An April Fool’s Story

March 27th, 2015

pregnant-193839_640The set-up: My wife has a fraternal twin brother, of this I am fairly certain (when you get to this story’s conclusion you’ll understand why I use the word “fairly”). Several years ago, as we were having a joyous time attempting to conceive our first child (maybe that was just me having the joyous time), I wondered aloud if twins were common in her family as I had just read an article on genetics and twin…production? (for lack of a better word). I then vocalized my anxiety about raising a child…

The application: Unbeknownst to me, my innocuous query elicited a chain of events in my wife’s mind that was astounding in its nefarious complexity. She claimed that my question spurred her to conduct some web-based ancestral research to determine the answer and after about two weeks of research, produced documentation to the effect that her family had generated (for lack of a better word), 28 sets of twins since the mid-1800s. My reply?…Holy sh*t! Two days later, she informed me that one of our joyous attempts was successful. We were pregnant…

As I’m sure you’ve deduced, my first reactionary thought was, “A BOGO, really, a buy one, get one free deal? I’m not ready for that, am I?” My wife, sensing my trepidation, soothed me with claims that the odds favored a singlet. It didn’t work. I always thought it was the mother who initiated the “nesting” procedures, that it was a maternal, not a paternal instinct. In this instance, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I immediately began pricing cribs, diapers, diaper genies, and…college tuition.

shocked2The big day finally arrived. No, not the delivery day, the ultrasound. For some reason, my wife scheduled it the same day I arrived home from an unavoidable business trip and claimed it couldn’t be rescheduled. I would miss the appointment. My wife feigned indifference as her mother would be accompanying her and the ultrasound tech was a close friend of hers.

Needless to say, I wasn’t as focused on “thinking outside the box” and “hitting the ground running” as I should have been during my meetings. To make matters worse, I kept going straight to voice-mail when I called my wife with the new kangaroo pouch. When I arrived home, my wife stated that the ultrasound had gone well and that we were NOT, in fact having twins. Thank God, crisis avoided…we were having triplets…shut the front door! She then proceeded to play the ultrasound video for me, and there they were, like three peas in a warm, amniotic fluid-filled pod.

Her mother was ecstatic. My wife was ecstatic. Her ultrasound tech BFF was ecstatic. I was stupefied. I then sat down and resigned myself to a life of eternal diaper changing, chauffeuring and poverty.

april-foolAfter I pulled my head out of my hands, I looked at my loving wife and mother-in-law and there they stood, arms around each other’s shoulders, each with snarky grins on their faces. They were reveling in my incredulity. Those female versions of man’s best friend! “April Fools” they then exclaimed in unison (it was March 31st, BTW). I then peed my pants in unrestrained relief.

The realities: My wife does have a fraternal twin. She has no earthly idea how many sets of twins there are in her family. She conducted no ancestral research. She falsified all the ancestral documents she showed me. She knew I was fearful of raising one child, let alone two…or three. She intentionally scheduled the ultrasound appointment the same day I arrived home. The ultrasound tech and, obviously, her mother were in on it. The tech provided an actual ultrasound video of triplets. My wife wanted to keep the joke going, but her mother talked her out of it. I still dearly love my wife.

What Will Food Be Like in 100 Years?

March 20th, 2015

jetsonWhile it’s difficult to predict what will happen tomorrow, let’s not allow that to preclude us from speculating on what will become of food as we move toward the year 2100 and beyond. And futurists are predicting neither a Jetsons-like meal in a pill, nor the mass consumption of Soylent Green (don’t know or remember The Jetsons or Soylent Green?…Google them).

There are two main scenarios that currently exist for our future, optimistic and pessimistic and they are based on the effects of climate change and the growth of the global population. Most think-tanks have the global population growing from its current level of 7.1 billion to 10-11 billion by the start of the 21st century barring a global conflagration, pandemic or extinction event due to severe climate change (think happy thoughts).

Since nobody likes a Debbie Downer, let’s focus on the optimistic models. The other one’s just too depressing to contemplate. What follows are the three most common predictions made by futurists who study, well…the future. They are in no way guaranteed to occur.

