Fast Food en-US 14 Secret Fast Food Menus Revealed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-secret-fast-food-menus-revealed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating burger" title="woman eating burger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Find yourself ordering the same-ol'-same-ol' every time you hit the drive-thru? Next time, go rogue and shake up your junk-food routine by asking for items from your favorite joints' secret menus, the contents of which are revealed right here. (See also: <a href="">Secrets Restaurants Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <p>Since these menus are technically a secret, you may experience a few confused faces when placing your order (especially from new employees), but rest assured that these concoctions are totally possible, so don't give up so easily. If you have to, bring this list (compiled with help from the site <a href="">Ranker</a>) with you and educate the friendly folks behind the counter. In the meantime, happy grubbing, fast-food sleuths.</p> <h2>1. In-N-Out Burger</h2> <p>In-N-Out is arguably the ringleader of the&nbsp;<a href="">secret-menu</a> phenomenon &mdash; thanks to its Animal Style burger (a mustard-smothered grilled-beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and extra spread) that made headlines a few years ago &mdash; but this isn't the only off-menu item you can order at the primarily West Coast chain. Pair your Animal Style burger with Animal Style Fries (cheese, pickles, grilled onions, and spread), then wash it down with a Neapolitan Shake &mdash; a combination of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream. If you're cutting carbs, ask for a Protein Style burger, which is wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of stuffed between a bun. See also: <a href="">Best Money Tips: The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu</a>)</p> <h2>2. Starbucks</h2> <p>Start your day off a different way with items from&nbsp;<a href="">Starbucks' secret menu</a>, which includes the Zebra Mocha (a blend of white-chocolate and chocolate mocha), the Pumpkin Chocolate Latte (the pumpkin spice latte with chocolate syrup), Cake Batter Frappuccino (a vanilla frappuccino with vanilla bean and almond flavoring), and the Nutella (a Cafe Misto blended with chocolate and hazelnut syrups and caramel sauce).</p> <h2>3. Chipotle</h2> <p>When your passion for gigantic burritos starts to wane, switch to&nbsp;<a href=";page=2">Chipotle's secret menu</a>, which includes: nachos (a no-brainer, really) that feature a bed of tortilla chips covered in melted cheese and your choice of toppings; quesadillas made from a burrito shell folded in half; and the brilliant Quesorito, a burrito/quesadilla hybrid with crunch. (See also: <a href="">Secret Confessions of Employees</a>)</p> <h2>4. Five Guys Burgers &amp; Fries</h2> <p>After you scoop up a handful of peanuts, place an order from&nbsp;<a href="">Five Guys' secret menu</a>, the star of which is deliciously melted cheese. Cheeseheads can get their fix via cheese fries and grilled cheeses, the latter of which you can dress up with toppings like bacon, mushrooms, and onions.</p> <h2>5. Chick-fil-A</h2> <p>Chick-fil-A is already famous for its milkshakes, but these variations from the&nbsp;<a href="">secret menu</a> take the cake &mdash; one of them literally. At locations that serve blueberry cheesecake desserts, ask your server to throw a slice in the blender with your shake. Voila! &mdash; blueberry cheesecake milkshake. In addition to that amazement, you can suck down rootbeer floats; order chicken quesadillas (uh huh!); and if your kid doesn't like his kids' meal toy, he can trade it in for a free Ice Dream instead.</p> <h2>6. Burger King</h2> <p>If you're in the mood to commit dietary suicide,&nbsp;<a href="">Burger King's secret menu</a> may be your best bet. Fittingly, its Suicide Burger &mdash; featuring four beef patties with four slices of cheese topped with bacon and a special sauce &mdash; is available alongside the BK BLT (a BLT on a burger), the Rodeo Burger (a Whopper with onion rings and BBQ sauce on top), a ham and cheese sandwich, and half fries/half onion rings (for when you can't decide between the two).</p> <h2>7. McDonald's</h2> <p>Even with so many menu items already available, there are still&nbsp;<a href="">a few secrets up McDonald's sleeve</a>. The McKinley Mac, for instance, is basically a glorified Bic Mac that features Quarter Pounder patties, while the mammoth Monster Mac piles eight patties into a Big Mac. If you still have room for dessert, try a Pie McFlurry (you guessed it &mdash; your favorite McDonald's pie blended into a McFlurry) or a Coke float. (See also: <a href="">Cracking the McDonald's Monopoly Game</a>)</p> <h2>8. Taco Bell</h2> <p>You don't have to make a run for the border to nosh on&nbsp;<a href="">Taco Bell's secret menu</a>, which features the sometimes-on-the-regular-menu Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Chili Cheese Burrito, Enchirito (an enchilada/burrito hybrid), the Superman (a cheesy double-beef burrito with potatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and crispy tortilla strips), and the Hulk (a bean-and-cheese burrito with guacamole).</p> <h2>9. Jamba Juice</h2> <p>Even when you're trying to drink healthy, you can sneak in a bit of a candy fix with options from&nbsp;<a href="">Jamba Juice's secret menu</a>. Sweet favorites include the Pink Starburst (lemonade, soy milk, raspberry sherbet, frozen yogurt, and fresh strawberries), the White Gummi Bear (featuring a menagerie of fruits like pineapple, oranges, and mangoes), Skittles (with peach lemonade and lime sherbet as the stars), and the Sourpatch Kid (which will make your mouth pucker with lemonade blended with blueberries and lime, pineapple, raspberry, and orange sherbets).</p> <h2>10. Dairy Queen</h2> <p>Get creative with your ice cream selections by ordering from&nbsp;<a href="">Dairy Queen's secret menu</a>, which includes decadent items like the Midnight Truffle Blizzard (full of dark cocoa fudge and truffle pieces), the Peanut Buster Parfait (a hot fudge sundae with crunchy peanuts), and the Lavender Blue Sundae (which adds marshmallow to DQ's original Blueberry Sundae).</p> <h2>11. Sonic</h2> <p>Sonic is known as America's drive-in for its vast array of traditional American junk food like hot dogs and tater tots, but its&nbsp;<a href="">secret menu</a> delves deeper into our culture's love of deep-fried and greasy deliciousness. Unofficial finds include Frito Pie, a savory Southern nachos-esque dish that replaces tortilla chips with corn chips topped with chili and cheese; grilled ham and cheese; Purple Sprite, which combines Sprite, lemonade, Powerade, and cranberry juice; and Pickle-O's, once a menu item, but now only a relic that lives in secrecy.</p> <h2>12. Jack in the Box</h2> <p>Jack in the Box is one of the greatest fast-food chains that teases Northeast Coasters with its total lack of locations east of the Mississippi and above the Mason-Dixon Line, and then pours salt into our wounds with a <a href="">secret menu</a> of indulgent proportions. Items include the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger and Bacon Bacon Cheeseburger (both discontinued limited-time offerings) and the mouthwatering Mint Oreo Cookie milkshake. Jack in the Box also allows you to supersize your meals with even more beef patties per sandwich if you'd like &mdash; for an extra charge of course.</p> <h2>13. White Castle</h2> <p>White Castle is so legendary that it served as the plot point for Harold and Kumar's first adventure together. After one of your own Harold and Kumar inspired adventures, swing into White Castle and order the boys' special request from the restaurant's&nbsp;<a href="">secret menu</a>, which comes with 30 sliders, 5 French fries, and four large diet Cokes &mdash; just for Harold. Kumar ordered the same, except he replaced diet Cokes for the Cherry ones. Hope you have a serious appetite, a few friends for sharing, and a defibrillator.</p> <h2>14. Shake Shack</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the most exciting secret menus on this entire list, Shake Shack solidifies its spot as one of the tastiest and most affordable fast burger joints with its&nbsp;<a href="">secret menu</a> that doesn't mess around. The Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger takes an ordinary sandwich and makes its extraordinary by topping it with ooey-gooey peanut butter, while the Shack-cago Burger transfers its Shack-cago Dog toppings (like cucumber, celery salt, and onion) to a burger. Wash it all down with a shandy &mdash; a beer and lemonade drink sure to provide just the right amount of refreshment when you need it.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other secret-menu items from America's favorite fast-food chains? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Secret Fast Food Menus Revealed" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food food hacks secret menus Sat, 07 Sep 2013 10:36:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 981706 at “Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="fast food employee" title="fast food employee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know fast food is not good for us. Most nutrition experts agree that it should be eaten &ldquo;rarely or never.&rdquo; But having said that, most of us will grab a meal from a fast food restaurant sometimes. I know I am guilty of grabbing &ldquo;junk food&rdquo; when I am in a rush or am too tired to cook something.</p> <p>So if you&rsquo;re someone who eats fast food, be it rarely or more often than you should, it doesn&rsquo;t hurt to know what to avoid. Here are the fast food items you should stay away from, and some general tips to keep you from getting serious junk food remorse. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">22 Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda</a>)</p> <p><em>Note: These tips come from people who have worked in the fast food business, <a href="">via reddit</a>. I cannot verify their accuracy 100%, but I have only posted those tips that were repeated by several different individuals.</em></p> <h2>1. &ldquo;Unusual&rdquo; Pizza Toppings</h2> <p>If you go for the normal pizza toppings, like pepperoni, sausage, ham, pineapple, and the usual veggies, you should be fine. But when you start ordering pizzas with more <a href="">exotic toppings</a>, you risk getting some older produce on your pie. The reason is simple &mdash; regular toppings are used up quickly and replaced often. If they go off, they have plenty left in stock to replace them. However, the quirky items, like meatballs, green olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes, are in short supply. They could be sitting out longer, and they may well be older than other toppings when they&rsquo;re cooked.