3 Unusual Ways to Use Your Kitchen Mixer-Blender

If you own a mixer-blender (or a mixer and a blender, separately), you may not realize all the ways you can use it.

As I'm describing these sneaky kitchen tricks, I'm referring to the mixer-blender I use. That's the Blendtec Mix n 'Blend. It's the most important counter top appliance in my kitchen.

However, if you have a blender – from a $ 15 special you found at a sale, to a Bosch or Vitamix – and any mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid mixer, these tips can work just as well.

Here are the three unusual uses for your kitchen mixer-blender:

Meatloaf

A lot of people haul out a big bowl or pot and try to hand-stir the ingredients into their meatloaf.

Since a car accident a few years ago, my arms and shoulders are not very strong. So, I throw the ground meat, the eggs, the bread crumbs, the Worcestershire sauce, the tomato paste, and the seasonings into the bowl of my Blendtec mixer. Then, I use the dough-kneading attachment to mix it thoroughly.

My meatloaf meals are legendary. People do not understand why my meatloaf turns out so differently from theirs. The simple answer is, mine is thoroughly mixed. Consistency makes all the difference!

Pumpkin or Pecan Pie

I use my mixer for pumpkin pies and pecan pies. My pies always attract raves from friends and family.

However, I have another wonderful pie recipe. It's a combination pumpkin and pecan pie. I start with a prepared pie crust and spread the pecan pie mixture over it. That mixture is chopped pecans, brown sugar, and maybe a drizzle of honey.

Over that, I pour the pumpkin pie filling. It's mostly the prepared, mashed pumpkin with a couple of eggs, some cream, sugar and seasonings. Then, I bake it.

The secret is the mixer. Most people mix pie ingredients by hand, in a bowl. That's okay, but it will not transform your pecan pie into a gourmet delight.

I take the pecan pie ingredients, and mix them using the whisk-type attachment for my Blendtec mixer. When that's thoroughly mixed, the finished pie tastes much better. There are no extra-dry bites with just pecan pieces, and no oh-my-goodness bites with too much cinnamon or cloves.

Then, I rinse the bowl (it does not have to be pristine for the next step) and whip together the pumpkin pie ingredients. I use a fast setting – around 4 on my Blendtec Mix n 'Blend – for about 20 seconds, until the mixture is light and fluffy.

That's what I pour (or spoon) over the pecan pie ingredients, before I bake the pie in the oven.

When I serve this at Thanksgiving or Christmas, I top it with rich vanilla ice cream. My guests rave about this dessert.

Eggnog

My family avoids artificial ingredients and complex sweeteners. However, as much as we love store-bought eggnog, it's almost impossible to find "real" eggnog without those complex sweeteners … and a few artificial flavors and preservatives.

Real eggnog is ridiculously easy to make. It's a mix of whole eggs, milk, and any sweetener. That's the whole recipe, right there.

For healthy eggnog, you can use honey. Otherwise, sugar works well. For something that tastes identical to the not-so-healthy store-bought eggnogs, use confectioners (powdered) sugar. Add a dash of vanilla and nutmeg, and you're all set.

You can even add extra ingredients to match the gourmet eggnogs at the store. A little cooked (or straight from the can) mashed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice can add richness.

Or, extra vanilla and some heavy cream will give that "French vanilla" flavor. Add some cream and a few drops of peppermint flavor for a "candy cane" eggnog.

You'll notice that I did not provide an exact recipe. That's because you do not need one. Almost any mix of these ingredients will make a good eggnog. Once you've mixed it up in your mixer (like a Blendtec or Kitchen Aid blender), taste it and adjust the ingredients to suit your family.

However, people always ask me about the safety of raw eggs. If you've seen TV cooks such as Martha Stewart prepare eggnog, you may have seen them use raw eggs, too.

Because we use organic eggs that we buy from a local farmer we trust, we rarely cook our eggnog. It's always been fine. That's a risk we take, but for food safety reasons, we can not recommend it to others.

Especially if you're using store-bought eggs, start with fresh, refrigerated grade A or AA eggs. Be sure the shells are intact and clean , and do not have even a hint of a crack in them. Some people wash the eggs – before cracking them – with anti-bacterial dish soap, and then rinse them thoroughly. After that, be very sure the egg whites and yolks have minimal contact with the shells, and wash your hands well, after cracking them. Generally, the salmonella is on the outside of the shell, not in the egg itself, until you crack it.

For extra care, it's smart to heat your eggnog in a saucepan. You'll heat it almost to boiling, but not quite. The candy thermometer should reach 160 degrees, and you'll need to stir the eggnog steadily or the eggs will coagulate. (If they do, do not worry. I'll explain that, below.)

Here's a tip if you like rum or bourbon in your eggnog: If you add the liquor before you heat the eggnog, the alcohol may evaporate due to the high temperatures. That keeps the flavor of the liquor, but the missing alcohol means the eggnog is safer for children. On the other hand, if you're serving your eggnog as an alcoholic beverage, add the liquor right before you serve the eggnog.

Once you've heated the eggnog, let it cool. If it's become lumpy – and it usually has – you'll use your Blendtec blender (or any kitchen blender) to whirl it smooth again. Gradually increase the blender speed until you're near the fastest setting. That's what breaks up the bits of egg.
If lumps remain, pour the eggnog through a kitchen sieve, strainer or colander. Press the lumps through, using a spoon. (Wooden or plastic spoons work best.)

Then, refrigerate the eggnog until it's chilled and refreshing. If you've used raw eggs, you'll need to serve it within a few hours. If you've cooked your eggnog, it will usually stay fresh for two or three days. (It will not last that long. Everyone loves homemade eggnog, and it's healthy enough to serve as an alternative to "instant breakfast" products.)

When I serve eggnog to guests, most of them can not tell it's homemade. They're sure I bought some wonderful gourmet eggnog.

One more tip: If you're making "cream of something" soup from scratch and it turns out lumpy, use your blender to whirl it to an even consistency. You may like it even better than overpriced canned soups you used to buy.

So, now you know three unusual ways to use your mixer-blender. In my kitchen, I'm using a Blendtec Mix n 'Blend. It's an appliance I've used happily for more than 15 years, and when this one wears out, I'll buy another one.

Once you've tried these three unusual ways to use your mixer-blender, I'm sure you'll find other routine kitchen chores you can make easier with a mixer-blender, too.

Monster Energy Drink Girls Get Paid to Party – Become a Monster Energy Drink Girl

Monster Energy Drink girls get all the attention when they walk into a party or special event. They walk into a party with all the confidence in the world because they know they are going to have fun and they are making money to party.

The consumers are excited to see the monster energy girls because they know they are about to receive some promotional items and free product.

Monster Energy Drink girls must be seductive and great at alluring in their customers. They get most of their confidence from being around a crowd of people and knowing that these people are treating them like a celebrity.

Can you imagine how much confidence you would have after entering a party and everyone wanted to take pictures of you… well that’s how it is for a monster energy drink girl.

I feel bad for all the pretty girls that I see in a bar that are not getting paid to party. Most of the promotions I have done, I get so many pretty girls asking me how they can become a promotional model.

The majority of girls that I have hired knew absolutely nothing about doing promotional work. They were just beautiful girls that approached me during a promotion and asked me how could they become models like my girls.

I would also get a bunch of guys approach me during the promotion begging me to hire their girlfriends or a girl they thought was hot. They wanted to be the guy that was dating or hanging out with a promo girl. The guys were also shocked to find out how much the girls made per hour…

They were so shocked that they asked me if they could be a promo guy.. sorry I do not hire guys.

Promotional modeling is a great way to make extra income doing part time work.

Most beverage promotional models make a couple of thousand a month and even more.

