Food and Drink en-US The 12 Most Dangerous Foods You're Buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-most-dangerous-foods-youre-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man eating hot dog" title="man eating hot dog" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>True fact: Some of the most popular foods are simply unhealthy and pose higher risks of illness. Also true? Many of those unhealthy foods are in your kitchen right now. (See also: <a href="">11 Food Additives You're Probably Eating Everyday</a>)</p> <p>Steer clear of these 12 dangerous foods you're buying.</p> <h2>1. 5-Hour Energy and Other Energy Drinks</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Many studies have concluded that massive amounts of caffeine paired with other synthetic substances such as aspartame are to blame for the huge <a href="">health risks</a> associate with this afternoon booster, including high blood pressure, heart attack, seizure, and death.</p> <h2>2. Soda Pop</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>This big part of everyday consumption for many, especially children, is dangerous <a href="">on many fronts</a>. Soda not only erodes tooth enamel, but common soda pop ingredients can increase risk for diabetes, fatty liver, high blood pressure, cancer, nerve disorders, hormonal imbalances, and more.</p> <h2>3. Microwave Popcorn</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>That faux-buttery flavor of microwave popcorn is definitely fake, but that is not where all the health risks originate. It's the chemicals <a href="">lining the microwaveable bag</a>, such as POOA, that are cause for concern. Not only can these chemicals cause cancer in adults, but they can also make children's vaccines less effective.</p> <h2>4. Caffeine Pills</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>As with 5-Hour Energy, too much caffeine is not as unhealthy in the short term as it is in the long term. For example, consumption of too much caffeine in adolescents <a href="">can lead to drug use</a> later in life.</p> <h2>5. Margarine</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The truth emerged only recently after years of buying margarine that it does not lower your cholesterol, nor is it healthier than natural butter. In fact, <a href="">margarine dramatically increases LDL</a> levels. Time to go back to using real butter, olive oil, or grapeseed oil.</p> <h2>6. Aspartame</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The negative buzz on artificial sweeteners only seems to persist, especially in the case of aspartame. In addition to low-level <a href="">side effects like headaches</a>, long-term consumption of aspartame can <a href="">possibly cause cancer</a> in both adults and prenatal children.</p> <h2>7. Food Dyes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>While laws now require most manufacturers to categorize dyed foods as &quot;adulterated,&quot; and places like Trader Joe's have promised to only use natural coloring (i.e. beets and greens), dye is still a problem. Three regularly used dyes can cause cancer, and four others can cause <a href="">serious allergic reactions</a>.</p> <h2>8. Alfalfa Sprouts</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Alfalfa and other types of sprouts can be very difficult to clean and are generally eaten raw. This can lead to contracting really bad bacteria such as <a href="">salmonella, listeria, and E. coli</a>. Children, elderly, and those with weak immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts.</p> <h2>9. Cassava</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The cassava root, also known as tapioca, is in a lot more foods than you may think. It can be <a href=",28804,1967235_1967238_1967250,00.html">dangerous if prepared incorrectly</a>, activating its traces of deadly cyanide. Also? If you are allergic to latex, you may be allergic to cassava.</p> <h2>10. Hot Dogs</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>This is a tough one to hear, because America loves frankfurters. While processed meats are already risky, the additive sodium nitrate pushes hot dogs into <a href="">cancer danger</a>. In addition, hot dogs cause 17% of food-related asphyxiations among children under 10 years.</p> <h2>11. Raw Honey</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Despite the benefits many raw food and homeopathic fans may tout, raw honey contains the legitimately <a href="">harmful toxin grayanotoxin I</a>, which can cause nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and fainting.</p> <h2>12. Ground Turkey</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Ground turkey, while a sound alternative to beef and pork, has its downside too. Turkey tends to be the <a href="">poultry with the most bacteria</a> &ndash;&ndash; including listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. The only way to combat gross bugs is to buy organic (to avoid antibiotic-resistant salmonella) and always cook turkey to 180&deg;F (to kill off all bacteria).</p> <p><em>Any other dangerous foods to watch for? Please warn us in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 12 Most Dangerous Foods You&#039;re Buying" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amanda Meadows</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty dangerous food Food poison unhealthful food Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1190087 at 12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-new-ways-restaurants-trick-you-to-spend-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="good restaurant service" title="good restaurant service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, my favorite spot was a little place called The Blue Danube, familiarly known as &quot;The Dube.&quot; In addition to the usual inexpensive bar fare, the menu there offered the <a href="">Dube Dinner Deluxe</a> which paired a bottle of Dom Perignon with a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Roquefort cheese) at a cost of $185.</p> <p>Though I always regarded the Dube Dinner Deluxe as more of a joke than anything else, I've since come to realize that including it on the menu was a savvy marketing strategy on the part of the bar's owners.</p> <p>Due to a cognitive bias known as <a href="">anchoring</a>, diners are more likely to buy mid-priced items when the menu highlights a very expensive meal. Just the existence of a high-priced item is enough to make the other prices on the menu seem reasonable in comparison. &quot;Menu engineers&quot; (and yes, that's a real profession) actually describe these very high priced items as &quot;<a href="">decoys</a>,&quot; since they're only there to soften the sticker shock of other offerings. (See also: <a href="">13 Overpriced Restaurant Items</a>)</p> <p>As it turns out, restaurants have a pretty good handle on behavioral psychology &mdash; which is why you often end up leaving with a fuller belly and a lighter wallet than you intended. Here are 12 of the sneakiest tricks that restaurants use to get you spend more.</p> <h2>Menu Presentation</h2> <p>A well-designed menu is the single greatest asset for a restaurant's bottom line, as it can help to steer customers to the items the restaurant most wants to sell. That's why you'll find nearly all restaurants have many or all of the following features on their menus.</p> <h3>1. Visual Highlights</h3> <p>If you have ever wondered why some menu items are placed in a text box or otherwise bolded, it's because the restaurant wants to draw your attention to the item. Often, the boxed-off menu item is something that is a major profit-maker for the restaurant &mdash; like chicken wings, for example. Wings cost the restaurant pennies, so the more they sell, the more they profit.</p> <p>In addition, menu designers recognize that most people's eyes are drawn to the <a href="">top right-hand corner</a>, so that is where the big money-maker dishes are often placed. You may have noticed this if you've ever searched in vain for a simple burger on a menu. Burgers and sandwiches and the like don't tend be super profitable in some restaurants, so they are often confined to &quot;menu Siberia,&quot; where you'll have to read through the pricier items before finding them.</p> <p>Finally, photographs of food tend to be powerful motivators, which is why restaurants will place photographs of only some of their menu items. The ones appearing in photographs are the most profitable dishes.</p> <p>Even in high-end restaurants, where photos on the menu are considered a little déclassé, you will often find line drawings or other visual representations of the big money makers.</p> <h3>2. Offering Two Portion Sizes</h3> <p>I often order salads when I dine out, and I have noticed that salads are usually offered in two sizes. This practice is called &quot;bracketing,&quot; and it's a no-win for the customer. Most customers will order the smaller/cheaper portion, thinking that the lower price is a better deal. But the menu does not specify how much smaller the cheaper portion will be, and in general the restaurant is actually hoping you'll buy the smaller size. If you do splurge on the larger salad, often the size difference will be made up in inexpensive lettuce.</p> <h3>3. Feeling Like Family</h3> <p>Diners tend to like seeing the <a href="">names of mothers, grandmothers, uncles, and other relatives</a> on their menus. That's why you'll see something listed as &quot;Bubbie's Chicken Soup&quot; or &quot;Uncle Doug's Famous Burgers&quot; rather than simply chicken noodle soup or &frac14; pound burgers.</p> <h3>4. Brand Name Recognition</h3> <p>Going along with that, menu designers have discovered that using <a href="">brand names helps boost sales</a>. For instance, T.G.I. Friday's offers Jack Daniel's sauce, and many restaurants make sure to specify that their juice is from Minute Maid. The name recognition is enough to help sell the food.</p> <h3>5. Descriptive Language</h3> <p>A study by Cornell University revealed that foods described in a more flowery or beautiful way were more appealing and popular with diners than the same items presented more plainly. For instance, the study would either label a dessert as &quot;New York Style Cheesecake with Godiva Chocolate Sauce&quot; or simply as &quot;Cheesecake.&quot; The results showed that diners chose the more descriptive menu items <a href="">27% more often</a> than the more plainly labeled items.</p> <p>Restaurants will often use this effect to highlight a profitable dish &mdash; while using much plainer description on a less profitable menu item placed nearby.</p> <h3>6. Price Shenanigans</h3> <p>One of the things you won't find in almost any menu, from a formal foodie haven down to Mom's Diner, is a dollar sign. Omitting the symbol from the price seems to be enough to spur diners to spend significantly more, according to another Cornell study.</p> <p>In addition, you'll notice something funny about the numbers on menus. You will rarely see any prices ending in a 9. For instance, a dessert will be listed as $4.95 <a href="">rather than $4.99</a>. Apparently, numbers ending in 5 seem &quot;friendlier,&quot; while numbers ending with 9 connote value, but not necessarily quality.</p> <p>Many restaurants will leave off the cents entirely, listing their dishes as a clean and simple number. All of these gambits make prices abstract, which makes spending feel less threatening and painful.