3 Tips For Safely Eating Out With Food Allergies

Many restaurants are taking steps today to learn more about food allergies because there are so many people affected by this problem. If you have any type of food allergy and want to eat out at a restaurant, you will have more work to find somewhere to eat and something to eat, so here are a few tips to help you stay safe when eating out.

Research Restaurants

While many people can simply pick any restaurant to go to, you might not have this luxury. If you’re planning on eating out, it might require research before you go. To begin your research, you can look online at the restaurant you are planning on going to. This may give you an idea of whether the restaurant is aware of food allergies, and it might help you know what to order.

The National Restaurant Association is an organization that helps restaurant owners manage their businesses, and one of the services they offer is education relating to food allergies. Through the classes offered through this organization, restaurant owners can learn:

  • About common food allergies and the problems caused when people consume foods they are allergic to
  • How to prevent cross-contamination with foods that people might be allergic to
  • How to prepare meal entrees that do not contain certain foods
  • Proper measures for educating their employees on this topic

If a restaurant has completed courses relating to this, they might advertise this on their website. A restaurant’s website may also give you more information about measures they take to assist customers that have food allergies, and you might be able to view the restaurant’s menu on its website. 

Avoid Busy Times

When a restaurant is really busy, it might be harder for the server to spend the necessary amount of time talking to you about your allergies. Busy times also make it harder to talk to a manager or chef at the restaurant. If you plan your visits during times when the restaurant is not as busy, you may feel more confident with the information you are given from the staff.

Play It Safe

When you arrive and place your order, always play it safe. If you are not 100% convinced that a particular entrée will be free of the ingredient you’re allergic to, don’t order it. By knowing and understanding your food allergies thoroughly, you will know exactly what to avoid eating.

The problem to consider is that the server might not comprehend the full nature of your allergy, and you might end up with misleading information.

Eating out with food allergies is possible, but it may take more work. When you end up finding a restaurant that can cater to your needs, you may want to visit that restaurant more often. Plan ahead and learn about various restaurants, such as Franchesco’s Ristorante, before heading out, and you should be good to go.

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Is An Extended Appliance Warranty Worth The Money? 3 Things To Consider

When you buy a large or small appliance, it’s almost a certainty that you’re going to be offered the option of purchasing an extended warranty to go with it. Opinions vary wildly on the benefit of extended warranties. Some believe that they’re simply a way to get extra money out of consumers, others wouldn’t purchase an appliance without one. To decide whether or not an extended warranty is worthwhile the next time that you purchase an appliance, here are some things to consider.

Overlap With The Manufacturer’s Warranty

You’re sure to have some type of warranty from the manufacturer of the product, and that may be enough, depending on what the appliance is and how you plan to use it. Imagine that you’re buying a refrigerator with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. If you know that within that five years, you’ll must likely upgrade your kitchen and replace the refrigerator, then buying a ten-year extended warranty doesn’t make sense.

Before you agree to an extended warranty, find out what’s in the manufacturer’s warranty, including how long it lasts for and what kind of damage is covered. In order to be worth the extra money, an extended warranty should either significantly outlast the manufacturer’s warranty, provide coverage for things that aren’t covered in the manufacturer’s warranty (like breakage caused while moving the appliance, for example) or preferably both.

Reliability of the Company

An extended warranty may be offered to you by the manufacturer or the retailer, but in many case, it’s a third party company that is actually providing the warranty coverage. You wouldn’t buy an expensive large appliance from a manufacturer that you didn’t trust, or from a retailer that had failed to provide good service and quality products in the past. You should put the same amount of knowledge and consideration of past experience into buying an extended warranty for that appliance.

Research the company that is guaranteeing the appliance. What are other customers saying about their experiences? Check your own warranty history. Have you used them before? If so, how did that work out? Doing your due diligence can save you from ending up with a worthless warranty.

Other Options

When it comes to warranties offered at the point of purchase, the question is whether or not this is really the best deal. Even if you’re sure you want an extended warranty, you may not be sure that you want this one. Luckily, you aren’t limited to the warranty offered at the time of the sale.

If you purchase your item with a credit card, you may have warranty protection from the credit card company. If you want to use this, be sure to clarify the terms and conditions with your credit card company before making the purchase. Another option is to seek out a company that sells warranties or appliance insurance policies on your own.

