Sunday, October 20, 2013


For all those who know me, I cook by experimenting, not always using recipes.  I enjoy it but I am never sure if what I prepare will come out decently. Sometimes I need help.

Aside from all the cookbooks around, I have in my possession a wonderful book entitled, "Brillant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks" by David Joachim.

Not only does it contain over 900 recipes, but it has "5,000 ingenious kitchen hints, secrets, shortcuts and solutions."

This book is one of the few in my kitchen which is opened all the time.  So much better than searching Google for all the answers on different sites while greasy hands are all over your keyboard or screen.  All you need to know is in one book and who cares if the pages get a little dirty?

When you first open the book and look at the inside cover, the chart of Common Cooking Measures and Equivalents will be worth the price of the book. Then there is the Guide to Pan Sizes. This is followed by Common Temperatures and Conversions and Container Size Equivalents.

Turn to the back inside cover and find "Emergency Substitutions."  It reads, "if you're out of this...use this..."  You just might save yourself an extra trip to the supermarket.

The book structure is in alphabetical order. You don't even have to go to the index, just open to the letter of the subject you want to know about and there it is.

Do you want to learn how to extract pulp from fresh corn kernels, learn about mushrooms, how to choose oysters, how to butterfly a pork loin or how to cook "en papillote?"  Read this book and find out.

All you need to know under one hardcover book.  

The edition I have was published in 2001 and I have not found a newer version on Amazon so this must be it.

Check it out on and see if this book needs to be part of your kitchen. My kitchen can't live without it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Your Cell Phone's Share Plan...GB Gone Wild

I finally had to leave my old "pay for minutes" phone plan.  I put off making the change fearing that the new "Share" plan would cost me more. As of this writing, I am spending a little less each month.  At least for now.  The experiment is just beginning.

There are 4 phones on my plan.  It goes without saying that some of us on the plan use more GB than others, like me...I don't do much with my phone other than call, text and clear out emails.  

But for those out there who use their phones for everything, I thought that I would find out what uses the most GB and how to control your data usage. 

Each cell phone company refers to their new plans differently, but it all boils down to data usage now.  Calls and texts are unlimited. Texting seems to be fast, easy and the texts go through even if you don't have a great signal for a call. So I text a good deal.

Starting with emails, each time you receive an email you are using data, even if it is a minor amount.  Each time you open the email, you use additional data. And if the email has photos or attachments, more data is used.

Watching videos on You Tube for example definitely uses data.  Movies, for sure. Your phone as a GPS.  Checking FourSquare, Facebook or for searching the Web. The list is endless.

For those of you who never delete emails, the more you keep on the phone, the more data you use each time you turn on your phone.  Deleting emails from your computer is an easy way to get rid of them on your phone. Afterwards, you refresh your emails on your phone and they are gone.  Less data to be used.

To make better use of data, I started to "unsubscribe" to all those emails sent to me which I never opened anyway.  Do I really need to know everything about every company's sale, or the zillions of "coupon" discounts on every service known to mankind?

It takes some getting used to because on the old plans you paid for call minutes and may have had an unlimited data package, as I did. What I hope to accomplish is to keep with the 6GB plan, but if things don't go according to plan, I can upgrade to the next offered GB amount.  My cell phone company will send texts letting me know if I am getting close to reaching my 6GB max.  They warn me at 75% and then at 90%.  This way I can upgrade to the next amount in my billing period for less than I would pay if I went over my limit. 

Use less data and you might have some extra money for something else, like a new case for your phone.