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Meghan Rodgers

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America’s most horribly unhealthy chain restaurant meals announced by watchdog group

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a national nutritional watchdog group, just released their annual list of the most shamefully caloric items on menus across American chain restaurants. Titled the Xtreme Eating Awards, the list aims to inform Americans of the amount of calories, cholesterol, fats, sodium and sugars they consume when eating out. Top honors went to The Cheesecake Factory — no stranger to lists of culinary shockers. It’s Pasta Napoletana took the “Worst Adapted Pasta” award for its 2,310 calories and 79 grams of saturated fat and shocking 4,370 milligrams of sodium — a full three days worth of the daily recommended salt intake. The dish was the brain child of Donald Moore, Chief Culinary Officer at TCF who asked in a Facebook Live video in March, “How can we turn a meat lover’s pizza into a pasta?” Moore and TCF might have been successful in their…

This is the dirtiest object in your home

If you’re curious what is the leading culprit in harboring bacteria in your home, you’re about to be grossed out. It’s not your shoes, your purse, or even the toilet. It’s an object you actually claim to use for cleaning — the kitchen sponge. A new study published in Scientific Reports found that the kitchen sponge, given its constant contact with water and food particles, is a good place for bacteria to grow. The results may be unsurprising, but the amount of bacteria is where we might underestimate the situation. Sponges showed a density of 54 billion bacteria per cubic centimeter — about equivalent to the number of bacteria in human feces. Yikes. “Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets,” the researchers wrote in the study. “This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria…

3-ingredient easy mango sorbet recipe

In a world of sugary land of desserts, one sweet treat brings all the flavor without the guilt. Sorbet is often served at higher-end restaurants or even as a palate cleanser between courses, but you need not go to a fancy restaurant or shell out $6 a pint for the store-bought stuff. Make it right at home. This 3-ingredient recipe is perfect for people wanting to eliminate processed sugars or dairy from their diet, while still looking to indulge with friends and family. But don’t get sorbet confused with sherbet. Sorbet (pronounced sor-bay) is typically made from two ingredients — fruit and sugar. Due to the lack or milk, it has a slightly icy texture and needs to sit a bit at room temperature before eating. Sherbet is also made from fruit and sugar, but according the the FDA, sherbet must contain between one and two perfect milkfat. (For reference, ice cream must…

Fresh and easy summer tomato, peach, jalapeño gazpacho

If you’re expecting an abundance of tomatoes, let me suggest an easy way to them up: gazpacho. Gazpacho is a traditional dish from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Cities in the area, including Córdoba and Seville, average summer temperatures nearing 100ºF, so it’s no wonder locals have their pulse on what makes a refreshing but nutritious summer meal. Unappetizingly, the vegetable-based, soup-like dish is sometimes referred to as a “liquid salad” or “cold soup” — but don’t let that scare you. The flavors fall somewhere between tangy vegetable juice, veggie soup and Mexican salsa, but it’s a unique dish all on its own, that in no way begs to be warmed. When your fruit baskets start filling with an excess tomato crop, try whipping up a batch of gazpacho and serving with a loaf of garlic bread. You’ll keep yourself, or your family, full, cool and satisfied. Summer tomato, peach,…

Study finds a few alcoholic beverages could actually boost your memory

Social drinkers probably wouldn’t consider memory recall one of the benefits to their Friday night habit, but a new study shows that a few drinks may actually strengthen your ability to learn new information. Researchers at the University of Exeter conducted a study by giving 88 participants a word-learning task. Participants were then divided at random into two groups. One group was told to drink as much as they want, while the other was told not to drink at all. The next day, participants were asked to complete the same task. Surprisingly, those who had drank alcohol did better when remembering what they learned the previous day. “The theory is that the hippocampus – the brain area really important in memory – switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory,” said Professor Celia Morgan of Exeter. The researchers stressed that this limited positive effect should be taken in stride…

