When you go to the movie theater, the first thing you probably do after walking inside is to hit the concession stand to get your popcorn fix! A movie night is nothing without a bag of popcorn smothered in butter, right? We love how it’s the perfect snack to eat while enjoying your movie and the fact that you can opt to buy regular or add some flavor to it with some seasoning, which many theaters are now providing as a delicious option.
And just as you’d buy a bag of popcorn when you’re seeing a new release in theaters, a movie night at home is nothing if you don’t have some microwave popcorn to accompany a relaxing night in. Microwave popcorn has come a long way with various options on your grocery shelves like extra butter, no salt, low-fat and so much more. It’s an easy snack to make and literally is ready in a matter of minutes. But the key to really making delicious popcorn and for getting the whole bag to pop is using your microwave’s “Popcorn” setting instead of punching in the time yourself. When you follow directions on the package, you usually either get burned popcorn, which leaves a nasty smell in your home, or popcorn with lots of un-popped kennels at the bottom of the bag.
A great way to add more flavor to your popcorn is by adding seasoning on top. You can either buy them already packaged or simply use a bit of garlic salt and Parmesan cheese for some added kick!
Here’s a delicious recipe for rosemary, garlic and pecorino popcorn:
Bag of microwave popcorn
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
½ freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or simply use Parmesan)
Melt butter in a small pan over medium-low heat and then add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is slightly brown. Remove from hat.
Pop the bag of popcorn in the microwave
Pour the butter, garlic and rosemary mix over the popcorn and toss gently.
Do you want to add more flavor to your dishes? No problem since all you need is a citrus zester on hand. For those not familiar with the kitchen utensil, it’s a small grate that’s used in cooking to release small bursts of concentrated flavor from things like citrus rinds, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. It’s more slender than a rasp grater and has smaller holes, allowing it to make hundreds of fine cuts on whatever item you want to get a burst of flavor from. Used for added flavoring, freshly-grated lemon or orange zest can easily transform an ordinary recipe into a savory dish.
Many use them for lemons and limes, making them idea to get the flavor without adding the pith (the bitter white part of the skin of the lemon or lime). Citrus zesters feature five or six holes and are great for making lemons curls for things like espresso or even martinis. One medium-sized lemon is approximately one tablespoon of lemon zest, which is the same as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice. When using a lemon for both zest and juice, make sure that you grate the zest first before you squeeze out the juice.
Here’s a fast and easy trick to make it easier to zest: cover the zest side of the grater with some plastic wrap and then grate the citrus (lemon, lime or orange) over the plastic wrap, without grating the bitter white pith. The zest will stay on the plastic wrap and won’t stick in the holes of the zester. Then simply pull of the wrap and shake the zest into your recipe or a plate.
Here’s a delicious recipe that requires some lemon zest!
Lemon Sugar Cookies
4 Sticks Butter, Softened (or 2 Cups of Butter)
3 Cups Sugar
3 Large Eggs
2 Tsp Lemon Extract
Zest from 4 Large Lemons
Juice from 2 Large Lemons
4-1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Cup Lemon Sugar (Mix 1 Cup of Sugar with Zest of 3 Lemons)
Preheat your oven to 350 degree and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer.
Add in the lemon extract, juice and zest from the lemons and eggs one at a time. Mix until it’s smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix baking powder, sea salt and flour.
Combine all the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together. Mix until it’s all combined.
Make balls of cooking dough using a 1 Tbs scoop. Roll the ball in the lemon sugar to coat and place on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press lightly on the cookies with the back of the spoon to smash down.
Bake for 12 minutes or until they start to get brown.
Allow to cool for about 3 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
Bean paste isn’t something you come across at your local grocery store and it certainly is not something you’d find in traditional recipes. However, it’s a highly popular ingredient in many Asian dishes and is often referred to as bean sauce. It can vary in texture, color and composition and there are many varieties of bean paste, including: red, yellow, brown, black and miso bean pastes to choose from.
Traditional bean paste is usually made from red beans and is sweet. It’s commonly used in Chinese and Korean cuisine, as well as in Japanese confectionery. To make it, you have to boil and mash adzuki beans and sweeten the paste with either honey or sugar.
Spicy bean paste (or chili bean paste) is bean paste with a spicy kick! A mixture of bean and chili that’s been fermented combine to provide a complex flavor that’s used in stir-fry dishes, hot-pots and other Asian dishes.
Here are two recipes to make using traditional and spicy bean paste!
Dorayaki (mini pancakes filled with bean paste)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup water
Beat the eggs, corn syrup and sugar until it’s completely white.
