Light and Fluffy Bread

This recipe is for a very light and airy bread. I was raised in a donut shop (no pun intended) and have baked all my life.

However, I just couldn't find or create a bread recipe to my that would knock your socks off, if you know what I mean...that is until I found this one. I got this recipe from a very dear old Italian lady who was like a second mother to me when I was younger. She was always cooking and baking and feeding teenagers.

\"pizza Dough\"

This is the bread of love that you will love.


2-4 LOAVES (Depending on Size of Pans)

6 cups all-purpose flour

3 rounded tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoons salt

1 packages fast-rising dry yeast

Combine the above ingredients in a mixer bowl first.


3/4 cups buttermilk

1-3/4 cups water

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl or large measuring cup and heat to 125-130 degrees in the microwave to add to the mixing bowl.

Note: This amount will fit in the two medium size bread pans and one small or two large bread pans.



1. Combine the above in a Kitchen Aid or similar type of mixer bowl with a flat hook. If you don't have a mixer, you can do it by hand fairly easily.

2. Blend the ingredients with a dough hook until it all comes together. Finish it up with oiled hands, flattening it out in the bowl. You will not be kneading the dough, but just blending it until smooth. It will be a very wet and sticky dough. Don't worry about getting too much oil from your hands in the dough; it helps the final product.

3. Let the dough rise in the pot or bowl in a warm place (an oven warmed to 90-100 degrees is perfect) for 30-40 minutes or until doubled.

4. Punch the dough down and form to fit in greased baking pans, The pans should be about half full. Allow the covered dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, or the edges are to the top of the pan and the round is above the top.

5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until done.

6. Remove the bread from the baking pans immediately and let cool on a rack.

Note: To keep the bread fresh, line a big pot with a sheet, add the bread, and then cover with towels. The bread should be good for 2-3 days, but it is best eaten on the same day.This also makes great pizza dough.

Light and Fluffy Bread

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Authentic Sauce - Italian Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

Spaghetti sauce made from scratch is much nicer than anything you can get in a can or jar. Canned tomatoes feature in many authentic Italian recipes because they have such a strong and robust flavor. Combined with fresh tomatoes, as well as onions, garlic, herbs, beef, mushrooms and more, these result in a really great-flavored dish.

The best sauces need to simmer for a few hours, so the flavors can combine and blend properly so you will need to start cooking it long before you start cooking the pasta. Once you have tasted the following recipe, you will never want to use anything out of a can or jar again.

\"pizza Dough\"

Step-By-Step Recipe

Peel two heads of garlic and chop and finally press each clove of garlic. Add these to a big pot, as well as a couple of chopped onions, a couple of chopped green bell peppers and a chopped bunch of celery. Throw in a pinch each of cayenne pepper, ground sage, oregano, basil, turmeric, garlic powder, white pepper, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, and celery seed.

Add two tablespoons of olive oil and simmer the mixture over a moderate heat until everything is fragrant and tender. Drain the excess liquid away. Add a big can of whole tomatoes, two big cans of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, five chopped fresh tomatoes, a big can of crushed tomatoes and two big cans of tomato sauce. Brown four pounds of lean ground beef and drain off the fat. Add this to the mixture in the pot.

Turn the heat up and simmer the mixture for an hour. Turn the heat down to low and simmer it for two or three more hours. Add some sliced mushrooms half an hour before the end of the cooking time and serve it hot.

How To Serve It

The traditional way to serve this recipe is, of course, with spaghetti, but it is also good with penne, linguine, macaroni, or any other kind of pasta you like. You can either combine it with the pasta or serve it on top of a pile of hot spaghetti.

If you are not fond of pasta, why not serve it over a baked potato or mashed potatoes instead? Polenta, bulgur wheat, couscous, and rice are other options.

How To Store It

Make plenty because it keeps for a few days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze leftover sauce for a few months. The best way to do this is to use Ziploc bags and put two ladlefuls of sauce into each bag. This is one serving so thaw one bag of sauce for every person you want to feed.

The thawed sauce will taste as good as it did when it was freshly made and some people say it tastes nicer when you heat it back up after freezing it because the flavors will have intensified. Just warm it back up in a pan before serving it but do not let it boil.

