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    Thursday, 23 July 2009

    Personalized Baby Gifts

    Nowadays it can sometimes be difficult to find the right baby shower gift for a new born baby. Finding something meaningful that is outside of the same old department store mass produced products can be difficult. Many young expecting parents run out and buy everything they need before the baby is born so what's left to buy? Here are some gift ideas that are sure to bring a smile to the new mom.

    First thing is to be sure the parents get a copy of the birth announcement from the newspaper if there is one. I still have mine on the wall in a beautiful personalized frame. There are companies that create these beautiful birth announcement frames and they make a memorable and unusual gift. You could add a few unique world events that happened on the same day the baby was born if there is anything interesting happening in the world that day.

    This gift can be a little more expensive but many new families don't have a good digital camera. With the new digital age a new digital camera is perfect for capturing all the new borns starting years. I think that with the age of computers this is the way many young people want to go, however I still personally believe that printing hard copies of my pictures and storing them in a photo album is best as a computers can crash losing all of your precious memories forever.

    A scrapbooking gift package for all the great pictures of the baby is a unique gift. As I said one should always keep a hard copy of those beautiful photos and this is why the scrapbooking gift is perfect. There are thousands of little add on's for pasting into the photo album. There are scrapbooking parties that you can go to that will help you to create beautiful photo albums of your baby's first years.

    The gift basket is still one of the most popular gifts given at a baby shower. There are many small gifty items one can put into the basket that will make the gift unique. Baby gifts could be things like small development toys and plush bears and handmade outfits. A great gift idea is to add to the basket something for the new mom too. How about a relaxation CD, this can be enjoyed by both mom and the new baby.

    We all know that over the years our kid's birth certificates can get lost or destroyed. There are baby certificate tubes that can be engraved with all the babies' information on the outside and you can put the certificate inside for safe keeping. A sterling silver birth certificate tube makes a unique gift and helps to keep the certificate safe. As we all know there will be a day that they will need it.

    Baby Toys - soft toys and development toys are good gifts. Try to find toys that will last a long time and the baby can grow with. Surprisingly, there are many toys that do not meet the government safety standards for baby toys. Go with well known companies like Gund, Fisher-Price, and Little Tikes.

    When you get to see the new born and get that perfect picture, then a picture frame makes a good gift. Many moms don't get to see some of the pictures taken of their baby and would love to receive a beautifully framed photo of their baby. There are many great frames that can be engraved on and make perfect gifts. You can personalize the photo frame and create a lasting memory.

    New to the market are the casting kits for babies. I'm not personally sure yet about casting a baby's feet and hands but it appears to be quite popular today so I thought I would mention it. I still like the bronzed baby shoes idea and I think that later in life your children would be delighted to see how tiny their little feet were once upon a time. I remember one Christmas I once made little foot prints in the ashes from our fire place to the Christmas tree using these old baby shoes under the guise that these were Santa's boots because he had to shrink to get down the chimney. I thought my young son was going to faint that Christmas morning when he saw them. That was a once in a life time moment.

    A gift from the new Dad to the new Mom is something very memorable and personal. I highly recommend a beautiful gold or silver locket that would have the baby's picture added to the inside of the locket. Some mothers add a little piece of the baby's hair to the inside of the locket. You can engrave the back with a loving personal message for the woman you love. This is a gift that can last a life time so spend a little time and write a meaningful phrase on the back of the locket. I have always said if there is a perfect gift it is the gift of life and the locket will remind her every day of the day she got her perfect gift of life. Be sure to also get a strong chain for this special locket as she will wear this and cherish it for many years to come.

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    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 20 July 2009

    New school soul food has evolved from unhealthy to healthier, thanks to a growing consumer demand. Today's soul food is not your great grandmother's ... or even your grandmothers soul food! Soul food recipes have traditionally lead the way when it came to comfort food. When holidays and other special occasions come you'll find most African Americans enjoying this festive food. But the one drawback to this tasty delight that's' drawn the most attention is the health risks.

    With the rising health concerns in the African American community the demand for healthier alternatives to traditional soul food continues to grow. As delightfully satisfying as the meals our grandmothers and great grandmothers used to make, they were often filled with high calorie ingredients such as

    1. Cream.
    2. Loaded with butter.
    3. Dowsed in sugar.
    4. Fried in lard.
    5. Seasoned with fatback and ham hocks.

