Top 5 Things You Need in Your Kitchen

If you are just starting to cook, or are moving in on your own, chances are, you don't have much in terms of cooking equipment. Here is what we recommend for you to get, as you are starting out. As times goes by, you will, of course, get more kitchen gadgets. But here are five that we recommend starting out with:

- Chopping board. This is something very basic, as you can't chop anything without having a chopping board. It is very versatile, as you can chop pretty much anything on it - onions, potatoes, tomatoes, meat, herbs, etc. 

Some people prefer to get separate chopping boards to meat, dairy items, vegetables, etc. Others get differently sized chopping boards, and use them depending on the volume of things they need to chop. Start out with one, and see what else you need.

- A knife. Again, this is very basic, but you will not be able to chop or cook anything without a knife. A good, sharp knife goes a long way to help you prepare food. You can go to some stores, and hold the knives in your hand, so that you know which one you are comfortable with.

- A big pot. You need a pot for pretty much anything - from boiling pastas to making soups to stewing to pretty much anything else. Some pots come with colander inserts, which makes it easier to cook pasta. Or, you may get a colander separately, and use that.

- A saute pan. We love saute pans, and use them all the time. Again, they are very versatile, and we recommend getting ones without wooden handles, so that you can put the saute in the oven as well. 

Use the saute pan for preparing stir fries, sauteing meat and fish, cooking vegetables and much, much more.

- Roasting Pan. These are perfect for preparing things in the oven. From roast to roasted chicken to roasted vegetables, a roasted pan can help you cook your favorite dishes in the oven.

Don't be scared - cooking is fun. Start getting a few things that we recommended, and add to your collection of kitchen equipment as time goes.

 

Anticlutter Feng Shui Tips

Part of having good feng shui is clutter management. If anything, clutter is the biggest hindrance you can have for the best flow of chi, prosperity and goodness in your life. However, few people are able to manage their clutter wisely. On a daily basis, we get tons and tons of stuff we wonít be really using for a long time. Here are some tips for you to help reduce clutter and invite good Feng Shui. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 1: Sort your mail as it comes in

Incoming mail is one of the top sources of clutter. All those bills are not just stressful if mismanaged and stashed somewhere in your home, but it is also contributory to clutter in your home. If you are really serious about getting good Feng Shui, make sure that you are able to screen your mail. Establish a system for sorting all your mail. And this also holds true for other papers you may be keeping in your home. If you neatly categorize them and throw away the ones you no longer need, you will be much better off. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 2: Opt for daily cleanings than reliance on major general cleanings

A general cleaning schedule is good, but if you are still not in the habit of cleaning on a regular basis, you may still find yourself filled with a clutter problem. So the best thing to do when you are trying to apply good Feng Shui is by exercising your cleaning powers on a daily basis, not just on a schedule. It does not have to be too rigorous if done on a daily basis. You can just start with the cleaning per day one area at a time to accomplish it effectively. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 3: Clean as you work

While working on a project, clean as you go. This means that you will not just leave stuff lying around on the table as you do your work. This ensures that the work space remains clean, and this also implies that you are open for more productive work in the future since the space is wiped free of any traces from previously done work. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 4: Be generous about your stuff

Give away the stuff you donít need. This is a rule of thumb when it comes to cleaning up and freeing from clutter. Being generous involves giving away stuff you donít really get to use. What you wonít use for a long time and collect dust may actually be an answer to somebody elseís problems. Just make sure that you are not transferring clutter but something that can really be of use to the person you are giving it to. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 5: Dust frequently

Dusting frequently helps keep your place clean. Dust, when accumulated also forms the clutter which we are really trying to avoid in Feng Shui. 

Anti-Clutter Feng Shui Tip 6: Evaluate your stuff brutally

If at all possible, have a peer to help you evaluate your stuff at home. What you may hold dear and refuse to part with is not just a sign of bad Feng Shui but may also be a sign of a hoarding problem. Aside from addressing your Feng Shui issues, the mindset on clutter ma also have to be dealt with accordingly.   

