Cookies Made with Fresh Fruit

Cornmeal and blueberries might seem more like a pancake combo than a cookie combo, but these cookies are so delicious you might want to double the recipe so you’ll have them for more than a half a day.  They aren’t extremely sweet, like some fruit desserts. The blueberries add a sweetness that mixes perfectly with the cornmeal.

If you use vanilla extract  the cookies have a more “traditional” cookie flavor but if you use orange extract, it becomes something extra special. 

You can use either regular flour or gluten free.

1 1/2 cups of either regular flour or gluten free flour
I cup of cornmeal
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup of blueberries
3/4 cup of salted butter, melted
2 eggs beaten slightly
1 tsp vanilla or orange extract

Step one-
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step two-
Mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  Make sure it’s mixed well so the  baking powder is evenly distributed. 

Step three-
Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave using 30 second intervals until it’s totally melted. Stirring between microwaving helps it to melt faster

Step four-
Combine the eggs, melted butter and vanilla or orange extract and fold into the flour mixture.  Add the blueberries. The best method for mixing the flour with the wet ingredients is your hands.  Coat them with cooking spray so the batter doesn’t stick as much.  Don’t worry if the blueberries get smashed.

Step five-
Make balls out of the dough.  Depending on the size of the dough balls you can either have a dozen bigger cookies or two dozen smaller ones. Put them on the baking pan lined with the parchment paper and make sure they’re about two inches apart.

Step six-
Bake for about 13 minutes.  They should be light brown.  Remove from baking pan and either cool on a wire rack or a plate.

These cookies were so good that we only had two out of two dozen left the next day.  The texture and flavor went beautifully with a cup of tea. And with the fresh blueberries they are more nutritious than chocolate chip cookies.  The kids will love them, too!

Health Promotion Jobs

Health promotion jobs are becoming an increasingly popular field choice for many people especially those interested in a broader field related to physical activity and nutrition. A career in health promotion is one that people aspire to help teach communities, individuals, or companies the skills they need to maintain better health among their populations.

With the continued decline in the health of our nation and rapid increase in medical costs, the more apparent the need for professionals and non-professionals in the health promotion field.

As a health professional myself, I understand the incredible value that we bring to the table and how important health promotion jobs and wellness careers are becoming. We inspire people to lead healthier lifestyles which is not an easy task.

Health promotion jobs include community health, health counseling, public health, health sciences, health psychology, health communication, corporate health and wellness, and much more! Health promotion careers provide plentiful job opportunities especially with the deteriorating of our nation’s health, the ability to meet and work with a variety of people, rewarding and inspiring experiences, and opportunities to enhance your career through professional training and certifications.

Health Promotion Jobs & Getting Started

Most all health promotion jobs start with a with a college degree. Of course there are other ways to promote health but most jobs require at least a Bachelor’s degree in health science, public health, exercise science, physical education, health management, and even nutrition or dietetics. As health promotion continues to become more important (due to our current state of health), employers are seeking individuals with more experience, education, and certifications in health promotion.

This might include a Master’s Degree, 5+ years of hands on experience and even professional certification. Some of the most popular certifications that employers will require or want to see on a resume include a CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist), ACE (American Council of Exercise), or ACSM (American Council of Sports Medicine).

Professionals reaching this level of education and experience are often found in leadership and management positions in schools, non-profit organizations, healthcare clinics, hospitals, and even high Fortune 500 companies leading their wellness programs. You can also continue your education into the Doctoral programs which would allow you to specialize in advanced areas of health promotion in the medical, social, political, ethical, economic, and psychological fields.

What Types of Jobs are Available?

Here are some example health promotion jobs which might give you an idea of what you would like to do in the future.

Non-Profit Organizations:

The American Cancer Society, Red Cross, American Diabetes Associations are example organizations that rely on health professionals to promote their missions, educate and design programs that help them meet their goals, give presentations, and organize special events.


Research continues to tell us that healthy employees are more productive, have less sick days, and are overall happier employees. Companies rely on health professionals to help educate employees about better health through wellness programs offered at the worksite. These programs are continually becoming more important as the cost of healthcare and health insurance continues to rise. Employers are investing into worksite wellness to help manage and even reduce some of these costs.

Corporate wellness is my specialty and something I have grown to love tremendously. If you want more information about a health promotion job specific to worksite health promotion, please contact me and I would be happy to visit with you more.

Hospitals/Clinic Settings:

Examples of professionals needed in this setting includes exercise therapists, physical therapists, and registered dietitians, public health nurses, etc, that provide patients with clinical guidance. These are usually professional with a specialized degree and require continuous education and training to stay ahead of the latest research and techniques.

There are many resources available to help people in this field of health and wellness. I highly recommend checking out Healthy Habits, Helpful Friends: How to effectively support wellness lifestyle goals.

I recommend that you check out websites I have listed below as they frequently post new and exciting jobs openings in related to health promotion open throughout the country.



Do You Have What It Takes?

Health promotion jobs can be rigorous as most involve extensive schooling and continuous educational and professional development. Skills necessary to be successful in this business include great leadership, people management, multi-tasker, and personal responsibility.

