6 Ways Dogs Can Benefit From Coconut Oil

There is always coconut oil at my house either for baking or using on spa treatments, it’s not too expensive and smell great. Best part is you can use it for yourself and also on the furkids, check out the link from http://www.thepennyhoarder.com for great tips:

Coconut oil for dogs is a common way that pet parents can introduce health and wellness to their pets—both because it’s an affordable shelf staple they typically already have at home and because it has an abundance of health benefits for dogs.

How can you use coconut oil to boost your dog’s health and wellness?

Below, we explore six great ways to improve your dog’s health and quality of life using coconut oil.

The Science Behind Coconut Oil for Dogs

While not every veterinarian agrees on the health benefits of coconut oil for our canine friends, the science definitely leans in favor of usage, especially when moderated. While coconut oil is not a cure-all, many scientists and vets in the community argue that coconut oil for dogs can:

  • Make them smell better.
  • Do wonders for a dog’s skin conditions, including dry or itchy skin, hot spots and even bites or stings.
  • Give dogs a glossier coat.
  • Help with coughing and hairballs.
  • Aid in digestion thanks to the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs for short). Some vets even say the medium chain triglycerides of medium-chain fatty acids like coconut oil can boost brain energy and cognitive function as your dog enters its senior years.
  • Help with bones and joints, even soothing the effects of arthritis.
  • Support metabolic function.
  • Fight off viruses, fungi and bacteria via coconut oil’s lauric acid.

Coconut oil alone cannot ward off every dog’s skin conditions or any virus your dog is exposed to, and it likely only helps ease the pain of arthritis but does not prevent it altogether.

Think of coconut oil as a good supplement, not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, especially the essential fatty acids that must be included in your dog’s diet.

Wait, Essential Fatty Acids?

The word “fat” often carries hurtful, negative connotations in our society, but when it comes to your diet — and your dog’s diet — fats serve an important purpose. Good saturated fats like medium chain triglycerides, for example, are a fuel source for us, giving us the energy we need to go about our days.

The lauric acid of coconut oil is considered an antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial acid. Coconut oil also contains important unsaturated fats (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) with known benefits.

6 Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Boost Your Dog’s Health

Is coconut oil good for your dog? It can be. The benefits of coconut oil are varied. But how do you best introduce coconut oil into your dog’s routine? Here are six unique ways to use coconut oil to improve your dog’s health and wellness:

1. Use With Food to Improve a Wealth of Skin Issues

Ingesting coconut oil is its most basic use and likely its most effective. If your dog likes the taste, it can be a good addition to a meal to help with itchy skin, flaky skin, rashes, nutrient absorption, digestion, joint pain and more. Just plop a small amount directly into your dog’s food bowl at feeding time. Many pet parents recommend using small amounts of the oil as dog treats.

How much coconut oil to use

Remember: Everything in moderation. When adding coconut oil to your dog’s meal, start with a very small amount and up the dosage gradually (or risk upsetting your dog’s tummy and potentially ruining your carpet). Your dog’s vet can likely supply a recommendation based on your pup’s breed and weight.

PRO TIP

A good rule of thumb is roughly a quarter teaspoon for a small dog (think Yorkies) up to 1 tablespoon for a big dog (like a Great Dane).

2. Cover Up the Taste of Meds

If coconut oil proves popular as a treat or at dinnertime, it can be an effective way to disguise your dog’s medicines. Given coconut oil’s unique texture (kind of like peanut butter—and thus a good replacement for peanut butter), it can be easy to hide a pill in. Your dog will come to love medicine time!

A man brushes a dog's teeth.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

3. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Coconut oil offers antimicrobial properties that make it a good substitute for doggy toothpaste, especially for dogs that aren’t a fan of the flavor of the over-the-counter paste. (It’s also much cheaper.) Use your finger or a commercial dog toothbrush (or even a child’s toothbrush) to rub the oil directly on your canine’s canines once or twice a week.

4. Apply Coconut Oil to Your Dog’s Skin and Coat

The benefits of coconut oil extend beyond oral use cases. It’s been shown that coconut oil improves your dog’s coat and skin when applied properly.Warning: Rubbing coconut oil into your dog’s skin and coat can be a little messy, but many dog owners swear by it. You might want to put an old beach towel under your pup.

If your dog has flaky, itchy or dry skin, apply some coconut oil directly to the problematic area. You can even rub the oil into your hands and give your pooch a full-body massage (dogs have such a rough life, eh?) to spread the oil around the fur and skin.

This can be particularly helpful in response to an allergic reaction. Make sure to follow up with a visit to the vet to determine the source of the reaction.

And of course, don’t be surprised if you find your dog licking itself a little more than usual. Just monitor to ensure it doesn’t eat too much.

5. Use it as a Defense Against Fleas and Ticks

Not only does coconut oil serve as a moisturizer for your dog, but it can also be a natural flea repellant.

But a caveat: As someone who has tried natural at-home flea and tick repellant recipes, I find the over-the-counter stuff to be more effective. I advise relying on coconut oil as an added repellant, not the sole repellant, or else you might welcome fleas into your home and put your dog at a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease.

6. Promote Healing of Wounds

Finally, you can use coconut oil on the skin to help heal wounds, as it has natural antibiotic properties. Veterinarians have specifically found coconut oil good for cracked paw pads, cuts from rough play at the dog park or even self-inflicted wounds by dogs who nibble at itchy paws during allergy season.

Happy 4th of July

Whatever activities you have planned or have not planned yet have a Happy 4th of July celebrating, here are a few ideas from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com:

12 Fun Fourth of July Activities That Will Make You Feel Extra Patriotic

1 Bake some patriotic desserts.

fourth of july cupcake with sparkler
SOURCE: JAMIE GRILLGETTY IMAGES

You can’t celebrate America’s birthday without some red, white, and blue desserts! After baking some of the best cupcakes, brownies, and 4th of July cakes, the whole family can join in on the festive decorating — or even compete in a friendly bake-off.

RELATED: 30 Festive 4th of July Cupcakes to Celebrate America’s Birthday in Style

2 Have a backyard movie night.

movie night at back yard
SOURCE: M_A_Y_AGETTY IMAGES

Level up your standard movie night by setting up a screening — and some cozy seating — right out on your lawn, then picking out an All-American movie that’s perfect for the holiday. Don’t forget the popcorn!