Authentic Sauce - Italian Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch

If you enjoy the taste of Italian food, what about making some pizza recipes for your family? You can decide which pizza dough recipe to make, as well as choose your favorite pasta sauce and toppings. You Make the Pizza, We Help You Make It Great!

Thanks To : Steak Recipe Pie Recipe

4 Steps to Make Your Ex Miss You and Get Your Ex Back in the Process

An integral part of getting your ex back is to make your ex miss you. Unfortunately this part is most often ruined by an ex looking to win their ex back. Winning your ex back is not rocket science but more often than not ex's will struggle to get a grip of their emotions and use a sound action plan to turn things around.

4 Steps To Make Your Ex Miss You - Get Your Ex Back

\"homemade Pizza\"

1. Agree With The Break Up
Want to start screaming, shouting, crying begging like everyone else, does this sound like you when your ex ended your relationship? If so, you must tell your ex you agree with the break up, this is a great sign of maturity and shows your ex you respect their decision and the first step to turn things around.

2. Avoid Guilt Tactics & Manipulation
Do not be one of those people that will do everything in their power to make their ex regret breaking up with them, these methods will not improve your relationship and fix the very things that lead to the break up.

These methods will not only backfire but can ruin your chances to get your ex back forever.

3. Stop ALL contact immediately
Many times after a break up couples will remain in contact with one another, this is the last thing you want right now if you want your ex to miss you enough to think about getting back together.

Stop all contact with your ex immediately, do not call, message, email or follow their whereabouts whether it be through mutual friends or social network web sites.

4. Turning The Tables - New Found You
One of the most effective ways to make your ex miss you is for them to see and her about how much you are enjoying your single life. Start spending time with friends and enjoying yourself, get the word out through mutual friends about your new lease on life.

Your ex will begin to wonder if you have met someone else and be curious as to why you are suddenly not trying to contact them and happy being single, this will make your ex miss you fast.

4 Steps to Make Your Ex Miss You and Get Your Ex Back in the Process

Don't risk losing your ex forever, improve your chances to get back together with your ex by using a method so controversial your ex will be unable to resist.

Don't leave getting your ex back to chance, follow a proven step by step formula to get your ex back today at:

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Secrets to Great Homemade Pizza

A pizza is the sum of its parts; namely, the pizza crust, the pizza toppings and the pizza sauce. Make each one as wonderful as you can make it and you'll be assured of turning out the best homemade pizza possible. Try out the following secrets when you make your homemade pizza.

Pizza Crust Secrets

\"homemade Pizza\"

Bake your pizza crust separately: It would be best if you can bake your pizza crust first before you add on the toppings and sauce. There's one good reason for doing this. If you bake the lot at one and the same time, you may end up with a pizza that has overcooked toppings, burnt cheese and an undercooked, flat crust. Of course, you should not bake your crust fully the first time so that you won't end up with a pizza that has a burnt crust after your final baking stage.

Mixing pizza dough ingredients: Begin by putting in a bowl at least one-tenth of the warm water specified in your homemade pizza recipe. Add yeast gradually to the water, stir and let it stand for a few minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, put the remaining warm water, stir in the sugar and salt (if your recipe calls for these ingredients) and the other dry ingredients except the flour, add the water and yeast mixture, stir the lot then immediately add the rest of the ingredients.

Kneading the pizza mixture: Kneading will let air mix with your pizza dough mixture. You should knead the pizza dough only until it reaches the proper consistency: the dough doesn't stick to the container and individual portions can be stretched without breaking. Over-kneading will result in brittle pizza dough. While kneading the dough, use flour to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands and the bowl, but use as little flour as possible.

Let your pizza dough rise before using it: After kneading your pizza dough, you must give it enough time to rise to your desired thickness. Generally, the longer the fermentation time you allow your pizza, the better the taste of the pizza crust. However, be careful not to use too much yeast if you are going to let the dough rise for hours (say you prepared the dough in the morning and let it relax for the rest of the day in preparation for baking by day end).

