Are You A Social Drinker Or A Problem Drinker?

Do you know the warning signs that alcohol might be becoming a problem for you? It’s a simple question but surprisingly difficult to answer.

Drinking is common to most cultures and for most of recorded history. It is easier to pinpoint substance abuse for recreational drugs because they are relatively new. However, drinking alcohol has been around for so long that it could almost be called a cultural norm like drinking tea or coffee.

What’s more, effects vary from one form of alcohol to another and from one person to another. According to Hotel California by the Sea, who takes a comprehensive approach to alcohol treatment, “It can be difficult to ascertain when moderate or social drinking has crossed the line to problem drinking.”

A Quick Self-Check Quiz

If you are wondering about your own drinking habits, here are 7 questions you can ask yourself to distinguish between social drinking, which is drinking to be social, and problem drinking, which is drinking to numb out emotional pain:

1. Do you feel guilty or ashamed when you drink?

Is there a part of you that is telling you that you are crossing the line between social drinking and alcohol abuse?

2. Do you minimize to others or lie about how much you have been drinking?

If you lie it’s often because you want to hide when you drink and how much you drink.

3. Do family or friends talk about your drinking?

They may hint that you may be drinking too much or tell you straight out that it’s time to stop drinking? In other words, have other people let you know that they worry about your drinking habits?

4. Do you drink even when you are alone?

Often alcohol is used as a way to be convivial in company, but you might drink when you are alone because you want to relax, unwind, forget about the day, or just feel better.

5. Do you “black out” when you drink?

This doesn’t mean that you pass out but that you can’t remember what you did when you were drinking.

6. Do you find it difficult to just stop after one glass?

While you might intend to just have one glass of wine or beer or one shot of hard liquor, you find that it’s not enough. You often need another and another until you feel some satisfaction.

7. Do you drink more than the average person?

The Washington Post created a percentage chart to answer that question. If you drink a glass of wine every night with dinner, it puts you in the top 30 percent of Americans when it comes to per-capital consumption. You hit 20 percent if you drink two glasses a night. However, this is still a modest amount compared to the top 10 percent. According to the article that accompanied the chart, “The top 10 percent of American drinkers – 24 million adults over age 18 – consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a-half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week.”

Clear Signs of Problem Drinkers

In many cases, the distinguishing line between social drinking and problem drinking has obviously been crossed.

Here are 3 signs that it’s hard to miss that you’re a problem drinker:

1. You routinely neglect your roles and responsibilities in your life.

At home, you don’t do chores, neglect your family, or don’t keep your promises. Your relationship with your spouse or children is strained. You may also spend more time drinking with your buddies then spending any quality time with your family.

At work, you do the bare minimum to avoid getting fired. You may even show up to work slightly intoxicated or with a hangover.

At school, you have little idea about what is going on in class, don’t do any assignments, and flunk classes.

2. You drink even when it could endanger yourself or others.

Drinking can be dangerous if you drive or if you’re using heavy machinery. In this case, you are not only endangering yourself, but others, too.

It can also be dangerous if you’re mixing alcohol with your prescription drugs despite a clear warning by your doctor about the risk. This could be fatal, resulting in multiple organ failure.

3. You get into trouble with the law.

You get arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct or are given a DUI for failing to pass an alcohol blood test.

Ask For Help

Alcoholism is rarely something that can be solved through will-power or taking some self-help DIY course of action. You usually need help to break the addiction because your cravings tend to override decisions you made when you were in a more reflective mood.

If you’re not sure, talk to your pastor, family doctor, or a psychotherapist. They will then help you figure out if you have a problem with alcohol. Often they can also direct you to the best course of action to take. If you are clear that you have a problem, you can then enroll in a rehab program yourself.

Game-Day Food: Be the MVP of Your Sports Parties  

Game-Day Recipes to Make Your Party a Hit

Host the perfect party with these tips for game-day foods your guests will love! Whether you’re having friends over for regular season games, championships or playoffs, it’s a good bet your sports fans will have the munchies. With a little planning, you can create delicious game day grub for your sports parties without going over your budget. Open a bank account online to plan for the different sports-viewing parties you’ll throw by depositing a small amount each month leading up to the Big Game. Check out these five popular game-day recipes to create something more unique than the admittedly delicious standard fare of pizza and wings.

