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Trick-or-Treating Ideas Beyond Candy

jack o lanterns

Before you buy industrial-size bags of candy bars and make yours the most popular house in the neighborhood come Halloween, pause for a minute. Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course there’s the issue that we as Americans eat too much sugar and face an obesity epidemic. We’ve heard plenty about that. But also more important than ever is the issue of deadly food allergies. That’s why FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) is promoting the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween: Offer something that’s not candy (or food) and paint your pumpkin teal so savvy (and food-sensitive) trick-or-treaters can know which houses are safe.
Lest you fear getting TP’ed for your treats, the alternatives to candy don’t have to just be raisins and toothbrushes. Here are a few cooler ways to sidestep candy.

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You Should Go to South Beach Food & Wine Festival

We’re still stuffed from last weekend’s 2014 New York City Wine & Food Festival, but it’s already time to start thinking about flying south for the winter. The 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival is coming quickly (February 19-22), and trust us: Feasting in Florida in February is a genius idea.

For four days, top Cooking Channel and Food Network talents will converge on the warm, sunny Miami coastline to cook, drink and hang out. The events hit on nearly every taste, whether you’re a yogi, an unstoppable carnivore or an unabashed cupcake fiend. And you’ll be doing it all alongside the food industry’s top talents, including Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, Rev Run, Aarón Sánchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Rachael Ray, Giada de Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and more.

Tickets are already selling out, so get on it. There are tons of events to choose from, but if we had to play culinary concierge, here’s what we’d recommend.

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Upcoming Video Game Finally Lets You Experience Life as a Slice of Bread

Video games let you see the world through the eyes of a variety of cool characters, including Italian plumbers, anthropomorphic pie charts and, oh yeah, a whole lot of muscle-bound soldiers. However, there are no games in which you play as a humble slice of bread. Why can’t we just get our digital carbs on? Well, don’t tell the dude who invented the South Beach diet, but a bread-themed video game is breaking the mold.

It’s called I am Bread and, well, when you play it, you are bread. The object is to navigate a suburban household, avoid obstacles and eventually reach the fabled toaster of legend. It seems to play fast and loose with the bread physics, but one imagines it wouldn’t be a very fun game otherwise.

The game will launch for PC, but after that it should head to home video game consoles. It’ll show up sometime next year. This could be the greatest thing in games since dice lead.

Dinner Rush! Creamy Rigatoni with Squash, Sage and Pine Nuts

Move over, pumpkin spice latte — you’re not the only squash-themed edible that deserves the seasonal spotlight. Let’s clear a path for good ol’ reliable butternut. Is it the sexiest squash at the market? Hardly. But what it lacks in front-porch decor appeal it more than makes up for with a cute name and remarkable versatility.

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10 Worst Restaurant Fails

There’s a certain excitement in the air when a new restaurant opens up in the neighborhood. Finally, a reason to leave the house. However, not all eateries are worthy of you escaping from your bubble of Netflix and Facebook “Likes.” Some of them are downright failures in every conceivable way possible. Here are the worst of the worst of these sad experiments in eating displeasure, the biggest successes in failure-dom, if you will.

Photos: 10 Worst Restaurants in the World

For more restaurants that could benefit from the expertise of Cooking Channel chef, check out tonight’s new Restaurant Redemption at 10pm ET. Tonight Ching-He Huang reinvent the food and decor of a boring and predictable Chinese place called Pho-Barclay in New Jersey.

 

Sifted: Spicy Cornbread Biscuits, Pumpkin Gingersnap Ice Cream Cake + More

Spicy Cheddar Cornbread Biscuits

Hot Links We’re Loving:
  • When you’re faced with a bowl of steamy chili, it would be an injustice to choose between cornbread and biscuits. Dinner Was Delicious makes it easy with Spicy Cheddar Cornbread Biscuits, which are somehow both crumbly and flaky, not to mention loaded with sharp cheddar and jalapeno.
  • Want to put a new spin on pumpkin pie? Layer pumpkin and vanilla ice creams (with a jolt of pumpkin butter) into Shutterbean‘s easy Ice Cream Cake. Pound gingersnap cookies into crumbs for a speedy buffer layer.
  • We hate to say it, but the days of juicy, fresh tomato salsas are now over (unless you live in the tropics). Face the tomto-free music with these Fish Tacos by Turntable Kitchen. The recipe ingeniously creates a pomegranate salsa, ysubg the seeds out of in-season pomegranate for a juicy sweet-and-sour salsa condiment.
  • Think of Alsatian Flammkuchen as a bacon-, apple- and taleggio-topped take on pizza, though the dough is made with milk rather than water and results in a lighter, crunchier crust. Take a slice of Eat in My Kitchen‘s recipe with good, dry wine.
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This Cake Combines Every Dessert Into One Decadent Treat

One of the great struggles of existence is trying to decide what dessert to shove down your gaping maw. Apple pie sure is good, but so is chocolate cake and, oh, what about pumpkin pie? Life is hard! However, does it have to be? One bakery decided to just put every dessert in one big cake.

Three Brothers Bakery in Texas have just unveiled their take on the Turducken, the Pumpecapple Piecake. This beastly baked good contains layers of apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake and pecan pie. Additionally, there is caramel sauce and icing between every layer. Somehow the whole thing manages to stay aloft, which is a marvel unto itself.

The best part? You can order it for yourself here. The worst part? It costs $175 plus shipping. So you’ll have to save room in your wallet and your stomach.

Win a Copy of Eat More Better and Improve Your Existence

The conventional list of basic needs for physical well-being includes food, clothing and shelter. But so much of the innate wisdom and discourse around the first, and arguably most important, resource is saturated with inaccuracy and misnomers. Most people believe they have perfected eating — it being the first vocation they tackled after crying — but they really haven’t improved at it since that first day on Earth.

Do you consume burgers right-side up? You could be eating better. Do you fill a glass with ice cubes (that aren’t actually cube-shaped) and then pour liquid on top of them, or do you dump ice into a glass filled with liquid? Do you even pay attention to this stuff? You could be drinking better.

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Meatless Monday: Leftover Baked Potato Soup

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of lifeEating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Soup season has officially started. And while we love our hearty chilies and simmered-for-hours stews as much as ever, they’re not exactly easy to throw together in a flash. This brilliant recipe has just 15 minutes of prep and uses leftover baked potatoes, which both cuts down on cooking time and lets you use things in your fridge. Its velveteen finish and comforting flavors are amplified with buttermilk, sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Garnish the bowl with chives just before serving — they’ll add a hint of onion-y flavor and make for a beautiful presentation.

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Traditional Fried Chicken Flies the Coop in Favor of the Sweet and Spicy

There are few foods revered for their simplicity and nostalgia-inducing power like crispy, juicy fried chicken. But on Thursday night, 17 prominent New York City-based chefs and restaurants proved that sometimes it pays to shake up an old classic when they served their unique takes on chicken to guests at Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse.

Held on the opening night of this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, the fourth annual Chicken Coupe (presented by Cooking Channel) was hosted and judged by fried chicken enthusiast Whoopi Goldberg. Goldberg had approached festival founder Lee Brian Schrager several years ago about dedicating an entire event to the universally loved dish, and this year, she wrote the foreword to Schrager’s book, Fried & True — so you might say they know a thing or two about anointing a winning bird.

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