The Benefits of Igniting a Passion for Great Food

Submitted by Lisa Williams

There are precious few things we all have in common and food is one of them. After all, we all have to eat, don’t we? Everyone has a passion for different foods, which could be anything from a delicious summer fruits bread pudding to a good old BLT.

However, while it makes sense to look at food as a source of energy and a necessity, there is much more to it than that. Plenty of people cite cooking as a hobby and a way of relaxing. Indeed, it is also good if you are on a budget or you want to save money. Home cooking is cheaper than eating out, a fact proven by all kinds of different surveys.

Are there other benefits to getting passionate about food too? Let’s find out. You might be surprised what you find.

You can enjoy cooking as a shared experience

stewed tomatoesPlenty of people in their forties or older will have fond memories of cooking with their parents when they were young. In fact, if you think back to your best memories of your youth, the chances are many of them could be related to food in some way. It could be family picnics, a relaxed BBQ with friends or maybe just learning how to make cakes with your mom.

Times may have changed, but there is still plenty of evidence to show that home cooking is one of the best activities families can get involved in together. It’s not just about the food or the cooking either – it’s about a shared experience, and educating kids about the importance of home cooked and healthy food.

It can help you conquer your inner demons

A good chunk of people think of cooking as a hobby rather than a chore. We saw above that it can be a great family activity too, and a very positive one at that. However cooking has a lot more to offer than simply providing you with the skills to produce a good home cooked meal. It can also provide you with a pastime you can use to improve your health – both physically and mentally. A healthy diet is great for all round good health, no matter whether you need to lose weight or not. A hobby is highly recommended for those people who are struggling with problems in their lives, such as an addiction of some kind for example. While it is always a good idea to get professional help from rehab centers including it is also a good idea to develop a hobby that will have a positive knock-on effect in many areas in your life. It takes the focus away from trying to conquer those demons, and also gives you a skill you could use to improve your health in other ways.

Duck Meat LegsIt helps you discover new foods and flavors you may never have tried before

We all tend to be a little conservative when it comes to food. We have our favorite dishes and tastes and we stick to them. However, as soon as you view cooking as a hobby instead of a drag, you’ll be inspired to try new things and experiment a little more with different ingredients. Just one or two cookbooks and a determination to throw things together to see if they work are all you need to do to get the results you want.

This holds true regardless of whether you live alone or you have a family. Sure it’s nice to have some people around you to test new dishes out on, but even if you’re single you could invite a few friends round to be guinea pigs. This is the power of great food – it brings people together and creates a lot of positive feeling. If it inspires passion in you, you could find it changes your life in more ways than one. Whether you’re fighting an addiction, trying to get your kids to learn how to cook or you’re simply in search of a better diet, a love of cooking will help you achieve all these things and many more besides.

Why not dive into the pleasure of ingredients, recipes and cooking inspiration today and see what you can achieve when you do?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 and start enjoying better health.

Celebrate Independence Day with Patriotic Sweets!

The 4th of July is just around the corner and many Americans celebrate with candy, fireworks and family activities such as parades. Independence Day is the only federal holiday that commemorates the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted in 1776 on July 4th. This document declares the U.S. independence from Great Britain and it is one of the most historic and fun holidays of the year.

In order to get the most out of the 4th of July this year, consider some of the various patriotic candies that you can buy for parades, parties and family gatherings. There are plenty of options.

Patriotic Bubble Gun Coins are one of the most popular candy options for Independence Day. These coins come in red, white and blue foil in large bags with 100 pieces or more. Not only are they tasty and fun for kids, but they can also be thrown into a bowl for a centerpiece at a barbeque.

Shop Today!Jelly beans are another great choice when it comes to patriotic candy. Jelly beans come in large assortments of flavors and colors, but for the 4th of July, it is fun to mix red, white and blue options. You can get flavors like cherry, strawberry and fruit punch in the red color or you can choose blueberry and coconut flavors from the blue and white jelly beans. The mixture is patriotic and easy to pass around at a party.

There are even popsicles made in a patriotic style. You can find American flags on sticks, liberty bells, Uncle Sam, stars and plenty of other variations. The flavors vary but any child will love these popsicles on Independence Day or any other day of the year. Patriotic suckers are great to throw out at parades since they will not melt if the day is warm.

Hard candies are another great option for parades and there are wonderful choices. You can simply get hard candies in the American colors or you can go all out and get candy that has a patriotic flag design on it for added flair.

If you want to take things a step further, consider making caramel apples and dipping them in red, white and blue sprinkles before the caramel dries. You could also make chocolate covered strawberries in the same sprinkled manner to catch your guests` eyes and taste buds at the same time.

There are plenty of American themed options when it comes to candy for the 4th of July celebrations. Don`t forget the retro sweets that have been around for decades. These treats are not only patriotic, but also memorable and fun for those who remember when they ate them as a child.

Festive Recipe Ideas

Vegan Sugar Cookies by Renee on FlickrThe holidays are a time when you choose a variety of ways to celebrate your family and what you have been given in life. One small way you might choose to do that is by preparing a hearty meal with treats to match. You probably also decorate your home with festive ornaments. Well, why not meld the two together and make your treats decorative too? The easiest foods to make festive are desserts, though you can implement the idea in other ways too.

A simple and tasty chocolate snowman shaped cake is easy to make and highly festive. Best with Dutch cocoa, you can use coconut flakes to create the coating. You can use black licorice sticks for the arms, black licorice drops for the eyes and peppermints for buttons with gum drops on top. For the mouth, you can use a piece of red shoestring style licorice. Fruit leather makes a great decorative scarf.

Alternatively, or in addition to, you can create a Christmas tree cake with equal festivity. By creating individual cake squares, you can stack these to create a tree-like shape with green frosting and other colored frostings to your liking. You can use candies for ornaments and smaller cake squares decorated with colored frosting to make presents under the tree.

Gingerbread houses are a classic way of creating decorative treats. However, there are more creative ways to make artistic gingerbread treats. One less known design is the gingerbread lantern, created by four rectangular pieces of gingerbread connected by frosting. You can cut holes in the pieces to let the light out, such as stars or hearts. Once settled, you can place candles inside these and use them as actual lanterns.

Another creative design is the gingerbread train. You have a great amount of creative license with this, in that there is room to decide how intricate you want to get with the design. However, there is a minimum amount of intricacy involved. The frosting is used for piping and a combination of circular and rectangular gingerbread cookies create the body. You can use candies, licorice and frosting to decorate it anyway you like. Gum drops work well to top the train while licorice works well for the pistons. You can also decide how long you want to make the train.

If you are looking to go more gourmet than flashy, you can make chocolate espresso snowballs with fair trade coffee. Using cocoa, pecans and sugar you can have a treat both decedent and decorative. There are plenty of ways to brighten up holiday cheer just with culinary creativity.