Qualities of a Good Baker

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Like any other profession, a baker requires certain qualities to qualify as a good baker.

We have consolidated a list of qualities for individuals aspired to be a good baker:

· Passion and good leadership

· Good numerical skills

You will need to measure ingredients, order ingredients that are needed and plan cooking times extensively therefore being good with numbers is an added bonus.

· Creativity

Anyone can bake but to stand out from your competition, the element of creativity is necessary as you are able to offer something different from the crowd.

· Able to work under pressure

Baking is a lot about timing, timing and timing. It is important to grasp the right timing that may cause unnecessary stress. The ability to face the immense amount of stress when the end product does not turn out as expected.

· Good organisational skills

This is essential to keep your ingredients in check and to prevent the kitchen from turning into a warzone every time you bake. Baking can be a tricky thing with so many nitty gritty things to take note of but with good organizational skills, baking will be a breeze.

· Awareness of safety and hygiene rules

Not only should your baking creations taste good, they should also reach strict hygiene standards. You want the people who consume your food to stay safe too. Some countries (especially Singapore) have stringent rules on food safety and hygiene that you should be aware of.

· Reasonable level of physical fitness

As per every job, you need to be physically fit to carry out the job tasks. Baking also consists of carrying heavy trays laden with baking goods and sacks of flour and sugar etc. All these carrying require a fit body to carry out.

· The ability to work in a team

Teamwork is extremely important in a kitchen. You need to be able to work with other people to make beautiful creations on a large-scale. Communication with your team members ensures that things are done efficiently and quickly as well.

· Perceptiveness

This will allow the baker to be sure of the exact mass he/she wants to produce the desired baked goods.

· Time consciousness

This attributes to the ability to carry out and meet orders within the designated time frame.

You need to be able to express your intentions to the people working with you. Clarity is key as one tiny mistake will contribute to the imperfection of the final product.

A baker does not just bake goods but has to take on many different responsibilities. Just like how a teacher does not just teach but has to helm administrative duties, a baker has to learn to work with other people besides just knowing how to bake.

Can You Freeze Tiramisu?

The question often comes up as to whether or not you can freeze tiramisu cake dessert or save it in the refrigerator. Of course tiramisu tastes best when fresh but the good news is yes, you can freeze tiramisu. In fact, I personally prefer when it is made 1 to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator where the flavors are allowed to mix together a bit and to mature. Not to worry, it will keep for up to 4 days in total. Leftovers (if there are any) should be refrigerated immediately though.

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Once assembled, the tiramisu can be frozen until you are ready to serve it, in case you are not serving it immediately. An article on the Food Network website suggests “The tiramisu can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the tiramisu (without hazelnut and cocoa topping) in double layer of plastic wrap and layer of aluminum foil. Thaw overnight in refrigerator and top with nuts and cocoa.” Though this may certainly work I have not been able to keep any around for that long so can not confirm that length of freeze time. This is always a very tasty dessert and doesn’t last long in my home. If you do, please let us know.

As far as the individual components are concerned, you can make your ladyfingers or savoiardi well in advance as since they are simply light and sweet sponge cakes roughly shaped like a large finger they can be frozen in the freezer and thawed when ready for use. They are typically soaked in a sugar syrup or liqueur, such as coffee for the tiramisu dessert. The coffee you use should be cool anyway and you can feel free to store it in sealed plastic containerin the refrigerator. In fact in my opinion, if the ladyfingers are just a little stale all the better. They seem to soak up the liquid a little better this way.

There is much debate within the pastry and dessert community as to how long you can actually store your tiramisu and if you should freeze it at all. Keep in mind there are companies who ship frozen tiramisu so you should feel confident in the fact yours will be just fine chilled or frozen. Although I wonder how long you will be able to last before you succumb to the delicious dessert every time you open the freezer or refrigerator door?

Top 10 Sweet 16 Party Must Haves

A sweet sixteen is a monumental milestone in a young woman’s life. Sweet 16 videography and Mtv made the sweet sixteen larger than life by elaborate over the top parties at some of the most amazing venues. There’s amazing amount of pressure for the birthday girl to throw the best party of the year. There are certain elements that go into throwing an amazing birthday bash. Below you will find the 10 sweet sixteen party must haves.

