Traditional recipes

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Ralphs

Six Things You Didn’t Know About Ralphs

The popular chain is the oldest line of supermarkets west of the Mississippi

Wikimedia Commons/ Coolcaesar

Ralph's was founded in 1873.

Ralphs holds a special place in the hearts of many Californians, and with good reason: it’s a really good supermarket. Here are some facts you might not have known about the biggest supermarket chain west of the Mississippi:

There’s a Reason Why There’s No Apostrophe
It’s not Ralph’s, it’s Ralphs. This is because it was founded by a man named George Albert Ralphs. While he was a very successful businessman, his story is ultimately tragic: he became a grocer after losing a hand in a hunting accident, and died at age 63 due to complications after a boulder rolled over him.

The Chain is Really Old
Ralphs was founded in 1873; the original location was on Sixth and Spring Street in Los Angeles.

Their Architecture is Renowned
Early Ralphs were designed by notable architects; the one built in Westwood Village in 1929 was photographed by Ansel Adams, was declared a Historic Cultural Monument, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was Groundbreaking
The chain was one of the first to have a “self-serve” format, as well as multiple checkout lanes.

They’re Owned by Kroger
It’s the largest subsidiary of the Cincinnati-based chain, which took over the company when it merged with then-owner Fred Meyer, Inc. in 1998.

The Dude Abides
Ralphs makes a couple of cameos in The Big Lebowski, including in the very first scene, when The Dude (Jeff Bridges) writes a check for a container of milk. His Ralphs card is also his only form of ID.

6 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Avocados

Photo credit: Tashka2000 via Getty Images

You know they make a killer eggocado and are beloved among guacamole aficionados. You might also know you can feel good eating one, thanks to healthy fats and loads of nutrients. But the mighty powers of the avocado stretch farther than you probably realize.

1. An Avocado Is A Fruit, And More Specifically A Berry

You might be inclined to call it a vegetable, thanks to its green hue and savory taste, but the avocado is technically a fruit, and even more specifically, a single-seeded berry. A fruit is "the matured ovary of a flower," according to University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources. Fruits consist of a tough outer layer (the skin or rind), a middle layer we typically think of as the flesh of the fruit and a casing around a seed (or seeds). Avocado is further classified as a fleshy as opposed to a dry fruit, and a berry rather than a drupe, which has tough pits or stones, like peaches.

2. An Avocado Has More Potassium Than A Banana
A single avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium, while a banana, well-known for being loaded with potassium, delivers just half that, with 487 milligrams per large fruit.

3. They'll Ripen More Quickly With A Banana Or An Apple Around
Speaking of bananas! The yellow fruit -- as well as apples -- release ethylene gas, a naturally-occurring plant hormone. If you store your unripe avocados in a brown bag with an apple or a banana, the gases trapped in the bag will help those green guys ripen more speedily, according to The Haas Avocado Board.

4. Avocados Are One Of A Few High-Protein Fruits

One avocado packs four grams of protein, among the highest amount coming from a fruit.

And it's good-quality protein to boot. While they don't contain every single amino acid required in the body's protein-building process, they do have all 18 of the important ones, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Plus, all of that protein is available for the body to use, while some of the protein you might get from meat sources is not.

5. You Can Swap Them Into Baked Goods Recipes For Butter
The creamy texture and healthy fats make for a surprisingly-easy baking substitution. And no, you won't be making green muffins. In the right ratios, you can ditch some butter and replace with avocado for healthier chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and brownies, thanks to these tasty avocado recipes compiled by our friends at POPSUGAR Fitness.

6. You Don't Have To Eat Them To Reap Their Benefits
Nutritional perks aside, avocados can play a key role in your healthy hair and skin routine. The antioxidants, amino acids and essential oils inside an avocado can help repair damaged hair, moisturize dry skin, treat sunburns and maybe even minimize wrinkles, HuffPost Style reported.

Yes, it did used to contain cocaine

When Coca-Cola first hit the market, it was sold as a medicine. And, in a sense, it was because the soft drink contained cocaine. That sounds like stuff of urban legends, but, which verifies whether tales like this are true, says it is, though it notes that that the actual amount was a "mere trace."

