Turtle Jello or: The Things I’ll do For my Ungrateful Bee of a Daughter

Turtle Jello or: The Things I’ll do For my Ungrateful Bee of a Daughter

For the record: my daughter is 8 years older than me, and also a red eared slider turtle.

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it’s true

Turtles, like human children, are supposed to eat their greens to stay healthy. Tippy, also like human children, is a huge brat and hates eating her greens. She goes through phases. When I first adopted her from a family that, while having good intentions, neglected her and her nutritional health, she wouldn’t eat anything but ReptoMin pellets. According to Tippy’s vet, her diet should only be 50% ReptoMin pellets. First, I got her to eat freeze-dried river shrimp with her pellets. THEN I got her to eat zucchini bits with her pellets, but she stopped wanting to eat the dry shrimp. THEN I gave her a cooked cocktail shrimp as a treat and she stopped wanting to eat anything but shrimps!
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This is a problem because I had just gotten Tippy’s shell from a dusty sickly stuck-shed brown to a beautiful shiny black! It only took a few months for Tippy’s picky eating to result in some dry patches on her shell so I knew I had to do something. I took Tippy to her annual vet exam and asked for some advice. (NOTE: Tippy was the coolest turtle in school in her dinosaur sweater from her Auntie Vicki! <3)

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Tippy’s greatest loves are being dressed up and going to the vet (this is a lie, they are MY greatest loves)

The vet suggested that I chop up Tippy’s veggies and hide it in some shrimpy jello. Which sounds as disgusting as it SO. WAS. I’m a vegetarian and I’ve never made jello before despite the fact that I’m a shitty vegetarian who totally forgets to not eat gelatin so I looked up a recipe to make sure I didn’t fuck it up too much. I got the general idea from this recipe posted on redearslider.com’s Turtle Talk! forum . Mine is a lot simpler though, as I had not thought about adding anything other than greens and shrimp to the gelatin. Next time I do this, I will follow their recipe a bit more and include calcium powder and pellets! So here is my very SIMPLE turtle jello recipe:

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Ingredients:
– Knox gelatine (1 packet)
– Red leaf lettuce (approx. 4 leaves)
– Precooked cocktail shrimp (2 large)
– Boiling water (1/2 cup)
Tools needed: 
– Ice cube tray
– Food processor or blender or willingness to finely chop lettuce and shrimp together

Directions:
1) Clean and roughly chop the lettuce and shrimp

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This picture is just to show off my turtle cutting board that Tippy’s Auntie Lisa got me! 

2) Put it all in a food processor and blend!

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This food processor was given to me by Tippy’s Grandma Roberta! Tippy’s family is so generous ;_;

3) Mix the pureed green/shrimp mixture with one packet of the gelatin and add 1/2 cup of boiling water.

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Pre-gelatin/water addage

4) Spoon the liquid into an ice cube tray! (Bacardi Bat ice cube tray not required, but HIGHLY recommended)

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Courtesy of Auntie Ginz! 

5) Refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours!

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NOTES:
1) I cannot EXPRESS to you how nasty this smelled. Again, I am not a meat-eater so I am not really into fishy smells. But I am not one of those vegs who tries to feed their pet veg because I am not a doofus SO I GRINNED AND BARED (BEARED?) IT.
2) I actually think I could have used a higher ratio of gelatin/water to puree because the cubes did not hold their shape very well (see above)
3) I tried shoving some ReptoMin into the cubes because I was afraid that the cubes were too greens heavy and I needed to make sure that Tippy’s nose said FISH and not LETTUCE. This would have been a lot easier had I done it BEFORE refrigerating like the forum suggested but OH WELL
4) Tippy LOVED IT. When I first walked up to her she was like go away mom I’m friggin sun bathing 

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But then I wafted a piece of the jello towards her and she (slowly) jumped into the water and NOMMED the HELL out of it

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SAVAGE

Based on her reaction I give this recipe TEN TIPPYS OUT OF TEN PLUS ONE SHRIMPIE

🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🍤

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The $25 Target Challenge

The $25 Target Challenge

I have a Target problem. (Am I a basic white bee because I have a target problem? Or do I have a target problem because I am a basic white bee?)

