Milder weather not only means blue skies and blooming flowers, it's the start of outdoor gatherings. It's also a great excuse to switch up the menu. Salads and kabobs are favorites during warmer months and canned fruit can easily enhance a recipe. Canned Bartlett pears are always ripe, ready to eat and contain virtually no fat or cholesterol. So next time you host a get-together, add a little sweetness to the feast with this pantry staple. Try serving Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad with Almonds or Barbecued Pear and Chicken Kabobs to family and guests. Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad With AlmondsMakes 12 Servings1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves in extra-light syrup1 can (81/4 ounces) Bartlett pear halves in extra-light syrup1 can (15 ounces) blueberries in light syrup1 can (83/4 ounces) apricot halves in extra-light syrupJuice of 1 small lemon1/2 cup sliced almonds, roastedDrain both cans of pear halves; slice into bite-sized pieces. Drain apricots; halve. Drain blueberries; divide among salad plates and arrange; arrange pears and apricots as well. Top salads with lemon juice and almonds; serve.Nutritional information (per serving): Calories: 78, Protein: 1.5g, Carbohydrates: 14.5g, Fiber: 1.5g, Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 6mg. Barbecued Pear and Chicken KabobsMakes 4 Servings1 can (15 ounces) Bartlett pear halves1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 clove garlic, minced8 kabob skewers1 red, green or yellow sweet bell pepper, cut into 11/2-inch squares1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 11/2-inch chunksPreheat grill or broiler. Drain pears, reserving juice. Cut pears into 11/2-inch chunks; set aside. In a bowl, stir together barbecue sauce, honey, mustard, garlic and 3 tablespoons of the reserved pear juice. On 4 skewers, alternate the pear and bell pepper pieces. On remaining skewers, place chicken pieces. Brush all skewered ingredients liberally with the sauce mixture. Grill chicken skewers over medium coals for 10 minutes (or broil for 5 minutes), brushing occasionally with sauce.Add pear-pepper skewers; grill for 5 to 7 minutes (or broil 2 to 4 minutes) more, or until chicken is no longer pink and pears and peppers are heated through. Serve one chicken kabob and one pear kabob per serving. Nutritional information (per serving): Calories: 241, Protein: 25g, Carbohydrates: 29g, Fiber: 1g, Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 407mg. A "pear-fect idea" for outdoor gatherings is a Blueberry, Pear and Apricot Salad with Almonds.
Even if you've got a hectic end-of-the-year schedule, you can gather family and friends for a joyous holiday celebration. Entertaining can be relatively carefree and inexpensive if you plan a casual brunch. Brunch is generally served between the traditional hours for breakfast and lunch, a convenient time that leaves the evening free for you and your guests. Easy on the cook, a brunch menu usually stars comforting and simple-to-prepare dishes, most often based on nature's own convenience food, eggs.For brunch, you can cook up versatile eggs to please almost anyone. Omelets are a popular brunch choice. You can flavor your omelets simply with herbs and cheese or dress them up with a fancier filling, such as garlic-laced creamed shrimp.Another option is scrambled eggs, the top egg choice across America. To suit everyone, offer plain scrambled eggs with an assortment of different toppings from which your guests can pick and choose their favorites. Consider veggies such as sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell peppers; two or three cheeses, perhaps brie or feta, cottage or ricotta, mozzarella, Swiss or Cheddar; and, for a flavorful zip, chopped or minced herbs, such as chives or dill, an herb blend from curry powder to Italian seasoning, or maybe a prepared sauce or two, like pesto or salsa.For a more unusual treat, serve Baked Eggs in Bread Bowls. With this recipe, simple ingredients that you're likely to have on hand combine into handy, but elegant, individual servings. Preparation is an uncomplicated matter of stirring together the flavoring ingredients, spooning the veggie mixture into hollowed-out rolls, slipping eggs into each nest and baking. While the eggs are in the oven, set the table and cut up fresh fruit for a colorful compote and toss a crisp green salad. Because bread and carrots are already in the egg dish, that's all you need to round out the meal.Baked Eggs in Bread Bowls6 servings6 Kaiser or round rolls (about4-inch diameter), uncut3 tablespoons Dijon mustard3 tablespoons reduced-fatmayonnaise2 cups shredded carrots(about 8 oz.)6 eggs6 tablespoons (about 1.5 oz.) shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheeseFresh dill sprigs, optionalSlice tops off rolls about 3/4 inch from top. With fork, scrape out insides of bottoms of rolls, leaving about 1/2-inch wall all around. Save crumbs for another use. Set rolls aside.In medium bowl, stir together mustard and mayonnaise until well blended. Stir in carrots until evenly coated with mustard mixture. Spoon 1/3 cup of the carrot mixture over bottom and up sides of each roll to form a nest. Place rolls and tops, cut side up, on baking sheet. Break and slip an egg into each carrot nest. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cheese over each egg. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard, about 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired.Nutrition information per serving of 1/6 recipe without dill garnish: 250 calories, 9 gm total fat, 216 mg cholesterol, 561 mg sodium, 231 mg potassium, 26 gm carbohydrate, 12 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamin A, riboflavin, thiamin
Ingredients:1 16 oz. package organic fettucine noodles1 pound fresh organic asparagus (try to obtain local, farm fresh!)2 organic red peppers2 organic avocadosOne half organic onionOne quarter cup organic olive oilOne half cup organic balsamic vinegarFresh ground salt and pepper to tasteBring one large pot of water and one smaller saucepan of water to a boil. Meanwhile, chop asparagus into one-inch chunks. Dice peppers and avocados. To dice the avocado, carefully cut around the entire circumference with a knife. Twist the two halves in opposite directions until they come apart. Squeeze the half holding the pit until the pit pops out. (If you rinse the pit off, it makes a silly temporary cat toy.) Use a knife to cut long parallel lines into the avocado, then cut lines perpendicular to those. Use a spoon to pop the cubes out of the skin. Slice onion very thinly, then cut each thin slab in half and separate layers to create slivers. Whip oil and vinegar together in a smaller bowl; adjust ratio of vinegar to increase tanginess if you like. When smaller saucepan of water boils, add asparagus and cook for only two minutes--no longer! The water may not return to a boil, which is just fine. You want the asparagus to be quite firm. Drain asparagus, then place back in saucepan and cover to keep warm. Cook fettucine in large pot of water until its al dente; in other words, until its just done and still firm--not overcooked and mushy. Pasta is healthier if its not overcooked. Drain pasta, then place in large bowl. Add vinaigrette to noodles and mix until noodles are thoroughly coated. Whip up more vinaigrette to add if you like. Add asparagus, peppers, avocado and onion. Fold mixture until vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the pasta. If you want a little protein to accompany this dish, serve it with a light-colored organic or local semi-hard cheese on the side, such as raclette. This dish also pairs nicely with white wine. It easily serves six. This dish is addictive, so there wont be any leftovers--which is a good thing, because the avocados wont keep anyway!
Goji Juice is one of the most popular nutritional supplements in the world. Manufactured from the mythical goji berry, its widely heralded as the most nutritionally dense food on the planet. Thousands of families drink goji juice everyday, and because the juice is so delicious, most of them simply drink a few ounces of pure juice.However, families with small children might want to add additional fun to their daily intake of "goji juice" . This is where the imagination comes into play. Its too boring just to simply drink goji juice day-after-day, locked into the same monotonous routine. Wheres the fun in that? By making your childs daily goji consumption experience fun, theyll look forward to it and be less likely to forget this important juice. There are numerous fun ways to consume goji juice, and one of the most popular is by making goji juice popsicles! Below is a great recipe for doing just thatGoji Juice Popsicle RecipeIngredients:3 Ounces package of gelatin/Jell-o (choose your favorite flavor)8 Ounces of goji juice1 Packet of Kool-Aid (choose your favorite flavor)1 Cup of granulated sugar2 Quarts of waterInstructions:First, bring the water to a boil. Next, pour the water into a tall pitcher. Combine each of the above ingredients, and stir until fully dissolved. Pour into paper cups and place a tray of the cups in the freezer. Once the ingredients begin to thicken, add popsicle sticks and place the cups back in the freezer until they are fully frozen. The result is a freezer full of delicious goji juice popsicles!A summer favorite, popsicles have been enjoyed by millions of children in the almost 100 years since they were first introduced. By combining popsicles with the nutritional benefits of goji juice, children learn that maintaining good health can also be fun and delicious! And parents can join in the fun too, and perhaps reflect on the better days of their own childhood.
