Archive for November, 2019


new toy, instant pot

IMG_20191123_162124Device description  may vary depending on the model as instant pot now has may sizes and capabilities across it’s product line. The app may be upgraded or changed from the time of posting of this review.

The device is powered by 120 vac ( in the states)

some of the advantages of the Instant Pot are :

short cooking times

sealed in flavor

automatic pressure cooking
some what ease of use
well engineered device and quality, well insulated

the ability to sear and brown food
name brand and support,

abundance of  recipes available

available parts replacement

other functions in addition to pressure cooking

benefits of pressure cooking food
retains value *

some drawbacks of the Instant Pot

loss of cooking scents from long simmered recipes in the kitchen
a new learning curve and device to operate
slow warm up times
depressurizing method may be unacceptable


Being rather behind the cutting edge in this new device fad , many have branded their own similar knock off of this computer controlled pressure cooking vessel. I’ve always wanted to do pressure cooking , remembering from my childhood days that our parents used the old style stove top vessels that require4 reading and regulating a pressure indicating the adjustment of heat
On of the characteristics of selecting a quality sturdy device is to first research how long the brand name and company has been in business, do they provide support and if the device can be easily maintained, repaired and reasonable priced replacement parts are available to avoid trashing the device in a few short years of service.and researching the secondary market for reselling value. as we are encouraged to pass something gone  unused along to someone else rather than to the landfill.
Just as a sideline, most every well maintained pressure cooking vessel has a safety blow off that is supposed to provide a pressure release in case of runaway pressure to avoid the catastrophe of a possible explosion of the vessel. But some may still shy away from pressure cooking food for the fear of an explosion.
Now instant pot (and I often say instapot) has taken this task and applied computer controlled heat and monitoring to pressure cooking.
First the device is well made, and easy sealing, easy lock/unlock method with audio feedback, stainless steel inner pot and a steaming rack is often included.
The learning curve consist of learning the preset  automatic control of the device and what they do , at least to me,  without a lengthily discussion, the presets can be set and modified as they are labeled on the control panel by food types and methods of cooking.

I did a few quick test with a small amount of rice and one quickly notices the cycling of the cooking, a heat up phase, pressure sealing and cooking time and a depressurizing stage.

I opted for a instant pot duo mini, since I don’t see the need for a large 6 or 8 quart pot for everyday use for 2 or 3 people. The device once sealed and a cooking mode selected, goes into heat up mode as you can hear the clicking of a relay that regulates heat application. Once steam produces enough p-reassure in the vessel, a sealing type check float valve get pushed upward and in combination with the position of the steam release valve the vessel is now sealed. Pressure builds up to the setting requirement and the actual cooking time starts.

The preheating time may not be figured into the cooking times stated, so  cooking times may not take the preheating and cool down time (if used) into consideration. So actual start to finish time may be longer than stated. When the cooking cycle is completed, The matter of choosing   the pressure release method in the vessel is to be  considered. Naturally leaving the cooker as is and letting it cool will add additional cooking and time to your recipe and that may be desirable for some recipes.

At the end of the cooking phase,.an immediate pressure release is possible by rotating the steam release valve from the sealing position to the release position, but be forewarned, the resulting plume of steam, like a steam train whistle, will result upward from the steam release valve.  If placed on a counter under overhead cabinets above, condensation and moisture can the plume of releasing steam can be very high and forceful. That aspect didn’t bother me as I used the pot on a counter without any shelving or cabinets overhead. The instructions clearly illustrate this occurrence and provide that necessary warnings as a  pressured steam release can cause burns to skin if in the path of the escaping steam.

Now, a half a chicken cut into pieces, with potatoes and carrot and onions was cooked on the “meat setting” adjusting the time to 10 minutes and high pressure. A small amount of stock was added to the bottom to initiate steam production. The total time result  was closer to 30 minutes. No searing was done beforehand as I was used to this type of chicken recipe. The chicken was close to fall off  the bones, the carrot and potato done and a juicy gravy was at the bottom of the pot. The breast was not evenly cooked due to it’s thickness so it was return to the pot for an additional; 2 minutes, as the pot was already hot, the warm  up cycle was short and the additional 2 minutes was maybe 3 or 4 total.

Note:  the warm up time when pressure cooking can be reduced by setting the searing mode when starting a recipe to preheat the pot, then cancel and set pot as the recipe dictates.

The Instant pot is a worthwhile addition to our kitchen, this review only explores  a few capabilities of the Instant pot. One needs to  read about all the available bells and whistles and the benefits of pressurized cooking for the Instant Pot to be used in all it’s capabilities.  It is a system all in itself, the breath of recipes found online, in print, and within the instant pot app are plentiful,  The Instant pot app which gives you  recipes and operating instructions is  good and easy to use , but searching some categories provided by a search filter resulted in no results.