1. Meaty Main Dishes

Looking for a health-conscious main dish that’s still delicious? Try making chili with ground turkey instead of beef. With this simple game-day recipe for Lean, Mean, White Meat, White Bean Chili, you can sauté the turkey and onions, then toss everything in the crock pot and let it simmer while preparing the other appetizers, side dishes and desserts. Simmer for about an hour or until heated through and bubbling. Serve with the chopped green onion, tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. 

  • 1lb 95% lean ground turkey
  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark molasses
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes – no salt added
  • Two 11-ounce jars medium salsa
  • One 11-ounce jar mild salsa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Dash cloves
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped green onion for garnish

Looking to stick with more traditional game-day food? You can still mix it up by making your own specialty pizza and wings. Pork, beef or chicken sliders are other fan favorites. 

2. Delightful Dips

The Food Network has a list of 50 Game-Day Dips your friends and family will love to dive into. These crowd-pleasing dips are simple game-day recipes to keep your guests snacking until the main course is ready. Our favorite is the pizza dip:

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • diced mozzarella
  • sliced pepperoni

Simmer the tomato sauce in a small, ovenproof skillet and add the ricotta in dollops until it is warmed through. Top it with the diced mozzarella and pepperoni and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with basil, then serve with soft bread or crostini.  

3. Simple Salads and Sides

Have guests who are trying to eat a lighter fare? There’s no need to neglect game-day grilling with this recipe from Emeril Lagasse for Grilled Chicken Salad. Here are the ingredients you’ll need, just follow the link for instructions!

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4-ounce portions
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground Szechuan pepper or crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint leaves
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves
  • 6 ounces diced mango
  • 6 ounces diced papaya
  • 6 ounces diced pineapple
  • 20 toasted, lightly salted Marcona almonds
  • 1 recipe Lemon-Ginger Vinaigrette

If you’re planning vegetarian sports parties, leave out the chicken and increase the almonds for more protein. Or if you’re looking for an even simpler salad, you can mix up the vinaigrette and drizzle it over mixed greens, sliced strawberries and almonds.

And of course, what party is complete without side dishes? From deviled eggs to loaded baked potatoes, make sure you include something small, yet hearty, on the side to score with your game-day food. Guy Fieri of the Food Network has a recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in a Chipotle Barbeque Sauce that pairs perfectly with main dishes of chicken or beef.

4. Divine Desserts

Game-day desserts give you the opportunity to get creative with the day’s menu. From dessert nachos to football and basketball shaped cakes, confectionery game-day recipes are the perfect way to sweeten a defeat or celebrate a win – if your guests have room, that is! Find the ingredients you’ll need for the Nacho Normal Cheesecake recipe from the Food Network below:

For the cheesecake:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Yellow and red food coloring
  • Cooking spray, for the pan
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the chips:

  • 1 roll refrigerated pie dough
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

For the salsa and garnishes:

  • 8 red candy fish
  • 1 cup low-sugar strawberry jam
  • 3 strands green licorice twists
  • 6 black licorice dots
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Yellow and red food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-covered raisins

Save money on game-day food

When planning your game-day budget, you may be able to find ways to save with coupons or by shopping at the local farmer’s market. Or, turn your sports-viewing parties into money-saving potlucks to sample your friends’ favorites and reduce your time in the kitchen. Sports parties may not be something you naturally think to save for, but creating a short-term budget to plan ahead can help avoid overspending. If you didn’t budget for the party, you can also easily transfer funds from a rainy day savings account to your checking account before running to the store – or even while you’re in the checkout line with mobile apps. Just be sure you have funds for your necessary expenses and you have a plan to replenish your checking account quickly.

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.

Healthy Foods That Are Easy On Your Wallet

Eating right can be a challenge. Not only do you have to spend money to keep food on the table, but you have to make sure that you’re eating healthy. Sadly, the cheapest food at any grocery store is also usually the most unhealthy, which is a big reason why the United States has such a serious problem with obesity. Too many people end up eating processed, high-calorie, fatty foods because the price is right. After all, people can’t be expected to apply for payday loans online just so they can say that they eat well. Fortunately, they don’t have to.

Yes, the cheapest food is often the least healthy but don’t fret. There are plenty of healthy and nutritious foods you can buy that won’t completely destroy your food budget. I’m not talking about expensive “organic foods, either; these are staple foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables that make for some nutritious meals, and they can all be purchased for around $2.00 or less. The prices for these foods may vary depending on location and the time of year but they should help you follow a healthy diet without leaving you completely broke.

