Gadget: Candy Bar Maker

The device makes customized chocolate bars with your own choice of fillings and toppings.

It includes a heated base to melt chocolate in melting pot with pouring sprout. It comes with four silicon moulds which can make 8 chocolate bars and nuggets at one time.

The moulds are put on top of the ice trays to quickly solidify the chocolate.

The maker is available from Amazon for US$40.

Pork Belly Braised in Beer and Apple Juice

Ingredients

3 pounds skin-on, boneless center-cut pork belly
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 star anise pod
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 (12-oz) bottles stout or porter
2 cups unfiltered apple juice or apple cider
1 large onion, thinly sliced into rings
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1” pieces
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
fresh lemon juice
finely grated peeled horseradish (for serving)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Using a very sharp knife, score pork in a tight crosshatch pattern to form 1/2-inch diamonds, cutting through fat but stopping at flesh. Season with salt and pepper, massaging into cuts.
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high (if belly doesn’t fit, cut in half crosswise). Cook pork skin side down, turning once, until browned all over, 5–8 minutes per side (be careful, fat will splatter). Transfer to a plate.
  4. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp drippings from pot, add star anise, cloves, and coriander and fennel seeds, and cook over low heat, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add beer and apple juice, scraping up browned bits. Add pork along with onion and carrots, adding water if needed to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and transfer to oven.
  6. Braise pork 3 hours. Add apricots and braise until pork is very tender but not falling apart, 1–2 hours more.
  7. Transfer pork, skin side up, to a rimmed baking sheet. Place vegetables and apricots in a large bowl; keep warm.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 475°F. Roast pork until skin is brown and very crisp, 25–35 minutes (the crispier, the better).
  9. Meanwhile, pour braising liquid into a large saucepan and skim off fat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds, 25–35 minutes.
  10. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, about 5 minutes.
  11. Add brown butter and shallot to braising sauce. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  12. Cut pork into pieces. Serve with sauce, vegetables, and some horseradish.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Bon Appetit magazine

No-bun Hamburger

In the new sandwich of Wendy’s Japan, the buns are replaced by two beef patties. Between the patties are tomato, lettuce, bacon and baked egg. Seasoning is original tartar sauce.

The low-carb sandwich claims to have only 4.6 g of carbohydrate. The price is 650 yen.

4 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Eating Organic

Amanda MacMillan and Julia Naftulin wrote . . . . . . .

The organic food industry is a booming business, and with the recent sale of natural-foods giant Whole Foods to Amazon, it’s expected to grow even larger in the near future. While some consumers buy organic because they believe it’s better for the environment, even more do so for health-related reasons, according to one 2016 survey.

What, exactly, are the health benefits of going organic? That depends on who you ask and which studies you consult. But if you do choose to buy organic foods, here are some science-backed bonuses you’re likely to get in return.

Fewer pesticides and heavy metals

Fruits, vegetables and grains labeled organic are grown without the use of most synthetic pesticides or artificial fertilizers. (The National Organic Standard Board does allow some synthetic substances to be used.) While such chemicals have been deemed safe in the quantities used for conventional farming, health experts still warn about the potential harms of repeated exposure.

For example, the commonly used herbicide Roundup has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen,” and the insecticide chlorpyrifos has been associated with developmental delays in infants. Studies have also suggested that pesticide residues—at levels commonly found in the urine of kids in the U.S.—may contribute to ADHD prevalence; they’ve also been linked to reduced sperm quality in men.

A 2014 meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition found that organically grown crops were not only less likely to contain detectable levels of pesticides, but because of differences in fertilization techniques, they were also 48% less likely to test positive for cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the liver and kidneys.

More healthy fats

When it comes to meat and milk, organic products can have about 50% more omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated healthy fat, than conventionally produced products, according to a 2016 study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Organic milk tested in the study also had less saturated fat than non-organic.

These differences may come from the way organic livestock is raised, with a grass-fed diet and more time spent outdoors, say the study’s authors. They believe that switching from conventional to organic products would raise consumers’ omega-3 intake without increasing overall calories or saturated fat.

