Now too much of anything is never good for us, but there’s a whole list of the medically proven ways that chocolate, dark in particular is really good for us.
Even though research is ongoing, experts have already found a whole host of benefits such as chocolate being good for the brain, heart, and circulation. It has also been suggested that chocolate can be beneficial to major conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and autism.
With Easter just around the corner, and all that chocolate awaiting us, let’s explore 10 convincing reasons as to why you should eat MORE chocolate!
A study in Finland says that the stress of expectant can be reduced through consuming chocolate which is subsequently a lot better for a pregnancy. The study also found that babies of mothers who consumed chocolate during pregnancy smiled a lot more than babies who were from non-chocolate-eating parents.
Studies in Finland, in particular, have found through testing that the consumption of chocolate lowers the risk of suffering from a stroke. The researchers found that a staggering 17 per cent average of men in the group they tested had a lower risk after consuming chocolate during the study.
High consumptions of cocoa have been found to reduce the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and actually raise the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. This ultimately can potentially reduce the risk of health issues such as cardiovascular disease.
The flavanols in dark chocolate are thought to reduce memory loss in elderly people. Dark chocolate has also been found to be beneficial in treating brain injuries like concussions, because of the anti-inflammatory qualities it contains.
Dark Chocolate is full of minerals which are extremely beneficial to us. Minerals such as zinc, selenium, and potassium are in bars of dark chocolate which have a percent of cocoa over 70. The 100g bars of dark chocolate also provide 67 percent of the RDA of Iron.
Everyone can relate to chocolate making them feel better. This is actually because chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a chemical that encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins, quite like when you’re falling in love.
A study has found that dark chocolate can actually help to restore the flexibility of arteries, while white blood cells are also being prevented from sticking to the walls of blood vessels- both in which are common causes of artery clogging.
It is true! Chocolate can actually help you lose weight! A neuroscientist Will Clower says that if you consume a small square of chocolate melted on the tongue 20 minutes before a meal triggers the hormones in the brain that tell you you’re ‘full’, which ultimately cuts down the food you consume during the meal. If you finish the meal eating a small chocolate can subsequently trigger snacking, so beware!
It may sound a little backward, but cocoa has actually been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. So in turn, dark chocolate which is high in cocoa, if eaten in moderation, may be able to delay or prevent the onset of diabetes.
It’s always a shame when we discover our food has gone to waste because of mold. While mold is usually a sign that it’s time to discard something, it’s not as clear exactly what to do when it comes to cheese. Here is a guide which will help you differentiate which cheese is ‘good’ and which is ‘bad’ when mold takes place.
Now there are very clear types of cheeses that must be discarded when mold occurs- soft cheese like cream cheese, cottage cheese, and ricotta cheese. Also, cheese that is shredded, sliced or crumbled should be discarded when mold appears. With these kinds of cheeses, the mold can send threads all throughout the cheese. Harmful bacteria such as salmonella, e.coli, listeria, and brucella can also grow throughout the cheese. So stay clear of any consumption if these cheeses have mold.
There is still hope for cheese with mold, though. Mold usually can’t penetrate far into hard and semisoft cheeses, like cheddar, parmesan, swiss and Colby. So it is easy to just cut the mold away from the cheese and eat the rest. It is safe practice to cut at least an inch around and below the mold to be safe, and do not contaminate the rest of the cheese by touching it with the knife.
It is true that not all molds pose a risk. Some types of mold are actually used to make cheeses, such as Camembert and Brie. These are safe molds to eat.
Whether or not you should eat the mold generally relies upon what type of cheese it is. It’s usually quite easy to differentiate between, but if you find yourself unsure, it is best to discard the cheese, just to be safe.
The study involved middle-aged participants being asked to eat bread made from 85% barley for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Around 11-14 hours after the last meal of that day, they were then examined for diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk indicators.
It found that a special mix of dietary fibers improved the person’s metabolism for up to 14 hours. Not only that, but it also decreased the blood sugar and insulin levels, making insulin sensitivity increased, it also increased appetite control. The bread was also found to help regulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
So now we know all the benefits to this delicious bread, spice up your meal times with this Barley Bread Recipe, while also keeping it healthy:
First, preheat the gas grill on low heat for at least 10 minutes
Then, lightly grease the sides and bottom of a 4 to 5-quart dutch oven with canola oil.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then in another mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, oil, eggs and milk. Add the wet and dry mixed ingredients together.
Pour the batter into the dutch oven, not covering with a lid. Then place the dutch oven on the grill and close the lid of the grill.
