Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • The best new frozen treats

    by Linsday Funston

    Our food editors tasted dozens of new ice cream, sorbet, and gelato flavors to pick a handful of can't-miss treats. So grab a spoon and dig in.

    Ben & Jerry's Peanut Brittle

    If you can believe it, this peanut brittle ice cream-studded with bits of buttery brittle, salty peanuts, and caramel swirls-may outshine even the brand's beloved Chubby Hubby.

    To buy: $4 for one pint, at grocery stores.

    Related: 10 Ways to Serve Vanilla Ice Cream

    Sheer Bliss Pomegranate with Dark Chocolate Chips

    Get a dose of antioxidants with a yummy combination of pure pomegranate juice, dark chocolate, and vanilla ice cream, packaged in an elegant metal tin.

    To buy: $6 for one pint, at grocery stores.

    Related: 3 Easy Chocolate Desserts

    Ciao Bella Chocolate Jalapeño Gelato

    Hot jalapeño peppers perk up the earthy, bold chocolate flavor. It's a terrific combo for refined, heat-loving palates.

    To buy: $5 for one pint, at grocery stores.

    Related: Everyday Mexican Recipes

    Talenti Toasted

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  • The Best Graters and How to Use Them

    Tools (and tips) to suit your recipe, your grip, and your budget.

    By Elisa Huang

    Justin BernhautJustin BernhautBox Graters

    Good for: Shredding soft cheeses (for tacos or mac-and-Jack) and harder foods (say, potatoes for hash browns); use the side with the large holes. The medium-size holes make smaller shreds of hard foods. The tiny holes turn out fine, crumblike Parmesan. The single horizontal sharp edge is for shaving thin slices of hard foods, such as carrots―it's great if you're slicing just one, but for a dozen consider a mandoline.
    Related: The Best Chopping Gadgets

    Look for: A comfortable handle; rubber at the bottom to prevent sliding across a counter.

    Tip: Lightly coat the outside of the grater plate with cooking spray so the food glides more easily (this also makes cleanup easier). When you reach the end of a piece of hard cheese, put it in your palm and rub your hand flat against the grater to prevent knuckle scrapes.
    Related: Choosing a Cheese for Your Pasta

    Handheld Graters (Rasps)Justin BernhautJustin Bernhaut

    Good for:

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  • The top foods you should keep in case of an emergency

    Natural disasters--such as a flood, hurricane, or blizzard--often come without warning. Stocking non-perishable food items ahead of time (and choosing wisely what you include) will help you weather the storm with less stress.

    By: Vanessa DiMaggio

    Fueling your body during an emergency is very different from your everyday diet. Because you'll probably expend more energy than you normally would, you should eat high-energy, high-protein foods. And because you have a limited supply, the higher-quality foods you eat--and the less of them--the better. "In a disaster or an emergency you want those calories," says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University . "You want some nutrients and some fiber-something to keep your diet normal."

    Related: 24 Delicious and Tasty Snacks

    But that doesn't mean you have to eat like a pauper. "In an emergency, generally you tend to think of meeting more basic needs than preferences and flavors," says Elizabeth

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  • Pasta With Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella

    Sign up now!: Be part of Yahoo! Shine's What's for Dinner newsletter to get quick new dinner ideas, grilling tips, easy desserts, dips, drinks, and more.


    Serves 4 Hands-On Time: 15m Total Time: 25m


    • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes, diced
    • 1/2 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces bocconcini (small balls of fresh mozzarella), quartered, or fresh mozzarella, cubed
    • kosher salt and pepper
    • 1 pound dried fettuccine
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn


    1. In a large bowl, gently combine the tomatoes, onion, oil, bocconcini, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside and let marinate at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Add the drained pasta and basil to the marinated tomatoes and toss to
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  • Taste test: The best salad dressings

    Shake up your dinner routine with a salad dressed to thrill. These eight zesty winners make it easy to turn over a new leaf.

    Best Asian

    Maple Grove Farms Sesame Ginger
    The "big and bold aromatic flavors" in this dressing put one taster in a creative mood: "I'd pair it with greens, chicken, and mandarin oranges," she said. Another loved the delicate crunch of the sesame seeds. It's so good that one fan was moved to beg, "More salad, please!"
    Related: The Best Potato Chips

    To buy:
    $4.50 for 12 ounces.

    Best Balsamic
    Briannas Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette
    "Thick and delicious" was the general consensus on this lush blend of honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Dijon mustard. "There's just the right level of acidity and a nice, surprising sweetness," noted a volunteer. Said a second, "The Mediterranean taste would be great on a Greek salad."
    Related: The Best Marinades

    To buy: $4.70 for 12 ounces.

    Best Blue Cheese
    Kraft Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip

    "This is the real deal,"

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  • Ketchup Bottle as Pancake Batter Dispenser

    Mark LundMark Lund
    A clever way to repurpose an everyday item.

    Original purpose: Flavoring Mom's meat loaf. Aha! use: Portioning pancake batter with precision―and without the usual mess of transferring batter from the bowl. Squeeze out baby-size or plate-size rounds, or add Mickey Mouse ears to a batch of silver dollars. Reward: Restaurant-worthy flapjacks.

