Fourth of July Smoothie

by Anna

Independence Day, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad… these things just go together. You’ve been careful all summer and the idea of a 4th of July treat may be just too tempting to resist. Fear not, fellow American, the good folks at buy conscious have delivered with a healthy red-white-and-blue smoothie for a festive and healthy treat. Let tasty freedom ring!



Red layer: 1/2 cup strawberries from your local farmer’s market, 3 oz strawberry yogurt or dairy-free alternative, Blue Diamond almond milk, 1/4-1/2 cup cranberry juice, 1/4 cup pitted cherries from your local farmer’s market, 5-8 ice cubes

White layer: 1 banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1-2 tbsp agave nectar, 6 oz vanilla yogurt, 5-8 ice cubes

Blue Layer: 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp agave, 1/4 cup coconut water and ice as needed 5-8 ice cubes

Blend the first layer. Pour into cup and freeze for 15 minutes. Then blend next layer and freeze for another 15 minutes and top off with last blended layer. Your belly will love you.

Need a blender? Check out our sizzling summer deals.




Bomb Pop Martini Cocktail



4 oz. Island Blue Pucker

3 oz. Bacardi Limon

1 oz. pineapple juice


Fill a shaker halfway with ice.

Add the Island Blue Pucker, Bacardi Limon and pineapple juice

Shake well.

Pour into martini glass.

Carefully pour a thin stream of grenadine down the inside of the glass so it pools in the bottom.  Do not mix.

You should now have both a red and a blue layer. Beautiful & delicious!

Drink and enjoy responsibly!

How to Eat Well Even on a Limited Food Budget

By Arnold Nadler 

I love food, but eating well can cost a small fortune today. I've figured-out ways to make delicious meals on a shoe string budget stretching my dollars. The obvious is buying groceries that are on special, but then what do we do with them?

I bought 3 lb cross-rib roast for $18 on special serving three of us. The cost of one rib steak was more than the whole roast. The first meal with it of course was the traditional roast beef dinner with potatoes, carrots, and salad. By the way the lettuce was expensive, instead I purchased a bag of salad which was less. I added to it a tomato, green onions, and made my own salad dressing. After dinner I sliced the rest of the roast put it in two plastic bags dated for the freezer. The next week I made a casserole using one package of the leftover beef from the freezer, it's amazing how rice is great host for a casserole. After that the last freezer bag with the remaining roast beef was used in a stir fry. Bought inexpensive veggies, nuts, and made a tasty stir fry sauce. This one roast costed only $6/meal or $2/person spread over three meals. Next is salmon which can be super expensive...

Salmon happens to be one of my favorite fish meals, but just like everything else it is extremely pricey at times. My alternative is canned which I've purchase at the dollar store for $2/can. As a dinner item I make salmon patties, adding onions, salt, pepper, dill, a shot of lemon, eggs, flour, and then fry those babies up in canola oil. Generally, two cans make 8-10 patties, sides are mashed potatoes, and canned corn yum!! The leftovers can be put in sandwiches for lunch, or using my freezer bag method frozen for a later date. I was brought-up as kid on Sundays eating bagels, cream chess, smoked salmon, with tomatoes and cucumber so good! However, smoked salmon today is like buying gold, so I use smoked salmon cream cheese by Philadelphia. This saves big bucks but has all the comfort food tastes I remember.

I saw lean ground minced meat on special for three dollars a pound, under half the price as usually paid. It was a good day we made spaghetti sauce, and later used it for amazing burgers, meat loaf, and tacos over a few months.

I think many families living on a very tight budget sacrifice eating well, but with a bit of creativity and finding the deals in the grocery store everyone can eat like a king!

What Are Bacteria And How Do They Affect Our Food?

By Adrian Carter 

What are bacteria?

Before we can understand how bacteria affect your food, we need to define the term: what are bacteria?

How do we define bacteria?

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms which can exist either as independent (free-living) organisms or as parasites (dependent upon another organism for life). They are about 0.5 to 2 micrometers in size. A grain of sand is 2 millimeters is size. This means you could fit 1000 bacterial cells into a single grain of sand. This means we can only see bacterial cells through the microscope.

Other than through the microscope, bacteria form what we call "colonies" which have millions of cells which allow us to easily see bacteria in a medium that is grown in the lab known as agar plates. This is the simplest method used, in order to identify and see bacteria. We use this method to count how many bacteria are present in for example a swab of a cutting board. Greater than 300 colonies is considered dirty and contaminated.

These were one of the very first organisms to exist on our planet, so they are very, very old and have co-existed with humans since the beginning. There are millions of different types of bacteria, some good for you and some very dangerous to your health.

