Tips For Shipping Foods With Dry Ice

Whether you’re just getting ready to offer shipping services for perishable foods or you’re looking for a new way to keep things fresh in transit, dry ice may be the solution that you need. In fact, dry ice is one of the best ways to ship perishable foods while ensuring that it stays safe. It’s a popular choice because it doesn’t melt the same way that standard ice does, so you won’t have to worry about moisture from ice melt. If you’re considering dry ice, here is a look at the details you need to know to use it safely.

Select the Proper Shipping Container

You’ll need a shipping container that is designed exclusively for dry ice use. These containers have a layer of foam inside, which will provide necessary insulation. Then, the outer surface is crafted from a durable, heavyweight material. Boxes designed for dry ice shipping also have vents built in to allow gas to dissipate, otherwise it can build up as the ice converts back to gas. This venting is important, because it protects the container from explosion. Finally, most containers that are crafted for dry ice shipments will also include the necessary labels for compliance with shipping regulations.

Buying Dry Ice

Order the dry ice that you need as close to the date you’ll need it as you can. That way, you’ll ensure the longest possible lifespan in transit. Make sure you invest in enough dry ice to cover the entire shipping period. The necessary amount of dry ice will vary from shipment to shipment. Check a dry ice shipping chart to determine how much you’ll need based on the weight of the shipment and the estimated transit time.

Pack the Shipment

Place a layer of dry ice in the bottom of the shipping container. Wrap and seal the food tightly, then place the wrapped package atop the dry ice. Finally, top the container with the remaining dry ice, packing it around the food. Seal the container properly and place the dry ice labels on the outside. Mark the labels with the weight of the dry ice that’s in the container. Never handle dry ice without protective gloves – it’s cold enough to cause frostbite if it touches bare skin.

With these preparation steps and careful handling, you’ll be able to ship perishable items virtually anywhere without concern. If you need more advice, talk with a local supplier to purchase dry ice and ensure that you’re using it correctly.

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Sticking To Your Vegetarian Diet While Eating Chinese Food

When you have special diet requirements and all your friends want to go out to eat, it can be daunting trying to figure out what exactly you will be able to order for yourself. Many typical restaurants will offer some type of vegetarian options, but when you go to a specialty restaurant, your options may be a bit more narrow. Chinese restaurants offer a wide variety of foods available for all taste buds and typically has meat that includes pork, duck, beef, and chicken. If you are looking for a vegetarian option when you hit up a Chinese restaurant, here are some great mainstream Chinese dishes that work for anyone on a vegetarian diet. 


There are several vegetarian options in Chinese restaurants. You want to be sure that you ask about the ingredients before you order to to ensure there is not meat. Some of these include:

  • Spring Rolls
  • Veggie Dumplings
  • Sesame Noodles
  • Salad with Ginger Dressing


You don’t have to eat light just because you are on a vegetarian diet. There are plenty of dishes to start with before you begin eating your main course. Whether you want vegetable lo mein or fried rice, you can find a starter that will help fill your tummy before your main course. 


The entree is the most important part of the meal. It should help take away your hunger and satisfy your needs. This is where you can really get risky and try some new dishes. If you have a favorite Chinese dish from your pre-vegetarian days, then you can ask the server about substituting the meat with tofu. This allows you to enjoy one of your favorites with a twist. Some popular vegetarian entrees include:

  • Orange Tofu
  • Kung Pao Tofu
  • Sweet and Sour Tofu
  • Sweet and Sour Tofu

The options are endless as long as you are able to substitute tofu in place of the usual meat. This allows you to eat just like the rest of your party. 

