Brewing Coffee – Tips For the Best Pot Ever

There is nothing like the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. You drink it every morning. It awakens your senses, perks you up, and rejuvenates you for a long day ahead.

Coffee making is not a rocket science, but making a perfect cup is a combination of art and finesse.

You can acquire the expertise of coffee making if you keep a few things in mind while brewing your perfect cup of joe. Here are some of the tips which will help you make the best pot ever.

The first thing is to buy a good coffee maker. With various brands and models available in the market, it is often difficult to figure out what to buy, so the best way to avoid this confusion is to shortlist some products, go through the online reviews of these analyzing their key features, additional features, and pros and cons, etc., before making a choice.

The most important ingredient in coffee making is beans. It is best to buy whole beans and grind them just before use. Although, it is quite a tedious thing rather than using a teaspoon or 2 of coffee powder, but the difference in taste is the reward of your hard work.

If your coffee still doesn’t taste good, water maybe the culprit. Try using bottled or mineral water instead of tap water. Moreover, there are coffee makers with upgraded patented filters which filter out any taste-affecting particles from the water and offer you a perfect cup.

As the disposable paper filters contain bleach, chlorine, and dyes, it can also affect the taste of your beverage. Try replacing your old paper filter with a stainless steel or gold mesh filter.

The secret recipe for a perfect cup is 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water. Try using this ratio for the best pot ever.

Reheating can alter the taste of the brewed coffee. Most of the machines have timers that keep the coffee warm until it is consumed. If you don’t have one, pour your coffee into a stainless steel thermal flask which will keep it warm.

Cleaning and descaling of the coffee pot is a crucial step in enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee. If your machine doesn’t have autocleaning and descaling feature inbuilt, you need to clean the decanter at the end of the day. The easiest way to do this is by throwing the used paper filters and any remnants of the coffee immediately as it will affect the taste when a new batch of coffee is prepared the next day. The rest of the machine should be dismantled and each part cleaned with water and some vinegar if there are any hard stains.

Don’t use stale coffee for brewing. Although it is still safe to drink, one must not use the coffee beyond its freshness date.

These are the few tips to experience the rich flavour of freshly brewed coffee as though it was bought from your favorite cafe

Seafood Salad With Mixed Vegetables

When it comes to preparing a meal for several people, timing is everything. If you can manage it, it’s always best to have at least one dish that you can prepare well ahead of your guests’ arrival.

Seafood Salad with Mixed Vegetables is one of those salads that will save you considerable time when it counts the most, allowing you to focus on preparing the main course. This salad can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. It’s a simple yet delicious salad that can be prepared in as little as thirty minutes.

Since this salad contains garlic, you should crush the garlic first and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before adding to the rest of the vegetables. By crushing the garlic and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes first, you’ll enjoy the many health benefits associated with garlic.

The next step is to prepare the vegetables. Start by thoroughly rinsing them to get rid of any dirt or sand. Trim and chop the bell peppers and shallots into very fine pieces and toss them into a medium bowl. Cut the cucumber in half and scoop the seeds out, then dice into small pieces and add to the shallots and bell peppers. Slice your tomatoes in half, drain the juice, and then cut them into small cubes and add to the veggies.

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter under medium heat. Add the scallops and keep them on for no more than two or three minutes per side, turning as needed. Remove scallops and cut into very small pieces, and then add to the bowl of veggies. Cut the cooked shrimp into small pieces and add to the mix, and then do the same with the cooked imitation crab meat.

In a small bowl, mix together the balsamic dressing, olive oil, and crushed garlic. Wash and pat dry the parsley and finely chop before adding to the dressing. Finally, pour the dressing over the salad. Toss thoroughly and then cover. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 small cucumber

3 shallots

2 large tomatoes

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup of creamy balsamic dressing

8 ounces of sea scallops (side muscle removed)

6 ounces of peeled, cooked shrimp

8 ounces of imitation crabmeat, chopped

1 bunch of parsley

Kid Friendly Recipes and Cooking

Kid friendly cooking produces a different kind of challenge in the kitchen. It’s often very hard to get kids to eat the healthy foods which are best for their developing bodies. Many of us are familiar with the old food pyramid along with the number of servings a growing child should take in of wholesome grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and calcium products. Although you wish to give them those very essential nutrients, we all know that getting your kids to eat and make healthy choices is another matter all together.

