Category Archives: Cuisine and Food

Best Omelet ever

Omelets are one of those items that remain very subjective; each person likes different things in or on their omelet.  Instead of trying to cover all of the options, I offer you the perfect “Man’s Omelet.”  Nothing chauvanistic here or saying that women shouldn’t make this omelet.  All I am saying is that, this omelet is not of the healthy variety but of the delicious variety.  In addition, you will definitely get back in bed when you are done with this thing.  It is not meant for weekdays on the way to work. This recipe is for one person.

Ingredients you will need are as follows:  5 eggs; pancake mix; three-cheese blend, finely shredded; 1/4 of green pepper, diced; 1/4 c. chopped green onions; 1 diced jalapeno; 1/8 c. chopped mushrooms; 1/4 c. diced ham; 2 sausage links; 3 strips of bacon; salsa.

Initially, one point is very important for the creation of any omelet: pancake mix.  The addition of pancake mix to eggs prior to cooking makes an omelet very fluffy and light.  For the five egg recipe herein, approximately two teaspoons of pancake mix will suffice.  Mix the eggs and pancake mix together in a bowl with a whisk.  Have all your vegetables cut and meat prepared prior to beginning the omelet.

If you are only making one portion, you can cook all the meat in one large skillet.  Sometimes I like to substitute a few strips of stew beef for the diced ham.  Cook each meat to its respective level and chop into pieces.  Grease your skillet well.  I use cooking spray to ensure no egg sticks to the skillet and then butter because I like the taste.  Set your stove to medium low heat; better to be patient than gnawing on burnt egg.  Pour the freshly whisked egg/pancake mixture into the pan and immediately follow it up with approximately 1/2 c. of the cheese.  This, along with the small mass of the finely shredded strips, allows the cheese to actually melt into the walls of the omelet.  Add the vegetables and meat, all on one half of the omelet.

An omelet with this many eggs will take some time to solidify.  The edges will begin to dry up first and the middle will stay mostly liquified.  Using a spatula, keep the edges of the omelet from sticking to the pan by wedging the spatula between the eggs and the skillet around the perimeter constantly. You will notice that most of the liquid egg will tend to pool in the center of the skillet.  In order to cook the omelet evenly, from time to time, pick the skillet up and tilt it in a circular motion so that some of the excess liquid goes towards the outside.  Once the egg is firm enough, wedge the spatula underneath the side of the omelet without the vegetables and meat and flip it over on top of the filled side to make a semi-circle.  Let that sit for a minute as you will notice, the excess egg and melted cheese will be runny at the crease of the omelet.  After a minute or so, place the omelet onto a plate, place the skillet onto the plate upside down and flip both items where the once-top-facing side of the omelet is now face down in the skillet.  Leave it there for about a minute or so to let the remaining egg and cheese firm up.

Once that is finished, serve covered in salsa and some shredded cheese.  The bad news is, you will not be productive at all after eating this monster.  The good news is, you probably can skip lunch.

Product Reviews Valley Fresh Canned White Chicken

Valley Fresh All Natural White Chicken is nutritious convenience in a can or pouch. If you need cooked chicken fast and easy, open a can for all your nutritious recipe needs.


Valley Fresh chicken is minimally processed and packed with water and salt, less the starch normally found in other canned chicken. It is 98% fat free and contains no carbs. Those brands of canned chicken containing starch have carbs. Valley Fresh is also lower in sodium with only 180mg per serving verses 410mg in a serving of Campbell Swanson Chicken Breast.

So, if you are concerned with your fat, sodium and carb intake, Valley Fresh makes it easy to add convenient healthy chicken to your diet. A 2oz serving will give 15g of protein. That’s 31% of your daily recommended amount! Valley Fresh also offers fast easy ideas with recipes on the back of the labels and on their web site for appetizers, lunch and dinner.


All around the features of Valley Fresh White Chicken are about convenience:

-Pre-cooked, ready when you are.

-Pull tab or rip open pouch; no can opener needed.

-Convenient size packaging; pick from a single serve 3oz., a 5oz., or a 10oz. cans to a flat easy to pack 7oz pouch.

-No refrigeration needed until after opening.

