Is Mountain Dew Addictive

Weight gain, monstrous toothaches, no energy and throbbing headaches are the first words that I think of when I hear Mountain Dew!

Mountain Dew is addictive! After reading some of the debated articles on this topic, I had to stop and calm myself down! I was very disturbed by some of the other arguements that was posted about “Is Mountain Dew addictive”. Yes, I do understand that everyone has their own opinion and they are free to write whatever they choose to. I however, have my own correct answer for this topic. I guess this is why it was chosen for a good topic to post.

Recently, I wrote an article in the “Soft drinks reviews: Mountain Dew” telling my story. In my article, I gave examples of how consuming large amounts of Mountain Dew daily, leads me to believe that I am addicted to the refreshing drink. I believe that anything can become addictive, if a person allows it to be. In my unfortunate case, I have misused Mountain Dew to the point of it being addictive. Ten years now, I have drank Mountain Dew everyday except for the two weeks that I was on vacation. Mexico fortunately doesn’t sell or have procession of Mountain Dew. I drink at least a two liter of Mountain Dew everyday. I am not proud of this awful addiction. If it wasn’t for the severe headaches that I get from not drinking Mountain Dew, I would kick this habit forever.

There are several different side effects that I get when I do try to stop drinking Mountain Dew. I know that I can quit, it is just hard to quit. Like other article writers have stated “it is not the caffeine that I am hooked on” it is the sugar, the main ingredient in Mountain Dew that keeps me going all day. I have tried switching my choice of drink to pepsi, tea and coffee. These three drinks all contain caffeine, and I don’t get the same satisfaction that I get when I drink a cold Mountain Dew. Even a warm soda, tastes better than a cup of tea, coffee or pepsi.

Here is something to think about: How can a person know if Mountain Dew is addictive if they have never drank it? As long as a person stays disciplined with the daily consumption of Mountain Dew, they are less likely to become addicted to it. Keep in mind that people become addicted to several things on a daily basis and anything that makes you suffer withdrawals, in my opinion is considered to be addictive! Now that my nerves have calmed down and my opinion is stated, I can relax and go consume a refreshing soda. Can anybody guess what soda that might be?

Reference:
1. 14 Reasons to Stop Drinking Mountain Dew | Get Better Wellness
2. Why is 'Mountain Dew' so much more addictive than other soft …

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are heightened in flavor when roasted, and make a delicious and healthy snack. They’re packed with omega 3s and are high in fiber, protein and zinc among many other beneficial nutrients. They make a nice addition to various meals, cakes and breads and are a great alternative to popcorn or chips to snack on in front of the TV or computer. Roasting them enhances their nutty flavor, and they can be made to be sweet or savory, yet the most common and popular option is salted and roasted pumpkin seeds. So, if its fall and there happen to be many pumpkins lying around, don’t discard the seeds, roast and eat them!

The only ingredients needed are a pumpkin, some vegetable or olive oil and some salt, preferably sea salt (as its more nutritious). Equipment needed involves a sharp knife (to cut the pumpkin), a baking sheet (for roasting the seeds on) and an oven.

1. The first step entails cutting the pumpkin to separate the seeds from the flesh. After the seeds have been collected, place them in a bowl of warm water and rub them to clean off the sticky strings and juice from the pumpkin flesh. After, allow them to dry by draining them and placing the seeds on a tea towel, and leave them to dry for an hour or so.

2. Once fully dried, spread the seeds out on a baking sheet on a tray and add one teaspoon sea salt (to one cup of seeds) and three tablespoons of any vegetable oil (olive oil makes a nice choice here). Mix the seeds together so that each one is coated with some salt and oil. Alternatively, pour the dried seeds into a zipper storage bag and add the oil and salt. Then seal the bag and shake it well so that all the seeds are well-coated. Make sure the seeds are spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet.

3. Then turn on the oven (at 275 degrees Fahrenheit or 135 Celsius) and heat them for 10 to 20 minutes, sometimes a little more. However, it’s worth noting to keep an eye on them every five minutes or so, and stir them so that they don’t burn and roast well on both sides. Cook the seeds until they look crisp and golden or slightly brown in color.

4. After the seeds are golden and look done, simply take them out of the oven and place them onto a plate to cool down. If possible, put them somewhere cool like on a windowsill, but not in the fridge. Exposing them to a cool area allows them to be crispier and crunchier in texture.

After cooling, the seeds can be stored in an airtight container or bag for a week or two for maximum freshness, and the author of this article recommends snacking on them with tea.

