Make Some Great No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

f2I love to be in the kitchen, maybe because I don’t get enough time in there, but regardless when I have the chance, I get in there and bake or make cookies for my grandchildren, cook dinner for my kids or prepare some tasty treat for my co-workers. It gives me great pleasure to spend time in the kitchen because I know that many will enjoy the outcome of my time there.

Of all of the tasty treats that I will make or bake, the one that seems to get the most comments and compliments is the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. They love these cookies at work, at home and at parties. Many times people will ask me to make the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies for a wedding or shower, at a graduation party or even at a church social.

I started make the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies at a young age. When I was a child, my grandmother made these cookies for our family reunions. They were in BIG demand by everyone. She would have to hide a stash of them so that they were not eaten all at once and when everyone thought that her No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies were gone, she pulled out the stash, only to see big smiles yet again.

Sadly in 1979, my grandmother passed away and somehow I obtain her recipe and started making them for the family reunions. I found that I, too, had to put a stash away for a later time in the day (or weekend) so that they would be spread out for the group to enjoy. Since that time, I’ve been requested to make them for many occasions.

Do I think my recipe is special? No. Do I think there is anything different in my No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies that is not in other recipes? No, not really, but I do have a few handy tips that can help you to make good No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

Before I give you the recipe, please let me give you a few helpful hints:

1. Do not double the recipe. It never seems to work for me because of the formula of the ingredients and the amount of heat and boiling that it requires. If you need to make more than one batch, simply make them individually. It really doesn’t take any more time and they will be perfect each time.

2. Be sure to use the timer. The recipe will call for bringing the ingredients to a boil. Make sure it comes to a complete full boil and then start the timer for one minute. You do not want to over cook or under cook these cookies. Over cooking them will result in crumbly, dry cookies. Under cooking them will give you a runny mess.

3. Let Stand for One Minute: I typically let my cookies in the pot for about one minute before dropping them by spoonful on the wax paper. This gives it a little cooling time and will not drip as much.

4. Shape them for appeal. After dropping them by spoonful on the wax paper, I take a fork which has been dipped in cool water, and press them around the sides to give them a more round appearance and eliminate the round oatmeal edges that tend to spread. Then I press the top lightly to flatten the top without squishing the cookie. Dip the fork in cool water often to keep it from sticking to the cookies.

5. Lift the Wax Paper to loosen. After the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies have hardened (several hours later), you can remove them from the wax paper more easily, if you list the wax paper off the counter or table top so that they are not stuck. They will easily peel from the wax paper.

6. Store in air tight container. For longer lasting cookies that will not dry out, keep them in an airtight plastic storage container. Keeping them on a plate with plastic wrap is good, but a container that is air tight works better.

The recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies that I make follows:

1 stick of margarine
2 cups of sugar
½ cup of milk
Combine in a sauce pan, cook ingredients and bring to a boil. Once the margarine is completely melted and the sauce comes to a hard boil, boil it for one minute, stirring occasionally.

Add:
½ cup of peanut butter

One melted, add:
4 tablespoons of cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix well and add
3 cups of 1-minute oatmeal.

Stir well. Let stand and then drop by teaspoons on wax paper. Yields approximately 42 cookies

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Cooking Tips to be a Better Cook

Cooking TipsAnybody with little or no knowledge of spices and styles of cooking can be a great cook. It is no rocket science, for some it comes naturally. Even if you are not one of them, the techniques can be easily learn. Cooking is your own personal mission, to what you want to accomplish and how?

Every place has its own unique way of cooking depending on the climate, time of cooking and the person who is going to have. There are different ways, we can categorize cooking – dry, wet, frying, grilling, baking, steaming, stir-fry and can be also served raw and fresh.

There is more than one way to cook a particular kind of food. Say cottage cheese can be fried, grilled and also served fresh. Try to experiment different recipes and styles. Using different techniques help you understand what suits best for you, and learn the dos and don’t of cooking. There are no set rules for the same. There are different flavors spicy, sweet, floral, fresh, pungent, smoky and hot. One discovers them on their way to be a best cook.

