Non-Consumer Mish-Mash

by Katy on December 12, 2009 · 7 comments

Pressure Cooker

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

Holiday gift giving stimulates people’s creativity and talent. Everywhere I turn, people are knitting, sewing, crafting and other such impressive endeavors. But I want to clarify that you don’t have to be crafty to be creative. I consider myself to be fairly creative, but not in the traditional sense. I am supremely mediocre in the visual arts, and have zero interest in making handcrafts. Where my creativity lies is in finding solutions and opportunities where others don’t.

No knitting needles required.

It’s time to check in on the $100 Holiday Gift Challenge which I proposed last month. I’ve been doing my Christmas shopping over the past couple weeks and doing pretty well. I’ve probably spent around $30 so far, but will actually be going over the $100 mark. This is mostly because my husband and I like to give his parents a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant, which is pretty pricey.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to give a frugal present to people you know really well, yet end up spending much more on those you don’t? Case in point — I’ve bought a ton of great gifts for my sister’s birthday next week, yet I’ve probably only spent around $15. For my in-laws whose taste I’m not as familiar with, we’ll spend a big chunk.

In the category of “at least I tried” I have tonight’s dinner. My plan was to make a hearty black bean soup, with cornbread and a salad. However, I accidently let all the water boil out of the pressure cooker, thus making the beans completely inedible. My husband and I were in the living room when we heard a loud “pop” and then a sharp hissing sound from the kitchen. I was picturing black beans all over the ceiling, but it turned out that the tiny round gasket, (apparently a safety feature) exploded from the lid and yes, it did hit the ceiling.

Instead we ate packaged Mandarin Orange chicken from Trader Joe’s with rice, no salad. It’s important to have a plan B.

And I now have a small black circle on the ceiling above my stove. And that tiny rubber gasket? Nowhere to be seen.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl December 12, 2009 at 2:29 am

At least it was only black beans. It would have been more sad if you’d had a big hunk of meat in the pressure cooker! lol

And yes, a plan B is SO important. An easy meal in the freezer has saved me from takeout more than once.


Carla December 12, 2009 at 7:55 am

Oh my, I’m so glad that pressure cooker didn’t explode on you. That is not a good scene. At all. Highly dangerous.


Dana December 12, 2009 at 10:19 am

I have 2 daughters, ages 4 and 6. I’ve spent maybe $30 total for both of them. (I did buy new things though. Some handmade things may not happen since DH is having hip replacement next week.)

I got them halloween costumes for playing dress up when they were 75% off at Target. They’re also each getting a jump rope and a card game. I’m looking to find a big (think refrigerator) box and just give it to them to play in. They’ll have a blast decorating it and turning it into all kinds of things!


Lisa December 12, 2009 at 10:39 am

Your comment about the tendency to spend more on people you don’t know quite as well struck a chord with me. I do the same thing! I wonder why that is? Maybe it stems from wanting to make the best impression or the deep seated desire to be liked. What do you think?

Thank God for safety valves! And thank God that we non consumers are a flexible bunch able to roll with the changes thrown our way.


Rosa December 12, 2009 at 1:51 pm

That exact same thing happened to us! We had to replace one of the ceiling tiles because of the purple black bean water.

And, yes – I have a bunch of great, used, homemade, or found gifts for close friends & my family, but for the big extended family we have to spend a ton of money because we have no idea what to get and we don’t want to look cheap! Can’t have one of the aunties calling grandma about how we ruined Christmas…


Kris-ND December 12, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Your experience explains exactly why the pressure cooker I so wanted last year for Christmas, and that my husband bought me, sits a year later, unused.

A few days after Christmas, my son pointed out ONE bad review from Amazon, but the review was about the pressure cooker doing very bad things involving loud noises and things shooting out of it. 😉 One day I will gather some courage to use


magdalena December 12, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Modern pressure cookers are much safer, since they have pressure release valves. Best get it checked out before using it again, as well as having the gasket replaced. Do hardware stores do this anymore? Or do you have to call some toll-free number?

I think everyone is getting food gifts this year; nothing else came together in time!


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