That’s a spicy meatball

Edsel and I decided to pen our blog outside today, as it is lovely out here. 74 degrees, not humid yet, lovely breeze. I hear my neighbor’s rooster crowing.

For the last few nights we’ve heard cicacadas and seen fireflies.

It wasn’t till I put this picture up on the larger screen that I noticed Iris back there like a blind sentinel with her gang member St. Francis.

I wish I had anything new to tell you, but since each day is really the same other than, “Will I get a migraine today?” [Answer: Usually yes, lately] I don’t have much to report. What if this pandemic breaks my blog because I don’t have anything new to tell you ever again? What if the rest of my life is just getting up, working, working out, eating, cleaning up and bed?

Actually, that doesn’t sound all that bad. I’ve just entered old ladyville a bit early, is all.

Oh! I know one thing that’s new and you will be delighted and overwhelmed and you’ll likely grab the kids in excitement.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been home more lately. Harrr. Actually I’m starting to feel like the only one who’s still home all the time. But anyway I’ve been home a lot lately, and have not gotten to have any of my delicious regular dinnertime choices such as Sonic.

I bought a lot of Lean Cuisines at first, and then I got so sick of them. Honestly I never want to see a pizza roll again.

I’ll give you a moment to gather yourself.

So one day I was scrolling on the internet, as you do, and saw an ad for HelloFresh. I wish I were getting paid to tell you this. Years ago, a coworker, Alex, had me over for a HelloFresh meal and it was delicious. Everything comes in a paper bag—everything. The meat, the vegetables, the ingredients. Everything. I just hadda own salt, pepper, oil, butter. And the only reason I currently own all of those is pandemic.

Each bag comes with directions WITH PICTURES. Like Denny’s, but with cooking.

I ordered it the other week because to entice me they offered free delivery. Each bag is a meal for two, and since I’m completely alone, Miss Lonelyhearts, I get two meals for every “one” they send. I thought I’d just get it that one free-delivery week, but I got it and now I’m hooked.

I’ve made beef tenderloin with a demi moore glaze. I’ve roasted potatoes and asparagus and green beans out my ass. Last night I made firecracker meatballs with ginger and scallions I minced—

I minced for real this time!

—over a bed of rice with browned sesame seeds in it.

I made it all myself! It was easy, really!

And oh my god, chicken with cheddar and mashed potatoes is so much better than Bagel Bites! Why didn’t anyone ever TELL me this?

On nights I have my trainer I get everything ready and preheat the oven so that once she and I are done I just have to cook whatever it is for 20 minutes or what have you, which is just as long as it takes to bake fish sticks, so…

Anyway I guess that’s my biggest news and Ima be big as a house, but really, how svelte was I getting living on Hot Pockets?

Nice sandwich.

Thanks, it has pockets.

Talk at you.

Chefly,
June

P.S. And now that I’m cooking I need things. My pots and pans are 22 years old because I got them as wedding gifts. I want those ones that are colored, what are they called? Crucifix? Cruciferous? Anyway they come in pink and also purple and also turquoise and I want them. Also too I need a new cooking sheet as mine is too small. Are there good ones to get? Why must all my new endeavors involve buying shit?

71 thoughts on “That’s a spicy meatball

  1. I swear to God, I never expected to see this sentence on June’s blog: “I’ve made beef tenderloin with a demi moore glaze.” It really IS the apocalypse. And I do like those dinner kits, although I don’t use them much because they are too much money for more than 2 people. They’re like cooking with training wheels and make me feel all chef-y with their fancy words. And you won’t gain weight, trust me. It’s that other crap we eat that puts on the pounds – I’ve realized that after 3 months of no takeout food. I don’t WANT to realize that, but oh well…

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  2. When my kids request items for their kitchens I always check out America’s Test Kitchen reviews and see what their top choice is and then shop around for the best price. I have to say that everyone has been really happy with their gifts. ATK reviews everything!

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  3. Your adventures in cooking are making me want to try Hello Fresh. Not for me but for my husband. He’s RETIRED and he never cooks unless I say do this, do that, cook this. So it’s like I gotta do most of the work anyway. Maybe this would get him cooking FOR ME on his own.

    I concur with whomever said you’d like the PW stuff. It’s old fashioned looking and lovely and has flowers and I think you’d really like it. But Le Creuset and Calphalon both have gorgeous colors too and you can find some of the items at Home Goods or TJ Maxx. Not that you’re gonna be out shopping any time soon!

