Food Stuff

May 1st, 2021 Comments off

Dunkin Butter Pecan
I like to try the new flavor swirls Dunkin comes out with periodically, and the most recent was butter pecan.

Dunkin Butter Pecan

It was ok, but my favorite is still french vanilla. An interesting thing I noticed, however, is that the ratio of coffee to swirls seems off for the small and medium sizes. Unless I know for certain I like the flavor, I prefer to get the smallest size possible in case I don’t like the drink, but they make that impossible. I got a small once when trying the irish creme and it didn’t taste like anything at all! I complained to corporate and they threw enough points on my account to get a free drink, so I got a large and it was great! I got a medium yesterday to try the butter pecan, and while I could taste the flavor, it was pretty weak. Now, maybe the flavor itself is just weaker than the french vanilla, but I’m starting to think there’s no point in getting the smaller sizes unless you request an extra pump of the swirl to compensate for this discrepancy. I never have to do that for the large size because the flavor is perfect with the standard number of flavor swirls.

Rao’s Marinara
Everyone and their brother raves about this marinara sauce but we never bought it because it’s $8 per jar. We found a sauce we liked at our local grocery store, Caputo’s, but lately it’s been completely out of stock (it’s their house brand so my guess is they’re not producing it lately).

Raos

We were at Costco last month and they had a double-pack of the Rao’s on sale ($11 for two) so we said screw it, let’s give it a shot. Tried it the other day, and while it’s good, it’s not $5.50 good. I wouldn’t want to use it on spaghetti in the future anyway because it seems to be missing something, but I could see it being really nice for lasagna.

We also picked up a jar of Meijer brand marinara (less than $1 after coupon) that we’re excited to try. I hope we like it since I’m not sure whether Caputo’s is ever going to restock their sauce or not and we don’t care for Classico, Prago, or Ragu. Maybe I should start making my own sauce…

DoubleTree Cookies
Another everyone likes it but to us it’s just MEH is DoubleTree’s signature cookies. They revealed the recipe a year ago so people could make them at home during the pandemic. I was going through my old Food Network magazines and found it in there. I happened to be craving cookies so I decided to give them a shot. I mean, they aren’t bad by any means; they just aren’t as good as my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. My cookies don’t require walnuts, which you cannot really taste anyway, either. So I think I’ll stick to my cookies. The only thing they have over mine is you can freeze the cookie dough balls and make just a handful at a time. I don’t think that would turn out as well with all the oatmeal in my cookies, but admittedly I haven’t tried it. I did refrigerate them once to bake the following day and didn’t like how they came out, though, so that’s what makes me think the freezer option would be a no go.

Lay’s Chips
Back in March I snagged a bag of Lay’s Crispy Taco chips out of pure curiosity.

Lay's Crispy Taco Chips
This is what I had to say about them on Facebook:

These are some of the strangest chips I’ve ever tried. They really do taste like tacos, down to the individual flavors of ground beef, lettuce, and sour cream specifically. They remind me of the hard-shell tacos your parents made growing up. So on one hand they’re kinda blah, yet for some reason I couldn’t stop shoveling them in my mouth anyway even though I’d never buy them again. I think they’re laced with crack or something.

I just so happened to open the bag the last day of the contest they were running, and won a free bag!

Winner

I got my coupon the other day and got the biggest bag I could find of the Salt & Vinegar flavor from Walmart.

Key Lime Pie
Speaking of Facebook, someone in a local group asked where the best place to get key lime pie was, and someone else suggested making it from scratch using Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice, so I decided to give it a shot. Not only was it easy, but it was definitely better than some of the key lime pie we’ve had at restaurants.

I’m putting a screenshot of the recipe here for safe keeping.

Key Lime Pie Recipe

Taco Bell
When Taco Bell took potatoes off their menu I was done with them. The only thing, besides nachos, that I ever ordered there was the spicy potato soft taco. As many people know, they recently brought back the potatoes so I was quick to go there for my fix. And then we found ourselves there three days later so I could try the beefy potato-rito (which was awesome).

Taco Bell Beefy Potato-Rito

We took a break from TB for a bit, but we were back there a few weeks later so I could try a chalupa with potatoes. Yum! Now I actually LIKE Taco Bell whereas before I just tolerated it. We’ve eaten there more in the past two months than all of last year and the year before that. I still can’t wrap my head around people eating there multiple times a week, though. I am, after all, trying not to blow up too quickly. It’s not working, but I have to make a little effort…

Categories: Food Tags:

Dusty

April 28th, 2021 Comments off

If I have to dust one more time this week I’m going to scream!

Just the other day we noticed a lot of debris on the dining room and kitchen floors, as well as a gritty sand-like substance all over the living room furniture. We vacuumed and I dusted all the furniture, chalking it up to having the windows open even with the crazy wind gusts we were having that day.

