How to Care for Your Silverware

Whether you’re a collector or a user, care for your silver flatware is essential. No matter how beautiful they were when they started out, time will come when your precious silvers will dull and tarnish. This will especially be a problem if you don’t give them proper care or if you don’t use them as much as you should. Yes, you read that right. The more you use your silverware, the easier they will be to maintain, and the less often you will need to polish them. I sense a lot of perplexed faces on the other end of the screen but fret not, my darlings. There is no rocket science to taking care of your silverware, and, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take that much time either.

1. After each use, wash your silverware separate from cutlery and serving ware.

Use warm water and mild detergent or dish soap, to remove residues. The acids from food leftover on your flatware can corrode and tarnish them. Your safest bet will be hand washing but if you must use the dishwasher, place them at the top rack, and set it to the gentlest cycle like Crystal or China. This is to ensure that you don’t scratch or damage your silverware.

2. As soon as you’re done washing, dry them.

If there’s anything you should remember in elementary science, it’s that water corrodes anything and everything with enough time.

3. Polish your silverware.

As stated above, you don’t have to do this as often if you frequently use your silverware. With regular use, you only need to polish them once every few years. But if you’re an infrequent user, or collector, or are about to sell your silverware, here are a few tips on polishing them to brilliance and perfection:

  • After washing and drying, purchase quality silver polishing cream. Think gentle polishes from companies like Hagerty & Sons. Yes, it may be more expensive and may take more effort to rub the cream into the silver, but the constant rubbing for longer periods of time on silver actually brings out its brilliance.
  • There is a way to cut some time and effort from polishing your silver to perfection: Silver Cleaning Cloth. It’s specifically made to make your life easier and, furthermore, the material and production is tailor-made for silver. This way, you know you won’t damage your precious flatware.
  • No instant shines, please. Believe me when I say it’s worth it in the long run. The instant polishing creams are high in octane, which do produce faster results with minimal effort, however are highly acidic and abrasive. This means that each time you polish with these products, you strip off metal which decreases the value of your flatware. Even worse, if you don’t remove these instant shines properly, they leave unsightly translucent white film on your silver. Believe me, these are tough to remove.

4. Store your silverware in a dry place, away from the stove and fumes.

There are also tarnish preventive bags (should you choose to invest in them) which are advisable for those who live near the sea (as salt air has a corrosive effect on silver).

And that’s all there is to it! Wash-Dry-Polish-Store.

HamptonRenee

Check out The Escape Place’s Set of 2 Hampton Renee Pattern Dinner Knives Stainless Steel Flatware

HamptonRenee-Spoon

Check out The Escape Place’s Hampton Renee Pattern Solid Serving Spoon Stainless Steel Flatware Collectibles

 

Do you know any flatware care tips that I missed in this article?

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Let me know in the comments!

Teddy Bears & Care Bears

The fabulous thing about teddy bears is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a huge teddy bear that’s bigger than you or a small one for you to hold close, a teddy bear is a child’s best friend. Children’s love for teddy bears starts at a very early age.

When I was little, my teddy bears slept all around me to protect me at night. Some children carry their teddy bears everywhere they go. Some treat them like their best pal while others treat them like it’s their baby. My two year old nephew has a teddy bear named Charlie.

build-a-bearCheck out this cute teddy bear (Build-a-Bear Teddy Bear)

Charlie gets burped, has his diaper changed, and gets put in the swing when he’s crying. But teddy bears aren’t just for children. Many adults have collections of teddy bears. Those collections can contain hundreds of bears in multiple colors and costumes.

Teddy Bears are also used quite often to decorate the house or spare bedrooms. There is only one thing cooler than a teddy bear, and that’s a Care Bear. Care Bears are different than teddy bears in a few ways. First, Care Bears have cool powers that regular teddy bears don’t have.

