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Couple's quest to visit every Cracker Barrel in America nears end

An Indiana couple have nearly completed their decades-long quest to visit every one of the 665 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations across the United States, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Ray and Wilma Yoder, both 80, have only one location left to visit: a Cracker Barrel in Tualatin, Oregon, The Lebanon Democrat and the “Today” show reported.

Ray Yoder told the newspaper he embarked on his mission to visit each Cracker Barrel 40 years ago, while he was working a job that saw him traveling the country to deliver recreational vehicles.

“It took the boredom out of being on the road,” Ray Yoder told the Democrat. “It has a down-home spirit, and everybody is friendly. It’s like being at home.”

His trips were initially made without his wife, who stayed home with their four children, according to a 2015 report from The News Herald in Morganton, North Carolina. Wilma Yoder eventually joined her husband.

In the 1980s, Ray Yoder said the couple thought, “Well, now why don’t we try to go to all of them?”

“It’s not like a McDonald’s place, where they have 26 or 30 thousand of them,” Ray Yoder told The News Herald. “It was something we wanted to do, so we are trying to hit all of them.”

The Yoders have since traveled more than 5 million miles in their quest, which once included trips to eight Cracker Barrel locations in a single day, according to the Democrat.

In all their visits in the last 40 years, Ray Yoder said, they never had a bad experience.

“It’s the same good service and great people wherever you go,” he told the Democrat.

Coffee recalled for Viagra-like ingredient

A coffee brand has issued a recall after the FDA found it contained an ingredient similar to the active one in Viagra.

Bestherbs Coffee LLC voluntarily recalled all the lots of New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee after an FDA lab found “the presence of desmethyl carbodenafil. Desmethyl carbodenafil is structurally similar to sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, an FDA-approved prescription drug for erectile dysfunction.”

The analysis also said instant coffee brand contains undeclared milk.

>> Read the recall notice here

Additionally, the recall notice said: “These undeclared ingredient [sic] may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs, such as nitroglycerin, and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Men with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease often take nitrates. In addition, people who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product.”

Now, it should not be a total shock, as “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee is used as a male enhancement.”

Still, the recall notice has been issued for the 13-gram, red packs with UPC 557205060083 on the box and containing 25 packets.

>> Read more trending news

The packages were distributed from July 2014 through June 2016. New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee is consumed as an instant coffee. No illnesses have been reported so far.

The recall notice advises: “Bestherbs Coffee LLC is notifying its customers by phone. Consumers that have New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee which is being recalled should stop using/discard/ and contact their doctor. Please return the product to Bestherbs Coffee LLC, 4250 Claremont Dr, Grand Priarie, TX 75052. Customers returning the product will be reimbursed by check for the returned goods and postage. Consumers with questions regarding this recall can contact Bestherbs Natural Coffee at 817-903-2288 or Albertyee.abc@hotmail.com, Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm CST. Consumers should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product.”

Customers at Virginia Chipotle report illness, suspect norovirus

Chipotle temporarily closed one of its restaurants in Sterling, Virginia, after an unspecified amount of customers reported illnesses with symptoms consistent with norovirus after eating food at the Mexican grill, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news

According to the AP a “small number” of customers reported the illnesses. 

Chipotle said the company planned to reopen the Virginia location the same day after completing a full sanitation of the restaurant. 

Chipotle officials are working with health officials to discover the cause of the illnesses. Restaurant officials assured customers that norovirus does not come from its food supply.

>> Related: Chipotle testing queso offering

Chipotle’s shares dropped more than six percent Tuesday as investors responded to the incident with concern. 

Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. 

In 2015, Chipotle’s revenue and reputation suffered after an E. coli outbreak at restaurants in nine states and a norovirus outbreak at a Boston location. Approximately 500 customers reported illnesses.

“We may be at a higher risk for food-borne illness outbreaks than some competitors due to our use of fresh produce and meats, rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation,” Chipotle officials said at the time

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, restaurant workers are often the source of norovirus outbreaks, as they often touch foods such as raw fruits and vegetables with their bare hands before serving them.

In 2016, Chipotle shut down all locations for a day retrain employees on food safety.

 

Do low-calorie sugar substitutes, artificial sweeteners help you lose weight?

Of the 41 percent of American adults and 25 percent of U.S. children who consume artificial sweeteners, most consume them at least once a day, according to a study published earlier this year.

» RELATED: These 9 healthy-sounding foods have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut 

And the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has said artificial sweeteners can be used to manage weight or blood sugar by limiting energy intake.

But if you’re looking for a sweet secret solution to your weight loss woes, new research warns against falling into the growing trap of artificial sweeteners or low-calorie sugar substitutes for weight management.

>> Read more trending news

In fact, according to the new study, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), artificial sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame or sucralose) may actually lead to heart disease, higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and long-term weight gain.

