Natural Soap Colorants

There are many options when it comes to coloring your homemade soap. Artificial colorants are often more vibrant than natural colorants, but many people like the idea of using all-natural ingredients in their soap.

There are also safety concerns with some artificial colorants, and they can have some unanticipated effects on the final soap product. If you decide to use natural colorants for your soap, there are endless possibilities to choose from, and you can give your soap almost any hue you desire.

Many of the natural materials you can use to color soap can be found in your kitchen, or local supermarket, and many are already used to color food and drug products.

These dyes can easily be extracted from fruits, vegetables, spices and even your morning coffee.

For example, beets will yield a dye that is bright purple, and depending on how much you use, will turn your soap pale pink to a deep red. To make the dye, cut the beets into half-inch slices, and boil three cups of beet slices in two cups of water.

Red onions will produce a red dye that will turn your soap reddish-brown; to make the dye you’ll use only the skin, so the onions can be used for cooking later.

Remove the outermost dry layers of skin, and the first moist layer; boil two cups of skins in three cups of water.

Red cabbage, oddly enough, produces an inky blue dye, which can be used to color soap pastel to deep blue.

Shred one head of cabbage, and boil it in two cups of water until the cabbage itself is a pale blue.

If the dye you get using these methods isn’t concentrated enough for your tastes, simply boil the mixture longer to evaporate more water.

Be sure to strain the liquid through cheesecloth before use, to ensure that any vegetable matter is removed.

Typically, you will add your homemade dye at trace, or when hand-milling a batch of cold-process soap.

You can use spices to dye soap as well, but the dye needs to be oil-based, instead of water-based.

Making an oil-based dye from spices involves three simple steps. First, mix two teaspoons of the spice with two tablespoons of oil. Let the spice soak in the oil for a while.

Next, heat the oil and spice mixture in the microwave for one to two minutes. Finally, strain the mixture through cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, to remove the spice particles, and you’ll be left with an oil-based dye that retained the color of the spice you used. Here is a list of some common food-based, homemade dyes, and the colors they will yield in your soap. (Always test dyes before use, to avoid unwanted results in final soap product.)

oAlfalfa – medium green

oAlkanet – deep purple to muted blue

oBeet root – muted pink to red

oGround calendula petals – yellow

oCarrots – yellow to orange

oGround chamomile – yellow-beige

oChlorophyll – medium green

oCinnamon – tan …

Molecular Gastronomy in Thai Food

Molecular gastronomy is the process of using science and chemistry to prepare food. It’s a modern movement of cooking that often changes the physical makeup of cuisine by using ultra creativity to come up with completely new and often abstract dishes and flavors. I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a Thai fusion meal where a molecular gastronomy chef cooked up a series of fusion Thai dishes for us to sample. Our meal, which was served in courses dish by dish, was a creative modern take on Thai cuisine.

We started off with a tom yum shrimp cocktail. Now as you probably know, tom yum shrimp is one of Thailand’s most famous soups, but serving it as a cocktail beverage, laced with alcohol, is a completely different twist to the dish (now drink). Just like a normal bowl of tom yum soup, the cocktail was full of lime juice, but that’s where the similarities ended. The cocktail included a splash of gin, soup stock, and for the shrimp, rather than being added to the cocktail, it was grilled on a bamboo skewer and used as the mixing stick for the beverage. The chef instructed us to give the drink a whirling stir with the shrimp skewer, eat the shrimp in a single bite, and then sip down the cocktail as we pleased. While it indeed reminded me of any Thai tom yum soup, it was so contrastingly different at the same time.

After the cocktail, we had foie gras red curry. The foie gras, being typical of French cuisine, while the curry flavors and spices were influenced from Thai food. This was a fusion Thai dish, meaning ingredients were definitely not typical of traditional Thai food but a merger of two different cuisines. The creamy foie gras paired with the spicy flavors of typical Thai food, and a lovely hint of basil, made the dish rich and melt in your mouth. Again, it was an idea and mingling of flavors that I had never experienced before, and it was extremely delightful.

