Tag Archives: kitchen

So, we built a swing set…


It was a fun family project.  We told the kids that birthdays & Easter would be light as we were putting a lot into the swingset.  I’m not sure they understood or cared.  Our moms helped with the purchase, too.  Bethany & I looked online at 6,487,932 swing sets, and narrowed it down to 15 or so in our price range.  I made a spreadsheet to compare them, because OCD or something.  Looking at the roadside swing sets at those places that also sell sheds and rocking chairs, we got a similar product for about ⅓ or ¼ of the price, albeit with no installation.

Installation is expensive, and now we know why.  Ha ha.  Everyone who knew we were getting one gave warning, so we weren’t surprised, but it was an interesting task.

It came in 3 boxes from Walmart.com, and we did in-store pickup because I measured & it all fit nicely in the family vehicle.

Yay, #swingset!

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It took two weekend days with one week night in between to get it done, but the first weekend day was slowed by the kids “helping,” a move-the-tools-in-because-it-looks-like-rain delay, and maybe even a “let’s undo that part because I put it on backwards” moment.  The week night was hindered by the fact that as soon as I attached the ladder & sliding board, the kids needed to test it out.

Bethany & I enjoyed the kids helping.  We do the Home Depot Kids Workshops so both kids are comfortable with a hammer & a screwdriver, and we have done some other stuff at home like carpet removal and hanging curtain rods where they have actually helped.

Hard at work!

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Had some "helpers" today, ha ha.

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My mom even got video of the little man showing off his ratchet skills;

We have been at the house for a few years now, but the project this year is another step to getting the back yard to where we want it, and next year we’ll work on the front.  Having some trees removed recently & moving our garden really opened up some space in the back yard.  I’d like to put in a fire ring, and a toy car race-track play area.  I actually proposed removing the Bean House to make room for the latter, but I was vetoed by a 2yo boy saying “Unh-uh, Daddy.  Hoooome.  Hooome.  Daddy, unh-uh.”  I really hope the beans take off this year.  I have some sprouts popping up already.  I have some squash around it too. I don’t think the soil is all that great there though.

I even recently built this Pinterest inspired potting bench…

Back to the swing set, we even got a few extra add-ons from Amazon, like the steering wheel, telescope, telephone, and some handles.  I think I want to replace the kitchen area tarp walls with some chalkboard-painted wood… and eventually when the canopy fades or dry-rots, I’d like to replace it with some type of solid roof.

"There's so much room for activities!" @CedarSummitPlay #Laurentian #PlaySet #Swingset

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At any rate, I encourage you to tackle a project as a family.  I encourage you to get kids outdoors.  I encourage you to not be afraid to give young kids some tools with a bit of guidance and a lot of supervision.  I encourage you to get them into building, gardening, cooking, and the business of imagination.  I encourage you to try projects yourself, and don’t be afraid to involve the whole family.  It’s amazing how much you can learn through Google, YouTube, and a maybe a few tries.

I think the kids like it…

Hamburgers vs. Meatballs vs. Meatloaf?


This thought came to mind while making hamburgers for the holiday.  I remembered the commercials for ranch burgers & I had a packet of the ranch dressing mix, so I looked up their recipe.  It contained breadcrumbs.  I always thought breadcrumbs belong in meatballs or meatloaf, but not hamburgers.  Then there’s egg.  I put it in meatloaf but not in meatballs or hamburger.  They’re all almost the exact same thing… but then they’re all completely different.

I generally always throw them all together without a recipe.  They’re easy to do that way.  I guess everyone has their own way to do things.  I make them all the same sometimes, but sometimes I add something different for fun.

I’m just wondering how other people do things?

I’d love some feedback in the comments below.  I’ll share how I generally do things.  These aren’t really recipes, and I don’t measure much, but this is typically what goes in each:

Hamburgers

Meatballs

  • Ground Beef (Sometimes Turkey)
  • Crushed Croutons (Whatever we have for the salad if we’re having one, or a nice mix of spices or whatever.)
  • Parmesan/Romano “shake” cheese
  • Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing (It spices them well, keeps them nice & moist!)
  • Black Pepper

Meatloaf

  • Ground Beef
  • Egg
  • Bread or crushed crackers.  (I like the bread ripped up more than the crackers.)
  • A1, Ketchup, Mustard, or BBQ sauce… or a combo of all of them.
  • Season All
  • Black Pepper

(Click here for a crazy meatloaf recipe.)

Of course sometimes I add garlic, or onion powder, or something crazy.  That’s the fun if it though, isn’t it?  So, what goes in your meatballs, hamburgers, or meatloaf?

Raw Ground beef

Raw Ground beef (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Danke Daka


Did you read about my trouble with the One-Touch Can Opener?  How about my attempt at emailing them in Chinese?  Well, sadly they wrote back, and it’s quite boring.

The word is…

From: info info
To: Me <_____________@_____.___>
Cc: info <info@onetouchproducts.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: Re: One-Stuck Can Opener

Dear Eric,

Thanks for your email.

For the can opener issue, please try to press and hold the reverse switch at the rear of the can opener.