</p> <h3>7. Price Placement</h3> <p>Many menus will avoid listing prices in a column, since that will make it much simpler to compare prices between meals. Instead, many restaurants will bury each item's price beneath the description.</p> <p>Even if prices are listed across from the dishes, restaurants generally do not print leader dots between the dish name and the price. It's harder to scan across to the price without those dots, meaning you're more likely to focus on the dish.</p> <h2>Service</h2> <p>The menu is not the only way restaurants try to manipulate your spending. Your friendly server is also in on it.</p> <h3>8. Introducing Themselves by Name</h3> <p>When your server introduces himself as Todd and claims he'll be &quot;taking care of you this evening,&quot; he's not just being friendly. Studies have shown that <a href="">restaurant tipping is higher when servers introduce themselves</a> because the interaction feels more personal.</p> <h3>9. Upselling</h3> <p>Servers are trained to ask you if you'd like to add to your meal during every step of the ordering process. For instance, when you order a cocktail, your server might offer you a choice of brands of liquor &mdash; letting you know that the restaurant carries both Bombay and Beefeaters gin, for instance. What the server does not tell you is that there is also a perfectly good and inexpensive gin that the bartender would have used had you not specified either Bombay or Beefeaters.</p> <h3>10. Listing Specials Verbally</h3> <p>In addition to upselling, servers are also trained to rattle off the day's specials &mdash; from the appetizers to the soups to the entrees to the desserts &mdash; off the top of their heads. This practice provides you with a mouth watering description of the foods that the restaurant is hoping to sell, but it does not give you the price point for each special. Many diners are too embarrassed to ask about the prices of specials, meaning they are surprised when the bill comes.</p> <h3>11. Beverage Timing</h3> <p>You've probably noticed that good servers get your beverage from the bar very quickly after you place your order. That's partially because if the timing is right, you'll run out of your drink either before your entrée arrives or in the middle of your meal &mdash; which will often mean you ask for a refill. If you're drinking a bottle of wine, you might find that your server is Johnny-on-the-spot with refills, since you might be persuaded to purchase another bottle if the first one is empty before your plate is.</p> <h3>12. The Midas Touch</h3> <p>Waitresses in particular are known for being very friendly and even lightly touching diners on the shoulder or hand. That's partially because studies have shown that both men and women tend to tip significantly more when their waitresses touch them in a friendly way. Researchers have dubbed this the <a href="">Midas Touch</a>.</p> <p>This Midas Touch <a href="">does not extend to male servers</a>, however. Diners are more likely to see that kind of touch as creepy rather than friendly or nurturing when it comes from a waiter rather than a waitress.</p> <h2>Limiting Your Restaurant Spending</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the restaurants hold most of the cards when you decide to treat yourself to a meal out. Since you are there to enjoy yourself, it can be very difficult to attempt to counteract the psychological tricks since doing so will likely negatively affect your enjoyment.</p> <p>The best way to deal with these issues is to plan ahead. Bring cash so you cannot spend more than you brought. Check out the menu online and decide what you will order before you arrive. Make sure you ask questions of your server if you're not sure of prices or options. And plan to savor your food and drink, since it will help you be more satisfied and lessen the possibility of over-ordering and overeating.</p> <p><em>Have you noticed any other tricks of the restaurant trade? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 New Ways Restaurants Trick You to Spend More" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping dining out psychology restaurants spending tricks Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1189022 at The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-most-surprisingly-unhealthy-beverages" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="boy drinking soda" title="boy drinking soda" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think what you're eating is what matters most in your diet? Maybe it's what you're washing it all down with that's really the problem. According to statistics compiled by the Harvard School of Public Health, the rising consumption of <a href="">sugary drinks is a major contributor to obesity</a> in the United States. In fact, for about 25% of Americans, these drinks contribute 200 or more calories to their diet each day. (See also: <a href="">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p>Of course, the obvious culprit is soda (or &quot;pop,&quot; depending on where you live). Fizzy, sugary drinks are also the indulgence that get vilified the most in the press and nutritional publications. Unfortunately, that isn't the only unhealthy drink you should be avoiding. Check out these six surprisingly unhealthy beverages you may have overlooked.</p> <h2>1. Rice Milk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Cow's milk often gets a bad rap, whether for its saturated fat content, or the hormones that are too often fed to milking cows, or to the conditions in which those cows produce their milk. And while those may all be valid concerns, many milk substitutes have problems of their own. Rice milk, in particular, <a href="">is essentially just starchy water</a>; if it isn't fortified, it provides virtually nothing in the way of protein or vitamins. Much like soda, rice milk only promises empty calories.</p> <h2>2. Smoothies</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>When it comes to having a refreshing summer treat, a smoothie seems like a good bet. But you might be better off getting the ice cream. Because let's face it: That's what you really want anyway, and you probably won't be any worse off for it.</p> <p>Smoothies tend to start out as being pretty healthy. They often contain yogurt and fruit. But then, many smoothie and drink chains add sugar, protein powders, juice, and ice cream, ratcheting up the calories to as many as 500 per cup. That said, a few chains do make healthy, relatively low calorie smoothies. Just check the nutritional information rather than assuming that a smoothie is a health food. Or take control of what's in your smoothie by <a href="">making your own at home</a>.</p> <h2>3. Vitamin Water</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Vitamins and water. It sounds like a good combo, right? After all, our bodies need both. But before you pop the cap on one of these drinks, take a look at the label. Sure, there are plenty of vitamins, as promised. But there's also a lot of sugar. About 120 calories' worth in a typical bottle. That's less than what you'll find in the same about of soda, but not by much. And as for vitamins, well, even the leading vitamin water producer says <a href="">they probably won't do you much good</a>. Is it any wonder vitamin waters are hawked by major soft drink companies like Coca Cola?</p> <h2>4. Iced Tea</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><a href="">Tea has tons of health benefits</a>, but when it's brewed and bottled and sold as iced tea, its health benefits get a little murky.</p> <p>Most people drink what those in Southern United States call &quot;sweet tea.&quot; According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database, a 12-ounce glass of iced sweet tea is almost entirely made of water and carbohydrates, with 136 calories, no fat, fiber, or protein, and 32 grams of sugar. Compare that to a typical can of soda, which has about 150 calories. Sure, there are some antioxidants in that tea, but in bottled varieties,<a href=""> those levels are often pretty low</a>. In other words, iced tea isn't much better than soda unless you make your own and keep sugar to a minimum.</p> <h2>5. Fruit Juice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>A glass of fruit juice has long been represented on the USDA's Food Guide as a serving of fruit. Unfortunately, more recent research has found that while 100% fruit juice is made of fruit, it doesn't act like fruit in our bodies. Juice does include some vitamins and minerals, but it lacks whole fruit's fiber, which is what helps all the sugar in fruit enter our bloodstream at a slower rate. Plus,<a href=""> many fruit juices are as sugary as soft drinks</a>. In small quantities, the vitamins in juice make it a little healthier than soda, but not by much.</p> <h2>6. Diet Soda</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>If you're a diet soda lover, you probably know it isn't <em>healthy</em> for you, exactly, but you may assume think it's a cut above sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks. Unfortunately, calorie-free diet drinks aren't free of health consequences. According to a 2008 University of Minnesota study, just one diet soda a day is linked to an <a href="">increased risk of metabolic syndrome.</a> A University of Texas Health Science Center study found that downing two or more cans of <a href="">diet soda per day increased people's waistlines by 500%</a>. Diet soda consumption has even been linked to <a href="">kidney problems</a> and <a href="">acid reflux</a>.</p> <p>The bottom line? Many drinks that are marketed as being healthy &mdash; or healthier &mdash; are just as bad for your health as soda.</p> <p><em>Any other surprisingly unhealthy beverages? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Most Surprisingly Unhealthy Beverages" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink beverages healthy food junk food pop soda tea unhealthy food Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:00:05 +0000 Tara Struyk 1189082 at Best Money Tips: Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-steps-to-grocery-savings-without-double-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on grocery savings without double coupons, things that annoy hiring managers, and coming to grips with paying your rent on time.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">6 Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons</a> &mdash; You can save at the grocery store without double coupons by comparing what you purchase and tracking sale prices. [Pocket Your Dollars]</p> <p><a href="">9 Things That Really Annoy Hiring Managers</a> &mdash; Being too persistant can really annoy hiring managers. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">Coming to Grips With Paying Your Rent On Time</a> &mdash; To make sure you pay your rent on time, budget rent as a priority and make cut backs where possible. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="">5 Times It's Worth Booking a Hotel While Backpacking</a> &mdash; If you are backpacking and become concerned about your safety, it is probably worth it to book a hotel. [CouponPal]</p> <p><a href="">How to Dress Cheaply for the Rest of Summer</a> &mdash; Rocking cotton and linen and remembering that dresses are your friend can help you dress cheaply for the rest of summer. [The Shop My Closet Project]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">10 Things We Need to Fix to Slow Down the March of Identity Theft</a> &mdash; In order to slow down identity theft, consumer apathy and security must be dealt with. [Credit Sesame Blog]</p> <p><a href="">Ready to Do What You Love and Find Your Ideal Career?