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Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?

Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. And that's created a bit of a dilemma in the produce aisle.

On one hand, you have a conventionally grown apple. On the other, you have one that's organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Which should you choose? Get the facts before you shop.

Conventional vs. organic farming

The word "organic" refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.

Farmers who grow organic produce don't use conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds. Examples of organic farming practices include using natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.

Organic or not? Check the label

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. Only producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods are exempt from this certification; however, they're still required to follow the USDA's standards for organic foods.

If a food bears a USDA Organic label, it means it's produced and processed according to the USDA standards. The seal is voluntary, but many organic producers use it.

Products that are completely organic — such as fruits, vegetables, eggs or other single-ingredient foods — are labeled 100 percent organic and can carry the USDA seal.

Foods that have more than one ingredient, such as breakfast cereal, can use the USDA organic seal plus the following wording, depending on the number of organic ingredients:

100 percent organic. To use this phrase, products must be either completely organic or made of all organic ingredients.
Organic. Products must be at least 95 percent organic to use this term.

Products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients may say "made with organic ingredients" on the label, but may not use the seal. Foods containing less than 70 percent organic ingredients can't use the seal or the word "organic" on their product labels. They can include the organic items in their ingredient list, however.

Do 'organic' and 'natural' mean the same thing?

No, "natural" and "organic" are not interchangeable terms. You may see "natural" and other terms such as "all natural," "free-range" or "hormone-free" on food labels. These descriptions must be truthful, but don't confuse them with the term "organic." Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled organic.

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Buying A Waffle Maker - Superb Waffles Every Time

Any conversation about breakfast time is going to contain a reference to waffles. Restaurants and more recently major fast food outlets, have waffles on the menu throughout the day. The sweet smell of a recently baked waffle, or the aroma that emenates from around aA still-cooking waffle at any time of the day can induce a feeling of hunger in any unsuspecting passer-by. Light, airy and appetizingly sweet - who can resist?

Certainly some restaurants have queues of people throughout the day not just at breakfast periods. The flavors that can be encapsulated in a typical waffle make it suitable for a dessert or an anytime-of-day sweet snack.

Breakfast waffles in the family home are fast becoming an institution. They are a perfect alternative to other well established breakfast favorites and easy to make with the right equipment.

Domestic and professional waffle maker machines are now widely available from a multitude of manufacturers and suppliers. A quick search on the internet for 'best waffle makers' will bring up examples such as the 'Presto 03510 Flipside Belgian Waffle Maker Review' shown here:

Presto are only one of many manufacturers such as Cuisinart, Oster, All-Clad and Conair, who offer a wide range of models with numerous and varying features. When looking in the market place, it is important to seek out those manufacturers who have built up a good and lasting reputation in the waffle maker market. To do this got to the website of suppliers such as, or other large online retailer and look at the customer reviews for the particular product you have in mind. These will possibly vary for one star to five stars for that product, but will definitely demonstrate real people's views on they found it worked in their own kitchen.

Points to look for in a good waffle maker:

1.The best waffle makers will have cast iron plates (preferably non-stick) within a stainless steel casing and will be designed to look good in a modern kitchen as well as to produce the very best waffles.

2.Does it have only basic controls such as simple on/off switch, on/off indicator, fixed cooking temperature and mechanical timer. These can be good value for money, basic appliances when on a limited budget.

3.Does it have more sophisticated controls that include variable temperature control, indicators for when it has reached the desired temperature for cooking and completion of cooking time? As you go up any manufacturers range you will find more use of technology to augment the monitoring and control function with digit LED displays which give you more command of the baking process.

4.Does it come with a full and extensive warranty? These will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and supplier to supplier.

5. Do not forget the storage space needed in your kitchen, so double check the size, weight and portability before you actually purchase your chosen waffle maker.

All of the above points will help you in your quest for the right waffle maker for you. If you require further information on any waffle machine mentioned in this article, please visit the 'Best Waffle Makers' website at

5 Reasons To Buy A Halogen Oven

The first reason to buy a halogen oven is that it will cook frozen to ready to eat food on your plate in less time than a standard electric oven and be better quality than you would get from a microwave oven.