</p> <h2>2. Wendy&rsquo;s Chili</h2> <p>This one has been covered before in <a href="">an article I wrote on employee secrets</a>, but it still deserves a mention in this list. When you order <a href="">Wendy&rsquo;s chili</a>, you might be getting old hamburgers that have been left around all day. They get boiled and mashed up, and chili mix is added.</p> <h2>3. Sweet Teas</h2> <p>It appears that fast food places like to put the sweet in sweet tea. Some places are <a href="">adding around one pound of sugar</a> to a gallon of the stuff. However, it&rsquo;s worth noting that almost all of the soft drinks out there have a high sugar content, so you&rsquo;re better off sticking with water. And it&rsquo;s free.</p> <h2>4. Vegetarian and Vegan Items</h2> <p>In some of the bigger, busier fast food chains, ordering vegetarian and vegan items should come with a warning &mdash; &ldquo;<a href="">this product may contain traces of meat</a>.&rdquo; The reason is laziness and poor hygiene standards. When it&rsquo;s rush hour, or when it&rsquo;s just way easier to do so, cooks will sometimes use the same cooking utensils for the vegetarian and vegan options as they do for meat products.</p> <h2>5. Anything Ending in &quot;Nugget&quot;</h2> <p><a href="">Chicken nuggets</a> are clearly the biggest culprit here, although no one is ruling out other kinds of meat. Basically, chicken nuggets are made from mechanically separated meat (MSM), which is created through a process that extracts every last piece of flesh, meat, and sinew from the bones of the animal. This is then ground into a gruesome paste that is then dyed, flavored, shaped, and put in a box for you to eat. You can read more <a href="">facts about this here</a>, as well as some of the statements about MSM that are not true.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. &ldquo;Fresh&rdquo; Grilled Chicken</h2> <p>It may be a healthier option than fried chicken, but don&rsquo;t go thinking that you&rsquo;re getting something delicious and nutritious. It is common practice in many fast food restaurants, including McDonald&rsquo;s and Burger King, to <a href="">squirt liquid margarine on the grill and the chicken</a>. And when it&rsquo;s sitting in the holding drawer, guess what&hellip;more liquid margarine goes on to keep it juicy.</p> <h2>7. Anything Close to Closing Time</h2> <p>You know how it is. You&rsquo;ve been out at a bar or club and feel hungry. Or you&rsquo;re working very late. But whatever the reason, sometimes you want to grab a bite before you go home, and the flickering light in the distance is like an oasis. It's a fast food joint, and it&rsquo;s <a href="">just about to close</a>. They&rsquo;ll hook you up with a fresh burger or a <a href="">great pizza</a>, right? Well, think again. Chances are the employees are tired and want to go home, and they don&rsquo;t really care about breaking out all the ingredients again to feed you. So they might give you whatever&rsquo;s left, possibly telling you they&rsquo;re &ldquo;out&rdquo; of certain items in order to guide you to the ones they&rsquo;ve got sitting under the heat lamps. If you must eat something that late, go to a grocery store and put together a sandwich with fresh ingredients. It&rsquo;s quick, cheap, and a much better option.</p> <h2>8. Outback&rsquo;s Bloomin&rsquo; Onion</h2> <p>Employees at Outback Steakhouse do say that everything there is delicious and cooked to order, although their Outback Special sirloin is usually a cheaper cut of meat and has a high profit margin. However, it seems their signature appetizer, the Bloomin&rsquo; Onion, hides a dark secret. Here&rsquo;s what one former employee, redditor <a href="">Hurrayforzac</a>, had to say about it:</p> <blockquote><p>Every night, we drain and filter the French fry oil, and put in a chunk of new shortening. The old French fry oil gets filtered in this weird box on wheels and drained into the appetizer deep-vat fryer (shrimp, and I think mushrooms).</p> <p>The oil form the appetizer fryer is filtered in the box and then dumped into the 2nd appetizer fryer (for chicken tenders, etc.). The old oil form the 2nd appetizer fryer (the third fryer in the line) gets filtered and dumped into the fourth and final fryer, which is used exclusively for Bloomin' Onions.</p> <p>So basically the oil used to make the trademark appetizer at Outback is cooked in 4 day old, 4 times filtered shortening. the same oil used to make French fries, then coconut shrimp, then chicken tenders, all finally getting infused into the thick eggy batter that encases that husk of a vegetable. Don't eat those.</p> </blockquote> <h2>9. KFC&rsquo;s Shredded Chicken Snackers</h2> <p>When the fried or grilled chicken has been sat for too long in the heating bays, it cannot be sold to customers, but it can be repurposed. By taking the dry chicken and adding a sauce to it (honey BBQ or buffalo) it can be given a new life as a <a href="">KFC Snacker</a>. Now, personally I don&rsquo;t mind the idea of finding ways to save food, especially with so many people going hungry. But if the idea of old, dry chicken being sold as &ldquo;fresh&rdquo; makes you angry, you should probably steer clear of this one.</p> <h2>10. Ice From the Soda Fountains</h2> <p>As I&rsquo;ve written in the past, you should <a href="">probably avoid soda if you want to save money</a> and your health. But for those who do indulge, or who like a cup of ice water, think twice about <a href="">getting it from the soda fountain</a>. It appears that many employees know just how difficult it is to clean inside of the ice machines. And because &ldquo;what the eye doesn&rsquo;t see, the chef gets away with&rdquo; is par for the course in many fast food restaurants, the inside of these machines are last on the priority list when it comes to cleaning.</p> <p><em>Those are the top 10 I found, but I&rsquo;d like to throw this one out to current (or former) fast food employees. Is there something you&rsquo;d add to the list?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food restaurants unhealthy dining Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:48:43 +0000 Paul Michael 943018 at Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-often-do-you-eat-fast-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? " title="How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href=""><em>Elena</em></a><em>, </em><a href=""><em>scoutmaster</em></a><em>, and </em><a href=""><em>Patrick</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Fast food is a convenience item that can save you time but cost you money. Many people opt to avoid the drive through in order to keep money in their pockets while others will hit up their local fast food joint if they are short on time in order to not have to spend time in the kitchen cooking because their mantra is &quot;time is money!&quot;</p> <p><b>How often do you eat fast food?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;If you eat it frequently, what compells you to spend money on fast food? Do you have any tricks to save on fast food? If you try to avoid it, what keeps you from hitting up the drive through?</span></p> <p>Tell us how often you eat fast food and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, August 20th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 20th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: How Often Do You Eat Fast Food? " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us how often you eat fast food and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <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> Giveaways Ask the Readers Fast Food Food Tue, 14 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 941370 at Why You Shouldn't Eat at Chain Restaurants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-shouldnt-eat-at-chain-restaurants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="disapproving boy" title="disapproving boy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&rsquo;ll reveal my bias upfront &mdash; I can&rsquo;t stand chain restaurants. From their oversized, cheese-topped portions to the excessive use of adjectives in their menus, grabbing a bite at a big-box just doesn&rsquo;t hit the spot for me. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of food that people are consuming outside of their own kitchens has been <a href=";rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;ved=0CC0QFjAB&amp;;ei=QNtLT7-FHovaiQKfv8zaDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHbzNWpBbOdQbKGLb79SKWBD4rN6g">growing pretty steadily since the 1970s</a>, which may account for why chain restaurants seem to keep on multiplying. But despite their obvious popularity, I also believe that there are some sound reasons to skip them in favor of smaller local eateries. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">A Cheapskate's Guide to&nbsp;Eating Out</a>)</p> <h2>There's Too Much Food</h2> <p>One of the top reasons that many people give for favoring chain restaurants is the portion sizes. I get it. When you go to a restaurant, you want to actually <em>eat</em>. I definitely don&rsquo;t appreciate being presented with a pretentious morsel of an entree any more than the next girl. If that bite of food is really tasty, it&rsquo;s almost worse &mdash; as if I could be satisfied by taste alone, even when my stomach is empty! At the same time, many of the top chain restaurants boast dishes that top 1,000 calories each. I mean, let&rsquo;s be honest here &mdash; most people could do without those &ldquo;stacked&rdquo; and &ldquo;stuffed&rdquo; caloric monstrosities. And while many restaurants now offer lower-calorie menus, it&rsquo;s pretty hard to order those calorie-labeled little offerings when the guy at the next table is ordering a steak that could feed a family of four.</p> <p>The big portions are a large part of what chain restaurants have to offer, and the reason they can do it is precisely because of their size. The companies buy a lot of food, so they can pay less for it and charge less to the consumer. For these kinds of restaurants, portion size is a way to provide value.</p> <h2>It's Not a&nbsp;Unique Experience</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it &mdash; when food it sourced en-masse, shipped across the country, and prepared according to the specifications set by the restaurant corporation, it might be tasty enough, but there isn&rsquo;t going to be anything special or unique about it &mdash; especially when you could probably drive a few more miles and eat nearly the same thing somewhere else. The problem with measuring value in this way is that most of us don&rsquo;t need more food on our plates at all. The fact that mass production makes it cheaper only contributes to the problem by making it increasingly affordable for people to patronize a local chain rather than whip something up at home.