Delicious Ways to Enjoy Vegetables at Breakfast

Not many people think of vegetables as a breakfast food. Breakfast menus are dominated by fruit, pastries, and other sweets. Savory foods such as eggs and bacon take a back seat, and vegetables rarely make an appearance. But there are many healthy and delicious ways to enjoy vegetables at breakfast, many of which require almost no effort!

Omelets and Frittatas

A nutritious breakfast staple, omelets—and their equally delicious cousin, the frittata—are a natural vessel for breakfast vegetables. This simple instruction video shows how to make a simple omelet with cheese and vegetables. If you chop the vegetables in advance, it should take no more than 15 minutes to make a fresh, delicious omelet. This spinach omelet uses egg substitute for a lower cholesterol option.  You can use egg substitute or egg whites in any omelet recipe to lower the fat and cholesterol, and cheese can be omitted in most recipes for a dairy-free omelet.  Use 2 egg whites for each egg, or follow the directions on the package when using egg substitute.

 If you don’t have 15 minutes to spare for omelet-making in the morning, try a frittata instead. Frittatas can be made the night before and reheated in the oven or microwave, or, even better, you can make a large frittata on the weekend and freeze it in individual portions to enjoy throughout the week. This indulgent homemade frittata calls for ham and asparagus, but the ham could be omitted or replaced with turkey or vegetarian sausage, and the asparagus could be replaced with other roasted or steamed vegetables. Broccoli or Brussels sprouts would both be good complements to the savory ham and Parmesan cheese. Or, try this lighter spring vegetable frittata for a garden-fresh treat you can enjoy every morning.

Green Smoothies

A delicious and versatile part of any meal or snack, a green smoothie is also an excellent way to eat vegetables without tasting them. They are good for getting kids to eat their vegetables, and just as good for adults! All you need to make excellent smoothies is a decent blender (and mid-range is fine—no need to spring for the Vitamix). At its simplest, a smoothie is at least 8 oz of liquid (water, milk, juice, almond or soy milk, and herb tea all work well), one or two cups of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables (especially soft fruits like bananas or berries, and leafy greens), and ice (if none of the fruits or vegetables are frozen), blended for 1-5 minutes. Pulse a few times first, to break up large chunks, then blend on low speed, pausing occasionally, until you can’t see any large chunks and the mixture looks smooth. The whole process will take about ten minutes—including cleaning the blender afterward. You can also make your smoothie the night before: just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to go. The best smoothies have plenty of liquid, and at least one creamy ingredient, such as banana, mango, yogurt, or soft tofu. 

When choosing vegetables for a smoothie, you have plenty of options. Any green leafy vegetable can go into a smoothie, from lettuce and spinach to kale, kohlrabi, and beet greens – just stick it in the blender with your other ingredients. Soft vegetables like tomatoes also work – try an all-vegetable gazpacho for a savory treat, excellent with eggs and toast, or as a light lunch. Harder vegetables like broccoli and carrots can be treated the same way, but may need to be steamed first. Experiment a little and see how your blender does with different vegetables – some may take longer than others. However, the easiest way to get vegetables into a smoothie, especially when cooking for kids, is to puree them in advance, and freeze them in an ice cube tray so you can add small quantities without the bother of waiting for them to blend in with the rest of the smoothie. This works with greens, and works especially well with carrots, whose sweet, mild flavor is easily masked by even the blandest fruit.

For your first smoothie, try blending the following: 4 oz water, 6 oz orange juice, generous dollop of vanilla yogurt, one small ripe banana, 6-10 strawberries (fresh or frozen), and 2-4 tablespoons each (if you’ve made ice cubes, each one will be around a tablespoon) of carrot and spinach puree. Add an ice cube or two if none of the other ingredients are frozen. That will make about 1 liter of green smoothie, which is enough for four small servings with breakfast, or one delicious breakfast all by itself (the fiber makes it surprisingly filling, and if you stir in a scoop of protein powder, you may find you’re not hungry until lunch). You can add a handful of blueberries as well—they’ll improve the color as well as giving it a more complex flavor. If you’re still hungry, and need help coming up with new ideas, this guide should get your creative juices flowing.