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1.) Sweet 16 videography- Ever since Mtv’s show ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen”, sweet sixteen videography has become a must have for your princess. Nothing will make her feel more like a movie star than multiple cameras following her around. Creating an amazing story of her day from getting ready, arriving at the party, dancing with her friends, speeches from family, cutting the cake and opening the presents will remain a keep sake in your family forever. Plus, when she shares this cinematic masterpiece on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter it’s guaranteed to increase her popularity throughout the school.

2.) Live Recording Artist Performance- This is an excellent way to really draw massive crowds of friends. Get a popular recording artist to perform at the sweet sixteen party. This is one of the ultimate sweet sixteen gift ideas. This party must have will have the high school kids speaking for days and even years.

3.) DJ- Since there is no alcohol at a sweet sixteen, having the best DJ around is crucial for an excellent throw down. This is the best way to get the party popping and keep the kids dancing all day/night long. Dj’s are known as the superstars of the nightclub nowadays. Get a popular or local DJ to spin and your princess will be thanking you for years to come.

4.) Theme- It’s so important to have a themed sweet sixteen party. Theme’s can range from hipster, red carpet, ballroom, black tie, and many more. Having a theme doesn’t make the party look disorganized. It’s actually awesome to see all the kids get involved and have fun with the themed function.

5.) Tasty Food- Growing kids will always be hungry especially dancing and burning those calories. Nothing is worst than going to a party and eating bad food. Make sure you hire the right catering company or professional chef to feed your guests. Have a wide array of finger foods that can be passed by servers in the beginning of the party. Make sure the main course is made up of salads, pasta, meat, and fish. We can’t forget the cake, make sure it’s a stunning 3 piece layered cake to really wow the guest, and throw some sparklers in it for the main finally. This will sure make a statement.

6.) Grand Entry- You know what they says about being fashionably late. Have your princess roll up in a vintage Bentley or Range Rover Limo to make a statement for her grand entry. If you really want to push the limits even a helicopter fly in would be a jaw dropper. Make sure the DJ spins your choice of track for the walk in extravaganza and the key people of the party are introduced in style.

7.) Entertainment- Having the proper entertainment is key to throwing a proper party. Bring in professional dancers to make a statement. Have some games like dance offs and giveaways to keep the kids having fun all night long.

8.) Venue- It’s so important to have a stunning venue for your little girl. Venue’s can range from Grand Hotels, Breathtaking Banquet halls, Lounge Rooftops, to Nightclubs. Whatever venue you choose make sure you decorate to the nines. This will up the visual quality of the space ten fold.

9.) Gift – Yes mom and dad the party is great, but the main event birthday gift is most important. Give your princess a breathtaking gift like a Car, Ipad, or Personalized jewelry.

10) Security – Lets face it kids will be kids. Every great party has a bit of drama, party crashers, and disorderly conduct. Make a statement with security to keep the party under control and cool. It will make the event look larger than life with a few stocky men keeping everyone in check.

Weekend Hotel Room Specials

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Dear Readers,

Memorial Day Weekend is nearly upon us, and The Eagle Inn would like to take a moment to honor the fallen soldiers who fought so bravely for this beautiful country. The Eagle Inn would be extremely proud to have all former and current veterans visit us on Memorial Day weekend, so we are offering a special on our standup paddling lessons or harbor kayaking to anyone with a military ID. Enjoy either of these activities for $89 on this year’s sunny Memorial Day weekend.

A somber holiday in its conception and tradition, Memorial Day has evolved as a holiday that we often spend with the family outside around the grill, but before you get the charcoal and lighter fluid out, The Eagle Inn would like to take a moment to revisit the history of the holiday. Inspired by our soldiers’ dedication and bravery, we would like to honor them by remembering the importance of the holiday.

Never Forget: There are over a quarter million soldiers buried in Arlington Cemetery with an average of 28 burials a day. We will never forget their sacrifices.

Moment of Silence: In 2000 Congress passed a law requiring all Americans to drop what they are doing at 3pm on Memorial Day to honor our fallen soldiers. You can be certain all of us at The Eagle Inn will be paying our respect at that time.