The cutter will move in the reverse direction to the start position and the can lid will be released.

You may also check the instruction manual for trouble shooting ways.

Please download and keep the user manual from our website (as per below link) for your reference.

http://www.onetouchproducts.com/CanOpenerll.htm

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Best Regards,
One Touch

There’s a reverse switch?  The answer is that simple?  I’m so disappointed, I haven’t even tried it yet.  Why not mark the switch?  I don’t remember the thing coming with instructions!  Bastards.

There may be a slight language barrier here, and a large cultural one.

Also, I decided to further my communication with Astrid at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Apparently this was going too far…

From: Eric <_____________@_____.___>
To: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

Thanks Astrid,

We’ll have to go with the store credit then.  This is absolutely not a problem.  I always want to buy many things every time we’re in a Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Do you have a favorite can opener, or other cool kitchen gadget?  Perhaps we could get that.  Maybe some time my wife & I could have you over for dinner & we can use our new can opener.  What’s your favorite canned food?  I generally prefer fresh vegetables over canned… but I do like to make chili with a lot of canned ingredients.  Do you like chili?

I’d like to suggest that you guys carry P-38’s.  They really are useful, and don’t have any moving or electrical parts that can break or get stuck.

I like chili served over mashed potatoes.  I like mashed potatoes.

Rock on!

-Eric

I have as of yet not received a reply.

English: A small plate with a serving of mashe...

I like them.

Bed, Bath, Above & Beyond. Daka & One-Touch refuse to answer.


Google Translate

Google Translate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

如果我尝试在中国吗? (That’s “What if I try it in Chinese?” or “If I try in China?” according to Google Translate…)

Well, I never got anything from our friends at Daka about the One-Touch Can Opener that won’t relinquish the lid.  So I decided to use Google Translate to try & express my frustration in Chinese through the wonders of technology.

The added opening line is…

Hello, going to try in Chinese (with the help of Google Translate) because I haven’t had a reply yet.

Here’s what it gave me…

你好,去尝试在中国(谷歌翻译的帮助下),因为我还没有答复。

你好能征服者!

今天我写信给你,你必须有遇到过的问题。目前我是我的第二个单触式开罐器…它已被卡住盖子无行为能力。请参阅所附的图片,从字面上说明我的困境。正如你可以看到,盖仍然是牢固地掌握在单触式开罐器。这是不是第一次,这已经与本单位发生。有时,我能够说服放弃后,一个额外的按钮按盖子的开罐器。这个时候,所有的额外的感人不能正常工作。现在只剩下我与数额是多少,我的厨房柜台上的电池昂贵的塑料和金属摇滚。这可以大开眼界来岩目前有没有目的(以外恼人的我,每次我看到它)。我只有一两个月。它具有新的电池。在此之前它毫无用处,它并没有得到多大用处。

我以前曾拥有 单键开罐器,最终遇到同样的问题。我能看过去的事实,产品名为单键操作了几个涉及到很多出师不利后。我是能够处理的事实,偶尔会削减微小的,可以标注彩带和拖放到我的食物。的下脚料,一般很容易找到,并挑选出。我是能够接受的,它偶尔会倒下了,一个能完成后,取下盖子,也可能在可以敲的过程中。它仍像我获奖的辣椒或轻松舒适的食物9 CAN蔬菜汤,做的事情时节省时间。 (虽然,我投注的人…我会放在我的钱,在一个P-38的军队打开了一罐开罐器更快。)

我曾经以为,当我试图强行从我的第一个触盖子开罐器我可能爆发的东西。它不再回应我的接触。我检查了电池。我尝试不同大小的罐。我试图使用武力。 (我想在第一道曙光,并最终黑暗的一面。愤怒确实恨,就像尤达说。的仇恨也最终导致了我的钱包的痛苦。)我和平的企图都是无济于事。也许用钳子野蛮撬从盲目单键的强大抓地力的盖子是个坏主意。我粉笔我是一个傻瓜,辞职只是一个新的购买。

我买一个新的,从床Bath&Beyond的,我相信,我们已经到达的情况,我在此电子邮件的开头介绍。我离开卡住所附照片的盖子,并在无用的单触式开罐器。

我也不知道是什么,什么我的游戏结束在这里。我的计划是给你写信通知你的情况,看看是否有别人谁也遇到同样的问题,看看你可以提供一个解决方案。我想说的行动可接受的课程将包括(但不仅限于)以下:

如何正确地得到单触式开罐器放弃的盖子,它深深地拥抱的建议。
一种新的改进功能的单键(如果存在)。
价值约20美元,美国军队发出的P-38或其他运作非电动开罐器。我来到这个大致的数字(和我向下舍入):$ 15为单触式和5美元的名牌电池。

当然提供更同意recompensation,如果你想,我很开放的建议。我觉得我应该得到的东西,至少你的产品对我的失败而快速连续。当然,你同意吗?最合理的人。

谢谢您的时间和援助。我期待着您的答复和建议的解决方案。我急了,除去20元的塑料从我的厨房柜台金属装饰的无功能的一触式岩石。

愿力与你同
– 埃里克

。趣乐的习学人疾残使,笑好不的真这

Here’s what happened when I translate that back into English:

Hello, try the help of China (Google translation), because I did not reply.

