Face Your Fears: The Scary Steps Of Starting A Whole Food Diet

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Whole foods are simply a lot better for you than processed meals. That’s a fact. When you stop eating processed foods, you’re in much better control of your diet. Fewer preservatives, no High Fructose Corn Syrup, no empty calories. But it isn’t always easy to make that switch. It can be downright scary. So here we’re going to look at how you take one scary step at a time to a healthier life.

 

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Doing your research

You can take a lot of fear out of the equation once you realize you’re not really sacrificing all that much. Instead, you’re making choices that are both healthier and tastier. You should learn to recognize the harmful ingredients worth avoiding in processed foods. But you should also consider finding their whole food equivalents. Start swapping out cereal with granola, candy with fruits and learn the wonders of homemade waffles. People have been working on finding delicious new whole food recipes for years now. You don’t have to fear losing the love of food.

Planning your meals

But you might still feel like you have a reason to fear the kind of impact your new diet will have on your budget. The truth is that buying processed food can be just as expensive if not a lot more so. The reason people spend more buying whole foods is that they neglect to plan their meals. By starting with a meal plan, you can pick meals that share ingredients. This ensures that you’re buying fewer ingredients and wasting a lot less as well. To help you in that, there are gadgets and apps that do a great job in helping you pick out the right ingredients.

Making a proper kitchen

There’s the concern that a lot of people have that whole food means learning to cook. There’s no avoiding the truth in that but there are ways to make it easier. One of those methods is getting the right tools. Look at sites like http://www.cutitfine.com/ which have a whole host of tools to start outfitting your kitchen with. The more different kinds of knives and utensils you have, the more creative you can get with your cooking. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with few options that get tired very quickly.

Resisting temptation

You know you’re on the right path but that doesn’t make it any easier to stick to it. We’ve all faced that problem. It’s time to learn a few mental tricks to help you resist temptation. Sites like http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/ can really help change your mind frame. Remember, you’re not making a sacrifice, you’re making a choice. To prevent pig outs, make sure that you don’t have the tools for one in your kitchen. Clear your cupboards of all trashy foods. Stop thinking of foods that do harm to you as ‘treats’. The sooner you get it imprinted in your head that these foods are dangerous, the easier to resist they become.

Once you get into the swing of eating properly, it doesn’t feel like a chore at all. Your body will thank you for it, as will your taste buds. Soon you’ll discover the huge difference between fresh foods and processed.

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Around The World: 5 Great Cocktails We’d Love To Try

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cocktails
If you’re a lover of cocktails, there are so many choices available that you can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, that also means that it’s impossible to try them all (and live to tell the tale!). Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a cocktail, but I haven’t tried many from around the world. I tend to stick to local creations, and only recently was I introduced to what I’ve been missing. I want to share my experiences with you now. Here are five great cocktails from around the world that really need to be sampled.

 

1. Caipirinha – Brazil

If you’ve never been to Brazil before, you might not have heard of the Caipirinha cocktail. But, when you arrive, you’ll certainly become aware of it before long. It’s a delicious cocktail that is highly popular around the country. It also comes in lots of different variations, although the usual is a lime version. Still, those who prefer mango or strawberry tastes will find alternatives on offer. It’s easy to make as well, so you shouldn’t have any problems recreating it at home.

 

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2. Ouzotini – Greece

There are a lot of popular cocktails in Greece, and the Ouzotini is one of them. Apparently, the Greeks are particular about their requirements for it to be shaken, not stirred! It appears the drink originated somewhere around the 18th century. It’s fairly easy to put together at home if you wish, requiring juice, ouzo, vodka and sugar. You’ll want some ice with that, too.

 

3. Moscow Mule – USA

If you haven’t heard of any other cocktail on this list, you’ve probably heard of this one. You might be surprised to hear that the Moscow Mule is a USA invention. Although the title suggests otherwise, this cocktail has nothing to do with Russia or Moscow. Apparently, when the drink was developed, the name was randomly selected. The Moscow Mule has long been popular and comes in a variety of forms. A quick search online will present you with a Moscow Mule recipe with plenty of variations on offer.

 

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4. Singapore Sling – Singapore

There aren’t many confusing details about the origins of this drink! The Singapore Sling originated in Singapore, developed by a Hainanese bartender. It’s a gin-based cocktail, with plenty of variations available once more. It might also interest you to know that the Singapore Sling was originally called the Gin Sling. This was presumably named after the original Sling cocktail, which was invented in the USA.

 

5. Elephant’s Mudbath – South Africa

Is there any better title for a cocktail than this? The drink itself is a creamy creation combining vodka with Amarula Cream. But, the story of the title is arguably much more interesting to discuss! Apparently, it was made by a bartender at a private game reserve. As the drink didn’t have a name at that point, he needed to come up with something. As he was working as a safari guide, he saw the resemblance and named it the Elephant’s Mudbath.

