3 Food Hacks You Should Steal from Restaurant Workers

Written by Salina Jivani

Ever notice how restaurant food just tastes more delicious? There’s a reason for that, and lucky for us, the professionals have shared some of their most steal-worthy secrets that will leave your meal guests clamoring for the recipes. Try these easy-peasy food hacks and leave your guests amazed by your kitchen prowess.

Get scrumptious stir-fry

Ever wonder why your Chinese fried rice doesn’t quite taste as yum as that hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant up the street? The answer’s in chicken stock. Instead of cooking your rice in water, cook it in chicken stock and hear your taste buds sing!

Make mouthwatering chicken

Ain’t nothin’ like chicken. But what is the secret behind making it irresistible? Simple: season the outside and the inside. And then make sure you don’t overcook the meat. You can check this by making sure the liquid runs clear when you carve off a piece.

Create delicious stock…with scraps

Once you’re through chopping vegetables, don’t throw away the ends or unused parts, like the ends of onions or tops of carrots, etc. Also keep the bones and spare meat from your non-vegetarian dishes. Then simply throw it all—meat and veggies—together into a pot a proportionate amount of water and create your own, fresh homemade stock!

You don’t have to be a pro to benefit from these tips. So breathe easy and let the cooking begin!

How To Instantly Become a Wine Connoisseur

Written by Ariel Wallace

Have you ever watched a movie and became marveled how the actors interact with wine.The color, smell, ambience of wine in a glass. Ever wanted to explore wine a little more, here’s a few short cuts to becoming a overnight Wine Connoisseur.

Develop A Wine Palate: Learn from the best and acquire a favorite wine of your own. Red or White find a wine that best suites your choice of taste. Getting past your wine flavors is the first part. Consider joining a wine tasting group.

Trying an Unfamiliar Wine: Branching away from your comfort zone of wine and going with an Oblique taste. Leaning toward savory instead of a sweet wine. Building a list of different wines is a sure way to pronouncing an A-Z Winery list.

Writers and Wineries: Wineries and Writers go hand in hand. You can find alot of articles from Wine Experts stating they’re opinion on blogs and wine reviews. Try reading a book that sets the mold for your understanding. A great book for starters is “The World Atlas Of Wine”. Which is an informative read to share over a glass of Wine.

Wine Expert: You’ve finally made it to the finish line. You can look at the wine list and pick out a wine in confidence. Pairing wine and food is something that is now natural for you. Congratulations you are now a wine Connoisseur!

Recipe Corner- “Moussaka”

Written by Iris Foss

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Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish. Every family surely has their own version. I prefer the healthy version.

INGREDIENTS:

Meat sauce

2 pounds ground lamb or beef
1 chopped onion
4 crushed garlic cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup of cooking wine
2 Tbsp or more of lemon juice
Pinch of salt to taste

Bechamel sauce

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
3 cups shredded Mozzerella cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

The moussaka

3 large peeled and sliced eggplants
1/2 cup salt
2-3 pealed and sliced potatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil

Prepare the meat sauce

1 Heat and brown the ground meat. Drain all the grease. Add the onions about halfway into the browning process. Sprinkle salt over the meat and onions.

2 Once the meat is browned and the onions have softened, add the garlic, black pepper, oregano and tomato paste. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3 Add the red wine and mix well. Bring the sauce to a simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Mix well and taste. Set the sauce aside.

Prepare the potatoes and eggplants

4 Peel and slice the eggplant and the potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds.

5 Boil the potatoes in salted water for 5-8 minutes – you want them undercooked, but no longer crunchy. Drain and set aside.

6 To cook the eggplant, grill or fry the rounds using Olive oil. Transfer into paper towels and set aside.

Prepare the béchamel

7 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and Mozzerella cheese. W8hisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant and potato slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant and potato slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with fresh parsley or cilantro, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Fast food: The Death Culprit

Written By Salina Jivani of “The Great Word Nerd” blog

 

Calories have become all the rave. After McDonald’s made news on multiple occasions for its unhealthy, obesity-inducing meals, and Jared from Subway stepped out, dwarfed by his old fat jeans, claiming that “eating fresh” had helped him lose weight equivalent to that of a grown adult, it’s as though a cyclone of frenzy seized the fast food industry and calorie counts started popping up on drive through menus and nutritional fact sheets everywhere. But don’t be fooled. Although many restaurants are more calorie conscious and aim to make meals more calorie friendly, that doesn’t mean the foods they offer are any healthier for you to consume. In fact, excessive calories are just one thin layer among many others of why you should avoid fast foods like the plague.

