Drink and Food

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The History of Caviar

Caviar has long been around as one of the premier delicacies offered as hors d’oeuvres or spread on an appetizer for the delight of Emperors, Czars and now party goers the world over. From its roots in the Persian culinary arts, the Roe of most often a Sturgeon has a long and noble history.

The first people known to have eaten Caviar were the Persians living in what is now Azerbaijian in the glory days of the Persian Empire. The name of the delicacy as they called it, “Chav Jar” translates to “Cake of Power”, no doubt a pun of sorts on the manner in which it comes and those that are able to eat it. The delicacy was soon exported and as powers rose and fell in the world, so too did those that were able to afford and consume the fine dish.

The economic value and power of a jar of caviar continued well through the Roman Empire’s reign. It’s said that when caviar was served to the Emperor, it was brought in among garlands of flowers and heralds trumpeted its arrival. Czars of Russia were among the only given the luxury of its consumption during the glory days of their power, especially after Russia took control of the area in which the Persians first discovered the treat.

As far back as the 2nd century, during the highest power of Rome, a jar of Sturgeon Roe cost the same amount as 100 sheep. If you fast forward a couple thousand years to the turn of the 19th century, it was possible to find caviar in every bar, pub, and restaurant in New York served along side peanuts at half the cost. Of course, like any natural resource, the results of such ample supply are usual seen in the rapid loss of population in the animal from which it is produced.

Overfishing of the sturgeon has led to the sharp uptake once more of the premium on Caviar with the cost not quite approaching that of 100 sheep, but still costing a tidy sum in most countries. America produces nearly 75% of the world’s caviar right now, though it is to be noted that the labeling restrictions in the United States aren’t nearly as strict as in places such as France, where only the Roe of Sturgeon can be labeled as Caviar. Of course, the kind of fish from which the roe is harvested is always marked on the label on US produced caviar.

The fish itself, the sturgeon is nearly extinct because of the overfishing and rampant demand for its roe. As such, the premium for true caviar from the sturgeon is significantly higher than that of Salmon or Lumpfish. Since the dawn of its discovery, the Sturgeon has been a very special fish, hailed for the delicacy hidden inside in its Roe. World leaders for nearly 3000 years have partaken of the incredibly rare treat and shall continue to do so for many more.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is Soya Safe?

Do you consume soya?

This is a question regarding health concerns and soya which one of my readers emailed me, plus my answer. If you consume a lot of soya, you may find it interesting.

Question : I have been reading (from several sources) that Soya is not safe to eat, as it affects the thyroid gland amongst other things, is this so? I drink a lot of Soya milk and eat some Soya products as well.

I hate other milks so if I can't drink Soya milk then it's back to dairy for me, which I don't want to do.


Soya bean protein is a good alternative source of protein to meat and eggs and has been favoured by vegetarians as a good alternative to meat. This is in evidence in our supermarkets with the huge range of meat alternative products which Soya tends to be the base ingredient. The production of Soya beans is now a billion dollar industry with the United States being the major producer. Soya oil is a poly-unsaturated oil, it contains the essential fatty acids - linoleic and linolenic, and it is free from cholesterol and has a low level of saturated fatty acids. Soya beans is high in B vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc and it is claim that it reduces the risk of heart disease, prostrate and breast cancer.

With these facts it is plain to see why Soya is thought of as a ‘super food’ but new research has put its ‘super’ status in doubt. The main concerns with Soya are the health problems which can be cause by high amounts of phytoestrogens and phytates which are present in Soya. High amounts of phytoestrogens are known to depress thyroid function and consuming large amounts of Soya can lead to goitre, hypothyroidism, and auto-immune thyroid disease.

My advice would be, if you like Soya, keep to low amounts of Soya in your diet. This Soya must be from an organic refined source, a lot of Soya today comes from GM crops and Soya containing products use a lot of chemicals in their production. Safe Soya products are fermented Soya products, such as soy sauce, tempeh and miso. If you are pregnant, suffer from thyroid disorders, digestive problems such as loose stools, bloating or irritable bowel syndrome, cysts, tumours, parasites, excess mucus or yeast sensitivity it would be wise to avoid Soya based products.

What are the alternatives to milk and Soya milk?

Well you can try goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, almond milk, rice milk and oat milk

West Bend Waterless Cookware - A New Wave

The West Bend waterless cooker was a breakthrough idea when it was originated by the West Bend company in the 1920s. Described as a "waterless cooker," the object in question is a large pot with pans inset so that an entire meal could be cooked over a single burner. It was designed so the lid of the cooker had clamps that could prevent steam from escaping out of the pot while cooking the meal. This allowed for meals to be cooked without having to add any water, since the water from the food itself would remain in the pot because the steam could no longer escape.

The reason the words "waterless cooker" will almost always be hooked to the West Bend company is that in the 1920s, when the first example of waterless cookware was invented, the West Bend company not only had the patent for the hooks on the lid, but they also patented the name "waterless cooker."

It is still designed specifically for cooking that doesn't need to add water, but steams food based on the moisture that is already trapped within the food itself. The cookware is made from stainless steel that is specifically designed to evenly distribute and trap heat.

If this is the first time you have heard of this type of cookware, that may be because it is unique in many ways, and will most often be sold through "home parties," because how this type of cookware works is most easily explained through showing. While not often found at most retail chains, the advent of technology and online stores means more is bought over the web than ever before.

Some waterless cookware sets have a carbon steel layer at its core, which makes that variety appropriate for using specifically on an induction range. This type of cooking is increasingly popular because it doesn't matter what kind of an oven or range one is using to cook, using this cookware is energy-efficient. Since it is made out of stainless steel, like all cookware made of the same material, it will be durable.

West Bend waterless cookware is quality stainless steel, and not only is it energy saving, but because of the lower heat needed to cook, less nutrients are lost in preparation, meaning the food will be healthier for you while losing none of the taste. In fact, there are those who prefer the waterless cookware for many meals, claiming that it keeps more of the natural flavor and makes the food actually taste better.

While a long time has passed since the original idea for the waterless cookware came into being, it is an idea that has proven its worth over time. The West Bend waterless cookware still exists, is still going strong, and is favored by many as some of the best cookware in their entire kitchen.

Yoga Can Get Your Diet on the Right Track

The ancient Indian sages were involved in intensive study and research into the nutritional value of food and one of the upshots of this was that they divided food into three categories which became known as Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic.

Tamasic food can be said to be in the lowest category as far as its food value is concerned and it is classed as being without quality prana (life energy).

Rajasic food is stimulating, possesses considerable prana and forms a significant percentage of the average person’s diet.

Sattvic food however, is the only category that fulfills the ideal food of the Vedic teachings. It comprises foods that are fresh and natural, and contain a high pranic or life content. Some examples are fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables.

The teachings encourage an adherence, in the main, to the Sattvic foods, balanced by a percentage of the Rajasic class, but an abstinence from foods that are classed as Tamasic; in that have little or no prana.

