The Many Uses of Sunflower Oil in Restaurants

Owning a restaurant can be very demanding at times. You need to keep your customers satisfied by preparing good fresh food and keeping your kitchen hygienically clean in addition to the excellent customer services skills that you need to hone. When it comes to fresh food, it’s the preparation and ingredients that makes the difference. Starting off with a pure sunflower oil will add to the goodness of the dish.

I want to explore how many uses there are for sunflower oil in restaurant kitchens and how it improves these dishes.

  • Frying. Deep frying is one of the most common uses of sunflower oil namely because it has a high smoke point of at least 227 degrees Celsius. It can be used to fry French fries, onion rings, battered fish, chicken and much more. It is, however, imperative that the chef uses pure sunflower oil when deep frying and does not reuse the oil for the next batch. Reusing frying oil will lower its intensity and pose a health risk.
  • Roasting. Using sunflower oil during the roasting process will add a lovely golden brown colour and crispy texture to dishes such as chicken, roast potatoes, vegetables, etc. When a chef prepares the roasted chicken dish, he adds oil to the roasting pan and coats the chicken with the oil before adding the spices. He then places the chicken in the oven, turning it over only once so that he can obtain that sought after golden brown colour that people love.
  • Cooking. This is probably the most common use of vegetable oil, for cooking purposes. When preparing any dish on the stove, the chef will heat the pot; add the sunflower oil, then onions and the remainder of the ingredients. Cooking any meal always starts with heating the cooking oil. Many wonderful dishes are prepared in this manner such as stew, curry, biryani and casserole.
  • Baking. Any good restaurant has dessert on its menu, especially cake. Cake cannot be baked without sunflower oil. The type of oil that you use in baking will make a difference to the texture and lightness of the cake. Sunflower oil makes the cake lighter and complements the other ingredients, thus making the cake more flavourful.
  • Salads. This may seem strange to some but vegetable oil can be used as salad dressing or in the making of salad dressing. Therefore, creating another element of flavour to an otherwise ordinary salad. Every restaurant should have their own signature salad dressing.

Sunflower oil has many different uses for any restaurant that offers a wide array of dishes. It is clearly a very versatile oil that can be used for frying, roasting, cooking, baking and in salads.

Source by Hassim Seedat

What Are the Available Restaurant Maps Online?

Traditionally, when people were looking for a new restaurant, they would pick up a copy of Zagat’s or some other fancy food guide. But in just a few short years, online maps have come a long way and now offer local information on businesses, shops and eateries too. Sites like Google Maps allow users to create their own maps of favorite establishments that they can save or share with friends and family. There are hundreds of food maps online, although a few noteworthy ideas have risen to the top.

On the West Coast, what could be better than eating a real, authentic Mexican taco out of a truck? With heaping portions, loads of options and mama’s homemade guacamole, you just cannot go wrong. You just can’t get that level of deliciousness from a restaurant, Californians say. However, it can be tricky to locate these trucks, especially if you are from out-of-town. Thus, Yumtacos was born.

Creator Joshua Lurie-Terrell of Sacramento, California said he had been keeping a list of the best taco trucks for quite some time. “As soon as friends of mine knew I had this list, people were calling me all the time,” he admits. From there, transferring the data onto a Google map was no problem. Once the site was live, people could add their own taco truck sightings. Yum Tacos primarily focuses on California, although authentic Mexican taco trucks have been plotted from as far away as Baltimore, Maryland.

Another site, Chinesefoodmap, is based on mapping out the Chinese restaurant locations for Chinese immigrants. Web users will also have access to reviews, menus, driving directions and other local information. Creator Brian Hui first created this site only in Chinese and focusing on Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Chinese food establishments. However, the site has grown nationwide to metros like Houston, Seattle and Atlanta, and an English version inevitably popped up as well.

Users of Google Maps have created a number of restaurant “mashups” based on the Google template. One of the most notable sites is Menurequest, which features more than 5,000 links in New York, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Napa Valley, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Users can visit the restaurant’s website, read reviews, get driving directions and make online reservations through this amazing map. These are just a few of the food maps available to culinary curators. Perhaps your very own city has a site designed just for hungry local residents like you.

Source by Mike Ramidden

Galley Provisioning

Galley provisioning needs a lot of thought if you are going blue water sailing, or on an extended coastal cruise, a lot of pre-planning needs to go into your time at sea. Start 2 or 3 months ahead and write everything that you eat and drink down in a binder.

Separate the binder into what you will need including:

• Food Provisions!
• Equipment needed!
• Marine Refrigeration!
• Favorite Recipes!

Keep track of what you eat for the same period on shore, the number of people that will be on board plus the number of meals during this time. When counting the days off shore add extra time, some say 50% more time in case of bad weather, a slow passage or even miscalculation of food needed.

Cruising builds a healthy appetite running out of food or drink, or even basic ingredients can spoil an otherwise idyllic cruise. And being hungry can bring on fatigue and impair a safe passage.

Basic Provisions:

Get everything dry that is possible and store large quantities in plastic sealed containers, amounts depend on the length of your trip. It is amazing how much variety can be made from flour, rice, baking powder, yeast, powdered milk, pasta, beans, even dried potatoes and vegetables are a good stand by.