-Long 2 year shelf life, making it a good emergency kit item when stored under cool dry conditions.


When comparing the texture and taste of this product to your homemade boiled chicken you will find that the taste is quite similar. Just the right amount of salt was added to enhance the taste. This will fit quite nicely into your recipes without any overpowering taste. The texture is slightly different, in that it seems denser and does not string apart or pull apart like freshly cooked chicken. It is tender though. Aside from the texture being different, a taste difference in your recipes should go undetected.

When opening a container you may notice a slight pinkish color; that is normal. A lack of oxygen causes the coloring which will disappear within about fifteen minutes at room temperature. The chunks of chicken for the most part are intact with minimal mushy crumbs left in the can.

Pick a recipe and find your can of Valley Fresh White Chicken meat in the canned meat section at your local grocer or mass retailer.

Pasta Salad Ideas and Recipes for Lunch or Dinner

During the hot summer months, warm meals often seem unappealing.  Pasta salads are an excellent ways to have a balanced meal that isn’t hot, and stands up well to being in a lunchbox or brought to an outing.  Use these ideas to make better than ever pasta salads for lunch, dinner or even a side dish. 


Deciding what is going to be in the pasta salad should the first step.  These ideas are guidelines to help make a perfect pasta salad for lunch.  From these lists pick two to three cups worth of mix-ins to add to one pound cooked pasta. 

·Mexican: black beans (drained, canned), avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, queso fresco, scrambled meat or cooked sausage, corn, onions.  Complimentary flavors: oregano, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salsa.

·Greek: cooked ground lamb, chickpeas, Feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, blanched grape leaves, spinach, onions, marinated peppers, olives.  Complimentary flavors: oregano,  mint, dill, crushed red pepper, garlic, lemon juice and/or red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil or Greek yogurt. 

·Italian: pepperoni or salami, provolone or mozzarella cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, roasted zucchini and eggplant, drained canned cannellini beans.  Complimentary flavors: oregano, parsley, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil. 

·Hearty Vegetable: blanched cauliflower, blanched broccoli, blanched carrots,  black olives, kidney beans, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese.  Complimentary flavors: dill, parsley, garlic, cream dressings. 

·Indian: tomatoes, cucumber, chilies, cooked chickpeas or lentils, onion, radishes, guava, papaya, mango.  Complimentary flavors: lemon or lime juice, curry powder, garam masala, cilantro, cumin, garlic. 

·Asian: blanched bok choy, blanched carrots, water chestnuts, peanuts or cashews, mandarin oranges, baby corn, red pepper strips, snow peas, fried tofu, fried wonton strips, chow mein noodles.  Complimentary flavors: cilantro (Chinese parsley), garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, green onions, red pepper flakes. 

·Ham and Eggs:  cubed ham, hard boiled eggs, onions, celery, blanched carrots, green peas. Complimentary flavors: cream dressings, parsley, garlic, chives, dill. 


Choose noodles that are a similar size and shape to the meat, vegetable, and/or cheese being added to the salad.  Quinoa pasta can be used for added protein.  Small raviolis or tortellini can be more filling.  Rice pasta complements Asian flavors.  Macaroni elbows, shells, corkscrews, and bowties hold up well to dressings.  Rainbow or vegetable pasta is best used in recipes using a transparent vinaigrette or bottled salad dressings.  No matter what pasta is settled on, cook it until just al dente, and toss into dressing while slightly warm.  Doing this helps to flavor the pasta, and prevent it from becoming soggy after adding the dressing. 


Most people envision pasta salad made with mayonaise or jarred salad dressing, but that is only one kind of pasta salad sauce.  Each of these recipes makes enough for about one pound of pasta and two to three cups of mix-ins. 

·Quick and Easy
1 15-18 ounce bottle of your favorite bottled salad dressing, jarred mayo, or jarred salad dressing

Reserve about 1/2 cup of dressing.  Toss remaining dressing with cooked pasta and mix-ins in a large bowl.  Add remaining dressing just before serving 

·Real Cream Based Salad Dressing
This salad dressing is creamy and tangy, and can even be used on a cold vegetable salad or to make a cream slaw. 
1 cup whipping cream*
1 cup sugar
1 cup white or cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large glass bowl whip all of the ingredients together until firm peaks form.  Fold in pasta and additions.
*A substitution of 1 1/2 cups plain, Greek-style yogurt or sour cream is an option to reduce the fat content.  It will be a little thinner than the whipping cream version, and won’t whip into firm peaks. 

