Monday, August 22, 2016

Review of Walmart's Free Grocery Pickup



Walmart, ah, Walmart.

When I first heard about Walmart's Free Grocery Pickup--where you can order your groceries online and then you go to the store and stay in your car and they bring your groceries out to you, I felt like I was living in the future. And a glorious future it was. When my kids were young and I would drive to the store and someone would fall asleep and I would sit there in the car thinking, "Do I wake my kid and go in, or just go home, or just sit here in the car for 30 minutes not doing anything so they get a little nap in?" At that time in my life, I remember thinking that if there were drive thru groceries like there was drive thru fast food, all the problems in my whole life would dry up and go away. 

Well, folks, now there is in reality drive through grocery pick up just like drive through fast food.

And the truth is that I really do like it. But I'm going to start this review with a tiny vent because there was a learning curve to ordering and they seriously almost lost me as a customer and a promoter of this whole thing. If you want to skip the vent, hop down a few paragraphs.

There are a few glitches. This is a review and I'm going to be honest. The first time I did this on the computer, I HATED it. I was like, "Seriously, Walmart, how can you muff this up and make me still hate you?" But they did. I'd tried to use a friend's code, but it wasn't working. I had to call. They didn't have a bunch of stuff that I was sure they had (like, they only offered me organic bananas; where were the regular bananas?). Then when I went to use the groovy feature where I can change my order before pick up, it looked like it charged me again, so I had to call (it didn't; it just looked that way). Then there weren't pick up times I wanted. I seriously just hated Walmart with my soul. Until I sat in my car at that pick up and a polite young man brought out my groceries and loaded them into the back of my car. It was like small town 1950's market meets the future. And it was awesome.

Since then I've learned the ropes a bit and become a convert. You will too.

What I hated: 

1. Glitches, glitches, glitches. The website is surely a work in progress, and it just needs to be refined. And I feel like certain things aren't clear. After a few orders you know the ropes, but at first certain things seem confusing.
2. Sometimes it's hard not to see an item. The first time I accidentally got a small applesauce just because it looked big in the picture and I didn't read it closely enough. Not really their fault, but something to be aware of as you shop with thumbnail pictures instead of actual products.
3. There is not, as near as I can tell, a way for your to use regular clipped out coupons for cereal or Tide or whatever. You can use Walmart type promotions, but no newspaper type coupons.

What I loved: 

1. Have I mentioned the pick up where a polite Walmart worker comes to your car and puts your groceries in the back. And you don't have to do anything and could stand there catching Pokemon if you wanted to.
2. The other feature I just really love love love is that you can start a grocery cart just like you might start a grocery list. So if I'm planning to shop on Saturday, I can just start adding things to my cart on Monday. Oh, we need pasta and vinegar and olives. Then Wednesday I realize that we need toilet paper and peanut butter. Then on Thursday I look in the fridge and realize we're completely out of ketchup and that won't do. Etc. I just keep adding things to my cart instead of a shopping list. And it's wonderful and glorious because then they won't be forgotten when you forget your list, or remember your list, but mysteriously forget some of the things on it, or whatever frazzled people do when they shop. I love using it as my grocery list.
3. You can change your order. So if you decide you're not making pizza for dinner, take that pepperoni off the list. Note that when you do you have to re-check out, but they're not re-charging you (unless you add more and then they charge you the difference).
4. Even if you're late for your time, they'll hold your order till 8:00 (or whenever your Walmart stops doing the pick ups). I don't recommend abusing this, but it's nice to know.

What you need to learn to navigate their not-always-as-user-friendly-as-it-should-be website Walmart:

1. Sign up by clicking through the link if you want the promotion ($10 off your first purchase of $30 or more). If you're using the code I post below to get $10 off your order, you have to click through that link. If you don't, and sign up on your own and then try to use the promo code, it won't work. You have to click through the link to get the promotion.

2. Add stuff to your grocery cart. I actually think this is mostly a great feature. It's easy to add, easy to remove, easy to put that you want more than one item of something.

3. Choose a pick up place.

4. Choose a pick up time. You can choose the time early in the week if you want, even if you haven't checked out. This is nice because some of the slots go kind of quickly, so you can get them early if you'd like--even before you've officially checked out.

5. Give them your credit card info. Then add promos if you have them.

6. Know that if you change your order (which you can, which is nice), you have to "Place order" again. This threw me off the first time because I'd taken things out of my cart and I was worried they'd charge me for both transactions. They didn't, and they won't for you either.

7. Call and complain if something is awful. They answer quickly and try to resolve your concerns and are really trying to make this work and make you happy.

8. If something glitches and it won't let you place your order, just go back a few steps and try again.

HERE'S THE LINK. Remember to click through it if you want to save $10 on your first purchase ($30 minimum).

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lemonies (Lemon Brownies)




I started seeing lemon brownies making the rounds on Facebook and Pinterest quite a while ago, but you can imagine that in this household, it was a pretty tough sell.