The good news is, there is a silver lining. When cooking for kids you don’t always have to integrate all of the essential nutrients into one meal. Try these simple suggestions instead and you will start your kids on eating a more healthy diet. Raw cucumbers, that are thinly sliced and sprinkled with a little kosher or sea salt will make a far healthier snack than potato chips and most children love this for a healthy snack. How about some ants on a log? This is actually just celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins on top. One of my children favorite is plain old carrot sticks with ranch dressing. You get some vegetable in their system and they’re getting a healthy treat at snack time. The same holds true for fruits and melons. Kids love the natural sweetness of fresh fruits and melons and they make an excellent snack that are full of much-needed nutrients for their growing bodies.

We all know that kids love their macaroni and cheese (many adults as well for that matter) but we simply can’t live on that alone (or at least we shouldn’t). It’s been tried, tested and has failed miserably. We need to mix things up a little whenever possible as to get a variety into our diets while keeping our daily meals kid friendly. It is vital that you try introducing whole grain products, healthy proteins, and fresh vegetables whenever possible at meal times. Fresh is always best but many of us don’t have the time to prepare from scratch. The good news is there are many pre-packaged convenience food items which are providing whole grains and less processed unlike in the past in order to satisfy the growing demand of consumers for more healthy food items which can be prepared with very little effort or time.

Cooking healthy foods for kids has become less difficult than in the past. Once again, fresh fruits and vegetables are always best when attainable. Having said that, if you can’t get a hold of fresh, frozen is much more superior compared to canned fruit and veggies. The canned products are often swimming in sugar or sodium and often have additives.

If you need some great recipes that are kid friendly and easy on the budget, you can easily find them online. It is possible to satisfy your child’s calcium intake simply by including milk as a beverage of choice instead of soda for daily meals. Also, you can add a slice of cheese melted over their favorite steamed veggies. What Kid doesn’t like Ice cream? If not there’s also yogurt and pudding as well, they are all excellent source of calcium. Of course these treats can be very sugary and they should be consumed in moderation.

Encourage your kids to try new things whenever possible as opposed to preparing the exact same food items that you already know they like to eat. In doing so, you will minimize a couple of things from occurring. For starters, it will help you to not get tired of cooking the same thing for your children. Second of all, it enables your kids to have a variety in their diet, give them a chance to test new flavors, try different textures along with the opportunity to form their own opinions on what they like and don’t like. By attempting new things they will discover more of what their favorite foods are.

You will quickly learn that kids are not so different from adults when it comes to their taste buds. Just like you have foods you love and others not so much, they also will establish their preferences after a while. Also, many of us find that our tastes sometimes change over time and no doubt your children’s will too. This is why it’s good to rotate a variety in our menu. As a parent I know how difficult it can be to spend both money and time making a meal only to have your little one refuse to even try it. If this happens, use a little reverse psychology. This is what I recommend you do; have them prepare the meals with you. Kids are a lot more likely to eat the foods they helped prepared due to a sense of pride and accomplishment because they actually had a hand in making the dish.

This strategy has worked for me with amazing results when it comes to cooking for my own kids and I’m confident it can work in your household as well. You no longer have to “force” your children or convince them to eat more healthy when they are the ones actually making the food. By helping you prepare the meals they become the chef and will have a better appreciation for the culinary arts and the effort that goes into making a meal.

Factors You Need to Consider While Introducing a New Food Product

Change is inevitable. It is impossible to progress without making necessary changes. What seems to be good and sufficient for today, may not be adequate for tomorrow. All aspects of our lives, starting from food to clothes, leisure to entertainment, jobs to careers need to be changed at some point of time for making advancements. Designers, providers and manufacturers of every product inevitably fail to meet the expectations of their customers after a certain point of time. Even when the products are absolutely up to the mark, manufacturers need to make changes to cater successfully to the changes in the tastes, preferences and requirements of customers.

Smart manufacturers recognize the significance of making changes and introducing new products in the market. They constantly strive to understand the changing tastes and needs of their customers in order to update their products efficiently. When it comes to our food habits, they keep on changing with the passage of time. The increasing popularity of ready made food products and a variety of junk food has marked a noticeable change in peoples’ food habits in recent times. Increasing work pressure and scarcity of time has led to a decrease in peoples’ tendency to prepare nutritious food and a tendency to opt more and more for ready made and junk foods. These changes in peoples’ lifestyles call for new food products that can successfully cater to their needs and preferences of customers.

