10 Instant Solutions for the Drought

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Cheesy brown rings where waves used to lap at the shore. Dry docks lying on desiccated silt. Barren boat ramps. Trickles of water.” Those are just some of the disturbing images California’s Department of Water Resources team saw in an aerial tour of Northern California’s Folsom Lake, Lake Oroville and Shasta reservoirs released this week…

via A Stunning Look At California’s Historic Drought – From The Air

 

3 Essential Bike Gadgets Around This Week

This weeks roundup of cool tech to take your ride to the next level, starts with something a bit more old school.

Combine classic tan leather with your ipad and you get the distinctive gentlemenly look.

specialized bikes
bikes direct
mountain bikes

 

schwinn bikes
recumbent bike
bike rack

1) The Classic Bike Bag for your ipad

 

Do you own the Mod Tablet organizer from This is Ground? Here’s a great way you can carry it around on your bike by using this Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet.

Do you own the Mod Tablet organizer from This is Ground? Here’s a great way you can carry it around on your bike by using this Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet. The strap attaches safely to your bike’s handlebars or frame and makes sure your organizer stays in place. It’s a custom made leather strap which comes in the same leather and colors as those offered under the Mod 2 Tablet line. The example shows the strap being used…Continue Reading via Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet

 

Closca Fuga 01Closca: Most elegant and Convenient Foldable Bike Helmet. Red Dot Design Award 2015. With the helmet in your bag – Closca Fuga has the Most Efficient Foldable Helmet, becomes flat and reduces its volume by more than 50% and keeping safety as a must, it provides same impact absorption as any regular helmet does and exceeding the main safety standards worldwide. In addition, our helmet is the first on adding NFC connection with smartphones through a chip integrated on it…. Continue Reading via Closca Fuga

 

Get this news in our weekly newsletter focused on the best sport and biking news for the semi-pro biker.  Sign up here

 MOS-The-Original-Magnetic-Organization-System-1This is the original MOS which started us down this road of superior design in cable organization. MOS uses magnetism to keep cables, earbuds, and other magnetic items in easy reach. Go ahead and even stick your flash drives to this. That’s right, magnets are actually always OK for your flash drives. The MOS is a cable organizer elegant enough that it actually belongs in plain view rather than being hidden away. Keep track of all of your laptop, iPhone,… Continue Reading via MOS – The Original Magnetic Organization System

 

3 Essential Bike Gadgets Around This Week

This weeks roundup of cool tech to take your ride to the next level, starts with something a bit more old school.

Combine classic tan leather with your ipad and you get the distinctive gentlemenly look.

specialized bikes
bikes direct
mountain bikes

 

schwinn bikes
recumbent bike
bike rack

1) The Classic Bike Bag for your ipad

 

Do you own the Mod Tablet organizer from This is Ground? Here’s a great way you can carry it around on your bike by using this Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet.

Do you own the Mod Tablet organizer from This is Ground? Here’s a great way you can carry it around on your bike by using this Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet. The strap attaches safely to your bike’s handlebars or frame and makes sure your organizer stays in place. It’s a custom made leather strap which comes in the same leather and colors as those offered under the Mod 2 Tablet line. The example shows the strap being used…Continue Reading via Bike Strap For MOD 2 Tablet

 

Closca Fuga 01Closca: Most elegant and Convenient Foldable Bike Helmet. Red Dot Design Award 2015. With the helmet in your bag – Closca Fuga has the Most Efficient Foldable Helmet, becomes flat and reduces its volume by more than 50% and keeping safety as a must, it provides same impact absorption as any regular helmet does and exceeding the main safety standards worldwide. In addition, our helmet is the first on adding NFC connection with smartphones through a chip integrated on it…. Continue Reading via Closca Fuga

 

Get this news in our weekly newsletter focused on the best sport and biking news for the semi-pro biker.  Sign up here

 MOS-The-Original-Magnetic-Organization-System-1This is the original MOS which started us down this road of superior design in cable organization. MOS uses magnetism to keep cables, earbuds, and other magnetic items in easy reach. Go ahead and even stick your flash drives to this. That’s right, magnets are actually always OK for your flash drives. The MOS is a cable organizer elegant enough that it actually belongs in plain view rather than being hidden away. Keep track of all of your laptop, iPhone,… Continue Reading via MOS – The Original Magnetic Organization System

 

Set of 6 Silicone Spatulas $5.04 (Was $20) – Copy

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Set of 6 Silicone Spatulas $5.04 (Was $20)

Sun, 10 May

at 12:21 pm

amazon
Amazon has this Set of 6 Silicone Spatulas marked down from $20.00 to only $5.04 and it ships for FREE with your Prime Membership or any $35 order.

