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Do we live to eat or eat to live? That is the question.

I remember as a child growing up in Britain having fish and chips or baked beans on toast at least twice a week on my lap while watching my favourite cartoon. Of course I enjoyed my food but it wasn’t something I often talked about. Now, I’m not blaming my culture for my lack of interest in food at an early age. Perhaps my silence was due to the fact that I didn’t know anything about food. How many children know that prawns only turn pink when they are cooked and that tuna does not come from a can? Now after having lived in Southern Europe, Asia and Australia I find myself talking about food all the time. The world has seduced my taste buds and opened my mouth.

Food that’s plain and simple is often the best but not always so. For many of us food is a need. For others, food is a friend. Yet to some others food is an enemy. Cravings grip us at all the wrong times while we struggle to follow a strict diet that turned all our favourite desserts into mortal sins. There are others who regard food as an investment. To them, food has some kind of special powers that can control their lives, for better or for worse. If that’s the case, it’s time to change and make food work for us.

Let’s start by using food the way you would use a pencil or a pair of scissors. We begin using food as a tool. Like tools, some food works well for some tasks and some is specially designed to accomplish others.

Let’s say you’re feeling down. You had a tough day or a tiff with a best friend that drove you round the bend. You decide to treat yourself to a bar of chocolate –nothing like chocolate to perk you up. Unfortunately you’re setting yourself up for a higher dose of the blues. That’s because chocolate bars have a hefty amount of fat and sugar – which takes a long time to digest and can draw energy away from your brain – and caffeine which will temporarily boost your mood and alertness but send you crashing back down as soon as its effect starts to wear off.

Does this mean snacking is a bad idea when you’re feeling down? Not at all. You just have to do it wisely. In place of a chocolate bar, have a slice of toast with chunky marmalade. Then instead of fat and caffeine you’ve just given yourself a dose of vitamin C that has been shown to fight depression. In addition, marmalade is loaded with the type of sugar that spurs the release of mood-lifting chemicals in the brain.

In fact you can manage your mood and boost your brainpower, metabolism, even your sex life, by eating the right food. Whatever your goals, you can custom-design a diet to help you meet them. Here’s how taking control of your food can help you take control of your life.

The next time you have an important meeting that requires mental processing, try some brain processing food that looks like this: tuna salad on whole wheat bread, green salad with tomatoes, a handful of nuts, bananas, a glass of skimmed milk. Tuna, bananas, nuts and whole wheat bread are high in vitamin B6, which has been scientifically proven to help preserve cognitive skills. Protein-rich food contains a nutrient called Tyrosine, which studies have shown, are linked to clear thinking and alertness. Greens such as broccoli and spinach naturally contain loads of vitamins and iron. Lack of these nutrients can lead to fatigue and difficulty in concentrating.

Having said all that, let’s not be too stressed about what we eat. Many scientists these days believe that indulging in life’s little pleasures may actually help improve your health because of the psychological lift it gives you. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’.

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Professional Ice Cream Scoop -how I Discovered I Could Be A Professional Soda Jerk In My Home

Life is full of surprises that is for sure. They dont teach you everything in school. Sometimes, the things they teach you are not exactly what happens in real life. Nevertheless, experience has always been my greatest teacher, especially when it comes to choosing the best ice cream scoops. Dont get me wrong. I dont have any intentions of creating my own ice cream parlor or working as a professional ice cream soda jerk. But the point is, if you want to serve something to your family and loved ones, you better use something that is inexpensive yet high quality, professional-grade.

When I was only beginning my ice cream adventures, I used to dig into the ice cream with a spoon and many times the handle would simply give in to the pressure. I cannot remember how many spoons I have bent and disfigured simply because it was not sturdy enough to cut through the slab of frozen ice cream. I did follow some tips about warming the scoop first before scooping ice cream. Well, it did facilitate the entry of the spoon but scooping the ice cream out bent the handle again. I really needed one of those commercial ice cream scoops.

