DIY Cleaning Products for Earth Day

by in How-to, April 22nd, 2014

Homemade Natural Cleaning ProductsWhen Earth Day falls smack-dab in the middle of your spring-cleaning efforts, don’t think of it as a mere coincidence. Believe it or not, the key to a cleaner, happier home can’t be found in a name-brand aerosol spray from the store. Instead, take on a little do-it-yourself project and make nontoxic household cleaning supplies with items probably already in your home.

Having an all-purpose cleaning spray on deck is probably the most-basic way to keep your home fresh and clean. Before you grab something store-bought, try this: Stir 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda into 1/2 gallon water and transfer to a spray bottle. You can use this stuff almost anywhere except marble or granite.

For more ways to keep your house spick-and-span, be sure to refer to our list of home cleaning supplies. Using natural ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and more to clean will make your household — and environment — a whole lot happier.

Heading to the supermarket? With these 6 tips from the top eco-experts, it’s easy to go green and eat healthy.

Earth Day Dinners, Powdered Alcohol and a Couple of Costly Tacos

by in News, April 22nd, 2014

Earth Day DinnersHappy Earth Day: Today, in case you were unaware, is Earth Day. And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate it, you might consider hosting an Earth Dinner. Plan a meal that focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients, then learn as much as you can about your food — where it comes from, who farmed it, the history of the ingredients and the dishes you’re making from those ingredients. Then try to engage your guests — or your family — in a conversation about food and sustainability. You can download a booklet containing great discussion questions — “What’s your earliest food memory?” or “Describe your spiciest food experience,” for instance — an “Earth Dinner Toolkit” and other information here. [EarthDinner.org via Living Green Magazine]

Hard Facts About Food Texture: Texture may play a bigger role in how we consume food — and mess up our diets — than many of us realize. The authors of a new study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, examined “the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming.” Participants in five studies were given foods to taste that were hard, soft, rough or smooth. Then the participants were asked to estimate the calorie content. One study found that people who were not asked about calorie count who were given soft brownies ate more of them than those given hard brownies, but people who were asked about calorie content ate more hard brownies than soft ones. “Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices,” the authors conclude. [EurekAlert via Tech Times]

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10 Festive Kid-Approved Eats for Spring Birthday Parties

by in Entertaining, Family, April 21st, 2014

10 Festive Kid-Approved Eats for Spring Birthday PartiesWhen it comes to children’s birthday parties, the name of the game is fun, festive and kid-friendly. That’s why FN Dish loves these miniaturized versions of everything ,from personal mac-and-cheese cups to baked corn dogs, to tiny burgers and Giada’s mini Italian subs — all perfect for small hands to dig into. And don’t forget the sweets. Ina’s sharing chocolate-dipped goodies like strawberries, pretzels and graham crackers. These recipes are decadent but never too complicated for the cook — Mom and Dad will still enjoy the party too. Here’s to hosting a happy spring birthday bash near you.

1. Lasagna Cupcakes

2. Baked Mozzarella Sticks (pictured above)

3. Mini Mac and Cheese Cups (with Carrots)

4. Chocolate Dipped Delights

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Rachael’s Greek Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 21st, 2014

Greek SaladFresh, simple and vibrant, salads are fuss-free meals that can come together in mere minutes, but if they’re not beefed up with plenty of ingredients and a rich, flavorful dressing, often they’re not satisfying for a main dish. The key to preparing a hearty salad is opting for hefty add-ins with bold tastes — but you don’t need meat to do that.

Rachael’s Greek Salad (pictured above) is a colorful take on the classic recipe that can be on the table in less than 15 minutes. Instead of relying on a bed of lettuce for the base of her salad, Rachael fills the plate with fresh vegetables, like juicy tomatoes, cool cucumber, and both crunchy bell and Cubanelle peppers. Traditional kalamata olives offer a salty bite to the salad, while parsley adds brightness. No Greek salad is compete without tangy feta cheese, and Rachael opts for slices of authentic Greek feta for a decadent topping before finishing the dish with a simple red wine vinaigrette. Serve warm pita bread as a hearty accompaniment, and use it to sop up the oregano-laced dressing.

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Chicken, or Something Like It — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014


Chicken has a storied past on Cutthroat Kitchen: Just last season when Giada De Laurentiis stopped by for a special episode, one rival was gifted a whole chicken in a can, which she was forced to turn into chicken and waffles for the guest judge. And on tonight’s all-new episode, subpar chicken — or something like it — once again appeared on the auction table, this time during a General Tso’s Chicken challenge. After being gifted a sabotage of MREs, which Alton deemed “meals ready to eat,” one chef was forced to pick through the innards of such prepared and packaged dishes as “a chicken stew [and] a chicken fajita,” according to Alton.

For Antonia, these products were “mushy,” and on the host’s After-Show, Alton told her with a smile, “It’s the best kind of sick that you could possibly imagine.” It turns out, however, that for the competitor who worked with this sabotage, the inferior meat wasn’t a hindrance at all. “She really didn’t have any choice but to make a fritter,” Alton explained to Antonia. “And it looked just like General Tso’s chicken.”

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Judge Marc Summers Previews Rewrapped

by in Shows, April 20th, 2014

Marc SummersFor years, Marc Summers revealed the whats and hows of timeless snack foods on Food Network’s Unwrapped. And beginning tomorrow, he’ll be part of the all-new series Rewrapped, wherein three hopeful contestants must re-create a sweet or savory treat, then use the original item in an inspired dish all of their own. Marc will sit on the judges’ panel alongside two other culinary experts, and together they must determine which competitor’s offerings are worthy of the prize: a lifetime supply of snacks. FN Dish was recently on the set of Rewrapped, and we caught up with Marc to look back on Unwrapped and to get his insider’s perspective on what’s ahead on Rewrapped. Read on below to learn his thoughts on both series, then hear from host Joey Fatone.

What are you most looking forward to in this competition?
Getting back on television would be No. 1, on fresh shows. I just think it’s fun. All the other competition shows on Food Network are pretty intense. This one, you smile during the whole thing. It’s snack foods, it’s junk foods, it’s kind of everything we ever did on Unwrapped, but I think when you see the Twinkie or the Hostess cupcake or the Bloomin’ Onion or SpaghettiOs, you think … “I identify with them.” And then seeing if somebody can duplicate it is just fun. We kind of hit the ground running on day one. It just seemed like we’d been doing it forever. Joey’s a great host. He brings a certain energy to it. It’s effortless.

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Cajun-Spiced Burgers — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, April 20th, 2014

Cajun Spiced BurgersBurgers take on Louisiana soul in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. These aren’t your average beef patties. Seasoned with Cajun spices and topped with a quick remoulade sauce — plus sauteed onions, green bell peppers and celery (known as the trinity) — these burgers will become a staple in your home this grilling season.

For more recipes inspired by Chopped, visit Food Network’s Let’s Watch: Chopped board on Pinterest, and for even more, browse through a selection of recipes from The Chopped Cookbook.

Get the Recipe: Cajun-Spiced Burgers