Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun-Filled Informational Peanut & Pecan Nut Facts

The following is a guest post:

Nuts from around the world have had a history, unlike so many other modern day things. Asia Minor was a hot bed of cultivation and farming of nuts. The walnut is still held in such high regard in the Middle East. The nuts were reserved only for the Royal families. No matter what part of the globe where things can grow in anyone can find a piece of history which pertains to nuts.


A peanut is not a nut at all and are part of the 'goober' which is a member of the pea family. They originated in South America and were consumed by the tribal Indians for well over 2000 years. Spanish and Portuguese traders introduced them to Africa and Europe. In return, the merchants brought them to the United States. At first the peanut was regarded as food only meant for poor people. By the early part of the 20th century, it is known that the desire for peanut oil along with seasoned peanuts had created a vital need. Not only did the world consume this nut in the roasted and natural state but new nut recipes were now enjoyed.

In 1916, the Planters Peanuts sponsored a logo contest. A 13 year old boy created what we see today as Mr. Peanut. The drawing was chosen and refined by artists. They included the monocle, top hat, cane and gloves. His reward?  The huge sum of the day, $5.00 only.

Other unique facts are that it takes about 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. That is a fact that everyone can tell the friends down the bar tonight. Let’s be honest that is a massive amount of peanuts crammed into a jar.


Pecan treePecans are the only nuts native to North America, all other nuts which grow here today either were brought from another region or cultivated to grow in a different climate. Archeological digs in the State of Texas show that this nut was around since 6000 B.C. Further evidence shows these trees being grown along river beds and consumed by natives and new settlers for thousands of years.

The Algonquin Indian word “Pecan” was used to name this nut as the meaning is “all nuts requiring a stone to crack”.

The first cultivation of pecan trees began around the last part of the 17th century in northern Mexico. Both the Spanish colonist and Franciscans in this region came together to plant and document these trees and their harvests. Many uses for these nuts came about at this time with new nut recipes and other ways to enjoy them.

Thomas Jefferson admired pecan trees and planted them at Monticello. He also sent George Washington the seeds to plant at Mr. Vernon where both his and Jefferson's can still be viewed today.

The U.S. Produces 80% of the world’s pecan crops.

More than 1000 varieties exist. Many have Indian names such as Cheyenne, Shawnee, Mohawk, Sioux and Choctaw.

Tim Slower has spent twenty years in the vegetable market trade and was introduced to the beauty of nuts over the Christmas period. His wife Sara began to make nut recipes, and they have both never looked back from that point. Sarah and James now write books on fantastic tasting food that include nuts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Planning a Restaurant Menu? Here Are Some Considerations

The following is a guest post:

A restaurant's menu is a representation of the establishment. Thus, it has to be planned carefully. If you are a restaurant owner or if you are creating a menu for an eating establishment, there are some vital considerations that you should always keep in mind. Here are some examples.

Consider the Overall Theme or Concept

The concept of a restaurant will determine the interior d├ęcor and what paint color or furnishings to use. Naturally, the concept must also be interpreted in the menu. There are so many themes to choose from. If you wish, you can base an entire idea on certain kinds of cuisine, like Asian, French or all-American. You can also opt to establish your concept based on your location. For example, if you are going to have your eating establishment in an area mainly populated by Asians, maybe you can focus on serving sushi, curry or dishes with rice or noodles.

Finalize The Size of Your Menu

Restaurant Menu
Are you going to be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner? If so, then you ought to have dishes that will be apt for each eating schedule. For breakfast, eggs, pancakes, or French toast are popular options. Think about serving hot beverages, like coffee or hot chocolate. In case you also want to serve the lunch and dinner crowd, consider salads, main courses, and desserts. Juices, wine, or beer are just a few drinks that you can have too.

What's important to remember here is that you need to base your menu on your resources. Don't include anything and everything. Carefully choose the dishes that you are going to incorporate in your menu. If your menu consists of so many food choices, your customers could get confused. Try to make it simpler.

Decide If You'll Serve Specials

Having special dishes will definitely attract more customers. This will also allow people to readily recognize your establishment through your dishes. Once certain dishes gain popularity, others will be convinced to try these, and so they'll visit your restaurant.

