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Thursday, February 25 2010

Everyone likes to eat and when the food is fresh and freshly prepared in front of your eyes and you can smell it cooking when the bell rings it is time to eat. What else can cooking do for you? Chefs in general have learned a talent with cooking food and also have a way of working with others. There will always be more than one person in a kitchen at the restaurant. If they were not able to work with others then they obviously have picked the wrong career or would need to find a way to work alone.

They work in teams so it natural that they might offer team building cooking classes. It would be fun to learn to work together and not on a work project but on a fun project called "lunch". Cooking classes have been known to be great stress relievers because cooking can be calming. If you were in a team it would not work if people were raising their voices or trying to take over tasks because then things would not get completed and the food would not be cooked properly at the same time. It would become frustrating and defeat the purpose of the event.

One other advantage of a cooking class is at the end you are able to eat what you make and you can reproduce it. It gives you satisfaction to learn and it may be something you enjoy without knowing it. Cooking classes for a team building event is a nice way to build moral between management and subordinates as they work together toward a common goal. No one is in charge except for the chef. They have a big job, they teach, train, entertainment and keep things on track too. The one main goal in the end though is to show you that you can work as a team.

Cooking classes may also be something to share with a spouse or child, they offer several classes in the community and maybe if you attended an event it may be something to consider pursuing with that person. It could be considered your quality time and it would be a time that no one gets upset and it would be fun.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 08:39 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 18 2010


Cheryl Richardson is what nutritionists might call a "hard loser"—someone who cuts calories and boosts exercise without seeing results when they step on the scales. A 54-year-old stocks-and-commodities trader from the Dallas area, Cheryl has been overweight since childhood. Countless diets over the years provided her with a history of yo-yo body weights but no long-term solution to personal weight management. Ten years ago, she became obese during a stressful time and then found it nearly impossible to lose the weight.

She finally enrolled in a weight-management program, hoping to lose 50 pounds. One year later and 20 pounds lighter, what she learned from the program (at the Cooper Institute in Dallas) has made her healthier, stronger and happier, even though she failed to reach her personal weight goal.

Bathroom scales don't lie, but they tell only partial truths. We depend on them too much for a report that doesn't reveal important information about real fitness and the likelihood of preventing disease. Body weight is but one measure of health, not the ultimate indicator that figures so prominently in most people's minds.

In Cheryl's case, being obese was just part of a significant constellation of factors that added up to a serious health condition called metabolic syndrome, which affects at least 20 percent of Americans, or 47 million adults.

Metabolic syndrome is diagnosed when a person exhibits three or more of the following risk factors: waist measurement more than 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (nonpregnant women); HDL (good) cholesterol less than 40 (men) or 50 (women); blood glucose (sugar) levels at or exceeding 110; triglycerides of 150 or higher; blood pressure of 130/85 or more. The diagnosis is an indication of compromised health: metabolic syndrome carries an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and premature death.

Cheryl's family history further confirmed the profile of metabolic syndrome. Two of her sisters have diabetes, as does her father, who also had bypass surgery for clogged coronary arteries. Cheryl wanted to lose weight to improve her appearance, but she also wanted to reduce her risks for these diseases.

Despite not reaching her weight goal, Cheryl Richardson had much to celebrate one year after beginning the program. She had reversed her diagnosis of metabolic syndrome by getting her blood pressure from 139/89 down to 127/78. At the same time, she had lost eight inches off her waist and dropped over 50 points in triglycerides. She now has more energy and a new attitude.

Cheryl's program is simple but steadfast. She eats more whole grains, vegetables and fruits and less red meat, but does not obsess about her food. Most important, Cheryl feels, is her ironclad rule: to walk for an hour five mornings a week.

"I don't feel like I'm denying myself anymore. I'm finally at peace with food," she says with conviction. "It's the total package of fitness and food. I've never felt this good. It comes down to smart choices, portion control and being faithful to my exercise program." Like many people who report long-term weight control, Cheryl has chalked up double the recommended walking time (the usual government guideline is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week).