Then look at coffee, tea, long life milk, powdered drink mixes, sugar, salt and pepper, cooking oil, vinegar and sauces. Spice things up with dried herbs, chilly and then by adding some tins and frozen products.

When galley provisioning think about the times you’ll feel like pizza, pancakes, lasagna, spaghetti with different sauces, muffins in different varieties, you can whip them all up in no time with these basic ingredients. There is nothing quite like the smell and taste of freshly cooked bread when out at sea! You don’t need an oven to make it either; try using the pressure cooker or a Cob if you have one.

Dry sausages and salamis are great for pizzas and pasta, or an antipasto to have with drinks.

Protein… Meat, Cheeses & Eggs:

Meat is best vacuum packed; it’s tender and keeps longer. A variety of cheeses can be kept without marine refrigeration or months kept in preserving jars covered with virgin olive oil, and some like feta can be flavored with herbs or spices. Cheeses covered with red or yellow wax keep longer.

Keep eggs in a cool place and keep turning them. Some sailors manage without any refrigeration; it can be done with some careful galley provisioning.

Fruit & Vegetables:

Long life fruit and vegetables like pumpkin, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, oranges and lemons, are good to stock up on and store in well ventilated areas; nets are great for this.

Salad vegetables, tomatoes and bananas and others that have a short shelf life store in green supermarket bags and eat early in your voyage. You can buy these provisions at markets along the way.

And when galley provisioning remember when the salad vegetables run out this is the time to think about coleslaw made from cabbage. Many sailors grow their own herbs and sprouts, if there is room and a place that is not going to get bucket loads of sea water drowning them, they help provide fiber and vitamins and liven up meals.

Have three days pre-prepared meals when galley provisioning, easy to eat when you are getting your sea legs especially if you get some heavy weather.
Even on shorter coastal trips this is wise and helps if anyone is likely to get seasick from spending time in the galley.

Yummy Snacks:

And don’t forget the snacks! Lots of them for sun-downers and night watch, great for an energy boost when the weather is too bad to cook.

They can range from cups of soup to chips and dips, biscuits and crackers, cheese and gherkins, energy bars whatever you fancy. And some special treats for special occasions or just for the moral if needed.

Adjust your galley provisioning according to whether you are coastal sailing, blue water sailing and the lands you will visit and availability of stores and markets.

Some countries are great with local markets and fresh produce, others be cautious of introducing ‘creepy crawlies’ to your galley.

Fresh Fish & Seafood:

And don’t forget the freshest meals can be in the sea you sail, fresh fish and other seafood caught from your yacht so have some good recipes to add variety.

And don’t forget your choice of drink be it wine, beer or spirits ( and the mixes), even when going off shore to foreign ports you are not restricted like when you are flying… just take what is a reasonable amount!

Whatever that may be… ? Ever made your own beer? It is possible on board and many sailors do, it’s a big saving too!

Last but definitely not least… water! You can’t survive without it, it is even more important than food so besides full tanks and extra containers of water, find small spaces on the boat to store bottles of filtered water.

I don’t have a water maker and yachts I’ve been on that do I don’t like the taste, and I know others feel the same way, so these bottles can be a ‘life saver.’ Or disguise the taste with a cordial.

Galley Equipment:

The galley is an important part of any boat and the equipment used needs to be taken into careful consideration. If you are looking for quality, and an amazing variety to choose from at a low, low price consider shopping on line.

Galley provisioning adjusts to factors like whether you have a fridge or freezer, and there are preferences here. I have got by very well with just a big freezer, freezing what is necessary and chilling and putting into a cooler what needs to be kept cold.

I have no oven aboard my yacht just a double gas burner and grill, and like so many who cruise a big deep pan is essential for our ‘one pot’ dishes. The other saucepan I use the most is a double pot steamer.

Strong plastic containers of all sizes are an important part of the modern day galley; they keep dampness and ‘creepy crawlies’ out and have a multitude of other uses.

Fall in love with a pressure cooker, one of my most essential pieces of equipment in the galley. They are fast cooking, so save gas and in the tropics speed keeps the heat in the cabin down, and the time spent ‘slaving over a hot stove’.

Even in bad sea’s they are safe to cook in with the sealed lid and they can cook casseroles that are tasty and tender in a fraction of the time of an oven and even bake bread.

The Cobb is fantastic too; a portable cooker that can be used on any surface on the boat or ashore, and runs on a handful of heat beads. It can be used as an oven and makes delicious roasts, smokes fish, bakes bread and pizzas, and can be used as a stove or bar-b-que.

Compile some recipes’ together and make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment and put these in your binder. Not just main meals and one pot meals, but some treats to delight the crew with! Bon-Appetite!

Source by Christine Couch

The Image Adjustment Lab and New Histogram in Corel Photo Paint X4

The Image Adjustment Lab is an area within PHOTO-PAINT that allows you to make global changes, correcting the color and tones of most images quickly and easily. Before using the Image Adjustment Lab, it’s best to do any cropping or retouching beforehand.

Also, if you have any masking to do, it’s a good idea to do that beforehand as well. Since the Image Adjustment Lab will make global corrections to your images, masking off the areas that you don’t want to be color corrected is important. My suggestion is to take only the areas that you want corrected and copy those sections as separate Objects (layers).