It was quite warm out yesterday so we had the windows open, and today we’ve got the same layer of sand on the furniture so I had to dust AGAIN! WTF!? It wasn’t even that windy yesterday. Is there some weird sand storm in Illinois that I haven’t heard about? I googled it but didn’t see anything.

Luckily it’s going to be cool and rainy the next few days so I’m hoping I won’t have to dust again until the weekend. I typically only do it once a week and it’s not even as bad as whatever this stuff is that keeps reappearing.

Categories: House & Home Tags:

RIP Rodman/Pirate

April 14th, 2021 Comments off

Remember this little cutie I fostered back in 2013? I just learned he passed away in July 2015 at the young age of two and a half from an enlarged heart that wasn’t detected on normal vet exams.

Here’s a photo of him full grown:

Pirate (formerly Rodman)

I’m so sad. I loved that little guy. He had the sweetest disposition and smelled so good I would bury my nose in his fur. His new foster mom, who ended up keeping him and his brother, said he was her soulmate. I’m not surprised; he was special. She renamed him Pirate and his brother Cheetah (formerly Pippen).

Categories: Animals, Pets Tags:

Happy Target & Kohl’s Returns Day

April 14th, 2021 Comments off

Whenever an employee at a store doesn’t understand their own store’s policies, I never know who to be angry with – the employee or management. Because it’s quite possible the employee was never adequately trained, like the one I dealt with at Target this morning.

Back in late December I purchased some Up & Up (a Target brand) panty liners. I’ve been buying these for years now. I didn’t actually run out of them until recently and was disappointed to learn they completely changed them. They aren’t as long as before, the sticky backing is a bitch to remove, they bunch up, and the top layer literally disintegrates after a few hours. I wrote a 1 star review online and noticed a ton of people complaining about the same issues.

Target Panty Liners

I couldn’t remember when I had purchased them, so I went through my orders on the app to see. I was bummed when I realized it had been more than four months, but then I noticed they have return exceptions.

Target Return Policy

The first one actually addresses this:

“If you’re not satisfied with any Target Owned Brand item, return it within one year with a receipt for an exchange or a refund.”

So off to Target we went with my opened box of panty liners to get a refund but the girl helping me out claimed that policy only applies to clothing, even after I opened up the app and showed her that exact verbiage. Then she told me she’d override the system and ended up giving me the refund back in cash. She was pleasant, so I remained pleasant, but I was still irked that she was acting as if she was doing me a favor. She even had the audacity to tell me she’s worked there four years as if she knew better than I did.

So of course I immediately chatted with Target customer service when I got home. The first person I spoke with transferred me to their store related customer service. They confirmed I was interpreting their policy correctly, apologized, said they would contact the store management, and offered me a $15 gift card for my trouble. I declined it, though, since I wasn’t trying to get anything extra from them. I honestly just want them to have adequately trained employees who don’t make their guests feel like they are doing something wrong asking for them to honor their own policy. Hopefully that girl doesn’t get in any trouble, particularly if she wasn’t trained properly.

They don’t have an option to email yourself the entire chat history, so I was only able to grab a couple of screenshots:

Target Chat 1

Target Chat 2


Kohls

In late November I ordered a couple of Tek Gear sweatshirts from Kohl’s. I fell in love with the brand a couple of years ago when I got multiple sweatshirts secondhand from Savers. I was particularly excited about the deep green sweatshirt I got for under $10 on sale. I only wear it occasionally with a particular pair of leggings, so I’ve only washed/worn it a few times since getting it. I was folding it after washing it last month and noticed there was a very thin spot on the front. I could put my finger behind it and see it. Not good.

I chatted with customer service online but they couldn’t help me even though I ordered it online because I picked it up at the store; I would need to take it back there. That was frustrating because I could tell they didn’t have any replacement sweatshirts in that color at the store, which I explained to the representative I chatted with. They said it would be possible they could order it at the store to be shipped there and do the exchange that way. Well, I kinda sat on that for a bit and finally decided today I really needed to address the issue. I checked online but now there aren’t any dark green (juniper green, to be exact) ones at all, even online. Damnit!

Kohls Tek Gear Sweatshirt

I called the store and explained the situation and they said they could process it as a no receipt return but I’d only get whatever clearance price the system has listed for it. Online it was showing $10 and I know I paid a little less than that, so I thought that should work, and headed to the store.

For whatever reason, though, the system was only willing to give me back $6.94. I wasn’t happy with that since I paid more than that and have a faulty product. I asked the girl if I could do an even exchange for a different color, and she went to ask a manager. I overheard him say that if it’s been over six months he wouldn’t personally approve it, but she could ask another manager if she wanted.

