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Thursday, February 24 2011

Have you ever wondered if all good tasting foods are designed to make you fat? For those of us who have been on a restricted diet because of health reasons it sure can seem that way. There is nothing worse than having the doctor tell you that dramatic changes will be necessary to your eating habits. In your mind you imagine eating bland rice cakes, followed by a leafy green salad with no dressing. While this may be true in some cases, in most it is possible to eat healthy without sacrificing taste. However, there are alternative views.

What the Fitness Gurus Say

Jack Lalanne, America's #1 fitness guru was once heard saying that if something tastes good, you should not eat it. While that advice is not 100% true, it is safe to say that if followed, you can be assured that you will have an incredibly healthy body. The fact is that many of the foods that taste good going down or incredibly bad for our overall well-being. They are not designed to keep us vibrant and disease free.

Change You Can Taste

It is important to realize that over time as you begin to adjust your consumption of over salted fried food and sugar rich desserts, your body will begin to adapt. Your taste buds, once covered in all the bad stuff begin to pick up the sometimes subtle flavors of foods that when tasted before you felt had no taste at all.

The truth of the matter is that not all great tasting foods are designed to make you fat however not all boring and bland foods are totally healthy. The key is to strike a balance between good taste and common sense. 
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 07:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 23 2011

Many years ago, many people did not know about something called bacteria and no one had refrigerators to keep their food fresh. Nowadays, with scientists and others looking into the effects that spoiled food has on our bodies, packaging our food in the right has become a major priority in food safety. We all have to make sure that they food in our fridges are not too old and packaged properly with a tight, sealed lid. Restaurants must exercise extreme caution when they keep food. They always give out wax packaging as to go containers so that food does not spill and food is shipped to restaurants in seafood packaging and poultry boxes.

Food cannot always be prepared right where it is served. Some types of fish are not available in different parts of the country, so it must be shipped across many states. When this has to happen, the ones who package this food up need to make sure that the trucks are cold enough to ship the food. If the cooling systems in the trucks are not operating properly, it could ruin the entire load and cost a lot of money. The truck drivers need to constantly make sure that the cooling systems are working properly. Depending on how long it takes to ship the food, you would not want raw meat sitting in a warm truck for hours at a time. If a restaurant got spoiled meat and they did not know that it had been sitting in a warm area, they could serve it and get many of their customers sick.

Restaurants also cannot possibly predict the precise number of people who are going to serve a specific product. Usually, they have to buy large quantities so that they do not run out. They should pay very close attention to dates. By marking dates on all food, they can keep track of when they got it and when it needs to be served by. If there is any food leftover after a certain amount of time, it should be thrown out. There are ways to package food so that you can keep it fresh for longer, but no food lasts forever and if it is not being used in the time that it is fresh, it is best to get rid of it.

Since companies have to deal with liability issues, they have to be very careful. When the customer takes the food home, it is up to them to store the food properly, but when they are at a sit down restaurant or any restaurant, it is the responsibility of the business to make sure that the customers are safe and given food that will not harm them.

Boxes that are made specifically for poultry and fish are great when small restaurants need to purchase meats and need them shipped a long way. These meats can spoil in as little as under an hour if it is not kept in the correct environment while being carried from place to place.

Author Stewart Wrighter writes about wax packaging and other forms of packaging. He searched the term seafood packaging to find where he can purchase some containers online.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 08:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 21 2011

If you enjoy eating chicken or if you eat a lot of chicken because it is easy on your budget, then this article was written just for you. Simple and easy are the basis for any good meal. There are already a substantial amount of T.V. Shows about expensive cooking. This article is about cooking quality chicken a variety of different ways while on a budget. Chicken is an affordable meat that many people on a limited budget will use in their daily meal planning. The problem with chicken is creating different ways to cook this bird. This article uses the inexpensive thigh with leg that is attached.

Roast chicken must be the easiest way to cook chicken. Simply wash, pat dry rub with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can cook with the lid on or with the lid off. Many people will cook and take the lid off 3/4 of the way to crisp up and brown the skin. Add a few vegetables and you can have a meal prepared using only one roaster.

BBQ chicken is extremely tasty, If you are new to using a BBQ take the skin off the chicken before you start cooking. This will greatly reduce the chance of a fire starting and burning your meat. Add any kind of sauce near the end of cooking. Having 3 - 4 different sauces will allow people to change the flavor of the meat by using a different sauce.

Breaded chicken is fantastic, you can purchase different flavors at your local grocery store or you can mix your own spices and add them to your coating. The best part of making your own spice mix is you can control how much sodium will be used. Two popular coatings you can use are corn flakes, and crackers. If you want to make a special meal, Japanese Panko bread crumbs will add a nice touch to your chicken.

