Wednesday, March 28, 2007


As long as your freezer maintains a steady temperature of 0 degrees F., food can be safely frozen indefinitely. Quality, however, will eventually deteriorate.The "maximum suggested freezing time" below estimates how long frozen foodswill retain quality. Food Special Tips Storage Time
Thawing Hints:
Breads: yeast breads, coffee cakes, muffins and quick breads. Cool completely; do not frost or decorate. Place coffee cakes on foil-wrapped cardboard beforefreezing. Up to 1 month Unwrap slightly and thaw at room temperature for 2to 3 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat, wrapped in foil, at 350 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or wrap in paper towels and microwave (briefly, to avoid a tough texture) for 5 to 40 seconds.
Cakes: both frosted and unfrosted cakes can be frozen Cool completely. Wrap unfrosted cake in airtight, moisture-proof wrap. Cool completely. Buttercream frosting freezes best. Allow frosting to harden by placing frosted cake in refrigerator or freezer before wrapping. Place layer cakes in cake containers or bakery boxes to prevent crushing. Unfrosted-4 to 6 months Frosted-1 to 3months Unfrosted-thaw at room temperature, covered, 2 to 3 hours. Frost or serve according to recipe. Frosted-thaw, loosely covered, overnight inrefrigerator
.Cookies: baked cookies can be frozen Wrap unfrosted cookies in airtight ,moisture-proof wrap or place in plastic containers. If frosted or decorated before freezing, first freeze quickly on cookie sheet; then package frozen cookies between layers of waxed paper in rigid container for further freezing.Unfrosted-4to 6 months Frosted-1 to 2 months Thaw in package at room temperature. For cookies that should be crisp when thawed, remove from container.
Pies: baked pumpkin or pecan pies and either baked or unbaked fruit pies. Cool baked pies quickly. For unbaked pies, brush the bottom pastry with eggwhite before filling to prevent it from becoming soggy. Do not slit the top pastry. Cover pies with an inverted foil or paper plate and then wrap. Baked: upto 4 months Unbaked: up to 3 months Baked: Unwrap and heat at 325 degrees F.for 45 minutes or until warm or room temperature. Unbaked: Unwrap, cut slits in the top pastry and bake at 425 degrees F. for 15 minutes, then bake at375 degrees F. for 30 to 45 minutes or until the center is bubbly.
Pies: chiffon, custard, pudding, cream and pies with meringue topping do notfreeze well. Do not freeze well.
You can freeze overripe bananas to later use when making banana bread,banana muffins, banana pancakes, banana waffles, as well as banana batteredFrenchtoast. You can either peel them and freeze them on a cookie sheet then putthem in a baggie or you can freeze them in the peel.To use let thaw and mash as normal for the recipe.If you leave them in the peel when you freeze them, you can just cut one endof the thawed out banana and squish the banana out.

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When decorating cakes for a variety of occasions, you'll want to make sure that the colors you've chosen are delectable. Certain colors and color combinations may evoke a positive response from the taste buds of your cake-eating audience. Very intense colors are usually less appealing to the palate than are softer colors. Complimentary color schemes, which may work well in a striking graphic design, do not have much taste appeal. Finally, too many colors can create a hodgepodge of hues that compete with each other. Here are three sure-fire techniques selecting tasty color schemes that will appeal to the palate.
USE PASTEL COLORS The safest method for selecting colors is to use three pastel colors. Select the lightest color for the basic icing on the cake. If your colors are sufficiently pale, you can even combine complimentary colors without the jarring effect obtained complimentary colors at full strength. Note that you can increase the strength of one of the colors for a bit of contrast. For example, ice a birthday cake with white or pale ivory icing. Add pink roses (they can be shades of the same pink) with pale green leaves. The red and green on which the pastel colors are based would vibrate intensely if used at full strength, but they are both eye and appetite appealing when rendered in pastel hues. For a shower for a mom expecting a baby boy, ice the cake in pale blue. Add icing booties in pale yellow and white, or select pre-made decorations in the same colors.
Ideas for combining pastel colors are almost limitless, but here are some more suggestions for three-color pastel schemes:
* Pale yellow, delicate peach, and pale green
* Lavender, pale blue, and rose * White, pale blue, and pale blue violet
* Pale yellow, pink, and peach
USE A PASTEL BACKGROUND FOR INTENSE COLORS Clearly, there are occasions that call out for a cake with bright colors. Once again, using a pale icing as the background for brighter colors. This approach is often used for kid's birthday cakes, which may feature a cartoon character or other popular theme. For a clown cake, you'll want to use some bright primary colors. For the basic icing, use white or the palest of pinks. Then, you can use bright reds, blues, oranges, and even black icing or decorating gel to make the clowns features. Because the bright colors are used in small amounts against a light background, they provide both taste and eye appeal.
USE CHOCOLATE FOR A DARK BACKGROUND In general, dark colored icing is not very appealing. Most of us are not likely to greet an acid green, navy blue, or intense red cake with enthusiasm. Without fail, though, chocolate lovers will greet the dark brown color of a cake iced in chocolate or fudge icing with high expectations for the flavor. When you ice a cake with chocolate icing, decorate it with pastel colors. Once again, limit the color palette to two or three pastels. For Father's Day, make a rectangular cake and ice it with chocolate fudge icing. Turn the cake so that the narrower side is at the top. Near the top of the cake, with ivory icing create a shirt collar. Use pale orange to create a necktie below the collar. Add a design to the tie in a slightly deeper orange.
Other colors that look especially nice against a dark brown background are: * pale yellow, peach, and orange * pale yellow, pale green, and white * pale pink, peach, and white * white, pale turquoise, and peach * pale yellow and peach * white and pale orange Finally, as you choose colors for your cake, think about colors that occur naturally in the foods we eat every day. That will help you stay away from colors like chartreuse, intense blue greens, and intense purples, that appear particularly acid or poisonous. Pastel color schemes are the safest, but brighter colors can be used very successfully against a pale background.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007


TOMATOES – A major source of the antioxidant lycopene that reduces the risk of cancer by 40% - notably prostate, lung and stomach cancers – and increases cancer survival. Tomato eaters’ function better mentally in old age and suffer half as much heart disease. Concentrated tomato sauces have 5 times more lycopene that fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes have three times more than fresh.
OLIVE OIL – Shown to help reduce death from heart disease and cancer. Recent research shows that heart-attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet. Olive oil is also high in antioxidant activity.
RED GRAPES, Including red grape juice. Red grapes have moderate antioxidant power, while purple grape juice has four times more antioxidant activity than Orange or tomato juice. Red wine (not white) has about the same antioxidant capacity as purple grape juice or tea. French research shows that drinking red wine in moderation increases longevity, but excessive drinking has the opposite effect, so limit to two glasses per day. Drink grape juice.
GARLIC – German researchers have found that garlic is packed with antioxidants known to help fend off cancer, heart disease, all-over aging, and prolong cancer survival time. Let crushed garlic “rest” for about 10 minutes before cooking to preserve disease-fighting agents.
SPINACH – Second among vegetables only to garlic in antioxidant capacity and is also rich in folic acid, which helps fight cancer, heart disease and mental disorders. New University of Kentucky research shows folic acid may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Eat both raw and steamed for best benefit.
WHOLE GRAINS – A University of Minnesota study suggests the more whole grains you eat, the lower your odds of death by 15%. Whole grains contain anticancer agents and help stabilize blood sugar and insulin, which may promote longevity. Whole-grain “dark” breads, cereals such as All Barn, and “old fashioned” oatmeal are an excellent source.
SALMON AND OTHER FATTY FISH – Contains high amounts of omega-3 fat that performs miracles throughout the body, fighting virtually every chronic disease known. Without it, your brain can’t think, your heart can’t beat, your arteries clog, and joints become inflamed. You need one ounce a day, or two servings of salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring or tuna per week.
TOMATOES – A major source of the antioxidant lycopene that reduces the risk of cancer by 40% - notably prostate, lung and stomach cancers – and increases cancer survival. Tomato eaters’ function better mentally in old age and suffer half as much heart disease. Concentrated tomato sauces have 5 times more lycopene that fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes have three times more than fresh.

NUTS – A Harvard University study found that eating more than 5 ounces a week can cut heart-attack deaths in women by 40% and help prevent deadly irregular heart beats in men. Almonds and walnuts lower blood cholesterol. Most of the fat in nuts is the good-type monounsaturated and/or omega-3. Unsalted nuts are best.
BLUEBERRIES – High in antioxidants, Tufts University researches say a half-cup of blueberries a day can retard aging and can block brain changes leading to decline and even reverse failing memory.
TEA – Green or black tea has equal antioxidant benefit. Harvard researches found that one cup a day can cut heart disease risk in half, whilst Tufts University shows that made from loose tea or tea bags, instant or bottled tea has little effect.

