Vegan recipes

Did you know that this seven-year-old vegetarian food blog did not have a macaroni and cheese recipe until today? It’s true. I’ve failed you on the mac and cheese front, but I’m making it up to you with this vegan (I repeat: dairy free) mac and cheese recipe.

From one cheese lover to another, I’m here to tell you that this mac and “cheese” is remarkably cheese-like and absolutely delicious.

I’ve been slowly working on this mac and cheese since I published my vegan queso recipe two months ago. The first time, I tried to use pasta cooking water instead of my queso’s secret ingredient (grated potato), and it was just ok.



With increasing interest in reverse mortgages as a potential source for retirement income, the MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMI) has released a free guide, The Essentials: Reverse Mortgages, to help consumers make informed decisions regarding the use of home equity to help fund one’s retirement. The guide follows The MetLife Study on the Changing Role of Home Equity and Reverse Mortgages, which was released by the MMI earlier this year. That study found that in today’s economic environment, older homeowners are increasingly seeking new sources of retirement income and tapping into their housing wealth in greater numbers, often using home-equity loans or reverse mortgages. The guide will help individuals take a comprehensive approach to ensure that, when needed, the value of their home is used appropriately and effectively to deal with the growing uncertainties of retirement. Reverse mortgages are available only to those age 62 and older.

“Reverse mortgages can allow older individuals to receive funds while they continue to live in and own their homes,” said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. “Our guide is a general introduction to reverse mortgages. It explains important terminology, presents basic issues, and answers frequently asked questions. While a reverse mortgage can be a valuable tool for many older homeowners, it may not be right for everyone. We suggest that individuals thinking about a reverse mortgage consult with a certified U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reverse mortgage counselor and a reverse mortgage lender to determine if the product is right for them and understand the details as to how it would work in their particular situation.”

The MetLife study on home equity and reverse mortgages, produced in conjunction with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), found that 35% of older Americans see their homes not just as secure places to live, but also as collateral for a loan. About 14% have taken cash out of their house through a home equity loan or reverse mortgage. The use of home equity can be a viable source of income in retirement to help individuals enhance or maintain their lifestyle. Study findings indicate that older homeowners are using home equity to increase income security, enhance financial resilience to deal with unexpected expenses, and improve debt management, among other things.

The Essentials: Reverse Mortgages provides the following information for those considering a reverse mortgage as an option:

  • 95% of reverse mortgages are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM). They are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
  • The amount one can borrow depends on age, type of reverse mortgage, current interest rates, location of the home, value of the home, and FHA lending limits in that area. For HECM loans, there is currently a $625,500 borrowing cap for most areas.
  • The costs associated with a reverse mortgage typically include an origination fee, other closing costs, and for HECM loans, both an upfront mortgage insurance premium and an ongoing premium. These costs can be included in the loan and paid (with interest) when the reverse mortgage becomes due. A monthly service fee may also apply.
  • With a reverse mortgage there are no monthly mortgage payments. However, as long as borrowers still live in and own their home, they continue to pay their property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and any home maintenance. The loan, including accrued interest and any service fees, becomes due when the borrower (or last borrower for a couple) dies, sells the house, moves permanently to a new residence, or fails to live in the home for twelve consecutive months.
  • Borrowers may choose to receive funds as a lump sum payment, where the cash will be available immediately, in equal monthly payments for a fixed number of months (or for as long as one borrower lives in the home), as a line of credit to draw funds as needed, or any combination of these options.
  • Interest rates for most reverse mortgages are tied to a financial index and vary according to market conditions. Some financial institutions offer both fixed- and variable-rate reverse mortgages.


The MetLife Mature Market Institute®
Established in 1997, the Mature Market Institute (MMI) is MetLife’s research organization and a recognized thought leader on the multi-dimensional and multi-generational issues of aging and longevity. MMI’s groundbreaking research, gerontology expertise, national partnerships, and educational materials work to expand the knowledge and choices for those in, approaching, or caring for those in the mature market.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup is a deeply flavorful blend of onions caramelized in butter and slow simmered in a rich medley of beef broth and white wine, then finished with a splash of Cognac and topped with toasted croutons and bubbly Gruyere cheese.

I’ve adapted this French Onion Soup recipe from Julia Child’s magnificent book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve made a few slight changes: increasing the amount of white wine, reducing the Cognac, adding fresh thyme and topping the soup with toasted squares of crusty bread (aka croutons), less awkward to eat than slices of a standard loaf or baguette.

sourcer :

VA home loans: Everything America’s military veterans need to know

Baked salmon recipe


French Onion Soup is a deeply flavorful blend of onions caramelized in butter and slow simmered in a rich medley of beef broth and white wine, then finished with a splash of Cognac and topped with toasted croutons and bubbly Gruyere cheese.

