Monday, February 28, 2011

Dried Fruit - Nutritional Value


As the name implies, dehydrating, or food drying, via a food dehydrator, removes a significant amount of water from food. The water content for most fruits is very high, typically 80% to 95%. Removing the water from food, including fruits, inhibits various bacteria, yeasts and molds from growing and spoiling the food and thus helps in its preservation and storage. Removing water from fruit also decreases the fruit's volume, thus, once dried, the fruit's nutrient, calorie, and sugar content becomes more concentrated per serving. A half cup of dried fruit will contain more calories, nutrients, carbohydrates (primarily the fruit's natural sugar), and fiber, among other nutrients and minerals, than a half cup of fresh fruit. For example, a half cup of raw apples will contain about 2.5 grams of fiber, 65 calories and 17 grams of carbohydrates. A half cup of dried apples will contain approximately 6 grams of fiber, 180 calories and 50 grams of carbohydrates. While the dehydrating process does cause some nutrient loss, dried fruit is still an excellent source of:

* Vitamins A and various vitamin B's
* Minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, copper and manganese
* Protein
* Natural sugars
* Antioxidants

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit generally does not contain vitamin D and only contains small amounts of Vitamin C. However, applying a coat of lemon, lime, pineapple or other citrus fruit juice before the fruit dehydrating process can add vitamin C to the dried fruit, help prevent food discoloration and offset flavor and nutrition loss. Before drying, simply dip the fruit in the juice. Do not soak the fruit as this will prolong the drying time required in the food dehydrator.

Dried Fruit - Nutritional Value

Visit Food Dehydrator to learn how to dehydrate food and make beef jerky and fruit leather. Use our content, calculators and food dehydrator recipes to discover the benefits of food dehydrators and dried food.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fruit Baskets - Popular Assortments for the Holiday Season


Fruit baskets are a great holiday gift, and the options are numerous. Here are 8 of the most popular choices for this Christmas season.

1. Assorted Fruit. As the most traditional type, these collections contain a variety of common fruits including apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes.

Dried Fruit

2. Holiday. These styles are beautifully decorated in Christmas colors and contain beautiful arrangements. They look nice as table centerpieces for the winter season.

3. Dried Fruit Assortments. Apricots, cranberries, and raisins are commonly included. These arrangements are often packaged in "on the go" containers as trail mixes rather than individually in baskets.

4. Fruit and Nut Baskets. Whether it is fresh or dried fruit, an assortment paired with different types of nuts makes a great combination.

5. Chocolate Covered Fruit Collections. For a gourmet treat, this is a very popular option. Cherries and apricots are two of the most common types.

6. Organic Fruit Baskets. For the health conscious person on your Christmas list, this makes a great gift.

7. Exotic Fruit Arrangements. For that person on your list who enjoys new or different things, this may be a good gift idea. It contains lesser known fresh fruits such as papayas, star fruit, kiwis, mangoes, and pineapples.

8. Citrus Baskets. Oranges, tangerines, clementines, and grapefruit make a delicious, juicy, and refreshing collection.

The internet makes it very easy to find whatever type of fruit basket gift you are looking for. There are many online stores that offer free shipping and will deliver directly to the recipient of the gift at your request.

Fruit Baskets - Popular Assortments for the Holiday Season

Find the very best fruit baskets for sale online at unbelievable prices. Choose from popular dried fruit, fruit and nut, holiday, chocolate covered, organic, exotic, and fresh fruit collections. Just simply click on the link today at:

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Snack Foods: Chewy!


The popularity of soft and chewy cookies over the last 20 years is probably an indication that most people like that. When you have your own teeth, chewy is fun but if not, can be rather embarrassing. For those who can handle it though, there are plenty of things to satisfy that craving. Most of the commercially available stuff is loaded with calories, sugar, salt and fat, plus preservatives, so why not make your own healthy snacks?

With a food dehydrator you can make your own chewy dried fruits or fruit leather and it will definitely be healthier. Food dehydrators come with a plastic sheet to be used for making fruit leather, or you can make your own for the oven but you have to be really careful you don't turn the temperature up too high if you do that. Plastic should never be part of a healthy diet! It's a whole lot easier-and safer-to just go buy a food dehydrator.

Dried Fruit

To dry your own fruit all you have to do is wash the fruit well and then slice it very thinly and place it on the dehydrator trays with some space around it. It helps the drying time if you press out the juices first and makes it all tastier if you add some honey or sugar; dissolve the sugar in water and then brush the fruit with it. Stay away from HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup); it has too many health problems associated with it. Of course it's better if you don't have to add sugar to the fruit but some fruits are very acidic and don't taste so good dried if you don't add some sweetness.

To ensure chewyness in your dried fruit, all you have to do is take it out when it gets to the consistency you like. You want to make sure it's thoroughly dry however, or you might open up the bag to find a science experiment. There are some preservatives you can use that are natural but the easiest one (that leaves no taste) is colloidal silver. You can spray some colloidal silver on the fruit before drying; it won't affect the taste nor will the drying process destroy the silver, which is a good antimicrobial. Honey is also antimicrobial but shouldn't be used if the food is going to be given to babies as it can harbor Clostridium botulinum in amounts that babies can't handle. Adult immune systems don't have problems with this but it can be fatal to babies.

I mention only chewy dried fruit here because cookies are really not a good idea for snacks. Over 50% of our population is obese now and children are included in that figure. Childhood obesity is becoming an alarming trend; cookies are the last thing we need to have more of. Switch to healthier treats for yourself and your children. If one has diabetes, dried fruit is a problem but otherwise it's a good snack. At least dried fruit gives you that sweet and chewy alternative and packs a lot of fiber too.

©2010 Dr.Valerie Olmsted All Rights Reserved

Snack Foods: Chewy!

Dr. Valerie Olmsted is an author, naturopathic physician, metaphysician, internet entrepreneur, artist, speaker, and lover of life. Traveling with the Quantum Vortex Experience, she has helped thousands of people reach the inner connection they are seeking and has contributed to the discoveries of manifestation practices via quantum physics applications.
Contact: Dr.Valerie Olmsted
2370 W. SR 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336

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Friday, February 25, 2011

How To Make Dried Orange Ornaments


Dried Orange Ornaments:

There's nothing like the smell of fresh cinnamon flowing through the air on a brisk Christmas morning. Dried fruit ornaments not only add a sweet scent to your home but also look lovely hanging on your Christmas tree glimmering in the Christmas lights. The process of drying the fruit is quite simple and with just one orange you can make several ornaments. These can also be great to use as air fresheners to hang in the bathroom or living room. After my first year of making these dried orange ornaments I liked them so much that now it's become sort of a yearly tradition with my family.

Dried Fruit

Start by getting a cutting board and knife and slice the oranges crosswise in about quarter inch slices then through out the ends. I usually only use one orange to which makes six to eight ornaments but you can use more. After you have slice all your oranges place them on a greased cookie sheet or you can lay them directly on the rack. First you need to dry out the orange slices by taking a paper towel and blotting out the juices on each orange slice. To add a delicious scent just gently rub some ground cinnamon into the slices. The cinnamon covered slices tend to not catch as much light so you might want to leave a couple of your orange slices plain. Place in the oven at 275 degrees for the first hour and then 225 degrees for another two hours. Bake until your orange slices are completely dry. Allow some time for the orange slices to cool and once cool you can decorate them with a little glitter to add some extra sparkle. To make a hanger poke a whole in you orange slice and tie some decorative ribbon through it. For an added accent use some of the ribbon to make a bow and glue on the top of your ornament.

I just love the smell and look these ornaments there so beautiful, very simple to make and also inexpensive. Their are many uses for dried fruit ornaments you can use them to make decorative wreaths for your home or tie them to gifts with the name tags it will make your Christmas gifts extra special. You can also make some ornaments out of other fruits too like apples.

Items you need to get started:

Sharp knife
Cutting board
Cookie sheet

How To Make Dried Orange Ornaments

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting More Minerals From Your Fruits and Vegetables


Before the thirties, people knew the importance of mineral. Their soil was rich in minerals and they ate plenty of vegetable grown in these soils. When vitamins were discovered during this time, people began to forget about the important of minerals and started their fascination with vitamins.

Today because the soil is highly depleted of minerals, our vegetables are lacking in these life-giving nutrients. It is now necessary to consider how you can get more minerals in your body the natural way. Here are some things you can do to get more minerals:

Dried Fruit

* buy organic farm products
* eat fruits and vegetable without peeling them
* eat fruits and vegetable raw
* cook fruits and vegetable with a minimum of water and temperature

Organic Farm Products

There are some major grocery markets that now sell organic vegetables.

However, these vegetables are much higher in price, so that it discourages most people from buying, even though these vegetables are better for them.

By going to farmers markets, you will find many organic fruits and vegetables. The prices here will be almost the same as what you pay for non-organic food at a regular market. When buying produce at a farmers market, ask the vendor if his produce is pesticide sprayed, if he doesn't have an "Organically Grown" certification sign.