Some of the features of the Image Adjustment Lab allow you to:

  • Look at a before and after preview of the section you’re working on.
  • Create an Auto Adjustment (which is often a correct color balance or very close to it the first time you use it).
  • Set a White and Black Point.
  • Make global corrections such as Temperature, Tint, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and Midtones.
  • NEW: The Real-Time Histogram allows you to edit images with greater accuracy. The histogram lets you know if the highlights or shadows will be clipped and it also shows you if the dynamic range has been expanded too much (which may create a posterizing effect). It’s recommended that you use the automatic features first. If they don’t give you the result you’re after, then you can start experimenting with the various sliders.
  • Use the Create Snapshot feature to take snapshots of your work in progress. These are displayed below the working image, allowing you to keep track of your adjustments. If, for any reason, you don’t like the changes, you can click on a previous snapshot to restore the color balance or you can access the Click to Reset button to start over from the beginning. These features make it relatively easy to manipulate images, but it’s easy to get caught up in the features and lose track of what you’re doing. I recommend that you keep a notebook handy when working on images (especially when working on a complex project) and take note of the settings. These will come in handy when you work on a new project with similar issues.

To access the Image Adjustment Lab, go to the main toolbar and click on Adjust: Image Adjustment Lab. This brings up the Image Adjustment Lab dialog box.

The Controls

At the top of the dialog box are a number of tools which govern navigating your way around the dialog box.

  • These are the Rotation tools, the Pan tool, the Zoom tools (zoom in/out, fit in window (F4) and display image at normal size) and the Preview Modes.
  • On the right hand side are the automatic and manual controls which are organized in a workflow order for image correction. Essentially, you start in the upper right hand corner and work your way down. These sliders (which include the option for numeric entry include: Auto-adjust, Temperature, Tint, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and Midtones.
  • The Auto adjust button is often the only tool you’ll need. It corrects the lightest and darkest areas and adjusts the tonal range in each channel.
  • The White/Black point automatically adjusts the contrast in the image. The black/white eyedroppers also create some tonal neutrality in the image and aren’t just for setting the white/black points.
  • The Temperature slider corrects the color casts by “warming” or “cooling” the color casts in the image. This allows you to compensate for lighting issues at the time the photography was taken.
  • The Tint slider governs the green and magenta in an image and is the control you would use after the Temperature slider to fine-tune the image.
  • The Saturation slider controls how vivid your colors are. Moving the slider to the right increases the effect while moving it to the left decreases the effect.
  • The Brightness slider controls the overall brightness or darkness of an image.
  • The Contrast slider contros the difference in tone between the light and dark areas of an image. Use of this control can mute colors or increase image detail.
  • The Highlights slider controls the brightness in the lightest areas of the image. Here, you would also use the Midtones and Shadows sliders to fine-tune the image. Of the next two controls the Shadows slider lets you adjust the brightness in the darkest parts of the image, while the Midtones slider controls the brightness in the midrange tones of an image.
  • Directly below these controls are the Real-Time Histogram, the Hints pane and the Create Snapshot button. As mentioned earlier, the histogram lets you know if the highlights or shadows will be clipped and it also shows you if the dynamic range has been expanded too much (which may create a posterizing effect).
  • The Hints pane gives you information about each slider and gives information about how to use them. To see the corresponding hint for a given slider, hover your mouse above the slider and the information will appear.
  • Below is the Create Snapshot button. This is used to preserve details of the changes you make as you go through the process of correcting an image. Each snapshot contains the detials of your changes. Clicking on Create Snapshot creates a thumbnail beginning on the lower left of your images. These allow you to revert to an earlier stage of image correction in case you don’t like what you’ve done currently.
  • Immediately after that are the Undo/Redo and Reset to Original controls which appear on the lower left of the dialog box. You can use these buttons to Undo/Redo parts of your image, or click on the Reset to Original button to reset your image to the beginning of your corrections.

The Image Adjustment Lab Dialog Box

Ideally you’ll want to take care of light/color correction issues on location, but that isn’t always possible.

Beyond this chapter is a video tutorial that I’ve created on how to use the Image Adjustment Lab. Another option for image corrections is to work with the Tone Curve, which is also quite effective.

Source by Nathan Segal

Making Mini Sites With Joomla CMS

While almost everyone has heard of minisites by now if you know anything about internet marketing, very few people have considered using an open source and free CMS or content management system, like Mambo or Joomla, which is based on Mambo code, to produce minisites.

What are the advantages of using a CMS like Joomla to rapidly make and deploy minisites on the internet?

1. Joomla is easy to use and you can use thousands of free CSS based templates that support the latest standards and have a site up in hours, not days.

2. Joomla support easy wysiwyg or what you see is what you get visual editors that allow you to set up and add content to a site as easily as using a word processor on your desktop computer. What this means is that your site supports the latest web 2.0 standards and can grow in content easily and quickly without redeveloping your website from scratch.

3. Joomla has thousands of extensions and you can easily produce websites that rival sites costing tens of thousands of dollars for nothing. You can easily add membership sites, photo galleries, streaming video, audio, chat, and forums as well as rich blogs. In short, everything to make your site “sticky” and keep bringing back those visitors over and over again.

4. Joomla makes changing the look of your site a snap, since you can change your template and quickly change the look and feel of your website in just minutes, allowing you to freshen up your site every once in a while.