 

I hate to be the party spoiler, but please be sure to drink these in moderation! Enjoy.

 

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Don’t Forget To Try These Delicious Food Ideas Next Time You Have A BBQ

I love eating al fresco. It’s a lovely way to enjoy some delicious grub while enjoying the fresh air. Therefore, soon as we get some sun, I light the BBQ into action. After all, food always tastes fantastic once it’s been on the grill. However, I often get stuck when deciding what to cook on the BBQ. After all, there are only so many sausages and burgers you can enjoy! Therefore, here are some other food ideas you should try next time you should have a BBQ.

 

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Grilled Avocado

Avocados have become a surprising popular food over the last few years. Everyone is enjoying them on toast for breakfast! But you might be surprised to know how delicious the healthy fruit is once grilled on the BBQ. Therefore, next time you have your grill out, you should try avocado. All you need to do is cut it in half, take out the seed and then place on the grill for five-10 minutes. And you don’t have to enjoy them on their own; you can see a recipe here for grilled avocado with herbs and tomato which is a delicious treat!

 

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Grilled Banana

I know, it sounds unusual. But you need to try and BBQ the delicious fruit as you won’t be disappointed. Bananas are, in fact, a great fruit to put on your grill. You need to cut the ends off the banana and then wrap it tightly in tin foil. Then you can put it on the BBQ for around 10-15 minutes. You can then serve it your guests with cream or ice cream as an after dinner treat. Hot banana is so tasty and will definitely tickle their taste buds.

 

Grilled Bananas

Image credit: Scott Veg – https://flic.kr/p/fDrDdm

 

Steak and onion skewers

Putting skewers on the BBQ is a fun way to cook meat. You get to combine it with a delicious mix of vegetables. And it’s so easy to hold the skewers to eat so that no one ends up with messy hands! One thing you should try cooking on the BBQ is steak and onion skewers; it’s such a delicious pairing. You can add an unusual spice to make it a tasty choice for the BBQ menu. They are so easy to make; you can read more about this and other recipes on sites like Fire food chef. If you are veggie, you might want to try tofu skewers which are a mouthwatering food choice!

 

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BBQ potatoes

You would likely never think about putting potatoes on the BBQ. But they can actually make a scrumptious treat once cooked on the BBQ. You could serve it as a side dish which will be great with chicken or steak. All you need to do is chop up the potatoes, cook them in the microwave for five minutes and then fold them in tin foil before putting them on the BBQ. You can then add cheese to make the potatoes even more delicious. You can see the full recipe on this site.

 

And once you have read about what to cook on your BBQ, you can check out my previous blog on what else you need for a garden party this weekend!

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10 Culinary Tricks To Help You Cook Like A Pro

culinary tricks

 

If you’re serious about your cooking, you’ll be fastidious in your approach to ingredients and preparation. Follow our simple culinary tricks to begin cooking like a pro.

  1. It’s All In The Ingredients

Any meal is only as good as the ingredients. So make sure you shop smart.

  • Stick to seasonal produce for the best results. Pick the best that the current season has to offer.
  • Always test food for freshness before buying. There are lots of telltale signs.
  • Know your cooking oils and fats. Know which to use and when.
  • Be authentic. E.g. if you’re cooking an Italian meal, find a reputable importer of Italian food.
  • Know your herbs and spices.

If you buy quality ingredients, the flavor will be evident. Therefore, the less you do to the food, the better.

  1. Storage

Store your food correctly to keep it fresh and prolong its life. This is particularly important for foods that are refrigerated and frozen. It can prevent contamination and illness. There are also some foods that should never be refrigerated.

  1. Preparation

If you’re entertaining and cooking from scratch, prepare in advance. Do as much as you can before the event. This includes chopping, marinating, weighing, etc. This will take away a lot of the stress and allow you more time with your guests.

  1. If You’re Short Of Time

If you have a busy life, always make twice as much food as you need. It won’t take much longer to prepare, and you can freeze half of it. This provides you with healthy ready-meals on nights when you get home late or don’t feel like cooking.

  1. Garlic

If you love garlic but hate the odor on your hands, follow this simple trick. After preparing your garlic, rub your hands on stainless steel. For example, the sink or a bowl. You can even buy stainless steel soap for this purpose. The steel will remove the odor. It also works on fish and onions.

If you’re crushing garlic cloves, try placing it inside a plastic bag. You can then use the back of a knife to crush it. This prevents the knife and chopping board smelling of garlic.

  1. Dressings

Always opt for homemade vinaigrettes and dressings. They will taste much better than their bottled counterparts. And you have full control over exactly what you add. No more unnecessary sugar and salt.