Second, Care Bears are made of fun, bright colors, with different symbols on their tummies. Third, they teach children about feelings and about caring for others. Care Bears live in the Kingdom of Caring and go on missions using the symbols on their tummies to ignite the Care Bear Stare and emit a shooting light onto the villain. That light brings caring, happiness, and love onto its target. With the teddy bear and Care Bear having so many great features, how do you choose? You don’t, buy both!!

Visit our store for amazing plush animal toys and teddy bears http://theescapeplace.com/

The Magic of Build-A-Bear

buck. Some people would argue “Afterall, it’s just a toy”.
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc (St. Louis, Missouri) is an interactive retailer of customizable teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Each customer who walks in the store has a selection of animals, accessories, sounds, and other features to choose from to create their own unique plushie.

build-a-bear1

Build a Bear Teddy Dark Brown Plush

If you’re a first timer with the Build-A-Bear Make Your Own Stuffed Animal process, it goes:

1. Choose Me

The first step is in selecting from over 30 animals, you’d like to have as a new furry friend. From classic, warm, and fuzzy teddy bears, to “My Little Pony” characters; they definitely have an animal for each child.

2. Hear Me

The next step is recording your message or choosing from their collection of pre-recorded songs and sounds.

3. Stuff Me

In Build-A-Bear, you and even your kids take part in adding the stuffing to the plushie. It’s even encouraged to give the little critter a test hug to see if it’s “just right”. Afterwards, you get to select a heart for the new toy. This is a trademark of the Build-A-Bear Workshop. There’s an entire ritual for physically warming the heart, making a wish, and planting it inside the plush toy. Think of it as a symbol of bringing life to a new friend.

4. Stitch Me

By this point, it’s mostly the staff who stitches up the toy to make him/her “whole”. Although, they sometimes allow the kids to help in this step

5. Fluff Me

Now the furry friends get a “bath”, brush, and blow dry, kind of like a mini spa treatment for plushies.

6. Name Me

To complete the process of bringing the toy to life, it’s time to name the little critter. But Build-A-Bear doesn’t like doing things half way, so their naming ritual comes complete with a personalized birth certificate, and is registered in their tracking system which “helps lost animals find their way back home” (buildabear.com).

7. Dress Me

The last step is to give the animal little more character. Is it a pirate? A cheerleader? A princess? You have a myriad of ways to personalize, with hundreds of clothes and accessories to choose from.

8. Take Me Home

And that’s it! After styling, the new plushie is ready for its new home.
Believe me when I say that after seeing the look on your baby’s face, you’ll realize that it’s more than just a toy. It’s about seeing the look of pride in your child’s eyes in knowing that he or she participated in (quite literally) making a new friend. The magic of Build-A-Bear is in the experience. Try it with your little ones and experience a day of magic and warm hugs.

Enjoy!

Check out our Build-A-Bear Collections at our The Escape Place Store.

pink-build-a-bear

Build A Bear Pink Yellow Plush Stuffed Teddy 

Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Sweet Potato Juice

When you say “healthy juice drink,” what usually comes to mind? For most people, natural juice cleansers are usually made from carrots, broccoli, kale, oranges, and blueberries, among many others. However, have you ever tried a glass of sweet potato juice?

sweet-potato-juice

Because of its starchy quality, this root vegetable is commonly used for cooking and baking. However, you can also juice sweet potatoes and add them to your regular diet. Rich in beta-carotene and essential vitamins, it’s a must-have for people who want to have healthy-looking skin and a strong cardiovascular system. Check out this post and learn the other amazing benefits of drinking sweet potato juice.

1. Protects the Skin

Sweet-potatoes are rich with beta-carotene, especially the variant with the orange pigment. According to a blog post from Nutri-Facts, “beta-carotene, alone and in combination with other carotenoids or antioxidant vitamins can protect the skin from sun damage.” Furthermore, it also reduces the risk of acquiring heart disease and lung cancer.

2. Fends Off Free Radicals

Antioxidants defend the body from free radicals – harmful compounds that can oxidize proteins and cause cell damage. Additionally, sweet potatoes contain defensin, a protein that spots the free radicals from damaging DNA. This root vegetable can also be mixed with carrots if you want to boost your antioxidant levels further.