  • Perfect for frosting cupcakes & cookies, serving dips, cheese spreads & other toppings!
  • Edge under brownies, scramble eggs in the pan, spread mayonnaise, jam and more!
  • Will not absorb stains or odors!
  • Withstands temperatures up to 446 F
  • Dishwasher safe!

Amazon pricing changes frequently, so this deal may expire at any time.

via Set of 6 Silicone Spatulas $5.04 (Was $20)

Silicone Spatulas with Wooden Handles, Set of 3 Review #QuickKitchen


35551f5248e58a9b9b8df923845a307e94c41ae6

One of my favorite things to do is review new kitchen products that will not only improve my cooking experience but make it even better. I don’t think my kitchen could function without silicone spatulas!

I use silicone spatulas every time I cook. I use the even when I probably should be using something else. Quicklids Silicone Spatulas with Wooden Handles are no exception. They are beautiful made with pure quality and craftsmanship. They are tough and durable, but make a beautiful presentation. You can’t beat the color. It’s one of my favorite colors!!

Quicklids Silicone Spatulas comes in a set of three with three different sizes. They hold onto odd food sizes and particles and clean the sides of every bowl I have used so far. I love the different shapes they come in because there is one for every need.
KEEP YOUR FOOD FRESH! Wood and plastic utensils can hold on to old food particles and bacteria. The Quicklids silicone spatulas are made with 100% food-grade silicone, which doesn’t harbor germs like your old utensils do!
NO WARPING OR DISCOLORATION! Because the silicone we use is high grade and high quality, you won’t have to worry about it warping or discoloring in the pot! These utensils are heat-resistant and nonstick, which will make cooking a breeze AND keep your utensils looking as new as the day you bought them!
MODERN AND STYLISH! Sick of your old, mismatched, and ugly tools taking up space and making your kitchen look outdated? These silicone and stainless steel utensils look great in any kitchen and add a pop of color and style back into your routine!
BPA FREE! Not only are these silicone spatulas made with 100% FDA Silicone, they’re also heat-resistant, nonstick, and BPA free!

For more information visit amazon.com

 

 

via Silicone Spatulas with Wooden Handles, Set of 3 Review #QuickKitchen

 

10 Tips to Master Golf While Drinking Scuplin

The tense division in Europe’s union are becoming increasingly evident. Between Greece’s “no” vote, yesterday’s EU Parliament outbursts, and today’s German parliament commentary it is clear that, as Bloomberg reports, the centerpiece of Merkel’s cure for Europe – fiscal retrenchment – has catalyzed her in the eyes of many as despite her calm but firm entreaties, an economic bully. “The lesson of this crisis is more Europe, not less Europe,” Angela Merkel said in 2012 as the integrity of the region’s monetary union was threatened by financial instability, but many, like Greece, have come to understand “more Europe” means something different: “more Germany.” via A Union Divided: “More Europe” Means “More Germany”

(Julio Marquez)

(Julio Marquez)

Remember when it was announced that more than four million federal employees in the country were part of a massive data breach last month? Well, turns out that was just one of two rather large data breaches to hit the Office of Personnel Management, with the newly announced second, larger hack affecting upwards of 21 million current and former employees, as well as prospective employees, their families and others who applied for federal background investigations in the last 15 years.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – essentially, the HR/personnel department for the entire federal government – announced this afternoon that it had concluded “with high confidence” that sensitive information, including the Social Security numbers were stolen from the agency’s background investigation databases.

According to the agency, an investigation into the hack affecting about 4.2 million current and former employees of the federal government announced in June led to the discovery of the larger, more wide-reaching breach.

OPM says that if an individual underwent a background investigation in 2000 or after, it is “highly likely that the individual is impacted by this cyber breach. If an individual underwent a background investigation prior to 2000, that individual still may be impacted, but it is less likely.”