Understanding what your visitors do on your site is crucial information. If your visitors proceed to purchase a product but then a large majority leaves the site when they get to a specific page in the order process, you need to know about it. It could be that this page is confusing or hard to use. Fixing it could increase your sales by 200%. This is just an example; there are many reasons why you want a detailed analysis of your site visitors.Most website hosting services offer a stats package that you can study. If you're not sure where this is, call up your hosting service and ask them. Statistics are a vital part of tracking your marketing progress. If you don't have access to website statistics get a package that can help you in this area. Do not get a counter that simply shows how many visitors you've had. You'll be missing out on vital information that can help strengthen weaknesses in your site.A good website hosting service offers traffic logs that provide an invaluable insight into the traffic being referred to a web site from various sources such as search engines, directories and other links. Unfortunately traffic tracking provided by web hosting services is often in the form of raw traffic log files or other difficult to understand cryptic formats. These "log files" are basically text files that describe actions on the site. It is literally impossible to use the raw log files to understand what your visitors are doing. If you do not have the patience to go through these huge traffic logs, opting for a traffic-logging package would be a good idea. Basically, two options are available to you and these are: using a log analysis package or subscribing to a remotely hosted traffic logging service. A remotely hosted traffic logging service may be easy to use and is generally the cheaper option of the two. WebTrends Live and HitsLink are two good, remotely hosted, traffic-monitoring services worth considering. However, WebTrends Live is a more complicated system and is suitable for larger ecommerce websites. "SuperStats" is another recommended traffic logging service. These services do not use your log files. Typically a small section of code is placed on any page you want to track. When the page is viewed, information is stored on the remote server and available in real time to view in charts and tables form.Log analysis packages are typically expensive to buy and complex to set up. Apart from commercial packages there are also some free log analysis packages available, such as Analog. A good traffic logging service would provide statistics pertaining to the following: 1How many people visit your site? 2Where are they from? 3How are visitors finding your site? 4What traffic is coming from search engines, links from other sites, and other sources? 5What keyword search phrases are they using to find your site? 6What pages are frequented the most - what information are visitors most interested in? 7How do visitors navigate within your web site? Knowing the answers to these and other fundamental questions is essential for making informed decisions that maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your web site investment.The most important aspect of tracking visitors to your website is analyzing all the statistics you get from your tracking software. The three main statistics that will show your overall progress are hits, visitors and page views. Hits are tracked when any picture or page loads from your server on to a visitor's browser. Hits, however, can be very misleading. It is quite an irrelevant statistic for your website.The statistic that is probably the most important for a website is Page Views/Visitors. This gives you a good indication of two things. First, how many people are coming to your site, and secondly how long are they staying on your site. If you have 250 visitors and 300 page views you can figure that most visitors view one page on your site and then leave. Generally, if you're not getting 2 page views per visitor then you should consider upgrading your site's content so your visitors will stay around longer. If you see the number of visitors you have increasing as well as the number of page views per visitor increasing then keep up the good work! Always look for this stat as an overall barometer of how your site design is going and if your marketing campaigns are taking hold.Also, a good stat to look for is unique visitors. Once a person visits your site they will not be added to the unique visitors' category if they visit again. This is a good way to track new visitors to your website.Page views are a good indication of how "sticky" your website is. A good statistic to keep is Page Views divided by the number of Visitors you have. This statistic will give you a good idea if your content is interesting and if your visitors are staying on your site for a long time and surfing.Some people are intimidated by web traffic statistics (mostly because of the sheer volume of data available), but they shouldn't be. While there are many highly specialized statistics that can be used for more in-depth web traffic analysis, the above areas alone can provide invaluable information on your visitors and your website performance. Remember- this data is available for a reason. It's up to you to use it.