Every Day Scoop

The Major Differences Between Amazon Fresh, Peapod, FreshDirect and Instacart

The benefit of ordering your groceries: no lines, no heavy bags and no danger of bumping into someone you know without your mascara on. But do these services, well, deliver? We took them for a test drive to find out!

For our sample cart, we comparison-priced this list with four popular services: gallon of milk, dozen eggs, pound of chicken breasts, container of Greek yogurt, head of romaine, pint of blueberries, box of Kashi cereal, two rolls of paper towels, pound of sirloin steaks, block of cheddar, loaf of sandwich bread, jar of peanut butter, bag of coffee beans, carton of orange juice, pound of spaghetti and a pint of ice cream.

Amazon Fresh: Available in many cities nationwide and parts of California

How does it work? Amazon fans will recognize the site’s familiar interface and annual subscription model ($299 a year gets you unlimited grocery deliveries over $40 and Prime membership). It also allows you to order artisanal products from nearby shops.

What’s the ETA? Same day if you order by 10 A.M.

Our bill: $70.02

Is it for me? You can buy your groceries, local chocolates, and, heck, a new TV from the same site ( a great night, huh?). The food arrived in good shape, but $300 is steep unless you use it a lot.

FreshDirect: Available in the NYC metropolitan area, plus parts of the mid-Atlantic

How does it work? Surfing FreshDirect’s site feels a little like strolling through a high-end market—you’ll find most of the basics, plus some things you didn’t know you needed. Depending on your location, the minimum order is $30 to $99, plus a $5.99 to $15.99 fee.

What’s the ETA? Next day

Our bill:

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Produce Pro: The Cutest New Fruit

Fun up your fruit bowl with kumquats, the mini orange look-alikes that are popping up in produce departments across the country. The one- to two-inch darlings have an intense, sweet-tart flavor and, unlike oranges, you can eat these beauties whole, skin and all. (FYI: You might run into a few seeds.) At dinnertime, toss whole kumquats, green olives and some rosemary springs in the bottom of the pan for a zesty roasted chicken.

For dessert, try Candied Kumquat Pavlovas for a sweet-tangy treat.

Need a drink? Kumquat-Pomegranate Punch is a great way to embrace the season. Read more

3 Ways to Keep Your Pet Happy in a Halloween Costume

Dogs in costumes? Cute. Getting your dog into a costume? Ruff. But this advice from Sylvia Reutens, whose 10-year-old corgi has beat out hundreds of other dogs for the Best in Show title at the famed Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York City, will fetch some results.

1. Learn his style. Maybe you break into a sweat whenever you have to wear a turtleneck. Well, your four-legged friend also has likes and dislikes when it comes to clothing. “My dog, Harry, doesn’t like to have things under his body or between his legs,” says Reutens. “Placing a super-light box on top of him—with his head and ears completely free—doesn’t bother him at all.” As much as you want your pet to look adorable, it’s more important that he’s comfortable. Help him try on a few outfits to see what he’s cool with. Read more

Empty Nesters: Moving On

Home and Market Editor Lisa Freedman and her husband just bought a house two hours outside of New York CityYay! The only issue? They don’t have anything to put in it. Follow her as she shops, tackles some DIY projects and works her decorating magic.

In just a few short months, our house has become a home. Although we are nowhere near being done, we accomplished way more than I thought we would have by this point. We filled a living room, painted two bedrooms, ordered appliances and more.

We have a lot more work to do, but unfortunately, this blog is coming to an end. Why? Because after two great years, I’m leaving Rachael Ray Every Day. My job is amazing and the people are some of the best—but it’s all based in New York City. As you know, my house is in Upstate New York. I am lucky enough to have found a new job that will allow me to work remotely. And now I’ll be able to spend more time in this house you’ve seen me build.
With that, I suppose I’m officially signing off. Thanks for reading!

DIY Spooky Mood Lighting for your Halloween Party

Kill it at this year’s Halloween bash with kooky, creepy mood lighting you can make yourself!

The eyes have it

Let guests know you’re keeping an eye on them! Use a craft knife to cut a half-inch X into a Ping-Pong ball. Slide the “flame” of a battery-powered tea light into the slit. With fine-point markers, draw an eye (preferably bloodshot!) on the opposite side of the ball. Make several pairs and plant them in dark corners.

 Facing your fears

Let a creepy guy scare guests who pass by. Choose a lightweight mask with relatively flat sides. Then buy a wood plaque slightly larger than the mask from the crafts store and stain or paint it. Working from the inside of the mask, tape sheets of colored tissue paper over the eye and mouth openings, so that light shines through. Attach two battery-powered tea lights to the center of the plaque with glue dots (also from a crafts store). Use more glue dots to mount the mask to the plaque, then hang.

Flying flames

Candles can mysteriously levitate with a little bit of black magic—in the form of thin, clear fishing line. Tie a length of it around the bottom of a battery-operated candle’s “flame” (look for a metal loop or simply tie it around the base of the fake flame) and use clear packing tape or hooks to attach the other end to the ceiling.

