Archive for the ‘Food and Recipes’ Category.

Quinoa – A Healthy and Delicious Summer Meal!

Are you looking for something out of the ordinary to take to your next summer gathering?  If you want to stay healthy without sacrificing tastes, you may want to consider a quinoa salad.  This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy quinoa, especially as the weather heats up.

Quinoa is great to make ahead and it stores well.  Quinoa recipes are generally very scalable so they can be adjusted to suit a crowd of any size.  Serving people with food sensitivities?  No problem!  Quinoa is not a member of the grass family and being gluten free, it is the perfect food for those with food allergies.

Quinoa is also great for vegetarians and vegans because it provides amino-rich proteins that they need in their diets.  The amino acid profile of quinoa is considered to be just about perfect.  It is one of the few vegetarian foods that provide all eight of the essential amino acids.

If you have not purchased quinoa before, you may be wondering where you will be able to buy quinoa.  While quinoa is not yet completely main stream, many larger grocery stores are not stocking quinoa. This is especially true of ones that have large natural foods or organics sections.  You can also purchase quinoa at most any natural or health food stores.  Whole Foods is a great place to buy quinoa because you can purchase it and bulk.  This can really save money as compared to buying a single package. Another alternative is to purchase quinoa online.  It travels well and properly stored quinoa will store for at least a year.  This means that you can make a large order at once and stock up!

If you have never cooked quinoa, you won’t be disappointed.  Why not take the plunge and try quinoa today?

Gourmet Appetizer Recipes For Tailgate Parties

Unlike the pressure, the stress, and the formalities involved in planning a dinner party, it tends to be quite the opposite when planning a tailgate party at a football game. Relax is the operative word for a tailgate party.  What the two parties have in common is that you can use luscious gourmet appetizer recipes, make the appetizers, and offer them to your guests.  At a tailgate party, however, the accompanying beverage will more than likely be beer or soda so saltier gourmet appetizer recipes are what you would want to seek out.

For some, the thought of gourmet appetizer recipes suggest that “gourmet” means formal.  This really isn’t the case especially when planning a tailgate party.  When looking for gourmet appetizer recipes, it’s best to look for one that is easy to make and can be eaten with fingers without requiring utensils.  Also, it’s also best to prepare these recipes from home and not in the parking lot or park where you’re having your party.

As with any gourmet appetizer recipe you select for a special occasion, or just an informal gathering with friends, you want to select one you think may stand out in a party yet is easy to make.  Artichoke Fritters would be one gourmet appetizer in particular that will tantalize any tailgater’s taste buds and are extremely easy to make.  All that is required is artichokes, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, salt, water, egg whites, and club soda.  These are all very easy portable ingredients that you could get to any tailgate party and the overall preparation of the fritters should not take any more than 30 minutes.  The overall preparation time is extremely important at a tailgate party because they typically revolve around some type of sporting event so time is of the utmost importance.

So, the next time you plan on having a tailgate party check out the gourmet appetizer known as the artichoke fritters.

An Italian Zucchini Recipe: Deep-Fried Zucchini

Did you know that there are more than 800 different types of squashes in nature? Their properties were known in the ancient times for their curative or practical qualities. For example they were dried and emptied and used as water containers for liquids, or salt.
In Italian cuisine and culture, squashes, and zucchini in particular, always had a special place. In the 16th century they were also used as food containers (like poultry or game) to be served directly on the table. In the same period, also painters and artists in general seemed to have a predilection for squashes. Like in the famous satirical work from that period, called ‘The pumpkin’ La zucca, by Francesco Doni. Or like the baroque painting by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, picturing a portrait of Emperor Rudolf II made entirely of dead nature subjects like vegetables, flowers and a pumkin.

Deep-fried zucchini, appetizer for four people.
Italian food is full of zucchini recipes. In this one in particular, deep-fried zucchini, frying goes in two stages. If you want to make it lighter skip the first frying and coat directly the zucchini in the batter.