</a> &mdash; Teaching yourself something new and establishing a side hustle can help you find your ideal career. [Common Sense Millennial]</p> <p><a href="">Are You Driving a Lemon?</a> &mdash; If your car is a lemon, contact the manufacturer as well as the dealer to report any problems with your car. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="">6 Tips on How to Act on the Sidelines of Your Child&rsquo;s Sporting Event</a> &mdash; It is important to be positive and not yell at the coach when attending your child's sporting event. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">New Law Mandates In-State Tuition for Vets Studying at All Public Colleges Starting Next Year</a> &mdash; Starting next year, vets will pay in state tuition fees at all colleges, even if they attend college in another state. [Bargaineering]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Steps to Grocery Savings Without Double Coupons" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping best money tips coupons Food grocery market supermarket Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:00:05 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1185498 at 10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-delicious-but-difficult-recipes-made-easy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="mother making sushi" title="mother making sushi" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Would you care for some pate' on fresh bread? Perhaps some sushi? No trouble, I'll just whip some up. Really. Okay, some of these recipes require a little planning, but these are true time-savers. You don't need to think you are compromising, because they're also delicious. (See also: <a href="">Elevate Your Cooking Skills With These 5 Easy Techniques</a>)</p> <h2>1. Strawberry Freezer Jam</h2> <p>My best friend's mother used to crank this <a href="">strawberry jam</a> out every summer. The beauty of freezer jam is that once you've made it, you've made jam like some dang pioneer. However, you don't need one of those massive canning kettles, boiling water, fancy jars and lids, and the worry of &quot;did they properly seal?&quot;</p> <p>I like the quantity of this recipe, which makes five pints. That's enough to store a few and share some. Freezer jam is great over toast, waffles, and pancakes. A little bit on the runny side, this jam is also great to stir into plain yogurt, or put over ice cream. I liked mine over a well-buttered English muffin.</p> <h2>2. Refrigerator Pickles</h2> <p>My aunt used to make pickles, and that's why I haven't. The work involved is too daunting. You have to make a brine, and get out the giant kettle, sterilize the jars, trim the ends of the cucumbers if they are too tall, and worry about if they have sealed properly&hellip; ugh, no thanks. Target has excellent pickle prices.</p> <p>So when a co-worker said, &quot;Just make <a href="">refrigerator pickles</a>,&quot; I thought well, let's look into that! These are delicious. Based on the recipe comments, I used apple cider vinegar instead of white. They remind me very much of Japanese sunomono, a cucumber salad (the difference being the use of rice vinegar, ginger root, and sesame seeds). Refrigerator pickles are not at all daunting and they are very delicious.</p> <h2>3. No-Knead Bread</h2> <p>&quot;Even a six-year-old can do it!&quot; Those are my kind of instructions.</p> <p>This <a href="">no-knead bread </a>is amazingly easy. It does need to rest for twelve hours, so you will need to allow for that. However, it makes a fantastic loaf.</p> <p>Sometimes, though, I want my bread even faster! Did you ever make a pot of soup and think, &quot;I wish I had some fresh bread to go with this&quot;? <a href="">Beer bread</a> is one of my favorite quick bread go-to's. I always seem to have these ingredients around&hellip; including the beer.</p> <p>Another favorite (no need to wait for St. Patrick's Day) is <a href="">Irish Soda bread,</a> which I think is absolutely great for breakfast. No buttermilk? Don't worry. Just substitute lemon juice or <a href="">vinegar into regular milk</a>, in place of buttermilk.</p> <p>Special diet? Here is a no-knead <a href="">oatmeal </a>bread that works with with soy milk. No yeast is used. I found that if I added some finely-chopped apple (about a half-cup), it was like dessert.</p> <h2>4. Sushi</h2> <p>As much as I love sushi, you would think I would be better at making it. Not so! Any type of cooking that requires good manual dexterity is not my thing. I have tried sushi, spring rolls, shaped baked rolls, but mine come out looking pretty ugly.</p> <p>Loving the flavors of sushi, I was so happy to find a recipe for &quot;<a href="">pan sushi</a>.&quot; Keoni Chang is the chef for the Hawaii chain of Foodland stores and this is a fun demo. Try with imitation (or real) crab, Spam, tuna, or let your imagination go crazy. I like to add a layer of Japanese omelet or tofu, spicy ahi poke, bacon and/or fried chicken pieces. A layer of sliced green onions is also good.</p> <h2>5. Ice Cream</h2> <p>I do own an ice-cream maker. It makes wonderful ice cream and frozen yogurt, but it takes a lot of pre-planning and time. I was a little disappointed that it wasn't easier to use.</p> <p>When I am not in the mood to get all the parts out, I have two &quot;cheater&quot; ice-cream recipes that are great. The first one? <a href="">Frozen bananas</a>. No kidding. Slice a banana, freeze it, pummel it in the food processor or blender and ta-daah! Ice cream. I use a blender, which is powerful enough that it works fine. Keep in mind the advantages of the frozen banana ice cream: Fat-free, gluten-free, vegan&hellip; you get my drift. What is really unusual is that I first thought it would just taste, oh, I don't know, just banana-y. But oddly, and especially when you add a little chocolate syrup on top, or peanut butter, or coconut shavings, well, that other flavor seems to be the dominant one. It's a little like a blank slate.</p> <p>My second &quot;fake <a href="">ice cream</a>&quot; trick? Whipping cream and condensed milk. Again, add whatever flavorings you want (if any). I challenge you to wait until it is completely solid. The first time we made this ice cream, my husband and I waited an hour and a half and decided we would &quot;check&quot; it. Like quality control. Just to make sure it wasn't horrible. Well, we ate it. All. It was like soft-serve ice cream, and it was a hot day, and we'd had a small lunch&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Margaritas</h2> <p>If I ask my husband to make me a margarita, it is an undertaking. He makes a simple syrup, picks fresh limes, and gets out some fancy glasses and coarse salt. If I have been marinating carnitas or simmering a mole, that kind of margarita fuss is justified. But hey, tacos? No. Let's just make an easy <a href="">margarita.</a> I keep frozen limeade (which is also cheap) around just for this purpose.</p> <h2>7. Pate</h2> <p>Pate, anyone? Why, yes, thank you, I would love some. Would you believe that, aside from the chicken livers, I had the makings in my pantry? I had never considered making it, thinking it would be really complicated. Wrong! This Emeril Lagase recipe for <a href="">chicken liver pate</a> is surprisingly easy. It does take a little pre-planning, so if you want to throw a dinner party on Saturday night, you will need to shop and cook on Friday. I used brandy rather than cognac and served on toasted baguettes.</p> <h2>8. Hollandaise</h2> <p>When my mother wanted to impress her guests, out came the fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Couldn't you just swim in this sauce? I don't own a double boiler, and I certainly do not have the patience for all the stirring and monitoring. Fortunately, some smarty came up with a blender <a href="">hollandaise sauce</a>. I use a little Sriracha sauce in mine for extra zip. Great on asparagus, of course (roasted, not boiled &mdash; sorry, mom) and of course on Eggs Benedict. You could put this sauce on just about anything and it would be great, shoe leather included.</p> <h2>9. Pasta</h2> <p>I used to have a pasta maker. It did make very nice pasta, but it also had many parts, needed assembly each use, and the clean-up was a nightmare. I ended up selling it. However, I do love fresh pasta, and was feeling a little deprived until I looked into making it without the equipment.</p> <p>What do you really need for good, fresh pasta? Basically, a good, sharp knife and a rolling pin.</p> <p>I found instructions in lots of places online, but I like <a href="">this fresh pasta recipe</a> the best.</p> <p>There was some trial and error involved. I did not have good luck with whole-wheat flour, which fell apart a lot. In my cookbooks, &quot;semolina flour&quot; is recommended, but I just used plain flour and it worked fine.</p> <p>There is a lot of debate online about whether to allow the pasta to dry or to cook it immediately. Most people seem to agree that results are better if you allow spaghetti or linguini to dry for between one and three hours. If you do decide to dry your pasta, you're going to need a rack or a tree to hang it from. When I had a pasta maker, I also had a drying tree &mdash; no problem. But when I got rid of that maker, I sold the tree with it. What to do if you don't have a pasta drying tree? Improvise.</p> <p>I took my cookie rack (like <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000Q3EZNY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VD5Q3KYAT7MMN35L">this one</a>), put it between two tall standing books (making a sort of bridge), and put the noodles on the rungs of the rack to dry. I also put some waxed paper underneath the noodles, as some of them fell off and I wanted them to land on a clean surface.</p> <h2>10. Pie Crust</h2> <p>I have no issues with using those ready-made crusts, but sometimes, I don't have them around at the ready. Also, I am not terribly handy with a rolling pin and I really hate getting flour everywhere. But wait! You don't need all that stuff. I love this <a href="">simple pie crust recipe</a> &mdash; and it works! How? Smushing. Yep, you just &quot;smush&quot; the dough into place. It takes a little practice, but this dough recipe is very forgiving. I am not very good at decorative crusts, but I think mine turned out looking fine and definitely had a homemade touch.</p> <p><em>See, anybody can look like a total gourmet on a day's notice. Any easy recipes to share, readers?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Delicious But Difficult Recipes Made Easy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink difficult recipes easy recipes recipe secrets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Marla Walters 1185373 at Wise Bread Reloaded: Late Summer Grilling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/wise-bread-reloaded-late-summer-grilling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family barbeque" title="family barbeque" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In some parts of the country, the <a href="">apple harvest is already underway</a>, and a summer that seemed so endless when it began is already closing in on another fall.