Thursday, March 8, 2012

how to: have a good credit score

My Victoria's Secret credit card asked if I want to sign up for unlimited access to my credit scores for $16/month. I didn't do it because 1) that's not in my budget and 2) my husband and father-in-law told me checking your credit score lowers it. That didn't seem right to me so I looked it up. Here are some facts about your credit score that you may not know that I found here and here. I think that these are important to know regardless of if you're going to apply for credit in the near future.

1. Credit scores do not measure your income or financial savvy. They measure the likelihood you'll default on your loans and that takes into account more than you'd think.

2. Using only one credit card hurts your credit. It will help if you have more than just a gas card; try for a Visa, Mastercard or AmEx.

3. Closing accounts hurts your credit.

4. Getting close to your credit limit, even if you pay them off in full and never pay interest, hurts your credit. 30% of your limit is good, 10% is even better.

5. Checking your credit DOES NOT hurt your credit score. It is very important to keep up-to-date with your score and make sure it truly reflects your actions. HOWEVER, if you ask someone like an auto loan employee to look up your credit that will hurt your score.

6. Having high credit limits will not hurt your score. Reaching your limits will.

7. You do not need to carry a credit card balance to have a good score. It won't help, it will just make you pay interest unnecessarily.

8. Applying for credit will lower your score, but not by a lot.

9. There are many different companies that calculate a credit score for you and different lenders will look into different ones. If you want to look at the score that most of your lenders will be looking at then look at a FICO score and one that is tweaked for what you want (auto loan, mortgage, etc.).

Hope this is as helpful to you as it was to me :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

how to: make toasted raviloli with marinara sauce

I've made these before and they are so good. A great way to spice up pasta, but (warning) not in a healthy way. I found this recipe here.
You're going to need some ravioli. I like to get cheese and meat raviolis and cook half of each. Just however much you think you'll need. My husband and I ate about 20-25 when it was the only thing for dinner. I like just cheap store-bought kind like what you can find at Walmart. Make sure you thaw them first.
Then, 2 Tbsp milk
1 egg
Italian style bread crumbs-start with a cup but will probably need more
2-3 cups oil for frying
Marinara sauce for dipping-we used probably 2-3 cups?
Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a fondue pot or a medium sauce pan. We've used both and the fondue pot was definitely preferable. In a fondue pot turn the temperature up to 350-375 degrees. In a sauce pan warm it on medium heat until breading sizzles and browns when dropped in. Definitely do not heat the oil up so that it's boiling; tried that our first time and we had instant coal. Didn't smell too good either. Speaking of which, opening a window while you're cooking will help eliminate the oil smell afterward.
Mix the milk and egg together in a small bowl. Put the bread crumbs in another small/medium bowl.
Put the ravioli in the milk mixture then cover with bread crumbs and set in the oil. Cook as many as can fit - the raviolis are done in about a minute, when they are floating and golden brown.
While cooking the raviolis, warm marinara sauce in a small sauce pan.
Set the finished ravioli on a plate with a paper towel and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Once they're all done, eat immediately, the ones cooked first are starting to get a bit cold. Don't worry, the hot marinara sauce will help :).

Mmmm, don't they look delicious! :) It is a bit heavy (as I'm realizing now after dinner) to eat just these (but not regrettable ha). My husband and I would recommend cutting down the raviolis and adding a salad if you want it for dinner or they would make a great appetizer if you're having a party.

Monday, March 5, 2012

how to: make honey chicken

it's unfortunate that you have to be a good photographer and a good blogger to be a good blogger haha. and unfortunately i am neither. i've been wanting to find more fitness/beauty articles that i would like to try then post about but most require i go buy fancy makeup or are more spring related and it's still winter here in freezing cold utah.
so another recipe it will be. i found it here.

3/4 pounds of chicken breast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onions (or 1/16 c onion flakes)
1/8 cup ketchup
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 glove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp of pepper flakes

the original recipe is for chicken wings but i like breasts better. (giggle). add and stir all the ingredients together in an 8x8 baking pan and cook in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes (stirring after 10 minutes).

another way to cook it would be in the crock pot. i didn't prepare in advance to do it in the crock pot although i wish i had. i love crock pots haha.
add and stir all the ingredients together in your crock pot and cook on low for 3 hours or high for 1 1/2 hours.

we ate the chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans that we cooked in the oven simultaneously. it was all absolutely delicious.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

how to: make Red Lobster biscuits

I've been craving pizza for a long time now and we were about to get Dominos and their new parmesan bites but after Spencer decided to go play basketball we toned it down a bit and he went and picked up a frozen Red Baron pizza while I made these copy cat Red Lobster biscuits. They're obviously not identical, but they are still sooo very good.

2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix Bisquick, cheese and milk together until soft dough forms. Drop 9 biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden. Mix butter and garlic together and spread on biscuits. I recommend you use it all, if not more, butter and garlic make everything taste better. :)