To round out the main courses we then had green curry. But instead of being served temperature hot as a normal Thai curry, the chef decided to completely change the makeup of the dish by serving it frozen. After the blend of green curry was cooked with coconut milk and reduced so the flavors were condensed, it was then flash frozen into a thin bowl like structure. The green curry had to be eaten quickly to maintain the modern molecular composition, so it would still be frozen solid when eating. The result was very interesting yet again. When I closed my eyes, I tasted all the normal components of a Thai green curry, yet there was a slight crunch from the frozenness, and the creamy cold sensation was more similar to a creamsicle than a plate of green curry and rice. It sort of reminded me of eating an Indian kulfi, an ice cream that’s made with thick cream …

15 Fat Burning Foods – Eating Your Way To Natural Fat Loss

Quickly, can you name 15 fat burning foods in the next 30 seconds? How did you do? Well, there are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that are hyped as foods that you can eat to help you to lose weight. They are also known as negative calorie foods and have what is known as a high ‘thermogenic’ value. In other words, they use more calories in the digestive process than what is actually contained within the food itself. This process speeds up your metabolism, which can lead to fat loss.

In actuality, it is not the food that burns the fat, but the nutrients in these foods that help in breaking down fatty deposits and make it easier for your body to help flush out the fat. Also, when your body is properly nourished it has a positive affect on maintaining your blood sugar level. Regulating your blood sugar level has proven to be the most effective method to maintaining the body’s fat-burning capacity by eliminating the feel of hunger.

Following are 15 fat burning foods known for accelerating fat loss; they are packed with nutritional value and can assist you in achieving your weight loss goal and improve your overall health in numerous ways:

Beans

Steep in fiber and an excellent source of protein as well as iron, a single serving of beans is very filling and can satisfy your appetite for hours. The great thing is that they come in many varieties including lima beans, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, green beans, wax beans, northern beans, and garbanzo beans. They are great for helping to keep the blood sugar level balance.

Garlic

This staple has a worldwide reputation as a miracle food and comes in over 300 varieties; it contains vitamins A, C, and D. One of the most common is the American garlic; it has a white paper-like skin and a very strong flavor. Its many forms include whole peeled gloves, minced fresh cloves, dried garlic powder, garlic extract, garlic salt, and whole peeled gloves. Garlic contains the compound allicin which studies have shown can help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure; it is a natural diuretic food that aids the breakage of fat. It has been observed that allicin begins to degrade immediately after it is produced, so its medicinal effect decreases over time. Cooking degrades its even further and microwaving allicin, more likely than not, totally annihilates any health benefits.

To receive the optimal effect, crush a little raw garlic and combine with the cooked food shortly before serving. Be careful not to overdo it – too much can irritate or possibly damage the digestive tract. Keep in mind that raw, crushed garlic yields not only the most powerful flavor but, as an entry on the 15 fat burning foods list, it is an extremely effective ingredient to have as a part of your health and fitness arsenal.

Carrots

This vegetable contains high levels of carotene, which is transform into Vitamin A. …

How to Make World-Class Gourmet Toffee – 12 Secrets – Includes Toffee Recipe

It looks simple but…

A toffee recipe, at first glance, looks deceptively simple. What could be easier…combine butter, sugar, and little water, cook it to a set temperature or certain color…poured out to cool, cover with chocolate and behold another perfect batch of toffee!

If you have ever made toffee at home then you know that there are a host of things that can go wrong, many times for no apparent reason.

I have personally produced hundreds of thousands of pounds of toffee…I am a professional toffee maker.

I’m going to give you a few Toffee Maker’s secrets to help you make that perfect batch of toffee, consistently, batch after batch after batch…and not just ordinary toffee, but World-Class Gourmet Almond Toffee!

