You Can Cook Carrots to Look and Taste Like Hot Dogs

Is there anything better than a summer barbecue? Think about it: Friends, family, a fired-up grill, and, of course, hot dogs. But considering one hot dog and bun with zero toppings (and let’s be real, who eats just one hot dog with nothing on it?) easily racks up more than 300 calories and almost 40% of our daily recommended salt intake, hot dogs are definitely not something we can indulge in very often.

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Well, hold up, and cue the best food news since sweet potato toast: You can ditch the mystery meat and instead indulge in this new-and-improved summer staple that even Bugs Bunny would approve of. Yes, that’s right — we’re talking about the almighty carrot.

It turns out that when they’re prepared just right, carrots are the perfect meatless substitute for hot dogs. Ali from Inspiralized created four recipes that satisfy every hot dog craving — from the classic ballpark frank to a chili cheese dog. For less than half the calories of a regular dog, you can devour something just as satisfying that also ups your vitamin A-game (heeello, glowing skin and healthy eyes!) and respects the summer body you worked so hard for.

But how, you ask? Just marinate the carrots for a few hours in a handful of easy-to-find ingredients to give them that beloved smoky, mouth-watering flavor, and then roast them until they’re tender. Toss in a bun with your favorite toppings, and get ready to take yourself out to the ball game, because this wiener is a home run.

Grab the recipe here to whip them up yourself.

 

Vegetarians Are Obsessed With This Veggie Burger That Looks and Tastes Just Like Meat

Carnivores might be surprised the next time they hit up their local meat aisles.

Now at over 5,000 grocery stores across the country, Beyond Meat’s new plant-based patty, The Beyond Burger, has caught the attention of vegans and meat-eaters alike.

What’s so great about this juicy burger made from pea protein? Not only is it the first veggie burger to be sold in the meat section of a grocery store, it’s also supposedly the first one that looks, cooks, and tastes like ground beef — bleeding (the things you can do with beets these days!) and sizzling just like the real thing.

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And besides being a far cry from those cardboard patties every vegetarian has tried and hated (and re-tried and re-hated), The Beyond Burger is better for your body, containing more protein and iron and less saturated fat and cholesterol than ground beef — all for essentially the same amount of calories. They’re also antibiotic-, hormone-, GMO-, soy-, and gluten-free.

Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat hopes its patties’ place in the meat section will encourage more people to embrace a plant-powered diet. To find Beyond Burgers — which ring in at two patties for $5.99 — in a store near you, check out their ever-expanding distribution list here.

So Sweet Potato Toast Is a Thing Now

In quite possibly the best food news ever, there’s a new sweet potato cooking technique taking over that isn’t so much a game changer as it is an entirely new game that we want to play forever and ever: You toast them. In an actual toaster. Yes, really.

When blogger Kelsey of Little Bits Of woke up one morning craving some avocado toast, she experienced one of our worst nightmares: She was out of bread. (The horror!) But that didn’t stop her from getting her omega-3 fix. No, ma’am. Instead, she did something brilliant: She sliced up some sweet potatoes (about a 1/4″ thick) and tossed them in the toaster. Minutes later, a delicious new trend was born.

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You can top the bright orange veggie with whatever your heart desires, from old-fashioned avocados to almond butter and bananas. Evidently sweet potato toast even tastes good with tuna. Who knew? The options are truly endless.

Now please excuse us while we go make sweet, sweet potato toast with our toaster. We have a feeling this is a love that’s going to last for life.

Shortbread Squares

 

These shortbread squares are versatile — one cookie, three delicious variations.

To make Chocolate-Peppermint Shortbread Squares: Using electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth. On low, gradually add confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Add heavy cream and pure peppermint extract and beat 2 minutes. Spread over cooled crust and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. In medium bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter (cut into pieces) in microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spread onto peppermint layer and refrigerate until set, at least 30 minutes. Cut into pieces.

