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Healthy, Organized, and Cost-Effective: 4 Tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Even if you are not feeling the financial pinch, you should still be shopping smart. Saving money on groceries is easy and can free up much needed cash for other utilities, or even better, into a savings account.

There are a few ways you can save money when grocery shopping, let us look at the top four easiest ways to do so!

Coupons and Vouchers

The number one way to save when grocery shopping, is to make use of coupons or vouchers. Check in your local papers and online for food coupons for some of the most popular retailers to start off with. If you have signed up at any of your stores for promotional material, don’t forget to check your junk folder on email for promotions or coupons they might send.

If you have not signed up for marketing materials from your favorite retailer yet, now is the time to do so. Bundling your coupons together often provides a bigger saving when grocery shopping. You do not have to be an extreme coupon-shopper, but cashing in on coupons or store vouchers when possible is a great way to save. Every dollar counts!

Create a systematic way of finding, storing and using coupons. A pouch in your handbag or laptop-bag to keep the coupons in ensures that when you pop into the shops, you have your coupons on your person or in your vehicle. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you can begin bargain browsing, cashing in coupons, and save. It pays to be organized!

Do Not Shop on an Empty Stomach

One of the costliest mistakes you can make is to do grocery shopping when you have not eaten in a few hours! The hunger pangs encourage you to make unhealthy and unnecessary choices that you wouldn’t normally make on a full stomach. It’s science!

Eat a healthy and balanced meal before you do the grocery shopping to avoid adding grocery items you do not need at home to your basket. Shopping after a meal is also a great way to get a physical activity in to avoid feeling sluggish afterwards. Win-win!

Make a List of Items You Need

Before grocery shopping, you should have a list of items you need. Not only does a list force you to stick to buying only the necessities, but it ensures you don’t forget items, which would cost fuel to return to the store to purchase the single item.

If you are on a budget, only buy what is deemed necessary in your fridge and pantry. Do you really need cereal, when eggs and toast will do for breakfast? Buying an indulgent grocery item here and there starts to add up quickly.

Plan your grocery trips properly to save money. Eat a good meal beforehand, make a list, check your fridge and pantry for what you need, and plan your route to include as many stores as possible. One grocery trip saves on fuel too!

Organize Your Pantry and Stay Healthy

Saving is easy with ‘everything in its place, and a place for everything’. If your pantry and fridge is unorganized, you may miss items you currently have and buy more of the same item. This is a cost that you do not need as you will have double of the same product which takes up space and is a financial mistake.

Having a clean and organized fridge is a saving too. Refrigerated foods spoil easily and if they are stored at the very back of a fridge behind various items which are never used, they get thrown in the trash! What a waste!

Organize your pantry and fridge and use this activity to make healthier food choices for you and your family. Do you really need ranch-dressing, or will olive oil and lemon juice do? Healthy, readily available in your home, and delicious.

Think of purchasing cheaper cuts of meat in bulk, frozen vegetable that stay fresh for longer and eggs as an affordable option for protein. Add some healthy fats such as butter and olive oil to your meals to keep you full for longer, provide you with omega fatty acids and cut out snacks that add to your waistline and diminish your bank balance.

Mistakes to Avoid When Using an Electric Pressure Cooker

Electric pressure cookers are some of the most convenient and valuable kitchen appliances on the market. With a wide variety of uses and a speedy cook time, this appliance makes cooking a breeze. 

However, even though this is quite possibly one of the absolute best items to have in your kitchen, there are some important things to keep in mind when using the cooker. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when using an electric pressure cooker. 

1. Adding thickeners to ingredients in a pressure cooker

Always remember that an electric pressure cooker is NOT a stovetop pot. Adding thickeners like flour or starches (like cornstarch) to a combination of ingredients in a pressure cooker isn’t going to instantly make a perfect dish. In fact, you may end up with quite a mess. 

When you add thickeners to a mix of ingredients that are cooking in an electric pressure cooker, it reduces the amount of steam that’s available to cook the food. Pressure cookers require steam to cook food quickly, so reducing the steam will only create poorly cooked food.

But, besides causing a bad food situation, you could also end up with a serious mess of food. If the food isn’t fully cooked but the pressure cooker runs out of liquid, there’s a high potential for burnt food and sticky situations. So, in short, don’t ever put any thickeners in a pressure cooker. 

2. Putting in too much liquid

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to put in just a little bit more water than you think you need to add when using a pressure cooker. But, putting in way too much liquid can cause disastrous and potentially dangerous results. 

When you add far too much water to a pressure cooker, the cooker could explode. This is because there has to be room for the steam, and pressure cookers don’t allow a lot of evaporation. However, this is only a real problem when you fill the pressure cooker to its limit.

The other less dangerous (but still disastrous) consequence of filling a pressure cooker to its limit is the final food result. Too much water in a pressure cooker may cause the cooked food to be flavorless or over-cooked, meaning that you’d have an upsetting situation to deal with.

3. Combining ingredients in a pressure cooker

It may seem intuitive to combine all the ingredients for one meal into one pressure cooker sequence, but this isn’t actually the best option. Unless you’re following a recipe that specifically says to combine certain ingredients, this is something to be avoided. 

Different foods have different cook times and will probably require different heat and steam settings. When you lump a bunch of foods together, some of them will be over-cooked, some under-cooked, and (possibly), some will be cooked just right. 

Besides being a poor cooking choice, combining ingredients in a pressure cooker can also make it so you accidentally put too much in the cooker. Whenever you overfill a pressure cooker, there’s a potential for danger. Always follow recipes if you plan to combine ingredients. 

4. Choosing inappropriate ingredients

Some ingredients cook well in an electric pressure cooker while others don’t do so hot. Choosing appropriate ingredients to cook in a pressure cooker is key to ensuring that the appliance works at optimal performance. 

There are certain ingredients that fair extremely well when cooked in a pressure cooker. Namely, dried beans and lentils, dried grains, stock ingredients, some vegetables, seafood, and some soups can be made easily in a pressure cooker if you’re following the right recipe. 