  • 2 zucchini
  • 75g / 2½ oz flour
  • 100ml / 3½ fl oz white wine
  • 1 egg, white and yolk separated
  • Chilli powder to taste
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for deep frying
  • 1 lemon

Thinky slice the zucchini lengthways. Make a batter by putting together the flour, white wine and egg yolk . season with chilli powder and salt and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a deep frying-pan (the ideal temperature would be 175ºC / 350ºF) and fry the zucchini slices until golden yellow. Pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, whip the egg white until firm and incorporate it into the batter. Cost the fried zucchini slices one by one into the batter and and deep-fry them again until golden brown. Pat them dry again and serve. Cut the lemon into wedges and use it to garnish the dish.

Visit my Italian food blog for more zucchini recipes.

Why Eat Fat Burning Foods?

It's a fairly well known fact that eating natural fat burning foods can help you shed fat faster than exercising alone. Yes, eating the right type of foods can help your lose unwanted pounds but fat burning foods combined with an exercise program work together to help you lose weight permanently without taking any diet pills or joining a pricey weight loss program. The best part about consuming these foods is that they are actually healthy for you and provide your body the nutrients it needs. They also pretty much eliminate the need for expensive prepared diet foods.

Choosing healthy foods to incorporate into your diet is easy. Look for foods that contain a good amount of protein, fiber and are low in sugar. Fruits and vegetables with the skin provide fiber, or roughage as we used to call it. This helps with digestion and elimination. No need to eliminate carbohydrates, just be sure to eat most of your carbohydrates from whole grain sources. Brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole Oats are sources of “good” carbs.

Here's a quick and dirty list of foods that burn fat:

1. Milk and Dairy Products
2. Whole Grains
3. Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
4. Chicken, Turkey and Fish
5. Beans, Soybeans and Edamame
6. Oatmeal
7. Garlic
8. Chili Peppers
9. Jalapenos
10. Cayenne Pepper

Additional tips to help shed weight:
-Eat plenty of fiber.
-Eat six small meals a day instead of 3.
-Refrain from eating products made with white flour.
-Drink eight glasses of water a day.
-Do not eat late a night.

How do These Foods Burn Fat?
Protein helps to build muscle and it also burns fat by raising your metabolism. Milk and dairy products like yogurt contain protein and are a source of complex carbohydrates which helps keep the insulin level in the body low. This goes for the oats and whole grains too. Berries contain antioxidants that help fight cancer and disease as well as help with weight loss. Finally, the peppers raise the body's temperature which also helps to raise the metabolism.

What is a Diabetic Menu?

Diabetes is a disease that is passed on. In other words, it’s often genetic. However, this is not the only reason why anyone is a potential diabetic. Other causes of diabetes are obesity, a virus, or wrong diet. The problem with diabetes is lack of insulin. This is the hormone that regulates the sugar in your blood. It can create problems with your pancreas, eyesight,  hypertension, skin infections, and many more other health complications.

One way to avoid the complications would be to eat properly, exercise, and take your maintenance medicines. A diabetic menu is basically eating right. Your objectives would be to control your weight, amount of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels.

To do this, you need to avoid the following foods: too much artificial of anything like sugar, processed food, preserved food, red meat, high sodium or salty food, and excessive carbohydrates.

Luckily, today there are so many choices available. Plus, they taste pretty good! For instance, you can go to a supermarket or grocery and find low fat, low sodium, low sugar products, both ready to eat, or as ingredients. There are even diabetic desserts like chocolate, cakes, and pies.

Your goal would be to maintain a daily calorie count of 1500. It is also recommended that you enjoy small meals, as opposed to heavy meals, and a couple of snack in between. Eating every 2 hours is normal for a person suffering from diabetes.

At the start, it would be best if you get your doctor to give you a suggested diabetic menu, or you can schedule a visit with a nutritionist who can provide you with a daily diabetic menu guide. They can cater meal plans to your specific needs. For example, a nutritionist could build a type 2 diabetic diet for you.

Generally what they will tell you is that a good diabetic menu has to have a combination of grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and healthy fat. You will be advised to avoid vegetables oil, and switch to either canola oil, corn oil, or olive oil.

Include in your diabetic menu the following diabetic super foods like beans, sweet potatoes, dark, green vegetables, tomatoes, fish (high in Omega-3), nuts, fat free milk and yoghurt, citrus fruits, and whole grains.

In other words, look for food that are high in potassium, fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, E, C, and magnesium. These are high in essential nutrients for a diabetic, as well as being low in the glycemic index.