·Basic Vinaigrette
You can play with the flavors to match what you’re making.  Basalmic vinegar for something Italian, rice wine with mandarin orange juice for an Asian inspired dish, or red wine vinegar for something Greek. For the base you can use a light oil salad dressing for something that hides in the background, or extra virgin olive oil for something more prominent on the palate.

2 cups desired oil
2/3 cups desired vinegar (subbing up to 2 Tbsp of citrus juice)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 minced glove of garlic

Whisk together ingredients in a large serving bowl until emlusified.  Remove 1/2 cup of dressing and set aside.  Toss pasta salad ingredients until well covered.  Add the 1/2 cup of salad dressing to the salad and toss just before serving. 

Pasta salads can be prepared a day in advance, and stored in the fridge.  Keep all leftovers or extra pasta salad covered and refrigerated.  Transport in a lunchbox or to the function with cold packs to keep cool and prevent bacteria from forming. Most of all, have fun experimenting with these ideas to make multiple pasta salads for lunch this summer. 

Product Review Cadbury Caramello Bar

The Cadbury Caramello bar was enticing from first glance.  It is not some skimpy little wafer-thin candy bar.  The Caramello is thick looking and slightly hefty to the touch.  Wrapped in royal purple, it stands out on the candy bar shelf.  The Cadbury logo is prominent, easy to see on the simplistic but elegant wrapper.  The consumer’s eye is drawn to the single piece of chocolate in the center and the two glasses of milk pouring out the Cadbury name across the chocolate.

Cadbury introduced the Caramello bars in 1976 and they were known in the U.K. as Cadbury Caramel bars.  Hershey Foods acquired the “license to manufacture and sell Cadbury brands in the United States” in 1988. (Ref. 1) Currently, the Caramello bar is among several Cadbury products that are made in the U.S. in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.

To eat a Cadbury Caramello bar, the outer purple wrapper must first be removed, leaving a silver, inner foil.  Inside the foil lies a four-ounce (113g) chocolate bar.  The chocolate aroma wafting from the Cadbury bar is very strong and appealing. The bar is sectioned into eighteen connected Cadbury squares of chocolate filled with creamy caramel.  Each square has the Cadbury name scripted diagonally across each piece.  It is very simple to snap off a line of three squares or blocks. 

Pop a Caramello block into your mouth and the first sensation is sweet milk chocolate.  The rich, milky chocolate gives way to the creamy caramel center quickly.  The center is not stuffed with caramel, but delicately filled so the primary taste is chocolate accented by the caramel. Some chocolate and caramel combinations overdo the caramel; the Caramello bar does not.  The balance between milk chocolate and caramel is perfect.

Cadbury milk chocolate is creamy.  It is a milkier chocolate than a Hershey milk chocolate bar.  It melts in your mouth easily and leaves a pleasant aftertaste.  The chocolate in the Cadbury Caramello tastes and looks like the Cadbury Crème egg chocolate or the Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

A four-ounce (113g) Cadbury Caramello bar contains about 2.5 servings.  A serving is listed as six blocks or squares of the chocolate bar.  One serving has 200 calories and 9 grams of fat.  This bar does not contain any Trans fat. 

The cost of this candy bar ranges in price depending upon region. Some U.S. retailers and areas sell this chocolate bar for around $3 a bar while others offer it for about $2.25.  This reviewer happened upon a Cadbury display in an ALDI discount food store where the Caramello bar was selling for $1.29 (U.S.).  Compared to other chocolate bars of the same size and similar quality, the value of the Cadbury Caramello bar was quite high.

The Cadbury Caramello can also be used substituted in various baking recipes.  Cookie or cupcake recipes that call for the insertion of a ROLO candies, bite-size Snickers or bite-size Milky-Way candies can be substituted with one square (block) of a Cadbury Caramello bar.  This chocolate and caramel bar also tastes great with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee.