Do not scare

Do not be scared to make something differently, if you mess up, chill and have fun. It is ok! It is better to try when you are alone. No one will know how many times you tried the same dish before presenting a perfect one. Buy a couple of cookbooks. Try at least 3-4 times a week, preferably the same recipe.

Spend time in the kitchen

It is important to spend time in the kitchen having fun. As cooking is more about the passion and love you have. Displaying it for the ones, you love by making an effort to create a new dish. It is in mind that you create the dish first and then in the kitchen. Put spices with mix and match proportions and if it smells good, it will taste good. When you feel that something is missing in the dish, use your taste buds and intuitive power to guide you. The most important thing in food is the salt content. Add salt in small portions.

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A Guide To Know About The Variety Of Sugar

No doubt, sugar is an essential part of a healthy and balanced diet. But you cannot deny the fact that there are so many people, who consider it bad for health. However, this concern is unnecessary; it’s because according to a research sugar has so many health benefits and it is a must to complete your balanced diet. It is available in different varieties, which have a distinct taste, color, and other attributes that make a buyer confused.

If you are also getting confused among its various types, so, this article is really helpful for you. Here in this article, you will come to know its different range and their purpose as well, so, have a look below and choose wisely.

Granulated Sugar: It is one of the most refined of its kind. It is not sticky at all because its moisture can remove at the time of its refining. In many places, it is also considered as a table or refined sugar. This is mostly used for baking and sweetening the beverages. You can use it for almost every purpose, because of its rich taste and uniform size.

Castor Sugar: It is also considered as superfine sugar because it can quickly dissolve and mix into various varieties faster than any other of its kind. It is widely used for making syrups, cocktails or other beverages.

Brown Sugar: It is nothing, just white sugar, which gets its brown color because of the presence of molasses in it. It has high moisture content and. Therefore, it is widely used for baking purposes and giving the crisp and brown color to your cookies or any other desserts.

Pulverized Sugar: It is actually powdered sugar, which has been grounded so fine, which make it an ideal choice for icing on a cake or any other dessert. It’s finest quality and easy to dissolve feature make it highly demanded in the market. It is hygienically processed and healthy and pure as well.

Now you have so many options to choose from. So, it’s time to pick the one as per your requirement and enjoy their benefits. Sugar is used in baking, icing, for good health, for making scrubs and to give texture and color to your mouthwatering recipes and in many other ways.

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Salt What Is in Your Kitchen and Fridge May Be Killing You

Salty food is tasty. It can make us lick all our fingers in the same manner as a greedy dog licks out his bowl.

Stores sell both iodized and iodine-free salts. ‘Iodized salt’ refers to salts that contain iodine. Unless one has a sensitivity to iodine, I see no reason why anyone would choose iodine-free salt over iodized salt; iodine is necessary to our health in small doses.

Sodium and chloride make up the primary chemical composition of salt. About two-fifths or 40 percent of salt is sodium.

Both sodium and iodine have roles to play in the body. Nonetheless, people who have the habit of eating very salty food risk many serious medical ailments, such as high blood pressure and strokes.

Lack of awareness of the sodium content of tasty food, drinks or snacks is partly to blame for people’s high salt consumption. An average American consumes five to ten times the amount of sodium necessary.

My eyes widened when I found out the amount of sodium in my favorite cheese, a realization which made me switch to a low sodium brand. I hope readers will do the same. Look up the sodium content of your favorite food and snacks, salad dressings, bread and bagels, and consider switching to a safer alternative.

Sodium balance, high blood pressure and ageing

Humans have about 100 grams of sodium in their body, most of them flowing in the blood mix. The body always strives for a range of sodium blood equilibrium, the excess sodium we don’t need being evacuated through urination, sweating or bowel movement. On the other hand, when the body is short in sodium it absorbs more through the kidneys.

