Monthly Archives: April 2016

Half and Half Substitutes

Half and half basically is what the English in the United Kingdom call half cream. It is indeed a rather light variety of cream that cannot be whisked, and has a butterfat content standing anywhere between 10 to 12.5%. Half and half gets its name from the concept that it is a homogenized mixture of separately pasteurized milk and cream, in equal parts.

Given that a single fluid ounce of half and half has only 39 calories (31 coming from fat), it naturally is a low in calorie cream option as a coffee additive. It also has about 3.5 grams of total fats, 39 mg of potassium, and 12 mg of sodium in a serving of 1 fluid ounce, along with 0.9 grams of protein and 1.3 grams of carbohydrates. Half and half can be used in the making of some creamy scrambled eggs, cocktails such as White Russian, some yummy pasta sauce, some good French pastry ganache, and of course, ice cream. But instances wherein one tends to run out of half and half will naturally force an individual to look up a viable substitute which will work just fine, without tampering with the flavors or taste of whatever it is that you are concocting. So, here are some substitutes that you can use in times of need.

Half and Half Alternatives
Say, you couldn’t find any of the individual serving containers of half and half that are available in the market, and do not want to buy one of those ½ gallon packs, as using up that much before the thing expires can be a little dicey. Then, suddenly you need a little bit of it for this recipe. That is when these substitutes will prove handy.

Substitute a cup of half and half cream with an equal amount of evaporated milk.
Commingle 120 ml of whole milk with the same amount of 5% butterfat light cream, to equal a 1 cup half and half requirement.
Take 25 grams (2 tablespoons like) of the unsalted variety of butter, and heat it until it melts. To this, add 210 ml (almost ⅞ of a cup) of whole milk, and voila! The best part about this recipe is that you can store it in the fridge for like 2 weeks, and just reheat the concoction before using it the next time.
Another variation of the butter-milk mixture in mixing together ⅞ cup of milk and 4½ teaspoons of molten normal butter that has been allowed to cool for about a minute. Whisk the two together to mix very well, and use it to replace a cup of half and half for dishes that need baking. Works great if your making some Polish babka with icing. Some people say that a single tablespoon of molten butter is enough. So, try both and see what suits your purpose better.
If you are using margarine instead of butter, then mix a tablespoon of molten margarine with ¾ cup and 2 tablespoons of milk.
Take ½ a cup of heavy whipping cream with 35% butterfat, and whip it with an equal part of partly skimmed milk, which would be about 120 ml.

It is said that one can refrigerate and package half and half for up to 10 days. The above options are indeed very viable substitutes, that can be used in any recipe that you may be making. Of course, if you are looking for a more instant choice, then just thoroughly combine ½ cup milk and ½ cup cream, and use it instantaneously, before the two have an opportunity to carve up. Do let me know of any other substitute that you may happen to discover while experimenting in your own laboratory at home, popularly known as the kitchen!

Local Food and its Benefits

The concept of buying things from the local market had diminished due to the globalization and availability of products of international brands. How many of us stuff our weekly grocery with processed foods loaded with preservatives? Processed and preserved foods are not good for health and can cause several disorders in the long term. Therefore, nutritionists and doctors always recommended us to go for fresh and local food. The food that we eat should not only taste better, but, should also provide us with all the essential nutrients and health benefits.

What is Local Food

The term ‘local food’ is a generic term and has several connotations. It can be used to define the food that is grown and sold in the same town. On the other hand, it can also mean the food that is directly sold by the farmer to the consumer (not necessarily grown in the same place); rather than it being processed and packaged in between. In either of the cases, local food is the food that is grown in a proximity of the consumer and sold directly to him. It is as good as growing food in your own garden and consuming it fresh. The foodstuffs that are included under local food are fruits and vegetables that are grown locally; or even bakery products and other foodstuff like jams and cheese that are prepared using local ingredients, and served fresh. You must have come across foods in market tagged as ‘local’ or will even get local food in the smaller food markets. But, what are the advantages of choosing local food over processed food?

Local Food Benefits

When you go to the local market to buy food, you can interact with the farmer who has grown the food that you will be consuming. There are health, economic as well as environmental benefits of local food. Let us take a look at them in detail.