I’ve adapted this French Onion Soup recipe from Julia Child’s magnificent book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I’ve made a few slight changes: increasing the amount of white wine, reducing the Cognac, adding fresh thyme and topping the soup with toasted squares of crusty bread (aka croutons), less awkward to eat than slices of a standard loaf or baguette.

sourcer :

Getting a Second VA Loan

One of the most common questions from borrowers who have purchased a home with a VA loan is if they are able to use their benefit again. Fortunately, there is no limit on the number of times a veteran can use the loan program. This is a life-long benefit for those who have served our country. Securing another VA loan requires looking into a borrower’s VA Loan entitlement. But what exactly does that mean?

What is entitlement?

Every veteran and active service member who meets the VA’s eligibility requirements has something called entitlement. Entitlement can be a bit confusing, even for those working in the mortgage industry, but the most common definition is that it’s a specific amount the VA pledges to repay to a lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. This is part of the VA Loan guaranty.

Eligible veterans in most parts of the country have a primary entitlement of $36,000 and a secondary entitlement of $68,250, which is used when a veteran purchases a home for more than $144,000. There are can be higher entitlement amounts in more expensive areas. When a qualified borrower purchases a home through the VA loan program, they are using some or all of their entitlement. The VA typically guaranties a quarter of the loan amount, so borrowers will typically utilize a quarter of their entitlement when purchasing.

Get Started with Your VA Loan Today!

Take the first step in your VA Loan by getting in touch with a Home Loan Specialist.

We are not a Government agency. No obligation. It takes 2 minutes.

But if I used my entitlement, how can I use my VA loan benefit again?

One of great parts of the VA home loan program is that eligible service members have the benefit for life. Even if a veteran has used most or all of their entitlement to purchase a home, that entitlement can be fully restored once the loan is repaid in full. Just submit an application requesting your entitlement be restored.

In order to fully restore entitlement, a VA borrower must sell the home and pay off the loan in full. But there is one exception. If the mortgage is paid off, it is possible to use a one-time restoration benefit and keep the home for use as a rental property or vacation home.

Can I have two VA loans at the same time?

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It’s possible to have more than one VA loan at the same time. One of the most common scenarios is when a service member purchases a home using a VA loan and then has to PCS. They may choose to retain their primary residence, often to be rented out. The VA borrower may have enough remaining entitlement to purchase a new home without a down payment at the new duty station.

Using this second layer of entitlement, often referred to as second-tier entitlement, is also what allows veterans who’ve lost a VA loan to foreclosure to purchase again using the program. A borrower’s Certificate of Eligibility will detail how much entitlement remains. VA borrowers without sufficient entitlement may still be able to obtain a VA loan by making a down payment, often for less than what would be required for other types of financing. Plus, VA loans do not carry any type of mortgage insurance.

What kind of Funding Fee will I pay?

The government charges and receives the VA Funding Fee to help keep the loan program afloat. This fee is a percentage of the loan amount, and can vary based on the loan type, your military service and how many times you’ve used the program.

Veterans using their VA loan benefits for a second time and purchasing with $0 down typically have a funding fee of 3.3 percent of the loan amount. The VA Funding Fee will be slightly less for those borrowers purchasing with money down. VA borrowers with a service-connected disability are exempt from paying this fee. You can find more information on funding fees here. You can find more information about refinancing an existing loan here.

Beef Stew Recipes

This Beef Stew Recipe is perfect for the colder weather! Tender beef is simmered in beef broth with potatoes, onions, celery, peas, and carrots until melt in your mouth tender. It’s comfort food heaven!

I serve beef stew with 30 minute dinner rolls or Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits to sop up any gravy in the bottom of the bowl!

Beef stew is a classic dinner staple in so many households around the world. There are soup and stew adaptations of beef stew like my favorite Easy Hamburger Soup and cultural variations like Hungarian Goulash, but this classic beef stew recipe is a favorite for me!

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Military & Special Home Loans

Sometimes unusual situations require financing that thinks outside the box, and we‘ve got that covered. If a standard loan just won’t meet your needs, explore your options with a variety of non-traditional fixed-rate and ARM loans available at BECU.

BECU Mortgage Center

Check rates, research loan options and apply or log in to your existing home loan application.

VA Loans: You Served Us, Let Us Serve You

We’re thrilled to be able to offer the men and women of the armed forces multiple purchase and refinance options that they can apply their VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE). By choosing BECU, you combine the benefits you’ve earned, including a zero down-payment option, alongside the savings of a not-for-profit credit union (like fewer fees).

It all adds up to more money back in your pocket.

No Origination Fees

Purchase or refinance your home in Washington or Idaho using a Veteran Affair’s loan, and you’ll pay no origination fee.* To qualify, you need to set up automatic payments from a BECU checking or savings account, as well as have a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). That’s a home loan with no down payment requirement and no origination fee.

Compare Loan Options:

VA Home Loans

30-Year Fixed High-Balance Loan

5/1 Year ARM (Land)

7/1 Year ARM (Land)

10-Year Fixed (Land)

15-Year Fixed (Land)

20-Year Fixed (Land)

HomeReady Mortgage: 30 Year Fixed**

HomeReady Mortgage: 5/1 ARM**   7/1 ARM**   10/1 ARM**

Have more questions about military or special home loans?

