I have received some emails regarding my Wonder Washer and the Spin Dry. First, let me give you a run through on how I came upon these machines and why I decided to give them a try. I live in a small studio apartment that does not have washer/dryer connections. I had to go to the Laundromat about once a week to do my laundry. There is nothing wrong with the Laundromat; it’s just a big chore and a huge waste of time. I started my search for an alternative method to do my laundry. Some people recommended just doing my laundry by hand and hanging it out to dry. There must be a better method than that I thought to myself. I first stumbled upon the Wonder Washer on Amazon.com. It had mixed reviews but was cheap enough to give it a try. Since this machine does not have a spin cycle the clothes come out soaking wet. That’s when I found a website called The Laundry Alternative. They had a number of spin dryers that remove excess water from clothing. These machine do not produce any heat, they just spin the clothes very fast. Since I never used one of these before I purchased the smallest one to try. I also got a drying rack to hang the clothes on.

Operation of the Wonder Washer:

This machine is about as basic as they come. All it does is spin the clothes in the water one direction, stops, and then spins them in the other direction. The first thing I do is put in the laundry detergent. I recommend using a liquid detergent. I use the concentrated kind and only add a ¼ cap in the empty bucket of the machine. I then add 10qt of warm water from a bucket I filled in the sink. Add the clothes and set the timer to 15 minutes, go grab a beer. When the 15 minutes is up I pick the bucket up off the machine and dump out the dirty water in the sink. Some people say you can use the water for a second load, but it looks real dirty. Now comes the part that is the only downside. I hand rinse the clothes in the sink under cold water to remove the detergent from the clothes. It is not that bad. That’s it! Easy! I can do about three pairs of pants in one load, or the equivalent size of other clothes.

Operation of the Spin Dryer:

This machine is awesome! All I do is set the machine on top of my counter and place the drain hose in a bucket lower than the machine. I bought the small machine so it does not hold much. I can do one pair of pants at a time or the equivalent size of other clothes. Just load, set the timer to 5 minutes and it spins them dry. Most of my stuff comes out just barley damp. A couple hours on the drying rack and they are dry.

The drying rack:

This is a great rack! It has plenty of rods to hold the clothes and folds away nicely for easy storage.

Downsides:

There are some downsides. I can not do large items such as my comforter. For items like this I still have to go to the Laundromat (or friends’ house). The hand rinsing is kind of a pain, but a small price to pay for not having to go to the Laundromat. The clothes also come out more wrinkled than from a heat dryer. So I do have to iron more clothes than normal. But there is something about ironing that I find relaxing.

If anyone has any more questions please feel free to email me at solitaryrefinement@gmail.com

Put some good music on, grab a beer and do some laundry!!

Also, for two short videos of the machines in action, check out my previous post here.

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March 26, 2008

I hope to get back into the swing of things soon. I have been dealing with some maintenance work at my apartment. Monday night my ceiling started caving in. Work crews have been over for the past two days. I hope it will be fixed by COB today. Thanks to everyone that has offered me a place to stay! It is nice to know I have friends like you. As soon as things are back to normal I have a lot to post about. First, I have received a few emails asking about how my washer and dryer are holding up. Since I have been using them for over a month now, I think it is a good time to give a detailed review of them. Second, I have come across some great recipes I can’t wait to try and share with you. Third, since I have had to move all my stuff out of my living room, I am going to try and redecorate it. I have been drawing up a plan and would like any input you might have. Fourth and finally, my pledge to never never ever EVER buy cheap microwave dinners again! More on that very soon! Hope you are all well, and check back here in the next couple day for things getting back to normal.

Recalled!

March 24, 2008

As you know I have had some bad luck in the past with food recalls. I have been so good about cooking my own food with fresh ingredients that I have not been involved in a recall in a couple months. Saturday I was at Kroger and wanted to get some cheap easy lunch foods that I could just microwave. I picked out a couple Hot Pockets and went to the check out. I scanned the items and a message came up on the screen telling me to put the last scanned item back on the scanner and wait for the attendant. She came up and told me I could not buy this variety of Hot Pocket because it has been recalled. I said OK and purchased the other four varieties. When I got home I thought that I should make sure I did not have any of the recalled Hot Pockets. Sure enough I do! The Kroger Casher had taken away my “Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pocket” but let me purchase the “Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pocket” (Not Croissant Crust). It is very hard to find any details about this recall. It is not on the Hot Pocket Website. I did find some information on other news sites. Here is a Google search result for the recall. I guess I will go ahead and write a “nice” letter to Nestle USA that produces the Hot Pocket product. As usual I will post the letter here as well.

