Simple Food Decorating Tips for the Kitchen Newbie

Taste does not depend on the palate alone; rather, it is a combination of different sensory delights. Aroma and visual effects play a significant role in how good food tastes, so even the most delicious dishes could end up tasting like sawdust if they don’t smell and look enticing. So as a new entrant to the kitchen, your focus should not just be on the recipe books, but also on how the food can be served so it begs to be eaten or, on a lighter note, looks too good to be eaten. If you’re stumped for garnishing ideas that are simple yet effective, keep reading:

  • Learn the basic cuts: Before you enter the kitchen with the intent of preparing food, you must know how to wield a knife effectively. This is not just for safety reasons, but also for aesthetic purposes – when you know just how to cut vegetables and fruits so they can be used to decorate food, you’re definitely going to be accepted as a good, if not great cook. It’s not that hard to dice fruits and veggies into shapes that serve as garnishes – very often, it involves removing the seeds and other innards, dicing the fruit or veggie into strips or slices, or just peeling them and placing them in a variety of shapes. If you have an eye for design, you cannot go wrong with the decoration aspect, food or otherwise.
  • Bright colors are always appealing: For foods like salads and veggie dishes, use the brightest colored vegetables to garnish your plate. In general, use the ingredients that are already in your dish so the garnish complements the food that it’s decorating. Remember to wash and clean the vegetables and fruits you’re using for garnish, even if they’re not going to be eaten. They could contaminate the food and cause food poisoning.
  • Remove things that could alter the taste of the dish: When you garnish with lemon or oranges, remember to deseed them so that they don’t accidentally get into the food. Also, avoid using foods that change color when exposed to air (like apples) or wilt over a period of time if you’re not going to be serving the food immediately. Some foods have odd smells, so don’t use them as garnishes or they could pollute the aroma of your dish; and do remember not to clutter up the plate with more garnish than food.
  • Use edible garnish: Although plastic flowers and artificial items look good and keep forever, it’s best to use edible items as garnish. Avoid artificial colors and agents even though they heighten the visual appeal of food.
  • Invest in the equipment: For garnishing that looks professional, buy the right knives, peelers and other tools that help you get those curls and slices just right. Also remember to serve the food on plates and dishes that look good and complement the color of the food you’re serving and the garnish that decorates it.

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5 Ways Spirituality Can Boost Wellness

It’s a diverse world we live in, one that is filled with a number of religions and Gods. Some religions like Buddhism are a way of life, others like Christianity and Islam believe in the teachings of one God, while yet others like Hinduism have a pantheon of Gods and rituals. And then there are the atheists and agnostics as well, the ones who believe that there is no God or spiritual being who is responsible for our destiny. But spirituality is something that is innate in each of us; it is godly and even goes beyond God because even non-believers can be spiritual. To define it in a nutshell, spirituality is the voice of your conscience, that tiny nudge from inside that tells you if you’re doing right or wrong.

So how do you use spirituality to boost your wellness quotient, that instant feeling when you wake up in the morning that tells you all is well with your world?

  • Listen to your conscience: In short, don’t do anything that makes you feel guilty after it’s done. If you knowingly do something wrong, your conscience is going to prick you continuously until you apologize for your mistake or seek amends in an alternative way.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: This sounds like something from the Bible, but it applies to practical life very well. If you don’t like being lied to or cheated, don’t do the same to other people. If you want respect and admiration, be prepared to offer them yourself. In general, people respond to the way you treat them, and treat you accordingly.
  • Expect very little: I always teach my children that expectation is the root cause of disappointment. When you expect other people to make you happy or relieve your sadness, you’re only building a dependence that could become addictive and unhealthy. Instead, trust your own mind and heart and find ways to build your self-esteem and confidence without looking to other people to boost them for you.
  • Give in to your loved ones: No man is an island, and the relationships we form as we go through life say a lot about us. When you value your loved ones and treat them well, you forge deeper and more emotional bonds with them. And you’re not going to lose anything when you give in to them once in a while instead of getting your way all the time. Relationships are all about tolerance and understanding, not who’s right or wrong.
  • Let go of everything that’s unhealthy: It may be a relationship that is going nowhere; it could be the food that you gorge on; or it could be a lifestyle that is hedonistic – whatever it is that is unhealthy and causes stress, it’s best you give it up for your own good. It will be difficult at first, but when you strive hard and hold on to your willpower and self-control, you’ll be very satisfied that you beat a personal demon.

Getting to know your spiritual side and becoming more in tune with it helps you become a better person, someone with fewer base emotions and more good ones.

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Enlightening Reads: The Top 20 Tarot Card Blogs

Do you want to see into your future? Tarot cards are often categorized as something that only few can wield, but the truth is, anyone can learn to read tarot cards. After all, it’s the cards that are doing all of the work when it comes to predicting the future. Learn everything you need to know about the art of reading tarot cards from these top tarot card blogs.

Top Tarot Card Blogs

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Check out these tarot card blogs, some penned by professionals, which will help you hone your tarot card reading skills.


    1. Mary Greer This is one of the best tarot blogs on the web. The writer goes into massive depth over tarot card readings and the history of tarot cards. There’s almost all of the information you need to know at this site.