So, I bought what any inexperienced homemaker would a cheap plastic ice cream scoop that looked a little more like an over-prized, over-sized, powdered milk scoop. It was quite thick though and it came in bright red color. Unfortunately, when I used it, I noticed some cracks in the scoop itself. Additionally, I had to be careful about exerting more pressure than necessary because the scoop might break. So it was more an issue of finding the correct angle of approach to the ice cream and the use of just the right amount of pressure. However, I love my ice cream hard so that it will melt in my mouth when I take a full block in. I dont like licking it. I prefer swirling it inside my mouth like you would a candy letting its creamy richness coat the insides of my mouth. Its a lot more interesting, cooler, and refreshing this way. Unfortunately, with the cheap and flimsy plastic scoop I got, I really dont see how I can enjoy my favorite dessert.

There are many different types of ice-cream scoops, and good thing a friend introduced me to the SuperEze icecream scoop. It looks very much like the vintage Cralle design except that the SuperEze scooper can be handled with absolute ease whether you are right handed or left handed. The release mechanism is so ingenious. I couldnt find any spring or trigger unlike other cheap ice cream scoops I have seen so far. Now I tell you, this is the best ice cream scoop ever. The design remained faithful to the original, making it look so professional, like those that are often seen in ice cream parlors all over the world. Gliding through my block of ice cream has never been this easy. I can create smaller balls of ice cream which I can use to slowly bathe my mouth. Talk about experience.

The SuperEze ice cream scoop has definitely given me the opportunity to be a professional ice cream soda jerk right in my home. And I am sure, you would, too.

How To Order The Perfect Cup Of Coffee

If you walk into a coffee shop these days it can get a little complicated if you aren't familiar with the sizes and names when it comes to ordering a coffee. There is an entire language you will need to know if you are going to place an order for a perfect cup of coffee!

It all starts with placing your coffee order. You are no longer talking to a waitress but a barista. These are people who make and serve coffee drinks as a profession.

Firstly, you figure out the size of the coffee you want to purchase. If you check out the menu you might find there is a special name for the different sizes available. This is especially true if you go to Starbucks as some of their sizes have special names. You can choose from: a short (8 ounces), tall (12 ounces), Grande (16 ounces) and Venti (20 ounces).

The hardest decision will be what coffee drink to order. Certainly you can still get black coffee with cream and sugar. However, the most common coffee beverages are cafes or espressos. Sure you can always order a plain black coffee but where is the fun in that when you could order a cappuccino, latte or a mocha.

If you choose a latte which is an espresso shot with the addition of steamed milk. A cappuccino on the other hand has equal parts of espresso, steamed and frothed milk. A mocha is similar to latte or cappuccino but has the addition of chocolate syrup.

The following list of different coffee beverages contains just a few of the drinks available in most coffee shops.

Caffe Americano: This is a single shot of espresso with the addition of six to eight ounces of hot water.

Espresso Con Panna: This coffee is made by adding whipped cream to an espresso shot.

Ristretto: A small shot of espresso that has a very intense flavor. The water that is allowed to pass through the coffee grounds while the coffee is being brewed is restricted to a small amount.

Lungo: This drink is made using a longer pull of espresso. A larger amount of water moves through the coffee grounds while the coffee is being brewed.

Cafe Breva: Instead of using whole milk, the Cappuccino that is made with Half and Half.

Dry: An espresso made with a small amount of foam and no steamed milk.

Chairo: An espresso drink made by adding more milk.

Caffe Mochaccino: This is a fancy Cappuccino that has chocolate syrup added.

Frappe: Perfect for a hot day this coffee drink made using ice cream and milk.

Shot in the Dark: This is an espresso shot that has been added to a regular coffee cup and then the rest of cup is filled with drip coffee.

After you first taste the coffee you will be able to judge the consistency of the drink. Next you may want to describe how the coffee tasted. Was the coffee bitter or buttery, spicy or sweet, stale or has a chocolate flavor?

