When it’s time to say goodbye and Creamy cheese/ham over pasta

There’s no easy way to say this so I’ll come right out with it.  I got a divorce yesterday.  Yes, after almost four decades of a good relationship even with a few problems and breaks, I boxed up my final Mr. Coffee maker and returned him to Target yesterday.  After signing the final divorce papers at the return desk I’ve moved on to KitchenAid.  As I sit here drinking a HOT cup of coffee, I realize that I was in denial that things were wrong and nothing was going to make Mr. Coffee change back to being reliable and delivering a hot cup of coffee every morning.

I remember buying my first Mr. Coffee on sale for $14.99 and it worked great for over 20 years.  Simple design – put your coffee grounds in the basket, dump some water in, hit the button and viola!  hot coffee came pouring out.  Then they came out with a new feature – delayed brewing.  Huh, sounded like a great idea to have hot coffee waiting for me when I shuffled downstairs.  So I upgraded all the way to the new $24.99 model which was great once I figured out how to set the current time and delayed brewing time.  That pot stuck with me for years until I was diagnosed with MS which sometimes caused me to lose my grasp on things, like glass coffee pots.  I was so famous in the neighborhood for smashing coffee pots that as friends upgraded to different models they’d give me their old pots until I had a nice stash of extras built up.

But then, as you know we got the granite counters and my supply of pots quickly diminished…along with glasses and plates.  Not ready to give up I even bragged about my new Mr. Coffee ($39.99 on sale at Target) in my last In My Kitchen post.  Looked nice, right – even with my reflection in the pot…

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That was the beginning of February and although I really didn’t like the new design of this coffee maker, I tried to love it…for a week.  Then it started dripping coffee onto the hot plate when you pulled the pot out to pour a cup.  I think that could be a design feature since I’m guessing it might eventually start to mess up the hot plate at which point your coffee doesn’t get very hot, the plate burns out and there you are in Target again.  Once it started the dripping routine, the design really started to annoy me.  For some reason they decided to put the basket for the coffee in the front and in the same compartment, the water reservoir right behind it with about a 2″ opening to pour your water in.  If you shake and miss, then water comes pouring out the coffee spout all over the counter.  Once you manage to get some water in the back, then you can put the coffee in the basket, then swing this little arm from the back, over the top of the coffee grounds so in theory, it will gently spray water over your coffee grounds promising a superb cup of coffee.  That was the theory anyway but it was annoying as all get-out so I boxed that little buddy up and headed over to Target again.

Back to the coffee maker aisle and although there were a number of brands to chose from, I decided that I wanted one that made a full pot rather than one cup and I wanted an easy to fill design.  When I saw the next step up in Mr. Coffee on sale for $59.99 with the stainless steel carafe I figured that was the end of smashed pots for Diane.  And look how they even separated the water from the coffee grounds –

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That’s the theory anyway.  Reality was…
Day 1:  John didn’t have his coffee at 7:00 as he was busy shoveling snow then had to run out to work.  When I got my first cup, it was fine, just fine, not great because it was a little lukewarm.  Ah!  I forgot to put the cover on top of the pot.  That must be it.
Day 2:  John grabbed the first cup right at 7:00 and later told me that his was piping hot.  Huh?  Mine was a little less than lukewarm and I’d remembered to put the cover on.  Maybe Mr. Coffee’s worried about hot coffee lawsuits and decided to make lukewarm coffee.
Day 3:  I woke up to a piercing screech that seemed to be coming from the kitchen.  “John – is that the coffee pot making that noise?”
yeah, I’m trying to get the hotplate to stay on but it keeps going off”
“Well, would you kindly take your finger off the brew button because the animals are covering their ears”
“I did, it won’t stop!”
“Pull the plug or toss it out the back door!”

When I made my way downstairs I noticed that half the water was still in the water reservoir.  Now that’s not good but when I plugged it back in, the screeching started again.  Okay, sigh…there’s enough that brewed to give me one hit of caffeine which should hold me until I box this baby back up and head on over to Target.