Old Glory: Remember on Memorial Day it is tradition to fly the flag at half-staff until noon and then raise it to full staff in the afternoon.

Veteran’s Day vs Memorial Day: Often the two are confused. Veteran’s Day honors all US military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives while serving.

A United Country: Memorial Day wasn’t the original name of the holiday. It was Dedication Day, and it began after the Civil War to honor those who died.

Costly Price: We lost 620,000 soldiers during the Civil War. That’s more than WWI, WWII, and the Korean War combined. The high death toll was a result of Americans fighting on both sides of the war.

Cody’s Cafe Makes Your Day Memorable

Dear Readers,

Memorial Day weekend is almost here, and all of us at Cody’s Cafe would like to take a moment to pay our respects to those brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our beloved country. Cody’s would like to spend this Memorial Day by serving our current and former members of the armed forces. That’s why we are offering special discounts and deals for anyone with a military ID on Memorial Day weekend.

Don’t stress having to plan a Memorial Day cookout or party. Come relax and let Cody’s take care of you and the family. This Memorial Day weekend let Cody’s serve you some of the best American comfort food classics. Thinking about having a private party? Cody’s offers a wonderfully affordable private party venue as well. Here’s how Cody’s can turn your Memorial Day into one to remember.

Family First: Cody’s believes in creating a family friendly restaurant without sacrificing atmosphere or quality. Cody’s knows how important your family is to you, and that’s why we believe it’s essential to have a great family friendly restaurant that everyone can enjoy.

Morning, Noon & Night: Whether you are looking for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, Cody’s servers it all: a fresh breakfast to start the day, a light lunch to keep you active, or a hearty dinner with deserts and drinks. Never worry if it’s a good time to stop at Cody’s. No matter the meal, we will be here.

Fresh is Best: Don’t waste your money stopping at one of the large chain restaurants only to be served frozen processed food. Cody’s uses local vegetables, meat, and spices. When the ingredients are only a few minutes away, there is no need for preservatives and freezing.

America’s Best: Cody’s doesn’t believe in having to over complicate things. We serve our renditions of American classics. Dishes like pot roast, liver and onions, and oven-roasted turkey have disappeared off many restaurant menus across the country. Enjoy these great American classics once again at Cody’s.

Locally Unique: Aren’t you tired of the same décor, same dishes, same atmosphere, same menu, and the same bland taste you get with every chain restaurant? Come to Cody’s and enjoy a unique taste of Santa Barbara. Bring some excitement back into dinner by staying away from chain places and sticking with your neighborhood cafe.

These are just a few reasons how Cody’s can turn your usual Memorial Day weekend into something unusual. Be sure to bring a form of military ID to receive special offers and discounts. Don’t want to to wait to be seated? Make your reservation today by calling (805) 683-5141. Or if you have any questions or comments click here.

One of our regulars at Cody’s Cafe is Rosie, from Rosie’s Cleaning Service.  After your big Memorial Day party, if you need help  cleaning up, call Rosie!

Happy Memorial Weekend!

 

Memorial Day Weekend Events in Santa Barbara:  

Memorial Day Celebration: Join the Veterans Coordinating Council to honor the sacrifice of American military members. Lunch will be provided. (Monday May 29th at 12:30 pm. 112 West Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Call 455-5259)

Pierre Claeyssens Veteran’s Museum & Library: This Memorial Day, join the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation (PCVF) at the Santa Barbara Cemetery in remembrance of those who gave the greatest sacrifice for our country. The ceremony will include a patriotic program featuring the Santa Barbara Choral Society, bagpipers, and keynote speech from featured guest, Captain Charlie Plumb.

iMadonnari Street Painting Festival: Palettes of color and culture come together for three days each spring at Old Mission Santa Barbara. Watch street painters transform Mission plaza using pastels on pavement to create over 150 vibrant and colorful large-scale images.

 

Don’t forget to check out Cody’s superb wine list.  Try a local wine like Cody’s Chardonnay Private Label.