5. Joomla is continuously updated and is now releasing a beta version called 1.5. Most people are still working on 1.03 or so, but it is nice to know that future upgrades are available.

6. Joomla is well supported by many Hosting services now, and is able to be installed by Fantastico scripts with just one click. There is a user manual and several video packages that show you how to make templates and set up membership sites for profit.

7. Joomla and most of it’s extensions or add ons are free and open source so it is cheap to get a very professional web presence on the internet.

For all the advantages, it will take a few weeks to get used to the new methodology of using a CMS to manage and deploy your websites unless you are used to making websites from your browser. Once you get the hang of it however, you never want to go back to the slow laborious system of desktop website creation and uploading.

I recommend you go to one of the sites called and go through the tutorials right after installing Joomla and before you do any work on your own site. Basically, you start with a template that you get for free at the largest free site template repository called They have over 1,500 free templates you can start with. Alternatively, you can go with one of the many commercial template companies that offer a variety of paid templates that you can modify and make into your site.

Once you select the template, you must change the permissions on your template and media areas of your template section in Joomla under your public html directory so that you can make changes to the appropriate template and files.
You do this either within joomla or most often, from cpanel using your file manager functions and set the file permissions to 777 for the folders and 666 for files.

You must get a log in from your hosting company after installation so that you can go into the administrators section that you manage and build the site from and make changes and add content to the site.

After you log in, you go to the templates section in the site manager and click on new.

Then you are presented with a dialog that asks you to browse on your computer and pick the site template which must be in zip format and you upload the template on your site. After a few minutes, if it is successful, and it tells you so, and then you click on continue. Then your site template will be listed with the other default templates. You click the radio button to make the template you installed the default template.

Then, you click on the radio button to select the default template and then you click on html to edit the html for the template page. You will be checking for the image files on the page.

As you can see, you need to study html and I would especially study CSS or cascading style sheets and tables so that you know how to place things on the page. In any event you need to look for the header graphic and replace it with a graphic header of your logo or a header image for your site.

You must be sure the graphic is slightly smaller than the size given so that the header graphic or logo will show up without messing up the format of the template or page. You must upload using an ftp program like Transmit or Filezilla the image file that you want to use for your logo or header image. Once you find the joomla folder in the public html folder, you must click on it to find the templates folder. Inside that there is an images folder. You must upload your chosen image to that folder. It should be a .jpg or .gif file in the same format as that used in the template if possible. Once the image shows up in the file, your next job is to change the html in the html file and replace it with the name of the image you uploaded. Then when you pull up your [http://www.sitename/joomla] your front page should show your graphic logo or header file.

Next, you need to unpublish those buttons on the front page that you don’t need. You go to the main menu section and unpublish everything but the home button. You will need to go to joomla extensions page and go to menu section and find a menu extension that will allow you to use images or other files to set up your menus. Then you will have the appropriate file extension ready when it is time to link your menus which is the last step in setting up your website.

One thing you can do now is figure out what extensions or extras you will need on your website. You can just have a straight minisite but you will do better in the search engines and in the eyes of your visitors if you have a theme based content site and not just a sales page. If you add a chat client, a forum, and a blog to your site then you will find that your visitors become involved with the site and keep returning. The more they are on your site, the greater the chance they will buy what you have to offer, be it an affiliate offer, an ebook, or a membership.
Check each section of the extensions. Especially the graphics section where all the banner advertising extensions are. You can monetize the site with banners and/or text ads that will bring additional money onto the site. It is true that if you use AdSense on your site, your site will show up in the search engines sooner. There are several AdSense modules. You will need to add docman or Remository if you will be setting up files for download on your site. Community builder or AEC will serve you well if you are setting up a membership site. You will need One of the wsiwyg content editors in the content and news section so that you can edit your pages easily and quickly. You must set up your wysiwyg editor as your default editor for Joomla. Then when you go to add content, you can easily and quickly edit your pages. You should go to the Blog section and add X-Blogg for editing your blog offline and download one of the blog programs for easily setting up and running a blog from your site. You will need to add one of the payment processors and/or a shopping cart for your site if you will be selling products from your site. Once you have added all the extensions, be it a component, module, or mambot you are ready to go to the next step.

Next, you will start adding the sections you will need in your site. Then you will add categories to the sections until you have divided your site into an organized entity. Then you will edit the front page using the content editor and the wysiwyg editor you have made the default content editor. You will add images and add articles so that everything is done to your satisfaction. Use Polls, banners, and the AdSense or other text ads for your affiliate programs to the front page on a rotating Banner or rotating ad schedule. That way you can track where most of your sales are coming from . Keep adding articles and other sections to your site until it is finished. Don’t forget to add sales pages for each of the products or affiliate opportunities you are promoting. Then you will add a Thank You page for any downloads you need to offer or ebooks or software. You will have to set up the extension and add any thumbnails or links you need to download products for.

Once that is all set up check all your images and your spelling for all your articles. Check your links and make sure that everything is in order. Make sure your shopping Cart is working properly by adding a sample products and ordering them. Make sure that any forms are working properly to add your visitors to your opt in list.