How embarrassing is it when it’s the same sales clerk doing the return and she says “another problem Ma’am?”.  “Yes and I’m divorcing Mr. Coffee!”.  I’m sure they think I’m up to something dodgy with all the coffee pot returns – maybe stealing pieces one at a time until I make my own coffee pot for free.  But back to the coffee maker aisle.  As they say – fool me once –  shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me.  Hello KitchenAid… I always said I’d never pay a lot of money for a coffee maker because really the technology is pretty simple:   water – coffee grounds – a button – a pot – DONE.  But now, $100 later I am finally sitting with a really HOT cup of coffee and you know what?  It really does taste better when it’s hot.

IMG_1321I really hope that we have the coffee maker situation under control and will just have to look online to stock up on glass pots for it but in the meantime, I had to make the other Mr. in the house happy.  John’s been around longer than my Mr. Coffee’s and will probably hang around as long as I put a plate of pasta in front of him every now and then.  Since I was seriously worn out from packing up and lugging coffee pots around, I went with a quick and easy solution while also using up some leftover ham.  Sort of a cheesy/creamy sauce with ham and spinach on top of pasta did the trick….

IMG_1313No real recipe for this one…I just used a small 8 oz. ball of shredded mozzarella cheese with an equal portion of parmesan and a little cream.  After getting that all melted in the saucepan, I added diced chunks of ham and topped it all off with spinach.  Put it on top of some pasta and dinner was a success.

Since we’re now in the midst of a nasty Nor’Easter blizzard and there will be more shoveling to do….I think I’ll make a pot of coffee!  Please don’t accuse me of animal abuse – she loves it out there and won’t come in.

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I just had to update with this photo from the front of the house this morning, after the storm.  This icicle has to be at least 10-12′ long.  Going to make some noise when that lets go.

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42 thoughts on “When it’s time to say goodbye and Creamy cheese/ham over pasta

  1. That dog must be mad! Tell me, is a coffee maker worth the money? I still rely on a cafetiere, which makes a perfectly decent, if not amazing, cup of coffee. Do coffee makers make better coffee or is it just simpler? Sorry, that’s a very demanding comment. You may need to sit down with a cup of coffee to ponder that one.

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    • Lola has her moments but believe it or not she’s happiest when she’s out there in a big pile of snow. Bernese have 2 coats – the undercoat is almost like a water repellent fleece and then they have the long hair over that. So all year long, they drop the long hair but man, look out come springtime when she blows the undercoat! I’m over my ankles in fur.
      You know…wait a minute, let me take another sip of coffee here… NO! the coffee maker doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to brewing a great cup of coffee. That is, unless you buy a sucky coffee maker like the current Mr. Coffees out there. Problem is for some reason the Mr. Coffee makers seem to have taken down the heat on their hotplates a few notches & since I use cream in my coffee, it tastes lousy when you’ve got that cream sort of curdling in there. I always said I’d never spend on lot on something so basic & simple but with the selection I was looking at, this one seemed to be the most straightforward. All these foolish bells & whistles!
      Now what is a cafetiere?

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  2. Hey, Lola looks like a bear rug. She must be a blast to wipe down when she comes in. I’m sick of this weather, Diane.. make it stop.
    The coffee maker woes… I bet you could write a country song about that. I finally changed to a Mr. Coffee and I love it. But I will keep this one in mind for next time.Thank goodness Target’s return policy is simple. Beep, beep, thank you, ma’am.

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    • It’s funny but the snow just sort of sits on top of her fur & as long as I can get her to shake off, I can get her dry with one towel (usually). Now if she shakes off inside, them I’m using more towels on the floor. I wish I could make it stop Judy. John’s about to go snowblow now for the first pass but the wind’s blowing so hard that it’ll probably be covered again in an hour.
      You just changed to Mr. Coffee? Really – was it the one with that swing arm? Frankly, I always loved them & been buying them for 40 years but they just seem to have so many problems now & aren’t keeping the coffee hot. I really noticed it after Harry told me his new one wasn’t very hot – maybe he shouldn’t have told me that & I wouldn’t have noticed. Don’t get blown into the ocean tonight.