 

25 Ways Get 10 Mins Of Fitness Exercise

Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But if you're like most women, you don't always have a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to doing your workouts.

You can still exercise — you just need to sneak in the equivalent in resourceful ways. "The idea is to keep moving," says fitness expert Ann Grandjean, EdD. "Get a cordless phone or put a long cord on your regular phone, and walk w...

Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But if you're like most women, you don't always have a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to doing your workouts.

You can still exercise--you just need to sneak in the equivalent in resourceful ways. "The idea is to keep moving," says fitness expert Ann Grandjean, EdD. "Get a cordless phone or put a long cord on your regular phone, and walk when you talk. Find whatever works for you and just move. Park half a mile from the mall and walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Those little, itty-bitty things add up."

Every Stolen Moment Adds Up

Lest you think that short bursts of activity have a negligible effect on your fitness program, think again. One study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after 5 months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers' aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior.

In yet another study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that for improving health and fitness in inactive adults, many short bursts of activity are as effective as longer, structured workouts. "It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they're wasting their time," says Gaesser.

Breaking exercise into small chunks on your overscheduled days can also keep your confidence up, says Harold Taylor, time management expert and owner of Harold Taylor Time Consultants in Toronto, who has written extensively on the subject. "Skipping exercise altogether is 'de-motivational'--you feel depressed and guilty," Taylor says. "If you skip it, you tend to figure, 'What's the use? I can't keep up with it anyway.' Yet as long as you make some effort each day, that motivates you onward. Success breeds success."

Keep in mind, though, that short bursts of exercise are meant to supplement, not replace, your regular fitness routine. Here's a roundup of practical ways to work exercise into your day even when you "don't have time to exercise." (You don't have to do them all in 1 day; select what works for you.)

 

 

Understanding Anti Anxiety Medications

Anti anxiety medications might offer one quick solution to your anxiety problems. These types of drugs include traditional anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines), as well as newer options like antidepressants and beta-blockers. They can help reduce your anxiety while you undergo therapy to get to the cause of the problem. However, it's important that you understand that these types of drugs don't cure anxiety and they do come with side effects. Long-term reliance on these medications is not recommended. 

Benzodiazepines can reduce anxiety quickly--usually within an hour--so they are a good option if you are having a panic or anxiety attack. Alprazolam (brand name Xanax), clonazepam (brand name Klonopin), diazepam (brand name Valium), and lorazepam (brand name Ativan) are in this category of anti anxiety drugs. Side effects of benzodiazepines include sleepiness, "fogginess", and/or a feeling of being uncoordinated, all of which can cause problems if you need to be functional and alert. Benzodiazepines take a long time to get metabolized. For this reason, they can build up in your body if used for a long time. It you suffer from this build up, the side effects worsen and you may develop slurred speech, confusion, depression, dizziness, inability to think clearly and reason, memory loss and nausea, the inability to "feel" anything. Benzodiazepines decrease your anxiety but they also decrease feelings of pleasure and pain.

The advantage of antidepressants versus traditional anti anxiety medications is that the risk for dependency and abuse is less. However, the downside of antidepressants is that they can take from 4 to 6 weeks to give you relief from your anxiety--so, they are of no use to you if you are having a panic attack, for example.

Most commonly prescribed antidepressants are SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa and they are not without side effects: nausea, nervoursness, headaches, sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, nausea, and weight gain. 

Buspirone (brand name BuSpar) works only for generalized anxiety disorders (GAD). It relieves anxiety by increasing serotonin in the brain (like SSRIs) and decreasing dopamine. Buspirone takes about two weeks to kick into effect but it has its advantages: it's not as sedating, doesn't negatively affect memory and coordination and it's minimally addictive. It also has less serious side effects: nasuea, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and dry mouth.

Beta blockers are generally used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. But they can work for anxiety too by blocking the effects of norepinephrine, a stress hormone involved in the fight-or-flight response. Beta blockers control the physical symptoms of anxiety like rapid heart rate, sweating, dizziness, and trembling voice and hands but not the emotional side of anxiety.