Of the 21.5 million individuals affected in the breach, 19.7 million simply applied for a background investigation, while about 1.8 million non-applicants – predominantly spouses and co-habitants of applicants –were victims of the breach, OMP says.

In some cases, compromised information includes interviews conducted by background investigators and approximately 1.1 million compromised profiles include fingerprints.

OPM says that information regarding mental health or financial histories provided by those that have applied for a security clearance and by individuals contacted during the background investigation were not affected by the breach.

There is no information at this time to suggest any misuse or further dissemination of the information that was stolen from OPM’s systems, the agency states.

In the coming weeks, OPM will begin sending notification packages to individuals who may be affected by the recent beach. Those packages will include educational materials and guidance to help individuals prevent identity theft, better secure their personal and work-related data, and become more generally informed about cyber threats and other risks presented by malicious actors.

The agency says that since it discovered the second breach in April, it has implemented “action to strengthen its broader cyber defenses and information technology systems.”

“Director Katherine Archuleta and the entire Office of Personnel Management are committed to protecting the safety and security of the information of Federal employees and contractors,” the agency says in a statement. “OPM is also committed to helping those that have been impacted by this incident, safeguarding its systems and data, and fulfilling its mission to serve Federal workers.”

OPM Announces Steps to Protect Federal Workers and Others From Cyber Threats [OPM]

via Federal Data Breach Reportedly Affects An Additional 21 Million People

credit cards

Photo: Frankie Leon

Credit cards are complex financial tools that get a lot of praise – and a lot of flak. When used properly, they can work as a powerful complement to your financial plan. Likewise, using a credit card improperly can wreak utter havoc on your finances. Here we aim to clear up some of the mystery surrounding credit cards and their use, and answer this common question:

“How do credit cards work, anyway?”

What Is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a small plastic card that extends a line of credit – or a temporary loan – any time a consumer uses it to make a purchase.

If the loan or charge is paid back within a specified grace period – usually between 25 and 30 days – then you don’t have to pay anything above and beyond the amount you initially charged; it amounts to a short-term, interest-free loan.

However, if you are unable or unwilling to pay your full balance in that time, you will owe interest on your purchases – money charged in addition to the amount you already owe. That’s one way card issuers earn money in exchange for making these temporary loans.

Credit card interest is generally charged as a percentage of what you owe each month. The percentage of interest you’ll owe each year is your annual percentage rate, commonly referred to as your APR.

Your APR may be anywhere from 0% to 24.99% depending on your personal credit profile, credit history, or credit score. But since months aren’t all the same length, most card issuers use a daily periodic rate (DPR) to calculate interest charges. To find out your daily periodic rate, you simply divide your APR by 365, the number of days in the year.

An example: If your APR is 20%, you’ll be charged interest on your balance at a daily rate of .054%.

There are two main types of credit cards: secured and unsecured cards.

Unsecured credit cards: The most common type of credit card out there, unsecured credit cards extend a line of credit that is not secured with a deposit. That means that, each time the card is used, the bank is loaning you money without collateral. Unsecured credit cards are for consumers with good or excellent credit.

Secured credit cards: Secured cards, meanwhile, require a deposit as collateral for the line of credit. In some cases, the deposit can even be equal to the line of credit itself — for example, a $500 deposit might allow you to charge up to $500 on the card. If you fail to pay your bill, the bank may keep the deposit. Secured cards are for people with poor credit who may have trouble qualifying for a traditional, unsecured card.

Credit Card Pros and Cons

Using a credit card can be advantageous or disastrous for your finances; it all depends on whether or not you use that credit responsibly. Here are some of the reasons for — and against — using a credit card for everyday spending or large purchases:

Credit Card Pros:

  • Flexibility: With a credit card, you can make large purchases and spread out the payments over time. At the least, you have until the next billing cycle to pay off a purchase before owing interest.
  • Convenience: A credit card can provide a line of credit you can use instead of taking out a loan at a bank. Using credit can also be a lot more convenient than carrying a lot of cash, and is often the best (or only) way to make a purchase online.
  • Rewards and benefits: Credit cards offer a slew of rewards and perks you can’t get anywhere else. These rewards can include everything from cash back on your purchases to extended warranties to rental car insurance to roadside assistance.
  • Build credit: Establishing a good personal credit history is important; your credit score can impact everything from the interest rates on your car loan and mortgage to whether you get hired for a job. Using a credit card responsibly over time is perhaps the most straightforward way to build good credit.
  • Utility: Used properly, credit cards can even serve as useful budgeting tools.