RELATED: The 25 Best Patriotic 4th of July Movies to Watch This Holiday

3 Go camping in your backyard.

family fun around a campfire with s'mores
SOURCE: RYANJLANEGETTY IMAGES

It’s not a 4th of July celebration without a campfire and some s’mores! If you can’t make it to a real campsite this year, try a little backyard camping instead — just set up a tent (along with a great cookout, of course), and cap off the night with some scary stories around the fire.

SHOP TENTS

4 Have a game night.

dice falling onto snakes and ladders board
SOURCE: RAFE SWANGETTY IMAGES

Looking for something that’s fun for the whole family? Organize a game night with some of the best board games — and if you want to make it on theme with the holiday, try out some special patriotic games (like 4th of July bingo or some American-themed trivia).

5 Have a jam session.

grandfather teaching grandson playing guitar
SOURCE: WESTEND61GETTY IMAGES

It’s no party without great music, so get some sing-a-long tunes going with your favorite patriotic songs on the guitar (or even just on the speakers). Belting out “Party in the U.S.A.” is a must, obviously!

RELATED: 15 Patriotic Fourth of July Songs You Need to Add to Your Playlist

6 Get a backyard barbecue going.

bucket with beer and hotdogs grilling in backyard
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Fire up the grill for some great eats! Hot dogs and burgers are essential, of course, but don’t forget the tasty apps (and some festive drinks to cool off in the heat).

RELATED: 59 Easy 4th of July Recipes Your Family Will Devour

7 Get crafty with the kids.

fourth of july flower pot craft
SOURCE: LOLLY JANE

What better way to keep the little ones occupied than with a fun holiday craft? Plus, these easy-to-make flower pots double as a great 4th of July decor!

Get the tutorial at Lolly Jane »

8 Have a backyard picnic.

picnic setup with food and drinks on grass
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

It’s obvious that spending the 4th of July outdoors is ideal, so why not bring food and drinks right to your backyard? You’ll appreciate the sunshine and get a good meal in, too.

SHOP PICNIC BASKETS

9 Make a splash in the pool.

girl sitting in a pool float in swimming pool
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Celebrate the fourth while sitting in a pool float with a drink in hand! It’s the perfect way to spend a sunny day with the whole family.

RELATED: 15 Ultimate Swimming Pool Games to Play This Summer

10 Get active outdoors.

child riding patriotic bicycle with american flag
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Go for a hike, a long walk, or even a family bike ride this Independence Day. Bonus points if you all have red, white, or blue bikes!

11 Light up some sparklers.

girl holding sparklers with american flag draped over shoulder
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

If you can’t make it to a fireworks show this year, light it up with some sparklers — they’re like a much safer, hand-held version of fireworks! Plus, they make for a fantastic photo op (especially if you have some fun, festive 4th of July nails to match).

SHOP SPARKLERS

12 See the fireworks.

fourth of july fireworks over water
SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES

Of course, you might still be able to enjoy some fireworks safely from your home this year — in which case, don’t forget to sit back and enjoy (and practice good fireworks safety)!

SHOP OUTDOOR BLANKETS

RELATED: Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Stay Safe This 4th of July

12 Pet Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

4th of July time to get ready to barbeque, have friends and family over to watch fireworks! Whatever your plans are either at home or going somewhere just a reminder. One set of family memebers does not look forward to celebrating this day at all. Sadly our fur kids dread this day every year or any celebration involving fireworks. Check out the safey tips from http://www.aspcapetinsurance.com to keep your fur kids safe not only from fireworks but other dangers lurking:

Cookouts are for Hot Dogs, Not… Dogs

Pet parents are often focused on the more obvious seasonal pet safety issues, like fireworks, but Fourth of July dog safety tips do not end there. Many pet parents may overlook the backyard BBQ, a particularly dangerous Fourth of July activity for pets.

If you plan to have your pooch in the backyard when you fire up the grill with your friends and family, keep these hidden hazards in mind:

The Grill

The danger is not just from heat and smoke. In fact, a grill can be dangerous before it’s even lit–lighter fluid and matches are hazardous for your pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) Animal Poison Control Center points out that many matches contain chlorates. If your pup eats them, it can damage blood cells and cause breathing problems or, in the worst cases, kidney disease.

Lighter fluid, on the other hand, is an irritant. And if it can irritate the skin on the outside, it can irritate sensitive organs on the inside too. If a pet ingests lighter fluid, it can cause significant tummy irritation, central nervous system depression, and other issues should they vomit. Even inhalation of the fumes can cause breathing problems.

Alcoholic Beverages

A cocktail or beer can be a festive and relaxing way to enjoy the holiday, but that drink is a potential poison for your dog. If left low enough, a pet looking to quench their thirst could get into your beverage. Alcoholic intoxication in pets can result in weakness, depression, coma, respiratory failure, and even death. This is true even for beer, so keep the cold ones out of reach!

People Food

Pets need a consistent diet. Changes can cause messy tummy troubles. Certain foods that commonly accompany celebrations, like chocolate, onions, and avocados, can be toxic to your four-legged friend. Resist the urge to give them any BBQ scraps, even for the “special occasion.” Beyond the Fourth of July, we’ve got a list of 16 things you should definitely never feed your pet.

Other Outdoor Independence Day Dangers

The Fourth of July occurs as summer is in full swing. There are several seasonal concerns you should take into account if you’re planning to be out with your pooch.

Heat

Your canine companion has to work hard to maintain body temperature. They do this by panting and through specialized sweat glands on the pads of their feet. The best way to keep them cool is to keep them out of the sun and well hydrated. Make sure you always have water on hand for your dog and keep water bowls from direct sunlight.

Water

If you’re planning a day at the beach or lake, know your dog’s swimming ability. Not all breeds are natural swimmers. Even frolicking in the waves could be hazardous. When pooches ingest saltwater through too much exposure, it can lead to electrolyte imbalances and possible seizures. If you’re on a boat, it’s recommended that your dog have a personal flotation device too.

Sun

Dog fur does a pretty good job of protecting their skin from the sun, but shorthaired breeds can still be susceptible to skin damage. Sunscreen can help you protect your pup from UV rays, but make sure you choose one made specifically for dogs. Some ingredients in human sunscreen, like zinc oxide, are toxic to canines, largely leading to unpleasantness like vomiting.

