Cheap Electricity Rates in Texas

It was a big decision, but in the end, I decided that it was the right move to move to Texas and so I have found a place to live here. I am going to be moving in pretty soon and there is still so much to be done. Which is not very ideal considering that I am feeling a bit under the weather. Or maybe it is not ideal that I am sick. I don’t even know right now, it is not very easy to think. I am going to read the company page for Reliant Energy to learn mroe what they are about and the type of rates that they offer to their customers. I also want to learn about any incentives that they might have for new customers. Of course, incentives might seal the deal if the rates between different companies in the state otherwise proves to be fairly competitive. Continue Reading

best kitchen digital scales here

New Stairs to Get to the Roof

When I purchased an older warehouse for more storage space for my growing company, I was happy because I got it for such a great price. I knew that there were things I would need to do before I would be able to put it in full operation, but that did not concern me mainly because of the low price. I had considered all the things I would need to do, and even after the cost of upgrading, it was still a steal. The first thing I did was look up plant platform on my computer, because I was not happy with the ladder going up to the roof.

I know the warehouse had not been used in some time, but it still surprised me that the ladder they had was even in use at all. Continue Reading

I Feel Full, Fulfilled and Happy on This Plan

I have had a lot of things happen to me in life that are upsetting, but the thing is that those things often end and you can get past them over time. But gaining weight and then struggling to get next to none of it off, continued to plague me. Not only that, but when I did lose weight, it often came back again soon after. I was reading the Medifast reviews that I stumbled across one night, and I really wondered if it was the miracle that customers were talking about or not.

I think my biggest problem with getting weight off over time was the fact that I always felt like I was starving. It made me want to eat even more.medifast Continue Reading

How to Use a Bosch Temperature Probe in a Bosch Oven & How to Cook a Turkey or Roast Beef With a Bosch Oven Temperature Probe

BOSCH WALL OVENS can be a challenge to use.  The steps needed to complete a task are not what you would expect sequentially and generally require an extra step you would not normally anticipate.  You are not alone in finding a Bosch oven perplexing at times.Bosch Temperature

HERE IS how to use a Bosch temperature probe in a wall oven:

Cook a whole turkey (or a turkey breast), roast beef, and other meats using a Bosch oven temperature probe.

  1. Select the “Convection Roast” cooking mode on your Bosch oven
  2. Plug the temperature probe into the wall plug inside the oven
  3. Place an uncooked turkey or roast beef in a large roasting pan and center it on the lowest oven rack – –  do not cover the turkey or beef with anything, not even foil [per the Bosch convection oven manual]
  4.   It is a good idea to set the turkey or beef on a roasting rack placed in the roasting pan so that the bottom of the meat being cooked will not become soggy. Add 2 cans of chicken broth (for turkey) and beef broth (for roast beef) to the pan before placing the meat in the oven [regardless of using a rack or not] as this will help keep the meat moist and may provide gravy drippings
  5. The “Convection Roast” setting allows hot air to flow around the bird or roast, cooking it to perfection
  6. The “Convection Roast” method  cuts cooking time down by about 25%, so plan preparation of side dishes accordingly.

  7. DO COVER leg bones of a turkey with foil where they are joined together if you are cooking a large turkey, and keep an eye on wing tips, covering them with foil when they get too brown. Additionally, place a loose piece of foil over the entire bird or roast if it begins to look too brown (although this is unlikely to occur.)
  8. Push “Temperature” button once and set oven temperature to recommended temp. (Butterball recommends 325° for roasting a turkey.
  9. Next, push “Temperature” button twice and set the desired internal temperature of the meat product you are cooking. For a whole turkey, cook to an internal temp of 170 to 180° – SO, SET THE temperature probe to read 175° – Cook beef according to your preference or check out “Estimating Cooking Time for Large Beef Roasts” and look for other great beef-cooking tips HERE.
  10. Insert the probe into the deepest part of the breast or beef, so that it may rest without touching any bone
  11. The digital oven display will show what the probe temperature reading is of the meat being cooked. If you are putting refrigerated meat in the oven, the temperature probe reading will be around 35° when you place meat in the oven and first insert the probe
  12. As turkey or beef cooks, the probe will display the ever-increasing temperature of the roasting meat on the front of the digital oven
  13. No need to set the timer on the oven because you have already told the oven when to stop cooking based on the probe’s reading
  14. The oven will beep when the probe has reached the temperature you set it at.
  15. Use an oven mitt to remove the probe because it becomes very hot during the cooking process!
  16. Remove meat and let it cool for 15 min. or more before slicing. Serve and enjoy.

