Planning a Halloween Party That Elementary School Kids Will Love

Every family celebrates Halloween differently. Some parents are too busy to prepare a grand party and simply carve out a pumpkin face, put a candle inside and position the scary pumpkin in a window facing the street. However, if your child is attending a school Halloween party and you’re going to participate, you have to think of more Halloween ideas to contribute. Here are some suggestions:

“Scary Face” Painting

If you have a week or so before the party, you can learn the basics of face painting and use your skills to make Halloween more fun and memorable to the kids attending your Halloween party.

If you’re not the artistic type, you can hire two face painting artists for the day and put up a stall in the venue for face painting. Some kids will be lacking in the costume department, and face art will make up for what they lack. Divide the kids into two and line them up to have their face painted. Let the kids choose the designs by giving out flyers with a list of the images they can ask the artist to paint.

Create Your Painted Pumpkin Family

You can use paper mache pumpkins or real ones for pumpkin painting. The objective is to give younger kids something to do with Halloween pumpkins without exposing them to sharp edges, knives and the other dangers associated with jack-o-lantern carving.

If you’re ordering pumpkins, ask the supplier to pick out large, medium and small sized pumpkins to represent each member of the child’s family.

For school events, however, the kids can have one pumpkin to paint and bring home after the party. Prepare supplies like glues, acrylic paints, permanent markers, colored paper, old newspapers, eye-drawing cut outs, ribbons, colorful stickers and party hats. Let the kids paint funny faces on their pumpkins and decorate them using the supplies you provided.

Freeze Dancing

One of the best activities that a group of elementary kids can participate in at a Halloween party is Freeze Dancing. Choose a lively Halloween CD and let the kids dance for a while before stopping the music. Each child has to “freeze” when the music stops. You can designate two or three teachers or parents to supervise the game and eliminate kids who move even a little while the music is not playing. The last child standing is declared the winner.

Snacks

You can turn any snack (cookies, rice pudding and ice cream) into a creepy, crawly Halloween treat just by using green or orange food coloring and serving with candy corns.…

How to Clean Your Commercial Fridge Units

Commercial Refrigeration Units make up an integral part of any food and beverage establishments. Being the main storage equipment that they are, without these refrigeration items any food and drink business would end up spending more by buying ingredients on a daily basis, or worse, per hour basis.

This is why each commercial refrigeration unit must be properly maintained and taken care of. One way of maintaining your commercial fridge is by cleaning it. Keeping your commercial fridge clean will not just prolong its life, but it will also promote health and food safety for your customers, the ones who actually keep your business alive.

Danger of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew are those annoying fungi, microscopic organisms that live and multiply in moist places, in this case the deep-seated corners of your commercial fridge. Keep in mind that what you are keeping in these fridges are food and beverage – something people ingest. Therefore, to cut the story short, storing food in a fungi-infested fridge will pose a dangerous threat to both your business and to the health of your customers. Get rid of those mold and mildew, or better yet, prevent it from building up.

Here are the steps on how to clean your Commercial Refrigeration Units:

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 1: Clear out its contents.

When clearing out the contents of your commercial Refrigerator, you need to inspect each food and drink items carefully, and check if any of them has gone bad. If there’s any, then you need to throw them out right aware. If you have another fridge, you can store perishable items there first while cleaning the other one.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 2: Use a mold and mildew remover, or just make your own.

It’s easy, really. Just prepare a spray bottle, white wine vinegar, and warm water. Simply mix 1 cup of white wine vinegar to 2 cups of warm water, then shake it in a spray bottle. Just spray the mixture on the mold and mildew then leave for a few minutes.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 3: Clean your commercial chiller completely.

Afterwards, thoroughly rinse away the mold and mildew as well as the vinegar mixture and the whole fridge interior using a non-abrasive wash cloth or a sponge. Use the same dry materials to dry the cleaned commercial chiller,. Then put back all food and drink items as previously stored.

Commercial Fridge Cleaning Step 4: Keep those mold and mildew from building up.

Now, it’s time to do the regular cleaning and maintenance of your commercial refrigeration items by doing the vinegar mixture cleansing at least once a month, then monitoring the quality of your food and beverage items. Throw them away once spoiled.…

What Is a Bratt Pan?

A Bratt Pan is very versatile piece of kitchen equipment that can be commonly used for eight different methods of cooking, although some have limited functionality. These methods of cooking are: Steaming, Poaching, Deep-fat frying, Stewing, Boiling, Braising, Roasting and Shallow frying. Some versions have limited functionality.