    2. Discover the Meaning of Tarot At this site you’ll pick up on the basics of reading tarot cards and get a few history lessons in-between.

    3. Biddy Tarot This blog thoroughly explains what each card means, making it a must-read for those who are just exploring the subject. It also gives you a list of the top 10 cards that mean love or the end of it.

    4. Tarot Eon This blog no longer updates, but it’s chock full of information for those learning the basics or wanting to take their skills from beginner to advanced. There’s also a forum where you can discuss tarot readings with other members.

    5. Tarot Cards At this site you’ll learn how to read tarot cards and decipher what the cards mean when a person is at a certain stage in their life. It’s a fun blog for those who just want an overview of how tarot readings work.

    6. Santeria Religion 101 This blog isn’t only about tarot readings, but has a substantial amount of content over how to read cards and learn to interpret cards that can mean multiple things, depending on where a person is in their life.

    7. Tarot Elements At this site you’ll find a crash course in each tarot card and the many possibilities each hold. It’s an easy-to-follow site that won’t be hard for the novice to understand.

    8. Alchemy Website – The Artwork of Modern Tarot This blog explores the artwork of tarot cards, displaying countless versions collected from all over the world.

    9. Gaian Soul This blog is all about how tarot cards effect our spirituality and how we can use them as a guide when we’re going through a rough patch in life. The blogger also has brief interview with professional tarot card readers on why they love to read for people.

    10. Practical Tarot Readings This tarot card reader is interested in making the cards work with the things you’re going through in life. It’s a great blog for those who want an overview of tarot card readings.

    11. Tarot Magic Adventures This site explains tarot in relations to other things like astrology and numerology. The site also regularly goes over the tarot cards of big names like President Obama.

    12. Corrine Kenner This site talks about the various spiritual components of tarot and also has podcasts from the writer’s interviews with blog radio shows.

    13. Llewellyn Unbound This site has livestream links for interviews with some of the biggest names in spirituality and tarot card readings. There’s also in-depth info over each card.

    14. Learn Tarot If you’re interested in learning your fate on your own watch, taking the time to learn tarot card readings is for you.

    15. Trionfi This tarot site is perfect for those who want to learn about the cards without getting confused. The content is organized and in-depth enough that you takeaway what you need to know without becoming overwhelmed.


Tarot Card Resources

Learn more about what’s in the cards from these sites that will show you the ropes of reading tarot cards

    16. Living in Season This site delves into the spirituality aspect of reading tarot cards and gives an in-depth explanation about the possibilities of each card.

    17. New Moon Journal This site talks about tarot cards and methods of improving your perception of reality and taking the steps to design your destiny.

    18. Owl’s Daughter You’ll become obsessed with this blog which gives you the background story on tarot and how the images on the cards came to be.

    19. Lunaea Weatherstone’s Blogue This blog touches on the spiritual part of tarot readings and enhancing your own life with meditation and deep thinking.

    20. Kris Waldherr This blogger shows you how to enhance your spirituality with tarot card readings, creative drawing and freethinking that will allow your mind and soul to relax and get in tune with each other.

Take your time when learning how to read tarot cards. It isn’t a process you want to rush through and makes a great hobby for those who love exploring a niche topic at length.

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How Does Stress Cause Illness?

There’s no doubting the fact that stress leads to illness and disease – from a simple headache to the more serious migraine, from a slight sense of queasiness to full-blown stomach ulcers, from mild discomfort to a major heart attack, stress can cause a variety of disorders and diseases. It’s called transduction, this translation of emotional distress to physiological change to physical symptom, and it’s probably the biggest cause of disease and illness today.

So why and how does stress lead to illness?

  • Stress raises the levels of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and boosts nervous system activity; this in turn affects your health and leads to further anxiety and more stress.
  • Stress affects your immune system, weakens it, and so leaves you prone to common colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses and syndromes.
  • Stress has been linked to viral illnesses and even diseases like cancer.
  • Stress affects your metabolism adversely and leads to excessive weight gain or loss.
  • It affects hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone and plays havoc with the monthly menstrual cycles of women.
  • Stress also affects brain neurotransmitters and causes loneliness, depression and other mental disorders.
  • It affects the gastrointestinal system and leads to high acidity and the formation of ulcers and other stomach disorders.
  • Stress raises the level of toxins in your blood and causes skin diseases and conditions like acne.
  • Prolonged stress can lead to heart attacks and strokes that affect the quality of your life and even cause death.
  • Stress causes a buildup of pressure which leads to headaches and migraines.

All stress is not bad; in fact, a small amount of it at the right time is good. For example, when you feel a surge of adrenaline before a competition, it gives you the edge and helps you perform better; when you feel nervous before an interview and are on tenterhooks, you tend to be more aware of yourself and so perform better; and when you’re threatened in any way, the surge of hormones that rushes through your system raises your self-protective instincts and keeps you from harm and danger – it gives you more strength and more speed than you possess under normal circumstances and is very often the difference between life and death.

The key to making the most of stress is to not let it become a chronic issue in your life by following a simple mantra – there’s no use worrying about the things you cannot control; and if things are within your control, try to be proactive and find a solution instead of worrying and stressing yourself out. Stress can be prevented and minimized by following a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins and exercising regularly.

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