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Consumer Watch 213

Soda 'Drip' Bottle

Some potted plants need a lot of water but take a long time to irrigate; maybe the soil is dense, or there isn't much space at the top.
One solution is to fill an empty 1.5 liter soda water bottle (unsweetened and unflavored) with water, plant the nozzle firmly in the dirt and tilt the bottom at an angle, resting it against a wall or thick stem. And there's a bonus: most plants adore the residual soda left in the bottle.

Pet Food Tips

*Use a potato-masher to mash up soft and chunky foods for senior pets.

*Dampen dry foods with a little water and stir with a spoon to un-clump before serving – but keep it dry enough to retain its shape; most pets ignore 'mud'. 

Apple Sass a steamed apple sauce made with a little water and lemon juice.
Wash 1.5 kg of apples thoroughly, rinse and seed but do not core or peel (unwaxed apples only). Cover the bottom of a medium pot [2-3 liters] in water to a depth of +/- half a centimeter and cover. While bringing the water to a simmer add 1-2 TBS fresh or preserved lemon juice and begin slicing the apples as for a fruit salad. Add the slices to the pot as they are done and replace the lid, letting the slices pile up and 'steam'. Stir to make sure there is enough liquid and the bottom isn't 'browning'. Simmer on low heat until peels are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water if needed to prevent burning. As it cools down - slowly - the color will darken.

Keeps for 3-4 days refrigerated, or indefinitely frozen.

Check Before Leaving
Park your cart in an out-of-the-way corner to check the supermarket receipt before leaving the store; then you can ask for an explanation – or refund, if need be. Still, sometimes...
The shelf price of a popular item gave an NIS 5.50 discount per item when buying two. I bought six. The receipt showed a discount... but back home the calculator showed the discount was 2/3 what it should have been: NIS 11 short.
On a scrap of paper I noted down: date of purchase, item's bar-code number, full price, shelf-price, discount received, the difference – and stapled it to the receipt. At the supermarket a week later, the chief cashier handed over the money as fast as she could enter details into the store's computer.

Wheeled Shopping Cart >-- > Shopping/Parcel Trolley

When the cloth bag wears out on a common, two-wheeled shopping cart, keep the metal frame to make into a trolley.
- The fastest and simplest way is to secure a basket or small laundry hamper to the frame in place of the bag.
- Alternatively, use two plywood squares about 30cm x40 cm each to form a 'base' and 'back' {so items don't fall off through the frame}. By drilling (or punching) four sets of paired holes in the 'base' and two sets in the 'back', the plywood can be tied to the metal frame with wire, cord, or zip-locks. Add two bungees to secure a small to medium sized bag, parcel, bucket or basket to it.
Of course folding frames won't fold anymore... but if it works, who cares?

Quick Hot Meal... or "where there's an electric kettle..."

Ingredients: small tin any tuna, 90-112gms drained weight; 1/2 cup unseasoned potato flakes; 1 cup boiling water.
Optional: pinch of basil, oregano, garlic granules or thyme; dash of milk; pat of butter; hard boiled egg.

Place potato flakes in a deep bowl and add hot water in stages, stirring continually until resulting mashed potatoes are the desired density.

For best results stir in any spice before adding water, add a little less water if milk is added, and break up the tuna and egg to warm them. With a little experimenting this is a very tasty, warming and filling meal. Also, in my area unseasoned potato flakes are available by the kilo from a spice store and are cheaper than the supermarket 'seasoned' brands.

To take anywhere: pre-measure your mix, then store dry in a stainless steel bowl with plastic lid. Beteavon!

Coffee news

Coffee drinkers will have to pay more or cut back on their favorite pick-me-up as climate change, the pandemic and supply chain issues affect costs. The price on the world market rose from $1.22 per pound of coffee last February to $2.58 in February 2022, and as of this writing it continues to fluctuate between $2.12 and $2.34.

