Where Foodies Come To Talk

Important Information About Essential Oils

Essential oils are basically highly concentrated oils which are usually extracted from roots, leaves, flowers, and other plant parts which are grown in farms like the Lavender Farms started by D. Gary Young of Young Living Essential Oils. Usually extracted through the process of steam distillation (which involves the application of steam until all the oil vaporizes), essential oils usually possess the characteristic smell of the plant from which they are extracted. Although the term “essential oils” is quite common, very few people can tell more about these concentrated oils in terms of how they work, their uses, benefits, and side effects. If you are among them, here is a piece that will leave you knowledgeable about essential oils.

How Are Essential Oils Said To Work?

For many centuries, essential oils have been used in ancient medicine and their use has currently been embraced in the modern-day medical arena. The main reason why these oils never lose their value is because of the diversity they possess in terms of usage. In aromatherapy, for instance, when molecules of any essential oil are absorbed through the skin or inhaled, they are said to affect metabolism, brain chemicals, hormones, and influence the nervous system and brain areas. Besides, essential oils are mostly used to boost mood, ease stress, get a good night’s sleep, and even repel unwanted insects.

How Are Essential Oils Used?

Inhalation: One of the most common ways through which people use essential oils is through inhalation. Since most of these oils are usually highly concentrated, it is always advisable that you do not inhale them directly from a bottle. To release any oil into the air you breathe, a device like a diffuser could be used. Some other inhalation methods include the popular steam inhalation or applying a few drops of the oil to a handkerchief, tissue or cotton ball and placing it near your face.

Topical Use: In addition to being highly concentrated, essential oils are also too potent for anyone to use them full-strength on their skin. In most cases, these oils should be diluted in a carrier oil (like avocado, almond, and apricot kernel oil) before they can be applied to the skin during spot treatment, an aromatherapy massage, a bath, or a spa treatment. Essential oils could also be found in candles, shampoo, lotion, soap, and bath salts.

Commonly Used Essential Oils

While there are hundreds of essential oils available, here are some of the most commonly used essential oils.

Eucalyptus: This oil is a common ingredient in steam inhalations to cure colds and clear throat congestion in the chest.

Clary sage: This oil could aid in relieving hot flashes as well as promote sleep.

Lavender: This essential oil is mostly used for relaxation and improving sleep.

Peppermint: This oil is used for headaches among other types of pain.

Rose: The oil’s soothing scent has been found to ease stress as well as menstrual cramps.

Tea tree: The tea tree essential oil is mostly used as a spot treatment for acne as well as treating fungal skin infections.

Rosemary: This oil has a stimulating scent which boosts focus and attention.

3 Reasons to Let Go of Pork in Your Diet

There’s a reason why a lot of diets discourage pork products in their coordinated meals. Pork is the bane of anyone wishing to get in better shape since it’s challenging to say no to a crisp and tender set of bacon strips. But if you’re looking to make a change and to update your diet, here are three big reasons why you have to let go of pork in your menu, no matter how difficult or painful it may be.

 

  • Pigs aren’t the best animals to eat

 

Though pigs are part of the top three staple meat animals along with chicken and cows, pork may not be your best option to eat based on the pigs’ physical nature. Pigs do not have sweat glands which translate to them not being able to sweat, to release the excess toxins in their body. In eating pork, you’re eating unfiltered flesh with a good number of toxins inherent.

Though it’s debatable that pigs still have livers and kidneys to filter out the excess junk that their bodies generate, it’s a tough call to consider since pork contains a high amount of saturated fat and packs a massive punch of cholesterol to boot. Having these in your body could lead you to develop heart disease as an example.

 

  • Home for worms

 

Yes, you heard that right. Pork is highly susceptible to being a haven for homeless worms. There’s a reason why pork meat needs to be stored in freezing temperatures before cooking. It’s because severely low temperatures lower the risk of having them present in your pork. Consider how I mentioned ‘lowers the risk’ instead of ‘killing them’ because even if you’ve frozen it well, worms can still be present in your pork if you haven’t cooked it well enough.

