Category Archives: Interesting Miscelleana

The Master of Illusion Makes 105 lbs. Disappear

pennPenn Jillette has a ton of titles; magician, musician, juggler, inventor, comedian, author and actor, among others. Now, he can add successful extreme weight loser…yes, I realize that’s a contrived and awkward title, but work with me here.

Back in late 2014, Penn, who stood 6’ 7” and weighed 330 pounds, was informed by his doctor that his weight and poor diet was largely responsible for his high blood pressure, which briefly hospitalized him in December. Penn, who tends to take things to the extreme, to include his magic, atheism, libertarianism, and opinions in general, then made the extreme decision to adopt an extreme weight loss program.

He went vegan…no animal products, whole grains, added sugar or salt. He then cut his caloric intake from roughly 3,000 per day to 1,000. This extreme reduction in calories caused him to lose 105 pounds from December of 2014 to March of 2015. Do the math. That works out to a loss of almost one pound per day which most medical experts claim is an unhealthy and dangerous rate.

The fear with that type of calorie reduction is that, without supplements, which Penn eschewed, one is not providing the body with all the vitamins and minerals required to maintain proper health. By eating primarily raw fruits and vegetables, which Penn embraced, it is difficult to get the proper levels of iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins D and B12, again, without supplements. And without those essential nutrients, anemia, loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, fatigue and memory loss could be the consequences.

Lastly, when one adopts such a drastic change in diet, maintaining that diet over the long-term can be a problem for most. That’s not to say that Penn will “fall off the vegan wagon” in the future, but the ride could become extremely rough moving forward. One’s dietary enthusiasm tends to wane as you face yet another day of leafy greens and citrus fruit…Mmmmmm, fiber.

While a healthy diet is essential for your well-being, both mental and physical, extreme diets should only be adopted in extreme circumstances under the supervision of a medical doctor or certified nutritionist. Remember, your body requires a variety of nutrients, and a balanced diet it the best way to ensure those dietary requirements are met. Make sure you don’t get too much of anything and enough of everything…no magic necessary.

MagicKitchen.com has delicious portion controlled meals that can help you lose weight in a more healthy, albeit less spectacular way.  We all don’t need to be as showy and flashy as Mr. Jillette, right?

facebooktwitterpinterest

What Will Food Be Like in 100 Years?

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<

facebooktwitterpinterest

Heat Things Up for National Frozen Food Month

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.

product-collage3

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

Foods for St. Patrick’s Day

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.

20060105_edf_limes04_vert

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

What is 12th Night?

wassailFrom Wikipedia: “Twelfth Night is a festival, in some branches of Christianity marking the coming of the Epiphany. There is disagreement as to whether the Twelfth Night falls on 6th January or the 5th; the Church of England insists that it is on the 5th and “refers to the night before Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the three wise men visited the infant Jesus. In pagan days, 12 night originally came from the 12 days of Yuletide which began at sunset on December 20, known as Mother Night, and ended on the night of December 31, the Night of the Oak King and the Roman day of Hecate

Food and drink are the center of the celebrations in modern times, and all of the most traditional ones go back many centuries. The punch called wassail is consumed especially on Twelfth Night, but throughout Christmas time, especially in the UK.

Around the world, special pastries, such as the tortell and king cake are baked on Twelfth Night, and eaten the following day for the Feast of the Epiphany celebrations.

In English and French custom, the Twelfth-cake was baked to contain a bean and a pea, so that those who received the slices containing them should be designated king and queen of the night’s festivities.

In Ireland it is still the tradition to place the statues of the Three Kings in the crib on Twelfth Night or, at the latest, the following Day Little Christmas.

12th-2In colonial America, a Christmas wreath was always left up on the front door of each home, and when taken down at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, any edible portions would be consumed with the other foods of the feast. The same held true in the 19th-20th centuries with fruits adorning Christmas trees.
Fresh fruits were hard to come by, and were therefore considered fine and proper gifts and decorations for the tree, wreaths, and home. Again, the tree would be taken down on Twelfth Night, and such fruits, along with nuts and other local produce used, would then be consumed.

In the eastern Alps, a tradition called Perchtenlaufen exists. Two to three hundred masked young men rush about the streets with whips and bells driving out evil spirits.  In Nuremberg until 1616, children frightened spirits away by running through the streets and knocking loudly at doors.

In some countries, the Twelfth Night and Epiphany mark the start of the Carnival season, which lasts through Mardi Gras Day. Modern American Carnival traditions shine most brightly in New Orleans, where friends gather for weekly King Cake parties. Whoever gets the slice with the “king”, usually in the form of a miniature baby doll (symbolic of the Christ Child, “Christ the King”), hosts next week’s party.

12th-1In parts of Kent, there is a tradition that an edible decoration would be the last part of Christmas to be removed in the Twelfth Night and shared amongst the family.

Drury Lane Theatre in London has had a tradition since 1795 of providing a Twelfth Night cake. The will of Robert Baddeley made a bequest of £100 to provide cake and punch every year for the company in residence at the theatre on 6 January. The tradition still continues.

