Choosing the Right Beer Growler

Culinary 6Over the last two decades, growlers have become a very popular way to store and carry beer. Microbreweries and small brew pubs have grown in popularity and many allow their customers to purchase their beer by the growler. These popular containers come in many different shapes and sizes and choosing the best growler for your needs will depend on several factors. The purpose of this article is to help you choose the best growler for your needs.

The first thing to consider when choosing a beer growler is your basic approach to beer drinking. Whether you like to keep several different brews on hand or just need to store a particular favorite, there’s a growler style to suite your needs. You will also need to consider how long you need to store your micro-brew. While some growlers are great for storing beer for a week or two, others can keep it fresh for months. Growlers also come in a variety of sizes so you will want to consider the quantities that you will need on hand. Of course for most of us, cost is an important consideration. Glass growlers can be had for a few dollars while ceramic and stainless steel growlers can run considerably more. The spectrum is quite broad when it comes to choosing a beer growler. Taking a little time to consider how you’ll be using your growler can prevent you from making multiple purchases before obtaining the best beer growler for your particular needs.

After considering your particular needs in a growler, you’re ready to take a look at the various growler types on the market. Glass growlers are by far the most common choice on the market today, and as a short-term storage solution for the occasional micro brew, glass is probably a good choice. Glass growlers come in a variety of sizes and are typically very reasonably priced. The biggest concern with glass beer growlers is of course durability.

Ceramic beer growlers are not as popular as glass, but are growing in popularity. They share many of the same qualities as glass but have a few important differences. While ceramic beer growlers are considerably more expensive than glass, the very nature of ceramic opens the door to creativity. Consequently, ceramic beer growlers typically offer much more imaginative styling. Ceramic growlers also do a better job of protecting contents from light penetration, a factor that many beer enthusiasts consider to be extremely important to maintaining both the freshness and flavor of the brew.

In addition to glass and ceramic, stainless steel growlers are quickly becoming a popular choice for microbrew connoisseurs. As one might imagine, durability is the greatest advantage as stainless steel growlers simply don’t break. Stainless steel also does a superb job of keeping out harmful sunlight. For those concerned with style, stainless steel growlers have typically been very plain in appearance. Although that is beginning to change as a few companies are getting a bit more creative with their stainless steel growler designs. The only real disadvantage of stainless steel as compared to glass is cost. They are typically much more expensive than glass, but are not quite as expensive as some of the higher priced ceramic growlers.

When considering the type of growler that fits your needs there are many things to think about. How you will use the growler, material, size, style and price are all factors to consider. Hopefully this article has provided some insight into to the various types of growlers available making your choice in beer growlers a little bit easier.

Tips for a Healthier Heart

Healthier HeartIt is clear as crystal – your diet has a profound effect on your physical and mental health. When combined with a regular physical exercise routine, adequate sleep and minimal-stress lifestyle, you pave way towards a long and healthy life!

In terms of cardiovascular health, it is a well-known fact that a healthy diet comprising of certain heart-friendly foods work wonders to keep heart diseases at bay. With cardiovascular diseases being the numero uno killer of men and women globally, it is important to maintain a healthy heart by consuming foods that help lower cholesterol levels, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy body weight. Here are a few heart-healthy diet tips that work towards preventing heart diseases.

1. Control your portion size

Eating right begins with eating the right size! Stuffing yourself with food is a sure way to add unwanted calories. Try using a small plate to control your portion size. Incorporate larger portions of fruits and vegetables, while lowering the portions of processed foods. It is a good idea to track the number of portions or servings that you consume. For starters, use a measuring cup, spoon or scale to track the size and weight of your servings.

2. Reduce unhealthy fats

Saturated and trans fats increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol – Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) – in your body, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Work towards limiting or entirely cutting out trans fats from your diet. Limit your consumption of processed or packaged foods such as chips and cookies. Replace solid fats such as butter and hydrogenated margarine with liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or sunflower oil. You can also swap whole milk with low fat or skimmed milk.

3. Incorporate healthy fats

Not all fats are bad for you! Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats work towards increasing HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol levels that are good for the heart. Fatty fish such as salmon, trout and herring are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Vegetable oils and soy nuts are great sources of Omega 6 fatty acids, while peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews and avocados are good sources of monounsaturated fats. A simple way to add healthy fat to your diet is to grind flaxseed and add it to cereals, breakfast mixes or any baked foods. However, the key is moderation; all types of fats have a high calorie count.