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    1. Home Goods is closing a lot of stores, including mine but it was in a plaza with a Marshalls and there is Tuesday Morning and a Burlington across the street so the area was over flooded. The Marshalls can carry more pots, etc. like they used to before the Home Goods came.

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  4. I cook A LOT. Every day, and especially the last few months. We’ve eaten zero restaurant food. I had a set of Calphlon from 1994 (wedding day) to fall of 2005. Sold it All except the soup pot and bought a set of All-Clad from Williams Sonoma. Still going strong. I have no plans to replace it. I have a deep cast iron skillet with a lid but I covet a green LeCruset Dutch oven.
    My mother has a decades long love affair with Cutco knives. I don’t have a single one. Don’t know why. Everyone who has them loves them.
    Riveting topic, June. You really know how to steel our attention with your dead pan humor.
    Bah!

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  5. Hmm some cool ideas here today! But, I do not need more pans. I need more motivation to use them…
    I have one pan that I love and bought not long ago. It is an “everything” pan. I don’t know how to describe it but it is better than a bagel!

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  6. My son and one of his roommates had a Hello Fresh subscription and they loved it. They had to cancel when the price kept going up but they kept all the recipe cards and have made the recipes on their own with store-bought (or as Laura Ingalls Wilder would day, “boughten”) ingredients. I’m seriously considering giving it a try because my limited repertoire of recipes has gotten old.

    As for cookware, well, I have a mishmash of some awesome non-stick skillets from IKEA, my grandma’s 40-year old Revereware and some stainless pots and pans my husband bought me for Christmas one year. Oh, and a kick ass cast iron skillet.

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  7. One of the reasons I love my basic white Corelle plates is that they are so light.(They also air dry very quickly in an unheated dishwasher.) Seriously, you can gather the whole wash load on one arm and put them away in one trip. My daughter-in-law lived with us a couple of months and the first thing she did after they got their new home was get rid of all her hand-me-down stoneware and buy Corelle.

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    1. When I inherited my grandma’s house, I kept the majority of her dishes and glassware. Despite living alone, she kept buying sets of Corelle dinner plates to the point where there were about 100 plates. I donated the majority to Goodwill. I think I have about 25 left. She also had a thing about scissors. When we were going through her stuff after she died, we found so many scissors still in their unopened packaging.

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  8. I will go along with the cast iron and le creuset as being great for cooking. I have a blue ( husbands fav color) Dutch oven and use it for soups and stews. I like the cast iron frying pan but I seriously have to get help to lift it if I need to drain grease or move it. So maybe not a good idea for single peoples.

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  9. I still have the same set of Farberware pans that your Grammy gave me well over 50 years ago. They are still going great. I hope you will try lifting any pan you are thinking of as so many people have talked about how heavy some are. You broke your wrists a few years ago, so that could be an issue for you. The pans you have are good quality. It is exciting that you are cooking!

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    1. Hi June’s Mom! Wanted to say I love your sweet comment. Reminded me of my mom & how good moms are the best. Going to go call my mom now….

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    2. Another mom (but, uh, your age) chiming in here to say, yeah, no one needs fancy pots to cook, so don’t break the bank. I’ve cooked approximately 5 trillion meals in really crap pots (Hello, 3-qt wonder I bought at Caldor’s 25 years ago for $10!). Get one really nice thing you like to look at, unless of course money is no object. In that case, knock yourself out! The one thing I spent money on (and I still got the cheaper, $60 version, not the uber-expensive Calphalon version, because OMG $150 for a pot?) is my enameled cast-iron pot with lid, because I need that to bake the no-knead bread in.

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  10. My family says “Hello fresh!” excitedly every time I put dinner on the table. Is that the same as what you having over there? I kid, instead I get . . . “When can we eat (insert fav dish of specific kid) again?” I stupidly did not register for pots and pans because my mom was like, ‘here, take your uncle’s old stuff.’ Everything today is so much more awesome now anyway. I bought the best frying pan, nonstick thing ever at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago. I might go back for a second one. It was $150, and worth it. I saw someone else mention Cutco knives – my son’s then-girlfriend was selling those last summer. I needed knives. I bought them and I do love them, but having dealt with dull knives for too long, there was an adjustment period that almost cost me the tip of my middle finger. Those mothers are sharp! I would love the colored pans – blue or teal would get my vote, but mix and match maybe?

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  11. Love the meatball reference.