The above information about anti anxiety medications does not substitute medical advice given by a health professional.

15 Easy Steps to Starting Your Small Business

When I was first starting up my business, I searched for a good article on startup, and couldn't find any, so I decided to write this short guide.

Yeah, sure it's easy, and of course, that title is a little tongue in cheek. It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground. But, it's worth every hour I've spent getting to where I am now. 

When I decided to start my communication and image consulting business, I tried hard to find a good startup guide. I couldn't find any that had all the steps. So, I decided to write one. So far, it's mostly just the bare-bones outline (which is long enough as it is) you see in this article.

 I'll be adding to it every week or two, and writing more detailed articles on all the steps, so try to stop by and check it out from time to time. Let me know how I'm doing. Shoot off an email to me if I've forgotten something or you have questions. 

Before you spend so much as a dollar, talk to a few experts.  Go to the library or get on the internet and research, research, research.  Take a little time to make sure entrepreneurship is right for you.  

Make a pro and con list of business ownership, and evaluate yourself honestly.  How many characteristics do you have in common with successful entrepreneurs?  Is your financial position strong enough?  Do you have the necessary technical and management skills?  

Youíre not going to be the perfect entrepreneur.  Nobody is.  But in order to make yourself the best entrepreneur you can be, consider ways to compensate for any weaknesses you might have.  

Iím from Canada, so the government agencies Iíve mentioned in this guide are Canadian, but really, it can be used by anyone. All you have to do, if youíre from somewhere other than Canada, is find out where you need to find some of the things Iíll talk about. Some of the steps might be slightly different, and you may not have to worry about things like GST for example, but Iím sure youíll find this discussion helpful all the same.

These steps to starting a business are in reasonably good order, but you might find yourself varying from it under your particular circumstances. That really isnít a big deal, as long as you get most of it done. There are some steps youíll be able to skip as well, but please donít skip any of the ìbig onesî, which Iím sure youíll pretty much figure out from taking a look at the list. 

So, assuming youíve done your evaluation and you still want to start a business, take a deep breath, and let's get started.

1. Conduct a feasibility study of your business.  Describe your typical customer, your product and your competitors.  Who will your suppliers be?  What will you charge for your product?  How will you market your product?  These are just a few of the questions you need to answer.

2. Write a complete business plan for your company, using the information you gathered from your feasibility study.  This vitally important, often overlooked step needs to include a description of your company, its goals, competitors, market, financial information, and of course, how you intend to meet your goals.  

3. Get your financing in place.  There are many ways to finance your business, from your own savings to personal credit cards to bank loans.  If you need credit, know your business plan from front to back and maybe even sideways.  

4. Decide what kind of structure your company will have.  From a legal standpoint, there are three basic choices, sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporation, each with advantages and disadvantages.  

5. Choose a name for your company and check on name availability. Naming your company is highly individual, but itís the first thing associated with your business, so choose your name carefully.  Youíll need to do a NUANS (Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search) report, which checks your name choices for uniqueness against a database of other business names.  A reserved name is valid for 90 days.

6. Decide whether you want to register federally or provincially and register your company.  If you register federally, youíll also have to register provincially, which almost doubles the cost. You donít have to have a lawyer process them for you, but it might be a good idea to at least consult with one.  You can get the forms from your local government office, have them faxed to you or download them.  You can fax or email printed copies, or complete the forms online

7. Contact Canada Revenue Agency Business Window for your business number, and to register for GST/HST, payroll, corporate income tax and import/export (if applicable).  You can also contact the CRA if you need general information about business expenses.  Chances are youíll have to collect GST, but you may want to register for a GST number even if you donít have to collect it because of input tax credits.

8. Decide whether you need to collect PST.  If you do, you need to submit ìRegistration as a Vendorî documents with your province.  

9. Determine whether there are special permits or licenses in your municipality.  Itís highly unlikely that your municipality does not have special permits or licenses.