Don’t feel pressured to make the decision in an instant when you’re standing at the register. Many retailers will give you a time frame during which you can come back and add on the warranty if you want it. Take your time, do your research, and make the right decision for your appliance purchase through a company like Amana Services.

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3 Places To Look For Affordable Organic Food

Organic food is becoming more popular these days because people are searching for foods that are not treated with pesticides and other chemicals. However, sometimes people are dissuaded from buying organic food, as it can sometimes be more expensive than food from the regular section in the grocery store. If you have been looking for affordable organic food, don’t be discouraged by high prices; you can still find affordable organic food if you know where to look. Here are three places to check out if you want affordable organic food.

Farmers’ Markets

You may have heard of farmers’ markets, but if you haven’t gone to one, you may not realize the wide variety of locally grown, organic food you can buy. The prices at these markets are usually much more affordable than you would pay in the organic section of a grocery store. Not only that, but you can usually talk directly to the local grower of the food you’re about to purchase. You can ask questions about the growing process, so that you know more about the origin of your food

The Internet

You might have some trouble finding a farmers’ market in your area; don’t despair. The internet has hundreds of online organic food stores that offer a range of choices. You can comparison shop until you find prices that look good to you. You can also check coupon sites to see if you can find online coupons or discount codes, to save even more on your purchase.

It is important that you make sure the online organic food store is reputable before you place an order. Look for honest reviews of products on the store’s site and on review sites, and try calling their contact number to make sure you can talk to a human being about any questions.

Your Backyard

If you are really interested in making a commitment to healthy, organic food for your family, you can give some thought to growing your own food. Growing your own fruits and vegetables can save you a great deal of money. You can buy seeds at online organic food stores, or you may be able to visit a local health food store and get the seeds you want. You can even try using the seeds from foods you already have, such as tomatoes, after you ferment the seeds yourself.

Before planting your seeds, get a soil testing kit and test your soil, so you are sure that your soil can grow and sustain food.

Now that you have some ideas about where you can look for affordable organic food, get started. You will soon be enjoying healthy, delicious food that is free of chemicals and full of taste.

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Don’t Leave Your Furry Best Friend Out Of Your Wedding Day

Your best friends have been with you through the good times and the bad, so there is no way you are going to leave your pets out of your upcoming wedding ceremony. Of course, it does mean that you’re going to have to make some special accommodations so that your furry friends can join you on your big day. 

Vetting the Venue

Choosing your wedding venue may be a bit trickier if you are planning to have your pets in the wedding. Many churches, for instance, don’t allow dogs on their premises. So instead of a traditional church wedding, you might want to choose a:

  • Winery. Some wineries are both dog- and wedding-friendly. 
  • Ranch wedding. A number of ranches today offer event spaces for rustic weddings. 
  • Animal-friendly bed and breakfast. 
  • Your home.

Food for Fidos and Felines

When it comes to the reception, don’t forget about your pets. For example, ask your caterer if they wouldn’t mind providing special meals for your pets. And it’s also important that your catering menu is free of foods that are poisonous to pets. Chocolate, for instance, is deadly to dogs. So in the best interest of your pups, you may want to leave any tempting chocolate treats off of your wedding reception catering menu. 

Ring Bearers with Tails

If you want your pet to be more than just an idle bystander at your wedding, consider having them play a role, such as ring bearer. There are a number of products on the market today that will allow your dog or cat to carry your ring down the aisle, such as specially designed ring pillows that you can strap onto your pet’s back. 

Animal Control

It’s possible that your pet is not going to react the way you had hoped on your big day. The large crowds could make your furry best friend nervous, and it could get nippy or even balk at entering the wedding venue. For the best results, you should:

  • Keep your pet leashed. The last thing you want is for your dog ring bearer to tear off into the woods after a squirrel or your cat to freak out unexpectedly and climb a tree.
  • Plan ahead. For example, coordinate with a friend ahead of time to take your dog outside if it begins to bark or act up in any way.

Although it may take a little extra planning to incorporate your pet into your wedding, the memories of having your furry best friend with you on your special day will make it all worth your while. 