To make Toffee-Pecan Shortbread Squares: In heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat on medium (do not stir), swirling pan occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and boil until sugar is deep caramel color (do not stir). Immediately remove from heat and stir in heavy cream (it will bubble up), then fold in toasted pecans (very roughly chopped). Pour mixture over cooled crust and sprinkle with flaky salt. Let cool completely, then cut into pieces.

To make Red Currant Crumble: Prepare Shortbread Dough, but transfer 3/4 cup dough to piece of plastic wrap, roll into log and freeze until firm, 30 minutes. Spread remaining dough into pan and bake 12 minutes; let cool. In bowl, combine jam with orange liqueur and orange zest and spread over dough. Using box grater, coarsely grate frozen dough over top. Bake until topping is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool, then cut into pieces.

The 5 Best Holiday Dishes You Can Buy at Trader Joe’s Right Now

Preparing a holiday dinner definitely takes a lot of time and patience, especially if you’re cooking for a large party and making everything from scratch. Luckily for you if you’re not much of a cook (or if you’re just in the mood to save a little bit of time cooking dinner this year), Trader Joe’s has your back. The grocery chain is slowly rolling out its holiday products, and a few of the selections are exactly what you need to get on your dinner table if you want to save yourself some time and energy.

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1. Drizzled Triple Ginger Biscotti

Trader Joe’s

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few gingerbread cookies. Though TJ’s Ginger Biscotti cookies aren’t of the human-shaped variety, they’re here to give you an extra ginger-flavored option to get you into the holiday spirit. Trader Joe’s is selling the cookies for $3.99 throughout the holiday season.

2. Sweet Potato Marshmallow & Pixie Pie Mix

Trader Joe’s

It’s not your mom’s sweet potato pie, but this mix will allow you to make a dessert similar to it in less than an hour. The mix takes most of the stress out of the preparation by giving you everything you need to make a classic pie. All you’ll need is melted butter for the crust and water and an egg for the pie filling. You’ll find the mix in the baking mix aisle for $2.99.

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3. Riced Cauliflower Stuffing

Trader Joe’s

Carbs are so 2016. You’ve likely already tried cauliflower pizza crust, or even cauliflower rice stir fry, so it was only a matter of time that someone brought along riced cauliflower stuffing just in time for the holidays. Trader Joe’s take on the Thanksgiving classic includes riced cauliflower, sweet carrots, and dried cranberries mixed with leeks, onions, celery, and “savory Thanksgiving herbs.” You can find this timesaving dish in the freezer aisle for $2.99.

4. Fully Cooked Half Turkey

Trader Joe’s

If you’re hosting a small dinner this year, you can go ahead and save yourself some stress by serving a fully cooked and brined half-turkey, as opposed to the full bird. Each turkey is marinated in a brine of salt, sugar, black pepper, and garlic-herb butter before being slow-roasted. The birds are typically around 2.5 pounds, and can be found selling for $6.99 a pound in the refrigerated deli section.

5. Turkey & Stuffing en Croute

Trader Joe’s

Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey. Or the stuffing. Or the cranberry sauce. That’s why, if you’re not exactly in the mood to go crazy in the kitchen this holiday, you can opt for this Turkey & Stuffing en Croute instead. It’s similar to a beef wellington: A turkey tenderloin and cornbread stuffing both rolled into a puff pastry with gravy and cranberry sauce on the side. It’s basically your entire holiday dinner rolled into one dish. The 40-ounce dish is located in the freezer aisle, where you can purchase it for $12.99.

Is Costco’s $5 Rotisserie Chicken Actually Healthy?

Every experienced Costco shopper always leaves the wholesale store with two things: a belly full of samples and a Kirkland-brand rotisserie chicken in hand.

Always seasoned to perfection and with a $5 price tag, it’s no surprise that this product is a fan favorite from the retail chain.

But is the seemingly addicting bird bad for your health?