4. Consume low-fat proteins

Lean meats such as poultry and fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk are excellent sources of low-fat protein. As previously mentioned, fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Alternatively, you can consume flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts and soybeans for vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. You can completely substitute animal protein for plant protein by using legumes such as beans, lentils and peas. These are good sources of protein, contain less fat and no cholesterol.

5. Indulge in fruits and vegetables

Besides being super-rich sources of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are low on calories and may curb your pangs for high-fat foods such as processed foods and snacks. Always keep a bowl of fruit or a box of cut vegetables handy in the refrigerator for some healthy snacking, or to whip up a fresh salad! Incorporate vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, into your cooking. Add legumes such as beans, lentils and beans to your diet. Carrots, tomatoes and celery are rich in insoluble fibre while berries, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, apples and pears are rich in soluble fibre. Both types of fibre are heart-healthy.

6. Be a fan of whole grains!

Whole grains are rich sources of fibre and other vital nutrients that help in regulating blood pressure, thereby maintaining a healthy heart. Substitute white rice and refined flour products such as white bread, biscuits and so on with whole wheat flour, whole grain bread, oatmeal, high-fibre cereals, and whole grains such as brown rice.

7. Reduce your sodium intake

High sodium levels can increase your blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Limit your sodium intake by reducing the amount of salt and salty foods in your diet. Avoid foods and condiments with high sodium content such as table salt, canned soups and foods, soy sauce and tomato juice. Replace them with herbs and spices, low sodium labelled foods and sauces and salt substitutes.

Besides following a heart-healthy diet, it is important to lead a stress-free life, combined with adequate physical activity and regulated sleep to keep your body energised, your mind fresh and your heart ever-healthy!

Information on Assorted Sweets

Assorted SweetsThe term assorted sweets is usually used for boxes of sweets containing at least three to four different kind of sweets. These boxes are primarily used as gifts during festive seasons such as Christmas, New Year, Diwali, and so on. However, these days, stores and shopping malls have huge collections of assorted sweet boxes all through the years as a significant section of buyers prefers buying them even for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other such events.

In this article, we will be discussing about the kind of items you can expect to get in the modern-day assorted boxes of sweets. Read on to know more.

One feature that is common in the majority of these packages is that they come filled with exotic sweets, some that you will not find during your regular trips to your favorite confectioneries.

The first combination we will be discussing about is the combination of cakes and cookies. Chocolate cakes remain the hot favorite even when it comes to these assortments. The item might be common, but it never fails to impress, which forces almost every confectioner to prepare combinations using it.

Chocolate cakes are usually combined with mint flavored cookies, vanilla cakes, cupcakes of different flavors etc. If you are buying the assortment for a kid, we would advise you to opt for the cup cake and chocolate cake combination. This is because that combination is not only tasty, but also very vibrant and colorful, qualities that will catch the attention of kids easily. For older people, we would recommend the combination of chocolate cake and assorted cookie.

It might be hard to believe, but our planet does have people who hate the chocolate flavor. If you are planning to gift the assorted sweet box to someone with such likings, pick a basket filled with fruit cakes, cupcakes, chocolates, sugar candies and cakes of flavors such as mint, cardamom, cinnamon, etc.

The above discussion was about baskets containing different kinds of western sweets. Let us now talk about assortments of eastern sweets. The popularity of assorted packages containing eastern sweets has increased significantly in the past few years. These packages mostly contain laddus, pedas, barfis and chikkis made using a range of ingredients from nuts to raisins. When preparing these packages, confectioners try to introduce fresh flavors. For example, you will get pedas and laddus in western flavors such as vanilla and chocolate. There are also some traditional eastern flavors that confectioners always include in these boxes. They are: saffron, cardamom, rose, and pistachio.

7 Reasons to Include Pulses and Dals in Your Daily Diet

Dal rice, a favourite of several Indian households, is the staple food of this country. Similarly, a variety of other pulses are holding strongly to their age-old popularity of being healthy foods; and rightfully so! Pulses – chickpeas or garbanzo beans, dry peas and lentils – are low in fat, high in fibre, contain no cholesterol, are low on the glycemic index and are high protein foods.

In the age of packaged and processed foods, pulses and dals are little saviours, nesting on your plate, ready to deliver high nutrition to your body. Here are seven reasons to include pulses in your daily diet:

1. An excellent source of protein:

Pulses are a healthy and inexpensive source of protein. Coupled with other vegetables and grains, pulses help meet most of your protein needs. Moreover, since pulses do not contain gluten, they are the ideal protein sources for individuals who are gluten-intolerant or have a gluten allergy.