Roasting pumpkin seeds are a great way to make use of the whole pumpkin, and they make a healthy and delicious snack. It’s simple to roast them, and they can be made sweet or savory. Roasting enhances the nutty flavor of the seeds and makes them a tasty and crunchy snack.

Reference:
1. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. Pumpkin Seeds Recipe : Food Network Kitchen : Food Network

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha Tea

Kombucha tea is very popular among herbalists and health fanatics alike despite its reputation of displaying some serious side effects. Scientific evidence has not proven that there are health benefits from drinking the tea, but some people suffering from debilitating diseases swear by it. It is believed by some that Kombucha tea promotes longevity, boost the body’s immune system and detoxify the body.  Originating in East Asia, Kombucha tea has been available in Germany since the early 19th century Known also as tea fungus, Manchurian tea or Kargasok tea; it is made from a few simple components. It is popular in the United States especially with HIV positive individuals and can be made and cultured at home.

Components

 Kombucha is formed by mixing sweetened back tea, a yeast culture and a Kombucha mushroom. This causes a fermenting process to begin that produces a new generation of bacterial culture on top of the old that can be skimmed off and given away or kept for future batches.  The first component in Kombucha tea is sweetened black tea, made by steeping black tea leaves and adding a generous amount of sugar for sweetening.  Several different yeast cultures are used, though the culture may include Candida stellata, and Torula species, among others. Several different types and variations of yeast and bacteria can be grown. Though it is referred to as a Kombucha mushroom, there is not any actual mushroom used. The name was derived from the mushroom like bacteria substance that forms on top of the tea mixed with yeast culture.  The fermenting produces alcoholic properties to the tea.

The black tea leaves are steeped in hot water and about one cup of sugar is stirred in and dissolved.  The sweetened tea is then left to cool to room temperature.  The Kombucha mushroom bacteria starter is added. This mixture is left to steep covered with a clean cloth and undisturbed for approximately one week.  A substance resembling a mushroom gathers on the surface, along with what looks like a baby mushroom. The baby mushroom can be skimmed off the top and given to others as a culture to begin their own Kombucha tea, or can be stored to use when the original mushroom substance turns dark brown and is no longer good to use.

Kombucha tea components, including dry tea leaves and liquid capsules have also been made available by different manufacturers in several countries.  The product is sold as a dietary supplement in the United States but has not been FDA tested or approved as safe for human consumption.

 Source:

Unexplained Severe Illness Possibly Associated with Consumption of …

Kombucha, Tea or Alcoholic Beverage?

kombucha culture

                                                  

                                                  

Reference:
1. Kombucha
2. The risks and benefits of kombucha tea | MNN – Mother Nature …

Its all in the Head

Pouring the perfect beer is a touch that comes only with plenty of practice and a basic understanding of how this foamy, frothy barley beverage travels as it pours into a frosty glass.  Really, the key to the perfect pint of beer is all in the tip of the glass.  If the receiving glass is not positioned properly, your perfect beer may finish not so perfect. The end result being a glass of beer three quarters full of foam.  The perfect beer should have an inch, at the most, of foam on the top of the glass.

The glass.

First of all, the perfect poured beer starts with a nice cold, frosted mug or glass.  The best way to achieve the superior frostiness necessary for the perfect beer, is to leave the glasses (empty, of course) in a freezer, snow bank, or icy creek for at least a few hours, and best overnight. Leave mugs chilling until you are ready to begin pouring your favorite beer.  

The tip.

Now, for the important part… Whether pouring from a can, bottle, or beer tap, always remember the key to pouring a perfect beer is all in how the bubbly barley brew hits the glass.  Beer should be poured into a tipped glass, wherever it comes from.  Unless, of course, it is a mouth it is being poured into. 

With a frosty glass in one hand and the beer source in the other, the pour should be started with the glass tipped to almost a forty-five degree angle, level to the ground or counter. The beer should pour into the glass in a steady, even flow and glass turned to an upwards position, as it fills. 

When to stop.

To achieve that perfectly poured beer status, the mug or glass must be finished off being perfectly filled, an art that comes only with practice.  Generally, by stopping a pour just past the three parts mark of the glass and topped up from there, the glass of beer should be left with just the right amount of foam.  When pouring for customers, a good rule of thumb is that it never hurts to slightly over pour.  A customer will prefer to see a full mug of cold beer, than a glass that looks like someone already took a big swig. Any excess can always be wiped away with a clean bar rag.