Toffee Maker’s Secret #1: Use an accurate candy thermometer. Use the thermometer as a guide or as a roadmap. It will give you an idea when you have arrived. As you gain experience, the color of the batch will also tell you when the toffee is ready.

Toffee Maker’s Secret #2: For consistency from batch to batch weigh each ingredients with a food scale and use only the finest ingredients available.

Toffee Maker’s Secret #3: Follow the cooking procedure exactly. When making toffee the procedure and timing is just as important as the ratio of ingredients. What makes toffee…”Toffee”…is the procedure.

Cooking The Batch.

It’s important that the butter is brought to the boiling point. Add the water and again bring to the boiling point. Boiling the butter and water will dissolve the sugar crystals very quickly. This will keep the batch from re-crystallizing during the cooking process.

Toffee Maker’s Secret #4: Very important! Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water. Any un-dissolve sugar crystals will cause the batch to re-crystallize. If the batch re-crystallizes it will be very grainy and will also separate. I personally have been unable to save a batch of toffee if this happens. You would need to discard the batch and start over.

Let’s continue…

Some critical temperatures to be aware of: At about 250°F the batch would re-crystallize if the heat source you’re using is not high enough to dissolve the sugar crystals as they form. From 250° to 280°F the toffee syrup will appear thick and heavy and will give the impression that the batch is partially re-crystallized. But if your stove is hot enough the tendency to re-crystallize would be eliminated.

Toffee Maker’s Secret #5: Every single Toffee Maker has experienced this problem. The butter and sugar will separate during the cooking process. To solve this problem all we need to do is add an emulsifier at the beginning of the cooking procedure. Lecithin is used for this purpose. Lecithin allows the butterfat to mix with the moisture in the batch. Lecithin is a by-product in the production of soybean flour and oil. The lecithin is purified and non-allergenic for people with soybean allergies. Soy lecithin can be found in health food stores, some …

German Recipes and Cuisine

In other countries, German food often has a reputation for consisting of large amounts of red meat, simply cooked. While it is true that red meat dishes, especially beef and pork, but also game (including wild boar, venison and rabbit), are popular in Germany, there is much more to German cuisine than simply roasted meat. Additionally, Germany has an international reputation for its sausages – and there are an incredible choice of sausages available – at least 1,500 varieties!

Traditionally in Germany, people eat a fairly light breakfast (German: frühstück) which may include breads and some meats (such as salted meats like salami, ham, or meat spreads such as leberwurst), a fairly light evening meal (German: abendessen or abendbrot), and have their main meal at lunch (German: mittagessen). Sometimes, a “second breakfast” (German: zweites frühstück) also be eaten during mid-morning, and because of modern working patterns is quite common now for the day’s main hot meal to be eaten in the evening instead of at lunch time.

Here are some popular German dishes:

– Blood sausage (German: Blutwurst) – A sausage made from blood, meat and barley (similar to English black pudding). Blutwurst is often made from fatty pork meat with cow’s blood, but in the Rhineland area, horse meat with is traditional. A popular variation is “zungenwurst” which includes pickled pig’s tongue in the sausage mix. Although the sausages are ready cooked and ready to eat, blutwurst is almost always heated and served hot.

– Weißwürste – White sausages made from pork fat. Originally from Munich (German: München), this dish is often eaten as part of “second breakfast” (German: zweites frühstück).

– Frankfurter sausage – A sausage made with smoked pork. While it is eaten hot with bread and mustard, it is not exactly the same as the American “frankfurter” sausage.

– Bratwurst – Bratwurst are a popular variety of sausages made from pork or beef (or sometimes veal), and normally eaten hot with mustard and ketchup. Bratwurst is also used as an ingredient for some other dishes; for example, currywurst is made by slicing bratwurst and dipping the slices into a tomato-based curry sauce.

– Sauerkraut – Finely sliced cabbage, fermented in an airtight container. It can be eaten as a relish, dressed with oil and onions as a salad, heated and served hot, or used as ingredient in other dishes.