 Hash

Long consigned to the ranks of side dishes, and maligned for its frequently high fat content, hash browns and other stir-fried potato dishes can actually be not only a nutritious and delicious way to enjoy vegetables at breakfast, but an easy way to make your first meal of the day balanced and filling. Not only does it make a good backdrop to many savory vegetables and meats, the potato is a vegetable in its own right.  If you leave the skin on when you cook it, it is high in fiber and nutrients. It’s also a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates.

Unlike its deep-fried cousin, the french fry, hash can be made at home in a pan, and with as much—or as little—oil as you want. To reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking, bake or boil the potatoes in advance, and chop them coarsely. For basic vegetable hash, chop boiled red potatoes (with the skin on), garlic, onions, and green and red bell peppers. Saute the garlic and onions in olive oil or butter, then add the peppers, and add the potatoes last. Finish with sea salt and black pepper. For variety, use yams and steamed carrots and/or parsnips instead of the red potatoes and bell peppers. For a high-protein variant, try this version, which features eggs and sausage. You can also make hash by tossing your ingredients like a salad, and browning them in a pan in the oven. This gives your hash a nice crisp, browned texture with much less oil than would be required for skillet cooking.


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Chain Restaurant Reviews Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is a combination restaurant/store. When you walk into the door, you first see the store and all of the merchandise. Here, you will be met by beautiful items that tempt you to buy them. Jewelry, clothing, and country preserved foods await you, calling to your inner-most senses. 

Just scan the products for now, you can think of them while you eat and pay closer attention when you head to the door. Pass the goods and the checkout counter where many other trinkets are shown, heading on through the door to the restaurant. Once you walk into the restaurant, you will see rustic seating and tables that take you into another place besides the city you were in before you arrived.

The food in this eatery is prepared beautifully, yet simply. Dishes and silverware show simplicity like many would expect to have had if living perhaps fifty years ago. The service is excellent and the staff members are extremely friendly. The décor is completely country influenced. You will be surrounded by country scenes in pictures, shelves full of country items and older ideas of lighting.

Waitresses move through the wide aisles between tables and chairs that are well spaced. Families can speak with one another easily, but you can also say hello to someone you know. You will never feel you are disturbing anyone at the next table. The entire experience seems like a family reunion.

Cracker Barrel says right on their menu that everything is “made from scratch.”  They are not bragging when they suggest you will absolutely love their country style take on all foods. Breakfasts are the epitome of your grandmother’s farm morning meals. Steak, pork chops and meatloaf are ready for lunch or dinner. Add to this a hearty salad and/or any of the country vegetables, along with a roll and maybe dessert. You will be truly gratified with your visit.

Drink a couple of glasses of iced tea with your meal, and you are ready to start in on the store. You have thought about it long enough. Quaint country rocking chairs beckon you to try them out. Ottomans, shelving units and end tables are right there with the rockers and would look great in your home or on a sheltered patio.

Cracker Barrel continues the country theme with country-style dinner and cookware to take home. Coffee cups that expound the country style always look great in any surroundings. A beautiful cast-iron Dutch oven would look perfect on your stove, whatever age the rest of your kitchen. Don’t despair, there is much more to see. 

Clothing and jewelry such as blouses, dresses, necklaces, wallets and earrings for women rival anything you might find as a souvenir on vacation elsewhere. Men can buy great hats and ties that show their dedication to other state’s football teams. They can even buy Oklahoma Sooners merchandise in Texas and no one will look down at them. If you already know about this rivalry, it can shock you that these purchases are this easy.

Step over to the foods section and pick up such country favorites as cornbread mixes, apple butter and peppermint sticks to take home. Chow-chow and blackberry cobbler mixes summon you to them next. It’s hard to say goodbye, but you do have to go home at some time. Don’t worry—you can return whenever you want. Cracker Barrel awaits you in many locations.


Bar Alcohol Drinking Etiquette

Not all bars are created equal. Each and every bar is created for a particular subset of people. Like restaurants, each is serving a particular type of clientele, the ability to read and choose which bar to go to can make a world of difference. Determining which bar is right for you and knowing your way around it is a skill that requires common sense and knowledge of oneself.

