Is It Good to Use Margarine As a Butter Substitute for Cooking

The old debate over which is better for cooking, butter or margarine, has been rolling on for what seems like forever now! While many are still engaged in the argument, we’ve gotten out textbooks and done some research so that we can give you the all facts you need to know about cooking with margarine.

Using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking has become more popular in the recent past – why? Because margarine helps you to cook tasty and healthier meals, since it contains less saturated fat than butter. But what exactly is the difference between butter and margarine?

Good quality margarines contain unsaturated fats and less bad saturated fats than butter. Replacing SAFA by MUFA and/or PUFA in your diet helps to maintain a healthy/normal cholesterol level. Most margarines producers now pay special attention to the amount of salt in their margarines and most quality margarines are made with a combination of vegetable oils that naturally contain omega 3 and 6.

Here’s what the experts have to say about the differences:

Jennifer K Nelson, R.D, L.D of The Mayo Clinic states that “margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health”, while the Nordic Nutrition Recommendation report suggests switching to vegetable oil and vegetable oils based fat spreads as part of a healthy diet.

Put simply it looks like this:

Margarine
– Made from vegetable oil
– Contains ‘good fats’
– Comes in many different varieties and blends for your needs, tastes and lifestyle requirements

Butter
– Made from animal fat
– Contains more cholesterol and higher levels of saturated fats
– Has a more limited longevity

So we can see why more and more people are making the switch from butter to cooking with margarine every day.

On top of all this there are loads of tasty recipes that you can try using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking.

Cooking with margarine might just re-invigorate your passion for cooking at home, or perhaps it could be the incentive you’ve been looking for! There are some fantastic buttery-tasting recipes online, made – you guessed it – with no butter! All you need is margarine, flour, caster sugar and an egg yolk: simple! There are loads of other tasty, healthy, margarine-based foods available, both sweet and savoury.

There are also surprising benefits to cooking with margarine; did you know that liquid margarine changes from opaque to translucent when it gets hot enough? So can see immediately when your pan has reached the right temperature. And margarine doesn’t spit, like some oils, so it’s perfect for all your cooking.

Why not try making the switch at dinner tonight? Try out a new recipe using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking. You never know – it could end up being the healthy change you’ve been looking for.

As passionate about margarine as she is about cooking, professional chef and home economist Sue Batty has her share of experience in the culinary world. She’s a writer of recipe books, a teacher and specialises in food styling and recipe development among many other talents

Coffee_ Pinoy Style

If you are a Filipino, it is safe to assume that you are a coffee lover. You may have grown up in a household where your parents or older siblings often drink coffee, which is probably the reason why you learned how to drink coffee early in your life, too. Actually, as strange as it may seem, there are some kids as young as seven who already have a liking for coffee. Anyway, with the emergence of coffee shops everywhere, and easy to make coffee, it’s not hard to understand why more and more Filipinos like to think of themselves as coffee lovers.

Some fun (and maybe a little bit odd) facts about Pinoys and Coffee

Of course, as Filipinos, there are certain things about coffee – and your relationship with coffee – that are truly unique. Here are some of those things:

Filipinos often take coffee in the morning to help them get energized and prepare for the long day ahead.
Some even pour coffee over rice as “sabaw”. Yep, Filipinos do love soupy rice because it makes eating more fun.
Filipinos love to dip bread or biscuits in coffee. Just like Oreo Cookies and Milk, Coffee and biscuits seem to be the perfect fit. Yum, yum.
Aside from biscuits, Pandesal is also an awesome partner of coffee. Pandesal is every Filipino’s staple breakfast food and all-time favorite bread. Pair it with coffee, or dip it in coffee and you’re good.
Coffee is also often taken during snacks. For a lot of Filipinos, no merienda is complete without coffee.

Proudly Filipino

One type of coffee that can be called as proudly Filipino is Kapeng Barako. Kapeng Barako is native to Batangas. Barako literally means “Alpha Male”, which could also explain why this coffee tastes so bitter-but you have to admit, it tastes really good, too. Think you know everything you need to know about Kapeng Barako? Think again.

Barako is actually a tree. It got its name from the old Tagalog term for “Wild Boar”. Wild Boars love to eat a Barako tree’s leave sand fruits.
The first Barako tree was planted in the 1800’s by the Macaset Family in Batangas. They got a cutting of the tree from a trip to Brazil.
Basically, all coffee beans that hail from Batangas are called “Barako”.
Kapeng Barako is known for being intensely flavorful and strong smelling.
And, get this, some spas actually use Kapeng Barako as a body scrub!