Brown Rice

When a lot of people think of rice, what comes to mind is often cheap, white Minute Rice that has virtually no flavor. This is unfortunate, because the right kind of rice can taste great when it’s prepared correctly. For example, brown rice goes great in casseroles, soups, stews or as a side dish. It usually costs about $1.75 per pound. If you keep in mind that one serving of rice is 1/4 of a cup of dry rice, the result is 10 servings in a one-pound bag. Brown rice is also healthier and tastier than white rice, so you won’t have to worry about being stuck with a “boring” side dish.

Whole-Wheat Pasta

Pasta is practically a staple in our household. Not only is it incredibly easy to prepare and make into a variety of hot or cold dishes, but it is relatively inexpensive. You should be able to find a 13 to 16-ounce box of store-brand pasta for less than $2 at your local grocery store. That should yield about seven servings for you. If you really want to eat healthily while enjoying Italian food, stick to whole-wheat or multigrain pasta. It has more fiber and isn’t as processed as white pasta. Combine it with a cheap jar of marinara sauce for a quick and inexpensive meal that you will love.

 Old-Fashioned Oats

A 13-ounce container of old-fashioned oats will cost you about $3.99. While that’s certainly more expensive than many of the other items on this list, it will also give you about 30 servings. In short, you’ll be getting your money’s worth. Oats are great for hot and cold breakfast cereals or as crumb toppings for desserts.

 Frozen Vegetables

Although canned vegetables are usually cheaper, they usually aren’t very appetizing. In fact, most people who grew up hating vegetables were probably stuck eating the soggy contents of an aluminum can for most meals. If you want some vegetables that actually taste fresh but you can’t make it to a farmer’s market, buy a few bags of frozen vegetables. A bag of frozen vegetables will cost anywhere from $1.19 to about $2.25 depending on the vegetable and the size of the bag. Simply thaw them out on a stovetop or a microwave, and you’ll have a fresh-tasting side dish for your next meal. Frozen vegetables are also great for casseroles; you don’t even need to thaw them out for most casserole recipes.

As you can see, eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money. These foods are all inexpensive, but they are also ideal for a number of nutritious and balanced meals. Always remember that you don’t have to buy expensive “organic” foods to be healthy, and you don’t always have to take shortcuts to save money.

Or you could look into one of those payday loans online at Northcash.com and order a pizza. It’s up to you.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking White Wine

For years, red wine drinkers have seemingly held a corner on the health market as the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of the stuff has continuously been researched, touted and researched anew. For the white wine drinker, a glass or two of a favorite varietal has previously only been justifiable as a delight to the taste buds. The playing field, however, may be leveling. Recent studies reveal that white wine boosts health almost as much as red wine and in different capacities.

So, drink up white wine lovers, and arm yourselves with these health-related talking points. The next time you find yourself seated at a dinner beside a red wine drinker putting on airs, you’ll find you can keep your blood pressure low, your mind razor sharp, your waist trim and your lungs pink and fresh — all thanks to the health-boosting antioxidants in white wine.

Heart Healthy

Red wine isn’t the only drink on the heart-helping list. According to researchers at the University of Milan, white wine’s heart-protecting qualities are every bit as good as red’s. Unlike red wine’s abundance of resveratrol — an antioxidant that keeps blood vessels free of plaque and cholesterol levels in healthy ranges — the antioxidants tyrosol and hydroxytrysol are the workhorses of white wine. Also found in olive oil, these two compounds put white wine in line with red wine in the good-for-your-heart category.

It’s All in Your Brain

When it comes to preventing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia, a glass of white or sparkling wine is like a miniature time machine that whisks your brain back a few years to when it had youth on its side. Certain white and sparkling wines contain a memory-aiding compound called phenolic acid, which has been proven to boost concentration and spatial working memory — the part of your brain that remembers how to keep you oriented in your environment. Coupled with a regular diet of brainteasers, a few glasses a week seem to provide a bit of protection against senility.