Me: So I'm thinking of making these lemon brownies for dessert tonight.
Kip: Let's just make normal brownies instead.
Me: But these look so good. They're like a cross between lemon bars and brownies.
Kip: (getting out the cocoa) Yeah, regular brownies are better.
Me: But you've never even tasted...
Kip: (mixing cocoa with butter and sugar; licking off mixing utensils shamelessly)

So anyway, the lemon brownies had to wait. But them one day I was craving lemon and we had a church function and thus the stars aligned and I made lemonies and they were the super best most delicious thing ever. And you should make them and be happy and establish world peace.

These really are amazing. Like brownies in texture (dense, almost fudgy except of course they can't be fudgy because they're lemony; it's like baked goods racism or something the way I can't describe the moist and perfect texture without using the term fudgy...). Anyway, the texture is denser than cake, but of course not like a lemon bar either. It's just really good and has an intense (but not acid your mouth off) lemon flavor. They're awesome.




Lemonies (Lemon Brownies)
adapted from I Sing in the Kitchen
Makes 16 small lemonies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cost: $2.55
flour: .15, sugar: .25, lemon: .50, butter: .85, eggs: .20, confectioner's sugar: .60

Note: I used fresh lemon for this. You can cheat and supplement some non-fresh juice, but you must have the zest. You must or it will not be as good. That said, my measurements were sketchy. I zested one lemon and gave about a tablespoon to the lemonies and about a teaspoon to the glaze, but I didn't stress if it wasn't exact.

For Lemony: 

1 C flour
1 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla (I used, but might omit next time to see if it becomes even more lemony)

For glaze: 

1 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp zest

To make the lemonies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square pan.

Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and zest together.

Add melted butter, lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla. Beat.

Pour into pan and bake for 18-25 minutes (remember that metal pans cook faster than glass, so you might want to check a few minutes earlier if using metal).

Remove when a tester comes out with some moist crumbs (or clods), but not liquidy batter.

To make the glaze: 

Now, while it cools for just a few minutes, make the glaze. If you're thinking of skipping the glaze, give your face a good slap and then make the glaze. If you're thinking about halving it or something else, please slap yourself again and let's move on.

Okay, once you've slapped yourself into proper diet-breaking submission, combine all ingredients for the glaze and whisk until smooth. Pour this over the top of the warm lemonies. It will kind of sink in, but mostly not, but kind of and it will be amazing. And you will be so glad you slapped your own face instead of skipping this step because it was worth it.

Allow to cool and eat.

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Breakfast Salad



Time for Secret Recipe Club. This month I had Terri with Our Good Life as my blog. It was a lot of fun. Terri is a retired principal. My kids start school this week, so this seemed like the perfect time to peruse her blog (she even has some teacher appreciation gifts on her blog if you're interested).

I clicked on this recipe because my Japanese sister-in-law is always eating things like vegetables for breakfast and it always seems like such a lovely, healthy idea. But then when breakfast comes I'm like, "Pass the starch please." So, yes, I clicked on the recipe with good intentions. I stayed on the recipe, however, because it was similar in mood to this amazing lunch I've been making all summer with avocado, egg, and toast. I figured if I could eat a version of that meal for breakfast, then that my life would be pretty much perfect. And it is.

This simple meal is satisfying on so many levels. It's beautiful, colorful, with the right balance of salt and acid. It's hearty yet healthful; protein-rich, with good fats and vitamins. It's not expensive either (though it looks like it should be).

Breakfast Salad
adapted from Our Good Life
Serves: 2
Prep and cook time: 5-10 minutes
Cost: $2.55
avocados: $2.00, eggs: .20, cilantro: .15, lemon: .20

Note: I didn't really measure because I'm evil like that. It still turned out great. I think that I used a bit less cilantro and a bit less salt than called for. Also, I was completely lazy in making the dressing for this and basically just tossed everything in and it was good. The moral of the story being that this recipe is good enough to be lazy with. Sounds like a winner to me.

2 medium, ripe avocados
2 eggs
1/2 C chopped, fresh cilantro
1 small clove garlic (I omitted because I didn't have any and didn't think powder would be the same, but it would have been amazing with it; that said, if you need to spare your breath for kissing or something, it was also amazing without)
1 tsp sea salt
1 medium lemon, juiced (you're just going to use the juice)
dash of red pepper flakes

Dice the avocado. Then throw in the chopped cilantro and chopped garlic. Add salt and lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Note: In the original recipes she mashed the cilantro, garlic and salt with a pestle and mortar then combined with olive oil. I seriously just tossed it all in and it was fantastic.

Now cook up your egg. Terri poached hers, but I just cooked mine over easy. Note: While I'm being truthful about how completely lazy I am and how this recipe still came out gloriously, let me say that I started cooking the egg while preparing the other ingredients. I'd intended to have it with just a bit of a runny yoke, but got it cooked till it was firm. It was still amazing with the other ingredients. I'm craving it as I type.

Enjoy!

PRINTABLE RECIPE



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