Category Archives: Mix information

Shouldl Food Stamp Recipients be able to Purchase Food at a Fast Food Restaurant Food Stamp Usage – No

  When cutting down on food expense, every family immediately cuts down on going out to dine.  Fast food, in the main, is far more expensive than home cooked meals when compared.  Fast food takes into consideration the preparers, the servers, and the overhead needed to keep a restaurant open.  So, no, those who have food stamps should not be encouraged to eat out at the expense of tax payers.  There are many families who do not receive food stamp privileges.  Many of these families cannot eat out, so why should this luxury be afforded to those who are food stamp recipients?  Government subsidized programs are not for luxurious living.

  Someone may feel I am cruel, but I must also put myself into the food stamp recipient’s shoes.  The amount of money put on the food stamp card is not always a great amount.  I have a  friend who get $41.00 per month.  Another gets $127.00 and I know of families who have gotten $365.00 for a family of four.  The money needs to be stretched to last throughout the month, and the friend who gets only $41.00 is a senior citizen.  I really don’t believe none of those getting a small amount would want to go to a fast food restaurant and spend from $5.00 to $15.00 to eat a meal.  Even the family of four might like to go once or twice to the fast food restaurant, but hardly on a regular basis.  If I were in either of their places, I would want to economize and make the food stamp privileges stretch as far as they could go each month. That means no fast food restaurant breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. 

  Because some people who receive food stamp privileges would rather have some other people prepare their food, they would love the idea of enjoying these prepared foods at the expense of the tax payers’ hands.  This, to me, is not fair to those who are working and paying taxes.  Food stamps are given to families whose total household income is below the threshold of poverty.  They are given so that the people can at least have some food to eat, and from time to time, tips on preparing healthy, nutritious meals are sent to them.  Fast food is not always the healthiest food, although many restaurant chains are making an effort to cut down on fats, sugars, and calories in their offerings.  If food stamp recipients are allowed to eat at fast food restaurants, many of them will use them solely for that purpose and the health and proper of their families might be compromised. 

  With every privilege, which I believe food stamps are, comes responsibility.  It is my opinion that food stamp receivers should look upon it as their duty to purchase food that will help sustain their family members throughout the month.  It is their responsibility to prepare that food so that all members of their family are nourished adequately.  It its their responsibility to learn to budget these privileges.  If the fast food industry could entice the food stamp recipients to spend their money with them, we might see a “food war” waged.  Hopefully, we won’t see this.   Food is a basic need.  Let us not take that basic need and exploit the food stamp program to include fast food as a way of basic survival. 

Food Items that should not be Refrigerated

For most food items it is advised to refrigerate to make them last longer.  However, there are some items that should not be refrigerated. 

Many fruits and vegetables will last longer when refrigerated but some vegetables that should not be kept in the refrigerator are potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic and winter squash.  Potatoes keep best if stored in paper bags and should last about three weeks.  Many times potatoes are sold in plastic bags, but these can trap moisture and speed decay.

Onions are stored best in the mesh bag they are sold in which allows for air circulation.  They should not be stored near potatoes.  Potatoes emit moisture and gases that can cause onions to rot.

Garlic should be stored loose to air can move around it.  It should last up to two month in the pantry.

You may think tomatoes should be refrigerated but they can get mealy in the fridge.  They are stored best on the counter out of plastic bags.  They can be stored in a paper bag to speed up ripening.  Once ripe, they will last for about three days. 

You may have heard to store coffee in the fridge or freezer but it can create condensation that can affect the flavor of ground coffee of coffee beans.

Bread and baked goods are kept best at room temperature, since it dries out faster in the refrigerator.  If you have more than you will eat within four days, the extra can be stored in the freezer to use later.  Some people do not care for the taste of bread that has been frozen.

Oils will thicken up and get cloudy in the fridge. If they are refrigerated they will need to be set out to become thin again and the cloudiness will dissipate.  Nut oils must be refrigerated, but others do not need to be refrigerated. 

Most people store bananas outside the fridge.  If you do refrigerate them, the skins will turn black, but the insides will be alright to use.  Apples do not need to be refrigerated, unless you like really cold apples.

Some people refrigerate honey, which makes it thicken up considerably and is harder to use.  It doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  Honey has unique composition and chemical properties which allows for long-term storage without refrigeration.

Even though many foods last longer n the fridge, there are some that should not be kept in the fridge.

The best Cook Books from 2012

In the fast-paced world of today, cooking at times seems a luxury. In order to turn this around, cooks have created easy to follow, attractive cookbooks that promise to turn one’s humble cooking abilities into gourmet expertise. Well, perhaps not all claim to be able to change you into a gourmet chef, but they most certainly offer a guide towards a more proficient cooking know-how.