One of the biggest advantage of going for local food is that the food is fresh. As it is grown at a close distance and sold immediately, there are no preservatives added to it. Secondly, as the food is fresh, it has a longer shelf life and will last longer in your refrigerator.
Another health benefit associated with local food is that it is more nutritious and contains all the essential nutrients. As the time in between the farm and table is very less, the nutrients in the food do not get washed off. Therefore, it is always beneficial to go for local food.
Your small contribution in buying only local food can help reduce global warming. As no transportation is required for transporting food, there will be decrease in the use of fossil fuel. Secondly, as few chemicals are used for these products, the environment is protected.
When talking about the economic benefits of local food, note that buying local products can boost the local economy. The farmers who sell products directly to the consumers will receive the full retail value for the products.
The local food movement, as it is called, also helps in retaining the local food traditions and customs. Therefore, the place will retain its individuality through this.
Lastly, local food tastes a lot better as it is fresh and does not contain any unwanted ingredients like preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc. Secondly, buying seasonal foods is also a good option as they are inexpensive.

If you wish to make healthy food choices, then local food is the best thing. As there are several economic, environmental as well as health benefits of local food, opting for local food is definitely a good idea. So, contribute in reducing global warming and prevention of diseases by making a start right now. Good luck!

Most Fattening Foods

Before discussing the topic of fattening foods, it is necessary to understand that not all eatables should be avoided completely, as some of the foods lead to a healthy body if consumed in moderation. This is because our body, just like other nutrients, also needs fats for lubrication and smooth functioning of the system. However, there are a few food items, like soda-based drinks, which can be completely avoided. They serve no health benefits and contain empty calories that give a temporary high. The list presented below should help in identifying the foods that increase fats levels and are harmful for the health.

Ice Cream:
Ice creams are known to contain a huge amount of fats, which should make us think twice about consuming them. Around 250-350 calories are provided by a single ice cream scoop. The additional ingredients like nuts, fudge, whipped cream, etc., raise the level to more than 1000 calories.
Chocolates:
It is one of the most energy-dense foods that lead to increase in fat levels of the body. Chocolates are known to contain 2,200 kJ/100gm, which is much higher for the weight of chocolate in comparison to other foods. Eating them regularly can lead to weight gain and obesity.
Cheese:
It is amongst the most fattening food items in America due to the inclusion of cheese-based fast foods, like burger and pizza, in the diet. It is very hard to digest and sticks to the walls of intestines, resulting into health problems like bloating. Fat storage in the body also rises with increase in consumption of cheese.
Beer:
If one is aware of the term beer belly, he/she must also have an idea about how this drink affects fat levels in the body. This drink has a high content of sugars, which increases the level of fats in the body. It is no wonder then that people who are habitual beer consumers develop a beer belly.
Mayonnaise Salads:
The consumption of mayonnaise can raise fat levels in the body considerably, as it is made from ingredients such as egg whites, oil, and other fats. This food is more fat inducing than most of the other foods discussed in this list. It is quite surprising then that majority of people do not even consider mayonnaise as a food with high fat content.
Fried Foods:
Fried foods, like French fries, are known to have a high fat content. The basic ingredient used in preparation of French fries is potatoes, which are responsible for increase in the fat content. On top of that, these fatty foods are loaded with oil, which makes them the worst food item in case one is concerned about reducing body fat. There are many other fried foods that have the same ingredients. One should, therefore, be careful in deciding the inclusion of fried foods in diet.
Cream-based Soups:
Cream-based soups contain high amount of fats due to the inclusion of cream while cooking them. It is a general perception that soups are healthy and nutritious foods, and the inclusion of salads in soups definitely makes them healthy foods. However, those with cream are fattening and unhealthy.
Soda:
The drinks with soda contain high amount of sugar, and are responsible for increase in body fat levels. Beverages with soda not only lead to fat storage, but also provide a temporary high in terms of energy. The empty calories of soda drinks are of no use to the body.

The food items discussed in this article need to be consumed in a controlled manner. As stated earlier, fats are necessary for the proper functioning of the body systems. However, over consumption can lead to problems like obesity and related health ailments.