The Caramello bar from Cadbury offers a sweet, silky caramel treat surrounded by smooth milk chocolate.  It is full of flavor and satisfies a chocolate craving.  The Cadbury Caramello candy bar is a recommended product.   

Ref. 1:

Quick Moroccan Menu Ideas

Moroccan food today is the product of a long history of refining various dishes and taking in the influence of the cuisine of other cultures. Moroccan food is flavorful as well as colorful, but it is still possible to create a quick as well as delicious Moroccan menu, filled with traditional dishes. You need to be sure to include meats like lamb and beef, along with heavy spices. Moroccan food is known for its use of saffron, mint and citrus flavors. The main meal of the day in Morocco actually occurs around midday and consists of several courses. The meal begins with hot or cold salads and then a tagine, which is a hot stew served in a special dish. An entree follows, which usually consists of meat as well as couscous and vegetables. All meals are served with bread, which is used instead of utensils and mint tea is the preferred beverage. 

Hot and cold salads

The hot and cold salads of Morocco involve both raw and cooked ingredients and are not like Western salads. They are more like what we think of as appetizers. Moroccan artichoke salad makes a tangy starting dish and the cook time is only about forty minutes. It is made by lightly cooking artichoke hearts in a special sauce made from garlic, cumin, paprika, ginger, pepper and lemon. The simmered artichokes are served hot and topped with olives. Another and faster salad that is served cold is called zaalouk, which is an eggplant and tomato salad. If you have a little extra time you can roast the eggplant. A third salad suggestion is taktouka. It is a cooked salad, but it only takes about thirty minutes. Taktouka is a delicious mixture of tomatos and green peppers with garlic, cilantro, parsley, paprika and cumin.


Tagine is named after the special dish that it is served in, which is called a tajine. There are numerous types of tagine involving an array of different ingredients, some are vegetarian and others contain meat, but some sort of tagine is vital to any authentic Moroccan menu. They can be light or heavy and lighter tagine is recommended for warmer weather. It takes a bit longer to cook most tagines than it takes to prepare Moroccan salads, but you can easily start both dishes at the same time. A fast tagine can take about half an hour and can be eaten by itself or served over couscous or rice. This basic tagine consists is leeks, red bell peppers, potatoes, chickpeas and of course a lot of zesty spices. 


Moroccan entrees are typically meatier and heftier than the courses eaten at the start of the meal. Lamb is a favorite meat in Morocco and saffron lamb is a quick and easy dish. It actually involves more molder use of spices so that the saffron and lamb flavors are more prevalent. Lamb takes around an hour to cook. Kebabs can be made from your preferred meat and are very fast, even when prepared as a main course. If you like you can also skewer bell peppers and other vegetables along with them. They need to marinate and then only take around fifteen minutes to cook either broiled or grilled.

Overview of the different Kinds of Bacon

Lots of people love bacon. Bacon and eggs is a staple of American breakfasts, and in all its varieties, bacon is a very popular part of all meals—from breakfast through to dinner. At its heart, bacon is a cured meat product made from the back, sides or belly flesh of a pig.

Worldwide, there are many different kinds of bacon. The type of bacon is generally determined by the cut of the pig from which it is made. In the US, standard bacon, also called side bacon or streaky bacon (or outside of North America, American-style bacon), is most common. Standard bacon is made with the pork belly and is generally brined or cured with a salt water mixture before being smoked. The skin, or rind, is generally trimmed from the bacon before it is sold.  This type of bacon is sold in two varieties: fat back, which is almost pure animal fat, and loin bacon, which is a lean cut with a bit of fat.

While it’s sometimes sold in sides or slabs, then sliced to the buyer’s desired thickness, most bacon is pre-cut and sold in pound sized packages. Thick cuts (of 1/16 of an inch) yield about 18-20 slices per pound. Thin cuts (of 1/32 of an inch) yield about double the number of slices per pound. Extra-thick cut bacon (of 1/8 of an inch) that has been heavily smoked is sometimes called country bacon.

Pancetta, an Italian bacon, is a variety of side bacon. It is generally salt cured, then rolled into cylinders for further seasoning with spices. After seasoning, the bacon is dried for many weeks.  It may be thinly sliced and eaten raw, and can often be found wrapped around other foods, such as melon or seafood.  