As she headed back toward me I told her I thought they return period was only four months, but my purchase was on November 22nd so it was less than six months, therefore we could do a receipt return so I can get all my money back. It ended up being $9.21. I’m sad I no longer have the green shade of sweatshirt I wanted, but happy it worked out. Maybe I’ll find one at Savers one day.

Categories: Retail Experiences Tags:

Notable Purchases (Or Items Acquired)

April 13th, 2021 Comments off

Just wanna start this off by documenting the fact that I washed our thick reversible comforter this morning to prepare it for summer storage and the washing machine ate it. There are several holes and there’s really no way to repair it since those holes aren’t along the seams. I guess we’ll be donating it to the recycling event this Saturday where they can cut it up and use the fabric for other things.

I’ve washed it in the past without issues, so I don’t know what happened. The only thing that makes me feel better is that it was purchased through Groupon with points I got from our Discover cash back so it didn’t actually cost us anything. And we have a replacement comforter, although it’s not as fluffy. Oh, and it also had a little pink staining on the grey side as if it came in contact with bleach at some point even though I don’t use bleach.

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Roku

Last month Target had a Roku on sale for $25 so we decided to grab one; we wanted to watch TV in the bedroom with a remote. Bonus was that I could access my free Apple TV subscription on it; I ended up binging the entire season of The Morning Show within a short time, and we also started watching Central Park as well.

A couple of weeks ago we lost our T-Vision cable services through T-Mobile. They decided to get out of the cable tv business which was probably a good decision since they were not doing it well. There were so many things about how their services worked that annoyed me.

We had purchased their streaming device, which was similar to the Roku, and it was on the living room TV. We decided to swap the devices so we could watch Apple TV shows downstairs instead and ended up binging Ted Lasso within two days.

Ted Lasso

That show is so good! I can’t wait for subsequent seasons, although my free subscription will likely be gone by then. It was only supposed to last through last November but Apple kept extending it at no charge. I believe it’s due to expire in July.

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The following are items we bought last year that I never wrote about.

Air Fryer

I never talked about how back in October Joe’s former employer said he had earned a free gift to pick from a catalog. Nothing much stood out to us, so we ended up selecting an air fryer even though we didn’t really want another kitchen appliance to find storage space for. But we didn’t have one, so we thought it would be cool to see what everyone else was talking about.

Air Fryer

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how often we make use of it. It’s great from re-heating leftovers like french fries, fried pickles, even small slices of pizza. We’ve made nuggets, bacon, and roasted veggies in it too. I would love to have a larger one that looks like a toaster oven one day. It also made me think – is that type really the same as a convection oven? So I googled it:

While a full-size convection oven and an air fryer both use a fan to move hot air around, an air fryer circulates the air more rapidly inside a small chamber, speeding up the cooking process. Air fryers also employ a basket to more evenly circulate hot air around the bottom of your food.

Good to know. Also, we made space on the counter for it since we use it so much.

Winter Coat

Also in October I took to Facebook for help finding a good winter coat since I’ve spent years looking for one without success:

Does anyone make a winter coat that fits the following criteria?
Lightweight, but warm (like a puffer coat)
Long enough to cover your butt
Zips up
Detachable hood
Outer pockets that zip closed
Inner pockets to hold your phone
Comes in black
I seriously can only find a mishmash of these things but none that fulfill all of my requirements.

In late November I posted an update:

In case anyone is curious, I ended up buying the Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket (in black) from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

I gave up on the idea of needing inner pockets for this type of jacket, since I realized I wouldn’t want to be unzipping it in the cold to access the pockets anyway. And even though the hood isn’t removable, it’s not oversized or heavy, so it isn’t a nuisance like it was on my old jacket.

It’s on sale now @ Columbia ($112.50 which is what I paid at Dick’s) if anyone is in the market for a nice long coat that covers your butt.

I also got a black jacket that’s a little shorter from Costco a few weeks ago for only $25. It has two inner pockets and the outside ones are lined with fleece. I am now set for many winters to come.

If anyone knows where I can donate my old coat, please share.

My only complaint after wearing the coat a few times is that it’s not a very deep/dark black and almost looks navy blue in comparison to the jacket I got from Costco which is my everyday coat. The Columbia one is very warm, though! I wore it when we visited Cosley Zoo and Lilacia Park to see the Christmas lights in December.

I also donated my old coat via Burlington Coat Factory. They have a donation box set up inside.

Sheets

Kohls had Cuddl Duds microfiber sheet sets on sale back in November so I ordered a set. Not only is it thicker than the cheapie sheets we currently had (which had holes in it), but it was soft and comfy. Plus they were so deep I was able to fit them over the thick mattress and mattress cover with ease which wasn’t possible before (we had one sheet on the cover and a different one over the mattress which looked rather junky). I liked the set so much I bought a second set later that month when they were on sale for even cheaper (first set cost $38.24 and the second set was only $26.03).

Categories: Life Tags: