Archive for September, 2011
The American Dream. It means different things to different people, but ultimately it can be boiled down to success. Usually this is monetary success, or at least it implies reasonable comforts like being able to live on your own and eat three square meals a day. But if you’ve really made it there are a few things you can’t do without.
Every American Dream kitchen has a few basic things. It starts out with Sub Zero appliances that are built into your cabinets. In here you store vegetable juice, organic meats and other gastronomical signs of success. Your countertops are granite or another precious stone and you have an island in the middle of the kitchen, which may or may not serve as a kitchenette complete with stools. You cook on Viking gas ranges or Wolf gas ranges and chances are you have at least one microwave, if you like to entertain. A wine cellar may be a lot to ask, but you at least have racks, and maybe even a wine refrigerator, filled with dozens of bottle of red and white, vintage Old World and New. This kitchen is one of great plenitude and all of your friends enjoy spending time here when you invite them over.
Music filters from your home audio system and encourages the guests into your entertainment area where you have a huge television, or screen that descends from the ceiling on which you watch your many movies and celebrate the wins of your favorite sports teams. Nearby is a bar where you keep your bottles of Tanqueray and Ketel One, Glenmorangie and Maker’s Mark. And when it’s getting late and your colleagues, business and golf partners go home you walk upstairs to the bathroom to prepare for bed.
The mirrors are high, and you’re his and hers sinks and closets keep everything neatly organized. If the couple of Manhattans weren’t enough, a relaxing Whirlpool bubble bath should be. And after you sprinkle the water with colored salts and light aromatic candles, you dry yourself with a plush terrycloth towel and walk across your stone-floored bathroom to your closet where you put on designer pajamas and crawl into your California King sized bed.
These are aspects of the good life we can all envision. And while material success doesn’t equal happiness, it is a lot easier to achieve when you’re free to buy whatever you like.
Cholesterol is a substance necessary for the cells of the human body. The cholesterol in our body comes from two sources: from our liver (endogenous) and from our food (dietary cholesterol)
Cholesterol can be HDL “good” or bad LDL. HDL has a positive impact on the health of our body as it helps remove LDL and for this reason it should be kept at high levels. LDL has an adverse effect on our body, since it leads to atherosclerosis, which in turn can cause heart attacks and strokes.
So, how do you reduce bad cholesterol without drugs?
- Adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, salads, olive oil, grilled fish and free of hydrogenated and trans fats. You should also limit your intake of foods like red meat, sausages and sweets.
- Keep your weight at normal levels, because excess weight can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. What is more, it’s important to keep the size of your waist below
94 cm for men and 80 cm for women.
- Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, but avoid strenuous physical activity and prefer light forms of exercise.
- Stop smoking.
What you need to stay away from:
- Dairy products with a high fat content, such as whole milk and yogurt
- Red meats such as beef, pork, lamb, beef
- Fried shellfish, like shrimp, lobster, crayfish, octopus, squid, mussels, cuttlefish, caviar, etc.
- Fried foods in general
- Fats such as butter, mayonnaise, sauces, animal fats, etc.
- Sweets that contain butter, cream, eggs, chocolate
Instead you can start consuming:
- Dairy products that are low in fat.
- Cottage cheese.
- White meat low in fat such as fish, chicken and turkey, but try to remove the visible fat and the skin after cooking.
- Olive oil and seed oil.
- Fruits (at least 2-3 per day)
- Vegetables (at least one large salad daily).
- Drinks and beverages without sugar and wine (up to one glass of wine per day).
Another thing that can be very helpful would be to start consuming fewer calories. Unnecessary calories convert to fat, so you need to make sure not to take more calories than you need. According to experts overweight people can reduce significantly their cholesterol levels if they follow a low-calorie diet. It is worth noting that if you only lose 5-10% of your body weight, the “bad” cholesterol can be reduced by 18% and HDL can be increased by up to 27%.
Now you need to pay close attention-
How many diets have you been on? I have literally lost count in my 50 years. There’s the Veggie Soup Diet, Weight Watchers, Lemon Detox Diet, Boiled Egg Diet, Banana Diet, Sure Slim, Jenny Craig, endless shake diets, and do you know what, a lot of them I have lost weight on, so they do work. Some I have been on I have even felt fantastic and a lot healthier, some not so good, I have heart palpitations, dizzy spells, rumbling tummy to mention a few of the side effects.
