The last time a big crowd gathered in Citizens Bank Park was Oct. 7 when the Phillies lost to the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals. After such a promising season, Philly fans were left with a bad taste in their mouths.

But no matter what happens when the Flyers and Rangers face off in the NHL Winter Classic at the Phillies' home park next week, fans will have plenty to savor.

On Jan. 2, the venue is rolling out a special menu of cold weather eats to battle the frigid temperatures expected at the annual outdoor hockey game. ARAMARK executive chef Glenn Richmond plans to warm the 43,000-plus frigid fans with an array of soups, paninis and hot drinks throughout the stadium.

"When we designed the NHL Winter Classic menu, we wanted to showcase Citizens Bank Park's most popular items and adapt others to be relevant for a hockey crowd," said Chef Richmond. "The result is a fan-friendly mixture of Philadelphia classics and new items that are sure to become fan favorites."

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Everyone loves a great holiday recipe, so today we have one for bread pudding you'll really enjoy. Where'd we get it? Not from Paula Deen's buttery kitchen. Not from some rotund New York pastry chef.

Nope, this delectable confection comes from (record scratch!) the website for Muscle & Fitness magazine.

That's right. The people at Muscle & Fitness suggest you eat bread pudding. All week, this recipe has been on the front of its website, in the "Nutrition" section right under "Tofu Noodle Bowl" and "Slow Cooker Buffalo Vegetable Stew."

The pudding is labeled "An ideal muscle building dessert."

You probably think there's a catch, like maybe this is a recipe for lean turkey bread pudding -- bread and pudding not included.

But behold:

Ingredients:
5 cups French bread cubes
2 cups fat-free evaporated milk
1⁄2 cup egg substitute
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
11⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup raisins
Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray

Prepare: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for five minutes or until toasted.

Start: Meanwhile, combine milk and next five ingredients; beat with a wire whisk. Stir in bread and raisins. Spoon into eight 6-ounce custard cups coated with cooking spray. Place cups in a shallow pan and add hot water to pan to depth of 3⁄4 inch.

Cook: Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

(Don't forget to serve with the Whiskey Sauce!)

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What do you call turning water into barleywine?

Tebrew, of course.

Bonfire Brewing in Eagle, Colo., came up with the tribute to the Broncos quarterback after Denver's latest comeback win.

Co-founder and Master of Minutiae, Andy Jessen and his team were watching Tim Tebow lead the fourth quarter charge last Sunday while they were sampling the as-of-then unnamed batch. Ken Hoeve, the company's Ale Ambassador and walking billboard, coined the name as the Broncos kicked a field goal to win the game in overtime.

"It was pretty much an instant hit," Jessen says. "We kicked it around for a few minutes after, but it resonated with us and the few customers that were in our bar."

It doesn't matter to them that Tim Tebow doesn't drink. The brewery is looking at the bigger picture.

"Beer is about community and camaraderie," says Jessen. "And beer and football go well together, we think."

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And you have to admit, Tebow did look a lot like a Bavarian monk after that hazing haircut last season.

The small brewery hopes to start serving the barleywine by the time Tebow and company take the field against the Patriots on Sunday. They're just awaiting the arrival of the proper glasses. Tebrew has roughly 10 percent ABV and needs to be served in a smaller vessel than most beers due to the high alcohol content.

Jessen describes the taste as very malty, but balanced out with the bitterness of a lot of hops. His company is even playing off Tebow's genuflection phenomenon. "Occasionally bringing you to a knee in appreciation" the website claims.

Bonfire produced just 150 gallons of the tribute brew, or roughly 10 kegs' worth. Unfortunately, it will only be available at their tap room. The rest of us will just have to pray for a larger batch next year. Jessen says there are no plans to bring it back right now because it's an expensive and time-consuming process to brew the barleywine, but anything can happen. Which seems to be the motto for this Broncos team and their fans as they hang on Tebow's every play.