    So, over the years, I’ve used it all–cheap, expensive, coated, not coated, etc. I got sick of having so many goddam pots and pans, and figured out that I use only a few (my brain is small). I have one sauce pan, one big pan (for soups or when I don’t want to watch the pasta boil over), and then I have one deep frying pan. These are all stainless steel. I have one other frying pan that is coated in ceramic (I think) for making things like pancakes, that would otherwise easily stick to a stainless steel frying pan.

    I have two cookie sheets, and they’re stainless steel (the coated ones die really fast unless you baby them), and I use parchment paper for making things that like a non-stick surface, such as cookies. I also have a roasting pan, which is used only a couple times a year. Honestly, you don’t need to spend a huge amount of money to get pots and pans. The saucepan I kept after the purge was one my mom found at a garage sale–it’s awesome. Also, one good all purpose knife, and a couple of paring knives is all you probably need for cooking. I have those and also a cheap bread knife, which I use way less often.

    However, if you are investing in expensive stuff, there are some very, very beautiful pans and such out there. And le Creuset (the teal, especially) is fucking gorgeous.

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  12. Chicago Metallic! (My kind of pan. Chicago is….) We have their ( *commercial* grade and no coating) jelly roll style baking sheets (also cake & bread pans). They are fantastic & have lasted for years.

    Parchment paper. Have u discovered this bliss? Pair with jelly roll baking sheet et voila!

    Le Creuset has the beaut colored pots. Sadly too heavy for me. I bruised my finger on one & that decided that. I could see buying their tiny pots for pretties. Maybe a spoon rest.

    A looooong time ago my mom set me up with Viking, All Clad, and thrifted (so that it was old & well made) Revere Ware pots and pans. I cook a lot & everything has held up many moves and 1 husband later. The Revere is lighter weight – great pots for daily use by anyone likely to burn shit or get Swedish chef-ey in the kitchen. The All Clad & Viking are heavy (good for holding heat & evenly browning – sauté pans or larger pots for stews, soups) but not too heavy like Le Creuset. Also the All Clad steamer set is life changing for easily steaming…. vegetables (I spelled that v word out just for youuuuu June!).

    Sincerely curious if any of these things are still well made. I bought an Oxo kettle recently – same exact design as my 1990s era hand me down Oxo but the new Oxo is thin metal, poor crafting, & crap. No idea where to get a good stove kettle now. Fork.

    One lil thing: I hand wash anything nice. Good pots, pans, knives never see the dishwasher & everything has benefited from this. But this is just my experience vs the same items at a relative’s house (we were given our All Clad, Viking, etc gifts at same time but my relative is super busy & uses dishwasher). You can wash everything in the dishwasher I think, but it will… have consequences. YMMV. Have fun cooking!

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    1. Postscript from anonymoooose to add: all the pots I mention above were prob made in the late 1990s or early 2000s. My mom began collecting for my trousseau early. My dorm room was tote ready to host formal dinner parties y’all. So who knows if those brands are still good but dude! 90s stuff still going strong in 2020.

      Also I have got to google these C…something knives from comments! But should I also google steel mesh gloves to use when using the knives? (bc I am a clutz)

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  13. I have Faberware, my grandmother’s cast iron skillet, and two copper bottom pots. My mother complains that I never polish the bottoms. I told her feel free to do it. So far they remain unpolished. I buy cheap cookie sheets. When they get grungy, I throw them out. Drives my mother crazy. So there’s your upside.

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  14. I have always wanted to try Hello Fresh, but didn’t know anyone who’d actually tried it and liked it. Now I do! Do you think it’s more/less expensive than regular grocery shopping? Does it take the place of going to the store completely? I’m afraid if I do it I’ll just end up buying double…but it would be nice to have meals planned. Since I also too live alone I’ll be able to get two meals out of it, leftovers FTW!

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    1. I’m not a good person to gauge that because I never go buy normal groceries. Plus also that first week they waived shipping so it was like $32. Then this next time it came automatically and I know this is awful but I didn’t look at what they took from my account this time. A, you know, organized person would be better.

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    2. P.S. Okay, I looked in my receipts on my email. The first week I paid 22 bucks and the second was 32. That’s for, for ME, six meals. Per my maths, that’s $80 per meal.

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  15. Before I retired I decided to invest in stainless steel pots and pans. I found a deal on Cuisinart® brand. I also invested in SS cookie sheets, loaf pan and square pan. It has been well worth the money. I also have several iron skillets which I love. If you can find one at an antique store or flea market they are usually well seasoned. (I know, we aren’t getting out so much.) My iron skillets are all old, so they work really well.

