Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What You Need to Know High Fructose Corn Syrup?

High fructose corn syrup can trace its origins back to 1957, when scientists discovered how to turn glucose, an enzyme found in corn, into fructose, a type of sugar typically present in fruit and honey. By the 1970s, the additive was being manufactured on a widespread level. Around this time, corn producers were blessed with a major stroke of good luck; new sugar tariffs and quotas went into effect in 1977, which made importing sugar a much more expensive undertaking. Faced with increased production costs, soda giants began looking for a substitute. In 1984, these companies found their answer in high fructose corn syrup. With the full endorsement of the world's biggest soft-drink producers, high fructose corn syrup had entered into the mainstream.

Today, HFCS is everywhere, even in places where you would least expect it. The sweetener can be found in supposedly healthy foods, such as juices, healthy breakfast cereals, yogurt, salad dressings, breads and nutrition bars. Even items not usually considered sweet are often made with HFCS, including barbecue sauce, pickles, jelly, ketchup and applesauce. Not surprisingly, HFCS is widely used in candy bars, and in sodas of all types.

HFCS and Your Health

So why is high fructose corn syrup so bad for your health? For starters, it can expand your waistline; in fact, America's growing problem with obesity began in earnest in the late 1970s, around the same time that HFCS was introduced into food supply. In recent years, studies have linked these two trends. One such report was a 2004 study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which noted that "the increased use of HFCS in the United States mirrors the rapid increase in obesity."

These findings were further reinforced by a 2010 study by Princeton University. For the Princeton study, researchers fed cane sugar to one set of rats, while giving HFCS to another. When comparing the two sets of rodents, the Princeton team found rats that ingested HFCS gained significantly more weight, and were especially vulnerable to abnormal increases in abdominal fat. In addition, rats who consumed HFCS also displayed characteristics associated with obesity, such as excessive body fat and increases in circulating blood fats (known as triglycerides).

A larger pants size isn't the only effect that HFCS can have on your body. A 2007 study by the American Chemical Society reported that drinks loaded with HFCS were brimming with reactive carbonyls, radioactive compounds which can potentially cause diabetes through cell and tissue damage. A 2009 University of California study offered additional damning evidence concerning the syrup's effects on human health. Though the study featured a small sampling size (16 participants), it found that increased consumption of HFCS formed additional fat cells around the participants' heart, liver and digestive organs. The subjects also exhibited food-processing problems linked to diabetes and heart disease.

High fructose corn syrup can also wreak havoc with your blood pressure, liver and kidneys. A report issued by Medical News Today noted that 2 ½ sugar-heavy drinks per day, containing approximately 74mg of HFCS, would be sufficient enough to raise your risk of high blood pressure by 28 to 87 percent. High fructose corn syrup can lead to steady fat buildup around the liver, a development that can have long-term repercussions for the organ, including cirrhosis and liver scarring. A small amount of the sweetener also winds up in your kidneys, where it can produce uric acid, a waste product that in high levels may trigger kidney disease.

Adjusting Your Diet

High fructose corn syrup may have an almost ubiquitous presence at the supermarket, convenience store and other food outlets, but it can still be avoided. Here are some simple steps that can help you cut out this artificial additive out of your diet

- Cut out sodas from your diet 
- Buy juices that are made of 100% Juice 
- Avoid fast food and processed foods 
- Always check food labels for HFCS

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Those Fun And Frivolous Festival Foods

