Showing posts with label LifeStyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LifeStyle. Show all posts

Friday, 9 June 2017

The New York Public Library is offering free e-books for commuters

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The New York Public Library is offering free e-books for commuters
 It's free and you have nothing better to do - read a book, people!

The New York Public Library announced Thursday on its website that it is launching "Subway Library," a new initiative between the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Libraries, the MTA and Transit Wireless that provides straphangers with free access to hundreds of e-books "for all ages."

To access the e-books, subway riders underground will connect to the free TransitWirelessWiFi on their smartphones, or other internet-able devices, and then click on the prompt. They'll then have access to the "e-books, excerpts, and short stories - all ready to read on the train."

To celebrate Subway Library, there will be one train decked out on the inside with a design that mimics the interior of the NYPL's Rose Reading Room in the Main Branch. The train will alternate operation on the E and F lines through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Titles available right now to commuters include "Open City" by Teju Cole, "The Nest" by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney and Patti Smith's memoir, "Just Kids."
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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Tamal Ray’s foraging recipes: wild garlic pesto and tart; elderflower creme brulee

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Tamal Ray’s foraging recipes: wild garlic pesto and tart; elderflower creme brulee
There was a phase, a few years ago, where you couldn’t get away from foraging. All the TV chefs were obsessed; catching their own crayfish and smoking wild mushrooms over moss. It was infectious.

I’d always been a nature nerd so the prospect of not only admiring the British countryside but being able to eat it too was irresistible. I spent a day with a friend, trudging through the woods with a bucket and a pocketbook of fungi without finding so much as a scrap of a worm-infested toadstool. We eventually found one wild mushroom in the middle of his garden lawn which I was 95% sure was edible. We took a picture, in the belief that this would somehow be of help to the paramedics who might need to attend to our potential liver-poisoning, and proceeded to fry it up in a little butter. After all that effort, the results were a tad underwhelming; if damp were a flavour, this would be it.

In hindsight, mushrooms were a rather ambitious quarry for a first time forager. What my little handbook neglected to mention was that there are hundreds of species endemic to the British Isles, only a fraction of which are edible. Some are potentially fatal.

It would have been far better to set my sights on something more common: wild garlic. Every spring, succulent shoots burst through the leaf litter in our woodlands to create vast swaths of lush green. You might smell them before you see them; a slight breeze is enough to scatter their unmistakably garlicky aroma into the air. Though all parts of the plant are edible, it’s the leaves that are usually eaten rather than the bulbs. We’re now at the very end of the season, so any plants you find will either be in bloom or about to set seed. The usual advice is that they are past their best at this point; the younger early-spring leaves are said to have a subtler flavour. Though these late-season leaves might be too harsh to go in a salad, for a garlic fan such as myself they are delicious made into a pesto or baked in a hearty tart.

Elderflower is another great target for a junior forager, being even easier to find than wild garlic. While you’ll have to make a trip to woodland to find wild garlic, elderflower springs up seemingly everywhere there is a scrap of unattended land. The palm-sized heads of tiny, cream-coloured flowers bloom on small trees which can often be found in public parks. They also have a fondness for growing on the edge of old industrial land; I seem to pass endless supplies of it every time I get on a train. The classic use is to boil the blossoms with sugar, water and a bit of lemon juice to make elderflower cordial. However, they can also be used to infuse creams and custards, or in an early-summer creme brulee.

‘Though late-season leaves might be too harsh to go in a salad, they are delicious made into a pesto.’

Sunflower seeds make a tasty and cheap alternative to overpriced pine nuts in this pesto.

(Makes one jar of pesto)
80g sunflower seeds
2 large handfuls wild garlic leaves
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/4 tsp salt
40g grated parmesan (or other hard cheese)
150ml olive oil

Toast the sunflower seeds in an oven at 180C (360F) fan for seven minutes. Tip the cooled seeds into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse until a fine paste. You may need to add a little more olive oil to loosen the mix.
Wild garlic, feta & walnut tart
Foraged wild garlic, feta and walnut tart.

(Makes one, 10 inch tart. Serves 8)
For the pastry
150g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
125g unsalted butter
1/2tsp table salt
1 large egg

For the filling
3 large eggs
150g natural yoghurt
50ml milk
40g grated parmesan
4tbsp wild garlic pesto
1/4tsp salt
1/4tsp ground black pepper
1 handful wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped
100g feta
40g walnuts

First make the pastry. In a food processor mix the flours and salt with the cold butter cut into cubes. Pulse until the mix has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add in the yolk of the egg with a little of the white until the mixture comes together into a dough.