Every year the book market is abundant in cookbooks. The year 2012 was also a year with a vast selection, so the following is a look at a few that experts believe were the best cook books of that year. 

“Gran Cocina Latina”

There is something about the Latin temperament that immediately brings about sweet warmth to the soul and pictures of spices to the mind. ‘Gran Cocina Latina’ is a book that makes such images a reality since it covers Spanish and Portugese cuisine of South America. The author, Maricel Precilla, is a chef and restaurant owner who has travelled to this region and has collected 500 recipes ranging from the humblest to the richest. It is more than a book full of recipes, as it is accompanied by suggestions, full explanations of the equipment required or used and notes on the places of origin. The potential cook will travel firstly through reading and secondly through the dishes themselves.

“Homemade Pantry”

The cover of this book makes one’s taste buds water while the title promises to provide something missing in this high tech world—the warm home environment.  Alana Chernila takes the reader inside her very real, very homey kitchen from the first page:

“This is my kitchen. Come on in, but be prepared—it might not be quite what you expect. There is flour on the counter, oats that overflowed onto the floor, chocolate-encrusted spoons in the sink. There is Joey, the husband, exhausted by the thirty-five preschoolers who were hanging on him all day, and he is stuffing granola into his mouth to ease his five o’clock starvation. There are two little girls trying to show me cartwheels in that miniscule space between the refrigerator and the counter where I really need to be.”

As a mother and an advocate of ‘anything packaged-foods can do, she can do better’, Alana attempted and proved that home cooking is fun, easy and much more economical; let alone the health benefits. She’s an average everyday homemaker with love for clean cooking and a writer’s finesse with words.

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks”

Being a mother and one who has lived in the country, it is inevitable that simple, delicious and easy to follow recipes cross this writer’s path. Especially nowadays, when the countryside is considered so banal and outdated, it is more than refreshing to read a good down-to-earth cookbook.

The recipes included are for common every-day dishes that have perhaps been overlooked and forgotten. No one can phrase it best than the author herself:

“In addition to detailed step-by-step photographs, all the recipes in this book have one other important quality in common: They’re guaranteed to make your kids, sweetheart, dinner guests, in-laws, friends, cousins, or resident cowboys smile, sigh, and beg for seconds. (And hug you and kiss you and be devoted to you for life.)”

“Secrets of the Best Chefs”

Secrets of the Best Chefs not only has an attractive cover in line with its promising name, but also undertakes to make one’s attempt at those complicated dishes a  delectable triumph. How? By entrusting the author, Adam Roberts, to reveal those little secrets that will make your cooking foolproof. His successful web site comes to life in his new book. Having learnt from the best chefs in America, Roberts fills his book with lessons, tips and tricks easy to follow including some of signature recipes those chefs’ made to suit an amateur’s capabilities.

“The Good Food Revolution”

Who would not trust such a title? Co-author Charles Wilson, has experience with writing about healthy ‘good’ for you food in comparison to fast food and brings this experience to this book. But it is Will Allen who captures the reader’s attention as he is not the average everyday ‘good-food’ author. And while this is not exactly a cook book it is one worth mentioning.

Allen, a former professional basketball player, was once an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble and left all that behind to become an urban farmer. His farm is a two-acre plot in Milwaukee, a half mile distance from its largest public housing project. Allen saw an opportunity to improve his own life by helping others improve theirs.

Going against the odds and taking on the challenge of the underdog, he built his urban farm where there were only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants for the local residents. Today, his unsurpassed farm-educational center produces vegetables and fish all year long which feed thousands of people. But there is more. He has not only provided a path to better eating habits, he also provides work for the young people from the housing project and the community.

It is his personal journey which has brought about a positive change in the way the American nation eats while setting a shining example to be followed by generations to come. More than a book—a lesson in life definitely worth reading!

Included are links so that you, dear reader, will be able to view even more cookbooks. However, presented here were ones this writer felt would spring a chord of delight in your heart for what in essence is the art of cooking.

Foods you Didn’t know you could Grill

Steaks, hamburgers, chicken and hot dogs are usually the first foods that come to mind when you think about grilling. However, there are a variety of foods that you can cook on the grill. Plus, grilled food can be delicious and healthy for you.

Shellfish

Shrimp and lobster are the most common types of shellfish cooked on the grill. However, fresh oysters or clams can be grilled too. It only takes five minutes to cook oysters or clams. Then, serve them up straight off the grill with a dash of lemon juice and hot sauce.

