three versions, being, semi-automatic, fully automatic and super automatic. The semi automatic types will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee and then fill the cup. Fully automatic models will also be able to grind the coffee. The super types come with extra features such as built in water filters.

Percolator

These come in the electric variety and the stove top style. The latest models are electric and are programmable. Some of these models can produce up to twelve cups of coffee in one time. Many companies use large coffee urns which will operate on the percolation principle and can brew upwards of 100 cups of coffee in one go.

Percolator coffee machines are not as popular as they used to be. These makers will often run the boiled water over the grounds and coffee connoisseurs say this has a detrimental effect on the taste of the coffee.

Sometimes coffee made using this method can be too strong and quite bitter tasting when compared to other brewing methods.

Automatic Drip

These are probably the most popular choice amongst American consumers. They are reasonably priced and are not complicated to use. The different brand types will work based on the same principal. A filter basket will contain a paper filter and this holds the coffee grounds. Cold water enters into the reservoir where it is heated up and then poured over the grounds. The coffee that is produced travels into a carafe and it is kept warm by the hot surface below the carafe.

Some people do not like this type of machine and the type of coffee it produces. You can get a tastier cup keeping the coffee maker and the carafe clean, using throw-away paper filters and good quality coffee.

Stovetop Espresso

These can be used anywhere where heats exists, be it a stove top or over a camp fire. Water is put into the bottom boiler and the funnel filter is put inside the boiler and filled with coffee. The top of the device is screwed on lightly and then it is placed over the source of the heat.

When the top of the boiler has filled up with coffee the device is taken away from the heat source and the coffee can be served.

French Press

These are also known as plunger or press pots. The pot is a porcelain or glass cylinder and this contains a mesh plunger that operates as a filter.

The user of the machine will measure out coffee grounds into the pot and then nearly boiling water will be added. The plunger is ready to go but will not be pushed down until the coffee has been steeped for a few minutes. After the plunger has been pushed the coffee is ready to drink.

The coffee needs to be drunk nearly straight away as there is no hot surface to maintain the temperature of the coffee.

Vacuum

This type of maker looks more like something out of a chemistry set. There are two containers connected by a syphon tube. There is a filter in the base of the top container.

Water is placed in the lower container and coffee grounds in the upper. The maker should then be placed on top of a stove and the heated water is vaporized and then passes through the tube and into the upper container.

The whole brewing process will last about three minutes. When the machine is taken away from the heat the vapor will transform back to water and will go through the filter and back into the lower container. The first automatic vacuum coffee maker was designed by Farberware while the first real modern machine was created by Sunbeam.

Not many companies manufacture these types of coffee makers in modern times. They have become something of a collector’s item and can be found in antique stores and on online auction sites.

There are many coffee makers available for coffee lovers these days. Coffee drinkers can be very particular about the type of coffee they drink but with so many styles available every taste and budget can be catered for.

18 Jan

Know the terms boiling in Western recipes

MOST you still equate boiling technique between poaching, simmering, and boiling. Indeed, the difference between them just a little. However, for certain dishes are also different techniques used.

Here’s an explanation of each technique boil water which is often mentioned in Western recipes, as reviewed Whatscookingamerica:

poaching
Poaching is cooking food by immersing into the liquid just to a boil. Poaching is not boiling, generally used for the food completely submerged in the liquid is kept at a constant temperature and moderate, between 70-80 degrees Celsius. Keep the temperature remains constant, with a little practice. The surface of the liquid should just until it looks shiny with the possibility of a bubble.

Fluid usually cooked with this technique is that like a seasoned broth. Alternatively, soft foods, such as eggs, fish, fruit, and some organic meat stew. Food should be completely submerged in water.

Simmering (boiling at a lower temperature)

Simmering is usually done to cook the food with pieces of harder or foods that take a long time when cooked. Fluid temperature is usually between 85-95 degrees Celsius. Simmer sometimes called “soft boil”. Tiny bubbles periodically rise to the surface, gently and slowly, the temperature is lower.

You can boil to close it, but remember the temperature inside will rise and simmer pot can easily turn into a boil. Techniques normally used to make the broth simmer served as a sauce on your dish.

