Preventing Gluten Cross Contamination on the Stove Top

Since my daughter was diagnosed with Ceoliac Disease we have been learning about cooking gluten free. You see, Ceoliac Disease is actually an autoimmune disease where the body starts to attack itself if she eats even a tiny crumb of gluten.

Gluten is found in many every day foods, and avoiding it not only involves not eating the foods, but also preventing the food, or crumbs / pieces / contamination from those foods, from coming in contact with any of my daughters food. This actually proves to be quite challenging at times.

We have learned over time what meals and ingredients work well for our family, how to prepare food in a way to avoid the foods touching, and how to serve in the correct manner / order to prevent utensils, bowls, crockery, etc from coming in contact with each other.

There is one area however that I continue to struggle to achieve 100% certainty of no cross contamination, and that is using our cook top …

Close pots and pans on a small stove top

Our cook top you see is a standard 60cm wide, four burner budget stove top. Unfortunately the stove knobs take up about 12cm of the stove top, leaving less than 50 cm for me to cook on. If I am cooking a 100% gluten free meal that’s not a problem, but if I am also cooking any gluten containing food on the stove top, it’s hard, if not impossible, to prevent the pots and pans from touching. Whenever the pots and pans, or cooking utensils touch, it greatly increases the possibility for food cross-contamination to occur.

The obvious solution would be to just not cook gluten containing foods, but our eldest son has recently been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, also an auto-immune disease, and the best way to manage it is with a special diet. His diet unfortunately does not always align well with our daughter’s gluten free diet.

Our next option would be to upgrade the stove top to a larger cook top. Unfortunately this is not possible as, although you can’t see it in the photo, there is not enough room to the left or right of the stove top unless we either remove overhead cupboards, or take away the wall oven.

ARGH!!!

Remodelling the entire kitchen to meet our kid’s medical needs seems rather excessive, but we are feeling rather frustrated at the moment…

AGL Digital / Smart Meters Lock You In!

AGL, our current electricity provider, recently updated us to a digital or “smart” meter. The specific model that they installed is an EDMI Atlas Mk10D.

EDMI Atlas Mk10D

Digital Smart Meter CompatibilityWhen we had the meter installed by AGL we were informed that we could opt out from the new meter. We decided to go ahead with it because it would allow us more detail of our energy usage. We also thought that we could change to any other provider we wanted to down the track, since on AGL’s own web site it states, “Yes, the digital meter is compatible with all energy retailers.”.

The screen shot on the right is from their web-site, where it is very clearly stated that it is compatible.

Well, guess what, it’s not!

With AGL’s recent price rise of 12% over last year’s prices (State’s largest energy retailer, AGL, set to hike electricity bill prices) we decided to shop around for a new retailer. We should be able to after all, since according to AGL the meter is compatible will all retailers.

After applying to Simply Energy for a new deal we received an interesting letter back from them:

Thank you for choosing Simply Energy. Unfortunately we are unable to complete your transfer of Electricity to us at this time.

You are not eligible to accept our Electricity supply offer as we cannot supply your meter type. We have terminated this agreement in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer. This means that your Electricity will continue to be supplied by your current retailer.

Wait, what?

At first I thought that maybe Simply Energy was just behind the times, but after contacting SA Power Networks I was informed that there are other retailers in South Australia that do not support that meter. This goes directly against what AGL says on their own web-site.

Needless to say, I will be following up with AGL about this, I am frustrated, to say the least …

(Update)

On the AGL Facebook page they have pretty much admitted that it is not compatible with all energy retailers, this is what they originally said to our question:

We have been advised that some smaller retailers do not have the systems capable in order to accept customers with active stream digital meters, however, most retailers, especially the larger ones, should have no issue in accepting customers with these meters. In time, all retailers should have the internal systems capable of accepting customers with these types of meters.

So although in time it will be compatible with all retailers, it is not currently possible to transfer to any retailer in South Australia.

They edited their post slightly after originally posting it to say:

Active Stream digital meters have the ability to be compatible with all retailers. We are aware of a select few smaller retailers who currently do not have the systems in place to be able to process the data of customers with these types of meters, however almost all retailers definitely have the capacity to do this. In the very near future all retailers will have the ability to accept customers with an Active Stream meter.

So still, they have the ability to be compatible, but aren’t currently. Going against what they say on their own web-site…

Checking with the Australia Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) the define illegal claims as:

It is illegal for a business to make statements that are incorrect or likely to create a false impression. This includes advertisements or statements in any media (print, radio, television, social media and online) or on product packaging, and any statement made by a person representing your business.

For example, your business must not make false or misleading claims about the quality, value, price, age or benefits of goods or services, or any associated guarantee or warranty. Using false testimonials or ‘passing off’ (impersonating another business) is also illegal.

When assessing whether conduct is likely to mislead or deceive, consider whether the overall impression created by the conduct is false or inaccurate.

South Australia Electricity Prices on the Rise

South Australia Electricity RetailersPrices of electricity on South Australia are still on the rise…

Recently AGL, Origin Energy, and Energy Australia all greatly increased their prices by an average of about $200 per year. Unfortunately those big three retails account for nearly 80% of the market in South Australia.

South Australia is already paying an average of $400 per year more than customers in Canberra, with the big energy retails marking up costs by about $650 per year, per customer (source)…

photo credit: GOC The Pelhams 056: Pylons via photopin (license)

What Home Improvements Add Value to your Home?

Do-Home-Improvement-Add-Value-to-Your-HomeWhen looking at improving your home and investing in renovations, it is always good to keep in mind what your ROI will be. This is especially important if you are considering selling your home in the near future.

Some of the more popular home improvements that you may consider are:

  • Remodelling your kitchen
  • Adding a bathroom
  • Adding a Deck
  • Renovating the Attic or Basement

You may also want to consider some “green” renovation options, which may include:

  • Upgrading to more energy efficient windows
  • Improving or adding insulation
  • Adding solar panels

There are some other remodelling options that, while they may be desirable to you, do not actually carry very good ROI:

  • Adding a pool
  • Luxury home office
  • Highend gourmet kitchen
  • Adding a sunroom
  • Delux / luxury bathroom upgrade

Of all of the options that you have for home improvements, the ones that, if done wisely, have the highest Return on Invesment are a kitchen remodel and a bathroom addition. The kitchen remodel has a potential ROI of 60% – 120%, and a bathroom addition can bring an expected ROI of between 80% – 130%.

While considering selling your home you also mustn’t neglect your basic updates which include cleaning, repairing, and painting. These basic projects are important in making your home more attractive and appealing for potential buyers.

You can find out more details about these options by clicking on the infographic in this post…

Source: Half Price.com.au