Tuesday open thread

We can discuss whatever’s on our mind today.

Soup is on my mind.  Some of you have recently mentioned making soup.  Care to share recipes?  (I still make and enjoy Lark’s easy white bean soup, spiced up for our tastes.)

Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  Charging Your Kids Room and Board   (Ginger)
Thursday  —  Open thread
Friday  —  Weird news from New Jersey  (Rhode)
Sunday —  Politics open thread

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148 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. This is Broccoli cheddar soup from cooksmarts:

    Ingredients
    SERVINGS: 4
    Broccoli – 1 lb, chopped, stems and florets reserved
    Onions, small – 1, chopped
    Carrots – 1/2 lb, chopped
    Cheese, yellow or white sharp cheddar, plus extra for serving – 8 oz, shredded
    Butter – 2 Tbsp
    Flour, all-purpose – 1/4 cup
    Nutmeg (opt) – 1/4 tsp
    Stock, chicken or vegetable – 4 cups
    Marsala wine (sub any dry white wine or stock) – 2 Tbsp
    Worcestershire sauce (opt) – 1/2 tsp
    Hot sauce of choice (opt) – 1/2 tsp

    Bread Bowls:
    Bread, 6-inch round sourdough bread boules (sub small rolls) – 4

    Prep
    Broccoli – Chop both the florets and stems of broccoli, keeping them separate. (Sometimes the tough broccoli stems get discarded, but we use them to flavor and thicken this soup.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
    Onions / Carrots / Cheese – Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
    Bread bowls – If using large bread boules, cut a hole in the top and hollow out the center so that the bowl can hold soup.

    Make
    Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butter and, when it melts, add onions, carrots and broccoli stems (reserve the florets) along with a sprinkle of salt. Saute until veggies are beginning to soften, ~4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over veggies and saute until flour coats veggies, ~1 minute more. Add nutmeg, stock and Marsala wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer until broccoli stems are very tender, ~8 minutes. Using an immersion or standing blender, puree the soup until smooth.
    Return the soup to the Dutch oven and reduce heat to low-medium. Stir in broccoli florets, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce (if using). Heat just until broccoli is tender, ~2 minutes. Turn off the heat (direct heat will turn the cheese grainy) and add cheese in several increments, stirring after each addition. Season with salt and pepper.Ladle soup into bread bowls (or heat rolls and serve on the side), top with extra cheese and enjoy!

    I also love butternut squash soup with apple and bacon crumbles on top. But I can’t find the recipe we use….

  2. I have a tomato soup recipe from Ina that use for soup. It’s her Easy Tonato soup, but I’m looking for one for the Vitamix. The tomato soup recipe on the Vitamix site gets poor reviews.

  3. Rhode, look for Ina Garten’s butternut squash soup on the food network website. It has apple and it’s SO GOOD.

  4. I have a good “Siracha Sloppy Joe” recipe for the Instant Pot that is good, and even kids like it (and not just my kids). I don’t have it here, but the ingredients are beef, onions, carrots, bell peppers, plain tomato sauce, rice vinegar, Worcestershire (maybe iirc?), brown sugar, and Siracha. I like it.

    My only modification to the recipe is that you have to let it cook down afterward to reduce the liquid. And maybe add cornstarch. It works will with sliced sandwich pickles.

    If anyone wants it, I’ll post it later.

  5. The current feels like temp is -30, and it is only going to get colder. I’m all about soups right now. I made a great Turkey and Sweet Potato chili from Cooksmarts last night. Might do that Broccoli Cheddar soup this afternoon. I currently have some potpourri simmering on the stove to give me the illusion of warmth.

  6. I LOVE her butternut squash soup recipe. It is my favorite soup, but DH and DD do not like butternut squash soup. I found another Ina recipe that I might try – the roasted tomato basil soup. There is even a video on the Food Network so it is easier for me to follow everything since I am not a natural. I’ve been using a roasted red pepper/tomato recipe that I found on some site to make a soup, and I like the results. It is too much work to peel the skins off the peppers and tomatoes on a week night. I just want something that I can throw in the Vitamix.

  7. RMS – that may be the recipe we use. It’s printed out in my binder of recipes from the internet.

  8. My favorite tomato soup recipe is Sunset’s sidekick tomato soup. It has carrots which reduce acidity and add sweetness. I use regular tomatoes and cream, not fancy ingredients.

  9. Broc/cheddar soup is really popular in my house. My recipe is similar, but I use milk, and I don’t add flour.

  10. Our other go-to soup is Melissa Clark’s red lentil and lemon soup. This is so easy, so yummy, and quick. One note – I usually add minced garlic in addition to the other ingredients in step 1. I use my minichop to pulverize the garlic and ginger at the same time. I also use berbere instead of cayenne because I just like berbere.

    Red Lentil Soup With Lemon
    By Melissa Clark
    This is a lentil soup that defies expectations of what lentil soup can be. It is light, spicy and a bold red color (no murky brown here): a revelatory dish that
    takes less than an hour to make. The cooking is painless. Sauté onion and garlic in oil, then stir in tomato paste, cumin and chile powder and cook a few
    minutes more to intensify flavor. Add broth, water, red lentils (which cook faster than their green or black counterparts) and diced carrot, and simmer for
    30 minutes. Purée half the mixture and return it to the pot for a soup that strikes the balance between chunky and pleasingly smooth. A hit of lemon juice
    adds an up note that offsets the deep cumin and chile flavors.

    3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
    Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more
    to taste
    1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
    2 cups water
    1 cup red lentils
    1 large carrot, peeled and diced
    Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

    Step 1
    In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and
    garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes.
    Step 2
    Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and sauté for 2
    minutes longer.
    Step 3
    Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and
    turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if
    necessary.
    Step 4
    Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it
    back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.

    Step 5
    Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good
    olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

  11. Asparagus* and Zucchini Soup (no tomatoes)
    *I sub peas for the asparagus

    Onions, medium – 1/2, chopped
    Asparagus – 10 oz, 1/2” / 1.3 cm pieces
    Zucchini – 10 oz, diced
    Beans, white or cannellini (14 oz / 397 g) – 1 can, drained and rinsed
    Butter – 1 Tbsp
    Stock, any type – 3 cups
    Pesto – ~1/4 cup

    Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butter and then onions to melted butter. Saute until onions are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
    Add asparagus and zucchini with some salt. Saute until vegetables are bright green and starting to turn tender, ~3 minutes.
    Pour stock over vegetables and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until asparagus and zucchini are tender, ~15 minutes.
    While soup simmers, stir pesto into beans.
    Transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Season with some salt and pepper.

