Friday, September 23, 2016

My New Favorite Total BS "News" Article

So we all know how much I hate the "lower your chance of death by..." type titles.  Again, just to review: YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.  We all are.  The chance of death is 100%.  Just like the chance of time passing.

BUT did you KNOW that you could die of almost anything.  Even a HAIR TIE!!!!
Insert dramatic music and eyes like this:

This actual true headline made me LOL for reals (pronounced "rilz" with a slight sidelong sneer):

The Horrifying Reason You Should Never Wear Hair Elastics Around Your Wrist

 Turns out, one woman, one time, once got an infection from a gnarly filthy hair tie she wore on her wrist.  NOW WE CAN ALL DIE OF THAT.  So much for all that kale I eat, the exercise, and those stupid seat belts I've been wearing like a total dupe.  I'm going to die of hairtiewristitus. 

Seriously people.  From now on I'm only tying my hair with surgical tubing taken directly from the autoclave.  This will be handy since I'll have something clean to tie my arm off too when I need to get a vein to shoot heroin.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What Pear Is This???

I took this to my local nursery and they thought maybe ussurian pear...but the internet says those are yucky tasting. These were DELICIOUS! (sweet yellow flesh).  About 1-2" in diameter.
The farmer selling them said the tree was on the property when they got there.  No idea what it is.  I need to quiz him about thorns/no-thorns and a few other things.  And I saved some seeds.  Hope to get them going.  I may send some to my god son and see if he can get them going.  Divide and conquer.

Flavor: Sweet like candy (that said, I've been avoiding added sugar so may not taste as sweet to someone who just drank a pepsi and had cap'n crunch for breakfast).  Mealy but not very mealy.  Pale yellow flesh, not white. Most of them had a pink blush on one side.  some did not.  Didn't keep long.  Ripened over 2-3 days. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016


So I'm walking around the Moscow Idaho Farmers Market this morning and there are MORE of those tiny wee plums.  This farmer has them in yellow AND purple.  I bought a pound of the purple...and am saving every seed because day-yum are they cute.  And yummy.

Also more tiny eggs.  I saw a carton of VERY wee eggs at a stall where I thought I was buying one just the plums but next to the cash station was a carton of tiny eggs in dark rich earth tones: olive drab, dark khaki, grey-green.  Stunning.  A bit shiny even.  I asked if they were
PHEASANT!!!  So I had to buy those.  I mean what if I never saw them again?  I asked how much a pheasant would lay and they said not all year, they are winding down for the winter.  So I was glad I got them.

Here they are

 I got tiny artisanal bread too.  Rustic rolls from a local bakery that uses local wheat and makes sourdoughs.  The salt in the bread won't be local sadly.
I decided to make local tiny toad in a hole by slicing the rolls and cutting out the centers of the slices.  Even the oil is fairly local.  Camelina oil from about 200 miles away (I admit, I do also own coconut oil, not local)

And the flip-side.  I put on some non-local salt and pepper.  

The pheasant eggs are very rich.  The yolks take up the lion's share of the egg and are thick and creamy.  Really delicious.  The flavor is enhanced by the overwhelming cuteness of the tiny egg.

The shells on the bantams are sort of thin compared to a regular chicken egg (well, a regular free range local chicken egg).  The shells on the pheasant eggs are clearly meant to take a bit of punishment.  Thick and sturdy with a hardy membrane on the inside.  It is so tempting to use some tiny eggs, bantams since they have more white, to make a tiny angel food and cook it in a tiny oven.  But, I DO have a life to lead and there is only so much time for cute.

There WAS enough time to boil up the remaining bantam eggs. I ate two and I'm hoping to turn a couple into miniature deviled eggs.  And of course I must take tiny eggs, tiny plums, and tiny pears for my lunch this week. I think I have tiny cutlery to go with them.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fresh, Local, Seasonal...AND TINY!!!