"How much cocaine was in that 'mere trace' is impossible to say, but we do know that by 1902 it was as little as 1/400 of a grain of cocaine per ounce of syrup," according to the website. "Coca-Cola didn't become completely cocaine-free until 1929, but there was scarcely any of the drug left in the drink by then."

6 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Coffee

Coffee is basically the glue that keeps us college kids together. Whether we’re trying to finish that paper we procrastinated on, or trying to stay awake during that 8 am, coffee is there to help.

Check out these 6 coffee hacks that will make you an even bigger coffee addict then you already are.

Ice Cubes

If you’re basic and like your iced coffee from Starbucks, but you’re running low in the money department, its time to make your own cold brew.

Honestly, coffee ice cubes? I don’t understand why everyone isn’t doing this.

Cool Whip

Whip it right in with your coffee. It adds creamy sweet goodness to your coffee that milk just can’t do.

Coffee Grounds for Eye Bags

Because in college we don’t get enough sleep and this little hack will keep you lookin’ fresh for that 8 am. Just spread a bit of your leftover coffee grounds under your eyes and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

DIY Mocha

It’s hot chocolate and coffee… Need I say more?

Let the Plants Grow

Don’t be wasteful. The plants need some love too.

Bulletproof Coffee

This strange combo referred to as “Bulletproof” coffee is quickly becoming a new fad. It’s best to have when you are skipping out on breakfast and need something quick to prepare you for the day.

The key here is to use grass fed butter (like KerryGold).

1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil blended together with 1 cup of coffee. Boom. You’re bulletproof.

6 Things You Didn't Know About The Pioneer Woman

You've toured her Oklahoma ranch, explored her her town and even had breakfast with her family. But how well do you know The Pioneer Woman when it comes to her kitchen favorites and go-to meals? Recently FN Dish caught up with Ree as she launched her new line of serveware, and she dished on some of her culinary picks, plus what she's listening to — and watching — while she cooks. Read on below for the answers, as well as a bonus rapid-fire session with all of Ree Drummond's favorite flavors.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?

Ree Drummond: Anything remotely related to bananas. Banana splits, banana cream pie, banana bread . I want nothing to do with them. BLECH.

RD: I'm never awake at midnight! I'm a morning person.

It's a regular Tuesday night. What are you having for dinner?

RD: If it's wintertime, roasted chicken legs and broccoli cheese soup. If it's summertime, roasted chicken legs, refrigerator rolls and cool, colorful salad . and it's too hot to eat dessert, so we all have fruit.

RD: Mmmmm. So many things! Any coffee-flavored dessert is a weakness of mine. Tiramisu, coffee ice cream, coffee-toffee pie . I'll take it all.

What’s the most-surprising thing we’d find in your fridge?

RD: Six or seven different jars of fiery hot peppers. I need them, in a psychological sense.

What music do you like to listen to in the kitchen?

RD: I watch movies like The Godfather and Napoleon Dynamite.

Chocolate or vanilla? Is that a serious question? Chocolate!

Cream cheese or butter? Sorry, cream cheese, but butter is the king.

Cake or pie? That's like asking me to choose one of my children. I can't do it!

6. Producers welcome fan-submitted questions

That&rsquos right. The Live website encourages viewers to submit their questions and comments to the co-hosts. There are two ways to do this&mdashfirst, you can send an online message via the show&rsquos virtual inbox. Or you can do it the old school way and send a typed or handwritten (gasp!) letter to the studio&rsquos official mailing address:

Live with Kelly and Ryan
7 Lincoln Square
New York, NY 10023

He may have spent the last 18 years or so of his career in front of the camera, but he told us he was still nervous about his first appearance on This Morning shortly after his stint on Saturday Kitchen ended. We can't imagine why he's a natural!

As a celeb chef, we can only imagine the kinds of food he gets to enjoy on a daily basis. For his final supper, however, there's nothing like mum's cooking apparently. James said he'd have his mum's Sunday lunch - roast dinner with his mum's "proper gravy, none of that jus rubbish" and apparently, "her roast potatoes are so good, they're better than mine".

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A standard, 27 per cent fruit hot cross bun from Coles contains 1102 kilojoules. This is only slightly less than a McDonald's cheeseburger, which has 1180 kilojoules (along with a much higher fat content but lower sugar). It would take an 80-kilogram person about half an hour of jogging to burn off one bun, however, that's provided you eat the bun without butter.