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Learn Interesting Ways To Use Dry Ice To Decorate For Your Next Halloween Party

Making your next Halloween bash the talk of the town doesn’t have to be overly difficult to do. An inexpensive and easy-to-find tool to use in your Halloween decorating is dry ice. Dry ice creates the illusion of smoke billowing away from whatever item the dry ice is in to create a spooky look. The following guide will help you learn a few creative ways to use dry ice at your next Halloween party.

Wicked Witch Punch

Take a large punch bowl and line the bottom of the bowl with dry ice. In a smaller punch bowl that can fit inside of the large punch bowl, mix one packet of grape powdered drink mix with one packet of orange powdered drink mix. Add three cups of sugar, one liter of lemon lime soda and then fill the rest of the bowl with water. Mix the ingredients together and place the smaller bowl inside of the larger bowl. It should create a delicious black brew that everyone will enjoy drinking. Pour a little bit of water into the bottom of the larger bowl and fog should start to billow out from under the bowl.

Positively Putrid Pumpkins

Carve a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Place a glow stick and a small bowl of dry ice inside of the cavity of the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a table or on your front stoop. Add a little bit of water to the bowl of dry ice and fog will start to pour out of the pumpkin. When the fog comes out of the pumpkin’s mouth, it will look as though he is vomiting.

Exciting Eroding Eyeballs

Create a lemon or coconut gelatin mix according to the directions on the box. Spray a mini muffin tin with a little bit of non-stick oil and then pour the gelatin into each of the small openings. Place the tin into the refrigerator for fifteen minutes so that it can set slightly. Take the muffin tin out of the refrigerator and use food coloring to dye each little gelatin mold to create the illusion of eyeballs. Place the tin back in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove the tin one more time and then pop out all of the eyeballs from the tin with a spoon. Place the eyeballs into a large clear jar and fill the jar with cranberry ginger ale. Add a few pieces of dry ice to the top of the jar to create the effect that the goulash dish is smoking.

These quick and easy decorating ideas will take your party to the next level of spooky. They are very affordable (from outlets such as Chilly Willy & Cool Carl’s Ice) decorations to do and will not impact the quality of the food or drink that you are serving.  

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5 Ways To Save Energy In Your Commercial Kitchen

Increase your restaurant’s profit margin by making some changes in the way your commercial kitchen utilizes energy. According to Energy Star, restaurants use an average of five to seven times more energy per square foot than any other type of commercial building. Follow these tips to save energy and reduce your utility bills.

1. Upgrade Your Equipment

Your commercial kitchen’s refrigerator, walk-in freezer, oven, and other major appliances can be huge energy hogs. Upgrade your appliances to more energy-efficient models. According to the Supply & Equipment Foodservice Alliance, commercial kitchens that choose to purchase Energy Star qualified equipment can save up to $15,000 a year.

2. Switch to LED Bulbs

Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs deliver exceptionally long life spans and contain no harmful mercury. LED bulbs can also result in significant energy savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star qualified LEDs use an average of 20 to 25 percent of the energy of traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.

3. Maintain Kitchen Equipment

Simply having energy-efficient kitchen appliances is not enough. You must also properly maintain equipment to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the lifespan of the appliances. Check any air filters, gaskets and seals on a regular basis. Also hire a professional to thoroughly check your commercial equipment at least twice a year.

4. Adjust Kitchen Ventilation

Ensure that your commercial kitchen’s ventilation system is efficient and in good working condition. Retrofit all exhaust hoods with a two-speed blower. This helps to lower the ventilation rate over the appliance when the grill and/or fryer are not in use. It can also be wise to install “smart” exhaust hood controls that control when the exhaust hood is turned on based on exhaust air temperature.

5. Rearrange Your Appliances

The layout of your kitchen and where your appliances are located can make a big impact on your commercial kitchen’s energy efficiency. It’s most efficient to separate your cooking equipment from your cooling equipment so that the refrigeration units do not have to work as hard to stay cool. Move the hottest appliances, such as any open burners, broilers or steamers, together so that they share a vent.

If you own a commercial kitchen, you’ll want to ensure that you are doing everything you can to reduce energy consumption and lower your utility bills. For more information about what energy-efficient commercial equipment is available to you, contact a restaurant equipment supplier such as Avante Naples.

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