Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Serve Fresh Food From Appetizer To Dessert - A Farmers Market Feast

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Acme 6001 Juicerator 550-Watt Juice Extractor, Quite White and Stainless
Acme 6001 Juicerator 550-Watt Juice Extractor, Quite White and Stainless,

Your famers market is the place to get ideas and fresh fruit and vegetables for tasty and fresh meals for the holiday season and even all your celebrations. Here great ideas and great fresh food explode into incredible feasts. You can make one trip to the farmers market and gather enough ingredients to make a full five-course meal that will rival any fancy restaurant. Allow me to get your creative juices flowing as well as your taste buds jumping as we walk through a sample of what you might find to create your very own farmers market feast.


You want to give your guests something to snack on while they are waiting to see what's coming next. Look for a loaf of homemade french bread, some fresh dill, goat cheese or other soft cheese, and red bell peppers for roasting. With these simple ingredients, you can have an amazing appetizer that will keep your guests well fed and eager for more.
Simply cut the bread into thin slices and toast them over the grill while you are roasting your red peppers.

  • Combine the dill and goat cheese, spread on the toasted bread and top with thin slices of the roasted pepper.
  • You can substitute prosciutto for the red bell pepper for another possibility.
  • The idea is to look around the farmers market for inspiration as well as ingredients for the first course as well as for the main event.
Your salad options are as long and varied as the rows upon rows of displays at the market.
Pick up: Fresh lettuce, of course, but be sure to choose an interesting variety.
Look for complimentary produce such as:
  • pomegranates
  • pears
  • apples
Match them up with bitter greens such as:
  • chicory
  • arugula
  • watercress
  • frisee.
Fresh baby bitter greens are a classic match up with sweet fruit. And don't forget the berries. When it comes to salads, fresh is the word, no matter how you build it.
Kale is another great farmers market find. This remarkable green can be eaten raw or cooked. One fun way to serve kale in a salad is as a crunchy topping. Kale, when cut up into small pieces, can be roasted to create a delicate papery thin treat with a very fun crunch to it. Sprinkle these nutritious crispy bites on top of your salad instead of croutons. And don't forget to look for fresh herbs to create a savory dressing to go on your salad. If you have citrus in your market, let that be your inspiration for your homemade vinaigrette.
3. Soup
Piles and piles of potatoes mean just one thing; inspiration! No, the potato is not a lowly vegetable, not when you have the varieties available to choose from at a farmers market. For the soup course you can't do much better than starting with potatoes. One soup that should come to mind is potato leek soup. Simple, yet elegant, this filling soup should be served in small bowls with a pretty swirl of yogurt and a sprinkle of green onion on top. Other vegetables that work well for pureed soups are squash, pumpkin, rutabaga, parsnips, and turnips. Mix and match for a splendidly soothing soup to relax your guests just long enough to get ready for the main course.
Look also to the bins of greens for inspiration for a soup course. A small bowl of beet soup, hot or cold, is a wonderful start to a meal. Hearty mustard greens and collard greens also make a splendid, bright, soup that gets the taste buds begging for more. Depending on your main course, you'll want to serve a soup that is either heartyand satisfying or light and refreshing. Don't forget to include the fruit you find at your market and the herbs for soup inspiration. Apple juice and cider make excellent soup bases.
4. Main Course

