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Easy Dinner: Bacon Wrapped Monkfish Fillets

As I’ve written before (Panko Flounder anyone?), I didn’t come easy to fish, but nowadays I try to eat it at least twice a week. Most often I buy flounder or scallops or clams or porgies from the fish stand or a bit of salmon from the grocer. In the cooking of fish, I’ve found it hard to branch out beyond the pan fry. However, last Friday I saw a headline in the most recent issue of Saveur magazine: Bluefish Wrapped in Bacon. Of course we all know bacon makes everything better so I decided that’s what we’d have for dinner that night. I didn’t read the recipe. I just knew bacon and bluefish would be involved and I’d take it from there.

Tasty Treat: Rhubarb Scones

I am obsessed with afternoon tea. I love the sandwiches, the tea, the scones and devonshire cream, which I could eat straight with a spoon! Afternoon tea is supposed to be a leisurely event intended for relaxing and recharging, kind of like a siesta, but with food. Most afternoons, tea time includes a warm mug of earl grey and a homemade scone if I’m lucky or even just toast with butter and jam. By myself, I stare off into space and meditate on my life while the steam gently massages my face. Other days, I sit down with a friend to chat and giggle because tea, when taken in the company of others, inevitably generates the giggles.

Classic Meals: Korean Bulgogi

Until recently, I didn’t have the guts to experiment with Asian cuisine. Big ingredient lists, unique spices, and alternative cooking techniques all seemed too complicated for my limited time in the kitchen. But then I tried Steamy Kitchen’s Beef Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. It was flavorful and, despite the seeming long ingredient list, not too involved. Bolstered by my success, I made Pork Potstickers. Um, they were so very good, a little time consuming, but, happily they are meant to be made in big batches and frozen for future lazy dinner days. I’ve still got some in the freezer.

Roasted Pork Butt with Rhubarb Compote 

In high school there was a group of us, four of us. We did everything together and oftentimes everything meant breaking the rules. Of course, I went to convent school where the rules were so strict and pretty silly that breaking them, though highly offensive to the administration, was mostly innocent. There’s the time I ripped my coat in half while scaling the walls to escape. For a split second or two I just hung there with my coat still attached on one side of the fence and my body on the other. My alma mater, Georgetown Visitation is connected to Georgetown University so the older, cooler students just walked by and poked fun of the poor little Catholic school escapee. Other hijinks include but are not limited to the weekly skirt exchanges where the dean called us to her office, ripped off our short skirts that we’d fringed and decorated in studio art and gave us new to-our-knees version, the day I smuggled my best friend out of school in the trunk my car because I had a note to leave early and she didn’t, and the time a couple of us, after months of hiding out in the parking lot to avoid chapel were finally found out by a nine months pregnant dean who gave birth the next day.

Breakfast: Poached Eggs over Polenta

Until ohhh six months ago I thought poaching an egg was the most difficult thing in the world. Every time I’d tried, the egg always burst apart and was an inedible mess. Turns out, poaching a delicate egg on a rapid boil isn’t a good idea. Too bad it took me twenty years to figure out that a gentle simmer will yield perfectly poached eggs time and time and time again. Seriously, it’s now my go-to method for eggs – easier than scrambling, I sah-wear!

Easy Dinner: Panko Flounder

I didn’t grow up eating fish. My mother had been traumatized by my grandmother’s cod cakes which were forced upon her each and every Friday ’cause that’s what us Catholics had to do until Vatican 2. My father, on the other hand, loved it and always grilled a swordfish steak when my mother was out. Dad would offer my brother and I a taste, but remembering my mother’s severe hatred of it, we’d refuse. Such a shame it took me until I was 14 to finally try it and realize it was pretty good. That first taste lead to deep experimentation with all sorts of fish and the many many ways to cook them.

Tuesday, I wrote to you about Monkfish Wrapped in Bacon and today I want to share my new favorite starchy side dish, which I rediscovered on Monkfish day: hash. On weekends when my mom was out and Dad was in charge, he’d fry up a can of corned beef hash and eggs. It was one of my favorite things to eat. My brother and I would fight over the crunchy bits that Dad did his best to scrape up from the bottom, salty chitling type bites that, like the bottom of a paella, is the absolute best part.

The Many Ways Irresponsible Borrowing Could Hurt You

Borrowing money on impulse is never good to your budget or your credit score. It can hurt you and your finances in so many levels. The advice: don’t borrow or take personal loans with no good reason.

It’s easy to assume that you can always borrow money from your best friend or take personal loans whenever you need money for something. After all, you know your best friend would lend you the money and that you qualify for personal loans. But without any good reason to make that loan, borrowing could be making more damage than good to your financial health.

Irresponsible Borrowing Makes You Irresponsible in General

If you take comfort at the fact that you can always borrow money, you also take comfort that you can spend money indiscriminately. This means you might be spending more on wants while the needs take the backseat. And since you believe that you can borrow and spend without care, you also take for granted that you need to make investments for your retirement, your future home, kids’ education and so on.

Irresponsible Borrowing Can Hurt Your Credit Score

Taking out loans is sometimes necessary. You may have an urgent medical expense to cover or have important bills to pay. But if you take out loans unnecessarily, you run the risk of hurting your credit score. Taking personal loans for luxuries at an amount that you can’t afford, you will have a more difficult time managing your finances and paying off the loan. As a result, your credit score dips down further. And you need to know that your credit score is an important requirement in different settings, from getting financial help, employment to establishing your identity.

Irresponsible Borrowing Will get you into More Debt

For instance, you got $10,000 worth of personal loans. But you suddenly saw a limited edition designer bag and bought it, charged to your credit card. Both personal loans and credit card bills need to be paid, ideally in full and in time every month. But with two payments you need to provide for, certain expenses may need to be sacrificed if they don’t anymore fit the budget. And when you need more money for something, you have no choice but to take out more loans or keep charging on your credit card.

Too often, borrowing irresponsibly constitutes two things: borrowing more than you can afford and borrowing for no good reason. The decline in your finances, getting into debt and lowered credit score are just three of the many things that can happen when you borrow indiscriminately.

But that’s not to say you shouldn’t be borrowing at all. There are circumstances in life that can prompt you to borrow money or get personal loans, but you need to make sure that these are necessities, not luxuries. Since our financial standing is different from one another, it is only you who can determine if you have good reasons to borrow. If not, you’re better off finding money in other ways.

Another good guide to borrowing is to take only what you need. Personal loans, though fast and convenient, have interests that you also need to pay for. Borrowing more money can mean higher monthly payments plus interests. If you take more than what you need, you’re setting yourself up to a whole period of loan term paying off the loan that should have otherwise been more manageable.

If you want to be able to manage your loans and debts effectively, you should go back to the very core of why you are borrowing. If you begin with borrowing responsibly, then paying off your loans and debts shouldn’t be too burdensome for you.