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Archive for December, 2013

Brunch Rush! Sausage, Egg and Cheese Strata

What do the following seasonal phenomena have in common?

  1. Fitness- and diet-tracking apps flood the social media feeds.
  2. Champagne glasses clink and toast to health and good tidings.
  3. Everyone starts singing “Auld Lang Syne” (even though no one actually knows the words).
  4. Many of us brace for the first hangover of the year.

That’s right New Year’s Eve is nearly upon us again. A time to look back, celebrate the moments and achievements of the last 364 days, and flood ourselves with lofty optimism for the 12 months ahead. The best way to celebrate? A party, of course!

While the Cooking Channel team has got your back with plenty of fabulous New Year’s Eve party recipes, have you planned for the morning after? That hazy kickoff to the semi-intoxicated promises made just hours before can be a bit rough. Best to plan ahead on this one.

Few other post-drunken corpse revivers are as effective as a good ol’ sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. Putting all of that goodness together into a strata that can be made the night before should make the transition a bit easier.

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Cooking Channel Talents’ Favorite Food Moments of 2013

There were plenty of sweet, bitter, salty and sour (and maybe even umami) moments this year. These are our chefs and hosts’ favorite memories of the past year.

Check out Cooking Channel talents’ favorite food moments of 2013.

Scientists Can Now Send Text Messages Using Vodka

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Text messages. You can’t live with ‘em. You can’t live without ‘em. Well, maybe only the latter is true. Living without good satellite coverage is certainly difficult. However will you find out if someone thought that cat picture you sent was lol-worthy or not? Don’t worry. Scientists have long searched for a new way to send text messages when coverage is a problem. The solution? Vodka.

It’s true. A research team from York University in Canada figured out how to use everyone’s favorite hangover causer to send a text message. Now you can send drunk texts using the same substance that got you there in the first place! Paradoxical but fun. Essentially it works by a receiver that measures minute levels of the alcohol, which then translates into the text messages.

This won’t be replacing the current method anytime soon, but it could be implemented in remote areas one day in the future. In the meantime, you can always use your vodka stores to clean up dirty nickels or something.

31 Days of Cookies: Chocolate Diablo Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. It’s the final day of the 31 days of cookies, and we’re wrapping it up with the photo that inspired it all, the spicy, cakey Chocolate Diablo Cookie. Until next year…

Click here for the Chocolate Diablo Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

McDonald’s Japan Announces Bizarre ‘American Vintage’ Menu

Americans are occasionally suggested to be loud, boorish and, well, just plain gluttonous. McDonald’s Japan has just announced a rather strange new menu that plays with that notion of American gluttony, which is odd considering McDonald’s America had a McHand in creating it.

The menu is called American Vintage and comes in three varieties, each representing a different decade of American culture. The 1950’s American Diner features some wild burgers that were absolutely never served at an actual American diner, including one that is topped with both mashed potatoes and an egg. The 1970’s Soul Food menu features a bunch of items that have “hot and groovy” in the name, but otherwise seem like regular sandwiches topped with salsa. Finally, the 1980’s Pop Culture menu throws barbecue sauce, bacon and something that appears to be relish into the mix. What, no Max Headroom or Alex P. Keaton?

These menus will be available across Japan for the next few months.

How to Make Smarter New Year’s Resolutions (plus 3 to Make Your Own)

We all know the drill: January 1 rolls around and we feel compelled to make resolutions. We go gung-ho for a week or two before we bring back our old ways. Resolve that this year, 2014, you will make New Year’s resolutions that work.

How do you do that, you ask? What works best is when you think about where you actually are and where you want to go, and then make goals (or resolutions, if you will) that bridge that gap. If you reach too far, it’s easy to miss the mark and then get discouraged. By being realistic about your current lifestyle and what typically prevents you from making the changes you’d like to make, you’ll set yourself up for success. It’s also helpful to break down a larger goal into smaller steps. Instead of creating an overwhelming goal like “lose weight,” take a close look at the behaviors that are keeping the weight on and select one or more to change. For example, maybe you notice you do a lot of late-night noshing. Try and think about why that is. Maybe you tend to eat when you’re tired or stressed? Come up with some replacement behaviors that address the real problem (like getting ready for bed earlier, or writing down your worries).

Here are some examples of those intermediate goals and how to make them achievable:

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Alie & Georgia’s New Year’s Day Brunch

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, than some people (like, us) would argue that brunch is the most important meal of the weekend. And if that’s true (it is), then New Year’s Day brunch is the most important meal of the year.

While everyone else is putting their effort into making New Year’s Eve the most memorable night of the year (it won’t be), you’ll be voted “Smartest Person Alive” when you instead plan for the best brunch to ring in the first day of the new year. Invite your closest (and least hungover) friends — the ones you’d love to see more of this coming year — and plate up our perfect bite-sized brunch snacks. You’ll be the toast of 2014.

Mini Biscuit Breakfast Sandwiches with Spicy Frittata (pictured above)

This two-bite breakfast of protein and carbs is the perfect mouthful to fuel your day of lounging and resolution-making.

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31 Days of Cookies: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. With New Year’s resolutions quickly approaching, we’re fitting in all of our vices for the 30th day of cookies: It’s time for Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Click here for the Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

Lighter Drinks, Dips and Treats for New Year’s Eve

This time of the year can be really fun for indulging, but there comes a point when you just need a break (hello, January 1st!). If you find yourself hitting that point when you still have some more festivities to attend (I’m looking at you, New Year’s Eve), then these lightened up drinks, dips and treats are for you.

Skinnier Sips
Alcohol is high in calories. Cutting down how much you drink in any given night is smart for a number of reasons, including your waistline. Try alternating between a drink and a glass of sparkling water to slow your drinking pace. And keep in mind that mixed drinks can often deliver lots of extra calories. A glass of wine is usually around 120 calories; beer can range upwards of 250 calories for higher-alcohol brews. Here are a few lower-calorie alternatives:

Spritzers (pictured above): Spritzers are a great way to curb the alcohol per drink.

Bellinis: They have more calories than spritzers, but like spritzers, they help you to drink less actual alcohol.

Alcohol-free wines have half the calories of regular vinos and they’re surprisingly delicious.

Desserts

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Why Eating Cabbage Rolls is Lucky on New Year’s

Photo by Kankana Saxena

In many parts of Eastern Europe, eating cabbage rolls for New Year’s is considered very lucky. Laura Kelley, author of The Silk Road Gourmet (iUniverse, 2009), says: “My mother said that cabbage rolls were considered lucky because the leaves looked like paper money. The New Year’s connection was to roll ingredients that symbolized different things — chestnuts and walnuts look like brains, so they signify intelligence; tomato is about health and transformation, etc. — into the leaves to bring these things to the family who ate them in the new year.”

According to Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg, the cabbage rolls, with cabbage on the outside and meat on the inside, are as a home should be: “Inside should be nice and comfy, but the outside? Don’t make the neighbors envious!” He says that in keeping with Hasidic Jewish tradition, the rolls are eaten on Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashana and Simchat Torah.

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