Sep 032014

market-basket  I just visited my local Market Basket for the first time since the now infamous pissing match between the billionaire owners ended.  Can’t say I’m happy about it.

I don’t do a lot of grocery shopping since I don’t cook and mainly eat fast food.  But I do buy three things from Market Basket on a nearly weekly basis: cigarettes, beverages and snack foods.  While I’m amazed by the outpouring of support for Arthur T. Demoulas that the world was recently witness to and was excited to see so many people band together to stand up for what they believed was right, I continued to shop at Market Basket during the whole debacle.  Why?  Because I’m not interested in going to additional expense or trouble to support a billionaire spoiled brat.  But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the punishment and deceit that I (and so many others) saw coming.

On Saturday, the Boston Herald ran a story titled: CEO not in Market to raise prices. Here are the first few paragraphs- Continue reading »

Nov 262008

Alright, here we go…
Zaira and I are both going to be live blogging the preparation of our first Thanksgiving together. I will be updating this post throughout the next 24 hours or so as we take various steps along the path to the first Thanksgiving Feast at The Caverns. So keep checking back to this post throughout the day and be sure to scroll to the bottom of it as each update will be appended directly to this post. It could be fascinating, thrilling, boring, funny, or pretty much anything else. Just like the dinner prep itself this is an experiment and I have no idea how things with progress or end.

Zaira’s live blogging Thanksgiving post is called Thanksgiving For Two.

2050 hrsOff to pick up Zaira and groceries

Okay, I just got the call and am on my way out the door to get this madness started. I need to get down to Gilroy, pick up Zaira, and hit Safeway on Thanksgiving eve to buy everything we need for our mini-feast. And I do mean everything as even pots, pans and thermometers are on the list. Speaking of the list, here’s my portion of it-

  • Smallest bone-in turkey breast available.
  • unsalted butter
  • rubbed sage
  • sea salt
  • ground peppper
  • One gallon apple cider
  •  4 sprigs fresh sage or rubbed sage
  •  2 sm. onions
  •  5 peppercorns
  • Pepperidge Farm Country White Bread
  • raisins
  • turkey broth
  • corn starch
  • dried thyme
  • 1 link Italian sausage (4 oz)
  • celery
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 head garlic
  • meat thermometer
  • turkey pan
  • 1 quart baking dish

Plus, of course, whatever Z needs for the dish she’s making.  I’ll report back when we’re return and start prepping the broth.

2054 hoursStarting the brine

Got back from the grocery store about 2015 hours with way too much food and a wallet that was $87.09 lighter.  Admittedly some of that was non-turkey day related, but I still swear we could have driven to LA and bought Thanksgiving dinner for less.

Quote of the day: “Eeew!  It looks like an onion!” – Zaira (while peeling the onion for the brine).

Zaira decided to make mashed potatoes, so in addition to the list above we picked up a few potatoes. We also looked for a potato masher since I don’t have one, but couldn’t find it and the cheapest meat thermometer was almost $7 and didn’t go as high as we needed so we passed on that as well.

Although crowded, the Safeway wasn’t totally packed. There were a lot of frustrated people there, though and more than one lost husband on his cellphone. What I found truly remarkable, however was the near complete lack of turkeys remaining.

Shopping completed and laptops set up for live blogging we’re ready to start the broth. In fact, Z just finished chopping the onion while I was updating this blog. Z’s going to blog now while I continue with the brine prep.

Details as they arise…

2330 hours – Preparing brine

Apparently, apple cider takes a lot longer to boil than water does.  It’s been on the stove for almost 20 minutes now and still not even tiny bubbles.

2347 hours – Woop! Woop!

The plan was to prep the brine in two batches since I don’t have a stock pot, then store it in our turkey pan overnight to cool, then soak the turkey in it tomorrow. BIG problems!

Problem one: the turkey pan we bought isn’t big enough to hold one gallon of brine, even without adding the turkey itself.

Problem two: (the bigger one!) The turkey pan has a hole in it!!  I guess that’s what I get for buying a $3.19 pan 🙁

0006 hours – Definitely getting grumpy at this point

So, I’ve been snapping at Zaira for the last half hour.  Not just the problems above (those were more my fault then hers) just the usual not thinking about stuff and not communicating her thoughts.  She really hasn’t got a grasp on collaborative projects yet.  She’s been trained to answer as simply as possible and not express her opinions.

We did solve our problems though!  You can check Z’s post for how, cause I’m signing off for the night.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!  “See” you tomorrow.

0900 hrs – Beep! Beep! Beep!