Where can you find bacteria?

Bacteria live in water, soil, in plants and in animals. Bacteria are so prominent on earth that they also live in some of the most extreme environments, such as the deep ocean, hot springs and there is even evidence that bacteria lived on mars.

As an example, bacteria on a human associated level grows in your gut, on your skin and in your hair (eye-lashes included). So much so, that recent research has shown that the makeup of the different kinds of bacteria in your gut and skin is MORE unique than a fingerprint.

Bacteria also grows and survives in the food that we eat, raw meat and vegetables by design must be cooked so that we as humans can consume these foods without getting sick from the bacteria that thrive in these environments.

There are two main distinctions for bacteria which we define as gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

We use this distinction to group the various types of bacteria by how the look and behave. All commonly occurring bacteria fall under these two categories. Suffice to say we identify bacteria in the lab with a simple test that we use as a broad category to determine which bacteria we are looking at. This test is known as a Gram stain. This means that there are two main types of bacteria that look and behave differently from each other. With this method we are able to see bacteria under the microscope.

This test also helps us see the shape of the bacteria. There are three shapes, bacilli (rod-shaped), cocci (circular), and spirilla (corkscrew shaped).

What Do Bacteria Need to Survive?

There are 6 elements in the environment that allow bacteria to grow and survive:


Moisture Content


Nutrient Content




In general (with bacteria there are always exceptions) we see that bacteria can survive in a very large temperature ranges. Bacteria can live between 0 to 60 °Celsius (32 - 122 °Fahrenheit), however on a human associated level they grow at their best between 20 and 45 °Celsius (68 - 113 ° Fahrenheit).

This is because the bacteria that we are concerned with have adapted to our internal bodies, in order to infect and contaminate our bodies. Therefore the absolute best temperature is 37 ° C (98 ° F).

Moisture (Water activity)

Bacteria can grow mostly in moisture rich environments. In food, bacteria love moisture rich conditions. Water activity means how much water is available in a food product. Such an example would be cucumbers, there is a high availability of water in cucumbers, lettuce and celery (95%). When compared to dried spices (5 - 50%). Most bacteria need at least 80% water to survive.

Nutrient content

As we as humans need nutrients to survive, so does bacteria. With nutrient high content, food is a perfect source of nutrients for bacteria to grow. Which is why we need to have very good hygiene standards in the kitchen. Food is an ideal environment for bacteria. The skin of humans and animals are also an example of a high nutrient source for bacteria. Bacteria require sources of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, iron and a large number of other minerals.

pH (acidity)

The pH or acidity level also affects how bacteria grows and how effectively bacteria can survive within the environment. Bacteria in food ranges from 5 to 8 pH. This means items such as vinegar is unlikely to allow bacteria to survive.

Lemons are always a popular food when anti-bacterial properties are mentioned. Indeed the pH does discourage the growth of bacteria, but is not a major factor when killing bacteria that occurs from cross-contamination. meats, spinach and milk are within the ideal pH range of bacteria. Yogurt has a pH just below the ideal range, and is general considered less risky than milk because of this.


Bacteria can grow in both oxygen rich and poor environments. This means sealed and unsealed products. Therefore, vacuum packed meals and foods are not free from concern. This also means exposing foods to the environment and leaving food uncovered allows bacteria to grow.


The longer bacteria are exposed to the above factors in their ideal conditions, the more established the bacterial cells become. These factors are all dependent on time, and bacteria can rapidly multiply within 15 to 45 minutes.


We now know that bacteria can survive in temperatures of between 0 - 65ºC (32 - 149ºF)

Grow best at 20 - 45 ºC (20 - 113ºF).

They rapidly multiply in 15 - 45 minutes in these ranges.

Moisture rich environments are favorable.

Can survive at pH of 3.0 - 7.5

Can survive in oxygen rich and poor conditions.

As you can see, bacteria are similar to humans in what they need to survive, hence there are human associated bacteria, and as a result, bacteria that occur in the foods that we consume.

Food Safety Consultant, Author of "The food safety pillars" and "Food safety for the kitchen", Adrian Carter has 10+ years experience in food safety and consulting clients on kitchen hygiene throughout the industry. Adrian shares his insight, experience, and skills at his website:

5 Ways To Woo Your Summer With Mangoes

By Rinita Sen 

Summer is here, and it brought along mangoes. Easily the king of fruits, mangoes are a cherished must-have for the season. Be it in raw green or ripe orange form, this fruit has its own unbeatable charm when it comes to both savory as well as sweet recipes. To beat the heat, here are some traditional, yet simple ways in which you may relish the delicious fruit this summer.