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Get a PSL to sip while you shop! via http://www.beesinfrance.com/

My friend and co-worker, Madre de Bueno (formerly known as “Teacher some number I forgot”) also has this problem. So last week when we decided to go on a target trip to knock out our various secret santa situations MdB came up with brilliant idea: we would challenge ourselves to only spend 25 dollars at Target. It seemed impossible, but we believed we were up to the task.

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spoiler alert: we weren’t up to the task 

It was actually a perfect set-up. I had two secret santas to shop for, a work one and a friend one. I had $15 left to spend for the work secret santa and around $10 for the friend one. It would be eeeeasy to spend $25 or below.

We started our adventure at the dollar spot, the section of target that has $1, $2, and $3 items. IT’S GREAT. All my student’s token system prizes come from this section.

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I love you, cheap section of target

MdB and I found the only remaining Halloween item among the xmas stuff because we have Halloweendar.

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Luckily, I was not tempted (because I still have target halloween stickers leftover from two months ago). Unluckily, we didn’t find a lot of good stuff in the dollar spot so we were forced to move on to other sections, a devestating move for the $25 challenge.

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Next stop was target’s very small book section! Here we see MdB being an actual thrifty shopper and using the target cartwheel app to see if that cookbook was on sale (it wasn’t). And HERE we see me fucking around with these little sticky mirror things you can put on your cell phone case:

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I should be ashamed of how many crappy selfies I took in this tiny little mirror, but I’m not because I am Proud Trash. 

Those mirror stickers were TEN FUCKING DOLL HAIRS can you imagine.

Anyway, there was no great finds in the book section either so we moved on to the gift cards/gifts to go aisle. Where I found THE PERFECT THING FOR ONE OF MY SECRET SANTAS which I can’t tell you about because… they might read my blog? Goooood timing on this post, Me. What I can tell you about is this HORRIFYING price check item override nightmare situation:

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An eleven dollar difference WHO DID THIS 

It’s been 5 years since I worked in retail but this still stresses me out. Who put the nice expensive cards in the $3.99 face? Was it an employee who just had one more to put up and didn’t want to bother with the shelving in the back? Or did a customer take it out from on top and put it back wrong?!?! Either way that’s $11 that I’m gonna have to cost this company because I know that target has the same policy that CVS had that if it’s mis-shelved you get the price it was shelved at sob sob sob CASHIER NIGHTMARES

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Anyway, the gifts to go aisle was a success! Including the $3 worth of stuff I got at the dollar spot I was sitting pretty at $12 left to go in my $25 budget. EASY.

So here where it all started going downhill. I’m not trying to SPILL ANY SECRETS but one of my secret santas said their favorite scent was one of the three items given to the baby jesus uPON his birth. Very holidayish, yes?! WELL I looked at and smelled at every damn candle in target and I did NOT find the right scent. I DID however find the OTHER smelly thing jesus received on his birthday:

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WTFKJSKFHSFB

but even if this WAS the correct smell it was a ~*~*~$15*~*~ flippin candle so, no.

My frantic candle search led me to download the cartwheel app to see if I could get a good deal on something I personally needed

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BULLSHIT

The cartwheel app is USELESS. Once the idea of alcohol was in my brain it was all over. I mean, how can I really expect to go to target without buying a cube of wine? I was setting myself up for failure. MdB and I both realized that we weren’t going to meet the challenge of spending $25 BUT we were determined to buy all our secret santa gifts. And in that way, we were victorious.

Because I’m not a real writer, and I can’t even structure blog posts, the rest of this will be a list of funny things that happened while we were at target:

  1. MdB found a loose kit kat on the floor and offered me $5 to eat it
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    I couldn’t do it, tho.

    2. We ran into our friend, Algebra (I hope you like your blog nickname, Algebra)! AND a random lady who was ALSO secret santa shopping!

