Yum!

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    You will not believe this, but I have some news that will stand your hair on end: Starbucks is already selling its pumpkin spice latte! EEK. It's not even Labor Day yet and already we've got the full flavor of autumn breathing down our necks with that special coffee treat we cannot resist -- no matter how much we resent its early arrival.

    But before you whip out that five-dollar bill for your first PSL of the season -- that's $5.17 for a Grande in my neck of the woods -- consider this: You could make your own for about a dollar. Any time of the year! We've got your homemade pumpkin spice latte recipe right here. Learning how to do that pretty heart foam thing, though? That's on you.

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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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    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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    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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    A video just went up on Reddit that's stirring up controversy. It's called, "My drunk wife makes grilled cheeses." Except the woman making grilled cheeses while slugging rosé is not actually the poster's wife. She's single comic Ashley Bez. And those grilled cheeses? They're fake, too. But that's the really interesting part. Sit up and pay attention, because grilled cheese just got reinvented by Ms. Bez. If I didn't know better, I'd think this recipe was created by a kindergartner, it's so weirdly brilliant. You have to see this.

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    Like many people, my family is trying to eat less meat. It's better for the planet, our bodies, and our wallets. But finding vegetarian meals that are actually healthy, delicious, and easy, not to mention appealing to everyone in the family, can be a challenge. 

    These Roasted Eggplant Subs fit the bill! The meaty texture and smoky taste of roasted eggplant paired with a bit of creamy, tangy cheese, roasted red peppers, red onion, and crispy greens will get the approval of even the most devoted meat-eaters. You can even pack these to-go on crazy weeknights when everyone is running in a different direction -- and all those healthy vegetables will boost everyone's energy for homework, practice, or whatever your evening holds!

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    If you did an analysis of what my son is made of, the results would be mostly silliness, a lot of cuteness ... and the rest would be all macaroni and cheese! He loves it and eats all kinds, from the easy boxed dinners in the supermarket to decadently delicious homemade versions.

    This Homemade Macaroni and Cheese, with three kinds of cheese and the savory depth of onion, sounds just about perfect -- it’s nearly as easy as the boxed stuff and miles more tasty. Bring this to a potluck and stand back as everyone gathers around to scoop some on their plate ... but don't get in line behind my son, because you’ll be lucky to get any.

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