Questions to Ask When Ordering

Before you go on an ordering spree, it is always a good idea to inquire about some of the dishes. Even if you think it is meat-free, some of the ingredients could have traces of meat in them. For example, if you plan on ordering a soup with your meal, you should ask whether the stock has any meat in it. A lot of broths are made using beef, pork, and chicken. Sometimes, the meat broth can be substituted for vegetable broth. Additionally, you want to make sure the sauce does not have meat in it. A lot of chefs in Chinese restaurants will use a fish sauce to help add flavor to the dish. By being aware of these things, you can ensure you stay true to your vegetarian diet. Contact a local restaurant, like Lilac Blossom Restaurant, to find out what your options are before you arrive.

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Five Tips On Accommodating Vegan Diners

The vegan diet excludes all animal products. Vegan meals cannot include meats or fish, and even eggs or dairy products are not acceptable among recipe ingredients. 

Creating meals for vegan diners may seem challenging, but it’s easier than you think to come up with delicious foods that will satisfy diners without including these restricted ingredients.

The following are five helpful tips for creating meals that will satisfy vegan and non-vegan diners alike:

1. Aim for simplicity

The fewer ingredients your recipes include, the less likely they are to violate vegan dietary rules.

When selecting recipes for vegans, look for for short lists of healthy, simple ingredients. Vegan diners typically prefer whole foods that are minimally processed and pack in a lot of nutrients and flavor at the same time.  

2. Try ethnic cuisines

Looking to ethnic cuisines is often a helpful source of ideas when it comes to preparing vegetarian or vegan meals. In particular, indian cuisine offers many standard dishes that don’t include any meats or eggs to accommodate the dietary restrictions of the Indian religion Jainism. These restrictions prohibit eating many animal products.

3. Be open-minded

If you’re dining with vegans, you’re probably going to have to be open to trying some new things. Traditional diners are accustomed to eating meat and dairy products at every meal, and taking these components out of your meals leaves something of an ingredient vacuum. 

Be prepared to fill the void with new and exotic foods. There are always many interesting and creative ideas out there for imitating traditional meats with alternatives like nuts and legumes. For example, taco meat can be imitated with this interesting recipe that uses lentils and walnuts as an alternative. 

4. Brainstorm alternative protein sources

Of course, the real challenge in creating a satisfying meal for vegetarian or vegan diners is making up for the missing protein sources. 

This isn’t as big a challenge as you think, because there are many other protein sources out there. There are many different types of beans to choose from, and you can also try other legumes like lentils or a protein-rich grain like quinoa. 

If you’re looking for a recipe substitute for cheese, you can try cheese made from soy milk or some more creative options like zucchini cheese

5. Focus on veggies

Vegans typically prefer recipes that are rich in greens and vegetables. They also tend to enjoy trying rare and exotic vegetables. If you’ll be dining with vegans, take a stroll through your grocery store’s produce section for some ideas. 

To learn more about group dining, visit a restaurant like Sabatino’s Italian Restaurant.

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Gourmet Chocolates: Four Tips For Creating Delicious Truffles

Most everyone loves gourmet chocolates. The silky smooth chocolate, sweet toppings or fillings, and luscious mouthfeel are just a few reasons why they are so popular. They make a great treat and even better gift, especially for special occasions. One of the most popular types of gourmet chocolates is the truffle. It’s decadent, delicious, and downright divine.

While you could certainly purchase gourmet chocolate truffles, another option is to make them yourself. It might sound hard, but with a little finesse, it is quite easy.

If you are interested in making chocolate truffles, keep these four tips in mind:

1. Chill Out

One of the most important parts of creating truffles is chilling the “dough.” The chocolate concoction needs sufficient time to become cool to the touch and somewhat rigid. But it shouldn’t be chilled so long that it becomes hard. There is no hard and fast rules when it comes to chocolate, so just pour the chocolate into a pan and place it in your refrigerator. Check on it every 30 minutes until the concoction is chilled thoroughly.

2. Taste Test

If you have ever made chocolates and found that the taste was less then pleasant, don’t fret. It happens. Most people blindly buy melting chocolate and use it to create truffles and other goodies. While these chocolates work perfectly well, they might not taste the best.