– Schupfnudeln – Sauerkraut cooked with potato noodles.

– Spätzle – The German version of noodles. A simple dough is made from flour, eggs and salt, and it is then cooked in boiling water. Spätzle is often eaten as a side dish with meat, but may also be used as an ingredient in other dishes too.

– Linsen, spätzle und saitenwürstle – Spätzle cooked with lentils and frankfurter-style sausages.

– Kässpätzle – Spätzle mixed with grated cheese and fried onions, then fried or baked.

– Krautspätzle – A cooked mixture of spätzle, sauerkraut, onions and butter.

– Gaisburger marsch – A traditional beef stew, contained cubes of …

The Top Three Healthy Non Toxic Cookware Sets

With all of the bad publicity that Teflon and aluminum cookware has received, many of us are searching for healthy non toxic cookware. It doesn’t make any sense to purchase healthy whole foods and then cook them in toxic pots and pans.

Although stainless steel cookware has been considered a safe alternative, it does have one drawback. Stainless steel cookware is made with a combination of stainless steel, chromium and nickel. None of these are harmful in small doses, but many people are allergic to nickel. If you are allergic to nickel, you should refrain from using stainless steel cookware.

Another concern that many people are not aware of is that some glazes used on crock pots have small amount of lead. The recommendation is to use terra cotta crock pots without the lead glaze.

The best cookware which is healthy and non toxic is anodized aluminum cookware. The process used in making the hard anodized aluminum seals the aluminum with an extremely hard surface coating which is non-reactive and prevents any aluminum from leaching into the food we are cooking.

The following three companies have excellent hard anodized aluminum cookware sets that are healthy and non toxic:

Calphalon is the leading manufacturer but many other companies are now producing cookware sets made with the hard anodized aluminum. Calphalon cookware cooks evenly on lower heat and is stick-resistant. They have stainless steel handles which will stay cool during stovetop cooking. The pans and lids can be used in the oven and broiler.

Cuisinart has introduced a line of non-stick cookware called Cuisinart Green Gourmet Hard Anodized Cookware. They work just like the Teflon cookware, except they don’t emit any of the toxic fumes that Teflon pans do. Just like the Teflon pans, they allow you to cook with less oil and they are also energy efficient and eco-friendly. This Green Gourmet cookware set is oven and broiler safe.

KitchenAid has their own set of non-stick anodized aluminum cookware called KitchenAid Gourmet Essentials. This cookware set features stainless steel handles coated with silicone grips. The lids are break resistant glass which makes it nice to see what you are cooking. These pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees.

All three of these companies cookware sets are highly recommended healthy non toxic sets. I use the Kitchen Aid Gourmet Essentials cookware in my kitchen. It is the best value out of the three.…

Baby Shower Party Recipes: Make "Baby" Your Theme

“When you are looking at making food for the next baby shower you host, make sure the word “baby” appears in all the recipes. When the baby shower party recipes all have the word “baby” in them, you are making the menu thematic. Your guests will love it!

Here are some baby shower recipes you can consider the next time you are hosting this type of party:

*Baby Shrimp

*Baby Meatballs

– Both of these only need to be purchased and heated. You can serve them as appetizers with decorative toothpicks.

*Baby Carrots

*Baby Snap Peas

*Baby Swiss Cheese

– Wash and eat the vegetables. Cut into cubes and eat the cheese. These can be used as sides along with your main course or as appetizers throughout your baby shower.

*Baby Bagel Sandwiches

Ingredients:

Various cooked meats – ham, turkey, roast beef

Various fillings – chicken and tuna salad

Various cheeses – American, Swiss and mozzarella

Baby bagels – white and wheat varieties

Sliced vegetables – lettuce, tomato, cucumber

Condiments

– Slice bagels and place on large serving tray.

– Create a large display of the cooked meats and cheeses on a separate large serving tray.

– Have the various fillings in matching serving bowls on either side of the cooked meats tray.