The slow cooker is very easy way to cook chicken. Unused chicken or chicken bones can be added to the slow cooker with water. All you have to do is set it on low add a couple bay leaves and some salt and leave it all day. An hour before cooking take the chicken out of the slow cooker and let cool. While the chicken is cooling you can add noodles or rice. Pick all the meat off the bones and put back into the slow cook and you will have an amazing chicken noodle or rice soup.

By Rick Henderson

Our free new book "The Scratch" will show you the basics of three great meals you can use to start your new family budget. It has great meals you can use to feed a family of four for a combined cost of under $16.00.

Rick and his wife have been able to reduce their grocery budget by almost 50% since they started this challenge in 2010. Their 15 years of grocery shopping for the family has led them to start a blog that includes using leftovers to save big, money, meal planning, cooking utensils, recipes, and grocery lists. 
you can follow their blog, post comments and find "The Scratch" at

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 18 2011

There is a saying "our body is our temple and we need to take proper care of it to lead a healthy life". Good food habits are the basic to build your body and lead a happy and healthy life. In this technological world everything is machine made and food items also didn't escape from it. Once you find the foods that are healthy to you, you need to look at your food habits. The closer a food is to its natural state; the better it is for you. Vegetables have lot of minerals and vitamins in it so eat more green, yellow and orange vegetable. Healthy foods make your immune system strong and make you feel strong, fresh and great all time. Unhealthy foods lead to various disorders and cause obesity. Understanding about the nutrients and their benefits and their food sources belonging to each nutrient will help you to pick up the right foods to be included in your diet. Certain nutrients are good for growth, certain nutrients are good to reduce weight naturally and certain nutrients are good to reduce the deficiencies in the body and help you to look great.

To know how healthy you are asking some questions to yourself like, how healthy am I? Do I have a healthy diet? Do I drink enough amount of water? And Do I sleep for enough time? Will help you to know about your health and analyze your diet. Life is very beautiful and all are willing to enjoy it up to the maximum without any health problem. Ok, now a question may strike in your mind how I can lead healthy life right. It's very simple and easy, follow some of the good healthy food recipes and you can lead a good healthy life. Good health does not come just with good food habits and exercise but also with positive mental health.

Healthy food recipe is a term used for foods that have low fat and sugar content.

Here are some of the recipes for healthy food:

- Eat food items rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. These food items are good anti-oxidants and they fight against aging. They reduce the risk of skin cancer and heart disease. 
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water everyday 
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleeping cause premature aging in you. 
- Do meditation. It helps to keep your mind and soul fresh 
- Eat more fruits like guava, papaya, strawberries, etc... 
- Ear more vegetables like carrot, beans, etc... 
- Say no to oily food.

The list goes on and now I will stop here with my list. Follow all these food recipes and you will find a difference. Eat a variety of food to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy.

Share some of the good health habits with your friends and lead a healthy life. The author is an expert on health advice and has written many articles on the topic healthy foods.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 17 2011

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Eatocracy is in New Orleans this week getting ready for the second edition of our Secret Supper. We'll be sharing the people, purveyors and places that make this such a significant food town, and hope you'll join in with your questions, memories, restaurant suggestions and general bonhomie.

New Orleans (CNN) - Without a blink of hesitation, Renee Fish grabbed a squirmy-raw oyster off an iced platter in New Orleans and sloshed it into her mouth.

“It’s definitely the texture,” she said, her eyes lighting up at the experience of just having eaten a live mollusk from the Gulf of Mexico’s once-oily waters. “And they’re clean. They have a real silkiness. I try not to think about what other nasties could be in there.”

On a neon-lit night at the Acme Oyster House, Fish and her husband went on to order two-dozen raw oysters, a half-dozen charbroiled oysters and two “oyster shooters,” which are essentially vodka shots with oysters staring up from the bottom.

As for the oil spill: “It really didn’t even enter my mind.”

Ten months after the BP oil disaster that spewed about 200 million gallons of crude into the ocean off the Louisiana coast, oysters are starting to make a comeback in New Orleans restaurants - a remarkable feat, considering that about half of the local oyster population was killed during the spill; and considering that a majority of Americans surveyed still express some squeamishness about eating seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Signs of the molluscan renaissance are all around the city: At Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, famous charbroiled oysters are back on the menu after being replaced by mussels; Antoine’s Restaurant, home of Oysters Rockefeller, started serving Louisiana oysters again this month; “oyster loaves” - massive, fried “po’ boy” sandwiches - are available all over town; and, after a hiatus, Jacques-Imo’s Cafe is plopping “Cajun croutons” - another version of fried oysters - on top of its spinach salads.