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  3. Oh gosh, I actually thought you were getting a divorce! And then I read on – damn you Mr Coffee 😛
    I hope you buy yourself a cafe and get the best coffee around – you deserve it after all this!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  4. I’m glad you finally found a coffee machine that works for you. For years I had a saeco Italian espresso brewer
    and loved. I even brought it to Japan and HK and had to plug the saeco into one of those huge ugly black transformers in the kitchen to get it to work. However after about 10 years of coffee abuse my body rebelled and had to stop. Have you ever suffered through coffee withdrawal? My saeco stopped working for my husband and now we are proud owners of an nespresso machine and hubby loves it. Take care, BAM

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    • Isn’t it funny how you can have one little appliance that just lasts & lasts and then you go through a string of them that you think were some kind of project for kindergarten kids?
      Oh my yes, I have suffered from coffee withdrawal. Way back when I was a buyer for Lechmere, all day long vendors would come in to sell their wares and each one would bring me a cup of coffee. It got to the point where I didn’t even enjoy it anymore and when I left that job I just stopped drinking coffee for years altogether. But what horrible coffee headaches! I didn’t even own a coffee maker until I decided that I should have one to offer company and that’s when I started drinking it again. But, I only buy really good coffee and have one-two cups/day.
      Wow – I don’t think I know anyone with an espresso machine. Those are pretty major aren’t they?

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      • Yes, we used to like our coffee strong and enjoyed cappuccino and latte’s so we sure got our moneys worth if you compared to buying several starbucks coffee every morning, mid day. Making the froth on your coffee takes a little practice but it is delightful. Now with this easy and practical Nespresso machine and milk frother, it could’t be easier. Stay warm and happy belated hallmark holiday.

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  5. Oh my god Diane! It looks so cold. I have rarely seen snow let alone snow that thick. You should come and stay with us for a couple of weeks. The weather has been very nice lately – late20’s early 30s – those are Cs not Fs. I understand your woes with the coffee maker. These days you seem to need to try two or three electrical items before you get one that works. Quality workmanship has gone by the board.

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    • I’m telling you I could easily hop on a plane today – if the airport were open. By this time of year I am so sick of winter & snowstorms every week but actually when it snows, it’s a little bit warmer. Just before this storm was COLD! Below zero F.
      I am so hoping this coffee maker doesn’t have any quirks. I’m thinking it’s because they must all be microchips now instead of just wiring. I swear they don’t care if they get 50 percent returns because the chips are so cheap and when they get the appliance back, they just shove a new one in.

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  6. Puppy! You are going to freeze your little nose off out there. Come in so mom can get your all dry and warm. 🙂
    Diane, it is so sad that all manufacturers don’t make quality items like they used to and it seems you really do have to throw quite a bit more money at something now days to ensure you get a decent product, case in point, our fridge and freezer.
    Have a beautiful weekend and stay snuggly with a nice hot cup of coffee.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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    • Mandy I wish I could get that big ol’ pup in here but first thing this morning she was back out in it, rolling on her back & shoving her nose down into the snow. She left a bone out there that she’s trying to find but she doesn’t know that my husband found it & put it in the basement.
      I’m beginning to wonder if the price even matters – seems like the reliability of these things is pretty bad these days. Up until a few years ago I had an old vacuum cleaner that was my mother’s that she got for a wedding present! Over 50 years & the motor was still chugging away. I only got rid of it because the thing weighed a ton.
      Today the fridge day?

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      • I am convinced manufacturers make things not to last so we have to buy again and again and again making them richer and us poorer.
        I wish today was fridge day. I was going to do the last of the comparisons but then the day went haywire. xo

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  7. Wow! I really jumped when I read that you got a divorce after four decades together! I’m so glad to see that it was not John you divorced, but your other Mister. I can’t blame you at all! After all of those returns at Target, the hot meal you whipped up sounded perfectly comforting. Thankfully, the coffee will be hot, too — it’s a must, in my book! Thanks for another uplifting read, Diane!

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    • I like Target but I don’t like going every other day. At least the great thing about that store is they give you NO hassle on returns. I have a friend who got a Mr. Coffee & he was saying the same thing about the coffee not being very hot so I’m wondering if they’ve done something to the heater coil or hotplate maybe because they were afraid of lawsuits? Very sad excuse if that’s the case.

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    • Thank you. You’re entirely correct, you just need Mr. Dependable and hey, when the parts wear out…well you just have to move on. And that icicle did finally let go! It’s a shame that it’s timing wasn’t better because I just had the tax assessor here looking at the house.

