Category Archives: Chef and Recipes

Real Estate Recipe Postcards – Do They Work

Are real estate recipe postcards a “delicious dish” for postcard marketing success, or are they a waste of time and money?

Only the individual marketer can answer that question with any finality. The answer will come from experimentation and testing with various postcard marketing tactics, comparing one strategy against another, etc. But I’d be happy to give my take on the subject, based on the time I spent working in the postcard marketing industry.

What’s a Real Estate Recipe Postcard?
Let’s start with a quick definition, just so we’re on the same page. A real estate recipe postcard is a marketing postcard sent from a real estate agent to their audience (usually homeowners and potential home buyers). On one side of the postcard, there’s a picture of a tasty dish with the recipe listed out. You know, chili con carne, bananas foster … that sort of thing.

On the other side of the recipe postcard, the agent will list his or her contact info with some form of “Call me when you need help” message. The basic premise is that the recipient likes the recipe so much — or finds the postcard so thoughtful — that they dial up the agent and say, “Will you help me buy / sell a home?”

I know, it’s a bit of a stretch. But that’s how real estate recipe postcards are supposed to work. The question is, do they work that way? An even better question is, how do the response rates from a real estate recipe postcard stack up against a postcard that makes a powerful offer and employs proven strategies of direct mail marketing?

To my knowledge, there has never been any study on the effectiveness of real estate recipe postcards (when compared to a different form of real estate postcard). Sure, you’ll find a handful of testimonials here and there, and perhaps some “Use real estate recipe postcards!” promotional copy on a postcard company’s website … but that’s probably it.

So here’s my take on the subject, based on my professional experience with both postcard marketing in general and real estate marketing in particular.

Me personally, I wouldn’t spend a dime on real estate recipe postcards. And do you want to know why? Because while a real estate recipe postcard might produce one response out of a thousands mailers, there are ways to get much better response rates. You know … those tried-and-true postcard marketing techniques, like making an offer of some kind.

There are also ways to combine the real estate postcard with an informational website, thereby creating a “super card” that can improve the success of both marketing channels. In short, I believe there are much stronger approaches to real estate postcard marketing than simply slapping on a recipe and waiting for the phone to ring. But that’s just me.

* You may republish this article online if you retain the author’s byline and active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2007, Brandon Cornett.

The Case Against Sports Drinks In Schools

The beverage industry produces enough soda for every American to consume 52-gallons each year. Although its a mind-boggling amount, the fact of the matter is their industry is stagnating. With soda sales flat, theyre turning to newer products. One of their most popular markets is the educational system. Marketed under the guise of being healthier than plain water, and an implication they are more efficient at meeting hydration needs, sports drinks have become a prominent fixture in many schools. But do they meet those claims, or are they just contributing to the obesity epidemic among U.S. children?

Research by the American College of Sports Medicine has shown that for exercise lasting less than one hour, water is the preferred method of meeting hydration needs. Their research suggests that the loss of electrolytes and carbohydrates from exercise meeting this requirement does not require the burst supplied by sports drinks that one typically gets from a modern sports drink. Their research also has shown that for activities lasting more than one hour, or occurring under intense heat, there are benefits to using sports drinks for hydration. The rapid and continuous loss of minerals under these conditions presents a risk to participants, and replenishing them rapidly improves hydration and athletic performance.

Interestingly enough, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the consumption of water, or a salt-containing flavored beverage to maintain hydration. Not only do they suggest such drinks, but the recommend children consume them regularly, regardless of whether they are thirsty.

Nutritional experts are beginning to question the need for having sports drinks available to kids during regular school hours. The logic of such an argument is that the activities occurring during regular school hours can not justify the extra calories kids consume when drinking these drinks. It has also been suggested that the extra electrolytes, which are just salt compounds, may even contribute to rising blood pressure among kids, when consumed in the absence of physical exertion. While the suggestions are controversial, most regulators are recommending limiting access during school hours, but making these beverages available during after school events and practices.

It seems inevitable that eventually, these drinks will be deemed of little nutritional or functional value for regular school day activities. After all, it doesnt seem reasonable to assume that kids or teens are at risk of becoming deficient in electrolytes while walking between classes. While they certainly offer benefits when consumed during intense exercise, theres little evidence to support the idea that they offer any positive benefits for normal day-to-day activity.