Once you have poured your icy cold bevie into your frosty mug comes the most important part of all, sitting down to enjoy the perfect beer that you just poured.  So, grab some friends, some frosty mugs and have a cold one.  Then Cheers, to the perfect beer.   

Reference:
1. It's All in Your Head
2. Amazon.com: It's All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness …

How to Prepare Lemonade right

Preparing great tasting lemonade can be really easy. All you need are three ingredients; lemon juice, sugar, and water. Using fresh lemons is the best way to make lemonade, although you can also use bottled lemon juice in a pinch.

To make a delicious lemonade, use equal amounts of each ingredient. For example, if you are using one cup of lemon juice, use one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Most people really like this, but if you decide you like your lemonade on the tart side, use less sugar.

Before you squeeze the lemons, roll them on the counter, pressing slightly with your hand. This breaks up the membranes inside, and allows you to get more juice from each lemon. Juice the lemons, then mix the lemon juice, water, and sugar.

You may choose to completely dissolve the sugar by heating the sugar and water, and boiling until all the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool, then add it to the lemon juice. Chill, or add ice, and enjoy.

You can also flavor your lemonade by adding other fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, and watermelon all add a wonderful flavor. Puree the fruit in a blender, then add it to the lemonade.

A cool treat in the summer is a lemonade smoothie. Put one cup of lemonade and one cup of ice in the blender and blend. (This is so cool and refreshing you may want to start out with a bigger batch, rather than having to go back and make more.)

Enjoy!

Reference:
1. Best Lemonade Ever Recipe – Allrecipes.com
2. How To Make Lemonade from Scratch — Cooking Lessons from …

A lesson in the filter method of coffee brewing

My personal arsenal of coffee making contraptions. Most of which reside on the kitchen counter. These include the auto-drip, the espresso, the percolator, the French press, and the moka pot. This is not to mention the bag of beans from the local home-town roaster, the coffee grinder, and the can of off-the-shelf grounds.

Each one serves its own purpose, and there is one basic fact to understand about the coffee making process, regardless of the equipment: coffee is ground to increase the surface area from which to extract the oils. So the finer the grind, the stronger the end-result. From that, each one does the job in a different way with vastly differing results.

Automatic drip

I use my automatic drip most often. This is the work horse of my kitchen before I head off for work. It offers me a decent cup as I get ready in the morning and during my commute. No fuss, no muss, and it delivers just the quality I expect from my can of Folgers.

Moka pot

On those mornings I ride my motorcycle to work, I don’t need more than just the one cup in the kitchen. For this I turn to my moka pot, a cool little stove-top pot that infuses hot water UP through the grounds, using steam as the force, to deliver one very small cup of espresso. It works fine with the off-the-shelf grounds. I mix the thick brew with some hot water from the teapot and, voila: Cafe Americano. Strong, robust, a quick kick, and off I go.

French press

For those mornings (or afternoons) when I really want to savor a great cup of coffee, I reach for the French press. It takes more effort and more precision, but the results are spectacular. Worthy of that morning “porch swing moment.” I would never allow the grocery-store grounds to sully my press. Coarse, fresh roasted grounds and nearly-boiling water. Steep for four minutes, plunge, pour, and sip gingerly. Luxuriate.

Coffee over the campfire

Best yet? A pot of percolated coffee on the camp stove in the national park, miles from anywhere on the way to nowhere.

Last but least, the espresso maker. Noisy, difficult, tough to master, harder to clean. Used only when pressed into service by a guest, because they think it might be cool.

Reference:
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How to Order Wine Online

Trust is of importance in all forms of commerce, but when it comes to buying goods online, it is of critical importance. Will my credit card be ripped off? Will the goods arrive on time? Will the goods ordered be the ones that arrive? These are all concerns that we have when ordering from an online retailer.

However, for most of us, trust is also something that we rely upon when ordering wine. When we are being honest with ourselves (and not trying to show off to our date), few of us honestly know the most appropriate wine pairing at a restaurant and thus rely on a recommendation from a Sommelier. Even in a Supermarket, we may know a grape and a few of the more commercial brands, but how often have you relied upon a special offer (and how often discovered when you arrived home that it was reduced because it was corked or past its best….who says that all wine improves with age?!) Of course, at least when you can buy at a store, there is a chance that at least for the specials, they may offer you a tasting or if it is truly bad, you can return it easily. Why would anyone buy online?