The app is free and recipes are scalable so I was able to downsize the quantity of servings to fit in the Mini Duo, the app automatically adjusted the ingredient measurements. . One item I did notice of the app was it’s inability to 2 finger zoom the recipe for easier viewing if need by the user for better legibility. I assume most recipes are written for the 6 or 8 quart pot.(the Mini is 3 quart)  Noting also, there is a 2/3 capacity limit of the pot itself .to avoid an overfilled pot resulting in  food particles spewing from the steam release port when activated.which is plainly marked on the stainless steel pot which has a heavy gauge bottom for even heat distribution,

* As far as resale value, at the time of writing, some auction  sites are a good indication of value of a used Instant Pot. The Instant Pot Mini Duo purchased by the reviewer, was from a thrift shop on-line  auction, sold at a deep discount as is and needing a steam release valve that was missing. Even with shipping and the replacement part cost, it was still considerably less expensive than a new Mini Duo delivered to my door. (this comparison is staying with the Instant Pot Brand as there is many look alikes available). If you don’t want to store appliances once you’ve’ retired them this could be a consideration to resell it to recoup some of the initial  cost later.



the unboxing

The thrift shop purchase included original box

sealing/release valve and float valve

the Mini Duo 3 quart Instant Pot

the resulting winner winner chicken dinner !


Drizzly ,shopping and delivery.


when reviewing , certain features , pricing, operations, and capabilities may change due to upgrades and changes within the app or website. Or I simply could be in error. Any feedback is welcome. Like, and follow if you choose. Bots will be blocked or un followed.

Depending on your location, alcohol beverages may have certain restrictions that prevent sales in certain stores.

Drizzly, an app is an easy ordering system tied to local liquor stores in your area.


Downloading the app, and ordering is simple, favorites etc. can be saved, the app shows you your shopping cart and the participating liquor stores, some stores may not carry what you require, so your order would be split into 2 separate orders. There is a minimum dollar amount for each order. Also there is the ability to have the delivery scheduled. Billing is as expected, can include a tip , cashless with expected payment systems available.

Pricing seems to be inline compared with the flyers and advertisements I see. There are some store specials like closeout in seasonal items and gift ideas. and yes you can order and deliver to a different location, so you dinner host can be pleasantly surprised to receive a parcel before you arrive for dinner. Store delivery fee, tax is added, is reasonable if you value your own labor time at a competing hourly rate, cost of transit, safety and travel time. Even if you enjoy shopping at the local shop, a last minute purchase can be done or if during your event a request goes unfilled like a cocktail that can not be completed.

In some locations local laws limit hours and restrictions so drizzly may not always be able to delivery at all times.

One can order 24/7 and the order will be delivered when the store is able to.

During my initial use of drizzly, I ordered early before the participating store was open. You get all of the usual notifications similar to Insta Cart , the shopper texted me that a item I requested was not available and suggested a same price item from the same brewery. (They also have to ability to either call or text) .

They also texted me that the delivery would be later than scheduled. Good thing I didn’t have a group of thirsty footballers on the premises ! The order was compensated by an additional free beverage.

Upon delivery, of course texted that they had arrived, the driver was gracious and apologetic on the lateness of the delivery, apparently more orders rolled in after mine. I don’t know the mechanism behind the system wheather gig workers are employed or the Drizzly is handled in house at the store.

All in all a solution to a problem, saving time and effort better spent perhaps preparing for your event, or that elusive beverage search for that ingredient required serving inlaws and loved ones that special cocktail, wine, or culinary dish. Also stores offer extras like ice and juices to stock your kitchen, fridge and bar.

Maybe stores would already offered delivery by phone to their best commercial customers, now Drizzly can deliver with a few taps to all with the smart device. (or computer).



R.I. celebrates start of largest ‘community solar’ project, in North Smithfield – News – – Providence, RI

Nautilus is working to sign up subscribers with Arcadia Power, a company that connects electric users with clean power projects. The King project will be open to all National Grid residential customers.

While I support any effort for clean power projects, why does one have to subscribe to Arcadia Power to receive the benefits? Is it possible to distribute the savings to all?

I went through the the steps to subscribe to Arcadia to get savings , but they require a credit card or debit card, and automatic billing and you must let Arcadia access your National Grid account. WHY ?

National Grid account offers about the same energy management features on their website and Arcadia seems to just mirror that. Why add a middleman to your energy use and distribution ?

The savings and benefits should be seamless and distributed to all .


Apple cranberry crisp

It’s fall weather time and if the cold blast prewinter weather cools you off then it’s apple crisp time.

Recipes abound, this one I like that adds the cranberries for tartness. You can cut back or eliminate the sugar with a substitute if you please.

4 apples (or whatever harvest will give you.)

1 & 1/2 cup cranberries,( I keep a few bags in the freezer)

1/3 cup sugar (or substitute)

3 tbls AP flour Or substitute

Zest (I used lemon juice)


1/2 cup flour or equivalent (some rice flour substituted)

1/2 cup oats, either quick cook or steel cut ,your preference.

1/3 cup light brown sugar or substitute

1/4 cup almonds sliced

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, fresh grated for me.

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter

Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, I lined a 10 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and added the mix.

You can rinse out and dry the bowl, add the rest of the topping ingredients, mix with a pastry blender, spread on top, bake in a 350 degree farenheit oven for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Let cool slightly, best with rich vanilla ice cream, and /or whipped cream.

