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What You Shouldn’t Have Missed from Cook in 2012

What You Shouldn’t Have Missed from Cook in 2012

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Remember when these things happened on the Cook channel of The Daily Meal?

This past year in Cook was all about cookies, cupcakes, and Cinnabon rolls.

A lot happened in 2012, and as it is so often the case when we approach a new year, we'd like to take some time to reflect on the most memorable events that took place in the past year — on the Cook channel, that is. Sure, the Queen of England celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and the United States' first-ever black president was reelected for a second term, but there was a lot of great stuff that happened on The Daily Meal’s Cook channel as well, and we want to make sure you remember them.

What You Shouldn't Have Missed From Cook in 2012

We covered the gamut of cooking topics this past year, from healthy tips to homemade recipes, and out of it all, there are a handful of popular stories that we hope you didn’t miss. While many were mourning the tragic death of legendary singer and actress Whitney Houston this past year, we lightened the load by sharing some brain boosting foods with you; and when the world was celebrating the thirtieth Olympic Games this August in London, we were showing you how to host a backyard pig roast at home. Whether it was happy or sad news, or a famous figure to a villainous one, we counteracted breaking news like Honey Boo Boo, Hurricane Sandy, and Jerry Sandusky, with our own headlines like healthy fixes, White Castle, and crazy cupcakes.

So, while the Cook editors at The Daily Meal hope you have a very happy new year, we want to make sure you don't miss any these key moments in 2012 from The Daily Meal Cook editors by asking you: remember when?

Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Eat Microwave Food

It is convenient to throw some leftovers in the microwave if you are hungry, and many households use a microwave oven on a daily basis. People like the energy efficiency and fast results that can be achieved with a microwave, and it is considered a necessary appliance in the kitchen.

A microwave may be convenient, but there are some health factors that need to be considered. Even though "official" releases have stated that microwave ovens are safe to use, researchers have uncovered evidence which shows many reasons why you should be concerned about having a microwave in your home.

Why You Should Get Rid of Your Microwave
Here are some reasons why you should get rid of your microwave oven:

  1. Long-term consumption of food heated or cooked in a microwave can lead to brain damage because it causes electrical impulses in the brain to "short out."
  2. The microwave reduces the nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins that are in the food. So, every time you eat something that came from the microwave, you are missing out on the important nutritional benefits that were available before the food was put into the microwave.
  3. When vegetables are microwaved, the minerals are changed into free radicals which can lead to cancerous activity in your body if they are consumed.
  4. Eating microwaved food can impact hormone levels in both men and women. These hormonal changes can have a compounding effect over time, and might impact many other aspects of health.
  5. Microwaving food causes by-products to be present in the food, and the human body is unable to metabolize those by-products.
  6. Some researchers have suggested that there is a link between eating microwaved food and the increase in colon cancer rates in the United States. Microwaved food might increase the risk of intestinal and stomach tumors.
  7. Eating microwaved food can impact your blood serum levels and lymph glands, which affects your immune system functions. It is possible that microwaved foods can lead to immune system deficiencies.
  8. Concentration, intelligence, memory, and emotional stability all might be negatively affected by microwaved food.

As you can see, there are a number of potential health problems that can develop when you eat food that has been heated or cooked in the microwave. Even though your food might look normal, it has been altered by radiation and it is harmful to your health.

Other Lifestyle Factors that Increase the Risk of Cancer
If you want to improve your overall health and wellness, then you need to also consider other lifestyle factors that might impact your risk of cancer. Check out Unravel the Mystery, by Ann Malkmus, which is a full guide about how your lifestyle is increasing or decreasing your risk of cancer. Additionally, you might enjoy the Unravel the Mystery Recipe Book where you can find a number of recipes designed to help you minimize the risk of cancer.

The 2012 Books You Missed But Shouldn't Have

The subtitle does not lie: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Bars. Faleiro chronicles that world through the experience of 19-year-old exotic dancer Leela, who seems more like Faleiro's close friend than a reporting subject, and the Bombay club scene bears upon you as if it were your own neighborhood.

The story of Colt's relationship with his three brothers&mdashthe adored Harry, the emo Ned, the troubled Mark&mdashis woven around entertaining anecdotes of famous siblings like Edwin and John Wilkes Booth and Theo and Vincent van Gogh. A perfect gimmick that makes this book even livelier than The Big House.

A book to keep at your side as you cook. Consider the fork. It's a piercing, sharp weapon associated with the Devil. How did this unlikely tool become the West's most popular and indispensable utensil? Wilson serves up brisk histories of everything you use in the kitchen.