Some the weight fell off me, others it has taken a bit longer, but the end results are usually the same, the weight comes off slowly, and then goes back on a lot quicker. I think over time you literally damage your metabolism because it doesn’t know when you are going to feed it and when you are going to starve it.
I think half of the problem is, when you are in diet mode, you are conscious of every little thing you put into your mouth, you are so good, you say no to the chocolate biscuits, no the the pizza, you won’t have that glass of wine or latte, then one day something happens, maybe you become stressed or unhappy and all of a sudden all of those cravings come back ten fold. You have just one biscuit and you end up eating the whole packet before you realise it. Then you think “I’ve been bad today, I might as well have that pizza for dinner, then start again tomorrow”.
Tomorrow comes and you still have these strong urges for some ‘forbidden food’, so starts the cycle.
So I really don’t think a diet is going to work if you have to deprive yourself of the foods that you really love. You have to be able to have your treats and the odd things you fancy, or if you go out to dinner with friends, you need to be able to eat something other than lettuce and have a glass or two of wine, with friends.
Life’s really not fair, we want to all be skinny and look like Elle MacPhearson (maybe not you men out there), but we also want to be able to eat what we want and when we want, I think the answer is finding the right balance for you as an individual.
Choosing the correct dinnerware settings for your next party or social event does not have to be a challenge. As a general guide, you should opt for utensils and crockery that match the night’s theme, formal or informal, traditional or modern. When you are clear on the number of guests that will be attending, you should have an understanding of how many dishes and placements would be necessary.
To start with, you should place each of the dinner plates at the center of the setting in front of where each guest will sit. With the dinner plate positioned correctly, the rest of the task becomes easier. If you are to serve soup or salad at your party, these can be positioned adjacent to, or on top of, the first plate, this helps in saving space. The main plate and the accompanying bowl or dish should compliment each other in terms of style and color. If they do not match, the setting will have an untidy appearance.
The next step involves positioning the silverware, this would need to be placed on each side of each main plate. If creating a formal setting, you should place a salad fork, dinner fork, and fish fork on the left hand side, on the right should be positioned a fish knife, dinner knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon.
If the event is to be informal, you can omit the fish knife from the setting. If not serving soup or tea, you can also omit the corresponding utensils.
To create a themed appearance, it is also of value to choose the napkins carefully, for example there are white, lace, and bright designs that can be offered to guests. Rules relating to etiquette state that napkins should be positioned on the left of the place setting, though they may also be folded and placed on the top of the main plate.
Do not omit to think carefully about how to use the correct glasses. If you are going to serve a selection of liquid refreshments, these need to be placed slightly above and to the right of the guest’s spoons and knives. Wine glasses and coffee cups should be left upside down, guests can flip them over the right way up when they would like a drink.
Depending on the type of dishes that are to be served, you may also want to include a bread and butter plate in the setting. This is usually placed to the left of the dinner plate. An informal soiree may involve a single bread bowl as opposed to individual plates.
When it comes to choosing the right dinnerware and silverware, you should use your own ideas. A lot will depend upon the style of dinner you are planning, as well as your own tastes and personality. To create an elegant appearance, you do not need to use the most expensive china. By using the above mentioned rules and guidance, you can help to ensure that the night is remembered for all the right reasons.
Hungary’s most famous dish is almost certainly goulash. Variations of the dish are eaten not only in Hungary itself, but in many other countries. However, since the dish has been adopted by people of so many nations, and in each case adapted to suit local tastes and use local ingredients, many people are surprised at what Hungarian goulash is really like.
In Hungary, goulash is known as “gulyás” or “gulyásleves”. It is prepared as a soup (not a stew), in a cauldron (known as a “bográc”) over a fire, and is the traditional food of the herdsmen and cattlemen who work on the Great Hungarian Plain (which lies in the South and East of the country, and also extends into several of Hungary’s neighbours).
The first step in preparing goulash is to cut meat into chunks. Beef shoulder, shin or shank is normally used, and after cutting, the meat is seasoned with salt and pepper, and then paprika added. The beef is then browned, chopped onions are added, and then water or stock to make the soup. The soup is slowly simmered, and during this process becomes much thicker as the collagen in the meat gradually turns to gelatin. Depending on the chef’s preference, a variety of other ingredients may also be added to the soup, including hot peppers, tomatoes or tomato juice, herbs, and chopped potatoes (starch in these also helps thicken the soup). Additionally, some white wine vinegar or white wine may also be added to round out the taste.