If you have to eat out or go to a party, avoid alcoholic beverages, and order or ask for skinless chicken, preferably grilled items, sauces to be placed as a side dish, and no butter in your food. In the beginning it might appear to be so inconvenient, but with so many Americans now afflicted with either diabetes or the need to lose weight, many restaurants already have selections that cater to your specific needs.

Sushi in Tsukiji

When going fishing at a local lake, or even in a bay or ocean, it’s hard to imagine the scale of fish out there.  The industry is, of course, massive but seeing a tuna worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is still a hard concept to fathom.  At the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, millions of dollars of business takes place within the many tents of the complex; enough to make it the largest seafood market in the world.

Every morning, shipments of fish and seafood come in very early before being auctioned off to various buyers.  Although it isn’t always possible to gain access to the auction as a tourist, the market has many other notable things worth seeing.  The central area of the market is where the auction and other main parts of the business take place, but there are various shops and restaurants surrounding the main area that has some of the freshest sushi available anywhere in the world.  If getting sushi in Japan is thought of as the best place to get sushi, it’s amazing to think about eating it right at the focal point of the seafood industry in Japan.

There are several well known sushi restaurants in the Tsukiji Market.  More than one are well known enough to have hour long waits outside on a daily basis, but considering this is one of the top things to see in Tokyo it is probably worth it.  After managing to get a seat in one of them, the meal of sushi (probably breakfast if you want to avoid the busiest time) is prepared by the chefs and served right on the bar in front of you without sushi sets.  Visiting Tsukiji might seem like a pretty distant wish considering it's in Tokyo, but it can still be a fun thing to dream about while eating sushi.  There is additional information about this as told by another person dreaming about the Tsukiji Market at Sushi Set Salvation.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

What is your favorite type of cookie?  There are many to choose from.  You may like peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, ginger snaps, etc.  Cookies are simple treats that can be snacks or dessert.  If you love them, you know how irresistible they are.

Some of the most favorite are chocolate chip cookies.  Oatmeal cookies are often looked at as "healthier" because they have oats, but they are also full of butter and sugar.  Many people don't like oatmeal cookies because they have raisins.  You cam modify the recipe to make it something you'll enjoy much more.  The best variation is to mix it with chocolate chip cookies.

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are soft and delicious.  You get the best of both worlds.  The greatest thing about them is that they are very easy to make.  If you can make oatmeal cookies and you can make chocolate chip cookies, you can make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

One simple way to make them is to first find your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe.  Almost all of these recipes will have raisins in them.  All you have to do is replace the raisins with chocolate chips.  Do not simply add oatmeal to chocolate chip cookies.  Oats require a lot of moisture and you will end up with dry cookies this way.

The best way to do it is to find an oatmeal chocolate chip cookies recipe.  Find a great recipe and you can enjoy chocolate and oats all in one.  One of my favorite things about this cookie is that they are very soft and moist if they are made right.  You can enjoy chocolate as well instead of the basic recipe that emits this delicious addition.

Enjoy your cookies however you like, but the best way is to enjoy them with a nice tall glass of ice cold milk.

Step By Step Planning A Wedding Cake

The decision to get married is a big one and the planning that will go into the big day will take months of planning. This planning includes finding the perfect dress, deciding on a guest list, creating the invitations, getting the invitations out to everyone in a timely manner, deciding on a venue and deciding on how to decorate the venue among many other things. One thing you have to decide on is your wedding cake, monogram wedding cakes and wedding cakes can be more complicated than they sound!

First, you will need to decided what kind of cake you want. There are many different types and here are some of the most popular ones you will most likely come across:
1)White cake - The most traditional but also the most versatile type of cake because you can add fillings to it to add more flavor.
2)Marble cake - a combination of white and chocolate cake
3)Chocolate cake - becoming more and more popular and is a favorite among many brides and grooms.
4)Carrot cake - great for a fall wedding and is a unique choice that everyone will love.
5)Lemon cake - It;s refreshing taste is great for a summer wedding and is a classic favorite.
6)Fondant - Usually chosen more for looks than flavor but more fristing can be added for more taste.
7)Buttercream frosting - Great for an indoor wedding reception because it requires refrigeration.