Finger Licking Good Chaat, Pani Puri And Veg Snacks

Change is inevitable. Be it in lifestyle, fashion, ways of cooking and eating and so on. Human civilization with the progress of time has only added more feathers of improvement to its cap. The same can be said about Indian food industry or to be very precise, the Indian snacks industry. This industry has witnessed tremendous progress from being mere street stalls to restaurant franchises, eating outlets and take-away joints. Talk about Indian snacks and namkeen, and you will only find your mouth watering. Indians are known to be spice food lovers and chaat items like aloo tikki, kachori with sabji, paneer tikka, raj kachori, bhalla papri, lachha tokri, pani puri, bhel puri, matar kulcha, pao bhaji, dahi bhalla, paneer masala chilla, and papri chaat well serve their spice loving tongues with their distinct taste.

It will be wise on your part to have chaat and veg snacks from reputed food joints that are known for quality and hygiene keeping intact the traditional taste. Get the bills, stand in the lines and enjoy the finger-licking good veg snacks at your favorite joints. When we talk of veg snacks, items like pav bhaji, vada pav, pakoda, paneer pakoda, bread pakoda, burger, soya masala wada, samosa, cheese corn balls, kachodi, samosa roll, soya tikki, gobhi pakoda, paneer tikki immediately flash in the mind. Go to your nearest restaurant and appease your appetite with any of the said veg snacks items.

While these food items consume a lot of time in preparation, the best solution is to visit any nearby food outlet and give your taste buds a delightful break. There is hardly any individual who has not tasted Bikano namkeen. Right from ratlami sev, peanuts, badam lacha, bikeneri bhujia, chana masala, cornflakes mixture, dal moth, ganthiya, kaju mixture, kashmiri mixture to khatta meetha, khoka bhujia, matar masala, moong daal, navratan mixture, peanut masala, etc. these are must accompaniments with tea, or any other beverage served in many an Indian home. They serve to be exactly the kind of munch we all look forward to in between our meals.

Bikano Namkeen, a specialty of Bikanervala, is one of the most consumed snacks in the Indian snacks industry. Under the Bikano namkeen items, you would find a long list of namkeens as aforementioned. Given the options you get under Bikano namkeen, it is impossible to not taste. If you go for aloo bhujia now, you can opt for peanut masala next and this way, you can taste every item from the Bikano namkeen menu. The crispy, crunchy and spicy items have given the Indian households a new snack to boast of, at tea intervals or to celebrate the munching times. What is more inviting is that you can order such sweets, veg snacks and namkeen online as well. Just log in to the brands corporate site and then place your order. The very delicious crunchy munchy snacks are just a click and also a call away.

French Cuisines A Short Article On French Culinary And Its Evolution Through The Years

The French dishes have great tales of evolution to recount. On hearing of French cooking , the first thing that one can immediately notice is the sophistication of cooking styles, and the taste contributed by the unique cooking elements employed in food preparation.

The impact of political transformations that occurred in France from time to time can be seen in its dishes too. As an outcome of these transformations you can relish some delicious dishes like Bouef Bourguignon- which is a beef prepared in red wine. The French are pretty serious about their food preparations, and they consider it a passionate art. This is one of the reasons that many of the authentic French dishes are heavily seasoned.

The French cuisine is regarded for its wide presentation and preparation styles, which gained prominence during the medieval times. The sauces prepared during those times were thick , with lots of butter and cream seasonings. Also the well known mustard meat preparations gained prominence during that time.

Sauces are one of the chief highlights of the French cuisine, which gained prominence during the 19th century. The 20th century heralded the new era in French cooking because by then the cuisine was divided into 5 segments, which were mainly known as the “brigade system”. These segmentation were vegetables, soups, pastries, cold dishes, and roasted grilled and fried food.