Add your newsletter buttons and set up your mailings. Set up your autoresponders for any orders or requests for you newsletters. I suggest you set up your newsletters in an archive section on your site so that people can download them from the site in case their email Spam filter eats your newsletter.
Once everything looks good publish your pages.

Congratulations, your site is now live. Write two articles in your area of expertise a day and you will have over 100 articles in a years time circulating all over the net earning you money. You just submit the articles to article directories and you will add a signature file mentioning your experience and your main web site. As I said, if you do this to hundreds of sites you will soon see a flood of traffic to your site and the money will follow! Joomla Greetings for the holidays!

Source by Kathy Elliott

The Latest Ad Hoc Mobile Personal Tech Networking Device Patent by Apple

Every day the smart phone market has something new to say, new to report, or more information to retort. For instance, now Apple is upping the ante on their control over the smart phones they sell, and has decided to apply for a few new patents. Yes, this is all typical in Apple Style, and yet, one of those patents is very telling to us at our Internet style Think Tank, as we are constantly remunerating about such things.

Great article on August 20, 2010 in ARS Technica entitled; “Apple May Be Looking to Lock Out Unauthorized iOS Users,” by Chris Foresman who reported that Apple filed a patent titled; “Systems and Methods for Identifying Users of an Electronic Device,” such as heartbeat analysis, photo, voice print, and suspicious behavior uncommon to the known user.

So, I guess a thief who has stolen the phone would then be giving away his/her picture, voice print, keystrokes, and Global Position (location). The patent appears to also be able to turn off phone, erase hard-drive, and download all information to the “cloud” which is to protect the user. Yes, very nice, but with this technology, the authorities could also shut-it-down if the individual was suspected of being a bad guy, rioter, terrorist, etc. too.

Now then some folks at Slash-Dot ask, well would this also allow Apple to shut off those who “jail-break” from Apple’s proprietary software? A great question posed by SoulSkill (screen name). A very good question, and inquiring minds, like mine want to know. But I also suspect that by having this feature, it means that the US Army would be interested in this for our “Blue Force” tracking in the Net Centric or rather Ad Hoc networked battlespace too. See that point.

If an enemy gets a hold of one of their mobile devices, boom! – it is shut off and we have a picture of the enemy’s camp, and what questions are asked, and the position of the soldier or device? Wow, now that is what I call using privileged information during interrogation. It also helps Apple sell its devices to the US Government over competitors like Motorola, Nokia, HTC, Google, and Blackberry too.

Unfortunately, this will totally fuel new conspiracy theories and NSA fringe seekers living in old cold war missile silos waiting for the apocalypse or Terminator’s SkyNet to take over? Is this more big brother, or just upping the stakes in the world of personal tech, and government, military security for communication devices? You decide, I’ve already decided for myself.

Source by Lance Winslow

Toasted Sandwich Maker – Mario Batali Panini Maker

The dimensions of the Mario Batali Panini Grill and Press is 22.5 x 12.3 inches and it weighs 15 pounds. This was one of the largest Panini makers and would be good for preparing quick simple meals for a family and reviews claimed a high quality item that was easy to clean.

A Toasted sandwich maker needs to be heavy gauge cast iron with a similarly robust lid for cooking the top and producing nice grill marks. At 15 pounds this Panini maker may be too heavy for some to lift but a heavy pan and lid will conduct heat and brown much better. It also has tall sides to sufficiently hold in any cheese, juices, or marinade that may leak out without running onto the stove top. This Panini maker is larger than we needed for cooking for two so I purchased an All Clad Panini maker which is smaller. I had one disaster but after trying it out a few more times I have been very, very pleased with it.

My first toasted sandwich was the disaster. You can not hurry a Panini maker! After airing the smoke out of the house, and some good natured ribbing from my husband, I learned to turn down the heat! It’s seems to work best when the pan and press are preheated on medium heat or slightly below. Be sure to preheat pan and press on separate burners. It is also necessary to spray pan and press with non-stick cooking spray or grill with a little oil. Be careful when lifting press as some of these press handles can get very hot.

A toasted sandwich favorite of ours is to take a slice of 1 inch sourdough bread, brush both sides with olive oil or butter, layer smoked gouda, prosciutto, onions, tomato, fontina cheese and slice of bread, place in your preheated Panini maker and grill. Better yet, experiment! Make a toasted sandwich with your favorite ingredients. In minutes you will have a wonderful, quick meal with your favorite ingredients.

We live in Oklahoma which can mean days and days of wind not to mention the pop-up thunderstorms that wreak havoc on a charcoaler! A Panini maker can also be a great stove top grill. Mine has worked great for grilling meat, grilling asparagus and other vegies. Toss asparagus in olive oil season with salt and pepper and grill. It takes about 2-3 minutes for crisp tender asparagus. Another favorite veggi is a small yellow squash cut in half length wise brushed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and basil or Italian seasoning and grilled until it just begins to soften.

A Panini maker would also work for breakfast. We like to put a slice of Canadian bacon and cheese between to halves of an English muffin and grill until golden. I found a recipe that kids would love and is really, really easy. Split 6 mini bagels into 2 halves, spread creamy peanut butter and grape jelly on bottom half, top with top half and grill. The kids have a hot breakfast they will love!

Remember, a recipe is merely a guide!

