If you’ve ever visited our neighbor to the north, you may have noticed something peculiar about how milk is sold in grocery stores. You won’t always find milk in a familiar carton or jug—but you may find it in a nine-pound clear plastic bag. But why? We need answers, Canada.
Drinking milk out of bags isn’t new—in fact, Canadians have been doing this since the late 1960s. Before Canadian food and packaging company DuPont unveiled their thin, plastic milk bags in 1967, they used glass bottles instead. Ultimately, all of those glass bottles weren’t exactly cost-efficient—and, with Canada’s conversion to the metric system in 1970, it was far easier to comply with metric units in bag form than it was to redesign and manufacture new bottles and jugs. So, the plastic milk bag was born. Today, drinking milk out of a bag is most popular in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes. By the way, this is why Americans refrigerate their milk and Europeans don’t.
It’s estimated that half of all milk in Canada is sold in bags. Surprisingly, Canada isn’t the only place where people drink their milk out of bags. Bagged milk is also a common find in India, China, Russia, and plenty of other countries around the world. Of course, Canada doesn’t just drink its milk out of plastic bags because it’s more cost-effective—it also might be more environmentally efficient. Because a thinner bag of plastic is made up of 75 percent less plastic than the average milk jug and is easier to ship, Eater suggests that bagged milk is the way to go.
While there are a few places where this unfamiliar packaging is available in the United States, your best bet to trying bagged milk may be heading straight to Canada. Looking at your milk jug and wondering if it’s as interesting as bagged milk? It is! In fact, there’s a secret code hidden in all those numbers. Here’s where to find the secret code on your gallon of milk, what it means, and how to crack it.
Raise your hand if you reach for a glass of wine or a shot of espresso to help with stress, anxiety or feeling tired. Same. And while there’s nothing wrong with a little alcohol or caffeine pick-me-up in moderation, we were intrigued to learn about Recess Drink. It’s a stress-relieving and focus-enhancing sparkling water with healthier ingredients—and cuter cans.
Carrie Madormo, RN, named Recess Drink as one the best CBD gummies and edibles in a recent Taste of Home article. After reading her positive review and researching the ingredients further, I just had to test the Recess sampler pack to taste all six fruity flavors and see how the drink made me feel. Here’s what happened to my stress levels—and mood.
What is Recess Drink?
Recess is a line of fruit-flavored CBD sparkling waters infused with natural ingredients. Recess promotes its beverages as “an antidote to modern times” and claims they help drinkers achieve focus, relaxation, creativity and balance. Each of the six sparkling water flavors are infused with hemp extract and adaptogens thought to keep you mellow and relaxed.
The sparkling waters also contain other natural feel-good ingredients. American ginseng is known to improve memory and focus. Mood-brightening L-theanine is a sleep-improving amino acid found in tea plants. Lemon balm gives a gentle boost of energy.
Recess sparkling waters are also flavored with fruit and herbs to make them taste yummy. Each 12-ounce can has between 15 and 30 calories, four to six grams of carbohydrates and three to six grams of sugar—depending on which of the six flavors you choose.
Please note that while CBD use appears to be generally safe, these claims aren’t backed by the FDA.
All About Testing Recess Drink
Testing Recess was as easy as cracking open a chilled can, popping a metal straw inside and sipping. Since I’ve tried CBD gummies before I wasn’t really nervous about drinking CBD but I did want to do a thorough test to feel the effects.
I’m a regular at Pilates, and I definitely don’t like to go to class if I’ve recently had a cocktail or glass of red wine. Alcohol and balancing exercises simply don’t mix—not to mention the sleepy side effect I sometimes get after happy hour. I had a Pilates class scheduled after work and I was feeling the late afternoon slump. Instead of pouring a late afternoon coffee that could disrupt my sleep, I decided to drink a can of the peach ginger Recess.
Thoughts after the first sip? Yum! The peach flavor tasted straight from Georgia and the ginger added a slightly spicy note that I liked. I didn’t detect anything medicinal or chemical. As for bubble strength, I’d positively compare it to a can of La Croix. About 20 minutes after I drained the can I felt calm and focused. It wasn’t intense or distracting, and I got through my Pilates class feeling both relaxed and concentrated on the instructor’s vocal cues. I didn’t have any trouble falling asleep that night.
After the successful Pilates test, I opened the pomegranate hibiscus can before a long afternoon Zoom conference call. I’m not the biggest hibiscus flavor fan but I did like the fruity pomegranate. Results were similar to how I felt after the first can: generally calm, relaxed and able to focus on the agenda and deliverables. What work anxiety?
Recess Drinks Pros
- It tastes good! The real fruit flavors are refreshing and not overly sweet. Peach ginger and black cherry were favorites.
- It delivers. After drinking a can, I noticed a calm and serene feeling from the hemp and a focused concentration from the ginseng.
- Low in sugar, calories and carbs.
- The matte tropical and pastel color cans are gorgeous. Fridge goals!
Recess Drink Cons
- At $5 a can, it’s more expensive than regular sparkling water—but still cheaper than many CBD-infused products.
Final Verdict on Recess Drinks
Move over Perrier, I’m filling my mini-fridge with Recess. After I drink a can I feel zen and focused, without any crash side effects or hangover feeling that can come from consuming caffeine or alcohol. And, Recess tastes good and looks cute in the fridge.
Where to Buy Recess
Check your local vitamin shop, CBD dispensary, grocery store, liquor store or gas station for Recess. It’s probably easier to just order the six-pack sampler directly online from Recess in the meantime. That’s where I’m getting my next fix!
There’s so much we love about summer—the sunshine, the water and all these delicious barbecue recipes. But in the hot sun, how do you keep cold food cold? We’re talking pasta salads, icebox desserts and all the other summer fare we can’t get enough of.
