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Category Archives: Health & Wellness

Having re-ignited my desire for decent coffee I was fortunate enough to receive a De’Longhi KG49 coffee bean grinder.

At 22cm x 13cm x 11cm and weighing in at 0.8kg, when empty of course, the KG49 is a small but perfectly formed coffee bean grinder that takes up minimal room, and in its matt black finish it looks sleek and stylish and is a great kitchen appliance. I have only seen the K49 in black and am unsure whether it can be bought in alternative colors.

The K49 is tough, durable and feels solid. All components look like they are made out of good quality materials and during my period of ownership I have had no problems or faults with my K49. De’Longhi do provide a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase for that extra piece of mind, although based on my experience of not only the K49 but other De’Longhi products I doubt this will be required. It is nice to have nonetheless though.

The KG49 has the capacity to grind up to 90g of coffee beans in one go, which the manufacturers claim is enough for 12 cups. For such a small appliance I find this a staggering amount and think that it is more than enough. So whether you are the most popular person in the village, or a complete loner, the K49 is likely to grind enough coffee in one sitting to satisfy all guest, or not as the case maybe.

The K49 has a decent length of cord, about a meter, which should be more than enough for most consumers. On the bottom of the K49 there are anti-slip rubber feet and these are very efficient and have not given way, no matter how much pressure I have applied, ensuring it stays firmly where put at all times.

Using this coffee bean grinder is a doodle and simply involves removing the lid, pouring in the desired amount of your favourite coffee beans, putting the lid back on, pressing the button on the top of the lid and letting the machine do its thing. Grinding coffee beans has never been so quick, easy and effortless.

The transparent mixing bowl, complete with those all important safety clips etc, allows the user to see exactly what is going on during the grinding process. This not only allows the user the opportunity to ensure the beans are being ground to the right consistency but also to ensure that the blades are operating as they should and to spot any potential problems and sort them before they get out of hand.

This grinder gives the flexibility of allowing the user to decide exactly how fine they want the end result to be by having a built in indicator, which is a series of 3 LED lights above which is coarse, medium and fine. A few minutes after pressing and holding down the button the coarse led will illuminate, shortly followed by the medium led and finally the fine led. If you want a coarse coffee blend then stop grinding as soon as the first LED illuminates. If a medium blend is desired then stop grinding when the medium LED illuminates, and if a fine blend is desired carry on grinding until the fine LED light illuminates. Simples right?

Once the coffee bean is ground to the desired level the lid is removed, the inner pot (containing the coffee as well as the blade – so be careful here) is removed and the contents poured in to the percolator, coffee maker or whatever other device you may have.

Cleaning the grinder is a chore, but then I guess it is a fair price to pay for freshly ground coffee beans of my choice. To make it worthwhile I tend to grind a batch up all in one go, although care is needed not to make too much since, in my experience, freshly ground beans only seem to last a few days in an airtight container at the most.

Grinding coffee beans does make a bit of a mess, although most of this is contained within the machine, until you take the lid off. In my experience it doesn’t matter whether the beans are ground to a coarse, medium or fine consistency the mess is still the same and there are three parts of the grinder that need cleaning every time, which are the lid, the inner pot and the outside of the grinder itself. De’Longhi do provide a brush to ‘sweep’ the ground coffee in to a container, as well as cleaning the grinder after use but a sweep is just not enough and a more thorough clean is required every time. Therefore, brushing followed by washing is the only way to properly clean the grinder.

As well as grinding coffee beans there are other uses for the K49 and I find it ideal in making dips for breadsticks, tortilla chips and crisps. You know the situations, when only a small amount of food stuffs are to be processed and using a fully fledged food processor isn’t going to work because the quantity of food stuff just isn’t there.

For all coffee lovers out there grinding your own beans is the only way to go, I can’t believe it has taken me so long to figure this out, therefore a coffee bean grinder is an absolute must have kitchen accessory and I can’t recommend the De’Longhi KG49 highly enough.

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  1. Moka pot
  2. Camp Coffee Six Ways | Northwest TripFinder

Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad; my mom orders one every time we get food from Mimi’s Cafe. She’s under the impression that it’s a healthy alternative to any of the other items on the menu. I know better than to trust nutritional propaganda so promptly. Urged on by my increasing amount of skepticism, I check a few websites to find the entrees nutritional content. Mimi’s Cafe’s nutrition section on its website states that the nutritional content of the Cranberry Walnut salad, in size petite, contains 713 calories, 61g total fat, 33mg of cholesterol, 1009ml sodium, and is 65% saturated fat. Has it become acceptable for a small salad to have this much fat content in it? Seven-hundred and thirteen calories in a petite salad; if my mother knew this she’d never touch a Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad again in her life, and I don’t blame her. Who would really want a seven hundred calorie salad? Would restaurants have as many customers as they do if people knew the nutritional value of their meals? Is it fair that we’re left oblivious to what we’re eating? Restaurants should be required to list the nutritional information of their dishes on their menus, because in a world where we are what we eat, we have the right to know whether we’re a seven hundred calorie salad or not.

“At this point, we do not provide nutritional information for our menu selections. We pride ourselves on using only the freshest and finest ingredients available. Everything on our menu is made in-house on a daily basis so that we can maintain the highest food quality standards.” States the section on the website of the Cheesecake Factory where nutritional information is expected to be. Statements from restaurants such as this one have begun to sound like a broken record. Restaurants claim that they provide a healthy alternative to the other items on their menu, and they have taken their time and used their funds to come up with newer healthier menu items to please the FDA. It would seem that the restaurants have done their part to make sure that the consumer has a healthy alternative. They’ve gone through this so that they wouldn’t need to list nutritional information on their menus. Why would a restaurant need to list nutritional information when they offer healthy food items?

The answer is simple; because many of the food items that restaurants claim to be healthy are not healthy whatsoever. One study conducted by The Journal of Marketing discovered that nutrient claims such as “for a healthy heart” placed on the healthy entrees menu did not have any influence on customer viewpoint toward the food or their purchase. The study went on to show that when a nutrition panel is present prior to ordering the consumer will rely on that as opposed to relying on the nutrient claim. (Kozup 1) Another study conducted for the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition on the accuracy of meals identified as healthy food items concluded that the only way that the health content of these healthy menu items would be significant is if the portion size of the entre was cut in half. While the fat content, sodium, and calories were indeed lower, the portion size completely defeated the purpose of ordering these menu items to cut fat content all together. The fat taken off had, in most cases, been replaced by total energy intake- meaning more carbohydrates. (Root 1) If nutrition information were provided, the consumer would be able to control his or her intake more efficiently, rather than being pushed into simply trusting what the restaurants claim to be “healthy choices.”