  1. We will eat less meat. Especially beef, due to the fact that it is one of the most inefficient methods of calorie production. It takes an average of 13 pounds of grain, fed to cattle, to produce a single pound of beef. We will no longer be able to devote that kind of time, space and energy to beef production. That time, space and energy will be devoted to growing high-yield, high-calorie, and high-protein crops for humans. Could this lead to less McDonald’s and Burger Kings dotting our landscapes? One can only hope.
  1. garden-hiriseA paradigm shift in agriculture. How we grow food will fundamentally change as current crop production must increase by 103% to feed 10 billion people. Some envision urban-based, vertical agriculture in which crops are grown in massive glass skyscrapers as farmland expands upward rather than outward. Others predict exponential growth in self-sufficient agriculture in which crops are grown at home, on campus, or within local communities. In other words, food will become more localized and decentralized. Still others see the growth of both hydroponic and aquaponic agriculture. The former involves soilless crop production with the plants feeding from a nutrient-rich, liquid solution and the latter involves crops and fish living in a symbiotic relationship where the fish fertilize the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. Lots to think about, no?
  1. We consume the planet’s most abundant, edible lifeform. Yes folks, we begin to eat more insects for nutrition, not because we lost a bet. Many cultures already consume cricket flour, yellow jacket larvae and various kinds of beetles not named Paul or Ringo. Biologists predict, at any moment, there are over 10 quintillion insects just waiting to be eaten on the globe. Why not oblige them?

English scholar, Thomas Malthus, predicted at the turn of the 18th century that, eventually, global population would be curtailed by the spread of famine and disease associated with a more humans than the earth could sustain. Let’s hope that the same humans find a solution before that occurs.

In the meantime, fill up on delicious meals from MagicKitchen.com, and let those images feel from your head.

chicken-cordon_bleu

Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo for two

Beef Pot Roast

A sprig of basil adds taste and beauty<

Heat Things Up for National Frozen Food Month

March 13th, 2015

1940s“Honey, can you get some frozen vegetables from the ice box?” If you were trying to make something for dinner before 1945, you might have asked this question. That’s because there was no such thing as an electric freezer before then. If you wanted to keep food frozen, you had to put it in an ice box surrounded by ice and insulation which was often kept underground in basements and cellars.

Fortunately, electric freezers are standard in most households these days. When you stop and think about all the healthy foods, like MagicKitchen.com meals, and delicious desserts you can store in your freezer just a door-handle away, it’s a game changer. And it’s a good reason to celebrate National Frozen Food Month.

sub-zeroWho invented the electric freezer?

A guy named Westye Bakke went to work for the refrigerator company Frigidaire in 1926 as a salesman. It was a good learning experience for the experienced entrepreneur, who previously operated a motorcycle business with his brother. And it got him thinking about how cool it would be to have an electric freezer. So he turned in his notice at Frigidaire, developed a working electric freezer, and started filling freezer orders for the company he named SubZero. It was so successful, popular appliance manufacturers soon copied his idea and began marketing their own electric freezers.

Stock up on frozen food

Kids will tell you the best thing about having a freezer is a place to store ice cream, frozen gelatin squares, and fruit-flavored ice pops. But if you’re the one in charge of making meals, you know the freezer is your lifeline to food storage and easy-to-prepare frozen meals.

If cooking in the kitchen, trying to decide what to eat, or making your way through the grocery store to find all the ingredients in a recipe makes you crazy, give yourself a break and stock up on frozen meals.

Meal Delivery

Stuffed Chicken ana Luisa

Fill your freezer with frozen meals made from fresh ingredients

At MagicKitchen.com, our professional chefs have developed hundreds of health and tasty meals from fresh ingredients, flash frozen them, and packaged them to make it easy to prepare in the microwave. We’ve even created meal plans to meet the needs of picky eaters, and just about anyone with specific dietary needs.

In fact, our line of HomeStyle Healthy Meals includes customized entrees, side dishes and desserts for the following special diets: diabetic, dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carbohydrate, low-cholesterol, low-fat, low-sodium, vegetarian, and even a WeightWatchers PointsPlus® option.

If you were trying to make every meal from scratch and keep it healthy, it could take hours of prep and cooking time in the kitchen. But it doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to Mr. Bakke and his invention. Just stock up on your favorite MagicKitchen.com meals, put them in the freezer, and you can be eating a hot and healthy meal in minutes. Pretty cool, right?

Give us a call at 877-516-2442 or visit our site at MagicKitchen.com to place an order and celebrate National Frozen Food Month with us.

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Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

March 6th, 2015

cornbeefandcabbageSt. Patrick’s Day is a day for a party all over the United States and of course Ireland, the mother country. Enjoy the day with traditional foods like Corned Beef & Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, Shepherd’s Pie or Irish Stew. We all know (Or can imagine) what Corned Beef and Cabbage tastes like, but the other dishes might perplex a few readers. Irish Soda bread is a dark quick-bread (meaning using no yeast or other leavener). It has whole meal flour, porridge oats and lots of butter and buttermilk, along with the soda.