Picking Your Bar:

To do this correctly will involve trial and error. What might look to be a cool beer and shot place may turn into a Mecca for idiotic college neophytes after 10 pm. However, usually what you see is what you get. If the place looks like it caters to yuppies, don’t expect to walk in and see a lot of jeans and t-shirts. The real question is what do you want in a bar and why? In the words of the bard “To thine own self be true.” Go to a martini bar if you really like martini’s, not because of the some status symbol reason. If you like beer go to a bar that has a lot on tap. If for some God awful reason you like to dance when you drink go to a club. Above all though go to a place you know you will comfortable in. this sis the 1st step in assuring your experience will be enjoyable and not hell on earth. Of course finding out where you will be comfortable is the trial and error part.

Etiquette:

This is important no matter what bar you walk into, but especially for one you want to regularly patron. Etiquette is the essence of “knowing” you way around a bar as well as ensuring good service. Failure to practice good bar etiquette is a guaranteed way to make sure you are always the last person served. Here are some tips to ensure good service.

Try to sit at the bar whenever possible this will help the bartender recognize your face.

Ask the bartender name, wouldn’t you rather be referred to by your name then by your job title. Also they will most likely ask your name in return. This means that you are not just another customer.

Attend the bar regularly on a weekday if possible. Bartenders like people who give them money and if you are the one tipping on a Wednesday when it’s dead, they’ll love you.

Tip well, it’s a simple concept. Here are some good guidelines: Tip well on the 1st drink

For a bottle beer as not an ETOH Abuser that may be a dollar, for a draught beer (depending on price) $3-$5

Simple drink like scotch on the rocks should be similar to draught beer.

Complex cocktails like a kamikaze etc, half the price of the drink

After the 1st drink you can dial down the tipping a bit, but every drink deserves some gratuity.

Don’t wave money around to get service, you will look stupid.

Do put money on the bar and leave it there. I like to start with a $20 and ass as necessary.

Above all be nice and polite, think of a bar as someone’s home. You are a guest so treat your host with respect.

Mastering bar etiquette is all about practice. Once you have it down you will be able to know your way around pretty much any bar in America.


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Restaurant Chain Reviews Jimmy Johns

Jimmy John’s (JJ) is a sandwich shop founded in 1983 in Charleston, Illinois, USA near the campus of Eastern Illinois University, by entrepreneur, Jimmy John Liautaud.  Specializing in “gourmet” sub and club sandwiches, the chains most recognized tag line is “really fast delivery”.

In store ordering is also fast and cheerful.  Sandwich makers team up to make the delicious sandwiches. From the Pepe sub (applewood smoked ham, provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato) to the Ultimate Porker club (applewood smoked ham and bacon with lettuce and tomato), all are delivered to customers quickly with the freshest of ingredients.

My guests and I visited a JJ’s in the Chicago area, hungry for a satisfying sandwich, chips and soda – a great lunch. I ordered the Vito which is an original Italian sub containing Genoa salami, provolone cheese, capicola, onion, lettuce, and tomato topped with Italian vinaigrette. The fresh baked bread this hearty offering is served on makes the sandwich.

One guest ordered the “Slim” version of this sandwich, which contains the same delicious meat and cheese sans the veggies and vinaigrette.  This guy wolfed it down before my other guest and I had our sandwich half eaten.  Prone to understatement, he remarked, “It was good”.

My other guest ordered the JJ B.L.T., which of course is a traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, served on Jimmy John’s fresh baked sub bread spread with mayo.  She stated, “This is awesome”, between bites.

Our entire party enjoyed sodas and JJ’s gourmet jalapeno chips.  We all enjoy a little kick to our meals.  The chips were in fact, gourmet.  Cooked in 100% peanut oil they are a crisp, mouth-watering pleasure.  The delicious chips compliment the sandwiches extremely well.  Other chip varieties include regular, reduced Fat, salt & vinegar, and BBQ.  Other patrons we queried indicated that they were some of the very best they have had.

The JJ’s outlet we visited was clean and comfortable.  Ambiance was sharp and professional.  The service was swift and gracious coupled with a menu that is simple and straightforward.

Well known for their speedy delivery, consumers should add an extra dollar for each menu item served for the charge.  Jimmy John’s also offers catering and franchise opportunities are available for those seeking to offer a great meal in their community.  The website is www.jimmyjohns.com.

When hunger strikes, consider Jimmy John’s for its sumptuous sandwiches to fill your tummy.  All in our party agreed, on a scale of five for sandwiches, Jimmy Johns gets the highest rating, five.


The Pros and Cons of Digital Cookbooks

The age of technology has brought about many wonderful things like virtual classrooms, working from home (or anywhere else) online, improvements in communication and even how people read books. Technology has made so many things possible that were once just a dream.