My Bosch Cooktop: Pretty but Not Reliable

Banner-Cooktops

My Bosch cooktop is lovely to look at and not terribly difficult to keep clean.  However, my Bosch cooktop has a highly annoying performance issue that is important only if you are, let’s say, cooking something on the stove top.

When the surface of my Bosch cooktop encounters water (such as droplets of water from steam off a lid lifted from a simmering pot) the entire Bosch cooktop shuts down.  Flashing red “E” (as in “error”) lights begin to flash.  The heating element quickly dims and ceasing emitting heat.  Really.

I am usually able to turn the Bosch cooktop back on after 30-45 seconds by wiping the “on/off” sensor button with a dry towel and repeatedly pushing the “on/off” Bosch cooktop sensor.

If you don’t mind letting that rice or pasta take a hiatus during the boiling process, go with a Bosch cooktop.  It’s pretty but not reliable.  You’re welcome.

Review of Frigidaire Gallery Refrigerator: Pitiful

My new (2015 ) Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator Model FGHS2631PF1 was a bargain purchase  from Lowes at around $1,200.  Stainless-look with a very low-smudge surface…what’s not to like?frigidaire_fgus

Yet, surprisingly, the most important features of a refrigerator with an ice and water delivery compartment are woefully inadequate in this Frigidaire Gallery Model.

  1. THE MOST frustrating thing about buying a refrigerator is that buyers cannot ”test” the attributes of a refrigerator live on the show-room floor.   I asked salesman at every  appliance retailer that I visited while shopping for a new refrigerator about the various attributes of refrigerators.  I asked about noise, I asked about emissions.  Never once did I think to ask them about how long the water filter would last.  Huge mistake on my part.
  2. Additionally, the plastic drawers and vegetable bins do not glide open easily and appear destined for eminent breakage.
  3. The ice delivery system also provides a pitiful performance.  Upon pushing the exterior button to deliver ice, an avalanche of cubes pours forth, flooding your cup with ice and spilling across the floor.  In our house, it’s has become something of a game that we play, called ”Who Can Get Just a Few Cubes?”
  4. Made in Mexico, this Frigidaire Gallery Refrigerator offers little in the way of extras which is par for a mid-priced fridge.

If I had the opportunity to make my purchase again, I would suck it up and spend the $500-800 more to buy a sturdier fridge…one with a water filter that does not have to be changed every six month.

Adam Sandler’s “Blended” Movie is a Delight

Every now and then, we are compelled to post a review about a movie or restaurant that we believe has been maligned, or plain old reviewed with a bad slant.  Adam Sandler’s “Blended” Movie is such a movie.  Adam Sandler’s “Blended” movie is a delight, in actuality, as plentiful laughs of glee from the viewers of this PG-13 rated movie attest.Blended_01

We wonder what unit of measure a film critic had when giving Adam Sandler’s “Blended” movie a lackluster review with a D+ (and also a “one star” rating).  Whatever method that was used to arrive at such a lame rating, we’re not buying the ‘dis — it’s simply undeserved.

Sure, there are juvenile hi-jinks in “Blended,” but one does not go to an Adam Sandler movie to sit in stony, contemplative silence.  We go for the laughs and sight gags.

Rarely will you hear so many belly-laugh’s or guffaws from a movie-going crowd as heard when watching the movie “Blended” in a movie theater.  And, hey, this is a Happy Madison production, so those of us who enjoy Sandler’s inner-boy movies know, and eagerly anticipate, what is to come.