"Anything can happen in the playoffs," says Jessen, who is a transplant to Colorado and became a Broncos fan by osmosis. "It' s about who's healthy and who has the momentum."

And maybe even who has the Tebrew.

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Ever since that first glorious day at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., some three decades ago, the humble chicken wing has gone through more wardrobe changes than Lady Gaga.

Not content with hot sauce, the tailgate favorite has been dressed in teriyaki, lemon-pepper, sesame, honey mustard, Caribbean jerk, and Thai peanut sauce just to name a few. From that initial deep-fried batch, we now consume millions of pounds of wings every year. They are front and center every time we sit down to watch sports, from regional soccer to the Super Bowl.

And outside of the never-ending carousel of sauces, there hasn't been much innovation regarding the Buffalo wing since they went boneless.

That is, until now.

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Robert Bishop put on his culinary mad scientist cap recently and took the flavors of blue cheese and hot sauce and turned them into a milk shake. Bishop, who writes Lunch Blog KC, is a die-hard 30 Rock fan. On one episode of the hit NBC comedy, Tina Fey's character sees a sign in a fast food window proclaiming "The Buffalo Chicken Shake is back!" At a recent super-fan round table, Bishop was charged to create the savory concoction, which he does in the video below alongside Tracey Wigfield, one of the show's writers.

If you think Bishop's version is too out there, be glad he didn't follow his first instincts.

"I thought about pureeing the chicken into the shake, but I felt like that was taking things one step too far," he says. "Everything probably worked out all for the best, though. I don't think you should be able to drink meat through a straw."

Agreed.

But how does it really taste? Bishop likens it to wings, but with a very cold, creamy sauce. The same can't be said for everyone who has tried it though.

"One of my friends at the office was really excited to try the shake, but then he tasted it and instantaneously got a look on his face like he was deciding if he was going to punch me or not," Bishop says. "Seriously, he was so angry about the shake he didn't talk to me for like a week. I'm still not sure we're 100 percent cool."

Would you serve this at your Super Bowl party? Sound off and let us know what you think of the Buffalo chicken shake in the comments section.

(Special thanks to Monica S. for alerting us to this crazy creation.)

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How excited are Angels fans to have Albert Pujols? It took the OC Sports Grill -- located about one mile from Angel Stadium of Anaheim -- less than a week to build a tribute burger for the former Cardinals slugger. The monstrosity is dubbed "The Machine," just like the player it honors and is the brainchild of the restaurant's management and chef Vince Carino.

"We all got together when we found out [Pujols] signed," Carino said. "We knew we had to come up with something cool because starting next season, we're going to be even busier than we've been, and we're always pretty busy."

The dish has plenty of gut-busting power. It includes 1/2 lb. of chimichurri seasoned angus, queso frito, pulled pork and cabbage tossed in "savon" sauce (adding plenty of Dominican flair), tomatoes, avocado and crispy onion straws. All told, it packs well over 2,000 calories, according to Carino. In case you're curious, that's at least four Big Mac's worth of calories.

"We split it between four of us, and I was full after I ate my portion," Carino laughed.

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At $13.99, the burger is hardly a bargain, but you could say the same about Pujols' contract. And if the slugger were so inclined to spend all $254 million of his deal on the burgers crafted in his honor, he could eat 18,142,857 of them. Though, he should probably steer clear of the caloric concoction if he wants to stay svelte through the 10th year of his contract.

Interestingly enough, Pujols' restaurant in St. Louis has a burger named after him, but it's simply a half-pound angus burger with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a brioche bun. It appears that even when it comes to burgers, Anaheim has a better offer than St. Louis.

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If I were 76ers head coach Doug Collins, I would head down to the corner of 2nd & Federal to make sure Elton Brand isn't in line.