Source by Lea Ann Gingerich

Tumbled Stones For Healing, Prosperity, Peace and Love

The definition of a beautiful life is good health, prosperity, harmony, peace and love. Another definition of life is the circumstances that prevent one from living a beautiful life, making it stressful, difficult and loaded with ill-health. Tumbled crystals, tumbled rocks can alter your life to a beautiful life as crystal and rocks do posses an aura, a power that is specifically used for healing and balancing the energy.

What are Tumbled Stones?

Pieces of natural minerals or rocks that are usually 1 to 5 cm, which are processed to make them smooth, round pebbles are called tumbled stones. Every rock or mineral is selected for its appearance, color, translucence, ability to withstand polishing. Some people simply collect rocks and minerals as a hobby, while one also has the option to buy tumbled stones.

How to polish rocks and stones?

People who collect rocks and stones as a hobby can polish the same with polishing material and sand paper. Rock tumbler kits are available at most stores for hobbyists. Business houses who deal with the supply of tumbled stones identify the purpose of the use of stone to cut, polish and sell it as wholesale tumbled stones.

Uses of Tumbled Stones

Tumbled stones are also known as tumbled gemstones and have a wide range of applications. These stones are widely used as decorative for gardens and landscaping, water fountains, desktop articles, vases, making jewelry, spiritual healing and rock massages.

Tumbled gemstones are believed to be energizers. Stonehenge, dates back to 2600 BC is a prehistoric icon in Britain, which symbolizes mystery, power and endurance. Stones are charged with energy, the life force that connects you and energizes you.

Crystal healers and gemologist have come to understand and accept that every stone has an aura which affects the people around it. It helps to balance and harmonize the energies of the person with nature. Every tumbled stone is understood to have an effect on the chakras, which affects the physical, emotional and spiritual health of the user. A combination of tumbled stones has a combined effect on the person in whose vicinity the stones are kept as these stones are a life-force, energy givers. Besides the energy benefit, the tumbled stone make an amazing decorative piece for homes or offices.

There are over 100 types of tumbled gemstone combinations available at leading rock shops. All stones are identified by rock experts, tumbled and sold with details of its weight in carat and its effect of the various chakras.

Gemstones and crystals will always have an effect on the individual. If you do not believe in going to an expert for advice, you can yourself identify which rocks, minerals or stone are right for you as you will be able to sense the attraction or aversion to them. This ‘feeling’ is experienced not only when you touch the stone, but even when you are surfing online and wondering which to buy. Go by your instincts and the stone that is right for you will enhance your instinct for a peaceful, healthy and harmonious life.

Source by Joy Mitchell

College Scholarship Search for the Frustrated Student

It may seem like the fall of a student’s junior year it too soon to search for scholarships but it is not. In fact, I often tell parents to start searching for scholarship the moment that your student enters high school. It is an unusual time to talk about money for college. Most parents and students are thinking that there are four years until graduation. While life is going on college acceptances are just over the horizon. It is true that the early bird gets the scholarship. The key to having a scholarship strategy that works is staring early. There are some parents who have a formula for success. They have a binder where they are already collecting scholarship information. They attend every scholarship and grant training session that they can. Each parent and student should consider finding scholarships a team effort. Start by meeting with someone at your local library. There are a lot of college scholarship resources in the library and there is always someone who is willing to help.

Did you know that there are billions of dollars in scholarships that go unused every year? Some students say it is too hard to apply for scholarships. That is why I tell all students to get started on their scholarship search early. Starting early is the best way to prevent each student and parent from getting overwhelmed. You should have different types of scholarships in each section of your scholarship binder. You can also have your own library of scholarship books and articles that you are picking and reviewing. There are thousands of scholarships on Google. You can search by college major and interests. Ask your student to talk to their high school counselor about scholarships that are available. The school counselor should have information that they are receiving throughout the year. Let them know that you are interested in receiving information and that you will apply

There are a lot of scholarships that are based on a student’s performance in high school. Each student should work to obtain the highest grades possible. Get a tutor right away or make arrangements for the teacher to meet with your student. The critical issue for each parent is deciding how to use each year as leverage against the rising cost of college. Look for small and large opportunities to find scholarships in newspapers and in magazines. Call local college’s financial aid office to find out more about their scholarships and deadlines. Call your bank or credit union to see how you can start saving and if they have scholarships.

If you are the parent of a 11th grade student it’s time to get ready for senior year by asking your student to obtain scholarship recommendation letters from their teachers. Create a calendar with scholarship deadlines and ensure that your applications are submitted on time. Don’t allow yourself to get behind. It’s easy to miss out on a scholarship because your application was not submitted on time. Use the summer to get ahead of the game. Ask your son/daughter to write answers to several scholarship questions. Some of the questions to expect: How will you use our scholarship to complete your undergraduate degree? Why do you deserve this scholarship? How will you make a difference in the world after receiving your degree? Remember grammar and spelling count, if a student wants to have their scholarship application considered.

Investing in your son/daughter’s education is one of the best decisions a parent and student can make. Start your scholarship search early so that your student has the flexibility to pay for the college of their choice. Position yourself to reap the financial rewards of saving pursuing scholarships. You will not regret your investment of time and you can have money to pay for tuition, room and board and other expenses.