    These items, as tasty as they are have later proven to cause high blood pressure, diabetes and other health ailments. To combat this problem more soul food recipes continue to lean toward healthier and lighter ingredients - while maintaining the traditional taste and satisfaction. For example, instead of using traditional table salt, many recipes call for healthier alternatives such as salt substitutes, kosher salt or sea salt. All these help to reduce health threatening sodium, which has been linked to high blood pressure and diabetes.

    Other alternatives have also proven to reduce the health risk of soul food. For example, flavoring vegetables with smoked turkey helps you avoid using fat-back or ham hocks. Both contain high amounts of salt and fat. Using smoked turkey helps to add the smokey down home flavor in your vegetables without the unhealthy fat and salt contents.

    To help reduce the fat content and other health risk associated with deep frying, consider marinating your chicken. Next dredge it in flour or cornmeal and oven fry it instead of deep frying it in fatty oils. This will still give your chicken that flavorful crunch we all love without the health risk of deep fried chicken.

    Another suggestion or alternative to deep frying your chicken is to consider pan frying. For example, simply coat your frying pan with cooking spray. Next, place the marinated chicken in pan and cook on both sides until done. This simple recipe can also include chopped onions, peppers and mushrooms and a touch of lemon juice to add extra flair to the dish.

    These are a few examples of how you can add a healthy element to your soul food recipes without sacrificing taste and satisfaction. I'll continue to give you more ideas and tips in the future that will not only taste good but be good for you.

    See the top 20 soul food recipes chosen by readers this month, plus watch soul food experts cook the most popular soul food dishes and watch the recipes come alive Free Soul Food Recipes

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 17 July 2009

    Sushi is one of the most popular Japanese foods. It is a complete dish with raw fish and rice as the primary ingredients. The distinctive quality of Japanese rice sticky when it is cooked makes it appropriate for sushi. Japanese sushi is said to be "vinegar rice" in most Japanese cuisine because the rice used in sushi are seasoned with sugar and vinegar.

    This traditional Japanese dish often topped with other ingredients including fish, various meats, and vegetables is usually dipped in condiments like soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger before eating and it is eaten with chopsticks or by hand.

    Health Benefits
    Eating Japanese sushi could give health benefits. The two main ingredients namely raw fish and rice are great source of high protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals and importantly has low fat content. Such fat found in Japanese sushi is mostly unsaturated fat. An example is Omega-3, good for the heart.

    There is no fat introduced in sushi's preparation for it is served raw. The high levels of protein in Sushi are found in fillings. These are fish, tofu, seafood, egg, and many others. The vegetables used for sushi are rich source of minerals and vitamins. And the rice and the vegetables used are sources of carbohydrates.

    Health hazards
    Since one chief ingredient of Japanese sushi is fish, it does not mean it is free of health hazards. Fish like tuna especially blue fin contains high levels of mercury. It poses some danger when these are consumed in significant amounts. For this reason, since January of 2008, only a number of New York City dining establishments serve tuna sushi with sufficiently high mercury content that a weekly reference dose is limited to 2 to 6 pieces. This will depend on the quantity of tuna in the sushi and the weight of the person.

    Undercooked seafood and salty condiments
    The Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a bacterium that grows in undercooked seafood. This can cause intestinal problem like diarrhea. Sushi also can be a mode of transmission of parasites and pathogens. So, it is important that sushi is properly prepared to avoid any problem.

    Salty condiments like soy sauce are usually combined with sushi by the diner in whatever amount is desired. Such salty condiment can be dangerous to people with hypertension or renal disorders if overly taken.

    Conveyor belt sushi restaurants
    A well-known and inexpensive way of eating sushi is in restaurants with a conveyor belt sushi and sushi train. These unique restaurants are widely found in Japan and are becoming large in number abroad. The sushi in this restaurant is served on color coded plates. Each color denotes the cost of the sushi serving.

    The sushi plates are placed on a moving strip or platform. Customers choose their desired plates as the belt or boat passes. They let the food pass if they do not like it, and the other customer could take it as it passes them. The customer's bill is tallied by counting the number of plates of each color they have taken.

