Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The BEC Exam is my Super Bowl

I live in New York and all I hear right now is that the Giants are in the Super Bowl. The TV, the radio, friends, family, and co-workers – everyone is more excited about the Super Bowl than usual because it’s a NY team. Long-time Giants fans (such as my husband) are super excited. He has his lucky Giants sweatshirt ready to go for Sunday’s big game.
I grew up in a football-crazy house (my brother has played for years from Pee Wee League all the way to Semi-Pro) and I like football, but I don’t like the Giants. Regardless, I can’t help but get caught up in the enthusiasm and even think of my upcoming BEC Exam as the ultimate Super Bowl rematch – The Cooking Accountant vs. BEC. The last time I took BEC, I failed with a 74. I’m ready for a rematch.

All-time record: BEC – 6, The Cooking Accountant – 0.

I am scheduled to take BEC in about 10 weeks. The only study aid I have purchased so far is my Wiley 2012 BEC book. My study plan consists of working on one Wiley module a week; I would begin by reading the module on Sunday and start working on the questions on Wednesday. The aim is to complete every module by Saturday. The final week will be reserved for reviewing the material and solving CPA Exam practice questions. To motivate myself to study, I started looking at these first few weeks of my plan as “the regular season” and that last week as “the playoffs.” If I can’t finish the modules in the regular season, there’s no way I can make the playoffs and answer those questions correctly. I have to work hard to get through those modules by dedicating time for CPA Exam study and adding as many extra hours of practice questions as possible.

My goal is to beat BEC in my own Super Bowl. Hopefully, this year I will be the Super Bowl Champion.   
Are you excited about the Super Bowl? Do you have your own rematch with a CPA Exam part planned?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where I’m At…

Growing up, I would spend New Year’s Day journaling about the year that passed and what I wished for the upcoming year. I would write anywhere from 5-10 pages. Even though I have stopped journaling some years ago, I still like to reflect on and learn from the past and plan for the future.

Although a little late, this is my 2012 New Year journal entry and lets you know where I am with the Accounting and Non-Accounting areas of my life.

With the CPA Exam
I took FAR back in October when I was about to lose the last conditional credit I had left. I got a 70 and all my credits had expired. I was forced to start at Square One again and signed up to take BEC in April. BEC has changed and now includes writing in addition to the multiple choice questions, making it even more challenging. I have started a self-study plan using the 2012 Wiley textbook and may add a Cram course in March. I plan to blog regularly on my study progress even if it’s a paragraph.

With my Career
In the past, I have avoided writing too much about my career on this blog. Going forward, I would like to change that since I feel this is the most exciting time of my accounting career. I left my corporate job and took a few months to decide what I wanted to do. I went on a number of interviews for Controller and Assistant Controller positions, but eventually I started a consulting business. I have always wanted to work for myself and it’s a dream come true to do that. There were many new challenges I faced and would like to write about them. I actually started 2012 in a Nerdy Accountant way – by closing my books for the year and calculating estimated taxes!

With my Non-Accounting Life
I have re-discovered yoga and healthy eating as a way to work on my health. I plan to include some of the new healthy recipes and cooking tips. Spending more time with family and friends is now high on my list and no longer second to work. After so many years of lopsided living, I strive for a fairly reasonable balance between my work and my personal life.  

With this Blog
Many aspects of my life have changed in the past year and I wasn’t sure what to do with my blog. I want The Cooking Accountant to reflect my present interests, but I find myself getting stuck. I get trapped into thinking that you, my readers, may not be interested in the things that currently concern me and that I might not have the most relevant advice for students. It has been years since I have been a student or a recent college graduate. The one thing I can offer, however, is advice to recent grads and interns on what to expect once they enter the corporate world.

Since all my peers either have their CPA license or gave up trying a long time ago, I feel like I can’t commiserate with them as I continue on my CPA journey. Most of my friends and family don’t understand why I keep trying and I am sure they are sick of hearing about it. I am sure there are others out there in the same boat as me, so I will continue to write about my journey trying to pass the Exam.

