Restaurant Trends For 2009

The restaurant industry is one of the industries affected the most by the bad economy. The reason is simple – restaurant face rising costs, while consumers looking to save money cut out discretionary spending. Fuel costs make all prices go up especially food, which must be transported to restaurants, and when trying to trim the budgets, many consumers start cooking at home to save money. Restaurants will need to get pretty creative to entice patrons to part with their cash. Here is a look at some restaurant trends you can expect to see next year.

Locally Grown Food

Expect to see more locally grown food next year. With recent scares from tainted food, especially the salmonella incident which mistakenly figered tomatoes as the culprit, restaurants will need to be extra careful with the food it serves its diners. After all, even though they do not know if they bought tainted food, if it makes a customer sick that customer will always remember them as the restaurant that keep them food poisoning. More restaurants will end up souring their food from local farms and Farmers Markets to ensure fresh ingredients.

More Pasta Please

Pasta is one of the most inexpensive menu items for a restaurant to make. For the most part, sauce ingredients are cheap, so restaurants can get away with charging $ 15 for an entree that probably only cost them $ 1. And they can get away with hardly putting any meat in the dish as patrons fill up quickly on pasta.This, coupled with the fact the pasta is a great comfort food, which is big now, will only add to the menu offerings of pasta dishes .

Super-size Me No More

This is one that both patrons and restaurants can agree on. Restaurants are looking to cut back by offering smaller portions. And Americans are only too happy to go along as they attempt to eat healthier. But this comes with a caveat. Although Americans are willing to pay the same amount of their hard earned money for smaller portions, they expect bold flavor in return. They will expect chefs to use in season vegetables and more of them to pack in loads of flavor to their entree.

Forgo the Foie Gras

Another way restaurants will attempt to cut costs is to get rid of the really expensive items like Foie Gras and expensive cuts of beef. Get ready to be introduced to a whole slew of new cuts you never thought you would eat. Like what? How about chicken livers, tongue, pigs cheeks, etc, etc.

Deals, Deals, Deals

Restaurants are really trying to get creative to get customers in their door. I have seen many more couples and BOGO deals than I have ever seen before. You will probably see more Fixed Price or Prix Fixe deals, which used to be relegated to dining week or those restaurants in the theater district. I think you will start to see more of these in the burbs and some …

How Do You Redeem a Gift Certificate?

When you receive a gift certificate, you may want to wait until you see a sale or when a special occasion comes up to use it. Most certificates can be used a year from the purchase date. This is one way to plan ahead instead of using the card right away.

Depending on what the card is for, you will be able to wait until you are ready to spend the day shopping or when you have time to eat at your favorite restaurant. These gift cards are convenient and a nice present for those who have special tastes or who enjoy different kinds of activities.

Popular gifts cards are usually used for spa treatments, meals, clothing, online shopping, fast food, and coffee at local coffee houses. Bookstores and yoga centers also offer a gift certificate for those who enjoy reading and who are curious about yoga and other forms of exercise. Most businesses offer some type of gift giving option in order to bring in new business or encourage people to return often if they are regulars.

Redeeming one of these certificates or cards is very easy. All you have to do is present it to the cashier at the beginning or end of your transaction and you will not have to pay for whatever you buy. Many cards can also be used again if you want to add some of your own money to them. This is a good way to recycle old cards so they can be used again.

Receiving a gift certificate or gift card for you birthday, holidays, graduation, wedding, and many other occasions will allow you to purchase exactly what you want. You can also redeem a lot of these cards online for added convenience. You will be able to shop online, browse catalogs, and make purchases by entering in the numbers on the card. This is very similar to a credit card transaction. Even if you have to spend a little bit of your own money, it is still worth it. Waiting until summer or fall clothing sales will save you even more money which means you will be able to use the card to buy even more merchandise.

Using a gift card is a good way to boost self confidence when you are depressed and you will enjoy not having to pay for something. If you have always wanted to buy something, buy you were unable to before, you now have the opportunity.

Many people use their gift cards to buy items they would not normally purchase. If you have your eye on an item or want try a new meal at your favorite restaurant, you should take advantage of this opportunity. A gift certificate that can be redeemed at any time is a wonderful gift to give and receive.…

Four Items You Never Thought Would Be High-Tech

With technology advancing, it seems like, every day, more and more average objects are turning from no-tech or low-tech to high-tech. You may have your own opinions on how good or bad, or awesome or terrifying, this new reality is, but the purpose of this article is to just marvel at a few objects we never thought would need or use technology. Just think for a moment of a service, industry, or physical good that hasn’t been touched by technology. It’s hard, isn’t it? Books and music are now downloadable, many items are manufactured with machines, and most businesses can’t survive without computers now. There are still a few corners of industry we thought wouldn’t advance beyond their previous capabilities, however. The most astonishing are listed below.

