Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This sentiment doesn't necessarily spawn from an isolated incident. Instead, it's the staccatoed murmurings of an individual that somewhat willingly trudges through this cesspool that is unabashed consumerism remaining as debt free and devoid of possessions as I am able. I say "willingly" because at the end of the day, we all have a choice. With that said, I'd like to point out that I don't think I'm on the cusp of some sort of Hillary-famed quest (Ed Hillary not to be confused with Hillary Clinton). These are merely observations and questions about the world that surrounds us all.
Being unemployed and on a fixed income, see no income (I bet only retirees thought they could throw the term "fixed income" around) I'm forced to entertain myself. Not only must I entertain myself, never take advantage of the fact that you working types automatically have 10 hours notched out of your day, but I must do it in the most cost effective manner possible. On a recent walk to the grocery store, Colette and I pondered if it, the economy, became excessively depressed, then fat people would have to cease to be fat citing the surging price of food. In theory this makes sense but in practice obesity heavily, pun intended, follows low income individuals around like a fat kid would a walking cupcake.
In case anyone else is in a similar situation of being unemployed, having to be thrifty, or just suffering from the joys that an economic depression has thrust upon you, I've complied a list of activities that I enjoy doing that are no-cost or low-cost.
1. Lifting weights - Gym membership costs less then a dollar a day. I figure it's best to be fit and strong if it becomes necessary to fight for dumpster scraps.
2. Playing Goalie at the ice rink - Pickups are completely free and are 1.5 hours long. Also free are the concussion symptoms from taking pucks off the dome.
3. Surfing the internet - less then a dollar a day or free at the library. The internet's value is indefinable when it comes to the entertainment/dollar ratio.
4. Happy Hours are cool but the real bargain hunters don't let the talk of a.m beers specials turn their stomach sour. A local bar has 2 dollar pitchers of MGD ... when ordered BEFORE 11 a.m
5. Studying local grocery store Wednesday ads - Did you know that you can get a 100 serving sized box of Oatmeal at Costco for 6.59? That shakes down to 6.59 cents for breakfast! When you're done with the Wednesday ads, burn them for heat.
6. The wonders of "reduced prices for quick sale" meat has been largely ignored up until now. I have found that late evening is the best time to pick up meat that cannot be sold, at least legally, anymore.
7. The second fastest way to date yourself is by busting out a flask filled to the brim which your hooch of choice. The first, of course, would be regaling the nursing home of how school was uphill ... both ways. The 90's brought us bottled water, the new century gave us the Nalgene bottle and streaming pornography. The good folks at Nalgene upped the ante by telling us clear plastic was bad for our health so now aluminum bottles are this year's margarine. It's all for the best because now we are able to swill undetected at the park without incurring a fine from the fuzz.
8. Share a communal/electricty water supply? If so, close the bathroom and steam the place out. Bring in a beer and enjoy what I affectionately refer to as "shower hour."
9. Cooking with beans/lentils. They are filling, healthy, non-perishable, and perhaps most importantly, wicked cheap.
Here is a hummus recipe I hand crafted last week.
Garbanzo beans (chick peas)(2 cups dry or .75lbs yield 4 cups soaked and cooked) - $1.00
Olive oil (1/3 cup) .50 cents
Garlic cloves (5) - .10 cents
Red Curry Thai Paste (2 Tbl spoons)
Tomato paste (3 oz.) of 6oz can - .59 cents
Onion (2/3 cup) - .25 cents
Basil (2 fresh leaves) - .20 cents
Cocktail Sauce (1/2 cup) - .25 cents
Chili Powder (2 Table Spoons) - 0
Lemon Juice - (7 Table Spoons) - .25
Anyways, for less then three dollars I was able to make a shit-ton of hummus. It's street value in front of Trader Joe's is close to twenty dollars.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"Damn, you got Down's Syndrome so bad you probably got up, left and right syndrome too!" - Peppermint Patty
Saturday, October 4, 2008
So any time I walk past or anytime anyone mentions "Elephant's deli," I am consumed with a myriad of raw emotions ranging from glee; memories of a spectacular quesadilla; to bargaining, "why can't I afford you Elephant's!?!, I'll do anything to obtain you!" and of course, who could leave out jealousy/bitter resentment/anger; "fuck you yuppies and your high paying jobs! I hope your BMW SUV explodes and the last thing you smell are those 9 dollar quesidilla's burning along side of you in your front seat!" OK, so the "bargaining" emotion may have been a little over the top but the other two emotions are very, very real.
I was in for a pleasant treat when Colette located a recipe for Elephant's Deli Tomato Soup. While my only expierences with tomato soup have been from a can marked "Campbell's" on the side, I naturally was open to a homemade alternative. I figured if a deli could produce a rasperry vinagerette, that I was so passionate about I would be willing to take another man's life for it, then I would probably enjoy their tomato soup offering.
Colette has been delving into a variety of homemade soups of late. First, it was her crockpot chili dish that lead me to believe that, after two years of avoiding the kitchen entirely, she could indeed cook. Second, a tasty split pea number that keeps getting better with age. Third, when she said was going to tackle this "Elephant's Deli Tomato Soup," I knew she was going to knock it dead.
With that said, as with most situations in life that involve the possibility for prolonged hunger, I had a backup plan. I simply ate enough food to keep me satietied and not enough to tip off her radar as to what I was doing while she was preparing the soup. Call it what you will; being prepared, plan b, or not being up shit creek without a paddle - I just loathe being hungry.
Since I've written an entire blog about this soup, you can probably guess as to where it's going. It was absolutely amazing. It's easily in my top 10 foods ever (this is a big deal, I eat a lot of food)!
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a saucepan, melt butter; add onion and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Puree in a food processor or blender; strain through a sieve or food mill. (The Soup Lady likes a little texture and uses a hand held immersion blender for this.)
Return to saucepan and stir in orange juice. At this point, the soup can be refrigerated until ready to serve. (Colette and I determined you can stop here. Try it without the cream, you will be pleasantly suprised! - I was thinking it would be very tasty atop a bed of noodles. Nonetheless, it's spectacular being guzzled in soup form)
At serving time, add the whipping cream and heat gently, stirring constantly, bringing to a simmer and adjust seasonings if necessary. Extra cream maybe drizzled on top of the soup immediately before serving for decorative effect.