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Chicken Karaage!

20 Apr

Time for me to shake things up in the kitchen.  For my chicken thighs, I usually marinate them and stick them into the oven.  It’s the quick and easy route for a meal after work.  On Friday night, I decided to de-bone my three chicken thighs into bite size pieces to deep fry in oil.  I know it’s not the most healthiest recipe, but sometimes, you need that extra crunch in your bite!  Chicken Karaage originated from Japan and it is a popular appetizer dish at most Japanese restaurants!

This takes a little more time to prepare and cook.  There will be more dishes to wash indeed.  But I like to try new recipes and see how it goes!  The result was it was a little too salty (I kinda went off with the salt), not as crispy as I hope it be, but it was a yummy change for a night in for dinner.

What goes into the bit sized chicken? 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sprinkle of salt, chopped up finely garlic & ginger.  Please marinate first and let it stand before adding in 1 egg and sprinkling the rest of the chicken with 1 tablespoon of flour & corn starch.  Mix well.  Transfer chicken over to pan with oil that will cover the chicken bites to fry.  Fry till golden brown usually takes 7-10 minutes.

How much did this dish cost?
Chicken Thigh- $1.56 (My last pack from American Costco)
Est Oil and other ingredients- $1.00
Total for Chicken Karaage- $2.56!

Restaurants usually charge around $5-8 for an appetizer... It takes time and skills to make it crispy and delicious!

Restaurants usually charge around $5-8 for an appetizer… It takes time and skills to make it crispy and delicious!

Who would you admire more?

8 Apr

Recently, I borrowed “Millionaire Teacher” by Andrew Hallam from the library.  I literally read the first few pages.  I have a very short expansion span, but I will try to finish this book by the due date!

Andrew Hallam made a very good point on perception about owning a car which is a depreciating asset.  In his findings, most people who buy luxury cars are not actually millionaires.  Most millionaires buy a Toyata!

Who would you admire more?

Hypothetical Scenario:

Mr. Hotshot and Mr. Frugal both makes the same amount each year.  Both of them needs to buy a car to travel to work.

1.  Mr. Hotshot buys a brand new Lexus IS 350 for $45,000.

2.  Mr. Frugal buys a brand new Toyota Matrix for $20,000.

Both of them show up to work with their new cars.  Their coworkers goes out to the parking lot to check the two cars out.  Everyone is admiring the Lexus IS 350 over the Matrix and Mr. Hotshot gets excited from all the attention and questions from his coworkers.  Mr. Frugal steps back and smiles to himself.

But who do you think will have more money down the road?

Of course, Mr. Frugal.  Right off the bat, he saved $25,000 of his own money by not buying a more expensive car.  He has bigger plans for his money down the road that will eventually multiply over time.

Personally, I do admire nice cars myself.  Who doesn’t?  Does that mean I can afford one?  Right now, I can if I wanted to squander all my savings!  But I choose not to go out on a limb to lease or finance an expensive luxurious car.  I will spend my money wisely elsewhere.

Some of my BF’s friends have brand new BMWs and Mercedes.  Do I admire them…?

Dash Cam Crashes (Accidents can happen in an instant, so why bother with a nice car!)

To owe or not to owe

3 Apr

Spring is in the air.  Tax dead line is just around the corner!  Everyone dreads tax time.  Some are more complicated than others.  It’s just another chore for us all to do.  Did you gather all your miscellaneous/tax slips from 2012 to determine where you stand with the government?  To owe or not to owe!

Over the weekend, I entered all my information into Studio Tax.  Studio Tax is a free downloadable tax software for personal returns regardless of income that has been approved by CRA.  Since I am always looking for a way to save money, I started using Studio Tax since 2010 and it works like a charm.  Why pay for something when you can do it for free?  Sure, it might not be the most user friendly.  But in the end, it gets the job done right if you enter everything correctly that is.

Studio Tax churned out that I owed $13.38 (-_-)  This is a first for me!  I will be carrying back my net capital loss of $919.85 to my previous year.  Hopefully, I can get some money back from that later on.

For 2012, I did not contribute enough to my RRSPs to lower my income to avoid paying taxes!  I only put in $1064.  Pathetic, eh? Bottom line, if you don’t want to owe taxes, please contribute to your RRSPs to defer your tax payments.

After, I filed my taxes through Netfile.  I realized that Questrade did not send me the T3 for REI.UN!!  Hopefully, this will slip through the cracks.

Anyways, happy filings.  I’m done, out of mind, till next year!

