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Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

Home Chef Review

I decided to try the food service Home Chef. This is where they send you all the ingredients and the recipe and you just make the food. For $9.95 per serving, I thought it would be a good alternative to eating out. I mean, true, I’m still cooking. But the grocery shopping is done and everything is just ready to go. A few meals per week where I don’t have to think as hard about them seemed nice. Besides, Groupon had a deal.

delivered

They only had one meal this week that matched my food profile, the Lemon-Parsley Fish Cakes with romaine and tomato salad. My family is pescetarian, which means the only things with spinal cords we eat are fish, and even that is pretty limited. We also don’t eat animal-based dairy in the house. (I’m also lactose-intolerant so I have to limit dairy outside the house, as well, or it gets embarrassing to go places with me.)

So my meal was shipped in a box via FedEx. It’s packed to stay cold even if you’re not at home when it’s delivered. Bonus, everything is either compostable or recyclable! (more…)

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It is always an issue when I go into Home Depot.

I’m not saying this issue has anything at all to do with that fine establishment. It’s a chip on my own shoulder. I should just go in going, “WTFever.” But I don’t. I always go in stressed out that I’m going to be looked down on.

Unless I am in the middle of a project and on my fourth or fifth trip to return a part or get something I missed and I am beyond caring about anything other than getting the damn thing done, the issues always start with what I’m wearing. See, I want to look butch. But not so butch that people think, “Of course you’d shop here.” I want to look competent. But all my butchy clothes are winter wear. And it was too damn hot, yesterday, for that. So I had to wear capris (denim, of course), a tank, but I made sure to wear real shoes even though sandals would have been cuter coooler.

I went in to buy the toy I’ve been wanting for, like, ever, omg. My sliding compound miter saw. Oh, oh, you guys, she is so very pretty. Anyway, I got my shopping cart and headed in to get her. I greatly underestimated the amount of packaging that would go into such an amazing machine, however. So struggled to get the cumbersome box into, and finally settle for onto, the cart. But I was also picking up a miter saw stand. And this was a big bastard of a box, as well. After a quick sprint to Garden to get a flatbed cart, I load those bad boys up and I am off. But see, as I am loading the stand onto my cart, an employee stops briefly to slide the end of it the last, like, 4 friggin’ inches as he’s walking by with another lady. I thanked the guy, but I also kinda wanted to say, “Dude. I got it.”

When I went to check out, the cashier helped me pull the cart along, even after I said that it wasn’t heavy, just big. But, having been a cashier, I know it feels weird to just walk in front of a customer while they are pulling a big thing. So, ok, fine. I decline the offer of help out and head to my car.

Remember where I underestimated the size of the boxes? Yeah, my 90’s Corolla probably laughed as I walked up to it. I was able to slide the stand into the backseat, all smooth as silk. But the saw itself was just half-an-inch too big to go into my trunk. As I’m walking the box to my front seat, a cart guy runs up and asks if I need any help. I say, “Nah, I’m just Tetrising this into my car.” He still helps me the last little bit. I could have done it on my own. Honestly, if it had been heavy, I would have been fine with the help. But it wasn’t a “team-lift” item, ya know? Still, the guy helped me and thanked me for my business. All the employees were being nice, as they usually are. Just because I sorta half take them as possibly maybe “helping the little lady” is my issue.

Through the whole process I wanted to tell everyone who passed me, “These are mine. I’m Toysnot buying these for some husband or whatever. These are mine. I have wanted them, and I will use them. Because this big ass saw is mine. And, man, am I gonna cut and miter the crap outta stuff!”

I have issues. I come by them honestly, of course. But still, I wish I was cool enough to not worry about what other people are thinking.

Oh, and while shopping for my bad-ass power tools, I stopped to grab some paint. I spent 5 minutes deciding which color I wanted, contemplating the different shades on the color chips. I finally took my choice up to the counter and paint guy said, “You wanted the black, right?”
Uh, no, you barbarian. I wanted Cracked Pepper.”

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The town next to mine has way cooler classes and activities, so I jumped city lines and took a pressure canning class.

I’ve danced around pressure canning for a while. I tried water bath canning this Spring and really liked it. But water bath canning is pretty much for fruits. Jams, jellies, chutney, etc. I dig all of them, but what I grow in my garden is veggies. I also wanted to can sauces and soups. And for all of that, you need a pressure canner.

Like right out of a sci-fi or horror set.

Like right out of a sci-fi or horror set.

This thing is not only intimidating-looking, it is also intimidatingly priced. At about $240, this isn’t some random hobby you just pick up to see if it sticks. Which is why I started with water bath canning. I was out only about $50 and I could decided if the whole rigmarole of canning was something I was into.