Some ingredients should be avoided. There are a few recipes that suggest cooking pasta dishes in a pressure cooker, but this isn’t advisable. Additionally, cooking meats and most vegetables should usually be reserved for the stovetop to ensure that they’re properly cooked. 

5. Purchasing a low quality or oddly sized pressure cooker

Low quality pressure cookers will last for a shorter period of time, but besides that, they may also be prone to glitches and breaks during the cooking process. It’s generally a good idea to invest in a higher quality cooker to ensure that safety functions and insulation are well-made.

Most high-quality pressure cookers are 6-8 liters in size. Other lower quality cookers may come in different sizes, which can severely compromise food quality. Most cook times for different foods are calibrated for pressure cookers of 6-8 liters, so find a cooker that falls in this range.

Plus, oddly sized pressure cookers may come with other flaws. Lower quality cookers are likely to not follow generally accepted specifications for pressure cookers, meaning that the quality of your food may be compromised as well as your safety and pocketbook. 

6. Filling the pressure cooker to the optimal fill line

Do not fill the pressure cooker to the optimal fill line. Ever. Besides compromising the quality of your food, this can cause explosions and serious damage to your pressure cooker. Many pressure cookers have indicator lines on the inside, but if yours doesn’t here’s a trick.

Start by filling the cooker with water (or to a point just below the edge, to be safe). Use three containers of the same size to scoop all the water out of the pressure cooker. Then, pour the contents of 2 of the containers back into the cooker. This is the ⅔ line, which you can then mark. 

Different ingredients must be considered differently. For example, beans cause a lot of froth when they cook, so only filling the pressure cooker about halfway may be the best choice. But, for other foods like vegetables or grains, filling the cooker to only two-thirds capacity is fine. 

7. Overcooking food

Pressure cookers work fast, so it’s easy for amateur cooks to accidentally overcook (or burn) food when using this appliance. No one wants a final result of mushy, flavorless food. Following recipes and instructions are advised to avoid this mistake, especially for beginners. 

Timing is one of the most vital aspects of cooking with a pressure cooker. At first, pressure cooking methods may seem simple, but the truth is that they require thought and a great deal of care in order to be executed properly.

If you’re cooking only one ingredient, experimenting a bit with cook times may be acceptable. But if you’re cooking more than one ingredient or even an entire meal in the pressure cooker, make sure you’re following a well-tested recipes to ensure that you get the best results. 

8. Using the wrong settings

Using an electric pressure cooker requires some finesse since cooks must follow instructions and pay attention to the settings on their cooker. Using the wrong settings can put you in a bad situation, whether it be poorly cooked food or a pressure cooker explosion. 

Setting the appropriate pressure release option is crucial for safely well-cooked food. Plenty of beginners make mistakes with this. With an electric pressure cooker, the pressure release settings are pre-set so some of the guess-work is taken out, but you still have to think carefully.

Additionally, it’s necessary to focus on the heat settings on your electric pressure cooker. Setting the heat setting appropriately is what will ensure well cooked food. Stovetop pressure cookers don’t have the same degree of control over the heat settings, so this is a special bonus. 

9. Cleaning and drying your pressure cooker hastily

Pressure cookers are not like stovetop pots. They require some extra TLC to be able to function properly, and this even extends to the way that they’re cleaned and dried. Some cooks may be surprised by this, but this is by no means something to be overlooked. 

To properly clean a pressure cooker, you need to clean all the parts and pieces of the cooker. Inside and out. The instructions that come with your pressure cooker are likely to include specific instructions on how to clean the appliance effectively and fully. 

Drying the pressure cooker should be acknowledged as a necessary part of maintaining this appliance. Not drying the pressure cooker can cause it to rust, which can result in bad tasting dishes and possible health consequences. Dry the cooker with a microfiber cloth after washing. 

10. Not using enough liquid (or no liquid at all)

This rule goes hand in hand with the aforementioned rule against using too much water in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers require a fairly generous amount of water, so using too little liquid (or none at all) can cause some seriously yucky situations. 

Pressure cookers use trapped steam to cook food quickly and effectively. Without enough water, the cooker can’t do its job! Make sure you’re following a recipe or a set of guidelines to ensure that you’re putting in enough water (and also to ensure you’re not using too much). 

As another rule of thumb, avoid using milk or other thick liquids in a pressure cooker. For most pressure cooker recipes, water or stock are the best choices because they can produce plenty of steam with which to cook the food. 

11. Avoiding the use of recipes

Even if you’re an experienced cook, if you’ve never used a pressure cooker before you should always be using recipes. Don’t allow yourself to slip into a trap of believing that you know exactly what to do, pressure cookers follow different rules and there’s some learning involved.

But, thankfully, there are a lot of excellent recipes out there to follow! Using recipes can help you learn about your pressure cooker and can also assist you in developing new flavors and cooking methods along the way. Learn from the experts first and then make your own creations to share.

Make sure you find recipes with instructions specifically for electric pressure cooker users. Electric cookers work a bit differently than stovetop cookers, so the pressure cooker related instructions (which you need) may not be accurate for your situation if not otherwise specified. 

Conclusion

Pressure cookers are fabulous, efficient appliances, and electric pressure cookers are even more efficient still. They can be used for an extraordinary number of purposes to cook food cleanly and quickly for almost any meal. 

This appliance is spectacular, but it requires some caution and patience to learn its ways. But fear not. Take heed of these common mistakes and go forth into the kitchen to make some pressure cooker masterpieces!

5 Las Vegas VIP Lounges You Need to Try

VIP lounges come in all varieties, with different services and amenities for their patrons, but Las Vegas stands out for having some of the classiest, most exclusive VIP spots out there. Whether you’re just passing through or are a Vegas native, these VIP lounges will leave you feeling like royalty every time. Keep reading to learn more about these five Las Vegas VIP lounges you need to try.

1. The Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay

Located at the top of the Mandalay Bay building, The Foundation is a lounge you’ll want to experience. With excellent VIP services, you’ll feel like a king (or queen) as you’re treated to some of the best service that Vegas has to offer.