  12. I plan to try making this soup, but will do it stovetop instead of pressure cooker. I find the pressure cooker doesn’t save much time on anything but beans or pork shoulder, and is both oddly fussy (seal doesn’t work right sometimes, or you get the burn notice) and at the same time doesn’t allow for any finesse because you can’t check anything. So I mainly use it for bean soup.

  13. “I found another Ina recipe that I might try – the roasted tomato basil soup. ”

    Highly recommend. DH loves this soup!

  14. Today, I am catching up on all those “to dos” that lately have be “to don’ts”. Nothing but road blocks. (1) Ordering one cat’s special diet – prescription expired, website won’t let me continue until the vet approves, but no button to push to get approval. Note that every transaction has to be signed off by the vet before it ships. Call vet, the tech makes a change in the system and I am able to finish the transaction. Should have taken less than 5 minutes to place the order, total time 20 minutes. (2) Pay 6 mo auto insurance premium – again an online payment should have taken about 5 minutes. Again, the company has changed its website, so I am looking the billing overview. One portion says my premium went up $52, another shows it went down by $18, and yet a third appears to say it went up $400. Rather that trying to figure it out I just called them. The REAL answer – it went down by $18. And, poor woman on the phone had no idea why the screens were so far off. Total time 30 minutes. So it took me almost an hour to accomplish 10 minutes of tasks. GRR!

    In other news – the cat is on the mend. Meme – regarding the home procedure you recommended, I know how to perform it, but this cat would not let me touch her that way under any conditions. Three other cats will allow me to do when needed, though their dignity is terrible offended.

  15. AustinMom,

    I think my day will go about how yours is. I have to make four or five phone calls, which I am dreading. Two will likely go to the person I need to talk to, if I can get in touch with that person, it will likely take no more than five minutes to deal with the problem. One call will take 30-40 minutes on hold, and I need DH to authorize me to speak on our behalf, even though, this is a community property state and the issue I am dealing with is one that we have equal ownership of. If I get all the phone calls done, I will get nothing else done today.

    Upthread someone mentioned how some systems are just designed to be difficult to make the consumer give up. I find dealing with those to be exhausting.

  16. That red lentil soup looks right up my alley. I don’t care much for pureed soups like butternut squash or tomato, but we did have Progresso basil tomato soup the other day with grilled cheese sandwiches.

    Speaking of siracha, I tried honey/siracha on roasted Brussels sprouts the other day and it was delish. You can check online but I mixed siracha/honey/olive oil/garlic powder and brushed it on at the end.

  17. Our go to fake Thai soup requires laying in some asian ingredients, but they freeze well and last forever.

    Chicken stock or low salt chicken broth. 2-4 cups.
    5-6 Kaffir lime leaves (order once a year from Amazon, freeze in ziploc bag.)
    several slices of peeled Galangal root (buy at Hmart, freeze) or 1-2 tsp Galangal powder – Penzeys or online
    1-2 Lemongrass stalks or 1-2 TBS puree (buy at Stop n Shop, freeze if you don’t use up in 3 mos)
    Optional – Fresh Jalapeno or hotter green chili, halved
    2-3 diced fresh Shallots (I use 2 TBS dried from Penzey’s) or 2-3 cloves garlic

    Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
    Thick coconut milk or TJ’s coconut cream, 1 can
    Fish sauce to taste
    Red chili paste to taste (I use Taste of Thai roasted red chili paste, WF or online)

    Frozen peeled and deveined but raw shrimp (i use TJs red shrimp and thaw in advance, improves the texture, but not necessary. You can also use fresh in shell shrimp)
    Juice of at least 1 lime
    Optional garnish – thinly sliced red pepper and/or scallions

    Simmer the stock with lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass, optional green chilis, shallots or garlic. I also add shrimp shells if using fresh shrimp and mushroom stalks if I started with whole shrooms. A half hour minimum, longer if you have time. Remove all of the big solids (don’t worry about the bits of pureed lemongrass or diced shallots) with a slotted spoon. This step can be done the night before and refrigerated. Helps with the quick prep.

    Add sliced mushrooms, coconut milk, fish sauce and red chili paste (you can always add more of the last two later). Cook a little above a simmer for 20-30 min. taste again and correct heat and saltiness. If too spicy you can add more coconut milk. Immediately before serving bring to a boil, add the optional red pepper/scallions, cook the shrimp (usually about 3 min if fresh or thawed, a bit long if frozen). Remove from heat, add lime juice to taste. I serve it with rice right in the bowl, but it is fine with no starch or with starch on the side,

    As Rhett will undoubtedly say, you can get better by dialing for Thai delivery. But this is a family fave and we always have chicken stock in the freezer we need to use up. Can be made with fish stock (yummier), veg stock plus more veggies and no protein, or leftover chicken meat instead of shrimp.

  18. On random sh!t I now have to deal with… I happened to be on our insurance’s website and looked at DS1’s surgeon’s profile. He is covered under our insurance, but his hospital may not be. When I search for the hospital, certain departments come up, but none are his. Really, insurance? You’re going to say Dept X and Z from one hospital will be covered, but not Dept Y? So I sent them an email… we’ll see what happens. At least I know I have about a year before we have to deal with the hospital end of seeing a surgeon…

    We made a turkey chili last night that smells divine!! I was at a leadership program event so I didn’t eat it. I have it for lunch. I’m very excited to eat it. :)

  19. Austin – to be a PITA (a la Rocky), and I realize this is an oxymoron…in your free time you should look for a new insurance co. Yesterday at 530pm I realized I had pitched a form ours sent me snail mail for the good student discount, so I emailed them and asked them to email it to me. It was in my inbox within probably 90mins.

    Question for everyone: anyone else buy a Gerber “Grow Up Plan” life insurance policy for your kid(s) when they were babies? DW thought it was a good idea, the cost is $105/yr/kid and I didn’t feel like spending my “arguing capital” on that back then, so we still have them. I think the coverage is $20k once they hit 21 and I also think I can get back all the premium money paid upon request. Do you still have any such policy/policies? I’m thinking of canceling at least the one on DS1 since now he gets life insurance thru work.