We’ll often keep our fruits, veggies and potato salads inside the house to avoid the summer heat, but that can become tedious, especially when you’re poolside and don’t want to wrap up every time you enter the house. Lucky for us, there’s a hack for that. It’s super simple, too!
Here’s a Hack to Keep Food Cold Outside
First, grab a container that’s similar to the container you have your salad, dessert or snack in. TikTok user @bigmommakimbo7 uses several recyclable aluminum pans. All you need to do is take your container, fill about an inch with water and place it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, you’ll have a solid sheet of ice that should fit perfectly underneath your snack container. Stack your food pan on top of your ice pan, and your food should stay cold no problem!
Handy TikTok Hacks for the Summer
The world of TikTok has so many more summer hacks where that came from. Try this unique take on pizza: a watermelon pizza with chamoy and Tajin—refreshing, spicy and bound to make an impression on your taste buds! Pair it up with this delicious “adult pineapple”, or even a White Claw slushie. Toss some super sweet frozen Jell-O grapes on the side for good measure. Happy eating!
No matter the time of year, margaritas are a go-to cocktail. Bright, refreshing and so easy to make, it’s no wonder this cocktail is often ordered by the pitcher. To make things easier for your next backyard party, girls-night-in or Mexican dinner, we gathered all of our intel into this handy margarita guide. Here you’ll find essential background information, ingredients, tools, recipes and so much more.
Make yourself a quick lime margarita and get reading!
What Is a Margarita?
The margarita is a cocktail that’s a combination of tequila, orange liqueur and fresh lime juice. A margarita can be enjoyed on the rocks or blended, with a salted, sugared or plain rim and is usually served with a slice of lime.
History of Margaritas
Like most cocktails, the history behind the margarita is muddled. The two most persistent inventors, according to Smithsonian Magazine, are Carlos “Danny” Herrera and Margarita Sames. Herrera is said to have mixed the first margarita for a picky patron at the Rancho La Gloria in Tijuana, Mexico sometime around 1938. The competing legend is that Sames, a Dallas socialite, made the cocktail while vacationing in Acapulco a decade later.
Despite these claims to fame, the more likely explanation is that the margarita was created as a variation of the daisy. A daisy cocktail contains the spirit of your choice, citrus juice, orange liqueur and is topped with soda water.
So, it wouldn’t be surprising for bartenders to make omissions or substitutions according to the ingredients they had on hand. As Mia Mastroianni tells Liquor.com, “such a simple cocktail could have happened in nine different places throughout the country where people said, ‘Oh, I can try it this way without the soda water,’ and it evolved into tequila, orange liqueur and fresh lime. That’s your classic Margarita.” Not to mention, margarita means “daisy flower” in Spanish.
What Do You Put in a Margarita?
Despite its murky beginnings, the ingredients of a margarita are definite: 100% agave tequila, orange liqueur and freshly-squeezed lime juice. Our classic margarita is made with a 3-2-1 proportion, meaning a single serving contains 1-1/2 ounces of tequila, 1 ounce of Triple Sec and 1/2 an ounce of lime juice.
Basic Margarita Ingredients
For the best-tasting margarita, we suggest using high-quality Blanco tequila. Blanco tequila is unaged and has a bright taste, which results in a refreshing cocktail. If you prefer a more mellow beverage, though, reposado tequila is also a solid choice. Here’s more on the different types of tequila.
Since tequila is the dominant flavor in a margarita, going with a brand you like is very important. Those who are new to tequila, or haven’t branched out from their usual brand, can ask their bartender for tequila suggestions, or check out our picks for the best tequilas for making margaritas.
There are many orange liqueurs and each one will bring something different to a margarita. Curaçao, which is made with laraha oranges and beet alcohol, is the most affordable and sweetest choice. The French brand, Cointreau, has a balanced sweet-and-bitter orange for a more complex margarita. Cognac-based Grand Marnier has notes of vanilla and oak, in addition to orange. And then there’s triple sec, which varies widely in price, flavor and sweetness.
When choosing an orange liqueur, keep in mind that it’s used in a ton of other classic cocktails, like the cosmo, sidecar and Long Island iced tea. So, it’s worth spending a couple of extra dollars for a bottle that you truly enjoy.
Freshly-squeezed lime juice is the only kind of lime juice that belongs in a margarita. Despite its ease, bottled lime juice will make your cocktail taste bitter and artificial, which is something you definitely don’t want.
Get every drop of juice out of your lime by rolling it firmly along your counter a few times. Cut the lime in half and use a citrus reamer or your hand to squeeze out the juice.
Tools for Making Margaritas
Since margaritas are a fairly straightforward cocktail, they don’t require a ton of gadgets. These are the basics you’ll need to mix a marg:
- Cocktail Shaker Bar Set: Measure the 3-2-1 proportions exactly with the jigger and then perfectly chill your cocktail with this shaker set. The stainless steel set is easy to clean and will look sleek on your home bar.
- Vitamix Blender: If blended margaritas are your favorite, you have to get this Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender. The powerful motor and aircraft-grade blades easily pulverize ice and frozen fruit for an ultra-smooth cocktail. It’s our Test Kitchen Preferred blender.
- Blue Rocco Margarita Glasses: There’s no better vessel for a marg than a classic margarita glass. This gorgeous set is handmade in Mexico and dishwasher safe, which makes clean-up a breeze. Not your style? Take a look at these other margarita glasses you’ll want to get your hands on.
Go beyond the basics with these other margarita tools, like cocktail picks, a salt set and more.
How To Make a Margarita
Margarita on the Rocks
To make a margarita on the rocks, simply combine 1-1/2 ounces of Blanco tequila, 1-ounce orange liqueur and 1/2 an ounce of fresh-squeezed lime juice in a cocktail shaker or cocktail glass, then fill it three-fourths of the way with ice. Shake or stir the cocktail until the outside of the shaker or glass has frosted, about 20 seconds.