After a start like this, it may seem as if you've exhausted all your farmers market has to offer, but this is where the simplicity of the market takes over. A main course can feature something as simple as a perfectly executed sandwich. Pile seasonal cheeses on top of homemade multi-grain bread that has been slathered with herbed butter, then topped with a mix of ingredients for crunch. This can include sliced apples, greens, or a thin slice of sweet onion, or everything. Something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich becomes inspired when you layer market fresh specialty cheeses with fresh herbs, greens, vegetables, and fruit, and then grill between slices of hearty homemade bread.
And don't forget to look for fresh and smoked meats at your market. Many farmers raise meat for the table as well as produce. Big pots of peppery greens with lots of smoked sausage makes a bright and flavor-packed entree. During the fall, the farmers market is also a great place to find a variety of fresh beans. You will notice a big difference when you cook with fresh beans as opposed to dried beans. The fresh beans are easier to cook and are very tender. You can easily build a main course around the offerings at your local market. All it takes is filling your basket and using your creativity and your good taste, and you'll fill your table with a main course that is very satisfying.
5. Dessert
Now comes the moment we have all been waiting for. Dessert. Nothing says farmers market dessert like fresh peach cobbler served in a pretty bowl and topped off with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. Of course, apples are a big hit at many farmers markets during the fall season. Apple pie or Apple crisp are the obvious desserts, but don't forget to think about applesauce, apple dumplings, or apple turnovers.
But, you don't have to bake fruit to have a dessert worthy of this five course meal. Sometimes less is more. Sliced apples, pears, or other fruit combined with a wonderful variety of cheeses is often the perfect ending to a hearty meal such as this. Perhaps a steamy hot mug of apple cider will satisfy the sweet tooth at the end of the evening. If oranges are in season in your region, try making orange sugar cookies. Not quite dessert-worthy in your book? Melt some chocolate and dip the cookies about half way in to make treats that looks like, and tastes like, they came right out of a fancy mail-order catalogue.
Can you really find enough at your local farmers market to produce a five course meal? You sure can! And not only five courses, but five star courses! When cooking, fresh means fabulous. When creating each course to compliment the next and you can't go wrong. Your guests will not want to go home after they've been treated so well. So I will suggest that you start making up the guest room before you even serve dessert. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers

If you love baking I’m sure you will love a stand mixer such as one of the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers. All the beating and creaming and more becomes very tiring and it can really dissuade you from trying to bake. Even a novice will find it an encouragement to bake.

You will always spoil the cook in your house with a mixer such as the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers. It is so much fun to bake when you know your stand mixer is up to whatever you throw it’s way.
I agree, there are many stand mixers available on the market, but the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers is a well known and well loved one. The name “KitchenAid” has become synonymous with “quality”

Let’s have a look at some of the benefits and features of the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers:

  • The KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers make baking fun. You do not have to worry about the work involved and live out your dream in the kitchen.
  • This machine has a strong motor and 10 variable speeds, sure to give you the one that is just right for every task.
  • KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers include three attachments: It has a flat beater for making batter, meat loaf, and all textures in-between; then there is a wire whip for egg whites, mayonnaise, and more air-infused creations; the dough hook makes light work of mixing and kneading yeast doughs
  • The pouring shield is excellent for guiding ingredients into the bowl
  • A safety feature is the the the bowl itself locks tight to the base, no accidents here!
Go to the Amazon site to see all the other excellent features of the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers including the Unique Mixing Action – Click Here And See How You Can Save At Amazon

I always think that having a look at what others say about an appliance is a good idea. So let us have a look at some of the reviews you will find on the Amazon Site:

This is what Kyle has to say:

I’ve had a KA stand mixer in one form or another for about 25 years. I’ve owned an Artisan for about 2 years now. I like to bake, especially bread, and the mixer never lets me down. I bake for just my wife and me, and the Artisan is perfect for us. If I was baking triple batches of cookies or bread recipes with 8 cups of flour, I’d want to move up to the 6 quart pro version. Last X-mas my wife gave me The Mixer Bible for a gift and it’s really expanded my use of the mixer. It has a ton of great recipes (pierogi, yum!) and has convinced me that the food grinder will be on my birthday wish list this year.For as much as the mixer costs, the extra few bucks to buy the book is so worth it!

And this is what C. Green thinks:

I bought this for my wife as a Christmas gift and she absolutely loves it. She uses it everyday and it does not bother her carpaltonel (spelling?) syndrome. Now, at Christmas I can buy her attachments so she can get further use out of it. A great buy for anyone who enjoys cooking. We use ours almost everyday and have had no problems with it.

