How to tell if the food you buy is fresh


In a country where over 60% of the population is obese or overweight, we have experienced an increased concern about the daily diet in the past few years. More and more people are inclined to change their lifestyles and decide to lose weight not only to gain more self-confidence but also to improve their health and to live longer.

Unfortunately, fresh and organic food is not always the cheapest option and, for those who were used to semi-prepared meals or fast food, picking fresh ingredients could prove a difficult task. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to tell if the foods and the ingredients you’re buying are fresh, so here are some easy-to-follow tips.


Check the labels

The first thing you need to do is always check the label of the food you are buying. Look for the expiration date and never choose products that are close to their expiration date unless you are cooking them right away. If you don’t think you’re going to need the product you’re about to buy soon afterward, it would be best to skip it from your grocery list until the next time.

Labels don’t only tell you the exact expiration date of foods but also all the ingredients contained in that food. Look for preservatives and check them online to see how bad they actually are. Some of the food preservatives are carcinogenic or known to trigger allergic reactions so you should stay away from them.

You should look for products with no preservatives as often as you can. These foods are healthier and fresher since they don’t last more than a couple of days or weeks.


Check the smell and the texture

This tip mainly applies to fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds or any other wholesale foods you might be interested in buying. However, keep in mind that greener doesn’t automatically mean fresher but mainly unmellowed.

If you’re going to the farmer’s market or in regular supermarkets and wish to choose fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds, you shouldn’t be ashamed of touching and smelling each item. Anything that looks or smells unfamiliar could be a sign that the product is not fresh enough. Don’t be afraid to spend a few more minutes carefully analyzing the merchandise if you want to make sure you pick the freshest ingredients. For instance, cucumbers, potatoes, onions or peppers should be as firm as possible, while avocados, tomatoes or fruits should be softer.


Don’t be afraid of imperfections

The biggest misconception about food in the American households is that fruits and veggies should look perfectly sized and shaped in order to be fresh and appealing. However, this is mainly the sign of injected and artificial products.

Natural and organic fruits and vegetables come in all sizes and shapes and could have minor bruises or spots on them.


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3 of the most delicious dishes you can prepare out of the pike you’ve caught



Even though in some cultures and countries, pike is a less popular fish to eat, I personally find great pleasure in preparing some dishes out of it. That’s why I came up with the idea of writing an article about the three most common recipes I currently use when preparing pike.

Cooking pike the right way isn’t particularly difficult in spite of the fact that I have noticed that some of my friends used different methods. One of my personal favorites is creating a pickle out of the pike that I have caught. While to some, this idea might seem somewhat unappealing, it really is a tasty fish and the neat thing about this cooking method is that the bones tend to get softer, which is why you won’t be forced to pick them out all of the time. In some respects, pickled pike is like pickled herring, although I’ve seen that there are several variations on the same theme.

For my pickled pike recipe, I use salt, water, cider or white vinegar, mustard seeds, about one third of a cup of sugar, allspice, peppercorns, bay, some onion and the peel of one lemon. I start by making the brine, which basically means is that, depending on the amount of pike I have available, I’ll boil some water with the salt so that it dissolves evenly. Once the salt has dissolved, I add the vinegar or the cider, the spices and the bay leaves, and simmer them for several minutes. I then leave the pike pieces in the brine overnight. It’s like making jam, in a way, because the next morning, you’ll have to take that pine out of the fridge, put it in jars and pour the vinegar solution on top. While you can consume the pickled pike after just one day, I like it once a week has gone by. So, all you have to do is seal those jars and wait for all the magic to happen.

The last two recipes I’d like to talk about are simple, which is why anyone can prepare them, whether they’re experienced or not. Either you roast the pike in the oven or prepare it in a pan. You can add everything you want, but I prefer using some butter, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Something that I would like to add is that I usually avoid feeding my kids pike because it’s too complicated to handle and they have little to no patience when it comes to picking the bones.

The BBC website, as well as many others, have various categories that go into great detail with regard to preparing pike, in general. There’s even a thread on a Jamie Oliver forum about the same topic. All you need to do is do a bit of research on your own, provided that you’re keen on eating the pike that you have caught.

