Saturday, September 23, 2017

HE front loader rant

As of today I really hate our front loader.  I don't care how good it is for the environment or the clothes or the budget.  I miss the old top loader that we used to have.  I'm not the only one I know who misses the low efficiency models. 

The clothes were cleaner with lots of water to swish around in.   I'm tired of stuff not getting clean, under arm smells and stains are still there....not when we had the old washer.  

I was doing wash earlier today. Load 1 fine, load 2 well I can't get it out since the frigging door is locked still!  But I can see things didn't rinse and spin out enough.  I even use HE detergent and am super particular to measure correctly.  When I use the stupid pods I empty them into the detergent section rather than letting the gel covering into the washer.

I swear I'm ready to go buy a basic top loader at the Sears outlet or Home Depot....the basic $350 one.  Then when it craps out get another.  We've had this one for 6 years and it's been serviced 2 times at a total labor cost of more than $500 never mind the computer control board.  


Grocery runs begin again

Now that school is in full swing, I am making regular stock up trips for groceries.  We spent a good chunk of August eating down the pantry.  
This week I had 2 trips to Aldi and 1 to ShopRite.  
Aldi had me restocking honey wheat pretzels, their brand of triscuits, chocolate chips, veg oil, sliced cheese, romaine, peppers,carrots, sweet potatoes, celery mandarins, almonds, frozen fruit for smoothies, jarred peppers & corn muffin mix& yogurt and Eggs at $.53/doz!  I bought 2 doz
ShopRite had me getting eggs, loaf bread, bananas, apples for snacking, Cabot cheese blocks, many many yogurt cups, OJ was on sale so I bought the limit - thank god for the spare fridge.

Notice - no meat was bought.  We are working on eating down the stuff in the freezer. So I can fill it with pre-assembled crockpot freezer meals.  Mr Crockpot has been used a lot the last 2 weeks & I like it.  Hell, I'm loving it!

Now, why did she buy eggs? And why 3 dozen at 2 stores?  Well - my inlaws have chickens and for the last couple years I haven had to buy eggs very often, but the girls are getting up in age and not laying like they used to.  So I had to buy eggs early in the week to get thru the mornings.  Yesterday I was making breakfast and at the end there were 2 left for the weekend!  So while at Aldi I saw their price of 53 cent/dozen and grabbed more.   Store eggs aren't as big as farm eggs so I'm a little bummed out, youngest eats 2 farm eggs in the morning basically 3 store eggs and oldest has eggs mixed into the waffle batter so that number stays at 1.  I have high hopes the Aldi eggs don't suck because their price is great, yet I struggle with egg farm eggs on a moral level.  

The frozen fruit is also Youngest's request - known affectionately as the family fruit bat. Some mornings breakfast is a granola bar and smoothie on the way to school.  Smoothies here are milk, Greek yogurt and fruit (frozen makes it thicker) or juice, hemp protein powder, banana and frozen fruit.  With youngest protein and fruit are the keys to making it to lunchtime, and many mornings he will eat my planned over lunch from the night before for breakfast - which is fine.  Oldest has a more relaxed teacher load and keeps granola bars in his pack if he needs a quick snack.

Monday, September 18, 2017

College search continues & more school crap

Oldest and I went off to visit 3 more schools over the weekend.  8 hours away!  It was long drive but I think worth it.  All 3 schools are still on the list to apply to.  
I've been compliling our notes and helping to devise a calendar to post with deadlines and dates.  

One school starts passing out merit aid with acceptances after 12/1 (early action deadline) one is 11/15 and the other lets you know in the spring.  

After touring and reading, discussing and driving 8 hours home, hubby tells me that if kiddo goes to the local CSU (backup plan) he thinks we should have kiddo live home rather than on campus!  I saw red, and am still fuming about it.  Not because he is Von earned about the $ side of it....but because it's the mixed message of 'go after the degree you want - even if it isn't offered locally' and now it's ' I don't know if you're ready to move on campus' crap.  Kiddo has shown an interest in 2 specialized fields of engineering, and knowing we cannot afford MIT/RPI/WPI has found very good state schools (out of ct) in the fields with much easier tuition costs.  This us the crap my own parents did to me and while it turned out ok in the end - going to a state university and graduating debt free, I didn't find out until the month before move in day my parents couldn't help as much as the said and had to scramble to get in where I went.  The stress and disappointment was horrible - I'm trying to be upfront with kiddo.  

