How to Make the BEST BLT

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How to Make the BEST BLT

I know you’re probably thinking that you don’t need a recipe for a BLT…the ingredients are in the name of the sandwich, right? I have a few tricks to take your average BLT and make it the BEST BLT ever!

Ok, so growing up my parents were garden people, and on top of the horror of having to weed the garden all the time as a kid, they also would eat raw tomatoes with a little salt like it was an apple. The horror!

And now here we are, once again the enemy called “time” has taught me that “yeah behold I know that I am nothing” (Alma 26:12) because sure enough, there’s nothing more incredible than a garden tomato. The grocery store might as well rename their tomatoes because they are not the same thing. My mom would practically salivate at the mention of a BLT and now I’m totally wiping my keyboard clean as I do the same.

 

a photo of a perfect BLT sandwich with golden toasted bread, slices of crispy bacon, tomato slices and lettuce with mayo slightly seeping out the sides.

 

Tips for the BEST BLT

We know there aren’t a ton of ingredients in a BLT sandwich so the ingredients need to be done right! Here are our tips for BLT success:

Bread

We prefer a good high quality sourdough bread sliced fairly thin — about 1/2 inch thick. If you aren’t a sour dough fan, then do a good sturdy white bread or french bread.

PRO TIP: Give up the toaster and grill each slice of bread in butter (not bacon fat!) on a cast iron skillet only on one side. This way, the inside remains tender. Don’t over toast the bread! You are looking for a nice light golden brown.

a photo of half a blt sandwich that is golden and toasted on top with a little may seeping out and a layer of crispy bacon, bright red tomatoes and green leaf lettuce.Read more

How do I stop gambling permanently?

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Around 43% of Brits have gambled in the last year, yet it’s estimated just 3% of problem gamblers get help. If you’re worried a habit may have turned into an addiction, it’s never too late to seek help. Here’s how you stop gambling for good

How do I stop gambling permanently?

Who doesn’t like to think that they’re lucky? Whether it’s picking up a weekly lotto ticket, sneaking a quick scratch card at the checkouts, betting on a race, or using mobile casino apps, over two-fifths of Brits have gambled at least once, spending an average of £135 each year. Yet despite how widespread gambling has become, studies have shown less than 3% of problem gamblers receive treatment, leaving them open to financial difficulties, negatively impacting careers, relationships, and spiralling debts.

What’s more, rising worries about the cost of living have led to gamblers increasing their spending. Almost half (46%) of under-35s are gamblers, with 30% saying their habit has increased over the past year, with one in six spending over £75 each month on gambling and one in 12 spending over £100.

According to Public Health England, 0.5% of adults in the UK have a problem with gambling right now. A further 3.8% are at-risk, and 7% are being negatively affected by someone else’s gambling. But how do you know when gambling turns into something more problematic?

Am I addicted to gambling? Recognising gambling addiction

People gamble for a number of different reasons. Perhaps you like the opportunity to dream about what you’d do with your winnings; maybe it’s the rush of winning that keeps you coming back, the social aspects, or it’s become habit. Or maybe you find yourself placing an extra bet or two when you’re bored, or logging onto a casino app when you’re feeling worried, stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

If you are betting more than you can afford to lose, are borrowing money to gamble, or feel more stressed and anxious when thinking about gambling, it can be a sign that you have a problem.

Compulsive gambling can happen when you experience uncontrollable urges to gamble. You may become obsessed with the feeling of placing large bets and ‘winning big’. Gambling can start to take over your thoughts, affecting your day-to-day life, changing your routine, affecting your work, and impacting your relationships. As explained by Counselling Directory, gambling addiction can lead to many feeling they need to hide their actions, out of fear and shame, rather than confronting their issues head-on.

If you’re worried that you (or someone you care about) may have a gambling problem, there are common signs of addiction you can look out for. These include:

  • Missing work or education to spend time gambling.
  • Losing interest in hobbies, activities, or socialising with friends and family.
  • Withdrawing from or neglecting friendships, family or romantic relationships.
  • Argu

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

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Explore the glory of gardening, and how it can help sow the seeds of wellness

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

It was May 2022. My first batch of parsnip seeds failed to germinate because it was too cold. Slugs had eaten the first leaves of the runner beans that I had planted two weeks before. The courgettes had suffered the same fate. My plans for the year were wrecked by a seemingly unsympathetic nature. Welcome to the world of gardening for absolute beginners! It’s good for you, honestly.

I was 35 when I got a garden. I possessed only a rudimentary knowledge of plants, seasons (plant in spring, harvest in autumn), and crop rotation, but was keen to learn more and to experiment, knowing that failure would occur. And indeed it did. Repeatedly.

Some of my thoughts were surreal. In my mind I could bargain with the ‘King of Slugs’, and provide him with a humble offering of a broccoli plant that would satiate his kind, allowing me to harvest the rest of my produce in relative peace. He betrayed my trust in what turned out to be a Faustian bargain, and he also allied himself with the cabbage butterflies to further wreak havoc on my small, defenceless, vegetable kingdom.

However, each disaster brought me back to the drawing board. Some issues such as yellowing (under- or over-watering, or a lack of nutrients) or infestation can be identified. But in a similar manner to much that will happen to you in life, sometimes there is no clear explanation for misfortune. Depending on your outlook, it is either cosmic chance, a Gaian malaise, a Darwinian struggle on the micro-scale, divine intervention, or just plain bad luck. And you have to resiliently accept this, and either adapt quickly, or try again next year while being as stoic as you can.