    This unique way of serving food is also now being adapted in Japanese restaurants in other countries. It saves a lot of space and customers are able to get their orders fast.

    Minimalist Japanese style
    The traditional serving of sushi is inspired by simplistic and minimalist styles. The food is usually laid in basic symmetry, in wooden and monotone plates. However, small sushi restaurants do not use plates because the food is eaten directly off from the wooden counter.

    For more information on Japanese Sushi and Miso Soup & Rice Bowls, please visit our website.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 14 July 2009

    When you are new to pie baking, plan to bake regularly until you are comfortable with the basic steps involved in creating gorgeous and delicious apple pies. The skills can be quickly acquired, and putting your baking skills to the test early and often in the beginning will allow you to build on the lessons you're learning as you go along. Mixing the pastry dough, rolling a nice round pastry, prepare a tasty filling, putting it in the pie shell and applying any toppings, and baking to perfection are the fundamental steps in making Americas favorite pie.

    Once you've mastered the essentials in apple pie making, you can concentrate on each step and how to craft the ultimate dessert. Perfect pie crust starts with fresh, high quality ingredients, chilled in the refrigerator, until very cold. That includes both the dry and liquid ingredients. Follow recipe directions to the letter. Cut shortening or butter into your dough with a pastry knife or two forks until the dough resembles small peas. Do not over mix. When your pastry is ready, wrap the dough in wax paper and freeze five minutes. Cold dough will roll out and cut easier.

    The recipes you choose will identify specific apples to use in your recipe. While the apples that go into your pie are a matter of personal taste and individual bias, many varieties have superior flavor, tartness, and texture, rendering them excellent for pie making. Wonderful specimens for making apple pies are readily available at local farmers markets and grocery stores. Some of the best varieties are only available on a seasonal basis, while others can only be found locally, online or by mail order. Keep in mind, the condition and age plays a significant role in the quality of an apple. They should be firm, free of dents and bruises, and feel heavy for their size.

    You do not need to be a pastry artist to add the final touches to your pie. Whether you are creating a simple lattice top, or an elaborate array of special decorations, your craft store and some cookie cutters can provide you with all the tools and inspiration you need to elegantly finish your pie before baking. Again, cold dough works best for hand carving or pressing out shapes, so chill your dough as necessary to achieve the best results.

    As your pie is showing signs of being ready for baking, preheat the oven to the recommended temperature. Pies, like most baked goods, benefit from a hot oven to activate ingredients and realize consistent results. Place the oven rack in the center and bake your pie plate squarely in the middle of the oven. The air flowing around the outside helps evenly bake the crust and filling.

    Take a local cooking class and learn how the professionals make amazing pies and desserts, or head over to and select an apple pie recipe from the finest tasting apple pie recipes the world has to offer.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:44 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 09 July 2009

    Cake decorating courses are available online!  This is great news for people who don't live in an area that offers easy access to a live class, or people who have such hectic schedules that travelling to a class just doesn't make any sense.  You gain the same level of enrichment and you have access to the same perks as a people who take classes in person.

    About Online Cake Decorating Instruction

    It's a popular opinion that classes taken online can never rival the quality and experience of a live class.  However, when it comes to cake decorating classes, this simply isn't the truth! Online cake decorating classes provide all of the benefits of a live class, while even offering some perks that live cake decorating courses cannot offer.

    If you're wondering how staring into a computer screen can compete with the experience of working in person with a trained professional, then you will be surprised to learn that video technology allows teachers to instruct you on all the latest practices and techniques just as effectively!  Plus, there are some added benefits of working in an online course. If you have any pressing needs, or if one of your kids spills something or needs to be picked up from school, then you can simply put the course on pause and resume at your convenience.   If you have a hectic schedule and a chaotic household, then you will find this feature very useful!

    There are additional features that you gain access to when you register for an online cake decorating course, such as:


    • eBooks loaded with tips and pointers, as well as inspiration to get you working to the best of your abilities
    • Articles covering all of the latest trends
    • Interactivity and instruction from your teacher
    • Social networking features
    • Places to post photos of your favorite cakes and view cakes your classmates have made


    If you are taking cake decorating classes to increase your professional credentials, then there are many courses online that offer you certification. This can be important in attracting clients and employers, and is absolutely required for the more serious sides of the profession, so get started today!

