Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Things that consume my time lately

Any time I can find something to prevent my doing actual work, I grab onto it, and just when I think I've discovered all the time-wasters I can ever use, along comes something else.

For instance, Words With Friends, which is an online form of Scrabble (sort of).  I've always been horrible at Scrabble for the same reason I'm awful at most games:  I don't have the patience to think out my moves and make the best possible choice.  This has made me almost an untouchable if I play any card game that requires a partner, because obviously most folks don't look at a "game" like I do:  to me, something that isn't important in the vast scheme of things. Throughout my life I've found that most card players are dead serious about their game.  My mother was one of the first people I recall having this (to me) ridiculously messed-up idea, and if she ended up as my partner, she'd go into frequent spasms of shock at my ineptitude.

So, after making a weak attempt long ago at playing Words with Friends, I got tired of feeling like a total loser and put it behind me.  Recently, though, I saw my daughter playing the game and decided to compete with her; my daughter wouldn't make fun of my lack of skills, at least not to my face. She won the first several games.  Since she was my only opponent, I had plenty of time to consider each move and started taking my time, thinking out all the various moves; finally, I won a game!  Well, winning for a change felt pretty good, so I started playing with random people suggested on the site... but at first I made sure their average word score wasn't any better than mine, which was 14 points.  I started winning about half my games.  Winning so much got sort of boring, so I began choosing competitors whose average word scores had a higher average than mine .  Lo and behold, my game improved, because I was taking more time with my moves and learning a few tricks.  Wow!  What fun!  I don't win even half the time, but I DO win some games.  

And what a time-waster.  But perhaps I'm keeping dementia from my door.  Yeah, that's as good a reason to play a game as any other.  

My latest fascination is with my new Instant Pot.  I had decided long ago not to step on that particular bandwagon because, after all, I have two sizes of pressure cookers handy and I'm not afraid to use them.  Unfortunately, they are recent models, and it came to a point where if I was going to pressure-cook anything, I had to re-screw a loose handle back on, or even sometimes call Cliff to the kitchen to help me get a lid on.  Let's just say the newer models aren't even close to being as sturdy and well-made as the old ones like my mom and aunts used.

Then the six-quart Instant Pot went on sale again, and I caved.  It arrived Thursday, and I went on an experimenting binge the likes of which would be the envy of Madame Curie.  First, I pressure-cooked water.  I think they tell you to do that just so you'll learn how everything works.  My water turned out fine.  I joined a Facebook group, "Instant Pot Community", where I could get my questions answered and find recipes and suggestions; one of the first things I laid eyes on was "perfect, easy-peel hard-boiled eggs".  I can always use boiled eggs, so that was my second trial.  Indeed, they were unbelievably perfect with no green ring around the yolk, and they peeled easily; I told Cliff, "I've purchased an eighty-dollar egg cooker!"  

Next project, split-pea soup, which we love.  Never mind that we had plenty of food around without making soup, I had to try it.  Unfortunately, the turkey broth I used had been in the freezer way too long, and that was the ruination of my otherwise perfect soup.  We both ate some, but I decided to chalk it up as a learning experiment and toss it.  This reminds me I had better go to the deep freeze right now and get rid of the other couple of bags of turkey broth (but yesterday I made some nice chicken broth in my Instant Pot to replace it).  Sunday I cooked a rump roast.  It was satisfactory, but after reading a lot of articles, it seems to me that chuck roast comes out better in the Instant Pot than the dryer, blockier beef roasts.

Next I found a recipe to make in a slow-cooker and wanted to see how good a job the Instant Pot does with that.  This was the only experiment that was a total failure.  People on the Facebook group warned me that the Instant Pot doesn't really do great as a slow cooker, but did I listen?  Nope.  I ended up finishing the barely-cooked dish in the microwave.  Oh well, I have two slow cookers anyhow.  Also, one lady in the group said if the dish was similar to a casserole, you have to set it in the Instant Pot over water.  I think I'll just use my old Crockpots.  
I made a single poached egg that came out perfect.  I had a taste of it, then Cliff happily ate the rest, smiling all the time.  I had a small oven-proof dish to put the egg in, inside the cooker.  But there was only room for the one dish.  Since we both love poached eggs, I purchased a couple of trivets ($7.19 for two).  They will both fit in there at once and we'll eat poached eggs together.   There's another thing I'm learning about the Instant Pot:  It will make you buy other stuff so you can use it in various ways.  Go ahead and buy the pot on sale, but don't expect all the things that go with it to be cheap.

This morning maybe I'll make steel-cut oats, which I've been making in my double-boiler all this time.  

I think you get the picture; that's all my drivel for today.  



I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I've never had or used an instant pot but after your description, I think I can do without one. I do have an egg cooker that holds 7 eggs that really does a great job and it will do poached eggs too. I've so many gadgets, my cupboards won't hold anymore anyway. It's good to keep busy and to improve your mind, and it sounds like you have a good handle on that !

Margaret said...

Words with Friends would make me way too competitive. I don't care very much about things I'm not good at, but words are my thing. :)

krueth said...

Don't feel guilty about not being busy all the time, you have worked hard and deserve to sit and play some games on your electronics if you so wish to! I have been wondering and thinking on an instant pot, still not sure I will purchase one, My kids got me an air fryer for my birthday in February. I have fun using that, that will have to do for me. No room for more gadgets as Ma up there says too :-) Wendy

Andrea said...

We bought our son-in-law an Instant Pot last year for Christmas. As far as I know he likes it. I personally am not into gadgets as my kitchen is the smallest I've seen in my lifetime, so... the less "stuff" I have the better. But I enjoy hearing about everything available today & how folks like it. My hubby has worked for Whirlpool Corp for 36 years now so... "gadgets" have kept food on our table for many years now. *lol* Enjoy your Instant Pot & keep us posted on the different foods you try in it. ~Andrea

Sister--Three said...

I love my instant pot.
I love words with friends!


i have never had an instant pot though it sounds useful enough. enjoy yours and your new game too.

Margie's Musings said...

I have an old slow cooker that I've had since the 70's. I'll just use that. Your experiments sound interesting though.

Lori said...

I used to play Words With Friends...maybe I'll get back into it. I have thought about getting an Instant Pot but wasn't sure I really needed it. I'm still not sure I need it, but at least I'm more educated on it now.