If speed is of the essence: If you need the pizza dough as quickly as possible, you can let it rise faster by adding more yeast to the mixture or by increasing the temperature of the dough. To do the latter, you can heat your oven for a few minutes, turn it off, cool the oven off a bit by leaving the oven door open for a few seconds, put the dough in a covered bowl, put the bowl in the oven and close the door. Let the mixture stay in the warm oven for at least 30 minutes, take it out, softly press the dough down then repeat the "rising" exercise for another 30 minutes. Another technique that you can apply for a faster fermentation period is to use warm water. The higher the water temperature, the faster yeast action will be. Just a note of caution, however, the pizza dough which has been allowed to ferment longer using minimum amount of yeast generally results into a better-tasting pizza crust so it's best that you mix and knead your dough hours before you actually need it.

Frozen homemade pizza dough preparation: If you have prepared pizza dough the night before and left it in the refrigerator for next day's baking, take it out in the morning and let it rise for at least several hours before you use it. Again, the less the yeast used, the longer the rising period required.

To make a thin pizza crust: If you are aiming for a thin crust pizza, you will want to use less dough per pan. You can also just stretch your pizza dough more on the pan. Doing this will naturally reduce the crust thickness.

To get a thick pizza crust: For a thicker crust, you need to use a pizza pan with a smaller circumference, use more pizza dough per pan or stretch out the dough less. The result would be increased crust thickness.

To get a crispy pizza crust: For a crispy pizza crust, it would be best if you reduce the amount of water. Drier pizza dough usually means a crispier pizza crust. Stiffer pizza dough also means crispier crust so it would be best to use flour with high gluten content if you want a crispy crust.

For a soft and gooey crust: To get a soft and chewy crust, you need to add more water to your dough mixture or use less flour. More moist pizza dough means softer pizza crust. To achieve better results, use flour with low gluten content. You may make gluten-free pizza dough by using gluten-free flour

If you live in a high-altitude location: Be mindful of the effect of high altitude on pizza dough. A higher altitude means less air pressure so the dough will rise faster, and it means a faster rate of evaporation so the dough will dry out faster. Thus, if you are in a high-altitude location, it is generally advisable to use more water and less yeast in your pizza dough mixture than you would normally use if you were in a low-altitude location.

Pizza Toppings

Simply speaking, the pizza toppings you should use depend on the type of pizza that you want. Fresh mozzarella cheese is necessary if you want to make a New York pizza. New York style pizza is typically minimalist; that is to say, they use as few toppings as possible. On the other hand, a Chicago deep dish pizza is usually loaded with meaty toppings: pepperoni, beef sausage, pork sausage, ground beef, bacon, ham, etc. You will also see bell peppers, mushrooms, and different kinds of cheese on a typical Chicago pizza. Tomatoes, cheese, anchovies, garlic, and herbs like basil and oregano, on the other hand, are typical of Italian pizza. California pizza, on the other hand, is characterized by seasonal vegetable toppings, fruit toppings, chicken pizza toppings, smoked salmon toppings, and other unusual toppings.

For great economy: Use pizza toppings that you already have on hand. Bacon, ham and sausages left over from breakfast, for instance, will make great toppings. Innovate depending on what ingredients you have. Naturally, cooked toppings will require less time in the oven so be sure to take this into account when baking your pizza.

Fresh toppings: It is recommended that you use fresh ingredients for your pizza toppings. Use fresh mozzarella cheese, if possible.

Finger crush herbs: To release the flavor of dried herbs, it is best to finger crush them before you add them to your pizza.

Drain and dry toppings: To avoid getting a soggy pizza, especially if you are using lots of canned and moist ingredients, you should drain your toppings of excess moisture before you arrange them on your pizza base.

Pizza Sauce

Your pizza sauce will give your pizza its distinctive flavor. In the web, you can find a lot of easy pizza sauce recipes to follow. You can even try making your own trademark pizza sauce.

Easy pizza sauce recipe: There should be canned, pre-mixed pizza sauces available in your local supermarket. On the other hand, you can use spaghetti sauce as your pizza sauce. Another easy alternative would be to sauté some onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil, add tomato sauce (chunky tomato sauce is fine or tomato paste/puree diluted with some water), add salt (and crushed pepper if preferred), let the sauce simmer then add basil and oregano. You can even add some balsamic vinegar if you wish. You can also add some cooked ground meat to your sauce if you prefer.

Thicker sauce is better: Use thick pizza sauce on your pizza. Too watery pizza sauce means a soggy pizza. If you are using canned pizza sauce, evaluate the thickness. If too thin, let the sauce simmer before using it on your pizza.