The movie “Blended” has humor, sweetness of heart, expressions of the importance of family and loss, that make “Blended” a great movie for families within the PG-13 range and above (think boobs and centerfolds).

Our 12-year old son laughed out loud repeatedly throughout “Blended,” as did his mom and friends who were in attendance.  Actor Terry Crews, of “Everybody Hates Chris,” (and more) fame, was in stellar form (as usual) as  a dancing entertainer in eye-popping garb as the “blended”  theme of the of the story progressed to a vacation in Africa.

Actor Kevin Nealon and his  newlywed wife were hilarious, adding new meaning to the word, “jiggle,” in addition to beautiful scenery in the films’ African scenes.

Drew Barrymore, touting luscious lip hues, was the perfect foil for Mr. Sandler, creating a believable romance.  The “families” of children were stirringly portrayed with just the right amount of humor thrown in.  And lastly, the divine Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”) portrays a bestie with delightful sarcasm and wit.

Do yourself a favor, ignore what a (paid) movie reviewer has to say and take it from us, (admitted Adam Sandler fans); “Blended” is a delight.  Stay for the song being sun after the movie ends; it’s adorably funny.

Bag of Cookies or a Bag of Potato Chips?

LET’S pretend that you are famished and have not eaten in 3 days.  You are sitting in an empty room at an equally empty table.  A man walks in and offers you a bag of cookies or a bag of potato chips – with the caveat that you may choose only one bag.  Which would you select?  The bag of potato chips or the cookies? If you reply, “Neither, I would choose broccoli,”… a pox upon you.

Open Bag of Chips
Open Bag of Chips

SERIOUSLY, though, I wish illness upon no one.  In fact, I myself had quite a scare yesterday.  You see, yesterday I had an attack…a potato chip attack; and I am still reeling with remorse.  More on that in a minute.

MUCH like driving a car without GPS, I made a maneuvering error in the grocery store yesterday:  I went down the “chip aisle,” or as I like to call it, “Pandora’s Box.” And yes, I bought a bag of potato chips; salt & vinegar chips, if you must know.

WE ALL know that it is okay to indulge in potato chips every now and then, and everything in moderation, blah-blah-blah.  However, when it comes to a sinfully crunchy bag of chips, the word “moderation” holds little meaning for me.  Why snack on a single serving of 12 chips (120 calories) when you can snarf down half a bag of potato chips (calorie total unknown).

YOU probably think that I am remorseful and full of self-loathing because I ate SO MANY chips yesterday, don’t you?  Perhaps you believe that I am consumed with guilt for my gluttony.

IF SO, you are incorrect. The root of my regret lies in…French onion dip.  No potato chip feast is complete without French onion dip.  If you have never been blessed enough to enjoy this evil-good combination of foods, don’t start now or you could end up like me, greedily opening a bag of potato chips on the way home from the grocery store.  Darn, it’s hard to drive when you’re dipping a potato chip into dip.

BUT, I digress; my self-disgust lies with the fact that I bought “Fat Free” French onion dip.  Why in the heck did I destroy my date with snack royalty by purchasing fat free dip?  Perhaps I was subconsciously planning to eat the entire bag of potato chips and was looking for caloric redemption.

FAT free dip, for those who are not condiment-savvy, tastes like Elmer’s glue with a dash of seasoning; it’s not worth buying and certainly not worth wasting a chip-fest on.

SO, take it from me my chip-eating brethren.  Enjoy your fried morsels of potato goodness with  full-on, sour-cream based French onion dip.  If a love like this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Make a fruit tray or serve a fruit platter that looks good and tastes great

Did you volunteer to bring a fruit tray to a party? Don’t worry, we’ve got fabulous tips about how to create a fruit tray that looks great and tastes delicious.

Scooped-out pineapple or cantaloupe halves look scrumptious when filled with a variety of fresh fruit. Slice off a small portion of the bottom of the pineapple or cantaloupe so that it sits level and place it on a decorative plate (which you can pick up for a dollar or two at most dollar outlets.)winter-fruit-platter-ideas

While making a fruit tray LOOK good is desirable, it is how the fruit TASTES that is most important.