Bratt pans have deep rectangular cooking pots and pull down lids and can be heated by either gas or electricity. They are most useful for multi method cooking of one particular dish or food substance such as browning cubed steak with the lid open and on a high temperature setting, followed by then closing the lid, adding liquid and turning the heat down to then braise the browned meat. This method could also be used for creating soups and stocks.

Bratt pans get their names from the German word ‘brat’ which means ‘fry’, although in Germany they are actually called ‘Kippentopf’ which means ’tilting pan’. This name relates to the tilting feature that Bratt pans have than can either be electric or manual.

The tilting feature is used for both cooking and cleaning. When cooking, the lid of the pan can be closed and the pan tilted, enabling liquid and other food stuffs to be poured into the pan through a v-cut opening, ensuring that there is little risk of being burnt or scalded.

When cleaning the tilt mechanism can be used to aid rinsing by swirling water around the pan. Some pans even come with the added function of being able to be connected to the mains water supply so that water can be directly piped to the pan for cleaning or cooking.

There is also a version of pressurised Bratt pan that works much the same as typical pressure cookers. Because the lid can be clamped so tightly, water temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius can be reached and so cooking times are reduced.

Bratt pans are typically used for producing large volumes of food and so are almost always present in large hotels, restaurants, hospitals and universities. They are rarely if ever used for domestic purposes as their size and nature of use do not lend themselves to home cooking.

Because these items are essentially industrial or commercial equipment they are designed to last for some years. They do still however require continual maintenance and especially need daily cleaning to keep them working efficiently and to maintain health and safety standards.…

Pizza Has All the Major Food Groups

In this very hectic world, meal time can be such a hassle. It seems hard to squeeze in a balanced diet when you have to do so many things throughout the day. As such, people are always on the look out for quick meals that provide all the necessary nutrients in one bite. If this is the case with you, then you need not look further than the yellow pages. The complete meal has long been around that you are probably eating it more often than you notice. Still puzzled as to what this complete food is? It is none other than the pizza.

For many, pizza may just be a snack or junk food, a fattening substance of empty nutritive value. But contrary to this common notion, the pizza can potentially be a healthful meal that can be both filling and nutritious. While it is true that wolfing down six big slices of pizza in one sitting can definitely make one fat, eating it in the right amounts can just be as healthy as eating a serving of salad. What makes pizza so good is that it has all the food groups recommended by nutritionists and doctors for a proper nutrition.

Here is a run down of the types of food that can be found in most pizzas.

Pizza Has Grain

The basis of any pizza is the crust. It is the binder of the whole pie, where all the ingredients are situated. Crust is simply bread, which is usually made of flour. This is a rich source of carbohydrates which the body uses as fuel for its everyday function. The grain food group is also a good source of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for maintaining normal body processes. The pizza crust is also a source fiber, which is very necessary for maintaining the function of the digestive system.

Pizza Has Protein-Rich Foods

Pizza is rich in food products belonging to the meat group. The usual pizza can have pepperoni, Italian sausages, ground beef, ham and other meats. Some pizzas can even have chicken, veal, or lamb. These types of food are rich in protein, iron, and vitamin D, among many other vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are necessary for building muscle and developing tissue. These nutrients are also used for maintaining hair and skin.

Pizza Has Dairy Products

Aside from the crust, a typical feature of any pizza is the cheese. Nothing beats the chewy, oozing goodness of melted mozzarella on top of any pizza. Some pizzas even have other kinds of cheeses like cheddar, feta, and Gouda. Cheese, like other dairy products is rich in calcium and protein. Calcium is a necessary mineral for growing strong bones and teeth. It is also an important element for preventing diseases like osteoporosis.

Pizza Has Fruits

Another typical ingredient of a pizza is the tomato sauce. While most people would think that tomatoes are vegetables, it is basically a fruit. And like many nutritious fruits, tomatoes are rich …

10 Utensils Common In Food Preparation In Africa

There are utensils in food preparation and in cooking that are unique to Africa. Here are a few!

1. Cooking Pot

In modern Africa, many families have switched to using cooking utensils made of metallic, ceramic and other materials, especially when using modern cooking fires such as electric or gas fires. However, the traditional earthenware cooking pot still remains a favourite for many.

The traditional cooking pot is made of clay, and then fired in a kiln. The processes involved in producing a cooking pot and a water pot are different, since a water pot only needs to keep water cool and not withstand the fire.

The traditional cooking pot is often used over an open fire, such as a wood fire, or at a hearth, or over a charcoal burner. The earthy smell of the cooking pot lends a unique flavour to the food. Fresh beans or meat simmered in a pot have quite a different flavour to when cooked in a metallic saucepan.

The insulatory qualities of the clay pot also slow down the cooking process, which further enhances the flavour of the food.

2. Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle used to be standard equipment in many African households, and often still are. A mortar and pestle were used when pounding grain such as millet or sorghum to separate the chaff from the grain.

In western Africa, cooked yam or cocoyam is also pounded into foo-foo. In Uganda, roasted groundnuts are pounded into odii paste, while raw groundnuts are pounded into ebinyewa groundnut powder.

The Africa mortar and pestle are large for heavy duty pounding, differing from their counterpart common in western cooking, which is a small utensil for gently rubbing spices.

3. Mingling Stick

Most African kitchens have a mingling stick, or indeed a whole collection of them. They are made of wood, and come in all sizes and many different shapes. The most common is the wooden mingling stick with a flat head, used to stir food, but more often to mingle posho, ugali or kuon – maize meal or millet meal bread.

Every woman has a favourite mingling stick, which she claims produces the best results!

4. Gourd

In many communities, a gourd is a special and very handy utensil. A gourd is a climbing plant, which produces a long or round fruit. When this fruit matures and dries, it makes a very useful container. A ripe gourd is often brown or golden in colour. The woody inside is then hollowed out and cleaned.

The Kalenjin of western Kenya use their gourds to ferment milk in. And of course, every woman has her own favourite gourd.

When a gourd is cut lengthwise into two, one then has two calabashes, which are very useful for serving drinks. The clean, woody smell of drinking water in a calabash is quite unique. In northern Uganda,visitors were often served homemade beer in calabashes.

Several ethnic communities in Africa also use calabashes as musical instruments, including the Acoli …

Points to Consider When Cooking Meat

Meats should be cooked at a heat that kills the harmful bacteria in it. There are suggested unique cooking temperature readings for each kind of animal protein. There are several points that need to be taken into consideration, when cooking animal products; some of those points are –

Cook it at the right temperature – The science and technology has proposed several means that have comforted the human life. Kitchen, grill, and BBQ thermometers are a great utility that enable one to check the exact temperature of the food, while it is being cooked. Because uncooked or improperly cooked meat steaks may contain various microorganisms, it becomes essential to take them to the suggested summit of heat.

For instance, if you are making roast beef or lamb, make sure you take its temperature to at least 170º F, or 77º C. This is the safest temperature that makes the roast beef or lamb edible. You would need a grill meat thermometer for this stunt. Similarly, for cooking ground beef, chicken, and pork, 165º F temp would be perfect.

There are available special temperature-monitoring devices that can be used in microwave ovens. The probe can be inserted into the meat, before being placed into the microwave. There are also available devices that can give instant reading of heat, at the ending of cooking procedure. Ideal it would be, if you would buy an all-in-one thermapen that can be used for various operations. You just need to insert the probe into the meat, and the read out is instantaneously.

Insert the testing probe into the thickest portion of steak. As a vital step – to make sure that the steak is fit to be eaten and contains no bacteria – you should insert the probe into the thickest part. Another point, when taking this step, ascertain that the needle does not touch the bone. If the probe touches the bone, it could give wrong interpretations.

Keep the probe or device away from the pan in which it is being cooked – If the needle or device would touch the pan, it may interpret incorrect reading. You should insert the probe from that side where it does not touch the sides of the pan.

Reheating – If eating the leftover meat items, you should bring them to at least 165 º F temperatures. Additionally, when the food reaches the suggested cooking heat, you are advised not to remove the probe from it. (Though, you should remove the food from heat.) And allow the food to rest it at that temperature, and eat it only when the temperature has stopped rising.…

Jambalaya Pots – A Resume of Important Tips

The Jambalaya tradition is alive and well and spreading far and wide, well beyond its Cajun origins in Louisiana. If your thinking about getting into Jambalaya cooking there are a few things its good to know.

Jambalaya pots are multi-purpose; they are great for stews, soups, gumbos, popcorn and much more. You can cook nearly all types of food using cast iron cookware so these pots are the supreme example of large scale ‘anything goes’ cooking equipment

Cast iron pots are a great cooking medium with near perfect heat conduction and heat retention they are very efficient, heating evenly & consistently without heat spots.

There is one piece of advice that is paramount, don’t buy cheap. A Jambalaya pot is an investment that your grand children’s children will be enjoying, so buy well. Remember, by comparative standards they are not expensive and when measured over their extended lifetime they are incredibly cheap.

As a simple piece of advice, we have found that the Bayou Classic range of jambalaya pots are superb, they represent the very best in Jambalaya cookware.