If you have leftover sauce, freeze it into ice cube trays. You can then defrost it as needed at a later date.

  1. Be Creative

Use recipes as a guide only. If they contain ingredients you don’t like, replace them. Let them inspire you and add your own flair.

  1. Cast-Iron Pan

A cast-iron pan is a useful kitchen implement. It provides an even cooking temperature and is easy to clean.

  1. Cheese Rinds

Save your cheese rinds. You can add them to olive oil and broths, etc. to add flavor.

  1. Clean As You Go

Keep a sink full of hot soapy water and wash the dishes as you go. It’s much easier to do it this way. It will save you spending an hour in the kitchen later when you just want to relax.

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Unusual Foods You Might Not Ever Get The Pleasure Of Trying

Food can be an amazing thing to experience. We are lucky that in this day and age it is no longer just for survival, but we can now enjoy the delicacies and experiences other cultures have to offer. Eating unusual foods has now become a thing for some people. They strive to travel to different places just to try the different foods on offer. It can even be described as a hobby for some people.

 

unusual foods

Balut

Balut isn’t for the faint hearted. It is a duck or chicken embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell. It is most commonly sold as a street food delicacy in places like The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. It is recognised a high source of protein and is very common in these countries. They can found in stores as well as eating establishments. However throughout the rest of the world, it isn’t as popular due to animal welfare and how people feel about it.

 

Fried Spider

You will find fried spider in some regions of Cambodia. Again it is seen as a delicacy that is a common street food in that side of the world. Most often it is fried in salt, chilli flakes and pepper. It has been described as tasting like a bland version of cod or chicken. You can also get deep fried tarantula if you are a little more daring. This one is more for the people who perhaps don’t have a fear of spiders. Yikes!

 

Caviar

Caviar is an expensive delicacy most associated from the Beluga fish roe found in the Black Sea. It is mostly served on a spoon as a delicacy or spread over melba toast. It consists of salt cured fish eggs which can be fresh or pasteurized. It’s one of those things that you will either love or hate it. But if you get the chance to try it you should. However, most people associate caviar with the rich and famous.

 

Casu Marzu

Casu marzu, when translated into English, means rotten cheese. It’s as simple as that, and it is exactly what it states. It’s traditionally a sardinian cheese made from sheep milk. This cheese goes beyond normal fermentation of cheese. A larva is deliberately introduced to the cheese. This promotes an advanced level fermentation and breaking down the fats in the cheese. The cheese then goes soft, and you can then eat it. Some people leave the larva worms in and others don’t. It can leave an aftertaste in your mouth for some hours after eating it.

 

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Roasted Rat

Roasted rat on a stick is becoming a delicacy in Vietnam. You will find it as a street food or served in restaurants. You would be surprised that this roasted rodent costs more than pork and chicken in Thailand and other Asian countries. While it may not be your first choice, it is seen as a treat in these countries.

 

Maybe this has inspired you to perhaps try one of these foods at some point in your life.

 

Image credit

Image 1 – pixabay.com
Image 2 – By Hector Garciahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hectorgarcia/61351098/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12125921

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Make Use of the Lovely Weather With the Ultimate Garden Party

When the weather is nice, it’s the perfect time to have a garden party! There’s something about good food and wonderful people that you just can’t beat. So, if you’re planning to have a garden party soon, you will need to work on ways to make it as great as possible. Take a look at this guide, and use it to make sure you have the best and most memorable party possible. It’s important for everyone to have a good time and the day to be a success.

Garden Party

Get the Garden Ready

Okay, now, you need to understand that a garden party can be a big undertaking. It’s very ambitious and you need to give yourself every chance of making it a success. And the first step on the road to success here is to get the garden ready. This means making sure it’s neat, tidy and free from clutter. It also means you need to arrange it in a way befitting of a party. There has to be plenty of space, access to seating, and entertainment. You might need to get creative depending upon the layout and shape of your garden.

Invite Friends

No garden party would be right without having your friends there as well. So, you need to make sure you invite as many of your friends as you can. The best way to do this would be to take to something like social media, and create an event. This way you can invite multiple people all at the same time. And you don’t need to worry about having to call or message each person individually. Of course, you might have to be careful about who you choose to invite and think about how people tend to behave at parties!

Backyard Party

Get Everyone to Chip In

The best way to throw a successful garden party these days is to make sure everyone chips in. This means putting people in charge of certain areas of the party. Have someone be responsible for the music, another for the drinks. Get some volunteers who can help with setting up, with food, and with clearing away at the end. You might also think about party etiquette when it comes to asking people to bring something with them. This could be a bottle of booze or some food that can be shared out. It makes your life easier, saves work, and gives the whole party a more collective feel.

Booze!

