Monthly Archives: April 2013

Awesome young artist

Beth Rommel (at niftyartgirl.com and beth@bethrommel.com) is a young artist with some wonderful ways of looking at the world. She wrote a blog about us today called, “Answer to a Prayer“. Have a read when you get a chance.  Her paintings are bold and colorful with more than a hint of humor.

Here’s the exciting part; she loved her experience with MagicKitchen.com so well, she painted a picture for us. Before you look at it below, here are some of her notes about it: “I felt like the food magically showed up at the doorstep when I couldn’t be there to cook for my loved one.” As flying people are kind of her trademark, she did a beautiful  flying person for us. Click on it to see the detail.

See how we’re feeding the world there? We love it, Beth, thanks so much!!

Here’s part of Beth’s bio, so you get to know her a little better:

Beth’s paintings have been shown in the Dallas area at Muse Interiors, in San Antonio at the Alamo Heights Art Festival, Riverwalk Art Festival, San Antonio Art Institute juried show, and the Painted Pony and Junior League Galleries, in Santa Fe at the Leslie Flynt Gallery, Sanford, Florida at the Gallery on First, Artistry Co-op, and First Thursday exhibits in conjunction with the shop at the Orlando Museum of Art. She has also received awards for her painted furniture in the HEB area of North Texas.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

 

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Top Five Gifts for The Chef Who Has Everything!

If you have an occasion coming up where you need to buy a little something for a foodie-friend and are stuck for ideas; here’s your go to gift guide to the perfect culinary-inspired buys! These cute and creative kitchen accessories are guaranteed pride of place amongst the metal and plastic of any kitchen setting. Read on for ways to impress even those with even the most discerning tastes!

Image: ChefSteps

Ceramic Knife Set

No good chef should be without these staple tools of the trade! A set of ceramic kitchen knives not only look divinely stylish but are around sixty times more resistant than steel knives. Whilst they are slightly more delicate when it comes to bumps and knocks; these high quality kitchen accessories are much sharper and much more effective than your average metal block. They are crafted from zirconium ceramic; which is the most durable material known to man after diamond. They are stain and rust proof, and guaranteed to bring a whole new level of efficiency to food preparation!

Fondue Set

When it comes to entertaining nothing brings people together like sharing a fondue at a get together. Whether it’s cheese or chocolate you prefer to dip your nibbles in; a cast iron fondue set will serve as a favorite party accessory for any occasion. This makes a tasty and innovative alternative to buffet foods and is surprisingly low effort when it comes to preparation. So grab a fork and get sharing!

Mortar and Pestle

For those who love a rustic touch to their kitchen, a high quality mortar and pestle will be a welcome addition! A heavy duty marble hewn unit will hold its own as it’s in use; preventing any haphazard herb explosions in the kitchen. These traditional and charming accessories can be used to grind herbs, peppercorns and dry ingredients to create beautiful seasoning combinations. Pharmacies and apothecaries traditionally used this method to create medicines.

Image: Structures:NYC

Crème Brûlée Gift Set

Every chef’s kitchen should be equipped with its own blowtorch! This set includes a tempting cookbook of creamy dessert recipes and a set of ceramic ramekins. Now this traditional dish can be enjoyed at home rather than exclusively at fancy restaurants! For extra brownie points accompany your gift set with heat proof mats and a table protector for those who aren’t a dab hand with the blowtorch just yet!

Spice Rack

This is a great opportunity to show off your eye for design! There are so many nifty and unusual spice rack designs on the market and this is a much better storage alternative than having them all hidden away in a cupboard. Here are just a few ideas to get you inspired!

This great storage idea will ensure that important ingredients are always to hand whilst making a design statement.

Do you have any unique gift suggestions for Chefs and food-enthusiasts? Comment below to share your ideas!

Elise Lévêque is a freelance blogger and food enthusiast. She has a significant cupcake weakness and writes for Wipe-Easy Tablecloths.

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Natural Lifestyle Techniques To Prevent Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in men, women, and children. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLB), as of 2012, an estimated 12-18 million people in the United States alone have sleep apnea, however almost half of all sufferers go undiagnosed for years. Additionally, middle-aged men and women, adults over the age of 65, overweight people, and minorities are more prone to the experience symptoms of sleep apnea.

The symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  •               Loud snoring or night-time breathing problems.
  •               Waking up frequently in the middle of the night.
  •               Excessive tiredness during the day.
  •               Difficulty staying attentive on routine tasks.
  •               Frequently waking up with dry mouth or choking sensation.
  •               Morning headaches or hard time waking up.
  •               Witnessed breathing cessation while sleeping.

Fortunately, there are some natural lifestyle techniques that can help to prevent sleep apnea and even reduce your dependency on a CPAP machine or eliminate the need for surgery.

Weight loss the natural way. The medical community has long advised losing weight as a way to help stop some forms of sleep apnea. Being overweight means you have additional fatty tissues in the neck and airway that can obstruct breathing. Use a natural method for losing this weight over time, by enjoying organic fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and low fat meats. Even a 10 percent weight loss can improve your health and stop sleep apnea.

Change sleep position. Another way to cut down on the symptoms of sleep apnea naturally is to choose a pillow made from buckwheat to reposition your head during sleep. Standard pillows often encourage back or stomach sleeping, which can cause the blockage of airways. By gently supporting the head and neck in a side-lying position, this can stop snoring and reduce sleep apnea discomfort.

