Monthly Archives: September 2013

Online Food Gifts

OK, it’s only September, but that’s not too early to start thinking about gifts. There are a lot of interesting gifts out there, but our online food gifts top the list as far as we’re concerned. Here’s why!

1. Eating is not only a human need, it’s a human pleasure right up there with the other pleasures which we won’t mention because this is a family blog.

2. If you haven’t tasted our meals, you have to! Here are a couple of thing people have said recently: “The braised beef was better than what I’ve ordered in actual restaurants!” and, “I really enjoy the Spinach Mushroom Lasagna With Light Pesto Sauce. The entrée is low in calories but tasty- comparable to a high end restaurant quality item.”

Flat Iron Beef in Bordelaise Sauce
Flat Iron Beef in Bordelaise Sauce
Spinach Lasagna
Spinach Lasagna

 

3. We’ve lost our whole Sunday dinner tradition. People don’t want to spend the time prepping and cooking something that takes so long. But now it’s a fast heat-up, fewer dishes, and you can still get together with the whole family and talk about your week!

4. Online food gifts are so easy- order and have them shipped. That’s it.

5. Two words- gift certificates. They can be sent by us, or printed and delivered by you. The recipient picks their own meals and delivery date.

6. Yum, yum and yum!

7. The people you give them to will love you a lot!

8.  Our desserts are amazing, you can send a friend a bundle of desserts and blow their mind!

9. Winter’s coming, and our soups and stews are rich, delicious and filling.

10. If you order them for someone in your house, chances are you’ll get to eat some too!

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Simple Party Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests


            

          Image by Birdies100

I don’t know about you but all too often my dinner parties- which are supposed to be an enjoyable event- turn into a nightmare. While I’m trying to whip up a culinary delight, my kitchen slowly starts to look like a bull was let loose. Recently I’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to be like that. You can make food that will blow your guests away, that is anything but complicated.

Here are some simple party recipes that will leave you with the time for a relaxing glass of wine, before your guests arrive.

  • Spinach Quiche

A spinach quiche is a surprisingly easy dish- not that your guests will know that! Just mix together shallots and spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts. Then divide this mixture and cheese between prepared crusts. Pour whisked eggs and nutmeg on top. Finally, all you have to do is bake it for an hour. If you have the time, making your own pastry is a nice touch. Martha Stewart has an easy recipe.

  • Thai Fishcakes

Thai fishcakes add an exotic touch to your dinner party, and are incredibly easy to make. The main ingredients are fish (of course), onions, chilli, Thai red curry paste, coriander leaves, fish sauce and lime juice. This may sound like a long list, but all you have to do is blend it all together and then fry flattened discs of the mixture. Here’s the full recipe.

  • Prawns With Spicy Dip

If you’re looking for an easy starter that requires little preparation, this is the dish for you. All you’ll need is some good quality mayonnaise, harissa, lime juice and honey. Mix it up to make the sauce and start dipping your beautiful prawns in it. For a detailed recipe click here.

  • Warm Potato And Steak Salad

Salads are an easy option when it comes to the main course, requiring minimal cooking. They should also go down well with any guests who are watching their waistline! The potato and steak make the dish suitably filling, while the greens keep it light enough for summer dining. Salads can easily be tailored to suit your tastes, but take a look at this recipe by Magazine Delicious for inspiration.

  • Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser- they are pretty much impossible to dislike! There’s no end of twists to the recipe, from chocolate to lemon and every flavor in between. You can also get creative and customize them with ice cream and sprinkles for a colorful addition to your table. Here are some great ideas.

  • Chicken Fajitas

A simple classic and a great way to get everyone interacting and sharing. Simply cook spices such as garlic powder, cumin and onion powder with chicken and vegetables. Then serve with warmed tortillas. Food and Wine has a great version of the recipe.

  • Get Creative With Your Table

Every cook knows that presentation is half the battle and making sure your table looks amazing will make your food seem extra special. Simple touches such as getting creative with place settings make all the difference. Try ideas such as blown up photographs or blocks of wood. Decorating with accessories such as party balloons will also give your dinner party a nice flair.