Eating salty food for a long time, however, can overwhelm the ability of the body to maintain such a balance. Furthermore, with ageing, when physical activity levels decline and the kidney filters become blunter than an old kitchen knife, the body retains more sodium.

Lots of sodium in the blood soaks up body water, creating a sodium-waterlogged blood, distension of blood vessels and high blood pressure.

Food industries – and what I found in my fridge

Profit is what motivates the food industries. The corner store that flips the hot dogs, the coffee outlets that ask if you want breakfast, and the chefs behind your favorite restaurants: none of them care about your wellness and wellbeing. Salt sells their merchandise and salt is what you get.

Even dieters and weight watchers get fooled by how much salt they consume. I woke one morning with a mission: to hunt for sodium in the fridge. A glass bottle of sauce on the side rail contained 520 mg of sodium per tablespoon. To the right of the glass bottle, a plastic container of ranch yogurt salad dressing has 280 mg of sodium in two tablespoons, and the tomato paste next to the ranch yogurt has 160 mg of sodium in one tablespoon. As you can see, sodium intake adds up very quickly.

Now what?

Sodium exists in many natural foods. Get your sodium from natural sources such as apples, berries, vegetables, eggs, milk, herbs, seafood and many more.

Like sodium, iodine occurs in natural food. Sources of iodine include kelp, seaweed, milk, eggs, fish, yogurt, shrimps, beans, and fruit or vegetables which grew in iodine-rich soil.

How much salt do we need?

Sodium is not all bad. It helps keep blood flowing through the arteries and veins. Another way sodium helps is to facilitate the entry of molecules such as glucose across the cell wall into the cytoplasm.

Half a teaspoon of iodized salt, containing 1163 milligram of sodium and 200 micrograms of iodine, is enough to provide most people with their daily sodium and iodine needs. Individuals with high blood pressure, or impaired liver, kidneys or heart, may need to limit their sodium intake even further.

Coupling iodine with salt is a convenient way to help people get their iodine requirement. The thyroid gland, located on the sides of the neck, needs iodine to produce thyroxin, an important body hormone. Mental impairment, weight gain, and goiter are some of the signs of a poorly functioning thyroid gland, which can be due to iodine deficiency.

11 tips to stop the sodium onslaught

• Check the table salt in your kitchen today. Does it say iodized salt?

• Notice the sodium content of the foods and snacks you eat and the seasonings you add to your meals.

• Cook your own food, and ask no salt in the food you eat out.

• Half a teaspoon of iodized salt is enough to provide us with our daily sodium and iodine requirements.

• Natural foods are better alternative sources of sodium and salt

• Ask for salt-free or low salt at shops.

• Know the sodium content of anything you toss into your pot or plate.

• Read all food labels, especially packaged and processed food.

• Take your blood pressure at least once every year, and more frequently if you suffer from high blood pressure.

• Don’t rely on taste; do an online check for the sodium content of your favorite food, snacks, and seasonings.

• Diarrhea, profuse sweating, and use of certain diuretics may necessitate a higher salt intake.

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Importance Of Sugar In The Human Body

Nowadays, many people avoid the consumption of sugar, because they consider it bad for health. It gets blamed for many health problems. But do you know that without this, your body did not perform its function properly? It is considered as an enemy of your health – right? However, all these concerns or myths are totally waste and wrong. It’s because without this your balanced diet is incomplete.

It is very important to include sugar in your regular diet for many reasons. Don’t need to be surprised, because it’s true. If you also think it only satisfies your sweet tooth, you should read the below points to know its importance in the human body that helps to burst all your myths about this ingredient.

Immediate energy: Do you know that sugar is the primary source of energy? Yes, it is a must to maintain a proper energy level in your body. When it meets with your blood, it gets converted into glucose, which is absorbed by your body cells and help to produce energy. If you eliminate it from your regular diet, then no doubt, your blood pressure will instantly get low, which is not good for your health. To avoid such situation, you should intake it.