R. Burns loves the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixers:

I’ve always had a KitchenAid mixer – my mother passed a PINK one down to me…that might tell you how old it is….so, when I saw the beautiful colors offered in this mixer, I just had to buy one. I chose the GRAPE and I am not disappointed – I had to find a place for it in my kitchen…I couldn’t hide this one away! It mixes like a dream – the white paddle is such an improvement from just the old whip beater. Now I can mix everything – many things that are too thick and that I had to mix by hand before. Plus the BEST price is on Amazon – with the rebate offered by KitchenAid, no tax, no shipping, plus I also got the $25 off special offer from Amazon (if purchasing at least $125 in Kitchen and Housewares)! Can’t beat that deal!
Why not go to Amazon now and have a look at the KitchenAid Artisan5-Quart Stand Mixers?

Example Recipe For Your Food Processors

 If you are wondering if you really need a food processor, here is a recipe to show you how a food processor can make life easier for you.

After the recipe you can have a look at food processors and what you need to know about them before you decide on the one that is best for you.

For this recipe lots of chopping is called for and that is where your food processor will come in really handy.

Crunchy Dijon Dressed Brown And Wild Rice Salad


  • 1/2 cup cooked long grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild Rice
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions, including the tops
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded and chopped cabbage
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  1. Combine the two rices with lemon juice, mixing thoroughly.
  2. In a large salad bowl, toss together the rice mixture with parsley, green onions, celery, red bell pepper, and cabbage.
  3. In separate small bowl, put the red wine vinegar and Dijon, whisking together until combined.
  4. Keep whisking and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until dressing thickens slightly.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, then whisk again just to combine.
  6. Drizzle dressing over salad, tossing as you go.
  7. Chill in refrigerator if desired.
  8. Toss again lightly before serving.
 I am sure that you will love this recipe, especially of all that chopping has been dealt with.

When you are looking at food processors there are a few things you have to look at. You do not want to end up with a machine that is not right for you and your family. It is best if you keep a few things in mind to make sure you do not land up with the wrong food processor as it can be a costly mistake.

What you have to look for:

The very first thing you have to look at is the size of the machine. Here the size of your family and the kind of tasks you want to perform play a role. If you have a large family and you want to perform many functions with it, going for a larger one is preferable.

You must also make sure that it can do everything you want it to do. If you only want to chop a few veggies, almost anyone will do. If, on the other hand, you want to be able to make dough, slice vegetables, shred cheese, mince garlic and herbs, mix batters and emulsifying mayonnaise you have to look at a really good food processor.

Another important point to look at is how many of the attachments you will use are included and how many you will have to buy extra. You have to keep this in mind as it can really change the end price you are going to pay for the machine.

One machine may be very cheap, but once you have bought all the attachments not included, it may turn out to be more expensive than another that had all the attachments included.

Depending on what you want to use the machine for, the size of the feed tube is very important. You will know if you will want to stuff large chunks of ingredients through the feed tube. It is not use to have to chop the veggies first before you can feed them into your machine.

Then, very important, the ease of cleaning will have to be a big consideration. No amount of labor saving is going to be any good to you if cleaning up afterwards is going to be a big problem. So, make very sure that most of the part of your food processor is dishwasher safe. Keep all these points in mind and you should be able to buy the correct food processor for your family.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Importance of Physical Fitness

One of the simplest and most effective ways to bring down blood glucose levels, cut the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve overall health and well-being is physical fitness and exercise. Yet, in our increasingly sedentary world, where almost every essential task can be performed online, from the driver’s seat, or with a phone call, exercising and being physically fit can be tough case to sell.

In reality, everyone should exercise, yet survey shows that only 30% of the United States adult population gets the recommended thirty minutes of daily physical activity, and 25% are not active at all. So, maybe looking at a Sole S77 Treadmill or a Stamina Spacemate Folding Stepper may not be a bad idea.

Inactivity is thought to be one of the key reasons for the surge of type 2 diabetes in America, because inactivity and obesity promote insulin resistance and other factors that trigger other kinds of diseases.

The good news is that it is never too late to get moving, and exercise is one of the easiest ways to start controlling the onset of any kinds of diseases. For people who are already candidates for some serious diseases like diabetes and heart failure, exercise and physical fitness can improve the condition of some parts of the body like insulin sensitivity, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss.

In 2003, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism had published an issue regarding the result of their study and it revealed that lack of exercise and physical fitness were the key factors behind obesity and other serious diseases like diabetes.

This is why it is extremely important for a person to stay healthy and be physically fit in order to avoid these illnesses.