Pizza sauce on top: When cooking your pizza, it is advisable to put the sauce on top. This will prevent your cheese and other ingredients from burning.

Secrets to Great Homemade Pizza

Sean Lannin

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My Favorite Pizza

Favorite Food - Pizza

Pizza is defined as an oval shaped flat disc-shaped bread that is covered in tomato sauce, cheese, and slices of pork, fish, beef, or even purely vegetables. In ancient times, pizza was a simple bread covered with oils, herbs, and cheese. It was then in later times that the bread was covered with flour, cheese, and some flavored herbs. In modern times, pizza that had tomato sauce on top came from Italy and it was in 1889 that cheese was added as a topping. During that time, more and more toppings were added other than cheese.


One of the reasons why I love pizza is its versatility as a food. You can add or take something away from it to suit what you like. For example, if you like to have a fresh garden pizza, you can add a few vegetables in to the mix along with cheese, tomato sauce, and some herbs. Others who are meat lovers can flood their pizza with different kinds of meat. Some have preferences like tuna over pork while others stick to the original tomato sauce and cheese only with a dash of herbs and spices. There are also different crusts in pizzas. You can make your crust as thin as you want or if you have an appetite as gigantic as an elephant, you can make a thick crust pizza.

It is the versatility of pizza that separates it from other cuisines and dishes. Chinese food only has the same type of recipe over and over. The Indian cuisine puts a lot of spice into their dishes. Whereas in pizza, you can make your dish as spicy as you want or you can make it sweet and sour. It is the individuality of the dish that makes the pizza my favorite food of them all.

My Favorite Pizza

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Can I Self Induce Labor?

If you feel as big as a house and have serious difficulties in sleeping, swollen feet that feel like a ton of bricks, cramps, pain in your back, bulging varicose veins, painful hemorrhoids, and difficulty in breathing and in moving around and constantly need to use the restroom -- it's quite understandable that you are looking for natural ways to self induce labor.

The fact is that a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Sometimes, the pregnant mother may think that inducing labor is a good idea, though the baby may feel otherwise. Inducing labor naturally is usually a safe procedure. However, as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends, you shouldn't try to induce labor before your pregnancy has reached 40 weeks. In addition, you should never attempt self inducing labor without the full knowledge of your healthcare provider.


So, what can you do to help your body to start labor naturally? There are quite a few natural labor inducing remedies. Some are more effective and safer than others.

One of the legendary labor inducing remedy is the "Prego Pizza". It was originally created by Skipolini's Pizza in Clayton, California in early 1980's. The story tells of a woman in a very advanced state of pregnancy who happened to step into this restaurant and jokingly asked for a pizza that would make her have the baby soon. The chef created a masterpiece that had six types of meat and was loaded with fresh vegetables and extra basilica and extra garlic. The deeply pregnant woman left the restaurant after eating the newly created "Prego Pizza" -- and gave birth to a baby boy on that very same evening. The original newspaper article about the pizza that induced labor can be viewed here.

Basilica and oregano, which are common pizza toppings, have stimulant properties on the uterus. In aromatherapy circles, these herbs and their essential oils are to be avoided, whenever possible, during pregnancy. Thus, basilica and oregano might be behind the success of the "Prego Pizza".

Pineapple is said to induce labor as well. Pineapple, as well as papaya and mango, contain a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. When bromelain is consumed with meals, it assists in the digestion of proteins. When taken on an empty stomach, bromelain acts medicinally as an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, naturopathic medicine uses this enzyme to reduce pain and swelling.

The mechanism by which pineapple contributes to inducing labor might be the proteolytic action of bromelain. Bromelain might help to soften the connective tissue of the cervix and, thus, bring on labor. Because bromelain is destroyed in the production process of canned pineapple, you should consume only fresh pineapple flesh if you are trying to induce labor with pineapple.

If your cervix is unripe -- and you are not fond of eating plenty of pineapple -- you can also use prostaglandin to help soften and ripen the cervix. You can use prostaglandins directly on the cervix or you can take it orally.

Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins. The general recommendation is to take 3-4 primrose oil capsules (500 mg per capsule) daily. Primrose oil can also be applied directly on the cervix if your membranes are intact (and you have not been diagnosed with placenta previa). Use the oil on your fingers to apply it on the cervix. If you have difficulties to reach it, ask your partner to insert the entire capsule into your vagina just before bedtime.