Another commonly used refutation restaurants use against the FDA is that it is in their best interest to keep nutritional information away from the consumer being that making the nutritional information of their food items public could possibly result in a loss of business. Restaurants wouldn’t want the reputation for the great taste of their food being spoiled by the fact that the entrees nutritional content was unsatisfying to the consumer. Restaurants argue that if they’re forced to change the items on their menus because its foods content, and the way it is prepared isn’t found worthy of FDA standards that it may result in a loss of business. It is also claimed that a customer can make adjustments to the entre to meet his or her dietary needs.

In defense of the right of a customer; a customer cannot know what adjustments need to be made to his or her food without knowing how it’s made and what the nutritional content is in the first place. Also, this loss of business would more than likely prove to be non-existent. Customers straying away from high fat and calorie foods would encourage restaurants to take the time to make healthier menus. This would be good for business in a plethora of ways. Healthy as well as tasteful food attracts more customers, this is one of the reasons families opt for eating at home as opposed to restaurants. “71% of consumers say they are well informed about the nutritional value of foods they prepare at home versus only 26% who say the same about food they purchase in restaurants.” A study done by Restaurants and Institutions Journal reports. Families generally tend to eat at home because home cooked foods are known to be healthier than foods prepared outside of the home. Home prepared foods have earned this reputation because the nutrition information of these foods is already well known being that the ingredients used to create these dishes display nutrition information. The people know what they are putting into their bodies because they know what ingredients were used. If restaurants could list nutritional information the customer would know what he or she was consuming. This would put restaurants at more of an advantage in the business sector.
A customer has a right to obtain information about a product they are purchasing. For example: Who in their right mind would buy a blank and unlabeled jar with the intention to drink it’s contents if they didn’t know what was in the jar? This is basically what the consumer is doing by ordering foods without knowing its nutritional content. This is what restaurants are doing to the consumer by not listing nutrition information of the food they order; letting them drink whatever’s in that blank jar without regard of what it may do to the state of their health. It’s a right as people obtain as customers to know what they’re eating and the effects that it’s going to have on their health. This right overpowers the will that a restaurant has not to make this information available, because it’s going into the customers body. The corporation doesn’t have a body for this food to go into. Being unaware of the content of a meal can have a huge part in making or breaking a diet.

Restaurants providing nutrition information on their menus would benefit the diet of the consumer; especially if that consumer happens to be a woman. In a study done by Restaurants and Institutions Journal, 57% of men and 67% of women believed that restaurants should post information about foods served. Women, quite obviously, need to assess what they consume more carefully because their metabolic rate is generally lower than that of a mans. This makes if harder for women to diet, and this also indicates that having this information available on a restaurant menu will probably benefit their eating regimen drastically. But this wouldn’t just be good for women, for restaurant information on menus would benefit any consumer trying to watch their weight or diet, being that the dieter would not likely order such fatty foods if he or she knew the fat and calorie content of that order.

If this change is made and restaurants all over the United States present healthier menus (perhaps along with smaller portion sizes like those in Japan and France.) it would help fight the war against obesity which has become a large issue in the modern times. A study on the obesity epidemic suggests that about sixty-four percent of American adults are currently rather overweight or obese. (Burton 1) By taking a look at the daily life of a modern United States citizen we can easily see where a large portion of this issue derives from; that portion being restaurants which provide fat and calorie dense foods. Throughout the years United States citizens have been eating out at an increasing rate. The Journal of Consumer Affairs cited a source which concluded that just between the years of 1970 and 1996, the percentage of people eating out rose from 26% to 38%. This is a 12% increase, which is quite an increase in such a short amount of time. (Burton 2) This study really shines a spotlight on where obesity is growing from the most. If restaurants would list the nutritional information of their menus it may inspire customers to eat smaller portions or opt for a healthier menu item. Restaurants doing their part in fighting the obesity issue in this way could have a huge impact on its results.

As a fellow consumer, I can only try my best to push you, the people, to fight for your right to obtain nutrition information as a customer. Speak out and speak up-help bring this issue to closure. If there is something we can do about that now it should be done. Help mold food services today in hopes of a better tomorrow. Because in a world where you are what you eat, shouldn’t you want to struggle against being a seven-hundred and thirteen calorie salad?

Works Cited

Burton, Scot, Elizabeth H.Creyer, Jermeny Kees, and Kyle Huggins. “Attacking the Obesity Epidemic: The Potiential Health Benefits of Providing Nutrition Information in Restaurants.” American Journal of Public Health 96.9 (2006): 1669-1675.

Burton, Scot, and Elizabeth H.Creyer. “What Consumers Don’t Know Can Hurt Them: Consumer Evaluations and Disease Risk Perceptions of Restaurant Menu Items.” Journal of Consumer Affairs 38.1 (2004): 121-145.

“Both Sides of the Issues: Operators Speak Out.” Restaurants & Institutions 114.4 (2004): 54-54.

“Frequently Asked Questions” The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated. 2002-2003. .

Kozup, John C., Elizabeth H. Creyer, and Scot Burton. “Making Healthful Food Choices: The Influence of Health Claims and Nutrition Information on Consumers Evaluations of Packaged Food Products and Restaurant Menu Items.” Journal of Marketing 67.2 (2003): 19-34.

Root. “Meals Identified as Healthy Choices on Restaurant Menus: An Evaluation of Accuracy.” International Journal Of Food Sciences And Nutrition 55.6 (2004): 449-54.

“Our Menu.” Mimi’s Caf. 2006. .