  20. RE the Gerber “Grow Up Plan” we didn’t get any on our kids….Usual arguments, they had no financial dependents, so why did they need life insurance? However, DS will be hard/expensive to insure when he does have dependents. Then again, $20K is not much money, so I’m not sure it would have been worth it.

    If your DSs are at the point in life where they are in pretty good health and can buy cheaply life insurance that is large enough to cover mortgage, college, etc for the future kids, maybe that might be an option.

  21. Weenie, weenie, weenie. Our schools closed 3 hrs early today, so DD has been home for 1.5 hrs already. It is currently 36 and lightly spitting rain and is not projected to hit freezing until the precipitation — assuming we get any — stops around 8PM.

  22. July – the instructions for the red lentil soup say to puree half of it but I never bother. The texture is lovely just as it is.

    Meme – I make a similar Thai dish – not really a soup but more a brothy curry. I have to admit that I do not bother with the galangal – just use fresh gingerroot instead. I use dried Thai dragon peppers which I grow en masse in the summer. I discovered recently that you can get huge packs of them fresh at Hmart and dry them yourself, so I now I don’t even need to grow them – but they are a fun plant. I nornally just use fresh garlic although I usually have fresh shallots hanging around too. Otherwise, my recipe is pretty similar.

    I add heaps of fresh basil at the end and serve over rice or noodles. Personally I think mine is better than the takeout available here – most Thai places serve food that is way too sugary for me.

  23. OK, here is a ground beef recipe we have been eating a lot recently, Not a soup, and not even very authentic, but really, really tasty. This is also from the NYTimes, which has become my go-to for successful recipes in the last couple of years

    Picadillo
    INGREDIENTS
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and chopped
    2 ounces dried chorizo, diced
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    1 ½ pounds ground beef
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    4 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
    2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 bay leaves
    Pinch of ground cloves
    Pinch of nutmeg
    ⅔ cup raisins
    ⅔ cup pitted stuffed olives.

    PREPARATION
    Put the olive oil in a large, heavy pan set over a medium-high flame, and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add onions, chorizo and garlic, stir to combine and cook until the onions have started to soften, approximately 10 minutes.
    Add the ground beef, and allow it to brown, crumbling the meat with a fork as it does. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
    Add tomatoes, vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaves, cloves and nutmeg and stir to combine. Lower the heat, and let the stew simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes.
    Uncover the pan, and add the raisins and the olives. Allow the stew to cook for another 15 minutes or so, then serve, accompanied by white rice.

    I don’t bother with the chorizo. Also, I learned the hard way to drain the burger before proceeding with the tomatoes!

  24. Fred – my parents had some sort of life policy on me when I was a kid. Fast forward to when I was in my mid-thirties, married with small kids of my own, and i get a check from my parents for several thousand dollars. My parents had sort of forgotten about it and then cancelled it and gave me the refunded money. I was thrilled. It was a great surprise, and came at a great time. So, if you are feeling generous and DD1 could use some fun money, go ahead and cancel.

  25. Off the soup topic….

    I think we are finally at the point of making a decision on replacing our living room sound system. We are considering Sonos or Bose.

    The current setup is a couple of traditional stereo speakers connected to a compact stereo system that will play CDs or an iPod. We also connected a ChromeCast device so we can stream from Spotify. We have a Spotify family plan so each family member has his or her own music. The ChromeCast setup is annoying, largely due to Spotify stupidity. Spotify is inherently a phone app. The problem is if one of us runs it off a phone, and then goes to bed, the other person can’t stop Spotify without getting onto the originating phone – but all phones in our house are password protected. You can run Spotify off the web app on a computer but it doesn’t talk directly to ChromeCast so we go through a clunky series of steps – start the app on a phone, start the web app on the computer – wait for it to get the ChromeCast connection from the phone, then shut down Spotify on the phone. Ugh. This is one of these things that makes me long for the old days – I don’t want to be on anybody’s device to run my frickin living room stereo – I just want to push the On/Off button!

    So my question to those of you who have either Sonos or Bose – will one of these systems ease the pain or are we still stuck running the music off someone’s phone? I think I read that the Bose comes with a remote. Is that true? And is there a way to hook in a CD player? Realistically, we are never going to convert the 100’s of CDs to streaming format, plus the sound quality is better.

    How well does Sonos work with Spotify? How about Bose?

    Also, it seems that most people just buy one speaker. Has everyone given up on stereo?

  26. The family I loved with in France often served these amorphous pureed green soups as a first course. I really loved them, but never had any idea what went into them. Probably some kind of green or another…

  27. “The family I loved with in France often served these amorphous pureed green soups as a first course.”

    ????

    Sorry, just couldn’t resist

  28. “I really loved them, but never had any idea what went into them.”

    Well, as it was France, I’m gonna go with “cream.” ;-)

  29. LfB, no never any cream. French food, outside of fancy restaurants, is less cream based than you might think,

  30. My sister makes broccoli soup. Broccoli cheese or broccoli cream, I asked her. Nope, just broccoli and onion and water mainly. Okay, but no thanks.

  31. In its defense, that asparagus and zucchini soup also has cannellini beans. Or maybe that just makes it worse for some of you. :)

  32. Mooshi – If your speakers have bitten the dust, either Sonos or Bose has solutions that allow you to stream Spotify directly via wifi to the speaker(s), not via casting from a phone. I am not at all sure how a family account would work – it sounds like each member has a subaccount attached to their phone, so you have 5 Spotify accounts. It would be a simple question to spotify to find out how a family account works. In any case everyone would have the same Bose/Sonos app on their phone, so the person in the living room would be able to change or stop the music. In any case, you use a phone or tablet with the Sonos or Bose app on it to add any and all streaming services and any devices on the home wifi as music sources. It is all wifi not bluetooth. You use the phone or tablet to select your music. (the use of alexa or google voice apps is increasing, but I still use the phone for convenience). We don’t have spotify. Sirius only works with Sonos at a tier above basic, and I think that is also true for Spotify. Bose might be different.

    You can set up true stereo with two speakers on Sonos for a living room set up. It is simple. there are only 2 tiers now. We have liv room stereo but with the discontinued middle tier. The 150 speaker, you need two. The 500 speaker, one will do. I can’t speak for Bose.

    As for attaching a CD player, for both Sonos and Bose you need to plug it in via cables. The sonos basic “connect” device is $350 to add in a standard CD player via RCA cables. Bose still sells CD players, so I think their preferred solution is just to have you buy the tabletop 599 cd player which has a tuner, “stereo” speakers, and the full streaming capabilities.