Rub a slice of lime around the rim of your margarita glass, then roll the rim in a plate of salt until it’s coated in salt. Drop a few fresh ice cubes into the prepared glass, and then pour your chilled margarita into it. Garnish with a lime wedge.
A blended, or frozen margarita starts off by adding 3/4 cup of tequila, 1/2 cup of orange liqueur, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice and 4-6 cups of ice to a blender. If you like a sweeter margarita, you can also add 2 tablespoons of simple syrup. Blend the ingredients until the ice is crushed and the cocktail is smooth.
Salt the rims of four margarita glasses and divide the blended cocktail evenly between them.
Pitcher of Margaritas
A pitcher of margaritas is perfect for a party or poolside hangout. For eight servings, add 1 1/2 cups of tequila, 1 cup of orange liqueur and 1/2 cup of lime juice to a large pitcher. Drop-in a few handfuls of ice, then stir the pitcher until the cocktail has chilled.
Salt the rims of your desired number of glasses and allow your guests to serve themselves. Learn how to make a pitcher of margaritas for up to 12 here.
As you’ve probably experienced, there are a ton of fruits, veggies and herbs that can be added to a margarita. While the most popular flavors are mango margarita, strawberry margarita and cherry margarita, you’re definitely not limited to those fruits. These are some of our favorite flavored margarita recipes:
Tips for Making Margaritas
How Do I Upgrade a Margarita?
Other than adding fruits and other flavors, some of our favorite ways to transform a margarita are to infuse the tequila, adding a splash of chili liqueur for some heat or mixing a Cerveza margarita. Take a look at this list of margarita variations for even more ways to take a marg to the next level.
How Do You Sweeten a Margarita?
For those who prefer a margarita on the sweeter side, add half a tablespoon of simple syrup, agave nectar or honey to the cocktail before chilling it. If you’re adding fruit to your margarita, you likely won’t have to add any additional sweetener.
How Do You Smooth Frozen Margaritas?
When it comes to frozen margaritas, having a good blender is really important. If you find you keep getting ice chunks whenever blending a margarita, there are two main things you can do. The first is to start off with crushed ice, instead of ice cubes. This will make it a bit easier on your blender.
The second is to use frozen chunks of fruit instead of ice cubes. Frozen fruit, especially if the pieces are small, are softer and more easily pulverized than big pieces of ice.
Which Margarita Mix Is the Best?
Since margaritas are so easy to whip up, we recommend making them from scratch instead of using a mix. If you do choose to go with a mix, Taste of Home writer and blogger behind LePage Food & Drink, Risa Lichtman, has two margarita mix recommendations. Tres Agaves Organic Margarita Mix is made with water, lime juice, agave nectar and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as a preservative, and straddles the line between sweet and sour well. And Stirrings Margarita Mixer is another option, which is made with water, key lime juice, cane sugar, citric acid, natural flavors and Triple Sec flavors.
With either of these mixers, we’d suggest combining 1 ½ ounce of tequila and 1 ½ ounce of mix in a margarita glass filled with ice.
Now that you know everything about margaritas, learn how to make a Paloma cocktail.
There are two types of people in this world: the ones who love Taco Bell and the ones who don’t. While fast-food connoisseurs will likely forever be split on their love for this chain, even the most ardent Taco Bell haters will find it hard to turn down a homemade version of the Crunchwrap Supreme.
Crunchy, cheesy and beefy, this Crunchwrap Supreme recipe might be even better than the original.
What’s in a Crunchwrap Supreme?
Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme is a clever marriage between a cheesy quesadilla and crunchy beef tostada. The original recipe consists of an oversized flour tortilla wrapped around layers of seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, nacho cheese and a crunchy yellow corn tostada.
While the classic combination of ingredients remains popular, Taco Bell also offers customers the option to modify the recipe. Add beans, guacamole, shredded cheese or pickled jalapenos, or swap out the ground beef for chicken or steak.
See what’s on the secret menu at Taco Bell.
Tools You’ll Need
If you want to take it up a notch, a panini press is a great gadget to have on hand. Flipping a Crunchwrap without spilling all the tasty filling can be risky business. A panini press will allow you to grill both sides of your Crunchwrap simultaneously—no flipping required.
Homemade Crunchwrap Supreme Recipe
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 package taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning, recipe below)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 yellow corn tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter
- 4 extra-large flour tortillas, at least 10 inches in diameter
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 cup cheese queso dip (store-bought or homemade queso)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup green leaf lettuce, shredded
- 1 large tomato, diced
Step 1: Prepare the ground beef
In a large skillet, saute the diced onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook until the onions soften and begin to turn translucent; about 3-5 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown until no pink remains. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the water and taco seasoning. Stir to combine and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Step 2: Prepare crunchy tostada shells
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Next, rub both sides of the corn tortillas with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange on a large, parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes. Flip each tortilla over and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Editor’s tip: Some grocery stores stock crispy tostada shells. Feel free to buy these instead to save some time when preparing your homemade Crunchwrap Supreme.
Step 3: Warm flour tortillas
Wrap the flour tortillas in a damp paper towel and then microwave on a large plate for 60 seconds until soft and pliable. Set aside.
Step 4: Assemble
Lay one of the large burrito-size flour tortillas down on a clean surface. Sprinkle the center with shredded Mexican cheese, then top with seasoned beef and cheese queso. Top the queso with one of the crispy tostadas. Spread a generous amount of sour cream over the crispy tostada and then top with shredded lettuce and tomato (along with any other desired toppings).
Step 5: Fold
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Then, begin folding your Crunchwrap by taking one edge of the tortilla and bringing it in toward the center. Continue to bring the edges of the flour tortilla toward the center as tightly as you can, holding them in place with one hand as you work.