The plan was to set the alarm for 10, run downstairs real quick to drop the turkey in the brine then come up for cuddle time and some Doctor Who.  Unfortunately, after last night’s disasters we had to head over to X’s house to get some more pots.  So the alarm was set for 9am and we’re running down to Gilroy.  We’ll see what happens from there…

1147 hrs – Back To Work

We managed to get a pot to soak the turkey in from Z’s mom’s house, but she couldn’t find the turkey pan 🙁

Still we dropped the turkey in the brine and cuddled up for a couple of episodes of Doctor Who Season One.  It’s  only available on Netflix until December 1st and Z’s become a big fan so we’re  trying to get through the rest of the season this weekend.  Now it’s time to head back to the kitchen, though.  We still need to prepare the stuffing and the mashed potatoes all from scratch!

1223 hrs – Family Break

Zaira was peeling and chopping potatoes while I peeled and chopped the apple for the stuffing when we realized the time.  She then took a break to call my mother (Gramalu) to wish her and all of the Sequim family a Happy Thanksgiving.

We also sought pan advice.  She had the same problem last year and essentially lined the pan with foil to solve it.  I think we’re still going to pick up another one, but if it leaks as well we’ll go with the foil.

1245 hrs – The Recipes

It just occurred to me that I haven’t shared the actual recipes I’m following with y’all. I may be doing this from scratch, but I’m not going completely without guidance!

Roast Turkey For Two and Apple Sausage Stuffing

1352 hours – Back from Safeway

Just got back from trip two to Safeway. Surprisingly, we actually hadn’t forgotten anything. We just needed to get a replacement pan (which is currently undergoing hole testing) and pick up the meat thermometer I decided against last night. Oh yeah, and lunch.

Zaira’s potatoes are all ready to go. I think I peeled the apple too soon as it’s quickly turning brown in the oxygen 🙁 I’ve mixed up everything for the stuffing now and pre-heated the oven while we went to Safeway. Next I need to bake the bread and cook up the sausage mixture.

1420 hrs – Stuffing’s prep’d

We just had a severe flurry of activity with Zaira chopping while I threw the stuffing bread in the oven, fried up the sausage and mixed in all of the ingredients.  We were both way too busy in our tiny kitchen to get any photos of this process, so no visuals right now.

The turkey’s got about two more hours to soak in brine, the stuffing just needs to be put ni the oven for 45 minutes, the mashed potatoes just need to be reheated.  We’re almost there!!  I think it’s time for a Doctor Who break 🙂

1620 hrs – Time To Cook The Turkey!

So far so good! I got a minor burn on one of my knuckles while I was mixing up the stuffing/bread in the oven. Wejust watched two more episodes of Dr. Who and now it’s time to remove the turkey from its bath and put it in the oven. The skin is feeling rather loose and there’s a weird “crack” on one part so I hope everything’s not going to fall apart.

When I was buying ingredients and such I didn’t realize the turkey breast had a cavity for dressing 🙁 So, we’ll have no in-turkey stuffing, but it should still be good. Zaira’s cutting up carrots, celery, apple and garlic for turkey bed. Then we put the turkey in for 45 minutes. The stuffing cooks for 30, they both cool for 15 thenwe can eat!!!

1708 hrs –Almost There!

The turkey’s been in for 30 minutes and is turning brown. The skin on the top is starting to burn (too much better on top) 🙁 I just put the stuffing in as well. The bird should be done in about 15 minutes and then the stuffing in about another 15 minutes. About 20 minutes after that we should be eating 🙂

Meanwhile Z’s talking to my sister and her cousins back in Vermont. Apparently my aunt and uncle are visiting back there as well.

1724 hrs –Not done yet 🙁

The turkey was supposed to be done at 45 minutes, but the highest rating I could get on the thermometer was 145 (suposed to be 160) and neither of us have any idea what the pop-out thingie is supposed to look like when it’s popped out. So we put it back in for another 5 minutes.

1801 hrs – Dinner Is Served

And only 60 seconds late! Woohoo!! Zaira and I decided to eat upstairs because I knew Roommate #2 would arrive during our meal and want to watch TV. Before eating we discussed what we were thankful for this year – I’m thankful the universe has continued to allow me to grow and provided someone in my life to inspire me to do so.

The food was surprisingly good! Zaira’s mashed potatoes (reheated in the microwave with a touch more milk mixed in) were excellent, the turkey tasted a little tough at first but was fork-cuttable and quite tasty with just a hint of apple, and the stuffing was absolutely superb! On our second Safeway trek Z thought to get some Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider which was the perfect beverage to accompany this meal. We both had large portions and savored every bite while watching more Doctor Who 😉

After a quick walk to the Country Store we cleaned up the kitchen which took us less than half an hour to leave it looking cleaner than it was when we started. I can’t imagine a more successful Thanksgiving and I’m so glad I got the chance to provide such a wonderful day for my wonderful daughter. I hope you got 1/20th the pleasure out of reading this as Zaira and I did out of living it, because if you did than I know you’re ending with a smile on your face.

The results of our labors-

Happy Holidays!