</p> <p>If you look at going to a restaurant as an experience, rather than a way to fill the hole, portion sizes become a little less important and the notion of value turns more toward the <em>experience</em>. Assuming that the chain restaurant is the better value assumes an equation that involves calories and money. To me, value is about the quality of the food. My philosophy is that if I&rsquo;m only going to go out a few times each year, I want to eat something different that I wouldn&rsquo;t&nbsp; &mdash; or couldn&rsquo;t &mdash; cook at home. I want to experience local ingredients chosen by someone who&rsquo;s passionate about cooking them. For me, going to a restaurant is a way to celebrate good food &mdash; and maybe even life. So while I can&rsquo;t afford the fanciest fare, I also don&rsquo;t need a baked potato the size of a football to make me feel like I&rsquo;m making a responsible choice with my money. And since I&rsquo;ve brought it up, let&rsquo;s get on to the topic of money, shall we?</p> <h2>It's Expensive</h2> <p>Despite how often the word &ldquo;value&rdquo; is thrown around in the restaurant industry, eating in a restaurant is way more expensive than eating at home. Even the dollar menu at fast-food chains can&rsquo;t beat cooking your own food when it comes to cost (although it comes close). A column that appeared in the New York Times in September breaks down the <a href="">common misconception that fast food is budget conscious</a> and finds that the average order at McDonalds for a family of four costs nearly twice as much as serving roasted chicken, salad, and vegetables at home. In other words, even the top innovator of food served fast and cheap can&rsquo;t beat out a <a href="">home-cooked meal</a> when it comes to cost. Eating in a restaurant, any restaurant, just isn&rsquo;t cost effective, no matter how much food is piled on your plate.</p> <h2>It's Not Necessarily Social</h2> <p>I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where we all sat down to have dinner every day. I know that isn&rsquo;t always possible, and I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s always necessary. What I do know is that food and a lot of the fundamental aspects of being a social human being go together. In other words, food is (or should be) about more than just sucking grease off a paper wrapper on your way to your next appointment. Everyone needs to eat, so why not take it as an opportunity to sit down, slow down and enjoy life?</p> <h2>One Ingredient Short of the Real Thing</h2> <p>OK, OK &mdash; it's not like you can't be social at a chain restaurant, especially the sit-down kind. But I think small, local restaurants offer a sense of community that chains can't touch. I visit the small restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries within a few blocks of where I live, and I love the fact that the business owners are on the premises greeting visitors, talking to staff, and generally running the show. Actually, I like that at least as much as I like the food, and I love the fact that I'm <a href="">supporting a business</a> that's more than a just business, but is also part of the community.</p> <p>Chain restaurants are on to us. That's why they work so hard to capitalize on our desire for comfort and pitch their food as something that mom would make. Except the the food that's made by the people you love has an ingredient that chain restaurants just can't source &mdash; what's in the food is less important than who cooked it. Plus, that &quot;homemade&quot; apple pie at your local chain restaurant probably came straight from the freezer, and before that, the factory.</p> <p>Based on the number of chain restaurants that continue to pop up just about everywhere, I don&rsquo;t think they&rsquo;re short of fans. But I&rsquo;m not drawn to those giant neon signs. The fact that many people in Western countries get too much to eat isn&rsquo;t such a bad problem to have, but all that food might come at the cost of some other things we&rsquo;re pretty deficient in, and you won&rsquo;t necessarily find them on your plate.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Why You Shouldn&#039;t Eat at Chain Restaurants" 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 Fast Food restaurants shopping locally Tue, 28 Feb 2012 11:24:20 +0000 Tara Struyk 905036 at 4 Ways to Eat Healthy(ish) From Vending Machines <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-eat-healthyish-from-vending-machines" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man at a vending machine" title="Man at a vending machine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>They&rsquo;re omnipresent. And typically omni-unhealthy.</p> <p>Vending machines are everywhere, clustered especially in spots where you'll find students, office workers, and other on-the-go types. To be sure, more nutritious-conscious contraptions are starting to appear in workplaces and community spots (our company has an amazing fresh fruit vending option in the main office). But these remain few and far between.</p> <p>The vending machine business takes in a staggering $110 million per day in the U.S. according to <a href="">1.800.VENDING</a>. The vast majority of those purchases aren't waistline friendly. But for healthy-minded folks stuck in a pinch, there are some semi-healthy options.</p> <p>Check out some of these tips so you know what buttons to push next time you&rsquo;re face-to-face with a vending machine. (See also: <a href="">Healthy, Frugal Eating</a>)</p> <h2>Go Nuts...and Seeds</h2> <p>No snack hunter will have problems finding peanuts and sunflower seeds in vending machines. In fact, different flavors of each are common. For those hankering for a sweet snack, honey-roasted peanuts or even peanut M&amp;Ms fare better than sugar-laden candy bars. Mixed nuts are the ideal snack in the late afternoon when you&rsquo;re running on empty until dinner. Since the human body slowly digests monounsaturated fat, which is found in nuts and seeds, this path provides longer-lasting energy and an extended &ldquo;full&rdquo; feeling.</p> <h2>Choose Salty Snacks Wisely</h2> <p>Bagged goodies can hit the spot for those looking for a salty snack. The key is avoiding potato chips packed with simple carbohydrates. Too many simple carbs cause a short-lived energy boost and then a crash. However, Lays&rsquo; line of baked potato chips, Sun Chips, and reduced-fat popcorn serve as healthy alternatives. Generally low in calories and fat, these snacks have some fiber. Pretzels are a safe alternative, too, although they have little nutritious value. Whole-wheat cracker sandwiches with either cheese or peanut butter come with complex carbohydrates, the good kind. Not only do good carbs keep us full and more energized, but they also keep us alert for a longer period of time.</p> <h2>Use Fruits to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth</h2> <p>Candy bars, breakfast bars, and baked goods get us salivating. But like fatty potato chips, these overly sweetened indulgences contain tons of simple carbohydrates. Again, we get an abbreviated energy boost and then crash. Instead, look for fruit or fruit-based nibbles to satiate a dessert craving. Fig Newtons are exemplary in this role as they&rsquo;re low in fat and calories.</p> <h2>Hydrate</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s important to drink plenty of <a href="">water</a> even if you&rsquo;re not doing anything that&rsquo;s physically tasking. Dehydration may be masked as hunger, so try satisfying that hungry feeling with water. Avoid sodas, as they&rsquo;re overloaded with sugar, empty calories, and simple carbohydrates. Energy drinks are seldom nutritiously different than soda. Water is the best choice, followed by sweet tea or flavored water.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Ways to Eat Healthy(ish) From Vending Machines" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Chris Birk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink General Tips eat healthy Fast Food healthy snacks Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:00:35 +0000 Chris Birk 592330 at Best Money Tips: Save on Takeout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-on-takeout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Save on Takeout" title="Save on Takeout" 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 awesome articles on ways to save on takeout, commonly overlooked tax breaks, and how to make your dreams a reality.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyMint+%28Mint+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">7 Ways To Save On Takeout Food</a> &mdash; Next time you buy takeout, be sure to look for coupons before you place your order. [MintLife Blog]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+QuizzleWire+%28Quizzle+Wire+&raquo;+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">8 Commonly Overlooked Tax Breaks</a> &mdash; Don't overlook educator expenses when doing your taxes. [Quizzle Wire]</p> <p><a href="">12 Steps to Make a Dream a Reality</a> &mdash; If you want to make your dreams a reality, you must figure out what you really want out of life. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;">8 Ways To Get Smarter Every Week</a> &mdash; Want to get smarter every week? Then focus on cumulative learning. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href=";t-as-high-as-it-could-be/">Top 10 Reasons Why Your Credit Score Isn't As High As It Could Be</a> &mdash; If your credit score isn't as high at is could be, it may be because you are just too young. [Credit Karma Blog]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">5 Steps to Take After a Job Interview</a> &mdash; After a job interview, be sure to send a thank you note. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="">How to Handle Your Child's Fear About World News</a> &mdash; If your child is expressing concern about world news, be gentle but truthful with him or her. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">Sell Your Body Parts - Strange Ways to Make Money</a> &mdash; Need to make some extra money? Consider participating in medical trials. [Personal Finance Advice]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=rss&amp;utm_campaign=five-financial-moves-to-make-right-now">5 Swift Financial Moves to Make Right Now</a> &mdash; Want to improve your finances? Be sure to shop around before you make purchases. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="">4 ways to add inflation to your retirement plan</a> &mdash; Be sure your retirement plan accounts for inflation by purchasing long term care insurance that adjust benefit payments to protect against rising costs. [Prism Money]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Save on Takeout" 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="">Food and Drink articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink best money tips Fast Food Takeout Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:24:10 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 510389 at Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eat-256-big-macs-to-win-a-5-gift-card-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="many big macs" title="many big macs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my most popular articles on Wise Bread is about <a href="">cracking the McDonald's Monopoly game</a>. In it, I outline the rare pieces and how many of them are in circulation. Well, someone has decided to take that information one step further. Now, you can figure out how many Big Macs you'll probably have to eat to win a particular prize.