5 Spring Vegetables and How to Choose Them

Lots of things are in bloom in the springtime, including a number of nutritious vegetables. It can be difficult to decide what to purchase when you’re faced with the overwhelming possibilities in the produce aisle, however, and it helps to go in with a plan for what to look for. Here are a few veggies that are in season in the spring.

1. Artichokes. Look for artichokes with tight, firm leaves that are deep green in color. Be sure to avoid ones with black spots, because this means they’re old and already rotting.

2. Asparagus. The thickness of the asparagus doesn’t matter, but you’ll need to check if it’s bright green and firm. Avoid bunches that are drooping or peeling.

3. Peas. Whether you’re looking for snow, sugar, or snap peas, you want to choose pods that are almost translucent.

4. Spinach. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables, but you should choose only fresh leaves to maximize its health benefits. Look for bunches that are darkly colored with no signs of yellowing or breaking.

5. Rhubarb. This isn’t the most common vegetable, but rhubarb is delicious in a number of sweet dishes from pies to cobblers. Avoid limp stalks and seek out ones that are deep red in color.

Spring Clean Your Diet [Cooking Light]
Spring’s Best Fruits and Vegetables [Real Simple]

Prep for a 5K With These Online Guides for New Runners

Running helps to build stamina and keeps your weight in check, and it’s a relaxing pastime once you get into the groove of things. If you want to start a running routine but you’re not sure where to begin, these online running guides can help.

Beginner’s Guide to Running
Written by a regular, everyday runner just like yourself, this accessible guide is full of tips and advice to help you get started. It focuses on making slow, gradual progress over time, and it outlines a general four-week plan of alternating walking and running. This beginner’s guide also offers advice for training for a 5k, purchasing running gear, and online resources for running injuries.

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan
Designed to get a completely novice runner ready to run a 5k, this is a fairly laid-back plan with truly ambitious results. You’ll build up to running long distances by increasing your time by a few minutes each week, and the incredibly detailed schedule will keep even the most unenthusiastic runner on track. The Couch-to-5k plan even has its own mobile app so you can track your progress while you’re running, compare your times from day to day, and even share your results with your friends.

Public Domain/Openclipart.org

Browse Baseball News With These 2 Websites

If you can’t make it out to the local ballpark, there are still a number of ways to keep up with scores and stats for your favorite teams. Many sports fanatics have started to rely on online sources for their news because of the frequent updates and added convenience, and these great baseball sites are two of the best online options.

Major League Baseball
This one is a no-brainer, but the Major League Baseball site is filled with much more than just scores and game highlights. It offers live highlights from games across the Major League right as they happen, but it also features full, detailed recaps for the serious baseball strategist. The trending topics section shows you what other baseball fans are talking about, and the video page is packed full of exciting highlights (and, of course, lowlights) from the most recent games. You can even purchase tickets to an upcoming game right from this one site.

Baseball Almanac
Baseball Almanac is a site for the baseball fans that fancy themselves more of historians. This online resource is dedicated to preserving the history of America’s pastime, and it features over 500,000 pages of fascinating baseball facts. Browse by players, hitting charts, record books, or even baseball card facts to learn everything there is to know about the history of this great game.

Big Blue Truck Donations

Need a little more room in the closet? Then you should donate to Northwest Center! They offer a convenient donation pick-up and drop-off service for clothing, shoes and household items. Your donations will help impact the lives of local children and adults with disabilities and keep recyclables out of our landfills.

1. Visit www.bigbluetruck.org
2. Click on the Donations 101 tab to learn more about acceptable items
3. Click on the Schedule Pick-up tab
4. Fill out your donor details to schedule your pick-up

It’s that easy! Visit the site above for more information.

Find the Best Airline Ticket Deals Online

Want to travel more, but interested in finding affordable plane tickets? These savvy websites will help you find the very best deals from top airlines.

Airfare Watchdog
With a simple search bar that only asks for your departure city and destination, Airfare Watchdog searches the Internet for the lowest prices from every airline. It also posts the lowest fares for every day of the week, with many round-trip tickets available for under $100.

Kayak is becoming an increasingly popular website for airline deals, and there are good reasons why. This site allows visitors to compare rates on hundreds of travel sites at the same time to choose the best deal for your trip, and it even finds discounted rates on hotels, rental cars and vacation packages.

Priceline is one of the most elaborate discount travel sites. You can book an entire trip from start to finish on this one convenient website, including everything from flights to hotels to full cruises. The innovative Name Your Own Price tool is a unique feature that even allows visitors to choose a price that best fits your budget.

Public Domain/Public Domain

7 Simple Ways to Start Your Green Initiative

  1. Don’t buy bottled water. Invest in reusable, travel bottles!
  2. Use reusable grocery bags.
  3. Eat and buy local food. Visit your local markets or farmers markets. A lot of the food you will purchase doesn’t come in packaging so there won’t be any garbage or unnecessary waste.
  4. Create scrap paper. Instead of recycling all the paper you don’t need any more, reuse it by either scrap paper for projects or shredding & using for packing paper.
  5. Hang dry your clothes. Not only are you practicing a green technique, but your energy bill will thank you!
  6. Go digital for planning events. Get rid of the paper calendars and starting using your tablet, phone or computer to save important dates and events.
  7. Bike to work or use public transit.

Read more here.

IRS Tips for Managing Your Tax Records

You file your taxes every year, but do you feel confident in the records you keep afterward? Keeping accurate tax records is an important part of maintaining your financial stability. These helpful tips from the IRS will show you how to maintain your tax records. Here are some of the IRS's tips:

  • The IRS recommends that you keep your tax records for 3 years.
  • Hold on to documents related to the purchase or investments and retirement accounts for more than 3 years.
  • Although the IRS doesn’t require you to keep your records in a specific format, as a general rule you should keep anything that could possibly have an impact on your federal tax return.
  • To support deductions or credits you claim on your tax return, you should keep records of bills, credit card statements, receipts, invoices, mileage logs, cancelled or substitute checks and proofs of payment of any kind.

For more tips, visit the IRS website!

Tips for Managing Your Tax Records [IRS]

Public Domain/Public Domain


Happy Presidents’ Day

Remembering the courage and vision of past and present leaders, we honor and share the spirit of Presidents' Day together as a nation.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wishing everyone a day filled with fun and happy memories!

Basic Cooking Terms for Healthy Home Chefs

Are you the type of at-home cook who uses the same technique for “grilling” as you do for “sautéing”? Using the proper cooking techniques can make or break a nutritious dish, but many people don’t know the true meaning of most of these terms. This helpful list will ensure that you use the most effective cooking techniques for every healthy meal. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Grill. Ideal for chicken, firmer seafood and hearty vegetables, grilling is a common cooking method that can be done on a stovetop or an outdoor grill.

2. Broil. Broiling is a great technique for dishes that require a crispy surface. It can be used for chicken, salmon, tuna or other lean meats.

3. Sauté. This light stir-frying method is effective on thin cuts of chicken or most vegetables, from mushrooms to kale to zucchini. By using olive oil or another healthy oil, you can add robust flavor without adding fat to your dish.

4. Poach. Ideal for salmon, flounder, trout and other white fishes, poaching uses boiling water to gently cook and add moisture to fish.

5. Steam. Steaming vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans or carrots is one of the healthiest ways to prepare them. By using boiling water in the bottom of a sauce pan, you’ll have tender vegetables in a matter of minutes.

Basic Cooking Instructions [NIH]

Public Domain/Public Domain