For proper functioning of the brain: Your brain cannot function without sugar. To avoid the situation of total blackout or faintness, you should take the necessary amount of sugar in a day. This will help your brain to perform its function properly. Always, keep in mind that too much quantity may put adverse effects so always take in limited or required amount. Moreover, it is also the best solution to get the relief from the problem of depression.

Maintain insulin level: Most of the people think sugar is the primary reason behind diabetes; it is not actually true. If you are a diabetes patient and take insulin and after that if you do not eat food for a long time, so, the sugar level in your blood goes down. At that point, your body needs raw sugar.

In a nugget, you can say it has health benefits too that are very useful to you. And now you may understand the importance of sugar in the human body. However, that really doesn’t mean you eat as much as it is possible. It is only beneficial for you if you intake it in limited and required quantity.

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Super Easy Method of How Many Tablespoons in a Cup

The concept of conversion can be explained as an exchange from one unit of measurement to another, without a change in the amount or size. In this article, we have tried to help you in understanding the conversion of two cooking measurement units: cups and tablespoons.

Cooking units can only be measured in weight, quantity or volume. There are different ways to measure different ingredients. For instance, liquid ingredients, such as milk and water are measured by volume. Dry ingredients are measured by weight in most countries, and by volume in Australia and North America. Small quantities of these dry ingredients are measured by volume. Meats are measured by weight or count in all over the world, and eggs are specified by count. Vegetables and fruits are quantified by weights or occasionally by counts.

What is ‘Cup’ in cooking measurements?

Cups normally used in a household can be different from the cup size used in recipes. A cup is used to quantify liquids and dry bulk ingredients. It’s a legally defined measurement unit in the United States and Liberia. One standard measuring cup is defined as 250 milliliters while one legal Cup in the U.S. is equal to 240 milliliters and Japanese cup is defined as 200 milliliters.

What is a ‘tablespoon’ in cooking measurements?

A tablespoon is a large spoon used for serving in most countries and for eating in Canada. In recipes, a tablespoon (commonly abbreviated as T or tbsp.) is used as a measurement of volume. A United Sates tablespoon is 14.7 milliliters, a United Kingdom tablespoon is 15 milliliters, and an Australian tablespoon is 20 milliliter.

Cup to Tablespoon Conversion

When you are trying a new dessert recipe to please your stomach, every ingredient needs to be used in the right quantity otherwise, all you can expect is a disaster. If you are baking something and the ingredients are mentioned in tablespoons, it’s normally not easy to convert them to cups. So, here we have shared some commonly used conversions of tablespoons to a cup.

Cup Tablespoon // Cup Tablespoon

1 16 // 5.25 84
¼ 4 // 5.5 88
½ 8 // 5.75 92
¾ 12 // 6 96
1.25 20 // 6.25 100
1.5 24 // 6.5 104
1.75 28 // 6.75 108
2 32 // 7 112
2.25 36 // 7.25 116
2.5 40 // 7.5 120
2.75 44 // 7.75 124
3 48 // 8 128
3.25 52 // 8.25 132
3.5 56 // 8.5 136
3.75 60 // 8.75 140
4 64 // 9 144
4.25 68 // 9.25 148
4.5 72 // 9.5 152
4.75 46 // 9.75 156
5 80 // 10 160

It’s hard to memorize the whole table but just keep in mind that one cup is equal to 16 tablespoons and one tablespoon is equal to 1/16 cups. This super easy method of how many tablespoons in a cup will assist you a lot in your kitchen.

However, these conversions vary in different regions because the size of the cup and the size of the tablespoon are different in different countries. For instance, in Canada, one cup is equal to 15 tablespoons, but if you live in America, your one cup will be equivalent to 16 tablespoons. So, always keep in mind your region and then convert the tablespoons in cups.

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Ajwa The Heavenly Fruit Hailed for Its Innumerable Health Benefits Including Anti Cancer

It is believed that the Ajwa Date was sent down from the heavens and whoever eats 7 in the early morning will be protected from poison or black magic. A native exclusively to Madina, Saudi Arabia, Ajwa can now be found in other hot desert regions that have imported the fruit and attempted cultivation. However, the purest form of Ajwa can only be found in Madina.