If you are thinking about a career in health promotion, ask yourself these questions and decide if skills line up with those necessary for this career path.

Am I aware of my own personal diet and physical activity habits?
Am I concerned with the health status of our society?
Am I interested in helping others learn about taking care of themselves?
Do I consider myself to be a “people person?”
Do I have the determination to embark on a journey of continued education and personal development?.
Am I interested in being a leader and dealing with tough situations?
Do I have the ability to work with others and collaborate for a common goal?
Am I interested in setting an example for others and being a positive role model?

If after asking yourself the following questions you find most of the answers to be “YES” then more than likely you are going to be a good fit for this industry.

If you have more questions regarding health and wellness jobs, please do not hesistate to contact me with your questions.

Learn more about my role helping others reach their health adn wellness goals as an Independent Beachbody Coach! I assist people in reaching their fitness goals by providing them with my recommendations of a home fitness program based on their needs and goals and then provide them with the resources and motivation to acheive their goals.

This is one of the best work from home jobs I have EVER had and probably one of the most rewarding!I give this to you as an idea as I get many inquiries from my viewers interested in finding ways to get involved in work from home jobs so that they can do what they love, earn money based on their performance, and work from the comfort of their own home!

Being an Independent Beachbody Coach is a superior business and a way you can become and STAY actively involved in a health promotion job while making a positive impact on our society’s health through home workout routines.

Painful Urination and Cloudy Urine

Painful urination and cloudy urine quite often indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). Painful urination is called dysuria in medical terminology. Burning urination is the most common form of painful urination. Burning after urination is also common, this is also described as stinging urination. Having cloudy urine with burning urination may indicate a UTI.

The condition may also be a sign of bladder stones or kidney stones. Cloudy red urine with stinging urination and cloudy pink urine with burning urination are again indications of UTI and stones, since bladder stones, kidney stones and urinary tract infection may coexist, urine cultures, kidney imaging and direct bladder visualization with a flexible cystoscope will be utilized to sort out the source of pain and urine color and clarity.

Painful urination with microhematuria may indicate kidney stones or kidney infection. Microhematuria is microscopic amounts of blood in urine this is diagnosed with a urine sample. When the urologist looks in your bladder with a flexible cystoscope other causes of painful urination or hematuria (blood in urine) may be seen such as a cyst or bladder tumor, diverticuli, bladder stone, urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), distended bladder, urine sediment, large bladder muscle striations, and red irritations on the bladder wall.

The condition may be due to symptoms in the urethra such a urethritis, a stone lodged in the urethra, trauma, in men prostatitis, soaps or chemical irritants, cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, or benign tumors. Pus in urine creates cloudy urine and may come from pyelonephritis (infection of the kidney), bladder diverticuli, and gonorrhea.

Painful urination due to the inability to urinate needs to be quickly resolved. Contact the urologist immediately or go to the emergency room. Usually a urinary catheter is placed into the bladder immediately and the pain is immediately removed. The pain that is caused by the stretched bladder (distended bladder) is the body’s signal that our urinary system is not working. Having a catheter placed up the urethra and into the bladder not only removes the excruciating pain but can stop your kidneys from being damaged or destroyed.

Cause of Diarrhea

Diarrhea may be caused by excessive or improper food, especially over-indulgence in fruit and salads; by excessive fermentation of carbohydrates, or putrefaction of proteins, in the bowel; and by irritability of the colon. It is frequently due to constipation. It may occur, as the result of congestion, in cirrhosis of the liver and chronic heart and lung disease. It is present in tuberculous enteritis, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and colitis, owing to ulceration of the bowel. Painful straining without the evacuation of feces is called” tenesmus.” Normally, the bowels are moved shortly after the first meal of the day; sometimes, however, they may be moved after every meal; this is known as “lienteric diarrhea”.

If there is pyrexia or weakness, the patient should stay in bed and keep warm. The diet should consist of semi-fluids, custards, or, if the case is severe, of milk and limewater, whey or albumin-water. To remove the irritant, an ounce of castor oil is often given, with twenty drops of tincture of opium if there is pain; or compound rhubarb powder may be used. To check the diarrhea if it continues, chalk mixture, or bismuth and opium, may be given by mouth, or starch and opium as an enema to check peristalsis. Brandy is often useful. The abdomen should be kept warm. As diarrhea and pain diminish, the diet may be increased by eggs, milk foods, broth, and jelly.

Normally the feces passed daily by an adult weigh 5 to 6 oz. ; by a child of one year, 3 oz. The reaction to litmus is slightly alkaline or slightly acid. No undigested food is visible.

The nurse should be on the look-out for abnormalities in- (1) Color, which may be tarry black from blood (“melrena”); nearly black, from iron and green diarrhea, bismuth, charcoal; yellow in milk diet; clay-like when bile is absent. (2) Consistence, which may be liquid in diarrhea; like pea-soup in typhoid fever; or” rice-water” (watery with floating flakes of mucus) in cholera. In constipation, the feces form hard lumps, called “scybala”. (3) Dour, which may be very offensive owing to the putrefaction of proteins. (4) Reaction, which is acid when there is much decomposition of carbohydrates, as in the diarrhea of children.