Last year Brazil, which grows 39% of the world' coffee, harvested 40% less arabica coffee than in 2020, the lowest quantity since 2009. {Equal to about two-thirds total U.S. consumption.} Also, shipping costs rose so steeply that many producers opted to sell their crop locally instead of exporting.

On the other hand, Colombia, the world's third largest producer, was not affected – but its price has doubled to reach a 10-year high while the price in Vietnam, the world's second largest coffee producer, has more than doubled.


Result of long distance phone call to open tuna can (caregiver didn't come). We nailed it with a screwdriver and blunt knife!
(1) Lift finger tab with screwdriver (2) insert screwdriver through 'wrong' side of tab, [i.e., opposite side to where finger goes] and rest blade on opposite side of can (3) lever can open (4) finish detaching lid with blunt knife.

That got us going. To open a difficult jar:

* Gently tap the lid against a hard surface, to release any vacuum inside, or
* Hold lid steady with one hand and bottom of jar firmly in the other, then turn the entire jar! The jar is heavier than the lid and its weight is added to the twist, OR
* Use flat end of can opener to raise lid all the way around, releasing vacuum - it is hand-turnable when you hear a POP.

* For added traction, use pieces of pebbled rubber shelf-liner as gripping pads.

Thank you, Sarah Greenberg!

Reflections on T.P.

Standing in the checkout line one day, I heard a customer ahead commenting to the cashier on the high-priced brand of toilet paper in my cart versus the 'bargain' brand in hers. "I can't imagine throwing away money like that," she said, or words to that effect.
I had just spent two years surviving a financial crunch by expanding a good, practical understanding of "penny-wise and pound-foolish"; I had even run three brands of TP at one time before settling on two {one for use as tissues}, so I couldn't resist commenting deadpan: "Yes, the bargain brand IS cheaper – but it takes more of it to get the job done... if it doesn't tear first."
A stunned silence followed, before the woman, staring off into space, murmured to the cashier: "She may have a point."

From Fonda Dubb

Wardrobe organizer

Use different colored hangers to sort items by type, for example one color for all short-sleeved blouses, another for long-sleeved, a third for pants, and so on. "It's so much easier to distinguish what to wear... I'm even dressing better as it's so easy now to assemble an outfit!!" Also keep a list of the color code somewhere convenient - like on the inside of a wardrobe door. "This definitely helps!"

Kitchen peelings

When peeling fruit, vegetables or eggs: insert a plastic bag into a bowl and throw it away afterwards. Or place a strainer over a bowl. It's much easier than picking up bits of peel or shell.

Photo credit: Maria Ionova on Unsplash

Dropped an egg on the floor?

Sprinkle a lot of regular kitchen salt to cover the egg. Leave for 5 minutes. Cover with a double layer of paper towel and it will remove the egg easily.

Hard boiled eggs keep longer in a fridge when unpeeled, but if you keep them in the shell mark the egg with a tiny X, to remind you: this one is hard.

Chopped Liver
does not freeze very well, tending to granulate. After freezing and thawing I mix it – with a wooden spoon - with a small amount of mayonnaise to make it smoother, but take care if you don't want to make a paté: start off with a teaspoon of mayonnaise and add more as desired.

Left-over liver? Make into a roll or roll in a plastic bag; refrigerate, and slice into rounds as needed to place on rounds of toast for Canapés - or on round crackers, the lazy way!! and top with a sprig of parsley. Either way they are delicious.

Cracker Jack Cutter

The Cracker Jack Cutter does a variety of work. One of the most versatile tools. Yesterday I was given a packet of unsliced biltong. Struggling to cut it with a knife because of arthritic fingers, I suddenly remembered it. It works like a charm for slicing biltong!

Thank you Fonda Dubb 

PS to Barn Owl Peace Makers? from previous issue

For those who would like to see more on the subject, Charter Group Birdcams is a YouTube channel devoted to live feeds and clips of various birds in their nesting boxes in Israel. 



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Wednesday, 19 June 2024

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