The first book in 25 years by MacArthur-winning historian Limerick is an entertaining history of the Denver Water Board. (Stealing, even stealing water, is always good copy.) Best of all, this deftly wrought history banishes our complacency about where water originates.

In this coming-of-age novel about a tenacious teen boy with a nose for trouble, Petterson, author of the critically acclaimed sleeper hit Out Stealing Horses, tells his story in sentences so full of momentum that they insist on being read.

Most books about the Internet tell us how it's ruining our minds and social lives, but Blum does something far more interesting and ambitious: he sets out to figure out how it actually physically works. He follows all the cables and cords that crisscross our oceans and our floors.

It may seem strange in the midst of economic turmoil to urge readers to spend time with the last Russian aristocrats as they watched their palaces sacked and their family members hunted down by Stalin. But Smith tells a mesmerizing tale 
of how glamorous toffs figured out how to survive.

Two years ago Dutch-Jewish writer and psycho-analyst Keilson was discovered by the English-speaking world at the age of 101 for novels he wrote decades before. Now his first novel&mdashan autobiographical story set in Germany after World War I&mdashhas been gloriously translated. There will sadly be no more of his fine prose as he died last year.

The scariest book you'll read this year. Science journalist Quammen explores the nastiest, most virulent diseases on earth&mdashand says that more 
are likely to emerge as humans encroach further 
on the animal world, and viruses jump species 
from them to us.

How do you end a war? A peace treaty often means nothing for the millions displaced, injured, and seeking revenge, as Lowe brilliantly shows in his history of ravaged Europe after the end of World War II. The relative success of the European Union seems all the more remarkable in light of 
what he describes.

Your Convection Setting May Not Be the Best Choice For Baking

If you have an oven with a convection setting—meaning it is equipped with a fan that circulates the hot air around the food—it may be tempting to use it on your cakes, cookies, and biscuits to help things cook “more evenly.” However, according to Patron Saint of Good Baked Things, Stella Parks (aka The Brave Tart), this can lead to non-optimum results.

In a tweet that ended up being more controversial than it should have been, Parks explained that changing the cooking environment of a treat that was meant to be cooked in a conventional oven could create a crust more quickly than one wants:

In American baked goods, convection should never be used unless a recipe specifically calls for it. In a home oven, the hot, dry air accelerates crust formation in cakes, cookies, and biscuits which is generally counterproductive to desired rise.

This could mean flatter cakes, cookies that spread too far, and biscuits with less fluff. Given that baking is basically chemistry you can eat, it makes a lot of sense that you would want to follow the instructions as the creator of the recipe intended, unless you are a professional baker who knows their way around a convection oven and makes a whole bunch of baked goods every day. When I slid into Parks’ DMs, she made it clear that she was talking to home bakers.


Canning, the art of cooking and sealing foods in jars, is often done in a pressure cooker. So, it may seem like a good idea to make a batch of jams, pickles or jellies in your Instapot. Don't do it.

With an Instant Pot, you're not able to monitor the temperature of what you're canning as you would with a regular pressure cooker. With canning, cooking and sealing the food correctly is key. Improper cooking and sealing can lead to bacteria growth that can cause food poisoning.

While you want to avoid canning with an Instant Pot, some of the newer models, such as the Duo Plus, do have a Sterilize setting that lets you clean baby bottles and kitchen items like jars and utensils.

What You Can Do Now:

Do you have a backyard garden? What motivated you to start it?

If you found this post helpful, let us know! Leave a comment, share it on Facebook or Pinterest, and follow us on Instagram or YouTube for more!

Slash your grocery budget and feed your family real food! Get simple, frugal, real food menu plans every month for FREE in the Cheapskate Cooks’ 1-Min Email. Get the next one here.

You Shouldn't Have Missed These Winners

Looking back at the past three months, the stock market has put on an even better fireworks show than many of us saw over the weekend. Among plenty of winners, though, one type of investment unexpectedly found itself ranking behind many of its peers -- and smart investors need to learn a valuable lesson from its temporary failure.

Investment research firm Lipper recently released mutual fund returns for two dozen fund categories that it tracked over the first half of 2009. Among the best performers were the following:

1st-Half 2009 Return

None of those results should come as a great shock to anyone who's followed the stock market during the first part of the year. In Latin America, companies like MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) and Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE:PBR) have ridden the emerging-markets wave higher, as global investors look for places where economies will either continue to grow or at least not drop as far as those in the developed world. China's Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) more than doubled during the first half of 2009, and many other Chinese stocks put in impressive results.