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  8. It IS a dog under the snow! I thought it had to be a log! You had me worried with your first line, I thought you were divorcing a much more important member of the family! Ah well, I’m glad your gradually more and more expensive coffee makers worked out in the end! Any man who shovels snow for a plate of (granted, it looks delicious) pasta must be in love. 🙂

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  9. That’s Lola & you can find her out there buried during every storm. This storm was I think our worst – the snow came down so fast, that the snow on top of Lola was after only about 20 minutes. John and I have been together for more than 4 decades too but our warranty hasn’t expired yet and I think we’re good for another 40.
    Isn’t it absolutely crazy to spend so much for a coffee maker though? I know that people do spend a lot more than I did but still, the technology is so basic and the coffee makers have been around for so long that they should just leave well enough alone! If they want to give their engineers something to do then maybe they could get them working on that “I’m ready” screech when the coffee’s done & then when the pot goes off. That has to be about the most annoying noise to start your day. I’m thinking they could find some way to download your ITunes playlist or something like that.

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  10. Sorry to hear of your divorce, Diane. You should have known that the fancy Mr Coffee pot was just a rebound affair and wouldn’t last. Ah, hindsight. Now, though, I predict a long, loving relationship with your KitchenAid. That Lola! before Max, I had a keeshund and a cairn terrier. Much like Lola, that keeshund would lay out in the snow, loving every minute of it. He startled more than a few people out there and made a mess of my home when he came in, covered in all of that snow. 🙂

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    • LOL! John why is it that we can see that in others but fail to recognize it in ourselves? I should have seen it coming but guess I was in denial.
      Oh, those keeshond’s are gorgeous & got the same type of coat as a Berner. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back to my car in the winter to find good Samaritan’s standing at my car saying “oh the poor puppy – we should report them!”. Right…I just pulled her out of snowbank so a little sportscar with her blanket is much worse. I even leave the windows cracked for her…air and of course there’s the problem with a big dog, small car & lots of Berner gas!

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  11. I thought you were getting divorced too, lol! Must have given your husband a scare when he read that! We have an old old old cuisinart. We bought a new one for the lake and the damn hot plate wasn’t! I mean it never heated up, it had a thermos metal carafe instead and coffee was never warm. I hated that thing. We never did jump on the kurig bandwagon, I think we go through so much coffee it would get pricey.

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    • Well it was a divorce, just not my husband. I don’t know what’s up with these appliances but you shouldn’t have to be bringing them back every week. When I was chatting with the woman at the return desk she told me that she got a kurig & loved it, then another sales clerk came up & said the same thing. But I agree with you – too pricey to buy, and you’re limited to whatever they have available in those little K cups. I have a fantastic coffee roaster near us & love to try their coffees, plus sometimes you just want a big pot available for company instead of doing a cup at a time.

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    • We really had one of the coldest January’s that I can remember. Usually we get a break here or there but it was bitter cold all through January & now into February. But, lo and behold – it being New England we’re going to be almost 50° tomorrow!
      That dog loves the snow – I can’t get her inside.

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  12. Well, this one made me laugh out loud! Isn’t it somethignhwo some appliance are just for the birds? You countertops, by the way, are glorious! And your dog is precious! My, but it looks terribly cold. Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable read!

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    • I’m glad I could make you smile Adri and you’re right, I swear half of the appliances out there are just waiting to fail. It has been incredibly cold here in New England this winter but that’s the kind of weather my dog loves. When it gets too hot for her in the summer, she digs a huge hole under the porch and doesn’t move until sundown.

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  13. It’s easy to get sucked in to a brand when Joe DiMaggio is the pitch man. (Yes, I know you are a New England gal and probably despise the Yankees, but still… DiMaggio.) I’ve never gone wrong with Kitchen Aid stuff, although my coffee pot is a percolator from the 1970s. Seriously. — By the way, can we say that you had an annulment w/ Mr. Coffee? After all, the most recent model never really made coffee for you. 😉

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    • LOL! Damn you Adam, I just blew hot coffee out my nose! You’re absolutely correct that my last affair ended in an annulment. I’m now a week using the KitchenAid and so far so good that I might even let my husband throw out the box it came it on next week’s dump run.
      And absolutely, I like Joe DiMaggio – who wouldn’t like Joe?
      I do keep hearing that percolator’s are coming back and I think I’d jump if I could find a good one. Still remember that percolator perking every morning in my mother’s kitchen….until she made the mistake of immersing the poor thing in the sink of soapy water. That was a mistake.

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