Source by Stephen Jones Sr

3 Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes For Kids

People of all ages, not just kids, love their sweet treats. Whether it’s cake, ice cream, donuts, candies or pies, we all have that cravings for sugar from time to time. Children, especially, are fond of sweets. You don’t want to deprive your little ones of dessert so just try for healthier alternatives!

Here are some quick and easy gluten-free desserts that are perfect for kids:

Fudgy Chocolate Cake In A Cup

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (sifted)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 dollop ice cream
  • 1 pinch salt

In a large bowl, combine flour, caster sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa and salt. Carefully mix in milk, butter and vanilla extract. Stir until ingredients are well-combined. Pour mixture in a microwave-safe mug and heat in the microwave for 1 minute.

Cool for a few minutes before dusting with remaining cocoa. Serve with ice cream on top.

Easy Apple Crumble

What you need:

  • 6 red apples, cored, peeled and each sliced into 8 wedges
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons rice flour
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons margarine, softened

With a small amount of water, heat a pan over medium heat then place apple wedges to cook until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. To make the crumble, mix together 3/4 cup sugar, rice flour, almond meal, desiccated coconut and margarine in a bowl. Mix with clean hands until ingredients are well-combined.

Layer the cooked apples (along with the juices) in a greased oven-proof dish. Place crumble mix over apples and bake in a pre-heated oven (180C) for half an hour or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold with cream or yogurt.

Choco-Almond Crunchy Bites

What you need:

  • 4 pcs. SunRice Thick plain rice cakes, crumbled
  • 1/4 kg (or a little more) milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apricots

In a saucepan, melt the milk chocolate with a little bit of water over low heat. Once melted, add the crumbled rice cakes, almonds and apricots. Stir to combine ingredients well.

Remove from heat and scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time into a greased baking sheet. Allow a few minutes to cool and harden before serving.

These quick and easy gluten-free desserts for kids are real winners, even for adults!

Source by Angela Kidd

Have You Ever Wondered How To Get Facebook Likes and Use Them To Your Advantage?

For those of you who want to find out how to get Facebook likes, this article will prove to be a golden nugget. So, is there life after a like on Facebook? Don’t be surprised if I tell you that yes, there is – and plenty of it!

If you bare with me until the end of this article, not only will you find out how to get those much-desired likes (and how to increase your number of followers, of course), but you will also discover ways to leverage those followers to your advantage.

Shortly put, in the first part you will get all the info you need to start collecting ’em likes, and in the second part you will learn how to convert an inactive follower into a fruitful lead.

Are you ready… ?

Part one – Proven Ways To Get ’em Likes!

  • Add a Facebook widget on your blog

I love the wild web out there. I simply do. What I don’t love, however, is reading an incredibly well-written article and not being able to share it and show it to my friends on Facebook. It’s a pity, really…

Don’t do this mistake. Don’t be among those people who cannot keep track of their articles’ shares and likes and who don’t give their readers the opportunity to make your articles go viral.

A Facebook widget is perhaps one of the best things that you can do in this matter. You can either add it at the beginning of your article, at the end of it, or in a ‘flying box’ on the right hand part of your article. This way you make it easy for people to share your content and you can also keep track of the social activity your article generated.

Cool, huh? Hush, there’s more about how to get Facebook likes…

  • Add a signature tool like WiseStamp

With WiseStamp you put your emails to work. As the name suggests, using this tool you can create awesome email signatures. Awesome… ? Yes! You can include not only your name and email address, but also small icons of social media platforms.

And guess what? Facebook is not the only one you can add. You can also include your Twitter account, your G+ profile, your LinkedIn address and even your RSS feed!

This way all those who receive an email from you have the opportunity to view your social media profiles and become a follower.

Still not enough info about how to get Facebook likes? Well…

  • You can also create a contest

Facebook contests are among the most used features of the social network.

Pay attention, though! The popular ‘Like and Share’ contests are illegal. Not many know this, but there are plenty of people who have woken up one morning and saw their official pages closed. Forever! And this was all because they encouraged followers to like and share in order to win something. So this is not a good answer on how to get Facebook likes…

For you to be able to host a contest on Facebook, you will have to resort to Facebook Adds. They’re great and I’m sure you’ll love them.

  • Ask your friends to like your page

Perhaps the easiest way to increase the activity on your official page is to invite your friends to like your page. They know you personally, so they know you’re an amazingly innovative person who shares cool stuff – so they will like your page.

The downside to this solution on how to get Facebook likes is that they are not necessarily an ‘active’ audience, meaning that they are not 100% interested in your activity. Maybe they are curious, but many of them are not the ‘hungry for a solution’ type of followers.

  • Ask your email list to like your page

So you have these clients in your email list and you keep in touch with them from time to time. You are on the right track but… what about having a more engaging conversation with your clients and prospects?

You know what would be really awesome? A daily conversation where they get to know you better, where they get to know you even on a personal level.

Here’s a secret: you can do this. Send them an email with an invitation to join you on Facebook! What are you waiting for?

  • Add the link to your business card

Business cards – how traditional, right? But you can add a flavour of contemporaneity to it by making it virtual.


Include all your online information on it. Like, for example, your website address, your email address and… your Facebook URL. It’s really easy to increase the number of followers if you know how to get Facebook likes, right?