“Right now, anywhere you go in New Orleans, you can have all the oysters you want,” said Tom Fitzmorris, a longtime restaurant critic here. “The price is a little higher. That’s the only evidence that this (oil disaster) ever happened.”
Perhaps this isn’t surprising to people who know New Orleans well. After Hurricane Katrina, the city has a reputation for being able to bounce back from anything.

But getting oysters and other seafood back onto New Orleans tables has been an epic struggle for oyster farmers and chefs. In many ways, it’s a struggle that still continues.

Part of this has to do with the direct effects of the oil disaster.

After oil started gushing in April from a BP well a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, the state of Louisiana came up with a plan to keep the oil as far from its fragile coast as possible: It would flush fresh water into estuaries and streams, pushing back against the oil.

That move may have saved coastal marshes. But it had an unintended consequence: It probably  killed many oysters, which thrive in water that is “brackish” - or part salty, part fresh.

Oil also encroached on some oyster habitat, preventing harvest. That’s a big deal in Louisiana, which produces 40% of the nation’s oysters, more than any other state, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA closed much of the Gulf to fishing after oil spewed from the bottom of the ocean in April. Only about 1,000 square miles of federal waters remain closed after the oil disaster, according to NOAA, which is down from a peak closure in June of 88,500 square miles. Oysters and other fish could not be harvested from areas where the government feared oil would affect food safety or quality.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration took charge of this seafood safety effort, using chemical tests to check for seafood safety and also employing humans with highly trained noses to sniff for petroleum contamination of the food.

With all of these precautions in place, any food that is legally harvested from the Gulf of Mexico is absolutely safe at this point, said Don Kraemer, an FDA seafood safety expert.

“If they’re buying commercially harvested seafood, there’s no reason to be worried about the effects of the spill on the safety of that seafood,” Kraemer said in an interview.

Some independent scientists, however, have criticized the FDA’s process, calling the smell tests junk science and saying the FDA isn’t testing for a wide enough range of contaminants. The FDA’s chemical tests look for only one line of  potentially cancer-causing chemicals, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Others have citied what they see as alarming levels of compounds that can cause liver problems.

Kraemer dismissed those claims, saying those lipids are found naturally in the fat of many fish and other seafood species - something he said the studies don’t account for.

And he’s “dumbfounded” by criticism of the FDA’s sensory tests.

“They truly were experts,” Kraemer said of the human smell testers, who were trained specifically on the scents of Gulf oil spill. “And quite frankly, the sensory test is even more sensitive than most of the chemical analyses. The human nose is an incredible sensory organ. It can pick up odors that are extremely faint when it’s properly trained.”

Then there are the lingering long-term questions.

No one knows for sure what effects the oil spill will have on fish, oyster and shrimp reproduction over coming years, said Julie Olson, assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama. “If you look at previous oil spills that have gone on throughout history, while we’ve gained a lot of information, we’re still in our infancy in terms of understanding the long-term effects,” she said.

The public seems to have ignored the nuance of this debate, choosing instead to translate images of oiled pelicans and dead dolphins into fear of food from the entire Gulf.

A December survey by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board found that more than seven in 10 people express “some level of concern” about eating seafood from the Gulf of Mexico after the oil disaster. In July, three months after the event started, more than 90% of people surveyed expressed such reluctance.

The perception that Gulf seafood is unsafe is perhaps the single biggest challenge for the oyster industry, said Ewell Smith, executive director of the seafood marketing board. His group is using $30 million from BP, which has claimed responsibility for the disaster, to try to “rebrand” Gulf seafood as safe and delicious, he said.

Surveys show that people who live far away from the Gulf Coast are more fearful of Gulf seafood than locals, but not everyone in New Orleans is willing to eat local seafood.

“I just doesn’t feel safe,” said Kerry Seaton Stewart, owner of Willie Mae’s Scotch House, a fried chicken restaurant in New Orleans that stopped serving fish after the oil spill. “I was a big raw oyster eater - I just haven’t eaten it since,” she said.

While many New Orleans restaurants again are offering oysters, others are so unsure of seafood supplies that they’re changing the menu by the day.

This is true of Dooky Chase, a Cajun restaurant in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood. After rebuilding from scratch after Hurricane Katrina, the restaurant had to adopt a paper menu after the oil spill, since high-quality seafood isn’t always available.

