NPR Podcasts That Will Make Learning Enjoyable

If you’re always on the hunt for fascinating new podcasts, NPR is one of the best resources out there. The National Public Radio website features podcasts on a variety of different topics, with interviews, experiments, and true stories that will excite your mind and make you think. Here are two of NPR’s best podcasts.

Science Friday
Created for everyone from amateur science enthusiasts to real life scientists, Science Friday is a fun podcast that’s full of educational resources. The podcast itself is a news source for the latest science stories and inventions, and the website contains award-winning digital videos, amazing photography, and interviews with scientists and other interesting people. Science Friday’s website describes the show as “brain fun, for curious people”.

Car Talk
If you’re interested in cars, Car Talk is like listening in on a conversation between your closest buddies. The hosts, Tom and Ray, discuss just about everything there is to know about cars, including types of oil filters, cars that are used to drive in avalanches, garage tours of some crazy car collectors, and reviews of the best cars on the market today. The website also offers useful information about basic (and not-so-basic) car problems, just like your own online mechanic.

Driving Tips for Bad Weather

No one likes driving in bad winter weather. Prepare yourself with these great tips.

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How to Take the Stress Out of Home-Cooked Meals

For as long as you can remember, there’s always been a certain pressure to provide your loved ones with a nightly “home-cooked meal.” Although it may sometimes feel like it’s impossible to prepare an elaborate dinner on busy weeknights, these smart tips will show you how to take the stress out of the classic home-cooked meal.

  1. Start meal planning. Sure, making a home-cooked meal is difficult if you don’t have all the ingredients or don’t know what to make. By planning a week’s worth of meals on Sunday evening, you can get your cooking schedule under control.
  2. Make preparations. Many at-home chefs use their weekends as a time to prepare the bases for the week’s meals. You can cook a dozen chicken breasts, bake a casserole, or even begin to marinate a steak to save yourself time the night of.
  3. Choose basic recipes. If you don’t have time to experiment with fancy recipes from cooking magazines, choose recipes that you already know and love. Just because your favorite spaghetti and meatballs is pretty basic doesn’t mean that it’s not home-cooked.
  4. Make it from scratch, but not entirely from scratch. Don’t feel like you have to crush your garlic by hand or chop each vegetable individually for your meal to count as home-cooked. Buying frozen veggies or garlic powder works just as well.

10 Secrets of Home Cooks (And How You Can Become One, Too!) [Real Simple]
6 Tips for Stress-Free Family Meals [Right @ Home]
How to Plan Your Weekly Meals, Stress Free [Lifehacker]

How to Take the Stress Out of Home Entertaining

Even the best party planners get stressed out when it comes time for a large get-together, but there are some simple tips that help to take the pressure out of entertaining. Here are a few smart ideas that will make your upcoming holiday party or gathering effortless and worry-free.

  1. Make a to-do list. Any expert entertainer will tell you that the easiest way to stay organized is by making a to-do list. Detail everything that you need to do to prepare and keep things separated by days. If you start the planning a week or so in advance, everything will come together on party day.
  2. Keep things relaxed. It doesn’t take fine china to set a beautiful table. Keep things low-key by using attractive paper tablecloths and napkins, and make sure that all of your flatware matches so that you can mix and match pieces depending on the type of food that you’re serving.
  3. Create a lively atmosphere. Do whatever it takes to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable, from creating a fun playlist to drawing up seating place cards that best match guests who don’t know one another. This ensures that the conversation will flow all night long.
  4. If all else fails, make enough food. If your guests love the food, you can almost guarantee a good party.

10 Tips To Help You Throw a Great Party Without Losing Your Mind (Or Blowing Your Budget) [The Kitchn]
12 Secrets to Hosting a Stress-Free Holiday Party [HGTV]
The Stress Less Dinner Party [Real Simple]

Learn Computer Science With These Free Online Courses

Computer science knowledge is useful for just about any career nowadays, and these simple, affordable courses from Udacity can help you learn the basics of this interesting subject. With at-home lessons that you can complete at your own pace, you can master the basics of computer science in your free time with Udacity. Best of all, the courses are free to audit!

Introduction to Computer Science
Introduction to Computer Science teaches key concepts in computer science, as well as the basic steps for writing a computer program in the context of building a simple search engine. This course is split up into 11 lessons that you can complete whenever you’d like, and no prior programming knowledge is needed to enroll.

Web Development
If you’re a moderately experienced programmer who wants to learn the basics of how the web works, this course is for you. Throughout its seven lessons, Web Development will teach you how to build your own blogging application, process user input, use APIs, and much more.

Programming Languages
Programming Languages is a course designed to give students an introduction into the fundamentals of, you guessed it, programming languages. Over the course of seven lessons that you may complete at your own pace, you will learn how to specify and process valid strings, sentences, and program structures in order to build a simple web browser.

Enjoy Yoga? Download These 3 Yoga Apps!

While you may not be able to actually complete your yoga class from your smartphone, it can certainly help you manage your fitness goals. There are a number of yoga apps made especially for the tech-savvy yogi, offering everything from yoga music to actual classes. When you just don’t have the time (or, occasionally, the energy) to get to the studio, these yoga apps will help to keep your Chi in check.