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  1. – Paging Dr. Gupta Blog
  2. Drexel Study: Diners Order Fewer Calories When the Menu Has …

To say the Alentejo covers a large expanse of land in Portugal the regions restaurants are sometimes quite small. This restaurant I am going to tell you about now isn’t the smallest I have ever been to but it isn’t the largest either. Seating approximately 30 people the ‘Luar de Janeiro’ (in Portuguese – ‘By the light of the January Moon’) possibly given its title because of the astounding clarity of light in the Alentejo and also because it is situated on Travessa do Janeiro (January Street), is one of the nicest restaurants in Evora and Evora has some mighty fie establishments to choose from.

Because the restaurant is small and always busy there is a warm atmosphere created by the staff and guests who choose to dine here.

The decor isn’t too fancy, quite restrained in a way with it’s wood panelling covering a third of the walls and the rest white-washed. Tables and chairs are wooden; tablecloths and napkins are white trimmed with blue, dishes are co-ordinated; white porcelain with wedgewood decorative edges. But it isn’t the decor people visit this award winning restaurant for – they come solely for the innovative cuisine served.

I recommend a starter – try the fresh melon or sheep’s cheese. if you like a spicy flavour with a touch of garlic then home-made chourico is a must – smooth and delicious to the palette. My favourite starter is a plate of pataniscas de bacalhau. Small titbits of bacalhau deep fried in a creamy batter made from eggs and flour. Love the taste of the salted cod, mixed with fresh parsley and fried onion.

Always very difficult to choose between a fish or meat course for the main part of a meal here in this restaurant. My husband always chooses fish usually red mullet with rice and clams. Basically this is really a fish stew where red mullet is added to a broth made of onions, garlic, coriander, tomatoes, red pepper and wine. I assume these ingredients are fried in olive oil before the rice is added as the rice is always fully absorbed in the liquid and always tastes of Portuguese Virgin Olive Oil. I use the word Portuguese here with pride because I believe olive oil from my adopted country is the finest in the world.

My husband always raves about this dish, having been to this restaurant several times over the years, he has never ever said that the mullet hasn’t been fresh. As it arrives daily from Setubal then there are no reasons why it shouldn’t be fresh. A scrumptious meal that gets the thumbs up.

Other interesting meat dishes are a local dish – pig’s trotters with coriander, lamb stew or hare risotto. Sometimes I like to eat pigs trotters and I love lamb stew but I really adore the hare stew. Of course, it is only on the menu when it is in season. It is such a rich dish and I am not sure what gives the stew its rich flavour but my guess is that it has a good dose of brandy and red wine which is either added when cooking or been used as a marinade before cooking. Whatever the concoction it is delicious. I love the smoky taste of the added bacon, mixed with the smooth earthy taste of mushrooms and creamy taste of buttered onions. Bread is served with the stew or you can have croutons on top.

Desserts always look tempting and it is difficult to refuse. As in nearly all Alentejo restaurants morgados are on offer , little sweet balls of heaven, made of figs and nuts. Sericaia (the traditional dessert of the region) is a wonderful pudding when eaten with fresh plums.

The wine list isn’t too long, all bottles promoting nearby Alentejano vineyards. I recommend either a red or white wine from the Fundacao Eugenio de Almeida Estate. The Cerca Nova Tinto is inexpensive, very smooth and smells of cherries. If you prefer white then still from this range, the Cerca Nova Branco is a very crisp white wine bursting with citrus flavours.

Price wise – you are looking somewhere in the region of 30 Euros plus including wine and three courses. Plates are enormous and filled to the top. I don’t think you can grumble at that price especially in the beautiful ancient city of Evora.

You can find Luar de Janeiro on Travessa do Janeiro 13. 

The restaurant is closed on Thursdays and the first two weeks in July.

Image Credit


  1. Luar de Janeiro, Evora – Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number …
  2. Luar de Janeiro Restaurant – Restaurants Evora Portugal – EZPortugal

My first encounter with Costa Coffee was the Portsmouth branch, upstairs in Ottakars (now Waterstones) bookshop. A cafe inside a bookshop seemed a great idea, especially as there were armchairs bordering the cafe area where you could sit and look at books while you enjoyed your drink. Needless to say, however, it was so popular that it was often impossible to find a table if you wanted one, especially around lunchtime.

After moving to Havant a few years ago, I would quite often go shopping in Chichester and meet a friend for coffee at Costa. We would usually spend about an hour there, and I must say we were never made to feel that we should vacate our table before we were ready to. The problem, however, with the Chichester branch is that there is very little seating on the ground floor. You have to carry your tray up a narrow staircase not easy for me with my dodgy knee, but even if you don’t think you will find it a problem, you might if someone happens to be coming down the stairs at the same time. Once up on the first floor, however, the seating is comfortable and I love the view out onto Chichester Cathedral.

It was perhaps inevitable that Costa would open a branch in Southsea’s Palmerston Road shopping precinct, and they did. This one has quite a few sofas inside, and in good weather you can sit at a table outside and watch the shoppers go by. When it first opened I was living in Havant and working in Southsea in the mornings, whereas my younger son was a student at Portsmouth University and lived in Southsea. Costa became the ideal place for us to meet before I had to get back home. When I moved back to Southsea last year, I discovered Coco’s on Marmion Road which I prefered, but that has sadly now closed. (Vegetarian restaurant opening there soon.) The problem is that Costa is almost always crowded. My last visit to the Southsea branch was at about 8.45 one morning: I had had a fasting blood test and was waiting for the bank to open, so Costa seemed the ideal place. I was surprised that even before nine o’clock about half the tables were occupied.

Cappuccino, latte, mocha, ristrato and so on have became all the rage, of course. Some of us probably spend far too much on them. Fortunately, Costa offer three different sizes of coffee; I don’t think I have ever splashed out on the largest one. Tea of course is also on offer, and if you want to be really decadent, try hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream. I usually go for cappuccino, but I am an ardent and not easily pleased lover of coffee; Costa sometimes just doesn’t come up to scratch for me. I can drink good coffee without sugar, but sometimes I have added a sachet of sugar to my coffee at Costa and vigorously stirred in the chocolate powder on the surface because the coffee just didn’t have enough flavour. You can have various flavoured syrups added to your coffee, but these are at an extra cost and I prefer my coffee to taste of coffee. Costa do of course also serve cold drinks. Fruit juice and Innocent Smoothies come bottled, but you can indulge in a Frescato, an ice-blended fruit drink in a variety of flavours. I do enjoy these in the summer.