  33. The other day I mentioned ASMR YouTube videos. Are you or your kids fans of these? Maybe yesterday’s millennial author should watch a few and chill out.

    Can we talk about ASMR for a sec? Because videos that make use of the soothing sensory phenomenon have pretty much taken over YouTube in the last few years, and either you’re on board with the sound of someone stage-whispering into a microphone and lighting tapping their nails on glass or you’re not. Both of these things can trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), which is basically the tingling bodily sensation some people experience when exposed to certain sounds. The tactic is now being used in Zoë Kravitz’s ASMR Super Bowl ad for Michelob Ultra’s organic brew, Pure Gold. And if you’re not yet familiar with the whole trend, then you kind of need to watch this commercial to see what I’m talking about.
    https://www.elitedaily.com/p/zoe-kravitzs-asmr-super-bowl-ad-with-michelob-ultra-is-the-most-satisfying-15902605

    Still, the fact that so many people find these types of sounds calming is just so bizarre to me, because they for real make my skin crawl. I know I’m in the minority here, though. I mean, even Cardi B is a major ASMR fan.

    This has been my reaction, but maybe I need to watch more. This ad is not horrible.

    The ad:

  34. I had never heard of ASMR before, but after watching a few of those videos in the article July posted my skin is crawling.

  35. I am going to make the Ina Roasted Tomato soup later today. DD didn’t have an early dismissal, but they did cancel after school activities and many people were scrambling to get rides or help with their kids. Same weather here as Baltimore – drizzle and high 30s.

    My friends with college students at Wisconsin were relieved that they finally canceled classes through Thursday because of the brutal temps. They were one of the last universities to cancel classes due to the cold. I really can’t believe the air temps that they are showing for today and tomorrow in Midwest. I feel lucky that it will only be 0 -5 here on Thursday. I am supposed to go to a meeting in the city and I am trying to decide if I should just cancel. I have to walk from the subway and it will be so cold.

  36. “In any case, you use a phone or tablet with the Sonos or Bose app on it to add any and all streaming services and any devices on the home wifi as music sources. It is all wifi not bluetooth. You use the phone or tablet to select your music.”

    OK, so you are saying we still have to run everything from a phone? Sigh. Can it be turned off without a phone? And does that stop the streaming or just shut off the audio?

  37. “The sonos basic “connect” device is $350 to add in a standard CD player via RCA cables”

    An extra $350 so we can connect a CD player????

  38. Mooshi, what sort of budget do you have?

    I’m not familiar with the Bose or Sonos systems, but I know you can still get old-school stereo receivers that have inputs for CD players and outputs for wired speakers, but also have blue tooth receivers.

  39. Blue tooth has the same downside as ChromeCast. You have to run the app off someone’s device.

  40. “An extra $350 so we can connect a CD player????”

    I’m wondering if it has an audio input jack, the same size as for most headphones. That would allow you to connect a portable CD player, or ghetto blaster FTM, with a cable you could buy for a few bucks.

  41. BTW, in the bedroom, I have a Google Home speaker which I run from my computer. The sound sucks, and I still have to start spotify on my computer, but if I fall asleep with the music playing, my husband can turn it off via voice command, at least. So we don’t have the issue of having to log onto my computer to turn it off.

  42. “I’m wondering if it has an audio input jack, the same size as for most headphones. That would allow you to connect a portable CD player, or ghetto blaster FTM, with a cable you could buy for a few bucks.”

    That would make total sense.

  43. Our dated family room system sounds pretty similar to yours– it has an iPhone/iPod stand that allowed us to physically attach an iPhone or iPod to the system and use it as a signal source, although only iPhone 4s or earlier.

    How about just keeping your existing system for playing CDs, and getting something new for Spotify?

  44. “That would allow you to connect a portable CD player, or ghetto blaster FTM”

    I don’t think you’re allowed to say that any more.

  45. Mooshi, is your existing system still functional? Is the reason for new speakers your frustration with Spotify?

  46. Mooshi, my BIL has Sonos and he’s very happy with it. Most of the time he plays it using Spotify on his phone. I’ve had access to his system but he can and has easily bumped me off and taken control back by using the Sonos app on his phone.

    On topic, Ina’s Beef Barley Soup is a favorite in my house. We make it with ox tails or short ribs, and it takes the better part of an afternoon but it’s well worth it. Braise the meat, let it simmer for a couple of hours, pick off the meat, then make the actual soup.

  47. The existing system is functional but the display died so we have to kind of blindly poke at the buttons. It needs replacing.

  48. Finn, that is just the Play5 which is $500 compared to $150 for the Play1. It claims it is stereo if you set it horizontally, but how do you get any separation? And it sounds like we would still have to use our phones to control it.

  49. I make a really good chicken chowder (could also be fish, it is tomato and cream base) and a really good cream of root soup for Christmas Eve. If anyone wants them I will find the recipes later.

  50. Oh, also, in today’s PITA stories – I had an uncomfortable intra-office meeting where I had to lay down the law about some things and I’m not sure I was successful. LfB, do you have my email? Would love to pick your brain about it!

  51. “that is just the Play5 which is $500 compared to $150 for the Play1.”

    So Mémé was right, an extra $350 to be able to connect your CD player.

  52. Mooshi, I hope you don’t mind all the questions. We apparently have a similar system (we also use it occasionally for home theater) that similarly needs upgrade/replacement if we want to use it for services like Spotify.

  53. Finn, if we just replace the receiver, then we are stuck with the same clunky, buggy Spotify to Chromecast solution. Yeah, we could do Bluetooth instead but it is just as clunky. I was hoping with the upgrade to end up with something better.

  54. meme, we have hundreds of CDs. Some of them are findable on Spotify, but others are not. Also, the sound quality of the CDs is so much better so for some things I just want to stick with them.

  55. Both Bose and sonos work off an app. Many people prefer using their phone to remotes

  56. Also, my understanding is that from a sound quality point of view, it is better to stream via wifi than Bluetooth.

  57. The basic issue with the phones is that they are password protected. So, at least in our current setup, if I start Spotify on my phone and then connect via Chromecast, my husband can’t turn it off from his phone. Perhaps that isn’t true with Sonos? If I use my phone to start up some music on Sonos, can my husband or kid use their phones to shut it down?

