Showing posts with label Sam Monaco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sam Monaco. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Classic Record Player Stand - Reviewed

 In this age of digital streaming, there is something undeniably charming about spinning vinyl records on a classic turntable. Our daughter bought Fran a classic turntable for her birthday this year. Since we didn't have a place for it we had to find a record player stand. 

The classic record player stand - reviewed

Fran began a search for what she wanted to buy for our new turntable. Yes, now we have another piece of furniture in the house. She found this Amil Series stand from Mazefur with more of a contemporary style. It's perfect for the new turntable and fits nicely in our living room.

The stand was very easy to assemble with excellent easy-to-follow instructions. The top surface offers a stable platform for our turntable, with enough space to accommodate even a larger model. 

The stand has a sleek pull-out drawer at the top, a shelf right below the drawer, and plenty of storage space for our extensive collection of vinyl records to be stored safely.

Many turntables on the market today have built-in CD players, ours does not. The shelf below the drawer will be perfect for a CD player, as we also have an extensive collection of CDs. The shelf has wire management access on the back panel for easy installation of the wires.

There are many styles of record player stands to choose from. We like the style of the one we purchased, but you can find many stands that offer a retro look to bring you back in time.

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Below are just a couple of styles you will find on Amazon.

 




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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Garlic Butter Noodles with Mushrooms

 This is one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes. Garlic butter noodles with mushrooms are so easy to make and you can have them on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Garlic Butter Noodles with Mushrooms
Garlic Butter Noodles with Mushrooms - Recipe Reviewed

When looking for something quick, tasty, and easy to make this is one of our go-to meals. The butter garlic flavor really stands out. If you like mushrooms as I do, and pasta this is a perfect combination. The recipe below is enough for two people. If you're serving a crowd just add to it accordingly.

Ingredients: 

  • 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (washed and pat dry)
  • 4 tablespoons butter (2 for the mushrooms and 2 for the noodles)
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 bag of noodles (or your favorite pasts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or basil for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin cooking the mushrooms in a skillet over medium to high heat.
  2. Stir and turn the mushrooms until you see moisture in the pan.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and chopped garlic and continue to stir and turn until the mushrooms are golden brown.
  4. Lower the heat to simmer and cook your noodles.
  5. Drain the cooked noodles and return them to the pot or a bowl, add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and stir.
  6. Pour the cooked mushrooms over the noodles and stir. Add the garnish and serve.

Mushrooms and noodles

I always begin cooking my mushrooms in a dry pan first over medium to high heat. Mushrooms contain a lot of water, and this method allows the liquids to slowly evaporate and the mushrooms to caramelize. 

You will also want a skillet large enough so the mushrooms are not piled high on top of each other. After they burn off some of their liquids and turn golden brown it is time to add the butter and any seasoning you're using.

This is such a versatile meal, you can use whatever pasta you like instead of noodles. You can also season the mushrooms with your favorite seasonings or add a little lemon juice to the mushrooms as they are cooking.

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Lodge BOLD 12 Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, Design-Forward Cookware,BlackLodge BOLD 12 Inch Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, Design-Forward Cookware, BlackCheck the Price

 




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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Black & Decker Cordless Drill - Reviewed

 Having the right tools for your DIY project makes all the difference between frustration and satisfaction. One of these indispensable tools is my Black & Decker cordless drill, the perfect companion for many of my home improvement tasks.

Black & Decker Cordless Drill - Reviewed

Black & Decker Cordless Drill Features:

Design and Build Quality: Black & Decker is a renowned name in the realm of power tools. My first impression is the drill is lightweight and fits comfortably in my hand, even for extended periods of use. The grip is rubberized, providing both comfort and control.

Performance: The Black & Decker Cordless Drill is equipped with a powerful motor and effortlessly tackles many drilling and driving tasks efficiently. Over the years I have used my cordless drill to drill holes and drive screws into wood, metal, and plastic with ease. The variable speed control allows for seamless adjustment for any of these tasks.

Battery Life and Charging: The Black & Decker is equipped with a 20V lithium-ion battery, it offers extended runtime, minimizing interruptions during long projects. Although, I have never had a project long enough where I ran out of power. I recommend a second battery if you consistently use the drill for long projects. That way you always have one charged.