Here are a few common parasites that tend to live in pork meat:

  • Taenia Solium. A nasty parasite that can cause lack of appetite and tissue infection
  • Trichinella. A roundworm that causes myalgia, fever spikes, and severe edema
  • Salmonella. A tricky bacterium that can hide inside pigs unnoticed even after their death. It can induce fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

 

  • Pigs bred in the USA

 

Though we are in the land of the free, the US doesn’t always have the best track record regarding rearing pigs. Unlike farm cows that are allowed to graze around the fields, pigs are often kept in pens or even put inside claustrophobic living conditions as they require relatively low maintenance to breed.

As with any break-up, you will find it difficult to let go of something that you’re used to for a long time. Look for alternative dishes to try to get your edge off missing pork. There are some equally greasy-tasting yet superior foodstuffs you can look forward to from Asian cuisine to kosher restaurant in Manhattan. Saying goodbye to pork means you can say hello to a diverse new array of meat products; beef, fish, lamb, and more – all with higher protein values – makes for a healthier for you.

Image: Pixabay.com

4 Great Gifts for the Caffeine Lover in Your Life

We’re all at least mildly obsessed with caffeine, but everyone has a friend who basically makes caffeine a staple of their personal brand. This means that they would probably be extremely happy to receive some caffeinated gifts at every occasion. Here are some ways to get creative.

Online Coffee Company Subscription

Many trends are driven by e-commerce and the capabilities we have online, which also opens up new gift-giving options within many industries. One of these industries affected is the coffee industry, which is good to know when thinking of coffee lover gifts. Moustache Coffee Club is offering monthly subscriptions where coffee can be delivered to your door. Some companies are already doing this for wine, but nothing compares to having the necessity of caffeine delivered straight to you.

Coffee fanatics would love nothing more than to be graced with a new coffee to try every month. E-commerce makes it possible for us all to be coffee connoisseurs with these monthly caffeine fixes.

Coffee Themed Gift Basket

An excuse to give a gift is an excuse to buy a bunch of coffee flavors, scones, and coffee flavoring for a gift basket. Caffeine fanatics will love the variety and thought put into a custom basket.

Some coffee fans like to try out different flavors or add-ins, but might not purchase these ingredients themselves. This gift basket is a good place to try out new flavors and fancy coffee accessories such as milk steamers or stirrers. A gift basket also is a great place to throw in a mug that matches the gift receivers personality, making this a personal and functional gift idea.

Tea-Themed Gift

Tea is a calmer caffeinated beverage to focus on and there are so many gifts in the tea industry that caffeine lovers will be obsessed with. Some companies have great branding for their teas and the amazing flavors to support the packaging. An example of a brand that makes great gifts is Tea Forte. The packaging is adorable and unique, which is even more reason to give it as a housewarming gift or a care package. Tea is comforting and when it’s cute, it’s even better.

Another way to gift tea is by finding a beautiful tea set. This will also set you up for future gifts, so this is a good idea for a tea-loving family member or friend. You can gift a tea set and then give them teas and extra accessories to go with the set as holidays and birthdays progress.

Gift Cards to Different Coffee Shops

Starbucks isn’t the only coffee shop out there. Buying gift cards to local coffee shops shows an attention to detail and gives the gift receiver a chance to see new places. Small gift cards to a variety of local coffee shops will allow them to explore their city and test coffees from around different areas. Gift cards might seem like an easy out in the unwritten gift giving book, but they can be thoughtful with the right idea in mind. Even just giving a gift card to their favorite coffee shop shows that you pay attention to their lifestyle and want them to enjoy their next few coffees on you.

In conclusion, the best gifts are the ones that allow your caffeine loving family members and friends to branch out and try new products, coffee shops, or tea brands. There are endless gifts in this industry that would make many gift receivers happy.