The girls get the opportunity to travel out of the country such as during spring break, they get to go to Cancun and other spring break destinations. a

My girls really have the greatest time when they get to hang out with celebrities during exclusive parties.

Some will tell me that the greatest part of being a beverage promotional model besides the money is the friends they get to meet and work with.

Being a promo girl is exciting and it allows you to build your confidence. What other job can you have that allows you to get paid to party?

Convenience Store Displays – Ideas For Showcasing Your Merchandise

Many convenience store patrons are interested in only three things: Paying for gas, grabbing a quick snack, and picking up whatever items they forgot to pack or don’t feel like traveling far to purchase. As a convenience store owner or employee, one of your jobs is to make sure you showcase your merchandise in such a way that grab a customer’s attention and be convenient for that customer to purchase.

Some of the most common places to display your merchandise include registers and countertops, aisles, entryways, and deli-style areas. Below are suggestions for making the most of those areas by creating appropriate and effective convenience store displays.

Registers and Countertops

Placing merchandise on countertops and near registers is one of the most common ways storeowners choose to display their merchandise. Not only do these locations help prevent theft, but the also help ensure customers will see the merchandise.

Convenience store displays on countertops and near registers most often include small items like candy. Plastic containers work well with these kinds of displays. Of course, you can also find convenience store racks small enough to fit comfortably near your register or someone atop the countertop and these racks lend themselves to slightly larger items like bags of candy, chips, and trail mix.

Aisles

Convenience store racks like wire displays are great for showcasing merchandise in your store’s aisles. Many storeowners choose to use these wire displays for items like bags of chips and candy, but they’re functional for displaying a variety of products like maps, toys, and personal hygiene items a traveling customer might have forgotten to pack. You can even find wire displays made for holding acrylic dispensers for both your edible and non-edible merchandise.

Make sure you choose wire displays that will comfortably fit in your convenience store’s aisles. If you have a lot of room, you might want to choose wider displays to showcase more merchandise; however, if your aisles are narrow, it’s a good idea to choose narrow wire displays. These displays also come in a variety of heights, so if you must choose a narrow display you might be able to supplement the space by also choosing a tall display.

Entryways

Many convenience stores don’t generally offer an abundance of space, and sometimes you must get creative in order to effectively and attractively display your merchandise. Entryways – just inside your convenience store’s main door – are great places to store merchandise within space-saving, enclosed displays to protect the items from sticky fingers and the elements that might travel in each time a customer opens the doors.

Gumball machines are especially popular displays for convenience store entryways and you can choose from a wide selection of styles. Some gumball machines are traditional in that they are fairly tall, thin, and offer one plastic bubble filled with gumballs; however, gumball machines have come a long way over the years, and now you can select machines with two or even three plastic bubbles as well as small gumball machines designed to rest on multi-leveled wire display racks.

Deli-Style Areas

If your convenience store includes any kind of deli-style area, there’s no question about whether you need plastic containers for holding items like napkins and hand wipes, straws and stick stirs, and condiments and seasonings. However, depending on the kind of foods you offer in your deli, you might also require displays designed for containers like cereal dispensers.

Creating a Chart of Accounts for a Small Restaurant

Independent restaurant owners often do their own bookkeeping. Even if they hire a professional accountant at year’s end, they may save considerable money by handling the weekly tasks themselves.

Setting up a chart of accounts to fit the restaurant needs generally requires customizing the default choices of any accounting program. The selection of sales and cost of goods accounts on most systems does not provide for the separation of food and beverage categories that are needed.

Even the leading bookkeeping program for small business, while it has a default selection for restaurants, fails to provide all of the accounts that most restaurant owners require. In addition, many of the expense accounts that are added are rarely used, leading to confusion during data entry, and don’t help with the overview of the business finances.

The National Restaurant Association publishes a book titled Uniform System of Accounts for Restaurants. The book provides detailed descriptions of the application of generally accepted accounting principles to the restaurant industry.

That book includes a sample chart of accounts, but notes that “the codes used here are not the only method for classifying the accounts”. It points out that most restaurants will not use all of the categories listed, and it also notably lacks breakdown of inventory and cost categories beyond “food” and “beverage”. Many restaurant owners want further separation of those categories to include sub-categories such as “meat”, “seafood”, and “produce”, and possibly “beer” and “wine” for beverage categories.

While many programs do not require the use of account numbers, the NRA book states that some type of account numbering system must be used. If your program is not showing account numbers, it should have an option on a set up screen to activate that feature.

Any account numbering system is generally grouped so that accounts of a particular type fall within a specific range of numbers. For example, assets may be in the 1000 range, and income accounts in the 4000 range. On systems with many detail accounts, 5 digit numbers may be used to allow more sub-categories, but that is rarely needed for a small restaurant.

Typical number ranges that are used by many accounting systems are as follows:

Asset accounts: 1000-1999

Liability accounts: 2000-2999

Equity accounts: 3000-3999

Revenue accounts: 4000-4999

Cost of goods: 5000-5999

Expenses: 6000-8000

“Other” accounts: 8000-9999

Asset Accounts

Asset accounts include cash, bank accounts, inventory, and everything else that is owned.

It is common to assign the first account number, 1000, to Cash, since they are usually ordered, within each group, by liquidity (ease of converting to cash).

A separate account should be used in the chart of accounts for each bank account maintained for the business. If merchant deposits take a few days to reach the bank, a merchant account can be used. Also, if checks are accepted and not processed electronically, an account should be created for checks to be deposited.

New accounts are normally numbered 10 digits apart, so your first two bank accounts may use 1010 and 1020 as account numbers in the chart of accounts. Leaving gaps between the numbers makes it easy to add another account later and squeeze it in to the sort order in any position.

The asset accounts can be numbered as such:

  • 1000 Cash
  • 1010 Primary Bank Account
  • 1020 Bank Account #2
  • 1060 Merchant Deposit Account
  • 1080 Checks Received
  • 1100 Accounts Receivable
  • 1200 Food Inventory
  • 1210 Meat Inventory
  • 1220 Poultry Inventory
  • 1230 Seafood Inventory
  • 1240 Dairy Inventory
  • 1250 Produce Inventory
  • 1260 Bakery Inventory
  • 1270 Frozen Inventory
  • 1280 Grocery Dry & Canned Inventory
  • 1320 Beverage Inventory
  • 1330 Liquor Inventory
  • 1340 Beer Inventory
  • 1350 Wine Inventory
  • 1360 Merchandise Inventory
  • 1380 Bar & Consumable Inventory
  • 1400 Prepaid Expenses & Advances
  • 1450 Recycle return value

Assets that have a lifespan of several years or more are referred to as Long Term Assets. This also includes any real estate.

  • 1500 Fixed assets
  • 1510 Land & Building
  • 1520 Automobile
  • 1530 Furniture Fixtures & Equipment
  • 1540 Leasehold Improvements
  • 1600 Accumulated Depreciation
  • 1700 Capitalized Start Up Expenses
  • 1800 Security Deposits

Liability Accounts

Liability accounts includes things like credit cards and payables to vendors. It also includes money that has been received for things like tax that is due to the state, tips due to the employees, and gift cards sold but not yet redeemed. Real estate loans and other major financing is sub-categorized as long-term liabilities.

Liability accounts can be numbered as:

  • 2000 Accounts Payable
  • 2110 Credit Card
  • 2120 Credit Card #2
  • 2130 Credit Card #3
  • 2140 Credit Card #4
  • 2210 Sales Tax Payable
  • 2220 Second Tax Payable
  • 2250 Payroll Liabilities
  • 2260 Second Payroll Liability
  • 2280 Tips held
  • 2300 Gift cards & certificates
  • 2350 Customer Credits
  • 2400 Notes Payable
  • 2500 Other debt

Equity Accounts

The owners’ investment in the company is represented in the equity accounts. For a corporation, this includes the shareholders equity. It is effectively the money that the business owes back to the owners. When an accounting period is closed, the balance of the income and expense categories is transferred to Retained Earnings, which is also an equity account.