3. Improved Eye Health

If you want to improve your eye health or avoid eye-related diseases caused by old-age, then you should add this root vegetable to your regular diet. Since it is replete with Vitamin A, the surface of your eyes will remain healthy for a long time and will be more efficient at repelling bacteria that might cause infections. Furthermore, Vitamin A found in sweet potatoes helps fight age-related macular degeneration, night blindness, and dry eyes.

4. Reduces Blood Pressure

Since sweet potatoes are root crops, they are filled with potassium. This mineral is essential for improving cardiovascular health. Potassium decreases blood pressure and helps fight hypertension. Adding the right amount of this mineral can also prevent you from acquiring kidney stones.

5. Prevents Cardiovascular Complications

Aside from giving us smooth and healthy-looking skin, Vitamin E also prevents cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients and reduces asthma attacks.

6. Energy Booster

Iron is known for giving us adequate amounts of energy. It also produces red and white blood cells, reduces stress, and ensures that your immune system is functioning properly.

7. Stress-reliever

Had a very stressful day at work? A glass of delicious sweet potato juice can help relieve your weariness. This root vegetable is replete with magnesium – a mineral known for relaxing and stress-relieving properties. Magnesium is also necessary to keep your blood, bones, heart, and muscles in good condition.

8. Therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

This healthy drink contains quercetin that protects the body against cancer and can be used as a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Final Notes

With all the amazing health benefits found in a glass of sweet potato juice, you’re probably excited to concoct your own drink today. But before you make one, below are tips to make sure you get the most out of your drink.

When buying sweet potatoes, search for the ones that have a darker color because they contain a higher amount of vitamins. Its skin should be smooth and shouldn’t contain any brown spots. If you want to improve the flavor and palatability of your drink, you can also pair it with carrots, oranges, and pineapples. A touch of ginger can also enhance the aroma of your juice (as well as give added health benefits).

Do you know some tasty sweet potato juice recipes? Feel free to share them below in the comments!

Fill Your Tummy with These Pretty and Palatable Flowers

When we gaze at flowers, we see different colors and shapes. They are nature’s gems. Flowers bring the gift of life to plants and help them reproduce.

edible-flowers

For people in other parts of the world, flowers are also used for filling up our tummies and tantalizing our taste buds. Most people don’t know this but, (some) flowers can be eaten safely. They’ve been part of many global cuisines like Chinese, Greek, Indian, and Roman. They are usually incorporated in main dishes, salads, and desserts. Most chefs also add them in fine dining plates as garnishes. Because of their perfume-y element, they can also be brewed and added to teas or fermented into fine wines.

We’re all familiar with squash blossoms and the popular sugared rose petal. This article, however, will highlight some of the rarer kinds of flowers around the world that can also be utilized in different recipes.

1. Sesbina

sesbina

This small, white flower is popular is Southeast Asian cuisines. They taste bitter and tart, and the texture is mildly crunchy and fibrous. Thais and Vietnamese often balance out these characteristics by softening the flowers to be used for omelets and sweets. In the Philippines, they are often marinated in vinegar and served as a side salad. Not only is this plant delicious and dainty to look at, but its health benefits are also extensive. They can be used to treat night blindness, headaches, cataracts, cough, and fevers.

2. Honeysuckle (Japanese)

honeysuckle

This pretty, bell-shaped flower is very sweet and syrupy. They attract insects and bees in particular, but this plant is extremely popular with bakers as they are used on cupcakes and other baked goods. Honeysuckle is also used in barbecue marinades and sauces. It is important to note that only Honeysuckle flowers are edible. The berries are highly POISONOUS – do not eat them!