Bugs

Insects that are annoying or harmful to humans are annoying and harmful to pets as well. In fact, mosquitos can carry diseases that dogs and cats are more likely to contract than humans. The biggest risk from mosquitos for pooches is heartworms. Mosquitos carrying heartworms are found everywhere in the U.S., and exposure is fairly common. But preventive measures are very easy to come by. Using a regular heartworm preventive can save your pooch’s life.

Another risk, while rare, can affect both cats and dogs. Eastern equine encephalitis virus, known as EEEV, is also carried by mosquitos, which makes controlling the pests all the more important.

When controlling pests, keep in mind that citronella can be harmful to pets. Citronella fume inhalation can cause pneumonia, and citronella ingestion can lead to nervous system disorders. The same goes for insect repellants. So only use repellant made specifically for pets. Also, be particularly cautious of repellents containing DEET. And if you’re using those repellants on yourself, make sure you keep the dog kisses to a minimum.

People Playthings

The summer is full of cool recreational toys that make the warmer days more fun. Of course, you know your four-legged friend likes to play, too. However, plastic toys that aren’t made for pets can get damaged and ingested, causing trouble in your pet’s system.

The biggie on the Fourth of July is glow jewelry that, if chewed on and broken open, can be incredibly toxic to your dog or cat. Please resist the urge to get them glowing for the holiday.

Consider the Great Indoors

While your feline friends should always be inside, pups are full of energy and like a romp in the great outdoors. The problem with being outside at any time during the Fourth of July, aside from the dangers or hazards listed above, is that the crashes and bangs aren’t only reserved for after dark.

The loud chaos surrounding our favorite patriotic celebration can lead nervous pets to escape, break leads and run away to find shelter. The Fourth of July holiday is notorious for being the top time of year for lost and runaway pets.

Because of this, many veterinarians suggest keeping your dog inside at all times (minus potty breaks, of course) during the holiday. Not just at night when the fireworks are the loudest. If your cat is allowed outdoors, it would be good to bring them in as well. The indoors will most likely be the safest and most comfortable place for your pets.

Even if they’re inside and chipped, all pets should have secure collars and ID tags. As the saying goes, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Fourth Fireworks and Your Four-legged Friends

The biggest highlight of the Fourth of July holiday is a visual treat for you, but not for your dog or cat. Even if you haven’t noticed a noise phobia in your pet pal, extreme sensitivity to sound can develop with age.

Even if your dog hasn’t been traditionally frightened of fireworks, staying home is probably the best option for your pet, and you can help them stay calm by making sure their environment is just right. If you are still thinking, “My dog is scared of fireworks, how can I help?” Check out some of our recommended items that can help alleviate your pet’s anxiety this firecracker season.

Familiar Spaces

To help your puppy or kitty stay comfy, keep them in a cool, familiar escape-proof room or their crate.

Distractions

Consider offering a special pet-friendly treat or new toy that can help distract your pet from the loud booms.

White Noise

The static sound that you find between radio channels is a perfect example of white noise, which works well to drown out outside noise. You can get white noise from fans, too. Make sure to close windows and draw curtains and blinds to add an extra layer of sound-proofing.

In the end, if you can go without watching fireworks yourself, your pet would probably appreciate your companionship during this stressful time. Nothing helps more than some kindness and lots of TLC.

Check out this handy infographic and send it along to any pet parents you think could benefit.

Take the Fear Out of Fireworks: Keep Comfortable, Get a Workout, Divert Attention, Drown it Out

The 6 Best Language Learning Apps to Get You Talking

Do you love traveling but hate when you can’t communicate? Maybe you like watching foreign films but hate trying to keep up with subtitles? Or you just love hearing other languages spoken. Whichever your excuse is here are 6 apps to learn a new language on your own pace and not having to pay a instructor. Apps go from free to a monthly premium plan:

Best Language Learning Apps

Check out our list of language learning apps below and be on your merry way to becoming bilingual and beyond.

1. Drops: Play with Your Words

Don’t want to commit hours to learning a new language? Drops has got you covered. In around five minutes a day, you can get on your phone or mobile device and go through the language learning app’s bite-sized tutorials to learn short phrases and new vocabulary. Drops helps you remember your new language using mnemonic images by pairing the word with an image, then it’s spoken and spelled out to you.

You can choose from over 35 languages — the usual suspects like German and Spanish are available. There are also some unique finds such as Ainu, the language spoken by elders on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and Icelandic. Those who want to learn now to read and write in a new language can use their companion app, Scripts.

You can use the app for free, though you’ll only be able to access one lesson a day. Premium plans start at $8.49 per month, $5 per month if you pay annually, or grab the lifetime deal at $149.99.

2. Babbel: Language for Life

This popular app models itself after much like what you’d see when attending a foreign language class. The lessons move gradually onto more difficult concepts, starting from translations, then variations of the words or phrases you learned. You’ll also learn other aspects of the language, such as whether it’s formal or informal usage.

The app also provides audio so you can hear the words benign used in everyday conversations and allow you to repeat them for further learning. The lessons are about 15 minutes long and you can track your progress along the way.

There is a free version of Babbel, but you are limited in what you can learn. Subscriptions cost $13.95 a month, $29.85 for three months, $50.70 for six months, or $83.40 per year.

3. Memrise: The Fastest Way to Learn a Language

The occasional language learner will like Memrise, since you don’t have to commit to daily lessons — dip in and out when you wish. The app uses native speakers who speak different words and phrases, helping you learn how it’s used in the real world. You’ll receive a translation of the words or phrases which you can then repeat until you are fluent.

The fun part about Memrise is that you’ll earn points for correct answers — set goals to earn a certain point each day, or publish it on a leaderboard alongside other language learners to motivate you. So far, there are 22 languages, including the most popular languages plus Mongolian and Swedish.

You can use the free version which gives you access to a few free lessons daily. The paid version costs $8.99 per month, $90 per year, or lifetime access for $139.99.

4. Duolingo: The Best New Way to Learn a Language

Like some of the apps on this list, Duolingo teaches you languages based on game-like short lessons. You can progress to more difficult concepts when you pass certain labels, but the app can bring you back down if you’re not reviewing consistently.

Overall, the mobile app is user friendly, providing features such as the number of days in a row you’ve practiced, and how many days you need to reach your goals. You can also access short audio stories called Duolingo Stories to test your comprehension skills. If you want to learn more than one language, you can — though you may not want to overwhelm yourself.

Duolingo is free to use and you can sync with your computer and mobile devices to learn 18 languages. Duolingo Plus, their premium version, costs $6.99 per month and features no ads, the ability to review your mistakes and test out of a level.

