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What is Glatt Kosher

The actual defenition of glatt kosher is when the lungs of a slaughtered animal are smooth and defect free. Today it means of the highest kosher supervision and degree.

So what is the difference between kosher and glatt kosher? An animal that is kosher for consumption has to fit a certain criteria. It firstly has to have split hooves, and secondly has to chew the cud. Chewing the cud is a form of digestion that some herbivorous animals have adopted. Cows, deer and sheep all chew the cud and have split hooves, and thus are kosher, or fit for consumption. The animal has to be slaughtered according to religious specifications, and, if not, it is considered treif or not kosher. After the animal is slaughtered, the lungs are carefully inspected, and if completely smooth and free of deformities, it is considered glatt Kosher. If damage or deformities are found, the meat is considered treif.

Today a more informal attitude to the meaning of glatt kosher is used, and most understand it to mean kosher to the highest standard, meaning more or stricter rabbinical supervision has been followed for the product or products in question. Today it is extremely common to find non mean items labeled as glatt kosher, with the understanding that those who see the identification, understand its signification.

There are also other and different kosher identification. Some like the Lubovich sect only eat meat from a Lubovich slaughter, thinking it guarantees them less of a chance of encountering treif. In truth, all kosher slaughter houses adhere to the same rules and regulations. There is also Halav Yisrael, translated to mills of Israel. Another type of kosher supervision that believes that theirs is better.

There are many supervision levels within the kosher world. they all carry a guarantee of the rabbi in charge of the seal that everything within is kosher or glatt kosher.

For Jewish custom and tradition, food preparation and specific diet is rooted in the religion itself. From what is eaten, to how it is prepared, to the way the animal is slaughtered is extremely important and taken into account.

Source:

  1. Glatt kosher – Wikipedia
  2. Hummus Health Benefits: Nutrition Facts
  3. Glatt Kosher – My Jewish Learning

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Unique Dinner Dishes Microwave Lasagna

Microwave Lasagna

The beauty of this is you do not have to pre-cook the noodles! My sister used to make this when the kids were still at home hoping to have some to freeze. Every time she made it there was not even one tablespoon of leftovers. It was definitely as delicious as it was easy. Works well for covered dish dinners at work or church too. It also freezes very well if you make 2 batches. 

32 oz prepared spaghetti sauce plus 1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cup cottage cheese (no fat if you want to cut the fat)

1 egg mixed with 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (can be low fat)

1 package lasagna noodles – I like the whole wheat ones

1# ground round cooked, browned and drained – stir into sauce. You may also use ground elk or venison meat for a leaner version of this recipe. 

Combine the cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese and egg mixture – stir together

1/2 pound mozzarella OR low fat cheddar cheese grated 

In a glass cake pan (13X9) place one layer of noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. 

Layer the cheese mixture, meat sauce and grated cheese then another layer of the uncooked noodles. 

Cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave for 8 minutes on high. Then continue cooking another 30-32 minutes on 50% power till tender and allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a tossed or fruit salad and you have dinner. This freezes well but I have never had any leftover unless I made TWO batches, one to eat and one to freeze. Kids love it and so do adults. It is definitely a favorite whenever I take it to a church dinner or to work when we all bring something to share with the group.

Source:

  1. Microwave Foods – 15 Ways to Cook Unbelievably Lavish Food in …
  2. Cleveland Clinic Diet
  3. Microwave Lasagna Recipe | Taste of Home

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle casserole is a timeless classic. The following recipe is wonderfully creamy and cheesy. If you are really in a hurry, you can omit some of the vegetables or substitute with others that you have on hand. This recipe is also great to make if you have noodles left over.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups medium noodles
1 (7 oz.) can tuna
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp processed American cheese

PREPARATION

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Stir in tuna, celery, mayonnaise, onion, salt and green pepper. In a saucepan combine soup and milk and heat through. Add cheese, heat and stir until cheese melts. Add to noodle mixture. Turn into 2-quart casserole. Bake uncovered in 425 degrees F oven for 20 minutes. Makes six servings.

Source:

  1. Campbell's Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
  2. Is Tea A Diuretic
  3. Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch Recipe – Allrecipes.com

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Traditional Apple Cider Drinks for the Holidays

When pumpkins appear on stands at local farmers’ markets and roadside fruit stands, apple cider season is at hand. Although it can be purchased at your local grocery store any time of the year, it is best when leaves turn to gold and crimson; we take comfort in a cup of hot cider after a day of cold autumn winds. Fresh cider is best and if you are fortunate enough to have local apple farms in your area, you can take delight in the many different ways to enhance its flavor.

Mulled cider is a great drink to serve at pumpkin festivals, fall festivals and Halloween parties. Many times where cider is sold, spices can be purchased in small cartons labeled “Mulled Spices”. Place a tablespoon, or more if desired, on a piece of cheesecloth or coffee filter and twist with a twist tie. Drop in to a pot of hot cider and await the wonderful aroma of fresh cinnamon and cloves. The longer the spices remain in the cider, the stronger the spice flavor becomes and  are easily removed once desired strength is achieved.