3. Nasturtium

nasturtium

Don’t be fooled by this flower’s attractiveness! This edible flower, native to South and Central America, packs quite a spicy punch! When you first take a bite, a sweet, succulent flavor floods your mouth, but as you continue to chew it, a unique kind of tang hits you. It’s a sensation similar to eating something that’s a cross between watercress and a horseradish. It is very rich is vitamin C and helps ward off infections.

Chopped up, they can be an interesting (and colorful) added component to salads. Another great idea is to grind them into “pesto” and pair with pasta, pizza, or smoked salmon.

4. Waterblommetjies

waterbloom

Waterblom-what? The peculiar name of this ingredient literally means “small, water flower.” It is found in dams and marshes in South Africa. Despite its delicateness, this flower is often combined with mutton, onions, potatoes, salt, and pepper to make a hearty and delightful winter stew.

5. Yucca Flowers

yucca

Now here’s something closer to home! The yucca flower is often found in Northern California, the Southern states of America, and New Mexico. Its petals are crunchy and taste like artichokes. Because of this, yucca is often paired with eggs. Slice and toss them into omelets, frittatas, and you’re in for a tasty treat! You can also roast yuccas and serve them as a side dish to your barbecue. For an extra indulgent snack, coat yucca blossoms in tempura batter and deep-fry them until they turn golden brown. This is a recipe that’s both innovative and tasty!

There are other interesting flower recipes out there which are just waiting to be discovered! A word of caution before we end this article: it’s important to eat flowers safely as to avoid untoward incidents and mishaps. Do not eat flowers that are from the florist as they have probably been contaminated with pesticides. It’s best to just eat the petals and remove the pistils and stamens before eating. You can consult official, reference books to know which flowers are edible or not.

Armed with the right information, you can wake up, smell the flowers, and eat some too!

Do you know other unique, edible flowers out there? Leave us a comment below.

Coconut Oil for the Skin

(image credits: www.news.com.au)
(image credits: www.news.com.au)

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.

 

Brief History

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.

Coconut-oil-moisturizing-cream
You may get this coconut oil moisturizing cream at our Amazon Store.

Eczema Treatment

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.

 

Ludwig van Beethoven: The World in the Ears of a Genius

(Photo credits: turnermusicclass)
(Photo credits: turnermusicclass)

Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the most prominent figures in the world of music. But what made him stand out from the other artists was the fact that he managed to compose beautiful masterpieces, even though he was deaf. In this post, you will learn the life story of Beethoven and how he rose to success despite his physical handicap.

Lineage of Musicians

The renowned German pianist was born to a great musical family. His grandfather, Lodewijk van Beethoven, was a musician from Southern Netherlands. Lodewijk worked as a bass singer and later on became a music director.  He had a son named Johann, who also became a musician, and was one of the very first teachers of young Ludwig.

Education

Beethoven’s musical talent manifested early under the guidance of his father and three other teachers, namely: Franz Rovantini, Gilles van den Eeden, and Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer. They taught him how to play the violin, organ, and piano. By the age of 22, Beethoven had already published his first composition.  In Vienna, he became a well-known pianist. From 1790 to 1792, his growth as a composer flourished since these were the times when he composed a significant number of works. And between 1800 and 1802, Beethoven’s musical compositions centered on two important orchestral pieces.

Tinnitus

Unfortunately, in 1796, Beethoven’s hearing capability began to deteriorate. Beethoven suffered from a condition called Tinnitus, which caused a “ringing” noise in his ears even though there were no sounds present. As a musician, this was obviously a crushing blow to his life-long passion, and even to his social life. In a letter Beethoven sent to his friends in 1801, the great composer confided that for two years, he avoided any conversation in any social gathering. Furthermore, the German composer told his friends that if he only belonged to another profession, it would be easier. Unfortunately his worsening condition became a big hurdle in his line of work. Beethoven even welcomed the thought of committing suicide.

A Different Tone

Scholars believed that Beethoven’s deafness has not affected his ability to compose music, although there was an obvious change in the mood and flow of his masterpieces. Some described that his latter compositions became more introverted and spiritual. Beethoven also preferred lower-frequency notes because he was having troubles with high notes. The apparent change could be attributed to his declining social interaction with people during that time.