Review Food Costs and Settle on Prices

It is a challenge to finalize the cost of each dish. Others will assign prices by comparing the cost of their dishes with their competitors. If they want to become the more affordable alternative, they'll lower the prices to draw in customers. Some might increase the cost of their food if they prefer.

These methods generally work, but the most commonly used technique is to sum up the amount of raw ingredients used and multiply the figure by 3 or 4. Add more to the amount if you use other elements especially in the presentation of dishes. In addition, it's very important to control portions. This way, you'll have a general idea on how much each dish typically costs.

Ultimately, your prices should be fair. Don't overprice since this could put off customers. But don't be too cheap too as you might suffer huge losses if you do. So, be practical and try to offer both affordable and slightly expensive items so that your consumers will have more options.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Five Foods That May Help Keep You Cancer Free

The following is a guest post:

Cancer is a terrible disease that puts many lives at risk. It is a fear among all and many are taking all necessary steps to prevent it. Small actions such as staying in good health, visiting your doctor regularly, taking all necessary exams and eating right can help you avoid cancer. Researchers have recently discovered that incorporating certain foods into your diet can help in preventing and protecting you from cancer. Here are five foods that may help keep you cancer free.

Cancer Free Foods


Although it may not be good for ones breath, cancer is a cancer fighting food. Studies have shown that those who incorporate a lot of garlic in their diet are less likely to develop certain cancers. Garlic is especially helpful in preventing cancers in the digestive organs such as the colon and stomach. Many believe that the elements found in garlic bulbs can stop the body’s cancer causing components from going into action. Garlic may also help those with cancer by preventing the cells from multiplying.


The skin of grapes contains an antioxidant called resveratrol that may be useful in stopping cancer from starting or preventing existing cancer cells from growing. This special antioxidant can be found in grapes, of course, along with grape juice and red wine. According to the National Cancer Institute, moderate amounts of red wine can reduce the risk of certain cancers including prostate cancer.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables such as mustard greens, kale and collard greens contain the antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein, which may limit cancer cell growth. Leafy greens also provide the body with the many nutrients it needs to remain healthy.


Turmeric is not only great in Indian curries but is may help keep you cancer free. Turmeric, which contains the ingredient curcumin, can help to reduce the risk of cancer. In studies, the ingredient curcumin can not only prevent certain cancers but also slow the spreading of cancer and shrink tumors.

Green Tea

Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that may have the ability to shrink tumors, reduce the growth of tumors, and may lower the risk of developing cancer. A cup of green tea a day is a great addition to any diet.

Overall, several foods may keep you cancer free. Following an anti- cancer diets that contains cancer-fighting foods along with other foods filled with nutrients can help your live a healthier life. All of the five foods previously discussed can easily be incorporated into your diet. So many delicious foods out there can lower your risk of developing cancer.

Sydney is health industry writer and is passionate about cancer awareness. To learn more about meningioma surgery please visit skullbaseinstitute.com

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spicy Mango Chicken Recipe

Spicy Mango Chicken Recipe Intro

We are going to be frying the chicken for this Spicy Mango Chicken Recipe but grilling it works just as well, if not better.

This is a great tasty way to cook chicken with some fruit. You could play around with the fruits for other ideas.

Spicy Mango Chicken Recipe Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • finely chopped fresh garlic
  • finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ground coriander
  • ground all spice
  • ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • chicken breast with bone in
  • water
  • Organic Brown rice
  • Diced fresh mango
  • fresh orange juice
  • fresh lime juice
  • honey
  • Flour

Spicy Mango Chicken Recipe Directions

In a bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, all spice, and cayenne pepper. Rub the chicken with the spice mixture, and place in the bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.

Combine  water and rice in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked.

In a small saucepan, mix the mango, orange juice, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small cup, mix flour with a little water until flour is dissolved. Stir into fruit sauce, and simmer one minute, or until sauce has started to thicken.

Preheat a fry pan or grill for medium heat. When pan or grill is hot, add some oil.

