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How To Choose The Perfect Bread Maker

Bread makers are extremely popular. The average person can make delicious, homemade bread quite easily with a bread maker. Even with the ease of a bread machine, you must still use caution when adding the ingredients, even if you use a mix. You can make a variety of shapes and sizes of loaf with a bread machine. Many people use a bread machine to simply mix the ingredients then bake the loaf in a traditional oven. Sizes range from one pound to two pounds or more, and you will most likely choose between a square or round loaf pan.

Some bread makers will have a preheat cycle to heat the ingredients before baking. If you want your bread to rise properly, choose a bread maker that does not heat before time to bake the bread. Bread makers will generally have separate settings for different types of bread. There may be settings for wheat or French bread, and you will be able to choose the doneness of the bread such as a light, medium, or dark setting. There will also normally be a regular or rapid bake cycle. It is desirable to have a window in the top or side of the bread machine to allow you to see the progress of your bread while it is baking.

There are a variety of options from which to choose in bread makers, so you may first want to consider how much space you have to store your new machine. Bread makers come in a variety of sizes, so choose one that you can store easily. You should choose the capacity of the bread maker based upon how big your family is and how much bread they eat. You can choose a bread maker with a delay timer which will allow you to place the mix in the bread maker before you leave home each day and the bread will be ready when you return. If you want your bread maker to prepare the dough but not cook it, you will need to find a bread maker with this feature. Choose a bread maker that will alert you when it is time to add additional ingredients such as fruit or nuts. You will also want a “keep warm” feature in case you are gone when the bread is finished. Look for crust control features and special setting for fruits, nuts, cheese, and vegetables.

Study the warranty very carefully to make sure you will be able to get service and replacement parts if necessary. Keep in mind that if your family consumes a small amount of bread now, once you purchase your new bread maker that consumption is likely to increase dramatically. Choose a slightly larger size that you anticipate needing. Remember that the keep warm feature is great, but if you leave the loaf in the bread maker for an extended period of time it may become soggy and flat. A bread maker is a wonderful addition to your home. Nothing compares to the smell of freshly baked bread from your very own kitchen.

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Barbeque

Barbecuing: A Quintessential American Tradition

Next to baseball, nothing says summer like the sizzling sounds, enticing aromas, and mouth-watering flavors of barbecuing. In fact, according to a recent survey commissioned by Hormel Foods and conducted by Harris Interactive®, 90 percent of respondents2 agree that barbecues make them think of summer.

Where does America barbecue? According to the survey, 89 percent prefer to hold family barbecues in their backyards, compared with 3 percent who prefer a public park or picnic area. Barbecues are a great way to bring the family together, entertain friends and family and enjoy the summer nights-right in the backyard!

A few simple tips, courtesy of Hormel Foods, can make your next grill-out even easier:

• Marinating musts: Marinating meat adds flavor and tenderization before cooking. Every marinade should contain an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or wine; an oil, such as olive or canola; and seasonings, such as herbs and spices. For a no-mess solution, try a pre-marinated variety of Hormel® Always Tender® pork.

• Barbecue in bulk: Got leftovers? No problem. Barbecue meals freeze well, and often become more flavorful when the sauce and spices are reheated at a later date. Once you have fired up the grill, cook as much as your pit can handle since your food will maintain its flavor for future meals. Then thaw, reheat and just add sauce for a delicious leftover treat.

• Fire up a fast-cooking feast: To spend more time with guests instead of the grill, choose a pre-cooked variety of barbecue meat, like Lloyd’s® barbeque fully cooked ribs, which cuts cooking time to less than five minutes. Just heat and eat!

• Deck out your deck: Minimal meal preparation time gives you a chance to focus on the details. To make your barbecue spectacular, set the mood by hanging lanterns around the yard, blending a signature summertime cocktail and presenting the meal on brightly colored plates.

Now that the days are long and school is out, it’s easy to step outside and cook dinner on the grill. A relaxing backyard barbecue dinner will melt the stress of the workday away. Your family will love the meal, and you’ll love the convenience.

Categories
Barbeque

Barbeque Techniques: Two Methods to Consider

When it comes to barbequing, there are two main schools of thought for the techniques that you can use.

The first of these techniques – and the most popular method for those who grill in their back yards – is the style where the food is cooked directly over the source of heat. This way, the food is rapidly cooked on a hot grill suspended directly over the charcoals, the wood, or the gas burners. Rarely is the lid ever closed. Any foods, including the most tender cuts, hamburgers, steaks, kabobs of all kinds, chicken, and even vegetables are quickly seared and cooked to perfection using this technique. If sauces are desired, they can be added before hand, during the cooking process, or even after the food comes off the grill. These choices will all create different and enjoyable tastes and flavors.