From the oven

Plated, yes I ran the broiler for some char!


shopping update

The race to provide fresh food at your door is on..In our area  Aldi,  a global company have partnered with Instacart for shopping and delivery. So  all I have to compare Aldi to is my previous orders with PeaPod, from Stop and Shop.While both services do essentially the same thing, there are a few differences. But first let’s get this said, these are my own observations,  they may differ if you live in a different location, the platforms have have additional features or upgrades added since the last time I  used them and pricing may also differ by location. Or I could be incorrect.

Now just a few notations : (and these may also apply for none fresh food shopping services)

Ease of ordering

Lets face it we have probably started shopping on line years ago with Amazon, Ebay etc. So expectations are that the interface is clean and descriptions are accurate. Things that throw a wrench into the system is the vendor not having accurate and up to date info on items , here they may fall short , not having what you prefer, out of stock items that are never back in stock, or not offering substitutions. Instacart ordering does supply a substitution permission and the ability to select a substitution product. Instacart also connects feedback by text so you have instantaneous feed back when  the order is being shopped and the option to have the shopper call you before they check out . Your order items and cost will then vary from your original order.

Payment system:

If it doesn’t have a clear and concise payment checkout, itemized, and the ability to use either debit or credit, gift cards, and promotions , and possibly PayPal or another system then I’ts lacking. adding a tip is also favorable for a complete cashless checkout.

Customer Service

This should be a non issue if everything goes as planned, but in today’s world most online transactions beg for feedback on the shopping experience and tie in’s with social media sites.

Platforms of use

You could be considered old school if you use a desktop machine for shopping , some people may have only accesses to services  by smartphone, not to mention some companies don’t even support websites (per say) and only have an app for operation. (some apps may merely be an icon to a ULR address). Even so, the navigation and set up is usually different  for desktop browsers versions and could be different even if it’s a smartphone or tablet ! The point is it may be easier to use an app vs. a desktop.

Now the real world:

Transition from a brick and mortar to include e commerce doesn’t translate well at this time.on some points. For instance, getting a certain cut of meat, poultry etc. Do they offer items like Cornish hens, duck , turkey,  beef neck bones, liver, T bone steaks, lamb chops or shoulder chops,  etc. like you would find at the physical store. Meat and produce of course have short shelve life if it’s fresh, not frozen so changes are expected. But it’s a sacrifice made for the sake of not being at the store itself.  Futurist  would point out that virtually shopping could cure this.

Price consciousness:

If you yourself have been transitioning shopping from brick and mortar to online service, it’s easy to spot the price differences, I both have seen prices more than or less than what is considered fair. Some on line free shipping may hide the shipping in increased prices or quantity minimums to offset the free shipping..  Of course most vendors have a minimum order amount to prevent small costly orders

Difference delivery processes.

If a store offers in store pickup or drive up in addition to normal shipping, and either same day or next day shipping,  this further splits the decision on what you can get. To be accurate you can use filters  for searching by delivery type  , or wait, till your done filling your cart and go through your shopping cart to find out what you can’t get or have to pay a premium for. depending on the shipping method and certain trigger price  point for free shipping. Add to that, special offers and add-ons for subscribed members. !! WHEW  !

Aldi transaction 

  • Season’s Choice Frozen Brussels Sprouts

    $1.25 · 12 oz



    Replacement for 1x 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, Package (Limit 6)

  • Tri-Color Grapes (Limit 6)

    $6.59 · 3 lb



    Reason: out_of_stock

  • Boneless Half Pork Butt Roast

    $2.29 · ~ 4.85 lb

    4.85 lb


    Reason: out_of_stock



Stonemill Sea Salt Grinder

$2.55 · 3.15 oz



Broccoli, Package (Limit 6)

$1.89 · 1 lb



Cauliflower (Limit 6)

$2.85 · each



Black Angus Choice Top Round Steak

$5.99 · ~ 0.98 lb

1.1 lb



Black Angus Choice Beef Country Style Ribs

$4.89 · ~ 1.4 lb

2.18 lb


Kirkwood Fresh Young Chicken

$0.95 · ~ 6.22 lb

6.34 lb


Kirkwood Fresh Chicken Leg Quarters

$0.89 · ~ 5 lb

5.45 lb


Priano Prosciutto Italiano

$4.39 · 3 oz



Bone-In Center Cut Pork Chops

$2.99 · ~ 1.6 lb

1.6 lb



Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour

$2.09 · 5 lb



Boulder Reclosable Sandwich Bags

$2.55 · 100 ct



Willow Facial Tissue

$1.25 · 160 ct



Countryside Creamery Pure Irish Butter Salted

$2.75 · 8 oz



Clancy’s Honey Wheat Pretzels

$4.39 · 24 oz



here the itemized from aldi

Without getting long winded, as long as there is one or two competing services, I may utilize either, until the penetration of either Jump bike or other transportation service to our area becomes available (in how many years?)  for those quick rides  to the store vs. Uber or Lyft.

recent order from Target:









November 2019

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