» RELATED: Exercising to lose weight? Skip these popular workouts 

To determine whether or not artificial sweeteners are associated with the negative long-term effects previous studies have cited, researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation examined more than 11,000 studies on both artificial and natural sweeteners, performed a meta-analysis of 37 studies and then divided them into randomized controlled trials (seven) and longitudinal studies (30).

» RELATED: Are artificial sweeteners safe (and how much can you have)? 

In total, scientists followed more than 400,000 people for an average of 10 years, with seven of those studies (the randomized controlled trials) involving 1,003 people for an average of six months.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • In the short seven randomized control trials of 1,003 people, those who consumed artificial sweeteners did not lose or gain more weight or see a decrease in body mass index (BMI) or in waist circumference than the controls in that group.
  • The 30 longer, observational studies showed people who consumed those low-calorie sweeteners were actually more likely to face increased risk of type 2 diabetes (14 percent), obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other related cardiovascular issues (32 percent higher risk for the heaviest participants compared to the lightest).
  • The longer observational studies also pointed toward an increase in BMI and waist circumference due to consumption of artificial sweeteners.

» RELATED: New study on Splenda's link to cancer sparks controversy 

“Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products. We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management,” Ryan Zarychanski, assistant professor at University of Manitoba and author of the study, said.

But there are some limitations to the study. For example, the way people consumed artificial sweeteners in the clinical trials may not exactly mimic how people would actually consume them.

» RELATED: Scientists say eating cheese can help weight loss 

Most of those involved in the randomized trials were on a weight-loss program, but the larger population consuming low-calorie sweeteners may not be doing so to lose weight.

It’s important to remember the study’s findings are associations, not cause and effect.

But lead author Meghan Azad, who is also an assistant professor, cautioned against the consumption of artificial sweeteners until more research is done to identify long-term health effects.

Azad and her colleagues are currently researching how such sweeteners consumed by pregnant women may impact their baby’s weight, metabolism and gut bacteria, according to Medical News Today.

In the meantime, instead of using artificial sweeteners as a healthy substitute for sugar, try to decrease your sweet tooth altogether by consuming fruit-infused water, black coffee or plain yogurt with fruit, Azad told NPR.

Read the full study at CMAJ.ca. 

Here’s how to get a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts for 80 cents Friday

Talk about a sweet deal.

>> Read more trending news

On Friday, Krispy Kreme customers can buy a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts for 80 cents "with the purchase of any dozen at regular menu price," the restaurant chain announced in a news release Monday.

The promotion, offered at participating stores in the United States and Canada, comes as the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based company celebrates its 80th anniversary.

>> Krispy Kreme store locator

“The joy created by our Original Glazed doughnut and its secret recipe spans generations, and that is certainly something to celebrate,” Jackie Woodward, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “It’s remarkable that for 80 years, Krispy Kreme’s commitment to delivering world-class doughnuts the Krispy Kreme way – hot, fresh and now – has not changed.”

Learn more here.

World's biggest burger on sale for nearly $8,000

An American cheeseburger, weighing 1,794 pounds, has just become the world’s largest commercially sold burger. 

>> Read more trending news

Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Detroit spent the past four years cooking up a plan to win back its Guinness World Records title from a Japanese restaurant, WXYZ reported.

Mallie’s reclaimed the title Monday after creating a super-sized hamburger with 300 pounds of cheese and 250 pounds of pickles, according to WXYZ.

This beefy meal, which stands 3 feet high, was made “in memory of his wife Renee who died from breast cancer, and as a birthday gift to his two daughters,” WXYZ reported. 

“It's a lifetime memory for them. I mean how many kids get to get an 1,800-pound hamburger on their birthday?” Steve Mallie told WXYZ. 

If you’re getting hungry reading this, you can order the burger for a small fee of $7,799.

Read more at WXYZ.

>> Related: Some call Costco’s new burger ‘Shake Shack copycat’

Chick-fil-A giving free food to cow-costumed customers on Cow Appreciation Day

You’ll just need a little more cowbell – or at least a cow suit – to snag some free Chick-fil-A on Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

For the 13th year, Chick-fil-A will hold its Cow Appreciation Day event at its more than 2,100 stores nationwide. From opening until 7 p.m. Tuesday, adult customers who dress in cow attire – from “head-to-hoof,” according to the restaurant’s website – will be given a free Chick-fil-A entree, such as the Egg White Grill, Smokehouse BBQ Bacon sandwich, Original Sandwich and more. Children clad in their best moo costume will receive a free kids meal.

It’s the restaurant’s largest single-day customer appreciation event, and it celebrates Chick-fil-A’s popular “Eat Mor Chikin” Cows, which appear on billboards across the country.