1. Raw mango pickle

This is a dish that needs a bit of work, and needs preparations ahead of summer, but once you get it right, it is an absolute gem.

Quick Guide: Chop raw (green) mangoes, add your blend of favorite spices, oil, and salt, dry in the sun for several days until the skin is shriveled. Have with or between meals.

2. Raw mango sherbet

It is also widely known as "Aam Panna" in Indian languages and is a chemical-free indigenous way of quenching your thirst.

Quick Guide: Roast the raw mangoes directly over a flame, peel the burned skin, mash the flesh, dilute with water, add sugar and salt as per taste. Serve with ice.

3. Raw mango chutney

Another innovation of the Indian subcontinent, this one is prepared as an after-meal dessert substitute. It takes a while to get the right texture, but tastes heaven afterwards.

Quick Guide: Peel and chop raw mangoes, cook in low flame with spices and oil, add sugar (loads of it), stir until a thick consistency is achieved, cool and serve.

4. Mango lentil soup

Fastest and easiest of all, this one cools down the body temperature, and acts as a great accompaniment to rice.

Quick Guide: Chop raw mangoes and boil them. Cook the lentils (split red lentils are the best choice) as per regular procedure. Mix the boiled raw mangoes in the end. Balance the salt and the water for a runny consistency and less tangy flavor.

5. Mango ice-cream

A break from traditional raw mango preparations, this one is for the "quick-fix dessert" people. All you need is ripe mangoes and vanilla ice-cream for the perfect dessert.

Quick Guide: Peel and chop ripe mangoes into tiny pieces. Mix them in a bowl with some good quality vanilla ice-cream. Call your gang over!

Indeed, mangoes can be so versatile that we at times do not realize how many recipes have been thought of and are still being thought of that include this great fruit. Pick your favorite this season and fill your summer with glee.

Dining Books 2018

Amazon Expands Grocery Delivery from Whole Foods Market to Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and San Antonio

Prime members can enjoy delivery in as little as an hour from Whole Foods Market

Ultrafast delivery from Whole Foods Market is now available in 19 cities through Prime Now, more to come in 2018


Amazon and Whole Foods Market today launched delivery of natural and organic products from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and San Antonio. Starting today, Prime members in those cities can shop through Prime Now for bestselling items including fresh produce, high quality meat and seafood, everyday staples and other locally sourced items from Whole Foods Market. The service launched earlier this year with plans for continued expansion across the U.S. throughout 2018. Customers can start shopping from Whole Foods Market selection at or by using the Prime Now app available on Android and iOS devices.

"We've been delighted with the customer response to delivery in as little as an hour through Prime Now, and we're excited to bring the service to our customers in Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and San Antonio," said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Executive Vice President of Operations. "Today's announcement is another way that we are continuing to expand access to our high-quality products and locally-sourced favorites."

Prime members can shop thousands of items across fresh and organic produce, bakery, dairy, meat and seafood, floral and everyday staples from Whole Foods Market available for delivery in as little as an hour. Select alcohol is also available for delivery to customers in Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis and San Antonio.

Delivery from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now is available daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Customers can visit or download the Prime Now app to enter their zip code to see if they are in the delivery area.


The Art of Selling Wine in the Tasting Room

By Steven Lay 

There is nothing surreptitious about selling wine in a tasting room or at a tasting event; the visitor is there anticipating buying a new-found wine that will make life more pleasant. And tasting room staffs should understand--wine sales is not a debate forum; everybody has different taste and expectations. The visitor arrives with preconceived notions that they are predisposed to finding a wine in which they are emotionally enamored. At this point it is up to the tasting room staff to create the atmosphere that could be called the "romance of wine".

How is an effective atmosphere created that encourages the purchase of wine? There are a lot of factors in creating atmosphere: the setting, visual ques, lighting, sounds, smells, temperature, staff interactions, marketing and of course brand identity. There is a lot of research about the science of psychology in selling, everything from the type of background music, ambience created from special lighting, even the smells that stimulate the senses. All the elements that make up a tasting room, knowingly or unwittingly, do impact a positive disposition toward a product (wine).

As an aside. Assume you bought a $40 bottle of Napa Valley wine that you truly enjoyed and wanted to visit that winery on a visit to Northern California. You have already conjured up in your mind what you expect that tasting room experience should be to you. Based solely on your experiences with the wine, the logo (branding) and the website (marketing). If that visit to the winery does not measure-up to expectations, you may not want to buy more wine from that winery. However, well trained and motivated staff can overcome many deficiencies in setting, ambiance, smells, sounds, etc.