Before there were gluten-free varieties …

The earliest hot cross buns might date back to ancient Roman times. When archaeologists excavated the city of Herculaneum, which suffered from the same fiery fate as Pompeii, two carbonised loaves were found in the ruins, each marked with a cross. The cross was probably to make the bun easier to break into four.

The world's oldest hot cross bun could be more than 200. According to the BBC, a couple from Essex, England, possess a bun with an accompanying letter stating it was produced in Colchester for Good Friday in 1807. The bun looks to be in reasonably good nick, although might need a few seconds in the microwave for morning tea at Essex Rotary Club.

6 Things You Didn’t Know about Hard Times Cafe

If it’s true, as Will Rogers says, that “You can judge a town by the quality of its chili,” then the Hard Times Café is proof that Alexandria is one extraordinary place to be. In fact, as I sat sipping my house-made root beer, pondering whether to try the new special—chili inside a taco shell—I heard one patron tell the server, “I came all the way from Washington State just to eat here.”

No doubt you too have savored Hard Times’ hit-the-spot chili over spaghetti, on a hot dog or in a bowl. Maybe you’ve snapped a photo of the fiberglass horse in a 1941 Chevy outside the original Hard Times in Old Town, or picked out a country western tune on the joint’s neon jukebox. But do you know the origin of its famous Texas Chili recipe? Have you heard that it’s haunted? How well do you really know Old Town Alexandria’s Hard Times Café?

Get a behind the scenes look at Alexandria’s iconic chili bar below…

1. The Hard Times Horse, of course

Image credit: Visit Alexandria

Originally a mannequin at a saddle store, the fiberglass horse you can see outside Hard Times on evenings and weekends is a local landmark, even attracting good-natured vandalism in the form of an equine “knit-bombing” that left the statue feeling a little cozier. It stands in the bed of a 1941 Chevy truck Fred bought on the way back from a chili cook-off not long after the restaurant opened, and a Betsy Ross flag flies over it. Since then, the horse has starred in the George Washington Birthday Parade (surrounded by 10-year-old Secret Service agents) the St. Patrick’s Day Parade (a horn turns the horse into a unicorn with a “leprechaun” rider) the Scottish Christmas Walk Parade (with a blinking red nose and antlers) and Alexandria’s Halloween scene with a headless rider.

2. The makings of a “Chili Museum”

Image credit: Wikipedia

Years before Hard Times opened its doors, owners Fred and Jim Parker frequented Hazel’s Texas Chili Parlor, a Washington, D.C. fixture dating to 1930. Three decades later, Hazel’s clientele—composed mostly of cabbies, policemen, and night shift workers—would remind Fred of Edward Hopper’s famous “Nighthawks” painting. Hazel’s was also the first place Fred would taste chili on spaghetti, otherwise known as “chili mac.” He was hooked.

In 1971, Hazel died and her restaurant folded. But it was not the last taste of her chili for Fred and Jim. In fact, before the chili parlor closed, Fred had begun experimenting, attempting to recreate Hazel’s chili in his own home. He practically turned a room of his house into his own chili parlor. When a piece of property became available in Old Town Alexandria, the Parker brothers jumped at the chance to return to an old childhood hangout and set up their own Depression-era chili parlor. They had no idea Hard Times would expand from their original café in Alexandria to 16 locations in the capital region by 2014.

Image credit: Ben Fink for Visit Alexandria

While Fred was sampling Hazel’s chili and trying to start his own restaurant, he was also working a day job as a graphic designer at the National Gallery of Art. In Hard Times, Fred saw an opportunity to create his own “chili museum” and tribute to the American West. He drew on his museum and arts background to design pieces for Hard Times’ interior décor.

3. Cowboy grandpa’s recipe

Image credit: Ben Fink for Visit Alexandria

Hard Times’ Texas Chili recipe comes down to Fred from his grandfather, a trail-driving cowboy in Oklahoma in the 1890s. Fred’s Aunt Irma preserved the recipe and passed it on to her nephews the original copy in Irma’s handwriting lives in a safety deposit box. Fred’s other recipes are the result of research, experimentation and competition chili cooking, which Jim excelled at. When I ask Fred if he has a favorite chili, he says, “Texas Chili—it’s family.” Some menu items, however, like the chili taters, Frito chili pie and Chili Bubba (two pieces of cornbread smothered with two types of chili), were not inherited—they’re just strokes of genius.

