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How to Exercise Self-Control at Any Holiday Feast

You used to wait for this all year long: Holiday feasting. You’d stay off the naughty list all year long so you wouldn’t have to feel guilty about gorging yourself with turkey, ham, and pie twice in a one month span. But, lately, you just can’t put away the trimmings and trappings like you did in years past—at least not without feeling stuffed like the Thanksgiving turkey.

Now you’re thinking it might be time to consider some alternatives to your usual eat-first-ask-questions-later tactics. And maybe (just maybe) these tips about self-control will help you leave the Christmas feast with a little dignity for once in your life.

Don’t Skip Meals

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As part of your pre-gauntlet game plan, you might have skipped a meal thinking you were leaving more space for the feast. This is both unhealthy and wrong. If you wait until the evening to eat, you’re likely to gorge yourself on everything in sight, filling yourself past capacity as you inhale feast foods. A light breakfast (protein shake) and lunch (salad) will put you in a much better place to avoid overeating.

Healthy Appetizers

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Many holiday events are “grazing” occasions where snacks and appetizers are left out for people to pick on all day. Do yourself a favor and avoid heavier things like cheese and dips, especially since you’ll get plenty of rich and savory stuff once you get to the dinner table. Instead, stick to healthier treats like fruits and veggies. Also, make yourself a small plate instead of hovering (and Hoovering) over the dishes.

Portion Control

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Speaking of making your plate, portion control can also be an effective and easy way to avoid eating too much in one sitting. While diehards would want to use measuring cups, you can get by with a simple visualization: just imagine your plate as a pie chart. Put the appropriate amount of proteins, grains, and veggies that you want (usually 25/25/50% if you’re trying to be strict). But it is a holiday, so you can slide those numbers around—just so long as you limit yourself to one plate.

Slow Your Roll(s)

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As mentioned above, eating fast is a very real pitfall of the holiday feast-er. Since it takes time for your stomach to send the message that it’s full (roughly half an hour), you can cram more food than you want or need if you’re going at it like a ravenous wolf. One simple thing you can do to avoid over-doing it is chatting a lot during your meal. Actively engaging in conversations allows you enjoy your family’s company, savor your food, and avoid overeating all at once. Or it can be the only opportunity you’ll have to awkwardly come out in front of your entire family and then say, “Pass the yams?”

Watch the Sauce

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If you’re watching your calories, then you know that boozing can add up quickly. In addition to adding to your calorie bottom line, alcohol tends to sit heavier than water, meaning you’ll get that lethargic tummy feeling you’re probably trying to avoid. In worse cases, you’re inhibitions might go completely out the window, along with your diet.

The Leftover Mentality

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Again, the game plan is just plain flawed: we assume we have to eat as much as we can in this one sitting, or else we’re just a non-festive/un-thankful scrooge. But we leave out that the best part of holidays like Thanksgiving is the week of leftovers that we’ll get to enjoy after the initial meal. Just bring some tupperware and enjoy an average sized dinner.

Just Desserts

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No monster would tell you to skip dessert. But there are a couple of ways to avoid over-desserting after you over-eat. If you know what your favorite dessert is, just limit yourself to a single slice and stick to it. If you want to taste them all, make yourself some sliver-sized samples instead of having a full slice of each. Also, think about leaving pies in the kitchen instead of on the table; having them in a separate room makes it more of a conscious decision and less of an easy indulgence.

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How To Maximize Your Holiday Costco Shopping

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For a bushel of mistletoe, there’s no better destination this holiday season than Costco. With their huge inventory and massive deals, this super store can give you some serious savings as you deck your halls, wrap your presents, and trim your treats. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips for buying some bulk cheer at Costco to make the season bright.

Holiday Hours and Warehouse Hours

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Before we get ahead of ourselves on Yuletide planning, it’s important to know when Costco is a no-go this holiday season. The store is opened on Christmas Eve and the the day before Thanksgiving, but stores close a couple hours early. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day are closed. On the other hand, some Costco Warehouses extend their hours specifically to make your life easier. Make sure to contact your local warehouse for more info, and bear in mind that seasonal weather conditions can also affect store hours.

