Category Archives: Health

Chicken Vermouth

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Chicken is such a popular, versatile main dish that recipes abound from around the world.  One of our favorite recipes is Chicken Vermouth, a mouth-watering dish that is extremely easy to make. The recipe below calls for the chicken to be served with homemade mashed potatoes. We thicken the Vermouth gravy and spoon over both the chicken and mashed potatoes.  My daughters have used this recipe for their families and found that even their pickiest eaters ask for seconds.

Chicken Vermouth

 1 small yellow onion, chopped

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

2 tbs. butter

½ tsp salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 diced tomato

½ cup Cooking Vermouth

¼-cup water

1 tbs. cornstarch

4 medium sized potatoes, pared, cubed

2 tbs. butter

1. Spray bottom of large skillet with cooking spray. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and the chopped onion. Sauté over medium heat until onion starts to turn golden.

2. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook thoroughly over medium heat . Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. While chicken is cooking,  boil potatoes in a large pot until tender. Drain. Add butter and mash or whip with mixer.

4. Once chicken is cooked completely, remove from skillet to a  platter.  Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the onions in the skillet. Add diced tomatoes, cooking over medium heat for five minutes.

5. Slowly add the Cooking Vermouth to the onion- tomato mixture. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for five minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet , cover and let simmer for another five minutes so the Vermouth flavor can be absorbed.

6. Place chicken on platter. Add water and cornstarch to the Vermouth gravy, stirring until smooth. Once the gravy has thickened, it is ready to be served over the chicken and mashed potatoes.

Reference:
1. Chicken Fricassee With Vermouth Recipe – NYT Cooking
2. Sautéed Chicken with Herbs and Vermouth Recipe – Michael …

Category: Health

Cheeseball Recipe

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During years past, when the women of my family were planning the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and everyone was getting dish assignments, I was given cheeseball duty because it’s the easiest dish to make. Back in the day I was not the world’s greatest cook. Far from it! So, every holiday season during my late teens and early 20’s I whipped up our family cheeseball.

My Nanny (grandmother) always highly praised my oh-so-delicious cheeseball. Bless her!

Now that I’ve FINALLY progressed beyond the cheeseball stage, I was very proud last year to bestow the honor upon my youngest daughter, Vivian. At age eight she was already at the cheeseball stage, far advanced over her mother. My oldest daughter was already moved to meringue duty.

Seeing the cheeseball every Thanksgiving and Christmas reminds me of times spent sitting at the kitchen table, mixing the soft cheeses and watching the pros take care of the rest. And now, when I am working as the pro, I smile when I see my youngest daughter working the cheeseball duty.

The recipe is so simple, please feel free to mix up a cheeseball for your family this holiday season!

The Family Cheeseball

Ingredients:

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

1 jar Old English Cheese

Worchestershire Sauce

Garlic Salt

Chopped Pecans

Parsley Flakes

Mix the Old English and cream cheese together with a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce and garlic salt in a large mixing bowl. I find this is most easily done with clean hands. Just get in there and mix those cheeses. After mixing completely, set the bowl in the fridge to cool and allow the cheeses to firm. After at least an hour, spread parsley flakes and chopped pecans onto a large plate. Take out your bowl of cheeses. Wash your hands again. Reach in there and grab that mess of mixed up cheese and get it all in your hands. Ball it all up and smooth the outside. Roll your gigantic ball of tasty goodness around on the plate, coating it with parsley and pecans.

Set the cheeseball onto a pretty plate and put it back into the fridge for at least another hour to firm.

Best served with Ritz crackers.

Reference:
1. Easy Cheese Ball II Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Cheese Balls – Kraft Recipes

Category: Health

Cheap Red Wine Economical Merlot Cabernet

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My 13 glorious years of restaurant work did count for something. During my career, I had the pleasure of working in some of Des Moines’ finest eating establishments. I started off in November 1993 at the downtown Marriott Hotel. My employment began at the Pitcher’s Lounge. From there, I worked upstairs at Allie’s Restaurant. Later on, I moved onto the Embassy Suite Hotel and waiting tables at Scott’s Landing. After that, I enjoyed my time in three, Diamond Dave’s Taco Company stores, Ryan’s Steakhouse and Garfield’s. I also opened two Johnny’s Italian Steakhouses in Des Moines (Iowa) and Moline (Illinois).

During my employment, I learned one thing. Customers loved drinking wine! I learned so much about a wine’s texture, pairing with food and drinkability. I shared that with my customers. Even, I embraced tasting wine myself. But, I did take home one thing from being a restaurant server. Good wines are also cheap!