Of course, Twelfth Night is also one of Shakespeare’s comedies, where a shipwrecked Viola pretends to be a man, and much farcical comedy ensues.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Where Your Favorite Holiday Customs Originated

MagicKitchen.com Turkey Dinner for 2

Where do you think the traditions you love to celebrate came from? Here is a history of holiday traditions!

The origin of Thanksgiving is generally associated with the Pilgrims. When the Pilgrims arrived in the Americas, the Native Americans helped them survive by showing them what crops to plant. A year later, the Pilgrims celebrated their bountiful harvest by preparing a huge feast, which lead to the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner.

The turkey is a native of North America and so may have been one of the main dishes, giving rise to the traditional turkey dinner. MagicKitchen.com can provide you with the traditional turkey dinner, or send it to people who can’t be home for it this year.

Christmas trees may have originated with St. Boniface, who instituted the evergreen as a representation of eternal life. Martin Luther began the tradition of putting lights on the tree, using candles to light the tree. Many of our most valued holidays began as simple affairs, designed to bring a little light into a dark world.

When Christmas lights became electric, they started being used outside, on trees and walkways and houses. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights as Christmas decoration detached from the Christmas tree itself, along streets and buildings. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with such Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960s. By the late 20th century, the custom had also been adopted in non-western countries, notably in Japan.(Source: Wikipedia)

Advent calendars started in Germany in the late 1800’s, spreading around the world in popularity. WWII stopped the tradition in its tracks due to the ban on using cardboard, but a man named Richard Selmer started printing them again.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger.

MagicKitchen.com, Delicious Made Simple.

facebooktwitterpinterest

10 Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas

Isn’t it too bad Valentine’s Day takes place in February? Think of all the romantic things you could do in summer; go for a balloon ride, go for a long scenic drive with the top down, picnics, boat rides..the list goes on and on.

But what can you do in February for a romantic Valentines Day? Here are 10 Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas you will love.

1. Do something different. Sometimes the most fun can be had by doing something you don’t usually do, or something you haven’t done for a long time. Go bowling, roller-skating, ice skating or tobogganing.

2. Give your loved one a tour of your past. If you live near the town you grew up in, your partner will really enjoy seeing the places that helped make you… you. Bring a long some pictures of you at the places you’re going to tour to, if you can.

3. Have a bubble bath together. No need to rent an expensive hotel room if you don’t have the means, just set up the bathroom with candles, and get naked together!

4. Take dance lessons. It can be really romantic to know the classic dances. Commit to dance classes this year, and next year go out and tear up the floor!

5. Couples Massage. Book it, Danno!

6. Make dinner. Whoever does the cooking most of the time gets a night off, while you do the cooking and cleanup. Then go to #3. 😉 If you’re not much of a cook, order from the MagicKitchen.com Valentines Day Menu.

7. Puzzle Love Note: Write out a note from your heart. Glue it to thin cardboard, then cut it into puzzle pieces and give it to her or him.

8. Have a date at home. Rent a couple of DVDs, make some popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch.

9.  Get Away. If your time and budget allow, hop on a plane and get away for a few days. Or if you live near a beautiful spot,  jump in the car and book a cabin in the mountains with a fireplace. (or your equivalent)

10. Plan a Trip. Spend the evening poring over maps and travel guides, and decide where your next exciting trip will be. Plan it all out, and get your savings plan in hand. If you enjoy traveling, this is a great way to spend time!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

 

facebooktwitterpinterest

The Perfect Picnic Hamper

chocolate cake
Chocolate Cake

Packing the perfect picnic hamper for your picnic is crucial to having a great picnic. You can pack gourmet meals in your picnic hamper, but you have to know what all you need to pack and how you need to pack it in order for the picnic to go off without a hitch. The last thing you want to do is plan that perfect picnic with that special someone in your life or with family and it all fall apart because of your picnic hamper was not packed correctly. Packing it right will ensure you have the perfect meal delivery. Here are some tips to help you pack the perfect picnic hamper for that special picnic.

Plan Ahead

For starters, you will need to plan ahead. Make yourself a little plan of the meal and drinks you want to take to the picnic. Ready made meals are the best, that way you don’t have to make your meals once you get to the location of the picnic. By planning ahead, you will know what you will need in order to fix the pre-made meal and also what type of containers you will need.

Purchase Different Containers

A very important part to packing the perfect picnic hamper is packing the pre-made meals so that it doesn’t spill out, get crushed, or spoil. This can be accomplished by buying different types of containers for the food. So, once you have planned out the pre-made meal you are going to fix, you will know the type of containers you will need.

Don’t Forget Your Supplies

When you are planning, don’t forget to add your supplies to the list of things to get. You will need to pack your utensils, plates, cups, and whatever else you are going to need in the picnic hamper.