Top 5 Atlanta Dishes

Atlanta has far more to offer the culinary world than just peaches. The southern city is quickly becoming one of the hottest spots for gastronomy on the east coast. It’s easy to see why; it’s local heritage has multicultural roots from european immigrants and african slaves in the past and latin american, middle eastern, and asian immigrants in recent years. Atlanta is truly proving itself to be a cultural hub. (more…)

Hot Dog History: The Weiner Winner

It has become the Fourth of July tradition in America.

No, not the fireworks. No, not the parties and picnics. And no, not the alcohol imbibing.

This tradition occurs in Coney Island but captivates the world.

A Polish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker started a single hot-dog stand in Coney Island in 1926 with a $300 loan and has turned it into a multi-million-dollar enterprise – which includes restaurants, an hot-dog product line found in virtually every supermarket in the country. (more…)

Texas Is Its Own Sovereign Of Foodie Republic

There is a reason that Texas was once its own country. And breaking away from the Spaniards was just part of it.

The other part is because of the food. Yes, food often divides the United States into several different regions, where the food specialties are relatively consistent among several states.

But in Taxes, the Lone Star State is not the Lone Starved State. It has its food taken to a very unique level – so much so that there are a number of food recipes that are either very unique to Texas or so different from other similar recipes as to be only a Texas version.

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5 Epic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes for Every Type of Foodie

Chewy, crunchy or melt in your mouth. No matter what their form or texture, chocolate chip cookies will always be a universal favorite. But just because it’s a classic does not mean you can’t experiment with it. If you are craving for something different here are some mouthwatering and downright amazing twists you can put on the usual chocolate chip cookie. These recipes will tickle the tastebuds of curious foodies of all types, from the adventurous eater to food god level:

Level 1: Adventurous Eater

Bacon Chocolate Chip

Ah, bacon. The crowning glory of any breakfast feast. Bacon isn’t just great for pizza and breakfast anymore, though. In recent years, it has found its way into many unlikely concoctions from artisanal chocolate to brownies. Now it’s time for your favorite cookie to feature this savory ingredient. Here’s how:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cut smoked bacon
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

    1. Cook bacon until it is crispy. Once done, place it on top of paper napkins to lessen the grease.
    2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange parchment paper on the cookie sheets.
    3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
    4. In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars until they are well blended.
    5. Beat in the vanilla, egg and egg yolk until the mixture is light and creamy.
    6. Mix in the sifted flour, baking soda and salt.
    7. Add in the chocolate chips and chopped bacon and stir.
    8. Use 1 tablespoon to put the cookie dough on the cookie sheets. Leave an allowance of 3 inches between cookies.
    9. Bake from 15 to 17 minutes and leave to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes.

Level 2: Exotic Epicure

Avocado Chocolate Chip

Avocados are a tropical daydream with their smooth texture, rich taste and multitude of health benefits. In recent years, this fruit has become even more popular thanks to all the things you can do with it. You can enjoy it blended into a yummy smoothie or spread over golden slices of toast. Why not enjoy it with your favorite chocolate chip cookie as well? Are you ready to let your tastebuds go on an exotic tropical adventure?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup mashed avocado
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • a handful of chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease your cookie sheets.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. Stir the avocado, coconut oil, vanilla extract and maple syrup together.
  5. Mix in the wt ingredients into the flour, baking soda and salt mixture.
  6. Mold the batter into balls about 1” in diameter.
  7. Arrange the balls on the cookie sheet and flatten them with the palm of your hand.
  8. Bake from 11 to 13 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool away from the oven.

Level 3: Rockstar Ravager

Whiskey Chocolate Chip

Some people love snacks with a kick. If you’re one of those people, then how about you make your chocolate chip cookies worthy of rock-stardom by mixing it with whiskey? That’s right, don’t just serve whiskey on the rocks. Start serving it in the form of crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies. Perfect this recipe and you might just have a crowd of foodie fans fawning after you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate wafers not cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1 vanilla bean (split)
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Process the 3/4 cup of dark chocolate wafers in a food processor until they are pea-sized.
  2. Whisk the all-purpose flour, rye flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add in the egg, vanilla and bourbon and beat until well blended.
  5. Set the mixer speed to low and then gradually add the dry ingredients until they blend.
  6. Fold in the chocolate and the last pieces of wafers.
  7. Divide the dough into 16 balls and then place on a rimmed sheet.
  8. Tightly wrap it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
  9. Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  10. Mix the vanilla seeds with the sea salt into a bowl.
  11. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Arrange the dough balls on the onto a baking sheet and flatten with the palm of hand until each ball is about 3/4” thick.
  13. Sprinkle the balls with vanilla salt.
  14. Bake the cookies and half way through, rotate the sheets. Bake until the edges become golden brown.
  15. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets before letting them completely.