Choice and price are probably the most common answers. For many of us, local supermarkets or wine stores offer only commercial brands which can be bought in large quantity, online stores may offer a much broader range including the much vaunted ’boutique’ wines and international wines. Price is often a good reason to buy online, but in the case of wine, may not be the principal reason. Those seeking the best prices are probably more likely to head to their local supermarket.

So if it is choice you are seeking, what should you look for? If you are ordering directly from a vineyard (or online cellar door), then just take the usual precautions when ordering online. However, if you are looking for a range of wines, then you need to find a trustworthy retailer.

Just as you might trust the sommelier at a restaurant you visit often, try to find a retailer that describes the wine in terms you understand and doesn’t just push whatever is surplus that week! The retailer should provide an independent view on the wine and provide an unpretentious analysis. Perhaps a weekly newsletter will summarise new arrivals making comments as to their quality and to their value. There is no great benefit in being told that a wine that costs $200 per bottle has been rated 95 by Robert Parker, there is a far greater benefit in being told that a wine that costs $9.99 is currently drinking like a bottle three times its price and is best drunk fresh and soon!

It is also always good to look for a wine on their lists that you know and like (or for that matter dislike) and compare their thoughts to your own. It’s unlikely that only one person is writing opinions on the website, but if you share some feelings in common on one or two wines, it’s definitely a good start.

Another worthwhile exercise is to send them an email, asking a few questions. Perhaps ask about a vineyard that they don’t stock or an older vintage. Ask what happens if you order a case and find that the wine is not to your taste whilst drinking the first bottle? See how quickly they respond and whether the tone of the response is courteous and meaningful. You may well be building a relationship with this retailer.

Finally, make sure that they are not taking advantage of tax. This is often the case when you are buying internationally. For example, a retailer in Australia sending wine abroad should deduct the local taxes from your bill. This can go some way towards paying your insurance and shipment costs.

So buying wine online can be a pleasant experience. In these days when mass market retailers rarely pay for staff with decent knowledge, it is refreshing to know that online, you can find someone you can trust!

Reference:
1. Wine.com – Wine, Wine Gifts and Wine Clubs from the #1 Online …
2. Amazon.com: Wine

Italian Chicken Cutlet Recipe

I have only tried this recipe once but it was absolutely delicious. My whole family loved it, and it’s rather easy to cook. Your family will enjoy it too, especially if you love Italian foods. It’s oh so scrumptious. This is great with any side dishes. Have fun with it, do something creative. Make it interesting for your young children. I do this all the time, let them help me decorate it with something, like  fresh herbs or something. They will love it.

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, halved
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. water
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. oil
4 slices (4 oz.) Mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Place 1 chicken breast half, boned side up, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Working from center, gently pound chicken with rolling pin or flat side of meat mallet until about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces, making 4 cutlets. Coat chicken cutlets with flour. In shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, oregano and salt. In another shallow dish, combine egg and water. Dip each cutlet in egg mixture; coat with crumb mixture. In small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, basil and garlic powder. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat until it ripples. Add cutlets; cook until crisp and golden brown on one side, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn; cook other side about 2 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Top each cutlet with cheese slice. Cover skillet to melt cheese, about 1 minute. Place cutlet on serving plate. Serve with sauce and Parmesan cheese. 4 servings.

Reference:
1. Italian Nonna Chicken Cutlets Recipe | MUNCHIES
2. Come To My House: Italian Chicken Cutlet – YouTube

Is Coffee a Comforting Drink

It is a good question whether coffee is a comforting drink or just a habit. The best way to decide is by examining some good evidence of how coffee is a comforting drink.

Social

Some people spend quality time together drinking coffee and sharing interesting conversations. Some people meet at a coffee shop and strike up lasting friendships. Many people offer coffee to guests in their home (even hosts that do not actually drink coffee themselves). In some parts of the world, the phrase “go out for coffee” is the signal for hanging out with friends and having a good time. There is a reason, after all, that cafes and coffeehouses still exist. These are the places where folks gather to drink coffee and socialize. 

Long winter days and nights

If you could add up all of the coffee makers that are going throughout the winter months, the number might shock you. Sure lots of people enjoy hot cocoa and hot herbal tea, but even some of those people will partake of a hot cup of coffee at some point during the winter. Coffee seems to make the cold, harsh weather just a little more tolerable. Many people will stay home and drink coffee and have quality time with loved ones when it is too nasty outside to go anywhere.