Set aside, fold side down then repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining ingredients.
Step 6: Cook until golden
Stovetop: Carefully transfer the Crunchwrap to the pan, with the folds on the bottom. Brush the top of the Crunchwrap with a bit of olive oil and cook for 1-2 minutes until the tortilla becomes crisp and golden. Carefully flip the Crunchwrap over and continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the other side of the Crunchwrap is golden. Remove promptly, cook the remaining Crunchwraps and then serve warm.
Panini Press: To cook your Crunchwrap using a panini press, preheat your press to medium and brush both sides with olive oil. Place your folded Crunchwrap, with the folds on the bottom, in the center of your press and then close. Cook until golden on both sides and heated through. Cook times will vary depending on the model of your press.
How to Customize Your Crunchwrap
The best part about a homemade Crunchwrap is there are no limitations on what you can fill yours with. Make some homemade pork carnitas or opt for seasoned tofu instead of ground beef. You can also make your Crunchwrap healthy by packing it with other veggies. Here are a few ideas:
- Raw, grilled or pickled onions
- Grilled bell peppers
- Chopped kale or spinach
- Black beans
- Refried beans
- Sweet corn
- Queso fresco
- Spicy ranch dressing
- Fresh or pickled jalapenos
How to Make a Crunchwrap Without Giant Flour Tortillas
If you can’t find giant flour tortillas at your local supermarket, all hope is not lost. You’ll just need 2-3 extra standard flour tortillas to help cover the small hole that will be on the top of your Crunchwrap once it’s folded. Seal it by cutting a small circle from a spare tortilla and tuck it under the folds so your Crunchwrap’s filling is completely enclosed. Then cook as directed above.
How to Make Homemade Taco Seasoning
Forgot to grab a packet of store-bought taco seasoning? No worries; making your own is easy and tastes amazing. Our favorite is a blend of the following spice rack staples:
- 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Want to make more Taco Bell-inspired eats at home? Here are our favorite Taco Bell copycat recipes.
I don’t know if you can relate to this, but I have a problem finishing a bottle of wine. It’s just that I’m not a big wine drinker, and I usually call it a night after one or two glasses. The next day, I’m ready for craft beer or mixed drinks while that half-full bottle stares at me, making me feel ultra-guilty for wasting it. I’ve tried to cook with the leftover wine, but the timing doesn’t always work out. Which begs the question: Can you freeze wine to save it for later?
So, Can You Freeze Wine?
Although it’s unconventional, the answer is yes. You can freeze wine! The frozen wine won’t be quite the same when it thaws, so you probably won’t want to drink it straight out of the glass. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it to make wine coolers like sangria, and frozen wine is perfect for cooking, too.
Our favorite way to freeze wine is in ice cube trays so it’s pre-measured (about one ounce, or two tablespoons, per cube). We don’t recommend freezing wine in the bottle. It’ll take up too much room in the freezer, it’s hard to defrost and you’ll run the risk of the glass shattering in the frigid environment.
What Type of Wine Can You Freeze?
You can freeze any wine, from white to red to in between. Frozen white wine is perfect for making peach wine coolers while frozen red wine is ideal for sangria recipes. One of our favorite summer drinks is frozé (frozen rosé). To make it, pour a bottle of rose into a 13×9 casserole dish and scrape it into the blender when it’s frozen solid. Add a little lemon juice, a couple of cups of frozen fruit and a few tablespoons of sugar. Blend until smooth, adding ice cubes as necessary until the mixture is nice and slushy.
How Do You Store Frozen Wine?
If you use a lot of wine for cooking, feel free to leave the wine in the ice cube trays. If it will take longer than a week to get through the whole tray, pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer-safe bag. This protects the wine from absorbing other flavors from the freezer. You can also use this storage method to keep the cubes from sticking together.
How Long Can You Store Frozen Wine?
If you’re storing frozen wine in an airtight container or freezer bag, it should last between three and six months. After that, it’s still technically okay to use, but freezer burn can set in and dull the flavor.
How Do You Use Frozen Wine?
Frozen wine can be used straight out of the freezer when it’s frozen in small quantities. Simply add a cube or two to your recipe in place of cooking wine. The icy wine will melt as soon as it comes in contact with a hot pan, so it’s great for deglazing the pan after cooking steak or pork chops. You can also throw a few cubes into your favorite soup or stew to add a little depth of flavor. (Red wine is especially good in beef stew.)
You can find all kinds of ways to share treasured family recipes. These not-so-secret recipes live on in church cookbooks, scrawled on index cards or, these days, typed carefully into an online collection. But Kay Andrews’ beloved fudge recipe is carved on her headstone in Logan Cemetery in Logan, Utah, a surprising sweet treat for all cemetery visitors.
The Story Behind the Fudge Recipe
Kay—a mom of five, grandma of 15 and great-grandma of 37—died at age 97 in 2019. Not that many of us think ahead and design our own tombstone before we pass, but she was an exception.
Her husband, Wade, died in 2000, and their shared headstone celebrates things that were important to them, KSL.com reports. One side of the stone shows a horse, B-24 bomber, professor’s cap and other important memories from Wade’s life. But Kay wanted something different carved on the stone to mark her own experiences.
“You know what I want? I want my fudge recipe on there,” Kay said, according to her son Steve Andrews.
Kay was known for sharing her famous fudge with family and friends, so the recipe was a natural choice to represent her on the stone.
Steve told KSL that the gravestone became so popular, people began to refer to that part of the cemetery as “Kay’s Fudge.” Another of her sons would take her to the cemetery, and introduce Kay to the workers there, explaining the story behind the recipe.