Credit Card Cons:

  • Debt: Unlike other forms of payment, using credit cards can get you into debt — sometimes enormous debt. Misusing credit cards can also wreck your credit quickly.
  • Risk of overspending: Using credit instead of cash can cause you to disassociate your credit spending with the money you actually have – a phenomenon that can often lead to overspending or careless purchases.
  • Interest: If you carry a balance, even small amounts of interest can add up over time, meaning you’ll end up paying far more than retail price on your purchases. High APRs obviously exacerbate that effect.

For some people, the benefits that come with using credit far outweigh any risks. For others, the risks are enough to deter them from using credit more than sparingly, or even at all. It all comes down to your personal tolerance for risk, your desire for credit card rewards or benefits, and your financial goals and discipline.

How Do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

When you know the various ways credit card companies make their money, it can help you try to keep your money out out of their hands and in your own pocket. While specific companies earn revenue through many different channels, they typically make money in one of three ways:

  • Interchange fees: Consumers don’t pay these fees (at least, not directly). Rather, every time you use a credit card to buy something, the merchant pays a percentage of the sale back to the card issuer — in most cases, 1%-3% of the purchase.
  • Credit card interest: Just as banks earn money by charging interest on car loans and mortgages, credit cards charge interest when you don’t pay back their “loan” right away, carrying a balance into the next month. With the average credit card debt in the U.S. teetering above $15,000, it’s no wonder that banks are raking in billions of dollars in credit card interest each year.
  • User fees: Card issuers also charge a slew of fees to various users based on their card policies and their unique circumstances. The most common fees include annual fees, late fees, over-the-limit-fees, balance transfer fees, and cash advance fees.

Although many credit card users pay some or all of these fees at one point or another, most are completely avoidable.

For example, if you don’t want to pay an annual fee, you should go out of your way to choose a card that doesn’t charge one. There are plenty. Meanwhile, avoiding interest charges, over-the-limit fees, and late fees can generally be accomplished just by paying your bill in full each month before the due date.

The Simple Dollar Tips for Choosing a Credit Card

Getting the most out of your credit card is always easier if you choose a credit card that makes sense for your situation. Here are some tips that can help you use credit responsibly and find a credit card that is ideal for you:

If you’re considering a balance transfer…

If you have a high-interest balance you’d like to transfer, look for cards that offer a low APR for a period of at least 12 months. At least one card, the Chase Slate® Card, also waives the balance transfer fee (usually 3%) for the first 60 days of card ownership.

If you don’t want to pay an annual fee…

If you don’t plan on carrying a balance on your card and want to avoid all fees, you should look for a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. Even among rewards credit cards, there are plenty to choose from.

If you are afraid of ending up in debt…

If you’re worried your new credit card will land you in debt, use it only for small purchases at first. You can also pay your bill more frequently online if you set up an online account. Sometimes checking in on your balance and paying it off weekly instead of monthly is all it takes to keep your budget on track.

If you want to earn rewards…

If you’re interested in rewards credit cards, you’ll want to spend some time researching the various offers available. Generally, you can choose from cards that offer cash back, hotel loyalty points, airline miles, or flexible travel points that can be redeemed in a number of ways.

If you want to make a large purchase and pay it off over time…

Using credit for a large purchase then paying it off over time makes a lot more sense when you have a card that offers a low APR. Look for cards with a low introductory APR at the very least. Some even offer a 0% APR on purchases for six months or more.

Does It Ever Make Sense to Carry a Balance?

Always pay your balance in full if possible. When you carry a balance, you’ll owe interest on it — meaning that, in the long run, you might end up paying $120 or more for that $99 grill you got on sale. But there are limited situations when carrying a balance can make sense.

Let’s say you use your card to make a large purchase and plan to pay it off over the course or three or four months so you don’t have to raid your emergency fund. If you charge the purchase on your card, you can pay it off over the next few months while only paying a nominal amount of interest.