</p> <p>The website has a new page dedicated to the mammoth task ahead of you. <a href="">I'm Feelin' It</a> has a simple drop-down menu and translates the odds into Big Mac sandwiches.</p> <p>Here are some of the outcomes:</p> <ul> <li>$5 Wal-Mart gift card = 256 Big Macs</li> <li>$50 cash = 27,334 Big Macs</li> <li>2011 Shelby GT500 = Over 10,000,000 Big Macs!</li> </ul> <p>Now, this is all based on the odds of winning; you could of course walk into a McDonald's, grab a burger and win the grand prize. It only took poor old Charlie Bucket a few attempts with a Wonka bar to get his golden ticket. But if you wanted an idea of how many of those famous burgers you'd have to eat to guarantee yourself a prize, well, now you know.</p> <p>The McDonald's Monopoly game continues to be one of the most successful promotions from the fast food retailer. It's popular because it makes it seem like a great prize is just hanging out there, waiting for you. With most value meals giving away four of the tokens, you believe your chances at winning are much, much higher than they actually are. In fact, a sign in every McDonald's now boasts that 1 in 4 wins a prize. What this means is 1 in 4 will probably get a free portion of small fries, or a small soda. But those prizes of actual value, well, they are few and far between. And there is nothing random about the game, as I have outlines before.</p> <p>Now, in fairness to McDonald's, they're giving away a lot of free stuff. They aren't obliged to give away anything; this is a business after all. But just remember, the chances of walking into a McDonald's and walking out with a brand new Mustang are 1 in 301,245,250.</p> <p>Last time I checked, you have much better odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. That's closer to 1 in 195,000,000. But then again, those lottery tickets don't come with a free burger and fries.You pays your money, you takes your choice.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Eat 256 Big Macs to Win a $5 Gift Card" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Consumer Affairs articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Fast Food junk food McDonald's odds prizes Tue, 19 Oct 2010 14:00:06 +0000 Paul Michael 265410 at Is "Health Food" Worse for You than Junk Food? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-health-food-worse-for-you-than-junk-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="ordering fast food" title="ordering fast food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've written about the <a href="">evils of junk food</a> in the past. I have jumped on that bandwagon that is happy to demonize the fast food industry. But after watching a 30-minute TV show on Showtime last week, I'm having something of a paradigm shift. Maybe I've been too hasty.</p> <p>The Showtime show <a href="">Bullsh*t!</a> (the real title is not edited) takes a new subject every week and exposes lies, misconceptions, and propaganda on everything from sex and psychics to recycling and yoga.</p> <p>The episode I happened upon was all about fast food. &quot;This should be good&quot; I thought, &quot;how can they really tell us fast food is good for us?&quot;</p> <p>Well, they didn't. Not really. But what they did reveal made me shift uncomfortably in my seat. I have been one of those bloggers who was quite happy to attack McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, KFC and all those other household names in the fast food biz.</p> <p>But when it comes down to it, what exactly have they done wrong?</p> <p>Ok, let's look at this rationally for a second. The fast food giants make food that is not good for us. That's a fact. They usually don't deny that either, it's not easy to say that a double quarter-pounder with cheese and a pound of French fries is something your body needs. It's a treat. It should be viewed that way. (See also: <a href="" title="Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work">Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work</a>)</p> <p>However, as a treat, what's wrong with it? It's very tasty, it's cheap, there's a lot of it for your money, and you can get it quickly almost any time you want! It seems to me that the fast food industry has given us everything we have asked for as a nation, and we're now telling them off for it.</p> <p>If a Big Mac cost $10, we'd complain. It's too expensive. If BK made healthy burgers from soy, we'd complain. We want meat, we want taste. If KFC refused to sell fried chicken, and only stocked grilled, we'd complain. We want to make choices, even if they're bad for us. And when we want to make those bad choices, fast food is there.</p> <p>In a <a href="">previous article</a>, a long time ago now, I talked about <a href=";tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0553804340"><em>Mindless Eating</em></a>, a great book by Dr. Brian Wansink. He spends his days conducting experiments that reveal our true relationship with food, and he had some eye-opening things to say about fast food.</p> <p>In one experiment, Dr. Wansink's lab was set up to resemble a restaurant, and he invited people to come in and try some food. In this case, a delicious chicken corn chowder. Oh, how the participants loved it. So delicious, so home-made, so succulent. They had no clue that the whole meal was made using ingredients from a KFC meal. One person actually quipped, and I'm paraphrasing a little &quot;you can't get something like that from a fast food restaurant.&quot; Well, you can. Maybe not as a soup, but it's all exactly the same stuff.</p> <p>Wansink noted that we have expectations of fast food and the establishments that serve it. Especially the big hitters like KFC and McDonald's. We actually believe that what they're serving is rotten, but it's cheap and it's quick.</p> <p>But these corporations have spent billions of dollars making food that's tasty. They excel in it. If it wasn't tasty, no one would buy the food and the franchise would die. Yes, it contains salt, sugar, and fat. Yes, it contains preservatives. But it's tasty, it's designed that way.</p> <p>In another experiment, to test these perceptions again, Wansink brought in two taco salads to two different groups. The first received the salad on a black plastic fast food tray, and were told that it came from a fast food restaurant.</p> <p>The feedback was not good. The food was fatty and greasy. The dressing was too sweet. It was generally a cheap suckfest of a meal.</p> <p>Next up, the exact same salad was served on a pristine white plate, along with an accompanying menu from the California Garden Café. The feedback took a huge turn. Now, the food was fresh and delicious. The dressing was lovely. The whole meal was heaven on a platter. But it was the same meal. All that had changed was the perception of the food. And it was enough to make people feel completely different about the meal.</p> <p>More dangerous than all of that, though, was when they asked the two sets of diners what they thought the calorie count was of the salad. The first group guessed right, with very accurate guesses coming in at the 980-1000 calorie range. Spot on.</p> <p>But when asked to estimate the meal from the Café, the calorie count dropped. And boy, did it drop. Guesses were around the 450-500 calorie mark, one person said 200! And that's the real danger here.</p> <p>When we go to a fast food joint, our guard is up. We're primed &mdash; the calorie count of the meals is often displayed now &mdash; and we generally know that what we're eating is bad for us. When we eat somewhere else, like a &quot;healthy café&quot; or fancy restaurant, we believe we're getting better food and less fat. Not so. Not at all. As they said in the show, you don't see people trying to ban French and Italian restaurants, and yet they serve very fattening meals topped with creams, cheeses, and lots of butter and oil.</p> <p>The problem here is that we have been selective with our criticism. We have targeted the fast food giants and warned everyone &quot;hey, this stuff sucks, don't eat it!&quot; But that's not going to stop people eating it, or making bad choices. However, we're at least educated about fast food. We know the calories, and the risks. Wansink says that in his experience, people underestimate the calories of a meal at a healthy restaurant by half. The fancy name equates to better food, and better food means less calories. How wrong can we all be?</p> <p>So, take this as a warning. Fast food is still bad for you in excess, but as an occasional meal it's nothing to be afraid of. What you really need to look out for are the calories you're consuming from places like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and other health food stores and restaurants. The food could be just as bad for you, but you may end up eating twice as much. In effect, you're blinded by the presentation. Calories are calories and saturated fat is saturated fat. Not even a 3-star Michelin restaurant can change that.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Is &quot;Health Food&quot; Worse for You than Junk Food?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Consumer Affairs articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Food and Drink Health and Beauty Burger King Fast Food KFC McDonald's sprouts Wendy's Whole Foods Tue, 22 Jun 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 144886 at Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fast-food-slow-food-and-your-dollars-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="garden vegatables" title="garden vegetables" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The slow food movement has taken off over the last two years. You've probably noticed that more and more people are <a href="" title="Vegetable Gardening: Four Cheap Hacks">growing their own vegetables</a>, sourcing grass-fed beef, avoiding fruit shipped from South America, and becoming members of the local CSA. Some people are even finding themselves headed back to the kitchen, cookbook in hand, to learn how to make their own meals for the first time.</p> <p>At the same time, many are looking for ways to trim their food budget. As a nation, we're eating out less, clipping more coupons, and buying the bargain cuts of meat instead of the fillet. We're literally tightening our belts as we eat less and slim down. Whether out of desire or necessity, many of us spend less on food than we used to. (See also: <a href="" title="How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <p>While these aren't mutually exclusive pursuits, trying to save money and eat high quality, natural, organic food can be rough. Though the popularity of this kind of food has risen, there's still less demand for it than for those nationally recognized name brands of junk and fast food, so the slow food costs more.