MONEY freebies

Free Jamocha Shakes at Arby’s on Wednesday

Arby's restaurant sign, Central Florida.
Arby's restaurant sign, Central Florida. Ian Dagnall—Alamy

The fast food chain Arby's is turning 50, and it's celebrating by giving out free shakes

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Arby’s is giving out free Jamocha shakes on Wednesday, July 23. All customers have to do for a free frosty 310-calorie beverage is follow that link, enter a name, and print out a coupon good for a complimentary 12 oz. shake at participating Arby’s restaurants.

The shake is listed on Arby’s low-priced Snack ‘n Save menu, and depending on the location, it might cost as little as $1.09 usually. But a freebie’s a freebie.

The shake giveaway is one of several periodically offered to Arby’s customers. The chain is known for handing out free curly fries on Tax Day, April 15, and customers are lured with the promise of a free Roast Beef Classic sandwich if they’re willing to sign up to receive news about the latest Arby’s deals and promotions.

And these and other efforts to please the chain’s biggest fans and bring in new customers are part of a campaign introduced two years that included a makeover of the company logo, and its image in general. At the time, consumer surveys ranked Arby’s among the worst fast food chains. Arby’s has tried to revamp its reputation by spending millions on restaurant renovations and adding more than a dozen new items to the menu. The chain has also been attempting to get hipper, scoring a big social media success earlier this year at the Grammys, when the company Tweeted about Pharrell Williams “stealing” the oversized hat on the Arby’s logo, launching a million laughs and retweets.

Rolling out the occasional freebie should put smiles on people’s faces too.

TIME Food & Drink

This Sweet Invention Dispenses Cake from a Can

Think microwaveable cake batter

Looking for a way to binge on baked goods without the wait-time of actually baking?

Two Harvard students are working to patent Spray Cake, which releases cake batter out of a dispenser that works like a whipped-cream can. The accelerant in the can releases air bubbles inside the batter, eliminating the need for baking soda and baking powder so the confection is ready to eat almost instantly. It takes 30 seconds to bake a cupcake in the microwave, and only one minute to bake a full cake.

John McCallum, a junior and the brains behind Spray Cake, came up with the idea as a final project for his freshman year Science and Cooking class. It was his soon-to-be girlfriend, Brooke Nowakowski, who saw its potential: “He was just like, ‘Cool. Lab project,’ ” she told The Boston Globe. “But I thought it could go somewhere.” And she argues it’s good for weight control because, “You can simply pull it off the shelf, make one cupcake, then put it back in the fridge” — which won’t take nearly as long as it took Kristen Wiig’s character in Bridesmaids to make a single cupcake for herself:

 

MONEY Food & Drink

It’s National Ice Cream Day!

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Cones from Maggie Moo's and Marble Slab Creamery. courtesy of Maggie Moo's and Marble Slab Creamery

On July 20, celebrate National Ice Cream Day with these additions to your sundae: a sprinkling of interesting and exciting developments in the world of ice cream.

Earlier this summer, our intrepid ice cream reporter, Brad Tuttle, brought you news of developments in the world of frozen confections. In honor of National Ice Cream Day on Sunday, we’re bringing back his post to help you celebrate by getting the most calories for the least amount of money.

As if developments in the world of ice cream could possibly be uninteresting or unexciting! Among other things, going out for ice cream this summer will be a bit …

Cheaper and Easier After realizing that consumers had begun to think that charging extra for “mix-ins” was a rip-off, sister ice cream chains Maggie Moo’s and Marble Slab officially introduced a new pricing structure this past spring, and as a result customers are a lot less likely to be surprised with a bill for $8 or $9 for a cup of ice cream. According to the new system, prices are set strictly by the size of the cup or cone (generally $3 to $6), and customers can request as many “mix-in” ingredients they want to be mashed into their personalized order, at no extra charge.

Swankier and Pricier Godiva stores recently began selling soft-serve ice cream in a choice of White Chocolate Vanilla Bean, Dark Chocolate, or a Swirl of the two, sold in a crunchy Belgian Waffle cone available with rimmed melted milk or dark chocolate, with or without pralines, or just plain. Along with the upscale cone comes an upscale price: About $6.

SONIC Blue Raspberry with NERDS Candy Slush Dan Goldberg

Slushier and Nerdier Sonic Drive-in, which is in the midst of a huge expansion around the country, has rolled out 50 special ice cream shake and slush flavors for the summer season. The shakes, made with real ice cream, come in flavors like Oreo Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, and Chocolate Covered Jalapeno, while several new super sweet slush varieties are on the menu this year, including Polynesian Punch and Blue Raspberry—made with classic Nerds candy. Bonus: At participating locations, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., slushes are half-price, and shakes are half-price after 8 p.m. every day this summer.

