It’s OK to Buy Expensive Things

For the past year or so, I’ve been listening to a lot of personal finance podcasts and reading personal finance blogs. Most of the information in those podcasts and blogs is great but I’ve noticed one trend/theme that I personally don’t like. There seems to be this notion that you cannot like or buy nice things and still be financially stable/secure. First of all, that’s not true at all. You can buy a nice handbag or a luxury car and still have a good credit score with your emergency fund untouched. I know it’s possible because I do it (minus the luxury car, I’m not there yet). But I am definitely the spender in my relationship and neither my bank account nor my credit score have suffered as a result. I do realize that these podcasters/bloggers have to be somewhat general in what they say and that there are exceptions to rules. I know that there are a lot of people who can’t control their shopping habits and I agree that if you can’t control it, then you don’t need to do it. So I take the “no shopping” advice with a grain of salt, because it doesn’t apply to me. HOWEVER… Continue reading

Happy Birthday to Me!

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I’ve been twenty-six for two days now. My actual birthday fell on a Thursday so I took the following Friday off work. Friday was a very busy day for my fiancé and I. We had been planning on buying a Macbook Pro for a few weeks, but we decided to go to the Apple store in Charlotte so that we could use a friend’s discount. I’m actually typing on it now and it’s very exciting to have a computer again. My last laptop died on me a couple of months after I graduated from college so it has been a while since I’ve had my own computer. We also did a little window shopping at Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch, before visiting a car dealership. We spent about an hour searching for the perfect family car to buy after we get married. I think we made a decision but I change my mind a lot so… this may not be a final decision. We’re not making any big purchases until after the wedding anyway so, I have time to figure out what I really want. My birthday gifts this year were so cute. I got an All-American Chocolate cake from Maxie B’s and Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook from my mom. And I got three new charms for my Pandora bracelet; two from my babe and one from my dad. I can’t wait to start using that cookbook so that I can share my outcomes here!

Chapter 25 was amazing. Here’s to starting Chapter 26…

Chicken + Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

Another day, another one-pan recipe. Well…not exactly. You really need a large pan/skillet and a large pot, but it all ends up in one pan by the time you’re finished cooking. First, let me say that I am not a big fan of canned Alfredo sauce. It’s too much like mayonnaise in taste, look and smell. And I don’t particularly care for it when it’s heated up the next day. Generally speaking, it’s just not my thing. So initially when I found this recipe, I figured I would just have to take an L on this recipe and make something that I don’t really like because I know my fiancé would eat it and at the very least, it’d be something different for my taste buds. I was very surprised to find that this particular recipe with the word “Alfredo” in the title did not actually use any type of canned Alfredo sauce. Instead the recipe calls for heavy cream, milk and flour. It tasted so good! Instead of looking, tasting and smelling like mayonnaise, it’s more subtle and so much better. You can honestly barely see the sauce once the chicken, pasta and broccoli are mixed in. It’s very light but you can certainly taste it. Anyone who feels like they don’t like Alfredo sauce should probably try this recipe. More than likely, if you don’t like Alfredo sauce, you’ve probably just been using/eating a sauce that was too heavy.

Click HERE to see the ingredients and instructions for this recipe.

Spicy Cajun Pasta

I tried a new one-pot recipe last week and the results were… pretty good. The recipe is called Spicy Cajun Pasta. It’s one of those recipes where you throw everything into a big stockpot and 30-45 minutes later, you’re done cooking. So it’s very easy to prep and it doesn’t leave you with a bunch of dishes to wash afterwards.

 
The food came out looking and tasting great, especially when topped with Parmesan cheese. I personally felt like there was too much meat in it though. Even my fiancé agreed and he damn near throws a fit when I make a dish that doesn’t include enough meat. This recipe includes chicken, andouille sausage and shrimp. Out of the three, the chicken is the most useless as you can barely taste it. So if I were to make this dish again, I would only include the sausage and shrimp.

Click HERE for the ingredients and instructions.

Italian Wonderpot (No Meat)

Out of all of the new things that I’ve cooked this year, this so-called “Italian Wonderpot” is definitely in the running for my number one favorite dish. I was really proud of myself with this one. Although it was incredibly easy to make since it only required me to slice a few onions and garlic cloves, it’s hands down one of the best tasting outcomes that I’ve had this year. All you have to do is put all of the ingredients into a stockpot and stir occasionally. You’ll definitely have leftovers for a few days, but these leftovers taste great! It’s like the spices really seep in after it’s had some time to sit. One notable thing about this recipe is that it does not have any meat in it. This is something that my fiancé was kind of worried about (he can’t imagine a dinner meal without any type of meat), but he LOVED it. You definitely won’t feel like the recipe is missing anything even without the meat. But you can always add some diced chicken breasts if you want to add something new. After I’ve made this recipe as is a few times, I’ll probably try adding chicken just to see how it turns out.
  