When you are introducing a new food product in the market, it is necessary to keep in mind certain important aspects in order to make it a success. Let us discuss some of the significant factors:

Innumerable products are introduced in the market every year. The key to success is to make sure that the food product you manufacture must be something new and innovative, which would successfully cater to the requirements of the customers. It must fill an empty space in the market in order to become a success.

Make a thorough research to obtain necessary information regarding the local laws related to retail food jobs. The product you introduce in the market must be eligible to pass regulatory standards.

It is extremely important to make a thorough research of the market. You must obtain detailed information regarding every aspect related to a successful marketing of your product starting from the packaging to the store where you would sell your product to your target customers. You must know your target customers and their tastes and preferences in order to market your products more efficiently.

Make a list of all the necessary aspects including the services, proprietary tools and techniques and materials required to manufacture the new food product and market it to target customers. Considering these important aspects help in knowing the costs involved in the entire process, and also the various ways you can cut down on the costs while still maintaining the standard of the product.

Besides keeping in mind the above mentioned factors, it is also extremely important to take good care of sanitation and the local laws. It is also overly important to plan meticulously and carefully to carry out the entire manufacturing and marketing process efficiently and successfully.

Right Brain Consulting is a highly reputed food manufacturing consultant providing assistance to companies in dealing efficiently with contract manufacturers to source new food products.

5 Basic Tips for Baking Cookies

Baking cookies is one of life’s sweet pleasures. So why don’t more people bake them?

Maybe you don’t think you have the time… maybe you’ve tried before with less-than-stellar results… maybe you think it’s a hassle… or maybe you simply don’t know how.

You can get delicious results simply and easily when you follow these tips for baking cookies.

Tip #1: Read the Cookie Recipe

Before you get started, read the cookie recipe from start to finish to find out how much time you need and steps you need to take while you bake. You may need to set out butter to soften or bring eggs to room temperature before you begin mixing.

The recipe also tells you what items you need – both ingredients and equipment. No one wants to make an emergency run to the grocery store in the middle of making cookies. And you need to retrieve the 13 x 9 pan you lent to Aunt Myrtle before you get started.

Tip #2: Measure Accurately

Mis-measurement is the easiest-to-fix mistake when baking cookies. Use liquid measuring cups (which are clear) to measure water, milk, and oil, setting the cup on a flat surface and checking the measurement at eye level. Use dry measuring cups and measuring spoons for dry ingredients (such as flour, sugar, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda), always leveling off ingredients with a straight-edge utensil before adding them to the dough.

Tip #3: Handle Dough Well

Add ingredients in the order specified by the recipe… and as you do, avoid the number one no-no in making cookie dough: overbeating. Over beating cookie dough, whether when creaming together butter and sugar (which adds air pockets) or when adding flour (which activates gluten, also building air and volume), can cause cookies to fall and flatten – or be too tough.

Tip #4: Monitor the Oven

Preheat the oven as you prepare cookies. Setting cookie dough in a cold oven alters the baking time and outcome. Use an oven thermometer to check your oven’s temperature before baking cookies.

But don’t pop the batch in the oven and forget them. Most cookie recipes designate a baking time window (“Bake for 10-12 minutes”). Watch your cookies as they recommended amount of time so they are not over baked.

Tip #5: Store Wisely

Keep homemade cookies fresh by allowing them to cool completely after baking. Otherwise, condensation from cooling will collect and cookies will become soggy.

Follow the recipe’s directions as to whether to store cookies at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Store them in an airtight container. Don’t combine different kinds of cookies in one container. Flavors will bleed from one type of cookie to another. Different types of cookies stored together changes their texture, too. Moisture from chewier cookies transfers to crisper cookies – and vice versa.

Baking cookies is easy and fun. Plus, you can share the end results – cookies – with family, friends, and colleagues. That is assuming you haven’t eaten them all as soon as they come out of the oven.