Pour in baking powder into the flour and stir gradually. Add the water as needed so that you have a smooth batter.
Heat a griddle or pan and pour one tablespoon of the batter at a time so that you make mini pancakes. Turn the pancake only once and have them cook until they are golden in color.
To assemble the dorayaki, fill the centers with the bean paste, with the golden brown smooth sides facing outwards. Place a teaspoon of it in the center of the pancake. Then cover with the other pancake.
Noodles with Spicy Bean Sauce
½ lbs. dried egg noodles
3 tbsp spicy bean paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp freshly minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
6-8 oz. of extra firm tofu
2 tbsp chopped scallion
1 tsp sesame oil
Place and cool the egg noodles in a pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente (should take maybe 5 minutes).
While the noodles are cooking, get a small bowl and mix together the spicy bean paste with sugar.
In a hot wok, swirl in the sesame oil and add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for about a minute. Then add the tofu and stir-fry again for another minute. Mix in the spicy bean sauce and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, stir in scallions and turn off the burner.
Drain the noodles and toss with sesame oil before mixing them into the wok and stirring until they’re coated with the sauce.
Are you on a quest for the perfect steak? Like those who are, you’ve probably tried everything to make that juicy steak that just melts in your mouth that you can’t seem to get anywhere else except your one favorite steak restaurant. Well, the secret to the best steak ever is seasoning. Throw out your steak sauce and marinades and opt for seasoning/rub to cook the most delicious steak you’ve ever had! And when we mean seasoning, we mean a dry rub steak seasoning. You’ll automatically notice the difference in the steak with the first bite you take!
Now the hard part is trying to figure out what type of dry rub seasoning you’ll want to use. With so many on the market, it can be hard to find the perfect one. It may take a few tries, but once you get the perfect steak seasoning rub down, you’ll never have your steak any other way again!
Using steak seasoning is fairly simple and all you do is rub it onto your choice of steak. And when we say rub, we mean caress the steak as if it’s your lover! Rub the heck out of it to really get the seasoning inside, so make sure you rub some on the sides in addition to the top. Flip it over and put some more and keep rubbing the seasoning in until it’s completely covered in the stuff. Honestly, there’s no such thing as too much seasoning!
After you’re done, it’s time to put the steak in the fridge for a bit so that flavor gets into the meat and will provide all of its flavor when you grill it. Then when you cook it, oil it down a bit with olive oil so that it doesn’t dry out while cooking. This way, the end result is nothing but pure juiciness!
And the best thing about steak seasoning is that you can easily make your own! There are countless recipes online to copy or you can get creative and come up with your very own seasoning based on your taste preferences. We suggest following some online recipes and then modifying from there so that you get the perfect formula for your personal taste buds!
You’ve probably heard of tapioca pudding, but you’ve most likely have never come across tapioca flour/starch, which is actually a great product for those living a gluten-free lifestyle. It can be used in any recipe to replace regular flour or starch and is a healthy gluten free alternative for many.
So what is tapioca flour? It’s crushed pulp from the Cassava root, which is a shrub that’s native to the Caribbean and South America, and is a fine, white powder. It can replace cornstarch when baking pies and sources and can provide a crisp crust and chewy texture when baking other items. Many now use it in Paleo diet recipes and create scrumptious treats like cupcakes, muffins and more. Here are two delicious recipes you can use tapioca flour/starch with:
Gluten-Free Yellow Cake
1 ½ cups white rice flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking sods
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 ¼ cups white sugar
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and add grease and rice flour to two 8-or 9-inch round cake pans. Then mix together the xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, baking soda, tapioca flour and rice flour together in a bowl and set aside. Then in another bowl mid sugar, eggs and mayonnaise until the mixture is fluffy before adding the flour mixture, milk and vanilla. Mix well and spread the batter into the pans. Bake for 25 minutes. Use a toothpick in the center to check that it comes out clean.
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies
¼ cup potato flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 cup soy flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup salted natural peanut butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup gluten free, casein free margarine
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and get a medium bowl to mix in the margarine, brown sugar and white sugar until it’s smooth. Then mix in the peanut butter and egg before combining the baking soda, soy flour, potato flour and tapioca flour. Stir the batter so that it forms a dough. Then when it’s ready, roll teaspoons of dough into balls and place them about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Let them bake for about 8 to 10 minutes and then cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.