2. Great for heart health:

The high fibre content in pulses helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A cup of cooked dal provides fibre that is equivalent to 60% of your daily required value. The fibre thus obtained lowers cholesterol levels. These potassium-rich pulses are also excellent for lowering blood pressure, thus promoting heart health.

3. Reduces the risk of Diabetes:

Glycemic Index ranks food based on how it affects your blood sugar levels. Pulses, being low on the glycemic index, cause only a small rise in blood sugar levels, thus lowering the risk of diabetes. For those who are already suffering from diabetes, incorporating pulses in your diet can help better manage blood sugar levels.

4. Rich source of folate:

Pulses also are a treasure trove of folate – folate is a B vitamin required to produce, maintain and renew body cells. The importance of folate particularly arises during vital growth periods such as infancy and pregnancy. Consuming adequate pulses during pregnancy can lower the risk of infantile problems or birth defects.

5. High in Potassium:

Besides being rich sources of folate and protein, pulses are also high in potassium content. Foods with high potassium fall within the domain of heart-healthy foods, since potassium aids in lowering blood pressure due to its counteractive benefits against the effects of sodium. Consume a portion of pulses at each meal to get your daily requirement of potassium.

6. Boost your enzymes:

Certain pulses contain requisite amounts of copper. Copper is a mineral that is key in the functionality of several body enzymes. Specifically, copper is extremely vital in the production of melanin, the skin’s pigment colour, and the development of connective tissues. One serving of pulses such as the adzuki beans delivers close to 34% of the body’s daily copper requirements.

7. Specific diets:

Since pulses such as chickpeas, peas and lentils do not contain gluten, they can be used in gluten-free food preparations for people who suffer from celiac disease. Consumption of lentils helps in the management of blood glucose, making it a great addition to a diabetic diet. They contain eight essential amino acids, making them the perfect vegetarian protein choice for those who do not consume animal protein, especially when consumed with rice. The high fibre content of pulses helps in making one feel full for longer; coupled with the fat content, pulses are an excellent addition to a weight management diet. One serving of cooked lentils or pulses contains more than 15 grams of fibre, thereby improving heart health and lowering cholesterol levels. Pulses are rich in potassium, which helps in lowering blood pressure. Finally, they are a superb source of protein, compensating for the lack of protein consumption by vegetarians.

Simply put, pulses are power foods in their own right, and your body will thank you for adding them into your daily meals.

3 Fun Ways to Prepare Grilled Chicken Breasts

Perhaps the biggest reason why chicken breasts are popular is because of their versatility. Aside from being easy to prepare, they’re packed full of protein which can be satisfying to the appetite. But if not prepared right, chicken breasts can be dull and boring to the taste.

Here are 3 flavorful grilled chicken breasts recipes that you surely won’t call boring:

Grilled Fruit and Herb Chicken

What you need:

4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices fresh lemon
3/4 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt with parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 sheets 12×18 heavy duty aluminum foil

Mix apricot jam, olive oil, rosemary, garlic salt, kosher salt and black pepper in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Place 2 chicken halves on each sheet of aluminum foil. Pour half of the mixture on top of chicken in one foil and the other half on the other foil. Top each chicken breast with a lemon slice. Fold over the sides of the foil to create a packet. Cook the packets on a pre-heated covered grill over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Carefully open the packets to allow steam to escape before serving.

Rich and Creamy Grilled Chicken

What you need:

2 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 cup creamy salad dressing
1/2 cup Italian-style salad dressing
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, mix together creamy salad dressing, Italian-style dressing and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine ingredients well. Add chicken to the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready, discard excess marinade and cook chicken in a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through. Allow to cool before serving.

Strawberry Salsa Grilled Chicken

What you need:

4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 clove garlic, minced
2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup minced red onion
4 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Season pounded chicken breast halves with salt and pepper then place in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Combine half of the serrano chiles, 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, garlic and chili powder in a small bowl. Slowly add olive oil and stir to combine ingredients well. Pour mixture over chicken in the plastic bag and toss to coat. Seal and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. In a separate bowl, mix strawberries, mint and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour then add remaining serrano chiles, remaining raspberry vinegar and onions. Let stand at room temperature. When chicken is ready, discard excess marinade and cook chicken in a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve chicken breasts with strawberry salsa.

Chicken breasts can be anything but boring especially if you try these 3 amazingly satisfying recipes!