If you like cranberry and apple drinks, you will love the romantic flavor of hot apple cider mixed with cranberry wine. Pour approximately one gallon of apple cider in a small crock-pot and let simmer. Add some mulled spices if desired and right before guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, add one cup of cranberry wine, a drink that will warm your guests and get them in a festive spirit. A nice touch is to add one cinnamon stick in each glass before the drink is poured and doubles as a stir stick.

A traditional punch for the Christmas holidays can be served cold and the recipe is as follows:

Freeze these ingredients in a round bunt pan or jell mould the day before or sooner if you like.
1/2 bag of cranberries
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cranberry wine or juice

In large punch bowl add:
1 to 2 gallons chilled apple cider
Dip frozen mould in hot water to release and add to contents of punch bowl
If you want to add a special touch, place a shiny red apple in the center of the mold.

This homemade recipe is a holiday tradition at our house and always sure to bring a compliment or two to the hostess. A glass of apple cider over ice can be a hit at any holiday dinner, depending on what your guests prefer or what your family traditions are, but sometimes a little spice is just what you need to get the party started and perhaps, begin a new tradition at your house.

Source:

  1. Cider Recipes – Allrecipes.com
  2. Stop Eating Too Much & Eat Less Healthy Guidelines
  3. Nonalcoholic Holiday Drinks | Martha Stewart

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Why it is so Important to Pick the right Wild Mushroom Species

Mushroom hunting is an adventure on its own. Depending on what type of survival training you may end up going through, you will eventually learn how to hunt for mushrooms. This is in case you are left in the wilderness without any supply of food. In that case, you have to look for your own food supplies. If you are one of many that have played “Metal Gear Solid 3: Operation Snake Eater,” you should be somewhat knowledgeable in mushroom hunting.

The reason you are taught mushroom hunting is so that you do not go out in the wild and pick the wrong mushrooms. While there are plenty of edible mushrooms in the wild, there are plenty of toxic mushrooms. Eating the wrong mushrooms will require you to seek immediate medical treatment. There are some mushrooms toxic enough to put you six feet under.

When learning to hunt for mushrooms you will be educated about the different types of species. You will know which species of mushrooms are edible and which species of mushrooms are inedible. That way, you will know what type of mushrooms to pick and what type of mushrooms to leave alone. Or, if you feel like being evil, know what type of toxic mushrooms to pick and give to somebody else.

The one type of wild mushroom that you need to completely avoid is the “Amanitas.” This mushroom, in its juvenile stages, has the shape of an egg. As this type of mushroom matures, the “egg” breaks open. As it becomes fully developed the amanita has a parasol-shaped cap with gills. Below the stem, there is the sac-like cup that seems to be the root.

They can be easily destroyed. For that reason the amanitas mushrooms need to avoided at all cost. These mushrooms contain a poison called “amanita virosa.” One cap has enough poison to kill a person. They are specifically found during summer and fall on the ground in the woods. If you eat one by accident expect to take a permanent trip to the afterlife.

There are other mushrooms to avoid such as false morels, little brown mushrooms, jack-o-lanterns, and green-spored lepiotas.

Asides from the Amanitas, you need to beware of the little brown mushrooms. There are plenty that are poisonous. However, you could end up eating a mushroom that is a hallucinogen. But, there are certain types of these mushrooms that contain the same poison as the amanitas. Thus, eating the wrong type of little brown mushroom will put you six feet under. To be on the safe side, avoid all little brown mushrooms. This is similar to handling snakes. Like little brown mushrooms, you treat all snakes as poisonous.

If you value your life this is why you have to be cautious on which mushroom species are safe when hunting. The right species will give you sustenance while the wrong species will cause you to be sick or cause you to die.   

Source:

  1. Mushroom hunting
  2. Cinnamon Linked to Lower Blood Sugar
  3. How to pick wild mushrooms | Life and style | The Guardian

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The history of coffee is as rich as the brew

The history of coffee dates back to more than a thousand years ago. As I read in Starbucks once, the history of coffee is as rich as the brew itself.

Let’s go way back and begin by talking about the legend itself. Did you know goats roaming in the hills of Ethiopia over a thousand years ago, discovered coffee and got buzzed? The legend tells the story of a shepherd named Kaldi, who observed the goats acting very unusual after eating red berries from a bush.

Kaldi was very curious about the behavior of the goats and when he realized the goats did not die from consuming the berries, he himself wanted to see what reaction he would get if he ate them. To his pleasant surprise he found he had been re-energized and exhilarated.

Now this is just a legend, but I don’t think we will ever know how much of this is true. The legend goes on to tell us the monks were so intrigued by the behavior of the goats and Kaldi, that they also began eating the berries. The monks had some reservations since they believed it was the devils fruit but they believed it would help to keep them awake during their all night inspiration of prayers.

Kaldi soon spread the word and coffee became a part of the Ethiopian culture. As a matter of fact, an Arabian physician named Rhazes mentions coffee in print in the tenth century. However, it was not called coffee, it was called Bunn. It was believed that the beans and leaves of the bushes were chewed but the Ethiopians quickly brewed the leaves and berries with boiled water that tasted very much like a weak tea. As they continued to experiment with the beans, someone roasted and grounded them sometime in the 16th century. Bravo! Coffee was born.