Tables

Interactive and touch screen tables are making their way into schools, businesses, and even restaurants. Students use Smart tables to work together on learning programs, basically like a giant tablet they don’t have to fight over. Many design and engineering companies use large touch-screen tables to collaboratively work on projects. Diners can order, browse, and pay for their meals using waterproof dining tables. Some even allow for picture sharing and basic internet functions like checking the news or updating social statuses. If you prefer a more traditional setting for mealtime, you can set the display to a tablecloth and always enjoy each other’s company instead.

Coffee Mugs

The problem coffee mugs have continually tried to solve over the decades is how to keep the beverage warm for the longest amount of time. Some mug makers have mastered the art of keeping the heat in for several hours, but this doesn’t prevent the secondary problem of burnt tongues on those first couple of sips. Several new high-tech coffee mugs rapidly extract the excess heat to allow users a perfect first sip, and then slowly release the heat back into the beverage for a better heated drink from start to finish. Honestly, even though we never thought coffee mugs could be techy, we’re sure happy about this much-needed union.

Watches

Watches no longer just tell you the time, but are now fitted with several applications. Some of these functions include GPS, heart rate monitors, fitness trackers, answering phone calls, and playing music. In case you ever wanted to wear a computer on your wrist or feel like a Star-Trek character, now you can with smart-watches.

Pens

The one aspect of computers that never felt quite right was free-hand drawing. Drawing with a pencil and drawing with a mouse are just too different to fully replicate. Even drawing with your finger on a touch screen isn’t the same. Enter smart-pens. These unique pens utilize sensors paired with a receiver to copy words and drawings onto a screen, which is much faster than uploading pictures of your drawings to your device. These pens also allow users to secretly write texts to their contacts all while appearing to take notes in school or during an …

Top 5 Cheesecake Factory Restaurant Menu Item Recommendations

The Cheesecake Factory has some of the best food in the country. According to Wikipedia, they operate over 160 restaurants in the United States. I personally have dined at the there several times, and it is one of my favorite restaurants. They have some of the finest recipes in the country. If you are thinking about making a visit, here are five recipes you should consider ordering on your visit.

My first recommendation is the Louisiana Chicken Pasta. I know that a chicken pasta recipe doesn’t sound like an original idea, but you need to trust me on this one. If you like chicken, and you like pasta, you need to order this delicious entrée. The official website describes this menu item as follows: “Parmesan Crusted Chicken Cutlets Served Over Pasta Tossed with Mushrooms, Peppers and Onions in a Spicy New Orleans Style Sauce.” The spicy New Orleans Style Sauce made all the difference for me. The sauce isn’t as spicy as you might think, so don’t be scared away from this dish if you don’t like spicy food.

My second recommendation is for those of you who love chicken but aren’t in the mood for pasta. You definitely need to try the Orange Chicken. Many of you have probably tried the Orange Chicken at Applebee’s. If you like the Orange Chicken at Applebee’s, you are going to love the Orange Chicken at The Cheesecake Factory Restaurant. This recipe is listed on their specialties menu and includes white rice covered with invigorating Sweet and Sour Orange sauce.

My third recommendation is the Shrimp Scampi. If you’re into shrimp or seafood, this is the choice for you. This recipe is served with Angel Hair Pasta. If you go to the official website, there is a photo of this delectable recipe!

My fourth recommendation is the Pasta Da Vinci. This is one of the most popular menu items at the Cheesecake Factory. Customers are always asking about this recipe for good reason. You can find the recipe for this delicious recipe on various websites across the internet. The menu description for this fine entree states that the Pasta Da Vinci includes “Sauteed Chicken, Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic in a Delicious Madeira Wine Sauce Tossed with Penne Pasta and Parmesan.”

My final recommendation includes another popular entrée. Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta is named after the restaurant founder Evelyn Everton along with her husband Oscar Everton. This recipe is really all about the vegetables. If you like pasta and vegetables, this may be the best choice for you. The dish includes many ingredients including Penne, Garlic, Olive Oil, Roasted Eggplant, Olive oil, Roasted eggplant, Pine nuts, Kalamata olives, Sun-dried tomato, Broccoli, Peppers, and Parmesan cheese.