Another example: Sometimes you can use credit card balance transfer offers to save money on loans you were initially paying off elsewhere. If you were paying 20% APR on a personal loan, for example, but transferred the balance to a card with 0% APR for a promotional period of, say, 12 months, you could save a ton of money if you pay it down within the year – even after paying the typical balance transfer fee of 3%, if applicable.

Although there are a few instances where it might make sense to carry a balance, doing so is almost never in your best interest the rest of the time. There is usually no reason to pay more for your bills and expenses than you have to. To avoid paying interest, you should always pay your balance in full whenever possible.

Glossary of Credit Card Terms

Here’s a guide to some common or confusing terms you might see in a credit card offer, billing statement, or the fine print of your agreement.

Basics:

  • Credit card: a small plastic card that extends a line of credit – or loan – to the person who uses it to make a purchase.
  • APR : Annual percentage rate, or APR, is the percentage of interest you’ll pay on your balance over the course of a year.
  • DPR: Daily periodic rate is the amount of interest charged on a daily basis. Generally, this is calculated by dividing the APR by 365.
  • Penalty APR: If you make a late payment, you may become subject to a higher APR for a limited period of time. This is often called a penalty APR.
  • Grace period: A grace period is the amount of time you have to pay your balance in full to avoid paying interest. Usually, grace periods are 25-30 days.
  • Due date: The day you are required to make payment to your card issuer to avoid paying a late fee. If you also want to avoid paying credit card interest, you’ll need to pay your balance in full by this day.
  • Credit limit: Your credit limit is how much you charge on your card. This is a predetermined amount of money your bank or card issuer has agreed to extend through your credit card.

Fees:

  • Late fee: Your credit card may charge you a fee in the neighborhood of $25-$45 if you pay your bill after the due date.
  • Over-the-limit fee: This is charged by card issuers when you spend more than your credit limit.
  • Annual fee: Some credit cards — usually those with the most generous rewards programs and benefits — charge an annual fee for their cardholders. Most annual fees range between $39 and $399; the average is around $95.
  • Balance transfer fee: Sometimes it makes sense to transfer a balance from a card with a high APR to one with a low one – or even one with 0% APR for a limited time. However, it’s important to note that many cards typically charge a one-time fee for balance transfers – usually 3% of the amount you transfer.
  • Cash-advance fee: While some cards allow you to use your credit card to get cash out of an ATM, most charge a hefty cash-advance fee. Interest also starts accruing on cash advances right away. In other words, there is no grace period for cash advances.
  • Foreign transaction fee: Some cards charge this fee on transactions made overseas or outside of one’s home country. In most cases, this fee is equal to 1% to 3% of every purchase made abroad.
  • Returned-payment fee: If you attempt to make a payment on your card and it is rejected, you’ll owe a returned-payment fee.

The post How Do Credit Cards Work? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

via How Do Credit Cards Work?

 

Donald Trump Demystified

ESPN pulls golf tourney off Trump’s course

(Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)

Donald Trump’s golf course just lost some serious business.

ESPN announced it is yanking the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and moving it down the coast to Pelican Hill Golf Club instead. The event is July 14.

“We decided it was appropriate to change the venue, and are grateful for the opportunity to stage the event at Pelican Hill on short notice,” according to an ESPN statement. “This charity outing benefits the V Foundation’s Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, providing resources for important cancer research for minority populations, including Hispanics and African Americans. Our decision reflects our deep feelings for our former colleague and support for inclusion of all sports fans. Diversity and inclusion are core values at ESPN and our decision also supports that commitment.”

Trump has lost several business partners in light of the disparaging comments he made about Latino immigrants when announcing his candidacy for President. After Univision and NBC said they wouldn’t air the Trump co-owned Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, Macy’s and NASCAR said they were done with Trump, too.

via ESPN pulls charity golf tourney off Donald Trump’s course

 

ESPN pulls charity golf tourney off Donald Trump’s course

ESPN pulls golf tourney off Trump’s course

(Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)

Donald Trump’s golf course just lost some serious business.

ESPN announced it is yanking the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and moving it down the coast to Pelican Hill Golf Club instead. The event is July 14.