From fine dining to those fast food burgers Americans love their food, but there are just some foods that are only enjoyed during those festivals and fairs that dot the American country side throughout the year. Yes, festivals can be fun and entertaining, and you may go to watch or join in various contests, compete for prizes, or simply to enjoy the music and mingling with the crowd. However, the reality is, that most people find themselves being drawn to those brightly colored vending booth where they can enjoy the flavors that make going to these festivals and fairs a real treat. Here are a few of the fun and frivolous foods that fairs and festivals are known for.
Turkey Legs
Turkey legs made their appearance at Renaissance festivals no doubt inspired by all those pictures of Henry the 8th with holding one of these legs in one hand, and a glass of Port in the other. Whatever the inspiration for these hunks of meat appearing at festivals they soon caught on, and now are a favorite treat at festivals from coast to coast.
Never mind that the meat on just one of these legs would feed a family of four in normal circumstances you will see everyone from toddles to octogenarians walking around munching on one of these roasted to perfection legs as they make their way to next festival food both.
Elephant Ears
What is it about those fried flat pieces of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar that has people standing in line at every festival and fair across the country and even around the world? These thoroughly fattening festival treats are little more than a ton of empty calories yet, everyone seems to hunger for them when the fair rolls into town. Perhaps, it is because few people can replicate the exact taste of these pieces of sugary sweetness at home, or perhaps it is because elephant ears are pure indulgence and just plain fun to eat.
Meat On A Stick
From those easily identifiable corn dogs, to those mysterious creations of chicken, beef, and pork, meat on a stick has been a festival favorite for as long as there has been fairs and festivals. No doubt the big attraction of these festival favorites is the fact that you can eat them with one hand while you continue to wander around. Whether the meat is deep fried, roasted or barbequed doesn't seem to matter as long as it comes on a stick visitors at festivals will flock to those booths selling this festival favorite.
Cotton Candy
There is really no secret why those large woven threads of pure sugar are such a festival and fair favorite. This sweet treat just seems to represent those endless summer days, when life was simple and easy and filled with sweetness. Back when your great grandparents and great grandparents were young those country fairs or that odd festival was one of few times that children got candy and they found themselves looking forward to those fairs simply to indulge their sweet tooth by pulling off pieces of spun sugar and having it melt in their mouth. Though not exactly healthy, it truly is one of life's simple pleasures.
There is little doubt that beer is a festival favorite for many adults. Especially at those festivals that serve a variety of beers from those microbrewers or those Oktobefest and Bavarian festivals where beer has a long history and tradition. While some people visit the beer tents simply to enjoy this refreshing brew on a hot summers day or eve, others just like sampling those unique flavors such as blueberry and pumpkin beer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Few Essential Bar Equipment and Accessories That Are At Times Taken For Granted

A clean and presentable bar will not work without having the right bar equipment and accessories. These aid in offering every possible service to the customers and makes work easy for the staff. You wouldn't have to hire too many service personnel for your bar, either. Most of these equipment and accessories will be used behind the serving bar counter. These equipment and accessories, however, are most often taken for granted and overlooked. Their importance is realized only when they are missing.
The bar is one place where drinks are served left, right and center. The person behind the bar who is responsible for serving up the drinks would have opened a number of bottles already. Hence, you need to have bottle openers. The drinks will be served to the customers even faster. If you do not want to have those hand held openers that are normally left to hang on the cabinets, you can have the counter tops specially installed with special openers for bottles instead. The waiters could also be given their own bottle openers for use when they go from table to table. There are some drinks or bottles that would require a screw or a cork extractor to be opened. To serve the drinks effectively and minimize spillages you will have to get bottle pourers.
Straight drinks poured direct from a bottle will be highly in demand. However, there are customers who love taking special drinks, such as cocktails, and other unique mixes of drinks. This could be accomplished easier with the aid of a blender and some shakers right on the counter. A fruit drink can be made by mixing some fruits, water and ice cubes inside the blender. Shakers are primarily for mixing several drinks together. You will have to get several types of shakers in different sizes. When ordering drinks, customers would have a specific amount of the drinks in mind. Drink measures would solve this problem immediately. Spirit and wine measures are also important since they would help you correctly measure the drinks you serve and avoid serving up too much or too little alcohol.
Of course you'd also place a lot of importance on the service. Priority must be given to the manner with which the drinks are served. Therefore, you should also pay attention on what they will be drinking on. Pay attention to the type and quality of the drinking glasses. They should also be accessorized appropriately, either with a straw and an umbrella, and have a stirrer as well. You should also consider the trays. Not only can they be used to serve the customers, they can also be helpful when it comes time to clean up the tables. Ice buckets at the tables and at the counter will also come in handy especially when you have drinks that are served while chilled.
You should also keep in mind that knives are important. You must have seen slices of lemon placed on some drinks, or some other garnishes added to them. That is why you should make sure you have a knife close by, because you cannot slice and dice lemons and garnishes with your bare hands. In order to clearly identify that bar equipment and accessories you need to stock up on, you should understand that workings and dynamics of running a bar.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Cleaning Your Office Water Cooler?