The best wines aren’t the most expensive. Red wines are extremely cheap. The hard part is finding the right one for you. I don’t like spending a lot of money on a good red. I have no time for a $250 bottle of Moet or a $300 bottle of Opus One. Ruffinos are out of my budget at $50 each. My wine won’t cost twice as much as two dinners. If your feelings are the same as mine, here are some inexpensive to delight that palate and pocketbook.

BLACKSTONE MERLOT ($35.00)

For the under $50 crowd, a Blackstone Merlot has a “status” to it. Blackstone doesn’t have the stigma of a “cheap, red wine”. This brand is found in HY-VEE and Target Food Stores. It is also found in upscale, fine-dining restaurants, like Allie’s and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. Match this merlot with a filet mignon or a New York Strip! It has a robust, cherry oak flavor perfect for enticing a steak’s natural flavors.

R.H. Phillips Shiraz ($22.00)

The southern continent of Australia created this brand. This wine is served in Johnny’s Italian and Rock River Grill and Tavern. HY-VEE food store has Phillip as well. The shiraz is laden with a dry red. Spicy pastas and tomato-based sauces go terrific with it!

COPPER’S CREEK AND RAVENSWOOD CABERNET AND MERLOT ($13-$18)

These are cheap wines by the price; but by the flavor. Copper’s Creek and Ravenswood are specialities at attracting first-time, wine tasters. You won’t customers experiencing “buyer’s remorse” after purchasing it. The wines are less than $20 a bottle each! The cabernet has a dry, peppery taste. The merlot has a cherry, but very “oaky” flavor a sip. Ground steak, ribeyes, porterhouses or beef dishes are good choices for these brands.

You just got a lesson in “What to buy as far as the best, cheap red wine?” Have fun dining out or eating in!

Reference:
1. Best $15-and-Under Red Wines | Food & Wine
2. Cheap Red Wine – Cheapism.com

Category: Health

Bitter Twisted Beer Review

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When asked about the great drinks of Scotland, great single malts come readily to mind. That being said, Scotland’s beers are gaining momentum amongst the world’s great drinks which is really only fitting. After all, Scottish and Scotch ales have long been one of the world’s classic beer styles. These days Scotland’s breweries produce traditional ales along with other styles from around the world, many with some interesting twist or another.

Harviestoun Brewing fits into the latter category, producing a variety of beers both bottled and in cask. Harviestoun was founded in 1984 by former Ford employee Ken Brooker with his friend Eric Harris. Ken and Eric installed their brewery in a 200 year old building in a farm in central Scotland. 5 years later they installed a 10 barrel plant acquired from Aberdeen’s Devanha brewery. In 2003 Bitter & Twisted won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain for the second year in a row.

Bitter & Twisted falls into the category of a pale ale. When you see an English pale ale on the shelf, there are certain elements you can typically expect in that beer. Usually you’ll find a golden to deep copper ale with decent bitterness and supporting maltiness. Finish will typically be medium dry. Bitter & Twisted is a pale, slightly hazy golden colored ale. Head is dense and white with decent retention.

Taking an initial sniff, Bitter & Twisted’s aroma is zesty and citrussy up front. In fact, aroma is somewhat lemony like those lemon flavoured hard candies. Finish is only slightly hoppy, giving the faint aroma of English grassiness. Unfortunately, as pleasant as the aroma is it lacks the malt character you‘d like to see in a beer of this type.

On the tongue Bitter & Twisted is a medium bodied ale that, at first blush, holds slightly more promise than offered by its aroma. Here at least lemon zestiness is supported by a hint of caramel maltiness, even if only slightly. Malt and lemon move forward into an earthy hop presence. Finish is crisp and slightly bitter.

Overall, Bitter & Twisted sits right on the verge. It sits on the verge of being a delicious, flavourful, character ale. The flavors are there. While most English ales show restraint and refinement, this product borders on timid. The flavors and aromas are good, they just don’t leap from the glass. Bitter & Twisted is a fairly straightforward product. It might be a worthwhile product for mainstream lager lovers looking for a starting point to explore imported and other craft brewed beers. Give it a 7 out of 10.

Reference:
1. Bitter & Twisted | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. | BeerAdvocate
2. Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted (Bottle) – RateBeer

Category: Health

Best Faygo Soda Pop Flavors and what Makes them the best

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Living in Michigan, I know all about Faygo soda pop. Faygo is what makes up half the pop in my refrigerator. I grew up drinking it, and now my family drinks it every week. Faygo is seriously the retro kind of pop. Its flavors preserve the original soda pops that could once be bought at diners many years ago. They aren’t the regular flavors that most pop comes in. Faygo goes to depths so unique that once you drink one, you won’t want to drink anything else.