This little black fruit is in a league of its own. Dark coloured with fine white lines, it has a distinctive flavour and subtle sweetness. Anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardiotonic, galactogogue and laxative are just some of the medicinal benefits and healing properties that have earned this fruit the title as “the king of dates”.

Extensive research has been conducted to analyze the effectiveness on many different ailments and health conditions.

For pregnancy, fetal development and breastfeeding, it has been proven to be helpful in the development of bones of the fetus due to its calcium content. It is extremely important at the time of childbirth as it enable smooth contractions of the uterine muscles for easy delivery. Post-partum, it aids the mother in both blood production as well as milk production. It has recently been discovered that Ajwa is a good herbal treatment for anemia not only because it escalates levels of iron in the blood but also in the production of red blood cells.

It is highly beneficial for the digestive system as it removes toxins from the body. It also acts as a counter to diarrhea and as a laxative to those suffering from constipation. This fruit has the ability to strengthen the immune system as well as balance blood sugar. It operates on lowering elevated blood pressure along with the regulating cholesterol. It has been found to be highly effective in countering obesity and curtailing weight gain. Miraculously, it can also increase weight in those struggling to gain weight.

Although many dates improve sexual stamina and vitality, Ajwa in particular also aids in sexual problems like infertility. It promotes proper flow of urine which makes it beneficial for both the kidneys and the liver. It is an antidote in the case of poisoning due to the consumption of alcohol.

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Deep Frying a Turkey (or Duck)

About 15 years ago I decided to try deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving. The results were great and since then I have made it an annual tradition. The time required to cook the turkey is less than 1 hour and the meat is always very moist, even the white meat. Recently I tried deep frying a duck and achieved the same great results.

You can fry the turkey inside or outside. Inside you must use an electric fryer and outside you can use a propane fryer or electric fryer. I have used both and both work equally well, but I always cook outside in the open air for safety purposes. The procedure is the same for a turkey or a duck except where noted in parenthesis.

What You Will Need

• Turkey Fryer – Electric or Propane (propane outside only on dirt or grassy area).

• Thermometer to measure the oil temperature.

• Food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the bird.

• Injector for marinades and seasonings.

• Fire extinguisher, oven mitts and pot holders.

• Peanut oil – 3 gallons (other oils can be used but peanut oil is best)

• Up to a 14 pound whole turkey (up to a 6.5 pound whole duck).

Determine the Amount of Oil Needed

Most turkey fryers have a fill line indicating the right level of oil to add to the pot, but if that line is absent from your fryer, do the following before marinating the turkey:

Place the thawed turkey in the fryer basket and place both in the empty pot. The minimum oil level should be 3 inches to 5 inches from the top of the fryer. Add water until the top of the turkey is covered. Remove the turkey allowing the water to drain from the turkey. Note the water level. Drain or pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. If the fryer has a drain valve, be sure all the excess water is removed from the spigot.

Cooking Preparation

Remove the turkey from the wrapper. Be sure to save the label that indicates the weight of the turkey. You will use the turkey’s weight to compute the total frying time.

• Thaw the turkey completely and remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity.

• Add oil to the fill line using up to 3 gallons to 5 gallons.

• Preheat the oil to 375 degrees (325 degrees for whole duck).

• While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey as desired.

• Remove the wire or plastic truss that holds the legs in place,

• Remove the pop-up timer from the breast if there is one.

• Do not stuff turkeys for deep frying.

• To reduce spattering, thoroughly dry the interior and exterior of the turkey.

Inject the turkey with marinades and seasonings of your choice and place the turkey in a clean roasting pan for no more than 30 minutes to 45 minutes. This allows the marinades and seasonings to soak into the turkey and raises the turkey’s internal temperature so there will be less splatter during the frying.