“We decided it was appropriate to change the venue, and are grateful for the opportunity to stage the event at Pelican Hill on short notice,” according to an ESPN statement. “This charity outing benefits the V Foundation’s Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, providing resources for important cancer research for minority populations, including Hispanics and African Americans. Our decision reflects our deep feelings for our former colleague and support for inclusion of all sports fans. Diversity and inclusion are core values at ESPN and our decision also supports that commitment.”

Trump has lost several business partners in light of the disparaging comments he made about Latino immigrants when announcing his candidacy for President. After Univision and NBC said they wouldn’t air the Trump co-owned Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, Macy’s and NASCAR said they were done with Trump, too.

via ESPN pulls charity golf tourney off Donald Trump’s course

 

Baking 3 Test

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos! A 30 minute #plantbased meal that's so delicious and satisfying! #vegan #glutenfree #tacos #recipe

If you’ve been craving simple, plant-based meals that don’t require a ton of time in the kitchen (like me), this is the recipe for you!

My love affair with plantains continues with these 30-minute Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos!

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos! A 30 minute #plantbased meal that's so delicious and satisfying! #vegan #glutenfree #tacos #dinner #recipe

This recipe is quick and easy, requiring just under 30 minutes and 10 ingredients. And with all of this summer heat, you’ll love that there’s little heat required.

It begins with spicy-sweet plantains sautéed to caramelized perfection. In the meantime, black beans simmer away while you prepare your desired toppings.

I found jalapeño, onion, and cilantro to be the perfect texture and flavor additions. And of course, who can forget the sauce? Salsa and hot sauce go great here.

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos! A 30 minute #plantbased meal that's so delicious and satisfying! #vegan #glutenfree #tacos #recipe #dinner #minimalistbaker

I think you guys will love these summer-friendly tacos! They’re:

Super flavorful
Simple
Spicy-sweet
Satisfying
Plant-based
Customizable
& Simple

These would make a great weeknight meal when you want something quick, flavorful and hearty. You could even sub large tortilla shells and make this into a burrito, or put everything atop salad greens for a more vegetable-heavy dish.

If you try these tacos, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram (our favorite) so we can see. Cheers, friends!

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos! A 30 minute #plantbased meal that's so delicious and satisfying! #vegan #glutenfree #tacos #dinner #recipe #minimalistbaker

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos Print Friendly Version Prep time Cook time Total time Simple, flavorful, 30-minute tacos with spicy-sweet sautéed plantains and smoky black beans. A satisfying and quick plant-based meal! Author: Minimalist Baker Recipe type: Entree Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan Serves: 4 Ingredients PLANTAINS

  • 2 very ripe large plantains*, peeled and cut on an angle into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp (18 g) coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

BLACK BEANS

  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans (if unsalted, add more salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne (or chili powder)

TACOS

  • 8-10 yellow or white corn tortillas or taco shells

FOR SERVING optional

  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • Hot sauce / salsa
  • Lime juice

Instructions

  1. Add black beans to a small saucepan over medium heat and add spices. Once it reaches a low boil, turn heat to low to keep warm, stirring occasionally.
  2. Peel and chop plantains and heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add plantains to a mixing bowl and toss with spices.
  3. Once pan is hot, add coconut oil and plantains and spread into a single layer. Sauté on one side for 2-3 minutes, then flip and sauté on the other side for 2-3 minutes more. Turn down heat if browning too quickly. You’re going for a caramelized effect. Set aside.
  4. In the meantime, prep desired toppings and warm tortillas by wrapping in a damp cloth or paper towel and warming in the microwave for 20 seconds (or place tortillas directly on an oven rack for 1-2 minutes in a 350 degree F oven).
  5. To assemble, top tortillas with black beans, plantains and desired toppings. I preferred salsa, hot sauce, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Ripe avocado would also make a great addition.
  6. Best when fresh. Serves 3-4 generously.

Notes *Make sure your plantains are deep yellow with brown spots and tender to the touch. Otherwise, their flavor won’t be as developed and they can be chewy in texture. Nutrition Information Serving size: 1/4 of recipe (2 tacos) Calories: 339 Fat: 5g Saturated fat: 3.3g Carbohydrates: 71g Sugar: 19g Sodium: 465mg Fiber: 9.6g Protein: 9.2g 3.3.3077
Loved this recipe? Check out our cookbook, 31 Meals Here! via Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos

 

 

So, important question.