When buying dried fruit, like apricots, make sure that you buy those are prepared with no or little sulphur. There is clinical evidence that sulfate-reducing bacteria, which exists in our colon can contribute to colon diseases - IBS, colitis, or Chron's disease. The sulfate that reaches our colon comes from eating an excess of meat and eating and drinking food products that have sulfur and sulfur dioxide - dried fruits, jams, sodas, and many other products. Look for sulfur compounds and sulfur dioxide on the food label, and then avoid eating these products.

Peeling Fruits and Vegetables

Most vitamins and minerals in many fruits and vegetables lie right underneath the outer peel. For this reason it is best not to peel certain fruits or vegetables to gain the most benefit of that produce. But make sure the produce that you don't peel is organic. Don't peel apples, carrots, cucumbers, squash, broccoli stocks, celery, pears, nectarines, or tomatoes.

Eating Raw Produce

Eat most of your produce raw. This is the healthiest way to eat produce. Eating plenty and I mean plenty of raw vegetable is the way to better health and longer life. You get plenty of fiber, minerals, vitamins and enzymes, if the produce has been recently pick.

Cooking Produce

If you need or want to cook fruits and vegetable do it with just a little bit of water at the bottom of the pan. Many fruits and vegetables contain minerals that are volatile such as organic sulfur. Because of this you are probably deficient in organic sulfur. This is one reason why MSM .has become quite popular. Organic sulfur is not the same as the sulfur that is produced in the body when meat is eaten or when foods with sulfur or sulfur dioxide are eaten. Both sulfur and sulfur dioxide are used as food preservatives and are considered dead sulfur. Organic sulfur obtained from fruits and vegetables is considered live sulfur.

When food is cooked at temperature greater than 45-50 degree C, food enzymes are destroyed. This results delayed digestion of these foods in the stomach. Food enzymes help to start the digestive process while your body creates the enzymes necessary to complete the digestion process. Delayed digestion often creates stomach gas and belching.

Getting More Minerals From Your Fruits and Vegetables

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baked Brie With Dried Fruit and Nuts


An elegant and easy appetizer that is sure to impress a crowd. Frozen puff pastry enrobes a fruit and nut studded melty layers of cheese and preparation couldn't be easier. You'll be done in about 15 minutes!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted*

Dried Fruit

1 8 oz. wheel of brie or camembert

1/4 c. dried tart cherries

1/4 c. dried apricots, diced to 1/8"

1/4 c. walnuts, chopped

2 tsp. butter

1 tbsp. orange liqueur (or juice)

1 tbsp. water

dash of cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

Defrost 1 sheet of puff pastry, covered on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add dried cherries, apricots and walnuts. Sautee for 1 minute until fruit is warm and slightly softened. Add liqueur, water and cinnamon and cook for 1 - 2 minutes stirring often, until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Unwrap the cheese and cut horizontally. For easy slicing cut cheese while cold and use a sharp knife that has been moistened with water. Separate layers and spread half the fruit mixture on the cheese. Place top layer of cheese, rind side up and top with remaining fruit.

When pastry is defrosted, roll out on a floured surface to form a 12" x 12" square. Remove corners of square, forming a 12" circle. Use pastry scraps to create leaves or other decoration.

Drape the pastry over the fruit and cheese and carefully tuck dough under the cheese, removing excess pastry as needed. Seal pastry well using egg wash. Transfer cheese to small, parchment or foil lined baking dish. Decorate top with pastry and brush with egg.

For best results, freeze the cheese for 5 minutes before baking in a preheated oven set to 425 for 18 - 20 minutes. Crust will be golden brown and puffed. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

*I use Peppridge Farm brand and defrost for 30-40 minutes.

Baked Brie With Dried Fruit and Nuts

Christine has over 10 years experience promoting and celebrating Artisan and Specialty cheese from North America and around the world. She shares her passion and expertise via food writing, photography, video, recipes, in-person guided tastings and via her blog: Christine serves as the current President of the American Cheese Society ( ), North America's premiere organization supporting and promoting Artisan, Farmstead and Specialty Cheese.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chocolate Covered Fruit and Desserts Make Gift Giving Deliciously Fun


Add a little creativity and inspiration to your gift giving with chocolate covered fruit, nuts, and other delicious treats that will delight and impress recipients of every age.

Whether birthdays, anniversaries, or holiday celebrations, chocolate has always been the perfect gift idea. And, while a box of the typical assorted is always appreciated, why not enhance the fun with a few intriguing chocolate covered pieces or artfully arranged baskets and bouquets?

Dried Fruit

Chocolate is more than just a sweet treat. The many types and flavors lend to its versatility and make it the main ingredient in sauces, drinks, desserts, and natural remedies. Chocolate has proven itself to be a necessary part of any celebration, and with endless options and combinations, you are sure to find something that will please everyone on your gift giving list.

Delight your sweetheart on Valentine's Day with a delectable chocolate covered apple rolled in pink, red, and white candy hearts, or a basket of chocolate dipped Oreo cookies topped with sugar coated Jujube hearts or Hershey's Hugs.

Celebrate a wedding by covering cookies in white or dark chocolate and decorating them to look like little wedding gowns and tuxedos. Or send an extra special gift to the wedding couple by having chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of chilled champagne sent to their honeymoon suite. This thoughtful and romantic idea will be remembered for years to come.

Chocolate can make holiday gift giving easy. Thrill family and friends with an elegant box of chocolate roofed peppermint sticks. Dip one end in white and the other in milk or dark, dust with icing sugar and complete with a festive bow or sprig of greenery. Every chocolate lover appreciates a tasty chocolate bark made with a mix of dried fruit and nuts and sprinkled with shaved coconut.

Chocolate dipped figs look like little mini Christmas decorations, and when covered with a mix of white and dark and placed in a pretty box or hung on a small tree, they make the ideal gift for teachers or colleagues. Capture a little winter wonderland by building tasty snowballs with white chocolate covered shortbread rolled in coconut.

Create a beautiful Mother's Day bouquet with chocolate covered cookies and chewy candies, or tantalize Dad's taste buds with a yummy mix of popcorn, fruit, and nuts tossed with his favorite type of chocolate. Turn a simple coffee mug into an unforgettable gift by packing it full of chocolate covered coffee or espresso beans and pairing it with a chocolate dipped spoon.

Need a thank you favor for a baby shower? Create little faces by covering large pretzel twists with chocolate and using mini M&Ms as eyes, or give guests individually boxed chocolate covered mini cheesecakes with "It's a Girl", "It's a Boy", or simply "Thank You" written on top.

Looking for an interesting birthday gift for the person who has everything? How about chocolate roofed potato chips or colorfully decorated chocolate dipped pretzel twists and rods? For the true chocolate addict on your list, give a box of decadent chocolate covered brownies - after all, who can resist chocolate covered chocolate. Yum!

Need an exciting and unique kids gift or party favor? Chocolate dipped marshmallows decorated with funny faces or made to look like insects and animals are sure to be a tasty hit.

One of the most popular gifts for every occasion are chocolate covered fortune cookies. They are available in a wide variety of options including birthday, friendship, and romantic messages. These small tokens can deliver big notes of love, thanks, and appreciation.

From chocolate covered mango and guava to the more popular strawberries and cherries, from dipped sponge candy to chewy chocolate Jujubes and marshmallows, or from the salty sweet mix of pretzels and popcorn to the irresistible chocolate coated cookies and brownies, chocolate can be combined with virtually anything to create an interesting and fun gift idea. Wrap in an elegant box, arrange in a bouquet, tie with a ribbon, fill a tasteful tin, or accent a wrapped package - no matter how it is displayed or for what occasion it is given, chocolate covered fruit and dessert is the perfectly delicious gift giving choice.

Chocolate Covered Fruit and Desserts Make Gift Giving Deliciously Fun

About Author:
Mary Jane Hochderffer shares her passion for chocolate desserts at and invites you to indulge yourself in the decadent chocolate covered fruit she offers there.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Don't Let Migraine Attacks Take You Down


Normal life can become impossible if you experience frequent migraines. The throbbing, nausea, sensitivity to light, everything sounds loud, and the pain near the eye, the list goes on of unruly symptoms. But understanding why can be an important step in the challenge of overcoming the pain. Taking time to learn about migraines and talk to your doctor about what you can do is the key.

A combination of treatments and techniques can be the best way to alleviate the pain. Each person is different and different people require different things to treat their headaches. Some may work for others and some may not.

Dried Fruit

Things like yoga, acupuncture, breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques can be very effective in treating the pain of migraines. Good old fashioned cold packs or heat packs a very sufficient as well if used while resting in a dim or darkened room. Aromatherapy has also been a good natural way to help relief pain and stress that causes the headaches. Lavender has been known for its soothing, and calming qualities.