These ancient principles are still adhered to today and it has been amply demonstrated by contemporary food scientists at the Yogic Umachal Hospital in India that the ancient teachings are, in fact, quite valid.

Although modified to some extent, a simple parallel can be seen in the conclusions of Western nutritionists who recommend that people:

  • avoid lowest grade foods; those that are commercially produced using artificial flavorings, colorings and that contain chemical preservatives and additives
  • eat limited quantities of rich, highly spiced, highly processed and cooked food, as well as butter, cheese, eggs, chocolate, confectionery and other foods containing high levels of processed cane and beet sugar, and
  • ensure that a high percentage of the diet should consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and grains

The important difference is that modern diets still include great quantities of meats of all kinds. These are totally excluded in the Yoga diet for several reasons.

  1. The traditional Yogic rule of nutrition excludes them as being devoid of life energy or prana—they are in fact classed as ‘dead foods’
  2. Meats in quantity cause acidity and leave deposits of toxins in the blood that can cause arthritis and other diseases, depending upon the health of the animal whose flesh was consumed, and
  3. Yoga adherents believe firmly that no one who loves animals would wish to kill them and eat them or even to foster their exploitation for human consumption

It is the over-riding altruistic reverence for all life that influences a tradition that precludes killing animals for food. The Yogi’s diet is therefore vegetarian.

This as well as other Yoga teachings and disciplines are incorporated into personal Sadhana according to the individual’s choice and understanding of health and spiritual matters.

Health Benefits Of Rice

Rice (Oryza Sativa) has been used as a food for centuries; in fact it has been used for 6,000 years in China. Rice is the staple food in many Asian countries and China, Vietnam and Thailand are now major exporters of rice. There are over 8000 varieties of rice, they are generally categorised as short grain, medium grain or long grain rice. Brown rice tends to be the whole grain of rice with only the outer husk removed whilst white rice is milled and polished. Brown rice is more nutrient rich and is better for you than white rice which has had the bran and germ removed in the milling process. Popular varieties of rice are Arborio, Basmati, Sweet rice and Jasmine rice.

Brown rice has many beneficial health nutrients in it, it is best to eat brown rice rather than white because a majority of the nutrients within white rice have been destroyed in the milling and polishing process. Brown rice contains manganese which is great for energy and antioxidant protection, phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties which can protect against heart disease, magnesium which can help to protect against and reduce the symptoms of asthma, migraine headaches, heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. The fibre content of brown rice can help to protect against and reduce the symptoms of atherosclerosis, colon cancer, constipation, diarrhoea and gallstones.


• Potassium
• Calcium
• Iron
• Magnesium
• Phosphorus
• Zinc
• Manganese
• Vitamin B3
• Vitamin B5
• Vitamin B6
• Folic acid


• Good energy food
• Balances blood sugar levels
• Antioxidant
• Anti-cancer
• Lowers cholesterol
• Lowers high blood pressure
• Relieves constipation

Kidney Beans Nutrition

Kidney beans originally come from Peru; the scientific name for kidney beans is ‘Phaseolus vulgaris’. Today kidney beans are used as a food source throughout the world as they are a good source of cheap protein; they are grown commercially in China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and the USA. The kidney bean is, kidney shaped, it is dark red in colour but there is also a white variety of kidney bean which is known as the cannelloni bean.

Kidney beans have great health benefits, the high fibre content makes them great at lowering cholesterol, preventing constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis and good at preventing a rapid rise in blood sugar levels which makes kidney beans an ideal for diabetics and hypoglycaemics. The fibre content coupled with the folate and magnesium content in kidney beans makes them great at preventing heart disease such as heart attack, strokes and peripheral vascular disease. Kidney beans have good iron content and are an excellent food for growing children, adolescents and menstruating women who tend to need a boost of iron in their diets. Kidney beans are an excellent source of protein and a healthier choice to meat or dairy products.


• Calcium
• Folic acid
• Magnesium
• Molybdenum
• Phosphorus
• Protein
• Potassium


• Good source of potassium
• Good source of protein
• Lowers cholesterol
• High in fibre
• Digestive tract cleanser
• Promotes beneficial bacteria


• May cause wind
• Raw kidney beans can cause food poisoning
• Kidney beans contain purines, if you are suffering from a purine-related problems such as gout or kidney stones, it is best to avoid or limit kidney beans in your diet.

Health Benefits Of Kale

Kale is related to the wild cabbage which originated in Asia Minor. Kale belongs to the Brassica family, the same as cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It is a green leafy vegetable with an earthy flavour; there are different varieties of kale such as curly kale, ornamental kale and dinosaur kale.

Kale is packed full of beneficial health nutrients, in particular, sulphur-containing phytochemicals. Kale contains the organosulfur compounds, glucosinolates and methyl cysteine sulfoxides which have anti-cancer properties. The anti-cancer properties in kale are especially good at protecting against breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Kale is good for healthy eyes, it contains the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin which help to protect the eyes from damage from ultra violet light, lutein rich food like kale are especially good at protecting against cataracts. The high content of beta-carotene thus vitamin A, in Kale also helps to protect against forms of cancer, emphysema and cataracts.

Kale is a good source of vitamin C which can boost the immune system and protect against colds, flu, asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Kale contains vitamin B6 and riboflavin which can protect against heart disease. Kale is a great source of calcium; it is a good alternative source to dairy products for calcium. Calcium is good for healthy bones and teeth. The high fibre content of kale is good for lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar levels, preventing constipation and protecting against colon cancer.


• Calcium
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B6
• Manganese
• Beta-carotene


• Anti-cancer
• Helps to lowers cholesterol
• Good for a healthy cardiovascular system
• Good source of folate
• Good source of calcium
• Helps to balance blood sugar levels
• Promotes healthy eyes
• Boosts immunity
• Prevents constipation


• Kale contains goitrogens which can affect the functioning of the thyroid gland, if you have thyroid problems, it is best to avoid kale.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Eat More And Still Lose Weight

Losing weight does not go hand in hand with feeling hungry all the time as some of you guys may worry about. Now I know you need to keep your stamina up (wink wink) so here are some healthy weight loss principles which will allow you to eat and lose weight – yes really! Let’s call it the eat more guide.

So eat more…………

Fruit and veg – Low in calories and fat but jam packed with lots of nutritional benefits. Use to bulk out a meal to fill you up or snack on fruit throughout the day to stop the hands delving into the biscuit tin mid morning!

Fibre – Helps the whole digestive process, plus wholegrains keep you feeling full for longer as they are a lower GI food (if you don’t know what I’m on about now just trust me on this one). Simple switches like trading in the white bread for brown or having wholegrain pasta and brown rice will have the pounds dropping off without you even feeling like you are trying.