The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is already well-known for its high-class service and facilities, and The Foundation Room is no different. The standards of sophistication and elegance are well maintained and encouraged, giving you the chance to enjoy your night out in style.

Featuring bottle service, happy hours, the DEITY dancer experience, and the best in live entertainment, this VIP lounge makes the top of our list and should definitely be included on yours. Stop in tonight to see why this lounge continues to be one of the hottest spots in Vegas.

2. Clique Bar and Lounge

If there’s anything Clique does well, it’s style and comfort. The ultimate VIP experience awaits you at this sophisticated yet casual nightclub, complete with tableside mixology and excellent music. The Las Vegas lounge is home to a staff who are experts in all they do; from serving to mixing drinks to the talented performers who will make your night a memorable one.

Clique is located in The Cosmopolitan, on the Casino floor, so you’ll be able to enjoy both your stay in Vegas and your nightlife in comfort and class. The Cosmo is one of the best-rated hotels in the city, a perfect spot for this incredible lounge.

Open daily from 4 pm to 4 am, the party goes all night. Food is only served until 1 am, so if you want to get your hands on the lounge’s signature wings or deep-fried Oreos, you’ll want to get there a little early.

3. The Voodoo Lounge at Rio

The Voodoo is a rooftop nightclub located on the 50th and 51st floor of The Rio Hotel and Casino, and it’s easy to see what makes this nightclub so special. Sporting an impressive view of the city below, The Voodoo will stimulate all of your senses at once with incredible music, beverages, and a club experience you won’t soon forget.

With some pretty unique drinks, such as The Witch Doctor cocktail, complete with dry ice and rum, The Voodoo stands out as a classy yet laid-back nightclub with more than its share of amenities. Bottle service is available, and you can dine at the famous Voodoo Steakhouse before heading up to the rooftop to dance the night away.

The club opens at 8 pm nightly and has some amazing reviews from patrons and critics alike. What’s not to like about partying 51 floors above street level, the stars above your head, a one-of-a-kind drink in your hand, and a view of the surrounding lights?

4. Apex Social Club at The Palms Resort

Staying at Palms Resort for your visit to sunny Las Vegas? You’ll want to visit the Apex Social Club during your stay for a lesson in sophisticated nightlife and personalized VIP services. Yet another one of Vegas’ signature rooftop-style clubs, The Apex has something to offer party-goers and nightlife enthusiasts alike.

This 8,000 square foot rooftop club provides not only a stunning view of the sky and the surrounding desert, but the city below shines with glistening brilliance as you look down from atop one of the best resorts it has to offer.

With the club’s VIP services, you won’t need to wait in any lines, or even be a part of the rabble of the nightly crowd. With private rooms, bottle service, and friendly staff, you’ll be treated to a VIP experience you won’t soon forget!

Did we mention the incredible art pieces that decorate the floors of the club? A unique architectural scheme makes the inside of this rooftop club something to be seen. Take a tour on the website to learn exactly what we mean. Your curiosity won’t be able to remain unchallenged once you see this dazzling nightclub first hand.

5. Vista Cocktail Lounge at Caeser’s Palace

Caeser’s Palace is one of the most popular spots in Vegas. From the luxury hotel to the stunning Casino, the resort has made a name for itself in style, elegance, and creative architecture. The Vista is the ultimate VIP experience for patrons of Caeser’s and it’s easy to see why.

With stunning decor and a floor plan that is spacious and elegant, you’ll feel comfortable and safe within this laid-back cocktail lounge. Request VIP service for complimentary entry, as well as incredible service from the lounge’s well-trained and professional staff.

The lounge actually gets its name from the advanced LED display of dazzling skylines from all over the world, which are constantly rotating and changing to give you an amazing cinematic experience while you enjoy hand-crafted drinks and VIP service.

With a drinks list to quench your thirst, visually stunning effects, and an atmosphere like no other, The Vista is a must-see destination for nightlife-enthusiasts everywhere.

7 Fast and Effective Tips of Getting Into Ketosis

You’re probably here to learn how to get into ketosis or because you want to speed up the process of entering into ketosis.

Whatever reasons it might be, understand that it’s a bold and beneficial step as ketosis has numerous health benefits.

At its core, ketosis boils down to cutting back on carbs and increasing fat intake; that’s it.

Still, as simple as it might sound, there are things that you can do to get into ketosis easily and quickly.

To help you with that, we’ve prepared this awesome guide below that outline the seven effective tips to get into ketosis.

1) Cutting on Carbs

One of the primary tips that I usually recommend to all those looking to enter into ketosis is to cut back on their carb consumptions. And not just a little, but rather a significant drop in the number of carbs they consume.

In any case, the definition of ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat instead of glucose (sourced from carbs) for fuel. When you’re deprived of carbs, your body has no other option for fuel, and it results in burning fats and proteins.

By and large, cutting down your carb consumption is the greatest tip you can perform to enter into ketosis quickly.

Ideally, you should aim to have 20g of carbs daily, but this unit is personalized as some might achieve ketosis using this number, while others might even take double the amount and still experience ketosis.

Whatever, the case, the basic fact is that you should limit on cutting carbs and more importantly, learn the signs of ketosis.

2) Ramp Up Your Physical Activities

Exercising is energy intensive, and this is to mean that when you engage in rigorous activities, you’ll expend energy, thereby using your glycogen stores.

Typically, the glycogen stores are replenished by using or carbs, or rather when you eat carbohydrates after exercising.

However, when you’re on a low-carb diet, or rather restricting your carb intake as we mentioned above, your glycogen levels will remain low.

In response, your liver generates more of ketones, which will now be used as an alternative source of fuel, and this will help you achieve a state of ketosis.

However, it’s important to understand that it may take some time, roughly 2-4 weeks before your body acclimates to the use of ketones after exercises.

3) Increase Healthful Fat Intake

Pinging back on our first tip; with a decreased carb intake, our bodies tend to shift to using fat as the alternative means of energy.

Therefore, increasing the levels of healthy fat is a good way to achieve ketosis. However, while at it, we insist that you only consume the true healthy fats, which include coconut oils, olive oil, avocado oils, flaxseed oil, among others.