</p> <p>But there are still a few more weekends of grilling season left. If you've grown weary of the usual backyard BBQ fare, consider some of the recipes, ingredients, and grill techniques we've collected below in this week's edition of Reloaded.</p> <p><a href="">Great Vegan Grill Recipes</a> &mdash; Mikey Rox offers up six delicious vegan grill dishes, including a precious grilled peach dessert.</p> <p><a href="">This Is How You Grill Pizza at Home</a> &mdash; It sounds crazy, but a grill really is a great way to prepare pizza, primarily because you can raise the temperature to 700 degrees or more, almost as hot as a wood-fired pizza oven. Ashley Marcin's method puts dough right on grill, but a pizza stone works too.</p> <p><a href="">15 Delicious New Ways to Top a Burger</a> &mdash; If you are determined to go with the classic burger, mix it up with one (or several) of Marla Walter's fun burger toppings. She also offers recipes for several non-beef burgers, including turkey, salmon, black bean, and crab.</p> <p><a href="">15 Chicken Leg and Thigh Recipes From Around the World</a> &mdash; The recipe for Korean BBQ chicken thighs Camilla Cheung included in her collection of leg and thigh recipes is why we've included the post here, but you'll find 14 other great recipes for dark meat after the click, too.</p> <p><a href="">10 Cheap and Delicious Marinades</a> &mdash; All of these marinades are suitable for the usual grill proteins (the ones that come from animals), but they'll do well on vegetarian and vegan vehicles such as tofu and tempeh, too.</p> <p><a href="">15 Fun, Cheap Things to Do Before Summer Is Gone</a> &mdash; When you're done grilling and eating, Jennifer Holder offers a double handful of fun, frugal things to do before school and bad weather return.</p> <h2>This Year's Record Breaking Apple Harvest</h2> <p>The Wall Street Journal tells us that this year apple harvest in Washington state will be <a href="">record breaking</a>. Just don't expect too much downward pressure on prices. That's because Washington grows varieties such as Gala and Honey Crisp that other apple growing regions do not. Nevertheless, what should we do with the bounty?</p> <p>Grill 'em, of course &mdash; <a href="">sliced</a> and dusted with cinnamon and sugar, or whole and <a href="">stuffed with chocolate</a> and marshmallows.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Wise Bread Reloaded: Late Summer Grilling" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lars Peterson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink BBQ Grill Grilling outdoor food Sat, 16 Aug 2014 11:00:04 +0000 Lars Peterson 1186465 at Best Money Tips: Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-starbucks-hacks-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coffee shop" title="coffee shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on Starbucks hacks that will save you money, money mindsets to adopt today, and starting a business you love.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">14 Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money</a> &mdash; Did you know if you bring your own cup to Starbucks they will give you a ten cent discount? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">How to Change Your Money Mindset + 7 Mindsets To Adopt Today</a> &mdash; Having the money mindsets that money looks better in your bank account than on your feet and that financial success is possible for you can help you be successful with your finances. [Leah Manderson]</p> <p><a href="">6 First Steps to Starting a Business You Love (and Finding Your Freedom Along the Way)</a> &mdash; When starting a business you love, be helpful and stay focused. [Mom and Dad Money]</p> <p><a href="">The 4 Basic Steps to Achieve Financial Success</a> &mdash; To achieve financial success, spend less than you make. [Celebrating Financial Freedom]</p> <p><a href="">6 Old School Ways to Save More</a> &mdash; Driving your car longer and learning to barter can help you save more. [SmartAsset Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">School's Back. So Are Some, But Not All, Education Tax Breaks</a> &mdash; The American Opportunity tax credit renewed through 2017, so don't forget to take advantage of it if you or your child is in school. [Don't Mess With Taxes]</p> <p><a href="">How to Inspire Honest &amp; Authentic Money Conversations in Your Relationship</a> &mdash; Appreciating the other dynamics at play in your relationship can help you inspire honest and authentic money conversations with your partner. [Financially Authentic]</p> <p><a href="">Can Money Buy Happiness for Gen Y?</a> &mdash; If you want to align your money and happiness, think positively and practice gratitude. [Gen Y Planning]</p> <p><a href="">Freaked by Personal Finance? Start With Trust and Inspired Action</a> &mdash; Trusting yourself is a vital part in being successful with your personal finances. [Creative Money]</p> <p><a href="">Destination Adulthood: Help Your Child Succeed Step by Step</a> &mdash; It is important to teach your child self-control. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Starbucks Hacks That Will Save You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips Starbucks Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:00:03 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1184665 at Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier and Cheaper at Home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-15-junk-food-favorites-healthier-and-cheaper-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="chicken nuggets" title="chicken nuggets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether we want to admit it or not, we live in a world full of brightly packaged &quot;foods&quot; and gigantic restaurant portions. Sure, I'd love to say that I never have cravings and &mdash; instead &mdash; only fill my stomach with whole foods. I'm a child of the 1990s, however, and I'm pretty sure I subsisted on a lot of unhealthy eats throughout my teens. (See also: <a href="">25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People</a>)</p> <p>When I get the cravings these days, I either try to skip these foods entirely or go online to find healthier ways to make them at home so they pack less of a processed punch.</p> <h2>1. Pizza Hut Breadsticks</h2> <p>I'm keen on those warm, crusty breadsticks, and this <a href="">copycat recipe</a> &mdash; complete with sticks and herbed Parmesan topping &mdash; looks incredibly satisfying. If you don't need 3 dozen breadsticks, you can easily make a half batch for weeknight snacking, and I'd suggest substituting half the white flour with whole wheat.</p> <h2>2. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups</h2> <p>I don't care so much about whatever holiday is next, but I sure look forward to finding Reese's eggs, trees, and other shapes to stuff my face with. This delicious <a href="">Peanut Butter Egg</a> recipe uses stevia and powdered sugar for sweetness, so it's certain to be much healthier than the original!</p> <h2>3. Peanut Butter Twix</h2> <p>Next in line after Reese's, my favorite candy is peanut butter Twix. This <a href="">homemade recipe</a> looks a little time intensive, but it's certainly worth the effort. The best part? The peanut butter gets a more authentic texture with crumbled graham crackers.</p> <h2>4. Chicken McNuggets</h2> <p>I didn't know it was possible to make this next dish healthy, but these copycat <a href="">Chicken McNuggets</a> are baked and gluten-free. They are also made from real chicken breast, which is far better than whatever is in the drive-through favorite. I always used to dip mine in honey!</p> <h2>5. Egg McMuffin</h2> <p>While we're on the fast food giant, check out these <a href="">Egg McMuffins</a> made with Canadian bacon, low-calorie cheese, and whole grain English muffins. The recipe yields 12, so you can make a big batch to freeze for quick breakfasts on the go. (See also: <a href="">9 Make Ahead Freezable Breakfast Meals</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pop-Tarts</h2> <p>I definitely ate my fair share of Pop-Tarts growing up, and not as part of a healthy breakfast. This <a href="">tasty version</a> can be filled with anything from cinnamon to jam to Nutella, but whatever you choose is bound to be better than its packaged counterpart.</p> <h2>7. Orange Julius</h2> <p>I'd get this drink when we'd visit the mall, and what a treat it was! This <a href="">homemade copycat beverage</a> is sweetened with only fruit and made vegan by using almond milk, though I'm sure you can substitute in whatever dairy you prefer.</p> <h2>8. Wendy's Frosty</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of Frosty copycat recipes, but <a href="">this chocolatey one</a> seems to be lighter than the rest. It's also Weight Watchers approved with only four points. If points don't matter and you're avoiding sugar substitutes, you could always use regular pudding mix with similar results.</p> <h2>9. Olive Garden Dressing</h2> <p>This recipe might not be entirely healthier than the restaurant mix, but it might get you eating more veggies at home. Try the <a href="">Olive Garden Dressing</a> copycat and chill in your refrigerator for weeks of crunchy salads on demand.</p> <h2>10. Twinkie</h2> <p>It doesn't get more basic than the Twinkie. Here's a <a href="">healthy recipe</a> to try that also happens to be gluten free and extra gooey. If you don't like agave nectar, you can substitute maple syrup or honey for natural sweetness.</p> <h2>11. Rice Krispy Treats</h2> <p>I may need to make this recipe tonight because I'm already drooling over these <a href="">Crisp Rice Treats</a> that are made with brown rice cereal, Ricemellow Creme, and &mdash; yes &mdash; peanut butter. Drizzle some dark chocolate on top to take this dessert over the edge.</p> <h2>12. Mac and Cheese</h2> <p>I grew up on Velveeta mac and cheese, but I don't even want to know what is in that orange melty stuff. The author of this <a href="">vegan copycat recipe</a> claims this has all the classic flavor &mdash; all without containing any animal products whatsoever. The secret? Nuts!</p> <h2>13. Slurpee</h2> <p>This <a href="">Strawberry Lemonade Slurpee</a> recipe will take your love of the frosty drink to a new level. There's still plenty of summer left to enjoy, and the author offers up several fruit swaps for different variations. I'll take a mango plus peach, please!</p> <h2>14. Fruit Roll-Ups</h2> <p>I can't even begin to quantify how many Fruit Roll-Ups I must have eaten as a kid. Now I make them at home for my own child using real fruit. Check out this (video) recipe to make naturally sweetened <a href="">Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups</a> using either an oven on low temperature or dedicated dehydrator.</p> <h2>15. Thin Mints</h2> <p>I was thrilled when I saw packaged Girl Scout style cookies pop up on grocery shelves. But they still just aren't as wholesome as homemade. Try this <a href="">Paleo Thin Mints</a> recipe for a treat even your caveman ancestors might have enjoyed.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite (and wholesome) copycat recipes?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Make 15 Junk Food Favorites Healthier and Cheaper at Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink copycat recipes frugal recipes healthy food junk food Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1184055 at Best Money Tips: Dining Hacks From Restaurant Insiders <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-dining-hacks-from-restaurant-insiders" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="restaurant menu" title="restaurant menu" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on dining hacks from restaurant insiders, reconsidering the college investment, and tools to help you find the cheapest textbooks.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">12 Drinking and Dining Hacks From Restaurant Insiders</a> &mdash; When drinking or dining out, save money by skipping the pricey liquor and only ordering an appetizer. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">The &quot;Ivory Tower&quot;: Reconsidering the College Investment</a> &mdash; Did you know nationally, student loan debt has reached the trillion-dollar mark? [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">5 Tools to Help You Find the Cheapest Textbooks</a> &mdash; Barnes &amp; Noble and can help you find textbooks on the cheap. [The Dough Roller]</p> <p><a href="">Are You Getting Ahead or Falling Behind?</a> &mdash; If you are managing your career successfully, you are probably getting ahead. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="">How Much Does Your Stuff Cost?</a> &mdash; Have you ever considered how much your stuff costs you when it comes to the time you spent buying it? [Red Debted Stepchild]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Are You an Emotional Shopper?</a> &mdash; If you purchase items in hopes they will improve your state of mind, you are probably an emotional shopper. [Fit is the New Poor]</p> <p><a href="">How to Be Open to Opportunities for Abundance</a> &mdash; Being a good steward of your money can keep you open to opportunities for abundance. [Amanda Abella]</p> <p><a href="">3 Do Over Options for Social Security Benefits</a> &mdash; Did you take your social security benefits early? Give yourself a do-over by working it off. [Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row]</p> <p><a href="">Four Items That You Don't Need to Splurge on to Impress Him</a> &mdash; Ladies, don't feel the need to splurge on makeup to impress a guy. [The Budgetnista]</p> <p><a href="">10 Things to Do With Your Kids This Weekend</a> &mdash; This weekend, consider going on a treasure hunt or to a concert with your kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Dining Hacks From Restaurant Insiders" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips dining drinking hacks restaurant Fri, 08 Aug 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1179251 at 11 Food Additives You're Probably Eating Every Day (and What They Do) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-food-additives-youre-probably-eating-every-day-and-what-they-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="eating food night" title="eating food night" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My grandparents grew up in a time and place when they knew exactly where their food came from: their own backyard. That kind of transparency seems almost unimaginable to me.</p> <p>The carton of milk I buy might have been sourced from hundreds &mdash; or even thousands &mdash; of animals. The apples I carefully select tell me only the country or state in which they were grown. Even the fresh bread from my favorite local bakery is suspect; I know nothing about the flour, the seeds, or the hands that bring it to life. And I haven't even gotten to processed food. (See also: <a href="">I'm Eating What? 12 Gross Things in Your Food</a>)</p> <p>But let's be honest: It's pretty hard to avoid processed food entirely. Whether you're talking about technicolored junk food or just canned veggies, it all contains additives that, at best, are unnecessary and, at worst, are downright harmful. Here are 11 common food additives many of us probably ingest quite often &mdash; and what they could mean for your health.</p> <h2>Butylated HydroxyAnisole (BHA)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A petroleum-based antioxidant preservative that helps keep fats from going rancid.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Food packaging, butter, crackers, potato chips, cereal, and beer.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: It depends on whom you ask. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, BHA is &quot;<a href="">generally recognized as safe</a>,&quot; while the National Institutes of Health says it's &quot;<a href="">reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen</a>.&quot; Studies have shown that in high doses <a href="">it causes cancer in lab rats</a>.</p> <h2>Interesterified Fat</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A chemical blend of fully hydrogenated and non-hydrogenated oils, interesterified fat was developed in response to a backlash against hydrogenated oils, which have been <a href="">found to have serious health effects</a>.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: You could find interesterified fats in just about any processed food that contains vegetable oil, including deep-fried food, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, crackers, margarine, salad dressing, and mayonnaise. Look for terms like &quot;stearate&quot; or &quot;stearic rich fats,&quot; as well as &quot;fully hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil or palm kernel oil&quot; on the label.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: One study found that significant consumption of interesterified fats created unhealthy levels of cholesterol and unfavorable blood glucose levels that bordered on pre-diabetes. Another study<a href=""> found no negative effects to cholesterol levels</a>. What is certain is that this fat is less healthy than other saturated alternatives, such a coconut oil and butter. (See also: <a href="">10 Fat-Filled Foods You Should Stop Avoiding</a>.)</p> <h2>Red #40 (Allura Red)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A petroleum-based food dye that belongs, along with a number of other food colorants, to a group called <a href="">azo dyes</a>.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: As the most commonly used food colorant in the U.S., Red #40 is found in candy, cereal, soft drinks, pastries, maraschino cherries, fruit snacks, fruit cocktail, and even chocolate cake. (See also: <a href="">You'll Be Surprised How Much Sugar These 10 Foods Have</a>.)</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: In 2007, the <a href="">azo group of dyes was linked to hyperactivity</a> in elementary school children. Questions over its potentially negative health effects have lead to its being banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, and Switzerland.</p> <h2>Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A synthetic organic chemical dye which, like Red #40, belongs to the azo group.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Cereal, pudding, snacks, macaroni and cheese, condiments, chips, cookies.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Like Red #40, Yellow No. 5 has been linked to hyperactivity, as well as reactions like <a href="">asthma</a>, some <a href="">skin conditions</a>, and even <a href="">cancer</a>. None of these studies is considered conclusive, however, and the coloring remains an FDA approved food additive.</p> <h2>Bisphenol-A (BPA)</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A carbon-based synthetic compound used in plastics and epoxy resins.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: BPA is used in all kinds of polymers and plastics, but when it comes to food, you'll mostly find it in canned foods, because many cans have BPA in their lining. Significant amounts have been shown to leach into food.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Although there isn't much debate about whether people ingest BPA regularly, there is controversy about whether it's safe or not. The biggest concern is that <a href="">BPA disrupts endocrine function</a>. Even so, one recent study that fed rats more than 70,000 times the amount of BPA ingested by a typical American <a href="">found no ill effects</a>.</p> <h2>Phthalates</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: Chemical plasticizing agents that gets into our food via packaging and processing.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: A 2013 study <a href="">detected phthalates in all 72 of the common food products</a> it elected to test, including vegetables, dairy products, grains, meats, and processed foods.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: The use of this chemical <a href=";Standards/Statutes/The-Consumer-Product-Safety-Improvement-Act/Phthalates/FAQs-Bans-on-Phthalates-in-Childrens-Toys/">has been banned in baby toys</a>, but researchers still consider its potential health risks as up in the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure has been <a href="">shown to affect the reproductive system</a> of laboratory animals.</p> <h2>Potassium Bromate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A chemical additive used in bread flour to strengthen bread dough and help improve rising.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Although it's banned for use in many countries, in the United States, you'll find potassium bromate in many commercial baked breads and some bread flours. Because it's an oxidizing agent, it should ideally be used up during baking, leaving no trace in the finished product. Under some baking conditions, however, traces may remain.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Potassium bromate <a href="">has been found to have carcinogenic effects in animals</a>. However, those effects were not found in animals fed bread-based diets made from flour treated with potassium bromate.</p> <h2>Sulfites</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: Compounds that contain the sulfite ion and are used as food enhancers, particularly to prevent fermentation.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Unlike many of the other additives on this list, sulfites are commonly found in the foods most people would consider to be relatively healthy, such as dried, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, tomato pastes and purees, vinegar, and wine.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Although sulfites have not been found to cause serious health effects, they have been linked to <a href="">allergic reactions in some sensitive people</a>.</p> <h2>Carrageenan</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: A seaweed extract widely used in the food industry for gelling, thickening, and stabilizing purposes.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Carrageenan is most commonly found in yogurt, soy and almond milk, and ice cream, particularly low-fat versions.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Carrageenan consumption has been linked to <a href="">gut irritation</a>, <a href="">inflammation</a> and even <a href="">cancer</a> (although an <a href="">industry-sponsored study refuted those findings</a>).</p> <h2>Ammonium Sulfate</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: An inorganic salt that's used as both a fertilizer and a food additive.