She should also note the presence of- (a) Undigested food. (b) Excessive fat, which occurs when the bile or pancreatic secretion is deficient: “pancreatic stools” are bulky, frothy , oily, and of light color, as a result of deficiency of the pancreatic ferments. (c) Mucus, which comes from the colon or rectum; it occurs in considerable quantity in colitis, and in cancer of the colon or rectum. (d) Blood, which, if red, comes from the anus or rectum (piles, rectal cancer); if mixed with mucus, from the colon (intussusception, dysentery) ; if black (melama), from the stomach or small intestine (gastric or duodenal ulcer, gastric cancer).

In children, blood mixed with mucus may occur in rectal polypus, intussusception, or colitis; melama may be present in Henoch’s purpura; and constipated stools may be streaked with blood.

(e) Pus, which is found in ulcerative diseases of the colon and rectum, and in cancer of the large intestine. If it is in large quantity, it is generally the result of an abscess of the appendix or broad ligament opening into the bowel.

(f) Worms: if these are suspected, the motion should be passed into a bedpan containing warm water and then washed through muslin, which should preferably be black.

(g) Gall-stones and foreign bodies.

Easy Ways to Spice up Plain Green Beans

Green beans are one of the most nutritious and simply delicious vegetables one can eat. With the modern flash freezing methods used today in the food industry, it is easy to enjoy that wonderful fresh-right-out-of-the-garden taste. There can be a slight difference in the taste of green beans which depends on several factors; the region they were grown in, the age of the bean at harvest, and the time between harvest and processing. Canned beans can have a good flavor as well if they are processed very shortly after harvest, but some of the nutrition and flavor is lost in that process and all too often far too much salt is added in.

Fresh green beans eaten raw are wonderful and the most nutritious way to get the best of the food value. The healthiest way to eat cooked green beans is to steam and then add a minimal amount of salt to boost the flavor, if necessary. Steaming them in a stove top pan or steaming them in the microwave is best. Boiling them in water somewhat reduces the nutritional value. For just a hint of added spice, steam the beans plain and just before serving sprinkle some garlic salt on the beans and stir before serving. An added bonus which can improve the flavor of some beans is to add a pat or two of butter or trans-fat free margarine or vegetable spread.

To give green beans a bit of exotic flair, steam beans as usual. While beans are steaming, melt a tablespoon or so of butter or spread and mix in one-half teaspoon of Chinese five-spice; pour the melted solution over the steamed beans, toss lightly and serve. Depending on preferred taste the spice and butter can be increased accordingly. Another light and easy way to change up the flavor of the beans is to sprinkle ground or flaked Parmesan cheese over the beans directly after steaming them. Again preferred taste will determine the amount of cheese used. For just an extra bit of flare to this dish add some bacon bits as well. Toss and serve.

Those are a few ideas to add a different flavor to green beans that are quick, light and easy to produce. Green beans that are not overcooked are sturdy enough to handle heavy sauces or blending with soups, stews and of course the traditional holiday version of green beans which result in a very hearty dish laden with fat and calories. If keeping the vegetables as close to their original state as possible is the goal, experimenting with different spices is a fun way to check out new spices in the rack on a food that is plain enough to allow the full flavor of the spice to shine. The palate will be the final judge of what is good, or not so tasty, where spice experimentation is concerned. Green beans are an economical vegetable that won’t cause stress if a batch has to be thrown out because the spice choices made were less than pleasant to the palate or preference of all served.

Side Effects of Cayenne Pepper

People looking to know what are the side effects of cayenne pepper will be disappointed as there are really no side effects. I guess it is too hard to believe in something that is too perfect. However, there are some effects of consuming this product.

It is really hot, so if you eat it or drink it, its going to burn your lips, your mouth and your throat for about a minute or two but that is nothing to worry about as the burning sensation is endurable and if you take too much of cayenne pepper you might have a stomach problem which would end up making you sit in your restroom for the whole day and if it is not that bad then you might feel a little queasy. Furthermore, never take it after a work out because your stomach is sure to awfully hurt.

If you are considering in taking it make sure you start off with small quantities so that your body adjusts to the spice. If you are planning to drink your first dose then make sure to use only quarter of a teaspoon cayenne pepper in warm water with fresh lemon juice and drink it. Do not go more than quarter of a teaspoon of else you are going to face a hard time when you have to use the rest room.

Do not drink it as you were drinking a fruit juice as it is not; it is another powerful herb that has to be taken cautiously and in right quantities and what so ever  do not assume it is a colon cleansing product and use it for that purpose.

This is the only side effects that cayenne pepper has to it; the little burning on the lips, mouth and throat, queasy feeling, and a stomach problem if you take it on an empty stomach and in high doses. I guess this is a small price to pay for this extraordinary herb.