Food on offer consists mainly of sandwiches – some of which can be toasted and brought to your table – cakes, croissants and biscuits. The sandwiches are quite pricey and not particularly good value. The mini biscuits are good for sharing if you just want a small snack, but I usually go for a low-fat muffin. These were originally only available in a lemon and orange flavour, but a berry variety had been introduced when I last visited the Southsea branch. Fruit salad has been added to the menu too, and there are a few varieties of crisps and small wrapped biscuits as well.

It is self-service in the three branches I am familiar with, and on the whole I have found the staff to be polite and friendly even at the busiest times. There was one exception to this, however, at the Southsea branch. There were four of us, and we had ordered two cappuccinos, one tea and a latte along with some muffins. We had everything except the latte on the tray, and myself and my son were waiting at the counter for the latte. One of the girls serving hot drinks seemed to think that we had our complete order and asked if there was a problem. I showed her our till receipt and my son, who has a naturally loud voice, explained politely that there was still a latte to come. The manageress came over and asked my son to stop raising his voice. There had been no hint of anger in his voice, and there was no attempt on her behalf to apologise for the fact that we hadn’t been served with a drink that we had clearly paid for. That did make me feel at the time that I might not return there, but in actual fact I have. It wasn’t encouraging, however.

One thing that does encourage me to keep going back to Costa is the existence of the Costa Foundation. This was established in 2006 and has thus far centred on education, building and maintaining schools in coffee-growing communities in Uganda, Ethopia and Colombia. Other projects in these countries include developing land for crop growing, setting up a library and improving sanitation.

It is possible to take away any of the drinks or food at Costa, in which case the price will be slightly lower. You can also buy packets of the coffee they serve.

Whilst Costa’s prices are high, it is worth remembering that an extra share of the money goes back to the people who supply the coffee beans. I shall bear this in mind when I visit Gunwharf Quays, as the new branch of Costa there is very close to Cafe Rouge, where I have never had a poor cup of coffee. Perhaps I’ll go when the weather is warmer and enjoy an ice-cold, fruity Frescato instead.

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  1. Costa Coffee
  2. Shop! Mary Portas at four of the big coffee shop chains – Telegraph

Tortilla wraps are such a versatile ingredient making for a convenient eating treat at any time.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner can all be serviced by this humble sandwich wrap.  Its versatility knows no bounds as from store-cupboard staples to finest steak can all be used to great effect.  In all the recipes listed below, warm your wraps first using your preferred method, either in a microwave or in tin-foil in the oven.

One of the more well-known uses of a tortilla wrap.
Chicken breast, cut into thin strips.
1 red pepper, sliced thinly.
1 green pepper, sliced thinly.
1 onion, sliced
Fajita spice mix (chilli powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper)
Tortilla wraps

To garnish
Shredded crispy lettuce
Grated cheese
Hot or mild salsa
Sour Cream

1. Prepare all the garnish ingredients so they can be added quickly once the dish is cooked.
2. Saute the peppers and onions in a hot wok or pan then put to one side.
3. Saute the chicken then add the fajita spices.
4. Add the peppers and onions back into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.
5. Arrange onto the wrap with the lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream over the top.

A tasty wrap that doesn’t contain any meat.
1 Whole Red Pepper per portion
Tortilla wraps

To garnish:
Chilli lime salsa (chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, chilli powder, lime juice and seasoning)
Tin of refried beans
Shredded crispy lettuce
Sour cream

1. Pre-heat the grill to the highest setting and put the pepper underneath
2. Meanwhile, prepare all the garnish ingredients
3. Keep turning the pepper until it is blackened all over.
4. Put into a plastic bag for 5 minutes then carefully remove the black skin.  Don’t wash it under a tap as that will remove a lot of the char-grilled flavour.
5. Cut down one side, remove the seeds then spread over the tortilla wrap.
6. Add all the garnish ingredients in the middle and wrap as normal.

A great way of using up leftover chilli beef from the night before.
Cooked beef chilli

To garnish:
Sour cream.
1. Simply reheat the chilli and pile into a tortilla wrap with all the garnishes..

If you’re short on time, use shop-bought crispy chicken strips that are cooked in the oven but these home-made ones are well worth the effort.
Chicken breast, cut into thin strips.  One chicken breast will serve two people.
Bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of milk
Cooking oil

To garnish:
Sweetcorn relish
Shredded crispy lettuce

1. Toss the sliced chicken breast in seasoned flour then dunk into a bowl with the egg and milk.
2. Add approximately 1/2 inch of oil to a large pan on a medium high heat.  Take extra when doing this.
3. Dip the chicken strips in the breadcrumbs then fry in batches until the crumbs are golden brown.
4. Once cooked, allow the chicken strips to drain on some kitchen paper and keep warm in a pre-warmed oven.
5. Arrange on the wrap with the relish and salad sprinkled liberally over.

– Combine some pounded crackers in with the bread crumbs for an even crispier coating.
– Double-dip the chicken by coating in egg, then crumbs, back into the egg and finally more crumbs for a really crispy coating.
– By cutting the chicken into thin strips, it cooks very quickly.  Just open one up before serving to make sure it is cooked through.  You don’t want any pink.

A nice spin on a classic dish and great for picnics.
Feta cheese
Ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly
Cucumber, sliced thinly
Olive tapenade (or just use pitted and chopped whole olives)
Herb oil (crush basil, parsley and oregano in a pestle and mortar.  Add some olive oil, a little red wine vinegar and seasoning)

1. Spread the olive tapenade paste over the tortilla wrap then simply arrange all the other ingredients over the top.
2. Dress liberally with the herb oil.

An all-time classic re-invented in a wrap.
Cooked chicken breast
Cooked crispy bacon
Shredded crispy lettuce
Tomato, sliced thinly

1. Spread the mayo over the tortilla wrap then arrange all the ingredients over the top.
2. Add a little cracked black pepper.

Image Credit


  1. Sandwich Wraps and Roll-Up Recipes –
  2. Wrap Sandwich Recipes |

This is my review of Taco Bell’s newest menu addition, the Fiesta Platter. It comes in three different varieties with the same side dishes but different main courses. The varieties include the Grilled Stuft Burrito, Ranchero Chicken Soft Tacos, and Grilled Steak Soft Tacos, which I review below.