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: Ammonium sulfate is used in some commercial breads to speed rising and improve browning.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Although the FDA has labeled ammonium sulfate as &quot;<a href="">generally recognized as safe</a>,&quot; the chemical <a href="">has been found to be toxic and have carcinogenic effects</a> in lab rats.</p> <h2>Castoreum</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>What It Is</strong>: Secretions from a beaver's anal gland used to create vanilla or raspberry flavoring in some foods.</p> <p><strong>Where You'll Find It</strong>: You'll be happy to note you probably aren't eating this particular additive very often; there are plenty of alternatives, so annual consumption in the U.S. is low. However, castoreum is approved for use by the FDA and may only be listed as &quot;natural flavor&quot; on the label.</p> <p><strong>What It Does</strong>: Using a beaver's butt juice as a flavoring agent might seem weird, but this one actually <a href="">has a long track record for safety</a>. That said, it's kind of&hellip; gross&hellip; and it's definitely a no-no for vegans and vegetarians.</p> <p>Although it's virtually impossible to avoid all additives, the best way to reduce exposure is to consume whole and unprocessed foods as much as possible. If you're really ambitious, you can even grow or produce some of your own &mdash; just like your grandparents did.</p> <p><em>What food additives do you watch out for? Please share in comments so we can watch for them, too!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Food Additives You&#039;re Probably Eating Every Day (and What They Do)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty food additives processed food pure food Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Tara Struyk 1178259 at 13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ways-you-can-cut-grocery-expenses-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since December 2013, the <a href="">&quot;spot foodstuff&quot; index price is up about 20%</a>. Ouch! For those of us who aren't commodities investors, that will translate to about a 3.5% increase in the price of food over the year &mdash; double the rate of last year's increase. Even vegetarians will feel the pinch due to the ongoing <a href="">California drought</a>.</p> <p>So what can you do to maximize your food budget? Here are 13 suggestions. (See also: <a href="">22 Supermarket Tricks You Haven't Tried Yet</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don't Even Go to the Store, Yet</h2> <p>Take an inventory, first. Do you have things to use up in the refrigerator? Should you <a href="">defrost </a>something from the freezer? If you have a garden or orchard, you might need to pick and use up fruits and vegetables. Maybe stale bread needs to become croutons or avocados, guacamole. Have you checked dates on your canned goods, lately? Might be time to use some and rotate your pantry. So, first, avoid possible <a href="">food waste</a> by checking to see what you have and can use.</p> <h2>2. What's Truly on Sale?</h2> <p>I scan the front page and the back page of my grocery store ads, because the best sale items are found there. Sometimes, items in the center of the ad aren't even on sale, believe it or not. You may assume that because there is a picture of name-brand bologna in the ad that it's on special, but I am looking at small print that says, &quot;4.99 Every Day!&quot; If you have the time or patience, keep a <a href="">price book</a>.</p> <h2>3. Clip Coupons?</h2> <p>Maybe. I only use coupons when they save me money on a product I actually use. Often, a store brand product is cheaper than the name brand product, even with use of the coupon. Not sure? Try using a grocery price <a href="">calculator</a>. If you want to use an app from your mobile phone, will your store be able to use that technology? Will they match another store's price? Let's remember, though, time is money. If you are spending a lot of time hunting down <a href="">coupons</a>, could that time have been spent in a more profitable way? I get a charge out of saving money on items I use, but try not to spend a lot of time clipping.</p> <h2>4. The &quot;Oops, We're Out of&hellip;&quot; List</h2> <p>Try putting paper (and a pen) on the refrigerator, or by the phone. Whenever you run out of something, jot it down. When you go to execute No. 5, below, add these items to your shopping list and start the process over.</p> <h2>5. Plan Menus and Make Your Shopping List</h2> <p>This doesn't need to be elaborate. From your inventory you can now plan how to use food up and also determine what you want to buy for the week.</p> <p>I just jot down what I plan to cook for dinner each night. It's a good way to make sure you don't have to make a second trip to the store. If we are having hamburgers, well, then I know I need meat, buns, lettuce, tomatoes, condiments, and a side, like potatoes for french fries. Making a list is also helpful because if it's written down, you won't forget and have to make yet another trip to the store. The list will also keep you from straying into &quot;fun&quot; stuff.</p> <h2>6. Have a Snack Before You Shop</h2> <p>There is <a href="">science</a> behind this. I know the worst time for me is right after work, when I am tired and hungry. We've all gone to the store for a gallon of milk and walked out thinking, &quot;How did I just spend fifty bucks?&quot; I find that if I eat a greek yogurt or a handful of almonds and some string cheese, I'll stick to that list.</p> <h2>7. Stay Out of the Aisles</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be nice to just hit one section of the store to buy your vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy? Well, if stores were set up that way, they couldn't lure you into the birthday cards, snack foods, paper goods, or toiletries.</p> <p>Take note of your store's setup so that you can avoid the pitfalls of buying items you should be buying at a discount store. Most of what I need is found around the perimeter. If I venture into the middle, I may be tempted to buy things I really do not need. I don't even cut through the middle aisles, where temptation lurks (in the form of potato chips, glossy magazines, or ice cream).</p> <h2>8. Buy in Bulk?</h2> <p>What items are tremendously cheaper at discount stores like Costco or Sam's Club? Toilet paper, paper towels, aluminum foil, tissues, toothpaste, hard liquor, rice, and meat. Be wary of buying items like two giant packs of cereal, or the large cases of soup. Unless you really, really love the product, you may end up being sick of it before you use it up. What else should you buy? Here are the ten <a href="">fastest-rising food prices</a> for items you may want.</p> <h2>9. Cut Up Your Own Poultry and Meat</h2> <p>This is a great way to save money. In my area, whole chickens go on sale for 99 cents a pound and that is when I buy a few, cut them up, freeze some, and even make stock. You just need a good knife, some kitchen shears, and this great instructional <a href="">video</a>. Like stew? Try buying a shoulder and cutting up your own <a href="">stew meat</a>, too.</p> <h2>10. Look Down</h2> <p>The cheapest cereal is not going to be found at the level of your kid. It's usually on the bottom shelf. Its packaging is also unwieldy, and usually in a large plastic bag instead of a handy box. However, if you re-package the cereal into smaller Ziplocs, jars, or tubs, you can save about 40% over the cost of brand-name cereals.</p> <h2>11. Save Every Six to Eight Weeks</h2> <p>Try this experiment. Remove your favorite grocery store's sale ad and save it. In six (or possibly eight) weeks, check it against the new ad. Hey, look! The same stuff is on sale! Buy what you need, and know that you can likely get more at the sale price again in six to eight weeks. You might make a tickler in your phone or computer to remind yourself to buy those items again, i.e., &quot;Buy another case of tomato sauce.&quot;</p> <h2>12. When Should I Shop?</h2> <p>Would you believe <a href="">Wednesday mornings</a>? Well, for most of us, that's not practical (and I feel more like shopping on the weekends, but the best markdowns aren't happening then). However, if you find yourself free on a Wednesday, you might consider doing your grocery shopping instead of sleeping in. (See also: <a href="">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>13. Make Your Own Mixes</h2> <p>Trying to avoid packaged, processed foods, and save money, too? Make your own mixes, like this <a href="">Master Cookie Mix</a>, this <a href="">rice mix,</a> <a href="">Hamburger Helper</a>, or even <a href="">ramen</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you save money at the grocery store? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Ways You Can Cut Grocery Expenses Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Marla Walters</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping food costs groceries grocery shopping meal planning shopping Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Marla Walters 1177367 at The Only 3 Quick and Easy Salad Dressing Recipes You'll Ever Need <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-3-quick-and-easy-salad-dressing-recipes-youll-ever-need" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="dressed salad" title="dressed salad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my least favorite things to buy is salad dressing. I end up standing in the aisle and staring at countless bottles, reading the weird ingredients and thinking about how I will inevitably end up throwing out half of the bottle. My pain continues when I reach the check-out. Since when did oil and some dried herbs cost so much? (See also: <a href="">31 Delicious and Cheap Ways to Use Up an Abundance of Herbs</a>)</p> <p>So I haven't bought salad dressing in over a year. Making dressing at home is cheaper, tastier, and healthier. You can make countless flavors, and make enough to last you the week or just enough to dress a salad for one. Plus, it's easy!</p> <p>This first recipe is a great place to start and serves as a base for the recipes that follow. I tend to keep a jar of the it in the fridge at all times. That way I can use it as-is, or simply add a few ingredients to create a new dressing in less than five minutes.</p> <h2>Quick Vinaigrette</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Serves 4-6</p> <p>This dressing is perfect for flavorful, ingredient-heavy salads that just need a little zip or salads that you want to keep simple and light. Adjust the vinegar and lemon juice ratio depending on your taste.</p> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <ul> <li>2 T vinegar (champagne, balsamic, apple cider, or rice vinegar)</li> <li>2 t lemon juice*</li> <li>1/2 C extra virgin olive oil</li> <li>salt</li> <li>pepper</li> </ul> <h3>Method</h3> <p>Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days and shake each time before using.</p> <p>*If you prefer an all-vinegar dressing, use 3 T vinegar and omit the juice. If you want an all-juice dressing, use 2 T juice and omit the vinegar.</p> <h2>Honey Mustard Vinaigrette</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Serves 4-6</p> <p>This dressing is great for grilled veggie salads, cobb salads, chopped salads, and most anything else.