</p> <p>Additionally, because the processes for raising, harvesting, and shipping slow food are not as well-established as those for other kinds of food, simply getting it to the store costs more and those costs are passed on to the consumer. And those processes are inherently more time and labor intensive for slow food, which means the costs won't go drastically lower anytime in the near future.</p> <p>In contrast to this, junk food is not only cheaper than slow food, but it's getting even cheaper as the days go by. <a href="">This chart</a> from New York Times blogger David Leonhardt, shows just how much the prices for things like soda, butter, and beer have gone down since 1978. For people trying to save money, the choice may be simple: eat more junk.</p> <p>And yet, this set of circumstances leaves many consumers frustrated. They want to eat well but they can't afford to, or they struggle with paying so much more for food items that could easily be replaced with cheaper, less healthful, alternatives.</p> <p>So what can be done? Is there a way to get food that is truly good for less money, or to justify paying more for what we eat when there's cheaper food available? Here are some musings on just that topic.</p> <p><strong>Eating well is an investment.</strong></p> <p>And not the kind where you see an immediate return. You may not feel better tomorrow because you ate free-range eggs for breakfast instead of a toaster pastry. And you may not know that you avoided catching the office cold because of the antioxidants in your system from those organic blueberries. But if you stay healthier than most, thinner than many, and as happy as you want to be over the long haul, at least some of that is probably a return for your investment in good food.</p> <p><strong>When it comes to eating, where you spend your money is like voting.</strong></p> <p>Do you want all-natural, sustainably-raised, wholesome food to be widely available at competitive prices, or do you want fast food and junk food to continue as the foods of choice for the people in this country? Though it won't save you anything today, spending more money for better food may influence the way things roll down the road.</p> <p><strong>You just might recoup that extra money you spend on high-quality food in healthcare savings.</strong></p> <p>We've all heard about studies showing the effects of junk food on health. People who eat a lot of it are fatter and sicker than ever before. Though it may be hard to see in your own life (because you don't know when you avoid being sick), eating well sure seems like it will save you money in the long run.</p> <p><strong>Sometimes you just have to pay more for a better product.</strong></p> <p>We see this elsewhere. Better quality hi-def TVs cost more than their low-quality counterparts. Long-lasting, no-drip candles cost more than the disappearing, drippy kind. Hard back books are more expensive than paperbacks. You get my drift. We've come to expect this elsewhere...why don't we expect it regarding our food?</p> <p><em>What choices do you make when it comes to your food and your money? What do you think about spending more money for food that's better for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Fast Food, Slow Food, and Your Dollars at Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Fast Food slow food Tue, 30 Mar 2010 17:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 6092 at How to Avoid Putting on Recession Pounds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-putting-on-recession-pounds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="Cheeseburger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="206" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health experts are concerned that the current economic downturn could have adverse public health consequences as more people, in the sensible quest to save money, turn to cheaper yet less-healthy eating choices, potentially aggravating the already prevalent obesity problem in this country.</p> <p>Referred to as &ldquo;<a href="">recession pounds</a>,&rdquo; they result from the added weight that comes about from the increased consumption of cheaper junk and fast foods that also happen to be tasty by virtue of the fact that they are often loaded with salt, fat, and highly processed carbs (i.e., sugar and high fructose corn syrup). Who doesn&rsquo;t love those?</p> <p>It is ironic when you think that in the past, lower socioeconomic standing often resulted in people losing weight due to lack of food. In the modern era of plenty, however, obesity has now become a symptom of poverty because these highly processed foods are not only promoted vigorously and widely accessible, but they are also cheap.</p> <p>But can you really put a price on your health or the health of your family? When you think about the things we spend our money on, it doesn&rsquo;t always make a lot of sense to cut back so drastically on healthy eating so that you can afford a new cell phone.</p> <p>Especially when you consider that, at some point, your body will let you know that you shouldn&rsquo;t have eaten all that garbage. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the consequences won&rsquo;t be felt for years, and like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years, by then it&rsquo;s too late.</p> <p>So in an effort to keep a tab on our health and our waistlines, here are a few suggestions that might help you avoid putting on unnecessary recession pounds during these rough economic times, keeping in mind that the problem lies not in junk food in and of itself, but rather in the over-consumption of it.</p> <p>1. Moderation. If possible, try your best to stop eating before you&rsquo;ve eaten every crumb on your plate, and resist the urge to super-size. I know many of us were raised with the idea that it is good to clean your plate, but times have changes. Set your goal to be sated rather than stuffed, because you won&rsquo;t feel any better after that second cheeseburger. </p> <p>2. Don&rsquo;t eat just for the sake of eating. Sure, that second Big Mac may be tasty, but don&rsquo;t eat another when just one will suffice.</p> <p>3. Eat junk food. Just combine it with something healthy. Let&rsquo;s face it, junk food is a fact of our lives, so rather than setting the unrealistic goal of eliminating it, eat it! Just add in something nutritious, like a piece of fruit, veggies, or whole grains.</p> <p>4. Eat the healthy stuff first. If you wait until after your junk food meal to eat that apple, it probably isn&rsquo;t going to happen. So eat it first. Not only will you get a dose of healthy stuff, but it will probably make you eat less of the junk.</p> <p>6. Be inconsistent. Like losing weight, gaining weight doesn&rsquo;t happen by itself. In other words, you won&rsquo;t gain weight in your sleep, you have to consume. So don&rsquo;t eat junk food regularly, three times a day, everyday. Incorporate a healthy meal in there, with something nutritious that is high in fiber.</p> <p>7. Don&rsquo;t inhale your food. Try to eat slowly and deliberately, chewing your food completely, and don&rsquo;t take another bite until you&rsquo;ve swallowed the previous one. Not only with this help you digest your food, but it will spare other at the table from having to see the chewed up food in your mouth while giving your stomach time to communicate to your brain that it is full.</p> <p>8. Drink more water. This takes time to develop and for some of us, may seem impossible, but water is not only cheaper (in many instances, it&rsquo;s free), but unlike sweetened beverages, has no calories. Water will also help temper the feelings of hunger that encourage us to inhale our food.</p> <p>9. Don&rsquo;t drink (your water!) while you&rsquo;re chewing, or vice-versa. This falls in line with #7. Besides nurturing good manners, it will help slow you down and avoid depositing chewed up food into your beverage. </p> <p>10. Talk. And be social, if you can. Conversation is a great way to slow a meal down, not to mention enjoy it. I think of my friends from Europe who have these enormous meals drawn out over several hours, and an important part is good conversation.</p> <p>11. Eat with people who either share your dietary goals or have already achieved them. There is strength numbers, not to mention inspiration by way of guilt.</p> <p>12. Turn off the TV. Nothing is better at shutting off your brain and encouraging mindless eating. So just turn it off and read, or better yet, talk to your table mates.</p> <p>13. Be more assertive. Even though junk food is cheap, it is also convenient, which is why many of us choose them. Sure, we&rsquo;re tired from our busy lives, but a little effort can go a long way in terms of making a healthier meal. And even though it&rsquo;s a lot easier said than done, it&rsquo;s not impossible.</p> <p>14. Exercise. I know, so painfully obvious, but so hard to employ. Given that junk food is so easy only increases our need to be active.</p> <p> In the end, it all boils down to a little common sense. We all know what is healthy (and for that matter, what is not), we just need to use our heads when we make our dietary choices. And when we have to make compromises, maybe rather than targeting our food for cheaper alternatives, we could consider cutting back on other more frivolous items, like shoes, or the size of our cable package.</p> <p>The question we have to ask ourselves is how much is enough. Or in the case of eating unhealthy junk food, how much is too much.</p> <p>The responsibility lies with us, but employing a little more thought and effort could go a long way to improving your health, your appearance, and even your outlook during difficult times.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Avoid Putting on Recession Pounds" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Fred Lee</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Green Living Health and Beauty Lifestyle diet Fast Food obesity tv Mon, 12 Jan 2009 11:33:54 +0000 Fred Lee 2736 at Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/be-a-winner-with-your-dinner-or-not" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I would never advocate buying fast food just to win something.<span> </span>If you are already driving thru, however, it&rsquo;s something to consider.<span> </span>And with many of the prizes having less to do with purchase and more to do with timing, it&rsquo;s open season for everyone (even those who&rsquo;ve sworn off Biggie Fries for life.)<span> </span>Here&rsquo;s the scoop on the best promotions going on right now.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Hardees / Carl&rsquo;s Jr</strong>. &ldquo;<strong><a href="">Make it Your Gameday Sweepstakes</a>&rdquo;</strong> &ndash; This is a game where you can (almost) win back what you eat.<span> </span>Tens of thousands of prizes include mostly small fries and drinks.