4/14/21

I'm smitten! Smitten with my new Nesco Vacuum Food Sealer! (Photos too)

Over the years it's no secret I loved my vacuum food sealer.  I think the first time I posted about it was back in 2015 - (this might be the first post mentioning it) and although it was a cheap Weston brand that my husband picked up on clearance at Lowe's for probably about $50, it just now, in 2021 was replaced.  (It's still working fine but the heating element has a couple weak spots during sealing and they don't have my exact model part number heating element in stock so I just decided to get a new one anyway.)

After researching for a couple months and standing in various store aisles debating while staring, shifting my weight from one foot to another, cocking my head sideways and nibbling my bottom lip; I ended up ordering my new vacuum food sealer off Amazon.  

I knew I didn't want to go with a FoodSaver brand.  I also knew I wanted a 'budget friendly' version.  I didn't want a Chinese 'name brand' knock-off that no one has ever heard of.  But I wanted one that had a good reputation, was budget-friendly and got good reviews.

In the end I went with a brand I knew.  NESCO.  I'm pretty sure NESCO is the brand of roaster my grandmother had at her house for a million years before she passed away.  I think she got hers around the late 1930's or 1940 - and for all I know, it's still working to this day for whomever ended up with Grandma's roaster oven after she passed.

The NESCO VS-12 Deluxe  

 

 

 

Here is the manual showing the series I chose and the features.

It has 3 “Seal” settings; Dry, Moist, and Double.  When I saw on some video reviews it offered a double seal option, that was a primary reason I looked closer at this one.  I seal a lot of foods with moisture in them and I love the 'double' seal option!

The second thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this one - that I didn't pay any attention to before I bought it but now I never want to be without it is the PULSE option.

When I sealed foods in the Weston Harvest Guard, it had a built in vacuum/seal but you had no real control over it.  I always ended up getting marinades and juices sucked up to the top of the bag (and out of it) and then the seal wouldn't seal well.  I had to always seal a paper towel inside to try to catch the moisture before it got to the top of the bag or wouldn't seal well.  THE NESCO SOLVES THAT.  

Using the pulse option, I pulse the vacuum until I see the moisture is up near the top, then I simply stop the vacuum and it 'holds' it (the Weston didn't) and then I hit manual seal. It sealed marinated steaks and pork chops perfectly this week.

It also has a 'gentle' vacuum verses a normal vacuum for foods that are more crushable.


 



When I bought it, I paid $99 but I see today (as of this posting actually) I just went to Amazon to get a link and saw it was $94.99 at this second. 


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4/9/21

"Gifted" a large crate of leftover green beans - time to FREEZE GREEN BEANS (post with photos included)

Gifted with beans... lots and lots (and lots) of beans.
 
Last night a family member came over and dropped off a huge crate of... green beans.
They were leftover from a church donation thing of some sort but they weren't really useable because they had 'lived' in the crate for a few more days than they should have, they were starting to go bad. 

Ok - Most were past 'starting' to go bad; and about half were pretty gross.  But others were just fine.  It would just be a pretty time consuming task to go through them all.  The family member (and apparently no one else of the 10 or so people who had a chance to take the beans before they made their way to me) were up to it.
 
I quickly snapped a picture of the crate that I took outside - one of the two bags of "not acceptable" discards is still inside it. 
 


I don't like to waste anything so around 6:00 I turned on the music app on my phone and got to work painstakingly going through the crate of beans.  I had two grocery store bags full of unacceptable (read: gross) green beans but I ended up with a nice amount left.

Although I had originally thought I'd pressure can them - I really didn't have enough to go through the hassle of getting it all out and it was already about 8:00 pm by this point so I just decided to freeze them.

To freeze green beans


Pick through your fresh green beans, remove those with rust, fungus, etc.
Wash them in cold water.
Snap or snip off the ends.  Leave whole or snap/snip in half.
Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.
Prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice in it.
Submerge an amount green beans into the boiling water. 
The amount needs to be not so large that it would stop the water boiling. You want a constant boil.
Work in batches.
Boil the green beans for 3 minutes and remove promptly.
Submerge or dump the green beans into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
Swirl them a bit with your hands or a spoon to evenly cool, then remove to another bowl.
Repeat until all the beans are finished, adding fresh ice as needed to keep the water cold.
Place the amount of beans you wish into your freezer container of choice.
Freeze.

 
  

Cooling down quickly to stop the cooking process

Ready to put into freezer containers

 
I did not plan to do a post on this so I didn't take any more photos and didn't take a picture of the finished products last night.  I simply went to bed.  But I did have the above photos on my phone as I had sent them to a family member while I was doing it.
 
So I quickly went to the freezer just now, grabbed two of the bags out and took a picture!  Ha ha.
 
I opted to use a food sealer for ours but you can use any freeze container you wish.
The white at the tops of the bags are paper towels.  When I food seal anything with moisture
I add paper towels in the bags prior to sealing to catch the moisture before the vacuum process.


 I got about 5 1/2 lbs. of 'useable' green beans from the crate.




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I opted to use a food sealer to quickly vacuum seal my green beans. If you are interested, you can find many different options of sealers at your local retailers or through Amazon.

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4/5/21

My favorite all-time blue cheese dressing!!!

I posted this in March of 2016.  I've made it a zillion bajillion times since I first started to make it (so many years and years ago I can't even remember), and made it again today as we are having hot wings tonight for dinner and my husband prefers blue cheese dressing to ranch with his wings.

I've not posted it in a long time so here is a re-post of it. 

 

Blue Cheese Dressing or if you want to be all fancy about it:
Bleu Cheese Dressing

1/2 c mayonnaise
1 c sour cream
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 T scant - white or rice wine vinegar
2 t lemon juice
1/4 t onion powder
1/2 t worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/2 - 3/4 c good quality crumbled blue cheese

Blend and chill at least 2 hours before using.  Best the next day.
*I don't even bother putting in the onion powder anymore.  I haven't for about 5 years now so that's totally optional.  Leave it out if you wish.  The Worchestershire sauce is also optional but just a tiny dash does give it something extra.






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