The predictability of migraines is not always possible, so keep a migraine relief medication available with you if possible. Migraine attacks can occur everyday for some people or they can happen with a week's gap, a month or year even. There is no established cycle for migraines.

Treating your migraine at the early sign of a one may just save you the agony of experiencing one. There are prescription pain relievers, over the counter products for migraines, and herbal supplements that can help you as well.

Keeping a regular sleep pattern and exercising daily will help to reduce migraines and their pain. Avoiding certain foods and drinks that can cause migraines will help as well. Things like cheese, dried fruits, cultured dairy products, and processed meats all cause headaches. Avoiding foods and drinks with additives, caffeine, and artificial flavors will reduce the frequency of migraines as well. Over salting foods can cause headaches as too.

Biofeedback is used to help reduce some of the types of headache pain because there are different biological means involved in migraine pain.

Biofeedback combines a variety of relaxation therapies designed to control the body's response to stress. Some of the things involved in biofeedback are meditation, visualization, and breathing exercises.Getting plenty of sleep and using different pillows may help as well to relief migraines. Having good posture during the day can help too. Getting a massage or massaging you neck and shoulders through out the day to prevent tension may be helpful relief and prevention.

Migraid by Bell is a product that Alternative Health Supplements offers for migraine relief. it is specailly designed for anyone who suffers from the occasional migraine and the pain interferes with normal life. Migraid targets some of the reseptors that sense pain and send pain signals to the brain. the herbal extracts in migraid have been used for many thousands of years cultures around the world.

Don't Let Migraine Attacks Take You Down

Steven Johnson is committed to helping people maintain healthy and effective lifestyles. For more information on any other health supplements please visit his website Alternative Health Supplements at

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Banana Cake Recipe


Every family needs a great banana cake recipe, a delicious homemade cake that can be rustled up in no time at all, filling the house with that lovely banana aroma as it bakes.

This banana cake recipe is very simple, and is a great way to make use of those odd bananas that tend to languish in the fruit bowl. Once the skins go brown and spotty, they're just perfect for a recipe like this. Ripe bananas have much more flavor, and their soft texture means they blend into the cake mixture easily.

Dried Fruit

If you have a lot of ripe bananas you could make two banana cakes and freeze one. Another alternative is to freeze some of your ripe bananas. Just pop them, unpeeled, into a freezer bag and keep them frozen until needed. The skins will turn black, but that's simply a reaction to the cold temperature. Your bananas are still fine to use, and you can mash them straight from the freezer, or leave them to thaw first.

If you want to make a banana cake but your bananas aren't fully ripe, there's a cure - peel the bananas and put them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them. Then use them in the banana cake recipe that follows:

Banana Cake Recipe


225g (8 oz, 2 cups) self-raising (self-rising) flour

100g (4 oz, 1/2 cup) soft margarine or softened butter

175g (6 oz, 3/4 cup) caster (superfine granulated) sugar

2 beaten eggs

3 bananas, peeled

175g (6 oz, 1 cup) dried fruit (use sultanas, raisins, currants, chopped glace cherries, candied peel or a mixture)

Makes a 2lb (900g) cake

Pre-heat the oven to gas 4/180C/350F. Oil and base line a 2lb (900g) loaf pan. Put all the ingredients except the dried fruit into a food processor and blend until well mixed. Take the food processor bowl from the base machine, remove the processing blade and stir the dried fruit into the mixture. Spoon the cake mix into the pan and bake for around 1 hr 20 minutes, or until a fine knife blade inserted into the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after 1 hr 10 minutes and if neccessary cover with a piece of foil to prevent the top from burning. Leave until cool, then turn out of the tin. This banana cake keeps well in an airtight tin for 2-3 days, or refrigerate it for up to 7 days.

For a banana nut cake, substitute chopped walnuts for some or all of the dried fruit, and scatter some over the top of the cake before baking.

Banana Cake Recipe

You'll find another yummy Banana Cake Recipe in Elizabeth Martyn's collection of Healthy Cake Recipes.

This article may be published electronically or in print in its entirety as long as the author by-lines in the resource box are included and urls kept live.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Best Loved Turkish Dessert Recipes


The most famous Turkish foods might be savory ones like kabobs, stuffed vine leaves and hummus but Turkish desserts are well worth knowing about too, because they are so tasty. The best known Turkish desserts are baklava, which is a sweet pastry with nuts, Turkish delight, and marzipan.

Desserts made with milk are also popular in Turkey. Turkish rice pudding is good and "haytali" is a delicious Turkish recipe from the Mediterranean area, which contains crush ice or ice cream, starch pudding, syrup and rose water. Turkish people enjoy cookies and these are often made with almond, sugar, and egg.

Dried Fruit

More popular Turkish desserts include "yaz helvasi" which is flavored with almonds or walnuts, "irmik helvasi" with pine nuts and semolina, and "tahin helvasi" which contains crushed sesame seeds for a unique flavor. A more unusual Turkish dessert is "asure" which contains dried fruit, wheat, and boiled beans. Rose water or cinnamon might be added to this soup-like dessert before it is served. "Gullac" is a mouthwatering dessert made with dough layers, rose water, milk, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds.

Fruity Turkish Puddings

Fruit-based desserts with fig, quince, apple, pear, or pumpkin are popular too and the fruit can be baked with cinnamon and sugar, chilled, and then served with nuts. Most cuisines use fruit to make puddings and desserts and baking the sweetened fruit make it soft, juicy, and perfect to use in other recipes.

A dessert that is popular in the rural areas of Turkey is made with grape syrup and sesame paste. These two ingredients are bought separately and then mixed together to make the recipe. Ice cream made with rose water and cornstarch is popular in Turkey and this can be flavored with dried fruit, rose petals, or other flavorings.

Recipe for Turkish Asure

This dessert is also known as "Noah's pudding." According to Turkish lore, when the food on Noah's ark was about to run out towards the end of the flood, Noah mixed together and cooked all his remaining ingredients, and this dessert was the result.

Rinse and drain the canned beans and peas before using them and let the apricots soak in water overnight to make them juicier.

What you will need:

1 cup white kidney beans 1 cup barley 10 cups water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup chickpeas 10 chopped dried figs 10 chopped dried apricots 1/2 cup raisins 1 cup white sugar 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, for garnish

How to make it:

Bring four cups of the water to a boil in a big pot and add the barley. Turn the heat down to moderately low and cook the barley for thirty minutes. Add the chickpeas, beans, apricots, figs, sugar, raisins, vanilla, and the rest of the water.

Cook the pudding for about forty five minutes, stirring it a few times. Let it cool down and chill it in the refrigerator. Serve garnished with the chopped nuts.

The Best Loved Turkish Dessert Recipes

Nuts and vanilla are popular in Mexican recipes as well as in Turkish ones. If you enjoy cooking with vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, chocolate and more, why not try making some easy Mexican dessert recipes? The Sweet Side of Mexican Food.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Kids School Lunches - 13 Alternatives to Promote Health and Nutrition and Avoid Fast Food


For parents, providing your kids with healthy, nutritional lunches that they find interesting can be quite a challenge. The "if it is good for you then it must be boring" mentality makes this particularly challenging and you have such favorites as lollies, sweets and fizzy drinks to compete with.

Don't despair, it can be done and here are 13 alternatives to get you started. Instead of...

Dried Fruit

1. High fat savoury biscuits -- why not try

* Plain dry crackers, rice cakes, corn thins or Scottish oatcakes.

* Raw carrots or celery cut into small pieces are also an excellent choice.

2. Pies, pastry or sausage rolls -- why not try

* Meat or cheese sandwiches or pasta with mince beef sauces (you can buy wheat/gluten free bread and pasta if required).

* Tuna and sweetcorn.

* Brown rice (or white) with tuna and roasted vegetables.

* Falafel (Lebanese delicacy made from chick peas).

3. Processed meats such as frankfurters, salami or other -- why not try

* Mince burger (home made), lentil burgers or bean burgers.

* Leftovers from main meals.

* Quality ham (e.g. Virginia) or cooked bacon, which has been grilled, and the fat/rind removed.

* Quality sausages that are mostly meat and not too fatty (gluten free sausages are a great alternative if you can find them).

4. Biscuits (cream filled or chocolate) -- why not try

* Crackers or plain sweet biscuits, oatcakes, rice crackers or rice cakes.

You can make these interesting by having different topics like tuna and sweet corn or avocado (too much avocado may be regarded as fattening).

5. Chocolate / candy bars - why not try

* Cheese cubes or dried fruit or yoghurt with fresh fruit to add to it.

* Dairy products may make you feel bloated, so sheep's or goat's yogurt make a great alternative to cows yoghurt and have a different texture and taste. They are less bulky and easier to digest).

6. Muesli bars and breakfast bars (these are often full of sugar and preservatives) -- why not try

* Fresh fruit such as grapes, melon cubes, oranges or mandarins/satsumas.

