Meal prepping isn't as hard as you think. Take a lesson from this star chef.
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You've probably seen people posting perfectly portioned meals for the week on Instagram and gone, "who the heck has time to do that?"

I don't even have kids yet, but the idea of taking precious hours on a Sunday to shop for food, cook AND portion out the week's meals had always seemed daunting to me. I thought that I'd get bored eating the same basic ingredients every day and/or not have the drive to get creative and switch things up mid-week, or worse, that I’d waste the food I’d spent all that time prepping.

However, that was before I spoke with Joel Gamoran — Sur La Table's national chef and spokesperson, and the host of a show called "Scraps" that teaches chefs at home how to make delicious meals from their food scraps. Fun fact: The Save The Food campaign actually teamed up with Joel for the second season of “Scraps” on FYI and A+E networks to help drive home the message that saving food isn't just good for your wallet — it's good for the planet, too.  


Joel Gamoran and co-host. Photo courtesy of "Scraps."

According to Joel and Save The Food, Americans throw a lot of food away that’s perfectly usable — in fact each person discards over 20 pounds of food per month. So their goal is to help the average person fight that habit by meal planning and repurposing what was once considered scraps. And that starts with making the whole concept of meal planning less daunting while also proving to families and individuals alike that proper meal prepping can help them save time and money.

Think you're ready to get on the meal planning/food saving train? There's no time like the new year to make a healthy and eco-friendly change!

First things first, let's do away with any misconceptions you might have about what it takes to make meal planning work.

Here are 11 myths about meal planning versus the realities.

1. Meal prepping takes a lot of time.

Photo by Raquel Martínez/Unsplash.

This is often people's knee jerk reaction to the idea of meal planning, but in fact, the opposite is true. If you make all your meal portions for the week at once, you're actually saving time in the long run.

Also, don't let the grocery store intimidate you. When you’re making your list, think about building blocks. All you need to grab is a starch base that's easy to make such as rice, couscous or quinoa, some veggies that look good to you, and a protein (vegetarian or meat) that you can either cook ahead of time or freeze and unthaw to cook the day before you're ready to eat it.

2. Regular meal planning gets expensive.

Actually, meal planning will help you stay on a budget more than falling back on ordering out will. Plus you don't have to spend a lot on ingredients, especially if you shop smart with meal prep in mind. If you stick to more basic vegetables and starches as your base, you can even splurge on the protein you include and still stay frugal.

What's more, you probably already have a lot of staples in your pantry or freezer that you’ve purchased previously that are just waiting to be utilized.

3. Cooking a lot of food all at once is a chore.

You can make cooking these meals as involved or uninvolved as you want, but for those who just want to get in and get out of the kitchen, it's all about boiling and roasting.

Start by cooking your starch in a pot on the stove, and at the same time, chop your veggies (or get them pre-chopped), toss them in some olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them up in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Done.

4. Portioning out meals is complicated.

Photo by Katie Smith/Unsplash.

If you're like me, when you hear words like "portion" you probably think it involves math, and get nervous. But never fear! According to Joel, you never have to touch a measuring cup when meal planning. Believe it or not, you can actually portion out each meal of the day by handful — two handfuls of your starch base, one for your veggies, and your protein can be about the size of a deck of cards. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Of course you can play around with the amounts depending on what you like/how much you can eat, but this basic measuring technique is a good starting point. Portioning will also help you make sure that you don’t waste food — which is better for your wallet and the environment. And, if you're looking to get back on the healthy eating track after the holidays, portioning is very much your friend for that, too!

5. You end up eating the same thing every day.

Just because the base is the same doesn't mean that the meals themselves have to be. If you’re getting tired of your meals by mid-week, don't just toss or skip them! It’s easy to change up your meal into something brand new just by adding a sauce or some seasonings.

For example, you can also sauté the veggies in sesame oil, add some leftover wontons, and poof, you've got Chinese stir fry. Or you can add a chicken or vegetable stock and make a hearty stew.  

"As long as you have that base, you can transform it into so many different things," says Joel.

All it takes is a little ingenuity, and you've got a great dish on your hands.

6. Frozen protein isn't as good as fresh.

Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash.

You will have to freeze some of your later-in-the-week protein portions if they're not vegetarian, but it's a common misconception that doing so will make them taste any less delicious. In fact, according to Joel, frozen fish is actually better than fresh, because that's how it's initially preserved by fisherman when it's caught. So the longer it stays frozen, the fresher it is.

And for any food scraps that you don’t end up using throughout the week (like broccoli stalks, brussels sprouts ends and potato skins), putting them in the freezer is a great way to press pause and preserve food until you’re ready to eat it. Vegetables can last 8 to 10 months in the freezer, so if you're doing some holiday cooking this winter, consider saving those veggie scraps for meal prepping in the new year.

7. Ugly food isn't tasty food.

Delicious food doesn't always win beauty contests. In fact, some of the tastiest dishes may not look that attractive at first glance. Like anything else, beauty comes from within, and if what's within is super tasty, then you've got nothing to worry about.

So even though your prepared meals might not scream Instagram-worthy, know that doesn't mean they won't taste awesome.

8. You have to meal plan for the whole week.

Good news — you never have to do something you don't want to do! Just make enough over the weekend to last you for the number of days you want ready-to-go meals, and feel free to celebrate Friday with takeout.

Save The Food's Meal Prep Mate can also help you prep three, four or five meals for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so if you want to plan the whole week out, you can do it easily.

