Sometimes you come across an animal so cute that you can't decide if you want to grab the nearest person and hug them or just crumple to the floor in the fetal position. Well, make sure you have soft Berber carpet at your feet and a loved one or two nearby, because we found 80 such creatures ready to be oohed and awwed over. Click away!
For some of us, the kitchen is a frightening place filled with sharp objects, alien ingredients, and hot surfaces. But for cats, it's a jungle gym of exploration. There are things to play with, sit on, hide in, nibble on, and nap in. If you have a surface, appliance, utensil, or container, then your cat will find a novel use for it. Take a look at some of our favorite cats getting comfy in the kitchen.
We're headed into college graduation season, which for many means packing four years of accumulated stuff in garbage bags, last-hurrah Summer vacations, and — soon enough — leaps into résumé writing and job hunting. With so much on these graduates' minds, why not make a toast to your special hard worker with a party and some delicious cocktails? We've rounded up festive, refreshing, and great-tasting alcoholic bevvies for your favorite over-21 former collegians, as well as cocktails with nonalcoholic alternatives to toast grads of all ages and their adventures to come!
— Additional reporting by Emily Bibb
It doesn't seem as though a pet would have a large carbon footprint, but when you stop to think about where your dog's food, toys, and other equipment come from, his environmental impact can actually be quite significant. However, it doesn't take an extreme life makeover to turn your pooch's routine into a green machine. Just follow these easy-peasy tips, and tell us: what do you do to green up your pup's daily activities?
Source: Flickr User akaporn
If you're lucky enough to have a mom who cooks, chances are you grew up with deliciously nourishing homemade meals and a repertoire of heirloom family recipes. This Mother's Day, thank Chef Mom for years of hard culinary work with pretty gifts to beautify her kitchen! We've picked out our favorite fetching accessories to make her smile when whipping up the next family meal masterpiece.
Kentucky is perhaps best known for thoroughbred horse racing, mint juleps, and — lately — its national championship-winning college basketball teams. But the state is quite a foodie haven with a rich culinary tradition.
Thanks to the many ethnic influences on its cuisine, Kentuckians have developed a diverse array of foods over the last few centuries that make the state a worthy destination for Derby Day and beyond. Take a minute to learn more about some of the state's delicious offerings.
Burgoo: While this stew was not invented in Kentucky, the state has molded the dish into something all its own. There was a time when burgoo derived its main ingredients from whatever meat was available (squirrel, opossum, raccoon, and venison were popular choices), but today you'll find most restaurants fill their hearty pots with pork, chicken, and mutton.
Mutton barbecue: Western Kentucky was once the state's center for wool production, so mutton became a popular meat. However, the most widely available sheep were often older and their meat tougher and too strongly flavored. Slow-cooked barbecue became an efficient way to soften and season the meat. Today, Owensboro, KY, is still renowned for its delicious mutton barbecue.
Keep reading to see more Kentucky favorites.
Graduation is such an exciting time, and for many former coeds, it's a chance to try out a new city, pursue dream jobs, and rent an off-campus apartment. It also may mean stocking and maintaining a "real" kitchen . . . at least one that's used for more than steeping ramen noodles and unpacking fast-food bags. We've rounded up 10 kitchen items that are essential to any postcollegiate kitchen (hint, hint, gift givers).
It wasn't too long ago that wedding food options were limited to beef, chicken, or fish with a champagne toast and frosted white cake to follow. Of course, with infinitely creative couples finding new ways to set their celebrations apart, there's no longer a set formula to the American wedding menu. Drawing upon traditions from other world cultures, couples can honor their diverse backgrounds or create new traditions that define them as a pair. We've rounded up several customs worthy of consideration for your unique nuptials!
Your wedding guests will travel great distances and bestow you with lavish gifts, so a wedding favor is a great way to show your gratitude on the day of your nuptials. The best favors are representative of the newlyweds' personalities, but you can quickly find your wedding budget dwindling like a bowl of jordan almonds thanks to expensive favor options. Before you abandon the idea altogether, follow our tips for savvy wedding favor savings.
- Shop online marketplaces. Search for items on sites like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon, and compare those prices with local vendors to find the best deals.
- Buy in bulk. Look for bulk or wholesale deals, which will trim your per-favor cost. Candy, soaps, and packaging are excellent candidates to find at low prices in large quantities.
- Search beyond wedding vendors. Wedding sites may have items tailored to favor-giving, but they sometimes come with a markup. Browse sites and stores that specialize in the item you're looking for, and try to think outside the box when it comes to potential deals. For example, search framing wholesalers for deep discounts on picture frames or chocolatiers for high-quality truffles or chocolate bars. Hopefully, you'll have money left over to pay for engraving or custom packaging!
In college, figuring out music for your party was as easy as picking a playlist on your MP3 player. But when you're planning your wedding, it can be more complicated than choosing a menu. Between string quartets, cover bands, and DJs, determining the entertainment appropriate for your event — and how to pay for it — is sometimes like muddling through a Chopin mazurka in your first piano lesson. But have no fear — the band will play on if you follow our seven tips for saving on your wedding music!
- Be your own DJ. You'll be busy with many other details on your big day, but if you know the tunes that can cause your guests to cut a rug, then grab an iPod and create your own playlists beforehand. For the ceremony, choose songs for the processional, recessional, and the bride's big entrance. For the reception, you'll need a song or two for the bridal party introductions, then some mellow tunes to dine by, the first-dance music, and a long playlist to keep your guests dancing into the night. Have a friend be responsible for DJ and emcee duties while you enjoy the evening with your sweetie!