* Nut muesli bars (check the ingredients first though).

7. Cordial or fizzy drinks -- why not try

* Water is the best option to add to any lunch box.

* Dairy, soy or rice milk are also good alternatives.

8. Chocolate spreads -- why not try

* Sesame seed spread (tahini).

* Humous.

* Dip such as yoghurt, avocado or one that you make yourself, dipping for example, pitta bread or cut up vegetables.

9. Lollies / sweets -- why not try

* Dried fruit, nuts and raisins.

* Make a nibbles bag with a variety of nuts and dried fruit and add sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

10. Chips / crisps or hot chips -- why not try

* Hot homemade soups with the addition of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

* Pecan nuts, almonds and flax seed are all great snacks as they are high in essential fatty acids and are best eaten raw (cooking them can destroy the essential fatty acid component).

The best way to encourage your children to eat these is to add them to soups as an alternative to croutons and to sprinkle them on yoghurt and cereal/muesli in the morning.

11. Fruit leather straps - why not try

* If you have your own fruit drier, then you can dry the fruit yourself.

* Fresh fruit, plain dried fruit e.g. sultanas, dried apricots, mixed nuts, 100% fruit bars.

12. Donuts -- why not try

* Raisin bread (you can buy wheat free raisin bread if required).

* Muffins.

* Flapjacks.

* Scottish oatcakes with a banana.

* Tuna and sweetcorn.

13. Potato crisps, corn chips, or similar snack food - why not try

Rice crackers, or rice cakes with a homemade dip or spread, or a bought one as long as it has a low fat content.

Kids School Lunches - 13 Alternatives to Promote Health and Nutrition and Avoid Fast Food

Helen Thompson is a qualified child care worker (Nursery Nurse) and Brain Gym consultant who has spent many years working with children aged between 0 - 8 years. Helen aims to provide busy parents, carers and teachers with fun and educational activities for children to develop their creativity.

Her website at includes recipes, craft activities and more. To be kept informed of new additions to the site, please subscribe to her newsletter.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Knowing The Good Foods for Your Health


Some of our healthy foods can be surprisingly filled with hidden fats. With so many people dieting and so may new so called diet foods available we tend to take for granted that they are healthy and not pay attention.

Eating fish full of omega 3 fatty acids has been said to be a benefit health wise for us.

Dried Fruit

Sushi can be a healthy treat but if you don't make the right choice you may end up eating sushi made with bad ingredients you don't want such as mayonnaise.

Have a tuna roll or sevechi so long as you know it's the healthy sushi you choose.

The fresh fruit or dried fruit dilemma, which is better for you? Fresh fruit is less dense than dried fruit and you can be sure there is no added sugar. Dried fruit is a handy fruit choice but because it has fewer calories than the dried fruit, fresh fruit should be your fruit choice whenever possible.

In the dieting world the granola bar is a big so called healthy choice for a snack or to replace lunch with. Store bought granola contains added sugar and therefore more hidden calories than you may realize. If you must have granola then try making your own, some honey, nuts, fruits and oatmeal is all it takes to be sure your eating healthy granola.

Lunch seems to be that one meal that is hard to find the right choices for.

The veggie burger seems to be the healthy choice instead of that whopper with cheese. Well be aware that the cheese may be what is holding that veggie burger together. Although the veggie burger is a smarter choice they should be eaten in moderation.

Learning what to look for in your food choices, even the diet food we take for granted can make us healthier people making smarter choices.

Knowing The Good Foods for Your Health

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Super Natural Foods


When do natural foods become, super natural foods?

Can Mother Nature's super natural foods cure everything from cancer to hay fever?

Dried Fruit

Natures foods give modern health consumers everything we need.

A hit of essential nutrients in an edible form (even if it's not always to your taste).

There's also that hint of the exotic which appeals to consumers willing to experiment with peculiar foodstuffs.

It's pretty clear that our appetite for natural foods is becoming increasingly insatiable.

Super Natural Foods - To you and I, it seems that super natural foods are popping up faster than birds infected with the avian flu virus.

Barely have you managed to track down a good source of the latest data when it seems it has been superseded by another.

Super Natural Foods - Pomegranates are already yesterday's news.

The latest super natural foods is the wolfberry.

This deep-red, dried fruit is grown in China. It's about the size of a raisin and tastes like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry.

It's a small powderkeg of goodness, containing 500 times the amount of vitamin C by weight than oranges, with even more antioxidants than pomegranates, and it is the richest source of beta-carotene of all known foods.

Wow, how's that for a heavy hitter?

Super Natural Foods - Recent research has found that wolfberries, also called goji berries, significantly reduced blood glucose levels, bad cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood stream that lead to heart disease, diabetes and weight gain).

Meanwhile the journal International Immunopharmacology has reported that wolfberries had a significant effect on the size of cancer tumours in mice.

Further research in China has found the fruit to be effective in preventing the growth of leukaemia cells.

Chinese studies also suggest that wolfberries have anti-ageing properties.

Super Natural Foods - perhaps if the wolfberry isn't appealing, you could opt for maca.

This addition to the super natural foods group is a root vegetable, sort of like a sweet potato but sold in the West as a powder.

It's been dubbed "natural Viagra", with double-blind trials suggesting that it improves sexual desire, sperm count and sperm mobility.

Super Natural Foods - then there's hemp oil, one of the richest sources of essential fats.

Hemp oil plays a key role in our brains function, reproduction and food metabolism, also in ailments such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer and arthritis.

This oil is also a good source of GLA, which is believed to help in the treatment of pre-menstrual tension.

A recent study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, compared dietary hemp oil with topical treatments for dermatitis and significant improvements were noted in the group taking the hemp oil.

The problem with our super natural foods list is that the foods themselves are often expensive and can be hard to come by.

Super Natural Foods Update - The humble broccoli stalk no longer quite cuts it in the "new" super natural foods category.

It seems the more far-flung the source, the more we love it.

More importantly, there is no single authoritative definition of what makes foods "super" natural.

Ask your doctor which super natural foods will work best to combat heart disease, alleviate osteoarthritis or normalise the pH of your stomach or prevent cancer (claims all being made for the pomegranate) and chances are you'll get a blank stare.

We believe that foods become "super" if they are nutrient-dense and capable of combating serious disease and restoring our body.

Super Natural Foods - There are over 200 fruits and vegetables that have already been called superfoods or are awaiting the necessary publicity -- such as the strawberry which, it appears, is going to be this years blueberry.

Super Natural Foods - A true super natural food provides the most concentrated, usable form of nourishment to cells which govern our immune systems, our hormones, our weight and our ageing processes.

It's important we not rely on a single super natural food and expect it to achieve wonders.

Many can only be eaten or taken in small quantities.

They do provide extra help, but the most important path is to maintain a varied and healthy diet.

Super Natural Foods - The British Nutrition Foundation agrees.

While acknowledging the benefits of less common super natural foods such as bee pollen and sea vegetables.

The key message is that a wide variety of the less expensive fruits and vegetables is necessary to keeping us all healthy.

Super Natural Foods - What identifies super natural foods comes down to who you ask.

A nutritionist is more likely to opt for natural foods that are the most nutrient-packed and most easily digested.

A doctor might list those fruits and vegetables that have been subjected to the most scientific research. Among the recent being broccoli, which is rich in isothiocyanate and sulphoraphane.

These are substances that are believed to help the body fight cancer.

Any fruit and vegetable will help your health and the more the merrier.

Super Natural Foods - According to a recent study in the medical journal The Lancet, reports that there is strong evidence that we should eat more than five servings a day of these foods if we want to maximise our protection against heart disease and stroke.

Super Natural Foods - Our "Core 4" super natural foods.


What are they?

Wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella.

How do they help?

Well, they each contain chlorophyll, which is similar to the haemoglobin in our blood. They are also said to ease constipation.

Barley and wheatgrass are rich in superoxidase dismutase which some studies suggest have the same anti-inflammatory effects as aspirin.

Super Natural Foods - Dr Robert Gallacher, of the Morrison Hospital in Swansea, has researched natural ways to treat digestive problems such as IBS and diverticulitis.

He notes that chlorella, one of the richest sources of chlorophyll, B12 and zinc, helps to balance the pH of the stomach and to repair the gut lining.

Supergreens are often freeze-dried to preserve their enzymes and nutrients and sold as powders to be mixed with fruit juices. I mix mine with orange juice each morning, quite tasty actually.


What are they?

Marine algae, including fucoidan, dulse, kombu, nori and Arctic wrack.

How do they help?

Sea Vegetables are rich in minerals and protein, they also have as much beta-carotene as carrots. They're excellent sources of calcium and minerals for those who avoid dairy and meat.

They're rich in iodine and therefore vital for the thyroid gland, which produces hormones to govern metabolism and balance female hormones.


What are they?

Any seed, grain or nut that has been soaked in water and has sprouted -- including chickpeas, sunflower seeds, lentils and mung beans. Sprout mixes and kits are readily available in most super markets

How do they help?

