Posted in Life

Cable T.V. be gone!!

Finally, we’ve come to our senses – at least that’s the way we feel. We’ve finally gotten rid of cable T.V. I can barely remember a time when I haven’t had cable, but, I really don’t feel bad not having it any longer. We, my husband and I, decided that we are tired of paying for channels that we don’t watch, the feeling of being violated every time some disgusting commercial comes on, and news broadcast that are nothing but doom and gloom. We knew we had to do something.

Of course the cable company tried to offer a better price if we “just stayed with them”. “NO” I say…Now we have a Roku box and we can choose what channels we want to watch. And better yet we can choose when we watch them. We aren’t restricted by time tables. We, as a consumer, get to make the choice in what we watch and pay for.

  We got this Roku 3 box for Christmas, it has opened a world of wonders for us as T.V. viewers. It connects to our WiFi and streams shows directly from the internet. AMAZING!!! Even if you didn’t want to invest in this little gem of an invention you could get an HDMI cord and just plug your computer into the T.V. and watch shows from it.

We did keep cable long enough to watch the Super Bowl, then we found out the Olympics would be on shortly after. My husband had to watch Curling, he’s mildly obsessed with this sport (really I can’t figure out the rules of that game – ha ha). Last Tuesday we packed up our equipment and sent them back to the cable company. Not only were we paying a monthly cable charge but also a monthly fee for the DVR boxes and remotes. When I got home from work my husband says “they knew exactly what to do with everything”. Apparently we aren’t the only ones ditching the big cable companies, the man in line behind him was doing the same thing. The UPS clerk said they’re taking returns all day long. One would have to think the cable companies would get a clue and offer better options, like paying for what we want instead of offering shows for the masses. Oh well, their loss, not mine. We enjoy being treated like the individuals that we are and to be able to save money while doing it is a great thing. I think it’s just that simple.

I will say that it did take some adjusting to my morning routine by starting it with the local news. I really only like to know the weather for the day. The rest of the news just gets on my nerves – it seems like there’s only doom and gloom in the news now. One nice thing we discovered with the Roku box is that we actually get one local channel for news only. By the time I get up in the morning they’ve already streamed the day’s forecast and a few short clips of that morning’s new. It’s the same for the evening news. We’ve also considered buying an inexpensive antenna for the local channels next fall when football starts up again. (but we hear there may be a new streaming device that will have NFL availability because it streams live, local channels – we’ll wait and see, Aereo is expanding!!)

We thought about this for a long time before we decided to do anything about it. We decided even though we opted for a few paid channels like Netflix, Hulu plus and Amazon Prime we’re still saving a ton of money, over a thousand dollars a year.

There are other options if one didn’t want to invest in the Roku box, like I mentioned earlier there’s always the laptop and a simple HDMI cord. (We bought two cords from Amazon for less than the price of one cord from Wal-mart) Like cable T.V. there has to be a device for every T.V. We needed a DVD player for our bedroom T.V. and ended up buying a player that offers some internet programs. However, with that being said I really like the Roku much better, it offers a lot more programs and the weather channel is much better.

So, if you’re thinking of cancelling out your cable do your research and hopefully this will help you as well.

Enjoy the freedom of program choices!!~Bam

Posted in Cooking

Valentine Cookies

I love baking, especially on a cold snowy winter’s day. Yet again we woke up to more snow. Apparently, here in Indy, we’ve had the fourth snowiest winter on record with a little over 44″ of snow since this season began. Let me tell you, this white fluffy stuff is wearing me out. Baking makes me happy.

I have a favorite cookbook that I go to for most of my baking recipes. I’ve had it for over 20 years and it’s served me well.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook. This is the newest version (mine it the eighth edition). I’m sure this one is even more interesting and has even more wonderful recipes.

I made some Valentine cookies today using the “Sugar cookie” recipe:

P1010078

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tarter

granulated sugar

P1010079  This Kitchenaide mixer is my favorite piece of kitchen equipment. I’ve had it for about 7 years now and it’s never given me a bit of trouble. I use it for baking, whipping cream, mixing dough for pizza, homemade pasta, and cookie dough.

Mix the powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients except the granulated sugar.

P1010080 Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Divide the dough into two halves. Roll each half about 3/16″ thick on lightly floured surface. Cut out the shapes desired, sprinkle with the granulated sugar (or bake plain and then you can add icing to them when they’re nice and warm). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (it makes clean up a lot easier).

P1010083 Bake until the edges are light brown, about 7-8 minutes.

This made about 24 cookies. My heart cookie cutter was about 3″ long.

The icing was made from 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 5-6 tablespoons water, and 1 good teaspoon of almond extract, and a few red food coloring drops, mixed thoroughly. Make sure to go easy on the food coloring if you want pink cookies.

IMG_20140209_153714_933(1) Delicious!!!

Happy Valentine’s!!~Bam

 

Posted in Cooking

Strawberry Jam

My husband takes two peanut butter and jam sandwiches to work everyday. He’s done this for a very long time. I don’t know how he doesn’t get bored with this or worse yet, get sick and tired of eating the same thing over and over again. I know I would!!

I decided today to make some freezer jam to save some money. It was so easy to do, with only a few ingredients and just about 30 minutes of my time. And it is delicious!!! I’d say a perfect Saturday afternoon in the kitchen.

P1010071 This is all it took. Four basic ingredients plus a little bit of water.

Here’s how I did it.

P1010070 I washed two pints of fresh strawberries. (of course I had to taste one or two to make sure they were not too tart. I just love strawberries – I don’t know what I’d do if I had an allergy to them.

P1010072 I pureed them in my food processor. It saved a lot of time and effort, but you can also use a potato masher. They need to have a juicy consistency but still have small chunks of fruit. (if you don’t like chunky fruit you could always strain it and make jelly instead)

P1010073 Once the strawberries are pureed mix them with the sugar and let them sit for 10 minutes. They get good and sweet this way. Yummy.

P1010075 While the strawberries are marrying the sugar take the water and add the Instant pectin. Bring it to a boil for one minute while whisking the whole time. We don’t want clumpy jam – ick!! Then add the water pectin mixture to the strawberry sugar mixture and stir for about three minutes, making sure the sugar is well dissolved.

P1010076 Ladle it into freezer jars or plastic containers made specifically for freezing and then wipe the edge making sure it’s very clean. Then add the lids, making sure to leave a little breathing room, about 1/4″, and let them sit for 30 minutes if you used the instant pectin, otherwise let them sit 24 hours at room temperature.

They can be refrigerated for three weeks or place in the freezer for one year.

It cost me about $7.00 to make the entire batch. P1010077 I had five 6 oz freezer jars and one large 16 oz blue jar to start out in the fridge. (I couldn’t find anywhere that the blue jars are for freezing)

The recipe is as follows:

2 pints of fresh strawberries – sliced and pureed it should make about 2 cups

4 1/4 cups sugar

2 pinches of sea salt

5 Tablespoons of Instant Pectin – I used Ball brand Instant Pectin

3/4 cup of water

I can’t wait to make more flavors…blueberry…peach…orange marmalade…cherry. The possibilities are endless.

Happy Jam-ing!!~Bam