You Should Consider Getting A Halogen Oven

Halogen ovens are smaller than conventional ovens and as well they can cook faster. In fact they are said to cook up to three times faster. The secret to their being able to cook food so quickly is the halogen heating element. People who have bought this small appliance have nothing but good things to say about it.

These energy efficient ovens are able to cook so quickly because they use infrared waves with a built-in high-performance fan. The heating element turns electrical energy into extreme heat which in turn cooks the food quicker.

The fan circulates the heat so the food is cooked evenly while retaining moisture. The oven has a glass bowl with a lid that contains all the controls for setting the temperature and the timer. The halogen bulb and fan are contained within the lid as well.

Halogen ovens are small enough to fit on any kitchen counter. They are smaller than most microwave ovens but they have the capacity to cook a two-course meal at the same time. Most models come equipped with wire racks so they can cook the meat on the bottom and a side dish or vegetables on the top.

Originally you could only find them on home shopping channels but since the word got out about how well they work, you can find them a most department stores and even online. You can find lots of information about them on the Internet, including recipes and how to care for them.

Halogen ovens will cook food evenly every time. They also allow for the fat to drip off foods when cooking making your food even healthier. This is a great selling point. You can even cook fries and chicken and get the crispy deep fried texture without the added fat.

One of the benefits of a halogen oven is that they do not require the food to be defrosted before cooking. That is a very helpful benefit considering the busy lifestyles most of us have today.

Some halogen ovens are self-cleaning which means you can add water and soap to the bowl and just press a button. They do not require preheating like a conventional oven and they are smokeless and odorless.

Halogen ovens are designed to cook in a way that seals the juices so your steaks and other meats can turn out perfect. These ovens are better than a conventional oven because they cook a lot faster and save more energy.

There are many advantages for having a Halogen oven. If you are looking for ways to save energy and not spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals, then you may find a halogen oven is the perfect addition to your kitchen.

How To Choose A Mandoline Slicer

Every industry is jam packed with different brands and options are you sure youve got the right products on your hands? While each of these businesses and manufacturers promise to deliver the same high quality, there are those that outshine the others by staying true to their claims. The effectiveness of your kitchen equipment for example, can depend on the brand you choose.

Mandoline slicers come in different brands, shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. How can you be sure that the one you have is the best in the bunch? If you want to know how you can choose the best mandolin slicer for your needs, this simple selection process should get you on the right track.

How to Choose a Mandoline Slicer

1. Brand Whenever you go shopping for your clothes, your ingredients, your household items, isnt it that the first thing you tend to look at is the brand? This is the initial step of the decision making process when shopping because the brand of an item will give you a better idea on its quality and durability. That said, the first thing you should consider when buying a mandoline slicer is whether or not it was manufactured by a trusted and well known brand. Another benefit to seeking out the popular labels is that more often than not, they will give you a warranty on your item so you can be certain that if in case it does break, you can get a speedy replacement.

2. Material When preparing food, its important to ascertain that everything that goes on your diners plates are all healthy and free of danger. If you use low grade tools and equipment during the meal preparation process, you risk adding harmful chemicals and potentially injurious pieces into the mix. A low-quality mandoline slicer could very well hurt the people you prepare food for especially if its made of low class materials that arent safe for human consumption. Make sure youve got a slicer thats free of toxins, chemicals, and parts that will easily chip or break off. Hey, theres no such thing as being too careful. Youre always better off safe than sorry!

3. Price While everything in our kitchen is an investment, theres no reason to break the bank over something as small as a mandoline slicer. When buying your own slicer, think about the price and consider whether or not its reasonable for what youre getting. Many of these products are steeply priced not because of the quality, but because of the name that sells them. Learn to identify which ones are worth the purchase and which ones are just trying to rip you off. Mandoline slicers dont have to be unreasonably expensive, and if you find one that offers top of the line functions and features at a bargain price, then youve probably got a good deal.

Dont skip out on buying a mandoline slicer just because you dont know what to choose. Equip your kitchen with this smart time saving tool and buy your own high quality mandolin slicer today.