If you are planning to go to the Cheesecake Factory, be sure to block out a few hours of time. I recently went there on a Saturday afternoon about 5 pm, and there was a 45 minute wait! The wait is surely worth it, but make sure you have plenty …

Type 2 Diabetes – Maintain Stable Blood Sugar With These Thai Food Classics

Thai food is one of the fastest growing cuisines in the West. And with dishes more flavorful and rich than most other countries can offer, it’s no wonder more and more Type 2 diabetics are turning to Thai food to eat healthy without needing to choke down bland salads and sandwiches.

However, not every Thai dish on your local Thai restaurant menu is appropriate for diabetics. A meal with papaya salad, fried noodles and sweetened sticky rice will likely push your blood sugar higher than a kite. Lucky for you there are a few mouth-watering Thai dishes that are ideal for keeping diabetic blood sugar in check.

Spicy Shrimp Soup: Spicy shrimp soup (also known as “tom yom goong”) contains fresh shrimp, Thai spices and coconut milk. Although not as healthy as salmon, shrimp is rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats combat the inflammation that underlies insulin resistance. Research published in the 2009 “FASEB Journal” found that supplementing with omega-3’s from seafood reduced insulin resistance stemming from obesity.

Coconut Curry: Coconut curries such as panang curry are bursting with foods like vegetables and lean meats, which should form the basis of your diabetic diet. Coconut oil is rich in a unique type of fat known as medium chain triglycerides. A paper in the February 2009 “Diabetes Metabolism Research Review” concluded that medium chain triglyceride-rich foods help diabetes manage their blood sugar.

Morning Glory: Stir-fried morning glory is the perfect Thai side dish. Morning glory is a green vegetable that can help you lose weight. Studies show that diabetics that gorge themselves on vegetables tend to weigh less than those that avoid vegetables.

Grilled Chicken: Many Thai restaurants offer grilled or baked chicken. Once you remove the skin, this dish becomes quite low in saturated fat and calories. Research suggests increasing your protein intake from healthy sources like grilled chicken can keep appetite at bay and may even boost your metabolism.

Steamed Vegetables: It doesn’t get much healthier than steamed vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, onions and carrots. However, Thai people wouldn’t accept a bland dish like steamed vegetables on their own. By adding a dash of salt and a generous amount of coconut milk, a dieting classic turns from boring to mouth-watering.

Fresh Fruit: Thailand offers fruits like pineapple, dragon fruit and mango that are not only flavorful but chock full of important vitamins and minerals. Ask your local Thai restaurants to make a fruit plate consisting of traditional Thai fruits for your dessert. Be sure to limit your fruit intake as certain Thai fruits like mango and pineapple are sugar-rich.…

DHA and Your Skin – Everything You Need to Know About Self-Tanning

Self-tanning has long been a safe and popular alternative to UV tanning. Self-tanning products have come a long way since the days of orange glows, and nasty processing smells! Today’s premium products achieve natural, beautiful color results, nourish your skin, and smell great. The danger of UV tanning has become widely known, and more and more people are turning to self-tanning as a safe and fun way to keep a summer glow without the risks and damage to the skin from sun tanning.

We can thank Ms. Coco Chanel for our addiction to a golden glow and love of all things tweed and tan! In the 1920s she returned from a vacation in St. Tropez sporting a glowing tan, instantly making it “In-Vogue”. Naturally, her admirers followed suite, and from then on, a tan was regarded as a symbol of youth, beauty, and status. Today we still admire her sense of style- we’ve kept the pearls and tweed, but swapped the unsafe sun and UV tanning for healthier alternatives such as self-tanner and spray tans!

So what is a self-tanner and how does it work? Let us give you a brief tutorial on DHA, the main skin-coloring ingredient in self-tanners, how it works and some of the benefits.

DHA stands for Dihydroxyacetone, a sugar derivative from plant sources such as sugar beets and sugar cane. In the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration permanently added DHA to their list of approved cosmetic ingredients. DHA is NON-TOXIC and approved for external application to the human body.

Through a safe and natural process, the DHA attaches itself to the amino acids in your epidermis, the top layer of the skin, and goes through a chemical change. This process is similar to the browning that occurs when you cut open an apple and leave it exposed to the air. The resulting effect is a gorgeous brown color. It is NON-TOXIC and only affects the upper layers of your skin, which is made up of dead skin cells. Since skin color is unique, tan results will vary from person to person. Our bodies naturally shed dead skin cells daily so unfortunately your tan won’t last forever! However, you can expect the beautiful color to last up to a week or two.