Hello can conqueror!

Today I write to you, you must have encountered the problem. I my second one-touch can opener … it has been stuck lid incapacitated. Please see the attached picture, literally, to explain my plight. As you can see, the cover still firmly rests in the one-touch can opener. This is not the first time this has occurred with the unit. Sometimes I was able to convince to give up, an extra button lid opener. This time, all the extra moving can not work properly. Now left with what amounts to expensive battery on my kitchen counter, plastic and metal rock. This can be an eye-opener to rock at present there is no purpose (other than annoying me, every time I see it). I have only one or two months. It has a new battery. Prior to this it is useless, it does not get much use.

I previously owned one-touch can opener, and eventually encounter the same problem. I can see past the fact that the product, called one-button operation involving several to many false starts. I was able to handle the fact that occasionally cut a tiny, you can label the ribbon and drag it to my food. Scraps, usually easy to find and pick out. I was able to accept, it will occasionally fall, a complete, remove the cover, may also be in the process that can be knocked. It is still like the award-winning chili or relaxed and comfortable food 9 CAN vegetable soup, do things to save time. (Although, I bet the people … I will be on my money in a P-38, the army opened a can opener faster.)

I once thought that when I tried to forcibly from my first touch the lid opener outbreak. It is no longer respond to my touch. I checked the battery. I tried a different size cans. I tried to use force. (I think at first light, and eventually the dark side. Anger really hate, like Yoda said. Hatred eventually led to the pain of my wallet.) Peace attempt to no avail. May blind one-touch powerful grip pliers barbaric pry the lid is a bad idea. I chalk I’m a fool, resignation just a new purchase.

I bought a new one, from Bed Bath & Beyond, I believe, we have arrived, I introduced at the beginning of this email. I left stuck in the attached photo of the cover, and in the useless single touch can opener.

I do not know what is what my game is over here. My plan is to write to you to inform you of the situation to see if there are others who have encountered the same problem, see if you can provide a solution. I want to say an acceptable course of action will include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • How to get one-touch can opener to give up the lid, and it deeply embrace recommendations.
  • A new and improved features one-button (if present).
  • Worth about $ 20, P-38 issued by the U.S. armed forces or other operation of non-electric can opener. I came to this approximate figure (and I down rounding): $ 15 one-touch, and $ 5 brand name batteries.

More agree recompensation of course, if you want to, I am open to suggestions. I think I should get something, at least you my failure in rapid succession. Of course, do you agree? Most reasonable people.

Thank you for your time and assistance. I look forward to your reply and suggested solution. I am anxious to remove the plastic from my kitchen counter without metal decoration features a touch of rock.

May the Force be with you
– Eric

. Interest in music, then learn the Disabled to laugh it really true

I ought to do this with all of my emails from now on.  This is much more interesting.

One-Touch Can Opener

Friends don’t let automatic can openers drink & open cans.

At any rate, I shot out an email to Bed Bath & Beyond too, and they seemingly always stand behind their reputation.  I can get store credit if I bring in the stuck lid and whichever card we used to make the purchase.  Thanks to my wife’s memory, we bought it on the same day she bought a flour sifter not too long ago.  I doubt we have the receipt, but we still do have the card that made the purchase.

Their initial response:

From: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Subject: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

 Subject
PRODUCT INQUIRY
 Discussion Thread
 Response Via Email (Astrid) 05/29/2012 04:27 PM
Dear Eric;Thank you for your email.We sincerely apologize for the situation described in your email. At Bed Bath & Beyond, we want our customers to be 100% satisfied with our customer service and merchandise selection. You may return this item to any of our stores for an even exchange or store credit. You can receive a refund in the manner you paid for the item if you have your receipt. Please note, there is no time limit to make a return and we do not require the original packaging. We are also forwarding this information over to our buyers and the vendor for their consideration and improvement.We hope this information has been helpful. Please email or call us at 1-800-GO-BEYOND (1-800-462-3966) if you have any questions.Sincerely,Astrid
Customer Service
Bed Bath & Beyond

My reply:

From: -mE. <_____________@_____.___>
To: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: Re: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

Aloha Astrid!

 Thank you, your reply was rather quick!  I have not had even as much as an acknowledgement of a receipt of my email from the manufacturer.  Apparently they don’t stand behind their products.  Perhaps you ought to review or do more rigorous tests on the things that you sell.  Has anyone else complained of this issue?

I’m not sure if we still have the receipt, as it was purchased some time ago.  I’m sure my wife or I purchased it with one of our debit cards though.  Would you be able to find the transaction from the card?  I know some stores can do that, and I know you guys have a pretty awesome no-hassle returns policy.

Were you able to view my entire message?  I know I was unable to attach photos.  Perhaps you would like to see the entire message (with photos) on my blog.

If I bring in the One-Touch can opener, can I leave the stuck lid?  Do you have any P-38 can openers for sale?