Versatility and Ease of Use: The variable speed control makes it easy to transition between drilling and driving applications. The keyless chuck feature makes it easy to change drill and driving bits. Additionally, the drill has an LED light to illuminate the work area.

Value: The Black & Decker Cordless stands out as a compelling option with its performance, durability, and affordability. The Black & Decker is a reasonable price for all of the performance. I also purchased the handy accessory kit you see in the photo with many driver bits and drills. With that kit, I have always had whatever I needed for the task.

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This Black & Decker Drill and accessory kit make the perfect Father's Day gift.

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill and Driver, 3/8 Inch, With LED Work Light, Battery and Charger Included (LDX120C)BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill and Driver, 3/8 Inch, With LED Work Light, Battery and Charger Included (LDX120C)BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill and Driver, 3/8 Inch, With LED Work Light, Battery and Charger Included (LDX120C)BLACK+DECKER Drill Bit Set/Screwdriver Bit Set Combo, 109-Piece (BDA91109)BLACK+DECKER Drill Bit Set/Screwdriver Bit Set Combo, 109-Piece (BDA91109)BLACK+DECKER Drill Bit Set/Screwdriver Bit Set Combo, 109-Piece (BDA91109)

 




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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Seagate Backup Plus Portable Storage Reviewed

In our fast-paced digital age, where every moment is captured, every file is crucial, and every memory is cherished, having a reliable storage solution is paramount.

The Seagate Plus Portable Storage is a compact companion designed to safeguard your precious data while offering convenience and peace of mind.

Seagate
Seagate Backup Plus Portable Storage

Features of Seagate Backup Plus Portable Storage:

Design and Portability: The Seagate Backup Plus offers a sleek design, with a durable enclosure. The compact form makes it effortlessly portable, fitting snugly into pockets, bags, or backpacks, ensuring your data is always with you wherever you go.

Capacity and Performance: Available in various capacities ranging from a few gigabytes to multiple terabytes, the Backup Plus offers ample storage space to accommodate your growing digital needs. 

Whether it's high-resolution photos, extensive music collections, or hefty video files, this portable powerhouse can handle it all with ease. With USB 3.0 connectivity, transferring files is as easy as a couple of clicks.

Backup and Data Protection: The reason I purchased the Seagate Backup Plus. I've had my computer crash before and lost all of my data. So, I needed an external backup for peace of mind.

 I considered Cloud storage and found that the free plans don't offer enough storage to back up your computer, meaning you will have to buy additional storage for a monthly fee. Also restoring your computer from local storage is generally far faster than pulling it down from the cloud. 

I'm not very technical or computer-savvy I like things simple. With just a couple of clicks, my computer is backed up and the data is on my desk. Paying the one-time price for the Seagate Backup Plus is worth it to me. I find it to be a worthwhile investment for dependable storage.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Methods to Remove Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be used to change the look of any room or create a beautiful accent wall. Sometimes people use wallpaper to cover blemishes on a wall. Either way, you may have some wallpaper in your home and want to remove it. Today I will be reviewing, three different methods of removing wallpaper. 

Methods to Remove Wallpaper

I am not an expert or professional by any means. As the saying goes; I'm a jack of all trades but a master of none. Over the years I have used every one of these methods at one time or another.

Method 1: Steam Removal

  • You can rent or buy a wallpaper steamer.
  • Fill the steamer reservoir with water to the fill line.
  • Attach the handle and hose to the steamer plate.
  • Plug in the machine and turn it on. Wait 5 or 10 minutes for it to build up steam.
  • Place the steamer plate on the wall, and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the plate and scrap the wet wallpaper with a putty knife.
  • You will want to score the section of wall you are steaming with a scoring tool or razor knife before placing the steamer plate. Do not press hard while scoring the wallpaper as you may damage the wall.

