Archive | January, 2013

Creamy Garlic Pasta & Easy Garlic Chicken

29 Jan

This pasta was the 3rd of my 4 Pinterest projects for the month. January is almost over already and I still have 1 project to go, so I’ve got to figure something out fast!

This Creamy Garlic Pasta was amazing and very easy to make. I substituted Trader Joe’s chicken broth for the chicken stock the recipe calls for. I decided to pair it with this Garlic/Brown Sugar Chicken, which ended up being the best batch of chicken I’ve ever made. Freaking yummy! I baked at 375 degrees for roughly 30-45 minutes and the meat was so tender and covered in a brown sugar glaze. I usually overcook chicken, so bully for me!


2013 Budget — Revamped!

15 Jan

One of my goals for January was to restructure my budget so I can work towards paying off some credit card debt and control my spending habits. I tweaked the current bills on my budget from last year and will start pulling out cash every payday so I can go back to envelope budgeting. Carrying plastic just gets dangerous, even if you’re only using your debit card to buy groceries.

I pulled balances and APR’s for all my debt and as of today have $5,532.65 due between 4 credit cards in addition to $11,540.06 left to pay on my car loan. It’s scary to see the totals in writing, but I want to be honest about it so at the end of the year I can look back and brag about how far I’ve come.

For the next 3 months, I will be paying $282 to my first targeted credit card, a Chase VISA, while paying minimums on my other 3 cards. Since the payment is kind of aggressive compared to my budget, I will not be able to put much, if any, aside for savings while I make this payment. However, I will revisit my bills at the end of March when this card is paid off so I can figure how much I can afford to automatically transfer to my savings. I want to win a small victory so I stay focused and excited on the rest of the year! I will also be paying an extra $75/month towards my car payment so it will shave off 1 year & 6 months from the length of my loan.

If there’s anyone else out there working on paying off debit, hang in there! Some helpful calculators that I used today were this “Auto Loan Pay Off Calculator” and this “Credit Card Pay Off Calculator.” Favorite feature: it allows you to enter the number of months you want to have your credit balance paid in, then tells sums the amount you will need to pay to make that goal.

Basic Lentil Soup

14 Jan

This is the 2nd of my 4 Pinterest projects for the month, this link will take you to the recipe. I think I’m going to try to make my next few projects crafts or home ideas since I’ve been favoring cooking. I’ve gotta get outside my comfort zone! 🙂

This recipe was super quick to make. Start to finish, it only took me about 50 minutes to throw this together. Once you get all the ingredients prepared, it’s pretty hands-off. You just have to wait patiently while the soup simmers itself to perfection. I ended up blending about 2 ladles-worth of the soup in a food processor so the batch had a creamier texture. Serve with buttered toast, yum!

Favorite Photos of 2012

11 Jan

I wanted to put up some of my favorite photos from 2012. This year I want to do more with photography, and I think going through old photos is good motivation to get going. I have some special photo projects coming up soon, a Shutterfly Groupon to use, and a fancy film camera begging for some action. 🙂 Click any photo to enlarge!

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

6 Jan

Batch 1 Batch 2

As the 1st of my 4 Pinterest projects for this month, I decided to finally try this vegetarian pumpkin chili from ABM. The recipe was so fast and simple that I ended up making this twice over the weekend! I think my 2nd batch was much better. I wasn’t afraid to go heavy on the chipotle pepper and cinnamon. I also used fire roasted tomatoes and added about half a can of sweet corn. Yum! I don’t think it took me more than 30-minutes start to finish to whip up a batch.

DIY Lamp Makeover

5 Jan

Here’s a project I’m pretty proud of from early December. I found this set of funky lamps at a thrift store marked as half price for the day. $6 for the pair. I used some old spray paint I had lying around the house and bought a set of basic white shades for about $18 at Target. I love how this came out!

In action:

2013: New Year, New Blog.

4 Jan

What better way to stick to my New Years resolutions than to create a blog to track what I’m working on? Besides, I have been looking for an excuse to start up a new site that’s less specific to any one craft than my previous ones.

I’m excited about the coming year! 2012 was pretty good overall, which leads me to think that 2013 will be darn fabulous. I have been following a lot of other bloggers lately, though, and realizing that the only way I’ll be able to make myself truly productive is by setting both long and short goals. Without further ado, I give you:

2013 Resolutions

  • Pay off 2 credit cards
  • Keep my house tidy
  • Feng shui it up
  • Get fit, stick to running even in the cold weather
  • Craft more, bake more, photograph more, do more of anything creative that makes me happier and more positive!

4 January Short-Term Goals

  • Craft/Bake/Cook 4 things from Pinterest
  • Organize & redecorate my bedroom
  • Go on 4 runs
  • Revamp my budget and decide on credit card payment plan

Thanks to ABM for the 4-goals idea! Pretty excited to start this out!