Cooking the Turkey

Just prior to lowering the turkey into the oil, turn off the burner. As soon as the turkey is safely in the pot, immediately turn on the burner. To prevent excess splattering, slowly lower the turkey into the oil.

For whole turkeys, allow 3 minutes to 4 minutes per pound and for turkey parts, allow 4 minutes to 5 minutes per pound (For whole duck allow 9 minutes per pound). Oil temperature may fluctuate based on outdoor temperature and wind conditions. Maintain the oils temperature at 350 degrees (325 degrees for duck).

Remove turkey from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165°F to 170°F in the breast and 175°F to 180°F in the thigh (for duck, place the tip of the thermometer into the leg joint where the thigh connects to the backbone and the internal temperature should be 175 degrees).Then skin of the turkey may be dark brown or blackened but it is not over cooked as long as the internal temperature is as stated above.

Carve and Serve!!!

“Be Active” and embrace life. Do the things you enjoy whether it’s playing golf or tennis, swimming, running or walking.
“Be Healthy” and take care of yourself. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of rest every day.
“Be Happy” and you will be if you are active and healthy. Live every moment to its fullest and do the things you enjoy.

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Features Of Modern Food Delivery Services

If you ever wonder what it would be like to have the taste of Italy in your pantry, you should consider using a service that delivers gourmet foods straight to your doorstep. Even if you are interested in having the culinary delights of the world’s top chefs delivered, you too will likely find the delivery of gourmet foods to be an attractive option. These services can also be used to thoroughly enhance your cooking abilities if you so desire as well.

Many people now use food delivery services simply to make their lives a bit easier. By having food delivered, you can make fewer trips to the market for groceries. As a result, you may be able to save some time and even a bit of money in the process, but these are nonetheless not the most remarkable benefits of using these services.

It has become quite common for people to learn how to cook like a classically trained chef using these services. It is the quality of the ingredients they deliver that sets their food apart from their competitors. By selling only the highest quality ingredients available anywhere in the world, these companies are able to provide their customers with a unique experience that is difficult to rival.

For instance, some companies specialize in bringing regional foods to the marketplace. If you have ever been to Europe, then you know that many European restaurants prepare their foods using mostly local ingredients and recipes. By utilizing one of these services, you can gain access to the same ingredients your favorite European restaurants use to greatly enhance each and every dish you prepare.

There is a tremendous variety of options available to consumers looking for high quality food delivery services right now. For instance, there are companies that specialize in delivering bulk orders to help their customers save money. There are also companies that specialize in bringing only the freshest and highest quality ingredients to the marketplace.

This wide range of options can make it difficult for consumers to choose the best one, but there is still a way to make it easier to choose. For instance, you can simply determine how much cooking you are personally willing to do. The more willing you are to prepare your own dishes, the more delicious will be the end product.

Some companies even deliver their goods fully cooked. These services are typically the priciest option around, but they commonly deliver the products of the most famous restaurateurs in the world. Even so, their products may lack the authenticity you are looking for as an experienced chef.

To ensure your satisfaction with the end result, you should prepare your meals yourself. There are many gourmet food delivery companies that offer a vast assortment of regional products, including specialty items such as savory truffles and desserts.

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8 Quick Things to Remember When Microwave Cooking

When you think “microwave meal”, it usually conjures up a range of mixed emotions from will my dish cook through, will it be flavoursome, and will it be raw or overcooked? Believe it or not, cooking in a microwave is actually one of the easiest things to do.

It’s the quickest way to whip up something delicious and different, and depending on what you’re cooking, you can save a lot of time too. So if you’re a beginner in the kitchen, have a craving and need a quick fix, or just don’t want to spend time over a hot stove, then microwave meals are the answer.

Of course not everything can be cooked perfectly in a microwave, like a cake or crunchy crackle for instance, but once you pick up a few basic tricks then you can turn out some pretty decent meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that require nothing more than a cutting board and bowl. Another bonus is since you’re cutting down the amount of oil or fats used when you cook in these kitchen appliances, the method can be a lot healthier than cooking that same food on the stove.