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Free Costco Cookbooks

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Even while your digesting all that turkey, gravy, and stuffing, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your next holiday meal/gastronomical gauntlet. Costco’s got you covered yet again with a bevy of free cooking guides to give you plenty of ideas for a festive feast. Healthier fare falls under the purview of books like Smart Cooking, while you can get a little more extravagant with Simply Delicious. Either way, you’ll have tons of ideas, plus ways to incorporate affordable Kirkland ingredients.

Trappings

Decorations

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If you’re looking for something to keep up with the Jones’s and their electricity-zapping display, then you might want to cruise the Costco aisles. You’ll find everything from life-sized nativities to light-up LED reindeer to create a stunning display. They’ve also got a bevy of indoor decorations, including fresh firs and imitation spruces for your kids to decorate with some Kirkland ornaments. Check out more decorations here.

Gift Giving

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Holiday Gift Baskets

Trying to get something that your family friends will enjoy? Costco has a variety of gift baskets that will suit a wide range of personal styles. Brands like Starbucks, Mrs. Fields and M&M are all in on the bulk giving trend.

Tickets

Maybe, you just want to load your kids in the van and get away from all the pandemonium and insanity of your extended family? Costco has insider deals on tickets that make for a great seasonal get away. Head to a theme park, go on a ski trip, or plan a whole Disney vacation or cruise… the sky’s the limit with Costco as your ticketing partner. Even if you just want to catch a flick on Christmas day!

Toys
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No kid’s going to turn down a trip to D-Land, but you might also want to get your little one’s something they can enjoy again and again. Bicycles, skateboards, building blocks, arts and crafts, big-box ride-in vehicles: Costco has all the toys you need to brighten their spirits and bring a twinkle to their eyes. Excuse me while I go throw up candy canes and Christmas spirit.

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6 Times Our Favorite Food Companies Fed Us Complete Bullshit

Depending on whom you ask, the phrase “truth in advertising” makes about as much sense as “shy, literate professional wrestler.” The difference between scientific fact and marketing gimmick is an ever-widening gulf, and these are just some of the corporate culprits that got caught with their filthy mitts in the cookie jar. Join us now in hawking a collective loogie on these despicable bastards and everything they claim to stand for.

Just Mayo

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As you’ll come to see in this article, word’s like “Just”, “Simply”, and “Naked” mean very little when they appear on food labels. In this case, “Isn’t Even Technically” would be a more accurate descriptor for this mayo. Thanks to the interests of Unilever (who, oh by the way, manufactures Best Foods/Hellmann’s), the company’s lying name was brought to light in 2014, with some pseudo-illegal help from the American Egg Board. They don’t use any eggs (despite the fact that its label is basically just a picture of an egg), meaning they’re not allowed to call themselves mayonnaise.

Unilever eventually dropped the suit due to a major backlash, but Just Mayo was soon in hot water themselves for marketing themselves as a healthier alternative to other mayo options. The vegan mayonnaise contained such high levels of fat that the FDA ordered them to quit advertising felonious health benefits.

McDonald’s Monopoly

For over 75 years, McDonald’s has carefully cultivated an image that’s something akin to the Phillip Morris of fast food. Yes, this company and every single product it produces seems to affect the general health of America, yet we just can’t say no to their dollar double-cheeseburgers. But, aside from the woes decried in movies like Supersize Me, there’s also the rigged Monopoly sweepstakes scandal. It was found that between 1995 and 2000, marketing executives had pilfered the most valuable pieces, taking nearly $24 million while all I got was a small fucking fry with the purchase of a medium soda. May the plague of a thousand Big Macs clog the arteries of their souls.