    Pros of Taking an Online Course

    These classes cost less - because we know that money can be scarce and tightening your budget is more important than ever.  Online classes are cheaper, and you won't have to fill your gas tank to drive to and from class.

    These cake decorating classes are also very easy to use. It doesn't take advanced computer knowledge to get started.  All you need to know how to do is browse the Web, and you need to know how to click on a link and press play.  That's it!

    There are also a lot of networking tools and utilities.  If you're taking cake decorating classes online to meet potential employees and receive feedback from your peers, then fear not!  Social tools are integrated into the system, so you won't miss out.

    That's not all.  There are other benefits improving your skills online:


    • You can turn on your computer and begin learning whenever you want.
    • You get to set up your own personal classroom within the comfort of your own kitchen.  You won't need to ask anyone where you can find the mixing bowl!
    • You can move through the course at your own pace, and focus on elements where you know that you need improvement.


    How Do I Find These Classes?

    You can employ the services of a private website that specializes in online cake decorating classes, or you can sign on and view the courses offered by your local community college.   Using your search engine of choice, simply locate a course that has the price, qualifications, and features that you want, and begin right away.  No matter how skilled you are, you can find a course that will help you become a better decorator.

    Learn more about cake decorating classes Whether you are a beginner or expert cake decorator that wishes to expand your understanding discover more about the advantages of taking online cake decorating classes

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 09:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 07 July 2009

    Wine Gifts & Baskets

    Wine gift baskets are an ideal gift for the boss. They also make a romantic impression since wine today spells more than just the good times and friendship; it also spells healthy living. Wines are often contained in attractive, mostly handmade baskets.

    Sending wine as a gift is not a complicated task, but it is still best to keep in mind the purpose of sending it. Red, white, and sparkling wines best serve specific occasions. You can also give them in assortment.

    The California Wine gift basket, however, has its own character and has its large share of demand in the United States. People send California wines in baskets to please and to thank someone. However, should you choose to send wine baskets as a gift through a company that does this for you, it is only legal to do so in AK, CA, DC, HI, ID, IL, IA, LA, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OR, WA, WV and WY.

    Wine gift basket sales and orders are most profitable are during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day. There are several companies who accept your order and offer a wide variety of basket designs and arrangements to choose from. You choose to include one or two bottles of either red wine, white wine, or both in the wine gift baskets. You can even choose to substitute private label wine in any basket. The prices depend on what you choose. Wine gift baskets may also contain special cheese and nuts. They are the usual companions in the baskets because they normally don't spoil during shipping or delivery.

    A normal price for a wine gift basket with delivery will cost at around $65 to $100, and these services are already available online. There are many promotions and discount packages available there, too. Before sending wine-basket gifts, check out the information provided by the wine companies, free of charge.

    California Wine provides detailed information on California Wine, California Wine Tours, California Wine Country, California Wine Gift Baskets and more. California Wine is affiliated with California Wine Clubs.


    Premium Wine Boxes
    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 01 July 2009
    You are having a birthday party and want something different. How can you come up with a unique cake idea and keep it affordable.

    Here are some suggestions:

    1. Check out some happy meal toys. These can be used to put on cakes for decoration. Just add some different colored icings and keep it simple.

    2. Try some party store favors. If you have a cheerleader or football player you can find some neat items that come in packages. You can use those to create a unique cake idea.

    3. How about dog toys. If you have checked into any of these you see some miniature balls or neat newspaper rolls. Buy new ones and boil water dip them and they should be safe to put on a cake.

    If you have a unique cake idea then think outside the box. It doesn't have to come from a bakery to be put on a cake. If you go to a bakery look at their cakes. Decide how you can some up with an easier idea.

    If we try we can come up with lots of cake decorating idea. Learning the basic ideas is a good place to start. If you decide this is for you then pursue it more and learn different ways of decorating cakes. Isn't it fun finding a unique cake idea and then adding to it.

    Before you know it you can be learning so many fun new ways of decorating cakes and becoming a hero in your family. Coming up with a unique cake idea can lead to a whole to craft in your life.

    If you enjoy cake decorating visit our site for more information. You can watch a video on decorating a cake with chocolate too.

    You can learn the art of cake decorating. It is fun, easy and can be profitable.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:37 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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