Although this was the case, Beethoven’s greatness didn’t stop shining, and the genius decided to rise up to the challenge. Even with a big handicap, he pushed forward and continued to create beautiful melodies. There was even an instance in 1824, wherein, after performing his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s attention had to be caught in order for him to see the standing ovation and loud applause coming from the audience behind him.  Moreover, Beethoven continued publishing his written works and conducted public performances as a source of income. Some of his patrons even provided him annual allowances aside from commissioning his works.

Final Thoughts

It is truly inspiring to hear the life story of Ludwig van Beethoven. The German composer only proved that if there is a will, there is a way. Obviously, there will be hardships along the road but, if human will, spirit, and talents are combined with perseverance, you can do great feats.

This is a great collection of piano pieces by Ludwig Beethoven. Click here to check out this cool book!

ludwig-beethoven

Can you share other fun facts about Ludwig van Beethoven? Feel free to discuss them in the comments!

Interesting Facts on Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to connect certain devices with each other. It’s used by millions worldwide. But have you ever wondered why it’s called Bluetooth? It may sound like a weird name to call this telecommunications technology, but there is actually a historical explanation to this. Read on to find out some interesting facts on Bluetooth technology.

Photo credits to http://www.unwiredview.com/2010/07/06/bluetooth-4-0-core-specification-formally-adopted/
Photo credits to http://www.unwiredview.com/2010/07/06/bluetooth-4-0-core-specification-formally-adopted/

The History

The Bluetooth we know is actually named after the 10th century king, Harald “Bluetooth” Blaantand. He was responsible for uniting Denmark and Norway, and for introducing Christianity to the Danes. Jim Kardach, a developer of communication protocols, was responsible for the name of this technology. While he was thinking of a name, he happened to be reading a historical novel about the Vikings and King Harald Bluetooth. After learning about the leader’s great feats, he decided to name the technology after the king. This technology was able to unify communication protocols into a universal standard, which is quite similar to what the king did with his kingdom.

The Logo

When we open the Bluetooth on our computer devices, we encounter the familiar blue and white logo. Interestingly, the logo actually comprises two symbols, which are two letters representing the initials of none other than King Harald.

Infrared vs. Radio Frequency

Now that we know some history behind the name and logo of Bluetooth technology, how does it actually work? Bluetooth makes use of a radio frequency. You may have noticed that if you point the TV remote elsewhere it won’t do its job. But if you point it directly towards the TV, then you’ll be able to get the channels you want. With Bluetooth technology, you don’t have to point anything in a specific direction. Remotes for the TV, for air-conditioning, or for DVD players use infrared which can only pass through transparent or empty space. Bluetooth frequency, on the other hand, can pass through walls or other objects, because of its radio waves.

Hard or soft

Is Bluetooth hardware or software? It’s actually both. With two components of hardware and software, it’ll be able to function properly. Since we already know that Bluetooth uses radio frequency, then of course, it would have its own radio and antenna. That’s the hardware part. As for the software, Bluetooth needs it to connect to other products.

Traffic, Teeth, and the Smart Home

Now here are some trivia, for those who love them.

Did you know that Bluetooth technology can help in traffic conditions? How about involving Bluetooth with your teeth? Or having a smart phone with a smart home?

To avoid heavy traffic, the town of Alberta in Calgary City(Ref) uses Bluetooth technology. By simply using “smart devices”, people can be notified of the traffic situation in a certain area. If it’s too congested they’ll be able to change route in advance. Now that’s an innovative way to make use of Bluetooth technology.

But, who would have thought that oral care can be taken to the next level? You may be surprised to know that by merely connecting to Bluetooth with your smartphone(Ref), you can get up to date with your brushing habits.

If this revolutionary way isn’t enough, then there’s the smart home. It’s all about convenience. According to Bluetooth.com(Ref), you’ll be able to “control the lights, the temperature; household appliances; window and door locks; security systems, and more” through the Bluetooth technology.

