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Superman Cocktail

If your favorite watering hole is of the variety that shuns pretty drinks with layers of color, and you have probably never seen anyone order anything that didn’t come in a bottle, you should probably not order up a Superman. Unless of course you’re one of those people that enjoys hearing sighs of dismay coming from the mouths of those around them and is actually quite accustomed to getting looks of bewilderment from absolute strangers. If this floats your boat, the superman is for you, as a matter of fact, if your bartender manages to mess up your layers you might want to ask him to start over as this is quite integral to the full experience of the cocktail. Be sure to use the word cocktail.

Seriously now, the Superman, despite its prissy red and blue layers is actually quite strong, come to think of it, it’s not unlike the tights-sporting villain-swashing superhero from which is gets its name. Both can easily be underestimated.

The drink is made with Sweet and Sour Mix, Grenadine, Blue Curacao and Bacardi. It is served in a tall glass with ice, and a good Superman should have distinct layers of red and blue, a tribute to the man from planet Krypto. The trick to getting the layers is to start with the Bacardi and then add a splash of Sweet and Sour Mix. The Blue Curacao goes in next and then you can start pouring in the grenadine just until you can see a distinct layer of red and blue.

The Superman makes a good drink for the ladies that can handle the liquor but still like to have that sweet aftertaste. Ladies beware of downing too many of these though, not only will the mixture of the Bacardi and Blue Curacao have you laughing at every idiotic thing that falls off the lips of your date, but the calorie content in the grenadine really adds up, so don’t get too addicted.

Soft four leaf clover cookies

There are cookies for just about every major holiday and special day you can think of. This is a really good thing for anyone who enjoys a good cookie! While Christmas cookies might get more attention, St. Patrick’s Day cookies are quite popular. 

One fun design to make for St. Patrick’s Day is the four leaf clover. This little plant is considered good luck to anyone who finds one. Four leaf clovers can be pretty tough to come across, three leaf are more common, so why not make your own? Many things inspired this recipe including another recipe and the love of the color green.

Ingredients 

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsps vanilla or almond extract
2 cups of flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger

Green sugar crystals for decoration

1/4 cup of cocoa can be added to create chocolate four leaf clover cookies.

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet.

In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and extract; mix well.

In a separate bowl blend together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and ginger.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and blend well. 

Dough will be sticky so lightly flour your cookie cutting surface and rolling pin.

Roll out the dough and then use a four leaf clover cookie cutter to cut out the shape. 

Place the clovers two inches apart on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with green sugar and bake for 8-9 minutes. 

Let cool on the pan for 3 minutes after removing from the oven, then move cookies to wax paper to finish cooling. 

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

These cookies are a little bit of a hassle. However, the delicious flavor and soft texture make it worth the trouble! You can experiment with different flavorings to personalize this recipe. You can also adjust the amount of sugar to make a sweeter cookie if desired.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some tasty four leaf clover cookies. These cookies are great for parties, picnics and enjoying with a glass of milk. Who knows, maybe these clovers will even bring about a bit of good luck!

Sugar Beet Regular Beet Difference

Sugar beets are a different variety from regular beets, also known as garden beets or table beets. Yet all kinds of beets are the same species of plant, Beta vulgaris vulgaris. The differences between regular beets and sugar beets lie in their color, flavor, and uses.

Sugar beets are a variation of mangel-wurtzel, a variety of beet bred as animal fodder. The original mangel-wurtzel is not meant for human consumption, being too tough and having the wrong kind of flavor for the human palate. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, French and German plant breeders actively sought to breed a variety of mangel-wurtzel that sugar could be extracted from.

Before the process of making sugar from beets was invented, the only way to make sugar was from sugar cane, which grows only in tropical climates. Then as now, much of the world’s sugar cane was grown in the Caribbean, with a smaller percentage being grown in southern Asia. The long distances cane sugar had to travel to reach consumers in Europe made it easy for the supply of sugar to be disrupted by war. During the War of 1812, British troops blockaded New World cane sugar from reaching France. The French adapted by supplying themselves with sugar from beets.