  58. I bought the home device to rip the cds to lossless and store them. It is on the network. Full CD fidelity. Tossed the CD player. If you did that and bought the two 150 dollar speakers

  59. With phones increasingly controlling every aspect of life, the consequences of losing or breaking your phone are pretty bad. Until you get it replaced, you can’t play your stereo, you can’t text anyone, you might not be able to control your thermostat….

  60. You would be ok assuming you can work out the spotify. Not really sure what you are seeking at what price point. The Bose 599 all in one might be the best but not true stereo.

  61. When I open Spotify on my phone or ipad, if DW or a kid is already playing it elsewhere, it will ask me if I want to continue opening the app (and kick that person off), or do I want to let them continue listening.

    I’ve found a good workaround to this is to have whatever I want to play already downloaded, and then go into airplane mode.

  62. Yeah, we could do that but it is one more task that won’t happen. Back when we first got iPods, we were going to do it, but it never happened. It is that task overload thing we were discussing yesterday

  63. MM, I’ve had similar problems finding a way to play my music.

    If you were willing to switch from Spotify to Amazon Prime music, I think you could give a voice command to Echo to start or stop music. That’s what we do with our Amazon music, but we don’t have multiple accounts so I’m not sure if that would be problem. We connect Echo with a cable to our traditional speaker and by Bluetooth to the Bose. If it works with Amazon music it might also work with Spotify.

  64. Milo, we don’t have problems with Spotify on multiple devicesfor the most part because everyone has their own account. So my daughter can run Spotify on her Alexa speaker, and I can run it on my Google home speaker at the same time.
    Downloading on my phone is not an option. There is no space for anything on my phone. Plus, it is yet another clunky step. I want the equivalent of being able to pop in a CD and push a button.

  65. Amaon Prime doesn’t support mutliple accounts on one subscription. That is the big reason we migrated to Spotify

  66. “I want the equivalent of being able to pop in a CD and push a button.”

    Then I think Finn had the right idea to get you some kind of traditional setup with an amplifier and L and R speakers and a CD player as a component input, and I assume modern amps are also capable of running all the digital crap.

    july – we have an Alexa, and Spotify, and Prime, and you can set Spotify as the default source of music for Alexa to play. it works well if you want to hear a particular song, or you want to play a premade playlist. otherwise, she can be kind of dumb.

  67. July, we run Spotify by voice command right now – to Alexa and to Google Home. You have to start it on a phone, but you can turn it off by voice. Actually, you can start it by voice too, but you don’t get much control over what it plays. I like that model well enough, and was hoping that Sonos or Bose worked the same way. That is what I am trying to figure out.

  68. “and I assume modern amps are also capable of running all the digital crap.”
    When I researched it, I found that they really aren’t except via Bluetooth or very rudimentary wifi with bad reviews. I don’t want to do Bluetooth. I care about sound quality. One of my disappointments with the Alexa and Google Home speakers is how sucky they are.

  69. Fred – Anything the local office has control over takes very little time. The home office just rolled out this new system and our local person said there are still bugs. She is reporting the problem we had trying to figure out the different screens. When we priced 6 month ago with 4 of us including 1 brand new female driver and one 18 female occasional driver, it was the best price.

  70. I don’t think Alexa speakers are supposed to be very good, which is why we connect Echo Dot to good speakers via cable or Bluetooth. Even I can tell the difference.

  71. so it sounds like you almost need separate system to play CDs from good quality speakers AND have good quality speakers for all the digital streaming music. but if you’re going to do that, you may as well just pony up the $350 Meme suggested for the sonos setup that plays CDs.

    I have my second skin surgery on Friday. This one was discovered on my full body skin exam. That’s a hell of an experience, by the way. So, so cold. This one’s not a basal cell; it’s just a “severely atypical” mole. (Seems almost redundant. Like “very unique.” But what do I know?) It’s on the side of my face, just inside the hairline. But after my derm PA shaved it off for a biopsy, it’s healed to the point where I don’t even see anything any more. It’s like there’s nothing for the surgeon to remove.

    I should be done after this. My next skin check is this summer when, hopefully, the exam room and table will be a lot warmer. And subsequent exams should be on an annual basis, so I’d like to keep them to the summer time.

  72. Mooshi, if I understand correctly:

    -Your current system audio works fine, but the display on the receiver is dead.

    -Your Spotify interface via Google Chromecast (is it chromecast audio?) and cell phones is clunky, especially WRT handing off control from one phone to another.

    -You have an extensive CD collection (and, I assume, a working CD player) and want to continue playing CDs.

    Any thought to tethering a device (perhaps even literally) to your existing system to control Spotify? Perhaps you already have a device such as a retired phone or iPod that you could use for this, or you might get an inexpensive device (Kindle Fire w/ Alexa starts at $50, but has gone on sale for $35) primarily for this.

    And as mentioned earlier, a new receiver could address the dead display issue.

    This may be the least expensive way to address your issues.

  73. “I don’t want to do Bluetooth. I care about sound quality.”

    I’m thinking for the old-school-type receivers with wired speakers, the bluetooth just transmits control information, not the actual audio signal.

  74. “it works well if you want to hear a particular song, or you want to play a premade playlist. otherwise, she can be kind of dumb.”

    And if you choose a generic name for your playlist, she might play the wrong one.

  75. “Can it be turned off without a phone?”
    “I just want to push the On/Off button!”

    Is your primary problem not being able to turn off your sound system without a phone? Can’t you just hit the power button of your receiver to turn it off?

    Or is it that if someone else starts playing Spotify over your system, you can’t change over to playing what you want without the phone that was used initially to start Spotify?

  76. “We made a turkey chili last night that smells divine!!”

    Ground turkey? That’s what we use for chili these days, in part because…

    “I learned the hard way to drain the burger before proceeding with the tomatoes!”

    Is it mostly fat that you’re draining? If so, you might try ground turkey instead. It’s so lean that there’s virtually no fat to drain.

  77. “so it sounds like you almost need separate system to play CDs from good quality speakers AND have good quality speakers for all the digital streaming music. but if you’re going to do that, you may as well just pony up the $350 Meme suggested for the sonos setup that plays CDs.”

    Well, it would be the price of the Sonos speakers PLUS the $350. I would pay that price if I thought it was going to get me something far less clunky than what we are doing now. That is exactly what I am trying to figure out

    Finn said “Any thought to tethering a device (perhaps even literally) to your existing system to control Spotify? Perhaps you already have a device such as a retired phone or iPod that you could use for this,”
    My husband has an old Kindle Fire that he had suggested to set up as a Spoitfy controller. This may be a stupid question, but by “tethered”, you mean connected by a cable, right? Does that work with something like a Kindle Fire. Sorry, I know this is a dumb question.

