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This man invented the ice cream scoop and made summer a whole lot sweeter

Alfred L. Cralle died in a car accident nearly 100 years ago, but his invention continues to provide an essential part of your summer experience. July 15 is National Ice Cream Day, and while you’re feverishly shoveling spoonfuls of your favorite flavor into your mouth, it’s Cralle you can thank for those picture perfect scoops. While working as a porter in Markell Brothers drugstore and St. Charles Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pa, Cralle noticed that ice cream stuck to the spoons and ladles the servers used, and they usually had to use two hands to separate them. Cralle responded to this ice cream crisis by creating the ice cream scoop — originally called the Ice Cream Mold and Disher. It was designed to be strong, inexpensive and easy to operate with one hand. It had no moving parts that could break or malfunction. On February 2, 1897, thirty-year-old Cralle applied for and received the patent…

Caprese Pizza recipe

This warm and crispy pizza combines two Italian favorites. You might find yourself wondering you ever want to eat anything else again. And try these other delicious, original takes on Caprese. Caprese Pizza Ingredients 1/2 cup cooked chicken, cubed 12 ounce store-bought pizza dough 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes of varying colors, halved 2- tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tbsp cornmeal 3-4 ounces of fresh grated mozzarella cheese salt and pepper 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin Directions Let pizza dough stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat broiler to high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread tomatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Broil about 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to lightly brown. Place your pizza stone…

Star spangled ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches already scream summer, but with a little makeover, they can be the coolest Fourth of July treat at the table. Okay, this “recipe” is basically cheating. But if you want to add a little fun to your Fourth of July without any effort — literally, like zero effort — then you’ll love this simple trick. Buy a pack of ice cream sandwiches from the grocery store — or ice cream truck! I went for the mini sandwiches since there are always so many delicious treats at picnics. Smaller sizes mean you can sample more sweets. They also mean less mess, since they won’t have as much time to melt.  Pour some sprinkles in a bowl, and get rolling. Just like an ice cream cone with sprinkles, the extra taste and texture is delicious — and way more fun! Happy Fourth of July! Star spangled ice cream sandwiches Ingredients 1 dozen ice cream…

Fourth of July spending takes a dip because of ‘Hump Day’

To celebrate the birth of our country, Americans eat a whole lot of hamburgers and hotdogs. And no Fourth of July party is complete without loads of other red, white, and blue picnic paraphernalia. But according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insight & Analytics, consumers are planning spending less overall this year than last year. Consumers will spend about $6.9 billion, down from $7.1 billion in 2017. The decrease is attributed to the holiday falling on a Wednesday. But patriotism is still high. Despite the decrease, this is still the second-highest amount reported in the history of the survey and the highest per-person spending ever. Nearly 153 million Americans are planning a cookout or a picnic. Average spending per person is reportedly $75.35 — up from $73.42 in 2017. More than 216 million Americans plan to observe the holiday in some way — down from 219 last year. About 31 million Americans…

Arugula, mint and apricot salad

Apricots are too often overlooked in the summer. We repeatedly reach for fresh berries and cherries, even peaches and watermelon. But for many, apricots are a fruit only eaten dried. A ripe apricot, with its dainty golden blush-color, dripping with juices is a perfect fruit on its own or used in a summer salad. Apricots give you a boost of vitamin A which is said to help repair skin damage from the sun. They also maintain electrolyte balance in the body — great for sweaty, active summer days, since electrolytes reduce cramping and keep blood pumping through your body. Expand your fruit horizons this summer and try this refreshing arugula, mint, apricot salad while the apricots are at their peak. arugula, mint, apricot salad Serves 2 Ingredients 2 cups arugula 1/4 cup mint leaves 2 ripe apricots, sliced 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup almond slices 1/2 orange (for dressing), cold 1 tbsp extra virgin…

It’s not summer without strawberry, rhubarb pie

I wait all year to make certain pies, and this weekend it was finally strawberry rhubarb season. I “borrowed” some from my family, with the promise of returning it in pie form. In the world of sweets, we’re definitely a “pie family.” Cake just never hits the spot like a flaky pie crust bursting with summer fruit. This recipe is filled to the brim with juicy strawberries and tart rhubarb. It’s so simple, it will quickly become one of those recipes you can make from memory. And that’s how a simple summer pie should be — who wants fuss when there’s pies, pools, and picnics to attend. Feel free to use your favorite homemade pie crust, or pick up one from the store. And make sure you make this pie soon. Before you know it, rhubarb season will be over, and you’ll have to wait another year! Strawberry Rhubarb pie Serves 8 Ingredients 2…

Triple berry kale walnut salad celebrates summer

If I can give two pieces of advice for salads, I would first tell you to always include some fresh fruit. Blueberries, mandarin oranges, strawberries — honestly, just about any fruit works. It’s a juicy pop of unexpected flavor that goes really well with the texture of leafy greens. Fruits and veggies are good friends like that. My second piece of advice is to always toast your walnuts. Okay, maybe not every single salad requires it, but most gain something. You’ll never be disappointed. Toasting improves the texture, so the nuts stay crispier, longer in the middle of all that lettuce and dressing. And this little trick doesn’t cost anything. Just buy plain old walnuts and throw them in the toaster oven (or oven) for 10 minutes on 350ºF, and you have just seriously upgraded to restaurant quality. No oil needed for roasting. Pine nuts will be done around 5 minutes.…

Hydrating watermelon, coconut water cooler

Watermelon, coconut water, and basil: This is just the light, refreshing drink you need to mix up things in the hydration department this summer. Eight glasses of water sounds like a lot — and that’s just the bare minimum required. If you’re outdoors or active during the day, you’re going to need a lot more. Get some flavor and added nutrition with your water in the form of this pretty pink drink. It’s low in calories but big on flavor and super refreshing. It’s a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up when the weather is warm. The coconut and watermelon flavor combination is unexpected but goes great! Watermelons are perfectly in season, so your drink will be sweet and delicious without any added sugars. Just stock up on coconut water in bulk when it’s on sale. Plus, pick some fresh herbs from your garden for that special touch. Cheers to summer! Watermelon, coconut water cooler…

Here’s the scoop on the differences between your favorite frozen treats

Your love of ice cream might turn a little frigid if you knew the cold, hard truth. That carton you just purchased might not meet official ice cream criteria. Go ahead and take a peek at the pint inside your freezer. If it has the words “frozen dairy dessert” you’ve possibly been fooled. The reason that some packages have this alternative labeling is because the FDA regulates what products qualify as “ice cream.” In order to earn the name “ice cream,” a product must meet two criteria. First, it must contain at least 10 percent dairy milkfat. Second, it must weigh no less than 4.5 lbs. per gallon and have no more than 100 percent overrun. So, what exactly is overrun? Well, overrun refers to the amount of air pumped into the ice cream as it’s being made. The standard of about 50 percent overrun means that ice cream is made with one part…

Here’s how to pick the best watermelon

Watermelon is the happy fruit. It conjures images of childhood, sunny picnics and pool parties. But, one bite into a mealy, hard melon and all of the memories dry up, just like that first, terrible bite. There are, of course, ways to use less than wonderful watermelons, for example, smoothies and salsas. But when you want to bite face first into a big, juicy slice, only the ripest melon will do. The best way to avoid this underripe melon problem is to purchase the perfect melon in the first place. Here is what you need to know about picking the best watermelon: 1. Weight is wonderful No matter if it’s small or large, the best watermelon will feel heavy for its size. This weight is a sign that it’s full of water — aka. juicy flavor and not grainy fiber. Pick the heaviest one you can find. 2. Seeing spots Watermelons rest on…