Beet sugar was also used as a substitute for cane sugar by American abolitionists. Not wanting to support the sugar cane industry, which relied on slave labor, many abolitionists turned to sugar beets instead. Unlike sugar cane, beets could be grown in the North, where slavery was illegal. During the Civil War, when northerners, no matter how they felt about slavery, did not have access to commodities produced in the South, beets became the basis for sugar throughout the North.

Regular beets, sweet though they are, cannot be used to extract sugar. They have been bred specifically for small, easily edible roots. The round, red vegetables that most people think of when they think of beets are likewise a relatively recent innovation. Though beets have been cultivated and eaten for several thousand years, the round, red variety was not bred until the seventeenth century. Older varieties of table beet had long, white roots.

In appearance, sugar beets resemble those older varieties. They too are long and white, looking more like parsnips or daikons than like beets. What sets them apart from parsnips and daikons is their leaves. Sugar beets and regular beets alike have broad leaves with long stems. Daikons have much smaller leaves, while parsnips have the feathery leaves of the carrot family.

Though most of the beets sold in grocery stores are dark red, other colors exist. There are also yellow beets, round white beets, and beets that are medium or light red on the outside and white on the inside. All of these are regular table beets. They may vary slightly in appearance and taste, but they are not as different from each other as the sugar beet is from all of them.

The differences between sugar beets and regular beets have to do with appearance, flavor, and uses. They are different varieties bred for different purposes. Yet all beets are the same species of plant, which has been cultivated for thousands of years.

Styles of Crust used by Dominos Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is now a household name, and many families frequent their establishment because of their tantalizing pizzas. Not only does Domino’s Pizza offer some of the best tasting pizza around, but it also offers up four different types of crusts.

The different styles of crust that Domino’s have created were made with the consumer in mind. We all know that every individual has a different taste and preference when it comes to their pizza crust. That’s the main reason why Domino’s has created these four tasty crusts to go along with your pizza of choice.

The first crust that’s listed on Domino’s Pizza menu is the Classic hand tossed crust. This crust is specially made, and best of all it’s hand tossed. This was the first crust used when Domino’s began serving their pizza. It’s based on the traditional style of pizza making, and its classic dough flavor will have you coming back for more. This pizza is geared for the people who like their pizzas cooked in the traditional way, without a lot of toppings and cheese sprinkled on top of it.

The second crust that’s listed on the menu is the Ultimate deep dish crust. This crust is designed to be very thick, in order to support the extra toppings that come along with this pizza. The deep dish pizza is cooked in a deep pan, and therefore it has more toppings than the traditional pizza. This pizza is a definite must for people who love to pile a lot of toppings on their pizza.

The third pizza crust that’s on the menu is the Crunchy thin crust. This crust is thinly made, and it’s very crunchy. The crust is almost as thin as a cracker, but it’s strong enough to hold the toppings of your pizza. This pizza is geared for the people who don’t especially like the heavy dough of the traditional pizza. It’s also a good crust for people who enjoy actually tasting the toppings of their pizza. Not only that but this crust is also good for anyone who is on a strict diet, and has to watch their bread intake.

The last crust Domino’s Pizza has on its American menu is the Brooklyn style pizza. This crust is designed to be very thin, big, and it supports a ton of toppings. The best part about this crust is that it can be foldable for the person who likes to fold their pizza in half. This pizza is geared for the person who likes to eat fast, without making a mess.

Of course there are other Domino’s Pizza establishments that have a totally different menu than the establishments in America. For instance you have the Domino’s Pizza chains in Australia. Quite naturally the Domino’s Pizza in Australia has three of the original crusts to choose from like the deep dish, thin, and classic crust. However, the Australian Domino’s also have three additional types of crust that will whet your appetite. There’s the Edge crust, cheese burst crust, and the Triple cheese crust.

