Posted by CENTURY 21 CUDDY on 2/11/2018

Many people have chosen to live a meat-free or dairy-free lifestyle. Whether it's for health reasons, environmental concerns, or ethical beliefs there are now more vegans and vegetarians than ever before. If you're not familiar with the details of the diet, cooking for vegetarian and vegan guests can be difficult or even embarrassing. But with an open mind and a bit of research you can pull off a delicious meal that won't leave anyone out.

Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian... what does it all mean?

There are countless different names for the various types of restricted diets. However. there are a handful of common diets that everyone should familiarize themselves with. They are:
  • Vegetarian. Vegetarians abstain from meat (including air, land, and sea-food) but may consume other animal products like dairy and eggs. In some cultures, "vegetarian" means eating no animal products at all.
  • Vegan. A vegan diet contains virtually no animal products. No meat, cheese, milk, eggs, or anything made with traces of those items. Some vegans even consider things like honey an animal product and abstain from eating it.
  • Pescetarian. People who call themselves pescetarian often abstain from meats like chicken, pork, and beef, but will eat meat from fish and other forms of seafood (shrimp, crabmeat, etc.)
  • Ovo- and lacto-vegetarian. Some vegetarians abstain from food that contains either dairy or egg according to their own preferences. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy, and lacto-vegetarians consume dairy but not eggs.

Planning for dinner

All of those diets are a lot to keep track of, we know. But the best way to plan dinner for a guest with a restricted diet is to simply just ask what works for them. You will most likely find that your guest appreciates that you ask in advance. It shows that you want to provide them with a happy meal and have concern for their dietary requirements. Once you know what animal products your guest will or will not eat, it's time to start thinking of dinner ideas. If you want to play it on the safe side, you can ask your guest what they like to eat. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try making meat-free versions of some of your favorite recipes. Whatever you choose, it's important to remember to read the labels of your ingredients. You might be surprised to find that many food items contain animal product like beef stock or fish oils, or eggs. Most Caesar dressing, for example, contains anchovies, though you would never guess it from the taste.

Dinner ideas

If you're stuck on choosing what to cook, try some of these meal ideas that tend to be easy to make without animal products.
  • Tacos or burritos. It's easy to make many Mexican-inspired dishes meat-free by using ingredients like rice, beans, salsa, and grilled vegetables. If you can't stand the thought of a meat or dairy-free meal for yourself then you can have a make-your-own taco dinner so you and your guest can both eat happily.
  • Pasta and sauce. Most styles of spaghetti are vegan. To make the meal a bit more substantial add eggplant or grilled tofu to the mix.
  • Dessert. To impress your guest prepare a vegan dessert for after dinner. Several brands make vegan ice cream (including the revered Ben & Jerry's). And if you're extra ambitious try a vegan cupcake recipe out as well. You might like it more than traditional cupcakes!

Posted by CENTURY 21 CUDDY on 8/7/2016

Enjoy A Cup Of Herbal Tea Herbal tea is simply an infusion, or tea, made from the flowers and leaves of herb plants known for their flavor and potent medicinal properties. Many herbs are suitable for planting in the home perennial garden. A Century's Old Tradition Herbal teas have centuries old history of use to induce sleep, calm frazzled nerves, relieve pain, promote digestion, relieve constipation, and to heal a host of illnesses and medical complaints including insomnia, irritability, fatigue, menstrual complaints, infertility, obesity, tremors, seizures, and to stimulate sexual desire. Traditionally herbal teas and decoctions were made from the woody, the hard part of the herb as well as the leave, flowers, seeds, and stems. The plant material, when dried and ground, was added to boiling water to release the plant essential oils. The beverage then strained and consumed. Herbal teas are a refreshing summer beverage when served over ice and garnished with fresh lemons. To prepare a tasty and satisfying cup of herbal tea, pour one pint of boiling water over one tablespoon of your favorite dried herb or two to three tablespoons of fresh herb. Herbal tea bags are also available for purchase online and at health food stores. Pour into a pre-heated mug or teapot, cover with a snug fitting lid to prevent the essential oils from escaping, and allow to steep for three to five minutes. If desired, sweeten with a bit of organic honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Some herbal teas may seem a bit too strong if you are not used to herbal tea; add additional boiling water if the brew is too strong for your palette. To obtain the healing health benefits of herbal tea, natural health practitioners suggest drinking a cup of herbal tea three to four times a day, but do however recommend that you not drink the same herbal tea for longer than six weeks in a row. Provide your body with a diverse array of herbs from “Mother Nature’s Medicine Chest.” You can use any kind of herb you like or experiment until you find your unique blend. The amount of herbs used varies dependent on the freshness of the herb and the desired strength of the infusion. Some people prefer herbal teas to be bold and strong, while others prefer a milder taste, so the amount used is a matter of personal taste. The best and most flavorful herbal teas are made from fresh cut herbs from the garden. If you do not have a herb bed, herbs, and herbal teas can be purchased online or at your local health food store and in many major supermarkets. Try out herbal teas you are not familiar with and be ready for a delicious surprise. Chamomile America’s favorite herbal tea, Chamomile is known for its nerve calming properties and is useful as a bedtime beverage for persons prone to insomnia. Chamomile is also a soothing drink if you have an upset stomach as the tea is a mild digestive tonic. Chamomile tea is scrumptious, either hot or cold. For a flavor twist, add a wedge of fresh lemon and a sprig of mint from the garden.

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