To find out more, visit your nearby Neighborhood Financial Center.

Email us to learn about BECU homes for sale.

Make an Appointment


The VERY BEST Homemade Sloppy Joes



The VERY BEST Homemade Sloppy Joes is a sloppy joe recipe that’s not only deliciousbut quick & easy to make using real ingredients instead of a store-bought can of sauce. 100s of reviews agree!

There aren’t many dinners that you can get on the table faster than whipping up a Sloppy Joes. And while the store-bought sauce that rhymes with San-wich might make this meal even quicker, it’s got some less-than-ideal ingredients. After all, I tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup in my sweets, much less my dinner.



How VA Loans Work: 10 Facts You Need to Know
While the VA loan process can be summarized in a handful of steps, there are many details that potential borrowers and real estate agents may not know.

For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, no-down payment loans have helped more than 22 million service members become homeowners since 1944.

But even some longtime VA borrowers aren’t familiar with all of the program’s unique benefits and quirks. Before we jump into our top 10, let’s take a look at how VA loans work.

How do VA loans work?
Get prequalified: Find a VA lender and prequalify to get an estimate of how much house you can afford based on your income, credit, entitlement and other financial factors. You can get a quote with Veterans United Home Loans online anytime. Prequalification is a basic first step that paves the way for a much more powerful step – VA loan preapproval.
Get preapproved: Loan preapproval is a major step and puts you in the driver’s seat to spring into action when you find a home you love. Lenders will verify income and financial information to get a clear sense of your purchasing power. The end result is receiving a preapproval letter. These letters show real estate agents and home sellers you’re a strong and serious buyer who has what it takes to get to closing.
Put in an offer: When you and your agent find the perfect VA loan approved home, it’s time to craft an offer and negotiation a contract with the seller. It’s important to find a VA loan savvy agent you trust that also knows the ins and outs of VA loans.
VA Appraisal and underwriting: Once you’re under contract, your lender will order a VA appraisal of the property. Underwriters will evaluate your income, financial and related documents along with the appraisal once it’s finalized. If everything checks out, you’ll be issued a clear to close and move on to your loan closing.
Closing: You’ll sign all kinds of legal documents and paperwork at your loan closing and get the keys to your new home.
Start my VA loan with Veterans United Home Loans — the nation’s #1 VA lender

For more details, let our experts take you on an interactive tour of the homebuying process with our free VA loan education portal.

While the VA loan process can be summed up in these five steps, there are many things about VA mortgages that many potential borrowers and agent don’t know about. Let’s take a closer look.

10 Things You Need to Know About VA Loans
1. They’re reusable. You can use your full VA entitlement over and over again as long as you pay off the loan each time. But you may be able to obtain another VA loan even if you’ve lost one to foreclosure or currently have one.

2. They’re only for certain types of homes. If you’re planning to buy a working farm, a downtown deli or a fixer-upper, the VA loan may not be for you. It’s mainly designed for properties in “move-in ready” condition, including single-family homes, condos, modular housing, some multi-unit properties and more.

3. They’re for primary residences only. Don’t bother trying to use your VA loan benefits to buy an investment property or a vacation home in the Poconos. VA loans are for primary residences, although you can use this benefit to buy a duplex or another multiunit property, provided you live in one of the units. The VA does offer exceptions, though lenders also have their own standards that might affect occupancy requirements. Read more: What Are the Exceptions to VA’s Occupancy Requirements?

4. They’re not issued by the VA. The VA isn’t in the business of issuing home loans. Instead, the agency provides a guaranty on each qualified mortgage loan.

5. But they’re guaranteed by the government. If you have a VA entitlement, the agency typically guarantees up to a quarter of the loan amount. The guaranty gives lenders confidence and helps service members secure great terms and rates.

6. They’re available despite foreclosure or bankruptcy. Service members with a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure can secure a VA loan. Even borrowers who have had a VA loan foreclosed on can still utilize their VA loan benefit.

Does your credit qualify you for a VA Loan? Get answers today. Perfect scores not required.

7. They don’t have mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is a monthly fee you pay with other programs when you’re not putting at least 20 percent down. The VA’s guaranty eliminates the need for any mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premium, helping borrowers save even more money each month.

8. They come with a mandatory fee. There’s no mortgage insurance with VA loans, but there is the VA Funding Fee. This fee helps the VA keep the program going and is required on both purchase and refinance loans. It can be rolled into the loan amount and waived entirely for those with service-connected disabilities.

9. They have limits on co-borrowers. Some loan programs let you get a loan with just about anybody. That’s not the VA loan program. Having a co-borrower who isn’t your spouse or another veteran with VA loan entitlement will require a down payment. Not every VA lender offers these types of joint loans (Veterans United does).

10. They don’t have a prepayment penalty. You can make extra payments any time you want, saving you a boatload in interest over the life of your loan. You can even structure your payments to automatically deduct a little extra every month. Just an extra $100 per month can shave years and tens of thousands of dollars from the balance.