It did not take long before the word spread through trade across the Red Sea with the Arabs who took to the stimulating drink. This is where it rose to the elixir it became, in Yemen, a province in Arabia. Coffee plantations in Yemen were perfectly grown on slopes rising above sea level. Thick mists ascended from the low coast regions allowing protection from the hot sun. The mists would disappear in the evening when the sun went down allowing the plantations to maintain equal temperatures.

By the 13th century, Muslims were drinking coffee religiously. Before long, coffee went to North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and India. By the fifteenth century, coffee was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. However, Arabia controlled the industry for several centuries and only exported roasted, infertile beans to trading partners in both Europe and Asia.

The drink gained so much popularity that it became a “hot” commodity, and people began to smuggle the coffee. In 1616, the Dutch smuggled trees to Holland and being one of the world’s largest shipping trade at that time, it was easy to do.

In the mid 1600’s coffee had reached the British and took London by storm. The first coffee advertisement was made upon the opening of a coffeehouse by a Greek, Pasqua Rosee. It was called “The Vertue of the COFFEE Drink” and said:

A simple innocent thing, composed into a Drink, by being dryed in an Oven, and ground to Powder, and boiled up with Spring water, and about half a pint of it to be drunk, lasting an hour before, and not Eating an hour after, and to be taken as hot as possibly can be endured.
Pasqua Rosee also claimed that the drink would aid in many ailments such as curing headaches, gout, coughs and prevents miscarriages. He stated the following:

“It will prevent Drowsiness, and make one fit for business, if one have occasion to Watch; and therefore you are not to Drink of it after Supper unless you intend to be watchful for it will hinder sleep for 3 or 4 hours”

In the early 1700’s, coffee finally reached many other countries like Germany and France and soon coffeehouses were established gaining popularity in many German cities.
By 1750, coffee trees were growing on five continents and known for a quick pick me up or an aid to sobering up the heavy alcohol abusers in Europe. It also began to be known as a social drink.

Cultivation was happening all over, the French managed to get shrubs and established plantations and the French and the Dutch founded huge coffee plantations in South America and guarded their crop. In Guatemala and El Salvador, coffee cultivation exploded in growth and inequality with plantations being owned by the wealthy and mistreatment of the population. In Costa Rica, cultivation resulted in democracy, small farms and slow but steady growth.

However, it was Brazil who began coffee cultivation in 1727 and was to become the largest coffee growing nation. Columbia became the second largest coffee exporter. Brazil accounted for 66 percent of coffee exports while 30 percent of coffee came from Africa.

So what was happening here in America? Well in 1777, over a hundred women in Boston raided a food warehouse for coffee. In the early 1800’s particularly after the War of 1812, the taste for coffee here in America was becoming very hungry. In the mid nineteenth century, people bought coffee beans from local general stores that purchased them in bulk from the West or East Indies.

Women roasted the beans by frying them on their stoves constantly stirring. This did not work very well and beans were eventually grounded in a manufacturing coffee mill. Women would usually brew by boiling grounds in water and drink when grounds settled on the bottom.

In 100 years, coffee became a commodity crop throughout the world. Fortunes were made and fortunes were lost as not all crops flourished. Coffee by the 18th century was one of the world’s most profitable export crops.

By 1898 2,000,000,000 pounds of coffee was produced and Brazil accounted for 70 percent. The coffee industry was booming by the late 1800’s allowing for large companies to import and make huge profit gains but with substantial risks.

Dominating importers such as B.G. Arnold and Bowie Dash & Co., of New York and O.G. Kimball & Co. of Boston otherwise known as “Trinity” were described as ruling the coffee market for the United States for ten years. The firm made millions but ended in 1880 after the death of O.G. Kimball.

It became clear in 1878 that Brazil was gaining market share that could not be competed with. It was reported after the Kimball’s death the company had liabilities in excess of $1,400,000. Losses related to coffee had amounted to $7 million and $3 million was reported lost in the following year. The history of coffee trade in this country was a record loss and the company went bankrupt.

A year later, an exchange was created in New York with B.G. Arnold as president and soon became the center of world attention. Prices were increased, buying and selling was happening but it was a syndicate in Brazil that boomed the market closing above 21 cents by June of 1887.

By December, the price plummeted to 16 cents and was known as “the slaughter of the bulls”. It was Hermann Sielcken of W. H. Crossman & Brother that purchased 100,000 bags at declining prices and was proclaimed as the one who saved the market bringing the price back up.

Soon coffee exchanges in Europe were responding very quickly with the New York Coffee Exchange tracking the daily price for deliveries comparing with previous prices. Up and through the early 1900’s the exchange suffered its ups and downs as competition lured the market.

In 1909 Sielcken purchased the Woolson Spice Company for $869,000 and made himself a millionaire and saved the Brazilian coffee industry. . Woolson Spice was an ailing company that was purchased by the deceased H. O. Havemeyer who purchased the company for more than $2M and lost $15 million.