“She got a kick out of the fact that people were enjoying her fudge,” Steve said. This warms our hearts—and makes us want to whip up the recipes passed down from our mothers.
How to Make Kay’s Fudge
The recipe is simple and straightforward—no room for fancy ruminating when you’re engraving words in stone! Briefly, the recipe as presented on the headstone had a typo—calling for a tablespoon of vanilla instead of a teaspoon—but that’s been fixed.
Years after Kay Andrews chose to include her now-famous fudge recipe on her headstone in the Logan Cemetery, her story went viral as social media buzzed over the weekend about “Kay’s Fudge.” https://t.co/4hhaayJKqg
— KSL (@KSLcom) June 2, 2021
When it comes to food, we always say safety first. It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to food safety, and most of the time, our only consequence is an upset stomach. However, some errors can result in a nasty infection like salmonella, and that’s when things get really bad.
Salmonella is often picked up from chicken that’s left too long in the fridge, or from undercooked poultry. Thanks to the USDA, we now know about a method that can lead to undercooking: air-frying.
This Salmonella Outbreak Is Linked to Improperly Cooked Chicken
You don’t have to put that air fryer away just yet.
But according to a public health alert from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products (whew, that’s a mouthful), may pose a risk if you air-fry or microwave them. This includes anything labeled as “chicken cordon bleu,” “chicken with broccoli and cheese” or “chicken Kiev.”
The current salmonella outbreak has affected at least 17 people in six states:
- New York
According to the USDA, people often think stuffed chicken products are ready-to-eat, when they’re actually raw. Some of the people infected missed seeing this, or didn’t follow the instructions to cook the product throughly. Instead, consumers decided to zap the chicken in an air fryer or microwave, without heating it through properly.
There have been no recalls yet, but the USDA urges people to cook poultry throughly before eating.
How Can I Reduce My Risk?
If you’re buying frozen breaded stuffed chicken products, it’s a good idea to check if they’re labeled “raw,” and to follow the cooking instructions on the package. Make sure you cook it in the oven if the label says so, and always ensure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. In fact, you should always make sure all your meat reaches the correct internal temperature.
Don’t make any of these other common mistakes while cooking chicken, and you should be safe. If you’ve still got questions, you can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday through Friday.
When summer rolls around, there’s nothing more satisfying on a hot day than a bowl of ice cream with every topping you can think of. And while store-bought ice cream is a good go-to to have stocked in your freezer, it’s even more fun to pull out your very own homemade vanilla custard ice cream.
Thick, creamy and packed with real vanilla, this custard ice cream recipe can’t be beat. We’re willing to bet that after one scoop, you’ll be hooked.
Keep reading to learn how to make vanilla custard ice cream and get a ton of helpful tips from our Test Kitchen pros.
What’s the Difference Between Ice Cream and Frozen Custard?
Ice cream and frozen custard are very similar. What makes them different is that frozen custard contains egg yolks, while ice cream traditionally does not. The egg yolks make frozen custard richer, creamier and thicker than its ice cream counterpart. Try this recipe and our homemade vanilla ice cream recipe side-by-side to see if you can taste the difference. Here’s more on what frozen custard is.
How To Make Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
This vanilla custard ice cream recipe was developed by Taste of Home Senior Food Editor, Peggy Woodward. The ice cream gets its creamy texture from the addition of six egg yolks and heavy whipping cream. Oh, and don’t skip the vanilla bean, it’s what takes this recipe over the top!
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 large egg yolks
- Heavy saucepan
- Silicone spatula
- Paring knife
- Small bowl
- Food thermometer
- Medium bowl
- 13×9 Pan
- Waxed paper
- Ice cream maker
- Freezer container
- This ice cream maker from Cuisinart is one of their best-selling appliances, and for good reason. The easy-to-use machine turns your custard into ice cream in 20 minutes with the press of a button. Check out our other suggestions for the best ice cream makers.
- After it’s set up, store your ice cream in this freezer container. The rectangular shape is compact so it’ll fit in even the fullest freezer.
- No kitchen is complete without an ice cream scoop, and this notched ice cream scoop is one of the best.
Here are some more ice cream making tools and accessories you’ll want to scoop up.
Step 1: Prep the Custard
To start, place a heavy saucepan over medium heat and stir in the heavy whipping cream, milk, sugar and salt.
Then, using a sharp paring knife, cut your vanilla bean in half lengthwise and gently scrape all of the seeds out of the bean. Add the seeds and empty bean into the whipping cream mixture. Stirring to dissolve the sugar, cook the vanilla and whipped cream mixture until bubbles start to form along the side of the saucepan.
Test Kitchen tip: When purchasing vanilla beans, look for pods that are shiny and pliable. Stiff beans are dried out and won’t pack as powerful of a vanilla punch.
If you can’t find vanilla beans in the grocery store or online, you can substitute one vanilla bean with 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Here’s more on the difference between vanilla beans, extract and paste.
Step 2: Cook the Custard
After the vanilla and cream mixture starts to bubble, separate six egg yolks into a small bowl and whisk to break them up. Discard the whites or use them in one of these egg white recipes.
Then, whisking constantly, pour about half a cup of the vanilla and heavy cream mixture into the yolks to temper them. When the yolks are warmed, slowly whisk them into the saucepan and reduce the burner to low.
Continue to stir the mixture until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a metal spoon and reaches 180°F with a food thermometer. This temperature is important because it means the eggs have cooked enough to be food-safe. While stirring, keep an eye out to make sure the custard doesn’t reach a boil.
Test Kitchen tip: Adding some of the hot milk mixture to the eggs tempers them. That means the egg yolks are slowly raised in temperature to prevent them from curdling when they’re added to the rest of the pot. This technique is also used to make hollandaise sauce, mousse and many other treats.