DHA was discover in the 1920s, when a group of German scientists first recognized it as a skin-coloring agent. They noted that when in contact with their skin, the surface would turn brown if not rinsed off! Years later, Eva Wittgenstein, a scientist at The University of Cincinnati in the 1950s, was researching the use of DHA for the treatment of children with the metabolic disease, Glycogen Storage Disease. While working with these children, she made an unanticipated discovery! She found that when her young patients accidentally spit up or spilled the DHA onto their skin, it darkened the area after a few hours. This led her to further experiment with the DHA, testing it out on her own skin by painting various …

Why Is Food Better Than Melatonin?

I won’t keep you in suspense: the answer is “fewer side effects.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Melatonin could be called the sleep hormone. The pineal gland secretes it, darkness stimulates its production, and light inhibits it.

When it’s released, melatonin binds to hormone receptors that regulate the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms. In short, it’s a sleep-inducer.

In recent years, melatonin in supplement form has become popular. Some users choose it as a substitute for prescription sleep meds. It has also developed quite a following among travelers who swear by its ability to prevent or reverse jet lag.

So What’s the Down Side Of Melatonin?

Apparently, the above claims haven’t been conclusively proven.

Another problem is that dosing is vague and unregulated. It’s easy to take too much, which can lead to side effects. Those effects can include headaches, dizziness, daytime sleepiness, stomach cramps, depression, irritability and more.

Chronic use can also result in down-regulation, a reduction in the number and sensitivity of existing melatonin receptors. That can reduce the effectiveness of any naturally produced melatonin, and may eventually worsen insomnia.

Over 23 years ago, Richard Wurtman, M.D., issued a warning not to self-medicate with melatonin. I’m most familiar with Wurtman’s work on insulin resistance and how it can reduce serotonin and lead to depression. In any case, he’s a reputable source.

Is There a Natural Way to Increase Melatonin?

I’ve always believed it’s a mistake to jump into the middle – or in this case, jump to the end – of a biosynthetic chain. It seems to me that’s how and when the side effects happen. This is where food enters the picture.

The “food formula” would be to eat protein foods throughout the day. Then have an all-carb (specifically all-starch) snack about 60 to 90 minutes before bed.

The insulin triggered by the carbs allows tryptophan to reach the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid; amino acids are the building blocks of protein, as you may have learned in 7th grade biology! (Or not… )

Anyway, tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. The brain can and will use the tryptophan to make serotonin. And serotonin is the precursor of melatonin. It’s that straight-forward.

The process is natural – more natural than just having melatonin. And it starts at the “beginning” of the chain – with protein foods during the day to provide tryptophan, followed by timed carbs at night when we want to sleep.

The best part is that we can bypass the side effects. That’s the part that makes me recommend food over melatonin supplements.

But Aren’t Carbs Bad?

For those who shun carbs, I’d recommend being realistic. It doesn’t take very much starch to trigger a little insulin and change brain chemistry. And it’s much more natural than jumping over the whole process and landing on melatonin supplements – with all those side effects.

If gluten is your concern, gluten-free starches are always available. Examples include quinoa, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, and many …

Two Kinds Of Food Allergies – Mild Or Severe

If you suspect that you are suffering from a food allergy then you should be aware that there are actually two kinds of them, each having their own level of reactions. Understanding the difference between the two is imperative. The first thing you need to determine is whatever what you are experiencing is actually a food allergy.

Symptoms of a Food Allergy

One of the things to figure out is why you think you have a food allergy. Many people do not understand what this is and often misdiagnose themselves. Here are several symptoms that should prompt you to go and have a series of either skin testing or blood testing done to not only confirm that you really have an allergy but also distinguishing which foods you are actually allergic to. This list of symptoms will fit no matter which of the two kinds of food allergies you suffer from.

  • A runny nose during or immediately following eating.
  • A feeling of continuous tiredness even after having a good night sleep.
  • Constantly getting headaches within an hour of eating.
  • An upset stomach and possible diarrhea after eating.
  • Skin eruptions

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should definitely seek medical advice.

Mild or Severe Allergies

The two kinds of food allergies are mild and severe. If you suffer from a mild food allergy you will experience several of the symptoms above however they may only be an inconvenience and something that you can learn to live with.

The severe food allergy is a different problem. If you have a certain allergy then you will also have respiratory problems which can be anything from the swilling of your throat or an asthma effect involving the ability to breathe properly. If you are diagnosed with a severe food allergy you will most likely need to carry an epi-pen for on the spot emergency treatment while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

Treatment for Food Allergies

It does not matter which level of severity you suffer with when it comes to food allergies; there is no cure for them. The only sure treatment for them right now is by avoiding all food that has the type or types of food you are allergic to. There are some clinical studies in the process of testing allergy shots but as of now there are no remedies available.