Steamed Black Bean Spare Ribs

23 Mar

One of my favorite things to make for dinner is Steamed Black Bean Spare Ribs.  This is a quick and easy recipe that can be thrown together in an instant.  To steam:  boil your water in a pot, add your dish with marinated spare ribs into the pot, cover and forget for the next 30-40 minutes.  You can always leave your spare ribs cooking longer if you desire a more tender bite into your meat.

Breakdown Costs:

1 pound of cut spare ribs- $2.50
estimated combined sauces- $1.50
Total cost of this dish is $4.00

Add generously to your raw spare ribs:  Black bean sauce, garlic, garlic rib sauce, soy sauce.  You can also add finely chopped ginger in here, but at that time, I didn't have any in the fridge.

Add generously to your raw spare ribs depending on your taste: Black bean sauce, garlic, garlic rib sauce, soy sauce. You can also add finely chopped ginger in here, but at that time, I didn’t have any in the fridge.

After it has been steamed for a good 30 minutes, the juices will form and will give extra flavor if you pour it over your rice.

After it has been steamed for a good 30 minutes, the juices will form and will give extra flavor if you pour it over your rice.

 

 

Tax Man going to get me this year

8 Mar

There is a wealth of information in your personal CRA account.  It lists all your previous tax returns that you can look back on, RRSPs, TFSAs, GST credits and so forth.  You can even look up your T4 statements for 2012!

It’s been a while since I worked at my part time job, so I haven’t picked up my small cheque and T4.  But I was able to pull up my T4 for 2012 from the CRA site.

After entering all my T4s, RRSP contribution of $1064, and one donation slip, it looks like I’m going to be owing money to the government.  @_@  It’s too late to contribute to my RRSP to lower my income for 2012.  Now I have to write a cheque to the tax man.

The worse is yet to come as I am still waiting on my T3/T5 and trading summary from my brokerage accounts to figure out the final damage.   At the moment, the balance owing is $225.05.  Update:  I chatted with Questrade Rep online, March 15th is the date to look out for your tax slips! 

On a brighter note, I like to introduce StudioTax 2012 to any Canadian Tax Filers.  This is a free tax software.  You will have to download their software onto your computer to fill our your tax information.  This is net file approved by CRA.  If you like to do it the old fashion way, you can print out the paper version and mail it out.

I’ve been using this since 2010 and I haven’t had a problem with it.  It is a simple fill out online form, but it gets the job done.  Of course, it does not compare to the top ranking Turbotax or Ufile where they have a nice interview questionnaire that takes you through step by step.

But hey, Studiotax is free!  And you know how I like my freebies!

Lazy Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

7 Mar

This morning, I woke up 30 minutes earlier to throw a bunch of ingredients together into my slow cooker crock pot.  I found a recipe online where I had most of the ingredients at home.  The only thing I didn’t have was a potato, so I substitute it with a tomato instead.

Season the chicken broth with salt and dried thyme, then add seasoning salt, paprika, garlic powder to the chicken thigh.  Throw in all the veggies first then pour the broth over it before adding the chicken thighs on top.  A quick easy and cheap meal that will feed two adults:

3 chicken thighs- $1.562
carrots- $0.76
1 tomato- $0.63
quarter onion- $0.25
1 can chicken broth- $0.69
1 cup of rice- $0.26
Total Meal $4.15

Chicken Thigh Cooking in Crock Pot

This is what it looked like when I got home from work! All I have to do is cook my rice, then it’s time to eat!

All plated ready to eat!

Voila, here is what it looks like before I gobbled it down. The chicken was a bit dry, maybe it’s a slow cooker thing. I did leave it in for a good 8 hours when recipe only indicated 6 hours.

Nickle and Dime

4 Jan

The Canadian deficit is growing bigger and bigger everyday.  Our government doesn’t know how to handle our hard earned taxpayer’s dollar, so they find ways to nickle and dime us as we start into the new year.

  1. Canada Post is increasing their postage stamps effective January 14, 2013.
  2. For BC residents, we are required to pay Medical Service Plan every month.  Effective January 1, 2013, rates are going up once again.
  3. Transit users are once again hit with a fare increase effective January 1, 2013.
  4. Expect a CPP and EI hike for 2013.  Your next paycheck will be lower in general.
  5. The new Port Mann bridge started their tolling system to pay off the $3.4 billion construction:  Tolls and Rates
    Be careful while crossing this notorious bridge, two weeks ago ice bombs were dropping on cars damaging several cars after the second snow fall of the season.  Police shut down the bridge for a few hours to de-icing the cables making sure it’s safe to drive.  Blame it on poor engineering design where the cables stretches across the car lanes.

