Three Apps for Chocolate Lovers

ChocolatesGuest Post by Ashley Cranston

Chocolates are often associated with love and happiness. That’s because chocolate contains a chemical called phenethylamine, which is the same substance that the body releases when a person falls in love. Chocolates also contain dopamine, which is a natural painkiller, and serotonin that helps the body release chemicals associated with feelings of pleasure.

Thanks to the digital age, mobile apps were developed to help people find various kinds of chocolates. There are even companies that give away chocolates to users who would participate in gimmicks. One time, Shopmium offered free Lindt chocolate samples to its newly-registered users. Conversely, mobile gaming hub Pocket Fruity gave chocolate prizes to users during its Valentine’s Day and Christmas promos. With literally hundreds of chocolate-related apps to download, people would never run miss out on cool promos, free samples, or new products created by their favorite chocolate brands!

iChocolate  (iOS, $0.99)

iChocolate is a recipe recipe app that not only offers chocolate desserts but savory chocolate main dishes as well. It also provides vital tips on how to cook chocolate perfectly, and a built-in ingredient conversion measurement chart.

World Chocolate Guide (iOS, Android, Free)

The World Chocolate Guide lets users find the best chocolates shops near them, and around the world. Users can also filter their search by shop features like if a shop sells cakes, pastries, or hot chocolate. It also features detailed description of each shop, photo galleries, and customer ratings.

The Chocolate App (Android, Free)

This app is developed by Philadelphia Candies, a company that has been manufacturing the finest milk and dark chocolates since 1919. In it, users can browse the company’s finest selections of boxed chocolates, specialty chocolates, and gifts for every occasion. Users can even order through their Android-powered smartphone, and checkout with PayPal. The Chocolate App ships to customers all over the world.

Ashley is a self-confessed foodie. She loves trying out new restaurants and admits that she doesn’t go out of the house without a snack or two in her bag. She loves watching the food channel and feeding new dishes to her two little boys.

Thanksgiving: Traditional or Modern?

How do you like your Thanksgiving dinner?  Do you go with the traditional roast turkey and all the fixings, do you buck tradition in little ways like deep frying your bird, or do ignore tradition entirely and head out for exotic cuisines from far off lands?  While Thanksgiving is mostly about family and food, there are other traditions.  Football, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and many other events vie for our attention on that fourth Thursday of November.

BigOven Food Fight Adult vs. Kid's Table (PRNewsFoto/BigOven)

BigOven Food Fight Adult vs. Kid’s Table (PRNewsFoto/BigOven)

This November, BigOven is starting a #FoodFight, asking cooks to sound off on the big Thanksgiving questions on our blog, Facebook and Twitter. BigOven will propose a Thanksgiving-oriented debate each day, and America’s cooks will weigh in. Results will be posted with related recipes, menus and tips from BigOven, a top-rated recipe and organization website and app with a database of 350,000+ recipes.

The #FoodFight encompasses both food and social debates:

  • TV allowed or no TV allowed?
  • Do you like to host or visit others?
  • Are sweet potatoes better with marshmallows, or does this classic belong locked in the 1950’s?

BigOven will ask cooks to sound off on:

Go on over & join the conversations!

Pittman & Davis Peaches Review

Pittman & Davis Disclosure

A package of peaches from Pittman & DavisIt’s amazing the impact that receiving a package can have on someone when they work from home.  Especially someone with a love of peaches like mine!

Pittman & Davis has been offering deliciously juicy tree-ripened fruit and gifts since 1926.  Recently, they were kind enough to send me a shipment of California Peaches to taste and tell you all about!

Packaging

Pittman & Davis California PeachesBefore receiving the shipment, I was a bit worried about the condition of the fruit once it arrived here.  I know that, because of California agricultural regulations, they were shipping from within California so it wouldn’t be that far of a commute from the tree to my mouth.  Each individual peach was packaged in it’s own foam pod with plenty of foam spacing between them to save the delicate skin.

There was also a protective slab of foam on the top, as you can see here, to further make sure that the peaches were not damaged in shipping.  Upon careful examination of each peach, there were a couple of little bruises, but I expected much worse considering how easily peaches tend to bruise when just hanging around the kitchen minding their own business, let alone being shipped.

Taste

Pittman & Davis California PeachesTree-ripened apparently makes a huge difference between the peaches I normally pick up at my local Safeway and these Pittman & Davis peaches.  They were immediately juicy, sweet, and the perfect texture.  Opening the box was heavenly just for the ripe fresh smell, which I definitely didn’t expect considering the amount of cardboard and foam involved.  Sometimes peaches can be a bit grainy, but these were everything you’d want in a peach.  I was very impressed that they were ready to eat upon receipt.  I assumed that they were likely shipped slightly under-ripe and would need a day or two to ripen.  It seems that the growers ship them at just the right time so they’re perfect by the time they get to your door!  When their website says “with each bite the sweet juice will be dripping down your elbows”, they’re not kidding!

Price

A shipment of 9 sweet California peaches from Pittman & Davis costs $44.85 with free standard shipping.  While this seems a bit pricey, consider the packaging costs to make sure these delicious gems arrive in good condition and the convenience of getting them straight to your door.  Yellow peaches at my local Safeway are currently $2.49/lb. so while they are cheaper, they’re not as good as these peaches.