Weirder and … Sandier? Included in the summer 2014 lineup at Baskin-Robbins are curious flavors such as State Fair Fried Dough (cinnamon caramel ice cream with pieces of funnel cake and fried dough) and the Sand Pail Cake, which thankfully only looks like something you’d dig up at the beach: It’s a cake featuring crushed graham crackers as the sand, along with icing decorated to look like sea creatures.

Big Gay Ice Cream truck in Los Angeles Donny Tsang

Deliciously Gayer After years of successfully operating ice cream food trucks and two New York City shops, Big Gay Ice Cream—home of a rainbow-unicorn logo, flavors like the Salty Pimp and the Bea Arthur, acclaimed as the best ice cream parlor in the U.S.—is expanding in a big gay way in 2014. Its first non-New York shop will be open this summer, in downtown Los Angeles.

TIME Food & Drink

10 Cookbooks for Summer

Michael Harlan Turkell

These recipe collections, covering everything from grilling essentials to homemade ice creams, will set you up for a season of good eating

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook

Even as nose-to-tail eating continues to reign supreme, vegetables have found their way into the hearts of America’s best chefs—and not just as a garnish for the main event. The latest cookbook from the Fabulous Beekman Boys—as Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of the farm-inspired Beekman 1802 brand are affectionately known—stays true to the trend, introducing recipes that focus on veggies without ostracizing the omnivore (ingredients like eggs, prosciutto, shrimp, salmon and chicken are used). Vintage and folksy by design, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook is organized by season, so you know exactly what to cook and when: pea soup in the spring, golden gazpacho with minted cream in the summer, roasted carrot-and-cauliflower salad for fall, winter squash stuffed with red quinoa at the end of the year. Simple, straightforward and engineered for everyday use, the recipes will become staples. rodalestore.com.

The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique

Enough cocktail books have come out these days to keep any dilettante busy, but The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, adds something different to the mix. Bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, and keeper of a widely consulted blog (jeffreymorgenthaler.com), Morgenthaler is considered one of the industry’s most trusted resources. Rather than share a list of classic recipes you’ve already memorized—or worse, instruct on fancy showmanship—he offers straightforward, technique-driven advice on the essential components of a cocktail, dispensing wisdom that even the seasoned home bartender might not know (smooth-skinned citrus heavy for their size are good for juice; pebbled, brightly colored ones are better for garnish). He offers patient explanations in a serious tone as to why the basics matter and also dispels precious bartender BS. The book wasn’t created to make you a better sounding bartender—it was made to make you a savvier one. Available in June; chroniclebooks.com.

The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook

Culled from more than a century’s worth of published recipes and musings on cookout dining, the 400 pages’ worth of content in The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook will keep you sated all season and then some. Edited by author and former Times journalist Peter Kaminsky—with contributions from star chefs like Jacques Pépin, Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill, New York) and Susan Spicer (Bayona, New Orleans), as well Grey Lady food writers like Mark Bittman, Florence Fabricant, Craig Claiborne and Melissa Clark—it is a collection of the very best on the subject. Less of a glossy display book (there are a few black-and-white photos) and more of a resource, the book and its nearly 200 recipes is sure to be an essential tool. While the classics are all there, dishes like corn fritters, shu mai–style burgers and grilled clams with fried garlic provide inspiring respite from the usual. sterlingpublishing.com.

The Meat Hook Meat Book

Though artisanal cooking and DIY have defined the zeitgeist for the past few years (rooftop beehives, backyard chicken coops), there is room for one more book on butchering. It helps, of course, thatThe Meat Hook Meat Book—written by Tom Mylan, executive chef at and co-owner of The Meat Hook in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—isn’t just for hip homesteaders. It’s a useful tool for anyone interested in knowing exactly where last night’s rib-eye came from. A former vegetarian, Mylan went back to meat when he discovered sustainable, holistic approaches to farming, slaughtering and butchering—all of which are touched on in detail here. Making his way through beef, pork, lamb, sausage, chicken, turkey, duck and rabbit, he instructs how to break down and cook animals from nose to tail. The lurid, full-bleed images of labeled cuts and intense close-ups of cooked dishes aren’t always enticing, but the instruction and tips certainly are (served with a sense of humor to boot). Even for those who don’t plan to get their hands dirty, the book remains a helpful guide. workman.com.