When a seed germinates into a sprout, its' enzyme, protein, vitamin and mineral content increases and the seed becomes very easy to digest.

Super Natural Foods - Dr Barry Mack, of the University of Pennsylvania, found an average vitamin increase of more than 500 per cent when seeds have been sprouted.

Super Natural Foods - Dr Paul Talalay, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in New York, found that one broccoli sprout gives as much cancer protection as the full-grown plant.


What is it?

It's the powder collected by bees from plants and bound with enzymes to aid digestion in their pollen sacks. The powder is then collected from the bees' legs.

How does it helps?

Bee Pollen contains a full range of vitamins and enzymes, including 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, plus the antioxidants which help to prevent many degenerative diseases.

Super Natural Foods - French research suggests that its greatest benefit lies in helping with intestinal problems. But this was achieved only using frozen fresh pollen, rather than the standard dried pollen.

Super Natural Foods - Allergy UK reports anecdotal evidence that hay fever sufferers also benefit from bee pollen. Holistic practitioners suggest slowly building up to a teaspoon a day at the approach of the hay fever season.

When it comes to phytonutrients, experts say we've only scratched the surface. With each new study, watch for more antioxidant-rich foods to arrive at a store near you.

Super Natural Foods Update

Here are a few creating the most recent buzz;

Pomegranate: The newest research coming out is pointing to pomegranates as the next great super-licious food powerhouse, with three times more antioxidant power than green tea and red wine. It's sort of like dental floss for your arteries.

Acai (ah-sigh-ee): Touted to contain 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times more anthocyanins than red wine. This little berry from the Brazilian rainforest is poised to climb its way into our hearts and diets.

The acai berry contains vitamin A, vitamin C and omega fatty acids 6 and 9.

Gogi or goji (go-gee): A berry from Tibet, is high in antioxidants. Goji is described as a cross between a cherry and a cranberry. "There isn't a lot of science on it yet, but you know there isn't a bad berry on the planet."

Gold kiwifruit: It's an odd-looking, fuzzy fruit originally from New Zealand. It's become a mainstream supermarket item.

Rich in vitamin C, it has more vitamins and potassium than a banana and more fiber than a bowl of bran flakes.

Quinoa (keen-wah): With the whole-grain emphasis, watch for less familiar grains to make it into the mainstream.

A staple of the ancient Incas, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids.

Super Natural Foods Lingo

Phytonutrients: These natural compounds are found in plants. They appear to be potent disease fighters because of their antioxidant properties.

Antioxidants: Think of antioxidants as rust fighters. They protect the body from rust (oxidation) by those dreaded free radicals.

Oxidation is the enemy because it speeds up aging and leads to disease.

Carotenoids: Are found in the red, orange and yellow pigments of fruits and vegetables, carotenoids include beta-carotene, one of the best-known antioxidants, as well as lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin.

Polyphenols: A large group of antioxidants, including anthocycanins, catechins, ellagic acid, quercetin and other substances.

Super Natural Foods

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Banana Chips - Homemade With A Food Dehydrator


Banana chips are a great tasting, healthy snack that can be easily made with a food dehydrator. Banana chips' basic ingredients should consist of:

ripe or slightly overripe fruit if desired, lemon or lime juice

Dried Fruit

To make these chips: Peel the fruit and cut them crosswise into about 1/4 inch thick chips. If desired, before dehydrating, you can dip the sliced fruit into lemon or lime juice to help prevent browning post drying. If the bananas are pretreated with citrus juice, make sure they are well drained and dried before placing them in the food dehydrator. Dry the bananas at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 8 to 10 hours. The dried fruit should feel dry and leathery when done.

Homemade banana chips are a wholesome, healthy, 100% fruit snack that are easy and fun to make. They are very sweet and have an intense fruit flavor due to the food's reduced water content which intensifies the fruit's natural sugars.

In contrast to homemade chips, store bought dried bananas are typically deep fried in unhealthy oils, like coconut or palm oils. These oils contain high amounts of saturated fats. Further store bought chips can be covered with additional sugars or honey. In fact, nutritional guidelines list a 3 ounce serving of fried chips as containing 44% of the daily recommended amount of fat and 123% of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat.

To recap:

Homemade banana chips - 100% fruit, 100% natural ingredients and sugars

Store bought banana chips - Fruit, but also unhealthy saturated fats and added sugars

Go with the real thing - homemade dried bananas made with your food dehydrator.

Banana Chips - Homemade With A Food Dehydrator

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Edible Fruit Baskets Could Be the Best Solution to Your Gift Problems


Edible fruit baskets ordinarily include things like seasonal organically produced fruit; there are times when the fruit is accompanied by nuts, gourmet cheese as well as other scrumptious edibles.

I do think everyone knows someone who appears to have everything and trying to choose what things to give them for a present may be a nightmare. Edible fruit baskets are useful and make perfect gifts for many occasions. If choosing a gift for neighbour, elderly relative, co worker or friend turns out to be a hassle then edible fruit baskets often is the one solution. If you select over the internet the range of baskets really is endless and you are therefore sure to locate one to meet your requirements with no effort in the slightest.

Dried Fruit

If you're looking for a gift having for an elderly person then you should take notice regarding the size of the items in the edible fruit baskets. Even though a pleasant gesture, somebody residing by themselves may be unable to use up huge amounts of fresh fruit before it spoils. In such cases give some thought to candies, a combination of fruit together with nuts, dried fruit and jars of fruit preserve as well as other foodstuff with a longer shelf life. You should know of any existing allergic reaction the individual has or foodstuff that they might find hard to eat. One other reason to bear in mind buying baskets for mature people is that they may very well have received all of the gifts they want. If they have downsized their housing after the children left home space is going to be in short supply.

Edible fruit baskets are a powerhouse of minerals and vitamins as well as a superb method of obtaining water, energy, fibre and sugar, that one's body needs in abundance. Combine that with the absence of bad cholesterol and you have a food group that is definitely hard to beat in nutritional value including health advantages. For these reasons edible fruit baskets are a great gift idea for students. Many students don't take enough time to eat properly with part time jobs as well as with College or University studies. Without needing to prepare anything at all before eating it from an edible fruit baskets the probabilities are your gift are likely to be well appreciated. It is possible to show them your love and support and gain peace of mind in the knowledge they're having something decent to eat.

It is always easy to enclose a monetary gift inside the card to your friend or relative that you are not preparing to see over Christmas. An even more personal touch could possibly be an edible fruit basket filled with all of their most-loved foods, sent to their door. Just consider if the individual would absolutely need the cash first.

Give some thought to giving baskets which use a creative container the recipient is able to use after the contents have been consumed.

Edible fruit baskets are amongst the oldest traditional gifts and are generally popular at any time. If you decide to order on the web it can save you a tremendous amount of stress and hassle and give you additional time to spend on alternative activities - Like enjoying yourself.

Edible Fruit Baskets Could Be the Best Solution to Your Gift Problems

Jayne Waldorf has been an internet marketer for over three years. She lives in England with her husband and has two grown up sons. Her website provides year round gifts.

For more information and lovely Edible fruit baskets visit Jayne's Waldorf Christmas website today.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fruit Cake


Are you the fruit cake in your family? Before you raise your eyebrow, I would suggest you read on to know what I mean.

The fruit cake has tantalized the world for centuries. When you take a lip smacking bite, you will experience the taste of culture and valued traditions. The fruit cake which I would love to offer you will be an ideal one, with a high content of fruits and nuts in proportion to the batter. You will taste the rich content of French cherries, almonds, California nuts, pineapple, orange peel and lemon. To make it more mouthwatering how about a dash of brand and liquor added to it...hmmm, expensive and irresistible, isn't it?

Dried Fruit

If you want to go for a stronger aroma and sharper flavor, then relish the darker version of the fruit cake. The dark fruit cake contains prunes, dates, cherries, walnuts, brown sugar and molasses.

If you love the subtle taste, then you can go for the light fruit cake. The delicate taste is attributed to the presence of granulated sugar, golden raisins, pineapple, apricots and light corn syrup.

When you go for your treks and campaigns, tuck in a pack of fruit cakes. Your friends will love you for this. The best thing about the fruit cake is that it has a tendency to last for months and still retain its intrinsic flavor. You will be pleased to know that the fruit cake has a tendency to freeze very well. However it is ideal to have a time gap of a month before freezing.

Enough of preaching about it. Now let me treat you with a fruit cake.

Whoever said 'take your own sweet time' must have said it with reference to the fruit cake. First I will prepare the nuts and fruits. Then I will pour the liquor to be used over them. Let me keep the mixture well covered for two or three days. Sorry to keep you waiting, but then if you want it sweet and nice; you will have to kill time. Okay then, I will prepare the batter and bake your cake. I need to remember that the fruit cake should be baked at a low temperature. I will coat the pan with waxed paper so that the sides of the cake do not get burned. You see the fruit cake involves long baking time. When I am done, you can take the cake tester and insert it in the center of the cake. If you see that it is moist and not doughy, then you are ready to pop a piece into your mouth.