Nuts are delicious! From peanuts to almonds, walnuts and every other nut, you just can’t go wrong when you snack on nuts. They’re great items to store in your bag, car, desk, etc. and eat when you’re feeling a bit hungry but only have time for a snack and they’re great to enjoy at a bar while you’re out drinking with good company. But there are more reasons why you should snack on nuts and here are a few:
1. Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Studies have found that nuts are a great way to prevent cardiovascular disease. Munching on a wide variety of nuts can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by about 35%, according to various studies. Nuts also help decrease LDL Cholesterol and provide your heart with good fats it needs to stay healthy. So the next time you’re feeling a bit hungry, but don’t have time for a full meal grab your favorite bag of nuts and munch away!
2. Weight Loss
If you’re trying to shed some pounds, nuts are a great snack to add to your diet because they’re healthy and can keep you feeling fuller longer. Almonds are great diet foods since studies have shown that almonds helped dieters shed more pounds. Keep a bag of nuts with you throughout the day and you’ll have a delicious snack that’s not filled with calories.
3. Less Stress
Nuts contain nutrients that can actually help your body against physical damage that stress can cause a person. Many nuts are rich in alpha-linoleic acid, which this can protect your heart when you’re stressed out to lessen any cardiovascular strain.
4. Brain Booster
Nuts contain vitamin E, which is what makes them great brain food. Peanuts in particular are great brain food since they’re high in B-vitamin folate, which fosters your brain’s healthy so that the risk of any cognitive decline over time is greatly reduced.
Keep a healthy snack with you at all times by stocking up on Beer Nuts Original Peanuts and Bar Mix that’s packed with a variety of savory nuts that will curb your hunger and do your body good!
The regular vinegar is a very inconspicuous ingredient in the culinary world, often just traversing its outer fringes as a condiment. Balsamic vinegar, however, is celebrated as the “king” of vinegars by gourmands because of its sublime taste and smooth texture. While the average vinegar is made from the simple process of melding starch, warmth, & bacteria in order to produce its main component, acetic acid, balsamic is carefully prepared and aged using special methods. This gave the ingredient a sublime taste that is totally irresistible.
What is Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice. It originated from Modena, a province in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. Emilia-Romagna is one of the wealthiest places in Europe and is located in the northern part of the country.
Rich, dark and smoky, it’s easy to understand why balsamic vinegar is put on a pedestal in Italian cooking. Unlike most of us who eat as quickly as possible to get through our meals, Italians celebrate the joy of eating through slow-cooking and hand-picking quality produce. They believe that the best culinary trick up one’s arsenal lies not in techniques (unlike French cooking) but in the care that is exerted on fresh ingredients.
Each bottle of traditional Balsamic vinegar that’s available on the market has been aged to perfection; some are even aged for decades, in a range of 50-200 years. Unlike its sister, the red-wine vinegar, Balsamic vinegar doesn’t come from grape wine, but from grape juice or “must” that’s been cooked and caramelized. This syrupy concoction is then placed and aged in simple wooden barrels.
History as a Panacea
When balsamic vinegar was first made, it was believed to be a miracle cure for every medical problem. In fact, the word balsamic in “Balsamic vinegar” came from the Italian word balsamico which means “balsam-like”. The term is synonymous to words like “curative”, “restorative,” and even “medicinal”. That’s why it was only made available to the noble class before. One of the first historical records of its existence traces back to a vinegar known as laudatum acetum. It was given by a certain Marquis Bonifacio to the soon-to-be Holy Roman Emperor Enrico III of Franconia when he passed by his palace en route to Rome. It is likely and often assumed that this laudatum acetum is the same vinegar we now know as balsamic.
Balsamic vinegar has been such a trade secret that its production has been labeled as exclusive family affairs or artisanal activities. Barrels of this stuff pass from one generation to another. In the olden times, this sweet-sour elixir is even presented as part of a bride’s dowry, a practice that still continues today.
You might ask, “If Balsamic vinegar has such a long and colorful history, why was it not a part of my grandparents’ or parents’ tables?”
Seal of Approval
Balsamic vinegar has been elusive to the eyes of people around the world, and it was only in the 1970s when it became popular. At that time, the migration of Italian chefs in America brought this special vinegar to global consciousness. Everyone was so into the balsamic vinegar’s bold and robust flavor that a lot of people created fake versions of it just to cash in on the trend. This defiled a purely cherished tradition. Fake versions are often made from cider vinegar with food coloring. Unlike balsamic, this condiment was also hastily prepared, thus, producing a subpar taste.
To solve this dilemma, a marketing and exportation consortium was formed in Modena, Italy by Ferdinando Cavalli, a local producer. In this consortium, the name “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” was born. The association has set the standard that unless these exact words are found on the label of your bottle, your purchase may not be the real thing.