Click HERE for the ingredients and instructions.

Balsamic Chicken & Vegetables

This is a recipe that I should’ve tried a couple of months ago but I kept putting it off because I never seemed to have all the ingredients at one time. Last week I ended up getting everything I needed so I decided to give it a go anyway and hope for the best. 

First of all, the food came out looking beautiful! I almost didn’t want to eat it because it was so pretty (we still ate it though). Secondly, this recipe includes a good amount of carrots (I hate carrots), but surprisingly I still enjoyed it. I don’t cook just for myself so sometimes I make dishes that include foods that I don’t necessarily enjoy eating (i.e. carrots, salmon, etc.). Both of the vegetables in this recipe were tasty though, and that’s probably due to the sauce that they were cooked in. Lastly, the recipe calls for you to remove the chicken from your pan and put it on a serving plate prior to cooking the vegetables… don’t do that if you have no way of keeping the chicken warm. No one wants to eat cold chicken and warm veggies. I don’t have a serving plate that has the ability to keep the food warm so I kept my chicken in the pan with the vegetables and my chicken wasn’t burnt at all.

  

Click HERE to try this recipe.

4 Things You Should Know About Getting Engaged

I’ve been engaged for almost a month now and here are the four things that I’ve experienced since the day my fiancé proposed.

You’ll take pictures of your ring (A LOT).

At this point, I probably have more pictures of my engagement ring than I do selfies in my phone. And I take a decent amount of selfies. When you get your e-ring, you just want to look at it all the time and it’s less obvious if you’re looking at a picture on your phone rather than your actual hand. So I take pictures of my e-ring on my hand a lot; probably more than I should actually. Continue reading

Baked Ravioli

There is nothing better than a cheap and easy to make recipe that tastes great. This 3-ingredient baked ravioli is the epitome of a cheap and easy recipe. All you need is the frozen ravioli, pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. It doesn’t take long to cook; about 5 minutes of prep time and 45 minutes of baking and it’s done! And there’s not a lot left to clean up afterwards. Everything is baked in one dish and you don’t need measuring spoons or anything, so you really can just throw your serving dish in the dishwasher when you’re done.
   

 Click HERE to try this easy and inexpensive recipe.

One-Pot Chicken Lo Mein

This one-pot recipe was really easy and fun to make. Literally, all you have to do is put all of the ingredients in a stock pot and turn on the stove. It took about 30 minutes and had my kitchen smelling really good! I also had enough to take leftovers to lunch for a couple of days so it’s a money-saver as well. I only had one issue and that was cutting the carrots; I had never done it before, so I had to ask my fiancé for help since he’s stronger than me. Who knew that carrots were so hard to cut? It doesn’t taste exactly like the chicken lo mein that you would get from a Chinese restaurant. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your taste buds, but my fiancé (who’s actually half-Chinese) and I loved it. And lastly, the best part is cleanup. Since everything is done in one pot, there’s no real mess to clean up once you’re done cooking.

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Click HERE to try this recipe!

Spaghetti Carbonara

A few days ago I tried making Spaghetti Carbonara. It turned out… “Ok”.

I decided to post this recipe because it really is a good & easy recipe but also because I kind of messed up. Why would I post a recipe that I messed up on? Because most people mess up from time to time and I want anyone who does this recipe to not make the same mistakes that I did.

So the only issues I had with this recipe had to do with BACON.

First of all, the recipe says to “dice” the bacon and I didn’t even know what that meant so I had to google it. As I’m watching a video on dicing bacon and preparing to follow along, the guy in the video says its best to do this while the bacon is frozen. And… My bacon was not frozen. It was too hard to follow the video with my bacon already thaw so I used scissors to cut the bacon up because I’m resourceful. AND uncooked bacon smells just as good as cooked bacon so I was really hungry at this point.

My next screw up came with putting the bacon in the pan. So I didn’t put all the bacon in at the same time. Looking back, I should’ve put it all in at the same but of course hindsight is always 20/20. So some of my bacon got burnt while the other bacon was browning. But it was too late to turn back and I didn’t want to waste anymore bacon, so I proceeded with the recipe (burnt bacon and all).

It wasn’t the worst mishap that could’ve happened but it kind of bummed me out. The food still turned out pretty though. And if you were lucky enough not to get a burnt piece of bacon on your plate, it tasted good too.

Click here to try this recipe!