Food  &  Party

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    Mashed potatoes are a comfort food my kids never knew. Before you gasp in horror, let me explain. I love mashed potatoes. As a matter of fact, they are the first side dish I’ll order in a restaurant. After all, potatoes are nutritious and filling and have absolutely no fat or cholesterol or sodium. They have more potassium than a banana and are a great source of vitamin C. I know all that. But shamefully, I was never able to replicate the creamy, scrumptious mashed potatoes that I loved so much as a child.  

    I tried. I really did. I’d spend a good hour in the kitchen trying to get it right. But still, my mashed potatoes took way too long to make and tasted way too bland. So I just kind of gave up and enjoyed them only as a treat when we were eating out.

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    Can you believe we're only a week away from Labor Day? Bet you're looking for some cool new drinks to serve at (or bring to) that barbecue, right? Well have we the perfect twist on iced tea for you ... it's fancy-sounding and looks and tastes amazing -- but it's really ultra simple to make.

    It's billed as a non-alcoholic Watermelon Refresher Tea, created by Top Chef's Gail Simmons and inspired by farmer's markets. This would make the perfect punch for a backyard party for kids and adults, though we've included directions for spiking the drink for grown-ups if you're so inclined. Or you could indulge in a glass while lounging in a hammock during those beautiful end-of-summer afternoons. 

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    Check your nut butters before you make lunch today. nSpired Natural Foods Inc. is voluntarily recalling six brands of peanut butter and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination: Arrowhead Mills peanut butters, MaraNatha almond butters and peanut butters, and private labels sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger, and Safeway. The affected products are sold throughout the US.

    The company has not specified how many jars are being recalled, but 45 production lots have been affected. The salmonella contamination was found during routine testing by the FDA. Four illnesses have been reported that may be linked to the recall.

    Here's everything you need to know to respond to this recall.

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    One of my family's favorite traditions is a monthly Family Movie Night complete with make-your-own pizza; each person gets to choose what they want to top their pie before it's baked.  After that, we let the kids eat in front of the TV (something I never otherwise allow!) while we watch our movie and then tuck in sleepy kids.

    Sadly, during the warmer weather we're more likely to turn towards our favorite local pizza joint than to DIY; I hate turning on the oven when the temps get high. But this recipe not only allows for individual pizzas with some of our favorite toppings and a healthy and hearty whole-wheat crust, you cook them outside, on the grill! If you've never had grilled pizza, you have to try it; it gets crisp and smoky and incredible. The bonus is super-easy cleanup and no oven heating up the house! 

    Pizza night just got more fun with individual-sized pizzas—plus they’re made completely on the grill. 

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    Ever since I picked up a jar of rose petal jam on my trip to Paris this summer, I've been obsessed with it. Rose petals have been used in sweet and savory cooking around the world for hundreds of years. They deliver a wildly romantic and unexpected taste sensation. I'm serious. 

    If you're not the type to eat flowers, we'd love to tempt you to try something new. If you're STILL not convinced, at least look at the stunningly beautiful photos and dream of what could be. And what woman doesn't love roses, anyway?

    Behold these 8 beautiful rose-petal recipes (pesticide-free, of course). Ooh la la!

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    Ever go out to eat at a restaurant and decide to split a meal? Of course you have. Would you share food at one of those big group dinners?

    One restaurant owner is sick of seeing large parties taking up tables without everyone ordering something, while other would-be customers are forced to wait. 

    Stewing over the fact that some of his guests at those tables are merely sipping water without buying anything on the menu, Martin Duncan of eatery Freestyle Tout in Australia decided to do something about it. He posted a new policy on Facebook: Everyone in parties of 10 to 20 has to buy something during peak hours.

    But is that really fair?

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    Here's a problem we never talk about: how to dampen your sex drive. When was the last time you saw the headline "10 Ways to Stomp Out Your Libido & Have the Non-Existent Sex Life You Crave"? Never, that's when. But back in the 19th century, that was actually a thing. And that's why graham crackers were invented.

    Yes, those delicious cinnamon-sugar coated crackers we use to make decadent s'mores had a much more dismal beginning. For one thing, they weren't made with cinnamon and sugar. They were invented by evangelical minister Sylvester Graham to curb salacious desires -- as a way of liberating people, of course.

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    Fans of Mexican fare have cause for celebration. Taco Bell, home of the always-fun-to-say Chalupa, is upping its game.

    The popular fast food purveyor opened the first of its new upscale chain of eateries, U.S. Taco Co., in Southern California Monday. While some of the menu items might look familiar, they're anything but ordinary. 

    Calling it "food truck food you don't have to chase," Jeff Jenkins, the man behind the new venture, said being "playful and different" and capturing America in a taco shell is what it's all about. Ten different tacos, each with fun and funky names, feature everything from lobster to pulled pork. And you won't find Dorito shells or paper wrappers at this taco joint, that's for sure!

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    Potato salad is a summer classic, but let’s face the truth: by now the excitement has kind of worn off, right? There are a lot of barbecues and outdoor parties ahead, though, so you need a side dish that's flavorful, easy, and different to serve alongside whatever you're grilling. This Roasted Potato and Chorizo Salad is just the thing. Chorizo (make sure to get the Spanish slicing kind, not the Mexican loose kind) is amazing paired with roasted potatoes. Garlic, bell peppers, and paprika reinforce the Spanish flavors.

    The best part? It takes 10 minutes to prep, and once it's in the oven, you're free to turn your attention to the rest of dinner ... or, maybe, relax on the patio with a magazine and a cool drink! Use an oven bag and there's almost no cleanup, either.

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    Every day there's a new, supposedly healthy super food on grocery shelves promising you eternal youth -- or at least a trimmer figure. Some of those foods are actually legit. They really do deliver a high dose of powerful nutrients. Also? Most of them have been around forever, and you'll find them in the produce aisle. They're called fresh fruits and vegetables. You should try some!

    Womp, womp. But seriously, we're not judging you for trying out some of the trendy health foods out there. That can be fun. It's just that some of them are rip offs. You're shelling out a lot of money for food that doesn't actually do that much for you. Here are 6 health food rip offs you can cross off your grocery list.

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