One positive aspect is that many children will often times grow out of their allergies and have no long term effects from them. There is very little data currently available for those who began to suffer allergies as an adult so it is unclear if they will go away as quickly as they showed up. …

Wooden Doghouses – Where to Place Your Dog House

Whether dogs in fact prefer wooden dog houses or a different material is unclear, however the most universal dog house is built of wood, the same as our houses!

Most little dogs live inside so a little dog house is not usually an issue. Medium sized and large dogs usually live outside in their own wooden dog houses.

Finding a large dog house or an extra large dog house is what most people have troubles with. You can find plans on the internet for wooden dog houses, as-well-as free plans for wooden dog houses. Acquiring the blueprints insinuates a do-it-yourself approach or obtaining an individual to put it together for you.

You can locate pre-built houses locally occasionally, like people houses. This is the preference of many dog owners, but it may take a little detective work.

The best location for an outdoor dog house is not always the most common location. Most people seem to locate their wooden dog houses toward the rear of their back yards. This is not only inconvenient for you, but it is very undesirable for the dog.

Dogs are extremely social creatures and rather than be placed in the back of your yard, you might consider close to a backdoor, a side yard or the front yard. The dog will mainly want to be anywhere that people often congregate, especially if the dog owners frequent that area of the yard.

The dog house should be raised up off the ground, maybe with bricks near the foundation, thus the wooden dog houses trap airspace below them to aid in insulation.

To keep winter chill off the dog, you should have some sort of wind block in front of the dog house entrance. An “L” formed dog house, or a flap which is minor may work suitably also, whatever thing that will deflect the bitter wind from your dog.

So the dog does not suffer a flea infestation and tick control is required. Consult with your veterinarian about methods to achieve this.

Dogs enjoy the dog house locality to remain orderly so getting rid of dog waste and keeping the locality tidy will leave your dog more contented. Always try to permit dogs to have a good view of the wooden dog houses section. These are many aspects that are essential to have a satisfied dog in a cheerful dog house!

Offering a dog runway is perfect, it allows a dog to run and still be restrained. Similar to two sizeable posts approximately 30 feet away from each other with durable rope extended between them. Fasten the dog harness to the cord so that it slides the whole length between the poles. Dogs love this extra freedom.

Keep wooden dog houses cool in the summer, warm in the winter, clean and dry, and no direct wind blowing in on them. Keep food and especially water near their wooden dog houses. Find a good dog food that keeps your dog nourished and healthy. Never feed him/her cooked …

Refills For Vacuum Food Sealers

I was shopping for a vacuum sealer today. I sure was interested in a inexpensive source of bag for them. The units themselves were not too bad, but the price of the refills is outrageous. The rolls worked out to about a dollar per foot of material, which got me thinking how much I would have to save by buying bargain packs of meats and still come out ahead.

Buck a foot looks high, but they are not cheap. You can easily re-use them though. I cut the bags a few inches longer than would be needed. When cut open, you lose about an inch so you can use them for something smaller when they get too short for a roast.

Wash them out with regular liquid soap, rinse, put then over a bottle to dry. Or put them in the dishwasher turned inside out.

Black and Decker FreshGuard was markedly less expensive than the others. It has a hose port and was very inexpensive – the other equivalents were at least twice as much. I hope that does not mean this model is cheaply made and shabby. It works, but it requires that you sit and hold the bar down until it finishes, while I noticed that some of the others have a press and release feature. Hopefully the accessories are interchangeable!

However, someone had also stated that the plastic bag rolls were pricey. So I checked them out. I got the impression that the sealer units were like computer printers, sold cheap so they can get you on the refills. I was astounded at the price of the refill rolls. Between the cost of the unit and the cost of the refills, I am wondering if there will be any savings at all.

My first sealer was a Tilia (FoodSaver) and the one I now own is a B & D (Black & Decker). Although they say you can use "most bags from other manufacturers", I found the gallon-sized Tilia bags were – 1/2 inch WIDER and not easily useable.

Comparing the 2 machines, my overall vote would go to the Tilia; it was faster and the bags seemed to stay sealed better. My B & D has problems with the larger bags of their own. They just do not seal as well.

Beware you do not suck much, try not to get any liquid down the vacuum port. That is what supposedly killed my Tilia and they wanted a repair fee just to look at it. That is why I bought the B & D.

Why could not you take a regular ziplock baggie, and cut off the zipper part, put your food in it, and then seal it with the machine .. would that work?

Not very well. The ziplocks are smooth. The Tilia bags are manufactured with microscopic ridges that do not compress, and serve as air channels to allow the vacuum pump to suck out all the air from the entire volume. You can …