    I’ve managed to gain weight with all the cooking at home, could be all the comfort food I’m cooking.
    Tee

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  16. I cook every single dung dang day. My first coherent thought each morning is deciding what I should make for dinner so I can take meat out of the freezer. I have Rachael Ray pots and pans (probably from Walmart). I had my pans for about 25 years. The handles were gone, lids were gone and they were dented. My kids bought the Rachael Ray set. I actually love them. They came with two knives, which I originally scoffed at, but I LOVE these knives. And- everything is aqua in color.

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    1. I know the pans you speak of, and while they are lovely, they are extremely heavy. Heavy while empty, being they are cast iron coated with enamel.
      I have had several sets of pots and pans. A good set of plain Revereware should last you. My newest and best set that I put a ton of research and $$$$ in to is the copper core by All-Clad. I saved a ton of AMEX points and applied them to my purchase which helped. But these are excellent pans that will last all of my life, and in to my grandchildren lives.
      I’m so happy to see your review of hello fresh. I’ve been interested in trying them.

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  17. I’m a huge hellofresh fanatic. I’ve been getting deliveries for almost three years. I also live alone and will cook a meal and bring the second meal to work for lunch. During this pandemic they were only late once! I also ordered an extra meal because I too am home all the time. There’s no way I could up hellofresh.

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  18. Ok, everybody sit down. Prepare yourself. We have some Le Creusets and ARE YOU READY? They are BRIGHTLY COLORED. To be fair, their beige is horrid and I don’t even know if they have black. The one we use most often is a bright blue, ftlog, but the one I really don’t like is a fiery orange-red. The muted teal isn’t so bad.

    They are great, easy to clean, indestructible.

    Pioneer Woman. Pfffffft. Ptui. She’s so full of soup.

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            1. Very close! Have I mentioned my black marble floor that is clean for fifteen minutes every two weeks after the cleaning lady comes?

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  19. I cook a LOT because 6 people in the house = eating out gets expensive. I haven’t tried Le Creuset, but I do have Calphalon – they’re great and last a long time. I found a deal at Macy’s, so it wasn’t terribly expensive. My oven has started giving me trouble – it won’t heat to 350 if I set it at 350. But if I set it to 400, then change it to 350 when it gets there, it works fine. Damn thing is only 2.5 years old! 😦

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  20. For stovetop, I’m a fan of Calphalon. They hold up better than the other brands I’ve had, and they’re not terribly expensive when they’re on sale at Kohls or when they show up at TJMaxx or Ross. I like stoneware or cast iron for oven, but they’re SO HEAVY. For baking, I’ve had a set of Chicago baking sheets for YEARS and they are still in excellent condition. I use them often. For any type of cooking, the thing that really makes a difference is a really good set of knives. I’ve invested a lot of money in knives, but a good knife is a joy to use, and you can buy them one at a time to only pay for the ones you’ll use instead of getting a set of 20 or something. If you have to choose where to put your dollars, spend more on knives and less on the rest. I’ve used Cutco knives for 20+ years (my mother-in-law for 50+ years), and that company is legit. They’ll sharpen (and replace if needed) their knives for free for life. They’ll be the only knives you ever need to buy, I swear. Best knives I’ve ever used, and I cook a LOT.

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    1. My high school best friend (we lost class couple by four votes) sold those in college, and my mother bought them from her probably just to be nice, and she still uses them.

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    2. YES!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Calphalon!! I have found all the Calphalon I own at TJ’s or Marshall’s in the home section. I’m going to have to give Cutco knives a try – I’ve been wanting to find some good ones. I’m tired of these that never stay sharp. The question is – what to do with all these horrible ones?

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    3. I have a set of Cutco knives for probably 50 years, a set of Wusthof knives for 16 years and three Kyocera ceramic knives for about 10 years. By far the ceramic knives are the sharpest ones, but they will chip especially if you use a Wusthof sharpener suitable for ceramic knives. I use the Kyocera knives the most.
      Tee

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  21. You know i loathe the Pioneer Woman and her whole…schtick…but she really does have a lovely line of kitchen stuff that I would imagine you’d like very much. To include pots and pans. I hate how much I like her stuff.

    I am also trying not to rely on my ever-present stock of bagel bites and pizza rolls. I made homemade pimento cheese last week because I saw somewhere that it was leaps and bounds better than the stuff you buy pre-made. It wasn’t, really, and do you know it’s just cheddar and mayo and diced red peppers? Healthy.