Protein – Great if you are trying to build up muscle plus protein will keep you feeling full up for longer. So if you find you are snacking during the afternoon try adding more protein to your lunch. Add tuna, chicken or prawns to your sandwich or maybe a pasta salad and you’ll lose fat and retain more lean body mass. Some people, when dieting will end up losing muscle as opposed to fat if they are not careful, which is something I guess you lot don’t want.

Dairy – Go for the low fat varieties e.g. low fat yogurts, semi-skimmed milk, low fat cottage cheese. The result - strong bones, you’ll be thankful of that later on. Plus all that good bacteria in yoghurts will help keep you healthy.

Water – I know you are always being told to drink your 2 litres a day but that’s because it really does make a difference. It will raise your metabolism, and have your body working at its optimum. Plus thirst can often be mistaken for hunger as the trigger signals are the same for both. So keep sipping that water and you will reduce your calorie intake without even being conscious of it.

Boost Your Metabolism

From the viewpoint of diet and weight loss, metabolism is the process whereby the body converts food into energy (or uses it for bodily repairs) or stores it as fat for future use. In simple terms, if we have a faster metabolism we burn calories more efficiently and store less fat. If we have a slower metabolism we burn calories less efficiently and therefore store more calories as fat. So knowing this, I thought you might like a few tips on how to speed up your metablolism.

Don’t Starve

Don’t be fooled into thinking that to lose weight you have to go hungry. If you override your body’s natural call for food, you could be doing more harm than good to your waistline. If you ignore your body’s hunger signals then your body will go into starvation mode and will conserve energy as opposed to burning it off as it doesn’t know when it will next be fed again. By getting in tune with your body and letting it know that food is always going to be available then your metabolism will work faster to burn off fat as it will know that there is no need to hang on to it.

Spice things up

Research has been done into the effects of eating hot spicy foods. It has been found that spicy foods raise your body’s temperature and increase your heart rate. Both of these require energy to do so and, therefore, your metabolism is raised. So don’t be frightened of those chillis.

Ditch the Decaf

Although we are always being told to reduce our caffeine levels, many believe caffeine is a metabolic stimulant.

Get your heart pumping

By doing regular exercise which increases your heart rate, as well as improving your fitness levels you are also increasing the number of calories you burn off each day.

More muscle

Your metabolic rate is partly determined by your muscle mass. In general, the more muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate; the less muscle we have, the lower our metabolic rate. For every extra 1lb of muscle you have, your body uses around an extra 50 calories a day! This means an extra 10lb of muscle will burn roughly an extra 500 calories a day without you doing anything - and that's a sufficient amount to lose 1lb in a week. Therefore a great way to increase your metabolic rate is to add weights to your workouts.

When following a weight loss plan, be careful to lose the pounds at a steady pace (no more than 2lbs a week) or it is likely that you are in fact losing muscle and therefore slowing down your metabolism.

Changes for Healthy Eating

Eating healthy doesn't mean that you have to scrap all of your favorite foods and start eating only fruits and veggies. That's the idea most of us have when we think of "healthy foods," and what has kept us away from changing the way we eat. Eating healthier can be quite simple and not doesn't have to be fruits and veggies only. Simply changing the way we prepare our favorite foods can make a big difference. The following are some tips on how you can go from unhealthy to healthy with minor changes.

Gradual Elimination

Sounds scary, doesn't it? Really it's not. The easiest way to get used to a healthy version of food and/or beverages is to gradually add it to your diet. For example, instead of making a sudden switch from whole milk to low fat or skim milk (because if you suddenly make the switch, your taste buds are going to scream, "Ewww!"), try making a gradual switch. Buy a half gallon of whole milk and a half gallon of 2% milk, pouring yourself a glass of 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 2%. Little by little, add more 2% until you're drinking completely 2% milk. Then start the process again with 2% and skim milk. Before long, you will be drinking purely skim milk. See? That's wasn't so bad. This will work with anything, including butter, sweeteners, cheeses, cream cheese, etc. Just eat less and less until the food or beverage you're trying to cut out is gone.

Spice It Up

Another misconception is there is no way to get delicious flavors in our meals unless we use fat, butter, and/or sugar. This is where spices and low-calorie condiments come into play. Spices increase the flavor of foods with no effect on nutrition, especially when you use more than just salt and pepper. If you already use spices, consider expanding your spice choice or use several spices in a dish. Spices can make a big difference, taking bland to flavorful, and trying different spices can be fun! A few suggestions in getting you started are: cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, crushed red peppers, oregano, garlic salt or powder; and lemon juice.

Take Your Time

Some people can completely and permanently remove foods or condiments from their diet overnight, but most of us seem to rebel, which makes eliminating = we crave unhealthy foods more than ever. For us normal folk who can't eliminate overnight, our tastes and habits do not change quickly, but to successfully stick to a change in our diet, we have to change our tastes and habits. Experts state over and over that it takes at least 3 weeks for a new behavior to become a habit. So cut yourself some slack, take your time, and keep trying. You will find that after some time, your new healthy habits will become second nature.

Clinical Nutrition Designed For Specific Diseases

When you walk down the aisle of your supermarket, have you ever wondered who makes that product that you eat? Sometimes you buy a food that keeps you alive. Novartis Medical Nutrition is one such company that produces clinical nutritional supplements to maintain and improve the health and well being of millions of patients and consumers in a medical facilities (such as hospitals or nursing homes) or at home.

Previously, clinical nutrition focuses on caloric intake, but modern science now creates highly specialized disease-specific products to treat Diabetes, Oncology, Digestive Health, Obesity, Surgical and Critical Care, Malnutrition, Dysphagia, Wound Care, and Pediatric Nutrition. Healthcare professionals and scientists are highly involved in these developments.

These specialized products are very familiar to the doctors, nurses, dieticians, and caregivers administering these live saving nutritionals. Many of these products can be taken orally by mouth or tube fed through the stomach or nasal tube.

Diabetes affects approximately 17 million people in the United States and 800,000 are newly diagnosed each year. It is important to treat this disease in its early stages as it is the seventh leading cause of death. Boost Diabetic is designed to meet the special dietary challenges associated with patients with Diabeties. It incorporates certain nutrients such as arginine, vitamin's C, E and chromium to improve blood glucose levels and aid in preventing the long-term medical problems associated with diabeties.

Cancer takes the lives of more than 7 million people worldwide each year. With cancer treatment, you body is under attack, and becomes very weak. Weight loss and muscle wasting is known as cachexia. Resource Support was created to promote energy, help in the healing process, and build muscles when the body needs it.

Dyshagia is a swallowing disorder commonly as a result from strokes, brain damage, or anorexia. Since the patient can not swallow malnutrtion and dehydration can occur. Resource ThickenUp can modify the consistency of liquids which reduces the risk of aspiration and respiratory complications. Solid foods need to have a change in consistency so that the patient does not choke during feedings.