To get the best tasting truffle, use chocolate that you like when it’s eaten raw. Take a few nibbles of the chocolate you plan to use before melting it down and chilling. If you like the taste, continue making your treats. If you don’t like it, choose another chocolate.

3. Keep It Dry

A couple drops of water can seriously damage your chocolate. Melted chocolate does not like liquids, so keep your work space and utensils dry. You do not want any water to get into the chocolate because it might seize up and then you will wind up with a big ball of weird-textured chocolate. For an extra measure of safety, keep paper towels or a clean towel nearby to mop up any water messes.

4. Process Carefully

You can use a food processor to make melting the chocolate easier. The food processor will quickly break up the chocolate, which will save you time and frustration. However, you do need to cut the chocolate first, especially if it is in a big block. Use a sharp knife and cut it into peanut-sized pieces, and then place it into the food processor. Process the chocolate until it reaches a sand-like consistency and then put it in the double boiler to melt.

Making gourmet chocolate truffles may sound intimidating, but with the proper knowledge and some patience, it is quite easy. Use these tips to make it easier.

To buy professionally made chocolates, contact a company such as Abdallah Candies And Gifts.

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Unpasteurized Clover Honey: Where To Buy It And How To Care For It

Unpasteurized clover honey has many health benefits, and is full of antioxidants and antibacterial properties to keep you healthy. When clover honey is kept from the pasteurizing process, it retains its original, fresh-from-the-hive flavor with sweet clover infusion. While unpasteurized honey is reported to be extremely healthy, you do need to make sure you care for it properly, only buy it from reputable sources, and always keep it out of the hands of children under one. Learn where to buy clover honey in its pure form and how to care for it to keep it fresh for cooking and eating straight from the jar.

Buying unpasteurized clover honey

When buying unpasteurized clover honey, always seek out organic stores or local beekeepers. Unpasteurized honey should only be purchased from companies or individuals who take care to collect and package their honey so it does not get contaminated from outside sources. If purchasing unpasteurized honey from your local grocer, look for key words, such as ‘organic’, ‘raw’, ‘locally collected’ and ‘unpasteurized’ to help you choose high quality honey you can enjoy every day.

The most pure and high-quality unpasteurized clover honey you can buy will be directly from your local beekeeper during the seasons bees produce the most honey. Honey is typically harvested in the early summer through late fall, so this is the optimum time to grab yourself a couple jars of untouched clover honey.

Caring for your honey

Unpasteurized honey should always be stored in airtight containers. This helps keep moisture and bacteria from getting into the honey. If the honey you have was harvested prematurely, it may have too much water in it, which can leave it prone to spoiling quickly. You can cook with unpasteurized honey or eat it raw safely, but be careful to keep all honey away from babies under one. Botulism spores which may be naturally present in any kind of honey can make a baby very sick, but do not affect adult immune systems. As long as you can keep air and moisture away from your unpasteurized clover honey, you should be fine to consume it raw or use it in cooking and baking.

Clover honey is a tasty culinary treat to add to your ingredient list. If you can get your hands on an unpasteurized variety, you will be pleasantly surprised how amazing pure honey can be. Take care of it properly and buy from the best sources possible, and you can enjoy unpasteurized honey anytime you wish.

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2 Secrets To Making Great Mexican Food

Have you ever wondered how Mexican restaurants create such amazing Mexican food? If so, then here are 2 secrets that will allow you to make great Mexican food at home too.

The Key to Great Rice

First, rice is a staple in Mexican cooking and is eaten with many meals. If you know how to make great Mexican rice, then you are on your way to creating a great meal. 

One of the main secrets is in the preparation of the rice before you add other ingredients. To start, you need long grain rice that is high quality. Second, you need some vegetable oil and a skillet.

Add the measured amount of rice needed for your recipe, and then add just enough oil so that the rice is coated. Cook the rice on medium until the rice starts to look less translucent and is just barely starting to brown. As soon as you see a few pieces getting slightly brown, remove it from the heat and cook the rice according to the recipe.