The most basic equity accounts could be numbered:

  • 3000 Owner Capital
  • 3100 Common Stock
  • 3300 Retained Earnings

Income Accounts

Sales fall into the general category of income accounts. A restaurant will obviously want separate categories for food and beverage sales, and may want further separation of beer, wine, and liquor sales.

Typical income accounts are:

  • 4000 Sales Revenue
  • 4200 Food Sales
  • 4320 Beverage Sales
  • 4330 Liquor Sales
  • 4340 Beer Sales
  • 4350 Wine Sales
  • 4360 Merchandise Sales
  • 4500 Catering & contracts
  • 4700 Other Operating Income
  • 4900 Discounts

One difference between the NRA recommendations and many other lists involves the placement of the “other income” accounts. This can include income from sources such as cover charges, games or vending machines, and banquet room rental. Most lists place these accounts in the 8000 range, above expenses, but the NRA list places them in the 6000 range.

Most smaller locations will only need a single category for other income. Since “cost of goods” is a general sub-category of expenses, it makes sense to avoid placing an income category in the middle of the range from COGS through expenses. A single account has been placed in this list within the 4000 range.

Putting the discounts into the revenue category implies that this will be a “contra” account. Where most of the sales categories will have a credit balance, discounts will normally have a debit balance.

Cost of Goods Accounts

The Cost of Goods accounts, also called Cost of Sales or Cost of Goods Sold, represent the food and beverage purchases to provide the meals. Other expenses directly related to sales may be included, such as merchant fees or consumable cups and napkins.

The numbers used here also provide consistency across all accounts, as the last 3 digits of each COGS category is the same as the last 3 digits on the associated inventory account.

A cost of goods list could include:

  • 5000 Cost of Sales
  • 5200 Food Cost
  • 5210 Meat Cost
  • 5220 Poultry Cost
  • 5230 Seafood Cost
  • 5240 Dairy Cost
  • 5250 Produce Cost
  • 5260 Bakery Cost
  • 5270 Frozen Cost
  • 5280 Grocery Dry & Canned Cost
  • 5320 Beverage Cost
  • 5330 Liquor Cost
  • 5340 Beer Cost
  • 5350 Wine Cost
  • 5360 Merchandise Cost
  • 5380 Bar & Consumable Cost
  • 5600 Delivery & direct labor Cost
  • 5700 Merchant Fees

Expense Accounts

This example separates the expense accounts into three primary categories: payroll expenses and other expenses. The payroll expenses are grouped in the 6000 range, with the other operating expenses in the 7000 range. Overhead like rent, taxes, and amortization are bumped into the 8000 range.

While accounts must be broken down at least far enough to separate tax lines, combining rarely used accounts will make the overview much easier to understand. The following list combines several categories that are often separated on other charts.

You should check with your accountant or tax preparer to ensure that anything you combine does, in fact, share the same tax line.

The Inventory Loss/Waste account has been slid in under the 6000 marker, as some may consider it to belong with the Cost of Goods categories.

  • 5800 Inventory Loss/Waste
  • 6000 Labor related expenses
  • 6100 Management Wages
  • 6200 Staff Wages
  • 6300 Contract Labor
  • 6400 Commissions paid
  • 6500 Employee Benefits
  • 6600 Workers Comp Insurance
  • 6700 Employers Payroll Taxes
  • 6800 Payroll processing expense
  • 7100 Direct Operating Expenses
  • 7110 China – Glassware – Flatware
  • 7120 Restaurant & Kitchen Supply
  • 7130 Cleaning Supply & Expense
  • 7140 Decorations & Guest Supply
  • 7150 Laundry – Linen – Uniforms
  • 7160 Fees – Permits – Licenses
  • 7200 Pest – Security – other contract
  • 7250 POS – Tech support – Online serv
  • 7300 Marketing
  • 7310 Media & Print advertising
  • 7320 Promotional events
  • 7400 Automobile & travel
  • 7500 Music and Entertainment
  • 7600 Repairs and Maintenance
  • 7700 Utilities
  • 7750 Telephone & net connection
  • 7800 General and Administrative
  • 7810 Bad Debts – Over/short
  • 7820 Bank fees
  • 7830 Insurance
  • 7840 Interest
  • 7850 Professional fees
  • 7890 Misc. Office expense
  • 8100 Rent and Occupancy costs
  • 8200 Equipment Rental
  • 8600 Sales tax paid on purchases
  • 8700 Amortization
  • 8900 Other expense
  • 9000 Income Tax

Other Accounts

The only remaining items to account for are the sale of major assets, other income from sources besides restaurant operations (such as investments or sub-letting space), and a placeholder account for transactions where the business owner needs their accountant’s assistance.

  • 9500 Gain/Loss on sale of assets
  • 9900 Other Income (not from operation
  • 9999 Ask My Accountant

Kenaf – The Environmental Entrepreneurship Powerhouse

Kenaf, Hibiscus cannabinus L.is a warm season annual closely related to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.).

Kenaf can be used as a domestic supply of cordage fiber in the manufacture of rope, twine, carpet backing and burlap. Research, in the early 1940s, focused on the development of high-yielding anthracnose-resistant varieties, cultural practices and harvesting machinery.

During the 1950s, kenaf was identified as a promising fiber source for paper pulp. Kenaf fibers have been processed into high quality newsprint and bond paper.

Although kenaf is usually considered a fiber crop, research indicates that it has high protein content and, therefore, is a potential livestock feed. Crude protein in kenaf leaves ranged from 21 to 34 percent, stalk crude protein ranged from 10 to 12 percent, and whole-plant crude protein ranged from 16 to 23 percent.

Kenaf can be ensilaged effectively, and it has satisfactory digestibility with a high percentage of digestible protein. Digestibility of dry matter and crude proteins in kenaf feeds ranged from 53 to 58 percent, and 59 to 71 percent, respectively Kenaf meal, used as a supplement in a rice ration for sheep, compared favorably with a ration containing alfalfa meal.

In addition to the use of kenaf for cordage, paper pulp and livestock feed researchers have investigated its use as poultry litter and animal bedding, bulking agent for sewage sludge composting and as a potting soil amendment. Additional products include automobile dashboards, carpet padding, corrugated medium, as a “substitute for fiberglass and other synthetic fibers,” building materials (particle boards of various densities, thicknesses, and fire and insect resistances), absorbents, textiles and as fibers in extraction molded plastics.

Kenaf is in the Hibiscus family, is cousin to Cotton and Okra, and is currently grown mainly in China and India for its high strength fibers. Nobody has focused on kenaf for food because the leaves did not taste good. However, a unique strand known as Whitten Kenaf was developed by the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and released for general use in 2005. These leaves taste quite good, a sort of lemony, Cajun taste. This variety of kenaf has wide cotton shaped leaves, can be used for food, has been grown for food in Haiti for 3 years where they love the taste and have developed their own recipes. The leaves, seeds, stalk and core are all separate harvests. The result is multiple uses and benefits.

The kenaf plant is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, much faster than local weeds, so it requires minimal soil preparation and is easy to plant and maintain. Because the soil does not have to be tilled, maximum microorganism density is maintained and chemical fertilizers are not needed Kenaf is an extremely efficient plant that uses minimal resources, with exceptional output. Kenaf plants grow up to 20 feet tall. One acre can produce as much as 20 tons of biomass in 6 months.

