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Holiday Meals Simplified: Save time and money on your feast

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(Family Features) With holiday entertaining on the minds of many this time of year, it’s important to take steps to make setting the table stress-free and keep focus on what really matters – spending time with loved ones.

With 92% of customers expressing some level of concern about inflation, according to Walmart’s Holidays 2023 Seasonal Survey, it’s important to take steps to save time and money during an expensive time of year.

To help combat inflation, the retailer – which has saved customers more than $1 billion on seasonal baskets and rollbacks during the past year – is offering holiday meal options with all the trimmings at a price lower than last year. Visit walmart.com/holidaymeals, or use the app, to find everything you need for the holidays. This includes meal deals in a single click that can be picked up or delivered in less than 90 minutes.

Holiday Dinner from Scratch

For the host or hostess that enjoys preparing the holiday meal completely from scratch, this bundle includes 30 must-have ingredients to feed 8-10 loved ones. Using your favorite recipes, you can make a whole turkey and ham as well as stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and candied carrots. This basket does not skimp on dessert either with ingredients like canned pumpkin and whipped topping for homemade pumpkin pie.

A Convenient Holiday Dinner

Complete with ready-to-bake options for those who want to simplify cooking and set the table in a pinch, this convenient basket is filled with 21 family favorites like turkey, spiral ham, ready-to-heat macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and dinner rolls along with premade stuffing mix, cranberry jelly and turkey gravy to feed 8-10 people. Thaw-and-serve pecan and pumpkin pies are also included along with whipped topping to get dessert on the table quickly.

For Smaller Holiday Gatherings

From turkey to dinner rolls, this basket features must-have ingredients for a holiday meal for six. Made up of items from Walmart’s private brands, the basket features a 16-pound turkey and ingredients to make green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn. Prepare the meal using your favorite recipes and serve with the turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and dinner rolls – perfect for cashing in on the savings and serving a smaller group.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock (family holiday dinner)


SOURCE:
Walmart

Food and Beverage

HOT & SPICY FIRE WOK LAUNCHES NEW LINE OF CHILI-INFUSED NOODLES FOR BOLDER, FLAVOR-FORWARD RAMEN RECIPES

Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK Partners with FDNY Foundation for a Culinary Showdown to Fight Hunger & Bring The Heat

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Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK

GARDENA, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — Nissin Foods USA, creator of iconic brands Cup Noodles® and Top Ramen®, is heating up kitchens nationwide with the launch of Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK Packets, a square ramen pack featuring spicy noodles that are infused with chili flakes inside the noodle, allowing anyone to easily create bold, flavor-forward ramen recipes. Available in Torched Teriyaki Chicken Flavor and Screamin’ Sichuan Beef, these bold, flavor-forward spicy ramen offerings will bring heat to the kitchen in an all-new flexible format for cooking fans to enjoy solo, with friends or in masses.

To mark the arrival of the new chili-infused Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK Packets, Nissin Foods is partnering with the FDNY Foundation, the official non-profit organization of New York City’s Fire Department to host a culinary showdown at the New York City Fire Museum. The event brought together “New York’s Bravest” with teams of firefighters and EMT/Paramedics chefs from each borough, who showcased their creativity in the kitchen with an original, fiery recipe using Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK Torched Teriyaki Chicken or Screamin’ Sichuan Beef products.

“Our Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK ramen is perfect for flavor fanatics who seek out heat, so we thought who better than NYC firefighters to truly put it to the test,” said Priscila Stanton, Senior Vice President, Marketing of Nissin Foods USA. “These firehouse chefs are super comfortable cooking for a crowd, and our new chili-infused noodles and Asian stir fry flavors make it easy to create a delicious group meal quickly. We’re so excited to see what kind of bold and spicy recipes they will come up with leveraging these innovative chili-infused noodles.”

Additionally, to encourage at-home chefs to give it a try, Nissin will donate a portion of all Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK sales at Walmart throughout December directly to Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, donating up to $75,000 to support families facing hunger.*

“This is truly a unique way for us to work with the FDNY to bring people together over a warm meal that delights the senses and to give back,” continued Stanton. “By offering Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK in an elevated format with chili-infused noodles, we’re hoping to inspire more at-home chefs to find unique ways to bring the heat into their own kitchens.”