Experts say this is the best way to load silverware in a dishwasher

At some point it’s likely that you’ve opened a dishwasher to find your spouse or roommate loaded or rearranged it in a way you felt very strongly about. Chances are, how you load a dishwasher is nearly ingrained in you at this point, and whether grounded in truth or not, you have ideas about how the task is done most efficiently. This includes the decision to load silverware handle side up or handle side down. An ongoing poll on Houzz shows that people are split nearly 50/50 on the debate. The handle-side-up argument states that knives and forks can cause serious injuries to the person who will be unloading the machine. The handle-side-down camp insists that cutlery doesn’t get nearly as clean when it’s hidden in the basket, and also that handle side pointing down allows for less silverware overall to fit in each load. So which is the correct way? TipHero looked at various…

Fruit flavored beer on the rise in North America

If you’re a fan of hoppy, bitter beers, hold on to your IPAs — the next trend in beer is not for you. According to a report from Mintel, fruit-flavored beer launches have increased worldwide in response to people seeking more flavorful drink options. Since 2012, one in ten beer launches have contained either fruit juice concentrate, fruit extracts or fruit peels. The trend began to accelerate in Europe about five years ago with the growing popularity of radlers, or shandies — a half beer and half fruit juice or lemonade blend. Seeking to offset a decline in mainstream beer sales, global brewers like Heineken, Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch InBev began brewing fruit beers as well. But for years it had been craft brewers who have been leading the market with releases of fruity styles such as sours, cherry beers and saisons. Now, we’re also seeing fruit juice being added to their pale ales and…

Strawberries and cream popsicles, a must for summer

If you haven’t hopped on the homemade popsicle wagon, you are missing out on a ton of tasty fun. For about $10 you can buy a decent popsicle mold, which will give you the freedom to explore delicious combinations, use up left over juice and smoothies, and allow you ultimate control over your sugar intake. When it comes to one of summer’s most loved treats, everyone wants one. It’s great to be able to give a guest or your child’s friend an option even though they have dietary restrictions. For this recipe, I didn’t add any additional sweeteners like sugar or honey. I wanted to be able to feel good about this and not have to put it on the splurge side of my diet. The full fat milk makes it decadent enough for me, but feel free to add some sweetness in your strawberry blend or some vanilla in your…

Book Review: Canning goes Back to Basics for beginners

This time of year always seems to turn in to a game of pass the produce. Your neighbor has too many tomatoes. Your friend gets extra cucumbers in her CSA. And every week, your co-worker tries to pawn off a basket of his peppers. There are worse problems to have. This year, instead of saying no — or continuing to pass the goods down the line to other friends — pick up a new skill for this plethora of produce, and learn to can. Canning is the next natural extension of our increasing national awareness of eating fresh, healthy and local. Grandma knew canning could feed her family healthy meals all year long, and what’s old usually becomes new again. Canning — much like knitting (can you believe it?) — is back on the scene. But between tools, temperatures and safety measures, the age-old practice can leave first-timers at a loss (and wishing Grandma was still…

Newspaper writes correction for erroneously calling hot dog a sandwich

Newspapers take pride in getting the facts right the first time, so it all that more difficult for them to admit they’ve made a mistake. But one newspaper is taking steps to correct a decades old error. The Louisville Courier-Journal has issued a correction for six previous articles, which erroneously refer to hot dogs as sandwiches. The articles were published between 1887 and 1966, so the mistake could almost be forgiven, but given that it’s National Hot Dog month, the paper sought to make things right, stating: On the following dates, the Courier-Journal incorrectly referred to hot dogs as sandwiches: Oct. 2, 1887; Aug. 10, 1901; March 20, 1904; July 21, 1935; Jan. 14, 1939; May 4, 1941; Sept. 15, 1950; June 29, 1958; Nov. 16, 1961; and Aug. 4, 1966. Among those errors were references to a frankfurter sausage sandwich, frankfurter sandwich, coney island sandwich, frankfurter sandwich with mustard, and, the most…