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1 c. greetings,

1/2 c. smiles,
1 lg. hugs,
2/3 c. love,
1 tsp. sympathy,
2 c. hospitality

Cream greeting and smiles thoroughly. Add hugs separately. Slowly stir in love. Sift sympathy and hospitality and fold in carefully. Bake in warm heart. Serve often.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Wine & Dine

Get a lime friendly diet by Daksha Hathi in The Asian Age, Mumbai – Saturday 6 January, 2007

Have you ever wondered why the British are called limeys? In the olden days, English ships by law were required to carry enough lemon or lime juice to ensure that each sailor could have an ounce daily after being 10 days at sea. That’s why the English were nicknamed ‘limeys.’
Lemons have the ability to prevent scurvy. This dreadful Vitamin C deficiency disease can be kept at bay by consuming a little over a tablespoon of lemon juice daily.
The World Health Organisation brought out a useful book of home remedies (The Use of Traditional Medicine in Primary Health Care) that tells you how lemon promotes digestion and is used for treating vomiting, especially during early pregnancy. The dose is : 1 teaspoon lemon juice three times a day.
All lemon-scented plants with their refreshing scent help brighten up our moods. A hot lemon drink with honey helps to treat colds and flu.
The fresh juice applied externally helps to neutralize poison of wasp stings. Lemon grass makes a tasty and soothing drink. It is easy to grow in the garden.
People suffering from arthritis must drink plenty of lemon juice and other citrus juices. It helps strengthen their joints and connective tissues. It is a misconception that citrus fruits increase acidity.
It is also useful for treating high blood pressure and palpitations.


For indigestion : Extract juice from a piece of fresh ginger, mix it with a teaspoonful of lime juice, sprinkle rock salt powder to reduce the sour lime taste and drink it.

For diarrhea: Take equal quantities of onion juice and lime juice ! In the South many people try out this interesting cure for bleeding piles. Slit a small lime into two and sprinkle rock salt powder inside it. Then place it on the tongue and slowly sip the juice !

Citrus honey : A healthy way to eat your French toast is to pour citrus honey over it. Take one strip orange rind (one and a half inches) and another strip of lemon rind, one tablespoon of fresh orange juice and two teaspoons fresh lemon juice. One cup honey.

Lemonade syrup : You will need grated rind of 6 lemons, juice of 12 lemons, 2 quarts boiling water, 21/4 cups brown sugar, cold water and ice cubes.
Combine the rind and juice and let it stand overnight. Pour the boiling water over the sugar, stir to dissolve, when it comes to a boil, let it boil for five more minutes. Then let it cool. Dilute lemonade syrup with equal parts of cold water and serve with ice cubes.

In the Kitchen : If you are fond of shellfish then the lemon is your friend, as a squeeze of it can rid shellfish of 92 per cent of its bacteria ! The lemon’s crushed pips mixed with honey will eliminate threadworms too !

Sourced from THE ASIAN AGE – MUMBAI, Saturday, 6 January, 2007

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Spice Shelf Life

Dried herbs and spices never go bad, so they won’t make you sick. But over time, their flavour fades. Prolong the power of your seasonings by keeping them in a cool, dry, dark place away from heat. Red-coloured spices like cayenne pepper and paprika are the exception. Pantry bugs such as meal moths and flour beetles like anything red, so store these spices in the fridge or freezer. When cooking, sprinkle the desired amount into a cup or spoon, not directly over the pot, which allows steam inside the bottle.

With proper storage, here’s how long you can expect spices to deliver flavour :

One to three years : Herbs like parsley, basil and oregano. (They lose flavour faster because more surface area is exposed, so flavourful oils dry up.)

Two to three years : Ground spices such as paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Three to five years : Any whole spice, including peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon sticks.

By CYNTHIA DERMODY in RD Food of Reader’s Digest 1st January, 2007


Sourced from The Navhind Times/Panorama 4/Sunday, December 24, 2006

Satisfying an occasional craving for comfort food is a great stress-buster because it leads to physical and mental satiety, which in turn triggers off the feel good factor. Occasional bingeing helps us detangle our emotions and focus more productively on the task at hand……..writes Neeta Lal.

Been resisting that gooey chocolate cake in the fridge for a while? Well, go on and indulge now. For research is increasingly supporting the view that occasional indulgence in ‘comfort foods’ directly and strongly impact our minds and body. Ergo, some foods send strong messages through neurotransmitters or ‘chemical messengers’ to our brain, influencing our emotions and moods.