Potatoes

Usually, you probably bake or fry potatoes, but you can grill potatoes too. Chop the potatoes up in chunks or slices, sprinkle with herbs, and pour a little bit of olive oil on them. Then, wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil and cook for thirty minutes. Also, you can cut baby potatoes, spread olive oil, and place them directly on the grill for the same amount of time. For a healthier alternative, you can grill sweet potatoes. Use butter or margarine instead of olive oil. Add cinnamon and brown sugar for flavor. Any of these options can be the perfect side to a meal.

Garlic Bread

Spread butter or margarine and sprinkle garlic salt on slices of bread. Then, throw them on the grill until toasted to serve with a plate of pasta.

Pizza

Instead of ordering pizza from a restaurant, make a homemade pizza on the grill for your family. Cook the pizza dough until it is lightly brown. Spread pizza sauce, sprinkle shredded cheese, and place our favorite toppings on the pizza. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on the top of the pizza. Then, it is time to put the pizza on the grill. Do not forget spray non-stick grill spray, so the pizza will not stick. When the cheese begins bubbling and toppings are brown, the pizza is ready. After you let it cool down for a few minutes, you can serve it to your family.

Sandwiches

For the kids, grilled ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great to serve for lunch. Just prepare the sandwich as usual and put them on the grill until the bread has grid marks on it.

Cakes

Are you in the mood for something sweet? You can satisfy that sweet tooth by grilling slices of angel food or pound cake. Cook the slices of cake on the grill until grid marks appear which generally takes five minutes. You can serve the slices of cake plain, but drizzling chocolate sauce or putting a scoop of ice cream with fresh berries on the cake adds wonderful flavor.

Fruit

You can cook nearly every type of fruit on the grill. Fruit skewers make a tasty and healthy snack, appetizer or dessert. Stick several pieces of fruit on each skewer and grill each side for three minutes. Grilled chunks of melons, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, and honey dew, are extremely delicious too.

These delicious dishes are quick and easy to make. You can serve them at dinner with your family or during a barbeque with your friends.

How to Make Vegan Easter Candy

Many people enjoy candy at Easter and following a vegan diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out.  It is easy to make vegan Easter candy and can be a fun activity to share with children too.

Peeps

Marshmallow peeps are a firm favourite and a similar treat can be made at home.  The simplest way is to buy vegan marshmallow mix and make it according to the directions on the package.  Alternatively, marshmallows can be made from scratch.  This is more challenging and messy so not suitable for children to make, but gives an excellent result.  The directions can be found on the Vegan Marshmallow Blog.  Once you have made the marshmallows, simply cut them into chick or bunny shapes using biscuit cutters.  Food coloring can be added while making the marshmallows for a more authentic look.

Chocolate Eggs

Filled chocolate eggs are another popular Easter candy.  To make the shells, melt some vegan chocolate (some dark chocolate is vegan, otherwise try specialist stores for vegan dark, milk, or white chocolate) and coat some egg shaped moulds.  This can be done either by painting on the chocolate using a pastry brush or by putting a spoonful into the mould and swirling it to coat the sides.  Once the chocolate has set, more can be added in the same way to make the shell thicker if you prefer more chocolate, or want it to be more robust.  Once you are satisfied with the thickness of the shell, they can be removed from the moulds (popping them in the freezer for half an hour can help) and the filling can be added.

To make a candy similar to a Cadbury Creme Egg, you will need to beat together 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup vegan margarine and a few drops of vanilla extract.  Next add 3 cups of powdered sugar a little at a time and beat well until it is fully incorporated.  In order to make the filling look like eggs, about 1/3 of the mixture needs to be separated and colored yellow.  Chill the yellow filling in the fridge to make it easier to handle, then roll it into small balls.  The white filling can be piped into half the chocolate shells, with a yellow ball added part way through to form the yolk.

Finally, place an empty half shell on top of each of the filled half shells and use a little melted chocolate to join them together.  Once the chocolate has set, the eggs are ready to enjoy.

Peanut butter also makes a great filling for these chocolate eggs, or feel free to use your imagination and experiment.  Hollow eggs can also be made this way, although it would be best to make the chocolate shell thicker for added strength.  These could have a small toy added to resemble a Kinder Surprise Egg or perhaps some vegan chocolate beans to make an egg that rattles when shaken.

Easter Candy Shapes

For a minimal fuss Easter candy, all you need are Easter moulds (for examples chicks, flowers, bunnies, etc) and some vegan chocolate.  Simply melt the chocolate and pour into the moulds.  Once the chocolate has set, remove it from the moulds (place them in the freezer if they are difficult to remove) and you have fun Easter shapes.