It is cheap, it is different, it is delicious. Celebrating 102 years on the market, it takes pop to a whole new level by challenging the normal and using flavors that other pop brands have never dreamed of using. There are 5 specific flavors of Faygo that I have bought time and time again, and I truly believe that these are the cream of the crop.

5. Jazzin’ Blues Berry Soda – I have truly not tasted a soda quite like this before. It tastes like the blue berry you’re probably thinking of, but I love the carbonated taste it has. It blends the berry fruit taste with the taste of Sprite. It’s just a cool kind of pop to drink anytime of the year. I love it and my children love it because its different from the regular Coke or Sprite. I’m not calling it healthy, but since when is any pop healthy? It’s a delicious drink to have, and it will always remain a staple in my refrigerator.

4. Red Pop – Is it strawberry? Is it cherry? I don’t think I’ll never know. All I know is that this is the pop for me. I love its berry taste, and I love its color. It stains my teeth but I could care less. What I love about Faygo is its fruitiness that every Faygo pop has, and this one doesn’t let me down.

3. Black Cherry – I have tasted black cherry flavored pop before (it was a store brand), and in no way did it compare to the sweet taste of the Faygo kind. I’ve always wanted to drink cherry pop. I remember drinking cherry pop at my local diner when I was a kid. Black Cherry makes me reminiscent of those memories because it tastes so much like it. What exactly is Black Cherry? I’m not exactly sure what it is. All I know is I love it, and I’ll always drink it regardless.

2. Rock & Rye – Faygo is the only brand pop I know that has this flavor. This is like the Dr. Pepper of pop in that it blends all those flavors into one pop, and it tastes like a slice of heaven. I love the beet red color the pop has, I love the colors on the label, and I love drinking this pop. Of course, it doesn’t taste like rocks, and it doesn’t taste like rye (whatever that is), but it’s a taste that you’ll want to experience again, no doubt.

1. Cream Soda – The King of Faygo pop is by far Cream Soda. Cream Soda is just about the only Faygo pop I drink on a regular basis. It’s always at my house, and I’m always pouring it into a glass. The creamy, carbonated goodness that this pop possesses is like no other. I honestly can’t name one other pop that’s better than it. The vanilla taste is why I love it. What else can I say?

I love Faygo pop. There are so many kinds that I seriously love more than life, and it will remain an institution in my house. Orange, Peach, Root Beer, Mango – Faygo has them all, and to be honest, I love them all. But these five – these are the best by far. If you’re out grocery shopping and in the pop aisle looking at all those kinds of Faygo pop standing before you, keep these 5 in mind. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

Reference:
1. Faygo
2. Faygo Flavors, Ranked From best to worst. Read on Jalopnik Detroit

Category: Health

Beer Reviews Lagunitas new Dogtown Pale Ale

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My first introduction to American craft brewed ales was on a family trip to Portland, Oregon. As I travelled from one brewery to the next, I found a lot of great local beer. Some of the beers I enjoyed while in Portland were the first to lure me away from the UK beers I had always been a fan of. Since then I’ve begun noticing a similar scene developing in California. From Stone Brewing in southern California to Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, more and more great craft brews are coming the Golden State.

Here in Alberta I’ve been seeing a lot of Lagunitas Brewing on the shelves. They, along with Anchor Brewing seem to be California’s biggest contribution to the shelves of my favorite beer stores. As I review their line-up, I notice how Lagunitas’ beers are named with a certain irreverence. It’s an irreverence that seems to be shared with breweries across the state. With names like Gnarlywine and Lagunitas Maximus, the brewers seem to like having a bit of fun with their beer.

So, when I went to the liquor store to pick up a six pack of Lagunitas Pale Ale I found myself looking forward to seeing how that irreverence translated into the beer itself. Slightly hazy golden colored ale with copper highlights. Light carbonation supports a fluffy white head with decent retention. Hops are up front in the aroma, showing fragrances of citrus and grapefruit with hints of grassiness. Hops are supported by what smells like hard candy. There’s also the scent of fruit esters giving the beer a nice juiciness.

Lagunitas Pale Ale starts off with spritzy carbonation. This moves into a citric juiciness in the center. Finish is dry, assertively bitter, and lingering. The ale is also light on flavors of malt with pronounced bitterness being the only offering on the palate. All in all Lagunitas Pale Ale is a fine offering but it doesn’t offer much more than Big Hops. If this beer had some malt or other flavors to support the hops and give the beer backbone, I might enjoy it more.