How to Make Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats

Get your taste buds ready with Candy Corn and Rice Krispies mixed up for an out-of-this-world sweet snack. This amazing combination creates a medley of favorite fall flavors. What could be better?

Candy Corn history

Candy Corn has been around a long time. It was first invented in 1880 by George Renninger in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Wunderlee Candy Company. He designed the candy to look like a kernel of corn with a small, white tip, orange stripe and wider yellow base. It’s a simple candy with simple ingredients including sugar, corn syrup, wax, color and binders. Candy Corn is hugely popular even today. Twenty million pounds of candy corn is sold every year. It’s sold primarily in the autumn and Thanksgiving holiday.

Rice Krispie treat history

Rice Krispie treats were first invented by Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day in 1939 at the Kellogg Company. This sweet snack was created specifically for a fund raiser for Camp Fire Girls.  It was an instant success and the rest is all history. Today, Rice Krispie treats are made by people worldwide. They’re also sold in grocery stores and even some bakeries.  Rice Krispie treat recipes abound- these recipes sometimes include chocolate or candies.

This Candy Corn and Rice Krispie treat recipe is easy to prepare. It takes a mere ten minutes to prepare. The ingredients are simple and easy to find at your local grocery.   Candy Corn and Rice Krispie treats are versatile. They can be prepared ahead of time and served later.

You can serve Candy Corn Rice Krispie treats at any family get together, birthday party or social affair; both adults and kids love them.  They also travel well, so take them along to your kids’ soccer games to share with others. You’ll be the most popular mom at the game.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie treats

Prep time: 10 minutes

Yields: 24 servings


1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 cups mini marshmallows

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 1/2 cups Candy Corn


Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add the mini marshmallows and stir them until they’re completely melted.

Remove the sauce pan from heat. Immediately add 1 teaspoon vanilla, the Rice Krispies and Candy Corn. Mix with your hands or a large spoon.

Press mixture into a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish.

Cool and cut into diagonals and then triangles

Recipe for fried ice cream

Fried ice cream is a unique confection. It is crisp and hot on the outside, and cold and meltingly soft on the inside. Preparation of this delicious desert is straightforward, although it does require some forward planning.

Tips for success

Give yourself enough time. This is not a last-minute desert. You will need to start preparing the components at least three hours before you want to eat the finished desert.

Use a good-quality vanilla ice cream. This is a very simple desert and the flavor of the ice cream must be strong enough to be a good contrast to the crisp outer shell.

Make sure you have cleared sufficient space in the freezer to hold your ice cream balls before you start making them. Timing is crucial when handling ice cream. If you make the scoops and then have to fuss around sorting out freezer space, they will start to melt and lose their shape.

At the frying stage, make sure that your fat is hot enough before you plunge in the ice cream balls. The aim is to have the outer shell cooked very quickly before the ice cream inside melts.

The following recipe makes enough for 4 to 6 people. It is adapted from a recipe by the Brown Eyed Baker.


1 quart quality vanilla ice cream
4 cups crushed cornflakes
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened and unsweetened are both fine)
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Ghee or vegetable oil, for frying


Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, place balls of ice cream, evenly spaced on the parchment paper. Put the entire baking sheet with the ice cream balls into the freezer. Leave them there for between one and two hours until the ice cream is very hard.

In a large bowl, mix together the crushed cornflakes, shredded coconut and the sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they have syrupy consistency. Gently fold in the sugar. Take each rock hard ice cream ball and dip it in the egg white mixture. Then roll it in the cornflake and coconut mixture. Return each ball onto the parchment sheet and return the baking sheet to the freezer. Leave it there for another one-two hours until the coating has also frozen rock hard.

When you are ready to eat the desert, you need to return to the kitchen for a quick frying session. In a chip frying pan or similar, heat the oil or Ghee ready to deep fry the ice cream balls. When the oil has reached 400° Fahrenheit, drop the ice cream balls into it and fry for just 30 seconds.

Remove the fried ice cream balls as soon as they turn golden brown and place them to drain on some kitchen towel.

Serve immediately and enjoy the sensation of crunching through the crisp outer shell to eat the yummy ice cream inside.

How the British Introduced Tea to the West

Tea made a giant leap forward when the English Royalty began drinking it socially. The amazing thing about Britain’s involvement in tea is that it a relatively recent involvement! Although China and the other places sell tea owes England a debt for making tea into the world renowned drink it has become, all who drink it benefits. ld How did England get involved? Tea is not grown in England but where? Tea is grown in China and of course other places but it is the tea from China that made tea drinking in Britain such a prestigious thing to do. Is it any wonder then that they were furious with us for dumping three shiploads of it into Boston harbor?

Yes children, we once did that once and you know what else? Those planning that kind of tea party did it precisely because they knew how insulting that would be to the King and the Queen. They wanted to start a war and they sure did. Two years later the Revolutionary war started. But that is another story, this one is a about how come the people of England started drinking tea in the first place.