Weight Loss Assistant

Far from contributing to a beer gut, one study found that drinking white wine appears to assist people who are actively trying to lose weight, while still other researchers have found that women who drink moderate amounts — say one to two glasses a day — are less likely to gain weight over time than are nondrinkers. This finding is most extreme among middle-aged women, for whom drinking a glass or two of white wine every day cuts their risk of becoming overweight by one third. Interestingly, the same doesn’t appear to hold true for men because the alcohol in wine speeds up a woman’s metabolism. Unlike men, women make a smaller number of the enzymes needed to digest and metabolize alcohol, so their bodies must keep making it, which requires an extra expenditure of calories. Thermogenesis, which is the process by which the alcohol in wine and other boozy delights raises the drinker’s body temperature, also necessitates the burning of energy.

Fresh, New Lungs

White wine drinkers have healthier lungs than teetotalers, beer drinkers, liquor lovers and those who prefer red wine. While scientists aren’t entirely sure of the reason behind this, they think it has something to do with white wine’s abundance of nutrients and antioxidants that clear out toxins in the bloodstream and alleviate inflammation in the airways, both of which affect lung health positively.

There are many reasons beyond simple good taste to partake in a glass of white wine, but if you really want to double down on the health benefits, make the following considerations when choosing a grape or vineyard:

  • Choose organic grapes. Part of what makes drinking white wine so good for you is that it is rich in antioxidants that combat free radicals which cause disease. By choosing organic grapes, you’re ensuring the wine itself doesn’t contain any harmful, residual toxins from chemicals or pesticides.
  • Choose biodynamic grapes. Part of being able to have a healthy mind and body is living in a healthy world. Biodynamic grapes are those that have been grown, harvested and processed in such a way as to preserve, protect and sustain the vineyard’s ecosystem.

White wine drinkers, be proud of your beverage. From chardonnays to muscadets, white wine — when it comes to benefitting your health — is finally just as good a choice as red.

About the Author: Lydia Carl is a regular contributor to health magazines and practiced sommelier with a taste for white wine.

Image source

The Remarkable Health Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the world’s most potent super foods. They’re known to prevent urinary tract infections, and may also have anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular and immune-boosting benefits. Cranberries can also support the health of the digestive tract and prevent numerous cancers.

The health benefits of cranberries come from their rich nutrient content, which itself comes from the way they’re grown. Because cranberries are grown in the water, they’re exposed to far more sunlight than most crops, and it’s this sunlight that’s responsible for their high nutrient content. Cranberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients that support good health. Eat whole cranberries or drink cranberry tea to reap the benefits of cranberries for your own health.

Effective Protection Against UTIs

One of the most well-known health benefits of cranberries is their ability to protect against urinary tract infections or UTIs. Researchers once believed it was cranberries’ high acid content that allowed them to prevent, and perhaps treat, urinary tract infection. It’s now known that cranberries’ UTI prevention powers come from their high levels of proanthocyanidin, or PAC. Urinary tract infections form when bacteria cling to the lining of the bladder and walls of the urinary tract, but PACs are able to stop bacteria from clinging to these tissues.

Support for Digestive and Oral Health

The PACs in cranberries can also prevent stomach ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria. They make it difficult for these bacteria to cling to the stomach lining and create an ulcer. Research has shown that consuming cranberry juice can help support the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.

The antioxidants and phytonutrients in cranberries also support oral health, by preventing bacteria from clinging to the teeth and gums to form plaque. Cranberries are therefore an effective preventative measure against tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Cancer Prevention

The antioxidants in cranberries help prevent a variety of cancers, including stomach and colon cancer, but also breast, prostate and lung cancer. Oxidative stress, which occurs when the diet lacks sufficient antioxidants over time, and chronic inflammation resulting from a dearth of anti-inflammatory nutrients, are the two main factors in the development of cancer. With their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, cranberries are the perfect food to help stave off cancer.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Cranberries contain a significant amount of salicylic acid, a compound similar to the active ingredient in aspirin. (For this reason, if you’re allergic to aspirin, you should avoid using cranberry products.) This powerful anti-inflammatory compound can help to support the health of the entire body, and prevent the tissue damage that occurs with unnecessary and excessive inflammation. Cranberries’ anti-inflammatory properties help them ease inflammation in the gums, colon, stomach and cardiovascular system.

Some of the specific anti-inflammatory compounds in cranberries include proanthocyanidins, quercetin and other flavonols, phenolic acid, and anthocyanins, which give cranberries their distinctive red color. Cranberries work to subdue the inflammation response by blocking the action of cytokines, the molecules that communicate the need for an inflammatory response to our immune cells. While inflammation is not always a bad thing, excessive inflammation — such as that related to periodontal disease — can cause unnecessary tissue damage.