    Also “I’m thinking for the old-school-type receivers with wired speakers, the bluetooth just transmits control information, not the actual audio signal.”
    No, it would have to be streaming via Bluetooth because an old fashioned receiver has no capability to pick up the audio signal otherwise.

  78. BTW, the CD player is integrated into the receiver with the broken display, so yes, it needs to be replaced too

  79. “BTW, the CD player is integrated into the receiver with the broken display, so yes, it needs to be replaced too”

    OK, this tells me that your existing system is probably a fairly modest system, and that the $150 receiver I mentioned earlier is likely to at least match its capability.

  80. “My husband has an old Kindle Fire that he had suggested to set up as a Spoitfy controller.”

    What an awesome idea!! I suggest you give it a try. If that works, and you want voice control, you could get a Kindle Fire 7 with Alexa for $35 if/when it goes on sale again.

    And if it works, that would suggest my proposed solution would work, and you could then shop for replacements for your receiver and CD player. I suggest looking at separate components; IME, CD players’ lifetimes are much shorter than receivers’.

    “This may be a stupid question, but by “tethered”, you mean connected by a cable, right?”

    I meant it primarily in a virtual way, as in that device would be dedicated to your sound system; think of it as the remote control for your LR Spotify system. Physical tethering would keep it from walking away, but the tethering system would make probably make it hard to take it to your sofa.

    “Does that work with something like a Kindle Fire.”

    l don’t know for sure, but if there’s a Spotify app that can be loaded on a Kindle Fire, it should.

  81. Spotify is buggy in general. It doesn’t work on my phone with the chromecast to the speakers, only on my computer. Then sometimes it won’t cast at all and I have to either restart Chrome or restart my computer to get it to cast.

  82. Do you really need the display to work to be able to use the CD portion of your integrated system? CD players typically only need, at most, four buttons: play, stop, skip forward, skip back. You could just tape labels to those buttons.

    FTM, could you just stick labels onto all the buttons and have a working receiver? I guess tuning might be difficult without a working display.

    In any case, no need to buy anything until you try the Kindle Fire as a controller, and if it works, you’d have a working system and can take your time and wait for a good deal (e.g., Prime Day) before replacing anything.

  83. Mooshi I really think you should drive over to a local Bose store there are a few in Westchester and listen to the soundwave iv all in one. It is the top recommendation for wifi plus cd.

  84. Austin – to be a PITA (a la Rocky), and I realize this is an oxymoron…in your free time you should look for a new insurance co.

    I agree. I got the registration renewal for DW’s car the other day and went to pay online. It said I couldn’t because we don’t have insurance on it. So I had to go to the DMV yesterday, and they said the problem was the VIN that on the insurance card has a B that should be an 8. He did the renewal (in and out in about 10 minutes, the Colorado DMV has actually become pretty efficient). Then I went on the insurance website to see if I could change the VIN, it let me do it easily and I was done in about 5 minutes.

  85. anyone else buy a Gerber “Grow Up Plan” life insurance policy for your kid(s) when they were babies?

    We did. We decided to stop them a couple of years ago, and we got back over $1000 for DS and about $500 or so for DD. It might have been what we fully paid for DS, definitely wasn’t for DD, but I wasn’t expecting anything so it was a nice surprise.

  86. Finn said “OK, this tells me that your existing system is probably a fairly modest system, and that the $150 receiver I mentioned earlier is likely to at least match its capability.”

    Well, I am hoping to upgrade the quality of the system when we do this. The system was purchased 13 or 14 years ago, at a point where we were mainly playing a lot of toddler music. We always meant to upgrade it. The system before that one was much nicer.

    “I meant it primarily in a virtual way, as in that device would be dedicated to your sound system; think of it as the remote control for your LR Spotify system. Physical tethering would keep it from walking away, but the tethering system would make probably make it hard to take it to your sofa.”

    OK, but then we are back to Bluetooth or the ChromeCast.

  87. “Spotify is buggy in general. It doesn’t work on my phone with the chromecast to the speakers, only on my computer. ”
    We have the exact opposite problem – it works on the phone with the chromecast but only works on the computer if you start it on the phone first. I found lots of complaints about this out on the web. Yep, Spotify is buggy, but it still has better features for a family of users than Amazon Prime.

  88. The current setup is a couple of traditional stereo speakers connected to a compact stereo system that will play CDs or an iPod. We also connected a ChromeCast device so we can stream from Spotify. We have a Spotify family plan so each family member has his or her own music. The ChromeCast setup is annoying, largely due to Spotify stupidity. Spotify is inherently a phone app. The problem is if one of us runs it off a phone, and then goes to bed, the other person can’t stop Spotify without getting onto the originating phone

    Mooshi, buy a a cheap used android phone and put one of these in it – https://www.amazon.com/CLARICAM-Adapter-Storage-Smartphones-Pictures/dp/B07MCDHPJR/ref=sr_1_2_sspa. Copy all your music off of the ipod so you can get rid of itunes, and you can use it for spotify as well.

  89. Bose link is similar to sonos connect and is only 150. You can plug your new replacement receiver CD player into it. The two bose 200 dollar speakers can be stereo paired. So the basic system with 2 stereo speakers would cost 550 from Bose and 650 from sonos plus the cost of the CD receiver. You can add Alexa or Google to either system for voice might require a dot or google appliance in the room both systems can take multiple spotify accounts from family plan. The standalone bose CD player w wifi is is the cheapest solution but not the same sound quality.

  90. “OK, but then we are back to Bluetooth or the ChromeCast.”

    You could bypass the chromecast by connecting the audio output of your Kindle Fire (headphone output) to your receiver. You could probably use the cable currently connecting the chromecast to the receiver. That would also literally tether the device to your receiver.

    You might want to compare sound quality with and without the chromecast, since you already have it. If you can’t hear the difference, and if using a dedicated device to run the spotify app eliminates the clunkiness problem, you might want to keep using the chromecast and gain the flexibility of not having the Fire literally tethered.

    How much was the chromecast? It seems like its price point is pretty close to the cheapest Kindle Fire. Now I’m thinking that if it works for you, I might get the cheapest Fire, especially if/when it goes on sale, for the same thing. The new ones have Alexa, so we could do the literal tethering and still be able to control it from anywhere in the room.