Grab Your Cloth

To top the perfect picnic hamper off, grab your cloth or cover that you are going to sit on at the picnic. You can fold this neatly and place it on top of the picnic hamper

There you have a few tips that will help you pack the perfect picnic hamper for your perfect picnic. You can also throw in extra things like flowers and a vase or candles. Try not to pack anything that you don’t need though, it will only weigh you down!

Amanda, MagicKitchen.com blogger

facebooktwitterpinterest

Teaching Mom to Use Skype

Technology can change so rapidly that even the existing popular technologies seem daunting to someone that isn’t very familiar with them. Something like Skype can be a great tool for many different things, from business to correspondence. However, it’s only useful if you know how to use it. Previous generations don’t usually spend much time working with the latest trending applications, but taking some time to show them how things work can be essential to their well-being. For example, teaching mom how to use Skype not only shows her something cool, but it can help her in the long run, too.

Set her up with a Skype account. It only takes a couple of minutes and you can even do this with her over the phone. Getting mom connected is the first step, but to show her that it’s worthwhile you’ll need to start using Skype in a positive way.

Senior nutrition is important to remember when you’re getting older. There’s nothing wrong with dieting, but overall senior nutrition needs to be kept in mind. It’s not so much about losing weight anymore as it is maintaining your health.

Use Skype to show your mom how important balanced senior nutrition really is. Send her links on general nutrition as it relates to older people. Send her recipes for meals for seniors. Cook with her via Skype and support her in her senior nutrition!

Skype can be a great tool, but only if you know how to use it right. Stay in touch by teaching mom how to use Skype. Show her new things, share information that will only benefit her, and you’ll develop a new kind of relationship that will make you both feel great.

Skype isn’t just for catching up with old college buddies or discussing business from half a world away. By teaching mom how to use Skype you can make social media personal again!

And as you can see, some seniors need a little help (this is a re-run but we couldn’t resist!), so give your mom or dad a hand today!

Doug, MagicKitchen.com blogger

facebooktwitterpinterest

Cutting Boards- Plastic, Wood or Glass?

Choosing the correct cutting board is an important choice for your kitchen. There are several varieties of cutting boards available these days, including: wooden, plastic and glass options.

Glass options may be the easiest choice to eliminate. While many glass cutting boards are decorative and very pretty, glass cutting boards will often ruin your knives, making them dull and less effective at cutting food. So when you place a lovely corned beef brisket you have spent all day cooking onto your glass cutting board and attempt to slice it and serve it to your family, you may mangle the slices with your dull life and ruin the presentation of your meal.

However, glass cutting boards can making lovely kitchen decorations, and can be hung on the wall as kitchen art. And if you are choosing ready made meal options, that don’t require much use of knives or cutting boards, you may wish to keep your glass cutting boards.

Chef Blackstock has his own ideas about wooden cutting boards:

Wooden and plastic cutting boards will both be easier on your knives. So that corned beef brisket you wished to serve to your family will hold up nicely on both of these options. You will be able to plate and present nice even slices of the corned beef brisket at dinnertime. The main fight between wooden and plastic cutting boards was hashed out in a study by  Ak, Cliver and Kaspar in 1994 at the University of California at Davis Food Safety Laboratory.

The Ak, Cliver and Kaspar study found wood cutting boards to be superior because of the “self-healing” properties of wood. When slicing on a wood cutting board, you don’t actually cut into the board, you merely slice between wood fibers, which “heal” themselves back together, and do not leave any scoring marks on the surface. Whereas with a plastic cutting board, each knife stroke leaves a mark on the surface of the board. Another argument levied by the study was that wooden cutting boards trap bacteria in their capillaries and the bacteria die off, while plastic cutting boards have porous surfaces with many places for bacteria to hide. However, with today’s anti-bacterial soaps and the ability to run boiling hot water right in your home, this argument may have been better suited to earlier times.

In wooden cutting boards’ defense, they do hold up better over time, and this may have something to do with the “self healing” properties. And presenting a meal, such as a whole corned beef brisket to be sliced in the center of the table, certainly looks prettier on a wooden cutting board. But wooden cutting boards do tend to be more expensive than their plastic counterparts, so if you’re just starting out and needing to furnish your first apartment, a plastic cutting board may be the way to go. Just keep in mind that plastic cutting boards wear out, and you will need to replace them more often. However, again with plastic cutting boards, if you are choosing to prepare ready made meals for yourself often, the plastic option may hold up longer as opposed to a home where a cutting board is used every night. And if you are space conscious, there are some unique silicone plastic cutting boards that can be rolled up to fit into tight spaces or even travel with you for camping.

All in all the cutting board debate probably depends a lot on aesthetics and what kind of meals you are serving in your kitchen. If you regularly present full turkeys and corned beef brisket and other tasty options to be cut front and center of the table, you probably want to choose a wooden option. If you’re more of a ready-made meal person, living alone with no children to worry about, then plastic or glass may be the option for you.

Sierra, MagicKitchen.com blogger

facebooktwitterpinterest