The saga of my Energy Bill and the Freezer: Part 2

I can not handle not having a deep freezer. I buy food in bulk, it’s much less expensive and I get to grocery shop less. I loathe grocery shopping. If there is a good sale on some item I’ll  buy massive amounts, pre-cook, or portion out the food and then freeze it for later. It’s a great way to have something always at the ready.

English Muffins on sale for a $1. Looks like my freezer just earned itself a few packages of home made breakfast sandwiches.

And butter. I use massive amounts of butter. I buy it in bulk…like three for four Costco packages at a time, and keep it in the freezer until needed. Cheese is also picked up in bulk. We eat cheese by the bag full. Last grocery buying excursion I bought only a few bags (three), I think we almost made it a week on those three bags. Then every time I tried to cook something I had to run out, or send Husband out to get cheese. It was annoying. Next time I went grocery shopping and cheese was on sale I picked up nine bags….this is a light amount. When cheese is on sale for a good deal I stock up!

But, alas, I have no freezer.

It’s driving me slightly nuts. I’ll go to buy something from the grocery store that’s on sale and as I’m about to toss three for four of an item into the cart I have to stop and remind myself that there is no freezer, and back everything goes to the shelf.

My little freezer is chock full, constantly. The top half of freezer is full of my frozen berries. I would have gladly doubled my berry storage if we would have kept the freezer running, but I knew we were trying to empty it at the time. The bottom section is just general food items. I’ve had to try and completely re-learn how to buy food and cook just because of the lack of having a deep freezer. I really do not know how people do it without some type of a secondary freezer. Spend all their time in the grocery store I suppose.

I can learn how to deal without the deep freezer but one thing I am fretting about that involves the freezer is pumpkins. Yep, pumpkins.

*Random aside and personal pet peeve is how the second “p” from pumpkin gets dropped. It’s pumPkin people, not pumkin, or punkin. It’s not a silent p nor did half the m go on a bender and pass out thus getting kicked out of the alphabet resulting in two n’s. “Would you like some punkin pie?” Uh, no I would not, because there is no such thing as “punkin.” And people wonder why I had such a hard time learning to spell as a child, because it’s not pumkin or crans or fer (pumpkin, crayons and for, if you were wondering). Trying to correct my own accent so my children do not have to suffer the same misfortune is a dauting task. And for the record I did not know that crayons was a two syllable word until well into adulthood when my co-worker/writer friend asked me to say “crayon” which I promptly pronounced as craans (one syllable). My response to them was something along the lines of “You’re shitting me, it’s TWO syllables?”

But I digress.

It’s pumpkin season! Pumpkins are one of my most favorite things EVER! I love just about everything pumpkin. Pumpkin latte, pumpkin pie, stuffed pumpkin, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin french toast, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin cookies, oooooooooohhhhh the pumpkin. I wait all year for this delicious squash to be in season, and then I go squash crazy in the hope I will start to hate pumpkin until the next year.

I forgot pumpkin beer. Love that too.

I buy pie pumpkins wherever I see them on sale. Roast them up (yes, roast) and then freeze the purée, in mass, but this year, if I don’t have a freezer what am I going to do for all my pumpkin-ing needs! Oh, the horror (of lack of pumpkin).

Learn to can it I guess, but that means investing in a pressure cooker, or buy the pumpkin purée. Ewwwww. My pumpkin purée is the best, and makes an absolutely to-die-for pumpkin pie. Something shall be figured out. It may be that my mom’s freezer gets a abnormal supply of pumpkin purée, because let’s face it, this laundry room isn’t getting completed any time soon.

The saga of my Energy Bill and the Freezer: Part 1

Almost since we’ve been married we’ve had a large deep freezer. It’s an upright, old, and an energy hog. Think of that gigantic piggy in Charlotte’s Web that Wilbur goes up against at the fair. Yeah, that’s my freezer. We were debating on getting a new one last year, my mom even fronted us most of the money to be able to go out and buy a new one, however, we never made it to the store to go shopping and the money was then squandered away on things like groceries and bills.

Towards the end of last year our electric bill jumped to almost double and has continued to stay quite high. We figured that since the freezer was already an all consuming electrical hog that it must be on the fritz and needed to be replaced. We started working on cleaning out the freezer with the thought that we would buy a new one once it was mostly cleared out. However, around the time the freeze was finally empty enough that it was feasible to shut down and bring in a replacement, we ripped out the room where the freezer lives. Since I have no place to put a freezer in the garage and I have no desire for a freezer to be running in our family room as we try to do things like watch T.V. I decided it was best to not get a new one until this laundry room project is completed. It would also give us the chance to see if it really is the freezer that needs to be replaced.