5. HelloTalk: Talk to the World

HelloTalk allows users to choose from more than 100 languages by connecting them to native speakers. To learn, you’ll work with the native language speaker and exchange video clips, texts, voice calls and recordings. It’s great if you want a more social aspect and to learn from someone who speaks the language you want to master.

Other features of HelloTalk include grammar and syntax correction and quick-tap translations. You can use this language learning app for free, but the premium version will set you back $4.99 a week, $8.99 a month, or $49.99 a year. Benefits include no ads, the ability to learn multiple languages at once, and chat up to 25 times per day.

6. Lirica: Learn Languages with the Power Of Music

The premise behind newbie Lirica is that you can learn a new language using music. How fun is that? Especially when Shakira, Enrique Iglesias and Usher are your teachers.

The British app gives you vocabulary and grammar lessons based on popular songs from artists from around the world. It also aims to teach you about different cultures where the language is spoken.

Currently, there’s only three language options — English, Spanish, and German — but the app claims it’s rolling out more languages soon. You can try the app for free, but to access all the content, you’ll need to pay $4.99 per month after the free seven-day trial.

There’s a lot of language learning apps to choose from. If you’re not sure where you start, download one and use the free version and stick with the one you like best.

SHRIMP AND AVOCADO SALAD

Summer time yummy lunch idea that are fresh and delicious, with a nice cocktail enjoying the sun in your back yard. Thanks to http://www.eatwell101.com for this great recipe:

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

1. Toss shrimp with melted butter in a bowl until well-coated.

2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to the skillet in a single layer, searing for a minute or until it starts to become pink around the edges, then flip and cook until shrimp are cooked through, less than a minute.

3. Transfer shrimp to a shallow plate and allow cooling while you prepare the other ingredients.

4. Add all other ingredients (avocado, tomato, red onion, and cilantro) to a large mixing bowl. drizzle with olive oil and lime juice and toss to mix everything together.

5. Add cooked shrimp and give a quick stir to mix together. Season the shrimp avocado salad with more salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!

TIPS FOR THE SHRIMP AVOCADO SALAD

This shrimp avocado salad recipe can be made in under 20 minutes, it really doesn’t take much doing to prepare a fresh batch — a quickly-prepared protein (such as shrimp) is one of the essential parts of composing a salad like this.

  • You can serve this shrimp avocado salad as an appetizer or light meal. You can put this over slices of toasted bread to make it more substantial.
  • If making this for a party, you can easily double or triple the recipe. Just cook shrimp in batches to not overcrowd the pan.
  • To make ahead, combine all the ingredients except for the avocado and cilantro and keep this refrigerated, then add them just before serving the shrimp avocado salad.

WHAT SHRIMP SHOULD I USE FOR THE SALAD?

  • Frozen shrimp is okay for this recipe but try as much as possible to buy wild-caught shrimp. Fresh wild-caught shrimp tends to have better flavor. You can use the shrimp with the tails on or off. Large shrimp (jumbo, colossal, extra large, whatever the name named… with a caliber of 16-20) will do best because they are meaty and juicy.
  • Make sure not to crowd the shrimp in the skillet, otherwise, moisture will form and shrimp won’t sear properly. You’ll end up with steamed rubbery shrimp.

25 Painless Ways to Save Money When Your Paycheck Is Already Stretched Thin

How to Start Saving: Set Your Goals First

We get that making a budget ranks right up there with a dentist appointment or trip to the DMV in terms of things you’d rather do. But it’s your essential first step when you want to start saving money.

Fortunately, the best budgeting apps make it easy to keep track of your spending and identify areas where you can cut back. Just be sure to comb through several months’ worth of expenses to get a true sense of where your money is going. Don’t forget about the expenses you don’t encounter every month, like holiday gifts and car registration.

If you don’t set goals, the only thing that budget will do is make you feel terrible about just how little money you’re saving. To get motivated to make saving a priority, spell out why you’re saving.

Think about the short-term goals you’re hoping to accomplish within the next year or two. Building an emergency fund for your family, making a down payment on a home or saving for a vacation may fit in here. Also consider your long-term goals, like putting more money in a 529 plan for your child or saving for retirement.

25 Tips for How to Save Money if Your Paycheck Is Stretched Thin

Here are 25 ideas for saving more money. The good news is that there’s no one thing you have to cut out. If it really matters to you, go ahead and keep spending on it. You can find other things to eliminate that won’t cause too much pain.

1. Time your purchases like a pro.

You may not be able to time a car repair or vet bill, but with discretionary purchases, knowing when to get the best deals can mean big savings. Need a TV? Wait until January, when last year’s models are discounted to make room for the new ones. Looking for new furniture? Retailers often clear out their stock around Independence Day, making July prime time for scoring cheap furniture.

2. Master the art of getting stuff for free.

Becoming a hermit isn’t the only way to save money. There are plenty of ways to get free stuff or have fun on the cheap. Some of our favorite ideas:

  • Use Facebook and Nextdoor. Before you shell out for things like furniture or baby gear, check out buy nothing groups on platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor to see if one of your neighbors is looking to get rid of something similar.
  • Score free food by downloading an app. Plenty of restaurant chains offer freebies or BOGO deals for downloading their apps. You can always delete them after you take advantage if you don’t want temptation at your fingertips.
  • Get free stuff just for being born. You can score tons of birthday freebies if your big day is coming up — often not just on your actual birthday, but any time during your birth month.
  • Check out your local library for free entertainment. Your library card isn’t just a pass to check out books made from dead trees. Plenty of free library apps allow you to access ebooks, movies, music and more without paying a cent.
  • Swap goods or services with someone else. Learning how to barter can help you get what you need without spending money.

3. Smash your credit card debt once and for all.

The average APR for people who carry credit card debt is well over 16%. Your bank jumps for joy when you don’t pay off your balance because it’s getting rich off all that interest. Quit padding your bank’s coffers and break up with your credit card debt forever. Some tactics to try:

  • The debt snowball method, where you attack the smallest balance first.
  • The debt avalanche method, where you focus on the card with the highest interest rate.
  • debt consolidation loan, where you merge your debts into a single payment. This is only a good option if you’re lowering your interest rates.
  • balance-transfer credit card, where you transfer your balances to a card with a 0% promotional interest rate. That zero-interest period typically only lasts 12 to 18 months, though, so this approach is best if you don’t have tons of debt.