While only one firefighter can be crowned “The Ultimate Fire Chef” by acclaimed ramen expert and social media talent Ramen King Ivan, all of the tasty Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK recipes will be shared on NissinFoods.com for consumers to try themselves.

Both new flavors, Torched Teriyaki Chicken and Screamin’ Sichuan Beef, build on the tastes that we know Nissin fans already love. Now with chili peppers infused directly into the noodles, Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK Packets are bringing forth even more heat independent of the seasoning. These ramen packets are incredibly easy to prepare for yourself or combine packs for a group of people. Simply boil the noodles for 5 minutes, and then mix in the seasoning packet.

Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK is available for SRP $1.09 and is now available at Walmart locations nationwide and on Walmart.com. To learn more about Nissin Foods and its various product offerings, visit NissinFoods.com.

Link to images can be found here.

ABOUT NISSIN FOODS

Nissin Foods was established in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, who invented the first instant ramen noodle in Japan inspired by his belief that “peace will come to the world when there is enough food.” In 1972, Nissin Foods USA opened its first plant in Gardena, California, introducing ramen noodles to American consumers. In 1971, CUP NOODLE was launched in Japan and then debuted as Cup Noodles in the U.S. in 1973, revolutionizing the industry by creating a product that could package, prepare, and serve noodles all in one. For 65 years, Nissin Foods has created delicious and convenient Asian-inspired meals at an affordable value. Nissin Foods USA develops and markets a variety of products including Cup Noodles®, Top Ramen®, Top Ramen® Bowl, Cup Noodles® Stir Fry®, Cup Noodles® Stir Fry® Rice With Noodles, Chow Mein, Hot & Spicy Bowl, Hot & Spicy FIRE WOK and GEKI™. The company corporate philosophy inspires commitment to taste, convenience, and quality. Visit NissinFoods.com for more information.

*Every $1 helps Feeding America ® provide 10 meals.

SOURCE Nissin Foods

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Artificial Intelligence

McDonald’s and Google Cloud Announce Strategic Partnership to Connect Latest Cloud Technology and Apply Generative AI Solutions Across its Restaurants Worldwide

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CHICAGO and SUNNYVALE, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s Corporation and Google today announced plans for a new multi-year, global partnership to connect Google Cloud technology across thousands of its restaurants worldwide. This partnership is a significant step for McDonald’s in advancing its restaurant technology platform to become the most sophisticated and productive in the industry. McDonald’s plans to leverage a wide range of Google Cloud’s hardware, data, and AI technologies to implement innovation faster and create even better experiences for its customers, restaurant teams, and employees.  

“We see tremendous opportunity for growth in our digital business and our partnership with Google Cloud allows us to capitalize on this by leveraging our size and scale to build capabilities and implement solutions at unmatched speeds,” said Brian Rice, McDonald’s Executive Vice President and Global Chief Information Officer. “Connecting our restaurants worldwide to millions of datapoints across our digital ecosystem means tools get sharper, models get smarter, restaurants become easier to operate, and most importantly, the overall experience for our customers and crew gets even better.” 

As part of this partnership, McDonald’s will roll out significant advancements to its restaurant and customer platforms – from its popular mobile app that serves as the gateway for its 150 million member-strong and quickly expanding loyalty program, to its thousands of self-service kiosks in restaurants worldwide. With a consistent approach, McDonald’s expects to deploy innovations with much greater speed and agility. McDonald’s will use edge computing from Google Cloud to power these new platforms, bringing information storage and high powered computing into individual restaurants. 

Google Distributed Cloud, a combined hardware and software offering, is planned to be deployed to thousands of McDonald’s restaurants so they can leverage both cloud-based software applications and their own software and AI solutions locally on-site, as needed. With Google Cloud edge computing capabilities, McDonald’s will be able to draw new insights into how equipment is performing, enact solutions that reduce business disruptions, and diminish complexity for crew so restaurant teams can focus on delivering amazing hospitality to customers. McDonald’s will be the largest global foodservice retailer to use Google Distributed Cloud’s new capabilities, with plans for thousands of restaurants to begin receiving their hardware and software upgrades next year.  