The second barbeque cooking technique uses heat indirectly. This is more appropriate when you’re cooking much larger or whole cuts of meat, such as especially thick steaks, roasts, a whole hog, or a pork shoulder. When you’re cooking using this method, the food is cooked away from the actual source of heat. This usually requires a water pan of some kind in order to maintain the moisture level of the food. The temperatures generally sit in around 250ºF. During this cooking method, the lid of the barbeque remains closed most of the time, and the length of the cooking is much longer than in the first method. When you’re using an indirect barbeque cooker, there is usually an additional fire box that allows you to combine charcoal and wooden logs for burning. This allows the heat and the smoke to rise through the cooking chamber where the meat is, so that it is heated perfectly. The rule of thumb of this technique is a low temperature for a long time.

No matter which method you use, it’s important not to cook your meat too quickly. If the internal temperature of your meat rises too quickly as you cook it, the water and the fat within it will be expelled before the collagen is able to melt. This means that your cut will be dry and tough. However, you cannot cook too slowly or you will risk a bacterial contamination. Though there is a fine line for barbequing properly, it’s important to find that line and stick to it.

If you’re already dealing with a cut of meat that is tough, such as a brisket or a pork roast, consider cooking slowly as the collagen adds flavor to the meat. If you buy a less tough, more expensive cut, you can cook at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. This is why ribs and steaks take such a short time to cook, while pork shoulders or beef brisket can run up to 20 hours.

As a final note, it’s important to have fun while you barbeque! Your pleasure will come through in your cooking as it will leave you motivated, and willing to try new and interesting things.

Categories
Winter cooking

Stay Energized during the Winter with These Ten Foods

There’s just something about winter that is very draining. Perhaps the indoors and the cold does it, or maybe it’s the lack of sun. Feeling energized during the winter is just hard to do. Couple that with illnesses that like to breed during the winter months, and you probably find yourself dragging and looking for a pick-me-up. Here are some foods that will keep you energized all winter long, and really all year long.

Ten Foods That Energize You in the Winter

  1. Water. You can’t forget to stay hydrated in the winter months. While it’s easy to remember to drink your eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day in the summer because you’re thirsty, you might need to force yourself to drink water more in the winter. Staying hydrated will keep your energy up, but that doesn’t mean with coffee either. Caffeine seems like the natural solution to energy, but remember it’s a drug and its effects will only last for so long. Stick to the water.
  2. Nuts. With plenty of protein and magnesium, this is a great choice for a midday pick-me-up. Some good ones to try which will help pick you up and improve your mood are almonds, walnuts, or Brazil nuts. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of energy-rich minerals. And since pumpkins are in season this time of year, you can get them pretty cheap. When you carve your pumpkins this year, save those seeds and roast them to snack on all winter long.
  3. Whole grains. Start your morning off with a nice steaming bowl of oatmeal. The fiber and B vitamins make it the perfect breakfast choice. And who doesn’t love a nice hot bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter morning? Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole wheat bread are also great energy-rich foods to eat throughout the day and help keep your energy up.
  4. Leafy greens. You need iron to help transport and store oxygen in the body, which is what you need for energy. Spinach, lettuce, and broccoli are great choices. Make yourself a veggie smoothie if you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up. Don’t discount celery in those leafy greens either. Ants on a log are a fun snack to have which will really help keep you energized during the day.
  5. Fresh fruit. An apple a day does more than keep the doctor away. Apples, blueberries, and bananas are perfect fruit choices. Blueberries might be hard to come by in the winter, but apples are a great fall and winter fruit. There are so many ways to enjoy fruit, too. A smoothie, added to your cereal, or a fruit salad and you have a delicious treat that will give you the energy you need throughout the day.
  6. Lean meat and fish. Chicken, pork, turkey, and lean ground meat are all great sources of iron. And much like with the leafy greens, you want that iron to help store and transport oxygen in the body to keep you energized. Salmon contains riboflavin, protein, niacin, and Vitamin B6, which all have energy-converting properties. Poached salmon is a quick and easy way to prepare this energy-rich food.
  7. Legumes. Lentils, beans, and peas contain iron, protein, and magnesium, making them a great food for energy. Chickpeas and black beans are full of fiber which slows down digestion. This helps keep you full and energized longer.
  8. Eggs. What a great way to start out your day with an egg. Once upon a time it might have been recommended that you not eat an egg every day, but they have such a high amount of protein in them that it is the perfect energy-fueled breakfast. No matter how you prepare them, it’s the perfect choice to start your day with plenty of energy.
  9. Yogurt. Greek yogurt is really becoming popular and there’s a reason for this. The amount of protein you consume from Greek or low-fat yogurt will multiply. And the probiotics in yogurt will help keep you healthy and keep your immune system strong.
  10. Dark chocolate. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this treat. Make sure it’s dark chocolate, though. The caffeine in dark chocolate will give you that initial pick-me-up, but then it just keeps on giving. It helps increase blood flow to your brain and contains antioxidants, magnesium, and iron. So it’s really a natural choice to fill your cravings and give you energy.

If you eat these foods throughout the day, then there’s no doubt you will feel energized and able to get through the long winter months without a problem.