Ice Cream Styling Tips from an Expert Instagrammer

by in News, August 25th, 2015

Ice Cream Styling Tips from an Expert InstagrammerI scream, you scream, we all scream for … Instagram? Here’s the thing: Snapping a photo of your favorite ice cream treat (be it in a cone or cup, squished between two cookies or floating in root beer) so you can share it with the world can be its own brand of challenging.

How do you convey all that dairy-smooth deliciousness to your followers without ending up with a milky, melty mess on your hands (and your phone and your floor)?

Blogger Nastassia Johnson, who regularly posts droolworthy ice cream images, along with snaps of other sweets, to her Instagram account, @letmeeatcake, recently shared a few styling tips with Mashable.

Here are a few of her ideas you may want to incorporate into your own social media routine:

Get Vertical: Height adds dimension and visual interest, so layer scoop atop scoop. Stack flavors in alternating colors. Feel free to add unusual elements — like doughnuts or fruit — to make your photos even more eye-catching.

Mitigate the Melt: Johnson suggests popping a sheet tray into your freezer before you scoop. Then lay out the sheet tray with your scooper, a paper towel, a bowl of water and your pint(s). For ease and beauty, dip the scooper into the water and give it a quick tap on the paper towel between scoops. Put the scoops onto the sheet tray and pop the whole shebang back into the freezer (set to zero or lower) for about 10 minutes. This will ensure the scoops are good and frozen so you can maximize the time before they melt. Read more

Kid-Approved Smoothies That Aren’t Packed with Sugar

by in Family, Recipes, August 25th, 2015

Orange Banana Smoothie“Healthy smoothies” sounds a little repetitive, right? Smoothies are good for you! They’re loaded with fruit! The truth is, like granola bars, smoothies can sound healthy but sometimes actually have so much added sugar that they’re really more like milkshakes. (And those granola bars are basically candy bars.) But these homemade smoothies are all low in added sugar, full of fruit and some are even full of veggies too.

Orange Banana Smoothie (pictured above): Spring for fresh OJ to make Ina Garten’s recipe once and you’ll be hooked on this healthy smoothie forever.

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10 Recipes Every Giada De Laurentiis Fan Should Master

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, August 25th, 2015

10 Recipes Every Giada De Laurentiis Fan Should MasterYou may know Giada De Laurentiis for cooking up classic Italian dishes or adding a California spin to cooking and entertaining on Giada at Home. As a versatile chef, Giada has shown Food Network fans how to make everything from fresh pasta to light and healthy West Coast eats. Most recently we’ve seen Giada exploring her homeland on Giada in Italy — sharing those family traditions and recipes that influenced her early love for cooking — and providing her culinary expertise as a mentor on Food Network Star. Check out Giada’s best-ever dishes below, from her Sunday-supper-ready Bolognese to creamy tiramisu and rich ravioli bites ideal for parties.

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A Lot of People Are Eating Alone These Days

by in News, Restaurants, August 24th, 2015

A Lot of People Are Eating Alone These DaysWe love to break bread together — relish the idea of sitting down to a hot meal with family and friends — but increasingly, Americans are dining solo.

Just shy of half of all adults’ meals and snacks — about 46 percent of them — are eaten alone, according to information compiled by market researchers at the Hartman Group, released in a recent Food Marketing Institute trend report and cited by NPR’s The Salt.

Hartman Group CEO Laurie Demeritt suggests we’re in the midst of a “true cultural change” in which it is becoming “more socially acceptable to eat alone.” Not only has the percentage of single-person households been on the rise in the United States — increasing from 17 percent in 1970 to 27 percent in 2012, according to Census Bureau data cited by NPR — but we’re also a nation of people on the go, grabbing food at our desks, in the car and on the street.

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7 After-School Snacks That Won’t Spoil Dinner

by in Recipes, August 24th, 2015

Light, energizing and easy to prepare: That’s the elusive after-school snack trifecta. When store shelves are lined with chips, sugary fruit snacks and other empty calories, shopping for something that fits the bill can feel a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. The obvious alternative is to skip store-bought options in favor of something homemade, but few people have time to prepare snacks in addition to dinner. Beat the after-school crunch by preparing healthy foods over the weekend and keeping them on hand for later in the week. Homemade granola bars and trail mixes are a great place to start. Fresh veggies can be washed and cut in mere minutes, and vegetable-based dips such as guacamole or hummus make crudites seem appealing. Here are some more quick, nutritious, kid-friendly snacks to tide your family over till dinner’s ready.

Protein Bars
These nutty bars studded with dried fruit will stave off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner for only 167 calories per serving. Make a batch over the weekend so your family will have them on hand for quick and convenient after-school snacking throughout the week.