<span> </span>Game codes can be obtained by buying food or sending away for free game codes, which means one code costs a $.42 postage stamp. <span> </span>With no really big instant win prize to vie for (top prize is only worth $113) this isn&rsquo;t going to make anyone rich. They do have a second chance sweepstakes with a few gift cards worth $1500 from the Sports Authority and Best Buy, which someone is guaranteed to win. Ends October 23, 2008. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t go out of your way to win this one.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Kraft / Burger King &ldquo;<a href="">Is it a Sundae or Is it a Shake</a>?&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>These are the kinds of promotions I like.<span> </span>No purchase needed.<span> </span>Simply register to vote and let &ldquo;The King&rdquo; know how you vote.<span> </span>(You can choose not to opt-in for future mailings.)<span> </span>While there&rsquo;s no biggie prizes, it is a quick, easy entry for hundreds of $10 itunes or BK gift cards (plus 20 80GB iPod Classics).<span> </span>They will let you know instantly if you&rsquo;ve won.<span> </span>Promotion runs through 9/28/08. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Good for a quick try.<span> </span>Enter daily without a penny out of pocket. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>T.G.I Friday&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="">Awesome BBQ Sweepstakes and Instant Win Game</a>&rdquo; &ndash; </strong>Similar to the Burger King promotion.<span> </span>This doesn&rsquo;t require any purchase or game piece.<span> </span>Simply register to find out if you are an instant winner of hundreds of small prizes (hats, shirts, and $5-10 restaurant gift cards.)<span> </span>They also include free appetizer and desserts with purchase as &ldquo;prizes.&rdquo;<span> </span>The sweepstakes grand prize is a trip to the 19<sup>th</sup> Annual Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and year&rsquo;s supply of TGIF frozen food.<span> </span>Enter by Sept. 30. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>OK for die hard BBQ fans or someone looking for a quick, cheap prize. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Wendy&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="">Twisted Frosty</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>10,000 instant winners of a $3 Wendy&rsquo;s GC in this one.<span> </span>No purchase necessary.<span> </span>One grand prize of a $1,000 Wendy&rsquo;s Gift Card.<span> </span>Ends September 30<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line: Odds are good, very good.<span> </span>Hope you like Wendy&rsquo;s! </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Subway &ldquo;<a href="">Scrabble</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>Similar to the McDonald&rsquo;s Monopoly fad, this is a Collect-and-Win game.<span> </span>Codes are on any 6&quot; sub, footlong sub, 21oz drink, 32oz drink or 44oz drink, or by mail in request.<span> </span>(Free codes have been reported by signing up for the Subway newsletter.<span>) </span>Hundreds of prizes, ranging from $5 Subway cards to $100,000.<span> </span>Promotion ends October 13<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>Don&rsquo;t spend what you don&rsquo;t have.<span> </span>If you&rsquo;re dining out anyway, take your chances on winning $5 back, but don&rsquo;t hold your breath for the new car. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Orange Julius &ldquo;<a href="">Cash and Cali</a>&rdquo; Giveaway &ndash; </strong>The smoothie giant is offering up several prizes in its instant win promotion (including 1,000 $5 GC, beachwear, and cash.)<span> </span>A grand prize drawing for 10K is also in the running.<span> </span>No purchase is necessary if you click on the &ldquo;Get a password here&rdquo; link at the bottom left.<span> </span>Annoying flash-based website lets you turn off the music (thank you.)<span> </span>Promotion ends Nov. 15<sup>th</sup>. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>If there&rsquo;s an Orange Julius you like to frequent, give this one a try.<span> </span>No money out of pocket, just the time it takes to load the entry page&hellip;.. </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Red Robin &ldquo;<a href="">Dealicious Three of a Kind</a>&rdquo; Game &ndash; </strong>The quick scoop on this giveaway is this:<span> </span>Enter without purchase, pop in your info (I use <a href="">Roboform</a>), and see if you win a $10 Red Robin Gift Card.<span> </span>Easy, peasy, people. <strong>Bottom line:<span> </span>It doesn&rsquo;t get easier than this, and with 1,000 Gift Cards up for grabs, you might score a free lunch.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are several other fast-food promotions going on.<span> </span>(Too many to mention here.)<span> </span>And while you must use your judgment on whether to enter, the winnings can be sweet.<span> </span>(For more information on sweepstakes, <a href="/sweeping-101-what-the-real-winners-know">see my previous tips</a>.)<span> </span>Eat healthy, and hope for the best!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Be a Winner with Your Dinner (Or not)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Fast Food promotions sweepstakes winning Sat, 30 Aug 2008 03:57:25 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2383 at Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ugggh-hic-i-justss-gotta-eat-somehicthing-my-top-10-homemade-drunk-snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="how to make quick drunk-food snacks" title="how to make quick drunk-food snacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have been there (when I was in college, I was there 3 times a week during my first year…sorry mum and dad). You go out with your buddies, have a few beers and by the time you get home you could devour a slab of ribs from King Kong’s chest (make those tofu ribs if you’re a veggie). But what’s a frugal drunk to do? Late night snacks can be pricey, and when you’re somewhat tipsy you don’t care. You need cheap, at-home solutions ready to go. Drunk snacks in a jiffy. </p> <p>As a quick aside, do you know why you get hungry after drinking alcohol? Well, according to a friend of mine who went to medical school, the reason is quite simple. </p> <p>Alcohol is filled with carbohydrates, which get turned into sugar in the body. This in turn increases your blood sugar level, and your body releases more insulin to deal with it. When you stop drinking your blood sugar is still down from all the insulin, and so the body sends a signal to the brain saying “hey, get some food in here, we need to get our blood sugar levels back to normal.” Thus, you have the drunken munchies, big time. </p> <p>Now why most of us crave more spicy foods when we’re drunk, that I can’t shed any light on. Maybe it’s the only thing we can taste after all that booze? But whatever the reason, it’s a nice segue into my list of drunk snacks. Some of these may seem gross right now, but when you’re drunk you’ll be all over them. Are they healthy? Hey, gimme a break, this is drunk food.</p> <p><strong>1: Instant Ramen with chili or curry powder.</strong><br />Quick, easy, spicy, yummy. Just boil up the Ramen in the usual way, but get rid of the lame seasoning packet and instead add a bunch of chili or curry powder. You need to keep these suckers on the boil until the broth has turned into a thick sauce. Voila, goeey, spicy noodles in 5 mins. </p> <p><strong>2: Cheese horns.</strong><br />These are as quick as they get. Take a cheese slice (like a Kraft Single) and roll it into a cone shape, then fill that cone with some ketchup, Tabasco and a dill pickle. Crunchy, spicy, cheesy. Don’t ask me to eat one sober. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/418639912_d47c3c1c0f_m.jpg" alt="toast cheese toaster oven" title="toast cheese toaster oven" width="240" height="180" /></p> <p><strong>3: Ghetto pizza</strong><br />Really simple this one. Pop some bread in your toaster over. When it starts to toast, remove it and add a little ketchup, a cheese slice and some pepperoni. Back in the toaster oven until the cheese bubbles. Oh yeah baby. (Also works with bagels). </p> <p><strong>4: Velveeta Queso </strong><br />Must of us have a bag of chips in the pantry. Make them sing with some easy Velveeta Queso. Just slice up half of a large package of Velveeta and microwave for two mins. Then pour in a small jar of hot salsa, mix well, and microwave again until it starts to bubble. Dip away, but don’t burn yourself on the hot cheese.</p> <p><strong>5: One pan brekkie</strong><br />When you stagger home in the wee small hours, this works great. Take a frying pan and put in some frozen sausage links and hash browns, some bacon, and when they all begin to brown, whip up some eggs and pour them in. You’ll get a big fat breakfast omelet in no time. </p> <p><strong>6: Ghetto Nachos</strong><br />These are pretty bad. So bad, they’re good. Take a plate of nachos, pour serious amounts of grated cheese over them, add a few dollops of salsa (or if you’re all out, ketchup), sour cream and I sometimes add some sweet pickle relish. It’s not bad, honest. Takes about…1 minute.</p> <p><strong>7: Quick burrito</strong><br />Take a large flour tortilla, sprinkle grated cheese inside, add some salsa, Tabasco and some of those ready-cooked chicken strips for salads. Roll up and microwave for around 1 minute. </p> <p><strong>8: Curried eggs</strong><br />Ideally you’d make these before you leave, but at the very least hard-boil some eggs before you exit for your night out. When you get home, peel and halve the eggs, scoop out the yolks and mix with curry powder, miracle whip and salt ‘n’ pepper. Spoon mixture back into eggs (just like devilled eggs). Considering the steady hand needed to peel and fill the eggs, I’d make these beforehand. Really tasty and cheap. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/u17/2605798901_1b94cc010d.jpg" alt="mmmmm...s'mores" title="mmmmm...s'mores" width="333" height="500" /></p> <p><strong>9: S’mores</strong><br />Do I need to tell you how to make these? Didn&#39;t think so. But, a few pointers. Make sure you use good chocolate with a high cocoa content, and for fast, even melting I use the mini-marshmallows. I also prefer the cinnamon graham crackers. </p> <p><strong>10: Poor man’s gyro</strong><br />Take one pitta, fill with some sliced sandwich meat (beef), chopped tomatoes, plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice (or actual Tzatziki sauce if you have some in).</p> <p>This is just my weird (and some think wonderful…but not many) list; I know you all have great suggestions. So, send them this way. Share your culinary experimentation with us all and help out a few drunken snack-attackers. </p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ugggh, (hic) I justss gotta eat some(hic)thing; my top 10 homemade drunk snacks." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Life Hacks Consumer Affairs Food and Drink cheap drunk Fast Food Food kitchen snacks Wed, 06 Aug 2008 22:08:52 +0000 Paul Michael 2300 at For the Love of Ramen: An Interview with Ed from <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-the-love-of-ramen-an-interview-with-ed-from-ramenramenramen-net" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I brainstorm for cheap eats I often think of packets of ramen. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed from <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Ed reviews hundreds of types of ramen on <a href="">his website</a> and I consider him to be a folk hero to ramen lovers everywhere. Ramen is usually more than just a flavor packet and dried noodles and Ed has a <a href="" target="_blank">great ramen glossary</a> to explain the complexities in real ramen. Read on for some interesting ramen facts! </p> <p><strong>Are you a ramen lover because you like to save money? How much do you think you have saved by eating lots of ramen?</strong></p> <p>Actually, the instant ramen I usually eat isn&#39;t cheap. I love &quot;real&quot; ramen, and I tend to prefer some of the more expensive &quot;Japanese imported&quot; instant ramen. The cheap stuff is great too, but once you&#39;ve had the better instant ramen, it just doesn&#39;t compare.</p> <p><strong>What is the most expensive ramen you ever bought? Was it worth it?</strong></p> <p>I think the most expensive instant ramen I&#39;ve bought was around $4-5. It was one of the &quot;bowl ramen&quot; from Japan and it even had a piece of pork! Seriously! I don&#39;t remember which one it was exactly, but I can dig up my post on it. Was it worth it? Even the best bowl ramen I&#39;ve had doesn&#39;t compare to a good bowl of real ramen, but yes, it was darn good.</p> <p><strong>What stores are your best sources for acquiring ramen?</strong></p> <p>There are a few Japanese supermarkets in my area that I check out on a regular basis. There&#39;s a Mitsuwa and Marukai, big supermarket chains. Those tend to be the best sources.<br /><strong><br />How much ramen do you eat each week?</strong></p> <p>I try to eat ramen about once a week or every other week. This week, my wife is on vacation so I&#39;ve been eating ramen more often. Shh...don&#39;t tell...hahaha</p> <p><strong>What is the most disgusting or scary ramen ingredients you have ever seen? What is your favorite?</strong></p> <p>I&#39;ve never seen it in person, but there&#39;s a picture of ice cream ramen on my blog: <a href="" target="_blank"></a> . But that doesn&#39;t sound nearly so bad as natto ramen. Natto, if you don&#39;t know, is really an acquired taste. It&#39;s a sticky bean dish that tastes like...I don&#39;t know...<em><strong>spider webs and dirt?</strong></em> My favorite ramen is boring old shoyu or chashu ramen (which is just shoyu ramen with extra pork). I still think it&#39;s the best.</p> <p><strong>Do you think ramen is a healthy food? What could you add to ramen to make it extra yummy and healthy?</strong></p> <p>Real ramen is definitely healthy. It&#39;s a Japanese fast food and much healthier than the fast foods we Americans eat. Instant ramen is not too bad, though it usually has a lot of sodium. I like throwing in mushrooms when I&#39;m cooking instant ramen, especially enoki mushrooms because it&#39;s healthy and so easy. I also make hard boil eggs to go with my ramen. You could just as easily add some bamboo, green onions, corn, assorted veggies, or if you&#39;re really ambitious, roast pork!</p> <p><strong>When you dated your wife did you share your love for ramen with her?</strong></p> <p>Yes! My wife also enjoys ramen, but she doesn&#39;t quite like to eat it all the time like I do. We went to Japan for our honeymoon and I actually took her to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Haha.</p> <p><strong>What did she think?</strong></p> <p>She&#39;s a great sport about it. She&#39;s actually the one that encouraged me to start a web site about ramen.</p> <p><strong>Did you design that <a href="" target="_blank">yummy looking lapel pin</a> on your site? Have you seen anyone wear it?</strong></p> <p>Yes I did. Thanks for the compliment. Some of my friends wear it but I haven&#39;t been lucky enough to see anybody else wear one :(</p> <p><strong>Well, that&#39;s all now. Next time you come to San Mateo you should definitely go to Santa Ramen. They have a larger location now so it fits 65 people. The wait isn&#39;t so bad anymore! I just had the always sold out stewed pork topping for the first time last weekend and it was super yummy!</strong></p> <p>Thanks for the interview! I will definitely check out Santa Ramen the next time I&#39;m in the area! Thanks for the heads up!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="For the Love of Ramen: An Interview with Ed from" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink cheap eats culture Fast Food Food interview japan noodles ramen Fri, 14 Mar 2008 23:18:27 +0000 Xin Lu 1919 at Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on. <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/10810341_45f4dd4d55_0.jpg" alt="saus 2" title="saus 2" width="261" height="196" /></p> <p>Ladies, gentlemen, start your engines. But only after you&#39;ve loaded them up with sausages, chicken, crabs, Cajun shrimp and plenty of vegetables. </p> <p>Car engine cooking will change the way you take road trips, forever. As I&#39;ve stated in the past, I love to get extra use out of the products I buy. Around 15 years ago, I saw a documentary on British television about a guy who had wrapped some sausages in foil, placed them on a strategic part of his engine, and then took a 40 minute drive to his friend&#39;s house. When he got there, the sausages were perfectly cooked and a great end to a small journey.</p> <p>How cool, I remember thinking. But as I couldn&#39;t drive at the time, I forgot all about it. Until last week. For some reason, sitting in my car at a red light smelling the grilling chicken of a nearby Chipotle reminded me of that story. And now I&#39;m pleased and proud to present you with Car Engine Cooking, brought to you by the one and only source I could find on the subject...a wonderful book called Manifold Destiny.</p> <p><strong>MANIFOLD DESTINY - The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!</strong></p> <p>Chris Maynard and Bill Scheller have a serious affinity with cars. Both experienced rally drivers, they must have worked up an appetite on the courses they drove. And as they are also both accomplished cooks, it seems only natural that a book on car engine cooking would be born. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/mandest.jpeg" alt="manifold destiny" title="manifold destiny" width="195" height="195" /></p> <p>The book is witty, concise and well-written. Well worth a read on any day. It also goes into more detail than I can recount here, covering everything from types of cars, food placement on engines, international VS domestic models and so on. What I can give you is enough to whet your appetite, followed by the most important part of the story - my FIVE favorite car engine cooking recipes from the many delicacies listed in the book. You can purchase the book direct from Amazon by clicking the link below.</p> <p><a href=";tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0375751408">Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!</a><img src=";l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0375751408" width="1" height="1" /><a href=";tag=wisebread07-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0375751408"></a> <p><strong>The basics - remember, it&#39;s not an exact science.</strong><br />Chris and Bill advise that although car engines are all different, the principles are the same. So, how do you find the best places on your car engine to place your chicken, your veggies or your succulent piece of rainbow trout? Well, it all comes down to...your finger.</p> <p>Get your car up to operating speed, or better yet take it for a drive around the block for five minutes, and then bring it back to the garage and lift the hood. Now, finger at the ready, you start quickly touching various parts of the engine (nothing plastic...that will never get hot enough to cook anything). And by quickly touching, it&#39;s the kind of swift stab that means your finger feels the heat but you don&#39;t give yourself a third degree burn. (If you&#39;re feeling really wussy, try an infrared thermometer). Usually, the hottest part of the engine will be the exhaust manifold. On older cars, the top of the engine block will be a good, sizzling place.</p> <p>You&#39;re not just looking for the hottest parts of the engine. Like any kind of cooking, different foods require different temperatures. A very hot part of the engine will be great for thick meat, a cooler part good for veggies or fish. Or, if you&#39;re traveling many hundreds of miles, you may want to use the cooler part to slow-cook your meat. Mmmm. As always, this is trial and error. </p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/car-cooking.jpg" alt="car cook" title="car cook" width="352" height="211" /></p> <p><strong>NEVER let the food interfere with the engine&#39;s moving parts</strong><br />We want a great meal here, not a wrecked engine. And who would want to explain to the local mechanic why there&#39;s a piece of rump roast stuck in the timing belt? Always choose places that are static, and ensure they are not going to move. The boys have put together this handy list of things to avoid.</p> <p><strong>Car engine cooking no-nos...</strong></p> <p><strong>1 - Give the accelerator linkage a WIDE berth.</strong> It connects the gas pedal to carburetor or fuel-injection system and regulates the flow of fuel to the cylinders. Jam this and either your car won&#39;t start, or worse, it won&#39;t stop!</p> <p><strong>2 - Don&#39;t block the airflow.</strong> You&#39;ll suffocate the engine. </p> <p><strong>3 - Avoid yanking wires.</strong> Or pulling wires. Or forcing a food-package to fit. Basic rule of thumb...if you have to force it, you shouldn&#39;t put it in. </p> <p><strong>4 - Place food with the engine OFF.</strong> Seems like an obvious rule, but if you don&#39;t want a nasty injury, follow this advice. </p> <p><strong>5 - Avoid foods with lots of liquid.</strong> Foil-wrapping a meal with lots of liquid could results in unwanted goop all over your engine. And that&#39;s not good for it. </p> <p><strong>The FOIL CONE test</strong><br />This is done to give you a good idea of how much room you have in your new &#39;oven&#39;, and cannot be skipped. Simply make a cone of aluminum foil about 5 inches high, place it on the injector housing, then shut the hood. Now, when you open it, how much of that cone has been crushed? If it&#39;s a lot, your car engine will only be good for cooking slimmer meals, like fish and strip steak. If it hasn&#39;t been touched, you&#39;ll need extra foil to stop your packages from moving around. </p> <p><strong>Preparing your meal</strong><br />Foil is about to become your new best friend. Grab a sheet of foil large enough to comfortably cover the food/ingredients. You don&#39;t want to be cheap on foil here, more is better. Wrap the foil around, creating a package, and crimp the foil tightly. You want a seal all around the food. And then do it again. And then again. Triple-wrapping in foil is the only way to ensure a tight, sealed, safe package.