Low Water Usage

The stalk and roots have the ability to store water like a camel, so the plant performs extremely well, even in arid/drought conditions where most other plants fail. When planted before rainy season, no follow-up watering is needed. This absolves the need for expensive irrigation and water rights issues.

Leaves Feed Humans

Whitten Kenaf leaves are delicious and high in protein, up to 34%. It is regularly eaten in Haiti in soups, salads, boiled like spinach or added to rice. Kenaf can be eaten within 10 days of planting, when just 18 inches tall, and the leaves and stems can be continually harvested from that point forward. Each planted seed has the potential of creating 80 servings of edible food. Therefore, it can be used as a high protein starvation aversion crop. In fact, 2,000 people in Mirebalais, Haiti used kenaf to keep from starving in 2009.

In Haiti, several kenaf leaf recipes have been developed. Seeds Feed Humans can be ground into wonderful gluten-free flour for baking. In Mirebalais, Haiti they use kenaf flour for several recipes. 1/2 pound of kenaf flour can make 20 to 30 pan sized breakfast pancakes.

There is a long tradition of using kenaf for food in India to produce gongura. There are many recipes and photos of foods based on gongura on the internet.

Money Crop

Kenaf seeds are sold by the pound, which consists of about 20,000 seeds. 1 pound of kenaf seed currently costs $4.00 USD. In poor soil conditions, 1 kenaf plant produces about 200 seeds. 10 acres of poor soil can grow 10,000 lbs of kenaf seed per growing season, representing $40,000 USD of income. Florida research farmer Harry Long, in cooperation Mr. Loftus, came up with an organic formula where they yielded 11,382 seeds per plant!! It takes about 1 year from planting time before local farmers can harvest and sell the seeds as a money crop. They can sell the stalks as firewood at that time, too.

Animal Feed:

Leaves can be dried and turned into different sized pellets as high protein feed for rabbits, fish, chickens, and goats. Rabbit meat is really wonderful for you, being lower in fats and cholesterol and higher in protein than beef. Commercial grade rabbit farming and fish farming (tilapia) can be sustained with kenaf pellets. (The US currently imports $750M of tilapia per year from China.)

A backyard farming method is also being perfected for small scale production of rabbits, fish, chickens, and goats, on small plots of land using home grown kenaf pellets, virtually eliminating feed costs. This provides meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products for family consumption and for sale/export. This could be a self sustaining source of food and income for the poorest of the poor. They can make $25 per week growing and picking their own kenaf for animal feed, starting within 2 months of planting the seed. This doesn’t even take into consideration the income they can receive from selling their livestock.

Cooking Fuel:

Cooking Fuel: The kenaf stalk has a heat value comparable to burning pine. A low cost, safe, smokeless Kenaf Stove has been designed for high efficiency cooking and bio-char (a form of charcoal) production. The Kenaf Stove burns kenaf or wood in an oxygen deprived environment, resulting in a much cleaner, no smoke fire where the fuel lasts MUCH longer. 4 families can have a year’s supply of fuel from a football field size of planted kenaf. When the air supply to the stove is shut off, bio-char is created. Making bio-char from kenaf and putting it into the soil as a soil amendment replenishes the soil and functions as a fertilizer and a soil stabilizer.

This recapturing of waste lands can halt deforestation and desertification as people use kenaf instead of collecting wood for cooking. Any bio-char not used as fertilizer can be molded into charcoal briquettes. The Kenaf Stove can also use grass, waste paper, etc. to make bio-char which is then made into charcoal briquettes. Families can then sell the charcoal for income.

Carbon Sequestration

One acre of kenaf can sequester 8 times as much carbon as an acre of evergreen trees. One acre of kenaf absorbs approximately 10 to 20 tons of Carbon during photosynthesis. When used as cooking fuel on the Kenaf Stove, an additional 5 tons of bio-char is made. When put into the earth, this bio-char permanently stores the carbon in a beneficial way, in the ground.

Kenaf is carbon negative, when you put the bio-char into the soil. If we can change from coal to kenaf for making power, we can sequester enough CO2 per year to completely solve the anthropogenic effect on climate change, impacting global warming

Electricity Generation

Inventor C. Morrison has developed a biomass power plant that can use kenaf biomass to create a hydrogen/carbon monoxide gas called syngas. These gasses are sufficient to run an electrical generator. One power plant can service an entire rural village. The biomass yield for an acre of kenaf is 3 to 4 times higher than for trees. 50 acres of kenaf can fuel 1 power plant, perpetually.

This system is self-contained and poses no air quality, water quality, soil degradation, odor, or noise issues. There are no unique construction or installation requirements. It is as simple to operate as any household appliance and is small enough to fit on a trailer (see picture) or be mounted in a small building. The electricity not used by the rural village can be sold to the electrical power grid as an additional source of income. Imagine a constant supply of electricity being supplied to urban centers by rural villages, this in nations plagued by regular brownouts and blackouts. The only by-product from gasification is a sellable bio-char ash that can be used as a soil amendment for growers.

Organic Fertilizer

An inexpensive organic fertilizer that can be made locally, using bio-char, is being developed. Bio-char acts as a home for microbial activity. This can be used to enhance soil quality even in the poorest of soils, without using dangerous and expensive chemical fertilizers Bio-char as a fertilizer has been known to double plant growth. This will increase the yields and profitability per square meter of the kenaf plants and other fruits and vegetables grown in subsequent years. This will lead to a virtuous cycle of increasing economic prosperity from year to year, using land resources currently viewed as unproductive.

Kenaf bio-char can even be used in treating human bodily waste to convert the nitrogen into productive forms, turning a waste product into a resource. This would improve sanitary conditions and would have been useful during the recent Cholera outbreak in Haiti. 5 gallon buckets can be used as toilets and when combined with biochar, within 6 months the poo and urine can be safely used as fertilizer. If 2 billion people were to use these toilets, then 2 billion pounds of fertilizer would be generated every day. Over time we could even recapture the deserts.

Textiles The bast (thin outer bark) of the kenaf plant is a high strength fiber used to make burlap bags, plastics, industrial and commercial fabrics, cordage, rope and twine.

Paper

Kenaf paper has superior fiber content compared to wood-based paper products, and it takes far less time to grow kenaf compared to trees.

Building Materials

The fibrous outer core of plant stems can be used to make composites, polymers, binders, biodegradable plastic, injection molded panels, engineered wood panels, substitute for carbon, glass, other mineral fibers, fibrous reinforcement of plaster, cement, and wall boards. Construction The Styrofoam-like inner core of the kenaf plant can be used for animal bedding, kitty litter, municipal wastewater treatment, and for oil spill cleanup on land or at sea. In conjunction with recycled wood and recycled concrete, the kenaf core can also be used to make a light weight yet very strong cement block that has great insulation properties and is virtually fireproof. These blocks can be used to build single family homes and multi-story buildings, without using power tools.

A self-sustaining environmental home has been designed using kenaf and other technologies, at a cost between $5,000 and $10,000 (depending on conditions, sewage and electrical requirements and sizes) per house. These homes will provide for clean water, housing, electricity, and sanitation. Intended as a developing nation starter home, construction is so simple that kids can assemble a house in 1 day< and a family can easily add-on additional rooms and rent them out as a source of extra income. This makes it possible for single mothers to become financially independent without having to work outside the home. The societal implications of this are staggering

De-urbanization

This is a side effect from effectively leveraging kenaf as a way to provide food, shelter, and a living wage, in a rural setting. People living in the city slums can move back to their rural origins and actually provide for themselves, sustainably. The Whitten variety of Hibiscus cannabinus L.,is a good tasting kenaf that has the potential to serve as a food source in many countries.