Bonding over mugs

Believe it not, some people sit down and resolve disputes over a pot of coffee. Think about it: have you ever heard of people jumping up and beating each other up after drinking coffee? The overwhelming answer would probably be a no. To put it simply, sometimes enemies can become friends while talking over a good cup of coffee. That sounds rather dramatic, but it can happen more often than you think. It is easier to bond or at least be civil to each other when you share a common interest like coffee.

When times are tough

This is the prime example of how coffee is a comforting drink: during rough times in life. An unfortunate example is during the death of a loved one, there is almost always a pot of coffee brewing in the grieving homes. The reason for this could simply be because no one knows what to say or do for each other to ease the pain. Another example is that during stressful times like financial issues or troubles at work, people often will sit down with a cup of coffee and try to work out a solution. Somehow having that cup of coffee makes things just a wee bit less stressful.

Coffee can truly be a mentally and physically comforting beverage. The mental aspect could be from memories of mom/dad or grandma and grandpa drinking coffee and telling stories of days gone by. It could be because people feel they are more focused after having a cup of coffee. Physical comfort could be the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the rich flavor or just the feeling of the warm mug in your hands. There are many people that would disagree that coffee is comforting, but true coffee drinkers can tell you otherwise. If you ask some coffee drinkers what made them start drinking it, they will have a fond memory or good story to tell you about it.

Reference:
1. Do You Find Coffee To Be a Soothing, Comforting Elixir? | Serious …
2. Comforting Coffee recipe – Drinksmixer

Thoughts on Food and Beverages

One of my most vivid recollections of Greece is set in the port of Piraeus. I haven’t checked the recent guidebooks of Rick Steves or the Lonely Planet, but in the mid-1960s Fielding and Fodor were ecstatic about a tavern and grocery store named Vasellina’s.

It was then a small and simple restaurant in a noncommercial area, but it was famous for its cuisine. The “lunch” I consumed lasted close to two hours. There was no menu – strictly table d’hote. My trip notes, now yellowed with age, still bring to my palate recollections of long ago.

Cleanse and prepare the taste buds with raw clams writhing under a shower of squeezed lemon. Wash down with retsina. Cold pink fish salad, great stout chunks of aromatic Roquefort, nibbles of smoked anchovies; shut the eyes and try not to think about what went into the surprisingly tasty head cheese.

While I am washing my gullet with more retsina, other courses arrive in leisurely succession. Greek olives, tomato and green pepper salad, shrimp, carrots, and pickles snuggling in a piquant sauce, octopus (will always taste like rubber bands and buttons), a dozen deep fried, breaded small fish called “marides,” and dolmades.

More wine, even if retsina makes me think I have been licking telephone poles. I pause for a breath or two, before diving into the scallop-sized, deep fried balls of langouste or tiny lobster, sausages, a cross-breed of Turkish borek and tamales, and exquisitely cooked mullet. A stretch and a concealed belch while the dour waiter is bringing hot, lemony soup and replenishing the wine carafe for the third or fourth time.

Then it’s time for stewed chicken. Top it all off with alternate bites of watermelon and cantaloupe and finally we are presented with a bill demanding about three dollars per person. No, that’s not an error. The year was 1968.

Despite the fame of the restaurant, we were the only patrons during the first four courses of our meal. Then in sailed Camille, an untidy, loud-mouthed grandmother, who managed to “fill” the restaurant all by herself. She had come from a ship plying from New York to Beirut with a stop in Piraeus.

She drew us into her circle of one, and we cringed in embarrassment as she began bossing the waiter around. “None of that furniture polish you call wine, I’ll take beer!” Her most charming maneuver was half masticating a wad of octopus and then plucking it from her maw to hurl to the two cats near our table.

Through her full-mouthed babblings, we learned that she was a writer of travel books, newspaper articles, etc. Born in England but sounding pretty much American, and dividing her time between Karachi and Beirut. Currently she was writing The Round the World Adventures of a Grandmother, for which James Michener had supposedly written a foreword.

Somewhere just before the lemon soup, she lurched upright and tacked toward the ladies’ loo. The catarrhal hackings we heard made us fear that she was losing all she had eaten thus far, but she reappeared in fine spirits and made the waiter wrap up everything she hadn’t eaten so she could take it back to the ship. As we were leaving, she wrote down our names, implored us to look her up in Beirut, told us what nice people we were, all with three or four watermelon seeds adhering to one of her chins or dewlaps.

We never got back to Beirut to take her up on her promised hospitality. I had assumed she must be long dead at this writing, but the wonders The most recent copyright date I found was 1998-thirty years after our meeting at Vasellina’s, an establishment that according to Google no longer exists.

Reference:
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