Rock on,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

Their secondary response:

From: Bed Bath & Beyond <bedbathandbeyond@mailnj.custhelp.com>
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Subject: PRODUCT INQUIRY [Incident: 120525-000501]

 Subject
PRODUCT INQUIRY
 Discussion Thread
 Response Via Email (Astrid) 05/30/2012 10:08 AM
Dear Eric;

Thanks for responding. However, as I have explained you are able to return this defective item back to any of our stores for an exchange or store credit, if you do not have the receipt and use the credit towards the purchase of a new can opener of your choice. Please keep in mind that you may bring your return as it is with no problem. Unfortunately we do not carry P-38 can openers in our selection.

If we can be of further assistance please email us again or call our eService Center at 1-800-GO-BEYOND® (1-800-462-3966).

Sincerely,

Astrid
Customer Service
Bed Bath & Beyond

Heh.  Astrid does not seem amused.

One-Stuck Can Opener


I have a problem.  The problem is the One-Touch Can Opener.  It’s a rather expensive useless plastic & metal rock.  In fact, they ought to market it as “Pet Rock: With Batteries!”  Maybe an actual rock would be more dependable in opening cans.  We just recently bought our 2nd One-Touch Can Opener.  I have no idea why we’re on a second one.

The first one was fine for a while, but it didn’t get much use unless we were making Nine Can Vegetable Soup or Chili or something where we had to open a bunch of cans at once.  One day a lid got stuck.  The can lid was successfully removed from the can, but remained under the blade of the One Touch.  It remained securely under the blade.  It wouldn’t come out with a gentle pull, or a labored tug.  Pressing the button to try & turn it back on didn’t do anything.  I think I eventually got some pliers to yank it out.  After that (of course) it ceased working.  Perhaps I yanked too hard?

Figuring it was my fault and that I broke it… I bought another.  I thought that the lid getting stuck was a fluke & it didn’t occur to me that it may (would?) happen again.  Boy, was I naive.  It happened again.  This time I didn’t try to dislodge the lid.  I have tried pressing the button.  I gave it several touches, to no avail.  I set it down & took some photos… intending to write to the manufacturer wight a verbose ranting “WTF?” kind of letter.  (You know, my usual.)  The problem being that I couldn’t find the damn manufacturer.

One Touch Can Opener - with Stuck Lid

What a wonderful piece of engineering! What excellent modern technology! I mean… What a blunder of engineering! What excrement passes for modern technology?

One Touch Can Opener - with Stuck Lid (Closeup)

What a grip!

English: A typical "As seen on TV" l...

Unless you were watching another channel.

I mean, I have some pretty cool photos to send, and I had no idea where to send them.  Googling One Touch Can Opener brings up several “As seen on TV” websites.

I emailed one of them, and they basically told me to go fornicate with myself…

From: As Seen On TV Customer Service
To: _____________@_____.___
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:50 AM
Subject: One Touch Can Opener [Incident: 120523-000134]

Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response.

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

Subject
—————————————————————
One Touch Can Opener

Discussion Thread
—————————————————————
Response Via Email (Allana) – 05/24/2012 08:50 AM

Dear Eric,

Thank you for your email. We are sorry to inform you that we do not have the referral contact information you seek. Please feel free to do a general web search for more information.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Best regards,

Allana
Customer Care Center

Customer By Web Form (Eric Carroll) – 05/23/2012

Hello, can you put me in touch with the manufacturer of the one-touch can opener?  (Email or mailing address preferred.)

I’m having problems with my 2nd one now.  It’s terrible.  The lids keep getting stuck.

https://www.asseenontv.com/one-touch-can-opener/detail.php?p=296306

Thank you,
-Eric

Question Reference #120523-000134
—————————————————————
Category Level 1: Product inquiry
Date Created: 05/23/2012 09:13 AM
Last Updated: 05/24/2012 08:50 AM
Status: Solved
Order Number:

[—001:001194:41928—]

Beans!

It’s great for sitting on top of cans & doing nothing until you press the button 4 times & have 2 false starts. (Photo credit: Carol Browne)

What helpful chaps who stand behind the products they sell!

Taking Allana’s wonderful advice I tried to Google One-Touch Can Opener Manufacturer.  As you can see, there are several possible foreign manufacturing services for this tiny incredible modern convenience.  I think I have it narrowed down though, to the correct one… It appears that Daka manufactures all of the One-Touch Products.

So, I sent them an email:

From: Eric Carroll <____________@_____.___>
To: “USA@onetouchproducts.com” <USA@onetouchproducts.com>; “info@daka.com.hk” <info@daka.com.hk>; “info@onetouchproducts.com” <info@onetouchproducts.com>; “Customerservice@cricketholdings.com” <Customerservice@cricketholdings.com>
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012
Subject: One-Stuck Can Opener

Ciao Can Conquerors!

I’m writing to you today with an issue that you must have encountered before.  I’m currently on my second One-Touch Can Opener… and it has been incapacitated by a stuck lid.  Please see the attached pictures to literally illustrate my predicament.  As you can see, the lid is still securely in the grasp of the One-Touch Can Opener.  This is not the first time that this has happened to me with this unit.  Sometimes I am able to persuade the can opener to relinquish the lid after an extra press of the button.  This time, all the extra touching is not working.  Right now I am left with what amounts to an expensive plastic and metal rock with batteries on my kitchen counter.  This can-opener-come-rock currently has no purpose (other than annoying me each time I see it).  I have only had it for a month or two.  It has fresh batteries.  Prior to it being rendered useless, it did not get much use.