One such producer of these life saving products is Novartis Medical Nutrition manufacturers and distributes its clinical nutrtional products products in Minnesota with several distribution centers across the country. The other manufacturing plant is located in Osthofen, Germancy. It’s Headquarters is located in Nyon, Switzerland. They employ 2,500 people worldwide and Novartis Parent Corporation employs about 100,735 people worldwide

Ross Products was found in 1903 by Harry C. Moores and Stanley M. Ross. Ross Products is a division of Abbott Laboratories, and the Chief Executive Officer is Miles D. White and employs about 65,000 people. Currently Ross is the largest of the manufacturers of clinical nutrition.

Nestle will become the second largest producer of clinical supplements after it's merger with Novartis is approved this year. It's headquarters is located in Switzerland.

For more information on clinical nutrition please visit www.cwimedical.com.

Health Benefits Of Avocado

The name ‘Avocado’ comes from the Aztec word ‘ahuacatl’, avocados are also referred to as the ‘Alligator Pear’ because of there shape and leathery skin. Avocados are the fruit from a tall evergreen tree called the Persea Americana, there are many different varieties of avocado and they generally fit into three main categories, the West Indian, the Guatemalean and the Mexican which all differ in size and flavour.

The avocado is packed full of nutrients, the flesh of the fruit is a rich source of vitamin E and potassium. It has the highest protein content of any fruit, the avacado only begins to ripen when it is cut from the tree.

Avocado contains a monosaturated fat called oleic acid, this is believed to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels and promote the good HDL cholesterol, it also protects against breast cancer. Avocados can help to protect against high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke because of they have a high content of the mineral potassium which guards against these diseases. The high concentration of carotenoids and tocopherols within avocados are known to protect against prostrate cancer.

A word of caution, some people who have latex allergies may also be allergic to avocados because they contain an enzymes called chitinases and are treated by a gas called ethylene to induce ripening.


• Copper

• Beta-carotene

• Folic acid

• Iron

• Phosphorus

• Potassium

• Vitamin B3

• Vitamin B5

• Vitamin E

• Vitamin K


• Easy to digest

• Prevents anaemia

• Good acid-alkaline balance

• Good for the blood

• High in monosaturated fats

• Good source of vitamin E and potassium


• High in calories

• Can cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to latex

Health Benefits Of Almonds

When we eat an almond nut, we are technically eating the seed of the fruit from the almond tree. The almond nut is off white in colour and oval in shape, it is covered by a thin brownish skin and then the hard shell. There are two types of almond, sweet and bitter almond; it is the sweet almond that we eat. Bitter almonds are used for almond oil and it is this oil which is famously used in the liqueur Amaretto. Almonds are thought to originally come from the regions of western Asia and North Africa; they are an ancient food which has been eaten since ancient Greek and Roman times. Almonds are now typically cultivated in the Mediterranean countries and also in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Morocco and also in the American state of California.

Almonds are packed with protein and help to prevent diseases such as gallstones, type 1 diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, cholesterol and aid weight loss. They are a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin B2 which help to fight against the health damaging free radicals and increase oxygen-based energy production which promotes the antioxidant molecule, glutathione. The flavonoids in the skin of the almonds, together with the vitamin E which is in the flesh of the nut, make almonds when eaten with the skin on, an extremely powerful antioxidant food with a double whammy effect.


• Calcium

• Dietary fibre

• Folic acid

• Magnesium

• Phosphorus

• Potassium

• Tryptophan

• Vitamin E

• Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

• Vitamin B3

• Zinc


• Good source of protein and minerals especially for vegetarians

• Contains the anti-cancer agent leatril

• Very alkaline

• Excellent source of vitamin E and B vitamins thiamine and niacin


• Immature almonds can contain cyanide-producing compounds

• High in calories

• Some people may have an allergic reaction

Health Benefits Of Bananas

Bananas are the fruit of the banana plant which grows to 26 feet in height, bananas grow in cluster which are then separated into groups known as ‘hands’ of up to 25 bananas. Bananas are thought to have been native to Malaysia but are now grown commercially in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil. The banana is an elliptically shaped fruits with creamy firm flesh inside, the banana skin is very easily peeled. The two main groups of the banana are the sweet banana and the plantain, the sweet banana tends to be yellow in colour and is eaten raw as a fruit whilst the plantain tend to be green in colour and is used like a vegetable and is cooked because of its starchiness.

Bananas have a high content of potassium and fibre which can protect against diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure and promote healthy bones. Bananas have substances in them which produce a thicker protective mucus barrier in the stomach as well as eliminating bacteria within the stomach. This two pronged attack helps to protect against stomach ulcers. Bananas have a high amount of the soluble fibre pectin which can aid digestion and combat constipation. Research has shown that by eating bananas regularly you can reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer.


• Beta-carotene
• Potassium
• Tryptophan
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin B6
• Vitamin K


• Lowers cholesterol
• Removes toxic metal from the body
• Helps ulcers
• Aids sleep
• Mild laxative
• Anti-fungal
• Antibiotic properties
• High in potassium


Unripe bananas can cause wind

Health Benefits Of Asparagus

Asparagus is a highly prize perennial vegetable which is considered as a delicacy, it is a member of the lily family and originally comes from the eastern Mediterranean region but is now grown commercially in countries such as the United States, Mexico, Peru, France and Spain. It is the succulent and tender green spears of asparagus which are eaten. The main varieties of asparagus which are eaten are the green, white and the less common purple variety.

Asparagus has many health benefits, the high folate content makes it an excellent food to eat if you are planning pregnancy or are pregnant, this will help to guard against birth defects. The high folate content in asparagus will also protect against heart disease. The high potassium and low sodium content together with the active amino acids in asparagus gives it its diuretic properties. The active amino acid in asparagus is called asparagine, asparagine is one of the components which helps to produces the strong smell in urine which is associated with eating asparagus. Eating asparagus will promote a healthy gut; this is because it contains a special carbohydrate called inulin which promotes the friendly bacteria within the large intestine.

People who are suffering from gout or kidney stones should be aware that asparagus is high in purines which can lead to the accumulation of uric acid and should limit their intake of asparagus.


• Beta-carotene
• Folic acid
• Phosphorus
• Potassium
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin K


• Mild laxative
• Stimulates the kidneys due to its asparagine content
• Antibacterial
• Rich source of folate
• Diuretic


• Contains purine, do not consume if you are suffering from gout or kidney stones
• Can make urine smell

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa) is a perennial flowering plant native to Iran which lives from five to twelve years, it is also known as Lucerne, Purple Medick and Trefoil. It looks similar to clover with clusters of small purple flowers. Alfalfa is now grown throughout the world as forage for cattle but in sprouting form, it has many nutritional benefits to humans.

Alfalfa produces pale, fine green spindly shoots; these shoots are packed with starches, oils and nutrients to help the plant grow. These nutrients convert in to vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and sugars which make them an extremely good food source. Sprouting beans tend to produce less wind when digested than beans that have not sprouted because the germination process uses up the indigestible sugars in the seed. Alfalfa sprouts can be bought in the shops but they are easily grown at home in jam jars within six days.

Alfalfa sprouts contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals which can protect us against disease such as pancreatic, colon and leukaemia cancers, osteoporosis, fibrocystic breasts tumours, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease and symptoms associated with PMT and the menopause. If you are trying to give up smoking, alfalfa sprouts are a good food to eat, this is because they are an alkaline food and research has shown that alkaline foods reduce the amount of nicotine depleted in the urine which reduces cravings.


• Beta-carotene

• Calcium

• Magnesium

• Phosphorus

• Potassium


• Low in calories

• Reduces inflammation

• Stimulants the immune system

• Detoxifies

• Aids sexual activity

• Easy to digest protein

• High in antioxidants, saponins and phytochemicals

• Prevent DNA destruction

• Protect from the ongoing effects of aging


Some people may be allergic to alfalfa sprouts especially those suffering from lupus.

Cool, Clear Water

Drinking water is essential to humans. Adults lose about 10 glasses of water daily. Some is replenished in the food we eat, and some is replenished in beverages, but most is replenished in the form of drinking water.

Some people are claiming that room-temperature drinking water is the only good water. Others claim it should be warm – or icy – or cold drinking water. Who is right?

In “Cool Water”, song writer Bob Nolan sings:

All day I face the barren waste

Without the taste of water,

Cool water.

Old Dan and I, with throats burned dry,

And souls that cry for water,

Cool, clear, water.

Cold Drinking Water

Old Dan and his rider were dying for cold drinking water. In fact, a few days without water, and both would literally be dead.

More than two thirds of a human’s weight is water. The human brain is 95% water and human blood is 82%. Old Dan’s rider would show signs of dehydration if he lost as little as 2% of his body’s water. His short-term memory would grow fuzzy. He would have trouble focusing on small things and experience daytime fatigue, commonly caused by dehydration.

They needed drinking water – preferably, cold drinking water.

Why Cold Drinking Water?

You may have heard that drinking water should be taken warm, even in hot weather. There are benefits, however, to choosing cold drinking water.

* It is more refreshing.

* It is more easily absorbed into your blood.

* It may burn more calories.

* It has zero calories, unlike other drinks.

Myths about Cold Drinking Water

For many years, people have circulated various myths about cold drinking water. These have no scientific basis, but are offered here for your information.

* Myth #1: Cold drinking water after meals causes cancer by solidifying ingested fat, slowing digestion, and lining intestine walls with the fat. Actually, body heat cancels out any effects of cold food or water.

* Myth #2: Cold drinking water after eating fruit is bad for you. This one, around since at least 1923, is probably based on the truth that too much beverage, at any temperature, may dilute digestive juices.

* Myth #3: Cold drinking water harms delicate stomach lining. Currently on the Internet, this has no truth. Stomach lining is extremely robust, as it must be to withstand the highly caustic digestive acids.

For years, health experts have recommended that average adults have at least eight glasses of water daily. That amount should be increased if you exercise, if the weather is hot, or when humidity is low. Overweight adults, who require more water, should add an additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight in order to speed metabolism.

The body needs water, and the most important question for most people is not whether the water should be warm or cold, but whether they are drinking enough.

You Get All Necessary Amount Of Nourishments And Vitamins If You Eat Vitamin Health Food

Your body need vitamins for a variety of human organism functions. Vitamins are a substance essential in very small quantities for your healthy nutrition. Since your body does not make enough vitamins naturally, your primary source for these substances should be food.

Vitamin deficiency (extremely low levels) and even poor intake of some vitamin can negatively affect natural body self-protection against infections, increase risk for birth defects and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis (thinning of the bones). On the other hand too much of certain vitamins especially A and D, can results in toxicity, which causes negative effects such as headache, nausea, and diarrhea. You might get to much of them if using vitamin supplements without doctors advice. Unless you really know what your body vitamin needs are.

But in health food concentration of vitamins is lower than in chemically made pills. This way you can not overdose them, either you will not suffer any diseases appeared from vitamin deficiency. Various health food eaten regularly (every day) will supply you with a whole variety of vitamins. Variety is essential for your body being vital and healthy as a whole. This way you will get different and equally important kind of vitamins.

Ways to get all necessary vitamins is from whole foods - fruits and vegetables are your the best friends revitalizing your body. Also grains, dairy products and lean meat contains some vitamins. Whatever food you choose for your healthy wellbeing just make sure to keep the quality and the variety.

Why Do I Love Cooking…The Four F's

There are many reasons to love cooking. I boil (pun intended) my favorites down to four, all beginning with F:

1. Fun: Cooking is not just something that we have to do in order to eat on a daily basis. It can be fun too! Think about when you bake a cake, who doesn't love to lick the frosting off the bowl? Or when you're mixing all the ingredients together to make cookies, choosing whether to put chocolate chips, raisins, almonds, walnuts, coconut, dried cranberries, or M&M's into the bowl. There are endless opportunities to have fun while you're cooking...and then you get to eat!

2. Friends: Cooking with friends makes the whole experience infinitely better. It's always more fun to cook while chatting, listening to music, or just being with someone else. And sometimes it makes things go more quickly, so you can eat sooner! Making food is an enriching experience, and who better to share it with than your friends.

3. Family: Cooking is one of those activities that can bring a whole family together. Everyone can participate, from the mother and father working diligently on the main dish, the grandmother whipping up the dessert with the help of her grandkids, who are stirring the ingredients and licking the sides of the bowl, and the aunts and uncles watching over the steaming side dishes. It is an experience that can be shared by the entire family.

4. Food: What would cooking be without the food?! The joy of cooking is that you can make whatever you want, whenever you want, for whomever you want. You can make the food spicy, savory, sweet, or sultry. You can boil it, steam it, broil it, bake it or flambé it. You can serve it raw, medium rare, a la mode, on ice or on fire. There are so many choices of food, endless tastes and flavors that can be mixed together to satisfy those who will eat anything to those with a refined palette. And the best thing about cooking is that right after you have food to eat!

Cooking does not have to be a chore. It can be an enjoyable experience that is fun, with friends and/or family and good food.

French Food and Its Regional Influences

In some regions people contained there regional specialties but most of them became famous and enjoyed all over the world. In their own region of origin you can mainly find their specialty with more quality of preparation and ingredients, even if you can find them throughout France. In each region they have also their typical way of choosing the ingredients and cooking their meals. For example Tomatoes, different kinds of herbs and Olive oil are a must in the Cuisine in Provence.