Cook with the lid closed for 35-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F.
Allow to cool off in the dutch oven for at least 5 minutes before putting on a cooling rack.
If you are baking in a traditional oven, bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches 190 degrees F.
The word ‘spirit’ has many meanings. The Holy Spirit as an example, or the scary entities terrorizing people in horror movies. However, when it comes to drinking, ‘spirit’ is a popular synonym to liquor.
Spirit can be defined as a strong distilled liquor such as whiskey, gin, rum, etc. Specifically talking, spirits can be defined as a liquid containing ethyl alcohol and water that is distilled from alcoholic liquids.
So how an earth did the word come to describe something so holy… to something wholly intoxicating?
There are in fact quite a few reasons:
The New Testament in the Bible has five images for the Holy Spirit: tongues, doves, fire, water, and wind. However, in Acts 2:13, Pentecost bystanders actually mistakenly thought intoxication from too much new wine were effects of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is intoxicating like spirits.
In 327 B.C., Aristotle wrote about the term ‘spirits’ being attributed to alcohol. Even though we do not have proof that his fellow Greeks distilled spirits on a significant level, Aristotle is the one that gave the name ‘spirit’ to the product of distillation. He thought that when he drank distilled wine or beer, they put ‘spirits’ into the body of the drinker.
However, this claim is quite suspect as if Aristotle was talking about spirits in the way we use it, he would’ve used the word ‘pneuma’, which is an ancient Greek word for ‘breath’, ‘spirit’, or ‘soul’. Pneuma is the most often translated word in the New Testament, meaning ‘Spirit’. But distillation of alcohol wasn’t common in ancient Greece anyway.
In the Middle East, there were Alchemists who were the first to master distillation. They were not only trying to find gold, but they were trying to make medical elixirs. To do this, they would distil liquid, collect the vapor, and then gather what they call the ‘spirit’ that came off it.
Roman Llull, who was a Franciscan monk, is one of the first people who used distillation purely for alcohol. In his journals. he is said to be the first to pen specific formulas for ‘loosening’ the alcohol from the wine.
Liquor is, in fact, a base alcohol that has the water physically taken out through the process of distillation, which increases the concentration of alcohol through evaporation. The alcohol is then condensed down. In more simple terms, the spirit of the liquor is leaving the lower alcohol base liquid, coming back in a purer form to drink. So in turn, we are drinking the spirit of the fermented liquid.
Alcohol and weight have always seemed to have a bad relationship. A glass of your favorite wine after work or a nightcap with an old friend are usually the first things to go when we begin a diet. However, research as to why alcohol should stop during diets isn’t as clear as anti-alcohol diets make out.
It is not always common knowledge that alcohol is loaded with calories. We subconsciously assume it isn’t as bad because it’s so easy to consume as opposed to eating a big burger or a plate of fries, but alcohol is just as bad- if not worse. The human body targets alcohol calories before the other calories (calories from extra ingredients in cocktails mainly)- the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which are stored in the body until needed. To balance out the calories, we need to exercise more or consume less of other calories.
On the other hand, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Studies show that drinking wasn’t associated with body mass index in men, and it actually had a zero to negative effect in women, meaning that some women who drank actually had less body mass index than women who didn’t. However, this study heavily relied on a specific age and drinking level. It relied on moderate drinking habits, meaning two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. It did not include heavy drinkers (four drinks a day for men, 3 drinks a day for women), who had a higher risk of obesity.
Through several studies and experiments, they found that two glasses of wine a night for men and one glass of wine a night for women did not increase weight gain. So maybe you can enjoy that glass of your favorite wine after work, after all!
Overall, the problem with studies on people is that everyone is different. It may be that for the majority of people, one to two glasses of wine a day will have no effect on weight gain, but for a minority, it might. It is all down to genetics, stress, eating patterns and exercise. In the end, it all comes down to alcohol and weight management. You just have to find what works for you, moderation is usually the answer.
Soaking chicken overnight in brine is an age-old technique. Brining a chicken seasons it through and through, locking in the moisture for tender meat.
However, unless you work in a Greek restaurant, going through 600 pounds of feta cheese a month, you probably won’t think to use feta as brine instead of plain salt water. At the Greek restaurant Souvla in San Francisco, that’s exactly what they did!
The process of creating a feta brine involves the actual salt water liquid that preserves the cheese during storage. With going through so much feta cheese a month, the restaurant also went through a lot of the salt water solution that was used to store their feta. They were simply tired of seeing so much brine go to waste.