</p> <p><strong> FIVE favorite recipes from Manifold Destiny</strong></p> <p><strong>Cruise-Control Pork Tenderloin - Cooking distance: 250 miles<br /></strong>I like this one because it&#39;s soft and tender, and is a great treat for the end of a long journey (hey, I&#39;m a Brit...250 miles is along way to me).<strong></p> <p></strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Ingredients: </strong><br />1 large pork tenderloin, butterflied<br />3 tbsp Dijon mustard<br />2 tbsp dry white wine<br />1/2 cup red onion, minced<br />2 tsp rosemary (fresh), crushed<br />Salt &amp; pepper</p> <p>Blend together all of the ingredients (except the pork) and spread across the inside of the pork tenderloin. Close up the pork, triple-wrap in foil and place on a medium-hot part of the engine. Turn once (125 miles) during cooking. </p></blockquote> <p> <strong><br />Any-city Chicken Wings (sweet) - Cooking distance: 140-200 miles<br /></strong>Is there a better snack food than buffalo chicken wings? I can&#39;t think of one, personally. So imagine my delight when I discovered a car-engine recipe. Feel free to swap out ingredients according to how hot/spicy/tangy you like your wings. This is my take on the recipe (the optional ingredients).<br /><strong><br /></strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Ingredients: </strong><br />18 chicken wings<br />1/2 cup ketchup<br />1 tbsp molasses (optional)<br />1 cup red wine vinegar<br />1-2 tsp red pepper flakes<br />4-6 minced jalapenos<br />3 cloves garlic<br />1 tbsp honey (optional)<br />1 tbsp oregano<br />1 tsp brown sugar (optional)<br />Pinch of salt<br />Fresh black pepper (optional)<br />Splash of Tabasco Chipotle sauce (optional)<br />Splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)</p> <p>Blend together all of the ingredients (except wings) and pour over chicken wings. Cover tightly in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Drain wings (save the marinade) and divide into three foil packages. Brush with marinade, then triple-wrap each package tightly and place on medium-hot part of the engine. I like my chicken well done so I do the 200 miles, or around 3 1/2 hours. </p></blockquote> <p><strong> <br />Good &amp; simple Cajun Shrimp/Crayfish - Cooking distance: 35 miles<br /></strong>I love shrimp, and this is a quick journey. For most, it&#39;s an average morning&#39;s commute. What a way to start the day...Cajun Shrimp for breakfast.<strong></p> <p></strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Ingredients: </strong><br />1 pound large shrimp or crayfish tails, in shells.<br />6 small green hot peppers<br />2 cloves garlic<br />1 medium onion, finely chopped<br />Butter or spread<br />Salt &amp; pepper</p> <p>Remove seeds from peppers (ouch, they are hot) and mince with the onion and garlic. Butter your foil, add the shrimp and cover with your spicy mixture. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper, then triple-wrap and place in a medium part of the engine. Delicious, seasoned, spicy shrimp or crayfish await.</p></blockquote> <p><strong> <br />Eggs On Cheese Pie - Cooking distance: 55 miles<br /></strong>Another good breakfast food, or anytime food. Legend has it that the recipe (minus the cooking method) originated in medieval monasteries. A holy treat.<strong></p> <p></strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Ingredients: </strong><br />Breadcrumbs (Italian or fresh homemade)<br />1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed<br />6 eggs (free range good)<br />Diced Canadian bacon (optional)<br />6 empty tuna-fish cans for cooking<br />Pinch of cayenne and paprika (optional)<br />Butter or spread.<br />Salt &amp; pepper.</p> <p>Wash 6 empty tuna cans and butter the insides. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs into each can and shake to cover the base evenly. Dump out excess. Now cover with mozzarella (and bacon if desired) then crack an egg on top of each, add seasonings and spices on top, then cover with mozzarella. Wrap cans tightly in foil, place on a hot part of the engine with good contact for the base of each can, and after 55 miles they should be good. If not, keep driving till the cheese has melted. <strong> </strong></p></blockquote> <p><strong> <br />Pat&#39;s Provolone Porsche Potatoes - Cooking distance: 55 miles<br /></strong>Good for vegetarians and a great side dish, this is simple, tasty car engine cooking.<strong></p> <p></strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Ingredients: </strong><br />1/2 pound new potatoes<br />1 cup milk<br />1 cup water<br />2 ounces grated aged provolone (or my favorite, aged cheddar)<br />Butter<br />Salt &amp; pepper</p> <p>Peel and slice potatoes to 1.4 inch thick. Place in a saucepan with the milk and water and simmer 10 mins. Drain, then spread onto heavily buttered foil. Sprinkle with your cheese (or cheeses, experiment with flavors) and seasonings. Sprinkle with butter, triple-wrap and place around medium-hot parts of the engine. Delicious.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>And finally, practice makes perfect.<br /></strong>You aren&#39;t going to get all of this right first time. Experiment with different ingredients, different parts of the engine and different cooking time. As I say, the book is an essential resource for all budding car-engine chefs, so please pick up a copy or at the very least see if you can find one in your local library. Soon, you&#39;ll be driving and cooking in perfect harmony. Happy times. <strong><br /></strong></p> <p><em>Main photo by <a href="">Blatch</a> . Thanks Blatch! </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Cooking great meals with your car engine. The heat is on. " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink automotive car car engine cooking cheap eats driving Fast Food Food manifold destiny Thu, 17 May 2007 21:05:56 +0000 Paul Michael 655 at Buy a drink, get a free Whopper - every single day? <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/burger_small.jpg" alt=" " width="298" height="197" />Did your mom always nag you to keep your receipts? Mine did. She&#39;d see me charge something to a credit card and then casually toss away the receipt, and I&#39;d get an immediate lecture about what it means to <em>keep track of my expenses yada yada yada</em> (Mom actually included the yada&#39;s). Frankly, budgeting has never been an issue for me, even when I was close to the poverty line, and receipts seemed to be a wallet-cluttering nuisance. But that all changed for me recently, and now I treasure receipts because they are kind of convenience that is rare - <strong>they are pre-cut coupons</strong>.</p> <p>You&#39;ve probably noticed that lots of stores and restaurants print coupons on the back of their receipts. You probably throw them out like I used to. </p> <p>I&#39;d still be throwing them out if my local Albertson&#39;s hadn&#39;t started printing a rent-one-get-one-free coupon for my favorite independent video rental store. At $4 a pop, I felt like I was doing my duty, keeping a local, independently-owned business in business, but honestly, with the number of films that I watch, it was really starting to hurt my bottom line. The coupon helped me reduce the cost of my film habit without reducing my intake. Yes, I&#39;m paying a bit less to the store than I used to, but I still buy my caramel corn there. Lots and lots of caramel corn.</p> <p>I understand that many coupons are not really a money-saving device, because you have to buy something to get something. And it&#39;s true that if you go out of your way to get $5 off of a meal at a Greek restaurant that you never eat at because you have a receipt-coupon in hand, then you&#39;re not saving money at all. But, if you use a coupon for a place that you frequent... frequently..., then coupons like this can be your best friend.</p> <p>Paul&#39;s <a href="/the-ghetto-mac-yours-for-1">Ghetto Burger post</a> reminded me that I&#39;ve been living large on more-or-less complimentary BK Whoppers for a while. I didn&#39;t exactly classify my situation as &#39;ghetto&#39;, but rather &#39;frugally fabulous&#39;. You can call it what you will.</p> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/coupons.jpg" alt=" " width="280" height="198" />OK, is it <strong>really</strong> free? No, I suppose it isn&#39;t. But it&#39;s as close to free as I can hope to get. </p> <p>The back of every Burger King receipt should have a coupon for a free Whopper with the purchase of a drink at Burger King, should you take 5 minutes to answer survey questions on the phone (you have to fill out your survey code on the receipt to get your pseudo-free Whopper). My first thought was, &quot;Well, it&#39;s the least I can do. I eat here pretty often.&quot; </p> <p>So I rang up the toll-free number on my cell phone and spent the next 10 minutes politely trying to help the automated system understand that the Burger King that I eat lunch at is neither clean, nor friendly, nor prompt. The problem is that every time you answer with a less than perfect score (let&#39;s say you give them a 4 out of 5 on service), you&#39;ll be asked to tell them more, and rate EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR SERVICE. Is the bathroom clean? Are the employees human? Do the employees bathe frequently?</p> <p>The crazy thing is, once I filled out my code and brought in my receipt-coupon, bought my obligatory Coke and got my free Whopper, I got another receipt for the Coke. <em>With another coupon for another free Whopper on the back</em>. All I had to do was master the phone system, and I appeared to be set for life with close-to-free Whoppers.</p> <p>My advice, should your discount coupon rely on something like an online or phone survey code, make sure you do it on a landline or during your offpeak hours on your cell. If you are really smart, you can use your VoIP system to call the survey line using your computer, and assuming you have dynamic IP capabilities, it shouldn&#39;t be obvious that you are the same person calling everyday. Answer every question as though the company couldn&#39;t be better and you simply love them to death, unless you really want to give honest feedback (this takes some more time - and time is money, so it&#39;s really up to you).</p> <p>I&#39;m not sure that every Burger King is like this, or for how long this kind of discount will continue, but for now, I&#39;m enjoying my nearly free burger binge. Because there is such thing as a mostly free lunch.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Buy a drink, get a free Whopper - every single day?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Troy Hadley</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Burger King coupon customer service discount Fast Food free lunch receipt survey Whopper Wed, 28 Mar 2007 19:24:00 +0000 Troy Hadley 408 at