Step 3: Cool the Custard
Once the custard is up to temperature and thickened, transfer it quickly to a large bowl. Place the bowl in a 13×9 pan that’s filled with ice. Let the custard cool in the ice bath for about two minutes, giving it a gentle stir every so often.
When the custard has cooled, remove the vanilla bean and cover the bowl with wax paper, pushing it down into the bowl so it touches the surface of the custard. Place your covered bowl in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, to cool completely.
Test Kitchen tip: This two-step cooling process is important for the ice cream’s texture and flavor. The initial ice bath stops the cooking process so the eggs don’t curdle and the custard doesn’t separate.
The fridge cooling gives the vanilla seeds time to really flavor the custard and intensify. Plus, the heavy cream and milk are able to better emulsify for a rich, creamy texture.
Step 4: Churn the Custard
After the custard has rested in the fridge, fill your ice cream maker two-thirds full with the custard and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, cover any remaining custard and store it in the fridge until the machine is ready for its next batch.
Test Kitchen tip: If you don’t have an ice cream machine, no worries! Simply pour your prepared custard in a freezer-safe 13×9, cover and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then, pull the ice cream out of the freezer and whip it with a hand mixer until smooth. Repeat this freezing and beating process until the ice cream reaches your desired texture. Here’s more on how to make ice cream without a machine.
Step 5: Freeze the Ice Cream
You can serve your vanilla custard ice cream right when it’s done churning. The texture will be soft; similar to soft-serve ice cream.
If you prefer a more solid ice cream, transfer your ice cream to a freezer container and let it freeze for at least four hours, or overnight. After freezing, your ice cream will have firmed up and be perfectly scoopable.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Serve your ice cream in a dish or on a fresh waffle cone and top with hot fudge, sprinkles and a maraschino cherry.
Homemade Custard Ice Cream Variations
While this recipe is for vanilla ice cream, you’re definitely not limited to just vanilla. To change the flavor of the custard itself, add chocolate, fruit or extracts to the custard before it has cooled and rested overnight. This will give the custard time to really pick up the flavoring.
For mix-ins like marshmallows, sprinkles, cookie bits or nuts, it’s best to add them to the ice cream after it has gone through the ice cream machine, but before it firms in the freezer. This prevents the bits from getting soggy or stale. Plus, the soft serve-like texture of the ice cream makes it easy to evenly distribute all the goodies. Here are some of our go-to flavor additions:
- Chocolate Ice Cream: Melt two cups of semisweet chocolate chips, and let it cool to room temperature. Whisk together the melted chocolate into the egg yolks before they’re tempered (before step two, in the above method). Then continue with the recipe as directed.
- Strawberry Ice Cream: Mash about two cups of fresh strawberries with ¼ cup of sugar. Stir the sugared strawberries into your custard as it cools in its ice bath (during step three). Then continue with the recipe as directed.
- Mint Chocolate Chip: While the custard is cooling in the ice bath (step three) stir in 1 teaspoon of mint extract and green food coloring, if desired. Let the custard rest in the fridge and churn in the ice cream machine. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container and mix in mini chocolate chips until they’re evenly distributed. Allow the ice cream to firm up in the freezer, then serve.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream: Purchase edible cookie dough from the store, or make your own with heat-treated flour to ensure the dough is food-safe. Break the dough into teaspoon-sized pieces and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. After your ice cream has been transferred into a freezer container, stir in the chocolate chip cookie dough pieces until they’re evenly distributed. Freeze and serve ice cream as directed above.
But that’s just the start. Check out these unique homemade ice cream flavors that you’ll definitely want to try.
Tips for Making the Best Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
How do you make ice cream more creamy?
For the creamiest ice cream, make sure that you’re taking your time. Rushing through tempering your eggs and custard or the two-step cooling process can lead to a less creamy result.
Also, be sure to not use dairy that’s lower in fat or dairy alternatives. The high fat content is essential for a creamy ice cream. While lower fat milk will likely still work in this recipe, your ice cream will definitely have an icier texture.
How Do You Make Ice Cream Soft?
If soft serve is your go-to, serve this vanilla custard ice cream after it’s done churning in the ice cream machine. To keep any leftovers soft, take the ice cream out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you want to serve it. This will give the ice cream some time to become soft again.
How Do You Thicken Ice Cream?
The key to thick ice cream is to properly cook the custard. When tempering and adding the egg yolks, the custard should be cooked until it sticks to a metal spoon and holds the line when you run your finger through it.
Next, read up on the best ice cream flavors from each state.
As we get older, it seems like life just tends to get crazier and crazier. It’s hard trying to find a smidge of time to ourselves when we’re focused on family, friends, work and home.
But as summer slowly approaches and the sunshine blankets everything in sight, all I can think about is relaxing poolside. And what better to relax with than a delicious rum and coconut water? It’s a drink you absolutely need to try—and the secret is using coconut water ice cubes.
You can freeze all kinds of flavors into your ice cubes.
How to Make Coconut Water Ice Cubes
I’m a total sucker for anything coconut, and come on—can you blame me? This is super simple, too,
You’ll need two things:
Pour the coconut water into your ice cube tray. Let freeze for 3-4 hours.
Then, to make a coconut water rum drink, pop an ice cube into the glass of your choice and finish by pouring a splash of good, quality rum over the top. I’m talking premium rum here—like Mount Gay Black Barrel. The coconut ice will melt, offering a subtle tropical sweetness to your cold drink. Honestly, it’s the perfect thing to sip this summer if you ask me.
There are so many different summer cocktails to enjoy while you’re relaxing by the water or on the back porch. While I won’t say no to a classic pina colada or margarita, this simple coconut water rum drink is the easy choice.
Just pour me a drink, hand me a pool float and I’m all set for the day!
We love to share charcuterie boards at gatherings, but once the cheese and grapes disappear, the age-old question remains—what’s for dessert?