    This morning, there was a 40 car pile up on the newly constructed Port Mann bridge due to icy road conditions.  Drivers couldn’t see the black ice as they drove across the bridge in the heavy fog.  Blame it on the maintenance crew.  Looks like the drivers involved in this incident will have to pay their deductible to ICBC.

    Decisions made in the government are always questionable.  They sure know how to make a mess of everything.  Look at the plagued Port Mann bridge, was it a $3.4 billion mistake?

    Luckily, I do not have to cross this bridge to work.  However, I did hit a patch of black ice on the small side road as I made a left and skidded towards the curb at a very slow speed… I was like UH-OH!  But I got away without a scratch. 

 

 

Stupid Car Accidents

29 Dec

Youtube is a great source for entertainment.  It’s amazing how many stupid accidents occur in the world.

One time, I witness a “stupid car accident” right in front of me while stopped at a red light intersection.  Wished I had a dashcam to record it all.  On my way to work, I made the usual stops to a major light intersection near my house.  A neighborhood car made a u-turn in front of me on the side streets, and we eventually stopped at the same intersection waiting for our light.  A lady trying to make a left onto our street going opposite direction of us, lost control and slammed right into the car in front of me.  Instead of making a L-turn, she made a U-turn… broad siding the other car and impact was strong enough to turn the stopped car to its side.  Luckily I didn’t stop too close or else I would have gotten hit too.  If not for the car who had taken the spot in front of me, I would have the victim here.

Here’s a compilation of “Stupid Car Accidents“.  Some of the accidents are pretty brutal especially with the pedestrians and motorcyclist.  Fatigue, speeding, error in judgement are usual culprits in most accidents.  Stupidity is a factor too!

Be a defensive driver.  Pay attention to cars surrounding you.  What is their next move?  Accidents are costly and deadly sometimes.  So be careful when you step foot in your car.

It’s not so bad here in Canada where we are law abiding citizens to the road laws.  But in Russia and other countries, drivers just do whatever they want… running full on red lights and making a path for themselves to get ahead.

 

 

 

Tis the Time to be Festive!

24 Dec

Today is the last official day I work for 2012!  Well, at least for my full time job.  Finally, I will get a week long break for the holidays.  Three of the working days will not be paid.  They will be taken out of my vacation pay.  It`s forced upon me, but I welcome it.

The commute this morning was a breeze compared to other work days.  Looks like a lot of people are taking today off to prepare for tonight`s festive dinner!

I took the train downtown to go to CRA head office (work related).  People seem to be more friendlier than usual.  Smiles on their faces.  Couriers running around with their packages for that last minute deliveries.

It`s a slow day at work.  Hopefully, they`ll let us out soon enough.  But I doubt it.  Work horses!

Way over budget for this month with all the gifts and extra expenditures I have indulge myself in.  Fortunately, I got a bonus from work… even from my part time job to lessen the burden of paying back the bills.

For 2013:  I plan to track my expenditures more carefully.  Make smart decisions for my investments.  Save as much as possible to make a sizable down payment for my new condo that`s coming up in a year.

Merry Christmas and wishing you all a happy new year!

Shopping Spree!

9 Dec

December is proving to be a bad month for saving already! Tis the season to spend!  It’s not even 1/3 into the month yet… how are you all coping with your holiday shopping?

Gulp, I just drop a few bills in the past week!  Honestly, I am not a big spender at heart.  Sometimes, I feel like I should splurge once in a while to reward myself.  Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten tickets to Cirque du Soliel, but I want to see it over the holidays in a tent.  That’s something I haven’t done before and would like to try out.  I’ve been to Mystere in Vegas, honestly I wasn’t that impressed with that particular show.  So I am giving this another shot!  I’ve heard rave reviews, so I am excited to see the spectacle of the raw talent some people have.  Now, I just have a couple more gifts to get and I’m done!

My new job gave me a Christmas bonus!  With a budget of $500 to spend on myself, I had a hard time deciding what I wanted.  Here is what I got eventually:

  1. Firefly Classic Jael Insulated Jacket- $100.79
  2. Nexus 4 16GB- $421.11

Gift for others:

  1. Hoodie & Shirt- $15.00
  2. 2x Tin Cans assorted Purdy’s Chocolates- $33.54
  3. “Amaluna” by Cirque du Soleil- $128.00 for two tickets (Partial gift)
  4. PS3 Game- $55.99

Stuff for myself:

  1. Cannon All in One Printer- $40.87 (for those just in case situations)
  2. Puma Asha Women’s Sneakers- $71.12 (last couple of runners I got, I was unsatisfied with my purchase afterwards)

Eating out:

  1. Snifiki Greek Restaurant w/BF- $29.08