It’s not a particularly long story when compared with China’s love for tea, a mere three hundred and fifty years, more or less. But what is that when compared with China’s accidental discovery of it in 2723 BC. The Legend says that some tea leaves fell into an emperor’s cup of hot water as he sat under a tree resting, meditating, planning a takeover or doing whatever emperors do when they sit under trees. He loved the brew and from then on Chinese People drank tea.

Portugal and the Netherlands were the first Europeans to become interested in tea as a drink and the Dutch made it into a society drink for the rich. England looked the other way, they knew their way around the trade routes but their cup of tea had yet to arrive; although they controlled the East India Company. In 1652 a tea parlor opened and an ad in a local paper announced the fact. Curiosity probably made the rounds among the elite about the Chinese tea.

It was not until Charles 11 fell in love with a Portuguese woman and made her his queen that tea became a fashion drink in England. Catherine loved tea and so did British Society forever after. Afternoon tea soon became something every well to do British Citizen did and still do, or so we here on the other side of the ocean believe. At first it was too high priced for ordinary folk. It was not until the taxes were lowered because the smuggling of tea and its resulting crimes were too much for them to swallow. Reducing the tax had a two fold effect: it lowered crime and it made tea affordable. Tea by this time was being grown in India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and by then had Britain stamped on it worldwide.

A recent event that had its beginnings along about the time Britain began shipping in tea, the Tea Auction ended after 300 years. Although old tea drinking habits are succumbing to today’s fast paced lifestyles, tea is as popular as ever in Britain. They even now make use of the tea that comes in the American invention, the tea bag; or at least some of them do. Whatever, statistics show that two-thirds of the British people drink tea. Whatever the rest of the world thinks the reasons for tea being so popular a drink in Britain, they will tell you they drink it because they like it.

Why then are we here in the US fascinated with the British and their tea drinking habits? Do any of us ever drink a cup of tea but that we don’t fondly and silently salute the Queen? We know that she would approve and possibly it is because we want her to know that we sometimes drink it because we like it too. Maybe it is in our genes! One thing for sure, it has had an adventurous journey from that first breeze that landed a tea leaf into the cup of that Chinese emperor. While it probably does not inspire many to write Haiku, it was tasty enough for Samuel Pepys in his famous diary to record that on Sunday the twentieth of September in the year 1660 he had a cup of tee

How did that famous tea ceremony begin? In 1800 by The Duchess of Bedford who needed a little light food and tea between four and five in the afternoon to tide her and her family over until dinnertime. Tea if from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis and although native to China but now is grown in many other countries. Most of the tea Britain’s drink is now grown in Africa.

The withered leaves after harvesting are broken or crushed to allow their natural juices to ooze out and then they are left to ferment naturally. Then dried, sorted and shipped. Where to? To many places but surely to England.

Homemakers Guide to Making Raisins

What’s a sweet treat that’s wrinkly and easy to make? Raisins are versatile and work in both savory and sweet dishes. If you are looking for a few convenient and inexpensive ways to make your own raisins, read on.

Although you can transform grapes into raisins using just an oven, other techniques include sun drying and dehydrating. Basically, the goal is to take a certain amount of water away from the grapes. Because good grapes are usually juicy, they need a good source of heat that will dry them to the right texture.

Sun drying on cookie sheets

You can achieve that correct texture by using the sun. It’s free, and if you live in an area that experiences hot summers, you will save money on electricity by avoiding the use of an electric dehydrator. However, you will need to ensure that it is not too humid outdoors. Set the grapes out on a cookie sheet or tray after washing them thoroughly. You can cover the grapes with a fine wire mesh or some other cloth that will protect the grapes from bugs and flies. However, setting the grapes out on a tray will make them flatter.

If you are used to seeing plump raisins, you may want to use this next method.

Hang the grapes to dry them

Alternatively, you can hang the grapes on a clothesline. This will help you produce rounder raisins. In any case, make sure that the grapes are getting full sun all day. If you want to make them lose moisture faster, you can cut slits or poke holes into them. The time it takes to achieve the right texture will vary depending on the outdoor temperature and amount of sun the grapes receive.

Oven drying

If you don’t have enough sun to work with, you can try using your oven to make raisins. A toaster oven is excellent for this type of project, but a conventional oven works just fine. Set your temperature to around 150-170 degrees. If your oven is calibrated, 160 degrees would be great. The oven must not be too hot so that the grapes dry slowly. Again, arrange the grapes without their stems onto a cookie sheet or even onto an oven-safe mesh tray. Turn the grapes over once every hour or so. Just like with the sun-dried method, the time it will take for you to make raisins with this oven method will differ, especially if you are using larger grapes.


Lastly, a dehydrator can be more convenient than running an oven or trying to find a sunny spot for your grapes. When dehydrating grapes, you will want to poke a small hole in each one, or make a slit. You can also cut the grapes in half, but this will produce funny-looking raisins (unless you don’t find odd raisins). Watch your grapes carefully because they may take one or two days to dry, depending on their size, how they are cut, etc.

When you make raisins at home, consider using smaller, seedless grape varieties for the best results. Be careful when using or eating this treats, however, because they are much sweeter than commercial raisins.