First, here is the exact makeup of the Grilled Steak Soft Tacos Fiesta Platter: Grilled Steak Soft Tacos, Two Grilled Steak Soft Tacos with grilled carne asada steak, seasoned rice, hearty beans topped with melted cheese, tortilla chips, and tangy chunky salsa.

Being a fan of Taco Bell, when I first heard about this new Taco Bell menu, I wanted to buy it right away. I like the idea of combo food items and this sounded fun.

Let me proceed with an item by item review.

The platter comes in a sturdy, lack plastic tray with a clear, white plastic lid.

The two Grilled Steak Soft Tacos with grilled carne asada steak are made up of flour tortilla, steak, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and creamy lime sauce. They taste good but my main issue is with the tortilla shells. The shells are supposed to be grilled but they seem almost like regular ungrilled shells. I saw no grill lines. The other problem is that the shells are only half filled. I dislike plain tortilla shells without filling. I notice the same thing with their quesadillas but never with their tacos or burritos. Maybe the Taco Bell worker just didn’t like me this day.

Overall, the Grilled Steak Soft Tacos were good. Two of them are great for people when they’re extra hungry.

A funny aside is that carne asada means grilled meat, so grilled carne asada steak means grilled grilled meat steak. I guess Taco Bell is trying to make their meat sound gourmet.

I’ve eaten Taco Bell seasoned rice before and I find it okay albeit a little dry. I add hot sauce and it tastes better.

As part of the platter, the rice is the exact opposite of what it usually tastes like separately. Here it tastes soggy and mushy, like paste. The flavor is not bad but the mush texture leaves a lot to be desired.

I’ve eaten Taco Bell beans before and I find it pretty good; second to their potatoes. I add hot sauce and it tastes even better.

As part of the platter, it tastes like it usually does, making this one of my favorite parts of the whole combo. It certainly doesn’t look pretty but it tastes better than it looks. I do think it needs more cheese though.

I’ve eaten Taco Bell tortilla chips before as part of their Nachos Bellgrande and I find them pretty good.

As part of the platter, I really dislike these tortilla chips. They have almost no flavor; they taste like cardboard. I never tasted them on their own before, so I like them as part of a menu item (like Nachos Bellgrande) because the cheese, beans, and sauces mask the bland, flavorless taste of their low-quality chips. When you look at a chip itself, you see nothing but a smooth, off-white colored chip without any grains to be seen. Better tortilla chips, like Tostitos, have obvious dark specks from the corn and a roughage to it that you can feel with your mouth and tongue. These are akin to Pringles but without the flavor.

Another thing that I found annoying is who eats tacos with a side dish of tortilla chips? It’s like pizza with breadsticks. Others might like it but it just perplexes me.

I have never tried any of Taco Bell salsa before, as it’s available in so few Taco Bell menu items. I believe that it’s only sold with their salads. After eating it, I can see why!

This is the worst salsa I’ve ever eaten. I really mean it. The salsa is mostly tomatoes. I mostly taste tomatoes and the seasoning. It might be cilantro. Whatever it is, it’s overpowering and just leaves a foul taste in my mouth. Yuck! This is definitely my least favorite part of this combo.

In summary, the Taco Bell Fiesta Platter gets a bad review from me. I give it a 2 out of 5 rating. The components all seem to taste better as individual items. Maybe the plastic tray lid causes condensation, which makes the food soggy.

I could not eat the whole platter in one sitting. I ate the two tacos and about half of all of the side dishes. I just didn’t know how to fit the tortilla chips into my eating experience. I ate the rest later.

I got tons of hot sauce packets but went with my chipotle hot pepper sauce instead. It really made everything taste better. Taco Bell should add this to their condiments.

A word on the other varieties. The Grilled Steak Soft Tacos and Ranchero Chicken Soft Tacos make sense with their main courses but the Grilled Stuft Burrito makes little sense. The Grilled Stuft Burrito is filled with ground beef, beans, rice, three cheeses, pepperjack sauce, and salsa, which is almost exactly the same as the side dishes. Who wants to eat everything in the burritos and then the same items that make up the burrito? I don’t, so I went with steak tacos.

Image Credit


  1. Around the World: Taco Bell's Fiesta Platters Survive in the …
  2. Super Bowl Commercial 2008 – Taco Bell: "Fiesta Platters" – YouTube

Be realistic about what you can afford. Plan your menu and make a budget-and stick to it as closely as possible. Remember to figure in “non-seen” ingredient expenses like extra sugar, flour, butter or margarine and the like. The following tips also will help.

1. Watch sales for several weeks ahead for main ingredients. Turkey, ham, sugar, flour, pumpkin and the like tend to go on sale nearest the holiday, but things like soda and other grocery items sometimes can be found weeks ahead at good prices. This spreads out the cost of the feast and keeps prices down. Some canned items can be purchased months ahead. Watch close-out shelves (do check expiration dates) for pumpkin, canned cranberries if you use them, canned milk, nut bread mixes, etc.

2. Use coupons and compare store ads. Compare coupon brand prices to other acceptable brands; sometimes, it’s cheaper not to use the coupon. And don’t drive six miles to save .10 a pound on a turkey-unless that store also offers savings on much of your other grocery list, but you often can save more than enough to cover driving expenses by shopping at more than one store, especially if they are in the neighborhood. Watch for “in-store” specials, too. Just don’t allow yourself to impulse buy even cheap items you don’t need.

3. When guests say, “What can I bring?” tell them. For one thing, Aunt Mamie may make the best cranberry salad in the world. For another, a large, good cranberry salad isn’t cheap to make. Likewise, someone else may bake wonderful pumpkin bread…or pies. If the guest is a new one, just suggest bringing a salad, a dessert, dinner rolls or whatever. Even fresh fruit is a dessert option for a total non-cook. So are snack items and dips for appetizers. Don’t hesitate to say, “Please let me know what you decide so there won’t be duplicates.” Everyone makes green bean casserole, and I once attended a Thanksgiving dinner where four of them showed up. Depending on the size of gathering you host, you could (ideally) end up providing the main dish, stuffing if it is turkey, potatoes and gravy. Makes the work a whole lot easier, as well as saving money. I usually also make the cranberry salad because I like mine, plus I stock extra rolls, microwaveable appetizers and a few extra cans of vegetables for quick heating in case someone can’t come at the last minute and one part of the menu suddenly is blank. Usually these items aren’t needed and are available for family use later.