Fry chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side or until cooked through. rest for a few minutes after taking off heat. Serve over the cooked rice mango fruit sauce. Buttered steamed beans will be a good side dish to accompany this meal.

optional: You might like to cook the mango fruit sauce in the fry pan that the chicken was fried in after you drain any oil out. This will bring more flavour to the sauce.

Buttered beans Cooking Organic Brown Meal Cooking Organic Brown Rice Fried Spicy Mango Chicken Spicy Mango Chicken - Fry Chicken Spicy Mango Chicken Sauce Spicy-Mango-Chicken

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Chinese Dumpling

Simple Chinese Dumpling Recipe Boiled or Fried

This Chinese Dumpling Recipe is going to have a traditional wrapper made from flour and water. The fillings can include meat, vegetables, seafood and even fruit. Our dumplings will be filled with a simple vegetable mixture.

Chinese Dumpling Wrapper Ingredients

  • Flour
  • Luke warm water
  • Sea Salt
  • Optional vegetable oil

Chinese Dumpling Wrapper Method

Take some flour and pour into a bowl. Add in some salt and stir it well. Make a hole in the middle and gradually add the water until it forms into a dough like mix. Sprinkle some more water on the dough and stir by hand to form a paste and smooth it out. You might like to also include a little vegetable oil in the mix too but it's not necessary. Seal the bowl with cling wrap and put the dough away to be fermented at room temperature for 10 - 15mins.

Now, start kneading the dough. Add some more flour and water if needed to get the right mixture. The dough should be silky smooth but don't ever work it. As you knead, it will become elastic and shiny.

The dough is ready to be rolled into wrappers as soon as it is smooth.

You can either create little balls of dough, one at a time, and roll them into circular wrappers. Or, you can opt to roll the dough into a thin, flat sheet and cut out long shaped or circular wrappers.

Make sure that the rolled wrappers are not too thin, otherwise they will break where the fillings is placed. Sprinkle flour into each wrapper as you place them on top of each other.

Vegetables should be either steamed or wok fried and have these ready to place into the dumpling wrappers.

Now you can start wrapping the dumplings. The good thing about wrapping with homemade, fresh dough is that there is no need to wet the edges with water. The wrappers are naturally sticky.

Cooking the Chinese Dumpling

Pan Fried

1. Add some veggie oil in a large pan. When the oil is heated up, place the dumplings neatly to fill up the pan. Don't ever crown them.

2. Allow the skin to get golden and brown.

3. Pour a little hot water into the skillet and cover for 5 mins, so that the steaming can cook the dumplings through. Once there is no more water left, serve the dumplings.


1. Heat 1 pot of lightly salted water .

2. Prepare another pot of room temperature water.

3. When the first pot of water starts to boil, drop in the dumplings and allow them to cook for about 4 minutes.

4. Serve them up with your favorite Chinese sauce as below.

Chinese Dumpling Sauce

In a small bowl. add some sea salt, chicken or seafood stock, lime or lemon juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, finely chopped ginger and finely red chili. Stir it well. You can also add in some chopped spring onion to enhance the flavor. Pour it into a dish and serve with the dumplings.

Boiled Chinese Dumplings Chinese Dumplings Boiling in Water Chinese Dumplings Sauce Chinese Dumplings Vegetable Filling Chinese Dumplings Wrappers Chinese Dumplings Wrappers Rolled Cutting Chinese Dumplings Making Wrapper Dough Mixing dough Prepared Chinese Dumplings Vegetable Filling Cooking

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Spaghetti Meatballs Recipe

Tasty and Easy Spaghetti Meatballs Recipe

This Spaghetti Meatballs dish is a versatile dish and you can use a variety of herbs in the mince mixture.

