Friday, November 22, 2013

Cookin' with Marie & A Wild Ride...

Lemon squares.  Need I say more?

I girded my loins and made béchamel sauce by myself today, with a bit of judicious stirring from Marie when I realized I didn't have the nutmeg ground and ready.  If you are making a sauce like this, have everything ready to go, because near constant stirring is key to success.

I used the sauce to show Marie how I do a quick-and-dirty bowl lasagna.  Penne pasta, spaghetti sauce, béchamel sauce, mozzarella cheese, and herbs if you wish.  Next time, I think that I would add the fresh basil paste to the béchamel sauce for kick.  The great thing is that the béchamel sauce keeps in the refrigerator beautifully and melts right back down to deliciousness once heated.

So, you cook your pasta (which can be done ahead of time), fill the bowl half-way with pasta, layer on béchamel sauce, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese.  Then repeat.  Then microwave for approximately 3 minutes to melt everything together.  Mmmmm!

In case you are interested, my favorite spaghetti sauce is Bertolli's Organic Olive Oil and Garlic.

So, our new recipe today was Piro Lemon Squares.  These are from Anna's mother and are delicious, even if I had to cook them double the time she takes to cook them.  Flummoxing, I know!  After all, I had two technicians confirm the temperature in my ovens.  Anyway, I made that note on the recipe.

Marie took a few home.  Sandra graciously offered to eat some.  And so I am left with little danger to my reactive hypoglycemia.  Because, honestly, I could eat a whole tray of them, given enough time to rest between puckering.  Double mmmmmmm!

Currently, my realtor is not speaking to me.  You see, I gave her some Peanut Butter Nutella Cheesecake Bars to take home for her and her husband to try.  She got along perfectly fine before ever tasting them.  Now ... well ... I've ruined her life ... and the future of her waist line.  Such a terrible neighbor am I, eh?

The wild ride??  Well, my old iPod no longer updates the operating system, so all those cognitive apps I use daily to try and keep what's left of my mind for a bit longer, which are still being updated and optimized for current operating systems, no longer work well.  That means I have been draining the battery on my phone, and I don't have a landline.  So, that has been the new and improved driving force behind searching out all things possible to sell:  the desire and decision to get an iPad mini.

Last month, I shaved $150 off my budget to put into my eyeglasses fund.  This month, I missed that goal and only shaved $100.  As I noted, I plan to purchase the new eyeglasses on December 31st, which will mean the credit card bill will then be due February 22, 2014.  So, between now and then, I am working really hard to be incredibly strict with spending (no Blue Bell, even), because I want to purchase the glasses without dipping into the retirement money, even though they would fall under medical expenses.  Being so strict is good practice, because starting January 1st, I have to somehow make room in my budget for increases in my car insurance, house insurance, doctor co-pays, prescription co-pays, and a new prescription drug monthly premium.  I told my body rather sternly that it cannot cost more than $12K a year in medical expenses drawn from that meager retirement fund.  To protect that very conservative estimate, I am trying to niggle out enough money for the glasses within my monthly spending.

All those shenanigans mean improving technology has to come from somewhere else.  I took a hard look at all that I own on DVD and yet can also stream and told myself that those wonderful, beloved companions needed to go.  Even Doctor Who.  SIGH.

[I asked the pro bono financial advisor a tree-falling-in-the-forest question:  If you spend money not in your budget, but do so by money you've garnered selling stuff, does that mean you have not actually broken your budget???  She laughed.]

By far, I have been pleased with the sales process on Amazon.  It is streamlined and so simple even a lack-wit like me can manage to be an Amazon seller.  It seems to me they take a larger chunk of the pie, but that is okay, because I am working on being grateful for every cent I can raise.  Between Craig's List, Amazon, and eBay, I have racked up $487 in sales (net), thus far, greatly reducing my collection of television series.  I have two more items that are currently at embarrassingly low bids (darn eBay for talking me into those teaser opening sale numbers), so that total will increase a tad.  I also have two other strong possibilities given the gargantuan number of watchers that have gathered.  Sci-fi sells well, it seems.  I admit that I shall probably shed a tear or two packing up Battlestar Galactica if it sells.

I feel as if I have been on this wild ride, posting and getting purchase notices and making trips to the post office.  Today, Sandra went with me and when I noted what was in the packages of this trip, two of the women openly acknowledged their love of Sci-fi.  Babylon 5 and Farscape, in particular.  Be still my beating heart!!  One said she was hoping that all the series sell.  I thought that was nice ... my own cheering section.  The same woman has taken each of my packages.  Did you know that you can now track media mail packages for the bargain basement price of $0.90??  My, does that ever save on shipping!

I have another package to mail tomorrow (The West Wing), then, at least, no more trips until Monday.  I have to rest from all this excitement (and lemon square consumption).

Amos, by the way, particularly enjoyed pre-cleaning the lemon square plate.

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

No comments: