This Unicorn Frappuccino Candle Is THE Stocking Stuffer For Any Starbucks Addict

Between Disney-exclusive Starbucks releases, rose gold cups that sent die-hard customers into a frenzy, and tons of new menu additions, 2017 has been a crazy year for Starbucks fans. But nothing tops the craziness that was the Unicorn Frappuccino, a multicolored beverage that managed to create complete chaos during its four-day stint on menus. Whether you loved or hated the flavor of the limited-time offering, there’s no denying that it was a cultural “moment” . . . and now it’s available in candle form.

One Etsy vendor has managed to create the Unicorn Frappuccino as a candle, from its sweet scent to its layered pink and blue coloring. And with it available in several sizes, the handmade candle makes a perfect gift for any Starbucks enthusiast; it even fits right into a stocking! Check out the gorgeous photos of this unicorn-inspired candle, then order your own to relive the glory of 2017’s craziest food trend.

3-Ingredient Hot Chocolate in 3 Minutes

While there’s always a spot in my heart for hot cocoa mix or Nutella hot chocolate, my favorite hot chocolate is made using this method, involving warm milk and high-quality chocolate.

The peskiest problem most people face when making homemade hot chocolate is emulsifying (blending) the chocolate and the milk. Forget whisks or blenders – the only way to get the job done is to shake the warm milk and chocolate together in a mason jar until the mixture becomes frothy.

In literally three minutes, homemade hot chocolate is made! Feel free to stir in a little (1/4 teaspoon) vanilla or peppermint extract for an extra flavor kick. Top with marshmallows or with some whipped cream, and go cozy up by the fire.

Easy Hot Chocolate

From POPSUGAR Food

Notes

If you don’t have a microwave, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until scalded (small bubbles form on the edge of the pan). Meanwhile, put the chocolate in the mason jar. Pour the scalded milk over the chocolate, secure the mason jar with a lid, and shake.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup milk of your choice
  2. 1/4 cup (2 ounces) chocolate of your choice
  3. Marshmallows, for garnishing

Directions

  1. In a mason jar, combine the milk and chocolate.
  2. Microwave for about 1 minute and 10 seconds, or until small bubbles form at the top of the milk and the chocolate appears slightly melty.
  3. Carefully remove (you may need to do so with a towel or oven mitt). Secure the lid on the mason jar, and shake until the chocolate dissolves into the milk and becomes frothy.
  4. Unscrew the cap, transfer to a mug, and top with the marshmallows.

McDonald’s Japan Has Cheesy Potato Bites That Are Basically Balls of Joy

OK, we’ll say it – why does Japan get the coolest junk food? From Instagrammable doughnuts and ice cream floats to wacky potato chip flavors and special fast-food menus, it seems like every new food release that makes our tummies grumble is centered in Japan! And the latest addition to the McDonald’s Japan menu is no different, even though it’s supposedly American-inspired: the new American Cheddar Potato Bites, which are chicken-nugget-size cheesy potato balls available as a side.

The bites are only available for a limited time, because nothing this pure and perfect can last forever. But don’t cry because it’s (almost) over – smile because it happened! And, of course, drool over these amazing photos.

Be Our Gluten-Free Guest

The holidays are a time of celebrations, food and family, but they can also come with a heaping side of stress, especially for those who are on the gluten-free diet. If it’s your first holiday season since diagnosis, family dinners or work parties can feel particularly intense. While many choose to host holiday meals, which allows for more control, there are occasions where it’s necessary to be a gluten-free guest. How can you enjoy a holiday event without worry, and what strategies can you use to deal with family or friends who just don’t quite understand?

Breaking It Down

Traditional holiday celebrations almost always revolve around food, whether that’s a cookie swap party, after-work social or Thanksgiving dinner. The gluten-free diet can force an abrupt change in holiday traditions, and that can be uncomfortable for many. “Holidays are a time when you feel connected to family and friends, and there are a lot of traditions around food,” says Angelia Parsons, LISW, from Light the Way  Christian Counseling in Bellefontaine, Ohio. “When you can’t full participate, it’s easy to feel alienated.” She suggests that family and friends often don’t know how to react to the new normal. “There are certain struggles in life that all of us can identify with, but not everyone has had to make significant changes in their diet.”