 

High Sodium– If you know anything about eating healthy, you know that keeping the salt shaker at bay is a good thing. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about nine out of every 10 adults consume too much sodium, of which the AHA recommends no more than 1500 milligrams per day. Eat a single meal at a fast food restaurant of your choice and you’re likely to deplete your entire day’s worth of recommended sodium. One serving of Taco Bell’s volcano nachos (1650 milligrams) or a single serving of McDonald’s Big Breakfast with hotcakes (2260 milligrams) and you’re already over the recommended amount. Keeping that level of consumption up with even the slightest bit of regularity and you’ll make yourself infinitely more prone to fatal health concerns, including stroke, headaches, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stomach cancer, and heart failure, to name a few.

fries

 

Fake ingredients- When you eat, you want to make sure you’re nourishing your body and consuming something that is healthful. After all, your body will work hard for you as long as you give it the means to do so. But many fast food restaurants don’t have the prized nutrients or vitamins your body craves. In fact, the beef used by many restaurants is not 100% real meat–nowhere even close to that percentage. According to one study, approximately 50% of beef patties are composed of water and only between 2.1%-14.8% of the entire patty is actually real. The remaining 35%-48% is composed of chemical fillers and preservatives, which basically means that on a more favorable scale, 15% of what you ingest is real, nutritional food. The remaining 85%? Fake, lab-tested chemicals. Which brings us to our next point.

 

Low nutrition value–  Of course if you’re not eating real food, you can’t expect your body to extract real nutrients from those foods. And if you’re like the majority of Americans who depend on fast food restaurants for at least half their meals during the week, you’re doing more harm than good by depriving your body of vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health and longevity. The ratio of calories to nutrient density in fast foods is baffling. In other words, eating a fast food meal pretty much means that all you’re feeding your body are harmful chemicals and a ton of extra calories with no true nutritional value to sweeten the deal.

pizza

 

Food safety-  You wouldn’t ever entertain the thought of eating silly putty for lunch, would you? Opt for chicken nuggets from most fast food restaurants, and it’s likely that you’ll be getting a good dose of dimethylpolysiloxane—the exact chemical found in putty. In fact, according to several studies, the chicken contained in nuggets are not really even meat, but made from a sticky substance created from ground carcass and processed chicken bones. Not scared? Consider this: the chicken nuggets at many restaurants contain a chemical preservative called tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which safeguards foods from discoloration. The downside is that while your food will appear fresh, fatal effects of TBHQ in rats include tumors and death.

 

So the next time you decide you’re too lazy to pack a good ol’ homemade brown-bag lunch, think about what you’re sacrificing at the cost of convenience. Although an occasional meal here and there at a local joint likely won’t harm you, it’s always a good idea to prepare home cooked meals in advance so that you’re not left tempted to turn that occasional fast food visit into a regular habit. Besides, who doesn’t want to save some money and avoid a ton of unnecessary calories?

All Stressed Out

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All Stressed OUT!! Healthy eating combined with natural supplements can help reduce stress. 70% of Americans are on some type of prescription drug for stress. We have to look for more natural ways to cope with stressors in our lives.  A healthy diet, exercise, coping skills and natural supplements are a huge way to reprogram your body to deal with those outside stressors. Studies have shown that eating a healthy diet filled with protein and complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, such as oatmeal, quinoa and whole grain cereals, can help you keep a healthy blood glucose level. This will help you not feel that drop in energy throughout the day. Drinking  plenty of water and eating lots of fruits and vegetables will also help maintain an even chemical balance and mood. The key is a balance of healthy foods that help you feel full longer and provide the body with a usable source of protein and nutrition. Confianza will allow you to trade your traditional anti-depressant for a more natural approach. This is made  with adaptogenic herbs to improve mental focus and concentration and help the body cope with physical stress. Along with healthy eating and exercise, this will help to restore and maintain the bodies balance.

Written by – Robin Courtney www.healthyrobin.com WrapGirl01-IG Healthy Robin Wellness Group- FB