 

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte

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A seasonal favorite of basic bitches everywhere, the runaway success of the Pumpkin Spice Latte is just fucking gross at this point. As you may recall, there was an uproar last fall regarding the lack of pumpkin or spice in PSLs. After having the orange ooze (roughly the color of Snooki) chemically tested, Vani Hari aka Food Babe reported that not only did it not contain a trace of pumpkin, but was dishearteningly rich in caramel color class IV—thought by many to be carcinogenic, though this has been disputed. Still, Starbucks heard us loud and clear; they released the seasonal latte this year with actual pumpkin and sans cancerous caramel.

Naked Juice

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Jeez, all these fatty foods and sugary drinks make you wanna reach for something healthy, right? DON’T DO IT! Naked juice got in hot water in 2012 for claims that it was all natural… y’know, naked. Well, much like a pornstar, “naked” does not necessarily mean “all-natural”. Many of the supplements used in the formulation of the juices did not come from natural, non-GMO sources, and certainly don’t qualify as fruit. The Pepsi subsidiary also caught heat for containing more sugar per ounce than it’s parent company’s flagship soft drink, while at the same time doling out more unverifiable “magical elixir” promissory statements than Dr. Fucking Oz.

Rice Krispies

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It’s always good to capitalize on general unrest and mass panic. Or at least it is if you’re smoking snap, crackle and pop on a regular basis. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies did exactly that at the peak of the swine flu pandemonium in 2009, claiming that the cereal “Now helps support your child’s immunity,” though they never actually bothered to change the recipe. Any one who’s ever eaten the cereal will tell you that it should only be used as a cheap alternative to packaging peanuts. At any rate, the Federal Trade Commision slapped an injunction on the cold cereal mogul stating that they need to base their claims on something called “evidence.”

M&Ms

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And lastly, these little lying bastards who DEFINITELY MELT IN YOUR FUCKING HANDS!

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Everything You Need To Know About Your Kitchen Knives

Love the knife life? No? Well, here’s a starter’s guide to everything you need to get chopping. We’ll talk about basic designs, uses, technique, and maintenance that will save you from a bad meal or a trip to the emergency room. Speaking of which, let’s start with how to keep all those phalanges intact.

Don’t Get the Point?

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Your whole life you’ve enjoyed everything from hitchhiking to Rubix cubes thanks to your talented, flexible fingers and thumbs. So, do them a favor and point your finger tips AWAY from the blade. You can use the flat of your second digit as a plane that guides the knife by resting the broad, non-sharp part of a chef’s knife to direct your downward motion.

Sharpen Your Skills

One of the most common tips of awesome knife skill proponents is using the sharpest blade possible. Even though sharper knives cut off fingers more easily, they also cut through food with less effort, making your life easier and making an accident less likely. More on sharpening later.

Three’s Company

Another common tips from some very famous chefs (i.e. Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver) is that the most a decent home chef needs is three basic knives: a chef’s or chopping knife, a paring knife, and serrated bread knife.

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But you can also throw in a katana if you run a Samurai Delicatessen.

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Making the Cut

The chef’s knife is going to be your go-to tool, perfect for chopping and dicing most things that you’ll use in your recipes. Like we said above, there are a number of techniques you can use to prevent injury and eventually get to the point where you’re doing that cool, superspeed chop like on the cooking shows.

Paring knives basically come into play when you’re working on very tiny things where a large and heavy kitchen knife is no longer practical. Examples include peeling fruits like mangos, de-veining shrimps, or removing the seeds from jalapenos.

The bread knife is obviously used to cut bread, but it’ll also come into play when you need to cut tomatoes, giving you the toothy blades to make easy work of their thick skins without pushing out their tender guts. Also, here’s a Bread-y Vet-er to show you how to slice that loaf.

Heavy Metal

Having a heavy knife handle will give you more control over your chop, as well as giving you a little extra inertia where it counts. But if you get a knife that won’t balance in your hand, it can eventually lead to wrist fatigue, and then how are you going to jerk off to pictures of the meal you just cooked?

Can You Handle It?