Balsamic Vinegar Recipes and Uses
Traditional balsamic vinegar is sweet, sour, and has notes of cherry, chocolate, or prunes. Its texture is smooth and velvety on the tongue. Most people just use it as a salad dressing like this recipe, but there are a million ways you can utilize balsamic vinegar in enhancing the flavor of most food. Here is a list of some:
1. As partners for high-quality aged cheeses.
It’s touted that the best cheese that can be paired up with balsamic vinegar is Parmigiano Reggiano – an ingredient that we often just sprinkle atop our pasta. Put a few drops of balsamic vinegar on the slivers of this cheese and you might be in for a gastronomic surprise.
2. To drizzle over vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or berries.
Traditional balsamic vinegar highlights the sweetness of fresh fruits like raspberries, strawberries, and peaches. The sweet-sour flavor of the vinegar is also an interesting (and low-calorie) substitute to most sugary syrups we pour over vanilla ice cream or yogurt.
3. As glazes for meats like salmon and chicken.
Meats covered in balsamic glaze will surely render your dish sweet and tangy.
4. To drizzle into creamy risotto.
Balsamic vinegar can also add depth to risotto – another Italian favorite. It’s a creamy dish made out of Arborio rice, butter, wine and onions.
Can you think of more recipes where balsamic vinegar can be used? Sound off in the comments!
Kale has been on the rise in the menus of health-conscious foodies for the past few years. This veggie is a part of the cabbage family which includes broccoli, cauliflower and collards. It has been hyped as the next big superfood to add to your diet. But what’s so special about kale? And what ways can you prepare it?
One of the reasons that make kale stand out from its vegetable brothers is its nutritional content. Other leafy greens like lettuce and cabbage are mostly composed of water. But one small cup of raw kale contains 3 grams of protein with only about 40 calories, according to a post from the Science of Eating (Reference). The protein content of kale is important for the development of skin, bones and muscles.
Kale is packed with 2.5 grams of fiber which helps maintain blood sugar levels and makes you feel full longer. This is great for people who want to lose weight by avoiding excess snacking. The high fiber content also promotes a healthy digestive tract and prevents constipation.
Kale is beneficial for diabetics. It contains an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid which is known to lower glucose levels. It helps increase insulin sensitivity so that people with diabetes would need smaller amounts of insulin to keep their blood glucose stable. It also protects the body’s cells from damage.
Kale is brimming with vitamins A, C, and K. It’s packed with 1000% more vitamins than a cup of cooked spinach. It has Folate, which is a B vitamin that aids in brain development. It has vitamin K which improves calcium absorption and is the key to healthy bones. It has vitamin A which manages sebum production for moisturized hair and glowing skin.
Doctors recommend increasing potassium intake and decreasing sodium consumption in order to reduce the risk of heart problems. Kale fits this dietary need wonderfully. It has a high amount of potassium with only trace amounts of sodium. Eating kale can be a small but important change you can make to ward off heart disease.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Kale
Even with all these health benefits, you still might be hesitant to munch on kale. It’s easy to understand why so many people would balk at eating it. Raw kale is tough to chew and tastes bitter A few cooking techniques though, can turn it into a healthy and delicious treat. Take a look at some of the yummy ways you can serve kale.
She put the lime in the coconut, she drank them both up.
She put the lime in the coconut, she called the doctor; woke him up.
And said, “Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?”
I said, “Doctor, to relieve this belly ache”.
Nilsson Schmilsson came up with these lyrics for the novelty song ‘Coconut,’ which reached #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
However, contrary to what the lyrics above says, coconuts have better things to offer – other than as mere relief for stomachache, that is. In particular, the oil from coconut is said to have been used in tropical areas for centuries already.
According to Dr. Mark Atkinson’s article on the history of coconut oil, this extract has been used as sustenance and pharmaceutical agent for more than 3,000 years. Moreover, tropical communities would utilize almost every part of the coconut as a sustainable resource. The Coconut Research Center also corroborates with Atkinson about the use of coconut as traditional medicine.
According to the organization, “coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine” as it is used to treat asthma, wounds, rashes, scabies, scurvy, and other diseases. It is clear, based on history, that coconut oil was, and will still be, important to people residing in warm and humid regions. Wherever the coconut palm grows, the people have learned of its importance as effective medicine (Coconut Research Center, 2015).