Verdict

While the cost may be prohibitive to make Pittman & Davis your every-day supplier of peaches for your smoothies, it’s a great gift for a friend or loved one who could use a little sunshine in the form of a juicy, fragrant, soft peach.

Gas Cookers vs. Electric Cookers

If you’re shopping around for a new stove, you’ve already noticed all the different styles and features available on today’s models. Before you get into the fine details, you’ll need to decide whether a gas or electric stove is the best option for you. Although both types get the job done, there are differences between the two you should consider before you buy. Since both types come with different considerations, you’ll also need to know the tips and tricks for cooking on each.

Cost

Electric stoves are often cheaper than gas stoves. The price differences vary by make and model and might be less than $100 or close to $200. While price shouldn’t be a primary concern, as sales and promotions may erase the difference, you may need to consider this factor if your budget and time is limited.

Installation

Rangemaster Classic DeluxeGas stoves require a stove line for installation. If you live in an area where natural gas is a common energy source, your home might already have a line. Since gas leaks pose a safety hazard, the stove must be connected properly.

A newer home or home in an area where electric is more commonly used for appliances should have the necessary connections for an electric stove. If you already have an old electric stove, installing a new one usually involves following the original wiring.

Cleaning

Gas stoves, for safety reasons, have sealed burners. Since the burners are covered, cleaning is usually easy. If you make a mess, you can simply wipe it off the stove using a cloth and the cleaning chemical the manufacturer recommends for the stove’s materials.

With an electric stove, you may have coil burners or a sealed top with radiant heat, which is the more expensive option. Coil burners have drip pans you’ll need to remove to clean. If you don’t keep up on the cleaning, the drip pans may discolor or be difficult to properly clean when you need to. Electric stoves with closed tops are easier to clean and you can use the same method you would for a gas stove.

Cooking

Some people feel a gas stove offers a quicker and more precise cooking experience than an electric stove does. With gas, you can control the cooking temperature by moving the dials or using the buttons on the front.

An electric stove isn’t always as precise with temperature as a gas stove. However, if you take note of cooking times for different items when you start using your electric stove, you can gauge the correct cooking times and temperatures to avoid cooking mistakes on future use. Keep a notebook or journal handy, so you can track the ideal heat and cooking times for foods on your electric stove.

Once you’ve decided what type of stove you want, compare the features of each. Common features include a timer, clock and alarm combination and pre-set temperature buttons. Look at popular models, such as a Rangemaster Classic Deluxe, to create a wish list of features for your new stove.

Tips for Increasing your Daily Water Intake

The human body requires about two liters of water each day for optimal health. This amount rises if you live in a hot or dry climate, do any amount of physical activity or have certain health conditions. Just half an hour working in the garden can cause you to need an additional 16 ounces of water. Swapping sugary or caffeine-filled drinks for glasses of water will increase your intake while lowering the amount of calories you consume. If you are having trouble drinking two to three liters of fresh water each day, you may need to try a few tricks to remember. There’s  no need to sit and guzzle glasses at the end of the evening if you work new habits into your daily routine.

Add a Little Flavor

glass of waterThe taste of even the cleanest filtered water can be boring and bland if you are used to sweet sodas and coffee. Start by removing any undesired odors and flavors from your water by filtering it. An inexpensive pitcher can save you hundreds of dollars over bottled water each year and produces less waste. Once your water is clean, add a touch of flavor. A slice of lemon, cucumber or orange will make you excited to sip again. A single herbal tea bag will slowly increase the flavor of a cold glass of water. You don’t have to heat up the water. If you can enjoy the taste of peppermint or chamomile tea without added sugar, you will still enjoy all the benefits of drinking more fluids without the added calories.

Keep Water on Hand

You can’t remember to drink at least six ounces of water every waking hour if you have to leave something engaging just to get a fresh glass. Invest in a water bottle that holds at least half a liter and keep it within your reach at all times. You can take a sip every few minutes, keeping you evenly hydrated. Trying to drink two liters all at once at the end of the day can cause serious electrolyte imbalances. You can make marks on the water bottle to track your intake throughout the day with a washable marker.

Drink When Eating

Drinking a full eight-ounce glass of water before each meal will help with digestion. It will also ensure that you reach your water intake goals without a lot of extra effort. Many people confuse the feelings of thirst for hunger. This leads to overeating and dehydration. Insufficient hydration makes it even harder to digest your food properly. Finish a glass of water and wait 10 minutes before picking up your fork. You will likely eat less and experience less ingestion.

Try a Straw

Investing a dollar or two in a fun straw can give you a surprising boost in your water intake. Research has shown that people tend to drink more total fluid when sipping through a straw. Get a reusable straw and a small bottle brush for cleaning it. Many water bottles also feature snap-on straws that slip into the lid for easy storage.

Eat Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Don’t overlook the amount of water found in a salad or a snack. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet will provide a boost of fiber, vitamins and water. Some of the best foods for increasing water consumption include apples, grapes, romaine or green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Pair a better diet with plenty of fresh water from a source like angelsprings.com and start enjoying better health.