BETTER THAN FREE

I have been wanting a front loader washer and dryer forever.  Unfortunately, the price tag that comes with them made it more like a pipe dream.  My husband was driving down the road and there was a pair for $100.  He stopped, looked at them (they looked like they had literally fallen off a truck, they had some dings and skid marks on them) and offered the guy $80 and said if they didn’t work he was bringing them back.  Well, the washer wouldn’t drain and after a quick internet search, we discovered a filter the owners manual doesn’t mention and a pump, both of which were clogged.  After emptying the junk out, he then discovered a small leak, which being the MacGuyver that he is, he fixed easily.  Then he went one better, he sold my washer and dryer for $100, so we came out $20 ahead!  I get my dream washer and dryer and we get an extra $20, you can’t beat that.  I’m on my 2nd load of laundry now and man are these machines quiet!  SO HAPPY!  They are also a mismatched set, as one is white and one is charcoal, but who cares?

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Make your Food Dollars Stretch

Don’t think that cheap cuts of meat are inedible or that you have to sacrifice flavor and tenderness for money.  With a little bit of preparation and planning, you can save big bucks and eat like a king.  My newest find is a pork shoulder, aka Boston Butt.  At between $1.59-$1.79 per pound, this is one of the best deals I have found for meat.  There are many different ways to cook them and a search on the internet will list several hundred.  A pork shoulder contains bones and has a large fat cap on it, but cooked low and slow, will produce the most amazingly tender, moist pork you have ever eaten.  I spend approximately $28 for two large pork shoulders (about 18 pounds total).  I get approximately 24-30 meals out of them.  So the meat portion of my meals equals about $0.93-1.17 per serving.  If you have ever used one of those disposable turkey roaster pans, I fill one with nothing but meat when I’m finished.  I then transfer the meat to Rubbermaid containers and freeze.  I love the pork with seasoned rice or mashed potatoes, but you can use it for stir fry, make pulled pork sandwiches (by the way, this is so good I have had people request the sandwiches WITHOUT barbecue sauce!), or any other side dish you prefer.  It is almost addictive it is SO GOOD!

You can try my take on Kalua Pork by trying my recipe Kalua Pork My Way or you can do a search on Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt/Kalua Pork and try another.  Whatever recipe you decide on, make sure you cook low and slow.  This is like pot roast…if not cooked low and slow, it will turn out like shoe leather.  I like the brine technique, as it is supposed to help break down the fat prior to cooking.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it is worth the extra effort in the end, as the result is pure heaven.  Don’t skimp on the sea salt, it is what makes the brine work…this is not a marinade, it literally changes the molecular structure of the meat before cooking.  That is the purpose of a brine.  And a brine is composed of water and salt and other ingredients.  The other ingredients will add flavor, but it is extremely subtle.  I add an entire head of garlic to my brine and my husband says he doesn’t even taste a hint of garlic.  I do, because the first time I made it I didn’t use it and there is a difference.  Which is why my recipe is Kalua Pork My Way…the original recipe called for only sea salt and sugar in the brine and liquid smoke and sea salt in the rub.  I changed it up a bit and it is so subtle you hardly know it’s there.  Check it out.  If you are willing to spend about $35 (for the meat, garlic, sea salt, celery, onion and aluminum foil), what do you have to lose?