Shepherd’s Pie is a classic dish all over the British Isles. Lots of veggies,ground beef or lamb, stock, flour and a bit of red wine, all covered in mashed potatoes, and baked until golden and bubbly. Irish stew uses lamb or mutton,  along with potatoes and barley for a very hearty dish.

Iirsish-bread-dipf you’re not in the mood to throw together a whole feast, here are some smaller recipes that will work just as well. Reuben Braids are the brain child of Kellie Mulleavy, Lambertville, Michigan. What a fabulous and easy way to emulate corned beef and cabbage!

200806-r-avocado-soup-crabNancy Citro’s Emerald Island Dip recipe gives us an easy dish with a wonderful presentation. The shamrock cut-out is perfect for an Irish-themed party.

Chilled Avocado Soup with Crab is just green enough to be pertinent, and definitely delicious enough to be devoured.

Savory cheesecakes like  Pesto Swirled Cheesecake from Elizabeth Jackson, Portland, Oregon, are delightful appetizers, and this one has the requisite green as well as being creamy and divine.

mintbarsReady for some dessert ideas? St. Patrick’s Chocolate & Mint Cheesecake Bars are decadent, creamy, and decidedly green.

Shamrock Milkshake Cupcakes fit the bill, and you can serve them in green cupcake liners.

Last but never least, Martha Stewart, the queen of cuisine, has this dessert recipe to offer:
Lime Squares with Pistachio Graham-Cracker Crust.

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February 28 is Open that Bottle Night – Get Ready!

February 27th, 2015

wine-335672_640The idea of Open That Bottle Night is to finally open that bottle of wine that’s been gathering dust in your basement (or wine cellar), waiting for a special occasion. So take it out, dust it off, then heat up some MagicKitchen.com prepared meals, and enjoy the wine with the meals, along with your significant other.

It got me thinking, though, what other things come in bottles that we could enjoy on that night? How about a fine bottle of beer?

Your favorite liqueur such as Grand Marnier, or a fine brandy,  decanted into a balloon glass would fit the occasion well.

For the kids, how about the old experiment of dropping a mento into a bottle of Coca-Cola? You will want to do that outside or in the bathroom, and be ready for some cleanup! These guys had a lot of fun with it:

Planter_01_grande

It’s time to start your garden, depending on where you are. Use empty plastic bottles to start your seeds.

Maybe you’re not a drinker, but you’d still like to celebrate this awesome holiday, this significant day? You could drink a bottled coffee or tea. Don’t drink caffeine?  Open a bottle of sparkling water, with a lime twist.

Don’t forget your pets on this special occasion!

There are other things you can do for your pets. Apparently you can buy your dog or cat fine (alcohol-free) wine. With names like Pinot Leasheo, how can you go wrong!

Stock up on bottles and get ready for the best holiday of all, Open that Bottle Night!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

February is American Heart Month

February 20th, 2015

heart-590222_640It’s right there in the middle of your chest and, at a minimum, you sense its presence everyday and can feel its activity at various pulse points around your body. However, many of us take it, and what it does, for granted until something goes wrong, sorta like a car. But unlike a car, it’s vital to our very existence, and far too many of us take few or no preventative measures to ensure it continues to, well, keep us alive.

Why the hell is that? Over 600,000 people die from heart disease in this country every year. That means one in every four deaths is due to heart disease of some kind! Over 720,000 Americans experience a heart attack every year. Even more staggering, for the most part, all of these deaths and heart attacks are preventable! Yet we still go about our lives, not exercising, still smoking and drinking excessively, eating artery clogging foods, and blithely unaware of important numbers, such as our blood pressure or cholesterol levels.

heartmonthDo I have your attention yet? I hope so, because that’s the whole point of the American Heart Associations’ designation of February as American heart month, to raise awareness of these issues. However, awareness will not improve your cardiovascular system, only action on your part will, and not just during the shortest month of the year. To improve your heart health, these lifestyle changes must take on the aspect of permanency.

Make the necessary changes to your diet, like reducing or eliminating saturated and trans fats and eating more fruits and vegetables? Yeah, that needs to be a permanent lifestyle change, not just something you do for a month or two. And this one change can have the beneficial effects of reducing your weight and lowering both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. MagicKitchen.com can help with that, give us a call toll-free at 877-516-2442.