Can I Self Induce Labor?

One of the most effective methods to self induce labor is acupressure. It has been proven to work, and to be safe for both the mother and the baby. Visit and discover how acupressure induces labor.

Article by Lena Leino, author of a new labor acupressure guide "Easier, Shorter and Safer Birth".

See Also : Steak Recipe

How To Make Pizza - A Step By Step Guide To Show You How To Make Pizza

So you want to learn how to make pizza yourself? Making pizzas is quite easy when you know the steps involved. Follow this step by step guide to making your own pizzas at home, and delight everyone with the flavor of your hands.

Step 1. Preparing your tomato pizza sauce


Melt the butter with the olive oil and slowly but completely sauté the garlic and onion in a skillet.

Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and puree. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for two hours. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes with a potato masher.

Continue to mash, stir, and simmer partially covered until the sauce reaches the consistency of a rich soup.

Step 2 Making Pizza Dough

Making your own pizza dough by hand is both challenging and satisfying. Home made pizza dough, "from scratch," is without a doubt the single most defining factor that differentiates a great pizza from any other pizza that you will ever have. And, the personal gratification that comes of successfully making pizza at home for yourself, your loved-ones and your friends makes it all the more worthwhile.

Step 3 Panning the Prepared Pizza Dough

Panning the dough is the step where you use a rolling pin or machines to create the pizza base with your dough. There are machines that help you sheet and pan the pizza dough, or you can use the hand tossing method or the rolling pin if you want to do it yourself.

Depending on the style, size, composition and number of pizzas you choose to make, the methods of sizing, shaping, trimming, and ultimately, panning the pizza dough, will vary.

step 4 Topping the Pizza

First, spread the pizza sauce evenly over the surface of the dough. Spoon the sauce out to the edge of the dough sheet, leaving "un-sauced" about 3/4" to 1" of the dough crust.

Next, layer the shredded cheese creating an evenly distributed bed of cheese on which to arrange your toppings. (You will use another cup of cheese for finishing off the top of the pizza.)

From this point on, let your eyes, nose, creativity and taste buds take over to add other toppings to your pizza.

Some toppings, (fresh vegetables, certain cheeses and fatty meats), are higher in moisture and fat content and you have to take this into account when you use them, to ensure your pizza doesn't turn out soggy.

Step 5 Baking the Pizza

The final step is to bake to pizza. When you oven is at the right temperature place a prepped pizza in the center of the middle rack to allow for maximum air circulation around the pan.

Make adjustments to your baking process one at a time until you've found the perfect balance of rack position, temperature and baking time to suit your oven.

Signs to look for that the pizza is ready are:

- The cheese has melted on top and is beginning to brown,

- The crust edge has browned, from a medium to a golden brown, and,

- Carefully lift the edge of the pizza to inspect its bottom. The bottom dough should be evenly browned.

If these signs are evident, your pizza is done!

How To Make Pizza - A Step By Step Guide To Show You How To Make Pizza

Kalpagam Swaminathan is a webmaster and is part owner of [] and writes articles on many topics of interest.

This site has a wealth of information that you would like, if you like to explore the world of ebooks.

To get your hands on more delicious pizza recipes, you can get a useful report on pizza making here []

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Best Leftover Pizza Tips

Make left over pizza taste as good as if it just came out of the oven at your favorite pizza place.
After eating your pizza you will need to refrigerate any leftovers.

When ready to eat leftover pizza take out of the refrigerator and place in a skillet that has a lid. Depending on how many pieces you have left will depend on the size of skillet you will need.
Either use a Teflon skillet or spray it with non-stick cooking spray.


Place skillet on stove top and turn burner on to medium-low heat or to number 4 and cover. Let cook covered for fifteen to twenty minutes if it's the deep dish and if it's the regular crust about ten to fifteen minutes should do it and last but not least the thin crust about seven minutes. Be sure and check it after about ten minutes to make sure it doesn't burn since all pizzas aren't equal; depending on if you have it loaded up and where you bought it or maybe you made it.
Once it's done serve warm and enjoy.