Nothing against Philly's 254-pound power forward, but with the NBA lockout at its end, the focus shifts from waiting to waistlines. That's thanks to Shawn Kemp, who famously showed up to training camp at 300 pounds after the 1999 NBA work stoppage. And if there's one place where a bored big man could pack on the lbs. in Philadelphia, it's the new foodie hotspot Federal Donuts.

But these aren't your average fried breakfast confections. The queue, which often stretches down the block, is for flavor combinations that Krispy and Dunkin can only dream of. How about a pomegranate, tehina and Nutella donut? Think of it as an upscale peanut butter and jelly, with a sesame twist. And although you can also get white chocolate/raspberry and lemon poppy, that's only half the story at Federal Donuts.

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Starting at noon, they serve homemade fried chicken. That's right: fried chicken. Some of the crispy options include a buttermilk ranch or harissa seasoning. But if the Tunisian chili blend isn't to your liking, you can
select a glazed version tossed in either chile/garlic or honey/ginger. They've taken the classic combination of chicken and waffles, popularized by such Los Angeles staples as Roscoe's, and tweaked it for the simplest of reasons.

"Because they are both delicious and you should have them together and to that end all of our fried chicken comes with a honey donut,” Partner Felicia D’Ambrosio told CBS Philly.

Let's hope all of the 76ers show up to training camp ready to go, but no one would blame any of them if they happened to indulge in the city's latest food craze. After all, it wouldn't be the first time a local favorite dragged down one of Philly's pros. Just ask Eagles
defensive end Brandon Graham
.

The good news for Doug Collins is that Federal Donuts has gotten so popular, it can't keep their doors open very long.

“Well we close when we run out," D'Ambrosio says, "so it is generally between 1:00 and 2:30 p.m. every day of the week.”

Just in case, I'd keep Sixers camp going until after 3.

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Advertisement

When it comes to folk remedies, professional athletes are miles ahead of the game. Whether putting butter on a burn or rubbing dirt on a cut, they'll do just about anything if they think it'll help them get through a game.

Including drinking pickle juice.

The practice of downing cucumber brine isn't a new one. It's been used for decades and got media attention back in 2000 when Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder credited pickle juice as the secret weapon that helped his team stomp the Cowboys in Texas Stadium. On that day, temperatures on the field soared above 110 degrees -- the perfect conditions for a cramp-fest.
But the Philadelphia players, dosed with the neon elixir, avoided the crippling injury and won running away, 41-14.

As it turns out, this is one of those rare occasions where the science caught up to the practice.

A study done last year at BYU proved the efficacy of the folksy curative. Subjects exercised to the point of mild dehydration and had cramps induced. Those who drank pickle juice felt relief within 85 seconds, almost twice as fast as water or other sports drinks.

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"Pickle juice is a natural source of sodium as well as other electrolytes," says Buccaneers team nutritionist Kevin Luhrs. "Sodium is a component of sweat. The rationale is that sodium from the pickle juice helps replace sodium losses from sweat and even helps retain water in the body."

Although Luhrs said he doesn't use pickle juice with any Buccaneers, he says the practice is common around the league. Dez Bryant reportedly loves it. Jason Witten even endorsed a bottled version called Pickle Juice Sport back in 2006. Packers defensive end Jarius Wynn used to swear by it.

"I used to drink pickle juice in high school to keep the cramps down," Wynn says. "It was good when I was young, especially playing in the South where is gets really hot."

Wynn has switched to coconut water or other electrolyte-laden
drinks. But Pickle Juice Sport founder Brandon Brooks says he provides his product to nearly two dozen teams and more than 100 professional athletes.

His sales are up so much (54 percent from last year alone) that he can't produce enough of the drink to sign on with any more large retail outlets.

Now with the science to back it up, pickle juice appears to be here to stay. It probably won't hit the shelves of 7-Eleven anytime soon, but the curious can simply grab the jar of dills from the refrigerator door next time they wake up with a knot in their calf.

Makes you wonder if a shot of olive juice might be good for more than just martinis.

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