It’s amazing how great the coffee industry in the Philippines is and how much Filipinos love coffee. It’s one of those things that make living in the Philippines amazing-and wherever you may be in the world, remembering Pinoys’ love for coffee will make you feel like you’re back at home.

Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipe Without Using an Ice Maker

As summers are approaching and our desire to eat something cool and icy, start reaching to the limit, especially if that icy thing is frozen dessert then our craving knows no bound. Ice cold, creamy, soft, and sweet nature of ice cream makes it the desire of everybody’s heart regardless of age or gender. For a normal person getting an ice creamery cone or a pint from their favorite frozen yogurt parlor is as easy as pie, but what about the people living with the allergy to milk and milk products or lactose intolerance?

Having an ice cream, that is totally free from harmful substances, is not an easy task. First, you can’t get them easily and everywhere, second, if you found them you can’t buy them blindly as there may be some possibility of cross contamination and hidden substances that can trigger the symptoms inside you. But even though getting this cold dessert may be a bit tricky, this delicious and creamy frozen dessert is within reach.

The hardest part of a frozen yogurt without using any dairy product is getting a rich, creamy and frothy texture. In this condition full-fat coconut milk is the best to get the desired texture that can quench your thirst of having some icy cool as well as a healthy indulgence. Coconut is the best known for its health benefits for decades. It also contains fat but only good fat that can easily be absorbed by our digestive system. The best part of all this is that you can prepare this coconut milk ice cream at home all by yourself avoiding any possibilities of cross contamination while cutting out all the harmful sugar and preservatives and adding the ingredients that you like the most.

To drop you a line about how you can experiment while making such ice cream, here is a recipe of frozen treat using coconut milk.

Ingredients:

1. One can of full fat coconut milk
2. Vanilla flavor
3. Honey

Method:

Pour all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk everything together, then sift this mixture into a large baking dish and put in the freezer for at least 45 minutes.

Then take the mixture from the freezer out and again beat it vigorously and put it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes. Repeat this procedure until the ice dessert is frozen. It will take about 2 to 3 hours to be ready to serve.

The coconut milk ice cream is ready. You can also replace the flavor with one you like. You can also add real nuts and fruits into pieces or cookie of your choice depending on which flavor you are making. The ice cream has the quality and capability to become the desire of everyone with a hint of coconut, but at the same time letting you enjoy your favorite flavor.

Strawberries and Summer – The Perfect Treat

Hoorah… the strawberries are back on our supermarket shelves and don’t they just taste so delicious. Even though officially strawberry season started back in May, the sun is coming out a bit more in June and July meaning that everybody are lighting up their Barbie’s making these months the most popular time for the fruit to be consumed. And as we all know this juicy, sweet and succulent fruit is a perfect partner with a great British Barbeque served with some nice and refreshing whipped cream.

The mild temperatures of May, along with the longer days and more sunshine makes it the perfect time of the year for strawberries to grow. The seasons nowadays are much more ‘fruitful’ than in past generations due to advancements in varieties, which means that British consumers have many different British berries to choose from that have been developed to suit the UK climate.

Two particular strawberries to look out for are the “Sweet Eve” or “Eve’s delight”, both of which are high in natural sugars. This gives them a beautiful aroma and for an added bonus they have a long shelf life making them great value for money.

Strawberries were first talked about back in the Roman times, around 200 BC when they were used for medicinal purposes. Then in medieval Britain, strawberries were traditionally consumed as the breakfast for newly married couples. The heart shaped fruit symbolised passion and purity making them very romantic indeed.

Although they are popularly served with cream, the possibilities of what you can do with your strawberries are endless. For instance, why not try making a summer fruits cheesecake, jam, a tart or even a good old smoothie. Don’t be boring with your fruit, do something new, exciting and adventurous!

Moreover, they do not just tickle our taste buds but actually make us feel happier just thinking about them. This was apparently concluded from a survey taken at a university in the south of England, which found that eighty-six percent of people that were asked, felt more relaxed just thinking about eating one. This is no doubt due to the fact that thinking about the distinctive smell of strawberries, evokes a lot of happy memories.

I’m sure all this talk of one of the most loved fruits has got your mouth watering, so make sure you get your strawberry fix this year, because summer is not the same without them.

How to Choose the Best Cake Displays

Everybody wants to have their cake and eat it too – and it is possible especially when you baked a cake that’s worthy of several blue ribbons at any county fair. As humans, we always eat with our eyes first and cakes, especially those that are masterfully decorated and designed to tempt your taste buds are even more perfect when you put them on display and display them to their best advantage.

