Progresso Minestrone soup.

Microwavable, in the container soup.  The specimen today is Progresso Minestrone.  Which is a Betty Crocker product.

Serving size is 15.x ounces, of which 14.x ounces is broth/water, so it’s not all that filling.    This isn’t a Chunky soup, so maybe my view is a little skewed.  If this is all you have you’ll still be hungry.

Would I eat this again?  If I had too, it’s not my favorite.  But I’d certainly eat it before I’d skip it.  I would willingly try other flavors in the future though.   This small thing of soup contains 930mg of Sodium, which seems like a lot to me.


Progresso Minestrone Soup

Category Rating
(1-10) with 10 being the best.
Portion Size 6 Overall a decent portion size.  But could be a little better.
Portability 9 Fits fairly well in a small soft sided thermal lunch box.  You still have room for snacks and what-not.  Nice and compact.
Cookability 9 The time indicated on the box is spot on.  2 Minutes to soup.
Preparation 9 Drop dead simple, pull the lid off, open the can, replace lid.  Zap.  Lid keeps the stuff from blowing up in the Microwave.
Food Quality
6 I realize taste is subjective, and if you didn’t like Minestrone you wouldn’t buy this.  For me the taste was simply OK.
Over ALL Score 42 out of a possible 50 isn’t just barely tolerable.

Selling Stuff On the Internet.

We’re going to try something new.   No we’re not getting in the e-commerce business per see, but we have some stuff to get rid of.  I’ve spent the last two weekends cleaning out our big barn and I’m only about 20% done.   There’s stuff in there that we’ve had for a long time and is no longer used or needed.

Some of this will go on eBay, some on CraigsList, but for now, we’re going to try and cut out the middleman and see how it goes.

It also looks like I’ll be helping Kyle Jr. part out his dads bike.  Which got me thinking, there has to be a simple and easy way to throw together a simple e-commerce site.  One to publish items for sale, and manage inventory.   When we part out this bike (and other stuff), there’s pretty much only going to be one of everything.  Once it’s sold I want it to just disappear without a lot of head aches or management.

I’m going to give this WordPress plug-in a go (wp-eccommerce).   

The first item is posted on the products page now, it’s a big spool of electrical cable that we purchased for the barn but didn’t use.  (Long story but the bottom line is it’s left over, and I’m tired of looking at it).

I suspect Claudine will want to post some of our used Home Schooling Curriculum that she no longer uses.

There’s simply no sense in paying eBay fees for stuff like that.    So without further adieu…   Our online store is here:  The Product Listing Page.

Make sure to get in touch with the best satellite internet providers when the time will come.

Healthy Choice: This aint your mothers meat loaf.

These all-in-one meals are tough.   Remove the covering from the ‘desert’, slitting the covering over the meal and/or veggies as required.

They never cook right.  With Healthy Choice meals the desert is always cooked to death to get the main portion cooked right.  Cooking inconsistencies aside, this isn’t too bad.  Would I eat it again?  Sure.


Healthy Choice – Meatloaf

Category Rating
(1-10) with 10 being the best.
Portion Size 7 Overall a decent portion size.  But could be a little better.
Portability 7 Fits fairly well in a small soft sided thermal lunch box.  You still have room for snacks and what-not.
Cookability 7 The time indicated on the box is spot on for the main course and veggies.  Ruins the desert though.
Preparation 7 Remove covering from desert, slit over meal and veggies.   Removing the covering from the desert whilst not breaking the seal on the other compartments is easier said than done.
Food Quality
7 I realize taste is subjective, the meatloaf is better than some cafeteria meatloaf I’ve had in the past.  There is certainly cause for speculation that this might not actually be meat.  It’s still edible though and that’s a plus.  Veggies are usually good with these meals.  Desert, is burnt apple mush.
Over ALL Score 35 out of a possible 50 isn’t just barely tolerable.

Lunch and Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

So a while back I wrote about my efforts to lose weight.   Nothing super fancy, more like fixing my diet and eating ‘more right’.  That primarily includes:

Eating breakfast, which makes you hungry for lunch and then not skipping lunch, and then snacking when you’re hungry on good stuff.    Basically getting your metabolism going and no longer starving yourself so your body stores everything it eats.

So far this is working for me.   Its had its up and it’s downs though, Primarily in the ‘Lunch Category’.

When possible, Claudine packs me a lunch of good home-made stuff, a turkey sandwich or a pork roast sandwich.  But when she’s busy, or we haven’t eaten anything the night before that I care to eat again, I get one of those ‘package lunches’.

So far we’ve tried numerous things and I will eventually get around to rating them all so you don’t have to suffer as I have.

First up is the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

Far and away these are the most consistent cooking of all the microwave lunch in-a-box type meals.  There is a reasonable portion, and most of them taste pretty good to boot.  

I’ve had the Beef Merlot, Cajun Style Chicken & Shrimp, and the Grilled Whiskey Steak.

They so far have been the only meal that you put in the microwave for the indicated time and they actually cook properly.

So here’s how I’m going to rate this stuff on a scale from 1-10.


Cafe Steamers (only applicable to the 3 that I’ve tried thus far).

Category Rating
(1-10) with 10 being the best.
Portion Size 8 Overall a decent portion size. 
Portability 8 Fits easily in a small soft sided thermal lunch box.  You still have room for snacks and what-not.
Cookability 10 The time indicated on the box is spot on, in the different microwaves I’ve used.  Very Consistent
Preparation 9 Drop dead simple to cook, open the box, put it in the Microwave.  No poking, or slicing.  When done peel of the top, dump the food into the sauce and eat.  Comes with it’s own bowl* 
Food Quality
9 So far all have tasted great or better than expected.  I realize taste is subjective, but this is good stuff.  The quality of the meat has been good too, no hard rubbery steak, etc.
Over ALL Score 44 out of a possible 50 isn’t too bad.

Viore TV’s What a shame…

In November of 2006 we grabbed a Black Friday special…  a 42” Plasma TV for $999.

Brand: VIORE…  There’s plenty of speculation on the Internet as to what this really is under the plastic.

Feature for feature it was a great TV for the price at the time.  Its biggest shortcoming was a single HDMI input.  But again at the time that wasn’t uncommon.  The only complaint was it was really slow switching inputs.

I really enjoyed this TV, it was bright, and sharp.  Colors were good, but it was reflective as hell which made watching TV in the daylight with the windows open troublesome.

16 months later it’s dead as I suspect most VIORE TV’s are.  It also appears that we got more use out of ours than most people did.

Viore as a company is pretty sad.  They don’t answer their phones or return emails.  We had a hell of a time finding someone to service it.   We finally did and the results are in.

It needs two boards replaced:  $200-$300 each, plus labor at an estimated $200.

So: $600 to $800 to repair a TV that we paid $999 for.   That really blows.

I understand it’s pretty expensive to repair just about any TV these days, but this brand should be avoided if at all possible.