Again, if you’re looking to lose weight through ketosis, it’s also essential that you take into account the number of calories you’re consuming.

4) Use of Keto Supplements

There’s an increased usage in the keto diet and keto supplements, and this is for a good reason.

Keto supplements offer a quick, easy and convenient way of achieving ketosis using proven procedures.

Unlike the other tips on our list, keto supplements come as a complete package, and most importantly, provide the convenience of achieving ketosis.

However, when picking a supplement for ketosis, you need to choose those with excellent review ratings.

5) Maintain High Protein Intake

Proteins are the building blocks in our bodies, and they’re used to build muscles mass.

While trying to achieve ketosis, proteins are of the essence and will help to avoid the mass wasting of muscles.

More importantly, proteins provide the essential amino acids to your livers, and this allows it to continue with normal function.

Remember that the liver is responsible for the production of ketones, and keeping it fully functional is of the essence.

6) Fasting

Fasting is yet another effective way of entering into ketosis.

Fasting entails going without food for several hours, and research finding indicates it can help you go into ketosis in between meals.

Under controlled environments, doctors may also recommend that you go for intense fasting for between 24-48 hours.

Fat fasting is yet another form of fasting that involves cutting down of carb consumption entirely and rather focusing on eating healthy fats for 2-3 days.

7) Test your Ketones Levels and Adjust as Needed

As we hand mentioned earlier, entering into ketosis is a highly personalized approach, and what works for me may not necessarily work for you.

 It’s, therefore, necessary that you regularly test your ketones levels, and using the findings, you can adjust our diet accordingly for optimal results.

7 Tips for Purchasing Budget Kitchenware

When you’re looking to revamp your kitchen or by anyone, it can be quite costly. Before you go and to the store and start picking out new appliances, make sure that you’ve done your research and know exactly how to purchase these items on the cheap. Here, we’ve come up with seven ingenious ways which will help you purchase kitchenware on the cheap.

1. Think About Shopping

A key mistake that one can make with their new kitchen is to waste time buying items that they don’t really need. Do you need one of the best mixing bowls or high tech juicers? In order to provide some clarity, it’s good practice to think about what items you’ll really require by creating a shopping list and thinking about some common menus you use. By doing this, you’ll know exactly what specialty equipment you need to invest in.

2. Stick To A Budget

It may come as an obvious point, but this is sometimes overlooked. Acquiring new equipment for your kitchen can be an expensive task, so it’s important to plan, set a budget and really stick to it! It’s all about the balance between what you can afford and quality items. Of course, you will always want the highest quality, but determine which items you need the most and prioritize these in your budget.

3. Space

It’s important to consider how much space you have in your kitchen. When you’re looking for that budget item, consider how it will fit in with the space that you have. A lot of people can make the error of buying equipment without having measured the space in their kitchen, and if it doesn’t fit then this can be a disaster. Make sure that you pay attention to all of the dimensions of appliances you want to purchase. If you want to buy an appliance online, see if you can view it in a store first – this can get you familiar with space it will take up in your kitchen.

4. Energy Star

All appliances come with two different price tags – the first is the cost of purchase and the second is the cost of running. When you’re looking at all the different appliances and kitchen equipment out there, a great way pinpointing products that are cost-effective is to look for the Energy Star label. When you see this, you will know that this product will be energy efficient and provide you with long-term savings.

So what exactly is this rating and how will you know when you’ll be able to save money? The Energy Star rating is a government-backed initiative which indicates that appliances energy-efficient. This can allow people to make well-informed decisions about how much they going to pay for the cost of running an appliance. It is saved about $30 billion in the United States energy costs since it was founded and is due to save much more money.

5. Warranty

When you’re looking for new equipment, it can be helpful to think of associated future costs, so do consider the warranty of the product. Do remember giving the fine print a read to see how long the warranty lasts. Warranties can save a lot of money down the line, so do take them into consideration when you’re shopping at kitchenware stores. Typical warranties tend to last around 12 months, but some manufacturers may offer longer warranties so that more people buy their products.

A warranty is great for when your product breakdown as you won’t need to pay more, however, one should always be wary of purchasing extended warranties, i.e. Additional time that you can have for your appliance. Sometimes it is just not worth going down this path and may, in fact, be much cheaper to purchase a new appliance when it bites the dust after some time. This is because of increases in technological advances and decreasing costs of your appliance over time.

6. Online Shopping – Kitchenware On The Cheap

If you’re looking at where to buy cheap kitchenware, the online world is probably your best bet. Auction websites where you can buy items second hand is a great way of saving money. There’s a whole world out there just full of used types of kitchenware for you to purchase and make substantial savings.

7. Ex Display Items

There are plenty of places to buy items that used to be on display for an absolute bargain. Looking on websites such as The Used Kitchen Company can even find the whole kitchens including appliances and a complete kitchenware set so you won’t have to think about what matches and fits.

Wrap Up

We hope that with the tips provided today, you’ll be able to purchase kitchenware on the cheap. It needn’t always break the bank, so do consider your spending habits, where and how you can buy. Remember not to skimp on quality, because appliances should last – you won’t want to buy something cheap and have to replace it on a regular basis. If you haven’t got the cash, clever budgeting will do and you can have the appliances that you really want. Every kitchen deserves great items and every item deserves a great price.

Do you have any tips about how to purchase appliances on the cheap? Please send us your comments below.

About The Author:

Jerry Fisher is a self-confessed food lover and kitchen fanatic! He has over 10 years of experience working in the kitchen industry and used to be the VP of sales for one of the leading kitchen retailers in the UK. He is a contributor and writer for many home decor websites and blogs.

5 Delicious Way to Cook Your Meals With Leftover Liquor

We all have parties, or gatherings, where there is one too many liquor bottles leftover.  Typically during a holiday or special occasion like a birthday. You may think the easiest thing to do is to just drink it, or worse, throw it away – GASP!

Neither option is optimal, so maybe you can try cooking it. Over the years, I have gathered up some go-to recipes that turned my leftover bottles into ingredients. I want to share a few ways you can turn your liquor into breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals.