    • GO SEASONAL when putting together a fruit tray – use only fruit that is ripe and ready to eat
      • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX and consider a TROPICAL FRUIT tray using Thai-inspired fruit such as lychees, star fruit, watermelon, dragon fruit and  mango [visit your local Asian market for great finds on unique fruit]
      • DON’T FORGET TO AIM FOR small, whole fruit whenever possible, including:
      1. Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
      2. Melons such as cantaloupe or honeydew – use a melon-baller to make fruit scoops that are fun to eat
      3. Grapes of all shades (seedless, of course) — Look for “champagne” grapes, which are tiny grapes that are as sweetly tasty as they are unique
      4. Forget about serving apple or pear slices — they will turn brown quickly
      5. Include dried fruit. Banana chips and dried apricots are ideal and will get gobbled up.
Other tips:
    • Provide toothpicks for spearing fruit
    • Include a small dipping bowl for guests to enjoy with their fruit, such as Truvia© brand crystals, which taste deliciously like sugar yet are made with stevia
    • Small fondue pots filled with melted chocolate are a good match for fresh fruit, as are chocolate fountains

Fun Thanksgiving Cookies

Much like the children’s story of Chicken Little, acorns seem to be everywhere during the Fall season! Create fun Thanksgiving cookies such as the 2 “Acorn” Thanksgiving cookies below with a wonderful combination of sweet chocolate and rich, creamy peanut butter.

Or, try your hand at easy-to-make, fun Thanksgiving cookies in the shape of Pilgrim’s hats. These fun Thanksgiving cookies are sure to put a smile on your face!

“Fall Acorn Cookies: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Kisses”

   ”Acorns” made with chocolate Kisses and peanut butter cookies

You will need:

  • 1 pkg. chocolate kisses
  • 1 pkg. mini “Nutter Butter Peanut Butter” from your grocery store cookie aisle. Look for those with nut-like score marks as shown in photo above
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1 pkg. chocolate chips
Assemble:
  • Unwrap chocolate kisses and spread a schmear of chocolate frosting on the flat, bottom portion of kiss
  • Place an entire mini peanut butter cookie (Nutter Butter Peanut Butter, preferably) on top of chocolate frosting
  • Top cookie with a dab of frosting in the center and insert chocolate chip into frosting
  • Place on a cookie sheet or plate and let frosting harden somewhat for 30 min. or so for best results
  • NOTE THAT in the photo, above, some peanut butter cookies are applie with both halves and others with just 1 half to create a look with variety – – Go for it!

Chocolate_Acorns_blog

We also LOVE this idea: “Chocolate Acorns”

   Chocolate Acorns Courtesy: Very Culinary

You will need:

  • 1 bag chocolate kisses, unwrapped
  • 1 box Nabisco brand mini-nilla wafers
  • 1 carton of chocolate frosting
  • 1 pkg. chocolate chips

Method:

  • Smear chocolate frosting onto bottom of mini-vanilla wafer and place flat side of chocolate kiss on top of it
  • Place a dot of chocolate frosting onto top of mini-vanilla wafer, topping with a chocolate chip

MAY WE SUGGEST that you prepare a batch of each sort of acorn and blend them together while serving? What a fabulous display!

PILGRIM HAT COOKIES WITH MARSHMALLOWS

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Courtesy: http://www.snackpicks.com

You will need:

1 pkg. shortbread fudge striped cookies

1 bag large marshmallows

Chocolate Dipping sauce such as used for dipping fruit

1 container yellow writing icing with a fine tip

Method:

  • Place a 2′ length of wax paper on counter top, anchoring curled ends to lie flat
  • Set cookies from package face side down in rows on wax paper
  • Follow melting instructions for melting chocolate and add 2 TB shortening (canola or vegetable oil) to chocolate and mix well
  • Move rapidly so that chocolate does not firm
  • Pierce a single marshmallow and quickly dip it in chocolate mix
  • Remove marshmallow and place it centered on the upside down cookie
  • Proceed until all cookies have been used
  • After chocolate has dried, add a small “buckle” to each marshmallow using yellow frosting