Perhaps you want to cook a fourteen pound turkey. With a halogen oven, you could take a frozen bird out of the freezer, place it on the one inch rack of the halogen oven and baste it with olive oil. You might want to cover it loosely with tin foil and then set the temperature and timer (for two hours) and then just walk away. You will need to check the turkey to see if it is cooked through after the time is up and if not add another some more time.

Cooking a turkey in a halogen oven is a lot easier and less time consuming than if you put it in a standard electric oven. Plus, the turkey meat will be moist and tender. No more dried turkey meat jokes from your family!

The second reason to buy a halogen oven is that you will have more kitchen counter space. There will still be room for preparing other dishes or cooking them in the regular oven. No more waiting for the turkey to be done before you can cook anything else. This is particularly important if you are cooking for a large crowd.

The third reason is that clean-up is a breeze. If you use a cooking spray on the glass bowl, clean-up will be even easier. The bowl and racks can be hand washed in hot soapy water or they can be washed in the dishwasher.

The fourth reason is that what you cook in a regular oven you can cook in a halogen oven. Unlike a microwave oven you can use all your oven dishes that are made of stoneware, stainless steel or aluminum. And unlike a microwave oven your food will be cooked evenly.

The fifth and most important reason is that a halogen oven is cheaper than a dual oven. They may be awesome to have in your kitchen but they arent going to cost under a hundred dollars. In fact you will probably pay thousands for a good one. With a halogen oven you will get the same results but you will also save on electricity since they use less energy.

These are all great reasons for having a halogen oven in the kitchen. But most of all, they produce well cooked food that isnt dried out, has a lots of flavor and doesnt require a lot of preparing of the food. In fact you can take frozen meat right from the freezer to the oven and have it cooked in only a few minutes. It is the perfect solution for all those busy people who want a home cooked meal but often dont have the time.

Enjoying Your Favorites With A Coffee And Latte Machine

For the hard and true coffee lovers among us there are few roads we would not travel for the perfect cup of coffee. We have our favorites and usually the house specialties that come with a five dollar price tag that cause lines at our nearby coffee house.

Most people find themselves visiting their favorite coffee house each and every day and sometimes several times a day to pay for the privilege of getting a steaming cup of coffee. We love to drink coffee to make our day or get us through our afternoon or push us through our end of the day slump. But what if we could have that special treat right in our own kitchens? That same coffee shop quality flavor at no extra cost to us and available any time we want it?

The truth is that when it comes to making our favorite blends at home, coffee lovers are more in luck than ever. The at-home coffee and latte machine has made it possible to enjoy all our favorite coffee beverages without ever leaving our homes.

Finding the perfect coffee and latte machine can take some research but can be well worth it. Start with reading any consumer reports you can find to let the research thatâs been done before work to your advantage. You can find out what specific brands have performed well for other consumers and those that you are best to avoid.

Beyond that youâll find a number of different models, styles, and colors. Pick your coffee and latte machine that has all the bells and whistles that you desire. After all, this purchase is meant to put you off the five plus dollar a day habit. So it may be worth it to invest the money now as it will likely pay for itself in a short period of time.

These coffee machines donât have to be very expensive either. There are many different brands that over different features as well. Just remember that the more features, the more expensive the machine.

The Internet can be a great place to look for a coffee and latte machine; online resources can allow you to shop around and take your time researching different makes and models. Donât forget to check out forums and even video sharing sites as they will probably have people who are giving their reviews on the different features and benefits of a variety of coffee machines.

Your coffee and latte machine can bring the local coffee house right into your kitchen. Choose wisely coffee lover! And you will be rewarded with a fabulous brew that's always literally at your fingertips.

Commercial Ice Cream Scoop In The Comfort Of Your Home

My kids always love watching a soda jerk prepare their favorite ice cream soda. You can always feel their amazement as the soda jerk scoops perfect balls of ice cream one on top of each other. I guess there is something magical about the whole act of scooping ice cream. While there are people who will use an ordinary spoon to scoop ice cream, with some even slicing whole cartons of ice creams in portions, I would still stick to my reliable ice cream scoop.