Getting Started

The first order of business with any exercise plan, especially if you are a “dyed-in-the-wool” couch potato, is to consult with your health care provider.

If you have cardiac factors, your doctor may want to perform a stress test to establish a safe level of exercise for you.

Certain complications of some diseases will also dictate what type of exercise program you can take on. Activities like weightlifting, jogging, or high-impact aerobics can possibly pose a risk for people with diabetic retinopathy due to the risk for further blood vessel damage and possible “retinal detachment.”

Health experts also agree that patients with sever peripheral neuropathy or PN should avoid foot-intensive weight-bearing exercises such as long-distance walking, jogging, or step aerobics and opt instead for low-impact activities like swimming, biking, and rowing.

If you have conditions that make exercise and physical fitness a challenge, your provider may refer you to an exercise physiologist who can design a fitness program for your specific needs.

If you are already active in sports or work out regularly, it will still benefit you to discuss your regular routine with your doctor.

The bottom line is that physical fitness and exercise should not have to be a rigid activity and should not come off strong. Your exercise routine can be as simple as a brisk nightly neighborhood walk, walking the dog, or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The important thing is that you keep on moving. Every little bit really helps a lot.

In the end, you will realize that the many things that good food can bring you are equally the same as what physical fitness can do for you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Not Only Your Eyes Can Benefit From Carrots

We all believe that carrots are good for our eyes. Why carrots are called rabbit food is not too to clear but “Bugs Bunny” may have something to do with it. I also know that people that do not like carrots also love calling them “rabbit food” Fortunately many people love carrots as they have many benefits for your health.

Did you know that carrots were not always orange? Yeah, it’s like finding out that the sky was originally another color. Anyway, they used to be white, purple, and yellow. About 500 years ago, the orange carrot came along.

Carrots were used by early settlers as a remedy for stomach ailments. Carrots can be bought all year around. If you get them from the farmer’s market, they will probably be bunched together by the green tops like they were just pulled out of the ground.

Some carrots are already cleaned and chopped and put into plastic bags for purchase in the store. These are okay if you plan on eating them fairly soon. The packages usually have an expiration date on them. Carrots are like other veggies and fruits that shouldn’t be cleaned until ready to eat them.

Carrots are mostly eaten raw. Grab a carrot, wash it off, clip the top and tip and munch to your heart’s content. Eaten raw, the carrot maintains all the nutrients that it contains: beta carotene, which is a form of vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Carrots can also be cooked. They hold up well on the stove and for baking. They are present in soups and stews in slices or diced cubes. Carrots are one of those vegetables that take longer to soften so they, along with potatoes are added to soups early to give them time to tenderize.

As a side dish carrots are another orange fixture, rivaling the yam and the sweet potato. They can be eaten as is with a sprig of oregano or other herb or candied with honey or brown sugar.

Desserts, or rather one particular dessert contains carrots as its base. And that would be carrot cake—Bugs Bunny’s favorite. Carrot is actually a part of the recipe and the cake is a favorite dessert of many. Well, if you don’t like carrots raw or in soups, you can have it in your dessert. Breakfast and dessert muffins also feature carrots as ingredients.

Carrots are best stored in the refrigerator. They keep for quite a while before succumbing to wilting and browning. Avoid carrots that are flexible and bendy but don’t snap when broken.

Using your carrots can sometimes be a bit of a drag, but id you have a food processor, such as one of the Cuisinart 11 Cup Pro Custom 11 Food Processors preparing your carrots will not be a problem. It is not often that you get something that is so tasty, that is also good for your. This is another way of avoiding a guilty conscience when you are having a nice big slice of carrot cake.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Boot Camp Picnic – Move It Move It Move It

If you and your guests are into fun in the sun and being active during the warm days of spring and summer, consider a special 'picnic boot camp' that helps get people on their feet rather than sitting around the entire day.

 So much more fun out there and getting some exercise than opting for home exercise equipment. You can even fit in some cycling and get your boy a mountain bike such as a Mongoose Montana Boy'sMountain Bike 24 Inch Wheels. Never to early to make cycling a family and friends sport.