The summer months usually supply prime weather for bonfires, which means s’mores are a must. Charcuterie board aficionados can rejoice the next time their friends or family gather around the campfire, because a s’mores board is the next big thing when it comes to summer treats!
How to Make Your S’mores Board
You don’t need to be a professional designer to perfect the art of arranging s’mores trays. It doesn’t hurt to be craft, thought!
Check out this Instagram video from @thebakermama for inspiration:
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It’s hard to go wrong with s’mores, and we love all of The Baker Mama’s s’mores board ideas! The dessert boards are basically foolproof, and are great for those who might be more well-versed in sweets than they are in pairing cheeses with crackers and spreads. Learning the ins and outs of how to build a cheese board can be tricky, but classic s’mores only have three ingredients—graham crackers, chocolate squares and marshmallows—and those are the only things you’ll need to get started.
For people who are really into charcuterie board prep, there are plenty of ways to dress up your s’mores tray. Just because this is a three-ingredient snack doesn’t mean you can’t sweeten things up!
Instagram user @emilyanna.k decorated her board with fresh fruit and patriotic colors:
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Like cheese and charcuterie, chocolate comes in a variety of forms and flavors. You can add dark and white chocolate bars, or even opt for something creamier like Nutella or peanut butter. For a deluxe s’mores treat, decorate your board with Ghirardelli squares or your favorite Girl Scout cookies. You really can’t go wrong. Just make sure you have enough on your tray to go around for seconds!
More Charcuterie Board Ideas for Summer
Want to know how to build the perfect charcuterie board for summer? We can tell you. If you’re looking to keep it casual, opt for a hot dog charcuterie board instead, and don’t forget to give your furry friend some treats with a “barkcuterie board.”
Whether you spell it “donut” or “doughnut,” and prefer yeast-raised, glazed, frosted or maple-bacon-jalapeno, it’s hard to pass up a doughnut. And it’s even tougher to pass up a free dougnut.
Friday, June 4 is National Donut Day in 2021, and national doughnut chains are baking up some delectable free treats!
The Hot Light will be on and the glaze waterfalls pouring at Krispy Kreme, where the toughest part of the day might be selecting the doughnut variety you want (it’s Original Glazed for me). Participating shops in the U.S. and Canada will be offering a free doughnut of your choice Friday while supplies last.
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That’s not all—Krispy Kreme is offering freebies for all of 2021. Find out how to get your free doughnut.
Dunkin’ has been counting down to National Doughnut Day for almost a week now. You’ve got to buy a beverage to get your free doughnut at participating locations, but come on, all the Dunkin’ coffee lovers out there were planning to do that anyway.
Feeling warm? You could sip something cool off the summer menu instead.
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Dunkin’ has lots of behind-the-scenes secrets you might not know.
Tim Hortons doesn’t stop at just one day—the chain’s National Donut Day promotion runs from June 3 through June 15. Participating U.S. locations are offering guests one classic or specialty doughnut for 50 cents with any eligible purchase over 50 cents (guests must be registered Tims Rewards members who scan for Tims Rewards in-restaurant, place a mobile order or place a Tim Hortons delivery order). The promotion includes the chain’s new Creme Filled Ring Donut, a yeast ring doughnut with a creme filling, topped with powdered sugar and a chocolate drizzle. Mmm, summer.
Don’t feel like going out? You can still celebrate National Doughnut Day at home with these delicious homemade doughnut recipes.
If there was an official cold beverage for breakfast, it would be orange juice. That punch of citrus in the morning can be energizing, plus it delivers some health benefits along the way.
While pouring a glass from a carton will certainly suffice, there has always been something fun about plunking frozen orange juice concentrate into a pitcher and stirring with water. And as it turns out, there’s actually a reason that grandma continued to use the frozen concentrate for years.
When Did Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate Get So Popular?
In the 1930s, producers in Florida and California both found a way to ship already-made, frozen orange juice across the country. But when they discovered the juice was spoiling in transit, it was back to the drawing board.
Frozen orange juice concentrate was introduced in 1945 when USDA scientists revealed a method to remove the liquid from fresh orange juice, creating a concentrate. It was perfect to ship to soldiers during World War II so they could get their vitamin C. Once the producers realized how well the new method worked, Minute Maid Orange Juice was marketed to households due to its simple prep. It could be made in minutes!
For grandmas that grew up or became homemakers during WWII, or even for those who were simply raised with frugal values, it just made sense. The marketing surrounding the juice concentrate focused on how simple it was to reconcentrate the juice, but it also came down to what made sense from a money-saving standpoint. The frozen juice concentrate was much cheaper than purchasing ready-to-drink orange juice, and the concentrate lasted longer tucked away in the freezer.
Can I Still Get It in Stores?
You may not be able to find as many brands or options for orange juice concentrate in the frozen aisle, but it’s still out there. Walmart sells the original Minute Maid concentrate, along with its Great Value brand. Kroger offers their own store brand as well.
Once you find a can, mix it up and get sipping! OJ is delicious on its own, but it’s also the perfect base for drinks such as orange dream mimosas, a refreshing orange juice spritz or perhaps a Jamba Juice-inspired smoothie to start the day.
While cleaning the house may not be the most glamorous way to spend the day, it’s a necessary task. And while we’ve been looking for spring cleaning hacks these past few weeks, it seems like there’s always more and more to do! So, how can we make tidying easier on ourselves while making it enjoyable at the same time?
Take a page from the book of Catherine Benson, aka @_catben_. She’s one of the queens of TikTok home organization—and we can see why. Catherine has the ideas you need to make your house as tidy as can be!
The Best Home Organization TikToks
If you’re anything like me, you can’t function properly when you know there’s a mess somewhere in your house. Whether it’s because the oven needs cleaning or your kids (or dogs) have strewn toys in places you didn’t even know they could, we’ve all got areas to work on.