But remember, you are not alone in this struggle, and of course, each disaster will lead to a profusion of opinions about what you did wrong, and what to do again, and may lead to some conversation on non-Covid/cost of living/environment/Ukraine issues.

I have pleasantly chatted about the difference between ‘second earlies’ and ‘main crop’ potatoes. I have been provided with divergent ways to ripen green tomatoes. “Put them in a brown paper bag and leave them on a radiator,” one person said. “Move your tomato plants into the living room,” said another.

Colleagues who never discussed gardening before, and who I thought had no interest in the subject, have told me that broken egg shells or a spray bottle filled with cayenne pepper can deter slugs. Ever discussed parsnips with a man who owns beehives? I have. If someone asks what you did at the weekend, tell them you planted something. I would wager that they will take an interest.

The day I was asked by a friend when her dad should plant his potatoes, my heart could have burst with pride. “Are they first earlies, second earlies, or main crop?” I sagely enquired. There are also numerous Men’s Sheds (menssheds.org.uk) and local allotment groups on the internet that would be willing to help you.

Down to Earth: what are the wellbeing benefits of gardening?

Of course, trying to grow plants in itself is a valuable ecological lesson. You can see that, without direct intervention, many of our food crops are so vulnerable and require the near c

The Little Things Newsletter #331 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Welcome to the weekend, friends! Brace yourself, I’m weather obsessed once again. It was 90 degrees on Wednesday and 60 degrees on Thursday. Fall has arrived and I am so very much here for it. I love the crisp weather, the sweatshirts, the warm mugs of tea and coffee in the morning, the crunching leaves on the sidewalks, and the brilliant blue skies that turn gray in a moment. I love it all.

I spent a day this week exploring Amish country with some friends and it couldn’t have been more perfect. If you’re anywhere near my area, I highly recommend both Yoder Amish Home Tours and The Farm at Walnut Creek. (The Farm is like nothing else I’ve ever seen!) I’ve already told my family that we’re going to drive up for a day soon. I can hardly wait to see my boys experience all of it.

ON THE BLOG this week: Crisp tortillas filled with saucy bbq chicken and melting cheese add up to these BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. They are a little bit spicy, and awesomely cheesy, and they are a very popular lunch in our house.

This Pineapple Mango Smoothie is a refreshingly delicious and naturally sweet kid-approved green vegetable and fruit smoothie.

Cranberry Apple Walnut Oatmeal is a tart and sweet body-warming dish perfect for filling those bellies before a busy day.

This easy-as-can-be sheet pan dinner has become a favorite in many of your homes over the past two years. It only takes about 5 minutes of effort to toss the chicken, potatoes, and green beans in a simple lemon and herb vinaigrette before roasting until tender and crisp.

Chewy edges, crazy moist blondies, and a crackling crust add up to these mouthwatering, slightly sweet Apple Brownies. Oh. my. word. Friends! How have I never had apple brownies before now? They are AMAZING. Huge thanks to my friend Katie for telling me about them and encouraging me to try the recipe.

What I’m CRAVING: This Apple Cider Sangria sounds so good! Fall is here and I’m ready for all the fun fall flavors. 

favorite things: these cute little pill boxes, this movie, and these books

My FAVORITE THINGS this week are Read more

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

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Society conditions us to think that we must always keep going, that fortune favours the busy, and to applaud the relentless hustlers. But columnist Grace Victory is here to share the real urgency, and necessity, to cut yourself some slack. This is your rallying call to rest – you deserve it

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

Recently, I’ve found myself trying to rest, but then immediately telling myself to ‘just’ unload the washing, to ‘just’ put that pile of stuff away, to ‘just’ reply to one last email, to ‘just’ sort out Cyprus’s bag for tomorrow… There’s always just one more thing. My mind tells me to keep going when my body is screaming to just stop.

I think rest is complicated for a lot of us, including myself. It’s not necessarily about feeling as if rest isn’t deserved, but more about believing other things are more important. Or, sometimes, it’s simply the fact that our to-do list is nowhere near finished, and the thought of going to bed to wake up to the shit we ‘should’ve’ done before going to sleep is counter-productive.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe our need to feel productive stops us from being able to slow down. However, if the past two years have taught me anything it’s that resting when needed and when called to do so, is probably one of the most productive things we can do for ourselves.

Within the Western world, we have normalised constantly doing, moving, and working so much that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation is few and far between. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a great example of the state of our society, but things are slowly changing – and rightly so. Our wellbeing is in the gutter, we are more burnt out than ever, and if we aren’t in despair at our government, we are in despair at global crises, and you know what? Something simply has to give.

Rest to recover: Grace Victory on the power of giving yourself a break

The grind culture isn’t fulfilling us anymore, and working nine-to-five with little to show for it doesn’t seem as acceptable as it once did. We want more. We deserve more. We’re demanding more, and I’m here for it.

But I also think we deserve a little more love and compassion from ourselves, too. We need to recognise that, actually, sleeping five hours a night, skipping breakfast, and binge drinking on the weekend, is taking its toll, and maybe we need to pause, slow down, and stop filling every waking moment with ‘stuff’. That it’s healthy and empowering to have moments within our lives that are quiet, somewhat boring, and unhurried.

I really recommend reclaiming rest and making it something you actually enjoy, because rest looks different for everyone, and different circumstances will require a different form of relaxing, too! Sometimes you just need to forget about everything and go to sleep. Other times you might only need a break from work, so going on a walk to listen to a podcast with an iced coffee would benefit you better. Maybe it’s a hot bath? Maybe it’s dropping your

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