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Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, August 24th, 2015

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Sesame DressingDuring these sunny and sometimes sticky summer months, a refreshing meal can be just what you crave. And in the season where pasta and potato salad seems to be at every cookout and barbecue, it’s the perfect time to try a new chilled recipe like Food Network Kitchen’s Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Creamy Sesame Dressing (pictured above).

The secret to this dish is toasting the sesame seeds to deepen their natural nutty flavor. With just 4 to 5 minutes in a saute pan, these tiny seeds toast up quickly and are transformed with robust flavor. Food Network Kitchen purees the seeds in a blender with chile-garlic sauce, lemon and oil for a no-fuss creamy dressing with a subtle tang. Once the dressing is ready, drizzle it over spaghetti-like buckwheat soba noodles, which share a natural nuttiness with the sesame seeds. Lastly, top the noodles with a variety of fresh veggies. You’ll get a slight sweetness and bright color from the corn, plus a heartiness from the creamy avocado. Add in cucumber for that crisp and refreshing crunch that makes this meal a delicious summer go-to.

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9 Campfire-Friendly Foods to Try for Labor Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, August 24th, 2015

There’s something about cooking over a campfire that captures summer’s spirit. Maybe it’s that pleasant charcoal flavor, the meal cooked entirely outside, or the inherent bonding that sitting in a cozy and fire-lit circle fosters — or a beautiful combination of all these elements. It’s the perfect way to cap off summer and a favorite Labor Day weekend activity. Try these recipes over your campfire, from dinner to dessert — and make more than just s’mores.

Camping Sandwiches (pictured above)
These sandwiches get grill rings from special sandwich presses, but you can use a foil-wrapped brick to weigh the sandwiches down instead. Guy Fieri suggests options from chili to berry cream cheese, but feel free to invent your own pairings. Keep your ingredients at room-temperature to minimize melting time.

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“It’s an Angry Pan” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, August 23rd, 2015

For mobile eateries like food trucks as well as brick-and-mortar hot spots, social media is the name of the game in terms of guaranteeing success. When Alton Brown auctioned off a savvy @-shaped pan in Round 1’s breakfast sandwich battle, however, success seemed impossible for the chef competitors. But believe it or not, cooking up the classic morning meal on this metal contraption was indeed possible. Codii Lopez, a member of the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew, showed off her approach to this doozy of a challenge on tonight’s latest installment of Testing the Sabotages.

For Codii, perhaps the trickiest aspect of the pan proved to be its signature shape, as she explained, “My main concerns here is that it’s all just going to fall off, because I only have these little pieces of metal and the rest is fire.” That fire indeed caused a few flare-ups when Codii took to frying the bacon: “The flame is licking the fattiest part of this bacon,” she said. “It’s hissing at me. It’s an angry pan,” she noted, attempting to move the bacon just a smidge away from the open heat. No matter a few bright-red flames, though, she managed to turn out well-done bacon before facing her next hurdle: cooking a sunny-side-up egg using just the narrow edges of the pan. No sooner did she crack an egg onto the pan did the yolk flop into the burner, forcing her to resort to squeezing out a scrambled mixture instead.

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Why Trader Joe’s May Be a Whole Lot Better for Your Home’s Value Than Whole Foods

by in News, August 23rd, 2015

Why Trader Joe’s May Be a Whole Lot Better for Your Home Value Than Whole FoodsPop quiz: Living near which of these grocery meccas is better for your property value? Whole Foods, with its vast, glistening rainbow of organic produce and prettily prepared foods with price points to match, or Trader Joe’s, with its deliciously affordable array of fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet specialties and staples, not to mention its inexpensive signature wine?

The answer? Ye Olde House of Two-Buck Chuck.

Homes near Trader Joe’s tend to appreciate considerably more, on average, than those near Whole Foods, according to an analysis conducted by real estate data site RealtyTrac. People who own homes near Trader Joe’s have seen their home values increase an average of 40 percent since they purchased them. Those with homes that share a ZIP code with Whole Foods, meanwhile, have enjoyed only a 34 percent appreciation, which is the average appreciation for homes in all U.S. ZIP codes.

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Penne with Butternut Squash to Help You Prepare for Fall — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, August 23rd, 2015

Penne with Butternut SquashBy no means has fall arrived — New York City, at least, is still sweating it out in the midst of 90-degree temperatures — but already food fans have started to crave a switch in flavors from the light and cool to the warm and comforting. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week (pictured above), laced with golden butternut squash and earthy mushrooms, is a transitional meal of sorts, ready to help you bridge the gap between the refreshing tastes of summer and the hearty fare of autumn. Featured in Food Network Magazine, this go-to supper can be on the table in only 30 speedy minutes, so keep it in your back pocket for those hectic back-to-school weeknights.

For more healthy recipe inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Penne with Butternut Squash from Food Network Magazine