Final Thoughts 

It is apparent that Bluetooth technology has many uses and implications. From its historical name to teeth brushing habits, the technology will continue to change our lives. Bluetooth can be used in many different ways. So, can you think of other innovative ways of using this technology? 

Palm Sugar for the Sweet Tooth

According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report (Ref) of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 9.3% of the American population (29.1 million) has diabetes.  If you have a sweet tooth, these numbers may seem scary. After all, it’s hard to imagine a life without tasting your favorite sweet confections.

Photo credits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/palm_sugar
Photo credits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/palm_sugar

However, what people do not know is that there is a healthier alternative for regular sugar. Palm sugar is a traditional sweetener that is commonly used in Asia. Unlike regular ones and corn syrup, this ingredient is richer in nutrients and has a lower glycemic index.  Recipes with palm sugar are foods that you most definitely will enjoy, just as much as you would with meals with the refined kind of sugar. Read on to find out more about this good substitute for regular table sugar. 

 

Other Names

Coconut sugar, coconut palm sugar, coconut sap, or Arenga palm sugar – these are essentially the same as palm sugar. Coconut sugar, or coconut palm sugar, comes from your average coconut tree. From decoration to culinary purposes, the so-called “tree of life” has many uses. Coconut sap simply refers to palm sugar in crystalized form, while Arenga palm sugar indicates that the sugar came from the Arenga pinnata tree. Whether it’s from a coconut or another variety of a palm tree, this is a natural sweetener that can win the hearts of all those with a passion for saccharine treats.

 

Sapped

So how is it actually made? Traditionally, someone will climb up the tree and collect the flower of the coconut palm. After which, a narrow opening will be made on the flower. The liquid, or the sap, from the flower will then be put into containers and be heated. It’s a simple and natural 2-step process involving a collection procedure and heat.

 

The Glucose Level

Refined sugar doesn’t have the nutrients that our body needs. It is said that it contains “empty” calories. So, with a glycemic index (GI) of about 60 and empty calories, a regular sweetener is sure to increase blood sugar levels. And when that happens, health problems can ensue. However, palm sugar is said to have a GI of 35. This is a relatively big difference compared to the GI of regular sugar. Aside from having a lower GI to regular sugar, palm sugar also contains nutrients. Those of which are Iron, Zinc, and Calcium, to name a few. Furthermore, this organic sweeter has inulin, which is a fiber that could explain why palm sugar has a low glycemic index.

 

Other Benefits 

Aside from having nutrients and a low glycemic index (GI), palm sugar is also thermogenic – meaning it’ll help in your body’s metabolism. In simpler terms, it burns fat! Palm sugar could also contribute to the health of women. It is said that palm sugar can help in curing polycystic ovarian syndrome, being a low GI diet.

 

A Recipe 

Now that you have some knowledge on palm sugar, why not try a Malaysian dessert called Sago Gula Melaka, or also known as Sago Pudding with palm sugar. You will only need 3 ingredients and 15 minutes. Just cook the sago for a few minutes. After that, have the sago pearls ready in a cup and simply pour creamy coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. Now that’s good eating!

Photo credits: http://tinyurl.com/256c6uh
Photo credits: http://tinyurl.com/256c6uh

Palm sugar is a great substitute to the regular table sugar. With a balanced diet and exercise, it can even help you have a healthier body. For people with or without a sweet tooth, rest assured that you’ll be satisfied without any guilty feelings.

 

Can you share other delicious recipes using palm sugar?

Wheat Starch: The Versatile Wonder Grain

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!

Image from http://brookehl.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/flour.jpg
Image from http://brookehl.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/flour.jpg

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:

Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/USDA_wheat.jpg
Image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/22/USDA_wheat.jpg

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.

 

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Got any wheat starch recipes? Or how about a sculpture you made with wheat paste? Share them all in the comments section below!