This is the time of year when lots of outdoor events are being planned, and picnics are definitely included in that list. There are so many things to do at picnics (other than sitting around eating and socializing, that is), that the event can become more memorable just by being willing to get up and be active.  Let's take a look at some of the activities that are perfect for a picnic:

1. Have a Jungle Gym Challenge

If you are at a park with a swing set and jungle gym, take advantage of the opportunity by creating a few challenges.  Pit the grownups against the youngsters for extra giggles.  Challenge Uncle to ten chin-ups and watch Junior plot to take over the lead.  Mom has to do hand-over-hands all the way across the bar if she wants to beat Auntie's record.  Cousin and Sister are pushing as hard as they can to out swing each other, while the Toddlers do their very best to get cheers as they somersault in the grass.

You can organize this or let it be free form.  The key is that everyone participate to whatever degree they are able to and are comfortable with.  It's great fun to watch the little ones try to out perform the adults.  And, everyone gets a bit of exercise in the doing.

2. Get Inspired with Simple Kiddie Games

You usually don't find kids sitting around at a picnic.  They don’t have to be inspired to play games and run around during picnics, since they soon get bored with 'grownup talk' and long to stretch their legs or chase each other around. Kids also like to include their parents in playtime, increasing the sense of rivalry and competition, teaming up against the grownups, which is always fun.

You don't even need much special equipment to make this kind of interaction happen. A simple game of catch, hide and seek, tag, or an outdoor scavenger hunt might be enough to get people on their feet.  A game of capture the flag will definitely get everyone moving. Just tossing around a Frisbee will get you feeling like a kid again.

If there's a nice breeze in the air, a few kites could provide hours of fun for you and your kids.  Skipping rope and hopscotch are simple games that young children enjoy, and older people will find themselves giggling as it brings back memories.

3. Pick a Team and Get a Game Going

Choose up sides at your picnic featuring your favorite teams and players.  If you're lucky enough to have room for a baseball diamond, or you have a couple basketball hoops, a volleyball, or even soccer goals, have each guest bring a jersey or t-shirt with their favorite player's numbers written on it, and divide up the teams.

Other simple games to consider that are fun for all ages are Badminton, Bocce, Croquet, and Horseshoes.  Oftentimes, public parks already have one or more of these games set up for you.

Are you on a lake with a few rowboats?  Get a crew together and have a race. You'll need to schedule timeouts to let everyone catch their breath, but that's part of the fun.  Plus, the spirit of competition will improve everyone's appetite so the picnic food will taste all the better.

4. Active Picnics Call For Uncomplicated Food

With this type of picnic boot camp in session, you'll want to keep your choices for food and drinks as informal and uncomplicated as possible. Finger foods like fried chicken, sandwiches, appetizers, and a host of easy salads will likely be your best bet. Have lots of ready-to-eat fruit, like sliced watermelon, cut up cantaloupe, peeled oranges, and washed grapes on hand.  Playing this hard works up both an appetite and a mighty thirst, and fruit quenches both.

5. Here is another idea for a drink to quench the thirst you worked up with all these activities.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Is Your Definition Of Cooking Budget Gourmet Meals

Cooking gourmet can mean as many different things as there are ingredients in the grocery store. So, before you actually begin cooking gourmet meals on your budget, you have to define what it means to you. Take a look at the following general definitions of what gourmet dining means to different people:
  • Appearance - If you define gourmet as the way a dish appears, you can learn a few techniques for creating new and exciting presentations of your meals without spending a lot of money.
  • New- If your definition of gourmet means trying something new, there are hundreds of different foods that you can give a try without worrying about your budget.  
  • Exotic - If your definition of gourmet food relates to exotic tastes, you'll need to find creative ways to find these exciting new flavors without breaking the grocery budget.

Now let's look at a few helpful tips to find ways to introduce gourmet ingredients and style to your meals, while keeping your budget in mind:

1. Be Open to New Main Ingredients

Cooking gourmet on a budget isn't always about adding exotic spices or ingredients. Sometimes by choosing a cut of meat that's different from your usual choice, you can create a dish that's fresh and brand new to you – what you would call gourmet. Whether you're cooking beef, lamb, chicken, pork, seafood, or vegetarian, there are always new items to try. 