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

What do you think is the BEST burger you’ve ever eaten? What were the toppings? The sauces? Maybe even… the sides? (Yes I know I’m getting sidetracked from burger life there.)

Okay okay. It’s no secret that I love insane burgers with more toppings than should be legally allowed (currently obsessed with: onion straws), but I think I can say that the BEST was the burger at The Spotted Pig that Eddie and I split (only because we ordered like 4 things to try) and devoured. It was pretty simple with lots of blue cheese.

That, or, um… maybe my first Shake Shack burger. Like the VERY first one.

Don’t hate me.

Am I losing you?

Maybe it was the cheese fries. (Definitely.)

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

I guess my rambly point is that sometimes I actually do just want a simple burger. And I hated veggies so much when I was growing up that up until I was, oh say… 28(!!!!!), I was ordering every burger without lettuce, tomato and onion. Just PLAIN.

I’m kinda over that now. AKA, sort of a grown up. But barely.

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

I know that I keep telling you how we’ve been grilling a ton this year – much more than we have in the past – firing up the grill probably 5ish times a week. Eddie has made some killer burgers and while he does the grill, I will occasionally sauté some mushrooms or caramelize onions in bacon grease (no, I did not order a heart attack, why do you ask?) to throw on top.

But then one day, we didn’t really have any cheese.

Well – that is a big, fat, gigantic lie because my cheese drawer is what sins are made of. It consists of an embarrassing amount of every kind of cheese. But you know how you need to have the RIGHT cheese to melt on a burger? Like I don’t want to try and slice this parmagiano-reggiano and then attempt to melt it, where the heck did my fontina go?

That kind of day of having no cheese. That’s what I meant.

But we had pimento cheese! I knew this was a thing. Pimento on a burger? At least I think I knew. Maybe I saw it on a menu somewhere? I had never tasted one though.

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

See.

I’ve turned Eddie into a pimento cheese monster. Remember before when he was all “I will never eat pimento cheese, I hate olives!” and I had to kindly tell him that no olives made an appearance?

Well. Since then. He has been hoooooked. Very often on the weekends I will look up and see him practically standing inside of the fridge dipping pretzels into a container homemade pimento cheese. It’s comical. Because I was right. I knew he’d love it!

But aren’t I always right? Yes. Of course!

Do you think he loves living with me?

Let me just say that his day was MADE when I turned these into double cheeseburgers. His eyes actually lit up. I’m thinking I need to make these when he finds out that I’ve been shopping from my freaking iPhone in bed when Max wakes up at night.

Hey 2015, you’re the worst.

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

So what are you guys doing this weekend?!

I can’t even WAIT for our 4th of July party this weekend. Summer, sun (hopefully), watermelon beer (maybe, does that make me a faux beer drinker?), hot dogs (I want like three of them), fireworks, swimming and Max in the most adorable baby swim shorts looking like a loveable chunk o’ nugget.

Why am I now this person? Please tell me.

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

Pimento Cheese Burgers

Yield: makes 4 single burgers or 2 doubles, is easily multiplied

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound 85% lean ground chuck
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons diced pimentos
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pimento cheese (I used yellow cheddar this time)
4 multigrain or brioche buns, butter and grilled
ketchup for serving
green leaf lettuce for serving
sliced red onion for serving

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the beef with the salt, pepper, garlic, cheese and pimentos. Gently mix with your hands a few times until the ingredients are evenly spread throughout the beef. Form 4 equal sized patties from the beef. I like thinner burgers and pressed mine fairly thin until they were the size of my bun. Your size may differ a little bit!

Obviously you can grill these burgers, but I also love to cook mine in a buttery skillet. I heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter (sometimes with a drop of vegetable oil so it doesn’t burn), then place the patties in the skillet. Cook until your desired temperature/doneness is reached – we like ours medium well. About 1 to 2 minutes before the burger is finished, spread about 2 tablespoons of pimento cheese on top and cover the skillet with a lid. Let the cheese melt until the point when it’s about to drip down the burger.