Thailand: The Cookbook

Thailand: The Cookbook, a 528-page oeuvre on Thai cuisine, is a transportive tool packed with 500 recipes and myriad images of Thailand’s food, vistas and people. Photographer and food writer Jean-Pierre Gabriel spent more than three years traveling throughout the country culling recipes from home cooks, restaurants and marketplaces in search of authentic dishes and cooking techniques. He has compiled the essentials in a thorough investigation of the flavors that define the nation’s diverse cuisine. The story begins with a few short essays on each region, illustrating how geography affects the culinary traditions therein. Organized by genre (Pastes & Sauces, Snacks & Drinks, Rice & Noodles, etc.), the book highlights international favorites like crab fried rice and Massaman curry alongside regional delicacies like fried crickets with herbs and spicy dried-buffalo-skin salad. Recipes have been carefully adapted for the home cook, with suggested ingredient alternatives when possible, a glossary of terms and advice on cooking equipment. There’s also an entire chapter dedicated to guest chefs, featuring names like Saiphin Moore (Rosa’s Thai Café, London) and Ann Redding and Matt Danzer (Uncle Boons, New York). phaidon.com.

READ THE FULL LIST ON DEPARTURES.COM

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TIME Food & Drink

7 Ways to Make Bad Wine Drinkable

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Image Source—Image Source/Getty Images

This post originally appeared on FoodandWine.com/fwx

So, the real wine shop was closed and you’ve lost the liquor store lottery. Must you suffer with your medium-gross wine until you’ve consumed enough not to care? No. There are steps you can take to improve almost any wine, or at least trick yourself into tolerating it. Here are seven ways to make the most of not-so-stellar selections.

1. Chill it down.

As temperatures drop, flavors become muted. Most of us drink our worthy white wine too cold, but just-above-freezing is the perfect temperature for lesser bottles.

2. Adulterate it.

That is, make a spritzer. Or sangria. Or the Basque specialty kalimotxo (red wine and Coke).

3. If it’s red, drink it with mushrooms.

For reasons that wine-world pseudoscience hasn’t yet ventured to explain, umami-rich mushrooms tend to make ho-hum reds taste better. If your wine’s specific problem is a sandpapery mouthfeel, add red meat: Fat and protein both neutralize rough tannins.

4. If it’s sweet, drink it with something spicy.

Sadly, assertive cuisines like Thai and Indian tend to obliterate the delicious nuances of great wines. Happily, they’ll also obliterate the unpleasant nuances of bad wines. If your palate is busy dealing with garam masala or another intense spice combination, it’s not going to notice that your low-rent Riesling is lacking a bit in acidity.

5. If it’s oaky, drink it while you’re grilling.

Does your cheap Chardonnay smell like a burning 2-by-4? It may have been subjected to a process whereby big tea bags full of charred wood chips were dunked in it prior to bottling. No matter. Smoky foods work well with smoky wines, and a charcoal-grilled burger is the best kind of distraction for your palate.

6. Drop a penny into it.

This won’t work on any old not-so-great wine, but if you have a bottle that smells like struck matches or rotten eggs, adding a penny to your glass might actually help. Certain sulfur-related compounds can cause these smells, and copper makes them dissipate. Clean a coin, drop it in, swirl, remove and enjoy. When it works, the difference is amazing.

7. Bake it into a chocolate cake.

OK, this is actually a tip for making bad wine eatable. While you typically shouldn’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, that rule can be relaxed a bit for baking. With sugar, chocolate and whipped cream involved, the wine contributes only a mild boozy note to this surprisingly good dessert.

More from Food & Wine:

TIME Food & Drink

The Beer List at This Bar Looks Like a Stock Ticker

Invest responsibly

The Beer Exchange

A bar in Kalamazoo, Michigan, takes the fun of happy hour to a whole new level.

The Beer Exchange has been going viral on Reddit and Imgur in the last day because its beer list resembles a stock ticker — or a Bloomberg Terminal that dispenses alcohol. It displays the current prices for various kinds of beer, and as demand for the different types ebbs and flows, the prices rise and fall. Once in a while, there’s even a market crash that brings the beverages to their all-time low.

It’s a happy hour all the time—as long as you’re interested in the right beer. But unlike stock trading, there’s no reward for buying low and selling high. Besides getting buzzed, that is.

MONEY Food & Drink

5 Beer Trends You’ll Be Seeing This Summer

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Joshua Rainey / Alamy

Your know-it-all beer geek friends may be a little annoying. But man, do they have great tips on what you should drink!