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    This picture is titled “Things MdB doesn’t need/can’t have” – Also, check out Random Lady in the background!

    3. MdB had an ACTUAL FIT in the cleaning aisle about this special edition xmas scented soap.

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    this should be an ad for meyer’s

4. “That doesn’t even LOOK like Jennifer Aniston! It looks like Jennifer Aniston photo-shopped onto Mary Kate and Ashley Olson” – MdB

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she’s right tho

5. We stood on the other side of the aisle away from the clothes section for a good five minutes convincing ourselves that we didn’t need to buy or look at any clothes

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Honestly, going to target and avoiding the pull of the entire clothes section is the true miracle of this post. 

6. We found this adorable cookie jar but couldn’t agree on whether it was a squirrel or a chipmunk. IT’S UP TO YOU, INTERNET. SQUIRREL OR CHIPMUNK????

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I’m #teamsquirrel myself

7. This youth shirt design which is weird EVEN by pre-teen girl shirt standards

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tag yourself, I’m the shoe

8. Madre de Bueno took this sneaky snake photo of me at the peak of my mountain madness at the wrong jesus smell candle
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9. And finally, we took this beautiful family photo

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how do you flip photos is a question i have

so in conclusion, spending $25 or less at target is literally impossible based on this one trip. THE END.

Protein Rice Bowl (Hello Fresh review #3)

Protein Rice Bowl (Hello Fresh review #3)

I was so not interested in making this last recipe from my free hello fresh box. In fact, I started making it last night and I got as far as taking this ingredient photo:

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green onions, sesame seeds, cashews, rice, green beans, garlic, soy sauce and A VERY GENEROUS CORN as you will see later in this post. 

And then Michael was watching the new Spider-Man trailer, and I got distracted trying to figure out if Ganke was in it (he wasn’t), and then we watched another trailer and another and another and then Michael was like, “Do you just wanna order Chinese?” and Michael NEVER wants to order Chinese so THAT HAPPENED (not a good budgety decision but oh well). So I was all ready to just throw in the towel and re-purpose the ingredients. HOWEVER when I went to check the fridge I realized that all I had besides this last box was butter, a couple of brown bananas, and a bunch of old food that I really need to throw out. The pantry was, somehow, even worse. We have four boxes of pasta.. but no pasta sauce. And nothing even close to tomato sauce that I could maybe turn INTO pasta sauce. How did that happen?!

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“You just gotta improvise, Lisa!” 

So I sucked it up and made the damn recipe, “Protein-Packed Rice Bowl” by Hello Fresh. Protein-packed is REALLY a stretch for a rice bowl with no typical vegetarian proteins in it. It had some cashews, but just as a topping. It should have been called Veggie Fried Rice Bowl (But Without the Fried Egg Part). It was just fried rice with green beans, corn, and carrots.

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The first instruction was to toast the cashews. They wanted me to use up a whole cookie sheet! To toast some nuts! Ridiculous. Can you imagine the wasted cleaning time if I wasn’t the kind of person who just puts down tin foil and never washes her bake ware?! Pfft.

I talk a big game for someone who almost fucked this recipe up entirely. First, it said to cook the rice but did not mention rice to water ratio at all. That’s a hefty thing to assume, that I would know how to cook rice. I have a rice cooker but I decided to go old-fashioned for some dumb reason and it took forEVER

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this is why I bought a rice cooker, sob

Then, the instructions said to chop the green onions into 1 inch bits and it didn’t say anything about the green beans, which I thought was weird. It also said I only needed to use half the can of corn and made some silly comment about “the rest of the can is on us!” hahhaha thanks for that, it really makes this $27 fried rice worth it to know I got extra corn. I didn’t know what the hell I’d do with half a can of corn so I used all of it.

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It was around this time that I realized I done fucked up. Looking back at the directions I realized I was supposed to chop the beeeeans into inch strips and “thinly slice” the green onions. DON’T SKIM RECIPES, CHILDREN.