Whip up easy breakfast bowls of porridge or scrambled eggs; broil fish with some lemon juice and spices, brown vegetables or make scrumptious desserts. There are several easy and delicious recipes that you can whip up fast; you just need to be willing to experiment first.

Things to remember when microwave cooking:

• Most foods should be cooked at room temperature or refrigerated temperature.

• Stir the food during the cooking process; foods that can’t be stirred need to be turned over for even heat distribution.

• Place the food in a circular microwave proof dish or to arrange it in a circle in an oven tray so that it cooks more evenly.

• Pierce, score or chop foods that are covered with a skin or outer membrane like hard roots and egg yolks. This prevents pressure from building up and the food from bursting.

• Foods with a high fat or sugar content heat more quickly.

• A drawback to cooking meat in the microwave is that it doesn’t sear like it does in a conventional oven. You can get that ‘seared’ look by brushing the meat with Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, butter, or spices.

• Since there is less evaporation in a microwave, reduce the amount of liquid ingredients.

• For best results, when trying a microwave recipe for the first time, always follow the shortest amount of time given and add additional time if needed.

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Perfect Taco Catering A Balance Between Excellent Food and Service

How often does it happen that you go to a restaurant where the food was fine but the service was awful? The same is to be avoided in taco cart catering.

Just ask any event planner who has had a bad experience somewhere along the way.

Just because the chef strikes a homerun with a menu that can satisfy just everyone in attendance doesn’t mean that service can be compromised.

For example, tacos have achieved near-universal popularity with diners of all ages, all types and all tastes. But that doesn’t mean all taco caterers can deliver an event meal that makes for a happy occasion.

This is because service is as important as the food itself. So the degree of interaction between service staff and diners is important and complex. Consider how the cook/server is expected to help a diner select ingredients and toppings and then cook the taco in full view of diners, all while presenting a service-oriented personality and maintaining strict hygiene standards.

But not every mobile taco cart operator hires and trains staff appropriately. Catering industry experts identify service failures as follows:

• Inattention and an apathetic attitude – This is the employee who doesn’t really want to be there. The caterer clearly has hiring/motivating/retention issues.

• Appear to be stressed and not in control – This is due to a lack of training, hiring the wrong people, or operational shortcomings.

• Failure to work hygienically – Again, a training issue, possibly in violation of food safety ordinances. And deeply concerning.

So what does the party host do to make sure they are working with a caterer who has both good food and good service?

There are a few tricks that can help. First, get feedback on the taco cart catering company’s previous work. Online forums are one place to start (although they can be flawed by disgruntled ex-employees or competitors). It may make more sense to ask for references and to truly check them out.

Also, with specific regard to hygiene, make sure your caterer has one or more employees – who will work your event – with the requisite Food Protection Manager Certification. This means they have passed an exam that covers biohazards, foodborne diseases, food spoilage, contaminants, food temperature control, and employee health and hygiene standards.

None of those particular problems are appetizing to consider. But better to prevent than to remediate – your reputation as well as your guests who may suffer after your event.

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What’s More Dangerous A Sharp Knife or a Dull Knife

WHAT’S MORE DANGEROUS, A SHARP KNIFE OR A DULL KNIFE?

Hopefully you said dull one.. can’t you see yourself now, tying to cut potatoes with a dull knife, your fingers and knife slipping everywhere, trying to keep it steady and cut in a straight line?

Yes, most certainly a dull one. But that’s okay. So we say this assuming you have knives in your kitchen… if you don’t please, stop reading this article and go out right now and buy at least one. But wait! Before you leave and even for those who already have a full set or anything in between, read our tips to learn how to treat your knives with care.

HOW TO TREAT YOUR KNIVES

Wash and dry them after each use. This is an easy one not to do, but knives are like teeth, once you use them, you gotta clean them, otherwise you will have problems later. It’s simple, after each use, wash gently with soap and water and then dry with a cotton cloth. This will help ensure continued sharpness and blade strength. You should never put your knives in the dishwasher.