Through this new partnership, a dedicated Google Cloud team in Chicago will work in close proximity to McDonald’s global innovation center, known as Speedee Labs. Together, they’ll focus on applying generative AI across a number of key business priorities to power exciting new experiences for crew and customers, with McDonald’s unmatched convenience and value.  

“Through this wide-ranging partnership, Google Cloud will help McDonald’s seize on new opportunities to transform its business and customer experiences, empowering restaurants worldwide with the latest technologies for near-term impact,” said Thomas Kurian, Google Cloud’s Chief Executive Officer. “Pairing the iconic brand, size and scale of McDonald’s with Google Cloud’s deep history in AI and technology innovation will redefine how this industry works and what people expect when they dine out.” 

About Google Cloud 
Google Cloud accelerates every organization’s ability to digitally transform its business and industry. We deliver enterprise-grade solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology, and tools that help developers build more sustainably. Customers in more than 200 countries and territories turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to enable growth and solve their most critical business problems. 

About McDonald’s 
McDonald’s is the world’s leading global foodservice retailer with over 40,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 95% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business owners.

SOURCE Google Cloud

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Family

5 Simple Holiday Hosting Hacks

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(Family Features) Entertaining friends and loved ones during the holidays offers an opportunity to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and make lasting memories. The key is getting ahead of hosting duties so you can be present with family and friends.

Make this season’s holiday hosting effortless and enjoyable with these tips:

  1. Stick with a simple menu. There’s no need to create an elaborate menu with complex dishes that take hours to prepare. Instead, build your menu around easy crowd-pleasers. Save the experimenting with new recipes and ingredients for another time when you’re less likely to feel the pressure. Be sure to consider your guests’ likes and dislikes and be conscious of potential dietary restrictions.
     
  2. Serve beverages with festive flair. A beverage station is a fun and unexpected way to infuse some extra holiday cheer into your event. Offer cozy options like hot chocolate and coffee, along with an array of seasonal mix-ins and flavors. Convenient and tasty options to have on-hand for the holidays are Starbucks creamers, featuring flavors inspired by cafe beverages like Caramel Macchiato, White Chocolate Mocha and Cinnamon Dolce Latte, all which are now available in limited-time red holiday packaging online and at your local grocery store.

    Give your guests some festive drink inspiration to start with, such as this delicious holiday-themed recipe for Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee that is sure to become a favorite. For added fun, provide an array of toppings such as marshmallows, peppermint sticks and chocolate candies wrapped in colorful holiday wrappers.
     
  3. Plan for entertainment. When a well-acquainted group gathers, the party has a way of taking on a life of its own. In case of a slow start, or if you’re entertaining different groups of friends who don’t know each other well, it’s a good idea to prepare some options to get guests mingling and engaged. A playlist of holiday music creates a festive atmosphere and planning a few interactive games ahead of time can help break the ice.
     
  4. Pace your preparations. Make a conscious effort to spread your party prep over the days and weeks leading up to your event. Saving all the cooking and cleaning until the day of the party only leaves hosts exhausted before guests even arrive. Instead, make a list of everything you need to accomplish around the house and tackle a few chores each night. Do your shopping a few days ahead so ingredients are still fresh but you aren’t left scrambling. Prepare any dishes that can be refrigerated or frozen ahead of time.
     
  5. Anticipate guests’ needs. The secret to great hosting isn’t really a secret at all; it’s simply making sure your guests feel welcome and comfortable. Providing a secure spot for coats and handbags, offering a drink when they arrive and making sure they can find essentials like the restroom may seem obvious, but they’re easily overlooked basics. If you worry you’ll be too busy in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the meal, recruit a friend or family member to act in your place.

Find more inspiration and other holiday-worthy recipes at athome.starbucks.com.

Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee

Prep time: 3 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces

Drink:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 4 tablespoons Starbucks Gingerbread Naturally Flavored Ground Coffee for double strength
  • 6 ounces water
  • 1 ounce Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Flavored Creamer

Toppings:

  • whipped cream
  • homemade or store-bought caramel sauce
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  1. Place ice in 16-ounce glass.
  2. Brew gingerbread coffee with water and pour into glass.
  3. Add caramel creamer. Stir.
  4. Top with whipped cream, drizzle of caramel sauce and nutmeg.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock (friends celebrating holidays)


SOURCE:
Starbucks

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