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Dr. Oz teamed up with food journalist Mark Schatzker to find out the truth behind Costco’s famous chicken. Schatzker explained that rotisserie chicken is usually processed, meaning the meat is “pre-seasoned in factories” and then sent off to supermarkets to be cooked by employees.

A quick glance at the list of ingredients reveals that the tender meat often contains sodium, sugar, and even modified corn starch. Furthermore, the skin is usually flavored with MSG and more sugar — which explains why we can never seem to take just one bite.

But , Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute says concerns for processing or additives are unfounded in this case. “Rotisserie chicken is a lower sodium, affordable way to consume lean protein — and it’s one of the best things you can buy at Costo (and other retailers of its kind!),” says London. “The ingredients used are all safe, thoroughly evaluated by the FDA,and the product overall provides far more nutritional benefits than it does raise any cause for concern. Dig in!”

So, there you have it — looks like it’s safe to keep snacking on your favorite rotisserie chicken.

18 Things You Never Knew About the Royal Family’s Odd Eating Habits

She Refused to Eat Red Meat

“The only red meat she would eat was lamb. And that was when she was entertaining. She’d never eat beef.”

Diana’s Guests Never Knew She Was Eating the Low-Fat Version of Their Food

“She used to trick people: She’d say, ‘Make me a mousse for President Reagan.’ She couldn’t have it because there was mayonnaise and sour cream. So she’d say ‘Make me a fat-free version.’ So I did. Often, when guests would come, she’d have the fat-free version and the guests were on the full-fat version and no one would know the difference.”

One Time Fergie Canceled Plans and an Entire Meal Was Wasted

“Sarah Ferguson had gone to the theater and she wanted dinner at 10:30. So we’d start preparing dinner, and she’d call and say, ‘We’re going to a restaurant instead.’ The food just got wasted.”

Harry and William Loved Fast Food

“I remember the Princess came into the kitchen one day and said, ‘Cancel lunch for the boys I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s. And I said, ‘Oh my god your royal highness, I can do that, I can do burgers.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s the toy they want.’ Yeah, the boys loved McDonald’s, and going out to pizza, and having potato skins — sort of the American foods. They were royal princes but had children’s palates.”

Prince Harry carrying a plate of strawberries at a polo match.

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The Queen Gets a Menu Book Delivered to Her

“At Buckingham Palace, we’d do a menu book that we’d send up to the Queen and she could choose the dishes she wanted. The book would come back to the kitchen and we’d prepare them. The Queen’s menus are done three or more days ahead and she sticks with them religiously.”

Yes, the Queen Really Does Take Her Corgis Everywhere

“I saw this lady walking dogs and as I got closer I realized it was the Queen—in her headscarf with a coat on, and a Balmoral tartan. I thought, ‘This is so exciting, I’m going to speak to the Queen!’ I remembered thinking, ‘You’ve got to say Your Majesty first, after that it’s ma’am.’ But the dogs saw me and started barking — and all twelve corgis started running after me, so I turned around and started running the other way. I could hear the Queen laughing, she thought it was hilarious.”

The Queen and her corgis at Balmoral.

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The Queen’s Favorite Food Is Dark Chocolate

“The Queen loves to eat any food from the estate — so game birds, pheasants, grouse, partridge — she loves those to be on the menu. But of course, she loves chocolate. That was her favorite, and it has to be dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the better.”

But She Refuses to Eat Garlic

“The queen would never have garlic on the menu. She hated the smell of it, she hated the taste of it.”

Philip Was Not Here for Charles’ Organic Food

“We always used to get a hamper [full of food and treats] from Harrods — a thank you gift for shopping with them. Prince Philip came into the kitchen and there were two hampers. He said, ‘Oh, is this a Harrods hamper?” I said, ‘No, your highness, this is a hamper the Prince of Wales brought with him.’ He looked puzzled so I opened it up and I said, ‘It’s all organic.’ And he said, ‘Oh, bloody organic!’ And just shook his head and walked out.”

