Spending less money on groceries

18 Nov 2021

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Spending less money on groceries

We know it can be hard to buy things not on your list or indulge in some sugary sweets. So, let us take that temptation away and help you eat better. Our chefs only buy the exact ingredients needed for the meals we make.


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Guests with Food - CookinGenie

28 Sep 2021

Cooking for someone with a severe food allergy can be intimidating. And with food allergies on the rise, it’s becoming more common than ever. You want people to enjoy your food. But you would never want to be responsible for giving someone a severe allergic reaction.

Thankfully, with the right knowledge and planning, cooking for guests with severe food allergies doesn’t have to be daunting. It will take some extra steps, but it’s always better safe than sorry. Here are some things to remember before cooking for guests with food allergies.

Know your allergens and their severity

People can have food allergies to just about anything. But food allergies, which are not the same as food sensitivities and intolerances, are not all created equal. Some people have allergies with mild symptoms like hives and a stomachache. Others may have allergies that could cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock, which may include dangerous symptoms like a swelling throat, fainting, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

While all allergies have the potential to be severe, certain ingredients are far more likely to cause extreme reactions. The 8 most common severe allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

It’s important to understand the complexities of these allergies. Someone who’s allergic to milk can’t eat other milk-derived products such as cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. And while some of these allergies sound very similar, they can be different. For example, someone may be allergic to almonds, but not peanuts. Or they may be allergic to shrimp and scallops, but salmon is fine. Whatever the case may be, make sure you talk to your guests and understand exactly what it is they’re allergic to.

Avoid allergens entirely in the meal

Some people tend to think that if a guest has an allergy, they can just leave out that ingredient for that guest and it’ll be fine. While this may be true for some, in cases of severe allergies, the allergic person may not even need to directly consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction. For example, an invisible trace of peanuts that can be spread through the air onto a dish may be enough to trigger an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. So, if possible, it’s best to leave the allergen out of the entire meal, even for those who aren’t allergic to it.

Check labels

Reading labels can be a pain, but it’s an important safeguard against allergic reactions. Sometimes ingredients can have unexpected allergens. For example, Worcester sauce, which is a popular condiment for steak and burgers, often contains anchovy paste, making it unsuitable for people with seafood allergies. But, by the name, look, and flavor it, you would never know, making reading the labels all the more important. By law, common allergens are bolded on the bottom of the label, making it easier to identify them.

Additionally, because just a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction, you need to watch out for any possible exposure. Some foods, like prepackaged cookies, may not actively contain nuts but may be processed in the same facility as almonds. In this case, those cookies would not be safe to serve to someone with a severe nut allergy.

Clean and sanitize the kitchen

Before beginning to cook for someone with a severe food allergy, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the kitchen, including surfaces and utensils you will use. There’s no telling if there may be trace amounts of the allergen floating around the kitchen. So, to be safe, give everything a good cleaning beforehand.

Be prepared for the worst-case scenario

If you take all the proper steps to protect against food allergies, you should have nothing to worry about. But just in case, you should be prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction. Make sure any guests with food allergies are carrying their EpiPen on them. Also ensure that someone in your party knows how to properly inject an EpiPen as the person having the reaction may not be capable of injecting it themselves.

The EpiPen will help immediately ease the symptoms of the reaction. While one person is injecting the victim with the EpiPen, someone else should call 911 to get the victim professional medical aid. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, try to keep the victim calm while lying on their back.

Anaphylactic reactions are scary, but if handled properly, everything should turn out fine. Less than 1% of anaphylactic reactions from food are fatal, according to the national institute of health.

CookinGenie takes allergies seriously

At CookinGenie, the chefs know that protecting customers from allergies is of the utmost importance and they’re experienced in cooking for people with serious allergies. Genies can modify orders to fit around allergies and the support team will work with every customer to craft the best meal.

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birthday party at home - CookinGenie

25 Oct 2021

Birthday parties are fun for young and old. However, having a birthday party at your house for your parents, children, yourself, or other loved ones may seem like a hassle, but you can plan a perfect birthday party for the next big occasion if you follow these tips.  

How To Plan a Birthday Party? 

It can seem overwhelming at first when planning a shindig at your home, even if it’s just a small intimate party for close family and friends. Here are some considerations to keep in mind during the planning process. 

Date and Time – 

One of the first things you should consider is when you should plan to have your party. It can be helpful to get in touch with family and friends you’re thinking of inviting to work on finding the perfect date and time. However, it may not be possible for larger parties to reach out to everyone personally to get everyone’s schedule. In these cases, you may want to send out a survey in an email to get an idea of when most of your guests will be able to attend. Ultimately, you may not be able to find a date and time that works for everyone. 

Tip: Setting an actual time for the start and end of the party can be helpful. Creating a start time makes it easier for everyone to know when the food will be served, while the end time can help you guide stragglers out at the end of the night. 

Guest List

Concurrently to determining the date and time, you’ll also want to consider your guest list. Even with small gatherings that only include family, it can be beneficial to get a headcount of who’s invited and who’s going to be able to attend. You’ll also want to determine if your guests can bring a plus one, which can dramatically impact your guest list. 

Tip: Respectfully request an RSVP by a particular date before your party. You’ll be able to finalize your headcount better for how many people are planning on coming.  

Budget

Another essential factor you’ll need to consider early on in the planning stages is your budget. You’ll want to sit down and think about how much you’re willing to spend for the party and then look at the different options available to you to fit your set budget best. There are some great options at every budget level for planning a birthday party at your home.  