One such advancement is the digital cookbook. Instead of having to have several heavy printed cookbooks in the home, you can have those same cookbooks on your electronic device. It is always a good idea to weigh the good and bad before making any purchase, to ensure the best overall deal and consider if you will truly enjoy the item.

There are many advantages to owning a digital cookbook. One of the biggest advantages is that it won´t  get old, musty and start falling apart after continuous use.  

Space

Printed cookbooks take up room no matter where they sit in your home. A digital cookbook eliminates that hassle because the electronic cookbook is simply an app on your chosen device. Now you do not have to try to make the tough decision which cookbook to buy, you can have them all.

Since the digital cookbook takes up zero space, you can own an entire cookbook library and not have to worry about it. Instead of taking up valuable space with cookbooks, you are free to decorate your kitchen with other items. There are some home cooks who feel like having dusty old printed books takes away from the overall appearance and functionality of their kitchen. 

Price

The price of a digital cookbook is often cheaper than a printed one and sometimes includes bonus features. These bonus features like extra cookbooks (for example buy crock pot cookbook, get dessert cookbook free), cooking and baking tips from professionals and website membership offers are nice extras.

Think about the last time you looked at or purchased a printed cookbook, rather expensive, right? Some printed cookbooks can run to over $100! Generally speaking, you can get that same high dollar cookbook in digital form for less money. 

Easy to purchase

This is a huge plus for busy people: they can shop online, buy online and store it on their device! Gone are the shipping charges and the weeks of waiting for your cookbook to arrive. Digital cookbooks can be downloaded immediately after purchase. You can browse cookbook titles or simply type in what you want and buy it. Cookbook shopping has never been so easy.

Another bonus is you do not have to go to a bookstore and browse the aisles, stand in line to pay and then carry the heavy cookbook home. Some people do not enjoy the bookstore atmosphere at all, they simply want to buy their cookbook and be done with it. If you are one of these people, then a digital cookbook is probably the way to go.

There are also disadvantages to owning digital cookbooks.

Hassle in the kitchen

Digital cookbooks are not very easy to use in the kitchen. It is hard to point and click or swipe the screen when you hands are full of flour or egg. You have to be really careful not get any food or liquids on your device too. Cell phones, tablets and other devices do not look very nice with food smudges on the screens. 

It can be a particular annoyance trying to find a spot to put your digital cookbook so you can still refer to a recipe, without putting it in harm’s way. If you put the device on the counter close to where you are mixing/cooking there is always a chance of something splashing the screen or worse. 

Bad format

Many of the cheaper digital cookbooks are presented in a rather bad format. Instead of seeing a recipe with the list of ingredients and then instructions, the entire recipe is presented in paragraphs. All of the appropriate information is still there and the recipes turn out fine, it is just more of a chore to read. 

Some people do not like the rather generic presentation and miss the way a traditional printed cookbook looks. Sometimes, the phrase “you get what you pay for” applies to digital cookbooks. You pay a cheaper price for the download and receive the recipes in basic text without pictures or flare.

Once you have carefully weighed the pros and cons of digital cookbooks, you can then decide if one is right for you. Digital cookbooks are easier to store, buy and often cheaper, that printed ones. You also have the possibility of snagging some bonuses when you purchase and download them. 

Some people may feel that a digital cookbook just doesn’t belong in the kitchen. It might be a little awkward to grab your smart phone to get the recipe for something, instead grabbing the printed cookbook. The digital revolution has not swept up everyone just yet, but with digital cookbooks and recipe guides, it is getting a little closer.


Commercial Espresso Machines

As well as a tendency to flail my hands about dangerously when I’m talking, 12 years in Southern Europe also turned me into a hardcore caffeine addict.

You can keep your lattes and cappuccinos, they’re just so much froth, literally in most cases and instant coffee is completely off this addict’s radar. I need thick black evil looking espresso coffee, the type that can be easily mistaken for sump oil. It has to hit my cerebral cortex in a manner normally restricted to Class A drugs.

But how do you get your true fix north of Barcelona? Cafetieres and filter systems extract the flavour but not enough of the drug. You can buy the steam espresso machines such as you find in the glorious cafes that I have become accustomed to, but they tend to be expensive and complicated in their use. This is where these traditional Italian octagonal stovetop espresso makers come into their own.