Cardiovascular Support

Chronic, excessive inflammation and oxidative stress are two of the main culprits implicated in cardiovascular disease. They can cause the damage to blood vessels that ultimately leads to arterial plaque formation, hardening of the arteries, and eventually arterial blockage. Regular use of normal amounts of cranberry can stop this process before it starts.

As a result, cranberries and cranberry tea are a great way to prevent hardening and narrowing of the arteries and high blood pressure. Cranberry also helps to lower blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol. Controlling cholesterol levels is one more way that cranberries protect heart health and prevent arterial blockage.

Immunity Support

Cranberry has been found to help improve many facets of immunity. Research suggests consuming normal amounts of cranberry could protect against cold and flu symptoms.

Cranberries are a nutrient-rich food capable of supporting good health in a myriad of ways. Whether you’re looking for a way to prevent urinary tract infections and stomach ulcers, protect yourself from gum disease, or prevent cancer, cranberries can help. Eating cranberries or drinking cranberry tea regularly can help support your heart health and digestive wellness. Enjoy the remarkable health benefits of cranberries by making cranberry tea a part of your daily routine.

Image by Mariluna from Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author: Contributing blogger Maddie Rockwell is a registered dietician with more than 15 years of experience. She regularly drinks Buddha Teas Cranberry Tea.

Refreshing Summer Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

Scorching heat is at its maximum glory during the summer time and the heat seems to sip the life out of us. The onset of summer gives us the perfect opportunity to relax outdoors and refresh ourselves with a cool drink. It is the perfect way to replenish ourselves after we are tired and dehydrated due to the summer heat. People around the world prepare a variety of summer drinks, ranging from tangy to sweet, to beat the heat. Here are some of the best summer drinks that are sure to leave you refreshed after a day in the sun:

Honey & Apple Iced Tea

Add 500 ml of boiling water in a large jug and place 4 teabags of your choice into the water and leave for around 5 minutes to brew. After this, remove and discard the tea bags and add honey into the mixture till it is dissolved completely. After this, add 500 ml of apple juice into it and mix thoroughly. Chill the drink in the refrigerator and serve with appropriate amount of ice.

Pink Lemonade

To prepare this delicious summer drink, add 1 chopped unwaxed lime, 4 chopped unwaxed lemons and 1 cup fresh raspberries along with 2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger and a few ice cubes in blender. Also add about 500 ml of water along with 100 grams of sugar into the blender. Blitz the mixture for a few second, then strain out the juice into a large jug. Again add the leftover fruit and ginger pulp into the blender and add another 100 grams of sugar and 500 ml water and repeat the blitzing process. Strain the juice and discard the pulp. Serve the refreshing pink lemonade with a sprig of mint and few ice cubes.

Black Forest Milkshake

Add 1 liter of milk along with a cup of maraschino cherries, 2 tablespoons of chocolate sauce and about 3 scoops of chocolate ice cream to a blender and blitz together till a smooth consistency is achieved. Pour out the milkshakes into the desired number of glasses and top with sweetened whipped cream, a sprinkle of cocoa and a delicious cherry. Make sure to serve the milkshake chilled to enjoy it to the fullest.

Alcohol-free Pina Colada

Pina Colada is undoubtedly one of the greatest drinks that both kids as well as grown-ups can enjoy during the hot summer months. To prepare it, simply mix together lime juice extracted from 2 whole limes, 200 ml of coconut milk, 400 ml of pineapple juice and the flesh from half a pineapple, along with lots of ice cubes and enjoy the heavenly taste.

Coffee Nog

Add ½ a cup of strong coffee, 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup of heavy cream along with 2 cups of cold milk and the desired amount of ice cubes into a blender and blend for about 15-20 seconds or till everything is well combined. Pour the prepared coffee nog into punch glasses and top with a sprinkling of nutmeg. These amounts of ingredients are suitable for preparing 3 glasses of this delectable drink.

How to Make Breadcrumbs?

Breadcrumbs are essential ingredients for many delicacies. While a lot of people have the habit of picking breadcrumbs off the supermarket spice section, they are in fact ridiculously easy to make at home. Here is how you go about making standard (not Panko breadcrumbs – we shall talk about that later) bread crumbs in you own kitchen at home.