I like tiny things.  Tiny games stuck to the ends of writing implements.  Tiny versions of watches, dice, office supplies, notebooks, arrangements...

Imagine my delight when I found ALL of this at the week Plummer, Idaho Farmers Market:

 Bantam chicken eggs!  I had a 4 egg omelette this morning with baby beet greens.  I didn't think to take a picture of the baby beet greens, but trust me...tiny and hilarious.
I may have to boil a few of them just so I can make tiny deviled eggs.  AND I wish wish wish I had some rye bread to make tiny toad in a hole....I may look for a rye roll or any small roll at the Moscow farmers market just so I can do that.  I need MORE TINY EGGS.  The week before the same vendor sold me some of her regular chicken eggs and those are so huge I thought every one of them must have a double yolk.  For the record, none of them did.

 TINY PLUMS!!!! I have been just sucking these down like candy.  They are the size of tart cherries.  About half the size of Rainier cherries.  And super sweet.  Every pit is sacred.  They are in a jar, open jar, by my desk drying out. Cut AND delicious.  What more is there in life?

Those are PEARS!  Super sweet candy-like pears.  I think they might be Sekel pears.  I'm not sure.  I will take either a pear or a picture of the pear to the local tree nursery and say "I MUST HAVE THIS IN TREE FORM".  A few years ago I made pears, giant ones, dipped in dark chocolate.  Just take a whole fresh pear.  Wash it and maker sure it is totally dry.  Melt some dark chocolate.  Dip the butt end of the pear in said chocolate and set on wax paper (I had the wax paper over a muffin tin so the pears could sit in the muffin divots) to cool and harden.  You can also set them on some crushed nuts for extra flavor.  Anyway, for some reason it is the perfect food.  I'm thinking if I don't eat all of these first, I will dip them in chocolate and have tiny chocolate pears.  I could transport them in an egg carton.
 Of course I'm saving the seeds, though I doubt they will come true.  Worth a shot though just to see if the tiny-feature comes through in the next generation.

Right now I'm mooching a shower and couch space from friends (THANK YOU) and stealing their wifi while they are gone.  As much as I love my wee cabin (imagine my delight at eating tiny food in my tiny shed), I needed a SHOWER.  The gym where I usually shower is closed for a week and it's been chilly and cloudy so the solar shower is on the fritz. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Current "Go To" Breakfast: Watchagot Frittata

As much as I hate phrases like "go to" or "close of business" or, goddess forbid, "COB" ...
this is indeed my "go to" breakfast.  I make it many days of the week.  In the microwave or on the stove or in the solar cooker.  In the solar cooker it has to be lunch or supper.

I call it:  Watchagot Frittata

Here's the recipe:
1-2 eggs, beaten up a bit

The "Stuff" is where the magic happens.

This morning the Stuff was a banana and a tablespoon of baking cocoa powder.  I mashed the banana up well, mixed in the cocoa, added the eggs straight from the shells and beat them in.  Then greased a bowl and poured this in. I put a lid on it, mostly to keep the crap from the top of the work microwave from dripping into the food while it cooked (I do wipe the microwave out, but the other 20+ people who use it do not wipe it out).  I pushed the "1 min" button.  After a minute it's only partly cooked so I mix it up a bit and put it in for another minute.  It looked pretty done but the bottom we still wet (gross) so I flipped it over and 20 more seconds.   It's somewhere between an omlette and a brownie.

I did this in the solar cooker this weekend with an added bit of baking soda and vinegar and it was even more cake like.

Other Stuff options:

Banana with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Tastes more or less like banana bread but has the consistency of the center of french toast.

Chopped spinach or other greens (even dark green lettuces work well).  OK in microwave, good in a frying pan.  If you use kale or chard it's best to pre-cook a bit or used left overs.  Spinach is flimsy enough to cook right in the eggs.  Add spices if you like or it's nice topped with salsa.

Onion and greens, or garlic and greens.  Microwave or frying pan work.