About Cody’s Cafe: Cody’s Cafe has proudly welcomed the Santa Barbara community since 1995. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily at reasonable prices. Customers love our warm atmosphere and cozy setting so much that many local groups use our event room for their regular meetings.  Our event room is also the perfect location for birthday parties or any other occasion you had in mind. Call 805-683-5141 for more information and to book your event. You can also visit our website to read comments from our satisfied customers who rave about Cody’s Cafe. For the latest news and information “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Laugh till you’re green in the face. Classic Friars Roast

Dear Comedy Lovers,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Do you know why you shouldn’t iron your four leaf clovers? Because you don’t want to press your luck!

There’s no need to press your luck with our Classic Friar’s Roast DVDs. You are guaranteed some of the best laughs in the history of comedy. You can now order streaming access to our collection as well. Gift cards make the perfect accessory for Saint Patrick’s Day and other holidays. If there is a comedy buff in your life–maybe it’s you?–they are sure to appreciate and enjoy hours of classic comedy with our collections.

Since it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, and since we love a good laugh, here are some more Saint Patrick’s Day jokes for your delight!

Knock Knock Who’s there?

Irish!

Irish Who?

Irish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How is a best friend like a 4-leaf clover?

Because they are hard to find and lucky to have.

What do you get when you cross a pillowcase with a stone?

A sham rock!

Why are leprechauns so hard to get along with?

Because they’re very short-tempered!

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This Year, the Laughs are on us.

About Classic Friars Club Roasts: With Classic Friars Roasts you can own the best comedy roasts of all time on DVD. Order the Johnny Carson Roast or watch as Don Rickles roasts Hollywood legends. Erupt in laughter as Dean Martin roasts Don Rickles. Visit the website at http://classicfriarsroasts.com to learn more about these brilliant comedy sketches. “Like” the Facebook page for hilarious insights into Friars Club Roasts.

Classic Friars Club Roasts - Thanksgiving

Top 10 WordPress Themes for Restaurants

It’s not enough to just serve great food these days, every restaurant needs an engaging website to be noticed. Customers like to check out menus, read reviews and have the option of booking a table online before they visit. Luckily, you don’t need to be a design pro to create beautiful, user-friendly restaurant web designs, as there are plenty of great WordPress themes that will do the job for you. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 options.

Top 10 WordPress Themes for Restaurants

 

  • Sage

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

Not sure how you want your website to look? Then Sage is a great option for you as there are over 40 demo sites to choose from covering everything from Seafood, Vegan and Thai to Bakery, Brewery or Tea House designs. Once you’ve selected a demo you can use the theme options panel to easily customize the design to suit your restaurant.

Top Sage Features

  • Four free ad-ons
  • Ability to set up an online shop with WooCommerce
  • Drag-and-drop menu builder
  • Six-month customer support and one-click install

Price – $59

More info/download Sage

 

  • Food Truck

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

This is the ideal theme for street vendors, food truck owners or small food businesses. Food Truck incorporates simple page and menu builders and is easy to tweak, including nearly 90 custom shortcodes, 10 widgets and over 600 Google Fonts. However, this theme’s key selling point is its truck locator map, which allows customers to find you easily.

Top Food Truck Features

  • Truck locator map
  • Events listings
  • E-commerce capabilities
  • Six-month customer support and one-click install

Price – $59

More info/download Food Truck

 

  • Resca

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

Resca is one of the top restaurant website themes and looks great on all devices. Choose from one of the demo sites and make it your own by selecting from hundreds of colors, skins, fonts and icon options. Resca’s star attraction is its events calendar which will keep your customers in the know.

Top Resca Features

  • Events calendar and countdown clock
  • OpenTable reservation and booking
  • Ability to set up an online shop with WooCommerce
  • Six-month customer support and one-click install

Price – $59

More info/download Resca

 

  • Tavern

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

Tavern is one of the most popular WordPress themes for pubs and restaurants. It includes well-known plug-ins like Revolution Slider, Essential Grid and Visual Composer, all of which allow you to create any site layout. You can drag and drop pre-built features to customize your design and improve the user experience with a reservation/booking system and online shop.