“As the seafood industry goes, really, so do we,” said Edgar L. “Dooky” Chase Jr., the restaurant’s 82-year-old, second-generation owner, who squints as he talks, as if he’s in the middle of playing a trumpet solo. “It’s like a quarterback. It’s the quarterback of culinary food in New Orleans.” Chase said his restaurant is developing a new menu that will not lean as heavily on seafood, so that it can adapt to changing times.

People who harvest and sell oysters seem to be hurting worse than those who serve them on white-tablecloth settings, where the effects of the disaster aren’t as obvious.

On the streets of the city’s vibrant French Quarter, which once were made of crushed oyster shells, Al Sunseri still arrives at the headquarters of the P & J Oyster Co. at 3:30 each morning. He’s determined to keep business going even though P & J - the oldest oyster wholesaler in the county, in operation since 1876 - doesn’t have enough business to process oysters in its warehouses.

The company headquarters sits in a chilled silence, pierced only by the hum of refrigerators that keep the few oysters the company has at a preservative 33 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I kind of feel like a cork bobbing in the water,” Sunseri said of the limbo the oil spill has put him in. He comes to work every day just to keep moving - to try to start something.

“It’s hard to change a leopard’s spots,” he said.

Sunseri and other oyster wholesalers in Louisiana say they’re buying the majority of their oysters from Gulf Coast states other than Louisiana, because so many oysters were killed here and because some of the oyster grounds are still closed in this state.

The Louisiana oyster harvest was down 50% in 2010, during the oil spill, compared with an average of the four previous years, according to data provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. Wholesalers like P & J and Motivatit Seafood, out of Houma, Louisiana, say about half of the oysters they sell come from outside the state.

Restaurants are passing along these non-Louisiana oysters to customers, sometimes with a disclaimer that they aren’t local, and sometimes not.

For example, Fish, the vacationing taxidermist from Michigan who was slurping down raw oysters at a New Orleans oyster bar, may not have known that, according to restaurant staff, the oysters she was eating came from Texas.

It didn’t matter much. Fish and her husband, on vacation for his 40th birthday, said they saw tar balls washing up on the beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, earlier that day, and they still weren’t at all concerned about the quality of oysters from that ocean.

Fish said she trusted chefs to protect her from the bad stuff.

And anyway, it’s the “gross factor” that attracts her to oysters in the first place. 
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 14 2011

For dinner on a special occasion or on that important date, whenever we have a need to celebrate or impress, more often than not it is French restaurants we turn to. So strong is our trust in its power to pamper and tantalize our gastronomical senses. But not many realize that most of the credit for French cuisine, the way we know and love it today goes to a single man- Auguste Escoffier who revolutionized the world of haute cuisine about a hundred years ago. His methods have formed the foundation for modern French cooking and in fact many of the dishes we enjoy today are Escoffier recipes.

I am sure you will agree with me that a dish can taste only as good as the sauce it is served with. The importance of sauces in any cuisine cannot be stressed enough as it is the source of flavor for its dishes. The fact that one half of all sauces we use today are rooted in Escoffier recipes (the other half being creations Antoine Careme, Escoffier's guru), demonstrates the extent of Escoffier's influence in French cuisine.

Escoffier is also responsible for the creation of several dishes commonly found on the menu including the likes of ox tail soup and crepes suzette. He had a particular fascination with naming recipes after his famous guests. It may have been a marketing strategy-- an attempt to create novelty in the menu piquing the curiosity of customers at his restaurant. Whatever may be his motives, it has left us with several fantastic dishes with amusing names and stories behind them. Be it the Peach Melba, named after the famous soprano Nellie Melba or Tournedos Rossini in homage to the Italian composer, Gioacchino Rossini. He is also famous for the Cuisses de Nymphe Aurore, a dish he created for the Prince of Wales.

It is said that by the time he retired the count on Escoffier recipes had crossed 10,000. So it is safe to say whether it is in the Marie Rose sauce your prawns are served with or the Melba toast that is served with your soup, the next time you go out to enjoy a French meal, you are sure to find Auguste Escoffier somewhere in it.

For more information on escoffier recipes see the escoffier recipes here.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 10 2011

This year Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday and what better way to spend a family day than with the ones you love most. Here is are some "heartfelt" fun easy ideas as well as a Valentine day dinner menu that the whole family can enjoy.

One Valentine's idea is to craft your own Valentine Day card and then collect cards you receive and place them in a box that you create yourself. Make and share your card with your friends and family. This Valentines Day idea is easy, doesn't require many materials and the whole family can participate in this activity.