Before I learned to fix my pizza this way I use to heat my leftover pizza up in the oven or worse put it in the microwave and it just wasn't as good, so I decided to give this way a try and my family and I couldn't believe how much better it was. Fixing your leftover pizza this way is like having fresh pizza two nights in a row. Of course you don't have to fix your leftover pizza the next night, but it's better the sooner you eat it of course.

You can find more tips likes these in Cristie's Cookbooks and other tips are posted for you at Cristie's Cookin.

Best Leftover Pizza Tips

Cooking lessons for Cristie began at 8 years old with the best teacher in the world -- her Mom! Later, she cooked for the restaurant the family owned, and her love of the "trade" has grown ever since. Cristie's creative cooking has continued for over 40 years. Her creations can soon be on your kitchen table. Check out Cristie's books at and

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Hello from Cuba (10) - A Country Excursion

After my walk through the Vedado neighbourhood, my friend Pedro came to pick me up since I had suggested a little excursion with a rental car to get to know the countryside. His wife and sister-in-law unfortunately coulnd't make it since their cousin was coming to town. La Habana can feel a little claustrophobic since the transportation options are limited and even a basic taxi ride to the Eastern Beaches (Playas del Este) is quite costly.

And it's also nice to get away from the city, which can get rather congested and contaminated with car exhaust fumes from all the old vehicles. I can't imagine what the air must be like here in the summer when it is 35, 40 degrees Celsius with 80, 90 percent humidity. All the locals talk about the extreme heat in the summer and it's better to visit outside of the months of June to September, even October.


In addition, August and September are very prone to hurricanes which are an additional complication, that's why many buildings have crosses of thick adhesive tape attached to the glass. The tape prevents the glass from shattering when the hurricanes hit town.

Renting a car is always an interesting experience. I rented a small skoda at the Hotel Havana Libre for about CUC for 24 hours. If there were no damages and the gas tank was full upon return, there would be an additional CUC for the insurance and an additional driver. Being in the rental car felt strangly liberating because all of a sudden it was possible to overcome all the limitations of Havana's public transport and you could go where you wanted.

My friend Pedro is an experienced driver and loves driving, so he drove and off we went eastwards along the coast. We passed by Cojimar, Playas de Este, Playa Guanabo and stopped at the Puente Bacunayagua bridge which forms the border between the provinces of La Habana and Matanzas. The bridge is more than 100 m high and the view extends through forests to the ocean in the north and inland there is a valley with lush vegetation (Valle de Yumuri) with a chain of medium-size mountains in the background. At the bridge there is a little basic restaurant and a shop for tourists and we stopped for an hour or so. We also saw a really oversized iguana, apparently it was the offspring of the mother iguana which apparently is twice the size. The animal must have been almost 10, 15 inches long, including tail.

We then proceeded eastwards, past Santa Cruz del Mar, where there is a big rum factory, to Matanzas, the capital of the province of the same name. We just took a little drive around town and didn't stop, but the town has a couple of nice squares with monuments and statues. The architecture is definitely much less stunning than in La Habana. After Matanzas we drove inland to a small mountaineous area called "Escaleras de Jaruco", from where we had a beautiful view inland and towards the sea.

On the way back we briefly stopped at Playas del Este to capture the sunset and then we headed off towards Cojimar, a town famous for its connection to Ernest Hemingway. The town apparently still houses a very old man who was the inspiration for the novel "The Old Man and the Sea". Apparently the old man is still alive, probably around 100 years old or so and he used to receive visitors (for a small fee), but his health has deteriorated over the last few years and he no longer receives visitors. We wanted to have a nice dinner in a Paladar in Cojimar, but one was completely full, and the other one so expensive that we decided to continue on.

After our arrival back in La Havana we decided to go to a pizzeria near the Parque Central since I had a real craving for pasta. The food here can get a bit monotonous and I love Italian food, so we headed into a freezing, over-air-conditioned pizza parlour, where they had just run out of spagetthi. We tried another upscale Italian restaurant on the other side of the square, but it had prices that were higher than in some of Toronto's fine restaurants and we decided to head back to the Barrio Chino since they also serve pasta.

There we tried to park the rental car, but in doing so, we had a little encounter with the local traffic police. They alleged that my friend was not wearing his seatbelt (although he was) and they ended up giving him a fine of 10 local pesos (about 40 Cents or so). Apparently it can happen very easily that a local Cuban gets stopped and the police impose a fine and there are not too many things you can do.

