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The 3000 Mile Scam

 

What does changing the oil in your car and food have in common?

On the surface, nothing.  But if you dig a little deeper you may be surprised.

Here at MTTD we know that the recession has made household budgets very tight. So any time I can find a way for MTTD readers to save some serious money I pass it on to you.

Here is the truth.  Most cars do not need an oil change every 3000 miles as we have been led to believe.

According to CaReycle  this 3000 mile rule is a myth. 

Money Blue Book says the same thing.

Modern engines today are much more advanced and don’t require oil changes every 3000 miles, and research has shown that frequent oil changes have no appreciable benefits. The only experts that push for this are those from the oil industry.

According to Money Blue Book, Consumer’s Report agrees.

Even in the severe driving conditions that a New York City taxi endures, we noted no benefit from changing the oil every 3,000 miles rather than every 6,000. If your driving falls into the “normal” service category, changing the oil every 7,500 miles (or at the automaker’s suggested intervals) should certainly provide adequate protection. (We recommend changing the oil filter with each oil change.)

Money Blue Book continues.

Changes in auto engine technology and advances in oil formulations make it possible to drive further between oil changes without harm to a car. Many car manufacturers recommend changes at 5,000, 7,000 or even higher. Check your owner’s manual.

You could save $100 or more a year. Again from Money Blue Book:

The average American drives 12,000 miles in a year, and with an oil change every 3,000 miles costing in excess of $25 each, that’s $100 annually for each customer. And every visit to the auto mechanic or oil change facility gives them yet another opportunity to push for other pricey maintenance services such as air filter replacement and transmission flush.

I encourage you to read the entire article. It is not that long and it is worth it. Another link to the entire article is right here.

So go out and splurge a little on dinner tonight. And I have the perfect meal to splurge on. And it still comes in under $3.00 per person. I guess you could say I am the last of the really big spenders.

Featured Recipe:   Sausage with Hominy and Spinach

This is an easy Sunset Magazine recipe. And it kinda, sorta has a fall feel about it too. I think it is the sausage. So it is perfect to share with you the day after the fall equinox. 

Hominy is just dried and puffed whole kernels of corn or maize. Hominy is a Powhatan Indian word and is one of the ways Native Americans fixed corn.

Hominy comes in both a white and a yellow variety. There is no difference in taste. But I like to use the yellow in this recipe simply because the yellow right next to the green of the spinach looks so pretty and bright.

NOTE: Before we begin lets talk about how to cook the spinach. Spinach cooks down very quickly. You can add a whole lot to the skillet but by the times it cooks down it does not look like there is much there. So add the spinach in batches and cook.  And then add another batch and cook or toss. And then add some more until all spinach is used up. I used 5 ounces of spinach and you can see how quickly it cooked down.

Wine Vs Broth: I have used both wine and vegetable broth in this recipe. I really like the wine. It imparts a nice dry semi-tart flavor. I did not use it this time simply because I did not have any white wine in my fridge. I had red and a rosé. But no white. And I used chicken broth simply because I had no more vegetable broth in my pantry. I did not notice any change in taste using the chicken broth. I find this recipe divine no matter those minor details.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

4 sausages of your choice (I use sweet Italian.)

½ cup dry white wine or vegetable broth, divided (I used chicken broth.)

1 can (29 ounce) hominy drained and rinsed (I skip the rinsing part.)

About ¼ teaspoon salt + 1/8 teaspoon of salt (I don’t measure)

About 1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 garlic cloves sliced

¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (I omit totally.)

10 ounces fresh spinach leaves

NOTE: I do not follow the amounts given for salt and pepper. I use less to suit my tastes.

Here is what you do:

Pre heat oven to 200 degrees.

Sunset tells us not to use a non-stick skillet. But I do and the sausages brown very well.

Anyway, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Add the sausages. Cover and cook 4 minutes, turn over and cook through, about another 4 minutes.

In other words, brown well on all sides.

While the sausages are browing  is a good time to slice the garlic. I have found that if  I don’t do it now, I may not have time later. Better safe than sorry and have to rush around and spoil the meal. And I have had that happen.

When the sausages are done transfer sausages to a baking sheet, cover with foil and place in oven to keep warm.

Add 1/3 cup of the wine or stock to the pan and using a wooden spoon or spatula scrape up any browned bits left buy the sausages.

Add the hominy and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; or to taste.

Cook, stirring occasionally until all of the liquid has evaporated and the hominy is hot and starting to stick to the pan. If you look closely at the picture below, you will see how dry the pan is. Get to there and cook about 1 minute longer.

Here is where Sunset Magazine and I part. They say to, “Transfer the hominy to the baking sheet with the sausages.  Add the rest of the wine or broth to the pan, heat, scraping up any hominy pieces and pour over the hominy.”

I skip this part. I do not pour the wine or broth over the hominy because I keep the hominy in the skillet. First few times I made this I followed the directions. But being the lazy cook I am it got to be a bother. So I just push the hominy to the side of the skillet…………

………… and then pour in the liquid. It works just as well. For me it just makes the preparation quicker and easier. Over the hominy, under it, beside it. Makes little difference to me.