Having found that, yes, I’m into it. I went to this class yesterday. It was supposedly meant for kids, being put on by the local 4-H. But there was no one under their mid-twenties in that packed kitchen. Somehow I ended up sitting with a table of other vegetarians because when the first project was to can chicken, all of us went, “Pass.” Apparently we picked up each others’ vibage or something. Another very cool thing happened when we were all busy chopping and peeling for the veggie soup. I asked my table, “We’re not just tossing these scraps in the trash, are we?” A few moments later a bag went around for scraps that another student was going to put in her compost. Which is exactly where I wanted them to go. Well, ok. I’d have preferred that they went in my compost pile, but as long as they weren’t going in the landfill, I was good.

The instructor was awesome and patiently answered my many questions. No, the canner will not blow up. No, as long as you process everything long enough, you will not die of botulism. No, really, you won’t blow yourself up. Well, yes, this model of canner was used in a bombing incident, but there was no food involved, so you’ll be ok.

Now that I’ve seen the process from beginning to end, took notes, and have handouts, I think I’m ready to tackle this bad boy. So, I’ll be saving my pennies and hopefully have a pressure canner to (not blow myself up with) can my garden veggies next summer. Then I can make more of these!

My very own jars of green beans and veggie soup that fit perfectly in my car's drink carrier. Who knew?

My very own jars of green beans and veggie soup that fit perfectly in my car’s drink carrier. Who knew?

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I’ve been in Home Depot and Lowe’s more times than I can count in the past couple of weeks and I am really, really tired of being jumped by solar sellers. I adore solar power and think it and wind power are the ways to go for our future electrical needs! I really do. But I am seriously tired of explaining to the dudes that I’m not able to do it right now. And because I’m not sporting a construction company t-shirt, I get hit every damn time I walk in. Ok, fine, I also don’t look like a contractor if you’re a narrow-minded douche pickle (and based in reality). So I’m The Mom and Homeowner who gets chased as soon as I walk in the door. Wait! Of course! I’ll just tell them I rent! Boom!
…but seriously, why do I gotta make up bail-out stories like I’m going out to a bar? Why can’t I just shop in peace?

And speaking of home improvement stores! Let me go on my yearly rant about Father’s Day and home improvement stores. Seriously, Home Depot and Lowe’s. Women like power tools, too. It’s a thing now, this gender equality in this new-fangled century. Why do I get flower sales for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gets sales on all the cool toys?? Have either of you stores bothered to look at the badass women in home improvement? They have blogs where they show other women how to put in walls and rip out and replace bath tubs. We’re not just sewing decorative pillow cases, ya know? Mommy needs a dual bevel miter saw, bitches! The first store that recognizes this will have a mega following of devoted diy divas. I’m hoping it’s the Depot, but I bet you anything Lowe’s will cash in on this sooner.

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Power tools = Perfect toys

I’m currently embarking on phase two of a three phase kitchen redo. It’s mainly a lot of painting, but I’ll also be replacing my bar, adding another counter, and more shelving. I really want new toe-kicks for the bit under the cabinets. However, due to my unfortunate lack of big saws, I’ll have to have the Home Depot Dude cut my toe-kicks. I don’t want HDD to cut my toe-kicks, man! I wanna cut my toe-kicks. And my own shelving and counters, and hell, maybe I’ll get cray-cray and get some fancy damn moulding!

Just as I was coming to the decision that this is what I want, I came across this here video from a blog, Sawdust Girl, I newly discovered.

How to use a Miter Saw

Oh, yeah, I’mma gettin’ me a miter saw. I was just at the Depot today and was test driving some of these babies out. Me and the five-year old girl I was babysitting were putting them through their paces in the power tool aisle. Yeah, we did look pretty bad ass, me and her. We really liked a pretty little power horse of a Ryobi, who I’ve already given the name Ruby to. Ruby shall be mine soon. Oh, yes, she will be mine.

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This is my jam

Pluot Jam... I hope.

Pluot Jam… I hope.

Well, there it is. My very first attempt at canning. It is a very stressful process, but I think that’ll lessen as I get more experience. And I am definitely gaining experience.

What I Learned During My First Time Canning:

  1. When planning to can for the first time, do not buy 15 pounds of “stone fruit” and wait until it arrives before knowing what fruit it actually is. As good as Pluots are, there are not a hell of a lot of canning recipes for them. And a first-timer really shouldn’t be winging it.
  2. Make sure you have all your equipment ready. Seriously, all of it. Take time to actually dry-run through the process to make sure you’re not searching all over for that one thing you need right now.
  3. Make sure to have all your ingredients ready. Finding out that you don’t actually have any lemon juice to add to the pot of cut fruit and sugar is incredibly stressful. Having to resort to lime juice adds to the stress.
  4. Cut your fruit prior to having all your pots boiling. It takes much longer than you think it will.
  5. Make sure you know what jar sizes you have. Again, winging it isn’t really smart on your first time out. The sizes of these bad boys are kind of important to the processing times.

After all that, though, I at least know better how the process proceeds. Next time I’ll cut my fruit a bit better, ’cause seriously, who’s gonna want that big of a chunk of Pluot on their toast? I also now know roughly how long the process is. So, all-in-all, this was a good thing.

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