After a very filling pasta dinner (for less than for 2 people) we headed back to the hotel which is very close to the University. There was a big concert on in front of the university's steps and there were thousands and thousands of young people singing and chanting to the sound of a pretty famous Cuban pop group ("Moneda Dura") which plays very popular music for young people with sociocritical undertones. The atmosphere among the people, singing and dancing in the street, was amazing. I ended up heading to bed at about 12 or so and the music from the concert stopped at about 12:20 am and the huge crowd dispersed.

Early this morning I awoke to the smell of exhaust fumes from some of the buses and old cars passing through. Since I had to take the rental car back at 11 am today, my friend came to the hotel early and we decided to visit the area of Miramar, also called "Playas" on the western side of Havana, past the Rio Almendares. Miramar is a very upscale area with many foreign embassies, upscale hotels and congress centres. "Marina Hemingway", a nautical centre with canals, boats slips for yachts and private residences, is also located in Miramar.

It is so strange, but Miramar actually reminded me a bit of Fort Lauderdale. In general, Miramar, due to its more modern architecture, some of which is in very good condition, reminded me quite a bit of Florida. We visited a public sandy beach in Miramar which is surrounded by a range of public recreational buildings, most of which have been abandoned and are in dire condition due to the lack of public funds for upkeep. It is a real shame to see so much of the beautiful architecture around here collapsing and my professor said that in the future it may be cheaper to tear down a lot of the old architecture and rebuild from scratch than to try to preserve the old architecture, particularly in Habana Vieja.

As I had to return the rental car at 11 am today, we filled up the tank and although we had only gone about 250 km, the cost of the gasoline was CUC (which is equivalent to about Can or so), which was quite a bit more than I had expected. We took a brief tour through Nuevo Vedado, then past the Centro de Deporte Nacional, past the Comite Central (the Cuban government) and punctually returned the car at 11 am without any problems.

This afternoon I have been invited by my friend to come and meet his family at a private dinner. I am really looking forward to the experience of spending time with a Cuban family and from what I have experienced so far, Cuban hospitality is truly amazing. I'll try to pick up a few flowers from the market and bring along some of the Canadian souvenirs that I brought from Toronto to reciprocate the favour. It'll be interesting to see Cuban life from inside a Cuban home...

Hello from Cuba (10) - A Country Excursion

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions( Travel and Transitions deals with unconventional travel and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. You will also find stories about life and the transitions that we face as we go through our own personal life-long journeys.

Submit your own travel stories in our first travel story contest( and have a chance to win an amazing adventure cruise on the Amazon River.

"Life is a Journey ­ Explore New Horizons".

The interview with photos is published at Travel and Transitions - Interviews

Visit : What is Nutrition

Secrets to Healthy Snacks and Appetizers For Holidays

When it comes to snacking, you don't need to miss out just because you're eating healthy. Eating all those sugary, fat loaded foods will make you feel awful anyway. Instead, you can enjoy lots of delicious snacks and appetizers that are healthy. Serve some at your next get together and see how fast they get eaten!

Healthy Appetizer Choices

\"Pizza Recipe\"

One healthy option is homemade salsa. Create a chunky concoction with peaches, mangoes, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It is very colorful and you can serve it in a bowl for a snack with chips or toasted tortillas. If you need an appetizer, fill your platter with a layer of chips and add a spoonful of salsa on each one. This is an easy appetizer that everyone will love.

If you have some practice in the kitchen you can make up some California rolls. Crab is a delicious treat anytime. The dried seaweed used to roll up the sushi is called nori. You can find some at your local Asian market. This is a variety of sushi that everyone can enjoy. Make some for a snack or even for your lunch. If you need something to bring to a party, slice up the roll and arrange it on a platter so everyone can be amazed at your abilities.

Bruschetta is a great light snack. Toast a few slices of French bread until they are brown. Top it off with some chopped tomatoes and herbs. Melt a little cheese on it if you wish. This will get rid of the munchies! You can also make up a bunch and serve them at a party or gathering as an appetizer. The same goes for a healthy pizza recipe. Cook one up for a light meal or snack. For easy appetizers, just cut the pizza into bite size pieces and serve.