</p> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <ul> <li>1 batch quick vinaigrette (using champagne, apple cider, or rice vinegar)</li> <li>2 t spicy brown mustard</li> <li>1 T honey</li> <li>dash of cinnamon</li> </ul> <h3>Method</h3> <p>Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well until combined.</p> <p>If you are not serving this dressing right away, leave out the mustard and honey and add it just before serving and shake well. Otherwise, the ingredients will keep emulsifying over time and make a very thick mixture.</p> <h2>Pineapple-Soy Vinaigrette</h2> <p>Serves 4-6</p> <p>This version tastes great on Asian and tropical slanted salads with ingredients like edamame, snap peas, hearts of palm, and sesame.</p> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <ul> <li>1 batch quick vinaigrette (using rice, champagne, or apple cider vinegar), omit the lemon juice</li> <li>2 t soy sauce</li> <li>2 T pineapple juice</li> <li>pinch of ginger</li> <li>chopped mint and/or basil (optional)</li> </ul> <h3>Method</h3> <p>Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake well until combined. Store in the refrigerator for up to five days and shake well before serving.</p> <h2>Endless Variations</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Using the quick vinaigrette recipe as a starting point, the flavor possibilities are nearly endless. Add tahini, garlic and parsley for a light tahini dressing; toss in red pepper, garlic, and Italian herbs for an Italian vinaigrette; or add a variety of chopped herbs and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt for a creamy herb dressing.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite quick and easy salad dressing recipe? Please share a splash in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Only 3 Quick and Easy Salad Dressing Recipes You&#039;ll Ever Need " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Laurel Randolph</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink dressing salad vinaigrette vinegar and oil Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Laurel Randolph 1173948 at 12 Delicious and Cheap Nut Butter Recipes to Make at Home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-delicious-and-cheap-nut-butter-recipes-to-make-at-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="peanut butter" title="peanut butter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I remember way back when a trip to the grocery store only offered up a few nut butter choices. There was smooth peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter, and maybe a jar of that mixed PBJ variety&hellip;</p> <p>But now there are sunflower butters, almond butters, hazelnut butters, chocolate peanut butters, cookie butters, and the list grows with each passing day. Nut butters are sort of, well, a thing these days. (Related: <a href="">Peanut Butter: The Poor Man's Protein</a>)</p> <p>And they all seem to have high price tags. I honestly cannot get enough, but my budget can't support my habit like it used to. So, I've been making my own peanut butter at home for the last several years, and it's as easy as putting nuts in a food processor and blending.</p> <h2>Basic Peanut Butter</h2> <h3>Ingredients</h3> <ul> <li>3 cups dry roasted peanuts, unsalted</li> <li>1 teaspoon coarse salt</li> <li>1 tablespoon sugar (optional)</li> <li>1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)</li> </ul> <h3>Method</h3> <p>You place all these ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth. Then place in an airtight container to store. You might wonder: Why dry roasted nuts? Through many tests and trials, the dry roasted peanuts gave way into peanut butter with much less struggle and waiting time. They also have a deeper flavor that I have come to enjoy.</p> <p>And &mdash; as I've covered already &mdash; there are about a million other nut butters out there. Though making them at home <a href="">isn't always remarkably cheaper</a> than buying them at the store, you can't argue that they aren't healthier without all the added ingredients like hydrogenated oils. Here are some tasty recipes to try today! (Related: <a href="">15 Unexpected Uses for Peanut Butter</a>)</p> <h2>Chocolate Peanut Butter</h2> <p>You can <a href="">add chocolate chips</a> &mdash; about a third to a half cup &mdash; to the basic peanut butter recipe above to make a dark and decadent variety. You can substitute honey in for the sugar for some natural flair.</p> <h2>Almond Butter</h2> <p>This roasted, salted <a href="">Almond Butter</a> requires a bit of oven time to develop its flavor &mdash; but it's well worth the wait. Just make sure to let the nuts cool for five minutes before processing.</p> <h2>Maple Almond Butter</h2> <p>This <a href="">Vanilla Maple Almond Butter</a> looks absolutely divine. The author soaked her almonds for 24 hours and then dehydrated them before adding some vanilla beans and a &quot;kiss&quot; of maple syrup while blending.</p> <h2>Walnut Butter</h2> <p>I love tossing walnuts into my chocolate chip cookies, but they're also great as a nut butter. This <a href="">elegant recipe</a> spreads onto crostini as well as it dresses up plain fruit, and it can be sweetened naturally with a little honey (or maple syrup).</p> <h2>Chocolate Hazelnut Butter</h2> <p>I couldn't write a nut butter list without a fantastic <a href="">Homemade Nutella</a> recipe in the mix. I've tried several recipes, but I like the inclusion of icing sugar and coconut milk for added sweetness and richness.</p> <h2>Macadamia Butter</h2> <p>I've actually never tried this type of nut butter, but I think the maple and vanilla flavors in this <a href="">Macadamia Nut Butter</a> recipe might be enough to push me over the edge.</p> <h2>Pecan Butter</h2> <p>Don't mind if I do! This <a href="">Pecan Butter</a> would make a tasty topping for anything from oatmeal to, well, a silver spoon. Add a dash of cinnamon for some deliciously warm spice.</p> <h2>Cashew Butter</h2> <p>I became smitten with cashews when I dipped my toe into the whole raw desserts world. This <a href="">Cashew Butter</a> recipe requires zero oil, yet it blends into a tasty, drippy spread you'll want to put on everything in sight.</p> <h2>Pistachio Butter</h2> <p>Going green? This vibrant <a href="">Pistachio Butter</a> will delight your tastebuds. You'll want to shell the pistachios first to get all the skin off. And you can try this recipe as written &mdash; with almonds &mdash; or go all in with 2 cups of pistachios for more intensity.</p> <h2>Cookie Dough Butter</h2> <p>I'm salivating just thinking about this <a href="">Cookie Dough Nut Butter</a> recipe that has big chunks of chocolate in it. The author uses cashews and macadamia, but I'm thinking you can substitute in whatever nuts you have on hand.</p> <h2>Sunbutter</h2> <p>Sunflower seeds, as we all know, aren't nuts. However, I'm partial to this simple <a href="">Sunflower Butter</a> recipe. And if you're allergic to nuts, it's a great alternative to try in sandwiches and even <a href="">cookie recipes</a>.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite nut butter recipe? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Delicious and Cheap Nut Butter Recipes to Make at Home" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink almonds Homemade nut butter nuts Peanut Butter peanuts Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1172368 at The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-12-herbs-and-spices-every-pantry-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cooking herbs spices" title="cooking herbs spices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you received a spice rack as a wedding gift. Perhaps you found a bunch of basil and cilantro in your latest CSA basket. Or possibly you're just looking to make healthier, low-calorie foods with fuller flavors on the cheap. Cooking with herbs and spices is certainly a skill even novice home cooks should take some time to master.</p> <p>And summer is the perfect to bulk up on these robust ingredients &mdash; and more &mdash; while they are fresh and, therefore, less expensive. You may also find unusual varieties at the farmer's market, which can mean unique dishes for your friends and family to enjoy. If you'd like to dry your own herbs for later use, there are <a href="">a few methods</a> you can employ, including tying in bunches, hanging upside down until fully dehydrated, and then storing in airtight containers. (Related: <a href="">Preserving In-Season Foods for Off-Season Feasts</a>)</p> <p>Here's the lowdown on 12 herb and spice rack favorites I use most in my own cooking, as well as some tips on their use.</p> <h2>Allspice</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>I used to think allspice was a manufactured mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves &mdash; but the flavors come from the unripe and dried berries of its own plant, the Jamaican pimento tree. As a result, it's often used in Caribbean cooking (think <a href="">jerk sauces</a>) or whenever a good dose of warm spice is required, from pumpkin pie and other holiday goodies to slow simmer tagine dinners. (Related: <a href="">25 Delicious and Easy One-Pot Meals</a>)</p> <h2>Basil</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Of all herbs, I love basil best. It's bountiful and cheap at market, and it grows easily in small container gardens at home. Basil also makes a mean, versatile pesto sauce, among other delicious dishes. In stir fries and other hot meals, it's best to tear fresh basil leaves over the dish to let wilt after cooking has completed. (Related: <a href="">10 Easy Pesto Recipes (And Only One Uses Basil)</a>)</p> <h2>Black Pepper</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Most every recipe calls for a pinch of salt and dash of spicy black pepper. Cooks have been using peppercorns for ages whether during the actual cooking process itself or when the meal hits the table. If you can invest in a mill, grind whole peppercorns versus using standard black pepper for a more intense flavor.</p> <h2>Chives</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>I found a rogue patch of chives growing in my neglected garden this year. So, while the plant itself is quite hearty, so, too, are the dishes it works best with. I toss chives in omelets, mix with sour cream atop baked potatoes, flavor soups and stews, and mix into pasta and salads. The chive's garlic and onion flavors marry well with a wide variety of foods, so it's a safe herb to use in culinary experiments.</p> <h2>Cilantro</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>For salsas and guacamole recipes, fresh cilantro is my go-to herb. It also makes a vibrant garnish for a variety of ethnic dishes. Though there's no special rule, I tend to tear leaves off the stems before chopping for the best texture and flavor. Oh, and if you see coriander as an ingredient in your recipe, know this: They are the seeds from the very same plant.</p> <h2>Cinnamon</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Much like allspice, cinnamon is a warm, cozy flavor I tend to use most in the fall and winter months in my baking. All year, cinnamon makes a nice addition to curry dishes. Just be careful you're getting the real deal &mdash; cinnamon's cousin, <em>cassia</em>, is often sold in its place in the U.S. and <a href="">can be toxic to the liver</a> in large quantities in certain individuals. (Related: <a href="">Are Your Spices Fake</a>?)