Whiskey Bacon

Bacon has got to be hands down my all time favorite side dish and addition. It just makes everything better! If you agree, then this recipe is going to knock your socks off.

Whiskey bacon is like bacon candy. Basically you only need 4 simple ingredients that you will most likely have in your pantry already. I learned about this recipe back in 2018 and I haven’t cooked bacon another way since.

Common Leftover Whiskeys

  • Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey
  • Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey

Recipe

You’ll need very little to make a meal really stand out. A YouTuber named Ry (Cooking With Ry) made shared this recipe when he made his whiskey bacon burger, and I found a use for it in other places!

Tools:

  • Cast Iron Skillet (preferred) / Fry Pan

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 slices of bacon
  • 1.5 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 0.5 shot of Leftover Whiskey

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the skillet on medium high heat.
  2. Add strips of bacon altogether. Depending on what you’re cooking it for, you can organize them or just drop them into the skillet making it one big piece of bacon .
  3. Let one entire side cook and crips up before turning it over. About 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon.
  4. Turn over the bacon and repeat step 3 until the bacon is as crisp as you like it. I like it on the floppier side so it still has some flexibility.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and pour off some of that bacon grease for later. Odds are you will have a lot of grease which you can re-use for frying eggs or cooking beef.
  6. While the pan is off the heat, add butter, brown sugar, and whiskey. I used Jack Daniels.

(Pro Tip: Be careful that the whiskey is added away from the hot stove top. Safety first!)

  1. Return the pan to the hot stove on medium heat and mix everything together until the butter and sugar is melted, and the bacon is caramelized.

Take this recipe and add it to you breakfast meals, BLT sandwiches, Club sandwiches, burgers, or even baked beans if you want to get really creative.

Beer Braised Sausages

I never explored the possibilities of cooking with sausages before this year. I was yearning for a different flavor besides chicken and beef, and thought i would give Italian Sausage a try. I’m so happy I did!

Beer braised sausages has got to be my all time favorite recipe. Since I was new to the sausage game, I turned to Tastemade for help. It’s 5 ingredients and less than 30 minutes!

Common Leftover Beers

  • Heineken (My Favorite)
  • Stella Artois
  • Coors Light
  • Blue Moon

Recipe

This Tastemade Beer Braised Sausage recipe includes a side recipe for homemade mustard. Personally, I don’t love mustard, but if I’d want it, I would just buy it. Sorry Tastemade, but I only needed the sausages!

Tools:

  • Skillet or Dutch Oven

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 Mild Italian Sausages
  • (1) 12oz Leftover Beer bottle
  • 1 tsp of Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 sprigs of fresh Oregano — or 1 tbsp of dried Oregano
  • 1 tbsp of Crushed red pepper (optional!)

Instructions:

  1. Add Olive oil to skillet / dutch oven over medium to high heat.
  2. Add garlic and let it brown up.
  3. Add Italian Sausages until brown on all sides.
  4. Once browned, flip over, and add the beer to simmer the sausages. I used Heineken.

(Pro Tip: Pour the beer slowly as it will foam up and spill over if added too quickly.)

  1. Add the sprigs of Oregano and crushed red peppers for extra spice.
  2. Bring the sausages and beer to a boil, and then let it simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the alcohol is cooked down. This will keep caramelize the sausages and keep them juicy.

Slice these sausages up and dip it in homemade mustard (as recommended) or BBQ sauce and mashed potatoes. You can also slice them and add to a homemade pizza or pasta dish. The possibilities are there!

Beer Battered… Anything

Honesty time: I hate getting burned. Which is what keeps me from deep frying a lot of delicious foods. However, my mom doesn’t have that fear, and she has a really yummy batter that she taught me.

Common Leftover Beers (continued)

  • Corona
  • Miller Lite
  • Guinness
  • Dos Equis

Recipe

Beer batter is so simple, it hurts (not literally). Again, you only need a few ingredients, three to be exact, and you have the base for crispy chicken or fish.

Tools:

  • A mixing bowl
  • Fork or Whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Leftover Bottle of beer

Instructions:

  1. Sift each flour into the bowl. This will add air to the mixture.
  2. Gradually add the beer onto the flour mix until you get a creamy consistency. You may not need to use the entire bottle. I used Corona.
  3. Add the eggs and mix well.

Pro Tip: Make the batter the day, or morning, before you use it. The longer it sits, the better the crispiness when you fry the protein.

You can use this batter to make Fish n’ Chips, Fried Chicken, or even fried cauliflower for a vegetarian dish.   

Penne Alla Vodka

The first time I ever tasted penne pasta in vodka sauce, I was a Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. On their menu, they have a Pasta of the Day option. After that, I began to scout vodka pasta sauces, but of the storebought sauces tasted half as delicious.

I took to the internet to find a good penne alla vodka recipe and found The Cozy Cook. They have a delicious recipe for the pasta, which includes chicken. At the restaurant, I didn’t have protein with the disk, so I skipped that part. You can too!

Common Leftover Vodkas

  • Grey Goose – all of them
  • Smirnoff
  • Tito’s (My Favorite)
  • Skyy

Recipe

The Cozy Cook’s recipe is very simple once you remove the protein element. It only takes about half an hour to make. If you separate the sauce from pasta, you can even freeze the sauce in the fridge for five days and have leftovers.  

The following is their penne alla vodka with chicken recipe, without the chicken.

Tools:

  • Deep skillet or saute pan (preferred) – for the sauce
  • 2-3qt saucepan with a lid – for pasta
  • Spatula, wooden or silicone is recommended to avoid scratching the pan.

Ingredients:

  • (1) 8oz box of penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vodka — I used Tito’s Handmade Vodka
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated (optional)
  • fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the penne pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
    (Pro Tip: To save time, boil the pasta while the chicken sears.)
  2. In skillet or saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter and use a spatula to release some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the diced onions and cook until they have softened and begin to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Add the vodka to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. I used Tito’s.
  5. Once browned, reduce the heat to low, and add the diced tomatoes and marinara sauce. Stir in the heavy cream.
  6. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and add the final Tablespoon of butter.
  7. Add in the pasta and use the spatula to stir until the penne is evenly covered.