– Create a large display of the sliced veggies on a separate large serving tray.

– Allow your guests to create their own baby bagel sandwich on the spot, so it will be fresh and to their liking.

*Baby Back Ribs

Ingredients:

2 lbs pork baby back ribs

1 bottle of barbeque sauce – 18 ounces of your favorite variety

– Brush each rib with plenty of barbeque sauce. Wrap tightly in a piece of tin foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

– Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

– Bake the foil covered ribs for 2 ½ hours.

– Remove from the foil and add additional sauce to taste.

Makes 4 servings

*Baby Blue Punch

Ingredients:

1 package of blue drink mix, unsweetened – any flavor that is blue

1 bottle lemon lime soda

1 bottle white cranberry juice

Vanilla ice cream

White sugar

– In a large punch bowl, mix the flavored drink mix, lemon lime soda and cranberry juice.

– Add the sugar to taste, up to 1 cup.

– Scoop the ice cream on top and serve.

Makes up to 24 servings

All of these baby shower party recipes are fresh, yummy, and will allow everyone to eat something they enjoy.…

A Sample of a Bakery Business Plan

In a bakery business, preparing a business plan is very necessary, as it gives you and the investors an absolute idea about how you would realize and execute the entire business plan options. This vital part is commonly known as the executive summary of the whole plan.

Category of the Business

Prior in planning anything, get acquainted with the diverse types of business you can start. There are three general ways you can start a bakery business.

  • You can begin a retail bakery business, where customers can buy bakery foods from you in a bakery shop. You can also choose to have a bakery restaurant, where people can buy and eat in your restaurant.
  • Another way, you can start a wholesale bakery business where you sell bakery products to the retail bakery shops and restaurants.
  • Lastly, you can work as retail and wholesale bakery business entrepreneur. It helps you gain more revenues and earnings. It also helps you get the most parts of the prospective market and consumers.

Bakery Products and Services

After you decide which type of business to go for; you have to choose about cooking specialties. There are selection of bakery products, such as, cakes, pastries, breads and a lot more so you may choose only some specialty items or may go for all the bakery pleasures. If you choose to go for retail business with a shop or restaurant, it is best to keep array of products so that you can cater to different customer demands. You need to give meticulous consideration to all the products and services you will be providing to the customers.

Market Research

This part is one of the significant steps in any business plan. You need to know necessarily about your competitors that can be locally well recognized bakery shops or branded bakery products. You must be responsive of the business strategies, promotional plans and specialty products of your rivals. It helps you in marketing your products

Capital Venture

Your business plan must comprise the details about how you are going to put in money to the business. You should plan as to how many employees need to be selected and their salary, and a lot more. You will have to think about the land investment, whether you are going to buy, rent out a shop or place to put up business. You need to make preparations to meet these operating costs in the initial stage of the business.

Bakery Design

Every type of bakery business always needs different arrangements. Your work is moderately easy if you are going for a wholesale bakery business. All you need to do is, get the orders from retailers and provide them with demanded products with the help of skilled employees. You do not need to have an attractive spot, set up for wholesale bakery business. But if you are planning to start a bakery with a restaurant, then you have to give attention to a lot new details, such as, atmosphere of the bakery, …

Choosing Kitchen Utensils For Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

When choosing kitchen implements for enameled cast iron cookware, it is important to understand the nature of the enamel that makes it different from ordinary cast iron pots and pans. Standard cast iron can be given nonstick properties and rendered easier to clean by seasoning with hot oil or grease. Baking oil into the pan at high temperature forms a bond that reduces the likelihood of rusting and iron getting into the food, and also makes it relatively nonstick and easier to clean.

Enameling is also a way of creating a barrier between the food and the iron base, and enameled cookware is fairly easy to clean and possesses an acceptable degree of nonstick properties, though you should try to avoid burning food onto the bottom or sides of the pan. If you do, however, enamel is fairly resistant to scratching – much more so that straight cast iron, stainless steel or nonstick Teflon surfaces. It can therefore tolerate scouring better than these other surfaces, but is very sensitive to knocks and bangs that can chip the enamel off the base.