    Don't Miss
    Time-Saving New Uses for Old Things
    101 New Uses for Everyday Things
    15 Double-Duty Decorating Items

    Read More »from Ketchup Bottle as Pancake Batter Dispenser
  • 5 secrets to a better family vacation

    Follow these easy tips to make the words "Have a nice trip" a reality.

    Family vacationing on the beachFamily vacationing on the beach

    Rent a house or condo with another family
    Sharing a house or condominium can keep costs down. Not only will you have more room to spread out compared with a hotel, you'll also be able to keep restaurant expenses down by using the kitchen where you're staying. And taking a vacation with another family means you'll have built-in entertainment in the form of other kids and even Uncle Jimmy. Find out where to look for vacation rentals.

    Think about child care
    If you're not traveling with another family and you'd like to spend at least some time alone with your spouse, plan ahead to make sure you'll have someone to watch the kids. Check with your hotel to see if they have a list of qualified sitters. If they refer you to an agency, call to ask for references from other travelers, and request to speak to the sitter who will be watching your children before you arrive. Explore other options for child care while

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  • 6 Ingenious Shortcut Meals

    Ready-made supermarket staples are the keys to fast and delicious dishes.

    Shortcut Ingredient:

    Frozen Creamed Spinach

    RS pick:
    Birds Eye, $2.30 for a 9-ounce package.
    Use it to make Cheesy Baked Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes.

    Shortcut Ingredient:

    Canned Corn Chowder

    RS pick:
    Wolfgang Puck Organic, $3 for a 14.5-ounce can.
    Use it to make Creamy Chicken and Corn Pot Pie.

    Shortcut Ingredient:
    Frozen Chicken Nuggets

    RS pick: Bell & Evans, $7 for a 12-ounce box.
    Use it to make Sweet and Sour Chicken with Cashews.

    Shortcut Ingredient:

    Frozen Shredded Hash Browns

    RS pick: Ore-Ida Country Style, $3.50 for a 30-ounce bag.
    Use it to make Potato-Crusted Salmon with Watercress Salad.

    Shortcut Ingredient:

    Coleslaw Mix

    RS pick: Fresh Express Old Fashioned, $1.70 for a 16-ounce bag.
    Use it to make Sausage with Tangy Caraway Cabbage.

    Shortcut Ingredient:

    Jarred Salsa RS pick: Green Mountain Gringo Mild, $4.30 for a 16-ounce jar.
    Use it to make Mexican Meatball Soup.


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  • 6 New Ways to Use Syrup

    Pancakes are just the beginning―syrup is a sweet addition to a variety of dishes (savory, too). Try using it in these ways.

    By Lygeia Grace

    As a glaze:
    Brush on fish, chicken, or pork before baking.

    Related: 5 New Uses for New(ish) Things

    On bruschetta:
    Spread toasted bread rounds with blue cheese, then drizzle with syrup.

    In butter:
    Blend 1 tablespoon syrup with 1 stick softened butter. Use on baked carrots, muffins, and toast.

    Related: 101 New Uses for Everyday Things

    In a shake:
    Blend 1 cup vanilla ice cream with 1/4 cup milk and 2 tablespoons syrup.

    Over polenta:
    Drizzle with syrup just before serving.

    Related: 50 All-Time Favorite New Uses for Old Things

    On carrots:
    Toss 1 pound carrot sticks with 2 tablespoons syrup, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/3 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast at 400º F for 15 minutes.

    Don't Miss
    New Uses for a Penny, Old CD, and More
    New Uses for Aluminum Foil
    10 Smart Uses for Old Plastic Bags

    Images By: Sang An

    Read More »from 6 New Ways to Use Syrup
  • The Best Potato Chips

    By Lindsay Funston

    Crunch time! Our testers dug into 233 bags of chips and found 21 worth their salt.

    Best Original

    Lay's Kettle Cooked Original
    Thick-cut and extra crunchy, these picnic must-haves are basic but not boring.

    To buy: $3.30 for 8.5 ounces.

    24 Nutritious and Tasty Snacks

    Best Crinkle-Cut
    Ruffles Original

    It's no surprise that this iconic, dip-gripping favorite has been the life of the party since 1958.

    To buy: $4 for 10 ounces.

    The Best Hot Dogs

    Best Barbecue
    Lay's Kettle Cooked Mesquite BBQ

    Not too smoky, not too sweet, this winner comes alive with paprika, garlic, and sugar.

    To buy: $3.30 for 8.5 ounces.

    The Best Barbeque Sauces

    Best Salt and Vinegar
    Dirty Sea Salt & Vinegar
    Pucker up: These intensely tangy snacks pack a powerful kick that lingers.

    To buy: $2.50 for 5.5 ounces.

    The Best Brownie Mixes

    Best Salt and Pepper
    Dirty Cracked Pepper & Sea Sal
    A crisp texture and a piquant flavor make these rounds a

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