Once you have sorted through the various wedding cakes and have decided on the one you want, you can now look at wedding cake toppers. Monogram cake toppers are the most popular these days. This type of topper includes three letters - one representing the bride's first name, the second one representing the married last name and the third letter representing the groom's first name.

And now for the final step in the wedding cake portion of your wedding planning; the wedding cake servers. These will be used at the wedding and traditionally are used at the following anniversaries so choose your heirloom carefully. If this article is lacking in enough information, just check out this wedding cakes site for more on this subject matter.

Tips For A Tea Party Menu

Every tea set owner knows the problem. You invite company for a tea party, put out the finest of the many tea sets that you own, and then realize you forgot what you're going to feed everyone.

It's easy to understand. Tea parties aren't like most other gatherings. At a tea party, if you get the beverage right, then you've pretty much got the whole party right. But to really make it an event to remember, you have to add some delicious edibles.

Fortunately, that's not hard to do. Follow this simple rule: something savory, something sweet and something with which to cleanse the palate.

For the sweet stuff, consider the tea you're serving. Is it a traditional black tea or an orange pekoe? Then perhaps you want to serve a muffin or a scone. You can make straightforward blueberry muffins or you could try something a tad more exotic like a cherry chocolate chip scone made with heavy cream. Avoid serving anything with a fluid interior – no jelly donuts! At no point should your guests fear they're going to make a mess or worse spot their dress or tie.

You can also consider the tea biscuit – which is a kind of sweet cracker. These are easy to pick up at most quality grocery stores, but you can also make them. Essentially, they are butter, sugar and flour cooked at a high temperature. They melt in one's mouth and go nicely with a tart tea like Oolong tea.

For the savory dish, you want o be sure that you are thinking along the lines of finger foods. Finger sandwiches are ideal. They are satisfying, neatly compliment the sweets, and don't make much of a mess. Make these in advance and serve them on your best serving china.

How about the traditional cream cheese and thinly sliced cucumber on a hearty white bread? Or sliced avocado with smoked turkey and and tart apples on wheat? Try a little crispy bacon with melted swiss on Rye. You can cut the crusts off and even make delightful little shapes.

Cold water should be on hand, as well as some pickled ginger or fruit lightly dusted with sugar or apple juice concentrate. Be sure to put out napkins!

Two Scrumptious Mozzarella Recipes

If you love mozzarella cheese like I do, you definitely want to try these two scrumptious recipes.

Fried mozzarella baskets

Ingredients for four people

  • 500g (4.5 cups) flour
  • 500g (1 pound) potatoes
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ glass of lukewarm milk
  • 25g (1oz) yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100g (4oz) cooked ham, diced
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 100g (4oz) mozzarella cheese, diced
  • Seeds oil to fry

Peel the potatoes and boil them in abundant salted water for 15-20 minutes, drain and mash them. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Sift the flour in a bowl, add the potatoes, the yeast, the melted butter the eggs and the salt. Work the dough for 10 minutes at least and let it rise until it has doubled in size.
In the meantime mix together the ham, the capers and the mozzarella for the filling.
When the dough is ready, roll it with a rolling pin and (it should be 1cm – 0.5 in thick) and with a glass or a mug, cut out as many circles as you can. Put a tsp of filling in the middle of every circle, and join all the angles together.
Let it raise for another hour, then deep fry the baskets and serve hot.

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Raw lasagnas
This is a recipe to transform traditional lasagnas into a summer cold dish, by staying away from the oven. They can be an excellent starter for your al fresco lunch with your guests.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 3 eggplants
  • 125g (4 ½ oz) mozzarella cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 6 leaves of basil
  • Vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Cut the eggplants, the tomatoes and the mozzarella into round slices of about 1cm (0.5), each. Grill the eggplant slices, or deep-fry them (but my liver and I prefer to grill them) and pat dry the oil in excess.
Now, build the layers for the lasagnas as follows: one slice of eggplant, a few drops of vinegar, half tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, a slice of tomato, another half tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, one slice of mozzarella and basil. Start again with another layer.
Serve at room temperature.

If you liked these two recipes, then you can try this Italian fried mozzarella recipe (mozzarella in carrozza) and the evergreen pepperoni pizza.

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