You may think of the fruit cake as a typical Christmas dish. But as I told you before, the fruit cake has a centuries old tradition behind it. Did you know that during the 13th century, dried fruit began to arrive to England from Portugal and the east Mediterranean? During the later half of 1700s, England distributed fruit cake slices to women who sang Christmas carols. The fruit cakes were frequently used in celebrations from the turn of the 18th century. It remains a custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of dark fruitcake under their pillow at night so they could dream of the person they will marry.

If you want to know the oldest fruit cake company in the United States, then I would suggest you visit the Collin Street Bakery, Corsicana, Texas. It was set up in the year 1896. So much has been the impact of the fruit cake through out the years, that the oldest family in the household is called the fruit cake.

So now you decide, who is the lovable and respected fruit cake in your home?

Fruit Cake

Nina Romanov

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dried Fruits To Reduce Bone Loss And Cardiovascular Disease


Dried fruits are among the most powerful of the high potassium foods. Foods high in potassium reduce bone loss, helping to protect against osteoporosis. They also reduce blood pressure, helping prevent stroke and heart attack. Many fruits have a good amount of potassium in them. When they are dried, the potassium becomes concentrated, giving you twice as much potassium in the same weight of food.

How the fruit is dried is important. Some fruits sold as "dried fruit" are infused with sweetener, and some are candied. The best dried fruits are dried the traditional or conventional way by drying them in the sun or in a dehydrator. Another good way that preserves the potassium and does not disturb the sugar, micronutrient and macronutrient contents is freeze drying. The fruit is frozen and then placed in a vacuum. As the fruit is heated, the water is extracted while the fruit is still frozen.

Dried Fruit

The fruits that are treated in these ways are the ones that have been available for millenia as dried fruit - raisins, dates, figs, prunes and apricots. Some that are recent additions to the dried fruit group are infused with sucrose syrup or are candied, and will have a much higher sugar content. Check the sugar content of this type of "dried fruit" to avoid excessive sugar. Frequently, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and cherries have been infused with sucrose, and pineapple is frequently candied.

Although fruits generally have a fair amount of sugar, the traditionally dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index. They range from 29 for dried plums and apples to 62 for dates. This slower absorption of the sugar is related to the sugar being in a more bound form than present in a processed food.

Much of the sugar is bound within fiber in the fruit. When the fiber is soluble, it helps retard atherosclerosis. When the fiber is insoluble, it helps speed the food through the intestines, reducing the accumulation of digestive byproducts.

Being in such a concentrated form, the vitamins and phytochemicals that fight free radicals are plentiful. These are additional weapons against the cardiovascular disease and cancer that is more uncommon in populations eating lots of fruit and vegetables. To find a table of dried fruits and their potassium and macronutrient content, visit

Dried Fruits To Reduce Bone Loss And Cardiovascular Disease

Allen Potas is a physician with a decades long interest in nutrition for health and well-being.

high potassium foods

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Foods For Hiking, Camping, Hunting and Other Outdoor Activities


Hikers, campers, canoers, kayakers, cyclists, hunters or other outdoors men and women, that are on extended trips or outings, have two basic food requirements: 1) to be able to easily transport food and 2) to replace spent energy, hopefully with satisfying and tasty foods. Dehydrated meats or jerky and dried fruits and dried vegetables can provide the protein, carbohydrates and vitamins needed by active sportspeople on the go. Dehydrated food is lightweight and calorie dense and thus meets the two basic food needs of outdoors and sports people.

Use a food dehydrator to make your own dehydrated food at home. A food dehydrator is specifically designed to remove significant amounts of water from food. The water content of food is typically very high, usually between 80% to 95% for various fruits and vegetables and 50% to 75% for different meats. Removing the moisture from food inhibits various bacteria from growing and spoiling it while also reducing the weight of the dehydrated food. Thus, food dehydrators are ideal tools for the preservation and storage of food and an ideal tool for making lightweight, shelf stable, easily transportable food.

Dried Fruit

Great dehydrated food that is easy to transport and provides great tasting, nutritious meals include:

- Dried fruit like apples, apricots, bananas and berries. Dried fruit is great for replacing energy and providing nutrient dense food. Removing a fruit's water also decreases the its volume, thus, once dried, the fruit's nutrient, calorie, and sugar content becomes more concentrated per each serving.

- Fruit leather made from apples, applesauce, bananas, pears, plums and or strawberries. Homemade fruit leather is naturally delicious and does not contain the extra sugars or preservatives that many store bought varieties do.

- Dried vegetables and veggie chips made from eggplant, sweet potato or zucchini.

- Beef jerky or other types of jerky. Jerky is a great choice for excellent protein and caloric intake.

- Trail mix. Make homemade trail mix with dried fruits and nuts and avoid the unhealthy additives, extra non-natural sugars and saturated fats that can be in store bought trail mix.

The Best Foods For Hiking, Camping, Hunting and Other Outdoor Activities

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cheesy Appetizers - Baked Brie Appetizer


So, Guests are coming and you want to bake some cheese. This is a good choice because most of your guests will like cheese. Serving baked Brie as an Appetizer is more about learning the simple technique than providing a standard recipe, although I will. If you learn how to simply bake brie, then you can take that skill, add to it a little love and imagination, and you could write a cookbook just on the variations of this modern classic.

Baking Brie involves:

Dried Fruit

Wrapping the Brie in a dough Baking at about 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the type of dough you use. Cooling for about ten minutes Serve with slices of toasted bread, slices of french bread or baguette,or crackers.

And you thought this would be tough. Now, on to variations.

The first variation and probably the most often served is BAKED BRIE WITH FRUIT AND NUTS. Here is how to make it.

First roll out your dough. Puff pastry is a good choice, as is a canned crescent roll product. You don't need to be too concerned with the shape of your dough at this point, only that it is large enough to completely cover the round of Brie that you will be baking in it.

Place your round of Brie, skin on, in the center of the pastry dough. You can now top the round with almost any fresh, frozen, canned,or jellied fruit. My mom loved apricot jam with the addition of a few dried apricots. I like raspberries so when available I use them fresh, or I use a raspberry whole berry jam. Be generous.

Now bring up the sides of your dough to cover your cheese and topping. You can fold the edges over and make a neat little package, but I like to gather the corners, pinching them together at the center, and letting the tails stick up. This will brown nicely if brushed with an egg wash and makes a delightful presentation if further garnished with a little of the fruit and some slivered almonds or other nut.

I like to use Filo dough because of the tender flaky crust it makes. Follow the same procedure except you must first prepare the crust. Be sure to keep the sheets of cough you aren't actually working with covered with a moist cloth when working. It will dry out within minutes. Lay out a sheet of Filo dough on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Brush it with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top and brush it with butter. Repeat this until you have built up several layers of dough. The more layers, the flakier it will be. When you have enough layers to suit you, you are ready to fill the dough with your brie and what-ever options you choose. Here are some more ideas for optional toppings. I have made all of these and they are all delicious.


Sprinkle every other sheet of Filo dough with about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sugar mix. Cut the round of brie in 1/2, like you would a cake layer. Lay half on the prepared dough. Spoon a couple of teaspoons of apple pie filling over the cheese. Place the other half of the cheese on top and add more pie filling. Pull the dough up and gather around the wheel of cheeses. You want the corners to flair out at the top, sort of like a gift basket wrapper. Usually a gentle twist will hold it together, but you could always tie it loosely with kitchen twine, removing it just before serving. Bake at 350 degrees 15 - 20 minutes or until filo crust is golden brown. Cool ten minutes. sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mix over the top just before serving.

BRANDIED CHERRY BRIE - My mom's all time favorite. (Must be the brandy)

One hour before you are ready to bake your brie, place 1/2 cup of dried cherries in a small pot. Add 1 cup brandy. Heat slowly until the liquid just begins to boil. You do not want a hard boil, just a low simmering boil. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from heat and let cool. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Now prepare your dough. Crescent roll pastry is a good choice for this one as it is a little thicker and will hold more of the juices in. Layer your cheese with the drained cherries. Wrap as normal. Bake at 350 degrees until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. While it is cooking, return the liquid from the cherries to the pot, adding water to make 1/2 cup. Using a whisk, stir in 1/2 teaspoon corn starch. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Turn off the heat. Let cool slightly but it should be served warm. I put it in a small bowl on the platter with the brie and sliced baguette. Include a small spoon and your guests can dribble the warm, cherry gravy,over the brie.

You can use almost any dried fruit with this method, but you may want to change your liquor preferences.


You can also choose to serve your brie with a meat rather than fruit. Try wrapping the wheel with prosciutto.