- Hire a limited engagement. If you simply can't do without your town's cover band of the moment but an entire night of live music won't jive with your budget, then see if they are willing to play just one set during your reception. You can bookend their appearance with a DJ or a playlist on your MP3 player, and you can advertise the evening's headliner to your guests ahead of time.
- Seek a friendly tune. If the phrase "I'm with the band" has become your weekend mantra, then you might have cheaper wedding music at your fingertips. Ask your cousin at Juilliard to help you down the aisle at the ceremony and your pal on the nightclub circuit to make an appearance at your reception. At my wedding, my brother's band played a set after dinner, and the final song featured a guest drummer: my dashing groom! Your guests will love the live music, and you'll always remember rocking out to your friend's melodies on your big day.
Whether you're considering a casual brunch buffet or a formal table service dinner, the meal you serve at your wedding can set the tone for your reception festivities, but the prices your caterer presents can sure be daunting! Before you give your guest list the axe, follow our 10 tips on how to trim the fat from your wedding food budget.
- Think outside of the plate. A meat-and-starch may be the traditional wedding meal route, but if you think about your and your partner's personalities, you might be able to come up with a more creative — and cheaper — alternative. If you're movie buffs, what about pizza? If together you've tried every burger west of the Mississippi, assemble a choose-your-own toppings burger bar. If you throw the best cocktail parties in town, combine cocktail hour with dinner and serve a heavy hors d'oeuvres buffet.
- Truck it in. These days, you can find just about any food in the form of a food truck. Most are available to rent for private events, so call up your favorite taco or crepe truck to check out their prices which are usually much lower than the per-head cost of a catered meal.
- Serve yourself. A sit-down dinner may seem like the only option for an elegant evening, but a buffet can still be formal. Buffets cut down on the amount of staff needed to serve dishes, and your caterer can add fun frills like made-to-order omelettes and meat slicing.
Whether you enjoy them hard-boiled, poached, fried, or deviled, eggs are a kitchen staple and delicious in any form. While breakfast has made the egg a culinary celebrity, it's Easter that has transformed the egg into a cultural icon. Springtime brings us eggs colorfully dyed or reincarnated in chocolate, but the Easter egg actually boasts a rich history, dating back thousands of years to pre-Christian cultures. Want to learn more? Just read on.
A spiral-cut ham seems right at home as the centerpiece of a hearty Easter meal. Of course, deliciously elegant substitutions exist, but why not have some fun with other kinds of cured or smoked pork? Ham, which comes from the hind thigh of the pig, is a cut revered internationally for its marbled fat content and complex flavors when cured, smoked, or cooked. So while picking up a prepared HoneyBaked ham is a perfectly acceptable option, consider giving these other options a try for some salty Easter goodness on a plate.
Black Forest ham
For some nontraditional Easter ham ideas, keep reading.
It's still officially Spring, which means you can still enjoy the bounty of fresh fruits that sweeten up the season. Just like with peak Spring vegetables, enjoying these treats can be as easy as taking a juicy bite, but we've rallied together five recipes that highlight each fruit's delectable essence.
In New Orleans, revelers celebrate one last hurrah before the Lenten season during debaucherous Mardi Gras, but in Munich, there's less of a need to blow off steam thanks to Starkbierzeit, or "strong beer season." Each March, breweries in the region churn out doppelbock, a high-alcohol, intensely rich and malty brew, in celebration of the 17th century monks who created it. Characterized as Oktoberfest minus the tourists, Starkbierzeit isn't highly publicized, but the beer it honors has quite a following in Germany and in many other parts of the world. Ready to drink in some strong beer fun facts? Just read on.
If your road trip copilot is your pet, it's important that he's comfortable and secure for the long haul. While you can hit the McDonald's drive-through, he's going to be more difficult to please (though no dog I know has ever turned down a french fry). We've rounded up our top picks to keep him happy, safe, and motion sickness-free when you hit the blacktop for your long weekend adventure.
Source: Flickr User wsilver
With so many state dinners and committee meetings to attend, President Obama knows a thing or two about fine dining. But watching these formal festivities got me thinking that it must be a rare occasion when the commander in chief gets to eat what he's truly craving. Likewise, the first lady aspires to a day when school lunches teem with veggies grown behind the playground, but it's undoubtedly tough to score local produce when jetting between speaking engagements. So on a day dedicated to this nation's highest office, we're dreaming up a smorgasbord of Barack, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia's favorite foods. Though we're not certain what the first family will be up to today, we hope they enjoy something good to eat!
With their vibrant colors and lacy frills, dainty, crisp-crusted French macarons are the perfect Valentine's Day baking project. But these lovely little delicacies are temperamental enough to stump even the most accomplished chefs. Even if you follow a detailed recipe down to the letter, a batch of macarons can go very wrong very quickly. Thanks to humidity, an unreliable oven temperature gauge, or an overly enthusiastic stirring hand, you may find yourself facing macaron-ageddon rather than baking bliss. But before you throw in the tea towel, we've assembled a few tips to solve your sugary conundrums.
Lunar New Year celebrations usher in the Year of the Snake and, with them, a buffet-full of culinary delights. If you've been lucky enough to partake in a traditional Chinese New Year feast, you also may have learned the significance behind each dish. Otherwise, here's a look at common Chinese foods eaten during the New Year and what they represent.
Fans of nostalgic packaged sweet treats may be racing to stock up with the news that Hostess Brands is closing, but we have a different approach: making our own! Several enterprising chefs have re-created their favorite nostalgic treats which look even better than the original. And an added bonus? Those preservatives that will keep those Hostess treats (and possibly your gastrointestinal tract) fresh through the next nuclear event aren't a concern when the Twinkies and Ho Hos come from your oven.