Enamel is not baked on paint, as many think it to be, but is silica, or glass, that is mixed with pigments and then melted onto the iron surface. The process creates a bond that, while strong enough for normal handling, can chip if given hard knocks. If you drop enameled cookware onto a hard floor, for example, it is liable to chip, but not if you stir the contents with a metal spoon.

Nevertheless, although you can use stainless steel and other metal kitchen implements with enameled cast iron cookware, you are advised not to, and to try to use wood, plastic or silicone. Silicone is a form of plastic that has been cured and cross-linked to render it heat resistant, a property that ordinary plastic kitchen implements lack.

Wood is best for any type of cookware, but most people have a set of wooden spoons in their kitchen arsenal, and perhaps a wooden spatula, but very little else. You can get a wider range online, but the ladles and slotted spoons tend to be very small in comparison to their metal or plastic alternatives.

Plastic is excellent in respect of protecting your cookware, but it can be soft and can get even softer when hot. Not only that, but forget to take it off the pot when cooking and you will have given a new meaning to plastic food! The same is true of a plastic spatula or fish slice: these kitchen tools rarely last long without showing signs of a few burns. Which takes us to silicone kitchen tools.

Silicone kitchen implements are heat-rated, and some are rated as high as 900 degrees, so they will not soften or melt in the same way as normal plastic. There is also a good range of silicone implements, such as turkey lifters, fish slices, spatulas and cooking spoons, but still not as many as are available in stainless …

Stone Cookware – The Alternative To Stainless Steel

Often, people only focus on the quality of the meal that they provide to their family and forget that the utensils and pots that they use have an effect on their overall health. Take for example non-stick steel pans. The substance that gives them this non-sticky surface is the Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is basically a toxin that effects your body, albeit in due time. This PFOA material has been linked to different kinds of cancers, weakened immune systems, thyroid problems and even miscarriages. Therefore, if you value your family’s health, it’s about time that you shift to a different cooking material

If you have never used stoneware before or don’t exactly know what it is, the following guide will be a quick introduction to its benefits.

What is it?

Stoneware is generally a type of clay that is cast using extremely high temperatures. As a result, the final product is durable, chip resistant, an excellent heat insulator and something that can easily withstand daily use in your kitchen. Though stoneware was mostly used in dishes, mugs, plates and bowls up to a few years ago, many have opted to use stone now because of the chemicals used in various steel-based kitchenware.

this type of cookware is used for baking purposes because it is strong enough to withstand the extreme oven temperatures without cracking or breaking. It also heats very evenly allowing for a more ‘even cook’ across the meal. Stone cookware is also available in clear or coloured glazes, so you can choose one according to your own preference.

The Benefits.

Some of the top benefits that you can hope to reap with stone cookware are:

1. Since this cookware is made from natural clay, you won’t need to worry about any harmful chemicals getting into you or your family’s body from any post-production additives.

2. It becomes seasoned with each use, which makes the cooked food taste better. In fact, people who use stone cookware regularly rarely opt for any other type of cooking material, irrespective of cost.

3. It is able to retain heat inside it, which means that your food will be cooked a lot quicker and more evenly. Moreover, because of this heat retention, your food will stay warm for a longer period of time. So, you won’t need to worry about rewarming it.

Tips for Using and Maintaining.

When using and maintaining your stone cookware, consider following these three tips to ensure that your stone cooking utensils last longer.

1. Before the first use, make sure to wash the stone cookware with hot water only and not with soap. Also, for the first use, most manufacturers suggest that you cook something slightly greasy such as French fries to turn your cookware into a non-stick pan or pot.

2. The food that you cook in your cookware should be cooked at the temperature and time you would when using any other kind of material.

3. Even though stoneware is very durable, you shouldn’t attempt to …