With obesity widespread in our society and metabolic syndrome a new reality for one adult in five, Cheryl's case is instructive. Her weight didn't plummet, but her vital measurements of metabolic fitness all improved—without the use of medication. At the same time, her risks for both diabetes and heart disease were reduced. Her health outcome was less visible but more important than her weight loss.

Bathroom scales alone can't reveal metabolic syndrome. Anyone concerned about this modern-era plague needs to see a doctor for a checkup and a go-ahead to exercise. For the rest of us, an updated perspective may be in order: healthy bodies come in myriad shapes and sizes. Thinness and true fitness are not always the same thing.


Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 02 2010
Every Valentine's Day, one question looms over the heads of modern-day Lotharios wielding a wooden spoon: What do women want to eat for a romantic meal?   

We asked our female Facebook buddies what they hope to see on their dinner plates come February 14th. The results showed that our readers want to get down and dirty with decadent meals. Luxurious seafood; a hearty, meaty main; and dessert (of course) were the most common requests. Did I forget to mention the Champagne?

So if you're cooking for your lady, leave the Romaine lettuce at the market and go home with some fresh oysters, red meat, and bubbly. Here are a few ideas from our readers:

-Dawn Renee Skaien of Santa Barbara, California tells us that she would want "a black and blue filet mignon with a balsamic reduction, Australian lobster tail, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and sautéed spinach."

-Another reader, Cathy Negus, couldn't be happier with a feast of "shrimp bisque to start" followed by a "medium-rare duck breast with port-cherry sauce, roasted garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes, and baby carrots with a Grand Marnier glaze."

-Elise Herrman would love to have some "hickory smoked baby back ribs."

It's not surprising that shellfish tops the list as a popular V-Day dinner picks. Oysters have been consumed for their aphrodisiac effects since the Roman Empire. But roast beef? Bison? Medium-rare steak with a side of béarnaise? Our readers listed those meats and more.     

Harold McGee tells us in On Food and Cooking that we are biologically drawn to the flavor triggers in red meat. Protein-rich foods provide hormones necessary for sexual vitality according to Michael and Ellen Albertson, authors of Temptations: Igniting the Pleasure and Power of Aphrodisiacs

Whatever your meal ends up being, we hope it's delicious. It doesn't hurt to give your partner subtle hints about what your ideal menu looks like. After all, communication (and a good sauté pan) is key.

Find out what men want to eat on Valentine's Day later this week!

--Diane Chang
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:29 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 01 2010

What to do, what to do? It's the romantic holiday of the year but it can be sort of casual for some, and for others it barely exists.

Whether this day is romantic or not for you or the person on your mind, it's still a good day for gift giving and receiving. Why? Because it's fun.

Gift baskets are perfect for any occasion big or small, romantic and casual. And they fit just about anybody's budget. So combine the versatility with the quality and variety available, and you're looking at the near perfect gift.

Look at some of the different varieties of arrangements:

• Total spa care
• Imported French foods and goods
• Imported Italian foods and goods
• Wine
• Chocolate and sweets
• Coffee and chocolate
• Gourmet breakfast
• Cocktail baskets
• Microbrews
• Flowers
• Tea and cookies
• Sushi kits
• Kosher foods
• Organic foods
• Cured meats
• Romantic
• Health food
• Champagne
• Barefoot contessa
• Gardening
• Gourmet pizza
• Gourmet popcorn
• Potpourri and candles
• Seafood
• Tex mex

There are many other types of baskets available through family owned gift companies like GourmetGiftBaskets. They boast the cheapest delivery prices and these are handmade gifts that have won national awards and critical acclaim over the last few years. You can even put together your own custom arrangement for those you truly know.

All you have to do is specify the delivery date and location which can be a church, school, hospital, business, or home residence. You can order months ahead of time and some Valentine's varieties are already selling out. So even if Valentine's Day isn't a big deal for you, it's still the perfect day for surprising someone with a great gift.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 03:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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