Sweets for Cat Lovers

The filling inside the Japanese-style marshmallow is sweetened white sweet potato paste.

The price for a bag of 3-pieces is 302 yen anf the box of 9-pieces is 842 yen (tax included) in Japan.

Roasted Rack of Lamb


1/2 rack of lamb
salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 oz leeks, julienne cut
2 tomatoes, cut in eighths
zest of 1/2 lemon, cut in eighths
10 black olives, pitted
1 tsp chopped parsley
Chine bone and trimmings from rack, chopped
1 tbsp oil
2 oz tomato paste
10 oz Mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion leeks, finely chopped)
1 clove garlic
thyme to taste
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup white wine


  1. Season rack of lamb with salt, pepper and thyme. Roast in preheated 375°F oven until medium rare.
  2. Saute the garlic in a skillet of hot oil. Add leeks, tomatoes, lemon zest, salt and pepper and saute for 30 seconds. Add olives and parsley. Adjust seasonings.
  3. to make Lamb Sauce, roast lamb bones with a little oil in preheated 375°F oven for about 1 hour.
  4. Add tomato paste and mirepoix. Roast for 5 minutes and add 1-1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add seasonings and spices. Cook about one hour. Reduce to about 1 cup
  6. Bring white wine to a boil and reduce to half. Add wine reduction to taste. Strain. Serve with lamb.
  7. Carve lamb at table. Serve both sauce and tomato saute separately.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: American Lamb Council

What Are Hot Dogs Really Made Of?

After the steaks, chops, breasts, ribs, thighs, hams, tenderloins and briskets are removed, there’s a fair amount of gristle, fat and offal remaining on a butchered animal, and early on, people realized this could be put to good use. One of these products is the hot dog, a classic of pre-cooked, processed meat.


The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) notes that hot dogs, whether regular, turkey, pork or beef, begin with “trimmings.” A purposely-vague word, trimmings come in lots of shapes and sizes.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): “The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”



Because of the butchering process, the leftovers used in products like hot dogs often have a fair amount of bacteria, and so pre-cooking helps eliminate that. In addition, pre-cooking has the added benefit of helping to separate the remaining muscle meat, fat and connective tissues from the head and feet bones. Cooking also makes the trimmings more manageable.

Because of the different sizes and types of carcasses, there are different pre-cooking times for different animals (and different parts), although it typically occurs within the range of 150 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Dog Production

Like many other products, such as bologna and liver sausage, hot dogs and frankfurters are created by “meat emulsion,” although as the FAO notes, “meat batter” might be a more accurate term.

Higher quality products are made from top quality meats and no chemicals. Examples include kosher, all beef hot dogs that have no by-products, fillers or artificial colors or flavors.

Less expensive types of hot dogs will have chemicals, fats and water binding agents added, and for many of these, the production process is simple:

First pork and/or beef trimmings are ground up in a machine and then extruded through a metal sieve-like device so they resemble ground hamburger meat. At this point, ground chicken trimmings (if any) are added, and together, the mixture is blended (emulsified) until it looks like the aforementioned meat batter.

Now salt, ground spices and food starches (if you made this at home, you might use bread crumbs, flour or oatmeal) are added, along with some water and corn syrup or another sweetener. Toward the end of the process, more water is added, to get the batter to the proper consistency (no one wants a dry wiener).

The batter is “pureed again [and] the excess air is vacuumed out.” Next the emulsified meat is pumped into casings (usually cellulose but sometimes natural), and the strings of dogs are hung on racks and fully cooked in a smoke house. Sometimes hardwood smoke is added. Later, the dogs are showered in cold, salted water, and then, if cellulose casings were used, put through a peeler to remove the casings (natural casings are left on).

Remember, “natural casings” means the intestine of an animal that have been thoroughly cleaned and processed.

Finally, finished dogs are inspected by hand, and only “flawless” tubed meat is routed to yet another machine where the dogs are grouped for packing.

Source: Today I Found Out

The Secret Behind Why McDonald’s Fries Are So Addictive

Constantine Spyrou wrote . . . . . . .

French fries are the classic side chick to the typical burger, fried chicken, or whatever item you get when you roll into a fast food joint. Across the spectrum, it’s difficult to find a fry that everybody dislikes in the industry. However, it’s well known that drive-thru giant McDonald’s has fries that are more craved than anyone else’s.

Why is that? Well, if you take a dive into the ingredients that go into the crispy spuds at each chain, you’ll notice that McDonald’s has one key flavoring agent that makes them unique amongst major fast food brands: natural beef flavor.

On their website, McDonald’s states that this ingredient starts out with hydrolyzed milk and hydrolyzed wheat. What hydrolyzed refers to is a specific type of chemical reaction where bonds within the food are broken down with the assistance of water. Both are proteins that get broken down into compounds that release meaty and savory flavors when you eat them, giving an extra punch of umami to the already salty and starchy fries. The result is the elevation to a level of flavor that puts McDonald’s fries out of the reach of its competitors in terms of deliciousness.

Source: FoodBeast

Less Stress Might Mean Lower Blood Sugar for Overweight Women

Will Boggs wrote . . . . . .

An eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program not only reduces stress, but could also lower blood sugar, U.S. researchers say.

“Our study suggests that MBSR could be a useful tool for preventing or treating diabetes in patients with overweight or obesity,” lead author Dr. Nazia Raja-Khan from Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, said by email.

MBSR, an intensive instructor-led training program, incorporates meditation, body awareness and other anxiety-reducing techniques. It was originally developed decades ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester to help patients manage pain and stress while being treated for cancer and other serious illnesses, but the course is now offered in a wide variety of settings nationwide.

MBSR training has been shown to reduce stress and therefore might reduce the risk of heart disease in overweight or obese individuals, though this has yet to be proven, Raja Khan’s team writes in the journal Obesity.

The researchers assigned 86 women to eight weeks of either MBSR training or a health education program focusing on diet and exercise. They told both groups that the main focus of the study was stress reduction.

After eight weeks and again after 16 weeks, they compared changes in stress levels, mood, quality-of-life, sleep quality, blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and other measures.

Not surprisingly, after eight weeks, the MSBR group had a greater improvement in mindfulness and a greater decrease in feelings of stress, compared with the health education group. Perceived stress remained lower in the MBSR group after 16 weeks.

Women in the MBSR group also had lower blood sugar, by about 9 milligrams per deciliter of blood, after eight and 16 weeks compared to before the training, while women in the health education group had no change in blood sugar.

After MBSR or health education, both groups had less overall psychological stress, less anxiety and better sleep, but neither group had lost weight, lowered their inflammation or cholesterol levels or improved their responses to insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar.

“Further studies are needed to determine more long-term benefits of MBSR in overweight/obesity and to confirm the role of MBSR in diabetes prevention and treatment,” Raja-Khan told Reuters Health.

Source: Reuters

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