(Pro Tip: This part is optional, as you can keep the pasta and sauce separate, and use the leftover sauce in the future.)

  1. Top with Parmesan and chopped parsley to serve!

You can certainly experiment with the types of pasta and meats you add. Chicken breast is simply the best protein because it doesn’t overpower the sauce.

Red Wine Marinade

The best use out of leftover red wine is to marinate your meet in it. Personally, when I want to marinate chicken or steak, I use spices that have laying around, which is how I stumbled upon red wine in my marinade.

Common Leftover Red Wines

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir

Recipe

This recipe is all mine, and you can switch it up to your liking, and use it for meats such as chicken or steaks.

Tools:

  • A mixing bowl
  • Fork (optional)
  • Deep Tupperware or a large ziplock back

Ingredients:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Sazon Goya packet
  • 1-2 tsp of garlic, minced
  • A quarter of an onion, diced
  • 0.5 tsp of cumin, podwered or ground
  • 1 cup of Red Wine
  • 1 tbsp of Red wine vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 0.5 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce (Steaks Only)

Instructions:

  1. Clean your meat of choice: chicken or steak.
  2. First use all of the dry ingredients: salt, peppers, cumin, and Sazon Goya. You’re going to use these as a dry rub for your meat on both sides.
  3. Place your meat into the Tupperware/ziplock bag.
  4. Add all wet ingredients: onion, garlic, EV Olive Oil, lime juice, vinegars, and your red wine. I used Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.

(Pro Tip: You’ll find that your leftover wine has more flavors than any cooking wine you can find in the store.)

  1. Mix the meat in the Tupperware/ziplock bag and seal it. Place in the fridge for 3-12 hours before cooking.

Top 8 Supplements to Boost Your Family’s Health This Spring

Food supplements are very useful and they are a convenient way to make sure your body’s daily needs are satisfied. However, as the name itself suggests they are only supplementing your daily diet, not replacing it. Eating regular healthy meals and including these recommended supplements will help you boost your immune system, stay healthy and feel energized.

Copyright: Unsplash/author:Pawel Czerwinski / I License: CC0 Public  Domain

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms, often referred to as the “good” bacteria. “Good” bacteria can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt as a product of natural fermentation process. There are also many varieties of probiotic supplements available in form of pill or chewing gummies that can be easily added to any daily diet plan.

Taking probiotics increases the population of the good bacteria in the intestines which prevents the bad bacteria to multiply and cause illness or disbalans that will manifest as diarrhea or constipation. Moreover, it eases the symptoms of many gastrointestinal problems and illnesses.

Essential thing for a good health is having a perfectly functioning gut. Probiotics help maintain good balance of the bacteria in the gut which will offer a good metabolism regulation and a proper food digestion. All nutrients taken from the healthy foods you are consuming and dietary supplements are efficient only when they are properly digested.

A well-balanced bacteria culture equals proper gut-work which is the base of healthy, properly-functioning organism.

Collagen

Collagen is the main structural protein found in the connective tissues in the body, such as tendons, skin, muscles, ligaments etc. As we are growing older, our body produces less collagen and this results with rigidness in the body, wrinkled skin, week and damaged hair and nails.

Therefore, taking collagen supplements is very beneficial for your body as it enhances the joints, bones, muscles, gut health and boosts the production of new collagen fibers. Moreover, it results in strong and good looking hair, nails, skin and proper digestion.

Collagen in a form of dietary supplement is made when hydrolyzed and reduced to small peptides that are tasteless and easily dissolved.

You can consume collagen in your smoothies, baked goods, hot drinks (coffee, cocoa even tea), you can mix it in water and not even noticed it’s there.

Spirulina Algae

Spirulina is an alga that comes from a family of single-celled microbes referred to as blue-green algae and they can be found growing in both salt and fresh waters.

Spirulina is considered as superfood due to its amazing nutrition content:

  •        Proteins

o   18 different proteins and amino acids

  •        Carbohydrates

o   Sugars and dietary fibers

  •        Vitamins

o   Vitamin A, K, B12, B6, D,E, (niacin, folate, beta-carotene)

  •        Minerals

o   Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc.

Collagen is very popular and widely used as it is proven to have no side effects and is suitable for every diet. Moreover, its high protein content makes it an excellent supplement for vegetarian and vegan people.

It is recommended to be used by people that are on a restrictive diet as it helps supplement the entire nutrition and vitamins needed for good nourishment of the organism.

Taking Spirulina helps with anemia, gut health, blood pressure and diabetes management, cholesterol, metabolic rate and allergy symptoms.

Spirulina comes in a form of dried powder that can easily be added to smoothies and other meals or it can be taken with water as a pressed small green tablets. It has an intense algae smell.

Copyright: Wikipedia/author: Perdita / I License: CC0 Public  Domain

CBD Oil

CBD oil is made from the main non-psychoactive component of the plant cannabis-sativa (marijuana) the cannabidiol. Its growing popularity as a natural remedy for many ailments has placed this miracle potion on every recommendation list of daily supplements. Many scientific studies have confirmed the curing and preventative power of the CBD oil.

CBD oil reduces stress, anxiety and panic disorders, treats insomnia, and helps in weight-regulation as it can play a role in breaking down fat. Moreover, it is a natural pain reliever and has anti-inflammatory properties.

The daily dose of several drops can be taken directly in mouth or it can be added to any drink or food you consume through the day.

If you or someone in your family loves to vape it is also a convenient way to take your daily CBD dose. Check production grower recommendations for the best choice.

Vitamin C

The ascorbic acid – vitamin C, can be found in many fruits and vegetables. It is advisable to be taken from foods, however vitamin C supplements are very convenient to use and you can be sure you have satisfied your daily amounts of this very important antioxidant. Moreover, when it comes to vitamin C, your body has a good system of throwing away the excess through the urine which means you can’t overdose or cause harm.

