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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Quick and Easy Dinners: Pizza

 Pizza is delicious dinner that can be as easy or as complicated as you like. I personally love a NY style pepperoni pizza, but there are many others that I enjoy.

I don’t have a recipe for pizza, as I don’t make it from scratch (pizza kit at Wal-Mart: $5). I did find this recipe at Food Network and thought I’d share it. For the first two installments of Quick and Easy Dinners, check out my ‘Best of’ Page.

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Photo Credit: Sashertootie

Roman Pizza 

Recipe from: Giada De Laurentiis

2 (8-ounce) pieces of purchased or homemade pizza dough, recipe follows
1/3 cup homemade or purchased marinara sauce
1/3 cup (lightly packed) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
1 cup (lightly packed) shredded Fontina cheese
2 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 ounces pancetta, chopped

Position 1 oven rack in the center and the second rack on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
Roll out each piece of pizza dough into a 13 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch rectangle. Transfer to separate large baking sheets.
Spoon the marinara sauce over the pizzas, dividing equally and leaving a 1-inch border around each pizza. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Fontina cheeses over the pizzas, dividing equally. Sprinkle the mushrooms and pancetta over the cheese. Bake the pizzas until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 15 minutes. Cut the pizzas crosswise into rectangular slices and serve immediately.

Pizza Dough:
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
 
Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl to blend. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor to blend. Blend in the oil. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture and blend just until the dough forms. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 hour. Punch the down dough and form into ball. The dough can be used immediately or stored airtight in the refrigerator for 1 day.

Yield: 1 (16-ounce) ball of pizza dough
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive PrepTime: 1 hour

Check out Giada’s show on FoodNetwork.

Does anyone make their pizza from scratch? Please let me know.

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What can I do? The answer I noticed that is common is that you have to try to adjust your lifestyle and consume fewer resources. It is also important for you to encourage others to do the same. Recycling, carpooling, composting, reduce your garbage output, and switching to more green products in your home are just a few ways you can help out. I found two resources that can help out.

Treehugger has numerous guides on how to ‘green’ your life up. It includes varied from recycling, water electricity, pet care, weddings, and much more.

Make Me Sustainable has made it easy too with instructional information on people and businesses can become sustainable.

What do you think is the biggest cause of depletion to our resources?

  • Overpopulation
  • Epidemic of obesity
  • Agricultural practices
  • Technological/ Industrial development

Here’s a mini-roundup of blogs who participated in Blog Action Day.

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Today is Blog Action Dayand Green Panda Treehouse is participating in it. Blog around the world are participating by speaking about a single topic: the environment. This topic is still related to personal finance and life. After all, what’s the point of saving some money if the overall quality of life for everyone has degraded?

The topic I decided to blog about today is resource depletion and conservation. I’m going to break it up into 2 parts for today.

What resources are being depleted? Here’s a list of some resources that the global community needs to survive.

  • Fresh Water: This is a huge global issue as this resource is not evenly distributed. Human life is dependent on fresh water.
  • Coal, Natural Gas, and Oil: A few countries carry a large amount of energy resources. There is a huge discrepancy in how developed countries consume these with developing countries.
  • Soil: While soil is renewable the time it takes to completely replenish itself can make it non renewable in a human timescale. Some agricultural practices deplete it faster and can cause soil to be un-farmable.

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Photo Credit: t3rmin4t0r

How much of an impact am I making as an individual and as part of a household? There are some calculators that track your carbon emissions, electricity, trash, etc. The coolest one I found was at The Nature Conservancy. It breaks down your footprint based on home, car, food, and waste.

Next post for today will include some tips and sites with information on we can do as individuals to be more efficient with our resources.

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 Well, Friday is here and I feel good. The week’s challenge is over for now.

 I admit I did eat out this week when I forgot to pack my lunch. I still put all 5 days down anyways because it’s for a good cause. I estimated that I saved $20 by eating in for lunch. That $20 will go towards Money Management 101: Future Philanthropists in Training. I liked this teacher’s idea in particular and I feel it is money well spent. This program will help these students with personal finance and learn the value of being generous.

It’s not really much money, but I wanted to give something to a good cause.  I want to thank HC and Flexo for making me (and so many others) aware of this program. Thank you to everyone who donated time, money, and energey for this program. I’m glad so many decided to join this cause.

Next Monday is Blog Action Day, so expect a slightly different topic: the environment.

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Photo Credit: Nygtowl

Today’s article puts some personal in personal finance. That’s the point, right? The car situation has escalated. After much deliberation we decided to go ahead and file a small claims lawsuit. It’s been such a headache with having one car (we couldn’t share as we work in different cities during overlaying schedule) and repairing the car was expensive. I’m grateful we’re back to two cars.

Do you want to know what bothers me the most? This could have been fixed for under $150 if the mechanic fixed it right away. Let’s just say our costs are far more than that amount.

I wanted to help those who may be in a similar situation and decided to answer some questions about small claims court. I would hate to see people overpay information that they could get with some phone calls and research.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. I highly suggested you contact your local legal resources.

What is small claims court?Small claims court is usually for cases involving claims of less than $5,000. A benefit of small claims court is that you do not need a lawyer as it is simplified to expedite cases.

What can I do in small claims?

There are two type of warrants in small claims. The first is Warrant in Debt which is when the plaintiff (the one suing) is trying to get money from the defendant such as when you are seeking to be reimbursed for repairs due to negligence on the defendant’s part. The second is Warrant in Detinue to recovery your property from another person.

How much does it cost to file a small claim?

Fees vary, so please contact your local court to find out.