Each region of France has its own distinct cooking style and cuisine. Like in any other country all regions in have their own signature dishes. Like the coastal areas are famous for their seafood’s, prepared using sea bass, scallops, herrings, sole, etc. Similarly Normandy is famous for “moules a la creme Normande”. Brittany is famous for mussels, lobster, and crayfish preparations. The cauliflower thickened stews are specialty of Northern France, which are assorted with rich artichoke side-dishes. You can also enjoy some delicious salads like “Salade Niroise,”. This Cote d’ Azuran salad is prepared using black olives, various other ingredients with tuna.

The French egg recipes are savored and favored due to the uniqueness and creativity. You can enjoy various egg omelets, which are heavily seasoned with herbs and spices.

The French desserts are also famous for their unique tastes and creative culinary styles. For eg: Crepe is one such pancake , which is prepared from wheat flour and filled with ingredients like berries, cinnamon, nuts, bananas, jellies, ice cream, chocolate sauce, maple syrup, and jams to soft fruits and powdered sugar. The other popular French desserts like choux a lacreme, tarts, chocolate mousse, and pastries also ooze the same richness and taste as the Crepe..

Cooking Food With A Charcoal Spit

Cooking food with a charcoal spit is not just an easy way to get taste-tempting, great looking food, but it is also one of the healthiest forms of cooking. Since there is little oil or grease, if any, introduced into the cooking process, calorie and fat content are drastically reduced.

There are a number of foods that can be cooked this way, and those include poultry, fish, pork, lamb, beef, and even vegetables can be placed in a spit to being out the flavor. However, a whole pig is often the preferred option at large functions, and there are a lot of reasons for this.

Roasting can be compared to baking except that higher temperatures are used for this method. This tends to cook the meat more thoroughly and since it is rotating, more evenly as well.

When deciding to set up a charcoal spit, there are a few things that should be considered. First of all, you have to consider the weather, particularly the direction of the wind and how hard it is blowing. Of course, you can accommodate any weather conditions if you can find suitable shelter.

When planning a party where you will be roasting whatever cut you choose, consider that it is often better to have too much of a good thing than to not have enough to go around. Remember, people with full stomachs are much happier than those who are running on empty. You want your party to be a memorable experience, so make sure that when you put on the feed, you feed real well.

Most parties are planned events, so if you are going to be using a charcoal spit to make your guests happy, make sure to make preparations well in advance. That way you will not disappoint attendees because you could not find the right carcass you had been promising.

If you are going to be roasting a whole pig, lamb, or goat, remember that it takes a long time for them to cook. A whole carcass weighing 125 pounds will take between 5 and 6 hours to reach desired internal temperatures. Don’t wait until just before your guests are to arrive to start cooking, unless this is going to be an all day affair.

Cooking outdoors is a lot of fun, and that is why so many people do it. However, there are other reasons for using outdoor cooking equipment. One of those reasons is the sheer enjoyment that comes from simulating how food was cooked at an earlier time in human history.

Other reasons for standing at a grill or spit making sure the food is cooked just right have to include the pleasure it gives you to see the way others rave about your cooking prowess. By adding a spit to your repertoire of cooking implements, you are going to be seeing more smiles of enjoyment than ever before.

Helpful Things To Do To Create An Awesome Drink Menu For Your Next Cocktail Party

Planning a cocktail party? Here are the key things that you need to do to create a perfect drink menu for your guests: incorporate and choose your drink mixes, keep a simple drink menu, provide printed copies of your drink menu, and include non-alcoholic drinks.

Having a drink menu at your party will provide your guests an easier opportunity to try something new because the menu is an important party highlight that people will enjoy. Having a drink menu will not only cut costs by limiting what you need for your bar but it will also make your cocktail party a themed event where everyone can have fun. Here are the things that you can do to create your cocktail party’s drink menu:

Incorporate and choose your drink mixes

Incorporate a variety of drink mixes and choose which ones will fit the target guests at your cocktail party. Choose drink mixes for simple classics like the Martini, Dry Manhattan, and Tequini mixes. If you have enough time, you can also prepare the classic mixes like the Dubonnet Cocktail, Martinez, New Orleans Fizz, and Ward Eight. If you want to offer a new cocktail experience on mixes, try creating the less common frozen beverages such as Coladas, Margaritas, and Daiquiris. Scotch is also a great addition for your drink mixes. Check your guest list and choose the appropriate drink mixes according to the type of guests.