A little depth of flavor might elevate Lagunitas Pale Ale closer to an 8 out of 10 instead of the 7.31 out of 10 I’m willing to give it. That being said, I would recommend Lagunitas Pale Ale for hopheads who prefer the citrussy hop profile of American pale ales over the earthy profile of the British models. The beer’s assertive hop profile would make it a good match for cream soups, pasta, fish and chips, or any dish where you want an ale’s bitterness to cut through a meal’s fattiness or creaminess.

Reference:
1. New Dogtown Pale Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company | BeerAdvocate
2. Lagunitas New DogTown Pale Ale – RateBeer

Category: Health

Are Fast Food Restaurants like Mcdonalds and Burger King on the way out

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Let me ask you this: Do YOU go to McDonald’s and Burger King as much as you used to? I’d venture to guess your answer is ‘no’. While McDonald’s and Burger King are growing into an over-seas market, their North American revenues have tapered. Popular movies like Super Size Me and books like Fast Food Nation have done a tremendous job at turning consumer attention over to the horrible health risks associated with fast food indulgence. What used to be viewed as a quick and tasty means of filling your appetite is increasingly being viewed as a quick and easy means to ballooning your waistline. Frequent fast food eating is now plainly exposed as a serious health risk.

This means that Burger King and McDonald’s are constantly being put to the test. What may loom as the most frightening development, at least in the minds of Burger King and McDonald’s CEOs, is the media’s increasing attention to the issues that surround fast food consumption. Internet and television news shows, radio programs, and every form of publication have begun a strong campaign to draw consumer attention to health food alternatives, to the staggering health risk statistics associated with fast food consumption, and to a powerful portrayal of the stories of real people whose unhealthy eating habits led to serious health complications. All together, the media is drawing a gruesome picture of the consequences of our high calorie, questionable quality diets. Among the nation’s most influential suppliers of fast-food, McDonald’s and Burger King are most often targeted as the main facilitators for these diets.

As media forces slowly make our society more health-conscious, Burger King and McDonald’s are faced with either the option to shape up or ship out. Thanks in large part to the principals of capitalism and our free-market economy, consumer demand will continue to shape the future of the fast food industry. As the market for healthy food grows and grows and GROWS, large corporations like Burger King and McDonald’s will either have to introduce a wide array of healthy menu options or make room for an even wider array of up-start companies just fumbling over each other to meet the consumer demand for food that not only tastes good but is actually good for you.

Reference:
1. Burger King
2. McDonald's Vs. Burger King: Comparing Business Models …

Category: Health

Advantages of Ordering from an a La Carte Menu

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Individual menus were handed out for the first time in 19th century France, when European aristocracy started to dine out in French restaurants. By the 1920s, it had become a universal practice. This menu was called the “carte,” or map. Today, to order “a la carte” is to order individual items off the menu.

The primary advantage of ordering a la carte is choice. When ordering a la carte, you can choose exactly what you want for each part of your meal, without restriction. All fixed price menus limit you to a few narrow choices, and some give you no choice at all.

With an a la carte menu, you can mix and match all menu items to your preference. If you want to double up on some parts of a meal and avoid others, you can do that. If you want to have one appetizer now and a different appetizer later as your main course, you can do that too.

If you don’t order something, you don’t have to pay for it. You only have to pay for the items you order. If you don’t want a full meal, this can make dining out much cheaper than it might otherwise be.

An a la carte menu has no minimum and no maximum order. If you only want a salad, or dessert and a coffee, the a la carte menu will let you do that. If you want to skip the appetizer and only order a main course, you can do that too. Ordering from an a la carte menu does not require you to order according to someone else’s definition of what a meal should be.

Restaurants are sometimes willing to make substitutions to some dishes when they are ordered a la carte. These substitutions may enable a diabetic or someone with a food allergy to eat out, when they might otherwise be unable to do so safely.

A la carte menus work well as sampling menus, especially when a few friends get together and plan their selections. Each person can order a different item, with everyone around the table able to sample it without having to buy full portions of each item to be consumed individually. This is a good way of discovering which items appeal to your taste.

Finally, even when a favorite item has been rotated off the seasonal menu, you may be able to order it anyway when you order it a la carte. Just speak to the waiter and ask if it would be possible for the kitchen to make that item. Some cannot do it, because they have not stocked up on those ingredients; but many high-end restaurants, as well as local places where you are a regular, will be willing and able to do it. However, in this case, you are technically ordering “off” the carte!