Prince Charles weeding his herb garden.

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The Queen Regularly Ate Out of Tupperware

“People always say, ‘Oh, the Queen must eat off gold plates with gold knives and forks.’ Yes, sometimes .. .but at Balmoral she’d eat fruit from a plastic yellow tupperware container.”

That Said, She Also Ate Fruit Off a Diamond Encrusted Plate

“It was a marble dish with three gold horses. The dish was encrusted in diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Thirty-something years ago it was valued at 500,000 pounds.”

She Eats Kellogg’s for Breakfast

“Breakfast was very simple for Her Majesty. Some Kellogg’s cereal from a plastic container, which she’d serve herself. And some Darjeeling tea.”

Prince Philip Once Made the Staff Swap Dinners with Him Because He Liked Theirs Better

“He came into the kitchen and said, ‘What’s for dinner tonight?’ And I said, ‘I have these little one-inch eyes of lamb meat for you, your Royal Highness.’ He looked and said, ‘What’s that — what are they?’ And I said, ‘Oh, those are chops, Your Highness.’ He wanted to know who they were for, and I said, ‘staff.’ And he said, ‘Oh, can’t we have those?’ I ended up giving him these big meatier pieces, and the staff had the other pieces.”

Jam Sandwich Cookies

Mike Garten

Fill these classic Christmas cookies with the jam of your choice and then package them up in a festive paper envelope. Download our PDF and use the template as your guide on sturdy card stock paper. Choose whatever paper suits your style — gold, silver, you name it — then simply trace, cut out, fold in corners and seal with a sticker. Keep your sweets safe and sound by adding a layer of wax paper between the cookie and the paper.

Starbucks Is Giving Away Free Holiday Drinks This Week

Even though the holidays might seem ages away at this point, Starbucks is ready to start spreading the Christmas cheer with a BOGO deal you can’t miss out on this week.

If you buy a holiday beverage at Starbucks between November 9 and 13 — a.k.a. this coming Thursday through Monday — you can get another hot, iced or blended holiday drink of equal or lesser value to share with a friend or family member for free.

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Starbucks

The “Give Good” sharing event takes place between 2-5 p.m. local time and includes holiday drinks like the Chestnut Praline Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulée Latte, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte, Holiday Spice Flat White and Teavana Joy Brewed Tea.

Feeling hungry? The offer also extends to all cake pops, as well.

WATCH: Pumpkin Spice May Soon Get Replaced With a New Hot Flavor

Stay Calm, You Can Now Buy Cookie Dough Marshmallow Fluff

The edible cookie dough craze is still in full swing, with cookie dough candy bars the latest product to hit stores. Now, a bakery in Arizona is giving us a new treat to obsess over, and it combines two of our favorite sweets.

Toasted Mallow sells edible cookie dough swirled with marshmallow fluff, and it’s definitely here to replace our spoonful-of-peanut-butter habit. While the store is based in Gilbert, Arizona, the dessert mashup can also be purchased online for $9 per jar. To make the dessert, layers of fluff and cookie dough are piped into 16-ounce jars. They last a good eight weeks in the fridge, if you can make them last that long.

Toasted Marshmallow

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For a limited time, the store is also selling a Pumpkin Spice version, made with pumpkin spice cookie dough and pumpkin-flavored fluff. If you’re more into ‘mallows than cookie dough, Toasted Mallow’s online store also sells jars of flavored fluff, with varieties like s’mores and vanilla bean, and gourmet marshmallows.

Like Chicago’s XO Marshmallow, the in-store menu has a slew of marshmallow-based treats we’re dying to try too, like cookie sandwich s’mores, marshmallow milkshakes, Rice Krispie treats and s’mores ice cream cones.

[h/t POPSUGAR]

WATCH: Butterbeer Marshmallows Are Real, But Only for a Limited Time