They are common in most of Europe and are considered a kitchen essential. Here they are not so easy to find but are becoming more so. This review is on the variety sold by Whittards of Chelsea.

It is basically a percolator which comes in three parts; the bottom which holds the water, a perforated middle insert for the coffee and the top into which the espresso eventually bubbles. The top and bottom pieces screw together and form an airtight seal by means of a rubber ring which is attached to the top piece.

You fill the bottom with water up to a visible ridge on the inside. Then you put your coffee of choice in the perforated insert and slip it into the bottom. There is a tube attached to the insert which reaches the water. Finally screw the top on tight and place on any type of hob.

The system works in the same way as a pressure cooker. The water is converted into steam which is forced through the coffee, up a tube and into the upper container as a hot black lovely liquid. It takes between 5 and 10 minutes. The coffee it makes is very strong but can be made weaker according to the quantity of coffee used.

This is the most basic and cheapest form of percolator. Whittards sell the cheapest and most reliable versions of these. There is a version made by Bialetti which are ridiculously expensive and unjustifiably so, since they are exactly the same in every way. Also beware of very cheap versions which tend not to be made so well.

Whittards sell them in differing cup sizes, and by cups they mean the little espresso cups:

3 cup size

6 cup size

9 cup size

I recommend the largest unless you hate your friends. It stands at about 15″. They are incredibly robust and reliable. I’ve had mine for a year and it’s still going strong. The only problem is the rubber seal which needs to be replaced about every year depending on use. Whittards sell replacement seals.

They are simple and efficient and my life would be empty and meaningless without mine. Thoroughly recommended, but only for hardcore addicts!


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Healthy Soothing Hot Drinks

After a cold day on the ski slopes or on a frigid winter evening, nothing warms both the body and the soul as fast as a steaming cup of hot coffee or a mug of rich, hot chocolate. But the addition of whipped cream, sugar, and flavored syrups can turn these soothing drinks into a dieter’s nightmare. With the holidays approaching, smart dieters needs to put together a repertoire of drinks that warm the body and soothe the spirit without pouring on the calories.

When meeting friends at the latte bar or coffee shop, opt for black coffee or unsweetened tea, rather than a fancy latte or a cup of gourmet cocoa hiding under a towering mound of sweetened whipped cream. Boost the flavor of these “plain Jane” drinks with the addition of mint or spices. If you must use sweetener, choose one that is sugar-free – or even better, honey.

At home, go ahead and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea. But make sure that you use DARK CHOCOLATE or, when choosing a tea, pick one that is green, white or black. Dark Chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure and increase serotonin levels, as well as containing antioxidants; while the benefits of the poly-phenols of white, black and green tea are well-known. Feel free to flavor your tea with mint, lemon (or lime), honey and other spices, but skip the milk or whipped cream. Not only do they add calories, recent studies have shown that milk cancels out the benefits that are gained from drinking tea.

Mulled wines and ciders are always popular winter drinks, particularly around the holidays. Mulled red wine, packed with antioxidants & anti-inflammatories, also contains several chemicals that help reduce the risk of breast cancer, heart disease & high cholesterol. Mix up a batch of hot cider and give your party guests not only a delightful hot drink, but the gift of protection from a multiple of diseases. The apple cider aids in the prevention of colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and the cinnamon releases chemicals that help control glucose and cholesterol levels.

To make a super healthy hot apple cider, combine 4 cups of apple cider, 4 cups of cranberry or pomegranate juice, 4-6 whole cloves, 4-6 whole cinnamon sticks, 4 allspice berries and the zest of an orange. A cup of good brandy can be added, if desired. Simmer the cider for approximately 20 minutes and strain to remove the spices. Serve in mugs with a fresh cinnamon “stir stick” and a dish of honey nearby for those who need their drink a little sweeter.

Another tasty alternative is a delicious concoction of orange juice, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Simmered on the stove until thouroughly heated, the spices are removed and the orange juice is sweetened with a bit of honey. The addition of a splash of whiskey is sure to make this a favorite of your holiday guests for years to come, as well as a soothing drink for those suffering from a cold or the flu. Heating the spices releases the essential oils which makes breathing easier and the honey soothes a throat made sore and scratchy from either the cold & flu or the cold winter winds. To “fancy” this drink up for parties, serve it in clear glass mugs and with a slice of orange or lemon floating in it.