</p> <h2>Dill</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The wispy, feathery texture of fresh dill leaves combine well into many flavorful foods. I like mixing them with soft cheeses, incorporating them into potato salads, garnishing fish, and sprinkling liberally onto deviled eggs. If you cannot find fresh dill, dried is an adequate substitute so long as you decrease the amount to account for drying. Think half or a third dry versus fresh.</p> <h2>Ginger</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Fresh ginger is as delicious as it is good for you. Its bright flavor blends nicely into fresh salad dressings and sauces. Whenever I mince fresh ginger, I squeeze the juices into my recipes rather than toss in the root itself. As for substituting fresh ginger with its ground counterpart, I've never had much luck. So, I like to keep some ginger root in my freezer &mdash; wrapped tightly in plastic &mdash; for emergencies.</p> <h2>Paprika</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>We've reached my favorite spice on this list. Paprika, which is often used in Hungarian cuisine, makes its impact on most of my vegetarian meals in some way or another. There are a <a href="">number of varieties</a> of this spice, but what you'll find on most grocer's shelves is a mildly pungent, Noble Sweet. If you're looking for more complex flavor, pick up some smoked paprika &mdash; it goes beautifully in crock pot chili recipes. (Related: <a href="">35 Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy Vegetarians</a>)</p> <h2>Rosemary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Rosemary is certainly a good bet if you're cooking poultry. As a vegetarian, I use the aromatic herb to flavor breads and even tomato sauces. I recently infused some olive oil with fresh rosemary, and it's quite a treat. I took 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and a handful of rosemary sprigs and placed them in a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove. After a few minutes, I transferred everything to a glass bottle and now store in my refrigerator for drizzling.</p> <h2>Sage</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>The fuzzy texture of sage leaves is, in a word, dreamy. And if you've ever closely examined the dried sage, it's similarly soft. This herb is often used in Mediterranean cuisine, so it's a good choice if you're making pasta dishes (gnocchi and ravioli come to mind) or even as a fat-free way to add flavor to meats. A little goes a long way, especially when using dry, so add slowly and taste often.</p> <h2>Thyme</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>If you're keen on sage, thyme is a good partner in cooking. I use thyme often during the holidays to make vegetarian gravy (it tastes great with mushrooms) and otherwise to mix together delicious dressings like vinaigrettes. If you're using fresh thyme while making a soup or stew, it's a smart idea to tie a bunch together with some twine for easy removal before serving.</p> <p><em>Don't see your favorite on this list? What's herb or spice do you use most in cooking?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 12 Herbs and Spices Every Pantry Should Have" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink flavor herbs pantry spices Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1171610 at The 9 Hidden Costs of Drinking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-hidden-costs-of-drinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="restaurant drinking" title="restaurant drinking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Drinking isn't cheap. We all know that whether it's a quiet glass of wine at home in the evening or a full-fledged night out on the town, alcohol can cost you. But do you know the <em>true</em> costs? Those that go beyond just the actual price you're paying for that can of Coors or bottle of chianti? (See also: <a href="">How to Make Moonshine</a>)</p> <p>Check out some of the common pitfalls associated with your drinking expenditures, as well as frugal ways to still have your wine and drink it too.</p> <h2>1. Transportation Costs</h2> <p>Taxis, limos, and other chauffeured vehicles are necessary for a responsible night of drinking. However, they don't usually come cheap. Even new ride services like <a href="">Uber</a> can run up the tab. So, what to do when you've had a few, but want to save on your transit costs?</p> <p>If you're lucky enough to live in a city with reliable and safe late night public transportation, by all means take advantage of this cheap alternative to a cab. Another option is to pick nearby restaurants and bars where you can easily walk home. Or, take turns being a designated driver within your entourage each weekend, so that everyone can save and be safe.</p> <h2>2. Restaurant Dining</h2> <p>Having a nice drink with your meal at a restaurant makes for a great night. But, that markup on your drink is hefty. Take wine for example. Some restaurants can <a href="">mark up bottles</a> as high as 400%! And, if you and your other guests start ordering wine by the glass, your bill can skyrocket.</p> <p>First off, if you even think there's a chance that you and another guest will have more than one glass of wine each, then buy the bottle. It's almost always cheaper. Or, find restaurants where you can bring your own drinks (BYOB), and avoid the restaurant markup. Lastly, you can always stick to ordering the restaurant's cheaper drink options, such as domestic beers or house liquors and wines, instead of perusing the more expensive drink menus.</p> <h2>3. The Gracious Host</h2> <p>If you have thrown anything from a dinner party to a wedding, you know that a big chunk of the budget can go to alcohol. Events can get expensive quickly when drinks cost more than your food. Still, the best hosts usually find ways to provide the booze.</p> <p>Short of cutting out the alcohol or forcing a cash bar on guests, try cheaper options, like bulk wine (yes, you could even do wine-in-a-box for the less discerning crowd) or kegs of beer, which all give you a quantity discount. Another option is to make up large batches of your own punch, sangria, or other affordable mixed drinks. This can help save as people can't take the liberty to pour more of the expensive stuff in their concoctions. You can also try for cheaper substitutes. One of my favorites is using Cava instead of Champagne. (See also: <a href="">Discount Luxury: Save 50% or More on 5 Fabulous Substitutions</a>)</p> <h2>4. Late Night Food Run</h2> <p>A late night food run may seem like a fun way to top off your night. However, don't forget that even fast food can cost you, especially if you indulge and aren't thinking as clearly as you might otherwise after having a few drinks.</p> <p>To alleviate the extra spend on calories you probably don't need, try to wait until you get home and eat there where it's cheaper. Fast food restaurants, diners, and food trucks may seem cheap at the time, but they add up. Or, if you are lucky enough to know where to find $1 pizza slices, make sure to only hit up these types of super cheap places if you just can't resist.</p> <h2>5. Running a Tab</h2> <p>Tabs can get out of hand when you slap down a credit card and don't realize how much you are truly spending. And, they can be especially dangerous when you buy drinks for others and are feeling festive (a round of shots anyone?).</p> <p>Next time, try paying cash for your drinks, so you'll be more aware of your spend. If you need to use your credit card, set a limit and ask the bartender to automatically close out your tab once reached. Or, if you are looking to treat others, hit the bar when you can save, such as during happy hour or when regular specials and promotions take place.</p> <h2>6. Shopping and Impulse Buys</h2> <p>Any time you've had a drink during the day, whether it be a lunch date or happy hour splurge, beware of your lowered inhibitions and the expenditures that can follow. It's certainly fun to have lunch and go shopping, but you may overpay or buy stuff on impulse.</p> <p>In order to suppress your urge to splurge, try making sure you have a budget or list in mind before you hit the stores. You can also ask friends to keep you in check or use cash to make sure you don't overspend. And lastly, don't fall into the trap of buying just because whomever you're with starts doing so.</p> <h2>7. Your Crowd</h2> <p>If you run with some high rollers, you may find yourself draining your wallet at fancy clubs and restaurants. The ordinary draft beer at such places can cost you four times more than the pub down the street. And, other beverages are sure to run you a small fortune in such places.</p> <p>To avoid the spend of the rich and famous, perhaps it's time to pick your crowd wisely. You can always go out with more like-minded friends to lower-key establishments. Or, make sure you are the one to pick the venues, so you can choose places with reasonable prices or no cover charges. If you still find yourself confronted with absorbent pricing, limit your intake and stay clear of champagnes and signature mixed drinks, which always run higher than most other items.</p> <h2>8. Health Care Costs</h2> <p>We all know that there's a flip side to most guilty pleasures. Consuming alcohol can affect both your health and your wallet. Continual use or over-consumption can cause a number of <a href="">alcohol related health problems</a>, from liver disorders to heart problems to violence and depression. A <a href="">CDC study</a> has estimated that excessive drinking has cost the country at least $224 billion per year in the past, the majority of which is health care costs. As an individual, this means money lost on doctor's visits, costly procedures, missed pay, decreased quality of life, and higher health insurance premiums.</p> <p>It's obvious that the way to combat such problems is to aim to drink less or not at all. Preventive programs and seeking help for excessive alcohol consumption are measures that can be taken. Be sure to limit binge drinking and search for other ways, besides alcohol, to relax and unwind.</p> <h2>9. Long Term Consequences</h2> <p>Excessive or irresponsible drinking can certainly lead to some grave consequences, especially if you drink and drive. Besides the physical dangers, the <a href="">financial fallout from a DUI</a> is a lot more than you may realize. It has been estimated that by the time you pay bail, legal fees, and insurance, a DUI can cost you $10,000 or more. From the insurance perspective, a DUI will <a href="">increase your premium</a> by several hundred dollars, which can last for up to five years. You may also be required to carry more than the state-mandated amount of coverage, further driving up your costs.</p> <p>The obvious way to avoid such expenses is to not drink and drive. A DUI can do all kinds of harm, much of which can last well beyond the initial offense.</p> <p><em>What are some other extra costs you have come across when it comes to spending on drinks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 9 Hidden Costs of Drinking" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Lifestyle alcohol alcohol costs booze drinking wine Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1171611 at