I had previously owned a One-Touch can opener that eventually encountered the same problem.  I was able to look past the fact that the product named One-Touch took several touches (after many many false starts) to operate.  I was able to handle the fact that would occasionally cut tiny ribbons of the can label and drop it into my food.  The scraps were generally easy to find and pick out.  I was able to accept that it would occasionally tumble off of a can when finished removing the lid, possibly also knocking over the can in the process.  It was still a time saver when making things like my award-winning chili or my easy comfort-food nine can vegetable soup.  (Although, were I a betting man… I would place money on me being faster at opening a can with a P-38 army can opener.)

I had assumed that when I tried to forcibly remove the lid from my first One-Touch can opener I possibly broke something.  It no longer responded to my touch.  I checked the batteries.  I tried different-sized cans.  I tried to use the Force. (I tried the light side at first, and eventually the dark side.  Anger does lead to hate, just like Yoda said.  Hate also eventually led to my wallet suffering.)  All of my peaceful attempts were to no avail.  Perhaps using pliers to savagely pry the lid from the mighty grip of the mindless One-Touch was a bad idea.  I had chalked it up to me being an idiot, and resigned to just purchase a new one.

I did purchase a new one, from Bed Bath & Beyond I believe, and we have arrived at the situation which I presented at the beginning of this email.  I am left with the stuck can lid and useless One-Touch can opener in the attached photos.

I’m not exactly sure what my end game is here.  My plan was to write to you to inform you of the situation, see if there were others who have encountered the same problem, and see what you may offer as a solution.  I would say that acceptable courses of action would include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Advice as to how to properly get the One-Touch Can Opener to relinquish the can lid that it so dearly embraces.
  • A new improved functioning One-Touch (if that exists).
  • About $20 worth of U.S. Army issued P-38’s or other functioning non-electrical can openers.  I arrived at this figure for roughly (and I’m rounding down): $15 for the One-Touch and $5 for name-brand batteries.

Of course if you would like to offer a more agreeable recompensation, I’m open to suggestions.  I feel that I deserve at least something after two of your products have failed on me in rather rapid succession.  Surely you concur?  Most reasonable people would.

Thank you for your time and assistance.  I look forward to your reply and suggested resolution.  I’m anxious to remove the $20 plastic & metal decorative functionless One-Touch rock from my kitchen counter.

May the Force Be With You,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

I hope I get some sort of response.  Until then, I will stick with my favorite can-opener: The P-38.  I will race a functioning One-Touch (if you can find one), and I will win.  It’s simple, small, and for the cost of one One-Touch I can get 50 of them from Ralph’s Army Surplus.  I’d even take a P-51, or an Australian FRED.  My grandma always kept a P-38 inside an old pill bottle in the drawer beside the silverware.  I learned to use that before I learned to cook, I think.

Size comparison of P-51 and P-38 openers

Size comparison of P-51 and P-38 openers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A can opener that incorporates a smal...

F.R.E.D. – Currently employed by the Australian Army and New Zealand Army in its ration kits. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What kind of can opener do you use?  There is a ridiculous amount of different types of can openers out there.  May I persuade you to not waste your time or money in purchasing a One-Touch?  You will most certainly have to touch it several times.  It’s false advertising.  I feel stupid for having to have purchased two of them before I realized that it was not operator error, but a terrible product.

Get Stuffed.


I can’t wait to make stuffing again. It’s ridiculously tasty. I love the carb overload. Maybe I will get those goggles, and I need to pick up some Yuengling.  A week from tonight, I should be in the process of creating this awesomeness.

I’ll show you my stuffing recipe if you show me yours.

How do you do it?

Maybe this year, I’ll try to make some Potato Filling too.  There are a bunch of recipes for it out there.  Maybe stuffing balls would be good…  Now I’m hungry.

STUFFING!

STUFFING!

Yuengling Lager

Beer

My $1.05 Pillsbury Research Grant Has Arrived!


35¢ OFF

So, you did read my initial letter about Totino’s and the follow-up correspondence, right?  Well, needless to say, my research grant is a little smaller than expected.  Some “cents off” apparently means just that.

I got 3 of these bad boys, entitling me to a whole 35¢ off of one Totino’s product.  One dollar and five cents off of three Totino’s products?  I’m sure I get more than that when I use my Giant Eagle Advantage Card & get them on a regular sale.  Maybe Giant Eagle will double these since they’re less than a dollar…  So I’ll be getting $2.10 worth of free pizza rolls.    I wonder what the regular price is?

Pizza Rolls on Sale at Giant Eagle!