Now, there are a variety of commercial-grade ice cream scoops made of different materials and which come in different designs, so there are plenty of types of ice cream scoops to choose from.

There is the original ice cream scooper that remains true to the vintage designs of George William Clewell, Alfred L. Cralle, and Frank Hayden composed of a scoop and a mechanism with which to remove or scrape the ice cream off the scoop. They were called dishers because it approximated one serving size dish. And the name has stuck ever since. Clewell invented the first ice cream scoop and improved on by Cralle by adding an innovative release lever on the handle allowing it to be operated with just one hand. However, the hemispherical shape that provides the perfect balls of scooped ice cream was introduced by Hayden. For me, these three men epitomized what the American spirit of invention and innovation really is. That is why I am a sucker for these types of commercial ice scoops. Unfortunately, you wont see the original anymore. The closest ice cream scoop I have to the original is the SuperEze ice cream scoop. Ive read some of the best ice cream scooper reviews ever about this product.

There are also ice cream scoops that are made of a single, unitary piece with no mechanical parts. Its like an oversized spoon with a very heavy and thick face. The handle is like that of a hammer for improved grip. Some are designed with a heat-conductive fluid inside the handle supposedly to transfer heat from your hands to the metal. This allows you to scoop ice cream without running the ice cream scoop under running hot water. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily so especially if you are having a really hard ice cream block.

Scoops come in a variety of materials from plastic scoops, aluminum scoops, to stainless steel ice cream scoops. I dont go with plastic ice cream scoops and I wont be recommending them for the obvious reason that they look cheap. Additionally, they do not last that long and can crack on the frozen ice cream. I dont like aluminum ice cream scoops either even if it says it is anodized or coated. It is never dishwasher safe. Additionally, aluminum ice cream scoopers can leach chemicals into the atmosphere as well as the food that I eat simply because the coating can degrade over time. I prefer stainless steel such as that in my trusty SuperEze ice cream scooper. It is very durable and dishwasher safe. Furthermore, I wont have to worry about chemicals leaching into the environment.

There are plenty of ice cream scoopers for sale but nothing comes close to the commercial quality of SuperEze. Thats why my friends also have it in their homes.

Easy Meals To Make With Your Vegetable Slicer

So, youre running out of meal ideas? One of the hardest things a person will ever have to do is to come up with fresh, new dishes to serve up from the heart of the home. Whether youre a parent looking to feed your kids with healthy food options or if youre a professional cook thinking of ways to spruce up your dishes, a vegetable slicer will definitely come in handy.

Not a lot of people realize it, but the way you prepare your ingredients can be the beginning of a great idea. So take out those vegetable slicers and start cutting up those veggies to come up with these awesome kitchen creations.

3 Easy Meals to Make with Your Vegetable Slicer

1. Fresh Garden Salad Who doesnt love a hearty salad? Oftentimes, buying a salad at your local restaurant will set you back an unreasonable amount of dollars. These light meals are usually crazily overpriced. Did you know that if you just used the money the value of a standard restaurant garden salad to buy fresh vegetables at the market, youd have at least 4 times as many ingredients? Whats more, salads can be crazy easy to make especially if you have a vegetable slicer. The possibilities are endless when it comes to veggie combinations, and it depends on what you want to throw into the mix. Try your hand at coming up with salad creations and dressings. Your family will be sure to love it.

2. Crispy Chips and Snacks Among the most tedious things you would ever have to do is to slice vegetables thinly in the attempt to make chips. Many parents want to do this in order to entice their children to eat something healthy, but often fail to come up with the right crispiness. The trial usually ends with an oily, soggy bunch of thick slices of vegetables with a strange texture to mushy to enjoy. But with a vegetable slicer, you can get the perfect thickness each and every time. Just think you could make homemade potato chips, cucumber chips, carrot chips, and just any other kind of chip you can think of minus all those disgusting preservatives and harmful artificial flavours that many commercially sold chips are chocked full of.

3. Savory Soups The thing about soup is that if theres not enough flavour, its bound to be a disaster. Unlike other meals and food options that at least have a certain thickness and texture to them, soup comes in the form of liquid, which means the people who eat it probably wont get to experience that satisfying chewing process that other foods require. The technique to coming up with delicious soup is to bank on flavour, and by cutting up your vegetables the right way, you can enhance their taste and seal in the vitamins. The easiest way to do this is to use a high-quality vegetable slicer that wont sap your ingredients of their nutrients and natural flavours.

Best Kitchen Utensils You Cannot Live Without

Every kitchen contains its own collection of gadgets and tools that will make food preparation easy and fun. The kitchen has undergone a total transformation during the 20th century at the time when modern technological innovation invented kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, oven, and many others. Together with those new kitchen aids, the utensils also went through improvements in terms of quality, material, style, size and shape. Over time, there was the invention of electric appliances, various other modern gadgets, utensils and accessories have found their way into our kitchen.


These days, a modern kitchen comes with several appliances such as the microwave, toaster, mixer-grinder, sandwich maker, refrigerator, stove top, oven, griller and many others that meet with the demands of our work schedule and modern way of living. In fact, some countries have homes that come pre-fitted with several of these essential tools when they are marketed to prospective buyers.

But while many people no longer consider these home appliances as luxury items but as essentials to make cooking an easy and pleasurable process, there are also plenty of basic tools that are extremely vital for a modern kitchen. One great example of this is the cheese grater.


A grater is designed to shred or sliver cheese without difficulty. It is available in many different styles, but many use the one that has sharp holes in which the cheese is pushed through. A cheese grater is generally made out of metal, such as stainless steel, and you can buy a cheese grater on Amazon , at a kitchen supply stores and other online shops at affordable prices.


Grating your very own cheese makes your food much more delicious compared to using the pre-grated cheese that you see in the store. If you have tried it before, you will know what I am talking about. Newly grated cheese has a uniquely different texture and melts faster than the pre-grated cheese in a bag.


Because of the modern times, electric graters are also available in the market. Imagine that you are making pizza or lasagna for a big party at home. Grating cheese manually can be quite a tedious job for you. Therefore, an electric cheese grater is the perfect solution for you.


There is a huge number of individuals who purely enjoy eating cheese regardless of their age. A lot of people love cheese or cheese flakes on their food. If you are one of those cheese lovers, then a cheese grater is the right partner for all those cheese.

Celebrate Romance With Class

The holidays are the perfect time to invite your special someone to a dinner show. More than having the usual candlelit dinner, a romantic dinner show for two will make this event extra memorable. To help you celebrate romance with class, you could check out the dinnershow that Aalsmeer artists could prepare for you.

You could opt for a Christmas dinnershow filled with love. Feel the presence of love during the Yuletide season with a story about lovers believing in the mistletoe tradition. Aalsmeer artists also showcase their acting and singing prowess in a romantic comedy inspired by the Nativity.

A romantic dinner show for two is one of the best gifts that you could give to your loved one. Aside from the sumptuous feasts and entertaining show, you would also get the most romantic atmosphere that Aalsmeer artists could offer. Imagine eating dinner with your partner and watching a romantic dinner show that would sweep you off your feet. Expect a lot of dancing, too, and an ambiance that would surely cap off your evening right.

You can choose to have your own motif for a special package for two. For an affordable price both of you could dine out under the stars and get all mushy with violin and singing. This is also the perfect place and time for men to propose to their girlfriends. For other couples, Aalsmeer artists also offer anniversary songs and dinner shows so that they could reminisce the time when they first met their loved one.

A romantic Christmas dinner show is also your best bet if you want to hit two birds with one stone. You could opt to have dinner in an open space lit by twinkling Christmas lights. You could also have a snow-themed romantic dinner show for two. Feel as if you are in Winter Wonderland with the Aalsmeer artists.