Homemade Breadcrumbs Recipe

All that you would need as ingredients are one loaf of white bread and half cup of butter. If you are using unsalted bread and butter, you may need a couple of pinches of salt as well.

Method of Preparation

  1. Cut the bread loaf into small cubes of say 1” or manageable size
  2. Use a blender to crumb the bread evenly – This process shouldn’t take more than 5-6 seconds, don’t blend it for too long
  3. Optional step: Use a coarse sieve to filter out the fine ground bread pieces
  4. Melt half a cup of butter in a large pan and add crumbs to it. You may add a couple of pinches of salt if you are using unsalted bread and butter
  5. Stir well so that butter is evenly absorbed and continue stirring in medium heat until the crumbs move around like sand at the bottom of the pan (with similar sound, that is)
  6. Let it cool and you can then store it in a tight container or zip locker for up to three months

Microwave Breadcrumbs Recipe
Now, what if you want to make small quantities of breadcrumbs real quick?

Here is how you go about it.

  1. Take three to four bread slices and cut them across and lengthwise once
  2. Place the bread pieces in a microwavable plate in one layer and microwave on ‘High’ for about 3-4 minutes or until they are crunchy. Please note that a few overheating can turn it into black
  3. Place the hardened bread pieces inside a zipped bag and crush them using your hand or a roller pin
  4. Alternatively you could use a blender to do the same but blend for no more than 3-4 seconds

For extra tasty breadcrumbs, you might have to use the conventional oven to prepare the breadcrumbs. In that case you also have the possibility of adding seasoning such as dried oregano, pepper or garlic powder.

That is it. Homemade breadcrumbs are good to go into your recipes.

Basic Food Presentation Tips

No matter whether you are running a restaurant or home kitchen, once the food is prepared, it leaves you with the most important task of presenting it in a way that impresses your guests. The way in which the food is presented actually promotes one’s appetite and desire for the same. In other words, a badly presented food can actually spoil its taste and effort behind.

Basic Food Presentation Tips

The following are some of the basic food presentation tips that can help you in your job – even before any major decoration aspects come into play, that is.

  1. Serve hot items in a hot plates and cold items in a cold plates or bowls (e.g. salads in a chilled bowl or plate, where as main course in a hot plate)
  2. ’Serve chilled’ food items such as beer should be served in chilled mugs out of chilled pitchers
  3. Never serve a colored food item in the same color plate
  4. Never serve in chipped or cracked crockery – People will read ‘dirt’ in that case
  5. The food items should be taken out the fridge or warmer just before serving assuming that there is no complicated decoration pending
  6. Coffee and tea should never be served in boiling hot condition. 80-90 degree centigrade is the best; in fact both should not be prepared in very high heat
  7. Always stack up the food wherever possible to make the food quantity look sufficient
  8. Your food and its garnish should contrast in color so that the overall appearance is great. And more importantly, all garnishes should be edible
  9. Never let the food spill or drip around the plate or its side – that really will let down your guest
  10. Never overload your plates which makes things difficult for those who serve as well as those who eat
  11. Use clean table clothes that are free from dust, hair etc
  12. If you do not have a dish washer, make sure that you wipe and clean the plates with a dry clean cloth
  13. …and most importantly, be clean yourself. Always have a clean hand, have a napkin with you and never cough or sneeze in front of your guests

I am sure that these basic presentation tips will be useful for you next time.

Microwave Omelet Recipe

Do you want to make delicious breakfast omelets (spelled omelettes in some countries) pretty quickly and without using any oil and fry pan? Here is an easy microwave omelet recipe that you can prepare in just 3 minutes.

There are microwave omelette makers available in the market but our recipe would just work with any microwaveable plate, bowl or saucer.

The Microwave omelet recipe given below is based on my own ingredients. You could use pretty much the same method of preparation with your favorite ingredients as well

Microwave Omelet Recipe

Ingredients
Eggs – 3
Milk – 2 tablespoons
Cheese – ¼ cup, grated
Butter – 2 tablespoons
Onion (Medium) – 1, finely chopped
Tomato (Small) – 1, finely chopped
Green & Red Pepper (Capsicum) – ¼ cup, finely chopped
Mushrooms – 3, Sliced into 4-5 pieces vertically and once horizontally
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients
If you have a Mexican or Far East tongue, you may add 1 chopped chilli (preferably seeds removed) as well.