Sielcken got a bargain on this deal and turned it around by putting together a consortium of German and British banks and coffee merchants. The syndicate had negotiated loans and used the coffee as security with Brazil. The prices remained stagnant at 7 cents per pound and Sielcken claimed it was the best loans he had ever known but Brazil had mortgaged itself to the syndicate. Sielcken was known as the Coffee King who made millions through the Brazilian vaporization scheme.

Price wars began and Sielcken was sued by the U.S. Attorney General, J. C. McReynolds citing he was manipulating the coffee industry with the Brazilian government. As a result of this legal battle, taxes were abandoned on new plantings and it was clear that Brazil was not immune to competition from other coffee growing countries. Brazil no longer dominated the coffee world as it slowly eroded. The suit was dismissed in early 1913 but nevertheless, Sielcken was a millionaire with an estate valued at over $4 million at the time of his death.

In the early 1900’s Coca Cola came to the legal ground as the cousin of coffee claiming the common drug of caffeine was a prime ingredient in the soft drink. The Judge in the case cited that whether caffeine was a poison or not it was NOT an added ingredient under the law but an integral part of the formula. Coca-Cola won the case proving all testimony was irrelevant.

With all the speculation and controversy surrounding the now called “drug” caffeine, decaf was created. In 1906, shortly after a famous agronomist Luther Burbank claimed his father’s death was as a result of the so called “poison” caffeine, Ludwig Roselius, a German merchant was successful in extracting the caffeine from green beans by superheating them with steam, then flooding them with the solvent benzol.

He patented the process and formed his company in 1906. In Germany it was known as Kaffee Hag and in France it was known as Sanka. Here in the United States it was known as Dekafa from the Merck drug company.

Before coffee, it was Ivory Soap, Listerine and Coca-Cola that claimed the market since coffee was a difficult distribution. Folgers, Hills Brothers, Maxwell House, Chase & Sanborn, Arbuckle Brothers were the visionary coffee companies established. Arbuckle had the Yuban brand but sold it to General Foods because it refused to pay for a national campaign resulting in it fading from the market.

The greatest threat was Eight O’clock Coffee, a private brand from A & P that held its position for privately labeled brands in years to come as it expanded its chain of grocery stores.

In 1921, it was Teddy Roosevelt who supposedly claimed Maxwell House Coffee to be “good to the last drop” but this was done through an advertisement leading one to believe that Mr. Roosevelt did not really make this statement. However, this slogan is still used today in the Maxwell House advertising campaigns.

As the years went by through WWII, coffee was exploding and new brands were being created as well as slogans. Price wars were still going on through the 1980’s and ad campaigns and slogans were all over the world.

Chock full o’ Nuts came out with:

“Chock full o’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee, Heavenly coffee, heavenly coffee; Chock full o’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee, better coffee Rockefeller’s money can’t buy”

On November 14, 1949, the New York Times stated:

Over second and third cups flow matters of high finance, high state, common gossip and low comedy. Coffee is a social binder, a warmer of tongues, a soberer of minds, a stimulant of wit, a foiler of sleep if you want it so. From roadside mugs to the classic demitasse, it is the perfect democrat.

The 1952 Coffee Annual is quoted as saying

“There’s every sign that coffee will remain the country’s leading beverage forever” – Wow that was right on.

There was a 1921 ad

That coffee always provided a pick-me-up that helps workers get through the day providing a drug instead of rest according to many critics. The ad shows a worker drinking a cup of coffee and at the bottom of the ad it states “Coffee An Aid to Factory Efficiency”.

Ads were in magazines, newspapers, television and radio and became a huge campaign. Chase & Sanborn became well known as it launched its jitterbug craze at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

In 1941, Eleanor Roosevelt had a radio show every Sunday evening called “Over Our Coffee Cups”

sponsored by the Pan American Coffee Bureau. Displayed above her at the studio was a sign that said “Get More Out of Life with Coffee – The Americans Favorite Drink”

Frank Sinatra

Frank once sang, “The Coffee Song” and during the fifties coffee became accepted in America.

Jim Henson

Did you know that Jim Henson, the famous muppeteer launched his career by doing coffee ads for Wilkins Coffee using the puppet Wontkins.

Creativity was taken on a new task as we were introduced to Latte’s and the like with flavored beans. When Starbucks launched its IPO in June of 1992 it was on everyone’s radar. Starbucks was aggressive and was to rule the world succeeding in becoming one of the global coffee giants as the largest leading coffeehouses.

Let’s rule out some of the myths that still exist today around the effects of caffeine and some of those concern heart disease, ulcers, and possibly cancer. There are no studies that suggest any long term risks, although coffee is often thought of as a stimulant.

Years ago, actor Robert Young campaigned for Sanka decaf advertisements. With the myths surrounding coffee and its reputation for being a “drug”, Robert Young was the perfect choice with shows like Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, M.D. giving advice to avoid caffeine.

Of course everything we ingest should be taken in moderation; that is common sense. Coffee and caffeine have been implicated in a number of ailments but studies failed to confirm negative findings.

After several hours of research on this topic, I found myself spending the most time reading the very extensive work done by the author Mark Pendergrast. In his book “Uncommon Grounds” he gives a very detailed history of Coffee after spending three years traveling and researching this subject.