Level 4: Food God

With marijuana legalization spreading like wildfire across the United States, it’s unsurprising that this plant has also become a star ingredient in many recipes. Take your baking skills to an unprecedented high (pun intended) by infusing your chocolate chip cookies with cannabis. Try this recipe out if you’re daring enough to experiment and reach food god level with your kitchen concoctions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cannabutter
  • 1 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease your baking sheets.
  2. Combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix the canna butter with the white and brown sugar until creamy.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and egg once the mixture has set.
  5. Keep mixing until the mixture becomes light before putting in the chocolate chips.
  6. Slowly add in the flour mixture in the medium bowl. Keep mixing until the cookie dough looks firm.
  7. Scoop out the mixture using a spoon and form 1/4 cup cookies on the cookie sheet. Spread the dough equally.
  8. Put the sheet into the preheated oven and bake from 18 to 25 minutes.
  9. Once the cookies look golden brown, allow the cookies to cool away from the oven.

Heart Healthy Dietary Suggestions: Save Yourself From The Trouble Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is a huge killer around the world, but especially in the United States.  A culture of excess has resulted in many easily avoidable life-threatening health issues among citizens, but it’s easier than you think to design your own personal heart-healthy eating habits.  

Healthy does not equal boring, limited, or gross.  The trick is to educate yourself on as many healthy food options as possible to keep your diet interesting.  Here are a few foods that are both heart healthy and delicious.

Blueberries

It’s really somewhat difficult to go wrong eating berries of any sort, but blueberries are especially heart healthy.  Berries and even wine (in moderation) are good for your heart due to their provision of antioxidant anthocyanins.  

Blueberries have some of the highest concentrations of anthocyanins, placing them in the spotlight for heart-healthy snacks.  Some studies have proven that blueberries can lower your LDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation in the body.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is good for the reduction of cholesterol, but it is also rich in soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber has been studied and found to naturally bind to cholesterol, keeping it out of the blood stream.  

It is recommended by the Food and Drug Administration that you eat at least 3 grams of soluble fiber each day to reap the maximum benefits for your heart.  Average participants in studies nearly always saw results in lowering their LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels.

Apples

Apples are especially rich in antioxidant flavonoids which are known protectors of the heart.  The skin of an apple is the most healthy part, as it is high in quercetin and anthocyanins.  

The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is full of truth.  Don’t skip out on apples in your diet, and they’re healthy as dried chips too.

Nuts

Nuts in all shapes and sizes are healthy.  Most offer a significant source of fiber, protein, unsaturated fats (the “good” fats), an array of minerals, and antioxidants.  Nuts are an excellent snack food for those quick eating opportunities throughout the day.

Kale

It’s pretty common knowledge that leafy greens are good for your healthy, but Kale, in particular, is super healthy.  Kale packs high doses of magnesium and potassium.  Magnesium and potassium are both great for regulating blood pressure and heart health.  

Avoid these stains in your diet:

There are some dietary choices you should avoid if you’re aiming for a heart healthy lifestyle.

Trans fats: deep-fried foods, fast foods, snack foods

Packaged foods: high-sodium box dinners, sugary breakfast foods

Flour-based foods: white pasta, white or egg breads, sugary cereals

Processed meats: sausage, bacon, fried chicken, salami

Yogurts: Yogurts with added sugars, processed cheeses

Death Row Meals of Famous Killers

There is nothing more eerily interesting to the common man as the mind of a serial killer. True crime continues to be the source of fascination for many, due to just how out of ordinary the crimes people commit can be, by people who could be next door neighbors or friends.