Knead the dough a few times; it should hold together without feeling sticky. You may need to add a little more egg white if it feels too crumbly and dry.

Form into a round, cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile roast the walnuts in an oven set to 180C for seven minutes and set aside to cool.

Rub butter around the inside of a 10 inch metal tart tin. Roll out the pastry to 3mm thick, roll up around the rolling pin and lower it over the greased tart tin. Ensure the pastry is pushed into the edges and leave a overhang over the edge. Prick the base all over with a fork and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Make the filling by whisking together the eggs, yoghurt, milk, parmesan, wild garlic pesto, salt and pepper. Then stir in the chopped garlic leaves.

After 20 minutes, place the tart tin on a baking sheet. Line the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and then cover it with something to keep the pastry weighed down (eg baking beans, dried pulses or rice). Bake for 11 minutes then remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans. Brush the pastry with the reserved egg white and return to the oven for three minutes. Then remove from the oven.

Pour in the filling, crumble over the feta and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Finally, chop the walnuts and scatter over the top of the tart.

(Makes 4-5 creme brulee, depending on the size of your ramekins)
4 heads of elderflower
350ml double cream
150ml creme fraiche
30g caster sugar + extra for the topping
6 large egg yolks

Separate the blossom from their stalks by running over them with a fork. Place them in a saucepan with the cream and creme fraiche and bring to just under a simmer. Let the mix stand for 30 minutes to infuse.
Britain's native plants put the taste of spices in easy reach
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Strain the mix through a fine sieve, then measure the volume again and top it up to 500ml with some more cream.

Whisk in the sugar and egg yolks, then transfer the mix to your ramekins.

Place in a deep baking tray into an oven at 150 degrees. Pour boiling water into the tray until it comes just over halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. They are ready when the centre is just set but there is still a slight wobble. Remove, and once cool place in the fridge to chill.

To make the caramel topping, add two teaspoons of caster sugar to the top of each ramekin. Smooth it out with the back of a spoon and caramelise using a blowtorch or place under a very hot grill.
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Monday, 5 June 2017

David Delfin, Spanish fashion designer, dead at 46 after cancer battle

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David Delfin, Spanish fashion designer, dead at 46 after cancer battle
 David Delfin, a Spanish fashion designer, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 46.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy expressed his condolences for Delfin's death on Sunday.

Rajoy said in a telegram sent to Delfin's family published on the Spanish government's website that Delfin "was one of the most charismatic and creative fashion designers in Spain" who "leaves an incomparable legacy."

Born in Malaga, Delfin co-founded a studio in Madrid in 2001. A year later he made his mark as one of Spain's most provocative designers by covering models' faces with hoods and putting nooses around their necks at the Pasarela Cibeles fashion show.

He went on to win several international awards and earned Spain's National Award for Fashion Design in 2016 for "developing his own avant-garde universe."
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McDonalds launches delivery service in New York, tri-state area with UberEATS

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McDonalds launches delivery service in New York, tri-state area with UberEATS
 Get your Big Mac on demand.

McDonalds is launching delivery service in New York and throughout the Tri-State area on Wednesday, the Daily News has exclusively learned.

The burger chain teamed up with UberEATS — an online meal order and delivery service that partners with restaurants around the world — to bring faster food from more than 300 select Mickey D’s locations to homes in New York City, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey .

“Customers have been vocal that they want the added convenience of delivery to make enjoying their favorite McDonald's meal even easier,” McDonald’s spokesman Bill Garrett told the News in a statement.

Customers can simply place orders for McDelivery on the UberEATs mobile app or website,, using the same account as you would to request an Uber car ride.

The closest location will prepare the order, and an Uber driver will pick it up for a flat booking fee and deliver it on demand.

McDonald’s has been testing the delivery service at restaurants in Florida since last year, and other chain restaurants are jumping on the fast food trend as well. Denny's announced on Tuesday it's partnering with digital ordering company Olo so eaters can order pancakes, milkshakes and burgers from their smartphones. They've also implemented special carry-out containers to prevent food from getting soggy. Taco Bell and Wendy's also now deliver to select areas.
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Estate tax changes make this a good time to update your will

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Estate tax changes make this a good time to update your will
 If you are like many people who have a will, chances are it's been quite a while since you last looked at it. The birth of your first child or the first time the entire family flew on a plane together are some of the more common events that trigger the preparation of a will, which for some could have been years ago.

The problem with not reviewing your will is that not only do tax laws change, but so do individual circumstances which can make your will outdated. Since the will is a legal document, its language needs to be followed by your executor which could in some cases cause unintended consequences.