4. Plan ahead for holiday decorations! Buy anything non-food the day or week after the holiday for next year. When you do buy something, buy quality so you can use and re-use it. I don’t even remember when I bought my “turkey” platter, but I know it was at an after Christmas sale. I have a Christmas tablecloth of likewise “vintage” origin, Pilgrim figurines for Thanksgiving that I was given at least twenty years ago, the “Santa” rug a daughter needle-pointed when she was in high school, countless Christmas decorations that family members miss and complain about on years when I do try something different. Unless you are addicted to “cute,” skip holiday napkins (other than maybe adding linen ones at post-holiday savings). A nicely set table with crystal or just nice, clear glasses looks just as festive if you have a holiday themed centerpiece. The same with special Christmas or Thanksgiving plates, silverware and the like. Money spent on plastic is a one-use and wasted-dollars event; buying long-use dinnerware that you use once a year might be nice, but only if you (a) have a really good budget and (b) have a lost of storage space. China or nice dinner plates always look festive when a table is set with love.

If you are just starting out with holiday meals and have to have “something” new before the holiday, go for one noticeable floral decoration. Then shop after the holiday for next year. One good item a year will have that storage space chock-full sooner than you think. And do keep watching close-out shelves and baskets throughout the year. I’ve found nice Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving items in July, usually at prices even lower than right after the specific holiday.

The goal, I think, should be on making your home warm and friendly, not necessarily impressive. And keep your main budget focused on the food. You’ll save a bundle even if you end up feasting twenty guests. And do remember that most holiday meals leave the host or hostess with a refrigerator packed with leftovers even if you parcel some out to departing guests. Your “post” holiday budget goes down and that helps recoup some of the expense.

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  1. 6 Ways to Save Money on Holiday Meals | My Money | US News
  2. 9 Holiday Savings Tips – Practical Money Skills

– Nobby’s Nuts –

I love dry roasted peanuts! To me they are the perfect partner to beer or lager. They go hand in hand with a drink 100%. It’s very much a British thing. Beer, and a packet of peanuts! You can even get heated, roasted peanuts now from a machine on the bar in many pubs. These warm Sahara nuts are gorgeous. Roasted peanuts are a great little ‘impulse buy’, as the trade calls it; an afterthought; a perfect accompaniment to go with your beer, and they are placed on view above the bottled beers in the pub, to catch your eye when you are purchasing your drink.~

Nobby’s nuts contain salt, and they are cleverly sold at pubs, and clubs, alongside the crisps, beef jerky, and pork scratchings. The eating of these salted treats ensure the need for you to replenish your drink at frequent intervals to quench your thirst. These nuts are full of dry roasted salty flavouring, and they are a most popular snack to accompany the traditional pint of beer, or lager. The quality and taste of Nobby’s nuts is unsurpassed, and undeniably very popular in the land of Oz, and now over here in Great Britain also. Nobby’s nuts have been available in Australia for about fifty years, and only hit our shelves in the Millenium. They are the perfect appetiser to hand out when entertaining friends, or when having a beer at the pub with your mates. They are a great snack to serve up at a party. In fact they are the ideal accompaniment to a glass or bottle of beer, whether in the pub, out and about, or at home.~

The marketing campaign for Nobby’s nuts was an interesting one. It’s main selling strategy was to aim it at the male market, ages 17-34. which make up roughly a quarter of the population in the UK, and the people most likely to be found in pubs according to the polls. I seem to remember the advertising slogan being that Nobby’s nuts were a “Bloke snack”, which was a pretty sexist statement really, and not at all pc. Nobby’s nuts featured a huge marketing campaign starring Noddy Holder, popular lead singer of the glam rock band Slade, and featuring the sexually suggestive ‘tag’ “Nibble Nobby’s Nuts”… “Nobby’s… Not Noddy’s!” I think the advert went a long way in promoting the Nobby’s brand, and was a great success in capturing the imagination of the consumer, and consolidating the future of the nuts. Nobby’s nuts made their first appearance in the UK in the year 2000., and they are manufactured by Walkers under license. Nobby’s is the largest producer of pre-packaged nuts in Australia.~

Nobby’s peanuts are available in two types. There is a dry roasted peanut, or a crispy shell flavour coated peanut. They are available in sweet chilli, classic dry roasted, or coated smoked bacon flavour. I have got the Sweet Chilli flavour, and the Classic dry roasted peanut flavour to try. The dry roasted packet has NOBBY’S NUTS written in large writing across the front, inside a bright yellow flash, beside a picture of hills, and a cactus, and also displaying a picture of three dry roasted peanuts, and the contents weight is 50g. – The Sweet Chilli flavour coated peanuts has the same writing. The only differences is that the Chilli flavour has a red flame across the packet, and the weight contents is 40g. To the reverse of the packet you have the ingredients, Nutritional information, and daily guideline amounts. There is also a fun section called ‘That’s nuts!’ Where they put a random bit of information.

The fact on my packet was: That Antarctica is actually the largest desert in the world! –
The nuts come in a long foil lined packet, with an inner, thick plastic lining., which has a tearing strip to the side. I actually spent ages try to rip open the packet, even trying to tear an edge away with my teeth, but the packaging wouldn’t give an inch, until I spotted the small easy tear strip, and then I opened it with ease. So I can say they were extremely well sealed, and no danger of the packet becoming pierced or damaged. They are very well protected, and you can be assured that the nuts will reach you in tip top condition, and not be all broken up, or crushed, and in the case of the coated nuts, I was amazed that none of the shell coating had been damaged, and it was still perfectly intact upon the nut. Also nice to know the packet is recyclable.~