If you own a business it is important that you take the necessary steps to ensure that your workforce remains healthy. A convenient dispenser that provides clean and filtered water to all those that use it, a water cooler in the office can help staff members to keep themselves hydrated.
As a business owner you can help to ensure that the office is a much happier and healthier environment just by installing a water cooler. However, office places are a great breeding place for germs and harmful bacteria. This bacterium could easily contaminate your workplace water system if the right steps aren't taken to clean it once every so often.
Therefore it is extremely important that you learn how to clean your office water cooler. One of the benefits is that it can help to keep people's immune systems up. If germs are allowed to breed in the office though, this benefit becomes nullified. If you take all the necessary precautions to ensure that your cooler is absolutely free of germs, you'll be safeguarding the environment your employees work in. You'll find that this will lead to them having a much lower number of sick days - especially during the winter months - having done this. Even during the cold and flu season it is possible to keep your water cooler germ free if you get it properly cleaned on a regular basis.
It is a good idea to disinfect your water dispenser every other month or so in order to keep the amount of harmful germs and bacteria down to a minimum. You can disinfect your system by using a mixture of bleach and water - allowing the water to dilute the bleach, in order to limit the harmful effect it can have. Using this type of cleaning solution will enable you to keep down the levels of bacteria around the cooler down significantly. It's a good idea to keep the inside of the water cooler dried out in between refilling or replacing the large water bottles. This will help to keep down the build up of mineral deposits that water can sometimes leave behind. These mineral deposits can sometimes cause a lot of bacteria to build up over time, especially if they aren't taken care of right away. If you spot a mineral deposit, clean it, and then leave it to dry.
You should always clean the inside of your water cooler thoroughly; this can be done using a brush - preferably one that isn't made of metal - and a mixture of hot water and soap. If you use a plastic brush you'll ensure that there aren't any scuff marks left behind. Although relatively minor at the time, scuffs can over time cause small crevices to develop - the perfect spot for bacteria to form and breed in.
Although it might seem time consuming, by cleaning your water cooler you can help to ensure that it works more efficiently. You may also find that it lasts significantly longer too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why and How to Make Fabulous Frittatas?

If you don't cook or cook only a little, the word "frittata" can be intimidating. You may think you need a degree in culinary arts and fancy equipment in order to do it. This isn't true. A few eggs, leftovers, a skillet and fork are all you need for this dish, and you probably have these on hand.
What is a frittata?
It is an Italian-style omelet. Instead of folding the egg over, as you do with an ordinary omelet, it is flat. Once you've mastered the basic recipe you can make it your oww, and serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I've served a warm artichoke and onion version as an appetizer.
In fact, I've made more frittatas than I can count, and have good reasons for making them. You may benefit from these reasons. Reason one: You get quick results. After you've gotten home you can have a meal on the table in about 25 minutes. Usually the dish is made in a skillet, but I use a pie plate and bake it like a quiche.
Reason two: It's a great way to use leftovers. Got leftover veggies in the fridge? Toss them in the frittata. Got leftover potatoes? Toss them in, too. Cookbook author Mark Bittman adds pre-cooked spaghetti, fettuccine, and other long pastas to his recipes. Bittman also adds cooked grains: wheat berries, quinoa, bulgar, faro, and buckwheat.
Reason three: Cooking experts and beginners can make this dish. You just need to be able to beat eggs with a fork or whisk, measure a few ingredients, and pour them into a skillet. Your version of this Italian classic may include meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, and orzo. How do you make a frittata?
1. Decide on the pan you will use. Options include a non-stick skillet, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, pie pan, or indvidual tart pans. Nancy Silverton and Carolynn Carreno describe the egg dish in their article, "A Fresh Take on the Frittata," published in the "Los Angeles Times." The two ordered the dish at a London, England restaurant and when it came, they were astonished. Instead of a wedge, the dish was "a whole, round thing that covered the entire plate."
2. Use room temperature eggs. I don't know why, but room temperature eggs whip better and combine better with other ingredients.
3. Coat your pan with baking spray beforehand. I even do this with my cast iron skillet, to ensure the egg mixture won't stick. As the Easy Italian Cooking website notes in its article, "How to Make Frittatas," stainless steel pans work, but cast ion works better.
4. Omit pasta and potatoes if you are watching your carbs. Once the egg mixture and add-ins are combined, transfer the mixture to the pan, and turn down the heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the sides start to brown and the center is set.
5. Make the cheese decision. You may, or may not, have added cheese to your egg mixture. If you want to top the omelet with shredded cheese and broil it, make sure the pan will withstand high heat. Most will not, but cast iron will. Broil for about three minutes, just until the cheese starts to melt.
6. Find a basic recipe and follow it. For a complete meal, add a salad or fresh fruit and crusty bread. A glass of wine might be nice as well. Simple as it is, this is an elegant meal for anyone.