Dinner parties don’t have to be a nightmare. These recipes are guaranteed to impress your guests and are super easy to make. They’ll never know how little time you really spent in the kitchen.

-Elise Leveque is a freelance translator who enjoys throwing dinner parties and eating good food. She currently lives in Bristol, England.

 

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Living with Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is a fairly common condition caused by stomach acids rising up into the esophagus, the tube between the stomach and the pharynx found at the back of the throat. In many people it can cause heartburn and similar types of discomfort.

Acid is present in all stomachs; it is produced by cells in the stomach lining, along with enzymes and other chemicals, in order to help break down food. The stomach walls are protected from the acid by mucus. In contrast, the esophagus has little to protect it from acid.

There is a valve in the stomach which is there to prevent these acids and enzymes (or gastric juices) from leaking out into the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter. If it becomes weakened, gastric juices can rise up and ‘leak’ into the esophagus.

Why do some people get acid reflux more than others?

The lining of the esophagus can tolerate a small amount of acid, but some people are simply more sensitive to it and develop symptoms with just a small amount of reflux.

Certain conditions are also known to trigger acid reflux, however, such as during the third trimester of a pregnancy, when the baby presses down on the stomach; in these cases, antacid is usually adequate to relieve discomfort and symptoms generally disappear once the baby is born. Hiatus hernias, peptic ulcers, asthma, smoking and poor eating habits, such as consuming supersized meals, also seem to produce more acid reflux.

What are the symptoms of acid reflux?

The main symptom is heartburn; nothing whatsoever to do with the heart, this is experienced as a burning feeling rising from the abdomen or lower chest up towards the neck. Other symptoms of acid reflux include dental erosion, asthma (as the acid moves into the air passages of the lungs), difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and regurgitation.

Most people will experience at least some of these symptoms from time to time, but if the problem persists untreated it can develop into Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, a chronic digestive disease that is diagnosed when acid reflux symptoms occur at least twice a week. Patients with GERD will require stronger medications than simple antacids.

Coping with acid reflux – what minimizes the symptoms?

A 2011 study found that incidences of acid reflux have increased by over 50% since 2000 in most industrialized nations, perhaps due to lifestyle issues, such as overeating, excessive drinking and smoking. A change in diet may help; sufferers are generally advised to try eating smaller portions, quit smoking and consume less alcohol. Citrus fruits, chili peppers, black pepper, spicy foods, coffee, tea and tomatoes are all known to cause heartburn, so cutting back on them may help alleviate the problem.

The most common treatment is to take a medicine to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach (antacids). These are available over the counter, without a prescription. Most sufferers use medication only when symptoms flare up, but others may have to take daily meds on a long-term basis.

Stronger medications include acid suppressants and histamine-2 blockers, which reduce inflammation in the stomach. Another treatment is with proton pump inhibitors. Those with chronic symptoms of GERD are sometimes advised to  buy Nexium,  which reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It should be noted that Nexium is not suitable for the immediate relief of heartburn symptoms, but for more persistent conditions.

Aimee Clark, Guest Blogger

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Recent Reviews

Blowing our own horn- every now and then we have to do it! here are some of the reviews and testimonials we’ve received in the last little while!

Yelp reviews:

Have been ordering from here for several years, many orders. Expensive but tastier and convenient alternative to standard take-out  or Stouffers. Food tastes homemade, usually B+.  Their food in prior years and older recipe  dishes are better than recent “new” dishes, which I keep trying, hoping to find another favorite, but the new stuff seems more bland, unsure if they changed chef or shipping origin location or that is what people want now.  Had off/on problems with food almost not frozen enough but customer service was responsive to rectify and refund. Website can be flakey but has improved.
Favorites are Chicken Kiev ( very buttery, filling portions) , Chicken Ana Luisa, magic meatloaf,  lamb shank,  barley vegetable pilaf side, panna cotta dessert,  green bean side, apple sage stuffing side, and all their soups are hearty and flavorful.  Large selection, including for special diets if you like, low carb, low fat, diabetic, meals for one, or low sodium etc.
~Liz T. San Jose

Overall, I was very happy with the shipping delivery schedule and the quality in which my meals arrived.