By doing this, you give the rice a deeper, richer flavor that will not come otherwise. The rice will be more dimensional in flavor, and people will wonder what you did to make the rice so delicious.

Great Salsa

Second, great salsa is also a sign that you know how to create great Mexican food. The best salsa does not need a tons of spices and ingredients to make it taste just right.

The real key is to use fresh vegetables that are in season. You will always get a better tasting salsa at the height of tomato season when the tomatoes are brimming with flavor. 

To make great salsa, you need fresh tomatoes that are red and ripe, a jalapeno, some cilantro, a couple of cloves of fresh garlic, a yellow onion, and some salt and pepper. You simply need to chop up these ingredients and blend them together until the salsa is as smooth as you want it, and then add some salt and pepper to taste. 

Let the salsa sit in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or even a day before eating, as this will allow the flavors to develop and blend so that you are not tasting separate ingredients.

Now that you know the keys to making two important staples in Mexican cuisine, you can begin creating great Mexican meals at home that are just as good as restaurant meals. Find out more here.

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Want To Make Your Own Specialty Cakes? Tips To Decorate Like A Pro

When you want to create a beautiful cake for a birthday or other event, you may find that you want to place a pattern atop the cake for decoration. The easiest way to do this is to transfer the pattern to the cake surface so that you can follow it while you are decorating. Piping gel is the most effective way to transfer a decorating template to a cake surface. Here are the steps you’ll need to transfer the image with ease.

Create the Base

Before you can transfer an image to the surface of the cake, you’ll need to create a smooth, crusted base of frosting. Make your favorite buttercream frosting recipe, but replace at least half of the butter you would normally use with shortening. The shortening is essential for the frosting to crust over, which creates the surface you need for the decorations.

Smooth the surface completely using an offset spatula. The easiest way to create a flawless surface is to dip the offset spatula in hot water, shake the excess water off and then run the spatula across the surface of the cake. You can do the same to create smooth sides. Then, let the cake rest for at least half an hour so that the frosting can set and form the necessary crust.

Make Piping Gel

There are several varieties of piping gel available at most retail outlets with the cake decorating supplies, but if you prefer to make your own, you might be surprised at how easy it is. For a stiff gel that’s great for decorative piping, put two tablespoons of water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle two packets of unflavored gelatin over the top and let it sit until it starts to dissolve and the water starts to look cloudy.

Once the gelatin dissolves, heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula. When the mixture is clear, add two cups of light corn syrup and continue to heat it until everything comes together. Store any leftover gel in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Outline the Image

Tape the printed image to a flat surface and then place a thin sheet of parchment paper over the top. Scoop out a generous amount of the piping gel into a bowl. The amount you’ll need will depend on how many lines you need to go over, so just use your best judgment. It’s always better to have some left over than to run out halfway through the picture.

Think about the primary colors of the image and choose the most common one to tint the gel. This will help you see the lines on the cake surface as you work. Add a small amount of decorator’s food coloring – this is the gel or paste coloring in the cake decorating department – using a toothpick. Mix it thoroughly, then put the tinted gel into a piping bag with a number 1 tip on the bag. The number 1 tip is the fine-point tip used for writing.

Trace the lines of the image by piping the gel along each line that’s visible through the parchment paper. Once you’ve traced all of the lines, lift the paper carefully and turn it over so that gel side is facing the cake. Place the image where you want it on the cake surface. Trace over the gel lines lightly with a decorator’s paint brush. Make sure that you go over every line. When you’re finished, gently lift the parchment paper from one corner, pulling slowly. The gel image will remain on the cake so that you can begin decorating.

With these steps, you can create a flawless cake for your next event. Choose the image that you want on your cake and this process will make it easy to transfer it into place. For further assistance, contact professionals , such as those from Denise’s Delicacies.

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