Once I hastily broke up the green beans with a dull knife it looked a lot better. The directions said “toss” a lot, like I had a wok which I don’t. ALSO it came with an unpeeled carrot. I DO have a peeler but… I don’t feel like that’s a common item. On hello fresh’s FAQs it says all you need to provide from your own kitchen is”salt, pepper, and a good oil” LIES – it’s assuming you have all sort of weird kitchen things and also a working knowledge of strange cooking terms (“lug”, “drizzle”, “just cook the rice, I’m sure you know how”)

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lookit all the seedssss

Anyhoo, despite all this, it was a decent recipe. Michael liked it. And since I used all the corn it was an okay amount too. ALL IN ALL I give it 6 Tippys out of 10.

🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢_ _ _ _

Fancy Pantsy Flatbread Pizza (Hello Fresh review #2)

Fancy Pantsy Flatbread Pizza (Hello Fresh review #2)

I was all ready to break up the ingredients of my remaining two hello fresh meals after I made my last post. I even put the chunk of ginger root from the rice bowl recipe into a beer sampling glass and put it in the windowsill to sprout (we’ll see if this works). HOWEVERR, a loyal reader requested that I do the remaining recipes and review them here. I KNOW, I’m shocked too. First, I have loyal readers? Second, they comment and request things?! It’s a miracle.

Update on the nasty rotten asparagus from last time: Hello fresh gave me a $20 credit that I will never use because that would still make their boxes WAY THE HELL out of my budget. I was okay with this until I told Teacher 3 and she said the same thing happened to her with hello fresh but with a red pepper and SHE got an ENTIRE FREE BOX. WTF HELLO FRESH.

So anyway, here is hello fresh’s “Pesto Flatbread (Posh Pizza)”.

Here is everything that came in the little box:

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I got excited when I saw the brown wrapping because TO ME  pizza = cheese. I know that the mozzarella is there, and that fancy pizza never has a great deal of cheese but I had HIGH HOPES. Which were dashed, because that’s just a nicely wrapped zucchini. ;_; Which is fine. I’m a vegetarian, I like vegetables. Plus I got to shave off a chunk for Tippy who begrudgingly loves zucchini.

My only real comment on the ingredients is that there was a LOT of broccoli related food waste.

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I like broccoli stems. I should have kept them but this was weird long, fancy broccoli and I was worried that I wasn’t supposed to eat the stems. Fancy produce intimidates me. You know how there’s that fancy fish that is mostly poisonous? What if this broccoli was the same way?!?!?!?!

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me, chopping broccoli, probably

So anyway, someday when I’m rich and I have a yard (never) I’ll have a compost heap and then I’ll never feel bad about food waste! BUT FOR NOW, I threw away more than half of the broccoli that hello fresh gave me.

This time the recipe called for a DRIZZLE of oil which I wish had been the direction for the goddamadsnmfdsnfg pasta because drizzle, to me, means a smallish amount and it worked out fine unlike my pasta sauce which turned out to be literally half oil.

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So pretty!!!!

I don’t have a lot of snarky things to say about this recipe because it was actually quite good. I even didn’t mind that the sauce on the pizza was pesto and not marinara, which I normally don’t like. I think the addition of sun-dried tomatoes fixed the part of my brain that would have rebelled against a pizza with no tomatoey goodness. Also, I was VERY pleased with how much topping ended up on the flatbreads. I hate when you go to a restaurant and order a pizza flatbread and it’s two little circles of mozzarella and like, a mushroom. That’s not pizza! That’s bread. That shouldn’t cost money at a nice restaurant, that should be given to me FOR FREE so I can fill up and only spend 6 bucks on a small salad.

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You know it’s a good amount of toppings when they all spill off and you get to eat the droppings all up at the end of your meal om nom nom nom 

Michael even liked it! A SUCCESS, FOR ONCE IN MY FAILURE OF A LIFE. I GIVE THIS PIZZA 10 TIPPYS OUT OF 10.

🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

Meal Subscription Box Hell and Other Over-Exaggerations

Meal Subscription Box Hell and Other Over-Exaggerations

This post is dedicated to Ginz, for without whom’s free box coupons I would never be able to make this snarky post about meal subscription boxes

Meal subscription boxes are, I think, the new thing. I’m basing this idea on the fact that there are a lot of different companies doing it and my targeted advertisements are all about Gryffindor sweatshirts and meal subscription boxes (I assume that this is because all hip millennials are into food and harry potter).

First, a disclaimer. I am in no way saying that meal subscription boxes are budget-friendly. Michael and I’s weekly grocery budget is around $80 TOTAL. That is, we aim to spend $40 EACH every week on EVERY food item (except alcohol which is, very sadly, part of the fun money budget). I’ve tried two different subscriptions, the first (Blue Apron) was about $60 a week – and that’s for THREE meals for TWO people. This one I am reviewing for this blog post (Hello Fresh) is $80 dollars a week! So if I were to really do this weekly, I would either have $20 left for 4 nights of dinner, 7 mornings of breakfast, and 7 days of lunches for TWO people – OR completely use up my grocery budget on three meals total. So why am I even making this post? I don’t know?!?!? I need to do something with my broke ass time.

So! Ginz VERY KINDLY gave me a free box of Hello Fresh. It arrived this afternoon.

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Their packaging is actually v cute

Michael gets home before me most days and he NO JOKE, saw that I got a meal subscription box, went to Harris Teeter, and brought home a frozen pepperoni pizza.

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PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF. 

Is this because he just really, really likes pepperoni pizza but never gets to eat it because his girlfriend is a vegetarian?!?! OR is it because last time I got a meal subscription box I guilted him for not helping me with it, and then took like two hours to make a really little meal???? YOU DECIDE. (NOTE: “If you want to know the truth, I wanted the pepperoni pizza! Normally we just eat cheese pizzas! Only cheese pizza! I just wanted pepperoni! I saw the box, but I didn’t even know what was in the box! LIES!” – Michael)

So inside the big box was three little boxes

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Please notice that the 3rd box looks tilted, that’s important later

So that was nice. If I remember correctly, Blue Apron’s box was a big mix of all the different packages of ingredients.

Inside the box was a booklet with the recipes and a little envelope with coupons for other services. (GINZ, DO YOU WANT A FREE BOX OF GRAZE, HMU) I really did like the booklet better than the big loose papers that Blue Apron gives you.

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fancy pantsy!

I spent a while thinking before I decided which recipe to make tonight. It was a rice bowl, a pizza thing, and a pasta thing. I decided to do the pasta thing because it was described as “easy peasy” and that it would take 20 minutes. NOW I don’t buy into the times they give you on recipes, and by “they” I mean people without obsessive compulsive disorder. People without OCD just cook willy nilly. People with OCD, you know, you got to at LEAST double the predicted time. Probably triple. This particular recipe took me like an hour and some change, but that’s mostly because it was a disaster, as I will explain.

First, I did like the directions they provided. They were simple. HOWEVER, they were a little TOO SIMPLE?? What the fucks a “lug” of oil? That’s not a common term! I assumed it was like, a healthy amount. I googled it and I got this fucking link for the chef dude who designed this for Hello Fresh’s forum or something. These people can’t even agree on what a lug is and they’re the sort of people who participate in online cooking forums!!! So, in short, I ended up with a sauce SO OILY I had to methodically spoon out the oil that settled on the top. It was a bit much.

I bet you think that was the disaster, it wasn’t! The real disaster is that I reached in the box for the can of tomatoes and it was covered in nasty green goo. I was like UM IS THIS PESTO? IS THERE PESTO IN THIS RECIPE (there wasn’t)?? So this particular box was smashed in on the side, which I didn’t think was a big deal BUT it smushed the tops of the asparagus and got really nasty and rotten.

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this photo kinda underplays the nastiness, it was all over the can next to it

This lead to a pretty decent sized OCD freakout that would have resulted in me throwing out the entire big box of food and sending a really nasty email to Hello Fresh BUT Michael read the email before I sent it and talked me down. I had already started to figure out what else I was gonna make for dinner because OBVIOUSLY if one item was spoiled then could I trust the rest of the items?!?!?!?! But anyway. I threw out the asparagus and made the pasta without it.