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5 country songs about hunting and fishing


If you love hunting and fishing, there’s a pretty good chance you also love country music that glorifies your favorite pastimes. You won’t need a great voice like your favorite singer’s, but only a good sense of the beat to take you along on a sound trip. Here are my favorite country songs about hunting and fishing.

“Drinkin’ Beer And Wastin’ Bullets” is the tenth track in American country music artist Luke Bryan’s second studio album entitled Doin’ My Thing. It starts out with every hunter’s frustrating experience waiting for the target, “Out in the sticks with the squirrels and the ticks/ And my 30-06, I’m runnin’ out of Miller Lite/ Trucks in park, the dog won’t bark/ Couple hours till dark/ Wishin’ one would walk by/ Might as well left my gun in the gun rack/ Been here all day/ All I killed’s a twelve pack”. The refrain magnifies the frustration, telling the listener how frustrated the singer is that he’s away from his lady love because he’s out hunting, quite unsuccessfully, we might add, and just “Well I’ve been, sittin’ here, waitin’ on a deer/ Drinkin’ beer and wastin’ bullets”. The rest of the song pretty much encapsulates a frustrated hunter’s litany about going home with nothing. Well, nothing that a bottle of beer can’t fix, actually.


“The Five Pound Bass” is the 9th track in the album called West Textures by Robert Earl Keen, the Texas-based folk singer-songwriter. The album was released in the United States by American bluegrass and Americana record label Sugar Hill Records in 1989. The opening stanza talks about how an avid bass angler typically prepares to catch that elusive trophy, “ Up this morning/ Before the sun/ Fixed me some coffee and a honey bun/ Jumped in my pickup/ gave her the gas/ I’m goin’ out to catch a five pound bass”. The song also tells about how one feels when they catch the trophy, “That old sun is rising/ That water is clear/ I watch my lure as it’s flying through the air/ I see a ripple/ I hear a splash/ Lord have mercy, It’s a five pound bass.” Redemption!


“Bad Day Of Fishin’’ by American country artist Billy Currington is part of the fourth studio album Enjoy Yourself. The song tells us how incomparable a good day is even to a rainy bad day of fishing. This is expressed in the following lyrics, “Got up at dawn just to be out on the water/ Weather man said hot and gettin’ hotter/ But he didn’t say nothin ‘bout it rainin like hell (oh well)
A bad day of fishin beats a good day of anything else”. Yeah, nothing ever gets a diehard angler down, not even a bad day of fishing.


American contemporary country music singer and actor Joshua Otis “Josh” Turner signed with MCA Nashville Records in 2003. The song Backwoods Boy is on the B-side of his debut album Long Black Train. The song starts easy enough on a positive note, which is something that all hunters really feel at the start of an exciting day in the woods, “Woke up at 5am/ an’ put on my camouflage/ Wiped off my .243 and fired up my Dodge/ Headed out to my ol’ deer stand back in the pines”. The song also highlights how hunters are true to their heart. There’s a bit of sentimentalism in the heart of a backwoods boy, after all.


The catchy song Fishin in the Dark by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was released as part of the album Hold On, which came out in 1987. It talks about how fishing can easily capture a girl’s heart. The chorus says it all, “Down by the river in the full moon light/ We’ll be fallin’ in love in the middle of the night”. Who says fishing and love don’t mix?

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My favorite lures for catching pike



When the sky shows the stars aligned just right, we get the feeding window for pike opened. At that perfect time, the pike will definitely hit any moving object in the water. It won’t even matter which bait you use. The best fishing lures for pike include the following:

The Heddon Rattlin Spook Fishing Lures produce sounds that imitate fleeing baitfish in a panic. Darting and zigzagging like confused pike prey, the lure features a revolutionary sound chamber where all the attractive noise to a pike is generated. The sound chamber encases 10 tungsten Buzzbaits or BBs. This cutting-edge device comes with a sharp Mustad Triple Grip treble hook that ensures solid hook setting. The BBs amplify and intensify the sound. The special sound chamber enables easy production of smooth and easy walk-the-dog retrieves.