– The Aroma –
Once inside the packet of Classic peanuts, I inhale the aroma, and the smell is gorgeous, it smells just like peanut butter, which I love. It has that creamy smell that you get when breathing in the smell from the peanut butter jar. It is a rich peanut smell, salty, and creamy. The peanuts smell of a very good quality, and Nobby’s use 95% peanut, so I presume these are in fact, of a good quality. I can also smell the dry roasted flavouring. The combination of the nut, salt, and flavouring, is very inviting, and is stimulating my taste buds. The nuts are pale brown, with darker flecks of the seasoning on the top. The Sweet chilli flavour has a very intoxicating aroma, and the nuts have a smell of sweet chilli, and paprika, and other various spices, all mixed up to create a very appealing smell to titillate my taste buds. The aroma has a ‘bite’ to it, and I think these nuts may be quite hot, and spicy.~

– The Taste –
Well, the taste of the dry roasted peanut is salty and very crunchy, and with the dry roast flavouring coming through when bitten down in the mouth. The salt is not too strong, as can be the case in many packaged nuts on the market these days. Nobby’s nuts are nice and fresh. with a salty, savoury, flavouring, coating the peanut. They are very more’ish, as this type of snack is. They are quite delicious, one of the nicest dry roasted peanuts I have had actually. The size of the peanuts is just right. They are not too large, just a nice size for the mouth. Some of the nuts are whole, and some are in halves. The size of the packet is quite a good size at 50g, and for 0.55p, I feel it is very good value for the size of the packet, and there were quite a lot of nuts in there. I didn’t count them, as I was too busy eating them. They really are just so more’ish!

The Chilli flavour coated peanuts are really nice. I love the chilli taste, and also the thin, crisp, oval shell coating around the nut dusted with the red paprika, and orange chilli flavouring. The coating is a little like skips in taste, and texture, only a little thicker, and the shell is a lovely compliment to the dry roasted peanut. When you bite through the outer casing shell, it almost melts in your mouth, and fills your palate with the hot, sweet chilli, and paprika taste. The taste of chilli had a nice after kick to it, and stayed in my mouth for a while, after I had finished the nut. When crunching the peanut, the taste is delicious with the mixture of these flavours, and textures, and these are a lovely snack to be had with a refreshing drink. This variety of the coated nut is quite hot, though not over poweringly so, and I thought both the classic peanut, and chilli coated flavour were delicious, though I think overall I preffered the Chilli flavour, as I personally found it a bit more interesting. ~

– Benefits of peanuts –

Nuts are good for you! This is common knowledge, and peanuts are a protein food which have many beneficial properties. Eating nuts is known to reduce cardiovascular disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Peanuts also contain a chemical known for it’s anti-aging benefits, and they are a rich source of coenzyme Q10, which is a natural anti-oxident . So it seems with all the evidence on offer that nuts are a food that we can eat safe in the knowledge, that they are actually doing us some good. Just so long as the salt levels contained, are of an acceptable level~

– Nut dangers –

Peanut allergy is quite common in young children. Of course anyone with a nut allergy, or sensitivity should avoid any nut at all costs, and it is stated on the packet that the Nobby’s product has been made in a factory that uses other types of nut ingredients. Even touching the product, or breathing the dust from a nut can be fatal for a sufferer of anaphylactic shock. So we do have to be extremely careful when coming into contact with someone who suffers from this medical condition, and be mindful not to even open any packet containing a nut product. Also nuts are not to be given to young children. They are dangerous to them as a choking hazard.~

– My Opinion –

I thought Nobby’s nuts were really nice. I’ve yet to try the smoked bacon coated dry roasted peanuts. But the classic peanut, and the dry roasted sweet chilli coated peanut variety were both very tasty, and quite filling. I liked the fact that not too much salt was used. Some dry roasted peanuts use far too much salt on their products. Nobby’s nuts had the balance just right in the flavourings they used, without killing the taste of the actual peanut itself. The nuts didn’t leave me thirsty after eating them, just reinforcing the fact, that the balance of salt content was spot on. They are a very good quality peanut which had a lot of natural flavour. The nuts are not greasy, and did not leave my fingers feeling so after I had finished off the pack. These nuts are also suitable for vegetarians. The packaging was of a very good strength ensuring no damage to the product. The size of the pack was very adequate, and it contained quite a few peanuts. The dusting of the flavourings used upon the nut were gorgeous; highly delicious, and the chilli smell didn’t linger upon my breath for too long. I liked the fact that the flavouring used didn’t taste artificial, but instead tasted quite natural.

Nobby’s nuts are a perfect accompaniment to have with a drink, and can be found in many a nightclub, and pub.Salty snacks means more drinks sold, and they serve to soak up the alcohol consumed also.Nobbys also do a ‘Party Pack’ and this size is ideal as the perfect party size. They are also to be found in most off licenses, and Public houses, alongside the crisps, and pork scratchings. I couldn’t stop eating them once I had started the packet. They were delicious, and I will most definitely be buying them again, and also I will be wholeheartedly recommending them to you. ~

Nobby’s Nuts

Available flavours.
Dry Roasted,
Coated Smoked Bacon
Coated Sweet Chilli

Each pack contains

Calories: 214
Sugars: 2.0g
Fat: 13.6g
Saturates: 3,6g
Salt: 1.4g

Nobby’s also do

Nobby’s crisps,
Nobbys pork crackle
Nobbys beef jerky.

Image Credit


  1. Beer Nuts
  2. Nobby's Nuts Reviews –

“Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him.”
– Irish Proverb

This says all about Irishmen and their drinking habits. Irishmen are friendly people who love to laugh and drink. Music and dancing are part of their lives. And so are the public houses or the pubs. They always try to be good to one another and share the joys and losses with a drink and glasses raised high. They are oppressed over many times, invaded and defeated; still they drink like no other in the world.

Ireland is famous for producing some of the finest beer and whisky. Therefore it is no real wonder that Irishmen love a drink this much. They spend more money than any other nation in Europe upon their drinks. How all these drinking habits did begun? Why we always see a drunken Irishmen singing with over joy whenever we think of Irish people?


Media has such a lasting impression on the modern societies. So can this all be just the creation of media? It may have some truth if the answer is yes. When the Irishmen migrated to America with the great Irish famine in the 19th century, not many Americans were willing to give them jobs. They were discriminated, humiliated and left out of anything but hard labor. The image of an Irishmen was a drunken man ready to make a fight. So the drunken Irishman was the picture given to the world.

