Sunday, June 30, 2013

Broken cars on the highway: How do they work?

Neither I nor people driving by know...in any way that resulted in my car getting fixed. We think it's probably the fuel filter.

I was driving my mom home today when the Alero started to lose power about 10 miles from the next town. It was a bit of a bummer, and not only because the windows on that car do not work.

As I always do when I have car trouble, I popped the hood and looked at the engine, as though that would be helpful in some way. I determined that nothing was on fire, nothing was smoking, and no fluids were spouting out from anywhere. I knew it wasn't the battery, and I knew that I wasn't out of gas. So...that narrowed it down. Based on the way it lost power, and the fact that it would turn on fine and then die, my mom and I suspected the fuel filter. Coming to that tentative conclusion did not actually fix anything, but good job us, maybe!

A very nice person stopped to see if they could help, and they did the exact same thing. Looked at the engine, like 1. They'd figure it out just by looking 2. Be able to effect change with the tools they had in their car (a tiny electrical kit). They suggested that it might be the fuel filter.

On the one hand, I feel good about the fact that I have the same skill level when it comes to broken cars on the highway as random passersby. On the other hand, my car is still broken.

Good things about today:
Dim sum
Ice cream
Bike ride
I have fixed my dryer. Probably. For now.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Farewell to (Juice) Spreadsheets

I started this juicing experiment with a lot of skepticism, a free juicer, and a curiosity about the cost of juicing. But over the course of the last few months, I learned a lot about juice. And even more about myself.

Specifically, I learned that I make enough juice to justify the purchase of a juicer. That was really what the spreadsheet was about. That, and my love of spreadsheets. And my desire to know how much it costs to have a regular juice habit. It was about a lot of things.

There are many "things to buy for a kitchen" articles out there, and generally, I'm in the camp of people who think that you can make MOST things with minimal equipment. You need a pot, a pan, a knife, a cutting board, a stirring utensil. You can make a lot of stuff with those things. You can make COFFEE with those things (if you have ground coffee and water). I'm theoretically wary of specialty appliances that do only one thing, but in reality, I have a juicer, a blender, an immersion blender, a stand mixer and a waffle maker. The waffle maker is the most egregious of these "does only one thing" items and I use it all the time. Because waffles are delicious, and amazingly easy to make.

So the juicer...The juicer I have is awesome, and from the '80s. It's that odd yellow color that things used to be (similar to the avocado color of the '50s and then the '70s). It's not pretty, but it's very unique. This is not the juicer I would get for myself, but it is the juicer that my mom gave me for free. I started the spreadsheet with the thought that if I made enough juice, and tracked the cost both overall and per batch of juice, I could, eventually, normalize the cost of the blender that I *would* have gotten if I hadn't already had one just sitting in my kitchen. (And then, obviously, I could get that juicer. HA. No, of course not. But I would think to myself "I could totally normalize the cost of this juicer. But since I have a perfectly good juicer already, I won't." I would get the L'Equip Mini, if my brain were different than it is, for those wondering at home.)

Since January 22nd, I have made 28 batches of juice, and the average cost per batch (when I say "batch" I mean "liter" because that's about how much juice I make. I mention this because very few people seem to talk about recipe yield when it comes to juice, and I think that's ridiculous) has been $3.67.

I think that, while I don't make juice every day the way I did for the first couple of weeks, I still make enough juice to justify the counter space and the theoretical money I would spend on a nice juicer, if I didn't already have a perfectly good juicer. For me, the benefits of having a juicer in the house definitely make it a worthwhile accessory. If I wanted to do a juice cleanse, it would be pretty easy. It's also a good way to use up vegetables and fruits that might otherwise go bad (apples. I'm talking about apples. and maybe also spinach when you get it in the really big bag from Costco.).

Now that I have come to all of these conclusions, I don't think I really need the spreadsheet anymore. Plus, it's smoothie season, so I should probably start a spreadsheet for that instead. (just kidding. Each smoothie batch, which yields about 25 ounces, costs, on average, $1.24.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Smoothie Season!

Just a super fast post to talk briefly about how when the weather starts staying in the 80s and higher, it is smoothie season. Not necessarily my favorite season, but a very good season.

Current smoothie:
2% milk
Whole milk plain yogurt (which is so different from the yogurt I usually get that I don't even think it tastes like yogurt. It tastes like magic.)
1 banana
Frozen mango and pineapple
Frozen raspberries and blueberries

Blend!
Take to work!

I would consider a Costco membership *just* for the savings on frozen fruit. Smoothie season will probably continue well into the fall. I worry that it will negatively impact the amount of juice I usually make/drink, but given that I've been taking a break from juicing anyway (no reason, just taking a break), it would be very hard to prove.