The ultra-tough BOOYAH® Pikee™ Spinnerbait is precisely geared to target muskies and northern pike. Equipped with amazing durability via the super-strong Vibra-FLX .45 wire, this spinnerbait can withstand the punishment of being taken inside a mouth filled with sharp teeth. The lovely 84-strand Silo-Tek skirt provides an amazing level of undulating action as the spinnerbait moves through the water current. The jeweler-grade plated double willow blades work nicely with the Silo-Tek skirt and Vibra-FLX wire to create plenty of enticing clattering movement and vibration that will have the pike biting in no time. This spinnerbait is designed to fight right out of the box thanks to the 12-inch steel leader.

The Blue Fox Vibrax Super Bou comes equipped with free-turning brass gear that also generates sonic rattles and vibration while rubbing against the bell. The thin, high-vibrating blades serve as a signal to entice the pike to bite. The Marabou hackle and Flash Bou fibers work together to move with undulating action to make this bait move realistically. The small sleek design comes with one hook rigging for effortless delivery over shallow cover. The larger profile body of the two-treble hook size mimics midseason mature bait to excite the fish into a feeding frenzy. This spinner operates at 2 to 6 feet deep thanks to the inline blade design. The through-wire boasts stainless steel construction as well as top quality VMC® hooks for lasting use.

The Mepps® Double Blade Aglia® spinners work amazingly well with Penn Battle spinning reel + an Ugly Stick like this one and are designed perfectly for trophy northern pike as well as largemouth and smallmouth bass and early season muskie. Engineered to deliver additional fash via the dual blades, this lure offers increased color intensity in the spinning dual blades even if they are of contrasting or identical hues. A unique sound is generated through the twin blades that also create greater vibration compared to just a single blade. This also ensures more buoyancy for easy fishing over weeds and other challenging water structural elements.



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Can you listen to music while you’re fishing?



As a retired musician and avid fisherman it can be hard for some people to understand how I can combine my two passions together. Fishing is generally thought to be a sport that requires silence and concentration, and most anglers insist that music simply doesn’t belong. Some experienced fishermen can even become irritated when they hear loud music drifting across the water.

Over the years I’ve learned that the fish might not be as affected by noise as we think they are. This is not to say that I blast my favorite tunes at an ear deafening level, but I do enjoy listening to my music when I’m waiting for a bite.

Recent studies are showing that while a sudden loud noise will cause nearby fish to immediately scatter, it also results in drawing them back in. It seems that fish are curious, and frequently swim back to the area to investigate the loud noise. While this usually applies to a rock being tossed in or a loud anchor and chain hitting the bottom, it might indicate that music isn’t as bothersome as it was previously thought.

Since these studies are still largely inconclusive I’m not recommending that anglers start holding outdoor concerts by their favorite fishing holes, but if you enjoy listening to music there might not be a good reason for you to stop. Just remember the person casting nearby might not share the same taste in music. This is actually where I think a lot of the problems concerning music and fishing occur.

Fishing is largely considered a relaxing sport, and for the majority of anglers this means silence. It is a time to reflect and let go of some of your worries and concerns, and for some people this is difficult if there is music playing nearby. Even if the music is at a decent level where the vibrations from the bass are not being felt it can still be disruptive to some anglers, and this is why I recommend investing in a good pair of waterproof headphones or earbuds.

This also comes with disadvantages, the main one being that you won’t be able to hear what is going on around you. For some anglers this can be inconvenient, but it might still be the best way for you to listen to music without disturbing others. However if you are fishing in a truly secluded location away from everyone else, chances are you can simply turn on your portable radio and enjoy your favorite playlists while you are waiting for a bite.