The Penne with Meatballs came in individually pouched microwave bags, which I preferred much more, and makes it just too easy to have such a great-tasting meal. In fact, that penne with meatballs is a “must-buy” if you are going to place an order, and I would throw in the chicken parmigiana single  too.

The Shrimp and Garlic Vermicelli was very good, and I appreciate that the chefs took the tails off the shrimp. The pasta was still firm and too mushy from being frozen and reheated. The serviing size was a little on the small side but it was good value for $14.

The crab cakes are good, and worth the money at $14 per meal. However, this is not a pure lump crab meat crab cake like you might expect in a restaurant. It tasted more like canned crab meat. The price is very economical for what you get. If you are purist, you may find the texture of heating a crab cake in the microwave a little off, but for a weekday evening meal, it’s a good selection.

The Shrimp Enchiladas was tasty, but the side vegetable blend was awesome. The shrimp were plentiful and reheated perfectly. Another good value for $13.50, in my opinion.

~Chef P, NYC

 Blog review:

Delicious Meals Delivered To Your Home

MagicKitchen.com is my new favorite online company.  If you want delicious tasting meals that are also good for you and are affordable, MagicKitchen.com is the place to go.  With the hectic pace families live these days, it is no wonder we are relying more and more on fast food that is so not good for you.  With MagicKitchen.com, you get chef prepared meals that are delivered to your door and all you need to do is reheat them and they are ready for your family to dive into!  You can order low sodium, low fat, portion controlled and diabetic friendly meals and there is a discount for first time and senior orders.  Oh, did you say you wanted dessert as well?  Ok, they got that covered as well, so you can enjoy sinfully rich and tasty desserts.  I need to mention an awesome program that MagicKitchen.com is involved in called Graham’s Foundation.  In 2009, Nick and Jennifer Hall were expecting twins and at 25 weeks, Graham and Reece were born.  While Reece stayed in the NICU for 4 months, Nick and Jennifer lost precious Graham after 45 days.  Knowing first-hand what it is like to have a micro-preemie in NICU, Jennifer and Nick provide care packages for these parents.  In those packages, MagicKitchen.com provides certificates for meals for the parents.  For that, MagicKitchen.com is the latest company to make it into my Awesome Companies That Give Back Hall of Fame.  Please take a moment to like MagicKitchen.com on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

~Makobi Scribe

SlideShare Reviews:

Wow. This may be one of the best traditional pasta dishes I had from a meal delivery service. The ziti was perfectly cooked and when reheated still al dente. The meatballs were small, but there were six of them, and they tasted pretty darn close to homemade to me. The big winner here was the sauce, which had a homemade texture only to be matched by prefect seasoning and flavor. The package says this meal serves two, which it can, but can be a real treat for one hungry person. And I saved more with my MagicKitchen.com coupons.
Jan F., NYC

Chile & Rice: I Would Order this Again.
I actually had this for lunch and found it to be wuite enjoyable. There could have been more rice, as I had some trouble covering the bottom of my plate with it, but the chili was good. Add some of your own hot sauce if you want it spicy, the heat level is understandably mainstream.

There is a substantial amount of meat in the chili, and a sliced vegetable I couldn’t make out- a carrot maybe?
(MagicKitchen.com note: Ingredients are-Ground Beef, Rice, Stewed Tomatoes, Water, Corn, Black Eyed Peas, Potatoes, Fat Free Cheddar Cheese, Onion, Celery, Green Bell Pepper, Olive Oil, Chili Powder (exclusively from red chili peppers), Salt, Black Pepper.)

It was surprisingly filling. I would order this meal again.
Ja F. NYC

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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