Easy Dinner Recipes for Spanish Rice – Que Sabroso

Renowned for its versatility, rice is a globally recognized staple of kitchens everywhere and is a versatile choice for the entire family. This wholesome starch provides energy, stimulates muscle growth and even acts as an anti-inflammatory. In addition to its health benefits, rice is also extremely adaptable and can be used in casseroles, side dishes, desserts – you name it! Simple in preparation, but capable of delivering huge flavor, the lists of easy dinner recipes which utilize this popular grain are innumerable. Here we will take an exciting culinary excursion through the many styles and preparations of Spanish rice. These delicious dinner recipes are chock full of flavor and you’ll be surprised at how easy these delectable dishes are to prepare! As an added bonus, they’re flexible and fun, allowing you to raid your pantries and customize your dishes. The variations and possibilities are literally endless!

Chorizo and Egg Rice Bowl

Chorizo and egg are a very well-known flavor combination and Spanish pairing, usually served with tortillas. Chorizo, for those unfamiliar with it, is a zesty and mildly spiced sausage which can be found in most grocery stores. The delicate and smooth flavor of eggs in any style compliment the boldness of the Chorizo. Here, we have chosen to combine this formidable twosome with delectably seasoned rice. The dish is then topped with cheese, adding a comforting and familiar element which is sure to please any palette. For a delicious twist, try adding freshly chopped green onions or serve this entree with a side of sliced avocado and your favorite salsa! No matter the variation, this simple dinner recipe is a crowd pleaser!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Savory Chicken and Rice

Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken) is a simple and traditional dish which has gained international notoriety for its outstanding and distinct flavors. It seems almost every Latin or Latin-influenced country has its own spin on this dish. This version is a satisfying and easy dinner recipe which can quickly be put together on busy weekdays. Nutritious and vibrant peas and carrots are simmered for a short while alongside rice and chicken for a savory one-pot dish. The addition of olives and pimentos towards the end of the cooking process infuse this delicious dinner recipe with authenticity and complex aromas. This is one meal which tastes as though you’ve spent all day cooking it, but is really a breeze to prepare and is ready in a hurry. Since this easy dinner recipe is so rapidly finished, try using some of your extra time to make a quick and healthy cucumber and red onion salad. Top off the salad with some finely minced cilantro for some extra Spanish flair!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Cooking at home is one of the very best ways to keep healthy and happy. In addition to stirring the five senses and sparking creativity, home-cooked meals allow you to exercise control over yourself and your family’s nutritional needs. The easy dinner recipes listed here are a great way to avoid repetition and keep dinner sensational! Go ahead – experience a new culture without a passport and get cooking today alongside your friends and family!

Coffee_ Pinoy Style

If you are a Filipino, it is safe to assume that you are a coffee lover. You may have grown up in a household where your parents or older siblings often drink coffee, which is probably the reason why you learned how to drink coffee early in your life, too. Actually, as strange as it may seem, there are some kids as young as seven who already have a liking for coffee. Anyway, with the emergence of coffee shops everywhere, and easy to make coffee, it’s not hard to understand why more and more Filipinos like to think of themselves as coffee lovers.

Some fun (and maybe a little bit odd) facts about Pinoys and Coffee

Of course, as Filipinos, there are certain things about coffee – and your relationship with coffee – that are truly unique. Here are some of those things:

Filipinos often take coffee in the morning to help them get energized and prepare for the long day ahead.
Some even pour coffee over rice as “sabaw”. Yep, Filipinos do love soupy rice because it makes eating more fun.
Filipinos love to dip bread or biscuits in coffee. Just like Oreo Cookies and Milk, Coffee and biscuits seem to be the perfect fit. Yum, yum.
Aside from biscuits, Pandesal is also an awesome partner of coffee. Pandesal is every Filipino’s staple breakfast food and all-time favorite bread. Pair it with coffee, or dip it in coffee and you’re good.
Coffee is also often taken during snacks. For a lot of Filipinos, no merienda is complete without coffee.

Proudly Filipino

One type of coffee that can be called as proudly Filipino is Kapeng Barako. Kapeng Barako is native to Batangas. Barako literally means “Alpha Male”, which could also explain why this coffee tastes so bitter-but you have to admit, it tastes really good, too. Think you know everything you need to know about Kapeng Barako? Think again.

Barako is actually a tree. It got its name from the old Tagalog term for “Wild Boar”. Wild Boars love to eat a Barako tree’s leave sand fruits.
The first Barako tree was planted in the 1800’s by the Macaset Family in Batangas. They got a cutting of the tree from a trip to Brazil.
Basically, all coffee beans that hail from Batangas are called “Barako”.
Kapeng Barako is known for being intensely flavorful and strong smelling.
And, get this, some spas actually use Kapeng Barako as a body scrub!