10. Develop the marketing materials you decided on in your business plan.  They should include at least a company identity package, press kit and website.  Your identity package is your logo, business card and letterhead.  A press kit can include letters of introduction, biography sheets, press releases, articles and a brochure.  In todayís electronic age, printed materials arenít enough.  You need a website that looks professional, matches your printed material and has great copy.  Youíll also want to make sure itís optimized for search engines.

11. Set up your business bank account and record-keeping system.  Your banker will need to see your incorporation documents, and you should probably set up more than one account so you can keep track of your finances better.  Record-keeping is required, and can be done manually or with a computer program.  

12. Purchase insurance.  There are many different types of insurance, but most probably your company will need at least one.  For example, if youíre going to have employees, you need to contact the Workerís Compensation Board.  Depending on your type of business, you might want to contact them even if you donít have employees to insure yourself.

13. Contact potential creditors and set up credit terms.  You should have researched suppliers when you were doing your feasibility study.  Now is the time to contact them.

14. Decide where your business will be located.   Lease your businessí space.  Alternatively, you could choose to start your business from home if itís feasible.  There are advantages and disadvantages to starting your business from home.  You have tax write-offs for example, but sometimes your image suffers.

15. Purchase supplies and office equipment.  Youíll need too many things to list here, and of course, each business has different needs.  You might need a fax machine and printer.  Youíll probably need a computer.  Youíll definitely need paper, pens, pencils and a calculator.

Congratulations! Go out, buy yourself a bottle of champagne and celebrate. You're about to embark on a most exciting journey. And may I be the first to wish you good luck and prosperous times in your business venture.

As promised, hereís my email address so you can ask questions, make comments or add steps to my list. Or, if you want, you could just drop me a line to let me know how your small business is doing. Iíd really like to know.

By Eve Jackson

Because, it's the closest thing we have, to magic

  To me, he was nothing short of a miracle. Generous, simple and in so many ways gorgeous. I was besotted right at the start. It was the eleventh grade, and he helped me with a lot of school work. There was something about the way he spoke, just so honest, he'd nothing to hide. Brown eyes, wide with innocence, incapable of telling a lie and genuinely so. Sometime in the first few weeks, I sensed a bond that'd last a lifetime. I had nothing to ask of him ,just his company made me ecstatic. It was the most honest, simple and unconditional relationship. He was my best friend. I cherished our candidness too much to jeopardize it, so I kept my feelings private. Surprisingly one day, he told me he loved me. I don't know if that was impulse, we were just children. The curiosity of what it'd be like to belong to him numbed  my instinct. Oh and did we have a blast! He moved to another city to study, and somehow that made the bond more meaningful. I'd wake up to his messages and we'd talk each other to sleep. He'd wait for a break to come visit me and we'd count the hours together. Taking each other's opinion on every damn thing and then fussing about it, petty but fun. Every birthday and New Year meant more now that I had him to share time with. It was beautiful. Of course we had our differences, often silly but the most heated arguments. Somehow, almost cosmically, every quarrel would lead me to realizing I'd be better off milking a bull .What was the point of winning the tiff? I'd forgotten how to function without him. So irrevocably in love. Even in times of chaos I'd feel an unwaning confidence because I knew he'd be there if I wished to cry. No fear of the uncertain, no dubiousness of his affection. For several reasons, the best days of my life.
       Soon enough, we'd to get serious about our careers. Now, we spoke lesser, and one day he left the country to pursue his studies. It's been a while, but I still remember the day he left. I was a wreck. I trembled at the thought of not knowing if he'd ever come back, if he'd remember what it was like to be in my company. He took away so much with his absence. The clouds drifted, so did he. In a few months I saw a new him, the simplicity dwindled because everything around was new, sensitivity and concern began to ebb , perhaps it didn't make sense to care for someone so far away, and of course,  honesty was ludicrous since we were unaware of almost everything in each other's lives. He lost himself to the splendor of possibility. For months I questioned the days we'd laughed together, had he really given up on everything I loved about him? I understood his being stressed about life's challenges, but it just seemed like his priorities had shifted. In some time, we were barely speaking. A deafening silence. Our days didn't share the same light, he got busy and I didn't intrude. Everyday, I battled my inner tornado to fill the void, and it didn't affect him that I was hurting. Never do we foresee these things, there was a time when I was immensely confident of our solidarity, and now we didn't even know when we needed each other. Merely being of relevance to him seemed arduous.
     Despite everything, each time I pass a coffee shop we'd visited or the place I first met him, I smile because those are still the most beautiful days I've seen. Love is larger than us. Innocent but Powerful. Often beyond our control, we get hurt but that doesn't curb our capacity to love.
   How many stupid times a day, must we have dwelt on our dissatisfaction?! Fundamentally greed, our craving for attention turns us into beings beyond our own handling power. Obsession cultivates a deep rooted negativity, a dark energy that taints our prudence. 
       The ones we love might not necessarily find their haven in us. Life will go on and they'd eventually gather their sanity from other sources. Perhaps, even fall in love again. Well, they're only human. Going through agony, might make us a little harsh, but we still hold a massive potential to love, and so we're beautiful!