The Edge crust is designed for people who love tasting their toppings all the way to the crust. The entire pizza is literally covered in toppings, and the crust is baked in a fashion that makes it extremely crunchy. The crust used here is quite naturally thick, and is able to support an overload of your favorite toppings.

The Cheese burst crust is made for people who love to eat a bunch of cheese on their pizza. The crust is tailor made so that cheese lovers can enjoy the taste of the cheese that’s on the pizza, without tasting too much bread. This crust is wafer thin, but it’s strong enough to handle the creamy cheese that’s placed on top of the pizza. I love the fact that the crust is totally covered in toppings.

The last pizza crust that the Australian Domino’s pizza offers is the Triple cheese crust. This is a thin pizza crust, and it is sturdy enough to hold the amount of cheese that this pizza offers. This pizza has a layer of Cheddar cheese, followed by a layer of creamy cheese. It’s then topped with Mozzarella cheese, and then followed by your favorite toppings. Therefore, this crust is thin enough for you to taste each sample of cheese, but sturdy enough to handle the amount of toppings placed on top of it.

So no matter where you reside, Domino’s Pizza has the crusts that you and your family desires. You can go along with your favorite crusts when you order, or you can try something new. The choice is yours. So what kind of crust will you have with your Domino’s Pizza?

Tea Varieties and their Properties

Tantalizing Tea: A Refreshing Drink For All Occasions

Tea is a drink brewed from the leaf of camellia sinensis. Some people drink their tea with lemon, milk, cream, or sugar; others prefer it straight up. Do you like black tea, Assam or Darjeeling? Perhaps you prefer green tea?

The health benefits of tea are becoming widely known. Green tea contains vitamin C but it also inhibits the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the body. Tea of all kinds helps to reduce cholesterol. It is a natural source of the amino acid theanine and polyphenolic antioxidant catechins. Tea also contains fluoride. Regular drinking of tea can prevent dental cavities to some extent.

Some people prefer herbal teas, which are infusions of different plants. Valerian root tea can combat insomnia; peppermint tea has a soothing effect on the stomach; chamomile tea offers both of these benefits.

Loose tea is still sold but the advent of the teabag in 1908 changed the way tea was marketed. Thomas Sullivan, an importer, sent out tea samples in small silk bags. As the story goes, a customer decided to dunk a bag, discovered how convenient it was, and the rest is history.

In 1904, at the St. Louis World’s Fair, hot tea was passed over because of the extreme outside temperatures. All was not lost though. A savvy British tea merchant thought to pour tea over ice and invented iced tea.

How Was Tea First Discovered?

* As legend has it, a revered Chinese emperor taught that boiling water made it safe for drinking. He accidentally discovered tea when a few tea leaves fell into some water he was preparing. He tasted the resulting infusion and touted it as medicine.

* Tea spread to Japan when a Japanese monk returned to his native land, bringing seeds from a tea plant.

* Much later, tea arrived in Europe. Dutch traders introduced tea, importing it from Japan.

“I say, a right cup-a-the-rosy!”

It could be said that tea found its home in England. The English fell in love with the stuff and by the late 1700s were enthusiastically sipping their way through approximately 5 million tons of it! The love affair was so entrenched that the British supplied opium to China to support the British tea habit, resulting in the ill-famed Opium Wars.

Tea in the New World

The tea habit was brought to the New World by American settlers; however, interest cooled after the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when colonists tossed crates of tea into Boston Harbor to protest British taxes on tea.

One Species of Tea Plant, Many Varieties of Tea

Soil and climate affect the tea leaf and how tea is processed also makes a difference. As well, there are subspecies of tea. The best tea is made from what is called the flush: tender spring leaves. The leaf bud at the tip of the shoot, with its covering of fine hair or down is called the pekoe (from the Chinese bai hao).

Black Tea
Leaves are spread on trays to wither and dry and are allowed to completely oxidize. They are then rolled and crushed, allowed to ferment, and fired until they dry.