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    1. Oh!!! I have a really good recipe that includes fire roasted tomatoes, pimentos, Mayo, sour cream along with the cheese. With a little garlic powder too. Find some variations on the basic recipe and give it another try, I bet you’ll like it better!

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    2. At work each year we have a sort of yard sale to raise money for United Way, and a few times I’ve bought her measuring cups and stuff like that and I do like them, I have to admit. The only reason I don’t like her is we started blogging the same month and look at her and look at me. She’s Cher and I’m juggling balls on a unicycle in some midsize downtown area, with a hat out for tips.

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      1. You always make me laugh. The Pioneer Woman comes across as smug and don’t get me started on her clothes or her voice.

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  22. I have had T-Fal cookware through the years that held up great and it’s not expensive. And don’t knock those pots and pans you can find at TJ Maxx whose brand names you’ve never heard of. Those have been some of the best cookware purchases I have ever made. Wilton makes the best baking sheets in my opinion. Iris is like an Egyptian God.

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    1. I have a pot from my college days that is still one of my favorites. My mom bought it at TJ Maxx!

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  23. Having nice cookware really does make a difference. On the other hand, the Dollar Tree has a really good kitchen department. It is a great idea to buy the pots and pans one at a time. You might find that even though something looks really fun, it might not be a good product.

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  24. I just ordered the GreenPan ceramic set in red. I tried one of their frying pans and loved it. Looks like it will last forever with no flaking of toxic whatever. Macys had it on sale. Creuset can be really pricey, even on sale.

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  25. Nordic Ware Aluminum Commercial Baking Sheets. Very sturdy – will never buckle on you , easy to clean. They come in many sizes including a nice little 13”x9” quarter size perfect for one or two chicken breasts, a potato and a handful of asparagus. Not the cheapest (about $12 on the big A) but they’ll be the last baking sheets you’ll ever buy.

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    1. Also, you should go to a brick and mortar store to heft around some Le Cruset before you invest. Even empty, those cast iron beauties will give you such a workout, you won’t need a trainer anymore.

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  26. Iris standing in the burm with St Francis, still as stone, struck me as so funny. She gave my first and likely my only laugh out loud of the day. Thank you, Waldo Iris.

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  27. Hi June, your new “Hello Fresh” sounds like a great way to eat and learn more cooking techniques. I need to relearn any that I ever had… basically I know how to chop, boil, simmer, and bake vegetables. Beyond that, I can manage a roast, stew meat, or single pork chops or deboned chicken breasts (meatballs or meatloaf too). That’s it. Oh I forgot…. I can cook rice in a pan or steamer AND fry green tomatoes or squash after coating in seasoned flour. Yummy stuff. Fried okra is lovely too.

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  28. Lovely post, Coot. Pampered chef has great baking dishes and pans. Yes to the La cruciferous pots but remember they are enameled cast iron and cook differently on gas than electric. Also they have a porcelain shell and will chip if you slam them around.

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    1. There’s definitely a learning curve to Le Creuset. But, I love being able to move between stovetop and oven.

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  29. Okay, I just wanted to be first! Le Creuset is having great sales right now and you can do mail order. It is expensive, but you can catch discounts much of the time. Ooooh, the pretty colors! There is even an outlet somewhere fairly close in your area. It is heavy cast iron, but I consider using it as a large part of my daily exercise.

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    1. THAT’S IT!! Now, which color should I go for? Pink? Purple? Turquoise? Also, where Ima get the money? I am not cutting or coloring my hair. I am not getting Botox or filler. I am not going to the movies or buying Sonic. WHERE IS THE EXTRA MONEY I SHOULD HAVE?

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      1. Just before the great pandemic, I scored an oval, 7 quart turquoise dutch oven at Burlington for $107 and change. That’s usually over $400! Deals are out there!

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        1. I guess Ima have to add-a-pearl this collection of pots and pans. My first purchase would be a small pan. The one I have I think I bought at the grocery store in 1988 when something called for a small pan, and it …rocks. It leans to one side. It’s awful.

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          1. The first time I read this about your first small pan….was it ROCKS …as in , it is the best.
            I can imagine you outside lifting pots and pans with your trainer .
            You might consider buying different colors for different pans , then you can have all the colors.
            Pfff….nothing different happens in your day….Mary Tyler Moore.

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