The brine is a lot more complex than salt water and has a fermented pickled flavor, along with an umami character which the restaurant knew could be repurposed. With that, Mr. Cervone came up with the brilliant idea to use the brine on the rotisserie chickens, which were served at the restaurant and sold as takeout. Not only did it make the chicken even more plump and juicy, it also added a pleasant earthiness to the meat. It also sparked immense popularity at the restaurant with how delicious the chicken is and now every night they go on sale, they are sold out very quickly!
Now although you may not have the commercially used feta brine, you can actually purée feta cheese in water and use that in its place. You marinate your chicken in the mix and store it overnight in the fridge. The following day, pat the chicken dry, cover it with lots of grated lemon zest, freshly ground black pepper, and dried oregano. You then roast it how you would any chicken and let your senses burst with this juicy, feta infused chicken!
Whether you enjoy dressing up in all green, enjoying the family festivities or getting absolutely wasted until the early hours, the most central part of any holiday is a great dinner – and a hearty, Irish meal is so important on St. Patrick’s day.
Corned Beef Brisket, Cabbage, Potatoes, And Carrots
This incredible dish takes a whopping 10 hours to cook- but is so worth it! Back when St. Patrick’s day became a tradition, you might’ve found families corning their own beef, but nowadays there is absolutely nothing wrong with a delicious store-bought corned beef brisket. Like any holiday, getting up super early just to start cooking is a tradition- and this beef brisket definitely follows through on that tradition, cooking for 10 hours to ensure mouthwatering, tender, moist meat. Not only does it need to cook for 10 hours, you ideally need to let it cool for a day in its cooking liquid to ensure even more amazing flavor. Carrots, cabbage, and potatoes compliment this delicious hunk of meat perfectly, making every juicy mouthful a delight.
These mashed potatoes are definitely a dish for ‘champs’. Unlike normal mashed potatoes, champs are much creamier and are scallion-studded. They are enriched with milk and butter and are seasoned with salt and pepper, with finely sliced scallions added. The flavor is rich and extra zesty.
Stout-Battered Onion Rings
Onion rings may not be traditional to Irish culture, but stout definitely rings it in. Stout-battered onion rings are rich in flavor, with hints of paprika, honey, and mustard for spice and sweetness. These aren’t your typical onion rings- they are a special type, bursting with flavor, perfect for the special day of St. Patrick’s Day.
Soda bread is a very traditional bread of the Irish, so it makes sense to enjoy it on St. Patrick’s Day! Soda bread is so dense and crumby and uses baking soda for leavening. It is also enriched with buttermilk and sweetened with honey. As opposed to the more traditional soaked raisins, using cranberries can be refreshing, along with it being studded with whiskey. If you aren’t a fan of Soda Bread, another option could be nutty Irish brown bread to accompany the meal.
Irish Coffee Ice Cream With Dark Chocolate and Pecans
There’s nothing that tops off a meal better than some ice cream, but even better, Irish ice cream on St. Patrick’s Day! This delicious dessert is bursting with buttery caramel, roasted coffee grounds and not forgetting the generous portion of Irish Whiskey! Its flavor is creamy and sweet, with a slight bitterness and smokiness to it, really complementing the other flavors. The dessert is finished off with crunchy candied pecans and shaved dark chocolate- because who doesn’t like chocolate?
One of the biggest Irish traditions has got to be the beers- from ales and lagers to delicious stouts, they are all staples to most St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the world. From Harp to Guinness, there’s a notable Irish brew for every beer lover. Whether you are heading out to a parade on the day or hosting your own party, here are some ‘must-know’ Irish beers to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day!
Guinness is one of the most popular Irish beers worldwide, especially in the U.S. Its flavor is distinct with smooth aromas and deep, dark, satisfying flavors. There are different Guinness brews which are most popular to have- Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout.
This Irish Stout isn’t as common, however, it is a good, tasty brew which is perfect for those lighter drinkers in need of an easy-drinking option. Including fruits such as peaches, bananas, plums mixed with traditional hops, this golden wheat ale is smooth and quenches your thirst.
Image Source: images.foxnews.com
Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
Quite like its name, this stout is truly unique. Being one of Dublin’s favorite aromatic beer, it is bursting with interesting blends of dark, flavorful hops, grains and strangely enough, fresh oysters!
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Syndey is Australia’s largest Irish event there is. It centers around different things and this year it will center around family. The parade features two music stages with over 20 acts including Aoife Scott, daughter of Frances Black. This family fun parade will also host lots of food and craft stalls and a dedicated children’s area where kids can enjoy activities such as bouncy castles, face painting, Irish dance lessons, and storytelling- all free of charge.
Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival has followed its tradition since 1824, making it one of the longest-running St. Patrick’s celebrations in North America. The United Irish Society of Montreal who has been organizing the event for over 90 years have even helped revive St. Patrick’s Day festivals in the cities of Quebec, Toronto, Hudson, Ottawa, and Chateauguay. The festival is also Montreal’s official start to spring, no matter what the weather is- in the last seven years having seen torrential rain, snowstorms, and blazing heat! You can expect this festival to include more than 100 entries of marching bands, floats and thousands of participants from all over Quebec and Ontario.
This beautiful Isle of the Caribbean is the only country other than Ireland which counts St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. This is because the Irish connections date back all the way to the 17th century when Irish Catholics fled to this safe haven after being persecuted on neighboring islands. The connection is so strong that visitors receive a Shamrock stamp on their passports! St. Patrick’s Day is not only a national holiday but a week-long celebration, showcasing the amazing, unique African-Irish heritage.
4. New York
New York has always been known for putting on a big show, and nothing changes with St. Patricks Day- New York having celebrated it since 1792! This year’s parade will have 200,000 people marching on the parade route. The parade will begin at 11 am, and will march up to 5th Avenue, stopping outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to be greeted by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.
5. Buenos Aires
With over 500,000 Irish people and their descendants living in Argentina, there’s every reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! The event is co-hosted by the Argentina-Ireland Association and the Buenos Aires city government, and the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires. It takes over the whole city, culminating in Plaza St. Martin, where there are 100s of food and beer stalls with Irish dancers and live music and huge processions of bagpipes! The event is known as Dia de San Patricio and will be a beer-fuelled party which carries on till the early hours.
Mac ‘n’ cheese is an American staple! It is one of the most convenient, but tastiest foods you can make, pleasing all ages. Unfortunately, we are often disappointed with premade mac ‘n’ cheese, with it being too bland or worse- dry and gritty; when all we really want is fluffy pasta, smothered in a creamy, velvety cheese sauce, not forgetting the light, but perfect, crunchy topping. We want the type of mac ‘n’ cheese that is so good that we are scared to start eating it, in fear we might not stop!
Here are some top tips on creating the creamiest, dreamiest mac ‘n’ cheese you can find:
A lot of recipes or premade packages of mac ‘n’ cheese call for lots of different fancy cheeses and multiple kinds of cheese in general. It seems to take away the classic flavor of what mac ‘n’ cheese actually is- sometimes, simple is better! Classic mac ‘n’ cheese usually uses a simple, but tasty cheese like cheddar. Cheddar gives back the iconic taste of macaroni and cheese, along with a hint of parmesan. The parm combines with the cheddar, giving it a nutty flavor, but working well with the cheddar instead of distracting its flavor. It is also recommended you shred your own cheese as well, as there are usually added things that make ready-shredded cheese drier with less flavor.
2. Add Cream For A Super Rich Sauce
This is quite possibly one of the most important stages to ensure the creamiest mac ‘n’ cheese. It is common to add a basic white sauce such as béchamel. However, béchamel doesn’t really give the creaminess we are looking for- but milk and cream does! Trying a combination of milk and cream will change your life! It adds such an indulgent texture, making your mouth water with every bite. Whisking your cheese throughout the process is another recommendation, it will ensure the cheesiest sauce possible.
3. Add A Dash Of Mustard Powder
It may seem unusual to be adding mustard to mac ‘n’ cheese, but it really boosts the flavor, all while staying undetectable! You can use a number of spices when making this dish, but mustard powder gives that perfect, mouthwatering addition that is needed to bring out the cheddar in the best way possible.
4. Using Garlic Breadcrumbs For That Extra Burst Of Flavor!
Adding that extra layer to the top of our mac ‘n’ cheese gives us this extra amazing flavor with the light and crunchy texture needed. Many just use plain breadcrumbs, but using garlic breadcrumbs will infuse the flavor like no other.
5. A Simple, But Easily Missed Trick
This step is easily forgotten, but so important- seasoning your mac ‘n’ cheese. Seasoning in three steps will ensure the right amount of seasoning all throughout your dish and gives it just the right amount of kick. It is always best to add your seasoning (such as salt and pepper) while making the topping, the sauce, and the macaroni.
You may love to add extras such as bacon or lobster, but this creamy macaroni and cheese alone is more than enough! It simply melts in your mouth.