Right now, Giant Eagle has Totino’s Pizza Rolls on sale… 3 boxes for $8.  They say they’re normally 3 for $10.  So… About 40 rolls in the 19.8 oz. bag, 35¢ would get me 4 pizza rolls?  And, I’d only be able to use one coupon with this special, as the Giant Eagle website states that you must buy 3 bags in order to get the $2 off, and the back of the coupon states that no other coupon is to be used with this coupon.  Does the sale act as a coupon?  If not, I could still only use the one coupon at a time… so out of 120 pizza rolls, a whopping 4 would be free?

Perhaps this was a karmic slap in the face?  Maybe a well-deserved one.  You’d think they would simply either not offer any coupons at all… or offer some coupons that are actually worth something… like a BOGO or at least a dollar off.  Perhaps they’re just cheap, or this is all they’re authorized to give out?  It cost them 38¢ to mail me the damn coupons!  That would have been 4 or 5 more free pizza rolls had they emailed me some coupons.  Maybe they know I’m goofing on them.

The letter accompanying the coupons is quite amusing…

Letter from Tracy Boyd @ General Mills

HA HA!  I'm using the internet!

When I see someone write “the internet”, I always think of the guy to the right.  I have no idea why.  I just do.  It sounds archaic written down like that.  THE INTERNET!  HA!  HA!

Not sure where to go from here.  Do I write back, and ask for more research funding?  Do I ask to talk to someone else who may be able to offer more money?  Do I write to completely unrelated organizations and as for research grants?  Has anyone reading this ever applied for a grant?  Should I include a research proposal?  Maybe I should just write back, super-excited about the $1.05, saying what a generous gift it is.  Maybe I should ask to speak directly to General Mills or Totino himself?  Heh.  I feel confident in turning this up a notch.

Also… research will definitely go forward.  I will need some time to assemble my team (although, I think I already know who’s in), procure the test product, and schedule a date for the study.

Stay tuned, loyal subjects!

®

A one time good will gesture from Pillsbury!


Pillsbury Pizza Rolls BoyNot too long ago, I wrote to the maker’s of Totino’s Pizza Rolls (which I soon discovered was Pillsbury/General Mills) to ask about microwave cooking times for quantities of more than the reccommended 6 at a time.  The answer seemed to be pretty vague, as most corporate replies are.  Of course, I was determined to ask further questions — goaded onward by many of you here and on other places around the ‘net.  Here’s where I’d like to share my reply to them, and of course their latest response.  Thanks to Dave again for the editing help here!

from ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
to Corporate.Response@genmills.com; Pillsbury@emails.pillsbury.com
date Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 2:39 PM
subject Re: Your Response From “Pillsbury” – 2010/02/12-0715 XTB
mailed-by gmail.com

Hello Ms. Boyd,

Thank you for the quick and thorough response!  (Apologies if the “Ms.” should be a “Mr.”, I know the name Tracy can go either way!) In reading your response, I have a few more questions, and perhaps a proposal for your consideration.  I do enjoy the quickness/convenience of cooking in the microwave versus using a conventional oven.  Perhaps I should learn to use the toaster oven as a compromise?

The first thought brought to mind was that perhaps I may be doing something wrong.  The instructions say to arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate.  Would this be “in a circle” like spokes of a wheel, or “in a circle” like covered wagons circling around weary travelers?  I haven’t ever really put much thought into it until now, thinking I may perhaps be doing it wrong as there is no picture on the box to illustrate.

I’m somewhat confused as to the 8 pizza rolls for 45 seconds, as the recommended time for 6 rolls is (I believe) 55 seconds.  Typically, I go for 1:05 so that the middle isn’t still cold.  I’m also aware that all microwaves are different, and may vary, so I accept that my microwave is behind the curve, if you will.  I will have to try 8 rolls at a time, and may even venture into as of yet uncharted 10 or 12 roll at a time territory.  I know this may be a cavalier attitude, but it’s just how I roll.  (Pun intended.)  I will take into consideration that it has been “highly suggested” that I cook more than 8 in a conventional oven.

Along these same lines, I’m fascinated that no more than 8 rolls at a time have been put into the microwave at once in your test kitchens.  Is this really the case, or have trials involving more than 8 rolls at a time manifested disastrous results?  Is there some sort of moratorium on adventurous cooking?  I know that if I had access to a bunch of pizza rolls, and a bunch of microwave ovens… I’d feel it was my duty to push past the ambit of acceptability into the realm of ridiculousness.

I have bounced my ideas off of a few like-minded individuals, and we are prepared to do a public service by testing Totino’s pizza rolls in varying quantities, cooking times, and microwave ovens while making video and statistical documentation of the results.  I have safety goggles, a food thermometer, hot pads, a video camera on loan, and, obviously, a microwave oven.  The only thing that we require now would be copious amounts of pizza rolls.

While I’m guessing that you’re not officially able to get behind such a study, would you be able to provide coupons for the pizza rolls, or perhaps donate them altogether?  Certainly the prospect of someone embarking upon new microwave cooking frontiers would be exciting not only to you, but to the scientists/chefs/technicians in your test kitchens.  We would, of course, be more than happy to share all of our results, which you in turn would be able to use (or ignore) at your discretion.

I would like to thank you for your time and continued correspondence.  I truly appreciate the fact that Pillsbury/General Mills takes the time to respond to its consumers’ web inquiries with real emails from real people.