Serve immediately with grilled buns, ketchup, lettuce and red onion. I like to skip the tomatoes for this version, but it’s up to you!

pimento cheese burgers I howsweeteats.com

^happy place.^

©How Sweet It Is.

via Our Favorite Cheesiest Pimento Cheese Burgers.

 

Baking Demystified

cow-cake-34.jpg

this week:

-the chicks are getting to be huge!if they were little apples last week, they are full on grapefruits now!

-i’ve been chipping away at orange is the new black. but now that i’ve started swapping out some of my treadmillings for yoga videos, i haven’t been watching as much netflix, so oitnb is going by very slowly.

-i developed a new system to stay hydrated: instead of having to get up to go to the sink every time i need a water refill (which ends up having to be annoyingly often because somehow all of our water glasses are ever so dainty), i just have a cute pitcher near me at all times. i’ve been alternating between this one and this one. i have to pee a lot more now but i feel so great!

-the tour de france is starting!!!! i am excited. but eggboy is about thirty times as excited. every year, he buys the live streaming membership and we watch it when he comes in for lunch. go nibali! go contador! go froome!!!

-my freezer has started its journey to fill up to the brim with cake for my friend emily’s wedding next week (!!!!). she is having 300 people!!!! so it is basically my dream come true because all this week and next week i get to make caaaaaaake.

-and also: i bought a cow cookie cutter for emily’s cake because she is marrying evan the cow farmer. so the other day when my friend lena was in for a visit, we took him for a test run (the cookie cutter, not evan) on this here patriotic cake for the fourth!

the recipe is right this way, on the vanity fair site!

happy almost fourth of july!!!!

-yeh!

via buttermilk chocolate cake with peach filling and a marzipan cow

 

 

 

Colorful Red, White and Blue Desserts for the 4th of July!
Backyard barbecues and fireworks are two of my favorite things about the 4th of July, in addition to the opportunity to spend a fun night with friends and family. I always make sure to put out some desserts that are just as colorful as those fireworks. Colorful desserts, whether you’re using all-natural red and blue berries for color or a dash of food coloring, make a big impact and will help make your 4th of July celebration one to remember!

These Red, White and Blueberry Cupcakes (pictured above) are made with white cake that is studded with fresh blueberries and raspberries. The cupcakes are topped with a fluffy white frosting swirled with red and blue stripes. It doesn’t get much more colorful than that!

Red, White and Blue Yogurt Cake

My Red, White and Blue Berry Yogurt Cake is always a hit. This colorful cake that doesn’t use any food coloring for its bright red and blue colors, but instead gets pops of red and blue from blueberries and raspberries that are folded into the cake batter. This dessert is elegant all summer long.

4th of July Cupcakes

Fourth of July Cupcakes are one easy way to dress up cupcakes for the holiday. These cupcakes start off as plain vanilla cupcakes, but the batter is divided into thirds and portions are tinted with red and blue food coloring, so you get red, white and blue in every single bite!

Red White and Blue Berry Pudding Pops

It’s hard to beat homemade popsicles on a hot day and these Red, White and Blue Pudding Pops are perfect for the 4th. The creamy pops start with a homemade vanilla pudding, which is layered with fresh berries in popsicle molds. The finished pops have a nice blend of berry and vanilla from start to finish.

Layered 4th of July Panna Cotta

This layered Red, White and Blue Panna Cotta is an excellent make-ahead dessert. The dessert starts with a creamy vanilla base, which is divided up and tinted with food coloring and spiked with a bit of orange liqueur. The dessert is then layered together in dessert cups and chilled before serving.

All Natural Red, White and Blue Rice Krispy Treats

For both kids and adults, these All Natural Red, White and Blue Rice Krispy Treats are guaranteed to be a hit. The easy to make cereal bars are used freeze-dried fruit to color them. Dried blueberries and strawberries also add a lot of flavor. These are so delicious, you’ll be making them year-round – and you might be inspired to incorporate dried fruit into your cereal bars on a regular basis!

Red, White and Blue Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

One of the easiest and most fun desserts for the 4th are Red, White and Blue Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. These are simply strawberries dipped in white chocolate, then dipped in blue sprinkles for the final splash of color.

via 7 Red, White and Blue Desserts to Serve for the 4th of July

 

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