9 Unexpected Things to Toss on the Grill This Summer

iStock
iStock

So, you’ve mastered all the usual stuff when it comes to grilling—burgers, steaks, hot dogs, and every variety of teriyaki kabobs. Ready to try something new? Here’s a list of ideas from soup to nuts (literally), just waiting to be fired up.

1. SOUP


Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and numerous other books on grilling, believes that soup is “utterly transformed” by the addition of grilled vegetables. He recommends charring some tomatoes, peppers, and onions or some corn in the husk to add depth and smokiness to your gazpacho or corn chowder. You already know that caramelizing onions on the grill takes the flavor to a new level, but add butter, sherry, and broth to the mix and you’ve got the makings for an unparalleled onion soup.

2. CAKE


Grill homemade or store bought pound cake and you’ve created the base for a multitude of simple-but-elegant desserts. Preheat your grill to high; while you wait for things to heat up, brush each slice with butter on both sides. Grill each slice for about a minute, then rotate each slice a quarter turn to create a crosshatch pattern. Grill for another minute, or until toasted, then top with whatever seasonal produce you can find at your local market or farmstand, adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream or your favorite ice cream. For a booze-infused dessert, add some peaches with a whiskey and caramel sauce.

3. DOUGHNUTS


Creating fresh doughnuts is as easy as one, two, three: Just mix some cinnamon and sugar, cream some butter and brown sugar, and use a cookie cutter to cut the center out of some pre-made buttermilk biscuits. For an even easier take, purchase fresh glazed doughnuts and grill over medium high heat to achieve a delightful crispiness on the outside and light fluffiness on the inside.

4. COOKIES


Here’s another way to satisfy your sweet tooth grill-style. Take just about any basic cookie dough recipe and a baking sheet, and you can achieve the same home-baked results that you accomplish in the kitchen. Try these classic chocolate chip cookies or bring a little fruity, nutty, chocolatey goodness to the milk and cookie platter with this chunky, chewy, chocolate cookie recipe.

5. EGGS


The possibilities for the incredible edible are endless. Start your day with grilled peppers stuffed with egg and cheese. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go global and give some grilled eggs with Vietnamese seasonings a roll.

6. LEMONS


Grilling lemons brings out the tangy juices and imparts a subtle, smoky flavor—so when life gives you lemons, make some grown-up lemonade with a splash of bourbon or give your dip a Middle Eastern twist with a grilled lemon tzatziki.

7. BANANAS


You can create authentic New Orleans-style Bananas Foster. It takes just five minutes to create a sauce on the stovetop with butter, brown sugar, and spices. Once your sauce is done, simply split bananas lengthwise, skin on, brush with butter, and grill both sides. Voila! Grill up another American Classic with this banana split recipe that uses foil “boats” to transport your dessert to gooey, chocolatey, creamy deliciousness.

8. HEARTS OF PALM


Hearts of palm, usually served cold in a salad, are the edible, tender center parts from the stem of the cabbage palm tree. Their delicate flavor, similar to artichokes, translates beautifully to grilling. For a healthy and delicious side dish, try hearts of palm and parmesan. Or, add a vegan-friendly, south of the border vibe to your grilling repertoire with these marinated heart of palm tacos with spicy cabbage slaw by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chef and author of Serious Eats's James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab.

9. NUTS


Forget buying store-bought roasted nuts, which can include excess ingredients and unhealthy oils. Instead, grab a foil pan and one of your favorite sweet and spicy recipes, like the famously addictive Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts and place the pan over low, indirect heat for about 30 minutes, watching to prevent any charring. For a more rustic take, try this cowboy trail mix, which you can create with any combination of your favorite dried fruits, pretzels, cereal, or chocolate chips.

All images courtesy of iStock.

Swear Off Toilet Paper With This Bidet Toilet Seat That's Easy to Install and Costs Less Than $100

Tushy
Tushy

The recent coronavirus-related toilet paper shortage has put the spotlight on the TP-less alternative that Americans have yet to truly embrace: the bidet.

It's not exactly a secret that toilet paper is wasteful—it's estimated to cost 437 billion gallons of water and 15 million trees to produce our yearly supply of the stuff. But while the numbers are plain to see, bidets still aren't common in the United States.

Well, if price was ever the biggest barrier standing in the way of swearing off toilet paper for good, there's now a cost-effective way to make the switch. Right now, you can get the space-saving Tushy bidet for less than $100. And you'll be able to install it yourself in just 10 minutes.

What is a Bidet?

Before we go any further, let’s just go ahead and get the awkward technical details out of the way. Instead of using toilet paper after going to the bathroom, bidets get you clean by using a stream of concentrated water that comes out of a faucet or nozzle. Traditional bidets look like weird toilets without tanks or lids, and while they’re pretty uncommon in the United States, you’ve definitely seen one if you’ve ever been to Europe or Asia.

That said, bidets aren’t just good for your butt. When you reduce toilet paper usage, you also reduce the amount of chemicals and emissions required to produce it, which is good for the environment. At the same time, you’re also saving money. So this is a huge win-win.

Unfortunately, traditional bidets are not an option for most Americans because they take up a lot of bathroom space and require extra plumbing. That’s where Tushy comes in.

The Tushy Classic Bidet Toilet Seat.

Unlike traditional bidets, the Tushy bidet doesn’t take up any extra space in your bathroom. It’s an attachment for your existing toilet that places an adjustable self-cleaning nozzle at the back of the bowl, just underneath the seat. But it doesn’t require any additional plumbing or electricity. All you have to do is remove the seat from your toilet, connect the Tushy to the clean water supply behind the toilet, and replace the seat on top of the Tushy attachment.

The Tushy has a control panel that lets you adjust the angle and pressure of the water stream for a perfect custom clean. The nozzle lowers when the Tushy is activated and retracts into its housing when not in use, keeping it clean and sanitary.

Like all bidets, the Tushy system takes a little getting used to. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to use toilet paper again. In fact, Tushy is so sure you’ll love their product, they offer customers a 60-day risk-free guarantee. If you don’t love your Tushy, you can send it back for a full refund, minus shipping and handling.

Normally, the Tushy Classic retails for $109, but right now you can get the Tushy Classic for just $89. So if you’ve been thinking about going TP-free, now is definitely the time to do it.

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The Clever Reason Oranges Are Sold in Red Mesh Bags

Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images
Gingagi/iStock via Getty Images

If a detail in a food's packaging doesn't seem to serve a practical purpose, it's likely a marketing tactic. One example is the classic mesh bag of oranges seen in supermarket produce sections. When oranges aren't sold loose on the shelf, they almost always come in these red, mesh bags. The packaging may seem plain, but according to Reader's Digest, it's specially designed to make shoppers want to buy the product.

The color orange "pops" when paired with the color red more so than it does with yellow, green, or blue. That means when you see a bunch of oranges behind a red net pattern, your brain assumes they're more "orange" (and therefore fresher and higher quality) than it would if you saw them on their own. That's the same reason red is chosen when making bags for fruits like grapefruits or tangerines, which are also orange in color.

For lemon packaging, green is more commonly chosen to make the yellow rind stand out. If lemons were sold in the same red bags as other citrus, the red and yellow hues together would actually make the fruits appear orange. Lemons can also come in yellow mesh bags, and the bags for limes are usually green to match their color.

Next time you visit the supermarket, see if you can spot the many ways the store is set up to influence your buying decisions. The items at eye-level will likely be more expensive than those on the shelves above and below them, and the products near the register will likely be cheaper and more appealing as impulse buys. Check out more sneaky tricks used by grocery stores here.

[h/t Reader's Digest]