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Meghan Rodgers

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This is why we eat ham on Easter

Holidays are chock-full of timeless traditions, perhaps in no category more steadfastly than food. What’s Thanksgiving without turkey? Halloween without candy? New Year’s without some bubbly? And of course, what would Easter dinner even be without a briny, salty ham? But aside from simply tradition, how did pigs come to play such an important role in our annual spring feast? It really just has to do with practical considerations and timing. Traditionally, pigs were slaughtered in the fall as temperatures cooled. This would allow the meat to stay fresher for much longer. Before refrigeration, farmers would set aside any unsold meat to be cured, or preserved, as to not waste food or income. That cured meat was finally ready to eat each year right around Easter. Also read, Why do eat chocolate bunnies on Easter? These days, slaughtering schedules don’t play an important of a part as simply our preference. While…

Why you shouldn’t order “chai tea”

Tea lovers, listen up. I’m about to save you from an easy error we’ve all made before. Here it is: Chai means tea. Yes, that means if you’ve ever gone to a coffee or teahouse and ordered a “chai tea,” you basically ordered a “tea tea.” While it is common to order that way in America, now that you know what it means, it will probably feel pretty silly. So just call it “chai.” I found this out on a recent trip to India, that in Hindi, “chai” translates to the generic “tea”, meaning the term is used to refer to all kinds of tea. (Side note: the word is originally derived from “cha”, the Chinese word for “tea.”) But what we know as chai tea in the States—that slightly spicy, milky black tea beverage—is actually called masala chai in India and elsewhere. In Indian cuisine, masala refers to a flavorful…

Where to find the Hard Seltzer Festival this year

When it comes to festivals, beer drinkers have it good. They can pick just about any weekend of the year and find a well-stocked, well-attended festival serving up their favorite IPAs, craft brews, and local beers. If there’s a beer, there’s a surely a gathering of its fans in the not too distant future. Spiked seltzer drinkers? Not so much. That is, until now. Bring on the bubbly! Vodka soda drinkers are finally getting their own traveling festival, and it looks like tons of fun. Starting this spring, Seltzer Land is bringing a bubble-filled festival to a city near you. According to the Wall Street Journal, attendees will be able to sample more than 100 varieties of hard seltzer, as they dine on snacks, enjoy live music, and take a selfie in the ball pit. Tickets start at $29, and VIP tickets start at $49. Each festival day will host two…

Red velvet pizzelle are a perfect cookie for February

Pizzelle are the ultimate holiday cookie. In my family, we eat them for Christmas and New Year and always, always, always around Easter. We can even count on them for birthdays. Valentine’s Day was feeling left out so I put a red velvet twist on this traditional Italian cookie. The bright red color and crispy, rich chocolatey taste make them perfect for sharing with your better half. Dunk these Red Velvet Pizzelle in ice cold milk or savor with your morning coffee for a combo that will have you believing in love at first bite. Red Velvet Pizzelle Makes about 3 dozen Ingredients 3 large eggs 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp baking powder 2 tsp vanilla 2 tsp red food coloring Directions Preheat pizzelle iron and set aside. Lay a few low-lint…

A short but sweet history of Hershey’s kisses

The year was 1907. Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, Oklahoma had been admitted as 46th state in the Union, and Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses came into the nation’s collective candy-loving conscious. Hershey’s has been planting its chocolaty kisses on Americans for more than 110 years. Today, the bite-sized candy is the 5th most popular chocolate brand in the country, with sales topping $400 million. To keep up with demand, more than 60 million Hershey’s Kisses are produced each day between the company’s two factories. So how exactly did this iconic candy get its lovable name? While no one alive today was there to witness the first bottom-heavy, bite-sized, chocolaty blob hit the conveyor belt, urban lore has it that the tasty treat was named for the lip-smacking sound the machinery made when dropping the melty chocolates during the manufacturing process. Naysayers argue that the word “kiss” had been a…