Reference:
1. À la carte
2. Menu · Definition | Ares Fung – Academia.edu

Category: Health

Research Shows That a Peg of Wine a Day Keeps Away Depression in Older People

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Researches in Spain have found that individuals in the age group of 55-80 who consumed 2-7 small glasses of wine in a week were less depressed when compared to their non-drinking companions.

There are several researches that have proved that light wine drinking safeguards your heart, but a new research has proved that a peg of wine a day could keep away the blues in aged people.

The Spain researchers assessed 2,683 men and 2,822 women between 55 and 80 years over a period of seven years. All the participants did not have any alcohol-related issues or depression history when the research started. They had to finish an authorized 137-piece food frequency form yearly so as to analyze their alcohol consumption and their lifestyle and mental health was assesses throughout the research period.

The results of the research showed that people who consumed alcohol in moderate amounts (5g to 15 g per day) were less inclined to be affected by this common mood disorder. Further, people who took wine in moderate amounts on a weekly basis (2-7 glasses per week) were even less likely to suffer from depression. On the other hand, if consumption of wine increases more than 7 glasses per week the risk of depression could also increase.

The research authors indicate that there are several strengths for this research, including the vast size of sample, they caution of few restrictions. The researchers said that they were not exclusively making use of a clinical depression diagnosis. Most probably, there were achieving a high specificity at the cost of losing out on sensitivity. Further, there is a probability that alcohol intake patterns could be related to decisions to look for care.

The results of the research were published in the BMC Medicine journal on August 30 (Friday). These results were noteworthy even when the scientists modified for other social and lifestyle factors like diet, smoking, and marital status.

On the other hand, previous researches had showed that non-alcoholic elements in wine, like resveratrol and phenolic elements could have protective effects on specific brain areas.

Associate Prof. Susan Ramsey, working in the psychiatry and human behavior department at the Warren Alpert Medical School (Brown University) based in Providence commented that it was very early to consider drinking as a good evasion against depression. She said β€œβ€At this point, it would be premature to make any recommendations regarding alcohol or wine consumption as a means of preventing the onset of depression.”

Category: Health

Is Your Doctor Out of Date?

I very rarely will go to a doc unless I know someone else who has been to them and had a good experience. One thing I think that seems to be lacking in doctor’s offices today is bedside manner — many times you are treated just like a number and not a person.

The main issue I have had with my doctor (previous now) is an unwillingness to order tests or write referrals. Over the last year or two, I have injured my knee and elbow pretty badly. My insurance requires a referral to see an orthopedist, but my doctor wouldn’t write one. In fact, she merely glanced at my knee and elbow and decided without any x-ray or MRI that the elbow was sprained and the knee is likely just a result of a muscle inbalance pushing on the knee cap. 6 months later, the elbow still hurts, the knee is collapsing during regular, everyday activities and I am searching for a new doctor. Over the years, there have been several occasions in which she was negligent. I have only just begun to realize this, which is partially my own fault for trusting her judgement. There was a time when I was having severe abdominal pain and passing blood. She blew it off as gas and a fissure, regardless of a family history of colon cancer. Other smaller issues have also come up. I am curious (and scared) as to what my new doctor will find once a full work-up is done. I am not a lawsuit person, but if I find that there is damage to my knee or elbow, or there is a complication involving the abdominal pain and related issues, I will sue her. I am a 26 year old, active woman and as far as I am concerned, her negligence may directly be responsible for the deterioration of my health and lifestyle. Unfortunately, it took talking to another doctor to realize the extent of the problem. I’ve also been told recently that many doctors deny referrals because the insurance companies give them bonuses if they come in under a certain number. The sad fact is that in the current climate, very few doctors actually care for patients.

If you can please change your primary care doctor. Also, from experience, I can tell you unless you lost a limb or something equally bad, it is very hard to sue a doctor in Illinois. You would need an expert witness in the same specialty to testify against the doctor. Expert witnesses are costly, $10,000 and up. Get a free consult with a lawyer. But to be positive concentrate on getting the best health care you can find and research treatments. Get well and just focus on good health.

I can and have changed my primary care doctor. The issue is getting an appointment and find a doctor who is accepting new patients. I have an appointment set up in the near future. I live in PA, where malpractice suits and insurance is getting so out of control, doctors are leaving and moving to south jersey to practice. If I had to sue, I could. I doubt I will, but it’s frustrating to know I may now have damage to two joints that could have been prevented, or at the very least treated, months ago.

Category: Health