4. Flex low interest rates to your advantage.

Interest rates are historically low, which means the high-yield savings account that once upon a time — ahem, back in 2019 — spoiled you with 2% or 3% APY is probably paying well below 1%. The flip side is you can use those ridiculously low interest rates to save money by refinancing your mortgage. One good rule of thumb: Refinance when you can lower your interest rate by 1 percentage point or more, since you’ll have to pay closing costs.

5. Lower your student loan payments.

If you’re struggling to pay off student loans, talk to your servicers about whether an income-driven repayment plan is an option for your federal loans. These plans will stretch out your repayment over the standard 10-to-20 years — and if you still have a balance after 20 years, it will be forgiven, though you’ll still owe income taxes. If you have private student loans, check with your servicers about whether there’s a way to lower your debt payments.

6. Do meal prep. Don’t go overboard.

Grocery stores play all kinds of sneaky mind games with you, and you’re most vulnerable if you shop while you’re harried and hangry. A great way to combat their money-snatching tactics is to make a shopping list and devote a few hours to meal prep every week.

But don’t get too ambitious here. If you’re an UberEats addict whose pantry consists of three spices, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you plan to cook 21 meals a week. Start with a more reasonable goal, like making your own breakfast and lunch each day, plus dinner three nights a week.

7. Squeeze every cent you can out of your employer.

We aren’t just talking about negotiating your salary and asking for a raise when you’ve earned it — though both are essential, albeit awkward. To build your long-term savings, make sure you’re not leaving free money on the table. Contribute enough to get your employer’s full retirement match if they offer a 401(k) plan. If you have a health savings account, take advantage of any matching contributions to that as well. You can use the money you save for your own expenses, your spouse’s or a dependent family member’s.

8. Got a raise? Congrats, but don’t spend it.

Do your tastes get fancier every time you get a raise? This phenomenon is called lifestyle inflation, and it’s a notorious savings killer. You don’t have to live like you’re on an entry-level salary forever, but make a plan for your future raises so your living expenses increase at a slower rate than your salary. For example, plan to save half of your next pay increase and sock the rest in savings.

9. Be skeptical when something seems like a deal.

Free shipping if you spend just another $11? Step away from the digital shopping cart. If you’re being coaxed into shelling out another few bucks for something that’s “free”… well, it really isn’t free.

Playing the credit card rewards game is another good example. Yes, you can score free airfare and cash back. But it’s only free if you don’t spend more to get those rewards, and if you pay your balance in full every month. Otherwise, you’ll shell out way more in interest than you’re getting in rewards.

10. Cancel automated purchases for non-necessities.

Curbing mindless spending isn’t just about cutting out late-night Amazon purchases and impulse grocery buys. You probably have monthly subscriptions and memberships that are draining your bank account each month for things you rarely, if ever, use.

One of the best ways to save money is to look carefully at gym memberships, streaming services, subscription boxes and anything else that you automatically pay for each month. If you haven’t used it in the past month, it probably belongs on the chopping block. Also be on the lookout for any free trials you forgot to cancel.PRO TIP

Avoid storing your credit and debit card information on websites you frequently shop on. You’ll make it harder for yourself to spend mindlessly.

11. Find energy suckers that are driving up your electric bill.

No, we aren’t going to tell you to invest thousands of dollars on solar panels for your home as a way to save money on your electric bill. But there are a few inexpensive tricks that can help you save money on utilities. Simple things like regularly changing air filters and switching to more efficient light bulbs can make a big difference on energy costs.

12. Repair what’s broken instead of buying a new one.

Just because something’s broken doesn’t mean it’s destroyed. By learning some basic DIY techniques, you can make your lightly damaged goods like new again without shelling out for repairs. For instance, learning a few basic sewing stitches will help you repair your clothing for you and your family, even if you don’t have a sewing machine. There are plenty of ways to learn home repair skills for free online.

But for major repairs, know when to call a pro. It’s worth the cost when you’re repairing a big-ticket item or doing anything that could jeopardize your safety.

13. Save money on prescription drugs.

Whether you have health insurance or not, it often pays to do some detective work before filling your prescriptions. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can save up to 80% on generic medications and 40% on name-brand drugs through Amazon Pharmacy if you don’t have insurance. Even if you have insurance, a prescription drug card could help you save money. You can ask your pharmacist to run the cost using your insurance and the card to find out which option is cheaper.

If a medication is expensive because you have to pay for it out of pocket or your insurance company puts it in a pricy tier, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. A lower-cost alternative may be available. For over-the-counter meds, always buy generic. The FDA requires generic drugs to be chemically identical to their more expensive name-brand counterparts.

14. Ditch your cell phone plan if you have a major carrier.

You don’t have to worry about spotty service when you switch to a discount cell phone plan. Most discount plans run on the network of one of the four major carriers, so the only thing you have to lose is your out-of-hand bill. Depending on the plan, you may have data restrictions. Some also require an unlocked device.

15. Find the money you’ve long forgotten about.

Some money-saving strategies require a ridiculous amount of discipline. So here’s a super easy trick that could give you a quick savings boost in just three minutes. Find out if someone owes you money by searching your state’s unclaimed property website.

At least 1 in 10 Americans has missing money waiting to be claimed. You could find money from old security deposits or bank accounts, or even a life insurance policy you didn’t realize a loved one left you. The key to making a one-time windfall work for you is to use it purposefully. That can mean saving or investing your money, or putting it toward debt.

16. Get cash for switching banks.

Another way to get a quick cash infusion: Switch bank accounts. Some of the best bank promotions will give you $500 or more just for opening a new account. Just be sure to read the fine print, since a bank account with ridiculous fees or minimum balance requirements could cost you big.

17. Be strategic about your tax refund.

Some personal finance types will shame you for getting a big tax refund because you’re giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. We say, do whatever works for you. Opt to have less money withheld from your paycheck if you’ll actually save it or apply it toward debt. But if the idea of a giant tax refund motivates you, it’s OK to make the IRS play piggy bank. Just make a plan for how to spend your tax refund that will pay off in the long run. Some of our favorite ideas:

  • Put it in your savings account for an emergency or upcoming expense.
  • Pay down your highest-interest credit card.
  • Make an extra mortgage or car payment.
  • Give your Roth IRA a boost.
  • Put it in your child’s college fund.