If you want to go the extra mile, you can create a QR code for your website and your Facebook page and include them on your business card. This way people can access them directly from their smartphones.

  • Add your Facebook link to your “Thank You” pages

Another cool idea is to include your Facebook URL in your Thank You pages. If you made a sale, or simply you have a new subscriber to your newsletter list, it is good for them to know they can stay in touch with you through Facebook.

  • Include your Facebook page in your blog comments

Maybe a person likes your comment and thinks of it as being thoughtful. So they will want to find out more about you. And often times, a search on Google is too much to ask… So why not include a link to your Facebook page in your comments on blogs? It’s a cool way to increase your audience and to keep them updated!

Part two – Going from Likes to Leads in one simple step

Now that you know how to get Facebook likes, let’s see what you can do with them.


I am going to share with you one of my secret ingredients that gets me more leads than any other method. To be honest, I am amazed that there are not that many people already using it, because it is THE gold mine of leads. It is a strategy that I have been using for a long time and it is working like crazy – all the time, 24-7!

All you need to do is just include on your Facebook page those pages from your website where you offer free goodies. This is also done using Facebook Apps, but it’s so simple to do, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed.

Tip: Facebook does not allow unsecured websites to use the Apps feature. This means you will have to have a https:// kind of hosting.

Bonus tip: Boost posts can help you increase the impact of your posts. They will cost you a little extra money, but the bright side is that you have complete control over how much you want to spend. Nothing more, nothing less! And leads will come… like bees to honey!

Now, as always, I want to hear from you! Tell me…

Do you know other answers to this article’s question, “How to get Facebook likes”? What did you try lately and didn’t work or.. did work?

How much time do you spend per week to increase your Facebook likes? Is it worth it or you don’t see any results by now?

Do you have any other tips, tricks, suggestions, or stories that would help everyone else who’s reading?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to share about how to get Facebook likes!

Did you enjoy what you just read?

Then I have a suggestion for you: share this article with your friends.

Source by Istrati Florentina

Holding Effective Condominium Board Meetings

Evaluations work. A very effective practice for Board members is to evaluate the quality of their Board operations. Many times, Board members do not know what they do not know about their own Board. Board evaluations are mandatory in many for-profit industries. These Board members know it is critical to regularly conduct short, practical evaluations of their Board operations, and then act on the results of those evaluations during the year.

Evaluations need not take a long time — many times, even 15 minutes a year from each Board member to complete a short questionnaire, followed by half an hour to discuss results and plan a strategy for improvement.

Some boards may feel they do not need assessments. I would suggest that these boards complete the free Board assessment tool offered by BoardWalk Consulting. This assessment should also be completed confidentially. If your board scores anything lower than an eight on any of the five criteria, then it may be time for an evaluation to find and correct deficiencies in your operations.

Before you undertake the exercise to evaluate your board, make sure everyone is onside with this exercise and the first question to ask is, what are we evaluating? There are different assessments that can be completed, like board effectiveness or individual board members. Individual board member performance should never be evaluated until everyone has been educated on their role within the board. It can be demoralizing to be evaluated against criteria you were not aware was part of your responsibility. We will focus this article on board effectiveness as a whole.

Here are some sample questions to help evaluate your board performance. Have your board members complete the survey, and then summarized the answers. Instruct your board members that the survey should be completed quickly and with honesty, do not over think the answers.

Some points to consider before implementing the assessment.

1. Make sure your questionnaire is relevant to your corporation and the items you wish to measure. Your board members will lose interest answering irrelevant questions.

2. In order for evaluations to work, everyone must be open and honest. The only way to accomplish this is to ensure confidentiality in the questionnaire. Have an independent third party prepare the summaries.

3. Don’t try to be too comprehensive in your assessment.

Commit to acting on the results of your survey. These evaluations tools give an excellent picture of a board weaknesses and strength. Their power is proven. If there is no follow-up to these exercises, then they are simply a waste of the time and energy of your volunteers.

– Board has full and common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of members, management and staff within the corporation.

– Board receives regular reports on finances/budgets, products/program performance and other important matters.

– Board effectively communicates to the community.

– Board meetings facilitate focus and progress on important matters.

– Each member of the board feels involved and interested in the board’s work.

– The board members receive regular training and information about their responsibilities.

– New board members are oriented to the board, including a board operation manual, the corporations Declaration, By-laws and the Act, as well as their roles and responsibilities as board members.

– Board organization is documented with a description of the board and board committee responsibilities.

– The organization has at least the minimum number of members on the Board of Directors as required by their bylaws or the Act.

– The board has a process for handling urgent matters between meetings.

– The board has an annual calendar of meetings.

– Meetings have written agendas and materials relating to significant decisions are given to the board in advance of the meeting.

– Conflicts among directors do not interfere with the Board’s work.

– Our financial monitoring and control systems enable us to quickly identify errors and protect us from most criminal activities.

– I am proud to be a Director of this corporation.

The responses should ranked as simply “Agree or Disagree”, collected and summarized. I like to view the summaries in bar graph format.

These summaries for each question can then be used to determine if there is a problem in a particular area, and can also help prioritize areas to focus for improvement.

Condominium Corporations would do well to take note of the practices of boards in highly effective companies. While the industries may be different, the need for effective decision making structure is the same.

Source by Tracey McLellan