Jambalaya pots are ideal for outdoor cooking but they can be a little heavy, especially the larger models. This said the common advice from users is, if you think you’ve chosen the right size then go for the next size up as there surely will come a time when you’ll have need of it. This said do also bear in mind that when going from say, a 7 gallon up to a 10 gallon pot you’re going from being able to serve 60 people, to being able to serve 100.

It’s really healthy to cook with cast iron jambalaya pots because you can cook fat free as a properly seasoned Jambalaya pot will be non-stick so it requires no oil for cooking.

Jambalaya pots are easy to clean:

  1. once the pot is cooled, wash it using normal washing up liquid, then rinse and dry with a paper towel; don’t listen to those that say just wipe it out; this is not hygienic.
  2. after washing put the pot onto the stove/burner to completely dry it out; then before its cooled very lightly oil with a vegetable oil; then leave it on the stove for a few minutes; then take it off the stove and wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel;
  3. after drying your cookware you should never store it with its lid on as this can allow moisture to build up inside, resulting in rust! To help avoid this it can help to put a paper towel inside the pot to absorb any moisture; and
  4. if you do experience rust, scour with steel wool, until the rust is gone, wash and re-season.

Finally here are just a few dos and don’t when cooking with your Jambalaya pots:

  1. Don’t use your pot for boiling water.
  2. Always preheat your pot before starting cooking. The temperature is right when drips of water sizzle then jump around. Its too hot if the water

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Each year, eighty percent of the pumpkins grown in the USA are harvested in October. Commercially canned puree is probably the most familiar edible form of this popular autumn produce, however the mild, slightly sweet flesh of fresh pumpkin makes an excellent dish when baked, boiled, sauteed, steamed or microwaved. The pumpkin seeds, as well, may be toasted to create a marvelously tasty and healthy snack.

This article will discuss the process of selecting the proper cooking pumpkin and the technique for preparing homemade pumpkin puree.

Selecting and Storing Fresh Pumpkins…

  • For cooking, select the small ‘pie’ types, often called sugar, cheese or milk pumpkins – the ‘jack-‘o-lantern’ pumpkins are not as sweet and the flesh is tough and stringy. (If uncertain, ask your grocer to help select the proper variety.)
  • Always select firm, sound pumpkins that feel heavy for their size. The rind should not have any blemishes or soft spots and a 2- to 3-inch stem should be intact.
  • Fresh pumpkins may be stored in a cool, dry dark place for up to 2 months. Ideal temperature range for storage is 55 to 59F (12.5 to 15C). Do not store below 50F (10C) and do not store fresh pumpkin in a refrigerator or wrap in plastic.

    How to Prepare Homemade Pumpkin Puree…

    The following recipe will yield a minimum of 1-3/4 cups of puree — equal to 1 (15-oz.) can of solid pack pumpkin puree. (Three pounds of fresh pumpkin will yield about 3 cups mashed cooked pumpkin.) Any leftover puree may be frozen – see freezing instructions below. Use this puree in recipes or substitute it in the same amount in any recipe calling for solid pack canned pumpkin.

    1. Choose a 3 to 4 pound sugar (‘pie’) pumpkin for preparing puree. (Under no circumstances cook or eat a carved Halloween pumpkin as the cut surfaces breed bacteria.)

    2. Preheat oven to 350F (175C).

    3. Just prior to baking, rinse the pumpkin under cold water to remove any dirt or debris from the outside of the pumpkin; wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.

    4. Split the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and stringy fibers by scraping the insides with a metal spoon. Discard fibers and save seeds for toasting, if desired.

    5. Rub the cut surfaces of the pumpkin with canola oil and place the 2 halves (cut-side-down) in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water.

    6. Bake in preheated oven until pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced with a knife (approximately 90 minutes).

    7. Remove the pumpkin halves from the oven and place them on a cutting board or other flat surface to cool.

    8. When cool enough to handle, scoop the baked flesh out of each pumpkin half with a spoon.

    9. Puree pumpkin in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade or mash by hand.

    10. Place the puree in a sieve lined with a paper-towel or coffee filter and set over a deep bowl. Let drain,

  • Benefits of Modern Commercial Kitchen Equipment

    If any food company decides to introduce modern kitchen equipments in its system then it has a wide range of options available to improve its performance. It is quite natural that commercial kitchen equipment will be technologically far better than the one which are used in domestic households.

    The best examples of the places where these equipments are used are restaurants, hotels, hostels etc. The ultimate invention in the field of kitchen equipments is chapatti making machine which is known for its hygiene because, the lesser the human efforts are involved; the lesser will be the chances of germs to get enter into the dough. The germs were earlier used to contaminate food even through open hands of the cook. There are so many varieties of Chapatti maker machine available in the markets now-a-days which are energy efficient and quite easy to operate. Being energy efficient means definitely they are helpful in reducing the overall cost incurred by the commercial set ups. The other advantage of this equipment is that it produces chapattis throughout in the same shape and size whereas it is not sure that manually made chapattis will be uniform in shape. There are three types of these machines available in the market they are semi -automatic, automatic and fully automatic chapatti making machines.