Left over baked or boiled potatoes chopped and thrown in the egg.  THAT is really good.  The potatoes fry nicely in a pan, it's doable in the microwave but not nearly as good.

All of these except the banana based ones are really nice if you throw in a diced avocado.  The best spices for that are anything hot-peppery and/or cuminy.  Stuff you would put in stereotypical Mexican food.

Left over rice, quinoa, other grain.  Quinoa gets crunchy.  This is good in a frying pan, I haven't tried it in the microwave.

I find that 1 big egg can take up to 1 cups of Stuff, more if it is flimsy like spinach or precooked kale leaves.  So far, everything has been good.  Left over taco bar fixin's were especially nice, tomatoes on top after it was cooked, the rest mixed in.

I'm toying with the idea of hard fruits like apples and pears.  I think soft fruits like cherries and berries and plums would be too wet.  Might work with a tablespoon or more of flour, or even with crumbled stale bread for a bread pudding or cobble-esque effect.

Leftover pasta with not too much sloppy sauce works.  

It looks like anything that isn't terribly wet will work.  I've had some luck adding a bit of flour to soak up the soggy and mixing in an egg or 2.

FYI:  If you are cooking with a real stove, go with a metal frying pan with a metal handle, not toxic non-stick crap either, and you won't have to flip it.  You can brown the top under the broiler as long as you remember to preheat the broiler when you start frying the Watchagot Frittata.

This is an excellent way to use up leftovers without stretching them too much and ending up with even more leftovers.  This cuts food waste which is very fashionable.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Calling BS on "Health Report" from CNN

So, this is an actual headline today:

Meat-eaters may have a higher risk of death, but plants are the answer

Updated 11:16 AM ET, Mon August 1, 2016

 Yeah.  I hate to break it to you but no matter what you eat, do think, believe, feel, try, don't try, etc etc etc, your risk of death remains 100%.   You are going to die.  We are all going to die.  Everything dies.

How do "they" get away with such headlines?  I know the authors of the study meant a lower risk of death in a specific timeframe but that info does not appear in the title or the article presented here.  Why not?  Who writes this stuff?  Who is Jaqueline Howard?
Of course it's not just J. Howard.  It's a common theme in our nation's health news reporting.  What will increase or decrease your risk of death.

NOTHING.  The risk of death is always 100%.  Your risk of death in the next 10 minutes, 1 day, 1 year may be something other than 100%, no doubt lower, but overall, it is 100%.  You are going to die.

Perhaps be a decent human while you are alive.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Used Car Buying By ... Me

Obviously these are just my thoughts.  Not actual financial advice and non-binding (unlike my underwear today which are highly binding).
For many years I drove heavily used cars.  And I drove them into the ground.  I was so proud when I drove an 800$ pick up for 2 or 3 years, then drove it to the dealer to trade in (push pull or drag sale going 500$ for it!  Take that dealer!), and they crushed it into a cube.  Not even worth parts.  I probably spent 500$ on oil which ran directly out the bottom, but still, I made that puppy last.
I think it was a 1972 Ford.  Not sure.  There was an early 80s 3/4 ton van (ugh).  A 1984ish Datsun (NOT Nissan so whatever year they switched the name, that was it) 200SX.  It was junk but my dog and I were adorable driving that thing around.  Including cross country.  Then a mid-1990s Toyota Corolla, obviously.  That one paid for much of itself when it got hit with major hail.  Every body panel had dents, but the glass survived.  The insurance guy asked which garage to write the check to...uh NO, that check goes to the bank to pay of the car.  Woot woot!  
And finally, the 6000$ 1992 (or was it 1994?) Subaru Legacy Wagon.  I think it was '94.  Anyway.  I almost made money on that one.  It drove and drove and drove and drove.  Never even a timing belt.  A few brake issues etc, but nothing like a transmission or other major repair.  Hence, the current Subaru.  Much less used than the others when I got it, though showing age now as I put 30,000 miles a year on it. 
So, I've learned a bit about buying a used car over the years.
My own hope when buying a used car is to get 10,000 miles per 1000$ of car price (a dime a mile).  If I can double that I'm SUPER happy but that only happened once.  So with my current car, I paid 17000 bucks, and planned for 170000 miles...I've gotten 135000 so far with regular maintenance, no big repairs.  I try for the same money game with major repairs like with my old Corolla I needed a new transmission (thanks to crap work at a jiffy lube...I've never been back to a jiffy lube...they drained the transmission and didn't refill it...bastards).  I paid 1300 for a new tranny and had to plan for at least another 13,000 miles.  I got it but I was running on 3 cylinders by the end times and only making 25mph up hill so sometimes it was a struggle to get the cars to last.  You make compromises when you're kind of poor.  Doing that let me save cash for future car purchases.  Now I try to put about 25cents per mile driving into savings.  That goes toward repairs and the next car.  50cents per mile would be better, but isn't workable this year. 
Other car buying advice from my experiences over the years (meaning mistakes I have made):