Keep a simple drink menu

Remember to keep your drink menu simple. Offer a variety of mixes for people to choose from. A round of 3 to 4 drink mixes are already enough to keep you guest from enjoying the different drinks offered. At the same time it will also give them enough time to socialize around. A short drink menu will serve the party guests very well.

Provide printed copies of your drink menu

After deciding on the number of mixes that you will serve, print a couple of copies of your drink menu. Place these on the bar or the drink tables for the guests to see. You can be creative when creating your drink menu. Rename the mixes according to your cocktail party’s theme. You can also add the drink recipe for a certain mix so your guests will know the ingredients. Just remember to laminate or cover your menu to protect it from spillage and from getting dirty.

Include non-alcoholic drinks

Include non-alcoholic drinks for those who do not want to drink the more festive beverages. You can easily mash up a non-alcoholic ladies drink and include it on your menu. Add tropical drinks called mocktails to make non-alcoholic beverages refreshing and healthy.

Rum cocktails are also a great addition to your drink menu. Just try to be creative and exciting when coming up with the mixes so that you can keep the cocktail party alive and entertaining. Good drink mixes are the key to a stimulating and memorable cocktail party.

Online Cooking Game

This is the age of fast and the furious where our requirements need to be satiated almost instantly but cooking is perhaps the only activity in the world that commands its pace of preparation. Come internet revolution, where every bit of information is just a click away, cooking also is no exception. People since early ages have been experimenting with food and have come out with something new and innovative that have rocked the taste buds since generations.

On the hindsight, its not that internet has replaced the actual activity, but has helped in broadening our culinary perspectives by offering recipes to various dishes. But, along with it one also needs to practice in the kitchen which might entail a lot of hard work and simultaneously involves a lot of wastage of food ingredients. So to simplify this problem, cooking-games.ws has come forward with a very delectable concept of online cooking games where not only can you search for your favorite dish but also you could try out cooking them through the interactive flash enabled games and also one can try out the newer recipes on offer. But before you get your hands dirty along with your kitchen you could try cooking them on this site. The site has flash enabled on it which makes the game of cooking all the more exciting by including several colourful ingredients with which one can make the dishes as it would be made in a kitchen in real time. So the process of cooking as well as learning is made more exciting. The site has a wide array of cooking games relating to a wide variety of cuisines that are sure to enhance your culinary skills.

The games that are on display are pizza games, burger games, pancake preparation, donuts, baking a cake, Mexican food and the list goes on. You only have to be here to experience it all. So the more you play these games the more knowledgible you are about handling the ingredients while cooking the actual dish in your kitchen. So whats the wait for? Jump in and titillate your taste buds.

Drink Fenugreek Tea For Good Health

Fenugreek tea is popular where it is naturally harvested, which is in nations adjoining the Mediterranean and onwards to India. Not only is it used to augment foods but also as a very popular refreshing drink.

The beverage itself contains only the fenugreek seeds. They are easily found in supermarkets, specialty supermarkets or your local health food store. It suffices to comment that the better the quality, the better the resulting beverage.

Brewing the tea is easy – a walk in the park, even, so don’t be worried that you have to make this drink with seeds as opposed to herbs. As a general rule, use one teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of water. Put them in a pot and boil them for at least five minutes. If you like a stronger taste, then boil them for up to ten minutes. This is something you can play around with until you come up with your perfect cup. Now just remove the pan from the heat and cover. Leave for another ten to fifteen minutse – the same principles apply – the longer you leave it, the stronger it will become so monitor this carefully. When you believe it is ready, strain the mixture into a mug or cup. You can now throw away the seeds as they have done their job. This drink tastes good hot or cold (try it with ice and lemon when it is hot outside).

Fenugreek is a really healthy choice. It is great for digestion and anything related to the digestive process. It actually has quite a lot of fiber which is why it is often used as a laxative. The fiber swells in the colon, and helps take away toxic waste from your body. Many people drink this tea to detoxify themselves or as part of a detox program. In fact you will find that many of the teas sold as “detox teas” have fenugreek as one of the main items. It is a great tea is you have a cough or any bronchitis related problems as fenugreek helps to get rid of excess mucus in the body. It can even be used to help new mothers increase their flow of milk.