18. Travel by two wheels whenever possible.

Even if it’s not feasible to ditch your car, bike commuting a couple days a week can help you save money on obvious expenses, like gas and parking. But there’s a bonus here: When you’re on your bike, you can fit a lot less in your basket or backpack than you can in your car trunk. So if you have a habit of making extra trips to the grocery store or stopping for takeout on your way home, traveling by bike reduces the temptation.

19. Cancel the insurance you don’t need.

Insurance can seem like a money-sucker, because hopefully, you don’t need to use it very often. Having sufficient homeowner insurance or renters insurance, car insurance and medical insurance is one of the best ways to prevent an emergency from destroying your finances.

That said, some types of insurance are a waste of money. For example, you probably don’t need collision insurance or comprehensive insurance on a car that’s paid off if it’s older and one fender-bender away from scrapyard heaven. You may not want to shell out for accident insurance or critical illness insurance either, because the circumstances they’ll cover you for are so limited. Even life insurance may not be worth the cost if you’re single with no dependents.PRO TIP

You can often get discounts on insurance by bundling your coverage. For example, you may save money by getting your car and renters insurance from the same company.

20. Do a no-spend challenge

Duh. It sounds so easy: To save money, just don’t spend it. But doing a no-spend challenge, where you commit to not spending any money over a certain period — be it a month, a week or even a single day — can help you reign in your spending.

Or you could try a modified version. Do a pantry challenge, where you avoid the grocery store and use the ingredients you have on hand to feed your family. Or build a capsule wardrobe, where you select a certain number of clothing items and make those your only wardrobe for the time frame of your choosing.

21. Find discounted services at vocational schools

If you’re looking for ways to save money on expensive services, sometimes it pays to let a student practice on you. You can get services like beauty treatments, sonograms and massage therapy at steep discounts from local vocational schools. If you live near a university and you’re truly brave, you could even get low-cost dental work from a student dentist.

22. Get free or low-cost financial help

If you’re struggling to stick to your budget or keep your spending in check, it’s OK to ask for help. You don’t need to spend big bucks to work with a financial pro. Unlike financial planners and advisers, who often cater to people with a higher net worth, a financial counselor is trained to help regular people manage their money from day to day. Many offer their services at little to no cost through a bank, school or nonprofit, or they practice on their own and use a sliding scale based on your income.

23. Find ways to earn extra money.

There’s no way around this one: Even when you have a bare bones budget, sometimes saving money just isn’t possible. One reason is that your fixed costs, like your rent or mortgage, medical insurance and car payments are often your biggest expenses — and those are the hardest to lower.

If you’ve cut everything you can and still can’t save, it’s time to find ways to make extra money. Switching to a higher-paying job isn’t always realistic, but you can still take on a side hustle, find a work-from-home job you can do part time or make extra cash selling stuff online.

24. Find cheap ways to treat yourself.

Any successful savings plan has a little built-in flexibility so you can treat yourself from time to time. Rather than downing drinks at happy hour, buy yourself a good but cheap bottle of wine to enjoy at home. Have a DIY spa day using simple ingredients you probably have on hand. If you’ve been stuck at home for too long, you can refresh your home’s look without spending a dime.

25. Talk about your struggles and your successes.

One of the best ways to save money is to tell other people that you’re trying to save money. Doing so can help you prepare your friends and family for when they hear you say no to joining them when they suggest expensive plans.

But that’s not the only advantage. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who’s struggling to save money, especially when you scroll through Instagram. But you’re far from alone. Find other people who are trying to save money, either within your social circle or by connecting with a like-minded online community. You can swap tips for saving money and find encouragement when times are rough.

And when you reach your savings goals, no matter how big or small? Pay it forward. Talk about it. Let others know exactly how you managed to save money — and that they can do it, too.

6 Fabulous Bottles of Wine That Cost Less Than $14

Looking to restock your wine frid now that you will be enjoying friends and family gathering again! Don’t want to spend like you are buying by the glass here are a few helpful tips from http://www.pennyhoarder.com:

6 Cheap Global Wines to Try

How Wine is Priced

It’s common that buyers equate quality with cost. Surely, a $35 cabernet is better than one that comes in under $15, right? Not necessarily. Wine is priced using several variables.

Pricing reflects the cost of materials and labor, and also volume. A large vintner like Kendall Jackson produces millions of cases of chardonnay annually. Patz & Hall, another Sonoma County, California, winemaker, produces considerably less.

Depending on the year and style, a Kendall Jackson chardonnay can be had for less than $15, sometimes as low as $8 on sale and at big-box retailers. Plan to spend about $45 for a bottle Patz & Hall chardonnay. The boutique winery releases about 15,000 cases of chardonnay a year. Size does matter when it comes to pricing.

Is the 2017 Patz & Hall chardonnay better than the same vintage of Kendall Jackson? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes the pricing can be chalked up to perceived value. But the only perception we are concerned with here is how to get the best cheap wine.

Where You Buy Wine

A large grocery store stocks hundreds of bottles of wines and the prices are good. For many of us, this is our wine store. There are plenty of brands that you recognize: Yellow Tail from Australia; Robert Mondavi out of California and even La Marca from Spain that makes a popular $12 bottle of prosecco perfect for Sunday brunch mimosas. (Bubbly lesson: the sparkling wine of France is called Champagne, in Italy’s that’s prosecco and in Spain its cava. Bring on trivia night.)

Rather than recognizing brands, you might believe that France turns out the best red wines and California the best white. Again, our perceptions on what’s fancy and what’s not helps set the prices.

Then there are just a lot of cool labels and that’s how some of us pick wine. Honestly, how can you resist Michael David’s Petite Petit with its circus-themed label and fun name? The mostly sirah blend can be had for $13 or less on sale. Cheap is a given at grocery stores and the wine section of Costco, Sam’s Club or Target, but good can be harder to pick out among the vast selection.

Tips for Scoring Good Cheap Wine

You’ll get more selection guidance at a boutique wine market or even a big-box booze store than you will at the grocery store or Costco & Co., but our tips will help you bust out on your own and find plenty of good cheap wine priced below $15, heck even around $10.

1. Buy International Wines

The United States — and specifically California — produces a ton of amazing wines, says Vincent Anter, founder and host of V is for Vino wine show, that’s streamed for free on YouTube and various other places.

Because California produces so much wine, he says, it’s more difficult to figure out the good stuff.