YOGAmazing
Offering over 50 different video yoga classes on one affordable app, YOGAmazing is ideal for the at-home yogi. Each session is just 25 minutes long, much shorter than a typical class, but still provides you with the same invigorating, healing yoga feeling that you love. As a fun bonus, YOGAmazing also offers beautiful yoga-inspired iPhone backgrounds to keep you focused on your practice every time you look at your phone.

Daily Yoga
Whether you want to browse individual poses or complete an entire class, Daily Yoga has it all. This all-inclusive yoga app offers HD videos for more than 45 yoga classes, which make you feel just like you’re at a real yoga studio. With three skill levels, individualized training plans, and 18 background music options, Daily Yoga enables you to create a completely customizable yoga routine at home.

Pocket Yoga
Combining three types of practices, three skill levels, and three class durations enables the user to choose from 27 unique yoga sessions right from the Pocket Yoga app. A simple and attractive interface also makes perfecting each pose easy and effortless—well, almost!

Turkey 101: The Basics of Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, you want to make sure that the turkey comes out perfectly. It may take a bit of effort, but cooking a browned, flavorful turkey is possible if you adhere to a few strict guidelines. Here are some basic instructions for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey.

  1. Buy the right size bird. Allot 1 to 1.5 pounds for each dinner guest. For example, if you’re hosting 10 family members for dinner, a 12-pound turkey should be just the right amount.
  2. Thaw completely. Cooking a turkey that is still frozen inside is one of the most common turkey mishaps, so be sure to let your turkey thaw for at least one full day for every four pounds. If it’s still frozen on the day of, soak it in cold water for 30 minutes for each pound of meat.
  3. Remove the neck and giblets. This is the most unpleasant step of the process, but it will be much more unpleasant if you forget to do it.
  4. Roast. You should roast a 12-pound turkey for about 3 to 3.5 hours, less time for a smaller bird and more time for a larger one. Test the turkey’s doneness by using a food thermometer. Once the inside meat reaches 180 degrees F and the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F, it’s completely done.

Cooking Questions: Thanksgiving [AllRecipes]
How to Cook a Turkey Perfectly [How to Cook a Thanksgiving Turkey]
How to Roast a Turkey [Martha Stewart]
How To Cook a Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method [The Kitchn]

Sweet Recipes for Tres Leches Cake

If you haven’t heard of tres leches cake before, you’re in for a real treat. This traditional Latin American cake combines a simple sponge cake with evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream to create a moist, delicious cake that’s unlike any other type of dessert. Here are two delicious ways to prepare a unique tres leches cake.

The Pioneer Woman’s Tres Leches Cake [The Pioneer Woman]
The Pioneer Woman’s Tres Leches Cake recipe involves a homemade sponge cake that’s already moist and delicious. She recommends drizzling the three milk mixtures all over the entire cake once it’s cool, and she even proposes the option of adding rum to give the cake an even more distinct flavor.

Tres Leches Cake [Allrecipes]
With three layers— cake itself, the filling, and the topping—this Tres Leches Cake uses a traditional recipe that makes it taste just as sweet and delicious as the original. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top to add a bit of extra spice to the rich, creamy flavor.

3 Delicious Recipes for Butternut Squash

You may be intimidated by butternut squash because of its strange shape, but this mild vegetable is actually very versatile and easy to prepare. Check out these three delicious ways to cook butternut squash for lunch, dinner—and even dessert!

Butternut Squash Curry [wholeliving.com]
This traditional Indian recipe involves cooking large chunks of butternut squash with curry and other flavorful spices. It’s best served over brown rice, which is healthier and heartier than the usual white variety. Add lime wedges and fresh cilantro as a garnish.

Sweet Butternut Squash and Coconut Jam [thekitchn.com]
You’ve never had a jam quite like this one before. Thick, gooey, and filled with the smoky flavor of butternut squash and the sweet taste of coconut, this elegant jam is best served on a thick piece of crusty bread.

Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin [bettycrocker.com]
Though you’ve probably made (or at least tasted) cheesy potato gratin, this butternut squash gratin is a bit less carb-heavy and just as decadent. Panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese bake to a crisp on the outside of the squash slices, leaving you with a tender, soft interior and a deliciously crunchy exterior. Plus, fresh parsley and chopped garlic give this side dish a rich aroma that will fill the whole house while baking.

Find Food Co-Ops Near You With Help From These Two Websites

Shopping at a food co-op in your area is one of the best ways to obtain healthy, fresh foods and support your area’s local farmers and purveyors. Many people in small towns assume that they don’t have a food co-op in their areas, but they are actually more common than you might think. Here are two online tools to help you find co-ops near your home.

Co-Op Directory
This expansive website enables you to search by state in order to find the closest food co-ops. Each listing includes an address, phone number and links to the store’s website for additional information. Co-Op Directory also provides a short description of many of its stores, including the types of food that each store sells, its mission statement and other details.

Local Harvest
Local Harvest is one of the most popular websites for all types of fresh, local and organic foods, and it also offers a large directory of food co-ops in every state. You can search for your area by using the site’s interactive map, which offers pinpoints for each store. Once you find a co-op near you, Local Harvest provides all of the necessary driving directions, phone numbers and more.