Top Tavern Features

  • Translation feature
  • OpenTable reservation and booking
  • Ability to set up an online shop with WooCommerce
  • Six-month customer support

Price- $59

More info/download Tavern

 

  • Luigi

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

If you’re in the fine dining sector or run a high-end eatery such as an Italian Bistro, then Luigi is the classy restaurant theme for you. The theme boasts a Hero Block feature which allows for full-width images and customizable titles, text and fancy call-to-actions. Luigi also has an online table reservation system, event organizer and GoodReviews plug-in so customers can let everyone know how great your food is.

Top Luigi Features

  • GoodReviews plug-in to display customer reviews and ratings
  • Event organizer
  • Reservation booking system
  • Classy, image-heavy design

Price – $79

More info/download Luigi

 

  • LaCuisine

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

LaCuisine is a clean, ultra-responsive theme suitable for any type of eatery. Start with one of their stylish demo sites and edit to suit your style with the hundreds of fonts, colors and layout options. LaCuisine’s key features include sharp, retina-ready graphics and an engaging menu builder which allows diners to click on dishes and leave a review or pre-order them.

Top LaCuisine Features

    • Engaging menu builder which enables diners to leave reviews
    • Restaurant Reservations plug-in
    • Ability to set up an online shop with WooCommerce
    • Six-month customer support

Price – $59

More info/download LaCuisine

 

  • Nuvo

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

This is an extremely visual theme that offers unlimited color, layout and sidebar options. Nuvo will help you create a site full of Parallex full-screen images and video backgrounds; you can also choose from a huge range of animations and typography. Nuvo is easy to personalize and works well for restaurants, cafes and bistros, however, the theme does looks better on larger devices.

Top Nuvo Features

  • Stunning, image-heavy design
  • Event management section
  • Restaurant booking capability
  • Six-month customer support

Price – $53

More info/download Nuvo

 

  • Dalton

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

Dalton is a multi-purpose, corporate theme that works well for restaurants as well as other types of businesses. It has six unique homepage designs to start with and over 55 customizable page builder elements, as well as stunning Parallex and retina-ready visuals. This theme uses the Slider Revolution plug-in for smooth scrolling, perfect for websites with lots of images.

Top Dalton Features

  • Image-friendly
  • Integrated with WooCommerce to create online shops
  • Highly customizable with extensive theme options
  • Six-month customer support and one-click install

Price – $59

More info/download Dalton

 

  • Piquant

WordPress Themes for Restaurants

Piquant offers a simple, bold design and six homepage styles. There are customizable menus, clever call-to-action buttons and awesome image galleries. The stand-out feature of Piquant is its blog function which has six different post templates, so if you’re serious about engaging with your customers and updating them on new dishes and events, this is a great theme to choose.

Top Piquant Features

  • Blog function with post templates
  • Reservation and booking system
  • Compatible with WooCommerce to sell products online
  • Six-month customer support

Price – $59

More info/download Piquant

 

  • Rosa

WordPress Themes for RestaurantsRosa is great for restaurants, cafes and bakeries and is a popular bar website theme. If you want to focus on high-end images Rosa is a great choice as you can create stunning galleries, Parallex visual effects and video.  The theme also has handy booking and e-commerce capabilities.

Top Rosa Features

  • Ideal for image-heavy sites
  • Reservation and booking system
  • E-commerce capability
  • Six-month customer support

Price – $59

More info/download Rosa

Investing in a top restaurant theme for your website is one of the smartest moves you can make. Rather than battling with web coding, save time and hassle by choosing a ready-made theme and simply modify it to reflect your restaurant’s unique personality. Don’t forget to make use of your theme’s special features to improve user experience, including table booking, e-store and online review plug-ins. Build a stunning menu and pack your site full of enticing food images and your restaurant will be buzzing in no time!

 

About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros. Services provided include: Google search marketing, SEO copywriting services, ethical search engine optimization, internet marketing courses, seo consultation, seo positioning. Search Engine Pros is a Santa Barbara web marketing agency that provides a full range of web marketing services, including social media consulting, top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.About the Author: Taylor Reaume is a fortune 500 web marketing consultant from Santa Barbara, CA and founder of Search Engine Pros, a full service web marketing agency providing a range of web marketing services, including social media consulting top web design, custom WordPress, web programming, and marketing SEO services. Visit the website at http://TheSearchEnginePros.com for a complimentary Google rank analysis. “Like” the Facebook page for regular insights on WordPress SEO. Call 800-605-4988 to request a complimentary copy of 101 Ways to Drive Traffic.