White Tea
White tea contains young leaves (new growth buds) that have undergone no oxidation; and indeed, the buds may be shielded from sunlight to prevent formation of chlorophyll. White tea is produced in lesser quantities and can be more expensive than tea from the same plant processed by other methods.

Green Tea
Freshly picked leaves are steamed or subjected to dry heat to destroy enzymes that cause fermentation, then they are rolled and fired.

Oolong
Leaves are plucked at their peak of growth, wilted in sunlight, then lightly bruised. Partially fermented leaves are then fired.

Earl Grey
Ah . . . wonderful Earl Grey! This tea gets its enchanting flavor from the addition of bergamot, an oil from the rind of a citrus fruit from the Mediterranean.

English Breakfast
Previously this was made from Keemun, a strong China black tea; however, nowadays a blend is often used.

Lapsang Souchong
If you are looking for something aggressive and pungent, this tea may be just the ticket. The leaves are smoked over a pine fire to give a distinctive flavor.

Formosa Oolong
Often described as the champagne of teas, this treasure in taste has a fruity flavor.

Darjeeling
Similar to Formosa Oolong.

Jasmine
Picture wonderful green tea, perfumed with blossoms of the jasmine plant. If you are looking for a touch of the exotic, this tea fits the bill.

Kukicha
Also called winter tea, it is made from twigs and old leaves pruned from the tea plant in its dormant season, then dry-roasted over a fire. This tea is popular as a health drink in Japan and is used in macrobiotic diets.

Matcha
The ceremonial green tea of Japan. It has a unique sweet flavor and is smooth to the palate.

Brewing tea

* First of all, you’ll want to warm the pot.

* The best temperature for brewing tea depends on the type. Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as green or white tea, should be brewed at lower temperatures (around 80 C), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures (around 100 C).

* If you are preparing black tea, the water should be added at the boiling point. (100 C or 212 F). The most common fault when making black tea is to use water at too low a temperature, which compromises flavor. It should not be allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or for more than five minutes because after that tannin is released and makes the tea bitter.

There’s nothing like stopping for a cup of tea, and indeed, teatime is often a favorite part of the day. Now that you’ve learned a little about refreshing and tantalizing tea, why not purchase some different varieties and give your taste buds a treat by sipping a cup . . . or two.

Snacks to avoid and how to replace them

What are the unhealthy snacks out on the market? Potato chips, tortilla chips, candy bars, coffee, ice cream, pastries and doughnuts are included. And what are the healthy snacks that should be kept around the house instead of junk food? Peaches, grapes, pears, cherries, kiwi, carrots, corn and bananas are some. What is the appeal of some of the unhealthy snacks that people keep around the house? There are more than likely several reasons people choose junk food as a source of malnutrition. 

Potato chips are slices of potatoes deep fried in oil and salted. Tortilla chips are similar except corn or flour tortillas are used instead of potato slices. As far as health foods go, a potato or tortilla may not be way down on the list of healthy foods, but what about salt and oil? Imagine gulping down vegetable oil straight from the plastic bottle. One way to counter the craving for tortilla or potato chips is to keep some delicious grapes around. They’re a good bite-size replacement snack.

Pastries and doughnuts are a mixture of dairy products, sugar, flour, oils and sometimes shortening. One healthy alternative to that could be oatmeal with sugar and fruit. Sugar  is something our body actually needs, although how processed sugar compares to natural sugar found in fruits and some vegetables is unclear. Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn’t cause cavities or weight gain; those side effects can be contributed to dairy and all animal products. 

Ice cream is usually made of dairy products, sugar and other various ingredients such as fruit or chunks of chocolate. Most candy bars contain dairy products, sugar and cocoa. Cocoa is a product enjoyed by many, but its health value is quite low, probably equal to coffee. Replace coffee and cocoa with freshly squeezed orange juice or another type of fruit juice.

So why do people choose unhealthy snacks over healthy ones? One reason may be some people just don’t care, and they are free to live life the way they want. Another possible reason is people just don’t know what’s healthy and what isn’t. There isn’t a lot of solid information about what foods are truly healthy and which ones aren’t. For example, how does green spinach compare to an apple?