It’s been about a month since the freezer was shut down and at this point I’m thinking that I was unjustly blaming the freezer for being old. I now think it’s the stove that is causing the jump in our electrical bill. The major jump in the bill came when we were cooking casseroles from the frozen state, so a little bit of extra use but nothing too major. At least not one that you would expect to see an almost double electrical bill at the end of the month. Now it’s a year later, electrical have been much higher than they should have been all summer. The freezer is off and I get the next bill, it’s even higher than before…and guess what appliance I’ve been using more than for making a pot of Mac & Cheese. The stove.

I think it has been the stove that was border line and now that I’ve been putting it though it’s paces with my canning adventures it’s really starting to struggle, not only with my electrical bill but general cooking. When I try to simply boil water I have to crank it up to high just to get it work in under 30 minutes.

Due to our stove issues I’m really considering the idea of taking the rest of my canning and running away to my grandma’s for the day weekend to complete my jars of food.

I think we’ll be able to milk the stove for another 6 months possibly to a  year before we’re in dire need of replacement. That is a good thing because it will take us that long to get around to shopping for a new stove. I think we will move to a gas stove. I have a personal issue with gas stoves, I lived in a trailer in college that had a gas stove where the pilot light went out constantly, at night, when we were sleeping. I’ve always been a bit leery of gas stoves after that, but being able to accurately control the heat with the amount of cooking I do it’s becoming more inciting each passing day.

Maybe if I’m lucky I can find a great deal on a scratch and dent Wolf. Hahahahahaha! Someday I will have a Wolf and a SubZero but not for this house.

The Amazing Adventures of Turdface and Fluffy Cat: The Toilet Incident

One morning I’m getting up, and like most people the first place after waking up is to head to the bathroom. I’m just about to sit on the toilet when I notice a gigantic puddle of pee all over the toilet. 

Imagine a person staring down at a toilet with their arms slightly raised with a look on their face that says “WTF!” 

That was me. 

“Oh, hells no, I am not cleaning up someone else’s pee. I clean enough of that up with two children.” I think to myself. 

I then sit down to do what I went in the bathroom in the first place, and since I had my cell phone I promptly sent off this text: 

“Unless the cat has taken to trying to pee in the toilet, you missed and pee’d all over the back of the seat.” 

I get back “Um Sorry” 

And responded with “I seriously do not know how you can miss a puddle of your own pee. You can clean it up when you get home.” 

Then followed that text up with “Do you want meat balls or meat loaf for dinner?” 

This not being the first time I’ve walked in to a puddle of pee in the toilet. Typically I’ll wipe it down and then bitch about it later, but this time it was just WTF. And seriously guys I know this happens but clean it up FFS. 

Now, fast forward about a week. 

Child and I are walking down the stairs to the basement so she can watch her most favorite show in the whole wide world….for a week, Team UmiZoomi. The Fluffy cat is in the bathroom milling about, child sees the cat and begins to scold the cat. Listening to my child scold any of the animals is very comical because none of them give a rat’s patootie about what she is yelling at them about. But, the cat in the bathroom was Fluffy Cat and she is a very sensitive cat, I tell the kiddo that Fluffy Cat is fine and that she is most likely getting a drink. She tends to drink out of the toilets, the cat that is. 

As expected the cat then jumps up on the toilet. Child, who is still on the stairs, looking into the bathroom, sees the cat on the toilet and says “Kitty go potty, kitty go potty in the toilet. 

“Uh…yeah, no. The cat is not going to go potty in the toilet. The cat does not go potty in the toilet.”

“Kitty go potty.” 

Then the cat, turned herself on the toilet, in my head I think “WTF, she looks like she’s in pissing formation.” 

And then she pee’d. 

The tinkling of cat piss was heard falling into the toilet. 

um…..oooooookay. 

Don’t know where Fluffy Cat learned that one. And in one moment so many things in my life became so much more clear. (Why I had been finding un-flushed toilets with no toilet paper in them, and mysterious pee puddles on the toilets.)

But before I could have a moment to think about what I just witnessed, child started clapping for the cat, saying “Good job Kitty, Good job! Kitty went potty, good job Kitty.” 

Naturally I had to put aside my amazement at watching my cat take a leak in the toilet and join in the congratulatory festivities of a cat going potty. I also clapped for Fluffy Cat and told her she did a good job, but being that this is the neurotic Fluffy cat. She freaked out and ran away like we were going to string her up and feed her to bears, hiding in her closet hiding space until Husband came home. 

 

 

 

 

Salsa-not-so-riffic

I was given a large amount of Roma tomatoes. It sounded like the giver of the tomatoes wanted me to make salsa with them, which I can only assume means that they are expecting some prepared salsa in return for the tomatoes. A fair trade.

One major problem with this.

My salsa takes awful.

Unless you want your eyes to burn from the vinegar and your teeth to hurt from the sweetness. Then it might be delicious.

The first batch, it was so vinegar-y tasting, and HOT. I’m not sure if the heat came from the jalapeño’s or the vinegar. I think it was the vinegar, it was so…well burn-y, like I tried to drink some cider vinegar. Yuck. The second round looked better. It still was a bit strong on the vinegar smell even though I tried to cut the vinegar, and was using a different recipe. The second round turned out even worse. It was vinegar-y AND super sweet. I think the little bit of sugar that the recipe called for could have been totally omitted and it still would have been sickly sweet. It was definitely not a flavor mix that I found appetizing in the least.