Boiling (boil until very boiling)

Boiled food is cooking in the boiling liquid, usually water. Boil water with a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. No matter how long or how strong boiling bubbles are formed, the temperature will never be hotter, because at this temperature, water is converted into steam.

11 Jan

Discovering Organic Coffee

Many people have turned to organic fruits and vegetables (and even meats) in recent years, striving to live healthier, longer lives. You may be one of these people. But did you know that organic coffee is now available, too? If you can’t find it at your local health food store, then you can definitely find it online.

How Organic Coffee Differs From Traditional Coffee

The coffee plant has traditionally been grown in the company of shade trees and other food and cash crops. This approach made for healthier soil and prevented water contamination. Unfortunately, many coffee growers have abandoned this approach in favor of larger crops and hence larger profits. However, synthetic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers have become necessary to maintain these crops, and along with them the taste of the coffee has suffered, the soil has suffered, and no one knows the potential impact they may have on the future health of the coffee consumer.

In addition, the loss of the shade trees has had a direct impact on migratory song birds. While an obvious connection may not immediately come to mind, the relationship has actually been symbiotic. These birds used the shade trees as their habitat as they migrated, and as a result they provided a natural defense against many of the bugs and pests that can ruin a coffee crop. Without them, pesticides must be used to do the job.

Unlike the large, commercial coffee plantations, organic coffees are generally grown on small farms with plenty of shade cover. There are plenty of migratory birds to control insects, and pesticides are unnecessary. In fact, the United States requires that organic coffees be grown on shaded land and be completely chemical free for three consecutive years.

Tips For A Great Cup of Organic Coffee

Whole beans should be used within a week of purchase in order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee.

Avoid vacuum-packed coffee, even organic vacuum-packed coffee. The process of vacuum packing cannot be done immediately after roasting. The coffee must sit for nearly a week before it can be vacuum-packed. This degrades much of the flavor.

Coffee beans should be stored in an airtight container, not on the shelf in the paper bag you brought them home with from the store. And in order to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee, you should grind only the amount you intend to use just before brewing.

Whole coffee beans that will be stored longer than a week should be placed in an airtight glass container that’s kept in the freezer.

As with any coffee blend, organic or not, grind the beans according to the brewing method you intend to use. Keep in mind that if you grind your beans too fine your coffee may end up bitter and muddy; if you don’t grind them enough, your coffee may end up flavorless.

Often overlooked, many people consider the most important step toward a good cup of coffee to be the proportion of water to coffee. Experts recommend 2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water.

7 Jan

Fun, Make Your Own Bread at Home

DURING this if you want to eat bread, you usually have to buy at supermarkets and traditional markets. Now, make the bread can be done at home!

According to Herman Achmad, Chef Pane del Giorno, a key in making good bread just need some basic groceries, namely wheat flour or wheat flour, yeast or leaven, salt, and water.

“Making bread can be done at home, easy way. Moreover, all food ingredients can be found anywhere,” he told Okezone, when met at the sidelines of the visit bakery Pane del Giorno, in Region Sentul, West Java.

In addition to food that is easily obtained, the process can use cooking equipment in the house.

Chef Herman is said, the first equipment is a must-have mixer or mixing machine. This machine will allow you to do a good mixing process in order to produce perfect bread dough.

“The first tool is to make bread mixer or mixing machine, its function is to stir all the ingredients of bread are used to flatten or until smooth. Actually, they can wear hand but it will take a long time in the stirring process,” he added.

The second is the mower equipment and weights. For him, the two machines have different functions in each usage. For weighing machine, serves to determine how much food is used. Because when the bread ingredients to be used is not measured, then the result will not be good for consumption. Meanwhile, the cutting machine is used to measure the thickness of the bread used, so the process of maturation of bread became more perfect.

“If it is smooth then put the bread dough in the closet, then closed. Well as at the bottom of the container should be placed bread hot water because it serves to warm up,” he explained again.

Lastly, is the toaster machine. In the process of cooking has five ways that can be used, as a means baked, steamed, smoked, fried, and in-steam. For the bread, then use the roasting process.

“If it has to do with bread baked way, ie you can use a high-temperature oven, which is 250 to 300 degrees. Levels of maturity bread became more perfect when consumed,” he concluded.