You can also use slices of pepperoni, honey ham, salami, roast beef. Whichever meat you choose usually will be a nice mix. I use a little horseradish with the roast beef. I just spread the top of the cheese and then put the meat on. Try layering a couple of thin slices of smoked salmon a teaspoon of capers, and a few rings of raw onion for an unusual twist.

Hope you try some of these. They are sure to be the hit of your next gathering.

Cheesy Appetizers - Baked Brie Appetizer

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Home Made Trail Mix


Many people struggle with knowing how to eat healthy on the go. A long trip out or a late night turns into a run for fast food, a processed grocery store granola bar, or crackers. In many cases this is because it can be difficult to pack healthy foods that are easy to make and still travel well. One excellent and versatile option for food that travels well is trail mix. Trail mix that you make yourself can be affordable, healthy, and portable.

When many people think of trail mix they think of small premixed packages of peanuts and raisins. However, these premixed packets are very expensive. Instead, find a bulk food store and create your own mix. Start with some nuts that you like. These can be raw almonds, pistachios, cashews, or even peanuts. Try to stay away from nuts that are salted, dry roasted, or coated with sweet or salty flavorings. These coatings will add calories and potential chemicals to your mixture. Once you have your nuts, add some dried fruit to your mix. Try dried apple rings, banana chips, raisins, or even dried apricots. Dried fruit adds a sweet flavor to it without the calories of chocolate or candy. Add in some sunflower seeds, dried coconut flakes, or even some organic dark chocolate chips.

Dried Fruit

If you are purchasing in bulk, buy a small amount of each of your trail mix ingredients. When you get home, mix your ingredients together and package it in small lidded containers or Ziploc bags. These bags will equal one to two serving sizes of trail mix. This allows you to simply grab a container of it whenever you need a quick snack.

A snack mix like this trail mix will give you an on the go snack with enough protein, healthy fat, and flavor to keep you from resorting to an unhealthy fast food meal or processed snack. If you cannot purchase your ingredients from a bulk food store you can always buy a large jar of plain peanuts, a bag of raisins, and some dried fruit and make a simple trail mix without paying the premium price for the prepackaged mixture.

Home Made Trail Mix

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Pie for All Seasons - Tips for Preparing the Fillings for Your Pies


Most of us will admit to a favorite type of pie. I love a pecan pie or a tart cherry pie still warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. We can all also recall a time when we sat down to a delicious looking pie that had a tough or soggy crust, or the filling was under done, over done, or perhaps even contained a seed or pit of shell. Perhaps you have had a meat pie with bones! It can certainly ruin the enjoyment in a hurry. Here are some general tips to help you be sure the filling is the best it can be.

If currants are used in pies, you should carefully pick over and wash in several cool water baths, dry in a towel and dredge with flour before they are suitable for use. Today you can get currants that are already prepared for you, but if you can find fresh currants, well, all the better. The reason we dredge them in flour first is two-fold. First, the flour helps thicken the juices of the pie, and second, it helps suspend the currants within the pie so they don't all sink to the bottom.

Dried Fruit

Raisins, and all dried fruits for pies and cakes, may need to be seeded or stoned and dredged with flour before using.You may want to 'plump' some dried fruit. You can do this by soaking them in a hot liquid for 15 minutes or so. some recipes may call for you to boil dried fruit first. For example, if you want to use dried apple for an apple pie, simmer the slices in apple juice or cider for about 30 minutes before draining and using them in the filling. They will make a more tender pie.

Fresh almonds should be blanched by pouring boiling water over them and then slipping the skin off with the fingers. In crushing them, always add a little rose or orange-water, with fine sugar, to prevent their becoming oily. You could also use a few drops of lemon juice from a fresh lemon provided the flavor does not clash with your pie filling. Many fillings however, include lemon juice to prevent the fruit from turning brown.

Other nuts such as pecans or walnuts, release the flavors if they are roasted a bit before using them. The become sweeter and more tender. Place the nuts in a single layer on an un-greased baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for about 10-15 minutes. You do not want them to get browned, just warmed through.

When making custard pies, allow cooked custard to cool slightly before filling the pie. Then chill in the refrigerator,not the freezer. Cream pies may be made today using packaged mixes, a great convenience, but I find them somewhat lacking. Be sure to use the freshest ingredients, medium-sized eggs, and follow your recipe for outstanding results.

Great care is required in heating an oven for baking pastry. If you can hold your hand in the heated oven while you count twenty, the oven has just the proper temperature and it should be kept at this temperature as long as the pastry is in; this heat will bake to a light brown and will give the pastry a fresh and flaky appearance. If you suffer the heat to abate, the under crust will become heavy and clammy and the upper crust will fall in. While this advice predates today's ovens, it still holds true. You should follow your recipe or use about 350° for a moderate and 450° for a hot oven. If you can get an oven thermometer, use it. Even though the little dial says one thing, doesn't mean the element inside is listening. Most ovens are off by several degrees. I had an oven once that was off by 50 degrees, so when I thought I was baking cookies at 350 degrees, it was actually closer to 400 and I burned several batches before figuring it out.

Filling the Crust

Pie crust can be kept up to a week, or frozen and used within 6 months, but it is best if used within about 2 days.I usually make up several batches of crust and freeze. This way I can make a fresh pie with little effort any time I am in the mood.

In baking custard, pumpkin or squash pies,to prevent the mixture from being absorbed by the pastry, you will first partly bake the pastry before adding the filling, and when stewed fruit is used the filling should be perfectly cool when put in, or it will make the bottom crust soggy. Remember that when pre-baking pastry you should either prick the bottom, or line it with foil and fill with beans to keep the crust from puffing up too much.

After making the crust, take a portion of it, roll it out and fit it to a buttered pie-plate by cutting it off evenly around the edge; gather up the scraps left from cutting and make into another sheet for the top crust; roll it a little thinner than the under crust; lap one-half over the other and cut three or four slits about a quarter of an inch from the folded edge (this prevents the steam from escaping through the rim of the pie, and causing the juices to run out from the edges).

Now fill your pie-plate with your prepared filling, wet the top edge of the rim, lay the upper crust across the centre of the pie, turn back the half that is lapped over, seal the two edges together by slightly pressing down with your thumb, then notch evenly and regularly with a fork, dipping occasionally in flour to prevent sticking. Bake in a rather quick oven a light brown, and until the filling boils up through the slits in the upper crust.

To prevent the juice soaking through into the crust, making it soggy brush the bottom crust with the white of an egg, just before you put in the pie mixture. If the top of the pie is brushed over with the egg, it gives it a beautiful glaze.

Of course you don't have to stick to pastry crusts for pie. You can make a crumb crust by crumbling cookies, adding a little melted butter and sugar and pressing into a pan. These types of crusts are best used with chilled pies, such as a chocolate cream pie where a pudding like mixture is poured into the pie and the pie is chilled to set. These are fast and easy if you use a packaged instant pudding mix, and almost as fast if you make the pudding from scratch. But that is another article.

If you keep these tips in mind when making your pie, you will be able to achieve the results you want. Pie is making a resurgence lately as one of our favorite desserts. Master the pie and you will tame the family.

A Pie for All Seasons - Tips for Preparing the Fillings for Your Pies

I am Barbara Cagle and I have been working and playing online since 1989. I am a certified teacher and as such I find that people are constantly asking me how to do ____. I started in 2001 and it is now my internet portal where you can access information on a variety of subjects to make your life just a little bit easier.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Want A To Give A Refreshing Gift? Send A Fruit Basket


Food baskets are becoming popular gifts to give and receive and there is nothing more uplifting and energizing than fruit basket gifts. When you send a fruit basket you send a great tasting and refreshing gift that not only tastes good but, is also healthy. In addition, a fruit gift basket come in a variety of styles, sizes, and looks that makes each gift unique and special.

Limitless Choices

Dried Fruit

You would be amazed at the limitless choices of baskets available for you to send. You can get specialized fruit baskets that may only have a variety of different types of apples or pears. You can also get baskets that contain a variety of fruits, including exotic and tropical fruits to allow the receiver to have a special experience. There are also berry baskets, fruit flower baskets, and even dried fruit gift baskets to choice from. You can also get fruit baskets in combination with other foods such as fruit and nut baskets, fruit and cheese baskets, and other combinations as well.

Fruit Baskets Are A Great Choice For Those Watching Their Health

Fruit are the ideal choice for anyone watching their health. Low in salt, sugar, and fat free and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fruit meet every dietary need and helps to improve the immune system as well. So what could be better than giving a gift of health to those you love and appreciate. You can send a homemade gift basket easily or you can choose to use one of the many companies who now make up fruit gifts and even ship them right to the receivers' door. Imagine their surprise when they open their door to find a beautiful gift of fruit awaiting them.