Katie Wallace, age 24, from Findlay, Ohio, recalls her first gluten-free Thanksgiving. “It was very confusing. At that time, we were still trying to figure out how to cook gluten free, so I felt like I couldn’t eat anything at all.” Her mom, Karen, recalls feeling a lot of fear. “I made a lot of the food myself that Thanksgiving because we were going to be eating at a relative’s home and I wanted to make sure she was safe. It was so scary at that time.”

Sizing Up the Situation

The first holiday season can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean you should stay home. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible for others to prepare safe foods, especially if they are open to suggestions. Sometimes that involves finding an ally or two. For Katie, it was her aunt and uncle who made her feel most welcome. “One of the first Thanksgivings after my diagnosis, my aunt laid out several gluten-free snacks and had everything separated for me. She even had cookies that I could eat.”

Karen remembers how positive that experience was for her daughter. “They took special care to make sure she was covered,” she recalls. “Other family members try to be helpful, but they don’t always get it. They’ll think they’ve made a safe casserole, and then we’ll find out they used a cream of mushroom soup that has wheat in it.” Because of this, Karen tries not to leave anything up to chance. “I make a lot more food than most people do when they are eating at someone else’s house, but I want to be sure she always has something she can eat.”

The Wallaces have some favorite go-to holiday recipes (see below). “Our favorite dessert to take places is monster cookies,” says Karen. “They’re great because we don’t even have to say they are gluten free. Nobody knows that I use gluten-free oats, and they taste fantastic.”

Work events, however, have been more problematic. “I worked in retail for a few years, and no one at my job understood [the gluten-free diet],” Katie recalls. “I dealt with it by bringing safe foods that were appropriate to share—fruits and vegetables, or a meat tray.” If the workplace holiday party is at a restaurant, try to have input on the choice of venue. If that’s not possible, eat before you arrive and enjoy socializing over a beverage.

Working With the Host

If you’ve found a family member or friend interested in making a gluten-free dish or two, offer to provide suggestions, not only on recipes but also ways to prevent cross-contamination. If you are comfortable, offer to help your host prepare some of the meal. Stick to naturally gluten-free foods whenever possible; it may feel less daunting to your host than making a specialty dish. Most ham and turkey are gluten free, but request that some be left plain without broth, gravy or glaze added. Keep the stuffing out of the bird—it’s not only a gluten problem, but it’s also a food safety issue! Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are almost always safe choices, but ask the host to leave out any added flour. A fruit or veggie platter adds color and provides a break from all the high-calorie, high-fat items that often end up on the table.

Keep in mind that mistakes happen, even with the best of intentions. Be prepared with some of your own food, so you don’t go hungry or, worse yet, eat something that’s not safe. While you may have been on the gluten-free diet for a while, this is likely all new to your host, so try and be as understanding as possible. A gluten-free host or hostess gift can also become part of the meal—a basket of gluten-free cookies, fruit or a bottle of wine are all good choices.

Dealing With Difficulty

It can be difficult to speak up for yourself, especially if it’s your first gluten-free holiday season. Family members or friends who suggest “just one bite” are typically well-meaning, but it can be difficult to say no without feeling guilty. Parsons offers some suggestions for dealing with these situations. “One thing to remember is that family members may feel like offering you food is their attempt to include you,” she says. She reminds those on restricted diets that when friends or relatives don’t seem to understand or aren’t sympathetic, it’s more about their fears or feeling uncomfortable. “It’s their coping mechanism—they don’t know what to do with the changes in your eating. It will take time for them to get comfortable with that.”

Parsons suggests a straightforward and assertive “no thank you,” “I’m really satisfied” or “I’m doing OK.” Finding a distraction also works well. “You could try changing the conversation or go to another activity, like sharing family pictures from the last year,” she recommends. Lighthearted comments may be helpful, too. “Try ‘I couldn’t eat another bite’ or ‘I might be a little nutty if I eat a piece of the pecan pie!”

In the end, there might be family members who are still pushy with food. “At some point, you might want to think about whether this relationship is a healthy one for me,” she notes. “There will always be people who support you and, unfortunately, those who hinder you. Try to touch base frequently with those who support you.”

Unique Struggles

Kids and teens face their own trials. Karen remembers how challenging that first holiday season was for Katie. “This was a girl who just loved bread, all kinds of it,” she recalls.

“It was so different than anything we  knew.” Teens, in particular, may be very tempted to eat foods that aren’t gluten free during holiday celebrations, especially those that involve their peers. Parsons encourages parents to engage their teens in the problem-solving process. “Being different is so hard for everybody, especially them, so engage them in conversation instead of just telling them what you think they should do. Ask questions like, ‘Do you want any helping thinking through this?’ or ‘How can I support you?’”

For younger children, Parsons advises open communication during family events where bread or desserts may tempt kids. “You could try, ‘This is what I think about the party regarding what foods are going to be there. If you’re thinking about eating something, come talk to me.’” It can be challenging for kids to turn down these foods, so its’ a good idea to provide alternatives, so they don’t feel left out.

Staying Connected

For some, holiday meals can evoke intense fear, which can lead to a desire to withdraw from these social gatherings altogether. Parsons cautions that there are some red flags to indicate when someone needs a little more support. “Black or white thinking can be a problem here,” she says. “Saying to yourself ‘Everyone doesn’t understand,’ or ‘I  won’t go to anything at all’ means your thinking might be getting a little stuck. Remember, it’s a learning process versus everything must be right all of the time.”

Change is uncomfortable, but it’s necessary. “I can understand the concerns and hesitancy not to want to be sick,” advises Parsons. “But cutting yourself off from family and friends isn’t the answer. Yes, you might be physically safe, but you won’t be emotionally safe.”

Celebrating the holiday season on the gluten-free diet brings challenges, but it also brings opportunities. You might find that family members are more interested than you expected in making sure you have a safe experience. Offer help, be prepared and be gracious, even when things don’t go exactly as planned. Remind yourself frequently that the food is just one piece of the proverbial holiday pie. Enjoy moments with family and friends, volunteer to help someone less fortunate and practice good self-care by taking time for yourself each day.


Recipes courtesy of Karen and Katie Wallace

Gluten-Free Monster Cookies

Makes 78 large cookies

“They taste great, and no one even knows they are gluten free!” —Karen Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

5 cups brown sugar

4 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons salt

8 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons vanilla

48 ounces peanut butter

4 sticks butter

12 eggs

2 cups M&Ms

2 cups chocolate chips

18 cups gluten-free quick oats

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cream the first 7 ingredients together. Add eggs and blend. Stir in M&Ms, chocolate chips and oats. Roll dough into balls and bake 8 to 10 minutes for a small cookie and 17 minutes for a large cookie.

 

Gluten-Free Skillet Cheeseburger Mac

“A Family favorite holiday comfort food!” —Karen Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 18-ounce can gluten-free creamy mushroom soup

1 soup can of water (this rinses all the good stuff out)

2 cups gluten-free elbow pasta

8 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Brown ground beef and drain. Stir in spices. Add soup, water and macaroni. Stir together. Bring to boil over medium heat. When it boils, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and pasta is done. Top with cheese and put a lid on to melt cheese. Stir and serve.

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dump Cake

A holiday favorite of Karen and Katie Wallace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 29-ounce can pure pumpkin

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 box gluten-free yellow cake mix of choice

1 cup chopped pecans

¾ cup butter, melted

Whipped cream for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix the first 6 ingredients until well blended. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch greased pan. Sprinkle the boxed yellow cake mix on top and cover with pecans. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream.