Nature’s Perfect Moisturizer
But, just how much is coconut oil beneficial, more specifically, for the skin? According to Dr. Joseph Mercola’s health article, coconut oil is nature’s perfect moisturizer. Furthermore, organic coconut oil is the ideal alternative to “potentially toxic creams and lotions filled with suspicious ingredients”. And thanks to its anti-aging properties, you’ll be able to retain your youthful looks for a long time.
“When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple,” wrote Dr. Mercola. He also added that the extract can “exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells” to make your face and body smoother.
One certain type of disease, which has been scientifically studied along with coconut oil is Atopic dermatitis; also known as Eczema. It is an incessant skin condition, with manifestations of redness and itchiness.
According to a 2013 study from the International Journal of Medicine, virgin coconut oil (VCO) can help improve the condition of patients who are suffering from Atopic dermatitis (AD). The researchers conducted an experiment with the intent to manipulate the kind of moisturizer that would have a significant effect on two variables: trans-epidermal water loss and skin capacitance. Trans-epidermal water loss is increased in patients with (AD), while skin capacitance, on the other hand, is decreased.
In other words, the skin of those with AD is unable to bind and hold moisture, thus, resulting to dry skin. Interestingly enough, the results of the experiment indicated that both virgin coconut oil and mineral oil worked. However, it was VCO that created the most significant effect. Compared to mineral oil, VCO was significantly exceptional in improving the condition of the patients. The researchers elaborated more in their paper’s discussion:
“The superior effect of VCO over mineral oil may be explained by the fact that, as demonstrated in randomized controlled trials, topically applied lipids not only coat but also penetrate the skin and are postulated to have anti-inflammatory activity, making them invaluable in AD.”
The Wrap Up
History and the present studies say it all. Coconut oil is a versatile natural extract that offers significant benefits to the table. It can provide our bodies with nutrition, and it can also be used as a natural remedy for skin ailments. Whatever type of skin you may have, it is capable of hydrating and keeping it smooth. As with the coconut itself, it can also serve as an essential resource for shelter, fuel, and tools.
Have you tried using coconut oil before? Feel free to share your stories and tips in the comments.
Wheat is an important staple food and is among the most produced whole grains in the entire world. We readily consume it every day in various forms such as bread, cakes, noodles, and even beer! Starch on the other hand, is a well-known by-product made by plants. Essentially, it is the plants’ energy storage. It is easily extracted and is a great source of carbohydrates; which is why it is used as a main ingredient in many energy foods. Now that you have a general idea of what wheat starch is, let’s move on to some of its more practical uses in our everyday lives!
Wheat Starch in Food
The most common form of readily available wheat on the market is flour. As stated earlier, wheat starch is an excellent source of carbohydrates. Wheat also has high levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as Zinc and Vitamin E as compared to other major staple foods. It is important to note, however, that raw starch is difficult to digest and may cause damage to the colon. That’s why it is crucial to thoroughly cook wheat for maximum digestibility. Some well-known foods that use wheat as an ingredient include breakfast cereals, cookies, gravy, pies, noodles, dumpling wrappers and more! Wheat starch is primarily used as a “binding agent” in baked goods and processed meats, allowing them to retain their shape and form. It is also useful as a thickener for sauces and pudding, giving them the ideal compact and mushy consistency.
Wheat is also a popular grain for brewing beer. Are you a fan of the German beer Hoegaarden? You might be surprised to find out that it is made out of this ingredient! Wheat beers are known for its thick foam, or head, and the smooth feeling when it goes down your mouth. It is light in flavor and is great for the summer time. Artificial sweeteners also use this starch from time to time.
Below are some examples of the foods made from this ingredient:
Non-Food Uses for Wheat Starch
The most widespread non-food use of wheat starch is papermaking. The starch helps keeps the paper strong during production and contributes to its overall wet strength distorting the product’s shape. A starch based solution can be applied on the paper after drying. This’ll further increase its strength and improves overall quality. Wheat starch is also noted to be an excellent adhesive. The heated mixture of water and wheat starch or flour is called “wheat paste”. It is cheap to manufacture and has exceptional sticking capability. This adhesive is ideal for arts and crafts, book binding, production of corrugated boards and for posting posters and arts on walls. Street artists and activists have been known to use this mixture due to its low cost and ease of manufacture.
Who knew that such a simple small grain had so many uses and such a large impact in our lives? So the next time you take a bite out of your favourite pizza or bread, remember all of the other great things wheat starch can do for you!
We are selling Wheat Starch in our amazon store. Click on the picture or Click Here.
Got any wheat starch recipes? Or how about a sculpture you made with wheat paste? Share them all in the comments section below!