Kenaf is a plant that has the potential to change the world. It is a very old plant used by mankind. Throughout the Bible you read about sackcloth. Sackcloth is made from kenaf. Only royalty was allowed to wear linen or cotton. The poor grew kenaf, spun it and made their clothes from kenaf. They made ropes and cordage from kenaf.

Many people want to help the environment. Many people are trying to find ways to lower the greenhouse gases that are heating up our world. We worry about the Arctic ice melting and the loss of the polar bear. We are all concerned with the more and more violent weather patterns, the floods, earthquakes and volcanoes erupting. We don’t want to see sea levels rise and inundate our coastal cities. But what can one person do?

Some people have gotten involved with tree planting projects. Tree planting projects are great. They sequester quite a lot of carbon. The problem is, the people who are involved are operating in what I call an incomplete transaction. The people who have tree planting projects get the resources they need and you get the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something good but there is no return for you donation.

What if there were a way to do something really good for the environment, something that sequesters more carbon than trees…and at the same time it offers you a payback? Yes, that’s what I mean. A return on your investment. Sequester carbon, help the environment and earn money at the same time? There is a plant called kenaf that sequesters more carbon than any other species on the Earth. One acre of kenaf sequesters as much carbon as 8 acres of fast growing pine trees.

Kenaf Could Change the World If We All Got Involved In Planting It And Using It. Here’s What Kenaf Can Do:

1. Sequester More Carbon Per Acre Than Any Other Plant

2. Be Food For Humans Anywhere In The World Where There Is Hunger

3. Make Excellent Feed For Livestock including Backyard Fish Ponds

4. The Stalks Can Be Used As Firewood

5. Make Biochar For Fertilizing The Earth Organically

6. Make Beautiful Cloth That Can Be Used For Clothing And Industrial Use

7. Make Biocomposites That Can Be Used For Car Interiors

8. Be Used To Generate Electricity

9. Make A Better Quality Paper Than Pine Trees And Be Ready For Use In 6 Months Instead Of Years

10. Have Seeds That Can Be Made Into Gluten Free Flour

11. Have Seeds That Can Be Made Into A Cosmetic Oil

12. Have Leaves That Make Excellent Potherbs

13. Can Be Cut Back Many Times And When It Regrows It Produces More Food Or Feed

14. Grows Faster Than Just About Any Plant

15. Does Not Use A Lot Of Water – It Grows In Somalia

16. BioChar Made From Kenaf Can Treat Human Wastes And Turn It Into Fertilizer

17. The Inner Core Is Excellent For Animal Bedding Without Dust

18. Many Kinds Of Building Materials Can Be Made From The Bast Fiber

19. The Inner Core Fiber Can Be Made Into A Filler For A Lightweight Cement Block

20. Extracted Kenaf seed oil can be used as a bio-fuel for Diesel engines

This plant could feed people in poor countries. This plant could sequester more carbon everywhere in the world. This plant could provide biological fertilizers. And the plant has so many uses.

We need to build an organization made up of people who want to see less hunger, more firewood, inexpensive homes for poor people in developing countries. The people we seek to connect with are probably doing something green in their lives. They would just like to find a way to make it profitable while being more Green. In other words, having a complete transaction.

There is a need to find people dedicated to planting kenaf and has already developed marketing vehicles for the kenaf fiber and other products. We are actively researching vegetable dyes, making kenaf fabric water repellent with environmentally sound materials. We have plans to make back packs, tote bags, and household items from kenaf. And we are already getting ready to develop our own kenaf handmade paper project in Belize.

We invite you to invest in your kenaf planting as a member of our community.

Kenaf is the environmental entrepreneurship powerhouse with multiple profit centers.

for you. It is not a graduate course in a university. It is a down to earth program.

The climate change is getting worse. But we now have a means to take control of our environmental problems and do something to ameliorate them.

We on this planet are in a battle for our survival as a species.From time to time on this very active planet we have extinction level events (ELE). Most of them are the results of acts of nature. But we are creating our own extinction level event (ELE). When the death rock fell from the sky and wiped out the dinosaurs, they had no warning. They didn’t know what hit them. But our extinction level is happening slowly enough that we can take action. We are sentient, we have our minds and our hands. We can take command of what is happening on our world. What can I do you say? We say, “Plant kenaf.”

We can plant kenaf or invest in someone else planting it. We can stop global warming.

We can create businesses to make money for you and other investors while you help remove carbon from the atmosphere.We can all actively participate in the real war.

THE WAR TO REGENERATE OUR WORLD.

It’s time to get our planet back to normal levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One acre of kenaf sequesters as much carbon dioxide as 8 acres of fast growing pine trees.

YOU CAN EVEN DO THIS: Planting a small kenaf plot in your garden can help take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and contribute to the battle against global warming. You could use the leaves for high protein greens, and chickens love it, too. Use the seeds for gluten-free flour, and the stalks for dust-free bedding for animals.

Planting one manzana of kenaf in a tropical country, as an investor or as a farmer, could net you thousands of dollars in monetary return, and sequester tons of carbon dioxide, providing you an environmental return.

Kenaf was used for rope and for making sackcloth 6,000 years ago. Its new uses include biocomposites being manufactured for Toyota which plans to make all its car interiors with kenaf.

Kenaf combined with recycled plastic makes an excellent building material as well as raw material for industrial use.

And, at the same time with it high protein content, it can feed the hungry of the world, people and animals.Kenaf can replace tree cutting as it makes tree free paper, can be used for people food as a potherb or gluten free flour, livestock feed, paper, biochar, carbon sequestration, fabric and biocomposites

This ecofriendly plant that has the potential to create a successful green business for you. Grow kenaf in your backyard or in a large plantation.

Discus Fish Care – Gourmet Fish Food Recipe For Your Discus Fish

It does not make financial sense for commercial pet food companies to manufacture the best quality food for your discus fish because the ingredients simply cost too much. Therefore, when it comes to discus fish care, preparing your own food is one of the best things you can do for your pets. If you decide to make your own food, you should see a quick improvement in the overall health, color and breeding of your discus fish.

Discus Fish Food Recipe

1 1/2 lb fresh beef heart
1/2 lb shrimp (shelled)
1 bunch of spinach
1 package of unflavored gelatin powder
1 multivitamin tablets (Centrum)

Take the beef heart and trim away all the veins and fat. Use a food processor to mince the beef harts. Place the beef heart in cheese cloth and rinse under cold water. Try to rinse as much of the blood out of the beef heart as possible and squeeze it when you are done. This will help keep your aquarium water clean. Chop up the shrimp now as well. Boil or microwave the spinach until and soft and it up. Put everything you have so far in a bowl and add the gelatin powder. The gelatin will act as a binder and help everything stick together. Now, crush the vitamin tablet and add it to the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Put the mixture into zip lock plastic bags, flatten it out, and put in the freezer. When you are ready to feed to your discus, break off small portions and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

By making your own food, you have truly taken responsibility for your discus fish care into your own hands. It is really one of the best things you can do for your fish, and does not take much time, since one batch can last for months. If you take the time to make your own fish food, I think you will quickly see an improvement in the health and vigor of your discus fish.

Wedding Cake Glossary of Terms

If you will be getting married, you may want to be familiar with wedding cake terms before you visit the baker or confectioner who is making your cake. Here are some of the more common wedding cake terms and their meanings:

Wedding Cake Parts and Shapes:

Tier: This is one level of the cake-(i.e. a 3 tier cake.)

Layer: A horizontal piece of the cake. Often the wedding cake layers are baked in separate pans and then one or more are combined to make a tier.

Round: A cylinder shaped cake. This is the most traditional shape for a wedding cake.