Nov 242008

With gas prices reaching three-year lows and all of Rover’s major operations taken care of (transmission, heater core, electrical system, etc), as well as the lowered costs of getting sr22 insurance quotes without your vehicle, I’ve got a little extra cash to invest in the optional repairs Rover could use. For example, when I bought Rover (he’s our beloved 1989 Ford Bronco in case you’re new here) the price was a little higher than necessary because he came with factory installed air conditioning, there was no need to call the A/C repair company. Of course, more than 20 years later and the air conditioning compressor has gone the way of the dodo.  So, I went shopping for a Ford ac compressor online and was my first stop.  It’s a great site with a wonderful selection that’s easy to navigate, though the prices weren’t so hot.  Still, it’s nice to know there’s one place that will always have the parts Rover needs in stock.

Nov 212008
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Earlier this week I wrote (on one of my other blogs) about Safeway’s PowerPump Gas Rewards program and how you can use it to save a ton of money on gas. I know not everyone has a Safeway (or Safeway gas) in their area, which is why I wrote the article on my local blog. However, I have since learned that Krogers (and possibly other members of the Safeway corporate “family”) have similar promotions in place. Now, that’s not enough to retread the entire program here on Philaahzophy so if you want the basics visit the link above.

Through the end of the year Safeway is offering even more gas rewards when you do something you’re likely to do this time of year anyway: buy gift cards. Not only do gift cards (with a few notable exceptions like pre-paid credit cards, Safeway cards, and event tickets) now count towards your accumulated spending for the purposes of gas discounts (they didn’t under the old system), but through either Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve (I’ve seen both on promotional materials) you’ll receive an extra $0.10 per gallon discount every time you accumulate $100 in gift card purchases.

Since the PowerPump gas discounts are now cumulative this means that one can actually receive a free tank of gas relatively easily. For example, my household spends about $150/week on our standard groceries, we also pick up one or two prescriptions a month from the Safeway pharmacy (each of which earns a bonus credit), and now I’m buying gift cards there as well and getting bonus rewards for every $100 spent.  Combine all of that with dropping gas prices and free gas is no longer a pipe dream.

Not only are gift cards a perfectly acceptable gift in the modern age, but I actually purchase them for stores and restaurants I regularly patronize as well, thus earning Safeway gas rewards when I eat at Chili’s, McDonalds, Jack in the Box or Subway and even when I shop at Home Depot, Target and my favorite “store” of all: eBay.  One word of warning, however…

When I purchased $90 of gift cards on Tuesday (and nothing else on the transaction) I swiped my card through the machine, but was not credited for the purchase.  After talking to store management I was told they couldn’t access the Safeway Club Card account so I would need to call the toll-free number (1-977-723-3929) and address the issue with them.  I dutifully spent my time and energy doing that and was assured my account would be updated in 24 hours.  Alas, after today’s shopping trip no credit had occured and I had to call again this afternoon.  Again, I have been assured that the credit would appear within 24 hours, but we shall see…

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Nov 062008
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I was looking for a “rare” horror collection containing a story by F. Paul Wilson this week when I stumbled across a great way to save serious cash. The book is called Heroic Fantasy and it contains (amongst other things) a short story titled Demonsong that is the first tale in F. Paul Wilson’s “Secret History Of The World”. I’m in the process of collecting everything Wilson has ever written so that I can review it for The F. Paul Wilson Project.  But wait, I’m getting off track here…

I googled the book’s ISBN and, of course, Amazon was the first result.  Amazon had four copies available.  Unfortunately their prices ranged from $31.50 to $350.00!  Google’s second result was a site called  I’ve heard of various “online book exchange” sites befor, but never used one.  I tend to be a hoarder of books that I’ve read.  But I poked around this one a bit hoping I could swap something for Heroic Fantasy and save myself $30.00 or so.  Here’s how it works…

  • Register your email and snail addresses
  • Start listing books you have available for swap
  • (Optional) Once yo ulist 10 books you receive two free Book Credits (explained below)
  • When someone sees a book they want that you have the system sends you an email with the book name and the person’smailing address
  • You pack up the book and ship it off to them.
  • When they receive the book yu recieve one Book Credit
  • You can exchange your Book Credit for any book on the site

It’s a great system as your only expense is shipping off the books that people have requested from you.  When you request a book you pay absolutely nothing!  Considering even used paperbacks are pushing $4 and you can mail off a book media mail for less than $3 it’s quite a bit of savings.

Of course, I didn’t have 10 paperbacks I was ready to part with yet, so I poked around a bit more and discovered that you can buy Book Credits for only $3.45!  I purchased 3 credits and scooped up the ‘rare’ book I was seeking as well as a couple of other treasures.

If you’re a voracious (or even regular) reader and aren’t extremely picky about the condition of your books this site could be a savings godsend. They also have three sister sites SwapaCD, SwapaDVD and SwapaGoat which work on the same system.  So if you’re a music or movie junkie there’s something for you as well.

If you enjoyed this post, and/or found it useful, please take a moment to either Stumble it or add it to your favorite bookmarking site. Thanx!

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