Making Your Own Pasta

by JT on July 4, 2011 | 1 comment

Now I love cooking as much as the next person –- in fact, probably a lot more. But when someone gave me a pasta maker, I had my doubts over whether I would use it. I also had serious doubts about whether it would even be worth my while putting the effort into making home made pasta when I had a packet of it in the cupboard to use.

Here’s what happened. For starters, I learned that it was actually really cheap to make. You’ve got very basic ingredients –- just flour and water for basic pasta. I like to make egg pasta, which means using the whole egg or just the yolks if you really want the good stuff. Some people also make pasta with semolina, which again gives you a totally different taste.

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For some of us, how much we earn in a month is basically the only amount we can work with. Thus, some of us struggle to make ends meet given this budget, and to live with the limited resources we have.

Many folks also understand that if we spend too much, we’ll definitely decimate the budget and end up in debt. However, understanding versus actually doing and practicing are two very different things. Most of us are too easily seduced by ads that come our way, and some of us can’t resist buying small items that, at first glance, may not seem to hurt our bottom line. However, if you’re someone who can’t resist purchasing stuff or can’t stop drowning yourself in comfort food, then you might find that over time, your budget will be withdrawn.

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Mashed potatoes are incredibly hard to judge when you are making them for several people. Sometimes I feel that I can’t get it right. If the potatoes are too soft and I boil them for too long — usually because I forget and don’t quite catch them in time — I’m left with a saucepan full of very little by the time I strain them off. Ideally, I use the right potato for the right job, but even when I don’t, I still manage to have loads of mash left over.

Now I hate wasting any kind of food because I hate wasting money. And given that I grow potatoes at home, it’s all the more necessary for me to know how to utilize every potato that comes out of my garden! But leftover mash looks very uninspiring, doesn’t it? So I set off to see if I could find some ways to revitalize it enough to make me want to eat it the next day.

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Moonlighting is something that many people are either doing now, or are wanting to do, in order to try and make ends meet. The past recession has been hard on us all, but there is no doubt that some have found it harder to cope with than others.

You can moonlight in one of two ways. You can get another job with another employer, working part time either during the weekends or in the evenings. Alternatively, you can start working on your own business, fitting it in whenever you possibly can, in order to get it off the ground. In the case of the second situation, the eventual aim is to build the business up enough so that you can leave your main employment and work on it full time.

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Generating Wealth Beyond The First Million

by The Smarter Wallet on June 6, 2011 | 1 comment

Curious, isn’t it? You must surely have read stories about entrepreneurs and how they made their first million. It is something we all want to know more about, and it’s not hard to see why. Most of us would be delighted to make one million dollars, so it stands to reason that we would want to hear about how other people did it. In learning their stories, we might be able to move closer to making our own first million as well.

But even when we do find such stories, there isn’t much of an epilogue. Why is it that there is so much interest in the first million and no sign of any information about the second million?

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Should you grow your own potatoes rather than buy them at the store? You can save money by doing so of course, but there’s more to it. I wouldn’t have believed it unless I tried it myself, but you cannot beat homegrown potatoes for taste, flavor and freshness. Even the act of brushing off the soil and washing them on my own seems a lot more enjoyable when I know I have grown the potatoes myself instead of buying them from the supermarket.

If you are thinking about growing your own vegetables this year, then some of my tips may help. Here are a few I’ve written about before:

As for potatoes, here are three tips to help you get a bumper crop of potatoes this year, so try them out for yourself.

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How To Save For Work Breaks When You’re Self-Employed

by The Smarter Wallet on May 22, 2011 | Comment

There are lots of advantages to being self employed. For instance, you can be your own boss, you can take control of your business and you can look forward to arranging your time off whenever you need or want to. But of course you won’t be paid for that time off when you do eventually take it. Whereas many employees can enjoy paid vacations, the same is not true of self-employed people.

How To Save For Work Breaks

So what can you do? Are there some ways in which you can make the time off easier to afford when you want to take it?

1. Plan for your vacation time as far in advance as possible.

This stands to reason. If you suddenly decide with a week’s notice that you want to take a week off work, you won’t have any time to prepare or plan for it. You may find yourself relying on your credit card to pay for the things you need while you are off work.

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Dealing With Job Redundancy and Job Cuts: Stay Positive

by The Smarter Wallet on May 16, 2011 | Comment

There are a couple of words that keep cropping up again and again during economic and financial downtrends. Those words are “job redundancy” and “job cuts”. Hopefully it hasn’t applied to you personally or to anyone you know. But the fact of the matter is that this has probably already happened to you or someone you know. Lots of companies are shedding workers in an attempt to stay afloat through the rough times. It might be a fact of life and of business, but it’s not any easier to cope with when it hits home.

So what do you do when you are the one facing redundancy? You may have read about the idea of positive thinking and how it can help in many areas of your life. But can it make your situation easier to handle?

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