Square: A more modern shape for a cake-very geometrical-tiers can be placed at odd angles for an even more modern touch.

Hexagon: A six-sided wedding cake can be very trendy and fashionable.

Scalloped: The edges of the tiers are shaped much like flower petals for a very casual look.

Molded: The cake is shaped like a football or some other object-this is often used for the groom’s cake.

Frosting and Filling Terms:

Fondant: A sheet like sugar “dough” that hardens over time and is good for an outdoor wedding cake because it will not melt. It is very smooth in texture and can be made in one of three forms: rolled into sheets, poured over the top, or sculpted into shapes.

Buttercream: The traditional wedding cake favorite made of butter, cream, and eggs. It is very soft and easy to flavor with chocolate, fruit or liquor, but should only be used at indoor events.

Ganache: A chocolate, butter and cream sauce or filling that will melt in the heat.

Chocopan: This is basically a chocolate version of fondant-but better tasting.

Marzipan: This almond based substance can be used as a filling or to make colored shapes to put on the cake.

Royal Icing: A very hard icing that is used for decorations that need to be solid-such as lace.

Decorations:

Basket weave: This looks like a wicker basket.

Swiss dotted: Random dots are placed all over the cake.

Piping: Lines are made on the cake with a pastry bag and tip.

Pulled or Spun Sugar: Sugar is cooked until it is liquid and then shaped into bows, ribbons or thin strands. This must be done on site because it will not transport.

Health Benefits Of Truffles

Although truffles are very costly, there are now many more reasons to eat it apart from the truth that it is very exciting to eat a delicacy. One of these reasons is you are consuming truffles because these may bring you health benefits.

Through the years, contentions have been hounding the health benefits and nutritional value of truffles and mushrooms, generally. People say that edible mushrooms like truffles have no nutritional value at all and these are used just to add flavor to a selection of staple dishes.

Yet, more recent reports show that truffles and various sorts of mushrooms can bring a great deal of health benefits especially to vegetarians, individuals who don’t eat meat and only consume vegetables.

Technically, truffles are mushrooms that don’t have stems and are usually discovered under the ground-usually under oak, pine, beech, and pecan trees mostly in Europe including various parts of Italy, France, Slovenia and Croatia. In Asia, some varieties are located in China along with in Middle East while there are also some types native to North Africa.

So far, truffles are used only in the culinary field-as main ingredient to various dishes or as flavoring and garnishes to different specialties. The most frequent gourmet edible truffles that are being employed in various restaurants include the French Black Truffles, the Italian White Truffles, the Chinese Truffles, and the Summer Truffles.

If you are fond of eating truffles and mushrooms generally, here are the some of the health benefits that you are able to expect:

1. It is a good source of high protein. Truffles have high protein content ranging from 20 to 30 percent for each serving. Experts say that truffles are excellent sources of high protein content which it very ideal because these contain all the amino acids necessary to good nutrition for humans. For people who don’t consume fats and carbohydrates- specially to people who are having Western diets-truffles are very ideal since it is a fantastic source of protein.

2. It is in addition a moderate source of carbs. The main element of truffles and mushrooms in the main is carbohydrates derived from glycogen and chitin or also called the fungus cellulose which is a functional proponents of the fungal cell wall. All the same, compared to other vegetables, truffles have lower proportions of carbohydrates. This is in addition very good for people suffering from diabetes because truffles have low value of energy.

3. It is low-fat. As it is vegetable, truffles are ideal for individuals who cannot and do not want to consume too much fat. When dried, it has only about two to eight percent of fat which are mostly crude fat and lipid compounds such as fatty acids, sterols, phospholipids, glycerides and linoleic acid.

4. It is cholesterol free. This is probably the largest benefit to health of truffles. Through the years, cholesterol has been thought to be of the risk aspects of coronary heart conditions and other associated diseases. If you are inclined to stroke or heart attack or you have a family history any heart complaint, it would be great to consume cholesterol free food such as truffles to help you decrease your total cholesterol levels.

Top 5 Quinoa Nutrition Facts

Did you know that Quinoa is one healthy grain that can serve as a complete food for you? No need to wonder why it is considered a super food. Quinoa is packed with nutrients essential for the body. For more many ages and up to now, this super food has been one of the vital sources of nutrition for the Incas in the Andean Region of South America.

It is being used by mothers of the Incas tribe in feeding their infants, and was popular as stamina-providers for their warriors who fought long battles thousands of years ago. Even up to now; Quinoa grains are sufficient substitute from the lack of animal protein in the Andean Region.

Quinoa is filled with protein, lysine and vitamin E. It is high in calcium and fiber. Aside from that, it will provide you carbohydrates that will boost your energy and will help you regulate that eating habit.

Below are five Quinoa nutrition facts with explanations on how Quinoa super food can maintain a healthy lifestyle for you. Read on and be amazed.

1. Quinoa super food is a good source of non-meat protein. Vegetarian; or are you simply looking for a non-meat diet? Then this super food is for you because it contains high amounts of protein (an essential nutrient that comes from animal meat). The protein that comes from Quinoa belongs to albumin and globulin, which have a balanced composition of essential amino acids similar to the composition of casein or the protein of milk. This means the protein coming from this grain is packed with the right nutrients to help alleviate diseases and disorders, as well as make those organisms functioning well and those muscles to develop as this nutrient is responsible for growth and repair of tissues.

2. Quinoa super food is packed with minerals and one of them is calcium. No one wants to have a hunched back, old or young, and everybody wants their bones to be strong and to function well. Quinoa is the solution for you, due to the high content of calcium in its grains. Aside from making your bones strong, calcium also eases insomnia and is very helpful in regulating the passage of nutrients through the cell walls. Without calcium, your blood won’t clot, your muscles will get weak and will not be able to contract, and your nerves will never be able to carry messages.

3. Quinoa super food provides you energy because of its carbohydrate content. The carbohydrate nutrient coming from Quinoa grain is very ideal for diabetics because carbohydrates are known to correct level of blood sugars. This nutrient found in this super food is also good health and diet-conscious individuals. I know you might be surprised as to how carbohydrates can make you lose or maintain a healthy weight – but those are bad carbs. The good ones, which are slow releasing and very easy to digest, are found in Quinoa. You will find day with fewer amounts of craving for junk food and low on hunger spasms, unlike when you are on that low-calorie diet.

4. Quinoa super food has a concentration of Vitamin E. We all know what antioxidants can do for us – it liberates us from free radicals that cause great damage to our skin and heightens our risk of developing cancer. Vitamin E is one antioxidant, found in Quinoa. It which works on the cell membrane level protecting its fatty acids which then helps protect you against cardiovascular diseases by defending against LDL oxidation and artery-clogging plaque formation.

5. Quinoa super food is high in fiber. Finally, another Quinoa nutrition fact I want to share, but definitely not the least (and also not the last from the long list of nutrients and benefits you can get from Quinoa), is the high fiber you can find in its grains. Fiber, as you may not yet know increases bowel movement – making you burn those fats easier and faster thus making your body absorb its needed nutrients quicker. It is also very friendly to pre-menopausal women as it lowers the risk of developing breast cancer by 52%. And because this fiber is insoluble, it also prevents gallstones due to the fact that it speeds intestinal transit time, and it increases insulin sensitivity and lowers triglycerides (blood fats).

So, if you are on a diet, a diabetic, someone who wants to gain those muscles, sports-minded and wants a high-energy regime or someone who just wants to live healthy, then Quinoa is definitely for you!