A simple example would be the creation of a trust to hold money for the benefit of a spouse or child. With changes in the federal, New York and New Jersey estate tax laws recently, some wills may either mandatorily create a trust when one is no longer desired, or may not create one when a trust is still desired — even if it may not be needed to save estate taxes.

Tying up money in trust can make it time consuming and costly for a beneficiary; meanwhile, eliminating the trust gives complete control over the money to the beneficiary, where the risk of spending it all too soon becomes a possibility.

Another example could be the naming in the will of someone to be a trustee or executor of your estate when that person is no longer a part of your lives.

People tend to name their contemporaries. This is fine when you are 35 years old, but as you age they may not be the best people to name, especially for a trust which can last more than one generation.

However, not naming successor trustees or executors is not good either, and can result in the court appointing someone. Even worse, it can lead to assets left directly to a minor and being managed by the state until the minor reached the age of majority.

A review of your will should begin with reviewing the people you have named as executors, trustees and guardians for your minor children. Include in the review those you have named to successor roles for executor, trustee and guardian. Be sure they are still appropriate to assume the roles you have chosen for them.

Even better, notify the people you have chosen and let them know of your desire to name them. This will give them a chance to politely decline, should they choose, allowing you to name a replacement now rather than in your will.

Next, you should review how the will disposes of your assets upon your death. This may not be so simple, as language in the will can be difficult to interpret. If it is not clear, you should not assume the disposition will go a certain way. Better to reach out to your estate planning attorney to help you.

A financial planner may be able to help as well — just be sure they understand these documents. Many people call themselves financial planners, but either do not get involved in or only superficially oversee the non-investment pieces of a financial plan.

You may be tempted, based on current estate tax law, to remove any trusts your existing will creates to help reduce estate taxes. While under current tax law you may not owe any estate tax, laws can and do change — sometimes often to better to include language in the will which gives the executor the ability to create a trust if need be, rather than rely on revising the will again should laws change.

The more flexibility you can put in the will the more likely it can adapt to changing tax laws without a complete redo.

Reviewing your will every few years, or as laws and circumstances change, is something you should commit to doing. Most of the time there will be nothing to change. However, if you do come across something that needs to be changed, you'll be glad you took the time.

Howard Hook is a Certified Financial Planner and CPA with the wealth management firm EKS Associates in Princeton, N.J.
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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Almost half of all kids killed in car accidents aren't properly buckled up

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 It's no wonder car crashes are the leading cause of pediatric injury: 95 percent of parents install their newborn's car seats incorrectly.
Almost half of all kids killed in car accidents aren't properly buckled up
A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics showed that 43% of child deaths in vehicle crashes could have possibly been prevented if they were restrained correctly or at all. Almost 75% of families face their kids' seats in the wrong direction and, as they age, many kids aren't sitting in the recommended booster seats. And, some of them sat in the front seat way too soon.

The report, supported by data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, demonstrates that these factors increase the likelihood of a child dying in an accident. It also showed that geography played a surprising roll.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends toddlers stay rear-facing in a car seat until they're 2-years-old.

"The majority of children involved in a fatal crash lived in the South (52%), with 21% in the West, 19% in the Midwest, and 7.5% in the Northeast," the Journal noted.

For every 100,000 children, 0.25 died in Massachusetts while 3.20 died in Mississippi. And while 20% of kids killed in crashes across the country were either strapped in incorrectly or totally unbuckled, 38% of all child mortalities in Mississippi car accidents occurred this way.

The American Academy of Pediatrics published specific guidelines for the strongest and most reliable means of protecting young passengers. They recommend toddlers stay rear-facing in a car seat until they're 2-years-old.

But, the study noted, "Although these recommendations have been implemented in part by some states, no state has implemented them fully."
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Five pro-tips to come down from a marijuana high quickly

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Five pro-tips to come down from a marijuana high quickly
 More American people than ever have access to legal cannabis, and you can expect that a lot of people are going to Maureen Dowd themselves into a blanket burrito. This is what many call rookie syndrome, when you just get too stoned to function normally. Here’s how to come down from a marijuana high quickly.

Whether smoking a high-THC strain for the first time, or eating something more potent than what you're used to, getting too stoned is something that happens to many people at some point. Proper dosage greatly affects an experience, and that becomes hard to do when you’re smoking or eating something particularly tasty. Beginners are most susceptible to getting too stoned, but one thing is for sure, you won’t die - no one has yet!

Getting unhigh is not exactly as easy as you think, but there are certain things that can definitely help you out of a corner. Like many intoxicants, it's really a waiting game, as you have to allow time for your body to metabolize the THC just like you would with alcohol. That’s also why edibles can be dicey, the effects take more time to fully present, and longer to die down as they travel through your system. Edibles and dosage in general can work on everyone differently, so if you don’t have a firm idea of your tolerance, caution is your best bet.