Method 2: Water and Vinegar

  • Mix equal parts of hot water and vinegar in a spray bottle or a bucket.
  • Spray to sponge the solution on a four-foot section of the wall.
  • Wait about five minutes to allow the solution to work.
  • Scrap the wet section with a putty knife to remove the wallpaper.
  • Again, score the wall section first with a scoring tool or razor knife.
Method 3: Chemical Liquid Stripper
  • There are different brands of liquid strippers available. I have always used DIF by Zinsser. It's pre-mixed and ready to use.
  • Score the wallpaper with a razor knife or scoring tool.
  • Spray it onto the wallpaper, and wait a few minutes before scraping it with a putty knife.
With any of these three methods, you will want to tape off the baseboard and about 12 inches onto the floor with plastic. This will make clean up easier.

You may have to repeat the method, sometimes on the first try the wallpaper will come off leaving the backer.

Tip: If you're removing wallpaper from Drywall be careful not to use too much water and oversoak the walls. Too much water may damage the drywall.

There is more work to be done after the wallpaper is off:

After the wallpaper is off, remove any remaining glue residue from the walls. For this, use hot water and a sponge and wipe the walls clean. 

Before painting, I always use fine-grained sandpaper and lightly sand the walls. Now, patch any cracks or small holes in the walls before painting with a good primer. Then, paint your finish coat in your desired color. Happy wallpaper removal!

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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Savory Spinach Ball Appetizers

 If you looking for an easy and healthy appetizer to serve at your next gathering, look no further than these easy spinach ball appetizers. These bite-sized delights are packed with nutrients and bursting with flavor. Whether hosting a party or craving a tasty snack, these spinach balls are the perfect choice.

Savory Spinach Ball Appetizers
Spinach Ball Appetizers - Reviewed

This is one of those recipes we had packed away and had not made for some time. This past Holiday season, Fran was going through some old recipes and found our spinach ball recipe.

We both thought wow we haven't made these in a long time. So, we decided to make them and we're so glad we did. 

Spinach Ball Ingredients:

  • 2 cups( 2-10 boxes) frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions:

  1. Thaw and pat dry the spinach.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  3. Scoop out portions of the mixture and roll into bite-sized balls.
  4. Place them on a greased cookie sheet or lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown and firm to the touch.
  6. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
These spinach balls are a great way to incorporate healthy greens into your diet without sacrificing flavor. Spinach balls are a perfect appetizer for any party or just as a snack. 

If we have any leftovers we freeze them. You can take them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven to warm them up for a snack. I like them plain, but you can experiment with different dipping sauces if you like.

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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Make Homemade Easter Candy

 As Easter approaches, the joy of celebrating with family and friends is complemented by the sweet treats for this spring Holiday. 

Why not add a personal touch to your Easter celebrations by making homemade Easter candy to add a special touch to your Holiday festivities.

Make Homemade Easter Candy
Make Homemade Easter Candy-Reviewed

We make a day of it yearly by making Easter candy with our grandchildren. Making your own chocolate candy for any Holiday is fun, and the kids have a great time being creative with decorating the candy.

The photo above shows some of our daughter's and the kids' creative work last year. I take no credit for the decorating, as none of it was done by me. My only job is to melt the chocolate and take some pictures.

Homemade Easter Candy

We use a double boiler to melt the chocolate on the stove. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave using a microwave-safe bowl. 

I never have any luck melting the chocolate in the microwave. I like using the double boiler because I can add chocolate discs to the melted chocolate and keep stirring it.

There are many brands of chocolates to buy. We have been buying Wilton Candy Melts. We use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and various colors for decorating. You will find instructions on the Wilton Candy Melt bags for melting the chocolate in the microwave or using a double boiler.

Homemade Easter Candy Ideas

After the chocolate is melted we just spoon it into the various plastic molds and then set the mold in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. After the chocolate is solid you are ready to decorate with the different colors of melted chocolate. 

The bunnies shown above are just out of the freezer and will be decorated with different colored chocolates using small brushes and toothpicks.

Decorating Easter Candy

In the photo above, Bobby is filling a mold with chocolate and adding sticks. Tyler is preparing to decorate with different colors of chocolate using toothpicks and brushes.