History of the Microwave Oven

During World War II, two scientists invented the magnetron, a tube that produces microwaves. Installing magnetrons in Britain’s radar system, the microwaves were able to spot Nazi warplanes on their way to bomb the British Isles. The scientists in the lab of the Raytheon Corporation had noticed for months that the magnetron generated heat. They often came in on cold winter days and warmed their hands near them.

The story has been told that Percy Spencer an engineer at the Raytheon Corporation discovered in 1946 that a candy bar had melted in his pocket. This tale may or may not be factual, but at least something like it must have happened to give him the idea that the magnetrons would cook food. At a staff meeting of the Raytheon Corporation, the boss, Lawrence Marshall, asked, “What shall we do after the war?” (They had been surviving financially by government military contracts.)

Spencer suggested that they use their expertise in radar to make an oven. Intrigued by the idea, Marshall encouraged them to begin work on a prototype oven. They were not alone as other companies were also investigating microwave heating. Westinghouse and RCA were looking at what types of use could be made of microwave heating and General Electric was working on a version of a microwave oven.

By late 1946 a patent was filed by the Raytheon Corporation for a microwave that was to be used to cook food. In 1947 a unit the size of a giant refrigerator, costing about $5000 was placed in a Boston restaurant. There was much skepticism of this monster and it was not practical for homes. Raytheon’s Radarange failed this time.

Tappan was the first to come up with a home model but it was about the size of an electric range and very expensive at a price of $1295. It did not sell well. Raytheon was not to be outdone. In 1953 they re-launched the Radarange with a new smaller, sleek look. Still it was not a good seller. It was thought that if the company could sell a line of appliances, the Radarange would do better. With that in mind Raytheon acquired Amana in 1965.

Just prior to the acquisition of Amana, Raytheon had hired a design firm to create a microwave oven that would be attractive to housewives. A couple of years later the countertop microwave oven was introduced. Using 115-volts of electricity, the new Radarange was smaller, safer, more reliable than previous models and cost just under $500.

The next project was to sell the microwave oven to the American housewife. To do this a team of 42 women were carefully chosen to show off the oven. Their leader gave guidelines on what to wear, what to say and what to cook. She taught them how to demonstrate this new invention and above all, she told them never to lie or exaggerate about the microwave. This sales force put on from 65 to 70 demonstrations a week. Coupled with radio, TV and word-of-mouth advertising this time there was some success.

However, Raytheon was not alone. Other U S companies and some Japanese companies developed microwave ovens. By 1975 the sales of microwave ovens outdid that of gas ranges. One can now find a style to suit every taste and a shape and color to fit any kitchen. This once luxury item has developed into a necessity for today’s homemakers.

In about 1968, my good friend was so excited to show me her new Radarange. I was very skeptical of this strange appliance. Not much was known at the time and we all wondered what the effects of cooking with “radar” would be. We heard “news” that the range would leak radar and be harmful to us. Soon my skepticism vanished and my kitchen has not been without one for thirty years.

Source for much of this article:

History of Snickers how was Snickers Invented what is a Snickers Bar

The Snickers candy bar is named after a horse, of course. Invented by Frank Mars in 1930 and named after his favorite horse, Snickers, it was the second of a long line of successful candy bars created by the Mars family.

Frank C. Mars learned how to make candy from his mother when he was only a child and he was already selling his first creations by the young age of 19. In 1911, at age 38, and now with his second wife Ethel, Frank opened up his own candy factory in the state of Washington. However, the candy business wasn’t so ‘sweet’ at first. Unable to find the ‘taste’ of success, Frank and Ethel moved back to Frank’s home state of Minnesota. In 1920 the family started a new candy business and found success with the release of the Milky Way Bar inspired by an idea by Frank’s son Forrest. As their candy business thrived, the Mars family spread their wealth and invested in many areas including race horses eventually creating the Milky Way Stables.

In 1930, Frank invented a new candy bar made with a peanut butter nougat center topped with roasted peanuts and caramel and covered in milk chocolate. Frank decided to name it after his favorite race horse, Snickers. In 1932, with business booming, the company was moved to Chicago, Illinois and renamed Mars, Incorporated. Sadly, in 1934 Frank Mars died at age 50 from heart and kidney complications and the business was left to his children and continues to be family owned to this day.

A typical 2 ounce Snickers bar contains 273 calories and is made with milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, milk fat, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, and artificial flavor. Over the years it has also had many spin-off treats like the Snickers Ice Cream Bar, Snickers Munch, Snickers Cruncher, Snickers Gold, Snickers Almond, Snickers Duo, Snickers Marathon, and Snickers Fun Size Minis. It also has had some trendy versions called Snickers Xtreme containing 5 grams of protein, Snickers Dark made with dark chocolate, and Snickers Charged with caffeine and B-12 added for an energy boost. Some people also like to freeze their Snickers bars and eat them frozen.

Today the Snickers bar is considered to be the top selling candy bar of all time in the United States. Snickers is also an avid sponsor of the National Football League and NASCAR racing. It originally sold for just five cents in the 1930’s.