Sharpen early and often. Just as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics tells us, “things go from order to disorder,” your knife blade is no exception. It is important to remember that the term “sharpen,” is really just an umbrella term that holds two concepts underneath: hone and sharpen.

Hone: When you use a knife, you are taking the knife blade from a super straight piece of steel to a more a zig zag form. People even use the term, fold, that the knife blade folds on itself. Honing realigns the edge. A sharpening steel, that metal bar that you have seen chefs use, actually does not sharpen but “hones” knives and helps return the knife blade back to its straight alignment, making the knife appear sharper and foods easier to cut.

You should hone your knives as often as before every use and at least after every three to four uses. This helps maintain the blade and will keep your sharpening/grinding to a minimum.

Sharpen: When you sharpen, you are actually reforming the edge, meaning that you are grinding away bits and pieces to make at the edge as fine as possible which in turn will give your sharpness. This is usually done with a whetstone and by holding the blade at a certain angle (generally between 17 and 20 degrees) depending on what the hype of knife and what if used for. If you are honing your knives regularly, this should be about a once a year thing. If you are not honing your knives, you are going to need to sharpen way more often. But remember, every time you sharpen, you are literally grinding away a part of your knife.

You can also have your knives professionally sharpened. Again once a year if you use your knives a lot. Or like we said, you can do this yourself, but it is something that you need to be taught if using a whetstone. Watch some YouTube tutorials or have someone teach you who knows what they are doing. If not, certain pull through sharpeners can be a great alternative. Check with your knife brand to see what they recommend.

Store: We’ve all seen the scene that can be a knife drawer. Hopefully, if you have a knife drawer, instead of a block or magnetic strip, you have some sort of organisation going on inside. Meaning, you shouldn’t just throw the knife into the knife drawer on the left side next to the forks. It’s really terrible for the blade!

Buy knives you’ll use, this may mean that you don’t need to buy the whole set. Your knives should reflect the type of cooking you do. If you find yourself filleting whole fish nightly, you perhaps would have a great need for a filet knife. But, for the rest of us, this may not be a necessity.

Just like all things in life, there are things that you need and that you want. Our advice is to have knives you need and then add some “fun” knives after.

Look for knives where the steel blade extends all the way down the center of the handle rather than it just being a handle with a blade attached to the end. When the steel continues all the way down the handle, you are looking at a better quality knife as well as more stability and a knife that is less prone to breaking.

BRANDS WE LIKE

We have several favorite brands, brands trusted to get the job done and look beautiful at the same time, because after all, what is cooler than having kitchen filled with mini swords! It’s like medieval times all over again!

Global – Basically the coolest looking knives ever, but we are biased.

Wüsthof – German, need I saw more? They have a great website with tons of knife info!

Henckels – Founded in 1731 in Germany, these people know what they are doing.

MAC – A lesser know Japanese brand but super, super sharp and great hand feel.

Knives can me made in any country, obviously, but the most popular brands tend to come from two places: Germany and Japan.

Why? Easy!

Germany = Well Made Everything

Japan = Samurai Swords

MUST HAVE’S IN YOU KITCHEN

Santoku/Chef: This is a do anything knife. You can cut a watermelon, a steak or fresh herbs. Granted, some of these tasks might be easier with a different knife, but either way, it will get the job done.

We like to have two of these for when a friend asks if they can help out!

Bread: This knife should be serrated with help cut into soft things like bread or tomatoes without crushing the actual food.

Paring: This is a small knife that is more precise than larger knives. Use it trim or peel vegetables,

We like Williams & Sonoma’s Global Classic 3-Piece Knife Starter Set. All you have to add to it is a serrated knife and you are ready to go!

OTHER KNIVES

Meat Cleaver, Vegetable, Filet Knife.

This actually goes on and on. Visit your favorite cooking store or specific knife brand website to learn more.

Happy Chopping!

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