Moreover, the companies that produce what those economies need to sustain their growth have also thrived. Miners like Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) are cashing in on continuing demand from China and the rest of Asia, despite prices that are down substantially from last year's peak.

And although tech stocks like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) have plenty to gloat about closer to home, their long-term success will almost certainly involve expanding their international market share.

Is indexing dead?
The main surprise on the list, however, comes from all the fund categories that managed to top the S&P 500 index. Large-cap core funds rose an average of 4.8%, outpacing the S&P 500 by nearly two percentage points. Small-cap and mid-cap funds did even better, putting in returns of 6.3% and 9.2%, respectively -- and those returns handily outpaced those of their respective benchmarks.

Skeptics may point to this victory by active fund managers as evidence that blindly following indexes is never the best course for investors to take. Yet instead of celebrating active funds' short-term triumph over index funds, you should focus on two key points.

First, you can't draw any firm conclusions from looking solely at a six-month performance record. Over longer periods of time, a good majority of active fund managers have trailed their benchmarks on average -- as you might expect from an investment vehicle that incurs greater costs that get passed on to investors in the form of higher fees.

More importantly, though, results like these only reflect the performance of the average fund manager -- and that's not who you ought to be giving your attention to. Given that so many fund managers fail, in order to have a chance at succeeding with an active fund, you really have to focus on the top managers.

For instance, well-known value manager Bill Miller of the Legg Mason Value Trust has managed to recover strongly so far in 2009, after his string of 15 consecutive years beating the S&P ended disastrously with investment miscues in the financial sector.

Be smart
Given how badly most stocks performed in 2008 -- especially those in categories that top the list so far in 2009 -- it's little wonder that they've bounced so high so quickly. Clearly, you shouldn't grow accustomed to such huge returns, or expect them to come again in the near future.

The winners among mutual fund categories during the first half of the year should remind you how important it is to include a diversified mix of investments among your fund portfolio. Leaving out less popular niche areas like emerging markets or materials stocks could have cost you plenty during the rally.

Since it's impossible to predict with any certainty exactly which category may be tomorrow's big winner, the best strategy for most investors is to own some of everything. That way, you're sure always to have at least some fireworks in your portfolio.

Apple Pie without a Crust = Apple Crisp!

Most people I know are scared of making pie. But when you think of the 4th of July desserts, what is more all-American than Apple Pie! Well, I’ve got the answer you’ve been waiting for … Apple Crisp! You shouldn’t have to worry about dessert when you’ve got a bunch of people coming over. A crisp is a fruit dessert with a sweet crumbled topping, similar to a streusel. It’s an apple pie without a crust! One of the tricks to a perfect apple pie (or any apple dessert for that matter) is a blend of apples. Some turn mushy when you bake them and others hold their shape. A mixture of the two gives you the best filling with great flavor and texture. Unlike a pie, this dessert holds up well and can be baked ahead. Equally good at room temperature as it is hot, this is good to take to parties or on picnics.

Apple Crisp ready to go in the oven

This is another of my tried-and-true recipes that has saved me many times when guests decide to stay for dinner! I usually have all the ingredients on hand or I can send my husband for a quick run to the store. Children love to help make the topping and they will eat more than their daily requirement of fruit if you let them, LOL!

Jane’s Tips and Hints:

With all the same flavors as apple pie without the hassle of a crust, this is the perfect apple dessert. Prep the filling and topping ahead of time, and store separately in the refrigerator. When you sit down to dinner, sprinkle the topping over the apples and pop into the oven. When you’re ready for your coffee and dessert, it will be done, piping hot and smelling like heaven!

As mentioned before, slow cookers don&rsquot evaporate much liquid, so putting large glugs of wine or beer straight into to your crockpot is not a great idea.

Alcohol needs to evaporate a little to taste appealing and not acrid, so try reducing it in a separate pan on the hob first.

"Due to the compact design of an air fryer, there's not as much room for the juices to evaporate like they sometimes do in other methods," Dang said.

Glazed chicken also cooks nicely in an air fryer, according to Pixley.

"With the high heat and constant airflow of the air fryer, the glaze caramelizes on the chicken, which just takes roast chicken to another level entirely," Pixley told Insider.

Just be careful not to put too much glaze on your chicken, as the excess may drip and spread around your air-fryer chamber.

Watch the video: How does aspirin work? (May 2022).


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