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Meghan Rodgers

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Add flavor to your meals with flowers

Edible flowers are a fun way to add color to a cocktail or a meal — just be sure what you’re grabbing for in your garden won’t make you sick. Denise Schreiber, edible flower expert and author of Eat Your Roses… Pansies, Lavender and 49 Other Delicious Flowers, has been a flower-as-food fan for decades. On a trip to England’s Mottisfont Abbey in 1999, Schreiber discovered rose petal ice cream and her interest blossomed from there. “They had this little cup of of the ice cream, and once you put it in your mouth, it was the aroma of the rose on your tongue and in your mouth. It was fantastic,” said Schreiber. “When I came back to the States I started looking for recipes.” The edible flower trend has recently been on the rise, largely thanks to social media, but harvesting flowers as food is nothing new. Flowers have been included in the human diet as…

Facebook survey reveals how we post about beverages

If you’re going out to a restaurant or bar tonight, there’s a 1 in 3 chance you’ll be posting a picture to social media — and it’s probably going to be food or drink. While it may be creepy that Facebook can anticipate your actions so specifically, it actually makes sense. People want to present the best versions of themselves and show their friends the experiences they’re having. This largely includes nights on the town. In a recent survey, Facebook found that, while out and about, many people will share their opinions of their beverages and tag them #coffee or #craftbeer, inspiring others to go sip for themselves. About 50 percent of the people surveyed said they’ve intentionally gone and tried the drinks that friends and family have shared and tagged online. People have always purchased drinks when they were thirsty, but smart phones are changing the path they take to purchase, making it…

Simple watermelon salsa is sweet, mildly spicy

Who would have thought watermelon and jalapeño would be such a delicious pair? What’s better, is that this quick condiment only requires six ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of watermelon lately, so get ready for quite a few juicy recipes coming up.. This one was one of my favorites, since it’s a perfect match-up of sweet and spicy, combined with saltiness from the chips. I’ve only tried it as a salsa so far, but I could see this going great with grilled chicken or fish, or atop a grilled vegetable dinner. Watermelon Salsa Serves 6-8: Prep time 10 min Ingredients 4 cups watermelon (seedless, or seeds removed and chopped) 1 cup cucumber, chopped 1 cup red onion (about 1/2 large onion, chopped) 2 medium jalapeños (remove seeds for less heat, chopped) 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 lime, cut in half salt (to taste) Directions Add watermelon, cucumber, onion,…

Global vanilla shortage will see pastry, ice cream prices soar

The world-wide vanilla shortage is coming to an ice cream cone near you. Pastry chefs and ice cream makers alike are looking to cut back overall consumption due to the rising cost of fair-trade vanilla, meaning that the recipes of our favorite summer sweets could be effected. And we have no one but ourselves to blame. The high demand from consumers, in recent years, switching to all-natural foods has caused the shortage. The problem was then compounded by major corporations like Nestle and Hershey’s that, in response to consumer demand, declared they were then switching from cheaper, chemically created synthetic versions of vanilla to all-natural varieties, too — meaning that they want vanilla from orchid seeds, and not factories. Factories can crank out the synthetic stuff around the clock, but there just aren’t enough vanilla pods in the world to meet demand. A few years ago, a 1-gallon bottle of organic, fair-trade vanilla would cost about $64 — today,…

Chick-fil-A rolling out gluten-free bun, but there’s a catch

Chick-fil-A has gone gluten free! Not entirely, but the nationwide chicken sandwich chain is poised to capitalize on its consumers’ dietary needs with a new menu offering. Chick-fil-A announced on Monday that it will offer gluten-free buns at restaurants nationwide, after reportedly receiving positive feedback from test marketed areas in 2016. The gluten-free bun is made with ancient grains quinoa and amaranth and sweetened with molasses and raisins. “We know our customers are looking for more gluten-sensitive alternatives. They asked, and we listened,” said Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A in a release on the company’s Chicken Wire. “Our hope is that the Gluten-Free Bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu.” The new bun can be ordered with any of the restaurant’s sandwiches. But there is one catch. Customers who order the gluten-free buns will have to assemble their sandwiches themselves. According to…

