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How to use all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey

turkey sandwich from Thanksgiving leftoversThanksgiving is just about a week away, and if you’re a plan-ahead type like me, you’re already wondering what on earth you’re going to do with all that turkey that’s left over.

Even if you generously give away portions to your dinner guests, there’s still a good amount left for you and your family, and it can get awfully boring after a couple days. So, here are some of the best creative ways I’ve heard of for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Should be enough to carry you through however much you have!

(As usual, I get most of my recipes from allrecipes.com, so I’ve provided you with links to some great recipes for each of these ideas so you can actually put them into practice.) :)

  • Soup. One of the easiest ways to use up any type of leftover. Try Next Day Turkey Soup (also uses sweet potato!), Turkey Wild Rice Soup, or Italian Wedding Soup (substitute turkey for beef).
  • Salads. Another easy leftover haven, you can add turkey to everything from Caesar Salad to Pasta Salad. Or, use your imagination!
  • Shepherd’s pie. (Or turkey pot pie, depending on what your family calls it.) Find a yummy recipe here.
  • Casseroles. Like the pot pie, only more open to experimentation. Some great go-tos include Turkey Noodle Casserole and Turkey Potato Casserole.
  • Wraps and sandwiches. A great way to sneak some turkey into your kids’ lunchboxes to help get those leftovers out of the house. If you’re a wrap fan, try a standard Turkey Wrap or something more creative, like Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps. For sandwiches, try a Turkey Provolone Sandwich or even a Turkey Burger.
  • Turkey tacos/burritos. If your kids (and s.o.) are starting to get wise about your turkey sneakiness, take it a step further and really camouflage it by using it instead of chicken or beef in tacos. With all the spices, taco sauce, sour cream, and other toppings, they may notice the difference in texture, but the taste will still be all taco. (Recipes here and here.)
  • Pulled pork turkey sandwiches. Another way to make turkey taste less…turkeyish? Marinating it in BBQ sauce! Recipe here.
  • Turkey meatballs. Just as yummy as beef meatballs. See if anyone if notices the switch! Recipe here.
  • Omelets. Sorry, family, but you’re getting turkey in the morning, too, till the bird is gone! Try a Spring Omelet, Three Egg Omelet, or Yummy Veggie Omelet (with turkey, of course).
  • Turkey sushi. I know, this one’s a little on the ambitious side, but I had to include it because I love the idea. If anyone actually makes this, let me know how it turns out, because I’m curious! Try this easy sushi recipe and substitute turkey for crab meat.

What about you? How else do you creatively use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey?

~Heart,

Em

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photo credit: Kristen Taylor

Putting Your Money to Work For You

money bills

[This is a guest post. Think you’ve got what it takes to be a guest poster? Contact Em at em [at] blondeandbalanced [dot] com to learn more about becoming a guest poster yourself!]

Saving money is important, but so is doing something useful with your money once you’ve got it socked away. And no, I don’t mean that dream vacation or Coach bag. I mean making your money work for you, in a way that lets the the cash you’ve saved earn you even more money.

Let’s start with where your savings are, right now. Probably in a bank account, right? I hope, at least, that they’re either in an interest-bearing checking account or a savings account. If you currently have your life savings hanging out in an ordinary checking account that doesn’t bring in any interest, you need to fix that immediately.

Every dollar you put in the bank needs to give you something back. That’s why you keep it in the bank, instead of in a shoe box under your mattress. Your checking account is designed to hold small amounts of cash for spending purposes, and that’s all you should keep in it. Just enough money to pay your bills, keep you in groceries, and get that one pair of gorgeous shoes you’ve been eyeing.

As for the rest: didn’t you learn about compound interest in school? If you put your savings in a savings account (notice how “savings” is right there, in the name of the account), your bank pays you interest on those funds. Then it starts paying interest on the interest.

However, having just a savings account by itself isn’t good enough any more. Savings account interest rates dropped significantly since the economic crisis, meaning that your money is no longer working as hard as it could. Although all savings accounts still offer guaranteed interest rates, you have to put a lot of money in those accounts to see any value; in most accounts, you have to put in around $10,000 to get even $100 in interest by the end of the year.