Heart-shaped peanut butter cookies

Soft, sweet, and chewy, who can resist peanut butter cookies? This recipe is packed with peanut flavor, sure to satisfy that peanut butter craving. They taste as delicious dunked in ice cold milk as they do all on their own. Plus, you’ll fall in love with the little heart-shaped design. This is my go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies. While I don’t always take the extra time to make them into hearts, you simply have to this time of year. It’s so easy, and no cookie cutter or rolling out dough necessary. It makes them extra fun for kids and coworkers, plus, it gives you an excuse to get baking in the first place! You can put this creative twist on just about any peanut butter cookie recipe (some of the 3-ingredients recipes are a little too crumbly to hold up). How to make heart-shaped peanut butter cookies Step 1…

Honey soy glazed salmon

If you want a fancy-yet-easy main dish, look no further than baked salmon fillets. It can be a midweek date go-to as much as it can  be an al fresco meal with friends, or even a romantic night in. Salmon pretty much always suits the occasion. This baked salmon comes out beautifully with little-to-no effort. The marinade is an interesting blend of sweet and sour flavors. It’s similar to a teriyaki sauce, though it takes its main spice ingredients from Chinese and Thai cuisine. Also try these Spicy Thai tuna stuffed avocados. To cook, let your fillets soak up the marinade for about 2 hours before baking (no less than 30 minutes), then place in preheated oven (350ºF). Even thick salmon fillets cook quickly, so don’t stray too far from the kitchen. As a rule of thumb, salmon needs four to six minutes cook time per half-inch of thickness. Start…

The 100 most romantic restaurants in America, according to OpenTable users

Valentine’s Day is the most popular day all year for dining out, and to help diners decide where to impress the object of their affection, OpenTable has released its user generated annual list of 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. The online restaurant reservation company creates its comprehensive list by culling more than 12 million verified diner reviews of more than 28,000 restaurants in all 50 states plus D.C. And the results? Perhaps surprisingly, Ohio tops the list with nine recognized restaurants. Texas comes in close with eight, followed by North Carolina and Virginia with seven each. Pennsylvania places fifth with six winning restaurants. And the type of food diners desire most? American cuisine-serving restaurants dominate the list, but French, Italian, Latin, Seafood, and Southern restaurants have a strong showing, so you’ll be able to customize the cuisine to whatever your love loves most. “These 100 restaurants excel at setting…

Detoxing celery, apple, ginger juice

What’s the point of a healthy juice if you can’t stand drinking it? So many of those green juices are great for you, but they taste like a liquid salad. If that’s your sort of thing, good for you! The rest of us are jealous. Me? I need some sweetness, and a juice I can actually look forward to. This celery, ginger, apple juice definitely checks all of  the boxes. Did you know, the timing of your meals throughout the day also plays into your overall health? I’ve been making this juice for years, so I wasn’t surprised when celery juice started getting tons of national attention. Here are just a few reasons why you should drink it too: It may lower inflammation. Celery is loaded with antioxidants, which are thought to combat free radicals that contribute to inflammation. It’s good for your liver. Celery has diuretic properties, so it’s…

Wendy’s is coming to the breakfast table in 2020

Move over McMuffins. Wendy’s is officially entering the fast food morning breakfast battle—and the menu looks pretty delicious. In a tweet, Wendy’s announced the company would officially serve breakfast nationwide beginning March 2. Of course, it also took the opportunity to throw a jab at leading competitor, McDonald’s. https://twitter.com/Wendys/status/1224725170235019265 “People deserve a delicious, affordable, and higher quality breakfast than what they’re currently getting, so that’s exactly what we’re going to serve when Wendy’s launches breakfast nationally on March 2,” said Kurt Kane, President, U.S. and Chief Commercial Officer of the Wendy’s Company. So what’s for breakfast? The company is banking angling that it’s more delicious and interesting than competitors’ offering, and that it’s a new real to become a “morning person.” From fresh, hand-cracked eggs on sandwiches, to Applewood smoked bacon, Wendy’s items pay homage to fan favorite menu items including: the Breakfast Baconator, a bun loaded with an egg,…