I am very thankful for my readers and will aspire to write things in 2012 that will interest you.
What are some of your goals/wishes/dreams/thoughts for 2012?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In the Homestretch plus a Roger Discount!

So this week I have been studying like a madwoman since I am taking FAR on Saturday. I should finish my Roger Cram tonight. That means I will have the next 3 days to review my notes and do questions. Wish me luck!

Here is a great Roger CPA Review Discount. Looks like you can save up to $450 ($150 per part) on the online review course when you use the coupon code 150Party at checkout!
Click on the image below to take advantage of this sweet deal which ends on Friday!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sponsored Post: Free Live Webcast TOMORROW: FAR Conceptual Framework

Roger CPA Review is offering a Free Live Webcast this Saturday from an actual FAR Class. Roger will discuss the Conceptual Framework. You may want to sign up if you need a refresher or are an “older student” such as myself (I learned the Conceptual Framework in school when it was SFAC 1 and 2 and now it’s replaced by SFAC 8!). I am thinking about signing up for this webcast since I watched the Conceptual Framework topic on the Roger Cram lecture more than a month ago.

Click on the image below to sign up for the Free Webcast.

And stay tuned for the secret discount code at the end of the webcast to get a special offer from Roger CPA Review!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comfort Food: Zucchini Stuffed with Rice (Yemista)

Today, I am drawing on my Greek roots to share a recipe for a favorite dish with you – Yemista. Yemista means “filled” in Greek and I think it’s a fitting name since vegetables (bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini or zucchini flowers) are filled with a rice mixture.
Depending on where you are from or where you visit in Greece, the stuffing mixture may vary but usually includes rice. My mother uses a rice and tomato paste mixture. My mother-in-law is from a different part of Greece and she uses a rice and ground beef mixture. (Both versions are excellent, by the way). In some restaurants, I have seen them topped with cheese, although I prefer the Americanized version topped with bread crumbs.
Michael Psilakis has a good recipe for Yemista in his book How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking which I referred to as a guide for creating my own recipe. Psilakis uses dill in his recipe which my mom does not use. I find all these ingredient variations interesting (I’m a food nerd as well as an accounting nerd!), so I am interested to hear if you have tried a different variation.

Regardless of how the stuffing is prepared, Yemista is the food I grew up with. And believe me, you can’t get enough of it if you try it! And now that fall is almost here and the nights are getting chillier in New York, I wanted to serve this comfort food for dinner. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for lunch or dinner the next day (although my dad likes eating the leftovers straight from the fridge! They are that good!).

Zucchini Stuffed with Rice (Yemista)
(Serves 4)

- 4-5 medium zucchini
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- ½ a Spanish onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup uncooked long grain rice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Bread crumbs

Wash the zucchini but leave the skin on.
Blanch the zucchini for 5 minutes (Boil water in a pot large enough to hold the zucchini, add the zucchini once the water is boiling and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Remove the zucchini from the pot and run cold water over them in a colander for a couple of minutes until they cool down).

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep chef’s pan or sauté pan under medium high heat.
Add the chopped celery and onion and sauté for 3 minutes until soft.

Add the rice and salt and pepper. Stir for 2 minutes being careful that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the water while stirring and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for a minute and then turn off the heat.

Stir in the fresh herbs, lemon juice, chopped garlic and tomato paste. Let stand while you prepare the zucchini.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

On a vegetable cutting board or clean counter, slice each zucchini in half lengthwise.
Using a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and create a little trough for filling with the rice mixture.

Coat a large pan or casserole dish with a light layer of olive oil.
Place the zucchini halves into the pan, skin-side down, troughs facing up.

Use a spoon to fill the zucchini troughs with the rice mixture. Fill a little higher than the top of the zucchinis if you have extra filling.
Sprinkle bread crumbs over the rice mixture.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes (removing the aluminum foil in the last 10 minutes of baking). Serve while still warm. Kali Orexi!