Spam email

I try to go through the spam folder on my email once a week or so, just to make sure that nothing important got put in there by accident.  Though I do have to say that Google has an awesome spam detector, I almost never get spam in my inbox, and I can’t recall the last time something important went into spam by mistake.  But I still check.

Recently I noticed a trend.  Among all the drug offers and advertisments for porn and organ enlargement, there have been ALOT of AARP offers.  Like several a day.  Now I had been ignoring them, I’m no where near old enough, but today I decided to look at them out of curiosity.

They all appear to be the same at first glance, the subject line is either FREE GIFT or MEET BETTY WHITE, and the inside appears to be a standard “come join us and get this free gift!!!” sort of solicitation that you would expect to get from AARP.  There’s just one problem, not one of the links in the email leads to an official AARP site, and the links in each email are different from the next email, as are the email address they come from, and I don’t mean one is from joe blow at AARP and one is from joe smith at AARP, I mean they’re info@RandomWebsiteName where RandomWebsiteName matches the random website that the links to go.  And none of them are (up front) valid websites, for example one is (where links go to********(random letters and numbers)*****), another is, or  None of them are the same (I only spotted one duplicate in the 28 I’ve received in the last week).  So just for the heck of it I copied out the links (so I could go to the link without clicking from the email) and went to the “home” page of a couple.  Blank pages.  No idea if its just an attempt to get money, or spread a virus, didn’t feel like digging far enough to find out.

I gotta say its pretty slick looking, and since its aimed at a generation that isn’t always comfortable with computers I  bet it works on occasion too.  Kinda scary.

Mother Nature….

…I appreciate the time and energy you put into making things grow, or not grow, as your whim permits, but really, attempting to play with evolution to force my corner of the country to grow gills is really not nessecary.  You can stop sending us rain for a while.  Please send it to Texas instead.

Cooking help?

Ok, I know there’s a couple folks who read this who COOK, where as I CAN cook, but am generally much happier following a recipe (there are exceptions to that, but not many).  Once I know a recipe reasonably well I’ll play with it, but I gotta have that start.

So, I want to make my own cheese spread.  Why?  Cause a really GOOD cheese spread is hard to get sometimes, and the rest kinda suck.  The BEST cheese spread I can get locally I have to go rather out of my way for and it costs more than the rest (of course), its worth it, but its still money and time spent that gets annoying when I want cheese spread.

So I went looking for recipes.  I’m gonna link to three, there’s lots more, but these three seem to be reasonably good examples of what I’m seeing:

recipe 1
recipe 2
recipe 3

So.  The are some rather significant differences here, and I’m bit stumped as to which I’m likely to want to try.  They all call for butter, but one also calls for sour cream.  One calls for white wine (but notes that if you only have water that’ll work), the others don’t call for any liquid.  The amounts I’m less worried about (though there’s some significant differences there too), I’m capable of adding bit by bit till I get the texture I want, and I can figure out flavorings myself, but does anyone have any ideas as to which recipe might be a better choice (or at least WHY this one calls for sour cream, and that one white wine….), or do you have a recipe to share that you’ve already tried?

Snow blower

Ok, so we’re finally shopping for a snow blower.  Shoulda done it sooner, but well, see my previous posts about life, but we’re getting a little close to winter now to be leaving it much longer.  We got away last winter without one, and for the majority of the winter that was tolerable.  Till that big storm back at the beginning of March.  If we’d had a snow blower I’d probably still have not made it to work, but at least Husband probably wouldn’t have been late to his job, and the only reason HE made it to work was his dad came over with the truck and plowed for us (since its a 1/2hr + drive in good weather thats saying something).

So, snow blowers…..the driveway is long, at least 40ft long, and almost that wide at the point closest to the garage and carport.  Partially paved, partially gravel.  I know we need at a two stage model, I’d love a zero turn model (or whatever they call it on snowblowers), but there’s a definite upwards price limit.  Also have to keep in mind that it would be nice if I could manage it myself, but I’m not an especially large person and have very small hands which can sometimes make handling controls interesting.

We’re looking at this one, not not necessarily from Amazon (though its listed with free shipping….).  Any suggestions, advice or whatnot for us?

Snack food

So I posted way back about how I use the Vermont Powered Cheddar cheese from King Arthur Flour to make a home-made version of Smart Food popcorn.  I’ve loved the cheesey popcorns since the first time someone introduced me to Smart Food when I was a kid.  The stuff’s addictive and I can’t NOT eat a whole bag in one sitting.  So since I could really stand to loose a few (ok, several) pounds I don’t buy it at all any more.  But that left the cheesey popcorn craving just so unsatisfied till I found the cheese powder at King Arthur.

Just the difference in calorie counts is huge.  According to the Smart Food link above a 1oz serving (of which I usually eat 3 or 4 of) of Smart Food contains 160 calories, 10g of fat, and 14g of carbohydrates.

My homemade cheezey popcorn (recipe to follow) approx 95 calories, 4.5g of fat, and 9g of carbohydrates (nutritional data for the cheese powder is on the above link, for plain popcorn see here)

See what I mean?  And my recipe makes a whole lot more than a single 1oz serving.

How to make homemade cheezey popcorn:

First off pop your popcorn in the method of your choice, keeping in mind that if you pop in oil it may raise the above numbers a bit.  I use a Whirley Pop popcorn popper and love it (got mine locally, Amazon is a handy link).  My Whirley Pop will do a 1/2 cup of corn comfortably so thats the amount I usually do at one time.

Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cheese powder over the top of the popped corn and mix in (yes this requires a very large bowl, or you’ll have popcorn everywhere).

Then sit down in-front of your favorite movie and enjoy!

If you wish to save some for later bag it up into single serving size ziplocks as soon as its cool enough to handle (which happens pretty quick), as the longer you let it sit the more stale it’ll taste later.  Make sure you get all the extra air out to help keep the popcorn from going stale.  You could bag it up in a single big bag, but I find the single serving size handy when I’m rushing out the door to work.  I’ve found it’ll keep that way just fine for at least a couple days.  Might keep longer, but I’ve usually eaten it by then!