That’s why Catherine gets all that much-deserved attention—she’s got organization down to a science! And yes, it’s fascinating. I could watch her refill fridge containers ALL day:
@_catben_Random refills & restocks around the house! 🤩🤩🤩 #refill #restock #organizedhome #momlife #thisandthatwithcat #asmr♬ original sound – Catherine Benson
From refilling soap bottles and cereal containers to replacing old shower poufs, she seems to do it all! The reason we tend to find videos like these so satisfying is that we often want to tidy up ourselves…but we don’t always have the time.
On top of that, how does she always have the exact container to fit everything!? It’s a science I didn’t even know existed.
@_catben_Random refills & restocks around the house! 🤩 #restock #refill #organizedhome #momlife #asmr #thisandthatwithcat♬ original sound – Catherine Benson
We found the best storage containers to get your house in order.
Products That Make Organizing Easy
As if she read our minds, Catherine even has Amazon recommendations for home organization goodies. Check out the woven toilet paper basket from her video above, or some of the simple yet elegant soap dispensers. If you’re a sucker for food storage, you need this set of airtight storage jars to refresh your pantry.
I think she’s given us all the motivation we needed to tidy up!
Picture this: You’ve just cleaned your kitchen from top to bottom. The counters are gleaming, the appliances are free of fingerprints, the floor is absolutely shining. But what’s that? Your neglected kitchen mat is besmirching a freshly washed kitchen. This will not do!
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to clean kitchen mats. Then spread the word—no more dirty mats tarnishing our clean kitchens!
Check the Tag for Care Tips
Like most household goods, you should check the tag before you clean it. Kitchen mats are made from all sorts of materials, so first establish which type you’re working with.
- Anti-fatigue mats: These are not machine-washable. They have a smooth surface that can be wiped clean but pay attention to the type of anti-fatigue mat you own. Most are cushioned with foam or gel, but they come in various types of covers including rubber, vinyl and even leather.
- Rug fiber kitchen mat with non-slip backing: These are often machine-washable, and can also be spot cleaned. Carpet-style mats like these are usually made from durable polypropylene or nylon fibers.
- Braided cotton kitchen mat: Braided rugs are often handmade, and must be treated gently when cleaning. Usually, they can only handle a good shake to get rid of dirt and debris, and mild spot cleaning.
- Bamboo kitchen mat: Flat, flexible bamboo kitchen mats with nonstick backing material can not be machine-washed. Bamboo is naturally water-resistant, but not waterproof. Spills must be wiped up quickly or they can soak in and permanently stain the surface.
Wipe up Spills
For small spills or stains, you can give your kitchen mat a quick spot clean. Before spot cleaning, vacuum or shake the mat outside to get rid of crumbs and debris. Keep in mind the different material care tips as outlined above, but for most mats, we recommend a simple solution of dish soap and water. Harsh cleaners could damage the surface of your mat.
Fill your sink with hot water and add a squirt or two of dish soap. Then using a clean cloth, wipe away or scrub the stains as needed.
Can You Wash Kitchen Mats?
If your rug is machine-washable—then yes! Not all kitchen mats are machine washable, so check out the care tag before throwing it in the washer. Fiber rugs (both tufted and woven) with anti-slip backing are often machine-washable; handmade cotton mats, anti-fatigue mats and bamboo mats are not.
Of course, kitchen mats take a beating, so if you’re shopping for kitchen mats, machine-washable mats make the most sense (no matter how beautiful that vintage wool runner is that you’ve been eyeing).
Some mats can be put in the dryer, but be sure to use the lowest heat setting. High heat can cause rubber-backed mats to crack or melt. To be safe, and to avoid deterioration over time, hang them on the line to dry.
How Often Should You Clean Kitchen Mats?
We recommend cleaning your kitchen mats at least once a week. In between deep cleaning, spot clean the mats as needed. Your mats might require more or less cleaning depending on how much you cook and whether you have kids or pets. There is no hard and fast rule. Here’s a quick tip: If your mats look dirty, clean them! Simple enough, right?
While it’s still technically spring, I think we can all agree that summer has arrived. Thank goodness! I can’t wait to throw on my new swimsuit and relax out on the water until the sun goes down. Can’t forget the BBQs and bonfires, either—get those grilling skills sharpened up ASAP!
And while we love burgers and hot dogs as far as the eye can see, the most iconic campfire treat is, of course, the s’more! The Smores Frap from Starbucks really killed it these past few years, but it looks like it’s not making an official comeback for 2021. Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered with this delicious copycat!
How to Order a S’mores Frap from Starbucks
If you’ve had a S’mores Frap before (which we know you have), then you know how crucial the marshmallow-infused whipped cream is to the final product. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s an option this year. But don’t get down! Thanks to Starbucks’ newest Strawberry Funnel Cake Frappuccino, we’re going to make this work.
Start with a Grande Coffee Frap with three pumps of the Funnel Cake Syrup. It tastes like the perfect mixture of marshmallows and graham crackers. Then, you’ll ask for whipped cream and mocha drizzle at the bottom of the cup AND the top of the drink. If you’d like a finishing touch, ask to sprinkle on the brown butter or funnel cake topping. And…that’s it! Not so hard, huh?
Try These Other Secret Menu Hacks from Starbucks
The secret menu from Starbucks has always been a very close friend of ours. A few of our latest faves have been the Gummy Bear Refresher and ridiculously good Twix Frap! How can you pass up a drink based solely on one of the greatest candy bars of all time? Don’t stop there, though. There are a plethora of secret menu recipes for you to try. Why not enjoy a Peanut Butter Cup Frap the next time you’re out? Happy sippin’ this summer!