Vow to get at least 30-60 minutes of exercise on at least five days a week? You guessed it…that’s gotta happen almost every week of the year for you to reap the benefits and fend off the grim reaper (sorry, couldn’t resist). We’re not suggesting that you go hike the Pacific Coast Trail here, like that woman did in the hit movie Wild, but a 45 minute walk most days of the week will, like changes to your diet, reduce your weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and go a long way to improving your heart health.

strong-heartEliminated your use of tobacco products and reduced your alcohol intake? As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, you can’t slide back down that slippery slope and start smoking like a chimney and drinking like you were back in college ever again.

Relax, by making these three changes a permanent part of your lifestyle does not mean you’ve just entered a nunnery or monastery (after all, taking a vow of celibacy would eliminate one pleasurable source of physical activity). You can still eat the occasional dessert or awaken a bit hung-over once in a while, just refrain from doing it after every meal, or awaken that way every morning! Your heart, and your loved ones, will thank you for it!

Steve, MagicKitchen.com blogger

Beat the February Blahs

February 13th, 2015

winter-stormHello, it’s me, February, and I’m sick and tired of being labeled the worst month of the year by people like comedian Lewis Black. Black once said, “Valentine’s Day doesn’t belong in February. It’s the most depressing month of the year. How do we know that? Because we made it shorter and it still seems <expletive deleted> longer.”

Yeah, I know, in the month prior to me, January, you are still recovering from your Christmas and New Year’s hangovers. You use January to get back into your routines that were disrupted by the holidays. As for next month, March, well, that has the first day of spring within it, and everybody just loves spring!

So here I am, the most reviled month of the year in which the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t quite yet visible. But it’s not my fault. I can’t control the weather! I can’t make those low hanging clouds disappear! I can’t ensure that damn ground hog doesn’t see its shadow! What kinda screwed up tradition is that anyway? I mean, who the hell listens to a giant rodent?!

Anyway, I thought I’d get in touch with all of you and offer some suggestions on how to enjoy my presence and maybe alter my reputation in the process. So here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Remodel a room. I mean, you’re stuck inside anyway, right? And you don’t need to break the bank in order to remodel. Brighten up the dining room with some new paint, change the look of your living room with some new window treatments, or liven up the bedroom (not that way, you pervert) with some new sheets, pillows and bedspread.
  1. Liven up the bedroom. Yes, I mean that way, you pervert. You’re stuck inside anyway, right? Get rid of the kids, light some candles, wear something sexy, administer or receive a massage, give those new sheets a work out, cuddle, explore, experiment. And not just on my 14th day, either, but on the 2nd and 4th and 7th and 10th and…get the idea?
  1. Use Netflix and get hooked on a premium channel series. But don’t do it alone. Turn into a kind of video book club with your friends…make it as serious or light-hearted as you like, so long as it’s done on a regular and continuous basis throughout my 28 (or 29) days. And it doesn’t have to be a current series. Go back through old seasons of The Sopranos, or Mad Men, or Band of Brothers, or Dexter, or Veep. Whatever you and your friends can agree on. Just have something to look forward to (see #2) and I’ll fly by, I promise.

Yeah, I know, there was nothing about exercise, or getting outside, or pampering yourself, those have been written about to death, but if that’s what floats your boat, don’t let me stop you. Enjoy and I’ll talk to you again in twelve months!

February, MagicKitchen.com blogger

20 Best Valentine’s Days Gifts

February 6th, 2015

Ready to be romantic? Here are the 20 top gifts for Valentine’s Day.

1. First, the obvious- chocolates in a heart-shaped box. Be sure you know if he or she likes dark or milk chocolate, and which fillings they prefer.

2. Second obvious one, but only if it’s serious- jewelry.

3.  Make your romantic partner a beautiful meal. Don’t cook? Try MagicKitchen.com’s Valentine’s Day Gourmet Meal.

4. Pop a bottle of champagne, the good stuff.

5. Get the lyrics of their favorite song printed and framed.

6. Make him some chocolate chip cookies.

7. A new book by his or her favorite author sends a message that you care.

9. Tickets to an event you’ll both enjoy are a great way to build shared memories.

hot-air10. Book him or her an exciting experience at http://www.excitations.com/

11. If you’re far enough along in your relationship, buy them their favorite fragrance.

12. Book a trip together, even just for a weekend.

13. If the man in the relationship is into it, schedule a spa day.

14. For those in the beginnings of a relationship, you don’t want to come on too hard. A nice candle and a not-too-mushy card would be nice.