Let’s be clear, if you’re throwing a party you absolutely need to have booze, and lots of it. The brilliant thing about parties in the summer is that you can all sit around drinking and being merry. Of course, you could do that minus the booze, but alcohol always adds that extra element to things. People seem to relax and unwind more when they’re sipping on a tasty alcoholic beverage. So, you need to make a decision about the sort of booze you’re going to get for the party. The best bets would be to stock up on wine and beer, as well as asking guests to bring their own. Spirits are also crucial, and you might consider using them to make some delicious summery cocktails on the day! Check out some great cocktail recipes and don’t be afraid to experiment with things you’ve not tried before.

garden party

What Food Will You Have?

Food is also of the utmost importance when you are throwing a party. Sure, an evening party might have slightly less food as the focus is likely to be more on drinking. But, if you’re having an all day party you have to make sure there is plenty of food. The best bet when it comes to party food is to go for a buffet style. That way people can help themselves and eat what they want. You need to make sure you get plenty of party food when you go shopping. Don’t forget the sauces and condiments either, or the egg-free mayo from Hampton Creek for the vegans! It’s important that you make sure you have stuff that caters to the needs of everyone who will be there.

Use the Kitchen as a Base

Because you’re having a garden party you want to keep the garden clear of clutter. This is the socialising area where people will hang out. That means you need to use the kitchen as the base of operations. You can keep their food, drink and entertainment in the kitchen, and things can be brought out when they are needed. It will also be the preparation zone for any concoctions you want to rustle up. The garden might be the star of this party, but the kitchen certainly plays an important role too.

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Play Games

In order to have a party to remember you need to bring out the games. Sure, many people will be doing their own thing, and may not want to play. But, there will be enough people interested that you can have a great time. Now, if you’re going to play outside you might think about something like Cards Against Humanity, or drinking games. You could even move inside for a while and play video games. But, it might be best to do this when it gets darker. Having a selection of games for people to play is the perfect way of making your party memorable.

Music Makes the Party

You also need to make sure you have plenty of music for people to enjoy as well. That’s why you should create a party playlist using Spotify or iTunes. It’s essential to choose the right kind of songs for a garden party. The weather is nice and everyone is looking to have a good time, and the songs should reflect this. So it’s probably best to avoid downbeat songs and go with the up tempo numbers instead. Get someone to take charge of sorting out the perfect playlists for the party that will get everyone in the mood.

Safety is Important

Because you’re the host, you’re going to need to be responsible for safety. Of course, a garden party isn’t exactly a dangerous proposition. But, you need to understand that accidents can and do happen. And they are more likely to happen when drinking is involved. That’s why you need to take procedures to ensure the party is as safe as possible. You should probably remove anything in the garden that is a potential hazard or may cause an accident. It’s also important to set some ground rules for your guests. The last thing you want is to have to break up the party with a trip to the hospital.

Keep People Warmth

One of the things you’re going to need to think about with a garden party is warmth. Because you’re going to be outside this will need to be addressed at some point. Hopefully, you’ll be fine because if the weather is nice, it will be hot. But you need to have a contingency in place to make sure you can keep people warm if the temperature drops. The best way to do this is to use a fire or pit fire in the garden. This can be the focal point of the party, and will do a great job of keeping people warm. You should also have blankets or throws on standby as well in case people want to use them to warm up a bit.

Smoking Zone

If you have a lot of guests over for your party the chances are there will be some smokers. Now, you don’t want to segregate them too much, but you also don’t want everyone else passive smoking. That’s why you need to make a designated area of the garden into a smoking zone. Just choose a part of the garden or patio and nominate that as the smoking zone. Make sure people are aware of where this is when they arrive. You also need to make sure you supply makeshift ashtrays so you don’t have to deal with cigarette butts all over the place. A smoking zone is a nice little touch for the smokers in the group and shows you’ve thought about them.

Child-Friendly

Lastly, it’s important to make a decision about whether you’re having kids come. If they do they will only be there for the day as the parents will take them home in the evening. But, if you do choose to have children come you need to make the party child-friendly as much as possible. That means people need to behave and try to curtail the heavy drinking until later in the evening. Make sure people are aware that the kids will be leaving at some point and then the party can progress from there.

The perfect way to celebrate the threat weather and the approach of summer is to host a garden party. These are an excellent way to kick off a summer of fun and good times. You might progress onto hosting a BBQ next, but for now the garden party should be your focus. So, you need to make sure you plan out the ideal garden party. There is so much work involved and you need to plan to get everything perfect. You want to be a good host and make sure everyone has a great time. And the best way to do this is to make sure you follow this guide and use it as your garden party blueprint.

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Image credit:

Image 1 – By Rod Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia (Garden Party) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image 2 – Camille Styles – https://flic.kr/p/6j3g4R

 

 

 

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