 

Food photos: Karpenkov Denis/Shuttershock; Elena Veselova/Shutterstock; Stockphotovideo/Shutterstock

 

 

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Tahini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Caramelized Bananas

Tahini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Caramelized Banana

This is not your everyday oatmeal. This Tahini Chocolate Chip Oatmeal is topped with sweet and gooey, coconut sugar caramelized bananas making it a special, extra delicious treat. This bowl of oats screams rainy Sundays and cozy Christmas mornings. Or, go ahead and eat it everyday if you want. With wholesome ingredients like oats, almond milk,…

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20 Years Later, M&M’s Reveals What Happens at the End of That Famous Christmas Commercial

Every year, M&M’s classic Christmas commercial from 1996 plays on TVs across the country – you know the one. The short ad, which you can view below for a refresher, shows Red and Yellow encountering Santa, prompting both Santa and Red to faint in disbelief at each other’s existences. Just in case you ever wondered what happened after they faint, you can finally find out! Ending the 20-year-old cliffhanger, M&M’s has released a sequel to the commercial. In it, Yellow saves the day by delivering all of Santa’s presents . . . except he gets the houses all wrong. The ending is actually really sweet and will remind you of the true spirit of Christmas. Watch the much-anticipated sequel for yourself above!

IHOP’s Oreo Cheesecake French Toast Is the Sugary Clusterf*ck of a Breakfast We Deserve

Sorry, Mom, but I’m officially canceling our family’s usual Christmas morning breakfast of egg casserole. It’s not because I don’t enjoy the cheesy, hash-brown-filled dish – it’s because IHOP is now serving up something much more tempting: freakin’ Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast.

The legendary pancake joint officially added this sugary clusterf*ck of a breakfast treat to its menu on Nov. 28 in honor of National French Toast Day, and we’re honestly a bit speechless at how amazing it looks. The Instagram-worthy french toast comes in three tantalizing flavors – Strawberry Cheesecake, Oreo Cookies and Cream, and Toffee Apple Cheesecake – each of which is made with buttery brioche bread. If this menu addition is anything like those epic French-Toasted Doughnuts that IHOP debuted earlier this year, it’s sure to be insanely delectable.

The Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast is only available for a limited time during the holidays at participating IHOP locations, so we suggest booking it to the nearest one so you can try your favorite flavor option (*cough* Oreo Cookies and Cream *cough*). Ahead, get an up-close look at what’s in each of these dessert-inspired breakfast creations, but be warned: you may drool all over yourself in the process.

12 Essential Pie Crust Tips and Tricks

Delicious homemade pie that begs for seconds begins with exceptional pie crust, and to get there, you’ll need to know the hacks and baking tips that will lead you toward crust nirvana. You know what I’m referring to – crispy, buttery, flaky perfection.

Fresh Gift Ideas For Coffee-Lovers Under $60

If there’s one thing people are serious about, it’s their morning brew. Whether you’re scouring the web for the best thing to give the java-lover in your life or you’re the coffee-lover looking to add some fresh gift ideas to your wish list, read through these coffee-related gifts. Bonus: all of these are under $60.

See Ya Never, Diet: Burger King Just Launched Flamin’ Hot Mac ‘n’ Cheetos

Burger King just introduced the late-night snack of your dreams: Flamin’ Hot Mac ‘n’ Cheetos. Exactly like the original Mac ‘n’ Cheetos that launched last year but with a spicy upgrade, these mozzarella-stick-like logs are oozing with creamy mac and cheese and coated in a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crust. Try as I might to act revolted, I have to admit I’d be pretty open to ordering these at 11 p.m. after a few drinks on a weekend. What’s not to love?! We already know that topping macaroni and cheese with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is a good move.

Doing the lord’s work, Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, said in a press release, “We know our guests loved our creamy Mac ‘n’ Cheetos and we heard their requests for a Flamin’ Hot version.” Thank you, Alex and Burger King. If you’re too curious not to try these out, you can find them in packs of five for $3 at select BK locations for a limited time.