Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crofton Food Dehydrator makes great snacks for cheap!

UPDATE: Please read my updated blog post on the Crofton Food Dehydrator. Click here.

New Dehydrator!
I'm always up for a good deal, often I will buy something just because it IS a good deal, not because I need it. Case in point, Aldi, a discount grocery store, had a Crofton Food Dehydrator on sale for $20. My sister-in-law has an Excalibur Dehydrator and loves it but I remember it being quite expensive. Twenty bucks seems more in my price range.

I searched online for this brand of dehydrator with little luck. I found one forum where someone was interested in purchasing this same dehydrator but no one seemed to have much information on it. I took a chance and bought it anyway.

I bought apples and strawberries to dehydrate first.

Apples from Aldi

I peeled some of the apples and left some with the skin on to see which I liked better. Peeling was obviously more hassle but I think it produces a better product. I also don't own one of those cool apple cores so I just cut out the centers...again, quite time consuming. (I'll buy a corer and a huller now that I now how to dehydrate.)

After I cut the apples, I soaked them in a lemon juice and water mixture to help keep them from browning. I'm not sure this was necessary, I read several sites and some said to do this, some said not to.

Apples soaking in lemon juice
After I soaked the apples I placed them in the dehydrator and moved onto the strawberries. I cut up the strawberries, long and then in circles, again, to see what I liked. I think the circles work better.

I soaked the strawberries, drained them then added  spoon full of sugar and mixed. Then I placed them on a tray.

I stacked the trays back on the base and plugged it in. There is no on or off switch on this dehydrator, it is a pretty basic model. One of the many downsides to a cheap version. Another was the short only is about a foot long which means I have to set in on the counter and basically leave it there.

Strawberries soaking in lemon juice

After I had them all on the base, I adjusted the top vent thing to #2 per the instructions. I also read I needed to rotate and turn the trays every few hours. To make this easier, I marked each tray with a sharpie in four spots, basically at noon, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00.  At noon I wrote the tray number on each tray.(see top picture) At the other stops I put hash marks, first one, then two, then tree to help me line up the trays and know where I was in the rotation and turning.

I wrote down on a piece of paper when I rotated and turned the trays; the instructions said to do this every few hours.

Single hash mark, one turn of trays
The apples and strawberries were both in about 12 hours. That is a little longer than the instructions said for strawberries but at midnight I decided I needed to go to bed. I put the strawberries on top, farthest away from the heating element, and opened up the vent to 4 to let out the most heat and went to bed.

I woke up today to dehydrated strawberries and apples!

I took the trays off the dehydrator base and set them aside. I have a raised cooling rack and I put the trays on top of the rack to help cool the trays from the top and the bottom.

The strawberries were a little stuck to the tray so I carefully peeled them up. Some of the strawberries were thick and still moist so I put the dried ones on a tray with the apples and put the other moist ones back in the dehydrator.

Strawberries and apples cooling

Apple trays cooling

After they cooled I put the pieces in plastic containers to "condition" the fruit so the moisture was more evenly distributed throughout. I read on a site to condition the fruit for 7 - 10 days by sealing the containers to help distribute the remaining moisture. 

Fruit being "conditioned"

Wholla! Dehydrated fruit! A healthy snack I made myself! I can't wait to dig in.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Why I love the people at work; they make me laugh everyday.

The people I work with at the studio are so funny, sometimes my sides hurt when I leave and not from Half Moon Pose. Today was no different.

I took class, no big new there. Afterwards I stayed up there answering some work email and here was the exchange between Sally and me....

Me: "Wow Sally, I think I might have to get Ginger Thai."
Sally: "What?!"

Me: "I think I might get Ginger Thai."
Sally: Very odd look. "You are getting Ginger Thai?"

Me: "What? Yes."
Sally: "Why are you getting Thai for your cat?"

Me: "What?" At this point I am laughing hysterically and can barely speak.
Sally: "What?" As if to imply "What did I say that is so funny? You are the one getting your cat Thai food." At this point Sally is laughing too.

Me: "Ginger Thai Sally, the restaurant across the street!"
Sally: "Oh! I've never heard of that place."
We are both still laughing uncontrollably.

Me: "It's right across the street. Ginger Thai!" I point across the street...still laughing.
Sally: "Oh, I want some Thai!"

We order delivery and wait.

I decide to take a shower (to use my time efficiently.)

While in the shower I think about Sally and the Thai food exchange and how it would make for a funny blog post and as I recount it to myself I start laughing uncontrollably. Even now as I write I can't stop laughing.

For those of you that don't understand, my cat's name is Ginger. She never eats Thai. LMAO

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I love being a pack-rat

I'm cleaning and scanning paperwork today; trying to declutter. I found not one but two gift cards to Pappas in a stack of old credit cards and frequent buyer cards. Most of the stuff I threw away but I saved three things, these two gift cards and my Vitamin Shoppe card. (I recently went there and could have saved a few bucks but my card wasn't registered so they couldn't look me up.)

I registered my Vitamin Shoppe card and set it aside. Then I decided I would go online and see if Pappas has a balance look up option for their gift cards. The cards say to call a 1800 number but they are also more than 3 years old so I was hoping a new feature might be on the website.

I went to the Pappas website and found the gift card section and found out two great pieces of information. One, the cards do not expire. Two, there are no fees. My assumption then is the tiny print on the card that says they take out $2.50 each year it is not used is not correct and the full value is still on the each card.

Score! Each card is worth $25 so that is $50 I can use to go out to eat! 

I'm not sure why I never used the cards, I love to go out to eat and I actually went to Pappasita's a few weeks ago and could have used these gift cards there!

What a nice find in a stack of useless paper and junk I could have just thrown away! Sometimes it does pay to be a pack-rat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's way to hot here in Dallas to run outside

 It's way to hot here in Dallas to run outside, only crazy people would run when its over 100 degrees outside. Perhaps that's why running the Too Hot to Handle seemed appropriate; I'm a little crazy. 

 If I were a "good" blogger, I would have blogged about this race last weekend after the race happened. Instead I had to go into work right after the race and somehow let the whole week slip away without posting any of my thoughts on the race. Oh well, here it goes....

I saw a race page on facebook a few days after the race, they were asking for comments on the event. Most of the comments were the same; loved the race, was stinkin' hot, LOVED the ice towels at the end... I basically had the same comments with the added one that not getting my race shirt after going to Run On three times was a bit annoying. 

I ran this race in 2009, the 15k, and loved the fact that it was along White Rock, close to home. This year I ran the 5K, I know, I'm a wimp. This year was even better, even closer to my house! I walked to the race down my normal run route, it was perfect. 

Definitely hot, I was sweating before I even started running. The run was nice just a few hills, mostly flat the rest of the way and a lot of it was in the shade. Bonus! I sprinted in nearly dying, to find my friends waiting for me, water in hand! Not far from them was a bucket full of iced down towels, omg, so nice! 

If this race is in the same spot next year, I am definitely putting it on my list!

Chris is like Nicolas Cage in City of Angels

Doug, Kelly and Chris (taken from a better angle!)

New Bag Styles