Break down your budget by the different things you want to offer at your party, such as food, party bags, entertainment, decorations, and so on. The great thing about having a party at home is that venue is one of the costs you don’t have to think about when deciding how much you want your budget to be overall. Plus, think outside of the box. For example, you can save by picking up your party decorations at a dollar store while spending more money on wow items like the cake. 

Tip: Get an idea for your budget by multiplying how much you want to spend per person by how many people you’re inviting.   

Theme

Themes are a fun idea for parties of any age. Of course, it can be fun to create a theme on your own, but if you are worried about the celebrated person not liking the theme, you may want to consider letting them help brainstorm a theme.  

Tip: Pinterest can be a great place to get ideas for themes if you’re stuck. 

Invitations 

Once you’ve picked out a theme and got your guest list together, it’s time to create the invitations. You can go old school and pick up paper invites that fit the theme you picked to mail out or hand deliver to your guest list. Paper invitations can be fun to introduce some potential themes, such as a murder mystery birthday party. 

Electronic invites can also be fun, and they are often the easiest way to get an accurate headcount since it’s straightforward to click whether or not the person will attend the party. Some electronic invitation sites even send reminders out to get any straggler RSVPs. 

Tip: Be clear on your invites about the details, such as the RSVP deadline and if guests can have a plus one.  

Food

Food is often the centerpiece of the occasion. No birthday party, or really any kind of party, is complete without food. An option that you should explore is CookinGenie for your next birthday party. It’s easy to set a menu, figure out how many portions you need to order for your guest list, and have a personal chef handle the cooking in your kitchen. Then you have no worries about the food getting cold as the catering company brings it to your home. 

Tip: Explore CookinGenie.com to learn more about the different offerings that you can have for your party. 

Party Bags

Goodie bags are a great touch no matter the age of the person you’re celebrating. Giving out party bags is often associated with children’s birthday parties as a fun way to end the event. A small bag with toys, stickers, candy, and other little items is given out as the kids leave to thank them for coming. The same can be done for adults with a fun token of appreciation that commemorates the event.  

Tip: Have these waiting at the door for when your guests leave.   

After the Party

Yes! You had a successful birthday party for one of your favorite people. Everyone had an excellent time at the party you planned. Once the party is over, that means it’s time to clean and organize. Did you know that by utilizing CookinGenie, you’ll save yourself some time? Not only does your personal chef for the birthday party prepare a fantastic menu, but they also clean up the cooking area, getting it back to how it was before they arrived. That means you can focus on tackling cleaning up elsewhere. 

Check out CookinGenie today while planning your next birthday party or other home events. See what loyal CookinGenie clients already know: affordable personal chefs coming to your home has never been easier. 

 

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ChickenPadThai -CookinGenie

23 Dec 2020

For many people, pad Thai—the delectable sweet, sour, and spicy stir fry of rice noodles, tofu, eggs, veggies, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and an umami-rich sauce that can be found on the menu of virtually every Thai restaurant in the US—is their first taste of Thai cooking.  

So, it’s interesting to learn that the dish that most Americans think of as the quintessential Thai food didn’t even exist until the mid-20th century 

In her book Materializing Thailandnutritional anthropologist Penny Van Esterik says that the dish was born out of prime minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram’s campaign throughout the 1930s and 40s to build a national identity for Thailand. Hoping to create a sense of pride in “Thai-ness” by uniting his country through culture, he changed the nation’s name from Siam to Thailand,  commissioned a new national anthem, banned local languages and dialects from schools, and set out to create a national dish.

(Also ReadTracing Tacos – A Journey Through Time)

Curiously, the main ingredient in the dish that Phibunsongkhramwho was known as Phibunpromoted isn’t even native to Thailand. Stir-fried rice noodles originated in China and were introduced to the kingdom of Siam by Chinese traders in the 1700s. But promoting a stir-fried noodle dish helped solve a serious problem that Phibun’s nation was facing: flooding and war had caused severe rice shortage, and encouraging people to eat noodles helped preserve the country’s precious rice supply.2 Phibun’s administration took the basic recipe for stir fried rice noodles and loaded it up with nutritious bean sprouts, onions, peanuts, eggs, meats, and a tamarind-based sauce, then encouraged vendors to sell the dish from street carts all over the country. It was, Phibun’s son later pointed out, the first fast food in Thailand.3   

Phibun’s efforts to make pad Thai part of his country’s heritage succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Today, it is a staple of the Thai dietBeyond Thailand, it has become a beloved dish worldwide: In 2011, pad Thai ranked number 5 in CNN Go’s reader poll of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods.”4 Wondering how this simple noodle dish became an international culinary superstarMark Padoongpatta professor of Asian and Asian American studies at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and the author of a history of Thai food, says this, too, was driven by the Thai government as an act of culinary diplomacy: in an effort to stimulate exports and encourage tourism, it established the Global Thai Restaurant Company, Ltd. to train chefs and send them around the world to open Thai restaurants5.     

And now, CookinGenie brings this beloved classic noodle dish tyour house. We offer three varieties of classic pad Thai—Chicken, Shrimp, and Vegetarian—cooked from scratch with wholesome, authentic ingredients like rice noodles, sweet-and-sour tamarind paste, spicy chile-garlic paste, and Thai preserved radish. Book your Genie to bring a true taste of Thailand to your very own kitchen. 

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