Soothe nasal passages. In some cases, sleep apnea comes from seasonal allergies caused by pollen, dust and dander. To help reduce snoring and dry breathing, try a natural solution of salt water delivered by nettle pot to irrigate and cleanse the nasal passages an hour before bed. Reduce airborne particles and provide a breathing soother with eucalyptus oil added to a humidifier during the night.

Meditation and stretches. Another way to help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea is to teach your body and mind to relax more effectively. Many sufferers report having insomnia, waking up frequently, and having irritability during the day. Taking the time to do daily stretches to tone the neck and body, coupled with the relaxation and focus of meditation can be very beneficial to your mental and physical health.

Aromatherapy to relax the mind. Getting to sleep and experiencing restorative deep sleep patterns can be difficult if you have sleep apnea. To help this the natural way, use a lavender diffuser to add a sleep inducing aroma to your bedroom. There are plug in varieties or you can simply buy lavender in the dry form and add to your pillow.

If you recognize the symptoms of sleep apnea in yourself, your partner, or child; it’s important that you speak with your doctor or natural physician to give you an examination to rule out other health problems. Sleep apnea can aggravate other illnesses, so it’s important to take care of your health now.

About the Author: Brandon Travis likes to spend his free time swimming and training for his next triathlon in the spring. When he’s not working out he likes to review sites like iRollOver.

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The Ultimate Sandwich

The lowly sandwich can be elevated to a wonderful meal, if treated with respect. Here are 5 ultimate sandwiches from around the web.

But first, here’s a video all about sandwiches!

1.  The Ultimate British Sandwich – Now, the Brits might like it, but it sounds dry to me.  “Brodick Blue cheese – a delicious Scottish blue cheese made from ewe’s milk – topped with two slices of Ayrshire dry cured bacon and red onion relish. ” Why, they didn’t even mention the type of bread! no, no, no, this one doesn’t win in my books.

2. Maxim’s High Class Hero – Smoked Prime Rib Sandwich, Pickled Green Tomato, Salsas Bianco and Rosso
by Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, of Torrisi Italian Specialties
on a seeded semolina roll. This one sounds pretty good. It’s got horseradish, beef, roasted red peppers…yep, that would be good, a real man’s sandwich.

3. The Shooter – Another British entry, but this one sounds like the real thing. It has two steaks, mushrooms, horsradish and Dijon mustard, and then it’s wrapped in foil and mushed down with a brick like a good old muffeleta. A solid entry!

4. These last two are going to be Canadian entries. This one from Vancouver BC, the prosciutto, brie, pear and walnut sandwich. Oh, my. This is served on a baguette, and has me getting hungry. A great lady’s sandwich,  it sounds simply divine.

5. This last one is mine, a sandwich I first made in beautiful Nova Scotia. They love a good oatmeal bread there. Slightly sweet, chewy and dense, it holds up well to vegetable fillings. First, two thick slices are lightly plied with mayonnaise. Then thinly sliced cucumbers and green peppers are laid carefully on, lightly salted and peppered, and followed by a thick slice of Swiss Emmenthaler cheese, that cheese with the holes in it. This was the best sandwich I’ve ever had, anywhere, for my taste buds.

What’s your ultimate sandwich?

 

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Designing your dream kitchen

Dreaming of a new kitchen? As the heart of the home, the kitchen is a very personal room. Everyone’s dream kitchen is different. Perhaps one’s idea of a perfect kitchen has a double oven and all stainless steel appliances, while another features exposed-wooden beams over a centralized hearth and wrought iron pot racks.

Get organized

As with any home improvement undertaking, redesigning the kitchen requires time and organization and one of the best ways to get started is to make a list. The list should include all the changes one plans on making, right down to the hardware on the cabinetry and the paint on the walls. If the dream kitchen includes features that aren’t already there, make a shortlist of what should be included. Now is the time to seek out that extra large wine cooler or that super sleek trash compactor.

Because dream kitchens just don’t happen, here are some helpful tips for crafting that perfect kitchen.

The shape of a kitchen has a direct effect on its functionality, but the layout of the room also needs to be conducive to ease of use. Any well-designed kitchen will have what is known as the essential work triangle in which the refrigerator, sink, and range are all within close proximity of each other. To create a fresh look in the kitchen, one might consider separating it into zones: the work area for food preparation, the cleaning area, and an area for eating. Allowing for more space and an organized layout will make for both fun and functionality in the new kitchen.

In many homes, the kitchen’s layout is dictated by the size of the space, so it is important to work with what’s available. For large kitchens, installing a freestanding kitchen island is a good way to boost storage space, add extra seating for dining, and even increase work surface availability. One might even consider including a china hutch or baker’s rack. However, for those with small kitchens, it can be a little more challenging to bring in more furniture, so built-in options for cabinetry and seating might be the way to go.

Because the kitchen is the most practical room in the home, the window treatments should reflect that. Including shutters on the windows instead of fabric curtains is great for the kitchen, regardless of overall design. Shutters will help maintain privacy, but can also help keep the room cool on hot days. To gain some inspiration of how to incorporate shutters into the kitchen, it’s a good idea to check out pictures of shutters in real homes.

The kitchen isn’t just about food preparation and mealtime; it is often the most widely used room in the home and is used as a gathering place. This is why decorating the kitchen is so very important. Start with color – it’s an easy way to personalize the space and give the room a new look. It’s always a good idea to go with neutral tones, but feel free to include a pop of bright color, either on an accent wall or by including appliances of a certain hue.

Anna, Guest Blogger

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