15. Massage oils.

16. Of course, lingerie is always a good choice. Women, try buying it as a present for your guy. Believe me, he’ll love it!

17. Get this Winne-the-Pooh  printed quote. You’ll love it, and so will she!

18. eggglingFind a Be My Valentine coffee mug.

19. Get her a “Grow your own chocolate flowers” kit!

20. Are her hands always cold? Get her fingerless USB warming gloves!

21. She will adore these eggling plants.

22. He will equally adore this instant photo printer.

23. An infinity candle sends a good message.

24. Enjoy together- Chocolate shots.

25. Get your guy his favorite hot sauce, make him feel manly!

 

Health at your Doorstep

February 2nd, 2015

Mailman delivering a parcelEating healthy is smart, but not always simple. MagicKitchen.com is dedicated to shouldering the burden of planning and preparing healthy, tasty meals. These high-quality meals are cooked fresh and delivered right to your doorstep.

Home-cooked meals are being hijacked by fast food restaurants and heavily processed foods. For many, hectic school or work schedules leave little time for cooking, learning to cook, or learning to cook healthy.

Take your typical college student who is prone to what is commonly known as the “freshman 15″. One study, published in Nutrition Journal, found that 1 in 4 freshmen gain 5% or more of their body weight. College weight gain is a real phenomenon. The transition to college life brings new challenges, such as finding time for exercise, eating breakfast, and avoiding unhealthy snacks, fast food, or high-calorie drinks. Campuses can be an unhealthy food trap, with options that are often costly or far from nutritious. A student with food allergies has even less options available.

College students are time-limited and stressed. The last thing they want to do after a day of course work, studying, taking exams, and writing essays is take the time to plan and cook a healthy meal.

ground-turkey-noodles-87-series

Ground Turkey with Creamy Noodles

Others may have the time, but lack the strength or ability to cook healthy meals at home. Do you have a senior loved one or friend? Shopping, cooking, and cleaning alone is often out of the question. Eating healthy is a challenge and a concern that robs family members of peace of mind. Countless studies show that eating healthy makes a drastic and immediate difference in the strength, energy, and quality of life for seniors. A diet tailored to the nutritional needs of seniors is important for optimal mental and physical health.

Our meal programs offer fresh-tasting, nutritionally complete meals that cater to the needs and preferences of all our clients. It’s the closest thing to having a personal diet chef planning and preparing meals to your like.

In a perfect world, well-balanced, perfectly portioned dishes would be planned, prepared, and ready to eat when we need them. Such meals help maintain healthy weights, keep blood sugar and energy levels stable, and supply all necessary nutrient requirements. But do you have to wait for a perfect world?

Though we can’t promise a perfect world, we can promise an easier one. How can MagicKitchen.com meal programs make your life easier?

  • Portabella Shiitake Ravioli

    Portabella Shiitake Ravioli

    No stress. Healthy meals at your doorstep with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We promise to replace (or refund) anything you try and don’t like at no cost to you. Isn’t that a breath of fresh air?

  • Taste verdict? See our testimonials to hear what others have to say about our delectable dishes. They don’t taste like bland, boring diet food. We offer a variety of meals for a variety of palates. You can cherry-pick your meals or have us pick them based on your personal taste preferences and dietary needs.
  • Cost-effective. Our meals are healthy for you and your wallet. We even take care of delivery costs for regular orders placed every 30 days or less and at $125 or more.
  • That’s right. No strings attached. No contracts to sign. Going out of town? Are meals piling up in your fridge? Not a problem. Just ask us to start and stop sending when you want.

Read more on our meal plans page >>.

Roxana, MagicKitchen.com blogger

Sugar-free Chocolate Bars – A Reality at Last!

January 30th, 2015

You may not believe it, but there’s a sugar free chocolate that tastes fantastic and is perfect for low-carb diets. I’m on one now, and it’s so nice to be able to have a small piece of 255x150-chocorich, smooth dark chocolate at the end of the day with no guilt.

It’s called ChocoPerfection and it’s available now on the MagicKitchen.com online desserts page. This chocolate is amazing. It has 14 grams of prebiotic fiber in every bar (which reduces sugar cravings.)It’s all natural, 100% sugar-free, and has all the beneficial anti-oxidants of chocolate.

ChocoPerfection bars are sweetened from all natural plants that do not have any effect on blood sugar levels, so they’re ideal for diabetics, too.

You can use it for low-fat, low sugar baking, or just to eat out of hand. With dark chocolate and orange chocolate choices,  you won’t get bored.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com Blogger