Healthy Snacks that can Prevent Sweet Cravings

There are people who deny that they have a sweet tooth, people who claim that they don’t like sugar – well, those people are lying. Everyone – everyone – has those moments where nothing will shut up their brain besides a big, frosting-covered piece of chocolate cake . . . or at least something along those lines. And while it’s definitely okay to give in to these sugar cravings sometimes, there’s a fine line between treating yourself, and eating nothing but sweets. Thankfully, there are many different snacks out there that can keep those sugar cravings in check. 

One of the best things you can eat when you’re in the mood for a little sweetness is fruit. Fruits are full of natural sugars, so they’re not harmful to your body, and they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals, and lots of other good stuff. Fruits are portable, fun to eat, and there’s a huge variety of them. Plus, they can be frozen to make them even more refreshing, so try popping some grapes or bananas into the freezer for a popsicle-like snack.

Another great snack is yogurt. It’s full of protein and tastes great on its own, or with some toppings, such as fruit, nuts, granola, or even some natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey. Flavored or frozen yogurts are also a great option when you want something a little sweeter, but just make sure that the amount of sugar isn’t too high.  

Chocolate is also a healthy snack – dark chocolate, that is. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, and, because of its slightly bitter taste, it takes a smaller amount to satisfy a sweet tooth. You can also add dark chocolate to foods like oatmeal or yogurt to mix things up a bit. 

There are many other snacks that are great for keeping a sugar craving at bay. Try making a smoothie with your favorite fruit(s), yogurt, and possibly some protein powder. Or, you can toast a slice of whole-wheat bread and top it with peanut butter, along with honey, bananas, Nutella, or your favorite jelly. You can also try a simple bowl of milk and cereal, and add in some fruits and nuts, or make a little bit of oatmeal and add in honey, banana, and/or other good stuff. Dried fruit also makes a great snack as it is easily portable, and has a candy-like taste, without all the artificial sweeteners. 

If you’re a grab-and-go type of person, you might want to make your own trail mix with things like nuts, raisins, cranberries, and granola or dark chocolate. You can also keep a few  a granola bars on hand, instead of candy bars. Brands like Kashi, Clif, Luna, and Kind all make healthy yet incredibly tasty bars that have a high nutritional profile. 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to healthy, sweet snacks. Just make sure that you let yourself enjoy an indulgence once in a while, as the key to a healthy body and mind is balance. 

Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Most people have had coffee at some point in their lives. We use it to wake us up in the morning – sometimes on the weekend, sometimes every day – because the caffeine in the coffee acts as a stimulant and can, inevitably, boost someone’s mood. But, coffee can also be used medicinally, and has some unknown traits that can benefit the body.

Like what was said earlier, caffeine is a stimulant, and is in coffee (except if it’s decaf), so it increases alertness, concentration, heartbeat and can even elevate muscle responses. Plus, for quite a few people, coffee (and caffeine) acts as a mood elevator. This means that intakes of caffeine/coffee can – in some cases – cause a person to be in a better mood.

The molecular structure of caffeine is similar to a natural chemical by-product of normal cell activity called adenosine. It’s because of this molecular structure that the effects of caffeine are the way they are. When caffeine molecules connect to sites in the brain, nerve cells fire, producing a feeling differently interpreted by each individual, that is sometimes associated with drinking coffee, or other products that contain caffeine. So, the effects of coffee can vary depending on the person. Some, who drink coffee everyday, or regularly may have built up a tolerance for caffeine, and so they aren’t as greatly effected by the caffeine. Event the effects of coffee vary depending on the person.  For some, the outcome is relaxing, pleasant, even calming, while others experience restlessness, nervousness, or even an upset stomach after drinking as one cup of coffee or another caffeine-containing product. So, now we know what effects coffee (and caffeine) have on us, but what about the health benefits of drinking coffee?

Coffee may be good for you liver. In the body, the liver acts like a filter. But just like changing the filter in a water jug, the liver needs to be regulated – and coffee may be able to do just that. The Mayo Clinic showed that regular coffee drinkers were less likely to experience a rare autoimmune disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). PSC can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and cancer. The amazing thing about this though, is that this health benefit doesn’t apply to other caffinated drinks, like tea.

It was reported by a non-profit organization – Science Daily – that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day was associated with a 25% lower risk of developping type two diabeties. It is assumed that the decreased risk might have something to do with chlorogenic acid and the alkaloid trigonelline, because both of these substances can reduce early glucose and insulin responces.

Plus, those that may be at risk of Alzheimers should consider drinking coffee.  Coffee can keep your mind sharp, even with age by slowing the onset of neurodegenerative disease. Studies have suggested that people who consume coffee are 60% less likely to develop Alzheimers.

So, to wrap it all up, drinking coffee not only acts as a stimulant to boost your mood, but it can and will also ‘boost’ your health.