“Every year we are amazed at the number of customers who participate in Cow Appreciation Day,” Jon Bridges, Chick-fil-A’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

Last year, more than 1.6 million free entrees were given to customers on Cow Appreciation Day. Just as in past years, Chick-fil-A encourages those who participate to share photos on social media using #CowAppreciationDay. There’s also a Cow Appreciation Day Snapchat filter, so snap, tweet or Instagram post till the cows come home.

Chipotle testing queso offering

According to Eater, Chipotle is unveiling its only public-facing test kitchen in New York on Monday, called Chipotle NEXT Kitchen. On deck: a classic margarita and virgin strawberry variety, a salad with avocado citrus dressing and queso.

>> Read more trending news

That’s right. Queso, which the Mexican fast casual chain just previously said would not appear on its menu anytime soon due to the artificial ingredients needed to make the liquid gold suitable for a service line. That cheesy dip is the most requested item that’s not on Chipotle’s menu, Eater New York reported. In a Chipotle internal memo quoted by Eater, the restaurant’s CEO, Steve Ells, told employees Monday that the lack of queso has lead to lost business.

>> Related: Here's why Chipotle doesn't sell queso

To be clear: This does not mean that queso is headed to your local Chipotle, as it’s currently only available at the test kitchen. However, if you’ve held your queso dreams close to your burrito-eating heart, it’s certainly cause for optimism.

Birthday cake-inspired ‘celebration cheesecake’ coming to The Cheesecake Factory

A new cheesecake flavor is coming to The Cheesecake Factory for National Cheesecake Day.

Food & Wine reported that the restaurant chain is bringing a birthday cake-inspired cheesecake to its already lengthy menu of 30 flavors of cheesecake.

According to a Thursday news release, the treat -- a which has layers of the eatery’s original cheesecake and chocolate, vanilla and strawberry layers of mousse and a cream cheese frosting, is part called “Celebration Cheesecake.”

>> Read more trending news

The sprinkled slices are part of the chain’s celebration of National Cheesecake Day, which is July 30. In addition, from July 30 to 31, customers can get half price cheesecake slices.

“National Cheesecake Day has become an annual tradition at The Cheesecake Factory, and we look forward to it all year,” David Overton, The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated CEO said in the news release.

The Cheesecake Factory will also donate 25 cents to hunger relief organization Feeding America for every slice purchased from July 30 through August.

The half-price cheesecake offer applies to all 193 restaurants, but is only good for one slice per guest each day.

Celebrate National Fried Chicken Day with crispy tenders

Making fried chicken from scratch is a mission, even on National Fried Chicken Day (July 6). The brining, the marinating, the breading, the frying, the fretting about overcooking or undercooking the bone-in chicken parts – it requires patience, not to mention serious skill.

To which I say there’s no shame in finding delicious shortcuts. Ditch the bone-in bird; go for the tenderloins, those narrow fillets that cook in a flash. 

>> Read more trending news

Here’s a terrific recipe from Southern food writer Rebecca Lang’s “Fried Chicken” cookbook (Ten Speed Press, 2015). Serve these crispy tenders with your favorite dipping sauce or, if you’re feeling slightly industrious, whip up Lang’s honey mustard and “Comeback” sauces. 

RECIPE

Recipes adapted from “Fried Chicken: Recipes for the Crispy, Crunchy, Comfort-Food Classic” by Rebecca Lang (Ten Speed, 2015). 

Rebecca Lang’s Camden’s Favorite Chicken Fingers  

Serves: 4-6 

2 cups all-purpose flour 

1⁄2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs 

2 teaspoons salt 

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

2 cups buttermilk 

Pure olive oil, for frying 

1 3⁄4 pounds chicken tenderloins (about 18 tenderloins) 

Honey Mustard (see recipe), for serving 

Comeback Sauce (see recipe), for serving 

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Pour the buttermilk into another bowl. 
  • In a large heavy skillet, heat 1⁄2 inch of olive oil over medium heat to 325 degrees. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. 
  • Working with half of the chicken tenderloins at a time, dip them in the buttermilk and dredge in the flour mixture. Stir the flour mixture often to keep the bread crumbs from settling to the bottom of the bowl. 
  • Carefully place the tenderloins in the hot oil. Fry, turning often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and juices run clear. Maintain an oil temperature of 315 to 325 degrees. 
  • Drain the pieces on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining chicken. 
  • Serve the chicken fingers with honey mustard and sauce.

Homemade Honey Mustard 

Makes: 1 cup 

1⁄2 cup yellow mustard 

1⁄2 cup honey 

1 teaspoon lemon zest 

1⁄4 teaspoon paprika 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, lemon zest and paprika. 
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Comeback Sauce 

Makes: 1 1/4 cups 

1⁄2 cup mayonnaise 

1⁄4 cup chili sauce, such as Heinz 

2 tablespoons ketchup 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1 1⁄2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

1⁄4 teaspoon paprika 

1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder 

1⁄8 teaspoon onion powder 

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, ketchup, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper.
  • Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
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