Decorate a Pumpkin and Make a Pumpkin Centerpiece

NEWS FLASH! Around late October, the price of fresh pumpkins per pound in grocery stores will generally plummet. Bulk pumpkins that sell for .38 cents a pound in early October dive to as low as .19 cents a pound the day before Halloween!  You know what that means…TIME TO DECORATE a Pumpkin and Make A Pumpkin CENTERPIECE!Make a Pumpkin Centerpiece

Try decorating with beautiful pale green pumpkins, white pumpkins, squash, gourds or orange pumpkins with knobby lumps on them for something unique and different.

Make a pumpkin centerpiece using a whole pumpkin of your choice [we are using a pale green pumpkin this year]

White pumpkin

White pumpkin VARIETIES [names such as Baby Boo, Lumina and Cotton Candy] LOOK ELEGANT with black bric-a-brac or ribbon applied vertically up and down the naturally scored areas of the pumpkin. Use thin straight pins or a dab of hot glue to keep ribbon in place.

White is elegant.

Place small pumpkins and gourds in a decorative bowl as a centerpiece.

Scoop out insides and place a candle inside pumpkin with flowers along perimeter.

Spray paint a pumpkin with metallic paint, scoop out seeds and insert a candle. Tie with pretty ribbon.

Group various pumpkins together using unique colors and sizes of gourds.

Paint pumpkins white (or any color) and pair with opposite-color candle sticks for wow-factor decorating.

Monogram a pumpkin for style-inspired flair.

Scoop out any pumpkin or gourd and make a dried flower arrangement to place inside the opening. Also consider placing a bouquet of FRESH FLOWERS INSIDE a hallowed out pumpkin within a shallow bowl of water.

BROWN VELVET ribbon pairs well with pale green Or orange pumpkins. Wrap the stem of a pale green pumpkin with a brown velvet bow for an elegant centerpiece and surround with 3 or 4 pine cones.

Use a stencil to dab or spray paint a GOLD FIGURE onto the outside skin of a pumpkin. Witches riding brooms or bats are ideal subjects. Use your computer to print out pumpkin Halloween stencils from BHG for a lot of fun design ideas. Stagger pumpkins along sidewalks or stairs.

Paint pumpkins or gourds with spots (or squares) of various colors and sizes for a fun look.

Use a DREMEL® cordless pumpkin carving kit to create unique shapes on the exterior of a pumpkin or gourd’s skin. Creative concepts are endless when you use this Dremel tool and the carving templates that come with it.      A Dremel can easily carve shapes in pumpkin exteriors.

Beef Steak & Noodles from Boston Market: We Vote No

Frozen meal: Boston Market Beef Steak & Noodles

If ever a frozen meal deserved a thumbs down, this is it.  What was so bad about it, you ask?  What it the sauce? No, it was okay. The noodles? They were fine.  How about the beef? BINGO!Beef Steak & Noodles

We plan to avoid this frozen offering for eternity.  The meat was cut in precise, rectangular shapes and was a pale grayish brown in color.  Mushrooms supposedly included in this meal were so scant that they appeared non-existent.  A small case of heartburn set in immediately upon consuming.

Perhaps we should have known better than to stray from our Boston Market favorites, such as their in-house squash casserole – can you say “Yum”?

Boston Market is among the reigning kings of comfort food.  What else would you call a menu that carries, among other items, roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese, and cornbread?  B. Market needs to improve Beef Steak & Noodles or do everyone a favor and cut this item from their frozen food menu.

For a video review of Boston Market Beef Steak & Noodles, please watch Freezerburns’ Greg HERE.  Interestingly, Freezerburns’ Greg took umbrage with the wavy noodles, while we despised the quality of the beef.

View nutritional information for Boston Market Beef Steak & Noodles Frozen Food Find the Best.  It ain’t pretty.