Various Ways To Surprise Your Loved Ones

Birthdays are one of the events in a persons life that deserves a one-of-a-kind celebration. It could be as simple as a dinner party in fine dining restaurant. It could also be heartwarming celebration at home. Some people, however, want to take their surprise birthday party to the next level with an entertaining dinner show in Aalsmeer.

A surprise party with a dinner show is best experienced in Aalsmeer, together with their professional performers, who see to it that every party is filled with happiness and romp. You can book a venue for you and your friends and plan the surprise party. There are also a lot of packages to choose from, and each package pertains to a theme. You could also book a VIP room to get more privileges and goodies for your friends.

Here are some ideas on how to surprise your friends and loved ones during their special day:

Treat them to a dinershow . Such dinner shows may seem extravagant, but there are affordable packages as well. You may choose whether you want a pirate-themed dinner show, or a medieval party. These packages usually come with a birthday cake, and announcement, a special invitation, and gifts for you and your friends. There is also an unforgettable entertainment. Some dinner shows even have a short play that will have you and your friends rolling in laughter. The actors portray their characters very well, and you could have the chance to sing and dance with them too.

Prepare a special present for your loved one. It could be a gift hidden in one of the souvenirs, or a song rendered especially by Aalsmeer artists. If it were a Christmas dinner show, gifts could come in little presents adorned with Christmas motif. The present may also be in the form of a special guest, or an announcement. Aalsmeer artists and hosts could even play along and help you prepare the surprise party.

Add a personal touch to the surprise party with a dinner show. You can do this by presenting a video or a PowerPoint slide of your pictures or mementoes with your loved one. This is a good time to reminisce special events with them, too. Another option is to request a gift box and store special items for the celebrator to rummage through. The hosts could also ask the guests to deliver their special messages to the celebrator.

Responsible Service Of Alcohol Training Isn't Just For Bartenders

There are some people interested in entering the hospitality/ food service industry but are under the misconception that only bartenders need to undergo mandatory Responsible Service of Alcohol training.

According to state laws, if you are involved in the sale, supply and service of alcohol on licensed premises, you must complete Responsible Service of Alcohol training. Those that must undergo this training include bar staff, security staff of licensed venues, pub managers and even waitrons serving alcohol.

You may be asking, ‘why is this training so important?’ The answer is because it enables servers, whether working a pub, nightclub, hotel or bar to understand their obligations in serving alcohol responsibly and the consequences of failing to comply with these obligations.

 It also teaches servers of alcohol, the strategies that can be implemented to make a venue more responsible in its supply of alcohol to patrons. This will ensure a safer environment and will keep the good reputation of the venue intact, after all venues known for drunken brawls aren’t necessarily the most popular nightspots and are often the target of police, which is ultimately very bad for business.

The good news is that RSA training can be completed online, which is what thousands of people around Australia have chosen to do.

The course teaches bartenders and servers how to recognize when a patron has had too much to drink and how to refuse them alcohol. It also teaches servers about denying alcohol to minors which in itself is a breach that carries thousands of dollars in fines.

Even sommeliers giving diners advice on what wines to pair with their meal should complete Responsible Service of alcohol training.

There is no longer any need for face-to-face training when the online course is so much more affordable and convenient, doing away with the hassle of classroom learning, travelling to and fro and parking.

The course is preferred by people with busy schedules such as parents, full time workers and those who just don’t want to be bothered with learning in a classroom because the course can be completed anytime, night or day, 7 days a week.

You basically hold all the power when it comes to how and when you complete the course. You can choose to do it all at once or over a number of days in smaller chunks. Every time you sign in, it will pick up where you last left off.

Even if your computer literacy is limited, the course is easy to follow and the online delivery is state of the art, facilitating easy completion. Instructions are clear and concise and presented in both audio and video. As long as you have a computer (or IPad, IPhone or Android device) with access to a printer and the internet, you can complete the course in a matter of hours and print your certificate as proof of having done so.