Another favorite theme and dinner show in Aalsmeer is the Nutcracker. Dine and watch the entertainers sing, act, dance while performing the musical The Nutcracker. There will be souvenirs for couples as well. You could also give a card to your loved one, which could be designed with the white and red motif.

Lastly, what Christmas dinner wouldnt be complete without Santa Claus and his elves? This may not be romantic to most peoples standards, but it ensures that your moment with your loved one is fun and full of life and laughter.

How To Improve Your Life Health With Fresh Juicing

All kinds of fresh fruits and veggies as well as spices and herbs can be used in fresh juice. Juicing also gives you far more benefits than any juice that's bottled or canned, even the best organic brands. Fresh juice makes a tasty and healthy treat.

Add a little cucumber to dark leafy greens. Many of the leafy greens don't taste very good. Cucumber can mask the taste and add a refreshing element to your juice. Purchasing a good juicing recipes book can help you get started with delicious tasting recipes.

The healthiest vegetables for juicing are greens such as chard, spinach and kale. The healthiest juice consists of fifty to seventy percent greens, with other elements added for flavor. Juices made entirely of fruits would tend to be too sugary and might cause a blood sugar spike.

Use the different colors of fruits and vegetables to vary the nutritional content of your juices and smoothies. In particular, greens and yellows translate to a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals. Using different colored produce will give you a full range of nutrients and many exciting tastes.

Juicing vegetables is a great way for you to get healthy foods into a child who won't eat them whole. Many children do not like vegetables. You can combine fruits and vegetables into one beverage that has a great taste, and the kids won't know they're eating vegetables.

Always keep your juicer visible and ready for action. You will actually use it more often if you keep it withn constant view and easy reach.

Each fruit and vegetable contains different minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Certain fruits and vegetables can be combined to powerfully fight certain diseases.

You can get ride of pulp in juice by using a coffee filter, but this is very slow. Your best option is a juice machine which separates the juice from the pulp automatically. For those who want more fiber simply add a bit of pulp back into your fresh juice.

Keeping juice in the refrigerator can be handy, but waiting to drink any fresh juice or smoothie will result in changed color and taste, and loss of nutrients.

If the assembly, cleaning and reassembling of a juicer takes more than a minute consider another brand. New models take no time to assemble and clean. And assembly should not require any special tools since they only get misplaced. Clean the juicer right after using it to reduce the time you have to spend cleaning dried pulp which sticks to the appliance.

If you have hypoglycemia or diabetes, try juicing vegetables as opposed to fruits until you talk to your physician. Drinking juice with a large fruit content will raise your blood sugar. You need to be careful about the amount of fruit you use in your juices. Vegetables can supply you with the nutrients without throwing your blood sugar out of whack.

Ginger has been proven by study after study to be as effective for the treatment of gastrointestinal distress as any medication and without side effects except ginger tasting burps! Ginger has many anti-inflammatory properties that can help with stomach ulcers, acid reflux and even nausea.

If you're starting to feel old and tired, adding juice to your life can return the spring to your step! Juicing is a good way to get the nutrients you need to get rid of joint pains, ease muscle pain and slow the aging process.

To ensure that the juice you are drinking is as healthy as possible, it's important to drink it right away. The longer you wait the more nutrients are lost even if you refrigerate it. Therefore, to ensure that you receive the most nutrients, and the most benefit, drink fresh juices and smoothies as soon after you make them as possible.

To reduce the bitterness of cranberries, combine them with sweet fruits like berries. A great recipe for a delicious juice is a mixture of cranberries, cherries, strawberries and blueberries. Be creative and blend your own great-tasting juice ingredients.

Masticating juice machines are ideal for making wonderful fruit juices. These juicers allow you also to mill, grind, puree and even create frozen deserts. These added features will increase the variety of ingredients you can include in your juice recipes such as nuts and seeds.

Don't make your juice sit for long before serving it. It has a much better taste if it is consumed immediately after making it.

As you have discovered by now through reading this article, there are numerous ways to incorporate juicing into your diet. Juicing works well as a quick snack or a complete meal. There are plenty of positive aspects of juicing, helping you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Start juicing for better nutrition today.