Short Bits

Short Bits 2023

Updated on 2023-10-27

Short Bits is my method of sharing information that would be too short for a separate blog post. Following are my short posts for 2023.


01 – Discovered Two New Cereals (2023-03-08)

In early February, I went shopping at Whole Foods Market and I decided to check out the cereal aisle to see if there were any new cereal offerings.

I began experiencing symptoms of my third kidney stone in January, so I had decided to start a low oxalate diet. Some of the cereals I had been eating have ingredients that are high in oxalates according to the Oxalate Counts Android app; e.g. amaranth, buckwheat flour, chocolate, cornmeal, peanut butter, and quinoa. Therefore, I desired to replace the cereals containing high oxalate ingredients with cereals that have lower or no oxalate ingredients.

The first cereal I discovered was Vitabella corn flakes. Vitabella corn flakes contain three simple ingredients: corn, sugar, and sea salt. The cereal is also low in sugar; 2 grams (less than a teaspoon) per 1 cup serving. Another benefit of Vitabella corn flakes is that it is organic and gluten free.

A week or two later, I went shopping again at Whole Foods Market and once again I decided to check the cereal aisle to see if I could find more cereal alternatives. I discovered 365 (a Whole Foods Market house brand) Marshmallow Galaxy. 365 Marshmallow Galaxy is organic and gluten free and contains: oat flour, rice flour, marshmallows, cane sugar, sea salt, and rosemary extract (to maintain freshness). 365 Marshmallow Galaxy contains a bit more sugar than I would like (15 grams per 1.25 cup serving, or almost 4 teaspoons), but it’s still a great tasting cereal.

However, there are two things that I don’t like about 365 Marshmallow Galaxy. The marshmallows are hard and the cereal creates a lot of dust.

Comments and questions are welcome; see the Comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you for visiting.

02 – Homemade Loose Meat Hamburger…I’m in Heaven (2023-03-23)

In December 2022, I was reminiscing about sloppy joe sandwiches which were provided periodically by the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) of the elementary school I attended as a youngster. For a particular price which I no longer remember, you received one sloppy joe sandwich, carrot and celery sticks, and an ice cream sandwich. You could also purchase extra sloppy joe sandwiches if desired.

I decided to find a sloppy joe recipe. I found one and I added it to my Emacs recipe database. I then wondered if there was a recipe for making Maid-Rite loose meat hamburgers. My father introduced me to Maid-Rite hamburgers when I rode with him in his delivery truck as a youngster one day.

When I no longer lived where I grew up, I could only get Maid-Rite loose meat hamburgers when I went home to visit. Now I’m no longer able to visit home due to my spine issues. I remember my mother saying that the woman who cut many of my family members’ hair said that Maid-Rite loose meat hamburgers were easy to make. Therefore, I searched for homemade Maid-Rite loose meat hamburger recipes and I quickly came upon this one.

In February, I made my first batch of homemade Maid-Rite loose meat hamburger and I was in heaven. I can’t say for certain that the homemade version tastes exactly like the ones I’ve eaten at the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville, OH, but if not it’s pretty close in my opinion. Now I can have Maid-Rite loose meat hamburgers whenever I desire right at home.

I normally prefer cheeseburgers over hamburgers, but I prefer the Maid-Rite loose meat hamburger without cheese. I’ve had the Cheese-Rite, as they call it at the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville, OH, but I don’t like it near as well as I like the Maid-Rite (loose meat hamburger with mustard and pickles).

Image courtesy of Don Boyd

Have you ever eaten a Maid-Rite loose meat hamburger? Let me know in the Comment box at the bottom of the page and thank you for visiting.

03 – Spaghetti Casserole – New Recipe Added to My List of Comfort Foods (2023-07-16)

Last year, I noticed my wife had made meatballs for spaghetti and froze them. She would take some out to add to spaghetti sauce when she made spaghetti. I thought spaghetti with meatballs sounded good, but I don’t like making spaghetti because you can only cook enough for one meal. I like to cook to make enough for at least four meals.

I wondered if there was such a thing as spaghetti casserole, so I did some Internet research for spaghetti casserole recipes and I found two candidates that appealed to me. I made my first batch in May this year and after the first bite it became one of my favorite comfort foods. I chose to use the spaghetti casserole recipe I found on The Chunky Chef site. I initially thought the amount of hamburger called for in the recipe was too much, but I no longer had that thought after making the recipe.

The spaghetti casserole recipe is very flavorful and the taste is reminiscent of lasagna. Another thing I like about the recipe is that it calls for cooking in a crockpot/slow cooker. I love crockpot recipes because you just toss everything into the crockpot and leave it cook for a few hours, thus freeing you up to do other things.

For those following a low oxalate diet, the total oxalate content per serving (6 servings total) is 39mg1 when using wheat-based spaghetti. The oxalate content for gluten-free spaghetti varieties is currently unavailable as far as I know.

What do you think? Does spaghetti casserole sound like a good recipe to you? Have you ever made spaghetti casserole? Let me know in the Comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you for visiting.

1Calculated using the Oxalate Counts app.

04 – Love My New Down Blanket (2023-10-27)

I purchased a Pendleton wool blanket years ago for use during fall and spring. The blanket was beautiful, but it was heavy and it didn’t keep me very warm. I donated the blanket to the Salvation Army earlier this year.

With the approach of fall, I knew I needed to get another blanket to keep me warm until I could use a comforter during the winter. I have been purchasing my bedding needs from Cuddledown for a little more than 10 years, so I headed over to their site in August. I found a blanket and comforter that I wanted and I went through the checkout process. When I attempted to submit my order, I received a message that my credit card was denied and that I needed to call them at a toll-free telephone number to complete the order.

I wasn’t interested in placing a phone call to place an order that should have been easily accomplished online. A day or two later, I decided to search for similar online retailers and The Company Store came up in the search results. I headed over to their site and I liked the products that they offered. Fortunately for me, they were having their semi-annual anniversary sale, so I ended up purchasing a down blanket, a down comforter, and two duvet covers (scroll to the bottom of the link for info about duvet covers) for less than the cost of the blanket and comforter I attempted to purchase from Cuddledown.

When I received the down blanket, I thought to myself, “There’s no way this will keep me warm.” The down blanket was really thin. However, when the temperature began to drop low enough to begin using the blanket in September, I found out otherwise. The blanket, along with a flat sheet and a fleece blanket, has kept me plenty warm at temps as low as 66 degrees fahrenheit.

The down blanket is a bit heavy, possibly due to the density of the down fill, but it’s a tad bit lighter than the Pendleton wool blanket that I previously used. The cover of the down blanket is made out of a 295-thread count combed cotton twill, which feels crisp and cool to the touch.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the down blanket and I hope it will bring me many years of use. I highly recommend the blanket if you are looking for a new blanket.

Post header image courtesy of 52Hertz on Pixabay.


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