After considering the heaviness and balance of the knife, the next thing you’ll want to consider is the way it feels in your hands. There are tons of varieties of different grips, ranging from circular, oblong, to “D-shaped”, as well as one’s that imitate katanas. Then, there are plastic, metal, and wooden handles, in addition to a number of tactile patterns that will make the blade less likely to slip in your hand. The only right answer is the one that best fits your hands.

Come Correct

How often do chef’s sharpen their knives? Well, if they’re high quality knives, not as often as you’d think. “But I see them do it every time they go to cook on Hell’s Kitchen???” What their actually doing, dumbo, is honing the blade. Essential, the blade bends when it hits harder surfaces from time to time—chicken bones, avocado pits, etc. The honing rod is just correcting the edge of the blade so that it will continue to cut effortlessly and avoid accidents. If you actually sharpened a knife every time you picked it up, you’d wear down the material of the knife way faster than necessary.

Be Sharp

So, how often should you sharpen your knives? The honing described above is actually the most important aspect, and should allow you to forego sharpening for years. With a regularly honed blade, the most you will need to sharpen it is once every year or two, and that’s with heavy daily use. It’s also worth noting that many people suggest taking your knife to a professional cutlery for sharpening instead of trying to do it yourself or getting one of those ridiculous home sharpeners.

Bonus Tip

Once you’re at the dinner table, only use the serrated side of a table knife to cut bread. Spread buttery goodness with the flat side of the knife because the only bread that should have holes in it is sourdough.

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6 Philanthropic Food Companies Worthy Of Your Support

People who need people are the luckiest people? More like people who feed people. In this cynical world of online bullying and drone strikes, it restores our faith in humanity to know that someone actually cares. Let’s take a look at some of the forward-thinking foodies doing their best to lend a hand.

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza

Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philly has an entirely fresh take on how to feed the homeless: the restaurant allows customers to pre-purchase a slice for someone in need, then stick a Post-it on the wall to represent their contribution. Anyone who’s hungry can come in and redeem the Post-it for a free slice, giving them a tasty option and letting them know where their next meal is coming from. And with slices that cost a dollar a piece you can’t go wrong, letting you help out a few people in need and get your fill with a five spot.

Homeboy Industries/Dave’s Killer Bread

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Both of these companies are trying to turn lives around first hand with their employment practices. LA’s Homeboy Industries offers a safe and productive space for former gang members and ex-convicts to seek employment; Dave’s Killer Bread has been empowering ex-convicts (who make up about 30 percent of their workforce) in a similar fashion. The end goal is to help reduce recidivism rates (basically, where privatized prison companies try to continue making money by retaining repeat offenders). Meanwhile, these companies are also turning out delicious food stuffs.

Whole Foods

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When not charging $6 for asparagus water, Whole Foods is actually doing quite a bit to support community enrichment. For starters, all the food from their buffets gets donated to local food banks to help feed the less-fortunate. Secondly, the swanky supermarket chain holds “5% days,” where five percent of a given day’s proceeds go directly to help a local nonprofit or educational organization.

Hearty Start

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These New York altruists combine their big hearts with a hearty breakfast. The idea came to founder Teddy Fitzgibbons when a homeless man asked him for the rest of his breakfast sandwich. Realizing how simple and cost effective it would be to take care of this one meal a day, he began accepting donations to serve breakfast sandwiches to those in need. Anyone can visit their website to donate a meal plan, which ensures that homeless people throughout the city will receive a breakfast sandwich through one of Hearty Start’s trusted partners.

The Oregon Public House

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No amount of charity can undo the remorse of drinking too much in a night, but The Oregon Public House will at least relieve your guilt over not giving back. Of course there are prices, but the company donates all of their proceeds to a local charity of your choosing while you’re boozing. Now, that’s something to toast to.

SAME Cafe

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The SAME Cafe (SAME being an acronym for “So All May Eat”) has a very affordable menu—customers are allowed to pay whatever they can afford. The idea is that everyone deserves a decent meal, and anyone down on their luck can donate their time to help keep the Cafe running. Of course if you can afford to pay, it’s nice to kick in a little extra to make sure that the less-fortunate have something to eat.