Remember, oftentimes what we now consider routine was once considered gourmet or unusual fare. Just think about tilapia, for instance. This run-of-the-mill fish wasn't always that way. When first introduced, it was quite exotic to many people outside of the fishing world. So, look for main ingredients that you haven't heard of before. The advantage is often translated into savings on your budget simply because of supply-and-demand. When a food is first introduced to a market it isn't very popular, which means the price will often be more reasonable. It's only after a certain product gains popularity that markets feel comfortable raising their prices. Less popular items can be found around the edges of the meat, fish, poultry, and produce counter, so that's where you may find something new to try.

2. Mix Up Your Flavors

Along with new main ingredients, you will also bump up the gourmet value of a meal without spending a lot of money by trying new combinations of spices and seasonings. You don't have to spend a lot of money on spices, just use the ones you have in new ways. Instead of always adding basil and oregano to spaghetti sauce, why not sprinkle in a bit of fennel seed? When you make your family's favorite chili, imagine what a little espresso stirred in during the last half hour of cooking would do. Intrigued? Don't forget chili powder in your chocolate frosting and nutmeg in your eggs.

Spices and seasonings are not the only ingredients that could use a shake-up when it comes to gourmet cooking on a budget. Have you added pureed pumpkin to your black bean soup yet? It adds a smooth creaminess that is decidedly gourmet, especially when sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. How about crushed pineapple to your pasta and shrimp primavera? Just look through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and see what would happen if you decided to throw out all the rules. I bet you would come up with great new meals that are gourmet-style on a tight budget.

3. Quality Counts

The whole factor of good, gourmet taste relies on quality. There are items you can skimp on and items where you need to spend a bit more to get the good stuff. It's hard to know the difference until you actually use both, but one example that comes to mind is balsamic vinaigrette. There is a price range where you reach a good quality, and anything below that doesn't measure up. The reason is the aging. You want a good, thick, rich vinaigrette for your salads or marinades, otherwise you may as well be using vinegar.

With this in mind, there are choices to be made that will help you cook gourmet and stay within your budget. Yes, spend the money on good quality when it counts, then save money on items that are the same across the price spectrum. For example, after you spend money on a good vinaigrette for your salad, don't spend money on expensively priced croutons. You'll find a variety of prices, but all croutons are pretty much created alike. Or, just make them at home for the cheapest, and best tasting, option.

4. Think Local

Utilizing your local farmer's market is a great way to go gourmet without spending a lot of money. Reducing the middleman keeps the price low and you might just get to try their new crops. Think about investing in a crop share at a local farm or look into small starter farms.

You are likely to find unusual items, too, because most local farms produce a wide variety of produce simply because they can. They don't have to worry about satisfying a vast market; just the locals. The local farms are typically very accommodating and love to talk about their crops, and will find new varieties for you to try. They are also interested in finding new ways to cook and serve their crops so more people will buy them. If you see something unusual at your local farmer's market, talk to the farmer about it, cook it up, and report back. In that way, you'll get lots of new information for new foods to add to your gourmet-style of dining.

5. Shop Ethnic Stores

If your definition of gourmet cooking is to try exotic foods, then try shopping at ethnic grocers. Usually their food is cheaper than similar food in the big chain store, and you have a better chance of finding what you were looking for. If you need to find that special fruit used in that Indian dish, then your best bet is shopping at an Indian grocery store. It is surprising how many different ingredients you can find in a real Italian, French, or Asian food store than you can find in the 'ethnic aisle' of your grocery store.

When you get into an authentic ethnic store, you may feel confused. The packaging may not be clear to you and the items may be completely unknown. That's great! That's exactly what gourmet cooking on a budget is all about. Ask for help. Tell the proprietor that you are new and want to try something that isn't expensive, but has flavors that are different and exciting. It may help to bring in recipes or pictures of dishes you find appealing, then go from there. Shop for one dish at a time to keep your head from exploding! There's a lot of information to absorb, but just give it time. A few more visits to your local ethnic food store and you'll be cooking like a pro.