It is linked to impressive health benefits such as, strengthening body’s natural defense mechanism, therefore boosting the immune system. Furthermore, reduces the risk of heart diseases, battles high blood pressure, improves iron absorption which is of a great importance, protects memory and many more.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can be found in seeds, nuts and oils and is known to be an important cholesterol-lowering antioxidant. It is recommended to be taken from foods and as a dietary supplement, however it is fat-soluble which means your body will store it and use it when needed.

This antioxidant gives important protection from cigarette smoking and air pollution damages. Moreover, it may help repair damaged cells and slow the aging process of your cells.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a great supplement that helps in recovering from everyday stress and tiredness. Your muscles suffer a great deal from stress and anxiety tension that put them in spasm increasing the feeling of rigidness. Magnesium acts as a natural calcium blocker to help muscles relax preventing the contractions and spasms. Don’t forget your heart is a muscle too.

It is a very important supplement as almost every organ in your body needs it to function properly. However, when you are not getting enough your body may face a general malaise.

Zinc

Zinc is an essential nutrient that your body can’t produce or store. Therefore, it is very important to get a constant supply of zinc trough your diet or dietary supplements.

We all know how important iron is for our healthy body, well zinc comes second after the iron minerals. Zinc is essential for cell growth and division, enzyme reactions, immune function and protein production.

Pros and Cons of Adding CBD Oil to Your Diet

Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently become a very popular product. It is thought to be able to treat/ease a variety of problems. However, its use is being constantly debated. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what it actually is and what it does to our bodies. CBD oil may possess certain benefits that positively affect our health, but there is a possibility that it also has risks that we should be aware of. This article will discuss what CBD really is and the pros and cons of adding it to our everyday diet.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is a cannabinoid which originates from the cannabis plant. These compounds are extracted from the flowers and buds as an oil. For medical use, the hemp plant is the form of cannabis plant that CBD is extracted from. This is due to it being the least processed type. How concentrated the CBD oils are as well as what they are best used for varies. Before more research was carried out on cannabis, the primary compound found was delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC). THC is the psychoactive element found in marijuana that causes the mind altering high associated with the drug. CBD is not psychoactive, so does not change the user’s state of mind when taken. It does produce other changes within the body, however, some research implies that these changes are medically beneficial.

How to use it

CBD can be taken in many forms. The most effective way is by using the oil via a pipette to place a few drops underneath the tongue. This seems to enter the bloodstream fairly quickly and positive effects (such as relief from a seizure) can be noticed within minutes of its application. It also comes in the form of a cream that can be applied to the skin and spray versions for the mouth. Another way to take CBD is to ingest it. This can be done by putting a few drops of the oil into a meal or drink and consuming it, or it can be swallowed in capsule form. Noticing the effects of CBD takes a lot longer when digesting it as it takes more time to enter the bloodstream. It is also less efficient than putting drops under the tongue as some of the CBD gets broken down in the stomach. Finally, CBD can be inhaled through a vaporizing device. However, this method isn’t recommended as there is a lot of evidence to suggest that ‘vaping’ increases the risk of lung infections and can affect their function.

Pros

CBD is thought to possess a wide range of benefits. Although some alternative medications exist, CBD is thought to be a more natural option. Benefits include its ability to act as a natural pain relief as it is thought to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it is great for joint and muscle pain, as well as acne (skin inflammation) and Type 1 diabetes (inflammation of the pancreas). There’s evidence suggesting that CBD can help people quit smoking and may also be able to treat people who are addicted to opioids. CBD’s effectiveness in treating epilepsy is one of the most supported benefits of this drug as it has FDA approval. Other symptoms of neurological disorders (due to CBD’s anti-seizure properties) are thought to be helped when CBD is used. CBD’s ability to help fight cancer and Alzheimer’s is also being researched. Please note that more exploration is needed to help support some of these theories.

Cons

Due to being fairly new, data that can support some of the long-term effects is unavailable. Clinical trials of the epilepsy treatment ‘Epidiolex’ showed side effects such as liver and gastrointestinal problems, reduced appetite and urination, rashes, lethargy, and irritability. It has also been reported to cause negative effects on some people’s mental health. The lack of regulation on CBD production due to the legal factors of CBD means the percentage labeled on your product may not be accurate, and in some batches, traces of THC have been found which can worsen certain things that CBD is meant to help e.g. anxiety.

Adding CBD to your everyday diet may benefit you in a brilliant way as many of the issues it has been said to help with could change lives. But as it is still early days, it would probably be best to limit your consumption until more research on this potential ‘miracle’ drug has been undertaken.

6 Healthy Foods That Boost Fat Burn

6 Healthy Foods That Boost Fat Burn

People often believe that their metabolism is pre-fixed and there’s nothing they can do to change it. And it often discourages them from starting weight loss routines because of the preconceived idea that having a slow metabolism will make any effort useless. But it’s possible to accelerate your metabolism if you know which foods to eat. Here are six foods that can boost your metabolic rate and encourage weight loss.

Fatty Fish

While fat is often seen as an enemy to weight loss, fatty fish can have great benefits for anyone trying to lose fat fast. Mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines are all high in Omega 3 fatty acids and have not only been shown to help burn fat, but reduce the risks of heart disease and inflammation as well.

According to a particular study that was performed on 44 adults, those who were administered fish oil were able to lose about 0.5 kg of fat and showed a significant drop in cortisol after 6 weeks. Another thing that makes fish such a great choice for losing weight is that it’s rich in protein, which requires much more energy from your body to be digested.

Coffee

Instead of taking over the counter stimulants for weight loss, why not go for coffee instead? Many of these supplements contain caffeine in the first place, but also plenty of other ingredients that could be dangerous. Taking your caffeine straight from coffee will allow you to control your portions and avoid harmful additives.

According to research, coffee could boost your metabolic rate by as much as 13%, which is pretty impressive. In one study, people were asked to consume 100 milligrams of coffee at 2-hour intervals over a 12-hour period. One group was made up of lean adults and the second from people who formerly were obese.