Here are a couple main influences of regional cooking:

* Economic conditions and history: The economic conditions, lifestyle and the culture of course have formed the local food traditions in different areas. Firm cheeses are found in the mountain regions since that over difficult and long winters they can be preserved. In the history when we speak about economy, we find that in some limited areas this firm cheeses are also the main means of support for a lot of homes since they can be produced in the mountains for the livestock. Over several centuries the economic prosperity of the region of Burgundy was great due to their excellence in raising cattle and that also helped them to provide their rich cream sauces and meat dishes.

* Local availability: Fresh local ingredients that are not transported for long distances are of better quality and are the basics of the best food and of course the French nation of gourmets knows that. For example, the community of areas where herbs and fruit grow easily will use them in their local cuisine. Likewise, inland areas don`t really use a lot of sea fish but on the contrary Northwest coastal places of France like Normandy and Brittany offer a typical way of eating sea fish meals.

* Immigration and neighbouring countries: The neighbors cuisine is formally incorporated in areas of France which border onto other countries. Near to the Italian border for example it will not be surprising to find Italian dishes. Because of immigration, the North African people residing in the South of France are letting enjoy the French people of their original African dishes. And also after various wars the border of Germany has been moved back in the area of Alsace but until now you find the German « Sauerkraut » and wine that became very popular in that kind of areas.

You will find in all parts of France, both in homes and in restaurants, a great range of dishes far extending beyond the regional specialities. However you will always remark the local influences in terms of cooking and ingredients. Local recipes and ingredients seem to be the best cooking and the most available in its own region. Therefore, the types of food one desires to enjoy is a great consequence of the choice where to visit or live in France.

These are a couple of examples:

* Fresh water fish is consumed in the inland areas, like in the Loire Valley, while sea food is preferred in the Mediterranean and near the Atlantic coast.

* The hot climate throughout the south, favorites the use of fruit and vegetables.

* The « Sauerkraut » and beer have been influenced in the northeast of France, like in Lorraine and Alsace, by the German.

* Apples, crème fraiche (soured cream) and butter are used in the cuisine of northwest France.

* Tomatoes, herbs and olive oil are mainly used by the French Mediterranean.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tomato Alfredo Sauce with Artichokes

  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts in water
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  1. Chop artichoke hearts and place in large skillet with juice. Thicken with flour and milk to desired consistency.
  2. Add onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil. Cook for a short time, leaving vegetables firm and tasty and pretty.
  3. Cook up a batch of your favorite spaghetti noodles (e.g., angel hair or spaghettini). Rinse. Toss artichoke sauce on top of cooked pasta.

Baked Ziti II

  • 1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta
  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix ziti, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, egg and 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and spoon in ziti mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce, followed by Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes; let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Vegetable Garden - Why and How to Grow Vegetables

Planning, planting, growing and harvesting a vegetable garden can be great fun for the whole family. And while you are having fun, you will be growing your own food. Having your own vegetable garden can be a very satisfying undertaking and is an excellent way to teach your children about responsibility as well.

Vegetable Garden Benefits

There are many benefits to planting your own vegetable garden and one of the most obvious ones is the harvest.

When you plant a garden that grows well, you will be able to enjoy the vegetables when they are ripe and, along with pleasing your taste buds, this will also please your grocery bill as well. Growing your own vegetables is much cheaper than buying them, so gardening will leave you with some extra money each month.

Some other benefits of having your own vegetable garden are relieving excess stress and exploring your creativity with plants.

Gardening can be great fun for the whole family and you can give your children their own gardening tasks to keep track of, as well. This will also provide a great means of exercise for the entire family.

Where Do I Plant It?

If you want a quality vegetable garden that will produce well, you are going to have to choose your garden site carefully. Make sure that your garden site gets plenty of sun each day to help your plants grow as they should.

If you do not have enough sunlight hitting your vegetable garden, it will more than likely be a flop. You should also choose a garden spot that will get enough water.

Be sure that water will not just sit in certain areas, but that the water will be able to get to the entire garden. If you are short on rain, you may have to water the garden yourself. Also try to find a garden site that has rich, healthy soil to ensure that your plants grow well.

Choosing Which Vegetables to Grow

There are many vegetables to choose from for your vegetable garden but you need to keep in mind which vegetables you like and how easy they are to grow. If your family does not like beets, you should probably choose something else to grow in your garden.

If this is your first time having a vegetable garden, you may want to stick to vegetables that are easy to grow such as tomatoes, green beans, carrots, lettuce, peas, squash and corn.

Vegetable Gardening Tips

Once you have your vegetable garden planted, you want to make sure that you keep up with the garden to be sure you get the best growth possible. It is important that you keep the weeds out of your garden, since weeds can take away nutrients and water from your plants.

You should also be sure that you do not water your garden too much or you can kill your plants with too much water. When you plant your garden, you will want to leave adequate space in between your rows so that you can cultivate your plants to stimulate growth.

If you plant your garden in a great place and make sure that you take care of it faithfully, at the end of the season, you will reap the benefits of your hard work. When you sit around your table enjoying the wonderful fresh vegetables, it will be with the pleasure of knowing that your vegetable garden was a job well done.

How to Make A Cheap and Easy Chocolate Lover's Gift Basket

Gift baskets will always be popular and a great idea to give as a gift. People love to receive gift baskets. Making your own chocolate lover's gift basket is cheap and easy.

You can fill it with a variety of inexpensive items and there are lots of choices.ou can easily customize each chocolate theme gift basket to your recipient.

I've put together a few great ideas for making a chocolate lover's gift basket, complete with instructions on how to make them. You can make inexpensive gift baskets or expensive gift baskets depending on your budget.

First make a list of your recipient's hobbies and interests. List everything you can think of.

Suggestions: sports, books, television shows, in-house hobbies, outdoor recreation, camping, workshop, enjoy working with tools, golf, fishing, computer-related, environment friendly, golf, and tennis.

Also relaxation, food, wine, spa, bath and body, fruit, cookie, crafts, gardening, etc. You can tie in any interests into your chocolate theme. These are just a few ideas.

You can find many inexpensive items for use in making your gift baskets or filling your gift baskets, at 'dollar' stores, craft stores, party stores, discount outlets, flea markets, close-out stores, etc.

For gift containers you can use: any type of basket, wicker basket, straw basket, bucket, laundry basket, plastic container, toy dump truck or other large toy truck, purse, tin, Christmas tin, seasonal container, large tea pot, large upside-down hat, or plastic storage container-put lid underneath.

Other items might be: extra-large coffee mug, boot, potted plant holder, wire basket, large pasta bowl, large popcorn bowl, cooking pot, clay pot, tackle box, colander, small wagon, skillet, antique trunk, champagne bucket, hamper, Asian-style trunk or picnic basket.

For gift basket liner you can use: tissue paper, shredded paper, shredded newspaper, tea towels, dish towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, colored towels, colored napkins, placemats, diapers, baby blankets or fabric pieces.

For gift basket filler you can use: shredded colored paper, straw, Easter basket grass, crumpled newspaper comics, a bed of wrapped chocolates or other wrapped candy.