In Great Britain, back bacon is a popular variety. Back bacon is made from the pork loin from the middle back of the animal; it is lean with just little fat on the outside. Americans would mistake back bacon for Canadian bacon or regular ham.

Canadian bacon is a variety of back bacon, but it is even leaner, without the thin layer of fat that back bacon has. Generally, Canadian bacon is only lightly salted and smoked, giving it a more ham like taste than American bacon.

Bacon is often used to infuse fat and salt into a dish; when using American bacon adding more salt and fat is often unnecessary, as simply cooking the bacon will add all the required flavor into the dish being prepared.

Origin of Cotton Candy Fairy Floss Cotton Candy Spun Sugar

Cotton candy, alias fairy floss or spun sugar, began as a dessert in Italy and Iran in the 1400’s. At that time it was known only as Spun Sugar. The confection was considered a delicacy as heated sugar was hand mixed and forks were used to make long thin strings of sugar. This process was very time consuming, as they had to allow for the sugar strands to dry. For centuries, European chefs used this hands on method to create sugary webs to form Easter eggs, cake toppings and other spectacular edibles.

It wasn’t until 1897, nearly four hundred years later, when Tennessee candy makers, William Morrison and his business partner, John C Wharton, created a machine to heat and spin the sugar, did it become a profitable dessert sold at the circus and fairs.

Morrison and Wharton’s machine eliminated the time involved melting down and drying out the sugar, as well the hand and fork method. Their machine involved a huge bowl that heated up enough to break down the sugar and then spun with centrifugal force to dry out the confection. A hand-held cone-shaped piece of cardboard was used to capture the dried sugar strings. As the candy makers hand spun the one way, the bowl spun the other allowing a round web of the dried sugary dessert to gather on the cone. This was the first Cotton Candy. Although they called it Fairy Floss.

Fairy Floss debut came in 1904 at the St Louis World’s Fair. Morrison and Wharton set up a small booth and sold their sugary confection for 25 cents a box. It was considered outrageously expensive as the price for admittance into the World’s Fair was 50 cents. People were outraged when they saw Morrison and Wharton selling a dessert for half the price of the entire fair. Despite the high cost and complaints, they sold nearly 70,000 boxes at the fair. Just goes to show you, Americans have always had a sweet tooth and cost will not deter it.

Soon candy stores and five and dimes across America and the World were purchasing Morrison’s and Wharton’s Fairy Floss machine. Some store owners called it Spun Sugar and others kept the Fairy Floss name. It wasn’t until the 1920’s they came up with a more uniform name for the sugary concoction. ” Cotton Candy”. At least that is what we Americans call it. Europeans kept names such as Candy Floss and Fairy Floss. No matter what you call it, it’s delicious.

Today, Cotton Candy is sold at just about every event held in the World. It has become popular enough for grocery stores to sell bags of it in the candy isles. Though cotton candy comes in many different colors, pink has always been the most popular. The ever diverse rainbow runs a close second. In the past 112 years, technology has allowed for more productivity, however, the machine created in 1897, is basically still used, with only a few modifications.

One of the most Deliciously Creamy European Cheeses is Cambozola

Cambozola is a cow’s milk cheese combining soft-ripened, triple cream from France and Italian Gorgonzola. This cheese tastes best when served at room temperature having been stored in the bottom part of the refrigerator.        

A cheese like Cambozola on a cheese platter provides an appealing middle ground between the mildness of mozzarella and the mature flavors of many others; it is traditionally served at the end of the meal in France tasting delicious with crackers and a glass of wine.        

Champignon is the German company who produce Cambozola cheese. Often marketed as a blue-brie type of soft cheese, it is made from the same blue mold as Roquefort and Stilton, though Cambozola has cream added; this gives a rich consistency and helps it to spread nicely on a French stick!           

The rind of this delicious cheese is similar to that of Camembert, though Cambozola is considerably milder than Gorgonzola regarding the quintessentially blue-cheese flavor with its smooth, creamy texture and bite.      