Here are some trends and hot topics being discussed in craft beer circles this summer. Read up if you’re interested in beer—or so you can pretend you know what your beer-nerd buddies are talking about.

The Craft Beer Motel
Sure, beer enthusiasts look, sniff, and savor their beloved brews. But sometimes that’s just not enough. For the beer lover who wants to take the relationship to the next level—sleeping together—Delaware’s Dogfish Head, regularly ranked among America’s best craft brewers, opened the Dogfish Inn in July. The lodge’s 16 rooms are described as being “filled with thoughtful, beer-centric amenities and design elements,” including beer-scented soap and shampoo, with rates starting in the mid-$200s. It’s located near the Dogfish brewpub, not far from the popular summer tourist area of Rehoboth Beach, but something tells us a lot of guests will never see the beach.

Beer Camp
Sierra Nevada, the second-biggest craft brewer in America (after Boston Beer Co./Samuel Adams), collaborated with a dozen smaller brewers to collectively produce Beer Camp. Yes, such a place exists: Since 2008, Sierra Nevada has hosted brewers, beer writers, and other industry folks to Northern California for an intensive two-day retreat known as Beer Camp. But this year, beer lovers around the country get to attend Beer Camp (sorta) with the purchase of a Beer Camp 12-pack, featuring a dozen beers created by Sierra Nevada and partner craft brewers around the country.

The collaborators include North Carolina’s Asheville Brewers Alliance, Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company, and Wisconsin’s New Glarus. Not only are the collaboration brews themselves special, these are brands that may not be available normally in your neck of the woods. Thanks to Beer Camp, you can get a taste without traveling across the country.

We’ve Got Monks Who Brew, Too
Authentic Trappist beers, which are brewed by monks at Trappist monasteries, are regularly ranked among the world’s best. There are only 11 breweries in the world allowed to have the Trappist label, the best known of which is probably Belgium’s award-winning Chimay, sold in fancy corked bottles. As of June 2014, the U.S. has its own monk-brewed Trappist beer, thanks to the launch of the Spencer Trappist Ale brewery, hosted by St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass. The arrival of the monks’ internationally renowned beer label in the U.S. has drawn the attention of everyone from NPR to the Boston Globe, and “Good Morning America” to UK publications like Independent. And, of course, it’s gotten the attention of beer lovers.

Sour Beers
The Brewers Association, Thrillist, New York Post, tons of foodie restaurants, and the Serious Eats blog are among the many sources to proclaim sour beer as the style “beer geeks are buzzing over” this summer. This is despite the fact that the latter described a first smell of sour beer as “horse butt dabbed with vinegar and blue cheese.”

Despite the sharp, funky smell, sour brews, which have a tart, make-your-mouth-pucker, all-in-all sour taste, are supposedly the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer day. They’re not at all heavy or rich, like brews more suited for winter, yet sour beers may be a little extreme for the average Miller Lite drinker. That may be part of the reason why they’re so hot among craft beer aficionados.

The Sad (But Righteous) Decline of Light Beer
Any beer nerd worth his salt wouldn’t bother talking about a pathetic pale American “beer” like Coors Light or Bud Light Platinum. That is, unless the talk was about how poorly these mass-produced brews have been faring in the marketplace, thanks at least partly because consumers are opening their eyes to joys and superior taste of local craft beers.

Earlier this year, Pete Coors, the chairman at Molson Coors, lamented to the Denver Post about bars removing the taps of mass-market brews like Bud and Coors Light and bringing in craft beers on draught to take their place. “We have a lot of bar owners who are enamored with craft beers,” Coors said. “They are beginning to take off the premium light handles and putting bottles behind the bar instead and replacing the handles with craft beer handles.”

Light beer sales have been declining for years, as has the market share for big beer brands in general, but lately the drop must put the world’s biggest brewers in an especially bitter mood. Businessweek recently cited data indicating that light beer sales fell 3.5% last year, including a 19% dip for Bud Light Platinum, and that domestic light brew sales will hit a 10-year low in 2015. And in beer-crazed places such as Oregon, more than half of the draft beer served is now craft product that’s brewed in the state.

MONEY Food & Drink

WATCH: Hoard the Chocolate! Hershey Set to Raise Prices

The world's largest chocolate manufacturer announced an 8% hike in candy prices, blaming rising costs of nuts, cocoa, and dairy products.