Great Food Gift Ideas

This year, give someone a present that they can use,,, something to eat!  Here are great food gift ideas that will make everyone happy.food gift idea

1.        VALDOSTA PECANS by SAHALE SNACKS.

All we can tell you is, “WOW!”  This 4 ounce bag of pecans with sweet cranberries, black pepper and orange zest will send your taste buds over the moon with delight…they’re that darn good.  Buy two bags; one to give as a present and one for yourself.  http://www.sahalesnacks.com/     OUR HINT:  Purchase these at Kroger for less than $4.00 per bag.  You heard us correctly, less than $4.00 per bag!  Place nut mixture in a decorative tin or glass jar with a ribbon on it = instant gourmet gift!

2.     HARRY AND DAVID FRESH PEARS.

We don’t know how they do it, butHarry and David state that their ”Royal Riviera” pears are juicy and ripe to perfection.  The claims made by Harry and David are correct.  Unblemished, beautifully packaged, these fresh pears are sublime. http://www.Harryanddavid.com

3.   PEPPERMINT BARK OR CRANBERRY PISTACHIO BARK.

Chocolate and peppermint are a winning combination at VERMONT COUNTRY STORE but you should also consider their cranberry pistachio bark.  Attractive tin makes an eye-catching gift. http://www.vermontcountrystore.com.  (Pistachio cranberry bark is pictured.)

4.  CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BRITTLE

The yin and yang of peanut brittle and chocolate is divine.  Friends or family will be surprised and pleased with this unique flavor combination.

http://www.jers.com

Red Wine Substitute

Pure blueberry juice is an ideal red wine substitute thanks to its full-bodied finish and deep, fruitful scent.  Tart Cherry and Pomegranate pure-juices also fit the bill for people who prefer not to drink wine.

A glass of pure blueberry, tart cherry, or pomegranate juice does not pack the alcohol-infused punch of an actual glass of wine, nor do they resemble an altar-like dose of sweet flavor.  However, you might feel as though you were sipping wine when drinking pure juice which emits a satisfying earthy taste along with its natural sweetness.Red Wine Substitute

Pomegranate pure juice is our choice for a red wine substitute when cooking.  Purists who eschew alcohol, even when cooked “out” of food in the cooking process, will find an ideal red wine substitute in pure pomegranate juice when used sparingly.

Pure juice contains nothing but juice and a little water. Do not be fooled into buying juice such as Ocean Spray brand “cocktail” juice — look for pure juice when looking for a red wine substitute.

R.W. Knudsen brand blueberry juice has over 3 pounds of blueberries in each 32 ounce bottle of  ”Just Blueberry,” wow!

Berries of all types are good for you, too. According to NewsMedical.Net, the USDA’s database of antioxidant values for various foods places blueberry juice at the top of the list among more than a dozen juices tested including apple, prune, cranberry and Concord grape.

Nutritional Information: R.W. Knudsen 8-oz. ”Just Blueberry” juice provides 10mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 18g sugars, 0g protein, 100 calories per serving.  Ingredients: Water and blueberries. That’s it.

Swiss Chard and Leek Pie: 3 Simple Steps

unnamedServe Swiss Chard and Leek Pie for breakfast, lunch, or brunch.  Warning: It’s highly addictive!

Three Steps to Preparing Swiss Chard and Leek Pie

Step 1

  • Prepare and bake one pie crust per package directions.
  • In a deep pasta cooking pan, saute in 2 TB olive oil 4 diced white parts of leeks(4-5 cups)
  • Add 4 c. torn, de-stemmed Swiss chard leaves
  • Add 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • Stir and simmer over medium heat until leaves are semi-limp

Step 2

  • Heat 1/3 c. chicken broth over medium-high heat.
  • Add 1 TB butter and 2 TB flour
  • Whisk vigorously and simmer for 1 minute
  • Remove from heat

Step 3

  • Mix together 2 TB Dijon mustard, 1 egg, 1 c. shredded mozzarella or gruyere cheese, 1/4 both salt and pepper
  • Pour the ingredients from Step 2 and from Step 3 into the large pot with ingredients from Step 1
  • Mix gently with a wooden spoon
  • Scoop mixture into prepared pie shell
  • Top with a handful of shredded cheese
  • Bake 30 minutes at 375º