Respectfully Yours,
-Eric Aixelsyd

I thought that was a pretty straight-forward email with some easily answered questions & an interesting proposal.  Apparently I crossed the ridiculousness line for Ms./Mr./Mrs. Boyd, though.  I don’t know why, but I read the following response with the “not amused” tone.

from Corporate.Response@genmills.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 6:47 PM
subject Your Response From “Pillsbury” – 2010/03/02-5183 XTB
mailed-by genmills.com

Hello Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for contacting Pillsbury with your inquiry.

In regards to your question, we have not tested for more than 8 pizza rolls at a time.

If you wish to try this, it would be at your discretion. Please note that when adding more products into a microwave to cook ( ie 16 pizza rolls instead of 8 ) and trying to adjust the cooking temperature will not harm the safety of the product, but may change the quality, such as hardening of the crust or uneven cooking, etc.

As a one time good will gesture, we will send some cents off certificates in which you should receive within 20 business days.

We hope you find this information helpful. Please let us know if we can help you again.

Thank you,

Tracy Boyd
Customer Care Specialist

Coupons!  Nice.  This will be a long 20 business days.  I can’t believe that they’re actually sending coupons.  I wonder what the amount will be?  I have to do the testing now.  I have officially gone past the point of no return.  I must complete this absurd task… and I must do it right the first time.  I’m assuming that “one time good will gesture” means that they’ve had enough of my shenanigans.

So, they definitely have not tested more than 8 at a time in the microwave.  Why?  I know I would.  You know you would.  Hopefully, with the help of my esteemed colleagues, we will remedy this situation.  The world will know the limits of pizza rolls in the microwave.

Interestingly, my question about pizza roll circle placement went wholly ignored, as did the more personal inquisition as to Tracy’s gender.  Not that the second one matters, but perhaps it iw what pushed the button.  The circle question was quite important, though.  I’m surprised that there’s no drawing on the box/bag.  There are certainly illustrations out there for much more obvious sets of directions.

I can only imagine what went through his/her head as she read the “wagon wheels” line.  Ha ha ha.

So, this leaves us wondering…

  • How did they know that safety would not be an issue but the quality would degrade if they didn’t do any testing past the magic 8?
  • Seriously, now… Does “in a circle” mean like spokes of a wheel, or like circling covered wagons?
  • Is Tracy a man or a woman?

Luckily, Tracy said “Please let us know if we can help you again.”  I believe that we do again need some help.  Is another reply in order here, or do we just save it for inclusion with our test results?

Perhaps I’ll ave to include this too…

arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate

"arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate"

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.


Entirely unrelated, just for fun…

Aller-G’s


…Saw some more cool tweets about allergies today, again from pnutfreeworld.  They all caught my eye, and put me in a slightly better mood.  I’m not allergic to peanuts, but a lot of other people out there are.  I’m allergic to shellfish, and all of us that suffer from severe allergies need to stick together… so I’ve been following allergy issues on the web more & more.  I thought I might share with the hopes that if you’re out there suffering form allergies, and you happen to stumble upon this blog… you’ll know that there’s a bunch of us out here… or if you have a friend or family member that suffers form allergies, this may offer you some insight into their world.

The first one that jumped out at me today, was this one…

Law Makes Allergies a Restaurant’s Responsibility, Too – A Massachusetts Regulation Requires Restaurants to Get Food Allergy Training

If you saw my blog the other day about the two thrilling tweets, this would be the conclusion.  Apparently it passed! I know… this is odd for me to celebrate.  Normally, I’m anti- anything that has to do with making more rules & regulations or expanding government.  But, this just hits too close for me on a personal level to not be behind it.  I just hope they go about it efficiently.

Basically, the law says that if you’re a customer, you need to speak up and inform the restaurant of your allergy, and if you’re a restaurant, it’s your responsibility to have all of your employees trained and certified on allergy safety and cross contamination issues.  I realize that this is not a fool-proof system, and that I don’t even live near Massachusetts, but it gives me hope that other states may one day follow suit.  I now have something concrete to write about to my local politicians… and say “hey, look… they’re doing something that makes sense”.

Sadly, the legislation doesn’t seem to point to chain restaurants… like Subway, where cross-contamination with the seafood sub is a major issue.  It does, however, give me hope that I will someday be able to dine in an upscale restaurant with no abnormal concern for my safety.

If you’ve read my trifecta of tirades on the food industry & cleanliness & allergy issues, (That’s 1, 2, & 3) then you know that there are others out there who think that implementing such training would not only be impractical, but it would be just not done at all or treated like a joke from all concerned parties.  I really, really hope that’s not the case once this is put into effect.  I would hope that this would be an issue that’s handled quite seriously… it is, after all, a life-or-death issue.

The second article’s title made me think, “damn right”…

Food on the road can be a minefield – Taking steps to minimize the risks from allergies

Now, this is from a Canadian publication, and they seem to have a lot more government regulation already… but I don’t really support banning things like they seem to want to do.  Education and training is what we need. This article is a nice list of websites and literature that you can look to for support in dining out while traveling abroad.