The lean group burned over 150 calories more in average and the formerly obese group burned an extra 79 calories during the study. However, that doesn’t mean you should start drinking 6 cups of coffee per day to lose weight. Anything between 100mg to 300mg per day would be safer, which is between 1 to 3 cups.

Eggs

People automatically think about things like kale or acai berries when thinking about superfoods, but few realize how much of a nutritional powerhouse eggs can be. Not only are eggs rich in protein, but they are also great if you want to control your appetite. Eggs will make you feel fuller for longer, and the effects will be even greater if you eat them with complex fiber, like whole wheat toast for instance.

Chili Peppers

There’s a reason why we start sweating anytime we eat something spicy; that’s actually our metabolism going into overdrive. Eating chilies can have a similar calorie burning effect on your body as physically activity.

Another great thing is that capsaicin, the compound that makes chilis so spicy, can be taken orally to boost your metabolism when you’re on a restricted diet. And you could compound the fat burning properties of capsaicin by consuming some before a workout and wearing a sauna vest to stimulate body heat. Capsaicin has also been shown to have appetite suppressing properties, which is another plus. If you want to know where to find a sauna vest, you could try a retailer like Kewlioo.com, as they have them in sizes XS to 6XL.

Green Tea

Green tea is not only great if you’re trying to burn fat. Green tea is also very rich in antioxidants and can reduce your risk of contracting certain cancers while reducing your risk of heart disease as well. Green tea is also a good source of proteins, and contains an antioxidant named epigallocatechin gallate, which has been shown to reduce belly fat and promote fat burning.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is one of the best forms of protein you can take if you’re on a strength training program. Whey is a complete protein which allows it to be properly absorbed by the body. Whey protein is not only great if you’re trying to build muscle, but as a supplement if you’re trying to lose weight but maintain your muscle mass.

As you can see, boosting your metabolism doesn’t have to be so hard after all. If you manage to incorporate these few foods into your diet while having an active lifestyle, you should be able to lose fat faster and start seeing results in no time.

Author Bio

Jessica Peters is a freelance writer from Melbourne who blogs about health and fitness. Jessica is an avid traveler and regularly crosses the globe to learn about other cultures while blogging from her laptop.

How To Reduce Weight With Coffee

There are a number of ways that can help you lose weight. You can choose something aggressive such as weight lifting or even go light as walking and doing yoga. However, there is one surprisingly unconventional method of letting go of the pounds that comes in the form of a beverage: coffee.

No, you didn’t read that wrong incorrectly and it’s not a typo either. Nutritionist Sarah Flowers told Express that drinking coffee not only boosts energy levels and concentration, but also helps us slim down. One of the ways it does this, Sarah explains, is that drinking coffee boosts our metabolism.

When we drink coffee, a phenomenon known as thermogenesis is stimulated in our body, which is what boosts our metabolic rate and burn fat in the process.

Coffee also consists of Chlorogenic acid, which slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and stimulate the hormone Epinephrine that causes body fats to break down.

However, Flowers warns that drinking too much coffee during the day could make us intolerant to its effects overtime. So she advises that it’s better to choose whatever coffee we take and that we should drink only or two cups a day to get all of its benefits.

Gym regulars will be happy to know that drinking coffee can give them an extra advantage. Sarah says that caffeine has been proven to improve gym performance, especially when it comes to endurances sports or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s one of the reasons why caffeine is included in so many diet pills and sports nutrition.

Flowers goes on to say that caffeine functions as a stimulant which provides a boost of energy and burn fat stores. It even stimulates the central nervous system, which send signals directly to the fat cells, telling them to break down.

This happens when blood levels of the hormone epinephrine are increased. Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline, travel through your blood to the fat tissues, which then signals them to break down fat and release them into your blood.

Be advised, however, that releasing fatty acids into your blood does not help you lose weight unless you’re lowering your calorie intake or are exercising, thereby putting you in a condition known as negative energy balance.

Besides caffeine, there are other stimulants that affect metabolism, including:

  • Theobromine: It’s the prime stimulant in cocoa, but it’s also found in coffee.
  • Theophylline: It’s another stimulant that is found in both cocoa and coffee, and has been proven to treat asthma.

Caffeine is the most important one out of all of them. It works by blocking adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In doing so, the firing of neurons is increased and neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine are released, which in turn makes us energized and awake.

Sarah advises those who wish to boost their metabolism and burn fat, to try Skinny Coffee Club mixes. These contain a mix of ground coffee, green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, Siberian ginseng and Garcinia Cambogia, which work well together to speed up one’s metabolism, burn fat and reduce their appetite.

Siberian ginseng, Sarah says, are regarded as the ultimate adaptogen herb that balance our adrenal glands.

Sarah also recommends Bullet Proof, which is coffee that is blended with coconut oil or butter. She says that this beverage is really popular with the low carb/ketogenic community and athletes who want to enhance their energy and performance as well as reduce their appetite.

Apart from that, Bullet Proof coffee also aids in elevating your cognitive and concentration skills. In order to make your own coffee all you have to do is blend freshly brewed coffee using a blender with coconut or MCT oil and grass-fed butter.

Lastly, coffee can also help lower your appetite, which is ideal for those who have lost control of their diet and need help eating normal amounts of food.

Sarah says that coffee can stimulate thermogenesis (as we said earlier), which decreased our need for food, but only temporarily.

To reiterate, Sarah also said that the chlorogenic acid in coffee reduces the absorption of carbohydrates and suppresses our hunger hormone, Ghrelin. This is the hormone that sits in our stomach and causes it to growl whenever we feel hungry.

Carbohydrates also shut off our leptin response, which is a hormone that tells our brain that we’re full. So by stimulating leptin and suppressing ghrelin, our appetite can effectively be reduced.

One more interesting bit of detail to note is that decaffeinated coffee contains the most important Chlorogenic Acid and can produce a great appetite suppressing effect.

But not all coffees produce such desirable effects. Some, including milky lattes and cappuccinos, consist of sugars and calories, all of which, result in weight gain, eventually increasing our insulin and ghrelin levels.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to choose black coffee or one with a hint of milk and avoid sweetened coffees as well as those with lots of milk.

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