Monday, September 23, 2013

white bean soup

IMG_3194.JPGThis is a super simple version of white bean soup with tons of veggies. It's a good meal when you're getting down to the end of your groceries. :D That was my problem today! All I've really got left is dried beans, vegetables and bacon.

You can also switch out the vegetables with your favorites or add more. I'll be making this white bean soup in a pressure cooker, but you can do it on the stovetop too! Bacon is optional but awesome and makes it more filling. You could also use ham or chicken.

Ingredients: 1/2 pound dried white beans (I'm using great northern)3 carrots3 stalks of celery1 onion3 garlic cloves1 tomato4 cups chicken stock + more as needed (I used 6 cups total)2 big pinches of thyme1 big pinch rosemarysalt and pepper as neededbacon + bacon fatSteps: Chop up onions, celery, carrots and tomato. Mince the garlic.Saute the onions, celery, carrots and garlic in about a tablespoon of bacon fat until nice and soft. (We'll add the tomato later!) Then add the herbs and mix until they're nice and fragrant. (No bacon fat in the fridge? Shame on you! Guess you'll need to cook the bacon first.)Add in the beans and stir to coat them with the fat.Pour in your stock - you want enough to cover everything by an inch or so, since the beans will be expanding.Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high for 35 minutes - release the pressure naturally.Open the pressure cooker and check the seasonings - add some salt if needed, a little hot sauce, whatever you like. Then pop in the tomatoes and stir.Lock the lid again and cook for 5 more minutes on high pressure - quick release the pressure when done.Serve with crumbled bacon on top for best results.I also made cornbread muffins to go with the soup and it was excellent. :D

If you will be making the white bean soup on the stovetop, simmer the beans and veggies for about an hour or until the beans are soft. (It'll depend on how old your beans are!) Once they're soft, add the tomatoes and some salt and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.

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LED Origami

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As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

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MagicanRest Makes Scheduling Breaks a Breeze

MagicanRest Makes Scheduling Breaks a Breeze

Mac: We've seen plenty of daily break reminders before, but MagicanRest is a break reminder that offers up enough options to make it worthwhile for just about anyone.

MagicanRest's purpose is to remind you when you're overworking, and tell you to rest your eyes. You can set up intervals throughout the day and create different schedules for different days of the week where MagicanRest will remind you to take a break. When MagicanRest turns on, you're locked out of your system until the break interval is over (there's an emergency button if you need it). It's not packed with features, and certainly struggles with the English translation a bit, but it has enough customization options to make it worthwhile over some of the other simpler timers out there.

MagicanRest (Free) | Mac App Store via Addictive Tips

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The 50 Best Booth Babes of E3 2013

Legit Event Reviews

Hello again to another special episode of “Booth Babes”!  This week we are coming to from sunny Los Angeles, California where another tremendous E3 Expo has just concluded.  As it was with last year’s E3 Expo there was tons of news about new consoles and controllers and headphones and games, but we know what enthusiasts really want to see coming from a show like E3…yep, the Booth babes that were hired to model at this years show!!

Being that we were in L.A. for the past several days, we saw so many babes that we were forced to narrow our presentation to you to just 50. We hope that you enjoy this year’s E3 Edition! Don’t forget to check back with us and let us know who your favorite was!

Of course if you want to compare previous years, feel free to go back and look:

Enough talk, bring on the models!

** Legit Reviews has be contacted by a couple 'executives' that threatened to bash Legit Reviews to their PR list if we don't remove this article. This article was done to show the hired models that were being paid to be at E3 to work in the vendor booths. By taking pictures of these professional models and some fans at the show we are not trying to 'send women back to the dark ages' or anything like that. If you feel that women should not be 'put on display' we suggest that you contact the companies that hired the women to model in the first place. To threaten Legit Reviews over taking and posting these images is crazy. We have always believed in equal rights and when there are men modeling at booths we take pictures of them too! **

E3 Booth Babe






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Important Family Days Frame & Print

A present I gave to my husband for our anniversary, I was able to make this framed piece of family history in a couple days.  It took me longer to select 25+ photos to choose from to place on the mat than it did to actually put this personalized portrait together.  I had to go through a few years of photos to get ones that had small enough faces to fit on the actual size of the mat.

The frame was free (more in Step 2), the photos were $0.19 each (after a few hours of looking for them on the computer,) and I spent about three hours coming up with the Power Point file to print.

The original idea came from here: Pinterest
The thing that tugged at my heart strings was the very last line ~ what a difference a day makes.
I've got nothing to say to top that.

You don't have to put the photos on the mat.  I did that because I wanted to but it's totally optional and would certainly save time if it didn't get done.

If you’ve got a handle on power point, hopefully this framed art work will be easy for you and all you have to do is type in your family's info.
If you don’t know power point well, I’ve tried to make the Instructable as clear and simple as possible, BUT, you may run into a snag or two where I assumed that the person reading this knows how to use power point, “enough to get by.”

Here's a run-down of the steps in this Instructable:
Step 1 - Materials, Equipment and Tools Needed

Step 2 - Change the Color of the Frame (Optional)

Step 3 - Download the Power Point File

Step 4 - Create your own Power Point file to make a Personalized Dates Printable

Step 5 - Add photos to the mat (Optional)

Step 6 - Put it all together 

The main photo shows a flash spot over one of the dates.  I tried taking a photo without the flash, but just couldn't get it right.  I think you get the idea though....

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What's the Best Smartphone for People Who Aren't Good with Technology?

Dear Lifehacker,
My parents could really use an upgrade in the cellphone department because they're still using dumbphones. Is there a particular smartphone that's better for non-tech savvy users?