In other recall news, I still have not heard back from Con Agra. Con Agra had produced the chicken pot pies that were recalled over six months ago. I guess I will also have to write them a second letter to see where my compensation is. No more microwave meals for me! I am going to stay with fresh cooked food! What is going on with all these food recalls?!?!

Lazy Man Chicken

March 19, 2008

You know how I was saying I was real tired after the weekend? Well, that continued into Monday. I did not feel like doing anything but sit on the couch and watch a movie. The problem was I needed to eat! I gathered up enough strength to drag myself to Kroger. At first I was just going to buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, but when I saw how small the chickens were I decided I can do better. I found a 4 pound raw chicken for $3.60. I was off to a good start. Since I was feeling so lazy, I walked over to the spice rack. I found a bottle of Kroger brand “Grill Time Seasonings” for $0.99. This should be good enough I thought to myself. I quickly made it to the check out and I was home. I quickly turned on the oven to pre-heat it to 350 and cleaned out the bird. Mrs. P. had given me a lemon earlier in the day, so I cut it in half and put it inside the chicken. A generous coating of the seasoning and the bird was in the oven. 1.5 hours in the oven and it was done! I was surprised at how good it tasted overall. This is a perfect example of how a bachelor and eat well and save money at the same time. Was it as good as some of the other recipes here on my site? No, but it took little to no effort to put together. Here is a picture. I am sorry, but I started cutting into the chicken before I remembered to get the camera. 😦

By the way, I was watching the Transformers movie and I LOVED it! If you have not seen it, go rent or buy it!

This recipe I found online and changed a little bit. It is so easy and makes a lot.

8 Medium Potatoes

4 Medium Carrots

3 Ribs Celery

1 Cabbage (2lbs)

1 Corned Beef Brisket (3lbs)

Black Pepper

1 ¾ Cups Water

A Little Butter

Peel and cut the potatoes into think ½ inch slices. Peel and cut carrots into thin slices. Peeling all the potatoes and carrots takes a little time but not too bad. Butter a slow cooker and layer potato slices on the bottom. Then place the carrots and celery on top. Place the corned beef brisket onto of the veggies. Cut the cabbage into wedges and place around the brisket. Sprinkle with the black pepper and then add the water. Add enough water that you start seeing it come up. Cover and turn the cooker to low. It will be done in about 8 hours. Once it is done, remove to a platter and cover with foil. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

I made this for St. Patrick’s Day Parade and it seemed everyone liked it.

The St. Patrick’s Day parade was Friday the 14th here in Savannah. I live on the parade route, so I a great view of the parade. Here is a picture of the parade from my balcony.

A parade is not the same without great food! Since the parade has a huge draw of people, everyone tries to get to their spots early. I decided to start with a good breakfast for everyone. The breakfast consisted of Shambled Eggs, Biscuits, Jam, and Grits. I also had snack food out. For lunch I did a slow cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage. I put it in my crook pot at 1:00am and it was ready at 10:00. Just in time for the parade! Here are a whole bunch of pictures. I am still real tired so this is going to be a short post. When I feel a little better I will post the recipes. If you have any questions about the food, drop me a line.

Meatloaf

March 10, 2008

I love meatloaf! The other day I was at a restaurant and they had a meatloaf sandwich. It was pretty good, not the best. So this weekend I was sitting around thinking what to cook and meatloaf popped into my head. I had not cooked meatloaf since I was a poor college student. What a good time to give it another go. I quickly grabbed the phone and called up Mr. BBQ. Who else would be better at setting me off on the right foot. He gave me the basics of what must go into meatloaf to make it work. He then added in some history of why meatloaf is around and its original roots. With this basic knowledge I was off to Kroger! What could I do to add a little life to my meatloaf? I decided on Italian bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. I already had an onion and garlic at home to add to it. So this is the recipe I came up with (with help from Mr. BBQ).

3 lbs. Ground Beef
3 Eggs
1 ½ Cups Italian Bread Crumbs
1 Medium Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 ¼ Cups Parmesan Cheese (you will see why I added the ¼ cup)
Salt
Pepper

I cut up the garlic and onion and mixed everything together. I only used 1 cup of cheese mixed into the mixture. When it was to the consistence I liked, I made a little troth down the middle. I filled this with ¼ cup of cheese and sealed it up. So now I had a meatloaf with a cheese center. Here it is about to go in the oven…

I should have chopped the onion up a little more, but my eyes were really watering!! I put it into a preheated oven at 350. After an hour I checked on it. I continued to cook it for another 20 minutes until the juices were clear. After it was done I pulled it out and let it sit for 20 minutes. Here it is coming out of the oven.

The cheese in the middle was a great addition. Here is a cross cut of the meatloaf.