Cakes and desserts in general, are part of what makes people flock to their favorite restaurants. In addition to the entrees and main courses, the dessert menu is what every person in the restaurant eagerly reaches for when it is offered. Some restaurants will put their cakes on push trays but most either rent or buy their own cold food display so that they can showcase their sweet masterpieces for everyone to see.

Whether you are a startup business or an existing one, investing in restaurant equipment like cake displays is necessary if you want your business to continue growing. As such, it is important that you exercise careful thought and consideration in your choices so that you end up with equipment that will serve you in long stead and will be worth every cent you invested in it. So you need to check that you can afford these displays and that you get them only from reputable catering equipment suppliers.

The best part about getting them from catering equipment suppliers online is the fact that there are companies that rent them out in addition to selling them. You simply fill out a rental form and then wait for your request to be approved within 24 hours from submission. You even have the option to buy the equipment when your rental period ends for a percentage of the original price. Also, you get to have your equipment repaired or replaced or free so you save on repair expenses.

The first thing you need to know is that there are different stands for different cakes. Pedestal stands for example, are for wedding cakes. These stands are better suited for holding heavy cakes and are usually available in round or square shapes. Domed cake stands on the other hand, feature a domed lid set upon a pedestal bottom and elevates your cake a few inches off any table or surface. You can remove the lid when you want to serve a slice of cake and put it back again when you’re done. These stands are mostly used in diners and in establishments that serve cake as part of their menu.

Satellite stands are used to create the illusion of satellites in space and to achieve this effect, cakes of varying heights and tiers are needed. This is usually displayed in formal dinner parties, wedding receptions and other big parties. They are also mostly used by bakeries to display cakes of different flavors so that customers are able to choose the ones they like. The stand’s pedestals usually vary in height, ranging from 6 inches to 24 inches.

In order to choose the best cake displays, you need to bear in mind that a good cake display will contribute to an ideal retail environment so it is important that you choose ones that are sturdy and are made of high-quality materials. You should also choose ones that will show off your cakes to their best advantage and one that will fit the theme of your store or restaurant as visual appeal is very important when you’re in the food business.

And lastly, choose stands that won’t get in the way when you work, especially when you have heavy customer traffic. It is also good to get cake displays that provide ample protection so that your food doesn’t get contaminated with bacteria or dust. Remember that above all else, safe food handling and storage is something you must practice so you won’t get your restaurant or business in trouble.

My Favorite Easy and Healthy Recipes for Summer Pies

Summer is the season for parties, picnics, and cookouts, but that doesn’t mean your plans for healthy eating need to go on the back burner until September. We may be secretly high-fiving ourselves for resisting the chips, cheesy dips, and burgers, but then comes dessert. Don’t you deserve a little sweet treat after eating carefully all day? Yes, you do!

The trick is to watch out for those store-bought treats that may be loaded with tons of extra sugar, chemicals and preservatives. Why not bring dessert to your next party so you can control the choices and amount of sugar. These 2 recipes are so simple, easy to make, and delicious that you’ll be the star of the party. Plus, they are so easy you can get your kids to make them for you!

Mixed Fruit Berry Tart

Whether you pick your own fruit or buy some fruit at your local market, this tart is a winner. Plus, by using a single crust instead of a double crust you are already slashing the number of calories in this tasty treat. Make dessert preparation even easier by using a pre-made crust. Many good quality whole wheat and granola pre-made crusts are available. This recipe is so easy you just mix, pour, and bake!

Mix together in a large bowl and let sit 10 minutes:

4 cups fresh fruit of your choice (Choose one or a combination of your favorites – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar (or your favorite sweetener – such as honey, raw honey, agave nectar)

note: fresh sweet fruit doesn’t need a lot of added sugar so start with 1/4 cup, mix, taste, and decide if you want to add a little more sugar.

1/4 cup minute tapioca (or your favorite thickener – such as cornstarch, arrowroot)

note: I like to use 2 tablespoons tapioca and 2 tablespoons chia to thicken the pie filling and give it a nutritional boost.

Pour ingredients into you pie crust, cover with foil, and bake for about 60 minutes at 350 degrees (place pie tin on a baking sheet to avoid a messy cleanup if fruit bubbles up). Remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Cool and Enjoy!

Key Lime Pie

Yes, I know. You can’t really call Key Lime Pie a healthy dessert, but sometimes I just need to have a slice. What I discovered was I no longer even like the taste of the restaurant and store-bought pies. They are so loaded with extra sugar that you can’t even enjoy the key lime flavor. On top of that, many store-bought pies contain between 3,000 to 5,000 calories. The per serving calorie count divides that by 8 (about 375-625 calories per slice), but not everyone is cutting a pie up into 8 small portions. In reality, most of us are probably eating a slice containing about 1,000 calories.