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fancy pasta sans asparagus

It was alright. Just like Blue Apron, it was enough for two small portions. And also like Blue Apron, I will probably just use the rest of the box as I see fit and not fuck with the recipes. I can spread out the ingredients a lot better than the suggestions let me tell you.

So in CONCLUSION was this Easy Peasey Fancyname Pasta worth approximately $26.666666??? Hell no. Was it fun to receive a big box of groceries for free? Hell yes. So if you know someone with a free box code, go the hell for it.

PS – PRO TIP FROM GINZ: The ice packs that come with the boxes are reusable!

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Please note the perfectly fine frozen cheese pizzas that Michael SHUNNED

Budgeting: Back and Budgetier Than Ever

Budgeting: Back and Budgetier Than Ever

You know that feeling when all your credit cards are maxed out and you have approximately 6 dollars to last you the 10 days until pay day AND it’s t-minus 20 days til Xmas?!?!?!? HAHAHA I DON’T THIS IS JUST A HYPOTHETICAL FEELING. I am a Real Adult and I manage money so, so well.

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This gif is entirely unrelated to my financial situation

So despite the fact that I am an insanely well-paid public school educator who doesn’t need any help with money ever I’ve started thinking I need to go back to budgeting.

I know what you’re thinking! “GODAMMIT KAILA, YOU STARTED THIS BLOG TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR BUDGET” I know, I know, calm down. The truth is I did SO WELL the first two months of this blog/this budget that I got COCKY and once I get COCKY it all goes downhill.

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This is what came up when I googled rooster going downhill. I chickened (HA) out of googling cock going downhill, but let me know what happens. 

So I’m admitting defeat WHILE ALSO admitting that I can TRY, TRY AGAIN!

In my effort to accept my defeat and move on to even greater budgeting heights I did what any American does when they need help: I googled “how to accept failure and move on”. Lots of results came up, so that’s pretty encouraging. We all fail! I wanted to read an article from a reliable source so I did what I tell my students to do “if you’ve heard of the source before there’s a better chance it’s legit” (this is real advice I give, and before you say anything please remember I’m a science teacher and I have a lot to teach the middle school kiddos without getting into scholarly sources okaaaaaaay). One result was from forbes.com – as a VERY WEALTHY and BUSINESSY person I know that Forbes is some sort of magazine. So please join me in my journey of making myself feel better, as I break down “Five Ways to Make Peace with Failure”

  1. “Don’t make it personal” – done. My self worth is COMPLETELY in tact francocry
  2. “Take stock, learn, and adapt” – why DID I fail? I’m gonna have to say it is because budgeting is hard. Why is budgeting hard? Probably because everything that is great costs a lot of money. I live a very luxe life. Sometimes, my friend Ginz gives me coupons for fancy home recipe delivery boxes and I cook up all the food and pretend that I’ll be able to afford NOT cancelling my subscription. Have you noticed that those boxes think that human beings are tiny mice who eat tiny mice portions?! I should make a post about that.
  3. “Stop dwelling on it” – this one is hard because I fucked up so bad I’m reminded of my fuck up every time I want to buy a cheap little thing. The other day I went to the gym and I was like “oh, I forgot my water bottle, I’ll just buy a bottle of water he-OH WAIT I can’t. I CAN’T BUY A 3 DOLLAR BOTTLE OF WATER.” Or I’m like. Hmm salsa and pasta sauce are basically the same thing right BECAUSE I CAN ONLY GET ONE. Wow, I’m doing an awesome job of not dwelling.
  4. “Release the need for approval of others” – this one is easy as long as no one knows I fucked up my budget WAIT
  5. “Try a new point of view” – not “damn I cocked up the budget” but “wow, my intentional 10 month budget hiatus really gave me a good perspective on how I’m so fucking broke”. IDK about this one.

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ALRIGHT I feel rEADY NOw.

Tune in next time for very possible further failure!!!!!