Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the delicious apple

I'm not a fan of American apples because of these. But I try to buy and eat apples because they are hardy, deliver lots of fiber, and are grown in my state (which reduces the impact on the environment for them to travel to my supermarket).

The trick I've found with buying apples is to buy smaller ones. They are usually more bursting with flavor than larger ones. There is a scientific reason behind it. I forget the exact terminology but let's just say the smaller apples have the same number of flavor particles as the big ones but the size of the small apple concentrates more flavor in every bite!

So at the supermarket nowadays I look for smaller apples and take a good long smell to make sure they have a flavor I will enjoy eating.

Now, the apples are bought. How do I get the most out of them?

1. Here's a link about how to eat apples in a way that wastes less food:


2. And what if your apple is a bit wrinkly or just too soft for you to enjoy? Make banana apple bread!
Just grab any banana bread recipe and replace some of the banana with a peeled and diced apple. If they want a cup of banana make sure you have a cup of combined fruit. Then as you are mixing, if you find your recipe a tad too dry, just add a tablespoon of (almond) milk or apple juice.

It'll be delicious, I promise! I used this recipe over the weekend to use up some fruit and make a dessert instead of buying one.

No bananas? How about apple cake?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Taking a closer look

I've been busy throughout most of January up until yesterday. My attention was consumed with our hunt for new accommodation. We are interested in purchasing a home; preferably in the area where we live now. We've been looking casually for just under a year now.

In  early January we found out about a house just two blocks from where we live and went to look at it. After that things happened pretty quickly. Before we knew it we had a lawyer, a mortgage banker, and an engineer!

The home, by all appearances was perfect for us and we were delighted that our counter offer was accepted. Our lawyer gave us the names of two good engineers and we set up the date for the inspection. That is when things began to fall apart.

The Engineer's inspection can be a seller's worst nightmare. Perhaps a buyer's also. Maybe there are some things we didn't want to know about that house. However, it was in our best interest to find out. Some of the items the Engineer flagged were simply remedied. Things like a nonworking doorbell, or a loose bannister were things even I felt comfortable with doing after a short video tutorial. However, the big things were much too big for first-timers to take on. They involved hazardous materials that don't belong in any home. In addition there were some items that were not up to code.

The preceding paragraph may make this home sound like it was barely habitable but that is not true. It looked homey and inviting. It had beautiful hardwood floors. It only seemed to need updating in the bathroom and kitchen. It was a starter-home dream. But what lay beneath the surface killed the deal.

We spent about $350 for the initial consultation with our attorney. The insepction cost $440.
For $790 we spared ourselves heartache, pain, and debt. It was money well spent. I would recommend having an Engineer's inspection for anyone who has an accepted offer on a property. Don't do a deal without it!