As you can see, even while watching your health and seeking to cut calories, it is possible to enjoy hot, soothing drinks with your friends and family. Bundle up, pour yourself a tasty drink and stay warm! CHEERS!


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Gourmet Diner Food

With a name like Standard Diner,  you almost expect the fare to be standard. Well hold onto your hats, this is not your mama’s diner. Once you have taken a look at their menu, you will understand why customers recommended that Guy Fieri come here and feature them on his Food Network show,  Diner, Drivers and Dives. He did just that in February 2009 and a very popular place became even more popular. There is a clip of his visit on the diner website.

The interior is pretty much what one would expect of an upscale and modern diner. It’s bright and airy and there are plenty of booths but also tables.  Our visit, during the Balloon Festival in October was with a large group and we were accommodated easily.

Because we were a large group we started with a variety of appetizers that we shared. The brie appetizer is everything that a cheese lover could want. The brie is melty and there is an apple and cinnamon compote that accompanies it. I was reluctant to share I am sad to admit, yes I would order it for myself if I am ever here again.

The menu is not oversized as it is at some diners. It is obvious that they want to concentrate on quality over quantity. It isn’t only  the standard diner food either e with offerings like tuna and quinoa. There are however, some updated diner meals that will please even the most finicky diner.

With a group the size that we were, it is not surprising that there were a wide variety of entrees chosen. Of course the meatloaf for which they are famous was ordered; personally I chose the chicken fried steak. The person next to me order the quinoa which came stuffed into a squash. When I saw it, I wished I had ordered that as well. Not that my chicken fried steak wasn’t huge and very tasty, it was but I was a bit disappointed by the sparseness  of the gravy which is so iconic to this meal.  Less fattening to be sure but also less of a comfort food than perhaps I could have wished.  The steak itself was perfectly cooked and had a wonderful golden crust and was seated on top of the mashed potatoes with tasty asparagus spears on the side.

When offered a taste of the meatloaf I jumped at the chance. The meatloaf itself is chunky with peppers and onions and the bacon adds great flavor and additional moisture. It was comfort food at its best.  I also tasted the tuna, cooked rare and it was a first for me and I was amazed at both the taste and the texture which were lovely.

The portions here are diner size, we all wished we were locals who could have taken our leftovers home with us. Unfortunately, we had no fridge in our hotel rooms.

After a meal of this size, it is no surprise that among the desserts  they offer are ones in a shot glass. These are the perfect size for getting a taste of what they offer without having to eat a full sized or over- sized dessert.

I have to give them two thumbs up; the food is reasonably priced, very tasty and plentiful. Service is attentive and the atmosphere is comfortable. It is a place where you can take the kids but it isn’t a bad place for a date night either.


Drink Recipes Healthy Breakfast Drinks

Pumpkin-Ginger, Carrot-Apple-Ginger-OJ, Banana-Nutella … there are endless healthful and delicious combinations to try in a breakfast smoothie.

Every smoothie is a new creation. Following are a few tips to help you make exciting smoothies quickly along with suggestions for ingredients.

You can make a delicious smoothie with these in your freezer:

  • Mangoes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapples
  • Pears
  • Bananas

Many of these are delicious on their own straight from the freezer; especially mangoes and bananas. I also recommend “roughies,” which are basically lazy smoothies (no need to wash the blender). A favorite roughie: apple chunks, cinnamon, frozen mangoes and blueberries, yogurt, and a shot of soy milk.

You might also want to keep these on hand in your refrigerator:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Milk
  • Soy milk
  • Tea
  • Papaya
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Fruit juices
  • Carrots
  • Fresh ginger
  • Apples
  • Melons

In the pantry:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Matcha powder
  • Sesame seeds
  • Honey
  • Crystallized ginger
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Nutella
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanuts
  • Tapioca pearls (for bubble smoothies)

Anytime you want a smoothie, you should first carefully assemble the blender. Be sure that the blade is on tight; if it isn’t, you may end up with a huge mess.

Now, put a few spoonfuls of yogurt into the blender, and any spices that you may enjoy. Next, put in some frozen fruit. Then, top it off with a liquid, just enough to cover the frozen fruit. The liquid helps to keep the blade moving; as the frozen fruit is blended, you may find that you need to add some more liquid to help the blender chug along. Simply add some liquid and stir the frozen chunks around so the blade can move easier.

