Italy is the place where I feel most at home when I’m not at home. John and I were married in Tuscany, and every year we go back for a long weekend with our family and close friends. Then we take a week for just the two of us to celebrate our anniversary.
Written by Rachael Ray
I love to go to markets when I travel. That’s how you get to know the people, the food and the personality of the region. It’s also the most fun and affordable way to eat during the day.
We make no plans whatsoever. Mostly, we walk around all day, trying to get in enough activity to keep up with how much delicious food you’re eating! (A lot.) But I always end up trying to feed all my Tuscan friends so I can cook at the villa as much as possible.
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It seems that every summer one very important question lingers in the air “Hamburger or hot dog?!” and while we’re a fan of the burger (Rach wrote a whole book on ‘em!) we can’t argue against the love for a delicious bite of a grilled dog sandwiched between a pillowy bun. And it looks like we’re not alone—July 23 marks national hot dog day and for good reason! According to recent polls, a quarter of Americans eat only hot dogs during grilling season!
Want some more hot dog celebrating trivia? According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, we eat about 7 billion hot dogs during the summer—that’s 818 hot dogs per second! With all that hot dog eating, the mustard and relish combo might get a little old, so check out our 10 twists on a hot dog (pictured above) to spice up your cook out. Try more of our favorite recipes—from classic toppings to hot dog kebabs—like these favorites:
Categories: Every Day Scoop, Food, Food Holidays, Rachael Ray | Tags: bbq, Every Day with Rachael Ray, grilling, hot dog recipes, hot dog toppings, hot dogs, national hot dog day, Rachael Ray
Whether you call ‘em lollipops or suckers, these treats on sticks are pure happiness. In honor of National Lollipop Day, we’ve shared some fun facts, our fave store-bought pop and even a recipe you can make at home!
One handmade sucker weighs more than two baseballs! We’ll have two, please.
Fun lollipop facts:
- The famous 1958 “Lollipop” song was written after Julius Dixson arrived late for a song writing session with Beverly Ross. He explained that his daughter had gotten a lollipop stuck in her hair, and that had caused him to be late. Ross was so inspired by the word “lollipop” that she sat down at the piano and produced a version of the song on the spot. The song was written for the duo, Ronald & Ruby, but most successfully covered by The Chordettes.
- The original machines made 40 lollipops per minute. Today’s machines produce 5,900 lollipops in one minute.
- The world’s largest lollipop weighed a whopping 7,003 lbs. and was 4 feet 8.75 inches in length, 3 feet 6 inches in width and 5 feet 11 inches in height. Talk about a lot of licks to get to the center of that lollipop!
Never thought you could make your own lollipops? Here’s how…
Get the recipe: Chewy-Centered Lollipops
More Candy Recipes:
Sources: wikipedia.com, guinnessworldrecords.com and candyusa.com
Tapioca pudding is a deliciously unique dessert. We love the fun texture, sweet taste and, of course, all the different dishes you can make with those wee little bubbles. So celebrate National Tapioca Pudding Day with our roundup of favorite bubbly recipes—dig in!
This Coconut Tapioca Pudding recipe has coconut, ginger and mango. Perfect for summer!
Tapioca is also used in a bunch of other dishes besides puddings. Our recipe for Halo Halo (a popular dessert from the Philippines that traditionally contains beans, jellies and ice cream, plus flan and evaporated milk) calls for berries and is ultra refreshing.
It’s National French Fry Day so what better way to celebrate than with some crispy tots? Whether you prefer classic, garlic or sweet potato fries, there’s a recipe out there for you. No matter the occasion — you can throw a French fry tasting party or simply make a side for your burger — but today’s the day to make a batch of this summer favorite.
Fun facts about the French fry:
- French fries account for more than 1/4 of all potatoes sold in the U.S.
- The average American eats 30 pounds of French fries per year.
- Thomas Jefferson cultivated the potato and popularized its eating in the US.
Try out one of these homemade potato favorites, like our Bistro-Style Pommes Frites!
Get the recipes: Flavorful French Fry Recipes
Source: farmflavor.com and frenchfries.com
Pecan pie is a beginner’s dream dessert; the filling doesn’t crack the way custard pies can. Which is why we’re so excited to celebrate it! For the traditional pie, slice it up and top it off with bourbon-infused ice cream. Or try a Pecan Pie-inspired snack or sip, instead!
Shake up your get-together with this dessert in a glass. The pecan-perfect touch? It’s rimmed with the chopped nut, delish!
Try to say this five time fast: Pecan Pie Popcorn. Or just give up and munch on this award-worthy snack.
