Amy Clark

Tuesday Tips: ATM Management & The Perfect Pasta

Yesterday was such a great day for our site and I really appreciate all the great feedback we received. We are still working out the kinks, but we did it! Whoohoo! Thanks to all of our friends & family who continue to support us and brag on us. We couldn’t do it without you.

Speaking of friends, I think they will really get a kick out of today’s picture because of my true obsession with vintage aprons. I absolutely love aprons particularly the ones that are throwbacks to the fifties. I know it is old-fashioned, but I don’t care! My two best girlfriends splurged and got me a super pretty one from Anthropologie for my birthday. No one could have been more excited than me about that purchase. If you are ever looking for a beautiful apron, this site is it! Great styles and just what a girl needs to make cooking more fun! I know the women libbers are really going to love me now, considering my popularity thus far. Oh well! You win some, you lose some. Now moving on to our Tuesday tip…..

Tuesday’s Tip:

Seasoning pasta is important to achieving a good pasta dish. Many people season too soon (causing pitting in their pots) or they forget to season altogether. One way to solve this problem is to add the salt to your opened box of pasta. One tablespoon of salt can be dumped into the opened box and when the water comes to a boil, just dump the salt covered pasta.

Money Spent Today: $121.06. Today was grocery day and boy, did we ever need groceries! It is so bad when you’re out of everything (including meat) thus, the reason I went over budget. I grocery shop once every two weeks so this amount of food should get us easily through the next two weeks. I took Ethan shopping with me and spent $1.06 at Target on a popcorn combo deal. Seriously, that is the best way to keep a child occupied in that store. For $1, you get a huge thing of popcorn & a medium soda. This kept him very busy while mommy tried to find all of her ingredients. Sometimes it pays to pay so momma can get her groceries.

One Way I Save Money: I only go to the ATM once a week unless I am going there to deposit money. Today was my withdrawing day. I pull $160 out for the next two weeks. $100 of this money goes into an envelope for our groceries, $20 goes in my hubby’s pocket for a lunch or two out, $20 goes into my pocket for playgroup expenses and the occasional lunch out, and $20 is family fun money (which usually ends up in my pocket since I have to pay for myself & Ethan). When the money is gone, it is gone. Withdrawing money usually helps me stay under my grocery budget. I had to go a bit over this time, but I will probably be under for next pay period so it’s all good!

Inspirational Reading Material: Organized Home is a great site for, well, um…getting your home organized. I guess that is pretty self-explanatory. The forum is wonderful for learning ways to manage your household tasks and the site is great for a little inspiration when the need to clean and organize strikes.

MomAdvice Reading Material: Going Without Health Insurance

On Our Dinner Table: I decided to invest into an online subscription to Cook’s Illustrated because I had heard so many good things about the site and their recipes. I have been having a blast looking through the picture tutorials and they have neat kitchen tips that really come in handy when you are cooking in the kitchen. We have started eating this dish about once every two weeks because it is so yummy and healthy. Even my picky eaters will eat it (they both eat around the spinach, but who’s looking?) This is easy to throw together with a slice of bread on the side.

Easy Skillet Penne and Sausage Supper
Serves Six

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion – chopped fine
3 cloves garlic – minced or pressed through garlic
1 pound turkey sausage – Italian
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes – (oil-packed) , rinsed
-and chopped fine
1/2 pound penne
2 cups chicken broth – low-sodium
1 cup milk
1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
6 ounces baby spinach

1. Heat the oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

2. Sprinkle the penne evenly over the sausage. Pour the broth and milk over the pasta. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes (it took mine around 15 minutes).

3. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and sun dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Italian pork sausage can be used here, however, you may need to spoon off some of the fat before adding the pasta. When you are adding the spinach, it may seem like a lot at first, but it wilts down substantially. Be sure to at least have a 12-inch wide skillet here– this recipe fills it nearly to the rim.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value):
Calories 391kcal
Protein 26g (51%)
Total Fat 14g (22%)
Sat. 5g (23%)
Chol. 72mg (24%)
Carb. 40g (13%)
Fiber 2g (9%)
Sugars 5g
Calcium 197mg (20%)
Iron 3mg (17%)

Published May 01, 2006 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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