Hardly surprising then, that there are similarities to other cheeses with a name like “Cambozola” that appears to be a portmanteau of two classic European cheeses: Camembert and Gorgonzola, thus the name works as well the taste! 

The rich, creaminess of Cambozola cheese is typical of a French Camembert that has been blended with the sharp, blueness of Italian Gorgonzola and the name could easily have been “Briegonzola” but it doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

As a nice appetizer for your treasured guests, get hold of some ripe figs and cut them cross ways. Bake the figs with a little Cambozola slotted in the cuts until the cheese fully melts and serve this delicacy with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some salt and black pepper.          

Cambozola can be enjoyed as a snack between meals by itself or with grapes and it will just melt in your mouth. You can have it with biscuits at a drinks party or in sarnies at lunch – try pressing some apple chunks into the cheese and dab with extra virgin olive oil; if you make cheese sauce, Cambozola is the perfect choice so heat it up with double cream and have this with pasta or add some chunks to a bowl of soup to enrich the flavor.            

Roasted garlic, tomato relish and Cambozola cheese as a dessert course is luscious and so is a salad when the cheese is added to some lettuce with a French dressing to fill you up a little more.

One final way of enjoying Cambozola cheese is to fry some up and dip it in flour with beaten egg and breadcrumbs – it is just one other special way of serving this delicious cheese and has to be tried to be believed.

Nutritional value of Apples vs Oranges

Comparing apples to oranges is an overworked phrase. Lazy conversationalists or writers use it instead of coming up with arguments for or against an issue because the nature of the two factions is different. But nutritionally both measure up well when in their own orchard or grove.

Similar qualities

Both are fruits. Both contain pectin, vitamin C, fiber and both are necessary or are useful on a daily basis.  Apples are said to be nature’s perfect food and legend has it an apple a day will keep the doctor away. That depends on what ails the person needing a doctor. Eating an apple a day will certainly help rid the body of constipation and most responsible adults eat one on a daily basis to ward off that nuisance.

Oranges too have fiber and when vitamin C is mentioned, oranges reign supreme. Vitamin C is important and must be taken in everyday because it’s not manufactured in the body. That fact alone makes it a most sought after daily food item. Oranges and apples differ in that one, oranges, grows only in tropical regions and apples grow best in colder climates. The most preferred types of oranges are Valencia, Navel, Persian, and blood orange. Of these there are several subdivisions dependent on the place where they grow.


Oranges are low in calories, have no fats, and have fiber and pectin that help the body move waste materials along the intestinal tract. Pectin is an aid in keeping the intestinal mucosa healthy and in this regard is considered anti-cancerous. Also it boosts cholesterol lowering and help in lowering blood pressure.  Vitamin C, which is plentiful in oranges — an average orange supplying 60% of the daily recommended amount — is an anti-oxidant. That means the body is protected to some degree from toxins and other disease forming free-radicals that have the potential to cause disease.

Vitamin A, alpha and beta-carotenes, beta-crytoxanthin, zea-zanthie and lutein also come from oranges as it does from other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables. Vitamin A is also valuable in correct maintenance of the mucus membranes and for a healthy skin. Eyes and the ability to see owe a lot to Vitamin A, and the same goes for lung and all mucus linings of the mouth, nose, and intestines. B vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates, are essential vitamins derived from oranges, and of course other citrus fruits. Potassium and calcium are also taken in when oranges are eaten. Calcium is necessary for bone health and for muscular activity and potassium is a regulator of cells and body fluids.


Apples, like oranges are a good source of pectin and fiber. In fact the pectin in apples is an important source of a soluble fiber and probably contains more than do oranges. The skins of apples supply a large amount of insoluble fiber necessary to give bulk to waste materials moving along the intestinal tract.

A medium apple has only about 80 calories and can be an excellent mid-morning or 3 pm snack while at work. Its energy producing qualities, its ease of being stored and its lasting qualities make it a ready snack while away from home or at home.

There’s no need to compare apples and oranges because both contain many of the same nutrients. They enhance each other rather than repelling or blocking out the effect of the other. Both are needed daily and while traditionally oranges or orange juice is for the morning time, if one is not available the other is a reasonable substitute. For optimum effort from each, eat one of each on a daily basis.