Finally, a lot of the time fruit bought in stores doesn’t taste that good. And when good fruit does arrive in the grocery store it doesn’t last long. It almost feels like a losing battle, trying to eat healthy and being faced with less than great testing health foods. Pick your fruit carefully and pay attention to when great tasting fruit arrives in your grocery store so you can resupply. Many times pesticides may or may not have been sprayed on the fruit. No one seems to know exactly how toxic the pesticides are or how much was sprayed. A way to fix some of these problems may be to plant some fruit trees and a vegetable garden in the yard. That’s a great way to get some exercise and supplement your food source. 

Tea in Britain

Tea was first introduced to Britain in the mid 17th century with the marriage of King Charles II to a Portuguese princess. This brought the habit of drinking tea to the English court.

It was originally promoted as a medicinal beverage and by the end of the century it was widely drunk amongst the aristocracy. The East India Company, one of two companies to import tea to Britain, embarked on a PR campaign to promote it to the lower classes and thereby increase demand.

It went on sale in London’s coffee houses both dry and ready brewed to drink on the premises. In a few years time it had become enormously popular with the working classes but the price had risen astronomically as the government sought to benefit from the new market. A trade in tea smuggling began to avoid the absurd 119% duty charge and people began mixing it with other products and reusing leaves to save money.

Tea was now both a fashionable drink for the rich and an illegal trade and popular drink for the lower classes. The upper echelons of British society created a whole new set of customs around tea drinking which still apply today.

How to drink tea – the British way

The traditional and most common way for British people to drink their tea is with milk. How you prepare the drink depends on your social status.

If you are rich (and therefore upper class) your bone china will be good quality and able to withstand extreme temperatures without cracking. To demonstrate this people would pour the tea first and then add the milk.

If you are poor (lower class) then your cups will be a lower quality and may crack at a high temperature so you add the milk first.

Tea can be served at any time of day but the tradition of afternoon tea has become a special treat. In the early 1800’s Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford came up with the concept of having tea in the late afternoon to bridge the gap between luncheon and dinner, which was often served late. What began as a practical implementation soon became a fashionable ritual and an excuse for ladies to socialise, often apart from the company of men.

Ladies would make a great show of unlocking their ornate tea chests and spooning the leaves into the pot. Servants were not normally entrusted with access to the tea chest as the tea was considered too valuable and easy to steal.

Afternoon tea now commonly comprises of a selection of delicate sandwiches, pastries and scones with jam and cream as well as the obligatory pot of tea. It is still especially popular with ladies and often treated as a special occasion rather than an everyday occurrence.

Modern tea

When tea first came to Britain we already had coffee and the coffee houses of London had become an important social and intellectual phenomenon. The popularity of tea was such that it overtook coffee to become the nation’s favourite drink and this has been the case ever since.

In recent years coffee has been making a comeback with many chain and independent cafes specialising in coffee and serving a wide range of types. Coffee has become trendy. Friends meet for coffee instead of tea, colleagues ‘grab a coffee’ for informal meetings and it is the expected choice of after dinner drink. Italian bistros and even a few notable cafe chains promote a sophisticated image of coffee. Tea, although still popular at home, seems to have fallen by the wayside despite the continuing tradition of afternoon tea.

People are happy to pay £2-3 pounds for a cup of coffee but tea generally remains much cheaper. There is not the same level of equipment or skill required to make a cup of tea. For most people it is still a case of pouring boiling water over a teabag and letting it brew. With coffee there is an excitement about the process of grinding beans and frothing milk. Perhaps it is the variety of coffee available to us that has led us to think of it as a special treat rather than the old fashioned cups of tea we used to prefer.

Tea still has a place in British society. The glamour originally imbued upon the drink by the upper classes may have diminished but in the average British home it is still the favourite drink du jour. Mornings often begin with a cup of tea. When friends come to visit at home someone will always put the kettle on. In cold or wet weather people enthuse about the comfort a steaming mug of tea can provide. In case of illness, stress or emergency, a cup of tea is also amongst the first remedies to be offered. It seems that coffee is now for treats whereas tea has become a necessity and a cure-all.