Being vegan doesn’t mean missing out on candy at Easter time.  These recipes produce delicious treats that you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy, and are great for kids with allergies who would miss out otherwise.

Good Foods when you have a Stomachache

Stomach ailments can be extremely painful. You want to do all you can to settle your stomach and minimize symptoms. Part of this is eating the right foods that will not irritate your stomach further. Make sure to eat slowly to lower your chances of further irritating your stomach. Consider the following foods.

Breads are a great food to eat when you have an upset stomach. You might want to have some dry toast, for instance. Avoid having toppings that could irritate your stomach further such as a lot of butter or cheese. Do not have a bread that has a lot of stuff on in such as a very sugary bread or a bread with cheese baked into it. The more plain it is, the better, but do not buy processed foods. You can eat other forms of bread such as pretzels, but get the plain versions without butter.

Crackers can be a great food to have when you are not feeling well. These are generally mild to the stomach. For the healthiest ones, look for crackers with unsalted tops since too much salt is not healthy and can upset your stomach more.

Applesauce is another great thing for someone suffering from a stomach ailment to eat. Do not get one that is loaded down with sugar since sugar is not good when you have a very bad stomachache. You can also go for plain apples, but not apple juice.

Bananas are another good for those who are having stomach problems. These are tasty, and an appropriate food for those who do not feel good. Do not add things to the banana that might irritate your stomach such as whip cream.

You also need to think about what you are drinking when you have a stomach ailment. You should avoid milk because this may irritate your stomach further. Also, you might not want to have a lot of juice. It is important to have a lot of water, especially if you are vomiting. You do not want to get dehydrated. If you have trouble keeping anything down, you can suck on ice cubes in order to get the liquid very slowly.

It is important to eat carefully when you have a stomach ailment so that you do not further irritate your stomach. If you have any specific questions, consult your physician. He or she can tell you exactly what might be best considering your particular circumstances.

Best Cook Books 2012

Every year there are thousands of cook books published. The year 2012 was no exception, however you will find that some are better than others. Here are some of the best cook books created in 2012.

* Modernist Cuisine at Home *

Written by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, this cook book aims to help you bring modern cooking into your home. Not only does the book offer excellent cooking tips it also has information on kitchen tools and how to use them for your convenience. Subjects include; how to cook the perfect steak and the perfect fish, and how to make chicken wings better using modern techniques. Modernist Cuisine at Home is an interesting book and is sure to make you into a modern cook.

* Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust *

If you’re looking for a cook book with easy to understand and has simple recipes, this book could be for you. It is written by Ina Garten, who is a highly respected cook on the Food Network channel. Even though the recipes are simple they are still so very delicious. You’ll learn how to make smoked salmon, tomato soup, and for dessert, salted caramel brownies and sticky toffee date cake.  There are lots more dishes too that you won’t want to miss.

* The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook *

The best part about this book is that the author started of by writing a blog and it turned into a cookbook. Deb Perelman, was living her everyday life while cooking in her Manhatten apartment. She has found and adapted the perfect recipes that anybody can cook easily. From salads to summer cocktails this cook book has it all.

* The Science of Good Cooking *

Guy Crosby Ph.D explains how knowing the science of food can be incorporated into making food taste better. Interesting scientific studies have been done in the test kitchen and this book shares these with its readers. Of course there is also the matter of the 400 great recipes to prove the theory of science combined with food equals perfect meals.

All these cook books from 2012 have there own unique way of helping you make delicious meals. These are the best books you will find that were published in 2012. The authors make cooking simple while also being fun at the same time. Cooking should be a pleasure and books like these make it an enjoyable time. 

Easy Dessert Recipes

Dessert is probably the part of the meal that is most looked forward too. Life can be busy so finding a dessert that is good to eat and easy to make can be a difficult task. Some easy dessert ideas are jello or pudding. They come in a box mix with easy instructions and are a cheap fix. You can also do things with them to make them even more appealing. For example, you can make a box of strawberry jello and add whipped cream on top. This is easy and yummy especially to most children. Almost everyone lovers pudding, especially if it’s chocolate. It can be eaten hot or cold. You can also make the pudding as the box instructs, put it in a graham cracker pie crust, put whipped cream on it and let it chill. Then you can take it out and serve it as chocolate pie. Pudding pies are very popular and taste delicious. 