Avoid These 7 Foods to Control Blood Glucose Levels

If you are a diabetic or pre diabetic, you can choose a balanced lifestyle to control blood glucose levels following warning signs of diabetes. Changed lifestyle means you are offering to avoid certain bad diabetic foods as much as you can because these foods can topple your blood sugar levels. As such you should basically accept life style changes. The main theme of this article is to furnish a brief description of foods to control blood glucose levels.

As some foods can bear a massive impact on blood glucose levels you need to know precisely what foods to avoid in Toto. Here are some diet foods to exclude in your diet meal plan.

Artificial sweeteners: It is pretty difficult to avoid sugar in your diet to zero level. Still, it is advisable to avoid sweeteners like refined sugar as much as you can to increase control of blood glucose in the blood stream.

Sweet Chocolates: You should avoid chewing candy chocolates as they contain high sugar mix. Consuming these can increase sugar levels in your body.

High carb grains: Grains high in carbohydrate should be kept off. The foods rich in carbohydrates can increase the glucose levels in the blood. In this list, you have the white bread, refined rice, pasta, and pastry as bad diabetic foods to avoid.

Vegetables high in starch: Usually all vegetables are good for health. However, there are some vegetables high in starch component which should be cut off from eating. In this regard, you may avoid consuming much of sweet beets, carrots, potatoes, peas, and butter beans.

Fruits rich in sweet: As fruits contain minerals and vitamins they are highly recommended for diabetics to control blood glucose levels. Usually fruits are good fiber sources. However, fruits like mango, banana, jackfruit, strawberry, pineapple are not good for controlling blood glucose.

Fatty dietary foods: Milk is a healthier food but skimmed milk is good for reducing fat intake in the blood. Cheese and yogurt containing whole fat should be avoided. Butter cakes are very bad food for diabetics.

Processed foods: Though processed diet foods are added with preservatives they have very poor fiber content needed for diabetics to reduce blood sugar in the blood stream. So, any food packed in solid form or in liquid form should be totally avoided.

Be sure, if you can avoid these foods you can keep the blood glucose levels under control and no medicine is needed.

Quinoa is the Best Astronaut Food

I was amazed to find out recently that quinoa is recommended for astronauts on long space flights. I found this out watching a television program that was looking at the best foods you can eat. One of the guests was a former astronaut and there was a top ten foods list. Number one on the list was quinoa.

As well as being eaten by our space travellers it is now part of NASA food programme for growing crops in space. As part of this elite group of super foods quinoa is at last getting the recognition it deserves. NASA is looking into which foods we have here on earth will be the most beneficial from the point of view if how easy it is to grow. They also need all the foods in the research programme to be highly nutritious.

There is no time to waste on plants and foods that do not deliver in terms of vitamins and minerals. So I was very pleased to discover that quinoa has made into this elite group of foods. It gives a higher profile to a seed that everyone in the world should be eating as part of their daily food intake.

Why Quinoa Works In Space

There are a number of reasons that make quinoa a good food for Astronauts. The first rather mundane one is that it stores easily. You do not need a fridge. You do not even need an airtight container for durations of up to a month. It is so easy to store and take out the amount you need when you need it. Because it is a complete protein it is much better than trying to eat meat or meat substitutes in space. It contains all 9 essential amino acids making it the only seed or grain that is a complete protein.

Another reason for its suitability in space is because it is a complex carbohydrate. Without getting too technical this means that all the goodness in the vitamins and minerals are released into your body and bloodstream slowly over time. So you do not have to eat so often and you do not get as hungry.

Quinoa basically gives you the feeling of being well fed over a long period of time. The slow release carbohydrates also mean that you do not get a sugar rush which can lead to food cravings. It must be pretty bad to have a food craving in space. Where could you go to find something to solve your craving?

If quinoa is so good for the astronauts you owe it to yourself to find out more about it and learn how it can revolutionise your diet and eating habits.

How to Avoid Purchasing a Bad Portable Air Compressor

Portable air compressors are one of the most useful tools you can have around. They are used for a variety of tasks such as inflating bicycle tires, home improvement projects, etc. The only problem is that many of them require a lot of maintenance and don’t last very long. This article will show you how to avoid these issues and which compressors are better.

When you’re ready to choose a portable compressor, you’ll find that there are two choices. They are either made with aluminum cylinders or cast iron cylinders. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. One of these is practically maintenance free and the other requires a little more work.

Are “maintenance free” compressors really better?

If you’re shopping around for an air compressor you might have noticed various models being advertised that are cheaper and don’t require oil. Most of these can be found in your local hardware store. These compressors are advertised as “maintenance free” or oil free and look very tempting to buy. This seems great on the surface but lets dig deeper and find out if it’s really what you’re looking for.

Cheap Aluminum Cylinders

If you see a portable compressor for sale that’s made with an aluminum cylinder, the price tag might look pretty good to you. You also don’t have to worry about adding oil or messy cleanups. There’s only one problem with this type of aluminum-based model. Many consumer reviews show that they don’t last very long and if there’s ever a problem with the compressor itself, it can cost a lot of money whenever you have to take it in for repairs. You’ll have to ask yourself if it’s really worth the trouble. It’s true you can save a few bucks in the beginning but in the long run, you’ll either end up having to replace it or spend a lot of money having to repair it.

The solution

Portable air compressors made with cast iron cylinders do require oil and are more expensive than the aluminum variety. So, why would you choose one? It’s because they tend to last a lot longer and have less mechanical issues. Those of you who want a quality portable air compressor and don’t mind adding a little oil every now and then might want to consider one of these. Some of the top brands such as Makita and Dewalt are made with cast iron cylinders and consumer reports show that an extremely high number of customers are happy with the long-term results.

So, how do you decide which portable air compressor to choose? If price is an issue and you’re not going to be using your compressor every day, it might be better to choose an aluminum-based compressor. For those who’re going to be using their compressors for heavy duty work and want it to last a long time, a cast iron portable air compressor is the answer.

Your next step should be to read consumer reviews and find out what other portable air compressor users are saying.

Fast Food Market Forecast – The Subway Example of Strategic Product Positioning

The United States fast food market has seen a healthy rise in growth within the last three years which forecasts can be sustained. The fast food market is forecast to maintain its current growth expectations, with an anticipated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.3% for the five-year period 2005-2010. This is expected to drive the market to a value of $57.6 billion by the end of 2010. Drivers of growth include increasing numbers of Americans in the workplace, which reduces the amount of time spent on preparing meals at home. In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a value of $57.6 billion, an increase of 12.1% since 2005.

Forecast Volume

In 2010, the United States fast food market is forecast to have a volume of 37 billion transactions (Figure 1). This represents an increase of 5.3% since 2005. The CAGR of the market volume in the period 2005-2010 is predicted to be 1%.

Success Factors

Success factors for fast food franchisees will include products and marketing targeted to healthier menu selections, brand consistency, low start-up costs, franchisee support, and consumer convenience. Subway ® represents a poignant example of a fast food franchisee ready for success in the future fast food market. Their strategies transcend the fast food market and apply to many other markets and products.

SWOT Analysis

Subway sandwich shops are well positioned to leverage their strengths and address reasonable threats, weaknesses, and opportunities. The table below highlights these Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths

  • Size and number stores and channels
  • Menu reflects demand for fresh, healthy and fast.
  • Use of non-traditional channels.
  • Partnering with the American Heart Association.
  • Worldwide brand recognition.
  • Customizable menu offerings.
  • Low franchisee start up costs.
  • Franchisee training is structured, brief and designed to assure rapid start-up and success.

Weaknesses

  • Décor is outdated.
  • Some franchisees are unhappy.
  • Service delivery is inconsistent from store to store.
  • Employee turnover is high.
  • No control over franchise saturation in given market areas.