To the Irish Diaspora and also the Irish people in Ireland this all looked fine. They always loved to be called a drunken nation. They loved to be called nothing more. Hardly there was any lie in saying so. They always loved music and drinks. The public houses or the pubs provided ample amount of both. An Irish community may well thrive with no church but not without a pub. How much they needed their pubs, they even built Irish pubs wherever they went over the globe.


Irish pub is the simple most important symbol of the Irish love for drinking. They always gathered in to the pub after a hard day of work and drank with glasses raised high. They laughed with each other, shared their gossips as well as the smile and tear. There was nothing better for an Irishman than hanging around in a pub. They loved their simple but cheerful life. Even in the most desperate times their laughter could not be taken away from them.

Nowadays Irish pubs can be seen in many places outside the shores of Ireland. Wherever the Irish settled they built their pubs and other cultures too have found how entertaining they are. The many drinks like the famous Irish coffee are enjoyed all over the world. The Irish coffee shows us how well Irishmen can add alcohol to everything they eat and drink. They are either a nation of alcoholics or they are too merry that they can never put their glasses aside, no one will ever tell for certain.


Ireland has a rich culture starting with the Celtic people and a few cultures even before that. But the Normans as well as the Vikings were also important in shaping up her history. Then came the British and for many years it was ruled under English crown. Did any of these invaders have anything to do with their drinking? Irishmen, with the Viking blood running in their veins, were always formidable worriers and never feared the fight or the consequences it brought. Nevertheless they were also religious as this quote may show.

“When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to Heaven. So, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven.”

Perhaps the Irish never thought there was no better way to pleas the God than to live as merry as possible upon earth. Perhaps they were correct of it too.


Irishmen were always heavy drinkers. But they never could escape the downfalls of heavy alcohol consumption. After all, they too were human. So now that more and more Irishmen are thinking about moderate alcohol consumption just to live a little bit longer. Even the government is taking some strong action to prohibit advertising that could have otherwise masked the health problems of drinking too much alcohol.

So that the Irishmen toast to one another;

“Here’s to me, and here’s to you,
And here’s to love and laughter ,
I’ll be true as long as you,
And not one moment after.”

They are the lovely people you can always find. They hide nothing from even the strangers. They laugh and toast and sing for your health. And they always do that with a drink in their hands. Finally here are some words of Barry McCaffrey who said;

“When I get a very generous introduction like that I explain that I’m emotionally moved, but on the other hand I’m Irish and the Irish are very emotionally moved. My mother is Irish and she cries during beer commercials.”

It says it all. You can dance, you can sing, you can play and you can win. But one will never be as Irish as Irish truly are if they do not drink as much as the Irish do.

Image Credit


  1. Study Examines Why Heavy Drinking Is So Popular in Irish Culture
  2. Why do Irish people drink a lot? | Addiction Blog

Several reasons come to mind when we  ask ourselves, or try to explain to our children, our neighbors, and others, why organic food has health benefits far above that of non-organic food. Nutrition naturally heads the list, less toxins from pesticides is next, improvements to the soil is third and fourth could be, getting back to the future and growing our produce in the manner in which it was meant to be grown. These arguments are not new and we hear them all the time, but a good portion of the grocery shoppers remain  unconvinced.

They don’t exactly disagree, but are not quite ready to give up purchasing a more alive looking bunch of carrots, as on example, over one marked organic that seems slightly wilted. How can that be changed? Grow food in  in backyard gardens and in other well maintained gardens that use no pesticide, no artificial fertilizer and have been ground under the most possible natural conditions. No crop dusting planes flying overhead spraying for bugs, nothing being added from commercially purchased gallon jugs containing pesticides and other poisons designed to kill insects. Growing gardens this way is naturally hard work and, when you think it about in health terms, that in itself is a benefit, a muscle building, fat reducing, sweat producing exercise health benefit.

Benefit 1: Nutrition

There is more nutrition in organically grown food – both vegetable and animal – because it often is eaten sooner while the vitamins and minerals are still near one hundred percent capacity. The longer away from harvesting, the less potent the vitamins and minerals; the more near the natural state the food is when eaten, the more nutrient loaded the vegetable is. It makes sense to understand  a vegetable that has been grown with all its needs met, will be filled to capacity with vitamins and minerals. And it makes more sense to eat it in its purer state than to smother it with calorie laded sauces and and spices.

Animals grown for food will be more nutritious if grown in a more natural environment. Cattle that have been allowed to graze in organically grown grass pastureland, that have not received antibiotics, and have been carefully tended, will produce more nutrition, pound for pound, than those fenced in with barely enough space to swish their tails. Why then do they not find a more ready market? The economy is not yet able to sustain this type of food production. It is inching toward that now that there is so much useless soil around due to over fertilization and chemical poisons that render it useless for farming and gardening.

Benefit 2: Less toxins from pesticides

Change comes about slowly. People cannot suddenly wake up one morning and decide to change the world of food growing immediately. They can only attempt to change the way they, as an individual, think about the way their food should be grown. When enough individuals change their habits, then the growers of mass produced food will change their ways to meet the demand. Nature has ways of showing better ways of sustenance and when health resulting in less toxins in pesticides becomes evident, then organically grown food will have come into its own.

Benefit 3: Improvement to the soil

Growing food organically does not rid the soil of its nutrients, it adds them. The refuse, shells, hay, grass clippings, corn shucks, vegetable peeling, egg shells, are all soil additives that keep improving the soil and making it more vibrant and vitamin and mineral rich. In time, a garden plot that is tended with care with become so rich in nutrients, that it may need little else in the way of fertilizers. When these are needed, organic is best. They can be purchased commercially and labeled as such, or can be put together by astute gardeners who know how to treat their soils. Overall, this is probably the best advantage to growing organic foods. Why? Its effects last longer and they keep multiplying. Give a bunch of earthworms a plot of soil and stand back and watch them take over!

Benefit 4: The future

The future need be a turnaround. When someone says, back to the future, they mean the way the world was meant to be. Or, more correctly, the way it was before mankind started polluting it. But the earth and the soil is for the inhabitants and that includes people, the most upright of the animals. Given time, they will see that it is best to grow food organically even if that means lowering their sights to what is sustainable and to accepting each day’s goodness – and badness and moving on with hope for better health benefits tomorrow.

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  1. Organic food
  2. Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? – Mayo Clinic