This tea can also be used as a paste to help with skin irritation, swelling and insectstings. For the paste, just mix around three tablespooons of powdered fenugreek seeds to around one quart of boiled water. Let this mixture stand and when it is cold it will be of a thick consistency. You can either buy ground fenugreek seeds for this or you can do this yourself in a grinder or kitchen machine.

With all these benefits as well as a great taste, it is obvious that fenugreek tea should take a favorite place in your kitchen.

Lebanese Cuisine A Taste Of Life

Remember the last time you had a Lebanese Meal and that resolution you made promising yourself another similar meal soon? You also may have thought about cooking Lebanese food yourself, if you were able to source some authentic homemade Lebanese Recipes. And so is the magic of Lebanese Recipes. Lebanese dishes are delicious, lighter to eat and nutritious for health, just because of their unique ingredients and preparation that compels you to ask for Lebanese food again and again. The primary ingredients used in any Lebanese Recipe tend to include garlic, olive oil and lemon in addition to a wide array of grains, vegetables, fresh fish, seafood and poultry. Foods are stewed, grilled or baked mostly using Olive Oil and no other fatty oils or butter. And the essence of Lebanese Food lies in the use of herbs and spices like the 7 spices, Summak and other light aromatic spices.

Lebanese cuisine is a hybrid of local, Turkish, Shami (the areas of Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria), Persian and other cuisines from cultures that influenced the area through the centuries.

Mezze: Lebanese cuisine is not only famous for its tasty food and recipes, but also for its presentation. Dishes with a variety of colors, textures, aromas and flavors are typically served in small portions to guests as appetizers. They may include stews, veggies, meats, seafood and salads. This custom is referred to as Mezze (aka Mezza) in Lebanon. Mezza can span upwards of 30 hot and cold varieties of appetizers.

Lebanese Salads Recipes: The two most famous Lebanese Salads are Tabouleh and Fattoush. Tabouleh (aka Tabbouli) means little spicy, and it contains ingredients like Bulgur, Parsley, Mint, Tomato, 7 spices, and Lemon juice. Fattoush Salad includes toasted pita bread and other vegetables with Summak spice and pomegranate molasses.

Lebanese Dips Recipes: Lebanese food is largely famous for its dips likes Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Moutabala and Toum (garlic dip).

All ingredients used in Lebanese Recipes can be sourced at Middle Eastern grocery stores easily. Happy eating!

Next Iron Chef Super Chefs Finale – Is There A Fix

Last night I watched Next Iron Chef on Food Network, and with the final 4 chefs battling it out for that coveted spot in the finale things got very intense. I didnt think it could top last weeks episode where Chef Anne Burrell was forced to be one of the judges against her peers (which backfired when she was faced to go up against probably the most experienced chef in the group, Chef Zakarian), and was beaten out and forced to exit the competition. What surprised me the most was that the episode she was eliminated from was identified by which chef was willing to take the most risk, and she clearly identified her willingness to do so by selecting sardines as her ingredient to work with while the other chefs had much easier ingredients (with the exception of Chef Falkner who had tuna jerky).

Last night the final 4 chefs which consisted of Chef Falkner, Chef Zakarian, Chef Guarnaschelli, and Chef Chiarello were pitted against each other in a bout of which chef could exhibit the most passion using seafood to feed 20 guests in the Hamptons (Could you pass me the lobster Muffy? Why certainly Biff!). After the smoke cleared (literally and figuratively), Chef Zakarian and Chef Falkner were the only 2 chefs left to go against each other in next weeks finale.

Whats very interesting is that the Food Network blogs are buzzing with gossip that this competition has been fixed from the beginning to pave a way to replace Iron Chef Cat Cora since shes left the show with another female chef, presumably Chef Falkner. While Chef Falkner is a decent chef, I find it very bizarre that she is still in the competition while legendary chefs like Chef Burrell and Chef Irvine have been eliminated who have over the years proven to be far more superior in their skills as chefs. I can clearly see why Chef Zakarian has made it to the final round, but if he gets beaten by Falkner who doesnt even have a fraction of his knowledge, experience, or passion, then the buzz of this being a fixed competition will have proven itself.