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Going fishing with my friends and having a good time

Nothing beats a fishing expedition where you can have fun with friends and family. While it is particularly hard to convince a spouse that she might partake in such an adventure, I’ve seen that it works for me if we go out with the kids and take some neighbors along. No one says that while you’re out fishing you have to be still all the time, in that there’s nothing stopping you from having a picnic or organizing all sorts of activities for children. In my experience, fishing equipment can be rather cheap especially if you plan to get your kids involved in the game so that they can develop an interest in angling in the future. Sometimes, it might be harder to convince them to join along, but if they can also bring their friends, we can all have a nice get-together and create some unforgettable memories.


While the rods and reels are essential, as well as the lure and line weight you’ll be using, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, focusing on purchasing high-quality protective equipment matters even more. By this, I mean that you ought to bring along some sunscreen and pack up some hats and insect repellents. Of course, all of the equipment depends on the area you’ll be doing your fishing in, so I can’t possibly recommend one rod and reel combo over another. Perhaps you’ll be trying to catch peacock bass in Florida or target redfish in Texas. The most important thing to have in mind is that you’re there to relax and have a good time so that you’re able to get back to working feeling energized and fresh.

What I like the most about my fishing trips with friends and family is that I get to explain to kids about the biology of the fish they might encounter in the area. If you’re a beginner, you might have to take to the internet to do a bit of research so that you find out a lot of interesting tips about the species. Some are fascinating due to their habits, whereas others simply look good because of the color of their scales. Also, if you don’t want to focus on taking the fish home all that much, you might want to explain to your kids all about the catch and release policy.


The ladies can have a talk as to how they’ll prepare the fish when they get back home while nibbling on some sandwiches with the kids. Bringing your dog along is even more entertaining as they can get excited about fish, in general. Also, this way you’ll keep the kids busy by taking care of the pet.

Since some species may put up a fight, you’ll be able to burn some calories, as well. All of this is a far better idea than driving to your local department store or supermarket and buying some unhealthy food. Plus, fish is a rather versatile type of food that you’ll be able to use for all sorts of dishes. Whether you intend to can it or use it in sauces or bake it, the fact of the matter is that it is one of the healthiest foods to have on a regular basis. Depending on the species, it might even be packed with Omega 3 or 6.

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The retired musician

Hello, everyone!

My name is Luis Lighton, and I am now a retired musician. For more than fifty years, I was part of a spectacular string quartet, and now, when I’m retired, I cannot help but feel a bit uneasy with all the time that’s left on my hands.


All the years that I’ve spent being part of a team that made music together and cheered public all over this beautiful country have made me love the attention, the admiration and gratitude we were welcomed with. After I retired, the lack of these has definitely affected me in many ways. At times, I would feel useless and depression had begun to grow stronger in my heart. I had to invent new habits to fill the time and the void, and it was one of the most difficult struggles in my life, as I was only getting older. For us, elderly people, making plans is more difficult than anything, I believe.

This gloomy state of mind lasted for about a year, and only became memory once I reconnected with some of my former colleagues, who left the band as well. It seems there are many of us fighting with the pains of retirement and a good way to win is to become united. We started seeing each other more and more and became a sort of goofy cluster of white-haired people running around town, bringing a little smile on the faces of the “busy”.

Our favorite things to do are taking long weekends to go fishing, or gather up in our favorite cafe and play pool ‘till they close. It may not be a very conventional way to spend your old days, but it surely makes us all happier.


I’ve been thinking lately of how fortunate we are to have one another, and how other retired folks continue to have a difficult time being on their own. So I’ve decided to start writing on this blog about what me and my friends are doing to have fun and to help pass our days. I feel that maybe a connection with others is possible even like this, online. Maybe we can talk and share our stories and our favorite hobbies here, so that anyone interested can help themselves to new ideas.

My friends are all happy that I’ve come up with this and are willing to contribute to this blog, and I ask of you the same. Old age is hard to spend all alone, and the younger ones in our families may not always understand what we’re going through. This is why I think we can try and have our own virtual family, to share our concerns and thoughts with.

Of course, I may be a bit of a dreamer, but I’m determined to do this, and I already feel that this is giving me more to think and to do, and this is really the point I’m trying to make. So, as I said before, I welcome you to join in my attempt to help more people that are retired and need guidance and a friendly hand.

All the best,


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