For items in the container it'll depend on the specialty or theme of the gift basket - in this case Chocolate! With chocolate it's best not to include any fragrant items, unless they are wrapped in such a way that they don't give off any fragrance. Here's a small random sampling to give you some good ideas:

Gift certificate for massage or spa visit, gift certificate to favorite store, gift certificate for restaurant, loofah, CD of nature sounds, favorite artist CD, DVD of newer release movie, how-to video or CD, handwritten poem, watch, framed photo, inspirational book, spa pillows, bath pillows, spa supplies, or a small fluffy towel.

Also flavored teas, green tea, specialty tea, herbal tea, biscotti, tea infuser, healthy snacks, fancy chocolates, boxed chocolates, chocolate bars, hot chocolate mix, specialty coffee mix, homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade brownies, chocolate fudge, and Ghirardelli chocolates.

Or chocolate covered raisins, chocolate covered strawberries, Hershey chocolates, dark chocolates, white chocolates, chocolate bars, chocolate covered cherries, Belgian chocolates, chocolate mints, and chocolate covered pretzels.

How about miniature or giant-size chocolate animals, gourmet chocolate candies, Tootsie Rolls, nuts, homemade chocolate-based cookies, pre-packaged chocolate food items, brownie mixes,and chocolate chip cookie mixes.

And wooden spoons, your best chocolate chip cookie recipe, your favorite hand-written chocolate recipes, chocolate dessert recipes, chocolate fudge recipes, hot chocolate or cocoa mixes in fancy packets, coffee mug for cocoa, movie tickets and cinnamon sticks.

You can use as many chocolate items as you like. You can make your basket with all chocolate items or mix in a few non-chocolate items.

For gift basket wrapping you can use tulle netting or I like to use cellophane wrap. You can buy it in large rolls. Look for specialty packaging outlets where you can buy it wholesale.

Tie off the wrapped basket with ribbon. Wired fabric ribbon is best if you have it. For bows: You can use pre-packaged bows but making your own bows is easy and the best if you can do it. Use a large or huge bow.

Assemble all your gift basket items, tools you need, etc. Now line your selected gift container. Now stuff the selected filler into the gift basket to give added height to your items. Place, layer and arrange your selected items on the filler in the gift container. Put the larger items in the back, the smaller items in front.

Fill in the holes or prop up with more filler (shredded paper, Easter basket grass, wrapped chocolates, napkins or holiday napkins etc. Also you can use 'picks' of artificial flowers to fill in space.

Place your cellophane or other wrap under the gift basket. Center the gift basket on the wrap. Bring the cellophane or other wrap over the top of the gift basket and tie it with ribbon and or a beautiful bow! Use ribbon and bows to match your theme colors. Tuck a card in the ribbon and that's it!

You can find fabric or wired ribbon cheaply at Costco-- especially in the fall prior to Christmas but often throughout the year in some stores. You can shred paper in a paper shredder. If you're going to need a lot of cellophane you can purchase it wholesale through the packaging specialty stores throughout the U.S. but should be easily found in craft stores.

General tips: Try to use non-perishable items. Use freshly packaged food items, because even packaged crackers and cookies can go stale in a couple of months. You can find filler flower 'picks' at garage sales for pennies. If you buy wholesale they are usually around a dollar each.

Also there's nothing like learning how to make gift baskets from a video or DVD for making cheap and easy gift baskets. You can view it over and over again and share with your children, other family members and friends.

You can even charge for classes with your new-found knowledge and/or start a home based business if you so desire. In any event, making a chocolate lover's gift basket is cheap and easy and will be thoroughly appreciated by the chocolate lover recipient.

Bruce Tassone Pasta With Squid - Tomatoes - and Capers

There are a couple ways to get tender squid: a very quick sauté or a very long simmer. This simple yet impressive recipe uses the former method. We call for a Thai or serrano chile because they're easier to find here — try your local supermarket — than the small, thin Italian hot chiles.

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 1 hr

1 lb cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles separated but kept intact

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red or green Thai or serrano chile, halved crosswise

1/2 lb grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup drained bottled capers, rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped

1/2 lb campanelle (small bell-shaped pasta) or fusilli pasta

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 (1- by 1/2-inch) strip fresh lemon zest, finely chopped

If squid are large, halve ring of tentacles, then cut longer tentacles, if attached, crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Pull off flaps from squid bodies and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut bodies crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings. Pat squid dry.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté garlic and chile, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add squid and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes and wine and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes. Add raisins and capers and simmer, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

Add pasta to tomato mixture with 1/4 cup reserved cooking water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in basil, pine nuts, zest, and salt and pepper to taste. If pasta looks dry, moisten with more cooking water.

Divide pasta among 4 plates, then drizzle each serving with some of remaining 3 tablespoons oil.

Makes 4 first-course servings

Jamaican foods

Ackee and Codfish
The fleshly, yellow part of a seed pod from the ackee fruit is cooked with cod fish.This is Jamaica's national dish . When it is cooked ackee looks like scrambled egg. Many people of the other Caribbean islands do not eat ackee and think Jamaican are unique and strong in spirit because they do There is one particular Caribbean island that the people would not eat this fruit, as it is alleged that they use it for witchcraft,and fear Jamaicans because they eat the ackee.This dish is usually served with roasted breadfruit, boiled bananas or fried dumplings in Jamaica


This is a plant which is said to be a cousin of collard green and spinach. It is used as a green hot cooked vegetables and is a good accompaniment for pickled mackerel, and cod fish. This dish is usually served with boiled green bananas.It may be used in soups .Of late vegetarian blend and use it as a drink.

Escoveitch Fish.

This is a dished of freshly fish fried with a sauce of vinegar, sliced onions and hot peppers pour over the fish.

Jerk Pork or Chicken

This is a Jamaican dish that originated at Boston Beach near Port Antonio Jamaica. The meat is seasoned with peppers , other Jamaicans spices,pimento leaves and then cooked slowly over an open fire of pimento wood.

Pepper pot soup

This is a soup similar to spinach soup, Callaloo replaces the spinach. A spicy soup with lots of ground provision. When cooked in a broth of salt beef makes it more enjoyable. It is seasoned to the taste of the chef .Real Jamaicans like it seasoned with scotch bonnet peppers.

Jamaican Pumpkin soup

This is a thick creamy soup that is made from the local pumpkin. The taste is just great. Many Jamaicans must have their pumpkin soup Friday or Saturday evenings.

Red Peas soup

This is another of Jamaica popular soup. This is made from red beans and is usually cooked in broth of pig’s tail or corned beef. It is spicy and is sold plentifully on the street side


a dumpling usually cylindrical in shape with a base ingredient of cornmeal .sugar, flour, spices milk or water, are added then fried until golden brown. Served as an accompaniment for jerk meats and fried fish.

Coconut Rundung

Is a dish made from coconut milk boiled to a custard ,with mackerel, codfish ,or vegetables added. along with seasoning.