I’m going to have to look into these sites a little more, and see if there’s anything worth noting or sharing.

There are two not mentioned in the article that look promising… but they really need their databases updated if they’re going to be useful at all:  Can I Eat There? & Shellfish Free

I’m also hoping UrbanSpoon.com one day makes note of more than just gluten-allergy friendly restaurants… and picks up on the big 8.

This last one is cool on a geek front as well as an allergy front…

Peanut Allergy Blocker On The Way

The concept just blows my mind.  I’ve said before… even if I was given a cure tomorrow, I doubt I’d ever even want shellfish at this point… but at least I’d be able to eat food off of the same grill or out of the same fryer without hesitation or anaphylactic repercussions.

I’ve read a lot about the causes of allergies… and asked a lot of questions of doctors.  It’s amazing how much they don’t know… but this article is very enlightening, and it’s all broken down so it’s easy to understand:

Dr Suphioglu said that the work being done by his team also has potential benefits for all allergy sufferers. “Taking a step further back in how an allergic reaction occurs, we are also carrying out research into how we can prevent the allergen specific antibodies from being produced at all.

“In an allergic reaction, the body produces cell signalling molecules called cytokines to trigger the production of antibodies. If we can neutralise the cytokines involved with the allergic reaction, we can potentially block or reduce the production of the antibodies. In recent preliminary results we have successfully identified a substance that interacts with one of the key cytokines involved in the allergic reaction. We are now assessing the capacity of this substance to block or reduce antibody production in the allergic reaction.”

Dr Suphioglu is confident that his team’s allergy research work will result in better treatments for allergy sufferers. “I believe our research into understanding the molecular and allergenic properties of major peanut allergens together with our work on how to prevent or inhibit allergic reactions will contribute to the development of safer and more effective methods for peanut allergy diagnosis, prevention and treatment as well as benefit sufferers of other allergies.”

I’ve read a bunch of articles pertaining to the links between asthma and dust mite allergies and their relation to the severe shellfish allergies.  It’s really interesting stuff.  I hope all of these studies merge in the near future, and perhaps there will be an end to all my allergy-related rants!

Totino’s® Pizza Rolls®


Pillsbury | Totino’s® Pizza Rolls® Pizza SnacksWho doesn’t like Totino’s® Pizza Rolls® Pizza Snacks?  More importantly, who eats only six at a time?  Maybe for a small snack… or maybe I just eat too much.  I don’t have them often, but when I do… I most assuredly want more than six.

I realize that I could cook more than six at once and figure out the timing on my own… but that wouldn’t be any fun now, would it?  I decided to write to the maker’s of Totino’s, who (previously unbeknownst to me) happen to be Pillsbury.  I clicked around until I found their webform, and submitted this…

Hello Friends,

I write to you today regarding Totino’s Pizza Rolls.  These little snacks are awesome, my friends.  I love to eat them as a snack while I’m watching my favorite TV shows or Penguins hockey.

My problem though, is that I’m fat… and I need more than the 6 at a time that’s listed on the package in the cooking suggestions.

Certainly your portly Pillsbury mascot could appreciate my situation?  I’d like to suggest that the bags & boxes also include cooking recommendations for 12 at a time… or more.

Usually 12 can satisfy my snack cravings, although sometimes I go for 18.  Maybe you could include instructions for 13, a baker’s dozen as they say?

In the mean time, before you’re able to print new cooking instructions on the bags & boxes… can you just send me a chart of larger quantities and suggested cooking times?

Thank you for your time, I can’t wait to hear from you.  (I can appreciate how valuable time is… like when I try to cook two batches of 6 rolls during the commercials!)

Inquisitively,
-Eric

Which I thought was a little goofy, but not over-the-top.  Apparently this is a request that’s made often.  The answer seems well practiced…

from Corporate.Response@genmills.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 2:01 PM
subject Your Response From “Pillsbury” – 2010/02/12-0715 XTB
mailed-by genmills.com

Hello Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for contacting Pillsbury with your inquiry.
Unfortunately, the most that we have tested for in our kitchen is 8 pizza rolls in the microwave, in which you would place on a microwave safe plate in a circle and cook on high for 45 seconds (noting that microwave oven temperatures can vary).  If you are intersted in baking more, I would highly suggest following the directions for the oven.  Please be assured that your comments and suggestions will be shared with our product specialists.

We hope you find this information helpful.  Please let us know if we can help you again.

Thank you,

Tracy Boyd
Customer Care Specialist

I’m going to have to write back, and get goofier.  My inquiry was taken absolutely seriously.  I really can’t believe that there are food scientists or chefs out there that have a job that involves putting things in microwaves… and they haven’t gone past 8 at a time?  Ridiculous.  You know that you’d try to at least do a whole bag at once… if not two or three.  Look… I can’t even control my use of italics.  Can you imagine if I had a microwave and some goo-filled little exploding pods at my disposal?  Microwaves are cheap enough these days.  I’ll take donations… I’ll need a microwave and more Totino’s Pizza Rolls than you can count, and the trials will begin.  For more fun, I’ll need someone to help & video.

Anyone in?