It’s amazing how great the coffee industry in the Philippines is and how much Filipinos love coffee. It’s one of those things that make living in the Philippines amazing-and wherever you may be in the world, remembering Pinoys’ love for coffee will make you feel like you’re back at home.

Dirty New Orleans Voodoo BBQ Sauce Recipe

This sauce is dirty, down and dirty, meaning we got down to the bottom of things, to the true ingredients of what a sauce should be. In New Orleans people may move slowly, but no one has the time to play around.

The world is full of things these days added to our food that aren’t dirty but are downright ungodly. Gmo monstrosities, high frack-toes corn syrup, pesticides, it’s a wonder our bodies aren’t in even worse shape. A few years back I began to make some difficult changes in how I ate and how I choose the food I would be placing in my body. My choices were informed by science, logic, and spirit, like most good decisions.
Everyone has their own recipe for BBQ sauce, family honor has been lost and won on such a battleground. I’ve heard of people putting everything from Chai tea to Cola in their secret concoctions and the results are well, as can be expected. When we talk about the Southern region of the U.S., BBQ sauce almost becomes a religion. Yet when I look on my store shelves my eyes begin to get teary, and not from the heat in the sauce. The supermarket selections are pitiful and plenty. Most of the major brands are located in Chicago or St. Louis, not that they can’t make BBQ sauce in these places, but it isn’t the stuff of legend. The ingredient lists are as a long as my arm, not that that’s a bad thing, but half of these chemicals I can’t even pronounce. Making your own sauce may take a few minutes, but the taste and benefits are well worth the effort.

Dirty Voodoo Barbecue Sauce Recipe

1 cup organic Tomato sauce
1 6 ounce can organic Tomato paste
2 tbs. Honey
2 tbs. Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce
1 tbs. Coconut oil
1 red Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tbs. Fresh Parsley, minced
1 tbs. Fresh Basil, minced
1 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Chipotle Chili powder
2 tsp. Paprika
� tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp. Liquid smoke (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat coconut oil in saucepan over low heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to turn translucent. Add garlic to pan, just as it begins to brown add tomato sauce, tomato paste, Honey, vinegar, coconut aminos or soy sauce. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add remaining ingredients. Cook for another 20-30 minutes, continue to stir and make sure mixture doesn’t boil. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy on everything from ribs to burgers to chicken and get some delicious dirty Voodoo mojo going.

For The Love Of Tea And Your Health

February is American Heart Month. Have you kept your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you remain committed to better living and taking better care of yourself and your family? February is a good time to remind everyone to “Do something good for yourself, drink tea.” Second only to water, tea is a very popular beverage whether it is enjoyed hot or cold. Drinking tea can be part of a healthy diet.

January was National Hot Tea Month and it was hotter than ever and all over the news from numerous new product launches to wide-reaching reports on the health benefits of tea. Have you seen all of the research about tea and its health benefits?

Decades worth of research shows that tea-the second most consumed beverage in the world- may help prevent chronic diseases, promote weight loss, improve heart health and slow progression of certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes to name just a few of its health benefits. Research about the important role of tea in human health continues to be compelling. Thanks to the Tea Council of the USA and the Tea Association of the USA’s sponsorship of the Fifth International Symposium on Tea & Human Health, held on September 19, 2012 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the research studies presented at the Symposium were published by the leading nutrition publication, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in its December 2013 issue and featured 12 new articles about the relationship between tea and human health.

To highlight one of the reports published through the AJCN, Tea Catechins are Cardioprotective: Numerous studies suggest tea supports heart health and healthy blood pressure, and appears to be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart attack. New research, published in the AJCN provides further support.

Humans have been drinking tea for some 5,000 years, dating back to the Paleolithic period. Modern research is providing the proof that there are real health benefits to gain from enjoying this ancient beverage.

Tea is good for you and also provides a restful, mindful break to a busy day. Tea can be uplifting, energetic, and calming at the same time. When you know you are doing something good for yourself and you share the experience with others, tea becomes your go-to drink and puts you on the road to healthier living. Do something good for yourself, drink tea.