But doing this also means I don’t add the extra olive oil to cook the spinach in. I just pour the wine or broth into the skillet, turn the heat up a bit and start adding  some of the spinach. (See NOTE above on how to work with spinach.) Toss some of the garlic slices on top of the spinach. If you are using the chile flakes this is when you would add those too. Toss the spinach with tongs until wilted. This will not take long at all. Then add more spinach and more garlic slices. Do this until all the spinach and garlic are used up. I had 3 batches.

Batch #1 See how much spinach is there.

After about 20 or so SECONDS the spinach will look like this. Just keep turning it over. Tongs work very well for this.

Now add another batch of spinach and some more of the garlic  to the skillet and turn and cook, and turn and cook, turn and cook. Keep adding batches of spinach and garlic till there is no more left. Then cook until spinach is done.

Do not over cook the spinach. This whole process takes about 2-3 minutes AT MOST. I don’t like my spinach over cooked. Just wilt and heat. (Ignore this if you like your spinach cooked more.)

When the spinach is nearly done I add the sausage back to the skillet.

Now plate the spinach and hominy and add the sausage. Pour any remaining juices in the pan over eveything.  Eat and enjoy.

Yes. I really do eat what I cook.

I like that Sunset Magazine shares a lot of variations for this recipe. Use what ever kind of sausage you like, spicy hot, knockwurst, andouille, or chicken apple.

Instead of spinach use kale, chard, or other greens. You may need to par-boil these greens before using in this recipe however.

Instead of hominy try white, pinto, or cranberry beans.

Instead of sausage try pork chops or chicken breast halves, or even hanger steak.

I love options!!!!

Cost

1 tablespoon olive oil                       $0.12

4 sausages of your choice                $3.00

½ cup dry white wine/broth             $0.16              

1 can (29 ounce) hominy                 $1.90

2 garlic cloves sliced                       $0.08

¼ teaspoon red chile flakes             $0.05

10 ounces fresh spinach                  $3.99

Salt & pepper

Total cost for 4 people = $9.30
Cost per person = $2.33

Bon Appetit!!!

Quote of the day:    If you have much,  give of your wealth. If you have little,  give of your heart.     Arab Proverb 

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2 comments to The 3000 Mile Scam

  • When I bought a VW Beetle in 2004, the recommended mileage for an oil change was 5,000 miles. I was very suspicious, but now I understand why.

    Looks like a bottle of Filippo Berio olive oil in your photo. I normally buy store brands at Trader Joe’s or Smart & Final, but Berio was on sale at Safeway, so I bought two of the Extra Light. Now that I look at the label, I see there’s no mention of “virgin,” let alone “extra virgin.” I felt better buying a brand name because there have been news stories recently about food fraud with virgin olive oil. Some companies combine virgin with regular, label it virgin, and who’s to know. When one company does this and arouses suspicions, it’s unfair to all the honest manufacturers.

    I Goggled “extra light” olive oil and learned that it has no fewer calories than regular (all olive oils evidently are the same when it comes to calories and fat content), it’s good for roasting (like the parsnips and sweet potatoes I’ve been cooking, according to your recipe) because it has a higher smoke-point (the temperature where cooking oils start to break down), and it has less flavor – so salads taste better with regular olive oil.

    Another thing I learned is that olives are a fruit and olive oil is a fruit juice. I guess I never gave that any thought. I think of olives as an appetizer, like carrot and celery sticks. But you don’t become a vegetable merely by association. 🙂

    • Roberta

      The Filippo Berio is just a bottle. I bought their oil several years ago when I had a $1.50 off coupon. I now buy in bulk in a much bigger can. But that can does not fit in my normal kitchen cabinet and is too large to comfortably handle while also cooking. So I pour the oil from the bulk can in this bottle just for ease of use.

      But even what I buy in bulk is a decent enough brand name. Not the most expensive. But not just the cheapest either. And I have read some of the same reports you have about some companies and food fraud, not just with olive oil either.

      Caveat emptor.

      From WiseGeek.com: “Extra light olive oil is olive oil which has been heavily refined, so that it has a pale color and minimal flavor.” It does n ot mean ‘lite’ as in calories as you discovered.

      From Wikipedia: “The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) is an intergovernmental organization based in Madrid, Spain, with 23 member states. It promotes olive oil around the world by tracking production, defining quality standards, and monitoring authenticity. More than 85% of the world’s olives are grown in IOOC member nations.

      “The United States is not a member of the IOOC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not legally recognize its classifications (such as extra-virgin olive oil). The USDA uses a different system, which it defined in 1948 before the IOOC existed. The California Olive Oil Council, a private trade group, is petitioning the USDA to adopt IOOC rules.”

      For more detailed information on how the IOOC and the US Department of Agriculture define their terms here is the wiki link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_oil

      The thing to remember about US labels on olive oils that are not imported is this: “As the United States is not a member, the IOOC retail grades have no legal meaning in [USA]; terms such as “extra virgin” may be used without legal restrictions.” From wiki.

      Thanks for your great and as always insightful comments.