There are a variety of places where you can purchase fruit basket gifts. Many times especially at holidays, your local grocer may carry a limited supply of such baskets. You can also shop at specialty shops or online for great deals on both the baskets themselves and shipping. Be sure to check with the company that makes the basket to ensure that they can deliver to the places you want to send a fruit surprise. Also keep in mind while some fruits can be refrigerated to help preserve them during the shipping and delivering process other types of fruit and food baskets may not be easy to send over a long distance.

In cases of more delicate fruits such as berries and fruit flower baskets choosing to send fruit gift baskets from close to the delivery location will make it possible for you to give these special fruit gifts. Be sure and ask the company representative what they would recommend when ordering fruit gift baskets to be delivered.

When sending a food gift basket whether for a holiday, a special occasion or for no reason at all there is no better food gift than fruit. Great tasting, healthy, and liked by almost everyone fruit offers a gift that is naturally sweet and healthy and can be enjoyed by young and old alike. When you send fruit baskets you are sending gifts that says "I care" in best tasting way possible.

Want A To Give A Refreshing Gift? Send A Fruit Basket

For more information on fruit basket gifts or to learn more about fruit basket delivery please visit the website. You have full permission to reprint this article provided this box is kept unchanged.

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Will The Acai Berry Help Me Lose Weight?


The acai berry is a world-renowned natural weight loss supplement. Health professionals and weight loss experts agree that the Berry is a fantastic way to help the body lose weight and cleanse the body from harmful toxins. Because the Berry has such a low yield, the seed makes up 90% of the fruit, it is only possible to buy freeze-dried fruit in the United States of America and Canada. The fruit of the Berry degrades very quickly once it has been picked, so freeze-drying at source is a great way to not lose any of Berry's fantastic nutritional qualities. The acai fruit is found only in the Amazon rainforest.

Because of the relative scarcity of the fruit, you may only be able to buy a certain quantity at any one time from a reputable source. Over the last few years the fruit has become a very popular weight loss supplement and there are many companies that now offer it online. If you decide to purchase acai Berry on the Internet, you should be aware that there are quite a few disreputable suppliers. It is worth taking a bit of time to find a reliable source. Be very aware of repeat credit card charges. You should also look by the purest acai Berry that you can. Make sure it has been freeze-dried at source.

Dried Fruit

It should also be noted that although acai is very helpful in promoting weight loss, this on its own will not be enough. In fact no supplement will be enough. To lose weight you need to diet sensibly and take regular exercise. Without changing your lifestyle and eating habits, there is no supplement available that can help you lose weight.

If you take the supplement, exercise regularly, eat healthily and get regular sleep, there is no reason why you should not lose weight relatively quickly. The key is to strike the exact right balance.

Although the acai berry is not a magic formula, it is certainly worth including as part of your weight loss program. As well as having great weight loss properties, the fruit also contains fantastic antioxidants that will help your body to restore itself and rid itself of harmful toxins.

A great source for 100% pure acai Berry can be found at the link below along with some additional information about the fruits fantastic properties and nutritional qualities.

Will The Acai Berry Help Me Lose Weight?

Paul White

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tips on Cake Baking


A Great Cake is Moist and Flavorful!

1. Choose recipe and read thoroughly. If there are any terms you are unfamiliar with, check them out on the Internet.

Dried Fruit

2. Use fresh ingredients

3. Bring eggs and butter to room temperature

4. Preheat oven-make sure rack is close to center (with exception of Angel Food cakes which need the rack at lowest position).

5. Be sure to use the correct cake pans. Visualize your decoration with frosting, choose cakes accordingly. Most popular birthday cakes are sheet cakes because you can write a lot of words on them. Second most popular is two round pans because cake is so much more tasty with frosting between layers. Cake pans can be round, square, sheet, tube, Bundt or cupcakes. Your recipe may suggest the best cake pans to use.

6. Grease the pans with shortening. Take a small sheet of waxed paper and wrap it around your index and middle finger. Dig into the shortening and apply same to the cake pan. You need quite a bit of shortening-make it look like white layer of cold cream on your face. Be sure to get right into the edges so the cake won't stick. [DO NOT GREASE OR FLOUR ANGEL FOOD CAKE PANS]

7. Flour the pans. Take about 1/4 cup of flour and sprinkle it over the shortening. Pick up the pan and hit the sides so the flour will distribute equally. You want the flour to adhere to the shortening, but you don't want mounds of flour. Toss the excess in the sink. Repeat with additional pans.

8. Use paper liners when making cupcakes as this provides ease in decorating and clean-up.

9. Gather and measure all ingredients before you start mixing. Use medium bowl for flour and small bowls or containers for salt, baking soda, extracts etc.

10. Dry ingredients are measured with dry measuring cups and spoons. Dry measuring cups look like small bowls and there is one for each amount. (ie. ½ cup). When you measure dry ingredients, overfill the cup while holding it over your container. Then run a knife over the top of the cup to level the ingredient with the absolute top rim of the dry measuring cup. Use this same technique with measuring spoons when you are measuring dry ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, salt.

a. An exception to the dry measure technique is when you are measuring brown sugar. You must compact the brown sugar in the dry measuring cup by mashing it with your hand into the bottom of the dry measuring cup. Fill it to the top and scrape off excess with a knife.

11. Only liquid ingredients are measured in glass measuring cups. Glass measuring cups have lines drawn to designate the amount (ie. 1/3 cup, 1 cup, 2 cups, etc.). You measure small amounts of liquids (ie. Vanilla extract) with measuring spoons. They should be filled to the rim. It's a good idea to have at least two sets of measuring spoons, one for dry (salt, baking soda) and one set for liquid.

12. When measuring margarine or butter use the measuring guide located on the stick wrapper and cut evenly. Then let it come to room temperature. If you are using margarine or butter from a tub, it's a good idea to place a small piece of saran wrap inside the measuring cup and then spoon the butter (or shortening) into the cup, this makes for easy clean-up.

13. For extra moist cakes (and muffins), add 1 Tablespoon of sour cream to your batter.

14. Follow your recipe for the order in which to mix your ingredients. Very few recipes say to dump all ingredients in at once. Often, you need to beat in eggs one at a time on low speed.

15. Use an electric mixer, if at all possible. It is much better at mixing your ingredients than you can do by hand. Mixing by hand in a large mixing bowl is possible, but it takes at least 300 beats to properly mix a cake. When you can see no flour or dry ingredient, your cake batter is properly mixed. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the batter from the sides of the mixing bowl. An electric mixer will do your work in two to three minutes.

16. Use a sturdy wooden spoon for adding in ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit. Take a few tablespoons of flour and mix with the dried fruit. This will prevent dried fruit from sticking together.

17. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans. Use a rubber spatula to scrape as much of the batter from the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and beaters as possible. Smooth out the batter so that it reaches the sides of the prepared cake pans.

a. If using two pans, try to get the batter evenly distributed between the two pans. Some cooks use a measuring cup to evenly distribute between the two pans, but that takes time. You do need the two pans to have approximately the same amount of batter so that they will rise and cook the same in the same oven.

18. Carefully, put cake pans in the pre-heated oven.

19. Some ovens require you to change from pre-heat setting to bake setting. If this is required, please do so. Preheat uses both the top and bottom heat elements and baking only uses the bottom. So if you don't want to scorch the top of your cake, be sure to set the oven on BAKE.

20. Set a timer. You can set it 5 minutes less than the recipe calls for. Peaking that late in the process will not make the cake fall.

21. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR, until the timer goes off. If you open an oven door while a cake is rising, the cold air from the kitchen will rush in and cause the cake to collapse.

22. Cake is ready when the sides have gently separated from the sides of the pan. Best test is to stick a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, cake is ready. If there is batter stuck to the toothpick, return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Test until toothpick comes out clean. [Pull the rack with the cake pans halfway out of the oven, then test. ]

23. When cakes are ready, remove from oven and place on cooling racks on kitchen counter. Set timer for 10 minutes. Do not disturb the cakes.

24. After 10 minutes, run a butter knife around the edge of the pan (between the pan and cake) to ensure the cake has loosened sufficiently around the edges. Place a cooling rack over the cake with one hand and gently turn the cake over with the other. If you have used enough shortening, your cake pans will lift off the cake layer easily. If not, you may have to gently shake the pans to separate them from the cake. Try not to tear the cake at this point or you will be covering your mistake with frosting.

25. Cool THOROUGHLY before frosting. When you place the palm of your hand on the cake, and it feels cool, you are ready to decorate. It may take 30 minutes to cool.

High-Altitude Adjustments

* For each cup of flour, increase by 1 tablespoon. Add an additional egg to rich cakes to prevent them from falling.

* For each teaspoon of baking powder or baking soda, decrease by 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon.

* For each cup of fat, decrease by 1-2 tablespoons.

* For each cup of sugar, decrease by 1-2 tablespoons.

* For each cup of liquid, increase by 2-4 tablespooons.

* Try increasing baking temperature 15-25 degrees to "set" the batter.

Experiment with different combinations. All adjustments may not be necessary.

Tips on Cake Baking

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