The complete history of coffee is such an interesting story from where it began to where it is today. No article can come near the details of all the issues that surrounded this market throughout the years than what I have found in this reading.

I highly recommend Mark Pendergrast’s book as you will truly find it all so fascinating.
I would like to close with this statement made by Mark Pendergrast located in the last paragraph of his book as it seems so appropriate.

“Only one thing is certain about coffee, though. Wherever it is grown, sold, brewed, and consumed, there will be lively controversy, strong opinions, and good conversation. “The best stories are told over coffee” wrote a wise commentator in 1902, “as the aroma of the coffee opens the portals of the soul, and the story, long hidden is winged for posterity.”

It couldn’t’ be said better than that.

Today, mostly all of us all enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Whether it is a cuppa joe, java, cuppa brew; cuppa jolt; mud or high test, this writer needs a cup first thing in the morning.

Whether it be decaf, caffeinated, flavored, roasted of whatever suits your fancy, we all have to admit that it is the first thing we look for in the morning to get us all jump started. For some of us, it is also the first thing we look for in mid afternoon when we get that tired feeling around 3:00 p.m. and need the quick pick me up.

Okay, so some of us drink it with our dessert after dinner too…..

Resources:
Mark Pendergrast, Uncommon Ground, New York, Basic Books, 1999
WWW – Coffee Universe, HISTORY OF COFFEE, www.coffeeuniverse.com
WWW Big Site of Amazing Facts HISTORY OF COFFEE, www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com
WWW Starbucks THE ROAST STORY, www.starbucks.com
WWW National Geographic’s COFFEE, www.nationalgeographic.com
WWW National Coffee Association of USA, Inc., THE HISTORY OF COFFEE, www.ncausa.org

Source:

  1. History of coffee
  2. TLC Diet
  3. The History of Coffee | Starbucks Coffee Australia

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Which is more Important when it comes to Health Food Taste or Nutrition – Nutrition

Important to “health” food is nutrition; that’s why we call it health food. Nutrition doesn’t have to taste bad, however. Nutritious food can be wonderful if prepared with the right marinades or spices.

Raw fruits and vegetables are both tasty and nutritious. Add a little flair to sauteed vegetable by using virgin olive oil, garlic and a few pine nuts. Walnuts and other nuts eaten alone or as a snack are great, or they can added to salads add some pizazz to the food.

Use vegetable oils to fry meat or saute vegetables. It contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, both of which are necessary for a healthy diet. Light olive oil makes an excellent dressing for salad also. Sprinkle a little oregano in with the olive oil and vinegar and you kick up the taste of the salad.

Even the foods we can’t seem to live without, like cornbread dressing with our turkey dinner can be prepared with healthy alternatives like adding wheat and grain bread to the mix to cut down on the corn meal consumption. A bit more sage will flavor the mix to where you’ll hardly notice the difference.

When it comes to meat dishes, the portion matters as much as the nutrition. Animal meat adds unhealthy saturated fat to the diet and it’s true that most Americans consume far more animal meat that is needed. Lean cuts of beef, chicken and pork can be grilled on the outside grill for added taste and less fat.

Fish is a great health food. Certain kinds of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial to cardiovascular health.

Let’s face it, most people (not all) do not adopt a healthy diet until they are compelled to by deteriorating health. It would be far more helpful if we started our families down this path on day one, but we don’t.

You can change your families diet without depriving them of tasty food. The change can be so gradual they won’t even notice. Switch to olive oil, add nuts and more fruit to your diet and cut down on the servings of meat by adding nutritious and tasty casseroles to the meals several times a week.

The most difficult thing to remove from the family is donuts and baked goods. Good luck with that one!

Source:

  1. Is taste more important than nutrition? – Bug Debates – The Running …
  2. The Apple Cider Vinegar Weight Loss Diet: Works or Not
  3. What is more important to you, taste or nutrition? – Early …

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The growth and processing of coffee

Can you smell it? That first, fresh, hot cup of coffee that wakes you up in the morning is so delicious. Or maybe it’s that aroma wafting for you as you finish off a fabulous meal with the perfect closer. A special cup of Coffea Arabica, or Arabica coffee. What flavor is your favorite?

Coffee. It’s what holds many people together through a difficult morning, or what relaxes others at the end of the day or after a meal. How does an individual go from that first sip to a love affair and a lifetime searching for and finding that perfect flavor, aroma or brand that speaks salvation?

Are you a coffee connoisseur, or will you drink any coffee anytime? There are two main types of coffee: Coffea Arabica, or Arabica coffee, and Coffea Canephora, also known as Robusta coffee. But how does it get from the plant to your cup? It’s actually an interesting process.

Robusta coffee is grown mainly in the lowlands, and it yields more cherries, or drupes, which results in a much higher pound per plant yield each year than the typical Arabica plant. This coffee plant is also more resistant to disease, contains more caffeine and matures more quickly. Because of this, it is less expensive to grow and process, and is used most commonly for commercial grades and institutional uses. This type of coffee is what typical individuals will find in their cups if they are purchasing from major chains which focus on low prices.