6. Everything is Exotic to Somebody

If your definition of gourmet cooking on a budget is to perk up your basic dishes with exotic ingredients, do you automatically think of far off places with names you can't pronounce? You don't have to travel the globe for something unusual. Oftentimes, our own region offers ingredients that would be considered exotic to others. There may even be foods in your area that you have yet to discover. Your very own region and culture could be hiding quite a few foods that are exotic.

Keep an open mind and try to expand your palate with local cuisine. Explore the heritage of your region to discover the rich abundance of native cuisine. Look at the indigenous ingredients first, then the ways the natives prepared the dishes using what they had. These dishes are often the basis for an entire cuisine. Just consider what we know now of Cajun cooking. This is an example of regional ingredients cooked in the way their ancestors did using what was available to them. It's time to explore your own backyard. You'll find when you cook your own region's gourmet cuisine, the ingredients are fresher and cheaper, and easier to find, of course.

If you want to cook gourmet on a budget, it really just takes a few simple choices. Figure out how you define gourmet cooking, then start exploring all the options. When you put these tips to work, you'll be surprised how inexpensive cooking gourmet can actually be.

Of Course, everything you want to make will be easier if you have a food processor such as a Cuisinart CBT 700

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Simple Introduction To Quinoa

This ancient staple has been rediscovered and has become a foodie favorite. Maybe you have noticed Quinoa and knows what everyone is saying about it or maybe you completely new to it. Some say tha quinoa is the perfect food for you and your family. Quinoa may just bee the one new ingredient you try this year that changes the way you cook. Quinoa is all that and a powerhouse of nutrition, flavor and texture. Let's take a brief look at this super-food and why it is quickly becoming all the rage.

1. What is Quinoa?

Those who are not yet familiar with quinoa, may think of it as a grain, or at least a replacement for grains. The little tiny disc is actually a seed of a plant in the same family as beets, chard, and spinach. These nutritious, amino acid rich seeds are light and fluffy when cooked, with a little snap to it. You'll also find quinoa in a variety of beautiful colors such as gold, red, and even black.

2. Ancient History

While relatively new to the US market, quinoa has been cultivated in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia for over 50 centuries (that's right, I said centuries!) and is a staple food in their diets. The Incas considered quinoa a sacred food and referred to it as the "mother seed,” which is why we often refer to it as “Gold of the Incas.”

When Spanish conquistadors were trying to gain control of the South American indigenous people, they destroyed the fields in which quinoa was grown, and outlawed the farming and sale of quinoa. In1980, two Americans re-discovered the health and nutrition potential of quinoa and started cultivation in Colorado. Today, quinoa is finding its way into homes and restaurants all over the map.

3. Health Benefits

For being such a tiny little seed, quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is also a great source of manganese, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, and lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. The minerals contained in relatively high amounts may also be especially helpful for those people who have consistent migraines, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.

One of the most highly valued aspects of quinoa for many people is it is gluten free. Those looking for alternatives for wheat and other gluten foods can turn to quinoa in several forms to replace the gluten in their diets.

4, How to Eat Quinoa

The quinoa seeds are naturally covered by a saponin residue that is bitter to the palate. This is one defense mechanism the plant has to fend off the occasional passing critter that wants a snack. While commercial cultivation processes remove much of the saponin that coats the seed, it is still a good idea to rinse the seeds in cold water to make sure the process is complete. However, there are many brands that are pre-rinsed. You can use your own judgment.
Once you have the quinoa rinsed, bring a pot of one part quinoa and two parts water to a boil, cover, and simmer slowly for fifteen minutes, or until the the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. If you want to keep more of the natural nutty flavor, you can dry roast the seeds before cooking them. Put the quinoa in a skillet over medium heat and toss, just until the quinoa becomes fragrant.

Now you have a multitude of options for preparing your quinoa. Whether you like it hot or cold, you can put it into a salad or in a soup. You can also form your cooked quinoa into patties with a variety of ingredients. Go ahead and add cooked quinoa to your favorite pancake or muffin recipe for a brand-new take on healthy eating.

No matter if you are looking for a gluten free alternative to grains, or you are a food lover who is just looking for something new to experiment with, or you want to give your nutrition a real boost, give quinoa a try. With all the