Fruit is healthy, but it can also be a great dessert. You can make a pie using fruit like an apple pie. You can also dip the fruit in chocolate or make a fruit dip. A favorite dip for fruit is the Cream Cheese Fruit Dip. This is made with 8 oz of cream cheese and a jar of marshmallow cream. You mix these ingredients with a mixer until the dip is fluffy. Then you chill it, take it out and dip fruit like strawberries or apples in it. This dip is very sweet and is great to serve at parties. You may also get some baking chocolate, melt according to the package instructions and dip strawberries in it. You may also use white or milk chocolate this same way to dip pretzels in. Lay the chocolate covered pretzels on a cookie sheet with wax paper. Let the chocolate harden and serve as dessert. Watch out! These can be addicting. You may also partially dip vanilla wafers or some other cookie in the chocolate. Let is harden and eat.

Cookies are always a favorite. You’ll love these Easy Peanut Butter Cookies. Just heat the oven to 350. Mix one cup peanut butter, one egg and one cup of sugar together. Drop the dough by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for eight to ten minutes. These cookies are easy to make and delicious. They taste great warm or cold. There are many yummy, easy desserts to make. These are just a few ideas. Enjoy!

Fast and Easy Mussels

Many beginner chefs and home cooks are scared to cook mussels, but they are extremely fast and easy to use and make a wonderful dish for friends and family. Steaming mussels is by far the best and easiest way to cook mussels. The first thing that should be done to the mussels is give them a nice scrub down. Mussels should be clean and smell fresh. After the scrub, soak them in cold water for 20 minutes to disregard any salt and sand. It is not fun to chew sand while eating any seafood. After the mussels are clean, feel free to steam away.

After cleaning them of course, start with a hot pan and olive oil. Next add one Chorizo link diced and one fennel bulb diced. After the Spanish sausage is golden brown, add half a teaspoon of minced garlic and one teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Mix well. Next, add eight ounces of light beer to stop the cooking process of the garlic and the beer will act as a steamer for the mussels. Cook the beer until the alcohol taste is out. Finally, add about 24 clean mussels and two tablespoons of butter. The butter is used to thicken the beer. It will make a great sauce at the end. Cover the pan to steam and open the mussels for about five minutes. After all these directions have been followed, plate the mussels and pour the thick beer sauce over the mussels. Mussels are usually plated over bread, but when the bread is in the bottom of the bowl, it gets soggy. Serving bread on the side to dip in the beer butter sauce is a good way to go.

Although there are many ways to cook mussels, steaming them is by far the easiest and fastest. Many people prefer their mussels how they like them though. Everyone has a different take on how to cook mussels, and this is a great way. It is a hit in Beverly Hills. The other ways to cook mussels are smoked, boiled, roasted, barbecued. Mussels can also be fried, but with these techniques the juices and steam do not get into the mussels. Boiling mussels would be the next best way, but that is for another article. So for now, time to take off the chef coat and eat some wonderful seafood.

How to Deep Fry Oreo Cookies

You love Oreos. You love deep fried foods. Now you can easily have the best of both! The following steps will help you transform an everyday Oreo cookie into a warm, tasty, deep-fried treat.

You will need to have the following items to make deep fried Oreos:

1 Package of Oreos

A deep fryer or deep, heavy duty pot to use as a deep fryer

2 cups pancake mix

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

Approximately 2 quarts of vegetable oil

Powdered sugar

Begin by filling your deep fryer with oil. If you are using a deep pot, be sure to leave a minimum of 2 inches of head space at the top. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit while you are mixing the ingredients together.

Combine the eggs, milk and 3 teaspoons of oil with the 2 cups of pancake mix and mix until no lumps remain and the batter is completely smooth. Many find that a whisk works best. Once thoroughly combined, add the cookies into the batter, one or two at a time, until they are fully covered in the batter.

Carefully drop the battered cookies into the deep fryer. You might consider the use of a slotted spoon to place the cookies into the oil. Let the cookies cook until they are a nice golden brown, usually about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Then remove them from the oil. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and drain them on paper towels or a brown paper bag.

Sprinkle powered sugar, if desired, on the cookies and allow them to cool down a bit before eating them.

This is a treat the whole family can enjoy. Although you will not want to let younger children near the hot oil, they will enjoy mixing the batter and even sprinkling the powered sugar onto the cookies. Use caution as the oil may splatter and can cause serious injury.

It is best to fry only a few cookies at a time, depending on the size of your heavy pot or deep fryer. Most will only hold 4 or 5 cookies without overcrowding the oil. 

For this recipe, you can use any kind of Oreos or sandwich cookies that you want. This is a yummy way to make those store brand sandwich cookies better than you remember them being. One word of caution – after you have had Oreos served this way you may never go back to the old fashioned way of taking them apart and eating the middles out first ever again. Yes, they really are that good!