No antibiotics or synthetic hormones

Conventional livestock can be fed antibiotics to protect against illness, making it easier for farmers to raise animals in crowded or unsanitary conditions. The FDA limited the use of certain antibiotics for livestock earlier this year, but loopholes in the legislation still exist. And with the exception of poultry, conventionally raised animals can also be injected with synthetic growth hormones, so they’ll gain weight faster or produce more milk.

But traces of these substances can make their way to consumers, says Rolf Halden, professor and director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University. Drug residue is believed to contribute to widespread antibiotic resistance, he says, and organic foods—which are produced without antibiotics—“are intrinsically safer in this respect.” Organic meat and dairy also cannot contain synthetic hormones, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

More antioxidants, in some cases

In a recent six-year study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that organic onions had about a 20% higher antioxidant content than conventionally grown onions. They also theorized that previous analyses—several of which have found no difference in conventional versus organic antioxidant levels—may have been thwarted by too-short study periods and confounding variables like weather.

The research was “very well done,” says Guy Crosby, adjunct associate professor of Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. But he points out that this specific study “takes just one aspect of phytochemicals and shows they can be improved under organic conditions.” The question of whether organic foods are truly more nutritious is still debatable, he adds. “Had the researchers chosen to measure a different vitamin or mineral, they may have found a different result.”

The bottom line

Organic products are more expensive than conventional ones, and whether they’re really worth the extra cost is certainly a matter of choice. “If you can afford all organic, that’s fantastic, but it’s not feasible for most people,” says registered dietitian Cynthia Sass. “If it’s not, the most important groups to buy organic, in my opinion, include foods you eat daily and produce on the Dirty Dozen list—those with the highest pesticide residues.” If people eat eggs, dairy and meat, she also recommends buying those organic.

Halden says that vulnerable groups—including pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people suffering from allergies—may benefit the most from choosing organically produced foods. He also points out that a strictly organic diet can still be plenty unhealthy: “Eating too much sugar and meat and too few vegetables is risky, regardless of whether the shopper picks from the conventional or organic grocery selection,” he says.It’s also important for consumers to make educated decisions about why they choose to buy organic, says Crosby—and not to get hung up on individual studies that haven’t been supported by additional research. If you’re trying to reduce exposure to pesticide residues, organic is a good choice, he says. “On the other hand, if you’re buying them because they’re more nutritious, the evidence doesn’t broadly support that,” he says.

Source: Time

Yoga May Help Ease Depression

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you probably know that it can help relax your body and your mind. Now, several new studies suggest that practicing yoga may also ease depression.

But the leader of a session on yoga and depression held Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Washington, D.C., emphasized the research is preliminary.

“At this time, we can only recommend yoga as a complementary approach, likely most effective in conjunction with standard approaches delivered by a licensed therapist,” psychologist Lindsey Hopkins said in an APA news release.

“Clearly, yoga is not a cure-all. However, based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential,” added Hopkins. She is a clinical psychologist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Hopkins conducted a study that included 23 male veterans who took part in twice-weekly hatha yoga classes for eight weeks. Hatha yoga emphasizes physical exercises, along with meditative and breathing exercises.

Participants who began the study with elevated depression scores saw their symptoms ease significantly after eight weeks, the findings showed.

A second study looked at Bikram (hot) yoga and included 52 women aged 25 to 45. Those who did twice-weekly classes for eight weeks had sharply reduced depression symptoms compared to a control group that did not take the classes.

Another study of 29 adults found eight weeks of at least twice-weekly Bikram yoga significantly eased depression while also improving quality of life, optimism, and mental and physical functioning.

A number of other studies have yielded similar findings, the news release said.

The concept of yoga as a way to improve mental health is so promising that the U.S. military is investigating creation of its own yoga treatment programs, according to the release.

Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: HealthDay


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As Many as 1 in 3 Experience New or Worse Pain With Yoga . . . . .


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