At the same time, a small revolution is happening amongst tea drinkers. The traditional brew is no longer the only kind of tea on offer. Old fashioned blends like Earl Grey are being rediscovered. The health benefits of green and herbal tea have given them prominence in supermarkets. If you go to Claridges in London for afternoon tea you will find an amazing array of flavours and blends. At Whittard, a large chain of shops specialising in tea and coffee, you will find a similar selection ranging from Chai through to Rooibos and many other unusual flavours.

The result of this revolution is that tea is becoming exciting and glamorous again. The effects of the revolution have not been far reaching however and most homes still rely on the traditional blends of black tea that come in tea bags. Even when faced with a dazzling variety of teas many people will still prefer a ‘normal’ blend and ask the waiter for a pot of ‘normal tea’.

Perhaps one of the charms of tea is its capacity to stay the same. As many Brits turn to tea in times of crisis there must be something inherently soothing and reassuring about the drink. We are told it has health benefits. Each cup of tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee so you won’t have to worry about it making you hyper or unable to sleep.

It can become a ritual – just you, a cup of tea and a bit of peace and quiet – a chance to relax and take time out from your busy week. A cup of tea can also be a gentle wake up call. Not like the shout you get from a cup of coffee! It may have lost much of its glamour but we still love it like a favourite childhood toy and it is hard to imagine Britain without it.

From high fashion to simple reassurance, tea is a hard habit to break in Britain.

Stuffed Jalapeno Pepper Recipe

This recipe is originally from my brother Steve, who is well known for making a feast out of very little. His culinary imagination is responsible for this dish, and it is one of his best. We love this dish, and for those who are sensitive to spicy food, please see the *Note section at the bottom of the recipe.

You need:

8 large jalepeno peppers
8 oz Philadelphia or similar cream cheese
8 slices of bacon

Slice each pepper lengthwise, one at a time so that the halves match. Carefully cut out the three veins and seeds and discard (*), then proceed to the next pepper, keeping each pair of halves together.

Fill each half pepper with cream cheese, then place each pair together…the cheese should help hold them together. Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon. If you wish, you can place a bamboo skewer through the pepper to both hold it together even better, as well as holding the bacon to the pepper, and giving a “handle” for the finished food.

Broil in the oven at 300 degrees (F), in the middle of the oven, in a loaf or cake pan, for an hour, or until the peppers are browned. These can also be barbecued over low coals in a basket, again, until the peppers are browned.

*NOTE: When preparing the peppers, wear plastic gloves. The peppers contain Capsaicin, which is highly irritating to the eyes if there is accidental contact. Washing the hands with soap doesn’t easily remove the Capsaicin. (This is the substance that gives the peppers the “bite”.)

If you want hotter peppers, leave in some of the seeds, which are higher in Capsaicin. Also, the more browned the peppers are, the milder they will be, but you don’t want to cook them so fast that they carbonize and turn black.

If you want the peppers very mild, before stuffing them with the cheese, blanch them in a bath of boiling salted water for about a minute and a half each. (The longer that they are blanched, the milder they will be.)

Snack Food Alternatives

Potato chips are arguably the most popular classic snack food, but sometimes even they get boring if they are the only kind of snack you eat. Trying something different can make for happy taste buds and will prevent you from getting sick of eating the same thing all the time. So, what are the best chips when potato is simply not an option?

Tortilla chips.

Also called corn chips, these popular game-day snacks are salty, crunchy, satisfying, and come in a variety of flavors and colors (e.g. the purple ones that many people may not know are made from blue corn). You can eat them with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream. Alternatively, you could melt various kinds of cheese onto them, top it with olives, peppers, ground beef, etcetera, and turn it into a plate of nachos (mmm, nachos). 