However, South American wines tend to be less expensive due to lower labor and land costs with overall good quality. Or, look to Europe, specifically Italy, where costs may be kept lower through several factors, including:

  • Government assistance for wine producers, which is available in many wine-growing regions.
  • Regulations that control everything from grape yields to where the grapes come from to the use of additives.
  • A distribution model that doesn’t vary from state to state and doesn’t include three tiers, with each tier marking up the wines each step of the way.
  • The production of more entry-level wine, because most Europeans see wine as part of the meal instead of a luxury item.

2. Stay Away From Trendy Wines

Wine, like all things, goes through trends, according to Mathew Woodburn-Simmonds, a UK-based freelance sommelier who runs The Plate Unknown, a website celebrating world food and drinks.

To pick up a bargain, avoid the trends, he says.

“Rather than a New Zealand sauvignon blanc or Argentinian malbec, look for an Argentinian cabernet franc or New Zealand pinot gris,” he says. They will be the same price, but a higher quality, because popularity isn’t driving the price up.”

So yes, you can find an Argentinian malbec for $15 but it’s likely that the $15 cabernet franc while be better.

The same applies to lesser-known Eastern European wine-growing countries like Greece, Slovenia and Hungary, all of whom are currently turning out great quality wine at pocket-friendly prices, Woodburn-Simmonds said.

3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Unusual

Instead of reaching for a California cabernet sauvignon — because the best cabernet grapes grown there go into the more expensive bottles — look for a cabernet from Argentina. Argentinian wine producers are known for their malbec, not their cabernet, so better quality grapes will likely be in that bottle of cabernet, according to Kathleen Bershad, author of The Wine Lover’s Apprentice and owner of Fine Wine Concierge in New York.

“Along those lines, look for the grape you’ve never heard of,” she said. “While you might love chardonnay, a torrontes can offer a similar feel and flavor, but because it’s not well known, the quality is likely to be better for the price.” You can easily snag a decent bottle of torrontes for about $5 to $10. Try the Mendoza Station Torrontes ($6 at Totalwine.com).FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM

4. Pay Attention to Where the Wine Comes From

Much of what goes into the cost of a bottle has to do with where the wine is grown and produced, says Melissa Smith, founder of Enotrias Elite Sommelier Service in Oakland, California.

“Have you seen the cost of an acre of land in Napa Valley?” she says. “Between that, French oak barrels starting at $800 a piece and a celebrity winemaker, you can see why a bottle of cabernet might cost $100 per bottle.”

To find quality wines at a lower price, Smith seeks out regions that don’t have a culture of using fertilizers or pesticides in their vineyards, such as Europe (look for Bordeaux or Chianti), North Africa (cabernet sauvignon or merlot) and the Middle East (chardonnay and sauvignon blanc).

She also looks for wine from countries where wine is part of their daily meals and where even older children and teenagers are offered a small glass. Such is the case in Greece, Spain, Italy and France. A lot of wine in those countries is made in co-ops, where the grapes have passed certain standards and vineyard practices, and in large quantities, keeping the prices low. In other words, classic table wines.

Another thing to be aware of is that wine production is generally labor intensive but even more so in some parts of the world. For example, machinery can’t be used in vineyards with steep hills or narrow terraces, so those grapes need to be harvested by hand. You’ll know if this was the case if the label says “hand picked grapes” or “hand harvested.”

That wine may not necessarily taste better, but it will increase the cost of the production. As a result, the price of the wine will be higher, according to sommelier Woodburn-Simmonds.

Some of the steepest vineyards in the world are in the Mosel region of Germany. Riesling is the star grape there and it’s not uncommon to see prices of more than $25 a bottle. The Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley riesling out of Washington State can be had for under $10.

A group of peoples cheers with red wine in wine glasses.
Getty Images

6 Inexpensive Global Sips

This is a starter list of cheap good wine. Get a taste of them and then start to branch out to other wines from these areas, always keeping in mind your wallet.

Israel

Try this wine: Recanati Yasmin red

Taste: This is a bold and complex wine from the grape-growing region around the Sea of Galilee, says Sneha Saigal, a sommelier in New York who has lived in India and Spain. It is a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. “It pairs really well with meats and BBQs, and plus, it’s kosher,” Saigal says.

Price: $13.99 at Wineloftonline.com

South Africa

Try this wine: Radley & Finch “Alley Pack” chenin blanc

Taste: Chenin blanc grapes have been grown in South Africa since the mid 1600s, and the varietal originated in France, says Gary Schueller, a New York wine buyer. It’s a versatile grape that can make wines of all styles and price points, including sparkling. At the lower price points, chenin blanc is typically a medium-bodied crisp, refreshing wine that’s food friendly, but can easily be enjoyed on its own. It’s noted for flavors of stone fruit, pear, apple and yellow citrus, Schueller says. “Having tasted hundreds of wines at this price point, it certainly is at the top of the pack,” Schueller says.

Price: $9.99 at Klwines.com

Italy

Try this wine: Riff pinot grigio

Taste: Alicia Ortiz, the strategic communications manager at Sippd, a wine app that matches wine to your budget, recommends this bottle from delle Venezie, Italy, because while the price is right and its fruit is sourced from some of the top growers in northeast Italy. You’ll taste hints of apple and mineral in this light-bodied wine. Pair it with fish or a light meal.

Price: $11.99 at Totalwine.com

France

Try this wine: Beaujolais-Villages 2019

Taste: The land-locked Beaujolais region of France produces this deeply flavored gamay. Tasters note hints of raspberries and strawberries in the fruity red. It has low tannin levels, is delicious when slightly chilled and is best served with poultry and mild cheeses.

Price” $10.99 at Vivino.com

California

Try this wine: Bonterra sauvignon blanc

Taste: California has plenty of delicious summer whites priced at less than $10, says Shana Bull, a wine writer in Sonoma County. This one in particular is great with spring vegetables such as asparagus with grated Parmesan cheese, or fish tacos. They also make a canned Bonterra Rose that’s priced under $10 that pairs well with creamy brie cheese and strawberries or melons. Think picnic or beach wine, Bull says.

Price: $9.97 at Totalwine.com 

Chile

Try this wine: Casa Julia Reserva carmenere

Taste: Boasting some of the oldest vines in the world, Chile is putting out wines at incredible values that are crowd-pleasing for novices and experienced wine drinkers alike. This wine is a $10 bottle made from 35-plus-year-old vines, Schueller says. Random cool fact: Carmenere was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in Chile in the mid-1990s. “So this is a grape with a lot of history, but really just in recent years is getting its due and is surging in popularity,” Schueller says.