The spices should go into the blender between the bottom and the top. If cinnamon, for example, is put in last, you may find that the cinnamon gets stuck on the walls of the blender instead of being incorporated into the entire smoothie.

Here are a few pointers that you’ll see with experience:

1. Thickening agents: bananas, mangoes, yogurts, oats, and, if need be, ice. Try to use ice sparingly; I think it’s best used if you don’t have (m)any frozen fruits.

2. Milks make smoothies creamy; juices make smoothies sweet. Use a mixture of the two for the best of both worlds.

3. Something that you may have thought was a mistake will probably become a new favorite.

Seven of my favorite combinations:

1. Pumpkin, banana, cinnamon, crystallized ginger, soy milk
2. Mango, avocado, cinnamon, soy milk
3. Strawberry, pear, cardamom, soy milk
4. Banana, blueberry, soy milk
5. Banana, peanuts, oats, soy milk
6. Carrot, fresh ginger, peeled apple, OJ
7. Mango, pineapple, cardamom, soy milk, black tea


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The Pros and Cons of Bottled Water

EVIAN backwards spells NAIVE!

The greatest marketing con ever is bottled water. Printer ink cartridges are a close second, Sven Goran Erickson clear in third. Every pretty girl with good skin swears by it (no, not Erickson), always the second biggest oblong shaped object in their handbags. I was thinking of a mobile phone girls, not that! It’s always the comfort object they reach for to try and stay young and gorgeous.

The con, of course, is tap water is much purer and cheaper-you can pay up to 6000% times more for a pint of the lesser product in the shops. In fact if you filled your bath tub up with Evian (which certain dooyoo girls do here :>) it would cost you 1200! But the myth has been created that spring water makes you stay younger and millions of bottles are sold a year off the back of that. If you look at the ingredients and additives on some of these brands you may be curious to know what they are. To me mineral water was always something my parents ordered on foreign holidays to save money in a restaurant, the fizzy stuff too!

Bottled water sums up the contradiction of commercialism and global warming. To get one liter of Evian from the French hillsides to the British supermarket shelf it requires 26 liters of normal water. The carbon footprint of a bottle of mineral water is enormous and a serious threat to the green economy ethos. It also needs 12 barrels of oil on its journey to get to Tescos. And, of course, the bottle is made of plastic, yet more normal’ water required for that resource eating process. Why on earth are we selling bottled water when it comes out of the tap for nearly nothing?

Read on Spring Water vs Purified Water

I used to work in a bar in South Africa and we would blind fold customers to see if they could tell the difference between different lagers and ale. We always put Guinness last and no one could tell that from Crown’, the RSA most popular lager. My point here is that if you put normal water in an Evian bottle there’s no way the punter can tell any difference.
Coca Cola twigged this a few years back and decided to bring out a mineral water range in the UK. But instead of sourcing it from some local springs they did a spot of Delboy and produced their own brand of Peckham mineral water, straight from the mains! The irony was that the tap water was safer than their rival mineral waters, but rumbled because of a 9000% mark-up.

My mum buys all these lightly fruit flavored mineral waters, all manner of exotic fruits listed on the label, but again just chemical flavors. Women clearly feel there is some sort of elixir of life properties to water that will make them live longer and younger and if just one company told the their products would cut cellulite it would fly off the shelves. Excessive water in the system actually aids cellulite. But for some reason trading standards have never got on the case of mineral water companies and the prices they charge in what is clear con, especially if those same health conscious consumers are f*ging up the ozone.

Read on humans are what percent water

At this point I’m supposed to tell you what bottled water actually tastes like. Well it tastes like other water. It tastes slightly nicer when it’s cold. It tastes terrible when it’s fizzy. 70% of the human body is made of water. Most of that comes out after a few pints.
In fact as water is a just that, what ever the fancy label you put on it, I have nothing further to say on the subject. All that’s left is to give you that bizarre 0800 customer service number on the bottle. I suppose I could complain and say it doesn’t taste like water. Can you imagine the poor sod waiting for me to call, ready to read of the q-card? I wonder if they are in India where, rather ironically, the only water available is the stuff you buy in the shops. That reminds me, I have to put the hose on in the garden to fill up the pool.


Posted in Drinks | Comments Off on The Pros and Cons of Bottled Water