Opportunities

  • Continue to Grow Global Business.
  • Update décor to encourage more dine-in business.
  • Improve Customer Service Model.
  • Continue to expand channel opportunities to include event wagons.
  • Improve franchisee relations.
  • Experiment with drive-through business.
  • Expand packaged dessert offerings.
  • Continue to revise and refresh menu offerings.
  • Develop more partnerships with movie producers and toy manufacturers to promote new movie releases through children’s menu packaging and co-branding opportunities.

Threats

  • Franchisee unrest or litigation.
  • Food contamination (spinach).
  • Competition.
  • Interest Costs.
  • Economic downturn.
  • Sabotage.
  • Law Suits.

Competitive Analysis

Subway is not without competitive pressures. Chief competitors include Yum! Brands, McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Jack in the Box. Yum! Brands are the world’s largest, with 33,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. Four of the company’s highly recognizable brands, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and Taco Bell, are global leaders of the Mexican, chicken, pizza, quick-service seafood categories. Yum! has a workforce of 272,000 employees and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

McDonald’s Corporation (McDonald’s) is the world’s largest foodservice retailing chain with 31,000 fast-food restaurants in 119 countries. The company also operates restaurants under the brand names ‘The Boston Market’ and ‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’. McDonalds operates largely in the US and the UK and is headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois employing 447,000 people.

Wendy’s International (Wendy’s) operates three chains of fast food restaurants: Wendy’s (the third largest burger chain in the world), Tim Horton’s, and Baja Fresh. Wendy’s operates over 9700 restaurants in 20 countries, has been included in Fortune magazine’s list of top 500 US companies, is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, and employs about 57,000 people.

Jack in the Box owns, operates, and franchises Jack in the Box quick-service hamburger restaurants and Qdoba Mexican Grill fast-casual restaurants and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Target Markets

The increase in sales of the sandwiches has been a result of decreases in consumer interest in hamburgers and fries and increases in demand for healthier options. Sales of sandwiches are growing 15 percent annually, outpacing the 3 percent sales growth rate for burgers and steaks.

Current Marketing Program

A new breed of restaurant is making big gains against the market-saturated hamburger establishments. Termed “fast-casual,” these restaurants are dominated by Mexican chains, and sandwich restaurants offering fresh-baked breads and specialty sandwiches.

Responding to evolving consumer expectations for health, fresh, custom-made sandwiches; Subway’s marketing program addresses these expectations through a number of approaches. The most notable were the television commercials featuring Jared. These commercials emphasize the healthy aspects of a Subway sandwich by highlighting the 245 pounds Jared lost by eating a Subway sandwich diet. Subway also markets through a national sponsorship in events such as American Heart Association Heart Walks and local events such as triathlons, and children’s sports teams.

The Subway example represents marketing and product strategies that are classic examples of focusing on market demand, consumer trends, product leveraging, and innovation. The marketing strategies of creating clear brand recognition, brand and product association, and market demands, have strategically positioned Subway to advance market share into the near future. These marketing strategies are also repeatable fundamental marketing strategies transcending the fast food market. Does your marketing strategy bind brand recognition to products that support your market’s future direction?

Credit Restoration – Using Section 609 of the FCRA to Restore NOT Repair Credit

A simple, relatively unknown but proven legal strategy can be implemented to raise FICO scores 60 to 120 points. In 1999, H. Bruce McInnis Jr. in Maine looked at Section 609 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and noticed something that, to his knowledge, nobody had ever noticed before; 609(c) (2) (E): “A consumer reporting agency is not required to remove accurate derogatory information from a consumer’s file, unless the information is outdated under section 605 or cannot be verified.”

If accurate derogatory information in the consumer’s file cannot be verified, the reporting agency is required to remove it. This law requires every company that reports credit events, not just the original creditor companies, to be able to produce verifiable proof of the negative event. It holds the credit reporting agencies accountable for the negative information they pass on. This is obviously related to the right of debtors to challenge the accuracy of negative events reported on them. The intent of the government was to protect debtors from having inaccurate information used against them.

The burden of proof is not entirely on the original creditors. All parties reporting this data are responsible for its accuracy. The companies that report credit events, besides the original creditors, are the credit bureaus; principally Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Did they maintain verifiable records of people’s debts? Mr. McInnis started challenging the credit bureaus to verify the negative credit events in the credit reports of his clients by producing a copy of the Original Creditor’s Documentation. He did not challenge the accuracy of these events, just used a legal strategy to challenge the credit bureaus ability to verify their accuracy. In effect, he used Section 609 of the law to demand the credit bureaus justify their reporting. If they couldn’t verify the data, they had no right to continue to maintain it on their credit reports. The credit bureaus began to comply. They removed the negative events from the credit records.

The credit reporting agencies don’t maintain original document records of credit applications and events. They don’t have a signature on a Visa card application. They don’t have a signature on a car loan application. They don’t have a signature on a bankruptcy filing. All they have are electronic blips in their databases. They simply accept what the creditors have reported to them about debtors. Even though the debtor knows it’s accurate, the credit bureaus do not. They can’t verify the accuracy of a single piece of data in their database.

The credit bureaus are regulated by the government due to the nature of their business, but it’s important to understand they are private companies. They are not legally or morally obligated to report anything on anyone. For example, most people know that most negative events remain on a credit report for seven years (ten years for Chapter 7 bankruptcies). This is not a legal requirement. In fact, they could take all bankruptcies off all records tomorrow, if they chose to. They are simply not allowed by law to report these events for more than seven years (or ten). They’re not forced to report them at all.

Of course, it’s their business. That’s why they do it. But they have a choice and when forced to verify the data they report they will choose to take negative events off. Essentially, credit restoration doesn’t eliminate negative credit events. It does make them in effect “invisible” to anyone looking at a credit report and this of course is reflected in the credit score.

White Chocolate Alternative

Not only have I had success with using carob chips and powder to appease my husband’s allergy to chocolate, but I’ve also enjoyed substituting yogurt chips for recipes calling for white chocolate chips. By U.S. law white chocolate must contain at least twenty percent cocoa butter. So if you are allergic to chocolate, you can’t eat white chocolate, either.

Even if you aren’t allergic to chocolate why substitute yogurt chips for white chocolate? After all yogurt chips do have more calories than white chocolate chips. Yogurt chips also have less than half the saturated fat. For most people it is easier to burn sugar or calories from carbohydrates than to burn off stored fat calories.

Not to say that a cookie, which is the food most commonly containing chips, is healthy, since almost all of them have some combination of butter, sugar and flour. But you can lessen the harm this little comfort food creates by reading the ingredients in a recipe and making a few health conscious substitutions.

Yogurt chips combine very well with nut based cookie recipes. They are especially good with cashews, walnuts and macadamia nuts. And yes, you are right. Nuts have a lot of calories and a lot of fat. But they are good (monounsaturated) fats that reduce cholesterol and add a lot of flavor, especially if roasted before adding to a cookie recipe. They also add texture and contain lots of vitamins and protein.

What’s nice about adding yogurt or other chips to a cookie recipe is that it adds that extra bit of sweetness that we seem to crave in our desserts. By baking your own cookies you have the choice of using less chips than what is called for in a recipe. Fewer chips will not change the chemistry or outcome of the cookie.

Perhaps one of my favorite cookie combination’s using yogurt chips is with maple extract. Is there any flavor quite as enticing as the smell of maple? Another favorite is mixing cranberries with yogurt chips. This is a great combination for a biscotti, which takes a little more time, but is not difficult.

So next time you reach for white chocolate chips or are looking for a substitute, consider trying yogurt chips instead and use less. Or add them to a recipe that calls for a frosting and forget the frosting. You’ll get the same amount of sweetness, but with less effort and less fat.