Price: $10.99 at Westchesterwine.com

 

How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes

https://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/gardens/growing-tomatoes

Tomatoes are the one veggie most people use in all their meals from salads to casseroles, but depending on the weather sometime they don’t survive for too many days after buying. There are a variety of tomatoes and depending which is your favorite growing them in the back yard is a great idea. Head down to the nursery or hardware store to see what plants are available. Check out the recommendations from http://www.southernliving.com complete guide to the tomato plant and also the biggest mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes:

Select

The smallest slicing tomatoes are about the size of a baseball; the biggest ones can be larger than a softball. Choose from hybrids or heirlooms in a rainbow of hues—red, pink, black, orange, or yellow. For classic reds, try ‘Big Boy,’ ‘Better Boy,’ and ‘Celebrity.’ For pinks, pick ‘Arkansas Traveler,’ ‘Pink Girl,’ and ‘Watermelon Beefsteak.’ Black selections offer some of the most flavorful tomatoes. Try ‘Black Krim’ or ‘Cherokee Purple.’ Orange ones such as ‘Persimmon’ and ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ have fruity flavors, while yellows such as ‘Taxi’ and ‘Lemon Boy’ are sweet. Buy them online from totallytomato.com

Try

New to many gardeners are grafted tomatoes, created when one plant is cut and joined to a different one with vigorous rootstock. Grafting offers improved yields and disease resistance. It can be a good choice if space is limited and you need maximum production from each plant. Some heirloom tomatoes, for example, are not as productive as new hybrids, but if you love their flavors and want a bigger yield, you can try a grafted heirloom for the best of both worlds. The benefits of grafting come at a price—up to $12 for a grafted tomato plant in a 1-gallon container. Smaller, less expensive grafted plants are available online from burpee.com.

Grow

Tomatoes love full sun, whether in your vegetable garden or large containers (earthbox.com). They like soil that has been amended with lots of organic matter, such as mushroom compost, chopped leaves, or soil conditioner. Rich soil will nourish your plants. Supplement feeding with organic fertilizers. To keep vines off the ground, use twine to tie them to economical bamboo or wooden stakes. You may need to tie plants every other day as they grow. If you are short on time, invest in convenient, reusable tomato cages; try tomatocage.com.

The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes

Irregular Watering

Like all plants, tomato plants need consistent soil moisture; keep the soil wet enough to prevent wilting of the tomatoes but not so wet that the roots develop soggy feet. Garden tomatoes generally require 1-2 inches of water per week, but that can change depending on weather conditions, such as excessive drought, and the size of the plant. When the plants are young, drip irrigation is preferred in order to avoid strong streams of water that erodes the soil. As the tomato plants mature, water more slowly and deeply. The roots of a tomato plant can grow 2-3 feet deep in loose soil, so the plant needs to be watered around 18″ deep. This is especially important in the summer heat. Remember, irregular moisture swings and dry soil can lead to problems such as blossom end rot and fruit splitting.

Improper Spacing

First, a quick lesson on the two types of tomatoes: Determinate and Indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes grow to about 3 feet in height and begin to set flowers for fruit. Determinate tomatoes can be easily well-managed in a home gardenand containers. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow and produce both new leaves and new flowers and should be staked or started in tomato cages. Unless damaged by disease or insects, indeterminate tomato plants will continue to grow and produce fruit all summer and into early fall. Know your tomato type before you put them in a container or the ground and make allowances for their growth pattern. If plants are spaced too closely, either in a pot or ground bed, the plants will crowd each other, restricting air flow, sun light and water supply.

Too Much Fertilizer

It is advisable to provide additional nitrogen and nutrients to tomatoes after transplanting and once tomatoes begin to produce fruit. Adding too much nitrogen, however, can result in rapid growth of lush, carbohydrate-loaded leaves that attract insect infestation, and slowed or reduced yields. Reduce or discontinue fertilizing with nitrogen after early summer to avoid growth spurts and an overly leafy plant that will wilt during summer heat.

Improper Pruning

You do not need to prune determinate tomatoes; doing so may reduce the harvest. Prune indeterminate varieties to improve airflow; this keeps air and sunshine flowing freely in and around the plants and helps in preventing disease. Pruning also increases more yield per plant as well as helps with producing larger fruit. Pinch indeterminate varieties back when about 8 inches tall. This will help to encourage lateral growth of the plant or spreading of the plant.

Not Mulching Properly

One reason Southerners love tomato plants is that tomatoes do so well in the heat. You need to keep the soil around the plants moist and cool, however. Dry soil can lead to dry and diseased plants. Layer mulch 2 – 4 inches deep around the plant and pull it back about 2 inches from the stem itself. Form a small “moat” with the mulch, which will allow for water to get deep into the roots. Mulching not only holds in moisture but helps to control weeds and prevent the spread of disease.

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Barbeque time, beautiful weather and being around friends and family again June is a great month! Make your shopping list don’t forget to add Portobello mushrooms for those none meat-eaters coming by. Check out this great recipe from http://www.loveandlemons, add a nice salad and fries:

Ingredients

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • Tamari, for drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Serving

Instructions

  • Prepare the mushrooms by removing the stems and cleaning the caps with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place the mushrooms in a rimmed plate and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to help coat the mushrooms on both sides.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Place the mushrooms, gill side up onto the grill pan. Cook 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until mushrooms are tender.
  • Place the mushrooms onto the buns and serve with desired fixings.

Boozy Hard Peach Lemonade

Summer time fun time and having an adult drink to beat the heat is not a bad idea! What better refreshing drink lemonade we some kick, for adults only of course. Try out this recipe from Tiffani Thiessen oldie but goodie and maybe switch up some ingredients to try a different mix:

Ingredients

1 cup sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons) 

12 ounces peach brandy 

6 lemon slices, for garnish

6 mint sprigs, for garnish 

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar and 1 cup water in a heavy-bottomed pot. Heat over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. Pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the cooled simple syrup into a 2-quart pitcher. (Reserve the remaining syrup for another use.) Add the lemon juice and 4 cups water and stir to combine.
  3. To serve, fill an 8-ounce glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of the peach brandy, then fill with the peach lemonade to just short of an inch below the rim.
  4. Garnish with a lemon slice and a mint sprig.