Uncharming snakes

Slithering snakes on a candle! Use straight pins to attach rubber snakes to wax pillar candles. You can even make it look like one is about to chomp down on the wick. (If you’re having trouble getting it just right, snip the head off the body and pin it to the back of the candle.) Brush acrylic paint on the snakes and pinheads and let dry.

Jarring science jars

In the right setting, white asparagus pieces look like amputated fingers, knotty ginger doubles as mummified bones, and lychees appear to be eyeballs. Fill jars with your creepy body parts of choice, insert cracked glow sticks, and top off with water dyed with yellow food color for added glow. Also try cauliflower (to resemble tiny brains), gummy worms (ground-up flesh!) and more. You’ll never look at food the same way!

– By Taryn Williford; Photography by Aaron Dyer

Inside Our Test Kitchen: Mix It Up with Giardiniera

You’ve probably seen giardiniera dressing up antipasti platters at your favorite Italian joint, but the brined vegetable medley is much more than a pretty face. Packed with a variety of vegetables—like cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery and spicy chiles—it’s like getting a bunch of different pickles in one jar! You can buy it from the supermarket or make your own with this recipe.

Easy Giardiniera

In the October 2016 issue, Rach chops some up to make an easy burger relish—and here a few more ideas for adding a little tang to your day.

1. Spice up your sides. Stir chopped giardiniera into potato or pasta salad.

Try it here:

Creamy Potato Salad

2. Give cocktails a kick. For a drink with extra zing, use the brine in a dirty martini. Garnish with a few of the olives or cauliflower.

Try it here:

Pickled Dirty Martini

3. Make grilled cheese greater. Roughly chop giardiniera and place between Read more

Leftover Love: What to Do With Extra Hot Dog and Hamburger Buns

Ever wind up with the perfect number of hot dog buns you need in that bag from the grocery store— no more, no less? Yeah, we didn’t think so! If tailgating or burger night left you with too many buns, here’s how to use them up.

Make this…

Haute Dog

… then make this…

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble

On a baking sheet, bake 1 cup coarsely torn hot dog or burger buns at 300° until dry, about 15 minutes. Let cool. In a food processor, pulse buns, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon until coarsely crumbled. Bake on baking sheet until crunchy, about 7 minutes. Serve over yogurt. Makes about 1 cup.

Make this…

Read more

Inside Our Test Kitchen: 3 Reasons Dried Mushrooms Rock

If you’re curious about those packets of 
dried porcini or cremini or shiitake, but aren’t 
sure how to use them, these three reasons should convince you to snag a bag right away and start cooking.

1. They last. A package of dried mushrooms will keep at least a year in your cabinet. And if you store them in an airtight container and stick them in the freezer, they’ll be good for years. Talk about shelf life!

2. They’re cheap. It takes nine ounces of fresh ‘shrooms to make one ounce of dried, but they still cost about half as much. Use them in any recipe calling for cooked mushrooms: Just pour boiling water over them, let sit until softened and they’re ready to use.

3. They’re so good. Dried mushrooms are umami gold! They’re full of extra-concentrated flavor, and so it their soaking liquid. Substitute it for water to cook grains, use as a broth for soup, or add it to the dish you were constituting the mushrooms for.

Try these recipes!

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Inside Our Test Kitchen: Best Seeds in the House

Fun fact: You don’t have to carve a pumpkin to enjoy crispy, salty, fresh-roasted seeds. You can make a version using any winter squash, such as butternut, delicata, kabocha or acorn—just scoop out the guts, separate out the stringy bits, and place the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tsp. olive oil per 1/4 cup seeds and season. Arrange in a single layer (so they’ll roast instead of steam) and bake at 325° until crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle on salads, soups or ice cream (seriously!), or gobble them up right off the baking sheet, like we did in the test kitchen. Here are 5 fall squash recipes to try it with:

 

Pumpkin-Spice Pasta with Delicata Squash

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Chile and Mint 

Paella-Stuffed Squash

Maple Kabocha Cake

Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash

– By Ananda Eidelstein

Empty Nesters: Adding a TV Room

Home and Market Editor Lisa Freedman and her husband just bought a house two hours outside of New York City. Yay! The only issue? They don’t have anything to put in it. Follow her as she shops, tackles some DIY projects and works her decorating magic.

When we first bought this house, we said there was absolutely no way we’d want a TV or Internet there. This was going to be a place we came to relax and be in nature. Well, that lasted (part of) one whole weekend. By our first Sunday, I was calling the cable company to get something set up. So that meant we had to make a TV room.
The second level of the house has this wonky bonus room that leads into the third and fourth bedrooms. It even has a closet for some reason. We always thought we’d make it an office, but it soon became pretty obvious that it would need to be the TV room.
We got a small sectional from World Market and a coffee table from a crazy cute antique shop in Narrowsburg, NY. For the main attraction (the TV!), we got a 43-inch Samsung. It’s nothing crazy, in terms of size (it’s a small room, after all) but it has all the bells and whistles that you’d expect: access to a ton of apps, a WiFi connection and the sleekest remote I’ve ever seen. Read more