Tortilla chips are delicious by themselves, but they have a base flavor that means the possibilities are endless. For instance, when making nachos, there are dozens of cheeses to choose from: mild cheddar, smooth asiago, spicy pepper jack, and more. Do you want vegetarian nachos, or are you a meat lover? Ground beef is certainly not the only option for nachos; go ahead and try pulled pork, moist and spicy pieces of chicken, and try hot sauce for an extra kick! Then choose your veggies: jalapeños, hot banana peppers, mild bell peppers, and just about anything else you can think of. That’s the beauty of corn chips, after all.

If you’re just looking for a game-day or movie-night snack, go with the classics—guacamole, salsa, sour cream—or be adventurous and try some bold dips for the first time. Travel over to here for some great party dip ideas. This recipe is beautiful, bright, and goes wonderfully with tortilla chips.   

These versatile chips are made by several brands and come in about as many flavors. While the original flavor is the most popular, this article is about trying new things, so why not stick with the theme? Tostitos offers a large variety of their product, including fire-roasted chipotle, toasted southwestern spices, and three cheese queso. Additionally, they offer their own line of dips which are sure to brilliantly complement your choice of tortilla chips.

So whether it’s game day, movie night, or you are simply out of dinner ideas, tortilla chips are a versatile food that are appropriate in almost any situation!

Slow cooker tips and benefits

Over the years, the culinary world has seen many cooking gadgets. And one handy one that came on the scene in the early 70s is the slow cooker which is also commonly known as the crock pot. Let’s face it, consumers often get very excited when a particular gadget hits the market, and the slow cooker falls into that bracket. The fact is that this kitchen apparatus is sometimes placed in storage, maybe because of its somewhat bulky body.

Nowadays, families have extremely busy lives. Both parents and children alike spend several hours commuting to work and school which leaves a small window of time to return home and prepare nutritious meals. As such, it’s time to pull out and dust off this handy cooker and reclaim its glory. Or if you don’t own one, perhaps it’s the opportune time to secure one. Some of the benefits of using a slow cooker are:

Time management

A slow cooker allows the flexibility of a cook’s time in the kitchen. There is no need to stand and sweat over a traditional stove for hours preparing a meal. Wholesome ingredients can be washed, chopped and placed in the slow cooker early in the morning. On returning home from work or school a hearty and delicious meal is there ready for consumption. Or, if you are at home on a week-end, you can use the opportunity to execute other tasks around the home or run errands around town. Without a doubt, there is the utmost assurance that your time is managed properly because the slow cooker enables the multi-tasking of activities.

Tenderizes Protein

Another great advantage of using a slow cooker is that  tough cuts of meat can be slowly cooked and simmered into a mouthwatering and succulent dish. For example great pieces of beef chunks can be seasoned and placed in the cooker along with root veggies and spices. The result is a delicious and finger licking stew that will appeal to the palate.

Locks in flavors

In cooking a meal in a slow cooker, there is no need to constantly open the lid and observe the cooking process of a meal. As a result, the flavors are locked in and thus produce aromatic tastes that will have everyone returning for seconds.

Versatility

The beautiful thing about cooking in a slow cooker is that it possess the versatility of cooking a variety of dishes. A slow cooker can soften beans or any dried grains and transform them into appealing and tasty side dishes. Season and spread over a fluffy bed of rice with your choice of protein.

When the temperatures are taking a nose-dive on the outskirts during the winter months, the slow cooker is a godsend in preparing a hearty pot of vegetable, beef or chicken soup. All that is necessary is to place a choice of ingredients in the pot along with seasoning and spices and allow this handy gadget to do its thing.

Treat your palate to a delectable dessert by utilizing the slow cooker in this arena. And the sweet and aromatic rice pudding is a perfect choice for the cooker. Toss in rice, milk, sugar, spices and let the cooker do its magic. The result will be a creamy and sweet treat. Sprinkle a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Whether you call it the crock pot or the slow cooker, there’s no denying, this handy cooking gadget is an important apparatus to have in the kitchen.