Spaghetti Meatballs Mix

  • Fresh Breadcrumbs
  • Milk
  • Onion, Finely Chopped Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • Olive Oil
  • Beef Or May Use Pork Mince As Well
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • Grated Zest Of Lemon Or Lime And Orange
  • Handful Herbs Like Parsley, Oregano Leaves Finely Chopped
  • Sprinkle Of Sea Salt & Cayenne Pepper

Spaghetti Meatballs Tomato Sauce

  • Olive Oil
  • Medium Onion, Finely Chopped Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
  • Ground Cumin
  • Chopped Fresh Chili
  • Fresh Chopped Tomatoes Or Canned Organic Tomatoes
  • Red Bell Peppers
  • Small Egg Plant
  • Raw Sugar
  • Handful Chopped Herbs Like Oregano, Bay Leaves And Paprika
  • Squeeze Of Lime Juice
  • Milk
  • Sea Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 To make the bread crumbs. Cut some bread up into cubes and place on fry pan at low heat. turn over frequently and cook at low temperature until the bread is hard. Take out of pan and press down the bread cubes with heavy object to squash the bread and make it into crumbs.

2 To make the Spaghetti Meatballs sauce, heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion until lightly cooked. Add the red peppers, egg plant and other veggies you desire. Add the garlic and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes. Add the cumin and chili and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, white wine and seasoning, herbs and any other ingredients, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until rich and thick.

3 While the Spaghetti Meatballs sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. Put the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and add just enough milk to cover. Leave to soak. Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in one tablespoon of the oil for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. When cold, stir in the breadcrumbs, along with the mince, Parmesan, lemon zest and herbs. Season generously, then mix well.

4 Preheat a large fry pan and shape the mince mixture into medium meatballs. Heat the remaining oil in a saute pan and brown the meatballs on all sides for about 5 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce into a baking dish and place the meatballs on top. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Alternately cook in a large fry pan slowly.

Serve Spaghetti Meatballs with Spaghetti Pasta

adding milk to bread crumbs cooking meat balls in sauce Cooking pasta Frying meat balls frying veggies for sauce Making bread crumbs meat balls sauce meat balls served Onions & Red peppers rolling meat balls squashing bread crumbs tipping milk into breadcrumbs veggies ready for meatball sauce

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tropical Fruit Shake Recipe

Tropical Fruit Shake Recipe

Again as I travel and live in the Philippines I have been trying to make do with local fruits. Today I will explain how to make a very basic Philippines style Fruit shake.

Fruit Shake Ingredients

  • Fresh fruit like Mango, Papaya or Banana
  • Fresh Milk
  • Chilled Water
  • Ice Cubes

Fruit Shake Directions

The the fruit, clean it and slice it. Place in shake mixer or blender. Take the mild, water and ice and also place in shake bowl ready to mix. Turn on high so the blender will cut through the ice easier. Then after 20 seconds turn on to lower setting and mix for around 2 minutes.
Philippines Fruit Shake
That is it, serve into large glass.
You can experiment by adding things like honey, Milo or chocolate, ginger, coconut, buko juice etc. The options are limitless but less is is usually better ;)

Philippines Salad

Easy to Prepare Philippines Salad Recipe

As I recently came to the Philippines to live I'm now working on new ways to make healthy meals while I live here with the local produce and this Philippines Salad is something I could eat often. When I lived in Cebu city last year it was possible to get nearly any food you can get back in Australia although not always the same quality. Here on the island I live on now it is really difficult to get a lot of the foods I'm used to so I have to make use of a very limited but fresh and mostly organic range of veggies for salads.

I was recently in Cebu city and I ate at one of my favorite restaurants there called the Persian Palace in Ayala. I had a salad there that I really enjoyed and what I particularly liked about it was that the vegetables were cut quite fine so they all blended well.

Unfortunately I don't have any fresh parsley for this Philippines Salad as that salad had and was a highlight but I will make do with what I have and spice it up a little to compensate for the lack of parsley.

Philippines Salad

You can buy all of these ingredients are the local store here where it does stock a few things aimed at the foreigners tastes. Most provinces with a tourist influx will have such a shop.

Philippines Salad Ingredients

  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring Onion
  • Red Pepper
  • Dried Basil
  • Peppercorn
  • Cumin Powder
  • Spanish Paprika Power
  • Balsamic White Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Philippines Salad Directions

Take all the veggies, wash them and clean the seeds out of the peppers and then cutting the skin of the cucumber.

Make sure your knife is sharp and cut all these veggies into small dices. Make the carrot even smaller that the rest.

Place all these diced veggies into a bowl. Sprinkle olive oil, vinegar,herbs and spices and mix well.

Serve with bread and cheese or similar.