The Pros and Cons of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass has many, many pros and very few cons. It is a potent superfood with a hefty list of benefits and very few to absolutely no negative side effects. Not only can it be taken for your general well-being, but it can also be used to treat an array of ailments as well.

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About Wheatgrass

You may be wondering what exactly wheatgrass is. Is it a wheat or is it a grass? It’s actually both. It is derived from the special “leaf seeds” of common wheat, called cotyledons. All wheats are grasses. Wheatgrass actually looks more similar to bright, green grass than it does other types of wheat. The growing process is similar to that of growing malt wheat, but wheatgrass is allowed to grow for a longer period of time. It is harvested when the sprouts begin to split and all of the parts that are above the ground are used. This is when it will provide the optimum nutrition.

What It Does

Superfoods all have really high nutritional value and wheatgrass is no exception. It has high quantities of vitamins A, C and E, along with calcium, magnesium, iron and lots of amino acids. It is an excellent way to round out your diet and provide you with new energy and vitality, especially when paired with other superfoods.

Along with all of the vitamins and minerals, wheatgrass has antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a well-rounded immune system booster. It also increases the production of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. This helps to purify the bloodstream as well as more efficiently deliver oxygen to the rest of the body. With this increased oxygen flow, you will find yourself feeling better both physically as well as mentally.

While removing toxins from the blood it also helps to cleanse the liver. It can even remove heavy metal and drug deposits that may have accumulated. Wheatgrass is also great for irrigating the body. It is a mild diuretic and can help to remove impurities as well as bacteria from the bladder, kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.

Who Should Take It

Everyone can benefit from a small dose of wheatgrass daily. It is such a great superfood that you only need a small amount to experience the effects such as having more energy and fewer colds. Some people with certain conditions or certain ailments can get added benefits from wheatgrass. It is also obviously a good choice for anyone engaging in a detox or body cleansing regimen.

Because of it’s amazing effects on red blood cells, wheatgrass is a good way to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. It is also helpful for those with diabetes and other blood sugar conditions. It is excellent for combating infections, especially bacterial ones. As a diuretic as well as an anti-bacterial agent, it is particularly effective against UTIs and similar infections.

As a short term remedy, it can ease sore throats along with respiratory symptoms of the cold and flu. It is also good for mild joint pain, including arthritis. It can even act as a digestive aid. Many people also enjoy the taste so it is used in a number of food and drink products to enhance the flavor.

Forms of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is a staple of specialty food stores. You can buy the raw wheatgrass, wheatgrass juice or powder, as well as wheatgrass pills and tablets. Wheatgrass has a distinct and strong flavor that is somewhat sweet. Some people dislike the flavor, which turns them away from raw, juice and powder forms. Luckily, tablets are now readily available and they do not even have an aftertaste.

Wheatgrass juice is believed to provide the largest amounts of benefits. People often take “shots” of the juice because that is all that is needed. Some people chase it with fruit juice or incorporate it into smoothies. Drinking the juice can unfortunately get a bit expensive though.

The powdered wheatgrass can be bought in bulk and tends to last longer than the juice. Many people are turning to the powdered form. It is processed though so it does lose a bit of its nutritional value. Wheatgrass is so high in nutrients, though, that even the powdered form still has the qualities of a superfood.

Side Effects

As far as negative side effects of wheatgrass go, they are very uncommon. A small number of people may experience mild nausea, constipation or loss of appetite after taking wheatgrass. The benefits definitely out-weigh these mild side effects for most, so give one of the forms of wheatgrass a try.

Do People Really Drink Warm Beer in Europe?

Being a person who has sampled quite a lot of beer in Europe, friends in America will often ask if they really drink warm beer there. Since Americans like their beer almost to the freezing point and then served in a frosty mug, they can’t imagine how you could drink beer that isn’t ice cold. The fact is European drink their beer less frosty, shall we say, than the American counterpart. This article will explore some of the reasons for that as well as shed some light on just what we Americans term as “warm beer”.

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According to experts beer as well as red wine should be consumed at slightly below normal room temperature. That is if those beverages are high quality. If they are of the highest quality we want to get every bit of flavor out of them as you can. If they are lacking in quality or are downright poor, to make them drinkable they should be as cold as you can get them. Europeans will tell you that most American beer served cold for that reason.

Although serving temperatures in beer varies country to country they are served warmer than in the USA. The specific brewing temperatures of ales are normally about 52 to 63°F, and lagers about 40 to 48°F. This might vary among brewers, but those temperatures are where the most flavors can be had from the beer, even if it is not what most Americans are used to. Remember that beer in Europe has a long-standing culture, and even if American brewers originally came from Europe in time beer was produced for volume, not for the quality.

On top of it American beers can be highly carbonated which further will mask the flavor but give it a pleasant tingle. In Europe beer is beer on its own, and I could never recall a quality beer in Europe that would carbonate their beverage.

So to conclude this short lesson on European beers and why they are not as cold as American beers, let’s mention perhaps the most famous European beer: Guinness. Brewed in Dublin it is also served chilled. But if you have a Guinness in the United Kingdom I’m sure you’ll notice that it is richer and I think more full-bodied. It’s still good in America and in other parts of the world, but Americans drink their Foreign Extra Stout. If ever you’re in Europe you should try it there, as I’m sure you will find this much better than the American version.

My 3 Favourite Recipes From Kenya

With 52 tribes in Kenya, extending from the coast to the Rift Valley lakes to the central highlands to the northern desert, the cuisines found in this country are many and varied. There is also a strong Indian influence as the spice traders started coming to Africa centuries ago and have remained to trade in various other goods since. Here I present three dishes commonly found around Nairobi. Two – the matoke and mukimo – are traditional Kikuyu dishes from the central highlands, and the chapatti is from the coast.

Chapatti

Ingredients (makes 15-20 chapattis):

½ litre cold water

1 kg flour

Salt

Sugar

Oil

Method:

Mix water with flour, add a handful of salt, a bit of sugar and a bit of oil (the oil makes the chapatti turn golden when it cooks). Divide the mixture into balls the size of a child’s fist. Roll out each ball to a flat circle about the size of a dinner plate. Fry on a very hot, oiled chapatti pan (flat fry pan) for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

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Matoke

Ingredients:

Plantains (these are green bananas that are starchy and not sweet)

Tomatoes

Cooking oil

Potatoes

Water

Onions

Parsley

Capsicum

Salt

Method:

Peel the plantains and potatoes and soak for about half an hour. Meanwhile fry onions, tomatoes, parsley, capsicum and salt. Add potatoes and plantains to the fried tomato mix. Cover with water and add salt to taste (the salt also helps soften the plantains quickly). Stew over medium heat until the plantains and potatoes are cooked through.

To cook minji (peas), maharagwe (beans, usually red kidney) and njahi (black beans) follow a similar recipe. Boil the peas or beans for several hours until soft. Fry up the tomato mix described above, add potatoes and water. Finally add the peas or beans and mix together over low heat.

Mukimo

Ingredients:

Beans (red kidney beans usually)

Maize kernels

Onions

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Method:

Boil beans and maize (generally equal amounts of beans and maize) until soft, this usually takes a couple of hours. In another pot, cook onions, tomatoes and potatoes until soft. Then add the beans and maize. Now you have githeri another popular Kikuyu dish (my favourite!). However, to get to mukimo, cook the stew for another 30 minutes before mashing it all together. The maize is tough to mash so don’t worry about the kernels staying whole. The beans and potatoes will mash easily though.

Some versions of mukimo do not use beans; instead use a leafy green vegetable such as kale or spinach which mashes with the potato to make the mukimo green.

The quantities depend on your taste and how many you are cooking for. Generally for mukimo you want equal quantities of beans, maize and potatoes with the onion and tomato simply adding some taste. For matoke the plantains should be more than the potatoes, about a 2:3 ratio. Again the tomato fry mix is simply to add taste so you don’t need too much. For the chapattis the flour should be twice the amount of water with sugar and salt to taste.