Courtesy of Joana Funk

MORTGAGE TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME BUYERS Ready to make the biggest purchase of your life? Before you approach a mortgage professional, there are a few things you can do ensure the process will go smoothly. First, find out your credit score. Knowing what it is will help avoid unforeseen surprises. Then make sure you figure out how much you can reasonably borrow. Most lenders won’t consider a mortgage payment that’s more than 28 percent of your income before taxes. The next step is to gather all your documents, including statements showing how much you make, employment records, tax records and so forth. Having this paperwork ready before meeting with a lender will help speed up the process. Also, consider getting pre-approved prior to searching for a home. It could give you the edge if you end up interested in a home someone else has already put an offer on. FOODS THAT HELP BUILD LEAN MUSCLE We all know that exercise is only one part of the equation in the pursuit for a strong, healthy body. What we eat plays an enormous role since food is what fuels us. The most important food type to help build lean muscle is protein. The best protein sources are skinless chicken breasts, fish, eggs or beans and legumes. As for carbs, go ahead and have some! You just need to make sure it’s the right type of carb, meaning lose the white bread and pasta and fill up on whole grains instead. The fibre will help your body feel full and curb the desire to go back for seconds and thirds. And don’t forget to add some healthy fats to your diet like avocado, nuts and olives. The omega-3 fatty acids found in healthy fats such as salmon also help fight inflammation. Bonus!

HOMEMADE APPLE CRISP Crisps are the perfect dessert because anybody can conquer it with just a few easy steps and simple ingredients. Ingredients: 3 cups sliced and peeled apples 3 tablespoons orange juice 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into squares

Directions: 1. Combine apples, orange juice, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir until apples are coated. Pour into a greased baking dish. 2. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cubed cold butter into a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until crumbly and the butter is broken up. 3. Evenly spread the oat topping over the apples. 4. Bake the apple crisp for 45 to 55 minutes until the topping is golden and apples are tender. Serve while hot.

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