Nothing brings people together like food, and knowing that serial killers have a taste for something other than blood is as interesting as it is humanizing. Let’s explore the last meals of these convicted killers, before paying the ultimate price for their federal crimes: (more…)

5 Healthy Mid-Day Snacks for Busy Business Owners

It is a known fact that the right food helps keep the body healthy. For people who work a lot however, a mid-day snack is extremely important to keep your body in proper working condition. Simply having breakfast or lunch is not enough.

Most business owners work long grueling days, which require more energy than most. It’s very easy to eat poorly when in a rush, as fast food or a candy bar are very convenient, yet also very unhealthy. While at the office, you don’t have time to cook, so a quick snack is best.

The majority of offices do not have vending machines stocked with healthy options. It’s typically the complete opposite. While something like a candy bar or a soda might be quick and present you with an initial burst of energy, they all eventually lead to a major crash, which can leave you struggling to finish out the day. You need to be operating at optimal energy levels at all times — no business owner has time for an energy crash during his or her busy days. Here are five healthy snacks to reach for mid-day that will help power you throughout the day.

Greek Yogurt

We all know that yogurt is a good healthy choice, and it is also a great energy source. There are several different flavors to pick from, and you can also purchase plain Greek yogurt and add on your own toppings to keep it from being too boring. Fruit or nuts make good toppings and it keeps it healthy.

“You need to make sure you look at the nutritional labels, as there are many flavors and brands that are packed with sugars. Just because it says yogurt on the container doesn’t automatically make it healthy,” advises Darryl Howard of NuWays MD, providers of stem cell therapy in Boca Raton. Some Greek yogurt contains more sugar than a candy bar, so select wisely or better yet stick to plain yogurt and add fresh fruit yourself.

Almond Butter Packets

Next on the list of healthy mid-day snacks that are ideal for busy business owners is almond butter packets. It is no secret that almond does provides the body with strength and energy – and in butter form, it just tastes better.

Almonds also provide the body with protein, which is an essential ingredient to keep your body healthy and fit, as well as fueled with energy. If you don’t like it in butter form, a handful of raw almonds is a healthy alternate to consider. They are very simple to pack as well as store in your desk.

Protein Bars

“Protein bars are so easy to pack and break out when you need energy, and today you can find complete meal replacement bars that are low in fat and have no sugar. This helps to keep you powering throughout the day without crashing,” says Luqman Khan, founder of Wireloo, a company that reviews the best water purifying dispenser.

If you have a sweet tooth, consider a protein flavor that mimics a candy bar in flavor, just not ingredients. There are companies that have been known to make healthy bars which are rich in protein, iron etc. Typically, if they taste just like a candy bar they are packed with sugars and are essentially the same. You will have to be willing to give up a bit on the flavor side in order to keep them healthy. Protein bars provide the body with extra energy to keep you going strong all day.

Bananas

Bananas are one of the healthiest fruits available, and they give you a great boost of energy while also giving you the fiber that your body requires, yet many people don’t get enough of.

While many health experts recommend bananas as a healthy snack option, you need to realize that they do contain a lot of sugar. “People often forget that most fruits are high in sugar, so eating fruits as a snack every single day isn’t always the best option. Bananas are good to mix in a few days a week. Just be aware that they generally contain about 14 grams of sugar,” explains Jake Braun of ChopperExchange, where you can find out what your Harley is worth.

Nuts

Last but not the least are nuts. Nuts are known to possess protein which is essential for any working body and they help to keep blood sugar levels stable. Nuts also have vitamin E in them which is essential for the body as well, along with magnesium.

“Nuts are a great snack, but remember to just have a small handful, as their fat content is extremely high,” explains Dana VanDeCar, COO of Optimally Organic. While that is very true, you need to also understand that the fats found in raw nuts are healthy fat our bodies need in order to survive. You just don’t want to eat an entire can of nuts in one sitting.