Here’s how much water you should actually be drinking

Hydrating your body is the most important thing you can do when the weather heats up. Most people undervalue the importance water plays in their overall health. From clearing skin to alleviating headaches, helping with weight loss and aiding in digestion, just increasing your water consumption can save you money on a lot of other medical bills down the road. If your pee is light enough you can barely notice it in the bowl, you’re doing a good job. But if you’re leaving behind a bowl full of what could be described as Chernobyl yellow, you might want to make adjustments. So how much water is enough? Just like calorie intake, that answer depends on the individual. The old adage said you should drink 8 glasses of water every day, but experts are beginning to cater their advice more to the individual. The Mayo Clinic says men should drink about 13 cups (3 liters) of water…

A surprising number of adults think brown cows make chocolate milk

Seven percent of all adults in America believe that brown cows produce chocolate milk, according to an online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. That’s about 16.4 million misinformed folks who don’t know that chocolate milk is made of milk, cocoa and sugar. It’s jaw dropping for most of us, but for decades, educators and observers of all things agriculture have been telling us that we’re basically illiterate when it comes to what’s on our kitchen table. Many people don’t stop to consider where their food is grown or how it gets to the store — or, like chocolate milk, how it’s made. On study commissioned in the early ’90s found that nearly 1 in 5 adults didn’t know hamburgers are beef. Even more adults didn’t know basic farming facts and practices such as what animals eat or how big a U.S. farm typically is. Seemingly, not…

New American Heart Association Study Warns Against Coconut Oil

Superfood fans take caution. The American Heart Association recently released a report advising against consuming coconut oil. Coconut oil has seen a growing following in recent years as fans viewed it as an almost miracle-like fat and butter alternative, particularly with the paleo set. Touted as a superfood, cooking with the waxy white solid was said to burn fat, kill harmful microorganisms, curb hunger and improve cholesterol levels. But researchers recently found that coconut oil increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in seven out of seven trials, and they failed to see a difference between coconut oil and other popular oils high in saturated fat like butter, lard and beef fat. In fact, 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is s saturated, while butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%) contain less. Frank Sacks, lead author on the report, said he has no idea why people think coconut oil is healthy — I’s almost…

McDonald’s ending longtime Olympic partnership

McDonald’s will no longer be a “Proud Sponsor of the Olympic Games.” In a surprise move, after 41 years of partnership, the world’s largest fast-food chain is ending it’s sponsorship of the world’s largest athletic competition — three years earlier than originally planned. McDonald’s Corp. was set to sponsor the Olympics through the 2020 Games, but according to a joint press release from the International Olympic Committee and the fast-food chain, McDonald’s executives have decided to take their business in a different direction. “As part of our global growth plan, we are reconsidering all aspects of our business and have made this decision in cooperation with the IOC to focus on different priorities,” McDonald’s global chief marketing officer Silvia Lagnado said. The financial details weren’t released, but the contract extension that McDonald’s signed in 2012 was worth about $200 million, ABC News reported. “We have mutually agreed with McDonald’s to part ways.…

The fate of your confiscated airport food

A bustling travel season is in full swing, and while we’re all familiar with the airport security screening process, it can still be easy to make a mistake when an open water bottle or piece of fruit gets forgotten in your backpack. But what happens to these food items after they’re confiscated? These airport checkpoints don’t exist simply to inconvenience you, but rather to protect our American agriculture from threat. In a video by Great Big Story, U.S. customs supervisor Ellie Scaffa tells the story of what happens to these illegal imports down the line — and no, the TSA staff doesn’t get to sit around feasting each evening. “I’ve been threatened with my life,” she says about her efforts at New York’s JFK Airport where she personally sorts through up to 600 pounds of illegal produce per day. All confiscated goods, whether it be Chinese beef candy or Jamaican mangoes,…