And don't fret if you do end up making too much. You can always freeze the meal for later, or give it to a roommate or friend who may love a home-cooked dinner or lunch.

9. It's hard to be creative when you're so busy.

Photo courtesy of "Scraps."

There's no need to stress about making your meals fun and unique — it's as simple as adding sauces and toppings. You know how when you get a salad at a salad bar and the last accents make all the difference? It's the same principle here.

“It’s all about the condiments and textures that are kind of like add-ons on the top," explains Joel. And the more you play around, the more delicious combinations you'll discover.

10. This is much harder to make work if you're vegetarian.

Photo by Natalia Y/Unsplash.

It doesn't need to be. There are so many meat-free proteins that can go beautifully with your vegetables and grains. For example, tofu, beans and eggs are some of the most transformative proteins out there.

Seitan can also turn plain old rice and veggies into a delightful Asian dish with very little seasoning and effort.

11. You can't help wasting food when meal prepping.

While you’ll inadvertently be cutting off stems and peeling outer layers of vegetables while prepping, but you don't have to just toss them all in the trash. There's so many ways you can turn your food scraps into delicious meals.

"Each scrap is like its own little puzzle," says Joel.

For example, you can take your leftover potato peels, toss them in salt and pepper, sriracha and olive oil, roast them in the oven for 15 minutes and bam, you've got some tasty potato chips. Or you can take empty shrimp tails and boil them in some water with a cheese cloth full of herbs, and you've got a delicious shrimp stock to dress up your pasta dishes. And here are some more "scrappy" recipes you can try.

With just a little creative thinking, you can make easy, delicious food, save money, and help stop food waste all at the same time.

Photo courtesy of "Scraps."

It's amazing to think that by doing so little, you can achieve so much for yourself and the planet. And it gets even better if you follow Joel's advice on utilizing food scraps.

“You’ll be so surprised when you cook scrappy how much food you actually have.”

So what are you waiting for?

You can learn more about cooking scrappy and making meal prep work for you by trying the Meal Prep Mate and watching "Scraps" on FYI and A+E.

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.


Blackface has a long and shameful history in this country. We think—we hope—after numerous call-outs and emotional explanations, Americans get the message: blackface is not okay. But that isn't the case, as many were re-made painfully aware, when Dr. Regina N. Bradley, a professor and critically acclaimed writer, shared the shocking auditory version of her new essay, "Da Art of Speculatin'", on Twitter.

Due to outrageous oversight, Fireside—a progressively minded short-story magazine who claim, in their About page, to resist "the global rise of fascism and far-right populism"—hired a young, white male voice actor to read and record Bradley's essay—an essay that identifies its writer, in its very first line, as a "southern Black woman who stands in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement."

According to the Washington Post, Rineer spoke in an accent that listeners interpreted as something that would appear in minstrel show, an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century, in which white people lampooned Black people, often portraying them as dim-witted and buffoonish, with stock characters including the dandy, the slave, and the 'mammy.' It's incredibly, incredibly offensive. So it's no wonder that, upon hearing the clip, a horrified Bradley fired off an outraged tweet, asking Fireside and Rineer if they honestly thought this is what she sounded like.



How could something so offensive have been approved, one wonders, especially in a year defined by reckoning with racial injustice? For the answer, look to Pablo Defendini, the publisher and editor for Fireside, who claimed, "nothing insidious in his decision… he just didn't listen to the recording before posting it."

"The blame for this rests squarely with me, as the person who hires out and manages the audio production process at Fireside," Defendini said in a statement. "In the interest of remaining a lean operation, I've been hiring one narrator to record the audio for a whole issue's worth of Fireside Quarterly, and I don't normally break out specific stories or essays for narrating by particular individuals."

"My personal neglect allowed racist violence to be perpetrated on a Black author, which makes me not just complicit in anti-Black racism, but racist as well."

As for Rineer, he regrets not breaking a contract rule and contacting Bradley directly about her work. His gut instinct told him not to proceed—that he was the wrong person for the job. Still, upon expressing his doubts to Fireside, he was ignored, and so proceeded with the recording—he'd already signed the contract.

"I made the mistake of reading Dr. Bradley's work and assuming an accent that was not representative of her voice," he said. "I had tried to find a different narrator who would be a suitable representative in my network and via public forums, to no avail, in the week-long time frame I had."

As for Bradley, Defendini's apology isn't cutting it. "Not listening" isn't an excuse—it's deepening the wound. Black Women have been "not listened" to since the dawn of this nation's founding.

"I am angry," she wrote. "Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry."

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

True

"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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It all begins with a tweet from comedian Alison Leiby waxing rhapsodic about New York City's bodegas.

"People who live outside of NYC and don't have bodegas:" she wrote, "where do you go to buy two Diet Cokes, a roll of paper towels, and oh also lemme get some peanut butter m&ms since I'm here, why not."

For those of us not from NYC, a bodega is a corner store. If I'm not mistaken, bodegas are a bit less like 7-11 chain stores and more like unique, locally owned and operated mom-and-pop shops, but basically a one-stop store for all your basic needs. Debate ensued about whether or not bodegas really are special, or just another name for a convenience or grocery store. Apparently, bodegas often have cats living in them, so that's a thing.

But something else interesting came out of the discussion—a whole thread about stereotypes of various American states and regions, and it is at once entertaining and eye-opening.

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