Luddite Phone

Dear LP,
Getting a non-tech savvy person into a smartphone isn't an easy task. While it's partially about finding a good fit for them on a usability level, it's also just about figuring out which features really matter to someone. While you have a ton of options out there, we'll stick to the big three here: Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone.

What's the Best Smartphone for People Who Aren't Good with Technology?

It might sound silly to those of us who've had smartphones for a while, but the fact is, not everyone wants one. Nor does everyone need one. In fact, for a lot of people, a dumbphone is still the best option.

A bunch of reasons exist for this. For one, smartphones are usually more expensive because they come with a data plan that adds to their bill. As CNET points out, the bill alone is worth considering, and it's a deal breaker for many:

The bottom line is that iPhones and really any smartphone are expensive devices to own. So unless your parents plan to use the features of these device, it's probably a waste of money. A less-expensive option for them would be to get a pay-as-you-go service on a basic feature phone and then buy a small tablet like the iPad Mini, the Nexus 7 Android tablet, or a Kindle Fire, which can be used on Wi-Fi networks for free. This way they can access the Internet and all kinds of apps, but they won't have to pay for the expensive data services associated with owning a smartphone.
There's also the simple fact that less tech-savvy people are, by their nature, less interested in technology. This means things like games, fancy apps, or email with push notifications just don't matter to them. While it's great that the iPhone is easy to use, the fact that it has 900,000 apps means nothing to most people.

The point is, before you even consider which smartphone is best, think about whether a smartphone is needed at all. If so, then it's time to decide which smartphone will work best. If not, then it's likely best to just save the cash and stick with the dumbphone.

What's the Best Smartphone for People Who Aren't Good with Technology?

The best smartphone for people who aren't great with technology is really going to depend on a lot of factors.

As we've noted before, the Windows Phone is a really good option for people looking for what essentially amounts to a dumbphone that can also surf the web, check email, and navigate you around town. The interface is easy to use at a glance, and if someone's coming from a dumbphone they're not going to struggle too much to use the phone at first.

The nice thing about the Windows Phone is that it's a really good mix of the better features of the iPhone and Android. It has the ease of use of the iPhone where anyone can pick it up and use it, but Windows Phones also have a bunch of model options like Android, so they can find a bigger screen or nice hardware if they want. Essentially, a Windows phone is a win-win for anyone who doesn't really care that much about apps or features.

The iPhone is nearly as simple as the Windows Phone, but it also comes packed with a gigantic App Store. The App Store is a huge selling point for techies and non-techies alike. If they're looking to download that new app they heard about from their friends, play the latest games, and so on, then the iPhone does it better than anyone else.

On top of that, the iPhone 5 is also Wirecutter's pick for best cell phone. Even if you're not a techie, most people understand how to use an iPhone in a couple minutes. It might take a little work to get things like email, the calendar, and contacts set up initially, but once it's working they won't have to worry about it.

The iPhone also hooks into Apple's operating system and iTunes really well, so if you're already using a Mac (or at the very least, iTunes), an iPhone is dead-simple to set up and start using right away. They'll also have access to Apple's Genius Bar for any help they need, which might at least partially cut down on the tech support calls you have to deal with.

We'll be honest: despite our love for Android, it's at the bottom of our list for the non-geeks among us. It's a little bit harder to use, every handset is a little bit different,and you're going to be on the hook for all that tech support. However, if your parents are extremely entrenched in the Google universe, require certain advanced features the iPhone doesn't have, or something similar, then obviously Android's your best bet. However, you'll probably find those features are the exact features non tech-savvy people don't need.

That said, Android has come a long way in recent years, and manufacturers like Samsung are really trying to make their phones appealing to more than just the geek crowd. If you're thinking about Android, maybe take them to the store and let them try it out first. It might be a fine choice—it's just a little riskier, since Android is a bit more complicated than Windows Phone or the iPhone. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course—it's what tech geeks like us love about it—but it's might be a little overwhelming to the non tech-savvy crowd. (From my personal experience, my dad, who's a smart enough guy but not remotely interested in tech, struggled to really appreciate anything about the Android phone he had for work).

So, what's the bottom line? It really depends. As a universal recommendation, Windows Phone is definitely the easiest to use and has the right amount of features to make it useful without being overwhelming.

Of course, the iPhone and Android both have plenty of strengths, so it's worth popping into a store with your parents and messing around with different phones for a little while before making that choice. You also want to consider one very simple thing: which phone do you know best? You're likely on tech support duty, so you'll want to pick the phone you can provide support for. If that's not possible, then consider the smartphone that most of their friends have because that'll make it so they always have someone around to help with questions.

While you're there, don't forget that hardware is important too. Anyone upgrading from an indestructible brick of a Nokia dumbphone to an easy-to-destroy smartphone is likely a bit hesitant to mess around with the expensive smartphone. It might also be one of those instances where a smartphone case is a good idea.

Good luck,

Photo by Everett Collection (Shutterstock), Sklathill, Carlos Varela.

Get iBoostUp for Half Off Today

OS X: Previously mentioned iBoostUp, the powerful system cleanup utility, is on sale at 50% off today only. While we initially review the free version, you can get the $10 premium version with its extra features for only $5.

While the free version cleans your system, iBoostUp's premium offering does a more thorough job. It can clear out your memory, find duplicate files, remove unnecessary code from your apps that make them take up extra disk space, locate files you aren't using, and much more. You can get these options through the free version through in-app purchases, but iBoostUp Premium automatically includes everything now and in the future. This way you won't have to pay for upgrades you want as time goes on. A couple of in-app purchases add up to $5 already, so if you like a few features you might as well just get them all. Discount or not, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than competitor CleanMyMac (which is also a very nice option that winds up in app discount bundles frequently).

iBoostUp Premium ($5) | Mac App Store