To make your own card, just pick up the following materials:

o Red, white and pink construction paper 
o Glitter colored pens such as red, pink, purple, silver and gold 
o Glitter glue and scissors

Then, just sit with your kids and get creative. You will be amazed as to the kids' creativity associated with this Valentine's idea.

Need a place to collect your Valentine Day card? Just create your own special box. The materials needed for this Valentines Day idea are as follows:

o Red, white and pink construction paper 
o Glitter colored pens such as red, pink, purple, silver and gold 
o Regular glue and scissors 
o Shoe box or cereal box

Take the larger portion of a shoe box or cut the top off of a cereal box. Then, cover the box with the construction paper and any other design you choose made with the construction paper, glitter pens and glue. All of these materials can be picked up at a local drug store, market or craft store.

Another Valentines Day idea is to create a 3D Heart with tissue paper. For this Valentine's idea pick up the following materials:

o Red, pink and white tissue paper cut into 1" squares 
o White construction paper 
o Regular glue and scissors

Simply cut the white construction paper into a heart. Then take the 1" square tissues and twist them around your finger. Dab a dot of glue on the construction paper heart and then stick the twisted tissue paper down on the heart. Mix up the colors or start with a white center, then work towards the outer edge with pink then red. You can even make 3D hearts on the cover of your card!

Valentine Day Dinner Menu

While the kids are crafting, create a comfort "hearty" Valentine Day dinner that the whole family will enjoy. Of course, include various shades of red food!

Valentine Day Dinner Menu

Tomato Soup with Cheddar Cheese Crisps


Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Beer Can Chicken with Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Peas and Carrots

Red Velvet and Strawberry Cupcakes

I hope you found the Valentine's idea for creating a card box and cards helpful. Creating a Valentine Day Card is a craft the whole family can enjoy as well as sitting with your family at a Valentine Day dinner.

To learn more cost-saving and helpful party planning tips, recipes, including the cheddar cheese crisps and beer can chicken, along with other menu ideas and party décor tips, simply check out Budget Bash - Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.

Andrea Wyn is owner of A Wynning Event, a Los Angeles wedding and special event management company. She is a marketing & special event planner with over 15 years of experience and for the past ten years, she has been the event planner for the Screen Actors Guild Awards(R). She has taken her knowledge and special event experience and written an easy-to-read book called Budget Bash where you can find more ideas and helpful tips on event planning including menus, decor, budgets, timelines, florals and more.

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Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:42 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 09 2011

It seems that every season of the year offers opportunities for family gatherings or potluck meals with family and friends. When deciding what to prepare for these events, choosing to take a casserole would be an excellent choice. You can easily find some very simple casserole recipes that are absolutely delicious and visually impressive when placed on a buffet or dining table. Even if find cooking a challenge, you can find a casserole recipe that's so easy and delicious everyone will think you are quite talented in the kitchen.

When serving a casserole as a side dish, it is important to choose a casserole recipe that is seasonal. There are a few traditional casserole favorites associated with autumn and winter. A green bean casserole is a traditional favorite at family meals and social gathering during the holidays. Another favorite autumn and winter vegetable is the sweet potato. Sweet potato casseroles are easy to make. You can take a basic sweet potato casserole recipe and make it a personalized side dish by adding a variety of ingredients that you find healthy and delicious. Corn casseroles and broccoli casseroles are also popular winter time side dishes.

When preparing meals for your family or dishes for a summer social gathering, there are various summer vegetables that are the basic ingredient for delicious casseroles. There are numerous recipes available for squash casseroles. You have a lot of flexibility with these recipes. You can use various types of fresh summer squash and include an assortment of fresh herbs in the recipe. Eggplant casseroles are also popular during the summer. Tomatoes aren't just for sandwiches. Tomato casseroles are a healthy, delicious summer time side dish. Once again the versatility of casserole recipes allows you to add a variety of ingredients to a basic recipe. You can add fresh basil, oregano, thyme, or various other herbs to the casserole. You can also include an assortment of your favorite cheeses in the recipe.

Potatoes are a favorite year-round vegetable. Potato casserole recipes are abundant. Casseroles can be made using baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, and hash brown potatoes. You can also incorporate other vegetables such as green peas or broccoli into a potato casserole.

Casseroles are the perfect side dish because they are easy to make and there is versatility in most recipes.

Casseroles are true comfort food. We have put together a collection of delicious casserole recipes that will satisfy the hearty appetite; and that can be served for holidays, special occasions and everyday dining. Find the perfect casserole recipe from our growing selection of appetizers, side dishes, and entrees.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email