Roasted yam

This is a dish in which special yams are roasted such as the yellow yam, white yam other wise call Negro or Lucea yam and served with roasted cod fish or rundung or ackee and codfish.

Peanut Porridge

This is one of the most recent food craze in Jamaica.Peanut porridge is boiled on the street side and many individuals do not feel their day complete without this meal. It is said to be a good energy food and last for hours .

Curried Goat

This is one of Jamaica's traditional dishes and is eaten at any time there is a gathering or function. A funeral,wake,dance or a wedding would all be seen incomplete without this dish. It is usually served with plain white rice but more recently Jamaicans have added rice and peas as another accompaniment.

Do You Suffer From Arthritis? Food Allergies May Be to Blame

If you have joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, relief may be closer than you think.

Many people see rheumatoid arthritis as a disease of aging, while others believe it “runs in the family”. But often, arthritis symptoms can flare as a result of food allergies.

Nightshades in particular are well known to cause flare-ups of arthritis pain. Potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and eggplants are among the foods that can trigger an allergic reaction causing joint pain and swelling. Luckily, there’s an easy way to find out if this family of plant foods is problematic for you.

If you have arthritis pain, finding out whether your symptoms are due to food allergies is a simple process. First, avoid all nightshades for several days—at least four. Then, add one particular food item—potatoes, for instance—back into your diet. Eat a portion daily for several days and note any symptoms. Then eliminate all nightshades for another few days, and test another of the foods.

You may be surprised by the results. You may find that you can tolerate one particular food for several days before developing symptoms, while another food will cause symptoms almost immediately. Once you’ve analyzed the results, you can plan to either avoid certain foods completely or control the portions and frequency of these foods in your diet.

If you are taking prescription medication for your arthritis, be sure you discuss your results and ask questions of your physician before stopping any meds; they may have positive results beyond pain relief, and stopping them cold may have a negative effect. Also, be sure to monitor your condition with your physician, even if you manage to control the symptoms with diet. Arthritis is a complex auto-immune disease, and bears watching, whether you’re symptom-free or not.

Valentine Recipes - The Italian Way

Reflecting the country’s diverse cultural history and traditional heritage, Italian cuisines are some of the most famous dishes appreciated all over the world today. From everyday preparations made in exotic Italian style to special recipes for special occasions, Italy offers the world a wide variety of cuisines. While a traditional Italian menu comprises of some main items like antipasto, primo, secondo, contomo, dolce, caffe and liquors, in celebration of special occasions and holidays, Italians have their exclusive range of culinary preparations. Events like La Festa di San Giuseppe, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are celebrated in Italy with special preparations like Zeppelin (a Sicilian pastry), preparations made with fava bean and seafood preparations.

As in various other parts of the world, in Italy also Valentine’s Day is celebrated with different types of cakes, pastries and special dessert preparations. The Italian Love Cake is today one of the most popular Valentine’s Day preparations, popular not only in Italy but also in many other countries. Prepared with cake mix, ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla essence, the Italian lovecake is one of the most special treats you can give your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. The topping of this delicious cake is usually prepared with chocolate pudding, milk and whipped cream.

Along with special Italian pastries, items like Italian wine and traditional Italian pizzas (prepared in shape of a heart) are some other preparations from this land that form some of the world’s favorite Valentine’s Day treat today. So try preparing some authentic Italian dishes this Valentine for your beloved or go for an Italian-styled celebration in a famous Italian restaurant. Once you try out some exclusive Italian preparations, you can rest assured the experience will be one that you will remember for a lifetime.

Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese

Italian dishes are some of the tastiest preparations in the world. Along with including various healthy ingredients like fresh vegetables and grains, a large number of Italian recipes are served best with different types of specialized sauces and condiments. Among the rest, meat sauces, prepared in a variety of ways, form some of the most common parts of a variety of Italian recipes. From pastas and spaghetti preparations to lasagna and meatballs, meat sauces are served with a wide variety of Italian dishes.

Italy is a land of variety. Although people from other countries tend to identify all Italian recipes as belonging to one common land of origin, in truth every Italian region, every city has its own culinary specialties. Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is a special form of meat sauce that can be served along with a wide range of Italian cuisines. Among the rest, Ragu alla Bolognese is one of the most famous types of Italian meat sauce. Prepared with beef or a combination of beef and pork, you can use Tagliatelle alla Bolognese along with a wide variety of main dishes.

The main ingredients required for preparing Tagliatelle alla Bolognese are ground chuck, ground pork, ground veal, finely chopped onions, carrots and celery stalk. You will also require tomato paste, meat broth, olive oil, half a cup heavy cream, fresh tagliatelle pasta and salt and pepper according to taste.

The first step in preparing Tagliatelle alla Bolognese is to cook the beef, veal, pork and pancetta in olive oil until the meat turns brown. After removing the additional fat, you are required to add the carrots, onions and celery. When the vegetables soften, you should add the tomato paste and meat broth and cook until al the broth evaporates. You need to add three cups of broth and repeat the process three times until the sauce obtains a thick consistency. You will then need to add the cream and simmer the preparation. After seasoning with salt and pepper, you need to cook the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese in salted water till the preparation becomes dense. Served with pasta or spaghetti, Tagliatelle alla Bolognese adds its own distinct charm to every Italian preparation.

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Italian Preparations

Although most people identify Italian food with some of the nations most famous dishes like pizzas, spaghetti and lasagna, in reality, Italian food encompasses a wide variety of traditional and modern cuisines. One of the main benefits that Italian food has over that from other parts of the world is its healthy constitution. Prepared from a variety of healthy ingredients like legumes, vegetables, grains, nuts and fruits, Italian food preparations are some of the best for your health and vigor. Along with reducing risks of heart diseases and cancer, Italian food preparations are some of the best you can have for the overall maintenance of good health. Among others, lasagna and spaghetti are some of the tastiest and best known Italian preparations.

Prepared with pasta, cheese and meat-sauce layers, lasagna is one of the most famous Italian dishes today consumed all over the world. Lasagna is usually prepared with pasta or noodles, either freshly prepared or prepared and softened from a day before. The meat sauce is usually prepared with ingredients such as ground beef, tomatoes, pork sausages and a combination of pasta sauces. In addition molten cheese is also added. Other ingredients usually required in the preparation of lasagna are onion, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, mozzarella cheese, red pepper and marinara sauce with wine. One of the chief characteristics of lasagna is that it is a layered dish. In a baking pan a layer of sauce is first laid, over which layers of pasta or noodles, mozzarella cheese and then another layer of sauce is placed. Some shredded cheese is also added at top. The whole preparation is then covered and baked until the cheese melts. The preparation is then allowed to stand for 10-15 minutes before it is served. Chilling the noodles overnight before preparing the lasagna allows the flavors to soak in better and thereby, improves the overall taste.