Through the several days I spent mulling over what went wrong, I didn't realize I'd retreated from my real self too. My faith in him had shaken, I'd become terribly quick to judge and grew selfish. We only react to our environment, our circumstances and our pain. The truth is, we all have issues, he isn't perfect, neither am I. After all, when he was around, he only gave me what I wanted, any girl's fantasy, a quintessential version of what I imagined love should look like.
       We spend too much time expecting from the other end. Blessed enough to experience love and we ponder over the slightest debates. I know, I'd never be able to shake off the shadow of my first love, but I also know he'll never be the same again. Love is for realistic people. We build our hopes on an intricate web of daydreams and that makes us fragile. It's our ability to love, the complacency of being able to offer ourselves emotionally, that we cherish. Love, because it warms the heart. Whether it culminates into something or not, love because we're fortunate enough to know its bliss. People change, isn’t change the only constant? Accept the reversal, walk with the wind, it’s much easier than walking against it. Let's be grateful for the experience and accommodative of each other's flaws. Believe the best in them and derive strength from your ability to acclimate. Have faith in the beauty of your soul; your capacity to give is endless. If it's the only way, love them enough to let them go and love yourself enough to smile everyday. This Valentine's day, let's stop questioning ourselves and the ones we love. Break free of those shackles of doubt and rage, and love unconditionally... because, it's the closest thing we have, to magic.

Article by: Sweta Subramanian. She is an engineer by qualification and is currently a Singer/Performer based in Bangalore.

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All About the Cheese in the Cheesecake

All About the Cheese in the Cheesecake

What makes cheesecakes adaptable to any culinary style is their cheese. Back in Ancient Greece, every market sold cheeses to those who cannot make their own. By the time the fourth century B.C. came, the most accepted white Greek cheeses were being seasoned with spices and baked in a manner similar to pies and cakes. Even the Romans, during the height of their power, used a great deal of cheese in their cooking. They preserved cheese using a salt-based sauce and provided the recipe for the celebration of the wedding cake, which still contains cheese as the main ingredient.

The Americans and Their Cream Cheese

 A soft, mild-tasting, sweet, white cheese is the cream cheese. Generally, cream cheese contains at least 33per cent milk fat and a moisture content of not more than 55per cent and a pH level ranging from 4.4 to 4.9. Cream cheese is not usually matured and is meant to be consumed fresh. This makes it diverse from other supple cheeses, like the Neufchatel and the Europeís Brie. The taste, production and texture of the cream cheese are more comparable to that of the Mascarpone and Boursin.

Cream cheese was known to originate in the United

States during the year 1872. In Chester, New York, a dairyman developed a richer cheese made from whole milk and cream. During the year 1880, A.L. Reynolds, one of the cheese distributors in New York, first began issuing cream cheese, which was then covered in tin-foil wrappers, called the Philadelphia Brand. Hence, the name Philadelphia Brand cream cheese was adopted by the Reynolds for the product since, at that time, the quality of food products were related to the city where it originated. It was not until 1912, when James L. Kraft created the pasteurized cheese. This invention eventually led to the improvement of the pasteurized Philadelphia Bran cream cheese, which is not the most fashionable cheese used in making cheesecakes.