We’ll use the canned jars, but instead of being able to eat them on chips or tacos it will have to be in dishes that are cooked to help mellow out the taste. Thankfully I have a ton of recipes that utilize jars of salsa for slow-cooker cooking which will help mellow out those overly in-your-face flavors.

If anyone has a great salsa recipe I would love to try it! I hope to find one that works with just the right balance of flavors. I’m going to be trying the Ball canning salsa mix and recipe on the mix in the hopes that it’s a good one. I figured with years of expertise they should have been able to perfect the perfect salsa combination of acid and bases, sweetness and heat.

But I am open to trying just about any salsa recipe, as long as it doesn’t have corn in it.

Happy Fall?

That’s what we in the mid-west like to call Autumn. 

I was trying to quickly put away groceries when Husband randomly blurts out “Yay! Happy Fall.” 

Uh. Happy fall? 

“Tomorrow is the start of fall.”

Now, I’m thinking huh, I thought the Autumnal Equinox was always around the 20s in the month. Must just be an odd year but didn’t really think anything more of it. Husband continued to look at his phone and talk about the weather.  But since Crazy Child was yelling about who the hell knows what… fruit flies, falling off the chair and the fact that I was home, I only heard bits and pieces which mostly consisted of “uggg it’s 86 tomorrow” ….. “42….night.” 

It wasn’t until way later that I realized it was not the Autumnal Equinox and the first day of Autumn but he was reading this weather app on his phone and we are technically in “Meteorological Fall” where we should be enjoying falling temperatures, hot spiced apple cider, and cosy sweaters. However, we’re experiencing a bit of a heat wave. Not like that is all too uncommon. When we were married we had an abnormally warm fall, including 80 degree temps well in to late October. I remember it distinctly because it was the year we were married and I was bathing the dogs about a week prior to the wedding which would have been late October. It was even comfortable to stand outside for a fair amount of time the end of the first week of November.

The warm fall turned out to be quite the blessing for us and our wedding photos, since we did most of them outside. The trees were still full of leaves with just the right amount of color. I had a co-worker that laughed at my wedding decor because it focused on leaves and earthy colors. My co-worker said I needed to focus on sticks because that’s all that would be left by the time I was married. Ha! Mother nature showed him. I did make sure to point that out to him every occasion I had the opportunity. Sadly not as many opportunities as I would have liked. 

So, Happy Fall! As in cooler temperers and the changing of the seasons fall. Not the moment where the day night are of equal lengths there is still about a week before that happens. 

Can Can Can…and Can(ing)

I’ve been so busy…canning. It’s for the better part of the past month been the only thing I’ve been doing with any spare time I have, or just staying up till all hours of the night and being extremely tired and cranky the next day. I was planning on taking last week off of canning and this week. Using this week to search out the best price on tomatoes. I started asking around on Facebook today one suggestion was a grocery/florist/nursery – yes I know, it sounds a bit like a hodge podge of a store, and it is. 

I believe the store started as more like a tiny “farmers” market that sold some produce, farm-y stuff and plant items. I live by another store that was similar back in the days of my grand parents. The place by my house is called  “Fruit Basket Flower Land” most people call it “Flower Land” as their sign has a gigantic “Flower Land” plastered across it, and in little itty bitty print just above the “Flower Land” it says “Fruit Basket.” The only people that call it Fruit Basket now are those that grew up with their grand parents taking them to the “Fruit Basket” (ahem, me) and old people. I mean OLD people. In their 80+ kind of old. My husband is always confused when I tell him that I have to go to the fruit basket, which means I have to go get more plants for the yard. 

Anyhow the Fruitbasket and the store I went to today from what I know about the area (based mostly on listening to old people) is that they had similar beginnings in life but Horrocks (the place I was today) expanded their grocery section and garden center. This was my first time there in ages, as in I can’t actually remember the last time I was there. I went there to get cucumbers because they were on sale and the Grandma requested more bread & butter pickles. This round of pickles will not be as good because the cucumbers are not the best for pickling, but they will do. As I was wandering around the store looking at all the random items they sell. (They have Pastys!) I ran in to a 1/2 bushel that said “Michigan Canning Tomatoes $8.99” 

I stopped, looked around at the other shoppers, looked at the tomatoes, checked the sign. Checked the sign again. Looked around, because I was thinking “this can’t be real.” The only sub-text was that the $8.99 was just the tomatoes not the basket the tomatoes were sitting in. Well, canning was NOT my plan but I guess it is now….grabbed the basket and went back to wandering around. 

That is the best deal on tomatoes for canning I have seen! If I knew I could get through all of them before the fruit flies take over I would have picked up a full bushel.