TIME Food & Drink

You Can Finally Start That Shrine to Yourself With This Selfie Toaster

Vermont Novelty Toaster

Eat Instagram for breakfast

For further evidence that selfie culture is turning from a form of self-expression into pure kitsch, we offer up the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation’s new selfie toaster. For only $75, you, too, can put your face on a piece of bread and then eat it for breakfast in the morning. It only takes a week to deliver!

“Yes, you don’t have to be famous or Jesus to have your face on toast,” company president Galen Dively says in the device’s press release. But you do have to pretty narcissistic to buy a toaster for the sole purpose of making your face appear more places!

It’s one thing to take a photo of yourself and Snapchat it to a friend in an earnest attempt at communicating something; it’s entirely another to stamp that face all over the world around you, turning your kitchen into a nightmarish temple to yourself.

With the help of CNC technology, making a custom-design toaster is cheaper than ever, so you can buy a toaster that prints just about anything, according to the company. They even take Bitcoins. Duh.

TIME Food & Drink

5 Delicious Breakfasts That Won’t Leave You Hungry

Breakfast smoothie
madlyinlovewithlife—Getty Images/Moment Open

You may have seen reports in the news lately questioning the benefits of breakfast for weight loss, but I’m not ready to sanction skipping. In my experience, eating breakfast strongly supports weight control, and several studies back what I’ve seen in my 15+ years of counseling clients—breakfast fuels your body when you’re most active, and therefore most likely to burn off what you’ve eaten. It also tends to prevent late night overeating, when you’re less active, and more prone to racking up a fuel surplus that feeds fat cells.

Also, weight loss aside, “breaking the fast” is a savvy nutrition strategy, because it’s a chance to fit in servings of produce, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Missing that opportunity, particularly day after day, can lead to shortfalls that deprive your body of important health protective nutrients.

Health.com: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

Eating breakfast, especially one with protein, is also a smart way to build and maintain metabolism-boosting muscle. One recent study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that muscle building was 25% greater among people who ate a diet with an evenly distributed protein intake, compared to those who consumed less protein at breakfast, slightly more at lunch, and the majority of their protein at dinner.

Finally, a study published last year from the American Heart Association found that over a 16 year period, regular breakfast skippers had a 27% higher risk of a heart attack or fatal heart disease.

If you’re on board for a daily breakfast, but your biggest barrier is time, here are five tips and tricks to help you create shortcuts, so you can reap the benefits without running late.

Chill your oatmeal
Oatmeal doesn’t have to be served warm. Cook, then chill individual portions, and stash them in the fridge in small containers you can grab, along with a spoon, on your way out the door. Just mix a protein powder (like pea, hemp, or organic whey) into rolled oats, add hot water, stir, fold in fresh fruit, cinnamon, and nuts, and chill. Or skip the protein powder, and mix the oats, fruit, cinnamon, and nuts into nonfat organic Greek yogurt, and chill to make a grab-n-go mueslix.

Health.com: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat

Hard boil it
Many of my clients enjoy omelets on the weekends, but feel like an egg-based breakfast takes too much time during the week. For a make-ahead option, prep hard boiled organic eggs on a Sunday for the upcoming week. While you’re making dinner, take a few extra minutes to whip up a simple egg salad for breakfast the next morning. Mix chopped egg with either guacamole or pesto, diced or shredded veggies, and a small scoop of cooked, chilled quinoa or brown rice. Grab a portion with a fork in the a.m., and you’re good to go.

Have dinner for breakfast
It may seem odd to chow down on a garden salad topped with lentils or salmon at 8 am, but who says breakfast meals have to look different than lunch or dinner? Many of my clients make double portions in the evening, and eat seconds for breakfast the next day. Give it a try – you may just find that warmed up stir fry, veggie “pasta,” or a crisp entrée salad is your new favorite way to start the day.

Health.com: 25 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight

Pre-whip your smoothie
Smoothies are pretty fast, but I know that when you’re running late, just tossing ingredients into a blender and pressing a button can require more time than you can spare. If that tends to be the case, blend up a smoothie just before bed, stash it in a sealed to-go jug in the fridge, grab it on your way out the door, and shake it up before sipping.

Make a meal out of snack foods
It’s perfectly OK to cobble together a breakfast from an assortment of snack foods, including veggies with hummus and whole grain crackers, or trail mix made from nuts or seeds, unsweetened preservative-free dried fruit, and a whole grain cereal you can eat with your hands. Bon (breakfast) appetit!

Health.com: 10 High-Protein Breakfast Recipes

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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