    This range is not only limited to Roti making machine but a huge variety of Tortilla maker machines are also available in the market. A commercial tortilla maker has become a necessity of any restaurant which has to make this dish on a large scale. Without a machine, work of mixing, rolling and cooking tortillas require intensive labour. Now these machines save a lot of time and labour which can be utilized in providing good services to the customers. A tortilla machine comprises of mixers, tortilla presses, tortilla cutters, dough dividers, counters and equipment for packaging.

    Kitchen equipment manufacturers have also introduced Papad making machine which saves a lot of time and energy of the commercial, small scale as well as large scale, industries. The huge popularity and demand of south Indian food like dosa has given rise to the invention of dosa machines which unbelievably can produce even four hundred dosa in an hour which could have never been possible if the same work had been done manually. Process of various operations to produce dosa like dispersion of batter, spreading and depositing of on the hot plate and roasting is organized in a very systematic way. This device is available with the facility of time setting, temperature control and various other features. These are very useful in industrial canteens, festivals, hotels and gatherings which take place on a large level.

    There is a machine which is very similar to that of a Roti machine named Poori machine which produces small size pooris in commercial setups. Thus, we can conclude that modernization and commercialization is not only limited to the outer world but it has taken control over our traditional practices of cooking food …

    The Foods You Need to Eat During Pregnancy!

    Need some real, practical suggestions for healthy breakfasts, snacks, meals and drinks for avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy? Look no further – we’ve even given you a shopping list!

    PREGNANCY NUTRITION: TOP FOODS TO EAT AND TO AVOID!

    Pregnancy Nutrition: BREAKFAST IDEAS

    Fresh fruit smoothie: Blend any fresh fruit (with some natural unsweetened live yoghurt (soya, goat or cow’s) and a handful of mixed seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed).

    Tip: if you are in a hurry, add fresh orange or apple juice to dilute your smoothie so it’s easy to drink, then put in a beaker and take it with you.

    Boiled, scrambled or poached egg with buttered oat cakes or rye toast. – Wholegrain rye toast spread with nut butter (almond, cashew, hazel or peanut)

    Mix a handful of oats in a bowl of live natural yoghurt and top with a few pieces of chopped fresh fruit and a handful of chopped nuts.

    Spread some cream cheese on corn cakes or wheat-free bread/crackers and top with wild or organic smoked salmon.

    Porridge cooked in water with grated apple and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Tip: soak oats in water for 10 minutes before cooking – this will bring out their creamy flavour, so there’s no need to use milk. Add some hot stewed apple and berries

    An omelet (filling ideas: grated cheese and red onion, mixed fresh herbs, chopped tomatoes and peppers, garlic mushrooms and watercress, smoked salmon).

    Baked beans on rye toast.

    Pregnancy Nutrition: DRINKS IDEAS

    Herb teas instead of caffeinated tea. There are so many varieties now, experiment until you find one you like. Rooibosch (Red Bush) tea is the closest to ‘normal’ tea and can be drunk with milk.

    Caro, Barleycup and Dandelion coffee are all caffeine-free coffee alternatives. Teeccino is a delicious coffee substitute that you make in a cafetiere (comes in different flavors, e.g. mocha, vanilla nut, almond amaretto)

    Instead of alcohol, mix fruit, elderflower or ginger cordials with sparking water.

    SEEDS are rich in protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals – grinding them helps to release their nutrients. Aim to have a heaped tablespoon each day and add to cereals, yogurt, soups or salads.

    Buy some fresh, unsalted seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed (also called flaxseeds – the golden variety is richer in essential fats than brown).Using a coffee grinder or a grinding attachment from a food processor, grind a mixture that’s 50{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} linseed and 50{ccdfc561878e9246e1a18999d5a21dd519dc1b039f0564ab04c9b3978134babb} a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind enough to fill a small glass jar (choose glass rather than plastic as plastic can damage the essential fats in the seeds). Store your jar in the fridge. Ideally, keep your unground seeds in a dark cupboard to protect them from light or oxygen damage (essential fats can be damaged easily).

    Pregnancy Nutrition: ENERGY BOOSTING SNACK IDEAS

    An apple and a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds

    A pear, peach or other seasonal fruit with 10 fresh almonds

    Three oat cakes with …