If you’ve been planning to expand your coffee horizon or you already prefer a more quality fragrance and taste, then Arabica coffees are your best bet for satisfying your taste buds. These coffee plants produce more complex flavor characteristics which will satisfy even the most gourmet appetite for caffeine. Arabica coffees are highly sensitive and must have specific growing conditions for optimal production and yield.

The Arabica coffee plant is indigenous to Ethiopia and Yemen, and was the first species to be cultivated and grown in southwest Arabia over one thousand years ago. Today, many Arabica coffees are successfully grown in South America and other parts of the world.

They are grown high in the mountains, sometimes referred to as “mountain coffees,” and must be in zones between 10 degrees north of the equator and 10 degrees south of the equator for best results. These mountainous regions are generally located in rain forest or jungle areas, where the temperature remains between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round or during the growing and harvesting seasons.

The Arabica plant needs approximately six inches of rainfall per month and there is generally a peak rainy or wet season with high humidity, mists and clouds in the most successful growing locations. The soil must be fertile and well-drained, and moderate winds help the plant produce between two and three pounds of green coffee per year.

When grown in the ideal areas of the world, plants can be planted, tended and harvested year-round for optimal yield. Once planted, it takes approximately five to seven years for an Arabica coffee plant to produce its first flowers, which are white and smell much like jasmine. When a plant begins to grow, it is important to keep the plant from producing the drupes, or cherries in the first few years, or it will produce more inferior coffee berries, or fruit. To avoid this, the plants are hand-pruned and weeded. They are also fertilized, many times with coffee pulp, to encourage the highest and best yields.

The green cherries ripen to red and are usually hand-picked one at a time, as the cherries ripen at different times. Occasionally the cherries are shaken to the ground, resulting in both ripened and unripened drupes being harvested, but this does not result in the most superior gourmet coffees.

There are usually two beans, or seeds, in each cherry, which are covered by skins or membranes. The outer skin is called the “parchment” and the inner skin is called “silver skin.” This silver skin has many useful possibilities. One such possibility includes recent production of a biomass chip made from the silver skin by a toy manufacturer.

If there is an extra seed, or only one seed, it is called a “pea berry.” These seeds add to the yield, and account for the approximately 3000 beans it takes to yield one pound of coffee.

Once harvested, the beans undergo a processing system. The wet or “washed” processing system is used where fresh water is plentiful. The pulp is removed from the cherry, and the coffee beans are released. The beans are then allowed to sit in water for 24-48 hours to ferment. This fermentation process produces a fine, acidic flavor, which is what most gourmet appetites are searching for in coffee. The remaining pulp is then washed away and the beans are spread flat on a patio to dry.

The beans are usually stirred, sifted or rolled, to encourage the drying process, and can even be put into mechanical dryers which use wood, gas or solar power to speed the drying process.

Dry processing is used when there is little water available in an area. The drupes are picked, and the skin and pulp are removed by hand tools or machinery. The beans are then dried on a patio for several weeks. While traveling through small jungle towns in Peru or Colombia you may have the opportunity to see beans spread on a patio, and you may even have to walk across them to get where you are going, for they are usually simply lying out in plain sight and children are often there to play around them or care for them.

For a very unusual flavor, a different, and rarer, type of dry processing can be used. First, the cherries are allowed to ripen and dry while still on the tree. This natural process takes several weeks, and then they are removed and de-pulped. This process results in a most unusual flavor and is often how the richer, more expensive gourmet coffees are processed.

Once the beans are thoroughly dried, they are polished and graded according to origin, size, quality of preparation and taste, or “cup quality.” Then the beans are bagged and ready for sale, or in the case of most Robusta coffees, they are often ground, bagged and then retailed. Many times they are roasted and possibly flavored before being bagged and sent to your local store. Many companies now offer home delivery through direct mail services which provide consumers with gourmet coffees without the hassle of a trip to a pricey, and sometimes difficult to find, gourmet shop.

The next time you take that first sip, imagine the beautiful jungle countryside where that sip originated from. Whether you are a coffee connoisseur, or you just enjoy a cup of strong, hot coffee, it will relax you or jazz you up for your day, depending on what you drink.

For a quick start, imagine the caffeine pumping through your veins, sending you off on a successful day at the office. For the calm morning, after-dinner coffee or relaxing evening, visualize those beautiful white flowers, the exotic smell of jasmine, and enjoy a moment!

Source:

  1. Coffee production
  2. Coffee vs. Green Tea
  3. 10 Steps from Seed to Cup – National Coffee Association of U.S.A.

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What is your Favorite Beverage

Everyone has a certain favorite beverage, they have enjoyed. We all have heard the debates over the years with Coke and Pepsi, in which one has the better taste.

I really love Pepsi, I’m not sure what it is about  Pepsi that I love so much, but it has a certain taste to it, which will send your taste buds tingling.

I must say I do love the crisp taste of Coke, but there are certain types of Coke that I enjoy and maybe you will agree with me. I do love the way the original Coke tastes; it has a crisp and refreshing taste which will leave you wanting more. 