If the tasting room experience does not support the brand and advertising message, there is a disconnect with the visitor and their willingness to bond with the product. Without an emotional connection, the sales function is almost an exercise in futility. Sales is not a dirty word or shady endeavor, it allows people to enjoy an experience, be informed, make buying decisions intelligently and, selling makes it possible for the wine enterprise to exist.

So, what should a winery tasting room be doing to maximize or improve their odds of a sale that allows visitors to be emotionally satisfied with the purchase? With wine, tasting room/direct to consumer selling is all about selling the sizzle and the steak. Wine is bought because it provokes imagination and emotional appeal, addresses a need/desire, and offers tangible benefits. Wine purchases (sales) are human senses working together to give a visitor an ah-has moment with a winemaker's creation. Tasting room sales staff are there to guide the experience of the offered wines.

If a tasting room is going to be successful in their direct-to-consumer sales effort, the staff needs to be a host, counselor, educator and understand selling wine is about addressing the 5 senses. (Daven Hiskey in "Today I Found Out", says there are really 9 senses.)

Ideally, Marketing and branding have lead the way for a visitor's expectations. In the tasting room, the visitor is given the opportunity to touch and feel the brand and product and now it is time to get personally involved with the winery. This is the start and finish line of the actual sale process.

Having sat through or conducted, too many to count, sales seminars. There seems to be a standard blueprint for conducting sales meetings. The only difference may be that there are some nuances that are industry specific.

Looking at tasting room sales specifically, maybe we can tweak the diehard standard attributes of good sales practices and incorporate some current thinking.

Relative to tasting room staff: (We are assuming some consistency in personnel, which is a concern.)

Know, or at least understand, the winemaking process from vineyard to the tasting room.

Be familiar with and at least occasionally read wine blogs and have an opinion of their comments.

Staff should not sound like they are spewing out facts based on rote; make the comments sound like fresh thoughts. For example, the Ritz Carlton Hotel group train their staff to respond to their guests in a fresh welcoming manner and are rated on always following that standard. It appears to them, "if it isn't broke don't fix it".

Engage the visitor; find out what they should expect by way or aroma's and taste of the wine before they sample the wine. Ask if they are interested in a wine of a specific characteristic. Always direct expectations.

Wine is never the cheapest or most expensive-it is either budget friendly or premium.

If the visitor seems to be torn between what wine to buy, then offer them a "premium sample pack" at a multi-bottle discount.

Offer the visitor a "private e-mail" address of the server staff because: "I want to hear how you liked our wine when you got home".

Try to get the visitors name so they can be communicated with on a first name basis. Use the introduction process to get information about their favorite varietal, or where they are from, how many wineries they have visited that day. People tasting a lot of wine in a compressed time frame will not get a good tasting experience for example; that is good to know up front.

People like to be made comfortable at their level of wine experience. When comfortable in a buying experience, the visitor will be willing to buy wine because they were directed by staff who understood the experience level of the visitor. People never want to be talked down to or made aware of any deficiencies in their wine experiences.

Then the standard attributes of good sales attributes may include:

Be passionate about the products/wines and know the wines first-hand and in one's own words.

Be a keen listener, do not interrupt visitors when they talk. Look at the visitor to indicate the server is interested.

Understand the customers options.

Sincerity breeds trust in product options and suggestions.

Through actions and communications, make the customers feel they are getting value.

Lead the purchaser to conclusions by employing a friendly smile and a personalized warm welcome. If they do not purchase still wish them well and "Cheers".

Don't pressure customers, wine is an emotional/experience sale and not like selling a set of tires on a one day only sale. Persuade always and never pressure.

Selling wine to visitors at a winery's tasting room as a winemaker or winery owner probably requires skill sets that are not common at senior management levels; there may be passion, but the psychology of the sale must be learned and developed through experience. For example, I know how a painter applies paint to a canvas, but I am not a painter and never will be a successful painter.

If selling wine successfully, direct to the tasting room visitor were easy, everybody would be doing such. Many are not doing it at a spectacularly high level of proficiency. A visitor who buys a wine is potentially a long-term customer and winery ambassador for life, because they have voted with their dollars that the connection they have with the winery is emotional. Now the task is to convert the visitor/buyer to join the wine club and be effective communicators with that customer going forward. Personal communications can be expensive and time consuming, but it can be rewarding with repeat sales.

"Selling is something we do for our visitors - not to our visitors," said Zig Ziglar.


Mr. Lay started Image of Wine to manufacture and sell high end wine accessories to corporations as gifts and branding items. These are items may be personalized.

All products are custom manufactured and recognized for their quality. Inquiries are welcomed by calling: 702-289-4167.

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