“Calorie-dense foods – like chocolates, sweetmeats, deep-friend items, junk food and ice-cream – have pleasurable associations, which lead us to crave for them,” explains physician Dr. Ravinder K Tuli, Head of the Department of Holistic Healing, Apollo Indraprastha Hospital, Delhi. “Similarly, certain nutrients like fats and complex carbohydrates have physiological properties which act as mood elevators. These nutrients release endorphins, the feel-good hormones, in the body, thus heightening our sense of wellbeing”.

But what exactly are these “feel-good” foods? Comfort foods are those foods which address a person’s emotional needs more than a physical one,” explains psychologist Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, Senior Consultant, Vidyasagar Institute of Mental and Health and Neurological Studies (VIMHANS), New Delhi. “Physical satiation is usually not the agenda here. Since reaching out for comfort food signals an emotion-linked hunger, the reasons could vary from depression, stress at work and broken relationships to diet plans gone awry, anything”.

Hence dieticians advice that comfort food seekers should learn to distinguish between physical hunger – which builds up gradually and tells the brain clearly when to stop – and emotional eating, which is sporadic, sudden and often prolonged.’

Also, emotional eating is irrational, says Ishi Khosla, a Delhi-based clinical nutritionist. “You just don’t want it to end, you want to keep gorging on whatever is available, regardless of the food’s nutritive value. On the contrary, real and physical hunger sends an unambiguous signal to the brain to stop when our tummies are full”. Also, adds Khosla, emotional hunger riddles us with guilt while normal hunger seems “well-earned and, therefore, leads to no negative feelings”.

Another way to distinguish real hunger from emotional hunger, according to some dieticians, is that the latter invariably strikes when we’re depressed, bored or lonely”. And this is a really vicious circle because depression propels us to eat more, which in turn makes us put on weight,” says Khosla. “And added weight makes no one happy. So make sure that you’re not establishing a hard-to-break pattern for yourself”. Good advice, given that women, especially, are socialized to co-relating their self-image with current beauty norms.

According to Nagpal, pre-menopausal women need to be especially careful while reaching out for comfort foods because, at this age, their hormones are wreaking havoc, with their systems in any case. This makes many women overly emotional which, when combined with other factors like depression and lifestyle stress, could lead to frequent binge eating for comfort.

But is the craving for comfort foods gender or age specific? Are women truly more susceptible? While the jury is still out on this one, what’s definitely established is that gender and age do affect one’s taste in comfort foods. According to a survey done by the University of Illinois, Food and Brand Lab, in the us in 2000, men and older people “….prefer comfort foods that are warm, hearty and meal-related, such as steaks, soups and casseroles, while women and kids reach out for snacks or finger foods, such as chips, savouries, ice-cream and chocolate.”

So is consuming comfort food all bad then? “Not at all,” says Dr. Swati Chaddha, consultant dietician, Max Healthcare, New Delhi. “In fact, satisfying an occasional craving for comfort food is a great stress buster because it leads to physical and mental satiety, which in turn triggers off the feel good factor. Occasional bingeing helps us detangle our emotions and focums more productively on the task at hand. But the trick is to not give in to such binges too frequently.”

Also, while we are at it, Chaddha thinks it is a good idea to shun calorie-dense comfort foods, such as greasy burgers, deep-fried items and ice-creams, and opt for healthier alternatives like fresh fruits, herbal teas, salads, and antioxidant –rich product s like tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and the beta carotene- rich carrots. Products rich in Omega-3 fatty acids – like fish, especially salmon, soya and pulses – also help satiate emotional eating binges. Ditto for items rich in Vitamin-C like lemons, citrus fruits and green chillies. “Vitamin C is a great antidote for stress,” advocates Chadda. “So, stock up on fresh juices. Vitamin C pills also work well, though it’s always more prudent to consume food produce directly.”

Apart from analyzing one’s food intake, one also needs to probe one’s emotional needs. Why is it that we are seeking comfort in food ? This brainstorming, say psychologists, really works because, over a period of time, the mind learns to divert itself effectively. In fact, as soon as emotional hunger strikes, specialists advise that we should try and funnel our energy into diversionary activities like gardening, going out for a walk, meeting up with friends, writing that long overdue letter, reading a good book or playing with pets.
“Also,” advises Nagpal, “keep your communication lines open. Half the problems in our society exist because we have stopped communicating with each other. Don’t bottle up emotions. Meaningful communication with our near and dear ones is the best antidote to stress.”

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