This Easter, take the opportunity to create lasting memories by making your own homemade candies. Whether you're a seasoned baker or just starting out, this delightful activity is sure to bring joy to your celebration. Share the sweetness with family and friends, and embrace the satisfaction of crafting your own Easter treats. Happy Easter!




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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Microwave Popcorn Popper Review

 Popcorn is a timeless snack enjoyed by people of all ages. Its unmistakable aroma, satisfying crunch, and versatility make it a staple at movie nights, carnivals, and cozy evenings at home.

Microwave popcorn popper review

I'm reviewing my new glass microwave popcorn popper in my post today. For many years we have had a hot-air popcorn popper, until one day, it finally quit working.

 I couldn't find the same one we had, so I opted for a different model. Needless to say, we were not happy with the performance. It just wasn't the same as our old one.

We quit buying microwave popcorn in premade bags years ago because of the chemicals used in the process. So, in my search for yet another hot-air popper, I came across this Ecolutions Microwave Popcorn Popper, after reading many of the reviews, I decided to give it a try. 

Well, I couldn't be happier, as with the hot-air popper this microwave popper needs no oil to make fresh hot popcorn.

Features of the Microwave Popper:

  • Temperature safe glass
  • The lid measures the kernels and melts the butter
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Makes 3 quarts of popcorn
  • You can buy a snack size that makes 1.5 quarts
Note: This microwave popper only works with microwaves that have a rotating turntable.

I tried using the lid to melt the butter while popping but I didn't care for that. So, I melt my butter separately and mix it after.

We have a 1000-watt microwave, I set my time to 3 minutes and 30 seconds and get perfect popcorn every time. You will have to experiment with times, for different microwaves.

Microwave popcorn

The Science Behind the Pop:

Delicious hot popcorn every time. Have you ever wondered what makes popcorn pop? Every kernel contains a small amount of moisture in the starchy center. When the kernel is heated the water turns into steam, creating pressure. The pressure causes the kernel to explode, turning it inside out and forming the fluffy, edible snack we all love.


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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Batter Deep Fried Mushrooms

 Mushrooms, people either love them or hate them. I happen to be someone who loves mushrooms. Mushrooms are one of the foods I love, no matter how they are prepared. I even love them raw and dipped in ranch dressing. 

Batter Deep Fried Mushrooms

Today, I'm reviewing how I made our deep-fried mushrooms. These are a perfect side to any meal or delicious as a snack anytime.

Ingredients for Batter Deep Fried Mushrooms:

12 ounces of fresh white mushrooms ( I used medium size mushrooms)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of water
2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs ( I used Panko)

Instructions:
  1. Rinse the mushrooms in cold water and pat dry.
  2. Mix, flour cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl.
  3. Add the cup of water, and whisk together until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Dip the mushrooms into the batter and let the excess drip off. You can use toothpicks or a fork.
  5. Roll the mushrooms in the breadcrumbs until they are coated.
  6. Deep fry until golden brown.
  7. Place them on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Fried mushrooms

After dipping the mushrooms in the batter, I rolled them in the breadcrumbs.

Battered deep fried mushrooms

I coated several mushrooms at a time before placing them in the oil.

Deep fried mushrooms

I don't have a deep fryer, so I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet. I filled the skillet a little over halfway with vegetable oil, and set the burner to medium heat. The oil needs to be between 325 to 375 degrees for frying. 

I used my ThermoPro TP-18 instant-read thermometer to make sure I had the right temperature. I fried 6 or 7 mushrooms at a time until they were golden brown. I removed them with a slotted spoon and placed them on a plate lined with paper towels.

Using a deep fryer would be much easier for sure. Read my friend Cynthia's review here: of The Presto GranPappy Electric Deep Fryer. This would be the perfect kitchen tool for deep frying these mushrooms.

You can serve your mushrooms with cocktail sauce, or ranch dressing, or eat them plain. 

If you like mushrooms here are some more of my favorite recipes:

Baked Stuffed Portobello Mushroom CapsBaked Stuffed Portobello Mushroom CapsGrilled Stacked VeggiesGrilled Stacked VeggiesItalian Sausage Stuffed MushroomsItalian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

 

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