Feel free to add your chopped sausages, ham or even steamed and sliced chicken whichever is your favorite meat or processed meat.

Method of Preparation

  • Whisk eggs, milk, cheese, salt and fresh ground black pepper in a glass bowl till the mixture tends to form. Add all chopped vegetables and mix well
  • Grease a pie dish or suitable microwave safe dish with butter or cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the dish and cover it with a microwave safe lid (or plastic wrap with a little hole pricked)
  • Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir and cook again for one minute covered (total 2 minutes of covered cooking)
  • Remove the wrap, fluff up the mixture and if needed add some melt butter while stirring. Microwave uncovered on high for another minute. There you go!

Enjoy your breakfast omelet served right from your Microwave!

Now for the bonus tip…

Scrambled eggs in Microwave

If you have to make scrambled eggs in microwave, you just need to have chopped onions, salt, pepper and milk (optionally tomatoes) blended well. Microwave on high for two minutes covered. Stir well to break the semi solid mixture into lumps and microwave again on high for another 60 to 90 seconds uncovered.

Disclaimer: A lot of people do make omelets in the microwave as the raw egg odor in the appliance will not cease easily. But I didn’t find it worse than the smell of heating some of the frozen food

3 Amazing Watermelon Recipes to Beat the Summer Heat

When the scorching heat is at its peak during the summer, all that you want to do is to replenish your dehydrated body with a lot of appropriate fluids and fruit juices. And in such conditions, there is nothing better that you can ask for than those watery Watermelons. Before sharing our exclusive easy-to-make watermelon recipes, let us discuss some health benefits of watermelon.

Watermelon Benefits

Watermelon is one of the finest anti aging fruits due to the Zinc and Selenium content in its seeds. It is also rich in vitamins and researches have shown that it can arrest even colon cancer and diabetes not to forget that its antioxidants are helpful to maintain a healthy heart.

When you make your watermelon recipes, make sure that you are not throwing away those seeds. This is true for other melon varieties as well.

Watermelon Recipes

Here are our picks of summer drinks based on watermelon. Well, what qualifies for a summer drink? Obviously something that serves you loads of H2O, glucose, vitamins, minerals and less of things that dehydrate you (e.g. caffeine, alcohol).

1. Watermelon Lemonade – Our variant

Ingredients (To serve two): Two tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime juice, 6 Oz (175ml) of orange juice, 6 Oz of drinking water, Three tablespoons of sugar, One pinch of salt, Two cups of fresh cut watermelon cubes

Method of preparation: Blend all ingredients (except the watermelon cubes) very well in a cocktail shaker or blender. Pour it into large glasses till 2/3rd level and top it with the watermelon cubes. Serve with a straw and a spoon. You have an amazing thirst-quencher there!

2. Watermelon Iced Tea

Well, strong tea or coffee is not exactly meant for summer. However, a little bit of Iced tea could be consumed as a chiller refresher for sure! Here’s a special iced tea variant.

Ingredients (To serve two): 4 teabags, 1 pint (or 500ml) of water, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoon of sugar, 1/3rd watermelon cut into cubes, 2 cups of ice.

Method of preparation: Brew the teabags in a teapot or in a pan of hot water for 3 minutes. Remove the teabags and keep this brew in fridge.

Blend the watermelon cubes, sugar and lemon juice well in a blender for a few seconds and strain and store this in the fridge as well.

When it’s time to serve, take equal quantities of the tea brew and juice, mix well, pour into a glass and top with ice cubes. Decorate with mint leaves and serve.

(And what about making the same drink with green tea? Well, I have tried that as well. It is even better and offers more health benefits. Needless to say, if you want to make this drink taste like juice than iced tea, you might want to add more sugar.)

3. Watermelon and coke

Ingredients (To serve one): 1 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/6 watermelon cut into cubes, 1 cups of ice and coke as needed.

Method of preparation: Blend the lemon juice, sugar, watermelon cubes and a few ice cubes in a blender and strain. Pour it into a highball glass till 3/4th level and add 3-4 ice cubes. Very slowly pour up to two ounces of coke on top so that it creates a very good texture of the pink juice and coke separated by the ice. Server with a straw and decorated with a couple of fresh mint leaves.

Have fun this summer with our watermelon recipes!