Starbucks Is Giving Away Reusable Cups All Day Today—Here's How to Get One

Starbucks
Starbucks

If you can't nix your coffee-a-day habit but still want to cut down on waste, Starbucks is giving you a perfectly good excuse to order a latte today. As The Seattle Times reports, any customer who orders a holiday beverage at Starbucks today will receive a free reusable cup (while supplies last, of course). The all-red holiday cup features the Starbucks logo in green and a white lid.

The holiday beverages on offer include old favorites like the Peppermint Mocha, which has been brought back for the 16th year, as well as a Toasted White Chocolate Mocha plus Caramel Brulée, Chestnut Praline, Gingerbread, and Eggnog Lattes.

The free reusable cup promotion is the coffee chain's latest push to promote sustainable choices. "We're really trying to create a habit here," Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer told The Seattle Times.

Already have a reusable holiday cup? If you bring it in between November 3 (after 2 p.m.) and January 7, you'll save 50 cents on any grande-sized holiday beverage (that's a 40-cent increase from the company's usual discount offer). And if you can't make it to Starbucks today, you'll still be able to score a reusable holiday cup after the giveaway ends. It will cost you $2.50, though.

Starbucks also debuted its new disposable holiday cups, which are often scrutinized for being "too Christmas-y or not Christmas-y enough," The Seattle Times notes. This year, they feature a classic green and red color scheme with subtle holiday motifs like ribbons, holly, and stars. There's also a retro houndstooth cup, which everyone can get behind. Regardless of which design you get, there's no guarantee the barista will get your name right.

[h/t The Seattle Times]

Scientists Built a LEGO 'Electrospinner' to Improve the Texture of Lab-Grown Meat

iStock.com/Ekaterina79
iStock.com/Ekaterina79

A group of food scientists who are working to create lab-grown meat have found inspiration in an unlikely source: LEGOs. According to Food & Wine, researchers from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Alabama used LEGO components to create a device capable of improving the texture of the meat they were cultivating. Their findings were recently published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids.

Any protein that comes from “stem or stem-like animal cells” that are cultured in a lab can be considered lab-grown meat, according to Penn State. While lab-grown meat can be labeled a meat substitute because it requires far fewer animals for its production, it remains to be seen whether vegans and vegetarians will be willing to eat it.

Lab-grown meat is still very much in the development stages, and scientists are working on ways to improve the texture. Because cultured muscle cells don’t have any particular structure when they grow, the meat generally comes out resembling ground beef. That’s fine if you’re hoping to make more humane tacos, but it presents a challenge when trying to create, say, a lab-grown steak.

This is where the toy bricks came in. Researchers used LEGO Power Functions to create an electrospinning device that was capable of turning starch fibers into a structured meat “scaffold.” The plastic pieces were ideal because they weren’t conductive, which was crucial because the researchers were working with water and ethanol.

Unlike scaffolds that produce plastic fibers for biomedical purposes, the LEGO device was capable of spinning corn-derived fibers. In other words, what's going into the meat is entirely edible. “The idea is we could make a nice, edible, clean scaffold for our clean meat,” Gregory Ziegler, a Penn State professor and director of graduate studies at the university's Department of Food Science, told Food & Wine.

Scientists are now looking for ways to improve their equipment in order to churn out larger amounts of starch scaffolds.

[h/t Food & Wine]

This Macaroni and Cheese Meatball Recipe Is Easy Enough to Make in a Dorm Room

iStock.com/LauriPatterson
iStock.com/LauriPatterson

It's hard to make creative meals when you're working out of a dorm "kitchen," but Daniel Holzman, the chef/co-owner of The Meatball Shop in New York City, proves that college students don't need to limit themselves to energy drinks and instant ramen noodles. Using just a coffee maker and a toaster oven, he's found a way to prepare an easy recipe for macaroni and cheese meatballs.

The video below is the fourth episode of "The College Try," a new series from Food & Wine and Spoon University that challenges chefs to create meals using dorm equipment and ingredients. Holzman starts by "brewing" his macaroni in a coffee maker. Once the pasta is cooked, he stirs in one tablespoon of butter and transfers it to a plate. To start making the cheese sauce, he adds two cups of milk and two tablespoons of butter to the coffee pot before retuning it to the warm burner.

Holzman prepares the meatballs by mixing ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheddar cheese, salt, and the cooked macaroni in a bowl. After he shapes the meat mixture into 2-inch balls, he bakes them in a toaster oven preheated to 450°F for 12 minutes.

The last step is the sauce. The chef whisks a packet of cheese powder from a box of macaroni and cheese into the milk and uses that as the base for his plate of meatballs. In about half an hour, he makes a meal that looks a lot better than what you can find in most college dining halls.

From microwaved omelets to mug cakes, here are some more cooking hacks for dorm life.

[h/t Spoon University]

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