I love Cherry and Vanilla Coke, I’m so glad Coke products came out with different tastes for you to try, it will leave you wondering what will they come out with next? We all have seen the battles between Coke and Pepsi for years, which one do you think tastes better?

Well, then there are Shirley Temples, Everyone has grown to admire Shirley Temples. It is a drink blended with Sprite and cherry flavors and they will serve it most of the time with cherries, but there is one drink that I have grown to love.

You can only find this at an O”Charley’s restaurant. It’s called a Cotton Candy Shirley Temple and it is to die for. Instead of Sprite, they fill it with Sierra Mist and when they bring it out to you, it comes with this huge ring of cotton candy around the straw. You can either eat the cotton candy or you can dip it. I would definitely recommend your dipping it into the  Sierra Mist, because when you do, the whole drink  within seconds, becomes pink. It taste incredible and you can get them bottomless; therefore, once you are done, you may keep drinking them.

I went to a school in the south, I think you know what that means, I had sweet tea, pretty much all the time. You can even still find it in grocery stores in the north. Arizona has sweet tea and I really like they way  they make it. There are so many choices and brands you can find sweet tea in, I’m sure you will love sweet tea, if you haven’t had it yet, I suggest next time you go to the store, look for it in the juice aisle or you can head to a Chic Fil A nearest you and order one.

Another great one, I would say is Green tea, although, I have required a certain taste for certain Green Teas. I’m not a huge fan of the Lipton one, but I do love the Arizona Green tea There are also the Arnold Palmer’s, which are named after the great golfer. They are half tea and half lemonade, they are also quite refreshing.

These drinks will leave your taste buds wanting more, so which one are you going to try first?

Source:

  1. What Your Favorite Beverage Says About You | Real Simple
  2. SONIC Information: Nutrition, Food Menu and Calories
  3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic beverage (let us know …

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What are the Government Standards for Foods Labeled Organic

People are becoming more aware of unsanitary food processing, the cost of fuel to transport foods across the United States and abroad, and the need to eliminate unhealthy foods from the diet. This makes organic foods appear more desirable even though they may cost a few cents more. It is important to understand what the labels on food products mean. Why pay a higher price for a food believed to be healthier, but is making false claims?

The Organic Foods Product Act established uniform standards nationwide for products and handling of foods bearing the organic label in the 1990 Farm Bill. This bill authorized the USDA to set standards for how organic foods would be grown and handled as they were processed for public sale. There is now a mandatory certification of organic procedure. Foods meeting the standard can be labeled “USDA certified organic.”

“Except for operations whose gross income from organic sales is $5,000 or less, farm processing operations that grow and process organic agricultural products must be certified by USDA-accredited certifying agents,” according to the USDA National Organic Program.

Any agriculture product labeled 100 percent organic can contain only organic ingredients except salt and water. Products labeled organic must contain at least 95 percent organic ingredients except salt and water. Both products must adhere to strict guidelines in handling and processing.

The definition of organic according to the USDA National Organic Standards Board, April 1995, includes the following three principles:

1.  Organic agriculture is based on the minimal use of off-farm inputs and on managing practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.

2.  Guidelines of organic products mandate the use of materials and practices that enhance the ecological balance of natural systems and integrate parts of farming systems into an ecological whole.

3. The primary goal is to optimize health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.

In a USDA consumer brochure – The Organic Food Standards and Labels – The consumer is told that organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize renewable resources and conserving soil and water for future generations.

Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy come from animals that received no antibiotics or growth hormones. No conventional pesticides are used and fertilize does not come from sewage sludge or synthetic ingredients. There has been no genetic engineering or ionizing radiation. No product is certified organic until a government-approved certifier has inspected the farm where the food is grown. Processing plants must also be certified and inspected.

There are six Organic Systems and Principles:

1.  Maintain long-term soil health through green manure, cover crops, animal manure and crop rotation.

2.  Manage weeds and pests through natural means.

3. Use biodiversity. This includes growing more than one crop instead of having one cash crop that is mass produced, stripping the land of vital nutrients. More than one animal group is raised on the farm.

4.  Rotational grazing and mixed forage pastures for livestock health.

5. Reduced external inputs.

6. Use of renewable resources and conservation of soil and water.

Organic farms use practices that were used for thousands of years. The land was kept fertile by switching cattle from pasture to pasture. The manure is not manipulated and adulterated with man-made chemicals.

The meat that Americans eat today has been heavily dosed with antibiotics due to the unsanitary practice of housing cattle and poultry in holding pens before slaughter. The animals have no room to move and live for weeks in their own manure as they are force-fed corn for fattening. These practices are inhumane. The growth hormonesanicorg given to these animals are causing children to mature and go through puberty years too early. The use of antibiotics in animals has lead to widespread immunity to the antibiotics, which leave people without treatment for life-threatening disease and infection.

Look for terms such as free range, cage-free, pasture-raised and humane treatment on food product labels as well as the term organic. The best foods for optimal health are those that are 100 percent natural. Multi-ingredient products with less than 70 percent of ingredients being organic may not use the organic label but can list each organic ingredient as such on the label.

Source:

  1. Organic certification
  2. Yogurt Smoothie Recipes
  3. Organic Standards | Agricultural Marketing Service

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The best teas to serve with cucumber sandwiches.