Add to it the school guidance department is still dealing with scheduling problems, they have been to busy to help much and basically their advice was "ask a lot of questions". We can't even get logged into the naviance account and they don't know why, "just keep trying".  And now there are 2 errors on the transcript!  Course name changes - luckily one college admissions department said "get that fixed, it's important"

Youngest is having some of the same struggles that we ended the year with.  3 weeks into school!  If we make it to the end of the month I will be amazed - I may be requesting a 504 review/change meeting if this continues...requested to admin that the teachers re-read the plan as it is still in place from last year.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Applesauce - EASY PEASY

So, I've been asked to share how I do it so easy by Ms Sandy.  I actually have 2 methods both as simple as can be.  I make and freeze in 2-3 cup batches using 'tupperware' boxes.  My goal if id thus year is 25 boxes - we eat a lot of it thru the winter and I don't can, don't have the supplies or tools and it's too late in the season to learn with success for me.

1.  Pick or buy your favorite apples.  I adore courtland and Macintosh and Ida reds. 
2. Wash, quarter and core the apples.  
3. Fill the crockpot, with apples and 1/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp lemon juice.  You can add a cinnamon stick if you want, I do if I'm using macs. Just lemon with courtland or a Mac courtland blend.  Cover and cook on low until just softening stage.  Take out cinnamon stick at the end of cooking
4. Once they are just soft turn off leave covered for 20 minutes and give them a quick stir.  If they are soft you're good.

For smooth light color sauce I Use a foodmill and process to remove the skins (save for a friend's chickens or compost them). 
For a smooth smooth pinkish sauce if the skins are really soft I use an emersion blender (stick blender) and blitz the hell out of it all right in the crockpot.  This is my favorite way

For a lumpy light sauce, peel, quarter and core then cook till just soft then let sit covered 20-30 min, rough mash & stir with potato masher. 

You can also cook on simmer on the stove top but you run the risk of scorching the bottom or needing to add more water as the apples soften and that can dilute the taste of fall.  And you have to stir more often.  

Add sugar AFTER you mash/mill/purée while it's warm and just to taste.  We never add it - we like it better this way.  

While the sauce is warm ladle into freezer containers and cover let cool then put in fridge to get cold before putting in the freezer.   When recycling containers I lay a little Saran Wrap on the top of the sauce then put the lid on it - minimized freezer burn I've heard.   I prefer square containers and really like the hillshire farms ones that deli meat comes in (washed of course). They are flatter so it thaws fast in the fridge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not much

Not much new here....trying to keep expenditures to a minimum.  Never easy with growing teens.  
Heard from friends in Florida, all survived and most of the damage to their homes were tree limb related and power outages.  Did see on the news very bad news for citrus though.  A bummer for juice drinkers since prices will rise and continue if the trees drown in the standing water - all those people who farm must be worried sick.  Orchard work is hard and trees need lots of love & luck over years.

Was hoping to pick apples this week but gave run out of week - I will have to make a plan for next week one morning.  I really want to make applesauce for the freezer. I don't like the stuff from the store now.  I've gotten so spoiled.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Stock up list this week

This week I'm spending my stock up cash on some veggies and a few other things.  To orrow will be spent with coffee and the flyers to figure out my plan of attack for bargains. 
Frozen veggies 
Frozen fruit for smoothies
Frozen OJ concentrate (to try and offset the anticipated hurricane related increases)
Vinegar, balsamic, red wine & white
Dishwasher tabs
Baking soda
White sugar (baking season)

Harvey & Irma costs

Aside from the costs of homes, cars and stuff....
Here's one that hasn't come up but a pal in Florida told me that citrus and veggies are gonna get hit hard and costs will rise for all.  Drat!  Keep it in mind as you stock up.