  91. “The standalone bose CD player w wifi is is the cheapest solution”

    Cheapest solution is existing Kindle Fire as dedicated Spotify app device, and applying stick-on labels to buttons of existing receiver.

  92. Also, not sure what the Link is for. The specs say it is for adding wireless capability to existing speakers, but the SountTouch 10 speakers are already on wifi.

  93. OK, reading through the SountTouch10 docs – it looks like it has an AUX input that lets you directly connect a CD player. I wonder how that works, though, if you have two speakers with stero pairing.Also, the reviews indicate that the app is terrible. I wonder if you are stuck just playing spotify generically with no ability to choose albums or anything.

  94. I cant figure out all the limitations of the bose system. I am a sonos girl. Every user thread ends up different and I agree the link specs don’t show any inputs, just outputs. I think if you like your existing wired speakers you can get the Bose Link as a wifi input device for streaming to the existing receiver with Finns labels or a replacement receiver CD player. That is probably the cheapest solution. I KNOW you can use a receiver via the Connect with wireless speakers with Sonos.

  95. Alexa is enabled on both platforms you just need a dot or a more expensive Alexa speaker and to set up the skill. I prefer the dot. I am not a Google home person.

  96. Does anyone watch Divorce on HBO? I’ve never seen an episode, but I am thinking about watching it because they film all over Westchester. I’ve seen their equipment several times in nearby towns, and I saw the filming today on my way home. I didn’t watch it when it first aired because of some mixed reviews, but I might watch it if I can ever find the time.

    The Ina Garten soup was good, but it had a little too much kick for DH. I have to tone it down a little when I make it the next time.

  97. Is that the one with Sarah Jessica Parker? I watched one and a half episodes and gave it up. It really can’t figure out what tone it’s reaching for.

  98. Milo I am having my first skin surgery soon. Everything I’ve had so far could be taken care of by less invasive treatments. This one is a squamous cell on top of my hand, and is also impacting my lobbying for another Miata instead of a truck. My DH thinks my skin will be better served by less direct sun. I know these are completely treatable and not life-threatening, but I’d just as soon skip the whole thing.

    I’m enjoying all these soup recipes, so thanks all for sharing! I just picked up a delicious chicken and sausage gumbo, but it is just as cheap to buy as to make.

  99. “This one is a squamous cell on top of my hand, and is also impacting my lobbying for another Miata instead of a truck.”

    Is it on your left hand?

  100. DS spent the day exchanging emails with an admissions advisor at Arizona. He got some good info on the environmental science program and probably most important, advice to take chemistry next year. I told him he should ask if he can schedule a meeting for when we’re there in March. I’m impressed he took the initiative.

  101. I ran some errands after work, including Target. Really should not have gotten to me but two things on the list were TP and paper towels.

    They (Target in cahoots with the manufacturers) make it so hard for the non-competitive shopper.
    (I’m sure it’s the same everywhere)

    TP: double roll, mega roll, each in ultra soft, ultra strong, and a bigger # or rolls and a smaller # of rolls per package
    Paper Towels: huge roll, some other size of roll, each in select-a-size, full sheet
    and this was one brand each (Charmin, Bounty)

    I COULD NOT WAIT TO GET OUT OF THERE! And others wonder why I (and I’d say many people) hate shopping.

  102. Thanks Milo!

    Since it is an open thread, all I can say is don’t move to MN! This is beyond stupid cold. Feels like -51. I guess the trade off is we have fewer icky bugs and snakes.

  103. TCM (and Ivy and Lemon), I hope at least it’s warmer in your homes.

    I will refrain from complaining about the temperatures here.

  104. I am on a Caribbean island and trying to fly back today. It has been challenging finding flights because so many are cancelled. My original airline said they can get me home Friday. I have found a path through Charlotte that at this point still appears to be viable. Landing in the Midwest at midnight is going to be extreme. Of course I didn’t want to hassle with a winter coat either.

    I haven’t had a chance to look it up yet, but last night at dinner I heard that Chrissy Tiegen’s (sp?) tomato soup recipe is quite good.

  105. This the 3rd or 4th time that I turned off my landline because I didn’t want to receive a 5 AM call from my district, but there was no call today about a delay. The reason is NO snow. I can’t remember the last time that we went through a January with no snow days and no delays. The cold and winds have been terrible this year, but no snow. We have SO much ice on our roads due to continued run off because our rainfall totals are so high.

    We have a family bar mitzvah this weekend and my parents have been concerned about snow since they learned of the date in 2017. I think they will be very relieved to know that they don’t have to drive in the snow this weekend, and it’s supposed to warm up. DD wants to wear sandals (!!) and I wonder if boys will wear jackets tomorrow when they go to school and it’s 0 outside.

  106. Denver Dad, your son’s updates sound exciting. It’s great that he’s being proactive. Does he have a particular career in mind?

    I just did a rough estimate of the number of CDs we own and it’s around 400. About 4-5 years ago I enthusiastically started a project to rip songs from my CDs but only got about ¼ of the way through. To illustrate how much of a procrastinator I am and how much decluttering I need to do, we still have the cute CD stands that hold about 75 each scattered about our family room and study. They make nice plant holders.

    My mini rant about technology is that I bought a supply of LED light bulbs without noticing they’re nondimmable. Stupid me couldn’t figure out why they didn’t work on our fixtures, creating a flashing light show when I tried to dim them. My husband finally had to point out the problem after I complained about it.

  107. July, he wants to go into environmental science so they were corresponding specifically about the major.

    If I need TP or PT (paper towels) I just go buy the Kirkland brand when I go to Costco.

    This goes back to a previous discussion that some of our Costcos are very inconvenient for only buying one or two things.

    I just did a rough estimate of the number of CDs we own and it’s around 400.

    I still buy CDs. I don’t like streaming, I want ownership of the music. On Amazon, the cost of a CD is usually very close to the download price and sometimes actually cheaper and you get a the download with it. I don’t actually play the CDs, but I like having the physical media for a backup.

  108. All the real upper Midwesterners*…be careful/warm. It was 11 here on my drive in, low wind, so “balmy/normal” and we’re not supposed to dip below -10 at any point.

    *societally/attitudinally, people here are Midwesterners (ref 9 Nations of North America), but no one here wants to concede that…they all want to believe we are ‘east coasters’.