4. Authentic family photos from the American West

Image credit: Visit Alexandria

If you’ve been inside Hard Times, you’ve noticed the old black-and-white photographs of classic Western scenes and rodeos that line the walls. Those images were taken by Fred’s father in 1926 in Dubois, Wyoming, and are original photos, not representations. The photographs offer visitors a glimpse at the reality of Western experience, in stark contrast with the Hollywood version splashed across Western movie posters that also decorate the café. To complement the décor, the jukebox in the back blasts Fred’s handpicked collection of Western swing music from the 1930s-2000.

5. Garfield and Beetle Bailey: Fred’s gallery of famous chili comics

Image credit: Visit Alexandria

Fred is an avid comics reader, and whenever he sees a comic that mentions chili, he’ll write to the artist and request the original illustration. Head upstairs to Hard Times’ second-floor dining room, the Tub Club, and you’ll find original cartoons donated by Dean Young (Blondie), Russ Myers (Broom Hilda), Dik Brown (Hi and Lois), the late Fred Laswell (Snuffy Smith), Jim Davis (Garfield), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), and Chris Brown (Hager the Horrible). The latest addition to the collection is a comic strip by Wiley Miller, who pens the popular Nonsequitur strip syndicated in the Washington Post.

6. Hard Times hauntings

Image credit: Ben Fink for Visit Alexandria

Rumor has it that Hard Times is haunted. Staff say they have heard footsteps upstairs when no one is there, or been tapped on the shoulder, only to turn around and be greeted by thin air. Server Terry, who has been at Hard Times for more than 30 years, believes the ghost is that of Michael Hall, one of the restaurant’s first cooks who developed the café’s famous onion rings recipe. He is reputed to have appeared to one staff member and said, “It’s not about the onion rings. It’s because this was family.” Terry says she has stayed on at Hard Times for the same reason—it’s family.

Reading about chili got you hungry? Find Hard Times hours and info here, or follow Jim Parker’s prize-winning Terlingua Red chili recipe to make your own!

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Noah in the Bible

We are all familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark in the Bible. Noah&rsquos Ark is one of the few stories that most people recognize, even those who have never stepped in a church or opened a Bible. The first time we hear about Noah in Scripture is in Genesis 5, which begins with &ldquothis is the book of the generations of Adam.&rdquo Noah represents the tenth generation from Adam. From the start, we see that Noah is going to be special as he is the only member of this genealogy whose name is explained. His father, Lamech, stares that his son, Noah, will bring relief. We see Noah&rsquos obedient life demonstrated in his willingness to obey without question of the Lord&rsquos commands regarding the ark. Consider the fact that Noah and his generation more than likely had never seen rain before, yet God tells Noah to build a large seagoing vessel nowhere near a body of water. Noah&rsquos trust in God was such that he promptly obeyed. Noah&rsquos blameless life is made manifest as he obeys the Lord in light approaching the day of wrath. How much do you really know about Noah in the Bible? Here are six things you may not know.

10 things you didn’t know about Dave & Buster’s

If you think that arcades are just for kids, then you’ve probably never been to a Dave & Buster’s. The unique chain is part sports bar, part restaurant, and part arcade, and no matter your age, it’s pretty difficult to leave there without having had a fun time. But do you even know if there’s a real Dave and Buster?

We’ll get to that, but first, a little stage-setting. If you’ve never been, you can think of Dave & Buster’s as an adult Chuck E. Cheese’s. Instead of pizza and bizarre animatronic characters, though, there’s a an expansive food menu, a fully-stocked bar, huge TVs blasting sports, and a huge variety of top-of-the-line arcade games some locations also include pool tables and bowling alleys.

There are currently 100 Dave & Buster’s locations in 34 States and Canada, with more in the works. In an era when casual dining chains like Olive Garden and Ruby Tuesday are barely surviving, Dave & Busters seems to have the formula down pat: Get people through the door to eat, drink, play, or any combination of the three, and they’ll most likely come back to do it again and again. Click here for 10 things we bet you didn’t know about Dave & Buster’s.