The French and Their Neufchatel

 While the Americans like to use cream cheeses for their cheesecakes, the French used Neufchatel cheese in their own culinary style of creating cheesecakes. Neufchatel is a flavorful cheese that provides cheesecakes with a light and airy texture and eventually became the basis of the modern American cheesecake. The French Neufchatel is slightly crumbly, soft and mould-ripened made in the region of Normandy. It was one of the oldest cheeses in France with production dating back as far as the 6th century. Neufchatel cheese is somewhat similar to camembert in appearance, with a white, dry and edible rind, but with a sharper and saltier taste. Additionally, Neufchatel cheese has the aroma and taste of mushrooms. What makes this cheese different is that unlike other cheeses with soft and white rinds, Neufchatel cheese has a grainy texture. Although Neufchatel has been less popular after the World War II, several cheesecake recipes still use the cheese. In fact, there are also Americans who like to use Neufchatel instead of cream cheese when making cheesecakes, which they can purchase at several gourmet shops.

 The Italians and Their Ricotta

 When the Italian adopted the cheesecake recipe, they used ricotta cheese to make their cheesecake a little drier. Ricotta cheese is a whey cheese made in Italy. It uses whey, which is a limpid, low-fat and nutritious liquid that is the by-product of cheese production. In its basic form, ricotta is also an un-ripened and uncooked curd, which is normally un-drained of its way. It has a fresh, creamy and grainy white appearance, slightly sweet in taste and usually contains around 5% fat.

How your favourite wine is made?

The production of wine is an incredibly fine balance of fruit and time and expertise. Keep reading to know how Reds, Whites and Sweet Dessert Wines are produced.

Red Wine

The first operation performed on grapes after they are removed from their storage is to de-stem them, which is the process of removing the grape from the shoots to which they are attached.

As soon as all the grapes in the batch are de-stemmed, they are placed into the wine press where they are compressed into a paste which in turn releases the must (the juice of the fruit). The resulting paste (or pomace) and must combination then spend time together in a cask and it is the length of time that the mixture sits with the must in contact with the grape skin and pulp that determines the character of the finished wine.

When the winemaker determines the right amount of time has passed, the juice is drawn off and yeast added to begin the fermentation process with the remaining pomace, in many cases, being returned to the vineyard to be used as a fertilizer.

Once the colour and sugar content are correct the cask valve is opened and the first juice, which is the best quality wine, is then transferred into other containers where the fermentation process is finalized.

Pressed winesí, which are full of tannin, are made from the leftover solids. They have a strong colour and are generally mixed with the first juice in many different ways to create wines of different strengths and flavours.

When the fermentation process is complete, the wine is either bottled straight away, or left to age.

White Wine

When making white wine it is important not to damage the grapes, so they are poured into the receiving bins as quickly as possible. Once they are all in the receiving bin, the grapes are then transferred to the press where the must is separated from the skins and other solids.

At this stage, the solids are disregarded and the remaining must is slightly refrigerated before being transferred into a stainless steel vat where it is allowed to ferment. Care is taken to maintain the temperature during fermenting which preserves the delicate aromas of the finished wine.

Once the fermentation process is complete, the resultant wine is decanted taking care to avoid the sediment which collects at the bottom of the vat. After decanting, the wine is bottled and ready to be sold, and is the best drunk within two years.

Sweet Dessert Wines

Dessert wines are produced in one of two ways. In the first method, Botrytis Cinera, a fungus which grows very quickly, is used. This transforms the fruit and changes the colour and also alters the acid components and sugar levels. The second method is to interrupt the fermentation process by adding alcohol. This method creates a strong, sweet wine where the grape is the major flavour.

Grapes used for sweet wines are of the white Moscatel and Garnacha varieties which, along with the production process, leave the wine with a mushroom type smell as the bottle is opened.