1) Call and insurance company like Geico or even a few of them, and get an estimate on a couple of pretend car purchases BEFORE you pick a car.  I didn't realize when I got the pick up that the insurance and registration would be much higher than a car of the same value.  Oops...  And that truck was a piece of SHIT.  Big mistake.  An 800$ truck is not worth having.   But, I made it last.
2)  PAY CASH FOR A USED CAR if you can possibly do it. Insurance and interest on the loan are BIG.  If you have a car loan you have to buy comprehensive insurance rather than just liability.   Comprehensive (which will pay off the loan, NOT buy you a new car) costs a ton more.  For example, I have comprehensive right now and it's about time to drop it because the car isn't worth so much anymore.  My current 6 month premium is 440$ish.  Without comprehensive and the other "luxury" coverages (rental car etc), my 6 month premium would be 170$ish.  If you have a loan, the comprehensive is NOT optional.
3) Always take it to a mechanic before you buy it.  Get a full list of what repairs it needs and what the timeline will be.  Never just trust the dealer.  Dealers are there to sell you cars, not make your life better.  The law seems to be "buyer beware" and even if they say it has a warranty, whatever broke or whyever I wanted to take a car back was somehow excluded from the warranty and I had no time/money to sue or fight.  Most used car dealers know that.
4) I try to focus on the mechanical soundness of the vehicle and safety.  I've never worried about color or style (obviously). Once I got a cute car, but that was because it was the cheapest car for sale in town when I was desperate. With super limited funds it wasn't practical to buy the cuter car.  This is why old men have awesome cars.  They are the old men who waited to buy the cute car until they could afford it.  the ones who bought a cute car when they couldn't afford it are still driving the remains of that first car, which now looks like crap while they stand by the side of the road on their flip phone with the hood up and one wheel off.
5) Never tell a dealer how much money you have to spend or let them run a credit check before you settle on a price for the car you decide to buy.  They will use all information against you and they do car dealing all day, every day.  We normal humans just buy cars once in a while.They are better at this than us.
6) Start by looking at the cheapest crappiest car on the lot and slowly work your way up to your limit.  They might come down 10% on price on these cheap cars.  If you look at a car you would love but can't afford, you'll just be sad about what you can afford and may end up over spending.  Better to underspend and be able to  have money for a bit of joy in life than to have a shiny car you can't afford to put gas in or insure properly.
7) If possible, keep back 500$ for the first repair, which it will need because it is a used car.  If you luck out and it doesn't need a repair, then you're 500$ ahead on the next car purchase.
8) Test drive a few models before you start to really shop so you know what you're comfortable in.  That way you can make a faster deal when the time comes...but don't test drive a shiny new pick up because that will make everything else seem like crap.  Test drive cars you could actually afford.  I learned this from those "say yes to the dress" shows.  Once the bride tries on that 10,000$ dress, she blows her $2000 budget.  I now apply this to my car buying and it has helped.