All in all it came out very well. It also was very cheap for the amount of food. Here is the price break down…

3 lbs. Ground Beef – $4.29
Eggs – $1.92
Cheese – $2.19
Bread Crumbs – $1.89
Onion – $0.89

Total Cost – $11.18

And the winner is…

March 7, 2008

This is so hard! Everyone submitted great recipes! Thank you to the four people that submitted. Since it was such a close call I had to turn to the old trusty math to find a true winner. As you know this contest was based on four criteria.

  1. Difficulty
  2. Cost
  3. Amount
  4. Taste

I judged each entry with a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest (10 = the best). So the best score you could get would be a 40.

But since I loved every recipe that was sent to me, I have decided that everyone that does not win first place get a beer (or drink) on me. Send me an email and I will meet you for drinks! But who won? Based on the math…

THE WINNER IS MRS. P.!!!!!!!!!

The Guinness Chicken recipe that she sent in is just right for a bachelor. It was easy, had a low cost, ate it for days, and had a great taste. It actually was so good that I am going to cook it again this weekend. Cost is a big factor for me. I never knew you could buy a whole chicken for $3.75.

Before you send me anger emails, this was a very close call. Do you want to see the numbers? Here they are…

Mrs. P. with the Guinness chicken – 32

Roberto with the St. Paul’s Rice – 31

The Drau with the Drau Stew – 30

MappyB with the Stuffed Peppers – 23

So why do I think this? Let’s start with the bottom up.

The Stuffed Peppers were great, but not a full meal. They would have been great as a side dish or appetizer. It really was the amount that hurt this score. I only had three peppers stuffed full of goodness. Definitely something for someone that has a girlfriend or a date. I could see myself doing this to impress someone but not as a meal.

The Drau Stew was so close! What hurt this meal was the cost. Yes, it provided a huge amount, but lacked enough meat to last. If I doubled or tripled the amount of beef it would have been better but the cost would have been too high. I wonder if I can find cheaper meat somewhere.

St. Paul’s Rice has now made it into my favorite list! What made this so good was the sausage. It gave just the right amount of spice. A few more steps made this a slightly more difficult recipe. More pots to clean cuts into my fun time. Remember, I am looking for easy! This is also a great recipe for a side dish.

The Guinness Chicken is just what the doctor ordered. I never knew a whole chicken cost so little! I now know how to cook a chicken. The beer was an added bonus! I can drink as a cook this! This dish scored great in the difficulty and amount. Days latter I found myself just picking on the bird. It lasted a long time, it was cheap, and it was so easy. I am doing it again this weekend. The only thing I am going to add is some kind of rub to the chicken before hand.

Great job to everyone! Thank you for sending in your recipes! To claim your prize, send me an email and we will get together for drinks!

Stuffed Peppers

March 6, 2008

MappyB sent me this recipe for Stuffed Peppers. When I opened my email I thought someone was upset at me. She sent it to me with the subject line “EAT THIS!” When I figured out it was a recipe I felt much better. This is a very easy recipe that a bachelor trying to impress a girl would appreciate. With so many people going the vegetarian route, cooking this would get you big points. Here is the recipe…

Stuffed Peppers – easy to make and taste great.


Ingredients:

Some peppers that can stand up on their own

Feta cheese

Mushrooms

Corn

Olive Oil & Vinegar


Dice ingredients, mix, stuff peppers, bake, enjoy! It’s so easy!

Without quantities I had a little trouble figuring out how much to buy. I decided on three green peppers, one pack of mushrooms, one can of corn, and an eight oz. bowl of feta. I already had olive oil and vinegar. Here is the break down on pricing…

Peppers – $3.87

Feta Cheese – $3.29

Mushrooms – $1.99

Corn – $0.69

Total – $9.84

Here is the “stuffing” mixture…

I then cut the tops off the peppers and cleaned them out. MappyB, did I cut the hole in the top large enough? I stuffed them full with the mixture. I had a little left over so I packed them in real tight. Here they are about to go in the oven…

I was not sure what temperature to bake them at so I started at 400. I slowly turned that down as they cooked. I think I may have baked them too much, but I wanted to make sure the inside was nice and warm (it was). Here is the final pepper…

What do you think? Like I said, this would be great if I had a girl over for dinner. It looks great and is so easy! Thanks MappyB for sending this to me!

St. Patrick’s Day

March 5, 2008

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us! As most of you know it is a big deal here in Savannah. Savannah hosts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States. I thought it would be appropriate to cook up some good Irish and St. Patrick’s Day food. What would you recommend? I was thinking Irish Stew, Slow Cooker Corned Beef, or Irish Bread. Any ideas would be appreciate! As usual feel free to send any recommendations to solitaryrefinement@gmail.com. Thanks!