What if you could make a simple homemade Key Lime Pie with a fraction of the calories and tremendous flavor. Even better, it only takes 5 steps (Really only 3 action steps including measuring, whisking, and pouring).

Purchase a good quality graham cracker crust (no high fructose corn syrup!)

Whisk together 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk and 4 egg yolks (takes about 1 minute by hand)

Add 1/2 cup fresh or bottled Key Lime juice and whisk (takes about 1 minute for mixture to slightly thicken)

Pour filling into crust and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Cool pie completely on rack then chill for 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Personally, I find the hardest part is waiting 8 hours to let the pie set! This pie tastes so good, you don’t even need to add extra cream for a topping. A few sliced limes on top for garnish give your pie a professional look.

So the next time you go to a party and want to bring an easy homemade dessert that will knock everyone’s socks off, try one of these recipes. Stay in control of the calories and ingredients by knowing what you are eating. You can still eat healthy and allow yourself to indulge once in a while. Healthy living is all about finding the right balance that works for you.

Unique Dessert Ideas for Your Event

You have marked a spectacular event in your calendar. Now you have to summon all your energy and collect all your resources to awe your guests with your incredible creative ideas. Depending on the formality of the occasion or the number of guests that you would like to invite, you should be able to come up with mind-blowing ideas to turn your event into a special and unique experience. With the help of professional catering companies, your dreams might easily come true and your culinary fantasies might quickly turn into reality.

Most people with substantial budgets choose to provide full-course nutritional menus that focus on meats, gourmet wines and various ethnic specialties. For people with limited budgets, the idea of serving delicious appetizers together with light alcoholic beverages and yummy desserts can be equally effective.

You can easily stun your guests with several unique dessert ideas. Present your delicious dessert menu in an extravagant and creative manner, and your visitors will be tempted to try a sample of your food.

Amazing Catering Ideas for Your Dessert Offerings

1. Effective decoration could be a major contributing factor for the success of your event. Sophisticated decorative techniques might be the key to an unforgettable dining experience. Decorate your frosted cupcakes with a variety of colorful sprinkles to achieve an optimal glamorous effect. Wrap all soft drinks with colorful paper and add additional artsy elements to the tables to provide a chic finish to your chosen dining theme. Even ordinary cupcakes and chocolates can look truly unique if you dedicate enough enthusiasm and imagination to their presentation.

2. Surprise your guests with ”a garden of sweets”. Place chocolates, cookies or lollipops on a stick, and mimic the effect of a ”garden” featuring ”colorful” ornaments of sweets. Strawberries topped in chocolate, orange slices or banana split bites could be all an exotic addition to your ”glam” dessert menu.

3. If you decide to present a full-course nutritional menu, make sure that you deliver sophisticated dessert offerings such as coffee-infused tiramisu, cr�me Brule or home-made chocolate cake.

4. Create suspense while presenting the dessert menu. Use that fabulous ”dessert” moment to bring a sense of energy into your event by dimming the lights in advance and asking the waiters to present your desserts in an interesting and ”fairy-talish” style.

5. Make wise ”drink” choices. Combine your desserts with fruity cocktails or soda.

Discuss all your unique dessert ideas with your catering provider and make sure they follow them precisely for a maximum effect. Surprise your guests with fresh ”dessert” concepts and make your event truly remarkable. Use your special event as an opportunity to leaving life-long memories in the minds of your guests.

Sausage and Vegetable Wraps With Easy Marinara

The fresh marinara in this recipe is ready in 20 minutes, and all the ingredients can go into the skillet at once. If you have a large cast-iron griddle, the sausages, peppers, and onions can all cook on the same surface at the same time.

This dish is about taking common Italian ingredients and serving them in the style of Mexican street food. Warm, flour tortillas are the perfect vehicles for bringing the sausages, vegetables, marinara, and cheese together in one simple, hand-held meal.

Slicing the grilled sausages in half horizontally, then in half vertically results in hearty pieces of meat that are thin enough to work well in a six-inch tortilla-two pieces per wrap.

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the Marinara

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the Sausages and Vegetables

olive oil, for marinating and brushing
4 hot Italian sausages, about 1 lb total
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin, 1-inch slices
1 small onion, cut into thin, vertical strips
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 6-inch flour tortillas (taco-sized), warmed
1 cup shredded provolone cheese

Preparation

For the Marinara

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the tomato mixture to a slight simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

For the Sausages and Vegetables

Prick the sausages all over with a fork or small knife blade. Rub them with olive oil.
In a small bowl, toss the bell pepper and onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a cast-iron griddle over two stove-top burners on high heat and brush one end with olive oil. Grill the sausages until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 15 minutes, turning several times while cooking.
When the sausages have cooked about 5 minutes, brush the other end of the griddle with oil and scatter the peppers and onions over it. Grill until beginning to char, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.

To serve, combine the sausages, peppers, and onions in a bowl. Place the marinara in a small bowl alongside and serve with cheese and warm tortillas. Let you guests fill their own wraps.

7 Layer Salad

I have a favorite salad recipe I serve for Thanksgiving. I also fix it in the summer months when I want to eat something light but filling. It is a simple salad to make and all it requires is a glass dish.You want to see how pretty it looks with the entire layers stacked on top of each other.

The wonderful thing about this salad is it makes a great side dish for fried chicken. The salad I’m referring to is a 7 layer salad. My mother taught me how to make it. I want to share it with you and you can pass it along to somebody. Here is my recipe for 7 layer salad.

Ingredients

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 can peas

1 onion

6 hard-boiled eggs

1 package bacon

1 to 2 cups miracle whip

1 package sharp shredded cheddar cheese

I listed the ingredients in the order they should go in the salad starting with lettuce first then peas etc. The secret to this salad is the bacon. With that being said you can make this recipe using that imitation store-bought bacon in a jar but it’s not the same. You must use real bacon and lots of it. Get a pot to boil 6 eggs. Salt the water for the eggs because this helps peel the eggs easily. First get a glass casserole dish. I like using a square dish so all the ingredients are laying flat. Cut up a small head of lettuce or enough to cover the bottom of the casserole dish. A half a head of lettuce will do if you are making a small version. Next drain the canned peas and layer on top of the lettuce covering the lettuce all over. Slice up a large onion and layer on top of the peas. Cool the hard-boiled eggs with cold water and remove the shells. Slice the eggs and layer on top of the onion. Cook up a whole pack of bacon until crispy. Crumble the crispy bacon on top of the eggs. Spoon out 1 to 2 cups miracle whip on the bacon and spread it across the bacon with a spreading knife like icing. All the ingredients should completely cover the last ingredient underneath it. The last step is to sprinkle the cheese on top of the salad dressing covering it completely. Press the cheese down into the dressing so it doesn’t fall off. You will thank me later for this recipe.

10 Best Chocolates You Have To Taste in NYC

Here in NYC, we have sampled some of the best chocolates. They are:

1: Hot Chocolate from City Bakery

City Bakery has provides eight ounces of non-watered chocolate that has been melted. This is provided in their cafeteria-style caf� with a large homemade marshmallow placed on tip. Though it is not healthy, it offers a good experience.

2: Holiday Chocolates from L.A Burdick

This is said to be the best shop in NY. Stop in for a cup of hot chocolate with some of your friends on a chilly morning or a hot afternoon and walk out with a box full of delightful chocolate penguins as a gift to a friend.

3: MarieBelle Chocolates

This is a mix of the best and original chocolate that is combined with eclectic ingredients that makes it taste wonderful. All these combined with the best artisanal design which resembles precious jewels makes it perfect.

4: Olivia Kita Fine Chocolates

Olivia Kita’s chocolatiers are probably the best chocolatiers who offer vegan organic chocolates. These beautiful creations mixed with beautiful flavors from herbs, flowers, exotic fruits, berries, nuts and other spices offer the best taste.

5: Jacques Torres Chocolate

These chocolates are probably some of the best you have ever tasted. They are made of fresh beans and can be combined with other delicacies which will overwhelm your taste buds indefinitely.

6: Martine’s Chocolates

They are made of fresh cream chocolates as well as truffles. The delicacies are handmade and are prepared in front of the clients. They include Belgian Callebautcouverture, French butter and fresh American cream. Presented in a pink box that makes the client even salivate before eating.

7: Kee’s Chocolates

This place creates handmade confectionaries. They have an international flavor since their ingredients are imported: yuzu from Japan, French sea salt and Spanish saffron. This is an ideal stop for individuals who prefer a small SoHo shop.

8: Vosges Haut-Chocolat

This is perhaps one of the best places to buy truffles. It provides an international flavor with the exotic flavors collected from all over the world. It is made with curry, Thai pandan leaves and wasabi. You can order this unique candy online for dessert.

9: Hampton Chocolates

The Hampton Chocolate factory employs some of the best chocolatiers from around the world to provide some of the most unique creations. They are all natural, preservation free and have been said to have the best taste.

10: Gnosis chocolates

The gnosis chocolates are all natural and created to enhance the health of the client. Only the best organic ingredients are used to deliver an attractive flavor and nourishment from some of the best herbs from China and Native America. Appropriate for dessert.