Health Benefits of Birds Nest Soup

Swiftlets’ nests (Mandarin: Yan Wo) have been a prized delicacy among the Chinese for hundreds of years. Made primarily of hardened swiftlets’ saliva, the nests are one of the five elite, highly prized foods in Chinese culture, with the others being fish maw, ginseng, abalone and sharks’ fin. Once reserved for the emperors, swiftlets’ nests are now available for mass consumption, with the market in Hong Kong alone worth more than three billion Hong Kong Dollars annually (about USD 400 million).

Swiftlets, from the genus Aerodramus, are small, insectivorous birds. While their habitat spans from the tropical areas of the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, only nests from four species of swiftlets in South East Asia are edible. The most common nests are from the white- and black-nest swiftlets, while red blood nests are believed to be the most nutritious. The birds’ traditional habitat is in limestone caves, with the males taking 35 days to build the nests. However, with the price of unprocessed nests steadily rising to its current price of up to USD 2,700 per kilogram, enterprising individuals are increasingly enticing the birds to nest in man-made environments, typically in customized buildings, to facilitate harvesting.

What is it that makes the bird’s nests so desirable among the Chinese?

Consisting of carbohydrates, proteins and small quantities of mineral salts, the bird’s nests are double boiled with rock sugar to make a sweet soup with gelatinous strands of nest. In traditional Chinese medical lore, the bird’s nest soup is believed to enhance health, promote longevity and boost the immune system. Others believe that the soup aids digestion and may be a natural Viagra.

Studies have shown that bird’s nest soup can boost the immune system by promoting cell division of immune cells. Additionally, bird’s nest extract is proven to promote epidermal growth factor activity, which in turn helps the proliferation, differentiation and development of cells. This is hypothesized to slow down the aging process by promoting cell renewal. Scientists in Japan also claim that the nests help to combat flu.

The carbohydrate in the nests is found to contain sialic acid and glucosamine. Some believe that an external source of sialic acid may enhance brain functions in infants. However, scientists have failed to reach a consensus on the issue. Glucosamine, on the other hand, is believed to help patients with osteoarthritis and others suffering from joint pain.

The Chinese are great believers in the medicinal properties of this delicacy. Although many of the health benefits of swiftlets’ nests remain unproven, the industry continues to thrive, with the market experiencing double digit growth in recent years.

Green bean recipes with a twist

Green beans are loaded with essential vitamins, fibers and other nutrients that are beneficial for the body. But, let’s face it, these beans can be very bland if not ‘perked’ up the right way. Moreover, many cooks tend to overcook them, which results in discolored and insipid looking dishes. No one wishes to consume tasteless and plain green beans. There are easy ways to spice them up and actually make you clamor for more. We first eat with our eyes; therefore, it’s important to bear that into consideration when cooking and preparing green beans. Some easy ways to spice up plain green beans are:

Dried fruits

Green beans can be flavored and spiced up by adding a sweet, yet tart-like, taste to the dish. This is done by tossing in dried fruits like cherries or cranberries. Blanch the beans first, which means cooking  quickly and then placing in a cool/icy bath. This process ensures the retention of the natural green color. Dry beans on a clean dish cloth or paper towel after removing from icy bath. Drizzle and warm a few teaspoons of olive oil in skillet. Finely chop onions and add to skillet and allow them to become translucent. Add green beans and preferred dried fruit. Add dry seasoning to taste.

Roasted nuts

Do a quick pan roast of preferred nuts and set aside. The pan roast extracts the natural oils. Add these roasted nuts to sauteed beans. The nuts will give a crunchy taste to the dish.

Sauteed onions

Use purple onions to give a nice contrast. Saute chopped onions in skillet and splash with left-over red wine or balsamic vinegar. Add steamed green beans to and combine ingredients. The dish will gain a slightly sweet and sour/tart like taste. To get a ‘punch’, sprinkle with a little red pepper flakes.

Garlic butter

This dish is a very easy and simple one. If you have roasted garlic on hand, crush with fork and combine with butter. Top garlic butter over hot green beans, season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little lemon juice for freshness.

Bell peppers

Use yellow and/or red bell peppers to obtain a great contrast with green beans. Cut or julienne bell peppers and stir-fry in a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add blanched or steamed beans to peppers.

Roasted tomatoes

Chop tomatoes and place them on baking sheet.  Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for a few minutes. Tomatoes will sweat delicious juices that will add aromatic flavors to beans. Add this to steamed green beans and top with slivered almonds.

Roasted beans

In stock pot, simmer balsamic vinegar and a little honey until it’s reduced to a syrup-like consistency. Remove from burner. On a sheet pan, place green beans, drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast green beans until done. The roasting will produce a nutty taste and brings out the natural sugar from the beans. Spoon reduced balsamic vinegar over the dish.

Bacon bits

Make your own bacon bits by slowly rendering bacon strips in skillet. After cooling, break bacon in bits. Drain excess grease from skillet and add a little canola or olive oil. Saute slices of onion until they become translucent. Add blanched green beans and toss. Top with crispy bits of bacon.

Anyone of these dishes can be served as a succulent side dish to any meal. Without a doubt, plain green beans will be a thing of the past. You and your loved ones’ palates will be delightfully surprised.