So, what’s a financially-savvy woman to do? Look for better options.

CDs vs. stocks vs. retirement accounts

Let’s take a look at three different ways you can put your savings to work for you.

  • Retirement accounts are what the financial planners are going to tell you to do. 90% of Americans don’t have enough savings for retirement, after all. However, if you’re young and you have an employer-match 401(K), time is on your side. If you don’t have a 401(K), it’s a good idea to start a Roth IRA or some other type of personal retirement fund. However, be aware that these funds are not liquid — once the money goes in, it stays there until you retire (I mean, you can take it out, but there are penalty fees and taxes involved). If you’re planning on buying a house, hosting a wedding, or having a baby in the next five years, it’s best not to put all of your savings into your retirement fund. You still have some living to do first!
  • Stocks are a great way to make money. They’re also a great way to lose money. Unfortunately, you don’t get to decide which one will happen to you. If you want to learn a lot about the stock market and make some smart purchases, go ahead; just don’t put all your eggs into the stock market basket.
  • CDs, or certificates of deposit, are the workhorses of financial investments. Fixed-rate CDs have a guaranteed financial return — you put in your money, you get a guaranteed interest rate back — and they have short term limits, meaning your money quickly comes back to you to spend on that Dream Wedding that you’re planning on your Pinterest board.

Of these three investments, I’d recommend starting a retirement account if you don’t yet have one through your job, and then putting the rest of your savings into CDs. (Stay out of the stock market unless you want it to consume your life.)

Look for banks offering the highest CD rates, then figure out how long you can afford to part with your savings. As Discover Bank notes: “You can earn more by dividing your savings between CD Accounts with different rates and terms.” You can even stack your CDs in what’s called a “CD ladder” to make sure you always have a CD coming due every few months.

The great thing about CDs is that they give you high interest rates but don’t keep your savings locked away for too long. If a CD comes due and you don’t need the savings, put it back in to another CD and watch that interest compound.

Making your money work for you is an important part of being a financially-responsible adult. Take a look at your savings and see where you can distribute them for maximum interest and return. It’s the smart thing to do.

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Photo by: borman818

Blog Roundup (11-15-13)

I always love sharing my favorite blogs with people, so each week I’ll be giving you guys a roundup of the posts I’ve really enjoyed reading.

If you like them, make sure to subscribe and follow these great bloggers on Twitter and Facebook to share the love!

~Heart,

Em

Are there any great posts you came across recently? Share them with us in the comments!

When is the right time to buy?

[Guest poster]

We hear the phrase ‘right time to buy’ appear every so often when house prices dip but forecasts tell that they will soon be on the rise so that the bargain home you have bought could turn into a real invest and in turn make you a healthy profit. This doesn’t always mean that it is the right time to buy for you. Individual circumstances can make a huge difference in when the right time would be for you.

Ask yourself a few simple questions, are you in a stable situation financially? A mortgage is a long term commitment and so are you likely to maintain your current amount of income or is there a chance that it could decrease? Do you have enough income each month to cover the repayments and not leave yourself struggling to buy every day necessities? How much deposit have you managed to save up and can you get a mortgage for the cost of the property that you need?

Once you have the answers to these questions it is time to start looking at house prices and to see if there is something suitable to your needs and most importantly available at a price that you can afford. If you are constantly earning and paying off your mortgage there will be the option to upgrade to a larger or more luxurious property later on so do not be disheartened if your dream pad can’t be yours first time. For some people the right time to buy isn’t necessarily the right time to lay their hands on the property that they are going to live in for the rest of their lives.

If you have found a property that is ideal for you and at the right price but isn’t the exact replica of what you had imagined buying, you might still find it is the right time to buy this particular property as a stepping stone to the one that you truly desire. Thinking ahead and not just about the here and now it vital when it comes to moving up the property ladder. Investing in a property that you may make a profit on through renovation and extension or a residence that you can get at a bargain price and make money on simply by reselling at a later date could be the start of a journey to your perfect home. The right time for you may not coincide with the right time for everyone else.