If somehow you find yourself glued to a couch or hiding in your covers imagining the FBI busting through the door, try one of these five ways to chill out.

This can seem like a “duh” piece of advice, but it really isn’t easy to remember if you’re coughing up a lung or starting to hit an anxiety plateau. Deep belly breaths are important to do throughout the day for optimal oxygenation of your blood, but they can also get you out of a jam if things are starting to feel too fuzzy.

If you have a smartphone, a free app can prompt you to do this throughout the day, or whenever you need to check in. Just one minute of focused breathing is usually enough to undo a nosedive from a too-deep bong rip.

Science is slow to give us bedrock guidelines about not only dosage of cannabis, but how to alter, extend, or end a high. Right now what we know is based on “the entourage effect,” which is how cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create different intoxication effects. From what we know about terpenes, lemon and pepper share more than a few chemicals with cannabis.

It is these chemicals, piperine and limonene that help to create an active, less anxious cannabis experience, and this can help fish you out of a pothole too. Simply squeeze a lemon and crack some pepper into water, or waft peppercorns under your nose (but not up it). Essential oils would also work great for a quick fix. These terpenes help mitigate anxious or paranoid feelings, helping to center your stone.

Three: Hydrate
In fact, being the basics of self care, eating, bathing, and sleeping could be just what you were missing, and can snap you out of a downward spiral so you can go about your business.
In fact, being the basics of self care, eating, bathing, and sleeping could be just what you were missing, and can snap you out of a downward spiral so you can go about your business.

Water has a way of undoing plenty of life’s mishaps. Chugging a big glass of water is not a silver bullet, but generally helps take the edge off of any type of excess. Being dehydrated can also make you feel lightheaded to start, and mixing that with any substance is pretty much not ideal. Being hydrated before you even smoke is a great way to prevent drama.

Having a cuppa or a nice mid-afternoon coffee can’t make you unhigh, but it can help you re-focus. If you find yourself too sleepy or foggy, caffeine is key to keeping the wheels on. Caffeine is one of the most consumed substances in the world and it's because our brains work harder on it. Coffee or tea can give you a few minutes to get it together, and if you’ve not eaten or had a pick-me-up in the afternoon, caffeine could be the tipping point between medicated and messed up. Just make sure the coffee does not contain cannabis as well.

These are all interchangeable to suit the situation you may find yourself in while too high. Taking a shower or simply hitting the pillow are last-ditch efforts to settle down an overzealous experience. In fact, being the basics of self care, eating, bathing, and sleeping could be just what you were missing, and can snap you out of a downward spiral so you can go about your business.

Getting too high can suck regardless of you doing it on purpose or by accident. Using the above tactics can help you take a breather from being too up in the clouds.
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Trader Joe’s Simpler Italian Sparkling Wines — worth $1 a can?

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                                                                            Can do.
Trader Joe’s Simpler Italian Sparkling Wines — worth $1 a can?
Trader Joe’s took that attitude for its new Simpler Wines Italian Sparkling Wine, a low-cost cousin of the chain’s signature dirt-cheap Two Buck Chuck.

TJ’s Vino Frizzante (that’s the fancy name on the simple pink and green packages) comes in rose and white. Each sells for $3.99 for four 6-ounce cans.

This pop-top portable party is available at all wine-selling Trader Joe's stores nationwide, including New York's Union Square location, where a sign for the new vinos boasts “crisp, bright, bubbly, great with BBQ!”

What is it like to eat all the pumpkin food at Trader Joe's?

Wine in a can is a thing — and it’s growing. With 80-plus temperatures on deck for the weekend, barbecues beckon, along with your backyard, so we sampled Simpler Wines to find out if they’re worth sipping. Here are the results.

White Promised: “Enjoy notes of honeydew and fresh cut herbs. Pair with bread, olives or delicate tea cookies.”

“Totally harmless. I’d put it in my cooler and bring it to the beach.”

“It tastes a bit tinny — probably from the can — but I'm willing to overlook it for its lightweight packaging and for discreet drinking on the beach or in parks.”

“Picnic worthy.”

“It tastes like the $13 bottle of white I’d usually buy.”

Rose Promised: “Elegant mineral notes and fresh red fruit flavors. Pairs well with pasta, seafood and sweet desserts.”

Daily News Sippers Said:



“I’m all for rose all day — but I can't even stomach a sip of that one.

“It tastes like a nickel.”

Which to choose? The answer couldn’t be Simpler.
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