Cucumber sandwiches and tea are a traditional combination. It is sometimes overwhelming to choose what blend of tea is the best pairing for a light meal that includes one of these delightful sandwiches. A nice full bodied tea, such as English Breakfast makes a good compliment to the crispness of the cucumber. English Breakfast tea, with its strong malt undertones and woody accents, serves to highlight the cool, smooth qualities of the cucumber even as it draws one’s attention to the richness of the bread used for the sandwiches. Irish Breakfast tea lacks the woody accents of English Breakfast tea, possessing an earthy touch on the palate.

At the same time, Orange Pekoe, what is most commonly recognized as black tea, is a very popular option as well. Fashioned from the terminal leaf buds of the tea plant, Orange Pekoe tea is among the highest quality grade of tea produced. Differing brands of Orange Pekoe tea will have subtle differences in the flavor of the tea. The Orange Pekoe teas that originate in Sri Lanka and India tend to have a less acidic quality to them when compared to teas from Indonesia. Indonesian Orange Pekoe teas have a pleasantly astringent quality to them that makes a delightful counterbalance to the richness of the butter in a traditional cucumber sandwich.

Earl Grey tea is a flavorful blend that off sets the cool qualities of the cucumber with the bright citrus notes of the Bergamont orange while retaining the malt and woody tones of English Breakfast tea. If one wishes to indulge further into the fruit end of the tea spectrum, Pomegranate tea has a pleasantly tart quality like that of citrus with a sweet note that blends well with the melon notes of the cucumber.

Of the teas that have been suggested, you may find that English Breakfast is the best suited to accompany cucumber sandwiches. The full bodied nature of the tea off sets the lightness of the sandwich delightfully. It serves to ground the light meal and establishes a sense of balance. The strong flavors of the English

Breakfast tea marry well with most conventional cucumber sandwich recipes.

If one wishes to depart from traditional teas with their cucumber sandwiches, Mint tea would be an excellent option. Like the Pomegranate tea, Mint tea would bring a Mediterranean flare to the light meal. Mint and cucumber are a classic Middle Eastern pairing as well, even more so then the Pomegranate tea. The mint flavor serves to highlight that coolness of the fresh cucumber.

Another nontraditional option is the savory-sweet spice tea known as Chai. Chai has a rich and full bodied texture akin to the breakfast teas mentioned earlier. The complex and scintillating spice notes of the Chai blend well with the cool melon qualities of the cucumber. Additionally, this spice tea has the grounding, earthy qualities of the breakfast teas that serves to ground the light meal. It is important to remember with your nontraditional tea choice not to overwhelm the flavors of the cucumber sandwiches. Seek to balance the flavors and compliment the cucumber sandwich with the tea.

Source:

  1. Cucumber sandwich
  2. High Protein Diets: More Dangerous Than You Might Think
  3. How to make the perfect cucumber sandwiches | Life and style | The …

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The best Drink for a Hot Day at the Beach

As we know, during the summer many people celebrate their day at the beach by consuming large quantities of beer, wine or alcohol related mixed drinks.  In reality, alcoholic beverages may be the worst possible choice for having fun under the hot summer sun.  Humans, basking or playing under the burning summer sun, will dehydrate more quickly.

The best drink for a hot day at the beach is a nice cold bottle or cup of fresh water.  Under normal conditions most people require at least 2 liters of water each day; however, during the summer months being under the hot sun will require more water intake.  The human body is comprised approximately of 60 percent water,  As we lose water daily, we must replace it gradually and consistently throughout the day.  Approximately, 20 percent of our daily water replacement is provided by the foods we eat.  The rest of our water replacement must be accomplished by drinking water or fluids that have water in them.

Without a continuous supply of water, our body would go into shock from dehydration.  Especially in summer heat, dehydration does not take very long to occur.  Dehydration remains one of the worst problems during the summer months at beaches.  The loss of salts, vitamins and minerals increases the likelihood of dehydration.  In order to maintain your body’s peak performance during hot weather, electrolyte supplements or electrolyte drinks, such as Gatorade, G2 and others, are a wonderful aid to divert dehydration and energy meltdown. 

Many people like to drink juices but most have a high content of natural or added sugar, which may increase the possibility of dehydration.  Most soda or soda pop has high levels of sugar and/or caffeine, which also adds to dehydration.  Tea and coffee also have high levels of caffeine.  So while many people like to enjoy beer, wine and alcoholic mixed drinks, tea and coffee during their time at the beach, the best drink for a hot day at the beach is cold, fresh water. 

The more water you drink during your stay at the beach the better your body will perform under the blazing summer sun.  Water with some electrolyte supplements will keep your body functioning at peak performance and will prevent dehydration, which could lead to other more critical and debilitating issues.  Drinking water and letting your body hydrate consistently under the hot summer sun will make your day at the beach more enjoyable.

Source:

  1. 1000+ ideas about Beach Alcoholic Drinks on Pinterest | Alcoholic …
  2. Butter for a Healthy Holiday
  3. Ten Cool Summer Cocktails – Forbes

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