How should I start the filing?

Make sure that you are filing a small claims lawsuit to the right person. If you’re suing a business, make sure you see what the correct address is and the name of the registered agent. Some resources to use are:

  • City License Bureau
  • State Corporation Commission

If you send it to the wrong person, the case can be dismissed. Call the clerk’s office ahead to make sure you have the right information for the small claims lawsuit.

How should I prepare?

You should have all your necessary paperwork organized for the case. The basic idea is that you have to present why you should win your suit. Try to make it clear and logical. Don’t get caught up in the emotions. Remember that you can bring witnesses, pictures, receipts, records, etc. with you in court. It’s best to get this done before the court date. What you and the defendant present to the judge is what they will rule on in the case, so prepare well.

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I hope this helps some people out. Please get information from your local court clerks office to get the proper information for you and your case. If you’ve had to go through the process, please leave a comment.

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your_image.jpgI noticed more visitors lately so I thought I might re-introduce myself out there. If you visited from Krystal’s site, I want to say thanks. If you don’t know who Krystal is then I highly recommend you visit her well-written blog Give Me Back My Five Bucks . I check that blog everyday.panda.jpgHello, I call myself online Green Panda. I’m a Business Management senior on the East Coast of the United States expecting to graduate December 2007. I’m working part-time as an intern in Operations Planning. I have recently married (not one year yet) and have one cat who is both sweet and evil.Some Random Facts:

  • I love Eggplant Parmesan and very few restaurants do it right.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing the new Bionic Woman. (I liked the cheesy old one too.)
  • I’m a Star Trek Voyager fan.
  • I have inconsistent handwriting. It has been known to change in one paragraph.
  • I own a VW Jetta that is a mess due to practically living in it during the week.
Credit: Gather Little By Little

While I have taken finance classes in college and am currently taking another one this semester, I’m not a professional financial adviser. I’m just someone who wants to develop good money habits now so don’t have to work hard later.This blog is part diary and part scrapbook of things that I have learned personally or from others experience. I love reading and this gives me an excuse to keep up to take with the latest. Many times you’ll see post based on seemingly random things. I had a post about legal consultations and another on financial aid. These post coexist on this blog because I have gone through it or am currently going through it. For a good example, look at the posts about our car shop nightmare.If people have any ideas or tips, I’d love to hear them. (Thank you Aaron, Julie, and Jorge!) If you like this site, please subscribe to my feed. Thanks for visiting and I hope to hear from you.

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walllet.jpgI’m continuing on the Rich College Student Series. After yesterday’s post, Jorge made a valid observation:Under ideal circumstances (you do get financial aid as in Part 1), this is a very smart idea. My opinion, however, is that it’s too much of an ideal situation. Quite a few college students don’t have the support from family and end up taking loans and working 20+ hours / week. FAFSA’s great if you’re in the lower income bracket, but as a middle class college student, FAFSA has done absolutely nothing for me in terms of grants or federal aid (with loans as an exception).He’s right that it is an idealized situation to stay at home while you attend college. If you are in that situation, consider yourself fortunate. As regards to FAFSA not being the end all of financial assistance, I also agree. As part of that post, I also included state grants, school scholarships, and scholarships that can be found on the web. The reason why FAFSA is important is that many grants that are need based do ask if you filed for FAFSA. Don’t just count on grants and scholarships, but by all means exhaust everything before you turn to loans. If you do have to take out a loan (which is very possible), please take the minimum amount you need.As for the budget yesterday, I wanted tostart off with something simple and work from there. Today, we’re looking at someone who works part-time (30 hours) and goes to school full-time (12 credits). To complete this I had to make some assumptions:

  • Rent was calculated on national average
  • Car insurance was based on national average
  • Roommate was included
  • Pay was calculated on a part-time worker at UPS (Jobs are national and available for college students)

Within this situation I did 2 quick budgets: having a car loan and not having a car loan. As you probably know that best situation is have you car completely paid off. However many student are going back to college and already have it. (I have a car loan myself and I wished someone drilled it to me the extra costs associated with it.)While working on the budgets, here are some of my notes:

  • Rent: You really need a roommate if you’re going to school fulltime and are working part-time. Roommate would also include spouse, relatives, etc. If you have more than one roommate and everyone gets along, that’s wonderful, as you save money and peace of mind. Please put the division of bills in writing. It’s a protection for both of you.
  • Transportation: Try living close to either your school or work, as it can lower insurance rates and gasoline. Public transportation is a good option if it is reliable and safe. If you have the ability to stay under your parents’ insurance, do so as it usually makes a big difference. Maintain good grades and you can save approximately 10%.
  • Utilities: Remember to keep with the necessities. Do you really need the premium package for cable? Do you even need cable? Find a roommate who shares your values. You don’t want somebody who makes a habit of wasting electricity and then expects you to help foot the bill.
  • Food: Learn to cook beyond macaroni and cheese. Cooking saves a lot of money when you go shopping at the grocery store and it makes leftovers taste better. Make sure you have a slow cooker as that can also save you time and money. Chili, lasagna, and stews are just some of the foods you can make with it.

Here’s what I came up with on the budget:Without a car loan:

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$ 901.62

$ 185.85

 

With a car loan (yikes!):

Income
Job (Net)

$1,087.47

EXPENSES
Rent

$ 450.00

Car Loan

$ 125.00

Car Insr.

$ 72.25

Utilities

$ 100.00

Groceries

$ 125.00

Gas/fuel

$ 100.00

Savings

$ 54.37

Total

$1,026.62

$ 60.85

Let me know what you think.

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