Sunday, February 07, 2016

Chocolate Cream Cheese Custard Recipe

I am not very good at baking cheesecakes.  The first ones I ever made were no-bake, involving whipped topping and no eggs.  But I am avoiding whipped topping, so I've been trying my hand at baking.  But it is a lot of work, and the cake tends to crack or brown on the top edges.  
So I had an idea, for a stiff cream-cheese flavored chocolate dessert/dip.  I did online searches for recipes for anything like it, and couldn't find any; apparently people don't usually add cream cheese to their custards.  I was on my own inventing this dish, then.  With this recipe, you're getting the eggs (like traditional cheesecake) to add flavor and stiffness, but cooking them on the stovetop (in milk or cream like custard) instead of in the oven.  I think it turned out great!  

In medium saucepan, heat to a simmer:
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk (or a large can)

Stir in until melted, and remove from heat:
½ c. dark chocolate chips
Beat until pale:
3 egg yolks
⅓ c. sugar

Slowly pour warm milk mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.  Return to MED-LOW heat. 

Mix in:
(another) ½ c. dark chocolate chips
2 t. corn starch

Simmer until it thickens, about 5 minutes. 

Separately, beat:
2 package cream cheese (16 ounces total)
⅓ c. sugar
dash of salt

Pour custard into sweetened cream cheese and mix well.  Chill at least 4 hours. 
Eat plain or dip graham crackers, strawberries, pretzels, or chocolate chip cookies. 
May also be frozen like ice cream.  

To God be all glory.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Vida Express Wireless Cell Phone Service Dealer

Vida Express is run by a company called T-Cetra.  They are a go-between for wireless carriers, and deal in activation of SIM cards and facilitating payments for cell phone providers.  I recently had experience with them when my cell phone company, PTel, used them to promote a replacement wireless provider, Ultra Mobile.  Vida Express offered, free of charge or commitment, to handle the transaction getting PTel customers a free SIM card from Ultra Mobile, shipped free to their homes, along with a free month of service.  Here are my complaints about what happened:
I had a TON of trouble with VidaExpress this morning.  I called them, per their email, when my SIM card still hadn't come by 2/4/16, the day before the final day to port my number from PTel.  I gave them over a week to ship it to me (signed up and ordered on Wednesday, January 27). 
I called first thing in the morning, waited on hold for 30 minutes, talked to a customer service person who used the tracking number to attempt to explain why my SIM card wasn't there.  But I needed a solution to hold my number after PTel goes out of business.  The rep didn't offer to do anything about that, just said they would further investigate my problem and call me back within 2-3 hours. 
After 3 hours, I called back myself, waited on hold another 30 minutes.  The new representative, Azar, wanted to go into the shipping information again, but when I pointed out that it wouldn't do any good, that I needed something done with my number, she decided to activate the SIM that I hadn't received, in order to port my number, and if it didn't arrive within a week, I could go to a STORE and BUY a replacement to switch it out.  She gave me the info and I started the activation/porting online at the website. 
Then she came back on the phone and told me that wouldn't work since my SIM had been shipped back, blaming the USPS, and suggested it might have been a bad address even though we'd confirmed the address they have on file for me is correct.  They weren't going to get my SIM to me, or send another one, or give me a credit or anything.  She suggested I could go to Walmart and buy a SIM card from any old company.  She wasn't even trying to keep me with the free month of service at Ultra Mobile.  She just said it wasn't possible. 
But that SIM card is *mine*.  They're stealing it from me!  When it was clear that the so-called customer service agent was unable and unwilling to serve me, I asked to talk to a supervisor, so she put me on hold for a few minutes, then came back and said there wasn't a supervisor.  And she repeated the same lines that I could wait for a SIM card that isn't coming, and that there was nothing they could do, and that they weren't doing anything wrong. 

Finally she claimed to cancel the port, and since for the few hours after I did still have had PTel service, I assume she actually cancelled the activation.  I am now working on activating service with a completely different provider that has nothing to do with UltraMobile or PTel or  (or Vida Express' parent company, T-Cetra, LLC).

Buyer and user beware!

Update: On Monday, three days after most of these interactions, and after I had activated with a different company, I received a SIM card from Vida Express in the mail.

To God be all glory.