Salads Make a Healthy Choice Every Time

If you like salad, you're in luck. Make up a healthy green salad. Make sure you chop all the pieces into small, easy to handle bits. Toss it with the salad dressing. This is a fabulous meal or snack at any time of the day. Need some quick appetizers? Take several lettuce leaves. Spoon some salad into each leaf and wrap it up. Fasten it with a toothpick and voila! Healthy appetizers full of flavor and goodness!

Finger foods are a lot of fun. For a quick snack, combine some olives, cheese slices and some cherry tomatoes on a plate. They are all fun to pop in your mouth as you relax, read or play on the computer. For a fast appetizer, pop them onto skewers. One skewer can hold one of each food. These are great fun, and who doesn't like food on a stick? This is a great portable appetizer.

Holiday Appetizer Planning

When you're planning your Easter appetizers you can do the same thing. Appetizers don't have to be pricey. They don't have to be full of fat and sugar. You can easily put together some appetizers that look great and taste wonderful. Give your diners a healthy appetizer to whet their appetite with. These quick and easy appetizers are much faster to prepare for parties you are invited to as well. Spread good health.

As you can see, many of these appetizers are simple and you can whip them up in mere minutes. This will help relieve stress and you'll be doing your body a favor by feeding it food that does it some good. Try some... these tasty snacks are a great way to start eating right.

Secrets to Healthy Snacks and Appetizers For Holidays

Holiday appetizer recipes will fill out your holiday meal perfectly. Many people like to put out holiday appetizers before everyone gathers for the big meal. These can be as simple as a plate of olives and pickles to more elaborate appetizers that look as festive as holiday cookies. You Make the Appetizers, We Help You Make Them Delicious.

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Christmas Dinner Traditions and Dessert Ideas

Christmas is my family's favorite time of year. We have many Christmas traditions that we've developed over the years.  One is that each year one of us daughters (mother and sister-in-laws) is responsible for a part of the dinner.  My favorite part to make is the Christmas desserts.

Our family is large, there are five sisters, four brothers and both parents still living. We also have a lot of wives, husbands, nieces and nephews mixed in. When we get together there are twenty seven people.  Each year one of us cooks for a different segment. We put the dinner segments in a hat. After dinner, after all the dishes are done and we're relaxing we choose what our dishes will be for the next year. The menu is broken up into appetizers, before and after dinner drinks (for the adults), meat, stuffing/potatoes (starch), vegetables, rolls, desserts. Two people are responsible for meat, two for stuffing/potatoes and two for vegetables. One for appetizers, one for before and after dinner drinks and one for desserts. And, now that there are ten of us every year one lucky girl gets a get out of jail free card, which means she doesn't have to cook the next year!

\"Pizza Recipe\"

As I said earlier Christmas dessert is my favorite. I start cooking about a week in advance. I know everybody's favorites, and like to add a few new things.  I like to make lots of different types of desserts for the family. One of my favorites is Black Bottom Cup Cakes. Another is Greek Almond Cookies. These are super simple. Another favorite is definitely a Red Velvet Cake with Butter Cream Icing. It's my Grandmother's recipe and the family loves it. The Red Velvet Cake is the one thing we're guaranteed to have every year, regardless of who is assigned dessert duty.

I also make a Cinnamon Crumb Cake, a Chocolate Truffle with Raspberry Sauce and a Louisiana Roasted Pecan Pie.  All of these things make quite an impressive looking Christmas dessert buffet and everyone is able to find something that they really like.

Over the years we girls have shared recipes between us.  We all love cooking, us sisters were all raised to enjoy being in the kitchen.  When a new item is introduced to the table there is also a menu card for each sister for that new item.  When I added Greek Almond Cookies to the dessert table last year everyone was amazed how easy the recipe is. I got it from an actual Greek friend, Valerie.  The Cinnamon Crumb Cake is also easy to make and goes really well with a cup of coffee after dinner.

One year when my sister-in-law picked the Christmas dessert portion of our meal I gave her a lot of advice on recipes as she really isn't comfortable baking. I went to her home two days before Christmas and helped her make the traditional Red Velvet Cake. She did it really well and is now a pro!

Perhaps if you have a large family you can do something like our family does. We all enjoy our Christmas cooking tradition.

Christmas Dinner Traditions and Dessert Ideas

Catherine Olivia has some tasty and easy Christmas dessert ideas and recipes

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