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Tito’s Handmade Vodka founder and master distiller Bert “Tito” Beveridge (yup, that’s his real last name… clearly he was born for this business) has endured a long road to success with a lot of sips of vodka along the way (he tests every single batch himself)! The native Texan started out as a geophysicist, worked on dynamite-blasting oil reserves, dabbled in sub-surface mapping and analyzing ground water, and even tried out mortgage banking before he found his true calling: vodka distilling. What began as a hobby (he used to make small batches for friends) has become his passion. Today, Tito’s is one of the fastest-selling and fastest-growing micro-distilleries on the market and was just named the exclusive vodka of United Airlines. We sat down with him (over a drink, of course) to find out more:
- If you could spend a weekend cooking with Rachael, what would you make? Asian vegetable stir fry with tofu. Chicken fried venison with cream gravy. Dove breasts sautéed with garlic. Redfish with lemon. Breakfast would be French toast one day and chip beef on toast the next.
- Drink of choice? Titos with sparkling mineral water, a squeeze of lime and a squeeze of orange.
- What cocktail trend are you most excited about right now? Fresh fruit muddled with Titos and seltzer water
- #1 guilty pleasure? Rum raisin ice cream
- Best gift you’ve ever received? Kids
- Best gift you’ve ever given? An Audi
- What would you want your last meal to be? (Calories don’t count!) Deluxe Mexican dinner at blanco cafe in San Antonio. It is a beef taco. A chalupa. Guacamole. 3 cheese enchiladas with beef sauce and onions. Rice and beans. Flour tortillas and a Big Red to drink.
- You have an afternoon completely free to do anything you want — what’s it going to be? Go fishing on a creek.
- What’s your #1 rule to live by? Try hard with a lot of love in your heart.
- What’s your go-to dish if you want to impress someone? Turkey
Visit titosvodka.com for more info.
Emily Maynard has officially launched her very own jewelry line! With the help of Jessica Stanfield and Christi Pack, founders of Towne & Reese — a line Emily wore often on her season of The Bachelorette — she developed unforgettable, style-savvy accessories with personal touches. Her 63-piece girly-with-an-edge collection can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. See a few of Emily’s favorite pieces, plus learn about more of her favorite things below!
Favorite meal on The Bachelorette? “Every night in Prague my producer and I would go to the hotel restaurant and get a great dover sole dish.”
Her daughter’s favorite? “I make this green chicken recipes with tons of herbs and also a baked fried chicken with crushed pretzels.”
Guilty pleasure food? Ranch dressing and diet coke
Ice cream flavor? Pistachio
Summer grill-out dinner? Cheeseburgers
From left to right: Jessica Stanfield, Judi Peña (Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief), Lauren Smith (Web Editor), Emily Maynard, and Christi Pack.
Check out EmilyMaynard.com for more info.
Celebrate National Sugar Cookie Day with these bite-size treats. The best thing about sugar cookies? There’s no need for a new recipe, just pick out different cookie cutters, frosting colors and toppings for the different holidays. Our recommendation? Spend a night cutting, frosting, and sprinkling cookies with the kids and while you’re baking, share these fun facts with them!
-On September 5, 2001, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the sugar cookie as its official cookie.
-The sugar cookie as we know it today was created by Protestant settlers in the Nazareth colony of Pennsylvania in the 1700s. They baked their cookies in the shape of a keystone, the state’s symbol.
Try our Spice Girl Cookies! Tip: We added a dash of cinnamon for boost of flavor.
More Treats to Try:
I love our Get Fresh column because, even though I freely confess to a dependency on Lay’s potato chips, I’m also a fresh fruit and vegetable enthusiast, especially in the summer. So I encourage you to check out (and tear out) “Get Fresh with Watermelon” in our July/August issue, which is full of fun facts and helpful tips.
What we didn’t have room to include is the recipe for my favorite watermelon cocktail. My sister, Anne, and I concocted it for our Sisters’ Secrets to Confident Entertaining newsletter long before I became editor of Every Day with Rachael Ray, but you guys are my priority now, so I’m sharing!
—Lauren Purcell, Editor-in-Chief
Makes 2 drinks
2 ounces fresh watermelon juice*
1 ounce vodka
½ ounce triple sec
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake 10 to 15 times to chill. Pour, with ice, into a glass rimmed with a mixture of half sugar, half salt.
Extra credit: Tint the sugar-salt mix with a couple of drops of red food coloring.
*To help you with portions: We bought a watermelon wedge that weighed about 2 1/2 pounds. That yielded about 4 cups of chunks. Puree those in the food processor (if you’re not using a seedless melon, please remove the seeds first), strain the mixture through a sieve, and you get about 1 1/2 cups of juice—enough for six cocktails. For kids and designated drivers, the watermelon juice, with or without a squeeze of lemon, is great straight up or mixed with seltzer.
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Get Fresh…with Strawberries!