  109. Last-minute decision here to close the schools — as in, kids got up for the posted 2-hr delay, and the school changed it between the time that DH went downstairs and I followed. I can’t say I blame them this time — it looks like about 1″ of snow, but it’s actually several inches condensed down by a lovely thick topper of ice. Streets are fine, but sidewalks are horrible; DH couldn’t even shovel or scrape ours it was so thick. And it’s not even 20 degrees yet, so most of the de-icer won’t work until the temperature comes up a bit. Glad I don’t need to go anywhere today!

    @DD, that’s awesome!

  110. Stay safe guys. Friend in Peoria says the furnace is not keeping up, but still functional they can manage.

  111. It’s minus 20 here, with wind chills even lower, and everything is closed. Even the university, which never closes. There is more than a foot of snow on the ground, but no more coming. Maybe it’s too cold to snow, if that is possible.
    Yesterday, on my own Target run to replenish the ice-melting stash (it works to minus 5!), I picked up a cheap outdoor thermometer, so now I know that it is 18 degrees in the garage. You can see your breath, and all of the melted snow on the garage floor is now ice.

  112. “so now I know that it is 18 degrees in the garage.”
    I am surprised how much warmer it is in your garage than outside. Over time, I’ve noted that ours tracks pretty consistently 7 degrees warmer than outside in all types of weather. Yours must be better insulated.

  113. I see the Post Office isn’t even trying to deliver mail in:

    Michigan: 486-491, 493-499
    Indiana: 460-469, 472-475, 478, 479
    Chicago: 606-608
    Lakeland: 530-532, 534, 535, 537-539, 541-545, 549, 600, 602, 601, 611
    Detroit: 480-485, 492
    Central Illinois: 601, 603 – 605, 609, 613, 614, 616, 617
    Northern Ohio (Cleveland and Lima areas): 441, 458
    Ohio Valley (Cincinnati and Columbus areas): 452, 430-432
    Northland: 540, 546-548, 550, 551, 553-564, 566
    Hawkeye: 500-514, 520-528, 612
    Dakotas: 580-588, 570-577
    Eastern Nebraska: 680-689

  114. We have more Google voice devices in our house than Alexa (just one, actually) and Amazon Unlimited only works with Google via Chromecast. Plus I have gotten used to Spotify and like its excellent playlists – if I want to listen to lots of fado music, for example, it is easy to find one that is well curated. I think Amazon also has playlists, but reviews say they aren’t as good.

    Denver Dad. I feel the same way as you about physical ownership which is why I prefer to keep my favorite CDs. Spotify, for me, is a way to discover new stuff. My kid just turned me on to this cool Japanese group

  115. Dear lord, you’d have to pay me to listen to more than 10 seconds of that group.

  116. I came into work today because I had to get out of the house for a change of pace. It is currently -27, and the drive in was like a Sunday morning. I’m the only one in the office. I’ve never seen so many empty parking lots and closed stores and restaurants. Even churches cancelled daily mass. It is busier after a massive snowstorm.

    My furnace has been going non-stop and I’m so thankful that we put in fireplace because that is giving us some extra warmth.

  117. It is interesting how warm 20 degrees starts to feel when you get used to the lower temps. I still deeply regret that we didn’t know how important a two car garage would be in the winter. DD has stuff tonight and tomorrow night that will require one of us to pick her up around 9, and it is going to be so cold. I don’t think they will cancel school since temps will be above 0, but I guess we will find out tomorrow. I know they’re really worried about kids waiting for the buses starting at 6:45. The other days that were zero or single digits were holidays or weekends in 2017/18/19.

  118. We went to Sonos, and I LOVE IT!

    We bought two Play 1 speakers (not voice activated) and made them stereo in the living room. Then we have solo speakers in our bedrooms. I think I will buy another one for the deck.

    You can control via a laptop or desktop as well. Also – there is an on/off and volume button on top.

    I got rid of my CD’s a long time ago, so I can’t speak to that. But I love that I can build playlists/queues that are. A mix of Amazong Music and stuff from my own library.

  119. I am actually stuck in NY right now as most flights home from my business trip were cancelled. I’m hoping to get back tomorrow when it gets to a balmy zero back home, but we’ll see.

    My home office is closed for the second day tomorrow along with most other things including school. DH & DS seem a bit stir crazy but the furnace, pipes, etc seem to be holding up fine so far. Lots of group chatting with friends around the Upper Midwest who are suffering from severe cabin fever!

  120. “We bought two Play 1 speakers (not voice activated) and made them stereo in the living room.”

    Is it true stereo, where you can hear the difference between right and left?

  121. @Finn – Yes. True stereo with a right and left.

    I got two 2-packs of the speakers from Costco.

    The sound is great – much better than I expected. And I find the phone and desktop (iMac) apps to be very good.

  122. Is it their own proprietary app or can you use say the Spotify app to select music? And if you turn off the speakers using the power button, that turns off the streaming, right? That is the problem with using Chromecast – in that case the phone is doing the streaming.

  123. You connect to your Spotify via the Sonos proprietary app. I don’t use Spotify, but I am connected to Amazon music and Sirius/XM along with some regular radio stations and the music library on my desktop. You can access the music library from your phones too – don’t need to be at the desktop. But the desktop can’t go into sleep or standby mode.

    Yes – the power button turns everything off. It streams over WiFi, not from your phone. It is much less annoying than connecting a Bluetooth speaker that way.

    I can’t speak to how much easy it is to connect to Spotify playlists, but the other connections have been seamless. You can also create playlists in the app that are from all the music services/music libraries you have set up. Or you can just add songs to a temporary queue. Or you can stream from a live feed (like radio – terrestrial or satellite).

  124. So you have to use the Sonos app for choosing music? How good is it for doing things like choosing specific albums? One of the things I like about Spotify is their app makes it easy to find exactly what I want.

  125. BTW, this is useful because it is helping me come up with a list of questions to ask when I actually go to see these products.

  126. Yes. You have to play from the Sonos app. DH & I were a little worried about having to use our phone or computer to control it, but it works well.

    I find the search feature to be very good. You can do a general search or by artist, album, playlist or song title.

    I can take some screenshots of the apps if you’d like.

    You can play music throughout the whole house, or only one speaker (or stereo set) at a time.

    The only problem is that they have to be on your WiFi, so it’s not portable like Bluetooth. I’ll still use my Bluetooth on vacation or at the beach. You also need to be connected to WiFi to control. So I can’t change the music remotely.

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